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

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Future Looks Bright In The Outfield

I'm back in Jersey and as depressed as ever. I went to Colorado for a short trip and it is tough to come back to reality after being in such an amazing place. I'm talkin' about a place where the beer flows like wine, where the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talkin' about Colorado. Anyway, in case you missed it like I did, Jason Stark is fond of two Met prospects.

CARLOS GOMEZ, OF, Mets -- Signed at 17, but seen by one exec we surveyed in a couple of minor-league games. "They gave him $2 million," the exec said. "And [he] looks like he's worth every penny."

LASTINGS MILLEDGE, OF, Mets -- "Quickest bat in Florida," said one scout.

Carlos Gomez has played his spring pretty much under the radar. He only has thirteen at bats with the big club and four hits. Two of those hits were triples and his .308 batting average is certainly something for the 20 year old to hang his hat on as starts his season in the minors. It is nice to see Gomez get validated yet again as a true talent. It is easy to look at his numbers and not be interested much in him, but he does not have many minor league games under his belt. One hundred and sixty five games to be exact. In his first year he hit one homer and walked six times in forty five games and followed that up with eight homers and thirty-two walks in one hundred and twenty games. The kid is good. He is raw and has a ways to go, but he will break out big time and spending this season in Binghamton might go a long way to help make that happen sooner rather than later.

As for Milledge, it is nothing we do not know already. The kid is among the team leaders in at bats and owns a .347 batting average. He has only three extra base hits, but the kid has been impressive. The pop will come and he has nothing much left to prove in the minors to let everyone know he is ready. With everyone pretty much penciling him in the opening day lineup in 2007, he should not worry about putting up big numbers to solidify that spot. It is his already. He just needs to fine tune his game at the sacrifice of numbers and look at the bigger picture. It will be easy for him to put up a gaudy average this year and steal a ton of bases, but that is not what 2006 should be about for him. Of course that stuff could happen anyway, but there are more important aspects that he needs to work on.

Here is the best of the rest...

PHILIP HUGHES, RHP, Yankees -- "As impressive a [pitching] prospect as the Yankees have had in a long time," said an AL scout. "But he's a long ways away."

I'm not big on wishing harm to people, but if I was, he would be up there.

HANLEY RAMIREZ, SS, Marlins -- "He's really looked good when I've seen him," said one scout. "He's Edger Renteria for me, but maybe even a level higher. I always liked him. But now I think he's going to be a lot better player than I thought he'd be."

He is one guy I'm excited to get to see a lot this year.

CONOR JACKSON, 1B, Diamondbacks -- "I saw him hit a home run that might come down in Philadelphia soon," said one scout. "He doesn't even have any lift in his swing yet. A lot of his best shots are line drives. But he's a strong guy, and he can play. Down the road, if he develops some lift, I still think he could hit a lot of home runs."

FRANCISCO LIRIANO, LHP, Twins -- "I can't believe he's going to Triple-A," said one exec. "We had his slider at 92-93 (mph)."

These are two guys that I cannot wait to watch. Liriano to AAA is a travesty on many levels, but he will be back soon enough and certainly by the trade deadline. They will have to make room for Francisco at some point.

* * *

  • Seven players were reassigned to minor league camps.

    The competition for the bullpen lessened Tuesday morning when the team reassigned Royce Ring and Juan Perez to the minor league camp. Among position players the team reassigned Jeff Keppinger in the morning and then after the game moved Lastings Milledge, Tike Redman, Todd Self and Sandy Martinez.

    According to the article, Milledge may be back up sooner than we think too.

  • Aaron is being shifted to the bullpen for no other reason that the recently bolstered bullpen turned out to be not so bolstered.

    "I'm certainly disappointed," Heilman said in the morning before pitching two innings of relief in the Mets' 12-7 loss to the Marlins. "I'll go to the bullpen and give it my best and hopefully help this team win. They thought that's where I would be most valuable and hopefully I can go down there and continue to contribute the way that I had last year."

    My concern is that a rotation with Traxx, Zambrano, and Bannister cannot win it all. That is just not going to get the job done. They should be able to skim by the regular season, but they are not 'built' for the post season. Their starters simply will not stack up. Heilman had the x-factor for me to be a big boon to the rotation. He can be shifted later, but at what price? Omar fell asleep at the wheel when it came to the bullpen and failed to pony up for a set up man and ended up short handed because of it with questionable signings like Iriki and a questionable trade with Julio. Omar can sign players with the best of them, but he has a long way to go before he proves that he can be the GM to help this team win it all.

  • Keppinger is not happy and he has reason to be. He never really had a chance to step in for Kaz and Anderson Hernandez now has the opening day job. Keppinger has no future whatsoever with this organization no matter what he does and he is probably a really, really unhappy camper today.

  • Billy Wagner reports no problem in the bullpen.

    "No problems," the closer said.

    Thanks Billy. In worse news and something that does concern me when I look at this current Mets rotation, Pedro will throw four innings next Friday.

    Pedro Martinez also threw yesterday in the bullpen - his first action since pitching in a game on Sunday - and said he was OK. He said he is slated to throw four innings in his next start on Friday.

    In case you are keeping track, opening day is Monday. That means he will not be throwing in a real game until the end of the following week at the earliest and that even looks sketchy.

  • Joel Sherman has his five questions for the Mets.

  • The fact that Heath Bell only has six innings this year and only has a shot because two guys I could have told you would suck have in fact done that is absurd. The guy should have gotten a chance to earn a shot and he really did not. Ridiculous. This team needs to figure some things out. No matter who runs the team, some things just never change.

  • Jim Street things Nady could be a breakout candidate.

    Xavier Nady, RF, Mets: Moving from pitcher-friendly PETCO Park to Shea Stadium should be just what this smooth-swinging outfielder needs to put up big numbers.

    Hopefully. However, this is certainly something that makes you wonder if anything he has written should be taken seriously.

    Kris Benson, RHP, Orioles: A 20-game winner waiting to happen.

    I for one liked Benson. I thought he would have a big year one of the days. However, moving to the AL East and in Camden Yards is not how it is going to happen.

  • Paul Hagen wraps up the Mets nicely in his article from yesterday.

  • I could read this all day.

    Wright established himself as a player last season, hitting .306 with 27 home runs and 102 runs batted in, ranking in the National League top 10 in seven different offensive categories. At third base, he shrugged off an early flurry of errors -- many from just trying to do too much -- and got better each game as the year wore on.

    The kid is an MVP waiting to happen.

    "I think he's the next Scott Rolen," says the Braves' Chipper Jones, a star at the position himself. "David can do it all. He can hit to all fields for power. He's a developing third baseman. He's got a great head on his shoulders. I think he's going to be an all-star for a long time."

  • I've been to heaven and on earth, it is called Carl's Jr.

    That is a chili cheeseburger and possible the best burger I've had a at fast food place. It was one tasty son of a bitch.

    Not to be outdone, the breakfast burger beckoned me as well. A tasty beef patty with bacon, a fried egg, and has browns. I subsequently washed down those two heart attacks with another heart attack in a vanilla shake. I had to use a defibrillator at the airport when I got there, but it was worth it.

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