MiLB.com is out with their Mets organization All-Stars for 2013. As MiLB.com helpfully explains, this is not a best prospect list, but instead honors “the players – regardless of age or prospect status – who had the best seasons in their organizations.”
MiLB.com has a quote from Paul dePodesta about each guy which makes the whole thing well worth reading.
So, for fun, lets compare MiLB.com’s list to say, the best Mets’ prospect at each position in my estimation.
|C||Kevin Plawecki||Kevin Plawecki|
|1B||Allan Dykstra||Dominic Smith|
|2B||Wilmer Flores||Flores or Dilson Herrera|
|3B||Zach Lutz||Lutz or Aderlin Rodriguez|
|SS||Wilfredo Tovar||Amed Rosario|
|OF||Travis Taijeron||Cesar Puello|
|OF||Cesar Puello||Brandon Nimmo|
|OF||Dustin Lawley||Champ Stuart|
|RHP Starter||Rafael Montero||Noah Syndergaard|
|RHP Starter (Honorable Mention)||Gabriel Ynoa||Ynoa or Montero|
|LHP Starter||Steven Matz||Steven Matz|
|Reliever||Jeff Walters||Jeff Walters|
C: Travis d’Arnaud has prospect eligibility, but given that he will start 2014 in the big leagues, for the purposes of the minor league system, Plawecki is pretty clearly the top catcher.
3B: This is probably the weakest position in the Mets’ minor league system. I know that David Wright is the Mets’ best player, but the system is really thin at third.
SS: Any Gavin Cecchini fans out there can argue he is the top SS prospect and not Rosario.
OF: Puello and Nimmo are pretty clearly the top two outfielders. After that, it’s really a matter of preference. If you want some big league value, Cory Vaughn and Darell Ceciliani will both play in the big leagues, but do not look likely to be starters. I’m very intrigued by Ivan Wilson and Champ Stuart from the 2013 draft class. Stuart has the tools to play center – he’s really fast and has a plus arm – so that moves him ahead of Wilson for now.
Reliever: Walters is probably the best relief prospect working as a reliever, given that Familia has too much big league time to qualify as a “prospect” and other guys who I view as relief prospects like Jacob deGrom (probably), Cory Mazzoni, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett and Domingo Tapia are all still starters.
Last night, the Mets announced that they had added four pitchers, three righties and a lefty, to their 40-man roster in advance of the Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft. The team now has 40 players on the 40-man roster. They will have to trim a few spots if they plan to be active in the Rule 5 draft.
I wrote about LHP Matz, RHP deGrom and RHP Walters yesterday. Walters and deGrom have a chance to contribute to the Mets by the middle of 2014. Matz, the lone lefty in the group, and the lone a-baller, is the best left-handed prospect in the organization right now. He’s a little further away, but could be up by as soon as 2015.
Goeddel is the moderate surprise to me. In fact, I left him off my list of potential roster additions yesterday. I thought about adding him, but considered him too much of a long shot. Ooops.
The Mets drafted Goeddel in the 24th round of the 2010 draft out of UCLA, but paid him like a second rounder as a draft eligible sophomore. He’d had Tommy John surgery as an amateur which held down his innings in college, but he showed plus stuff in the 2010 College World Series as a Bruin, throwing 93-94 mph with an 86 mph slider.
Injuries have followed Goeddel most of the way through the minors, where the Mets have had Goeddel work as a starter. Shoulder and elbow inflammation limited him to one outing for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Mets in 2010. A sore right shoulder kept him out for a month with Savannah in 2011. Goeddel’s 2012 started last with St. Lucie with a strained groin.
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% and a 7.7% strikeout rate in 2013. Eastern League pitchers were similar, fanning 20.1% of opposing batters and walking 9.1%.
Given that those walk and strikeout ratios are already worse than Major League average in both categories, 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.
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.
Goeddel, like deGrom and Walters has a chance to be a middle reliever, who will make his Major League debut in 2014 after a few months in Las Vegas.
The deadline to add minor league players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the rule 5 draft is midnight, tonight.
Every player who signs at 19 years old or older, has three drafts worth of protection. Guys who signed below 19 have four years of protection. Thus, college draftees from 2010 and high school and international signees from 2009 and earlier can be drafted this year.
Remember, in the Major League phase of the draft, the drafting team must hold the newly acquired player on their active 25-man major league roster all year (or DL) to keep that guy.
The Mets currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster.
Adding players is not costless. Rather, the cost is a 40-man roster spot. The Mets need their players on the 40-man big league roster providing big league value, if not now, in the very near future. Also, if a player is added to the 40-man roster, and is sent to the minors, he begins using one of his three option years. Basically, it only makes sense to add players who can realistically help a big league team in the next two years, or possess something else extremely valuable.
If I were doing it, here are the decisions I would make.
RHP Jacob deGrom
What he is: Lean righthander who can touch 96 with his sinker. He’s struggled to improve his slider, so the Mets worked to teach him a curveball this year.
Why he’s eligible: drafted out of Stetson in 2010, he lost the 2011 season to Tommy John surgery.
His role: Likely middle reliever who comes in and airs it out in short bursts, because hey, 94-96 with sink is hard to hit. If he improves his breaking ball dramatically, he could remain a starter.
RHP Jeff Walters
What he is: Sinker/slider righthander who set a Binghamton Mets record for saves in 2013. Saves are a stupid stat, and worthless moving forward, but he’s shown that he can be an effective reliever at AA with a fastball from 92-94 and a slider.
Why he’s eligible: The Mets drafted him in the seventh round in 2010 out of the University of Georgia.
His role: Middle reliever. He should start 2014 in AAA with Las Vegas and will likely be up in the big leagues by July.
LHP Steven Matz
What he is: The best left-handed pitching prospect in the New York Mets system. Matz was very effective for Savannah in 2013 putting up a 2.62 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 38 walks in 106.1 innings. He struck out 28% of opposing batters and walked 8.9%. He was up to 97 mph with his fastball, and regularly 92-95 with his heat. There just are not enough left-handed pitchers with this kind of velocity to leave Matz unprotected.
I thought at the time, his changeup flashed as a plus Major League pitch with arm speed and sink.
As I wrote in September, “there was a time early in the year when Matz and Savannah Pitching Coach Frank Viola were trying to make this breaking ball a slider, but by the second half of the South Atlantic League season, they had abandoned that effort to focus on his curveball, which was his primary breaking ball in high school and early professional career. The pitch indeed shows promise with, when it’s right, good depth and late movement. It can get sweepy and he has trouble locating it for a strike. However, there are fewer spinners than when he was trying to work on his slider. If memory serves, he did not throw a single strike with his curveball in his final start of the playoffs in the Gnats’ clinching win in Game Four of the SAL playoffs.”
Why he’s eligible: drafted in the second round in 2009 out of Ward Melville HS as an 18-year old. Tommy John surgery in 2010, and then complications from that surgery kept him off the field in 2010 and 2011.
His role: Well, he will be in the St. Lucie rotation in 2014.
Longterm, if he can learn to throw his curveball for strikes, and improve his own fastball command, he will be an above average MLB starter. Matz had a reverse platoon split in 2013, so, given his current arsenal, I am not at all convinced that he will move well to the bullpen as a left-handed specialist.
vs. RHH: .214/.291/.289, 29% K, 8% BB – 328 PA
vs. LHH: .261/.340/.352, 25% K, 11% BB – 100 PA
Left-handed relief specialists usually are fastball/breaking ball.
Further: Matz should start 2014 in advanced-A St. Lucie. As long as he’s good there, he will end 2014 in AA Binghamton. That gives him a chance to make the big leagues in 2015.
On the Outside Looking In
In order of consideration for a 40-man addition.
LHP Adam Kolarek - fastball/curveball guy who works mostly 90-92. He was effective in AA in 2013, putting up a 1.71 ERA and a 63/22 K/BB. Across AA and a few AAA innings, he held left-handed batters to a .214/.287/.250 line with a 23/8 K/BB ratio for a 24% strikeout rate and a 8.5% walk rate. Righties hit him for a little more power, going .209/.293/.356 against him with a 41/17 K/BB ratio 22% strikeout rate and a 9.2% walk rate. His straight fastball sneaks up on lefties.
OF Cory Vaughn – Platoon outfielder coming off a .250/.320/.375 line in 22 games in the Arizona Fall League. I wonder if the two-year $12 million contract David Murphy has signed would make the Mets think twice about exposing Vaughn, who has hit lefties well (.296/.401/.528 total 2011-2013) in each of his stops in the minor leagues in the last three years.
OF Darrell Ceciliani - The 23-year-old hit .268/.322/.380 in 112 games for AA Binghamton in 2013. He put up a .718 OPS vs. RHP and a .653 OPS vs. LHP this year. He’s a defensive-minded fourth outfielder who could play center or left. It’s hard to see a Major League team putting him on their 40-man roster for 2014 to play center against RHP only.
LHP Darin Gorski - Gorski was lights out (1.83 ERA, 67 K/22 BB/46 H) in 78.2 innings in AA, after getting bombed for 17 runs in 13.2 innings in AAA to start the year. His fastball lost velocity this year, and was back down to mid-upper 80s. His best pitch is his changeup, but he is hurt by a lack of separation from his fastball.
INF Reese Havens - the second of three Mets’ picks in the first round of the 2008 draft, at 22 overall, Havens hit .237/.312/.330 in 38 games with Las Vegas as a 26-year-old in 2013. Injuries have killed his potential for a meaningful Major League career.
As with the MLB.com list, no Mets made Baseball America’s Top 20 prospect list for the Arizona Fall League.
However, Bill Mitchell spared a few words for Jeurys Familia in his “Other AFL Players to watch section:”
Quite a few righthanded relievers stood out this fall for their blazing fastballs. Jeurys Familia(Mets) was coming back from elbow surgery to remove bone spurs, but dominated hitters with a power fastball that gets up to 98 with on the sinker and a mid-80s slider.
At MLB.com, Jim Callis and Jon Mayo have their Top Prospect list up for the Arizona Fall League. Surprise! It contains no Mets. Jim Callis did not have any Mets’ farmhands in his next five either.
This all makes sense. The Met farmhand from the AFL who deserves the most recognition, Jeurys Familia was 1. out of prospect eligibility from his time on the big league roster, and 2. gave up six runs in 8.1 innings in the AFL, despite averaging 96 mph on his fastball.
Baseball America has Trackman data up from the Arizona Fall League. It’s like pitch fx on steroids. There’s some fun stuff in here.
A few Mets farmhands appeared on leaderboards.
Small sample size warnings abound.
Jeurys Familia – #8 (96 mph).
Topped out at 98.2. Man, what he could do with a little bit of command.
Fastball Spin Rate
Hansel Robles – #12 (2,465 avg RPM).
More spin means less sink or a straighter fastball with more “rise” and thus, in theory, strikeouts and flyouts. Per pitch fx, Robles sat at 90.66 mph. Pitching up in the zone with such a heater seems like a dangerous versus Major League hitters. There were few swings and misses. Batters swung and missed at two of Robles’ 59 fastballs in the AFL, a whif rate of 3.39%.
Slider Spin Rate
Chasen Bradford – #11 (2,683 rpm)
MLB average, per BA is “around 2,400 rpms.” So, translated, Bradford’s slider has an above average MLB spin rate and velocity at 85 mph. Bradford throws his slider a lot. By pitchfx tracking, he used the pitch 43% of the time in the AFL. Among all MLB relievers who threw 30 or more innings last year, only 10 guys threw sliders that much. Bradford had a 33% whiff rate (6/18) on his slider in the AFL, which is pretty good. If Bradford makes it, he would do so largely as a slider specialist. And for a short reliever, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the Rays built their bullpens on one-pitch wonders.
Robert Brender and I talk MLB and Mets Hot Stove rumors and news. Also, a dip into the E-Mailbag, and the weekly dose of One Good Thing and One Bad Thing.
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MLB and Mets Hot Stove rumors and news
Answering E-Mails (10:10)
One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (23:00)
Good: Sandy’s interview with Francesa, Carlos Ruiz contract bad for Phillies
Bad: Carlos Ruiz contract bad for Mets, Ruben Tejada grievance
The Royals signed former Mets prospect Francisco Pena, who turned 24 in October, to a Major League contract.
In 68 games in AAA this year, he hit .257 /.294/.459 with nine home runs, a career-high with a hacktastic 10/40 BB/K. In 61 games in AA in the last two years, he hit .215/.306/.328 with three homers, and a strong 23/29 BB/K ratio. In a way, both of these performances look aberrant: he had never shown the kind of plate discipline he showed in AA before, nor the power he showed in AAA. The Royals clearly hope that some of the gains in each area is sustainable.
He threw out 31% of opposing base stealers in AA and AAA this year.
The Mets have three catchers on the 40-man roster: Travis d’Arnaud, Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno. Obviously, the Mets viewed Pena as no better than their fourth option.
Does that seem worthy of a 40-man spot? It doesn’t from here.
By the way, as long as we’re talking about catchers and rosters, the Phillies just resigned Carlos Ruiz, who is going to be 35 in 2014, for three years, $26 million with a $4.5 million option on a fourth year vs. a $500,000 buyout. At ESPN Insider, Keith Law calls the deal “lunacy.” At Fangraphs, Dave Cameron is more measured, arguing against the nearly universal (at least on Twitter) reaction to the deal, writing,
“…we shouldn’t buy into the narrative that every deal signed by Ruben Amaro is a bad one, or that every contract for a catcher on the wrong side of 30 is a mistake. There’s nothing wrong with 3/26 for Carlos Ruiz. He’s a good player….At this price, they just need him to be average for the next couple of years. That’s a very reasonable expectation.”
Ben Badler at Baseball America listed the Mets’ signing of RHP Joel Carreno as among the publication’s “Picks to Click.” He wrote:
Carreno, who could be one of the steals (a relative term, of course) of the minor league free agent class. Carreno, who turns 27 in March, throws in the low 90s with a curveball that can help him miss bats, something he did more of in 2013 than ever before, perhaps in part because the Blue Jays made him a full-time reliever for the first time in his career. After striking out 25 percent of batters in his minor league career, Carreno’s strikeout rate jumped to 34 percent last year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo with a 2.43 composite ERA. Now he’s pitching well for Escogido in the Dominican League.
So, cheap bullpen help? Sure.