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:
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.
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.
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.
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.