Posts Tagged ‘Dominic Smith’

By Steven Inman

Join Rob DeLucia and I as we breakdown what the Mets did at the Trade Deadline, how the Mets’ payroll will look going forward, early impressions of Amed Rosario, what we hope to see out of Dominic Smith and what does the future in New York look like for Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler & Terry Collins?

Thanks for listening as always and any questions you want answered on the show, leave them in the comments section below!

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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 InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Dominic Smith is close to signing a contract with the Mets, according to ESPN. Smith, 17, was one of the best high school bats in the country but is extremely raw and it could take him a while to get to the big leagues.

I liked the Smith pick as I thought the Mets were determined to take the best bat available and at 11 he was the best bat left. Everyone says he is a fantastic defensive 1st baseman but has struggled at every other position he has played.

Smith will report to Port St. Lucie in the next few days and will probably get some at bats on the Mets Gulf Coast League team. It is very promising that the Mets were able to sign Smith so quickly when they haven’t been able to sign 1st rounders until the July 15th deadline the past few years.

Don’t underestimate the impact of Smith getting an extra 200 at bats this season for his development moving forward.

By Steven Inman

Mets second round pick Andrew Church

Mets second round pick Andrew Church

After selecting 1B Dominic Smith in the first round and pitcher Andrew Church in the second, the Mets went with a few more high schoolers with their next few picks.

In the third round (#76 overall) the Mets drafted high school outfielder Ivan Wilson. Here is what Keith Law of ESPN wrote about Wilson in an insider piece. “Wilson is all kinds of raw right now, but for a team that likes to draft athletic kids and try to teach them how to play baseball, he’s got enough ceiling (above-average regular) to be appealing in the third round or so. Wilson is strong and well-built at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with good bat speed but a deep load that bars his lead arm and creates excessive length, meaning he can’t always get to the potentially plus power from his wrist strength and big hip rotation. His swing path is also very inconsistent, and like many kids from very rural high schools he doesn’t recognize offspeed stuff well yet. He’s an average runner, a little slow out of the box and better underway, with plenty of arm for right field.”

With the Mets second third round pick (#84 overall) they took Casey Meisner, a righthand pitcher out of Cypress Woods High School in Texas. He is 6′ 7″ and 190 lbs. Meisner has a nice arm but it may be difficult to sign him away from a commitment to Texas Tech.

In the fourth round (#116th overall)the Mets took UCONN 2B L.J. Mazzilli, yes Lee’s kid. Lee Mazzilli was taken by the Mets in the draft exactly 40 years ago. L.J. Mazzilli wasn’t just drafted for his bloodlines though this kid can play. I got the opportunity to call a few St. John’s UConn games last season and Mazzilli was definitely the best player for either team on the field. Mazzilli, a senior signing out of College, shouldn’t be too hard to sign.

Mets fourth round pick L.J. Mazzilli

Mets fourth round pick L.J. Mazzilli

In the fifth round (#146th overall) the Mets took Jared King, a leftfielder and switch hitter out of Kansas State University. King is listed at 6′ 1″ and 200 lbs and is 21-years-old. King can hit for average and power, according to reports. As a sophomore at KSU, King hit .377 with 15 doubles, seven home runs and 47 RBI in 56 games. “I thought he was at worst a third-round pick,” MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said of King. He was listed as the 68th best prospect by Baseball America.

The Mets first few picks clearly show what Sandy Alderson, John Ricco, Paul Depodesta and J.P. Riccardi have been doing with their drafts and that is constantly picking upside over “project ability”. The Mets picked guys who may not be in the big leagues for five years, but if they make it they could be stars. Smith looks like he could be a star first basemen but not for a very long time.

I think Keith Law said it best when he said this Met regime likes drafting athletic kids and teaching them how to play baseball.

Ivan Wilson is still learning how to play baseball, but he could be a dynamic outfielder down the road. Now here comes the tough part and that is signing these guys. The deadline is July 15th to sign these guys or they will no longer be Mets property.

The team has $6.99 million to spend on the first ten rounds. Then they will try to sign them as soon as possible in an effort to get them into professional baseball games this year.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

For the third consecutive year, the Mets selected a high school position player taking Dominic Smith, a 1B from California. Smith, 17, is strictly a first basemen but Ike Davis shouldn’t be packing his bags any time soon. Smith is probably four or five years away from the big leagues.

I think Smith was probably the best hitter left in the draft. I was originally led to believe that the Mets like New Mexico 13/3B D.J. Peterson more. Peterson went one pick later at 12. I think the Mets made the right choice even if Peterson might move through the minors a lot quicker.

There were a lot of good pitchers left on the board such as Brandon Shipley and Ryne Stanek. All along though it seemed as if the Mets were determined to take the best available bat.imagesCAU5LIB3

Smith could become a very good player with a smooth left handed swing who can hit for average and power but he is very far away from the big leagues. MLB Network compared him to Todd Helton. Smith compared himself to Robinson Cano and Carlos Gonzalez.

Smith was available because he is so raw and high school first basemen don’t usually go in the first round of drafts. The last one taken was Eric Hosmer by the Royals.

Mets assistant GM Paul Depodesta called him a “special” defender and also said the Mets could move him to RF down the road if necessary.

I like this pick a lot better than Sandy Alderson’s previous two first round picks as General Manager.

Ideally the Mets can sign him as soon as possible so he can get into pro ball. The Mets didn’t sign Gavin Cecchini in 2012 until the last possible moment which meant he wasn’t able to get into any professional games. He is still in extended spring training waiting for the Brooklyn Cyclones season to start in a few weeks.

The Mets pick again Thursday night with the 48th pick.

What do you think of the Mets 1st round pick?