By Steven Inman
When Sandy Alderson became general manager of the New York Mets, his plan was to build a competitive team in the short-term while creating a great minor league farm system in the long-term. While the former hasn’t happened the ladder is actually coming together. The Mets farm was ranked in the mid-20’s when Alderson and company took over. In Keith Law of ESPN’s bi-annual prospect ranking he ranked the Mets farm fourth best in all of baseball.
In Law’s top 50 midseason prospect rewrite (Insiders Only), four Mets prospects made his top 50. Noah Syndergaard (16), Michael Conforto (32) Brandon Nimmo (34) and Dom Smith (49) all made Law’s top 50.
Syndergaard has had a rough year in Triple-A. His ERA is over five, he has spent time on the disabled list, and there is a chance now that we don’t even see him in the majors this season. That being said in the extreme hitter friendly PCL him just racking up innings has to be seen as a positive. Syndergaard is actually only 21 and seems to get better every time he advances a level with exception of this season of course. He should be fine and compete for a rotation spot early next season.
LF Michael Conforto made his professional debut for the Cyclones a few days ago. Unlike other top picks in the Sandy Alderson era, Conforto is expected to reach the big leagues rather quickly. Some have even predicted he would be the first from the 2014 draft class to reach the majors. While I wouldn’t go as far to say that since the Mets are generally much slower at advancing their prospects, Conforto should provide the Mets power rather soon.
Brandon Nimmo is the surprise on this list. He was constantly compared to all-star starter Jose Fernandez after Miami selected their flamethrower one pick after the Mets selected Nimmo. Nimmo didn’t show much power until this season when he escaped Savannah. Savannah’s park has always seemed to zap left –handed hitters of their power. Nimmo is hitting .282 along with a .411 OBP, nine homers and 40 RBI in 92 games between High-A and Double-A this season. Nimmo looks like he can legitimately contribute in some way to the Mets next season.
Lastly Dom Smith has also performed well against older completion in Savannah. The first basemen is hitting .299 with a .357 OBP in a tough place to hit. Like Nimmo it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he breaks out “power wise” next season when he gets away from the Sand Gnats.
It is very surprising to me after all of these years that three of the Mets four top prospects are now position players. The Mets are going to need to continue to develop these guys to help fix what is currently a poor major league offense.
The New York Mets has won three straight games. The club won a season-high four consecutive games from July 6-9.The Mets are 8-4 this month. The eight wins in July are tied for the third-most in the majors
The Mets are in sole possession of third place in the National League East for the first time since after their game at Colorado on May 4.
David Wright is hitting .375 (27-72) with a hit in 17 of his last 19 games…He has 15 RBI in that stretch with four home runs. Over Wright’s last 17 starts, the Mets are 12-5.
The first half of the 2014 Mets season looks very similar to the 2009-2013 Mets. All of those teams seemed to hang around in the first half until the road trip after the All-Star Break where they tailed of quickly. The Mets haven’t had a winning record in the second half since 2008.
Travis d’Arnaud is hitting .295 (18-61) with three home runs and 10 RBI with a .338 on-base percentage in 16 games since returning from Las Vegas (AAA) on June 24. D’Arnaud must improve on his defense most notably balls in the dirt over the course of the second half. He has bounced back nicely.
The Mets continue to get on base as Sandy Alderson wants. (Which is what every other GM and coach wants to) The Mets lead the National League and rank fifth in the majors with 335 walks. Curtis Granderson is fourth in the NL with 54 walks.
New York is tied for sixth in the majors with 66 stolen bases which has a lot to do with Eric Young Jr. Despite his dip in playing time, Eric Young, Jr. is fourth in the NL with 25 stolen bases
The next 10 game road trip will determine if the Mets sell off pieces according to Sandy Alderson. Unless some player they love falls into their laps (unlikely) the team will not be buyers. Bartolo Colon is really the only player the Mets have that has a decent chance of being traded.
How do you feel about the Mets going into the second half?
By Steven Inman
The Mets reached the All-Star break at 45-50 in third place in the N.L. East but seven games back of the Nats and Braves. It was an up and down first half to say the least but it looks like this team’s best baseball could be right now. The Amazin’s won eight out of ten on their ten game home stand thanks to a 2.74 ERA over that stretch. That’s not really the surprising part however as the team scored 5.5 runs per game and hit 11 homers over that stretch. It was even at Citi Field!
The offense has been fuled by the consistent Daniel Murphy and the hot streak of the captain, David Wright. Wright is hitting .382 with four homers and 15 RBI over his last 18 games. (NYM:12-6 in that stretch)
The offense has improved thanks to hot streaks by a few Mets that were depended on heavily going into the season. (perhaps relied on too heavily) Lucas Duda is batting .312 with a .396 OBP along with six homers and 18 RBI over his last 27 games. Travis d’Arnaud is batting .295 with three homers and ten RBI in the 16 games since his recall from Triple-A. It was a very wise move to send him down and let him take a breather. Lastly Curtis Granderson has eight homers and 16 RBI over his last 32 games.
If the offense can continue to swing the bat even decently then this team should certainly finish over .500. The Mets run differential is currently +19 and Baseball Reference believes based on that the Mets should be 50-45 not 45-50. If the Mets hadn’t been so bad in one run games to this point this might be a different story but for now just hope they can keep climbing up. The Mets 13-20 record in one run games is the worst record in baseball. This team was 11 games under .500 at one point.
The road trip after the All-Star Break has not been kind to the Mets over the last few years but hopefully a trip to San Diego to face the lowly Padres could get the 2nd half off to the right start.
By Steven Inman
There has been a lot of talk this week questioning whether the Mets should be sellers at the Trade Deadline in a few weeks. It seemed like a no brainer a week ago but after a season high 4-game winning streak, fans are skeptical that it is time to waive the white flag. I’m not here to tell you the season is over and that they need to unload everyone with a contract. I am here to tell you it is time to unload Bartolo Colon.
Bartolo Colon has had a solid first half for the Mets. The 283 pound right-hander is 8-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 18starts this season. He has saved the Mets bullpen on numerous occasions. Colon has gone at least seven innings in 12 of his 18 starts this season. Case in point the other day, Colon gives up a four spot in the first inning vs. the Texas Rangers and winds up going seven innings giving up five runs. It looked like an awful day ahead and although the Mets lost that game, he saved the bullpen and they were able to get the job done the next day to win the rubber game.
That being said the Mets must trade Colon this month.
Colon would have some appeal to many contenders but the Mets wouldn’t get much back for the 41-year old. It would be more of a salary dump.
The Mets have many options for next year that currently don’t have rotation spots such as Matt Harvey and Rafael Montero. More importantly believe it or not the Mets payroll isn’t going up from its current $87 million payroll. The team will get Chris Young’s $7.25 million off the books but arbitration raises to many key players will wipe that salary relief out and then some. The team must move Colon’s $11 million salary to even think about upgrading the Mets this offseason.
Can you imagine the Mets going with this same team next season??? Neither can I and that’s why they must trade Colon.
By Steven Inman
The All-Star rosters were officially announced on ESPN at 7pm Eastern Time. The Mets were represented by Daniel Murphy. It was the first time since 2003 that the Mets had just one All-Star. That was also a rough year for the Mets as they were represented by just Armando Benitez.
David Wright finished second in the NL 3B vote but wasn’t elected in despite four third basemen getting in. Aramis Ramirez who has missed time on the DL was elected the starter for the first place Brewers, Todd Frazier, who has been the best 3B in the NL this season also got in. Matt Carpenter who is having a down year along with utility man Josh Harrison are also third basemen who will be going to Minnesota.
Wright didn’t have a strong year but he’s a better choice than Harrison or Carpenter. The Mets being as bad as they are record wise really hurt Wright as well as Jon Niese’s chances.
Niese wouldn’t have played anyway since he was officially put on the DL today. It was no surprise that Niese was put on the DL but the Mets wanted to wait to make the move to see if Dillon Gee would be ready to pitch Wednesday which he will.
It is disappointing that the Mets have only one All-Star? Perhaps a little but they didn’t exactly have a bunch of deserving chances.
With four guys who can play third already on the NL roster it is unlikely Wright will make the team even if he gets hot this week and injuries occur. Niese won’t make the team either as an injury replacement since he is already injured.
Congrats to Daniel Murphy on his first career All-Star selection. Murphy was shocked to hear the good news from Terry Collins. “I’m very excited, but the word I’d use is humbling,” Murphy said. “And the other word is blessed.”Murphy told reporters after the Mets 8-4 win vs. the Rangers.
Murphy was picked as an alternate by NL manager Mike Matheny not by the players. Matheny made some questionable roster choices but not having a second Met wasn’t one of them.
By Steven Inman
The Mets have lost seven of their last eight games and in that span they have scored just 24 runs. The Mets didn’t come in with many expectations this season (unless you’re Sandy Alderson) but most Mets fans would agree that the 2014 Mets have been even more disappointing than most expected. The starting pitching, which is the team’s strength has been vastly overrated. Met starting pitchers have a 3.76 ERA this season which is 13th best in baseball. You can’t be a good team when your strength is 13th best in baseball.
The Mets offense has been abysmal all year and they are one Daniel Murphy cold streak away from being the Padres, if they aren’t already there. The Mets are tied for 21st in baseball in runs (328). The team is hitting just .239 this season despite Daniel Murphy leading the NL in hits with 103.
The plan for this offense this season was never to hit for a high average but it was to hit for power and have a good on base percentage up and down the entire order. The Mets have just 63 homers this season good for 25th in baseball. The Mets as a team have a .313 OBP good for 20th best in baseball.
Curious to what went wrong with the 2014 Mets? It’s pretty simple. The offense is in the bottom third in every major offensive category, they can’t turn a double play to save their lives (as demonstrated Monday) and the starting pitching hasn’t been good enough to carry the team… Oh yeah and the bullpen has the most losses in all of baseball with 19.
Sandy Alderson believes the Mets will turn it around because the team has a decent run differential. (-6) They have allowed 334 runs and have scored 328 which would signify a slightly below average team. Baseball Reference says according to run differential this team should be 42-43. That shouldn’t be something to be proud of though. If anything it shows how poor this team plays in close and late games. The Mets have eight walk off losses this year, most in baseball but they have been this way for years so don’t expect that to change anytime soon. They really just need better players…
By Steven Inman
Travis d’Arnaud is doing exactly what the Mets hoped he would do when they optioned. He’s crushing the ball in Triple-A. Now the ball flies out of Vegas and the entire Pacific Coast League but it very encouraging that the 25-year old catcher is driving the ball for extra bases right now.
The catcher is hitting .458 with six homers and 15 RBI’s in 12 games since being sent down.
He was hitting .180 with three HR and nine RBI in 39 games with the Mets.
“It was all mental,” d’Arnaud said of his struggles in New York to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
He said, in Vegas, he’s approaching every at bat like it’s his last, while not thinking about “a hundred different things.”
“I kind of went away from that (in the majors),” d’Arnaud concluded.
I would rather d’Arnaud say it was mental than say he doesn’t know why he wasn’t hitting in the major leagues. Believe it or not Met catchers have actually been even worse since d’Arnaud went down. Met catchers are batting just .177 with 1 HR since d’Arnaud got sent down on June 6th.
Mets catchers this season are hitting .193 (52-270 AB) only the Dodgers (.191) are worse in baseball.
I still think he is going to be a very good catcher and the Mets could really use some production in what has been a very bad offense.
D’Arnaud is expected to return for the two game set at Citi Field vs. the Athletics Tuesday and Wednesday.
By Steven Inman
With the 2014 all-star game now only a month away, let’s take a look at the candidates to represent the New York Mets at Target Field in Minnesota next month.
David Wright: You can make the case that Wright is having the worst first half of his entire big league career. He has just 4 homers and is hitting just .265. Wright is hitting just .127 in his last 14 games (7-55 AB) with zero homers. He is batting one of the worst slumps of his career yet still may get voted in to start the all-star game. The third basemen position in the National League is just anemic right now. Nolan Arenado is hurt, Ryan Zimmerman is now in left field, while Pablo Sandoval and Pedro Alvarez haven’t hit much this season.
Wright is currently in first place in the all-star voting and with no other big name having a decent year behind him it looks like Wright could make the team as a starter even though it hasn’t been a good year for the Mets captain. Todd Frazier and Anthony Rendon are candidates to back up Wright at third.
Daniel Murphy: Murph has been the Mets best hitter this season in what could possibly (probably) be his final season in Queens. Murphy is 2nd in the National League in hits with 83, only one behind Paul Goldschmidt. Chase Utley is going to start the game at second base but a legitimate case can be made for Murphy to be his backup. His main competition comes from Neal Walker (who is now on the DL) and Dee Gordon.
Gordon has been making a name for himself this season with 36 steals but Murphy beats Gordon in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and pretty much any other statistically category not named SB. The thing that hurts Murphy most is the Mets poor 30-37 record. The Mets may actually get only one all-star.
Jon Niese: Niese is the Mets dark horse to make the All-Star team. He has put together his best year statistically in what is now his 7th season. Niese has a sparkling 2.54 ERA but unfortunately that only puts him 7th in the National League. What will really hurt Niese is his 3-3 record as he has already recorded seven no decisions this season. It would really help him if he could just record a couple of wins here before the break but with the way the Mets offense has been going I wouldn’t hold your breath.
These are the only three Mets with even a chance to make the All-Star Game. It has been a tough year for most Mets even individually so far through 40% of the season. Wright, Niese and Murphy are the only Mets with even a chance to make the team so we will have to wait and see when the rosters are announced in the first week of July. Remember plenty of guys will get hurt and Murphy and Niese have a chance to get in as a replacement later on.
BREWERS (L1, 38-27) AT METS (W1, 29-35)… 2nd of 3-game set at Citi Field
RHP Wily Peralta (5-5 3.03) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2 3.19)
• The Mets snapped a season high six game losing streak Tuesday.
• The Brewers are a better team on the road (19-14) than the Mets are at home (14-17). But to be fair, the Metsies have won four of their last five home games.
• Terry Collins was given a vote of confidence to remain manager of the team before Tuesday’s game by GM Sandy Alderson.
• Wily Peralta has struggled recently. In his last two starts vs. the Cubs and Twins, the right-hander has gone 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA giving up 10 runs in 10.2 innings.
• Peralta is having trouble putting batters away as high pitch counts have plagued the young right hander. He threw 105 and 101 pitches in his last two starts failing to get out of the sixth both times.
• Peralta was doing a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark but has now given up 3 long balls in his last two starts. He has now given up 10 on the year.
• Over his last six starts Peralta is 1-4 with a 4.15 ERA. Opponents are hitting .297 off him during that stretch.
• Peralta’s only career start against the Mets came back in September of 2012 when he threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 win at Miller Park.
• Jacob deGrom is coming off his worst start as a big leaguer where he gave up four runs in five innings at Wrigley Field.
• DeGrom has thrown a quality start in four of his five career big league starts. (11 earned runs in 31 career innings pitched)
• Carlos Gomez has now reached base in his last 25 games which leads the majors. During Gomez’s streak the centerfielder is hitting .347 (33-95 AB) with four homers and 16 RBI. He has a .421 OBP in that span.
• Curtis Granderson has reached base in 22 straight games, second in the majors only to Gomez. (.273 BA, .402 OBP, 3 HR). Meh.
• All- Star? Daniel Murphy is tied for first in the National League in hits with 80 (T-Goldschmidt)
• Murphy is hitting .406 (13-32 AB) with 2 HR in his last 8 games.
• David Wright has been struggling badly. In his last 16 games the All-Star third basemen is hitting .159 (10-63 AB) with just 1 HR.
• Ryan Braun has also been struggling over his last eight games, hitting just .176 (6-34 AB) with a .194 OBP and just 1 HR.
• The Mets have been looking for a guy to anchor the top of the lineup for years. Next guy to try it will be Ruben Tejada. The shortstop is hitting .341 (15-44 AB) with a .463 OBP and two homers over his last nine games.
• Scooter Gennett moved into the leadoff spot Tuesday night, replacing Jean Segura, who slides down to eighth. Gennett has been getting on base at a better clip than Segura of late, thus necessitating the switch. Gennett went 1-3 AB, with a walk in the No. 1 spot. He is batting .327 (17-52 AB) over his last 16 games.
• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Sunday at Pittsburgh when he notched his 19th save of the season.
• Prediction: Mets Tejada and Murphy get things going at the top of the order and deGrom gets his first big league win.