Blog

2018 Season

Jeurys Familia traded to the A’s

The Mets parted ways with one of their greatest closers of all time on Saturday, sending Jeurys Familia to the postseason hopeful Oakland Athletics, in return for RHP Bobby Wahl, 3B Will Toffey, and a healthy sum of international pool money.

The former All-Star has built a reputation as a premier closer in recent years, in spite of some postseason blunders. Since taking Jenrry Mejia’s spot as the everyday closer, Familia has mostly been a dependable bullpen arm. In 2015, Familia notched 43 saves, and pitched for a 1.85 ERA. Familia elevated his play in 2016, racking up 51 saves and pitching for a 2.55 ERA.

Coming back from a 2017 season where a blood clot in his arm stifled his performance and kept him off the field for the majority of the season, Familia returned to form this season, pitching a 2.88 ERA, getting 17 saves, and pitching for a 2.54 FIP in 40 pitching appearances.

The Mets received 26-year old reliever Bobby Wahl, who has some major league experience, and 23-year old third baseman Will Toffey. In his seven relief appearances in the major leagues, Wahl has a 4.70 ERA and he struck out eight hitters. In 2018, Wahl is pitching a 2.27 ERA, 2.52 FIP, and a 42.8% strikeout rate in Triple-A ball. Toffey was a fourth round pick in the 2017 MLB draft, and he is still making his way up the ranks. This season, Toffey is hitting for a .244/.357/.384 line, and has five home runs in 197 plate appearances in Single-A Advanced play.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

International Free Agency

A look at two of the Mets’ July 2nd international signings

July 2nd marked the beginning of the international signing period, where teams can negotiate with amateur prospects from any nation but Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. This two-week long window has served as the beginning of the road to the show for many successful players today, such as Francisco Lindor, Miguel Cabrera, and David Ortiz, along as the genesis of the careers of some Mets like Amed Rosario and Wilmer Flores. Many of these amateurs aren’t even legal adults yet, with some being as young as 15 years old, meaning some of these prospects may not see major league action for the next decade. Despite the strenuously long development period for these players, almost every team is willing to shed hundreds of thousands of dollars in hopes of getting the league’s next Lindor, Cabrera, or Ortiz.

Like many teams yesterday, the Mets made a plethora of signings in order to re-stock a barren farm system, even netting a couple of top international prospects in the process. As of July 3rd, the Mets signed nine international amateurs in total, with a couple of these prospects bearing great potential in becoming household names for the Mets.

C Francisco Alvarez (16-year old from Venezuela)

The Mets broke out the Brinks trunk for the teenaged Alvarez, signing him to a $2.7 million deal, the most lucrative international contract in franchise history. The Venezuelan native was ranked 9th in Baseball America’s Top 50 International Free Agent list for 2018. Alvarez is already 5’11” and 220 lbs., so the Mets won’t have to worry about the necessity of bulking him up in the future, and Alvarez has the potential of becoming an all-around catcher. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com had this to say about Alvarez:

At 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, Alvarez is a strong prospect with a stocky build and an offense-oriented set of tools. He’s known for his offense, but he has also shown a good arm and solid defensive actions behind the plate.

OF Freddy Valdez (16-year old from the Dominican Republic)

Along with Alvarez, the Mets signed 29th-ranked international prospect Freddy Valdez to a deal which included a $1.4 million signing bonus. Like Alvarez, Valdez is extremely large for his age, coming in at 6’3″ and 210 lbs. Valdez’s brooding size gives him the potential to have elite-level raw power, but his unrefined swing mechanics impede his raw power from translating to the plate at the moment. Baseball America elaborates on this:

Valdez’s best offensive tool is his raw power, with a power-over-hit profile. Valdez doesn’t have natural hitting rhythm, so it may take time for him to improve his balance and timing to sync everything up in games to tap into his power.

A corner outfielder right now, Valdez is so big already that there’s risk he could end up at first base. He’s a below-average runner but he moved well for his size and read the ball well off the bat, showing better mobility than he did in November at MLB’s Dominican national showcase. Valdez has a strong arm too.

Obviously there is no telling how these players will fare out, but what we do know is that it will be a long time before we get that answer. Amed Rosario was signed by the Mets in 2012, and made his major league debut just last year, and we still do not know his career trajectory. Wilmer Flores had to wait six years to get called up to the show after signing with the Mets in 2007.

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Scouting reports provided by BaseballAmerica and MLB.com Pipeline

 

 

 

2018 Season

Wilmer Flores walks off in extras, Mets snap seven-game slide

On a day where emotions were running high from the news of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson restarting his battle with cancer, a victory was much needed for the disordered Mets, and it came in the form of yet another walk-off hit by Wilmer Flores.

Despite the glamorous finish, it was a turbulent contest for the Mets and the Pirates. A recovering Mets offense was able to get on the boards early with a two-run RBI single by the aforementioned Wilmer Flores in the first, but the offense sputtered out just as quickly, notching just two more hits in the next four innings. Steven Matz cruised through the first four innings without allowing a hit, but yielded the two game-tying runs in the fifth inning. Matz proceeded to give up a Gregory Polanco home run in the seventh inning, which put the Pirates in front with a 3-2 lead.

The Pittsburgh lead was short-lived, with Michael Conforto hitting a tying home run in the next-half inning. Tensions reached a fever pitch in the top of the eighth inning when the benches cleared after Jeurys Familia took exception to Josh Harrison’s slide which broke up a potential double play, despite Harrison’s unmistakably clean and reasonable slide. In familiar Familia fashion, the Mets closer walked Elias Diaz in the very next at-bat to load the bases, only work out of the bases loaded jam to end the inning.

Familia remained in the game in the ninth inning, allowing one more hit, although he was able to maintain the 3-3 tie into the bottom half of the ninth, where the Mets were unable to answer Steven Brault.

After a swift top half of the tenth pitched by Tim Peterson, the Mets came into the tenth inning hot with two base hits by Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier to put the winning run in scoring position. Although a pop-up bunt attempt by Asdrubal Cabrera ostensibly squandered much of the momentum the Mets had, Wilmer Flores came through in a position he has been all too familiar with, hitting a walk-off foul line-hugging single to give the Mets a major victory in a pivotal point in the season where the next few weeks of play will dictate whether or not they will be contending this season.

Tom’s Player of the Game: Wilmer Flores – 2 for 5, 3 RBI, Walk-Off Single

The fan-favorite Flores is beginning to build a reputation as a clutch hitter in extra-innings, with his 10th inning single becoming his third walk-off hit in this season alone. With the offense still attempting to regain its beginning of the season glory, any player that can drive in multiple runs in a win is a shoe-in for player of the game at this point.

 

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

2018 MLB Draft

Mets select Jarred Kelenic with the sixth overall pick

The Mets have selected outfielder Jarred Kelenic with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Player Profile

  • Position: CF
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Age: 18
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″/196 lbs.
  • School: Waukesha West High School (WI)
  • Commitment: Louisville
  • MLB Draft Pipeline Rank: 10
  • Member of the U-18 United States national team since his freshman year

The prep star from Wisconsin has already shown he is a strong five-tool player. Scouts have lauded Kelenic’s advanced hitting ability, as he displays a refined hitting approach which features great bat speed, with many experts considering him the best pure hitter in the draft.

From MLB Pipeline’s scouting report:

Kelenic stands out most for his hitting ability. He has tremendous feel for the barrel and repeatedly demonstrates a professional approach from the left side of the plate. With his solid raw power and speed, he can contribute offensively in a variety of ways.

Kelenic is considered a natural athlete, he has been able to run a 6.57 for his 60-yard time. He exhibits great range in center field, has a very strong arm, and shows good speed. He also displays plus speed, and shows good instincts while baserunning.

With the lack of a strong outfield prospect in the pipeline, the Mets will have a five-tool outfielder who can play in any part of the outfield, and he may take a shorter journey to get to the major leagues given his skillset.

 

Photo Credit: Perfect Game

2018 MLB Draft

Potential Mets draftees for tonight’s MLB draft

While the Mets are taking an off day today, the front office will be making phone calls, changing up their draft boards, and hoping to land a future star with the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft beginning tonight at 7 pm. The Mets will hold the sixth overall pick in tonight’s draft, giving them a prime opportunity to reload a depleted farm system. Although the Mets may miss out on a few attractive top prospects like Auburn’s Casey Mize and Oregon State’s Nick Madrigal, there are a few candidates that may become available at the sixth pick.

 

Matt Liberatore (LHP), Mountain Ridge High School (AZ)

Considered the consensus top high school prep product entering this year’s draft, the broad-framed Arizona commit is hoping to break the stigma surrounding prep pitchers and become a household name in the major leagues. His 6’5″, 200lb frame is all-imposing on the mound, and his abilities to mix his pitches well and keep hitters guessing has scouts heralding him as a pitcher who has strong potential to become a star.

In terms of his pitching arsenal, the movement on his pitches makes him a special prospect. Although his fastball tops off at 94 mph, it has some strong cutting action which can throw off hitters. His looping curveball is beyond lethal, especially when he pairs it well with his cutting fastball. Given his stellar tools and already high floor, whoever picks Liberatore may not have to keep him in the minor leagues for a long time.

 

Carter Stewart (RHP), Eau Gallie High School (FL)

Another big-framed high school prep pitcher, Stewart can become a formidable power pitcher once he reaches the major leagues. The Mississippi State commit arguably has the best breaking ball in his draft class, an low-to-mid 80 mph curveball which dives quickly once it reaches the plate. His fastball can reach the mid-to-high 90s, and he can become a dangerous pitcher if he can mix his breaking balls and fastball effectively. The lone concern about the prep star is his whip-like release on his pitches, which could spell trouble in terms of his durability.

 

Joey Bart (C), Georgia Tech

Originally drafted by the Rays as a 27th round selection in the 2015 draft, Bart opted to play at Georgia Tech in hopes of boosting his draft stock down the line. The 2018 ACC Player of the Year shows plenty of raw power and quick bat speed which gives him a lot of potential as a power hitter. He is an above-average catcher in terms of defense, and he possesses enough arm strength and swiftness to make effective pickoffs.

 

Alec Bohm (3B), Wichita State

After a very successful junior year, Bohm has jumped from a late first-round talent to a potential top-5 talent. Bohm has shown he has great game power in his three years playing for Wichita State, but the 21-year old shown refined mechanics and improved plate discipline to skyrocket his offensive potential. The major knock on Bohm is his inconsistent defense at third base, which means he may have to become a first baseman, primarily.

 

Jonathan India (3B), Florida

Like Bohm, India has used his junior year as a launch pad for his draft stock. Bohm was originally projected to become a second or third round prospect, but through his newfound game power, he has soared through the draft boards in recent months. India displays great plate discipline, and has shown he is very selective in the strike zone. The junior already shows he is a good defender at third base, and he has the potential to play multiple positions in the infield.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

2018 Season

Noah Syndergaard placed on 10-day disabled list with strained finger ligament

Noah Syndergaard was added to the 10-day disabled list due to a strained ligament in his right index finger, with his stint placed retroactive to May 26th. Syndergaard has complained about soreness in his index finger on Tuesday.

Although Syndergaard hasn’t been as dominant this season, the 25-year old righty, along with Jacob deGrom, have anchored the rotation with consistent production despite the gaudy performances put up by their back-end counterparts. In 11 starts, Syndergaard has a 4-1 record, along with a 3.06 ERA and 2.56 FIP.

Gerson Bautista was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Syndergaard’s place on the 25-man roster. Bautista has allowed two earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched in previous outings with the Mets, and has a 6.97 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched in Las Vegas. However, there is no known replacement for Syndergaard for the one start he will miss from staying on the disabled list, meaning one of the starters-turned-relievers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo may have to start despite their successes out of the bullpen.

 

Photo Credit: Robert Sabo

2018 Season

Mets sign OF Jose Bautista

The wounded Mets’ outfield corps will be receiving some much needed reinforcement, as the Mets signed outfielder Jose Bautista to a major league deal today, and he will be active for tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins.

The 37-year old outfielder has struggled to find success in the waning years of his career, hitting for slash lines of .234/.366/.452 and .203/.308/.366 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Blue Jays chose not to extend his contract at the end of the 2017 season, and Bautista found himself as a free agent to begin the first couple of weeks of the season until the Braves signed him to a minor-league contract in the middle of April.

Bautista began his tenure with the Braves with their Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Stripers, before he was called up to the Braves on May 4th to play at third base. Bautista struggled offensively and defensively in the short amount of time he spent with the Braves, hitting with a .143 BA and 63 wRC+, and fielding with -2 DRS at third base, which ultimately led to his release this past Sunday.

The structure of the contract is slated to be a 1-year, major league contract, though he will likely play on a minimum contract. With Juan Lagares’s season effectively over, and with no timetable for Yoenis Cespedes’s return, Bautista will provide outfield depth and a right-handed bat for an all-lefty starting outfield. This deal is a low-risk, low reward move given the scenario where Bautista performs poorly, the Mets will face virtually no negative consequences if they cut Bautista due to his cheap contract, and they could potentially reap his meager value if he performs above expectations.

 

EDIT: Bautista will be starting in right field tonight, as he will bat fifth in the order.

 

Photo Credit: Associated Press