Tuesday, January 23, 2007

MPH System Audit - 3rd base

3rd Base

Thank god for David Wright. The system is thin at third base, but luckily, we don’t exactly have a burning need down the road. Shawn Bowman pretty much makes this list at number one by default. It is very rare you get a dark horse candidate headlining any lists, but he does headline this one. Behind him is an intriguing prospect who has yet to play in the US, and then a threeseome of fillers. However, unlike the shortstop list (which will be up tomorrow), there actually is someone to sink your teeth into (Juan Lagares not withstanding).

1. Shawn Bowman (A+ St. Lucie .252/.311/.387, Tigres de Chinandega, Nicaragua .325/.400/.561 (37 for 114, 20 runs, 9 doubles, 6 homers, 24 RBI, 14 BBs, 18 Ks)

Combined Stats as of 1/8/07: 67 for 233, 14 2b, 3b, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 22 BBs, 57 Ks, .288/.349/.472, with a .821 OPS

Bowman was taken in the 12th round of the 2002 draft out of Charles Best High in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and assigned to Kingsport of the Appy League, where he struggled mightily. In fact, his rookie season was a complete failure, as he batted under .200 with no homers and 9 XBH in 171 ABs.

However, he bounced back very nicely for Cap City in 2004, hitting .258/.338/.449 with 17 doubles and 19 homers in 396 ABs. And then injuries took their toll on the 19/20 year old third baseman. In both 2005 and 2006, he broke his back, in the exact same place, derailing his career.

Bowman is still just 22, and before his injuries, word from scouts was that Shawn Bowman would eventually displace David Wright from third base. There is no doubt that the power is there, considering that in 2005, Bowman hit 15 doubles and 17 homers in just 326 ABs before breaking his back the first time. Bowman should open 2007 in Binghamton, so he is still on pace for a prospect, but by now, Bowman may have had us going “Carp who?”.

2. Jose Jimenez (R DSL Mets .309/.437/.455)

Not much is known about Jimenez, as is the case with most prospects before they get to the states. What we do know is Jimenez is 19 years old, born on May 9th, 1987, and had a good season in the Dominican Summer League, whatever that’s worth. He had 10 doubles and 2 homers in 110 ABs, with a near 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio. Again, take all that for whatever it’s worth. He bats righty, and throws righty as well, and in 15 ABs against lefties, he hit .400, and in 95 ABs against righties, he hit .295.

Hopefully, Jimenez opens 2007 in the states, so we can get a look at him. If he does, it'll most likely be in the Gulf Coast League, although there is an outside shot of him opening in either the Appy or Penn league.

3. Ivan Naccarata (R Kingsport .563/.650/1.063, A- Brooklyn .263/.331/.409, A+ St. Lucie .273/.298/.409)

Total 2006 Stats: .289/.353/.462 (57 for 197, 31 runs, 9 2b, 5 3b, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 18 BBs, 38 Ks, 5 SB, 1 CS, .815 OPS

Naccarata was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 40th round of the 2000 amateur draft and again by the Astros in the 21st round of the 2002 amateur draft. However, he opted to play college ball at Louisiana State University. The Mets signed him after the 2004 season, where as a senior he batted .281/.378/.384, with 6 doubles and 5 HR in 203 ABs. and he began his pro career in Brooklyn the following year, and batted .234/.368/.386 in 158 ABs, as a 23 year old.

Naccarata is a versatile player who features at third base (which is why he’s on our list at third), but he can play second and short in a pinch, and as done so while with the Mets. He is 24 years old, and will be 25 next season, and hasn’t spent more then 13 games above short season ball. He will need to produce results immediately if he is to further his status as a prospect. Not a big surprise, but any chance he has of making an impact in the Mets organization will be at second base (stop us when we become overtly repetitive).

4. Joshua Petersen (A+ St. Lucie .234/.274/.334)

Josh Petersen was originally drafted by the Twins in the 24th round of the 2002 draft, but did not sign. He signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2004 draft, and sent to rookie ball, Kingsport, where he hit .253/.341/371 in 53 games, playing first and third base. Petersen spent all of 2005 in Brooklyn, low class A, where he improved to .276/.323./.418.

Petersen skipped mid class A Hagerstown, this year and went to high class A St. Lucie, where he really teased followers of the farm system. After two months, Petersen was hitting .317/.341/.449 and showing no signs that the level was too much to handle. And at 23 years old, he was well on his way to a promotion to AA Binghamton. However, Petersen proceeded to go directly into the tank, as he did not hit over .170 in any of his next 3 months, and fell to his season totals of .234/.274/.334. He also managed to strike out 71 times in just 320 ABs.

Petersen most likely will repeat St. Lucie this season, and this will be a make or break year for him. With just 36 doubles and 12 homers in 688 career minor league at bats, and no track record of hitting for a high average, and with Shawn Bowman ahead of him, Petersen will need to rake, simply to get people thinking of him again.

5. Timothy Grogan (A- Brooklyn .230/.318/.301)

Grogan was originally drafted in the 47th round by the White Sox in 2002, but elected to go to Western Kentucky University. The Mets drafted him with their 19th round pick in 2005, after he hit .287/.387/.463 in his junior year at the college, with a near 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He was sent to Brooklyn where he hit .163/.349/.265 in 17 games.

A return trip to Brooklyn in 2006 produced a slightly better average, but nothing to write home about. In 65 games, Grogan hit .230/.318/.301, with just a homer in 183 ABs. At 23 years old, which is what Grogan will be when the season begins, he needs to make huge strides to overtake even Josh Petersen, let alone Shawn Bowman.

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