1/29/15

Out - Bobby Ojeda

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Bobby Ojeda is out of Mets pre- and postgame show, as he and SNY fail to agree on a new contract.

(look for another ex-Mets pitcher to join the team)
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B-Mets Announce 2015 Field Staff

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B-Mets Announce 2015 Field Staff

BINGHAMTON, NY – The defending Eastern League champion Binghamton Mets are proud to announce that Pedro Lopez will return to the Southern Tier for his fourth season as manager. Lopez, the winningest manager in B-Mets history, will be joined by pitching coach Glenn Abbott and hitting coach Luis Natera. Athletic trainer Deb Iwanow and strength and conditioning coach Dane Inderrieden round out Lopez’s staff.

Lopez guided the 2014 Binghamton Mets to their first Eastern League championship in 20 years. The team fulfilled Lopez’s preseason request of “six more wins” in the playoffs by beating the Portland Sea Dogs in a thrilling five-game Eastern Division Championship Series and sweeping the Richmond Flying Squirrels to earn the franchise’s third Eastern League title.

The 2014 season also saw Lopez move into the top spot among B-Mets managers. The team’s 3-0 victory over the Harrisburg Senators on August 10 was his 226th win at the helm of the B-Mets, pushing him ahead of John Tamargo, who managed from 1994 to 1996. Lopez currently owns 237 regular season wins in Binghamton.

Lopez has steadily climbed the Mets’ minor league managerial ladder; compiling winning records at each stop leading to Binghamton. His journey began with the Kingsport Mets (Rookie) in 2008, where he guided the club to a 34-32 mark. Under his watch in 2009, the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season-A) punched their ticket to the New York-Penn League postseason with a 45-30 record. Lopez kept the success rolling with another trip to the postseason with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low-A) in 2010. His 2011 St. Lucie Mets (High-A) made it all the way to the Florida State League championship series.

The former catcher logged 13 seasons in the minor leagues as a player after being drafted in the 21st round by the San Diego Padres in 1988. He reached Triple-A with the Las Vegas Stars before joining the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. Lopez finished his playing career in the Houston Astos’ system in 2000. In 909 career games, he hit .247, clocked 49 home runs and drove in 338 runs.

Abbott returns to the Southern Tier for his fourth year as pitching coach. Prior to his time with the Mets, Abbott was a pitching coach for five years in the San Diego Padres’ system, spent four seasons with the Texas Rangers’ organization and logged 13 years at various levels with the Oakland Athletics. The Arkansas native began his coaching career with the Little Falls Mets in 1985.

After getting drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round in 1969, Abbott spent 11 seasons in the Major Leagues as a starting pitcher for the A’s (1973-76), Seattle Mariners (1977-83) and Detroit Tigers (1983-84). In 248 career games, the righty made 206 starts, went 62-83, amassed a 4.39 ERA, struck out 484 batters and hurled five shutouts.

As a member of the Athletics in 1975, Abbott was part of the first four-pitcher no-hitter in MLB history. On September 28, he combined with Vida Blue, Paul Linblad, and Rollie Fingers to baffle the Angels on the final day of the regular season.

Natera returns to Binghamton after spending last year in the Majors as assistant hitting coach with the New York Mets. This season will be his 24th with the Mets organization and eighth in the Southern Tier. He has served as a hitting coach at five different levels during that time, including stints with Buffalo (AAA, 2009), St. Lucie (High-A, 2007), Hagerstown (Low-A, 2005-06), Kingsport (Rookie, 2003-04), and Capital City (Low-A, 1999).

Natera served in his native country as coordinator of the Mets’ Dominican Academy in 2001 and 2002. He managed the Dominican Mets (Rookie) in 2002 and skippered the DSL Mets from 1992-1997.

The former shortstop played in the Mets’ system from 1984 to 1988 and reached as high as Low-A. He lives with wife Maria Elena and their sons Luis Alberto, Jose Luis, and David Luis.
Deb Iwanow will head back to the Southern Tier for her second year as athletic trainer. The Delhi, New York native spent three seasons with the St. Lucie Mets from 2011 to 2013. A graduate of Ithaca College, she served as an assistant athletic trainer at Binghamton University in 2005 and 2006.

Inderrieden joins the B-Mets staff for his first season at Double-A. The Marty, Minnesota native served in the same capacity with the St. Lucie Mets last year. He received his B.S. from St. Cloud State University and attained a master’s degree in Exercise Science from Northern Michigan University. He has also spent time with the Gulf Coast League Mets (2013) and Brooklyn Cyclones (2012).
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Tom Brennan - Majoring on the Minors: Top 30 Prospects - # 8 Matt Bowman

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MAJORING ON THE MINORS: TOP 30 PROSPECTS – # 8 MATT BOWMAN - VOL.23 – Tom Brennan

I’m doing my Top 30 Prospects articles a bit differently – in 2 lists:

·       A top 10 list of lower minors guys who likely won’t show up until 2017 or later.  See list at end of this article. 

·       Followed by my top 20 list of guys who are closing in on the big leagues.  Guys who could help in the near future or be trade bait. 

Here is the list so far:
20.   Daniel Muno
19.   Michael Fulmer
18.   Miller Diaz
17.   Dario Alvarez
16.   Jayce Boyd
15.   Rob Whalen
14.   Hansel Robles
13.   Gabriel Ynoa
12.   Gavin Cecchini
11.   Jack Leathersich
10.   Cory Mazzoni
9.      Cesar Puello

Today, selection #8:


Matt is another Mets arm that impresses the heck out of me.  A lean 6'0" righty, he throws in the low 90s with good secondary offerings and, most importantly, succeeds and proceeds.  

And has succeeded and proceeded quickly since being drafted out of Princeton in 2012 in the 13th round, no less, having reached Vegas and pitching well there in the latter portion of 2014. In fact, he tossed 6 great starts there, and only had a 3.47 ERA in AAA because in his final outing, in relief, he gave up 5 runs in 1/3 inning.  Shoulda taken a sick day, Mr. B.

Some pundits peg him for long relief or spot starts because of a crowded rotation.  Me?  I say let the dude compete and set his own ceiling.  Maybe those Princeton brains of his can help him wedge his way into a starting role on this team some time in 2015, no matter how daunting the competition.

More likely, he could be a fine trade chip. Why wouldn't another team want a competent starter making $500K?

A 13th round draftee who's climbed 5 minor league levels, sports a 22-14, 3.06, with 270 Ks in 291 innings? Overachiever.  But wait, shoppers...there's more.  Just 2 errors in 57 games.  As Mel Allen would say, “How 'bout that?”

And pitchers in the NL do have to hit. Matt has gone 5 for 17 with just 3 Ks.  Impressive.

Maybe this guy is a slightly inferior version o the NL's rookie of theyear in 2014, what was his name again? Oh, yeah, Jake deGrom.  Matt's minor league stats actually resemble those of deGrom.  Hmmm...   Is Bowman to be deGrom, Part II?

Whaddya think, readers?  Me?  Me like!


MY TOP 10 LOWER MINORS LIST:

# 1 - Marcos Molina

#2 – Michael Conforto

#3 – Amed Rosario

#4 – Dominic Smith

#5 - Jhoan Urena

#6 – Vicente Lupo

#7 – Wuilmer Becerra

#8 – Luis Guillorme

#9 - Casey Meisner

#10 - Milton Ramos
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Mack - 2015 Prospect List - #8 – OF – Brandon Nimmo

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My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game.

I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.

Let’s get started.

#8 – OF – Brandon Nimmo – 21-years old – 6-3, 205 – L/R – Cheyenne East HS (WY)
                                   1st round 2011 draft –

                       2011 – K/Port/GCL – 38-AB, .211/.318/.368/687, 2-HR, 4-RBI

                       2012 – Brklyn – 266-AB, .248/.372/.406/778, 6-HR, 40-RBI

                       2013 – Sav -  395-AB, .273/.397/.359/756, 2-HR, 40-RBI

                       2014 -  StL/B-Mets -  467-AB, .278/.394/.426/820, 10-HR, 51-RBI


What did they say about Nimmo at the time of the draft –

           Keith Law -               Nimmo's high school in Cheyenne, Wyo., doesn't have a baseball team, so he spent the spring playing with his American Legion club after opening eyes all last summer on the showcase circuit.

He has strong hands and good hand-eye coordination, with a frame that looks built for some future power if he can get a little more rotational. He has the arm to play right field and has shown good speed in the past, although he's been bothered this spring by tendinitis in his right knee, which is the same knee he had ACL surgery on in 2009.

The biggest problem for scouts, however, is the fact that Nimmo won't see high-quality pitching this spring. His swing looks good, but evaluating his plate discipline or ability to catch up to better velocity will be tough.



First of all, we are now entering the ‘Elite Eight’ on this team. Most of these guys could be interchanged from ranking #2-8 (#1 stays the same), so don’t think that I have lowered Nimmo here to #8. I just have some other guys that, in my mind, have past him on the list.

As you can see from above, not much was said about Nimmo at draft time because not much was known about him. I was very vocal about the pick, not because of the player’s talent but because you just don’t take a chance and use your 13th overall pick on someone who never even played high school baseball (he also lived in Wyoming, not a mecca for baseball talent so even the American Legion pitching he faced was sub-par compared to high school pitching in States like California, Georgia, and Florida).

Given all this, the boy’s done well.

I’m drawn to two facts… one, he hit .322 for St. Lucie (227-AB) last year… and he hit a combined career high 10 home runs for St. Lucie and Binghamton last season.

We’re so used to players going in the wrong direction as they climb affiliate levels. This isn’t happening here.

Outlook –

The Michael Cuddyer signing might be the best thing that ever happened for Nimmo. The Mets 2015 outfield is set and there is no reason to rush things here. He really needs some more time at the AA level, which would set him up to finish the season in Las Vegas.

We’ve written before that he’s living in Port St. Lucie during the off-season, working on conditioning and muscle development.


I’ll give him a safe, conservative ETA of opening day 2017 which would fit perfectly with Cuddyer’s departure.
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Brooklyn Cowbell Guy - Top 5 Cyclones of the 2014 Season

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Top 5 Cyclones

5: Michael Bernal RF

Michael Bernal was a solid player for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014. Another member of the NYPL South All Stars, he connected for 56 hits in 71 games, 8 of them being doubles, 4 being triples and he tied Urena with 5 home runs. He also scored 29 runs while driving in 36. He led the team with 12 stolen bases.

However, Bernal did lead the Cyclones with 95 strikeouts, which resulted in a batting average of .240

.
4: Amed Rosario, SS

Amed Rosario hit .289 on the season and was #3 in the NYPL in hits, 2nd on the Cyclones behind Jhoan Urena. He also had 11 doubles and led the Cyclones with 5 triples while driving in 23 runs. This led to him being named to the NYPL All Star Game.

Despite his great offensive output, he led the NYPL with 20 errors, something that must be worked on.


3: Shane Bay LHP, Closer

Shane Bay was the closer for the 2014 Cyclone. After missing the remainder of the 2013 season with an injury, Bay bounced back for an All Star Year. He was tied for the league high with 15 saves. He produced an ERA of 1.59. He also struck out 22 batters in a little over 22 innings. Of the 4 runs he gave up, only 2 of them effected the outcome of a game, a loss to Jamestown.


2: Jhoan Urena 3B

Jhoan Urena was an amazing offensive force on the 2014 Brooklyn Cyclones. He led the NYPL in hits with 85. He led the team with 20 doubles, which was good for 2nd place tie league wide. He also drove in 47 runs, only 2 less than the league leader. He racked up 122 total bases, 3rd best in the league. Jhoan also connected for 5 homers, tied for the team high. He also drew a team best 27 walks. Urena also needs to work on his fielding, as he committed 17 errors last season. Urena was also named to the 2014 NYPL All Star Game.

Urena appeared in all but 1 game for the Cyclones. The one game he missed was due to umpire Ryan Wilhelms ejecting Urena right after the anthem in a controversial move.


1: Marcos Molina RHP, Starter

Marcos Molina led the Brooklyn Cyclones starters with an impressive 7-3 record in 12 starts. His ERA on the season was an amazing 1.78. He led the New York – Penn League with 91 strikeouts over 76 innings pitched. He also had the lowest WHIP of all eligible NYPL pitchers with 0.84.
For all his great pitching efforts, Molina was rewarded twice. Molina was named to the 2014 NYPL All Star Game at MCU Park. He started that game. Molina was also the Brooklyn Cyclones recipient of the 2014 Sterling Award, which is given to the top player on all the NY Mets minor league affiliates.
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The Morning Report – 1-29 – Fred Wilpon, Miami Marlins, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Bernal, SPs

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Michael Cala to me re: open letter to Fred Wilpon -

Begging will do no good. These people are only interested in money, gotten legally or illegally. Nothing you say will ever change that!

Mack – I think that there will always be an element of Mets fans that feel that the Wilpons went out of their way to be in this position. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m no big fans of them either and I would do anything in my ever reducing power to get this team sold to a progressive management team, but the Wilpons first lost their money before losing anyone else’s bankroll.

Will Mets fans like Michael, Reese Kaplan, or Bob Gregory ever let this family off the hook, even if the Mets someday sweep the series? I think not.



Comment From MetsFaithful5 - David Wright proves last year was a fluke; Granderson improves a little over last year; Lagares grows more as an offensive player; deGrom only regresses a little; Harvey is 75 % himself; Wheeler improves his command; Cuddyer players. Who is better? The Marlins or Mets?

Dan Szymborski: I think the Mets are a little better anyway. The Marlins improvements are way overrated.

Mack – Dan doesn’t have the time to explain everything in length in this kind of format, but, until things improve medically for the Marlins, it will always be about the starting pitching when it comes to these two teams. I agree with him. Miami made have made a bunch of moves this off-season, but they still have a long way to go.



It was interesting to read Wally Backman’s comments about Travis d’Arnaud on MetsBlog[i] this week:

Travis d’Arnaud was instructed by the Triple-A coaching staff to simply move his back foot closer to the plate, and after that he continued to make adjustments and be aggressive at the big-league level.

(My apologies for quoting another site and then commenting on that subject, but there just isn’t enough Mets information out there right now and it’s tough to come up original subjects for a team that is sitting on their hands all the time)

I’m not one for predicting ballplayers and what they are going to do the next season. I remind people about both Juan Lagares and Jacob deGrom, two players none of us had the beat on.

That being said, I think d’Arnaud is going to have a wonderful 2015 and begin a long and successful major league career. I also believe he has the potential to hit 25 home runs a season, if he stays healthy and the Mets don’t platoon him someday with someone like Kevin Plawecki. Plawecki would be best served as part of a package deal for a superstar shortstop or outfield (got anyone in mind?).

Anyway… back to my prediction. The Met that leads the team in batting average in April: d’Arnaud.



I had asked the Brooklyn Cowbell Guy, Mack’s Mets trusty Cyclone reporter, to let me know who he felt were the top five players last year on the Brooklyn Cyclones roster. I was surprised to see the name Michael Bernal on the list, someone all of us speak very little of. B.C.G. said:

 Michael Bernal was a solid player for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014. Another member of the NYPL South All Stars, he connected for 56 hits in 71 games, 8 of them being doubles, 4 being triples and he tied Jhoan Urena with 5 home runs. He also scored 29 runs while driving in 36. He led the team with 12 stolen bases. However, Bernal did lead the Cyclones with 95 strikeouts, which resulted in a batting average of .240

Bernal is an international free agent that played last year at 22-years old. Based on age alone, I have him projected in the St. Lucie outfield along with Michael Conforto, Patrick Biondi, Champ Stuart, and Victor Cruzado.




Comment From Tucker -

There is a lot of talk about the top position player prospects in the game now with Betts, Bryant, Baez, Russell, etc…seemingly more hype than the current crop of pitching prospects. Why do you think this is? Best pos. prospects play for popular teams? Pitching prospects are being recognized as less sure things? Or simply, the pos. prospect group has a higher ceiling and is deeper?

Jeff Sullivan: Just seems like kind of a down period for upper-level pitching prospects. Who was the best a year ago? Archie Bradley? He had a miserable season. Taijuan Walker? He had his own struggles. Dylan Bundy was recovering from surgery. There’s Noah Syndergaard, who gets a lot of hype, but he’s no sure thing. He’s definitely not on the old Strasburg level. But remember, it wasn’t too long ago there was Jose Fernandez, and Zach Wheeler, and Shelby Miller, and Gerrit Cole. These things are cyclical

Mack – I didn’t include this blip from Jeff because it mentioned two Mets pitchers.

I just want to remind everybody that no starting pitcher prospect is etched in stone, and, if you pass on a great opportunity to snag yourself an established star for a fistful of kiddies that have never played an inning in ‘the Bigs’, your decision could go either way.

It’s also why you keep at least your top six starters in your organization. Shit happens. Injuries occur. And the worst case scenario is one of these guys become your long reliever (cough – Montero – cough).

Lastly, we have no explanation for the Jacob deGrom’s or Collin McHugh’s of this game. Some just come out of nowhere while others develop late (my guess is Matt Bowman could fall in this category).



Comment From John -
considering that pitchers coming back from TJS aren’t themselves for at least 1 season (Harvey), that deGrom in the bigs pitched way above his peripherals for his entire minor league career, that Wheeler can’t pitch out of the 5th inning, that Cuddyer averages less games per year than Tulo, that Granderson is awful, that they have no infield defense, and that Wright might also be done, and that the org has shown no ability to add payroll if necessary (assuming by some miracle they are competitive around the all star break) why is it that so many people think the Mets have a legitimate shot at the WC? just because every team does?

Jeff Sullivan: Many people don’t think that literally everything about the Mets will go wrong, as you seemingly do. There’s a lot of talent there. Maybe not enough, but remember, the Mets aren’t necessarily competing against the Dodgers or the Nationals. They’re competing for one of two wild-card slots and they’ll get a schedule where they get to play the Braves and Phillies almost 40 times.

                             Mack – Don’t look for a silver lining in this portion of this post.

                             Go back and read what this guy John said… then read it again.

                             This is how far the Mets are legitimately still away from a World Series contender.


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