New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T22:05:50Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Fire Pitching Coach Dave Eiland]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163433 2019-06-20T21:11:05Z 2019-06-20T21:11:10Z 4:11pm: The Mets officially announced the coaching changes, including the additional news that Jeremy Accardo has been named the team’s “pitching strategist,” a newly-created role.  Accardo had previously been working as New York’s minor league pitching coordinator following two years as a pitching and bullpen coach in the Mets’ farm system.

2:35pm: Phil Regan will take over for Eiland, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter). The former MLB hurler managed the Orioles for one season (1995) and has plenty of coaching experience. The 82-year-old has been involved with the Mets organization for some time and had been listed as pitching coordinator of the team’s minor league/player development group.

Ricky Bones will take over as the bullpen coach; he had served in that role last season but was replaced by Hernandez.

2:07pm: The Mets have parted ways with pitching coach Dave Eiland, per a report from James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). Bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez is also on his way out, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Plans for replacements aren’t yet known.

Eiland had been hired in advance of the 2018 season. He was a key hire for the staff of then-rookie skipper Mickey Callaway, who was himself a former pitching coach. Before coming to New York, Eiland had long guided the hurlers for the Royals.

This move comes as the Mets continue to sink in the standings. Their rotation hasn’t been quite the exceptional unit it was expected to be, while the bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster. That’s obviously not entirely the fault of these pitching instructors, but they’ll take the fall in hopes that a mid-season shakeup can deliver improved results.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[The Mets Bullpen: Makeover Fail?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162476 2019-06-19T19:32:35Z 2019-06-19T19:32:13Z It’s still too soon to make any conclusive statements on the outcome of the Mets’ offseason roster revamping efforts. Relief pitching, in particular, can turn on a dime. But it’s safe to say that the team’s bullpen makeover is not looking pretty at this moment.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen made the relief corps a key part of his offseason strategy. He had already sewn up much of the roster work by mid-December, at which time he declared that the organization had “shored up the bullpen with two premium arms.” The club went on to add a pair of lefties and entered camp thinking it had made huge strides in the pen.

The relief additions absorbed a large chunk of the Mets’ somewhat limited transactional capital. Setup man Jeurys Familia took a $30MM guarantee over three years, while southpaw Justin Wilson went for $10MM in two seasons. Combined, that was just over half the cash promised by the Mets in free agency. Adding high-octane young closer Edwin Diaz meant taking on big money through the Robinson Cano contract and coughing up recent #6 overall draft choice Jarred Kelenic, who is streaking up prospect boards. The deal also sent out veteran righty Anthony Swarzak, who hasn’t been perfect but does carry a 3.12 ERA with a 33:14 K/BB ratio on the season.

Not so much, as it turns out. The Mets are leading the league lead in blown saves, having accrued a huge volume of them in the past thirty days. The relief unit has fared poorly as a whole in terms of bottom-line results, though it has hardly been the worst (that’d be the division-rival Nats) in sapping win-percentage. While the overall picture isn’t catastrophic, the failures have been magnified by situational timing.

Glance at the Mets-specific WPA leaderboard and you’ll find Seth Lugo leading the way. That’s unsurprising, as the holdover hurler has been the team’s most effective relief pitcher. The only other clear positives in WPA? Wilmer Font, Tim Peterson, Hector Santiago, and Ryan O’Rourke — an assemblage of pitchers who have combined for more walks than strikeouts. Only Font, who has turned in passable work as a long man, is even still on the roster. Diaz leads the team in WPA-added (4.11), but has wiped out the positive contributions with several meltdowns (-4.64).

That’s … sort of the opposite of what the Mets were hoping for. An efficiently constructed bullpen can eat innings well enough when a game is out of reach and maximize a team’s chances of winning the games in which it’s positioned to do so. We often excuse sequencing luck and situational failings for other starters and position players, citing a need to look at broad samples. That’s true to an extent in the relief world, but at the end of the day, high-leverage performance and bottom-line results are the entire game for short-work pitchers.

So, it has been a wreck thus far, but can we at least explain away some of the struggles? And can the pen be salvaged?

Let’s start with the new additions — especially, the marquee closer. Diaz is still just 25. He’s averaging over 97 mph with his heater and carrying the same spin rates he did in his unreal 2018 effort. While his swinging-strike rate is down a touch from last year, it’s a healthy 17.7%. He’s pounding the zone like he did in 2018. The difference? He has gone from a .281 BABIP-against and 10.6% HR/FB rate to .406 and 19.2%, respectively. Statcast tells us there’s likely some luck in there — Diaz’s .276 xwOBA falls well under his .331 wOBA — but also some cause for concern. Opposing hitters are compiling a whopping 47.8% hard-contact rate and 15.2 degree launch angle. It seems the physical tools are still in good working order, so this may be a matter of finding some adjustments or simply waiting out a spell of misfortune.

That’s reasonably promising. Diaz was acquired to get results, but there’s no particular reason to think he can’t get back to doing so. The Mets still need to get him the ball with a lead, however, and there are greater questions with regard to the man that was hired to be the top setup option.

Familia was back to being his sturdy and reliable self in 2018 after an injury-riddled ’17 campaign. But he’s now on the shelf for the second time this year with shoulder issues. And he carries a 7.81 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 21 walks in 27 2/3 innings. The worries go well beyond the results. Familia has lost velocity and chases out of the zone, resulting in a swinging-strike drop. There’s some promise in the Statcast numbers, as Familia is only allowing 32.1% hard contact and has an even bigger x/wOBA spread than Diaz (.071). That’s some consolation, but there’s still quite a bit of uncertainty — especially in the near term — for the 29-year-old.

There are health problems as well for Wilson, who has been limited by elbow troubles and is now dealing with another setback. It’s hard to draw many conclusions from the 9 1/3 innings that the southpaw did throw. He sat in his customary 95 mph range but threw first-pitch strikes at a career-worst 50% rate, exhibited a swinging-strike drop, and allowed two long balls. The Mets’ other southpaw addition, Luis Avilan, was hammered before going down with his own elbow problems.

The situation is rather grim at the moment. Of their new additions, only Diaz is presently available. He and Lugo are holding down the high-leverage spots, with the struggling Robert Gsellman third on the totem pole despite a 4.81 ERA. Font has delivered decent results of late, but isn’t getting strikeouts and has bounced around the league in recent seasons. And those are the established members of the staff.

Otherwise, the Mets are carrying a group of unfamiliar arms. Daniel Zamora and Chris Flexen have not been good in short samples. Stephen Nogosek is a total wild card. Brooks Pounders has an awesome pitching name, but has already had a bit of a journeyman existence at 28 years of age. He has good numbers at Triple-A, but there’s a reason the Indians let him go. That group of unestablished hurlers followed an array of others who already failed to grab hold of MLB jobs. The Mets have now cycled through twenty relievers, one of whom (Nogosek) has yet to debut. Unsurprisingly, the cupboard is rather bare. The club hasn’t yet trotted out veteran Ervin Santana or called up youngster Anthony Kay, but the former hasn’t looked good and the latter is being developed as a starter. Arquimedes Caminero is the only other hurler in the organization with substantial MLB experience that hasn’t yet received a shot to this point. You can be sure he would have if he had shown any kind of spark at Syracuse.

Unfortunately, there’s really not much for the front office to do at this point but wait and hope while continuing to take chances on the spare pieces that shake loose from other clubs. That process has resulted thus far in Font and Pounders. The Mets simply aren’t in position — 3 games under .500, 7.5 off of the division pace — to force a significant trade. They’d be looking for multiple pieces regardless. It may take a miracle for Van Wagenen is to pull off this makeover, at least in the present campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets To Promote Walker Lockett]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163278 2019-06-19T15:06:15Z 2019-06-19T15:06:15Z The Mets will call up righty Walker Lockett to take the ball in tomorrow’s contest, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter). The corresponding roster move isn’t yet known.

Lockett, 25, was passed around over the offseason after making his MLB debut in 2018 with the Padres. He was first dealt to the Indians and then on to the Mets in the swap that shipped catcher Kevin Plawecki to Cleveland.

Slowed by injury to open the year, Lockett has now spun 24 2/3 frames of 3.28 ERA ball for the Mets’ top affiliate, handing out only four walks but also recording a mere nine strikeouts. When he toes the rubber tomorrow evening at Wrigley, he’ll be looking to improve upon his initial showing last year in San Diego. Over 15 innings, Lockett coughed up 16 earned runs on 22 hits with a 12:10 K/BB ratio.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Justin Wilson Suffers Setback]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163255 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z
  • Mets left-handed reliever Justin Wilson had been nearing activation, but he has suffered a setback in his injured elbow, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. That’s yet another negative development for the woebegone Mets, who also received bad injury news on outfielder Brandon Nimmo and reliever Jeurys Familia on Wednesday. Like Familia, another of the Mets’ big-ticket offseason pickups, Wilson has trudged through a season to forget thus far. The 31-year-old Wilson has been on the IL twice – including since May 11 – with elbow troubles, and he has only logged a 4.82 ERA/5.96 FIP in 9 1/3 innings since the Mets signed him to a two-year, $10MM contract.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Select Stephen Nogosek]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163207 2019-06-18T22:17:37Z 2019-06-18T22:17:37Z The Mets have selected the contract of right-hander Stephen Nogosek from Triple-A Syracuse, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News tweets. The team also recalled lefty Daniel Zamora from Syracuse. Those two will take over for the injured Jeurys Familia and the optioned Drew Gagnon.

    Now 24, Nogosek entered pro baseball as a sixth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2016. They sent Nogosek to the Mets a little over a year later in a July 2017 trade for veteran reliever Addison Reed. Nogosek struggled with the Mets’ Double-A affiliate in 2018, but he has been almost impossible to score against in the minors this year. He owns a 0.57 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 31 1/2 innings divided Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, and will try to carry that success to a Mets bullpen in dire need of answers.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets To Place Jeurys Familia On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163197 2019-06-18T22:08:07Z 2019-06-18T21:47:46Z The Mets plan to place right-handed reliever Jeurys Familia on the injured list because of a shoulder issue, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets.

    Alarmingly for the Mets, this is the second time in 2019 that a shoulder problem has forced Familia to the IL. They previously put him on the shelf May 1. Familia fell well short of expectations before then and continued to struggle between IL stints. So far this season, the typically dependable reliever has notched a hideous 7.81 ERA/6.10 FIP with 9.11 K/9 and 6.83 BB/9 in 27 2/3 innings.

    A Met and Athletic from 2012-18, Familia posted a 2.76 ERA/2.88 FIP with 9.45 K/9, 3.54 BB/9 and a 56.5 percent groundball rate over that 348 2/3-inning span. The success Familia enjoyed during the first several seasons of his career led the Mets to reunite with him this past winter on a three-year, $30MM contract. The move has been a disaster to this point, though, while fellow offseason relief acquisitions Edwin Diaz and Justin Wilson also haven’t lived up to expectations in 2019. Thanks in part to their woes, the Mets are four games under .500 and, for the second straight year, in possession of one of baseball’s worst bullpens.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Shut Down Brandon Nimmo]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163182 2019-06-18T20:29:10Z 2019-06-18T20:09:39Z The Mets have shut down injured outfielder Brandon Nimmo from baseball activities for the next month, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was among those to report. Nimmo has been on the injured list since May 21 with a bulging disc in his neck.

    Nimmo received his second epidural Tuesday since going on the IL, per DiComo. At this point, the Mets aren’t considering surgery for the 26-year-old, according to manager Mickey Callaway. Nevertheless, the fact that Nimmo will miss significantly more time than he already has is unwelcome news for the Mets, who – at 34-38 – haven’t had much go their way this season.

    Nimmo, whom the Mets chose 13th overall in 2011, was one of the majors’ prominent breakout players in 2018. He slashed .263/.404/.483 (149 wRC+) with 17 home runs and 4.5 fWAR across 535 plate appearances. Nimmo wasn’t nearly as effective this year before going on the IL, evidenced by a .200/.344/.323 line (89 wRC+), though that was only a 161-PA sample size.

    Even considering Nimmo’s massive offensive decline this season, a healthy version would likely be the Mets’ best option in center field. Carlos Gomez and Juan Lagares have gotten all the playing time in center since Nimmo went down, but neither player has produced. They’re now drawing up plans to turn to right fielder Michael Conforto in center, Jeff McNeil in right and Dominic Smith in left, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. All three of those players have been among the Mets’ best hitters in 2019, but Conforto struggled mightily in center last season and Smith hasn’t shown he can handle the outfield on a consistent basis.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Noah Syndergaard]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163105 2019-06-18T00:57:05Z 2019-06-18T00:57:05Z The Mets are optimistic the right hamstring strain that sent starter Noah Syndergaard to the 10-day injured list Sunday isn’t serious, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com relays. Syndergaard said Monday he’s in “tip-top” shape, while manager Mickey Callaway announced the right-hander’s dealing with a “low-grade” strain. Additionally, Callaway suggested righty Wilmer Font could take Syndergaard’s next turn in New York’s rotation. The 29-year-old Font has managed a 4.43 ERA/5.25 FIP with 5.31 K/9 and 3.98 BB/9 in 20 1/3 innings since the Mets acquired him from the Rays on May 6.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jed Lowrie “Not Close” To 2019 Debut]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162613 2019-06-17T05:35:22Z 2019-06-17T05:34:32Z TODAY: Speaking to reporters (including Newsday’s Tim Healey) on Saturday, Van Wagenen didn’t say whether Lowrie was still suffering from only his hamstring problem, or if he was dealing with a re-aggravation of his original knee issue, or another injury altogether.  “I’m not going to get into any more details beyond the fact that his left side needs to be working in concert with each other,” the Mets GM said.  “The knee to the hamstring, we want to make sure that the kinetic chain is working together and that his posture and his functionality is working.”

    THURSDAY: Infielder Jed Lowrie was one of the Mets’ most significant acquisitions of the winter, when they signed the former Athletic to a two-year, $20MM contract. Lowrie still hasn’t debuted with his new club since suffering a knee strain in February, though, and his return to the majors isn’t on the horizon.

    Although Lowrie’s knee has healed, he incurred a hamstring strain last month that continues to prevent him from taking the field. Updating Lowrie’s status Thursday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 35-year-old is “not close” to embarking on a rehab assignment, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

    Durability issues have been all too common for Lowrie since he began his career with the Red Sox in 2008, though he enjoyed healthy seasons in Oakland from 2017-18. During that two-year period, the switch-hitting Lowrie appeared in 310 of a possible 324 regular-season games, amassed 1,325 plate appearances and slashed .272/.356/.448 (121 wRC+) with 37 home runs. Going by fWAR (8.5), Lowrie was the league’s third-most valuable second baseman in his final two seasons with the A’s.

    Lowrie parlayed his late-career renaissance into his high-paying deal with the Mets, who were expecting more of the same. Whether it was a wise allocation of resources on rookie general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s part is debatable. After all, the Lowrie signing came on the heels of the acquisitions of two other infielders – Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis – and the Mets also had Jeff McNeil and Todd Frazier on hand to compete for second and third base spots. As it turns out, the currently injured Cano has been among the Mets’ biggest disappointments this season, while Davis, McNeil and Frazier (especially McNeil) rank as three of their most productive contributors.

    The Mets’ major commitment to Cano and the success Davis, McNeil and Frazier have enjoyed further call into question how Lowrie will fit on their roster if he does return. He’s not going to usurp first base from NL Rookie of the Year favorite Pete Alonso, nor does Lowrie seem likely to take over shortstop (where he hasn’t played extensively since 2014) for Amed Rosario. Meanwhile, the Mets have two cornerstone corner outfielders in Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo (also injured), and first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith has been tremendous in a part-time role.

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    George Miller <![CDATA[Health Notes: Zimmermann, Nimmo, Marlins, Smith, Wood, Dozier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162978 2019-06-17T01:56:37Z 2019-06-17T01:56:37Z Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, currently on the mend after suffering a UCL sprain, looks to be nearing his return, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. On Thursday, Zimmermann threw 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo, coming away pleased with the 69 pitches he threw and declaring his readiness to rejoin the Major League rotation for his next start. Whether that will actually come to fruition is up to the Tigers’ brass, though manager Ron Gardenhire seemed hesitant to welcome back a pitcher whose limited workload could lead to more bullpen days, which the team is trying to avoid. Regardless, the 33-year-old’s return looks to be just around the corner, certainly a promising development for a team that has had to patch together a starting staff after withstanding injuries to four-fifths of its Opening Day rotation.

    Here are the latest updates on other injuries from around baseball…

    • Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is going to consult more specialists about the bulging disc in his neck, tweets Tim Healey of Newsday. Nimmo has been sidelined with that same injury since May 20, and the latest is a troubling development for an organization that has been maligned for its handling of players’ injuries. At this time, there is still no timeline for when Nimmo might be cleared to return.
    • Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith has been cleared to begin a throwing program, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Smith landed on the 10-day IL on June 7 thanks to inflammation in his left hip, but it doesn’t appear that the injury will keep him out much longer, as Smith is on track to return in late June. The 27-year-old southpaw has quietly emerged as a promising starter for the Marlins, having struck out 82 batters in 62 innings of work. Over the last two seasons in Miami, Smith has posted an impressive 3.83 ERA in 143 1/3 innings.
    • Hunter Dozier will spend the next three days rehabbing with the Royals’ Double-A affiliate, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, who adds that Dozier will later join Triple-A Omaha after the birth of his child. The next step following that is to work his way back to the MLB club, which is good news for the Royals, who originally tabbed Dozier to return in late June. It looks like that timeline is still a realistic target for the third baseman, who has emerged as one of Kansas City’s few untouchable pieces and an All-Star candidate in the American League.
    • Another promising update for the Reds, with left-hander Alex Wood nearing a rehab assignment, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, who tweets that the southpaw has a live BP session on Tuesday, which could lead to a minor-league rehab stint if all goes well. Wood, 28, has been dealing with lower back soreness that has put his Reds debut on hold. However, it looks as if that time could come around the All-Star break for the former Dodger.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Agree To Sign Second-Rounder Josh Wolf]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162955 2019-06-16T19:59:38Z 2019-06-16T19:58:47Z
  • The Mets have agreed to a deal with second-round pick Josh Wolf, Yahoo Sports’ Matt Ehalt (Twitter links) reports, that will be finalized when Wolf passes a physical.  Wolf will land a $2.15MM bonus, well above the 53rd overall pick’s slot price of $1,370,400.  The Mets drafted mostly college seniors among their top ten picks and have agreed to far below-slot contracts with several of them, creating bonus pool space for tougher signs like third-rounder Matthew Allan and his fellow high school right-hander in Wolf.  The 18-year-old throws a plus curveball, and also saw a big velocity jump in his senior year that put his fastball consistently in the mid-90’s.  MLB.com ranked Wolf 36th on its prospect list, with Law (46th), BA (54th) and Fangraphs (60th) also showing strong regard for former Texas A&M commit.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Place Noah Syndergaard On IL, Activate Robinson Cano]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162898 2019-06-16T14:46:49Z 2019-06-16T14:34:27Z The Mets have placed right-hander Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day injured list, Tim Britton of The Athletic was among those to report. They activated second baseman Robinson Cano from the IL to take Syndergaard’s 25-man roster spot.

    Syndergaard exited his start Saturday with a hamstring strain, though it’s not yet clear how severe it is. Regardless, this will go down as yet another injury-shortened season for Syndergaard, who hasn’t been at his usual form when he has taken the mound this year. Having allowed four earned runs in six innings during a win over the Cardinals on Saturday, Syndergaard owns a career-worst 4.55 ERA in 95 frames. The 26-year-old’s strikeout rate (8.81 per nine) and swinging-strike percentage (12.0) are also all-time lows, though he has still managed to limit walks (2.27 per nine), induce ground balls (47.6 percent) and post a 3.59 FIP.

    It’s unclear how the Mets will replace Syndergaard during his absence. Even when Syndergaard was healthy, a lack of starting depth was a problem for the team. It’s possible the Mets will now turn to Triple-A righty Walker Lockett, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com suggests.

    Cano, meanwhile, has landed on the IL twice since May 23 with left quad issues. The Mets reinstated Cano from his first IL trip June 5, only to place him on the shelf again after the 36-year-old re-aggravated the injury in his first game back.

    With Cano, a first-year Met, set to serve as one of their highest-paid players over the next few seasons, all they can do is hope his durable ways return. Prior to 2018, when he fractured his hand on a hit by pitch, Cano was a pillar of health for the Yankees and Mariners. From 2007-17, he appeared in no fewer than 150 regular-season games each year.

    Now, if Cano’s quad problem is behind him, the Mets will need far better production from the offseason acquisition. Cano has slashed a meek .238/.264/.388 (76 wRC+) with three home runs in 183 plate appearances this year.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler Drawing Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162888 2019-06-16T14:19:38Z 2019-06-16T14:19:38Z To state the obvious, this season hasn’t gone according to plan for the Mets. They’re the owners of a 34-36 record, staring at a 5 1/2-game deficit in their division and a five-game mark for the National League’s second wild card. First-time general manager Brodie Van Wagenen boldly suggested over the winter the Mets would take on all comers in 2019, but his roster has instead spun its wheels for a couple months.

    Barring a turnaround leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, the Mets may have to consider selling off players they deem nonessential to their future – perhaps to boost an inadequate farm system. As things stand, the Mets aren’t giving up on buying, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. If the team does a 180 on that mindset, though, it’ll have an intriguing trade chip in starter Zack Wheeler. The right-hander’s on many teams’ radars, including the crosstown rival Yankees’, according to Heyman.

    The 29-year-old Wheeler’s in his final season of team control, in which he’s making a reasonable $5.975MM. The fact that he’s affordable enhances his trade value, though this hasn’t been a banner contract year in terms of results for Wheeler.

    After missing most of 2015-17 because of injuries, the former Tommy John surgery patient returned last year to fire 182 1/3 innings of 3.31 ERA/3.25 FIP ball. This season, though, his 4.87 ERA through 88 2/3 frames ranks eighth worst among 81 qualified major league starters. Along the way, Wheeler’s average exit velocity against has gone from 84.7 mph to 87.8 mph and his hard-hit rate has risen from 27.1 percent to 34.4 since 2018, according to Statcast. Better contact against Wheeler has led to more balls leaving the yard. Wheeler yielded home runs on a paltry 8.1 percent of fly balls a year ago, but he’s now at 14.1.

    Despite the red flags in Wheeler’s production, there are clear reasons for hope. With a 97 mph average fastball and a sinker that typically clocks in at 96, he remains one of the hardest-throwing starters in baseball. Wheeler’s velo has helped him increase his strikeout rate from 8.84 per nine in 2018 to a career-high 10.05 this season, while his swinging-strike percentage (11.2) and walk rate (2.64) also represent personal bests. Although Wheeler’s not getting as many ground balls as he did earlier in his career, his GB percentage (44.4) is still above average, as is his 12 percent infield fly rate. Unsurprisingly, the gap between his weighted on-base average against/expected wOBA (.307/.296) indicates he has deserved somewhat better to this point.

    While this season hasn’t gone to Wheeler’s liking, it seems fair to say he’s an above-average major league starter. He’d therefore be one of the best starters on the block this summer if the Mets were to put him there, trailing Matthew Boyd but perhaps ranking in the vicinity of Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner. However, it’ll be a moot point if the Mets decide to retain Wheeler, which seems to be their intention as of now. Plenty can change in the next month and a half, though.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Noah Syndergaard Leaves Game Due To Hamstring Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162862 2019-06-16T02:38:58Z 2019-06-16T02:37:58Z Mets ace Noah Syndergaard left tonight’s start due to a right hamstring strain, the team announced.  The injury took place during the seventh inning, as Syndergaard came up limping after a play that saw the Cardinals’ Yairo Munoz steal second base.  The right-hander was immediately removed from the game after a visit from the trainer.  An IL stint seems likely, since the description of the injury as a strain (as noted by Newsday’s Tim Healey) indicates a certain amount of severity.

    Syndergaard hasn’t quite pitched up to his usual ace-like levels in 2019, with only a 4.45 ERA over 95 innings for New York.  ERA indicators (3.56 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 3.96 SIERA) are a bit more impressed by his performance, though overall, Syndergaard’s K/9, home run rate, swinging-strike rate, and hard-hit ball rate have all gone in the wrong direction from his 2018 numbers.  That said, most of Syndergaard’s problems took place during a rough April, and he has since largely gotten on track over his last nine outings.

    If and when Syndergaard misses time, the Mets don’t have much in the way of starting pitching options to fill the void.  Wilmer Font or Chris Flexen could be again stretched out, veteran Ervin Santana is down at Single-A building up arm strength, while rookie Walker Lockett is perhaps the best healthy option at Triple-A.

    In the big picture, an extended absence for Syndergaard might also push the Mets to turn towards selling prior to the trade deadline.  New York entered tonight’s action with a 33-36 record, 7.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and five games behind the Cubs and Phillies in the wild card race.  Two days ago, GM Brodie Van Wagenen was still expressing confidence that his team could remain in the postseason hunt, and while there’s still a lot of baseball to be played before July 31, the Mets could start exploring the market now for potential takers for some of their veteran assets.

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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Mets Acquire Brooks Pounders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162819 2019-06-15T19:48:26Z 2019-06-15T19:16:14Z The Mets have acquired righty Brooks Pounders from the Indians for cash considerations, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

    Pounders, 28, had spent the entire season with AAA-Columbus, posting a solid 2.17 ERA with an 11.83 K/9 in 35 IP.  Though unquestionably impressive in the new, juiced-up Triple-A landscape, Pounders’ line was suppressed by a .217 BABIP and obviously unsustainable 87.6% LOB. His FIP was a more pedestrian 3.67, and deeper peripheral marks were even less encouraged.

    In 35 career MLB innings for the Royals, Angels, and Rockies, the hulking righty has pitched to an 8.92 ERA/6.39 FIP with a startling 3.05 HR/9 over that span. He did put together an impressive line last season, spinning 15 1/3 innings of 9.98 K/9/1.17 BB/9 ball for the Wild Card-winning Rockies. Pounders’ll look to stabilize what’s been one of MLB’s worst bullpens this season, with only Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and the suddenly homer-prone Edwin Diaz offering anything in the way of dependability thus far.

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