Category Archives: New York Mets

3 Teams that will be better in 2018

3. Chicago White Sox

I really like what the White Sox did this offseason as they made a few moves to try and make their team more competitive. Luis Avilan and Joakim Soria will make the White Sox bullpen much better and that should be a strength of the team in 2018. Also, the addition of catcher Welington Castillo will add some more depth and power ability to Chicago’s lineup. I’m not saying that Chicago will be a playoff team in 2018, but at least they will be more respectable of a team than last season. Chicago still will be reliant on young prospects like Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito to lead their team. However, the future is bright for the White Sox and also 2018 should be an improved year for the team as well.

2. New York Mets

The Mets have a good roster overall, but the health of their rotation is what really hurt the team last season. New York has a terrific starting rotation, but they were too reliant upon it in 2017 and that ended up costing them as their entire rotation basically dealt with injuries all year. However, the Mets starting pitchers head into 2018 completely healthy and hopefully it will stay that way as that is the key to their success. If the rotation can just stay healthy then that would automatically make them a better team. Also, the additions of veteran hitters Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier should give the Mets some more offensive capability which would make this team even more dangerous. New York has the talent to be a playoff contender, but it all depends on if the injury bug hits them again in 2018.

1. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco had a combination of bad luck and poor offensive production that contributed to their awful 2017 season. Star pitcher Madison Bumgarner was injured for a large portion of the season and that hurt the Giants tremendously. Also, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija had very disappointing seasons in the Giants rotation. The Giants also struggled offensively where they didn’t get much offensive production besides Buster Posey and Brandon Belt. However, the Giants made some major offseason moves this offseason in order to fix those offensive woes. The Giants acquired all-star caliber players Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria in trades this offseason. Both of those players provide very good power and tremendous offensive potential, so it should improve the Giants offense right away. San Francisco’s offense should be much better with the additions of Longoria and McCutchen. Also, if the Giants starting pitching can improve as expected in 2018 then this team could improve tremendously this season.


2018 NL East Predictions

  1. Washington Nationals

The Nationals are definitely the team to beat in the NL East and there isn’t really a team that will likely compete with them in 2018. Washington has a terrific lineup led by Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmermann, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner. Also, having a healthy Adam Eaton for the 2018 season makes this lineup even better. It is very difficult to find a weakness in their lineup as they have very dangerous hitters from top to bottom. Washington also has a very good starting rotation especially with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. It will be key that those 3 pitchers stay healthy because they have struggled with injuries in recent seasons. Washington also has a very good bullpen with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler as solid late-inning options. Overall, it is very difficult to find any weakness on this roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL East, but they are legitimate world series contenders as well.

2. New York Mets

The Mets should certainly be a playoff contender if all goes well in 2018 and they might even provide some competition to the Nationals in the division. New York has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB with Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jason Vargas. However, the issue for the Mets is that their starting pitchers have really struggled to stay healthy. If the Mets pitchers can stay healthy for the most part in 2018 then they will clearly carry the team. The Mets also have a decent lineup led by very good outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto. New York also added 3rd baseman Todd Frazier this offseason to provide even more depth to their lineup. It is unknown what they will get from the other starters like Asdrubal Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez. However, if the Mets lineup can be above average then the Mets could be a very good team. New York’s bullpen also has the potential to be good as Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, and A.J. Ramos are all good late-inning options. However, the team needs to find a more reliable closer than they had last season and hopefully Familia can improve in that role in 2018. New York still has a few weaknesses that will hold them back, but if their starting rotation can just stay healthy and their lineup can be average then this could be a playoff team.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia had a very disappointing 2017 season, but they made several key additions that should help them to at least be a respectable team in 2018. Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams are two solid outfielders that provide some power in the Phillies lineup and they should only get better in 2018. Also, the team signed veteran 1st baseman Carlos Santana this offseason and he will provide a big power bat in the middle of their lineup for sure. However, Philadelphia needs more production from other players in their lineup like Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez. The Phillies have the potential to be a good hitting team, but it is unknown what type of production that their young players can provide. However, Philadelphia clearly needs some starting pitching help. Aaron Nola is the clear ace for the Phillies rotation, but besides him the rotation is very inconsistent. The key for the Phillies pitching staff will be whether Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez can improve from their poor 2017 seasons. If Eickhoff and Velasquez can return to form in 2018 then the Phillies could have a decent starting rotation. However, Philadelphia still needs to find some better 4th or 5th starters as they are relying on unproven players Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively to fill those roles. Philadelphia did improve their bullpen this offseason though as they signed Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek to be reliable setup options for quality closer Hector Neris. Philadelphia is a team that has high potential for the 2018 season, but they could also be a very bad team in 2018. The Phillies need their young players to step up and if they do so then the Phillies could possibly be a playoff contender.

4. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta is a similar team to the Phillies because they are still in a rebuild mode, although the Braves still could be a team that surprises some people this season. Freddie Freeman is an elite player that will carry the Braves offense once again in 2018. However, the rest of the lineup isn’t too much of a threat. Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte should continue to be productive players, although neither provides much power as they only combined for 19 home runs last season. However, if the Braves want to be successful offensively they will need more production out of young infielders Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Ozzie Albies. Atlanta’s lineup has tons of potential with the young players that they have, although don’t expect much production out of it in 2018 besides Freeman. The Braves starting rotation doesn’t appear to be very good heading into the 2018 season. Julio Teheran is the only good starting pitcher that the team really has and even he didn’t have a very good 2017 season. Atlanta is hoping that Teheran can bounce back and be the ace that he has been for most of his career. The Braves also have Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb as a couple of inconsistent young starting pitchers. Both of those guys have tremendous potential, although they haven’t proven that they can be consistent starters at the MLB level. Atlanta will likely struggle quite a bit with their starting pitching and that will hold them back from being a competitive team. The Braves bullpen should be good this season as they have talented young closer Arodys Vizcaino leading the way. However, the depth behind him is kind of concerning as Jose Ramirez and A.J. Minter are the next best options and both of them are kind of unproven. Overall, Atlanta is a team that has some talented young players, but unless those players make significant improvements in 2018 then this team probably won’t be very competitive.

5. Miami Marlins

New owner Derek Jeter came in this offseason and basically made the Marlins a Triple-A team for the 2018 season as he traded away basically every quality player that the team had. The Marlins had a great outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. However, Jeter decided to significantly cut payroll and he traded all three of those players away. The Marlins did get some good prospects back in those deals by acquiring Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz., yet that won’t help the Marlins be competitive in 2018. Brinson could win a starting job for the Marlins in 2018, but the other two guys will likely be starting in the minor leagues. Miami still has some good players in their lineup with J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, and Starlin Castro. However, the rest of the lineup is just filled with very unproven players or players like Cameron Maybin and Derek Dietrich that are just temporary starters. The Marlins won’t score many runs this season especially if they trade away Realmuto which they are highly likely to do. Meanwhile, the Marlins rotation have a couple of good starting pitchers with Dan Straily and Jose Urena. However, the rest of the rotation is not very good and they will be relying on unproven starting pitchers to make their rotation effective. The Marlins bullpen could be decent, but they will need closer Brad Ziegler and setup man Junichi Tazawa to improve tremendously in 2018 because they both weren’t good last season. Overall, Miami is arguably the worst team in the MLB heading into the 2018 season and they basically will be lucky if they are even a respectable team.

Marlins trade A.J. Ramos to the Mets

The Miami Marlins continued to sell off key bullpen pieces as they dealt closer A.J. Ramos to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league prospects Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes.


Marlins analysis/grade:

A.J. Ramos was just having an average season for the Marlins as their closer, yet the Marlins still got a good return for him as they are getting two quality prospects from the Mets. The main prospect that the Marlins are getting in this deal is 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Merandy Gonzalez who was the 9th ranked prospect in the Mets farm system. Gonzalez has been outstanding this season in the minor leagues as he is 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA. He is still a few years from reaching the MLB level since he is only in Class A advanced right now, but he has the potential to be a very good starting pitcher for the Marlins. The other prospect that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Ricardo Cespedes who was the 22nd ranked Mets prospect. Cespedes hasn’t been very productive in the minor leagues as he only has 2 home runs and a .271 average in 4 seasons. Cespedes is a very raw prospect at this point as he still needs to develop some more power or he needs to at least start hitting for a better average. Cespedes does have a strong arm, but that is about the only above average skill that he has at this point. Cespedes is talented, but he just hasn’t developed most of his skills yet and it is unknown whether he ever will. The Marlins did well with this trade as they are getting 2 quality prospects for a relief pitcher that has been average this season. Miami needs some more starting pitching badly and Merandy Gonzalez sure looks like he can be an impact player for the Marlins in a few years.

Grade: A


New York Mets analysis/grade:

I’m not quite sure what the logic of making this trade is for the Mets since they have been trying to trade away all of their veteran relief pitchers, but now they are adding one in exchange for two quality prospects. A.J. Ramos is under team control for the 2018 season, so he isn’t just a rental player for the Mets. However, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs next season either and they could have just kept their own closer Addison Reed for next season rather than giving up prospects to acquire an average closer. Ramos has a 3.63 ERA and 20 saves this season which is decent, but he’s not a better option than Reed or other bullpen options that the team already has. The Mets have been trying to trade away their veteran players this season in order to acquire more prospects. However, this trade just sends the Mets in the completely opposite direction since they are now acquiring a veteran player and giving up too much in return. This trade doesn’t help the Mets immediately and it certainly doesn’t help the team for the future since they are giving up their 9th and 22nd ranked prospects. The Mets shouldn’t have made this trade as it doesn’t help them in any way and they will probably begin to regret it very soon.

Grade: F

a.j. ramos

Mets trade Lucas Duda to the Rays

The New York Mets traded 1st baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Drew Smith.


Mets analysis/grade:

Lucas Duda was a good starting 1st baseman for the Mets for several years, but it was the right move to trade him now since he is going to be a free agent after the season. The Mets were smart to at least get something in return for Duda before they would lose him for nothing this offseason. The Mets received right-handed relief pitcher Drew Smith who was the 30th ranked prospect in the Rays minor league system. Smith was a 3rd round pick of the Tigers in 2015, so clearly he has some potential to be a good MLB player. Smith also has been outstanding in 3 minor league seasons as he has a career 1.78 ERA and he was recently promoted to Double-A before being dealt to the Mets. Smith has the potential to be a good middle relief pitcher for New York in a few years as long as he continues to pitch well like he has so far in the minor leagues. This is a good trade for the Mets as they open up the 1st base position for outstanding prospect Dominic Smith who could be promoted very soon. The Mets are also getting a very quality prospect for Duda, so this trade makes a lot of sense for New York.

Grade: A


Rays analysis/grade:

The Rays have been looking for a full-time designated hitter in order to make their lineup complete as they look to make a playoff push this season. Duda certainly will provide even more power to the Rays lineup as he has 19 home runs this year. The Rays already had enough left-handed batters in their lineup, so it would have been better for them to add a powerful right-handed batter for some more balance. However, Duda will certainly make the Rays lineup much better as he will be a good full-time DH for the team and he can fill in at 1st base if needed. Duda is probably just a rental player for the Rays since he becomes a free agent after this season and the team probably won’t re-sign him, but he should add even more offense to an already deep lineup. The Rays give up their 30th ranked prospect Drew Smith in this deal and he was doing great in the minor leagues and I’m just not sure if giving Smith up was worth having 2 months of Lucas Duda on their team. This is a trade that might help the Rays a little bit this season, but in a few years they might regret making this trade.

Grade: C

lucas duda

Biggest need remaining for every NL East team

Atlanta Braves – Biggest need: 2nd base

There is no doubt that Jace Peterson will be the Braves everyday starter at 2nd base, but he will need to be more consistent than he was last season. Peterson hit .254 with just 7 home runs last season, so Atlanta will need him to be better going forward. The Braves did add utility infielder Sean Rodriguez this offseason as a backup 2nd baseman. However, Atlanta will have to do something to improve the position very soon.

Miami Marlins – Biggest need: Shortstop

Adeiny Hechavarria is a shortstop that makes incredible defensive plays often, but his offense has certainly been a weakness throughout his MLB career. Hechavarria hit only .236 with 3 home runs last season so he is definitely an issue in the Marlins lineup. He doesn’t hit consistently and he doesn’t hit for much power as well. The only reason that he is the Marlins everyday shortstop is because of his defensive abilities. Miami needs some more depth at the position either way and it isn’t worth starting Hechavarria just for his defense since he is a liability offensively.

New York Mets – Biggest need: Catcher

The catcher position was a major weakness for the Mets last season especially after their starter Travis d’Arnaud was injured for a large portion of the year. d’Arnaud wasn’t a great option anyway for the Mets as he hit only .247 with 4 home runs in 2016. The Mets have solid depth at catcher, yet they need to find an upgrade at the position over d’Arnaud.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest need: Right Fielder

Philadelphia has a big need in right field as they have two inexperienced players that will compete for the starting job in 2017. Roman Quinn is the projected starter in right field right now, but he has hit only .263 in 57 career at-bats. Aaron Altherr has more experience than Quinn, but Altherr is a career .212 hitter which isn’t very promising. Either way, it is a mystery as to how Quinn or Altherr will perform with the starting right field job. The Phillies need to sign a veteran right fielder to a 1-year deal in order to provide a temporary solution to the position.

Washington Nationals – Biggest need: Closer

The Nationals let go of closer Jonathan Papelbon after he had a poor season in 2016 and the team was confident that they would be able to sign a top free agent closer. However, all of the top free agent closers are now signed and yet the Nationals still have a need for a closer. The Nationals’ options at closer are running out and it appears that they’ll have to find a closer from their roster. Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, and Sammy Solis are all candidates to be the team’s closer in 2017. However, none of those guys seems like a very good option especially for a team that has world series aspirations.

Mets bring back Cespedes on a 4-year deal

The New York Mets had confidence that they would bring outfielder Yoenis Cespedes back and that exactly happened on Wednesday as they re-signed him to a 4-year/$110 million contract. Sure, it is a lot of money to give out to a player and there is obviously a lot of risk to this deal, yet it is a great signing for the Mets. We all know how good the Mets starting rotation is and don’t expect that to be any different next season. However, the Mets offense has really struggled to score runs consistently especially with David Wright injured. Yoenis Cespedes was the only consistent offensive option for the Mets last season as he hit .280 with 31 home runs. If the Mets didn’t re-sign Cespedes, then New York’s offense would have been a complete mess. The Mets needed to bring Cespedes back so desperately that they were willing to pay him a ton of money in order to get a deal done. The main concern about this deal is that Cespedes is 31 years old, so his production could decline really soon. However, until he shows signs that his production will decline then this is a tremendous signing for the Mets even though they had to spend a lot of money to retain Cespedes.

Grade: A+


Free Agent that every NL East team should re-sign

Atlanta Braves – A.J. Pierzynski – Catcher – 2016: .219 avg. and 2 home runs

Sure, A.J. Pierzynski isn’t a very productive offensive player anymore as he is about to turn 40 years old in December. However, Pierzynski offers something more valuable to the rebuilding Braves and that is leadership to all of the young players. Atlanta probably won’t be in a position to compete next season, but the Braves should consider re-signing Pierzynski to be their backup catcher just to provide a veteran leader for the team.

Miami Marlins – Mike Dunn – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.40 ERA

The Marlins bullpen hasn’t been very good in recent years, but the one relief pitcher that has been consistent for Miami is Mike Dunn. He had a 3.40 ERA last season as a setup man for the Marlins and he is one of the most underrated players in the entire MLB. It won’t cost much at all to re-sign Dunn and without him the Marlins bullpen will be awful. Also, it’s not easy these days to find quality left-handed bullpen arms like Dunn, so letting him leave in free agency would be a major mistake for Miami.

New York Mets – Yoenis Cespedes – Outfielder – 2016: .280 avg. and 31 home runs

I don’t know where the Mets would be without Yoenis Cespedes because he basically carried the entire offense with 31 home runs last season. Cespedes is the only consistent offensive threat that the Mets have right now, so if they lose him this offseason then their offense would be a complete mess next season. Cespedes surely will ask for a ton of money in free agency, but the Mets need to do anything it takes to try and re-sign him.

Philadelphia Phillies – David Hernandez – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.84 ERA

Philadelphia seems closer to contention than they were at this time a year ago. However, for this team to contend again then they will need a quality bullpen to be successful. The issue was that the Phillies didn’t have a very reliable bullpen in 2016. David Hernandez was a bright spot in the Phillies bullpen as he had a 3.84 ERA for them in 70 games. He has been a very consistent relief pitcher the past few years and he likely won’t cost much to retain. Hernandez is a veteran middle relief pitcher that can provide some stability to the bullpen and Philadelphia would be silly not to bring him back for that reason.

Washington Nationals – Wilson Ramos – Catcher – 2016: .307 avg. and 22 home runs

Ramos had by far the best year of his career last season as he hit .307 with 22 home runs for the Nationals. However, a late season torn ACL really is the one reason that the Nationals could have some concern re-signing him since he might never be close to the same type of player again. Either way, it is extremely difficult to find catchers that are as talented offensively as Wilson Ramos is. Also, Washington doesn’t really have another catcher that they could replace him with. Ramos is in the prime of his career and the Nationals should do anything to re-sign him despite the uncertainty regarding his knee injury.