St Lucie To Flushing Top 10 Prospect Countdown: #10 1B Dominic Smith

Dom Smith

1B Dominic Smith

DOB: June 15, 1995

Acquired: 1st Round (11th overall) in 2013 MLB First Year Player Draft

2014 Stats: Single-A Savannah: .271 BA, .344 OBP, .338 SLG, 52 Runs, 26 Doubles, 1 Home Run, 44 RBI.

Why Ranked Here: When the Mets selected Smith in the 1st round of the draft, they were said to be getting a very advanced high school bat. Here is MLB.com’s scouting report of Smith from draft day:

“The bat is what really stands out for this Southern California high school first baseman. With a terrific approach at the plate and a loose swing, he gets advanced marks for his hittability. Right now, Smith is more of a hit machine, an RBI type, than one who will wow you with his power. There is some pop there, and how high he goes on Draft day may depend on just how much power a team thinks he’ll have in the future. He’s a very solid defender at first, though it’s the fact that some see him as the best pure high school hitter in the class that will get him drafted in the early stages of the Draft. a very advanced high school bat.”

Smith showed a lot of that scouting report in Savannah this year. Defensively it is believed that Smith should be at least an above average first baseman, albeit with no positional flexibility. He has soft hands, good reactions and a quick release when required to throw the ball. Offensively he showed that quality hit tool that scouts raved about. Smith struggled in his first month(adjustment) and his last month(some fatigue), but his batting average/on-base percentage splits for May,June,July were: .320/.398, .301/.363, .292/.375. Smith showed a great ability to manage the strike zone despite his age and experience level, as well as the ability to spray line drives to all fields. He is an incredibly hard working kid with a great understanding of the game and a big desire to improve. I think there definitely was more good signs than bad with Smith’s full season debut.

What Needs To Improve?: I think it’s fairly well known that it is rather tough to make it as a first baseman in the big leagues without power. While I think Smith has some natural loft to his swing that should grow into some power, you are not talking about big time power. The 26 doubles this year was not bad but Smith needs to drive the ball with authority more consistently and show the willingness to turn on an inside pitch and put a charge into it. Savannah is huge park that does not give well to left handed hitters specifically, so I think it will be a benefit for Smith to simply get out of there.  The tough thing for Smith will be maintaining that good strike zone judgment while being aggressive after pitches that he can hit hard.

Where Will He Start 2015?: High-A St. Lucie

Outlook: Smith does lose some momentum as a prospect as the power numbers were not quite there but let’s not give up on a kid who won’t be 20 until June and showed the advanced skills that he did this year. Legit chance he breaks out in a pretty big way being out of Savannah and into a more reasonable atmosphere in Port St. Lucie.

As we begin 2015, what’s next for the Mets?

It’s a brand new year. Mets fans can toast to the great times ahead in 2015. The team showed tons of promise in 2014 with the breakout seasons of Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares. Travis d’Arnaud had an impressive second half after a short stint in AAA. He will likely be an integral part of the teams future. The bullpen looks to be in great shape with Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Victor Black at the back end. Josh Edgin took a step forward last season as well. If Bobby Parnell can return to form, he will also be part of the late-inning equation. We all know what Matt Harvey’s return brings to a starting rotation that already consists of deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee. The depth doesn’t end there with Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Steve Matz waiting in the wings in Las Vegas. Curtis Granderson will look to bounce back with the help of Kevin Long and a shortened right-center field fence. Michael Cuddyer will mainly play RF and spell Duda at times at 1B vs. tough lefties. Look for John Mayberry to start in LF/RF on those days. The pieces are in place for a successful season. So what’s next?

Dating back to last season, there have been rumors that the Mets have interest in Troy Tulowitzki. While adding Tulowitzki would be a game changer, I don’t expect it to happen. The Mets are without a doubt the best fit trade wise for the Rockies. That coupled with the Mets need for a shortstop makes the match look perfect. However, his injury-riddled past mixed with the price he will likely cost in trade make it a long shot. His contract would be considered a bargain if he could only stay healthy. It will certainly be a situation most fans will be paying attention to as the rest of the offseason unfolds.

If the Mets do indeed find a SS to compete with Wilmer Flores, Seattle seems like the best fit. They have both Chris Taylor and Brad Miller at the SS position. There were rumors that suggested they may use Miller’s left-handed bat in the OF if they didn’t make any more deals. However, Seth Smith was acquired from San Diego last week. This may be lead to a deal of either Miller or Taylor. There were rumors last season that the Mets offered Jon Niese in exchange for Brad Miller. It will be interesting to see if the teams have further dialogue as Spring Training approaches.

Have The Mets Gotten The Sandy Alderson Fans Expected?

Sandy_Alderson_New_York_Mets

 

Ok before you read this, this is not going to be a Sandy Alderson bashing post. In fact, I am one of Sandy’s biggest supporters that you will find. Amidst rumors that the San Diego Padres were working on a trade to acquire outfielder Wil Myers from Tampa Bay, (not implying that Mets should’ve pursued this) I started thinking “Why are the Mets never trying to do anything creative like this?”

When the Mets hired “The Big Three” in Sandy Alderson as GM, J.P. Ricciardi as his right hand man and Paul DePodesta as the head of the scouting department I was thrilled. The Mets were getting away from the Omar Minaya way of just giving up draft picks and signing every which veteran that he could. Basically trying to be the New York Yankees and not succeeding. This was going to be a forward thinking, analytical, and creative front office. What was there not to like?

I was under the understanding that a rebuild was required. There were terrible contracts like Jason Bay, Johan Santana and Oliver Perez still lagging on the Mets payroll. I would argue that Alderson did a good job in general with the rebuild. Fans wanted every which free agent and I was fine with Alderson passing on all of those opportunities to properly rebuild. Over the rebuilding years he acquired Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra as the young pieces in an R.A. Dickey trade, and Dilson Herrera and Vic Black for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. You are talking about 2 of your best pitchers going forward, your future at catcher, second base and a possible high leverage, late inning reliever.

Now here is where the questions start. Where are the “Moneyball” type moves that fans were grown to expect under the originator of the perceived “Moneyball” pursuit of undervalued assets? All I have seen from Alderson is the ability to successfully sell off veterans for prospects and sign some free agents to plug holes, while leaving blatant holes wide open.  I understand the payroll issues come from the ownership level, but you can improve the roster without spending absurd amounts of money.

I will say I was actually excited that Alderson signed Michael Cuddyer to a 2 year deal at the expense of the Mets 1st round draft pick right when free agency opened, as it showed that the rebuild was over. He is not a perfect player but he is a fit for the Mets. Whether you want to believe it or not, the Mets need a shortstop. Nothing against Wilmer Flores, but as a fan I want to see better. This team is ready to compete on the merit of it’s starting pitching. I think they are merely a solid bat at shortstop away from being a true playoff contender. The Mets can’t take on the payroll that comes with Troy Tulowitzki and are uninterested in the likes of Jung-Ho Kang and seemingly most of the shortstop free agent market.

Where is the Mets version of a potential Wil Myers trade? Alderson was such a smooth negotiator in all of his deals where he moved his veteran pieces for prospects. Why can’t he find a creative way to obtain a shortstop? I simply do not believe that every trade in the market absolutely requires one of Syndergaard/Wheeler/Jacob deGrom. Didi Gregorius was obtained for Shane Greene, who had a nice run with the Yankees this year but was a pretty pedestrian minor league pitcher.

This is not to compare specific examples of players but why can’t Sandy make an outside of the box move? Everything does not have to be so cut and dry. Alderson can’t figure out a way to get Brad Miller? Jurickson Profar? Ersibel Arruebarruena? These are just examples but I truly expected this front office to do outside of the box, creative things. I cannot think of one move of this quality that the Mets have made. I am challenging Sandy Alderson to show me something different. Show me that the Mets hired the guy that is here to lead the Mets to the World Series. If you give me Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada as the only shortstop options, that is not enough. You stuck your neck out with the Cuddyer move signaling the next wave of the growth of the Mets. Do not stop there. Go obtain a shortstop and show the fan base that 2015 is truly the year for the Mets. I am all about the prospects, but hoarding every one of them is not the way to do it. Prospects are meant to help the Major League team and sometimes that is via trading some of them.

Has Sandy Alderson been all that I had hoped when the Mets hired him? Not entirely.

Mets Select LHP Sean Gilmartin In Rule 5 Draft. Can He Help?

Sean Gilmartin

On the last day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Major League Baseball held it’s annual Rule 5 Draft. The basic premise of the Rule 5 Draft is that teams select from other teams minor league systems to find a player that they are willing to carry for the entire following season.

With the 10th pick in this years Rule 5 Draft the Mets selected 24-year-old left handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin from the Minnesota Twins organization. Gilmartin, a former 1st round pick of the Atlanta Braves was traded to the Twins in exchange for catcher Ryan Doumit. This year Minnesota opted to not protect Gilmartin on their 40 man roster, thus making him available for the Mets and other teams. Given the need for another left hander in the bullpen, I think this was an excellent risk taken by the Mets. It is basically a $50,000 look at a guy. If you don’t want to keep him you can either offer him back to the Twins for $25,000 or try to work out a trade that negates the Rule 5 requirements.

But how can Gilmartin help the Mets? There is a need for an additional left hander to go with Josh Edgin, and Gilmartin was awesome vs lefties this season in Triple-A. In 149 at bats against him, he held lefties to a slash line of .201/.219/.235. Yes that is a .454 OPS against!

With numbers like that you would have to assume that he has some seriously good stuff, right? That is not really the case. Gilmartin will now be a converted starting pitcher who had a typical left hander 4 pitch mix. He has a fastball that works in the upper 80’s, topping around 91 MPH with some sink to it. His go to pitch is his change-up that works around the 80 MPH range and has some nice dip to it. He has a slider which he uses a lot to his advantage against the left handed batters and then a slow curve in the low 70’s. He relies on his control and pitching smarts more than blowing away hitters.

While the Gilmartin pick isn’t going to have fans throwing parties, given the interest in guys like Phil Coke or Craig Breslow, I would much rather take a chance on a 24 year old with some upside. While there is no guarantee that Gilmartin will make the team, I think he absolutely can make the team and have a positive impact on the 2015 Mets bullpen.

You can follow Joe DeMayo on Twitter @PSLToFlushing

Listen: Brooklyn Cyclones Review with The Voice Of The Cyclones Stuart Johnson

I had the opportunity to record an interview with the radio play by play man for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Stuart Johnson. Stuart gives some awesome insight on all the top prospects that came through Brooklyn this summer such as Amed Rosario, Marcos Molina, Michael Conforto, Jhoan Urena and more. Click below to take a listen!

Listen: Offseason Preview with Newsday’s Marc Carig

It may be a little dated now that the Mets have signed Michael Cuddyer, but I got to talk to Marc Carig of Newsday late last week to preview the Mets offseason. Click play below to listen to the interview!

Listen: deGrom,Cuddyer,Offseason Preview with Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond

On the day that Jacob deGrom won the 2014 NL Rookie Of The Year and the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a 2 year $21 million contract I was joined for a chat by the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond. Click the play button below to listen to the interview

Mets Sign Michael Cuddyer To Two Year Deal. What’s Next?

In a rather surprising move, the Mets agreed to a 2 year $21 million contract with free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The fact that they signed Cuddyer isn’t the surprise. The surprise is the fact that they were willing to surrender the 15th pick in the 2015 First Year Player Draft to obtain a 36 year old outfielder that played in a mere 49 games last season after dealing with a myriad of injuries.

Now based on that you would assume that I did not approve of the move? Well that assumption is inaccurate, as I am incredibly happy with the deal. This is a risk worth taking because when healthy Cuddyer can simply hit. He hit .332 with 10 home runs, 31 runs batted in and a .376 on base percentage in those 49 games played. In 2013 Cuddyer won the National League batting title by hitting .331 in 130 games played. The vibe I am getting at here is that if Cuddyer is on the field he can flat out hit. He is a perfect fit to sit in the order between Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson.

This move to me signifies that the Mets are over the rebuilding process and are prepared to put a winner on the field in Queens. Cuddyer himself certainly won’t do that, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Mets assessed the trade market for bats such as Carlos Gonzalez and Yoenis Cespedes, but rather than parting with Zack Wheeler or Jacob deGrom for one of those two they decided(in my opinion correctly) that the player they could get at the 15th overall pick is something they would rather part with than a pitcher of that caliber. You were unlikely to get a player that is better than Cuddyer at a lesser cost than the Mets got Cuddyer.

So now what is next? Another positive in the Cuddyer signing is that the Mets kept all of their chips that they may have traded for an outfielder and can now put that into talks of trade to fill their other need at shortstop. Reports have surfaced that the Mets have had some level of discussion with the Colorado Rockies for All Star Troy Tulowitzki as well as the White Sox’s Alexei Ramirez.

Tulowitzki would be a difficult deal to make from multiple standpoints. He has $118 million in money owed to him and the Rockies reportedly will not pick up a dollar of it in trade talks. Given the Mets financial situation it is hard to fathom them picking up that kind of financial commitment. Tulowitzki also has major injury issues of his own as he is recovering from a torn labrum in his hip and has played no more than 126 games in the last 3 seasons. They could take the injury risk, but the price to obtain Tulowitzki will be substantial as well. Without really speculating the whole possible deal I would imagine the Rockies would not do a deal without the name Noah Syndergaard in it, along with quite a bit more. I think the Mets will continue to engage the Rockies on Tulowitzki, I just do not think that ultimately a deal will happen there.

Alexei Ramirez on the other hand makes a ton of sense for this team. Financially he makes $10 million this year with a $10 million team option for 2016. Ramirez also is not an injury risk, as the 33 year old has not played less than 156 games since 2009, including 4 straight years of 158 games played. The difference is the upside of Ramirez statistically obviously is not at the upside of a Tulowitzki, but he is no slouch. An average season for Ramirez is .276 average, .314 on base percentage, 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 17 stolen bases. That would be a wonderful addition to the Mets lineup to go with Cuddyer to really make this a formidable every day lineup. I also believe they can get away with obtaining Ramirez while keeping the big guns in Wheeler, deGrom and Syndergaard. I fathom the White Sox being interested in Rafael Montero, Jon Niese and maybe Dillon Gee to a degree.

The Mets are not done, not even close. They showed the aggressiveness that a team that wants to win does by signing Cuddyer early and forfeiting the draft pick to make it a reality. They know that they need a shortstop and within the next month here I predict there will be a new one that will help the Mets NOW. The rebuild has been a long and strenuous process, but now the Mets have a potential pitching staff that people in other organizations rave about. They were a couple bats away from being a potential playoff team, and with Cuddyer they are now one away.

What To Expect From St Lucie To Flushing

For those that have followed before: welcome back! To those that are new to the site: welcome! This is a re-launch of a project that I had probably about a year ago now that was taken away from me due to some rather unfortunate reasons beyond my control. Nonetheless, with a lot of work I am back here to give you information,opinions and hopefully some stuff that will be useful and entertaining to you.

I’ll start to tell you about myself. I am a 26 year old lifelong Mets fan who has been writing/reporting in some fashion about the Mets for the last decade. Yes, my first articles were posted at 16 years old at the defunct SheaBaseball.com. I have written for other sites and formats throughout the years, including my own. St Lucie To Flushing was an idea thought up to give unique perspective on not only the big league Mets, but more specifically the Mets minor leagues and  the MLB Amateur Draft. The posts I put out will have the passion of everyone in this fanbase and will hopefully give a different perspective than you read everywhere else.

On the old PSL2Flushing site I had interviews with current Mets players like Matt den Dekker, Dillon Gee, future Mets players such as Brandon Nimmo, and 1st round draft picks for other teams like Sonny Gray, Lance McCullers Jr and Courtney Hawkins. This isn’t a name dropping deal, it’s just giving you a perspective of what kind of things that I enjoy, and feel you would and will enjoy in the future months here.

I am not only a person who will post interviews, but I will have plenty of original pieces about different prospects, top prospect lists, Q+A’s, mock drafts in draft season, and a bunch of other really cool things. I am glad you took the time to read this, and don’t think this will be a slow start. I will be starting with my first original column tomorrow, and have pre-recorded interviews with Marc Carig of Newsday to preview the offseason, and Stuart Johnson, the voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones to break down the players that were on that roster. If you don’t already, please follow me on Twitter @PSLToFlushing.

Come on aboard as we take the virtual trip from the beginning stages at the Mets Spring Training Complex in Port St Lucie, Florida all the way to Citi Field in Queens, New York.

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