Fulmer, the Mets' supplemental first-round pick in 2011, at No. 44 overall, is the better prospect of this pair. The 22-year-old is?a big guy at 6-foot-3 and 220-plus pounds, who throws hard. However, he's always been a little mechanical in his delivery. His repertoire and his approach starts with the gas.
Mets' left fielders simply have not hit enough. By Fangraphs' wRC+, where 100 is league average, Mets left fielders have combined for 80, 26th in baseball. Only the Reds, Nationals, White Sox and Angels have received worse offensive production from their left fielders. From a larger picture perspective, the Mets have scored 329 runs, the second-worst in baseball, more only than the Chicago White Sox. While the pitching is among baseball's best, the offense has been among the league's worst units.
Moreover, his work in the Pacific Coast League made plain that he is among the organization's top six starters. He is ready to step in and contribute to a major league rotation right now. That's the easy part.
The difficult part was fitting him into a rotation that has been the Mets' strength so far in 2015.?Entering this weekend's play, the Mets' starting rotation had the ninth-best ERA in baseball (3.80) and both the fifth-best FIP (3.49) and collective WAR (7.6).
Then, on May 6, the Gnats swept the Greenville Drive, and began a furious 31-15 close to the first half, sealing Savannah's fifth first-half title in six years.
"Everything starting clicking at that point," manager Jose Leger said of the early-May sweep. "We just started playing better baseball. Guys just gained a lot of confidence. They just kept going and going."
The teams?had to wait to name Wieck because players cannot be traded until one full calendar year after they?are drafted.
Does Wieck's inclusion in the trade tip the balance toward the Padres? Not yet.?To acquire the rights to Torres for almost five years, the Mets traded two guys who might never pitch in the big leagues for five full years.
The Mets promoted 2014 first-round pick, left fielder Michael Conforto from advanced Single-A St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton, putting him just two steps from the big leagues.?This?is more?significant?than the average minor league promotion from Single to Double-A, because it concerns an area of need on the big league team.
In 46 games with St. Lucie, Conforto hit .283, with a .350 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage, with 12 doubles and seven home runs. At the time of his promotion, he was tied for the league lead in total bases (85) and doubles and was second in slugging, fourth in homers and HR/AB ratio.
What should Mets fans expect from Plawecki, the Mets' first supplemental first round pick in 2012? A competent, if young, catcher. Put simply, that's a drop from the level at which d'Arnaud had started his?2015 season.
Plawecki's offensive performance in Triple-A is characteristic of what he is likely to produce in the big leagues. In 52 games over the last two years, he has hit .270, with a .325 OBP and .402 SLG in the offense-friendly Pacific Coast League. He's accomplished this with a line drive swing and an aggressive approach paired with a keen plate eye. In Triple-A, Plawecki's strikeout rate was just 12 percent, well below the PCL average of 20 percent. His walk rate of 7.2 percent was below the PCL average of 8.7 percent. Plawecki will attack early count fastballs if he gets something he can handle, rather than hanging around in the count. Once that opportunity passes, he is quite disciplined about swinging only at strikes. However, he will see many fewer hittable early count fastballs in the majors than he ever has at any point in his life. As with any young hitter transitioning to the big leagues, expect Plawecki's walk rate to decline some and his strikeout rate to rise.
1)?RHP Michael Fulmer
The 24-year-old Robles was off to a terrific start for Triple-A Las Vegas. In 7 2/3 innings over five outings, he had not allowed a run, while striking out 10 batters and walking one of the 30 opposing hitters he had faced. Two of the six hits he had allowed were doubles, but he had not allowed a hit to lefties in nine at-bats.
The Mets moved Robles out of the Double-A starting rotation in 2014 and into the bullpen at midseason, and his results have been excellent ever since.
CF Ricardo CespedesBats/Throws:?L/L
Out in the desert, Wally Backman and pitching coach Frank Viola have an interesting roster to work with complete with players who should be contributing to the Mets in 2015.
StartersNoah Syndergaard Steven Matz Matt Bowman Tyler Pill Darin Gorski
StartersGabriel Ynoa Michael Fulmer Luis Cessa Rainy Lara John Michael Gant
This is the second-most interesting rotation in the system after the Noah Syndergaard/Steven Matz combo in triple-A.
OutfieldMichael Conforto Champ Stuart Maikis De La Cruz Victor Cruzado
Conforto, the Mets? 2014 first-round draft pick, is the big name here. The 22-year-old is a strong prospect; I have him ranked in the team?s top 10, as the fifth-best position player prospect and the second-best outfield prospect, trailing only Brandon Nimmo. He?s also at an age where he belongs, without question, in the FSL since the Mets took it slow with him last year. In 2014, Conforto spent had a strong enough debut with Brooklyn and joined Savannah for the playoffs. A polished college hitter, Conforto did not need to spend time with Savannah during the 2015 regular season. This assignment is not a surprise.
Wuilmer Becerra, Casey Meisner and Luis Guillorme will be carrying the prospect torch on this team.
OutfieldersWuilmer BecerraPatrick BiondiVincente LupoJohn MoraStefan Sabol
The Mets drafted Conforto, 22, with their top pick in 2014.
He was 3-4 with three RBI on Saturday, during which he grabbed the attention of team executives and fans.
Tags: Analysis, Andrew Vazzano
The Mets promoted Luis Rojas from Savannah, where he had managed for three seasons, to St. Lucie to be the team's manager. Although the Gnats won a SAL championship in 2013 (In part thanks to the post-season dominance of Steven Matz and Gabriel Ynoa) and make the postseason in 2013, records are a poor way to evaluate the efficacy of a minor league manager. The much more important question is whether the manager works hard, and induces his players to work hard for him through good times and bad. Rojas, the son of Felipe Alou gets it. The bi-lingual skipper was both a calming and firm force with his players. He had his emotional moments in disputes with umps, or elation over a championship, but his pitch and feel for the game are superb. I've worked with Rojas for four seasons in Savannah, and can say clearly he made my job easier. He always had a good explanation for what was going on the field, and why he made one decision over another. For a great example of his ability to discuss the game, and his preparation, take a look at his comments from one of my favorite plays of 2014, when Champ Stuart scored from second base on a sacrifice fly.
Joining Rojas in St. Lucie will be pitching coach Phil Regan, back for his seventh season at the level and hitting coach Joel Fuentes for his second year. Regan has a reputation within the organization as a technician who is strong on pitching mechanics. Fuentes talked about making a tweak in Dilson Herrera's swing here.
The sheer number of right-handed pitchers in a system means that ordering this group helps give structure to an overall system?s ranking. However, this year, for the Mets, this is much less true than in years past, at least at the top. I have only three right-handed pitchers in the team?s overall Top 10 and five in the Top 20. The right-handers flex their muscle in the back half of my Top 41, taking over 50% of the spots between 21 and 41 at last count.
The relative weakness of the right-handed pitchers in the organization is balanced by a strong big league rotation and upper level options (Hi, Thor). Likely lurking at triple-A to start 2015 will be Noah Syndergaard, who is an elite prospect and Rafael Montero, who could probably be a back-end starter now if the team needed big league innings.
The Rays wanted Noah Syndergaard, the Mets top prospect and one of two more "top" prospects. Desmond is signed for 2015 and then can become a free agent. Before the 2014 season, he turned down a seven-year, $107 million contract offer from the Nationals that would have covered his final two years of arbitration and his first five years of free agency. Instead, he and the Nationals came to terms on a two-year $17.5 million deal for 2014 and 2015. So, entering the 2014 season, Desmond valued his free agent years at over five years and $90 million or $18 million annually. After a 4.1 fWAR 2014, his age 28 season, which was second-best among MLB shortstops, and his third-straight year above 4 fWAR, he has helped his value.
It stands to reason that the Mets were not willing to trade Syndergaard and a second top prospect (perhaps Steven Matz or Brandon Nimmo) for one year of Desmond. However, teams, the Mets included, can trade for a player with the intention of signing him to a longterm extension. The Mets did this in the winter of 2008, of course, with Johan Santana. Even further back, the Mets acquired Mike Piazza, only to later work out an extension with the slugging catcher. Analyzing the wisdom of such a trade and sign is difficult without knowing the precise prospects or money involved. However, it is likely such a move would pay dividends in terms of an improved team on the field in 2015.
One of the things that becomes quite clear reading the list is that McDaniel has seen relatively few of these players in person in the last few years. Rather, like Baseball America, he is relying on what sources tell him for the list. The result is that I end up diverging from these assessments where they do not match what I have seen in person. (In my own Top 41, I think I have seen all but four players live in the last two years or at spring training, and three of those players were drafted in 2014.)
Let's revisit our tool, the composite Top Prospects list:
Here's the Baseball America list of the Top 10 Mets Prospects:
Teams pick in reverse order of their overall records from last season, the same order they will use come June in the amateur draft. Any player not on a MLB 40-man roster is eligible to be drafted as long as he meets one of these two requirements: this is his fifth Rule 5 draft and he signed his first professional contract at age 18 or younger OR this is his fourth Rule 5 draft and he signed his first professional contract at 19 or older.
Any player who is picked in the Major League phase of the draft, must remain on his new team's active roster for at least 90 days, or be offered back to his original team.
General Manager Sandy Alderson's recent endorsement of Wilmer Flores as the Mets' Opening Day starter merely said that it was?a "likelihood" that Flores would start. As endorsements go, that's weak. Manager Terry Collins refused to even go that far on Monday.
Flores hit .251, with a .286 OBP and .378 SLG in 78 games with the Mets in 2014, good for a 88 wRC+ (where 100 is average), in the season in which he turned 23-years-old. Partial season defensive numbers are extremely unreliable and split on Flores: while he was worth +4.0 runs by Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), he was worth -3 runs by Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). To be clear, I think Flores can hit at the big league level, although I don't know where he will play defensively, and I do not think he can play shortstop everyday.
Thursday was the deadline for teams to finalize their rosters for the Rule 5 draft which will take place on the final day of the winter meetings in Anaheim. The Mets pursued a similar strategy as they have under Sandy Alderson in protecting nearly any pitcher they could who has a chance to provide big league -- possibly bullpen -- value in the next two years.
This strategy, of erring on the side of adding an extra arm or two, perhaps creates extra churn at the back end of the 40-man roster. For example, the Mets added Hansel Robles in 2012 after a nice season with short-season Single-A Brooklyn. He was removed after an injury-marred and ineffective 2013, and earned his way back on with a good 2014 in the bullpen.
It's important to remember a few things while looking at the results that each guy put up in the league:
The Top Ten
At the big league level, center field is not an area of need. Following Juan Lagares? Gold Glove win on Tuesday night, the rest of baseball recognized and made official what Mets fans already knew: Lagares is a sublime defender. A league average hitter in 2014, Lagares provided roughly double the value (always use ?rough? when talking about single year defensive estimates) with his glove as with his bat on his way to becoming, by fWAR, the Mets? most valuable position player.
As with most of our positions so far, really all but shortstop, there?s a clear top prospect at the position. This time it's 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto. This is one of the thinnest areas in the Mets? system, a problem exacerbated by the fact that teams must play two corner?outfielders per game.
Corner outfield remains an area of need for the Mets. Despite the addition of Curtis Granderson last winter, by Fangraph?s WAR, Mets? cornermen ranked 18th?in baseball at 3.1 total WAR contributed.
He's playing, and hitting. His .300 batting average was fifth in the New York-Penn League in 2014. His 20 doubles were tied for second. His 122 total bases were third. The counting stats overstate his case a little as he was the the NYP leader in games played (75) and at bats (283). Even that though is something Urena can be proud of: he played in all but one of the Cyclones' games and was the only player on the circuit to play in more than 71 games and pick up more than 283 at bats. Durability is a good thing, and at age 19, Urena played everyday for almost three months.
As Cyclones hitting coach Benny diStefano said, "The bottom line is, this kid has a lot of ability."
In the last decade, developing a third baseman has been an extremely low priority for the Mets, who are?blessed with David Wright, one of the organization's all-time greats, at the position nearly every day. Now 31, and coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, one marred by a lingering shoulder injury, and signed through 2020, the Mets must count on a big bounceback from their Captain.
If Wright does get hurt again in 2015, the current roster offers Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores (as long as he's not playing shortstop) as two potential fill-ins. Who else is there for the longer term?
"Second base prospect" is a funny term. By definition, all second basemen would be more valuable at shortstop, but for one reason or another, they are not everyday shortstops. Meanwhile, second base itself is a plenty demanding position in its own right.
Looks around the minors at first base can be a funny exercise. Many MLB first basemen begin their careers at third base, behind the plate or even at shortstop. Last year, the first base list for the Mets was Dominic Smith and everyone else. In 2014, it's still Smith and everyone else.
Catcher, is for the first time in some time, not a major concern for the Mets. Travis d'Arnaud, after his early-season struggles, and his get-right session in Las Vegas produced the best season by a Mets catcher in years. His 105 wRC+ was the best for a Mets' backstop since Josh Thole's 103 in 2010, although that covered under 300 plate appearances. The last Mets backstop to match d'Arnaud's?105 wRC+ was Ramon Castro (126) in 157 PA in 2007. Counting playing time, the last Mets' backstop to achieve a 105 wRC+, in at least 400 PA was Paul Lo Duca in 2006.
However, d'Aranud has been injury-prone in the last few seasons, and his 2014 ended early with surgery needed for bone chips in his elbow. Catchers take such a physical beating that depth is particularly important.
Matz, one of the top pitching prospects in the Mets' organization did not just start both, he was dominant -- twice. For?Savannah in 2013, the southpaw shut out a solid Hagerstown offense through 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts, while allowing only one runner to third, and that came in an inning with a pair of infield basehits. For?Binghamton in 2014, working against Richmond, Matz took a no-hitter, with 11 strikeouts into the eighth inning in a 1-0 game. However, after a pair of hits, he bequeathed two runners to Hansel Robles, who allowed one to score.
Matz's two start "Clinching Game" combined line is the stuff makes fans drool: 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 20 K. He struck out 41 percent of opposing batters in these two starts and walked 8 percent.
Instructs are a funny beast, they have practice and games, like spring training, but the vibe is different. In spring training, the focus is on getting better for the season to come. Spring training has everyone in the organization. Here, with just a few exceptions, the players are restricted to those who will being 2015 in advanced Single-A and below. Thus, with a smaller group, the top lower-level prospects have more time for one-on-one instruction with the team's coaches and coordinators. Skill development is the priority over competition.
Instructional league inclues just six games for young Mets farmhands in the 12 days from September 22 through October 3.?All games are scheduled for 1 p.m..
The B-Mets were one of two EL teams to post more than 80 wins during the regular season, going 83-59 and finishing second in the Eastern Division behind the Portland Seadogs (Red Sox) who compiled 88 victories. It was that same Portland team who Binghamton defeated in a tough five-game series in the opening round of the postseason before moving on to the championship series.
Overall, the B-Mets offense was outstanding throughout the campaign, leading the league in batting (.278), slugging (.423), on-base percentage (.353), OPS (.776), walks (492) and runs (718). They were also second in home runs with 124. The pitching wasn?t bad either, compiling a league-best 1,106 strikeouts and the second best WHIP, 1.29.
Tags: Analysis, Rob Brender
Part one looked at players who were on the Pre-Season Top 41 list. Part two, looked at guys who were not on the pre-season Top 41, but joined the organization since Opening Day 2014. Now, we look at guys who have jumped into the top 41, who were Mets? employees at the start of 2014. We looked at some of these gentlemen, in less detail, in June and?July.
Sterling Player of the Year - 2B Dilson HerreraSterling Pitcher of the Year - LHP Steven Matz
Acquired via the 2014 Draft
(Again, guys who were not on the preseason Top 41 (Matt Reynolds, Jhoan Urena, Michael Conforto, etc.) will get their own post soon.)
It is basically against the rules for players to move down levels for the playoffs, but there is no prohibition on promoting players.
The Mets began Conforto off with the Brooklyn Cyclones, in the short-season Single-A New York Penn League.?Similar players, collegiate hitters from the top of the draft,?had spent less than a month playing in, and generally dominating, short season ball, before moving on to full-season minor leagues.
Conforto looked like he was comfortably on this path.?In his first 12 games in a Cyclones' uniform, he?hit a scorching .409/.490/.523 with five doubles, six walks, a .486 BABIP and seven strikeouts.
OF Brandon Nimmo
Smith, the Mets' first-round draft pick in the 2013 draft, has one home run for Savannah, hit last weekend in Augusta. How big a deal for this in the 19-year-old?
Smith has played 115 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats and hit .276/.349/.341 with 24 doubles and that one home run. He has run a very healthy walk rate of 9.8?percent?and a strikeout rate of 15.6 percent. He's shown plate discipline and strike zone control while displaying an ability to shoot singles back up the middle and into left field as illustrated in his hit chart below (courtesy MLBFarm.com). Note that in the spray chart below, right field is less "busy" than center and left field.
Combined, all nine of the Mets minor league affiliates have a .555 winning percentage, a 421-338 record.?Looking only at their full-season affiliates, instead of all nine, the organization has an even higher winning percentage: .590 (284-197), 9.5 games better than the next best organization, the Texas Rangers.
For the full season affiliates, offense has been the name of the game. They?ve scored 5.11 runs/game, the best amongst all clubs? full season minor league systems, and have the best run differential at +380. That differential is 104 runs better than Texas.
Coming off a week in which he hit .533/.588/.767, the 23-year-old Reynolds?was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Week for the period?ending August 3. In 43 games in Triple-A, in the thin air of Las Vegas, he's hitting .329/.390/.470 with 15 walks and 41 strikeouts while playing eight games at second base and 33 at short.
The Mets drafted Reynolds in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Arkansas, where he was primarily a third baseman. They shifted him back to his natural shortstop position for his?professional career. Reynolds?isn't going to dazzle anyone with his range?or his arm, but can he hit enough?