Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Nimmo’

By Steven Inman

Jay

Photo from Chicago Tribune

We’re well aware at this point how much the Mets need to add externally after a disastrous, 70-92 season. The team is going to have to add a 3B or 2B, bullpen help and another starting pitcher. Another piece they’re going to need is an additional outfielder. Yoenis Cespedes missed 81 games this season, Michael Conforto underwent major shoulder surgery and could miss a chunk of 2018 and Juan Lagares has not shown he can stay healthy at the major league level in his big league career yet. Obviously with so many needs and payroll coming down a reported $15-$20M, Sandy Alderson and his staff really can’t afford to spend big bucks on a major outfielder. The perfect guy to compliment the Mets outfield is Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, has been a solid table setter for the Cubs this season. He has stops on his baseball card in St. Louis and San Diego prior to signing a one year $8M deal with Chicago last winter. The Mets might be banking on Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo platooning in center field to start next season but that would be a mistake. The Mets must start to accrue depth, so they can have a plan B if/when everyone gets hurt again. If Conforto is in fact not ready for the season, Nimmo and Lagares would be forced to play every day and the Mets 4th outfielder would be someone like Matt Reynolds, who hasn’t distinguished himself in the majors yet.

Jay hits lefties and righties at a great clip (.288 career vs LHP, .289 vs RHP). He is not a guy with much power but he can play all 3 outfield positions well and won’t break the bank. Jay just finished a 1-year, $8M contract with the Cubs and will likely get around the same money next season. Jay has said publicly his preference is to return to the Cubs, who have advanced to the NLCS or further the last 3 years but with the surplus of outfielders in Chicago, the Cubs may be inclined not to negotiate a new contract with Jay.

With the amount of injuries the Mets endured last season (and for the last decade) it would be smart for the club to start to accrue depth. By signing and starting Jay, the Mets would be in a position to have Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares as late inning pinch hitters and defensive replacements. Plus they could step in as starters should one of the Mets outfielders get hurt or in the likely event Conforto isn’t ready for the opener.

Does an outfielder like Jon Jay make sense for New York?

By Steven Inman

Sandy Alderson's top prospects are highly regarded throughout baseball

Sandy Alderson’s top prospects are highly regarded throughout baseball

The Mets offense has been dismal this year. Sandy Alderson has attempted to build an offense of power and patience but to date has failed miserably. The Mets are 25th in both runs and slugging percentage. Alderson signings such as Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson haven’t displayed any reason for hope that the Mets offensive struggles will change any time soon. That being said, there is hope and that hope comes from the Mets minor league system.

The Mets collected a great group of minor league arms with Steven Matz the last of that group still in the minors. Matz should be in the bigs around the All-Star Break. All of those pitchers have lived up to the hype so far. Now we could be seeing the new wave of Mets prospects, the position player side.

Led by 2014 first round pick Michael Conforto, the Mets have quietly accrued a group of solid position player prospects. Here are the guys that could balance out the Mets lineup in the next few seasons.

Michael Conforto- Although Michael is the newest player to the Mets farm system of this group, he likely will be the quickest one to the majors. Conforto is hitting .375 in Binghamton (AA) after starting the season in St. Lucie. Conforto has a quick bat and looks to be an upcoming star. Ideally he gets to Las Vegas (AAA) by September if the 51’s make the playoffs, which would allow him to be a phone call away next season. Conforto came into the draft last season with a reputation that he would have to be hidden somewhere defensively but the Mets have been very impressed with his outfield play and his bat will work well in left field.

Dom Smith– This sweet swinging first baseman is probably awhile away but the Mets have been impressed with his at bats. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of power (2 homers) as St. Lucie and the Florida State League is a very difficult environment to hit. Smith reminds me of a James Loney type of player. Expect him to hit for a high average but home runs will always be a question when you play first base.

Gavin Cecchini– Perhaps the biggest surprise of all of the Mets minor leaguers, Cecchini has emerged as a legitimate shortstop option for the Mets going forward. He is hitting over .320 in Binghamton (AA) and has played a strong shortstop defensively. There was serious question whether his bat would hit enough for him to play one position everyday. Now it’s looking like Gavin can stick. He’s only 21 years old so expect him to continue to grow offensively.

Brandon Nimmo- Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick as Mets General Manager got off to a rocky start to his Met tenure. Nimmo has slowly moved up the minor league ladder and can legitimately get to the big leagues by the end of next season. He was on the DL for a little bit but like Conforto it would be a big accomplishment if the outfielder could reach Las Vegas (AAA) this season. The concern with Nimmo is can he hit left-handed pitching. If not he’ll be a fine platoon player in the Mets outfield.

Amed Rosario– Out of this group of prospects, Rosario is probably the rawest but most scouts seem to like him more than just about any other Met prospect. The Mets aren’t sure if he will stick at shortstop but most think the bat will develop. Don’t expect to see Amed anytime soon in the majors however.

Sandy Alderson has rightfully taken a lot of criticism for his sculpting of the Mets lineup but if most of these five position players can hit in the big leagues then Alderson’s tenure as Mets GM will be deemed a success, it’s that simple. All five of these players were signed by Alderson and his staff. According to MLB.com, eight of the Mets top ten prospects are now position players, a drastic change from where the Mets were a year ago.

The Mets are going to have to pay their young pitchers in the next few years so getting impact bats at the major league level making the league minimum would be huge.

Which Met position prospect are you most excited to see?

By Steven Inman

If the Mets were right, Michael Conforto can breeze through the minor leagues

If the Mets were right, Michael Conforto can breeze through the minor leagues

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.

Today on BrokeMets.com, we have a special treat for all of our readers. Alex Giobbi, of Minorleaguemadhouse.com has agreed to do a guest post on the Mets plan for the MLB Draft next week. Alex specializes in prospects and I highly recommend this article as well as his website. He looks at the track record of Sandy Alderson’s previous three drafts as Mets GM to determine who can be a target for the Mets with the 10th overall pick. alex rod steroids

What name will Bud Selig call for the Mets on June 5th?

With a week remaining before the 2014 MLB Draft kicks off, the Mets have a very big decision to make. Armed with the tenth pick, which was protected from being lost to a team that let go of a big money free agent, the Mets have myriad options for their next big prospect.

Before going into who the Mets should take, let’s take a look at the first round strategy of GM Sandy Alderson.

Ever since Alderson took over as the Mets’ GM, he’s opted to take high ceiling talent out of high school; in fact, of the five first round picks he’s had (this includes the compensatory picks he’s gotten from losing Pedro Feliciano and Jose Reyes), only one, catcher Kevin Plawecki of Purdue University, came out of college. The players he’s taken in the first (and compensatory) rounds are as follows:

2013: Dominic Smith, first baseman, Serra High School, Los Angeles, CA.

Dom Smith is holding his own in Savannah despite being less than a year out of high school.

Dom Smith is holding his own in Savannah despite being less than a year out of high school.

2014 Team: Savannah Sand Gnats (Low A)

Smith, who was viewed as one of the top hitters in his class, was valued for his stroke as well as his fielding ability. He’s been compared to Adrian Gonzalez, and in a particularly weak year for first base prospects in MLB, he’s ranked second, although he’s made strides to justify that ranking after a slow start in Low-A Savannah. Given the team’s unsurprising trade of former top pick Ike Davis and commitment to Lucas Duda (who will be 31 or 32 by the time Smith makes his MLB debut) it’s almost a certainty that Smith will be playing first base at Citi Field in the latter half of the 2010’s.

2012: Gavin Cecchini, Shortstop, Alfred M. Barbe High School, Lake Charles, LA

Cecchini is a big time hit or miss prospect who was taken for his value as a defensive star. Although he’s had a slow start to his career due to injury, the fact that he’s only 20 years old serves as a reminder that high school talent often takes more time to develop, meaning he could conceivably be held in the minors until 2017, much like Smith. Cecchini seems to be destined to make up half of a double play combo with one of two top international prospects: Dilson Herrera, who was acquired in the Marlon Byrd trade, or Amed Rosario. Whomever is the odd man out in that group is either going to be traded or coerced into playing third base. Should Cecchini lose out on the shortstop battle, he could be tried out as a third baseman, in fact, his older brother Garin is a top third base prospect for the Boston Red Sox.

Kevin Plawecki, Catcher, Purdue University

Kevin Plawecki has moved through the minor leagues much faster than most anticipated.

Kevin Plawecki has moved through the minor leagues much faster than most anticipated.

When Kevin Plawecki was drafted, one of the big things that stood out about him was the fact that he’s a guy who constantly gets on base. A guy who also rarely strikes out, Plawecki reminds some Mets people of Daniel Murphy, except he’s slower and plays a more challenging position. As I’ve made mention before, teams are starting to understand the importance of carrying two starting level catchers on the big league club, and Plawecki with Travis d’Arnaud could actually prove to be a solid combination. Should the Mets opt to deal him, he may have some value for a team that could use a starting catcher, as evidenced by the Mets’ discussions during the offseason between the Diamondbacks.

2011: Brandon Nimmo: Outfield, Cheyenne East High School, Cheyenne, WY

Alderson’s first pick as a Mets GM is either going to be one of the biggest gem finds or a major novelty gone bad. Nimmo, who gained fame for not playing high school ball (Wyoming doesn’t sanction baseball as a sport in interscholastic competition), was valued for his athletic upside. Nimmo has overcome a predictably slow start in the minors and is currently tearing the cover off the ball in High A St. Lucie, enough to land him in the top 100 prospect list at the final spot. Should he continue that pace, expect him to make a return appearance to the Futures Game in Minnesota.

Michael Fulmer, Pitcher, Deer Creek High School, Deer Creek, OK

Fulmer is the only pitcher that Alderson has drafted in the first round, and for good reason. 2011 was a great year for Oklahoma prep pitchers, and Fulmer has followed Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley’s success pattern. Although he suffered a setback from his development after injuring his leg, he should be with the major league club by 2017, likely as a long reliever/spot starter.

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Sandy Alderson’s strategy deviated from his predecessor, Omar Minaya, who drafted low ceiling/high floor talent. Although most of Minaya’s choices were destined to be average (or in the case of 2007 and 2008 first rounders Nate Vineyard, Reese Havens and Brad Holt, marred with injury and unfulfilled promise) Minaya does have the claim to fame that his final first round pick, Matt Harvey, is one of the best young pitchers in baseball.

Moving on, the question remains: Who should Alderson select with the tenth overall pick?

Generally, given the amount of time prospects take to develop, coupled with the choice between high school, JUCO and college talent, general managers go with the Best Player Available. Although Alderson didn’t necessarily need a first baseman, and many experts thought he would have gone after a college outfielder like Fresno State’s Aaron Judge, Smith was the best player available.

If we went by the best player available based on Baseball America and MLB.com’s top 200 and 100 prospect lists, then the Mets would have two different choices: Baseball America’s #10 player in their top 200 is LSU ace Aaron Nola, who’s bounced up and down the draft board, going as low as the 20’s and as high as top ten. MLB.com has University of San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer as their ten pick. Zimmer has stayed pretty consistent, getting picked in the top 15 in most mocks.

Looking at the Mets’ top 20 prospects, which is what I use as a basis for my mock drafts, it’s clear that once Noah Syndergaard makes his big league debut, the Mets will not have a legitimate top ten right handed pitching prospect. With Rafael Montero and Jake deGrom likely up for good, and Syndergaard coming up, Alderson, unless he invests his pick in a bona fide arm, will not have a top pitching prospect to advance through the system and excite and distract the fan base. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the options that Alderson has:

First, let’s get one thing abundantly clear: Carlos Rodon will not fall out of the top three. Despite his struggles this year at NC State, Rodon’s still got an impressive resumé, as well as covetable attributes that will make him a top pick. The same goes for Brady Aiken, the prep star from Cathedral Catholic. His stock has risen to the point where he’s in the conversation to be the top pick as well. That, and they are also left-handed pitchers. Tyler Kolek, the consensus top right handed pitching prospect, will also not fall out of the top five.

Let’s take a look at the pitchers that are in range, and that’s 5th best player to 15th best player on Baseball America’s and MLB.com’s lists:

BA:

Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina (6)

Erick Fedde, UNLV (8)

Aaron Nola, LSU (10)

Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs Christian High School, Florida (13)

Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt (15)

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And now MLB.com’s list:

Nola, (5)

Beede (7)

Hoffman (8)

Grant Holmes, Conway High School, South Carolina (12)

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In my two mock drafts, I had the Mets taking a right handed pitcher for the reason stated above: They will need to add a right handed pitching stud in order to balance out their top ten prospects. In the first mock, I picked Touki Toussaint: a high school arm whose raw talent, coupled with his loose arm could make him a deadly young pitcher with #2 starter potential. However, given Alderson’s Moneyball background, which actively discourages the drafting of prep arms in the first round, the chances of Toussaint wearing a Mets jersey seem slim.

In the second mock, I had the Mets taking Tyler Beede. Beede is a familiar name, as he was a first round pick three years ago by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Beede decided against going pro and went to play for Vanderbilt. Beede’s game is great, but some mechanical fine tuning could make it better. He’s been consistently challenging both Nola and Rodon as the top college pitcher this year, and his Golden Spikes nomination last year indicates he has high level pro potential.

If I were Alderson, I’d want a battle tested pitcher, a pitcher that has faced top flight competition. Right off the bat, that eliminates Toussaint and Grant Holmes, a big pitcher from Conway High School. Because high school baseball talent is relative to the state that it’s played in, even if Toussaint and Holmes were among the best talents that year, keep in mind they were facing typical prep talent. Not every South Carolina and Florida prepster is going to play division one ball in college, and even if they did, they wouldn’t all play in the power conferences like the SEC or the ACC.

The second aspect of a battle tested pitcher is the college conference they play in. The Mountain West and Conference USA, once upon a time, were college hotbeds, but now they’re essentially a tick below the real power conferences. Sure, pitchers like Hoffman and Fedde may get the opportunity to play a power conference team here and there, but ultimately, unless it was consistent, it’s a waste of time for Alderson to even think about Fedde and Hoffman.

This leaves it to two pitchers: Nola, and Beede.

Nola, the ace at LSU, is a pitcher who, while he isn’t going to blow you away with any special pitch, has great command and control of his offerings. He won’t be an ace at the major league level, but his dependability will be an asset to any team that needs a pitcher who can go deep into innings.

Beede, on the other hand, is an anti-Nola. His fastball is his best major league offering, going from the low to mid 90’s, and his ceiling is a front-end starter, possibly as high as #2. What Beede lacks in his game is pitch consistency. While Beede does have devastating offerings, like his fastball, curve and change up, they are only effective if he can consistently locate the strike zone.

So who should Sandy pick if it comes down to Nola and Beede?

In a perfect world, Nola will fall to the tenth spot where Alderson can nab him. His consistency and even strength in his offerings mean that either he’s going to be an above average hurler with little to no need to tinker, or, if there is room for improvement, establish a dominant pitch or make each pitch better. Nola’s mechanics are excellent and he is battle tested against the highest possible level of competition in college baseball. It seems that Nola is one of the very few high ceiling/high floor talents, and although Alderson isn’t the type of general manager who goes for safe picks, getting that combination will pay off rather quickly.

Thanks again to Alex for this fantastic post and make sure to check out his website Minor League Madhouse. He has all of your draft needs covered.

By Steven Inman

After making the team as a reserve in 2013, Brandon Nimmo could earn a spot in the starting lineup during the Futures Game this July if he keeps hitting

After making the team as a reserve in 2013, Brandon Nimmo could earn a spot in the starting lineup during the Futures Game this July if he keeps up his torrid pace

The first pick in the Sandy Alderson era, Brandon Nimmo was seemingly forgotten by Met fans after a very slow start to his professional career. After being drafted 13th overall as a high school kid out of Wyoming, Nimmo was seen as a disappointment by Met fans after Jose Fernandez burst onto the scene down in Miami last season while Nimmo was still in extended spring training. Fernandez was taken one pick after Nimmo and already has Cy Young votes on his resume.

Nimmo came into the season as the Mets fourth best prospect according to MLB.com.

Nimmo is finally starting to pick it up however. The 21-year old had a monster game Monday night, going 4-4 with a homerun for the High-A St. Lucie Mets. Nimmo is hitting a scorching .407 with 2 homers and 16 RBI’s in 91 at bats for the St. Lucie Mets. Nimmo has an OBP of over .500 and has shown he can handle centerfield.

What also is important here is the lefty swinging Nimmo has been hitting southpaws well, at a .345 clip with an OBP of over .400 vs. left-handers.

This is great news for the Mets as the team really needs him to get going. Nimmo is really their only legitimate outfield prospect and could be promoted to Double-AA Binghamton as early as June. If Nimmo can show he can hit in the AA Eastern League, then he will get back on the map as a legitimate outfield prospect.

By Steven Inman

Photo by CBS Sports

Photo by CBS Sports

Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha has captivated the baseball world in the month of October, generating a ton of buzz and shutting down championship caliber teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox. His story with the Cardinals almost didn’t happen however, as Wacha could have been taken by 18 other teams, including the Mets. Wacha, the NLCS MVP, has gone 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the postseason so far. He is expected to start Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park.

Wacha was taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 year’s draft. The Mets had the 12th overall pick that year and took high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Look 18 teams could have had Wacha so I’m not blaming the Mets for not taking him. I’m blaming them for the reason why they didn’t take Wacha. “Our guys liked Wacha a lot in 2012, one of the top college pitchers on the board,” Mets Vice President of Player Development Paul DePodesta told Mike Puma of the New York Post on Friday. “We were really focused on position players at the top of the 2012 draft,” DePodesta said. “We didn’t even sign a pitcher in that draft until our fifth selection. So, we really liked Wacha, and he was high up on our board, but as an organization we needed to use our high picks that year to create more value in our position player prospects.”

The idea that the Mets would pass on stud pitchers just because their farm system is lacking position players is just absurd to me. The MLB draft is a crapshoot at best and you must take the best available player especially in this scenario when it doesn’t look like money was a factor. The thought that they just zoned out on half the talent pool (pitchers) early on in the draft only makes their scouts jobs even more difficult. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. Keep in mind they did the same thing the year before when they took OF Brandon Nimmo (who didn’t have high school baseball in his state and is still in High A) over Jose Fernandez who was taken one pick later. That year they also suggested they were only looking at position players. The Mets in 2013 also only were focused strictly on position players with their first round pick.

The Mets have some nice starting pitching in their minor leagues but they don’t have nearly enough to simply stop looking for more talent.

Look maybe Nimmo and Cecchini become solid players for the Mets but they only should have been selected if they were the best available according to the Mets, they shouldn’t have been taken just because the Mets don’t have a ton of position player prospects. Alderson has taken a position player in the first round all three drafts and they still don’t have a position player prospect that is thought of all that highly elsewhere except for Travis d’Arnaud who was acquired in a trade.

For the record at the time I wouldn’t have drafted Wacha either so I can’t completely kill the Mets here. My reports on Wacha were that he was supposed to be one of the first guys from this draft to the big leagues (he was) but he was probably more of a mid to back end starter. The name I kept hearing was Jon Garland and I wouldn’t have drafted a young Garland in the first round. The Mets have the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft and hopefully they take the best available talent, no matter what position he is.

imagesCADQ3WP8By Steven Inman

Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard will be the Mets representatives in this year’s futures game during All- Star weekend at Citi Field.

Montero will play for the World Team while Syndergaard will pitch for the U.S. squad.

It would be really cool if both of these Mets prospects started against each other for their respective squads although that is just speculation on my part.

Pitchers in this game usually pitch only one inning.

You can see the full rosters for the Futures game here.

The rule is the maximum amount of players from each team that can play is two. However this year there will be a final vote to determine the last player on both rosters.

Mets 2011 first round pick Brandon Nimmo is one of the candidates to be voted in as the final player. If you want to see the Mets top outfield prospect at Citi Field, click here to vote. Voting ends Sunday night.

Montero and Syndergaard are the Mets top two pitching prospects now so it will be very nice to see both of them at Citi Field next month taking on some of the best young players in the game.