Get To Know a 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Francisco Alvarez

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been working our way through the large amount of pitchers the Mets invited to camp, today we can finally start looking at position players including one of the most exciting Mets prospects – Francisco Alvarez.

MLB.com has Alvarez listed as the #2 prospect in the Mets system, and that’s general feeling right now. He has an ETA listed as 2023 and there is some speculation that the Mets used Francisco Alvarez in their reasoning process for avoiding Realmuto. Anyway MLB.com gives Alvarez the following grades:

  • Hit 55
  • Power 55
  • Run 40
  • Arm 60
  • Field 55
  • Overall 55

There’s been a lot of excitement around Alvarez. Due to Covid, we only have one year of stats on him:

  • 2019 Gulfcoast: 31 PA, .462/.548/.846/1.395 (2.5 years younger than average)
  • 2019 Kingsport: 151 PA, .282/.377/.443/.820 (3.5 years younger than average)

These were incredibly exciting numbers. Here’s currently listed with the Mets low A team in St. Lucie. It’s going to be very exciting to see him get AB’s early on in spring, similar to how it was exciting to see Ronny Mauricio get a few cuts last year early on. We are looking forward to watching Alvarez work with both young prospect pitchers and maybe some veteran studs as well.

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Spring Training Game Preview: Mets @ Marlins

The Mets long winter is over! The Mets will suit up for a 7-inning spring training game today! It’s been an exciting winter for the Mets with a new owner and a lot of roster turnover. And today we’ll get to see (sort of, no SNY coverage for this game) some of the new faces on the Mets and some players playing for positions on the depth chart.

Francisco Lindor will make his Mets debut today. That’s the absolute headline for today’s game. The four time All-Star and 2 time Gold Glove winner is a career .285/.346/.488/.833 hitter with a 28.7 WAR since 2015. Hopefully the face of the Mets for the next decade, we are all excited to see what he does this season, even in a meaningless spring training game.

The pitcher selection tomorrow is exciting in a different way. All six that have been announced are fighting for an active roster spot. Some are familiar names, being in the Mets system for a while. Others are brand new.

Harol Gonzalez has been with the Mets since 2014 (he was 19). In 2019 he had a 3.14 ERA in Binghamton over 97.1 innings and a 2.68 ERA over 40.1 innings in Syracuse. He would have been in Syracuse in 2020. He’ll open the game for the Mets. He’ll be followed by Sean Reid Foley, Ryley Gilliam, Trevor Hildenberger, Stephen Tarpley and Thomas Szapucki.

Sean was acquired by the Mets in the the Steven Matz trade and has had some major league experience. In 6.2 innings last year he allowed 1 earned run, 3 runs total from 3 hits while walking 6 and striking out 6. It was first time in the majors used primarily as a reliever. Overall in the majors he has a 4.40 ERA over 71.2 innings with a 5.20 FIP, 1.605 WHIP and 101 ERA+. Ryley Gilliam is an exciting addition to camp – he’s done well pretty much at every level except Syracuse (only 9.1 innings). Trevor Hildenberger is looking to find his way back to the majors. He had a success in his rookie season in 2017 but hasn’t really seen it since.

At the end of the day, the Mets are finally playing baseball and we are so excited to watch them play!

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Get To Know A Non-Roster Invitee: Tom Windle

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Keeping up with a theme this Spring, Tom Windle is the third pitcher we have looked at this spring (Oscar De La Cruz, Jerad Robinson) who is coming to the Mets as a free agent after not making the majors with their original team. Tom Windle was drafted in 2013 by the Dodgers and at the end of the 2014 season was traded to the Phillies (with Zach Eflin) for Jimmy Rollins.

Things were alright for Windle in 2015 – he posted a 4.26 ERA with Lehigh over 42 games and 50.2 innings before he was released by the Phillies. He was picked up by the Red Sox but only pitched 2.0 innings in 2019 in the Red Sox system. His last year in the minors is more or less what he has done in the minors. He has a 4.13 career ERA over 7 years and 505.2 innings and a 1.394 WHIP.

He’s competing with De La Cruz and Robinson for playing time, who are competing with the next tier consisting of Montgomery, Hunter and Vizcaino who are on the outside looking in behind Lucchesi and Yamamoto. (This was also written on 2/16, and I’m sure a lot has changed since then). Every spring rep is going to be important for Windle.

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Get To Know A Non-Roster Invitee: Arodys Vizcaino

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Arodys Vizcaino is another pitcher the Mets are bringing in to find their way back to the major leagues. Vizcaino was drafted by the Yankees in 2007 and was traded in 2009 with Melky Cabrera and Mike Dunn to the Braves for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez. He would make his debut in 2011 and then was traded at the 2012 deadline with Jaye Chapman to the Cubs for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm. He was traded again by the Cubs back to the Braves for Tommy La Stella at the end of the 2014 season. He then stayed with the Braves for a while until he was traded in May 2019 to the Mariners for former Met Anthony Swarzak. (Of note – this trade happened after Arodys had a season ending shoulder injury/surgery).

Anyway, Arodys has been a reliever his entire time in the major league and was hitting his stride from from 2017 on. In 2017 he posted a 2.83 ERA over 62 games and 57.1 innings. That year he had a 3.72 FIP, 1.099 WHIP and a 155 ERA+. The next year was even better – in 39 games and 38.1 innings he had a 2.11 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 1.174 WHIP and a 195 ERA+.

Last year things didn’t line up for him to make it back. The Mets are hoping that they are catching lightning in a bottle – Arodys is only 30 and has a history of pitching in the majors. (He has a 2.60 ERA over 17.1 innings and 20 games against the Mets in his career). There are a lot of hurdles in front of him – he’s not on the 40 man roster and the Mets have added a lot of arms gunning for a roster bullpen spot. That being said, the bullpen was a disaster for the Mets and if he shines in Spring, the Mets will find a way to make it work.

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Get To Know A 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Jared Robinson

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

There are several players in Mets camp that are trying to break into the majors with the Mets after not being able to do so with another team (like Oscar De La Cruz), today’s Non-Roster Invitee is another player in this category – Jared Robinson.

Jared was drafted by Cleveland in round 11 in 2014 out of Cerritos College (located in Norwalk CA). He pitched in all levels in the Indians organization from the Arizona Rookie League (one of the first players in this series that played in that league without making the majors!) all the way to their Triple A team in Columbus.

Jared essentially has a pattern of doing well in one league, and then getting promoted and struggling. In 2018 he was in A+ ball and registered a 2.65 ERA over 51.0 innings, one year after posting a 6.15 ERA over 41.0 innings at the same level. In 2019 in AA ball he had a 1.57 ERA over 28.2 innings, the previous year he he had a 9.82 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. In 2019 he also had a 6.50 ERA over 18.0 innings AAA, but then never got a chance to prove he can pitch at that level in 2020.

So that’s what this is. That’s what Spring Training is. Can he take that next step forward in AAA? He’s battled back in every level so far. He should keep it going. If he does well in Spring and at Syracuse early on in 2021, does he get pushed up to Queens when a spot opens?

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Get To Know A 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Marcel Renteria

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Marcel Renteria might not be a household name, but he’s been with the Mets for a while and if there was a time for him to get a Non-Roster invite to Mets camp, it’s now. He was drafted in 6th round in 2017 out of New Mexico State and has moved up through the minors considered his age. With the exception of one inning of work in Binghamton in 2019, he has been above the average age for a player at level from New Mexico Sate until now.

He had a rough start as a Met in Brooklyn in 2017, 0.7 years older than the average player, pitching in 9 games over 11.1 innings. He allowed 15 hits and 12 earned runs. He bounced back the following year though in Columbia (1.1 years older than the average player) making 15 starts totaling 76.2 innings with a 4.23 ERA. He had similar numbers the following year in St. Lucie as a reliever pitching 62.1 innings over 37 games with a 4.62 ERA.

So the question is what’s next for Marcel? He’s going to be 26 this year which is probably why he’s in camp despite not having a history of being on a top prospect list. As we have said a lot, the Mets have been stripped of a lot of their pitching depth which does give Marcel an opening sort of? If anything, he’ll get a look early on in camp and if the Mets are interested they are going to need people to eat up innings late in spring when the Mets are playing NL East foes too often.

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Get To Know A 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Mike Montgomery

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Around the same time that the Mets announced the Seth Lugo injury, they also announced contracts to Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter. We already looked at Hunter, today we’ll look at Montgomery, what he has done recently as we get ready for spring training games to start.

Mike was drafted by the Royals in 2008 in the first round and was part of the 2012 trade that sent former top prospect Wil Myers and (as of writing this on 2/16) free agent Jake Odorizzi to Tampa Bay for Wade Davis and James Sheilds. He would make his major league debut in 2015 with the Mariners after being traded for Mets legend Erasmo Ramirez. The following year he was traded to the Cubs, which is the team I personally associate Montgomery with and he was traded again in 2019, this time back to the Royals. He was granted free agency at end of 2020.

2016 was his best year – posting a 2.52 ERA over 100 innings across two leagues with a 3.79 FIP, 1.170 WHIP, and 164 ERA+. His last full season in 2019 was terrible – especially compared to pitchers the Mets had filling out the rotation for the last couple of years. In 2019 across two leagues he had a 4.95 ERA over 91.0 innings with a 5.52 FIP, 1.615 WHIP and 94 ERA+. It was the first time his ERA+ was below 100 since his rookie season. Last year he only saw 5.1 innings over a few games allowing 5 runs, 3 earned.

Mike Montgomery will be 31 this season and this spring he’ll be taking stock of what he has left. Like several other NRI’s in camp, there are a couple of ways this can go. He could be very impressive and surprisingly beat out a few people for the fifth starter spot (unlikely), he could perform well enough to be asked to be released (not sure if he can opt out) and sign with another team. He could also take an assignment to Syracuse. Given his long track record in the majors, he’ll probably get a long look throughout Spring Training, especially considering how many times the Mets have to play the Marlins and Nationals this year in spring.

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Get To Know A 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Tylor Megill

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Tylor Megill is the first pitcher in several days that were writing about here who is primarily a prospect. He was drafted in the 8th round in 2018 and could see some time in Queens this year, otherwise he’ll break into the bigs next year. Tylor is 6’7″ which is one of those things you can’t teach a pitcher (his brother was a Rule 5 Draft pick for the Cubs and is 6’8″). MLB’s Prospect Page (formerly The Pipeline) give’s his pitches and profile the following grades:

  • Fastball 55
  • Slider 55
  • Changeup 40
  • Control 45
  • Overall 40

He’s currently the #28 prospect in the Mets system according to MLB.com and Baseball America ranked him the #30 prospect in the Mets system back in 2019. If the Pandemic doesn’t happen, Megill would have started last year off in Binghamton or in Syracuse.

2019 was the first year we really saw movement for Tylor in the Mets system. He did well in first season in minor league ball in 2018, pitching in 22 games and 71.2 innings with a 3.21 ERA. In 2019 he put up these numbers across three levels:

  • Columbia (1.2 years older than average) – 14 G, 31.0 IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.226 WHIP
  • St. Lucie (0.1 years older than average) – 7 G, 35.2 IP, 4.04 ERA, 1.290 WHIP
  • Binghamton (1.3 years younger than average) – 1 Game, 3 ER over 5.0 IP

With all of the moves the Mets have made this off-season he projects to start in Syracuse and could see time in the majors due to injuries or roster crunches. Because last year was so weird, here’s what we are looking for this spring – we want to see Tylor vs Triple A and Major League hitters. He is right at the age when he should be seeing time in the majors. If Cohen doesn’t buy the Mets and the Mets don’t retool this off-season, we would be certain that he would be making his debut this season, considering how thin the Mets were at pitchers before they started to sign a ton of pitchers on minor league deals.

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Get To Know A 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Tommy Hunter

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Tommy Hunter was a more recent Mets depth signing and it’s an intriguing one! Hunter was a first round pick for the Texas Rangers in 2007 and made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2010 but he’s more known for being in the 2011 deadline deal that sent Chris Davis to Baltimore for Koji Uehara. He stays in Baltimore for a while until he is traded again in a deadline deal in 2015 to the Cubs for Junior Leake. At this point he starts bouncing around with contracts with Cleveland, Baltimore again, Tamp Bay, The Phillies twice (and for a couple of years) and now with the Mets.

Tommy Hunter was a starter until 2012 when he started to get converted into a reliever, which is where he found his groove (between 2013 and 2014 he had a 2.81 and 2.97 ERA with the Orioles as a reliever). After a fantastic season with Tampa Bay in 2017 (2.61 ERA over 61 games) he goes to the Phillies and has a solid year as a reliever, putting up a 3.80 ERA over 64.0 innings. The following year he has a season ending injury and only logs 5.1 innings, allowing no runs. He started to fight back last year, pitching 24 of 60 games with a 24.2 innings and a 4.01 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 114 ERA+ and 1.135 WHIP.

To be honest, I’m surprised Hunter could only sign a minor league contract with an invitation to camp. His FIP was better than his career number (4.29) and kept up a pretty good streak of his ERA+ being over 100.

This article is being written on 2/16 – important because the Mets just lost Seth Lugo, did not sign Wilson and it is unclear if the Mets were able to sign anyone else. Hunter is an interesting option. He will get a long look over spring to see if there’s a spot for him on the roster. I’m not sure if his Minor League Contract allows him to opt out but he if he is good in spring, but the Mets can’t place him on the roster, I imagine he will want to leave as another team will be for sure interested in him.

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Get To Know a 2021 Non-Roster Invitee: Trevor Hildenberger

Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?

Today we are looking at Trevor Hildenberger who signed with the Mets at the end of November in 2020. He was drafted in 2014 with the Twins and made his major league debut in 2017. His stint with the Twins ended in 2019 and last year he signed with the Red Sox (although he didn’t see any major league time in 2020).

Trevor came out strong in his rookie season, pitching in 37 games and 42.0 innings with a 3.21 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.048 WHIP and a 139 ERA+. It was the only time his ERA+ was over 100. The following year was his first full year, pitching in 73 games and 73.0 innings with a 5.42 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 1.384 WHIP and a 79 ERA+. Trevor didn’t see a lot of time in 2019, pitching in 22 games and 16.1 innings with a 10.47 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 2.265 WHIP and 44 ERA+.

Signing Trevor was a depth signing for the Mets. As stated over and over in other articles, the Mets are just incredibly thin in AAA. So there are going to be a lot of people ahead of Hildenberger on the Mets depth chart. During spring training we’ll be looking to see where his stuff is and how major league hitters are dealing with it. The most likely way he makes the majors this year is if the Mets need an additional pitcher on a double header day. That being said, his time in the majors is an asset, maybe the Mets can help him find his 2017 self again.

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