Mets Use Depth To Get Tyler Clippard

Though the Mets need a bat most of all, their acquisition of Tyler Clippard makes good sense. By fielding-independent numbers, their bullpen has been middle-of-the-road so far this year, and the returns of Jenrry Mejia and Bobby Parnell might not be enough to push this bullpen into a strength as the end of the season approaches. Mejia’s post-season ban also creates a need, should they win the wild card and play extra baseball.

The prospect going back to the Athletics may not move the national needle much. 20-year-old Casey Meisner has spent the last 100+ innings striking out fewer than a batter per inning, and our own Kiley McDaniel wasn’t effusive in praise when he ranked Meisner the 22nd-best prospect in the Mets organization:

22. Casey Meisner, RHP Video: Meisner is a 6’7/190 righty that went in the 3rd round in 2012 out of a Texas high school. He sat 88-92 in high school and is now 90-94 mph, with good downhill plane; his curveball and changeup are both around average now and flash better, with so much projection it’s hard to say exactly what Meisner’s upside really is. He’s a solid athlete for his size and is pretty coordinated, so the typical super-lanky pitcher command concerns haven’t applied yet.

Because of the age and frame, maybe there’s more velocity coming. Because his two secondary pitches flash better, maybe there’s an actual major league starter coming. Because of these two facts, Meisner was one Mets player the Brewers were interested in if the two were going to complete a Gerardo Parra deal.

There’s enough to dream on when it comes to Meisner, but this acquisition probably says the most about the Mets’ prospect depth in general. Though that writeup above was for the 22nd-best Met prospect, it was also for the fourth-best 40 Future Value player in McDaniel’s rankings. Here’s the writeup for the Padres’ fourth-best 40 FV right-handed pitcher:

12. Justin Hancock, RHP Video: Hancock gives scouts two looks, so takes on him vary based on what version scouts saw of him. At his best, Hancock sits 92-94 mph with an above average to plus changeup and an average breaking ball with enough command to project as a back-end starter. On other days, the off-speed and command is more fringy than average and he looks like a Burch Smith-type swing man or middle reliever. He’ll go to Double-A or Triple-A next year and with some consistency could turn into a big league option by the end of the year.

Obviously those aren’t the same guys. But they aren’t far from each other, and yet one was his team’s 22nd-best prospect, and the other was his team’s 12th-best. Hide the team and player names on these situations, and it’s a no-brainer to say that you’re more likely to trade away the 22nd-best guy. The Mets had depth and they used it to improve their chances.

But former General Manager Dan O’Dowd pointed out on the MLB network that this calculus works in the other direction, too. If teams see that your cupboard is bare beyond your top two or three prospects — say, perhaps the situation in Baltimore — they’re less likely to think there’s a fit there. They are less likely to want to deal for *your* 20th-best prospect, but they might also be less likely to trade for your 14th-best prospect because of the idea that your system is barren.

Some feel that Sandy Alderson hasn’t done a lot of trading as a General Manager in New York. But by not trading, he’s improved the depth of his system. Which makes it easier to make small trades to improve the team in-season, when you have more information about how competitive your team is going to be.

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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Joe McMahon
7 years ago

Meisner’s stock has risen a lot since Kiley wrote that. Minor League Ball had him raked 20th before the season and recently wrote a piece singing his praises. Keith Law has also been heavily criticizing the Mets for the deal over the last 20 minutes, calling Meisner a “legit prospect”. It almost seems similar to Nottingham, where Beane jumped on a previously unranked prospect who’s been rising through the prospect lists quickly this season.

Joe McMahon
7 years ago
Reply to  Eno Sarris

Oh, I totally agree that Meisner’s numbers don’t match Nottingham. I’m not sure where all the hype is coming from, but it’s there. There are multiple mets people, such as the “amazinavenue” blog who say that Meisner will be a top 10 Mets prospect before next year. Not the most reliable of sources, but still a lot of people are high on this guy. Including Law and MinorLeagueBall, as previously mentioned.

Dick Trickle
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe McMahon

AmazinAvenue is run by bozos who know nothing. You can poll your local Congressman for a more legitimate opinion on sports matters.

7 years ago
Reply to  Joe McMahon

I don’t know about that. I saw him last month, that scouting report looks pretty on the mark to me. I saw him sitting around 90, without great command or secondaries, and didn’t like the delivery and arm action much either. He could touch 93, but with effort (overthrowing).

On the plus side, there is some Chris Young effect there, where the fastball can be effective even without great velocity, and he has a shot if he improves his delivery, command, and pitchability, but I really don’t see there being all that much projection there.

I realize Gsellman is 2 years older, but I’d take him over Meisner. I think Sandy maybe sold high here, on a guy getting hyped over good numbers in A ball.