STEP Camp, which is a slightly extended Spring Training for the Mets top prospects not in Major League camp, began Saturday.
Here’s the full STEP Camp roster.
|Throws||Name||Final 2013 Level|
All of the full-season starters for Mets affiliates in the last two years either attended MLB camp or STEP Camp. This list allows us to construct, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the bulk of the full-season rotations. The AAA Las Vegas rotation will mostly be filled with players in big league camp (like Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, John Lannan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jacob deGrom, and Cory Mazzoni).
AA – EL
1. Bowman, 2. Lara, 3. Panteliodis, 4. Pill, 5. Robles, 6. Tapia, 7. Gorski (AAA depending on injuries)
A+ – FSL
1. Fulmer, 2. Ynoa, 3. Cessa, 4. Koch, 5. Kuebler, 6. Lugo
BP: Peterson, Sewald
A – SAL
1. Alvarez, 2. Bashlor, 3. Diaz, 4. Flexen, 5. Gant, 6. Gsellman 7. Knapp, 8. McGowan, 9. Whalen
That looks like a pretty good scramble for the Savannah rotation spots, but it’s not. The Mets have used a six-man rotation in Savannah in the Alderson/DePodesta years and I expect them to in 2014. They’ve also piggybacked at least a few of the rotation spots early in the year to 1. manage workloads, 2. give more guys a chance to throw more. Barring injury, all nine guys listed above will throw plenty of innings for Savannah in 2014. Add Ricky Jacquez, Akeel Morris and Johnny Magliozzi and that’s probably pretty close to the Opening Day staff.
It’s also worth pointing out that none of the 2013 high school draftees were invited to STEP camp. Thus, it seems like a very safe bet that 2nd round pick Andrew Church and 3rd round selection Casey Meisner will begin the year in short-season, most likely Brooklyn.
Xorge Carillo, Albert Cordero, Blake Forsythe, Jeff Glenn, Kai Gronauer, Cam Maron, Colton Plaia
Jayce Boyd, Dominic Smith, Aderlin Rodriguez,
Dilson Herrera, L.J. Mazzilli, Gavin Cecchini, Philip Evans, Matt Reynolds, Amed Rosario
The fact that Smith and Rosario are in STEP camp does not mean they will head to Savannah to start 2014. Last year, the Mets brought Gavin Cecchini to STEP camp only to start him in Brooklyn.
Maikis De La Cruz, Kyle Johnson, Jared King, Eudy Pina, Champ Stuart and Travis Taijeron
I suspect that this means Stuart, who impressed me in a brief look in Kingsport in 2013, will break camp in Savannah.
- In addition to working out, RHP Paul Sewald taught Spanish at his old high school, Bishop Gorman, in Las Vegas to get ready for the season. He writes,
It gave me a new outlook on the life of a teacher, and not to mention how much I misbehaved when I was a freshman and sophomore while I was in school. I certainly have a new respect for those dealing with hormonal-crazed teenagers. While it was a lot of work, it was nice to have a steady paycheck (much larger than my MiLB one), and couldn’t hurt on a résumé someday.
- LHP TJ Chism posted two vines of Steven Matz (right) spinning lots of household items on both his left and right pointer fingers: a ball, a platter, a board, a cardboard box, a big pillow, and a pot. Now, I want to see him spin a curveball.
- At Metsblog, Matt Cerrone has wonderful pictures of Bartolo Colon taking batting practice. Remember, Mets fans, this man might well have 75+ plate appearances this year, which will be awesome. In case you were wondering, Colon is a .104/.112/.104 hitter (10-for-96) with six sac bunts in his 104 MLB PA over his 16-year career.
- Thursday Savannah City Council agreed to to put out requests for proposals for a feasibility for a new ballpark. The study is expected to cost $75,000-$100,000. This is merely the first of what would have to be many, many steps toward building a new stadium in Savannah.
We ease into the top 30 of my Top 41 Mets prospects with a pair of skilled up the middle defenders who made their MLB debuts in 2013, but do not project to hit enough to be everyday guys. Still, there’s big league value here.
#29 – C Juan Centeno
Height/Weight: 5’10”/170 lbs
Acquired: 32nd rd ’07 (Antonio Luchetti, PR)
Born: 11/16/89 (Arecibo, PR)
2013 Rank: NR | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He makes contact, plays strong defense at catcher and looks like he could be a backup catcher in the big leagues. A late round pick six and a half years ago, Centeno was a backup in the minors from ’07 through 2011. In 2012, at AA Binghamton, for the first time, he played in over half his team’s games.
At the plate, Centeno will use the whole field- spraying weak contact and ground balls all over the diamond. He does not drive the ball as evidenced by his two homeruns in 1138 minor league plate appearances.
Centeno is a fine receiver with a strong (plus) arm that will help keep him employed.
2013: Centeno threw out 56% (34/61) of opposing basestealers in AA and AAA in 2013. He hit a little in AAA and made his MLB debut in September.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Contact/defense oriented big league catcher who plays regularly.
Debbie Downer Says: More AAA time than big league time in the coming years.
Projected 2014 Start: Las Vegas.
MLB Arrival: He’ll be back in 2014.
#30 – SS Wilfredo Tovar
Height/Weight: 5’10”/160 lbs
Acquired: NDFA (10/12/07)
Born: 8/11/91 (Miranda, VE)
2013 Rank: #25 (2012: #29| Stats
Why Ranked Here: This is the third year in a row that I have ranked Tovar between 25 and 30. He’s a gifted defender at shortstop, blessed with quick feet, sure hands, a strong arm and a flair for the spectacular. He will make any pitching staff better through his work at shortstop.
The thing that has kept Tovar from ascending the rankings into the top 20 is that he is unlikely to ever hit enough to hold down a starting job. At the plate, he makes lots of relatively soft contact. He upped his walk rate in 2013 to 6.8%, which was still below the Eastern League average. Pitchers do not fear Tovar, who has as little power as any position player in double-A, so he really has to earn his walks. He has quick hands, but does not drive the ball.
2013: After a nice season with the playoff-bound Binghamton Mets, Tovar played a week in the big leagues when Ruben Tejada broke his right fibula. He drove home the go-ahead runs in his big league debut on September 22.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Low-level starting shortstop who will be a below average bat who stays in the lineup through strong defense.
Debbie Downer Says: Bench guy/AAA starter
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: September 2013/First middle infield injury of 2014
Jeff Walters has an outside shot to make the Mets’ bullpen this Spring Training. His fastball is 92-94, and he can touch 96.
At MLB.com, Anthony DiComo catches up with Frank Viola, Walters’ pitching coach in Savannah to learn more.
At ESPNNY, Adam Rubin talked to Walters when he arrived in camp.
Rob Brender talked to Walters on this week’s Mostly Mets Podcast.
While most of the focus is on Major League Spring Training, beginning this weekend, the first of hundreds of Mets minor leaguers will officially populate the back fields of Port St. Lucie.
Minor leaguers who are on the Mets’ 40-man roster, or were invited to Major League Spring Training as NRI are already officially in Port St. Lucie of course.
February 22 – Early Camp Pitchers & Catchers
February 26 – Early Camp Position Players
February 28 – All Staff
March 1 – Pitchers and Catchers
March 5 – Position Players
Note: almost all of the starters on full-season rosters will be in the “Early Camp.” Last year, for example, among pitchers were were invited to STEP Camp among healthy pitches, only Miller Diaz did not break Spring Training on a full-season roster.
Mon, 3/11 – Early Camp @ WAS
Tue, 3/12 – Early Camp v. HOU
Wed, 3/13 – Camp Day
. AAA/AA A
Thu, 3/14 @ MIA vs. MIA
Fri, 3/15 Camp Day
Sat, 3/16 @ STL vs. STL
Sun, 3/17 @ MIA vs. MIA
Mon, 3/18 vs. STL @ STL
Tue, 3/19 Camp Day
Wed, 3/20 vs. MIA @ MIA
Thu, 3/21 @ STL vs. STL
Fri, 3/22 @ MIA vs. MIA
Sat, 3/23 Camp Day
Sun, 3/24 vs. STL @ STL
Mon, 3/25 vs. WAS Camp Day
Tue, 3/26 vs. MIA @ MIA
Wed, 3/27 @ STL vs. STL
Thu, 3/28 vs. MIA @ MIA
Fri, 3/29 Camp Day
That’s 12 games for the AA and AAA working groups and 11 for both a-ball groups. Of the 12 games for AA and AAA, they’ll see the Marlins six times, the Cardinals five and Washington once. The two a-ball groups face the Cardinals and the Marlins the same amount, but miss the Nationals.
Often players play up a level in spring training. So, guys who can reasonably expect to break camp in advanced-A will see lots of time with the AA group for example. As April draws closer, and the MLB team dispatches players who are not going to make the team, filling out the double-A and triple-A rosters, this happens less.
Sat/Sun 3/30-3/31 – Travel Days
Thu, April 3 – OPENING DAY
- Paul DePodesta clarified what to expect regarding Noah Syndergaard’s inning limits will be this year with Adam Rubin of ESPNNY, suggesting that 30 innings over his 124.3 from last year is a “rough estimate,” but “A lot of it’s going to be on how he actually racks up those innings — how efficient he is in the pitch counts, how much rest he’s getting between starts, how much side work we do with him.” DePodesta also suggested Syndergaard might take a few turns out of the Las Vegas bullpen to keep his innings down.
- Good stuff from Jeff Paternostro and Jason Parks at Amazin Avenue Audio discussing Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 Mets prospects. They focused on Marcos Molina, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores and Cesar Puello in the chat.
- Brandon Nimmo added 10 more pounds of muscle over the winter and is now up to 205.
- According to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, the Phillies have reported Oregon State LHP Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent last summer. The Phillies drafted Wetzler in the 5th round, but were unable to come to an agreement on a signing bonus. Just about any player draft in the top 20 rounds is going to use an “advisor” who becomes their agent when they officially sign. Guys don’t sign every year: it happens to the Phillies, Mets, Blue Jays, Rays and every other team occasionally. Unless Wetzler did something really, really underhanded, this looks like just a vindictive, bitter move by the Phillies.
- Bob Egelko in the SF Chronicle reports that three former minor league baseball players are suing their former teams and Major League Baseball for violating “minimum wage and labor laws.”
Baseball America released their Top 100 prospects in baseball on Wednesday night and included four Mets: Noah Syndergaard at #16, Travis d’Arnaud at #38, Rafael Montero at #68 and Dominic Smith at #92.
John Manuel’s player capsules are below. Subscribers can read lengthier reports here.
Syndergaard’s secondary pitches flash above-average if not better. More consistent power on his curveball would complement his premium fastball and help him make a midseason jump to New York.
Stay. On. The. Field. His first injury-free season since 2011 would help make d’Arnaud a Rookie of the Year contender.
Few minor leaguers throw more consistent quality strikes than the smallish Montero, and as long as he maintains his command he should get his first shot in New York in 2014.
Smith might make his full-season debut at low Class A Savannah, a decided pitcher’s park. He’ll have to focus on his hitting approach and avoid getting down if the results aren’t there this season.
As a pair, Mazzillia and King make sense. They had nice debuts in Brooklyn and will start 2014 in a-ball. Their projections top them out as average big leaguers. They don’t strike out too much and walk a bit.
#31 – 2B LJ Mazzilli
Height/Weight: 6’0/185 lbs
Acquired: 4th rd ’13 (UConn)
2013 Rank: NA | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Draft position, pedigree, a little bit of offense and an up-the-middle position. He’s limited to the right side of the diamond so he is unlikely to hold onto an MLB utility role. There is no margin for error, injury or non-performance, here at his age. He has to hit his way out of Savannah and into St. Lucie this season, for example.
2013: Mazzilli signed quickly and went right to Brooklyn where he hit .278/.329/.381 at age 22. Oddly, he hit all four of his homers in August. Here’s some video on him right around Brooklyn’s Opening Day.
Dr. Pangloss Says: MLB second baseman.
Debbie Downer Says: Upper minors second baseman
Projected 2014 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2016/2017
#32 – OF Jared King
Height/Weight: 5’11/210 lbs
Acquired: 5th rd (Kansas State)
Born: 10/12/91 (Dublin, OH)
2013 Rank: NA | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He’s a good athlete with contact ability and a little pop in his bat. He has a short, compact swing, which is a good thing. After a short load, his hands go right to the ball. He’ll have to add more in-game power, by focusing on getting full extension at contact and using his legs to drive his hips forward more aggressively, to profile as a starter in leftfield. Here’s a little video on him from 2013.
He should be fine in a corner and could play center in a pinch. He hops over den Dekker and Vaughn below him on the list because he has the potential to be a more well-rounded player.
Without more homers, King does not fit in a corner, and he lands as a tweener, 4th/5th outfielder.
2013: He played mostly leftfield (61 games) and just a handful in center for the Cyclones (4). He missed 10 days in August with a rib cage injury and hit just .224/.337/.303 in 22 games in the month. I think he’s a better hitter than that as evidence by his .305/.393/.411 line in July.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Everyday leftfielder
Debbie Downer Says: Everyday minor league outfielder
Projected 2014 Start: The expansive Savannah outfield
MLB Arrival: 2016/2017
The City of Columbia, SC has expressed an interest in building a minor league ballpark as the centerpiece of a redevelopment project. The Sand Gnats, the Mets’ a-ball team, are one potential new tenant. Through late January, the Columbia project was moving right along. Now, that the city has to figure out how to pay for the projects, the process is getting tougher.
Tuesday, the Columbia, SC City Council met again on the proposal to spend $92 million on the Bull Street Redevelopment project which will also include a new ballpark (accounting for roughly $35 million of the project cost). The action in the meeting considered different funding mechanisms for the City’s contribution to the ballpark, which mostly dealt with the type and quantity of bonds the city can legally and practically issue. (ColaDaily)
There’s a lot more about the structure of potential bonds here. The City can either “wrap” or “layer” their bond payments around their existing obligations. Wrapping would keep the City’s total bond payments (including existing commitments) to ~$2.5 million annually through 2044, while layering would keep payments on the new Bull Street bonds constant- leading to higher bond payments from 2015-2025, and then smaller payments thereafter. (ColaDaily)
The next big public date is March 4, when “Assistant City Manager Melissa Gentry said the date also would be the time staff could present council with three draft agreements:
- A Venue License Agreement that relates to the use of the stadium
- A Venue Management Agreement that covers details regarding management and Operation
- A Venue Development Agreement that outlines the development of the stadium”
The plans the city released this week, relied on two different bonds, a $24 million hospitality bond, and a installment revenue purchase bond. The hospitality bond is $6 million less than the $30 million price tag from February, prompting arts and cultural organizations, who already rely on that hospitality money, to fear they will face budget cuts. Mayor Steve Benjamin met with GoodSenseColumbia, representing the art organizations Tuesday. GoodSenseColumbia claims that phone poll conducted from “Jan. 30-31 of 402 registered voters … showed that 67 percent of respondents opposed a publicly funded stadium in the Bull Street development,” with similar results from a poll over the weekend (The State).
To read more of this story, click here
This is one of my favorite posts of the year, in which I compare how the major national prospect outlets – ESPN, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com, ranked the top Mets prospects. It’s revealing.
There is a little bit of guesswork as different authors rank different numbers of players and have slightly different eligibility rules, which this year only matters for Jeurys Familia. I tried to hew as closely as possible to each author’s intent. For every player beyond the number of players each publication ranked, I assigned that player the next best rank. If Keith Law ranked 15 players for example, to create my average ranking, I assigned every other player a 16. Law ranked 15 guys, Baseball America 30, MLB.com 20 and BP 10. I used Jason Parks’ commenta to separate the next few players after #10 into tiera. He suggested that Matz, Fulmer and Herrera were in play for him at #10; they all got 11s. Everyone else 14s. “Flattening” the back of these lists artificially reduces the combined rank of non-consensus Top 15 players and the variance on their ranking, but I don’t know a fairer way to do it.
|Keith Law (ESPN.com)||Baseball Prospectus||Baseball America||MLB.com||AVG||STD Dev|
- There is complete agreement about the team’s top two prospects: Syndergaard and d’Arnaud.
- After Montero, a consensus #3, there is some tiering. Dom Smith earned rankings between 3-7; barely edging Wilmer Flores. The consistency of Smith’s rankings, nothing as low as the #8 that Flores received from Law, pushed him to #4.
- The standard deviation on the rankings of consensus guys 5-9 (Flores, Nimmo, Plawecki and Puello) are all really tightly bunched.
- There’s “chaos” at #10 as each author preferred a different player in that spot with Jason Parks making the boldest leap for Marcos Molina, a young hard-throwing RHP. This is one of the boldest selections for a Mets Top 10 in years. While I don’t see Molina as a Top 10 guy yet (too much risk/unknown), I applaud the thought process.
- Amed Rosario is a consensus top-10 outside of MLB.com, bringing down his overall rank and pushing his variance up.
- I’m going to keep pushing Steven Matz, who missed ESPN and MLB’s lists.
- The agreement on Michael Fulmer – at 11-14 in all four rankings is interesting.