Tag: Prospects

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Will Dominic Smith Be Ready To Take Over First Base in 2018?

Scouts, analysts, and fans are pretty much unanimous that Mets prospect Amed Rosario is a star in waiting at shortstop. But what about his teammate, first baseman Dominic Smith?

Smith continues to hit well for his age in Triple-A, but the Mets, a team expected to contend this year and next year, no longer have the luxury of time to wait and see how Smith will develop. Do the Mets re-sign Duda, or hand first base to Smith in 2018? Smith has been promoted like a top prospect, but is he?

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With the Mets Having Gone From Pretenders to Contenders, the Focus Must Shift to the Present

By: Brian Mangan

It seems like everything is going the Mets way right now, especially after Monday night’s victory, when Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy busted out of a year-long slump with a game-winning three-run home run against the division rival Marlins. The Mets’ white-hot start has them seated comfortably at the top of the National League East at 15-6, one of the best starts in franchise history. Even better, is that this devastation has been wrought almost exclusively against NL East opponents, against whom the Mets are 14-4. As a result, the Mets have a 4.5 game lead in the division, while the preseason favorites, the Washington Nationals, languish in last place at 8-13, a whopping 7 games behind.

This start has changed everything for the Mets. Whereas they once were in a pack of “playoff hopefuls” who seemed destined to be battling for the Wild Card, the Mets’ now possess a better than 50% chance of making the playoffs. Indeed, depending on which source you prefer, the Mets may even have the best chance of any team at winning the division. Both Baseball Prospectus (Walendin, Apr. 28) and Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS (Szymborski, Apr. 26) have the Mets projected to finish with the best record in the NL East. Fangraphs has slowly increased the Mets odds of taking the division from 7.1% on Opening Day to 32.7% today, while their overall odds of making the playoffs are now a healthy 53.9%.

The Enigma of Cesar Puello

By: Brian Mangan

Many have wondered what happened to Cesar Puello, a one-time sweetheart Mets prospect who stalled in Triple-A last year after a suspension for his involvement in 2013’s Biogenesis scandal.

Puello suspension cut short a breakout campaign in Double-A Binghamton, where he had batted a huge .326/.377/.547 over 331 at bats, finally seeming to capitalize on years of promise. Puello had been ranked by Baseball America as high as the #3 prospect in the Mets system three years prior based on his overabundance of physical tools. (Baseball America)

Last year, however, Puello struggled badly in his return from suspension, hitting only .252 over 318 sporadic at bats as he was buried on the bench in Triple-A Las Vegas. Was it rust? Was it related to performance enhancing drugs?

Stop Comparing Current Stud Mets Prospects to Past Flops

By: Brian Mangan

Let’s get one thing straight: Wilmer Flores and Noah Syndergaard are stud prospects banging down the door to the major leagues. They are not Lastings Milledge, or Mike Pelfrey, or Alex Escobar, or any other recent failed Mets prospect that you’d like to compare them to as a “cautionary tale”. Flores and Syndergaard (and a few other current Mets prospects) have already done more, at a higher level, with a better track record than almost any “failed” prospects that Mets fans would like to compare them to.

Even if they weren’t clearly better prospects (which they are) than many of the flops, a full 53% of Mets prospects who made the MLB Top 50 from 1992 to 2009 made an All Star team at some point in their career, and 26% of them received MVP votes in at least one season.

I understand the hesitance of my fellow Mets fan to embrace a good thing. We have been burned before. But it’s time to see these guys for what they are, and not worry about the worst-case scenario alternatives.

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Wilmer Flores hit .311 and slugged .494 in Double-A in his age 20 season. He followed that up by hitting .321 and slugging .543 in Triple-A before his 23rd birthday. In 162 games in Triple A, he’s notched 28 HR and 143 RBI, which had led to Wally Backman calling him the “best RBI guy I’ve ever seen.” Concerns about his glove have a reasonable basis, but there is no reason to doubt his bat.

Noah Syndergaard rocketed through the system and reached Triple-A at an even younger age than Flores. Syndergaard posted a 3.00 ERA and 11.5 K/9 in Double-A when he was only 20, and then held his own with a 4.60 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in Triple-A at age 21. Only two starters in the entire PCL had a better K/9 than Syndergaard did last year, and that combination of stats and plus pitches are the reason MLB.com ranked him the 10th best prospect in all of baseball.

Both Syndergaard and Flores have proven all they can in the minors, and are merely awaiting their call to the big leagues.

It’s Time To Believe That Jacob deGrom May Be This Good

By: Brian Mangan

Thanks to his incredible run as of late — he is 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA over his last 8 starts, spanning 53.1 innings  — New York Mets fans and media alike have fallen in love with Jacob deGrom.

To be sure, deGrom has been awesome this season.  Overall, he’s posted a 2.77 ERA in 94.1 innings, with a strong 8.59 K/9, and has looked every bit like an above-average major league starter.

But how good is deGrom exactly?  Does be project to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, or can he continue to pitch like an ace?

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Checking in on Noah Syndergaard: Yes, He’s Better Than Wheeler

By: Brian Mangan

Many moons ago, on the eve of Zack Wheeler’s call-up to the Show, we here at the Read Zone took a look at Wheeler’s minor league statistics in an effort to compare him to Mets’ phenom Matt Harvey.  We concluded that, although one could not expect Wheeler to experience the same kind of MLB success as Harvey did initially (mostly because Harvey is such an outlier that that kind of performance can never truly be expected) that Wheeler and Harvey were statistical dead-ringers for each other while ascending through the Mets’ minor league system.

Here’s the good news for us long-suffering Mets fans: even though we also cannot expect fellow Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard to be as successful initially as Matt Harvey, he’s actually got the best minor league resume of the three and is probably as good as Zack Wheeler is today (and should end up even better than Wheeler).

Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler: Can They Be Twin Aces?

By: Brian Mangan

And I don’t mean Twins as in the lovable 1988 comedy film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito (or as in Little Big League, the baseball movie involving the Minnesota Twins).

On the eve of Zack Wheeler’s promotion to the major leagues, now is an appropriate time to take a look at his resume next to the player with whom he is commonly compared: current Mets’ ace Matt Harvey.  I figured that the comparisons between the two were the function of lazy journalism — “Hey look, tall, right-handed white guys with great fastballs!”.

The desire to make a relatable comparison is always there, both for journalists and for fans who hope that Wheeler can replicate Harvey’s incredible major league success.  For those who may have been under a rock for the last year (or frozen in a block of ice, like in the cherished 1992 classic Encino Man) Harvey has put up a 2.35 ERA over his first 23 starts, striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings, and currently sits third in the National League in ERA, WAR and innings.

However upon looking at the numbers, I was surprised to learn that the two men, although they have taken slightly different paths through the lower minor leagues, have actually ended up as statistical dead-ringers for one another.