Get To Know A Prospect: Robert Whalen

Robert Whalen, who will be 21 next year, is a RHP the Mets drafted in the 12th round of the 2012 draft. Minor League Ball ranks him as the 14th best prospect giving him a C+ ranking.

In 3 seasons he is 12-4 with a 1.89 ERA over 27 games, 24 starts and 143.0 innings. Last year he was 9-2 over 14 games, 12 starts with a 1.94 ERA pitching 69.2 innings with a 0.990 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 3.00 K/BB ratio.

Looking at just his stats, his WHIP and K/9 are incredibly impressive. He did most of the work at Savannah last year. His next year is going to be important in determining how he develops considering he missed the majority of last season due to an infection in his hand. Can he pitch more than ~70 innings in a season and still keep his numbers? If Savannah is more of a pitching park, what happens when he goes to more of an even park?  If anything he is intriguing.

Where Are They Now: Mets in Los Angeles (Angels Edition)

The Angels currently have two former Mets on their roster: Joe Smith and Collin Cowgill.

Joe Smith made his major league debut with the Mets in 2007 and played two seasons with the Amazin’s. Back in Queens he had a 3.51 ERA over 107.2 innings and 97 strikeouts. Overall in his career he has recorded a 2.78 ERA and he is coming off of a season where he had a 1.81 ERA over 74.2 innings. The Mets traded him in December 2008 as part of a three team trade that brought JJ Putz, Jeremy Reed and Sean Green to the Mets. He’s gone off and has had a great career.

Collin Cowgill was essentially a starting outfielder for the Mets at the beginning of 2007, but his Mets career lasted 23 games with a .180 BA, .206 OBP. He did hit an Opening Day Grand Slam. He’s been fairly successful with the Angels since then, last year getting 260 AB’s and batting .250, .330 OBP and a .354 SLG. The Mets acquired Collin for Jefry Marte and traded him to the Angels for Kyle Johnson.

This series of articles will take us across every organization in baseball and look for former Mets in the majors and minors to see how they are doing, leading up to a “Former Mets Team” to see how the current Mets stack up with pieces we have all over the place. I am still looking for Mets team members on the Pirates, Rangers, White Sox and Tigers. If you any, please let me know!

Where Are They Now: Mets In Houston

As far as I can tell, there is only 1 former New York Met in the Houston Astros’ organization: Collin McHugh.

McHugh was drafted by the Mets in 2008. In 2012 he was 0-4 over 8 games and 4 starts over 21.1 innings with an ERA of 7.59 allowing 18 earned runs and 21 runs total over that time. In 2013 as a Met he was 0-4 over 7 games and 5 starts with a 10.04 ERA over 26.0 innings allowing 29 earned runs.

Midseason 2013 he was traded to the Rockies for Eric Young. In four more starts that season he was 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA.

The Astros then selected McHugh off of waivers and he turned into another pitcher. In 25 starts last year he had a 2.73 ERA with a 11-9 record over 154.2 innings and 157 strikeouts. If I was building a former Mets team, before last year I would not field McHugh as a starter unless I couldn’t find any other pitchers. I hope that his breakout season is indicative of what he can do and he becomes a mainstay of the Astros rotation.

This series of articles will take us across every organization in baseball and look for former Mets in the majors and minors to see how they are doing, leading up to a “Former Mets Team” to see how the current Mets stack up with pieces we have all over the place. I am still looking for Mets team members on the Pirates, Rangers, White Sox and Tigers. If you any, please let me know!

Get To Know A Prospect: Jhoan Urena

The Mets have an interesting system at lower levels with some interesting players. One way to guarantee not to get a ton of attention from the fan base and the media is to play third base, thanks to a certain generational player at the major league level.

Jhoan Urena is on the cusp of national attention. The third basemen from the Dominican Republic will be 21 next season. Over his first three seasons he has spent time in the Dominican Republic Summer League, Gulf Coast League and the New York Penn League. During that time he has played in 186 games, 702 AB’s with a .292 BA, .345 OBP, and .409 SLG.

Last season he hit .300 with a.356 OBP and a .431 SLG in Brooklyn. Over his 85 hits he had 20 doubles, a triple and 5 homers, his most homers in any season but not statistically significant compared to his AB totals. The question for him, like most players his age, is how does that power develop? He has been able to hit for average and moderate power at the lower levels, but what happens as he starts to grow into his frame? Minor League Ball ranked him as the #10 prospect. I’m curious to see how he starts to hit next season as he starts to move up the rankings. The rumblings are that Savannah is another minor league ball park where power numbers tend to take a dive (re: Dominic Smith).

Get To Know A Mets Prospect: Marcos Molina

It is easy to focus on the Mets top arms, because they have so many, however a new player is starting to rise up on the lists: Marcos Molina.

Molina, who will be 20 years old next season, is a RHP from the Dominican Republic. Baseball America this year ranked him #9, and the first pitcher after Rafael Montero. Minor League Ball ranked him #8, and also the first pitcher after Rafael Montero. Minor League Ball ranked him a B-/B rating, stating that he garnered support after an impressive month in Brooklyn.

Overall in the minors he is 16-8 with a 3.07 ERA over 37 games, 31 starts with 184.2 innings of work. Last year was the year though he really broke out in Brooklyn going 7-3 over 12 starts and 76.0 innings with a 1.78 ERA, 0.842 WHIP and a 5.06 K/BB ratio.

Scouts at Minor League Ball say he needs to develop his breaking pitches. He’s gaining attention right now really on the very impressive numbers he had in Brooklyn which are just not talked about due to Syndergaard/Matz/Montero in the system. As those three leave, more eyes will be on Molina. If he can put up a statistically impressive season at a higher level this year, expect him to be a household name next fall.

Another Met on a Top Prospect Position List (Herrera)

It has been a good week for finding Mets players on the top prospect lists on MLB.com. They have had a player on the RHP List, the LHP List, the Catcher List, and First Base.

Today, it’s second base’s turn.

Right now the Mets have fan favorite, and my personal favorite, Daniel Murphy patrolling the bag, but it seems unlikely at the end of the year the Mets will give him a long term deal which is partially due to money (he was an All-Star last year and is pretty consistent) and also partially due to Dilson Herrera and Wilmer Flores. If the Mets find a shortstop, the two of them sort of back each other up in case one has an offense that doesn’t pan out. Dilson, Herrera, 20 year-old Columbian Second Basemen, was acquired as the player to be named later in the Buck and Byrd trade that also landed the Mets Vic Black.

On the MLB.com prospect ranking, Herrera is ranked 4th with an arrival of 2017 (even though he played in the majors last year). MLB.com gave him the following numbers: Hit 55, Power 40, Run 55, Arm 50, Field 55 and Overall 50. Last year he was the 8th best 2B prospect with the numbers: Hit 50, Power 45, Run 60, Arm 50, Field 55 and Overall 50.

 

His power potential (for 2B) is strong. Despite hitting only .220 last season in the majors he still had a slugging of .407. There are those who feel that he could be a potential all-star in a few seasons. Anything above “major league starter” would be a steal in the trade the Mets made, and I’m hoping he pans out.

Get To Know A Spring Training Invitee: Alex Castellanos

The 28 year-old was signed as a free agent this off-season after being granted free agency from the Padres organization. Previously he spent time in the Rangers system and had 41 AB’s in the majors from 2012-13 with the Dodgers organization.

The outfielder joins a complicated depth chart for the Mets that features starters Lagares/Granderson/Cuddyer with Mayberry/den Dekker/Captain Kirk/Puello/Vaughn. For the Mets, Alex represents a player that can put onto the 40 in a hurry in an emergency if they don’t want to mess with options with some of their other OF players.

In the majors Castellanos batted .171 over his 41 AB’s with 4 extrabase hits, including 2 homers. Last year he hit .275 with a .351 OBP while recording 99 hits over 360 AB’s with 25 doubles, 5 triples and 8 homers.

Alex, more so than others, has a shot of moving up the Mets depth chart. He was able to hit in the minors last year, and we already know the Mets are tepid (for better or worse, I’m not sure) on using Puello. If they don’t want to add Vaughn to the 40 man to protect him, then Alex becomes a good choice. Also, my gut says they want to protect someone like den Dekker as well, meaning they don’t want him to come up if he isn’t going to get regular playing time (although they haven’t always treated him like this). If Kirk is already on the 25 man, then Alex may be the next one up in case of injury.

If anything, Castellanos is a nice addition to depth chart.

Fourth Position Prospect List In A Row From MLB.com Features a Met (Dominic Smith)

So far this week the Mets have had Noah Syndergaard on the RHP Prospect List, Steven Matz on the LHP List, and Kevin Plawecki on the Catcher List. Yesterday Dominic Smith was featured on the First Basemen List.

This is tremendous for the Mets organization, to have players appearing high on theses lists.

For Dominic Smith, it was a bit of a step back. On the 2015 list, he is considered the 4th best first base prospect. In 2014 he was 1st and in 2013 he was 5th. From 2014 to 2015 scouts have ranked his stats different:

2015: Hit 50, Power 50, Run 40, Arm 50, Field 60, Overall 50
2014: Hit 60, Power 55, Run 40, Arm 50, Field 60, Overall 55

Basically, his power didn’t show up as much as they thought in 2014, some of which could be attributed to him being in a pitcher park, and also his age. He is still growing into his frame, and he is young. I feel that people were a little too down on him after the 2014 season. Luckily with the crop of players we have coming off, the pressure is starting to come off of him (especially with Duda breaking out last year). I’m curious to see how Smith rebounds this upcoming season.

Kevin Plawecki Recognized on MLB.com Top Catching Prospect List

After Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz were recognized by MLB.com for being the #2 RHP Prospect and #8 LHP prospect in the country respectively, Kevin Plawecki was named the 6th best catching prospect in the minors yesterday. The only surprise here is at the end of 2014, Plawecki was the 4th best catcher on list.

MLB.com gives his hitting a 55, power a 45, run 35, arm 50, field 50 and an overall score of 55. His numbers are the same as last year, so his drop in position isn’t about him regressing but people around him improving. The scouts at MLB.com talk about right now he is hampered by the obvious, Travis d’Arnaud, the 2013 best catching prospect from MLB.com. They note how he can compete for the #1 job in the near future.

Now as a pragmatic fan, I don’t see a lot of ways that this can play out. Kevin has to have regular playing time. Like the scouts note, in the beginning he looked like a borderline starter, which is a good place to be as a catcher because backup catchers get significant playing time in a season compared to other positions. But if he is the real deal, or has the potential to be a starter, he needs to play the same amount as a regular catcher. With d’Arnaud’s surge the second half the year, barring an injury to either one (knock on wood but knowing d’Arnaud’s history…) Plawecki should be moved. A player with potential of hitting well at the catcher spot should be easy to move in a trade.

The Mets are in a good position when it comes to catchers, but they need to be wary of hurting them due to a log jam.

MLB.com Pitcher Prospect List Features Syndergaard and Matz (Duh.)

MLB.com is starting to roll out their top prospect lists by first releasing the top prospects by position. Yesterday they released their top 10 right handed pitchers and today they released their top 10 left handed pitchers.

Syndergaard being #2 on the RHP list wasn’t a surprise. MLB.com gives his fastball a 70, curveball a 60, changeup a 55, control a 60 and overall a 65. They also say all the normal things you hear about Noah, his frame, his delivery, the development of his pitches and control over the last couple of years. For those wondering who was #1, that ranking went to Lucas Giolito of the Nationals organization who is looking at his major league debut in 2016 (fastball 80, curveball 70, changeup 55, control 60, overall 65).

It was interesting seeing Steven Matz at #8 on the LHP list. I’m still used to Mets prospects being over-hyped within the system and with fans, and I’m not used to seeing our surprise prospects receiving National recognition, yet that is exactly what is happening to Matz. His fastball was given a 65, 50 for his curve, 60 for his changeup, 50 for his control with an overall score of 55. In their discussion of Matz, which you can read at the above link, they discuss his TJ surgery and his long path to where he is now from 2009 to 2012. The feel from their writing is that as he moves away from the surgery and injuries and continues to improve, the stigma of having that surgery starts to decrease. They also call him a potential frontline starter to join the Mets other young frontline starters. This builds off nicely from what we know about Matz from QBC15 where Wally Backman discussed how in his eyes Matz is the best pitching prospect in the Mets organization right now.