By Gem Tablak, Corné Hogeveen, and Del Alba
The New York Mets have had an off-season like none other. The team changed ownership and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Of course, with a change of ownership should come alongside with a change of direction, or at least a change in execution to further that direction.
One thing we’ll always try to uncover is sleeper signings and in this instinct, a list of players that were acquired this off-season and that you’ve probably had already forgotten about.
Arodys Vizcaino – He will more than likely start the season off in the minor leagues, however if he remains in the organization, you will surely see him in Queens at some point. Vizcaino has a career ERA of 3.01 while having struck out 218 batters in 194.1 innings pitched, and owns a 13-11 record.
He was great during the 2018 campaign as he put up a 2.11 ERA with 16 saves in 39 game. In 38.1 innings, the Dominican Republic native struck out 40 batters.
Unfortunately, that would be the start to his shoulder problems as he’d only appear in 39 games that year, and then 4 games in 2019 while posting a 2.25 ERA in a small sample.
Jose Peraza – This infielder is not a new name that’s been bumping around. The Atlanta Braves signed Peraza in 2010 before being dealt to the Dodgers in a three-team trade, the same exact way he’d eventually find himself on the Cincinnati Reds by the 2016.
While Peraza is able to move around the diamond, he’s a scrapper that gets his hits but has issues getting on-base with walks. If he were a starter this would be a problem, but the Mets have him as a depth piece in the minors that’ll probably be a back-up at the Major League level in a best case scenario.
Mallex Smith – Smith was signed very early in the offseason by the Mets while other teams were sleeping. Entering into his 28 year old season, the Mets can benefit from the speed that Smith can brings and his how much ground he can cover at CF. While Smith does not provide much power, he can be a productive source of runs and SB.
2019 and 2020 were bad years for Smith offensively, and with the Mariners farm system rich on high upside OF prospects (Lewis, Kelenic, Rodriguez) the Mariners decision to let Smith go was an easy one. If the Mets can get back similar numbers to 2018, they would be in good shape at CF if they don’t sign Springer or Bradley.
Jerad Eickhoff – He may not have that velocity that many find appealing, but he does put a lot of spin into his pitches. In 2019, Eickhoff ranked in the 83rd percentile in Fastball spin and 81st percentile in Curve spin. However, when hitters hit his pitches, they generated very hard contact. He pitched for the Phillies from 2015 through 2019 and has flashed some moments of dominance. In 224.2 IP at home, he has a 3.85 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
When looking into the stats, he has out up a decent career vs the NLE:
– vs. ATL: 63 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
– vs. MIA: 43 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
– vs. NYM: 56 IP, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
– vs. WSH: 30 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
In Jerad Eickhoff, the Mets have added a nice depth piece who is familiar with the division and could come in clutch should an injury occur or if they needed to call a guy up during a double header to eat innings. Eickhoff has a respectable 4.15 ERA and 1.28 WHIP while throwing 440 IP for the Phillies.
Brandon Drury – Jarred Porter (Mets GM) was the Assistant GM of the Diamondback during 2017 where Drury played before being traded to the Yankees for a pair of prospects, infielder Nick Solak and RHP Taylor Widener. The Yankees then traded Drury to Toronto along with Billy McKinney to acquire LHP J.A. Happ. Drury main appeal is not in his bat, but in his stellar defense that he brings to teams. In his 6 MLB Season, he has played 15 games at 1B, 163 at 2B, 137 at 3B, 9 at SS, 70 at LF, and 18 at RF where combined he has a .977 Fld%.
You have to look passed Drury’s .248/.296/.411 slash line and see that his role on this Mets team is a defensive depth piece that can be plugged around the INF if he’s needed.
Jared Robinson – The Mets signed Jared Robinson on a MILB deal during this off-season. His overall numbers aren’t eye popping but the Mets clearly saw something in his increased K per 9. In 2019 Robinson had a 12.5 K per 9, way higher than his 7.6 career norm. Overall he had a 3.34 ERA over 70 innings between three levels in 2019.
The Mets clearly went for upside with this signing. Young arm that showed a great increase in K/9. Solid potential for absolutely nothing.
Robel Garcia – Robel Garcia is an interesting case. His career route has been odd to say the least. Garcia was signed as a 17 year old by the Indians. Between 2014-2017 he was off radar, until he played in Italy for two seasons. The Cubs got him back to the US were he had an extremely strong showing in the minors. Over 98 games between AA and AAA he slashed .284/.369/.586 with 27 homeruns. That slugging percentage stayed up in his brief stint with the Cubs, hitting 5 homeruns with a .500 slugging.
Garcia is currently playing in the Dominican Winter leagues, were he is struggling to a .216/.330/.330 slash line. Was his power search a fluke? Maybe. We could find it out in the majors as he is on the 40 man roster.