Sandy AldersonMost Mets fans remember Omar Minaya coming in and putting an immediate stamp on the organization by acquiring Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. Ah, the days when ownership had money to spend! Contrast that with Minaya’s replacement, Sandy Alderson, who has made his major point of emphasis building a strong farm system.

As we look forward to the start of the fifth season under Alderson’s stewardship, it’s possible that only nine guys on the Opening Day roster will be players that he brought to the team. In an equivalent period under Minaya, a quick scan shows that 23 guys were brought in by the then-GM. Of course it should be pointed out that club went 70-92 and ushered in an era of six straight losing seasons. Meanwhile, hopes for 2015 are much higher for the current Mets.

Here are the nine guys that Alderson brought in for the team that we feel very confident will make the Opening Day roster in 2015. In parentheses is how the player was acquired.

Vic Black (Trade), Bartolo Colon (Free Agent), Michael Cuddyer (Free Agent), Travis d’Arnaud (Trade), Curtis Granderson (Free Agent), John Mayberry Jr. (Free Agent), Anthony Recker (Free Agent), Carlos Torres (Free Agent), Zack Wheeler (Trade).

It’s hard not to notice that not one player in this group was drafted by Alderson. It’s not what we would expect given his intention to build the club through the draft. However, a look at the top picks from his first draft shows why this is. His first pick was a very raw high school player, his second pick was another prep player who has battled injury problems and his third selection has been slowed by injuries but is knocking at the door in Triple-A and would surprise few if he made his MLB debut sometime during 2015. Plus his fourth pick was just chosen in the Rule 5 Draft.

Now, let’s look at the farm system, focusing only on the players brought in by Alderson. This time we’ll do it by position, focusing on the top prospects.

C – Kevin Plawecki (Draft), Brandon Brosher (Draft)
1B – Dominic Smith (Draft), Jayce Boyd (Draft), Matt Oberste (Draft)
2B – Dilson Herrera (Trade), L.J. Mazzilli (Draft)
3B – Jhoan Urena (International Free Agent)
SS – Amed Rosario (IFA), Gavin Cecchini (Draft), Matt Reynolds (Draft), Wilson Ramos (Draft)
OF – Brandon Nimmo (Draft), Michael Conforto (Draft), Wuilmer Becerra (Trade), Travis Taijeron (Draft), Ivan Wilson (Draft), Champ Stuart (Draft)
P – Noah Syndergaard (Trade), Rafael Montero (IFA), Marcos Molina (IFA), Michael Fulmer (Draft), Jack Leathersich (Draft), Corey Oswalt (Draft), Robert Gsellman (Draft), Robert Whalen (Draft), Casey Meisner (Draft), Cory Mazzoni (Draft), Chris Flexen (Draft), Logan Taylor (Draft), John Gant (Draft), Tyler Pill (Draft), Erik Manoah (Draft), Blake Taylor (Trade), Chase Bradford (Draft), Dario Alvarez (Free Agent), Brad Wieck (Draft)

We know there is no such thing as a pitching prospect but that’s still quite a collection of young arms that the club has stockpiled. There are 19 names listed there, with two of those having already made their MLB debut. Syndergaard and Mazzoni are strong possibilities to reach the majors this year and it would not be a surprise if this Alderson assembly line started cranking out a couple of MLB pitchers each and every year.

Among position players, Herrera has already reached the majors and Reynolds is on track to make his debut this year. It’s not unreasonable to expect Plawecki and Nimmo to debut in 2016 and the Alderson assembly line should be ready to contribute hitters on a regular basis, too.

While those who played for the 2009 Mets were mostly brought in by Minaya, only Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell among the Minaya guys remain as we head towards 2015. If we flash forward to 2020, we should expect twice that many Alderson guys to remain from the 2015 squad, with a pipeline in place that will produce both quality and quantity for 2021 and beyond.

It’s both accurate and easy to criticize Alderson for his lack of contributions towards the 2015 Opening Day roster. The payroll situation handcuffs him from bringing on big free agent signings but ideally we would have seen a few more trades over the years to have brought on guys that would be ready to help right now.

But while you criticize him for that, acknowledge that he has built a farm system that is ranked among the top third in the game. Alderson acquisitions have contributed little to the major league team the first four years of his regime. But we can see that train a comin’. We all wanted it to be the Acela Express and bring us instant gratification. Instead, it was the Little Engine that Could.

We wanted a Hershey bar right away. Instead, we’re finally seeing oranges, apples and spinach from our train. The Minaya Hershey bar gave us 274 wins over a three-year period but then the sugar crash came and the results weren’t pretty. Here’s hoping the train of healthy living brings us to even greater heights and the Mets experience long-term health and vitality.

47 comments on “A look at Sandy Alderson’s contributions to the 2015 Mets

  • brian

    I am an Alderson believer. It takes a lot of patience to build a team this way, but building this way will provide the sustainability of quality product. More patience can be used signing free agents when they will be complimentary players to a quality base as opposed to the desperation free agent signings of Minaya like Oliver Perez, Castillo, K Rod.

    • Marc Lavietes

      100% agreement!

  • Chris F

    Well with no one actually in the big leagues, the hope is officially on. How many of that list do you think become every day players? While I understand the “rebuild” it has come half hearted in my opinion. On one hand we see efforts to field a decent enough team, but not so bad that it leads to stocking the minors with top draft picks. So I’m ambivalent about his plan. I would far rather have seen the team try out kids for real, instead we hear about how little time TC has to see what the kids can do. When we end up with under the Alderson years is a “meh” team in Queens, and not the best draft picks either. Anyway, I’ve made no secret that I have genuine doubts about Aldersons decisions, from keeping Collins to making insane FA hires.

    • Brian Joura

      I expect Herrera, Nimmo and Conforto to be everyday players with the Mets.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the SS makes it or if Plawecki ends up as a full-time guy for a year or two somewhere else. I still think Dominic Smith is a full-timer. I’m not as high on him as others but Urena certainly has his backers.

      Maybe one of the lottery tickets like Becerra or Lupo does, too.

      • Chris F

        Interesting you think Smith will make it. This is clearly going to be a big year for him. I hope he begins to profile more like a proper 1B man. He’s becoming someone we need to pay close attention to.

        • Brian Joura

          There were 19 guys who were primarily first baseman who qualified for the batting title last year. Of those, seven didn’t hit 20 HR and three didn’t even reach double digits. History is filled with guys who didn’t provide a lot of power at 1B. Means they have to do everything else well. Guess we’ll see if Smith can fit that bill.

          • Chris F

            Fingers crossed. I loved that pick.

      • Ian

        Interesting you mention Becerra. At the time when the Dickey trade was made, Becerra was the lottery ticket who, if he reaches his ceiling, was thought to be the steal of that trade, not d’Arnoud or Syndergaard. Wouldn’t that be something to behold? I hope it works out in our favor 🙂

    • pete

      Then Sandy should of hired a manager who would of helped the kids mature and instill in them the confidence needed to play at the major league level. And if it’s so important to rebuild the farm system, what the hell is Alderson doing bringing in players like Rick Ankiel and Bobby Abreu who take away playing time from these youngsters?

  • James Preller

    He doesn’t make enough trades to address positional weaknesses. He’s a one-trick pony — the draft — waiting and waiting. And if the next guy in line sucks, too bad.

    Other GMs are much, much more aggressive using trades as a method for upgrading the overall balance and talent.

    Most of his trades are dumping high-quality players (Beltran, Dickey) that he inherited, otherwise the trade record is not great.

    He’s lazy.

    • Patrick Albanesius

      I cannot understand how you can view his trade history as anything other than a success. He’s brought in valuable future pieces to the rotation, bullpen and infield and did it with guys in last years of their contracts.

      • James Preller

        Patrick, I credit Alderson for a couple of easy trades, moving Beltran and Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey. He handled both those deals beautifully. I also think that combining Byrd and Buck in the Pittsburgh deal was deft; nice return on those.

        Trading major leaguers to teams that want to win now — in favor of prospects — is a relatively easy deal to make. Most teams in a race care more about the present than the unknown future, so they “overpay,” though I don’t love that word in this case. They are, after all, chasing baseball immortality.

        Other than those three deals, which are all of a type, I think he’s failed in his other trades. Of course, as of today, it’s been 567 days since he’s made any kind of trade at all.

        Look: there are three ways to bring in talent. 1) Free Agency: He’s been bad at this, but also hamstrung by limited funds. 2) The Draft: So far, seems good. It’s helped that he’s never signed free agent, never worried about the present team, so held onto all picks and players. 3) Trades: An overall failure to bring in talent. Witness that he’s done nothing to address SS, to site one example. Thank goodness he inherited Dickey and Beltran from Omar. Compared to other teams, Alderson has slept through the trade option, putting almost the entirety of his eggs in the draft basket — while surrendering any attempt to compete over the past 4 seasons, and counting.

        • eraff

          Well..the Byrd trade was a Great Trade. It is curious that he has so few other trades.

        • pete

          Alderson as of today has yet to find a suitable replacement for Reyes at either SS or lead off. I’m sorry but if praising Alderson for what he’s not done is acceptable as an accomplishment then please explain how a team can go into the beginning of a season with 3 first base men? How can anyone justify playng Lucas Duda in LF? If as a team you decide that Wilmer Flores is going to replace Reuben Tejada it would behoove you to have him play the position in winter ball so he can get re-acclimated to the position. Oh! That’s right! They’re doing that This off season! So what happened to last year? Who is this genius who makes a plan that has Bobby Abreu take up valuable at-bats from the kids? Oh! that’s right! We’re here to win ball games! Who’s the genius who brought in Rick Ankiel, Chris Young at a mere 7.25 million dollars, Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverder? Damn! The Yankees just signed Young for 2 million! Why couldn’t Alderson had given him an incentive laden contract? How many free passes does he get? Knowing he has a limited budget to play with each screw up he makes just handicaps this team from making moves that will help Now not in 2020.

  • Steve S.

    I love that he chose to keep Duda and deal Davis!

  • Barry

    I believe Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores were obtained by Minaya as well. They were signed in 2007, before Alderson.

  • Frank

    He hasn’t made any contributions.

    Next question?

  • aj

    U forgot about lucas duda as one of minayas guys

    • Name

      The only guy he really forgot was Mejia since he was using the 09 Mets as reference and not 2010. (not sure why)

      If the 2010 Mets were used instead, the list would be doubled, with Tejada, Duda, Niese, Mejia, Parnell, and (possibly) Gee as holdovers.

      • Brian Joura

        Mejia did not pitch for the 2009 Mets.

        • Name

          Welp. That’s embarrassing.

    • Brian Joura

      No, I did not.

      I was looking at players on the team at a comparable point in time to where Alderson is at now – one in which Duda was not in the majors.

  • AJ

    Holy socks! I thought I was reading a Mets article and suddenly it turned into a story on nutrition… you on a New Years health kick or something?
    I appreciated this piece, probably because I appreciate Alderson. It’s no cosmetic overhaul job he’s been working on these past 4 years. He’s had to find some other way to build a team than going out and buying talent. He’s also worked to build reliability in the farm system. It was a heck of a cleanup job he was given and I think he’s done well. The next couple of years should tell.

  • Eraff

    The “Omar ran the Franchise into the ground” Line is a myth! They certainly were not the first high priced team to have a crashed season, but they were not without talent and resources to rebuild and restock at the end of Minaya’s run….other than Money and/or the will to spend.

    As recently as 2014 they “avoided opportunity to compete”—their opening day roster was a display of penny pinching and arrogance.

    I recognize the financial realities, but I cannot believe that their inability/unwillingness to act as a Major Market Franchise is something that should distilled to define some sort of Advantage or improvemet to their baseball operation. I’d rather the be smart with about $125-150 million dollars in stead of $95 million!

    As for young pitchers — Below AA is a mystery…every team has “hot arms”….. they’ve had a good run, but I’m not buying pitchers based on Brand Name unitil they are at AA. The rest is truely Vapor and Hype….and hopefully Lots and Lots of talented guys.

    • Brian Joura

      What do they call it when you hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time? I want to say it’s cognitive dissonance.

  • Eraff

    Regarding Sandy Trades: he needs to make “The Trade” that makes this a WS contender. That trade will not be a dump—and it may be a WAR “Loser”:….. but he needs to make a move that makes Wins!

    SS, Leadoff Hitter…… this is an 85-88 win team…. it needs to be completed.

    • James Preller

      No, I don’t think he needs to make “the big trade,” I think he needs to use that avenue to upgrade talent overall.

      Look at SS. He’s been sitting on this situation since 2010. He hasn’t brought in anyone, not even a minor league trade. It’s just, yawn, hopefully somebody will emerge from the ranks one of these days.

      In the meantime, the ML team has been a lousy product.

      Hey, the draft is great. Every team in baseball should do it! But there are also other ways to upgrade a team. People talk about Cashen and — to my great disgust — compare him to Alderson. Look at Cashen’s transaction record, the players he traded for. Hojo is a great example. But there are many. He worked hard to bring up the overall talent level. Sandy drafts and waits and squanders seasons.

      • Eraff

        Jim, we disagree on semantics…. maybe… but I do agree that the “build out” has been with very limited tools and activity.

        I absolutely agree—I’m appalled that Cashen has ever been used as a benchmark with Alderson. Different times…Cashen used the entire spectrum to build his team.

        The Team doesn’t have a SS, or a Leadoff Hitter…it’s weak up the Middle on D…Need to address a good bit of that to really Pop. “Big Trade”?…all I know is that he needs to make a move that can only be judged by whether it delivers a winning team Now….the next move is not about long term valuation, specifically–it’s about finishing this job.

    • Patrick Albanesius

      An 88 win team won the WS last year.

      • pete

        Yeah but that team had a manager.

        • alex

          Who everyone hated as well! he might have been hated more in KC than TC is here.

          • pete

            I’d rather have a manager who’s hated and wins 3 World Series than a nice guy who doesn’t know his elbow from his a…

  • Scott Ferguson

    You can argue that Wright and Niese are now Alderson guys as neither might be here if he hadn’t resigned them.

    • Brian Joura

      Yeah, I considered that angle but thought that would make the anti-Alderson crowd lose their mind, so I opted not to do it. Here he gets credit for Montero, even though 98% of the work that went into signing him was likely done by Minaya’s crew.

      Or how about Matt Harvey? Drafted by Minaya but only spent half a season in the farm under his system compared to nearly two full years under the Alderson regime. How do you account for that?

      Backman gets credit for helping guys and he’s a hire by Minaya – how do you account for that?

      You can go mad trying to account for all of the scenarios. I opted to choose which GM brought him in initially and assign all of the credit there.

      • James Preller

        I think signing David Wright was a huge move by Alderson, his biggest signing to date. Clearly it was on his watch. Same with Jose Reyes, in reverse.

        Montero was Omar, obviously. Harvey was drafted by Omar, clearly. So was Matz, too, btw.

        Who are the great pitchers that Alderson has drafted? It’s all still hope and crossed fingers at this point.

  • TexasGusCC

    Regarding the posts by Chris and Brian up a little bit, Dominic Smith supposedly has a very good arm. Has thrown 94 mph when he was a relief pitcher in high school. Why is this guy not in the outfield? Does he have less range than Conforto? Are these the brainiacs that took Flores off SS because he was too big?

    I am a believer maximizing a players ability, not merely putting them in a safe position were risk is lessened. I have no problem with putting players in harder positions to see if they can handle it. Smith played RF in high school; can’t he be a LF at least? Straight from his drafting he was pronounced a first baseman. Heck, any washed up catcher (i.e. Mike Napoli) or any no glove stiff (i.e. Billy Butler) can be a first baseman. Why don’t they let this kid try to be an outfielder first and settle back into first base if it doesn’t work out?

    I have never seen a more stuffy and rigid organization that won’t let a player play the position he’s comfortable at first, and then downgrade if he fails. I don’t think this organization has the vision or the guts to take a Donaldson out of catcher and make him an MVP third baseman, or take Biggio from behind the plate to make him a 2B possible on the cusp of being a Hall of Famer!

    • eraff

      The report is that he’s an impact defender at 1b…. learning lf (generally seen as a lower skilled position) is something that most players do as they get closer to the Bigs— and the OF positions tend to be fairly well populated by prospects who are gaining ab’s)

  • Metsense

    “It’s both accurate and easy to criticize Alderson for his lack of contributions towards the 2015 Opening Day roster. The payroll situation handcuffs him from bringing on big free agent signings but ideally we would have seen a few more trades over the years to have brought on guys that would be ready to help right now.”

    That is a very accurate summary of the Alderson era. No money therefore no impact free agent player. He built a great farm system with enough depth to enable a trade of an organizational strength to remedy a major league weakness. He is great at trading established stars for minor league prospects but has been unable to trade major league players for major league talent and has shown no willingness to trade prospects for major league talent. A more balanced approach may have sped up the rebuilding process. The 2014 Mets finished with the same record as the 2010 team that Sandy took over. There has been a lot of losing and fan suffering in between with the promise that they were building a contender. It is time to make good on the promise.

    • James Preller

      Well said, Metsense.

      I’m sorry to see Brian divide us into “Pro” or “Anti” Alderson fans. To me, he’s been a mixed bag. There’s been a lot of mythology about the great job he’s done with the draft, and, well, we’ll see. But that’s only one aspect of the job — and he’s been very poor is other areas. However, when one criticizes Sandy, instead of swallowing the Kool-Aid in a gulp, you get branded as “anti-Alderson.”

      Ultimately, Minaya had a totally different job description than Alderson, it’s really impossible to compare them since the set of circumstances was so starkly different.

    • Michael Geus

      Metsense makes sense. Sure, Sandy doesn’t do anything really dumb, in fact, he has done a few truly good things. But the problem is, overall, he doesn’t do much of anything. He takes entire offseasons off. Is there a GM in baseball who transacts less? There is zero urgency to the “rebuild.” As any decent project manager knows, time frames matter.

      My question is how many Mets fans have to die with Alderson at GM before he fields a .500 club? Sadly, I already know so many who are now gone. Forget a Seaver statue, maybe a memorial wall could be built outside Citi Field with the names.

      • Brian Joura

        While I don’t agree with it, I like your last sentence because it’s funny and it made me laugh.

        I expect we’ll see a team reach/exceed .500 this year. If that happens, do we immediately tear down the wall? Or do we keep it to honor those individuals who lived their entire life without seeing it happen? Just how big is the wall, anyway?

        • James Preller

          We’ll get David Hasselhoff to help tear it down.

        • Michael Geus

          If we ever achieve the lofty goal of .500 again the wall stays to honor those who didn’t make it.

          It is going to have to be a big wall, because it has been a long time and the clock is still ticking.

          I might have to head over to Kickstarter!

        • pete

          How sad to see our expectations become so low. We’re not talking about the Minnesota Twins or Cleveland Indians who used to have their annual expectations vanquished by Labor Day. What happens if this team fails to breach .500? Alderson has his extension in place. Firing Collins doesn’t fix the problem but sure goes a long way in rebuilding confidence within the fan base that the Mets can and should be competitive. Can we at least ask this team to play.500 at home before we get caught with the predictions of playoff grandeur?

          • Chris F

            We moved the fence in, so we can now expect a flurry of more homers from our guys only so .500 at home is a lock, right?

            pete, you and I are on the exact same page.

            • pete

              Sorry Chris we moved in the fences Again! And next year we’ll move the owners!

  • Rob

    Giving Alderson credit for Montero is a stretch . Minaya’s people found him, courted him and struck a deal with him. But Minaya was fired before he could sign off on it. Then Sandy waltzed in reviewed the deal and signed off. That was a great piece of scouting mastery by Alderson I must say.

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