Minor League Mets in the 2016 WBC Qualifier’s | Astromets Mind

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Minor League Mets in the 2016 WBC Qualifier’s

Luis Guillorme (left), Alberto Baldonado (middle), and Dilson Herrera (right) in their respective WBC team's gear
(Photos from Facebook)

There are 5 minor leaguers from the Mets farm system representing the club in the WBC qualifiers from today through Sunday, so I'm previewing the 4 you hardly know

            The qualifiers for the 4th World Baseball Classic are set to continue Thursday afternoon in two locations: Estadio B-Air in Mexicali, and the Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City. The winning team from each qualifier will advance to the 2017 tournament, and the Mets are well represented this week, with a good chance that at least one prospect comes back to camp with a little extra bragging rights. All Mets fans know of Dilson Herrera, who will play for Colombia this week, but less known is his Colombian teammate RHP Nabil Crismatt, who was one of the best strikeout pitchers in the APPY league last season. Those two will be playing in Panama City this week, as will shortstop Luis Guillorme (representing team Spain) and LHP Alberto Baldonado (representing team Panama). Catcher Xorge Carrillo will be the lone Mets prospect in Mexicali, and he may end up catching former Mets starter Ollie Perez while there. I really haven't followed the WBC action too closely, but my guess is that Mexico comes out as the winner from their group, which includes the Czech Republic, Germany, and Nicaragua, and that Columbia comes out as the winner from their group, which includes France, Panama, and Spain. Below I take a closer look at the lesser-known Mets prospects playing in the WBC spotlight this week.


Dilson Herrera, 22, 2B, RHB

            Dilson was good enough in AAA last year that he probably could’ve been handed the starting 2B position out of the gates this year, but instead the Mets traded for Neil Walker, so Dilson will probably go back to Las Vegas and play everyday until they want him for the bench, or 2B opens up. Since he made his debut at the Major League level in September, 2014, there has been a lot written about Dilson, so I hardly need to introduce him, and will save any further comments for a full post.

Nabil Crismatt, 21, RH SP

            The Mets signed Crismatt as an international free agent back in August, 2011, and after a couple of seasons in the DSL, he’s spent the last two seasons being stretched out between the Mets two rookie ball teams. He doesn’t have a blazing fastball, but his array of breaking balls has allowed him to post impressive strikeout rates to date, with 165 total in 156 minor league innings for a 26.5 K%. Plus, a low-90s fastball is still about average for a RH starter. He reached 62 IP during the APPY season with Kingsport in 2015, plus who knows how many innings in extended spring training, so he should be ready for his first year starting in full season ball with Columbia this year. (Crismatt will go from playing with Colombia in Panama, to playing in Columbia with the Fireflies).
Not bad for a guy who thought of baseball as a fun hobby (link is Spanish) back when he played in the Little League’s. That article, which was posted in 2013, goes on to say that a Dominican talent scout named Miguel Delgado saw something in a 15-year old Crismatt, so he brought him to the DR for 20 months of training, which led to the Mets signing him. It also says that he pitched for the youth national team in 2012, which included the experience of pitching in front of 15,000+ fans, something he won’t see in the minors. In this article (also in Spanish) featuring Crismatt from 2014, he says that while the dream of playing professional baseball didn’t come about until later, he’s had a passion for the game his entire life, and he started playing at age 3. He then characterizes himself as a control pitcher, saying that his best pitches are his curveball and changeup. He also said that his favorite team growing up was the Yankees, but he wanted to go to a team like the Mets that would give him a chance, because the Yankees only sign established stars, which I find pretty funny.
Crismatt will have some restrictions from the Mets on the way Colombia uses him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does get some play. When speaking about this event just a few weeks ago, Jimmy Char, the president of the Colombian Baseball Federation, mentioned Crismatt among the next group of young Colombian’s who should help boost the team – the exact phrasing is odd to me, “que pueden darle un buen aire a Colombia.”


Xorge Carrillo, 27 in 3 weeks, C, RHB

            The X-Man’s first name – pronounced Jorge – is hardly the only unique aspect of his dance with affiliated ball to date. Carrillo was first drafted out of Tempe, Arizona by the Blue Jays in the 28th round of the 2007 draft, but didn’t sign. He was next drafted out of Coolidge, Arizona by the Cleveland Indians in the 2009 draft, but didn’t sign. The Padres took a chance on him signing after a year at Carrillo spent a year at Arizona State Univeristy (which is in Tempe, Arizona), using their 23rd round pick on him in 2010, but he didn’t sign. Finally, after being selected in the draft for a 4th time in 2011, this time with the Mets 14th round pick, Xorge Carrillo would sign a pro contract. Then, after finally signing with a pro team, Carrillo would get only 273 PA in the minors between 2011 and 2013, with nearly half of those coming at the AA level to end the 2013 season.
After finishing the regular season on a roll in 2013 – he hit .296/.350/.352 with 6 doubles – Carrillo kept his success going that winter in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, hitting .285/.347/.391 with 3 bombs and 10 doubles in 203 PA for Mexicali. He began 2014 as Kevin Plawecki’s backup in Binghamton, but has spent the past season and a half as the primary catcher for the B-Mets, with the following stat line (starting May 31, 2014, when he was returned to the team from Las Vegas): .246/.321/.367 over 579 PA, with 21 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 59 RBI, .270 BABIP, 14.9 K%: 6.7 BB%, for a .319 wOBA, which represents average Eastern League production over the past 2 seasons. He’s also continued to play for Mexicali the past two seasons, with better than league average both years, which is great, although I wonder how taxing that extra 50 games/year is (then again, ya gotta pay the bills).
Somehow I’ve made it this far without mentioning his best attribute, which you might’ve just guessed is his defense. Catchers are involved with every pitch, yet they rarely get to show off their defensive skills, especially with stolen bases and bunts not as common as 30 years ago. So when a catcher makes a good play, it tends to stick out in my memory, and Carrillo made several good plays in the field last year, a few of which are linked to as GIF’s below. His CS% dropped to 33% on 90 attempts at the end of the year, but his pitchers share some of that blame. Carrillo is quick as a cat from behind the plate, and he’s got a strong arm, as you can see for yourself in the few examples below.

2015 GIF’s
7/17Play, Play
8/231B, 2B
9/2 - HR, HR
8/27 - HR


Alberto Baldonado, 23, LH RP

            Baldonado is a big lefty (listed at only 6’2), with mid-90’s heat, an average curve, and deception in his delivery, who the Mets signed out of Panama way back in September, 2009 (!). Baldonado came stateside after just one season in the DSL, but then spent 3 years in rookie ball and a season with Brooklyn before finally getting a full-season chance with Savannah in 2015. He made 38 appearances out of the Savannah bullpen last year, 20 of which lasted more than 1 IP, and chose a good time to have his best season: he finished with a 1.91 ERA over 56.2 IP with a 33.2 K%: 10.8 BB% and only 1 homerun allowed (to a LHB in his second to last appearance). Considering this will be his 7th season in the system, I wouldn’t be surprised if Baldonado moves quickly through the FSL and up to the EL this year, though it may be tough for him to crack the 51s bullpen. The Mets will have to add him to their 40-man (seems unlikely) or risk losing him as a minor league free agent after the season, so they might as well test him against more advanced competition while they control him.
            I have no clue if he’ll get any play this week, but Baldonado has previous experience and success pitching for his home country, as he was part of the sub-21 team to win the Panamerica Title a few years ago. He might be gone in a year, but he throws above average heat from the left side and out of the pen, so he won’t be out of affiliated ball. I’ve included several GIF’s of Baldonado from 2015 below for your viewing pleasure.

2015 GIF Coverage

Spain: Luis Guillorme, 21, SS, LHB

            Although he hails from Venezuela originally, Guillorme is being allowed to represent Spain this week. I plan to write a longer post about Guillorme before the season starts, so I’m limiting myself here, but when he gets a chance to play, keep an eye out for him to do something special in the field. Guillorme’s favorite player growing up was Omar Vizquel, which is funny because that’s the comp that MLBN gave him on draft day in 2013, and it still fits. He gets rave reviews for his defense and is considered among the best defensive shortstops in the minors. The only knock on his defense is a merely average arm, but he makes up for that some with the quickest hands in the game.
The reason that Guillorme is not a better-known prospect is that he’s managed only 30 doubles in his 980 minor league plate appearances, and his limited offensive game scares off some scouts. Although he hasn’t hit for any power, he’s kept his OBP high in the minors (.367 for his career), and his .391 OBP in the SAL last year helped earn him a league MVP award. Also, his low 11.7% career strikeout rate and excellent bat control suggest that he can maintain a good average against tougher competition. Guillorme should start the year in the FSL with St. Lucie and will likely spend the whole season there, as the Mets have a shortstop logjam above him right now. Long-term, Guillorme’s glove work will at minimum keep him getting work between AAA and the major league bench, and could make him a valuable starter if his OBP stays high and/or he starts finding the gaps more often.

A few 2015 GIF’s
7/7 – Single

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