Top 41: #33 – Erik Goeddel, #34 – Matt den Dekker, #35 – Cory Vaughn, #36 – Logan Verrett

This group of four Mets prospects are all likely to get to the big leagues, but are unlikely to ever be average regulars. Instead, if they make it, it will be in part-time roles, or as middle relievers. All four are 2010 or 2011 college draftees so it’s time for them to produce in the big leagues. All have dealt with injuries on their way through the minors.


Goeddel BMets Delivery#33 – RHP Erik Goeddel
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185 lbs
Acquired: 24th round 2010 (UCLA)
Born: 12/20/88
2013 Rank: NR (2012: #33) | Stats
Why Ranked Here:  The Mets added Goeddel to the 40-mand roster for the 2014 season; 40-mand guys almost always make my Top 41. While 2013 was the first season he survived without injury, he should hold up better in shorter outings out of the bullpen, where his velocity will play up.

As a starter, Goeddel’s velocity has been 89-92 for the most part, although he can reach back for more and touch 95. He’s a four-pitch guy with a curve, slider and changeup. Some nights in Savannah, the curve looked like a big league pitch and some nights the slider looked like a big league offering, but it seemed rare that he had both working at once. Some nights his fastball command was solid, others it was very erratic. According to Jeff Paternostro at Amazin’ Avenue, Goeddel remained fairly inconsistent appearance to appearance this year. Jeff far preferred Goeddel’s curveball to his slider in 2013. This year, he adjusted the grip on his changeup to increase the contrast with the fastball.

Where many young pitchers rush their delivery, and must train themselves to stay back, Goeddel has the reverse issue. He told me that when he feels too slow, he loses tempo and struggles to repeat.
2013:  Goeddel stayed healthy all the way through the 2013 season with AA Binghamton where he posted a 4.37 ERA in a career-high 25 starts over 134 innings. As a starter in AA, he gave up a hit an inning (135) walked 9.9% of opposing batters and struck out 21%. National League pitchers had a 19.9% strikeout and a 7.7% walkd rate in 2013. Eastern League pitchers were similar, fanning 20.1% of opposing batters and walking 9.1%.   Given that Goeddel walks more batters than the average Eastern Leaguer, and the average National Leaguer, I am skeptical that he has the command to work through a linup multiple times as a big league starter.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Good middle reliever, maybe even an 8th inning guy.
Debbie Downer Says: Worse command than average in AA. No better than the last guy in the bullpen.
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: 2014 

Recent Statistics

11 SAL3.3915/1371.675829275246710
12 FSL3.4122/20108.33110514144398113
13 EL4.3725/2513413572651458125710

11 SAL3.
12 FSL3.
13 EL3.


#34 – CF Matt den Dekker
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 205 lbs
Acquired: 5th rd 2010 (Florida)
Born: 8/10/87 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 

2013 Rank: 23  (2012: 18 ) | Stats 
Why Ranked Here: He can play centerfield and hit righties. He’s a tick above average as a runner, but gets great jumps in center, and sells out chasing balls so that he should be an above average defender in centerfield.

Den Dekker is already 26 and has never hit lefties in his minor league career. Good breaking balls fool him.
2013: A broken wrist in spring training kept den Dekker out of action until he began rehab in the Florida State League June 17. He returned to AAA on July 1. After showing improvement in AAA over 2012 (lower strikeout rate, better walk rate) the Mets rewarded him with a late-season call up and he made his big league debut on August 29.
Dr. Pangloss Says: I would like him as a fourth outfielder who can go play center and hit righties.
Debbie Downer Says: I would prefer players who do not strike out in 1/3 of their plate appearances.  
Projected 2014 Start: The Mets have three guys on the MLB roster who can play center, so it will take an injury or two for den Dekker to break camp on the big league roster.  
MLB Arrival: 2013. He’ll be back.

Recent Statistics

2012 EL582388121482064340.397.563
2012 IL772956510491490220.256.373
2013 PCL53179538462046.296.366.486
2013 MLB275812101423.207.270.276

2012 EL12.323.
2012 IL7.328.
2013 PCL8.922.
2013 MLB3.


#35 – Cory Vaughn
Height/Weight:  6’3”, 225 lbs
Acquired: 4th round 2010 (San Diego State)
Born:  5/1/89 (Carmichael, CA)

2013 Rank: #40 (2012 Rank: 32)| Stats
Why Ranked Here: The Mets left Vaughn off the 40-man roster this winter, but I think there’s some a chance that the 25-year-old will make his MLB debut in 2014. He can play either corner and has beat up on left-handed pitching in the minors. That skill set will give him a chance to be a 4th or 5th outfielder on a team comfortable with platoon outfielders.

In 2013, he hit .242/.327/.374 in 198 AB against righties and .344/.403/.578 in 64 AB against lefties. In the last three years, through the full-season minor league levels, he has bashed .296/.401/.528 in 409 PA against lefties and .231/.335/.383 in 1047 PA against righties.

Although he cleaned up in 2013, there’s funk in his setup at the plate, and decent right-handed fastballs beat him regularly.

Six-foot-three, and strong, Vaughn looks the part, and always has.
2013: A strained UCL in his right elbow kept him out of action in double-A from June 2 through August 6. His strikeout rate of 26.5% in AA was his highest at any minor league stop, while his walk rate of 8.2% was his lowest. His .156 isolated slugging percentage was his lowest since Savannah and his 6.8% extra-base hit rate exceeded only Savannah (6.7%), and even at that by only one tenth of a percentage point. For reference, the Eastern League had an extra-base hit rate of 7.2%, a strikeout rate of 20.1% and a walk rate of 9%.

Sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost time during the season, Vaughn hit .250/.320/.375 in 88 AB over 22 games. And he did so with those persistent platoon splits going .238/.273/.365 in 63 AB vs. RHP.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Useful platoon outfielder.
Debbie Downer Says: AAA Regular
Projected 2014 Start:  AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: Late 2014.

Recent Statistics

2012 FSL1264561112532365114.243.351.463
2013 EL712627091102478.267.346.424

2012 FSL9.521.312.
2013 EL6.826.



#36 – Logan Verrett

Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Height/Weight:  6’2”, 180 lbs
Acquired:  3rd rd ’11 (Baylor)
Born: 6/19/90
2013 Rank: #30 (2012: 35) Stats

Why Ranked Here: Big league command and a big league slider. However, Verrett’s fastball is soft (88-90). Righties just don’t generally become big league starters with that kind of below average heat. He shows a four-pitch arsenal with a changeup and curve. The curve is really a show-me pitch that he can use to steal strikes. The changeup could be a MLB average pitch, but it isn’t good enough to off-set his fastball and keep him in a starting role.
2013: In 24 starts for the B-Mets he ran a 4.25 ERA on a 5.3% walk rate, a 22.5% strikeout rate and a 3.6% homerun rate (21 overall). That’s almost one homerun per start. When he challenged AA hitters, they put the ball over the wall.
Dr. Pangloss Says: If he moves to the bullpen, he can find a few more ticks of velocity to get to 92 consistently. That, paired with his slider and command would make him a more viable middle reliever.
Debbie Downer Says:  88-90? That sounds like MLB batting practice
Projected 2014 Start: AAA. The only question is whether the Mets keep him starting, or move him to the bullpen this year.  
MLB Arrival: 2014

Recent Statistics

12 SAL3.0611/1164.67573222796733
12 FSL2.096/638.6730119442602
13 EL4.2524/241461367269213113234

12 SAL1.
12 FSL0.
13 EL1.

Dom Smith Chat

MetsBlog’s Michael Baron sat down with 2013 first-round pick Dom Smith. The full interview is here.

The most interesting exchange from my point of view was:

Baron: What are your current strengths and weaknesses, in terms of pitch recognition?

Smith: I can hit a fastball. I need to learn how to recognize good change-ups better, and lay off of them when they’re outside of my hitting zone.

2014 Top 41: #37 – RHP Akeel Morris; #38 – RHP Ricardo Jacquez and #39 – Bret Mitchell

This year, I’m writing up most of my Top 41 Mets prospects in roughly similar groups. These three arms at the back of the list form a very cohesive trio of strong-armed relievers. There’s plenty of fastball here, but control issues and size make these guys relievers.

#37 – RHP Akeel Morris

Morris Bkln HeadBats/Throws:  Right/Right
Height/Weight:  6’1”/170 lbx
Acquired: 10th rd 2010 (Amalie HS – St. Thomas VI)
Born:  11/14/92
2013 Rank: NR (2012 – #20) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Morris sits in the low 90s (90-94 last year, 90-93 in 2012) but can touch 96 or 97. His curveball and changeup both remain works in progress. He moves in front of the two guys behind him based on his slightly higher top-end velocity.
2013: Working primarily out of the bullpen, Morris had his best year yet for Brooklyn. The good news: he fanned almost 33% of opposing batters. The bad: he walked almost 13%. He’s still very, very raw, having barely pitched as an amateur before the Mets signed him.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Hey, I see you in the 8th inning in a good bullpen. 
Debbie Downer Says: I don’t see you throwing enough strikes or your breaking ball coming along far enough to get AAA hitters out.
Projected 2014 Start:  Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2017


GCL 102.198/624.671311601728
APP 113.8611/1151.3330282253861
APP 127.9911/638.338373472250
NYP 131.0014/345297512360
APP 116.710.
NYP 134.612.

#38 – RHP Ricardo Jacquez

Jacquez K-MetsBats/Throws:  Right/Right
Height/Weight:  5’9”/160 lbs
Acquired: 25th rd 2013 (Central AZ College)
Born:  5/6/93 (El Paso, TX)
2013 Rank: NA | Stats
Why Ranked Here:  He sat at 94 out of the Kingsport bullpen when I saw him in 2013 on a night when he was 92-94. He has a short, flat slider at 87 mph. He began his college career at Texas, but was kicked off the team for a second rules violation when he warmed up, but was too “dehydrated” to pitch (read: hungover).
2013:  Jacquez struck out 40% of the batters he faced in the Appalachian League. I expect him to start in Savannah, where he will blow through the SAL and land in St. Lucie by May or June depending on whether the Gnats are in the playoff hunt.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Nice 7th inning guy in the big leagues
Debbie Downer Says:  Dr., he’s 5’9”. A strong April wind in Binghamton or New York will blow him away.
Projected 2014 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2016


13 APP1.7416/020.671164093310

13 APP3.914.

#39 Bret Mitchell

Bats/Throws:  Right/Right
Height/Weight:  6’2”/190 lbs
Acquired: 12th Rd 2010 (Minnesota State University)
Born:  12/10/88 (Lakeville, MN)
2013 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Mitchell has the ability to be a Major League reliever. Mitchell’s first weapon is a 92-94 fastball. He complements that with a 81-83 mph curveball that has a chance to be a plus MLB weapon. His catchers and pitching coach raved about his changeup as well, but he threw it so rarely in games in 2013, I treat it as more myth than reality. Athleticism runs in his family; he has female relatives who were national level volleyball players.
2013:  After missing 2012 to repair a torn labrum in his hip, he rolled through the South Atlantic League before running into some trouble in advanced-A. Mitchell was promoted from Savannah to St. Lucie at the end of the first half with Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki. Note that in moving from the SAL to the FSL, his walk rate and strikeout rates went backward. His walk rate jumped from 5.8% to 16.7%, while his strikeout rate declined from 34% to 26%.
Dr. Pangloss Says:  MLB 7th inning.
Debbie Downer Says:  AA 7th inning
Projected 2014 Start:  AA Binghamton
MLB Arrival: 2015


13 SAL2.3522/030.674298274114
13 FSL1.7621/030.6719862223400
13 SAL2.
13 FSL6.510.

Savannah City Council Doesn’t Sound Very Interested in New Stadium

Grayson Stadium FrontFrom Eric Curl in the Savannah Morning News:

Some members of the Savannah City Council have lost their enthusiasm for a new baseball stadium, now that the owner of the Sand Gnats has entered into negotiations with Columbia, S.C., for a minor league team and stadium there.

Mayor Edna Jackson and aldermen expressed their hesitation during a retreat on Tuesday, while discussing whether they still wanted to pay a consultant to analyze the feasibility of building a multi-use facility at the Savannah River Landing site, east of downtown.

The City Council is not balking over spending money on a ballpark. Rather, the current issue is whether the City will pay for a new feasibility and economic study. The last study, which one Alderman wants to review, was done in 2000.

Columbia, SC is working through the process of building a ballpark and has been negotiating with Hardball Capital, the Gnats’ parent company. However, a stadium in Columbia does not mean the Gnats are necessarily going to move. A new stadium in Savannah would keep the Gnats in the Coastal Empire.

As Hardball CEO Jason Freier explained to Curl:

Hardball is willing to purchase another team, he said, if both governments agree to stadium proposals.

“We are more than happy to do both,” he said. “All we need is the city of Savannah to show us they are interested in doing a project like this.”

2014 Top 41: #40 – 3B Pedro Perez and #41 – SS Luis Guillorme

It’s time I started publishing my Mets Top 41 Prospects for 2014. For the guys outside the top 10, I’m going to publish them in groups of similar value, some of which will be bigger than others. I’ll aim for two groups per week day.

I probably could have put any of the Mets’ major international signings from last year in the last few spots. However, in general, I wait until after a guy has played his first year in a domestic rookie league to rank a player, or, in the case of Amed Rosario last year, it was clear he would play stateside in the following season. To justify the uncertainty of putting a 16-year-old who has yet to play his first professional game and might still be a year or two away from even playing on US soil, I want to see monster potential.

So our list this year starts with two 19-year-olds who are years away from the big leagues. Their group: Infielders who Can’t Legally Drink.

#40 – 3B Pedro Perez

Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Height/Weight:  6’2”/220
Acquired: IFA 2011
Born: 9/31/94 (Cartagena, CO)
2013 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: I saw Perez have the best game of his life on July 4 in Johnson City, TN. Small sample size? Yup. He’s also a big, strong, young ballplayer with pop in his bat. Just that potential for in-game power earns him a spot on this list. At the plate, he spread out his feet last year to simplify his swing and focus on letting his hands work.

He might well outgrow third and he will need to improve in just about every respect defensively to stay at the position.
2013:  All but nine of Perez’s 176 plate appearances in the Appalachian League came against older pitchers.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A Major League 3B
Debbie Downer Says: A minor league 3B
Projected 2013 Start:  Perez has a chance to begin 2014 with Savannah. Anthony Chavez played third and did not hit much for Brooklyn in 2013.
MLB Arrival: 2018

2013 Stats

2013 APP45159425131152.264.314.365

2013 GCL5.


#41 – SS Luis Guillorme

Guillorme Fu ManBats/Throws: Left/Right
Height/Weight:  5’10”/170 lbs
Acquired: 10th rd, 2013
Born: 9/27/94 (Davie, FL)
2013 Rank: NA | Stats
Why Ranked Here:  That Fu Manchu moustache he’s sporting in the selfie on the right side in preparation for spring training. At this point on the list, we’re looking for something that looks like a major league tool. That ‘stache qualifies. Also, Guillorme has the defensive chops on the field. Baseball America praised his “soft hands and tremendous footwork,” and called him one of the best middle-infield defenders of the 2013 draft class.

Most of the video online of his swings is now at least two years old, but in it, he uses his entire body in his hack. He’ll need to get his hip action and timing under control if he is going to hit in professional baseball.
2013:  In 41 games in the Gulf Coast League, Guillorme had 37 singles and four doubles, and zero triples or homers. On the plus side, he had as many walks (17) as strikeouts (17).
Dr. Pangloss Says: Backup middle infielder
Debbie Downer Says: Yup, backup middle infielder in double-A
Projected 2013 Start:  Extended Spring Training and then Kingsport
MLB Arrival: 2019
Twitter: @lguillorme13

2013 Stats

2013 GCL41159414001717.258.330.283

2013 GCL2.

Mostly Mets pres by Caesars AC: Pitchers and Catchers Preview

Toby Hyde and Robert Brender talk Pitchers and Catchers – as the early arrivals begin in Port St Lucie – and they also dish out the weekly One Good Thing and One Bad Thing.

Rate, review and subscribe here.

Pitchers and Catchers Preview!
One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (22:30)
Good: Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Sam
Bad: Bob Costas Pink Eye, Ruben Tejada not early enough

Pre-Spring Training Thoughts

spring-trainingMets pitchers and catchers report officially Saturday, but many of the smart or eager players are already in Port St. Lucie. Yes, the guys are throwing, running, fielding grounders and talking to reporters, who are tweeting out blurry pictures. These are important traditions after all. It’s baseball activities if not actual baseball.

Here’s the reminder: there will be next to no news generated this week unless some pitcher’s arm falls off, or a guy breaks a bone.

Here’s a primer on the major battles for the 2014 Mets.

5th starter
Jenrry Mejia is the incumbent, sort of. He will have to hold off the old guys – John Lannan and Dice K – and the prospects like Jacob deGrom, or Rafael Montero. I regard guys like Cory Mazzoni  and Logan Verrett as better fits in the bullpen. Noah Syndergaard will not make his big league debut until well after the Super-2 deadline. So enjoy watching him in Spring Training, and then wait a few months (Hey, it worked for Harvey and Wheeler).

Mets VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development, Paul DePodesta explained to Kristie Ackert regarding the team’s pitching depth:

Our pitching is at a critical mass. You look at the arms we’ve had at Triple-A and we’ve got pitchers who are very, very close. We know the history, we know not every pitcher makes it, but we have enough of them that certainly some of them will.

“Maybe they are starters, who will transition back to being starters later, or maybe they won’t because they have become so valuable in their role,” DePodesta continued. “Thats the situation we’ve wanted to be in.”

Ike Davis or Lucas Duda?


I’m actually more interested in who the right-handed half of the platoon will be. This is Josh Satin’s job to lose as he will mostly have to hold off Wilmer Flores.

I think, that assuming health, and no major spring training meltdown, this unit is pretty close to set for Opening Day.

By my count, six of spots are relatively secure.
Closer: Bobby Parnell
Scott Rice, Josh Edgin
RHP: Vic Black, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia

If the Mets do decide to head north with seven relievers, Gonzalez Germen has the incumbent advantage. He will be fighting more journeymen than prospects: Ryan Reid, Joel Carreno (NRI), Kyle Farnsworth (NRI), Miguel Socolovich (NRI). There’s a chance that deGrom, who worked in Vegas last year as a starter, slides into this battle with a solid spring if Mejia fends him off for a rotation spot. On the prospect side, RHP Jeff Walters, Logan Verrett and Cory Mazzoni, all of whom ended 2013 in double-A, are unlikely to jump the guys in front of them and will begin the year in triple-A Vegas. 

Carig: Matz is Alive

LinkMarc Carig at Newsday catches up on the Steven Matz story. Short version: he was healthy, and very good in 2013 for the first time since 2010 Tommy John surgery.

The best quote comes from a “rival evaluator:”

“He definitely has a chance… [His] stuff is good enough. He’s definitely back on the radar.”.

Links: Sandy on Everything; Fulmer on his way Back and NBA Greats in Savannah

Link- Eric Simon at Amazin’ Avenue transcribed Sandy Alderson’s appearance with Keith Law on the Dish Podcast. It’s well worth your time to read the whole thing. Topics: acquiring talent to rebuild the farm system, developing talent and the difference between signing international guys and drafted players, how the Mets emphasize and develop “strike throwers,” the problems of scouting high school with little/unreliable data and MLB’s relationship to the Dominican.

- In one of his final acts as a Mets’ beat reporter, Mike Kerwick, at Baseball America, writes that Michael Fulmer is “back on track.”

- In 1962, NBA great Dave DeBusschere played for the Savannah White Sox. He’s #24 on the Gnats’ “Savannah’s Greatest Countdown.”