3/3/15

Stephen Guilbert - Players Not To Overlook- Part Two: Jeurys Familia and Vic Black- Relievers on the Rise

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Call me crazy but I think RHP Jeurys Familia offers the Mets the best closing option in 2015. 
Jeurys Familia and Vic Black represent both the potential in the Mets bullpen as well as its risk. One gets hit around by lefties and the other walks too many. One is turning 26, the other already 26 years of age. Both are right handed relievers with big fastballs and big potential.

Whether it be advanced projections, analyst rankings or expert opinion, the consensus on the Mets bullpen is the same: It has potential but it is young, lacks depth, and comes with risk. Little focus seems to be on the upside of the group. While I agree that a lot rides on a group of guys in their mid-20s (Edgin and Mejia as well) who could flame out, get hurt, or never reach their potential, we are also talking about four guys who also had varying degrees of success last year. I'm not sure people realize how rare that is in today's game to have four (five if Montero joins them) talented late inning-caliber relievers with mid-90s velocity. While their success manifested itself in different ways for each pitcher last year, the potential should not be ignored. As far as the depth criticism goes, those critics must be ignoring the good possibility of Rafael Montero and/or Dillon Gee getting bullpen time as well--along with the potential of a prospect starter in a relief role later in the year.

But let's get back to Familia and Black. While Parnell and Mejia are well known around baseball because of their closing ability and success, Familia and Black are seen as the maligned late-inning righties with big arms but exploitable weaknesses.

While Vic Black did not have the same success as Jeurys Familia in 2014, he offers similarly elite velocity, a good curve, and could emerge as one of the better NL relievers in 2015. His success makes an already strong unit potentially among the game's best, but he must make the jump in 2015.

But what about their strengths?

Both have fastballs well north of 95 MPH on average. Both offer a breaking pitch that was very successful in 2014 (Familia's slider and Black's curve) and the two of them have barely over 150 innings of major league experience between them. It's not outlandish to suggest they can still get better. Potentially much better. Both have multi-inning capacity (though with the stable of arms the Mets have, it might not be necessary) and miss a lot of bats. Despite Black's wildness and Familia's struggles against lefties in 2014, both are pitchers who can come into tight spots and get big outs via the strikeout.

Familia and Black both have the sort of arm strength you want in a closer, and the Mets probably will not use either in that role given the presence of Parnell and Mejia. That, to me, says the bullpen of the 2015 Mets should be very strong and in no small part to the presence of high-octane, potential lockdown set up men like Black and Familia.

I found myself struggling to put together much over 500 words for this post and, after trying a few different paragraphs including other analytics, I realized it would be superfluous because the concept is simple: Familia and Black have very good arms and can (maybe even should) be two of the better NL relievers out there. While they might get lost behind the stomping of Mejia and the return of our bearded closer, they should not be overlooked. Both will be integral parts to preserving leads and keeping games close in 2015.

--SG
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The Morning Report 3.3.2015 | Intra-Squad Game, Logan Verrett, Gee for Profar?, RIP Jeff McKnight, Juan Lagares ceiling?

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  • Today is the first Spring Training Game of the Year! The club is scheduled to play an internal intra-squad game against each other at 12pm today. On the mound for Team Blue will be Jon Niese, Rafael Montero, Sean Gilmartin, Carlos Torres and Vic Black. For Team Orange, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, Buddy Carlyle and Jeurys Familia will be on the mound. David Wright, Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson are all scheduled to play but Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares, and Lucas Duda will all sit.


Rich Dubroff | CSN Baltimore - "the Orioles have a Rule 5 draft choice who threw a scoreless inning. Logan Verrett, taken by the Orioles from the New York Mets, has pitched at a much higher level than Garcia. Because he’s a Rule 5 pick, Verrett has more eyes on him.“I definitely feel like I’m going to get plenty of opportunities to be seen on the mound. I, for, appreciate that opportunity. Being able to get out on the mound, just getting out there, the more times I get out there on the mound, the better I can be. I hope I get as many opportunities as humanly possible to pitch this spring training,”

(Chris Soto: It's been said that the Orioles LOVE what they are seeing from Logan Verrett and that he has a legitimate shot of sticking with the club as their long man out of the bullpen. He's also in the competition for the 5th starter role but is more of a long shot there. We continue to wish Verrett the best of luck. When your in a system that has so much good pitching, naturally there are going to be guys who end up on other teams.)


Chris Cotillo | MLB Daily Dish - "There is an expectation around baseball that Mets' starter Dillon Gee could be traded at some point during spring training, and some in the game believe the Rangers may make a push to acquire him, according to major-league sources.One scenario that is being thrown about in baseball circles is a deal that could send Jurickson Profar to the Mets for Gee and some additional pieces. Profar is likely to miss the entire season due to labrum surgery, though the Mets may be looking to buy low on him.

(Chris Soto: If this rumor has any legs whatsoever.....I am all for it. Gee has made it very clear that he is not a fan of the idea of pitching out of the bullpen. Meanwhile, after Darvish, Gallardo, and Holland, the Rangers have serious question marks in the back end of their rotation. It's a natural fit and the Rangers have additional depth in the middle infield with Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus. We have to remember that Profar was once a consensus Top MLB prospect. If there truly is a buy low scenario here.....you take it.)


Associated Press | ESPN New York - Jeff McKnight, a versatile player who spent six seasons with the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles, has died. He was 52. McKnight's family told the Mets that McKnight died Sunday after battling leukemia for 10 years. McKnight made his big league debut with the Mets in 1989 and hit .233 with five home runs and 34 RBIs in 218 games. He singled in his final at-bat for the Mets in August 1994, on the final day before a players' strike wiped out the rest of the season.

(Chris Soto: Our condolences to the team's Joe McEwing has his time. I remember McNight being one of the 1st player's I watched when I first started rooting for the Mets when I was kid [1993 I think]. He was a small scrappy guy who always gave the game everything he had. )



TIM ROHAN | nytimes.comSeveral characteristics distinguished Juan Lagares’s outfield glove last season. It was orange with blue trim — Mets colors — along with a patch of black on the back. His son’s name, “J Lagares Jr.,” was stitched into the side. Lagares used his glove to win two prestigious awards — a Gold Glove and a Fielding Bible. He used his glove to establish himself as perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball. Lagares, 25, is still building his reputation. The Mets signed him as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic. He is entering his third season with the team as a cornerstone, a young player whom they can build around. Consider some metrics. Baseball Info Solutions, one of the sport’s most respected analytics outfits, evaluates outfielders on the number of plays they make in three areas — shallow, medium and deep. The company found that Lagares ranked among the top center fielders in all three categories. Perhaps more impressive, the company concluded that Lagares also saved 52 runs over the last two years, best among center fielders. As a rule of thumb, said John Dewan, the founder of Baseball Info, about 10 runs saved equal about one victory. Lagares’s defense alone, then, could be credited for about five Mets wins over the last two years, and he played center field for only about 68 percent of the Mets’ games in that period. Dewan said Lagares’s impact was comparable to 40 home runs in half a season. Lagares, it should be noted, can do more than field. He hit .281 last season, 39 points higher than his rookie year, and started showing promise as a base stealer. As a defender, though, he is probably at the height of his powers right now.”

(Herb G.  I have the distinct feeling that Lagares has the makings of a future star. His stellar glove, of course, goes without saying. But offensively, he can be a force as well. Kevin Long recently likened him to Robinson Cano, which I think may be a stretch. I see more of a likeness to Carlos Gomez. Lagares demonstrated his hitting potential in his last few minor league seasons, and perhaps with Long’s tutelage he can even improve on his already satisfactory results of last year at the major league level. Additionally, he seemed to finally learn how to use his speed to advantage on the base paths in the final months of last season. With Lagares batting lead off, as Terry Collins suggested, it could be an exciting season. It even makes one wonder if young Juan could be the player who finally makes Met fans forget the pain of losing Jose Reyes.)

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3/2/15

Tom Brennan - MINOR LEAGUERS MOST LIKELY TO HELP IN 2015

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Tom Brennan - MINOR LEAGUERS MOST LIKELY TO HELP IN 2015


Every year, the opening day 25 man roster does not mean a whole lot in Metsville.  My math could be off, but I believe 45 guys wore a Mets uniform last year, and that is not counting the guys sitting in Section 8 who bought their jerseys at the souvenir stand.
So why sweat it if you don’t make the opening day 25?  Most of the rest of the guys in the organization will make the team at some point in 2015, if 2014 is any indication.
OK, I exaggerate.  But which minor league guys will help in 2015?  A “minor leaguer” includes some guys who played very briefly last year in the bigs, but conceivably might have a more significant role with the team in the future. 
So I will leave out the likes of a Matt den Dekker, who I believe will play on, and help, the team in 2015, but who had about 175 plate appearances last year.  I will leave out a Rafael Montero, who logged 44 innings last year with the Mets.  Each guy had the equivalent of a full quarter to a third of a season, so even if they start out back in AAA (Dekker due to options, and Montero due to a pitching glut), they are big leaguers now.
Anyway, here’s my “Most Likely” list, with 12 guys on it
1.             Noah Syndergaard – maybe he cracks the rotation in April, maybe in June, but he’s coming soon.  He will be the god of Thunder when he does.
2.             Steven Matz – lots of folks feel Matz needs a year in AAA to be turned into a starter with the Mets.  I feel that on some teams, he could be an April starter.  On this one, due to the glut, we’ll see him after Super 2 or in September, but I think he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people as to his readiness when spring training starts.
3.             Dilson Herrera – I am assuming Murphy is still here opening day, and Dilson heads to AAA, a level he skipped in his September 2014 call up.  I see a star by 2016 or 2017.  I could easily see him called up by June or July 2015.  Cream rises.
4.             Matt Reynolds – I still think at some point he shows (by hitting robustly in Vegas again to show 2014 was not a fluke) he has more to offer than Ruben Tejada, and Matt will replace him as a utility guy.
5.             Kevin Plawecki – I think his AAA numbers were subdued a bit due to his vertigo.  Assuming that is in the past, he will show he is ready for the bigs by mid-2015.
6.             Cesar Puello  - I believe he showed enough in the 2nd half of 2014 in AAA, and in when he got to finally get off the bench in winter ball, to show he’s got enough talent to be at least a platoon vs. lefties and a defensive replacement and pinch runner.
7.             Jack Leathersich – I have a sneaking suspicion he figures out Vegas, lefty hitters and his control issues enough to get some significant bullpen time in 2015, even if he is not on the opening day roster.
8.             Cory Mazzoni – talented.  A shift to the pen will get him here in 2015.
9.             Dario Alvarez – I like Leathersich better, but Dario defied gravity by jumping from mid-A ball to the Mets in 2014, so maybe we will see another surprise from him in 2015.
10.        Johnny Monell – I think the fact that this catcher with pop in his bat is a lefty hitter bods well for his chances at some playing time as a platoon guy vs. righty pitching.
11.        Sean Gilmartin – lefty reliever pick up.   Soft tosser of high pedigree. Time will tell.
12.        Matt Bowman – already impressive at AAA, this rapidly rising starter is running headlong into a numbers game.  Hard to see if/when he makes it, for that reason.
 Long shots, or late season call ups:
1.    Danny Muno – I think 2015 will mark another year of progression, with very strong AAA #s.  If Herrera and Reynolds were not ahead of him, I’d move him up to the above group.
2.    Wilfredo Tovar – slick fielding, light pop SS.  Same crowd Muno faces.
3.    Xorge Carillo – solid AA hitting catcher who had a strong winter ball.  He could well be a future #2 catcher, but I doubt it will happen in 2015.
4.    Brandon Nimmo – I still see 2016 for him, but maybe (after struggling in AA and winter ball), he leapfrogs in 2015 with a surge in performance in AAA.  On a team that has a laser focus on Super 2, maybe his arrival is mid-2016, along with Conforto.
5.    Michael Fulmer – put him in the pen?  Maybe it all falls into place for him in 2015 if they do that.  That would really surprise me, but maybe he comes in totally healthy and leaps forward.  He’s disappointed the past few years.
6.    Hansel Robles – just the lack of AAA time and the crowded pen limit his chances to be more than a September call up.
7.    Michael Conforto – it would only be as a September call up, but from what I’ve read, he has a very high quality, advanced bat, so maybe he soars thru the 4 levels above Brooklyn in 2015 and gets a cup o’ joe.
8.    Eric Goeddel – the righty did get a brief cup of coffee in 2014, but has to improve to get more than the same in 2015.
9.    Darin Gorski – my guess?  Maybe a cup of coffee in September.  Close to “very long shot” status.
Very long shots:
1.    Travis Taijeron – a bat with extra base pop that needs to plug the strikeout hole – he has not yet shown signs that will happen.
2.    Jayce Boyd – I expect a strong 2015 from Boyd in AAA.  Only injuries would clear up space for him at any point in 2015.
3.    Tyler Pill – seems there will be no room for him, but he finished real strong his last 4 months or so in AA.    Will his stuff work in the majors?
4.    Akeel Morris – 2015 will show whether he can continue to dominate hitters above mid-A ball and sneak in some September coffee.  I think he is more of a 2016 consideration.
5.    Zach Thornton – more of a AAAA guy to me, so I don’t see it.
6.    Cory Satterwhite – solid pen work in AA in 2014, but a lot of pitching bodies lie ahead of him.  He’d need to show he’s better than 2014.
27 guys in all above – plus the likes of Montero and Dekker.   Should be interesting to watch the shake out in 2015.  There will be a whole lotta shakin' going on!






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MMs Top 25: #21 RHSP Robert Whalen

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#21 RHSP Robert Whalen (LR#23)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 200 lb
Age: 21
Acquired: 2012 Rule IV draft, 12th round, Haines City HS (Haines City, Florida)

2014: (A) 9-2, 1.94 ERA, 69.2 IP, 8.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.990 WHIP
2013: (Rk) 3-2, 1.87 ERA, 72.1 IP, 9.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.926 WHIP


     There is something to be said for guys who just produce positive results. Whether you think they have the tools or velocity, or lack thereof, the purpose of pitchers is to put their teams in a position to win. Whalen has done that in spades so far in his minor league career. In 143 career innings, Whalen is 12-4 with a 1.89 ERA and a .186 Batting Average Against. That is phenomenal no matter what level a prospect may be at. That said though, while he has the production to certainly warrant flying up this list, those pesky injuries keep capping what I can do with him.

     After winning his 1st 4 starts of the season, after an aggressive assignment to Savannah, Whalen lost 2 months of development time due to an "odd" infection near his knuckle on his throwing hand. The team claims that it was not MSRA but a surgical procedure was needed in order to clean out the infection. Upon finally returning to the mound, Whalen's velocity was down and the percentage of swings and misses against batters had dropped from 19% to only 10%. Despite the periphals results dip, the standard stats were still very good suggesting that Whalen just needed some time to get his stuff back after the surgery. The Mets believed this too and were intrigued enough to send Whalen to the Arizona Fall League to get a few more innings in.

     Whalen's assignment to the AFL not only served a purpose for him and the team but it also gave us some new information on his "stuff" thanks to Pitch F/X being used in the AFL as well. His fastball has below average velocity coming in between 90-92 mph and has below average arm-side movement. Because of this, Whalen added a sinker to his arsenal in 2014 and used it heavily during the fall against right handed pitchers. The pitch has the same velocity as his fastball but generates a greater number of swings & misses compared to the fastball due to its 2 plane armside and down movement. 

     His best pitch continues to be his 79-81 mph 10-4 curveball. Whalen gets an excellent snap on the ball giving it sharp late break which generates excellent swing an miss percentages. His 4th pitch is his 83-85 mph change-up. While the pitch does has some natural downward action, the speed differential between it and his fastball is not significant enough to keep hitters off balance. His development of a sinker also reduces the effectiveness of the pitch as batters are already geared for pitches with downward break.

     Personally, I need to see this kind of production along with a continued stretch of health in order for me to jump him up the rankings more quickly. I also need to seem him get a better feel for his change-up and reduce the velocity without sacrificing the arm action. If he is unable to do that his ceiling will be nothing better than a medium leverage ground-ball specialist reliever. For now I'll hold his ceiling and floor in place but expect a change in our next update.


Ceiling: #5 Back End MLB SP (Aaron Harang)
Floor: Medium Leverage Ground Ball Specialist RP
Anticipated Assignment: (A+) Port St. Lucie Starting Rotation.
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The Morning Report 3.2.15 | The Superstar Coach, Cuddyer in LF?, Duda's Health, Jimmy Rollins

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Kevin Kiernan | New York Post - "After his first Mets press conference here, [Kevin] pulled Long aside and asked him what Mets hitter has the best chance to become better this season. Long didn’t hesitate. “Murphy,’’ he said. “A batting title is not out of his grasp. He’s got a lot of pop and a lot of potential. There is more ability in there and we are going to try to draw it out." Long said he believes Murphy not only can hit for a higher average but can add power to his swing as well, so that is the best of both worlds increased power and increased average.

(Chris Soto: Reports out of camp have been nothing but positive for Kevin Long so far. Scouts are seeing improved usage of Murphy's lower half which is allowing him to drive the ball with more power to all fields. Long has been a slam dunk signing so far. Along with Murphy, Nimmo, Granderson, and Duda have also reportedly improved on their swings thanks to Long's instruction. We'll see how much effect it's actually having when games start this week.)


Joe D. | MetsMerized - "You may have been surprised that Michael Cuddyer is deaf in his left ear due to a childhood virus. He has barely played left field in his career because of it, but is willing to give it a shot after he was told that manager Terry Collins is considering the idea of keeping Curtis Granderson as the right fielder.“I hate to take anything away from Curtis; he played very well out there,” Collins said. “And to now say, ‘Go play left,’ and Michael has never played right in Citi Field is difficult.”

(Chris Soto: The main reason for the proposed move of Grandy from RF to LF is because his below average arm sapped any defensive value gained from his glove/range. That said, Cuddyer's arm is not much better and quite frankly, RF is not the easiest of positions to play in Citi Field with the way the wind swirls. Deaf or not...I would actually put Cuddyer in LF for one simple reason...Juan Lagares. Granderson himself has pretty good range whereas Cuddyer's is below average. Lagares has a quicker step and moves faster to his right thus is able to cover more ground going in that direction to help out Cuddyer.)


Danny Abriano | Rising Apple - "Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that Lucas Duda should begin hitting off a tee this week, with the expectation that Duda will start taking batting practice next week. It was reported on February 26 that Duda would not swing a bat for a week, which should mean that Wednesday or Thursday is the targeted date for him to begin hitting off a tee."

(Chris Soto: Teams are generally much more cautious with injuries in Spring Training thus the reason Duda has not swung yet. That said the timing makes sense based on the info we have so far about Duda needing a week off after injuring his oblique some 3 weeks before that. Intercostal strains generally take 3-4 weeks to heal completely so everything seems to be in order. If everything works right, we should see Duda in a Spring Training game around March 15th-ish)


Jerry Crasnick | ESPN New York - "Jimmy Rollins spent a lot of years with the Philadelphia Phillies antagonizing New York Mets fans with his swagger and competitive spirit. He was among a select group of opposing players that fans in Flushing Meadows most loved to hate. But when Rollins assembled his choice of preferred offseason trade destinations, the Mets ranked surprisingly high on his list."This was my No. 1 landing spot," Rollins said from Los Angeles' spring training camp, "and I considered the Mets to be No. 2. They have some arms over there -- oh my gosh."

(Chris Soto: Wow...and here we thought Rollins would never play for the Mets. This tells me one of two things. A) that the Phillies were asking for an astronomical price from the Mets for Jimmy Rollins, which, he rightfully didn't pay. Or B) the Phillies never wanted to trade Rollins in division to begin with. That something that the average fan doesn't understand. Trades within division, where you face the team 19 times in a season, rarely occur. This was no different.)
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3/1/15

Fangraphs - Top Preformances in College Baseball

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SEC


Top-Five Batters
#NameSchoolYrPosPAK%ISOBABIPxK%xISOxBABIPKATOH+
1Harrison BaderFloridaJrLF3619.4%.533.36816.5%.219.354122
2Kade ScivicqueLSUSrC210.0%.556.37510.9%.197.354122
3Casey HughstonAlabamaSoRF3716.2%.424.73115.3%.201.366122
4Zack BowersGeorgiaJrC/1B3016.7%.500.43815.4%.205.356119
5Logan TaylorTexas A&MJrLF2920.7%.522.42916.7%.206.356118
Top-Five Pitchers
#NameSchoolYrPosIPTBFK%BB%xK%xBB%KATOH-
1Brady BramlettOle MissSoRHP12.04344.2%2.3%32.0%8.1%77
2Wil CroweS. CarolinaSoRHP10.14141.5%7.3%30.8%9.1%83
3Justin CampAuburnJrRHP5.02152.4%9.5%31.0%9.6%83
4Brigham HillTexas A&MFrRHP6.22842.9%7.1%29.8%9.2%85
5Alex LangeLSUFrRHP10.04139.0%9.8%29.9%9.6%86
Notes

Pac-12

Top-Five Batters
#NameSchoolYrPosPAK%ISOBABIPxK%xISOxBABIPKATOH+
1KJ HarrisonOregon St.Fr1B/C3821.1%.529.50018.1%.201.344127
2RJ YbarraArizona St.JrDH195.3%.647.28613.6%.181.338123
3Scott KingeryArizonaJr2B502.0%.227.4429.8%.152.343119
4Brett CumberlandCaliforniaFrC/DH3423.5%.462.46718.9%.184.343118
5Riley MooreArizonaSrC/DH444.5%.250.42411.3%.154.342118
Top-Five Pitchers

#NameSchoolYrPosIPTBFK%BB%xK%xBB%KATOH-
1Ryan BurrArizona St.JrRHP8.03545.7%8.6%29.6%8.4%79
2Bernardo FloresUSCSoLHP9.13839.5%2.6%27.9%7.3%81
3David BergUCLASrRHP7.02941.4%3.4%27.4%7.6%83
4Dylan NeslonCaliforniaSrRHP5.02152.4%14.3%28.7%9.0%83
5Brandon ChoateWashingtonSrRHP9.03638.9%5.6%27.5%7.8%83

ACC

Top-Five Batters
#NameSchoolYrPosPAK%ISOBABIPxK%xISOxBABIPKATOH+
1Pavin SmithVirginiaFr1B3514.3%.379.45516.7%.162.350120
2Kel JohnsonGeorgia TechFrRF3823.7%.444.39120.3%.176.348120
3Cavan BiggioNotre DameSo2B4017.5%.323.66717.9%.156.358119
4Matt ThaissVirgniaSoC/DH352.9%.286.32012.5%.146.346118
5Alex PerezVirginia TechSr2B345.9%.296.29213.7%.147.345117
Top-Five Pitchers

#NameSchoolYrPosIPTBFK%BB%xK%xBB%KATOH-
1Drew HarringtonLouisvilleSoLHP10.13740.5%2.7%27.6%7.0%80
2Brendan McKayLouisvilleFrLHP7.02646.2%3.8%27.6%7.4%80
3Kyle FunkhouserLouisvilleJrRHP11.24938.8%8.2%28.2%8.0%81
4Benton MossN. CarolinaSrRHP8.23941.0%7.7%28.0%7.9%81
5T.J. ZeuchPittburghFrRHP13.15332.1%0.0%25.6%6.1%82
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Mack - Yoan Moncada

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Let’s face it. None of us expected the Mets to be in on the Yoan Moncada deal, but paying a $31.5 million dollar signing bonus screams for either some kind of ceiling in this process, or an incorporation of the international signing program into the draft. This is just stupid.

Others will tell you as long as there is a market in this area (three teams were willing to pay over $30mil, including the Dodgers who offered $35mil if Moncada would agree to wait to sign until after July 2nd), so who’s at fault here, the player taking the money or the team offering it?

There’s never been a deal in baseball that winds up standing as the biggest deal ever signed. They just keep getting bigger and no one seems to care.

The sport is now being led by the television revenue. The Dodgers receive an annual check from their TV contract of $334mil. That’s more than three Mets payrolls. And, they could have spent around $100mil more this year in payroll and still be taking in 100% of the profits from tickets sales and hot dogs.

And now, here comes San Diego, whose current TV contract will go from $31mil a year to total contract (15-20 year range) of ‘over’ $1.5 billion dollars. Did I just use the billion word?

What this all translates to is the business will just continue to grow and each team will only be limited by its own ownership and vision.

How is this Mets related?

Well, it seems to me that they are about to begin a 5-7 year period where they will be dominated by very talented starting pitchers. That being said, it also seems that the team, and how it operates, will not reach out and spend the money to secure two or two superstar ‘bats’ to create a team that can compete with teams like the Boston Red Sox that just signed Moncada.

This doesn’t mean that teams with smaller payrolls don’t make the playoffs, or even play in the World Series, but as a Met fan for all these years, I wish I was rooting for a team that doesn’t define ‘superstar’ as players like Curtis Granderson or Michael Cuddyer.

Folks, I’m telling you. These people have the money to make this a great team. 
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Herb G - Is a World Series Appearance Possible?

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As reported previously in Mack’s Mets, Bovada, the on-line betting site, set the Mets’ over/under win total for 2015 at 81½, with three teams ranked ahead of them in the race for the second wild card spot. The projected Bovada win totals for National League teams is as follows:

NL East winner: Washington Nationals - 92½
NL West winner: L.A. Dodgers - 92½
NL Central winner: St. Louis Cardinals - 88½
Wild Card winner # 1: San Diego Padres - 85½
Wild Card winner # 2: San Francisco Giants - 84½
Also ran # 1: Pittsburgh Pirates - 83½
Also ran # 2: Chicago Cubs - 82½
Also ran # 3: N.Y. Mets - 81½
Also ran # 4: Miami Marlins - 81½
Also ran # 5: Milwaukee Brewers - 78½

The Pecota predictions have the same playoff participants, but they have 3 teams tied for the first spot out of the playoffs, among them, our N.Y. Mets:

NL East winner: Washington Nationals 91-71
NL West winner: L.A. Dodgers 97-65
NL Central winner: St. Louis Cardinals 89-73
Wild Card winner # 1: San Diego Padres 85-77
Wild Card winner # 2: San Francisco Giants 84-78
Also ran # 1: (tie) N.Y. Mets 81-81
Also ran # 1: (tie) Pittsburgh Pirates 81-81
Also ran # 1: (tie) Chicago Cubs 81-81
Also ran # 4: Miami Marlins 80-82
Also ran # 5: Milwaukee Brewers 80-82

Recently, metsblog.com conducted a poll and, of over 9500 respondents, 86.3% said the Mets would win more than 81 games. Big surprise since metsblog‘s readership is comprised mostly of Mets fans. According to both Bovada and Pecota, however, it will require only four more wins to snag the second wild card spot. (That is, of course, assuming that none of the teams ranked ahead of our Mets win any more games than projected for them.)

As D-Whit just showed us in the 8:00 AM post, there are a number of scenarios that could enable the Mets to win several more games. In fact, it should not require the “perfect storm” described by D-Whit to make the playoffs. All we would seem to need is just enough to get us to 85 wins. From that point, it would be on the shoulders (or should I say arms) of a still maturing trio of young stud starters and another group of young relievers, to carry the team through October to a possible berth in the Fall Classic. Is a World Series appearance really so far fetched for our New York Mets this year? Surely, it would be difficult to negotiate our way past the Cardinals, Dodgers and/or Nationals, although we would have to face only two of those. But with stellar pitching, which we all believe the Mets have, anything is possible.
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D-Whit - 5 Keys to the Mets winning 90 games

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 Sandy Alderson thinks the 2015 Mets are capable of winning 89 games. I'm going to go one win better and say 90 wins are possible; but, for this happen several things have to go right including healthy seasons from key players and a successful return of Matt Harvey. Here are 5 Keys to the Mets returning to the postseason for the first time since 2006. I also make a few predictions on how they achieve this outcome.

Pitching
Pitching is expected to carry this year’s Mets. A formidable rotation supported by a young and talented group of bullpen arms has the potential to be one of the top 5 pitching staffs in baseball. That’s even without factoring in stud prospect starters like Noah Syndegaard and Steven Matz. 

In this 90-win Mets world Matt Harvey comes back close enough to 2013 form to allay any post-TJS fears. Zack Wheeler continues the maturation he showed in the second half last season. Jacob deGrom’s sophomore season even eclipses his ROY debut, Jon Niese’s shoulder holds up for 30 solid starts and a combination of Bartolo Colon, Dillion Gee holds down the back end. “Thor” and Matz excel at Vegas and pitch some crucial innings down the stretch in the playoff drive. 

Out in the bullpen Parnell comes back as an effective closer, Familia and Meijia are a perfect 7th and 8th bridge to the 9th, with Vic Black stepping in effectively when needed. Josh Edgin’s left arm holds up for a heavy workload and his helped out later by Jack Leathersich. 

Knocking off the NL East competition, setting the tone early
They play the Nats tough all season, go about .500 vs. the Marins while dominating the Phils and Braves.  The Mets end up going 45-27 record vs NL East, aided greatly by 26-10 mark against Atlanta and Philly.  

They set the pace early running off to a 13-7 record vs. division foes in the opening weeks en route to 15-8 opening month and 1st place in the NL East.

The Captain and Granderson rebound, Cuddyer delivers solid ROI
This isn’t the David Wright of old, but he avoids the DL-playing around 145 games, drives in 90 runs with 15 HRs and is hitting around .300 heading into August. He finishes around .280 with a 5.0 WAR. Defensively, he isn’t a Gold Glover but plays a well above average 3B. Granderson returns to his 3.0 WAR of 2013, doesn’t hit for average but smacks 25 bombs, surprisingly steals a dozen bases drives in 85-90 runs and doesn’t embarrass himself in the OF. Cuddyer turns the clock back to 2007, when he was a Twin, putting up almost identical numbers-including a WAR a little above 3. 

Wilmer is far from Ozzie Smith at SS but hits well enough for the experiment to work
Although he produces some head shaking plays in the field and displays limited range, a relaxed Flores gets off to a torrid start at the plate-for a time ranking among the league leaders in BA-before cooling off in June. But as his average corrects Flores’ power increases and he ends up swatting 15 longballs, 30 doubles and plates 75 Met runs with a WAR between 2.0-2.5.

A strong finish punches their ticket to the Wild Card
The Mets make the Wild Card on the strength of a 13-7 September record against division foes, clinching their playoff berth with a September 29th victory behind the arm of Matt Harvey in a shutout of the Phillies. They will host the surprise Cubs a few days later at a sold-out Citi Field.
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