Jeff McNeil

The Next Jacob deGrom Might’ve Just Seen His Baseball Career End

This past week, the New York Mets released 39 minor league players. They were far from the only team who took that action. Every MLB undertook the same process with the COVID19 shutdown, the ever increasingly likely cancellation of the minor league season, and the contraction of 42 minor league teams.

This led to a variety of reactions. Many were sad, and some were angry. There was also Andrew Church who eviscerated the Mets and Tim Tebow. Lost in that was the purge of minor league talent.

Make no mistake, every minor leaguer who was released was a talented baseball player. They had enough talent to get a contract to play professional baseball. The issue at the moment was teams like the Mets thought better to get rid of them so they wouldn’t have to pay them $400/week.

When you look at the players who were released, you really have to question whether the Mets would’ve released Jacob deGrom under similar circumstances. Don’t be so sure they wouldn’t have.

Going back a decade, deGrom was a ninth round draft pick out of Stetson University. While much has been made about his being a collegiate SS, truth be told deGrom had converted to a pitcher Junior year. That year, he pitched and played short. It was his pitching which caught the Mets attention.

Just because he caught the Mets attention, it doesn’t mean he was good right away.

As a 22 year old, deGrom was assigned to a Kingsport franchise which is in line to be contracted. Despite being over a full year older than the competition, he did not pitch well.

In the six starts deGrom made, he was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA, 1.577 WHIP, and a 7.6 K/9. Batters hit .324/.360/.472 off of him. At the end of the year, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL.

At that time, there was nothing which could give you any indication he was about to become a pitcher who would have a dominant 2015 postseason in addition to consecutive Cy Youngs.

No, he looked like an older prospect for his level who couldn’t beat younger batters, and worse yet, he had a busted elbow. If you’re looking to not pay players, and you’re looking to cut down the amount of people in your system to prepare for a loss of affiliates, deGrom was going to be in real danger of getting released.

If that happened, deGrom doesn’t get the chance to get healthy, learn a change-up from Johan Santana, and start on a path towards being a potential Hall of Famer. No, in all likelihood, his career would’ve been over.

Now, it’s very possible none of the 39 players released by the Mets could’ve done what deGrom did. Most and maybe all don’t even make it to the majors. However, that’s not the point.

The point is unless you give prospects real time to learn and develop you’re never going to find the next deGrom. The same can be said for Mike Piazza, Jeff McNeil, of Seth Lugo. For that matter, the Mets miss the 2016 postseason without undrafted free agent T.J. Rivera.

In the end, MLB franchises opted to end the dreams of minor leaguers over $400/week. In the process, they’re going to potentially miss out on the next diamond in the rough, or even that key player who gets them to the postseason thereby making the franchise millions of dollars.

Simulated Recap: McNeil Homers Mets To Comeback Win

The Braves got out to a 6-1 lead against Marcus Stroman and the Mets. However, Stroman would not get saddled with the loss.

In the sixth, the Mets pulled to within 6-4 after homers by Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano.

In the ninth, Amed Rosario got the game winning rally started with a lead-off double. Later in the inning, McNeil hit his second homer of the game. This one was a go-ahead three run homer giving the Mets a 7-6 lead.

After a Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly scoring Pete Alonso, the Mets led 8-6. With Justin Wilson pitching a scoreless eighth, he picked up the win. Edwin Diaz recorded the save.

Simulated Recap: Mets Waste Big Effort From Conforto

Rick Porcello allowed five runs over five innings, and the Mets never could quite catch up to the Diamondbacks.

In the loss, Michael Conforto had a big game going 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

The Mets other runs came off of back-to-back bases loaded walls to Porcello and Jeff McNeil.

The Mets had a chance in the ninth with runners at the corners and one out, but they couldn’t get another run across. As a result, the Mets lost 5-3.

Simulated Recap: Conforto Homers

Yesterday, the Mets could only muster a run against the Pirates. When Michael Conforto hit a two run homer in the first, the Mets surpassed that total. They also provided Steven Matz with more than enough run support.

Matz picked up the win after allowing just one run over 5.2 innings.

Wilson Ramos also homered. Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, and Jeff McNeil also delivered runs in the Mets 6-1 win.

Simulated Recap: Mets Back In Black

Well, it might be just a gimmick for the MLB The Show, but it was once again Friday Night Black Jerseys at Citi Field. These Mets looked good in them beating the Pirates 2-0.

Michael Wacha allowed one earned over five getting the no decision. After he allowed a run in the top of the fifth, Jeff McNeil homered to even the game.

Walker Lockett came on in relief, and he’d get the win after pitching a scoreless inning, and Robinson Cano scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth. Edwin Diaz picked up the save.

Citi Bracket: (1) David Wright vs. (16) Jeff McNeil

(1) David Wright – The franchise leader in nearly every offensive category and is widely considered to be the best position player in franchise history. Only homegrown Met to be named team captain. Dubbed Captain America for his exploits in the World Baseball Classic. Once named by Bill James as the perfect baseball player. Seven time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner, and two time Silver Slugger. Hit the first Mets homer in Citi Field, and he hit the first ever World Series homer in Citi Field. Had perhaps the most emotional good-bye game we have ever seen a player in sports history ever have. A lifetime Met who had a hand in helping ensure Jacob deGrom does the same.

(16) Jeff McNeil – Has exhibited an Ichiro Suzuki like ability to make contact at a high rate and put the ball where the fielders aren’t. Despite being called just a second baseman, he has played nearly everywhere on the diamond, and he has played well defensively. Named an All-Star in his first full season. Nicknamed the Flying Squirrel and is part of both the famed Cookie Club and is part of a bromance with Pete Alonso.

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Mojo Rising Bracket: First Round Complete

The first round of the Mojo Rising Bracket is complete, and so far, this bracket had the clotsest match-up this far with Benny Agbayani knocking off Todd Hundley by ONE VOTE! With that, Agbayani joins Tommie Agee as the other 10 seed to knock off a seven seed. That means through the first round of three brackets, there have been just two upsets.

This next round will have Robin Ventura and John Olerud not only on opposite ends of the greatest defensive infield of all-time, but also seeing who can advance to the Sweet 16. Agbayani and Edgardo Alfonzo can also see who was the bigger hero in 2000.

In the final bracket, we will lead off tomorrow with David Wright against Jeff McNeil.

Simulated Recap: McNeil Leads Off With First Pitch Homer

After losing a tight game to the Diamondbacks last night, the Mets jumped out to an early first inning lead when Jeff McNeil homered on the first pitch of the game thrown by Robbie Ray:

That lead grew to 2-0 when Amed Rosario homered in the second.

Rick Porcello had a strong start picking up the win after allowing just two earned over 7.2 innings.

The Mets put some distance between them and the Diamondbacks in the eighth. Jake Marisnick hit a bases loaded two RBI single, and McNeil drew a bases loaded walk later in the inning to give the Mets a 6-1 lead.

After Robert Gsellman got into a jam in the ninth, Edwin Diaz picked up the save in the Mets 6-2 win.

Simulated Recap: deGrom Better Than Flaherty

The Cardinals and their fans think Jack Flaherty can supplant Jacob deGrom as the NL Cy Young. If this simulated game is any indication, that’s just not going to happen:

deGrom allowed just one run over 6.1 whereas the Mets knocked Flaherty out in the fifth. In that fifth, the Mets scored three runs on a Jeff McNeil RBI single and then a Michael Conforto two RBI single.

The Mets also saw a Pete Alonso homer and Amed Rosario RBI single. Edwin Diaz closed out the Mets 5-3 win and sweep of the Cardinals.

Simulated Recap: Wacha Beats Former Team

After signing with the Mets, Michael Wacha got a chance to face his former team in a simulated game, and he would come out on top.

Over six innings, he allowed just one run. He got run support from two Jeff McNeil solo homers, and a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single.

Edwin Diaz made it an adventure in the ninth allowing a run, but he would still lock down the Mets 3-2 win.