New York Mets: Pillar One-Year Deal Official, Heredia DFA’d

New York Yankees, Kevin Pillar

On Sunday, the New York Mets officially signed Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $5 million deal as he becomes their final outfield depth piece. Guillermo Heredia was designated for assignment to make room for Pillar on the 40-man roster.

Pillar’s great defensive years in center field are behind him, but he is still valuable in the corners. Over the last two seasons, center field is the only spot where his DRS is negative. Pillar joins an outfield crew that already features Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Albert Almora Jr. 

Pillar vs. Almora

The combination of Pillar and Almora is very beneficial to the roster. Heredia and Almora are very similar players, and one of them needed to be upgraded from being the “latest version of Juan Lagares.” As defensive subs, Pillar would go to left field while Almora will play center field. Pillar has 79 games in left while Almora only has 11.

While Almora adds defensive value, he brings nothing offensively and is not a speed threat. Pillar is coming off his two best offensive seasons and was a major threat against left-handed pitching in 2020. He slashed .342/.390/.579 and has always produced better against lefties in his career. Pillar also averages 16 stolen bases per season and is in the 73rd percentile for sprint speed.

Heredia will likely remain with the Mets unless other teams are pressing for another depth outfielder. In 2020, he batted .212 with two home runs and five runs batted in over 15 games.

 

 

New York Mets: What the Bench Looks Like After Villar Addition

After signing Jonathan Villar on Monday, the New York Mets have their best group of bench players in years. Each player has multiple years of experience as starting players, strengthening the competition between each player to earn a roster spot. Here is a look at the bench options on the current 40-man roster.

Catcher: Tomas Nido, Ali Sanchez, Patrick Mazieka

Tomas Nido has the clear upper hand over Ali Sanchez and Patrick Mazeika for the back-up catcher job. Nido is only a .197 career hitter, but his defense is his calling card. He puts up strike rates above 60% on both sides of the plate since 2018. In his seven games during 2020, he was 7-for-24 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

Sanchez looked overmatched in his five games last season. He recorded one hit in nine at-bats and made numerous mental errors on defense. Mazeika made it to the big league roster but never played in 2020.

Infielders: Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, Jose Martinez

Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, and Jose Martinez all specialize in different facets of the game. Guillorme is defense, Villar is speed, and Martinez is power. Guillorme had an incredible offensive year to support his outstanding defense. Guillorme slashed .333/.426/.439 over 29 games with 2 outs above average on defense. He seems like a lock to make the opening day roster.

Villar should make the roster due to his speed and ability to play the infield and outfield. His defensive numbers are poor during the last two seasons, but his speed is legit. Villar led baseball with 62 stolen bases in 2019 and finished second with 16 in 2020. His bat is very streaky, but as a switch hitter with speed, it should be enough for him to make the team.

Martinez is a big wild card due to his defensive struggles. He has a .289 career batting average but -24 defensive runs saved in his career. He brings tremendous value as a pinch hitter with a .306 average and a .534 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching.

Outfield: Albert Almora Jr, Guillermo Heredia

Albert Almora Jr. and Guillermo Heredia is the most balanced battle in camp. Almora is coming off two subpar seasons with the bat but is still regarded as a strong defender. Heredia has similar stats over the last two seasons, but the Mets got to watch him play at the end of 2020. Both will play great defense in spring training, but Almora’s experience playing every day should give him the edge.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Outfielder Guillermo Heredia

After a stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Mets claimed Guillermo Heredia off waivers to join the team for the last month of the 2020 season. Despite not being known for his power, Heredia provided some along with his good defense in center field.

Heredia joined the Mets because they were in need of outfield depth after cutting Billy Hamilton. He spent most of his time in summer camp but joined the big league roster during the final week of the season. During his time in Pittsburgh, he only batted .188/.278/.188 in 18 plate appearances.

Small Power Surge

Heredia upped his average and also showed some surprising power with the Mets. His slash line was .235/.278/.588 with two home runs in the same 18 plate appearances. Using some small sample size numbers he had his highest line drive rate along with a 22-degree average launch angle which could have contributed to the limited power numbers.

Defensively, Heredia did a solid job defensively for both teams that he played for. He had two outs above average and two defensive runs saved. Heredia has always ranked as a good defensive center fielder and should continue to show value there in 2021.

In my opinion, Heredia deserves an invite to Spring Training for the 2021 season. I liked what I saw in the handful of games with the Mets and could serve as a cheap/undervalued option as a fourth or fifth outfielder. If he does not get the opportunity with the Mets, he will certainly get it somewhere else.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 25 (35), Should fall in the .230-.240 range during 2021.

Power: 55 (30), Most in a full season was 6.

Run: 55 (50), Good footspeed both on the bases on defense.

Arm: 45 (45)

Field: 60 (60), Solid and reliable defender.

Overall: 45 (35), Could be a useful bench player but has to provide a little more power to be a weapon.

New York Mets: Only Fitting For A Blowout To End The Wilpon’s Reign

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

Mediocrity is the first word that comes to mind in the broken marriage between the New York Mets and the Wilpon ownership. Their decisions, hirings, and lousy PR led to the Mets becoming the laughing stock of baseball and the butt of every joke. The Mets 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals closed an ugly 18 years of Wilpon majority ownership.

Seth Lugo likely made his final start as a Met in which he allowed six runs and did not make it out of the second inning. The lack of quality starting rotation depth put the Mets in a situation where they had to force Lugo to be a starter. Should the Mets fix their pitching rotation, Lugo would play very well in his natural bullpen role.

Early Rout

This game was pretty well decided when the Nats had 11 runs after the third inning concluded. Brad Brach and Steven Matz concluded their poor seasons with poor outings, allowing the Nationals to put the game away. Dellin Betances also continued the trend when he made his second outing off the IL. Jeurys Familia was the only reliever to complete two innings without allowing a run and finished his season with a 3.71 ERA.

The two bright spots came from the bats of Pete Alonso and Guillermo Heredia. Alonso had three hits, including two home runs, to finish up the season on a good note. Heredia had two hits and drove in two runs as he hopes to earn an invite to camp in 2021.

The Mets finished their season at 26-34, tied for last place in the NL East. They fell under the .500 mark seven games into the season and never climbed out of that hole in their disappointing season. Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson inherit a broken organization, filled with potential. With their window to win still wide open, expect the front office to revamp this roster for the 2021 season.

New York Mets: Offense Backs Lugo in 5-2 Victory Over Rays

The New York Mets get a good starting pitching effort for the fourth consecutive night. This one against the Tampa Bay Rays came from Seth Lugo, who desperately needed one after his rough outing against the Phillies. The Mets offense also woke up to support Lugo in their 5-2 victory.

Lugo found the handle on his curveball early in this start. It eluded him over the last two starts, but his equalizer was the curve against the weak Rays offense. Lugo pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), and striking out seven. Out of 95 pitches, 66 were strikes, and he produces plenty of uncomfortable swings.

Solving Snell

Blake Snell had one of the best starts of his career when he faced the Mets back in 2018. He came into his start without allowing any runs in the first two innings of the game during 2020. Robinson Cano changed that with his solo home run on an extremely high fastball in the second. Cano tomahawked the ball into the left-field corner, and it was the highest pitch hit for a home run this season.

Pete Alonso‘s solo home run in the fourth and RBI single in the sixth provided the other two runs against Snell. Alonso also contributed an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. Guillermo Heredia‘s first home run as a Met was sandwiched between Alonso’s RBI chances.

It was a much-needed game from Alonso, who was threatening to fall into the interstate with his batting average. Alonso’s swing looked calmer and relaxed instead of his typical swing, which caused him to be off-balanced.

The bullpen trio of Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, and Edwin Diaz silenced the Rays bats for 2.2 innings after Lugo left the game. Wilson kept the tying run from scoring in the seventh, Shreve struck out the side in the eighth, and Diaz picked up his fifth save of the season. Diaz lowered his season ERA to a magnificent 1.50 on the season.

The Mets hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with Michael Wacha on the mound in the rubber match of the series. He opposes the fireballer Tyler Glasnow for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.