More on the Mets and Andrew McCutchen

New logoThere’s been talk around the blogosphere about the Mets ponying up and making a deal for Andrew McCutchen. The former MVP winner fell on hard times in 2016 but most people are projecting a significant bounce-back year from McCutchen in 2017. But how realistic is that? Let’s look at a couple of different measures.

First, let’s start and see what Steamer projects him to do next year: — .283/.378/.470 in 675 PA. That’s a real nice line, which further translates to a 129 wRC+ and a 3.5 fWAR. Those are numbers that anyone would like to have on their team. The OBP and SLG numbers are a bit better, but in the same ballpark to what Curtis Granderson gave the Mets (.364/.457) in 2015. Still, it’s a ways off from his 2013-2015 peak, when he had a .308/.405/.512 line.

Now let’s look at some historical comps. Baseball-Reference tells us there are 21 center fielders in MLB history to amass at least 3,000 PA and post an OPS+ of 125 or greater from their age 23-28 seasons, what McCutchen did from 2010-2015. In fact, he has the eighth-best mark in this elite group and five guys ahead of him are inner circle Hall of Famers.

Let there be no doubt that what McCutchen did in those six years was great. But what we’re more interested in is future performance, not past results. So, once we remove McCutchen and the five inner circle HOF guys, what do we have left? Here are the remaining 15 guys, their three best OPS+ marks in their 20s, and what OPS+ they posted in their age 30 and 31 seasons, what the Mets would be acquiring if they were to trade for McCutchen:

Player 3 Best OPS Seasons In 20s Age 30 Age 31
Ken Griffey Jr. 171 171 165 133 124
Duke Snider 171 169 165 143 126
Jim Wynn 166 158 144 146 107
Edd Roush 159 151 146 148 134
Wally Berger 172 148 145 132 141
Fred Lynn 176 162 133 142 129
Bobby Murcer 181 169 135 124 107
Reggie Smith 155 150 143 137 116
Dale Murphy 152 149 149 121 157
Chet Lemon 155 147 139 111 99
Amos Strunk 151 143 134 79 84
Andre Dawson 157 141 136 109 123
Matt Kemp 172 147 140 109 112
Cesar Cedeno 162 152 147 104 110
Rick Monday 141 136 133 133 92

The worst mark of the top three in the 20s from this group of 15 is the 133 posted by Lynn and Monday. This same group in their age 30 and 31 years, a total of 30 seasons, passed that mark just eight times. The group put up 24 seasons with an OPS+ of 150 or greater in their 20s. The same group did it just one time combined in their age 30 and 31 seasons.

Here are the averages from this group:

Best OPS in 20s – 163
2nd Best OPS in 20s – 153
3rd Best OPS in 20s – 144
OPS Age 30 – 125
OPS Age 31 – 117

McCutchen was better than average in the OPS+ in his 20s, with top three marks of 166, 162 and 157. But we can’t ignore the 103 mark that he put up last year, in his age 29 season. Monday, who had the lowest OPS+ total of the group in his age 23-28 seasons, posted a 124 OPS+ in his age 29 season. McCutchen finished 16th out of 20 from our original group in OPS+ in his age 29 season.

Inner circle HOFer Joe DiMaggio was serving our country in World War II in what would have been his age 29 season. He had the fifth-highest age 23-28 season and the main reason to ignore these guys is that it would unfairly skew the results to include a zero in one of our age 30 comparison. The list was made to include players through their age 28 season to make McCutchen look as good as possible. If we did it through age 29, McCutchen would have been further away from DiMaggio than he was to Monday on the age 28 list.

Griffey and Snider, the two guys closest to McCutchen’s top three OPS+ marks in their 20s, put up OPS+ marks of 139 and 155, respectively, in their age 29 season, with Snider’s mark leading the National League. And even the two of them fell off in their 30s, as injuries kept them from reaching their stellar heights of their 20s.

You don’t want to overreact to one year of data but you can’t completely ignore it, either. Lynn bounced back nicely from an age 29 season even worse than McCutchen’s. But that 142 OPS+ in his age 30 season was as good as it got the rest of his career. And he had injury issues, as well.

We know that a general rule of thumb is that people perform better in their 20s than they do in their 30s. We also know that the older you are, the longer it takes to recover from injuries. McCutchen battled knee and hand injuries a season ago. Perhaps those are the sole reason for his down year and an offseason of rest will allow him to bounce back close to pre-2016 levels.

Everyone has their own comfort level with risk and all teams feature risk somewhere in their roster. My comfort level would be to value McCutchen as a 125 OPS+ type of guy, one who would make him a top-40 type of offensive player, rather than a top-10 type. This puts his peers as Charlie Blackmon and Dexter Fowler, rather than Mike Trout.

One thing not mentioned yet is defense. McCutchen was not a good defensive center fielder in 2016 and reports are that if the Pirates keep him, they’re leaning towards moving him to a corner. Of the 41 CFers to amass at least 350 innings in 2016, McCutchen had the second-worst UZR/150 with a (-23.2) mark. He was even worse out there than Yoenis Cespedes, who had a (-20.6) mark. His raw DRS of (-28) was easily the worst mark in the majors.

The idea of valuing McCutchen at his 2014 peak, either offensively or defensively, is simply one I cannot endorse. And the Pirates aren’t likely dealing him at a value equivalent to Blackmon, either. A courtesy call to see what the going rate would be is about as far as the Mets should travel down this particular road.

52 comments for “More on the Mets and Andrew McCutchen

  1. BK
    December 11, 2016 at 9:14 am

    What would it take to get him? And if he can’t play CF anymore, would this just add to the glut of corner OFs?

    • December 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      I would see if Pittsburgh would take Grandy or Bruce for the year plus Lugo for McCutchen. They can then put Marte in CF and use either in RF with us getting a CF. Still trade the other (Grandy or Bruce) for ML talent. We can then have Conforto/Lagares in RF with Nimmo caddy for all.

  2. Scott
    December 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Matz and Conforto? Would they be interested in that package? Remember Matz has arm issues and Conforto had a terrible season.

  3. Eraff
    December 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Trading a Great Franchise Face in an “Adam Eaton Market” would drive a whopper return…the Mets would leave the cupboard bare for the moves they will need to make to bolster their pen and their infield—c’mon, we’re just pretending that DW is 450 ab’s…right!!!???

  4. Chris F
    December 11, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Its not gonna happen, no way no how. Not the kind of deal Alderson makes. Its just unusual we go from struggling to get an outfield, to having 4-5 corner OFs and not a single every day center fielder. Thats bad planning.

    One reason to make it happen would be if you put any stock in projections. Fangraphs has the Mets at 83 wins for 2017.

  5. MattyMets
    December 11, 2016 at 10:22 am

    On the flip side,if this was just a blip and he bounces back to have 2 MVP caliber seasons he’ll be a free agent we won’t be able to afford to keep. So best case scenario is we give up Conforto and Matz, 2 very controllable players with a world of potential, for a 2 season rental.

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 11:04 am

      and if he returns to MVP caliber, possibly a World Series championship.

      No one knows the outcome of events that have not occurred, thats the beauty of these kinds of decisions.

      • December 11, 2016 at 11:25 am

        That brings us back to risk.

        How much risk do you want the Mets to carry? At a minimum, they have it at 1B, 2B, 3B, and 4 SP. Are you willing to pay what it would cost to get him in a trade, to carry the risk that he turns in another 2016 season, for the chance to get a 2014 season or two? No one doubts the upside is tremendous. But the risk is substantial, all things considered.

        • Chris F
          December 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm

          I agree, risk assessment is a vital part of the consideration. And risk comes from many perspectives: financial, injury, “going-for-it”, age, roster, position etc.

          I think you forgot to mention CF as a position in risk. Right now Granderson is 35, and will play CF at age 36 all season. He cannot throw. I would take McCutchen, who just turned 30 over Grandy on offense and defense. Id love to see Grandy batting 3rd, and McCutchen and his 35-40% OBP batting 1st or 2nd.

          And what risk do we see? Displacing Grandy out of CF is not a risky move, as he would slide to RF (assume Bruce is traded), and Conforto could be part of the deal. So the risk is borne out of losing youth for 2017-2018, his age 30 and 31 seasons. Signing McCutchen also capitalizes on the anticipated return of the rotation, which would have to lead the charge anyway. Rosario would never be part of the deal for McCutchen, as Alderson has made clear that wont happen. Past that, Im ok dealing any prospect. Would I empty the farm? No, but surely willing to listen.

          • December 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm

            Granny was average in his very brief time last year while McCutchen was among the, if not the, worst in all of baseball at the position defensively. Could easily be a one-year fluke. But by no means would I write it in stone that it would be a huge upgrade defensively.

  6. December 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Mets should give P-rats a call and see if a package of Grandy (in his last year), Matz, who is a one long “DL stint ready” to happen vs the other hurlers on the squad, and possibly someone like Ynoa would do it straigtht up for this to happen. Gsellman takes Matz spot in the Mets rotation.

    Pirates get two arms for their rotation right away, a corner OF that can help at least for one year while they put their promising rook Meadows in CF.
    Mets fully move into “win now” mode and go to battle with one of the best lineups out there. They will need every bit of this to fight off the two obstacles in the NL – Nats & Cubs. If Pirates don’t want Grandy, they can take Bruce. If Mets have to kick in a little $, well that is the price of poker.

    • December 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Pirates already have Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco as established MLB OFers. And you note their prospect. So why on earth would they want an old guy with a $15 million tag as an OFer? Just because you want the Mets to be rid of him doesn’t make sense for the Pirates to trade for him. And no one view Ynoa as anything more than a throw-in (and probably not even that.)

      At a minimum, the Pirates would probably ask for Matz, Gsellman and Justin Dunn. And it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they asked for Noah Syndergaard in there instead of Matz.

      • Robert
        December 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        Noah syndergaard would be the last person on the team I would give up. There’s not a player that’s going to contribute as much as Noah syndergaard. They’re not going to take either of those outfielders for 13 or 15 million they can’t play center. possibly consider conforto mats and gsellman. And is McCutcheon worth all that

  7. Jimmy P
    December 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

    A few things:

    • injuries played a role in the numbers for some of these players. If we are going to mash all these numbers together, without dealing w/ the impact of injury, then it pollutes the numbers. I seem to recall Lynn and Griffey, top of my head, dealing w/ physical issues.

    • The Pirates do not want an outfielder. Forget Conforto. Besides, his stock is undervalued now; it would be a terrible time to trade him. Rosario would have to be on the table.

    • Matz should be a very attractive chip.

    * I think the Mets would really benefit by adding McCutchen in CF. I actually think their offense needs a jolt. I’m not sure about the price combined with the payroll issues. It feels like a stretch for the Mets, at a time when — and this is key — the top-tier minor league talent is underwhelming. Or, at best, too far away. Guys I find particularly interesting — Dunn, Lindsay, Szapuki, Alonzo — are at the lower levels of the ladder. It’s mostly all projection. I love a solid year at St. Lucie before counting my eggs.

    • The Mets have specialized in drafting and signing shortstops. They should be able to lose Rosario and have enough depth … But I don’t think that’s the case. Same w/ Matz.

    • I’d love to see McCutchen in the lineup everyday. The Mets would be an improved team in 2017 and 18. But all things considered, knowing ownership as we do, knowing the unproven state of the Mets farm system, I’d be reluctant to pull the trigger. But I still see him as a special player.

    • I would not walk away so easily. I’d think long and hard to see if I could make it work. I’d do much more than give a half-interested perfunctory phone call.

    • December 11, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Why should we dismiss that guys in their 30s get injured? Especially when the Mets would be getting McCutchen for his 30 and 31 seasons?

      Griffey averaged 141 games per year in his 20s, even with two strike-shortened seasons in there. He averaged 110 games per year in his 30s. Just because McCutchen has been healthy in his 20s doesn’t mean it will follow in his 30s.

      It’s an extremely relevant part of the equation. It absolutely has to factor into the risk.

      • Name
        December 11, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        There is some level of injury risk for every player. But why is McCutchen more risky in terms of injury than the rest of the population?

        He isn’t, from what we know. It shouldn’t factor into the equation when it comes to his value.

        • December 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

          I’m not saying that he’s more risky than the rest of the population.

          JP pointed out that a fair number of CFers from our comparison group had injuries and that we should make some sort of exception for that. My only thought is that guys who’ve been healthy in their 20s are not guaranteed to be so in their 30s. That’s nothing specific for McCutchen.

    • mpowerOR
      December 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      I wouldn’t assume that Pgh doesn’t want Conforto… we don’t what other moves/plans they may have for their OF.

      Conforto actually profiles perfectly as a RF @ PNC Park + the 5-6-7 spot in the Pgh lineup.

      Pgh may deal some of their young OFs for SP, which could provide a home for Conforto.

  8. Eraff
    December 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    When you trade your Franchise Face, you need at least one piece to show immediately. If the Pirates make a Trade, it’s Pitching they need….The Mets don’t have Pitching to give. The Pirates would need a Pitcher close to/at MLB, plus more…. that should eliminate the Mets.

  9. TexasGusCC
    December 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Just throwing out there a few points while we are all salivatingly thinking about how much we need to give Pittsburgh for a player they are on record saying they need to move due to performance concerns and a youngster ready to take his spot:
    – McCutchen came up at 22 years old, and his numbers from year to year have always been steady. However, late in 2015, he had an uncharacteristicly bad September while registering 139 PAs. I mention that because as players accumulateyears played, there seems to be a lull in either August or September. Hence, “the dog days”.
    – In 2016, while McCutchen did have a difficult first four months coupled with a lower than usual BABIP by about 40 points, he also has experienced a progressive increase in strikeout rate and a decrease in stolen bases every year for the last four years.
    – McCutchen’s contact percentages and swing percentages seem in line with previous years as were his putouts in CF during 2016.
    – Also during 2016, McCutchen’s usually strong clutch numbers were down.

    In summation, maybe this is why 29 other teams are being cautious in dealing with the Pirates?
    While I agree that McCutchen is a better player than Bruce or Granderson, I don’t think it’s worth giving up crucial pieces. I propose a three way trade where Baltimore gets the lefty hitter they need in Granderson or Bruce for two prospects and the Mets throw in a lower level middle infielder or pitcher to give Pittsburgh three prospects in total, the Orioles get the bat they need and the Mets get McCutchen. The Mets shouldn’t move any pitcher for what may be a moderate upgrade at most.

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      who is “crucial”?

      The Mets FO made it clear last week there is only 1 such player: Amed Rosario.

      Id look at Szapucki and Nido as secondary level would hurt like hell to give up.

      Otherwise, take your pick. Everyone else is on the table for me.

      • December 11, 2016 at 9:25 pm

        Nido had a nice year in 2016. However, I wouldn’t let him hold up a trade for anyone capable of starting in the majors, much less Andrew McCutchen.

        He really took advantage of his home park last year. He had a .935 OPS at home compared to a .687 mark on the road. That .687 is much more in line with what he had done previously in three of his four years in the minors. The fourth he was significantly worse.

        Catchers have odd development schedules. It’s certainly possible that Nido figured something out at age 22. But I’d put his chances of developing into a starting MLB catcher in the low single digits.

        • Chris F
          December 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm

          wow, thanks for the 4-1-1 on that Brian.

  10. Jimmy P
    December 11, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t think that “proposal” gets any traction whatsoever.

    No question that at age 29, McCutchen had a down season. That’s why he’s even available. That, and the coming contract. But his previous four seasons were brilliant, with an OBP at .400 or above each season. A star and an exciting player and a solid citizen.

    I don’t believe that supremely talented players fall off a cliff at age 30; I think he’s better than some folks here are giving him credit for. Not saying I’d absolutely make a deal where we surrendered Matz and Rosario — in fact, I would not — but I’d try hard to make something work.

    I’d be thrilled to see him in CF for the Mets, though I realize it’s unlikely. Money is the biggest reason.

  11. TexasGusCC
    December 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Off topic: This is how some teams speak of players sent off, rather than kicking them on their way out such as “lazy” or “difficult”. Would you expect the Mets to say this about a player, after he just threw a tantrum in the press, like Mike Rizzo just did?

    From MLBTR:
    The executive downplayed the notion that sending Espinosa to the Angels on Saturday had anything to do with the 29-year-old’s reported discontent with a diminished role, however. According to Rizzo, he didn’t speak with either Espinosa or his agent after the team acquired outfielder Adam Eaton on Wednesday, and he added that the Espinosa deal had been in the works for a while. “I have no beef or problem with Danny Espinosa. Never have,” said Rizzo. “And I still consider him a good player that gave everything he had” (all Twitter links via Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Chelsea Janes of the Post and Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com).

    ————————————————————–
    Sure it was Mike. That’s why you waited until the last hour of finalizing 40-man rosters to see if you even wanted to tender Espinosa. Sounds real nice though…

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      At this point there is some bad water in DC, that seems clear. The list of failed FA attempts of serious players, and players taking less to play elsewhere tells me something is wrong. This would add to that. Possibly making a mountain out of a mole hill, but my antennae are looking that way for sure.

  12. Metsense
    December 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    The Mets sure could use a backend relief pitcher and an upgrade at catcher first. McCutchen does not solve those Met weaknesses and getting him in a trade may expose a bigger problem if pitching is lost. The Mets also have three (four if Conforto is included) centerfielders on the roster Granderson, Lagares and Nimmo, so there isn’t a great need. They are not as good as McCutchen so if Alderson can get him without giving up one of their top six starters and Rosario then go for it. I just don’t see it happening and I don’t see the fit for a trade.

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Interesting Metsense, I dont see Grandy, Nimmo, or Conforto as a CF, and while Lagares is, just not every day. He’s dying in Winter League at the plate.

      That said, I agree pen and help at C are also issues that need attention. Sandy only seems to think RP is the only issue the team faces.

      • Metsense
        December 11, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        Granderson would be playing CF in a platoon with Lagares.In late innings Lagares would also he the defensive replacement when the opportunity arises Granderson should be able to hold his own out there for this reduced amount of time. It is not ideal but it is workable.
        Nimmo has been comng up through the system as a center fielder and the scouting reports indicate he is average at best, but he can still play the position. Nimmo gets a bad rap because he isn’t the player that the Mets and fans thought they drafted. He is more a gap type hitter with a high OBP and he was #2 in BA in the PCL. So many fans dismiss him and at such a young age. He still is developing.
        Conforto has no experience in CF and I agree he should not be considered because he has no resume.
        As you stated, Lagares, when healthy, is a premier defense player and is offensively average vs LHP.
        The trio of Granderson, Nimmo and Lagares are indeed center fielders but not better than McCutchen. Center field may not be ideal but at least it is covered.

        • Jimmy P
          December 12, 2016 at 10:51 am

          This surprises me, Metsense, since you are often the voice of calm & reason on this board.

          We know that Granderson at 36 is not an ideal CF by any means. There’s no arm, he’s lost some speed, and the wear and tear on him is far from ideal. But I do think he’s passable in limited doses.

          Conforto in CF is ridiculous. You are just taking a guy and making him stand in a spot. Doesn’t make him a true CFer.

          I struggled to find the stats on this, but my strong sense was that Nimmo had been mostly playing OF corners through the minors. I watched him in AA play LF. And honestly, it’s been something that I’ve long taken note of, because he would be so much more valuable to the Mets if he could play CF. Last year, when the Mets desperately needed him in CF, they never once turned to Nimmo. I wish he could play there. I just see no evidence that the Mets think he can.

          I wish Lagares could hit. Soon he’s going to be vastly overpaid.

          I don’t think that’s having CF covered. It’s more like faking it.

          Hey, if they have to, they have to. Teams aren’t perfect. But I believe, if unaddressed, it will be an area of weakness all season long.

          Linked to this is that none of these guys, including Granderson, can be considered true, run-scoring table-setters, which is another area of need.

          Maybe Colin Cowgill is available.

  13. Jim OMalley
    December 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    There is a report that Lagares left a game in Winter Ball after getting injured diving for a ball.

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      X-rays on Juan Lagares were negative, according to folks from his winter-league team. He nonetheless will be sent to New York to be examined by Mets doctors. Lagares departed a game in the Dominican Republic on Saturday after making a diving catch.

      Adam Rubin, ESPN

  14. Jimmy P
    December 11, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Two news items related to this discussion:

    1) Mark Simon makes the argument that the Nationals are “considerably better” than the Mets;

    2) Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says of the Fowler signing: “We wanted to address athleticism. We wanted to address someone who could hit at the top of the order . . . to allow us flexibility . . . and we were also looking to find someone extremely competent on the basepaths.”

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      This fangraphs article isnt too bullish on the Mets for 2017:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/here-are-your-expected-2017-standings/

      The Mets dont need someone like Fowler in CF do they? Mo dont know nothin’.

      • Jimmy P
        December 12, 2016 at 4:13 am

        Why I included the quote form the Cards GM was not so much to fixate on Fowler, or McCutchen, but the mindset of identifying areas of weakness and addressing them. It was more acute for me because the areas he identified were also glaring deficiencies in the Mets offense: athleticism, OBP at the top of the order, baserunning.

        • Chris F
          December 12, 2016 at 7:05 am

          100% agree

    • TexasGusCC
      December 12, 2016 at 12:07 am

      Of course the Nats have a better standing. Let’s just say that it’s the Nationals that are mostly coming off injuries, such as to Rendon, Werth, Harper, Scherzer, and Strasburg.

      For 2017, who is their closer? Where is their pitching depth? Who is their catcher? Will Zimmerman hold up? Will Murphy be an MVP again? While Harper had an off year, they were carried by Ramos, Murphy and their front two starters. The Nationals have had the least amount of games missed to the DL last year, but will that continue?

      Simon is just a blog writer that will never stick his neck out on anything but by riding the wave of commonly supported opinion, can never be wrong but rather be “surprised”.

      The Mets need to stay healthy and just grind out the season for they are a more complete team, albeit, recovering from injuries. The Mets will kill them.

      • December 12, 2016 at 7:57 am

        I agree with this.

        The Nationals right now should be projected for more Wins as there are more questions about the Mets. That’s okay – some of those questions are going to be answered positively for the Mets. Plus, we know this Mets team can handle adversity. What happens to the Nats when they don’t catch all of the breaks? And new questions are going to pop up and no one knows which team they’ll pop up for.

        The headline was designed to be provocative. Would anyone care about the article if it instead said, “As expected, New York Mets fans, Nationals project for more wins with the limited amount of information we have at our disposal now”

        • Chris F
          December 12, 2016 at 10:01 am

          That was funny.

          The acquire talent from the DL list is a another of the risky business moves. It indicates that poor or below expectation performance is injury related as the sole or major cause. I think that could be true for Degrom and Harvey, but neither Wheeler nor Matz. I also dont expect that from Wright, who cannot see that hes no longer an every day 3B, or TdA, who has ridden top-prospect status and a brief run at the plate further than its worth. I guess we will know more Duda info in a couple months. I hope Conforto gets RF and stays there and they let him figure it out at the plate for the season, or until he gets on the interstate for a couple weeks.

        • Jimmy P
          December 12, 2016 at 11:16 am

          The Nats should be projected above the Mets because in 2016 they beat the Mets by 8 full games — a not insignificant margin.

          I think the Mets are putting together a team that can compete with the Nationals, assuming decent health and performance from Harvey and d’Arnaud, Matz and Conforto and Granderson and Duda.

          I don’t think they’ve put together a team with the intention of beating the Nats.

          Not shooting for excellence. But maybe because of the failure of the minor league system — it’s all Sandy now — we just don’t have the bullets.

          I think the WC game is a crappy goal. But maybe it’s progress.

          They’ve gone from meaningful games in September to a meaningful game in October. It was thrilling there for seven innings or so.

          • David Groveman
            December 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

            What failure of the minor league system?

            Matt Harvey?
            Zack Wheeler?
            Jacob deGrom?
            Noah Syndergaard?
            Steven Matz?
            Michael Conforto?

            Technically…

            David Wright, Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, Jeurys Familia and others are all Met Farm system products.

            Are we saying that the farm system has failed us because we don’t have another dynamite prospect to hang our season on?

            2017 could still see Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini or Brandon Nimmo emerge as an everyday MLB player.

            2018 could see our next generation SS or 3B star rise, in Amed Rosario.

            What failure?

            • Chris F
              December 12, 2016 at 11:52 am

              Well most of those names are not Alderson.

              Funny you mention Wheeler, David. I was thinking what an article about the trade for Beltran would read like today. SA had to shed money so it had to be done, but on play alone, Beltran has soared high above Wheeler, who quite frankly has been a significant disappointment.

              TdA and Syndergaard were not talent we drafted, so its hard to give a lot of credit there to Alderson and the FO. And TdA isnt much to brag about.

              I cannot envision any circumstance where Nimmo or Cheech are every day major leaguers for the Mets. A look at the draft picks below Cecchini from the 2012 draft that are now making an impact include: Tyler Naquin, Cory Seager, Marcus Strohman, and Stephen Piscotty. The 2011 draft makes me weep to see the names between Nimmo and Fulmer.

              MLB pipeline now shows 2 Mets in the top 100 prospects, Rosario and Smith. That aint great.

              No doubt though, there is a lot of hope for Rosario. That kid is amazing. Do you think Smith gets the call up before Rosario?

              • David Groveman
                December 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

                That all depends on Duda, this season.

            • Jimmy P
              December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

              Dave: Top-tier, major-league ready talent and overall depth is mediocre at present, IMO.

              It handcuffs the Mets ability to make a trade.

              That’s the failure to which I was referring.

              Despite it being a top priority of the organization, the Mets farm system just isn’t that good by every comparable measure. It’s not bankrupt, it’s empty, it’s not an embarrassment. It’s just been particularly successful.

              They deserve a lot of credit for Fulmer, too.

              We’ve had this debate before, but I don’t credit a “system” when a club trades an established MLer for prospects. Did the White Sox system suddenly get smarter and more successful because they are dumping talent? Not really, though obviously it’s now filled with more talent. I look at the “draft/sign and develop” guys. To me, that’s where a great minor league system shines. Scouting and evaluation and coaching.

              I see the Mets as mediocre in this area, and I see mediocre in this crucial area as a “failure.”

              • Jimmy P
                December 13, 2016 at 9:15 am

                Sorry, I got very sloppy with this:

                >> Despite it being a top priority of the organization, the Mets farm system just isn’t that good by every comparable measure. It’s not bankrupt, it’s empty, it’s not an embarrassment. It’s just been particularly successful. <<

                Meant to say: It's not bankrupt, it's not empty, it's not an embarrassment. It's just not been particularly successful.

                Sigh.

                Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

          • December 12, 2016 at 11:51 am

            In 2016, the Nationals were one of the healthiest teams in the league and they finished sixth in the league with RISP and they won 95 games.

            In 2015, the Nationals had average health and finished 10th in the league with RISP and won 83 games.

            If you give the Mets and Nationals the same level of health and the same level of RISP production, I’ll take the Mets. The 2015 Nationals hitters were healthier than the Mets while the opposite was true for the starters. The Mets outhit them with RISP .736 to .722 — and the Mets were 7 games better.

            Prior to the Cespedes trade and the maturation of the Mets SP, the Nationals held a talent advantage. In my opinion, they no longer have that advantage. Right now on paper, they have a healthier team. We’ll see how it plays out on the field. And hopefully the Mets won’t run an 88-point OPS deficit with RISP. Lets give the Nats the same 14-point edge the Mets enjoyed in 2015 and see what happens.

            • Jimmy P
              December 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

              You continually talk about RISP as if it occurs in a vacuum, as if the norm is for every team’s RISP to be the same.

              It’s directly linked to hitting talent.

              You want to fix RISP? Get better hitters. But also recognize that it’s a flukey stat, based on a relatively small sample size, susceptible to fluctuations.

              I think Sandy’s emphasis on power above all — above defense, above speed, above contact, above base-running — his love of the long ball — has been proven to be flawed. The trade for Bruce doubled-down on that approach. In the age of shifting, the Mets appear to have too many hitters who strike out a lot and are easily defensed: they don’t use the whole field. So they have — here it comes — bad luck!

              Hopefully the revival of d’Arnaud, Conforto, Duda and Wright will make that possible. It’s not a crazy plan. There’s every reason to hope for the best. Why not?

              Hey, statistical analysis had been passionately grappling with the concept of “luck” for decades, beginning largely with the studies by Voras McCracken. Luck is the ultimate floating variable and it drives some folks crazy. It’s kind of funny that we’re now at a place where some folks — who are deepest into the stat world, and who should know better — are at a point where they look at entire seasons of baseball and say, “I know what happened: bad luck!”

              Luck is part of the game. But not the sum.

              • NormE
                December 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm

                Branch Rickey: Luck is the residue of design.

                That goes for both good and bad luck.

              • December 12, 2016 at 3:39 pm

                No, you’re mistaken.

                Not once have I said every team should have the same results with RISP. Not once.

                What I have said is that on a league-wide basis, there’s very little difference between overall production and RISP production. The National League batted .254/.322/.412 overall last year. With RISP the numbers were .256/.341/.415 — that means AVG and SLG were virtually identical and OBP goes up a small amount on a league-wide basis. Mets had a .733 OPS overall and a .676 with RISP that only got that high thanks to a great final six weeks.

                Only three NL teams did worse with RISP than they did overall last year. The Giants were 23 points worse and the Phillies were 13 points worse. Meanwhile the Mets were 57 points worse. It’s not that their hitters stink. It’s not that they were the victims of unbelievably effective shifts. It’s that they had bad luck.

                In 2015, the Reds had the poor luck, as they were 51 points below with RISP. In 2014 they hit 39 points better with RISP and in 2016 they were 87 points better with RISP.

                There’s just as much chance for the Mets to have an OPS 57 points worse in RISP chances as there is for the Nationals. And if somehow it happens to the Nationals, it won’t be because of any character failure of their hitters or fantastic managing by their opponents. It will just be their turn to have bad luck.

            • TexasGusCC
              December 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

              Brian,

              Last year in June, when Flores was playing regularly and doing well, he was asked how he had developed the reputation as an RBI guy and his response was that you just put the ball in play and give yourself a chance. Hmmm, interesting…

              Jay Bruce came to the Mets with 80 RBI and a RSIP leader. Coincidentally, last year he had cut down his strikeouts by almost 40% when he came to New York.

              It seemed to me that some Mets in mid-late June started looking primarily to just make contact in RBI situations and abandon the “swing for the moon” approach. Many Hall-Of-Famers had this approach and it worked out ok for them. The Royals and Giants have won four titles in six years with this mindset. But, it doesn’t help when a manager just keeps telling people that his players can’t adapt. If failure is acceptable, eh, what the heck?

  15. TexasGusCC
    December 13, 2016 at 3:19 am

    While we are all debating on what an aging star is worth, and weighing nickels and dimes for players like Jay Bruce, read the bad news coming from Los Angeles:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/heres-why-the-future-dodgers-are-downright-scary-054109774.html

    The Dodgers hired a plethora of scouts, attacked the international market with an open wallet, and hired a GM that will never make that stupid Carl Crawford trade?

    • TexasGusCC
      December 13, 2016 at 3:25 am

      Sorry, that should be a period at the end.

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