This is the final position look at the Mets system and likely the last substantive post before we get started on my annual Top 41 prospects in the system.

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 overarching theme: starters are much more valuable than relievers. The best relievers in the big leagues were minor league starters.

Here are the other positions: lefties, centerfielders, corner outfielders, catcherfirst basesecondshortstop and third base.


RHP

Potential Starters

  1. Noah Syndergaard
The consensus top Mets prospect, Despite middling surface-level numbers in Las Vegas, Syndergaard still has front of the rotation potential. MLB.com recently ranked him as the second-best right handed pitching prospect in the game trailing only the Nationals’ Lucas Giolito. Even if it doesn’t all come together for Thor, he should be a competent member of a rotation. If it all comes together, he could be an ace. There is a BIG gap between Syndergaard and anyone else on this list.

  1. Rafael Montero
It feels like Montero is getting forgotten this winter. Given a brief big league look in 2014, he pitched at a below replacement level in 44.1 innings. The twin culprits were walks and home runs: he allowed a walk rate of 11.9% and eight dingers.

In his minor league career, before 2014, he’d been something of a command specialist. However, his walk rate jumped in triple-A in 2014 to 10.1% from 6.9% in 2013, and then again in the big leagues.

He still has the attributes that helped him to the big leagues: an averagish fastball, a short slider, and a firm fly-ball inducing changeup. The problem for Montero is that while he could keep minor league hitters at bay pitching heavily off his fastball, big leaguers put the pitch over the all five times.

There’s no star-level potential here, but Montero could fit into the back-end of a rotation, Dillon Gee style if the Mets need innings. Frankly, the perfect role for Montero might be as a long-reliever/swingman type as it’s hard to see him regularly getting through a big league lineup three times with his current stuff and teams often prize a little more velocity out of their short relievers. MLB teams don’t really carry this guy anymore though.

  1. Marcos Molina
I had read multiple glowing reports about Molina before I saw him with my own eyes in Brooklyn on August 24. The look left me a little flat. He is a good athlete with a nice 6’3” lean frame, with an unusual delivery, but I was expecting more stuff. If I was grading purely on repertoire in the New York-Penn League, for a Mets comparison, I’d put him behind Jenrry Mejia v. 2008.

I saw a guy easily slinging the his fastball up to the plate at 91-93 mph and touching 94. He showed an amusing variety of offspeed pitches from a slider that was 81-85 and a mid-80s changeup that didn’t move much, considering its firmness and a slower curveball at 79. He was clearly trying to use all of his pitches, particularly the changeup. If he was interested only in getting hitters out, he would have thrown nothing but fastballs and sliders. At times his location on his fastball was unfair, low and away on the black, for example.

His delivery deserves note. He releases the ball out of a low arm slot. Guys can make this work in the big leagues, think of say, Tyson Ross. However, extreme platoon splits could be a problem for Molina as he moves up the ladder. He also does not appear to use his legs very much at all. In theory, this will put more stress on his shoulder.

Molina was absolutely dominant in the New York-Penn League and will pitch on a full-season staff in 2015. Barring a poor spring training, I would be very tempted to start him out in St. Lucie rather than Savannah, where he will cruise to excellent numbers.

  1. Gabriel Ynoa
I view Ynoa at this point as a little bit like Montero-lite. The difference is that Ynoa is a little taller at 6’2”, with a more classic pitcher’s body and easier delivery. Both guys relied on feel, fastball command and a changeup to sail through the low minors. I have been told that Ynoa’s slider has improved, but did not see it in person in 2014. At 21 years old in double-A in 2014, he was on the low end of the league’s age spectrum.

The major concern here statistically is that his strikeout rate cratered from 26% in the Florida State League to 17% in 66.1 innings in the Eastern League. The bet is that Ynoa will pitch in the big leagues, but he must continue to improve his breaking ball to profile as a viable big league starter.

  1. Robert Gsellman
A 13th round pick in 2011, Gsellman put up solid numbers in Savannah without the strikeouts one usually associates with predicting success in the big leagues. What’s to like here? He’s a big guy at 6’4”, and 200+ pounds who lives 91 mph with his fastball. He can reach back for more. He has nice feel on a changeup. His curveball will flash plus, while other nights not be a useful part of his arsenal.

A hamstring injury kept him out of action for almost a month between the middle of April and the middle of May in 2014. The Mets also shut him down for almost two weeks in August to manage his innings and keep him fresh for the playoffs. Before his shutdown, in his previous four starts from July 18 through August 9 he put together this line: 26.2 IP, 21 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 25 K with a 0.67 ERA, a 24% strikeout rate and a 4% walk rate.

He had similar results to Gant and Whalen in the Savannah rotation, but he moves in front of them based on potential and physique. He’s a good few inches taller than Whalen and built more powerfully than Gant. This helps him maintain ease in his motion and should give him better command. Also, the potential of his curve is tantalizing.

He might well be a back-end starter with a fastball a tick below average, and an average changeup and curve.


Likely Relievers with Set up Potential

  1. Cory Mazzoni
Nothing has changed since the end of August when I wrote about Mazzoni in the Arizona Fall League preview. However, the Mets decided not to send the injury prone right-hander to the desert to let him rest up and heal for the 2015 season.

Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola told the Mostly Mets Podcast that he views Mazzoni’s future as most likely in the bullpen and we agree. He throws strikes with a fastball at 90-92, although he can reach back for more, with a splitter and a slider. He’s never made it through a season healthy as a starter.

  1. Michael Fulmer
The Mets’ supplemental first round pick in 2011, Fulmer has a plus fastball (93-95) and a slider that might get to plus as well. That, but a big frame is the good. The negative is that he’s never showed the command or the changeup to be a starter.

His 2013 was marred by a knee injury, and his first half of 2014 was not particularly impressive. However, he was better in the second half for St. Lucie (2.75 ERA, 24% K-rate, 7.5% walk rate) and earned a start at the end of the year in double-A.

Even if he starts 2015 in the double-A rotation, the bet here with this ranking is that his eventual home is in a big league bullpen where he can let it fly for a few batters a time in the seventh and eighth innings.

  1. Domingo Tapia
Repeating advanced A, Tapia ran a 56-51 K-BB ratio in 109 innings in 21 starts on his way to a 3.96 ERA. He’s just not a starter. However, at 96-98 with sink and run from a low arm slot and a diving changeup will play just fine out of any bullpen. It’s time to put him in the bullpen in 2015.

  1. Hansel Robles
After 17 undistinguished starts with a 4.97 ERA in double-A in 2014, the Mets slipped Robles off to the bullpen for Binghamton after his July 13th start. The results were a revelation. Out of the bullpen in shorter stretches, his velocity jumped, to the point where he was touching 96. Compare the numbers.

IPERAH/9BB%SO%
Starter90.674.869.59.120.7
Reliever201.805.08.629.6
And in the bullpen he shall stay. He should begin 2015 in the Las Vegas 51s pen for Wally and friends.


Back-end starters, maybe (Draft pedigree)

Things start to get really murky at his point in the rankings. With just a little squinting, it’s possible to see any of the next four guys in in the back of a big league rotation.

  1. Casey Meisner
Why ranked here: Meisner got better as 2014 went on for Brooklyn. Early in the year, he was 87-91, but later, reportedly he was 90-94. I’m disappointed I didn’t see him in person. There’s a chance that he will settle in with average velocity from a 6’7” frame and an average secondary offering in his curve.

His last five starts for the Cyclones: 30.2 IP, 28 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 32 K. That’s a 1.47 ERA, a 3% walk rate and 27% strikeout rate.

Why no higher: no full season experience or plus pitch

Why no lower: Draft position. Projectability.

The Mets’ third round pick in 2011 will get his first shot at a full-season league in 2015.

  1. John Michael Gant
Why ranked here: He was very effective in a-ball with a below average fastball, funk in his delivery and a relatively easy release. He complements his mostly high-80s heat with a changeup and curveball.

Why no higher: see fastball

Why no lower: has command and will work at double-A.

  1. Andrew Church
Why ranked here: The Mets saw something in their 2013 second round pick. I saw his Appalachian League debut and I saw a very generic guy without a big league pitch. His fastball was mostly 90-91 mph. He worked with a changeup at 81-83 and a slurve at 77 mph. He struggled to locate and had plenty of effort in his delivery.

At 6’2” and a little soft, I did not see much projection left in his body to add velocity.

Why no higher: I didn’t see the stuff to justify it.

Why no lower: Still a second round pick. Lets see if he’s better in full-season ball.

  1. Josh Prevost
Why ranked here: The height of Meisner (actually Prevost might be a little taller at 6’8”) but a few years older. Prevost was mostly 89-90 in his brief time out of the Brooklyn bullpen. He showed a slider, and a very seldom used changeup.

The Mets’ 5th round pick in 2014 out of Seton Hall earned 3rd team All-America honors from Baseball America.

Why no higher: stuff doesn’t warrant it

Why no lower: He should get a shot on the rotation in Savannah and then St. Lucie at which point his projection will be much clearer.


More Potential Relievers – Replacement level variety

Here we return to an important point: starters are much more valuable than relievers.

  1. Akeel Morris
Morris had a great 2014 with the Savannah Sand Gnats in relief, pitching to a 0.63 ERA with a 42% strikeout rate and a 10.4% walk rate. He’s a little dude at roughly 6’0” who puts a lot of effort into pumping 94 mph on his fastball. He can get up to 96. His second offering is a changeup that when it’s right, dives out of the zone. His over the top release left him struggling for a consistent breaking ball.

The Mets rewarded Morris with a spot on the team’s 40-man roster in November.

Why no higher: he’s an a-ball reliever. His breaking ball is rudimentary. He walked over 10% of opposing a-ball hitters. Most big league relievers continue to start through a-ball and at higher levels.

Why no lower: he does throw hard.

  1. Erik Goeddel
Why ranked here: hey, he pitched in the big leagues in 2014. He actually was a replacement level reliever. He also worked to a 5.37 ERA at triple-A Las Vegas with 64 strikeouts against 30 walks in 63.2 innings out of the bullpen. His fastball might be a tick or two above average at 94 mph, but it’s straight. His second weapon is a curveball. His hard change doesn’t create enough contrast.

Why no higher: Results

Why no lower: Hey, he’s offered the Mets a few big league innings. He’s there. He’s basically what Akeel Morris might be unless he continues to improve.

  1. Matt Bowman
Why ranked here: Bowman just had a really solid 2014 as a starter in both double-A and triple-A. By the standards of professional baseball, he’s a little guy at 6’0”, listed below 170 lbs but he generates some leverage and deception with a mini-Tim Lincecum delivery with a rock and lean. For all of that effort, he mostly sits 89-91 as a starter. He has a curve, slider and splitter that he uses as a changeup.

Why no higher: Below average fastball as a starter, and no plus secondary big league pitch

Why no lower: He got guys out in double-A and triple-A and I’m a sucker for smart pitchers (see Princeton Economics degree).

  1. Luis Mateo
Mateo missed much of 2014 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. When he returned, he was rather unimpressive, throwing 89-90 in July. After the Mets moved him down to Brooklyn, he was essentially sent home early because he was not putting in the work. He had the stuff, pre-surgery, to work in a big league bullpen, but did not show it in 2014.

Why no higher: injury, reduced diminished repetoire post-rehab, makeup concerns

Why no lower: a memory of what he showed in 2012 and 2013


Who knows, TJ/2014 Draftee Edition

  1. Chris Flexen
Flexen was not effective for Savannah, and just when he seemed to be putting it together, he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery and to remove loose bodies in his elbow. On the plus side, he has a lean body and can get to 94 mph.

On the negative side: everything else.

  1. Gabriel Llanes
  2. Erik Manoah
The Mets’ 11th and 13th round picks in 2014, both signed for $300,000 and then reported to the GCL. Llanes is an inch taller and a little leaner, while Manoah’s results were a little better in 2014. They’re both in the 88-92 range with their fastballs and are interesting long-term bets for the teams. Long time readers know the success rates with these types of pitchers is not great.


Longshot Starters

  1. Robert Whalen
Whalen has earned plenty of ink this off-season for a strong 2014 with Savannah in which he worked to a 2.01 ERA in 62.2 innings while allowing just 44 hits. He generally worked off an 88-91 mph fastball and threw lots and lots of sliders. That’s a fine recipe in the SAL, but upper level hitters will not be fooled as regularly by his slider-heavy pattern. His changeup did not have great separation off his heat.

A hand infection kept him out of action for the better part of two months with the Gnats and limited to 10 starts total and 62.2 innings.

Plopped in the Arizona Fall League, he walked 10 and fanned 15 in 18.1 innings on his way to a 6.87 ERA against some of the minors’ best hitters.

He will head to St. Lucie rotation to begin the 2015 season.

  1. Corey Oswalt
Oswalt was 88-90 in Bklyn, with a slider 10 mph off that, giving it below average velocity and an flat changeup around 82 mph. He should be a fine a-ball starter.

  1. Luis Cessa
A converted infielder, Cessa worked to an ERA of 4.00 in the Florida State League in 20 starts. Armed with a low-90s fastball, Cessa’s strikeout rate plunged to 17.5% in the FSL in 2014. He just does not miss enough bats to go through upper level orders multiple times.


Fastball only Goofs

All of these guys throw hard – up to 94 or higher, in the cases of Bashlor and Buchmann. However none have the secondary stuff to be starters. I would bet on one or two of these guys becoming effective relievers at least at double-A.

  1. Matt Koch
  2. Kevin McGowan
  3. Miller Diaz
  4. Tyler Bashlor
  5. Connor Buchmann
Tags: Analysis, Toby Hyde
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SNY's Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling answer questions during Beyond the Booth Live, hosted by Steve Gelbs on Thursdays at 4 p.m.


 

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Click below to see how the Mets fared against the Brewers in Game 12 of their virtual season on MLB The Show 20. 

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In the latest episode of Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition, Anthony Recker and Todd Zeile discuss who their favorite teammates to play with were. Plus, what makes players like David Wright and Jacob deGrom so much fun to watch?

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In this edition of Beyond the Booth, Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling give their favorite baseball movies and explain why they're attached to those ones in particular.

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Jeff McNeil, an offensive machine during the 2019 season, didn't really slump -- as he not so subtly pointed out Wednesday on The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies. But there was one time where he was in need of help. And one of his teammates delivered -- literally.

"When he was in a slump, he was like 0-for-5 or 0-for-6 in a game, and the only way to bring happy squirrel back was Dom (Smith) running inside and getting him a hot dog mid-game," J.D. Davis said. "And then him virtually going up the very next at-bat and getting a hit. And he was still pissed off."

"The hot dog thing is true," a smiling McNeil announced while interrupting Davis' story. "I got a hot dog mid-game."

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Danny Abriano
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With the MLB season paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mets have been trying to stay ready as they wait for information regarding a potential start date.

Dominic Smith has been taking try hacks and running with J.D. Davis in a hotel parking lot.

Edwin Diaz has been staying ready while pitching in an empty ballpark.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Wilson Ramos, Danny Abriano
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Mets catcher Wilson Ramos is at home with his family, but the work never stops. 

While MLB is paused amid the coronavirus outbreak, many players have shared video of themselves working out at home to stay ready for whenever it is that baseball makes its return.

Ramos tweeted out a photo and and accompanying video of his catching some pitches from the safety of his own home. 

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Click below to see how the Mets fared against the Astros in Game 11 of their virtual season on MLB The Show 20. 

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In the latest episode of Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition, the crew discusses whether or not Noah Syndergaard's Tommy John surgery should give Seth Lugo a chance to start for the Mets. Plus, what was it about Wilmer Flores that made him such a fan favorite?

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, Wilmer Flores
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On Episode 3 of The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies with J.D. Davis and Dom Smith, fellow club member Jeff McNeil joins the show, and big secrets are revealed!

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil
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Ron Darling, SNY.tv

There have been many proposals from baseball people regarding playing a meaningful baseball season. Maybe we need to work backward.  

Baseball has always been unique because of its marathon season spread throughout the summer. That, obviously, is not going to happen. I'm behind everyone who has an idea on how to get started but shouldn't we err on the side of caution? If and when the nation is cleared, that is when baseball should start. So let's get crazy.  

"Ballin in the Fall." Just steal the March Madness idea, and baseball runs its own version in November. 

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 (Rick Scuteri)
(Rick Scuteri)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

When Major League Baseball officials presented a plan for playing the 2020 season in Arizona to the Players' Association on Monday, they did not expect it to become public within 24 hours.

But now that it has, courtesy first of ESPN and the Associated Press before multiple outlets added details, Phase 2 has begun -- however unintentionally.

When asked what is next in the process, a person involved with the plan said simply: "Scrutiny."

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In the latest edition of Out of Office Replies, SNY's Todd Zeile says Dom Smith surprised him greatly last season by being such an impact bat off the bench. He also gives his opinion on bringing back the black jerseys...

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Click below to see how the Mets fared against the Astros in Game 10 of their virtual season on MLB The Show 20. 

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Brodie Van Wagenen's first big move as Mets general manager was orchestrating a trade that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets. Both had their share of struggles in 2019, though. 

On the latest edition of Loud Mouths: The Great Debate, SNY's Gary Apple and Maria Marino discuss which player the Mets will need a better 2020 season from ...

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano
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In the latest episode of Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition, the crew discusses the reported 'Arizona plan' that baseball is said to be considering to start the 2020 season. Doug Williams, Todd Zeile and Anthony Recker give their thoughts on how this newly discussed plan could impact the game, plus an in-depth discussion on Amed Rosario's future with the Mets ...

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Mar 26, 2020; New York City, New York, USA; A general view of Citi Field. The season opener between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets has been postponed due the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Mar 26, 2020; New York City, New York, USA; A general view of Citi Field. The season opener between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets has been postponed due the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon sent the team's season ticket holders a letter on Tuesday, which a recipient forwarded to SNY.

Here's what the letter said...

Dear Mets fans:

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Apr 21, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A general view of game action between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)
Apr 21, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A general view of game action between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

For about three weeks, a small group of industry insiders have been working 18-hour days assembling a plan for MLB to play its season in Arizona, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the process.

During that process, high-ranking members of the medical community have signed on to the details of a plan that would be heavy on social distancing, per those sources.

This approval comes from government health agencies, not the wing of the Donald Trump administration that had proven eager to open the economy before the COVID-19 pandemic risk subsides. In other words, the officials open to this are the ones who have generally proven themselves more aligned with the scientific community.

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In our first edition of Time Machine Tuesday, we flash back to July 15, 2018 when Pete Alonso was one of the main highlights of the Future Games during All-Star Weekend. 

He spoke with SNY's Justine Ward after to discuss his "immaculate" homer...

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Feb 29, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) takes first base against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)
Feb 29, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) takes first base against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso penned an impassioned missive last week directed to the fans, telling them how much he missed baseball and imploring them to "shake the damn stadium" when baseball finally returns to Citi Field.

In the meantime, Alonso -- like every other player -- is preparing in isolation for what he hopes will be the start of the season.

And after smashing the rookie home run record in 2019, Alonso wants to master something else in 2020.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Rob Manfred (Orlando Ramirez)
Rob Manfred (Orlando Ramirez)

Major League Baseball released a statement on Tuesday following a report by ESPN's Jeff Passan that the league and players were "increasingly focused" on a plan to start the season in Arizona as early as May.

"MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so. While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association. The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus."

In Passan's report, he said the league had "support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic."

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Apr 13, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A general view of game action between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)
Apr 13, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A general view of game action between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)

With "support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic," Major League Baseball and its players are "increasingly focused" on a plan that would allow for the 2020 season to begin as early as May, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported early Tuesday.

According to the report, the plan -- which has been in motion for a while -- would have all 30 big league teams playing in Arizona (near Phoenix) in ballparks without fans while remaining isolated near the Phoenix area.

Those ballparks would include Chase Field -- the retractable roof home of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- as well as the 10 spring training ballparks in the area and "perhaps other nearby fields."

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Here is the Sports Squared crossword puzzle for Tuesday, April 7, called 2015 Mets: Almost a Miracle...

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Chase Field (Joe Camporeale)
Chase Field (Joe Camporeale)

During a conference call with MLB and MLBPA on Monday, the idea of playing solely in Arizona was tossed around as both sides continue to try to find a way to have a 2020 season, according to the Associated Press

The spread of coronavirus continues around the country, but the league is still trying to make sure it can salvage some sort of season. And having it in the Phoenix area -- one that has Chase Field and 10 spring training parks for the Cactus League within 50 miles of each other -- could be the perfect landing spot. 

"It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America," agent Scott Boras said. "I think players are willing to do what's necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment."

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Feb 29, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz (32) started the game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)
Feb 29, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz (32) started the game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Steven Matz is well aware that when an athlete invokes his or her religious faith, it can sound like the recitation of a cliche. 

In fact, when asked on Monday why he has felt so compelled as a young man to use his platform in service of others, he hesitated before answering, for that exact reason.

Tags: Steven Matz, Andy Martino
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Feb 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

An MLB-record 6,776 home runs were hit during the 2019 regular season, up from 5,585 in 2018, with many fly balls that had been fly outs in the past (or extra-base hits) instead sailing out of ballparks.

In addition to the baseballs during the 2019 regular season flying differently once they were hit was the fact that lower seams and a slicker surface hindered pitchers from being able to grip and/or control the baseball like they were used to.

Then came the 2019 postseason, when the balls were seemingly de-juiced. 

So what happened?

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Ron Darling, SNY.tv

Nothing about baseball today.

Just wanted to say thank you to all the hospitals, doctors and nurses for their tireless work to keep us safe. This is a scary time for all of us and it is times like these where we bear witness to those who make life manageable.  

And for all of us in New York, please follow the direction of Governor Cuomo and do your part in these challenging times. COVID-19 is a serious matter and please take all steps in order to help stop the spread of the virus.

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SNY's Doug Williams checks in from home with a new edition of Doug's Diary. Does Pete Alonso deserve to be the new captain of the Mets? Plus, thoughts on The Sopranos...

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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen posted a message on Monday to healthcare workers who are on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we all stay home and follow the guidelines of our health officials, I just wanted to give a big thank you to the doctors, the nurses, and all of our healthcare workers for keeping us safe, for going to work, and fighting this pandemic on the front lines every day," Van Wagenen said. "But it's those of you that are getting people healthy, getting people back home to their families, and putting yourselves at risk -- sacrificing for the better good of our entire community. Thank you to all of you and let's get through this together. Thanks."

Watch Van Wagenen's full message below:

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In this edition of SNY's Out of Office Replies, Steve Gelbs loves Igor Shesterkin's future with the Rangers, picks Steven Matz to break out, and more!

Tags: Steven Matz
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Here is the Sports Squared crossword puzzle for Monday, April 6, called New York Sports Rivals (Since 1990)...

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Mets on MLB The Show
Mets on MLB The Show

Click below to see how the Mets fared against the Nationals in Game 9 of their virtual season on MLB The Show 20. 

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There's more that was discussed in the latest edition of The Cookie Club with J.D. and Dom, where J.D. Davis, Dom Smith and SNY's Steve Gelbs also brought up Marcus Stroman. Does Dom really believe he has a stronger core than the man that said he has the strongest one in the league? 

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis
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Mets reliever Edwin Diaz, who is hoping to bounce back in 2020 if/when the season gets underway, is staying ready with MLB on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diaz's biggest bugaboo in 2019 was his slider -- specifically his inability to harness it, with the pitch often hanging in the fat part of the strike zone and getting smoked.

The slider was something Diaz was working on during spring training, with the pitch coming in at the bottom of the zone most often during games. And the one he broke off on Saturday looked nasty. Click below to watch...

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Danny Abriano
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On the latest edition of SNY's Out of Office Replies, Anthony Recker shares a funny Bartolo Colon story, explains how he knew Jacob deGrom could win the Cy Young, and more.

Tags: Anthony Recker, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom
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Ron Darling, SNY.tv

Jacob deGrom is a gift from the gods for someone like me. I have been fortunate enough to witness almost all of his starts in the major leagues and this has to feel like it felt for Ralph Kiner watching Tom Seaver all of those years.
 
Quite simply, IMO, he is the best starting pitcher in baseball. There was a time you could make the case for the precision of Greg Maddux or the sheer power of Randy Johnson, but Pedro Martinez had the combination of both. Jake is his generation's Pedro. This takes nothing away from the magic of Max, the overpowering Cole, or the sustained excellence of Clayton. 

DeGrom is now locked inside a vortex of athleticism, pitching intelligence and at the peak of his powers. What a sight to behold! 

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Mets third baseman Jeff McNeil, joined by his wife, Tatiana, and their dog, Willow, issued a message of thanks to healthcare workers who are doing everything they can to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso
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Click below to watch the virtual Mets take on the virtual Nats in game 8 of the Mets' season on MLB The Show 20.

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Aug 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; A general view of the MLB logo with Colorado Rockies batting gear on it during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Colorado Rockies won 12-9. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)
Aug 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; A general view of the MLB logo with Colorado Rockies batting gear on it during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Colorado Rockies won 12-9. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)

MLB, in addition to other professional sports leagues, is trying to find a safe way to still have a 2020 season -- one of the most common ideas has been to hold games in one location with no fans.

Major league sources told SNY's Andy Martino last month that MLB is determined to salvage some sort of baseball in 2020, and is still figuring out how that will look in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though there haven't been any serious talks yet about baseball being played at netural sites, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes that baseball is entertaining the idea of starting the season in a location where "spring training parks are more concentrated." But, as the story points out, there would be numerous hurdles to overcome.

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In the latest edition of SNY's Out of Office Replies, Doug Williams says why he believes in Marcus Stroman, gives his sandwich recommendation, and more!

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Ron Darling, SNY.tv

How do you get into the business? I'm asked this question all the time, and I am probably the wrong person to ask. Let's be real, I have my job because I used to throw a baseball at a high level.

Three things (two you can control)...

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Feb 18, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets manager Luis Rojas swings a bat between workout stations at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)
Feb 18, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets manager Luis Rojas swings a bat between workout stations at spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)

Luis Rojas has waited a long time to get his shot at managing the Mets, and he's now dealing with a delay to his first season that the game of baseball has "never seen before."

Rojas, hired by the Mets this offseason after the team and Carlos Beltran parted ways, recently spoke to Nathalie Alonso of MLB.com. On a call from Port St. Lucie, Rojas talked about the adjustments that he's needed to make on the fly as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

"Obviously, with what's going on with the virus, it's something we've never seen before, so we're swimming in unfamiliar waters as far as being able to anticipate what's going to happen in the future," Rojas told MLB.com. "But as far as adjusting and adapting, like we're all doing in our lives, I think [the baseball mentality] has helped us as a team."

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New York Mets' David Wright watches his two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, April 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill) (Paul J. Bereswill/AP)
New York Mets' David Wright watches his two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, April 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill) (Paul J. Bereswill/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Everything that follows is true and right, because it is my opinion.

In recent months, a troubling trend has emerged, and it's time we addressed it. Several prominent Mets players and many fans have spoken up in favor of a return to the black jerseys that the team wore as their alternate uniforms from 1998-2011.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Andy Martino
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Gary Cohen, SNY.tv

Here's a Q&A with SNY play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen about David Wright's career and his final game. Tune in to SNY on Saturday and Sunday to re-watch the broadcast of that magical game at Citi Field. 


How would you describe the atmosphere at Citi Field during Wright's final game? What still sticks with you? 

I think the best way to put it is that it was a night of love and appreciation. As much as David Wright was beloved by Mets fans, there was always a sense that he was taken for granted, even overlooked because he was so steady, so non-controversial. The two seasons at the end, when he was unable to play, gave people a chance to remember just how important David was to the fabric of the franchise and the experience of being a Mets fan over the previous decade and a half. So when the fans had one more chance to let David know how they felt about him, they held nothing back. It was a sea of warmth all night.

There were so many memorable moments. David's toddler daughter throwing out the first pitch. The reaction to his every movement. The vitriol directed at Peter O'Brien when he caught the foul pop-up in David's final at-bat. David coming up to the booth in full uniform. The utter joy and love on the faces of the fans in front of our booth when they realized David was there. And most of all, the recurring theme of David's desire to play one last game: the fact that neither of his daughters had ever seen him play. He needed completion for himself, but also for his family.

Tags: David Wright, Pete Alonso
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Keith Hernandez, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So much has been said and written about my brother Gary and me, and our ever-present father John. So in my first essay for SNY's website, I would like to share some thoughts with you about my mother, Jacquelyn Jordan Hernandez.

My mother was born on Feb. 9, 1929 in Beaumont, Texas, the second of what would be four children, my mother the only girl. My grandfather, R.D. was a rough-and-tumble Texas wildcatter who worked the oil fields at Port Arthur.

My maternal grandparents divorced at some point early in my mom's life. That's when my grandmother went to work for Ma Bell, and Mom's brother Carlos, being the oldest man in the family, had to quit school and go to work as well. With grandma working days, my mom had to babysit and raise her younger siblings, Jerry and Donald. Donald was sickly as a child (Rheumatic fever) and required extra care.

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In the latest episode of Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition, the crew goes through The Lineup Card. Tune in as Andy Martino, Anthony Recker, and Steve Gelbs go one-through-nine, answering questions about the Mets' current uniforms, which Yankee will take the biggest leap in 2020, and much more ...

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Aug 5, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of game two of a doubleheader at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 5, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of game two of a doubleheader at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

This shouldn't be a surprise coming from the same guy who originated the #LFGM rallying cry last season, but Mets first baseman Pete Alonso penned an emotional missive on Friday as he reflected on the 2019 season and looked forward to the start of the delayed 2020 season.

"I catch myself every night watching 2019 Mets highlights," Alonso wrote in a post to Twitter. "The amount of time watching them varies, but it's a nightly routine at this point. Rewatching the crowd erupt and remembering those moments as I saw them never ceases to give me goose bumps

"I miss the feel of the Citi Field dirt beneath my cleats. As I'm writing this now, I can still see pitchers get nasty and go get a big strike out, someone running down a missile in the gap and making a diving catch, someone twisting up a sexy double play up the middle: I see it and remember it all. The thing that I remember the most is the roar from the fans after a play was made.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Brodie Van Wagenen said soon after signing Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello that the Mets had one of the deepest rotations in baseball. Now without Noah Syndergaard, Van Wagenen is confident his team will "rise to the challenge."

"Noah is a big part of the Mets family,'' Van Wagenen said in a text to Dan Martin of the New York Post. "Losing a player like him for the season is tough, but we are confident in the other pitchers we have on the roster can rise to the challenge. Adding depth to our rotation was a priority this offseason. Both Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha are proven Starting Pitchers with championship pedigrees who have been very impressive this Spring.''

As had been the case before the Mets signed Wacha and Porcello -- temporarily giving them six starting pitchers for five rotation spots -- Van Wagenen also talked up Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman as part of the team's starting rotation depth with Syndergaard out for the entire 2020 season and perhaps into 2021.

Tags: David Peterson, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Walker Lockett, Danny Abriano
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Since their inception in 1962, lots of incredible players have donned the orange and blue. Below, the All-Time 25-man roster is unveiled.

But first, some rules...

In order to be eligible for the team, a player must have spent a solid chunk of his career in Queens and experienced part of his peak during that time. That means Pedro Martinez and Nolan Ryan won't be in the starting rotation and Willie Mays won't be patrolling center field.

Tags: David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Jose Reyes, Juan Lagares, Luis Guillorme, Danny Abriano
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