Mets Junkies Game Recap: Megill & Castro sharp; Peterson loses to Cards

The game started off with Pete Alonso making a challenging play in foul territory, battling the sun and the turf to make the out. Alonso stated earlier in the spring that he plans to eventually walk away with a gold glove, as the slugger is known to have a hard worker’s ethic.

After the Cardinals put runners on first and third, Dylan Carlson hit a monster of shot over the left field wall. The outfielder, currently in his sophomore season, would give his Cardinals the 3-0 lead.

The bottom half of the second started off with an amazing interview with Mets manager Buck Showalter. It’s evident that the organization now has a leader to call the shots and make that tough call when need be, coming from what seems to be an extremely entertaining personality.

After a lead off walk from Alonso, then a single by Cahna, putting runners on first and third. James McCann would push an RBI single in the hole between second and first, an approach that McCann plans to make his way back to.

Paul Goldschmidt then lead the third inning off, drilling a shot over the left-center field gate. The home run, Goldschmidt’s first of the spring, gave the Card’s a 4-1 lead over the Mets.

Travis Jankowski, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania native and Stony Brook alumni, made a case to be the team’s fifth outfielder, as he made a stellar diving catch in the top of the fourth.

Francisco Lindor started off a phenomenal 6-4-5 double play with a backhanded stop in the hole, McNeil had the wherewithal to go to third for the second out of the play.

Megill also did an in-dugout interview after pitching three scoreless frames. The right-hander told Steve Gelbs that he is working on the command of his slider, his new cutter, as well as his curveball.

Megill spoke about adding a new pitch to his arsenal, “I definitely wanted to add another weapon… I wanted something hard and something that goes into lefties, so they can respect the four-seam.”

Miguel Castro threw a scoreless 7th as the right-hander’s stuff was looking electric. His fastball was getting up to around 98MPH, and a ton of movement on all of his pitches.

Daniel Palka, a 30 year old outfielder/ first baseman acquired from the White Sox, hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead down to 4-3. Palka has approximately two seasons under his belt, and will likely be in Syracuse for most of the year.

Sean Reid-Foley gave up a couple of runs in the 8th, while I really like this right-hander, it looks like he’ll he starting 2022 in Syracuse.

Mets former second round pick and third base prospect Mark Vientos singled in a run in his only at-bat in the 8th inning, shaving the Cardinals lead down to 5-4.

The Mets gave up another run in the top part of the 9th, and would eventually drop the exhibition contest to the Cardinals, their second loss of the Spring.

The 2-0 Miami Marlins will host tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Mets as Max Scherzer is set to take the hill. Unfortunately, the game will not be televised.

Photo Credit: Anthony DiComo

Will Marte’s Opening Day be in Jeopardy?

This is not the question we want to entertain just 18 days prior to the 2022 season, yet here we are. Newly acquired center fielder, Starling Marte is dealing with an oblique injury and Mets manager Buck Showalter has told reporters that Marte has yet to swing a bat since being in camp.

While Buck says that he expects Marte to start the year in the Opening Day lineup, oblique injuries have proven to be tricky and can linger for a period of time.

Defensively, they won’t lose too much if anything at all, as the Mets are prepared to slide Brandon Nimmo over to center from the corner. The Wyoming native was already slotted in at the top of the lineup with an incredible .393 career on base percentage.

However focusing on the offensive side, the Mets lose the spark plug speed that Marte possesses. The kind of talent and speed that allows you to reach base at a .383 percentage and swipes 47 bags.

Let’s make no mistake, the organization has been missing this caliber of a spark plug since Jose Reyes was in his prime and departed for the Miami Marlins. So signing Marte was as significant as it gets, especially for a club that’s heavily pushing for World Series victory within the next few years.

If the injury turns out to be bigger than initially thought, this could force the hand on a Conforto-Mets reunion.

While Conforto rejected a $100M+ deal last year, he could possibly be tempted to accept a shorter term offer in order to build his value on the open market.

This would be very unlikely, in my opinion. It would make a lot more sense for the Mets to find a plug and play type player, or two… or three.

Mets Add Two Players on Minor League Deals

The Mets announced on their transaction page that they have added five players on Minor League deals. Three (Chasen Shreve/Johneswhy Fargas/Travis Jankowski) were already known, the other two weren’t known until now.

Taiwan Native Tzu-Wei Lin was added to add some middle infield depth. The 28 year old has been on a major league roster at some point in every year since 2017. He has played for Boston (101 games) and Minnesota (1 game in 2021). He doesn’t provide much at the plate, hitting just .223/.298/.316 over those 102 games in the bigs.

What Lin does provide is versatility. In his 4 years in Boston he played SS, 2B, 3B, CF, LF and RF. He even pitched one inning and played behind the plate for 0.2 inning. He only needs to play first to get playing time at every spot. That’s quite an accomplishment on its own.

The Mets also Tim Adleman to a minor league contract. The 34 year old right-hander last pitched in the majors in 2017 for the Reds. In those two years he pitched in 43 games, making 33 starts with a 4.97 ERA. He pitched 192 total innings for the Reds between 2016 and 2017.

After a year in the KBO, Aldeman returned to America and pitched in the Tigers and Reds organizations. Last year he pitched to a 3.80 ERA in 45 innings for the AAA Reds.

In 2019, he was solid in the Tigers organization, pitching to a 3.23 ERA between AA and AAA. He pitched to a 1.10 WHIP with 123 strikeouts over 117 innings.

Both won’t likely make it to the majors this year and if all goes well, they will be fill in Players for the minor league roster.

Photo Credit: Riccardo Schiroli on Twitter

Shreve Returns on Minor League Deal

The Mets have resigned lefty Chasen Shreve on a minor league deal. He will be the main candidate to make the Mets pen from the left side, after back to back solid seasons.

The 30 year old pitched to a very solid 3.20 ERA over 56.1 innings pitched. This comes after a season where Shreve pitched to a 3.96 ERA over 25 innings for the Mets. Over the last two years combined, Shreve pitched to a 1.23 WHIP and 124 ERA+.

While Shreve doesn’t strikeout a ton of hitters, he doesn’t allow hard contact. His hard hit percentage was in the 94th percentile while a lot of other statecast numbers are solid.

Baseball Savant

Main attraction to Shreve his game is his ability to get lefties out. Last year Shreve held lefties to a .200/.289/.344 slash line.

Shreve will battle Alex Claudio for the lefty relief job in the Mets bullpen.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Mets Bring Back Mike Montgomery on a Minor League Deal

According to Robert Murray, the Mets have signed left hander Mike Montgomery to a minor league deal. It’s not the first time the Mets got Montgomery on a minor league contract as he pitched during the Mets 2021 Spring training.

He was released on the last day of spring after a poor outing as he didn’t make the squad. He ended up signing with the Yankees, who released him in May. After the Yankees released him Montgomery pitched for the Samsung Lions in the KBO. He pitched to a 5.37 ERA in 52 innings. He didn’t make himself popular after tossing the rosin bag to the ump in frustration.

The now 32 year old former first round pick, does have a solid track record in the majors. Overall in 541 innings, Montgomery pitched to a respectable 3.84 ERA. He had his most successful time between 2016 and 2018, pitching to a 3.35 ERA.

Montgomery is most known for one moment as he was the pitcher who got the final out of the 2016 World Series for the Cubs. For the Mets he will provide minor league depth as the depth from the left side is extremely thin.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Mets strike deal with Athletics

The New York Mets and Oakland Athletics have agreed on a deal that would bring starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to Queens. In return, the Mets would send highly regarded prospect J.T. Ginn alongside mid level prospect Adam Oller.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: J.T. Ginn

While Oller is a lot older at 27 years old, Ginn would be the prize prospect in this deal for the Athletics, as he was the Mets fifth best prospect before the deal.

As of today, Bassitt, a sinker-ball pitcher, will slot into the number three spot of the rotation right behind Max Scherzer. The right hander also possesses a fastball, cutter, slider, change up, and curve, in his arsenal on the hill.

Last season, the right hander went 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 157.1 innings pitched while earning an appearance at the All-Star Game.

Photo: SNY

Mets Bring Back Johneswhy Fargas

The Mets brought back a fan favorite Thursday, resigning Johneswhy Fargas to a minor league deal! Fargas made a big impression in a small samplesize with the Mets and a lot of people are happy he is back.

Fargas made his major league debut with the Mets as a 27 year old. The Puerto Rico native batted .286/.286/.524 in just 7 games with the Mets. He showed speed and solid defense and a lot of energy in a time the Mets had a lot of issues with injuries. He got released when the Mets got some players back from the IL and the Cubs picked him up.

Fargas, has spend the most time of his career in the minors with a .677 OPS. So don’t expect the same type of numbers for Johneswhy as he did in his short stint with the Mets. However, he is fun to watch with his energy. If he has to fill in, you know he will play hard with all the energy he got.

Photo Credit: Mets Legends on Twitter

Who to Watch in the Minors? Part One

With the current MLB Lockout still in play, the odds are that the minor league season will start before the MLB season does. So which prospects should fans keep an eye on? Unfortunately the Mets 40 man roster Players aren’t allowed to play in the minors during the season.

The Obvious

The obvious prospects to keep an eye on are the top prospects in the Mets system. The Mets have a total of 4 prospects who have been mentioned in a several of the industry’s Top 100 MLB Prospect lists. Prospects such as Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos. These 4 guys are all coming off of solid years in 2021 and look to continue to develop.

Metsmerized.com

Francisco Alvarez

Alvarez is the main attraction on this loaded list of talent. He belted 24 homeruns with a OPS of .941 between St. Lucie and Brooklyn. The young backstop most likely starts the year in Binghamton, potentially eyeing an MLB debut this year. Alvarez just turned 20 and has some time to develop, however, a lot of fans can’t wait to see more of the young catcher.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: Francisco Alvarez

Brett Baty

Baty is also coming off a strong year as he reached AA in his second professional season. Between Brooklyn and Binghamton, Baty combined to hit .292/.382/.473 with 12 homeruns and a .855 OPS. The young corner infielder is seen more as a doubles hitter that can drive the ball to all fields. After his previous minor league season, Baty went to the Arizona Fall League hitting at a .292/.373/.405. slash line.

I would like to see some more consistent power for Baty to make him a good enough hitter to play third base. He owns solid on base and bat to ball skills, so power should be his main focus with his defense.

Ronny Mauricio

Ronny Mauricio had the worst season of the four, but did show a lot more power. He gained muscle and belted 20 homeruns in 108 games played. Overall, his ability to get on base hurt him the most, collecting just a .296 on base percentage. However, Mauricio has shown more plate power alongside a solid glove at short to make him a valuable asset. He will most likely start the season with Double-A Binghamton, were he ended with his last 8 games in 2021.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: Ronny Mauricio

Mark Vientos

Mark Vientos is a hitter that should be ready to be in a big league lineup. Vientos raked between AA and AAA thriving in hard hit rates and power. In just 83 games, Vientos belted 25 homeruns. His overall slash line was tremendous as he hit .281/.352/.581!! Look at that slugging percentage (wow).

Main issue with Vientos is defense. Vientos had a .898 fielding percentage in 400.1 innings at third. Now I don’t like to judge a player on fielding percentage, but that number is shockingly low.

If the Mets needed a DH, he probably is the main candidate. But right now the Mets have a lot in-house options (JD, Cano, Smith) to make Vientos the Mets DH. He likely needs to learn to play the field to make it to the majors or be a pinch hitter/DH. Look for Vientos to try and work hard on his defense, definitely something as fans who should keep an eye on.

That will conclude part one of our minor league preview. Next up will be our preview with prospects close to the minors that could help the big league squad in 2022.

Photo credit: MLB Pipeline

Mets Sign Jesus Vargas

According to Jacob Resnick, the Mets have signed Jesus Vargas to a minor league deal. The 23 year old pitched to a 8-5 record with a 4.40 ERA in High-A. Over 102.1 innings, he struck out 88 and had a 1.12 WHIP.

Farm to Fame

Main attraction over his minor league career is his control. The 23 year old has just a 1.6 walk per nine rate over his minor league career, pitching to a 3.65 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP in 274 innings.

Although his ERA was high, Vargas his numbers put into perspective with the league is way more promising (see Below).

Daniel Wrexler

In the lockdown, the Mets are allowed to sign minor league deals.

Photo Credit: Ignacio Serrano on Twitter

Mets MiLB Rule 5 Draft Results

Yesterday the MiLB Rule 5 draft took place with the Mets gaining and losing two pitchers. The Mets lost Tommy Wilson and Allen Winans and gained Alex Valverde and Carlos Ocampo.

The Mets picked the 25 year old Alex Valverde from the Rays as their first pick. Valverde pitched to a 4.88 ERA at AA in 2021. Main plus was his increased strikeout rate as he went from 9 per 9 in 2019 to 11.5 per nine in 2021. Control is an issue as he had a 3.6 walk per nine rate with 9 hit batsman over 72 innings.

James Schiano

With the Mets second pick they got Carlos Ocampo from the Cubs. The 23 year old from Venezuela pitched to a 5.85 ERA over 47.2 innings. The 23 year old showed solid walk (2.6) and strikeouts (12.5) rates per nine innings. His WHIP at 1.28 is solid but his main issue was homeruns in 2021. Over his minor league career he owns a 4.43 ERA with Single-A as his highest level reached.

Michael Mayer
Carlos Ocampo

In the same draft the Mets lost Allen Winans and Tommy Wilson. Winans was great since the Mets drafted him in the 17th round of the 2018 draft. Winans pitched to a 2.64 career ERA, coming of a great 2021. Between Brooklyn and Binghamton, he pitched to a 1.72 ERA with a 0.80WHIP. Winans doesn’t strike out a ton with a 8.3 K/9 rate but had solid run prevention during his MiLB career so far. Winans was picked by the Braves.

Tommy Wilson was picked up by the Mariners, who traded him to the Orioles right after. Wilson was drafted one round after Winans in 2018. The 25 year old pitched just 15 innings for AA in 2021, pitching to a 2.35 ERA. Over his minor league career he pitched to a 3.28 ERA.

Tommy Wilson

Photo Credit: Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Twitter