First Cuts. One of These Things is Not Like the Others

The Mets made their first round of cuts Monday. This is largely a clubhouse management exercise in which teams send players who have no chance to make the Opening Day roster back over to the minor league side. This accomplishes two goals: the players sent down can pick up more game repetitions and the guys playing for Major League spots for Opening Day and callups later in the year can impress the big league staff.

 

 

Highest 2013 Level Primary 2013 Level 40-man Roster
LHP Josh Edgin MLB MLB Yes
LHP Steven Matz A A Yes
RHP Erik Goeddel AA AA Yes
SS Wilfredo Tovar MLB AA Yes
OF Cesar Puello AA AA Yes
LHP Jack Leathersich AAA AA/AAA No
RHP John Church AAA AA No
RHP Logan Verrett AA AA No
LHP Adam Kolarek AAA AA No
RHP Chasen Bradford AA A+ No
C Kevin Plawecki A+ A/A+ No
INF Danny Muno AA AA No
3B/LF Dustin Lawley AAA A+ No
CF Brandon Nimmo A A No
OF Cory Vaughn AA AA No

 

And yet, look at the list above. There is one name unlike the others: Josh Edgin

Edgin was a big leaguer the last two years and the only guy among the first cuts who spent the majority of his 2013 in the big leagues. The only players still with the Mets who made more appearances than Edgin’s 68 in 2012 and 2013 were Bobby Parnell (123) and Scott Rice (73). On the whole, Edgin was not particularly effective overall (-0.5 WAR) in the last two years, but he threw hard and he was left-handed. And no, he has not been good this spring (3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K). He’s done this, in 19 batters against an opponents’ quality of 7.5, according to Baseball Reference, which is halfway between AA and AAA. His velocity appears to be down.

The timing of this move seems curious. What was the harm in letting Edgin throw another week or two in big league camp to regain his velocity and show that he can be effective? It’s not like the Mets have lots of other left-handed options for the bullpen in camp. The only other lefties on the 40-man roster, aside from Jon Niese, are Steven Matz, who is headed to advanced-A and Scott Rice. Among the non-roster invitees, Adam Kolarek and Jack Leathersich do not look ready for big league duty, and neither was effective above double-A in 2013. And that leaves only John Lannan, has been equally (in)effective against lefties (.333 wOBA) and righties (.334) in his career. This does not suggest future success as a left-handed relief specialist.

The Sandy Alderson Mets have operated largely in a (small c) conservative manner, in which the have kept as many options as possible as long as possible. The cost to keeping Edgin around in big league camp was extremely small, so this move seems like a very minor departure from that pattern. Or spin it around the other way: the Mets are absolutely convinced that Edgin will not be an asset in the big leagues early in the 2014 season.

The rest of this list is composed of minor league guys of varying potential from Brandon Nimmo and Steven Matz, both of whom will begin 2014 in advanced-A, on down, who had no chance to make the Mets Opening Day roster.

I think it’s worth pointing out here that the Mets added Erik Goeddel to the 40-man roster in November 2013, but that did not save him in March 2014. Instead, he will begin the season in AAA.

Other Notes
- Plawecki was promoted to AA Binghamton for their playoff series at the end of 2013, but was never activated as a B-Met. He’s been all but guaranteed to start in Binghamton in 2014.

- Dustin Lawley had 21 AAA regular season AAA plate appearances after spending 122 games in advanced-A where he hit .260/.313/.512 with 25 homers. He’s really, for the purposes of this exercise, an advanced-A guy. He went to AAA late in the year to help the Las Vegas 51s, rather than Cory Vaughn because Vaughn was already helping a playoff-bound affiliate in AA Binghamton.

- In 2013, Leathersich ran a 7.76 ERA in 29 innings in AAA with as many walks as innings pitched.

- Tovar made 19 plate appearances in the big leagues beginning with his MLB debut on September 22, 2013 after hitting .263/.323/.340 in 133 games in AA Binghamton during the season.

- In 20 games in AA, Bradford ran a 0.71 ERA.

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