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

Monday, January 08, 2007

Weighted Average Prospect Ranking

I took the Mets top ten prospects from Mets Inside Pitch, Baseball America, John Sickels, and myself to give a weighted top ten list. A player got ten points for any first place voting, nine points for a second place voting and so on. Here is what I came up with:

1) Mike Pelfrey - 38
2) Fernando Martinez - 36
3) Carlos Gomez - 32
4) Phil Humber - 30
5) Deolis Guerra - 17
6) Jon Niese - 17
7) Mike Carp - 16
8) Kevin Mulvey - 12
9) Joe Smith - 7
10) Shawn Bowman - 4

Outside looking in:

11) Alay Soler - 2
12) Francisco Pena - 1

What you see is three distinct tiers of players. The four blue chippers, the four in the next tier of talent, and the rest of the pack. Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez, and Mike Pelfrey each stopped in at #1 on someone's top ten list with Mike Pelfrey checking in at #1 on two lists. Pelfrey stopped in at #1 on my list and Baseball America's and that might seem weird to a lot of people since I have stated time and again I like Humber better. However, Pelfrey's arm is just one of those rare arms.

From Matt Meyer's chat on Met prospects:
When I talk to scouts and coaches, they often talk about how important it is to pitch off of your fastball. Pelfrey not only pitches off of it, he can control games with it and it has the chance to be the type of special fastball you speak of. Humber's curve, while fantastic, is not as unique as Pelfrey's fastball. Let me put it this way: There are a lot more pitchers in the minors with a curve like Humber's than there are with a fastball like Pelfrey's. He is just a more unique talent as far as I am concerned.

That is really it in a nutshell. Strangely enough, I made my list a few weeks ago in anticipation of the Baseball America top ten list and was a bit surprised that I had Pelfrey at #1 myself. That's not a knock on Pelfrey either, but a testament to Fernando Martinez and Phil Humber.

Q: Burt from Cincinnati asks:
1) When is Mike Pelfrey "up" to stay? 2) Can he be the Mets' #1 starter by 2009?
A: Matt Meyers:
1) At some point this season. 2) Yes, and possibly sooner

What BA says about Pelfrey:
  • There are few pitchers in the minors whose fastball can rival Pelfrey's. His two-seamer sits at 92-95 mph with fierce sink and late life and rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
  • He has thrown both a curveball and a slider but now favors the slider, which is better suited for his power arm. He throws it at 84-87 mph with some depth, and he can reduce the break on it to give it more of a cutter look against lefthanders. He has yet to learn how to command his slider consistently, and it probably always will be his third-best pitch.
  • He should be in the Mets rotation for years to come and has the potential to be a legitimate No. 1 starter.

    It is clear that Baseball America is still extremely high on Mike Pelfrey's potential and it is easy for us to get frustrated with him, but the reality is he has not even thrown 97 minor league innings yet. Like Milledge deserves a pass and needs more time, Mike Pelfrey does too. While I still like Phil Humber in the short term, Mike Pelfrey definitely has the ability to surpass him and pair up with Humber to make one swell front end of the Mets rotation.

    One thing that did shock me a bit is Baseball American's unabashed love for Carlos Gomez. We all know he oozes tools and has been young for his league in every season he has been a pro, but Baseball America laid it on thick. It was basically said that it was a toss up between Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez for #2 and #3 on their top ten and considering F-Marts tremendously high ceiling, that is certainly high praise, but somewhat perplexing since Gomez has not really put up and jaw dropping years and will be at AAA in '07. Furthermore, you get the sense from Meyers and BA that few rival the tools and have the ceiling that Gomez has.

    The one problem is tapping into that potential. We've all heard the stories about the serious homerun pop he exhibits in batting practice, but he still has not shown the ability to translate that into game power. While the Mets have three premium prospects in the outfield that really are not that far away, none of the three really project to be big time power guys. While that really is not a paramount concern a well rounded offensive team like the Mets, it is a slight concern and you hope to see one of the three step up to be a thirty homerun type guy to add some more punch in the middle of the lineup. A centerfielder with a good bat still has a sub-par bat for a corner outfielder and it certainly diminishes the players value a bit to be playing out of position.

    As for F-Mart, Matt Meyers finally said what Met fans have been getting someone to say for months and months.

    Q: Fabian from My Cubicle asks:
    Who is your pick between Fernando Martinez and Jose Tabata? Why?

    A: Matt Meyers:

    When I did the SAL top 20 list, I ranked Tabata higher. But after hearing reports from Martinez in the Arizona Fall League, I think I might rank him higher. I honestly don't know, but I think the fact the Martinez is a little more athletic and hits lefthanded gives him the nod at this moment. It is a great debate and I hope it continues for years to give us a modern day version of Mantle vs. Mays. We are a long way from that though.

    What we do know is we are splitting hairs here. Both were extremely successful at a young age and while you won't find many Met fans that do not think Martinez has the edge, most will agree Tabata is pretty solid. Baseball America also said that he has the highest ceiling of any hitter in the system and will put himself into the discussion of the best prospects in baseball if he can build on his 2006 season.

    Overall, you have to feel good about the Mets system right now. It's a far cry from where it was two years ago and they have potentially ten guys, including Lastings Milledge, who could be impact players on the big league level with guys like Dustin Martin, Francisco Pena, Emmanuel Garcia, Sean Henry, Greg Cain, Tobi Stoner, Eddie Camacho, Josh Stinson, Daniel Stegall, Hector Pellot, and Junior Contreras that are solid prospects with some nice upside. Outside of the catching department, the Mets have a nice number of prospects in the places they need them and things are definitely on an upswing for the Mets in regards to their minor league system.

    * * *

  • DG was out in full force during the BA chat....

    Q: Screamin DG from Paris, France asks:
    Hey Matt, I must admit that this is one of my favorite days of the year! There were two pitchers who continually intrigued me last year though neither is a top level prospect. One is Mike Devaney, who finished the year at Binghamton; the other, Jacob Ruckle, who faired better at St. Lucie than he did later for Brooklyn. Could you tell me a bit about each player and even take a guess at where they rank in the Mets top 30? Further, does either pitcher have a chance to reach the show?

    A: Matt Meyers: Word, a question from France. My mother (who was born in France) would not be happy if I ignored this one.

    Matt Meyers: Ruckle and Devaney are similar pitchers in that they both have had success despite a fastball that Jose Reyes could probably outrun. Although they have had good numbers, neither is a great prospect. Ruckle has a an odd bow-and-arrow delivery that causes some deception, but his fastball sits at about 85-86 mph. I just don't think it will play at higher levels. Devaney fits in towards the back end of the top 30 (available in the Prospect Handbook!!!) and his fastball sits at 88 mph. He also has a big looping curve that causes bad swings. When you grade out his stuff, he is not a prospect. But since he has had success as high as Double-A, he has some legitimacy. If he does this again in 2007, he will be worth paying attention to.

    Word...DG starts it off with some obscure prospect reference which is always nice.

    Q: Screamin DG from Paris, France asks:
    Can you explain the philosophy that Humber needs more innings in the minors this year than Pelfrey? As far as I see it, innings are innings wherever they are thrown. I mean, it's not like he'll throw less in the minors than he would in the majors.

    A: Matt Meyers: Not all innings are created equal. Minor league innings are less stressful because their is less emphasis on winning. When you get bombed in the minors, you talk to your pitching coach about what went wrong and how to fix it. When you get bombed in the big leagues, you have to face a dozen beat writers and get ripped on sports radio. Also, it is more taxing to pitch in the majors because the hitters are tougher. Furthermore, in the minors when you are on a strict pitch count they will take you out when you hit the limit regardless of the situation. You can't do that in the big leagues. You can't take Humber out of a big league game when he hits 75 pitches if it is the fourth inning and two men are on. Maybe once in a while you can, but not every time. He needs to prove he can reliably pitch deep into games.

    DG, I thought you got the memo that not all innings were created equal! We'll let you slide on that one since you went to bat for Phil Humber trying to get him the respect that he deserves and did not quite get in the chat.

  • Keith Law Chat....

    Alon (Brooklyn): What do you project from Humber and Pelfrey in the future?

    SportsNation Keith Law: I've said before that I think Pelfrey needs to junk his curve and go fastball-slider to be successful, but if he does, he's a #1 or #2 starter. Humber scares me - threw so well in September, then came up lame again in the Arizona Fall League. Those Rice kids just can't stay healthy. Good arm, though, middle-of-the-rotation guy with power stuff but durability issues if he puts it together.

    Not fair. Humber's health history was spotless until Tommy John and it is understandable that he got tired arm after a long hiatus. Suck it.

  • Duaner? Bargain.

  • Changing of the guard in terms of which league the top tier shortstops reside in? I think so. Seven of the top twelve fantasy short stops are in the National League and the youth is on their side as well. Reyes, Rollins, Tulowitzski, Drew, Hanley Ramirez, JJ Hardy, Felipe Lopez, Freddie Sanchez, etc... What was once a thin position in the National League has become quite a deep one.

  • The Hall of Fame...If I had a ballot, here is how it would look:

    Tony Gwynn - yes
    Cal Ripken Jr. - yes
    Goose Gossage - yes
    Andre Dawson - yes
    Jim Rice - yes
    Jack Morris - no
    Bert Blyleven - yes
    Mark McGwire - no
    Alan Trammell - no
    Harold Baines - no
    Albert Belle - no, though he would have been a sure bet had he not had injury issues
    Dave Concepcion - no
    Steve Garvey - no
    Dale Murphy - no
    Dave Parker - no
    Lee Smith - no

    I voted yes on Gossage, Rice, Dawson, and Blyleven because I'm sick of ready about them every damn year and whether they should be in or not.

    Stark on Gossage:
    No closer in history made more All-Star teams than Gossage (nine). And according to Retrosheet, he held right-handed hitters to a .211 batting average, .285 on-base percentage and .311 slugging percentage over a 22-year career. So elect him already. Please.

    Stark on Dawson:
    He won an MVP award, and finished second twice. He was a rookie of the year. He won eight Gold Gloves. He had one of the most spectacular throwing arms of his era. And even though he needed to run his knees into more ice than the Titanic just to get out there, he still racked up 2,774 hits, 438 homers and 314 stolen bases. The only other players in history who can match that combination are Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

    Stark on Rice:
    In the 11 seasons from 1975 to '85, Anerican League pitchers would have been happier to see Jack the Ripper heading up their driveway than Jim Rice heading toward home plate.

    In those 11 seasons, Rice led the AL in home runs, RBI, runs scored, slugging and extra-base hits. And the only hitter even in the same neighborhood in most of those departments was George Brett.

    Stark on Blyleven:
    Blyleven gave up 344 fewer runs in his career than the average pitcher of his time. In the entire live-ball era, the only eight pitchers who beat him in that department are Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Tom Seaver, Carl Hubbell and Bob Gibson.

    It's clear that they dominated the game at the time more so than their counterparts. That is what the Hall of Fame is about, right? And yes, I realize that could be argued of Mark McGwire, but I still think his game was more one dimensional. Also, when you take into account that from the first game of Major League baseball through 1997 only two guys hit over 60 homers and from 1998 through 2001 it was done six times. I get the fact that McGwire knocked 49 bombs as a rookie to set a record, but he played for 16 years and hit 23% of his homers in the span of two seasons. When you are talking about a guy who was considered a power hitter his entire career, that is saying a lot. Sorry, he's out and it's not because of roids.

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    The Mets are VERY top heavy with 4 big time impact guys at the top, which is all fine and dandy but when it comes to depth they're horrible. And the only reason you need depth is for trades.
    I mean, look how reluctant we all are to trade Pelfrey, Humber, Martinez, and Gomez.

    Looking at your cool system, I see Shawn Bowman... really? Shawn Bowman?

    That line from Meyers says alot. Its crazy to hear that about Pelfrey. Wow, I don't appreciate him as much as others do then. But then again its hard when I'm just judging off numbers and not seeing these guys with my own eyes, daily.

    I guess Baseball America is impressed with his incredible 2nd half. I'm just as impressed with it. Plus, BA has him as the best outfield defender and the strongest outfield arm. That's awesome and you know how defense is important, especially to Omar/Willie. He brings alot to the table. Obviouisly he's a quick learner. Thats one of the reasons the Mets let him skip Single A and go on to Double A, his performance during Spring Training allowed that. Then obviously in the 2nd half he proved he can learn quick.

    Ahh speaking of fantasy baseball. I'm hyped for the 2007 version of it. Good times. Also, I want to invite Coop to join if she wants to. JOIN COOP! Hours of fun with fantasy baseball. You can draft Barry Zito in the 1st round.

    And about the HoF, I don't like talking about players I havn't "experienced" I wasn't alive when some of these guys were playing and looking at stats can only say soo much. So I'll only comment on Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripkin, and Mark McGwire. Yes to Ripkin and Gwynn, and damnit i really don't know about McGwire. If I had a ballot I'd flip a coin...

    12:08 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    I got the memo. Really, I did. I just wanted some more Humber info and also a bit of the philosophy behind the statement. I had honestly figured that April in NY was the biggest reason and expected to hear that. But then it's not exactly looking like it will be cold in April, is it?

    I also had another question on the Mets' toolsy reaches answered (which elicited the Bowman diss) under my obscure nom de plume, John Boccabella, a catcher for the Expos in the early seventies. The guy stunk but the PA in Montreal had a very cool way of introducing him that stuck in my three year old mind (then and now, it's still a three year old mind). Prehistory, I guess.

    Overall it's actually the best list I've seen in years. A strong top 10 with a couple of interesting possibilites out there in the 11 - 30 range (though emphasis should be on "a couple"), so why should we complain? We shouldn't frankly. Plus Milledge would still have graded out number one if not for too many at bats, and DW & Jose are both under 25. Swellicious!

    Agree with Benny that maybe I have not given Pelf his due. Humber has actually had an assortment of injuries since he signed if you count the groin pull that may have contributed to the mechanical breakdown that led to elbow trouble and the tendinitis this fall. But the Rice argument sticks because all of the Rice big three from that draft have had problems.

    Justice would be for Gossage to make it this year with Gwynn & Ripken. I think Blyleven deserves in & so does Davy Concepcion, who was a classic old school SS. He'll probably get in through the Veterans committee one day. I'm on the fence as for Morris, Rice & Dawson. Parker seems to have lost a lot of his rep. And I never got into the cult of McGwire, who everyone should have known was a cheat from the get go.

    Mike Oliver should get a vote in the blogger category, though you haven't retired yet thankfully and the HOF voters won't ever support their computer toating nemesises.

    6:30 AM

    Anonymous Calvin from Maryland said...

    I just cannot believe that Bobby Bonilla wasn't voted into the HOF. That & Steve Trachsell not getting resigned. What's happening to the world?

    2:23 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Mike O. is a ridiculously handsome blogger

    Calvin, you would think that with Trash ball winning 15 games this year, teams would be all over him for cheap OK talent. Most of you know me as a Trash apologist. I am *blush* but I find it hard to believe no one picked him up. That said, I do not want him back.

    Benny, I'm down. Where do I join? email if you have to - do you need it again?

    4:08 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    PS About Pelf - i saw him in his debut, a little shaky but definitely something there. He's not as electric as Oh-pea is (or as cute) but he's good. I'm interested to see what he can bring to the table.

    4:10 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Looking at your cool system, I see Shawn Bowman... really? Shawn Bowman?

    I didn't vote him in. It was either Mets inside pitch or Sickels and someone voted him as the 7th best prospect in the Mets system. F-in ponderous. I think there is upside there with him, but he has not shown much outside of the ability to strikeout a lot and demonstrate some nice leather.

    HA! Draft Zito in the first round...He should be a solid pick if you have an aversion to wins...While Barry Zito was the Mets highest priority this off-season, he is no fantasy stud that is for sure. Low K rate, not so great WHIP, and not many wins on the Giants...Ouch.

    RE: McGwire....if you were at the point where it came down to a coin flip, doesn't that answer your own question if he should be in our not? Has any other power hitting Hall of Famer hit 23% of their total homers in TWO YEARS! The guy played for sixteen years and basically played full seasons in everyone single one but his last one. Those two years were so skewed.

    RE: Gomez...He still needs to break out and do it consistently. He needs to replicate his 2nd half in both halves this season to cement his prospect states and give credence to all the praise he has been given. The tools are obviously there and he took steps forward in becoming a better base stealer, but at some point he has to translate his power and overall skill in production.

    Cold in April? Not so much. No snotting myself on opening day this year.

    Very nice on the John Boccabella reference. I wonder if one person that read it caught it though...very obscure player.

    Davy Concepcion was a tough one for me because I do believe that offense is not everything. If you were the best of the best in terms of fielding in the way that Ozzie Smith was to the shortstop position, great. However, though I did not see Concepcion play, I do not envision him in the Ozzie Smith category. Furthermore, Omar Vizquel may well indeed be a better fielder and similar offensive player (though in a more offensively inflated ERA) and I do not see anyway Vizquel could be voted into the hall. If you are going to make it in on leather alone, you have to be so far ahead of everyone else and that goes for hitting homeruns too as in the case of McGwire…Simply put, homers should not be enough to get you into the HoF w/o other numbers to back it up.

    I actually am shocked Bonilla didn't make it as well. I just want to know who voted for him that son of a bitch.

    I hope Traschel stays in the NL...that would be swell. Facing him is a delicious thought.

    10:28 PM


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