Reviewing Initial Minors League Rosters for the Mets Affiliates: St. Lucie Mets | Astromets Mind

Monday, April 6, 2015

Reviewing Initial Minors League Rosters for the Mets Affiliates: St. Lucie Mets

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Reviewing the initial 2015 rosters announced for the Mets 4 full-season affiliates: Las Vegas 51s, Binghamton Mets, St. Lucie Mets, and Savannah Sand Gnats

            Good news everybody, Major League Baseball has begun and Minor League Baseball is on its way! Last season the Mets had 3 full-season teams make the playoffs: Las Vegas, Binghamton (won championship), and Savannah. This year, they might go 4/4, as these rosters are loaded – they’re not a consensus top-5 farm system for nothing. Considering the Mets are carrying an extra relief pitcher for now, with two strong relief options are on their way back from injures (Vic Black and Bobby Parnell, who can rehab with Las Vegas for a few weeks), there will likely be a lot of roster adjustments coming over the first few weeks. It seems unlikely the Mets would hold a top prospect down a level just for the first few weeks of the season – major prospects got their promotions in June during the 2014 season – so these roster adjustments are likely to be minor for now. With full-season minor league baseball set to debut Thursday, let’s take a look at the initial rosters that have been announced for the Mets affiliates. If you’re interested in following along at home this season on, you can find a summary of the games that will be available for each affiliate here – there are 249 scheduled, including nightly 51s games starting as Mets games end.

Savannah, Binghamton, Las Vegas

Note: I plan to update with official 25-man rosters by Thursday game times

UPDATE: Official roster and press release

UPDATE: has Robert Gsellman listed as starting Thursday.

St. Lucie Mets

            The initial St. Lucie roster is out and looks awesome, so this team should be heading back to the playoffs after missing in 2014. I want to go live in the region where they play FSL games for this season, as this roster is full of top prospects. The pitching staff has an unexpected surprise and features a deep rotation with 3 top-25 prospects – the pen isn’t as complete though. In the field, these Mets will be playing 5 top-25 prospects regularly early in the season, and most of them will likely spend the entire season with St. Lucie. I’m excited for this season in St. Lucie!

Potential Starting Pitchers

Marcos Molina (Brooklyn), Robert Gsellman (Savannah), Robert Whalen (Savannah), Logan Taylor (Savannah), Miller Diaz (Savannah), Ricky Knapp (Savannah), Kevin McGowan (Savannah, St. Lucie)

            I am excited, selfishly a little disappointed, but mostly just pleasantly surprised that Marcos Molina (20) will be starting in St. Lucie this season – I selfishly still want to see some early season Molina starts with Savannah on MiLB.TV, but now video of him will still be hard to find. I think he can handle the jump, I just worry about the negative reviews of his mechanics. Gsellman (21) and Whalen (21) were consistently top-25 prospects on Mets lists this past offseason, and both deservedly so after dismantling the SAL last year. Logan Taylor (23) came back from Tommy John Surgery in the 2nd half of 2014 and showed he still has the strong fastball/curveball combo that made him interesting before his injury. Everybody loves Miller Diaz’s (22) stuff (fastball, slider, and his change), but he’s only made 13 appearances each of the past two seasons, so the Mets need to find a way to get him through a full season. Knapp (22) didn’t really stand out with Savannah in 2014, but he spent the entire season starting. McGowan (23) was too good for Savannah, but struggled after his promotion to St. Lucie. I’d guess Diaz’s potential keeps him in the rotation over the final two names. They could use a 6-man rotation though, especially as they stretch guys out early in the year, so Knapp and McGowan could form a piggyback duo. Overall, this starting staff has the potential to do some real damage in the FSL this year. Also, I think there are several rotation spots that could be forced open in Binghamton by midseason if any of these guys prove ready to graduate A+. (Check out some gifs of Gsellman, Taylor and Whalen)

Relief Pitchers

Akeel Morris (Savannah), Kelly Secrest (Brooklyn), Robert Coles (Savannah), Mike Hepple (Brooklyn), Julian Hilario (St. Lucie), Jake Kuebler (St. Lucie), Kyle Regnault (Independent – CAMA)

            No offense to the other relievers, but Akeel Morris (22) is the most important name here by far, especially since his first option year is officially used after 20 days in the minors this season. He should be the closer out of the gate, and he has the potential to go from A+ to AAA this year (which would probably lead to a September call up) considering the 40-man roster status – the AAA bullpen is pretty full right now, so he might need to impress to reach AAA, but that shouldn’t exclude from a September cup of coffee if he’s had a good season. Kelly Secrest (23) is a lefty from the 2014 draft who had a great pro debut with Brooklyn (1.82 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 28.3 K%) except for his 11.3 BB%. Coles (23) was too good for Savannah in 2014, but become very wild (15.1 BB) in St. Lucie. Hepple (24) was brought to Brooklyn from Independent ball and got solid results (1.93 ERA/3.44 FIP). Hilario (24) was wild (15.7 BB%) with St. Lucie last season. Kuebler (25) was better than his 3.86 ERA with St. Lucie in 2014, as the .354 BABIP allowed was very high, and likely contributed to his low 66.1 LOB%. He still had a 3.48 FIP and 21.3 K%: 9.5 BB% with only 0.46 HR/9 allowed. Regnault (26) is a lefty out of the Canadian American Association (Independent League) that the Mets must have added this offseason – I wonder what minor league level equivalent the CanAm is. Baseball America ranked him as the 17th best Independent League prospect in 2013, describing him as a “Solid lefty with 91-93 mph fastball and good curveball.”


Adrian Abreu (Brooklyn), Colton Plaia (Savannah), Jeff Glenn (Savannah)

            Although his overall numbers don’t necessarily impress, Abreu (23) got good reviews as the Brooklyn catcher in 2014 – both from manager Tom Gamboa and some of the pitchers. He’s fast for a catcher (29 stolen baes in 2012, has played the OF) and has good plate discipline. Plaia (24) improved on his pro debut in 2014 across the board offensively – better K%, BB%, ISO for a 96 wRC+, compared to the 41 wRC+ in his debut with Brooklyn. Either could be an interesting depth piece in a few seasons. Glenn (23) took a step backwards offensively in a repeat performance with Savannah in 2014, but considering the Gnats depth at the position, I wouldn’t be surprised if he found his back down there at times this year – also, he’s arguably the last position player on the list to be activate for a game.


Amed Rosario (Brooklyn, SS), Jhoan Urena (Brookyln, 3B), Dominic Smith (Savannah, 1B), Phillip Evans (St. Lucie, MI), Jeff McNeil (Savannah/St. Lucie, INF), Matt Oberste (Savannah, 1B/DH), Yeixon Ruiz (Savannah, MI)

            Wow! What an infield. Rosario (19!) in St. Lucie is crazy, but let’s do it. I don’t think many people have high expectations for his results, but I can’t wait to hear reports on how he’s doing, and see how he adjusts to the league as a teenager. Urena (20) is a switch-hitter who showed a more advanced approach with Brooklyn in 2014 than his teammate Rosario. Smith is still just 19 and gets out of a park that is notoriously tough on lefties, so hopefully he can show some of that raw power that many scouts saw in BP during last season. All 3 of these guys are top-15 prospects in the Mets farm system, making this one very potent infield. I wouldn’t bet on any of them advancing to Binghamton this season, but I’d guess Urena had the best odds of forcing his way. Evans (22), and McNeil (23) will fight for regular time at 2B and backup SS/3B, while also fighting Oberste (23) for the DH spot. Ruiz (24) was strong defensively as a middle infielder for Savannah last season, but provided subpar offense for much of the season – he’d fight Glenn for the phantom DL spot.


Michael Conforto (Brooklyn, LF), Champ Stuart (Savannah, CF), Victor Cruzado (Savannah, RF), Maikis De La Cruz (St. Lucie, OF)

            I really like this outfield, but it seems like they're down a player. Conforto (22) is the stud, and he could finish up in Binghamton if he has a strong first half. Stuart (22) is a personal favorite thanks to his near 80-grade speed, great CF defense, and average raw power potential, but his struggles with strikeouts increased down the stretch of 2014. Considering his main tools, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to show he can hit, and wouldn’t need to provide as much offense to provide good value in the majors some day. Cruzado (22) is a switch-hitter who hasn’t received much hype yet, but he’s good in RF, and provided average ISO power with an 18.5 K%: 13.8 BB% last season. Cruz (24) will be repeating the league after a lackluster 2014. His defense in LF gets good reviews, but his BB% and ISO have dropped as he’s risen through the system.

(Check out some gifs of Smith, Stuart and Cruzado)

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