Tag Archives: New York Mets

Prospect in limbo: the Mets Travis Taijeron

Travis Taijeron is in one of those career stalemates. Now 27 years old and coming off his sixth minor league season, he is no longer one of the Mets top prospects, yet there seemingly is no room in Queens for Taijeron to make his big league debut.

So what’s next?

Keep reading for what’s next with the Mets Taijeron.

The New York Mets young strikeout king: Thomas Szapucki

Everyone likes a pitcher who strikes batters out in high numbers. Don’t get me wrong, watching a finesse pitcher like Greg Maddux control a game is a thing of beauty, but watching Randy Johnson chase 20 strikeouts in every performance is exhilarating.

That’s why the New York Mets prospect Thomas Szapucki caught my attention.

Continue on for more on Szapucki.

Wally Backman still plays a big role in New York Mets success [Interview]

Thirty years ago, Wally Backman was the starting second baseman for the legendary 1986 New York Mets squad. They were a very high-profiled team, and to this day still very much are. Lenny Dyskstra just saw the release of his book, and ESPN aired the 30 For 30 on Doc and Darryl this week.

Backman is still in the limelight as well. Since 2013, he has been at the helm for the Mets Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s. If you watched baseball last season, you are aware that the Mets had an exciting turnaround in 2015, led to the World Series by many of the young players Backman has coached since taking over as manager.

Keep reading for more of my interview with Wally Backman

The New York Mets Amed Rosario aiming to be best shortstop in NY

When you talk about elite shortstop prospects in New York, it seems like a lot of the talk surrounds the New York Yankees’ Jorge Mateo. Brewing in the New York Mets farm system, however, Amed Rosario is amid a breakout season that could have him big league-bound more quickly than his crosstown counterpart.

Rosario was signed at the age of 16 out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2012 for $1.75 million. He has since risen through the Mets minor league ranks rapidly, shaping his game from solely a defensive asset to one at the plate as well.

His defense has been ahead of his bat for several years, but to be fair, Rosario has been one of the youngest players in the league at each stop he has made, often more than three years younger than the median age. While he may never amount to show any immense power numbers, he is enjoying a successful 2016 at the plate.

Rosario made his debut at the age of 17 for Kingsport in the Appalachian League. Immediately, it was easy to see where Rosario would need work. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-handed hitter had a big, aggressive swing, and he wasn’t afraid to lay off a pitch he didn’t like. He hit .241 in short season, while getting on base at just a .279 lick. The red flag was in his plate discipline, as he struck out 19 percent of the time, while walking just five percent of the time, drawing a mere 11 walks over his first 226 plate appearances.

The Mets promoted him to Low-A Savannah to start 2014, and he looked completely lost at the plate. Rosario went 4-for-30 in his brief stay, striking out 11 times and walking just once before being sent to the New York-Penn League. He played very well for the Brooklyn Cyclones in his second season, slashing a much more respectable .289/.337/.380, but still hardly drew a walk.

Last season saw Rosario skip over the South Atlantic League and head to the Florida State League as a mere 19-year old, where he performed surprisingly well. He slashed .257/.307/.335 while improving on the base paths, stealing a career-high 12 bases in 16 attempts. He also showed off his developing power, using it to the gaps by belting a career-best 20 doubles and adding on five triples. The strikeout level was still a tad bit high (17.5 percent) but it wouldn’t be so worrisome if it weren’t for the glaring disparity in his lack of improvement in the walk department (still a very low 5.5 percent).

Rosario headed into 2016 considered the best shortstop in the Mets’ farm system and arguably their entire organization. There was no denying that he was the shortstop of the Mets future, as he is extremely athletic with a cannon of an arm, quick feet and the advanced range to excel at the highest of levels. There is also no denying that that Rosario can hit, as he makes a lot of contact, which he uses his plus-speed to turn into extra-base hits. Still just 20 years old, he has a big enough frame to still develop some more power.

He has a lot going on at the plate. He seems rather fidgety, always bouncing, and he steps big into the pitch. But, as you can see in this video from Mike Rosenbaum, when he connects, he explosively rips through the strike zone.

For more on the hot hitting Mets prospect, including video and projections, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for me complete article. 

Mets’ young shortstop Amed Rosario maturing at the plate

The New York Mets and Gavin Cecchini: What to do?

It probably didn’t come as much of a surprise to the New York Mets that David Wright is once again on the shelf with much uncertainty surrounding his return. Wilmer Flores — whom the Mets once hoped would be their future shortstop — has taken the reigns at third, while rumors are aswirl that Jose Reyes may be nearing a return to New York to bolster their infield depth.

What about within the organization? The Mets do have the veteran Kelly Johnson as a super-utility role player, but is there some youth on the farm that could possibly provide some help to a thin infield.

Is now the time to give Gavin Cecchini — one of the Mets upper-tier prospects — his shot in the bigs?

Read on for more pros and cons of giving Cecchini a chance.

T.J. Rivera — a jack of all trades for the New York Mets

T.J. Rivera is an intriguing “prospect” for the New York Mets. At 27 years of age, most will tell you that his prospect window has closed, but some sites still list him in the organization’s Top 30. It’s worth taking a look at Rivera and wonder why he hasn’t got his shot.

Keep reading for more on the Mets unique prospect!

The New York Mets and Brandon Nimmo: what now?

Brandon Nimmo came to the New York Mets as their future center fielder that would provide a spark atop their lineup. That was six years ago. A lot has changed for the Mets, both in their farm system and their outfield. Where does Nimmo fit into their future plans?

Perhaps the better question is, does he?

Keep reading for more on Nimmo’s future in Queens.

The Dark Knight has fallen, Gotham belongs to Thor

Perhaps it’s not as dramatic as the title indicates. Matt Harvey is still quite a good pitcher. There is no question that the New York Mets young staff is exciting to watch.

They are struggling a bit right now. Jacob deGrom is working through injury and is currently on paternity leave. Steven Matz looked lost in his 2016 debut after an amazing run in 2015 before getting hurt. Bartolo Colon is simply not human and Harvey is still struggling to learn what kind of pitcher he is.

Noah Syndergaard, however, is unbelievable.

More on the rise of the mighty Thor

The New York Mets and the Legend of Tom Terrific

This year’s Hall of Fame vote saw history in the making. Ken Griffey, Jr. behind a whopping 99.3% of the vote entered the Hall of Fame with the highest amount of yeses in the history of the game.

So, now there is a new trivia question. The answer to “Who has the most votes in Hall of Fame history?” is no longer the same answer it had been for the past 24 years.

Tom Seaver is out, and The Kid is in.

It doesn’t take away from the greatness of the mighty righty flamethrower who almost single handedly (or was it single-armedly?) led the New York Mets to relevance. Seaver’s career in New York was much like those Miracle Mets… Amazin’.

Still, he was one of the least likely people to sit atop the Hall of Fame top vote charts for 24 years. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax. If that was who garnered the most votes in MLB history, it would make more sense, but instead Tom Terrific held the dubious honor for a very long time.

Maybe that’s because he was one of the greatest right handed pitchers to ever play the game. He won three Cy Young Awards and should have won a fourth. Two of those Cy Young Award winning seasons found the New York Mets in the World Series, winning one behind one of the most remarkable seasons in baseball history and losing the other to an Oakland As team right smack in the middle of their “Threepeat” as World Champions.

Seaver wasn’t merely the best pitcher on the Mets, he was their most valuable player year in and year out.

He would be traded to the Cincinnati Reds at the 1977 trade deadline. The deal would be called the Midnight Massacre as the Mets plummeted into obscurity. It would take six years for Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden to rebuild the Mets. I told you, Seaver made the Mets go. The Mets would finish in last or second to last every one of those years, and remember this was the era of six-team divisions.

You can say Seaver got so many more votes than the likes of Greg Maddux or a Aaron because of his induction class. It may be the case as he and Rollie Fingers were voted in together. The rest of that ballot did have some future Hall of Famers on it, but they all paled in comparison to Tom Terrific.

In the January/February issue of Baseball Magazine I take a closer look at the career of the greatest New York Met in their history. Dr. K looked like he may be headed for that title, but off the field issues (and the Mets insistence on him throwing that curve) deprived fans of seeing what could have been. This new staff certainly has some young arms that could one day challenge Tom Terrific, but that’s a story still being written.

Click the link below to read my full feature at Baseball Magazine (page 7):