This is a fun pair of toolsy outfielders from the 2013 draft. They’re both raw, athletic types. Either might never hit in advanced-A, or either could figure it out and become an above average MLB contributor. Combined with Brandon Nimmo, these three give the Mets the most upside in centerfield that I can recall in the last 10 years.

#22 CF Champ Stuart

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight:  6’0”/175 lbs

Acquired: 6th rd ’13 (Brevard College)

Born: 10/11/93 (Freeport, Bahamas)

2013 Rank: NA StatsWhy Ranked Here: He has the tools to really play centerfield. If he can hit at all, he’s a big leaguer. If he hits more, he’s a good big leaguer.

It’s pretty rare these days that when I see a Mets prospect for the first time, I think his tools are better than what I’ve read/been told. Such was the case with Stuart.

He has centerfield tools. He can really, really run. His routes in center can be curious, bordering on circuitious at times, but with time and repetition, he will learn to take a more direct path. His arm is easily plus. However, he is still learning how to use it. For example, he was willing to let the thing fly rather than keep his throws down (to allow for a potential cutoff) or hit his cutoff man. This too will come in time.

Stuart is no twig; there’s strength in his arms and chest.

Will he hit enough? At the plate, his hand path seems fine. However, he gets jumpy. Both in the batting practice and game clips from last summer, he made contact with a pitch way out in front of the plate. In BP, for example in the video below, he’s working a very common drill among Mets prospects, placing a ball or two middle away on the front edge of home plate to give himself a target and remind himself that he wants to make contact in that rough area. The game swing shows him lunging after a fastball. At yet in BP, when it all comes together, as it does in the last swing in the video below, he generates plenty of power with his fast hands to put the ball over the wall.

2013:  Food for thought or small sample-size silliness? In 71 PA against younger pitchers in 2013, Stuart hit .328/.451/.466. In 117 PA against older pitchers, he hit .185/.350/.283.

Oh, and he was 11-for-13 stealing bases overall.

Dr. Pangloss Says: Above average Major League Centerfielder

Debbie Downer Says: .220 hitter in advanced-A

Projected 2014 Start: Savannah

MLB Arrival: 2017/2018

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQuS09bpLXg?rel=0&w=500&h=375]

 

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;G;AB;H;2B;3B;HR;BB;SO;AVG;OBP;SLG;

2013 APP;43;150;36;8;3;1;34;58;.240;.388;.353;

[/sny-table]

 

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;XBH%;SO%;BB%;HR%;BABIP;ISO;

2013 APP;6.4;30.9;18.1;0.5;.380;.113;

[/sny-table]

<hr>

#23 OF Ivan Wilson

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight:  6’3”/220 lbs

Acquired: 3rd rd ’13 (Ruston HS)

Born: 5/26/95 (Simsboro, LA)

2013 Rank:  StatsWhy Ranked Here: He’s big, he’s strong, he runs well, plays centerfield for now, has power potential and he struck out 35% of his Gulf Coast League plate appearances in his professional debut in 2013.

At the time the Mets drafted him, MLB.com said, his “combination of tools and athleticism is among the best of this year’s prep outfielders. … with good strength and plus speed. Wilson, …has good power and can hit home runs to any part of the ballpark.

ESPN’s Keith Law called Wilson, “very crude but has big upside, the kind of high-reward pick the Mets should be making more frequently.”

It looks like from the few swings I saw on this video that he has a deep load, and then a small drop in his hands before he attacks the ball. He clearly likes to hit with his arms extended in an almost arm bar. He will need to drive his hands through the ball more in professional baseball rather than relying on nearly straight arms to create leverage otherwise pitchers will bust him in with fastballs.

If everything clicks here, there’s a very good MLB player.

2013:  Wilson made progress over his first professional season in the GCL which began on June 21. He struggled through a .195/.275/.244 July in which he struck out 39 times (!) in 92 plate appearances over 22 games – that’s 43% of the time. In August, he cut that down to 22 strikeouts in 74 plate appearances, a 30% whiff rate as part of a .226/.351/.371 line. He had three extra-base hits in July and a .049 isolated slugging percentage; he had five in August including his first professional homerun and a .141 iso. He drew eight walks in July and upped that to 12 in August in 17 fewer plate appearances.

Wilson played all of his 46 games in 2013 in centerfield. There’s some chance as he ages, he fills out more and loses a step and will be forced to a corner, but that’s some ways away.

In 2013, he was 13-for-15 stealing bases.

Dr. Pangloss Says: A high-strikeout centerfielder with power? That’s an all-star.

Debbie Downer Says:  Or he fills out and cannot stay in center. Or his power does not come. Or he strikes out all the time.

Projected 2014 Start:  Kingsport, barring a monster Extended Spring Training in which he earns his way to Brooklyn

MLB Arrival: 2018 (or never)

Note: Wilson is one of only two players in my Top 25 who I have never seen play baseball live.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;G;AB;H;2B;3B;HR;BB;SO;AVG;OBP;SLG;

2013 GCL;47;160;35;4;3;1;22;65;.219;.321;.300;

[/sny-table]

 

 

 

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;XBH%;SO%;BB%;HR%;BABIP;ISO;

2013 GCL;4.3;35.3;12.0;0.5;.362;.081;

[/sny-table]

Tags: Champ Stuart, Ivan Wilson, Top Prospects Series, Toby Hyde

Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 6 | 2:15PM

According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, the Mets may have interest in free-agent relievers Matt Belisle, Joe Blanton, Junichi Tazawa, Drew Storen and Boone Logan, all of whom are represented by the same agency that works for Tim Tebow and Yoenis Cespedes.

Nevertheless, before signing a pitcher, "The Mets would like to trade an outfielder, likely Jay Bruce, in order to see if they can get a reliever in return and lessen the need to rely on free agency," Rubin adds.

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The Nationals will not be adding Chris Sale, who is about to be traded to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Earlier Tuesday, Rosenthal said the Nationals would have included RHP prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles in a deal with Chicago. However, they've been reluctant to put them in a deal for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, who they've reportedly been pursuing since last summer.

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In honor of Mets media relation executive Shannon Forde, who lost her long, difficult battle with breast cancer last March, MLB announced Monday it will renovate a youth field in Forde's honor in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J.

"I think a picture says a thousand words," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said at a press conference at the Winter Meetings. "This is the group that loves and misses Shannon every day."

To raise money for the project, which is part of their annual Play Ball program, MLB is auctioning off a number of unique opportunities, including a pitching lesson from Johnny Cueto, player and manager meet-and-greets, a dinner with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Mets are not trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce so they can sign free-agent OF Dexter Fowlera high-ranking team official told SNY's Steve Gelbs.

This is disappointing, if true. I'm sure it is, but I also know Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his front office tend to make statements based on what's happening at that specific moment, and it does not necessarily recognize where things are headed.

Remember, Alderson and his staff repeatedly told reporters that the Mets wouldn't release Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, nor would they be trading Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey, and they eventually did all of the above. I'm not saying the Mets will sign Fowler, or trade both Bruce or Granderson, I'm simply suggesting that we all take what they say with a grain of salt... because things have a way of changing as the environment changes around them...

That said, this is exactly the move I want to see the Mets make.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 6 | 8:00 AM

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported on Dec. 5 that the Orioles have expressed interest in Mets outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis GrandersonHowever, "there doesn't appear to be much traction," according to Baltimore reporter Roch Kubatko.

The Mets are unwilling to pay any portion of Granderson's $15 million salary, and the O's are not looking to take on payroll this winter, Kubatko expains. 

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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In this week's second episode, Robert Brender does his best to convince MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone that the Mets should trade Michael Conforto for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.

Later in the show, Cerrone and Brender discuss Monday's news and rumors from D.C., including more on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, O's reliever Brad Brach, and if the Mets should trade with the Royals.

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David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

David Wright will be the team's primary third baseman entering spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday during the Winter Meetings.

According to Alderson, Wright is on track to start baseball activities during December.

Last month, Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that, while he's hopeful that Wright will return, the Mets need to be realistic about what to expect from him in 2017.

"I think that we're very hopeful he's gonna be able to come back and be productive," Alderson said. However, "I think we have to be realistic about how many games we can expect him to perform."

Tags: David Wright
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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Mets will work out Jose Reyes in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"We didn't want to do it last year, because we didn't want him working out at multiple new positions," Alderson explained about when the Mets acquired Reyes last summer.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Alderson answers fans' questions 00:05:56
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks David Wright's health, Jose Reyes' position in the lineup and what he thinks of Travis d'Arnaud when he answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Mariners and a 'mystery team' have all recently asked about trading for Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

The Nationals have pursuing him since July, Jayson Stark of ESPN recently said to Twitter. However, in addition to the above teams, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring a center fielder this off season.

Read More

SNY at MLB Winter Meetings 00:19:03
Andy Martino and Steve Gelbs discuss all the up-to-date topics with the Mets and everything else in the league at the Winter Meetings.

Earlier today, also on Facebook, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone answered questions during a Live Q&A about the overall hot stove, and what's next for the Mets >> To watch Cerrone's Q&A, click here!

Cerrone will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A for SNY tomorrow around 11 AM ET, after which Gelbs and Martino will return at 1:30 PM ET with another Winter Meetings Live from Washington, DC.

SNY will be live streaming Sandy Alderson's mid-day talk with reporters on their Facebook page each day at 3:30 PM during the Winter Meetings, which you can follow here.

Lastly, later tonight, Cerrone and co-host Robert Brender will be recording their second Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Tuesday. 

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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

The Mets' top prospect for 2017 is 21-year-old SS Amed Rosario, according an organizational Top 10 list by Baseball America..

The team recently added Rosario, RHP Marcos Molina, OF Wuilmer Becerra, RHP Chris Flexen, and Nido to their 40-man roster, which will protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft.

According to TPG Mets, no other players on BA's top 10 list are eligible.

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
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Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

"The Mets are fully planning to go with Travis d'Arnaud as the primary catcher in 2017 and don't foresee going the external route," ESPN.com's Adam Rubin wrote late Sunday.

According to Rubin, the Mets do not intend on pursuing free-agent C Welington Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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MLB's 2016 Winter Meetings will begin today at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The Meetings conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The buzz around the game points to more trade talk than free-agent rumors. The Mets will be among them, since multiple reports indicate they're trying to swap Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for an upgrade in their bullpen >> To read more about their plans, click here!

Later today on SNY's Facebook page, I will be doing a Live Q&A around 11 am, followed by a Hot Stove check-in from our guys in D.C.. We'll also be Live streaming Sandy Alderson's talk with reporters at 3:30 pm, after which Rob Brender and I will post a podcast here recapping the day's events >> To follow SNY on Facebook, click here!

In the meantime, to keep you warm until rumors, updates and news begin flowing later this morning, check out the following audio and video... Happy Hot Stove!

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera will play for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The WBC begins on March 6 and ends with the championship on March 22.

Cabrera, 31, played through a left knee injury for the majority of the second half of last season.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Noah Syndergaard
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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with C Rene Rivera, agreeing with him on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, the team announced Friday.


Today is the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Head here to see the other Mets who are eligible >> Read more!


Rivera, 33, hit .222 with a .291 OBP and .341 SLG with six HR and 26 RBI in 65 games last season.

He threw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers.

Tags: Rene Rivera
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Steven Matz joins Mets Hot Stove 00:04:08
Steven Matz joins Steve Gelbs on Mets Hot Stove to examine his injury history and moving forward with his career.

Mets LHP Steven Matz has been cleared by the Mets and team doctors to proceed with his normal offseason routine, he told WOR radio Thursday.

"The doctors said, 'You're good to go,'" he told WOR's Pete McCarthy.

Matz had surgery in late September to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow. He ended his season early due to a rotator cuff impingement, which Sandy Alderson said in November did not require surgery. Instead, Matz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

After years of injuries and ineffectiveness leading to a middle-infield-merry-go-round, the Mets find themselves entering the 2017 season with a stable tandem of shortstop and second base. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are both coming off strong performances in 2016 and - ideally - they will provide a stable presence to an infield with question marks in the corners.

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Mets Hot Stove: Matt Harvey 00:04:12
The Mets Hot Stove panel discusses Matt Harvey's injury rehab and their expectations from the right-handed hurler in 2017.

In July, 2016, Mets RHP Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which was done to restore feeling in his pitching arm and fingers.

According to former Mets GM and SNY analyst Jim Duquette, Harvey is not yet throwing off a mound, but he's feeling strong, on schedule with his post-surgery, off-season throwing program and will be 100% ready for spring training.

"He's had a great deal of time to work out and focus on his body and strength. We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old," his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in early November at MLB's GM Meetings. "He's throwing free and easy and he's strong."

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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