Hoo-hoo...they're rippin' me off Robin.
John Sickels did his pre-season prospects in review piece yesterday and I thought it would be a great idea to rip him off and to go over mine. Admittedly, I missed the mark some on some, but here it goes.
1. Lastings Milledge
What he showed us in his stint in the Majors is that he is not David Wright. I like a little edge and cockiness, but Milledge has some stuff to work on in how he carriers himself and approaches the mental part of the game. That being said, he flashed game breaking abilities and will be a player that can take over games and put the team on his back at times. His high billing is 100% deserved and the kid can play. He left most people excited for what the future holds with him patrolling the Met outfield for hopefully a long time.
2. Mike Pelfrey
I thought Pelfrey was not as dominating as I hoped in the beginning, but he certainly righted his ship and put up dominating starts in his last seven games with the exception of one bad game. He has showed me that him down on the farm is useless. By simply throwing fastballs, he is too good for any league. Having him pitch at AA and AAA will not enable him to work hard enough to progress as quickly as honing his craft in Queens. The kid has an arm and showed some guts by blowing a fastball past Adam Dunn with the bases loaded in his last start. Pelfrey is the real deal and should stay where he is.
3. Fernando Martinez
What can you say about him that is bad? The biggest knock on him is that he has had some health issues, but none that would appear reoccurring. Jose Tabata was ranked in the top 25 according to BA's updated top 25 list and Fernando Martinez was outplaying him early on. If he did not get injured, it would not have surprised me to see him get some time in St. Lucie this season. However, is health issues probably made that impossible, but this kid looks as sure as a bet as it gets when looking at 17 years olds.
4. Carlos Gomez
In 2005 Gomez struggled early and rebounded and he repeated that this season. He raised his average to .267 with a 3 for 5 game with two more doubles yesterday and now has 23 extra base hits in 75 games. He will finish with a respectable number of XBHs, but with a guy who supposedly puts on shows in batting practice flashing his power and a possessing the speed that he does, it is not enough for a prospect as highly regarded as him. That being said, it is easy to forget he is not even 21. If he can find some consistency and play well from day one to the last day, he will be scary. I think a big second half from him will finally propel in into uber status in terms of being a prospect and the future looks bright for the Mets in terms of outfield prospects.
5. Phil Humber
He was a question mark for obvious reasons coming into the season, but he silenced any concerns that anyone has had in regards to him with his performance since returning to action. John Manuel echoed what was written in Baseball Prospectus about Humber in a Baseball America chat and mentioned his velocity was 90-94 and he flashed a plus curve and plus change at times. The biggest problem here is that Humber was basically supposed to spend 2006 just getting reacclimated to being on the mound and he has done nothing but pitch like nothing ever happened. He has posted a 6.92 h/9, 1.73 bb/9, 8.65 k/9, 0.96 whip, and a 3.12 ERA. The problem is that he is forcing the issue that he is probably too good for advanced A-ball already.
6. Deolis Guerra
He was an unknown prior to the season and he is not anymore. For the season, he owns a 7.29 h/9, 4.14 bb/9, 6.29 k/9, 1.27 whip, and a 2.82 ERA. The walks are high, but Guerra missed being born in the 90's by less than seven months. He is younger than Fernando Martinez and has been extremely impressive to say the least in his first exposure to professional ball. He has made twelve starts all season, but if you look at his last eight you can already see big improvements. His bb/9 drops to 3.05 with a slight bump up in k/9 and a significantly lower whip and ERA. The Mets have a live one here.
7. Alay Soler
In the minors Soler was sparkling. In the bigs, he was streaky. While with St. Lucie and Binghamton he walked 12 batters in 49.2 innings while striking out 55. While with the Mets, he walked 21 batters in 45 innings while striking out 23. That alone will tell you why he didn't succeed and like you can chalk up wildness to youth sometimes, Soler will turn 27 this year. I expected more out of him and I think it boils down to what he has inside rather than just needing more experience in the bigs. It is clear he has good stuff and very sharp breaking ball, but I did not see a pitcher than can be trusted in big spots. With the crowded rotation picture in the next few years it looks like the bullpen will ultimately be his home.
8. Brian Bannister
Early in the year, Brian Bannister was the younger and right handed version of Al Leiter in his last two years with the Mets. He was continually working out of trouble and simply does not even have one pitch that could be considered a plus pitch. He has a lot of them which certainly helps, but he is a fourth or fifth starter at best. That is not to say he will not be useful, but with John Maine above him on the pecking order in my eyes, Mike Pelfrey looking like the real deal, and Phil Humber on the comeback trail, it might take a lot for him try and prove he belongs. Ultimately, he will either provide some nice insurance for the Mets, move to the bullpen, or be decent trade bait. Overall though, I was mildly disappointed with his lack of control, but I think that would have straightened out over time. Like Soler, he was uncharacteristically wild, but unlike Soler, I think he has what it takes mentally to move forward.
9. Andy Wilson
In 2004, Andy Wilson hit 21 homers, hit 32 doubles, and drove in 76 RBIs in 108 games. In 2005, he hit 28 homers, hit 25 doubles, and drove in 89 in 130 games while hitting in a pitcher's park. While in a hitter's league this season he has 15 doubles, 4 homers, and 22 RBIs in 79 games. He has a .220 average and a .319 slg% and really needed to prove he belonged while playing with Binghamton. Whatever happened to him is a mystery, but he made me look stupid for putting him in the top ten.
10. Bobby Parnell
He had two starts in the beginning in which he gave up eight runs in 7.1 innings. He has pitched OK of late, but nothing to write home about. He is walking too many hitters and is not having quite as much luck keeping the ball in the park as he did last year and his BAA is much higher. He only gave up one homer in 73 innings last season and has given up six already in 66 innings. He is still pitching much better than he did in college but no where near what he did in Brooklyn last season. It is still up in the air which Bobby Parnell is the real one, but he is still in intriguing prospect and not a total disappointment.
The top ten picture is much clearer now than in the pre-season. Not only is it clearer, but it looks good with ten guys that look to be legitimate players that I think all have the ability to start and contribute on the Major League level. Five of the ten are under 21 and seven of the top ten have tremendously high ceilings. Jon Neise is making me look stupid for omitting him from the top ten and Ambiorix Concepcion and Jesus Flores are having fantastic seasons helping push their down 2005 seasons out of people's minds. However, the problem still remains that the depth after the Mets top tier prospects is just not there.
1. Lastings Milledge
2. Mike Pelfrey
3. Fernando Martinez
4. Phil Humber
5. Deolis Guerra
6. Jon Neise
7. Carlos Gomez
8. Jesus Flores
9. Ambiorix Concepcion
10. Mike Carp
Gomez dropped, but not because he was doing bad. Everyone else was just that good and though I think he has a higher ceiling than Neise, but I think Neise, despite being a young pitcher in low A-ball while Gomez is doing it at the AA level, is a safer bet to reach his ceiling. If Gomez steps it up in the second half, he could easily push himself back into the top five. As for Mike Carp cracking the top ten, his seven homers in 93 games might look weak compared to his nineteen in 89 games last season, but he is in St. Lucie and has nineteen doubles, which is already a career high. His batting average is the highest it has ever been, his on base percentage is up, and most importantly, his strikeouts are down. Carp just turned 20 on June 30th and will be 22 when he will most likely completing his first year at AAA. He is a legit first base prospect and definitely a guy to keep an eye on.
After all the praise heaped on Jose Reyes recently, he started off this stretch doing exactly nothing, getting caught stealing the one time he reached base in 17 plate appearances, then earning seven stitches on his left pinky after getting spiked sliding head-first into first. He missed five starts, and in his absence, Willie Randolph has routinely placed both Jose Valentin and Chris Woodward at the top of the line-up.
June NL Player of the Month and MVP Candidate David Wright dipped as well, going .250/.323/.482 during these 17 games. Carlos Beltran has had a tremendous year, but he also had a slow stretch, though he's still slugging: .208/.295/.509. Carlos Delgado has slid since starting off well (.167/.318/.306), and Xavier Nady (.225/.311/.350) continues to think the solution to swinging too much is to swing even more.
As for the hurlers, Pedro Martinez hit the DL while Alay Soler and Orlando Hernandez both showed their true colors: pumpkin orange instead of Metropolitan blue. Tom Glavine’s regressed, though that started even earlier in the year, and Steve Trachsel’s been normal for him, but that’s not praise. Chad Bradford and Aaron Heilman have both really struggled out of the pen.
There are concerns, but there is no reason to worry unless it keeps going through August. Of course, the single biggest concern is the rotation and I'm happy with what I've seen from Pelfrey and Maine and I think the Mets might just end up with a solid rotation in the end. They also criticized the trades for Delgado and LoDuca, but I think you had to do the Delgado trade regardless of how bad he is playing now. At the time, it made sense unlike the Zambrano deal. Hopefully he'll snap out of it and this is not the first time he's slumped in his long career. The LoDuca deal is still questionable, but it is hard to complain about him as he has grown on a lot of us as a player despite spotty defense and streaking hitting. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and the Mets dealt prospects they could stand to lose while keeping some good ones. If they win, all will be forgiven.
First on Niese...
“He recorded seven outs on his change and seven strikeouts on his curve,” Barton said. “The curveball had very good break, seven strikeouts on the curve and four of them were looking. When you get four guys looking on the curve like that, you know it is pretty sharp.”
Then on Humber...
Scouts have been giving strong reports on Humber, who has had his fastball sitting 90-94 mph while showing his trademark hammer curve and the occasional power change.
In 26 innings in the Florida State League, the righthander is now 2-1, 3.12 with a 25-5 strikeout-walk ratio.
Then on Guerra...
Guerra took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowed two earned runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Like Niese, it was the first time he had all three of this pitches working together.
“He had his curve going well, and he'd not had the curve going for him all season,” Barton said. “He threw 14 of 19 for strikes. It is a pitch he has been lacking confidence in, but he established it early and was able to throw it behind in the count.
“His change is his best pitch because he gets so many swings and misses on it with deception and great arm speed.”
Due to the changeup, Guerra is more effective against lefthanded hitters (.216 average) than righthanded hitters (.241).
But the best of all came from John Manuel...
Q: John Mackin Ade from Hilton Head Island, SC asks:
Regarding the Mets Deolis Guerra, the kid just turned 17 and he's ERAing under 3 at A ball. Sure looks like the real deal.
A: John Manuel: It does. Is there a question in there? Guerra's last start was his best, he's had a very good year for his age and probably is a Top 100 caliber guy.
Top 100? Milledge is a top 100, Fernando is a top 100, Pelfrey is a top 100, and Guerra too? Not to shabby.
A fan is taken from Rogers Centre last night after being hit with a foul ball in the second inning of the Yankees' 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays.
It doesn't make any difference," Rodriguez said of the rumor that had the Yankees third baseman going to the Phillies as part of a blockbuster trade for Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, Tom Gordon and David Bell, with the Yankees supposedly also sending Melky Cabrera and a player to be named. "I would veto it."
Would you? The Yankees 100% don't want you and you are not exactly enjoying getting booed at home, but I doubt any trade would happen since the Phillies don't really want to pay you the $16 million or so left a year after Tom Hicks bends over and takes it while paying about $9 million of your salary a year.
The Nationals recently asked for prospects Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens and Cameron Maybin in exchange for Soriano -- an outrageous demand.
E-Rod here to stay
Third basemen with the most errors:
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, 17
Edwin Encarnacion, Reds, 15
Aaron Boone, Indians, 14
David Bell, Phillies, 13
Chipper Jones, Braves, 13
Garrett Atkins, Rockies, 12
Adrian Beltre, Mariners, 12
Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, 12
Pedro Feliz, Giants, 12
Brandon Inge, Tigers, 12
Players with the most errors:
Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers, 22
Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers, 19
Carlos Guillen, SS, Tigers, 17
Felipe Lopez, SS, Nationals, 17
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees, 17
Let's all point and laugh.