There is no bigger cynic in regard to his baseball team than the fool I see in the mirror every morning. Mets GM Sandy Alderson has made some boneheaded moves since taking over the reins of the franchise in Flushing (i.e. Jason Bay, Chris Young, & Frank Francisco). But I must give him credit for one very vital contribution. He’s built a kick-ass farm system.
Alderson & co. have turned this into a top five organization in baseball seemingly overnight, although a great deal of time & effort has been put into making it so. The approach the organization has taken is reminiscent of how Frank Cashen built that 1986 Mets World Championship team. Pitching was and still is the foundation. And with the cavernous power gaps of Citi Field, that’s a sound blueprint. Pitching & defense should be the strength of this ball club considering the talent & field dimensions. And with a dazzling array of young pitching prospects, this rotation can include any combination of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero, & Steven Matz , an embarrassment of pitching wealth. There is a very strong possibility one or more of these pitchers can be included in a package for the right bat this coming off season. Set up man Jeurys Familia & closer Jenrry Mejia have proven to be a productive combination in the back end of games, which is one less problem Alderson will have to address after the season.
The Mets have not ignored the offense, having chosen position players in the first round of each of the last four MLB drafts. OF Brandon Nimmo (2011), SS Gavin Cecchini (2012), 1B Dominic Smith (2013) & OF Michael Conforto (2014) have breathed new life into the organization along with Dilson Herrera, the 2B acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade, and Mets draftees C Kevin Plawecki & SS Matt Reynolds. Herrera, Plawecki, Conforto, & Reynolds have all hit well over .300 this season. Herrera only recently became the first Met to make the jump from Single A all the way up to the bigs in one season. His presence opens up more possibilities for moves in the off season. 2B Daniel Murphy has been among the league leaders in hits all season and his value will never be higher. Sandy Alderson would be wise to use Murphy to bring back some power to this lineup. Middle infielder Wilmer Flores & C Travis d’Arnaud have had their ups and downs since being promoted to the Mets earlier in the season from Las Vegas. Both have endured and overcome what turned out to be merely temporary demotions back to the minors. But both have hit the ball hard at every level and have shown signs that they will do the same in the bigs.
Probably the biggest success so far this season has been in unlocking the potential buried in Lucas Duda. After the trade that sent Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Duda was handed the first base job & he has flourished ever since. Without having to look over his shoulder after every unsuccessful at bat or every error, the confidence in him grew stronger with each game. Pretty soon he was launching tape measure moon shots wherever they played. He is currently among the league leaders in homers & has become a fixture in the middle of the Amazin’s lineup.
Below are the up-to-date stats of each player as of Aug. 31:
- Brandon Nimmo (Double A Binghamton) – 126 G, 10 HRs, 51 R.B.I., 86 BB, 14 SB, .280 BA
- Gavin Cecchini (Single A St. Lucie) – 125 G, 8 HRs, 56 R.B.I., .247 BA
- Dominic Smith (Single A Savannah) – 125 G, 1 HR, 43 R.B.I., .271 BA
- Michael Conforto (Single A Bklyn) – 40 G, 3 HRs, 19 R.B.I., .329 BA
- Dilson Herrera (Promoted to Parent Club) – 128 G, 13 HR, 71 R.B.I., .323 BA
- Kevin Plawecki (AA Binghamton/ AAA Las Vegas) – 100 G, 11 HRs, 64 R.B.I., .310 BA
- Matt Reynolds (AA Binghamton/AAA Las Vegas) – 124 G, 163 H, 6 HR, 60 R.B.I., .345 BA, 20 SB
- Wilmer Flores (AAA Las Vegas) – 55 G, 13 HRs, 57 R.B.I., .323 BA
- Travis d’Arnaud (AAA Las Vegas) – 18 G, 7 HRs, 18 R.B.I., .397 BA
- Lucas Duda (NYM) – 129 G, 26 HRs, 76 R.B.I., .251 BA
- Zack Wheeler (NYM) – 27 GS, 9-9, 3.44 ERA, 155 K
- Noah Syndergaard (AAA Las Vegas) – 25 GS, 9-7, 4.67 ERA, 144 K
- Jacob deGrom (NYM) – 18 GS, 7-6, 2.94 ERA, 106 K
- Rafael Montero (AAA Las Vegas) – 16 GS, 6-4, 3.60 ERA, 80 K
- Steven Matz (St. Lucie/Binghamton) – 24 GS, 10-9, 2.24 ERA, 131 K
Although his free agent signings have left much to be desired, as far as player development is concerned, Sandy Alderson has done a splendid job of acquiring young talent through both trades and the draft. This organization was barren when he arrived and now has top prospects littered throughout the farm system on every level. Though some of them will more than likely be moved to shore up other positions via trade, the impact of these players has the potential to launch this team into playoff contention in short order. And the new era will blast off at Citi Field when Matt Harvey toes the rubber Opening Day 2015.