Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Plawecki’

By Steven Inman

With less than 2 weeks before Opening Day, the Mets Opening Day roster is pretty much set. The only questions left are with a few injuries along with spots on the bench and the bullpen still to be determined. Here’s how we expect it to all shake out.

The Starting Rotationdownload

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Bartolo Colon
  5. Steven Matz

Matt Harvey has already been named the Mets opening night starter in Kansas City. After a strong 2015 season along with a brilliant performance in WS Game 5 against KC, Harvey has certainly earned the honor of starting opening night.  Jacob deGrom’s wife is expected to give birth around April 5th so Noah Syndergaard will start the second game. If deGrom is back from his expected paternity leave he will likely start Game 3 with 3rd year Met Bartolo Colon and rookie Steven Matz behind him in the rotation.

The Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson RFdownload (1)
  2. Neil Walker 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. David Wright 3B
  6. Michael Conforto LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) is questionable for Opening Day. It is unknown if he will get the at-bats needed this spring to be able to be ready for the season. The Mets seem to believe that he will be ready so we will put him in the starting lineup for now. After releasing Ruben Tejada the Mets don’t have much shortstop depth with major league experience.

If Cabrera is not ready Wilmer Flores will likely step in to the starting lineup at shortstop. The Mets will need Wilmer to play third base a few days a week for the aging David Wright. This could be a very big year for the Mets two youngest starting position players, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto.

The Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familiadownload (2)
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Antonio Bastardo
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Hansel Robles
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Jim Henderson

Terry Collins said a few weeks ago that the first five on this lists already had spots cemented in the Opening Day bullpen. Hansel Robles will be suspended for the KC series but the Mets will not be able to replace him on the roster while he is out. Gilmartin was very solid last year as a long man for the Mets after coming over from the Twins as a Rule 5 pick. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, has regained velocity and looks very sharp this spring. While the Mets can send Henderson to the minors, he has looked very solid and if the Mets believe he can go back to being the reliever he was when he pitched the 9th for Milwaukee, then he certainly would be a fine addition to the Mets bullpen. Other candidates are Erik Goeddel who has been injured most of the spring and Logan Verrett who is likely competing with Gilmartin for the Mets long man role.

The Bench

  1. Wilmer Floresdownload (3)
  2. Juan Lagares
  3. Alejandro De Aza
  4. Kevin Plawecki
  5. Eric Campbell

Thanks to additions to the Mets starting lineup, players that were expected to get major at-bats like De Aza and Flores now become solid and versatile bench players. Flores will help Wright at third and will back up at short and second. Neil Walker didn’t hit lefties much last season so Flores could get at-bats at second vs. lefties. Expect Flores to play a lot this season even though he isn’t an “everyday player” anymore.

While Juan Lagares is a very good center fielder expect him to play some left field as a defensive replacement for Conforto. Terry Collins is wary of moving Cespedes all around the outfield so Lagares may not play much center field while Yoenis is in the game.

The Mets were interested in finding a backup catcher so Kevin Plawecki wouldn’t be sitting on the bench so often but they haven’t found a player they like yet so Kevin stays on this list. The Mets believe an extra 200 plate appearances for Plawecki in the minors would really help his development offensively. Thanks to the trade of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell makes the club as the 25th man. Campbell has struggled in the majors the past few seasons but has had a strong spring and can play the infield and outfield corners. A majority of Terry Collins’ bench can play multiple positions.

With two weeks to go still before the season, injuries can alter this list. On paper this is a very strong roster that should have Citi Field buzzing all summer. Do you agree with this 25-man roster projection?

By Steven Inman

April 19th was a very bad  day for the New York Mets

April 19th was a very bad day for the New York Mets (Photo by NY Post)

Before the season we talked about how Travis d’Arnaud needed a hot start more than any other Met and he has done just that. The 26-year old d’Arnaud is hitting .317 with 2 homers and a team leading 10 RBIs. The catcher also started 11 of the Mets 13 games so far.

Perhaps just as importantly, d’Arnaud’s defense has improved as well. In the Marlins series he threw out Dee Gordon twice. Teams would try to run consistently in 2014 when Travis was behind the plate. The catcher has also done a nice job of pitch framing as well.

With all the talk in spring of how great top prospect Kevin Plawecki looks, it was easy to connect the dots. If Travis didn’t play well than they had a suitable replacement for the backstop. Plawecki had a 5 RBI game for the 51’s in Triple-A on Saturday but for the most part has gotten off to a slow start. Plawecki was hitting just .216 in 37 at-bats in Vegas.

Travis d’Arnaud is a big reason why the Mets are in first place two weeks into the year but now because one reliever couldn’t find the strike zone, he is gone indefinitely.

The David Wright injury was a huge blow but this one is far worse as d’Arnaud although still early, was having a breakout year and will be out at least a few months. Kevin Plawecki, who was not playing well in Triple-A will come up and get the first crack at being the Mets #1 catcher while d’Arnaud is down.

Plawecki will be the second player drafted by Sandy Alderson to make his debut with the Mets. The first was Danny Muno last week.

Although the Mets are on an eight game winning streak and seemingly buried the Miami Marlins in the process it was a very somber mood around the clubhouse following the win. While the team has played well on their way to tying a franchise record best 10-3 start, the injuries have piled up and it may be too much to overcome at this point.

After already losing Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin for the season the team then lost David Wright for at least three weeks and now a catcher who could have made his first all-star game this year.

The Mets a half inning earlier also lost key reliever Jerry Blevins to a fractured forearm after he was struck in his pitching arm by a comebacker. Blevins didn’t think it was a big deal before he got the diagnosis as he wanted to stay in the game. Blevins had not allowed a baserunner from the 15 batters he faced in 2015. He was the Mets best reliever through the club’s first 13 games but now they will have to hope Alex Torres can throw enough strikes to get lefties out.

Now it is next man up and if this magical start is to continue than it is going to have to be thanks to unknown players like Kevin Plawecki. The Mets had a similar situation in 2006 when key pitchers like Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez went down and young guys like John Maine stepped up big and helped will the Mets to the best record in the National League and their last playoff berth. Maybe a similar story will ensue but we will now know how much depth the Mets truly have.

Can the Mets hold on and continue to play well?

By Steven Inman

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d'Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League Photo by New York Post

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d’Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League
Photo by New York Post

After a horrendous start to his 2014 rookie season, Travis d’Arnaud was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June. The backstop raked down in the minors and was called up just a few short weeks later. When he returned to the big leagues he looked like a completely different offensive player.

Since June 24th, his first game back in the big leagues, D’Arnaud hit .272 (70-257 AB) with ten dingers and 32 RBI in 69 games. He looked significantly more confident at the plate and the results were encouraging. The 26-year old’s overall 2014 numbers were subpar but the Mets have to be hopeful that their starting catcher will perform more like his second half form going forward.
If he isn’t, then he won’t be a Met for much longer.
Former top pick out of Purdue Kevin Plawecki is breathing down the neck of d’Arnaud as 2015 draws closer. Plawecki has been the talk of Met position players so far in camp.
If d’Arnaud wasn’t acquired from the Blue Jays a couple winters ago, then perhaps the Mets would have Plawecki as their 2015 Opening Day catcher.
Instead Plawecki will start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. Plawecki has already shown he can hit for a high average in the minor leagues and is now just waiting for an opportunity in the big leagues. That is why d’Arnaud must get off to a good start offensively. The Mets want Plawecki to play everyday so he won’t make the club as a backup catcher.
Travis is already a work in progress defensively behind the plate after a miserable season framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt. If he gets off to a bad first couple of months with the bat then Sandy Alderson may elect to make a change at this vital position.
Despite already being 26 years old, d’Arnaud is only entering his second full big league season. With the lack of catching talent throughout baseball, d’Arnaud would have a ton of trade value even if he struggles to start the season.
No matter who the Mets decide to choose at catcher going forward, they really shouldn’t drag this out like the team did at first base for years with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. The longer you wait the smaller the chance of getting something significant in a trade.
While d’Arnaud will likely bat towards the bottom of the Met lineup, you can make the case that there is no Met position player with more pressure on him right now. In fact other than Terry Collins, no Met needs a hot start more than d’Arnaud….
How will Travis perform in 2015???

By Steven InmanTravis d'Arnaud

Terry Collins told reporters Thursday that the Mets have had internal concussions about moving Travis d’Arnaud to left-field. Again these talks were just floated out there and aren’t likely to happen anytime soon. If that did occur however it would be a major mistake.

Travis d’Arnaud is batting .230 with a .292 OBP with 12 dingers and 32 RBI. He has dramatically improved from a dismal start but he has cooled off recently. While his numbers are okay for a catcher, they would be considered to be some of the worst among all left fielders.

His number would improve someone by moving out from behind the plate but likely not enough to justify playing in a corner outfield spot.

The reason why this was brought up (in an excellent article by the Daily News) is that d’Arnaud has already suffered at least four concussions and is only 25 years old. Obviously catchers are far more likely to receive concussions than any other position on the field but they are freak plays and there really isn’t a way to prevent them other than simply moving him off the position. Somebody is going to have to catch and if d’Arnaud continues to show improvements with the bat he can be a fine offensive catcher.

One Mets person told Andy Martino of the Daily News “We could be one bad foul tip from losing him for a long time.”

Obviously with Kevin Plawecki in the minors and playing well the Mets have the option of trading one of their catchers this off-season which is why it makes even less sense for Terry Collins to be talking publicly about moving Travis off the plate. All that would do is potentially lower his value.

D’Arnaud has really turned his season around but he wouldn’t hit enough to justify being an everyday outfielder. Also the Mets rookie catcher has never played the outfield professionally so how do we know he would be able to play out there. The last thing the Mets would need is another young player trying to learn a new position when the team is supposed to be contending.

By Steven Inmanima

Obviously Travis d’Arnaud has badly struggled this season and things don’t seem to be heading in the right direction for the 25-year old catcher. Since coming off the disabled list d’Arnaud is hitting just .115 (3-28 AB) with no extra base hits in eight games. D’Arnaud is hitting just .180 this season with three homers in 128 at bats.  “I got to be better than this,” d’Arnaud told reporters after the game. “This is unacceptable to me.”

Meanwhile down on the farm former Met first round pick Kevin Plawecki has been raking for Double-A Binghamton. The 23-year old prospect is hitting .326 with a .364 OBP, six homers and 37 RBI’s in 172 at bats. Expect him to get promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas within the next month. If he continues to hit there, then perhaps he is in line for a September call up.

The Mets biggest weakness in 2014 has been their inability to hit. With more than a third of the season already in the books, it is fair to place some of that blame on d’Arnaud. As the #1 catching prospect in baseball the past few years, it was fair to expect great things from the rookie backstop. However not all prospects work out and d’Arnaud must get it going soon before he gets bypassed.

If d’Arnaud struggles all year and Plawecki keeps hitting than perhaps the two go to Spring Training next season and compete for the starting catcher spot.

Today on, we have a special treat for all of our readers. Alex Giobbi, of 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.


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’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. 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’s lists:


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)


And now’s list:

Nola, (5)

Beede (7)

Hoffman (8)

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


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

Could Rafael Montero and Travis d'Arnaud be playing against the Mets next year?

Could Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud be playing against the Mets next year?
Photo by

Trade talk is starting to heat up and the rumors have swirled about many Mets players being dangled out there in trades. Jeff Wilpon came out the other day saying the only players safe in trades were David Wright, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. I’m sure he also meant to include Matt Harvey who will miss the entire 2014 season. Keep in mind that Niese has been dangled out in trade talks the last few years so I’m sure the Matt Harvey injury has something to do with him being off the market now.

The Mets are looking for a big bopper in the middle of their lineup. Their preferred choice is Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez who is a superstar player who doesn’t get all the recognition he deserves because of the hitter friendly ballpark he plays in. The Mets will move just about anyone to get him not named Noah Syndergaard. I’ve been told Syndergaard is about as untouchable as anybody in the organization right now.

The team will move Travis d’Arnaud in the right deal to with catcher Kevin Plawecki in the system. I think that would be a mistake as d’Arnuad is ready to contribute right now and Plawecki doesn’t have a ton of power and is coming off a season where he was in High A ball. He isn’t close to the big leagues. The Rockies have catcher Wilin Rosario around but aren’t thrilled with his improvements defensively and may give him more reps at first and sign a catcher.

WFAN’s Mike Francesa has been reporting on his midday show that the Mets are “committed” to using Lucas Duda at first base next year and Ike Davis will be moved. I can’t find anyone who can confirm that and I continue to believe that the Mets will shop both players and the player with the most trade value will be moved. The other will become the first basemen.

The Mets are going to finally have to pick the inevitable: Davis or Duda?

The Mets are going to finally have to pick the inevitable: Davis or Duda?

The Mets two biggest chips that they seem more than willing to move are RHP Rafael Montero and 2B Daniel Murphy. I think trading either would be a major mistake but they both have value right now.

Montero is ready for the big leagues but may stay down a little longer for service time. He probably has the best command of any pitcher in the minor leagues right now but he projects more as a #3 starter. Keep in mind two years ago Matt Harvey projected as a #3 starter too. He has four pitches that he can throw for strikes at any time and had a strong year between Double A and Triple A.

The Mets have been trying to trade for Murphy for years. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti hinted two winters ago that he thought he had acquired Murphy from Sandy Alderson, a deal which nearly happened. The Mets weren’t getting much back in that deal from the Dodgers either. They considered a deal to send their second basemen to the Tigers for Andy Dirks as well which also would have been a major blunder. They clearly aren’t sold on Murphy and this could finally be the year where they pull the trigger.

The Mets scored just 619 runs this season, 23rd in baseball. Trading one of their two best hitters doesn’t seem to be a move in the right direction yet the Mets continue to tell teams he is available as his price tag increases through arbitration. The Mets have no interest in giving Murphy a contract extension so it remains to be seen if he will remain a Met much longer as he enters his “prime years.”

While guys like Montero, Murphy, and d’Arnaud have good trade value, the Mets have to be careful here. The trio could be in line for big years and it would be very bad if they enjoyed those strong years elsewhere.

Who Should the Mets use as trade bait this offseason?