Sunday, September 09, 2007

MPH Mailbag - 9/9/07

David and Tejesh,

Well, I figured I would take you up on the e-mail request. With the minor league season winding down, it seems like it is time to review the state of the farm system. After such a promising year last year, it seems like we took a step back this year. I can't help but think the aggressive stance we took on our best prospects back fired on us. F-Mart, Guerra, Carp, Pelfrey, Fransicio Pena, Veloz, and Lagares all struggled mightily at the levels they were placed to open the season. Do you guys think the Mets hurt the longterm development of these players by being so aggressive this year? How do they repair the damage done to the bruised confidences of their star prospects?


Tejesh: Well, Andy, I'd say the aggresive promotions did not hurt anyone, in fact, they helped immensely. Take Greg Veloz, for example. He hit around .174 in his first stint with Savannah as an 18 year old, then was transferred to Kingsport, where he hit a robust .271/.344/.450 in 258 ABs. I'd chalk that up to seeing far more advanced pitching in the Sally League as opposed to the Appy League, learning that advanced pitching, then bringing that advanced approach to a weaker league. In the long run, it'll make him a much better player.

And a little correction, Fernando Martinez did not struggle in AA, he got hurt. Before contusing (is that a word?) his hand, he was hitting right around .300, which for an 18 year old was ridiculous. Hell, even his final line of .271/.336/.371 is great for his age at his level. Where did you want Mike Carp to go? He hit .287/.379/.450 as a 20/21 year old in the FSL last season, with 27 2b and 17 HR in 491 ABs. Having him repeat would've been a big mistake. Now that he's scuffled, you let him repeat AA. Even still, he hit .285/.387/.466 vs RHP this season in 249 ABs. The only thing holding Carp back is his inability to hit lefties (.173/.209/.209 in 110 ABs). Deolis Guerra was also injured for a good portion of this season, and when he was healthy, he was also dominating.

I'd say the only leg you have to stand on is Francisco Pena, and he'll be repeating A ball, anyway.

Thanks for your question, Andy.


Could you tell me more about Kevin Mulvey?

Tejesh: Kevin Mulvey (Villanova 3-8, 3.61 era, 14 GS, 92.1 IP, 91 H, 23 BBs, 88 Ks, 1.23 WHIP, GCL Mets 2 IP, H, K, 0.50 WHIP, AA Binghamton 0-1, 1.35 era, 13.1 IP, 10 H, 5 BBs, 10 Ks, 1.13 WHIP, AFL Mesa 0-2, 6.00 era, 5 GS, 15 IP, 17 H, 8 BBs, 7 Ks, 1.67 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 3-11, 3.60 era, 23 GS, 122.2 IP, 118 H, 36 BBs, 106 Ks, 1.26 WHIP

2007: AA Binghamton 11-10, 3.32 era, 26 GS, 151.2 IP, 145 H, 43 BBs, 110 Ks, 1.24 WHIP, AAA New Orleans 2-0, 0.00 era, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 0 BBs, 11 Ks, 0.46 WHIP

Originally selected by St. Louis Cardinals in 34th Round of the 2003 draft, Mulvey opted to go to college at Villanova, instead. Mulvey was 3-8 with a 3.61 ERA as a junior at Villanova. He logged 92.1 innings, and compiled 88 Ks against just 23 walks, prompting the Mets to draft him with their 2nd round pick, 62nd overall. Mulvey was expected to go in the top 30 picks, so the Mets felt they moved up a whole round with the drafting of Mulvey. His 3 seasons at Villanova produced a 14-16 record with a 4.46 era, in 244 innings, he allowed 248 hits while walking 96 and striking out 242.

Before the draft, he was considered by Baseball America to be the `best arm in the Northeast" and a "pitcher who always works around the zone and isn't afraid to attack hitters." Mulvey features a dominating fastball that has been clocked as high as 94-96 and consistently is in a range between 89-92. He sets that up with a slider to right-handed hitters and an improved curveball and changeup (82-84 mph) that he uses to get lefties out. The change-up comes out of his hand the same way as his fastball. That's 4 quality pitchers. Mulvey is well known to consistently throw strikes and go after hitters. Baseball America, after the draft, tagged Mulvey with the best fastball of all Mets 2006 draftees.

The one thing that separates Mulvey from Humber or Pelfrey is that one dominant pitch, which Mulvey lacks. He has 4 solid to above average offerings, but no true plus pitches, ala Pelfrey's fastball or Humber's curveball. During the AFL, Mulvey was experimenting with a cut fastball, trying to augment his already solid fastball/slider/changeup/curveball repertoire.

Strengths: Mulvey came to pro ball with a feel for four pitches. His fastball sits at 90-93 mph and touches 96. He has good leverage in his delivery, which allows him to maintain his velocity and might give him more as he matures physically. His 82-84 mph slider has short, late break. He's effective at changing batter's eye level with his mid-70s curveball. His changeup should at least provide a weapon against lefthanders. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot with a fluid arm action and little effort.

Weaknesses: Though he can throw all four of his pitches for strikes, Mulvey's command within the zone needs work. His changeup is still a below-average pitch at this point, and he lacks a true putaway pitch.

The Future: The Mets believe Mulvey has a chance to have four above-average pitches and could join their rotation in 2008. He may start his first full season in St. Lucie to avoid the cold April climate in Binghamton.

-taken from our First Annual System Audit in late January 2007.

Thanks for the question, alib20.


1.Do you feel that Nick Evans has over taken Mike Carp in the depth chart at 1B? Both of them will be in AA next year who is the 1B and who is the DH.

Tejesh: I think it's much much closer then it was last year, but I still believe Carp is higher on the depth charts for 1b. We don't exactly know if both will be in AA, but it's a very good bet. They'll probably switch off between 1b and DH next season.

2.Guerra has been up and down this year, do you feel that he'll be in A+ again or AA?

Tejesh: Guerra will be in AA next season.

3.Kevin Mulvey had great numbers in AA making both the all-star game and Future's game, he has 4 pitches working on 5 but none are above average what do you think of his future?

Tejesh: Well, since getting this question, all Mulvey's done is absoultely dominate in his 2 AAA starts, going 13 innings while only allowing 6 hits, walking none and striking out 11. At this point, he's making a very very strong case for being included alongside Pelfrey and Humber in our top tier of starting pitching prospects.

4.Mike Pelfrey has been very inconsistant this year, do you still think as high of him as say his first major league start to now?

Tejesh: I've seen tremendous improvement in Mike Pelfrey this year, and still think he can be a #1 starter. His slider has more depth and bite to it now then earlier this season, and his changeup has improved, as well. Combine that with his 2 and 4 seamers, he's all of a sudden got 4 pitches.

5.Philip Humber had a good year in New Orleans this year, how come the Mets keep giving Pelfrey chances but yet Humber is rotting out in the pen?

Tejesh: Well, I wouldn't be surprised to see Humber working out of the pen next season, and then taking over for Duque in the rotation in 2009.

6.Who is Willie Collazo, and can he help this team down the stretch?

Tejesh: Willie Collazo is a lefty, about 5'8, doesn't throw hard. Kind of a Pedro Feliciano clone, and I don't know about him helping this team either this year or next. We're (unfortunatly) locked into Mota and Show for next year. He could replace Sele, though.

7.What about Lastings Milledge? now that you've seen him play what do you think of his potential? and seriously does Willie have something against this kid that Shawn Green is starting over him?

Tejesh: I've never wavered on Milledge, and have always predicted stardom for him. Nothing he's done this year has changed that opinion, and given a full season next season, I see no reason he couldn't hit at least .290 with 20 homers and good defense in left field. Omar feels Carlos Gomez is ready, so he should be in right (since Gomez is the much better defender of the two).

8.Jon Neise is a finesse pitcher, so it'll take him longer to develop though tonight he threw an amazing game in Game 1 of the playoffs (6 IP 1 hit 9 k's) what do you think of his potential?

Tejesh: Jon Niese has always been an intriguing prospect for me, because he throws 88-92, not exactly finesse, but he's no Kazmir, at least yet. I'd say he can still add a couple of ticks on his fastball, and he's got a plus curveball, so I'd say his ceiling is a 3/borderline 2 starter. He sacrificed everything else this season for control, and in fact, did cut his walk rate in half. His final 6 or so starts this season were very promising, and he, too, should be in Binghamton, next year.

9.Dyan Owen is just destroying the NYPL is it just because he is pitching in such a bad league or do you think he is a good pitcher? What is his potential?

Tejesh: Dylan Owen is a beast. Straight up beast. He'll be 22 in St. Lucie next year, and it will be interesting to see how he responds. I think he is a good pitcher, however, it's too early to tell what his ceiling is.

10.Eddie Kunz numbers are inflated in Brooklyn how long until he is pitching in NY for the Mets?

Tejesh: I'd be shocked if he pulled a Joe Smith next year. I think he'll open in Binghamton, along with Brant Rustich, and most likely will stay there all season. Really, who is he replacing? Wagner, Heilman, Feliciano are your top 3 relievers. Hopefully you throw Smith into that mix, then you have Mota and Show, and whoever the long man is (Collazo?) - that's 7, and you're not going to carry more then that.

11.Whats your top 10 prospect list looking like now?

Tejesh: Right now - including Gomez and Pelfrey, mine would look like this: Humber, Gomez, Pelfrey, Fernando, Guerra, Mulvey, Carp, Evans, Parnell, Kunz

If you took Gomez and Pelfrey out, then I would consider putting Dylan Owen and Daniel Murphy/Anderson Hernandez on the list.

12.Why should we be excited for Bobby Parnell?

Tejesh: He added 4-6 MPH on his fastball this season, and now throws between 94 and 96 with outstanding sink. He also features an outstanding slider, and he also features a changeup with down bite to it, almost a splitter-esque pitch. He has been up and down in Binghamton this season, and should be there to begin next year, forming one of the best 1-2-3 combo's in AA, along with Guerra and Niese.

And, if Parnell doesn't make it in the rotation, he could be a devastating setup man in the majors.


Watch for this post to be edited with David's answers.

1 comment:

  1. Great work on the questions and answers. Keep up the good work!