Mets Minors: Predicting the 2018 squads

Every offseason I try to predict where the minor league assignments will shake out for the Mets in their next season. It’s a useful way of predicting paths for these prospects and predicting how long some of these players may have before they reach the majors.

Now, I keep a list from the MLB to the NYP but nobody needs to see my version of the 25 man roster and the Brooklyn Cyclones will be dependent on multiple players who have yet to be drafted. That leaves the Mets AAA, AA, Advanced A and Full Season A squads to analyze and, with some help from Brian Joura, I think I’ve tightened these lists up well.

C1 Tomas Nido Patrick Mazeika Ali Sanchez Juan Uriarte
C2 Jose Lobaton Anthony Dimino Brandon Brosher Scott Manea
1B Dominic Smith Peter Alonso Dash Winningham Jeremy Vasquez
2B Luis Guillorme Jeff McNeil Luis Carpio Edgardo Fermin
3B David Thompson Jhoan Urena Michael Paez Rigoberto Terrazas
SS Gavin Cecchini Jio Mier Andres Gimenez Mark Vientos
IF Phillip Evans Dale Burdick Colby Woodmansee Reed Gamache
IF Matt Oberste J.C. Rodriguez Vinny Sienna Walter Rasquin
LF Jayce Boyd Jeff Diehl Desmond Lindsay Wagner Lagrange
CF Kevin Kaczmarski John Mora Ian Strom Ranfy Adon
RF L.J. Mazzilli Tim Tebow Wuilmer Becerra Quinn Brodey
OF Kevin Taylor Champ Stuart Jacob Zanon Jay Jabs
OF Patrick Biondi Nick Sergakis Jose Miguel-Medina Jeremy Wolf
SP Robert Gsellman Marcos Molina Justin Dunn Gabriel Llanes
SP Chris Flexen Nabil Crismatt David Peterson Nicolas Debora
SP P.J. Conlon Andrew Church Jordan Humphreys Darwin Ramos
SP Corey Oswalt Casey Delgado Harol Gonzalez Chris Viall
SP Mickey Jannis Kevin Canelon Anthony Kay Colin Holderman
CL Tyler Bashlor Gerson Bautista Alex Palsha Max Kuhns
SU Jacob Rhame Tim Peterson Johnny Maggliozzi Joseph Zanghi
SU Cory Burns Adonis Uceta Austin McGeorge Conner O’Neil
MR David Roseboom Ben Griset Matt Blackham Cannon Chadwick
MR Kevin McGowan Albert Baldonado Matt Pobereyko Stephen Villines
MR Jamie Callahan Daniel Zamora Corey Taylor Trey Cobb
LR Ricky Knapp Scarlyn Reyes Joshua Torres Cameron Griffin

AAA Storylines:

Dominic Smith must prove himself again – With the Mets acquiring a veteran slugger for first base, it is unlikely that Smith has much of a chance to make the major league squad without injury.  It is possible that he forces Mickey Callaway’s hand by being the better player throughout the Spring but it’s unlikely that there is enough time to prove that Smith is 100% ready to beat out Adrian Gonzalez by April.  This means that Smith returns to AAA where he had great success in 2017.  It’s only a matter of time before he’s back in Queens.

Depth of Starting Pitching is key – Gsellman, Flexen, Conlon, Oswalt, Jannis and even Knapp mean that the Mets final year in Las Vegas will be a pitching anomaly.  The PCL, a hitter’s paradise, will have to contend with one of the deepest rotations of minor league talent that we’ve seen the Mets put together.  It is possible that one of the names above begins the year in the majors but the amount of depth means that the AAA squad will still be elite.

2017 Trade Acquisitions Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan – With Chasen Bradford and Josh Smoker gone the Mets have no excuse but to showcase some of the relief pitching talent they acquired in their lackluster 2017 sell-off.  Rhame, is the best of the lot with a plus fastball that should translate to the majors fairly quickly but it remains to be seen if anyone from that group of relievers will have an impact in Queens.

 AA Storylines:

Peter Alonso a victim of Adrian Gonzalez – While we are complaining about the Mets signing Gonzalez we should note that AGon also pushes back the timetable for Alonso.  The shame of this is that we have a player who has already proven to be more than capable of hitting in AA waiting behind a player who has already proven to be capable of hitting in AAA.  Would it not have been wiser to have Smith in the majors and evaluate Alonso as a replacement should Smith falter?

Are Marcos Molina, Patrick Mazeika and Jhoan Urena for real? – The three best prospects in AA (who aren’t named Peter Alonso) have something to prove.  Patrick Mazeika has always hit but his power seems to come in spurts and his defense remains a weaker point of this game.  Jhoan Urena had a resurgent 2017 season but how much of that was the result of a single season of good luck and how much of that is player progression?  Marcos Molina is considered one of the Mets highest ceiling pitchers but his 2017 numbers put him a step behind the AAA rotation.  When do we see Molina break out?

The Tim Tebow effect – Besides the citizens of Binghamton having a face they recognize on the field, is Tebow more than a sideshow? He’s not a bad player, but his numbers don’t suggest his has a major league future.

 A+ Storylines:

Can Justin Dunn and Desmond Lindsay rebound? – People should be more optimistic about Lindsay for obvious reasons but I hope that nobody has given up on Dunn either.  With a solid month of baseball from these two, the world will start to change their view on the Met farm system in a hurry.  Let us not forget that Dunn’s 2016 in Brooklyn was far more impressive than David Peterson’s 3.2 innings of work.

When will Thomas Szapucki return? – The best pitcher the Mets would have in Advanced A this season is on the shelf recovering from surgery.  This means the Mets will need to wait a while to find out if this fifth round pick is as good as he’s seemed to be in his previous time with the Mets.  The hope is that he gets enough time in Advanced A in 2018 that he can advance to AA in 2019.

Andres Gimenez the star of St. Lucie – One of the reasons that Justin Dunn and Desmond Lindsay might shine is because the spotlight should not be on them.  The best prospect in Port St. Lucie is the Met shortstop who put together very solid offensive numbers in Columbia in 2017.  We’ve seen solid offense in the SAL fizzle in the FSL, look at Luis Guillorme, but Gimenez is a different type of player and there is far more reason to hope.

 A Storylines:

Greatest SAL Lineup Ever! – Brian doesn’t believe the Mets will put all of their hitting talent in one basket but he wants me to be right.  Edgardo Fermin, Wagner Lagrange, Rigoberto Terrazas, Jeremy Vasquez, Juan Uriarte, Mark Vientos, Quinn Brodey and Ranfy Adon would be a rare elite lineup in a league known for pitching.  If that lineup comes together there could well be a Mets360 field trip to go out and watch them live.

Hansel Moreno left behind? – One player who misses the list is Hansel Moreno who I have slotted to head to Brooklyn.  It is possible that Moreno winds up in Columbia as well but there is little place for the shortstop to play with Vientos and Terrazas on the team.

Who is the next SAL “Ace” pitcher? – While the Single A lineup is projected to be elite there aren’t many big names in the rotation to hang one’s hat on.  Based upon history, the team will have two or three pitchers put up solid numbers regardless of talent levels but it isn’t clear who those pitchers will be.

16 comments for “Mets Minors: Predicting the 2018 squads

  1. Hobie
    February 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Drew Smith still around?

    • Geoffrey T
      February 12, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Bingo!!! Yes, he’s still around. His omission is just one of many errors and oversights on this list.

  2. February 8, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I’m with you on the Smith/Alonso logjam at first base.

    I’d rather see Becerra than Diehl get the AA assignment. I still have a tiny bit of hope for Beccerra. Diehl’s K rate is a big problem.

    Humphreys likely to open on DL so one of the SAL starters should get a bump to SLU. None of the top 3 seem like great candidates but the other SLU starters seem potentially very good, so it should be all right. Lots of candidates to claim the newly opened rotation spot in Columbia. Tony Dibrell, Christian James and Jaison Vilera among them.

    I feel like Rasquin should be a starter. My guess is that he’s the 2B for COL and Fermin goes back to Brooklyn.

    Thanks for doing this David. It’s a lot of work and it’s definitely appreciated!

    • Geoffrey T
      February 13, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Diehl’s been converted to a pitcher, so he’s really not part of the equation.
      And, yeah, Becerra has to be pushed. There’s just no point, purpose, or value to keeping him in advanced-A again. He’s got one year left till free agency. The time for patience and development has passed. Its now time for him to sink or swim.

      While a Smith/Alonso logjam could happen, there really isn’t one yet, and there may not be anytime soon. Alonso has just 11 AA games under his belt – not enough time to see if the pitching at that level can figure him out and slow him down. Plus, Alonso’s defense still needs a lot of work. He’d probably get swallowed up by jumping to the faster paced AAA game so quickly, especially the hard, fast infield in Vegas. Double-A is the appropriate assignment for him right now. Of course, that can change on a dime if he has a monster spring at the plate in major league camp, and shows improved defense. But thats a lot to expect from a guy who spent most of last year in advanced-A. I’m not inclined to just assume that he will make that jump.
      Let’s see where things sit three months from now. Maybe Alonso breaks through the door and forces his way into a promotion. But by that time, we could also learn that AGon is washed up and Smith could be moved up, too.

      Not sure why anyone is discussing Rasquin in Columbia, as opposed to St. Lucie. His bat and his body are mature enough and most of last year’s COL infielders underachieved and haven’t earned their promotions, anyway. There’s nothing standing in the way of Rasquin skipping COL. Plus, he’s just two years away from free agency. With a bat like his, I’d want to see him get far enough along in the system over that time to justify adding him t the 40-man and holding onto him.

      (And Humphreys will miss the entire season – he had his TJ surgery in late August).

  3. TexasGusCC
    February 8, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    David, nice job. A few thoughts:

    Paez was moved to 2B due to a weak arm, can’t expect him to be third baseman. Carpio appears to be odd man out, or Gimenez can start in Columbia as he was injured last August and he’s quite young, and after a month he can be bumped up to A+. That would solve a problem while buying the Mets a little while.

    Woodmansee will be 3B as the Mets seem to like his bat and he had multiple injuries last year, thus the horrific offensive numbers.

    Champ Stuart should be either starter in AA or on the AAA team as his legs are too valuable to not give his bat every chance. Mazzilli is roster filler and has bounced up and down between AA and AAA.

    Buccerra at this point needs to be in AA. He has been in A+ for too long and won’t be learning too much more. Time to move him up and see how he handles it.

    Kay hasn’t pitched a single professional inning. Don’t you this A+ is aggressive?

    Overall, a fun exercise and lots of good conversation. Nice job again.

    • Geoffrey T
      February 13, 2018 at 12:33 am

      It seems more like Paez was moved to utility player. In actuality, 40% of his starts last season were at short and third.
      I think Champ Stuart has played his way off of the starter’s list, regardless of his speed, or what level he plays. They treated him like a star and gave him every opportunity, but he simply does not hit enough. The onus is on him now to earn his playing time back, IMO.
      That said, OF’s get rotated a lot when teams don’t have [m]any premium prospects or clear cut starters, as is the case with this org this year.
      This linear chart format can’t really account for that.

  4. Eraff
    February 8, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Cant see Becerra repeating-repeating saint loo…. 800 ab’s is enough. Push him to proove at the next level

    • Geoffrey T
      February 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      You are most definitely correct. Sending him back to Lucie would be foolishly pointless. He has only one year left till minor league free agency kicks in. If he is to get added back on the roster and kept by the team, they need to know whether they have a real prospect who can continue advancing or not. The only way to learn that is to promote him. then its up to him to sink or swim.

  5. Eric
    February 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Humphreys had TJ late Aug 2017

    • Eric
      February 9, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Kuhns TJ July 2017

  6. Geoffrey T
    February 12, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    You’ve listed a number of players who are no longer with the organization, or are out for the season due to injury. You’ve left out players who are still here. And a couple of players have changed positions in the off season.
    OF Zach Borenstein was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. No way he makes the major league roster. He will be in AAA and will push another OF out. (Probably Patrick Biondi, who would have no business being in AAA, anyway).
    Ty Kelly was signed about three weeks ago, not mentioned here.
    Jeff Diehl is not an OF anymore: he’s been converted to pitcher.
    Jay Jabs is being converted to catcher.
    Alberto Baldonado signed with the Cubs over two months ago.
    You left off Andrew Ely, a AA shortstop whom the Mets took in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. With that, there is really zero basis for assuming that Jio Mier will be re-signed.
    You left off Drew Smith, who excelled in AA last season, and is probably slated for AAA this year.
    You’ve omitted catchers Dan Rizzie, Jose Garcia, Colton Plaia, and Tyler Moore.
    Scarlyn Reyes was released last October, and so was Reed Gamache.
    JC Rodriguez was allowed to leave as a free agent. No reason they’d bring him back.
    As Eric already pointed out, Jordan Humphries and Max Kuhns had TJ surgery last July/August and will be out for the entire 2018 season.

    • Geoffrey T
      February 13, 2018 at 12:58 am

      Woops. I missed a few:
      Casey Delgado was also released last fall.
      Kevin Canelon became a free agent and was sighed by Cincinnati shortly thereafter.
      Eric Hanhold, who was acquired in the Neil Walker trade, is not listed anywhere. Neither is Steven Nogosek who came over in the Addison Reed deal.
      Cory Burns also left as a free agent.

  7. Geoffrey T
    February 13, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Hard to see how you have Corey Taylor actually being demoted to advanced-A when he spent all of last year in Binghamton. He didn’t have his best year, but it certainly wasn’t cause for him to get bumped down a level. The Mets think enough of him to invite him to major league camp. So they clearly were not discouraged, and still see him as someone who will climb, not go down.

    Peter Alonso played all of 11 games in AA last year. Not enough time to claim that he’s proven anything at that level. That, coupled with his shaky defense would have him going back to AA, at least to start the season, regardless of who the Mets acquired or where Dom Smith starts the season.

    • David Groveman
      February 13, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Sorry the list wasn’t perfect.

      I’m glad that you were able to flex your minor league muscles and share all this info.

      • Geoffrey T
        February 13, 2018 at 3:38 pm

        Are you seriously getting snippy about this? I wasn’t flexing anything. It was 4 AM and I was writing in steam-of-consciousness. I was just listing the issues as they occurred to me. If this sight allowed for editing at any time, rather than just within five minutes, I would have summarized it into something more brief which, perhaps, would have come off as less abrasive. That said, I would think you’d want to learn about the miscues so you can avoid them moving forward. There are plenty of places where multiple readers would be peppering you from all angles about them.

        • David Groveman
          February 13, 2018 at 3:41 pm

          Written word on the internet does not convey tone.

          I was not being snippy, I was acknowledging the tremendous amount of info you’ve shared.

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