Deep Dive: Taking a look at the Trade Additions

Yesterday the Mets made a trade to get Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham from the Marlins for Franklyn Sanchez. This move was mainly made to get the Mets some much needed depth, as both still have options and can be sent to AAA.

Depth is extremely important for every ballclub and the Mets are fixing that issue fairly soon in the offseason. With this move the Mets added a relief arm in Brigham and a starting pitcher in Hernandez. So let’s take a deeper look into these two arms.

Elieser Hernandez

Let’s start with Elieser Hernandez. A 27 year old righty that has been with the Marlins for his whole MLB Career. He made his MLB debut in 2018 but had his best years in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, he helped the Marlins to the Postseason with a 3.16 ERA in 6 starts. His 2021 was solid with a 4.18 ERA in 11 starts. However, his 2022 was dreadful as he pitched to an ugly 6.35 ERA over 62.1 innings.

So what was his main issue in 2022? His slider. After three straight years with a positive run value on his slider (-13 between 2019 and 2022), his run value on that pitch was a negative plus 6 in 2022. So what was the reason for that drop off success with that pitch?

Main difference in his slider is his horizontal movement. After three seasons where his horizontal movement was average or better, he lost his movement with one of the worst inches of break in the league in 2022. That’s after he had one of the better horizontal break in 2020 (video below), in his best season yet. It resulted in a major downgrade in his expected slugging against for Hernandez as he went from .340 expected slugging to .430 from 2021 to 2022.

Even with the lost of his slider, he had an expected ERA of 4.81, which obviously isn’t great but also shows some lack of luck. If the Mets are able to get Hernandez to refind his slider, he could be a serviceable depth starter for this team.

Jeff Brigham

Brigham is a 30 year old reliever who has battled numerous arm injuries over his career. When healthy in 2022, he was solid throwing his slider-fastball combination at hitters. In 2022, Brigham owned a 3.38 ERA over 24 innings, with 28 strikeouts. It was his first true succesfull stint.

2022 was the first season Brigham started to throw his slider more then his fastball. It resulted in a good year with solid numbers across the board. The run value on both his slider (-4) and fastball (-2) were above average for the first time in his career. Throwing his slider more also got his run value on his fastball above average for the first time. So clearly that adjustment paid off even when it was a small sample-size.

His slider is clearly his best pitch with an expected slash against him off .242/.305/.349 with a 22.2% hard hit rate. His fastball still gets hit fairly hard (expected OPS against .747, so pitching that less and less seems like a strong way to go.

In the end, both of these arms are depth. Especially Brigham, he would most likely see time with the big club and will battle for a spot during spring. Hernandez to me is more seen as AAA depth to make a spot start or do some mop up work. That being said, I believe this is solid depth for the big league club.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors on Twitter

Four in-house Bullpen Options

Bullpen? That will probably look the most different out of any part of the Mets roster. With an off-season where the Mets have 6 of their main 8 bullpen arms from 2022, becoming free agents, there is a lot of questions about the bullpen. In a recent article I mentioned one arm the Mets should accept a mutual option on, but it’s still a question if Givens will accept. Right now the Mets have two arms who are almost certain of a bullpen spot but I believe two other in-house options also have a fair shot.

Drew Smith

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Drew Smith will make the Mets bullpen when healthy and there is every reason to believe he should. Smith had a solid year, pitching to a 3.33 ERA over 46 innings. In that span, he struck out 53 and walked just 15. Main issue with Smith was the long ball, as he allowed 9 homers over those 46 innings. However, even with the long balls and fairly high hard hit percentage, Smith Expected ERA stood at 3.78. That’s mainly because he kept his opponents expected BA and Expected Weighted OBA down (.221/.303).

It’s also worth mentioning that Smith’s worse month was July (7.56ERA), right before the Mets put him on the injured list with an arm issue. He returned with solid numbers at the end of the year. So yes, Drew Smith is obviously in the pen next year.

Stephen Nogosek

Could the Mets pen next year have two 2017 trade deadline additions in their bullpen for 2023? Yes I believe they should. Stephen Nogosek was tremendous in his time in the majors but also did well in AAA. The 27 year old pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings for the Mets. But besides his small samplesize success in the majors, he also pitched to a 2.30 ERA in AAA over 43 innings. In the majors he didn’t strike out as much as in AAA but still had a repectable 8.6K/9. However, it’s worth noting that he didn’t have a consistent role in the majors (mostly getting some multi innings stints when the Mets had a big lead/deficit).

Main reason I trust Nogosek is his added velo and success with his 4 seamer. In a small samplesize, Nogosek got a -3 run value with his 4 seam fastball alone. His expected slash line against his 4 seam fastball was .193/.304/.350. He uses his 4 seamer less and learned a cutter. His cutter is still a work in progress, but it did allow more success with his 4 seamer. Let’s hope he can develop his cutter in a better weapon. I see Nogosek more as a middle relief role instead of the back end off the bullpen.

Joey Lucchesi

The somewhat forgotten man in the Mets depth chart is Joey Lucchesi. A starter that will likely find his way into the Mets bullpen in 2023. With Williams being a free agent, the Mets need an arm that can give you innings and be a spot starter. Joey Lucchesi fits that profile.

After TJS Lucchesi had a year with rehab and ended his season with some rehab outings. Lucchesi looked good in his rehab outings, pitching to a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings. Before his injury Lucchesi pitched go a 4.46 ERA over 38.1 innings with the Mets in 2021. He did however, had a 3.40FIP and 1.17WHIP, indicating he could be better. And don’t we all love the churve?

John Curtiss

Who? Yes John Curtiss. The Mets signed Curtiss last offseason with a 770.000 dollar deal with a team option for 775.000 dollars. The Mets made this trade to have him in 2023 as he was recovering from TJS as he signed the deal. The Mets were aware that he would miss the entire 2022 season when he signed, which was smart knowing how many free agents the Mets have.

The 29 year old right has control thru the 2025 season and owns a 3.63 career ERA. He did pitch in just 86.2 innings over his career with his most success in 2021. In that year he pitched to a 3.45 ERA over 44.1 innings with the Marlins and Brewers. Worth mentioning that Curtiss pitched to a 2.43 ERA before the trade, but got into just 4 games with the Brewers, were he struggled. That was followed with him being diagnosed with a torn UCL, which could indicate him pitching hirt

Curtiss gets his most success with his 4 seam fastball. In 2021 hitters hit just .155/.216/.238 against his 4 seamer. His slider however, got hit (.330/.388/.568) but his expected slash line against that pitch was way better (.266/.293/.385). So there is reason to expect him to have better results with his slider, with worse results with his 4 seamer.

Like Givens, Curtiss would be a solid arm to have as depth in your bullpen. And with the cost attached so low, you have to give it a try.

So who do you think will make this pen? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Should Givens Stay?

To answer this question, we have to explain Givens situation first. The Mets and Givens have a mutual option for $3.5M for next season. This means both have to accept the option for him to stay with the Mets. So this is more a question of: Should the Mets accept the mutual option for 1/3.5M?

To me the clear answer is yes! I know the overall Mets numbers aren’t great for Givens as he had a 4.79 ERA in 20.2 innings as a Met. But if you exclude his first outing (5ER in 0.2), Givens would have owned a 2.70 ERA with the Mets. This shows once again that a small samplesize shouldn’t keep him out of a Mets uniform next year.

Another big plus for Givens is his consistency. How often do we see such different results on a yearly bases when it comes to middle relievers. Over his career, he has been extremely consistent (Only his 2019 season has an ERA over 4). Givens is just 32, coming off back to back seasons with a ERA just below 3.40. To me no reason to expect a decline.

Baseball Savant

If you look at Givens’ Baseball Savant page, you still see solid expected numbers, with a solid K rate and elite fastball spin, which is a big part of his success (Run Value -1 on 4 seamer). He did lose a little bit of zip on the 4 seamer but to me no reason for much concern as he never counted on high velo. Also good to see him having three above average pitches in run value (4 seamer, slider, changeup).

Thinking about Givens to me the words come to mind is consistent and durable. Two things I think the Mets need. The Mets also aren’t in position to not retain solid arms for $3.5M as they have a lot of questions going into this offseason. With Drew Smith as the only main man left, the Mets shouldn’t waste the opportunity to retain such a solid arm.

Photo Credit: Geny Mets Report on Twitter

How Can a Trade with the Padres Work?

Earlier today there was a report with the Mets and Padres involved in trade talks. While my initial reaction was: Nooooooo, and its still a no for me, it made me wonder how the Padres and Mets could lineup for a trade?

Some might not be aware, but Eric Hosmer holds a lot of negative value for a team. A 32 year old first baseman with a .732 OPS? That’s not good. On top of that, Hosmer is owned 59 million for the next 4 years. But still it could work for both sides?

The Padres want to get ride of Hosmer and they should pay up in talent to do so. Paddack alone wouldn’t be enough, especially with giving up Dominic Smith. Yes, I am aware that Smith value has dropped, but he holds way more value then Hosmer. Paddack alone doesn’t clear that gap. So what would?

MLB Trade Values

As you can see, this trade is valued negative for the Mets. However, getting both Paddack and McKenzie Gore, makes it worth it for me. Gore and Paddack both have options but provide much needed depth for this year and the future. The 23 year old lefty Gore struggled last year in the minors, but has been great in the majors so far. He could also be used like the Brewers do, as a reliever first and starter later.

I believe Gore has more value then MLB Trade Values calculated, but it could be close to even value all things considered. This trade (although Hosmer could be a pain in the *ss), is worth it IMO. Both Paddack and Gore are blocked and it gives the Padres some payroll flexibility.

Point is, that the Padres and Mets could be trade partners in getting Hosmer and much needed pitching depth, with the deGrom injury. There is a way for the Mets and Padres to make it worth it for both sides?

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Mets Junkies Projections: Mad Max

Next up is the Mets new #2 in the rotation Max Scherzer. The 37 year old future Hall of Famer will play his debut season as a Met. Will Max be part of the CY Young conversation again this year?

Rotochamp

Corné:

Most major projections sites have Scherzer at least a run higher in ERA in comparison to last year. Although I believe Max won’t pitch to a sub 2.50 ERA, I do believe he will be close to 3. Maybe even under the magic 3 mark?

Since 2015 Max didn’t have a full season with a ERA above 3, so I believe he will stay under that magic 3 in ERA. The only season since 2015 he had an ERA above 3 was the short season 2020.

The homerun ball could be an issue but Max doesn’t allow a lot of hits and walks, so it won’t hurt him as much. That will likely keep up as Scherzer hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down.

14-6, 2.89ERA, 1.01WHIP, 240K, 36BB, 5.6bWAR

Gem:

Scherzer knows the division and even if he didn’t, his talent level still trumps most. The 8x All-Star and 3x Cy Young has moved into a different stratosphere since his days with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I expect the grizzled veteran to hit the hill just about every time out. There are few competitors out there like Max Scherzer, the man is a warrior living in the wrong century.

195IP, 17-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.03WHIP, 237K.

Next up we will do our star short stop. Will he have a better year that his first in NY?

Photo Credit: SNY

Mets Junkies Projections: Polar Bear Pete

The season is getting close and everyone loves to discuss projections. So here we go. First up we have Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. Here are some projections out from the major projections websites:

Rotochamp

Corné:

Pete had a good 2021, but to me it still felt like a down season. I expect Pete to be close to a .900 OPS in 2022. Also with guys like Nimmo, Marte and Lindor likely in front of him, I expect his RBI Total to go over 100 as well. Pete will be our main RBI guy for a lineup that looks balanced and solid on paper.

If you look at Pete his expected slash line last year, it was all higher than his slash line (.271/.377/.542). I expect him to be closer to his expected slash line with a little more power.

.265/.360/.550 45HR 110RBI 5.3bWAR

Gem:

I believe Corné’s right, fans were expecting more from the first baseman during the 2021 season. 37 HR’s is solid, however when you’re just one full season removed from 53, it could come as a let down… especially when the team isn’t racking up W’s on its way to the playoffs.

While Alonso may not yet have the protection needed directly behind him, I still see him stepping it up from last year.

.248/.355/.549 43HR 111 RBI

Next up we will predict the new Mets ace in Max Scherzer!

Photo Credit: The Apple on Twitter

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

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 Must Address Bullpen After Lockout

Although this has been a very exciting offseason for the Mets, the team still has one glaring issue—the bullpen. Aaron Loup, who was their best bullpen arm, is now with the Angels. So how do they improve the pen in such an important year? There are options that would instantly improve it, one being free agent lefty Andrew Chafin. Chafin, an 8-year veteran, had the best year of his career in 2021, posting a 1.83 ERA in 71 games. Even if Chafin’s 2022 is underwhelming, it would still be a vast improvement over what New York has now. Chafin enters the ’22 season at 31 years of age. A 2 or 3 year deal is likely on the table, which the Mets can definitely handle.

Reuniting With an Old Friend

Another solid option is a familiar face in Collin McHugh. McHugh was drafted by the Mets back in 2008. He made his big league debut in 2012, but his Mets tenure did not go well. He only appeared in 11 games with the Mets over 2 seasons and posted an 8.26 ERA. In June of 2013, McHugh was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Eric Young Jr. McHugh also struggled in Colorado, only appearing in 4 games and getting designated for assignment after the 2013 season.

McHugh finally found his footing with the Houston Astros in 2014. In 6 seasons with the team, he had a 3.63 ERA. In 2020, McHugh signed a one year deal with the Red Sox. He had elbow issues and did not end up appearing in a game with Boston. Given McHugh’s age and elbow issue, it wasn’t looking good for 2021, but he rebounded nicely with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 37 games Collin posted a 1.55 ERA. The risk is still very much there with McHugh given his elbow and his age, but a 1 or 2 year deal wouldn’t hurt and would give the Mets another solid option in the pen. As every Mets fan knows, you can never have too much depth, and McHugh is more than capable of being flexible and bailing the team out if the injury bug bites again in 2022.

Could Jansen Be a Match for the Mets Bullpen?

Kenley Jansen is also a free agent, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Mets gave him a shot. Anyone that follows the Mets knows how shaky Edwin Diaz can be at times, and Jansen could perhaps take some of the pressure off of Diaz. The 12 year veteran pitched well last season, putting up a 2.22 ERA. He is 34 and has had many injury issues in the past, but he’s proved that he has plenty left in the tank . The 3 time All-Star would also bring plenty of postseason experience to the bullpen. Outside of Trevor May, not one pitcher in the Mets bullpen has ever appeared in a postseason game. If the Mets were to make the playoffs this year, that could be a problem. Perhaps Jansen could be a part of the solution to that problem, with Chafin and McHugh who also have experience in October.

Can These Veterans Keep Up Their Success?

One thing that all of these players have in common is they are all veterans. This obviously includes major injury risk, which is nothing new to the Mets. In the past, the Mets have added pitchers such as Dellin Betances to the bullpen with the same hope of getting a few solid years out of a veteran, but it just didn’t work out. So why are these options different? All three of these players are coming off of very solid seasons. That obviously does not guarantee success this year, but it is a drastic change from the Wilpon solution in Betances, whom they signed after only appearing in one game during an injury plagued 2019 season. Signing any veteran is a gamble, but the gamble has greater odds of success when that veteran is coming off of a successful season.

Photo Credit: Sportnieuws.nl

JD Davis: Should he Stay or Should he Go?

The Mets season is over, which means the off-season is around the corner. After the postseason is done and baseball can crown a winner, one of the most interesting offseason will start for Mets fans. One thing that is likely is happen? JD Davis gets traded. But is that the right call?

During the season it was no surprise that JD Davis isn’t part of the Mets future plans. Even during a solid offensive season, the Mets decided to use Davis as a bench player. Mostly because Davis didn’t play a good third base defensively.

That being said, there is most likely a DH next year and to me Davis is a perfect DH candidate. Davis hit .285/.384/.436 in just 179 at bats. In a difficult role, without getting consistent playing time, he was still able to have an .820 OPS. With more consistent playing time and not playing hurt, I believe Davis could up his numbers.

Main reason, Davis barrels balls up. In 2021 he has a barrel percentage of 12.4%, second on the Mets behind Pete Alonso. His sweet spot percentage also went up 7.6% and is the highest of his career. That including his ability to get on base makes him an above average hitter IMO.

It’s also good to note that JD Davis is actually a good fastball hitter, besides what is told in the media. Davis owns a plus 2 run value on the 4 seamer and sinking fastball. He has at least a 0 run value on every pitch which makes him difficult to pitch too. Only main flaw is his troubles against the high pitch.

One big plus in his adjustments for this season is that he was able to increase his launch angle. In 2021 he increased his launch angle with 9.9 degrees on average (13.2), higher than his great 2019 (10.2).

JD is a good hitter in his prime of his career for a low cost. Yes, he has his issues defensively, but with a DH he can get more at bats without his below average defense costing the Mets.

The Mets can also afford to have a defense first third baseman in their every day lineup, something they haven’t really had in a long time. To me third base is a more important position to improve defensively than (for example) left field. This way they can use Guillorme or sign a cheap defense first third baseman, without adding a big contract at third with blocking Vientos/Baty.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t trade a cheap under controlled solid hitter in JD Davis. With the DH, as the DH and without a good hitter of the bench, and playing third with a strikeout/fly ball pitcher.

Photo Credit: SNY Mets Twitter