Mets Minors: Peter Alonso and the best of 2017

Readers of my weekly articles have read a lot about Peter Alonso, the Mets selected him with their third pick in the 2016 draft and paid him under slot money. At the time of the draft I was not pleased, thinking, “Great, we take a guy who is instantly blocked by one of our only high caliber draft picks.” To be fair, I wasn’t wrong. Dominic Smith is currently in the majors and slotted to get a full season shot at securing the starting first baseman job.

Meanwhile, Alonso will likely return to AA (where he played out the last 11 games of his season) as the top hitting prospect in the Mets farm system. He will serve as a handcuff to Smith and could be called up should Smith struggle offensively for the first half of the season. The shame here is that the Mets don’t have the flexibility to have both Smith and Alonso on the same team as neither is suited to another position.

The fact that we’re even talking about Alonso is pretty miraculous anyway. In the first half of the season he managed to suit up for only twenty five games and managed a measly .564 OPS in that time. Thankfully he somehow managed to kick things into a higher gear and managed a 1.006 OPS in his final 57 games in Advanced A and a .918 OPS after his promotion.

Looking at Alonso without considering Smith and you see a top offensive prospect with a ton of potential. He’s likely to have secured himself a spot in the Top of most Met “Top Prospects” list and he’s the only high impact prospect currently in the upper levels of the minors.

Other Top Performers:

Chris Flexen – While not many people will be enamored of Flexen’s major league performance in 2017, they should note that he began the year in Port St. Lucie having battled significant injuries in 2015. His performance in AA is worth noting as it was certainly good enough to earn the 23 year old pitcher a place in 2018’s AAA rotation.

Corey Oswalt – Unlike Flexen, Oswalt was afforded the chance to complete an entire year in AA without promotion. The results look far better on paper as Oswalt currently looks like the top minor league depth option to be waiting in the 2018 wings. The Mets have lots of decisions to make regarding their 2018 rotation but I expect to see Oswalt in the majors at some point.

Patrick Mazeika – The hitting catcher hit the ground running before slowing down in Advanced A. The big knock against Mazeika’s bat is his power and his A+ SLG of .406 supports that. His short tenure in AA saw him hit 5 doubles in 6 games and there is still reason to hope that his bat will shine in the future.

P.J. Conlon – The Irish lefty from Belfast continued his solid pitching ways in 2017 and it was a bit surprising to see the Mets switch him to relief for the final 6 games of the season. It could have been an effort to limit his innings, it could have been an experiment or it could signal that the Mets plan to convert Conlon into a high leverage reliever to replace (or support) Jerry Blevins.

7 comments for “Mets Minors: Peter Alonso and the best of 2017

  1. Steve S.
    October 2, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Alonso and Smith may be like Duda and Davis, with one being dealt eventually. In his brief stint in the bigs, Smith’s power surprised me (in a good way), but, then again, so did his fielding and overall batting (in a bad way). Lots of Ks for the young man!

    • David Groveman
      October 2, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Smith has shown a few things in his minor league career.

      1. He needs time to adjust to a new level.

      2. His defensive skills should eventually prove to be an asset.

      3. He should eventually progress into a contact hitter.

      Anything is possible but there are years of data to suggest the above.

      • Jimmy P
        October 2, 2017 at 11:14 am

        On Smith, I feel like I saw him a bad defensive decision nearly every time I watched. Last game I saw — yesterday, or the day before — he made a weird lob throw to 3B that was just bizarre. He also got a poor throw down the line and crossed into foul territory in front of the runner and nearly got himself killed. This was in the span of, like, three innings. I don’t see the defense at all. Maybe it’s there, but he didn’t put it on display. Slow & short.

        Hitting: After Duda, who was becoming more and more of an all-or-nothing hitter — with walks — an argument could be made that the Mets would be better off with a more consistent hitting 1B. A higher average, better situational approach, more quality ABs across the board — even if that meant sacrificing power. We can only hope that the Vegas numbers are more real than what we saw in 2017: .198/.262/.395 in 167 ABs. He struck out 49 times, walked 14. In terms of what he did on the field, it was bad in almost every respect (the 9 HRs were positive). I did not like the fitness or preparation.

        That said: He has a track record of adjusting slowly to new levels. That’s the only hope I can muster. That he can’t possibly be this freaking bad.

        • David Groveman
          October 2, 2017 at 11:31 am

          I do not believe he is. The only level that didn’t require an adjustment period was AAA (which is an easy league for hitters)

          2015 – .305/.354/.417 (Advanced A)
          April – .220/.256/.244
          May-August – .313/.393/.438

          2016 – .302/.367/.457 (AA)
          April-June – .268/.346/.407
          July-September – .351/.490/.530

          In each of these cases he reached a point of understanding and comfort at the level and turned things on.

          • TexasGusCC
            October 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm

            Patience in the minors is much different than patience in the majors, especially when the window is open right now. Smith made the Mets’ decision easier by showing them that he just isn’t ready.

            • Jimmy P
              October 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

              I was not encouraged before he came up.

              He didn’t make a case once he did.

              However, he’s 22 and there is a track record of adjustment and success.

              Has anyone looked at Aaron Judge’s numbers from 2016?

              In 84 ABs, he struck out 42 times: .179/.263/.345.

              Just as bad as could be.

              Then he came to spring training, the club gave him an opportunity, and he started strong.

              Which is not to say that Smith is the next Judge. Just that, keeping with the language, any responsible jury would still be deliberating.

              Not a good year for the Mets to be cutting payroll.

        • Rae
          October 3, 2017 at 2:08 am

          Smith came into the Majors out of shape. It does not auger well for his future as he is not Prince Fielder, and has no speed, and will absolutely clog the base paths with his running or lack thereof. Peter Alonso will be the Mets 1B man by the end of 2018 with Matt Oberste as a potential backup player who hits for average, and has some power, and also has experience playing 1B as well as 3B. If Jhoan Urena hits while in Vegas @ 2018 the Mets could conceivably move him up to play 3B if Cabrera has injuries, etc… Urena can play 1B, and left field along with 3B

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