1/20/17

Mack Ade - Jay Bruce v3.0

5 comments

From MLBTR -

Recent agreements by the Blue Jays (Jose Bautista) and Phillies (Michael Saunders) have caused the Mets’ potential trade options for right fielder Jay Bruce to dwindle, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post. (I’d also note the Orioles’ acquisition of Seth Smith in that list of deterrents to a Bruce swap.) The Giants and Rangers could be the only two remaining plausible landing spots for Bruce, Puma continues, noting that each team has had previous interest in Bruce. However, according to Puma, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has not yet shown a willingness to absorb any of Bruce’s $13MM salary in a trade, which only further exacerbates the difficulty of trading him in a market flooded with cheaper corner options. Puma speculates that the Mets may be forced to open the season with Bruce on the roster and look to move him early in the regular season, as they did with Ike Davis back in 2014.

So, let’s move on to both the Giants and Rangers and see what they have in the pipeline, per John Sickels:


Christian Arroyo, INF, Grade B+/B: Age 21, first round pick in 2013; hit .274/.316/.373 with 36 doubles, three homers, 29 walks, 72 strikeouts in 474 at-bats in Double-A; draws constant praise for swing mechanics, doubles power, and general heady play; hit .315/.348/.438 on the road last year, just .224/.278/.294 in difficult home park; long-term should be a .280ish hitter with doubles power; aggressive and could stand to draw more walks but he makes hard contact on pitches other hitters miss; arm and range fit better at third base than shortstop, has also played well in limited looks at second base; ETA 2018.

Mack – I( don’t think there is any chance the Giants would trade their number one prospect. But if they did, this guy could possibly be the replacement some day for David Wright.

Ty Blach, LHP, Grade B-/B: Age 26, posted 3.43 ERA with 113/38 K/BB in 163 innings in Triple-A, 147 hits; 1.06 ERA in 17 major league innings with 10/5 K/BB; fifth round pick in 2012 from Creighton University in Omaha; velocity has picked up a hair since college and sits in low-90s now, mixes in slider, change-up, curve; stuff similar to Andrew Suarez and overall approach is comparable though I think Blach throws slightly harder; Blach is two years older but has a better track record of durability. ETA 2017.

            Mack – I’m looking for at least one good reliever for Bruce and this guy could be the guy.

Steven Okert, LHP, Grade B-: Age 25, fourth round pick in 2012 from University of Oklahoma; 3.80 ERA with 60/11 K/BB in 47 innings in Triple-A; 3.21 ERA in 14 major league innings with 14/4 K/BB; what he did in the majors is representative of his ability; fastball up to 96, mixes in slider, cutter; below-average change-up keeps him in bullpen; ranking relievers as prospects is problematic but Okert should be a valued pen member for a long time. ETA 2017.

Heath Quinn, OF, Grade B-: Age 21, third round pick in 2016 out of Samford; hit .337/.423/571 with nine homers, 26 walks, 50 strikeouts in 205 at-bats in Northwest League, then went 6-for-17 (.353) in four games in High-A; 6-2, 190 pound right-handed hitter with 55-60 grades in raw power and throwing arm along with average running speed; likely to strike out a lot but also draws walks; right field profile and glove may be under-rated; not sure the batting average will hold up but should be productive with OBP and SLG. ETA late 2019.

Chris Stratton, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 26, first round pick in 2012 from Mississippi State, 3.87 ERA in 126 innings in Triple-A, 103/39 K/BB, 120 hits; posted 3.60 ERA in 10 major league innings; long-standing prospect with little left to prove in minors; fastball has steadied at 90-94; has curve, slider, change; all pitches generally average but not weak, it works when his command is sharp; like Blackburn, a potential four/five starter but might show more per-inning dominance if used in bullpen. ETA 2017.


            Ariel Jurado, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 20, signed out of Panama in 2012; 3.66 ERA in 123 innings between High-A and Double-A, 106/34 K/BB, 1.98 GO/AO; fastball sits at 90-93 but with terrific sink; throws strikes and hits his spots with it; mixes in solid-average change-up and a breaking ball of varying quality; mound presence and pitchability are better than his pure stuff but should be a solid workhorse type; perhaps more dominant on a per-inning basis if he moves to pen at some point. ETA late 2017.

            Josh Morgan, INF-C, Grade B-: Age 21, third round pick in 2014 from high school in California; hit .300/.367/.394 with seven homers, 44 walks, 61 strikeouts in 470 at-bats in High-A; contact hitter, not a lot of power at this point but gets on base; pop may increase as he matures, perhaps to a surprising extent; versatile glove, competent at second, third, and short; has played catcher on an experimental basis and reportedly will see more time at that position in ’17; projection as super-utility player with impressive versatility and on-base skills; ETA 2019.

            Joe Palumbo, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, 30th round pick in 2013 from high school in West Islip, New York; breakthrough season in ’16 with 2.24 ERA, 122/36 K/BB in 96 innings in Low-A, 71 hits; had success as both starter and reliever; fastball up to 93-95, also has above-average curveball; change-up needs additional work but there’s enough there to think he can keep starting; command within strike zone still needs more work but he’s made considerable progress; nice combination of strikeouts and ground balls; just now getting noticed outside Rangers circles. ETA 2019.

            Jose Trevino, C, Grade C+: Age 24, sixth round pick in 2014 out of Oral Roberts; hit .303/.342/.434 with 30 doubles, nine homers, 26 walks, 49 strikeouts in 433 at-bats in High-A; compact but strong build at 5-11, 195, athletic enough to have played shortstop in college; good throwing arm with quick release, threw out 47% of runners; excellent receiving and leadership skills; as a hitter features occasional pop and contact approach but seldom draws walks and did much of his damage in friendly home park; glove will get him to the majors and there’s still some hope for the bat. ETA 2019.


            Connor Sadzeck, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 11th round pick in 2011 from Howard Junior College; huge 6-7, 240 pounder with fastball in mid-90s, touching 100 at his best; posted 4.16 ERA with 133/52 K/BB in 141 innings in Double-A, 127 hits; flashes plus slider, but still inconsistent with it; change-up is below average; command also spotty at times although walk rate isn’t bad; may fit best ultimately in bullpen; even a small improvement in command could result in a breakthrough without much warning. ETA late 2017.
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1/19/17

Tom Brennan - BRUCE VS. CONFORTO

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Tom Brennan - BRUCE VS. CONFORTO


Jay Bruce is an established slugger – and we Metsies are gunning for a pennant and World Series in 2017 – so should we REALLY be moving Bruce to save his $13 million in money due?   Would his bat serve us better if it stays in Queens?


Would it weaken our team to have Michael Conforto pick up a ton of his at bats, if/when Bruce is traded?


I fall on the side of NO, it would not weaken the team. 


Here’s why:


Bruce hit about .240 in his first 2 years in the bigs, and overall, over a 162 game schedule, he has in his career averaged 593 at bats, 31 doubles, 31 homers, 94 RBIs, 158 Ks, and a line of .248/.318/.467.


Conforto has only 478 career at bats so far – in those, he has a very similar stat line (.238/.319/.448) despite a horrendous soph slump and a larger home park than Bruce's past Cincy home park to hit in.


Projected over 593 at bats, to match Bruce’s 162 game average, Conforto’s numbers work out to 43 doubles, 26 homers, 84 RBIs, and yes, the same 158 Ks. 


Bruce started his MLB career slightly younger than Conforto, but not significantly so, therefore I ignore age differential as an impactful factor.


Bruce hit just .223 as a soph, but in his 3rd year, Bruce hit a career best .283 with a .353 OBP and a .493 slug %.  Maybe Conforto can replicate that Bruce pattern in his third year - we'd all gladly take that.


If one assumes that the .422/.483/.722 that Conforto hit in Vegas in a bit over 140 plate appearances after his horrific 2016 slump and demotion is a sign that the dude just had a bad stretch in the bigs that was abnormal to his true level of talent, and which he will overcome, and that Juan Lagares can take at bats vs. lefties instead of the lefty-challenged Conforto, I feel good about moving Bruce.


What do you think, folks?





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Mack Ade – Q and A – Relief, Harvey, Mejia, Granderson, Bruce

16 comments

Good morning.


From Tom –

If you know as a GM that you'll need a relief pitcher or two, why do you HAVE to clear salary first? You'll clear it soon enough if you are determined enough, but by then your best BP choices may be off the board.

            Mack – I don’t know, Tom.

            The whole baseball world knows you are looking for relief help so what is the incentive cut a deal for an outfielder you don’t even want on your team?

I don’t happen to think any relief help for the Mets will be found via a trade. Alderson is going to have to swallow hard and sign a guy like Salas or Blevens separate to any deal to shed salary.

As for either Granderson or Bruce, I think the 2017 Mets are stuck with these contracts.

One new wrinkle to consider... the fact that Wilmer Flores has taken the Mets to task over his salary demands for the 2017 season could create a new trade scenario where Flores could be dealt one-for-one for a relief pitcher.


Anonymous asked –

           Let’s assume that Harvey has a great 2017 where he re-establishes his value. 

Who do the Mets trade him to and what can't they get from the following teams if they were willing to trade for Harvey. Yankees, Astros, Pirates, Red Sox.

Mack - First of all, a pitcher of this much talent, if healthy and producing numbers that he has proven in the past, can easily bring two top level players, either at the major league level or blue chip prospects. 

Let’s remember that even through his ups and downs, he has a combined MLB ERA of 2.94.

I have always believed that the way to go under these circumstances would be for a team to trade for two or three of the other team’s top prospects. Trust me… if you trade for a top star of the game, you are also trading for a top contract that still exists.

I vote for prospects and I would target two of –

            Yankees:       OF Clint Frazier, IF/OF/UT Jorge Mateo, LHSP Justus Sheffield

            Astros:          OF Kyle Tucker, RHP Franklin Perez, OF Daz Cameron

            Pirates:         OF Austin Meadows, RHP Mitch Keller, LHP Taylor Hearn

            Red Sox:       OF Andrew Benintendi, 3B Rafael Devers (or 3B Bobby Dalbec), LHP Jason Groome



Tony asked - 

    Mack, do you have an update on what's going on with Jenrry Mejia?

        Mack - Funny you should ask...

        Both The Daily News and Fangraphs published an update this week. Try to follow me here...

        The Mets and Jenrry Mejia areed to a 1-year contract worth $1.96mil; however, Mejia will not see one red cent from this deal because of his lifetime ban for his 786th positive test for every drug known to man.

        This represents a 20% cut from his previous year's contract of $2.47mil which he also never was paid a cent.

         Mejia will be eligible for free agency in 2019, which will definitely be another year he isn't paid anything by the Mets. 

        The only thing up to debate here is what the Mets will do with him in 2018.


Bob asked –

           In your opinion, who is more likely to have a better 1st half of the season? Bruce or Granderson?

                       Mack – I didn’t do any research on this one, but I don’t remember Granderson ever having a decent start of a season as a Met.

           My money would be on Bruce because I think his head would be on straight this time and he would be playing his arse off to help secure a long term offer after the 2017 season. I expect him to come out smoking with the intent of shutting out the media critics.

           I also don’t think there is much left in the tank for Grandy. No proof. Just speculation.

           Either way, I expect both of them to be in the starting lineup along with Cespedes. They are the guys being paid to play and they will get their turn before Conforto gets his. This is simply the way the Alderson-Collins brain (sic) trust works.




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1/18/17

Mack Ade – So Whaddya Think? V11.5

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“So, whaddya think?”

            “Whaddya think about what?”

“Whaddya think about ‘whaddya think’.

            “You mean the series of Richard Herr posts?”

“No, the price of bologna in WalMart”.

            “Cute… no, I like it. It’s like one long run-on sentence.”

“Sort of what it was like playing baseball in Savannah.”

            “So, do you think Herr should continue it?”

“Herr? Herr who?”

            “Isn’t that the German word for Mister?”

“Yes, it is.”

            “Does this mean we now have to call him Mister Herr?”

“No, we have to call him Mister Mister.”

            (singing) “Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel.”

“Let’s get back to whaddya think.”

            “You’re starting to sound like Joe Pesce.”

“YOU THINK I’M FUNNY?”

            “Whaddya mean?”

I’M FUNNY HOW, I MEAN, FUNNY LIKE A CLOWN?”

            “Now you got me doing it.”

“We’re going in the wrong direction here.”

            “Actually, I don’t think we aren’t going in any direction.”

“Sort of like the pursuit to fill the Mets pen.”

            “So, how are the Mets doin?”

“Sort of like David Byrne song… ‘same as it ever was’”

            “You mean the Who song… ‘welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Bruce Springsteen?”  
   
            ‘David Byrne… Joe Pesce… The Boss… I thought this was a baseball blog’?

“It is… so whaddya think?”

            “I’m completely lost now.”

“Sort of like Wilmer Flores is when he comes out of the clubhouse to see if he’s in the starting lineup?

            “So, we’re back to baseball again?”

Yeah, so… who’s on first?”

            “Duda’”

“And second?”

            “Walker.”

“Okay… short?”

            “Astrubel.”

“And third?”

            “I don’t know.”

“’I don’t know’ is on third?”

            “Yeah.”

“Have I heard this in a different form years ago?”


            “Yeah… same as it ever was.”
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Mack Ade - Jay Bruce v2.0

4 comments

Good morning.


Things keep changing when it comes to which team has signed which outfielder. Free agent Michael Saunders signed with the Phillies, Jose Bautista looks to be going to Toronto, leaving Baltimore as the best chance of putting together to sell off Jay Bruce.

Using the same “one Bruce for two prospects’ theory, let’s look at some of the guys Sandy and Company should target in the Orioles pipeline –

            First of all, let me say this. There simply aren’t any ‘A’ prospects in this organization. They suck even more than we do.

            That being said…

            From John Sickels -

Chance Sisco, C, Grade B: Age 21, second round pick in 2013, hit .317/.403/.430 in 426 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A with 61 walks, 88 strikeouts; superior pure-hitting skills with rare 
combination of bat speed, smooth swing, and sharp batting eye; should have no trouble producing OBP and batting average; long-term home run power remains a question but could get to 10-15 a year with maturity; defense remains work-in-progress; decent arm and threw out 33% of runners; receiving has improved somewhat with reductions in error and passed ball rates; may never be more than average with the glove but if he hits as expected that could be enough. ETA 2018.

Anthony Santander, OF, Grade B- Age 22, hit .290/.368/.494 with 42 doubles, 20 homers, 54 walks, 118 strikeouts in 500 at-bats in Low-A; from Venezuela, signed by Indians in 2011; selected by Orioles in Rule 5 draft; switch-hitter with 60/70 grade power; a few issues with contact and swing consistency but controls zone reasonably; may not hit for high averages at highest levels but power should carry forward; good throwing arm, classic right field profile; I like him a lot but health status unclear following fall shoulder surgery; has to stick on the roster due to Rule 5 and could be stashed on DL. ETA 2017.

Keegan Akin, LHP, Grade B-: Age 21, second round pick in 2016 from Western Michigan; posted 1.04 ERA in 26 innings in NY-P with 29/7 K/BB, just 15 hits; fastball at 92-94 with peaks at 96; both change-up and slider have above-average moments but are inconsistent; throws a heavy ball and tough to drive, could develop into three-pitch mid-rotation starter or a two-pitch power bullpen arm; ETA late 2019.

Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Grade C+: Age 19, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; posted 4.01 ERA with 101/60 K/BB in 103 innings in Low-A, 87 hits; fastball 92-95 with peaks at 97-98; depending on when you see him, he can show a decent slider, a decent change-up, or a slurvy "blah" pitch, or a change that’s basically slow fastball, or any combination thereof; command is also an issue; nevertheless, has the ceiling of a number three starter or a power closer. ETA late 2019.


Tanner Scott, LHP, Grade C+: Age 22, sixth round pick in 2014 from Howard Junior College in Texas; posted 4.76 ERA with 81/57 K/BB in 64 innings between High-A and Double-A, 40 hits; obviously he walks too many hitters but he also has 100 MPH fastball and a wicked slider; the K/IP and H/IP marks aren’t lying, but neither are the BBs; highest ceiling arm in the system; at age 22, there’s still time to harness it. ETA late 2018.
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Reese Kaplan -- Who Ya Gonna Protect?

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Since it’s a historically stagnant off-season, let’s revisit the prospect of what the Mets would do if ever the league decided to expand and add another franchise.

The rules from the 1997 expansion draft it must have been a daunting task for the clubs to figure out who to protect from the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (as they were known at the time).

For round one you were only allowed to protect 15 players from your entire organization.  This group of resources was not just your 40 man roster but anyone from the entire depths of the minor league system as well.

After the first round ended, a team was allowed to add 3 more players to its protected list.  If you were lucky enough to have survived unscathed in round one, now you’d have 18 players that could no longer be selected by the new teams.

The teams chose 14 players in round 1, another 14 players in round 2 and 7 players in round three.  There were no restrictions placed on resource distribution.  Theoretically both new franchises could have raided the rosters of just one or two teams and that would have been perfectly permissible.  Had that happened, by round three a less popular team would have had 21 players protected.

Anyone who was a free agent at the end of the previous season was exempt from protection by their former club.

So now that you know the rules, let’s play GM and figure out who on the Mets you would protect in round 1, who you would add in round 2 and who you would add in round 3.

Here’s my crack at it:

Noah Syndergaard
Jacob de Grom
Matt Harvey
Steve Matz
Yoenis Cespedes
Michael Conforto
Lucas Duda
Amed Rosario
Dom Smith
Thomas Szapucki
Jeurys Familia
Robert Gsellman
Addison Reed
Tomas Nido
Asdrubal Cabrera

After the first round I would add:

Zack Wheeler
David Thompson
Justin Dunn

After the second round I would add:

Desmond Lindsay
Andres Gimenez
Luis Carpio

Assuming that the existing players’ salaries are the burden of the drafting team, I felt you could be safe in assuming no one would likely take Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker or Jay Bruce.  Although his salary is high, you have to protect Cespedes.

Since the club has a 2018 option on Cabrera, I figure you have to protect him.  Lucas Duda is a relative bargain for a 30 HR albeit flawed slugger.  You might quibble with some of the lower minors talent as high as it is here such as Thomas Szapucki, but the selecting teams get 35 players in total to start so there is room for them to hold some in the minors as well.  I figure you have to make sure your crown jewels don’t get snapped up too soon.

There were tough calls.  I’m guessing the injury history on Wuilmer Becerra pushes him behind Desmond Lindsay.  I also think they would be willing to part ways with Travis d'Arnaud and Seth Lugo as well as most of the bullpen.  Some goners for sure would include Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and perhaps even TJ Rivera.

There are no right or wrong answers here, but have at it.  Who would you protect and when?
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1/17/17

Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think? - 11

8 comments
TC
“So whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean? What do I think?”
“Whaddya think about Terry Collins as a manager?”
“I got mixed feelings about him. There are good things, there are bad.”
“What things?”
“Let me take the good first. Before last season, both Colon and Cespedes turned down more money to come back to the Mets.”
“Yeah.”
“They came here because it was a fun club to be with. I credit Collins for that. He’s got a good clubhouse. I also have to give credit to David and some of the other veteran guys. But think of where we’d be without Cespedes coming back last year, which led to his being around for the next four years. That’s big.”
“You got any other good things.”
“He gets along with the players.”
“Didn’t we just say that?”
“Not exactly. His last two managerial jobs, he fought with the players. Now he gets along with them. That means one very important thing: he can change. You can’t say that about a lot of managers.”
“True. Anything else?”
“It’s something else related to other things I just said. He works for Sandy.”
“That’s a bad thing?”
“It is. You know Sandy’s giving him a lot more marching orders than most GMs give their managers.”
“So?”
“So this guy who has a history of being outspoken, even downright argumentative, is now being a company man and doing what the front office tells him to.”
“That’s good?”
“It shows he adapts.”
“Doesn’t that prove a little frustrating for him?”
“I have a feeling that, after he has a session with Sandy he doesn’t particularly enjoy, he goes home, goes out into his back yard, and yells at the oak tree to vent his frustrations.”
“You think so?”
“Personally, I have always found oak trees to be very patient listeners.”
“You got any more good things about Terry?”
“Not much more.”
“So you have your list of complaints about him?”
“As do most fans. The first thing is the guys he likes and the guys he dislikes.”
“Who are you thinking about?”
“Most of the veterans. He likes them. He’s come out and said he likes somebody who’s got something on the back of their baseball card.”
“That’s not bad.”
“It is if those good things back there happened a long time ago. When you come to bat, they don’t send you to first base just on the basis of what you did twelve years ago. You gotta face the pitcher on that day. And you gotta swing the bat, the back of your baseball card can’t do that for you.”
“But it’s a good thing if you use someone who’s tried and true.”
“There’s only one thing wrong with that: someone’s gotta be tried before they become true. He’s got to get off the back of the baseball card thing and give the rookies more of a chance. He’s also gotta rest those backs of the baseball cards periodically during the very long 162-game season.”
“What else?”
“The guys that he likes for no good reason. I think the Met front office may have secretly given money to Eric Campbell to get him to go to Japan. The way Terry kept using him and his Mendoza batting average was not to be believed.”
“He shoulda been using the guys he didn’t like instead?”
“That’s right. But he doesn’t trust them. Like Wilmer Flores. He wouldn’t use him and wouldn’t use him, until he was finally browbeaten into sending him out there. And usually he’d hit, that is until there was one day he got an ofer. Then Terryd sit him for a week.”
“He don’t seem to like Wilmer?”
“Not from what I see. He also didn’t like Angel Pagan, so we wound up trading that guy for two pieces of cheese.”
“They were major league ballplayers.”
“Cheese woulda been better.”
“Any other raps on Terry?”
“The big one: the bullpen. He overuses some guys till their arms fall off, and the guys he doesn’t trust sit around collecting cobwebs. That is, up until the time they come in and do a good job. Then he uses them for far too many pitches until their previously unused arms begin to fall off.”
“True.”
“Here’s something that’s interesting. Terry’s a disciple of Joe Madden, and Madden overused his relievers in the World Series. Aroldis Chapman couldn’t get out of Chicago fast enough. Terry’s also like that, and he’s gotta get away from that philosophy or all the good relievers aren’t going to want to come to the Mets.”
 “Can anything be done about that?”
“There’s hope because, here’s where I get back to one of my first points, Terry knows how to change. Maybe he can listen to some one he trusts to get him to moderate his opinions. I thought that when the Mets replaced the bench coach they might find someone to help Terry with this.”
“Do you think Terry will actually change?”
“All I can do is hope. Like I keep sitting here hoping you might jump up, wave to Percy, and order us another round.”


Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.


You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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Christopher Soto - Support Case To KEEP Jay Bruce

13 comments
As we approach the final month of the pre-season, the Mets find themselves still being the owners of left handed power hitting OF Jay Bruce. Alderson’s acquisition of Bruce back in July of 2016 was a two-fold approach to solving the club’s lack of hitting. A) The move was intended to lengthen the line-up by adding another power hitter to “protect” Cespedes. B) The move was an insurance policy for 2017 just in case the club was unable to re-sign Cespedes. Bruce’s contract had a 2017 club option attached that would allow the club maintain the same power capabilities going into 2017 as they had going into 2016.

The plan above was a perfect win-win scenario for Alderson. Unfortunately, Alderson and company mis-fired on two fronts in the scenario. 1) No one expected the Mets to sign Cespedes so easily and 2) In the weakest free agent class in over 5 years…..Bruce fell into the 1 player category that had plenty of inventory…..power hitting, low average, low WAR calculation outfielders. Now it seems like the club is stuck with Bruce….However…..such a problem is perhaps a good thing. In fact, the club should WANT to keep Bruce for the entirety of the 2017 season. Here’s the reasons why…
Power is Under-valued but Still Useful

Despite Bruce’s horrendous performance in a Mets uniform…..he did manage to finish 2016 with his 4th 30+ HR season in his career. In addition, while his pace of HR slowed down as a Met, he still managed to produce a run rate that would give him 26 HRs in a full season of crappy play. Sabermetrically speaking, Bruce is not as horrible as his line with the Mets suggest. Even though he was striking out at a 3% higher rate as a Met….his Hard Hit Contact ratios were in line to his time with the Reds.



The combination of Bruce, Cespedes, and Lucas Duda gives the Mets a trio of players that can all eclipse 30+ HRs. In the last 15 years, only 19 teams had a line-up that produced 3 or more 30+ HR hitters. What was the average record of those 19 teams? That would be 91 wins, 71 losses. In addition, 18 of the 19 produced winning records and 13 of those teams made the playoffs.

Bruce is a better RF than Granderson

Let’s preface this first…..Granderson is a superior fielder to Bruce….however, when it comes to the position of RF; arm strength is weighted more heavily in the analysis than at the other 2 OF positions. Despite being a lumbering mess, Bruce possesses one of the better cannons in the league. Over the past 6 seasons, Bruce is actually 3rd in the MLB with 60 total OF assists. Only Alex Gordon (72) and Gerardo Parra (64) have thrown out more runners. If you want to be more recent, (prior 3 seasons) Bruce is in the top 8 of runners thrown out.




Any defensive liabilities that Bruce may create from a range perspective are zero out by this improvement in arm strength. In addition, his range and fielding liabilities are also mitigated by the fact that the club has one of the Highest K% rotation in baseball which means less balls in play for the OF to potentially boot. Not to mention that the club will also be carrying defensive wizard Juan Lagares on the roster in addition to solid OF defenders in Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto for late inning replacements.

Bruce Helps Terry Balance the Line-Up vs Righties

One of the more undersold weaknesses of the club in 2016 was their hitting production against Right Handed Pitchers. The club was Top 10 against lefties but against righties they finished in the bottom 10. In 2016, Bruce had a pretty significant platoon split, displaying his ineffectiveness vs lefties with a measly .678 OPS against. Against RHPs though, he posted an OPS that was almost 200 basis points HIGHER at .872 OPS. If Bruce can get back to his normal production…that .872 OPS is going to significantly boost this team’s effectiveness against the righty heavy rotations of the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves.


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Tom Brennan - RIGHTY RIPPERS

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Tom Brennan - RIGHTY RIPPERS



(Pictured - all time great righty Mets hitter Mike Piazza)
(Folks: thought I'd repost this article, in case anyone missed it last week)

The Mets' minors have plenty of good, promising righty hitters....let's call them RIGHTY RIPPERS...dudes more apt to rip the cover off the balls than their counterparts.

What seems to be lacking in this entire group is a Yoenis Cespedes type - the classic home run hitter, but I generously count up 16 guys in all.
Rather than a long running, unsorted list, I decided to sort as follows:

1) Sure-fire major league starter with high career expectations.

2) Likely to be a major league starter or frequently playing platoon guy.

3) Most likely a major league utility guy struggling for at bats.

4) Flaws make any major league impact unlikely, or too early to tell.

CATEGORY 1: SURE-FIRE BIG LEAGUER

AMED ROSARIO - may never be an NL All Star SS, but only because so many superb SS stars having entered or recently entered the NL, but he could be possibly the Mets' best career shortstop.  Ever.

CATEGORY 2:  MLB STARTER OR FREQUENT PLATOON GUY

TJ RIVERA – had the Mets not re-signed Neil Walker, I’d not have him here, after his league leading .353 in Vegas, and his subsequent .333 hitting in 105 at bats in Queens – but he may end up back in Vegas if all the other major league Ifs come out of the spring healthy. I recently compared his possible future major league arc to Jeff Keppinger or even perhaps Justin Turner.  Say no more.

GAVIN CECCHINI - hits and makes contact very well. I have a feeling his being switched to second, and adding some more long ball pop, will fix his defensive SS lapses (not everyone is cut out for SS, and thankfully, we have Rosario) and make him a major league regular, starting in 2018.

DAVID THOMPSON – for just 432 at bats, lots and lots of extra base hits (49) and RBIs (95) at 2 levels of A ball.  Project those to 600 at bats, and you have 68 extra base hits and 132 ribbies.  Maybe he is the Mets' future 3B.  It may take a David to replace a David.

PHIL EVANS – in including him this high, I am gambling here that his winning the AA batting title in 2016, with a .485 slugging %, was no one-season fluke. (He hit .311 in 19 winter ball games, too).

WUILMER BECERRA – if he can stay healthy…which he wasn’t in 2016, playing just 65 games for St Lucie and hitting .312, but with just 1 homer.  He played hurt for a while until shut down on July 17.  Before then, in one stretch, he went a torrid 35 for 75 from April 17 to May 9, which shows a great hit tool if he stays healthy.  Anyway, every team should have 2 guys whose name is pronounced wil-mer.

PETER ALONSO - small body of work to judge him on in his 2016 Brooklyn debut, but he was tearing it up (.321/.382/.587 in 120 plate appearances) on a terrible hitting team before he broke his leg.  Future star, or will he emulate Cory Vaughn, who hit well in Brooklyn several years ago but sputtered afterward?  I think his relatively low K rate (1 every 5.9 PA) bodes well…Cory fanned more.

DESMOND LINDSAY - the toolsy lad has done very well at a very young age when he has been able to stay on the field, and I am guessing 2017 will really show he is special. .303/.433/.451 in 37 games in 2016, mostly in Brooklyn.  Easy on those hamstrings, Mr. Lindsay; 120 games in 2017 would be nice.

TOMAS NIDO – catching in 90 hot Florida league games, he only hit .320/.357/.459 to win the batting title, made just 3 errors, and threw out 50 of 119 would-be base runners after a still laudable 41 of 104 in 2015.  What a 2016 season!  Will he be a better-defensive version of Kevin Plawecki, or a legit major league starter?  2017 in AA will reveal clues, but it seems his floor is Rene Rivera, who plays a lot, and hopefully he will be a better major league stick.

CATEGORY 3:  FUTURE MLB UTILITY GUY

MATT REYNOLDS – decent glove infielder, but I soured on his bat after hitting just a low power .264 in hitting heaven Las Vegas.  He did OK with the Mets at first glance, with .224/.266/.416 in a little over 90 plate appearances, but the 34 Ks are a pulsing red light.  No speed is another ceiling reducer.  Lots and lots of middle infield competition in the Mets organization.  Only injuries will get him back to Queens, it seems.

JEFF MCNEIL – Jeff was an impressive, if low powered, hitter through 2015, bulked up before 2016, and missed all but a few games of 2016 due to a sports hernia.  If fully healthy, and he can carry the added muscle, he is a real possibility for a future big league utility guy.
Career .304/.375/.391 in about 1,200 minor league plate appearances, with 45 of 58 steals.  Nice, nicer with more power.


CATEGORY 4: TALENTED, BUT DOUBTFUL MLB CHANCES, IMO

TRAVIS TAIJERON – 295 extra base hits in 2,185 minor league at bats in 645 minor league games – WOW!  But those 737 career Ks represent his roadblock.  I thought he was ready to break through in 2016 when he was hitting .314/.394/.574 on July 4, but he slid to .275 by year end.  If anything, a future strict platoon player against lefty pitchers for a weaker major league team.

EUDOR GARCIA – his drug suspension and some injuries limited him to 57 games in 2016 in Columbia, where he hit .280/.335/.427.  I think his bat will shine in 2017, but I cannot move him higher than category 4 based on his career-to-date performance.

MATT OBERSTE – like Lucas Duda, he is a 7th round large first base pick.  He hit well in 2015 and 2016 in A and AA (.292/.350/.420 in 832 at bats), but no speed and 153 Ks and just 15 homers over that span.  So, as of now, the 25 year old seems like a somewhat better hitting, less-powered Travis Taijeron in an organization with an heir-apparent 1B in Dom Smith and a righty alternative in Wilmer Flores, not to mention Peter Alonso.  He needs to up his game to make the bigs.

KEVIN TAYLOR – this 25 year old IF was drafted in the 36th round by LAD, moved to independent ball in 2014, and was signed by the Mets in 2016. In 399 at bats for St Lucie, he was a fine .288/.386/.404, but that just gets him up to about 10th on the Mets’ minors infield list.  He did not play middle infield but in fact did play a lot of outfield and 1B in 2016, with just 1 error in 70 games in those 2 slots.  A great year in 2017 could change that ranking, but he has a stiff climb to be more than a very long shot, even as a utility player.

JHOAN URENA – liked by many prior to 2015, the 3B had a weak, injury-marred 2015 and 2016, in which, combined, he hit just .222 in 608 at bats, with a .340 slugging % and 73 RBIs and 42 errors!   He will play all of 2017 as a 22 year old, so maybe the light switch goes on, but he has done himself no favors the past 2 years.  


CONCLUSION:

Too many guys for too few major league slots, and these are just the righty hitters, I have 10 more on my lefty list to come out in a few days, so I must be being a little (or more than a little) generous in my rankings.  But it is up to them to succeed, anyway. 

And up to you, dear reader, what do you think?
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1/16/17

Mack Ade - Jay Bruce

9 comments

I worked hard on this post and had it scheduled for tomorrow morning. Then came reports that the Phillies and Michael Saunders came to terms.

Oh well...

Here's what I wrote...


Good morning.


There are various media reports being, well, reported, that the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are trying to put together a deal where the Mets would put Jay Bruce on the Amtrac down to the City of Brotherly Love and, in exchange, would receive ‘two prospects’. This may be the best deal the Mets can get for someone no one else seems to want and it would give the Mets an opportunity to seed their organization with some much needed pipeline talent.

I did some research and if the deal came to fruition, and you saw any of the following names in that deal, it could turn out to be a great deal in the long run for the Mets –

RHP Nick Pivetta – He’s 23-years old with a 2017 ETA. Was part of the 2015 Jonathan Papelbon trade with the Nats. Last year, split in AA/AAA, his stat line was 3.27, 149-IP, 138-K, 51-BB. Curve, change-up, fastball up to 95. Could be an instant candidate for the Mets bullpen.

RHP Ben Lively – 24-yrs old, also with a 2017 ETA. He came over to Philly from the Red in a trade for Marlon Byrd. Dominated in 2016: AAA/AA – 18-5, 2.69, 171-IP, 139-K, 42-BB. Slider, curve, go-to change-up, and fastball up to 94. Has been a starter his entire career so any conversion to the pen might initially be difficult. I would add him to the Vegas rotation for 2016. 

C Jorge Alfaro – 23-years old, ETA late 2017. Came to Philly (boy, it seems like everybody came to this team via a trade) from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade. Would I love this guy in my pipeline… 2016 in AA:  .285/.325/.458, 15-HR. Considered a very aggressive hitter that projects to hit more home runs than our current catcher. Has always had the arm, but found the accuracy last season. Needs one more year to polish up both the bat and the glove. This guy could easily be the full time Mets catcher, beginning in 2018, for years to come.

2B Scott Kingery – 22-yrs old, ETA 2018. Yes, a second baseman. Came out of the 2015 draft. Last season, split between A+ and AA: .281/.335/.388, 30-steals, 38-BB, and only 90-Ks in 531-AB. Also had 36 doubles and has flashes of gap power. But here’s the tie breaker… a super defender on second. Kingery could join forces with Amed Rosario for many years of close down middle infield defense.

RHP Sixto Sanchez – ETA 2020 – Great name. Deals for two prospects tend to be one at the top level of an organization and one at one of the rookie levels. Teams don’t like to deal two top level chips, especially for a questionable guy like Bruce. The 18-year old could be an interesting addition. Posted a minuscule 0.50-ERA, 11-starts in Rookie ball last season… curve, change, and a fastball up to 99. I’d send him to Columbia and keep him as a starter (for now), but speed like that could speed up his move up the chain to become a member of the Mets pen in 2019.

OF Mickey Moniak – 18-yr. old, ETA 2020 – Probably a long shot to get your hands on the ex-first round 2016 pick. Had a wonderful 2016 in rookie ball (.284/.340/.409) but did not show home run power. Has great speed and ++ arm. Too early to project out, but, like I said, it would be a steal to get this kid away from Philadelpha.

RHP Franklyn Kilome – 21/yrs, ETA 2019 – Dominican 2013 signee… 6-6/175… stat line last year in Low-A:  3.85, 115-IP, 130-K, 50-BB… .357-ERA over three professional seasons… fastball up to 96, plus a curve and (so far) a poor curve. Kilome has always been a starter, and I probably would keep him starting in St. Lucie next season, but this could be a great long term projected back end reliever.

OF Roman Quinn – 23-yrs old, 2017 ETA – hit .287 last season in AA and also hit .263 in 57 at bats for the Phillies. Also, had 36 steals and 31 walks in 308 at-bats. Minor League Ball grades him out with 80-speed. A perfect candidate for the lead-off slot in Queens. Downside is health… has been hurt throughout his pro career.

You want to build a great organization? Fine, sign an established star like Bruce, then deal him off for two blue chip prospects. You now have two team controlled future stars for the cost of, well, not nothing, but close to it.


You get me C Jorge Alfaro and 2B Scott Kingery and I’m a dancin’ fool. 
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