Mets Minors: Kevin Kaczmarski and other top performers this Spring

Kevin KaczmarskiYou can typically take minor league performances during spring training with a grain of salt. As Sandy Alderson said on the radio this weekend, “Most of the times you have the A’s against the A’s, but sometimes it’s the A’s against the B’s or the B’s against the C’s.” Minor leaguer’s who appear in games but are not part of the Major League camps are not playing against major league talent but it’s still good to see players primed to start 2017 on the right foot.

Of those players is Kevin Kaczmarski. He’s not a player that everyone is likely to know. He’s a former 9th round pick who split his 2016 season between Columbia and Port St. Lucie. As he enters the 2017 season at 25, you might think he’s not destined for much of anything. The mark against that logic is that he’s been cutting through the minors like a hot knife through butter.

He proved well above the heads of the competition in Rookie ball and then maintained an OPS above .750 in his first exposure to Low A and Advanced A baseball. Thus far this spring he’s played in 5 games, accrued 7 at bats and notched 4 hits (including a double). It’s not much, but it shows that he’s ready to enter AA with a will to succeed.

Here are some other performers from this Spring.

Rafael Montero has been defying our expectations – Through 9.2 innings he’s got a 0.93 WHIP and 14 strikeouts. I wonder if Montero could break into the 5th starter competition.

Gavin Cecchini has been a star this spring – 14 at bats, 7 hits, 2 walks, 2 doubles, 1 home run and a stolen base. He’s making a good case to replace David Wright or take over for Neil Walker in 2018.

Paul Sewald making a bid for the bullpen – He had 23 saves for Las Vegas and is boasting a 0.43 WHIP in 7 innings this spring.

Phillip Evans can taste opportunity – With Wright hurt Evans is looking to show himself as a competent alternative to Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds and T.J. Rivera.

David Thompson makes the most of three at bats – Three at bats and three hits (1 double) is a great way to make one’s mark considering it’s his first time appearing in spring training games.

Brandon Nimmo still looks like a leadoff man – He’s not going to steal many bases, like Champ Stuart, but he gets on base and gets on base regularly.

Luis Guillorme is the darling of spring training – He’s a defensive dynamo and his OPS is .783 which is much better than expected especially with him starting a couple games.

Luis Carpio seems healthy – After missing most of 2016 it’s great to see him healthy in games at all.

Blake Tiberi notches a double – For a player to appear in a game after only playing in Brooklyn is surprising for that player to notch a double in one of his two at bats is pretty great.

Travis Taijeron gives us what we’ve come to expect – His OPS is .793 but he has as many strikeouts as hits in 25 at bats. The good news is that he has more games played than strikeouts, but that might be because he hasn’t been playing full games.

9 comments for “Mets Minors: Kevin Kaczmarski and other top performers this Spring

  1. March 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Evans and Guillorme were in the first round of roster cuts. No surprise with Guillorme but I’m a little surprised about Evans.

    Flexen had surgery on his knee to remove a bone chip. Supposed to be out 2-3 weeks.

    • David Groveman
      March 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Evans was cut because the Mets are going to give others the first shot at the position. I think Evans earned the nod to start at 3rd for Vegas.

      • Hobie
        March 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm

        Agree. D.Smith, Cecchini, Rosario & Evans are the regular LV infield. Reynolds & maybe Mazilli UT.

        Kacz (+ Stuart & Becerra) in Bingo OF, Guillorme & maybe Thompson in the IF.

        • David Groveman
          March 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm

          My current projections:

          Las Vegas:
          C: Kevin Plawecki
          1B: Dominic Smith
          2B: Gavin Cecchini
          SS: Amed Rosario
          3B: Phillip Evans
          LF: Travis Taijeron
          CF: Brandon Nimmo
          RF: Michael Conforto

          C: Tomas Nido
          1B: Kevin Taylor
          2B: Luis Carpio
          SS: Luis Guillorme
          3B: David Thompson
          LF: Kevin Kaczmarski
          CF: Champ Stuart
          RF: John Mora

          Port St. Lucie:
          C: Patrick Mazeika
          1B: Peter Alonso
          2B: Blake Tiberi
          SS: Colby Woodmansee
          3B: Eudor Garcia
          LF: Tim Tebow
          CF: Desmond Lindsay
          RF: Wuilmer Becerra

          • March 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

            If both Nimmo and Conforto are in Vegas, who’s the 5th OF for the Mets? Have to figure Ty Kelly and either TJ Rivera/Matt Reynolds have to factor in at LVG somehow.

            That’s a super aggressive assignment for Carpio. SLU would be aggressive and in my opinion make more sense than Tiberi. Not sure what to think about Kevin Taylor at 1B. Guess I could see Matt Oberste sticking in BNG another year and playing 1B. Or I could see moving Jhoan Urena there.

            It would surprise me if Lindsay skipped Lo-A. And if I was making the rosters, I’d flip Becerra and Mora but I could see the Mets doing it the way you have them. If Mora’s in SLU, he could play CF. Lupo’s been in Lo-A for two years – I could see him starting in SLU in RF.

            • Hobie
              March 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm

              Jose, TJ (& Reynolds) can cover the 5th OF spot in a pinch and I see Granderson moving around, say, out of 10G: 1LF, 1RF, 4CF.

  2. March 13, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    When it comes to Montero…
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Let him shame someone else.

  3. Eraff
    March 13, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I’m not gonna criticize Montero for digging and clawing to make it work. I like and respect ballplayers….or anyone trying to make it at their goal.

    He’s always reminded me of Dave Stewart–a guy who knocked around until he found a Mix.

    If you’re a performer–Athlete, Musician, Sales,writer—you’ve got to get your ass kicked a bit—I’m rooting for all of these guys.

  4. March 31, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    From the no one saw this coming department:

    “In the outfield, Travis Taijeron will return, and Lopez said Taijeron will be joined by Victor Cruzado and Jayce Boyd.”

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