College Prospects, Part II
The next two guys are going to heavily figure into the Mets equation come draft day. Mayberry provides the type of player they are looking for with the versatility to fill one of two needs in the Mets organization and Zimmerman might just force the Mets hand if he shows some power this season and proves he is a complete package.
OF: JOHN MAYBERRY JR. Stanford
John Mayberry has a combination of power and speed. He plays first base for Stanford, but a shift to the outfield in pro ball is not out of the question due to athleticism. Despite his lack of success with Team USA and wooden bats, scouts are expecting him to pump out a lot of homeruns in the future. He only hit .254 with two homeruns and nine RBIs and only logged three XBHs for a Mientkiewcz-like .373 SLG. That’s not exactly what you like to see from a power hitter and those doubts could pop into potential suitors minds in the future.
Mayberry took big strides in improving his game from 2003 to 2004. He almost knocked twice as many doubles, scored 20 more runs, almost doubled his RBI total, quadrupled his homeruns, more than doubled his walks, and even almost doubled his steals. Will Kimmey of BA said he was an athletic wonder. Even with his lack of success with the wooden bat, another strong year for him combined with his total package will assuage most of the concerns about his Team USA performance and could drive him to picked up in the top 10 by the Mets. He has the ability to fill either 1B and the outfield and he projects to have major power, which the Mets certainly need.
3B: RYAN ZIMMERMAN U. of Virginia
When BA polled scouts and coaches about who was the best fielder third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman’s name came up as the cream of the crop. Regarded as the best fielding third baseman in college, he plays a power position and he has yet to hit for much power despite being thought of as being one of the best hitters in college. In his first 113 games of college ball, he’s hit exactly one homerun. However, in truly bizarre fashion, he managed to hit four homeruns after switching to wooden bats for Team USA this past summer to tie for the team lead in that category.
Despite the lack of power thus far, his .468 average in Team USA proves he can rake and do it with a wooden bat. He is regarded as one of the best hitters in the country and he does not walk much, but he does not strike out much either. If you project his K rate in 2004 into a 150 game season, he would be on pace to strike out only 43 times. However, he would only be on pace to walk a dismal 28 times as well. While Zimmerman is already a top talent all around and will not be hanging around long before he’s picked, if he can carry that power surge over to his 2005 season, he will elevate his stock even more and eradicate the only knock on his game. With the Mets possibly having Mientkiewcz for two more seasons at the most, Zimmerman would be an intriguing pick since BA said he could be ready by opening day 2007 and it would seem he has the glove to excel at first base as well. If he never gains his power stroke, then the Mets will be used to have a light hitter at first and could act as a great #2 guy if Matsui parts ways too.
The next two guys figure to be on the fringe of the first round and would have to really do something spectacular in 2005 to crack the top 10. However, Jed is a power hitting second baseman with a solid all around game and I think it's more likely he will move up than Travis Buck.
2B: JED LOWRIE Stanford
Jed Lowrie, who is a switch hitting second baseman, came within a home run of winning the Pacific-10 Conference's triple crown last season. Lowrie was probably the most improved player in the universe from 2003 to 2004 and had what I guess can be classified as a breakout season in 2004. He hit 17 homeruns, which was up from zero in 2003, he pounded 40 more RBIs, walked 31 more times, had a .107 increase in average, a .153 increase in OBP, and a .385 increase in SLG. He posted a ridiculous OPS of 1.239 and had a nutty .505 OBP.
"You love his makeup; he works his rear end off," an AL scouting director said. "I didn't necessarily see a first-round package. The wood bat exposed some things with his swing in terms of strength, and the results bore that out. He really wasn't driving the ball the way you expected."
Enter the bad news. In 51 Team USA at-bats, he hit .230 with one homerun. The good news is he still managed to finish 6th in RBIs and was third team in walks despite having the 2nd least at-bats on the entire team. Jed is solid defensively and will not be a liability. Overall, Lowrie looks like a good player, but not one the Mets will be drafting. There will be better talent on the board when they pick, but he’s a guy to keep on eye on nonetheless as power hitting second baseman are certainly enticing and if he tears up pitching again, people may rethink their position.
OF: TRAVIS BUCK Arizona State
Travis Buck is a lefty that projects to have a bit of pop and he has pretty good speed. According to BA, he projects as a left fielder due to his lack of arm strength, but may be able to stick in right because of his sound fundamentals and speed.
"He's a really instinctive player," an NL scouting director said. "The question is 'Where does he play?' I think he'll end up on a corner. You like him because he's athletic, has some strength and size."
Travis sure looks like an all around player who does everything well. If you average his 2004 season out to 150 games, he was on pace to walk over 100 times while knocking 22 homers, stealing 33 bases, and driving in 147 RBIs. While some people hurt themselves with their exposure to wood bats, he did nothing but reinforce the idea that this kid is a professional hitter. He hit .412 with 2 homers and 14 RBIs while leading the team in walks with 14 in 24 games. As for the Mets picking him, it seems like a stretch. He does not have a big power projection and more athletic than he is powerful, which seems like a bad trait for guy who might play left. He may be a safe bet and a guy who you can count on to be a fundamentally sound and productive major leaguer who will do a lot of things right.
Eric...seriously. No need to put Kazmir up there. That's like showing me a picture of my X that left me for broke.
Feel free to forward this link to your friends with the subject "hot chick". It's like a car accident. I just kept looking....I just kept looking.
As a peace offering for those who looked at the above link, I offer this.
"This is my first year with the Mets and I need to be here for whatever they need me to do," Martinez said last month. "After this year, I'll probably say I'm training; but this is my first year here and I want to show up for you guys."
At least he is preempting everyone for his absence for next year's spring training.
Mientkiewicz: Acquired in a trade with Boston, the slick-fielding first baseman gives the Mets their best glove man on the right corner of the infield since Keith Hernandez. He won't add much in the way of power or run production, but by the same token, he'll do little to hurt in those areas. Mostly, he'll anchor and nurture a young infield that could turn out to be the best in the league.
I completely agree with the idea that MienthitslikeMcEwingicz won't add much, but he'll be solid in the 8th spot.