Mets fans came out in droves on Thursday to pick the brain of ESPN's Keith Law. Below you will find Law's responses to the plethora of questions he received in yesterday's chat, along with some added context to round it all out.
Jacob deGrom was called up on May 15, and since that time he has struck out 64 batters in 66⅔ innings while turning in a 3.38 FIP and a 104 ERA+. Before this season, some who had seen him pitch doubted his ability to be a viable major league stater. What he has done is gone out and proven his doubters wrong, never more so than this past Tuesday night when he threw seven innings of seven-hit shutout baseball while striking out 11 batters.
Danny (Brooklyn, NY): Most didn't view Jacob deGrom as a high-upside starter, but it seems like he may have done what Matt Harvey did (NOT comparing him to Harvey) in that he saved his best for when he reached the majors. He's been 95-96 with the fastball consistently.
Keith Law: Fairly late/recent convert to the mound too, so I wouldn't be shocked if this was the real him - a new gear that no one saw coming. Always liked him but can't say I thought he'd be close to this.
Binghamton's Brandon Nimmo was Baseball Prospectus's ninth-rated prospect in the Mets' system coming into this season. While they praised his athleticism, they also questioned his ability to stick in center, believing that he profiles better in a corner. Law agrees.
Lenny (Philadelphia): Are you coming around to the possibility of Nimmo staying in center long term?
KL: You'd have to give me a reason why I would, and don't forget to mention that he's already torn an ACL in one knee.
Baseball America surprised some people by slotting the 51s' catcher, Kevin Plawecki, as the fortieth-best prospect in all of baseball. Baseball Prospectus didn't include him in their Top 101 list over the offseason, nor did Law include him in his pre-season list. Has he changed his mind?
Nick (Long Island, NY): I know you don't pay much attention to other 'lists', but BA had Kevin Plawecki ranked at the #40 prospect in baseball. I would think even Mets fans think this is higher than expected. Do you see him as a top 100 prospect at this point?
KL: He's not on my top 50 - and I do like him, would probably have him on my top 100.
Travis d'Arnaud struggled mightily out of the gate this season and was summarily sent down to Las Vegas, but since returning on June 24, he has slashed .300/.340/.560 with four doubles, three home runs, and ten RBI. Terry Collins said on Thursday that if d'Arnaud continues to hit like he has since his return, in a few weeks' time he could be batting in the three slot.
John (Cali): Is Travis d'Arnaud finally starting to live up to his hype?
KL: Hope so. Don't think he's a high-avg hitter but I believe in the power and he should be a good receiver ... but I also worry about any catcher who's had concussion problems staying at the position.
With the deadline approaching, trade speculation is heating up. Some Mets fans are hoping to see the organization make a move to add more power to the lineup. But which players are expendable and which are untouchable?
Finnegan (NJ): If the Mets do surrender a flamethrower for a power bat, how would you rank [from gone to don't trade] the list of Montero, Harvey, Syndergaard, Wheeler, deGrom?
KL: Don't trade Harvey. Most willing to trade Montero. Could make good arguments for any order of the other three but I might trade Thor before Zack.
A lot of Pirates fans are still stinging from the loss of Dilson Herrera in the Marlon Byrd/John Buck exchange from last season. And for good reason. Herrera has slashed .309/.364/.420 with 28 extra base hits and 17 stolen bases at two levels in 2014 while committing three errors in 103 chances at shortstop and ten in 269 chances at second. The question is, can he hang at the major league level, and if he does, where would he fit in an infield?
Keith (NY): What is your opinion of Dilson Herera? Will he be a starter and which MIF position will he settle in to?
KL: Starter at 2b. And a good one.
Savannah's Dominic Smith was ranked as the Mets' sixth-best prospect by Baseball Prospectus this past offseason, but he started out the season in a pretty serious funk, slashing .212/.261/.247 for the month of April. But starting in May, Smith began to heat up, and he's been solid ever since. However, some fans are still worried.
Pete (Annapolis): Hey Klaw, are you impressed with Dominic Smith's year? He got off to a rough start, but has played great IMO since May 1. No HR's but it's tough in Savannah right?
KL: Savannah murders LH power. He'll be fine.
Finally, another trade question regarding the potential value of Daniel Murphy.
James (NYC): With a few teams in the playoff hunt needing a 2B, what are the chances the Mets could get a top 100 (or top 150) caliber prospect for Daniel Murphy? How much does the fact that Murph is not a Qualifying Offer candidate affect his value (I am assuming a team wouldn't give him $16 million after 2015)?
KL: If someone believes he can play an average 2b, then yes.
There you have it. It's good to know that Mets fans are out in force, passionate about the team and trying to become as knowledgable as possible. Law was enthusiastic about nearly every Mets' player who was mentioned.
Let's just hope he's right.