2 Guys Talking Mets Prospects Current and Past: Degrom, Matz, Lara, Gardenhire, Leach, and Joey Ramone

jeurys-familiaMike:

I’m having a hard time reconciling a few things. When Sandy Alderson arrived in October of 2010, one consistent message had been that a major order of business was the need to rebuild a “barren” farm system. Now, it is June of 2014, and I have seen a lot of praise for this part of his GM job. The narrative is that, sure, the team stinks every year, but Sandy is re-stocking the farm, especially with young pitchers.

Well, two very intriguing young pitchers made the 2014 Mets out of spring training, Jennry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Both of them were signed by Omar Minaya, and were part of the supposedly barren farm system Sandy inherited. That didn’t compute for me, but I figured, okay, that’s just two guys. Then I looked a little further. Of the pitching prospects we hear about with the Mets, the following were signed or drafted by Omar Minaya.

  • Gabriel Ynoa, signed as an international free agent in 2009
  • Jake DeGrom, drafted in the ninth round in 2010
  • Steven Matz, drafted in the second round in 2009
  • Rainy Lara, signed as an international free agent in 2009
  • Hansel Robles, signed as an international free agent
  • Domingo Tapia, signed as an international free agent

So when he took the GM job, Sandy Alderson inherited a minor league system with the list above, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Meija, and Jeurys Familia. If these pitchers are no good our system is a mess. They all show up regularly in our top prospect lists. And if they are the real deal, isn’t it fair to say Alderson inherited a pretty good farm system?

Jimmy:

You neglected to mention Montero, a Sandy signing only by technicality. Montero was identified and scouted by Omar’s guys, contracted just weeks after Sandy decorated his office . . .

Big, framed, behind his desk.

Big, framed, behind his desk.

So I agree with your thesis. The narrative on Omar has always been off base. But, you know, that’s common in history. There’s the immediate reaction , then time passes, and we read a new cycle of revisionist history that (often) benefits from cold distance and greater objectivity. More facts, less emotion. Whatever anyone thinks of Obama now, it will take at least another 20 years for his full impact to be properly assessed.

Look, I don’t think Omar did a great job with the system, and Bernazard killed his credibility, but Omar was always in a win-now mode. He signed free agents, lost high draft picks, traded away players in an effort to win. And for a while, it worked. Sandy’s task has been much easier, since the worry of winning has not been a concern.

Mike:

Sandy was hired to work in a very different economic environment than Minaya. Omar was clearly a GM who liked to work the checkbook, and he wasn’t careful with it. After Madoff his style was never going to work, so I understand why he was asked to leave. But just like Sandy is working a plan, Omar was working one, too. There was money available, and he decided he was going to work the free agent market aggressively. This cost the team high draft picks most years, but Omar was very active in the International free agent market. That is where most of the players above have come from, and a couple of non-pitchers too, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores.

Jimmy:

I’m not a minor league maven the way some people are, but I have followed Mets prospects for the past 45 years. I had all those Topps baseball cards and looked forward to the arrival of Tim Leary and Terry Leach, Juan Berenguer and Joey Ramone.

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Wait, what?

Sandy just oversaw his 4th draft as Mets GM. In fairness, a GM probably needs 5-6 drafts and then another 5-10 years on top of that in order for any of us to make a valid assessment. There’s a lot that’s impossible to know at this time.

And by “impossible” I mean: No way, no how, nobody knows.

What irks me, at times, is the “truth” that’s widely accepted by some of the true believers. That Sandy has done this great job with the system, based on very little evidence. I mean, he certainly hasn’t worked wonders.

Mike:

There are very few potential prospects or players above A-ball in the Mets organization that were drafted or signed by Alderson. But as we are seeing now with the blossoming of OmarMinaya’s acquisitions, it takes years to get a full picture. Maybe some day players such as Nimmo, Smith, Plawecki, and Rosario will be Mets stars. Until that time the Mets need to rely on the talent that Sandy inherited.

That might not be so bad.

Jimmy:

Yeah, four years later it’s just now starting to pay dividends. I’d love to see a few everyday, homegrown players show up. I don’t think Omar succeeded in that area, but again, tough to do when pursuing a different strategy than, say, the Cubs.

In the end, no great point to make here. Just trying to inject a dose of reality into the oft-told, erroneous story of the Omar Years.

Well, I guess there’s another point, and that’s relying almost exclusively on Farm System, even if it is reasonably good, just ain’t gonna git ‘er done.

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13 comments

  1. Eraff says:

    In 2012 the Red Sox and Mets had the same record…2013, we hailed the Sox management team—much was written about “copying their model”.

    Omar had a great run here—allowed to to resuffle the deck, he may have been able to jettison some contracts AND commit to new players. Hey, perhaps that was the “Alderson Plan” as well…???

    At the tail end of the Menaya Regime, the Mets surrendered their big market advantage in both the draft and international signings…..conforming to “the Selig Rules”. We NOW also know that the financial stress of the Madoff scandal (etc) was already in place and gathering steam.

    Since taking over, Alderson has employed limited tactics of talent aquisition. Salary dumps for prospects, and Drafts of prospects have been the almost exclusive method of “addition”…. Free Agency and (especially) trades for On Field MLB talent have been low intensity.

    All of this analysis skips the major points:
    -Sandy is here FIRST, FORMOST, and for the Balance of his Tenure to establish and maintain a low cash operation. If he inherited a “leaking 200,000 square foot retail store, He’s condensed the operation to 75,000 square feet and turned off half the lights.
    – OWNERSHIP has been and continues to be the dominant factor innthis franchise…and it has been CONTINUOUSLY failing at committing to virtually everything attached to it’s on-field product and it’s Fans for much of it’s reign.

    There is not yet a Front and Center Baseball Plan here. This franchise remains in retreat as a National League Bell Weather.

    What a shame for it’s fan base and it’s “natural Fans”, who are lost and now departing…and what a shame for Major League Baseball.

  2. Raff says:

    Excellent review and unveiling of truths. I’m not sure why there aren’t more comments. Here’s my take- Omar had the good, the bad, and the ugly, like every GM with a healthy budget. He had already proven that he could build a talent pool on a shoe-string wih Montreal (and the Nationals), and when he arrived with the Mets, he BOTH filled the roster with big ticket free agent, and he drafted talent, like he had always done. And the Mets COMPETED! DO YOU REMEMER COMPETING??? Doyou rmember being a big market franhse. Does ANYONE still recognize that the Metsare in F&^%KING NEWYORK???!?? The real deal s that the media coverage of the Mets has consistently “turn-keyed” whatever narrative they’ve been spoon-fed by the Wilpons and Mets management, even to this day. Ryes was a “malcontent”. Dickey was a clubhouse lawyer and a cancer, Tejjada is uncommitted and out of shape,etc etc- and NOW- ???Everyguy on is way out gets the swinging door right in the ass- front ad center piling on. Now the press just willy-nilly repeats the company line that THE FANS who pay and show up are too tough on the team and they boo. OH- and the Press is brutal to them. The same press that spews their B.S. in order to keep their positions in the “line”. And now, right here at 2 guys— CRICKETS chirping, following a very compelling “counter-offensive” to the official Mets Politburo story-line. What gives? Do you all have Weddings, Proms, and Funerals to attend? Pathetic

    • Michael Geus says:

      In general, more and more fans are checking out on this boring team and anything associated with them.

      It’s understandable.

    • I find so much joy in teaching young kids softball and taking my son to the SAFE baseball program he participates in for kids with disabilities. So to tarnish that by spending anytime on this franchise which has ABSOLUTELY kicked the fans when they are down is pointless. Even if it means missing good reads that I like.

      Alderson can remake his comments repeatedly but he is just back tracking.

      This franchise is a total farce and this is exactly what it needs a complete and utter bottoming out. It would be best for all of Alderson’s prospects to by busts and for frankly Harvey to struggle in his quest to return. For Citi Field to remain empty and at the moment Bud Selig is gone, the owners inner circle can stop glad handling the Sterling ownership group and throw them off a cliff into a shallow puddle.

      This front office and ownership has no clue, they can’t even understand how the free agent market is going to remotely work and won’t make trades that involve risk.

      Let it burn to the ground, then some time in the wake you can see some trees start to grow.

      • It’s heretic, but I almost want them to lose. By that I mean, there’s a part of me that wants it, the three K’s by Chris Young, the futility of Tejada, and so on. How sad is that?

        Mike and I joked from the beginning that we picked the absolutely worst time to start a Mets blog. Much of what we’ve fought for the past two years have been a tendency toward negativity (understand, of course). But this thing we’re experiencing now, the emptiness of apathy, wow, it really leaves me speechless. What’s to say anymore?

        • I’d say on the contrary, other than that none of us is getting younger, this is the best time because if it is truly allowed to crash and burn, then perhaps this time when restructuring happens, their will be more of an OPEN eye from all fans that no solution is fool proof and one size fits all is largely a failed plan of attack.

          Far too many very intelligent people who are able to dress themselves and receive compensation for their existence have watched this unfold the last four years with far too much unwavering trust.

          That number is finally dwindling as even the initial Mousketeers in Sandy’s Inner Circle have begun to finally defect. There are some who are amazingly holding on with all claws.

          Oddly there are also handful who see this as all Alderson’s doing and willingly apply to blame to the Wilpon/Katz crew which is mind boggling.

          It is one happy mess of suckers in a faulty trust.

          • Raff says:

            Yes- Sandy Alderson isn’t The Disease- He’s the SYMPTOM. The voice & face of the destruction of the Mets Franchiseb y the Wilpons. Sort of the Leading Indicator of all that’s wrong. Very little of what he says has any relevance to the Mets’ predicament. His various proclamations have no bearing on their direction. I avoid listening to ANY of it, whether issued directly, or though his “proxies” in the media- other than the personal attacks the team issues as punishment to those who willingly or forcefully depart, which I view as base, and beneath contempt. I just watch what he does- Absent all of the “noise”, What he DOES tells the real story of the destruction of the once great Mets Franchise, at the behest of the Wilpons.

  3. Eraff says:

    Wow— I think you just BOOED all of us…I feel like Ike!

    Wah!!!!

  4. Patrick Boegel says:

    It is funny, the obvious song this team should play when taking the field AND after wins is I Wanna Be Sedated.

  5. Brian Joura says:

    I apologize for being late to the party.

    Minaya inherited a team that was bad in both the majors and minors. Everyone moans that he left the farm in bad shape but it was in much better shape than what he inherited. Here’s the BA Top 10 list, showing what Minaya inherited:

    1. Lastings Milledge, of
    2. Yusmeiro Petit, rhp
    3. Gaby Hernandez, rhp
    4. Ian Bladergroen, 1b
    5. Ambiorix Concepcion, of
    6. Alay Soler, rhp
    7. Shawn Bowman, 3b
    8. Victor Diaz, of
    9. Jesus Flores, c
    10. Matt Lindstrom, rhp

    He sold high on Petit and Hernandez and one could argue he won the Milledge trade but would have done even better if he traded him sooner. Meanwhile, leaving Matt Harvey was more than enough but other players were there, too.

    As for Alderson, I think Nimmo, Smith and Conforto will be contributors for a good team. I think history will be kind to Alderson’s draftees.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Brian, thanks for stopping by. It’s weird with Minaya, he all but announced from day one that his strategy would include a heavy emphasis on International signings. I don’t care where the players come from, I don’t know why Mejia or Familia are not impressive prospects just because they are not draftees.

      As for Alderson it will take a long time to know. In what I consider an odd strategy considering when he took over, he spent his first three years number one picks on raw high school players. And he has used a very deliberate development pace. Hopefully he knows what he is doing, babying talented players goes against everything I have seen in my close to forty years of coaching. It’s normal to push and challenge top talents. We will see, I’m dubious but would be pleased if his way works.

      A red flag exists in San Diego. Sandy was there while Omar was here and I did not see anything on their roster last week that impressed me. They are not bursting with young stars.

  6. Tired of dumb articles says:

    Things that were missed or glossed over in this article:

    Minaya was aggressive in the FA market, but he was negligent in creating depth with that huge checkbook. That combined with his fascination for veterans in the down slope of their prime results in not having the pieces in place when injuries occurred or when the old guys stopped producing.

    Minaya was a great evaluator of talent, but a poor developer of that talent. You mention Tony B in passing. Why don’t you elaborate on what went on in the minors during that time. Why did we have to move our AAA affiliation a couple of times?

    You paint SA’s strategy as “addition on by draft.” Where did Wheeler, Thor, TDA, Herra, Thornton, Black and others come from? Yes, there were Omar holdovers (that have been developed under SA’s watch), but the farm system’s high rating has come from the moves that SA has made.

    Finally, in that last year of Omar’s tenure, with the looming financial constraints, what direction was this team heading in? The picture you paint of the Mets winning under Omar and losing under SA make it look like is SA’s fault. The team sucked at the end with Omar. There was no way to fix it without razing it first. SA inherited a proverbial lemon and has been trying to make lemonade.

    • Fair points, well written. This post is a little old, so I doubt many folks will get to read your comment. Come again . . . when you get the hankering for my dumb articles.

      JP

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