Hello. As a peace offering of my aloofness, I offer you this SuFi-licious picture of a young lady. If you don't know what SuFi means, I cannot help you and may already be too far gone to help.
In between nearly getting arrested and trying to date porn stars, I found some time to look at something that has been bugging a lot of Met fans and really has not concerned me as much. Yes, Lastings has found a bit of his power stroke lately in the Arizona Fall League and his time with Team USA and hit seven homers in 124 at-bats, but we are going to throw that out the window for now. Lastings has been such a highly touted prospect and has been moving pretty fast for a kid who is still just 20 years old and unable to actually drink legally that fans sometimes forget that things take time. Milledge, who will not turn 21 until April 5th, 2006, has had a very solid first full two years in pro ball and has not disappointed many.
Sure, he has some knocks on his game like the inability to draw many walks, which he has improved on slightly, his erratic baserunning, which does take time to learn how to use your speed, and for some, his lack of power, which does take time to develop as the body fills out. To put things a bit more in perspective, I took some of today's better outfielders and a few of various ilks to draw a comparison between Lastings and the rest. I compared him too Carlos Beltran, Bobby Abreu, Mike Cameron, Brian Giles, and Carlos Lee. We are strictly talking about power here and not plate discipline, the ability to hit for average, etc. If Lastings turns out to have the pop that any of these players have and Mike Cameron being the low end, it is fair to say that no one will be disappointed with Milledge especially since his offensive upside is bigger all around than Cameron's was, but once again, we are just focusing on the power.
Player Age Level(s) Year AB 2B AB/2B HR AB/HRThese guys were chose at random along with two other players who I got rid of. I did omit Vald Guerrero who was initially on it because it seems unfair to compare him to a future Hall of Famer and Jose Guillen, who developed his power uncharacteristically at an early age. However all the rest were chose at random as some of the better players of today. What really struck me was the fact that in his 19 and 20 year old seasons, Lastings showed more homerun pop and more double pop than any of the players that made the final cut of the list. Yes, I could go through countless more players that outperformed him and make another example of why we should be scared, but when you take out no glove all pop outfielders, you find a similar trend amongst the remaining guys. Power does develop later and Milledge, although disappointing in terms of his homerun swing so far, is not too far off where many, many players were at his age and that includes some of the game’s best.
Lastings: 19 Low A/High A 2004 342 28 12.2 15 22.8
20 High A/AA 2005 425 32 13.3 8 53.1
total 767 60 12.8 23 33.4
Beltran: 19 Low A 1996 257 10 25.7 7 36.7
20 High A 1997 419 15 27.9 11 38.1
total 676 25 27.0 18 37.6
Abreu: 19 High A 1993 474 21 22.6 5 94.8
20 AA 1994 400 25 16.0 16 25.0
total 874 46 19.0 21 41.2
Cameron: 19 Short A/Low A 1992 201 9 22.3 3 67.0
20 Low A 1993 411 14 29.4 0 n/a
total 612 23 26.6 3 204
Giles: 19 Short A 1990 246 15 16.4 1 246
20 High A 1991 394 14 28.1 4 98.5
total 640 29 22.1 5 128
Lee: 19 Appy/Low A 1995 487 26 18.7 11 44.3
20 Low A 1996 480 23 20.9 8 60.0
total 967 49 19.7 19 50.9
When you take kids and their developing physiques and throw them into pro ball with lofty expectations you often lose sight of the fact that things take time. We all want Petit, Milledge, Reyes, and Wright to be on the Mets at some point this year, but it is just more complicated than that. If you take a look at what Lastings has done in a measly two years in pro ball and look at the tools and the upside that he has, there is no reason to thing that the Mets have something very special given the time to develop. The fact that he is right there with so many of today's stars tells me that if Omar is going to make a move this off season and use Lastings as a trading chip, it better be for no one less than a true impact player and one of the top players in the league who will be on the Mets and contributing for a while. Milledge will hit plenty of homers in his future. It is just a question of when they will start coming and as we have seen in the AZF and Team USA, it could be happening sooner rather than later.