7/27/17

TRADE! Lucas Duda traded to the Tampa Bay Rays

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     According to Joel Sherman, via Twitter, the Mets have traded 1B Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHRP Drew Smith.

In 8 seasons with the Mets, Duda posted an average stat line of a .246 AVG, .801 OPS, with 27 HRs and 81 RBIs per season. He finishes his Mets career 7th in franchise history in HRs, tied for 10th in Adjusted OPS+, and 1st in HBP with 48. It is expected that Duda will play 1B for the Rays with current 1B Logan Morrison moving into the DH role, and current DH Corey Dickerson moving back into the OF.

On the return side, Drew Smith is a hard throwing RH reliever with a plus fastball and an above average curveball that misses plenty of bats. Smith will be assigned to (AA) Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the immediate time frame. In 3 MiLB season thus far, Smith has a 1.80 ERA with 13 Saves and a 10.1 K/9 rate. According to MLB.com's Team Prospects page,


"Smith is largely a fastball/breaking ball short reliever. His heater will sit comfortably in the 92-95 mph range, and he can reach back for more, all from a clean and easy delivery. He'll show an above-average curveball at times with really good snap to it, but not consistently. Smith doesn't throw his changeup enough, and he'll need to improve his feel for the pitch and use it more in the future, though he did make strides as a strike-thrower in his second full season."
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ROSTER MOVES

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Columbia reliever/closer Adonis Uceta was promoted to A+/St. Lucie. He's earned it. The 23-year old has gone 4-0, 1.26, 0.91 in 29 appearances for the Fireflies, while striking out 47 in 43 innings pitched.
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Peter Hyatt - A Tale of Two Sluggers from Phil Mushnick

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Phil Mushnick did a terrific job summarizing the difference between two sluggers, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Yoenis Cespdes of the New York Mets. 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

I've added to his article with bold italic type.  Click on Phil's name to link to the NY Post article directly.  

Aaron Judge: when rare is well done

Aaron Judge: when rare is well done
How to explain Aaron Judge?
How is it that we’re wild about him although he’s an honor student recently graduated from the “old school” — even if he was born after they knocked it down?
Or is that, in addition to hitting home runs, why we’re wild about him?
Having been compromised by TV and marketing plans that sell bad-is-cool, immodest bat-flipping sluggers, mean-mugging stare-down artists and end-zone twerk-dancers, perhaps we’ve become frightened to publicly admit that we’d much prefer young stars to be more Aaron Judge, less Odell Beckham Jr.

Other than HRs, what’s worth enjoying about Judge? Try these: We love the way he plays the game, respects the game, treats the game. We love the way he plays hard, runs hard, catches with both hands. We love his polite, warm engagement of fans.

We love his unapologetic humility and dignity, the kind sacrificed years ago to what ESPN and Nike determined, to our sustaining detriment, to be the bad-dude standard for attention and adulation. Judge betrays that lie.

Yes? No?

Where are those media who bash and ridicule “purists” and “traditionalists” for living life in the past lane — grumpy old men stewing in their obsolete juices — on Judge? Why haven’t they condemned Judge for playing humble, old-fangled, winning baseball? How has Judge been able to return us to a place he has never been?

Or is it that the new-age hip — aka, panderers — love what they see from Judge, too? Might they be closeted traditionalists who for years were afraid to risk the wrath of fools?

Where is ESPN’s smack-mouthed Dan Le Batard, who trashed those who prefer baseball to be played “the right way” — run hard to first, no all-about-me displays — as code for playing the game “the white way”? Where is his attack on Judge?





Friday in Seattle, after Judge hit a home run that threatened to ripple Puget Sound, YES’s David Cone noticed what we noticed: Judge allowed himself the briefest glance toward the ball before running — yes, running — toward first. Cone loves the way Judge plays the game.
But in the same telecast, Cone said ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, as he was shown in the Mariners’ dugout, eventually will “punch his ticket” to Cooperstown.
Sure, why not? A guy who has spent his career minimizing his teams’ chances to win by not bothering to do the least he could do — run to first base — is today Grade A Hall of Fame material. Oops, there goes my grumpy old traditionalist side. Gotta learn to control that.

Here, Mr. Mushnick sounds very much like the exasperated Keith Hernandez. 

Mex is simply unable to accept the new arrogance of lack of effort in baseball today.  

Ron Darling is at his best when Keith is in the booth; otherwise, Darling sometimes sounds like he is auditioning  for ESPN. 

Also, Friday, came the revelation that Yoenis Cespedes, a one-trick pony despite the pony’s recidivist ailments and indifference to performing — he was “rested,” Sunday, until flying out as a ninth-inning, “high-leverage” pinch hitter — said he’d like to one day return to play for the A’s, the first of three teams to which he became expendable as a player who hits home runs but otherwise doesn’t give a rat’s retina.

I've never seen a baseball player show moments of less effort than Yoenis Cespedes. Offensive and Defensive, he hustles only when he so chooses just as he chose his own ego driven leg press workout in the off season.  

When these moments are placed in context of his tremendous talent and $110 million dollar contract, the outrage only increases. 

In a day game against the Cardinals, he even caused a delay in the game as he was, inning after inning, the last player to reach his position and the last player to reach the dugout.  At one point, he stopped to chat with some Cardinals, and then restarted his entitlement shuffle.  I thought that the ump was going to warn Collins.  

Collins is hamstrung by management.  He cannot submit his line up card until he hears from "El Hombre."  At age 68, Collins' statements show he is growing weary of the onerous task of lying and covering for the brooding narcissist.  

Keith Hernandez praises Cespedes' base running and he is correct; this guy moves well and cuts the corners perfectly.  Of late, Keith has upped the level of complaint adding, "when he decides to go for it..." or something along these lines. 

We have the best baseball announcers.  Keith's "grumpiness" is perfect for what ails us. 

He is a baseball fan at heart that cannot bear the disrespect of the game by loafers.  

But as dating website ads promise, there’s someone for everyone. Cespedes, who’d already proven to the Mets — as he had to the A’s, Tigers and Red Sox — that he’s often not in the mood to play baseball— he’s accomplished at turning doubles into singles — re-signed for $110 million over four years.

And Friday he pledged allegiance to the A’s.

Perhaps Cespedes has forgotten that he played for four teams in five years.  




Actually, losing $110 million is not the only issue. 


When Cespedes, before he re-signed with the Mets, was found to have played golf while on the disabled list, GM Sandy Alderson excused him while conceding that made for “a bad optic.” That’s how traditionalists say, “It looks bad,” likely because it is bad.
This bad optic? Given the Mets are paying a part-time, indolent outfielder $110 million, Mets ownership has again been suckered (see: Madoff, Bernie) out of a fortune.

On the other hand, what at first seemed an act that invited cynical suspicion — as if Aaron Judge is Eddie Haskell in pinstripes — remains stuck in genuine.

The 2017 Mets have had to deal with Cespedes' influence upon other players, including the already self indulging Matt Harvey.  By making his own rules, "El Hombre" has some apt pupils, including Noah Syndergaard .

"Cespeditis", the disease of conceit, spreads.  

In 2015, he broke an unwritten rule when he threw a rookie under the bus, blaming young Michael Conforto for his own misplayed ball. 

Cespedes comes and goes as he pleases and when the Mets' GM finally had enough, he went public with a statement in an attempt to get some value out of his investment:  going as far as telling the public that "no substantial injury" could be found with Cespedes' leg, "not even swelling."

When the Mets wanted x number of A games from Cespedes, Cespedes refused.  

When the Mets wanted x number of at bats, Cespedes refused. 

When he did come back, the home run ball shut the Mets up nicely.  

Now that he is approaching 100 at bats without a home run, his running of his mouth, much more than his lack of hustle, has not only irked management, but it has further divided the club house. 

Even buddy Jose Reyes had to distance himself from Cespedes.  Cespedes' main supporter is Astrubel Cabrera, of whom the same mouthy insult came when he demanded a trade because his employer did not share their minor league player development plans with him. 

Who does Cabrera think he is?

Cespedes? 

Mushnick concludes:  

So it now seems OK — not as politically incorrect or as pop-culturally risky as it first seemed — to admit that we like the way Aaron Judge plays, treats and respects baseball. We can admire him without even fractional compromise of the dormant and/or antiquated senses of right-from-wrong and good from bad.
As good and bad optics go, Aaron Judge is still not an optical illusion.

The Yankees have their Aaron Judge; a good kid, a good team mate and a good example for boys growing up. 

The Mets have Michael Conforto, with a major difference being that the Yankees are willing to develop young talent, while the lame duck combination of Alderson/Collins conspires to play aging contracts over talent. 

Had it not been for injury, the Mets lone All Star might be batting .400...

in AAA.

Terry Collins was "surprised" at Conforto's success.

No one else was, either in the fan base, nor in Major League baseball.

He was voted onto the All Star team...

by his peers.

None of them appeared surprised. 

The 2018 Mets could be a better, overall, team, without Yoenis Cespedes. 

See if Oakland is willing to take him back. 

It is not likely, even if we eat a good portion of his salary.  Oakland As were not enamored with him, as he seems to think, nor do current players respect a man who stabs his own manager in the back.  

Benedict Arnold did not receive the acclaim and respect he thought he would by the British.  

Cespedes should not expect much difference.

This contract is going to get more and more weighted as time progresses.  

Those who believed he was a year older than claimed may have a silent "I told you so" in a new form come 2019 when some say,

"We warned Alderson, but he was under pressure from the New York Media.  We warned him about the need for a psych eval.  We told him what Boston said. ..."

I'd like to see what an outfield of 

Conforto in Left

Bruce in Right and 

the possibility of Brandon Nimmo and/or Juan Legares in Centerfield, in 2018 might produce.  
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Tom Brennan - AA STARTERS WHO RUMBLE

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Tom Brennan - AA STARTERS WHO RUMBLE


Chris Flexen gets his first big league start tonight in San Diego, and it is a fine club to break in against - last in hitting and last in runs scored in the majors, averaging a run less per game than our Metsies.  Since he bypassed Las Vegas Pitchers' Hell to go straight to the big leagues, it shows that pitching for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies is sometimes a heartbeat from the majors.






So what was Flexen accomplishing in Binghamton?  And...

How about his fellow starters, too, while we're at it?


Flexen first - he's young (just turned 23), big (listed at 6'3", 250), and throws hard. After a cup of coffee in the lower minors at the age of 18 in 2012, he had a great year in 2013, 8-1, 2.09 in eleven starts as a 19 year old.   He struggled for a while in Savannah in 2014, succumbed to the evil Tommy John mid-season, and returned mid-season in 2015.  After a rehab with Brooklyn, he dazzled with Savannah to close out 2015, going 4-0, 1.87 in 6 outings.

2016 was a decent year in St Lucie, some great starts, some not so great, but he got 25 starts in and went 10-9, 3.56 with a high 51 walks in 134 innings.  But in his last 2 outings of 2016, back to back 5 shutout inning efforts, the second with no hits allowed.  A great sign for 2017.

Spring 2017, hoping to see Flexen in spring games, was frustrating, as he needed meniscus surgery, which delayed his season start to May 17 - 3 outings for St Lucie, then on to Rumble Pony land. 

In AA, simply exceptional. 7 starts, 6-1, 1.66, slightly over a K per inning, superb control, 0.72 WHIP.  His "worst" outing involved him allowing 2 first inning runs and a 7th inning run.

Just 10 walks in 62 IP in 2017, a huge improvement vs 2016.

I for one very much look forward to this inaugural Mets start.


ON TO THE OTHER BINGHAMTON STARTERS:


MARCOS MOLINA: the prized 22 year old righty is just 2-8 this year, but the last start (no decision)was a beauty - Tuesday night, 6 innings, 3 hits, no runs, 9 Ks - he's back!!

As a 19 year old in the NY Penn League, he was the best starter in the entire league.  Sadly, Tommy John (what else) caused him to miss a chunk of 2015 and all of 2016. 

Back from TJS in 2017, his season was delayed until mid-May due to (what else) injury.

Once back, he was 2-3, 1.26 in 5 starts for St Lucie. Promoted to AA, he lost his first 5 starts, mostly pitching satisfactorily (but for one start), but the latest start against a decent hitting team hints strongly to me that he is about to enter the Flexen Fast Lane. 

Molina could be starting games in Queens at some point next year - I'd skip him over Vegas, too.

COREY OSWALT: Turning 24 this September, the 6'5", 250 Oswalt has been oft-injured (limiting him to 404 innings in 5 1/2 seasons. 

But he has been healthy this season, and sits at a fine 7-4, 2.61 (but a 1.26 WHIP compared to Flexen's 0.72).

However, drop his first two lousy starts and he is great - 7-2, 2.17 in his 16 starts since.  He has surrendered zero runs in 5 of his starts.  80 Ks in 97 IP is decent too.  

My guess?  He gets to experience Vegas Pitching Hell before he shows up in Queens in late 2018, perhaps as a pen arm if not as a starter.

MICKEY JANNIS: a 44th round pick, the 5'9" knuckleballing Jannis is trying to become  the next RA Dickey.  After pitching a 7 inning shutout in the doubleheader on Tuesday, he is 7-5, 4.04 this season in 17 starts.  His control has improved in 2017 (35 walks in 100 IP, vs. 76 in 141 IP last year), showing that he is progressing with the knuckler. 

We'll see if Dickey II shows up in Queens in 2018 or 2019 - if he in fact can make the bigs - but his 2017 progress seems to indicate that could be a real possibility, whether with the Mets or another big league team.

PJ CONLON: the crafty lefty was brilliant in rookie ball in 2015 and in A ball in 2016.  In AA, he has had some ups and downs (including 13 homers in 115 innings) but stands solid at 7-7, 3.68 with 3 shutouts.  Not a hard thrower, he nonetheless shows every sign of at least being a capable big league bullpen piece if he can not achieve a starter's role in the bigs.  I did an article a few years ago, where many decent minors relievers were cut or retired - a knuckler for marginal guys like Jannis can be the great equalizer.

CASEY DELGADO: the 27 year old undrafted Delgado, signed by the Mets out of Indy ball in 2015 at the age of 24, has struggled in 2017, going 6-5, 5.71 in 76 innings with a 1.82 WHIP.  Those #s don't shout "major league caliber."   Maybe adding a knuckler could help him get over the hump.

SUMMARY: Some intriguing quality starters in Binghamton this season.  If you don't agree with me, let's rumble, dude.

Oh, and Steve Matz stunk again last night against San Diego.  He's pitching worse than he did when he was in AA.
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Mack’s Morning Report – 7-27 – Wagner Lagrange, Dilson Herrera, Chris Flexen,

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Good morning.


Wagner Lagrange

            Let’s continue our series of highlighting what looks like superior Latin ballplayers recently signed by the Mets.

There was no fanfare when outfielder Wagner Lagrange was signed during the 2014-15 International bonus baby signing period. And there was no huge bonus. Maybe something but not above the $30,000 level that is the numbers usually reported. He also was 18-years old at the time of his signing which is around two years older than normal. Not everyone of these Latin kids are groomed through grade school. Some just play superior baseball in local and regional leagues.

That being said, his first season as a Met came in 2015 where he played for both the DSL-1 and DSL-2 team. He hit .347 and was named the Sterling Award winner for the combined DSL teams.

His first stateside assignment was last year for the GCL-Mets and, though he did start slowly (.231), he has rebounded nicely this season for Kingsport, hitting .350 through Sunday.

Projection: Assuming he continues ++ growth, I see him spending at least four more seasons in the minors, making 2023 his target.


Dilson Herrera

           From MLBTR.com:  -  The Reds may not get a look at Dilson Herrera in 2017, as Triple-A manager Delino DeShields recently told Redleg Nation’s Jason Linden, “from what I’ve been told, he’s probably done for the year” due to a shoulder injury. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that no one in the Cincinnati front office has offered such a definitive take just yet, though he reports that team doctors are set to evaluate Herrera in Cincinnati this week. Acquired in last year’s Jay Bruce trade, the 23-year-old Herrera hit .264/.312/.397 in 265 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Herrera also battled shoulder issues in 2016 and spent most of this past Spring Training as a DH due to his shoulder.

Mack – I’m sorry to see Dilson having continued shoulder problems, but it’s nice to see a trade that went our way once in a while. I really thought he was going to have a great career. There’s a good chance here that he was traded because Mets doctors projected long term health problems for him. Who knows. We wish him well in 2018.


Chris Flexen –

           The promotion of Flexen directly from AA-ball to Flushing caught the entire Mets world off guard (except for Tom Brennan who nailed this). Doing something this intelligent is just not the norm for the brass in Queens.

           I have a theory on this move. It came less than a day after the Boston Red Sox promoted their top prospect, 3B, Rafael Devers, from AA-ball to the parent team. I can hear the discussion now. The season is over… the rotation is in disarray… and the best we have is some kid in New York State that never walks anyone and just keeps throwing baseballs past bats.

           I love this move for so many reasons, but mostly because it firms up one more top chip in my 2018 team.

           It also does wonders for projecting the 2018 rotation. My locks are d’Grom, Syndergaard, Flexen, and Matz. My pick for SP5 would be Lugo and I would send Harvey Wheeler, and Gsellman to strengthen the pen.

           Great move Sandy and Company.


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7/26/17

ROSTER MOVES

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C Ali Sanchez returns to the Columbia disabled list

        (another Mets blog site is reporting that his injury is season ending)

St. Lucie RHP Nabil Crismatt returns from the temporary inactive list.

Also in St. Lucie, C Jose Garcia and RHP Joe Shaw are placed on the 7-day... the Mets affiliates can't seem to keep catchers off the DL lately.

SP Robert Gsellman to pitch rehab start in Binghamton.

RHRP Keaton Aldridge was promoted from Rookie-Brooklyn to A-Columbia

        From 'Astro' -   
Converted catcher had TJS shortly after signing on as an undrafted free agent 2 years ago
 




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Mack’- Addison Reed to Milwaukee for...

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Milwaukee Prospects –

            It was reported last week that the Brewers were most interested in securing the services of RP Addison Reed.

            Here’s five chips we might want to target –

                        Who are we not going to get:  OF Lewis Brinson

OF Corey Ray - With a quick left-handed bat and a knack for making hard contact, Ray projects to hit for both power and average from the left side of the plate. There's 20-homer potential in his bat, perhaps even more if he can become more comfortable driving the ball the other way. Ray did a better job of managing the strike zone last spring and then during his pro debut, but he still struggles at times to recognize spin, resulting in some swing-and-miss tendencies. Ray's plus speed makes him a consistent threat on the basepaths and also serves him well in center field, where he spent his entire pro debut after manning right field exclusively at Louisville. Ray suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during instructional league and underwent subsequent surgery in October. After recovering, Ray's combination of power and speed could help him to jump on the fast track to the big leagues in his first full season. ETA: 2018

RHP Luis Ortiz - Ortiz combines stuff and feel better than most young pitchers. His strong build allows him to maintain his 92-97 mph fastball deep into ballgames, and his low-80s slider gives him a plus second pitch. Ortiz threw his changeup sparingly as an amateur, but has developed it enough as a pro to where scouts view it as a potentially average pitch. Meanwhile, a clean and repeatable delivery has helped to make Ortiz an accomplished strike-thrower early in his career. Much like Brinson, Ortiz impressed last summer in his brief Brewers debut, posting a 1.93 ERA over six starts at Double-A Biloxi. He lacks projection in his physical 6-foot-3 frame and needs to stay healthy, but Ortiz has both the stuff and command profile to develop into a No. 2 starter. ETA: 2018

2B/SS Isan Diaz - Diaz's plus bat speed and strong bat-to-ball skills from the left side enable him to make hard contact and drive the ball with authority across the whole field. The leverage he's added to his swing since signing has allowed him to tap into his impressive raw power in games with greater consistency. Diaz's aggressive approach yields quite a few whiffs, but is still advanced for his age, as he paced the Midwest League with 72 walks last season. A fringy runner with good instincts on both sides of the ball, Diaz profiles as more of a second baseman than shortstop at the highest level, where his range, speed and arm strength are a cleaner fit. Diaz's ceiling as a power-hitting middle-infielder is tantalizing, but he's likely few years away from making an impact at the highest level. Once developed, he could form one of the top double-play combos in baseball alongside slick-fielding Orlando Arcia in Milwaukee. ETA: 2018

3B Lucas Erceg - Erceg has impact potential from the left side of the plate, with natural feel to hit, a solid approach and plus raw power that could make him a middle-of-the-order bat at maturity. Defensively, Erceg's athleticism should help him stick at third base, where he has a strong arm -- one that fired 93-94 mph fastballs as Menlo's closer -- that's ideal for the position. He also received positive reviews as a shortstop during the fall instructional league, highlighting Erceg's overall athleticism and versatility. The Brewers have long been trying to develop a homegrown third baseman, and while it's early in his career, Erceg, with his high offensive ceiling, could be the team's long-term answer. ETA: 2018


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Mack - What If No One Wants Nobody?

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              We sit here every day waiting for the next… no wait… the FIRST trade of the Hot Stove season, while every other team in baseball seems to be able to pull their respective trigger

We also comment every day if Sandy has turned off his telephone. Does he have a telephone? Are our players made of kryptonite?

I wonder at this point if we might not end this season with the same team we have now. Is that possible? Would it be all that bad?

Let’s play my game… no trades… no free agents… what do we have next year?

1B – There are no big secrets here. Dominic Smith will take over starting job from Lucas Duda, whose contract ran out. Exit $7.25mil and enter less than $600K. Big savings here as well as big shoes to fill. No one expects Smith to produce the kind of power Duda has in the past (though he has hit 15 HRs this year in AAA), but I look for better overall hitting results as well as superb defensive skills. The backup here will be discussed later in my choices for utility infielders.

2B – On ‘my team’, I need a 2018 baby sitter until Luis Guillorme makes the pipeline jump, latest opening day 2019. I have no desire to discuss a renewal of the $17.2mil paid this year to Neil Walker. Instead, I have a fully capable second baseman in Astrubel Cabrera, who I can renew at $8.25mil. This is over a 50% savings in previous team payroll.

SS – Another non-secret. Amed Rosario will be my starting shortstop, at          around $575K. More savings. More talent. A no-brainer.

3B – I wish I could type ‘David Wright’ here, but that isn’t going to happen anymore. Jose Reyes would not be on my team. My choice for starter is Wilmer Flores.

Utility Infielders – T.J. Rivera has proven to me this year that he can play at this level. He also can play all four infield positions, so he’ll get plenty at-bats during the season. My second utility infielder would be Gavin Cecchini, who deserves the opportunity to play an entire season at the level to prove the value of picking him first in the draft.

Catcher – Nothing new here… Travis d’Arnaud as the starter and Rene Rivera brought back as the backup. If an affordable deal can’t be made for Rivera, Kevin Plawecki is ready to ride the plane for the 2018 season.

Outfielders – Yoesnes Cespedes and Michael Conforto are established starters. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares will once again be two of the five outfielders. I go QO on Jay Bruce in hopes he agrees to it. If he doesn’t, I start Lagares in center and promote Travis Taijeron as the fifth outfielder (this would obviously be my weak link which may not be upgraded until the 2018 Hot Stove season.

Pitching - My strength on this team would be a healthy rotation.

My first choice would be d'Grom, Syndergaard, Matz, Flexen, and Lugo and I would move guys like Harvey, Wheeler, and Gsellman to the pen.

Conclusion – A lot of money has been saved here, all of which could be used either during the season to sign and re-negotiate a 2018 expiring contract, or save it for the very talented 2018 free agent market.

Great team? No. Decent plan? Best I could do.

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Reese Kaplan -- Indians' Top Prospects to Consider

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Let’s take a look at the hottest rumor right now – that the Cleveland Indians are scouting not only Asdrubal Cabrera but also Jay Bruce as they attempt to cement their status atop the AL Central Division.  Their team is facing some critical injuries as the head into the second half -- .305 hitting outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, .304 hitting outfielder Austin Jackson, two-time All Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, reliever Boone Logan, and starter Cody Anderson.  They are obviously looking for some reinforcements.

While it’s obvious that Cabrera could reunite and fit in at 2B alongside Francisco Lindor and Jay Bruce could certainly help in the outfield, I can’t help but wonder if the smarter move would be to overwhelm them in order to land a crown jewel, namely catcher Francisco Mejia.  Obviously catcher is one of three positions – 3B and CF being the other two – where the Mets do not have obvious star quality options prior to 2017.  The third piece to consider in this reach for Mejia is closer Addison Reed.  Giving the Indians three quality players for their stretch run might entice them to part with MLB’s 32nd ranked prospect.


Why so much for Mejia?  Well, let’s take a look.  He had a combined (over two leagues) 50-game hitting streak in the minors.  Contact hitters are something the Mets could most certainly use.  He hit a combined .342 over A and Advanced A in 2016, following it up in AA this year with a .322 mark.  He doesn’t have much power – 11 HRs last year being his high – but he seems to be growing into it with 10 already this season in just 245 ABs.  The switch hitter is not a one-trick pony on the offensive side of the ledger as he’s a plus defender and capable of throwing out would-be base stealers.  Bear in mind he’s achieved these great offensive strides in the past two seasons at the tender age of 21.  He’s probably on track for AAA for 2018 and then the majors in 2019.  The one thing holding him back is prejudice against size as he’s rather small at about 5’10” and 185, but given the success guys like Jose Altuve have had in the majors perhaps it’s time to change conventional thinking. 


If you can’t pry loose Mejia then there are some other players in the Indians system definitely worth consideration in trade talks.  Starting pitcher Triston McKenzie is a rail-thin 6’5”, 165 pound right handed hurler with an awesome curveball that generates some eye-popping strikeout numbers.  He started off in the pro ranks right where he left off his stellar high school career.  In A+ Lynchburg he’s thus far showing a 9-6 record with a 2.86 ERA and 134 strikeouts in just 103 IP.  He’s holding batters to a .186 BAA and most scouts feel that as he grows into his frame his velocity (which currently sits in the low 90s) will improve.  He’s currently ranked as the Indians number two prospect after Mejia but he’s a bit more of a wildcard being much further down in the system. 


Since Sandy Alderson often has the desire to coax an extra low level player in any deal, the wildcard I’d want to snag is outfielder Conner Capel.   His low batting average and high strikeout numbers would make you think, “No way”, but scouts feels he is going to develop slowly into a high quality power hitter with grade 70 speed capable of playing any of the three positions.  This year he’s hit 14 HRs and driven in 36 in about half a season.  He’s just 20 years old and not projected to hit the big leagues until 2020, but given the dearth of outfield prospects in the system he might be one on which to roll the dice (assuming, of course, Tim Tebow doesn’t pan out) J

While Mejia would be my choice as Plan A, Plan A- would be to obtain McKenzie for the same package.   I’d advocated carrying payroll to increase the value of the return, but a more palatable option to the, ahem, frugal Wilpons might be simply to offer up a combination of quality and quantity in order to maximize what another team will offer back to the Mets. 

Thoughts?
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