New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Wilmer Flores

One of the longest tenured New York Mets, Wilmer Flores, is next on the 40-man roster overview. Over his time with the Mets, Flores has grown into a fan favorite.

Flores Grew Up With the Mets

Flores signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela with the Mets in 2007 at the age of 16. He was called up on his 22nd birthday, after five seasons in the minor leagues. Flores was originally a shortstop but over time has transformed to a utility man who can play all four infield positions. Now he mostly sees time at third and first base.

In his first season in 2013, he only had 95 at-bats where he recorded 20 hits and one home run. In 2014, he split his first half of the season between Triple-A and the big leagues. At the end of July, he was able to stick with the team for the rest of the season. He finished the season with a .251 average, six home runs and 21 RBIs.

Tears of Joy

The 2015 season made Flores a true fan favorite. By now we all know the story of Flores crying on the field when he thought the Mets dealt him to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez at the trade deadline. Then a couple of days later he hits the walk off home run against the Washington Nationals that was the beginning of a magical last few months of the 2015 season. He became the starting shortstop in the postseason after Ruben Tejada’s leg was broken by Chase Utley. Flores finished the 2015 season with a .263 average with 16 homers and 59 RBIs.

Flores broke his ankle in the offseason after being hit with a pitch during winter ball. The Mets also signed Asdrubal Cabrera to be the everyday shortstop as well. Flores struggled to start the 2016 season and was put on thee DL in May with a hamstring injury. Flores returned by the end of the month but had his season end early after he broke his wrist in a home plate collision. He finished the year hitting .267 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. He dominated lefties by batting .340 against them with 11 home runs.

Flores Lives Up to the Expectations

2017 was Flores best season in the big leagues so far. He put up a .271 average, .488 slugging percentage and 18 home runs which were all career highs. Flores also hit for more power against right handed pitching, 11 of his 18 homers came of righties. This was also the first season of his career where he did not play a single innings at shortstop.

Flores started this season with limited playing time but as players started getting injured, he found his way into the lineup more. Through 36 games, he is only hitting .229 with three home runs and seven RBIs but has cut down his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate. In May, his bat has started to come around with a .281 average. With Todd Frazier on the DL and Adrian Gonzalez unable to play multiple games in a row, Flores should continue to see increased playing time. Flores plays a key role as a utility man and the Mets fans always love seeing him play.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Buddy Baumann

The New York Mets recently called up and sent down left handed reliever, Buddy Baumann, to add another lefty to their bullpen. The Mets claimed Baumann of waivers from the San Diego Padres in late April.

Baumann was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. From there he started what would be a long journey to the big leagues. He went on to pitch five innings the same year with the Burlington Royals in rookie ball. 2010 was his first full year in professional baseball. He went 4–2 with four saves and a 2.24 ERA in 31 games (14 starts) for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. This was the first and only time in his career where he pitched 100 innings.

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In 2011, Baumann went 4–3, with 2 saves and a 4.29 ERA in 25 games (17 starts) for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. He spent the following season being used solely as a reliever for the Naturals. In 32 games, he went 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA. Baumann spent 49 of his 53 innings in 2013 with Omaha Storm Chasers in Triple-A. He pitched 53 innings, struck out 72 and has a 2.55 ERA. Over this time, Baumann was never regarded as a top tier prospect and this contributed to his long stay in the minor leagues.

He spent the 2014 and 2015 season with the Storm Chasers. Over 74 games (18 starts) he pitched 167.1 innings, struck out 152 batters and had a 3.12 ERA. He elected to become a free agent after the 2015 season after never pitching in the big leagues with the Royals.

Fresh Start With The Padres

The San Diego Padres signed Baumann to a one-year major league deal for the 2016 season. He was sent up and down many times and had a 3.14 ERA in 27 games with the El Paso Chihuahuas. The Padres finally called him up in mid July, but he threw one pitch, got an out and was sent down the next day. After more of the same he finished his 2016 season with a 3.72 ERA in 11 games as a Padre.

Baumann spent much of the 2017 season on the DL, but did manage to get into 23 games with the Padres. He had a 2.55 ERA over 17.2 innings and held left handed batters to a .148 batting average. Baumann only got into one game with the Padres in 2018 and was shelled for five runs. He was also suspended for one game because of his role in a fight between the Padres and Colorado Rockies.

Can Baumann Help The Mets?

After the Mets claimed Baumann off of waivers they sent him to the Las Vegas 51s. He has only allowed one run in 4.2 innings before he was called up. Baumann was taking the roster spot of Hansel Robles who was put on the disabled list last week. He served his suspension during Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Baumann was only up for a couple of days and was sent down for Jacob deGrom. He figures to find his way back to the big leagues because the Mets like to have fresh arms in the bullpen.

Baumann features a fastball (89-91), slider (82-85) and a changeup (81-83). He is not your typical lefty specialist because over his career he has held righties to a .228 batting average and lefties to .163. He can potentially fill the role of a much needed second lefty in the bullpen.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Devin Mesoraco

The New York Mets may have had a steal when they acquired Devin Mesoraco for the struggling Matt Harvey. After receiving little to no contributions from their catchers, the Mets hope Mesoraco can return to his all-star form.

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Mesoraco out of high school in the 1st round of the 2007 MLB Draft. After five years in the minor leagues, he earned the top spot on the Reds prospect list. In 2011 he was called up, but struggled in only 50 at-bats where he recorded recorded five hits.

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The following year he earned a spot on the Reds roster as a backup to Ryan Hanigan. Mesoraco only hit .212 with five home runs and only made one error in 53 games. 2012 started a trend for Mesoraco as he missed time due to a concussion he suffered. In 2013, he earned more playing time and saw his production increase. He hit .238 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs.

Mesoraco’s All-Star Season:

2014 was a breakout year for Mesoraco and one of the only years he remained healthy. After starting the season injured, he rebounded to become an all-star for the only time in his career. He finished the year with 25 home runs and 80 RBI along with leading all major league catchers in home runs and slugging percentage.

He signed a four year, $28 million deal in the offseason but never lived up to the money. Over the 2015-16 season, he only played in 39 games due to hip and shoulder injuries. Last season the Reds felt confident in Tucker Barnhart as the team’s everyday catcher and relegated Mesoraco to the bench. He played in 56 games and had a .213 average but said he felt healthy for the first time in a while.

After playing in 18 games and hitting .210 the Reds decided to eat the rest of his contract and send him to the Mets for Matt Harvey with the Mets eating the rest of his contract. Both players were not close to meeting expectation and seems to outstay their welcome with their respective teams.

The Mets desperately needed catcher help and the Reds are going nowhere and decided to take a shot in the dark with the former Dark Knight. Mesoraco is certainly an upgrade to Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton and will likely see a bulk of the playing time until Kevin Plawecki returns.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Tomas Nido

The 24-year old Tomas Nido, as quickly fallen into a role in the big leagues with the New York Mets. With the loss of Travis d’Arnaud for the season and Kevin Plawecki for at least a month, the Mets have needed Nido to fill their catching void.

The Mets drafted Nido in the 8th round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school. He spent the rest of the 2012 season with the Kingsport Mets and hit a decent .242 in a little over 100 at bats. The following year, Nido struggled with the Brooklyn Cyclones and finished the year with a .185 average and 22 hits.

2014 was one of his better years in the minor leagues and was an important bounce back season. Nido hit .277 with the Cyclones and drove in 21 runs, which was a career high for him. In 2015, Nido moved up to the Savannah Sand Gnats and his production rose dramatically. He hit .259 with six home runs and 40 RBIs. He was ranked as the 18th best Mets prospect on MLB.com going into the 2016 season.

Nido Breaks Out in Binghamton

The 2016 season was the best and more of a surprise season for Nido. With the St. Lucie Mets he hit .320 with 110 hits and 46 RBI. He won a batting title and was named an All-Star by the Florida State League, Baseball America and MILB.com. Nido moved up to 9th on the team’s prospect list and earned a spot on the Mets 40-man roster.

Nido’s average almost dropped by 100 points in the 2017 season. He had a career high eight home runs and 60 RBIs but only hit .232 with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Nido was called up at the end of the season and had 10 at bats with three hits at the Major League level. He dropped to 11th on the Mets prospect list but the Mets still had faith in their young catcher.

Nido started this season in the Binghamton, but after five games and injuries to the Mets catchers the Mets called him up sooner than expected. He has only managed five hits in 37 at bats and those four hits were singles. After acquiring Devin Mesoraco from the Cincinnati Reds for Matt Harvey, he will likely be the odd man out.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Jose Lobaton

After starting the season off the New York Mets 40-man roster, Jose Lobaton was called into action with the injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton’s journey to the big leagues began at the age of 17 when he signed with the San Diego Padres. After seven years bouncing around the minor leagues, he finally made his debut in 2009 with the Padres. The Tampa Bay Rays claimed him off waiver 17 at-bats and had three hits with the Padres. Lobaton’s career involved him bouncing around from team to team as most backup catchers do in their career.

He played the rest of the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the Rays minor league system. Lobaton returned to the big leagues in 2011, but still struggled to find success with the bat. He only hit .118 in 2011 and showed his defense would be what kept him in the big leagues. He had an above average 30 percent caught stealing rate in his small sample size.

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Lobaton’s Career in Tampa

2012 was Lobaton’s first real season of earning a job at the big league level where he played in 69 games from the end of May. Lobaton hit .222 and had an impressive .323 on base percentage. He played 100 games for the only time of his in 2013 and hit .249 with a career high seven home runs. Lobaton also drilled a walkoff home run in the ALDS against Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.

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In the offseason the Rays traded Lobaton along with Felipe Rivero and Drew Vettleson to Washington Nationals for Nathan Karns. Lobaton found a nice home in Washington where he spent four years as the team’s backup catcher. He only hit .210 and played in 200 games over his four season in Washington.

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The Mets signed Lobaton to a minor league deal before Spring Training and was expected to spend a majority of the year in Triple-A. After the Mets lost Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki for an extended period of time, he was called up to assume the everyday catcher role. The Mets have thought about acquiring another catcher but he seems to be the one who will have the job for now.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Jacob deGrom

Since his New York Mets debut, Jacob deGrom has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He has come into 2018 with a brand new look but his stuff is still Cy Young caliber.

The Mets drafted deGrom in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB Draft from Stetson University. Unfortunately, like many of the Mets starters he underwent Tommy John Surgery and missed the entire 2011 season. After a few seasons in the minors following the surgery he earned the call-up to the big leagues.

deGrom and Rafael Montero were called up in 2014 to debut in consecutive games. deGrom stole the spotlight from Montero putting up a 9-6 record with a 2.69 ERA, which earned him Rookie of the Year honors.

deGrom’s First All-Star Game

He lived up to his high expectations in 2015, which was his first full season in the big leagues. deGrom earned his first All-Star selection, finished fourth in ERA (2.54) and finished seventh in Cy Young Voting. deGrom also picked up three wins in the postseason, including two in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His 2016 ended abruptly after 24 starts and a 3.04 ERA. He missed all of September due to injury. He underwent surgery on an ulnar nerve in his elbow to fix numbness in his fingers .

2017 was deGrom’s worst year, but statistically it is a terrific year for most pitchers. He went 15-10, pitched 200 innings for the first time in his career and had a 3.53 ERA. deGrom finished tied for eighth in Cy Young voting.

The expectations have been set high for deGrom again and he has been one of the key reasons why the Mets have started the season hot. He has four different pitches that he can strikeout anyone with and one of the best fastballs in baseball. If he has a typical Jacob deGrom year he will be in the running for a Cy Young award.

He has a 3.06 ERA with two wins in the small sample size of 17.2 innings. It will be an exciting 2018 season if deGrom remains healthy and dominates the NL.

 

 

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Zack Wheeler

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

The former top prospect of the New York Mets, Zack Wheeler, is back in the big leagues. He was the only piece missing out of the Mets dream rotation of their coveted pitching prospects.

The San Francisco Giants drafted Wheeler in the 1st round of the 2009 MLB Draft. The Giants traded Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran after spending a year and a half in the Giants minor league system. After another strong year and a half he earned a call-up to the big leagues.

He looked like the real deal in his rookie season going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 100 innings pitched. 2014 was Wheeler’s first full year in the big leagues and he settled in during his sophomore season. He made 32 starts, pitched 185.1 innings and struck out 187 hitters (10th in the NL).

Injuries Catching Up to Wheeler

Unfortunately, during Spring Training in 2015 Wheeler found out he needed to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Wheeler missed the entire 2015 season and effectively lost the rotation spot he once had locked up. The Mets almost dealt him to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez at the 2015 trade deadline. Luckily for the Mets, the deal never went through.

Wheeler missed all of the 2016 season as well because of the surgery and other injuries. He was not able to get fully healthy and the Mets decided to shut him down for the entire year and continue to rehab in 2017.

In 2017, he finally returned to action but was plagued by injuries and the inability to go deep into games. After starting the year strong, he faltered to add to what was a very disappointing 2017 season. He only pitched 86.1 innings and put up a career high 5.21 ERA. Wheeler also walked 40 batters in those 86.1 innings.

Surprising Spring Training Outcome

He had high hopes going into this years Spring Training but was inconsistent throughout. Even with Jason Vargas getting injured many assumed he would take the place of Vargas to create the Mets dream rotation but Seth Lugo out pitched him and earned the spot. Luckily, he has returned to the big leagues and delivered a great start in his first outing back.

Wheeler does add to the very deep pitching staff the Mets have and when he is healthy he is a very dominant pitcher. In his age-28 season the time is running out for Wheeler and with younger and cheaper options in the Mets organization his time with the Mets could be limited. He rounds out the Mets dream rotation and hopefully he can find consistent success.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Jason Vargas

The journeyman veteran Jason Vargas is one of the many veterans the New York Mets signed this past offseason. He starts the year on disabled list but his return is coming soon.

The Florida Marlins drafter Vargas in the 2nd round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Vargas skyrocketed through the minor leagues and was called up in 2005. Vargas had a solid 13 starts and put up a 4.03 ERA, but struggled mightily in the 2006 campaign. In 43 innings he had a 7.33 ERA and had more walks than strikeouts.

First Year as a Met

After 2006, the Marlins traded Vargas to the Mets with pitchers Adam Bostick for pitchers Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens. Vargas only made two starts in his first stint with the Mets and they were dreadful. He pitched 10.1 innings, allowed 14 runs and 4 home runs. After the season he had a bone spur removed from his elbow in October, followed by surgery for a torn labrum in his left hip.

The Mets packaged Vargas with six other players sent to the Seattle Mariners in a three-team trade between them and Cleveland Indians. He spent the entire 2008 season recovering from his injuries. Vargas made his Mariner debut in 2009 and pitched to a 4.91 ERA, splitting time in the bullpen and rotation.

He earned a rotation spot in rotation in 2010 and made 31 starts with a 3.78 ERA. Vargas built off that year in 2011 by pitching over 200 innings for the first time in his career. His 2012 season was his best with the Mariners. He had career highs with 217.1 innings, 14 wins and 141 strikeouts.

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The Los Angeles Angels acquired Vargas for Kendrys Morales after the 2012 season. Unfortunately, he missed almost two months with a blood clot in his armpit but still made 24 starts and pitched to a 4.02 ERA. Vargas signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Kansas City Royals in the 2013 offseason.

Vargas Finds a Home with the Royals

He proved to be a reliable starter for the Royals and had 11 wins with a 3.71 ERA. The injuries started to hit Vargas in 2015 and it limited him to only 43 innings which resulted in Tommy John Surgery. He only made three starts in 2016 but bounced back in 2017. Vargas pitched to a 4.16 ERA, won 18 games and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Vargas had a 2.62 ERA in the first half but it ballooned to 6.38 in the second half.

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He inked a two-year and $16 million deal with an $8 million option for a third year. He broke his hand on a comebacker in Spring Training but should be ready to go in a week or two. Vargas will likely replace Seth Lugo in the starting rotation when he returns.

Vargas offers a veteran presence the Mets missed when Bartolo Colon left. He will take the ball every five days and gives his team a chance to win most of the time he goes on the mound. He is one of the few classic left handed pitchers in the game who uses all of his pitches and relies on contact to get batters out. Vargas has a fastball (87-90 mph), curveball (74-77 mph) mph, cutter (83-86 mph) and changeup (80-82 mph).

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