2/26/17

Mack – Draft Notes – Week 2-19

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2-19 –


Kentucky 1B Evan White sat out. Word was he was battling a groin injury. Could pinch hit.

#1 TCU 9 (3-0), Penn State (0-3) 3 - TCU: C Evan Skoug: 0-4, 1-R

#3 Florida State 11. VCU 3 - FSU: SS Taylor Walls – 2-4. 1-R, 3-RBI
            3B Dylan Busby – 1-5, 1-R

#2 Florida 11, William & Mary 2 -    FLA: C JJ Schwarz – 0-4   
            DH Mike Rivera – 2-3, 1-R, 2-RBI
            SS Dalton Guthrie – 2-3, 3-R, 1-RBI, double

#12 Louisville 12, Ball State 4 - L: SS Devin Harrison – 0-4, 1-R

Rutgers 14, #21 Miami 6 - M: OF Carl Chester – 1-5, 2-RBI

#22 Maryland 9, Alabama State 7 - Md: SS Kevin Smith: 1-4, 1-R

#23 Rice 7, Texas 1 - P Glen Otto finally made an appearance, pitching one scoreless inning (2-K).



2-20 –


Maryland SS Kevin Smith started the season 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts this weekend

Wake Forest RHSP Connor Johnstone named AAA Pitcher of the Week after throwing 1-hit shutout in season opener.

LSU SP Jared Poche SEC Pitcher of The Week – 7-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 0-BB, 4-K
Florida State announces Andrew Karp will start Tuesday against South Florida. Karp missed most of last two years following a car accident.

#15 Arizona beat Eastern Kentucky, 9-8. Arizona 1B JJ Matijevic went 3-4, 2-R, double (2), 1-RBI.

#8 Oregon State (4-0) beat Indiana, 4-1. Oregon St. 1B KJ Harrison went 1-4.
Cullman (AL) LHP Jacob Heatherly struck out 6, walked 3, and allowed one hit and 2 ER in 3.1 innings


2-21 –

South Florida 4, #3 Florida State 2  -  FSU 3B Dylan Busby: 0-3

#4 South Carolina 5, Charlotte 4  -  RHP Tyler Johnson hit 99.

Georgia Tech junior outfielder, Kel Johnson, is hitting .438 with five homers and 10 RBIs.

Jacksonville 3, #2 Florida (3-1) 2  -  Fla: SS Dalton Guthrie: 2-4, 1-R, 1B JJ Schwartz: 0-4, DH Mike Rivera 1-4, 1-R

New Orleans 11, #5 LSU 8  -  LSU: RF Greg Deichman: 0-3, 1-RBI

#1 TCU (4-0) 7, UT Arlington 2  -  DH Evan Skoug: 1-4, 2-RBI, HR (1)

Etowah HS (GA) OF Drew Waters hit two home runs this past weekend.


2-22 –

#10 Louisville 19, Eastern Kentucky 3  -  Louisville LHSP, Brandan McKay, hit his third home run of the young season, this one a grand slam in the first inning. 
CF Logan Taylor 3-4, 2-R, 2-RBI… SS Devin Hairston 4-4, 2-R, 3-RBI.

#7 Vanderbilt 5, Evansville 4  -  Vandy CF Jeren Kendall 1-4, 1-R

Lipscomb 3, Middle Tennessee 2  -  OF Bob Gigliotti: 0-0, .111


2-23 –


#8 Oregon State 10, Nebraska 1  -  OSU: 1B KJ Harrison: 3-4, 2-R, double, 3-RBI, .421

CCA defeated Flanagan 4-0 ... LHP Jake Eder 92-95, 4IP 8K 2H 0R



2-24 –


Westminster Christian (1-0) beats Monsignor Pace, 6-5.  WC Catcher, M.J. Melendez homers.

Elite Squad’s P Joe Perez against North Broward Prep.  93-96 T97. 3innings 6Ks, 0BB, 0Hits, 0 runs.  35 pitches

Arizona State 13, #1 TCU 9 – TCU: C Evan Skoug: 0-3, 1-R

#3 Florida State 16, Samford 3 – FSU: SS Taylor Walls -1, 2-R – 3B Dylan Busby:  2-3, 2-R, 4-RBI

#4 South Carolina 4, Wright State 3 – RHSP Clarke Schmidt: 6.1-IP, 0-ER, 11-K, 1-BB

#5 LSU 6, Maryland 1 -  M: SS Kevin Smith: 2-4, 1-RBI – LSU: RHSP Alex Lange: 6.0-IP, 1-ER, 12-K, 2-BB

#6 NC State 9, Austin Peay 3 – NCS: OF Brock Deathrage: 4-4, 3-R, 2-doubles, 3-RBI, HR – 3B Joe Denard: 1-5

Illinois-Chicago 5, #7 Vanderbilt  3 – V: RHSP Kyle Wright: 6.0-IP, 1-ER – OF Jaren Campbell: 2-5, HR

Ohio State 6, #8 Oregon State 1 – Ore St: 1B K.J. Harrison: 0-4, .318 - OSU RHP Yianni Pavlopoulos. 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO

#9 North Carolina 2, Radford 0 – NC: RHSP J.B. Bukauskas: 7.0-IP, 0-R, 3-H, 11-K, 1-BB (season ERA: 0.00)

#10 Louisville 7, Omaha 2 – LHP Brandon McKay: 5.0-IP, 1-ER, 5-K, 4-BB, 2-3, 1-RBI

UNLV 6,  #12 Cal State Fullerton -  CSF: RHSP Connor Seabold: 6-IP, 4-ER, 4-K, 2-BB

#14 Virginia 7, Rutgers 3 – V: 1B Pavin Smith: 1-4

#15 Arizona 8, McNeese 3 – A: 1B  J.J. Matijevic: 2-4, 1-RBI

Missouri 4, #25 Houston 2 – UH: LHSP Seth Romero: 5.2-IP, 3-ER, 7-H, 12-K

Kentucky 16, St. Joseph’s (0-4) 9 – SJ: C Deon Stafford 1-5, 1-R – Kent RP Zach Pop: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO. FB: 94-97

Auburn 7, Holy Cross 0  - A: Keegan Thompson: 8-IP, 1-H, 0-R, 6-K

UC Santa Barbara 7, Tulane 4 – UCSB: SS Clay Fisher: 0-4, 1-RBI

Wake Forest 15, Southern California – WF: 1B Gavin Sheets: 3 home runs

Lipscomb 2, Bowling Green 0 – Lip: OF Michael Gigliotti: 0-2 (season: 1-13, .091)

Gonzaga 2,  UCLA 1  - UCLA RHSP Griffin Canning: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 SO.


2-25


LSU's senior RHSP Jared Poche came one inning away from throwing his second consecutive no-hit game. It came in the Tigers 14-0 victory against Maryland. Poche's stat line so far this season: 2-0, 0.00, 15-IP, 10-K

#1 TCU  8, Arizona State 4 - TCU: C Evan Skoug: 0-4

#2 Florida 2,  #21 Miami 0 - Fla: 1B J.J. Schwartz: 0-2 - DH Mike Rivera: 0-3 - 
    Miami: CF Carl Chester: 2-4

#3 Florida State 8, Samford 0 – FSU: 3B Dylan Busby: 0-2, 1-R – SS Taylor Walls: 0-4, 1-R

#4 South Carolina 10, Wright State 4 - SC: P Wil Crowe: 6.1-IP, 1-ER, 9-K

#6 NC State 6, Austin Peay 3 – NCS: Brock Deatherage: 0-4, 3-K

#7 Vanderbilt 6, Illinois-Chicago 2  - V: Jeren Kendall: 0-4

#8 Oregon State 5, Nebraska 2 - OSU: 1B KJ Harrison: 2-4, 1-R, 2-RBI

#10 Louisville 10, Omaha 0 – L: RHSP Kade McClure: 6.0-IP, 0-ER, 9-K, 3-BB – DH Brandan McKay: 2-2, 1-R1-RBI

#14 Virginia 12, Rutgers 4 – V: 1B Pavin Smith: 2-5, 1-R, 2-RBI

#15 Arizona 12, McNeese 3 – Arz: 1B J.J. Matijevic: 2-4, .448





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Mack – Mets Weekly Recap – Week ending 2-25

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Good morning.


I’m going to start a new weekly feature that will post up every Sunday at 10am, in between my draft update (8:00am) and the weekly college and high school highlight post (12 noon).

It will just encompass my thoughts on what happened in Mets baseball during the prior week.

This week, we only had two days of games, so the report will be much shorter than I expect future ones will.

With that…

-         Starting pitcher Seth Lugo was very impressive on Friday. Lugo faced only seven batters, striking out three, and giving up no hits. He continued to use his record setting hammer effectively. He set a major league record on August 30, 2016 when Starcast measured his curve at 3,498 rpm, which is the highest-spin curve we've ever tracked. I don’t see much of a chance of Lugo making the opening day rotation, but I do see him as a valuable pitcher in a future Mets rotation, or a chip ala Michael Fulmer became to secure a major bat for the team.

-         The Mets only gave up two hits in that first game, but sadly both were by LHRP Josh Edgin, who is fighting back to regain a spot in the Mets pen this year. I really like, and know, this guy and I really hope he gets another inning soon that he can put up goose eggs (2-IP, 9.00-ERA), than another and another.

-         There was an excellent defensive play…  Matt Reynolds to Gavin Cecchini to Wilmer Flores

-         Team RISP for Game 1:  0-7

-         Saturday morning brought the news that 1B Lucas Duda was still experiencing back pain and was pulled from the game two lineup. My guess is Dominic Smith took extra batting practice before the day was done. It also came out that P Zack Wheeler’s bullpen sessions have been pushed back. It’s funny. I’m writing both these guys off in my 2017 forecast that posts up next week and now I won’t look like some psychic or something.

-         Pitching wise in game two:  SP Sean Gilmartin threw only five pitches in the first inning… two for ground outs and three called strikes to Daniel Murphy, the last being an excellent hook. The Mets fans ate it up. In the second, he dealt up a homer to Bryce Harper that still hasn’t come down. In the long run, Gilmartin faced seven batters, threw nine pitchers, and gave up one hit to a super human. Logan Taylor threw two scoreless, one-hit (Harper again) innings, with one strikeout…Jerry Blevens game up a two-run homer, but that was the least of the Mets pitching problems this game…  Kevin McGowan had a horrible inning in the sixth… a single, followed by an outfield error, then a walk, then a wild pitch, then the Kevin Plawecki injury, followed by a home run… 6-0 Nats. Then, another home run (7-0). ERA now 108.00. So, the Mets take the hit out, right? Nope, a double to one more batter before Adam Wilk is called in. You would have thought the least McCowan could have done is hit someone before he left.

-         1B Wilmer Flores made an excellent defensive play in the top of the third inning.

-         First big test for runners on base and runners in scoring position took place in the Mets fifth when Flores and Jay Bruce singled, setting up first and third with no out. Ty Kelly walked on four pitches and you had the bases loaded. So, C Rene Rivera hits into a pitcher to catcher to first baseman double play and then the other Rivera grounds out and inning over, no runs.

-         Mets now 0-12 RISP


-         Today’s (Sunday) pitchers will be Chris Flexen, Paul Sewald, David Roseboom, Ben Rowen, and Fernando Salas. Monday’s starter will be P.J. Conlon.

-    In summary... two games is a small sample and two fake games are even smaller. Nobody takes pre-season stats serious, right? Yeah, go tell that to McGowan.  I will say this. You might be seeing the beginning of the 'New Kids On The El'... Conforto, Smith, Rosario, Cecchini... add these four to Cespedes and the field does seem like it's beginning to tilt a little.
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Mack - Mock Draft v1.0

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    Here is my first, of many, mock drafts that I will post up before the draft in June. As in past mock draft's I average the 10 most recent mocks I have found online. his gives a better idea what a typical draft board could look like.

    Case in point... three of the mock drafts I used here (Warcode, The Chief, TYU) had the Mets pick at #2 as outfielder Connor Uselton, of Southmoore HS (OK); however, at least one of the mocks (benji64) didn't even have him in their top 105 picks. Thus, Uselton didn't make it as a first round pick.

    Here's round one - 
   
1.     RHP    Hunter Greene                   Notre Dame H.S.  
  2.     OF       Jaren Campbell                  Vanderbilt
      3.     SS        Royce Lewis                        J Serra HS 
     4.     RHP    Alex Faedo                          Florida
     5.     RHP    Kyle Wright                      Vanderbilt              
     6.     OF       Jordan Adell                        Ballard HS                              
   7.     RHP    JB Bukauskas                      North Carolina      
   8.     LHP     DL Hall                                  Houston                  
   9.     RHP    Tanner Houck                     Missouri                  
  10. LHP    Brandan McKay                 Louisville                
  11. C         JJ Schwartz                          Florida                                 
  12. RHP   Tristan Beck                        Stanford                              
  13. RHP   Alex Lange                           LSU                                        
  14. SS       Brady McConnell               Merritt Island HS (FL)      
  15. 1B      Pavin Smith                         Virginia                                
  16. SS       Mark Vientos                      American Heritage School (FL)    
  17. RHP   Hans Crouse                        Dana Hills HS (CA)                        
  18. RHP   Hagen Danner                    Huntington Beach HS (CA)         
  19. RHP   Colton Hock                         Stanford                                          
  20. LHP    Jacob Heatherly                 Cullman HS (ALA)                         
  21. LHP    Trevor Rogers                     Carlsbad HS (NM)                         
  22. OF      Quentin Holmes                McClancy Memorial HS (NY)    
  23. 3B      Jake Burger                         Missouri State                              
  24. LHP    Seth Romero                       Houston                                          
  25. OF      Michael Gigliotti               Lipscomb                                         
  26. RHP   Blayne Enlow                      St. Amant HS (LA)                         
  27. RHP   Alex Scheff                          Prestonwood Academy (TX)     
  28. SS       Ricardo DeLaTorre            Puerto Rico Baseball Academy  
  29. SS       Nick Allen                            Francis Parker School (CA)        
  30. LHP    Nick Pratto                          Huntington Beach HS (CA)          

   Since three of the mockers are picking the Mets to pick Connor Uselton in the first round, let's take a little more of a look at this kid - 

     Connor Uselton  is an 18 year old, 6'3 185 lbs, outfielder from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is going into his senior year at Southmoore High School. Uselton is one of the top high school prospects for the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. You can find my scouting report for this potential 5-tool outfielder below:
  
    Hitting: Uselton has the potential to be a huge threat at the plate. He is a right-handed hitter with tons of pop. Throughout multiple Perfect Game Showcases, he has shown the ability to hit very well off of some of the best talent in the country. He shows great hand quickness through the zone and superb extension through the zone into his follow through. This dangerous combination could lead to 55-65 power (on a 20-80 scale). My one concern in his swing is the fact that he casts his arms back and loads his hands a little too long, which could lead to quite a few strikeouts. With that said, it should also lead to more power, which means there is some positives and negatives about this habit. His body has plenty of room to fill out with muscle as well, so his offensive potential is immense. Scouting Grades: Hit: 50/60 Power: 55/65

     Fielding: Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it does. This right-handed throwing outfielder has all the tools to bring home a few Gold Glove Awards during his career. He shows a great first-step quickness and seems to take average-to-above average routes to the ball. He could use a little fine tuning when it comes to improving his fielding position. During the Perfect Game National Showcase, he hit 95 MPH on the radar gun from the outfield, which ranks in the 94th percentile of all Perfect Game participants at the showcase. He has the ability to play centerfield now, but I expect him to move to right field once he puts on more muscle, which will make him an ever scarier force at the plate. Don't fear though, he should be a great defensive asset where ever he plays. Scouting Grades: Field: 45/55 Arm: 60/65

    Running: Uselton ran a 6.67 60-yard at the Perfect Game National Showcase. The average time was a 6.86, which obviously shows he is an above-average runner compared to some of the best high school prospects in the country. I think this outfielder has a chance to have many 20-30 stolen base seasons in his career. His form could use a little work as he seems to run too loose sometimes, but he can only get better from here. Scouting Grades: 55/65
   
     Overall: This kid can do it all. He is a legit threat at a 5-tool caliber outfielder. Of course there is room for improvement, but there is a lot to like about this outfielder. It wouldn't surprise me if this outfielder had a similar career to George Springer of the Houston Astros based on his body type, athletic build, fielding ability, speed, and power potential. With that said, I expect him to put up plenty of 20-20 seasons with the potential of a few 30-30 seasons. There is no doubt in my mind he should be a high-to-mid first round pick in the 2017 MLB draft. Scouting Grade: 55/65
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2/25/17

INJURY UPDATE - C- Kevin Plawecki

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The Nats Wilmer Dilfo takes out the knee of Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki, who was helped off the field in today's game.
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INJURY UPDATE - 1B - Lucas Duda

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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS - #1 AMED ROSARIO

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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS - #1 AMED ROSARIO

We've finally come to the end of my top 25 Mets' prospects pick.  Not surprisingly, it is Amed Rosario, essentially the Mets' consensus #1 prospect at this time, and amazingly just rated # 5 prospect in all of baseball by one rater. 



The questions remain as to exactly how good will he be, and can he measure up to other dynamite recent MLB shortstops like Carlos Correa, Trae Turner, Francisco Lindor, and Addison Russell, and with the hugely touted Yank prospect Gleyber. 

I sure hope so – a # 5 MLB prospect ranking (I believe one ranking had him at # 3) strongly supports the notion that here we have a future star. 

Amed has a rep as a strong armed, smooth fielding defensive SS, who had an outstanding offensive season split between A and AA ball, hitting .324/.374/.459 in 120 games in A and AA in 2016. 

He also seems fleet afoot, with a high level of triples (13) and decent stolen base results (19 of 27 in 2016). 

It's time for him to torture AAA pitching.  I bet he outdoes his 2016 splits this year.

Question: Can he add more power, after hitting just 5 homers last year, and only 5 more from 3 years of play in 2013-15? Many believe he will, as do I...I expected to see a more filled out, stronger Rosario come to camp this spring and I hear he has added over 10 pounds of muscle this off season.  Maybe he'll develop into a 15-20 homer a year SS - which is very acceptable. 



I believe we see him on the Mets for the stretch drive in 2017, sooner if the injury bug hits in Queens.  Hopefully, he can be more than the 6th best out of those 5 great aforementioned players and himself.

Maybe the best all-around offensive/defensive player in Mets’ history is right on our doorstep, in Amed Rosario - let's think big.  

Potentially, I could see where he could become the Mets' Derek Jeter (but a better fielder), and that would be darned good company to keep.


Thus ends my Top 25 Prospect daily missives.  So sad.


However, as you may recall, on February 1, I also added brief blurbs on the 26-35 guys.  So, tomorrow, rather than stopping cold turkey, I will post an article on what I think of that Top 35 (hint: I think good, very good).


The next day, I will finally wrap up by doing a further dip down to include 36-50. 


Why go down to 36-50? 


Because I like to put myself in the players' shoes, and if I were one of the guys in the 36-50 range with real quality and major league potential, I'd not want to be overlooked.  So I will give them a little well-deserved sunshine.  They're good, they deserve it.


I will, however, stop there...if any other Macks' Mets writer or blogger wants to go beyond my Top 50 with some of their dark horse favorites, guys you feel I overlooked, I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts. 


Friends, until tomorrow then....


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Reese Kaplan -- Memories of Spring Training

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No one will ever forget the Yoenis Cespedes car show that started last spring when seemingly each day he would arrive via a new ride, be it automotive, motorcycle-based or on horseback.  It provided a moment of spectacle to what can otherwise be a lackluster series of exercises and preparatory work for the upcoming season.  He’s continued it this year although at a somewhat more subdued level (thus far). 



What about the not-too-distant past when Spring Training was thought to be the end of the Ike Davis vs. Lucas Duda debate at 1st base?  After all, they couldn’t possibly go into the season with two left handed slugging first baseman and no clear starter, right?  Wrong.

How about the team in 1987 not having brought back World Series MVP Ray Knight after pulling out the miracle of Game 6 and the clincher in Game 7?



How about Jerry Manuel petitioning the front office to convert then starter Jenrry Mejia into a bullpen piece in order to get the flamethrower into the majors?

What about the winter after the 2013 season in which Sandy Alderson quipped, “What outfield?” in response to the previous season’s collection of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown?  How do you think the collective outfielders in 2014 felt that Spring?

What about the devastation of losing beloved manager Gil Hodges less than 2 weeks before Opening Day in 1972?


Of course, the most famous Spring Training memory is the “arrival” of pitching savant and yogi, Sidd Finch via the pen of George Plimpton in this famous 1985 Sports Illustrated article.


Then there were the celebrity appearances like Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin James.

One less savory memory was the infamous pizza parlor parking lot incident of former platoon outfield partners Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer who shall we say watered the lawn without permission?  

Then, of course, there's the rash of injuries that take place that alter a team's plans for the future.  It was during Spring Training 2015 when Josh Edgin said he felt a twinge -- season over.  

What is your number one memory of Spring Training?
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2/24/17

Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 2 DOMINIC SMITH

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Tom Brennan - TOP 25 METS' PROSPECTS: # 2 DOMINIC SMITH

Dominic Smith - the slick fielding 21 year old first base prospect and former first round pick made steady progress in his AA debut in 2016.  He started fairly slowly, with just a .259 average and 4 homers throuh June 23, but then surged thereafter, finishing the season at .302 with 29 doubles, 14 homers, and 91 RBIs in 130 games overall. 

For a guy who played half of 2016 in AA as a 20 year old before his birthday in mid-June, pretty darned good, if not spectacular.

All of that got him to # 63 in a recent Top 100 MLB prospect ranking, which makes him one of two Mets in the MLB top 100, but I wish he were higher in that list.  The lower level of homers is deflating his ranking, IMO.

Smith finally added some much-speculated about home run results in 2016.  14 dingers is still not great for a 1B, but I think that number will increase this year and carry over to 2018, when he most likely is the New York Mets' inexpensive full time 1B. 



One worrisome stat is a 250, his Bartolo Colon-like listed weight on his MILB stats card; I read where Smith's weight had come down this off season from a bulging 258 to 234 through consistent hard workouts and improved diet, but at just 6'0", it seems 215 or 220 would be a more ideal upper weight limit for Smith to excel playing at. 

Let's hope for a .350 + average in Vegas this year, a doubling of his home run rate to between 25 and 30, and that we'll see him in late 2017 in Queens, if not earlier. 

Given that Lucas Duda will become quite expensive next year, unless Duda has a breakout, career year in 2017, it almost certainly is Duda's last as a Met.   

I can picture Smith as a 35 double, 20 homer, .290+ hitter, somewhat similar to Daniel Murphy, but having a lot more homers at a much younger age than when Murph started hitting them with regularity.  

Hopefully, he'll become a Keith Hernandez, but with more power than Keith (who only averaged a dinger every 53 plate appearances in his big league career).

Smith should be our new starting 1B in 2018 - and be there for a LONG time to come...that's how I see it.
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Richard Herr - Year to Go For It/Year of Decision - #1

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Year to Go For It
 Year of Decision

In 2017 the Mets look to make an all-out dash for a World Series victory.  They are primed for it. They have the tools. We should and will be discussing what we can expect out of the team in the coming year.

However, as we look toward the year 2017 and rub our hands together in gleeful anticipation, we’ve got to remember something else. There’s going to be a big turnover at the end of this year. If--make that--When the Mets win the Series, they’re going to have quite a few guys who could be leaving the roster. The list is: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker, Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Rene Rivera, and Fernando Salas. Some key, starting players are on that list. The makeover of the team for the 2018 season will be a big job. Ironically, it’s to be expected. Sandy Alderson is a big fan of short-term contracts. That, by definition, means there’s going to be a higher turnover rate on the team and he’s going to be a very busy boy during off-seasons, readjusting his roster.

So I’d like to take a look at what I project for players for the current year, but also chart what should happen with them when 2018 rolls around.  If I did all of those at once, I would probably come in with something longer than War and Peace. I’ll see if I can come up with five groups: starting pitchers, relief pitchers, infield, outfield and catchers, and management.

So without further ado, I’ll start with:

STARTING PITCHERS.

Noah Syndergaard - He’s number one because he is big, and I’m not just talking physically. He’s got the opening day assignment, so he’s the number one guy on the staff. Not only is he the number one pitcher on the mound, but also in the clubhouse. He brings that thing I have always found wanting on this club: swagger. (It was nice to see TC also talking about it.) He’s going to inspire some guys who have been too tentative to become confident and downright audacious. (Lead us to the attitude of the ’86 club!) For 2017, I’m thinking about 18 wins and an ERA under 3.00.

The outlook for 2018: First year of arbitration, but put him on a list of about six pitchers to consider for long-term contract.

 Jacob deGrom - Savviest pitcher on the team. (Now that Big Sexy is in Atlanta.) Imperturbable. I’d like to think the ulnar nerve operation fixed his problem and that he’ll get the velocity back up. If he doesn’t, I think the savvy will work for him. Doesn’t have Thor’s swagger, but isn’t afraid to take the ball. For 2017, I’m thinking 15-16 wins and an ERA about 3.00.

The outlook for 2018: Arb 2 year. Isn’t a FA until 2021. He’s another guy on that list of six for long-term.

Matt Harvey - The Dark Knight is the Dark Question Mark. We need to see if he is fixed after the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. Since he’s said he’s got the feeling back in his hand, it looks good. It would be great if he could return to his dominating form, but I have weird reasons for saying that. So in 2017, I say he’s back. Though a little wobbly. 13 wins, and an ERA around 3.00.

Then there’s 2018: That’s his walk year. Harvey is another on my list of six pitchers for long-term contract negotiations. I think Sandy’s got to try his best to sign him. But then there’s somebody else involved here: the Dark Kite, Scott Boras. The agent does not have a career that’s checkered with home-town-friendly contracts. He’s best known for getting as much money as possible. And I keep hearing how Matt wants to wear pinstripes. So Sandy should negotiate - right up until November 30th of this year. Then, if there’s no contract, look for the best trade for him. I’d love for Matt to stay, but I don’t think that’s possible. So do the old Branch Rickey thing of trading a guy a year too soon. Or, as it exists in the current baseball world, a year before free agency.

Steven Matz - The DL Kid. I’m hoping for a surprise here: few, if any, trips to the DL. Although I think he’s not going to give us 32 starts. We know the stuff is there. He’s their only left-handed starter. I’ll guess he loses some time. In 2017, I think he’ll get 12 wins with an ERA around 3.20.

In 2018 - This and another year of team control, plus the ARB years. He’s on that list of six for long-term contracts, but there most certainly is time.

Zack Wheeler - Hasn’t pitched in two years. Tommy John surgery is not 100% effective. How many people remember Bobby Parnell? I know I’m sounding doom-and-gloomish, but that’s only to stress the message of: let’s be cautious. Pitch the guy this year, but don’t overstress him, don’t overload him. At first I thought the bullpen was a good idea until Dan Warthen said Wheeler’s the slowest of the pitchers to rebound. If he’s got to spend the year in Vegas, starting four-inning games, fine, just so long as he doesn’t overextend himself. His victory total is a listed below.

For 2018 - ARB 2 year. Free agent in 2020. He’s another on that list of six. I don’t think any moves should be made in that direction until after 2018.

Lugsellman - I know they’re two individuals, but they’re filling one category. I think Gsellman will prove to be a little bit better because he throws ground balls. Lugo might do better coming out of the bullpen with a superior breaking ball. These are a couple of dominoes but they probably won’t fall in the same direction. One or both could be in the bullpen or Vegas. Or they could do a lot of starting like last year. I hope not because that means there are too many injuries. I’m going to put their win total for this year at 14. That total is for the two of them, and if Wheeler’s with the parent club his numbers are in this total.

For 2018 - They’ll be around. Let’s see if they grow to the point where they need to be added to that list of six.

That’s the starters. I think I’ve got a total of 72 wins among them. I tried to rein in my basic fan and keep the win totals down. The inner me that I squelched was looking for a lot more wins out of the first few guys.

I’m designating a list of six for long-term-contract consideration, but I think only one of them should be addressed in the coming off-season. For those of you who are counting, I know there are only five up above. The sixth is a reliever.

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.



You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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Mack's Mets © 2012