Outfielder Khalil Lee and right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams have both been optioned to the Minors. The Mets acquired both players during the off-season, albeit through different means.
The Mets signed McWilliams to a Major League deal after spending his entire MiLB career with the Diamondbacks and Rays. McWilliams appeared in three games this spring and struck out four in 3.0 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he also has five walks to go along and with options remaining, he was a likely candidate.
The Mets acquired Lee by nosing their way into a trade between the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. While being ranked within the Top 10 prospects in the Mets organization, Lee has seen better days. In 15 AB’s, Lee has struck out 9 times and hasn’t picked up a single base-hit.
Both players remain on the 40-man roster, so it’s highly likely that we’ll see both players again.
While it got really close towards the ninth, the Mets were able to pull off an impressive victory over the Cardinals. Sam McWilliams would come on to walk three in the ninth, however would find a way to get out of the jam to secure the victory.
Starter Taijuan Walker pitched two inning and gave up two runs while also walking and striking out two. It could’ve been worse, with runners on the corners Albert Almora jr would make a diving grab in right field. While the second run of the game did tag up and score, it could’ve been worse if the ball got by Almora.
While the Mets had seven hits on the day, their first run didn’t come till the seventh inning. In fact, all of their runs ended up coming in the seventh.
Highly touted prospect Ronny Mauricio went 1-1 with 2 RBI’s in the contest with a two-out single. Mallex Smith, who is fighting for a fifth outfield spot, was able to draw a walk as well as steal his first bag of the spring.
The bullpen did it’s thing today. Edwin Diaz, Juerys Familia, Miguel Castro, Tommy Hunter as well as Drew Smith all pitched a scoreless inning along with Sam McWilliams.
Sometimes you need to sleep on it to figure out what you really think. When it’s time for an important decision, it’s a phrase we often tend to hear. But what about after a Mets game? For me the Mets games are in the evening and nights. So I will head to bed after the game. Waking up with thoughts about the game and what were the most important things to watch. And most of all: who impressed me the most. Hence, a player of the game article to have your coffee with.
After watching Marcus Stroman for the first time since 2019 and wow, what a joy it was. Six up and six down is what he induced on the mound with sick movement on all of his pitches. His last at bat, showed what he is capable of. All those foul balls on the ground and eventually getting a called third strike. The hitter couldn’t do anything but fouling off pitches in that entire at bat. And btw, Stroman also featured a sick new pitch:
We got our first look at the newly acquired Sam McWilliams. We could see why many teams had interest in the tall blonde righty. He struck out two and showed great velo in his inning of work. His fastball/slider combo looked sharp besides a shaky start.
Almora Jr. showed some pop out of his bat. He started his unofficial Mets debut with a deep drive to center field for a fly out. When hit I thought, “some good contact on that”. But Almora wasn’t done, he homered in the 5th and it was crushed. If Almora can give us something with the bat, it’s a big plus. Good start in the resurgence for Almora.
New acquisition Albert Almora Jr. is the second Mets hitter to go deep today. His first home run as a Met: pic.twitter.com/BLgMqGm9s9
The Mets hosted and got their first televised Spring Training game in today against the Houston Astros. Even though we’re just in Spring Training, it’s great to see the Mets pick up a victory.
The story of today’s game for the Mets has to be Jeff McNeil and his early solo bomb in the first inning. Not only was it the first HR of the Spring for the Mets, but it also counts as the first run scored.
Centerfielder Albert Almora also crushed a solo-shot in the fifth to pad on an extra run, making it 2-0.
Let’s not forget the tremendous efforts put forward by both Marcus Stroman as well as Jordan Yamamoto. Both pitchers combined to toss four scoreless innings to start the game off. While Stroman has a spot in the Mets rotation, Yamamoto seems prepared to battle for a spot.
Newly acquired catcher James McCann threw out Freudis Nova as he attempted to swipe second, as well. The “strike em out, throw em out” double play would end the inning for the Astros, killing any kind of rally.
Sam McWilliams started off the seventh by allowing the first two runners to reach base. However, the huge standing McWilliams closed out the game and picked up the save.
The first thing that jumps out at you when you look at Sam McWilliams is that the right-hander is a big guy, standing tall at 6’7”. The Orlando, Florida native would make his way up to Nashville, Tennessee to play high-school baseball before being drafted by the Phillies in the 8th round of the 2014 draft.
While he’s already played for three organizations during his MiLB career, the Mets signed McWilliams to a Major League deal. This may have come as a surprise to some fans, however when you hear that the right-hander had offers from half of the league, not so much of a surprise.
The first thing that jumps out at you after you have a conversation with Sam McWilliams is “Damn, this dude is smart AF!” In a small interview I had with McWilliams on The Mets Junkies Podcast, he gets into how he improved with the Rays organization due to information and analytics.
McWilliams has started in 94 games throughout his MiLB career and in 2019 in 19 starts, the tall righty pitched to a 4.46 ERA as he owned a 2.83 ERA as a reliever that same campaign. Him being able to start games comes of great value to him and the Mets but I think his bread and butter might end up being him working from the bullpen.
He’ll likely start off in Syracuse as he has three of his options remaining, but I’d imagine that we’ll be seeing a lot of McWilliams in the Majors. He very well could be one of the unsung heroes of 2021, if all work outs accordingly.
Sean Connor Flannery:
In 2019, I had the great pleasure of working with the Montgomery Biscuits the AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays in a data collection role. During that season McWilliams was named to the Southern League All Star game.
McWilliams is nothing flashy but anytime you can poach an arm from the TBR system and player development is usually a good thing. He doesn’t have an “electric” fastball but uses his 6’7/6’8 height to get pretty good extension and it allows the FB to play up. The slider is his best pitch and he’s got a passable change and fringey curve.
I see him being like the 8th SP on the 40 behind guys like Szapucki/Oswalt/Kilome. While he doesn’t have the upside of the first and last guy on that list he’s got the command and full repertoire like Oswalt. He should be solid depth in Syracuse in ‘21.