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.
It goes fast so get ready.
Also, Baseball America has your full Rule 5 draft preview up here.
The Mets pick 10th and have three open spots on their 40-man roster.
Toby Hyde and Robert Brender are all about the Winter Meetings. Rob is on site in Orlando, Wall Street Journal Mets beat writer Jared Diamond checks in, and all the topics are covered – Curtis Granderson, Ike Davis, trades, non-trades, signings, non-signings – and of course, the weekly dose of One Good Thing and One Bad Thing.
For the show rundown, click here...
- Hot Stove Happenings
- Wall Street Journal Mets beat writer Jared Diamond joins in (13:40)
- One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (27:15)
- Good: Granderson Presser, Better Mets OF in 2014
- Bad: Folks bad mouthing Sandy, Granderson contract
Good stuff from Rob Castellano at Amazin’ Avenue reviewing the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 2013 season.
Tuesday, the Rockies and A’s swapped oft-injured/disappointing lefthanders Brett Anderson and $2 million for Drew Pomeranz and minor leaguer Chris Jensen.
We’ve been running a series where we compare the players involved in trade packages to those in the Mets organization. This concept works a lot better when there are more players involved. Both the Dexter Fowler to the Astros and the Doug Fister to the Nationals deals involved at least three players. With more players, we can be a little looser about assigning a type of player and tweaking around the edges to make the values roughly match.
Anderson is the more expensive player, and the one who has performed better, when he’s healthy in the big leagues. He’s a groundball generating machine; his gb% has risen from 50.9% in 2009 to 54.6% in 2010 to 57.5% in 2011, to 59.8% in 2012 and then 62.9% in 2013. That’s as clear a trend as one could possibly hope to see. On the other hand, his games started and innings pitched by year has been heading in the opposite direction – falling each year.
. Games Started IP
2009 30 175.1
2010 19 112.1
2011 13 83.1
2012 6 35.0
2013 5 44.2
For his career, he owns a 3.81 ERA, a 3.56 FIP, and an 8.2 fWAR but only a 6.1 RA9-WAR. Those last two numbers illustrate well how the WAR metric for pitchers is calculated. RA9- WAR is read as “WAR calculated by runs allowed per nine innings. Standard fWAR uses FIP, which rewards groundballers.
Anderson’s injury history covers most of his body parts: head (concussion), lower back (stiffness/tightness), left elbow (strain/inflammation/Tommy John surgery), right knee (hyper extension), upper back (spasms), left thumb (sprain), right ankle (sprain), right foot (stress fracture). Is the Tommy John surgery in 2011 the most significant? Or is it the sum of all the injuries?
Anderson is no longer cheap, and cutting costs was clearly a major factor for the A’s. He is owed $8 million in 2014 and his contract calls for a club option of $12 million in 2015 with a $1.5 million buyout.
Anderson is not the kind of injury-risk pitcher the Mets have signed in the last few years. Instead, the Mets have made smaller one-year gambles on Chris Capuano ($1.5 million in 2011), Chris Young ($1.1 million in 2011 and a minor league deal in 2012), Shaun Marcum ($4 million in 2013), Daisuke Matsuzaka (MLB minimum in 2013). On a payroll at or below $90 million as the Mets have run recently and seem poised to run in 2014, the $8 million Anderson will earn in 2014, or more precisely, $6 million net the $2 million Oakland sent along, just does not fit.
Anderson is big (6’4″, 235 lbs) and can touch 93 mph with his fastball although he sits 91-92 mph.
Drew Pomeranz has pedigree. The Indians drafted him fifth overall in June 2010 out of Mississippi. A little over a year later, the Indians shipped him to Colorado to complete their trade for Ubaldo Jimenez.
What Pomeranz doesn’t have is results. He made four starts and four relief appearances a year ago for Colorado and gave up 25 hits and 15 runs in 21.2 innings. Most damning, moreso than the four home runs, were the 19 walks (!) against 19 strikeouts. He made 15 starts in AAA where he ran a 4.20 ERA, walked 9% of the opponent batters and fanned 26% in a season cut short by biceps tendonitis.
Stepping backward, Pomeranz put up good numbers across the board in 2011 with the Indians in AA in Akron. The Rockies promoted him to the big leagues after he was traded. While his topline ERA of 5.40 in four appearances is not impressive, the underlying stats say he was closer to holding his own: a strikeout rate of 17%, a walk rate of 6.5%, and a 2.59 FIP.
Pomeranz started 2012 in the big leagues, but the Rockies dispatched him to AAA after he ran a 4.70 ERA in his first five starts in which he had 20 strikeouts and 15 walks in 23 innings, that’s a strikeout rate of 18.5%, but a walk rate of 13.9%. Down in AAA, in the thin air of Colorado Springs, he was much better: 2.51 ERA in 9 starts and 46 strikeouts (22%) against 20 walks (9.4%) in 46.2 innings over nine starts. Note that his walk rate would still be above MLB or AAA averages. He finished 2012 in the Rockies’ rotation, eventually making 22 starts for a 4.93 ERA and a 4.81 FIP.
In terms of stuff, Pomeranz is extremely reliant on a fastball that averages 91 mph and a curveball in the upper 70s (that’s plus velocity) to go along with a seldom used changeup. In 2011 and 2012, he threw his fastball over 76% of the time – a rate that would have been the third-highest fastball usage among qualified MLB starters. At ESPN, Keith Law still calls Pomeranz’s curveball plus.
I forgot about Pomeranz’s other injury problems which include an appendectomy, and quad and hip issues. (Thanks Jay Jaffe.)
Pomeranz has a walk problem. It’s been over 9% in AAA and has spiked well above that in the big leagues. Oakland will have the luxury of sending him to AAA to try to get him right.
The Minor Leaguer
Chris Jensen is a big RHP (6’4″, 200) who the Rockies drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft from San Diego. In his age 22 season, he put up a 4.55 ERA with a 21% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate in 152.1 innings in the hitter-friendly California League. Note however, that Jensen’s home ballpark in Modesto is one of the League’s two pitcher friendliest (along with San Jose). I probably saw Jensen in 2012 with Asheville, but whatever impression he made on me at the time did not survive a year and a half.
BP says Jensen was 91-94, touching 95 as a starter, with a 83-86 mph changeup and breaking ball at 77-80 that was inconsistent. Jordan Gorosh thinks he can be a “back-end starter who has the ability to log innings.” Law calls him “just a guy.”
The Mets really do not have a pitcher whose profile looks like Drew Pomeranz. Clearly, shedding Anderson’s salary was important to Oakland, in addition to the gamble on Pomeranz, who has 1.05 years of MLB service time. Thus, we will confine our search for comps to pre-arb players, preferably with something like a year of MLB service time or less.
Our service time/cheap requirement dispatches Dillon Gee and his 3.028 years of MLB service.
Jenrry Mejia and his 1.14 years of MLB service are close enough to Pomeranz. Mejia’s five start run in 2013 – 2.30 ERA, 27.1 IP, 27 K, 4 BB, was better than anything Pomeranz has strung together at the Major League Level. Mejia’s value should be depressed by the fact that, thanks to Tommy John surgery and Jerry Manuel, he’s thrown 100 innings in a season only once and never exceeded 110. Mejia’s injury problems post-Tommy John surgery make him a fellow traveler with Pomeranz and Andersen.
If you want no MLB success, with control problems think Jeurys Familia.
If you want no MLB success, with success in AA, think Cory Mazzoni. Like Pomeranz, Mazzoni will likely start the 2014 season in AAA.
Jensen could be Rainy Lara or Tyler Pill. I kinda like the Lara angle better. He’s a low 90s fastball guy, with a changeup and slider that is decidedly his third pitch. He has size (6’4″) and a 3.76 ERA in the Florida State League but underwhelming peripherals (16% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate).
I think this deal is something like Jenrry Mejia and Rainy Lara for Brett Anderson. Anderson was due a minimum of $9.5 million – his 2014 salary plus his buyout – at the time he was traded.
Colorado took the more expensive player, with a longer big league track record with a huge injury report. Oakland took the cheaper guy with a walk rate worse than average, no big league track record of success and a shorter injury report. Both guys are gambles in their way.
Let me be clear again: I don’t think Jenrry Mejia is a great match for Drew Pomeranz in many if not most respects. However, I’ve decided among Mets pitchers under team control, he’s the closest in value and fit given what Oakland appeared to be trying to accomplish.
Given the health risks on Anderson, and the cost, in dollars – especially on a ~$90 million payroll – and players, he made little sense for the Mets in the winter of 2013-2014.