Breeding Good Players
The Mets farm system has had some high end impact players and plenty of guys who were AAAA type players, but have never really had a well rounded, deep system since I have been following them. The major contributing factor to the equation and the reason they really have not been able to assemble a deep farm system over the years is partly due to an organizational philosophy that has lead to a lack of compensation picks and sandwich picks. Compensation picks and sandwich picks are such a large part of accumulating top tier talent and the Mets have lacked big time in this area. Since the inception of the sandwich pick in 1999, the Mets have only had two first round picks in one year twice in the eight years it has been around.
The problem has been the players they were signing. The Mets sign a lot of free agents that have been costing them draft picks and the Mets have only had ten picks in the first four rounds since 2002. Not only have the Mets lost a lot of picks by picking up players, they have not been receiving any picks when these players leave. When you sit down and look at who they have targeted and picked up, you see a lot of guys on the wrong side of thirty. They are guys that when their contracts are up as Mets, they are not players that you can even think about offering arbitration too. This past off season it was Mike Piazza, the year before it was Al Leiter, and before that there was an endless line of guys who were spent by the time their Met days were over. They were expensive guys that could cost you a pretty penny if they accepted arbitration and were not worth it for another team to waste a high draft pick on if they were offered arbitration.
Severely compounding the problem has been their extreme lack of good drafts. When a team produces a lot of players through a good farm system, the results have a cascading effect. For one, you can use B-level prospects to make the necessary trades to bolster your team while holding onto your premium talent. Secondly, when you bring up good players through your system and they make it through to the big club and then to free agency, you will receive compensation for good ones by way of arbitration. If players decline the arbitration offered by their current team and opts to explore free agency, the team that signs him will need to give his old team a draft pick to compensate for that team’s loss of that player as outlined by the collective bargaining agreement. The problem is the Mets have suffered from a dearth of talent. From 1996 to 2000, only 27 players the Mets drafted had reached the big leagues and the most notable are Ty Wigginton, Mike Jacobs, Bandon Lyon (who they did not even sign), and Jason Phillips. After that, you have guys like Billy Traber, Dicky Gonzalez, and Angel Pagan. To call that ugly would be an extreme understatement.
The Mets system right now leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, there are still some good pieces down there and they have recently produced some solid players and a few great ones, but it is looking pretty desolate right now. With Milledge in the big leagues, Humber not back on the mound yet, and Fernando Martinez injured, there is not much to look at when neither Mike Pelfrey nor Jon Niese are on the mound. Drafting better and making better free agency pick ups is where it all needs to start to improve long term. Drafting better produces Major League players who bring back compensation picks if they leave the organization and bringing in younger free agents or making deals for players closer to their prime via trade will result in the team being able to receive some talent in return when they leave. Omar is definitely moving in that direction, but it will be while before the Mets have a deep enough system that they can reach into for trades while still producing a steady team of big leaguers to help the big league club.
"No, I really don't," said Milledge, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI last night. "You know what? It happened. If it all replayed again, you know what, I don't regret one thing I did. As far as showing up somebody, it might look like that. But I'm not here to show up anybody, because I haven't done anything here at the big-league level. ... Did it look like it? Maybe it did. But I didn't have any intentions of showing anybody up. I wanted the fans to enjoy the home run with me, and enjoy the moment. It was a one-time thing. That's what I wanted to do. I did it. Let's move on from it.
"I decided to show the fans love. They pay my salary. It's becoming a big thing. I don't think it's like I shot somebody or something. You know what? It's good for the fans. And the fans will always remember it. And I'll always remember it."
Trying to get this kid to apologize for a moment that an overwhelming majority of fans loved is just ridiculous. This is the last you will read about this crap here. With the draft today, the Mets riding high, Soler's best start, and Milledge looking great, there is plenty of other meaningful stuff to write about.
I wasn't thinking about going out and pitching well to stay in the rotation," Soler said. "What I did was go and pitch the way that I'm capable to pitch and that's the reason I had a pretty good game today."
Milledge continues to be impressive with a 2 for 4 night with one RBI. However, regardless of how good he does, Nady should be taking the spot back when he gets back. With Diaz playing his way out of the minds of the people in the front office, the Mets still need Nady and Milledge on the team next season. Milledge can go a long way to ease any doubts the Mets front office would have had in regards to how Milledge would perform and to what level. It is early, but with his track record and being has highly touted as he is, it looks like a safe bet he will be a meaningful part of the team next year will not pull a Casey Kotchman when he is going to be depended on which is an important thing to know going into 2007.
Holden got a hit in his first at-bat and hasn't looked back. The 2005 21st-round draft pick stepped in and picked up right where he had left off last season in Brooklyn as perhaps his new team's most consistent hitter. As the team's leadoff hitter, he entered last night's game at West Virginia hitting .333 with four doubles, one home run, 14 RBI and seven stolen bases in 21 games.
Last night, Holden went 3 for 4 with two homers and three RBIs and upped his batting average to .342. He has some speed and can play the outfield well so hopefully he can stick up with the Suns when Fernando Martinez commes back.
"If he didn't cheat in Little League, he would just be another soft-tossing high school lefthander," one scout from an AL team said on the condition of anonymity. " . . . When you think about it, he has only gained about 5 miles per hour since his Little League days." Almonte hits about 83-84 mph on the radar gun, according to the scout.
The Yankees can still drum up some publicity by drafint him with a late round pick and I would assume they will do just that.
The Mets are expected to seek $10 million per year, which would be the most for a baseball-only park. The Giants/Jets could command double that, which would blow by the $10 million a year Reliant Energy pays for the Houston Texans' stadium and the Astrodome complex.
That is a lot of dough. Anyone still opposed to selling the naming rights of the stadium? If the Mets get a Pedro Martinez-type with that money then sell away. Sell whatever you can. Whore yourself out and get the best product on the field.
As for my favorite player in the draft? Kyle Drabek. Little brat of not, the kid can pitch. His fastball touches 97 and he owns five pitches. The kid is simply nasty and arguably has the best arm in the draft though he is not as refined as he should be for being the son of a Major League pitcher.
Jim Callis from Baseball America has Pedro Beato sliding to the Yankees in the Sandwich Round. If the Yankees have the chance to draft him, you better believe Steinbrenner would love to stick it to the Mets a bit and get him.