TDG’s Triple Play: New York Mets!
The Triple Play is back for a fourth season! This regular feature is broken down by senior writer Paul Monte and a rotating panel of writers. If you’re new to the Triple Play, this series breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure!
Follow Paul (@3cardmonte13), Aaron (@SABRtoothTigers), and James (@JWeisser88) on twitter and read their analysis here at the site!
Tylor Megill, Age: 26, Position: SP
Analysis by: Paul Monte
Runnin’ out of time
As the calendar turns to August the stretch run of the fantasy season is upon us. Trade deadlines in both the MLB and fantasy leagues across the nation are approaching as teams make a final push for the playoffs. This is also the time of the year where it feels like there are more pitchers on the injured list than there are remaining in rotations. Those still standing have seen their outings shortened or skipped. This is usually something reserved for the youngest of pitchers as they are trying to survive the rigors of a major league season. This year, because of the shortened 2020 season and smaller workloads, we will see veterans get the same treatment. Those teams that are out of the playoff race will shut down their young starters soon and we will need to find replacements to fill those innings on our fantasy rosters.
Under the radar
Prospect lists are great, but many of those players are still years away and will not help our teams in 2021. Finding the pitchers who will not torpedo your ratios or give you negative points will keep you in the race. Finding a pitcher who bursts out of the gate and becomes a positive contributor on your team could be the difference between getting bounced in the first round or winning your league. Wily Peralta, Patrick Sandoval, and Tylor Megill are all good examples of players that have been great adds this season. Peralta was effective years ago and has found a way to resurrect his career. Sandoval had some sleeper hype coming into the season but could not secure a spot in the Angels’ six-man rotation. Megill was known as the brother of reliever Trevor Megill.
To be fair, he did sneak into the Mets’ top 30 prospects according to Baseball America at 30th. He was an eighth round pick in the 2018 draft as a reliever out of the University of Arizona. After debuting as a reliever in Low-A in 2018, he spent the first half of 2019 in full-season A ball as a reliever. It wasn’t until he reached High-A that he was fully converted to a starter. At 6’7 and 230 pounds, he had the size to start and he also had four pitches to work with. He worked his way through High-A before getting a late-season promotion to Double-A. 2020 hit and there was no minor league baseball. Reports have said that he used 2020 to improve and his results to start 2021 agreed with that statement. He struck out 42 batters in 26 innings in his return to Double-A before getting a promotion to Triple-A and finally the majors after just three Triple-A starts.
He’s made six starts at the major league level and has pitched 30 innings, struck out 33 batters, and has posted a 2.10 ERA. This small sample has shown that he is extremely difficult to barrel up, and although the 2.10 ERA does not look sustainable, he seems safe to continue to pitch well to close out the season. The question for Megill will be in what role. Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson are all on the IL with hopes of returning this season. Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker remain in the rotation and Rich Hill was added this week. The Mets are said to be in the market as buyers and they have deep pockets and are willing to spend. It would not be shocking to see Megill transition to a swingman role. He will pass his career high in innings, including his college days, with his next start. Either way, he is worth riding while he has the starter role and has provided a nice bonus for those that jumped on him early.
J.D. Davis, Age: 28, Position: 3B/OF
Analysis by: Aaron Cumming
In January of 2019, the Astros felt they had excellent corner infield depth with such luminaries as Tyler White and Aledmys Diaz on the roster. This led to the trade of then-superfluous minor leaguer J.D. Davis. Two and a half years later, the return on that trade has amounted to organizational depth with three fringe prospects unlikely to crack a major league roster. In his first year with the Mets, Davis mashed 22 home runs while hitting above .300. His results have been a bit up and down since then, but his profile has stayed consistent, foretelling sustained success.
J.D. Does NOT Stand for Just Dingers
Davis has shown upper-tier power at every stop through his career. As a prospect, he graded out as a 70 in the raw power category at Fangraphs. But he’s so much more than just a power bat. Until 2020, Davis had hit below .279 just once over any combined-level season. An underrated runner, Davis has taken advantage of high BABIPs, but his xBAs and quality of contact are proof that he has earned this batting average skill.
Davis has typically displayed a good eye at the plate as well. He has hovered around an 8-9% walk rate, even spiking to over 13% in an otherwise down 2020. For a hitter with his power stroke, he has managed acceptable strikeout rates to go along with that solid walk rate. Since his first callup with Houston in 2017 through last season, he has struck out at a slightly above average 26% clip. This season has seen that go up over 30% as a result of an uncharacteristically and fluky low zone contact rate. As his 2021 sample size increases, I expect his numbers to better match his skill.
“When I get an opportunity to bang, I’ll bang” – J.D. Davis, poet
Just because Davis isn’t “Just Dingers,” doesn’t mean that he can’t mash. He was a notable prospect hitter because of his power, but I wanted to give credit to his hit tool as a preface to shining a light on his power potential. He popped 23+ home runs in 3 straight MiLB seasons, and hit 22 out of the park in 453 plate appearances during his first full season in the majors. That alone is a nice base for power projections, but he has demonstrated improved skills for optimizing his batted balls so far this year.
Many know that a “barrel” is quantified as a hard hit ball in the ideal launch angle band. The incomparable Alex Chamberlain has done some work to narrow that definition with a “blast.” His studies show that league-wide, barrels consist of a nearly even split of blasts and “weak” barrels. To date in 2021, all but one of Davis’s barrels have been blasts by Chamberlain’s measurements, making him one of the most efficient power hitters in the league.
There are several factors that limit his upside. He is already 28 years old; he is a liability in the field; the NL DH seemed to be a foregone conclusion this year, but is now a more uncertain possibility. Despite that, he has the approach and skill to turn into a perennial .280 hitter with 30 home runs. Not to mention the Mets, for all their struggles, perpetually want to compete, so he should be surrounded by good lineups to prop up his counting stats. If he can hit the upper end of his potential, we could even see a .300 batting average with 35 bombs. With that type of output, the Mets would basically be getting what they had hoped they had with Yoenis Céspedes, which would be a welcome addition to any fantasy roster, too.
Francisco Alvarez, Age: 19, Position: Catcher, Level: High-A
Analysis by: James Weisser
I’m sure many New York Mets fans already know this phenom’s name, and all the die hard prospect fans, writers, card collectors, and dynasty owners out there may have known his name for even longer. It’s amazing because he’s only 19 years old and already one of the biggest names out there, and now it seems he has a chance to hit his way into contention for a major league callup in a year or more, depending on development and contract status.
It was just three years ago on July 2nd, 2018 that the 16-year-old Venezuelan catcher signed with the Mets. At 10 years old, he helped his family’s construction business, handling 90-pound bags of concrete. That helped him develop strong arms that help him generate impressive bat speed and also serve him well behind the plate, the position where the Mets hope he can stay long-term.
Since signing, he’s been one of Mets’ best prospects thanks to a strong work ethic and grinder mentality that helps his tools play up even more.
In 2019 as a 17-year-old in rookie ball, he hit .462 for a week in the Gulf Coast League before earning a promotion to the Appalachian League (a league that usually is predominantly college players). He was not only the youngest player in the Appy League, but he was also considered the top prospect in the league upon his promotion.
There aren’t many players that get a chance to make it to that level at that age, let alone rank as the No. 1 prospect there. Most recently it’s been only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2016, and Wander Franco in 2018. Last year Alvarez was one of the few 18-year-olds at a team’s alternate site. He was the youngest player in the Mets’ alternate site camp, and was still considered by those there to be the most impressive hitter.
This season he’s gotten to show his advanced feel for hitting as he hit .417 at Low-A Southeast St. Lucie before earning a promotion to High-A Brooklyn, where he’s once again the youngest player in the league. While facing much older competition there have been some struggles with contact, but he’s shown tremendous bat speed, and he’s looked solid enough behind the plate. He was a Futures Game All-Star and hit a home run in his lone at-bat of the biggest game of his career so far.
A super exciting prospect and one of the best in the minors. He could develop into a 30-plus home run hitter at a premium position, which could make him into a perennial all-star one day. I encourage you all if you have the opportunity to watch him play at a ballpark near you to do it, if not there’s MiLB.TV or you can follow the Brooklyn Cyclones on social media, if you’d like to catch as much as you can of the future superstar. The Brooklyn Cyclones feature the Mets’ top three prospects in Alvarez, shortstop Ronny Mauricio and right-handed pitcher Matt Allan, all ranked in the top 100.
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