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

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Biggest Loser

Are the Mets one of the biggest losers from the draft? Maybe not, but they are most likely pretty close to it. As harsh as Dayn Perry's words were, for the most part he was right.

Top pick Kevin Mulvey (RHP, Villanova) showed poor hit rates against relatively weak competition, and second-rounder Joe Smith is a relief prospect with a history of shoulder problems. Also, junior-college right-hander John Holdzkom was a stretch, even by fourth-round standards.

Well, here is where I'm conflicted. Baseball America did list him as the 30th best prospect for the draft and said he was the best pitching the Northeast, but Villanova did not exactly have a strong schedule.

Career Stats:
 W   L  ERA   IP   H/9   BB/9   K/9   WHIP
14 16 4.46 244 9.15 3.54 8.19 1.41
Now Mulvey might end up working out and that pick is more defendable than the next two, but his stats were pedestrian. A guy like Mark McCormick, who was drafted by the Cardinals last year, had mediocre numbers as a college player, but has much better pure stuff than Mulvey and throws in the high 90's. If Mulvey got hit pitching for Villanova, it is understandable why people question his ability to get pro hitters out. Joe Smith probably could have been picked in the next round and John Holdzkom was not going to break the top ten rounds unless a team really thought highly of him. From maybe not breaking the first ten to becoming a fourth round pick, it seems like the Mets did not make the most out of the picks that they had.

However, the picture has gotten a bit brighter in that Daniel Stegall has signed with the Mets.

"I told them that playing professional baseball has really been my dream since I was a little kid," said Stegall, a two-sport standout at Greenwood (Ark.) High School. "I never thought I would get the chance to do it."

While that is certainly encouraging news, Justin Woodall looks like he is going to be a tougher sign.

"Baseball, I stand around too much. I like moving," Woodall said. "Everybody tells me I need to play baseball. They're just looking at the money. If I was hurting (financially), I probably would. My family's fine."

The buzz was that the Mets promised Woodall $1 million dollars if he fell to the in the third round. Woodall, who was named the best high school athlete by Baseball America, declined that offer and the Mets took a shot on him anyway with a pick in day two. Of course it was a worthwhile gamble for the Mets as Woodall, who had been previously uninterested in baseball, showed some interest by doing a private workout for the Mets.

With Daniel Stegall in the mix and the Mets trying to bring Justin Woodall into the mix, things are better and could improve even more. If the Mets are able to bring both into the system, they will bring in two top tier athletes with tremendous athleticism. The last two drafts were brutal for the most part and the Mets are in dire need of making some things happen and Stegall helps that. Now Omar needs to try and get Woodall.

* * *

  • Some more on HGH.....

    I was talking to my brother about HGH to see if he knew anything about it. My brother is a personal trainer and he is very knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition and biology as well. While he did not know much about HGH itself, he said anything that you put into your body that occurs naturally in your body has a negative effect in that your body begins to produce less of it or stops making it all together. Your body produces less and less of HGH as you get older so when you stop taking the HGH supplements when you are done with baseball, your body starts to break down and you will have a lot of problems down the line. While it may be a wonder substance, it is a wonder substance for people who really need it and do not make enough of it naturally.

  • On a related note, Barry is going to spill the beans.

    Barry Bonds is eager for a sit-down with former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, his attorney said yesterday, but the embattled slugger will not talk until his lawyer can be assured the information won't be used by federal prosecutors.

  • Matsui got his walking papers and was shipped out for Eli Marrero.

    "I personally am disappointed I couldn't produce and live up to the expectations," Matsui said through an interpreter.

    Start speculating as to what this means for the Mets and Xavier Nady....now.

  • As usual, Zito gets grilled in New York City.

    "No preference," Zito said when asked about a favorite New York team. "There are so many factors. I haven't even thought about it and I won't until I have to. I don't really know what will happen. And I can't really say all bets are off with the A's, either."

    The Mets have the youth, the Rick Peterson factor, deep pockets, and more excitement surrounding the team. That looks like a check mate to me in any head to head showdown for Zito's services between the Mets and the Yankees.

  • Carlos Beltran is just locked in.

    "When you're healthy, you can do a lot of things," he said. "When you're hurt, you take the field and there's a lot of things you're not capable of doing."

    Beltran is batting .294/.407/.631 with 17 homers, and 44 RBIs. He's on pace for 131 runs scored, 36 doubles, 52 homers, 134 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases. Is it too early to start talking about Beltran as an MVP candidate?

  • The Mets are now 5.5 games in front of the Phillies and nine games in front of the Braves. First, stick a fork in the Braves. I don't want to hear anything about the Braves coming on or look out for the Braves. Second, no other team has more than a 2.5 game lead in the bigs. The Mets are good.

  • Carlos y Carlos lead the charge for the Mets with two long balls each and Sugar Pants added another one of his own. Heilman continues to give up runs and one has to wonder if he is getting tired. He shifted to the bullpen last season and then pitched Winter Ball as a starter and continued his relief role this year. It is not always an easy transition and some guys like going every fifth day rather than ever day or every other day. Could all the pitching be catching up to him?

  • From NJ.com:

    Xavier Nady (appendectomy) is flying to Florida this morning to begin his rehabilitation, but still has no date set for resuming baseball activities.
  • Friday, June 09, 2006

    Back End Support

    The Mets won the first six games that Pedro Martinez pitched in this season and Tom Glavine and Pedro were carrying the rotation in the early goings. After Pedro's first six games, the Mets lost the next four games Pedro started and then split the next two. Basically, we knew that Pedro and Tom would not carry the rotation for the rest of the season and the Mets had some big problems on the horizon. They ended up having big problems and obviously a lot has changed lately and the Mets rotation is vastly improved.

    With Orlando Hernandez and Alay Soler in the rotation, things are a lot better. They are 3-2 in their six starts with the Mets between them and the Mets are 4-2 overall when they have started. Combined, they have a 4.50 ERA, 8.29 H/9, 6.63 K/9, and a 1.34 WHIP. For me, those numbers are just fine out of the last two spots, but they are really better than that. If you take Soler's one horrendous start out, they have a 3.27 ERA, 7.36 H/9, 7.36 K/9, and a 1.21 WHIP in five games. You certainly will not get a gem every game out of the back end of the rotation, but if they put up two good games for every bad one, this Mets team will be alright.

    Rotation depth worries are largely a thing of the past as the Mets rotation seems set for the rest of the season. With the current five pitching like they are and with Mike Pelfrey settling in for Binghamton coming off of a dominant seven inning shutout performance in which he allowed only two hits last night, things look very good. At this point, there is no more well rounded team than the NY Mets to call them the best team in the National League is not a stretch whatsoever.

    * * *

  • The shit has probably hit the fan for Major League Baseball as it relates to drug testing. The Player's Union might be stronger than Major League Baseball, but they are going to have a problem going toe to toe with the government.

    "Major League Baseball needs to get its house in order," Clay said. "After the hearings, with all the information they have, with all the information we have, that players would still try and cheat the game is very disturbing to me. It sets the wrong example."

    It is true that you would have thought that some players would have thought twice. However, when you simply look at the salaries that even bad players are making the risks and rewards are being weighed. With no criminal action and the alternative for a fringe player being not even being in the bigs, it seems like a no brainer for most. As it relates to the top tier players, there is literally tens of millions of dollars on the table.

    Clay was even more disturbed by the section of the affidavit in which Grimsley described the common practice of major league clubhouses having two coffee pots, one marked "leaded" and the other "unleaded." The "leaded" coffee, according to the affidavit, contained amphetamines. "That was even more unbelievable," Clay said.

    We know speed has been around the league for a long time and is a more serious problem than HGH or steroids, but that seems harder to police. Even if greenies and illegal amphetamines went away, there are just too many legal ways to get serious doses of caffeine or energy.

    In an interview yesterday morning with radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony, Leyritz confessed to taking "greenies," or amphetamines.

    "I can remember my first amphetamine," Leyritz said on the "Opie and Anthony Show," which airs on 92.3 FREE FM as well as XM Satellite Radio. "I was out all night drinking with Andy Hawkins and some of the guys on the team. I was a young player.

    "I came in. I was hung over, sleeping by my locker. And all of a sudden, [Don] Mattingly came to me and said, 'Hey, you're in the lineup.' And I went, 'What?' He goes, 'Yeah, I just hurt my back.'

    "Now I'm walking around, I'm going, 'I don't know how I'm going to do this. There's no way that I can go play this game today.' I ran into my teammate who I knew had some of the 'little helpers,' as they called them.

    "He said, 'Take one of these. It should help. It'll take the edge off.'

    "So sure enough, I took one. He goes, 'OK, you can take two, but no more than two.' So I popped one more, and I went out and went 3-for-4 with two homers."

  • Matsui's days as a Met could be numbered.

    In the near future, Kazuo Matsui's days as a Met could be over.

    When Xavier Nady comes back from the disabled list - which could be as early as Tuesday - Matsui is a candidate to be released by the Mets, according to a person with knowledge of the club's thinking.

  • Enough already.

    The Mets are "conducting an investigation" into some inappropriate comments posted on the Web site MySpace.com by Scott Schafer, their sixth-round pick (184th overall) in Tuesday's draft, a person familiar with the situation said yesterday.

    Team officials didn't find any red flags in their predraft interviews with the 18-year-old righthander, and Schafer even pitched for Pasadena (Texas) Memorial High, which is located in the hometown of Mets director of amateur scouting Rudy Terrasas. The club also was concerned that Schafer used a Mets logo in his profile and referred to himself as a member of the team, even though he is unsigned.

    Things are getting just way too ridiculous these days.

  • Are we even remotely going to say these two in the same sentence?

  • Ummm...yeah...

    Good the see the NY Post’s journalistic integrity is firmly intact.
  • Thursday, June 08, 2006

    What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

    Nothing, you already told her twice.

    Congress already stepped in and made baseball look silly with Sammy Sosa forgetting how to speak English, Mark McGwire forgetting how to speak any language, and Rafael Palmeiro swearing he was a good boy and subsequently getting busted for steroids. The ball players and all of baseball wanted the government to back off and let the new system get a chance to work. In fact, people pointed to busts as the system starting to work. Regardless of what was in place going forward, the congressional hearings were the first black eye.

    The second black eye is this Jason Grimsley debacle. The government stepped in again and the feds intercepted a delivery of Human Growth Hormone to Jason Grimsley's house and he sang. Oh baby he sang. When you get a chance, read this affidavit as it is stunning in terms of the content. Names are named, but they are blacked out for obvious reasons and it goes into some serious detail. It is amazing how much information is in there and it is amazing that it just seems that players are turning their heads. When you read what Grimsley had to say, it paints a serious picture of things going wrong and baseball not being able to police itself.

    Human Growth Hormone is essentially a fountain of youth. HGH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that, in children, causes physical growth. In adults as well as children, hGH is essential to maintain healthy body composition and metabolism (in other words, to improve one's ratio of fat to lean body mass). HGH is natural, but the body makes less and less of it as you age. There have been studies with HGH and elderly people that have produced results that link HGH to longevity and the betterment of the quality of one's life. In terms of baseball, HGH makes a player recover faster and add strength whether it be pitching or at the plate.

    It is natural and very helpful, so what's the problem? Well, it's not really legal. It may be a medical wonder, but it has only been approved by the FDA for adult men and women who have certain medical issues and is given to kids who do not produce enough of it themselves. The stuff is basically a super steroid with minimal effects to your body. The largest and obvious problem with players taking it is that they might not even be doing it right. The dosages may be wrong and no one really has any idea who is supervising them while they are taking it. As Grimsley noted, a lot of these players are going into Mexico to buy whatever they need.

    The really hard part for baseball is there is no way to detect HGH since it occurs in the body naturally. HGH is a big fear for baseball and a apparently a very pervasive problem. Gimsley said that "boatloads" of players are still using performance enhancing drugs and that is bad news for Bud Selig and all of baseball who's policy is clearly not working as well as they lead on. We are in a day and age of technology and the ability to circumvent whatever preventative measures baseball puts into place. If Major League Baseball found a way to eradicate HGH and steroids from the game, you better believe something else will show up. There is simply too much money involved for the supply of performance enhancing drugs to dry up. However, the feds raiding Grimsley's house certainly sends quite a message to everyone out there using the stuff and now that this concept of raiding homes has been introduced into this illegal substance game being played by the players and government, everything just got really interesting.

    * * *

  • Jered Weaver is good. He is good and might be demoted when Bartolo colon returns despite him being their best pitcher over the last two weeks he has been with the team. Three times out and three wins for the little Weaver, but that is how things go sometimes and much like Met fans going crazy over certain decisions, Angels fans will undoubtedly be calling up their radio shows complaining with bloggers doing the same.

  • Like, Whoa.

    "He's certainly making a case for himself to stay here," Glavine said.

    Lastings Milledge is good. He turned himself into a fantasy stud pretty quickly and was the star player last night with a homerun, a triple, and gunning Nomar Garciaparra out at second with a perfect throw. This kid can play and listening to him makes you like him even more. When he was talking about Jae Seo, he was mentioning how he got beat the first time with an inside fastball. Next at-bat? Milledge knew Seo was coming back with that pitch and sat there and waited for it. He got one and sent a laser out of the park. Howard Johnson mentioned that the kid learns quickly and Milledge has not disappointed as it seems there really is nothing the kid does not do well.

    "The only thing that I want to prove is that I play to win," Milledge said when asked about proving that he should stay here.

    "That's the only thing. And I play the game hard. And I play the game with energy. That's the only thing that I want to prove to everybody," he said.

    Edge is good and he definitely has a bit of an edge. He has that I'm Lastings Milledge attitude and you have to beat me. He knows he is good and thinks there is nothing he cannot do.

    "(Milledge) has done well but, I'm not going to pencil him in as the everyday outfielder (just yet)," Randolph said.

    Leave it to Willie to make a comment like that.

  • Good to see Pedro doing his thing:

    Pedro Martinez, who the day before had held court on the unattractiveness of his buddy Manny Ramirez's latest hairstyle, approved of Milledge's tightly lined -- and unique -- braids.

    Manny, you cannot escape Pedro.

  • Here is a Kazmir piece for anyone interested.

  • Ummm, Willie. You watching the same games we are?

    Randolph said he was thinking long term when he decided to rest Delgado. Julio Franco made only his second start of the season at first. Randolph shifted Lastings Milledge, who had been playing right field exclusively since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, to left field and started Endy Chavez in right.

    "Lastings had been playing more left field (in the minors) and Chavez has a better arm in right field."

    Chavez has a good arm, but Lastings' is stronger.

  • I love how Carlos Delgado refers to everyone as "Mr.____".

    With the sudden rash of injuries, it was only natural to ask Carlos Delgado if he was feeling OK after Randolph left him out of last night's lineup. Delgado smiled and said he was fine, adding, "Mr. Randolph gave me the day off."

    He called Wagner "Mr. Billy Wagner" when he signed and if you have read my site before and seen that, that is where I got it from.

  • Marty Noble has a piece about the Mets draft.

    The consensus was that the 2006 First-Year Player Draft probably would prove to be more pitching-oriented than most of the drafts that preceded it. And if the breakdown of players selected didn't bear that out, the Mets' selections certainly did.

    Denied a place in the first round because of their signing of Type A free agent Billy Wagner in the fall, the Mets selected 49 players in two days in the 50 rounds that concluded early Wednesday evening. More than half of their selections were pitchers, the vast majority of those right-handed with college experience.

    As for day two of the draft, the most interesting name was Justin Woodall. Matt Meyers had this to say on the Baseball American Draft Day Blog:

    Nobody thought Justin Woodall was interested in playing baseball, as the LHP/OF has signed to play safety at Alabama and apparently blew off one predraft workout because it interfered with a trip to Cancun. However, he recently drove several hours to a workout for the Mets who turned around and picked him in the 19th round, with their first pick of Day Two. Some clubs felt he was a first-round type of talent as a pitcher, if he focused on baseball. The Mets plan is likely to sign him for above slot and let him go to Alabama and play football knowing they hold his rights if football does not work out.

    Baseball America had his rated as the 80th best prospects in the draft and had this to say about him:

    He's rangy and powerful in the outfield with above-average arm strength that produces 90-94 mph heat on the mound--from the left side. He'll flash a hard, late-biting slider as well. Woodall has little feel for pitching and his approach at the plate is equally unrefined. He's aggressive in all counts and looks to pull often. He makes hard contact with plus raw power. His quick, strong hands and wrists allow him to unleash the bat head through the zone with tremendous speed.

    We'll see how the Mets handle this one, but it is interesting how a kid who was so uninterested in baseball drove to work out for the them in spite of his said intentions.
  • Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Meet the New Mets

    The Mets had seventeen picks on day one of the draft and they went with ten pitchers. Nine of the pitchers were right handed and only three were from high school. As for the rest, the Mets picked two third baseman, one shortstop, two catchers, and two outfielders. Perhaps the most interesting name is the Mets eighth round pick Jeremy Barfield who is the son of Jesse Barfield and the brother of Padres second baseman Josh Barfield.

    Kevin Mulvey R/R RHP College

    Baseball America listed him as the 30th best prospect back on May 25th and had this to say about him:

    Mulvey, who hails from Parlin, N.J., has been a weekend starter since he arrived at Villanova and has seen his stock rise this season even while posting rather pedestrian 3-7, 3.66 numbers. Scouts are impressed with his command of three average or better pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball, a slider that is effective against right-handed hitters and a curveball that some scouts like even better than the slider. He also has good feel for a changeup that can be used to get lefties out.

    Pitching Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9  K/9  WHIP
    2004 7 4 5.29 80.0 9.23 .23 5.06 6.86 1.59
    2005 4 4 4.65 71.2 9.42 .25 3.52 9.17 1.44
    2006 3 8 3.51 92.1 8.89 .39 2.25 8.60 1.23
    "It's awesome," said Mulvey, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed pitcher. "It feels great. I was watching the draft on the computer and I always had it in the back of my mind that the Mets could draft me. I can't tell you how excited I am."

    What we see with him is a positive trend in ERA, H/9, BB/9, WHIP, and K/BB. Mulvey seems like a good kid and still looks like he has some work to do in the minor leagues, but he does look promising.

    Joseph Smith R/R RHP College

    Baseball America had Smith listed at the 127th best best prospect heading into the draft and had this to say about him:

    When he made the team as a walk-on in 2004, he used a high three-quarters arm slot and pitched at 85-87 mph. After Rob Cooper took over as head coach before the 2005 season, new assistant coach Greg Lovelady suggested Smith drop down to a sidearm delivery. That usually adds movement and subtracts velocity, but Smith's fastball now sits at 88-91 mph and reaches 94. He also throws a nasty slider and his changeup has improved this spring as well. Hitters have trouble picking up his pitches, as evidenced by his regular-season 0.75 ERA--which would lead NCAA Division I if he weren't five innings short of qualifying. Smith could move quickly as a pro reliever.

    Pitching Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2004 2 2 2.75 36.0 9.00 .25 2.75 10.00 1.31
    2005 1 2 1.10 32.2 4.96 .28 3.31 11.57 0.92
    2006 3 1 0.98 55.0 5.56 .00 2.45 8.67 0.89
    What is unclear about Smith is whether or not he bucks the trend of the typical sidearm pitcher and has the ability to get lefties out. If Smith is in fact a super ROOGY, it would be a bizarre pick for the Mets in this slot, but one would have to assume he can get guys out from the both side of the plate or he would not have been ranked as high as he was.

    John Holdzkom R/R RHP CC

    Holzdzkom was the 21st ranked high school player last year in California and was drafted by the Mariners in the 15th round. He attended Junior College and was eligible to be a draft and follow, but the Mariners passed on him and the Mets snatched him up.

    Baseball America had this to say about John:

    Among the most signable players in the state is 6-foot-7, 230-pound RHP John Holdzkom, who was academically ineligible to play for his high school team until late April. Even when he was reinstated, he pitched sparingly because of issues with his coach and control problems. In his first game back, he gave up nine runs in two innings while hitting three batters and making three wild pitches. Much like his brother Lincoln, who also came with makeup questions when he signed with the Marlins as a seventh-round pick in 2001, he has considerable upside. He has touched 93-94 in limited outings and workouts, and scouts believe there is more in there. A team will have to believe in its player-development department to warrant taking him in the first 10 rounds.Pitching Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2006 3 2 4.25 31.2 5.12 0.28 11.37 12.51 1.83
    While his arm is certainly interesting, he has a long way to go to put it mildly. The guy averaged an astounding 11.4 walks per nine, but did post a great H/9 and a great K/9. You never know, maybe the Mets can catch lightning in a bottle with a guy who is a big fan of power dancing, line dancing, and making the world a better place.

    (thanks to Joe for the above link)

    Stephen Holmes R/R RHP College

    Baseball America had Stephen Holmes listed as the 187th best prospects in draft and had this to say about Holmes:

    Holmes has gone 20-3 in his college career, giving him the URI record for career winning percentage (.870). That's the best way to describe Holmes: He's a winner. He doesn't dominate with his stuff, but he is a fierce competitor with the best feel for pitching of anyone in the Northeast this year, and he always works around the plate. He has a solid-average 88-92 mph fastball that he locates wherever he wants, and his out pitch is a curveball that can be inconsistent.

    Pitching Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2004 5 1 3.46 75.1 7.53 0.36 3.58 10.15 1.23
    2005 7 1 4.34 72.2 8.68 0.96 2.17 9.28 1.21
    2006 10 2 1.30 104.0 6.23 0.09 1.73 8.05 0.88
    While Steve has a limited ceiling, 2006 has taught the Mets how invaluable some consistency at the back of the rotation is and Holmes looks like an insurance policy for the situation they experienced this season. Holmes is basically in the same mold as Brian Bannister and figures to take the same organizational role down the line.

    Scott Schafer R/R RHP HS

    Schafer has signed a letter of intent to attend Texas State in 2007 and their website had this to say about him:

    Scott Schafer is a 6'1" 160 lbs. right-handed pitcher from Pasadena, Texas. Schafer was one of the Houston area's best in strike outs and ERA, earning First-Team All-District honors under head coach Mike Morgan at Memorial High School.

    "Scott is an incredible young pitching talent with four pitches that he can use," Harrington said. "He throws for strikes and has great poise on the field. Scott brings a tremendous competitive spirit to our program."

    Of course that rousing endorsement was from the Texas state coach, but Schafer does throw a 90-92 mph fastball and a good endorsement is much better than the very mixed endorsement that John Holdzkom received.

    Daniel Stegall L/R OF HS

    Stegall has committed to playing football for the Miami Hurricanes next season. He is a quarterback who ran for 1,475 yards and 24 touchdowns while passing for 2,546 yards and another 26 touchdowns during his senior season in high school and those are just mind blowing numbers.

    “It's top in the in schools, the football program. It's going to be a great place,” Stegall said.

    The little showoff not only had a ridiculous season on the football field, he struck out 89 in 53 innings with a 1.63 ERA while topping out at 93 mph with his fastball. For good measure he hit .562 and had a 3.91 GPA.

    "All the other schools (that recruited me) said I could play baseball and football there," Stegall said. "I talked to coach (Jim) Morris and coach (Larry) Coker abut sitting out a year, working on a year just of football and maybe the next year going out and playing baseball. They said spring practice is the big thing we're going to work around.

    "I'll try to play both sports, but not the first year."

    While he seems like an exceptional athlete, it will probably take a lot of money to get him away from Miami. He is extremely committed to football at this point and is ready to sit out a year of baseball while being the scout quarterback for the team barring any injury. It will be interesting to see how high the Mets will go to try and bring him in.

    Nathan Hedrick R/R RHP CC

    Nathan Hedrick is a big 6'10" right hander that pitched for Barton County Community College.

    Pitching Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP SV  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2006 6 1 2.70 35.2 10 6.31 0.0 4.54 10.35 1.21
    Hedrick plunked seven guys in his 35.2 innings of work and worked strictly out of the bullpen. The nineteen year old right hander's fastball has been clocked around 90 mph.

    Jeremy Barfield R/L OF

    Barfield is a big 6-4, 240 pound pitcher/outfielder. John Sickels said that Barfield has the potential to be an excellent power hitter, but he lacks defensive value. Ultimately, Barfield may end up as a first baseman.

    Baseball America had him ranked as the 141st best prospect in the draft and has this to say about him:

    Though he's a 6-foot-6 lefthander, he had a low-80s fastball and just a fair curveball. Barfield has a lot more power in his bat than in his arm. His size gives him leverage to drive pitches, and he has emerged as one of the best high school hitters in Texas. Barfield's bat will have to carry him, because his other tools don't stand out. He has below-average speed and arm strength, and he may have to move to first base as a pro. Scouts like his makeup and confidence, and his stock was rising as the draft approached. Though he's a good student, he wants to turn pro. Jeremy has passed on four-year schools and has committed only to San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College.

    Barfield is really an interesting pick that seems to be raw, but he has considerable upside. If you would like to be J Barf's friend on MySpace, click here.

    Philips Orta R/R RHP CC

    Pitcing Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2006 3 6 2.85 54.0 9.67 0.0 3.67 11.67 1.48
    I don't have much on Orta besides the fact he is from Venezuela.

    Nick Giarraputo R/R 3B HS

    Batting Stats:
          G  AB  R  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG
    2006 28 83 27 7 7 35 18 5 .446 .570 .783
    Nick has committed to going to Long Beach State. Long Beach is a very good baseball program so there is talent there or else they would not be interested in him. Also, he would be filling some pretty big shoes if he stays at third that just got drafted third overall by the Devil Rays. Again, not much on him but stats, but he looks like a decent high school player. We'll see what that translates into and if the Mets can pry him away from being a Dirtbag.

    Daniel Murphy L/L 3B College

    Batting Stats:
          G  AB  R  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG
    2004 32 77 12 5 1 9 9 13 .377 .455 .506
    2005 54 219 35 12 2 31 11 23 .329 .381 .429
    2006 57 221 54 10 6 55 34 13 .398 .470 .534
    "Daniel Murphy is one of the best pure hitters that I've had the good fortune to coach," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "On top of that, he proved how much of a competitor he is by playing with one bad leg as we headed into the postseason."

    Current injured Met Juan Padilla is one of two Jacksonville University players to be on big league rosters in 2006.

    Tobi Stoner R/R RHP College

    Pitcing Stats:
          W  L   ERA    IP  H/9 HR/9  BB/9   K/9  WHIP
    2006 8 5 2.90 90 8.5 0.7 1.5 7.9 1.11
    Stephen Puhl S/R C College

    Batting Stats:
          G  AB  R  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG
    2005 53 177 45 9 5 39 31 15 .350 .456 .525
    2006 49 150 36 14 2 41 28 11 .333 .432 .493
    Ritchie Price S/R SS College

    Batting Stats:
          G  AB  R  2B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG
    2005 64 195 34 14 5 40 41 51 .256 .409 .405
    2006 68 290 52 12 2 33 22 44 .286 .356 .348
    The rest:
    Andrew Moye R/R RHP HS
    Justin Dallas R/R Catcher HS
    Duane Privett L/L LHP CC

    * * *

  • Needing some more pointless drivel, apparently Willie not using Wagner when he was trying to give the bullpen is now a point of contention.

    "Everything's new and it takes getting used to," Wagner said. "We're here to win and we go by his rules. There's no 'I' on this team. There are no roles on this team. The way he looks at it, there is no closer, there is no set-up man, we're all pitchers. He treats us all the same and he expects us to do anything he says."

    Now, I didn't even see him throw a pitch in the bullpen and he gets ready in twelve pitches. If Bradford got in trouble he was on standby, but did not even waste his arm in the least bit. He stretched. That's it. I have to side with Willie. What if Wagner came in and threw 30 pitches with no off day this week? He didn't need to be used save situation or not. They had control of the game and Wagner had just pitched two consecutive days. It turned out that Wagner was not needed in yesterday's game, but with Pedro and Glavine slated to be the next two pitchers, it is easy to see why Randolph wanted to give everyone a break so they were ready to go.

  • Glavine goes for number nine against Odalis Perez (4-1, 6.05 ERA). Money in the bank for the Mets.

  • Ben Shpigel has a nice article on Jose Reyes.

    "We don't mind that he hits home runs," Carlos Delgado said. "But we don't want him to try to hit home runs."

    Before Tuesday's 8-5 loss to the Dodgers, Delgado expressed the prevailing viewpoint in the clubhouse, preferring that Reyes's legs piston, not jog, around the bases. That is when Reyes is at his most electrifying. His speed transforms shallow fly balls into sacrifice flies, steals into minor risks and triples into probably the 10 most captivating seconds in baseball. But Reyes cannot show off his talent if he cannot get on base.

  • The Phillies had the Mets first round pick for this year's draft and who do the inevitably draft? Kyle Drabek of course. The kid with the electric arm that was the one guy that I wanted the Mets to get above all if they could have had anyone. A bit of a slap in the face, but it is tough to really complain when you get Mr. Billy Wagner.
  • Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    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.

    * * *

  • This story has to be one of the worst of the year, but it continues.

    "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.

  • Last night's game was one that the Mets and Met fans needed direly. They got off to a nice three run lead before the Dodgers even got up to bat courtesy of a Jose Reyes leadoff homerun and a Carlos Delgado two run shot. Alay Soler pitched a great game and gave up one earned run in seven innings and the Mets finished the game out with Pedro Feliciano and Chad Bradford. Bradford picked up the save and it is the second time this year someone other than Billy Wagner picked up the save. As for Soler, he really did need to put a up a good game to keep himself in the rotation because there are other options.

    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.

  • Eli Gelman has a nice piece on one of my favorite guys in the Mets system Joseph Holden.

    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 Almonte gets drafted, it would not be because of his skill.

    "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.

  • Simply nuts.

    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.

  • Jae Seo is out of the rotation.

  • Jonathan Mayo has his first round projections out today for MLB.com. I really like Longoria to the Devil Rays. The really need a third baseman and look committed to Upton at short. Their outfield is stacked and they have a lot of young arms and Longoria's refined bat fits in well and should be helping them out sometime in 2007 if they can ink him fast.

    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.
  • Monday, June 05, 2006

    Get Out of Jail Free Card

    For now, Lastings Milledge is not in trouble as his actions have been chalked up to being rookie mistakes and simply being an overly exuberant 21-year old.
    "We weren't too happy about that. But he's a young kid," Giants reliever Steve Kline said. "I don't know if he's going to be slapping five with everybody after he goes 0-for-15 and the New York fans are booing him. But in the heat of the moment, you can't blame the kid. He knows better. I think he genuinely knows he did wrong."
    "Oh, boy. He has a little growing up to do," outfielder Cliff Floyd said. "I'll just mention to him the consequences that come along with that. If that's what you want to do, you do that. But at the same time, if you want guys throwing at your head constantly, you proceed to do it that way.

    "He has the talent and everything, but you have to understand the game at this level. At Triple-A they're going to treat you like a king, and what's wrong with that? When you come here, without losing your mojo, you've got to bring the mentality down. If you can do that, you'll earn the respect of a lot of people."
    "I had a little conversation with him about that. I told him to tone it down a little bit," Willie Randolph said. "He got excited about his first big home run. Wouldn't you? I talked to him about it -- it won't happen again."
    "Now I know what's expected. It was a rookie mistake. We learn from it," Milledge said. "I was just excited to get the team back. If it was just a solo homer that meant nothing for the team, I wouldn't have been that excited."
    I was at the game and did not think too much of it at the time, but Fiver Gate was not well received by people that actually play the game. I kind of liked it when it happened though I thought it was weird because I have never seen that before. I really do not think it was Milledge being a show boat. The kid hit a big homerun, had his index finger and middle finger raised as he rounded first, did a curtain call, and threw out some love to some people. To say the crowd was going berserk would be an understatement as the place was completely out of control and Milledge was obviously excited too.

    "I honestly wasn't showing anyone up," Milledge said. "I just wanted to show the fans how much I appreciated them."

    Baseball is a game that players get very offended and very easily. Any attempt to showboat a little is akin to running over someone's dog. Is everyone supposed to act like robots and show no emotion? Was Milledge a little bit over the top with the high fives? Maybe. How many players actually go out for curtain calls on their first big league homerun? Not many, but Lastings was probably having an insanely surreal moment.

    "I didn't realize it was my first major-league home run until I touched third," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "The first thing I thought was, 'tie score.'"

    With this being a big deal in the media and the recent articles about his arrogance, Milledge is going to have a hard time shedding this image. Once a guy is tabbed as lazy or a bad clubhouse guy, it generally follows him around. Personally, I thought everything he did was fine. It was a cool moment when high fived the fans. After all, that is what they wanted him to do and a little more of that would add some color into the game. If you are on the other team and do not like it? Beat them. The Giants did that so who got the last laugh?

    "I wanted to give the fans the chance to experience my first home run with me," Milledge explained. "I was just excited to have helped us get back in the game. Willie just said that other people will take it differently than what you want it to be. I understand I made a rookie mistake."

    Whether or not you like soccer, the World Cup is always fun to watch. While I understand the stakes are much higher in the World Cup than a game in early June, watching the emotion being poured out on the field during the game and after game is amazing. But that extends outside of the World Cup too in the soccer World and it just is not at our fingertips to watch like the World Cup is. The crowds at soccer games are out of the control and the overall atmosphere is really what makes those games so exciting. Maybe baseball should take note of that and stop worrying about players getting feelings hurt and wanting players to be emotionless.

    Rookie or not, it is pretty impossible not to get excited when a large crowd of some of the most intense fans in professional sports are going wild. There are definitely things that can be done that are simply unacceptable when it comes to showboating and Milledge did not do any of that in my eyes and there are a few fans who were down on the right field line yesterday that will probably have a different opinion than most in regards to the entire situation. Milledge’s makeup questions have been more or less of a non-issue for me and I think Michael Vaccaro said it best in his column today.

    If the worst we'll ever say about Milledge is that he got a little too excited after his first signature moment as a major leaguer, then Milledge will have lived a long and prosperous baseball life.

    Preach on brother. Preach on.

    * * *

  • Mark Herrmann pretty much captured what a lot of people were thinking about yesterday's loss. I usually am not a happy camper after Met losses, however, yesterday's loss just didn't feel very bad. Strangely enough, I still felt positive when I'm usually down about any loss.
    • Steve Trachsel gave the Mets a great start.
    • The team proved it's resiliency yet again and overcame a devastating eighth inning error and two runs allowed in the tenth to cap two big comebacks on the day.
    • Lastings Milledge put up a 3 for 4 day with a homerun, three RBIs, and a nice sliding catch in right field. Sick. Just sick.
    • David Wright continues to be on fire while spraying the ball the all fields.
    • Jose Valentin continues to swing a great bat and is really playing well.
    • Finally to top it off, one of the Mets comeback came courtesy of an Armando Benitez meltdown.
    You do not want to take anything away from the other team for winning. The Giants executed in the end and made it happen, but the Mets were in it. They were in it and they beat themselves with some costly mistakes and there are too many positives to take away from this game to be upset with that loss.

  • Here is some info on Xavier Nady from NorthJersey.com:

    Looking noticeably thinner Sunday, Xavier Nady strode into the clubhouse saying, "I was bored. I couldn't stay at home."

    Nady underwent an emergency appendectomy early in the morning May 30, and until taking a few gingerly steps Saturday, he's "mostly been laying around." Nady's on the 15-day disabled list for now, and he's hoping his doctor will give him clearance at his Friday appointment to start baseball maneuvers.

  • Bonds was booed unmercifully. He was booed the point that I actually felt bad for the guy for bearing the brunt for the entire steroid era. The were signs o' plenty, foam asterisks, blow up syringes with arms, eyes, and a '25' on the back, and fans booing his every move. Yesterday, I felt bad. Today I don't.

    "This was pretty weak," he said of the fans' reaction to him. "It's much tougher in Los Angeles. I love the way the fans act out there. I just love it."

  • Carlos Beltran lent a helping hand to Lastings Milledge after the game.

    After the game, Milledge also looked a little disoriented as he wandered around the clubhouse trying to figure out the proper dress code attire for the plane ride to Los Angeles.

    Finally, Carlos Beltran, known as the best dresser on the team, took him aside and hooked him up with the right jacket and pants ensemble so he could catch the team bus to the airport.

  • According Dayn Perry, Willie Randolph is the Manger of the year in the 2006 'one third' awards.

    Because of Omar Minaya's frantic (and pricey) winter, the pressure on Willie Randolph has been acute. He's dealt with injuries, uncertainty in the middle infield and upheaval in the rotation, but there the Mets are — in first place by a full five-and-a-half games. There's plenty of time for the wheels to come off, but if Randolph fends off the Braves and Phillies, he'll be the toast of Gotham. At least until the playoffs begin.

  • You just cannot make this stuff up.

    Jeffrey Maier is the talk of the town in Baltimore, where fans can't believe the 12-year-old boy who ruined their 1996 season is eligible for the draft--and that the Orioles are considering drafting him. By now you know that Maier, who reached over the wall at Yankee Stadium and changed the course of the American League Championship Series by grabbing a Derek Jeter fly ball and turning it into a home run, became a solid player at Wesleyan (Conn.) University and is a marginal draft prospect. Some Orioles fans think Maier's interference was the beginning of their team's downward spiral, but owner Peter Angelos said he is intrigued by the idea of bringing Maier into his franchise. "I wouldn't be at all opposed to (drafting Maier)," he told The Washington Post. "In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development. You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."

  • Jose Valentin is officially the starter at second base. Who would have guessed that would have happened?

    Solidarity by moustaches.

    Q: Why would anyone want to grow a moustache?
    A: To get Willie to put them in the starting lineup.

    Jose's moustache is the only reason I can think of that he is still around. He was pretty bad in 2003. He followed that up by being pretty bad in 2004. Not to surprisingly, he followed that up up by completely shitting the bed in 2005. In Spring Training of 2006, he looked completely lost. The trend continued for the first part of the season and he posted a .136/.136/.136 line in April. Then May came around and Jose Valentin put up a .320/.368/.600 line and he has a .444/.545/.889 line so far in June. Valentin has been hitting with power, roping line drives, and playing solid defense. Truly bizarre turn of events. In the past, some teams shaved their heads to show solidarity. Some teams did not shave their beards to show their solidarity. However, I propose that all Met players and Mets fans (including woman who have the wherewithal to) grow moustaches. Dayn Perry says Willie has been the manager of the year so far and Valentin has been playing like a stud. Much like Samson’s strength coming from the hair on top of his head, it is hard not to see some sort of correlation between Randolph and Valentin's success and their moustaches. With 25 players on the team and multitudes of fans with fuzzy upper lips, this team would be unstoppable.