I Might Be Wrong, But… 10-21-12 – Winter Stats – Gerry Hunsicker, Sandy Alderson, Robert Carson, John Holdzkom, Justin Hampson, Brandon Nimmo, Adam Rubin

Winter Stats Through Thursday, 10-18:

AFL – Surprise Saguaros:

OF Cesar Puello – .276/.323/.276/,598, 29-AB, 8-K, 0-BB

CF Darrell Ceciliani – .273/.346/.409/..755. 22-B, 6-K

RP Ryan Fraser – 0-0, 3.00, 1.33, 3.0-IP, 2-K, 0-BB

P Chase Huchington – 0-0, 0.00, 1.67, 3.0-IP, 2-K, 3-BB

RP Adam Kolarek – 0-2, 2.45, 2.45, 3.2-IP, 3-K, 3-BB

P Greg Peavey – 0-0, 3.00, 1.33, 3.0-IP, 2-K, 1-BB

DFL – Aguilas Cibaenas:

C Francisco Pena – 0.00/0.00/0.00/0.00 – 0-AB

OF Juan Lagares – .000/.500/.000/.500 – 1-AB

DFL – Gigantes del Cibao:

P Jeurys Familia

RP Elvin Ramirez

RP Ramon Ramirez

SP Domingo Tapia –

3B Aderlin Rodriguez –

OF Rafael Fernandez – .000/.000/.000/.000 – 2-AB

OF Raul Reyes – .000/.000/.000/.000 – 3-AB

DFL – Leones del Escogido:

P Armondo Rodriguez – 0-0, 0.00, 0.00, 1.2-IP, 0-H, 0-BB, 2-K

IF Justin Turner

OF Pedro Zapata –

DFL – Tigres del Licey:

IF/OF Jordany Valdespin – .444/.545/.778/.1.323, 1-HR

OF Gilbert Gomez –

DFL – Toros del Este:

P Gonzalez Germen –

3B Jefry Marte –

MFL – Aguilas de Mexicali:

SS Ismael Tijerina –

MFL – Caneros de los Mochis:

SS Juan Carlos Gamboa –

MFL – Tomateros de Culiacan:

P Marcos Camarena –

MFL – Venados de Mazatlan:

P Carlos Vazquez – 0-0, 13.50, 0.75, 1.1-IP, 1-K, 0-BB

VFL – Bravos de Margarita:

IF Wilmer Flores – .292/.393/.458/.773, 1-HR, 3-RBI

VFL – Cardenales de Lara:

C Luis Hurtado –

SS Oswaldo Navarro – .154/.267/.192/.459, 26-AB

VFL – Caribes de Anzoategui:

P Jean Alvarez –

P Luis Carreno –

P Carlos Coronado –

IF Luis Nieve –

VFL – Leones del Caracas:

P Chris Schwinden

VFL – Tigres de Aragua:

C Juan Torres – .000/.000/.000, 1-AB

The Dodgers just keep doing the right thing. They hired ex-Astros GM (1995-2004) Gerry Hunsicker as a senior advisor of baseball operations. This is all about international scouting, something Hunsicker has been doing for Tampa Bay. Great move.

The anti-Alderson (AA) vultures are starting to circle. Daniel Marino of MLB Dirt (http://mlbdirt.com/2012/10/15/is-sandy-alderson-the-right-gm-to-lead-the-mets-back-to-relevance) wrote an article on 10-15 questioning whether Sandy Alderson is the right General Manager for the current team we all follow. He also pointed out that some of the current success in the organization is because Omar Minaya left the minor league system in better shape than many had thought. He naturally attacked the bullpen acquisitions last off season, but I found it interesting that he also went off on Chris Young. Marino leaves it as a debatable issue, but one has to wonder if this only going to be the beginning of a new direction for the blog-media.

Matt Masico over at Rising Apple http://risingapple.com/2012/10/16/year-in-review-robert-carson/ wrote a season recap on LHRP Robert Carson. His synopsis was interesting: “With him making his MLB debut this past May and not even spending half the season with the Mets, Carson is well under team control for the time being. There have been no trade rumors involving his name, but his arm and stuff are exciting enough to get him into the conversation to be involved in a package for some external talent. However, I feel that it’s doubtful we’ll see him in anything other than the Orange and Blue for the next few years.” Observation: I have always liked Carson as a potential lefty reliever and his approach to the plate has always been one to throw the ball like he’s trying to kill you rather than get you out. The Mets need this kind of guy in the pen and I was thrilled he got 17 appearances this season (4.73). His familiarity with Queens is now in the past and I expect him to earn a major role in the 2013 Mets pen.

Those of us that saw John Holdzkom sort of pitch in Savannah always wondered what the real story on him was. Nobody was ever willing to fill in the cracks why he was such a bust. Well, Chelsea Peretti finally found the dude, who was signed for a $210,000 bonus. She podcasted his ass and he said “They thought I was a good baseball player”, adding that he was a pitcher before his “elbow blew out” and he spent most of the signing bonus on a truck and “buying sushi every night.” Funny stuff: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/16/internet-detective-mets-prospect-bust-john-tells-his-story-on-chelsea-perettis-podcast/

In a (what I consider) a surprised move, Justin Hampson was taken off the 40-man and placed on the free agent market. Speculation is this was done to add Zack Wheeler, but it simply is too early to do that. I don’t know guys. I’m having less confidence every day that Alderson and Company know what they are doing in this town. There is so many dead wood players on this 40 and they go and release someone that produced a .150 BA against lefties. I hope this makes some sense before this post goes to print…. Update: C Rob Johnson and OF Fred Lewis was also dropped from the 40-man and opted for free agency. The Mets seem to be clearing room for 4-5 players that are eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

BTBS (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/10/16/3509942/mets-brandon-nimmo-prospect-profile-sabermetric-analysis) posted a profile on Brandon Nimmo. Interesting quote: “Of the 14 players aged 19 or younger in his league (minimum 200 PAs), Nimmo finished third in OPS, second in line-drive percentage, and first in ISO.” His summary: “Nimmo is the kind of prospect that the Mets system has not seen in a while, presenting a lot of upside coupled with a lot of risk. It will be interesting to watch if he can overcome his deficiencies and become a starting center fielder in the majors, or even a platoon bat. One thing is sure for Mets fans, there is certainly reason to be excited about Brandon Nimmo.” Observation: Boy, I really didn’t want to read the name Brandon Nimmo and platoon bat in the same sentence. Where do you play this kid in 2013, the horrible batters field in Savannah or the organizational training home in St. Lucie? Is he ready for A+ ball? How come all the other teams in the league can draft players that make the majors at 20 and we’re already talking about platooning? Don’t the Mets have enough platoon bats and players that can’t find a position? Boy, I’m glad I’m getting to the end of this Mets road.

It’s interesting to see that the charity auction for the winner to be part of a special roundtable luncheon with 12 top Mets reports… doesn’t include Adam Rubin: http://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/325023

BA came out with their report card on the last Mets draft and highlighted SS-3B Matt Reynolds as the top hitter in the draft. Their thoughts: “Best Pure Hitter: SS Matt Reynolds (2) has a short stroke and advanced plate discipline. His swing and approach should allow him to be a line-drive machine and post solid on-base percentages… Cecchini is a steady shortstop with a solid, accurate arm and a better chance to stay at the position than Reynolds”. I talked to Matt during the season and he is actually thrilled to be back at his natural third base position that he played in college. His Savannah stat line in 2012: 158-AB, .259/.335/.367/.702, 3-HR,only 26-K but also only 12-BB…observation: there’s no rush here and it seems the Mets are obsessed with drafting shortstops lately. His future in St. Lucie depends upon whether or not Dustin Lawley catches or plays third. Very muddled here.

Might Be Wrong, But… DSL, Sickles Bats, Bonus Pool, Zach Godley, Dylan Owen, Bradley Marquez

DSL – The Mets have done well signing international free agents over the past two administrations. Currently, the 40-man roster has 39 players + 5 on the DL. Of the 39, one-third are Latin America players.

In the case of the Mets, they all pass through one of the two DSL teams and you should see some new names come spring training running around the Florida back fields.

One caveat… these kids get signed at 16 and basically are still learning how to play the game. The pitchers just throw as hard as they can and the hitters will swing at a wasp if it tries to fly past them. Still, some stand out and these are hombres to keep an eye on:

OF Vicente Lupo –      Lupo did just about everything last season. His .343 BA was 8th in the league. He led the league with a .500 OBP, was 2nd with a .608 slugging percentage, and was number one with a superior 1.108 OPS. He’s already played two years for the DSL team and doesn’t turn 19 until next month. The Mets need outfielders and this just might be one 3-4 years from now

C Adrian Abreu – Abreu’s stat line was very impressive last season: .295/.417/.406/.824. I was particularly impressed with the fact that he was tied for 9th in the league with 44-RBIs). The 21-year old has played three years in the DSL and his gap power alone is going to earn him starting role at either Brooklyn or Kingsport. Oh yeah, did I mention he was a catcher?

C Manuel Hilario – The “other” catcher was Hilario: .286/.378/.451/.829, and was tied for 14th with 41-RBIs. There are two very productive catchers at this level. Hilario is 20, so he should move as fast as Abreu and it would be nice to believe the system might be producing at least one good catching prospect here.

          SP Yoryi Nuel – This was the 3rd season (2010: 2.45, 2011: 3.78)  for the 19-year old and he combined for a 3-3, 2.47, 1.08, 14-ST, 51-K, 65.2-IP stat line for both teams (the Mets ‘traded’ their entire DSL1 team halfway through the season for the DSL2 team ???). I can’t see him pitching a fourth season there.

          CL Carlos Coronado – the DSL closer… 4-1, 2.06, 1.00, 27-G, 13-SV, 23-GF, 35.0-IP, 26-K, 5-BB… this is an incredibly low BB-9 ratio for this level. Just turned 21. He’s ready for the visa.

          SS Leon Canelon – .302/.361/.386/.747, 9-E, 11-SB… only 2nd year in organization though he is 21-years old (where were these guys hiding since they were 14?). He easily would make the GSL team, and should make Kingsport because the Mets are light at this position at this level right now.

John Sickles came out with his top 50 prospect bats. I’m come to respect John over the years because he’s not afraid to admit he had things wrong early. There are 30 teams in the league, so you’re looking for at least two names here to make your future look above average. Well, 3B Wilmer Flores came in at #28 and that was it. I was hoping to see Aderlin Rodriguez on it, but, considering the last three names were Bubba Starling, Kyle Parker, and Dan Vogelbach, I can fully understand why he didn’t make it.

The Mets have been allotted approximately $6,487,300 in the 2013 draft bonus pool. Last year’s figure was $7,151,400, but they spent only $6,285,400. $185,600 will be carried over to the 2014 draft.

I remember University of Tennessee senior RHP Zack Godley’s last playoff season at Bamberg Ehrhardt H.S. (SC). I was standing behind the stands smoking a cigarette with his mother who was pissed at the Mets and their approach to his son the day of the draft. Godley was drafted in the 50th round and was basically told via phone that there wasn’t even travel money, no less a bonus or contract for her son. No, if he wanted to ‘try out’ (as she put it) he was welcomed to hop the bus, Gus. Well, he didn’t and went on to UT and went 4-2, 3.50, in 12-G, 11-ST last season. I’m sure his mother is proud.

I heard from P Dylan Owen regarding any participation this year in winter ball: “I’m probably just hanging out at home”, said Owen. “I was thinking about Venezuela again but I don’t know if I can do it. I need some rest.” With a little luck, Owen could have been Dillon Gee or, at least, Collin McHugh. He was in line a couple of times for the next call up in case someone went down, but it just didn’t happen. This will be Owen’s last season under the Mets control and I hope he goes out with a bang. Six year stat line in the minors: 45-44, 4.46, 1.39, 690-IP, 537-K, 253-BB, 1-NH. Observation: Frankly, he needs a good spring training to guarantee a job in Las Vegas. 2012 was a bad year in Buffalo (4-9, 6.28, 1.64). My money is on him.

The entire Baltimore Orioles starting lineup in Game 5 against the Yankees is $25.7mil. A-Rod is $29mil.

Two-way player, Texas Tech WR/NYM OF Bradley Marquez, suffered a significant knee injury in Saturday’s game, which just may end his progress and career with the New York Mets. Marquez was a role the dice over-slot pick that the Mets obviously hoped would give up the gridiron someday to be a full time baseball player. In fact, he was already hinting that way going into Saturday’s game.

In my opinion, all these two-sport player signings are bullshit and just another waste of a pick. The Mets could have easily taken this over-slot money and added it to the offer made to Teddy Stankiewicz and the team would have another real time pitching prospect in their chain. Just bullshit.

I Might Be Wrong, But… Mets Rule 5 Guys, Josh Satin, Jeff Kaplan, Steve Matz, Akeel Morris, 2013 Salary Template, Rarefied Air

I can’t find an official Rule 5 list, but I did compile at least these guys:

P – Zack Wheeler (ya think?), Chris Schwinden, Gonzalez Germen, Darin Gorski, Brad Holt, Armondo Rodriguez, Luis Cessa

IF – Josh Satin, Eric Campbell, Alan Dykstra, Jefry Marte, Wilfredo Tovar, Aderlin Rodriguez

OF – Alonzo Harris

C – Juan Centeno, Francisco Pena

-I have to think that 1B-2B-OF Josh Satin will be one of the first players lost in the Rule Five Draft (December 6, 2012). I did talk with Josh on Friday night and he reminded me that, technically, he still has two more years on his Mets contract. You sign your life away for seven years when you’re drafted and, in the case if Satin, it sure seems like a lifetime of hell. This is a guy that has a 5-year stat line of: .303/.396/.462/.857 and he just can’t get this team to take him serious. Let’s compare this to other minor league career stat lines… Lucas Duda (6-yrs): .284/.380/.469/.849… Kirk Nieuwenhuis (5-yrs): .280/.354/.464/.817… Ike Davis (3-yrs): .288/.371/.467/.837… Daniel Murphy (4-yrs): .295/.356/.452/.808… the Mets were going to play him exclusively last year in the outfield during the Venezuelan Fall League, but it just didn’t happen. According to Baseball Cube, he still hasn’t played a game in the outfield and, if you don’t try here, at least trade the guy and get yourself someone before you’re going to lose your next Mike Carp.

-Speaking of Rule Five candidates… that aren’t (or are they?… 27-yr. old RHRP Jeff Kaplan clawed himself back from repeated injuries and posted a 2012 stat line (St.Lucie/Binghamton) of: 5-0, 3.50, 25-appearances. He’s 17-14, 3.02 lifetime, with 212-K in 259-IP. He gets a 6th year push due to his only one appearance in 2010. Considered a finesse pitcher, he has given up only nine home runs his entire career.

Jeff was philosophical about his career so far: “Mack, this off season will be devoted to making sure I am healthy and ready to go next season. There are some things that I can’t control, but what I can do is make sure I am preparing myself the best I can. I believe I am Rule 5 eligible, but I can’t answer that for sure, I do not keep up with that kind of stuff, sorry. All I am focused on at this point is being able to pitch. Hope that helps. Jeff

I expect Kaplan will start 2013 back with Binghamton, get his legs, and move on to Las Vegas by the all-star break.

Someone far from worrying about the Rule 5 Draft is SP Steve Matz. He just started getting his strength back in 2012 with a horrible Kingsport (6-starts, 2-1, 1.55) when the arm tightened up, probably from throwing too hard (100) too early. Matz told me last Sunday that he’s fine:

“Hey Mack, hope all is well. Just got done with instructs feeling good after long tossing so I’m just on a normal off season program until next year.”

Observation: Still only 21, I see him finished 2013 in Savannah, St. Lucie in 2014, and a Queens ETA (26-yrs. old).

I talked to P Akeel Morris and asked if he received a winter assignment this year. Morris said: “Hey Mack, no sir I’m not… not this year.” Everything was going along hunky-dory for Morris. He was a top SP prospect out of the Virgin Islands and went 8-G, 6-ST, 1-1, 2.19 for the GCL Mets in 2010 and 11-G, 11-ST, 3-2, 2.86 for Kingsport in 2011. Then, everything just seem to go to hell, ending with a 7-18 start (2.1-IP, 7-ER) followed by 7-24 (2.0-IP, 10-ER). Who leaves a kid in for 10 runs in the first two innings? The geniuses at K-Port immediately banished him to the bullpen, which might have been the best thing to happen to him. The pressure was off the 19-year old and he actually settled down, giving up only two runs in his last five outings (16-IP, 27-K). Morris added that there was nothing wrong with his arm: “My arm feels good… No there was nothing physically wrong.. Just had a tough year”. Observation: Like fellow-fallen prospect Juan Urbina, there really is no room for the two of them in the 2013 Savannah rotation, which will feature the crew from Brooklyn and John Gant. Hell, there isn’t even room for Miller Diaz. It looks like Savannah has a new middle reliever, with closer potential.

Here’s your 2013 “Salary Template” as of today:

SP (4) – Johan Santana $31mil, SP R.A. Dickey $5mil, Jon Niese $3mil, Matt Harvey $490K

RP (6) – Frank Francisco $6.5 million, Jeurys Familia $490K, Jenry Mejia $490K, Robert Carson $490K, Elvin Ramirez $490K, Josh Edgin $490K

IF (1) – David Wright $15.350mil

OF –(3) Jason Bay $19mil, Jordany Valdespin $490K, Kirk Nieuwenhuis $490K,

That’s 14 members of the 25-man that total $83,770,000

Guys (and their 2012 salary) that still need to be added, are:

SP – Dillon Gee $502K

RP – Bobby Parnell $504K, Manny Acosta $875K

IF – Justin Turner $491,209, Ruben Tejada $491,209, Josh Thole $498,920 (going into arbitration), Ike Davis $506,690 (going into arbitration), Daniel Murphy $512,192 (going into arbitration),

OF – Mike Baxter $480K, Lucas Duda $497,218

That’s 10 more members of the 25-man, which now total 24. You’re short a catcher (Shoppach).

The 10 added had a combined 2012 salary of $5,358,438

‘HoJo’s Mojo’, over at Metsmerized, estimates that it will cost the Mets around $6.5mil more to close a deal for Murphy, Thole, Davis, and Parnell. I add a $2mil salary for Shoppach and the numbers come in at:

25-men, $99,462,438, no new players

Most vulnerable player/projection: Acosta – $963K

There seems to be around nothing to spend to improve here unless you replace someone already in uniform with a new face.

Our friends over at Metsmerized made a good point this past week. The lighter air in Las Vegas could distort both sides of the stats. Hitters will find it easier getting ball off the bat, while pitchers will have a devil of a time keeping their ERAs down.

‘Mr. North Jersey’, over at The Real Dirty Mets added to this by comparing the AAA-IL and AAA-PCL over a 5-year period: IL: .261/.329/.399/8,208-HR/41,120-RBI… PCL: .278/.348/.434, 11,163-HR, 55,882-RBI (not even close).

I was stationed in Denver and spent time playing tennis in Boulder. It’s a lot different folks and things just seem to go easier with ‘something’ in your hands (bat, club, racket, etc.). I’m sure the Mets are rethinking their priorities regarding Zack Wheeler and Darin Gorski. On the other hand, do you hype up Wilmer Flores and Matt den Dekker? Lastly, what a great place to send a marginal hitting prospect to pump up the jam for a possible in-season trade. ‘Mr. North Jersey’ added.

2013 MLB mock draft

My first personal (not the compilation version) mock this year was on August 26th. It’s time for this to be updated:

1.    RHP Mark Appel – Stanford – I’m going to stay with Appel until someone comes along and knocks him off the hill. He probably should have been drafted first last year. I still think, in the long run, teams will pick pitchers first and this draft only seems to have a couple of top ones. You pass on these first three guys and you may kick yourself in the ass for years.

2.    RHP Ryne Stanek – Arkansas – Stanek is a sure fire overall first pick if Appel didn’t come back to Stanford. Frankly, he still might be. Scouts say he could be ready for the majors by opening day 2014.

3.    LHP Sean Manaea – Indiana State – we all know that Manaea is the best lefty out there… but, this is another bad LHP class (when was the last good one?) and we just have no one to compare him to. A top 5 team just can’t pass on him.

4.    OF Austin Meadows – Grayson (GA) – I can’t believe I dropped Meadows to 4th. He’s easily the top pick overall on talent, but, like I said before, pitchers go a long way on opening day (you will notice I don’t have a lot of RHPs in this round. I just don’t like what I’m seeing going into this season).

5.    OF Clint Frazier – Loganville (GA) – Frazier might pass Meadows in the draft before everything is over in June. He potentially is the top every day player out there.

6.    RHP Clinton Holton – Woodford H.S. (KY) – Holton could have actually been first if it wasn’t for some tendon soreness that slowed down his progress in late 2011. The best pure arm out of high school, but scouts are watching closely for additional arm problems.

7.    OF Austin Wilson – Stanford – I simply love this guy and, overall tools wise, may be the best pure athlete in the draft. Sure wish he could fall to 11th.

8.    C Jeremy Martinez – Mater Dei (CA) – Martinez could go anywhere from 6-12, but he will be the top catcher picked in the draft. I particularly like this year for catchers, though I’m not sure if I like it because other positions come up so weak. Martinez isn’t weak. He’s a sure-fire top 10 pick.

9.    OF Justin Williams – Terrebonne (LA) – Here’s your bat. John Sickles says he’s the best there is in the draft and John knows a few things about this subject. People go to the stadium just to see his BP and then drive home before the game. A future star.

10.                      3B Kris Bryant – San Diego  – Bryant remains throughout the early mock season as the top third baseman, a position I see him keeping up to June. He’s one of those “draft him and don’t worry about the position for the next 10 years” kind of guys. Everyone loves them.

11.  (Mets)        OF Aaron Judge –   Fresno State – Okay, my next pick on talent along was Oscar Mercado, but I just couldn’t list the Mets drafting another shortstop. Judge’s bat is very close to Williams and I have him a lot higher than everyone else out on the mock trail. The Mets need to show fans they are trying to address the outfield problems, though drafting one in 2013 isn’t going to help them in the next three years. The easy pick would be William Abreu, but I think Judge is going to hit the snot off the ball this season for FS.

12.                      SS Oscar Mercado – Gaither (FL) – Mercado isn’t dropping in the draft. It’s just that other guys playing other positions are getting more pre-season hype. He’s easily the top shortstop in the draft and, if a team needs one, he’ll go higher.

13.                      3B Colin Moran – North Carolina  – Moran can play most of the infield effectively and looks to be a safe bet on draft day. Another of those college guys that could move fast.

14.                      LHP Stephen Gonsalves – Cathedral Catholic (CA) – the only thing that Gonsalves did wrong so far this off-season was start off as the top lefty in the mocks. You know people love to pick away at the King of the Hill. Still, he’s been on every first round mock so far (21) and he reminds me of Lance McCullers Jr. last year. Everybody wanted to hate him come draft day and all he does is pitch well.

15.                      RHP Kohl Stewart – St. Pius (TX) – the new hot shot kid of the mock circuit…  the summer leagues create all these new names and, frankly, they are starting to be a better place to evaluate high school talent. You at least know they are playing against a team stocked with quality players rather than some shrimp school back in their home county.

16.                      OF William Abreu – Mater (FL) – another early mock favorite

17.                      RHP Dylan Covey – San Diego – Covey had a very inconsistent 2011 and needs to dominate this year to get back to the top 10 area he deserves to be in

18.                      3B Trey Williams – College of the Canyons – I seem to be the only pundit out there that has this handfull on the map. Big-time high school prospect that has been in and out of 567 schools (of course there isn’t an attitude problem here) and now he’s enrolled in some school just to become freshman eligible. Still, a top talent.

19.                      RHP Karsten Whitson – Florida – Whitson might have been getting all the headlines if he either signed out of high school or wasn’t both injured and inconsistent in college. Lots of talent here that just doesn’t seem to be able to put it all together anymore. Needs a big junior season.

20.                      LHP Ian Clarkin – James Madison (CA) – another summer ball wonder

21.                      RHP Bobby Wahl – Mississippi

22.                      LHP Marco Gonzales – Gonzaga

23.                      RHP Adam Plutko – UCLA

24.                      C Reese McGuire – Kentwood (WA)

25.                      RHP Chris Oakey – St. Augustine Prep (NJ)

26.                      LHP Trey Ball – Chrysler (IN)

27.                      C Logan Koch – South Mecklinburg (NC)

28.                      C Zack Collins – America Heritage (FL)

29.                      C Chris Okey – Eustis (FL)

30.                      SS Chris Rivera – El Dorado (CA)

31.                      LHP Jonah Wesely – Tracy (CA)

The Mets next pick will be a compensation pick for not signing Teddy Stankiewicz. Right now, that’s the 76th pick overall in the 2nd round, giving the Mets two second round picks.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a deep draft, but it’s good for outfielders and catchers. There should still be some interesting names around when the Mets turns come up.

Possible candidates:

RHP – Austin Kubitza (Rice), A.J. Vanegas (Stanford), Corey Knebel (Texas), Tom Windle (Minnesota), Forrest Koumas (South Carolina)

LHP – Zach Farmer (Piketon HS), A.J. Puk (Washington HS),

C –           Jake Wise (Arkansas), Anthony Sherlag (Simeon HS), Tyler Alamo (Cypress HS)

2B –        LJ Mazzilli (Connecticut)

SS –         forgettaboutit

OF –        Brandon Thomas (GT), Mike Yastrzemski (Vanderbilt), JaCoby Jones (LSU), Phillip Erwin (Samford), Josh Hart (Parkview HS), Jared King (Kansas State)

Remembering the 1962 Mets

I was a junior at Richmond Hill High School in 1962 and I was quite excited that Queens was getting its own baseball team. I grew up a Dodger fan and had my first slap of reality when the trucks left town.

It would have been hard enough to root for the Giants, but they left too. And becoming a Yankees fan was simply not an option.

A friend of mine told me that the Mets were holding tryouts at the Polo Grounds during their first road series. Coaches Cookie Lavagetto and Solly Hemus were left back to handle the mob, so I grabbed my third baseman mitt, hopped on the A train, and walked in with the rest of the kids. It seemed strange not getting on the A-22 bus on Atlantic Avenue to Brooklyn, but those days were over.

It also didn’t matter I was 15-years old or I wasn’t on the high school baseball team because I had to work every day after school. No, I just wanted my fair shot.

I think one high school player was signed from that and the rest of us all went home, but we had a baseball team to root for again!

The team?

General Manager George Weiss made the decision to sell seats rather than wins games. He chose Yankee legend Casey Stengel to be the manager, who brought along Lavagetto, Hemus, Rogers Hornsby, and Red Ruffing as coaches.

Next came the expansion draft, which took place on the same day another team (the Houston Colt 45s) were brought into the league. Houston chose to concentrate on ‘prospects’ and stayed away from the list of old war horses supplied by the other teams.

The Mets didn’t and continued to draft, trade, or sign “big names.” Ex-Dodgers Roger Craig, Clem Labine, and Gil Hodges were joined by household names like Richie Ashburn, Gus Bell, and Don Zimmer, but all were past their prime. The action served its purpose, generating a gate of 922,530 which was good enough for 7th in the National League that year.

It’s interesting to look back and see how much this game has changed. The Mets operated that year with four starters. Jay Hook (8-19, 4.84), Roger Craig (10-24, 4.51) and Al Jackson (8-20, 4.40) started 115 games. Bob L. Miller (1-12) started the majority of the others, but we always got him confused with Bob G. Miller, who was also a pitcher on this team. Mets fans in 1962 didn’t need more confusion.

The Mets finished the season 40-120. Houston came in at 64-96. Yes, we had a team back but it was our Dodgers that finished 102-63, one game behind the San Francisco Giants at 103-62.

The 1962 Mets. Seven years away from 1969. The only sign of things to come came on June 27th when the Mets signed amateur free agent Ed Kranepool.

The team also made a couple of decent trades early on. The traded a PTBNL to the Milwaukee Brewers for OF-1B Frank Thomas who went on to a 34-HR, 94-RBI season for the 1962 team.

And the Mets traded Hobie Landrith (their first pick in the expansion draft) to the Orioles for 1B Marv Throneberry, who became a Mets legend despite only playing 130 games for the club.

How would you like to have Landrith’s legacy of being discarded by your original team in the expansion draft, playing for the world’s worst team, getting traded because you’re not good enough for even the worst, and the player you’re trade for turns out to be someone that made Ron Swoboda look like a Golden Glove candidate?

I still remember that first home game. I have some great photos of Choo Choo Coleman and Jackson and actually got then WABC-radio reporter Howard Cosell to say something to me. He walked in front of the gate I snuck up to in order to take the pictures and I said sarcastically “this is Howard Cosell…”. He looked at me and said, “Indeed, it is…” and kept walking.

You see, the thing is, we weren’t Mets fans yet. We still were ex-Dodgers and Giants fans trying to get it up for this new team playing in a miserable stadium. We thought this was going to be a good team because most of the starting team had been stars in the past. The reporters wrote that this was a dawn for New York baseball and there was no place to go but up, which, by the time the season ended, proved profoundly correct.

Those of us that lived in Queens followed the progress of Shea Stadium, a brand new stadium for our brand new team. No more 483-ft center field wall? The fact is no home run was ever recorded to have gone over dead center in the Polo Grounds. And, if you think that was bad, this was a cut back from a previous version of this stadium built in 1890 that had it as deep as 500-feet.

Look, 1962 was the bomb for kids that lived in Queens. We didn’t know that the team we now had down the block would win the whole enchilada in their 8th season ever, nor did we know they would only win it once more time until today. I haven’t lived in New York for 32 years and I’ve become an expert on what non-New Yorkers think of this team. General baseball fans believe this is one of the most proven unsuccessful teams in professional sports. How can you have a team in the largest city in the country with a population large enough for four teams and consistently come up this short?

I’m constantly asked why there is no heritage on this team. I’m reminded a large portion of the best players ever were mired in drug and alcohol abuse, while the rest were traded away so they could end their all-star career with someone else. They laugh when Mets blogs write about ‘The All Time Mets Team’, when none of these guys ever finish the race in Queens.

And, as someone reminded me this week… “here you go again, first Reyes and now, possibly Wright”.

There was no past in 1962, and the future was just that, the future.

New York City had a National League baseball team. What’s better than that?

The business of Mets baseball Part II: Keeping Wilpon’s lobsters

Okay, we now have down on paper how the Wilpon family became Mets owners, the era of Omar Minaya, the beginning of Sandy & Company, the recession, and ‘The House That Number 42 Built’.

I’m going to dumb it down a little here so everyone can understand just how a business survives and what determines the value of your business for a resale or refinancing.

The profit of a company is based on the difference between revenues generated and operating costs.

In the case of the Mets, revenues include ticket sales, network support, merchandising sales, parking fees, vendor support money and a myriad amount of other secondary items.

Operating costs include depreciation and amortization[i], (in short form, depreciation is a term used in accounting, economics and finance to spread the cost of an asset over the span of several years. Amortization or amortization is the process of decreasing or accounting for an amount over a period of time), player salaries, stadium costs, maintenance, utilities, league fees, etc.

Like I said earlier… money in, money out.

What operating costs doesn’t include is corporate costs, salaries of officers and Board members, corporate luxury box maintenance, lavish meals in those three separate corporate boxes used by Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Saul Katz (yes, they each have their own luxury suite), corporate automobiles and aircraft, airline costs, or travel costs, etc.

(I remember one particular job I had working for a bank as a workout artist, liquidating radio properties. My “General Manager salary” was $130,000, but my corporate expense account that didn’t go to the bottom line was $20,000… a month.)

According to Josh Kosman’s report in early this month, which came out in the New York Post, the Mets are expected to “lose” $23million dollars this season.[ii]

Sandy Alderson already is on record that the loss last year was $60mil. (Eno Sarris/SB Nation reported it was $70millon[iii]

The Mets payroll was cut from approximately $143mil in 2011 to $95mil in 2012. That’s a reduction of $48mil.[iv]

So, they lost $60mil, cut salaries by $43mil, which leaves you a loss of $17mil… oops, nope, the loss reported is $23mil.

So, we still have $6mil more to go to turn black without removing a lobster from the menu in Fred’s luxury box.

On the basis of how I used to be reviewed, this isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s definitely online for a return to profit in 2013, even if the team continues to sell fewer tickets. Operating goals look to be easily achievable after the loss of Johan Santana’s $31mil and Jason Bay’s $21mil contracts. The safe approach would be to go into this season with the current salary structure, take it on the chin, and come out of it with an additional $52mil off the bottom line.

Instead, the approach seems to be that the Mets are going to increase the current payroll by $5mil (woop-dee-do), sell fewer tickets, lose more games, and wait for 2014 to roll around.

Based on that plan, 2014’s salaries will be in the $48mil range, the team will operate far above that, and additional players can be added through trades and free agency that will improve the team but still keep it profitable.

Got it?

Look, I’m sure I’ve got something wrong here (I always do), but, in my world, it looks like the Mets will put a decent team on the field in 2014 and return to a profitable business under the Wilpon family.

So, there will be no reason to change the owners.

Isn’t that special?

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[i] http://www.wikiwealth.com/dictionary:d-a

[ii] http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/sports/2012/09/6536279/wilpons-mets-are-still-shrinking

[iii] http://www.amazinavenue.com/2012/9/26/3405872/mets-crg-finance-bankruptcy

[iv] http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/?page_id=158

The business of Mets baseball Part I – Wilpon history

The minor league players have left the clubhouses and the major league season is heading towards the playoffs. There’s plenty of coverage here from the other writers regarding what will go on in October, so I’m going to move down to the end of the dugout and revisit a subject I wrote in length about on my old blog.

It’s important for every fan to fully understand the current financial situation of the Mets. We’re not talking about the Bernie Madoff mess, which is old news for the bean counters on Roosevelt Avenue. No, this is a ‘money in, money’ out analysis of a business that is currently prevented from competing against their competition who have more assets rather than debtors.

For starters, I ask all of you to read Howard Megdal’s outstanding e-book, “Wilpon’s Folly: The Story of a Man, His Fortune, and the New York Mets”. Click on the link to purchase at Amazon. As a Mets fan, it’s the best $10 you can spend.

My credentials to write this series of posts are simple: I held various positions in my 32-year broadcasting career including managerial positions for radio stations in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. I was VP-broadcast liquidation/acquisitions for GE Capital, Executive Vice President of Sales for Capstar Broadcasting, and owned and operated seven of my own radio stations under two companies.

I understand business and was well known as a ‘workout artist’ similar to the kind of work Mitt Romney did for Bain Capital. My job was simply… turn a profit and set up a business for a resale in a flourishing economy. This made me and my partners a lot of money during good times, and cost us everything twice, first in the 80s, and lastly, this past slowdown. People like me don’t have pension plans. We double down and eat dinner at The Palm when things are good (or, as in the case of this Labor Day, I had two hot dogs and some old salsa dip that was turning in the refrigerator).

Fred Wilpon bought a one-percent stake in the Mets in 1980, when Charles Shipman Payson sold the team, with Doubleday & Co. holding the remaining interest. In 1986, Doubleday president Nelson Doubleday, Jr. sold off his company, and he and Wilpon each bought a 50 percent stake in the Mets to become full partners. In 2002, the Wilpon Family purchased the remaining 50% of the Mets from Doubleday for $135 million[i]

(By the way… how would you like to become the 100% owner of a major league baseball team that wins the World Championship the same year of your purchase?)

As fans, we have now seen four playoff seasons since the purchase, two ugly near-misses in 2007 and 2008, 10 managers, and what seems like countless players, but, up to the Madoff scandal, there always seem to be hope.

In 2004, hope seems to turn to gold when Omar Minaya returned to the Mets as General Manager. Minaya seemed to have the ear of Wilpon and convinced him that the team had to compete, salary wise, with their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees. He came out of the box with the free agent signing of P Pedro Martinez and OF Carlos Beltran. The Mets almost made the playoffs in 2005 (83-79) and fans could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It got even better in 2006. Beltran brought in more red meat: Closer Billy Wagner, 1B Carlos Delgado, IF Jose Valentin, OF Endy Chavez, UT Julio Franco and C Paul Lo Duca. He also pulled off successful trades for OF Xavier Nady and then unknown P John Maine. The Mets won the National League East by 12 games and who cared who owned the team?

And then, on 1-29-08 came ‘The Trade’: Minaya’s predecessor, Steve Phillips had warned him that “prospects can get you fired”, so Minaya traded four of the Mets top ones (Carlos Gómez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra) to the Minnesota Twins for what most baseball pundits thought was the top pitcher in baseball, P Johan Santana. Mets weenies went bat-shit saying the organization was cleaned out (they were!), but Minaya had a plan and Santana would be the last piece.

What followed was unpredictable: in no particular order, the collapse of the 2007 season, the collapse of 2008 season, Madoff, the Jason Bay contract, the economy stupid, the J.J. Putz deal, all of which led to Minaya being fired and replaced by Sandy Alderson.

Still, through all this, people turned turnstiles, turns on network broadcasts, bought hot dogs and took pictures of the old Shea Stadium while Fred and Company poured money into the plan and construction of his “new Ebbets Field”. The entrance would like just like the old place on Bedford Avenue, pictures of Jackie Robinson and old teammates would be in the rotunda and, hell, even old Dodgers like Fred’s old schoolmate, Sandy Koufax would be around during the kickoff (me?… well, I thought this was the New York Mets home, and the feature guy should someone like Tom Seaver or Straw, but what do I know?).

But looking like a stadium that was demolished 51 years ago wasn’t the problem. The problem was the fact that, after two mayors had two different plans to help fund this venture, the Wilpon family had to officially pluck down $420mil to begin the construction of the stadium that would take them through their lease that expires in 2049.

You add to this the approximate $700mil Wilpon lost in the Madoff scandal, the interest on the bills and bank debt that remained unpaid, the money under the table to the people that work at that level in the New York construction business, and the $162mil settlement in the Picard lawsuit (balanced off by the minority selloff of shares to individuals like Bill Maher and Jerry Seinfield) and you have a man and family that simply no longer has the financial capability to operate a business that isn’t turning a profit.

So, are the Mets ‘turning a profit’?

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Yikes, The Dikes!

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[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Wilpon

Mets’ lousy play puts elite draftees within reach

While the fans are turned off by the team’s rotten play, there may be a silver lining. The race is on for the top draft pick. Here are teams ranked by their current number of losses

1. Houston 102

2. Cubs 92

3. Colorado 91

4. Minnesota 88

5. Cleveland 88

6. Miami 84

7. Mets 83

8. Boston 83

9. Toronto 82

10. Kansas City 81

The Mets are entering hallowed territory.

In no particular order, the cream of this crop in the 2013 draft are LHP Sean Manaea, RHPs Mark Appel and Ryne Stanek, and OF Austin Meadows. There is no way any of these four will be around after the first five or six picks.

The good news is the Mets may be in position for the sixth pick by the end of this weekend and, if they keep giving up 17 runs while hitting three hits, Cleveland and Minnesota are in reach as well.

The good news is three are pitchers. The Mets will not target a pitcher with their first pick. Drafting this low will guarantee them the chance to call out the name of a decent one in the second round.

Meadows is a sure fire #1-3 pick so let’s move on from that one.

Here’s are the “best of the rest” that will most probably still be around when the Mets pick:

C Jeremy Martinez – Mater Dei H.s. (CA) – MLBDC – Baseball (and football) powerhouse Mater Dei catcher Jeremy Martinez has all the tools to be a standout catcher at the professional level. His defensive ability is off the charts. His pop-time (1.87) stands out and compares to some of the best backstops playing in the big-leagues today, who average around 1.80. His arm is plenty strong and he has incredibly soft hands. At 5’11” and 195 pounds he has the size to stay behind the plate for the long-haul. At the plate, Martinez is also a threat. He’s more developed than Austin Hedges, who was drafted by San Diego last year, and who was also noted for his superior defensive ability. Hedges earned a $3 million signing bonus despite being selected in the second-round. Martinez projects to have above-average power and should be a decent hitter for average as well.

C Reese McGuire – Kentwood H.S. (Wash) – PG – Reese McGuire is a 2013 C/3B with a 6-1 190 lb. frame from Kent, WA who attends Kentwood HS. Square shouldered athletic build, strong with room for more strength. Outstanding defensive catcher, cat-like quickness shifting, blocks balls as well as any HS catcher in many years, very quick release on throws, 1.84 best pop, threw 83 mph between innings, sacrifices arm strength for quickness/accuracy at times. Left handed hitter, open spread stance, gets too wide with his base at times, very good bat speed, explodes hands at the ball, makes game adjustments to shorten up, has lift/power but can also take ball the opposite way, still developing real identify as a hitter but has the tools. Defense and athleticism stands out, plays the game hard. Good student, verbal commitment to San Diego.

3B Kris Bryant – San Diego – PG – Kris Bryant is a 2010 3B/1B with a 6’5”, 205 lb. frame from Las Vegas, NV who attends Bonanza HS. Tall athletic body, long levers, very projectable strength. Easy low effort swing, huge leverage and lift in swing, can hit them plus high and far, has serious hitting ability, can shorten swing to velo, quick hands. 7.00 runner, best under way, balanced actions defensively, hands are soft. Power could be something extra special. Corey Hart/Dave Kingman comp physically, but maybe better hitter. Early draft prospect. Excellent student, verbal to San Diego. Aflac All-American

OF Austin Wilson – Stanford – PG – Austin Wilson is a 2010 OF with a 6’4”, 200 lb. frame from Los Angeles, CA who attends Harvard Westlake HS. Impressive physical athletic speciman, Andre Dawson build, huge strength potential. Good swing, simple approach, stays short for size, shows plus bat speed at times, definite serious power potential, ball jumps off bat hard. Big time RF tools, long release but huge arm strength, 98 mph in drills, 6.76 runner with good range. Scores high in make up and character department. Early draft prospect. Excellent student. Aflac All-American.

OF Clint Frazier – Loganville H.S. (GA) – Scout report from friend: “OF, Clint Frazier, Loganville HS, Ga, 5’11 1/2 190 R/R, fleet footed with comparable tools to Mike Trout at the same stage of their careers. Had an outstanding Under Armour game to put his stock on the rise.

Thoughts on the Garrioch Mets prospect list

My good buddy, Matt Garrioch of MLB Prospect Guide and Minor League Ball, comes out every year with his top prospect list and we both go professionally head to head with each other (it has been professional, right Matt J) over what he was smoking when he came up with some of these names. Of course, both of us are just applying opinions here, which, as the old saying goes…

Matt has 666 followers on Twitter. I have 70. Is this where I insert the ‘quality verses quantity’ piece?

Here are Matt’s pics and my thoughts:

AAA – International League

Hitting – none – I can’t agree more. The system didn’t produce one potential major league starter. Zach Lutz (.298)  and Josh Satin (.286) both had a nice year, but are far from the top 15 hitters in AAA. This seems to be a yearly pattern with this team and it sure would be nice if the policies of the Mets could change so more prospects could play, trip, fall, pick themselves up, and learn to play at this level, rather than field AAAA players (Fred Lewis, Bobby Scales, Val Pascuchi, etc) that have no future in Queens. Enough of this.

Pitching –   #2 – Jeurys Familia

#6 – Matt Harvey

#11 – Jenrry Mejia – Matt and I never agree about everything, but I have to tell you this. You’re going to have to look far and wide to find someone that ranks Familia ahead of Harvey. I don’t even have him second in AAA this year. That would go to Josh Edgn, with Mejia coming in a close third. It seems that Edgin and Harvey have successfully made the jump to Queens, but overall, the production out of the AAA franchise is once again sub-par.

I will say this. Prospects were once again exposed early to the MLB due to injuries on the parent squad and players like Kirk Nieuwenhius and Luca Duda had their downside exposed

AA – Eastern League

Hitting –     #3 – Wilmer Flores

#5 – Jefry Marte

#9 – Wilfredo Tovar – I don’t understand how you leave off a .340 hitter from this list. I believe Matt Den Dekker was leading the league in hitting when he was promoted to AAA. Garrioch does list players that excelled at multiple levels. Doesn’t Dekker deserve a proper ranking here, even though his AAA stint was sub-par? The Eastern League should be disbanded and the players auctioned off if Marte’s .251 stint ranks him the best prospect overall. I barely had him fifth on the B-Mets alone.

Pitching –   #4 – Zack Wheeler – IMO, Matt is correct here. Ryan Fraser had a nice go here, but he’s not one of the top 15 pitchers in the league.

A+ – Florida State League

Hitting –     #5 – Wilfredo Tovar

#7 – Wilmer Flores – I tried to figure out Matt’s criteria in ranking Tovar this high. He batters .284 while with this team, which would rank him at the end of the season as the 13th top hitter. I can understand the Flores pick because he ranks fourth overall in the league. Also, it’s obvious that hitting one less than the league leading home run hitter (Cory Vaughn) doesn’t get you on the list unless you bat over .250 (.243). Basically, this was a team full of .250 hitters, proving they future is in doubt.

Pitching –   #11 – Rafael Montero

#14 – Jack Leathersich – I would have considered an injured Tyler Pill here, but, if I had to have two, Matt’s got the right ones.

A – South Atlantic League

Hitting –     none  – and you thought St. Lucie hitters were meh? The Mets seem to consistently drafting players at all positions that simply don’t have the skills to stand out. Has this become that big of a pitcher dominated sport now. OF Travis Taijeron did well here, but faded at Lucy. Aderlin Rodriguez did his annual twice-the errors-to-home-runs ration and finally got out of town And OF Dustin Lawley’s 14 HRs gave us something to keep an eye on, but it was C Cam Maron who was the closest thing to a bat here (and he couldn’t throw out Toby Hyde at second. I sure hope the Mets return to the free agency market in 2014-2015 because, between what played in St. Lucie and Savannah this year, you’ve got two years of bad road coming down the highway.

Pitching –   #3 – Michael Fulmer

#14 – Domingo Tapia – It’s a shame Logan Verrett had to spend time on the DL for a questionable injury during a period where there were too many starters on the roster. He definitely would have made this list.

Low-A – New York Penn League

Hitting –     #11 – Phillip Evans – Phillip Evans? What are you talking about, Willis? Is Matt a close relative? A .252 batting average for a top prospect at this level should earn you nothing. The only player that came close to the top 15 should have been Eudy Pina.

Pitching –   #2 – Gabriel Ynoa

#9 – Luis Cessa

#10 – Hansel Robles – and Matt easily could have kept going from there with up to three more names. A very talented staff, though generally old of the level they played at.

Rookie – Appalachian League

Hitting –     #12 – Tomas Nido

Pitching –   #9 – Robert Gsellman – Nido batted ..242??? Is this a name fetish? Gsellman had a 1.37 WHIP. I’m sorry, the only player on this team that showed me something was an early Steven Matz and a late John Gant.

Rookie – Dominican Summer League

Hitting –     #5 – Vicente Lupo – no doubt about this one, but remember the name C Adrian Abreu.

Pitching –   none

***DRAFT ALERT***

I need to bring to your attention that, if the season ended on 9-13 before going into the night’s schedule of games, the Mets would have been granted the 8th pick in the 1st round of the 2012 draft.

This is like, really big shit folks and, even the Mets would have a hard time passing over one of the quality names at the beginning of the draft.

The A+ blue-chippers (in no particular order) are:

RHP  Mark Appel

OF Austin Meadows

LHP   Sean Manaea

RHP Ryne Stanek

C Jeremy Martinez

SS Oscar Mercado

3B Kris Bryant

There would be so much still ‘out there’, including ‘pop’ outfielders like college boys Austin Wilson, Aaron Judge, and Tony Kemp, all of which could end the year at AA.

(Imagine what could have been… an outfield of Wilson, Brandon Nimmo, and Courtney Hawkins)

Sand Gnats & Mets extend affiliation through 2014 season

Savannah, GA – The Savannah Sand Gnats and the New York Mets today jointly announced they have renewed their Player Development Contract for two more years. The renewal will keep Savannah as a Mets’ affiliate through the 2014 season.

During the Mets affiliation, the Sand Gnats have enjoyed some of their most successful seasons in franchise history. The Sand Gnats were the South Atlantic League First Half Champions in back-to-back seasons (2010 and 2011). The 2012 team roster boasted a deep roster of starting pitching and position players, with three players representing Savannah at the South Atlantic League All-Star game in June.

In addition, former Sand Gnats have already made a splash in the major leagues.This season, Collin McHugh and Josh Edgin became the latest former Sand Gnats to make their major league debut for the Mets. Other notable former Sand Gnats to come from the Mets-Sand Gnats partnership include Josh Thole, Robert Carson and Jeurys Familia. Johan Santana also made a start for the Gnats during the 2011 playoffs: a game which boasted record-breaking attendance numbers for the post-season.

“We’re pleased to have the New York Mets back with us to continue our partnership and the development of future major leaguers here in Savannah,” said Sand Gnats President, John Katz. “The Mets have been fabulous partners over the past six years, both in providing strong teams and in helping make a positive impact in the Savannah community. We’re looking forward to two more years together.”

The agreement between the Sand Gnats and Mets goes a long way to make sure the fans of Savannah continue to see winning baseball in the next two years with a first-class organization. During the partnership with the Mets, the Sand Gnats have reached the South Atlantic League playoffs twice, including the 2011 team that came within one strike of winning of the South Atlantic League Championship.

Thanks in large part to community-involvement initiatives put in place by the Mets organization,the Sand Gnats have helped lead the way in giving back to the citizens of the Coastal Empire. This season alone, the Sand Gnats held two extremely successful jersey auction nights, benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project and Susan G.Komen for the Cure, Coastal GA affiliate. Players and front office staff alike have visited children’s hospitals and participated in multiple community outreach programs.

The 2013 Mets Keepers Prospects

It’s not easy to get on my list. These are the names you throw up on the board in the first five minutes. I only have 38. IMO, the Mets don’t have 50 prospects, but, in their defense, neither do any other teams

It is dominated with talented, young starting pitching (14), which is the future of this team.

These are the guys that have an inside change of making it someday to Queens.

This is your future.

1. SP Zack Wheeler – potential future superstar in baseball

2. CF Brandon Nimmo – projected CF NYM star in 2015-2016

3. 2B Wilmer Flores – the 2014 second baseman for the NYM

4. SP Rafael Montero – easily, the most ‘stuff’ past Wheeler

5. RP Jack Leathersich – off the charts K/IP ratio

6. SP Michael Fulmer – incredible poise at his young age

7. RP Jeurys Familia – having difficulty locating the heater

8. SS Phillip Evans – so-so year for projected MIF starter

9. SP Luis Mateo – all scouts say he’s the real deal

10. 3B Aderlin Rodriguez – must move to 1B in the off-season

11. SS Gavin Cecchini – broken finger hurt his 2012 start

12. OF Vicente Lupo – huge DSL star will come stateside in spring

13. OF Cory Vaughn – will only hit HRs until his swing is changed

14. RP Domingo Tapia – just sick, destined for the pen

15. SP Cory Mazzoni – dark horse for 2014 rotation

16. SP Jacob deGrom – scouts/coaches all say he’s for real

17. SP Logan Verrett – steady innings eater than does his job

18. SP Darin Gorski – needs stellar 2013 at AAA to project to Queens

19. 2B Danny Muno – has passed Havens as current top 2B in org.

20. OF Eudy Pina – all tools right now, tremendous ceiling

21. RP Marcos Camarena – finished out of zone, destined for pen

22. SP Tyler Pill – another steady ex-Friday starter that delivers

23. OF Gilbert Gomez – all ceiling, disappointed at Sav. this year

24. OF Cesar Puello – needs a healthy year to get back on the horse

25. 2B Reese Havens – he get one more shot, this time at AAA

26. OF Matt Den Dekker – returns to AAA to hopefully dominate

27. SS Wilfredo Tovar – top trade bait in the organization

28. C Kevin Plawecki – showing why he was drafted in 2nd round

29. OF Darrell Ceciliani – another guy that needs a healthy year

30. SP Steven Matz – pitched excellently in short healthy time

31. SP Rainy Lara – the best of the old men of Brooklyn

32. SP Hansel Robles – great start in Brooklyn

33. SP Gabriel Ynoa – great start in Brooklyn v.2.0

34. SP Luis Cessa – great start in Brooklyn v3.0

35. SS Leon Canelon – will come stateside in spring

36. C Adrian Abreu – power catcher will come stateside in spring

37. SS Ahmed Rosario – 16/yr. old signed out of D.R.

38. 3B Pedro Perez – 16/yr. old signed out of D.R.