D-Day: Who Will Be The Newest Mets?
The draft is here and I'm definitely probably pretty sure that I'm excited. There is talk about Rick Porcello!!!! falling to the Yankees and I am a bit mad the Mets will not be there to pick him up before the Yankees might have their shot. Hopefully he does not fall to the Yankees because this kid is legit. He can definitely pair up with Phil Hughes as a tremendous one two punch for a long time. It seems as though Brackman might even tumble even further down the draft boards since he has yet to step on the mound and there are rumors of possible Tommy John surgery for him.
As for the Mets, their main plan is crossing their fingers and hoping some top tier talent falls and falls and falls so they can open up their checkbooks and get something done. You really cannot argue there because they do not have much of an option, but I'm confident that this scouting department will do good. Last year they picked up Kevin Mulvey in the 2nd round and Joe Smith in the third round and they both look like great picks at this point with Mulvey proving his worth this season in AA and Joe Smith proving he is already one of the best relievers in the league.
The big question of the day for me is how good is Todd Frazier? Baseball America has him moving up in the first round as does Baseball Prospectus.
25. Todd Frazier, 3b, Rutgers (24) Up
In a draft thin in college position players, Frazier was gaining more momentum based on his solid, consistent performance as a junior this season. "Great year, guys like really like him," an AL crosschecker said. "Later first round guy, too." He was 4-for-12 with four doubles in Rutgers' regional loss.
29. San Francisco Giants
The Giants are looking for a safe pick here, and their previous picks above this one limit them on a budgetary level to no more than slot money. Without a lot of hitters worthy of the pick, they could go with Rutgers star Todd Frazier, who projects as a power-hitting third baseman or corner outfielder down the road.
Pick: Todd Frazier, 3B, Rutgers
Keith Law is not nearly as excited about him.
Rod (NJ): Where do you see Todd Frazier going? A SS with power and a good eye has to be in demand, but I didn't see him in your top 100.
SportsNation Keith Law: Very mixed opinions on him; i think he goes sandwich to a college-oriented team, but I think that there's way too much chance he doesn't hit for average with wood unless someone cleans up his swing.
Confused? Me too. Of course, if he is going to profile as a third baseman or outfielder down the line, he is really of little use to the Mets. I know you don't draft for need, but if the Mets aren't going the second base route early, they need to go with another arm. Preferably a high ceiling high school arm.
Also from the above link, BP tried to predict who the Mets would pick and they named Jack McGeary, who is a high school lefty.
Jack McGeary, lhp/1b, Roxbury Latin HS, West Roxbury, Mass. (27) Down
Despite an impressive record (5-1, 0.88), McGeary had 21 walks in 40 innings and his velocity was in the 83-87 mph range for much of his last outing. "He had a very, very average year at best," an AL crosschecker said. "I thought going into the year he was a late first-rounder but I think he might be sliding to the second, and beyond (that) because of his signability."
Previously, he had a write-up that was much more rousing.
As polished and steady a prep lefty as there is in the nation, McGeary sits consistently in the 87-90 mph range with his fastball, touching 91, and he figures to add velocity as he fills out his tall frame, which invites comparisons to Andy Pettitte's. McGeary can spot the pitch to all four quadrants of the zone, and his above-average 76-78 mph curveball is a legitimate out pitch that he commands very well. McGeary also flashes an average changeup that he rarely has to use. He has a smooth, easy delivery, though he breaks his hands really low near his knees during his windup. McGeary could also be a power-hitting first baseman should he wind up at Stanford, but he might be signable if he goes in the first round.
Just something for you to chew on, Keith Law said he was a possibility for the Mets as well so there must be some rumblings that they like him. Want more? Alright...here is the scouting report on him from ESPN:
Excellent command. Plus-plus curve; shows 12-6 and 1-7 varieties. Tons of pitchability. Great mechanics, good balance, smooth arm action. Good downhill plane. Uses change often. Willing to use any pitch in any count. Fastball has to have more consistent movement to succeed at higher levels. Needs to get stronger. Draft projection: Early 1st rounder, but may drop due to signability. Commitment to Stanford. Projects as a No. 2 starter. Unless the change or fastball radically advances, he's not a No. 1. Should be an innings eater, dependable and solid. Extra lefty value.
PRESENT FUTURE LOW HIGH COMMENTPhysical Description: 6-3, 200. Compares to Eric Milton.
Fastball 50 55 87 91
FB Movement 55 55 N/A N/A Natural lefty mvmt.
Command 60 70 N/A N/A Plus FB comm.
Control 55 70 N/A N/A
Curveball 65 65 74 77 Consistent break. Late run.
Changeup 45 50 81 81 Needs polish/more fade.
for Pitching 50 65 N/A N/A Likes to expmnt; bright.
Arm Angle: 3/4
Mechanics: Clean. Excellent follow-through with arm action. Landing on outstep.
Release time: 1.27
Ultimate Role: No. 2 starter.
Draft Estimate: 1st round (low)
He certainly seems intriguing and like a guy that Rick Peterson would go after. He sounds like a Zito-esque pitcher down the line and certainly would be a nice arm to have in the organization. So far, I really like this McGeary kid, Frazier, Nick Noonan, and Travis d'Arnaud (whom DG pointed out). If they can nab two of those four with their first two picks, I will be one happy son-of-a-bitch.
No matter what happens though, I really feel like the Mets will be able to extract some talent with their picks as this draft seems to be deeper than most.
anthony (nyc): Hey Rob, Whats with Joe Torre taking slight jabs at A-Rod all the time. I was just reading Joe Morgan's chat and he said he had no problem with the arod "HA" play. He said it happened all the time in his day. Yet Torre comes out in the press and says its wrong. This on top of batting him 7th in the postseason. Why does he continue not to stick up for him or am i just wrong?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:20 PM ET ) I finally figured this out . . . The Yankees believe that A-Rod's going to break up with them after this season, so they're preemptively breaking up with him first. I don't know how else to explain the utter lack of organizational support.
The preemptive break-up! Brilliant. Earlier in the year, A-Rod already put the wheels in motion for the rarely used it's not me it's you routine saying that it's up the Yankee fans if he doesn't return so the Yankees are just making the next move. Really, is anything more clear than a much needed Yankee/A-Rod break-up?
Matt (Anaheim Ca): You’ve criticized the Angels lack of OPS in the past, finally they are doing better in this category and you dont talk about it. Can you just admit you hate the Angels and especially former Angel Darin Erstad?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:39 PM ET ) Okay, I'll admit it: I hate them. I hate their silly caps with the silver halos, and I hate their Big A in center field, and I hate their stupid singing cowboy owner. And what's with Disneyland, anyway? Why build an amusement park right next to a baseball team?
This one is just a gem.
David (Chicago): Rob: It's not that the amusement park is near the Angels' ball park--it's inside it. The centerfield backdrop in Angels' stadium looks just like one of the roller coasters at Disneyland--Big Thunder Mountain.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:43 PM ET ) Right! I also hate their stupid cement painted green with the stupid fake boulders!
"I guarantee that Latin American people play more baseball than any people, because that's all we have," Guillen told the newspaper. "You have more people playing baseball in Venezuela or the Dominican than anywhere, so there are going to be more players from there."
Guillen also told the newspaper that he believes there are more Latin players in baseball than African-Americans because players from Central and South American and the Caribbean can sign as free agents while American players have to go through the draft.
"It's not that they can control us; maybe when we come to this country, we're hungry," Guillen told the newspaper. "We're trying to survive. Those guys sign for $500,000 or $1 million and they're made. We have a couple of dollars. You can sign one African-American player for the price of 30 Latin players. Look at how many Latin players have won Cy Youngs or MVP awards the last couple of years, how many Latin players have been in the All-Star Game; it's quantity and quality."
The Mets expect to get Jose Valentin back from the DL by the weekend. Valentin's inevitable return from the DL has pundits wondering, "What will happen to Damion Easley?" It's a fair question, taking into account his production since April 28, when he came in for the injured Valentin. Since that date Easley has hit .248 (25-for-101) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games, respectable numbers. Still, all indications are that second base will once again be Valentin's spot, although it'd be smart of the Mets to utilize this duo in a platoon. Easley is a .308 hitter with four homers and a 1.001 OPS in 44 plate appearances against left-handers this season, Valentin a .283 hitter with a .874 OPS and 18 homers in 378 plate appearances against right-handers in his career with the Mets.
Now, I do think that Valentin is useful to this team. I'm dumb, but not dumb enough to not see that. However, I still think he is best served in a non-full time starting role. Personally, I have been impressed with Ruben Gotay. He's 24, still projectable, and he has a nice compact swing from the left side of the plate and makes consistent contact with a 24.2 LD%. That is higher than Wright, Reyes, and Beltran's, but coincidentally, it is lower than Valentin's 25.0 LD%, but I think Valentin's value lies elsewhere than starting.
One large factor is that if Jose Valentin starts the rest of the season, there is a shot for him to still hit 400 at-bats kicking in his automatic $4.3 million option. He could come back in 2008, but not on those terms. Using the above idea of a platoon, we can just sub in Ruben Gotay for Easley. Gotay is hitting righties very well, but cannot hit against lefties and Valentin hits righties very well. As for Easley, I love him off the bench as a guy with some pop and this bench is in dire need of his services. Since Valentin went down with the corner outfield guys, the bench has been dismal. I have my concerns about Gotay ever being a full time starter with him inability to hit lefities, but he should be a great platoon partner with Valentin and getting the lion's share of the playing time.
In other Pedro news, he tries to apologize to Roger without actually saying I'm sorry for talking trash.
According to one MLB team executive, the Mets would be "heavily involved" if the Cubs look to trade Zambrano.
That is interesting considering the importance the Mets put on character. It seems that Zambrano is having a hard time not only on the mound, but off the mound in Chicago and not the type of guy the Mets would chase. However, people do make mistakes. Jake Peavy got arrested, Alberto Callaspo was arrested, Tony LaRussa was arrested, etc.. One bad incident does not make a guy a bad person. In regards to Michael Barrett, I'm pretty sure I touched upon the mental mistakes he has been making this year. Combine that with the Cubs disappointing play and Zambrano's struggles and you could have a ticking time bomb. Frustration manifests itself in many ways and Big Z. going after Barrett could have been one of them for him.
The bigger concern would the health of Carlos Zambrano but I would suspect the Mets would do their homework before acquiring him. Personally, if you get the chance to get him, I think you have to. He's 27 in 2008 and has legitimate ace ability. As we've all spoke about before, the mind is a an amazing thing and could be completely dehabilitating. Just ask Oliver Perez.
What is also interesting about this is that Gammo just had a blurb on this one.
Which Piniella can and probably will do. Do his Cubs have flaws? Of course. Carlos Zambrano needs to pitch like a front-line guy, and either stay in Chicago or head on to the Mets at the end of the season. Felix Pie needs to produce, and the bullpen has to get straightened out.
It kind of makes you wonder of what is being said in the back channels. As we all know from the Zito hunt, nothing is a foregone conclusion, but the Mets really did not go hard after Barry. They had a limit and stuck to it. With Big Z., they could pursue him hard. Will the Yankees be in on him? Probably, but one of these days, someone is going stay in the NL rather go to the AL for purposes of not getting beat up and preservation of their numbers. With Glavine coming off the books and Pedro's contract dropping down to $12 million, Green coming off the books, and hopefully a few million back from Valentin, the Mets should have as much as they need in their war chest. You would have to think the Mets have created a better environment for a pitcher than any team in the league between their youth, ability to be competitive, defense and having a pitcher's haven.
If the Mets and Yanks matched dollar for dollar, who would you pick at this point? The aging team in need of some major tweaking surrounded by a media circus or the Mets?
More Latino kids play baseball in Central and South America than black kids in the United States because they have fewer options, often times sadly existing in depressing urban squalor.
Black kids here have more choices. That's why the NBA and NFL have an advantage in attracting the extraordinary young black athlete in the United States more so Major League Baseball.
Yet there's truth to Sheffield's comments in regards to teams exacting more control over Latino players than black players. Non-American players are excluded from the entry draft, so it's possible for a team to sign 20 Latino players for the same cost as a guaranteed signing bonus for one player selected high in the first round of the entry draft.
That gives major league executives tremendous power over those players. Those teenaged Latino players bust their butts when they sign, relentlessly pushing themselves. And they're more receptive to doing whatever is asked of them out of fear that if they don't, they're possibly banished back to their third-world living conditions.
Isn't using fear a measure of control?
I'm letting that all sink in and it is not jiving for me. You try because that is what is in you. It's easy to cruise around in third gear and not kick it into sixth gear and it takes a special person to push themselves. If Latino players relentlessly push themselves while guys who get drafted do not, I would extremely shocked. Sharp is intimating that Latino players work harder for the above stated reasons and to that I can point out players like David Wright who work just as hard as anyone from any corner of the globe because that is just what they do. As for being receptive, any kid that is coming into a sport and getting guidance from an expert should be receptive. If there weren't, I certainly would not want them in my organization no matter where they came from and I'm not really sure where he was going with that argument.
I understand that American kids (black, white, spanish decent, whatever) have more options whether it be playing three sports as as kid or playing the Nintendo Wii while kids in the Dominican or Venezuela simply do not have as many options and play many, many, many more hours of baseball than kids in any other country. I get that. That is a big factor in the influx of Latino players over the years.
Whatever. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but making Latino players seem like these mind washable players is utterly ridiculous.
Sheffield was right in another regard -- a free-thinking black man still rattles the social, economic and political establishment today, same as he did more than 40 years ago during the height of the civil rights movement.
It's amusing listening to the early fallout and the predictable cries of a double standard. What if a white player was perceived as smearing an entire race with such broad strokes? Would he not face official sanction from Major League Baseball or at least face pressure to apologize or clarify what he meant?
For some reason, I do not think a big concern on the mind of many baseball executives is a free thinking black man. Their main concern is fielding a good baseball team. If Elijah Dukes getting many chances after his many indiscretions does not outline that then I'm not sure what will.