Monday, the Las Vegas 51s, the Mets’ AAA affiliate quietly posted an initial roster on the team’s site.
There are no surprises here.
This rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom is prospect-fun.
Also, the roster came out before the Mets officially signed 40-year-old Bobby Abreu. Also, the Mets signed Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract!
SS Wilmer Flores
2B Danny Muno
1B Allan Dykstra
UT Anthony Seratelli
1B/3B Zach Lutz
1B/3B/OF Eric Campbell
Wilmer and friends should get on base plenty. In all seriousness, this would be a good time for Flores to get his walk rate to 6% or better.
Matt den Dekker
In addition to Abreu, Eric Campbell can also play left field.
This is now an interesting race between den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis who are basically racing/hitting against each other and Abreu in case the Mets need another outfielder. And of course, can Puello prove that 2013 was not a fluke?
The Mets’ bullpen on Opening Day was bad. Some, maybe even most of these guys will get a shot in the big leagues over the course of 2014. Who will be first? Vic Black? Edgin? Goeddel? Reid?
Despite a tweet/story saying that had made the team, Jon Velasquez is not listed on the initial roster.
Here’s the roster in a Vegas_2014_Roster_March31_igbcrpag.
The B-Mets did not release their roster officially, but thanks to tweets from players and a roster preview story from beat writer Lynn Worthy, we can get pretty close to estimating the complete roster. The best prospect in the group is C Kevin Plawecki, my #11 Mets prospect.
SS Wilfredo Tovar
SS/2B Matt Reynolds
1B Jayce Boyd
1B Matt Clark
3B Dustin Lawley (will also see time in OF)
Util Rylan Sandoval (source)
LHP Darin Gorski
RHP Logan Verrett
RHP Matt Bowman
RHP Rainy Lara
RHP Tyler Pill
RHP Greg Peavey
LHP Jack Leathersich
LHP Adam Kolarek
LHP TJ Chism
LHP Hamilton Bennett
LHP Angel Cuan
RHP Chasen Bradford
RHP Cody Satterwhite (source)
The list above has 24 players. Binghamton will open with 25, and presumably, I missed a backup infielder, someone like Josh Rodriguez, or TJ Rivera.
The addition of Cody Satterwhite takes this roster to 25 players, 13 pitchers and 12 position players of whom there are three catchers. The Mets could well use the phantom DL to stretch this roster with an extra arm or infielder.
12:40 pm: Adding Sandoval takes this roster to 26 players. It seems likely that only two catchers will be active at a given time.
The guy who seems like he belongs here is RHP Hansel Robles. In his age 22 season in the Florida State League, he ran a 3.72 ERA in 16 games over 84.2 innings with a 66 K/29 BB ratio. That’s not the stuff of stardom, but I figured it would be good enough for a trip to Binghamton, unless he is hurt.
The Sand Gnats released their first 2014 roster on Sunday afternoon. The headliners are the Mets’ last two first round picks SS Gavin Cecchini (2012) and 1B Dominic Smith (2013).
Dawrin Frias (not a typo, that’s the correct spelling)
View the roster here. 2014 Sand Gnats Roster 3-30
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 210 lbs
Acquired: In trade with Blue Jays with Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra and John Buck for R.A. Dickey, Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole
Born: 2/10/89 (Long Beach, CA)
Why Ranked Here: Travis d’Arnaud is ready to be a Major League contributor now. d’Arnaud should not be here. In a perfect world for the Mets, d’Arnaud would have played a few months in AAA in 2013 and replaced John Buck sometime mid-summer when the Mets traded away Buck into prospects via trade.
Instead, d’Arnaud was hurt again, missing significant time for the third time in four years. A foul tip broke the first metatarsal bone in his foot on April 17, 2013. In 2012, d’Arnaud played only 67 games while missing the second half of the year after tearing the PCL in his knee trying to break up a double-play with Las Vegas. He was healthy in 2011. In 2010, back problems limited d’Arnaud to 71 games with advanced-A Dunedin.
I have few questions about d’Arnaud’s skills. At the plate, he has vicious bat speed. Over two years in Vegas, he hit a combined .328/.402/.588 in 86 games. Sure, he’s playing in Las Vegas, in the PCL, but those are big time numbers. There’s power. When he’s dialed in, he can scorch balls to the rightcenter field gap. He can become too pull-conscious, and end up rolling over pitches resulting in too many groundouts to middle infielders. Coming into 2013, the only hiccup in d’Arnau’s profile was his aggressive approach – he walked in 6.3% of his plate appearances in AAA in 2012. In 2013, he drew 21 walks in 19 games in AAA, an almost silly 27% walk rate in 78 PA. Sure, that’s small sample size stuff and all, but I view it as evidence that he is coachable, and can make a change when prompted.
Defensively, he has the tools as well. His arm is strong, and his release is quick enough to throw out 30% of opposing base stealers in Vegas in 2012. He’s a fine receiver, who was really, really good framing pitches in small samples in 2013 with an average or better arm for a catcher.
Projection systems from Oliver, Steamer, ZiPS and PECOTA put d’Arnaud in a pretty narrow range of .241/.307/.392 to .254/.320/.414 for 2014. The top range of those estimates put him battling to join the five National League catchers in the group behind Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. Really.
2013: I’m not sure whether there is much statistically to be gathered from Travis d’Arnaud’s 2013, his age 24 season. He began the year by hitting .250/.429/.472 in 12 games in Las Vegas with 12 walks and six extra-base hits before he broke his foot. His game rehab began in the GCL on July 24 and transferred to AA Binghamton on July 31. He mashed in AAA for a week beginning on August 9 and after going 8-for-20 (.400) with three doubles and a homer, nine walks and four strikeouts in seven games, earned his MLB debut on August 17th when the Mets visited the Padres.
He admitted he was “anxious” in the big leagues in 2013.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Top three catcher in the National League in 2014 and multi-time All-Star in his career.
Debbie Downer Says: He never learns to stay healthy long enough to leverage his considerable talent.
Projected 2014 Start: Catching Dillon Gee (!) on Opening Day
MLB Arrival: 2013
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 185
Acquired: NDFA 1/20/11
Born: 10/17/90 (Higuerito, Banico, DR)
2013 Rank: #9 (2012: #38) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: In blowing through the minors, from the Dominican Summer League to AAA in the last three years, Montero looks poised to contribute in 2014 as a mid- to backend rotation piece.
Montero succeeds first and foremost because he has a slightly above average fastball that plays up thanks to pinpoint command. He can hit both corners of the plate to both left and righthanders. The called-strike three at the knees on the black might well be his signature weapon. Montero is mostly 92-94 with his heat, although he can reach back for more, as he did in the XM Futures game in which he showed 95 mph, while sitting 94.
I like his changeup as his second pitch. He throws it mostly to left-handers and it has good arm speed with just enough sink.
His slider looked like it had more depth in the spring of 2014, than it did in spring training 2013. He’s played around with different formulations on his breaking ball in 2012 and 2013, but 2014 was the best it’s looked – as it approaches MLB average.
Montero is not the biggest or most physically imposing prospect, but he repeats his delivery exquisitely well and has been durable in professional baseball. In consecutive seasons, he’s made 17, 20 and then 27 appearances while moving from 71 innings to 122 to 155 last year.
If Montero becomes a star, he will be succeeding against type: there just are not very many successful right-handed starting pitchers in the big leagues at 6’ and shorter. Oh, sure, Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux, two Hall of Famers, are the patron saints of six-foot righties. I’ll do a similar study to the one I did for Dominic Smith. Since 1984, in the last 30 years, there have been 118 pitcher seasons in the Baseball Reference play index of 3 WAR or greater by a starting, right-handed pitcher at 6’0” or shorter. Sixty-seven of these 3+ WAR seasons, or 57% of our sample, have been compiled by nine separate pitchers.
This is the list of elite 6’0” righthanders in the last 30 years and their number of 3+ WAR seasons.
1. Greg Maddux – 17
2. Pedro Martinez – 11
3. Bartolo Colon – 8
4. Roy Oswalt – 8
5. Dave Stieb – 5
6. Mike Boddicker – 5
7. Juan Guzman – 5
8. Tim Lincecum – 4
9. Anibal Sanchez – 4
These nine pitchers account for the top 17 and 38 of the top 42 seasons (!) seasons in our sample. Only Kevin Tapani (6.8 – 1991), Johnny Cueto (5.9 – 2012), Francisco Cordova (5.5 – 1998) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (5.3 – 2008) join our nasty nine as 6’0” righthanders with seasons with better than five WAR in last thirty years. Think about that for a second. Phrased another way, there are only 13 guys who stand six foot even, who throw with their right hand who accounted for at least five WAR in a season in a 30 year span.
There are 71 pitcher-seasons at 4 WAR or better in the last thirty years, or 2.3 per year.
2013: Montero was sharp in his first eight starts in AA – 3.47 ERA, 54 K/6 BB in 46.2 IP – to earn AAA spot start on May 21 against Iowa.
Returned to AA, he allowed roughly nothing over his next three starts: 20 innings, 11 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 18 K/4 BB and an opponents’ line of .155/.200/.155 in 75 plate appearances. He was promoted to AAA for good on June 15 and for his final 15 appearances ran a 3.07 ERA over 82 innings with 73 K/24 BB while opponents hit .259/.310/.364 against him in 340 plate appearances.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A solid mid-rotation starter
Debbie Downer Says: Big league time, but not a big contributor
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: June 2014
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200
Acquired: NDFA 7/27/07
Born: 4/1/91 (La Romana, DR)
2013 Rank: #27 (2012: 6; 2011: 5) | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Puello is back in the top ten for the third time in four years because he finally turned his prodigious tools into production in 2013 and he should make his MLB debut in 2014. There’s a chance that he puts together an MLB career as a right fielder who adds value to his team through plus defense, some homeruns and stolent bases.
Puello has some of the best physical gifts in the Mets’ system. He’s a plus runner. He owns a plus arm. He’s jacked with big shoulders and arms. He plays extremely hard. He’s willing to wear pitches to get on base, and enjoys stealing bases and getting dirty. The question is simply whether he will hit enough to play everyday.
He’s an extremely aggressive hitter who eats up fastballs. He has the batspeed to get around and pull even good heat. Sliders and soft stuff generally, can fool Puello and catch him out front. He puts his whole body into swings when he identifies pitches early as he does in the homer below.
The range in opinion on Puello among scouts was predictable. Some saw the tools to be an everyday rightfielder. Others were concerned about his approach and the Biogenesis connection. Even the guys who liked Puello expressed some hesitation. The guys who were skeptical of Puello recognized the tools that could play.
2013: For the first 100 games of the 2013 baseball season, in his age 22 season, Puello was the best player in the Eastern League. He raked at .326/.403/.547 with 16 homers and 24 stolen bases in 31 attempts in 91 games. His .391 BABIP is unsustainable, but knock 70 points off that, and his power and speed still play in the big leagues.
Puello was suspended for the duration of the 2013 season for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic on August 5. The Mets were convinced that the usage was during 2012, but he played 2013 clean.
Puello got better as his year went on.
First 46 games April 4 –May 31: .289/.372/.488 with 7 HR, and 12 walks (6.4%), a .347 BABIP in 188 PA.
Final 45 games from June 2-August 1: .364/.434/.606 with 9 HR, and 16 walks (8.5%) and a .436 BABIP in 189 PA
Well much of his better performance was the result of better results on balls in play, his isolated slugging percentage rose from .199 to .242 in this run. Also, BABIP in the minors reflects hard contact and Puello was hitting the ball very hard, very consistently.
Puello absolutely terrorized lefthanded pitching in 2013, putting up a .421/.483/.842 (!) line that reads like a series of types against them with eight homers in 87 PA. That compared to .298/.379/.459 in 290 PA against righties. As it happens, the Mets are carrying at least one corner outfielder in 2014 who does not hit lefties.
For what it’s worth, Puello went down to the Dominican this winter and hacked at everything, hitting .200/.252/.261 with 30 strikeouts against five walks in 41 games. I don’t know what to make of it other than a stark reminder that he’s no sure thing.
Dr. Pangloss Says: I still think there’s all-star level talent in here if everything clicks. There’s also a fairly wide spread of outcomes for a guy on the brink of triple-A and the big leagues.
Debbie Downer Says: The best 22-year-old in the Eastern League over the last few years has turned into a big leaguer, even a low-level one. At worst, he’s a bench bat with situational value against lefties.
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: 2014
A Long Homerun
While Frank Viola is recovering from open heart surgery, the Mets will ask Tom Signore, who had been scheduled to serve as the pitching coach for SSA Brooklyn to fill in (Per Kevin Burkhart on Thursday’s SNY broadcast).
This is a return to Vegas for Signore, who was the Jays’ AAA pitching coach in 2011.
Signore, who had been with the Toronto Blue Jays sine 2005, had worked as their double-A pitching coach for the last three years.
Signore, 52, also joins the Mets organization for the first time in 2014 after spending the previous two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays as the pitching coach with New Hampshire (AA) of the Eastern League.
Also, this cannot be said enough: get well soon, Frank.
Terry Collins on Cory Mazzoni on SNY, who left Thursday’s game early, in the second inning pointing to his triceps near his shoulder:
He complained of a strain on his tricep on the last pitch he threw. He’s a young, talented guy. We’re very, very concerned about it because he’s … one of those guys we were counting on seeing this summer. You hope his arm bounces back ok.
Mazzoni had elbow neuritis last April and athroscopic surgery on his knee in August. He also missed a start in late July 2012 with a finger issue.
- The Mets released RHP Marcos Camarena, LHP David Wynn and OF Alonzo Harris and OF Jonathan Clark.
- At age 24, the speedy Harris hit .218/.285/.305 in 101 games in Binghamton in 2013 while going 25-for-34 stealing bases. I had Harris ranked #36 in the system entering last year coming off a productive 2012 with St. Lucie when he hit .287/.354/.424 and was 40-of-51 stealing bases. Even in 2010, when I ranked him #26, his highest ranking, Debbie Downer pointed out, “Or he continues to struggle defensively and swing at everything and never really even plays everyday in AA.” Pay attention to Debbie!
Camarena put up an 8.83 ERA thanks to 28 hits and 12 walks allowed in 17.1 innings in advanced-A last summer.
Clark hit a combined .180/.258/.230 in 52 games between Brooklyn and St. Lucie in 2013 in his age 22 season.
The left-handed Wynn, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent, put up solid numbers with Brooklyn the last two years in his age 22 and 23 seasons: 1.88 ERA, 52.2 IP, 49 K, 29 BB, 32 H.
I think there are more releases coming.
- Mack’s Mets talked to SS Luis Guillorme.
- Paul Lukas at Uniwatch, does his great season preview for MLB uniforms.
The City Council of Columbia, SC, which gave preliminary approval for a new ballpark on March 4th, has postponed the second vote on the issue until April 8. The first vote was 4-3. Now, writes Eva Moore at the Columbia Free Times: “Councilman Cameron Runyan, the likely swing vote, says he’s still doing his due diligence — last week, he visited Greenville to discuss its recent baseball experiences with city officials there.”
The Sand Gnats are a potential candidate for a move to Columbia if the city builds a new stadium and Savannah does not.
The Mets optioned Vic Black to the minors Wednesday, which opens the door for Gonzalez Germen to make the roster.
Black’s delivery relies on a very unusual glove tap, which complicates his timing, and this spring was messed up. In the Wall Street Journal, Jared Diamond explains that Black’s tap might well have saved his career.
Black had a lousy spring, in 10 outings against competition that averaged a AA level, he gave up 24 baserunners (13 H, 10 BB, 1 HBP) in 9.1 innings. That’s bad. If AAA Las Vegas is the place to get his mechanics right, so be it.
The 26-year-old Germen was ok for the Mets last year (3.93 ERA, in 34.1 IP, 22% K, 10.7% BB) and worse this spring. In his 10.1 innigns, he’s allowed 15 baserunners against an opponents’ quality somewhere between AA and AAA. Germen is a fastball (55%)/changeup (28.4%) heavy pitcher who gives up lots of fly balls (41.4% last year). He also was very lucky in 2013 thanks to a HR/FB ratio of 2.4% where league average was 10.5%. Unless Germen is one of those pitchers who has some special ability to keep fly balls in the yard, regression is coming for him and it’s going to hurt.
Black throws harder. His average fastball was 95.5 mph to Germen’s 93 in 2013.
I did a brief twitter poll about which right-handed reliever would spend more days on the active roster in 2014, and the unanimous response was: Black.
The bet here: Black will be a significant part of the 2014 Mets bullpen by May. The pathway might not just be Germen’s regression. “Closer” Bobby Parnell’s velocity was 88-92 in his final spring training outing. He’s averaged 96+ in the big leagues. Jose Valverde, who lost his job with the Tigers a year ago thanks to a 5.59 ERA, is supposed to be the 8th inning guy. Jeurys Familia has battled control problems nearly his entire career. John Lannan, of the 148 career starts, is miscast as a LOOGY. He has no platoon splits (.755 OPS vs. LHH and RHH). Maybe a move to the bullpen will help his ordinary stuff.
Black will be back.