Monday, December 25, 2006

Minorleaguebaseball.com's METS Prospect Report + Comments and analysis from me

NEW YORK METS

Organization MVP: Lastings Milledge. Barring an injury in New York, the Mets' top prospect is probably stuck at Triple-A, where he should reward the team's decision-makers for electing to hold on to him during a whirlwind of trade talks over the offseason. As well as he's handled Major League pitching during Spring Training, you've gotta believe Lastings can hang in the IL.

This was dead on in a number of ways. First, it was an injury that brought Milledge up to New York. Second, he did hang in the IL, batting .277 with 32 extra-base hits in 84 games. He did hit better early on (.357 in April), with the travels to and from New York perhaps taking their toll. That being said, he didn't actually win the Sterling Minor League Organizational Player of the Year Award, an honor that went to first baseman Mike Carp.

Cy on the farm: Mike Pelfrey. He was widely considered the best pitching talent in last year's draft, and judging by his Spring Training performance, the long layoff didn't negatively affect him. Brian Bannister will be pitching at a much higher level -- possibly even in the Majors -- and other promising hurlers like Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell could be pitching at the same level as Pelfrey, just at a younger age.

Well, Pelfrey did have a successful run in the Minors. He went 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA across three levels, striking out 109 and walking only 33 in 96 1/3 innings. Opponents hit just .232 against him and he made it to the big leagues for four starts in his first pro season. But it was Mike Devaney who took home Pitcher of the Year honors after leading the organization in ERA and wins and finishing second to Niese in strikeouts. There's not likely to be too much debate, though, over which Mike is more highly touted at this point.

High Tide: With players like Milledge, Brian Bannister, Jeff Keppinger, Brett Harper and Chase Lambin possibly spending time in Norfolk this season, the Tides could have quite a talented young nucleus in the International League. They made the playoffs last year while relying largely on older, veteran players like Brian Daubach, Ron Calloway, Benji Gil, Rodney Nye, Eric Junge and Jae Seo. This year, a return trip wouldn't be a surprise, although potentially with a much younger cast.

Oops. Norfolk finished 57-84, 22 games behind division winner Charlotte. Some of the players, like Milledge and Bannister (before getting hurt), were lost to the big leagues. Keppinger hit well before being traded. Lambin batted just .222 before being demoted to Double-A. Harper missed most of the year and the time he did play also was also in Double-A.

Latin love: Conspiracy theorists tried to accuse GM Omar Minaya of being a racist because of his proclivity for signing Latin players. But Mets fans won't be complaining if youngsters like Deolis Guerra, Fernando Martinez and/or Junior Contreras pan out as they're expected to. Martinez, from the Dominican Republic, and Guerra, a Venezuelan, are 16 and 17 respectively and signed for a combined $2.1 million last year (with Martinez getting $1.4 million). Contreras is a hulking 6-foot-6, 250-pound first baseman, who was second in the Gulf Coast League with eight home runs last year. The 20-year-old Dominican also drew 26 walks and was fourth in the league with a .401 on-base percentage and fifth in slugging (.500).

Muy bien. Guerra had a 2.20 ERA in 17 starts in his first taste of full-season ball (at age 17), yielding just 59 hits over 81 2/3 innings, before getting a three-start taste (including one playoff start) of the Florida State League. Martinez was the youngest player ever to play in the Arizona Fall League after he hit a combined .279 across two levels during the season. The teenage sensation is on the Top 50 prospects list and hit .333 in 45 games with Hagerstown before stumbling a little with an aggressive promotion to St. Lucie. Contreras made more modest gains, hitting .284, though without much power, mostly with Kingsport in the Appalachian League.

End result: Technically, we hit .250 on this one. But if you call the Pelfrey call a push, we improve to .333.

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Lastings Milledge had a good rookie season in the majors, and there is no reason to question his talent, or ability. His personality, perhaps, but not the talent. He displayed all 5 tools in his 166 AB introduction to the majors. He will likely begin the year in New Orleans, with Shawn Green (why?) in right field.

Mike Carp? He's legit. In a couple of the articles we posted late last month here, you read that Carp reinvented his stroke, spraying the ball around rather then being a dead pull (Jacobs?) hitter. We feel that this puts Carp into the David Wright mold of hitting. Carp's got natural power, enough to where he can and will hit 25-30 homers, just like Wright, along with a .300+ average. Look for big things out of Carp in Binghamton

Mike Pelfrey didn't do anything to harm his prospect status in his 4 MLB starts, but Phillip Humber, in my opinion, did a whole lot to boost his prospect status. Naysayers point out Humber is 23, which is true. However, Pelfrey's 22 and alot less refined. Humber has a 94 mph fastball which touches 96, with a hammer curve and a power change. Pelfrey just has a 96-98 mph fastball, and then several weak secondary pitches. Both pitchers will begin the season in New Orleans, most likely, headlining what looks to be a very very strong team.

The Latin Connection? Strong and vibrant. Fernando Martinez and Deolis Guerra are, without question, going to be stars in the majors, someday. FMart showed good discipline at Hagerstown, 15/36 BB/K ratio in 192 at-bats. Then, as a 17 year old (HS senior?) in high A St. Lucie, he hit 5 homers in 119 ABs, doubling his season total to 10. Guerra just tore the Sally League apart, and he's also just 17. Look for his fastball to pick up between 4-7 mph, becoming a plus/plus offering. He is also very refined, with a very good changeup.

All in all, I feel that the Mets farm system doesn't get the props it deserves. But that'll change, really soon. We have 7 very legit prospects in the farm, and good depth, too.

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PS: Sorry about not updating this blog in a while, but the winter months are extraordinairly quiet with regards to prospects.

PPS: Carlos Gomez is 5 for his last 8, raising his average to .242. His stats: 11 runs scored, 0 2b, 3b, hr, 5 RBI, 2 BBs/26 Ks (yes, his plate discipline ain't good, but he wasn't playing regularly for a long time, he is now), 12 SBs (considering he's gotten on base a whopping 24 times, that's pretty good, the 12 steals).

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Have a nice and safe Christmas, everyone.

2 comments:

  1. and other promising hurlers like Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell could be pitching at the same level as Pelfrey, just at a younger age.

    who was that second dude again?
    =P
    good job keeping the site going while i was gone tej

    ReplyDelete