Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MPH Mailbag Volume 2: The Big Three OF Prospects...

After another year of development, how do you rate the the big three outfield prospects (Milledge, Gomez, Martinez)? Is now an ideal time to move one of them in the right offseason trade? Has Milledge regained all the trade value he lost during the on and off the field issues that plagued him previously?

I have not seen F-Mart play, so I can't speak to his talent. I have seen all the big league games of Gomez and Milledge. I am still not sold on Milledge. He has great bat speed, but is very rough around the edges (no pun intended). He does not have great plate discipline, and his pitch recognition seems pretty poor. When Reyes first came up he also struggled with his discipline. However, there seem to be certain pitches Milledge cannot hit at this point in his career (slider off the plate). That was never the case with Reyes. There was no one way to pitch him. Milledge's defense is pretty poor. He has a reputation as a pretty good fielder, but that seems mainly due to a few highlight reel catches. He gets very poor reads and consistently misses his cut off man on his throws. Likewise, he often seems to have poor instincts on the basepaths. I do think he will develop into a solid ballplayer, but I don't see him as a budding superstar. More like a Jay Payton like player.

On the otherhand, I am very high on Gomez. He is very raw and will likely need several years to develop into a truly great hitter. However, he has unreal atheletic talent. He can make up for a lot of mistakes with that natural ability. He reminds me a lot of Reyes.



Andy, first of all, thanks for the question.

Secondly, you could not be more off base about Milledge. What else did you expect from a prospect, aside from being rough around the edges? He played exclusively CF throughout his minor league career, until his first callup in 2006. His defense needs work, and he has gotten better throughout the season. Also, regarding pitch recognition, you obviously do not remember the book on Jose Reyes. Throw a hard curve/slider at his feet, and he'd screw himself into the ground swinging at it. That was the book from 2003 to mid 2006. Lets not pretend Reyes came up here with a good eye, he didn't. He flailed at his fair share of sliders, over and over and over and over. Patience worked then, and patience will work now. Take it for what it's worth, but I see Milledge as of a David Wright type. High average, medium/high strikeout rate, decent eye (Wright's improved his walk rate this year a ton), medium/high power (25-30 isn't elite by any stretch), and good SBs.

Carlos Gomez, on the other hand, there is no ceiling there. He could be ... amazing. Captivating. Use whatever adjective you want, Gomez fits it. He wowed me so much during his time up here, I'm very high on Gomez. Gomez is Reyes to Milledge's Wright. I would not complain one iota about either, some fans get way too caught up in how a prospect does the first time out. Yeah, it'd be nice to have a Hunter Pence or Ryan Braun on our hands, but those guys were truly ready when they came up. Neither Milledge, nor Gomez, were ready, at all. That's the rawness/mistakes you see.

I think giving up on any prospect, much less one which was ranked #9 on BAs list in 2006, is just a recipe for disaster. Milledge will be a star. So will Gomez. Hopefully, both do it in Met uniforms.

PS: You asked for a ranking, I'd do it the way you asked. Milledge first, Gomez second, Martinez third.

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