TDG’s Triple Play: New York Mets!
Your dynasty analysts enter the second season of the Triple Play! The regular feature breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure!
Noah Syndergaard, Age: 26, SP
Analysis by: Bob Osgood
The Hammer of Thor (2015-2017):
In the emerging era of innings limits, Syndergaard entered the league in 2015 and ran into no such restraints from the Mets. They allowed him to go 179 (minors included) and 183 innings in first two seasons, respectively. With a huge frame of 6’6”, 240 lbs, Syndergaard had all the makings of a workhorse “Ace”, so convincing that The Dynasty Guru ranked him as the #2 SP entering the 2017 season. Unfortunately, a tear of his right lat muscle limited him to only 30 innings in 2017. At the point of injury, Syndergaard’s career stats included a 24-18 record, 2.89 ERA (backed up by a 2.60 FIP), 1.099 WHIP, a 10.3 K/9 rate, 1.9 BB/9, and 0.7 HR/9. No speed bumps at the start of Noah’s career, he came out of the gate gassin’.
Where’d the Ks Go? (2018-2019):
In 2018, presumably healthy and not coming off any kind of arm injury, we all expected Syndergaard to pick up where he left off, but there has just been something missing over the last two seasons. Syndergaard dominates in spurts, but the consistency is lacking. The ERA has ticked up to 3.03 in 2018 and 3.96 in 2019, supported this year by a 3.44 FIP and 3.95 xFIP. Even more glaring is the K/9, which went from 10.7 in 2016 (4th out of 75 qualified starters) down to 9.0 in 2018, and 8.9 in 2019. That 8.9 ranks 29th out of the 72 qualified starting pitchers this year.
While both Syndergaard’s fastball and sinker average 98, touching 100 often, it was his slider that had a high pitch value earlier in his career. Per Brooks Baseball, while the whiff rate is down for all five of Syndergaard’s pitches, the slider has the biggest discrepancy pre-to-post injury. Pre-injury, he threw the pitch 13.1% of the time, garnering a 27.1% whiff rate, allowing only one home run. Post-injury, the slider’s whiff rate is down to 23.7% despite now throwing the pitch 17% of the time and allowing five homers.
Another interesting note is the teams that Syndergaard has racked up his big games against. Using Baseball Reference’s Game Score tool, here are the top performances of his 2019 season:
5/2/19 vs CIN: 88 (CG SO, 10 K)
6/9/19: vs COL: 80 (7 IP, 1 H, 7 K)
7/30/19: @CHW: 76 (7.1 IP, 0 ER, 11 K)
5/14/19: @WAS: 71 (8 IP, 2 ER, 6 K)
8/4/19: @PIT: 69 (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 K)
7/18/19: @SFG: 68 (7 IP, 1 ER, 8 K)
7/13/19: @MIA: 68 (7 IP, 2 ER, 9 K)
I see a whole lot of sub-.500 teams with the exception of Washington, who was 16-25 at the time.
Syndergaard must be a Hold in Dynasty Leagues, especially leagues that have any depth beyond 12 teams. Although this is the first year that he is on pace to reach 200 innings, a workhorse without any history of arm injuries is rare in this day and age. Despite some frustration with consistency in the last year-and-a-half, electric stuff like Syndergaard’s keeps him around the top-10 starting pitchers in any dynasty discussion, but not much higher than that if the K/9 stays around 9.0. He measures up well on the Statcast leaderboards as well, appearing in the Top-5 in both Barreled Balls given up (2.7% per PA, 4.0% per event), as well as Hard-Hit Rate allowed (29.1%). In terms of the rest of this season, with scheduled starts in August against the Nationals, Braves, and Cubs, along with the fact that the Mets have snuck their way back within a game of the playoffs, the man they call Thor has the opportunity to step up in big games and lead his team to the playoffs, and hopefully yours as well.
Amed Rosario, Age: 23, SS
Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher
Looking Through Rosario Colored Glasses
Rosario signed with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for a hefty sum of 1.75 million bucks. In his first full season in 2014, he more than held his own- slashing .274/.320/.372 across two different levels of Single-A. What made the slash line the most impressive was that he posted it while being three years younger than the average age for the level. He continued to hold his own in 2015, displaying his plus-plus speed and defense at High-A and earning a promotion to Double-A by the end of the season at the ripe age of 19. Rosario’s coming out party as a top prospect and dynasty asset was his age-20 season at Double-A. He slashed a massively exciting .324/.374/.459, racking up extra-base hits and swiping 19 bags. Rosario rode that season to the #11 spot on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list. Prior to this season, he was really seen as more of a real-life baseball prospect than a fantasy one, but the numbers he posted while again being one of the youngest at his level were now enticing to fantasy owners as well.
The First Cup Of Coffee
Rosario started the 2017 season at Triple-A where he picked up right where he left off the previous season, earning a call-up to the Mets by mid-summer. Like most players who debut at age 21, the transition was a bit of a rocky one. Over 48 games, he slashed .248/.271/.394 while walking fewer than 2% of the time and striking out almost 30% of the time. In recent years there has been such a barrage of young talent it’s easy to forget that young players coming up and contributing right away is not the norm, but the exception. Rosario fell into the majority of prospects who needed time to adjust.
Progress Is Progress
Coming into his first full season, we were looking for Rosario to make some adjustments, and although his slash line wasn’t much better (.256/.295/.381), there were certain things that showed he was indeed making progress, primarily his quality of contact and his approach. From his first season to his second, his hard-hit rate increased 7%, his exit velocity increased 3 miles an hour, his barrel rate went up 1.6%, his walk rate went up 4% and his strikeout rate went down 8%. All of these suggest he was coming around to major league pitching and making the adjustments he needed to. Now at 23 and in his second full season, Rosario is again seeing incremental improvements across the board that is pushing him to reach the potential we had hoped. At the moment, Rosario’s slash line is .274/.315/.437 and he’s added 11 homers and 12 steals. His quality of contact has again taken steps forward as well making what he’s doing now more likely to be sustainable. His hard-hit rate increased 9% from last season up to 41%, and his exit velocity again increased 3 miles an hour up to 90 MPH now. He’s barreling just shy of major league average at 5.1% and he’s even increased his launch angle a couple of degrees. Some of the increases are no doubt due to the current state of the ball in MLB but Rosario was already making improvements so it’s really working in tandem with his ability.
Rosario is the perfect example of people losing patience with top prospects who don’t immediately start raking as soon as they get the call to the major leagues, I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen with Carter Keiboom, but there were/are several people who moved off Rosario based on the last season and a half. Hopefully, you weren’t one of them, and if you were (or if you never had a share) now is the time to buy buy buy before his value skyrockets again.
Ronny Mauricio, Age:18, SS
Analysis by: Patrick Magnus
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for 2.1 million, the lanky switch-hitting shortstop is a dreamy projectable hitter. When he was signed in 2017 he was ranked as the number 3 prospect in his class, and the number 10 international prospect by MLB Pipeline. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding Mauricio.
Yet, the stats have not caught up to the potential, which could be great for acquiring the youngster in your dynasty league. He projects as a masher on the left side of the infield with a plus hit tool. So should you seek him out, and when can we expect Mauricio to reach the majors?
2018 in Review – Two Levels and Lots More Hype
In 2018 Mauricio started out in rookie ball in the GCL. In 49 games and 212 plate appearances he slashed .279/.307/.421, and he did this while being 3.3 years younger than the rest of the league. The Mets were so encouraged by his performance that they sent Mauricio to the Appalachian League to get a few more at-bats.
Things in Appalachian League did not go quite as smoothly. Mauricio slashed .233/.286/.333, which may activate most fans’ gag reflexes. Let us remember that the dude was only freakin’ 17! Also, 8 games and 35 plate appearances were certainly not enough to provoke any kind of worry. So how are things going in 2019?
2019 – An All-Star Hitting Machine
While things may have ended on a down note for Mauricio he has certainly picked things back up in Single-A this year. The power still remains a practice in patience and projection, but he’s slashing .281/.322/.381. Mauricio is striking out at a 20.4% and has a .351 BABIP so there’s probably a bit of luck going on with that average. Still considering he’s facing more advanced competition while he continues to develop physically, there’s little reason for concern here yet. BABIPs are all over the place in the minors as well, and good hitters generally run them high. Remember the stats aren’t everything here, trust the scouts!
Mauricio is touted as being a bit slow out of the box, but he has excellent plate coverage. A good example of that coverage can be seen here. Admittedly not the strongest of swings, but look at that coverage! His swing currently generates a strong amount of line drives, but also far too many groundballs (52.6% in 2019). As he matures and fills out physically more loft should come, but the GB% does warrant keeping an eye on. As he certainly won’t be able to maintain the previously mentioned BABIP once he arrives in the Majors.
If you are betting on Mauricio then you’re betting on scouting reports at this point. Most prospect lists have Mauricio ranked aggressively due to his potential, but if you can use his stats to your advantage perhaps he could be acquired for less than his true cost. This will depend on your negotiating skills and the savviness of the owner you’re dealing with. I don’t think I’d be willing to go out and acquire Mauricio straight-up, but he’d make for a great piece in a larger deal.
Regardless of how you acquire him, there’s going to be a long waiting period here. Mauricio is in Single-A, and still only 18 years of age. The likelihood that he reaches the Bigs before 2022 is slim. Still, as mentioned before, this is a player who projects to mash from the left side of the infield, and regardless of if he ends up at short or third, the bat should play. His lankiness means he’ll probably be challenged on the inner part of the plate, and may have some big holes in his swing. This is a bit of concern considering his incredibly aggressive approach at the plate. Those in OBP leagues should probably lower their expectations and perhaps avoid him altogether. However, he should be one hell of a force in average leagues.
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