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2019 Mets Minor league watch

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  • 2019 Mets Minor league watch

    While hopefully eyes will be on the majors this year its still worth paying attention to what the heck is going on in the minors.....especially given that the Mets have almost no one under contract after 2020 and they traded away two of their top prospects.....

    The biggest change is leaving Vegas...finally. Being in Syracuse should help in a number of ways. Not only does it keep everyone in the same time zone, but it gets them out of the PCL - which I believe killed a number of borderline pitchers careers and developed some nasty habits for hitters.

    So who's in 'Cuse?

    **Note - I'm leaving some guys off who could end up in AAA as I suspect they'll make the ML cut - including JD Davis and Kyle Dowdy (rule 5 pick)...and a number of guys, especially in the pen could end up in AA to start.


    Peter Alonso headlines the list as I still believe he'll spend the first 2-4 weeks down here and then his and Frazier's production will decide how quickly he gets called.

    Andres Gimenez - He *may* start in Bing depending on where depth signings like Hechavarria, Espinosa, Haggerty, and Herrera end up, but I think that would kind of be a waste at this point. Kid has a serious set of advanced plate skills for a 20 year old and 5 tool talent. There's some who believe he could even have 20+ HR power as he fills out. Not sure I'll go that far but the writing on the wall is there for plenty of .280+ / 15 HRs / 20+ SB seasons and plus defense. Don't rule out a future in CF for Gimenez either...he has the skills for it and should Rosario / McNeil / etc prove themselves fully this year its yet another path to the MLs.

    Corey Oswalt - Rushed. Vegas abused. Oswalt showed flashes in the majors, but was jerked around in a similar way the Mets treated Heath Bell or Aaron Heilman early in their careers by a AAA --> MLB shuttle. He never really got on track. His HR rate went from .5 per 9 to over 1.5 per 9 last year. He also set a career high in walk rate. I 100% believe this was all due to Vegas. I expect a bounce back from Oswalt this year and I still think he can be a quality 4th/5th starter type in the MLs. He knows how to pitch. He's got 4 solid pitches he can throw for strikes. He's got a build that should be built to be a workhorse.

    Drew Smith - I think numbers probably push him out of the ML pen this spring. He did okay in ~30 innings for the Mets last year, but his K rate was WAAAY off pace from what he's shown in the minors - his career is ~10K/9 ....with the Mets it was under 6. He's a pure MR prospect. I don't believe he's a closer or even setupman....but solid depth. I could see him replacing Gsellman - who I'm still not sold on as a great reliever.

    Jacob Rhame - Did not look good in the majors for the most part, but he and Smith were about the only 2 guys who pitched pretty well at Vegas. 3 era, sub .200 BAA, and a 1.10 WHIP converted 11 or 12 saves. He throws hard. Has a good change. He's an extreme flyball pitcher which should also play to Citi. 41 K's in 32 innings. In the Majors he gave up 8 HRs in 30 innings and almost 1/2 of his ER in 2 outtings where Mickey just let the kid get abused. Take those 2 out and he had an acceptable 3.50 ish era. He's got better stuff than Smith....he just doesn't have the control in the zone. Still could potentially be a setup guy one day.


    These guys probably don't have much a future, but they have maybe 1 good skill / attribute that could lend them to seeing some time in the majors when the injury rush comes

    Daniel Zamora - Showed he can be a decent lefty out of the pen last year. I think he gets pushed into AAA to start this year with Wilson and Alivan taking pen spots, but he could still be a solid 2nd lefty.

    Walker Lockett - Snagged in the Plaw trade - Lockett throws hard (95) and has 3 decent pitches. His problem has been the long ball, not so much control - tho last year in his cup of coffee in the majors he had major control issues in an extremely small sample size. Nerves? In any case I can write off some of his issues with HRs because they didn't really show up until he went to the PCL. He's a spot starter at best, but a better candidate than guys like Gagon, PJ Colon, etc we saw get chances last year.

    Tyler Bashlor - I don't think Bashlor has the upside of Smith. He's got 1 plus pitch and nothing else that's more than average. Again did an "okay" job for the Mets last year, but he'll be 26 shortly after the start of the season.

    Stephen Villines - He probably starts in AA, but he should be in AAA and probably will be soon when injuries / roster shuffling occurs. Chad Bradford. Joe Smith. Side arming righty who uniquely like a few others from Mets past can get up to the plate at 90+ MPH making him virtually unhittable vs. righties. He pitched to a sub 1 era in St Luice last year and then to a 3 era, but still sub 1.00 WHIP in AA. He's a specialist, but for now at least there's still a role and a need for those kind of pitchers in the MLs. I like him a lot, but not sure you can really call a "specialist" a prospect. Still guys like him and Zamora could potentially have more impact on a season than better arm talent like Smith/Rhame.

    Will Toffey - might start at AA depends on where guys like JD Davis and some of the various depth signings end up. Solid D, but not elite. Terrific - elite - OB%, but generally low BA. Moderate power. Toffey needs to evolve the way Nimmo did. He's built similar. His approach is very similar. But he either needs to start putting more balls in play (increase his BA) OR start hitting more of them with authority (increase his SLG). Right now I see him more as a bench player in the majors capable of covering all the corners (LF/RF/3B/1B).

    Tomas Nido - Probably 2 years ago he was the top catcher in the Mets system. Now, he's 3rd or 4th. A defensive 1st catcher with some pop....who just doesn't make contact enough and IMO isn't at an elite level D. Getting Mesoraco on a minor league deal probably puts Nido on a depth/fodder list....but he should be mentioned since TDA and Ramos aren't exactly iron men out there.

    Luis Guillorme - The Mets just signed this guy's ceiling with Hechavarria. He seemed to leave his "elite" glove in the minors whenever he was called up.

    TJ Rivera - Sorry TJ fans can't put him in the prospect bin. There's a log jam of guys around now. He can hit, but that's about it. Its a good skill to have and if he can continue to do it at a .300+ clip he can hang around the major, but he's below average defensively. Doesn't walk. Has maybe 10-12 HR power. Bench guy is probably his ceiling and he's going to have some real issues cracking this roster early he's 30 already.....

    Make or Break

    These were some former prospects who potentially still have hidden upside but given either recent performance or pushes from behind this is probably their last chance to figure things out

    David Thompson - Last year was my AAA darkhorse to have a breakout season. Instead he broke his leg. Plus defender with plus power at 3B. I was really pumped to see him in Vegas. I thought he was poised for a Murphy-esque breakout following a terrific 2nd half of 2017. Now with McNeil, Lowrie, Gimenez, Toffey, etc all around and some top prospects (Vienes) behind....this is probably his last shot to put it all together. He has EASY 25+ country boy type power. His pitch recognition has been the issue - not so much leading to too many K's but just to too many weak outs. He's got a higher ceiling than Toffey, but he's gotta get consistent ...again given the depth signings he might not even get much of a shot.

    Chris Flexen - Man 2017 seems like a decade ago with this kid. He was finally fully healthy, pitching to a sub 2 era, DOMINATING AA when the Mets, in a season going no where decided to oddly call him up to the majors with barely 50 innings above A ball under his belt. He got crushed in the majors and frankly I don't think ever mentally recovered. Then as a bonus he got to pitch in Vegas last year. There were some signs of recovery, but I feel pity for young, mid-rotation type starters trying to navigate the PCL / Vegas when they aren't at 100% confidence. There was a time in the not so distant past where Flexen was a top 10 Mets prospect with #2/3 type stuff. Out of the PCL this is probably his last shot to get back on track to having any ML future

    Dom Smith - Has ANY Mets prospect fallen faster? We know the deal. I don't think he has it in him. The problem with Smith, beyond the attitude, work ethic, etc is that he HAD TO hit .300+ to be a productive player. Even at such a small slide to say .270 the rest of his slash line would look like - .330 / .420 and that type first baseman or even COF just isn't a full time starter. Toss in that now in baseball there's maybe 10 people hitting over .300 in any season and you can see why it failed and why unless he makes significant changes he'll never be anything.

    A couple weeks from now I'll take a look at what in AA is worth paying attention gets harder and harder to project rosters this early as you move down the line

  • #2
    I forgot about TJ. If he has a good spring and Lowrie can’t play.......
    “President Obama is a personal friend of mine,” said Rickles. “He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”

    It's early!!!

    Be the kind of person that when your feet hit the floor each morning liberals say "Oh crap he's up"


    • #3
      TJ cant even get in the cage this spring....shoulder and arm still bothering him. No time table on him at this point.

      Getting the sense that it might be all over for him at this point. If true - too bad...easy guy to root for


      • #4
        As we're ~3 weeks from opening day the AA roster is starting to come together. Frankly the 1st 1/2 season of the Bing roster is going to look DRASTICALLY different than the 2nd half. This is where years of poor drafting and development is really showing up. Last year it was AAA. This year it's AA. The only "good" thing about this is 1 easily expect 3 of the Mets top 15 prospects to be bumped to AA fairly quickly....

        I talked about some guys who might start in AA above - Gimenez, Toffey?, and Villines - and I'll probably talk about a few here that might really start in A ball, but here we go.....



        The Best AA prospect the Mets have won't even play this year - Franklyn Kilome will be out the whole season with his TJ surgery. Shame because the kid shows promise...

        Patrick Mazeika - C - Maze had a lost year at the plate last year and honestly I don't know why. He has been an excellent line drive / gap hitter with a good eye who makes hard contact and rarely strikes out all through his minor league career. His slash line going into last season was basically .300 BA / .400 OB%. Somehow he hit .230 (still managed a .330 OB% tho). Totally out of character. On the bright side, his defense (which was poor) made some huge strides even if the stats dont show it. The previous 2 years he was allowing near 100 SBs...this year 60....tho he still only threw out ~32% he did a much better job of controlling the running game. He still has issues with PB (10), but his framing and pitch calling were much improved. He's NEVER going to be a good defensive catcher....I don't know if he can even get to average to be honest, but with his bat he could still have a future behind the plate. He reminds me of Josh Thole. Now I can see the eyes rolling....the problem with Thole was his minor league bat - where he hit like .320 everywhere he went never translated to the majors.

        Ryan Rider - RP - The return from Jay Bruce. Rider still relatively new to pitching having started as a SS, but he made huge strides with control last year cutting his walk rate in half. He throws easily in the upper 90s and has a plus curve. If he can develop an effective change - well the Mets just might have something here. Even just with those 2 pitches as he learns more, he projects as a good MR arm.

        Matt Blackham - RP - I usually won't call 26 year olds in AA prospects, especially guys who clock in at all of 150 pounds...but Blackham is interesting. Kid misses bats - in 156 innings he has 215 K's and a 1.10 WHIP. He's got a natural cut fastball that sits in the low 90s, slurve, and a change. He locates well and this is not one of those older pitchers that gets by on "knowing" how to pitch and location. The action on his fastball just makes it tough to square up. He got a bit of the yips in AA last year walking far too many (17 in 26 innings), but that's not his m.o. (he walked 30 in his previous 90 innings). If he can get his control back this is a legit MR / setup man make up.

        Sadly....that's really it in terms of who's likely to start at AA so I'm going to tap into the massive wave of prospects who will likely start at St Luice and move to AA quickly.....

        David Peterson - SP - Peterson lives off his hard sinker and control of 4 pitches. He's big - 6'6" 250 - but he doesn't throw mid-90s. Again his bread and butter is pounding the bottom of the strike zone. He dominated RK ball and then struggled initially in A ball before finding his groove later in the year. He's a mid-rotation arm prospect going forward.

        Anthony Kay - SP - Kay is fun to watch. He's a little wild in the zone, but he's got a mid-90s fastball and a good curve. He's a lefty so control and such tends to come a little later for these guys. He's Matz-lite. For him to get to the majors he's gotta develop his other pitches. He should be an innings eater with his delivery and frame. He has no fear and is really aggressive. I like Kay a lot more than some others, but he's further away than Peterson.

        Ali Sanchez - C - Nido 2.0 IMO. Excellent defender (better than Nido IMO), but thus far not as much pop in his bat. He's a very light hitter. He doesn't strike out at all, but he also doesn't walk. He's been basically a .270 /.300 type hitter with sub .400 SLG power. Future backup at best.

        Trey Cobb - RP - Closed for Columbia and that could be his future. High 90s fastball and a nasty slider. He pitches in the zone and to contact too often for his stuff. He needs to learn how to be selectively wild with his pitches. It looked like he started to make some of those strides in A+ ball towards the end of last year. If he can learn to bury his slider in the dirt rather than trying to throw it for a strike and elevate his fastball in the zone he could make a big leap this year.

        Brooklyn or Columbia is where the big wave of Mets prospects are going to be this year - Vientos, Mauricio, Newton, Woods-Richardson, Hernandez, Dibrell....all top 10 prospects for the Mets.

        St Luice's rotation with Kay, Peterson, Szapucki (who I expect to stay there most of the year unlike the other 2), Humphreys, Chris Viall - could be insanely all those guys....The top 4 could move quickly given that injuries not performance has been whats held them back.


        • #5
          Nice job as always Hat..few names I hadnt heard of...Columbia should be real fun to watch..not sure if any games televised..but would be interested if so..

          Citifield & Mets...the place where Sluggers Careers go to DIE"


          • #6
            Well Rivera released.....something still not right with his shoulder and again at 31 with the depth around the infield he was a long shot anyways.

            Drew Smith who was having an okay spring (forget the ERA he was getting into trouble and just getting out of it) ...down with TJ.

            Rhame, Zamora, Lockett, and Dowdy have all sucked this spring.

            Tyler Bashlor is probably the leading candidate to replace Smith in the pen, but again he has a shiny ERA, but has giving up 5 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings....that's a lot of traffic with only 2 K's.

            The guy who has probably pitched the best is a career AAA/AAAA player Tim Peterson .... hasn't allowed a hit and K'd 6 in 4+. He had a good year last year in AA/AAA, but struggled in the majors (after a good start there).

            Hector Santiago who was signed as starting pitching depth has also been very good - 1 run in 5 innings with 8 K's. He'd be my choice as he's 1. another lefty. 2. Another guy you can get to give you 2+ innings early in the season.