Spring Training Game Preview: Cardinals vs Mets AND Mets @ Astros

After not playing a split squad game for weeks, the Mets will play their last split squad today sending have their squad to the Astros and keeping another half at home vs the Cardinals.

Yesterday the Mets returned to competitive baseball for the first time since Monday as they beat the Marlins 6-0 largely due to the bats of Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. The former who two homers, his first two of spring. The latter hit his 4th homer in his 4th game in a row leading the Mets Twitter account to call him Michael ConFOURto.

Hector Santiago makes the start at home against the Cardinals. Santiago has an upward mobility clause that kicks in next week so this start isn’t only for the Mets. If any other team likes what they see and thinks he can be on their 25-man, Santiago might be gone. During Spring Training he has pitched 5 major league games totaling 6.2 innings allowing 7 runs from 11 hits and a walk while striking out 12.

Jason Vargas makes road start against the Astros. He faced his first bump in the road in his last start where he allowed 4 runs towards the end of his outing. Before he did that though, his ERA for the spring dipped down to a 0.75. Overall this spring he has allowed 5 runs over 12.1 innings, a 3.65 ERA.

Things To Watch For Today:

  1. Michael Conforto’s very good week of baseball has raised his spring slash line considerably. At the start of the week, it read “slow start” now it’s at .265/.321/.531 and it says “bring me all your hopes and dreams Mets fans”
  2. Yesterday the bases were loaded for the Marlins in the top of the 9th. They had two outs and were down by 6. A ball was struck to right field that had 1, 2 runs written all over it but Keon Broxton made an excellent diving catch which is a huge reason why the Mets sought him out this off-season.
  3. Matz only pitching 5.0 innings yesterday allowed a whole bunch of other Mets to get some game action in. Bashlor had a good bounce back outing tossing a scoreless, hitless 1.0 innings. So far this spring it feels like he’s terrific or terrible.
  4. O’Rourke had an interesting outing where he got himself into and out of trouble walking 2 in an inning but not allowing a hit or a run. He dropped is ERA to 1.93.
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2019 Mets Conglomerate Projections: Tim Peterson

Tim Peterson has put up some eye-popping ERA’s in the minor leagues. In 2015, he posted a 1.69 over 21.1 innings in low A ball. The next year he posted a 3.03 between high A and AA. The following year he posted a 1.86 ERA over 58.0 innings across AA and AAA and last year in 38.2 innings in Las Vegas he posted a 3.49 which was among the team’s best. His major league debut stats weren’t the best:

2018: 27.2 IP, 6.18 ERA 5.76 FIP, 1.229 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, -0.4 WAR

If the Mets didn’t make any changes to their bullpen this off-season, Tim Peterson would either be starting the season in Queens or competing for a spot. He was lightly competing for a spot this year but really jockeying for a position on the depth chart. I would put him on a short list of players who could get called up whenever the Mets need a fresh arm. Here’s what computers think he’ll do:

(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )

It’s interesting that there’s less variance in Peterson’s projections then Oswalt’s projections we looked at yesterday despite Oswalt having about 3x the amount of innings logged. The projections all saw Peterson will be better and if given a longer look last year his numbers would probably be close to the projected numbers above.

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Game Preview: Marlins vs Mets

Hello! It’s been a while! The Mets last played on Monday and on Tuesday Wheeler was supposed to get a final tune-up against the Marlins. The rain came instead and the Mets/Marlins like three other games in Florida were cancelled. Then the Mets had a scheduled off-day.

Let’s Recap: Monday there was a rain threat and they wanted to get Familia into the game early, so Familia started over Dowdy. Dowdy was the pitcher to watch on Monday and he helped his chances pitching 3.0 innings allowing 3 hit sand 2 walks and allowing no runs. He got into trouble early but was able to get out of it. The advantage he has going into the final roster push – if the Mets don’t give him a spot, they’ll lose him. Meanwhile, in the minor league game yesterday, Wheeler tossed 7.0 innings and looked good.

Also on deck for the Mets: Adeiny Hechavarria, Devin Mesoraco and Rajai Davis have all triggered their upward mobility clauses, so the Mets need to make them available to other teams that may want to add them to active rosters. If that does happen, the Mets will have 48 hours to figure out if they themselves can add them to 25 man or if they have to let them go.

Mets Lineup:

  1. Brandon Nimmo (CF)
  2. Pete Alonso (1B)
  3. Robinson Cano (2B)
  4. Wilson Ramos (C)
  5. Michael Conforto (RF)
  6. JD Davis (3B)
  7. Jeff McNeil (LF)
  8. Amed Rosaro (SS)
  9. Steven Matz (P)

Game Notes:

  1. Michael Conforto hit a homer in his third straight game on Monday. His 4th of the spring now brings his spring training line to .255/.314/.468 in 51 PA’s.
  2. Big start for Steven Matz today. So far this spring he has allowed 13 runs, all earned over 10.2 innings in 4 games. Here’s hoping he can put himself back on the right path.
  3. JD Davis gets another infield start as he tries to make a case to open the season at third, putting McNeil in the outfield and Lagares on the bench. Davis is hitting .298/.340/.447 in 50 spring PAs right now
  4. Two of the Mets new additions are having terrific springs. Wilson Ramos is hitting .321/.367/.429 and Robinson Cano is hitting .475/.512/.700 over 43 PAs.
  5. All of the players with upward mobility clauses are sitting on the bench right now but are still listed as available. This could be an interesting development or a non-development throughout the day.

Let’s Go Mets!

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2019 Mets Conglomerate Projections: Corey Oswalt

Corey Oswalt is on the short list to replace a starting pitcher this season if any pitcher needs it, which is why we are writing a 2019 stats projection article for him. He’s already been assigned to minor league camp, although in the last couple of days we may see a return of Oswalt as the regulars limit their work load in their final tuneups, throw on the backfields, etc.

2018: 64.7 IP, 5.85 ERA, 5.70 FIP, 1.376 WHIP, 6.3 K/9, 5.73 DRA
2019 Spring Training: 3 G, 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 7 K, 1.69 ERA, 0.750 WHIP

His numbers weren’t terribly impressive last year but the Mets quite literally jerked him around and over the country between Las Vegas and Queens using him in emergency situations and constantly changing his role with the club. With the way the Mets built the pen this year, he shouldn’t even be considered as a bullpen injury replacement so this should at least keep him in one role. The AAA club in Syracuse should also keep him generally in the same time zone as the Mets. Computers think he’ll put up the following numbers this year:

(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )

ZiPS and ESPN (quite surprising to see him in agreement), see Oswalt as improving but not by much. Everyone else sees him becoming an average 5th starter with irregular playing time if he gets it and that seems like a fair hope for Oswalt this season.

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2019 Mets Conglomerate Projections: Steven Matz

Last year the Mets saw Zack Wheeler turn a corner and become that top tier pitcher they always thought they could be. The hope is the same thing happens to Steven Matz this year. The Mets already have one of the best 1-3 rotations in baseball and a slightly improved Matz would elevate them to one of the best 1-4’s in baseball.

2018: 154 IP, 3.97 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.247 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 1.5 WAR, 3.62 DRA
Career: 3.98 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.281 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 3.94 DRA

Last year was a solid year for Matz. There were times where it felt like he was pitching worse than he was (FIP shows that) but compared to over pitchers (DRA) he had a successful year. What do computers think he’ll do this year?

(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )

With two exceptions, most projections have Steven Matz slightly worse in ERA, better in FIP abut the same in WHIP so he’ll be the same player in 2019 that he was in 2018. THere are two exceptions. Baseball Reference is quite down on Matz for the upcoming year. Baseball Prospectus, who is usually the most conservative, is quite up on Matz this year. 3.74 ERA / 1.18 WHIP would be a significant improvement.

What’s going to happen? We’ll find out in a little over a week!

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2019 Mets Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Carlos Gomez

Poetic Justice! Carlos Gomez is back in a Mets uniform.

The Mets signed Carlos Gomez way back in 2002 and as he was coming up through the system, he was lauded for his speed and his ability to possibly beat Jose Reyes in a foot race. It was an exciting time for thinking about Mets prospects. There was the speed Carlos Gomez, the hitting machine Fernando Martinez and David Wright / Jose Reyes were becoming stars in Citi Field.

The Mets traded Gomez in 2008 for Johan Santana in a critical trade that changed the Mets history. Gomez was traded with Deolis Guerra, Phillip Humber and Kevin Mulvey, but only Gomez would eventually become a star.

But not for the Twins. The following year he was traded to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy. Gomez would become a fan favorite over the next 6 years in Milwaukee.

Until the trade deadline 2015. The Mets traded for a Gomez homecoming for Wilmer Flores. Flores showed his heart. The trade fell apart, Flores would then hit walk-off later in the week, starting a massive month long rally. The Mets would acquire Cespedes and go to the World Series.

The Gomez side of the story was different. He was traded to Astros where he struggled and was released at the end of the year before they became the Astros powerhouse. Gomez would sign with the Rangers in 2016 and then later with the Rays on a March contract from the 2018 season. And now he’s a Met!

Over his career he has hit .253/.313/.412 and if he makes it to the team this year we should expect anything like, we should expect something like he did for the Rays last year hitting .208/.298/.336 over 408 PA’s. What Gomez gives the Mets is outfield depth. Originally, the Mets were going to start with McNeil/Nimmo/Conforto until Cespedes got back. Injuries to Frazier and Lowrie and forcing McNeil back into the infield which means Lagares/Broxton step up as the next outfielder. They’re fine but after them the Mets have Liriano/Rajai Davis/ Gregor Blanco. Carlos Gomez is a better option than all three of them.

This article was written on Sunday 3/17. As of this morning, Gomez has yet to appear in a Spring Training game but it should happen soon. His arrival in camp was delayed by a visa issue and he is now getting back into the swing of things. The injuries on this squad right now are giving him an opportunity to rejoin this team, so lets get ready to open our arms and welcome an old friend back.

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2019 Mets Conglomerate Projections: Seth Lugo

The Mets learned last year that when Seth Lugo is in the bullpen, he is quite effective. They took him out for a bit and he just wasn’t as strong as he was in the bullpen (and the bullpen became so much weaker). Now with Diaz in town and Familia back the load for Lugo could look different.

2018: 101.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.076 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 2.2 WAR, 3.82 DRA
Career: 3.44 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.193 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 4.56 DRA

If Lugo is as good this year as he was last year, than him with Diaz and Familia could one of the best back of the bullpen sets in the league. Let’s take a look at what projections think:

(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )

Two things stand out: there’s an across the board agreement that Lugo takes a step back worse than his career average and that there is a wide variance of stats. Everyone over 90 is seeing Lugo spend time in the rotation this year, which may be true but the Mets have repeated they won’t do it (although after a certain amount of injuries Lugo as a starter could be their best option). All of the projections that see Lugo making starts are worst than the two that don’t see it.

It’s also not a good sign when the best projection is ESPN as they tend to over-amp player performance.

There’s also this:

2018 Average Projection: 110.1 IP, 4.52 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 7.35 K/9
2018 Actual: 101.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.076 WHIP, 9.1 K/9

Lugo was so much better than his projections last year. So let’s see if he can outperform again!

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2019 Mets Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Adeiny Hechavarria

A late addition to Mets camp this year, we completely forgot to write a Non-Roster Invitee article for Hechavarria. This seems even more important to go back and do now as there is a chance that he makes this team.

Adeiny has never been known for offense but has been a defensive wiz that Mets became accustomed to playing against him so many times as a Marlin.

Adeiny was originally signed by the Blue Jays in 2010 and was part of the massive trade with the Marlins in 2012 that sent Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes all up North. Hechavarria became a fixture in the infield for years before he was traded to the Rays in 2017 (Braxton Lee, who is also a Met, was part of that trade). He was then traded twice in August 2018 first to Pirates and then to the Yankees.

2018 (Three Teams): 321 PA, .247/.279/.345
Career: .254/.290/.345

A couple of days ago we published an 2019 projections article for Hechavarria which can be found here.

When the Mets signed Adeiny it was clearly for depth. With Lowrie and Frazier yet to play at all this spring, Adeiny has a shot to make the team. His main competition is burgeoning fan favorite Luis Guillorme (which Adeiny is attached to – it was his bat that Luis caught multiple years ago that endeared Luis to the fan base). Helping his case, Adeiny is having an average spring. He’s hitting .259/.310/.444 (Luis is just having a monster spring, which is why don’t hear about Adeiny’s). Also helping Adeiny’s case, his natural position is shortstop where the Mets are thin on depth.

If both Luis Guillorme and Adeiny Hechavarria end up in Syracuse though, the infield will have one of the best defenses in the minor leagues.

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Spring Training Game Preview: Nationals vs Mets

The Nationals are coming to the Mets today as the Mets plan on hiding their regular pitchers again. Noah Syndergaard will be pitching in a “B” game while Kyle Dowdy will get a major opportunity to impress coaches this afternoon.

Yesterday Hector Santiago was given the same opportunity with Jacob deGrom pitching in the “B” game and things did not go well for Santiago who allowed 6 runs off 7 hits in 0.2 innings (to that point he allowed 1 run in about 6 innings of work). The bad situation for him turned into a longer opportunity for other players to pitch. Coleman threw 2.1 scoreless innings. O’Rourke through 2.0 scoreless and Bashlor allowed 1 run over 2.0 innings (from 4 hits).

Kyle Dowdy was selected in the Rule V draft from the Indians organization, he is part of a group of pitchers battling for the last roster spot on the team. If the Mets decide that he is not a fit on the 25-man roster, he’ll be returned to the Indians organization.

MMO did a detailed write-up on Dowdy after the winter meetings. The basic goal of carrying a pitcher like Dowdy is he could eat innings. The Mets aren’t looking for him to be lights out but just be a level of redundancy for pitching depth so if an unexpected injury happens, the Mets don’t have to consider moving Lugo/Gsellman. Baseball America reported that Dowdy has seen a velocity increase this spring, going from 88-94 to 95-96, touching 99 a few times. Dowdy credits the change to using a weighted ball.

Spring Training games haven’t been so kind to Dowdy. Over the 4 major league games he has pitched in, totaling 4.1 innings, he has allowed 7 runs, 6 earned off 9 hits and 4 walks. So, today is a big day for him.

Other Things To Watch For:

  1. Yesterday we noted that despite hitting his second homer of the spring, Conforto was having a slow spring in the idea of consistently getting on base. Well he went 1-2 yesterday with a walk and a homer so now he’s batting .244/.292/.400 and my streak of saying something in this section and the opposite occurring in reality stays intact.
  2. Alonso hit his 4th homer of the season leading pretty much the entire world to conclude that he’s one of the best 25 men in camp. So let’s see what the Mets do with that. He’s now hitting .356/.396/.644 over 48 PAs.
  3. Robinson Cano continues to put together an amazing spring. He went 2-2 with a walk yesterday including a double moving his spring line to .457/.486/.686 over 37 PAs.
  4. The Mets have 8 spring training games left before Opening Day. Mesoraco went 1-4 yesterday. Dominic Smith went 0-4 yesterday (but he’s having a tremendous spring). This is probably not, and shouldn’t be, the universe where the Mets carry 3 catchers and 2 first basemen so as much as they are each competing with other people in their positions right now, they may be competing against each other. The injuries to Lowrie and Frazier give the upper hand to Smith right now in my opinion.

Let’s Go Mets!

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2019 Mets Conglomerate Projections: Robert Gsellman

Robert Gsellman debuted when the 2016 Mets desperately needed another starter and he was a key reason why the Mets went on a run to close out 2016 with enough wins to get a wild card spot.

Last year, with the specter of the big four being able to pitch together + Jason Vargas at the top of the rotation, Gsellman and Lugo were pushed to the bullpen. On the whole this was a tremendously positive move for both of them and the Mets have committed all spring to keeping both in the bullpen this season.

2018: 80 IP, 4.28 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 1.300 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, -0.3 WAR, 4.38 DRA
Career: 4.38 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 1.396 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 5.03 DRA

In every category listed above, Gsellman did better last season. The hope is that trend continues with his second year of consistent bullpen use. The computers see Gsellman putting up these numbers:

(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )

For the most part, the computers agree! They think with the extra year of age and consistency of role he’s going to put up better numbers than he did last year. Baseball Reference is predicting nearly an identical line (which for a reliever I would count as an improvement rather than a step backwards). I actually don’t remember the last time I saw this many projections agree that a reliever will do better. This is exciting!

Consistent, positive results from Lugo, Gsellman, Familia and Diaz would mean a lot for this team this season, let’s see what happens!

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