As a companion piece to Fangraphs Top 10 Mets prospects, Carson Cistulli took a look at the Steamer projections for the guys on the list.
There are two things that really caught my eye:
1. Steamer projects Travis d’Arnaud to be worth 2.9 WAR via above average offense (108 wRC+) and above average defense worth eight runs. This is basically in line where I think d’Arnaud will be this year – an above average big league catcher.
2. Steamer really, really likes Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Based on projected strikeout and walk rates, Cistulli derives a kwERA, an ERA predictor, and then uses that to construct kwERA- (an ERA estimator like ERA-, where 100 is average, and lower is better). By this method, he estimates a kwERA of 3.53 for Syndergaard and 3.79 for Montero and kwERA- of 91 for Thor and 98 for Montero. Thus, over 150 innings, through the translations that Cistulli make, that translates into a WAR of 2.6 for Syndergaard and 2.1 for Montero. These, relatively speaking, are monster estimates.
For example, on the Fangraphs page for each of the other six potential Mets starting pitchers (Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Bartolo Colon and Carlos Torres) no other starter is projected as being worth more than 1.7 WAR/150 innings. In terms of overall WAR, Steamer tops out Bartolo Colon at 2.0 over 173 innings.
I think there’s something weird about both Cistilli’s transitions from kwERA to WAR/150 innings and the way Fangraphs is doing their Steamer WAR estimation other places, however, only one of which is made explicit. Cistulli writes of his own estimate, “Figures might diverge slightly (although not significantly) from those which appear on player pages.” Ok, so we’re covered there. (Given that Cistulli’s method includes only walk and strikeout percentages, and not homers or any other run scoring events, that all makes sense.) However, I was interested in comparing the prospect projections with other Mets’ pitchers, but projections using different methodologies make that difficult. Instead, I used the projections generated on other areas of the site, particularly the player pages. Even so, there’s something off.
On the player pages, Steamer projects Jenrry Mejia to pitch to a 3.71 ERA and a 3.53 FIP over 73 innings for a 0.3 WAR or 0.62 WAR/150. Steamer projects Rafael Montero to pitch to a 3.86 ERA and a 3.64 FIP over 67 innings and accumulate a 0.7 WAR or 1.57 WAR/150. So, Steamer projects Montero to pitch fewer innings, and do so less well than Mejia on a per-inning basis, by ERA AND FIP, but be worth more WAR. I must be missing something.
Leaving that aside, and using only Steamer’s ERA estimate from the player pages, Steamer projects Noah Syndergaard with the second-best ERA among this group behind only Mejia. Montero (3.86) has the fourth-best ERA projection behind only Mejia, Syndergaard, Colon and in a class with Jon Niese (3.90) and Carlos Torres (3.95).
So, again, Steamer really likes Montero and Syndergaard. Without assigning too much specificity, it sees Syndergaard as one of the Mets’ best non-Harvey pitchers right now, and Montero fitting comfortably in the back side, or #4 slot in a rotation.
The following chart uses ERA, IP and WAR estimates from Steamer on Fangraphs player pages. The only column where I did any manipulation is the farthest right, where I prorated Fangraphs’ Steamer WAR estimate over 150 innings.
Steamer on the 2014 Mets Pitching
If the Mets want a Triple-A affiliate closer than Las Vegas for the 2015 season, they would be well-advised to make some friends in Rochester in a hurry.
Yesterday, William Ladson reported that the Washington Nationals and the Syracuse Chiefs would extend their working agreement through the 2018 season.
A little history first. Following four years with the Buffalo Bisons from 2009 through 2012, in which the Bisons saw attendance decline, the Bisons sought an affiliation with the closer Toronto Blue Jays. That pushed the Mets west to Las Vegas and the 51s where they signed a two-year player development contract for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Remember, Player Development Contracts are almost always mutual, both the Major League and the Minor League team must want to be partners with each other. The exception is the 30th team. If the Mets and Las Vegas are the last big league team and the last minor league team without a dance partner at a given level AAA through a-ball, they are forced onto the floor together.
There are five teams in the East Coast(ish) International League with PDCs that expire at the end of 2014: Columbus Clippers (CLE), Durham Bulls (TB), Norfolk Tides (BAL), Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS), Rochester Red Wings (MIN).
1. Columbus, in a new ballpark, is very happy to be affiliated with Cleveland, which is just over two hours away.
2. Norfolk, which booted the Mets in 2006, when team representatives said things like “They took us for granted,” seems unlikely to be interested in returning to life as a Mets affiliate especially with a PDC with the geographically proximate Orioles in place.
3. Pawtucket isn’t leaving the Red Sox for anything.
4. Durham and Tampa have had a productive relationship for 15 years. I’m not sure what would make Durham jump from Tampa to the Mets.
So, if the Mets want to land an affiliation back in the International League for the 2015 season, Rochester is the move. However, two years ago, faced with a Mets franchise looking for a new International League affiliate, Rochester resigned with Minnesota. The Wings were 72-72 in 2012 and 77-67 in 2013.
Will this round be any different?
The other option for the Mets is a more eastern home in the Pacific Coast League. In particular, Nashville is planning on spending $150 in public and private money million on a new ballpark area, with roughly $50 million coming from the Nashville Sounds, a Brewers affiliate at the moment, for the ballpark and associated retail. In August, this was an $80 million project, but it keeps growing.
If the Mets are interested in a new ballpark in the PCL, the Las Vegas ownership group and developer Howard Hughes Corp is interested in a $65 million ballpark in Summerlin and expressed optimism in May that they could make the ballpark happen. There is now some opposition from unions regarding the $88 million project, which means at least someone is paying attention and thinks the plan has a chance to succeed.
So, the choices for the Mets: stay west and target a new ballpark or aim for the Red Wings?
The chart after the jump lists each International League franchise and their PDC status, as best as I could determine.
The 2014 International League PDC Scene
||Toronto Blue Jays
||Chicago White Sox
||Tampa Bay Rays
|Lehigh Valley IronPigs
|Pawtucket Red Sox
||Boston Red Sox
|Rochester Red Wings
|Toledo Mud Hens
Jason (Professor) Parks took some Mets questions in his Baseball Prospectus chat yesterday. He likes Noah Syndergaard (Thor) a lot.
Thor Questions and Answers
GWesterby (Brooklyn): Taillon or Syndergaard?
Jason Parks: Syndergaard. I think Syndergaard belongs in the discussion for top ten prospects in the game. #rig
Note: this came on the heels of a much longer, well-thought answer to a question about Jameson Taillon and prospect evaluation where guys lose some “shine” as they move through the minors.
Max (Corpus Christi): Maybe an early holiday gift for readers: OFP grades/lines for Syndergaard, Stephenson, and Giolito? I realize you may not have spoken to anyone about these systems yet, but your expert opinion would more than suffice!
Jason Parks: Future projections:
Syndergaard: 7 FB; 7 CB; 6+ CH
OFP: 7; no. 2 starter
Stephenson: 7+ FB; 7 CB; 5+ CH
OFP: 7; no. 2 starter
Giolito: 8 FB; 8 CB; 6+ CH
OFP: 8; no. 1 starter
rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): Your starting roster for your all prospect team?
Jason Parks: LF: Taveras
Matz, Smith and the Mets Overall
huggirl (Joisey): Vegas over/under number of number 2 or better starters from this group: Lewis Thorpe, Julio Urias, Hunter Harvey, Edwin Diaz, Alex Reyes, Jesse Hahn, Steven Matz, Adalberto Mejia.
Jason Parks: From that group, one pitcher will develop into a number two starter (or better). I was tempted to say 0.
Mr Met (Queens): The Mets are a top ten farm, right?
Jason Parks: No. They aren’t a top ten farm. They have some very nice pieces, but it fades quickly after the first few names on the list.
Mike (The Couch): Is Dominic Smith already the #1 ranked 1B prospect in the game? Potential 25/100?
Jason Parks: I don’t see that kind of over-the-fence power from him. I like the bat, but I wouldn’t take him over Singleton, even with Singleton’s recent run of #slack.
Robert and I deliver the final 2013 edition of the Mostly Mets Podcast. We cover Colon, a 2013 Year in Review, New Year’s resolutions for 2014 (for the hosts and Sandy Alderson), and one final dose of One Good Thing and One Bad Thing.
Catch us on itunes here. Please rate/review/subscribe over yonder.
Rundown (Stuff we Talked About):
The 2014 starting rotation
One word for 2013, and players we enjoyed (17:15)
Sandy Alderson’s New Year’s Resolutions (33:50)
What we want to see in 2014 (38:25)
Rob and Toby’s New Year’s Resolutions (40:30)
One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (43:20)
Good: Justin Tucker, Mets in good hands with Sandy Alderson
Bad: Leaving Orlando, New York Knicks
Marc Hulet at Fangraphs has his Mets Top 10 out.
1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Travis d’Arnaud
3. Dominic Smith
4. Amed Rosario
5. Rafael Montero
6. Kevin Plawecki
7. Jake deGrom
8. Steve Matz (Spelled Marz)
9. Gavin Cecchini
10. Wilmer Flores
11. Dilson Herrera
12. Michael Fulmer
13. Domingo Tapia
14. Brandon Nimmo
15. Vic Black
Everyone in his Top 15 makes my top 17. However, I have Cesar Puello in my top 10, and Gabriel Ynoa in the Top 15. Also, Hulet orders his list in a very different manner than I have mine.
At ESPN.com last Friday, Keith Law took chat questions, including a trio on Mets’ trade candidates and potential returns.
Ryan (Zona): On the theory that the D-backs are very average across the board, and that they can’t afford to buy players that are both above-average and reliable — might Jenrry Mejia be a good target in a trade of one of the AZ shortstops?
Klaw (1:09 PM): If I’m the Mets I’m happy to take Owings for Mejia, due to the latter’s injury history. Mejia has more upside, but who knows when he’ll be able to handle 160 innings without breaking down?
Chris Owings hit .291/.361/.382 in 61 MLB PA over 20 games last year. Playing in the ridiculously thin air in Reno in AAA, he hit .330/.359/.482 with 31 doubles and 12 homers in 125 games as a 21-year-old.
Jeff (NY): What’s a realistic return for Ike Davis? Should the Mets combine him with some of their pitching depth to get a better return?
Klaw (1:32 PM): Probably something similar, another out-of-favor player but at a different position.
Ryan (PA): If the Mets do get Thornburg for Davis, is that a good return?
Klaw (1:52 PM): Meh. I think you’d like to get more than a reliever for Davis, but given Davis’ performance the last two years that might be about right.
Andrew (NY): Rumor is Wilmer Flores is adding some quickness and speed in fitness camp. How do you feel about him as a prospect if his defense at 2B improves?
Klaw (2:14 PM): He’s adding quickness? Cool story bro.
- Wilmer Flores (Bravos de Margarita – VWL) – The 22-year-old played in three straight games for the second straight week. This time, he was 5-for-10, with a double, a homer, a walk, a strikeout and a caught-stealing. He’s now hitting .372/.451/.488 with six walks and four strikeouts in 12 games.
- Juan Lagares (Aguilas Cibaenas – DWL) - DNP last week. Still resting his knee, which is scheduled to keep him out for three weeks.
That Bullpen Battle
- Joel Carreno (Escogido - DWL) – Just one appearance in the last week (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1.1 BB, 0 K). He’s allowed three runs, two earned on six hits in 14 games).
- Jeurys Familia (Gigantes del Cibao – DWL) – No appearances in the last week for Familia who has a 12/6 K/BB ratio in 10.2 off-season innings between the AFL and the DWL.
- Gonzlez Germen (Toros del Este – DWL) - The 26-year-old has not appeared in a game since November 30.
See You in Sin City (Projected Las Vegas 51s on Opening Day 2014)
- C Juan Centeno – (Gigantes de Carolina – PWL) – Four games in the last week for the 24-year-old in which he hit a combined 7-for-11 with two doubles. He’s up to .275/.333/.392 in 19 games in Puerto Rico.
- LHP Chase Huchingson (Aguilas del Zulia - VWL) – The 24-year-old did not throw this week.
- OF Cesar Puello (Toros del Este – DWL) – After a really bad start to the winter season, Puello is almost back to hitting .200 after a week in which he played four games, going 3-for-12 (.250) with zero extra-base hits, two strikeouts and a walk, his second in 33 games. He’s now at 25 strikeouts against two walks with two extra-base hits, both homers and is four of five stealing bases to go along with a .198/.238/.260 line overall in the Dominican.
- SS Wilfredo Tovar has not played since November 21 for Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuela.
- RHP Ryan Fraser (Leones de Ponce – PWL) – After a 5.63 ERA and a 25/26 K/BB in AA this year, Fraser has allowed two runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings in five games in Puerto Rico. Fraser actually has some work to do to break camp in AAA, and his Opening Day assignment will also depend on how many reliever types the Mets bring in for their big league bullpen and AAA and the subsequent cascade down through the system.
Bingo Bound/Hoping to break camp in AA
- INF TJ Rivera (Indios de Mayaguez - PWL) – The 25-year-old was 1-for-3 with a homerun last Monday in Puerto Rico to push his winter line to .308/.357/.538 with a homer, a walk and one strikeout in nine games.
… The non-drafted free agent has worked his way up the Mets’ system in the last year culminating in a .289/.348/.351 line with two homers for St. Lucie while playing 111 games at second base and backing up 15 games at shortstop. He’s a pretty safe bet to begin 2014 at NYSEG stadium.
- C Xorge Carrillo (Aguilas de Mexicali – LMP) – The 24-year-old extended a five-game hitting streak in Mexico with a 3-for-5 game that included a double and a homer and four RBI. He’s up to .283/.351/.384 in 43 games this winter for Aguilas. He has never played in 43 games in an US-based professional season, topping out at 36 this past season with Binghamton and St. Lucie. He’s a thick 6’1″ who has He will be fighting with Cam Maron in Spring Training for the right to break Spring Training with AA Binghamton as Kevin Plawecki’s backup.
-RHP Miller Diaz (Leones del Caracas - VWL) – A starter in Brooklyn in 2013, Diaz will likely open 2014 in the Savannah rotation. In 8.1 innings over 11 games out of the bullpen in Venezuela, he’s walked seven and fanned six.
And Our Player of the Week…
Wilmer Flores. He hit .500 with a homer. That’ll do. He still has more walks than strikeouts in his brief Venezuelan season. He does not have a position yet for the 2014 Mets, but he’s hitting.
Yesterday, MetsBlog ran a lengthy piece I wrote about Bartolo Colon.
I wanted to share a few other takes from around the web. All discuss his age, fastballing tendencies, “risk,” and the relatively small commitment in dollars and years the Mets made to Colon.
At Fangraphs, Eno Sarris takes an even-handed view of the contract, calling Bartolo Colon an “unreliable workhorse.” He has some fun with words, “So the Mets got an older pitcher for fewer dollars or fewer years than comparable pitchers on the free agent market. And he’s a reliable risk. Or a firm flyer. Or a predictable plunge. Or a steadfast speculation. Or maybe a cheap, old pitcher.”
Keith Law at ESPN liked it: “The New York Mets‘ deal with Bartolo Colon makes more sense for them now … the two-year, $20 million commitment is so modest by today’s standards that the Mets’ risk is tolerable. … The club could be surprisingly competitive in that case with an improved offense and a deep, mostly young (but 20 percent-old) rotation.”
At Baseball Prospectus, R.J. Anderson also liked it well enough, “Colon joins Chris Young and Curtis Granderson as sensible winter additions… Risk is the one thing worth wondering about. The length and modest money keeps it to this side of a franchise-altering plunge… In the end, Colon is far from a sure thing to make 30 starts, but plopping him in Citi Field with a strong outfield defense and letting him do his thing seems like it should yield good results.”
Jonah Keri at Grantland was a little more circumspect in his Winter Meetings Roundup: “Colon is a mystery. On numbers alone, this looks like a fine deal…The key to Colon’s success was his ability to pound the strike zone: Only three other starters flashed lower walk rates in 2013…. Of course, recent success does not guarantee future success. We’re talking about a 40-year-old pitcher who didn’t throw a single pitch in the big leagues in 2010….At any rate, it’s good to see the Mets and their bamboozled owners spend a little dough this winter, adding Curtis Granderson and now Colon to augment a very thin roster.”
In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning, the Mets added one pitcher – Jonathan Velasquez from the Twins and lost three pitchers: RHP Carlos Vazquez to the Astros, LHP Jimmy Fuller to the Twins and RHP Martires Arias to Washington. There are no roster restrictions outside of the Major League phase, so the Mets will be able to keep Velasquez, while the other three guys are gone.
Jon Velasquez - Turned 28 in October, was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Phillies. He’s spent the last three years in Independent baseball with Rockland in the Can-Am League and Camden in the Atlantic League. This past year was his best as he put up a 1.95 ERA in 61 relief appearances in 73.2 innings. That’s a strikeout rate of 27.1% and a walk rate of 8.6%.
He never pitched above advanced-A for Philadelphia. The Twins had signed Velasquez as a minor league free agent in the last few weeks.
LHP Jimmy Fuller – Velocity is coming back for the little lefty after labrum surgery that kept him out of the entire 2011 season.
Jeff Paternostro at Amazin’ Avenue wrote up Fuller in September:
Fastball has ticked back up to the upper 80s, touching 91, and one scout referred to it as ‘invisible.’ The same scout called him ‘a major league arm.’ Fuller still throws the slow curve and appears to be working a low 80s slider into the mix as well, but it’s the fastball deception that’s going to be his ticket to the majors as a left-on-left guy.
LHP Carlos Vazquez
Limited to one start and nine relief appearances in St. Lucie this past season to complement nine relief appearances in Mexico. He was a big part of the Savannah bullpen in 2012, with 41 appearances and a 2.96 ERA. He’s a soft-tosser, working in the mid-upper 80s. If memory serves, he mixes in a slurvy curve often. I don’t see big league stuff here.
RHP Martires Arias
Arias is Rule 5 eligible because he spent two years in the DSL in 2009 and 2010 and then repeated the Appy League in 2012 and 2013 as a 21 and 22 year-old. His size is the most notable thing about him as he stands 6’7″, a half to a full head taller than most of his teammates. I missed Arias when I saw Kingsport, but with 36 K against 28 walks in 52.2 innings in 11 starts and a relief appearance. That’s not really impressive though.
With the 10th pick in the Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft, the Mets picked up RHP Seth Rosin from the Phillies.
Rosin, who the Giants drafted in the fourth round in 2010 out of the University of Minnesota, was sent to Philadelphia along with two other minor leaguers in the Hunter Pence swap at the July 31 trade deadline in 2012.
At the time of the trade, Baseball America wrote, “He’s been a bit hittable as the closer with high Class A San Jose and profiles as a set-up man with a fastball that ranges from 88-94 mph. When Rosin’s at his best, the pitch has some heaviness to it, and he gave up just three homers in 89 innings in the South Atlantic League in 2011. Rosin adds a slider and a changeup, with neither profiling as a premium pitch.”
And now the word is that the Mets selected Rosin for another team, and he’s going to be traded. I hope he enjoyed his hour as a Mets farmhand. Last year, the Mets drafted Kyle Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft and sent him to Detroit for cash. Expect the same return this time with Rosin.
EDIT: The Mets will send Rosin to the Dodgers.