Author Archives: joshs0515
The New York Mets finished the 2016 season with a record of 87-75, good for second place in the NL East Division. In addition, they earned the first wild-card position but ran into the brick wall that is Madison Bumgarner, despite an outstanding pitching performance from second-year starter Noah Syndergaard. While this year was a downgrade from last year’s division title and World Series appearance, the Mets do deserve credit, considering three of their five starters ended up on the disabled list, and they had to utilize parts from their AAA team to stay competitive.
Since Sandy Alderson has taken the reigns as Mets general manager, the culture of the Mets has dramatically changed. In Alderson’s initial years with the organization, the team was hampered by financial constraints that stemmed from the Madoff Ponzi scandal and subsequent court-ordered repayments in the settlement. This scandal forced Alderson to place more emphasis on building rather than buying, which led to a repopulation of the farm system by selling off once-prized assets.
The pitching top prospects at the minor league levels look to be some of the best in baseball. Triston McKenzie and Brady Aiken both hold potential as possible aces on the pitching staff, though they are a couple of years away from making an impact. Cleveland also has the comfort of having four or five players like Shawn Morimando, Rob Kaminsky, Ryan Merritt, and Adam Plutko all hoping to see Major League action in 2017.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Honeywell didn’t come with the eye-catching fastball-curve or fastball-slider combo of other top pitching prospects. Instead, he comes with a well-rounded game; a four pitch mix, of which three project above average to plus, and quality command in an athletic delivery. And, of course, a screwball. Who doesn’t like screwballs?
Doing a mock for the MLB draft is a lot different from doing one for the other sports, as there are plenty of factors to be considered, among them the acknowledgment that there is no such thing as a “direct to the majors” pick. Additionally, individual picks may not even make it to the majors, further complicating picks. As such, here’s a disclaimer: The picks made here are suggestions made by the writer, and should acknowledge as pure speculation.
Draft picks are based on organizational weaknesses, although best player available is considered. Team tendencies are not actively considered, unless they are explicit, or there is any information on who the team is planning to pick. Additionally, compensatory picks will be done in this mock.
The major league’s biggest strength changed and so did the farm system after the Alex Anthopoulos era concluded. Before Alex left, he jettisoned many key pieces of the farm system in the David Price, Troy Tulowitzki trades. Many of these were pitchers like Daniel Norris. Now the position player crop leads the new emergence of the system. In 2016, a few minor leaguers took a step forward. Because of the significant leap in progress, the Blue Jays will be evaluating these players to see if they can help supplement the likely loss of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion at the major league level. Expect names like Anthony Alford, Harold Ramirez, Rowdy Tellez, and Conner Greene to mean something as a Blue Jays fan next year. As for some under-the-radar prospects, you may see in 2017, Dwight Smith Jr., Carlos Ramirez, and Tim Lopes could play some role.
The defining characteristic of the system are that there are many players with emerging potential over the next couple of years. The Rays are not an organization who have an elite talent ready to step into a bug role this season, but they have some names that could make an impact. The system has a variety of talent in its top prospects. None aged higher than 21, the top 5 prospects all play different positions. The value is scattered through the middle ranks of this list, while the back-end is highlighted by right-handed pitchers limited to a select role in the future.
The first notable piece of the system is the success of its younger prospects. The Astros are not an organization whose top prospects are 23-25 years old and knocking on the door of the MLB. Instead, this system has found talented players and cultured them to success much earlier in their development cycle. Many of the athletes in the system look like players that can make an MLB impact by the age of 22, with many having a chance to contribute even earlier than that.
The system boasts many pitching prospects that I see as should be future big league starters, with a select five pitchers that be frontline starters when it’s all said and done: Francis Martes, David Paulino, Forrest Whitley, Franklin Perez, and Hector Perez. Far from top-heavy, they also have several other arms that profile as potential MLB rotation, though perhaps not frontline starters.
From a position player development point of view, the Astro’s system looks about the same as it always has. Houston’s system of position players looks to develop in the same way it always has. In the most challenging defensive positions, the Astros have developed and drafted quick and agile players with a good sense of the strike zone. Though they have some power scattered throughout them, the outfield, second base, and shortstop prospects are all hit-tool oriented, contact first prospects with top tier speed potential. In the corner infield, it is quite the opposite. Many 1B/3B prospects in the system (with the exception of Colin Moran) find their struggles primarily with the glove rather than with the bat. It is evident that the Astro’s have a clear, fully formed plan for their scouting, drafting, and development process that has come to fruition to provide in providing some of the best talent in baseball. This isn’t something commonplace across all clubs at the professional level. The majority of other organizations’ processes appear more sporadic and case-by-case, valuing athleticism or signability rather than targeting specific make-ups. The Houston’s specific, targeted process is what will likely keep the Astros them as one of the league’s best premiere organizations when it comes to developing top prospects.
That none of this is any different going into 2017, as their farm system is plenty deep and features enough youth to see a very productive future for many years to come.
After failing to sign with Houston in 2014, Jacob Nix was drafted by San Diego in the third round in 2015. The right-hander brings a solid fastball-curve duo to the table, and, perhaps most importantly, has advanced command, especially considering his age (20). His changeup is a work in progress, but he has the potential to be a solid #4-5 starter as soon as 2018. Article by @BaseballRanks
Back in 2011, MLB Draft experts had their eyes set on the magnificent haul of draft picks that the Tampa Bay Rays had at their disposal, all of which had been acquired by dismantling their bullpen. A record ten first round picks out of 60, including highly touted prep arms Taylor Guerrieri and Blake Snell, as well as top college outfielder Mikie Mahtook highlighted the long list of high-profile future Rays. Tampa Bay was considered set for the long term because of this sudden influx of talent.
Yadier Alvarez is a 6’3″, 175 lb, 20-year-old out of Matanzas, Cuba. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an international free agent on July 2, 2015. His fastball sits around 93-98 and tops out at 99-100. His slider is plus, but his curveball and changeup are well below average. Alvarez’s mechanics need to be cleaned up and he has some red flags regarding injury potential. When fully matured he could be a number 2 starter, with a fall back option of a high leverage bullpen arm.