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Mets Farm System Poised To Take Another Hit In Rule 5 Draft

The New York Mets did the obvious and added Andres Gimenez and Thomas Szapucki to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. With the team potentially losing Tomas Nido as they investigate backup catching options, they secured their catching depth by adding Ali Sanchez. Finally, they arguably protected their best exposed starter in Jordan Humphreys.

Even with the Mets protecting these players, the organization is in real risk of losing some players in the Rule 5 Draft. In fact, you can see the Mets losing at least one player and possibly more. Here is a look the players the Mets may well lose in the order of likelihood of it happening:

Ryder Ryan, RP

Level: Binghamton
Stats: 3-1, 3.05 ERA, 25 G, 2 GS, 44.1 IP, 1.263 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

Ryan was the Mets return from the Jay Bruce trade with the Indians. He has a mid 90s fastball which can hit as high as 97 MPH, and he has a good slider. The two pitches can produce swings and misses, and when batters make contact, they hit the ball into the ground.

Ryan’s big issue has been control. That is partially due to his being a converted pitcher and also partially to his movement being difficult to him to harness. He made significant progress on that front in 2018 only to completely regress last year. If a team believes they can harness that, they will assuredly draft him.

Matt Blackham, RP

Level: Binghamton & Syracuse
Stats: 8-2, 2.60 ERA, 40 G, 55.1 IP, 1.066 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 11.4 K/9

In some ways, Blackham is very much like Ryan in that he is a reliever who can post high strikeout numbers, but he really struggles with control. However, whereas Ryan profiles as a future Major League reliever with his being 6’2″ and his ability to throw it in the high 90s, Blackham is only 5’11” and throws it in the low 90s.

Even with his throwing it in the low 90s, he generates a lot of strikeouts. In fact, he struck out 13.4 batters per nine in Binghamton. However, it should be noted that number dropped to 6.3 in 12 appearances for Syracuse. Still, with the movement he has on his fastball coupled with good breaking pitches. It’s very possible he is a pitcher who makes it to the Majors in 2020, but right now, the question is what uniform he will be wearing.

Shervyen Newton, INF

Level: Columbia
Stats: .209/.283/.330, 15 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 32 RBI, SB, 4 CS

With a good 2019 season, Newton might’ve forced the Mets hands. However, Newton had an injury plagued season and struggled mightily and his somewhat troubling strikeout rate worsened. Still, looking through it, Newton is a very promising prospect with promising power, athleticism, good instincts, and a born leader.

In a normal year, Newton would almost be guaranteed to go undrafted. However, with Major League Baseball adding an additional roster space, teams may opt to use that spot to stow a promising prospect like Newton. That goes double for American League teams who may not need to go so deep into the bench for a game. More than one person has surmised the Tigers could very well take this gamble.

Patrick Mazeika, C

Level: Binghamton
Stats: .245/.312/.426, 25 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 69 RBI, SB

On the subject of the 26th man, it will be interesting to see how teams use it in 2020. Some may use it to stash a Rule 5 prospect, and some may use it to carry an extra reliever or a catcher. If they are so inclined to carry an extra catcher, Mazeika is an interesting candidate.

Mazeika has a promising power bat, and he typically hits for more power when he is not catching everyday. While his stats in Binghamton don’t necessary prove that out, especially with him repeating the level, he did have a 118 wRC+with an above-average .182 ISO.

While there have been knocks on his catching ability, he has made significant strides. His framing has been overlooked, and he does his part controlling the running game. This is an area of his game he constantly works on and he makes strides forward each and every year. It’s possible a team sees that and wants him as their backup catcher.

Harol Gonzalez, RHP

Level: Binghamton & St. Lucie
Stats: 12-4, 3.01 ERA, 25 G, 23 GS, 137.2 IP, 1.082 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 7.3 K/9

The best way to describe Gonzalez is he is a pitcher who knows how to pitch. .He is a strike thrower who does not beat himself. He’s a four pitch pitcher without one outstanding pitch who thrives by mixing his pitches and locating them.

As the competition has improved through the minors, Gonzalez’s strikeout numbers have dipped, and yet he continues to be an effective pitcher. You could argue he has a future in the Majors as a long reliever or spot starter. His absolute ceiling could be fifth starter, but it is very questionable if he reaches that. Still, there is always room for a pitcher who knows how to pitch and can get outs. It will be interesting to see if some team finds that worthy of a Rule 5 pick.

Overall, the Mets arguably protected the right players. With the way the rules are designed, you cannot protect everyone. That leaves the Mets hoping the ones they did not protect will either go undrafted or be returned to the organization during the 2020 season. At the moment, that seems to be a long shot.

28 thoughts on “Mets Farm System Poised To Take Another Hit In Rule 5 Draft”

  1. Bart Scrivener says:

    I am typically very critical of a lot your analysis due to — what I perceive to be — overt disingenuousness.

    So it is only fair for me to acknowledge when you produce a truly outstanding piece. This piece fits the bill:

    It’s incredibly informative and comprehensive with the perfect dose of cogent and rational analysis/opinion.

    Really good stuff

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Noting on this site has ever been disingenuous

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Unfortunately there are too many players to protect.

    Other teams undoubtedly have same concerns, some of whom are better players than the ones Mets leave unprotected.

    In every Rule 5 draft, we fans hold our breath hoping we don’t lose this or that player (s). It’s worse this season with the new 26 man rosters although the 40 remains the same with the same space restrictions.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      There are, and personally, I would have played it different. That said, the Mets choices were defensible. Our hope now is they’re both lucky and right.

  3. Oldbackstop says:

    The Mets, by this same scribe’s weekly griping, have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball.

    I wont say I couldn’t care less. I will say that we are more likely to pick up a guy….or two…than to lose one.

    Odd that fact was omitted.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Your guess is not a fact

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        What? “My guess is not a fact?” Ohferfuxsake….that is your comment?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Yes, that is my comment. Your guesses do not arise to the level of fact

    2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      “With the team potentially losing Tomas Nido as they investigate backup catching options, they secured their catching depth by adding Ali Sanchez.”

      They’d only lose Nido if they released or dealt him–which they should. He offers nothing. Your 2nd stringer to a 32 yo catcher can’t be a guy with a sub-replacement level career. They need to deal or spend for a legit backup. I wonder what Kevin Plawecki’s doing this winter? Fwiw, Ali Sanchez isn’t anyone. No power. No on base skills. Doesn’t hit for average. He’s 22, with a very modest half season at AA to his credit, and a catastrophic cup of coffee in AAA. He’s Nido without the bat.

      If this is the same Rule V rules of prior years, where you have to keep the guy on your MLB club all season, no one’s picking Newton. A 20 yo in A ball who had a bad year? There’s no chance he’ll stick, even as the #26 guy on the Marlins who sits on the bench all year and gets a pr appearance in late September.

      It’s barely possible Ryan gets picked. A 24 whose control sagged in AA? A team desperate for relievers might pick him. Might. Maybe.
      Hard to see Patrick Mazeika drafted. A 25 yo repeater in AA with an OBP in his 2nd year there of .312? Blech.

      I suppose with the 26 man roster a couple of these guys might get picked, but none of them represent a significant loss. And that’s to a team with a farm Baseball America ranked 28th, fangraphs has at 22, and MLB Pipeline has at 28. Jaysus.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        If Newton is picked, that’s a very big hit.

        1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          Is there any precedent for a 20 year old who just hit for a .613 OPS in A-ball, who’s in the process of getting moved off of SS, who got picked in the Rule V draft? And who didn’t get returned?

          I would be very interested to learn of such an occurrence.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Eddy of BA noted it was the strategy the Tigers applied in selecting Victor Reyes and the Padres did with selecting Luis Torrens.

            There are rumblings the Tigers may select Newton and stash him which they can do due to the 26 man rosters and the DH.

          2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            @metsdaddy — Here’s the difference. When Detroit picked Reyes in the 2017-2018 offseason Rule V, he was much more developed, a fine defensive CFer who played all three OF spots and who had just finished a respectable season in AA followed by an excellent stint in the AFL. He was also 22 compared with Newton’s age 20. In sum Ruiz was a much more advanced player playing a critical defensive position who was significantly closer to the majors. They really aren’t comparable. You can’t draft Newton in the Rule V and expect after a year that he’ll be ready for the majors, while you could expect or at least anticipate that with Ruiz. In addition, Newton has made 32 errors in the equivalent of a full season. So, unpolished, even raw while being moved off SS, versus a polished CFer with a superb arm. No comparison. Just no comparison.

            As for Luis Torrens, he’s more comparable to Newton and he’s the perfect cautionary tale: the Reds took him from the Yankees in December 2016 then dealt him the next day to the Padres (who were headed for a 71 win season), so we’re dealing with something other than the typical Rule V situation. The Padres also got what they deserved by landing a 20 yo catcher like Torrens from A ball in a Rule V maneuver. Torrens promptly put up a slash of .163/.243/.203 over the 2017 season. That’s not a misprint. In about 150 PAs Torrens put up an OPS of 22 and a negative 1.2 WAR. He was shockingly bad. No one’s going to look at the Newton and mistake him for Ruiz, or look at Torrens and think to themselves, ‘now there’s a great precedent for hanging onto a guy far too young to be in the majors in hopes of turning him into something.’

            Will Torrens eventually turn into something? Maybe. But it’s a long road. He just finished AA as a 23 year old, and when the Pads got him at least he had the virtue of being a good C, not a bad SS moving to 3B like Newton, and Torrens was a catcher who got on base. Newton’s safe. No one’s taking an injured 20 yo who flailed in the Sally and has all of one good season if you mush them together in the rookie leagues. He’s the Mets #10 prospect, making him around the 400-500th best minor leaguer. If this is the biggest “risk” the team takes this offseason, they’re in clover.

            QED.

          3. metsdaddy says:

            The fault in your premise is teams will select players to help them in 2020. Teams like the Tigers have no such delusions of grandeur. Rather, they’re building an organization looking to contend in 2-3 years.

            They’d be wise to draft a player of Newton’s caliber, and with the extra roster spot, they have an increased ability to do it.

  4. Bart Scrivener says:

    Yes, I’m well aware of your public stance on this: we LITERALLY argued back and forth about it in the comment section all afternoon just FIVE DAYS AGO LOL

    I’ll just add this:

    “Noting on this site has ever been disingenuous” is EXACTLY — including the misspelling of the word “nothing” — what someone who has often been disingenuous would say!

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Again, all opinions are genuine and well researched, documented, and explained.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Which of those guys are going to give someone a full major league season in 2020, and which team is so weak that one of those guys will be better than the pickings from 29 other farm systems, almost all of them better stocked?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Everyone but Newton could stick for a full season depending on the role. All 30 teams would be better with a prospect like Newton.

        2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          @Oldbackstop — the answer to that is almost certainly “nobody.” This is not a group that shouts “pick me! pick me!!!”

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            Newton is a A ball player who hit .209 and is the fourth best SS in the system. He is not going to be taken in the Rule 5 draft.

          2. Oldbackstop says:

            Oh, btw, we seem to have an entire rotation and bullpen if all these guys are ready! What are we worried about??

          3. metsdaddy says:

            Mets don’t have a fifth starter or a complete bullpen

          4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            @Oldbackstop — Yup. The idea that a 20 yo being moved off of SS who just had a down year and only excelled in rookie ball is 1) going to be taken in the Rule V, and 2) is going to be badly missed if he is taken, is misguided.

          5. metsdaddy says:

            Every scout everywhere says he’s a really good project, but sure go with the out of context stats

          6. Oldbackstop says:

            The out of context stats like….his last year’s stats?

            Should we give him Cal Ripken’s 1981 AA stats?

          7. metsdaddy says:

            Tell me everything you know about Newton’s season.

  5. Oldbackstop says:

    .. .and what is the comment about potentially losing Nido? He isn’t an FA until 2025.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Nido is out of options, so he can’t be sent down to the minors.

      Honestly, this is a perfect example of one of your comments.

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