Travis Blankenhorn

Minor Leaugers Will Be Impacted By MLB Lockout

With the collective bargaining agreement stalemate, and Commissioner Rob Manfred announcing the first two series of the Major League season will be canceled, minor league baseball appears to be set to be the only baseball left to be played. This was the case on August 12, 1994 until the end of that season, and right now, we don’t know how long it will be until MLB and the MLBPA reach an agreement.

This begs the question about how this will affect the minor league season. In many ways, the answer is not at all, but in a more global sense, it is a huge impact due to all of the uncertainty.

40 Man Roster Issues

First and foremost, this lockout impacts players on the 40 man roster. Keep in mind with Major League rosters being capped at 26 players, the 14 players who were supposed to play in the minors are now not permitted to play with their respective organizations.

This past offseason, the New York Mets added Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Adam Oller, and Jose Butto to their 40 man roster. They’re now not eligible to play in games or participate in Spring Training. The same goes for players like Travis Blankenhorn, Khalil Lee, Patrick Mazeika, and Nick Plummer who were likely ticketed for Triple-A to start the season.

Spring Training Battles

If we look back to the pandemic shortened season of 2020, MLB had a very abbreviated “Summer Camp” with players reporting on July 1 and beginning the season on July 24. In 1995, the strike and lockout meant Spring Training was delayed. When the two sides finally agreed to a deal, Spring Training was just three weeks. We’re very likely to see something akin to that again.

As a result, we are not going to have the opportunity to see Spring Training battles breath. At least at the moment, Tylor Megill and David Peterson appear poised to battle for the fifth starter spot. With no real Spring Training, and both pitchers being shut down because they are on the 40 man roster, it would appear the Mets would be all the more emboldened to sign another starter.

Speaking of Spring Training battles, there are those veterans who signed minor league deals. For example, this offseason the Mets signed Daniel Palka who has played 154 Major League games in his career and Matt Reynolds who has played 130 games. They would be permitted to play in Spring Training, where they would not be paid, and they can then report to play in Triple-A Syracuse regardless of the status of the CBA negotiations.

Rule 5 Draft

As noted, players not on the 40 man roster are permitted to participate in Spring Training, and they can begin their minor league seasons when they are slated to begin. That is an enormous benefit for players like Carlos Cortes, Brian Metoyer, and Hayden Senger. Each of these players were on the bubble for Rule 5 protection, and the Mets opted to expose them to the draft.

This means Cortes, Metoyer, and Senger will get to play and improve. That will also give teams an opportunity to get a better look at those three players in determining whether they should be selected in the Rule 5 draft. Of course, that also works in the inverse with the Mets getting a deeper look into players they might be targeting.

Keep in mind, there isn’t much precedent here for this. In 1994, because there was a strike but not a lockout, teams were able to proceed with their business as usual and hold the Rule 5 draft in December (even if it was delayed twice). For the 2020 season, the Rule 5 draft had already taken place in December 2019 because COVID-19 was not yet a concern.

Another important note here is as MLB cancels games, it becomes easier to carry Rule 5 drafted players. As a result, the risk in selecting a Rule 5 player has been greatly mitigated. Another factor at play here is we may see players get drafted based on early season results who may not have been otherwise considered. To sum up, this is a quagmire.


At the moment, the Mets have their minor league mini-camp. Minor League Spring Training is also set to officially begin this week. As of right now, according to their official schedule, the Mets are slated to play their first Spring Training game on March 12 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Of course, games were supposed to begin February 28, but it was delayed due to the lockout. As of right now, there is no official word if games will be delayed further. That said, there will likely be some form of a Spring Training game schedule even absent a CBA being in place to allow the minor leaguers to prepare for their season. The season for the Mets full season affiliates are set to begin as follows:

  • Syracuse Mets – April 5
  • Binghamton Rumble Ponies – April 8
  • Brooklyn Cyclones – April 8
  • St. Lucie Mets – April 8

For those Mets fans who want to attend a baseball game, the Brooklyn Cyclones home opener will be on April 12 at 7:00 P.M. against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (Phillies).


Right now, the Mets are paying Buck Showalter a lot of money to manage a team which is not set to play. That leaves Showalter with the job of preparing to prepare for the season. In some ways, that’s extremely beneficial for the new staff with new coaches like Eric Chavez to come to work together.

It also gives them an opportunity to work with the minor leaguers in Spring Training, and perhaps, depending on the length of the lockout, to travel to work with some of the minor leaguers. This presents an enormous opportunity for players like Brett Baty, who is battling with Vientos for that future third base job. More than that, it allows some of the more unheralded prospects like a Harol Gonzalez to make an impression in camp and get an advocate from the Major League coaching staff in their corner.

That just speaks to just how different everything will be for minor leaugers. Yes, the players not on the 40 man roster will have no change to their schedule. They will report to Spring Training at the same time, and they will play the games like they normally do.

However, they will also get more exposure to Major League coaching, and they have more of an opportunity to distinguish themselves. Moreover, they will get to prepare for their season and work on their games while fellow minor leaugers who are on the 40 man roster will be at home unpaid and without a chance to work with their coaches to improve their game.

Mets Return The Favor

If you thought blowing a 6-0 lead entering the bottom of the eighth was bad, Taijuan Walker only lasted one-third of an inning. In that one-third, he allowed SIX runs.

The key moment of the inning was a Kevin Newman hit ball Walker tried to touch foul. Instead, the umps called it fair. While Walker argued, and J.D. Davis aimlessly walked towards the third base coaches box not even pretending to care to make a play, the Pirates scored three runs to take a commanding 6-0 first inning lead.

Luis Rojas argued the play as vociferously as we’ve ever seen him argue with an umpire. Between that and a bump, he’d get tossed.

Walker departed as well. He’d be replaced by Drew Smith. Over 2.2 scoreless innings, Smith gave the bullpen some much needed length, and he kept the Mets in position to get back into the game.

The Mets would do that. First, it was a Dominic Smith two out RBI single making it 6-1. In the ensuing inning, Travis Blankenhorn came up to pinch hit for Smith, and he hit his first Major League homer.

Suddenly, it was 6-4 in the fourth. That meant the Mets were back in the game. They’d stay in the game because the bullpen was phenomenal.

After Smith, Miguel Castro threw a scoreless inning, and Aaron Loup followed with two more scoreless. With Smith hitting an RBI double scoring Jeff McNeil from first in the sixth.

Just like that, it was a one run game. After Jeurys Familia pitched an adventurous yet scoreless eighth, the Mets had a chance. Those chances improved when Smith hit a lead-off single. Then, Michael Conforto had his biggest hit of the year.

Conforto has been heating up of late, and we’ve seen him hit for power again. When he hits like this, no deficit is insurmountable, even a 6-0 first inning one.

After Edwin Diaz threw so many pitches in his blown save the previous night, Trevor May got the chance. Despite issuing a lead-off walk, he earned his second save of the year.

This was a game where we saw how special and resilient this Mets team is. They responded to a 6-0 first inning deficit with 8.1 scoreless. Wins like these makes you believe they can win the World Series.

Game Notes: Jacob deGrom has been put on the IL and shut down. Dave Jauss replaced Rojas as manager after the ejection.

Seth Lugo And Edwin Diaz Implode Turning Laugher Into Misery

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking like the first place team, and the New York Mets have looked like the second division club. With Tylor Megill on the mound, that changed.

Megill never should’ve been in the majors this year, and yet, due to injuries, he’s suddenly a key part of the rotation. He very much looked like that in this start.

He allowed no runs while pitching a career best six innings. He’d allow just six hits while striking out two. Perhaps, the more astonishing part was his walking none.

He battled through some tricky spots. That began with Adam Frazier doubling on a pop up by J.D. Davis to lead off the first. Later in the game, Pete Alonso made an error to start some trouble for Megill.

There were multiple situations with a runner in scoring position, but Megill showed poise getting out of the jams. Of course, it didn’t hurt Luis Guillorme was playing Gold Glove caliber defense in Francisco Lindor‘s absence.

Guillorme helped abate Lindor landing on the IL. In addition to the great defense, he was 1-for-3 with a run, double, and a walk. He scored that run in the sixth when Travis Blankenhorn had his first career RBI hitting a pinch hit double in the seventh which just missed going out.

It was a night the Mets offense came back to life scoring six runs. Michael Conforto‘s bat started to come alive with two doubles. Jeff McNeil had an RBI. Of the Mets 11 hits, eight were for extra bases including three homers.

Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Mets had a 6-0 lead. It was a good thing too because Seth Lugo had a rare implosion. After allowing just five runs all year, the Pirates scored five runs in two-thirds of an inning off Lugo capped off by a Wilmer Difo pinch hit three run homer.

Suddenly, a 6-0 laugher was a tight 6-5 game. Aaron Loup came in to relieve Lugo to face Frazier. Frazier hit a hard grounder down the line, but Alonso made a diving stop to rob Frazier of an extra base hit.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth courtesy of Brandon Nimmo, who hit a solo homer to straight center increasing the Mets lead to 7-5.

The Mets appeared to need that extra cushion with Edwin Diaz struggling in the ninth. His first pitch hit Ke’Bryan Hayes, and then he walked Bryan Reynolds on five pitches.

After Ben Gamel chased a pitch in the dirt to strike out, Diaz hung an 0-2 slider which John Nogowski smoked towards third. Jonathan Villar, in for defense, knocked down the short hop keeping it in the infield. It saved a run, but it loaded the bases.

What ensued was a great battle between Diaz and Gregory Polanco. At the end of the nine pitch at-bat, Diaz froze Polanco with a 3-2 slider on the corner to strike him out.

But, it didn’t matter. On Diaz’s next pitch, Jacob Stallings took a pitch off the inside corner and hit a walk-off grand slam. Kevin Pillar did all he could in left diving into the stands, but it was all for naught.

The Mets blew a 6-0 lead and lost 9-7. There’s no other way to put it other than admitting it’s time to panic.

Game Notes: Jacob deGrom reportedly dealt with right forearm issues in his bullpen session.

Mets Split 2-1 Extra Inning Games Against Phillies

In the first game of the doubleheader, Aaron Nola had out-dueled Taijuan Walker. Not only did he match Tom Seaver‘s MLB record of 10 consecutive strikeouts (with the aide of some very questionable strike calls), but he drove home the only run heading into the seventh.

It looked like the Mets would lose in a frustrating 1-0 fashion. That was until Luis Guillorme led off the ninth, sorry seventh, with a comebacker against Jose Alvarado. Alvarado threw it away allowing Guillorme to go to second.

Albert Almora pinch hit and struck out. Jeff McNeil then grounded out putting all the pressure on Francisco Lindor. Lindor had Alvarado’s timing, and he delivered a game tying single.

Luis Rojas made an astute move double switching Seth Lugo into the game. Not only did this bring in his best reliever, but due to a quirk in the extra inning rules, it put Lindor at second even though he didn’t make the last out.

After Lugo struck out three of the four batters he faced, the Mets were going to get their opportunity to walk it off.

The left-handed Ranger Suarez intentionally walked Pete Alonso to face Dominic Smith. For some reason, Smith offered to bunt the first two pitches, and on the third, he hit a walk-off RBI single giving the Mets a 2-1 win.

Once again, in the second game of the doubleheader, the offenses were anemic. Only this time, it wasn’t as excusable because it was Matt Moore and David Peterson.

For a split second in the second, it appeared Almora put the Mets ahead 2-0 on a homer. However, Andrew McCutchen went up to grab it, and while the Mets thought it hit the back wall, replay upheld the out call.

Entering the sixth, there was a combined five hits in the scoreless game. Bryce Harper homered in the sixth to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead, and once again, in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies bullpen begged the Mets to win the game.

Instead of Alvarado, Joe Girardi tabbed Archie Bradley to close it out. There was no one warming in the pen. You could say it was a mistake, but the Phillies bullpen is terrible.

Bradley book-ended Guillorme once again reaching on an error by walking two batters to load the bases with no outs. Walk-off king Patrick Mazeika strode to the plate, but he struck out.

James McCann gave one a ride to deep center, but even though he was playing shallow, Odubel Herrera tracked it down. Instead of a game winner, it was a game tying sacrifice fly.

Jeff McNeil, who had a tough doubleheader going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts, grounded out to end the inning.

Rojas went to Sean Reid-Foley, the 27th man for the doubleheader for the eighth. Reid-Foley did what he needed to do, but he got some bad luck behind him.

Brad Miller hit a grounder to Lindor. Lindor couldn’t quite get a handle on it allowing Rafael Marchand to get to third without a throw. The Phillies then pinch ran Travis Jankowski for him.

The Mets drew the infield in, and Herrera hit a hit shot at Guillorme. Guillorme made a great play to snag it on the short hop, but it popped out of his glove as it hit the ground. Guillorme was noticeably frustrated with himself for being unable to make a play at home, but he made a great play just to get the out at first.

Unfortunately, there were no heroics against Hector Neris. Lindor and Alonso grounded out before Smith struck out to end the game.

In the end, the Mets scored zero earned runs, but they were still able to scratch out a split. That’s good, and yet, there can be some frustration as a Mets team with a nearly complete lineup could barely score runs.

Game Notes: Jonathan Villar was put on the IL, and Travis Blankenhorn was recalled. J.D. Davis was transferred to the 60 day IL, and the Mets claimed Chance Sisco. Mason Williams opted for free agency. Aaron Loup and Edwin Diaz were unavailable to pitch.

Jacob deGrom Provides Thrills And Chills

Jacob deGrom was the difference in this game for the New York Mets more ways than one. The only thing which could stop deGrom was himself.

For the first 4.1 innings, deGrom was simply unhittable, and were once again on the perfect game watch. That was until Wil Myers dribbled one against the shift for a hit.

Myers thought he could steal a base, but James McCann gunned him down. With that caught stealing, deGrom would face the minimum through six. Given how dominant he was even that seemed like a batter or two too many.

Of course, deGrom set all kinds of records. His 0.56 ERA though 10 starts is the lowest ever. He needed just 61.2 innings to reach 100 strikeouts which is the fewest innings to reach that mark. Oh, and by the way, he’s hitting .400 with an .840 OPS.

He went out there and beat the Padres every way imaginable. He allowed just the one hit over 6.0 innings walking none and striking out 10. He’d get the win because he actually got run support.

At first, it didn’t seem that would happen. Blake Snell, who was great his last game against the Mets, had a strong start to this game.

The Mets didn’t get a threat against him until the fourth. It started with a Jonathan Villar single. It’s not a stretch to say at that point in the game it seemed Villar was the only guy who was going to get a hit.

Villar was on second with one out after he stole second, and Francisco Lindor lined out. Snell completely lost the strike zone walking the bases loaded.

That’s when Dominic Smith has a terrible at-bat. Despite Snell losing the zone, he went to attack a tough slider out of the zone. He checked his swing leading to the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

It was a really tough game for Smith. He was 0-for-4 with two GIDP. He’s slumping as he’s in a 1-for-13 funk.

This wasn’t the Mets last chance. Rather, it was them starting to get to Snell.

Kevin Pillar led off the fifth with a hustle double. His beating out Tommy Pham‘s throw proved serendipitous as Billy McKinney ripped a double down the first base line to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Jose Peraza drew a walk, and then Snell would balk to put runners on second and third. deGrom would deliver with a two RBI single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

For deGrom, that was more than enough support. However, deGrom would only go six because the flexor tendon in his elbow was bothering him leading him to take himself out of the game.

Perhaps it was deGrom out of the game. It could’ve also been Miguel Castro dealing with a neck issue which would knock him out of this game, but the Padres looked energized.

Jake Cronenworth hit a two run homer pulling the Padres within 3-2. After Castro walked Manny Machado, Luis Rojas pulled his ailing reliever for Seth Lugo.

To the surprise of no one, Lugo did the job retiring the next two to get out of the inning. What was a surprise was that was it for Lugo.

Aaron Loup started the eighth for the Mets. He’d exit the game with one on and two out. That’s when Rojas tabbed Edwin Diaz for the four out save. Jorge Mateo immediately stole second, but it was of little consequence as Pham flew out to end the inning.

Things got interesting in the ninth. Machado hit a two out single putting the tying run on base. Eric Hosmer pinch hit for Myers, and he put a scare into the crowd as he pulled a ball just foul. After that, Diaz got Hosmer to pop out to end the game.

The Mets are now a season high seven games over .500. However, it’s not too much celebrating as there’s reason for concern for deGrom and to a lesser extent Castro.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme was activates off the IL, and Travis Blankenhorn was sent to Triple-A. The Mets claimed Nick Tropeano off waivers and sent him to Syracuse. Tommy Hunter was transferred to the 60 day IL.