This is our first Roundtable of 2017. We have covered some interesting questions as we talked about who we think will has the best change to make his first MLB Start, who will be added on the 40-man first and who the Mets will trade if they make a trade for Kelly Johnson again this season.
Which minor leaguer will most likely make his first MLB start in 2017?
MetsDaddy – P.J. Conlon.
Jacob – The organizational pitching depth chart is starting to thin out, making it unclear who comes after the top seven. I’ll take 24-year-old Ricky Knapp, who turned in a stellar season with St. Lucie and Binghamton in 2016. Sound mechanics, a low walk rate, and a lack of home runs allowed make Knapp interesting, although he is far from an overpowering force on the mound.
Ernest – Chris Flexen. I think another year removed from his TJS will lead to a big 2017, and his status as a current 40-man roster player opens the door for him to make an MLB appearance during the year.
Mike – P.J. Conlon, the Mets have shown confidence in the young lefty giving him an invitation to big league camp and having him start a game. The Mets starting pitching depth has been thinned by the trades of Logan Verrett and Gabriel Ynoa making it likely we see someone make their big league debut as a starter in 2017.
Corné – Ricky Knapp, pitched in three different levels in 2016 and with Lugo and Gsellman making their debuts to me he is next in line to make a spot start. Also like him as he is a control pitcher to be able to handle a Major league start.
Daniel – Ricky Knapp. He’s a very polished pitcher who is probably about 10th on the team’s depth chart going into 2017 with Ynoa and Verrett going to the Orioles. He could pass Sean Gilmartin and/or Rafael Montero as the season goes on as well. As we found out last year, 10 starters isn’t always enough, although I certainly hope it is in 2017.
Ari – Chris Flexen. The Mets already have nine experienced pitchers ahead of him, but Flexen will be in AA, has upside and is on the 40-man roster.
Who’s the player that gets added to the 40-man roster first?
MetsDaddy – David Roseboom.
Ernest – Paul Sewald. I gave myself a tossup between Sewald and Phillip Evans and chose Sewald. Mets are full of multiple position guys right now in the big league club including Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes, so I’ll go with an arm getting a spot first to replace transactions that will occur at some point early in the year to fill an emergency need.
Mike – I’m a big believer in David Roseboom and Paul Sewald, whom should both make their major league debuts in 2017. Sewald has a longer track record of minor league success and wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make the Opening Day bullpen.
Corné – David Roseboom. With the Mets lack of depth in lefty specialist relievers. I see Roseboom making a strong case to be first when the Mets need a lefty out of the pen.
Daniel – Paul Sewald. I think Sewald impresses in ST and is the first reliever not on the 40-man called up in the event of injury or poor performance.
Ari – Xorge Carrillo. He’s the Mets 4th string catcher and if Plawecki’s injury lingers, he’s that much closer to the Majors. That being said, if one of the NRI relievers pitch well enough to make the team, then obviously he will be the first.
Which prospect will be promoted first within the system? (Not to MLB just move up level first)
Jacob – I can’t imagine P.J. Conlon spends too much time in Double-A, considering what looks to be a sub-par Las Vegas rotation.
Ernest – Peter Alonso. Even if Mets go somewhat aggressive with Alonso and jump him to High-A St lucie, I believe he wouldn’t stay there long either. If he makes enough contact his power will show even in the hitter friendly ballparks and pitchers league in the FSL. Plus it would solve a possible issue of perhaps making Dash Winningham restart back in Low-A Colombia to start year at first base and thus get him promoted right behind him.
Mike – Marcos Molina should begin the year in back in St. Lucie, but after a strong showing this spring I think he will only last a few starts there before moving up to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Corné – Jhoan Urena, I think he will start in St. Lucie but, shows us all he will bounce back which will result in a quick promotion to Binghamton to play first there.
Daniel – Thomas Szapucki. Szapucki is likely to start in Columbia in 2017, but I think he shows that he’s too dominant for that level and gets moved up after a month or two to St. Lucie.
Ari – Wuilmer Becerra. Quite often a player or two get dinged up the first few days of the season facilitating a call-up from XST. That being said, Becerra will likely start the year repeating Hi-A ball and is even more likely to show how ready he is for AA..
If the Mets trade for Kelly Johnson again, who will be traded for him?
MetsDaddy – Marcos Molina.
Jacob – I would normally say Chasen Bradford, but he’s going to be in the Mets’ organization as long as I live.
Mathew – If the Mets reacquire Kelly Johnson for a third straight season (has to be some type of record, no?) I’ll say he’d be traded for another right-handed pitcher, just like he was in the first trade with Juan Uribe (Mets sent John Gant and Robert Whalen to Atlanta), and last year with Atlanta again for Akeel Morris.
Ernest – Corey Oswalt. I think hes the kind of arm that will get it done. Fits the mold of those before him.
Mike – Joseph Shaw. A pitcher in the Mets system that I believe is underrated and could be in Binghamton by the time of the trade.
Corné – Andrew Church. Former 2nd round pick had a good season in 2016. A promising arm which could get it done.
Daniel – Matt Reynolds. Reynolds has shown potential to be a utility guy in the MLB, but the Mets have a lot of guys like him in the upper minors, such as Jeff McNeil, Phillip Evans, and T.J. Rivera. Trading Reynolds also opens up a 40-man roster spot.
Ari – Sean Gilmartin. Mr. Gilmartin is the owner of the most tenuous 40-man roster spot.
Five players who will make their MLB debut during the 2017 season?
Mathew – P.J. Conlon, David Roseboom, Travis Taijeron, Paul Sewald and Amed Rosario (September call up)
Ernest – Dom Smith, Amed Rosario, Paul Sewald, Chris Flexen and Champ Stuart (darn right Champ Stuart)
Mike – Paul Sewald, David Roseboom, Champ Stuart, Corey Taylor and Chris Flexen.
Corné – David Roseboom, Champ Stuart, Paul Sewald, Dominic Smith and Kevin McGowan.
Daniel – Paul Sewald, David Roseboom, Ricky Knapp, Tyler Bashlor, Champ Stuart. The first three are mostly self-explanatory. For the last two, I think Bashlor continues to improve and is called up to provide a spark in the bullpen late in the season. I also think Stuart is called up to provide some speed off the bench in September and October.
Better third base prospect: Urena, Thompson or Garcia?
Jacob – Thompson has blossomed into a serious prospect, while Urena has fallen far from where he once was.
Mathew – I’m a big fan of David Thompson’s, the 23-year-old right-handed slugger out of the University of Miami. Drafted in the fourth round in 2015, Thompson impressed in his first full season in 2016, splitting time between Columbia and St. Lucie. Combined, Thompson slashed .280/.333/.444 with 11 home runs, 95 RBI, 74 runs, and 34 doubles. To put that into context, Thompson hit more doubles than Dominic Smith (29), and had more runs scored than Amed Rosario (65) last season.
Ernest – My heart will not give up on Urena, but I’m going with David Thompson. I like this David too much right now. Love the sound of ball off his bat. Knows how to hit, adjust, sacrifice to drive in runs.
Mike – Thompson, his defense has been better than advertised in my opinion and he has the most raw power of the trio.
Corné – Tough question, but I will go with Urena. Still like his switch hitting power bat. After two lost seasons I think Urena will start out great and get a quick promotion to Binghamton where his bat will play better. Although it seems like he has been in the minors for so long he is just 22-years old.
Daniel – Urena. He was much better in the 2nd half of last year and still has a lot of potenial. I still have a lot of faith in him. Garcia moves to 1st relatively soon, in my opinion, and I question if Thompson’s bat speed is good enough to hit well in the MLB.
Ari – Jhoan Urena. Urena has the highest floor of the three and is the youngest as well which buys him my vote.
Better 2017 season: Colby Woodmansee, Michael Paez or Blake Tiberi?
MetsDaddy – Colby Woodmansee.
Jacob – All three suffered from long college seasons, but from what I saw in Brooklyn last summer, Tiberi looked the best of them all.
Ernest – Blake Tiberi. Based off absolutely nothing other than my buddy Scot Cohen admiring his sweet professional looking swing
Mike – Woodmansee, his defense is good enough to keep him at short and I believe his offensive floor is higher than the other two.
Corné – Michael Paez. Paez told me in an interview that he is working on a new swing which he was a bit uncomfortable with in the beginning. After he got used to it he had a way better second half and ended his last ten games with a .308 batting average.
Daniel – Tiberi. He’s just such a good line drive hitter. I think he impresses in Columbia.
Ari – Colby Woodmansee. His bat to ball skills are impressive, if he can improve his pitch recognition and plate discipline, he could profile similarly to DJ LeMahieu.
Better MLB career: Kevin McGowan, Corey Taylor, Paul Sewald or Tyler Bashlor?
MetsDaddy – Corey Taylor.
Jacob – I like McGowan to make a more immediate impact, but Bashlor and his blazing fastball isn’t far behind.
Mathew – Paul Sewald has impressed time and again at each level he’s reached in the Mets’ minor league system. Since being selected in the 10th round of the 2012 Draft, Sewald has proven that having a blazing fastball isn’t always the recipe for a successful reliever (routinely sits 88-92), as the 26-year-old uses a combination of spin rate, deception, and location to be effective on the mound.
Ernest – Kevin McGowan on twitter is becoming a favorite of mine, but I’m going with Tyler Bashlor. I love a guy who throws heat and strikes…….constantly.
Mike – Corey Taylor, I believe he has some similarities to a young Jeurys Familia with a heavy sinker, strong lower half and solid slider. Sewald would be my second choice with a strong run as a middle reliever.
Corné – Corey Taylor, after hearing about Taylor in the AFL. He impressed many with a 96 MPH and a wipe out slider which increased his strikeouts. I think he will carry it over in the minor league seasons and look for him to really open some eyes this year and beyond.
Daniel – Corey Taylor. He’s been impressive so far in his minor league career and sinker-ball pitchers tend to age better when they lose some velocity.
Ari – Tyler Bashlor. He has the highest ceiling of the quartet and the Mets might be the best in the business at developing pitchers.
What is Sandy Alderson’s best draft class?
MetsDaddy – 2015 (the one without a first round pick): Future All-Stars Desmond Lindsay, Thomas Szapucki, Corey Taylor. Also saw them draft possible major leaguers in David Thompson, Patrick Mazeika, P.J. Conlon, and Kevin Kaczmarski.
Jacob – Has to be his first one, 2011, producing nine major leaguers (11 if you include two that did not sign).
Mathew – For me, Sandy Alderson’s best draft class goes back to his first as the Mets’ GM in the summer of 2011.
Yes, we know about the young Wyoming native who had no organized high school baseball program being selected 13th overall (Brandon Nimmo), however, their next selection out of Deer Creek High School in Oklahoma ended up being an extremely valuable prospect heading into the 2015 trade deadline. The Mets took Michael Fulmer 44th overall, a compensation pick the team received after losing free agent LHP Pedro Feliciano to the Yankees in the winter. Fulmer would later be dealt along with Luis Cessa to the Detroit Tigers for OF Yoenis Cespedes, who helped propel the Mets to their first World Series since the 2000 Subway Series.
The Mets also selected RHP John Gant in the 21st round of the draft, who was one of the two players (Rob Whalen the other) traded to the Atlanta Braves for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, two vital cogs on the Mets’ bench in the 2015 season.
Ernest – 2012, no denying the amount of players with talent and who’ve made it to the majors either with Mets or other teams. Cecchini, Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Matt Bowman, Whalen, with guys still in system like Oswalt, Nido, Sewald, and Flexen.
Mike – Tough to argue with the amount of talent that was draft in 2011 with Nimmo, Logan Verrett, Robert Gsellmand and Seth Lugo all contributing at the major league level. Add-in Michael Fulmer, who they traded for Cespedes.
Corné – 2015, considering he did not have a first round pick he managed to draft a lot of talent in 2015. Lindsay, Szapucki, Conlon, Mazeika, C. Taylor all coming out of that draft.
Daniel – Too early to say, but I really like the 2015 draft, despite not having a 1st round pick. It included a lot of high upside players such as Lindsay, Szapucki, Simon, and Torres, while also featuring a good number of polished college players like Conlon and Kaczmarski.
Ari – 2015. If Lindsay and Szapucki continue to produce, they will more than likely be Top 100 prospects as soon as midseason. The rest of the draft is littered with exciting pitchers and hitters with a high floor, did I mention that they had no first round pick! 2016 might be even better, but it’s too early to tell.
Best raw talent in the system, not named Amed Rosario?
MetsDaddy – Champ Stuart – has the ability to do anything on the field. He just has to put it together.
Jacob – Peter Alonso is capable of making any ballpark look small, and I bet he parks a few balls onto the the back fields in St. Lucie this season.
Mathew – The best raw talent aside from Amed Rosario is OF, Desmond Lindsay. Lindsay is an athletic specimen, with a solid frame and build for centerfield (6’0”, 200 lbs) coupled with five-tool talent including plus speed, a plus arm, and a strong eye at the plate. Unfortunately for Lindsay, he’s battled injuries since being drafted in the second round in 2015, appearing in just 72 games combined between 2015-16.
When Lindsay is on the field he is a dynamic force to watch. I predict the 20-year-old Florida native to continue to impress in the on-base department, while being more proactive in the running game, and possibly adding double-digit power to his game that scouts believe he can reach
Ernest – Desmond Lindsay. I’ve just heard to much about his possible five-tool potential to not pick him. His age, athleticism, raves from other prospects already. Sticking in center field increases his value even more if that’s his projection going forward.
Mike – I know most will say Lindsay, so I will go with my second choice in Andres Gimenez. The uber talented young shortstop has a sweet swing, matured approach at the plate, smooth defensively and raw power.
Corné – Desmond Lindsay. If healthy he is capable of becoming a true five-tool player.
Daniel – Desmond Lindsay. His tools are incredible. I think he’s a star as long as he can get past his hamstring issues and stay heatlhy
Ari – Cameron Planck. The slender teenager hits the mid-90’s and there’s even talk of him pitching in Columbia without previous professional experience. While most would have Lindsay here, TdA has shown how an injury profile most certainly detracts from your raw talent.
All photos courtesy of Ed Delany