Archive for Met Mysteries

We Got A Shot This Year

Hey all, I’m getting my first vaccine jab today. I’m also getting a shot from the Mets to re-buy 2021 tickets, although we’ll have to see how that all works out.

As I’ve probably mentioned before I buy tickets a la carte rather than by plan. If they offered a Tuesday-Night-Only we might consider it but I like the freedom of choosing not to go some nights. But with season-ticket holders first in line for April’s 20% capacity I’m gonna line up Thursday and try to get our first one in (April 27 vs. the Red Sox).

You know who else looks to have a shot? The 2021 Mets, that’s who. It wasn’t great news to be starting the year with Carlos Carrasco or Seth Lugo, and Dellin Betances isn’t inspiring much confidence but I like our chances this year. Joey Lucchesi  might not reach Steven Matz’s highs but I’m confident he can avoid the lows and his funky delivery is fun to watch. David Peterson (now wearing 23 doncha know) might not be the No. 2 he was thrust into being last year but can hold down the fort at No. 4/5 alright.

I suppose there remains a little drama as to who makes up the back end of the bullpen, where a newly numbered Robert Gsellman is facing a Matz-like make-or-break moment in his stalled career and Jacob Barnes and Mike Montgomery are considered possibilities to make it. Tommy Hunter already left us. I’d left him and Montgomery off the in-progress sprint roster (which is now updated below). You’d figure if Montgomery comes north it’d be in Hunter’s 29 and not the 70 he’s been wearing. Barnes wears 40, which he can keep.

Oh and hey the lineup looks pretty darn good.

We’ll see you on Thursday, and maybe some Tuesdays!

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Pillarious

It’s just as well Brandon Drury hasn’t shown up for camp yet because they don’t have the laundry for him anyway. That’s the story now that the Mets have dressed the newly arrived Kevin Pillar in his customary 11 while the non-roster infield longshot Drury will chose among the few left available in our updated chart below, perhaps 15 as Guillermo Heredia sure enough was whacked and subsequently waiver-wired by the Braves, where he’ll be obligated at have at least one turn at-bat we’ll regret this year.

By now we’ve heard still more from Taijuan Walker whom I have to say is a lot better at social media than Trevor Bauer. Walker has embraced his 99–as his his only predecessor, Turk Wendell–and explained that he’d come up as a 44 but was bumped off it when he was traded to Arizona and teamed with Paul Goldschmidt so took 99; a move to Toronto put 99 into conflict with Hyun Jin Ryu so took 00; and now Mr. Met forces a move back to 99. When we trade him, he’ll go back to 44.

Updated roster! NRIs in italics:

Number Name Notes
0 Marcus Stroman, P
1 Jonathan Villar, INF was Amed Rosario
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Albert Almora Jr., OF
5 vacant Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
7 vacant
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Gary DiSarcina, CH 3rd base coach
11 Kevin Pillar, OF
12 Francisco Lindor, SS
13 Luis Guillorme, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Caleb Joseph, C
16 Jose Martinez, INF-OF
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 Jose Peraza, INF
19 Luis Rojas, MGR
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Mallex Smith, OF
22 Brian Schneider, CH moved from 23; was Rick Porcello
23 David Peterson, P moved from 77; was Brian Schneider
24 Vacant was Robinson Cano (suspended)
25 Ricky Bones, CH bullpen coach
26 Jerry Blevins, P
27 Jeurys Familia, P
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Tommy Hunter, P released
30 Michael Conforto, OF
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Aaron Loup, P was Steven Matz
33 James McCann, C
34 Noah Syndergaard, P
35 Trevor Hildenberger, P
36 Retired Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Arodys Vizcaino, P was Justin Wilson
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Jacob Barnes, P was Wilson Ramos
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Jerad Eichoff, P
44 Robert Gsellman, P moved from 65; was Rene Rivera
45 Jordan Yamamoto, P was Michael Wacha
46 Stephen Tarpley, P
47 Joey Luchessi, P was Chesen Shreeve
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Jeremy Accardo, CH assistant pitching coach
50 Miguel Castro, P
51 Tony Tarasco, CH first base coach, was Paul Sewald
52 Sam McWilliams, P was Yoenis Cespedes
53 Jeremy Hefner, CH pitching coach
54 Chili Davis, CH hitting coach
55 Cory Oswalt, P
56 Tom Slater, CH Assistant hitting coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Dave Jauss, CH Bench coach
59 Carlos Carrasco, P
60 Bruce Maxwell, C was Andres Gimenez
61 Sean Reid-Foley, P
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P
64 Yennsy Diaz, P
65 Trevor May, P was Robert Gsellman
66 Franklyn Kilome, P
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Dellin Betances, P
69 Vacant
70 Mike Mongomery, P
71 Oscar De La Cruz, P
72 Wilfredo Tovar, INF
73 Daniel Zamora, P
74 David Rodriguez, C
75 Harol Gonzalez, P
76 Patrick Mazeika, C
77 Khalil Lee, OF was David Peterson
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 Ricky Meinhold, CH assistant pitching coach
80 Rafael Fernandez, CH/JT Ginn, P BP pitcher
81 Johneshwy Fargas, OF
82 Jared Robinson, P
83 Tom Windle, P
84 Brandon Drury, INF
85 Stephen Nogosek, P
86 Jake Hager, INF
87 Mark Vientos, INF
88 Ryley Gilliam, P
89 Drew Furgeson, OF
90 Nick Meyer, C
91 Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
92 Tylor Megill, P
93 Matt Allen, P
94 Ronny Mauricio, INF
95 Francisco Alvarez, C
96 Brett Baty, INF
97 Marcel Renteria, P
98 vacant
99 Taijuan Walker, P
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Superspreader

Hey all thanks for the updates in the below post. As you guys are aware since our last big blast the Mets have reportedly added a new Pillar to accompany their new Villar, scooped up a matching pair of veteran left-right arms in Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter, released Brad Brach, traded Ali Sanchez to St. Louis for cash, waived and then resigned Corey Oswalt, saw Tim Tebow’s pretend career end in retirement, and now have a deal in place to land the intriguing Taijuan Walker to a rotation that’s getting pretty deep.

Hard to imagine that training camp won’t also threaten to be a superspreader event as its already spreading uni numbers all over the place and cover is getting awfully hard to find. These numbers are always in flux: The Kevin Pillar and Walker deals still aren’t finalized and their additions to the 40 may accompany some subtractions, but taking it all in — the 69 guys expected in camp, the 14 uniformed but non-playing personnel, the 6 retired numbers (14, 31, 36, 37, 41, 42) and the other unassigned digits in limbo (5, 8, 17, and the newly complicated 24–a limbo number now in double secret limbo) that leaves at the moment only 7, 69, 84, 85, 98 and 99 free, perhaps 00 also.

Taijuan Walker, whose colorful closet includes jerseys bearing numbers 99, 0 and 00 wondered aloud the other day:

I dunno about that, Tai, but let’s assume you’ll be the first Mets’ 99 since Turk Wendell. 00 is a possibility too but there’s Mr. Met to consider. Pillar in the meantime would almost have to take 7, but I have an especially strong suspicion now that his addition is another indication Guillermo Heredia will be pink-slipped– he’s barely hanging on to a roster slot and the 15 jersey now. As pointed out in the comments below it’s possible now the Mets could move Noah Syndergaard to the 60-day Injured List so a another 40 sacrifice may not need to be made right away but Daniel Zamora  should probably be looking over his shoulder which would free up the always attractive No. 73.

Tommy Hunter a durable veteran righty reliever we most saw most recently with the Phillies but whom I think of an Oriole starter, was assigned the No. 29 vacated by the released Brad Brach. Montgomery, is a tall lefty who’s something like the Jesse Orosco of Chicago, having secured the nailbiting final out of the Cubs’ long awaited 2016 World Series victory but more recently toiled in Kansas City.

The Mets are listing Oswalt in the same 55 he momentarily gave up while he cleared waivers, so we’re assuming that’s the deal.

Happy Birthday to Us

Finally, I always forget this but not this year. This Monday 2/22/21, marks the 22nd birthday of Mets by the Numbers! A quick celebration as we count down the Top 10 Mets’ all-time 22s:

10. Dale Murray (1978-79). Workhorse sinkerballer for the darkest Mets era, his results were a match for the clubs’.

9. Charlie O’Brien (1992-93). Backup receiver in another rotten era. Like Murray, results weren’t any better than the team’s. 22 was his third number as a Met and the best of three three.

8. Jose Valentin (2007). His second year as a Met, only one in 22, worse in every way than the first.

7. Dominick Smith (2017-19). Since moved to greater success wearing No. 2.

6. Xavier Nady (2006). A half-season of exemplary slugging contributed to one of the most satisfying starts in club history.

5. Jack Fisher (1964-67). Wasn’t terribly successful Fat Jack worked. 931.2 innings in four years including a club record that might never be broken unless this “opener” idea really takes off: 36 starts in 1965.

4. Kevin McReynolds (1987-91, 1994). Laconic and unpopular but all the things Joe McIlvaine liked about him were true: He had power, he had speed, he had a good arm, he was solid defensively.

3. Ray Knight (1984-86). McReynolods’ popular predecessor who shouldn’t have to buy a drink in New York but people forget the fan animosity toward Knight was nearly McReynoldseque given how rotten he was in 1985

2. Donn Clendenon (1969-71): Key arrival in ’69, never again needed to buy drinks.

1. Al Leiter (1998-2004): Heart and soul of the Valentine era Mets hurlers that birthed this site and who has long belonged in the club’s hall of fame but remarkably isn’t there. A creative and occasionally exasperating thinker whose effort was laudable as it was audible. Needn’t buy drinks when I’m around.

 

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Depth Charge

The big contracts and bold trades get all the attention here in the Hot Stove season but I quite admire when the right little moves are made.

Capturing the speedy, switch-hitting utilityman Jonathan Villar may or may not turn out out to be one of them, but it’s a good act by acting GM Zack Scott. I like when the club can get these young veterans who flame out as regulars at the moment their careers transition because they’re not too old yet to fake it in the event of an injury. It’s probably not the most welcome news for Luis Guillorme (and maybe worse still for Jose Peraza, the reserve shortstop acquired on a minor league deal earlier this offseason) but Villar, the former Astro-Brewer-Oriole-Marlin-Blue Jay, can play 2nd, 3rd, short or the outfield, switch hits, stole as many as 62 bases in a year, and hit as many as 24 home runs as a regular. That’s a pretty good resume.

Villar looks like a single-digit kinda guy to me; I’m slotting him in No. 4. He’s worn 2 most often in his career.

Ranking the Met Jons, Jonathons, and Jonathans

  1. Matlack (Jonathan Trumpbour, 1971-77)
  2. Niese (Jonathon Joseph, 2008-16)
  3. Rauch (Jon Erich, 2012)
  4. Nunnally (Jonathan Keith, 2000)
  5. Switzer (Jon Michael, 2009)
  6. Adkins (Jonathan Scott, 2007)

 

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Off Center

He’s no George Springer. But look out, Guillermo Heredia.

The Mets this morning have signed erstwhile Cubs flychaser Albert Almora Jr., presumably to shore up the defense in center field and provide a right-handed bat reserve bat.

Almora wore No. 5 with the Cubs so will need to shop for a new uni with the Mets. In the meantime all the stuff I speculated on below with respect to adding another Cub or two to the mix seems even more likely.

The signing comes as Juan Lagares, whose brief return to the Mets last season included a stint in the ridiculous No. 87, has found a new home in Anaheim. Also spotted on the developing Mets roster: New lefty reliever Aaron Loup assigned 62, with current issuee Drew Smith numberless.

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Matz All, Folks

After six seasons of occasionally brilliant and frequently frustrating work on the mound and the disabled list the Mets finally cut ties with Steven Matz, sending the Long Island lefty to Toronto for three prospects.

The move addresses what looks to be temporary crowding among would-be starting pitchers for the 2021 club but also presumably frees some roster space and cash should the Mets still wish to add another, like the still-available Trevor Bauer who could be different kind of headache.

Nothing against Steve personally here. It was always a lofty order to expect a lefty wearing 32 to perform with Matlackian precision–Matz falls about halfway to all of Matlack’s team records as a pitcher. But after a while it seemed that his local heritage–and ties to the first Omar Minaya regime that drafted him way back in 2009–provided him more opportunity than another guy with his spotty health and track record might get (like Zack Wheeler), and I suspect I wasn’t the only one scratching my head that this deal wasn’t considered any sooner. Matz was about the worst pitcher in the league last season. At any rate we get back three starting pitcher prospects, none of whom seem to have a lot of upside from what I’ve absorbed, but all presumably capable of one day inheriting the mop-up role that Matz appeared to pitched himself into, and they have minor-league options remaining: So Meet Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski, Zack Scott’s first gets as “acting” general manager.

Reid-Foley has made a handful of appearances in Toronto wearing 54; Diaz has worked two-thirds off an MLB inning 2 seasons ago (walking 4, wearing no 59); and Winckowski has yet to appear above A ball.

I’d look for 32 to be assigned to incoming lefty Joey Lucchesi.

Meantime, after swinging and missing on more bullpen help and trading an ill-fitted lefty option in Matz, the Mets scooped up journeyman southpaw Aaron Loup. The 33-year-old Loup has pitched for Toronto, Philadelphia, San Diego and last season, Tampa, fairly effectively in the dying age of lefty specialists. Loup, from what I read a laconic Louisiana Cajun, wore 15 last year, 38 in San Diego, 47 with the Phils and 62 with the Jays. Let’s slot him in at, uh, 16 or 18. Why not?

 

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65witching It Up

While the Mets are busy signing their arbitration-eligible guys and pursuing even more relief pitchers (keep your eyes peeled for that METS GIVE HAND JOB headline in the Post), some of their guys are trying on new uni numbers.

Some of the activity relates to new reliever Trevor May who evidently will retain the same No. 65 he wore in his previous job with the Twins. That means a switch for newly re-signed bullpenner Robert Gsellman, who rosters now list in 44. I’ve railed against offensive-line numbers for major leaguers for some time now but there was something appropriate to the 65 hanging beneath the broad shoulders of Gsellman, as the digits mimic the unique spelling on the name above them: 65ELLMAN, right? It’s a gshame. On the other hand, Gsellman could probably stand to switch his career up in a lot of ways. Gselly inherits 44 from two-time Met (and three-time ex-Met), Rene Rivera who wore 44 briefly last year, and before than in 2016. Rivera also hung around their minors in 2008 but never appeared.

In a downward move that makes more sense, David Peterson has dropped 54 digits from his ridiculous 77 he wore last season and is now listed as 23. We’ll have to check and see what that means for coach Brian Schneider, who wore it last year and appears currently numberless on the roster.

Catching up on additional 40-man roster stuff, the Mets.com roster lists James McCann as expected in No. 33; utilityman Robel Garcia in 00; and the curiously acquired slugger Jose Martinez as 53, while pitching candidates Jacob Barnes, Sam McWilliams and Stephen Tarpley along with catcher Patrick Mazeika, remain unassigned. If these seeming assignments hold, look for pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and Mascot Mr Met to have a new assignments. And Hefner joins Schneider, Jeremy Accardo (59 reassigned to Carlos Carrasco), Dave Jauss, and Tony Tarasco as coaches awaiting new assignments.

Also on the radar: some guys who had assignments last year (Corey Oswalt 55, Drew Smith 62, Ali Sanchez 70) appear unassigned. I do hope this means more deflation.

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Blas From the Past

It’d been bothering me for a few days now that after assembling the below list of Met 34s, I’d come across yet another instance where our humble record here and the posted info as Baseball-reference came into conflict.

This time? It’s Blas Minor, identified as having worn No. 55 for the Mets in 1995.

I’m going dispense with the mystery right here and now and say it: This never happened.

Minor was wearing 34 for the Mets when 1995 camp broke, he wore it for three innings on the mound in Denver for opening day, and coach Frank Howard occupied No. 55 not only for all of that year but for the entirety of Minor’s career as a Met.

The Record newspaper season preview, April 23, 1995. Opening day was April 26.

Well why then? As we’ve noted in the past bbr seems to have imported their uni-data from Jack Looney’s book NOW BATTING NUMBER. That work literally has about 12 pounds of impressive research but it’s not nearly as precise as it could be. Multiple number issues in a season aren’t presented in sequence, for example. In Minor’s case, the 55 reference in the book is noted as (INJ), or injured. This could refer to the period that season that he spent on the disabled list or perhaps in a minor league rehab start, but there’s no record of that either. He never wore 55 in a Mets game.

It’s a Minor error, for sure.

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The Matlack Mets Murder Mystery of 1970

Jon Matlack, the nasty lefty whose stuff was way more effective than his record ever reflected, is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Matlack, from SABR: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/c0ddd500

The Mets announced earlier this year that Matlack was among three deserving new enrollees in the club’s oft-neglected Hall of Fame: Edgardo Alfonzo and Ron Darling are the other two.

The starting rotation onto which Matlack earned his way in 1972 wasn’t an easy one to crack. The 17-year-old first-round draft pick out of West Chester, Pa. in 1967 (4th in the country that year) had the mixed blessing of coming around at a time when slightly older contemporaries like Seaver, Koosman, Gentry and Ryan were just establishing themselves as big-league youngsters with the Mets and so he spent nearly three full seasons at AAA waiting his turn.

Interestingly Matlack got a look with the September callups of 1970, but never appeared in a game. What number did he wear then? Well, that depends on where you looked–and when.

The Daily News announced his arrival on September 3 that year and indicated that Matlack had been assigned No. 27.

As often accompanies these mysteries the Mets were on the road at the time in St. Louis and en route to Chicago, where sure enough Matlack appeared on a scorecard roster from that series in Wrigley– only this time listed as No. 50:

Back in New York, a scorecard accompanying the Sept. 10 game at Shea lists Matlack wearing neither 27 nor 50, but 35. We’ve has this record for some time and consider it the unoffical official record: Matlack was in uniform and active but simply didn’t appear.

Interestingly if you read the Daily News clip above–one hell of a notes column with Cool Papa Bell making an appearance–you’ll also get the whisper that GM Bob Scheffing was in the process of shopping for an unnamed veteran pitcher who needed to clear waivers. This is because the defending world champs were in a dogfight for a division crown at the time with Pittsburgh and Chicago. The Mets reportedly were seeking Yankees’ veteran lefty Steve Hamilton but they were blocked when the White Sox made a deal for him. Instead they scooped up Dean Chance from Cleveland.

This is notable for our tale because Chance was assigned No. 27. He also played a crucial role in the Mets’ ultimate shortcoming in that pennant race. Chance’s first Mets’ appearance came in the 10th inning of game 2 of a doubleheader with division-leading Pittsburgh on Sept. 20. The Mets won Game 1, but Dean blew his Chance, so to speak. Called on to relieve Tug McGraw with a runner on second, one out and 1 run in giving the Pirates a 6-5 lead, Chance intentionally walked Dave Cash, gave up a 2-run triple to light-hitting Gene Alley, then a squeeze bunt from Dave Guisti. The 4-run rally was more than enough and the Mets never got closer in the race.

Matlack, presumably wearing No. 35, watched it all from the bullpen and wouldn’t participate in meaningful Mets baseball until a star turn in the 1973 playoffs. In spring training of 1971, Matlack was again wearing No. 35:

But by the time he got a call to the Mets in July, 35 was on the back of teammate Charlie Williams and so Matlack was issued No. 32, with which he made his big-league debut and would wear to a Rookie-of-the-Year performance in 1972, the aforementioned dominance in the 1973 postseason, and All-Star appearances in 1974, 1975 and 1976, before the diminishing Mets traded him to Texas following a disappointing performance in 1977. Matlack spent six seasons in Texas including an excellent 1978 (15-13, 2.27, 270 innings and 18 complete games), and later went on to star in the Senior League in 1990, and coach for several organizations.

Forty-three years later, Matlack is coming back to where he belongs.

 

 

 

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2020 Vision

Today came word that the Mets inked veteran sluggo Matt Adams to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. Whether he winds up a 40-homer hitter in Syracuse or Pete Alonso’s caddy will depend I suspect on whatever Chief Brody has up his sleeve still. I wanna think they have some plans to move things around still (Dom Smith and Cesedes for Arenado?) Who knows.

But with the understanding things are still very fluid, let’s take the first crack at a 2020 numerical roster. Note we’re still awaiting assignments for several coaches (Jeremy Hefner, Tony DeFrancesco); unassigned 40-men players (Ali Sanchez); and non-roster invitees (Adams, Matt Blackham, Ryley Gilliam, Pedro Payano, Francisco Rios, Chasen Shreve, Kevin Smith and Adonis Uceta — and probably several more)… also note there are currently two guys assigned No. 60.

Number Name Notes
0 Marcus Stroman, P was 7
1 Amed Rosario, SS
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF was 22
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Jed Lowrie, INF
5 vacant David Wright
6 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
7 vacant was Marcus Stroman
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Gary DiSarcina, CH 1st base coach
11 Vacant was Ruben Tejada
12 Vacant was Juan Lagares
13 Luis Guillorme, INF Was Asbrubal Cabrera
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Vacant was Carlos Beltran
16 Jake Marisnick, OF
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 vacant was Rajai Davis
19 Luis Rojas, MGR Was Sam Haggarty
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Vacant was Todd Frazier
22 Rick Porcello, P was Dom Smith
23 vacant was Aaron Altherr
24 Robinson Cano, 2B
25 Ricky Bones, CH bullpen coach
26 Vacant was Mickey Callaway
27 Jeurys Familia, P
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Brad Brach, P
30 Michael Conforto, OF
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Steven Matz, P
33 vacant was Hector Santiago
34 Noah Syndergaard, P
35 Jacob Rhame, P
36 Retiring Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Justin Wilson, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Wilson Ramos, C
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Vacant was Luis Avilan
44 vacant/Rene Rivera, C? was Rivera (now NRI)
45 Michael Wacha,P was Zack Wheeler
46 vacant was Brooks Pounders
47 vacant was Drew Gagnon
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Tyler Bashlor, P
50 vacant was Jim Riggleman, CH
51 Paul Sewald, P
52 Yoenis Cespedes, OF
53 vacant was Glenn Sherlock, CH
54 Chili Davis, CH hitting coach
55 Corey Oswalt, P
56 Tom Slater, CH Assistant hitting coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Hensley Muelens, CH Bench coach
59 Steven Gonsalves, P was Chuck Hernandez, CH
60* Jeremy Accardo, CH assistant pitching coach
60* Andres Gimenez, INF NRI
61 Walker Lockett, P
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P was Tim Petersen
64 Jordan Humphreys, P was Chris Flexen
65 Robert Gsellman, P
66 Franklyn Kilome, P
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Dellin Betances, P
69 Vacant
70 Eric Hanhold, P
71 vacant
72 Steven Nogosek, P NRI
73 Daniel Zamora, P
74 vacant Ali Sanchez, C?
75 vacant
76 vacant Patrick Mazeika, C?
77 David Peterson, P
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 vacant
80 vacant
81 vacant
82 vacant
83 Stephen Villines, P?
84 vacant Ryder Ryan, P?
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