Jeff McNeil

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Is The Season Over?

Right now, the Mets are 28-36.  That puts them eight games under .500, 9.5 games back of the Braves for the National League East, and 8.5 games back of the Nationals for the second Wild Card.  With the trade deadline about a month and a half away, it’s time to consider whether the Mets season is over.  Our Mets bloggers provide their opinion in the latest roundtable:

Michael Baron (nym.news)

To get to 85 wins, the Mets now have to go 57-41. That’s a .582 clip just to make it interesting. I’m guessing that won’t be enough with Atlanta, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Arizona and for fun, San Francisco and Philly in the realistic hunt for a wild card. I do agree and have said if there’s any hope, it’s in the starting rotation, but 85 wins right now is asking a lot for this bullpen and roster which lacks any sort of competitive edge in the heat, not to mention what they probably need which is another 60-62 wins, or a 62-36 record the rest of the way.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

Fangraphs currently has the Mets’ playoff odds at 4.6%. It was 9.8% just two days ago; 22% at the start of June. The Mets’ offense has been historically bad. This is not an exaggeration: No team since 1900 has scored fewer runs and recorded fewer hits in an 11 game span than the Mets. So, what I’m trying to say is no the season isn’t over. Almost! But sadly no, we are not yet free. The starting pitching has finally been really, really good lately, and all without Noah Syndergaard. The offense cannot possibly continue to break records in futility, thanks to our new best friends the law of averages. In conclusion: it is definitely probably not over.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

It’s hard to be as positive as I was prior to the season, but I still think it’s too early to call it “over.” I wish I had a better feel for the organizational plan here, but I don’t know if Callaway is setting his lineups and managing his bullpen or if he is following a front office script. Until I can determine that, I’m going to wait and see.

Ed Leyro (Studious Metsimus)

The season is far from over, but if the Mets can’t figure out how to score in more than one inning per game, they will be selling off pieces once again and we’ll all be counting down the days to the start of the football season.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

The season is definitely not over. The Mets will find a way to pull us all back in again. Just as everything seems to be ok again, BAM! Back to DL and losing some more.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

I allowed myself a modicum of optimism after the Mets won the final game of their otherwise winless homestand. Get on the road, get a little momentum going…but the two games in Atlanta disabused me of the notion. Except for playing 98 more games as mandated, the season is 98% done (I of course will hang on the 2% chance it’s not).

Tim Ryder (MMO & FOB)

No, I don’t think it is. That could simply be the eternal optimist in me coming out, but it’s a very long season. There are 98 games left. The ’99 Mets were 28-28 when they fired their hitting and pitching coach and finished the season with 90+ wins. Our pitching staff is only getting better and the bats are sure to come around at some point. This can’t go on forever, right? Maybe Roessler needs to go. Who knows? But there’s more than enough time to make up for this awful stretch. There’s too much talent here to ’02 this thing.

Dilip Srindhar (MMO & MMN)

Not necessarily.  The Mets could always get on some hot streak and get back to .500 given that their starting pitching has been pretty solid. That said, I really want them to realize how unlikely that would be and fully commit to playing the kids. For example, give  Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo starts in the rotation. Give Dominic Smith a good long look at first. See what you have in Wilmer Flores. Also call up Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith, and Eric Handold to see the bullpen. If we get a large sample of these guys, then we can assess the off-season better and not get stuck with making poor insurance investments. This would require the Mets to move Asdrubal Cabrera soon and let Flores play but it should be a nice couple months to see the team get younger and see what might be in fold for 2019.

Mets Daddy

The Mets can’t score, and even when their starting pitching has turned things around, the bullpen has blown either the narrow lead it was given, or they have let a one run game turn into a 10 run game.  It would be worse, but really, a one run lead against this Mets team is like a 10 run lead.

Right now, we’re all pinning our hopes on Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes returning from the DL, but no one knows when or if that is going to happen.

Meanwhile, the Mets are continuing to keep Jose Reyes on the roster and go so far as to defend the decision.  That means no young players like Jeff McNeil are going to get a change.  Just when you think things couldn’t get more absurd, this team picked up Chris Beck and his career 5.94 ERA off waivers to try to help fix this bullpen.

Meanwhile, Jay Bruce can add a back back to his plantar fascitiis issues.  In that way, he’s much like Cabrera in that he’s adding more injuries than base hits.  Neither one of these players are even being considered for the disabled list.

Bartolo Colon is singing.  It’s over.

What isn’t over is the excellent work these Mets bloggers put out over the course of a season.  Much like GKR, these people give you reason to at least follow the Mets with their excellent work.  I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do.

Just Put Cabrera On The DL

In the final game of the Subway Series, Asdrubal Cabrera tweaked one of the myriad of leg injuries he’s been dealing with for over a month now.

Sandy Alderson lauds Cabrera for playing through the injuries saying, “Cabrera! There’s a guy who’s playing. He’s not 100 percent. He’s playing. ‘Oh my god, he needs a day off, he needs a week off.’…He’s playing. Will we lose him at some point? Maybe. Right now, we want to keep putting a winning team on the field.” (Tim Healey, Newsday).

Here’s the thing, playing Cabrera through the injuries and putting a winning team on the field are two things inapposite of one another.

Back on April 25th, Mickey Callaway held Cabrera out of the lineup because the second baseman was experiencing hamstring issues.

At that time, Cabrera was hitting .349/.391/.590, and he looked like an early season MVP candidate for a 15-7 first place Mets team.

After skipping a game, Cabrera would go 0-for-6 in a 13 inning loss to the Cardinals. That was the beginning of a stretch from April 26th to the present where he has hit .247/.287/.448.

It’s not just hit bat. Over the course of the season, Cabrera has been the worst defensive second baseman in baseball with a -10 DRS. While Cabrera has historically been poor at second, it’s also fair to say his leg injuries further hinder his ability to play the field.

Over this stretch, the Mets have gone 13-27. That’s a 109 loss pace.

Now, Cabrera is not the sole cause for this record. Far from it. However, his ability to hit and field is a big reason why.

Playing Cabrera everyday isn’t helping him, and it’s not helping the Mets. It’s time the team calls up Jeff McNeil and let him play second.

Seriously, the worst McNeil can do is not hit and be a butcher in the field. That’s what the Mets are already getting from Cabrera, and we know that’s what Jose Reyes would provide. After all, in the Mets last game, Reyes both failed to step on second and threw the ball away allowing both runners to be safe.

If the Mets are serious about winning and fielding their best team, they need to have Cabrera healthy and playing. At this point, he’s not healthy, and he’s hurting the Mets. It’s time to put him in the disabled list.

Blame Sandy Alderson, Not Mickey Callaway

In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”

Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:

So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.

A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?

This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame.  What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch.  For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers.  Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner.  It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.

Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS.  Amed Rosario has been making continued strides.  After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate.  It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.

We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.  Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.

The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?

Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.

Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries.  What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”

He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.

Consider this.  After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland.  After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery

Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.

The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.

For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster.  This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.

This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason.  No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder.  Three year $39 million deals are not that.  Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.

Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.

That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions.  Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.

Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing.  No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.

The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications.  With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy.  Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?  Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway.  His bullpen management has been suspect at times.  Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win.  Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.

It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager.  Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?

Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.

Mets Options Better Than Jose Reyes

Admittedly, this is beating a dead horse, a horse deader than Jose Reyes‘ ability to contribute to a Major League team, but if you are going to complain about something, you need to present solutions.  After all, what is the good in saying Reyes should be released if you are not prepared to suggest improvements?

As much as I like to joke about it, no, David Wright would not be an improvement over Reyes right now, even if the argument could sadly be made.  Jokes aside, there are plenty of better options available to the Mets over what Reyes is giving the team right now and in the future:

Luis Guillorme
MLB Stats:
.400/.400/.500, 2B, RBI
MiLB Stats:
.300/.394/.433, 7 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, CS

The main thing Guillorme brings to the table is great middle infield defense.  Even if his ability to drive the ball will remind you of Luis Castillo, he does have the ability to give you a good at-bat and get on base.  At a minimum, since getting called-up, he has show he is not over-matched, and he is ready right now to contribute as a utility player for the Mets right now.

Ty Kelly
MiLB Stats: .274/.350/.500, 7 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 24 RBI, SB

The immediate reaction whenever Kelly is mentioned is he is a Four-A player because he has a MLB career stat line of .211/.297/.340.  Even if you’re right, it bears mentioning this would be a huge upgrade over Reyes’ current stats.  More than that, Kelly is a versatile player and switch hitter who can play all four infield positions and can handle both corner outfield spots.  And for the knocks against him, he is .255/.351/.340 against left-handed pitching.

Tomas Nido
MLB Stats:
.154/.214/.179, 2B, RBI
MiLB Stats: .257/.333/371, 4 2B, 6 RBI

Nido would mean carrying three catchers and pressing Wilmer Flores to become a backup at short as well.  Given Reyes’ -15 DRS at short last year, Flores is not a dropoff defensively.  Nido’s presence on the roster would accomplish a few things.  First, you can give Noah Syndergaard his own personal catcher, which may not be a bad thing given the challenges catching Syndergaard possesses.  Second, having Nido would free up both Devin Mesoraco and Kevin Plawecki for more pinch hitting attempts.  Third, Nido would allow the Mets to take it easier on Mesoraco, who has an extensive injury history, and it permits the team to not over rely on Plawecki, who is still not quite established as a major leaguer.  However, you would ideally keep Nido in the minors once Plawecki returns to give him the regular at-bats he needs to improve offensively.

Gavin Cecchini
MiLB Stats:
.294/.342/.468, 11 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, SB, CS

After a lost season last year, Cecchini worked on a number of things in the offseason, and he is back to being the player he was just two years ago.  However, this is more on the long-term view as Cecchini has not played since May 9th when he fouled a ball off his foot.

Jeff McNeil
MiLB Stats:
.328/.403/.715, 11 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 31 RBI, SB

For all the clamoring over Peter Alonso, many are overlooking his teammate McNeil, who has recently surpassed Alonso in doubles, homers, SLG, and OPS.  The 26 year old is healthy after a few injury riddled seasons, and he’s flat out raking.  With him mashing right-handed pitching, he would be a good platoon partner for Wilmer Flores in Todd Frazier‘s absence.  However, ideally, you’d like to keep him in Double-A longer, and you would want to see him in Triple-A before rushing him to the majors, especially when there are more than sufficient options ahead of him.

In complete fairness, Phillip Evans, who has not gotten a hit in seven at-bats and was not great in Las Vegas was not mentioned.  Also not mentioned is T.J. Rivera because no one can be quite sure when he will be ready to return to playing after his Tommy John surgery.  Really, the Mets need Rivera to return as soon as he can because he would be the best possible internal addition to the Mets bench.

RIP Anthony Young

As we delve more into the numbers and become more knowledgeable about the stats which truly indicate what makes a pitcher good or bad, we have begun to dismiss win-loss record.  It has gotten to the point where many want to disregard it all together.  Reflecting back on the life of Anthony Young, it is hard to say that wins and losses don’t matter anymore.

Starting on May 6, 1992, Young would begin his MLB record setting 27 game losing streak.  He lost games in all ways possible.  He was the hard luck loser losing games when he had a good start.  He lost games getting his doors knocked off.  He came out of the bullpen, and he lost a game on a big hit.  He would leave with runners on base and another pitcher would let them score.  In the stretch, Young was 0-14 as a starter, and 0-13 as a reliever.

Something odd happened during this time.  Initially, Young was booed and booed mercilessly.  On an under-performing 90 loss Mets team who once had designs on winning the World Series, Young had become symbolic of all that was wrong with the Mets – talented people who were just not performing.  Eventually, those boos came to cheers; cheers that were almost willing Young to a victory.

Young was admirable in the stretch.  You didn’t see the quote in the paper ripping the team.  There was no Jon Niese moment of blaming his catcher, his defense, or anyone else.  He took it like a man, and he kept going out there doing his job.

He also got to lose all of those games because he was a talented pitcher.  Too often, that gets lost in everything.  Young was talented.  It is why when John Franco went down to injury, Jeff Torborg instilled Young as the team’s closer.  It was at that time, we learned a save does not in fact interrupt a losing streak.  For those that forget, Young was able to record 15 saves during that 1992 season.  One thing he wasn’t able to do was vulture a win.

No, that elusive win would not come until July 28, 1993.  On that day, his team would finally pick him up.  After giving up the lead in the top of the ninth, the Mets would rally against the Florida Marlins.  The rally would begin with Jeff McNeil.  There is an odd symmetry there as McNeil was another player from those teams who died too young.  A few years ago, McNeil would die of leukemia at the age of 52.

After an Eddie Murray RBI double, Young would finally get his win, and the Shea faithful couldn’t have been happier for him:

Without that losing streak?  Young is just a footnote in major league history.  With that losing streak, Young mattered.  He will forever be remembered, and it turns out he was a person worth remembering.

He left behind a family and former teammates that were devastated by his passing away.  He leaves behind a fan base who can now actually reminisce about those terrible 1992-1993 Mets.

As we know, Young fought and fought bravely.  Recently, there had been reports his inoperable brain tumor had taken a turn for the better.  There were reports the tumor was shrinking.  At that point, there was hope Young could beat a cancer more daunting than a 27 game losing streak.  Unfortunately, Young wasn’t getting better.  It was just a short lived victory.

At the age of 51, Anthony Young has passed.  With him passing, people have lost a family member and a friend.  Fans lost a player they once cheered.  Everyone lost a person who handled one of the toughest situations a professional can face with grace and humility.  When someone like Young passes, we all lose.

Looking back at the life of Anthony Young, it is hard to tell anyone that losses no longer matter in baseball.  In fact, losses matter more now than they ever have.

Mets Have Rule 5 Decisions to Make

With the Mets adding Gavin Cecchini to the 40 man roster to sit on the bench as the Mets are chasing down a Wild Card spot, the team had one less decision to make on who should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.  Even if the Mets didn’t add Cecchini now, he was going to be added in the offseason.  Cecchini is too valuable a prospect, and he would be snatched up immediately in the Rule 5 Draft.

Cecchini was not the only player the Mets were going to have to make a decision on this offseason.  In fact, the Mets have to make a decision on 66 different prospects about whether or not they should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.  Here is a review of some of the more notable Mets prospects that need to be added to the 40 man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft:

AMED ROSARIO

SS Amed Rosario (Advanced A & AA) .324/.374/.459, 24 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 71 RBI, 19 SB

Yes, if it hasn’t been apparent this entire year, Rosario is in a class all by himself.  If he’s not added to the 40 man roster someone is getting fired.

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

1B/3B Matt Oberste (AA) .283/340/.409, 21 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 1 SB

One issue that has plagued Oberste his entire minor league career is he has to fight for at bats as he is usually behind a bigger Mets prospect.  That has been literally and figuratively Dominic Smith (who is not yet Rule 5 eligible).  Oberste was an Eastern League All Star; however, the issue that is always going to hold him back is the fact that he is a corner infielder that does not hit for much power. Most likely, Oberste will not be added to the 40 man roster.

CF Champ Stuart (Advanced A & AA) .240/.314/.349, 12 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 40 SB

Stuart is an elite defensive outfielder that has speed on the bases as evidenced by him stealing 40 bases this season.  The issue with Stuart is he is a maddening offensive player.  He went from hitting .265/.347/.407 in 71 games for Advanced A St. Lucie to hitting .201/.264/.261 in 43 games for AA Binghamton.  While he certainly has the tools to possibly be a big leauger one day, he’s too far away at this point.  Also, with teams putting more of a premium on offense than defense, it’s likely he will not be protected, and he will go undrafted.

C Tomas Nido ( Advanced A) .320/.357/.459, 23 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB

This year was a breakout season defensively and offensively for the Florida State League batting champion.  Normally, with Nido never having played a game in AA, the Mets would be able to leave him unprotected and be assured he wouldn’t be drafted.  However, with catcher being such a difficult position to fill, it’s possible a bad team like the Braves takes a flyer on him and keeps him as the second or third stringer catcher all year.  It’s exactly how the Mets lost Jesus Flores to the Nationals many years ago.

SP Marcos Molina 2015 Stats (Rookie & Advanced A) 9 G, 8 GS, 1-5, 4.26 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.9 K/9

Molina did not pitch for the Mets organization for the entire 2016 season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.  The Arizona Fall League will be his first time facing batters in a game since his eight starts for St. Lucie in 2015.  It’s likely he will go unprotected and undrafted.

ARMS THAT COULD HELP IN 2017

RHP Paul Sewald (AAA) 56 G, 5-3, 19 saves, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.0 K/o

In many ways, it is surprising that a Mets bullpen that was looking for an extra arm never turned to Sewald.  While he struggled to start the season like most pitchers transitioning to the Pacific Coast League do, Sewald figured it out and had a terrific second half with 10 saves, a 1.85 ERA, and a 0.95 WHIP.  Sewald should be protected.  In the event he isn’t, he should be as good as gone.

RHP Beck Wheeler (AA & AAA) 47 G, 0-3, 6 saves, 5.98 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 12.1 K/9

Wheeler went unprotected and undrafted last year, and based upon the numbers he put up in his time split between Binghamton and Las Vegas, it appears the same thing will happen this year.  The one reservation is like with the Braves interest in Akeel Morris, teams will always take fliers on guys with mid 90s fastballs who can generate a lot of strikeouts.  It just takes one team to think they can help him reduce his walk rate for him to go in the Rule 5 draft.

RHP Chasen Bradford (5 saves, 4.80 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) – Bradford regressed statistically from last year in large part because he is a sinker/slider pitcher that pitches to contact.  On the bright side, he walks very few batters meaning if you have good infield defense, he will be a successful pitcher for your team.  His numbers should scare off a number of teams in the Rule 5 draft just like it did last year.

RHP Ricky Knapp (Advanced A & AA) 25 G, 24 GS, 13-6, 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.3 K/9

Knapp started the year in St. Lucie, and he finished it with a spot start in Las Vegas.  Knapp doesn’t have any plus pitches, but he gets the most out of all of his pitches because he is excellent at hitting his spots.  He is a very polished product that is best suited to being a starting pitcher.  Since he doesn’t strike out many batters, teams will most likely pass on him in the Rule 5 draft.

RHP Luis Mateo (AA & AAA) 51 G, 4-4, 1 save, 2.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.0 K/9

He’s a fastball/slider pitcher with a low 90s fastball that generates a fair share of groundball outs while keeping the ball in the ballpark.  While his ERA should entice teams, his WHIP and strikeout rate may keep them away just like it did last year when the Mets left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft.  He will most likely begin next year in AAA.

RISING PROFILES

2B/3B/SS Phillip Evans (Advanced A & AA) .321/.366/.460, 30 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 1 SB

The Eastern League Batting Champion certainly raised his profile with a much improved offensive season.  He’s starting to become more selective at the plate and learn how to be less of a pull hitter.  The main issue for Evans is he may not have a position.  While he can make all the plays at the infield positions, he lacks range to be a solid middle infielder.  He also lacks the arm strength and power numbers you would want at third base.

RHP Chris Flexen (Advanced A, AA, AAA) 25 GS, 10-9, 3.56 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.4 K/9

Flexen appears to be in the mold of a typical Mets pitching prospect in that he has a high 90’s fastball and a good slider.  Despite the repertoire, he is not generating a lot of strikeouts right now.  On the bright side, he does generate a number of ground balls while limiting home runs.   He was rumored to be part of the initial Jay Bruce trade that fell apart due to an unnamed prospect’s physical (does not appear to be him).  A second division club like the Reds could take a flyer on him and put him in the bullpen for a year to gain control over him despite him never having pitched at a level higher than Advanced A St. Lucie.

RHP Tyler Bashlor (Full Season & Advanced A) 54 G,  4-3, 2.75 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 11.8 K/9

While the 5’11” Bashlor is short on stature, he has a big arm throwing a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider which he used to dominate in the Sally League.  Bashlor used these pitches to strike out 11.8 batters per nine innings.  Like Flexen, there is danger exposing a big arm like this even if the highest level of experience he has is four games for Advanced A St. Lucie.

RHP Kevin McGowan (Advanced A & AA) 42 G, 4 GS, 2 saves, 2.35 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.9 K/9

McGowan is a fastball/changeup pitcher that still needs to develop a breaking pitch.  While that fastball/changeup combination has been good enough to get batters out at the lower levels of the minor leagues, he is going to need another pitch if he is going to progress as a pitcher.

DISAPPOINTING SEASONS

RF Wuilmer Becerra (Advanced A) .312/.341/.393, 17 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB

Around the time of the Rule 5 Draft last year, the debate was whether a bad team like the Braves would take a flyer on Becerra just to get the promising young outfielder into their organization.  Unfortunately, Becerra would have a shoulder injury that would rob him of his budding power.  More importantly, that shoulder injury would require surgery ending his season after just 65 games.

1B/3B Jhoan Urena (Advanced A) .225/.301/.350, 17 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB

With the emergence of David Thompson, Urena was pushed from third to first.  However, that isn’t what was most troubling about his season.  In fact, many questioned whether he could stay at third given his frame.  The issue was the switch hitting Urena stopped hitting for power this season.  With his not hitting for power, Rosario’s best friend in the minors should go undrafted in the Rule 5 Draft.

LHP Paul Paez (Advanced A & AA) 34 G, 4-1, 3.88 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.9 K/9

This year Paez failed to distinguish himself by not pitching particularly well for St. Lucie and then struggling in Binghamton.  He only has a high 80’s fastball and lacks a true swing and miss breaking pitch.  While lefties hitting .308 off of him this year, he may not even have a future as a LOOGY in a major league bullpen.

NEEDS TIME TO DEVELOP

OF Patrick Biondi (Advanced A) .271/.352/.332, 17 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB

While Biondi’s stats look good on the surface, it should be noted at 25 years old, he is old for the level.  On the bright side, Biondi has speed and is a good defender in CF.  However, until he starts getting on base more frequently, he will not be considered for the 40 man roster.

RHP Nabil Crismatt (Short & Full Season A) 13 G, 7 GS, 1-4, 1 Save, 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 10.1 K/9

Crismatt is only 21, but he is mature in terms of his ability to control his changeup and curveball and throw them at any point in the count.  Couple that with a low 90s fastball that could gain velocity as he ages, and you have someone who has the repertoire to be a major leaguer.  However, considering he hasn’t faced stiff competition yet in his career, he is nowhere ready for the majors, at least not yet.

2B/3B/SS Jeff McNeil 2015 Season (Advanced A & AA) .308/.369/.377, 18 2B, 6 3B, 1 HR, 40 RBI, 16 SB

Coming into the season, McNeil appeared to be more mature physically and at the plate.  He seemed ready to begin hitting for more power while still being able to handle 2B defensively.  Unfortunately, he would only play in three games this season for Binghamton before going on the disabled list needing season ending sports hernia surgery.

RHP Tim Peterson (Advanced A & AA) 48 G, 4-1, 2 saves, 3.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.3 K/9

At each and every level Peterson has pitched, he has shown the ability to strike people out with a fastball that touches on the mid 90s and a plus curveball.  The only issue for him in his career so far was his PED suspension in 2014.

AAAA PLAYERS

OF Travis Taijeron (AAA) .275/.372/.512, 42 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 1 SB

Taijeron continued to do what he does best, which is get on base and hit for power.  Despite a strong Spring Training and another solid offensive season, the Mets really showed no interest in calling him up to the majors.  He will most likely go unprotected, but maybe this year a team out there desperate for some power in the outfield or on the bench will give him a shot.

2B L.J. Mazzilli (AA & AAA) .239/.320/.348, 18 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 8 SB

Lee Mazzilli‘s son is a grinder out there who plays a decent second base.  Unfortunately, it appears his bat will prevent him from ever getting a real shot to ever play in the big league.

PREDICTIONS

Guaranteed: Rosario

Likely: Flexen, Nido

Bubble: Bashlor, Knapp, McGowan, Sewald, Wheeler

As for the remaining players, the Mets may very well gamble exposing them to the Rule 5 Draft and potentially lose them to another team.  It is also possible the Mets unexpectedly protect a player like Knapp.  In any event, the Mets have a number of important decisions to make that can have far reaching implications.