A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

College Prospects, Part V (Wrapup)

College guys are a tough bunch for us normal people to get a solid grasp on without Baseball America and scouts giving us information to read up on. Usually, casual fans have to rely on stats most of the times to evaluate players since they obviously cannot get the chance to watch every player on field, on TV, etc. In 1997, on a UCLA team with Troy Glaus and Eric Byrnes, Eric Valent scored 74 runs, had 98 hits, 91 RBIs, and smashed 26 homeruns. Valent then Hit .345, 7 HR, and 34 RBIs for Team USA. He was a highly regarded outfield prospect, but he obviously pan out the way people thought he would. Obviously any top prospects can fail, but gaudy numbers in college have little to do with future success thanks to aluminum bats. The top hitting prospect in the country may hit .330/.400/.500 with 17 homers while a guy who hits .400/.490/.600 with 25 homeruns may not be considered a very good major league prospect at all.

There are a few guys that are locks to be taken into the top 10 barring any drops due to an injury or signability concerns like Alex Gordon, who is considered the best hitter in the nation and happens to be lefty bat, Luke Hochevar, who has plus pitchers across the board, Mike Pelfrey, and high schoolers Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin. The Kansas City Star brought up John Mayberry's name as a potential candidate for the for the Royals in the #2 which could quite possibly benefit the Mets, though he may also be a good fit for them.

Boras is becoming an ever growing presence in the draft as he did last year. Scott is 'advising' top talents Mike Pelfrey, Luke Hovechar, and Tyler Greene. Throw into the mix the idea that Stephen Drew and Jared Weaver might get a chance at being drafted yet again. Both fell to the mid first round amid signability concerns and rightfully so. They are STILL not signed while whoever passed them up have signed their first round pick and their concerns were well founded. I think Drew will end up getting inked, but if he falls, he is the only Boras client I would want and he would be the tops on my list overall.

With the Mets having only one pick until round number four, not that I'm complaining....I like what they got that lost them the picks, they need to make this one count. A guy like Mark McCormick is an intriguing pick with upside, but he could either turn out to be the best pitching prospect in the draft or another Bobby Jenks (not saying he'll have the head problems). I think the Mets need more certainly in the guy they draft this season in the first round. Obviously no pospect is a sure thing and more will fail than succeed, but there are guys who are safer picks than others. A prospect with a potential big reward but a large chance for failure is a bad idea with the Mets current need to bolster the minor league system on one pick in the first three rounds. If Gordon, Maybin, or Upton fall to the ninth spot by some miracle, which there is just about 0% chance they will at this point, or Stephen Drew is miraculously available, the Mets would need to lock whoever falls into their lap up ASAP and draft them. Outside of them, my top five choices would be:

1) Jeff Clement
2) Stephen Head
3) John Mayberry Jr.
4) Craig Hansen
5) Ryan Zimmerman

The Mets lack a few things dearly in their system. They lack left handed power, plate discipline, first base prospects, impact middle infielders, and an outfield masher. The Mets can knock out a few of those with one pick.

Jeff Clement has prodigious power and the ability to take a walk. He plays a position where if you get .270 with 12 and 60 RBIs, you are very happy. He has the ability to hit 30+ homers and drive in a 100+ while walking close to 100 times. You can buy and outfield bat or first bat more readily than a left handed power hitting catcher. If he's there, you have to take him.

Stephen Head owns a sweet lefty swing and while he has not hit for big power, scouts have no doubt that he will. He owns decent plate discipline and is an athletic person who has a great arm. He pitches in college and would have no trouble turning double plays and could possibly even move to the outfield. He's just want the Mets need and he may be able to start hitting right away. He's a guy that could be as close as two years away.

John Mayberry Jr. is another guy who plays first base and could play the outfield. Like Head, he's athletic but he is a right handed bat. He projects to have more power than Head, but not necessarily an all around better hitter.

Craig Hansen's 20.5 K/BB ratio and his 16.77 K/9 at the Cape is good enough to make hitters run scared. He has two major league pitches and if he can develop a third this season, seeing him play for a major league team opening day 2006 is not out of the question.

Ryan Zimmerman is the best pure hitter out of the bunch and possibly in all of college baseball. He's got gold glove talent at third base, but not much power. He's a good enough a fielder that he can possibly move to second base if his power never develops. His skills despite the lack of power may be too much to overlook.

The Mets need to make this draft pick count and they can get something very good at their pick. This draft may not be able to match some drafts in previous years for players that are future superstars, but there is talent well into the second round that is not far off the early first round talents. The trick will be picking the guy who will end up being the real deal.

* * *

  • Maddox from The Best Page in the Universe did his pick for the eleven worst songs of 2004. Good stuff...good stuff.

  • Another reliever? It's getting to the point where is virtually no chance to get a good look at everyone. I'm sure they have a pretty good handle on who they on who they want to bring into the season with the team and they are going to let a bunch of guys fight for one or two spots and see who wants to be insurance at AAA like Bottalico did last season. But I've said it before and I'll say it again. James Baldwin had a sub 1.00 ERA in Spring Training and they are going to have trouble finding all these retreads innings. Omar is trying to break some sort of non-roster invitee record on relievers.

  • "He's just got such great instincts," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "He's one of these guys who, if he had to play another position, he wouldn't be stuck. He's like having a shortstop playing first base."

    One thing I am looking forward to this season is watching Doug play first base. I love watching defense and pitching more than offense. Give me a pitcher's duel with some spectacular plays in the field any day. (Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting his possible sub .400 SLG is something I'm looking forward too....but since he's here, the defense is something great to watch.)

    He has not let go since...

  • Gammons has a good piece out. If you missed it, read it. One thing that stuck was Dan Kolb's K rate. He struck out 21 guys for a scary 3.30 K/9 down from 8.49 in 2003. Now, he's still got good peripherals all around and obviously has been tremendous in 2003 and 2004, but it's nuts. That's good for 593rd out of every guy to step on the mound in 2004.

  • From the NY Post:

    The early vote for the Met who has changed the most from last season? That would be Bell, the righty reliever who dropped approximately 30 pounds this winter. Bell, who often rollerblades to and from the Met complex in St. Lucie (that's a 16-mile trip total), doesn't think he has lost any velocity.

    "I think I have a really good shot. The way I feel, the job is mine," he said.

  • Shot of the day:

    The end result is the 22-year-old Wright gained muscle and dropped body fat — the latter was 9.2 percent at season's end and is now down to just over eight percent. Or a fifth of Kirstie Alley.

  • Jon Litner's job is already hard.

    Jon Litner, chief operating officer of the NHL and a former ABC Sports programming executive, was named president of the Mets' regional sports network yesterday morning. Two hours later, he said he "had a list of people I need to call."

    On the list, Litner said, was James Dolan, Cablevision's chief executive, whom he must persuade to carry the 24-hour channel, which will broadcast 125 Mets regular-season games and other sports events when it launches in the spring of 2006.

    As chief operating officer of the NHL since 1999, Litner said he didn't have "a personal relationship" with Dolan, who oversees the Rangers, but rather "a cordial and professional one."

    Good luck with all of that. Tell us how it works out.

  • The Feds throw baseball under the bus.

  • No one is safe...

    Jose Canseco's new book focuses largely on steroids, but the retired slugger couldn't resist hurling a few non-steroid-related insults at former Oriole Cal Ripken.

    "I can just throw up watching the total phonies go to work, guys like Cal Ripken or Alex Rodriguez; everything out of their mouths sounds like it was tested by some kind of focus group beforehand," Canseco writes of the two shortstops.

    A-Rod? Phony? No way....I just won't believe it.

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