Saturday, March 29, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
And once more, this minor leaguer who split time in high A and AA last year had more mound presense and poise then Mike Pelfrey. This is goes to my point (if you've read my posts on NYFS, you know what I've been saying) - that Mike Pelfrey was handled in the absolute worst way possible. Both Niese and Parnell were drafted in the same draft as Pelfrey. And both have less raw stuff then Mike, but both exuded a confidence we just have not seen from Pelfrey. It's uncanny, really.
Onto the outing. Parnell was throwing consistently 89-93 on his fastball, and it has good movement down in the zone. He looked really really sharp today. He featured a slider as well, in the 78-82 range, which serves as a good offspeed pitch. Most sliders are maybe 3-5 mph off a pitcher's fastball, but Parnell's is around 10 mph slower, sort of negating the need for a changeup, which he did not throw as much. I think one of the biggest things we saw today from Parnell, that we didn't see yesterday from Niese, was an ability to maintain his velocity deep into his outing. Parnell was throwing as hard in the 5th as he was in the 1st.
If you heard Omar in the booth, he sounded really upbeat about Niese and Parnell (being the two upper-most pitching prospects left over, I don't think he has a choice, but that's besides the point). Both of them acquitted themselves marvelously in major league camp. I know for me, I was really excited to see both, and neither disappointed. Parnell is, or should be, about a half season ahead of Niese, so I could see him in AAA much quicker then Niese, but both looked poised beyond expectations, in my opinion.
Both Parnell and Niese should open in Binghamton this year, but do not be surprised if both close the year out in New Orleans. A September callup as a reward wouldn't be out of the question, either, although starting their option clock might not be a smart idea.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Email us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org - and we will answer them for you. The first mailbag will be FRIDAY, APRIL 4TH, then every Sunday thereafter (so the 12th would be the first in season mailbag).
That said, every time I see him, I'm more and more impressed. In fact, I'll go so far as to say this: whatever your projections for Niese (conventional wisdom says 3rd starter at best) - move him up a slot. He's got that same intangible "It" that Big Game Johnny Maine has. Of course he wasn't poised in the 5th today, he's inexperienced. I think - given time, Jon Niese will be an anchor in the middle of the Mets rotation.
His mound presense, that poise he's got - it's uncanny. You can't teach it (see Pelfrey, Mike). Barring injury and/or trade, Jon Niese will be a very good pitcher for the Mets.
From what I saw today, he's got an out pitch vs lefties with that big 12-6 curve, and is developing an out pitch vs righties with his changeup (which I saw around 78-82). I'm not quite sure what he was throwing in the 5th that was clocking 85,86, whether he was overthrowing his change, or if that was his fastball (which sits 88-92), but it was clear he ran out of steam. Even still, he didn't let the inning completely get away from him, and got a grounder for a DP. In my opinion, he was getting squeezed a bit in the 5th, too.
Overall, I'd rate this outing a very solid B, considering his youth, inexperience, and level pitched last year. He's a keeper. For sure.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Jon Niese pitched in high A last year, and was working on command and lengthenng his outings. His ERA was 4.20, he gave up more hits then innings pitched. This insane idea that based on FOUR (the number after 3...) innings in ST that he's ready to make a jump DOC GOODEN made is ridiculously insane.
Niese is going to have a breakout season for the AA Binghamton Mets this year. Mid to upper 2s ERA. But he is NOT ready to make the ridiculous leap from high A to Shea.
Oh - this doesn't mean you turn to Bobby Parnell, either.
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ruddy Lugo
I'm shocked by a couple. Nelson Portillo, Ryan Cullen and Grady Hinchman. You can never, IMO, have enough lefty starting/relief pitching in your system.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Mets drafted Giarraputo in the 12th round of the 2006 draft out of Simi Valley high school in California, and sent him to the GCL where he hit .215/.270/.254/.524 in 181 ABs. He produced 7 2b, 11 RBI, and 13 walks in 47 games.
2007 was spent playing both first and third in the rookie level Appy League, where Giarraputo hit .274/.298/.365/.663, producing 24 2b, 34 RBI, and 9 walks in 66 games.
As mentioned above, Giarraputo should open 2007 as part of a quintuplet of infielders which will be among the youngest in the history of the South Atlantic League.
Friday, March 14, 2008
2. Rocco Baldelli
Rocco Baldelli is a five-tool player: and those tools are scalpel, knee brace, cane, sling and Ace bandage.
Baldelli has appeared in 127 of a possible 486 games the last three seasons. And — surprise! — he will begin this season on the disabled list. His latest DL-inducing "injury" is exhaustion. Who does he think he is, Mariah Carey? And what is he exhausted from, the off-season?
Baldelli's career mirrors the sad history of the Rays. Just one downer after another. He may be only 26, but after four seasons he has proven two things definitely: he can't stay healthy and he doesn't know the strike zone. He has a career .324 OBP and strikes out four times as much as he walks. In 1,656 career at bats he has drawn only 83 walks. He's exhausted, and he's exhausted the patience of Rays fans, tired of watching him strike out on balls in the dirt.
In case you don't know, Baldelli this week was diagnosed with a life threatening medical condition in which his body does not produce enough ATP (some sort of energy which is broken down from foods). It is a serious and very life threatening condition, and this piece of shit fuckstain dares to rake Baldelli through the mud for it, and belittles it?
Just thought I'd bring it to your attention.Edit: Link for feedback
I suggest you email them and tell them exactly what you feel about Mr. Hench and his deplorable article.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I believe in getting to know the person behind the player. So have at it!
Edit: Whoops. I screwed up the email address, lol. It's fixed now.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Organizational Player of the Year: Fernando Martinez
Come on, you think we'd really pick someone else? The only thing that would keep this from happening is if he's so good, he ends up in New York earlier in the year. But this is the season he really starts putting it together.
Organizational Pitcher of the Year: Jonathan Niese
Someone needs to fill the void created by the trades, and Niese looks ready to step up. In great shape and ready to prove he can contribute, look for him to be ready to hit the bigs by 2009.
Level-repeater of the year: Francisco Pena
If you push a teenager to full-season ball and he fails, there's the benefit of the fact that sending him back to that level won't hurt him because he's so young. Pena will have learned his lessons from last year's disappointment and show why he was such a highly sought prospect when the Mets signed him.
Good college reliever, bad college reliever: Eddie Kunz will hit the ground running and dominate Binghamton and New Orleans, reaching the Mets' bullpen by the All-Star break. Brant Rustich's transition to starting won't go nearly as well and the Mets will move him back to the 'pen right around the time Kunz hits Shea.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The above was buried in a Joel Sherman article
All I can say is WOW. There's overly aggresive (Savannah, which I'd do) - and then there's utter stupidity, which placing them in St. Lucie would be. This will be a big mistake if they do it. Ruben Tejada's only 18 years old, Savannah would be way ahead of the game. St. Lucie - pushing it. Yes, I know about his above-average approach, but why push it that much?
My philosophy is - if there's any doubt, send him to the lower level. The worst thing that could happen is he hits .340/.450/.510 for 6 weeks, THEN you promote him. Sending him (and them, for that matter) to St. Lucie - there's just too much bad that can happen, and not enough good.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
19-year-old phenom Fernando Martinez blazing a trail toward Shea
By ADAM RUBIN
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
PORT ST. LUCIE - Five months after his 16th birthday, with a seven-figure signing bonus riding on his performance, Fernando Martinez stepped onto Field 7 at the Mets' complex during spring training in 2005, trying to impress the organization's top officials.
He succeeded by spraying line drives to the opposite field, and with strong throws from right field to the third base and the plate, and with a firm handshake that demonstrated to GM Omar Minaya the prospect's strength.
Months later, the Dominican teenager was being introduced at Shea as a Met, having landed a franchise-record signing bonus for an international free agent: $1.3 million.
"I wasn't nervous," Martinez says. "All my life, I said, 'I like New York. I like the Mets. This is my team.' I felt it."
Now, Jesus Fernando Martinez Alvarez is nearing his arrival in Flushing, as a can't-miss, according to people in the know, as a Jose Reyes, the last teenager to get promoted by the Mets to the big leagues.
"We always felt that he was going to advance, that if he stayed healthy, this kid is going to be a major leaguer," says Mets VP Tony Bernazard, who oversees the minors.
* * *
When Minaya, three months into his tenure as GM, signed Pedro Martinez to a $53 million contract on Dec. 16, 2004, critics questioned the wisdom of committing four years to a 30-something pitcher with evidence of shoulder wear. Minaya portrayed the signing differently - as far more than the addition of a top-notch pitcher.
When Minaya was questioned about what Martinez would have left in 2008, the GM pointed to 2010 and 2015, when young Dominicans will mimic their national hero and choose the Mets.
"You know where that kid wants to be today?" Minaya asked at a packed news conference to introduce Martinez. "He wants to be a Met."
Fernando Martinez was the first of that wave, shunning a more lucrative offer from the Padres in order to enlist with the team that had signed his countryman away from the Red Sox.
Still, Minaya pins the failure rate for international signings - even the ones with seven-figure signing bonuses - at more than 80%.
Yet there was always something special about Fernando Martinez.
"I've gone down that road with a lot of guys before, but he stood out because he was really under control," says Sandy Johnson, the Mets' VP for scouting, who watched Martinez work out at the team's Dominican Republic complex even before the Florida tryout. "He had tremendous bat speed. The ball jumps off his bat. He never swung and missed. He was really a mature-type 15½-, 16-year-old kid."
Despite all of Martinez's baseball tools, his maturity caught the attention of the Mets. The day Martinez arrived at camp this spring, he beat Minaya to Tradition Field - and the GM arrived at 6:45 a.m., three full hours before players typically go out to stretch. Three years after first setting foot in the U.S., thanks in part to classes with a SUNY-Binghamton professor last season, Martinez already has a sound command of English. Meanwhile, as the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League two seasons ago and the youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League last season at 18, Martinez has compiled a .276 average, 14 homers and 60 RBI in 551 career minor-league at-bats against more experienced competition.
"A kid like that might be fooling around with (Sony) PSP," says Mako Oliveras, Martinez's manager last season at Double-A Binghamton. "You don't see him. He's got a goal to play hard and to get to the big leagues."
Says Carlos Beltran, who figures to push Martinez at some point from his natural position at center field to right: "He's got a great habit of working. Every day when I go to the weight room, he's always there lifting weights."
* * *
Just last spring, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon was giddily proclaiming Martinez and Carlos Gomez the Mets' corner outfielders when Citi Field debuts in 2009. Plans change. Last month came the trade with the Twins for Johan Santana, and Gomez, along with pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra, were shipped out.
Still, it's hard to not envision Martinez patrolling the quirky right field at the new stadium, with its old-Tiger Stadium-type overhang, next year.
The Mets didn't want to part with Martinez - the highest-rated Dominican product in the sport, according to Baseball America - in the Santana deal, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The Twins were content taking the 22-year-old Gomez, since they needed a center fielder ready to step in for the departed Torii Hunter to open this season.
For now, Bernazard says Martinez is ticketed to open '08 at Binghamton. He'll remain in center field, just as Lastings Milledge and Gomez did until their major-league call-ups.
"You always try to keep the players at the prime positions as long as you can," Bernazard says. "If a guy is capable of playing shortstop, and you're planning to move him, and he's not holding anyone up, you play him at shortstop."
Really, what has slowed Martinez's ascension more than anything are hand injuries. He was limited to 60 games last season because of a broken bone at the base of his right hand that required surgery, an injury that forced him to cancel an appearance in the Futures Game during the All-Star festivities in San Francisco. The season before, a recurring left-thumb injury limited him to 76 games.
"We're looking forward to seeing what he can do with a full year of playing time uninterrupted," Bernazard says.
Says Oliveras: "While I'm talking to you now, I've got goose bumps. The only thing that can get in the middle of his road is injuries."
Mets officials predict the lefty-hitting Martinez, now just 19 and listed at 6-1, 190 pounds, will grow into a 30-plus homer threat. Oliveras describes the shots off Martinez's bat as having backspin because they're hit so hard and squarely. And he flashed a little leather on Friday when made diving catch playing while left field in the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Cardinals.
Martinez's arm should be more than adequate for right field in an era in which rifles such as Dave Parker's and Ellis Valentine's no longer exist.
"Any time a guy, in my experience, is able to hit the ball with authority at that age to the opposite field, it's only a matter of time," says Mets bench coach Jerry Manuel, who tutors the outfielders, about Martinez's power potential.
* * *
When will the call come to promote Martinez? Martinez, in what seemed like an uncharacteristic boast, predicted upon his arrival at camp that it would be this year, although Oliveras says the prospect was misunderstood.
"I grabbed him and said, 'Hey, watch out with whatever you say. The words will come back to haunt you,'" Oliveras says. "He said, 'I didn't mean that. What I said was I was going to work hard to see if I can get there.'"
Bernazard says he can't offer a date. If the Mets are clicking, with Moises Alou remaining healthy and Ryan Church meeting expectations, there may not be a need.
"He's going to come soon," Bernazard says. "If he stays healthy, this year we might see him at the end of the season. It depends on the needs of the team and who's doing well."
It is worth noting that the spring before Beltran turned 19, he had logged only 180 at-bats in the minors - all at the rookie level. So Martinez is ahead of the curve.
It was, after all, only three years ago that Martinez was trying out for the Mets, at an age many U.S. students are sophomores in high school. Just Friday, Fernando Martinez was playing the kid-in-the-candy-store role, excitedly getting a ball autographed by Pedro.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Jon Niese started for the Mets and gave up a walk in his 2 innings of work, striking out 3. He threw 88-92 on his fastball, and flashed a very good 11-5 curveball in the low 70s. He also threw one changeup that I saw, low 80s, to strike out Andruw.
Bobby Parnell also threw 2 innings later in the game, he walked one and struck out two. He predominantly threw fastballs between 88 and 92, but did hit one 93 and one 94. He flashed a low 80s slider, and the one pitch he threw at 62 was obviously an SNY error, the pitch looked much harder.
And in the 9th, Brooklyn OFer Ezequiel Carrera saved the game for Matt Wise by robbing a HR in LF. Carrera should be in the mix for a Savannah OF spot.
In the bottom of the 9th, St. Lucie 3rd baseman Dan Murphy ripped a double over the first base bag which helped to set up the winning run. Murphy should be starting 3b for the B-Mets in 2008.