Bulding from within
- From: Ruben <ruben@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2008 00:27:10 -0500
NY Mets Rebuilding System with Plenty of B-Mets Ingredients 11/4/2008
(Source: Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com)
Oh no, not again - - That's undoubtedly what Mets fans said as the club
failed to make the postseason at the big-league level for the second
With that disappointment in the rear-view mirror, it would be great to
report that Mets fans have some big-time talent coming up from the farm to
turn things around. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be true.
With the exception of Fernando Martinez, there are no bats in the system
most scouts would say are of the impact variety, and even Martinez's star
has faded somewhat.
That's not to say there's no help on the way. It's important to note that
a system supposedly stripped bare by the Johan Santana trade did provide
some assistance in the form of hitters like Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans
and some pitching help -- albeit spotty at times -- in the form of
Jonathon Niese, Carlos Muniz and Bobby Parnell. Not exactly star power,
but probably better than most expected when the 2008 season began.
Behind that group there were some players who took some steps forward and
some interesting players brought in via the Draft. How they continue to
develop could help determine whether the Mets' farm system help bring
October baseball back to New York.
Organizational Players of the Year - MLB.com Preseason Picks
Fernando Martinez, OF: We'd said the only thing that would keep Martinez
from winning would be a fast track to Shea. We should have added, "or
another injury." A bad hammy kept him out of action for a little over a
month. He hit .287 over 352 at-bats for Double-A Binghamton.
Jonathon Niese, LHP: The only thing we got wrong here is that we said he'd
be ready for the bigs by 2009. Starting the year in Binghamton, he moved
up to Triple-A New Orleans and was eventually pressed into service in New
York, where he had two bad outings and one fantastic one.
MLB.com Postseason Selections
Daniel Murphy, IF/OF: He may have only spent 99 games in the Minor
Leagues, but boy was it impressive. Murphy hit .315 with 13 homers and 14
steals and gave the Mets confidence that he could contribute to the big
club in the second half of the season.
Jonathon Niese, LHP: Niese made 29 starts between Binghamton and New
Orleans, going 11-8 with a 3.13 ERA and leading the organization with 144
strikeouts. His biggest improvement from came last offseason, when he
continued to get serious about his conditioning and showed up to Spring
Training in terrific shape. That enabled him to pitch deeper into games
all year and use all three of his pitches effectively, putting him on the
cusp of being a permanent member of the Mets rotation.
Climbed the Ladder
Michael Antonini, LHP: The 2007 18th-round pick began the year in Class A
Savannah and finished it up two levels in Binghamton. Along the way, he
posted a 2.77 ERA to lead full-season Mets pitchers in that category. His
126 strikeouts were third in the system, and he held hitters to a combined
..228 batting average. In 162 2/3 innings, he walked just 39.
Nick Evans, IF/OF: Evans played first, third and some outfield in
Binghamton, hitting .311 in 75 games. He also hit 14 homers with 53 RBIs
and a .561 slugging percentage. The Mets brought him up when they needed
outfield help and he hit .257 in 50 games. He only had a .706 OPS, but the
23-year-old will get a chance to improve on that next year.
Wilmer Flores, SS: He began his season in June with Kingsport in the
rookie-level Appalachian League. He hit .310 over 59 games to earn
postseason All-Star honors and a promotion to Savannah before finishing
the year with Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League. For the year, he hit
..307 with eight homers and 42 RBIs over 280 at-bats. It looks like the
17-year-old should be ready for a full-season assignment in 2009.
Daniel Murphy, IF/OF: Not only did Murphy put up outstanding numbers with
Binghamton, making the Eastern League All-Star team in the process, but he
also moved to the outfield pretty much on the fly at Shea and hit .313
over 49 games with New York. He went to the Arizona Fall League to learn
second base as the Mets figure out the best way to get his bat into the
Jonathan Niese, LHP: See postseason selections.
Kept Their Footing
Mike Carp, 1B: Spending his first full season in Double-A, Carp hit .299
with 17 homers and 29 doubles to go along with 72 RBIs in 478 at-bats. He
may not be and everyday first baseman, but the 22-year-old left-handed
hitter did bat .314 and slugged nearly 50 points higher against
right-handed pitching, suggesting that perhaps a career in a platoon role
could be in his future.
Eddie Kunz, RHP: On the one hand, he easily led the organization with 27
saves, all in his time with Binghamton. He also had a 2.79 ERA there and
held hitters to a .222 average. On the other hand, he walked 27 batters in
54 innings, didn't pitch all that well in six games of Triple-A action and
the Mets clearly didn't feel he was ready to contribute in the Majors for
any length of time. With more control, we probably would've seen him when
New York's 'pen was imploding. One awful outing will make his Arizona Fall
League numbers look bad, but other than still struggling with some command
issues, it looked like he made some strides there.
Bobby Parnell, RHP: The right-hander spent most of the season with
Binghamton and was an Eastern League All-Star, going 10-6 with a 4.30 ERA
in 24 starts. Five outings in New Orleans led to a 6.64 ERA, and he was
pressed into bullpen service with the Mets. With the exception of one
outing, he was generally effective. A strong AFL season could help him
make the leap to the Queens for good in 2009.
Francisco Pena, C: Challenged with a move to full-season ball in 2007,
Pena couldn't handle the rigors of the long summer. He learned a lesson
about conditioning and taking care of himself and headed back to Savannah
for another shot. The 18-year-old had a modest year, hitting .264 with six
homers and 41 RBIS in 105 games. The better news is that, rather than fall
apart as the season wore on, he improved, raising his batting average 25
points in the second half of the season.
Slipped a Rung
Fernando Martinez, OF: This may seem a bit harsh considering how young
F-Mart still is, and the fact remains that scouts still love his swing.
But while there's more than enough time for Martinez to fulfill his
potential, the time is starting to come where he's going to have to show
the ability to stay healthy and put up numbers. He was getting a lot of
playing time in the Dominican League, a good sign, and was performing well
in that competitive circuit.
Nathan Vineyard, LHP: It's not fair to penalize a young player because of
injury, but the fact remains that the Mets' other supplemental
first-rounder from 2007 (Eddie Kunz was also taken then) made just two
starts in April for Savannah before getting shut down and having shoulder
surgery. The good news is he'll be just 20 years old for all of next
season, so there's plenty of time to bounce back.
On the Radar
Dillon Gee, RHP: The Mets took Gee out of the University of
Texas-Arlington in the 21st round of the 2007 Draft and they may have
themselves a find. Sent straight to Class A Advanced St. Lucie for his
full-season debut, Gee was a Florida State All-Star who went 8-6 with a
3.25 ERA in 21 starts. He earned a bump up to Binghamton and didn't miss a
beat, going 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts.
Dylan Owen, RHP: Owen led the organization with 13 wins and finished
second with 131 strikeouts. Like Gee, he spent most of the year in St.
Lucie, with a late call-up to Binghamton to end the season. He was named
an FSL All-Star and the league's Most Valuable Pitcher -- not bad for a
20th-round pick in 2007 out of Francis Marion University.
Greg Veloz, 2B: Veloz's first foray in the United States in 2007 didn't go
so well, as he struggled with the challenge of Savannah. He saved his
season a bit with Kingsport to combine for a .224 average and 135
strikeouts in 132 games. This past year was a bit better as the
20-year-old second baseman hit .286 with 28 steals in 111 games with the
Sand Gnats, earning a call-up to St. Lucie late in the year. His 29 stolen
bases led the organization, and he cut his strikeout rate down nicely,
especially with Savannah.
2008 Draft Recap
1. Ike Davis, 1B: The son of Ron Davis, Ike played outfield and first for
Arizona State before being taken No. 18 overall. Playing only first base
for Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League, Davis hit .256 in 58 games. He's
got power potential but didn't homer in his pro debut and slugged .326.
2. Reese Havens, SS: A sore arm kept Havens, the No. 22 overall pick out
of South Carolina, from playing the field much this past summer. He did
get 77 at-bats as a DH (seven as a shortstop) for Brooklyn, and he hit
..247 with a .471 SLG.
3. Brad Holt, RHP: Taken in the sandwich round (33rd overall), the UNC
Wilmington product had as good a pro debut as anyone in the Draft class.
The right-hander led the NYPL with a 1.87 ERA and 96 strikeouts, holding
hitters to a .171 batting average over 72 1/3 innings. He was named an
All-Star for his efforts.
Others of Note: C Dock Doyle (fifth round) hit .305 in Kingsport over 41
games before finishing the season with Brooklyn. ... RHP Scott Shaw (16th
round) formed a good rotation-mate with Holt in Brooklyn, going 6-3 with a
2.80 ERA in 15 outings. Over 74 innings, the Illinois-Champaign product
struck out 79 and walked just 15. ... RHP Chris Schwinden (22nd round)
finished just behind Holt in the NYPL ERA race with a 2.01 mark. The
swingman struck out 70 and walked 12 in 62 2/3 frames. ... RHP Kyle Allen
(24th round) was very sharp in the Gulf Coast League, posting a 2.12 ERA
over 34 innings. He struck out 45 and walked just 10 while keeping hitters
to a .194 average. ... 2B Kyle Suire (35th round) hit .299 and slugged
..549 for Kingsport, good four fourth in the Appy League and a late
promotion to Brooklyn.
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