9/19/14

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE GAMES - VOL. 6 - THE AGEE BLAST OF THE AGES

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THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE GAMES - VOL. 6 - THE AGEE BLAST OF THE AGES by Tom Brennan

There were so many memories in 1969.  Heck I started off my series of articles earlier with 2 miraculous home run games in September by Ron Swoboda that immensely impacted the Mets’ pennant race that year for the better.  Pivotal homers if there ever were some.

But the biggest homer of the 1969 season was hit by Tommie Agee.  Tommie had a lot to overcome when Hall of Famer Bob Gibson decided to greet Tommie in his very first spring training game with the Mets in 1968 by drilling him in the noggin with 100 MPH heat.  I still remember his subsequent 0 for 34 streak that 1968 season as he couldn’t avoid stepping into the bucket repeatedly, and struck out a few dozen times in that painful streak.

He ended that season with a miserable .217 average, 5 homers and 17 RBIs in 368 at bats courtesy of the nasty-dispositioned future Cardinal Hall of Famer.  If he’d killed him with that pitch, I wonder if he’d have gotten in the Hall.  Hmmm…because he sure could have killed him with that.  I lost a ton of respect for Gibson that day.

A side thought – Agee’s beaning-induced 1968 horror results might, without the beaning, have been more like 1969’s fine Agee results, results that landed him high in the MVP voting.  If he had been healthy in 1968, do they break .500 or even win 85 that year, instead of 73?  Possibly.

Anyway, a Daily News article from several years ago said this game wasn’t televised.  Wrong, unless I’m hallucinating.  Mets televised everything back then.  And I saw it.  I watched it in Aunt Mary’s kitchen on her 9 inch fuzzy black and white TV with rabbit ears, in her apartment across from Manny Wolf’s (now Smith and Wolenskys) on 49th and 3rd. 

It was Easter recess and I was hanging out with my cousin Gary.  We had game time company, too – like a lot of old city flats, their apartment had roaches, probably more roaches that fans that day.

Anyhoo, back to this magnificent early season Agee homer.  I’m watching the game, and he hits it into the upper deck off lefty Larry Jaster!  Impossible!  Impossible!  Nah….impossible!

Unfortunately, on that small fuzzy screen, even the replay did not provide a very meaningful view.  A few years later, we were sitting in the cheap seats in the upper deck in the same area and Kingman (then with the Giants) launched a bomb down the line.  I thought it was coming up to us, but it wasn’t.  As hard as Dave hit it, it only made the deck below.  Dave, who had virtually unparalleled power, had years after that as a Met to try to reach that upper deck. Even he never could. 

Upper deck at Shea was ridiculously high – why someone would not have built Shea fully enclosed, seats all around, and much lower, I’ll never know.  I guess the architect liked nosebleeds, or figured fans wanted a close-up look at flights passing overhead from Laguardia. 

But it was not just the height that made it so hard to reach – the upper deck was also set back – each Shea deck had set backs so the lowest seats on each level were not covered.  So to hit a ball that high and that far – was it even possible?  Agee did the impossible that day.  No one else back then did – not the great Mays, not Cepeda, not Aaron, no one.

I often wonder if Agee’s shot would have cleared Yankee Stadium, a never-achieved feat.  My guess is yes, it would have bone out.  Anyone want to weigh in on that?   My guess is it was hit high enough, hit incredibly well enough, and down the line enough.

Let me add that Agee was a guy I loved to mimic, I loved his batters’ box routine and his plate tap with the bat.   Always to be remembered for his wonderful World Series catches, the HR is one I’ll always remember. 

How about you?
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Morning Report – September 19 – Brian Burgamy, Kevin Plawecki, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Washington Nationals

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A nice story on Binghamton MVP, OF Brian Burgamy

This baseball odyssey of Burgamy's started at age 21 as a fresh-faced infielder out of Wichita State. His love of baseball took the kid from Oklahoma to Eugene, Oregon; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lake Elsinore, Calif.; Mobile, Ala.; Clearwater, Fla.; Reading, Pa., Clearwater, Fla. (again); Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Newark, N.J; Camden, N.J.; St. Paul, Minn,; Sugar Land, Texas; Campache, Mexico; and Binghamton. He has hit every level of baseball there is except the big leagues. In 2007, Burgamy struggled in the Eastern League with Reading, but ended up getting sent down to Single-A Clearwater where he was part of a championship team in the Florida State League. http://www.pressconnects.com/story/sports/baseball/minors/2014/09/16/mets-title-burgamy-meaning/15735093/

Mack – I know age is a big factor here, but I always found it strange that people like Alan Dykstra and Burgamy, who do nothing  but hit, are never considered a solution for problems the parent team has in Queens. All Burgamy did this year was lead his team in home runs (23), doubles (32),  RBIs (76), walks (71), extra-base hit (56) and runs scored (80). What a slacker!

If the Mets are looking for a one-year solution for left field, why not… oh, never mind. I’m making too much sense again.




Kevin Plawecki - The catcher has impressed many in the organization with both his offense and defense, creating a potential logjam at a position that Travis d’Arnaud already occupies. “If their potential starts to converge at the major league level, and it warrants major league time, then we’ll have to make a decision,” Alderson said, adding that he didn’t see either Plawecki or d’Arnaud in a backup role. “But in the meantime, we’re happy to have both of them. But Kevin has made a lot of progress, and obviously Travis has done well the second half of this season." Added Plawecki: “That’s a business decision. Thank God I don’t have to make it. Travis is a great friend, and he’s a great player. I can go to him if I have any questions.” 


Mack – There are at least six teams looking for a catcher this off-season. There obviously would be a big question whether Plawecki would be ready for a major league assignment that early, so you would expect that d’Arnaud wopuld be the first target other teams would come after. I wouldn’t react to this. D’Arnaud is your current catcher and he is proving more every day that you made the right decision to build a trade around him. Keep dangling Plawecki on the hook and let him build up his stats the first half of the season in Vegas. Eventually, someone will bite.



How will Noah Syndergaard do? His surface stats in AAA this year are ugly: 4.6ERA and 1.48WHIP, but let’s not forget the PCL effect. Below, I outlined his skills (FIP & K/BB) and “luck” (LOB% & BABIP) stats relative to Wheeler’s, deGrom’s and Harvey’s: (see link) - Syndergaard was more commanding than any of them from a K-rate and K/BB perspective, but was clearly affected the most by the environment according to his luck and surface stats. He’s got a Fastball-Curve combo with what should be a better Changeup than Wheeler’s, but he will also pitch to contact at times for some ground-ball induction with a 2-seamer/Sinker. He also has a cutter/slider and if it all comes together, with thought and command, as ballsy as this might sound, he could be the Mets’ closest thing to Corey Kluber. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/2015-new-york-mets-commanding-attention/

              Mack - This was a very interesting story on Fangraphs, which was complimentary to the future of Mets pitching, in general, and Thor, in particular. God, do I hate the PCL Everybody keeps writing that Syndergaard is suck a great pitcher and all I see is his ERA and WHIP.

I've said this a number of times. My assumption is Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Zack Wheeler are safe. I'd also like to assume that Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Steven Matz are the future of this team, but I can't guarantee that.

My assumption is Sandy Alderson will be patient and wait until his phone rings with someone that wants to talk about any combination of Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, or Bartolo Colon.

What happens if no one calls?

Well, someone will. Gee, Niese, and Colon are proven winners and have a value. It may not be the value that Alderson wants, but he will be able to turn the three of these guys into, at least 4-5 prime prospects.

But, if the season starts and the phone still hasn't rang, you return Niese and Gee to the rotation, send Colon and Montero to the pen, and stack up Syndergaard and Matz in Vegas until you get this good problem solved.

You want to come out of this with Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and Matz intact.







Jacob deGrom - The 6’4, 25-year-old Jacob deGrom has been turning heads for the Mets this season. Despite making his first start on May 15, deGrom did not record his first big league win until June 21st. He would go 8-2 with a 1.93 ERA the rest of the way. On the season, deGrom has put together a 8-6 record with a 2.68 ERA in 21 starts, for a team that ranks 29th in offensive production. It is tough to say if he can actually win this award, especially considering the captivation that the player below has been able to bring. Regardless, the Mets are certainly looking forward to the bright future this young arm may be able to secure.  http://www.gammonsdaily.com/nl-rookie-of-the-year-outlook/

          Mack - this is the guy that's probably going to generate the most attention in the off-season. He also would probably be able to solve either your shortstop or left field problem in one phone call,

I want to point one thing out here that I haven't done so in the past.

When the Mets drafted deGrom his top velo on his fastball was 94. He went under for Tommy John Surgery and no one was expecting the end result to be that his velo would rise to the 95-97 range.

He shocked the hell out of the entire Savannah staff when he arrived there and he was the first one to be promoted to St. Lucie. 

Does this mean that Matt Harvey could return this spring with a higher velo than he had when he went down with his injury. That's a scary thought.



We continue our hunt for a 2015 SS and LF replacement in the NL East. Next up is the Washington Nationals.

According to Cot[i], the Nationals 2014 salaries are $136,856,579.

There really isn’t a tremendous amount of long term contracts here. 3B Ryan Zimmerman goes through a team option of 2020, RF Jayson Werth is being paid $21.57mil/yr. through 2017, and SP Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to be paid $12.1mil through 2016.

Shortstop wise, the starter is Ian Desmond (.248) and he has one more year ($11mil-2015) on his deal. A recent upgrade via was Asdrubal Cabrera (115-AB, .252); however, his last year under contract is 2014 ($10mil).

Additionally in the outfield, Bryce Harper (292-AB, .271) will enter his first arbitration year being paid $2.25mil, and the oft injured Nate McLouth (139-AB, .173 – shoulder surgery) has $5mil left on his 2015 deal. Denard Span was paid $6.5mil in 2014 (.301) but should be brought back in 2005 at a reasonable $9mil… and Kevin Frandsen (.255) filled in as the 4th outfielder.
Prospect wise, OF Michael Taylor will most probably start 2015 at the AAA level, but Steven Souza is coming off a tremendous AAA season (346-AB, .345/.427/.577/1.044, 18-HR, 77-RBI).
Mack Observation – The most important thing to realize here is that the Nationals would not do anything to help the Mets unless they were desperate to secure someone they thought they had to have, so don’t look for a trade here.
I know it’s been awhile since Cabrera had a decent season (2009: Cleveland, .308), but he did hit 25 home runs in 2011. I would call his agent for the hell of it and see what the ticket is.
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9/18/14

2015 Draft Profile - LHP - Justin Hooper - De La Salle (CA) HS - UPDATED 9-11-14

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9-11-14 – Fangraphs Top 50 Players in Draft - 9. Justin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA), UCLA commit: The 6’7/230 lefty has been up to 97 mph with an above average curveball and, late in the summer, flashed an above average changeup, though the command lags behind due to the effort in his delivery. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-mlb-draft-top-51/



8-14-14 - Hooper was a known prospect last summer when the 6’7 underclassman sat 88-92 mph at the Area Code Games, then created buzz this spring when his velo jumped into the mid-90’s as a junior.  Last summer, his delivery forced him to throw well across his body and this held back his potential while he now is much more online, though there’s still some effort and inconsistency in the delivery.
The NorCal product hasn’t been on the summer showcase circuit much, so last week’s two appearances at Area Codes (multiple innings) and the Perfect Game All American Classic (one inning) were the first time most scouts have paid close attention to him.  Hooper didn’t throw a changeup last year and had no feel for a well below average 82-87 mph changeup at Area Codes, then threw one very good changeup at 80 mph to end his PGAAC inning, so I’m splitting the difference on that grade.

Fastball: 55/65, Curveball, 45/55, Changeup: 40/50+, Command: 35/45+�
Kiley

Fastball: 55/65
At his best, the player’s four-seam fastball possesses above-average cutting life, sitting 94 mph and topping out at 96 mph over the course of a short, one inning burst. In an extending outing, he is presently unable to hold his plus-plus fastball velocity, instead showing more of what amounts to an above-average fastball. When that is the case, he is comfortable switching to his two-seam fastball, which shows sinking life at 88-90 mph.
It shouldn’t be an issue in the long-term, accounting for physical maturation of his presently lanky, extra-large frame. However, struggles with repeating his delivery and mechanical issues (as noted below) subsequently lead to a murky present and future command profile, thus making it difficult to project the offering having the complete effectiveness of its true plus-plus potential, hence the half-grade knock on the future potential.
Curveball: 45/55
In my first look, a heavy dose of the 74-78 mph curveballs the player spun off would have earned just a present 45-grade mark. But it’s worth mentioning the offering looked better than that under the bright lights this past Sunday at PETCO Park. Given his immense size and long levers, there isn’t a need to fight his three-quarters arm slot like many pitchers with similarly lower slots would have to in order to get the desired vertical break of a curveball.
The offering shows two-plane break and shape, but needs additional tightening and sharpness as it travels towards the hitter. His highly projectable frame leads me to believe there is additional strength on its way, which will help speed the arm and create a stronger bite in its action. However, consistency is once again an issue, as there’s a clear wrap in the arm action when throwing the breaking ball, creating not only additional stress on the arm, but also making it more difficult for the offering to reach its 60-grade potential, hence the half-grade knock once again.
Changeup: 40/50+
There is feel for the changeup, but it is largely inconsistent and lagging behind his other offerings in terms of development and confidence. He threw it only a handful of times over five innings, and none of the five ever flashed averaged or better potential. However, the first (and only) changeup he did throw in my second viewing was as good as one could expect. His ability to manipulate his other offerings allow for a full grade projection in the changeup, but issues within his delivery once again are causing him to be inconsistent with his stuff once it reaches the plate.
Command: 20/45+
The pitcher will be more control than command, but that doesn’t mean he will be a strike-throwing machine. Presently, his fastball command is all over the place, and I don’t think that will ever be completely cleaned up. Furthermore, there are issues within his delivery that need tweaking. He’s made several mechanical changes in the past year, but it’s a mixed bag of good and bad. His back leg and lower half are no longer finishing at the end of his delivery, but that can be improved as he was doing it the year before.
Then there is the direction to home plate; he’s striding towards the left-handed batter’s box, in an attempt to create deception, but this only forces him to throw across his body while pitching to the batter’s box rather than home plate. There is a wrap in his arm action, putting additional stress on his elbow and causing his arm to be late at foot strike. These are legitimate issues causing his delivery to fail to reach the “clean” label, but more importantly affecting the player’s present command and consistent ability to tap into the potential of his offerings.
Summary
Hooper’s arsenal and command presently suggest a mid-rotation arm, the type of profile that usually gets selected in the back end of the first round of the draft. However, “it only takes one team,” and a prep arm with his size and projection could, with a strong spring, sneak into the top 5 as Tyler Kolek did last June. Even if Hooper fails to show much improvement between this summer’s showcase circuit and next year’s draft, some organization could already be dreaming of what their player development system could mold this ball of clay into.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/67-prep-lefty-hooper-flashes-kolek-like-potential/ 

6-11-14 – Kevin Askeland/MaxPreps – Top 10 High School Players To Watch for 2015 Draft – Justin Hooper, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), LHP - Tall and rangy at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Hooper went 6-3 and had the win in De La Salle's section championship win over San Ramon Valley. Struck out 58 batters in 44.2 innings pitched with a 2.04 ERA. http://www.maxpreps.com/news/RE_IkTleBU-vFF_g8YCOQg/top-10-high-school-players-to-watch-for-2015-mlb-draft.htm


6-20-14 - We went with Justin Hooper over Stephen Kolek as the top arm in the class, but we’re sure you can make an argument either way. Hooper was selected as the No. 33 pitcher in the Area Code Games (Athletics). He is a big lefty, standing in at 6-foot-7 and hails from De La Salle (Concord, Calif.). He sat 88-92 in the Area Code Games and showed the ability to change speeds. He threw two innings for the Athletics and struck out three.  http://www.studentsports.com/blog/2013/10/17/baseball-top-25-2015-class/ 


August 2013 - 

Mack - Hooper was chosen as the 33rd pitcher in the Area Code games, sitting 88-92, and striking out three over two innings.

6-3-14

Mack - No one likes to start out the 'mock' season as the favorite player in any position, but, in the case of left-handed pitchers, it has to fall to De La Salle (CA) High School junior, 6-6, 220 pound Justin Hooper.

Arsenal includes: 90-93, 96 fastball , and a 74-76 curve (hard break and change-up are still developing). Most of the velocity on the fastball was added over this past season and is estimated to still have some projectablity on that pitch.

Hooper has a quick arm a very projectable body. 

Hopper did commit to UCLA in early May but it's hard to believe that he's spend one inning on that mound.

Areas of concern:  command Junior year stats so far:  35.1-IP, 48-K, 31-BB


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D-Whit - It Was 45 Years Ago Today...Thursday September 18th 1969

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September 18th

Kranepool's bat propels Seaver to 23rd win
It was a pitcher’s duel in Montreal as Tom Seaver and Bill Stoneman duked it out on the mound in game that only saw two runs scored. Seaver was brilliant going all the way for the 9 strikeout complete game en route to his 23rd win of the year. Eddie Kranepool was Stoneman’s nemesis in this game. He drove in both Mets run-an RBI single in the 1st and a solo HR in the 6th.

As the Mets dream September marched on, the Cubs nightmare month continued, as the fell to the Phillies at Wrigley. Heading into the final two weekends of the season New York (91-58) now held a commanding 5 game lead over Chicago (87-64). The battle in the wild, wild NL West continued however, with just two games separating four teams-two of those four trailing by just a half game.
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Gary Giordano - Remembering The Early Years

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After their inaugural season 1963 seemed to offer hope since there was no where to go but up.  This was the last year the Mets would play at the Polo Grounds whose neighborhood was only slightly better than the one around Yankee Stadium.

1963 was the year Duke Snider returned to NY as a Met and the zany Jimmy Piersall became a Met long enough to hit his 100th homerun.  He celebrated by running the bases backwards.  He touched them all unlike "Marvelous Marv" Thornberry.  Perhaps Marv should have run the bases backwards.  Besides seeing the Jim Hickman walkoff homer to beat the Cubs I got to see the major league debut of Willie Stargell of the Pirates.  He struck out a number of times in a brillantly pitched game by Carl Willey who lost 2-0 on a 2 run homer to Dick Lynch.

Baseball has stats for everything these days but if they kept stats for the most foul ball home runs Mets catcher Choo Choo Coleman would have led the majors.

The Mets had a new beginning in 1964 opening the season at Shea Stadium in Queens.  It made it an easier sell to get dad to take me to games at Shea since we lived on Long Island.  We went to one of the first games in April and saw the Mets beat the Cardinals (who went on to win the World Series that year) 4-3 behind Jack (Fat Jack) Fisher.

We shared Father's Day watching on t.v. Jim Bunning of the Phillies pitch a perfect game against the Mets.

1965 saw the retirement of Casey Stengel and Sandy Koufax pitch a perfect game against the Mets in L.A. (Has any team had 2 perfect games thrown against them in consecutive years)?

The Mets had a knack in those years of setting records of dubious distinction.  The life lessons of learning to deal with adversity, failure and heartbreak continued for me and other Mets fans.
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Morning Report – September 18 – Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto, Miami Marlins, Off-season Fitness Camp, David Wright, Matt Harvey

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Carson Cistulli on Wilmer Flores playing shortstop -

What appears likely, in any case, is that the Mets experiment of installing Flores as the (mostly) starter at shortstop has had relatively positive returns thus far — if only because those returns haven’t been disastrous. It’s also an experiment that probably deserves to be extended — because, as Baseball America noted in 2012, a player with Flores’ offensive upside does have a chance to be special if he’s also playing shortstop. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/wilmer-flores-not-a-disaster-at-shortstop-yet/

Mack – Wow. Somebody is actually writing a national article on Wilmer Flores playing shortstop. This has to be a first. I’m so surrounded by ‘Mets writers’ and ‘Mets readers’, that I love when I get an out my wheelhouse and get a chance to read what an outsider thinks about the potential of Flores. Judging on what I’m reading here, the Mets should have a little more patience with him and give him the 2015 season to continue to grow into this job.





Mets WAR - Lagares 3.8, Duda 2.7, Murphy 2.7, Wright 1.9, d'Arnaud 1.7, Flores 1.2, EY Jr 1.1, Tejada 1.0 , Grandy 0.8, Kirk 0.7



Buster Olney estimates that James Shields, Max Scherzer, Pablo Sandoval, Melky Cabrera, Russell Martin, Nelson Cruz, J.J. Hardy, Victor Martinez, Ervin Santana, David Robertson and Hanley Ramirez will receive qualifying offers, which should fall between $15MM and $15.5MM.

    Mack - Sadly, Hardy is on this list. However, more and more I see the Mets holding fast in 2015 with Wilmer Flores at short.




Newest Addition: Michael Conforto, OF: The 10th overall pick in the June draft, Conforto came in and did exactly what an advanced college bat should do in the New York-Penn League - hit. He hit just three home runs in 42 games, but should project for more power than that. He's not a surefire middle-of-the-order bat, but he should be an everyday player in the Mets outfield. He could move quickly through their system and may not need more than a half year at each level. http://www.mlbprospectwatch.com/mlb_prospect_watch/2014/09/organization-recap-new-york-mets.html




Brian Joura, over at Mets360, wrote a great post about the four players that attended the off-season fitness camp before this season started. The results were interesting…  Ruben Tejada increased his OPS by 103 points… Lucas Duda by 53 points… Wilmer Flores by 59 points… and Juan Lagares by 74 points.

Obviously, these guys should keep doing what they learned there, but who should the Mets send to camp this off-season?

The first guy I would like to send… back… is Duda and target all the direction from camp leaders to the eventual goal of an increased OPS against left-handed pitching. We desperately need Duda to be the real deal at first base.

Second, I vote for Dilson Herrera, both for defensive and offensive reasons. It looks like he is the future second baseman for this team and it’s going to take an awful big improvement in his OPS to top the .752 being turned out by Daniel Murphy.

Third on my list would be Eric Campbell. We know he can hit… but he needs all the help he can get in speed drills and outfield defense.

Back in June, David Wright slid and apparently jammed his shoulder; from the looks of it, he was never right again. The source of the injury seems to be Wright's rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a network of four muscles that help keep the upper arm in the socket; it is attached to the shoulder blade and helps to stabilize the arm through motion. The inflammation that Wright is experiencing is exacerbated by a lack of rest and the repeated efforts his shoulder had to endure throughout the season.

This type of injury is not uncommon among overhead-throwing athletes. Between swinging a bat, sliding, falling, and throwing a baseball, the shoulders get a tremendous amount of abuse during the course of a season. This abuse doesn’t always manifest itself in injuries, but when small inflammation arises, the body will tend to make compensations in order to keep itself functioning. Over time, this can cause further damage or new injuries to other parts of the body. - http://www.amazinavenue.com/2014/9/14/6145019/new-york-mets-david-wright-injury
                          Mack – Read this… a very interesting analysis on Wright’s injury.


Erik Hudson -

Hey Mack, good to see Matt Harvey hitting 95 mph in his bullpen.  Are the Mets going to use what the Nats did with Strasburg as their guide next year?  Limiting him to about 160 IP, and shutting him down in September no matter what the standings are?
  Erik, I remember reading somewhere that Harvey will be limited in his pitch count next season and 2016 will be the first year he will be allowed to pitch without one. Ironically, 2016 will also be the first year of his arbitration period.
The building of the future Mets 25-man gets easier every time someone like Harvey heals and Jacob deGrom strikes out eight batters in a row.
I believe baseball has been put on notice that three-fifths of the future Mets dream rotation has been built (Harvey, deGrom, Zack Wheeler) and ‘the phones are open’ for all offers involving the rest of the pitchers we have around here.
Did Wilmer Flores get enough time to prove he can play SS in 2015?
Is an Eric Campbell-Matt den Dekker platoon enough in LF in 2015, waiting for Brandon Nimmo to mature?
And if all this is answered with ‘yes’, what do we do with all these pitchers?



We continue our hunt for a 2015 SS and LF replacement in the NL East. Next up is the Florida Miami Marlins.

According to Cot[i], the Marlins 2014 salaries are $45,825,400.

You’ve only got three extended contracts here, all of which are ‘cheap’… catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia (.232- $7mil-2015, $8mil-2016), 1B Garrett Jones (.241 - $5mil-2015), and 2B Jeff Baker (.260 - $2.1mil-2015).

Outfield wise, superstar Giancarlo Stanton (.291, 36-HR) is just finishing his ARB-1 year at $6.5mil and speculation is his ARB-2 year could exceed $10mil… Christian Yelich (.294) and Marcell Ozuna (.264) are still pre-ARB… chief backup and 4th outfielder is veteran Reed Johnson (156-AB, .218 - $1mil-2014, FA-2015).

According to the Marlins web site, they have only had one person play shortstop this season… Adeiny Hechavarria (.276 - $2.2mil-2014 – pre-ARB).

Mack observation – It’s no big secret that the owner of the Marlins, Jeffrey Loria, doesn’t like to spend money on this team. It’s also no big secret that the baseball world is anticipating an eventual trade of Stanton well before he becomes eligible for free agency. Add to this the six million dollar bonus that was paid out this year to first round pick, RHP Tyler Kolek, well… you can figure out priorities here.

I expect the Marlins to solve their future roster needs with a 4-6 team controlled player package deal for Stanton. They are super-duper young pitcher deep, but they still need to put a better team on the field every day (sound familiar?).

Nobody here for us. 

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