TDG’S Triple Play: New York Mets!
The Triple Play is back for a fifth season! This regular feature is broken down by senior writer Phil Barrington and he is joined by a rotating panel of some of the best Dynasty Baseball writers in the business. 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!
Luis Guillorme, Age: 27, Position: Second Base
Analysis by: Phil Barrington
While the puff pieces are flying regarding Guillorme’s ascension to Mets superstar (The NY Post is writing up beard changing as a reason), I want to know if there is anything there for us Dynasty-heads, long-term. While I am coming around more and more to the idea of streaming hot hitters (Kole Calhoun, Brad Miller, Kyle Farmer, Tyler Naquin and the like have all popped up on one or more Dynasty league teams while they’ve been hot), is Guillorme here to stay (and help your fantasy team)?
Guillorme is in his fifth big league season, having appeared on the big-league roster for some portion of the season, dating back to 2018. Though only enough to accumulate 368 total at-bats before 2022, hitting only two home runs and stealing three bases, you would be hard-pressed to find many baseball fans outside of Queens that know his work.
But there is a reason he is on fantasy radars now; the batting average, .356 (through this writing), and the opportunity, the starting second base job for the New York Mets. Now if he can remain hitting in the top two of the order, as opposed to hitting in the lower half of the order, (as he has overwhelmingly done so far this season) runs will also be on the table, and thus up his fantasy value.
The beard is not hiding any scars (that we know of), but it is something every piece I have read on Guillorme mentions, since it is, granted, a nice beard. But if nice beards are all it takes to be baseball famous in New York, one wonders why the Yankees are so against them? That’s not for me to know, but what I do know is that Guillorme can take a walk, with a 14% walk rate this season and 13% over his career. His strikeout rate is also near-elite at 14.7% in his big-league time.
Looking back, Guillorme was a 10th round selection of the Mets in 2013 out of high school and did not make it to Double-A until four years later. He showed low strikeout rates and decent walk rates, something that has translated to the majors, but never any power and not much speed (18 steals in Single-A in 2015 was an aberration, as he had 26 in all his other minor league seasons combined). Looks like, at the big-league level, he is who we think he is.
If Guillorme does not steal bases, nor hit home runs, as such, his fantasy value is tied to that batting average and on-base percentage. Similar to Luis Arraez of the Twins, and while Arraez has a spot on rosters in some leagues; others not, and usually that is league-size dependent (and that Arraez qualifies at almost all the positions). Right now, Guillorme is rostered in only 19% of Fantrax leagues and 16% of Yahoo ones, and qualifies at second, third, and (in some leagues) shortstop. In leagues where I have no second baseman, Guillorme can fill-in for the time being and ride the hot hand, but expecting more is not advised.
Pitcher, Age: Tylor Megill, Age: 26 Position: SP
Analysis by: Colin Coulahan
Tylor Megill debuted in 2021 for the Mets without much hype beforehand after some solid MiLB seasons. He pitched 89.2 innings last year and the results were a mixed bag. The 4.52 ERA and 1.28 WHIP were around league average and he gave up home runs at a higher rate than the rest of the league. Despite the mediocre surface stats, there were some signs that Megill could be better. His 19% K-BB% was great, putting him in the same group as Joe Musgrove, Walker Buehler, Frankie Montas, and Tyler Mahle. His fastball velocity was 94.7 MPH with a 29% Whiff rate and his slider was also a weapon, generating a 34% Whiff rate. His 3.85 SIERA also indicated he pitched better than the surface stats showed.
Me-Give Tylor a Chance
Just like in 2021, Megill earned a spot in the 2022 rotation thanks to some injuries to other Mets’ starters, and he didn’t disappoint. In seven games, Megill has posted a 26% K rate, lowered his walk rate to 6%, and has been able to avoid the longball; cutting his home run rate almost in half. Megill’s changeup has also improved; the Whiff rate has increased to 32%. Unfortunately, despite these improvements, Megill’s ERA is at 4.41, similar to his 2021 ERA. But this can be traced back to one bad start on May 11th where he only pitched 1.1 innings and allowed eight earned runs. Take this out and the line is much better – 2.43 ERA and a 3.09 SIERA. Even with this clunker of a game included Megill has pitched much better than the ERA would suggest as he’s rocking a 3.32 SIERA thus far this season.
If you compare video of Megill in 2021 to 2022 it’s easy to see the changes in his pitching mechanics. In short, he’s simplified them and made the movements more efficient, allowing him to throw the ball harder. His average fastball velocity is up to 95.7 MPH this year, and his max velocity has reached 99 MPH. Megill’s change-up, which was his worst pitch in 2021, has also seen an uptick in velocity. That’s now being thrown at 89 MPH, 3.5 MPH faster than last season. It also has more vertical and horizontal movement. I mentioned earlier how the Whiff rate for Megill’s changeup improved, but he’s also been able to limit damage against it. When hitters are able to get a piece of it they’re only able to post a .309 xwOBA against the pitch. That’s a huge improvement over the .386 xwOBA against that pitch in 2021.
So in short, Megill has cleaned up his mechanics to make them easier to repeat, which has led to increased velocity on his pitches, which has led to more Whiffs and fewer home runs. That’s a recipe for success.
Welcome to the Party
Just like all great Mets pitchers, Megill is currently on the IL with right bicep inflammation. It’s certainly not ideal as his velocity was trending downwards in his last two starts and this is something that is rarely mentioned when pitchers have velocity increases. Can their arms handle that all season? It does not appear that there is anything structurally wrong with Megill’s arm as he was able to avoid surgery. Expect Megill to be back with New York soon throwing heat and with that he’s on his way to becoming a solid mid-rotation fantasy pitcher.
Calvin Ziegler, Age: 19, Position: SP, Level: Single-A
Analysis by: Andrew Jurewicz
Calvin Ziegler, a six-foot, 205-pound prep arm from Ontario, had to overcome some extra challenges on his way to professional ball. Overlooked in the 2020 amateur draft, and with tighter travel restrictions in for 2021 in place in Canada, he headed to the US to get noticed. First ,with a Florida charter school, TNXL Academy, and then for the Ohio Warhawks travel team, a program that’s had a number of successful major league players over the years such as Pat “The Bat” Burrell, Brandon Phillips, and Roy “Doc” Halladay. His efforts paid off as, heading into the 2021 amateur draft, he was considered the top Canadian pitcher and selected by the Mets in the second round (46th overall). One report I read praising the selection was that other clubs had hinted that he wouldn’t have made it back to the Mets with their third-round pick. As the Mets were unable to sign top pick, Kumar Rocker, Ziegler by default became their top pick in that draft and they have to be encouraged with the early results.
Let’s See the Stuff
The two best offerings that stand out immediately are his fastball and curveball coming from what scouts describe as a powerful, athletic delivery. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s and can touch 97 mph with rising action while the curveball is a tight top to bottom pitch with plus potential in the high 70-low 80’s range. A changeup was a third pitch he had that was described as an average pitch at best and probably one that would get crushed by more advanced hitters. Needing to find a more effective third pitch, a Mets pitching coach suggested throwing a splitter instead as he had the hands to get the wide grip needed on the ball. In a recent interview for SNY.tv, Ziegler showed off the grip on his new pitch and discussed his understanding of analytics.
Through seven starts at Singe-A St. Lucie Ziegler has thrown 29 innings keeping batters to a .117 AVG and striking out 48 which is good for a 14.9 K/9. However, as with many young pitchers, walks can get the best of them and that’s certainly the case with a 5.59 BB/9. Look for that to improve as it can be coached up with continued professional instruction. All this goes along with a 3.10 ERA and 1.00 WHIP but one thing that stood out to me is that the ball has been kept in the park only allowing one home run.
Buying the Bacon
You’ll have to be in a league that goes pretty deep with prospects to find Calvin Ziegler on as team as he’s only claimed in 3% of Fantrax leagues as I write this. Earlier in the year heading into preseason rankings I had seen his name pop up on the back end for a couple of Mets top 10 prospect reports which put him on my radar, though, I’m sure if the Mets signed Rocker he would have been bumped down. However, here we are now and I’ve since been rostering in dynasty leagues where it makes sense as I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Better to be too early on a prospect (in those deep leagues) than too late.