New York Mets Player Evaluations: Infielder Luis Guillorme

The New York Mets came into the 2020 season with a minimal role for utility infielder Luis Guillorme. He took advantage of some Mets injuries in August and parlayed that into starting opportunities. Guillorme’s glove remained reliable, but this was the first time we saw him find success with the bat as well.

Guillorme only played in three of the Mets’ first 13 games of the season. He started the season 1-for-7 at the plate with two strikeouts and grounding into two double plays. Guillorme finally got a chance to play every day from August 11 through September 1 and took full advantage of it.

In 12 games (11 starts), he slashed .469/.550/.563 with three doubles, seven walks, and eight strikeouts. His outstanding .600 BABIP made him an impossible out at the plate despite lacking the power at the plate. 34.1% of his batted balls were line drives, and 43.5% were hit to the opposite field. Guillorme was not doing anything special at the plate. He was trying to hit line drives the other way, and it paid off very well for him.

Brodie Takes Away Playing Time

At the trade deadline, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen opted to bring in Todd Frazier, which drastically cut Guillorme’s playing time. As the Mets got healthy, there was nowhere to play Guillorme. It even resulted in him being sent to the alternate site at one point despite his average hovering around .400.

Guillorme’s bat went cold since he was relegated to bench player duty. He finished the season going 3-for-18 with seven strikeouts and put a damper on a very promising season. It was disappointing to see the Mets take one of their better hitters and push him to the side. Guillorme also added stellar defense to his production, and the Mets should have continued to ride the hot hand.

Overall, it was a terrific year for a player the Mets expected nothing from. He batted .333 with a .426 on-base percentage and six doubles in just 57 at-bats. Almost one-third of those at came with runners in scoring position, where he hit .389 in those situations. Guillorme might not be an everyday player, but he proves to be a quality bench player as he heads into his age-26 season.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 80 (50), It was an amazing year for Guillorme, but it is hard to see him hitting .333 over a full season.

Power: 20 (20), Still only one homer and a .341 career slugging.

Run: 45 (45), Did have two stolen bases this season but the slowest sprint speed of his career.

Arm: 60 (60), Strong and very accurate arm from his three infield spots.

Field: 70 (70), Made the team for his glove in the first place, made numbers amazing plays throughout the season.

Overall: 65 (45), It was an amazing year in a small sample size, but he should regress to a solid bench player in 2021.

 

New York Mets: The emergence of Luis Guillorme

The New York Mets‘ season didn’t quite go as planned, but at least there were some positive developments. In the starting rotation, David Peterson emerged from the alternate training site, skipped Triple-A altogether and posted a 3.44 in ten games (nine starts) and 49.2 frames.

Rookie shortstop Andres Gimenez also made his debut and added a speed/defense element to the Mets that they didn’t have before. Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo performed at their expected levels (well, Conforto was even better) and Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant ways.

However, in one of the most surprising developments of the 2020 shortened season, at least for the New York Mets, was the emergence of Luis Guillorme as a good offensive player.

For years, even coming from the Mets’ system, Guillorme was viewed as a glove-first, no-bat infielder with a utilityman ceiling. However, look at the numbers he put this year: .333/.426/.439 with a .381 wOBA and a 144 wRC+ in 30 games and 68 plate appearances.

Is the Mets’ infielder for real?

You should note, before we dig deeper into his future role, that he isn’t that good. Luck had something to do with that line, as he posted an unsustainable .463 BABIP. But he did increase his average exit velocity (from 87.0 mph last year to 89.8 this season) and hard-hit rate (from 26.5 to 31.7.) He improved as a hitter, maybe not the point to be an above-average regular down the road, but he is nevertheless a very useful piece.

Due to his offensive and defensive contributions, Guillorme can be an excellent piece for the Mets in the future. As of now, there are several infielders blocking his path towards regular playing time, such as Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Gimenez and Robinson Cano. But there are plenty of teams out there who would take a slick-fielding shortstop capable of taking a base (14.0 BB%) and hitting for average.

But let’s admire the fact that, in half of the games of the regular season than other stars, he accumulated more fWAR (0.7) than JD Davis, Pete Alonso, Amed Rosario and Wilson Ramos, just to name a few.

New York Mets: The Mets Minor League Pitchers Fail in 9-5 Loss

The New York Mets sitting at five games under .500 and losing four in a row was not enough for Luis Rojas to manage Tuesday night’s game with any urgency. The Mets sent out unproven Ariel Jurado to start the game and followed up with Franklyn Kilome to hand over an easy 9-5 victory to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles slugged 15 hits and it seemed like all of them, outside of a Cedric Mullins bunt single, was hit with authority. Jurado (4 IP) and Kimome (3 IP), combined to allow all nine runs and three home runs. Renato Nunez was responsible for two of them and four RBIs while Anthony Santander had a homer with there RBIs.

It was another example of the lack of depth the Mets have thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen. Jurado is not a top-10 rotation option for any good team in baseball, but the Mets do not qualify as a good team. Despite settling after the first two innings, it did not hide the fact that he already allowed five runs.

Cano Stays Hot, McNeil Follows

Despite scoring five runs on the night, they only had two at-bats with runners in scoring position. They record a hit in those opportunities coming a Luis Guillorme RBI single. Robinson Cano added a home run for the third consecutive day and brought his average up to .380.

Jeff McNeil also found his stroke again with three hits, including his eighth double of the season. Andres Gimenez also recorded his first major league home run to tie the game at five but it was the end of the Mets scoring.

With Todd Frazier rejoining the Mets on Wednesday, either Gimenez or Guillorme will head to the Mets alternate site. Realistically, Frazier should be the odd man out but the Mets will not make that move. Robinson Chirinos and Miguel Castro will also join the team on Wednesday.

Michael Wacha finishes off the two-game series on Wednesday against a starter to be announced for the Orioles. The first pitch from Camden Yards is at 4:05 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Luis Rojas says Amed Rosario has to be ‘more disciplined’ offensively

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

Since designated hitter/outfielder Yoenis Cespedes opted out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season (August 2), the New York Mets depth chart has changed. As part of that shuffle, shortstop Amed Rosario’s role has been altered.

The team’s shortstop for the better part of the last three years, Rosario finds himself battling for playing time, which is partially due to his lack of production at the plate. Across 71 plate appearances, he is hitting .211, with a .521 OPS, a 44 OPS+, and five RBIs. Rosario hasn’t recorded a walk.

Mets manager Luis Rojas says that Rosario needs to be “more disciplined” in the batter’s box (quotes per Mike Puma of the New York Post).

“[Rosario] has got to be more disciplined with the zone,” manager Luis Rojas said before the game. “We have seen how much he is expanding. This kid has the ability to put the bat on the ball and when you start expanding, you are going to end up chasing early and putting the ball in play. When you do that the ball is not going to be hit very hard and that is what’s happening to him.”

Across his big-league career, Rosario is hitting .267 with a .702 OPS and a 91 OPS+ while totaling 29 home runs and 138 RBIs.

In the wake of Rosario’s struggles and veteran second baseman Robinson Cano hitting the injured list, infielders Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme have seen an uptick in playing time; Gimenez has garnered 61 plate appearances this season; Guillorme has garnered 29 plate appearances and is hitting .458 with a 1.059 OPS and a 200 OPS+.

Cano returned to the Mets lineup on Friday. The second baseman is hitting .412 with a 1.152 OPS, a 218 OPS+, and 13 RBIs across 14 games this season.

The Mets are 10-14, which is good for fourth place in the National League East. They continue a four-game series with the division-rival Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/17-8/20)

New York Mets, David Peterson

A matchup between the last-place New York Mets and first place Miami Marlins takes place in Miami for the first time during the 2020 season. The Marlins are the only team the Mets are over .500 against during 2020, taking two out of three so far.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday, (8/17) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Robert Gsellman (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jordan Yamamoto (0-1, 9.82 ERA)

Tuesday, (8/18) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: David Peterson (3-1, 2.91 ERA) vs. TBD

Wednesday, (8/19) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

Thursday, (8/20) @ 6:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

Both teams come into the series with their starting rotations in shambles. The Mets have multiple pitchers dealing with injuries, while COVID-19 has kept the Marlins starters from taking the field. Despite their problems, the Marlins have the sixth-best ERA in baseball, while the Mets sit in the bottom third of baseball.

Will the Bats Wake Up?

The struggles of Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos are hampering the Mets’ ability to drive in runs through the first half of the season. Both are barely hitting over .200 and are not supplying any power when they do put the ball in play. They also have to deal with other players who are outplaying them.

Tomas Nido is already better defender than Ramos and, at the moment, a better hitter as well. Manager Luis Rojas should look to ride the hot hand until he cools off or Ramos heats up. Dominic Smith has emerged as the Mets’ best power threat, and with the multiple options, the Mets have, Alonso is the odd man out for now. Luis Guillorme is white-hot at the plate, Jeff McNeil likely returns to left field during the series and a hot Robinson Cano at DH makes it tough to continue to play Alonso while the offense is cold.

Who Pitches the Last Two Games?

With the future of Steven Matz in the starting rotation as a significant question, Franklyn Kilome may make a start at the end of the series. In his only big-league outing, he allowed two runs over four innings while striking out five. Kilome is still an unproven option, but it is hard to think he will pitch worse than the 9.00 ERA Matz currently owns.

Jacob deGrom is also recovering a neck injury, but the Mets have been silent on his status. The injury was severe enough to scratch him from his start but no severe enough for an IL stint or rule him out for the last two games of the series. Each series has become a must-win for the Mets, and they will need their ace on their mound as often as possible.

Interesting Stats

Dominic Smith Batting Fourth in 2020: 6-for-15 (.400), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 6 RBIs, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Luis Guillorme vs. RHP in 2020: 11-for-21 (.524), 2 Doubles, 5 RBI, 3 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

New York Mets OBP: .346 (2nd in MLB)

New York Mets OBP w/RISP: .296 (27th in MLB)

New York Mets: Completely Outmatched in 6-2 Loss to the Phillies

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The New York Mets faced an old friend in Zack Wheeler when he made his first start against his former team. Like Aaron Nola the night before, the Mets could not solve him for seven innings. Wheeler held the Mets to two runs, and that was all they needed in a 14 hit, 6-2 victory.

Rick Porcello had a similar fate to Saturday night’s starting pitcher, Steven Matz. It took an unlucky bounce to undo a strong outing. Porcello allowed seven hits through the first five innings but kept the Phillies to one run. J.T. Realmuto doubled off the third-base bag to lead off the sixth, and it got the Phillies going.

Alec Bohm drove him in with a double to tie the game at two. Andrew McCutchen, who replaced Jay Bruce in the fifth, deposited a hanging slider into the left-field bleachers. It was McCutchen’s first home run in over a year and put a damper what built up to be another strong outing for Porcello.

It was another disappointing game for a team that consistently plays with low energy night in and night out. Two errors from J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith contributed to the two Phillies insurance runs in the sixth. Despite how bad the Phillies bullpen is, four runs seemed like 40 to the Mets. There’s no sense of urgency from anyone on the team outside of Jeff McNeil, who only had the chance to show it in the final at-bat of the game.

Guillorme Leads the Offense Again

In a disappointing year, Luis Guillorme has been a bright spot for the Mets. His two-RBI single drove in the only two Mets runs and moved his average to .458 on the season. The Mets did not have many chances to score past the fourth and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving five on base. Table setters Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

Despite falling to 9-14, they head to Miami still four games behind the first-place Marlins. Robert Gsellman takes the mound to open up the series against a starter to be announced, most likely Jordan Yamamoto. Game one of the four-game series opens up from Marlins Park at 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets: Nido’s Two Home Runs Lead to a 8-2 Victory

The day game after a night game is always an opportunity for the backup catcher to get himself some at-bats. For the New York Mets, Tomas Nido took full advantage of the opportunity with two home runs, including a grand slam, along with six of the eight RBIs in the Mets 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Nido was 4-for-13 heading into Thursday’s matchup but hit under .200 in the previous two seasons. The breakout game gave him more home runs, and RBIs than Wilson Ramos has all season. Nido became the fifth Mets catcher ever to record six RBIs in a game. He joined the selective group of Gary Carter, Todd Hundley, Mike Piazza, and Paul Lo Duca.

Dominic Smith remained hot, adding another home run to his team lead and solidifying his spot as the everyday designated hitter. Pete Alonso also recorded an RBI single for the eighth Mets run. Luis Guillorme also recorded two more hits to push his average to .375. His defense up the middle with Andres Gimenez has proved Guillorme to be a valuable backup.

Injury Woes

The game started with an injury scare as Jeff McNeil fearlessly rammed into the left-field wall, making a tremendous catch to end the first inning. Though he attempted to walk off the field on his own, he had to get carted off. X-Rays for McNeil came back negative, and he will undergo an MRI to get a clearer idea of the severity of his injury. It forced the Mets to insert Billy Hamilton into the third spot in their order in the bottom of the first.

David Peterson once again put together another impressive start. He only allowed one hit through five innings and striking out three Nationals. After allowing two walks and an unearned run in the first inning, Peterson retired seven in a row and only allowed two base runners for the rest of his start. Peterson has proved his worth as the second-best starter behind Jacob deGrom.

At 9-11, the Mets are somehow three games out of first place and begin a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. Jacob deGrom takes the mound against a starter to be announced, most likely Vince Velazquez. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is at 7:05 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way in 2-1 Loss

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

The New York Mets season has two scripts to it. Either their pitching forces them to lose by a touchdown or they leave a small village on the bases. In the 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, it was the pathetic offensive effort that prevented them from getting a victory.

It looked like the Mets were going to chase Max Scherzer early in the game. Through two innings, he was well over 60 pitches and looked like the same Scherzer they faced a week ago. Per usual with the Mets, they tacked on to their league-leading LOB tally to let him off the hook.

The Mets left seven men on base, and when they did get into scoring position, they failed to record a hit all four times. Luis Guillorme drove in the only Mets run with a sacrifice fly. He also played a strong up the middle defense with Andres Gimenez at shortstop.

The Mets’ best chance to tie the game came in the seventh inning when Guillorme led off the inning with a double. Instead of leaving Billy Hamilton in the game to bunt him to third base, manager Luis Rojas opted to pinch-hit with Pete Alonso. At almost any other point, this is a brilliant move to make, but in the current situation, it becomes very questionable.

Alonso is the epitome of how bad the Mets are with runners in scoring position. Bunting the runner to third base, gives the Mets a chance to score a run with anything outside of a pop-up or strikeout. The clutch hitting is dreadful, and the Mets need any help they can get to make getting the runner in easier. With Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil due up, it would serve them perfectly to hit with a runner on third base.

Instead, Alonso could not get Guillorme to third base, let alone drive him in with no one out. Nimmo walked, then McNeil hit into a tough luck double play, which summed up how dreadful the 2020 season has been for the Mets. Ironically, Guillorme ended up striking out to end the game when Alonso could have pinched hit in the ninth.

Porcello’s Tough Luck

Rick Porcello had a very similar start to his last one against the Nats. He surrendered a run in each of the first two innings but shut the door for the following four innings. Porcello struck out five and worked around eight hits to lower his ERA to 5.68. The high ERA is nothing special, but comparing it to the 13.50 from two starts is a good step forward for him.

Jared Hughes and Edwin Diaz both combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Porcello. Both are pitching well as of late and would be terrific parts of a late-inning bullpen if the offense could ever get them a lead.

The defense for the Mets excelled, but they had to sacrifice offense for it. Despite not having their A+ offensive lineup, there still should be enough power in their defensive lineup for them to score more than one run. If Rojas is looking for more consistency from his lineups, he should stick with the defensive centric lineup. At 7-11, there is not much to lose in a season that seems already lost.

As of 10:25 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Mets have not announced their starter for Wednesday’s game. It will either be Franklyn Kilome or a bullpen game. Whoever the start is, they will face off against veteran Anibal Sanchez at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Porcello, Lugo Shut Down the Nationals in 3-1 Victory

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The first two starts of Rick Porcello‘s New York Mets career could only be summed up by one word: atrocious. Porcello rebounded in his third start and pitched like the 2016 Cy Young winner he once was. He only needed 81 pitches to get through seven innings, holding the Washington Nationals to one run.

He kept the ball out of the middle of the plate, working in. Porcello also pitched inside more than he did in his first two starts combined. After allowing two hits and a run in the first inning, he only allowed three hits in the following six innings.

Porcello left the game prematurely with 81 pitches, but Seth Lugo picked up where he left off. Lugo shut the door, striking out two batters and retiring all six he faced to record the two-inning save. Porcello and Lugo combined to retire the last 16 Nats to finish the game.

Defense All-Around

The biggest play of the game came in the fourth inning, where Michael Conforto threw out Juan Soto at third base. Soto tried to test the arm on an Asdrubal Cabrera single, and it was the last scoring chance the Nats had as Porcello cruised from there.

J.D. Davis received his first start at third base since June 16, 2019. He showed no rust, making plenty of great defensive plays and showing why he originally was a third baseman. Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez also stabilized the defense up the middle. With the success of a defensive driven lineup tonight, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas opts for more defensive centric lineups.

The major story for the Nationals was Max Scherzer‘s exit after one inning due to a hamstring injury. It was clear his velocity dipped, but it was also noticeable that his arm was trailing behind him. Scherzer usually has a rapid arm motion, but it was slow from the start.

Erick Fedde warmed up with Scherzer before the game then replaced him in the second. Scherzer calls the injury “minor,” but any injury to him is a significant concern with Stephen Strasburg already injured.

Yoenis Who?

Dominic Smith showed why he deserves to be the everyday designated hitter. Smith drove in two of the three runs on the night. His sac fly opened up the scoring in the first and then provided an insurance run with his RBI double in the seventh. Guillorme’s RBI single was sandwiched between Smith’s RBI hits.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto also set the table at the top of the order once again. Despite only hitting .227, Nimmo’s three walks moved his on-base percentage to .424. Conforto record a single which continued his on-base streak and kept his average above .300.

The Mets receive a day off on Thursday before playing 17 straight games without a day off, starting on Friday with the Miami Marlins.

 

Predicting the New York Mets Bench Players

For the first time in quite a few years, the New York Mets have the depth they can count on throughout their bench. It features some high profile contracts and critical acquisitions to bolster the team’s defensive depth late in games.

Rene Rivera

The backup catcher battle is going to be heated one throughout Spring Training quietly. Tomas Nido is out of minor league options and has not shown any hitting prowess during his career. There are plenty of choices similar to Nido in the minors, and Rene Rivera is a veteran the Mets have trusted with their pitching staff before. Rivera is still a great defensive catcher, and Noah Syndergaard will be happy to throw it to him throughout Spring Training.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith has survived the offseason trade rumors, but the ones in Spring Training may be a different story. Despite the Mets signing Matt Adams, Smith should make it out of camp with the team. He proved to be a valuable pinch hitter after Pete Alonso ran away with the first base job. The only way the Mets trade him is if he breaks out during Spring Training and the Mets deal him when his stock is high.

Luis Guillorme

This spot would belong to Jed Lowrie but his reality as a Met is dim. Either he will not be ready for Opening Day or the Mets will find a way to move him before the Spring ends. Luis Guillorme was a very useful player off the bench during the second half of 2019. He can play three out of the four infield spots well and can is useful in a bench role.

Jake Marisnick

The Mets traded for Jake Marisnick as a small upgrade to Juan Lagares. He will be a massive part of the Mets during the late innings due to his gold glove caliber defense in center field. Marisnick is not much of a hitter, but with all the outfield options the Mets have, hitting is not the reason why he is a Met. It would be no surprise to see him play in 120 games but only tally around 300 plate appearances as he did in 2019.

Yoenis Cespedes

The left-field competition between Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis is a heavyweight prizefight that is going overlooked. By all accounts, Cespedes is healthy and ready to participate fully during Spring Training. Just three years ago, their roles differed. Cespedes was the stud hitter coming off a strong 2016, and Davis was trying to show he belonged on a major league roster. He has a huge chip on his shoulder and has set his expectations higher than ever.

The injuries and off-field stories make us forget how special an athlete Cespedes is. Despite turning 34, he still garners Ruth like power and a cannon for an arm. When healthy, the Mets win games, and if he is healthy, the production will follow, and he will see himself in the lineup often as the season progresses.