Saturday, March 28, 2009

MPH System Audit III - Part VI (SPs 12-22)

Starting Pitchers

12. John Holdzkom 10/19/87 (21.29) R/R (A Savannah 2-3, 5.89 era, 20 G, 5 GS, 47.1 IP, 45 H, 40/31 R/ER, HR, 45/56 BB/K, 1.70 GO/FO, .246 BAA, 1.90 WHIP, R Kingsport 3-1, 3.66 era, 8 G, 7 GS, 39.1 IP, 38 H, 19/16 R/ER, 3 HR, 12/44 BB/K, 3.44 GO/FO, .257 BAA, 1.27 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 5-4, 4.88 era, 28 G, 12 GS, 86.2 IP, 83 H, 59/47 R/ER, 4 HR, 57/100 BB/K, 2.30 GO/FO, .251 BAA, 1.62 WHIP

Holdzkom was drafted in the 4th round, 124th overall, in the 2006 draft. He spent a miserable rookie season in the GCL, compiling a 2-5, 7.71 era in 23.1 innings (16/2 G/GS). His season was marred by massive control issues, he walked 20 in those 23.1 innings. Holdzkom didn't pitch much in 2007 for a variety of reasons, including a suspension for trashing his hotel room.

2008 was really a tale of two seasons for the 6'7/225 righty. The first one was a relief season spent in misery at Savannah, where he compiled a pitiful 8.31 era in 15 outings spanning 21.2 innings. The other was brought about by a demotion to Kingsport, and a conversion to the starting rotation. After an excellent adaptation in Kingsport, Holdzkom brought that to Savannah, where he put up a very good 3.86 era in 5 starts, ending the season with his best professional outing, a 7 inning 2 hitter. Holdzkom remains on pace age/level wise, he will spend all of the upcoming season at age 21, likely opening in Savannah.

Oh yeah - he's Insane in the Membrane.

13. Nathan Vineyard 10/3/88 (20.33) L/L (A Savannah 0-2, 14.63 era, 2 GS, 8 IP, 13 H, 13 ER, HR, 6/3 BB/K, 1.22 GO/FO, .382 BAA, 2.38 WHIP)

The Mets selected Vineyard in the first round, with their 47th pick in the 2007 draft out of Woodland High School in Georgia, where as a senior, he put up these numbers as a senior: 9-3, 1.19 era, 12 GS, 6 CG, 70.2 IP, 39 H, 12 BBs, 130 Ks; .429/.547/.714, 13 2b, 3b, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 22/7 BB/K. He was sent to the rookie level GCL, where he struggled, but did register more then a K per inning. Given the Mets aggressive policy with prospects, it wouldn't be shocking to see Vineyard in the Sally League at some point in 2008 (either starting there, or ending up there).

Vineyard opened the 08 season in Savannah, but lasted just 2 starts before he suffered a left shoulder strain in mid April and had season ending shoulder surgery on May 9th.

Vineyard's fastball is in the low 90s, but he can touch 93 when he needss to. He can locate the pitch down in the strike zone and both sides of the plate with tailing movement. Only 19 years old, he still does have potential to add a few MPH on his fastball, which would turn it into a trus plus pitch. Vineyard's best pitch is his devastating three-quarters slider which he throws in the mid 80s. It has massive break that tails hard down and away to left-handers, dives under the bats of right-handers, and serves as his finishing pitch. He also throws a developing curveball which is in the 76-79 range, and a circle change, in the same range. His change is his third best pitch. Right now, Vineyard keeps the ball down with his full compliment of pitches, pounding the strike zone with his fastball and changeup before finishing hitters off with his slider. He only walked 1 batter every 3 innings, and with further refinement of his pitches, that rate should only improve. As he gets older and his pitches become even finer, he may become more of a strikeout pitcher thanks to his growing velocity combined with his tremendous slider and improving changeup.

Update 3/28/09: Vineyard apparently has not shown up to spring training in Port St. Lucie, so right now his status within the organization is very much up in the air.

14. Tobi Stoner 12/3/84 (24.16) S/R (A+ St. Lucie 1-5, 2.60 era, 9 GS, 52 IP, 46 H, 17/15 R/ER, 3 HR, 9/48 BB/K, 1.10 GO/FO, .238 BAA, 1.06 WHIP, AA Binghamton 4-6, 4.33 era, 15 GS, 79 IP, 80 H, 39/38 R/ER, 7 HR, 29/59 BB/K, 0.82 GO/FO, .267 BAA, 1.38 WHIP, AFL Peoria Saguaros 2-0, 3.66 era, 11 G, 19.2 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 7/15 BB/K, 1.22 WHIP, .227 BAA, 1.00 GO/FO, PRWL Mayaguez 2-1, 1.16 era, 6/5 G/GS, 31 IP, 25 H, 5/4 R/ER, 7/20 BB/K)

Total 2008 Stats: 9-12, 3.22 era, 41/29 G/GS, 181.2 IP, 168 H, 52/142 BB/K, 1.21 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.

Stoner did open in Savannah, but he ended in St. Lucie, with mixed results. He performed very well on a very young and inexperienced Savannah team, but struggled upon his promotion to the higher league. We would expect Stoner to open 2008 back in St. Lucie, with a mid-season promotion to Binghamton likely.

Which is exactly what happened.

Taking out Stoner's worst AA start, his numbers improve to 4-5, 3.71 era, 77.2 IP, 71 H, 29/58 BB/K. If you remove his 4 start introduction to AA, and his worst AA outing, you're left with 4-3, 2.62 era, 10 GS, 58.1 IP, 43 H, 17 ER, 3 HR, 23/41 BB/K. Obviously that's purely unscientific, and pretty selective, removing 1/3 of his AA starts, but I think it's pretty important in this case, much as it is in Jon Niese's, to show Stoner did not struggle in AA, despite the mid 4 era.

Stoner throws 5 pitches. A 2 and 4 seam fastball, a slider, curve and changeup. His 2 seamer is in the 88-91 range, while he can get his 4 seamer up into the mid 90s. He made great strides this past season with his fastball(s) command, especially pitching to contact with his 2 seamer. Stoner's best pitches are his breaking balls. He throws a curveball in the 77-80 range with very good command, and compliments it with a sharp down breaking 84-87 MPH slider. He rounds out his arsenal with a good changeup, but he needs to use it more.

Stoner is an aggresive pitcher who comes after you with a vast array of pitches. He likes to mix up his pitch sequences, sometimes working opposite to the count. Stoner looks to be either a good arm for the underside of a bullpen (6th/7th innings), or a reliable 4/5 in a rotation. Stoner should begin the season in Binghamton, and much like the past 2 seasons, earn a midseason promotion to Buffalo, which would put him in line for a mid 2010 debut.

15. Nick Carr 4/19/87 (21.79) R/R (A+ St. Lucie 2-10, 5.70 era, 22 G, 21 GS, 94.2 IP, 103 H, 64/60 R/ER, 10 HR, 50/80 BB/K, 1.12 GO/FO, .282 BAA, 1.62 WHIP, A Savannah 1-2, 3.33 era, 4 GS, 24.1 IP, 22 H, 11/9 R/ER, 4/16 BB/K, 1.16 GO/FO, .239 BAA, 1.07 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 3-12, 5.22 era, 26 G, 25 GS, 119 IP, 125 H, 75/69 R/ER, 10 HR, 54/96 BB/K, 1.13 GO/FO, .274 BAA, 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, 2006 - just 2 days before the one year anniversary of the release of Revenge of the Sith.

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.

Carr instead spent the season in Brooklyn of the New York Penn League, where he put up very good numbers, going 5-2, 3.80 in 66.1 innings. He played in Hawaii during the fall, getting into 5 more games, totalling 12.1 innings, and posting a 3.65 era. Carr should either continue his one level ascent through the system, or if the Mets feel like pushing him, he could open the year in St. Lucie.

The Mets felt like pushing him - and it came back to bite them directly on the ass. Carr spent the bulk of the season living through hell in St. Lucie, not earning his first victory until August 16th. For the majority of his time in St. Lucie, he sported an ERA north of 6. Despite the absolutely ugly numbers Carr put up in St. Lucie, there was a silver lining. In his last 4 outings, he went: 2-0, 0.86 era, 4 G, 21 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 10/18 BB/K, 1.00 WHIP. Still, as there was a year to play with, he can repeat St. Lucie comfortably and still not exceed the ideal age/level for high A.

Carr features 5 pitches, a 2 and 4 seam fastball, slider, curve and change. Both his fastballs sit in the low to mid 90s, and he can occasionally dial his 4 seamer up to 96-97 if he needs to. Both pitches have strike out-ability, but they work best when he uses them to setup his slider and other offspeed pitches. His slider is his best offspeed pitch, sitting in the mid 80s with very good hard late break down. He vastly improved his ability to throw his curveball for strikes, this pitch sits in the lower 80s. Finally, he has an upper 70s changeup which he's backed off on from previous seasons, lowering it's velocity.

Carr is an intense pitcher who feeds off emotion, which as we've seen from OPP, can be a good thing or a bad thing. Carr has a lot of moving parts in his delievery, which can cause him to get out of whack at times. Carr projects as a middle of the rotation starter with upside, or if he doesn't put everything together, a late inning power reliever. He should begin 2009 back in St. Lucie (having a year to play with developmentally...), and end the season in Binghamton, giving him an ETA of late 2010 as a reliever or mid 2011 as a starter.

16. Cole Abbott 7/17/88 (20.5) R/R - DNP in 2008

The Mets stole Abbott in the 25th round, with their 783rd pick in the 2007 draft. Expected to go much higher, Abbott fell precipitously, and the Mets snapped him up, and sent him to the GCL, where he did not pitch much, and struggled with command when he did toe the rubber. Abbott should find himself in Kingsport to start 2008, with an outside shot of ending his season in Savannah.

For some still unexplained reason, Abbott did not throw one pitch during the 2008 season.

17. Elvin Ramirez 10/10/87 (21.33) R/R (A Savannah 6-7, 3.67 era, 18 GS, 81 IP, 81 H, 38/33 R/ER, HR, 36/62 BB/K, 1.77 GO/FO, .257 BAA, 1.44 WHIP)

Ramirez was signed during the 2005 International Free Agent signing period, and made his pro debut in 2006 with the DSL Mets, posting a 0-1, 2.63 line in 11 games, 6 starts, spanning 27.1 innings. He was jumped to Kingsport for the 2007 season, where he struggled, posting a 1-4, 5.52 line in 12 starts over 45.2 innings.

Ramirez was in the midst of a breakout 2008 season when he suffered a back injury on July 9th, which caused him to miss the rest of the season.

Ramirez features one of the best sinkers in the organization, a devastating mid 90s sinker with sharp down break and great side to side movement. Much like Bobby Parnell, he's cleaned up his mechanics and can maintain velocity deep into games now. He can dial a 4 seamer up into the 95-97 range, but very rarely uses this pitch. Ramirez also owns a very good slider, which he throws in the mid 80s, again with a sharp down break. he tops off his arsenal with a still developing changeup which he is inconsistent with.

As evidenced by his 1.77 GO/FO ratio this past season, Ramirez goes right after hitters, relying on his defense to make plays for him. He Ks a good amount (62 in 81 innings, 6.89 per 9), but walks a few too many (36 in 81 innings, 4 per 9). Right now, Ramirez is viewed as a starter, but again, as with Bobby Parnell, development of his changeup will dictate where he ultimately ends up. He's got the top two pitches to be a good #3 in a rotation, or a very valuable setup man in the back of a bullpen. Ramirez should open 2009 in St. Lucie, and move up a level per year, making his debut date sometime in the 2011 season, or on opening day 2012.

18. Scott Shaw 8/3/86 (22.5) R/R (University of Illinois 4-4, 7.83 era, 12 G, 11 GS, 2 CG, 56.1 IP, 79 H, 59/49 R/ER, 8 HR, 24/48 BB/K, .328 BAA, A- Brooklyn 6-3, 2.80 era, 15 G, 14 GS, 74 IP, 66 H, 24/23 R/ER, 4 HR, 15/79 BB/K, 1.01 GO/FO, .238 BAA, 1.09 WHIP, HWL Honolulu 2-2, 2.51 era, 8 G, 7 GS, 32.1 IP, 12 H, 13/9 R/ER, HR, 9/35 BB/K, .65 WHIP, .110 BAA, 0.91 GO/FO)

Total 2008 Stats: 12-9, 4.48 era, 35 G, 32 GS, 162.2 IP, 157 H, 96/81 R/ER, 48/162 BB/K, 0.98 GO/FO (Brooklyn + Hawaii), .244 BAA, 1.26 WHIP

Total 2008 Professional Stats: 8-5, 2.71 era, 23 G, 21 GS, 106.1 IP, 78 H, 37/32 R/ER, 24/114 BB/K, 0.98 GO/FO, .199 BAA, .96 WHIP

Shaw was drafted by the Mets in the 13th round, 404th overall, and after signing was sent to Brooklyn, and then Hawaii, where he posted a composite 2.71 era in 106.1 innings over 23 games. Shaw, who had a miserable junior season at the University of Illonis, is a high upside college pick in the mold of Bobby Parnell. Here is a predraft 2008 scouting report:

He has topped out at 94 MPH on the radar gun. Shaw said his typical fastball ranges between 88 and 92 MPH.

"He is a very projectible pitcher," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "He's athletic and has a very good body. He's very capable of being successful."

In high school, Shaw relied on his fastball, curve and slider. He developed his fourth pitch, a changeup, over the last year.

"I consider that now one of my best pitches," he said.

19. Angel Calero 9/25/86 (22.33) L/L (A Savannah 3-5, 2.57 era, 12 GS, 66.2 IP, 54 H, 30/19 R/ER, 3 HR, 15/59 BB/K, 0.86 GO/FO, .220 BAA, 1.04 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 1-1, 7.07 era, 4 GS, 14 IP, 18 H, 11 ER, 3 HR, 7/10 BB/K, 0.52 GO/FO, .300 BAA, 1.79 WHIP)

Calero was signed during the 2005 International Free Agent signing period, and made his debut later that same year in the VSL, where he posted a 2-4, 4.03 era in 44.2 innings, with 24 walks allowed (4.84 BB/9). The following year saw in stateside, in the GCL, where his control problems were magnified, as he walked 23 in 27.2 innings (7.48 BB/9), while going 2-2 with a 6.83 era. He was sent to Kingsport for the 2007 season, and pitched markedly better, going 5-1 with a 2.79 era over 51.2 innings, with just 17 walks allowed (2.96 BB/9).

We don't know what happened to Calero beyond the facts that 1) he hasn't pitched anywhere since June 27th, and 2) he's on the DL. #1 leads me to believe it's a bad injury, but again, we have not heard anything officially.

Calero should open 2009 back in St. Lucie, assuming his health is OK.

Update 3/28/09: Calero was shut down with a shoulder injury, that puts his 2009 in jeopardy, for sure.

20. Jim Fuller 6/1/87 (21.66) L/L (Southern Connecticut State 9-3, 1.39 era, 14 GS, 2 CG, 97 IP, 60 H, 24/15 R/ER, 4 HR, 23/145 BB/K, .175 BAA, A- Brooklyn 2-0, 1 era, 8 G, GS, SV, 18 IP, 15 H, 2 ER, 5/22 BB/K, 2.22 GO/FO, .238 BAA, 1.11 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 11-3, 1.33 era, 22 G, 15 GS, 115 IP, 75 H, 28/167 BB/K, .90 WHIP

Fuller was drafted in the 21st round, 644th overall, out of the sister college of my alum, Southern Connecticut State. After he was signed, he was sent to Brooklyn where he posted a 1.00 era in 18 innings, his season was bisected by a shoulder strain.

21. Eric Beaulac 11/13/86 (22.21) R/R (Le Moyne College 9-2, 2.83 era, 14 GS, CGSO, 92.1 IP, 56 H, 36/29 R/ER, 43/113 BB/K, .170 BAA, A- Brooklyn 0-0, 9.82 era, 2 G, 3.2 IP, H, 4 ER, 2/6 BB/K, 0.25 GO/FO, .091 BAA, .82 WHIP, R Kingsport 1-0, 1.89 era, 6 G, 2 GS, SV, 19 IP, 15 H, 5/4 R/ER, HR, 6/23 BB/K, 1.36 GO/FO, .214 BAA, 1.11 WHIP, A Savannah 1-2, 3.55 era, 6 GS, 25.1 IP, 22 H, 13/10 R/ER, HR, 18/31 BB/K, 1.47 GO/FO, .239 BAA, 1.58 WHIP)

Total 2008 Minor League Stats: 2-2, 3.38 era, 14 G, 8 GS, SV, 48 IP, 38 H, 22/18 R/ER, 2 HR, 26/60 BB/K, 1.29 GO/FO, .220 BAA, 1.33 WHIP

Total 2008 Cumulative Stats: 11-4, 3.01 era, 28 G, 22 GS, 140.1 IP, 94 H, 69/173 BB/K, 1.16 WHIP

Beaulac was drafted by the Mets in the 9th round, 284th overall, out of Le Moyne College, and after signing for $90,000, he was sent to Brooklyn, then Kingsport, and lastly Savannah, where he posted a composite 3.38 era in 48 minor league innings. Here is a predraft 2008 scouting report on Beaulac:

Thanks to Coach Steven Owens: FB 91-93, very good slider 83-87 with depth, workable up very few hits per innings pitched, command needs to improve and reduce walks

Beaulac features a 3 pitch arsenal, a fastball, slider and changeup. He throws his fastball in the 92-94 range, but can pump it into the 95-96 range when needed. A very good trait (which he shares with Bobby Parnell and Brad Holt) is that Beaulac can maintain his fastball deep into games. His best secondary offering is a low to mid 80s slider he uses as an out pitch. This pitch has a good break and late movement, he uses it to generate Ks and grounders. He rounds out his arsenal with a developing upper 70s changeup which he needs to get more consistent with.

Beaulac should open the 2009 season back in Savannah, anchoring what is expected to be a very young, inexperienced staff. However, he should be in the mix for a midseason (or earlier) promotion to St. Lucie, followed by a likely stint in the junior AFL after the season (the replacement league for Hawaii), and then a start in Binghamton in 2010, which would put his debut sometime in mid 2011.

22. Gavin Dlouhy 6/19/88 (20.63) R/R - DNP in 2008

The Mets signed Dlouhy out of Australia in July of 2006, and he made his debut a year later for the GCL Mets, but only managed 25.1 innings in a crowded staff.

Dlouhy features a low 90s fastball, developing change, and a good splitter. He should open the season in A ball. He was highly regarded out of Australia, and has put up good numbers in limited time. His stuff is good enough to move up in the ranks of starting pitcher prospects in the system, and should be one to watch going forward. He is definite a sleeper candidate in 2008.

Dlouhy, like Cole Abbott, did not pitch in 2008, leading to speculation that they have quit baseball, and combined to form a boyband along with Nathan Vineyard.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Buffalo Bisons on SNY this season

Information courtesy MetsMerized Online, where I contribute articles during the season on the minor league beat.

Here is the schedule:

May 28, 1:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
July 6, 7:05 p.m. Rochester (Twins)
July 19, 1:05 p.m. Toledo (Tigers)
Aug. 13, 1:05 p.m. Rochester (Twins)
Aug. 31, 7:05 p.m. Rochester (Twins)

Thanks to Joe and the gang over at MMO for the info.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Attention Fantasy Baseball Players!

Hey guys, I got an email from Collin Gutman over at Baseball Boss, and since I know alot of you guys (and gals!) are fantasy baseball players, I figured I'd ask him to throw together a post I could post here to let y'all know about Baseball Boss. Here ya go:

Looking to get an edge on fantasy baseball draft day or during the upcoming fantasy baseball season? The free web-based game Baseball Boss is offering fantasy players a way to do just that. Baseball Boss has partnered with some of the most popular fantasy baseball projection systems to allow visitors to to simulate the 2009 season for free.

Baseball fans only need to take 3 simple steps to play the 2009 baseball season simulation:

1. Visit THIS LINK
Choose a projection system to run a season simulation

3. Watch the pennant races unfold, plus watch key statistical races such as Home Runs (HRs), Runs Batted In (RBIs) for hitters and Wins (W) and Strikeouts (Ks) for pitchers

Visitors can repeat the simulation multiple times so they can see the 2009 season unfold in many different scenarios. Baseball fans can also choose from several of the top projection systems to watch the season play out.

This mini game will help fantasy baseball players prepare for their draft and help them make roster moves throughout the season. Plenty of baseball games and sites offer up predictions, rankings and projections, but this gives baseball fans the opportunity to see the season play out themselves.

Baseball Boss is one of the most innovative games to hit the baseball genre in many years. It is an official licensee of MLB Advanced Media. It is a free to play web based online baseball game. Players collect and trade virtual Baseball Boss branded baseball cards of current and historical players. Players use those cards to create a baseball team of their dreams from stars both past and present. Players then challenge others through a variety of head to head baseball game play modes.


Collin Gutman
Baseball Boss Community Manager

MPH doesn't have anything to do with Baseball Boss, or Collin Gutman. He just emailed me to offer this product up for you guys. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MPH System Audit III - Part V (SPs 1-11)

Starting Pitchers

1. Jon Niese 10/27/86 (22.25) L/L (AA Binghamton 6-7, 3.04 era, 22 GS, 2 CG, CGSO, 124.1 IP, 118 H, 53/42 R/ER, 5 HR, 44/112 BB/K, 1.50 GO/FO, .253 BAA, 1.30 WHIP, AAA New Orleans 5-1, 3.40 era, 7 GS, 39.2 IP, 34 H, 15 ER, 4 HR, 14/32 BB/K, 1.66 GO/FO, .231 BAA, 1.21 WHIP, MLB New York 1-1, 7.07 era, 3 GS, 14 IP, 20 H, 11 ER, 2 HR, 8/11 BB/K, 1.38 GO/FO, .333 BAA, 2.00 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 12-9, 3.44 era, 32 GS, 178 IP, 172 H, 79/68 R/ER, 11 HR, 66/155 BB/K, 1,53 GO/FO, .255 BAA, 1.34 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, posting a very good line of: 11-9, 3.93 era, 25 GS, 123.2 IP, 121 H, 62 BBs, 132 Ks, 1.48 WHIP, 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. Combined, his two starts in St. Lucie yielded the following line: 0-2, 4.50 era, 2 GS, 10 IP, 8 H, 5 BBs, 10 Ks, 1.30 WHIP. Combined for the 2006 season, Niese had an overall line of: 11-11, 3.97 era, 27 GS, 133.2 IP, 129 H, 67/142 BB/K, 1.47 WHIP, 4.51 BB/9, 9.56 K/9.

Niese spent all of the 2007 season in St. Lucie, where he worked on his control, sacrificing all else, work which paid off in a big way in 2008. For the 07 season, Niese posted a line of: 12-7, 4.02 era, 29 GS, 143.1 IP, 155 H, 34/122 BB/K, 1.32 WHIP. He lowered his walk rate from the previous year by over half, from 4.51 per 9 to 2.13 per 9, however he allowed almost a hit more per 9 innings then the previous season. The tradeoff was acceptable to fans of Mr. Niese, as a lowered walk rate would help him in the future.

For the 2008 season, Niese was promoted to Binghamton, where he spent the majority of it dominating the EL. While his overall line in AA is excellent, there was a particularly brutal 4 game stretch where he compiled a diasterous 0-3, 9.17 line. If you removed those 4 starts from his AA season, his line would look like this: 18 GS, 106.2 IP, 96 H, 24 ER, 38/102 BB/K, 6-3, 2.02 era. Obviously this isn't really telling of much, as all pitchers have rough stretches, but it shows one thing, that outside of 4 starts, Niese dominated the EL. Further, if you removed those 4 starts from his entire minor league season, his numbers look like this: 25 GS, 146.1 IP, 130 H, 39 ER, 52/134 BB/K, 11-5, 2.40 era. Keep in mind that he had one tune up start of 2.2 innings before making his major league debut. This start skews his IP/GS down considerably. Taking that start out of the above line yields 24 GS totalling 143.2 innings, an average of just under 6 innings per start.

Niese throws a fastball, curveball and changeup, though he did experiment with a cutter during the season, throwing it in on righties. His 4 seam fastball is in the low 90s, generally sitting 91-93, though he loses velocity on it later in games. He displays good command over this pitch, but it is a mostly straight fastball, hence the cutter he began throwing. Niese's bread and butter is a slow mid 60s-low 70s 12-6 curveball which he uses to get his Ks. He also has a harder, sharper curveball which he throws in the upper 70s. He finishes off his arsenal with a 76-79 changeup which is still in development.

Niese gets his fair share of Ks, but he doesn't try and blow the ball past hitters (as he did during his first 2 seasons in the system). He has learned to use his curveball effectively and spot his fastball, pitching more to contact and lessening his pitch counts. At this point, Niese is pretty much a finished product, he may further refine his changeup/cutter combination, but it is safe to say he will settle in as an above average #4 starter in the NL, or an average #3. Niese, who made his MLB debut in 2008 during the pennant race, should open 2009 in Buffalo, and be on call should a long string of starts be needed from someone. The Mets likely would not want him to just spot start and then return to AAA.

2. Brad Holt 10/13/86 (22.33) R/R (UNC Wilmington 11-1, 3.18 era, 15 GS, 2 CG, 93.1 IP, 78 H, 40/33 R/ER, 8 HR, 36/95 BB/K, .225 BAA, A- Brooklyn 5-3, 1.87 era, 14 GS, 72.1 IP, 43 H, 18/15 R/ER, 3 HR, 33/96 BB/K, 0.98 GO/FO, .171 BAA, 1.05 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 16-4, 2.61 era, 29 GS, 165.2 IP, 121 H, 69/191 BB/K, 1.15 WHIP

The Mets drafted Holt with the 3rd pick in the first round, 33rd overall, out of UNC Wilmington, and after signing for $1,040,000, he was assigned to short season Brooklyn, where he excelled, posting a 1.87 era in 72.1 innings with 96 Ks. Holt as as high of a ceiling as any SP prospect in the system, thanks to his plus fastball which reaches into the upper 90s at times, a velocity he can maintain deep into games.

Holt has one of the most explosive fastballs in the system, sitting in the mid 90s with the ability to dial it into the 96-98 range when he needs to. His command over the pitch is excellent, and his ability to maintain velocity deep into games is very promising (everyone by now should know the story of his 147th pitch of a college game being a 96 MPH fastball). What has most people very excited about Holt is the rapid pace by which his secondary pitches developed. Indeed, his curveball is now very close to being a plus pitch, sitting in the 78-82 range with very good late break. He tops off his arsenal with a fringe-average changeup which he uses very rarely.

Holt has true front of the rotation potential with a deadly fastball/curveball combination. His changeup, while fringy, showed enough improvement throughout the season that starting him off in St. Lucie shouldn't be too big of an issue. Holt was drafted out of college and so there is every chance he could see Binghamton halfway through the season. A split season in 2010 as well would put him on track for an opening day 2011 debut, or the Mets could be conservative and push that date back a year by advancing Holt a level per season.

3. Scott Moviel 5/7/88 (20.75) R/R (A Savannah 9-8, 4.43 era, 24 GS, 120 IP, 128 H, 75/59 R/ER, 9 HR, 36/82 BB/K, 1.71 GO/FO, .271 BAA, 1.37 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 1-0, 0.00 era, GS, 5 IP, 2 H, 1/2 BB/K, 0.86 GO/FO, .133 BAA, 0.60 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 10-8, 4.25 era, 25 GS, 125 IP, 130 H, 75/59 R/ER, 9 HR, 37/84 BB/K, 1.65 GO/FO, .266 BAA, 1.34 WHIP

The Mets selected Moviel in the 2nd round, with their 77th pick in the 2007 draft, out of St. Edward High School in Ohio. Moviel was 6-2 in his senior season with a 1.62 era for the Eagles with 102 strikeouts in 50.1 IP. After drafting him, the Mets sent him to the GCL, where he performed well, with a 3.38 era in 40 innings. As with most tall pitchers (Moviel's 6'10), his delivery can sometimes get out of whack, so the Mets may take a slower approach with Moviel, keeping him in extended spring training to work out any kinks. However, as with Vineyard, it wouldn't be a shock to see Moviel end up in the Sally League sometime this season.

Moviel instead started off the year in Savannah, where he had an absolute miserable start to his season, posting a 1-4 record with a 9.86 era in 5 starts, spanning just 17.2 innings. Removing April from his season, he ended up with this line: 9-4, 3.35 era, 20 GS, 107.1 IP, 100 H, 29/71 BB/K, 1.20 WHIP, 8.39 H/9, 2.43 BB/9, 5.95 K/9, 5.367 IP/GS

Moviel throws 4 pitches, a 4 seam fastball which sits in the low to mid 90s, a sinker which is a few ticks lower in velocity, a curveball and a changeup. His change sits in the mid 70s with good down break, although sometimes he experiments with turning it over, moving it laterally across the zone. His curve was his best pitch during his rookie season, but in 2008, he developed bad habits with it, often bouncing it.

With Moviel's build (6'11/235), and stuff, given time he could develop into a serious innings eater, capable of throwing 210 innings easily in a season. Moviel is a quick worker who doesn't look for alot of Ks, prefering to pitch to contact and allow his defense to work for him (which would explain his awful April, since the Gnats at the time were a very young, raw defensive team). Moviel's fastball, which gained 3 MPH during the season, could eventually top out in the mid 90s, but even if it doesn't, his poise and smarts will serve him well on his climb to the majors.

Moviel will be out until May recovering from knee surgery (to repair his meniscus), and may spend a few weeks rehabbing in the GCL after that, but then he should spend the remainder of the season in St. Lucie, and then one level per year puts him on track for a 2012 debut.

4. Bobby Parnell 9/8/84 (24.42) R/R (AA Binghamton 10-6, 4.30 era, 24 GS, 127.2 IP, 126 H, 66/61 R/ER, 14 HR, 57/91 BB/K, 1.52 GO/FO, .258 BAA, 1.43 WHIP, AAA New Orleans 2-2, 6.64 era, 5 G, 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 25 H, 16/15 R/ER, 9/23 BB/K, 1.06 GO/FO, 1.67 WHIP, .298 BAA, MLB New York 0-0, 5.40 era, 6 G, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2/3 BB/K, 1.40 GO/FO, .176 BAA, 1.00 WHIP, AFL Peoria Saguaros 3-1, 2.25 era, 7 GS, 20 IP, 15 H, 5 ER, 9/20 BB/K, 1.20 WHIP, .211 BAA)

Total 2008 Stats: 15-9, 4.37 era, 42 G, 35 GS, 173 IP, 90/84 R/ER, 169 H, 77/137 BB/K, 1.42 WHIP, .255 BAA, 1.40 GO/FO

The Mets selected Parnell in the 9th round of the 2005 draft out of Charleston Southern College, where he had simply an abysmal junior year (3-5, 8.86). However, Met scouts saw something in Parnell, and the Mets drafted and signed him, sending him to Brooklyn. Parnell excelled in Brooklyn, going 2-3, but with a 1.73 era in 15 games, 14 starts. In 2006, the Mets sent Parnell up to Hagerstown, their Sally League affiliate, where he performed decently, 5-10 with a 4.04 era in 18 GS. A 3 game trip to the FSL proved disasterous, leading to an 0-1, 9.26 line in 11.2 innings.

Parnell began 2007 in St. Lucie, where he performed very well, 3-3, 3.25 in 12 GS. The Mets then promoted Parnell to Binghamton, where he struggled, but showed flashes of brillance (0-2, 3.13 era in 4 GS, 18 IP in June and 4-1, 3.24 era in 6 GS, 33.1 IP in August). Indeed, if you removed Parnell's last 4 starts, he would've ended his stint in Binghamton with a 7-7, 3.86 line. Parnell should open the 2008 season right where he ended 2007, in Binghamton, with a mid-season promotion to New Orleans not out of the question.

Parnell did indeed open 2008 back in Binghamton, where he got off to a horrific start with a 0-2, 7.15 era, 5 GS, 22.2 IP, 23 H, 14/13 BB/K, 1.63 WHIP line in April. However, he then posted back to back extremely solid months, with a combined 8-2, 3.04 era, 12 GS, 71 IP, 63 H, 30/56 BB/K, 1.31 WHIP line in May and June. Parnell was promoted to AAA on August 9th, where he struggled mightily, before being promoted to the majors to try and save what was a horrific bullpen situation in New York.

Parnell is one of the harder throwers in the system, his 4 seamer sits in the 92-94 range as a starter (and 95-96 as a reliever), and either way, he can touch the upper 90s on occasion. His 2 seamer is a few ticks slower, with nasty down break in on righties. His top offspeed pitch is a mid-upper 80s slider with nasty down break. He also has a changeup which he has not yet mastered, which has pretty much nixed any chances of him starting with the Mets. During Spring Training, he was learning a splitter from JJ Putz, this is definitely a nascent pitch at this point in time.

Parnell will work as a reliever in spring training, and if he does not make the club, as a starter in Buffalo. However, at this point in time, even if he does get his changeup/splitter down, the Mets would be best served by having him in the bullpen as a dependable 7th inning man, whether this season or next. Parnell should crack into a regular role in the bullpen in 2010.

5. Dillon Gee 4/28/86 (22.75) R/R (A+ St. Lucie 8-6, 3.25 era, 21 GS, 127.1 IP, 117 H, 49/46 R/ER, 6 HR, 19/94 BB/K, 0.86 GO/FO, .245 BAA, 1.07 WHIP, AA Binghamton 2-0, 1.33 era, 4 GS, 27 IP, 18 H, 4 ER, HR, 5/20 BB/K, 0.97 GO/FO, .194 BAA, .85 WHIP, PRWL Ponce 4-0, 2.22 era, 10 GS, 48.2 IP, 43 H, 14/12 R/ER, 2 HR, 13/43 BB/K, 1.15 WHIP, .247 BAA)

Total 2008 Stats: 14-6, 2.75 era, 35 GS, 203 IP, 178 H, 67/62 R/ER, 37/157 BB/K, 1.00 GO/FO, .239 BAA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.64 BB/9

The Mets drafted Gee with their 21st round pick, 663rd overall, out of the University of Arlington Texas, where he was 4-8, 4.67 in 111.2 innings. After signing, the Mets assigned him to Brooklyn, where he went 3-1, 2.47 in 62 innings. Gee should be a part of the St. Lucie Mets in 2008.

Gee's drafting was pretty unheralded around the prospect community, and rightfully so, a shortish righty with fringe stuff taken in the 21st round doesn't warrant much attention. Gee performed well in Brooklyn, not as well as fellow shortish righty Dylan Owen, but well enough. Coming into 2008, not much was expected from Gee, we ranked him 11th of 15 SP prospects, and that was after deleting Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey, all of whom ranked ahead of Gee. Well, Gee took 2008 by storm and performed exceptionally well, posting a 3.25 era in St. Lucie over 21 starts, then going to Binghamton and flat out dominating over 4 starts, going 7 innings three times and posting a 1.33 era. Then it was off to Puerto Rico for more domination, this time in 10 starts, over 48 innings and a 2.22 era. To say Gee had a great season would be understating it, he posted 14 wins and a 2.75 era over 203 innings, and as of this writing is still pitching in the Puerto Rico playoffs. Look for Gee to either open in Buffalo, or be there very shortly in 2009.

No one in the system (save Daniel Murphy and maybe Michael Antonini) has enjoyed a more meteroic rise through the farm system then Dillon Gee. He began the season outside our top 15, and ended it on the cusp of breaking into the top 10. He accomplished this by performing well at St. Lucie, and then tearing apart the AA level, first in Binghamton, and then Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Gee features 5 pitches, a 2 and 4 seam fastball, with his 4 seamer reaching into the mid 90s, sitting comfortably in the low 90s. His 2 seamer has good down action, sitting between 89-91. He relies most heavily on his changeup when it comes to offspeed offerings. He added a curveball to his repertoire this season, turning it into the more effective of his 2 breaking pitches. He throws the pitch 76-80. Finally, he also has a slider he relies on a good amount, it's harder then his curve, with 12-6 break on it.

Gee has impeccable control, as evidenced by his collective walk total of 37 in 203 innings, a miniscule walk rate of 1.64 per 9 innings. Due to the low walk totals, Gee pitches deep into games, averaging a shade under 7 innings per start in Binghamton, and 6 ip/gs in St. Lucie. There is a very slight possibility he opens in Buffalo, but we'll be conservative and say he opens the season in Binghamton with a quick promotion (on or before May 15th). Depending on need, Gee could end up in New York during September, but a better guess would be a 2010 debut.

6. Robert Carson 1/23/89 (20) L/L (R GCL 1-0, 1.57 era, 5 GS, 23 IP, 11 H, 5/4 R/ER, 6/25 BB/K, 5.29 GO/FO, .138 BAA, .74 WHIP, R Kingsport 2-3, 1.76 era, 6 GS, 30.2 IP, 29 H, 12/6 R/ER, HR, 18/21 BB/K, 2.94 GO/FO, .274 BAA, 1.53 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 3-3, 1.68 era, 11 GS, 53.2 IP, 40 H, 17/10 R/ER, HR, 24/46 BB/K, 3.65 GO/FO, .215 BAA, 1.19 WHIP

Carson was drafted in the 14th round, 453rd overall, out of Hattiesburg HS, and after signing, was sent to the GCL where he pitched sporadically, getting into 4 games totalling 9 innings. Here is a predraft 2007 scouting report on Carson:

Carson features 4 pitches, a fastball, changeup, cutter and curveball. His fastball sits 90-92, and has topped out at 94. His changeup sits around 75-80, while his curveball is low to mid 70s. He feels his curveball needs more bite to it, and he is also working on developing a fifth pitch, a slider.

And here is an inseason 2008 scouting report:

The notable differences have been the improvements in his slider and changeup. Though he entered the organization with a capable off-speed pitch, the effectiveness of both pitches this year has led to his success. Specificially, he fell back on his changeup when he struggled to locate his low to mid 90's fastball. Slider now sweeps away from left handed batters and in under the hands of right-handers. Changeup uses to get his release point back so he can control his fastball better.

Robert Carson is a big lefty who features 3 pitches, a fastball, slider, and changeup. According to some scouting reports, he also has a curveball and cutter. Carson added 2-3 MPH on his fastball this past season, it now sits in the low to mid 90s, and he can dial it up into the 96-98 range rarely. With further refinement, this pitch very well could become a true plus pitch. He also features a mid 80s slider which he uses to generate groundballs (3.77 GO/FO this season, 6.00 in GCL, 2.94 in Kingsport). His changeup is his third best pitch, sitting in the 77-80 MPH range.

Carson is an advanced pitcher for his age, while he can generate a high number of Ks (46 in 53.2 innings), he prefers to dispose of hitters quickly via groundball. While he did walk an alarming amount in Kingsport (18 in 30.2 innings), he has not shown a history of wildness (11 walks in 32 GCL innings over 2 seasons), so no one should be very alarmed. With the tools and makeup Carson possesses, there isn't much question he can, at the very least, be a dependable back end of the rotation starter, but if he were to take the next step, Carson could settle in as a 2 starter.

Carson should open 2009 in Savannah, and could see a late season promotion to St. Lucie. A level per year gets him to the majors on opening day 2013.

7. Jenry Mejia 10/11/89 (19.29) R/R (R GCL 2-0, 0.60 era, 3 GS, 15 IP, 9 H, ER, 3/15 BB/K, 4.60 GO/FO, .164 BAA, .80 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 3-2, 3.49 era, 11 GS, 56.2 IP, 42 H, 22 ER, 4 HR, 23/52 BB/K, 2.47 GO/FO, .209 BAA, 1.15 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 5-2, 2.89 era, 14 GS, CGSO, 71.2 IP, 51 H, 4 HR, 26/67 BB/K, 2.76 GO/FO, .199 BAA, 1.07 WHIP

Mejia was signed by the Mets during the summer of 2006 for just $16,500, and he made his debut in the DSL in 2007, going 2-3 with a 2.47 era in 14 G, 7 GS, over 43.2 innings.

Mejia has one of the most dominant fastballs in the system, it sits in the 93-96 range, and he can dial it up to 97 and 98 on occasion. It has a good down break on it, making it one of the toughest pitches in the system to hit. Mejia compliments his deadly fastball with an equally deadly changeup which sits in the 76-79 range, some people (including me) have mistaken this pitch for a slider due to it's down break and action. He finishes off his arsenal with a developing curveball in the low 70s.

Mejia is definitely a strikeout pitcher (67 Ks in 71.2 innings in 2008), who aggresively uses his stuff to go right after hitters. He also generates a high number of ground balls (2.76 GO/FO ratio in 2008, 1.93 in 2007). Right now, Mejia profiles best as a 2/3 starter, but with continued improvement, he could become a frontline pitching prospect. At absolute worst, he has the stuff to be a big league closer, but the Mets will give him every chance at remaining in the rotation. Mejia should open 2009 in St. Lucie (even if I think he should begin in Savannah, age is certainly on his side), and ascending a level per year, plus adding a half season to be conservative puts his MLB debut in mid 2012.

8. Kyle Allen 2/12/90 (19) R/R (R GCL 1-1, 2.12 era, 11 G, 5 GS, 34 IP, 24 H, 13/8 R/ER, HR, 10/45 BB/K, 1.00 WHIP)

Allen was drafted by the Mets in the 24th round, 734th overall, out of the Pendelton HS. He made his debut in the GCL, flashing an average fastball and above average changeup.

Allen was a steal for the Mets in the 24th round, his talent far surpasses his draft position. Allen throws 3 pitches, a fastball, changeup, and slider. Right now, his fastball is in the low 90s, but it should gain a few ticks as he fills out. His best secondary pitch is definitely his changeup, which sometimes is so good, it surpasses his fastball as his best overall pitch. He throws this pitch in the upper 70s with very good sharp down break. His third pitch is a slider which has a shallow down break, not really a good pitch for the upper levels of the farm system.

Allen is very advanced for someone of his age, he has a very smooth repeatable delievery which he uses to great success. He does not boast the raw stuff of a Brad Holt or Jenrry Mejia, but he does right after hitters with what he does have, rather then nibbling on the corners. As of right now, he projects to be a solid 3rd/4th starter, but further gains in velocity/improvement of his slider would push that projection higher. Allen should start 2009 in Savannah, and then ascend a level per season to make his debut in 2013.

9. Michael Antonini 8/6/85 (23.5) R/L (A Savannah 4-4, 2.71 era, 13 GS, 73 IP, 63 H, 29/22 R/ER, 2 HR, 16/61 BB/K, 1.05 GO/FO, .227 BAA, 1.08 WHIP, A+ St. Lucie 4-0, 1.84 era, 7 GS, CG, 44 IP, 34 H, 10/9 R/ER, 3 HR, 7/33 BB/K, 1.18 GO/FO, .211 BAA, .93 WHIP, AA Binghamton 1-3, 3.74 era, 8 GS, 45.2 IP, 43 H, 19 ER, 10 HR, 16/32 BB/K, 0.72 GO/FO, .247 BAA, 1.29 WHIP, PRWL Ponce 2-0, 3.45 era, 9/8 G/GS, 47 IP, 42 H, 18 ER, 4 HR, 13/29 BB/K, 1.17 WHIP, .243 BAA, 0.73 GO/FO)

Total 2008 Stats: Total 2008 Stats: 11-7, 2.92 era, 37/36 G/GS, 209.2 IP, 182 H, 76/68 R/ER, 52/155 BB/K, .934 GO/FO, .232 BAA, 1.12 WHIP

If Dillon Gee was unheralded after being drafted, Antonini wasn't even on the radar. An 18th round pick out of Georgia College & State University, he posted a composite 1.96 era between Kingsport (3.71 in 17 innings) and Brooklyn (0.46 in 19.2 innings), again, nothing remarkeble at all. And then, much like Gee, 2008 came around and people began to take notice. First Antonini posted a 2.71 era in 73 innings for Savannah, again, it was largely ignored. However, after rocketting up through St. Lucie (1.84 in 44 innings over 7 starts), people began noticing Antonini. After also pitching well in Binghamton (3.74 in 45.2 innings), Antonini also concluded his season in Puerto Rico, where he again pitched very well, with a 3.45 era in 47 innings. Here is a predraft 2007 scouting report on a lefty:

Antonini features 5 pitches. A two and four seam fastball, slider, change and curve. He feels his slider is his most dominating breaking pitch. He likes to throw his changeup, but it needs work. His fastball sits between 88 and 92, while his slider is 78-81, and his change is 78-80.

This is a scouting report from Antonini's college coach, Chris Calciano, immediately after the 2007 draft.

Antonini is a winner first and foremost!! Tough kid, very ballsy. Velocity is 87-91, fastball has some life. Cutter is a solid secondary pitch for strikeouts and is 79-81. Has an average curveball which he typically just uses as a first pitch get me over. Has a feel for the change with decent run and sink. Solid strike thrower. Slightly above average pickoff move. Average athleticism and fields his position very well.

Since entering the system, Antonini's tightened up his fastball, it now sits in the low 90s, and his changeup has become his best secondary offering. He throws it in the mid 70s and gets good down break on it, the changeup increased in effectiveness once Antonini added 2-3 MPH on his fastball. He also features a slider/cutter as a third pitch, which needs some work.

Antonini is a flyball pitcher, with a 0.934 GO/FO ratio in 2008, along with a solid 155 Ks in 209.2 innings, a K rate of 6.65 per 9. He is a quick worker, but sometimes loses his arm slot when throwing his slider. He improved his slide step and ability to pitch from the stretch last season, but he still needs to work on controlling the running game.

Antonini projects best as a 4-5 starter or a long man/LOOGY out of the pen, and with his impressive rocket ascent through the system in 2008, the Mets will keep him in the rotation for now. He should be on track to open back in Binghamton for 2009, with a very good possibility of seeing significant time in Buffalo. There exists a possibility of Antonini auditioning in September as a LOOGY, but we'll say he makes his MLB debut in mid 2010.

10. Jeurys Familia 10/10/89 (19.29) R/R (R GCL 2-2, 2.79 era, 11 GS, 51.2 IP, 46 H, 20/16 R/ER, 2 HR, 13/38 BB/K, 1.14 WHIP)

The Mets signed Familia as an international free agent in July 2007 out of the Dominican Republic. He debuted in the GCL in 2008.

Familia throws 4 pitches, a 2 and 4 seam fastball, slider, and changeup. His 2 seamer sits in the 88-92 range, the same as his 4 seamer, however, he can dial his 4 seamer into the mid 90s when he needs to. His 2 seamer has good horizontal action through the zone, while his 4 seamer acts like a cutter. His best secondary pitch is a low 80s slider he uses to generate strikeouts. He tops off his arsenal with a still developing changeup which sits in the mid 70s.

Even at a young age, Familia doesn't try and just blow hitters away, he uses his entire arsenal of pitches to put away hitters, though he relies on his 2 seamer and slider as out pitches. Familia is still young enough where these exists a ton of projection with regards to his stuff, which almost certainly will gain refinement, if not velocity. It wouldn't be shocking to see him make the leap from the GCL to Savannah in 2009, and then spend an additional 3.5 seasons in the minors before making his debut sometime in mid 2013.

11. Phillips Orta 5/9/86 (22.75) R/R (R Kingsport 4-4, 2.05 era, 14 G, 3 GS, 44 IP, 35 H, 14/10 R/ER, 2 HR, 21/31 BB/K, 1.85 GO/FO, .222 BAA, 1.27 WHIP, A Savannah 0-1, 2.70 era, 2 GS, 10 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 5/5 BB/K, 0.71 GO/FO, .231 BAA, 1.40 WHIP)

Total 2008 Stats: 4-5, 2.17 era, 16 G, 5 GS, 54 IP, 44 H, 17/13 R/ER, 2 HR, 26/36 BB/K, 1.52 GO/FO, .223 BAA, 1.30 WHIP

The Mets selected Orta in the 10th round of the 2006 draft out of Western Nebraska Community College. After signing in 2007 as a draft and follow, the Mets sent him to the Venezuelan Summer League, where he appeared in 4 games, pitching 14 innings to a 1.29 era. The Mets brought him stateside and sent him to Kingsport next, where he spent the bulk of the season, starting 11 games (53 IP), pitching to a 2-2, 4.58 line. He spent one relief outing in Savannah, getting bombed due to command issues.

Orta was held back in extended ST this year, starting his year in Kingsport where he excelled, posting a 2.05 era over 44 innings. He should begin the 2009 season in Savannah's rotation, with the possibility of a quick promotion.

Orta has a very good fastball in the mid 90s which he uses to his advantage. He is adept at changing grips on it, adding a little velocity up the zone, throwing a cutter and/or sinker. His command of the pitch needs improvement, but sheer velocity was enough to get him through rookie ball. His best offspeed offering is a curveball in the 78-82 range with tight late break. He rounds out his arsenal with a developing changeup in the low 80s, but he doesn't have good command over this pitch yet.

Orta induces a high number of ground ball outs with his power fastball/curveball combination (1.85 GO/FO in Kingsport). Despite boasting a very good fastball, Orta sometimes pitches backwards, using his curveball to setup his fastball, instead of the reverse. Orta should open 2009 in Savannah, but time is against him as he will be 23 in early May. With the abundance of high upside pitching prospects ahead of and behind him (all of whom are at least 2 years younger), Orta needs to engineer a Michael Antonini esque rocket ship ride through the system, lest he find himself in a bullpen role. A move to the bullpen would mean that Orta would be ready for the majors in late 2010 or early 2011, if he were to stay in the rotation (which would mean he ends the season in Binghamton), he would be ready in mid 2011.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Evans Needs To Play Everyday

Possibly the biggest standout in spring training this year has been 23 year old Nick Evans. Evans saw some time in the majors last year after hitting a ridiculous .311/.365/.563, but didn't seem to grab as much attention as Daniel Murphy, who will be starting in LF for the Mets this year.

Watching Nick Evans for a short period of time last year you right away picked up on two things.

1. He had big trouble hitting right handers (in limited AB's)
2. And he CRUSHED lefties

In 72 AB's vs left handed pitching for hte Mets last year Evans hit .319/.380/.514. That's pretty amazing considering he was 22 years old and not playing everyday.

I didn't think much of Evans to be honest, and still not sure if I'm buying into him completely yet, but GM Omar Minaya and assistant GM Tony Bernazard have been high on Evans all along, talking about "huge power potential" in the right handed hitter.

Come spring training 2009, with about 2 weeks remaining, a kid who wasn't supposed to have a shot at making the team, is now forcing the managers hand into giving him one of the final bench spots on the roster. With multiple players leaving for the WBC Evans has been given the chance to play almost every day, and he's responded, looking much better than last year (though consider competition), putting up a .308/.379/.615 line in 17 games.

Today he'll start in RF, a position he has never played before, in hopes of making him more verstaile and giving him more positions to play. The team could really use another power right handed hitter off the bench.

However, after all of the praising I just did for Evans, I still don't believe he should make the team. It has NOTHING to do with how he's performed, and has everything to do with not making a 23 year old rot on the bench. Evans still has some things to work on, and is still growing as a player, and sitting on the bench in the majors getting one start every two weeks is not going to get him where he needs to be. It could actually hurt his development as a player, and not to mention his trade value.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Perhaps the greatest baseball quote in history...courtesy Julian Tavarez

"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavarez said told a group of reporters. "When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me."


I'm sure the Nats are thrilled.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

MPH System Audit III, Part IV - Catchers


1. Josh Thole 10/28/86 (22.29) L/R (A+ St. Lucie .300/.382/.427/.808, 104 for 347, 49 runs, 25 2b, 2 3b, 5 HR, 56 RBI, 45/38 BB/K, AFL Peoria Saguaros 22 for 69, 15 runs, 2b, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 10/6 BB/K, .319/.400/.420/.820)

Total 2008 Stats: .303/.385/.425/.810, 126 for 416, 64 runs, 26 2b, 2 3b, 7 HR, 73 RBI, 55/44 BB/K, .106 K rate, 1.2500 BB/K

The Mets selected Thole in the 13th round of the 2005 draft, and sent him to the GCL Mets, where he hit .269/.406/.337/.743 (28 for 104, 14 runs, 2 2b, 3b, HR, 12 RBI, 20/11 BB/K) in 35 games, an outstanding 1.8182 BB/K ratio, and a ridiculously low .105 K rate, both incredible numbers for an 18 year old in any setting.

Thole hit .370/.514/.407/.921 vs LHP in 2005 (10 for 27, 2b, 6/2 BB/K), with a 3.000 BB/K ratio and a .074 K rate, and .234/.366/.312/.678 (18 for 77, 2b, 3b, HR, 14/9 BB/K) vs RHP, with a 1.556 BB/K ratio, and a .117 K rate.

In 2006, Thole played in 35 games for Kingsport, getting just 96 ABs, and hitting .240/.306/.313/.619 (23 for 96, 4 2b, HR, 7/24 BB/K), a .2917 BB/K ratio and a .250 K rate, both drastically elevated from the year prior. He hit .167/.286/.208/.494 vs LHP (4 for 24, 2b, 2/6 BB/K) and .264/.313/.347/.660 (19 for 72, 3 2b, HR, 5/18 BB/K) vs RHP. Both sample sizes are too small to draw any meaningful conclusions from.

2007 saw Thole in full season Savannah, where he performed markedly better then Kingsport, hitting .267/.372/.311/.683 (104 for 389, 46 runs, 17 2b, 36 RBI, 61/57 BB/K), once again with excellent ratios, a 1.0701 BB/K ratio, and a .147 K rate.

Thole batted .301/.414/.329/.743 against LHP (22 for 73, 2 2b, 11/9 BB/K), a 1.22 BB/K ratio, and a .123 K rate. Against RHP, he batted .261/.368/.312/.680 (82 for 314, 16 2b, 52/47 BB/K), a 1.107 BB/K ratio and a .150 K rate.

Thole, as many Met prospects have done, has improved drastically across the board after making the jump from the Sally League to the pitcher friendly FSL. Thole finished the 2008 season hitting .300/.382/.427/.808 (104 for 347, 49 runs, 25 2b, 2 3b, 5 HR, 56 RBI, 45/38 BB/K), a great 1.184 BB/K ratio and an equally fantastic .110 K rate (which for much of the season was below .100).

Thole got off to a very rough start, hitting .228/.323/.386/.709 in April, and since that point, he hit .314/.393/.434/.828 (91 for 290, 42 runs, 21 2b, 3b, 4 HR, 46 RBI, 38/30 BB/K)

As has been the case throughout the majority of Thole's minor league career, he hit better against LHP then RHP, but this year, that gap narrowed considerably. He hit .333/.386/.432/.818 (27 for 81, 14 runs, 6 2b, 3b, 8 RBI, 6/8 BB/K) vs LHP, with a 0.750 BB/K ratio, and a K rate of .098, while against RHP, he hit .289/.381/.426/.807 (76 for 263, 35 runs, 19 2b, 3b, 5 HR, 48 RBI, 39/30 BB/K), with a 1.300 BB/K ratio, and a .114 K rate.

Thole played the majority of his first 3 seasons as a 1b (142 of 187 games), but in 2008, he played much more catcher, giving him infinitely more value as a player and a prospect.

THE FUTURE: Thole will undoubtedly be in Binghamton to open the 2009 season (after setting career highs in every offensive category except OBP), as the everyday catcher, and one of the few catching prospects in the upper levels of the farm system. While SAL to FSL is one test, the much bigger test for a prospect is the jump from the FSL to EL, the jump Thole will be making in 2009. Thole is solidly on pace for a prospect, playing the entire season as a 21 year old this year affords him a cushion if he were to falter on his trek through the system.

For more on Josh Thole, visit my good friend Joe DeMayo's website, NYbaseballdigest.

A late season slump in Arizona (1 for 14, 2 RBI, 3/2 BB/K) diminished what had been a great fall league for the 21 year old catcher. Prior to the slump, he'd been hitting .382. Still, it is very encouraging to see him replicate his FSL numbers against tougher competition, especially on the heels of his first full season catching.

Thole is a high contact, high OBP, low K hitter in the mold of a Daniel Murphy or Jeff Keppinger. He knows the strike zone very well and rarely chases pitches outside of it. He improved his contact swing last season, setting a career high in AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS. He has good doubles power from gap to gap, which he displayed last year in setting a career high for XBH.

Thole, who hadn't spent a full year catching prior to 2008, improved vastly in his defense during the season. He is more athletic then most catchers, giving him an advantage in blocking balls in the dirt. He does not have the best arm behind the plate, nor the best mechanics in throwing to second, but his agility and accuracy make up for it.

Thole should open 2009 as a 22 year old in Binghamton, right on pace for a prospect. It will be a good test to see whether he emerges as a legit prospect, or fails in the jump from A+ to AA. If he does succeed, his debut date is likely to be in the second half of 2010, maybe in a backup role at first, and then a starting role in the 2011 season.

2. Francisco Pena 10/12/89 (19.29) R/R (A Savannah .264/.308/.380/.688, 105 for 397, 34 runs, 22 2b, 3 3b, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 25/95 BB/K, .239 K rate, .2632 BB/K ratio)

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.

Pena started off in the full season A ball Sally League (at only 17), and put up atrocious stats. However, a few things to keep in mind: he is going to be only 18 years old next year, and now, with a full season of catching (103 games) under his belt, and a full season of playing in the states, at a level he had no business playing in, he should produce at a much higher clip then last season.

Well…that sort of happened. Pena, who hit .210/.263/.283/.546 last year, improved on that a bit, hitting .264/.308/.380/.688 this year. Still, that is well below average, especially when you factor in the fact he had 27 passed balls in 2008.

Despite having shown virtually nothing in two minor league seasons, Pena is still very young, just 19 years old, and much (if not all) of his game is still projection. Pena possesses very good raw power, something he will tap into as he grows/matures as a player. However, he is decidedly a pull hitter, with much of his power going to left field. He did develop a more level up the middle swing during 2008, which bodes well for what will be a very challenging 2009 in St. Lucie. Pena's plate discipline worsened considerably from 2007, with a .2632 BB/K ratio in 08 versus a .3158 ratio in 2007.

Pena's defense, while improving, is still as raw as his offense. He had 28 passed balls in 2008, and while minor league scorekeeping is extremely suspect (if not downright idiotic), that is still a cause for concern, if not alarm. Pena still needs to get himself in better shape, he's a bit beefy at 6'2/230. He does possess a good accurate arm, but needs to work on his delievery to second. During winter ball in 2008, he played some first base for Aguilas, but his future in the Mets organization is behind the plate.

Pena should open 2009 in St. Lucie at age 19, and in my opinion will struggle mightily there, which will require a repeat of the level in 2010. After that, he should ascend a level per season, making his major league debut in 2013 at age 23.

3. Dock Doyle 3/24/86 (22.83) L/R (Coastal Carolina .370/.440/.675/1.115, 90 for 243, 64 runs, 22 2b, 2 3b, 16 HR, 72 RBI, 28/29 BB/K, 4/5 SBs, R Kingsport .308/.390/.390/.780, 49 for 159, 27 runs, 11 2b, 3b, 20 RBI, 22/24 BB/K, A- Brooklyn .250/.294/.375/.669, 4 for 16, 2 runs, 2 2b, 2 RBI, 6 Ks)

Total 2008 Minor League Stats: .303/.382/.389/.770, 53 for 175, 29 runs, 13 2b, 3b, 22 RBI, 22/30 BB/K, .171 K rate, .7333 BB/K ratio

Total 2008 Cumulative Stats: .342/.415/.555/.970, 143 for 418, 93 runs, 35 2b, 3 3b, 16 HR, 94 RBI, 4/5 SBs, 50/59 BB/K, .141 K rate, .8475 BB/K ratio

Doyle was drafted by the Mets in the 5th round of the 2008 draft, 164th overall, out of Coastal Carolina University, and after signing for $167,000, he was sent to Kingsport first, and then Brooklyn. Combined over the two levels, he hit .303/.382/.389 in 175 ABs.

4. Ralph Henriquez 4/7/87 (21.83) S/R (A- Brooklyn .210/.269/.258/.527, 13 for 62, 4 runs, 3 2b, RBI, 4/15 BB/K, A Savannah .273/.273/.394/.667, 9 for 33, 2 runs, 2 2b, 3b, 3 RBI, 6 Ks)

Total 2008 Stats: .232/.270/.305/.575, 22 for 95, 6 runs, 5 2b, 3b, 4 RBI, 4/21 BB/K, .221 K rate, .1904 BB/K ratio

Henriquez was drafted in 2005 by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round. He was dealt to the Mets in the winter of 2007 for left hander Joshua Appell.

Here is a scouting report from the 05 draft on Henriquez.

Ralph Henriquez -- Henriquez was the top prospect at the Showcase and put on one of the most impressive hitting displays we've ever witnessed. We've seen Henriquez a number of times before in WWBA tournaments and while he's been a solid prospect in the past, there was no hint of this coming. Since October Henriquez has gotten stronger, especially in his upper half and changed his hitting approach some. There might very well be a connection between his improvement since then and the fact that his father, the Atlanta Braves minor league catching instructor, has been off the road during that time. Whatever the case, Henriquez showed us very good professional level bat speed from both sides of the plate. He gets excellent extension from both sides and attacks the ball with an aggressive vengeance. The Henriquez we've seen in the past was more of a gap to gap hitter with a more contact oriented approach. This Henriquez looks to hit the ball 450' and is very capable of doing so. If anything, Henriquez has a bit of wrap and is slightly longer from the left side than the right, but that's quibbling. As you would expect with the coaching he's received, Henriquez is a very sound defensive catcher with good shifting and blocking ability. His workout pop times aren't in the elite range but Henriquez "cheats" far less than most catchers and his arm strength and release are MLB quality. He's a hard worker from a baseball environment and a good student. He's a big time prospect!

5. Patrick Maat 9/15/87 (21.38) R/R (R GCL + R Kingsport .143/.235/.214/.450, 2 for 14, 2b, RBI, 2/3 BB/K, .214 K rate, .6667 BB/K ratio)

Maat was signed out of Australia during the 2005 International Free Agent signing period, and made his debut during the 2007 season, getting 42 ABs in the GCL, hitting .190/.352/.238/.590 (8 for 42, 4 runs, 2 2b, 3 RBI, 10/12 BB/K).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

3/11 WBC Report! Delgado!

cf Carlos Beltran 1 for 4, RBI, 2 Ks, .250
1b Carlos Delgado 1 for 1, run, 3 BBs, .833
Nelson Figueroa IP, 2 Ks, 0.00 era, 14:9:5, 1:0:2
Pedro Feliciano 0.1 IP, K, 0.00 era, 5:3:2

3b David Wright 0 for 4, 2 Ks, .231
Francisco Rodriguez IP, BB, K, 0.00 era, SV (1), 15:10:5, 0:1:1

System Audit Part IV - 3/14/09.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3/10 WBC Report!

How about the Dutch? Beating the Dominican's twice...even if it is a depleted DR team...

Francisco Rodriguez IP, H, 2 Ks, 0.00 era, 17:11:6, 0:1:2
ss Jose Reyes 1 for 5, K, .111

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3/9 WBC Report!

cf Carlos Beltran 2 for 4, 3 LOB, .375
1b Carlos Delgado 1 for 1, 2 BBs, .800
Pedro Feliciano 1.1 IP, H, 1/2 BB/K, 0.00 era, 20:12:8, 2:0:2

Uh - question. Isn't Jair Jurrjens (and fat Andruw, for that matter) from a territory/principality of the Netherlands? I ask because neither is on the Dutch team (again, Andruw is understandable...)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

3/8 Minor League Report! GARCIA! + WBC Report! WRIGHT!

ss Ruben Tejada 0 for 2, LOB
ss Jose Reyes 0 for 4, run, BB, K
dh David Wright 3 for 5, 2 runs, BB, LOB, .333
Oliver Perez 2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1/5 BB/K, 18 era, 63:38:25, 0:1:5

Why not?

Late edit: Not all good. Ike Davis twisted his ankle in the Washington game, and Zach Lutz left because of a hamstring strain. Poor Lutz - dude can rake, he's just never healthy enough to do it.

ph, 2b Alonzo Harris 0 for 2, 3 LOB
1b Eric Campbell 0 for 2
3b Matt "Our 13th Best" Bouchard 0 for 1, run, BB, LOB
lf Pedro Zapata 1 for 4, 2 RBI, 2 BBs, K, LOB
ss Emmanuel Garcia 3 for 5, 2 runs, BB, 2 Ks, 3 LOB
Eddie Kunz 2 IP, 2 H, ER, HR, 4.50 era

ph Kirk Nieuwenhuis 1 for 1, RBI
1b Ike Davis 0 for 1, LOB
1b, lf Nick Evans 0 for 4, .227
c Josh Thole 0 for 2, .400
ss Wilmer Flores 1 for 4, .250
2b Greg Veloz 0 for 3, LOB
lf, rf Sean Ratliff 0 for 3, run
ph, 3b Zach Lutz 1 for 2, K
pr, 3b Jose Coronado run
Bobby Parnell 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BBs, 13.50 era

Saturday, March 07, 2009

3/7 WBC Report! DELGOTIT!


So many ways to pronounce that...;)

3b David Wright 0 for 4, K, 5 LOB
JJ Putz IP, 2 H, ER, 9 era, SV (1), 21:13:8,

ss Ruben Tejada 0 for 2, LOB
cf Carlos Beltran 1 for 4, BB
1b Carlos Delgado 3 for 4, 2 runs, 2b, HR, RBI
Angel Cuan 0.1 IP, H, ER, 27 era, 8:6:2
Nelson Figueroa 2.2 IP, 3/1 BB/K, 0.00 era, 32:18:14

Today's Mets Game is for us...

CW-11 (PIX 11, WB 11, whatever the hell they call it this week) @ 1pm

Daniel Murphy hitting 2nd
Nick Evans hitting 3rd
Eric Campbell hitting 7th
WILMER FLORES hitting 9th

Dillon Gee on the mound.

Friday, March 06, 2009

MPH System Audit III - Part III (Middle Infielders)

Middle Infielders

1. Wilmer Flores 8/6/91 (17.5) R/R (R Kingsport .310/.352/.490/.842, 76 for 245, 36 runs, 12 2b, 4 3b, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 12/28 BB/K, A Savannah 2 for 5, run, 2 Ks, A- Brooklyn .267/.290/.300/.590, 8 for 30, 3 runs, 2b, RBI, 1/7 BB/K)

Total 2008 Stats: .307/.347/.468/.815, 86 for 280, 40 runs, 13 2b, 4 3b, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 13/37 BB/K, 2/3 SBs, .132 K rate, .3514 BB/K ratio

Wilmer. Flores. Really what else can you say? He was signed out of Venezuela in 2007 for $750,000, and his first assignment was the rookie level Appy League at the age of 16, 2 years younger then high school seniors. And what did he proceed to do? Absolutely rip the shit out of the league, OPSing over .900 for most of the season before a little slump dropped him down to a still insane .310/.352/.490/.842 line in 245 ABs. During the season, he turned 17. Yes, 17. Wilmer, even on an insanely fast track, is at a minimum of 2.5 seasons away, and more conservatively would be 4 seasons away, but he's already turned many heads with his performance in his rookie season.

Wilmer Flores hit the scene running, and didn't let up for a second, compiling an unreal overall line for a 16/17 year old who played stateside. Flores has a very fluid swing which generates good bat speed and power. Unlike most hitters his age (or really, 3-4 years older), Flores possesses both pull power and a very good opposite field stroke. He did struggle some in the NYPL versus advanced breaking pitches, but considering his age, this is not a concern at all. A major plus for Flores is that despite posting some very very good power numbers, he also hit for a very high average and displayed very good plate discipline. All this bodes well as he prepares for a full season assignment in Savannah.

Flores is an offense first shortstop, but he does have a plus arm and good hands, making him a candidate to be a good defender in time. He needs to work on his range and throwing motion, but as he is still extremely young, there is plenty of time for him to improve defensively. Flores' ceiling is pretty much sky high. At 16/17 years old, he torched a league full of first year draftees, some of them having as much as 6 years experience on him. He should be opening 2009 in Savannah at age 17, and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see him in St. Lucie before his 18th birthday. Defensively, Flores profiles in a corner, 3b, 1b, lf or rf. His strong arm would be wasted at 1b, so perhaps the Mets will move him to RF, down the road. Flores should spend 2 additional seasons in the system after 2009, making his projected MLB debut in 2012 at age 20.

2. Reese Havens 10/20/86 (22.25) L/R (South Carolina .359/.486/.645/1.131, 89 for 248, 76 runs, 13 2b, 2 3b, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 58/44 BB/K, A- Brooklyn .247/.340/.471/.811, 21 for 85, 13 runs, 6 2b, 2 3b, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 11/27 BB/K, 3/4 SBs)

Total 2008 Stats: .330/.450/.601/1.051, 110 for 333, 89 runs, 19 2b, 4 3b, 21 HR, 68 RBI, 69/71 BB/K, .213 K rate, .9718 BB/K ratio

Havens was drafted by the Mets with their second pick in the first round, 22nd overall, out of South Carolina University. After signing, he was sent to Brooklyn, but struggled with injuries, accumulating 85 ABs off and on. When he was on the field, he mostly Dhed, and showed off good power for a lefty in that enviroment (remember, Keyspan = death for LH hitters).

Havens, who missed portions of the season with various injuries, has surprisingly good power for a middle infielder, with 11 XBH in just 85 ABs for Brooklyn. Havens was a very aggressive swinger while in Brooklyn, but that does not mean he expanded the strike zone. His BB/K ratio was a solid .4074, but his K rate was exceptionally high, at .318. OF course, this could be explained by his season, which was a series of fits and starts.

Havens is definitely an offense first middle infielder, as he doesn't boast blazing speed (3/4 SBs in Brooklyn), and is average at best on defense. Some people have theorized the Mets may move him to catcher, but that was decidely something the Red Sox were thinking, NOT something the Mets are even entertaining. Rather, a move to 2b may be in the offing for Havens. Havens projects to hit between .280 and .310 with 10 to 25 HR power, more then enough for ss or 2b. He should open the 2009 season in St. Lucie with a midyear callup to Binghamton certainly in the cards. Figure 1.5 more seasons in the minors after that, and you're looking at a midyear 2011 callup for Havens.

3. Greg Veloz 6/3/88 (20.67) S/R (A Savannah .286/.339/.402/.742, 130 for 455, 25 2b, 5 3b, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 32/93 BB/K, 28/40 SBs, A+ St. Lucie .234/.298/.247/.544, 18 for 77, 8 runs, 2b, 4 RBI, 7/20 BB/K, 1/3 SBs HWL Honolulu 18 for 87, 10 runs, 2 2b, 7 RBI, 9/27 BB/K, 2/4 SBs, .207/.281/.230/.511)

Total 2008 Stats: .268/.326/.359/.685, 166 for 619, 86 runs, 28 2b, 5 3b, 6 HR, 63 RBI, 31/44 SBs, 48/140 BB/K, .226 K rate, .3429 BB/K ratio

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.

Veloz split 2007 between full season Savannah and short season Kingsport, enduring a miserable 230 AB introduction to the US before earning a reprieve in Kingsport, where he showed off his 5 tools.

Veloz opened in Savannah, and as I said, he endured a miserable half season, hitting just .171/.243/.235/.478 (40 for 234, 20 runs, 7 2b, 3b, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 23/73 BB/K, 15/19 SBs), a .3151 BB/K ratio, and a very high .312 K rate, along with a 78.94% success rate on SBs. Batting righty (vs LHP), he hit .200/.302/.273/.575 (11 for 55, 2b, HR, 8/21 BB/K), a .3010 BB/K ratio and an absurdly high .382 K rate. Batting lefty (against RHP), Veloz hit .160/.220/.211/.431 (28 for 175, 4 2b, 3b, 14/50 BB/K), a .2800 BB/K ratio and a still high .285 K rate.

After putting up ... extremely inadequate numbers in Savannah, Veloz was moved down to rookie ball, the Appy League. In Kingsport, Veloz performed immensely better, and showed off hints of his 5 tool potential, hitting .271/.344/.450/.793 (70 for 258, 43 runs, 13 2b, 9 3b, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 26/62 BB/K, 18/25 SBs), with a much improved .4194 BB/K ratio a .240 K rate, and a 72% success rate on SBs. Unlike his stint in Savannah, in Kingsport he hit better against RHP. Batting lefty, he hit .279/.356/.469/.825 (50 for 179, 8 2b, 7 3b, 4 HR, 20/45 BB/K), with a .4444 BB/K ratio and a .251 K rate. Versus LHP (batting righty), Veloz hit .243/.309/.405/.714 (18 for 74, 5 2b, 2 3b, HR, 6/17 BB/K), a .3529 BB/K ratio and a .229 K rate.

Overall in 2007, Veloz hit .224/.296/.348/.644 (110 for 492, 63 runs, 20 2b, 10 3b, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 49/135 BB/K, 33/44 SBs), with a .3629 BB/K ratio, a .274 K rate, and a 75% success rate on SBs. He hit roughly equal from both sides of the plate, hitting .225/.306/.349/.655 (29 for 129, 6 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 14/38 BB/K) from the right side and .220/.290/.342/.632 (78 for 354, 12 2b, 8 3b, 5 HR, 34/95 BB/K) from the left side.

Veloz started off the 2008 season right back in Savannah, and got off to a rough start, hitting .214/.274/.306/.580 in April, but from May 1st to his promotion to St. Lucie, he performed very well (most of it done as a 19 year old), hitting .307/.358/.430/.788 (110 for 358, 55 runs, 21 2b, 4 3b, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 17/26 SBs, 26/73 BB/K). Overall, though, he hit .286/.339/.402/.742 (130 for 455, 68 runs, 25 2b, 5 3b, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 32/93 BB/K, 28/40 SBs), with a .3441 BB/K ratio and a vastly improved .204 K rate, along with a 70% success rate on SBs.

Veloz hit just .238/.288/.331/.619 batting righty (31 for 130, 7 2b, 3b, HR, 6/22 BB/K), a .2723 BB/K ratio, with a .169 K rate. The K rate is very encouraging, since with Veloz' speed, if he's making consistent contact on the ground, he can potentially beat those grounders out for hits. Against RHP (batting lefty), Veloz hit well, .312/.366/.437/.803 (102 for 327, 18 2b, 4 3b, 5 HR, 26/70), for a .3714 BB/K, and a .214 K rate.

THE FUTURE: Veloz is in St. Lucie right now, and while there IS a glut of middle infield prospects projected to be ready for the level next year (Veloz, Ruben Tejada, Reese Havens, Juan Lagares, some would say Wilmer Flores (I wouldn't)) - I would expect Veloz to open in St. Lucie as the everyday 2b.

Veloz had a "breakout" 2008 season, comparitively speaking. At the very least, you can say that he showed off the tools which have many prospect fans salivating over his potential. Despite some rather pedestrian numbers on the surface, Veloz flashed an ability to hit for average and hit for power throughout the season. From May 1st to August 10th, Veloz hit .307/.358/.430/.788 with 30 XBH in 358 ABs, and a 26/73 BB/K ratio (.3562), as opposed to his overall season line of .286/.339/.402/.742 (in Savannah), and a BB/K of .3441 (32/93).

Veloz does not project as a .300 hitter, but he has a short stroke which generates good line drive gap power, and he has the speed to turn doubles into triples. Veloz is a switch hitter, but is much more proficient from the left side, hitting 70 points higher. Veloz has good speed and explosiveness, which lead to 29 SBs this season, but he needs to work on his stealing rate, as he was thrown out 14 times (a 67% success rate). There is some question within the organization as to whether he will remain at 2b, or like Sean Henry before him, move to the outfield. While he did significantly cut down his error total in 2008 (19) from 2007 (32), but he still needs to work on his aggresiveness in this area, he often times will let the ball play him.

Despite a semi-breakout season, much of Veloz' game is still projection, which is clouded by uncertainty about his future position. With the logjam of middle infielders projected in St. Lucie, there is a possibility Veloz will either be jumped to Binghamton (a mistake), or begin breaking in an outfielder's glove (which would be a good idea). We'll say he begins in St. Lucie and spends the majority of there, and then spends a year per level, making his MLB debut in 2012.

4. Ruben Tejada 9/1/89 (19.42) R/R (A+ St. Lucie .229/.293/.296/.588, 114 for 497, 55 runs, 19 2b, 4 3b, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 41/77 BB/K, 8/13 SBs, HWL Honolulu 20 for 86, 14 runs, 3 2b, 3b, 10 RBI, 7/14 BB/K, 2/4 SBs, .233/.284/.291/.575)

Total 2008 Stats: .230/.291/.295/.586, 134 for 583, 69 runs, 22 2b, 5 3b, 2 HR, 47 RBI, 10/17 SBs, 48/91 BB/K, .156 K rate, .5275 BB/K ratio,

The Mets signed Tejada out of Panama in the summer of 2006, and he began the 07 season in the Venezuelan Summer League, but performed at such a high level that the Mets secured a visa for him and brought him stateside, assigning him to the rookie level Gulf Coast League, where his power faltered, as did his average and SBs, but his excellent plate discipline continued. Combined over the two levels, Tejada hit .324/.434/.423/.857 in 241 ABs. Considering the Mets aggressive nature in pushing prospects, we forecast Tejada would compete/open in Savannah for the 2008 season.

Well, the Mets outdid themselves with Tejada, idiotically starting him in St. Lucie, where he naturally proceeded to hit very little, just .229/.293/.296/.588 in 497 ABs. Despite being jumped insanely like he was, Tejada had outstanding plate discipline numbers, with a low .155 K rate, and a very good .5324 BB/K ratio, especially considering he was 18 in the FSL after spending 2007 in the VSL/GCL. We fervently hope Tejada repeats the FSL in 2009.

Tejada was severely rushed in 2008, making a 3 level jump from the GCL directly to the FSL, skipping the Appy, NYP and Sally Leagues, and as such, several "flaws" emerged in his game, most of which are completely understandable given his age in respect to his level. He predictably struggled for most of the season, but did put together a very impressive stretch of 77 ABs in June where he hit .403/.452/.519/.972. Overall, he struggled against advanced breaking balls and offspeed pitches in general, often times getting out in front and popping them up. He is a line drive hitter who won't generate much power, but as he learns to hit advanced pitching, should hit for a high average and have a good OBP as a result of his advanced eye at the plate. On the bases, as with his hitting, Tejada is raw but has promise. Consider in 2007 he swiped 18 bases in 24 tries, and this year he swiped just 8 in 13 attempts. Tejada, despite committing 30 errors this season, and 21 the year prior, defense is Tejada's steadiest asset right now. He has good range to both sides, and an average arm which projects to improve as he adds muscle mass.

Tejada is still looked upon as the 2nd best SS prospect in the organization (behind Wilmer, of course) - and his poor showing in the FSL did nothing to diminish his star with those inside (or outside) the organization. Tejada should begin back in St. Lucie for 2009, and then ascend a level per season, making his debut in 2012.

5. Jose Coronado 4/13/86 (22.83) S/R (AA Binghamton .260/.335/.314/.649, 132 for 507, 56 runs, 24 2b, HR, 39 RBI, 57/79 BB/K, 9/12 SBs, VWL Caribes 28 for 91, 10 runs, 4 2b, 2 3b, HR, 7 RBI, 9/18 BB/K, .308/.373/.429/.801)

Total 2008 Stats: .268/.377/.331/.708, 160 for 598, 66 runs, 28 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 46 RBI, 9/12 SBs, 66/97 BB/K, .162 K rate, .6804 BB/K ratio

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/.897 (19 for 47, 9 runs, 2b, 3b, 4 RBI, 1/9 BB/K, 1/2 SBs). Obviously, in such a small sample size, subsets of said sample size would be equally tiny (14 ABs vs LHP, 33 vs RHP), and offer up no real statistical meaning.

Coronado spent the bulk of the 2005 season with rookie level Kingsport, where he hit .266/.382/.338/.720 (37 for 139, 24 runs, 5 2b, 3b, HR, 8 RBI, 6/10 SBs, 22/27 BB/K), with a very good .8148 BB/K ratio, and an equally good .194 K rate. He hit .324/.432/.432/.864 vs LHP (12 for 37, 2 2b, 3b, 6/7 BB/K), with a .8571 BB/K ratio, and a .189 K rate. Against RHP, he hit .260/.374/.317/.691 (27 for 104, 3 2b, HR, 16/20 BB/K), a BB/K ratio of 0.80, with a K rate of .192.

Coronado ended his 2005 season with an 18 game cameo in Hagerstown, where he struggled mightily, hitting just .225/.295/.282/.577 (16 for 71, 4 runs, 2 2b, 3b, 4 RBI, 7/17 BB/K), with a dramatically lowered BB/K ratio of .4118, and a correspondingly raised K rate of .239. He had just 14 ABs against LHP, and 55 vs RHP, again, very small sample sizes which do not have any statistical value.

Despite his struggles in Hagerstown, the Mets aggresively pushed Coronado to St. Lucie for his age 20 season, where he predictably struggled, hitting just .226/.283/.278/.561 (123 for 544, 61 runs, 20 2b, 4 3b, 37 RBI, 41/119 BB/K), with a very bad (for a non power hitter) .3445 BB/K ratio, and an equally high .218 K rate.

Coronado hit just .208/.282/.291/.573 vs LHP (31 for 148, 8 2b, 2 3b, 14/35 BB/K), with a .4000 BB/K ratio, and a .236 K rate. Against RHP, he hit .233/.283/.275/.558 (93 for 400, 13 2b, 2 3b, 27/86 BB/K), a woeful .3140 BB/K ratio, and a .215 K rate.

Despite this, the Mets saw fit to push Coronado to Binghamton for the 2007 season, where of course, he struggled even more, hitting just .212/.284/.257/.541 (65 for 307, 31 runs, 7 2b, 2 3b, HR, 15 RBI, 31/84 BB/K, 7/10 SBs), with a .3690 BB/K ratio, and a ridiculously high K rate of .274. Coronado hit equally poorly from both sides of the plate, hitting .212/.281/.225/.506 vs LHP (batting righty; 17 for 80, 2b, 8/22 BB/K), with a .3636 BB/K ratio, and a .275 K rate. Against RHP, batting lefty, Coronado hit .217/.288/.261/.549 (49 for 229, 5 2b, 3b, HR, 22/60 BB/K), with a .3667 BB/K ratio and a .265 K rate.

Thankfully, the Mets let Coronado repeat AA in 2008 with much "better", though still severely below average, results. Coronado hit .260/.335/.314/.649 (132 for 507, 56 runs, 24 2b, HR, 39 RBI, 57/79 BB/K, 9/12 SBs), with vastly improved strize zone and plate discipline. His BB/K ratio was .7215, while his K rate plunged to .156 from 2007's rate of .274. Coronado hit a respectable .285/.333/.370/.703 vs LHP (47 for 165, 25 runs, 11 2b, HR, 18 RBI, 12/27 BB/K), with a .4444 BB/K ratio, and a very good .164 K rate. Against RHP, he hit .249/.336/.287/.622 (85 for 342, 31 runs, 13 2b, 21 RBI, 45/52 BB/K, 7/9 SBs), with an excellent .8654 BB/K ratio, and a very good K rate of .152.

THE FUTURE: Coronado is likely ticketted for AAA Buffalo for his age 23 season, right in line age/level wise for a prospect. However, he didn't hit for any power in Binghamton this year (54 IsoP), and that does need to improve somewhat, or else he needs to become a .300 hitter while maintaining his newfound BB/K ratio. Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate the player Luis Castillo was (I hate the player he is now), which is probably Coronado's ceiling.

Coronado made good strides with his offense last season, but he was coming off a very low base. His winterball showing was decidedly positive (.308/.373/.429/.801 in 91 ABs), and sets him up well for his first taste of AAA in 2009. However, despite the offensive gains of 2008, it will be his glove which earns him a shot at the majors, not his bat. He did vastly improve his plate discipline in 2008, resulting in more walks, less Ks, and a much better average. Coronado has very good speed but shies away from using it on the bases, something he needs to do to add to his limited offensive prowess.

Coronado's best trait is his glove, due to his speed, he has excellent range to both sides, and a fantastic arm which enables him to make throws other SS can't dream of. However, this is a double edged sword, as he sometimes tries to make ill advised throws, and can be overtly aggresive defensively. Coronado's lack of offense has all but ended any possibility of him earning a starting job with the Mets, but he could be a valuable defensive replacement type in the future, perhaps here, perhaps elsewhere. It is also possible he could see the majors this season if Luis Castillo falters (as many expect), and the Mets deem Alex Cora incompetent to start everyday at 2b. As mentioned earlier, he will open in Buffalo this season, and conservatively should be in contention for a bench job for the 2010 season.

6. Juan Lagares 3/17/89 (19.92) R/R (A Savannah .254/.285/.337/.622, 46 for 181, 14 runs, 9 2b, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 8/28 BB/K, 3/7 SBs, A- Brooklyn .250/.280/.389/.669, 18 for 72, 8 runs, 7 2b, HR, 7 RBI, 1/10 BB/K, 1/4 SBs)

Total 2008 Stats: .253/.284/.352/.635, 64 for 253, 22 runs, 16 2b, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 9/38 BB/K, 4/11 SBs, .150 K rate, .2368 BB/K ratio

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. For the 2007 season, Lagares opened in the full season Sally League, and struggled mightily, barely managing to stay above the Mendoza line (.210/.262/.317 in 281 ABs). His defense also proved to be very raw, as evidenced by his staggering 40 errors in just 83 games played.

Lagares has spent so little time on a baseball field the past two seasons (just 514 ABs in 2 seasons), that alot of his potential is just that, potential. Despite boasting just a career .230 batting average, he exhbits a line drive stroke which is good enough to generate power from gap to gap. As with most kids from the Latin American market, he is a firm believer in the mantra that "you don't walk your way off the island". Despite the aggresive nature of his game, he's only struck out 102 times in those 514 ABs, a very good .198 K rate, though his walk rate (27) leaves much to be desired. He is tall and thin (6'1/175), so as he fills out, he should lose a step or two on the bases, and compensate with additional power, eventually settling in as a 6 hitter. Lagares' defense is wildly inconsistent, and many people think he will eventually be moved to the outfield, and with the glut of middle infielders for the Savannah/St. Lucie squads this season, that move could happen as early as spring training 2009.

We'll be conservative with our estimate of his time through the system, and say he needs 3 1/2 more seasons before breaking into the majors in mid 2012.

7. Emmanuel Garcia 3/4/86 (22.92) L/R (AA Binghamton) .243/.307/.319/.626, 89 for 367, 51 runs, 12 2b, 2 3b, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 34/83 BB/K, 17/26 SBs, .226 K rate, .4096 BB/K ratio)

Emmanuel Garcia was signed as an undrafted FA in 2004 out of Canada, and made his pro debut the next season in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, where he hit .339/.412/.409/.821 (63 for 186, 43 runs, 7 2b, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 21/36 BB/K, 17/18 SBs). Garcia's BB/K ratio was .5833, while his K rate was .194. Unfortunatley, I do not have his L/R splits from 2005.

In 2006, Garcia spent the bulk of the season with the Kingsport Mets of the rookie Appy League, where he hit .277/.362/.366/.728 (56 for 202, 35 runs, 5 2b, 2 3b, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 27/41 BB/K, 19/25 SBs). Overall, his BB/K ratio was .6585, a good improvement from the GCL, while his K rate decreased slightly to .203. He hit markedly better vs RHP (44 for 144, 5 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 23/26 BB/K, .306/.401/.431/.832) then LHP (12 for 58, 4/15 BB/K, .207/.258/.207/.465). His BB/K was .8846 vs RHP and only .2667 vs LHP, while his K rate was .181 vs RHP and a too high .257 vs LHP. Garcia got a brief 50 AB callup to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the low A NY Penn League, but the sample sizes in the splits are too small to draw any conclusions. He hit .240/.316/.240/.556 in 50 ABs (12 for 50, 5/13 BB/K).

In 2007, Garcia was promoted, as a 21 year old, to the St. Lucie Mets in the high A Florida State League, where he predictably struggled to hit for power or a particularly high average. He hit .257/.336/.300/.636 (130 for 506, 65 runs, 12 2b, 5 3b, 31 RBI, 62/108 BB/K), for a .5741 BB/K ratio, and a .213 K rate. What's extremely impressive about him is, in 2006 between Kingsport (a ROOKIE league) and Brooklyn (short season A ball), he struck out at a .211 rate (virtually no change). So the jump all the way to high A did not result in a higher strikeout rate. Also, this season, his BB/K ratio was 0.5741 (dividing BBs by Ks), while last year, it was 0.5926, so he did not worsen significantly there, either. Again, very impressive jumping 2 leagues the way he did.

His splits in St. Lucie as far as lefty/righty show that he hit marginally better versus LHP. He hit .271/.342/.321/.663 vs LHP, with 7 2b in 140 ABs, and a 15/31 BB/K ratio (0.4839), while hitting .251/.334/.292/.626 vs RHP, with 5 2b and 5 3b in 366 ABs, and a 47/77 BB/K ratio (0.6104). However, from June 1st to August 31st, he hit .285/.361/.342/.703. As you can see, the only thing "holding him back" is a decided lack of power. He did not hit 1 homer in 488 ABs at St. Lucie.While I do not have his splits during his hot streak, you can probably add 20-30 points to each category and be fairly safe, as a guesstimate.

THE FUTURE: Garcia, knowing the Mets, will be in Binghamton next season. However, I would give him 6 weeks in St. Lucie, let him really tear it apart, then promote him. It wouldn't hurt his plate discipline, either, to slow down his trek through the system. Garcia's ceiling is probably comparable to a Luis Castillo type, someone who won't hit for a whole lot (if any) power, but should hit alot of doubles (which would've been singles) and triples (which should've been doubles), and steal you quite a few bases.

UPDATE 2008: Garcia has spent the entire season in Binghamton (at least the non Olympic portion of it), and as we again predicted, he struggled mightily the first half of the season. Through the first two months of the season, he hit a miserable .217/.312/.251/.564 (39 for 179, 30 runs, 4 2b, 3b, 15 RBI, 9/13 SBs, 24/47 BB/K). His BB/K ratio is .5106, while his K rate had ballooned to .263.

However, after that 2 month adjustment period, Garcia's turned it on. From June 1st to July 27th (the day he left to join Team Canada), Garcia's hit .285/.322/.424/.746 (45 for 158, 18 runs, 8 2b, 3b, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 8/13 SBs, 9/27 BB/K). His BB/K ratio deflated to .3333, but his K rate also dropped markedly, to .171, the lowest of his career. However, the additional power has come at the expense of his plate discipline, as in the first 2 months, his IsoD was 95, and in the time since, his IsoD is 37. It is unknown if he will resume playing in the minor leagues once he returns from Bejing.

As in past seasons, Garcia's L/R splits are skewed to RHP, but this season is it a much closer differential. Garcia is hitting .238/.304/.337/.640 (24 for 101, 14 runs, 3 2b, 2 3b, HR, 11 RBI, 8/24 BB/K, 5/5 SBs) vs LHP, with a .3333 BB/K ratio and .238 K rate. Versus RHP, Garcia's hitting .254/.322/.331/.652 (60 for 236, 34 runs, 9 2b, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 25/50 BB/K, 12/21 SBs), with a .5000 BB/K ratio and .212 K rate.

Overall, Garcia is batting .249/.316/.332/.649 (84 for 337, 48 runs, 12 2b, 2 3b, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 33/74 BB/K, 17/26 SBs), with a .4459 BB/K ratio (the lowest of his career), and a .220 K rate (conversely, the highest of his career). However, as you've seen, much as he did last season, he is turning his season around in the 2nd half.

Garcia's gotten 1106 ABs in his minor league career, with a career .259/.334/.322/.656 line (286 for 1106, 31 2b, 9 3b, 7 HR, 127/239 BB/K), he's hit .237/.306/.291/.597 (76 for 320, 10 2b, 2 3b, HR, 29/76 BB/K) vs LHP, and .267/.346/.335/.681 (210 for 786, 21 2b, 7 3b, 6 HR, 98/163 BB/K) vs RHP.

THE NEW FUTURE: Here's hoping the Mets will allow him to open the 2009 season in Binghamton before pushing him to AAA (whereever it is). With so many high ceiling middle infielders now pushing through the system, Garcia's margin for error is slim to none. He *should* begin back in Binghamton, but knowing the Mets, he'll be in Syracuse (or whereever AAA ends up at).

8. Alonzo Harris 1/16/89 (20.04) R/R (R GCL .308/.379/.510/.889, 32 for 104, 23 runs, 6 2b, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 9/23 BB/K, 7/9 SBs, .222 K rate, .3913 BB/K ratio)

Harris was drafted in the 39th round of the 2007 draft, where as a senior he hit As a senior at McComb High this season, Harris batted .540 with a 1.081 SLG (25 singles, 11 home runs, 11 doubles, and 3 triples), along with 45 RBI, 30 SBs and 60 runs. Harris signed too late to play in the 2007 season, so the 08 season was his rookie year, and he had one of the best (non IFA) rookie campaigns in the system, hitting .308/.379/.510/.889 in 104 ABs in the GCL.

9. Miguel Tejada 11/11/90 (18.21) R/R (R GCL .220/.275/.250/.525, 22 for 100, 8 runs, 3 2b, 7 RBI, 6/37 BB/K, 2/3 SBs, .370 K rate, .1622 BB/K ratio)

Tejada was one of several International Free Agent signings by the Mets in the 2007 period, but he doesn't have nearly the hype of the Big Three. He debuted stateside in 2008 and struggled, OPSing .525 in the GCL.

10. Hector Pellot 2/8/87 (22) R/R (A+ St. Lucie .165/.250/.188/.438, 14 for 85, 11 runs, 2 2b, 4 RBI, 8/23 BB/K, 1/4 SBs, .271 K rate, .3478 BB/K ratio)

The Mets drafted Pellot in the 4th round of the 2005 draft out of Puerto Rico. In 2006, Pellot played for Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, and put together a complete disaster, batting .189/.292/.259/.551. A repeat of the level in 2007, this time in Savannah, produced sharply better results, a .274/.344/.381/.725 line. The strikeouts remain an issue for Pellot, as does the lack of any appreciable power. Pellot should open the 2008 season in St. Lucie, where he ended the 07 season.

Pellot did open in St. Lucie, but he lasted just a month, 85 ABs, before missing the vast majority of the season with a hip injury, he last appeared in a game on May 2nd.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

3/5/09 WBC Report! TEJADA!


cf Carlos Beltran 0 for 3, K, 4 LOB
1b Carlos Delgado 0 for 3, run, BB, 3 LOB
3b David Wright 2 for 5, 2 LOB
ss Ruben Tejada 2 for 3, 2b, 2 RBI
1b Shawn Bowman 0 for 1, K
ss Jose Reyes 1 for 4, run, 2b, LOB
lf Moises Alou 0 for 2

Audit Part III up sometime tomorrow.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

MPH System Audit III - Part II (Corner Infielders)

Corner Infielders

1. Dan Murphy 4/1/85 (23.83) L/R (AA Binghamton .308/.374/.496/.870, 110 for 357, 56 runs, 26 2b, 3b, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 39/46 BB/K, 14/19 SBs, MLB New York .313/.397/.473/.871, 41 for 131, 24 runs, 9 2b, 3 3b, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 18/28 BB/K, AFL Peoria Saguaros 25 for 63, 22 runs, 8 2b, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 13/6 BB/K, .397/.487/.619/1.106)

Total 2008 Stats : .319/.394/.505/.898, 176 for 551, 102 runs, 43 2b, 4 3b, 17 HR, 102 RBI, 70/80 BB/K, .145 K rate, .8750 BB/K ratio,

Murphy was selected in the 13th round of the 2006 draft out of Jacksonville University, where as a junior, he hit .398/.470/.534/1.004 with 10 2b, 3b, 6 HR in 221 ABs. He also stole 15/22 bases, and had a ridiculous 34/13 BB/K ratio. His K rate was an absurdly low .0588, and his BB/K ratio was an equally absurd 2.6154. He throws right and bats lefty.

He has shown a history of vast improvement in his plate discipline. His freshman year at Jacksonville, he hit .377/.455/.506/.961, with 5 2b, 3b, HR, in 77 ABs. He struck out 13 times, a K rate of .168, and a 9/13 BB/K ratio, or 0.6923. His sophomore season, he hit .329/.381/.429/.810, with 12 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR in 219 ABs, and a 11/23 BB/K ratio. His K rate was .105, and his BB/K ratio was 0.4783.

After the Mets took him, he played at 3 levels, Kingsport, Brooklyn, and the GCL. Overall, he batted .213/.315/.300/.615 in 80 ABs. He had a 12/7 BB/K ratio, and a 0.0875 K rate, and a 1.7143 BB/K ratio.

In 2007, Murphy was in St. Lucie, and he batted .287/.342/.429/.771 in 513 ABs, with 34 2b, 3 3b and 11 HR. He had a BB/K ratio of 44/63, or 0.6984. His K rate was .123. His lefty/righty splits show that he is more adapt at hitting RHP.

Murphy hit .257/.314/.362/.676 vs LHP, 39 for 152, with 5 2b, 3b, 3 HR, and an 11/19 BB/K ratio, or 0.5789. His K rate vs LHP was .132. Versus RHP, he hit .299/.353/.457/.810, 108 for 361, with 29 2b, 2 3b, 8 HR and a 33/44 BB/K ratio, or 0.7500. His K rate vs RHP was .122.

THE FUTURE: Murphy should be manning third base for the Binghamton Mets in 2008, and as with Mike Carp, how well he hits lefties will determine his future. Both Carp and Murphy can abuse RHP, however, how they fare vs LHP will determine whether they truly emerge as serious contenders to man 1b for the Mets in 2009.

UPDATE 2008: Murphy's enjoyed a meteroic rise through the farm system in 2008, and is in a LF platoon (with Nick Evans) for the Mets. As predicted (really it wasn't that much of a guess), Murphy opened the year in Binghamton, manning 3b. However, in late June, as Murphy emerged as a legit bat, the Mets opted to try Daniel at 2b, with mixed results (5 errors in 15 games). Then in August, Marlon Anderson's hamstring, which had never fully healed, flared up, which cleared the way for Murphy's callup. Since arriving in New York (Houston, actually), he has not stopped hitting, putting up a ridiculous .404/.491/.617/1.108 line through 47 ABs. What has really impressed Mets brass (and fans, for that matter) is Murphy's extraordinaryly advanced batting eye, he's got an 8/7 BB/K in the majors.

As we said, Murphy started out in Binghamton, where he put up a great .308/.374/.496/.870 line in 357 ABs. Counting his 14 AB rehab stint in Brooklyn, and his 4 AB cameo in New Orleans, Murphy's hitting .315/.379/.493/.872 (117 for 372, 26 2b, 3b, 13 HR, 39/48 BB/K) in the minor leagues this year, with a .8125 BB/K ratio, and a .129 K rate). As we highlighted last year, Murphy fared much better against RHP then LHP (.676 OPS vs LHP, .810 vs RHP). Well, Murphy turned that around in a big way this season. Against LHP this year, he hit .305/.363/.481/.844 (40 for 131, 9 2b, 3b, 4 HR, 10/18 BB/K), with a .5556 BB/K ratio, and a .137 K rate. Versus RHP, he hit .320/.385/.502/.887 (77 for 241, 17 2b, 9 HR, 29/30 BB/K), with a great .9667 BB/K ratio, and .125 K rate. As you can see from the numbers, Murphy's also improved his power this season, he hit 11 HR all of last year, and has 15 this season between the minors and majors. Also good, this improvement in power has not come at the expense of his K rate (.123 in 2007, .129 in 2008).

Over Murphy's 2+ seasons in the minor leagues, he's gotten just under 1000 ABs (965), and put up a decent line: .291/.353/.444/.797 (281 for 965, 61 2b, 4 3b, 26 HR, 95/118 BB/K), and has hit better versus RHP then LHP (.300/.364/.468/.832 vs RHP in 643 ABs, .273/.331/.394/.725 in 322 ABs vs LHP)

By now, we all know what the Irish Hammer (as I've seen him called on occasion) can do with the bat. Straight out of AA and into the heat of a pennant race, Daniel Murphy batted .313/.397/.473/.870 in 131 big league ABs, and showed absolutely none of what you'd expect out of a rookie, instead looking like a chiseled 10 year veteran from AB #1. With a smooth level lefty swing and power to all fields, Murphy is a line drive hitter with good patience at the plate. Murphy won't steal many bases in the majors (14 of 19 in AA), but he is an intelligent runner who won't run himself into outs.

Murphy's defense is the one question mark in his game, whether it be at third, second, first or left. He played third base all throughout his minor league career, but obviously will not be manning that position in the majors. Right now, he is expected to be the fulltime left fielder, but an eventual move to first base after the season is definitely in the realm of possiblities. Murphy is a finished product at the plate, although he may learn to hit for more power as he learns the pitchers around the league, he likely won't ever crack more then 20 homers in a season. Murphy's in the majors, and likely to stay for a long long time, at whatever position the Mets eventually stick him at. The bottom line is Daniel Murphy will hit, and that will keep him in the majors.

THE NEW FUTURE: The Mets have indicated they will be sending Murphy to winterball to play LF, which means that they view him as an answer to the LF spot in 2009. And as we've seen in his brief time in the majors, he stays in very well against lefties. This would afford top prospect Fernando Martinez a full season in AAA, too.

2. Nick Evans 1/30/86 (23) R/R (AA Binghamton .311/.365/.561/.926, 92 for 296, 52 runs, 18 2b, 7 3b, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 26/64 BB/K, MLB New York .257/.303/.404/.706, 28 for 109, 18 runs, 10 2b, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 7/24 BB/K)

Total 2008 Stats: .296/.348/.519/.867, 120 for 405, 70 runs, 28 2b, 7 3b, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 33/88 BB/K, 217 K rate, .3750 BB/K ratio,

Splits courtesy

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/.709 (57 for 226, 30 runs, 11 2b, 3 3b, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 17/34 BB/K) in 57 games, for a 0.50 BB/K ratio, and a very good .150 K rate. Evans hit pretty evenly against both lefties and righties, in terms of average, but performed better in the OBP and SLG departments against LHP. He hit .260/.373/.440/.813 (13 for 50, 5 2b, 2 3b, 9/9 BB/K) against LHP, a 1.00 BB/K ratio, and an equally good .180 K rate. Against RHP, he hit .250/.280/.398/.678 (44 for 176, 6 2b, 3b, 6 HR, 8/25 BB/K), with a 0.32 BB/K ratio, not so good, but with a very good .142 K rate.

Overall in 2005, Nick hit .272/.319/.479/.798 (79 for 290, 41 runs, 18 2b, 3 3b, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 21/51 BB/K), for a .4118 BB/K ratio, and an excellent .176 K rate. Nick hit .269/.355/.493/.848 against LHP (18 for 67, 5 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 9/13 BB/K), with a BB/K ratio of 0.6923, and a K rate of .194. Against RHP, he hit .274/.308/.475/.783 (61 for 223, 13 2b, 3b, 10 HR, 12/38 BB/K) with a BB/K ratio of .3158, and a K rate of .170. Extremely good K rates for a 19 year old playing the majority of his games in the pitching friendly confines of Keyspan Park, not to mention against kids 2-3 years older then he was.

2006 saw Nick promoted to full season A ball, in Hagerstown of the Sally League, where he hit .254/.320/.419/.739 (130 for 511, 55 runs, 33 2b, 3 3b, 15 HR, 67 RBI, 45/99 BB/K), for a .4545 BB/K ratio, and a still very good .193 K rate.

His L/R splits were very evenly distributed in 2006, with a .739 OPS against LHP and a .740 against RHP. He hit .254/.307/.432/.739 (30 for 118, 8 2b, 2 3b, 3 HR, 9/20 BB/K), with a 0.45 BB/K ratio, and a .169 K rate. Against RHP, he hit .258/.321/.419/.740 (99 for 384, 24 2b, 3b, 12 HR, 31/77 BB/K), with a .4026 BB/K ratio, and a still very low .201 K rate. Evans started off very slowly in full season ball, hitting just .226 over the first two months (43 for 190), with a woeful 7/46 BB/K ratio, but picked it up tremendously over the 2nd half of the season, hitting .278 from June 1st on (84 for 302, including a .364/.430/.705 clip in June), with a very good 33/51 BB/K ratio.

And now we come to Evans' breakout 2007 campaign in St. Lucie (high A, FSL). Evans hit .286/.374/.476/.850 (108 for 378, 65 runs, 25 2b, 3b, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 53/64 BB/K), setting career highs in virtually every major offensive category (AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, tying in HR, BBs, and least Ks). Most impressivee about Evans 2007 season was his vastly improved plate discipline. He had a sterling .8281 BB/K ratio, easily the highest of his career, while his K rate of .169 was the second lowest of his career (Brooklyn 05).

Evans obliterated LHP to the tune of .343/.431/.581/1.012 (36 for 105, 13 2b, 4 HR, 17/12 BB/K), a great 1.4167 BB/K ratio, and an equally great .114 K rate. Against RHP, he hit a still very solid .271/.361/.454/.815 (77 for 284, 17 2b, 3b, 11 HR, 38/54 BB/K), for a BB/K ratio of .7037, and a K rate of .190.

Evans began the 2008 season in Binghamton, and he was mashing from the season opener, ending April with a .904 OPS. Evans received a surprise callup in May, and went 3 for 4 with 3 2b in his first major league game, before a deep slump, concluding with him being sent back down, where he mashed in June to the tune of a .999 OPS. Evans played 7 games in July before being recalled for a second time, and is right now the righthanded platoon partner of Daniel Murphy in LF.

Evans hit .311/.365/.561/.926 in AA over 75 games (92 for 296, 52 runs, 18 2b, 7 3b, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 26/64 BB/K), and if he had enough ABs, he would've finished in the top 5 in AVG, SLG and OPS in the Eastern League. Evans did regress slightly in his plate discipline, with a .4063 BB/K ratio in AA, and a .216 K rate. However, when he was getting consistent playing time in the minors, he put up a 17/32 BB/K ratio (.5313 BB/K, .189 K rate), and his BB/K was 1.00 in May (10/10), his K rate was .133.

Evans crushed LHP in AA, hitting an absurd .366/.438/.699/1.137 (34 for 93, 22 runs, 4 2b, 3 3b, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 12/20 BB/K), a 0.600 BB/K ratio, and a .215 K rate. Against RHP, Evans improved significantly, hitting .286/.330/.498/.828 (58 for 203, 30 runs, 14 2b, 4 3b, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 14/44 BB/K), with a .3182 BB/K ratio and a .217 K rate.

Evans, who had improved his month to month consistency in 2007, advanced markedly in that department during the 2008 season (.904 April, .880 May, .999 June, .882 July). He has a very good opposite field approach, as we saw in the majors, and struggles to pull at times, although he became more proficient at it later in the season. Despite relapsing some in the plate discipline department (53/64 in St. Lucie, 26/64 in Binghamton), he compensated with a much higher SLG, (.476 in St. Lucie, .576 in Binghamton). It remains to be seen how well Evans hits RHP, that will determine if he ends up as a lefty killer in the majors, or a full time regular.

Evans is a gold glove caliber first baseman, with soft hands and good range to both sides. In left field, he does not have good range, and his arm, while strong enough for first base, becomes a major liabilty due to very poor throwing mechanics.

Evans, who made his debut in 2008, should find himself playing 1b and LF in Buffalo this season, unless he goes 3 for 4 in every spring training game (as he did in today's opener).

THE FUTURE: The future very much is up in the air for Evans, depending on where he fits in with the future plans of the Mets. His surprise call up, and his continued mashing of LHP in the majors (23 for 70, 15 runs, 8 2b, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6/15 BB/K, .329/.390/.529/.919) could make him a very attractive platoon partner in some sort of OF combination in 2009, but the Mets may want him in Buffalo to become more proficient against RHP (5 for 37, 3 runs, 2 2b, 4 RBI, 1/9 BB/K, .135/.150/.189/.349). Of course, he hasn't exactly been given a prolonged chance to hit RHP in the majors. My best guess would be Evans is either traded, or in Buffalo for the 2009 season.

3. Jefry Marte 6/21/91 (17.58) R/R (R GCL .325/.389/.532/.930, 50 for 154, 29 runs, 14 2b, 3 3b, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 13/30 BB/K, .195 K rate, .4333 BB/K ratio)

Marte was signed in the same International Free Agent class that produced Wilmer Flores and Cesar Puello, however, unlike Flores, he spent the 2008 season in the GCL, where he tore shit up, hitting .325/.389/.532/.930 in 154 ABs.

Marte already has shown the ability to hit for average and power and seems to only have scratched the surface of his capabilities. Advanced for his age mentally, but with plenty of maturing to go physically, the 6-foot-1, 187-pounder has huge projection.

"He already has a good swing and a strong body, but I can see him growing and getting even bigger and stronger," GCL Mets manager Bobby Floyd said. "He is going to have some real power."

Marte showed a good approach at the plate, as he rarely chased curveballs out of the zone. An average runner with good instincts, he'll steal an occasional base. While he made 19 errors at third base, he projects as an average defender with average arm strength.

Marte has excellent power, due to his frame (6'1/187), and should add more power as he fills out over time. As it is, he blasted 21 XBH in just 154 ABs in the GCL, posting a .930 OPS. Despite posting a .320+ average, he does need to work on his swing, as it is very long, which means a majority of his power is to the pull side. Marte did not strike out at an alarming rate despite his long swing, just a .195 K rate, but as he advances through the system, he may have trouble with advanced offspeed pitches.

Marte's defense is as raw as his offense. He made 19 errors in just 44 games, but as he gets time to work on it, his defense should improve, as well. He definitely has the arm for third, but he struggles on the backhand side. It is a long way off, but even with Marte, he is blocked by David Wright and as he gets closer to the majors, he will be moved to either first, or a corner outfield spot, where he will definitely hit enough to justify his position. Marte should open 2009 in Savannah, and then ascend one level a season, factoring in a half season for struggles/repetition leaves us with a debut of mid 2013.

4. Ike Davis 3/22/87 (21.88) L/L (Arizona State .385/.457/.742/1.200, 82 for 213, 64 runs, 26 2b, 3b, 16 HR, 76 RBI, 31/34 BB/K, A- Brooklyn .256/.326/.326/.652, 55 for 215, 17 runs, 15 2b, 17 RBI, 23/43 BB/K)

Total 2008 Stats: .320/.393/.533/.926, 137 for 428, 81 runs, 41 2b, 3b, 16 HR, 93 RBI, 54/77 BB/K, .180 K rate, .7013 BB/K ratio)

Davis was drafted with the Mets first pick in the 2008 draft, 18th overall, out of Arizona State where he hit .385/.457/.742/1.200 in 213 ABs. After signing for $1,575,000, the Mets sent Davis to Brooklyn, where he had a disasterous half season, slumping mightily and hitting just .256/.326/.326 with 0 homers and 15 2b in 215 ABs.

There is some talk within the organization that Davis will/should/could open the 2009 season in Savannah, not St. Lucie as is customary for high round college players in their first full season. That would certainly speak to exactly how concerned the Mets are with Davis' performance in Brooklyn.

Davis, despite a terrible showing in Brooklyn, has very good raw power, especially to the pull side. He is not adept at going the other way, which explains why he struggled so mightily at Keyspan Park (.244/.280/.311/.591) vs road games (.271/.377/.344/.721). Keyspan, as we've mentioned many times, is death on lefty power hitters, due to the wind coming in off the ocean to the pull side (right field). Intriguingly, he hit markedly better against LHP (.317/.369/.383/.753) then RHP (.232/.310/.303/.614).

Davis is a good defender at first, he has soft hands and quick feet, enabling him to snare groundballs in the hole. As evidenced by his pitching and playing outfield in college, he has a strong arm. Davis should open 2009 in St. Lucie, although there is some talk within the organization that Davis will/should/could open the 2009 season in Savannah, not St. Lucie as is customary for high round college players in their first full season. That would certainly speak to exactly how concerned the Mets are with Davis' performance in Brooklyn.

5. Lucas Duda 2/3/86 (23) L/R (A+ St. Lucie .263/.358/.398/.755, 127 for 483, 58 runs, 26 2b, 3 3b, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 66/129 BB/K, 2/9 SBs, .267 K rate, .5116 BB/K ratio)

Lucas Duda is a 6'4/225 first baseman the Mets drafted in the 7th round (243rd overall) of the 2007 draft.

He got sporadic playing time in his freshman year at USC, only 77 ABs in 34 games. He hit just .208 with a .322 OBP and .299 SLG. We can throw those numbers out the window due to the lack of consistent PT.

In 2006, his sophomore season, he played everyday, getting 191 ABs in 56 games. He hit much better, .298/.391/.398, but with a decided lack of power. He only showed a 1/63.66 HR/AB rate, and had just 12 XBH in 191 ABs. He did, however, show a very good eye at the plate, with a 0.82352 BB/K ratio (walks per strikeout).

In 2007, Duda again played everyday, and hit .280/.378/.468, showing a burgeoning power stroke, increasing his HR/AB ratio to 1/26.57. He had 18 XBH in 186 ABs, with the increase in HR (4) and triples (2) driving his slugging higher. While in college, he had a 0.83333 BB/K ratio, virtually staying the same as in 2006.

In Brooklyn after getting drafted, Duda hit .299/.398/.462, vastly improving the number of doubles he hit. Duda hits lefty, and Keyspan park is death on left handed sluggers, so much so, that Mike Carp was sent to the GCL in 04, then Hagerstown in 05, skipping the deathly confines of Keyspan.

Duda, however, thrived at Keyspan. He hit 20 doubles, 3 triples and 5 homers in 248 ABs. While his BB/K ratio did decline slightly from his USC 07 season, from 0.83333 to 0.7347, it was more then offset by the 18 point increase in average.

Duda's Brooklyn splits are very interesting, as far as lefty/righty goes. Versus lefties, Duda hit .283/.377/.500/.877 with 7 2b and 1 HR in 46 ABs. He struck out 15 times and walked 6 times. Versus righties he batted .302/.401/.455/.856 with 13 2b, 3 3b and 4 HR in 202 ABs. He struck out 34 times and walked 30 times. We'll have to see if this trend continues at the higher levels, but so far, it is extremely promising. His K rate vs LHP was very high at .289, but the sample size (46 ABs) is too low to draw many conclusions. His K rate vs RHP was .151.

Duda's our 3rd best first base prospect, and 4th best corner infield prospect (3rd base is kind of filled for the foreseeable future). I would probably rank Duda somewhere between 9 and 15 on our prospect lists.

THE FUTURE: Duda should be opening his first full season in St. Lucie, manning first base for a completely new look Mets infield. Duda, at least so far in his pro career, has shown the ability to handle lefthanders. If this trend continues in St. Lucie, and Carp/Murphy scuffle in Binghamton vs LHP, Duda might vault all the way to the top spot in corner infielders. But that's a long long way off. For now, Duda fans should focus on his developing power, and his ability to control the strike zone.

UPDATE 2008: Lucas Duda started off the 2008 season with a bang in St. Lucie, hitting .330/.415/.447/.862 in April (34 for 103, 14 runs, 6 2b, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 14/25 BB/K), but from May 1st to July 31st, he struggled badly, hitting just .230/.333/.362/.695 (65 for 282, 28 runs, 16 2b, 3 3b, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 40/76 BB/K). He ended up bookending his season with solid months, hitting .286/.368/.449/.817 in August (28 for 98, 16 runs, 4 2b, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 12/28 BB/K).

Duda's overall line in 2008 wasn't all that bad (outside of the power numbers), .263/.358/.398/.755 (127 for 483, 58 runs, 26 2b, 3 3b, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 66/129 BB/K). Duda's K rate was vastly elevated from 2007, he struck out at a .267 clip, compared to the .198 clip he struck out at last season, and his BB/K is .5116, as compared to the .7347 at Brooklyn.

One of the biggest changes from his season in Brooklyn (and even Hawaii) is that he put up simply disasterous numbers vs LHP: .187/.281/.247/.527 (28 for 150, 11 runs, 4 2b, 3b, HR, 13 RBI, 18/55 BB/K), a 0.3273 BB/K ratio, and a K rate that is much much too high: .367. Of course, that means he's hitting very well against RHP, which he is: .297/.392/.465/.857 (99 for 333, 47 runs, 22 2b, 2 3b, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 48/74 BB/K), a BB/K ratio of .6486, and a much better K rate of .222.

Duda works very deep counts, resulting both in a high number of walks, and a high number of Ks. In Brooklyn (2007), he posted a 36/49 BB/K ratio, and in St. Lucie (2008), he posted a 66/129 BB/K ratio. Duda, who handled LHP very well in Brooklyn, absolutely did not in St. Lucie, something he must improve this upcoming season in Binghamton. Duda has very good power, which he is still developing (.465 SLG vs RHP in 2008). Due to drawing deep counts, there are times Duda is too passive, he needs to learn when to attack his pitch, should he get it.

Duda is a little reckless on the bases, getting caught stealing 7 times in 9 attempts, but given his frame, he runs better then one would expect. This isn't a big area of his game, though, and he shouldn't be counted on for steals. His defense is average, he has a good arm (as evidenced by him playing outfield in college, and early in the season for St. Lucie). He, like Ike Davis, needs to work on his backhand side.

Duda, as we stressed with Mike Carp and Daniel Murphy, needs to find some sort of ability to hit LHP. Even if he were to put up a Carp 08 line in Binghamton vs LHP (.268/.354/.438/.792), or even a little worse, he would automatically become a .285+ hitter due to his prowess against RHP. Duda, as we said, will open 2009 in Binghamton. Figuring all of 09 in AA, and all of 10 in AAA, he should be ready for his MLB debut on opening day in 2011.

THE NEW FUTURE: There has to be some consideration given to Duda's repeating St. Lucie, but a pretty good prediction would be that the Mets won't, and he'll be in Binghamton to open 2009. Duda's slipped from 3rd to possibly 5th or 6th on the depth chart at corner infielder, behind the Trinity of Binghamton, and maybe behind Ike Davis and/or Jefry Marte. He'll have to perform much better versus LHP to reclaim some of his glory, but he is already well behind the 8 ball, with, as I said, the Trinity well ahead of him on the depth charts. Duda's best bet to make the majors may well be in another organization, which is too bad, as I believe his bat is better then what we saw in 2008.

6. Stefan Welch 8/12/88 (20.46) L/R (R Kingsport .281/.316/.447/.763, 71 for 253, 33 runs, 14 2b, 8 3b, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 11/40 BB/K A Savannah .263/.364/.474/.837, 5 for 19, 4 runs, 2b, HR, 3 RBI, 2/5 BB/K)

Total 2008 Stats: .279/.320/.449/.768, 76 for 272, 37 runs, 15 2b, 8 3b, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 13/45 BB/K, .165 K rate, .2889 BB/K ratio

Welch was an International Free Agent signing by the Mets during the 2006 season. He made his stateside debut the following year, hitting .288/.346/.353/.699 (40 for 139, 16 runs, 9 2b, 12 RBI, 11/22 BB/K) in the GCL. Welch was promoted to Kingsport for his age 19 season, and he did well, hitting .281/.316/.447/.763 in 253 ABs.

7. Zach Lutz 6/3/86 (22.67) R/R (A- Brooklyn .333/.442/.514/.956, 24 for 72, 9 runs, 4 2b, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 14/12 BB/K, .167 K rate, 1.1667 BB/K ratio)

2007: Drafted by the New York Mets in the 5th round (183rd overall) of the 2007 First Year Player Draft...Started in 40 games for the Crusaders...finished 7th in DIII with a .454 batting average...finished 8th in DIII with 12 home runs...ended 2nd in DIII in slugging percentage with a .858 mark...ended 4th in DIII in RBI's per game with 1.49/game...finished 27th in DIII in walks per game with .82/game...also finished 30th in runs per game (1.26) and 91st in doubles per game (.38/game)...had a team season-high 6 hits against Montclair State (3/15 07)...had 17 multiple RBI games...also went 4-2 from the rubber, with a 5.18 ERA in 5 starts...NBCWA National Position Player Of The National Player of the Year...PAC Player of the Year...Second Team All-American (Utility)...All-PAC First Team infielder...Named PAC Player of the Week (3/19) batted .536 (15-28) with 10 runs scored, three doubles, two triples, and 15 RBIs as the Crusaders started the season 5-3.

Zach compares himself to David Eckstein. He says he may not have the tools other players have, but he always hustles. Sometimes to a fault, as even after games, he will work out, sometimes to excess, causing him to fatigue. The Mets will be using him around the field, from 3rd, to 1st and the OF. He has also played 2nd in his HS and college career.

The one major issue for Lutz has been health, he has not been able to stay on the field (as was the case for Daniel Murphy prior to 2007). When healthy, Lutz was tearing it up this year, hitting .333/.442/.514/.956 in 72 ABs, with 7 XBH and a 14/12 BB/K ratio. By all rights he should be higher up on this list, and were it not for his injury issues, he would be.

Lutz hasn't been healthy enough in his 2 "seasons" in the system to really compile much of a scouting report. From the limited time he has played, he's put up really good numbers: .324/.432/.500/.932 (24 for 74, 9 runs, 4 2b, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 14/12 BB/K). From these numbers, compiled in the NYPL, we can ascertain that he is a good line drive hitter, and runs deep counts, showing patience. He also has good power the other way, leading to higher batting averages. In summary, when healthy, Zach Lutz can rake.

Lutz is a good enough defender at third, with a very strong arm, but obviously the Mets don't need any 3b, so a move to 1b, or 2b (where he's played 3 games in his career), or even OF, is certainly in the offing. We would expect Lutz to open 2009 in St. Lucie, and if he performs as expected, he should find himself in Binghamton very quickly. Given that, his MLB debut could occur in the latter half of 2010, but we'll give it half a year more and say opening day 2011.

8. Shawn Bowman 12/9/84 (24.16) R/R (A+ St. Lucie .340/.369/.485/.853, 33 for 97, 12 runs, 4 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4/23 BB/K, AA Binghamton .248/.263/.363/.626, 28 for 113, 12 runs, 7 2b, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2/35 BB/K, 3/4 SBs, AFL Peoria Saguaros 11 for 37, 6 runs, 3 2b, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2/5 BB/K, .297/.333/.541/.874)

Total 2008 Stats: .291/.315/.437/.753, 72 for 247, 30 runs, 14 2b, 2 3b, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 8/63 BB/K, .255 K rate, .1270 BB/K ratio

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. For three seasons, beginning in 2005, Bowman broke the L-7 vertebrae in his back, and after opting to rehab it each time, he finally succumbed to the inevitable and underwent back surgery in 2007.

Bowman returned from the Phantom Zone in 2008, and did so with a vengence in St. Lucie, hitting .340/.369/.485/.853 in 97 ABs (although he still has problems with Ks).

Bowman, through no fault of his own, has been around forever, and yet, will be just 24 years old next season. After finally (hopefully) putting to rest his checkered past with regards to injury, Bowman played the final half of the season, first with St. Lucie, and then Binghamton. Combined over the two levels, he hit .290/.312/.419/.731, with 17 XBH in 210 ABs. However, despite showing no ill effects of the time off with regards to power, Bowman still has not learned to effectively control the strike zone, as evidenced by a terrible 6/58 BB/K ratio. It can be considered a very good sign that in 37 ABs in the AFL, he only struck out 5 times and drew 2 walks. Despite the back injuries, the power is still there, and Bowman, with a full spring training under his belt and a full season of baseball, could still become a very productive major leaguer.

As with his power, his defense did not suffer with the long layoffs and injuries. Of course there will always be questions about how he will hold up over a full season, something he has never had to endure before (his career high in games is 116, in 2004). Obviously ANY chance of Bowman replacing David Wright at 3b have long since gone flying out the window (at warp speed), and so Bowman will need to learn 1b or LF if he is to have any chance with the Mets. Bowman should open 2009 back in Binghamton, and should be in position to make his MLB debut in the middle of the 2010 season.

9. Jose Jimenez 5/9/87 (21.75) R/R (A Savannah .253/.316/.426/.742, 85 for 336, 46 runs, 23 2b, 3b, 11 HR, 48 RBI, 28/75 BB/K, 2/5 SBs, A- Brooklyn .212/.272/.333/.605, 28 for 132, 11 runs, 4 2b, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 6/42 BB/K, 1/4 SBs)

Total 2008 Stats: .241/.304/.400/.704, 113 for 468, 57 runs, 27 2b, 3b, 15 HR, 64 RBI, 34/117 BB/K, 3/9 SBs, .250 K rate, .2906 BB/K ratio

Jimenez was originally signed by the Brewers, and played for their Arizona League team in 2005 (equal to the GCL), and did very well, hitting .299/.361/.439/.800 as an 18 year old. For some inexplicable reason, the Brewers let him go at the end of the 05 season, and the Mets picked him up, sending him to the DSL for the 06 season, where he hit .309/.437/.455. A return stateside in 07, to the rookie level Appy League proved to be equally fruitful for the now 20 year old, as he set a career high in slugging percentage at .521. Overall, Jimenez hit 309/.379/.521/.900, 51 games, 58 for 188, 32 runs, 17 2b, 3b, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 17/43 BB/K in Kingsport during the 2007 season.

Jimenez struggled big time in 2008, hitting for a .742 OPS in Savannah, and then after being sent to Brooklyn, hitting just .212/.272/.333/.605 there in 132 ABs. Jimenez will still have time on his side, but he must make strides offensively in 2008 to regain any luster prospect wise (nevermind the fact that we don't know where he'll be playing).

10. Richard Lucas 11/2/88 (20.25) R/R (A Savannah .185/.252/.311/.563, 22 for 119, 15 runs, 5 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 1/4 SBs, 11/41 BB/K, R Kingsport 5 for 27, 2 runs, 2b, HR, 3 RBI, 3/11 BB/K)

Total .185/.255/.315/.570, 27 for 146, 17 runs, 6 2b, 2 3b, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 14/52 BB/K, .356 K rate, .2692 BB/K ratio

The Mets picked Lucas in the 4th round of the 2007 draft out of Wolfson high school in Florida, where as a senior, he batted .338 with 7 homers.

Lucas is naturally very raw, having been drafted out of high school. However, he did take several strides forward in his rookie season, including showing an ability to take pitches the other way. For now, he is more comfortable with pitches down in the strike zone as his slightly long swing leads to an inability to handle pitches that are up. In terms of plate discipline, he had a 0.2273 BB/K ratio, and a .311 K rate this season. His long swing led to the strikeouts, but as his knowledge of the strike zone improves, the holes in his swing should close. Lucas is a good fielder, but is a bit scatter armed (does that remind you of another third baseman in the organization?). He moves and reacts very well to the ball and has good range to both sides. He has soft hands and picks the ball cleanly but his problems arrive when he makes his throws. He is still trying to find a consistent release point from which to make his throws, which led to several of his throws sailing on him in 2007.

It is much too early to project anything about Lucas, as he's just a summer (and some change) removed from high school. Suffice to say that his ability to remain at third base is directly tied to his power projection. As he does not play another position, as of right now, it's third base or bust. Lucas should be held in extended spring training until one of the short season teams start up, whether it be the rookie level Gulf Coast League or Appalachian League, or the low A New York Penn League. There is a very outside chance of him opening in Savannah, but it is unlike with Nick Giarraputo and Jose Jiminez ahead of him on that particular depth chart (as they've spent more time in the minors).

Of course, the Mets opened Lucas in Savannah, where he put up a pitiful .185/.252/.311/.563 line in 119 ABs. Lucas got only 27 ABs in Kingsport before tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair it.