The newly named Binghamton Rumble Ponies will begin their 2017 campaign on April 6 against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Luis Rojas begins his first season as the manager of Binghamton after leading the St. Lucie Mets to a playoff spot last season.
Chris Flexen – Had a nice season in 2016 coming off of Tommy John Surgery. Likely to start season on the DL after having knee surgery earlier in Spring Training.
P.J. Conlon – Control specialist who has dominated the lower levels of the minors and was the Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Casey Delgado – An older pitcher signed out of Indy ball in 2015 and has pitched to a 3.63 ERA since signing.
Corey Oswalt – Had a 9.3 K/9 rate during the 2016 season and impressed scouts in the Arizona Fall League.
Tyler Pill – Organizational depth pitcher who has been pitched in Binghamton for parts of the last four seasons. Has established himself as an excellent hitting pitcher, slashing .362/.384/.493 in 78 career PA.
Mickey Jannis – Knuckleballer with poor command.
Luis Mateo – Barely pitched from 2013-2015 after having Tommy John surgery. Pitched well for Binghamton in 2016.
Alberto Baldonado – Lefty with a fastball that reaches 94 and a sharp curve, but has poor command. Had dominated as a reliever before struggling after being called up to AA in 2016.
Corey Taylor – Sinkerballer who has been excellent in his first two professional season. Limits home runs, only allowing two in his first 71 professional innings and had an impressive big league camp this year.
Cory Burns – Signed as minor league free agent this offseason, has 27 games of major league experience.
Tim Peterson – Was outstanding in St. Lucie (0.49 ERA and a 15.7 K/9) before struggling after being called up to Double-A
Ben Griset – Picked up by the Mets after being released by Tampa Bay in 2014. Has been very good pitching in relief for the last two seasons.
Kelly Secrest – Lefty who strikes out a lot of batters, but walks a few too many.
Tomas Nido – Broke out with a huge season in 2016. Currently the top catching prospect in the system.
Colton Plaia – Light-hitting catcher who will be the backup for Binghamton in 2017.
David Thompson – Hit well last year in both Columbia and St. Lucie. Hit 11 home runs and has the raw power to improve on that number.
Luis Guillorme – Arguably the best defensive player in the system. Has a questionable bat.
Jeff McNeil – Barely played in 2016 after having surgery to repair a sports hernia and eventually having hip surgery.
Jhoan Urena – Had two straight down years after breaking both wrists in 2015. Hit much better in the 2nd half of 2016, slashing .255/.335/.430 from June 11th to the end of the season.
Kevin Taylor – Hit very well in St. Lucie after being signed out of Indy ball in 2016. Can also play both corner outfield position.
Matt Oberste – Should probably be on the 51s roster, but due to crowding it’s likely he’ll repeat.
Jiovanni Mier – A recent signing who was formerly ranked as high as the 2nd best prospect in the Astros’ system. Struggled last year in AAA, slashing only .219/.287/.317.
Champ Stuart – An 80-runner and very good defender who has issues making contact.
Kevin Kaczmarski – Very polished hitter who has an .832 OPS in his first two professional seasons.
John Mora – Has good plate discipline and can play all three outfield positions.
Likely that the fourth outfielder is a veteran they sign the next few days.
On The Bubble
Lefty reliever Kyle Regnault and right-handed reliever Scarlyn Reyes will certainly play in Binghamton this year and could be on the Opening Day roster depending on injuries. Patrick Biondi will surely play in Binghamton at some point as well, but Michael Conforto and Ty Kelly making the Mets roster had us shift him to the Las Vegas 51s for now.
The Binghamton Rumble Ponies roster will seemingly consist more of depth players and future role players, rather than top prospects. Players like Kaczmarski, Mora, and McNeil are guys who have limited upside, but could still have utility or fourth outfielder roles with the Mets within the next couple of seasons.
However, that is not to say that there aren’t plenty of interesting players to keep an eye on in 2017. Looking at the rotation, Chris Flexen should be back from the DL sometime in April and it will be exciting to see how he does in his second season back from Tommy John surgery. Also, it will be interesting to see if P.J. Conlon‘s command is good enough to keep up his dominance of the minor leagues as he progresses into the upper levels.
The bullpen is also filled is also filled with interesting names, such as Alberto Baldonado, who could be a very good reliever if he finds a little more consistency with command. Corey Taylor is another reliever who stood out last year and has established himself as one of the best relief prospects in the system.
The infield may be the most intriguing part of the team. Thompson’s defense has been better than advertised at third base and I think he sticks there long-term. It will also be interesting to see if Urena can bounce back from back to back poor seasons. It’s easy to forget, but he’s only two years removed from being the best third base prospect in the system. I’m expecting a good year from him, especially considering he hit much better in the second half of 2016.
Finally, it would be great to see Champ Stuart make some more contact. His tools are great, but he’s not going to be a productive MLB player striking out 30% or more of the time. However, if he can improve on the strikeouts and still walk at a decent rate, he can be something more than just a pinch runner/defensive replacement.