Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’m really, really excited about Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndegaard. But, when I think of them together, I get flashbacks of “Generation K,” Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher.
I know, I know, one has nothing to do with the other. In fact, I’m constantly reassured by people outside the organization that Sandy Alderson and his staff are handling their pitching prospects the right way. I’m told Alderson is methodical in how his crew tracks innings, amp up workouts, manage stress and promotions, and assign tasks.
“Those kids weren’t close to ready, mentally or physically, for what they were being asked to do for that team,” a former Mets executive, now with another team, once told me about Generation K, indicating they were rushed to compete with what was happening in the Bronx during the late 90s. “That’s not going to be an issue for Sandy,” he concluded.
Syndergaard is looking like a special pitcher, as Terry Collins put it. He’s right. I talked to a handful of smart, experienced, baseball people while I was in St. Lucie and they all essentially said the same thing: Noah is solid, strong and focused like Harvey. He’s level-headed, poised and he repeats his delivery like a veteran.
“He hammers like [Dwight] Gooden,” one talent evaluator said, which I assume was referring to Syndergaard’s 80 mph curve ball and how he uses it alongside his 97 mph fastball.
Every expert concluded by telling me to always be cautious of pitching prospects, pointing to Harvey’s recent elbow surgery as an example. Harvey will be fine, I assume, but no one will know for sure until 2015, when he may suffer a bit of a dip in his velocity before gaining full strength in 2016.
In other words, “There is no such thing as a pitching prospect,” as baseball people like to say, often using the shorter TINSTAAPP.
This is not always the case, of course. Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and David Price, among countless others, were all highly touted minor leaguers. However, so were Luke Hochevar, Clint Everts, Todd Van Poppel and Ben McDonald, not to mention Scott Kazmir, Isringhausen, Pulsipher and Wilson. And that’s the point, you never really know how a pitcher will translate to the big leagues, and anything can happen — from burn out to injury — along the way.
Tony Clark and MLBPA are watching Mets payroll…
MLBPA union chief Tony Clark said the player’s union is aware of the decrease in spending by the Mets on player salaries compared to a few years ago, according to ESPN New York.
However, while he is not aware of any outside restriction being put on the team’s payroll, he and the union are keeping on a watchful eye >> Read More
Matt Harvey tossed a baseball for the second straight day Tuesday.
It marked the first time he’s done so since having Tommy John surgery last October.
Harvey, like Jeremy Hefner, will begin throwing four times a week, making 20 throws at 60 feet on flat ground through this weekend.
The Mets continue to say Harvey is likely to miss all of 2014.
Mets are 12th on BP’s 25-and-Under list
The Mets have the 12th-best group of talent under 25 years old, according to a list compiled by Baseball Prospectus.
However, the Braves, Marlins and Nationals are all in the top five >> Read More
11:20 am: The Orioles and free-agent LHP Johan Santana have agreed to a minor-league deal that could be worth up to $3 million (Heyman, Mar. 4).
Mar. 3: The Orioles and Santana are close to agreeing on a minor-league deal (Kubatko).
He could end up being used as a left-handed reliever (Ghiroli, Mar. 3).
The Mets did not send a scout to see Santana’s audition in Florida last week, during which he hit just 81 mph with his fastball (Newsday, Feb. 24)…
To read more of this story, click here
Last September at Citi Field, Jeff Wilpon invited Mike Piazza to come to Mets camp during spring training (NY Post, Mar. 4).
Piazza accepted and joined the Mets on Monday in St. Lucie, where he will spend the week, talking about hitting and working with the team’s catchers, particularly Travis d’Arnaud, who idolized Piazza growing up.
“It’s a dream,” d’Arnaud said of having Piazza in camp (Star-Ledger, Mar. 4). “I loved how he hit, I loved how pitches loved throwing to him. I tried to transfer that to my game when I was a little kid.”
“I am not a real aggressive coach. I just want to talk with them,” Piazza said Monday (Daily News, Mar. 4). “I just want to talk hitting, talk philosophy, talk about their approach at the plate, getting the good pitch, I am not very technical, but I just want to see if I can offer them something to help them advance their careers.”
In this video from SNY.TV, Mike Piazza talks about being back in uniform and teaching at camp.
Noah Syndergaard made a terrific first impression in his first spring game, giving up one hit in two scoreless innings Monday, while simultaneously impressing the Braves.
“I didn’t know anything about the kid coming into today, but I sure won’t forget his name now,” Braves C Ryan Doumit told reporters. “You can add that guy to the list of young power arms that they have coming up. It’s pretty impressive. He obviously came in ready to compete.”
Syndergaard is expected to begin the season in Triple-A. Similar to how Sandy Alderson handled Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, Syndergaard will likely be promoted this summer after the estimated Super 2 deadline, which will keep him from reaching salary arbitration after two full seasons.
“He takes stuff seriously,” Terry Collins said after the game (Daily News, Mar. 4). “He is not joking around. He didn’t joke around even when he came out of the game.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Look, you know the drill, we’ve been through it with Harvey and we’ve been through it with Wheeler. You know this front office and how they view value today as opposed to value tomorrow. Syndergaard is going to go through the same. He’s not going to make the team out of spring training. Yet, there will still be fans and media that insist Syndergaard should be on the Opening Day roster.
For what it’s worth, pretty much every team in baseball is doing the same with their top, can’t-miss prospects. In the last few years, the Rays delayed Evan Longoria, the Reds did it with Jay Bruce, the Giants held back Buster Posey, and the Nationals held back Bryce Harper, not to mention Alderson with Wheeler and Harvey. Basically, it guarantees the player is under team control longer and it puts off their eventual pay day, which means more financial flexibility in the short term. I’m sure the Yankees would do the same… if they had any top prospects worth promoting.
In the Daily News, Andy Martino explains how cursing at his coach impressed the organization >> Read More
Syndergaard is ready, says Jared Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, but the young pitcher admits there are things he still needs to improve on in Triple-A >> Read More
According to Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, Syndergaard is similar to Harvey, in weapon and demeanor >> Read More
Collins believes Syndergaard is going to be special, reports Tim Rohan in the New York Times >> Read More
Buster Olney is buying Mets stock…
David Wright and Daniel Murphy should play in their first Grapefruit League game toward the end of this week, Terry Collins said after Monday’s game.
Matt Harvey threw a baseball on Monday. He is expected to do so again Tuesday, his first time throwing on back-to-back days since surgery last October >> Read More
Ike Davis (calf), Ruben Tejada (hamstring) and Eric Young Jr. (side muscle) are expected to play Tuesday at home against the Astros >> Read More
Mike Piazza arrived in Mets camp Monday serving as a guest instructor. He’ll be in St. Lucie the rest of the week >> Read More
Johan Santana is reportedly close to signing a minor-league deal with the Orioles, though he is not expected to be ready to pitch in the big leagues until after the All-Star break.
The Mets (1-3) beat the Braves (0-6-1) by a score of 6-2 on Monday in Orlando.
The least you should know…
Noah Syndergaard allowed one hit and struck out two in his two innings of work.
Jeurys Familia and Miguel Socolovich each turned in two innings of scoreless baseball, while Josh Edgin walked two in his inning of work, but escaped unscathed.
Ryan Reid allowed two earned runs on two hits, two walks and a wild pitch. Gonzalez Germen pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Wilmer Flores hit a sacrifice fly to score Juan Lagares in the 4th inning. Dustin Lawley hit an RBI single in the top of the 9th to score Andrew Brown.
Cory Vaughn hit a two-run double in the 9th to break the tie. Matt den Dekker and Eric Campbell added RBI singles for insurance.
For the full recap, visit SNY.tv.
The Mets host the Astros at Tradition Field on Tuesday for a 1:10 p.m. game.
Should the Mets trade Duda, Flores & Fulmer for Cabrera?
The Indians were once listening to offers for SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Rosenthal, Dec. 10). However, the asking price was sky high, according to people at the Winter Meetings (Brender, Dec. 10).
Today, ESPN.com’s Christina Kharl thinks the Mets should trade Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and RHP prospect Michael Fulmer to the Indians to get Cabrera, who will be a free agent at the of this season >> Read More