Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #16 Corey Oswalt

After a brief hiatus from this series, we’re back with Corey Oswalt! A pitcher who in my personal opinion got the short end of the stick in terms of prospect development this year as the Mets constantly sent him across the country, on red-eyes and short notice to pitch off schedule.

Oswalt was a late bloomer in the Mets system. BA attributes this to making a late conversion to pitching in high school thus spending more years in the lower levels of the Mets organization than a Top 30 prospect would.

The 2017 was his year thought. He went 12-5 over 24 games and 134 innings posting a 2.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP while recording 119 K’s vs 40 BB’s. This landed Oswalt on every Mets bloggers radar for the upcoming season.

Overall for the Mets last year, Oswalt went 5-5 over 17 games, 12 starts and 64.2 innings with a 5.85 ERA, 5.70 FIP, 1.376 WHIP and 63 ERA+. Somethings pop out when you look at his splits though. He had a solid stretch of starts in July where he pitched 20.0 innings and posted a 3.60 ERA (he posted a 6.35/6.14 ERA in August and September when the Mets started bouncing him around the bullpen and the rotation).

The change in numbers in July is seen even more when you only look at Oswalt as a starter. In 12 games and 55.1 innings as a starter, he had a 4.72 ERA, 1.319 WHIP. As a reliever in 5 games, only 9.1 innings, he had a 12.54 ERA with a 1.714 WHIP. Ultimately this speaks about the gaps in development the Mets provided once the season was spiraling out of control.

Oswalt’s position next year is completely dependent on two things. First, do the Mets sign another starter? If the Mets go sign or trade for another starter, Oswalt is almost certainly starting in Syracuse. Next, will the Wilpons get over Vargas? Vargas, making quite a bit money, gets the edge on Oswalt because he’s making quite a bit of money and the Wilpons historically push for playing time for their high rolling players.

Of course, all of that is predicated on Oswalt having a good spring. The most likely scenario for Oswalt is the team will debate in Spring whether he’s a starter or a reliever and if they pick the former, they’ll send him to Syracuse to start the season. Barring an injury to Corey, we’ll see him in 2018.

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New Marlins Jerseys / Hat / Branding on the 15th

The Marlins have been heavily hinting, practically yelling, that they are doing a rebranding before the upcoming season. Earlier in October there were several leaks that were floating around the internet that pointed to an aquaish blue (not quite teal, not quite blue), orange and a heavy influence of black.

Then the banner on the twitter page for the Marlins changed show casing views of the city like this:

Which reinforces the idea in the leaks of a orange and blue accented logo that is mostly black.

Since the Marlins did that around the end of the World Series, they have been pushing their new hashtag #OurColores. In between posting pictures of billboards and local artists making murals presumably about the uniform reveal, the Marlins have now taken to posting hints at the uniform:


The button tweet screams blue jersey. The other two tweets look like detail shots on a black jersey (I’m pretty sure the last one is a number, not a closeup of a logo on a hat).

It won’t be a mystery anymore in a couple of days, so speculate away.

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Rosario In Japan

There’s a good chance you didn’t know that the MLB has sent a contingent of stars to play against the Japanese National Baseball team. The MLB has done a really bad job advertising this outside of a handful of gifs on twitter and playing the games on MLB Network. Alas, baseball, from some of the more exciting players in the game, is happening overseas. Four games have been played so far (3 against the National team and a warm-up against an NPB team) and Rosario has played in the first three games:

  • 11/8: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • 11/9: 3-4, 2 R, K, 2B, HR
  • 11/10: 1-5, K, SB

Overall, Rosario has a 1.333 OPS in three games and announcers are talking about his rising stock in value. From August 10th on last year Rosario hit .303/.335/.444 (he was hitting .230/.274/.346 heading into the 1oth).

There’s a few games left, let’s see what Rosario does on the world stage.

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Free Agent Predictions and the Mets From Bowden

We are heading into the start of the free agent season so pundits are posting their predictions all over the place. We already looked at MLBTR, here we are going to take a look at what Jim Bowden at The Athletic (subscription required and suggested) says and see where MLBTR and Bowden line up!

MLBTR links players to teams and then makes a prediction for where they will go. Bowden just links teams that either he predicts will be interested or we know have already showed interest. Bowden also includes more SABR friendly stats like wRC+, OPS+, FIP’s, Curveball spin rates, etc

Players the Mets are interested in according to Bowden:

  • Manny Machado (SS/3B)
  • Craig Kimbrel (RHP)
  • AJ Pollock (CF)
  • Yasmani Grandal (C)
  • Wilson Ramos (C)
  • Zach Britton (LHP)
  • Adam Ottavino (RHP)
  • Jeurys Familia (RHP)
  • David Robertson (RHP)
  • Joe Kelly (RHP)

As a quick reminder MLBTR had the Mets linked to Kimbrel, Grandal, Britton, Robertson, Soria with the Mets signing the last two.

Both websites agree with the publicly known notion that the Mets will be rebuilding their pen and several of the names between the two are the same. If MLBTR had a “linked to” section for Famila, I’m sure the Mets would have been there. If Bowden wrote about the top 50 FA’s so Soria would be on his list, he would probably have the Mets there too.

They differ in a couple key places. For MLBTR, they see the Mets going after Grandal or no catcher as Bowden, more conservatively has the Mets linked to Grandal and Ramos, the latter who will benefit this off-season in a bidding war for the former (or will benefit due to the QO tag).

Bowden also sees the Mets at least entertaining the idea of entering the Machado sweepstakes as it makes sense outside of the existence of Jeff and Fred Wilpon and Bowden sees the Mets interested in AJ Pollock. That point is more interesting. If the Mets signed Pollock, would they move one of their outfielders? They are still missing a true CF

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Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #17 Jamie Callahan

Jamie Callahan was the most league ready player the Mets got in the 2017 Addison Reed trade with the Red Sox. That trade brought the Mets young and untested Stephen Nogosek (who represented the Mets in the AFL this year), flamethrower Gerson Bautista (who made his debut this year in the majors and also played in the AFL this fall) and Jamie Callahan who made his major league debut in 2017 at the age of 22.

Last week the Mets outrighted Callahan off the 40-man roster and Jamie elected for free agency instead. How did we get here?

Jamie had a long trip up the minors after being drafted in 2012 by the Red Sox. He struggled as a starter and eventually the Red Sox switched him to be a reliever in 2016. That year he posted a 3.29 ERA over 36 games and 66 innings while posting a 1.39 WHIP and holding batters to a .218 average.

The next year, before being traded, he posted a 1.38 ERA in AA with the Red Sox over 10 games and 13 innings earning a promotion where he posted a 4.03 ERA over 22 games and 29.0 innings. Unlike most players, he was successful in Vegas posting a 1.80 ERA over 9 games and 10 innings getting a call up to the majors where he posted a respectable 4.05 ERA over 6.2 innings in 9 games. It looked like Callahan was going to have a future with the Mets, mainly because his velocity over the last 3 years increased. BA reports it went from 92-95 to 95-97 and sometimes touched 99.

He struggled early in Vegas this year, posting a 9.72 ERA over 7 game sand 8.1 innings and eventually elected season ending shoulder surgery.

It is not known yet if he will be ready for spring training, which led to the Mets outrighting him. Now he’s a free agent with no definitive sign when he’ll be ready.

My gut says the Mets will try to sign him to a new deal. They’ll have to hope that no one else wants to roll the dice with him.

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Reviewing How MLB Trade Rumors Sees the Top 50 Free Agents and the Mets

Late last week MLB Trade Rumors published their highly anticipated, yearly article where they try to predict the contracts and teams for the top 50 Free Agents. Lets take a look at how they think the Mets will deal with the 2018-2019 Free Agent class, one of the most star studded classes of all time:

Craig Kimbrel (Cardinals 4/70)
MLBTR has the Mets listed as outside possibility to land Kimbrel, who in the past has shut down the Mets (when he was with the Braves).

Yasmani Grandal (Nationals 4/64)
Interestingly, this is the only catcher MLBTR attaches the Mets to, despite not ultimately signing him. The Qualifying Offer makes him a more difficult sign. I’m not sure why the Mets are not associated with Ramos. This deserves its own article later as the Mets look to navigate tendering d’Arnaud a contract, Plawecki, Nido and minor league playing time for Ali Sanchez.

Zach Britton (Astros 3/33)
MLBTR lists Britton right under Familia, and does not have the Mets associated with their old closer at all (given the Mets history of signing their old players again for reunions, this feels like an oversight). Britton only feels like an upgrade over Familia because he’s not Familia and outside of Frazier, the Mets have not signed players who never wore the orange or blue in the off-season. (Well, there was Swarzak but that didn’t work out well).

David Robertson (Mets 3/33)
This is the first of two players MLBTR feels the Mets will sign in the top 50. He’s similar-ish to the relievers listed above except he’s slightly older already at 34. He’s representing himself. Ultimately, his best quality to the Wilpons might be having success with the Yankees. He already played in NY and the Mets would be “taking him” from across town (but of course, if the Yankees really wanted him, they would have him).

Joakim Soria (Mets 2/18)
Soria is not the same as he used to be so this signing makes sense for the Mets who sign players at the end of the career who used to have name recognition. That being said, the Mets need as many arms as they can get in their bullpen and as long as they can cut ties with free agent signings if they don’t work (ie. the opposite of what they did with Reyes last year) than a Soria signing is great.

Not surprisingly, MLBTR has the Mets linked almost exclusively to relievers. The Mets need a ton of arms coming into the next season. The Mets would also benefit though from one more starter and third basemen. A certain third basemen who plays short stop and is the #2 free agent on their list.

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Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #18 Patrick Mazeika

Stop me if you have heard this one before: the Mets have a player in the system that doesn’t really fit any position in the field particularly well, but they shown strike zone knowledge, they hit the ball well and have the promise for pop. Coming into 2018 that’s where Patrick Mazeika, a catcher and firstbasemen found himself.

BA was down on his defensive mechanics at both positions and that he must grow defensively in order to continue to move up.

The Mets drafted Patrick in the 8th round of the 2015 draft after he hit .348 for three years at Stetson University. He started his minor league career at Kingsport and he dominated hitting .354/.451/.540 – eyepopping numbers really spreading the ball all over the place. The next season, he was 22 at this point, he continued, hitting .305/.414/.402 in Columbia. Two years in a row like this you start to turn heads (except for the defense stuff). In 2017 he mostly played in St Lucie but had a week or so in Binghamton. He combined for a .290/.389/.416 line.

Patrick came into 2018 needing to continue his production at Binghamton. Over 87 games that just didn’t happen the same way. He hit .231/.328/.363. Not bad for a catcher, but a large drop off from previous years. These numbers could be a combination of a couple of things. First off, he’s getting better defensively. Second, as John Sheridan at MMO found, he had a .216 BABIP, so super unlucky and in August for a period of time he was hitting .381/.480/.524. The article also talked about his decrease in playing time.

That latter part is what I personally believed led to Mazeika’s down year offensively. The Mets have really messed with Nido’s development behind the plate keeping him all over the country thus cutting into everyone else’s time. For Patrick, his playing time next year and his level will completely depend on what the Mets do this year in the off-season. If they don’t sign any catchers, Nido will have to be with the club breaking camp so Mazeika will be in Syracuse. If the Mets sign a back up catcher or a starting catcher, Nido goes to Syracuse and then the Mets have a tough choice with Mazeika. Do they send him to Syracuse to split time with Nido? The Mets already have a logjam at first base their too. Or do they send him to Binghamton to get the lion’s share of playing time?

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Scanning Twitter for Marlins Uniform Leaks

It’s an open secret, maybe not even a secret anymore, that the Marlins are looking to change their uniforms in a major way for the upcoming season. Over the last two weeks or so, several designs have found themselves on twitter awaiting league approval.

The vibe is that the Marlins will officially reveal their new uniforms in November which is around when major rebrands happen anyway (sometime around the holiday season, after the official end of the current year, etc).

Depending on how you count, this will be the 3rd or the 4th Marlins overhaul of their logo (see it all here). There’s the original fish and the teal/green color from 1993-2011. Then, when they signed Jose Reyes no less along with a bunch of players, they rebranded completely from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins rendering the F in their logo useless. They took on a more Miami palette of colors as well. They did change their logo again slightly in 2017, removing the black from the inner part of the Marlins M. If you feel strongly about it, you could call it their 3rd generation of jerseys, otherwise it’s their second generation of jerseys part 2.

If the above leaks pan out, the Marlins will look quite different next year. I’m saving judgment right now until we see the whole set.

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Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #19 Tyler Bashlor

The #19 prospect on BA’s list is a player you probably heard of since he was on the major league roster for a large chunk of time (although went through periods of limited use) – Tyler Bashlor.

The Mets drafted Bashlor in 2013 and have been anxiously awaiting his debut which happened this past year (at age 25). After playing rookie ball in Kingsport putting up a 5.74 ERA over 15.2 innings, Tyler had Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2014 and 2015 season.

Bashlor returned in 2016 cruising through the South Atlantic league posting a 2.50 ERA over 50.1 innings (and spent some time with St. Lucie as well) but he didn’t make the jump to “on people’s radars” until 2017. He posted a 4.89 ERA in St. Lucie over 35 innings followed by not allowing any runs over 14.2 innings in Binghamton. BA notes that when he made the jump, his fastball jumped in velocity and he ended up leading the minor leagues with 15.2 K/9.

That last stat is what made him intriguing coming into the 2018 season. He was missing bats and throwing around 100 mph. He picked up right where he left off with Binghamton posting a low 2.63 ERA over 24.0 innings and getting the call to the majors.

He wasn’t lights out, dominate, right away in the majors but showed enough to give us a sign that he is developing (especially considering he never went to Las Vegas and was facing a jump in hitter quality). He ended the season pitching 32.0 innings with a 4.22 ERA, 5.44 FIP, 1.188 WHIP and 88 ERA+. The WHIP is the standout stat for him as his control was a problem in the minors. If he can keep striking players out while limiting his WHIP, the rest of his stats will come around.

Earlier in the article it was hinted that he had several points of time of “major rest”. Bashlor pitched in his second game on June 29th, then didn’t come back to the mound until July 8th, this happened again on July 15th through the 27th. From August 29th to the end of the season, he was pitching about every three days, got into 9 games logging 8.1 innings. He struck out 12 batters and posted a 2.16 ERA. It’s the end of the season, with Tyler on regular rest which makes me believe he’s a key part of the bullpen next year, especially if the Wilpons are frugal this off-season.

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Reviewing Baseball America’s 2018 Top 30 Mets Prospects: #20 Drew Smith

As we continue to work our way through the prospect list we reach another player who made it to the majors last year, Drew Smith (joining Jacob Rhame, PJ Conlon, and Gerson Bautista, earlier entries in this series). Drew Smith was traded to the Mets from the Rays in the trade that sent Lucas Duda away in 2017. Like pretty much everyone else the Mets got in the 2017 sell off, Drew Smith throws some serious heat.

Before we get into how he did in 2018, lets review his 2017. He was traded multiple times (the first time occurring in April between the Tigers and the Rays) thus he played for 5 different minor league teams across three levels of ball including the Lakeland Tigers (High A), Charlotte Intimidators (High A), Montgomery Biscuits (AA), Durham Bulls (AAA), and the Binghamton Mets (now Rumble Ponies) (AA). I don’t nearly have the amount of time necessary to figure this out but being on 5 different teams plus minor league promotion nights, I would assume Smith wore a record or near record amount of different uniforms in 2017.

Overall in 20176 he posted a 1.65 ERA across 42 games and 60.0 innings. With those numbers he was a lock to play in Las Vegas at some point in 2018 with a high chance of being called to the majors and an outside chance of starting the season in the majors with a strong spring training (which didn’t happen).

Across Binghamton and Las Vegas this season Smith performed well posting a 3.16 ERA in 25 games and 37.0 innings including a 3.31 ERA over 32.2 innings in Las Vegas where it felt like Mets pitchers struggled more at than usual last season (probably a combination of normal pitching problems in Vegas and players being jerked around all over the system).

Smith got the call up this year and handled it well. In his rookie year he pitched in 27 games with the Mets, 28.0 innings posting a 3.54 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.429 WHIP and 105 ERA+. The WHIP speaks mostly to how you probably remember watching him play in 2018, with runners always on base, but he didn’t let it effect him too much.

This was a great step for Smith. I’m excited to see what he brings to the team next year especially with how much help the Mets need in the bullpen vs how much they end up getting this off-season. If the Mets wise up and overhaul the bullpen, there is a chance Drew starts in the minors this year or is competing for a spot on the roster in Spring. If the Mets only sign 1-2 players for the pen, he’ll “compete” for a spot but will almost will definitely get it.

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