Archive for category Minor League Players

Mets Farm System Reviews Day 2: More People Like Us

Yesterday we took a look at Minor League Ball’s review of the Mets system, which was a positive review! Minor League Ball talked about how the top 10 players in the Mets system all project to spend time in the majors at some point and that the lower leagues are in good shape as a well.

Midday yesterday, Baseball America released their top 10 for the Mets system, and they also talked about how the Mets look good on the prospect front:

  1. Noah Syndergaard
  2. Steve Matz
  3. Brandon Nimmo
  4. Dilson Herrera
  5. Kevin Plawecki
  6. Amed Rosario
  7. Michael Conforto
  8. Rafael Montero
  9. Marcos Molina
  10. Gavin Cecchini

The top 5 are essentially the same from Minor League Ball, except they have Dilson Herrera and Nimmo switched. Minor League ball also has Montero at 6 and Rosario at 9, then the rest essentially in the same spot (except Cecchini is at 11 and Urena in the top 10 citing that Urena is yet to get the national attention.

It’s interesting to note how many hitters both prospects list  put in the top 10. While it doesn’t help us in the immediate short term, this bodes well down the road, especially if the Mets ever decide to make a move.

Several players from last year’s list have moved. #2 was d’Arnaud, who is now a regular. Montero has dropped from the three spot, Smith has dropped from the top 10 altogether but I think that’s an overreaction. Flores has also been dropped from the 6 spot, now a regular. Nimmo shot up, Cecchini dropped a spot and Jacob deGrom at the 10 spot won the rookie of the year. There’s a lot to like in the Mets farm system.

A Quick Nick Franklin Primer for Mets Fans

If you only wanted to read one sentence about Nick Franklin, a player who may be available for trade and end up with the Mets, here you go:

Nick is a soon to be 23 year old 2B/SS prospect (ranged from top tier in 2012 to still top 100ish this year) who at the very best has a ceiling to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season.

For those of you who would like more context:

Nick Franklin played his first season of professional ball in 2009 in the same year he was drafted as the 27th overall pick. Over the years he has faced some freak injuries (for example, being hit in the face with a bat) which caused him to lose some playing time. He has the potential to steal bases and has moderate power. However the power can be seen as above average since plays middle infield. Originally slated to be a short stop, he has been playing both and is currently, possibly, out of a job in Seattle as Cano now resides at second and Miller also holding short stop.

As for his power, in 2010 he slugged 23 homers, followed by 7 in 2011 (the year he got hit with a bat) and 11 in 2012. He hit 4 homers in the minors in 2013 and hit an additional 12 in the majors. His minor league batting average was fairly consistent hitting .283, .281 and .278 from 2010-2012 (he hit .333 in 2009, but it was also a small sample size of 63 AB’s) and then he hit .324 over 142 AB’s in 2013 before being called up. The majors were tougher where he hit only .225.

Back in 2012, MLB.com considered him the #29 overall prospect, the #4 shortstop prospect and the #3 Mariner prospect. This same list has d’Arnaud at #11, Bundy at #2, Walker at #4, Bogarts at #31, Syndergaard at #83 and Wheeler at #6. In 2011 he was #23 on that same list which had Harvey at #45.

In the end he will probably cost one or two midlevel prospects that are close to major league ready. Names that have been floating around on the internet include Montero, Black and deGrom. This would be a situation where the Mets would like it to be more like a player like deGrom, but that might be a little low for Franklin. I keep going back and forth whether I would like to trade for Franklin. I wrote an article recently that said I would be against deGrom for Franklin, but I take that back now that I’ve educated myself more on Franklin. However, now that I have educated myself more on Franklin, I don’t think deGrom will be enough.

In the end I personally struggle with trading away pitching. So do a lot of teams. Which is why the Mets never found a match for Ike Davis or Lucas Duda this off-season.

Mets Hoping for Sneaky First Base Depth in Matt Clark

Way down the depth charts is a nonroster invitee named Matt Clark. Lets say that Ike Davis and Lucas Duda don’t work out at first. Josh Satin doesn’t pan out, Murphy can’t be moved and neither can Wilmer Flores. At that point, sixth on the depth chart is Matt Clark.

Matt Clark is a minor league signing out of Japan. He spent time in the Padres system from 2008 to 2012 where he showed power potential. He continued his power production in Japan, at the cost of his batting average. Here are some of his numbers over the years:

  • 2008:A-, .279 BA, 5HR
  • 2009: A-,A+, .279 BA, 24 HR
  • 2010: AA, .269 BA, 28 HR
  • 2011: AAA, .292 BA, 23 HR
  • 2012: AAA, .290 BA, 22 HR
  • 2013: JPN, .238 BA, 25 HR (About 50, 60 AB’s less than previous years)

He’s so far down the depth chart, I’ll be surprised if sees significant, if any time in the majors this year. However, he is older, 27, so if performs well in spring he could become a power bat off of the bench or if he does well in the minors he could get traded to an AL Team.

He’s a curious figure on the Mets this camp. I’m excited to see where it leads.

2014 Mets Spring Training Preview: John Lannan

Over the weekend the Mets made a minor league signing of John Lannan, a player the Mets have been connected to a few times over the past few years. Lannan came up through the Nationals system and spent some time with the Phillies. The Mets need pitching depth that aren’t prospects in case injuries require call ups, Lannan makes sense here.

Lannan will be 29 this upcoming season, and it will also be his 8th season in the majors if he is called up at some point. His strongest years were between 2008 and 2011 where he pitched 122 games with a 4.00 ERA and a 36-49 record. Over that stretch he pitched over 180 innings in a season three times include one year where he logged 206.1 innings. He also recorded more than 100 strikeouts in 2008 and in 2011.

Overall he has pitched in 148 games with a 4.12 ERA and a 45-58 record. In the last two seasons he has pitched in 20 games with a 4.96 ERA while posting a 7-7 record. During that time he also logged 107.0 innings.

Lannan is a solid veteran pick up at a very low risk. The rotation right now looks like (in no order) Colon, Wheeler, Niese and Gee. The fifth spot is an open competition between Mejia, Torres, deGrom and now Lannan. It gives Lannan a good inside shot for a veteran presence and insurance going into 2014. Montero and Syndegaard will come up at some time in 2014, just in case they aren’t ready to come up yet, Lannan can give them the space they need.

This isn’t a rock star signing to make the playoffs, but it is a solid signing that improves the team. Let’s see what happens in 26 days.

2014 Mets Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Adam Kolarek

33 days until Spring Training!

We continue our journey up and down the Non-Roster Invitee list with a look at Adam Kolarek today. You won’t find Kolarek in any of the of the popular top 10/15/20 prospect list for the Mets as he’s been largely unknown in the Mets organization, at least to fans.

As a heads up though, I will probably be biased for the rest of this prospect preview. Kolarek and I went to the University of Maryland College Park at the same time. I’ve never met him (which is not surprising given the tremendous size of Campus) and I never watched any baseball games because I almost always had class during them. Yet, we hail from the same school and we’re both from Baltimore so I have a predisposition to root for him. He was drafted from Maryland’s flagship university in 2010 out of the 11th round. He will be 25 in the 2014 season (actually, he’ll be 25 in a few days).

In four minor league seasons he is 15-8 over 144 games and 227.2 innings with a 2.69 ERA. Let’s break it down by year:

2010 (Kingsport/Brooklyn): 2-1, 22 G, 37.1 IP, 3.13 ERA, 1 SV, 0.964 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
2011 (Savannah/St. Lucie): 7-1, 26 G, 60.0 IP, 2.85 ERA, 5 SV, 1.283 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
2012 (St. Lucie/Binghamton): 3-3, 50 G, 63.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 19 SV, 1.326 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.1 K/92013 (Binghamton/Las Vegas): 3-3, 46 G, 67.0 IP, 2.28 ERA, 1 SV, 1.149 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.6 K/9

There are some important trends here. His ERA has dropped each year. In 2012, it looks like he spent a significant portion of the season as a closer as his innings increased with the amount of games he appeared in (also the huge spike in saves). As his ERA dropped with his innings increasing, his WHIP increased, but last year his WHIP dropped by a noticeable amount. His BB/9 have mostly stayed constant and his K/9 has bounced from being high to being above average.

If he can put another season of a low ERA together partnered with a high K/9, he could be an intriguing addition to the bullpen as a left handed pitcher. He also one of two non roster invites who throw lefty in camp, which brings down competition.

A strong spring campaign and Kolarek could be in the blogs as a discussion point towards the end of March. Let’s see what happens!

2014 Mets Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Daniel Muno

Pitchers and Catchers report in 34 days!

In preparation, the Mets announced this week a list of additional non-roster players to come to camp. Non-roster invites run the gambit from prospect, to veterans trying to make a come back and to players who are prospects, but experts have predicted limited ceilings.

The latter is where Daniel Muno sits right now. He’s not listed as a top 15 prospect from Fan Graphs, or Baseball America in 2014, 2013 and 2012. At the end of the 2013 season, he didn’t make MLB.com’s top 20 prospects for the New York Mets. The only accolade he has received from any publication was in 2012 and 2013, Baseball America said he had the best plate discipline. However in 2014 he was replaced in that spot by Brandon Nimmo.

Muno was drafted by the Mets in 8th round of the 2011 draft from California State, Fresno. His first season with the Mets he mostly played shortstop, since then he has mostly played second but still has played at least 17 games at short each year. Offensively:

2011 (Brooklyn): 220 AB, .355 BA, .466 OBP, 23 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 9 SB
2012 (St. Lucie): 289 AB, .280 BA, .387 OBP, 16 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 19 SB2013 (Binghamton): 449 AB, .249 BA, .384 OBP, 27 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 67 RBI, 15 SB

Trends:
His first season in Brooklyn was tremendous. He hit for average, had some extra-base power and got on base. His on base and average, and extra base hits like doubles took a hit in 2012. His homerun power rose though, as did his speed.

In 2013, he had significantly more at bats, his batting average dropped farther but his on base stayed consistent. His doubles and homers rose in step with the increased at bats but his stolen bases dropped.

He has shown that he can hit, although it is troubling to see his numbers drop as he moves up in each league. Spring Training should be good for Muno to get some exposure to higher level pitchers in preparation for the 2014 season. He will be 25 this year, so his clock for breaking into the leagues is starting to tick. I don’t think he has much chance of breaking camp with the Mets this year, but he does have the opportunity to turn some heads and get on the short list for late season call-ups.

Mets 2013 Spring Training Preview: Hansel Robles

Three days into 2013 and it seems like a good time to start diving into Spring Training Previews because it’s baseball and I’m over winter. Hansel Robles is 5’11” right-handed pitcher who is 22 and currently in the Mets farm system. The Mets signed Robles in 2008 as an internal league free agent. He’s been in the Mets farm system for 4 seasons now and was added to the Mets 40-man roster in November this past year. During his time with the Mets he put up the following numbers:

2012 (Brk): 6-1, 12 GS, 72.2 IP, 1.11 ERA, 66 K, 10 BB, 0.784 WHIP
2011 (Kingsport): 3-1, 0 GS, 15 G, 37.0 IP, 2.68 ERA, 42 K, 16 BB, 1 SV, 1.189 WHIP
2010 (DOSL): 3-3, 14 G, 12 G, 1 SV, 67.0 IP, 3.09 ERA, 51 K, 13 BB, 1.149 WHIP
2009 (DOSL): 5-4, 15 G, 9 G, 58.2 IP, 2.91 ERA, 60 K, 16 BB, 1.074 WHIP

Just by looking at his numbers, it looks like he took a giant step forward in his last year. Having a full season as a starter, he not only put an incredible ERA, but his WHIP was out of world. Before 2012, I would say that Hansel would have slotted as a reliever if anything but after last year it looks like the Mets must consider him as a starter at least for a bit.

Now the Mets are still looking internal options for the pen, so it is conceivable that they may try Robles as a reliever at a higher level later this year. But if his stuff is as good as his numbers suggest (or as this impressive article about him suggests), then the Mets are going to want to make sure that Robles gets a lot of time on the mound.

In this climate at looking at 2014 and 2015, Robles longterm fits into the Mets plans as a reliever. Having a good amount of arms that appear good will be extremely important next offseason if the Mets look like they are ready to make a serious push to contender status.

Get to Know a Draft Pick: Kevin Plawecki

In an interesting move, the Mets selected two position players with their first two picks of the 2012 draft. This probably speaks to the high amount of arms in the system, but limited amount of bats. In a not surprising move, with the 35th pick the Mets went with a player from college, someone who will need less time in the minors and is more sure to sign.

In this draft the Mets have gone for positions of high need in the system like SS earlier and now C, which is a thin, thin position in the system. Kevin Plawecki is a solid defensive catcher. Here are some stats for Plawecki:

2012: .348 BA, 223 AB, 80 H, 54 R, 20 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 47 RBI
2011: .341 BA, 211 AB,  72 H, 46 R, 14 2B, 2 HR, 39 RBI
2010: .343 BA, 204 AB, 70 H, 36 R, 12 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 53 RBI

From the numbers, its obvious that Kevin has not shown to be a power threat, but he makes good contact and hits for average. His profile reminds me a lot of Josh Thole in a way.

So far he doesn’t project to be a star catcher, but these things are difficult to tell from college numbers anyway. We should know in 2-3 seasons the caliber of player Plawecki is, and he fits into the long term plans. The nice thing about Kevin is he could be with the Mets for a while, get to know the pitchers and develop into a strong battery mate to help the pitchers become dominant in the majors.

Get To Know A Draft Pick: Gavin Cecchini (Louisiana’s Mr. Baseball)

With the 12th pick in the draft, the Mets selected SS Gavin Cecchini out of Louisiana (Barbe High School). Currently Cecchini has a commitment with Ole Miss.

The Mets actually draft Gavin a day after he was named Louisiana’s Mr. Baseball. In his senior season Gavin had a .413 BA, 7 HR, 32 RBI and 31 SB. In this article, Gavin talks about how he was actually benched by his father (his coach) after a slump early on in his High School career. Right off the bat from reading this article, I’m a fan of Gavin’s mental make up. Fighting through a slump and hardship early helps lead to success later on (or in other words, its better to fail and overcome early than have that happen later on in life, Ike Davis). This explains why some of his early high school numbers look fairly awful. His rebound though, obviously, has been fantastic.

This profile talks about Gavin’s quick hands and ability to hit the ball hard to all parts of the field. The profile mentions that he has the physical make up to stay at the short stop position, and potentially be a speed threat, which is lacking right now in the Mets current farm system. The major rankers have him ranked between 11 and 19 overall, and as one of the best SS in the draft.

This pick seems to make sense with the Nimmo pick from last year. Try to roll the dice with the high picks, and (we’ll see as the draft progresses) go with the safer college picks soon after. As with all high school players, signability could be an issue. The Mets right now lack bat prospects and getting some deep in the system like Cecchini and Nimmo could be the nice boost that the farm system needs, especially if the Mets go into full on compete mode in 2014 and need to trade some prospects.

Get To Know a Mets Minor League Player: Vinny Rottino

Our journey through the Mets minor league system, 40-man roster and non-roster Spring invites continue today as we look at another player in the latter group, Vinny Rottino. Rottino is a veteran who has had minor league (and a little major league experience) at a collection of positions including pinch hitting, catching, the corner infield positions and in the outfield. Rottino was signed in 2003 by the Brewers as an amateur (un-drafted) free agent. He was traded at the 2009 trade deadline to the Dodgers for Claudio Vargas. At the end of 2009 he signed a contract with the Marlins and then signed a contract this year with the Mets.

Rottino’s statistics have up-ticked recently. In the early 2000’s he had 4 seasons in a row where he batted .299 or better, and then slipped from that point. In the last two seasons in the minors, he has hit above .300:

2010: 441 AB, 68 R, 136 H, 27 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, .308 BA, .390 OBP
2011: 467 AB, 81 R, 142 H, 31 2B, 2 2B, 10 HR, .304 BA, .374 OBP

Since Rottino is not on the 40 man, it will be very difficult for him to make the team coming out of camp. His age provides probably the largest road block for his call up this year. For him to make it to the bigs, in any month not September, he has to first be added to the 40 man and show the Mets that he deserves playing time over Captain Kirk and F-Mart. The only way that happens is if the Mets are in the playoff hunt, need a hitter, and Rottino is doing better than those two, any one on the Mets bench and Pascucci.

However, if the Mets need to go through their depth chart this year, he could be the type of player they can use. I like the Rottino signing because he adds good depth to the system at a cheap price and allows the Mets to have options before diving into their prospects that won’t be ready yet.