Wednesday, January 31, 2007

ESPN 2/SNY TV Schedule for Caribbean World Series

ESPN 2 Schedule:
2 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Venezuela versus. Dominican republic Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
2 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Mexico versus. Puerto Rico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:30 p.m. -
11:00 p.m.
3 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Dominican republic versus Mexico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
3 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Puerto Rico versus. Venezuela Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:00 p.m. -
10:30 p.m.
4 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Mexico versus. Venezuela Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
4 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Puerto Rico versus. Dominican republic Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:00 p.m. -
10:30 p.m.
5 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Dominican republic versus. Venezuela Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
5 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Puerto Rico versus. Mexico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:00 p.m. -
10:30 p.m.
6 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Mexico versus. Dominican republic Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
6 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Venezuela versus. Puerto Rico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:00 p.m. -
10:30 p.m.
7 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Venezuela versus Mexico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m.
7 of Feb. The Series of the Caribbean 2007
Dominican republic versus. Puerto Rico Baseball - Series of the Caribbean
Stage Robert Clemente Carolina, Puerto Rico 7:00 p.m. -
10:30 p.m.

The SNY Schedule will be as follows


Venezuela vs Dominican Republic 3:00 pm
Mexico vs. puerto Rico 7:30 pm

Mexico vs Dominican Republic 6:00 AM
Venezuela vs Puerto Rico 12:00 pm
Mexico vs Venezuela 3:00 pm
Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic 7:00 PM

Dominican Republic vs Venezuela 3:00 pm
Puerto Rico vs Mexico 7:00 pm

Mexico vs Dominican Republic 3:00 pm
Venezuela vs Puerto Rico 7:00 pm

Venezuela vs Mexico 3:00

Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic 12:00 pm

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Toronto Blue Jays sign Victor Zambrano

As per the Seattle Post-Intelligence, the Blue Jays have signed Zambrano.

Bye bye, Diktor, please let the door hit you as hard as possible.

One down, lets hope some team signs Steve Trachsel so that possibility is erased.

Note: This post reflects only my views, not David's.

News on Anderson Hernandez + BIG NEWS FOR BASEBALL FANS!

Apparently Aguilas wants him to play for them in the Caribbean Series.

And on the subject of the Caribbean Series, those of you (like me), who are about to go mad with boredom unless you get a fix of new baseball, rejoice. SNY will be broadcasting the Caribbean Series.

Visit for a schedule.
Relief Pitchers

1. Joe Smith (Wright State 3-1, 0.98 era, 31 G, 13 SVs, 55 IP, 34 H, 16 BBs, 63 Ks, 0.91 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 0-1, 0.45 era, 17 G, 9 SVs, 20 IP, 10 H, 3 BBs, 28 Ks, 0.65 WHIP, AA Binghamton 0-2, 5.68 era, 10 G, 12.2 IP, 12 H, 11 BBs, 12 Ks, 1.82 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 3-4, 1.54 era, 58 G, 22 SVs, 87.2 IP, 56 H, 30 BBs, 103 Ks, 0.98 WHIP

The leader of a rogue group of escaped military prisoners accused of a crime they didn’t commit…

Right, sorry. Putting my inner TV geek away now. Smith was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft out of Wright State, as one of the top college closers available. He put up 13 saves in 31 appearances, with a 0.98 era in 55 innings pitched. After drafting Smith, the Mets sent him to low A Brooklyn, where he dominated using a low 90s sinker (which hits 94), and an outstanding slider – both offered from a sidearm delivery. After 20 innings in Brooklyn, Smith joined AA Binghamton, bolstering the bullpen for their ill-fated playoff run. Smith served as one of Henry Owens’ setup men, and struggled (naturally, having jumped over 3 levels).

Smith's control can falter at times and like most sidearmers, he has real problems with the opposite side, as Double-A lefties went 10-for-20 against him.

Strengths: Smith is unique because he throws much harder than typical sidearmers, and his 89-91 mph fastball has sinking, fading action. It tops out at 94. He stays on top of an 81-83 mph, two-plane slider that destroys righthanders. They hit just .104 against him in pro ball.

Weaknesses: The key to Smith reaching his ceiling is his changeup. He never needed it in college, but he does in pro ball to keep advanced lefthanders honest. They went 10-for-20 (.500) against him in his brief Double-A stint.

The Future: If he can make his changeup an average pitch, Smith should be an excellent setup man. Without it, he'd be just a righthanded specialist. Chad Bradford filled that role for the Mets in 2006, and his departure could allow Smith to make the team at some point in his first full season. He'll probably open in Triple-A

2. German Marte (A Hagerstown 3-0, 2.58 era, 32 G, 4 SVs, 59.1 IP, 49 H, 20 BBs, 62 Ks, 1.16 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 2-0, 0.00 era, 9 G, 4 SVs, 9 IP, 7 H, 6 BBs, 6 Ks, 1.44 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 5-0, 2.24 era, 41 G, 8 SVs, 68.1 IP, 56 H, 26 BBs, 68 Ks, 1.2 WHIP

Marte was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2002. He posted a 1.56 ERA for the 2003 DSL team, with 70 Ks in 75 IP, before coming stateside in 2004, where he got into 9 games, including 6 starts, for Kingsport, posting a 1-0 record with a 5.13 era. He also got into 4 games (2 starts) for the Gulf Coast League team, putting up a 1-0, 2.40 line in 15 innings. 2005 was split between Kingsport and Brooklyn, and 2006 between Hagerstown and Brooklyn.

I’d expect Marte to open 2007 in St. Lucie as a 22 year old, with a possibility of making the jump to Binghamton, and possibly end the season in New Orleans.

3. Brandon Nall (A Hagerstown 5-5, 2.91 era, 38 G, 86.2 IP, 69 H, 35 BBs, 88 Ks, 1.20 WHIP, AA Binghamton 0-0, 0.00 era, 2 G, 4 IP, H, BB, 4 Ks, 0.50 WHIP, AFL Mesa 1-0, 0.00 era, 2 G, 2 IP, H, BB, 1.00 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 6-5, 2.72 era, 42 G, 92.2 IP, 71 H, 37 BBs, 92 Ks, 1.17 WHIP

Originally drafted by the Braves in 2002, Nall declined to sign and instead opted to go to LSU, where he missed the entirety of the 2003 and 2004 seasons recovering from a torn labrum. In 2005, he posted a 3-2 record with LSU, but a 5.18 era in 7 games (4 starts), spanning 24.1 innings. The Mets signed him as an undrafted free agent and sent him to Hagerstown, where he struggled, posting a 7.06 era in 12 games (2 starts).

2006 was a much better year for the righty, but he was old for his level. He will open 2007 in Binghamton, as a 25 year old, and should end the season in New Orleans.

4. Carlos Muniz (A+ St. Lucie 4-3, 3.08 era, 48 G, 31 SVs, 49.2 IP, 39 H, 18 BBs, 45 Ks, 1.15 WHIP)

Muniz was drafted in the 13th round of the 2003 draft out of Long Beach University, where as a senior, he was 0-2 with a 3.14 era in 26 games, converting 11 saves. He’s made a slow trek through the farm system, and last season was his best, however, it came as a 25 year old in the Florida State League. In 2007, he’ll need to go through Binghamton and end up in New Orleans, to not fall into the Henry Owens category.

5. Kevin Tomasiewicz (A Hagerstown 6-2, 2.60 era, 47 G, 19 SVs, 65.2 IP, 64 H, 13 BBs, 51 Ks, 1.17 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 0-0, 9.00 era, 1 G, 1 SV, 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 Ks, 1.50 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 6-2, 2.79 era, 48 G, 20 SVs, 67.2 IP, 66 H, 14 BBs, 55 Ks, 1.18 WHIP

Tomasiewicz is a lefty pitcher who the Mets drafted with their 26th round pick in 2005, out of the University of Wisconsin. He posted a 15-1 record with a 2.83 era in 20 games the year before the Mets drafted him. He started with Brooklyn, posting a 3-3 record with an ugly 5.62 era in 20 games (5 starts), while grabbing 3 saves. 2006 brought a promotion to Hagerstown, where Tomasiewicz blossomed. He should open 2007 as a 23 year old with St. Lucie, and possibly end it in Binghamton.

Monday, January 29, 2007

MPH Audit Part VIII - Starting Pitchers (11-20)

Starting Pitchers (11-20)

11. Steven Holmes

Holmes played college ball at the University of Rhode Island where he posted the 2nd lowest ERA (1.30 104 IP 15 ER 10-2 0.88 WHIP) in the entire 2006 NCAA. His combined record for the 3 years in college was 22-4. Baseball America had him listed prior to the draft as the 187th best prospect in the country. Holmes was drafted in the 5th round of the 2006 draft (the highest any URI player was ever drafted) by the Mets and was assigned to Brooklyn after he signed; however, he did not appear in a game in 2006. He returned his bonus to the Mets and went back to school (I believe to attend Med school) after a close friend of his committed suicide,. His fastball is solid, and in the 88-92 mph range, with a curveball as his out pitch. He has been compared in the past to Brian Bannister.

Frankly, it is still a little unclear whether Holmes remains the property of the Mets. I can’t seem to find out but I believe that, technically, the Mets do retain his rights and they have until a week before next year’s draft to re-sign him. All of this will clear up as soon as the season starts.

12. Blake Eager (R GCL Mets 1-1, 4.00 era, 3 G, 2 GS, 9 IP, 12 H, BB, 8 Ks, 1.44 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 5-3, 3.78 era, 15 GS, 85.2 IP, 84 H, 20 BBs, 59 Ks, 1.21 WHIP, AA Binghamton 0-0, 2.70 era, 1 GS, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 5 Ks, 0.45 WHIP, HWL North Shore 0-1, 3.21 ERA, 12 G, 3 GS, 28 IP, 29 H, 6 BBs, 18 Ks, 1.25 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 6-5, 3.61 era, 31 G, 21 GS, 129.1 IP, 128 H, 27 BBs, 90 Ks, 1.20 WHIP)

Eager was drafted by the Mets in the 30th round of the 2004 round out of the Metropolitan State College of Denver, where he was 8-4 as a senior. He was sent to the Gulf Coast League where he put up a 4-3, 3.93 line in 13 games, 7 of which were starts.

In 2006, Eager rose to AA Binghamton for 1 start, going 6.2 IP while allowing 3 hits, walking none and striking out 5. Eager should return to Binghamton for a full season in 2007, as a 25 year old.

13. Eric Brown (A Hagerstown 3-2, 5.29 era, 20 G, 6 GS, 63 IP, 74 H, 24 BBs, 51 Ks, 1.56 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 7-1, 1.16 era, 10 GS, 70 IP, 53 H, 4 BBs, 55 Ks, 0.81 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 10-3, 3.11 era, 30 G, 16 GS, 133 IP, 127 H, 28 BBs, 106 Ks

Brown was drafted in the 18th round of the 2005 draft out of Wingate University in North Carolina, and upon signing him, the Mets sent him to Brooklyn where he went 3-2, 3.97 in 16 relief appearances, striking out 31 and walking 7 in 34 innings. According to a local newspaper in North Carolina the Mets didn't want anyone to know they were scouting Brown because they knew he was a sleeper and wanted to draft him in the later rounds. This apparently worked, as they were able to get a talent like his in the 18th round. The 22-year-old features four pitches - a fastball, slider, curve and changeup - with his fastball in the 88 to 91 mile per hour range and his devastating slider as his out pitch.

He started 2006 in Hagerstown, but struggled and was demoted to Brooklyn, where he absolutely dominated. He should open 2007 back in A ball, in Savannah, the Mets new class A affiliate.

14. Tobi Stoner (Davis & Elkins 8-6, 2.90 era, 18 G, 12 GS, 90 IP, 85 H, 16 BBs, 79 Ks, 1.12 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 6-2, 2.15 era, 14 GS, 83.2 IP, 66 H, 17 BBs, 62 Ks, 0.99 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 14-8, 2.54 era, 32 G, 26 GS, 173.2 IP, 151 H, 33 BBs, 141 Ks, 1.06 WHIP

Stoner was drafted in the 16th round out of Davis and Elkins College, in 2006, where as a senior, he went 8-6 with a 2.90 era in 18 games, 12 of which were starts. In 90 innings, he allowed 85 hits while walking 16 and striking out 79.

He should start the 2007 season as a 23 year old with Savannah, although an outside shot of him opening in St. Lucie exists.

15. Nelson Portillo (A Hagerstown 0-0, 5.19 era, 2 GS, 8.2 IP, 10 H, 5 BBs, 7 Ks, 1.73 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 3-5, 3.68 era, 14 G, 13 GS, 71 IP, 77 H, 16 BBs, 35 Ks, 1.31 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 3-5, 3.86 era, 16 G, 15 GS, 79.2 IP, 87 H, 21 BBs, 42 Ks, 1.36 WHIP

Portillo is a product of the Mets Venezuelan Summer League program. In 2005, Portillo went 6-0 with a 1.16 ERA. He allowed just 38 hits in 62.1 innings, while walking 17 and striking out 60. In 2006, Portillo spot started for the Hagerstown Suns and was demoted to Brooklyn when their season started, where he started 13 games, posting a 3-5 record and a 3.68 ERA in 71 innings.

He should be ready to open 2007 with Savannah.

16. Salvador Aguilar (A Hagerstown 0-0, 2.54 era, 5 GS, 28.1 IP, 28 H, 2 BBs, 19 Ks, 1.06 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 7-5, 3.25 era, 20 G, 19 GS, 113.2 IP, 124 H, 32 BBs, 65 Ks, 1.37 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 7-5, 3.11 era, 25 G, 24 GS, 142 IP, 152 H, 34 BBs, 84 Ks, 1.31 WHIP

Aguilar was drafted in the 29th round of the 2005 draft out of Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, where as a 23 year old senior, he went 8-0 with a 2.76 era. Once he signed, he was assigned to Brooklyn, where he went 5-0 with a 2.24 era in 15 games, 2 of which were starts.

He split 2006 between Hagerstown and St. Lucie, combining to go 7-5 with a 3.11 era. He should open 2007 in Binghamton as a 25 year old.

17. Jose Sanchez (A+ St. Lucie 11-9, 3.87 era, 26 GS, 156 IP, 148 H, 43 BBs, 83 Ks, 1.22 WHIP)

Sanchez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He came to the Mets through a Rule 5 acquisition in 2005, and was assigned to Hagerstown, where he went 11-5, with a 4.20 ERA.

As a 24 year old in the pitching friendly Florida State League, Sanchez had the best season of his career, putting up a sub 4 era and 11 victories. He will be headed to Binghamton, where he’ll join Michael Devaney and Salvador Aguilar.

18. Todd Privett (Southern Idaho College 6-3, 0.92 era, 14 GS, 78.2 IP, 46 H, 26 BBs, 84 Ks, 0.92 WHIP, R Kingsport 1-2, 4.03 era, 5 GS, 22.1 IP, 24 H, 4 BBs, 22 Ks, 1.25 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 1-2, 2.11 era, 8 GS, 47 IP, 44 H, 8 BBs, 38 Ks, 1.11 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 8-7, 1.76 era, 27 GS, 148 IP, 114 H, 38 BBs, 144 Ks, 1.02 WHIP

The Mets drafted Todd (or Duane, he suffers an identity crisis) Privett in the 14th round of the 2006 draft out of Southern Idaho College, where he was 7-3 with a 0.92 ERA in 14 starts, spanning 78.2 innings. He allowed 46 hits while walking 26 and striking out 84.

Baseball America had this to say about Privett, with regards to Southern Idaho: Privett is the club's best prospect, a lefthander who runs his fastball up to 91-92 mph at times. He dominated this spring, allowing a .168 opponent average and striking out 75 in 68 innings

19. Nick Carr (R Kingsport 3-3, 4.88 era, 12 games, 11 GS, 48 IP, 49 H, 23 BBs, 44 Ks, 1.50 WHIP)

The Mets drafted Carr in the 41st round of the 2005 draft, out of Twin Falls High School, in Idaho. Instead of signing with the organization out of high school, Carr took his mid-90s fastball and deadly slider to the junior college ranks, more specifically - Southern Idaho College, where he was a teammate of Todd Privett. Carr went 5-4 with a 2.96 era in 13 games, 11 starts, spanning 54.2 innings. He allowed 38 hits, while walking 38 and striking out 66. Carr signed with the Mets as a draft and follow on May 17th.

Carr was sent to the rookie level Appalachian League, where he posted decent numbers, as a 19 year old. Carr should be in the mix for a starting job in the South Atlantic League with Savannah.
20. Greg Mullens (R Kingsport 7-2, 3.06 era, 12 GS, 61.2 IP, 73 H, 17 BBs, 38 Ks, 1.46 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 0-1, 2.61 era, 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BBs, 5 Ks, 1.06 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats 7-3, 3.00 era, 14 GS, 72 IP, 80 H, 21 BBs, 43 Ks, 1.40 WHIP

Mullens was undrafted out of Columbia University where, as a sophomore, he had a record of 2-4 with a 7.60 era and a 1.82 WHIP. From those numbers, it’s hard to imagine why any team would even sign him as a free agent, but the Mets did, and Mullens put up a ridiculous season, considering those college numbers.

The 6’6 245 pound righthander combined to go 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 72 innings combined between rookie league Kingsport and two starts at low A Brooklyn. Expect the 22 year old to begin 2007 at Low-A Brooklyn.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Starting Pitchers - 1 to 10

Everyone knows the names Pelfrey and Humber. Some people know the names Mulvey, Guerra, Soler and Niese. Some even know relief pitcher Joe Smith. But there is much more to the Mets starting depth then those 6 names, as evidenced by our top 20 starters. One of 2006’s biggest draft steals is Joshua Stinson, a projected 6th-8th rounder who the Mets nabbed in the 37th round. Jacob Ruckle was kidnapped in the 41st round of the 2004 draft. We have a wide variety of pitchers in our system, ranging from flamethrowers (Pelfrey, to a lesser extent Humber), the highly projectable (Guerra, Niese, Stinson), and the future relievers (Soler, Devaney), and everything in between.

1. Mike Pelfrey (A+ St. Lucie 2-1, 1.64 era, 4 GS, 22 IP, 17 H, 2 BBs, 26 Ks, 0.86 WHIP, AA Binghamton 4-2, 2.71 era, 12 GS, 66.1 IP, 60 H, 26 BBs, 77 Ks, 1.30 WHIP, MLB Mets 2-1, 5.48 era, 4 GS, 21.1 IP, 25 H, 12 BBs, 13 Ks, 1.73 era, AAA Norfolk 1-0, 2.25 era, 2 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 5 BBs, 6 Ks, 1.13 era)

Total 2006 Stats: 9-4, 2.98 era, 22 GS, 117.2 IP, 106 H, 45 BBs, 122 Ks, 1.28 WHIP

Pelfrey was originally drafted by the Devil Rays in the 15th round of the 2002 draft, but instead of signing, he opted to go to Wichita State, where he posted a 33-7 record, with a school-record 2.18 ERA, in 3 seasons. The consensus top pitcher in the 2005 draft he fell to the Mets at the 9th pick due to signability concerns. Pelfrey signed early in 2006, and after pitching 7 innings in major league camp, he went to high class A St. Lucie, where it was obvious he outclassed the league, after 4 starts in the Florida State League, he went up to Binghamton.

Pelfrey credits veteran catcher Mike DiFelice--whom the Mets sent to Binghamton solely to serve as mentor--with helping him gain confidence in his secondary stuff. He earned a major league callup when Pedro Martinez first went on the disabled list in July and won his first big league start before being sent to Triple-A Norfolk.

Strengths: There are few pitchers in the minors whose fastball can rival Pelfrey's. His two-seamer sits at 92-95 mph with fierce sink and late life and rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He throws it effortlessly from a 6-foot-7 frame on a steep downhill plane with great extension and solid command. He also has a four-seamer for extra velocity higher in the zone. Though Pelfrey barely needed to use a changeup as an amateur, he already has a good feel for it and it's his No. 2 pitch. He fiddled with his grip in 2006 and improved his command of the pitch. He fields his position well and has a good pickoff move, though the Mets would like to see him get faster to the plate from the stretch.

Weaknesses: A lack of a reliable breaking ball is the biggest thing holding Pelfrey back. He has thrown both a curveball and a slider but now favors the slider, which is better suited for his power arm. He throws it at 84-87 mph with some depth, and he can reduce the break on it to give it more of a cutter look against lefthanders. He has yet to learn how to command his slider consistently, and it probably always will be his third-best pitch. Though his mechanics are clean, he tends to over-rotate his lower half in his windup, which hurts his ability to locate his pitches.

The Future: Though he needs better command of his secondary stuff, there's little left for Pelfrey to prove in the minors. With Martinez out until at least the all-star break, Pelfrey will definitely be in the mix for the Opening Day rotation. He should be in the Mets rotation for years to come and has the potential to be a legitimate No. 1 starter.

2. Phillip Humber (A+ St. Lucie 3-1, 2.37 era, 7 GS, 38 IP, 24 H, 9 BBs, 36 Ks, 0.87 WHIP, AA Binghamton 2-2, 2.88 era, 6 GS, 34.1 IP, 25 H, 10 BBs, 36 Ks, 1.02 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 5-3, 2.75 era, 16 G, 14 GS, 78.1 IP, 56 H, 21 BBs, 81 Ks, 0.98 WHIP

Humber was originally drafted in the 29th round of the 2001 draft by the Yankees, but didn’t sign and instead went to Rice University, where he headlined a staff featuring Wade Townsend and Jeff Niemann. Humber put up a career 35-8 record in 3 seasons at Rice, with a 2.80 era, in 56 appearances, 49 starts. He was assigned to high class A St. Lucie, and in 14 starts, posted a 4.99 era in 70.1 IP, with a 1.31 WHIP. One start into his AA career, he blew out his arm and had to have Tommy John Surgery.

The surgery sidelined him for a year, but one positive emerged: he refined his changeup, the only pitch he was allowed to throw for the first few months of rehab, to where it is now a plus offering. Already boasting a plus-plus 74-78 MPH curveball, and a plus 92-96 MPH fastball, Humber returned to action determined to prove his naysayers wrong. And prove them wrong he did. He posted a 5-3, 2.83 minor league line, and got into 2 major league games, in relief.

Strengths: Humber's curveball is one of the best in the minors. Thrown at 74-78 mph, it has tight rotation with a powerful downward action. His fastball sits at 92-96 mph. He also features a developing low-80s changeup with late sink. He throws strikes with all three pitches.

Weaknesses: Humber has a tendency to overthrow, which tires him out and costs him his command. It also hurts his changeup, which loses its effectiveness when it climbs to 86-87 mph. As good as his curveball is, he could do a better job of throwing it for strikes because big league hitters will be less likely to chase it.

The Future: Though his Arizona Fall League stint ended with a sore shoulder, an MRI revealed no damage and Humber is primed for his first full-season workload. Though his stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues, Humber will probably be better served with a full season in Triple-A to improve his endurance. He profiles as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

3. Deolis Guerra (A Hagerstown 6-7, 2.20 era, 17 GS, 81.2 IP, 59 H, 37 BBs, 64 Ks, 1.18 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 1-1, 6.14 era, 2 GS, 7.1 IP, 9 H, 6 BBs, 5 Ks, 2.05 era)

Total 2006 Stats: 7-8, 2.53 era, 19 GS, 89 IP, 68 H, 43 BBs, 69 Ks, 1.25 WHIP

Guerra signed out of Venezuela in 2005 for a $700,000 bonus, and was challenged immensely, he was sent to the South Atlantic League as a 17 year old, by far the youngest player in the league. After getting off to a rough start, he recovered to go 6-5, 1.90 in the last three months and earn a late promotion to high Class A, where he was obliterated in his first start, lasting just 2.1 innings, giving up 4 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. In his second start, Guerra showed he can make quick adjustments, as he went 5 innings, allowing 5 hits, just 1 run (earned), while walking only 2, and striking out 2. Guerra also got 1 playoff start, which was decent. He allowed 3 runs, all earned, over 5 innings, while walking 3, striking out 2 and allowing 3 hits.

Strengths: Guerra stands out most with a feel for his changeup that's exceptional for a teenager. He maintains his normal arm action, setting up a fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and touches 92. His frame should allow for more velocity as he matures, making the gap between his changeup and fastball all the more difficult for hitters.

Weaknesses: Guerra's curveball is below average. He lacks confidence in his curve, and it has poor rotation and depth. The tilt and velocity on his breaking ball changes as he tries to figure it out, and it's possible it could morph into a slider. His delivery is repeatable but too slow and mechanical.

The Future: With a little more velocity and an average curveball, Guerra would establish himself as an elite prospect. Time is certainly on his side, as he'll begin the season at age 17, making him a safe bet to be the youngest player in the Florida State League.

Update: On Guerra, it appears that his CB began to develop during the month of August and he improved it during the Instructional League. The Mets now believe that it will develop into a plus pitch. Also, he has been rated as having the best CU in the system.

4. Jon Niese (A Hagerstown 11-9, 3.93 era, 25 GS, 123.2 IP, 121 H, 62 BBs, 132 Ks, 1.48 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 0-2, 4.50 era, 2 GS, 10 IP, 8 H, 5 BBs, 10 Ks, 1.30 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 11-11, 3.97 era, 27 GS, 133.2 IP, 129 H, 67 BBs, 142 Ks, 1.41 WHIP

Niese was drafted in the 7th round of the 2005 draft, after allowing a staggering 1 run in 78 innings, for a 0.11 ERA. He was deemed a tough sign, but after a recruiting call from Gary Carter, he signed for above slot money, $175,000. He was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he went 1-0, 3.65 in 7 games, 5 starts. In 2006, Niese started in Hagerstown, skipping Kingsport and Brooklyn. He showed no ill effects of the jump, and before late season arm fatigue, was dominating the South Atlantic League. A late promotion to St. Lucie produced mixed results. His first start was decent, as he allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, in 5 innings, while walking 3, striking out 5 and allowing 3 hits. His next start, however, was not good, as he surrendered 5 runs, 4 earned, over 5 innings, while walking 2, striking out 5 and allowing 5 hits.

He's a projectable (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) lefty who already has a high-80s fastball. His splitter, curveball and slider all have potential.

Strengths: Niese is at his best when he has command of his four-pitch mix. He has a lively fastball that sits at 87-90 mph. His big, looping 68-70 mph curveball is a strikeout pitch when it's on. He's willing to throw his 77-79 mph straight changeup to both lefthanders and righthanders. He also throws a plus 84-86 mph splitter. The Mets love his competitive fire.

Weaknesses: Though both his curveball and changeup have potential, Niese rarely has a feel for both of them on the same night. His curve could use more consistent rotation and he needs better command of both pitches. He can get overcompetitve and try to strike everyone out, which works against him. He'll have to get stronger after wearing down as his first full season progressed, resulting in some ugly late-season starts.

The Future: Despite some inconsistency, Niese showed promise in 2006. He'll return to high Class A, where he made two late starts, and projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

5. 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

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.

6. Alay Soler (A+ St. Lucie 2-0, 0.60 era, 6 GS, 30 IP, 13 H, 9 BBs, 33 Ks, 0.73 WHIP, AA Binghamton 1-0, 2.75 era, 3 GS, 19.2 IP, 16 H, 3 BBs, 22 Ks, 0.97 WHIP, MLB Mets 2-3, 6.00 era, 8 GS, 45 IP, 50 H, 21 BBs, 23 Ks, 1.58 era, AAA Norfolk, 1-1, 6.30 era, 2 GS, 10 IP, 13 H, 4 BBs, 12 Ks, 1.70 WHIP, PWL Ponce 1-1, 1.06 era, 5 G, 2 GS, 17 IP, 13 H, 4 BBs, 14 Ks, 1.00 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 7-6, 3.57 era, 22 GS, 126 IP, 107 H, 43 BBs, 113 Ks, 1.19 WHIP

Alay Soler signed a $2.8 mil major league deal on September 1st, 2004, as a Cuban defector, but missed all of 2005 dealing with visa problems. He showed up to his first big league camp out of shape and had a poor spring training, though he bounced back to reach New York in May. He threw a two-hit shutout against the Diamondbacks, but struggled with his control shortly afterward and was demoted in early July. Soler is 26 years old, so there a little to no projection left, and he is a bit old to be a prospect, despite having prospect status.

Strengths: Soler has success when he attacks the strike zone with his low-90s fastball and above-average slider. The latter is his best pitch. He throws it at 80-81 mph with sharp, late break to righthanders and slows it down and backdoors it against lefties.

Weaknesses: Soler is his own worst enemy and gets in trouble when he tries to nibble and play around with his offspeed stuff in what looks like an attempt to emulate fellow Cuban Orlando Hernandez. He needs to dedicate himself much more to conditioning after making a bad first impression. After his midsummer demotion, he missed six weeks with a minor Achilles problem that isn't considered serious but wasn't helped by his excess weight.

The Future: If Soler plays to his strengths, he has the chance to be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter or setup man. How much time he spends getting in shape likely will dictate his assignment in 2007, when he could contribute in the majors

7. Michael Devaney (A+ St. Lucie 8-3, 1.62 era, 16 GS, 94.2 IP, 63 H, 35 BBs, 86 Ks, 1.04 WHIP, AA Binghamton 4-2, 3.06 era, 53 IP, 39 H, 35 BBs, 43 Ks, 1.40 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 12-5, 2.13 era, 26 GS, 147.2 IP, 102 H, 70 BBs, 129 Ks, 1.16 WHIP

Devaney was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2004 draft out of Concordia College, where as a junior, he was 5-8 with a 3.68 era in 15 games, 13 starts. Spanning 78.1 innings, Devaney allowed 68 hits while walking 33 and striking out 67. As a senior, Devaney went 7-0 with a 1.91 era, in 66 innings, he struck out 79, on his way to winning Region I Pitcher of the Year and All-American honors. The Mets drafted the senior in the 23rd round and sent him to low A Brooklyn, where he excelled, going 5-0 with a 1.95 era in 14 starts, spanning 69.1 innings. In 2005, Devaney spent the entire season with Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, and put up very good numbers. He sported a 10-4 record with a 3.88 era in 32 games, 15 of which were starts.

2006 proved to be Devaney’s breakout season, as he advanced to AA ball and started to get some buzz from fans. Featuring an arsenal comparable to Brian Bannister, Devaney is about a half season behind Bannister, in terms of development. Right now Devaney has two very good pitches, his fastball and curveball. His fastball sits around 89-91mph. His curveball actually makes his fastball better. It generally is in the low 70's which makes his fastball look that much faster. He has the confidence to throw his curve at any time. The changeup and slider both sit in the mid-to-upper 70's. Mike will continue to work to improve these two pitches to compliment his other ones.

8. Adam Bostick (AA Carolina 8-7, 3.52 era, 22 GS, 115 IP, 100 H, 67 BBs, 109 Ks, 1.45 WHIP, AAA Albuqurque 1-2, 4.67 era, 5 GS, 27 IP, 39 H, 13 BBs, 30 Ks, 1.93 WHIP, AFL Peoria Javelinas 0-0, 5.66 era, 6 GS, 20.2 IP, 24 H, 10 BBs, 16 Ks, 1.65 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 9-9, 3.98 era, 33 GS, 162.2 IP, 163 H, 90 BBs, 155 Ks

Bostick was drafted in the 6th round of the 2001 draft by the Marlins, and assigned to their Gulf Coast League team. He missed all of the 2002 season with an injury, and began his 03 season with Jamestown of the New York Penn League. He did not get above A ball until the latter half of the 05 season. 2006 was the first time he’d been to AAA ball. On November 20th, 2006, the Marlins traded Bostick, along with Jason Vargas, to the Mets in exchange for a pair of minor league relievers, Matthew Lindstrom and Henry Owens.

Various scouting reports have said that he has a smooth delivery, and pitches at 88-90 mph and tops out at 93 mph. He has known for having the best curveball in the Marlins system, but his changeup needs work. He also has had erratic command and shown a lack of endurance, but only gave up 7 home runs in the 2006 season.

9. Josh Stinson (R GCL Mets 1-2, 2.00 era, 9 G, 4 GS, 27 IP, 27 H, 5 BBs, 14 Ks, 1.19 WHIP, A Hagerstown 0-1, 1.35 era, 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BBs, 5 Ks, 1.13 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 1-3, 1.80 era, 12 games, 7 GS, 40.1 IP, 38 H, 9 BBs, 19 Ks, 1.17 WHIP

The Mets drafted Stinson in the 37th round of the 2006 draft, and sent him to the rookie level Gulf Coast League, where he went 1-2 with a 2.00 era in 9 games (4 starts), totalling 27 innings. A late season promotion to Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League didn't derail the righty, as he put up a 0-1 record, but an outstanding 1.35 era in 3 starts, 13.1 IP. He combined between the two levels to go 1-3 with a 1.79 era. The Mets found themselves another steal with Stinson, since he was projected to go around rounds 8 to 10. Instead, he dropped to the 37th round, but signed for 7th round money.

Stinson features 5 pitches, a 2 and 4 seam fastball, slider, curve and change. His fastball varies from 85-89, sometimes topping out at 94, with his curve at 74-78, and his change at 75-79. Expect Stinson to open the 2007 season as a 19 year old in the South Atlantic League, with the new class A affiliate Savannah. A promotion to the Florida State League wouldn’t be out of the question.

10. Jacob Ruckle (A+ St. Lucie 4-3, 1.60 era, 9 G, 6 GS, 50.2 IP, 47 H, 7 BBs, 25 Ks, 1.07 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 5-3, 3.38 era, 14 GS, 80 IP, 88 H, 8 BBs, 51 Ks, 1.20 WHIP)

Total 2006 Stats: 9-6, 2.69 era, 23 G, 20 GS, 130.2 IP, 135 H, 15 BBs, 76 Ks

The Mets drafted Ruckle in the 41st round of the 2004 draft, and upon his signing, sent him to the Gulf Coast League, where he went 8-1 with a 2.10 era in 11 games, 8 starts.

There was no bigger victim of the idiotic Mets policy of stacking Brooklyn then Ruckle, who was dominating the Florida State League to the tune of a 1.60 era in 50.2 innings. However, when Fred Wilpon decided player development would take a backseat to Brooklyn winning, Ruckle was demoted to the Cyclones.

Word from the best hitting team in the New York Penn League was they hated facing Jake Ruckle, with his unorthodox (Dontrelle Willis like) delivery. While he doesn't boast Dontrelle's stuff, that didn't stop him from blowing away the Florida State League as a 20 year old, before the inexplicable demotion to Brooklyn.

Ruckle features a high 80s fastball, which tops out at 92, which a over the top curveball in the 74-77 range, and a good 83-85 changeup. He should (properly) open the 2007 season in St. Lucie, with a trip to Binghamton not out of the question.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Yeah. We got no depth here. None whatsoever. Losing Flores hurt. Hopefully we get him back.

1. Francisco Pena

Yeah. That’s how putrid the Mets depth at catcher is. Someone who hasn’t played a single game in pro ball is #1 on our list of catching prospects. Amazing, huh? With that said, he is a good prospect with nice upside and potential, which is another reason (other than the fact that our catching depth is anemic) why he is #1 on this list.

The 16 year old is considered a great prospect because of his hitting ability, power potential, plate approach, and his solid defense. He got a $740,000 signing bonus, and is the son of former Major League catcher Tony Pena. He is looking at a stateside debut, whether it be in the GCL, Kingsport, or Brooklyn, either way, keep an eye out for him, he could be a good one.

2. Jason Jacobs (Georgia College .331/.433/.496, A- Brooklyn .217/.363/.312)

Total 2006 Stats: .290/.406/.430 (112 for 386, 25 2b, 3b, 9 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB, 9 CS, 75 BBs, 64 Ks)

Jacobs was drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 draft out of Georgia where he had a good senior year, batting .331/.433/.496 in 70 games.

Jacobs has a very good eye at the plate, as seen by the fact he had more walks then strikeouts last season. Jacobs should open 2006 with Brooklyn, as a 23 year old.

Yasmil Bucce (A+ St. Lucie .364/.385/.455 (11 ABs))

Bucce was signed on 3-8-02 by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent and went immediately into the VSL system. He had a decent year in 2003, batting .274/.368/.440, however, 2004 was a step back, as he batted .242/.398/.355, but it still got him a visa stateside. His next stop was the Gulf Coast League in 2005, where he put up superb numbers, .337/.463/.429, in 34 games (98 ABs), and he was named an all-star and the top catcher in the Gulf Coast League. 2006 brought a promotion to St. where he batted .364/.385/.455 in 11 ABs, before suffering a major injury (torn labrum), which resulted in season ending surgery.

4. Bradley Hubbert (Alcorn State .404/.479/.687, R Kingsport .250/.323/.429)

Total 2006 Stats: .333/.384/.568 (61 for 183, 16 2b, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 15 BBs, 57 Ks, 13/16 SBs)

Hubbert was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2006 draft by the Mets. He signed late and was eventually assigned to Kingsport, where he batted .250/.323/.429 in 84 Abs. Baseball America tagged Hubbert as the ‘best raw power’ of all signed 2006 Mets draftees.

5. Yunil Garcia (AA Binghamton .110/.234/.132, A+ St. Lucie .219/.405/.313, AAA Norfolk, .250/.423/.500)

Total 2006 Stats: .144/.288/.202 (27 for 188, 24 runs, 8 2b, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 33 BBs, 82 Ks)
The Mets signed Garcia as an undrafted free agent out of San Felipe, Venezuela, in 1998. He’s toiled through the system for the past 8 years, and has never shown much with the bat, outside of a season in Cap City in 2004. He is one of many defensive wizard catchers in the Mets system, and for all intents and purposes, we could’ve put Joe Hietpas or Drew Butera here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Licey gets clobbered, 10-2, loses series 5 games to 2

Licey lost tonight 10-2, and were eliminated in the race to the Caribbean World Series. Anderson Hernandez, though, continued to rake, going 3 for 3 with a run scored, double and RBI. He ended his playoffs with a .407 average, and his overall DWL numbers are .353/.408/.441 (72 for 204).

We hope Hernandez carries his hitting forward a month, and wrests the job away from Jose Valentin.

MPH System Audit - First Base

First Base

We have very good depth at first base, and it starts with a MPH favorite, someone who we’re expecting to go off in Binghamton next season. Carp is a VERY Wright-esque hitter, in that he goes the other way very naturally.

The system doesn’t start and end with Carp, there is a good amount of depth here. Nick Evans and Brett Harper are good prospects, and then there is the professional hitting machine known as Michel Abreu. And rounding out the top 5 is a big hulking first baseman named Junior (riiiiiiiiiight) Contreras.

Aside from the outfield, and starting pitching, this is the deepest part of the farm system. Bank on Mike Carp having another breakout season in Binghamton, and becoming a household name, much as David Wright did in 2004. Carp is ticketted for a 2009 arrival at Citifield.

1. Mike Carp (A+ St. Lucie .287/.379/.450, North Shore, HWL .297/.360/.396 (30 for 101, 14 runs, 6 2b, 2 3b, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 9 BBs, 27 Ks)

Total 2006 Stats: 173 games, 612 ABs, 178 hits, 86 runs, 35 2b, 3 3b, 17 HR, 109 RBI, 62 BBs, 135 Ks, .291/.356/.441 with a .797 OPS

Mike Carp was drafted out of Lakewood High in the 9th round of the 2004 draft, after putting up these stats as a senior: 32 games, 52 for 107, 14 2b, 8 3b, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 17 BBs, 11 Ks, .486/.557/1.075 with a 1.632 OPS. He was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he batted .267/.358/.393 in 57 games. In 2005, playing for Hagerstown of the Sally League, Carp hit .249/.358/.476, blasting 19 homers in 313 ABs. However, Carp hit 11 homers in his first 26 games at mid Class A Hagerstown in 2005 then fell into a deep slump before injuring his right wrist.

2006 was Carp’s coming out party, as he put it all together for St. Lucie, with a .287/.379/.450 line, with 27 doubles and 17 homers in 491 ABs. Carp’s higher average was a direct result of reinventing his stroke. Where previously, he was an all or nothing pull hitter, in 2006 he concentrated on going the other way, turning himself into a David Wright esque hitter, he’s got tremendous natural power the other way. He’s got a good approach for his age, combining his willingness to go the other way with an advanced eye at the plate.

The one big negative remaining in Carp’s game is his numbers against left handed pitching. He batted .238 with just three home runs in 151 at-bats against lefthanders. There are mixed reviews about Carp's defense. He's by no means a butcher, but he doesn't have quick feet and he has trouble receiving throws. He reaches for balls instead of letting them come to him, creating unnecessary errors. He's a below-average runner.

The Future: Carp will need his bat to carry him, and it may do just that. The Mets will get a better read on his future after he spends 2007 in Double-A.

2. Nick Evans (A Hagerstown .254/.320/.419)

Evans was drafted in the 5th round out of St. Mary’s High in Phoenix, in 2004. He signed and went to the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .258/.311/.462 in 50 games. He opened 2005 with Kingsport in the Appalachian League, and hit .344/.382/.734 in 15 games, before being promoted to Brooklyn, where he hit .252/.302/.407 in 57 games. As a 20 year old in the South Atlantic League, Evans hit .254/.320/.419, with 33 doubles and 15 homers in 511 ABs. He was one strikeout shy of 100, and walked 45 times, showing decent plate discipline.

Evans has a few things working against him. #1 would be Mike Carp, who is higher on the organizational depth chart at first base. Another would be Shawn Bowman, who is higher on the organizational depth chart, period. Evans will have to put up monster numbers in St. Lucie (which he might), and hope Mike Carp falls flat on his face in the Eastern League (which he won’t), to leapfrog into the #1 spot for the successor to Delgado race.

Besides, the Mets like to buy their first baseman. Who was the last homegrown first baseman? Jason Phillips 2003?

3. Brett Harper (AA Binghamton .338/.427/.446)

Harper was drafted in the 45th round of the 2000 draft out of Scottsdale Community College, where he played one season. Harper has spent 6 seasons in the Mets organization, toiling through the system.

Harper blasted his way through 4 levels in 2003, beginning in Kingsport and ending in St. Lucie. In 62 combined games between Kingsport, Brooklyn and Cap City, Harper hit .333 with 22 doubles and 4 homers.

In 2004, he torched St. Lucie for a .350/.440/.564 line in 60 games, with 18 doubles and 9 homers, before a promotion to Binghamton slowed him down (.247/.309/.437). 2005 was Harper’s breakout season, he hit .277 between St. Lucie and Binghamton, with 22 doubles and 36 homers, 102 RBI. However, 19 games into the 2006 season, he suffered a season ending shoulder injury, perhaps derailing his career with the Mets. Mike Carp passed him on the depth chart with a breakout season in St. Lucie, and Harper is now a man without a level, with Nick Evans, in all likelihood, opening the season in St. Lucie, and Mike Carp in Binghamton, and Michel Abreu in New Orleans, Harper has no level to go to.

A possible solution would be to platoon Carp and Harper in Binghamton, with one DHing and the other playing the field, and that may be what the Mets end up doing.

3. Michel Abreu (AA Binghamton .332/.404/.530, Mesa, AFL .280/.362/.548)

Total 2006 Stats: .322/.391/.532 (161 for 500, 80 runs, 34 2b, 3b, 23 HR, 95 RBI, 57 BBs, 100 Ks)

Let’s get a few things straight before we go into the limited amount of information we have on Abreu. He is 31 years old, he was born on 2/8/75, he is almost 32. Now, as we saw with Chris Coste, a 32/33 year old can come up to the major leagues and make a meaningful contribution (Coste hit .328/.376/.505 in 198 ABs for the Phillies). Could Abreu do something like that? Yeah, he probably can. But he is not, nor ever will be, the future, as some have intimated. He’s 32 years old, and will open the season getting his first taste of AAA ball.

OK, now that that’s done, onto the bio. Abreu was signed by the Mets in February, after the Red Sox found out he was lying about his age. He can only play first base, and isn’t that good defensively.

Logically, the Mets have the following: Ben Johnson (OF), Endy Chavez (Superman – OF), Julio Franco (Father Time – 1b, 3b), Damion Easly (for whatever reasons, IF) and Ramon Castro (Tank II – C) on the bench. And if we are going to go with a 12 man pitching staff (7 in the pen), Abreu has no shot at making the Mets as a bench player. Some team who needs one may trade something for him, but it won’t be anything good, that’s for sure.

5. Junior Contreras (A- Brooklyn .250/.379/.250, R Kingsport .288/.359/.384)

Total 2006 Stats: .284./.361/.368 (57 for 201, 17 runs, 8 2b, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 22 BBs, 47 Ks)

Contreras is a product of the Mets DSL, he was signed in 2004, and made his stateside debut in 2005, batting .291/.401/.500 in 46 games in the Gulf Coast League.

In 2006, Contreras got off to a bad start for Brooklyn, and was demoted to Kingsport, where he did better, but he only hit 3 homers and 8 doubles in 54 games (201 ABs). There were many reports that Contreras was overweight and out of shape during the season. He will most likely open 2006 as a 21 year old in Brooklyn.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Marginal Improvements of Oliver Perez

There's been a ton of literature on the enigma that is Oliver Perez. Mechanical analysis, injury speculation, etc...but I haven't seen this, yet. So here it is:

12-10, 2.98 era, 30 GS, 196 IP, 145 H, 81 BBs, 239 Ks, 1.15 WHIP, 10.97 K/9, 64.4% of pitchs were strikes

7-5, 5.85 era, 20 GS, 103 IP, 102 H, 70 BBs, 97 Ks, 1.67 WHIP, 8.48 K/9, 60.2% of pitchs were strikes

Pitt: 2-10, 6.63 era, 15 GS, 76 IP, 51 BBs, 61 Ks, 1.83 WHIP, 7.22 K/9, 62.02% of pitches were strikes

NYM: 1-3, 6.38 era, 7 GS, 36.2 IP, 17 BBs, 41 Ks, 1.58 WHIP, 10.06 K/9, 62.10% of pitches were strikes


On the surface, it doesn't look like much. Duh, Tejesh, more strikes = better pitcher. They teach that in little league.

Well, yes. But the quality of those strikes matters. And when you're throwing 4.2% less strikes then before, it can indicate a mechanical flaw. Or an injury. Or something else. But here's the thing, with the Mets, while there wasn't a dramatic return to the 64.4% strike rate of 2004, the quality of the strikes Ollie threw were better. He was spotting his 94-96 mph fastball on the corners. And like the ERA, BBs, Ks, WHIP, there was some improvement in his strike rate.

The two biggest improvements, though, came in his K/9 ratio, and velocity. Both are inter-related. In Pittsburgh, Ollie lost 10 mph on his fastball. He got most of that back with the Mets. Thusly, his K's went up, walks went down.

Expect good things from Perez this year. Nothing like a 2.98 era (well, we can dream, right?). If he puts up a line like 18-8, 3.89 era, that's a great start towards regaining his dominant 2004 form. Plus, it's not projection with Perez, he did it. He put up a 2.98 era in his career, you can't take that away. He may not ever do that again, but the talent is still there. It's just a matter of finding it.

As per WFAN...

Aaron Sele signed to a minor league deal. Whoopee!
I still feel Phillip Humber is going to win the 5th spot in the rotation, but Sele is a nice piece of insurance.

Part IV of the MPH Total System Audit

Second Base

One of two problem areas down on the farm is the second base depth, or lack thereof. While we here at MPH still hold out hope (me moreso then David) for Anderson Hernandez, and his winter performance (.345/.403/.431 in 197 ABs) bodes well, he did rip up the DWL last season, too. Ruben Gotay tore up the PWL, to the tune of a .295/.427/.448 line the regular season, and a .367/.517/.500 line in the playoffs (22 ABs), so there looks to be a healthy competition there. However, neither did much of anything during the much more important regular season stateside. Beyond these two, Veloz is a DSL prospect, and the other two are too old for their levels.

With 2 picks at 38 and 45 in the upcoming draft, hopefully Omar finds a diamond in the rough second baseman with high upside (we’d prefer a high school second baseman), to add to the farm.

1. Anderson Hernandez (AAA Norfolk .249/.285/.295, MLB Mets .152/.164/.242, Licey, DWL .310/.376/.393 (35 for 113, 17 runs, 4 2b, 3b, 10 RBI, 12 BBs, 15 Ks, 3 SB), Licey (playoffs), DWL .393/.440/.524 (33 for 84, 21 runs, 6 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 7 BBs, 8 Ks, 2 SB)

Combined Stats as of 1/25/06: .265/.307/.327 (182 for 686, 86 runs, 22 2b, 7 3b, 2 HR, 47 RBI, 20 SB, 5 CS, 41 BBs, 106 Ks)

Anderson Hernandez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001 by the Tigers, and assigned to the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .264/.303/.389 in 55 games. The next season, Ahern was jumped 3 levels to the Florida State League, where he naturally struggled, hitting .259/.310/.339. He spent the next two seasons in the Florida State League, and after opening 2004 by hitting .295/.326/.377, Detroit bumped him to the Eastern League, where he hit .274/.326/.376. During the 2004 offseason, Omar Minaya took over as GM of the Mets, and traded backup catcher Vance Wilson to the Tigers for Hernandez.

Ahern, previously known as an all glove, no bat shortstop, put together a career 2005, hitting .326/.360/.462 in Binghamton, before earning a callup to Norfolk, where he hit .303/.354/.379. 2006 didn’t get off to the start Ahern was looking for, as 22 games into his first starting job on the major league level, he suffered a back injury after making a stunning highlight reel catch. Hernandez went on the DL, and when he returned, the bat didn’t, as he struggled for most of the season in Norfolk.

However, during this winter, Ahern has again found that stroke, and is putting up some great numbers with Licey of the Dominican Winter League. With Jose Valentin here for 2007, Hernandez may be given a chance to wrest the starting job away from Jose during Spring Training, but it is more likely he will return to AAA, in New Orleans, and compete with Ruben Gotay to see who will succeed Valentin in 2008. He is a switch hitter who Jack Lind, Hernandez’ manager in

2. Ruben Gotay (AAA Omaha, Norfolk .265/.321/.407, Carolina, PWL .295/.427/.448 (31 for 105, 19 runs, 5 2b, 3b, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 23 BBs, 17 Ks)

Combined 2006 Stats as of 1/10/07: .270/.337/.414 (161 for 596, 33 2b, 4 3b, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 60 BBs, 113 Ks, 12 SB, 7 CS)

Gotay was drafted by the Royals in the 31st round of the 2000 draft, out of Indian Hills Community College, and after holding out close to a year, he signed and was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .315/.398/.457 in 52 games. The next year, he was jumped 2 levels to the Midwestern League (equal to the South Atlantic League), where he hit .285/.377/.456 in 133 games. 2003 was a down year for Gotay, as he posted a .261/.343/.384 line in the Carolina League (equal to the Florida State League). He bounced back in 2004 with a .289/.373/.440 line in the AA Texas League, before earning a 44 game promotion to the major leagues, where he put together a very respectable .270/.315/.375 line in 152 ABs.

However, Gotay began 2005 back in AA Wichita, where he struggled to a .245/.320/.400 line. Gotay was then promoted to the major leagues for 86 games, and badly struggled, hitting .227/.288/.344 in 282 ABs.

And after hitting .264./.322/.404 in 87 games for AAA Omaha, the Royals traded Gotay to the Mets for second baseman Jeff Keppinger. In 42 games for AAA Norfolk, Gotay hit .266/.317/.416. He finished up the year by going to Puerto Rico, and batted .295/.427/.448.

Gotay isn’t the defensive wizard Anderson Hernandez is, but he is a better hitter, despite never hitting over .300 anywhere in his career, save the rookie level Gulf Coast League. In 2007, you can expect Gotay, along with Hernandez, to battle it out in AAA New Orleans to see who, if either, will be succeeding Jose Valentin at second base.

3. Greg Veloz (R DSL Mets .262/.366/.398, 28/34 SBs)

Veloz was signed out of the Dominican Republic and assigned to the DSL Mets. He was one of 2005’s top 10 International prospects. In 2006, Veloz hit .262 for the DSL team with an OBP of .366. He is expected to come stateside in 2007. The Mets named Veloz as the winner of the 2006 Sterling Award as the best player with the DSL team. Veloz will most likely start 2007 with the Gulf Coast League Mets, although like Juan Lagares above, he could open in Kingsport or Brooklyn.

4. Enrique Cruz (AA Binghamton .200/.341/.286, A+ St. Lucie .278/.360/.406)

Cruz was drafted 3 times, first by the Cubs in the 49th round in 2000, then by the Reds in the 13th round in 2002, and finally by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2003 draft. Cruz had his best season of college ball in his senior year (2003) when he batted .352/.458/.563 with 18 2b and 10 homers in 247 ABs with a 45/58 BB/K ratio.

He was sent to Staten Island of the New York Penn League, where he batted .285/.363/.385 in 32 games. In 2004, he spent the bulk of the season with Battle Creek of the Midwestern League, where he batted .231/.329/.364 in 83 games. Cruz was released after 2005, and the Mets picked him up, sending him to AA Binghamton, where he struggled, before a demotion to A+ St. Lucie, where he delivered his best offensive numbers of his pro career, outside of the Penn League, .278/.360/.406.

Cruz will be 25/26 during the season, and will need to hit his way to New Orleans, or else he’ll never be considered for the 2b job.

5. Chase Lambin (AAA Norfolk .222/.319/.300, AA Binghamton .271/.380/.526)

Lambin was drafted as a 5th year senior out of Lafayette University in Louisiana in the 34th round, where as a 23 year old, he hit .300/.368/.552. He was assigned to Brooklyn where he hit .279/316/.447 in 47 games. He spent all of 2003 in St. Lucie, where he hit .289/.366/.404 with 27 2b and 5 homers in 401 ABs.

2004 was a wasted year for Lambin, as he put up a miserable .244/.331/.390 line in 121 games, striking out 103 times in 410 ABs. Just as 2004 was a wasted year, 2005 was Lambin’s breakout year. He started in Binghamton, where he hit .331/.396/.657 in 53 games, with 17 2b and 10 homers in 181 ABs. Upon his promotion to Norfolk, Lambin continued raking, hitting .289/.350/.526 with another 16 2b and 10 homers in 61 games, 211 ABs.

However, 2006 was a completely wasted season, as Lambin regressed heavily, falling to .222/.319/.300 in Norfolk, and actually being demoted to Binghamton, where he put up better numbers, .271/.380/.526. However, Lambin will be 28 next season, and he falls into the Michel Abreu category, where he put up those numbers by outclassing the league by a good 5-7 years. If Valentin struggles this year, Lambin may get first crack at 2b, simply due to his age.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MPH System Audit, Part III (That's 3 in Roman Numerals)


Obviously, there is no great need for shortstop prospects in the system. However, those that we do have, generally cannot hit to save their lives. We here at MPH have high hopes for Juan Lagares, but he is a long way away, and it's way too soon to project if he will be able to hit. In addition, the prospects we do have, are all geniuses with the glove.

1. Emmanuel Garcia (R Kingsport .291/.373/.379, A- Brooklyn .240/.316/.240)

Total 2006 Stats: .281/.362/.352 (72 for 256, 42 runs, 5 2b, 2 3b, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 32 BBs, 54 Ks, 22/28 SBs)

Garcia was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004, and opened the 2005 season, his first in pro ball, with the GCL Mets, where he excelled, hitting .339/.412/.409 in 45 games, as a 19 year old. In 2006, Garcia opened with Kingsport of the Appy League, putting together a .291/.373/.379 line in 51 games. A late season promotion to Brooklyn slowed him down a bit, as he hit .240/.316/.240 in 13 games, still managing to draw 5 walks versus 13 strikeouts.

Garcia has an advanced approach for such a young plate, as demonstrated by his 32/54 BB/K ratio this year split between Kingsport and Brooklyn. Most likely, he will open 2007 in Brooklyn, although there is an outside chance of him being in Savannah, and he will most likely be moved over to second base (what need is there for any shortstop prospects?)

2. Juan Lagares (R DSL Mets .255/.339/.412)

Juan Mercado, the scout that found Jose Reyes, said in a Dominican newspaper that 16-year-old SS Juan Lagares is better than Reyes at the same age. Lagares was signed by the Mets in 2005 and played for the DSL team in 2006, getting into 57 games and hitting .255/.339/.412.

Lagares will most likely (insert broken record) be moved to second base sometime soon, and we hope he makes his stateside debut this year. If he does, it will most likely be as an 18 year old in the Gulf Coast League.

3. Jose Coronado (A+ St. Lucie .226/.283/.278)

The New York Mets signed shortstop Jose Coronado as an International free agent out of Venezuela back in August of 2003. He started him Mets career with the VSL team, and batted .242/.351/.363 in 34 games. Jose made his stateside debut in 2005 with the GCL Mets, where in 11 games, he proved he outclassed the league, hitting .404/.429/.468. A promotion to Hagerstown (skipping Kingsport and Brooklyn) slowed Coronado down, as he hit .225/.295/.282 in 18 games in his first taste of full season ball. Coronado played all of 2006 as a 20 year old in the Florida State League, and most likely, he will return to start the season.

The Mets are very high on Coronado. He’s very good defensively, but needs to get stronger with the bat. His plate discipline is quite good for a young player, and the Mets have no reason rush a SS prospect.

4. Jonathan Schemmel (A Hagerstown .297/.387/.352, A- Brooklyn .263/.335/.318)

Total 2006 Stats: .273/.350/.328 (84 for 308, 34 runs, 13 2b, 2 3b, 25 RBI, 30 BBs, 39 Ks, 6/10 SBs)

The Mets signed Schemmel as an undrafted free agent on June 15, 2005. Schemmel played for Concordia University and hit .389 in 2005, his junior season. Schemmel was sent to the Gulf Coast League where he batted .347/.504/.436 in 34 games, with a near 2:1 walk to strikeout ratio. 2006 saw Schemmel as another victim of the idiotic policy of stacking Brooklyn. Schemmel was hitting .297/.387/.352 in 30 games for Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, before being sent to Brooklyn, where he hit .263/.335/.318 in 57 games, one of the leading players on Brooklyn’s march to the playoffs.

Schemmel should open 2007 as a 24 year old in the South Atlantic League, which is way too old, so he will have to jump to Binghamton if he wants to be considered a prospect.

5. Corey Ragsdale (AA Binghamton .204/.274/.330)

Corey was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 draft, out of Nettleton High in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and assigned to the rookie level Appalachian League, where in 23 games, he hit .141/.256/.282. 2002 saw Ragsdale start off in Brooklyn, struggling in 66 games, as he hit .183/.277/.259, before a promotion to Cap City in the South Atlantic League, where in 37 games he hit .177/.262/.210.

Corey started 2004 with St. Lucie, and finally hit over .200, in 124 games, he batted .219/.303/.337, though he struck out a staggering 152 times in 421 ABs. In 2005, split between St. Lucie and Binghamton, Corey hit .245 in 490 ABs, with 169 strikeouts.

Ragsdale spent the entire 2006 season in Binghamton, where he hit .204/.274/.330 with 182 strikeouts in 437 ABs, a strikeout rate of .416.

Ragsdale also has averaged 23.5 errors per season at shortstop. Luckily, we don’t need any shortstops in the near future, and he’s at the bottom of the list of candidates to be converted to second base.

Licey wins 3-2, trails series with Aguilas 3 games to 2.

Anderson Hernandez goes 1 for 4 with a double and run scored in his first game action since the 7th inning of Saturday's game. Now batting .393 in the playoffs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anderson Hernandez in tonight's Licey lineup

He is playing second base and batting 3rd, so far he is 0 for 2 through 4 innings, Licey trails 2-0.

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.

Monday, January 22, 2007

No Anderson Hernandez for a second straight game

Hernandez, who sprained his ankle on the 20th, has not played since the 6th inning of Saturday's game.

MPH's first Farm System Audit

Man, we've been working on this one for close to 3 weeks now. What we did was, we undertook a project whereby we ranked our 'prospects' (and as you'll see, we took a very loose definition of the word prospect), by position. Outfielders, 3rd base, shortstop, 2nd base, 1st base, catcher, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers. We also provided a little capper on each position. Whatdya say we get this party started? Without further adu, the first ever MPH Audit...

MPH's Position by Position Prospect Analysis and Ranking
-cowritten by David and Tejesh (with a lot of intense fighting along the way)
~With oodles of credit, thanks, and gratitude to John Mack from, without whom this list would not be as comprehensive as it is.
~With thanks to loducathebeast from the board, who served as statistician for some players

Affiliate Guide:

New Orleans: AAA Pacific Coast League
Binghamton: AA Eastern League
St. Lucie: A+ Florida State League
Savannah: A South Atlantic League (Sally)
Brooklyn: A- New York Penn League
Kingsport: R Appalachian League (Appy)
GCL Mets: R Gulf Coast League
DSL Mets: R Dominican Summer League


The Mets are stacked with top notch high ceiling outfielders. Seven of the top 10 outfielders on our list could be ticketed for St. Lucie, Binghamton, and New Orleans. That’s depth. There is an over-abundance of wealth in the outfield portion of our farm system, and depending on how Omar thins the major league ready ranks (we could potentially have 4 this year with Lasto, Cargo,Concep and Coles), we could bolster other portions of the farm system (think 3 team trade involving Concepcion, Coles, etc…so on, for a couple of high ceiling young middle infielders?). Whatever the case, there certainly is no lack of quality at the outfield position down on the farm. Behold…

1. Lastings Milledge (AAA Norfolk .277/.388/.440, MLB Mets .241/.310/.380)

Total 2006 Stats: .264/.363/.419 (125 for 473, 66 runs, 28 2b, 6 3b, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 14 SB, 12 CS, 68 BBs, 106Ks)

Lastings Milledge was drafted in the 1st round of the 2003 draft, out of Lakewood Ranch High in Bradenton, Florida, where as a senior, he hit .414 with 4 doubles, 3 triples, 10 homers, 35 RBI and 42 steals. A 5-tool talent, Milledge fell due to signability concerns, among other factors. The Mets signed Milledge on August 13th, too late for any meaningful impact during that season. Milledge spent the majority of the 2004 season in Cap City of the South Atlantic League, and had a banner rookie campaign, hitting .337/.399/.579, with 13 homers and 23 steals. A late season promotion to St. Lucie produced less then stellar results (.235/.319/.432). However, 2005 proved to be Milledge's coming out party, as he batted .318 between St. Lucie and AA Binghamton.

2006 was a tumultuous year for Milledge, as fan scrutiny and a shuttle between Norfolk and New York took their tool on the young outfielder. He did show impressive flashes of all 5 tools during his 166 at bat debut to the major leagues, and while the final numbers (.241/.310/.380) don't look particularly good, the 13 XBH do, as does the fact that the last time he struggled upon being introduced to a level, he came back the next year and blew it away.

Barring injury, or a particularly horrid performance from Shawn Green, Lasto should spend the season alongside Carlos Gomez in the outfield at New Orleans, the Mets new AAA team.

2. Fernando Martinez (A Hagerstown .333/.389/.505, A+ St. Lucie .193/.254/.387, AFL Mesa .253/.305/.379 (22 for 87, 16 runs, 5 2b, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BBs, 17 Ks, 1 SB, 3 CS))

Total 2006 Stats: 106 games, 424 ABs, 115 hits, 62 runs, 24 2b, 4 3b, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 9 SB, 8 CS, 27 BBs, 86 Ks, .271/.315/.439 with a .754 OPS

Omar Minaya made the Mets a player in the Latin American scene by signing Carlos Beltran in the winter of 2004. In the summer of 2005, Fernando Martinez signed with the Mets, partly due to Beltran's signing. Given a $1.4 million bonus, Martinez had a lot to live up to.

And live up he did. He spent the bulk of his rookie season with Hagerstown of the Sally League, and put up ridiculously impressive numbers .333/.389/.505. Combined over two levels, including a 30 game trip to the Florida State League, where he was the youngest position player, FMart hit .279/.336/.457 with incredible XBH power, 32 in 315 ABs.

Strengths: Martinez has an advanced approach well beyond his years. He has good pitch recognition, strike-zone awareness and power to all fields. He has slightly above-average speed, though he's better underway than down the line or as a basestealer. He has a strong outfield arm.

Weaknesses: Like many young hitters, Martinez tends to overswing when he gets in a funk but should outgrow that as he gets more reps against advanced pitching. He doesn't have a good first step and can take poor routes in center field, which likely means that he'll end up in right field. Power is still mostly projection, and some scouts see a swing that is not designed for loft. He also struggles against good lefties. Concerns exist about his ability to maintain speed as body fills out, leaving some to project a move to a corner slot.

It's interesting to note that when the updated PECOTA cards come out, his comps will include Jose Reyes and Miguel Cabrera, so the system doesn't know what he'll end up as either, other than really, really good. Nando shows an advanced approach at the plate, and scouts were awed at the AFL when, as a barely 18 year old, he was taking balls out the other way in batting practice.

One of the best things a young hitter can do (at least in the opinion of MPH) is go the other way consistently. That takes away the outside corner for a pitcher, and if the player has an exceptionally quick bat, you don’t run the risk of being busted hard in.

FMart concluded his 2006 season by hitting .253/.305/.379 in the Arizona Fall League, again, as the youngest player in the league. The sky is the limit for Nando, he could eventually become a perennial 40/40 threat.

The Future: Martinez has the highest ceiling of any hitter in the system and will put himself into the discussion of the best prospects in baseball if he can build on his 2006 season. Even if he has to move from center field, his bat could make him an all-star. He should be back in high Class A to begin 2007.

3. Carlos Gomez (AA Binghamton .281/.350/.423, Escogido, DWL .242/.258/.242 (22 for 91, 11 runs, 0 2b, 3b, HR, 5 RBI, 2 BBs, 26 Ks, 12 SB))

Total 2006 Stats: 143 for 521, 64 runs, 24 2b, 8 3b, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 53 SB, 12 CS, 29 BBs, 123 Ks, .274/.313/.392 with a .704 OPS

The Mets signed Gomez in 2002 out of the Dominican Republic, and he made his stateside debut in 2004 (after hitting .240 for the DSL Mets in 2003), first, with the GCL Mets for 19 games, where he batted .268/.303/.366, and then for 38 games with Kingsport of the rookie Appy League, where he batted .287/.333/.427.

Gomez spent all of 2005 with Hagerstown of the Sally League, batting .275/.331/.376, and much to the surprise of Mets farm fanatics, Omar Minaya decided to jump Gomez to Binghamton, skipping high A St. Lucie. And for the first 2+ months, Gomez struggled to hit above the Mendoza line. However, after coming back from a back injury, Gomez exploded, ripping off a period from June 29th to August 8th where he hit .399/.420/.594, with 55 hits in 138 ABs and 15/16 SB attempts successful. Gomez ended his season with a very respectable line of .281/.350/.423.

Strengths: Gomez' arm and speed both rate as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's an above-average center fielder and he refined his basestealing technique to where he had 41 swipes in 50 attempts in 2006. His lightning-quick bat and natural swing path allow him to make consistent hard contact. His arm gives him yet another plus tool.
Weaknesses: Much of his game is still raw. Gomez is too aggressive at the plate and needs to improve his situational hitting. He has plus raw power that has yet to show up in game action. His flashy style has irked some his opponents, but the Mets don't see it as a problem and think it will diminish as he matures.

Right now, he needs a more patient approach, which like his hitting, is something he made great strides with during the second half of the season. Has difficulty facing lefthanders, particularly ones with good breaking pitches. His numbers in the DWL should be discounted heavily, due to the fact that he was not getting regular playing time, and when he did start to, he showed off his talent going 7 for his last 20, playing everyday.

Gomez exudes confidence and oozes talent, a very dangerous combination if properly balanced. Including his scorching hot month+, Gomez hit .341 from July 1st to the end of the season. Power and plate discipline remain elusive for the 20 year old, but as he fills out, he's expected to eventually hit 20-25 homers per season. Many scouts and amateurs rave about Gomez, calling him the Jose Reyes of the outfield. And like Reyes, he will need time to develop fully. Reyes didn't put it all together until mid May 2006, 3 years after his initial call up (in 2003). Given time, Gomez should develop into one of the most exciting players in the game.

The Future: With Carlos Beltran signed through 2011, Gomez' future with New York lies in right field. Ticketed for the Mets' new Triple-A New Orleans affiliate, he has a ceiling comparable with that of Fernando Martinez.

4. Dustin Martin (Sam Houston College .389/.480/.572 A- Brooklyn .315/.399/.454, North Shore, HWL .280/.344/.415 (23 for 82, 13 runs, 8 2b, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 6 BBs, 17 Ks, 3 SB))

Total 2006 Stats: .338/.421/.494, 183 for 541, 39 2b, 9 3b, 9 HR, 88 RBI, 23/34 SBs, 77 BBs, 99 Ks

Dustin Martin attended Sam Houston State University, where he hit .389 as a senior, with 6 HRs and 40 RBI, 81 hits in 208 Abs, 16 doubles, and 13 SBs. He was named Southland Conference leading hitter and made AA-Conference team. Baseball America tagged Martin as the best pure hitter of all 2006 Mets draftees, and Martin lived up to that tag, displaying an advanced approach at the plate, with a good opposite field approach.

Martin ended his 2006 season with a trip to Hawaii, where he played alongside many Met farmhands, including MPH favorite Mike Carp. Martin hit .269/.337/.385 for North Shore, capping a banner introduction to professional ball

5. Ambiorix Concepcion (A+ St. Lucie .287/.343/.387, AA Binghamton .261/.291/.362, Tigres de Chinandega, Nicaragua .268/.321/.486 (38 for 142, 23 runs, 10 2b, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 12 BBs, 36 Ks, 9 SB))

Combined Stats as of 1/8/07: 176 for 642, 85 runs, 42 2b, 3 3b, 11 HR, 93 RBI, 38 SB, 13 CS, 44 BBs, 160 Ks, .274/.321/.400 with a .721 OPS

The Mets signed Concepcion out of the Dominican Republic in 2000, as a 17 year old. Concepcion has what might be the best arm in the Mets farm system, which is always compared to that of Vladimir Guerrero.

However, Concepcion, until the 2006 season, hadn't been able to neither put together his offensive game (outside of his 2004 season with Brooklyn where he hit .305/.338/.475), nor make it above class A. That changed in 2006 with a breakout campaign for St. Lucie. A trip to Binghamton cooled off Concepcion a bit, but after a slow start, he rallied to end with decent numbers.

However, not only is time now against Concepcion ever making it with the Mets, but with the likes of Milledge, Gomez and Martinez in front of him on the Mets pecking order, the odds are firmly stacked against him. A good campaign in 2007 split between Binghamton and New Orleans might vault Concepcion into the category of "valuable trade bait", though.

6. Corey Coles (A+ St. Lucie .341/.407/.421)

Coles was drafted out of the University of Louisana-LaFayet in 2003, where he hit .371/.406/.617. The Mets made him their 5th round pick and sent him to Kingsport. Displaying an advanced eye at the plate, Coles moved through 2 levels in his rookie year. He played all of 2004 with Brooklyn, and all of 05 (shortened by an injury) with Hagerstown. 2006 was Coles' breakout year, as he torched the Florida State League with a .341 batting average, but with virtually no power, only 1 homer in 458 ABs.

But, Coles will just keep hitting for a very good average, and play a good defensive outfield, which should make him an attractive person in a trade. Certainly not a lynchpin type, but a pretty good OF prospect for a team that has enough offense and needs an excellent contact hitter who can steal you 20-25 bases.

7. Caleb Stewart (A+ St. Lucie .259/.343/.519, Tigres de Chinandega, Nicaragua .344/.458/.573 (33 for 96, 18 runs, 10 2b, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 18 BBs, 13 Ks, 5 SB))

Combined Stats as of 1/8/07: 96 for 339, 56 runs, 27 2b, 2 3b, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 6 SB, 2 CS, 49 BBs, 65 Ks, .283/.374/.534 with a .908 OPS

Stewart was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Kentucky, where as a senior he hit .329/.422/.584, with 20 doubles and 10 homers in 219 ABs, and an impressive 25/26 BB/K ratio.

He struggled upon first entering the pros, hitting .213 in 25 games for short season Brooklyn. However, a promotion to Cap City of the Sally League seemed to do the trick, as he hit .314/.396/.558 in 25 games, belting 6 doubles and 5 homers.

A return trip to Brooklyn in 2005 netted better results, as he hit .272/.385/.487 before a late season promotion to St. Lucie. In 2006, Stewart was not getting regular playing time, and his numbers reflected that, dropping to .259/.343/.519. He still blasted 14 homers and 17 doubles in 243 ABs, showing plus power in the pitching friendly Florida State League.

Stewart is 24, and will turn 25 midway through next season, and he should open the season in Binghamton, as part of a decent, but not overwhelming outfield trifeca featuring Corey Coles and Ambiorix Concepcion.

8. Joe Holden (A- Brooklyn .225/.264/.345, A Hagerstown .300/.367/.464)

Total 2006 Stats: .251/.302/.387 (100 for 398, 55 runs, 16 2b, 3b, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 28 BBs, 88 Ks, 16 SB, 7 CS, .689 OPS)

Joe Holden was a 21st round pick by the Mets in 2005. Holden was the 1st player ever drafted out of Molloy College, where he had an incredible last season for the Lions. He hit .390 with 49 runs scored, 16 doubles, 3 triples, 13 home runs and 50 RBI (.744 slug, .462 OBP).

He was immediately assigned to Brooklyn, where he won the Sterling Award (.291/.361/.368) as the Mets’ Most Valuable Player in Class-A Brooklyn. Holden started the 2006 season for Hagerstown of the Sally League, and continued to rake, hitting .300/.367/.464, subbing for the oft-injured Fernando Martinez. However, due to the Mets irrational and stupid policy of stacking the Brooklyn Cyclones, they demoted Holden back to Brooklyn, where he struggled mightily, hitting .225/.264/.345.

He is a contact hitter with above above-average speed. Holden focused on increasing his power in 06, and he did so, hitting 16 doubles and 12 homers in 398 ABs, compared to 7 doubles and 5 triples in 223 ABs in 2005. However, that power came at the expense of his average, as he hit .251 over two levels, although he did hit .300 for Hagerstown. The next logical step for Holden would be combining the two. He’s a very patient batter and has exceptional gap power. A recent scouting report put him as a future .300 lifetime major league hitter. The best part of his game is his defensive skills and his speed. He currently projects as a 40+ SB guy in the majors. His arm is strong and his hustle is second to none.

Holden should headline a very strong Savannah outfield, featuring some combination of Jesus Gamero, Will Vogl, Sean Henry and/or Brahiam Maldonado.

9. Sean Henry (R Kingsport .275/.365/.463, A Hagerstown .254/.280/.451)

Total 2006 Stats: .268/.339/.459 (59 for 220, 35 runs, 17 2b, 2 3b, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 24 BBs, 45 Ks, 30 SB, 7 CS, .798 OPS)

Sean Henry was drafted initially by the Tigers in the 10th round of the 2003 draft, but they failed to sign him, and the Mets nabbed him in the 20th round of the 04 draft, and sent him to the GCL Mets, where he batting .282/.364/.436 in 56 games, with 18 XBH and 10 steals.

Henry was converted from the middle infield to the outfield after the 2004 season, and until 2006, had yet to make an appearance above short season ball. He was promoted to Hagerstown after batting .275/.365/.463 in 41 games for Kingsport, of the Appy League. Upon his promotion, he struggled mightily, registering career lows for average and on base percentage, while compiling a .254/.280/.451 line. Henry is 21 years old, and having not seen any time above mid class A, is a long shot to make any impact on the major league level.

10. Brahiam Maldonado (R Kingsport .281/.363/.530)

Maldonado was drafted out of St. Francis High, in Puerto Rico, in the 10th round of the 2004 draft. He was sent to the GCL Mets as an 18 year old, and struggled, hitting .185/.272/.238 in 151 ABs. A repeat of that level in 2005 produced slightly better results, .256/.355/.359. Maldonado spent the 2006 season with Kingsport of the Appy League, and produced his best season, .281/.363/.530, as a 20 year old.

Maldonado doesn't have any one particular skill, and thus far, does not appear to be a particularly high hitter for average, but his 2006 season bodes well, assuming he can build off it.

David's Sleeper: Dan Stegall
Tejesh's Sleeper: Will Vogl

AHern Update

Anderson Hernandez did not play in Sunday's game versus Aguilas. The Tigres lost, 6-0 (Gee, could it be because their 3-4 hitters went a combined 0 for 8?).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anderson Hernandez left Saturday's game versus Aguilas in the 7th inning, with what is being called a mild sprain of his ankle. Hernandez (left) was 2 for 3 with a run scored and a double, raising his playoff average once again to the .400 marker (32 for 80). Further updates as they become available.

Good Article from the AFL(Pelfrey, Mulvey, Nando)

Arizona Fall League Notebook: Oct. 26

MESA, Ariz.--Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey is currently having an awakening of sorts in the Arizona Fall League.

The book on Pelfrey for much of his first full season, after signing late as New York’s first-rounder (and ninth overall) in 2005, was big fastball velocity and command, with below-average secondary pitches.

Pelfrey has made strides--along with some alterations--with his offspeed stuff over the last three weeks. He scrapped his hard curveball for the equivalent of a slider. It's a sharp, late-breaking offering that has shown flashes of having good depth and tilt.

"You can see he struggles with it at times," a scout from an American League club said, "but when he stays on top of it and stays easy in his arm action, it has the makings of a plus pitch."

It's something Pelfrey needed, but with his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, adding an 85-87 mph slider is only half the battle. He didn't have good command of his changeup for much of 2006 either, but has worked extensively on controlling his arm speed and tinkered with his grip slightly to have an effective third pitch--especially against lefthanded hitters.

"I quit throwing the curveball and picked up on this slider a little while back, and I think it's right where it needs to be right now," Pelfrey said. "I think it's going to complement my style a little bit better and be a good pitch for me once I get more consistent with it.

"With the changeup, I'm starting to command it a little bit better and it has some sink on the end. I think I just got more comfortable with the grip we're using now and I'm throwing it more than I had in the past, so the confidence is starting to get there too."

Pelfrey went a combined 7-3, 2.43 with 109 strikeouts in 96 innings between high Class A St. Lucie, Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Norfolk, with a brief promotion to New York mixed in. In the AFL, the 6-foot-7 righthander has allowed one hit in four innings, facing a total of 13 batters for Mesa.

"It’s 60-feet, six inches for everybody else, but for Pelfrey it's more like 50 feet--total," Solar Sox righthander Kevin Slowey (Twins) said. "He gets such good extension, he's very free and easy and the ball just explodes out of his hand. And with that height advantage, the ball's on top of hitters a heck of a lot quicker than a lot of other guys out here. Add in that velocity and he's dirty . . . just plain filthy."

Pelfrey dominated the Florida State League in 2006, but allowed 13 runs in his first five starts at Double-A. So the Mets brought in veteran catcher Mike DeFelice to Binghamton to give their prized prospect some kind of comfort level. With DeFelice behind the plate, Pelfrey went on a tear, reeling off 3-1, 2.32 numbers with 35 strikeouts in 31 innings in June.

"I even told the Mets that he was the one who turned my season around," Pelfrey said. "He was just a guy I felt like I could talk to--someone who's been (in the big leagues), somebody who's had that experience. He taught me more about attacking hitters in mixing in my breaking ball and make it more useable, because honestly it's never been great. But he put me in situations where I could use it and have success and gain confidence in myself. He was a big reason I was able to do what I did."

Pelfrey has plenty of aggressiveness and nasty pure stuff, but he knows keeping hitters off the pace of his fastball is what it takes to have any kind of success at the next level.

"I just have to keep using the slider and the changeup to where I'm comfortable throwing either one at any time and know I can command and locate it where I want it," Pelfrey said. "I'm happy with where things are right now, but I know I still have a lot of work to do to get them where they need to be."

MULLING MULVEY: The Mets didn't have a first-round pick in the 2006 draft, selecting Villanova righthander Kevin Mulvey as their top choice in the second round.

So far, Mulvey been holding his own. The New Jersey native jumped to Double-A in his debut where he went 0-1, 1.35 in 13 innings.

Mulvey has been just as impressive in the AFL, despite allowing five runs over his eight innings of work.

"He's got good command of three pitches," a scout from an American League club said. "Good velocity on the fastball--90-93 (mph)--and a nice mix of secondary pitches with a pretty darned good feel for his changeup."

Mulvey was a 34th-round pick of the Cardinals out of high school but opted to head to Villanova, and the move paid off after three seasons as he emerged as a second-round talent. The Phillies were heavily linked to Mulvey heading into the draft, but he wound up going to his favorite team--and the team his parents were watching while his mother Carole was going through labor.

"I just found this out recently, but apparently they were watching the Mets-Cubs game on TV in the hospital," Mulvey said. "All I know is Doc Gooden was pitching, so it makes everything that’s happened a little more special."

MUY CALIENTE, FERNANDO: Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez is the youngest player in the history of the AFL, turning 18 on the Fall League's Opening Day, but even facing players five to six years older, Martinez has shown tools worthy of his $1.4 million bonus.

Martinez is hitting just .233 (10-for-43) for Mesa, but that includes a 1-for-18 start. He has shown excellent bat speed, instincts and the ability to use the whole field in a prospect-laden showcase.

"He's still so young, but the ball just jumps off his bat," Solar Sox manager Pat Listach said. "He's a tough kid with tremendous natural ability. He's hit some balls I'm just amazed by, to be honest. The first day of batting practice, he's out there hitting opposite-field home runs. I know it's BP, but for a 17-year-old to be out there taking balls out the other way, it's just very impressive."

Martinez was expected to play all three outfield spots in Arizona, but has played exclusively center for Mesa. And while the tools are there offensively, his defense is still a work in progress.

"He still needs some time on routes, jumps, those types of things that will only get better with more experience," Listach said. "This is a real test for him and he's responded."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Anderson Hernandez CONTINUES to RAKE for Licey

Anderson Hernandez (left) continued to swing a scorching hot bat in the Dominican Winter League playoffs.

Licey lost, 9-3, but it was no fault of the switch hitter middle infielder. He went 2 for 5, with a double, homer, 2 runs scored, and an RBI, raising his playoff average to .390 (30 for 77), and combined with his regular season stats, Hernandez is now batting .342/.402/.421 in 190 ABs (65 hits), with 8 doubles, 2 triples and a homer.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mets Won’t Trade Future, So Present Must Wait

Published: January 18, 2007

The telephone calls keep coming, so Mets General Manager Omar Minaya keeps listening. But trading away premium talent for a modest starter is not going to happen. So Minaya has resisted all comers, and will take a chance that the enigmatic Jorge Sosa and seven other candidates will ultimately produce three capable starters for the last three spots in the rotation.

None of the three figures to be the elite pitcher the Mets anticipated they would land when the off-season began, so at some point Minaya may look to aim higher. Acquiring a top starter — someone, for instance, like Florida’s Dontrelle Willis — would probably cost the Mets two, or perhaps three, of their top prospects, a notion they have rebuffed in the past. But as Minaya said recently, after being outbid for Barry Zito, “If you have those kinds of premium prospects, those kinds of impact pitchers become available in trades.”

When teams ask about the Mets’ top prospects, five players stand out: the right-handed starters Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber, and the outfielders Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gómez and Fernando Martínez. Having recently turned 24, Humber is the oldest and is six years older than Martínez, who, at 18, is the farthest from the major leagues, but might turn out to be the best.

Of the five, only Pelfrey figures to make the Mets’ opening day roster, although as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, not as the ace they project him to become someday. Pelfrey, 23, the Mets’ top draft pick in 2005, did well in his three months in the minor leagues, but struggled at times in his four starts with the Mets.

Unlike in college, where he could dominate by simply throwing his fastball, which can reach 98 miles an hour with nasty sinking movement, Pelfrey labored in the majors without consistent command of his secondary pitches. Before the Mets shut down his season in the Arizona Fall League because of minor arm soreness, Pelfrey improved his changeup and scratched his curveball for a late-breaking slider. His manager in Arizona, Pat Listach, said that Pelfrey left Arizona feeling comfortable with all his pitches.

“I know that we were all very pleased with the improvements Mike made,” Listach said in a recent telephone interview. “Now that he’s found a consistent arm slot for his breaking pitches, his stuff is even more unbelievable.”

Like Pelfrey, Humber is tall and polished, and he could also develop into a future anchor of the rotation. In 2005, he was soaring through the organization until an elbow injury that required reconstructive surgery sidelined him for a year. He recovered quickly, however, and pitched well in two appearances with the Mets last September. His fall season in Arizona ended prematurely after he experienced shoulder tendinitis. He is likely to begin the season at Class AAA New Orleans.

As team officials acknowledge, they promoted Milledge a little too soon last May. His off-field problems during two stints with the Mets generated as much discussion as his superior bat speed. But his name still comes up in trade talks. At the moment, there is no space in the outfield for him. He appears headed for New Orleans and, at some point, he may be joined there by Gómez.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2002 at age 16, Gómez, a right-handed hitter, is viewed as having few weaknesses that experience cannot eliminate. He has stolen 105 bases over the past two seasons, and once he fills out his lanky 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, he is expected to hit about 25 home runs a season. Gómez has a strong arm, which makes him a candidate to shift to right field from center once he is ready for the majors.

The Mets challenged Gómez, then 20, last season by placing him at Class AA Binghamton. After hitting .406 there in July, he finished the season batting .281 with 7 home runs and 48 runs batted in. He will begin the season back in Binghamton.

Martínez is the most precocious player in the system. He batted .279 with 10 homers and held his own defensively at three minor league stops at an age when most players are still in high school.

The Mets are enthralled with his compact swing, 30-homer potential and projection to hit for a high average, and how he handled being the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League. Listach called him the league’s most exciting player and compared him to Carlos Beltrán.

“At 18 years old, I thought he’d be overmatched,” Listach said. “But after the first week, he was passing by people with more experience. His bat speed was tremendous. He hits to the opposite field as well as anyone. And he had the best arm of anyone I saw in the fall league.”

It is natural to fantasize about a future outfield of Gómez, Martínez and Milledge, one that could take the field when the Mets move into their new stadium in 2009. But Beltrán has five years left on his contract and does not figure to be going anywhere soon. Besides, Minaya may just as easily trade one, two or all three before then. It is up to him.