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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Prospect Musings

I am late to the party on this one, but when am I not?

Mets Top 10
1. Fernando Martinez, of
So far ahead of the rest of the system, but still a long way from his ceiling.
2. Eddie Kunz, rhp
It's not a good sign when a reliever from the most recent draft is your No. 2 prospect.
3. Brant Rustich, rhp
It's worse when a reliever from the most recent draft is your No. 3 prospect as well.
4. Jon Niese, lhp
Young lefty with solid stuff will pitch in Double-A at age 21.
5. Nathan Vineyard, lhp
Sandwich pick last June has the potential for three average or better pitches.
6. Robert Parnell, rhp
Gets whiffs with his fastball and slider, but must refine his changeup to stay a starter.
7. Joe Smith, rhp
Sidearm reliever made his big league debut 10 months after getting drafted.
8. Scott Moviel, rhp
He's 6-foot-11 and already touches 94 mph, though his breaking ball needs work.
9. Danny Murphy, 3b
His third-base defense is an issue, but he has the second-best bat in the system.
10. Wilmer Flores, 3b/ss
Signed out of Venezuela for $750,000, he draws some Miguel Cabrera comps.

I find it strange that Vineyard, who I really like, and Niese are not above Kunz and Rustich. I cannot see how those two would not be above them being starters with a #2/#3 ceiling. But that is just me...

John Sickels' list:

1. Fernando Martinez, OF
2. Jon Niese, LHP
3. Eddie Kunz, RHP
4. Brant Rustich, RHP
5. Joe Smith, RHP
6. Nick Evans, 1B
7. Stephen Clyne, RHP
8. Scott Moviel, RHP
9. Brahiam Maldonado, OF
10. Nate Vinyard, LHP

Here, you could extend what BA says to say if your 3, 4, and 5 guys are all college relievers that you drafted over the past two seasons, things are not good. However, I do some bright spots.

I was a bit pessimistic when I said the Mets could have the worst system in the league. That of course belongs to the Houston Astros at this point, but the Mets are certainly in the bottom third. The only reason they are not in the conversation for the worst is because they have a legit blue chip prospect in Fernando Martinez that is one of the few guys in the conversation for the projected #1 prospect in 2009 out of all of baseball. If you can produce three superstars from your system and have them all at the big league level at the same time, you are doing something right, which the Mets might have.

Also, what I do find interesting here is that Niese and Vineyard are both lefties. Those are rare commodities and I do see them as the #2 and #3 prospects rather than the legions of right-handed relievers. Niese is a hard throwing lefty and I am sucker for lefties that own plus sliders, which Vineyard has. They have a knack for making lefties and righties alike look stupid.

There is just something about sliders and lefties that righties just rarely replicate. Jeff Nelson had a frisbee-esque slider, Joba has a devastating one, as do a few others, but Kazmir, O. Perez, and RJ (in his heyday) make righties swing at balls that hit the tops of their shoes. I am not suggesting Vineyard's is going to be that good, but he throws in the low 90's, is projectable, and already has a good slider. Therefore, I am going to begin my irrational fawning over him as a prospect.

Moviel is another guy I really like. Think high 90's fastball. That is where it will be sitting by the time he is in the upper rungs of the minors. Of course, that may not be a good thing. As far as guys who are up in the high 90's go, their success rate and ability to put things together for a sustained big league career is rather low. There are more guys with high heaters that do not make it than do make it. However, that does not mean this kid has no chance to be legit. Plenty that do make it and are able to harness their fastball are usually pretty good.

Let us not forget that Flores guy. The Mets were active in '07 on the international front and inked Martin Perez for $560,000, Wilmer Flores for $750,000, Kelvin Mostcantero for $400,000, Jeffrey Marte for $550,000, and Polanco for $400,000. That is a lot of coin and gone are they days of calling Fred Wilpon cheap. We do not know much on these guys so these are all names to keep on the radar.

Another positive development to keep an eye on is actually honest to god hitting prospects. Dan Murphy's .430 SLG% in St. Lucie in his first go 'round as a pro, Maldonodo's .500+ SLG% in 2007, and Nick Evans' .476 SLG% in St. Lucie are all encouraging signs. They will all be 22 for the 2008 season and they will all be in A+ or AA baseball. These guys will not make any top 100 lists or garner the attention of many thirteen year old girls when they make the bigs, but all have a chance to be contributing regulars on the big league level and successful teams simply need to grow not just superstars and little else, but a supporting cast as well. The Mets have done a bad job with position guys, but these three look promising.

The truly obvious problem and one that has repeated many, many times, outside of Pelfrey and Fernando, there is nothing outside of a few relievers on the way to help. Of course, the Mets have a lot of young guys they control for a while, but they will lack the wherewithal to pull of trades or fill in for injuries. Another year like 2007 could be devastating for this team over the next few years. Health is key because their depth is at an all time low.

* * *

  • Sure he had an ERA north of 6.00 last season, but I still like the deal.

    He is still young and might be able to string a nice season together.

  • Radomski spills the beans.

  • Tim Marchman continues his stellar work.

    John Maine, the Mets' no. 3 starter, was born in May 1981. Oliver Perez, the no. 4 starter, was born three months later. The Mets stole each in seemingly minor deals in 2006. Last year, each won 15 games and ranked in the top 20 in the National League in earned run average: This year, they could make the difference between a team that rates among the best in baseball's weaker league, and a team that rates as the best in baseball. If they pitch as well as they did last year, the Mets will probably win the division. If one does and the other raises his game, they'll almost certainly win it. If both find a new level, they might win 100 games.

    This team could win in the high 90's if Pedro is healthy and Maine and Perez continue to do what we all think they can. However, the article was a really interesting one comparing and contrasting the two and who was better.

    Essentially, Perez wasn't quite as good as he looked last year, and his record doesn't quite support the idea that he's even as good as he was last year. Maine, meanwhile, was about as good as he looked last year, and has been so for some time. There's a clear, meaningful distinction between them — Perez is a solid no. 3 starter with an upside well past that, and a good chance of reaching it; while Maine is a no. 2 starter who just needs to add some innings. Take into account that Perez will probably earn more over the next two years as Maine will over the next three, and it's clear which is a terrific young pitcher and which is one of the more valuable properties in the league. You can root for both pitchers, but if you have to pick one, make it Maine.

    Maine's DiPS ERA was roughly the same as his regular ERA and about 0.20 lower than Perez's. So despite Ollie's lower ERA, his DiPS ERA suggests he was lucky a bit while Maine actually did pitch slightly better.

  • Beltran still is not 100%.

  • Billy is shooting for the stars

    Reportedly, the A's want two from Column A — pitcher Homer Bailey, pitcher Johnny Cueto or first baseman Joey Votto. Seriously, while the A's are at it, why don't they also ask for the Carew Tower and a Montgomery Inn franchise to be built later?


  • Allllllll the way out of left field, the Twins sign Livan. For that price, I could think of many other teams that should have jumped all over him.
  • Labels: , ,


    Anonymous ossy said...

    Dep... continuation from yesterdays post/comments

    ps3 did have a poor lineup but they will be having their time in the sun this year. they have a ton of great games coming out this year.

    tony armas = depth. throw enough shit at the wall and some of it will stick.

    main is the main. his rising fastball is less likely to get rocked than perez's slider bc if he misses, it can still be a foul/pop up. if perez misses that slider up, little timmy has a souvenir.

    i hope they rip clemens a new asshole. why the hell was he going around buttering up the masses? douche. palmeiro did the same thing!

    our system will be better after those intl signing develop and omar/fred ignore selig and his draft pricing/slotting

    12:58 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Those international signings will take a good three or four years to start getting interesting unless they are studly studs.

    They will be weak for a few years. Hopefully everyone can stay healthy!

    Rustich really needs to move into the rotation.

    1:06 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    good point on the intl signings. martinez was signed lord knows how long ago.

    1:26 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The Mets minor league system isn't as bad as some people think. With 3 first round picks this year, I think it will get better quick. Not to mention they're a lot of kids that aren't getting noticed yet. Overall I like what Omar and his staff have done since coming on board. His draft pick have netted us Johan Santana, and his international signings are going to start paying dividends. Case in point Guerra. If the Mets didn't have him, I highly doubt Santana would be in blue and orange.

    1:38 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    yea yea, our system sucks. but we got Johan friggin Santana!!!!

    Absolutely agree that the two things that separates the mets system from the likes of the stros are clearly having Fernando! and having a ton of int'l talent, like all the guys Mike mentions in the article, that just needs time to (hopefully develop).

    A bad 2008 would be devastating, I wont even accept such a possibility at this time. 3 no hitters and a great 2008. sold!

    re: PS3....Cool Ossy, yea i'm definitely getting one. Maybe I'll be asking you about some game recommendations at some point.

    3 MORE DAYS!!! I want P&C!

    1:45 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...


    Thanks for deleting my email off the previous thread. Benny emailed me, so we all good. I appreciate it.

    1:45 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    The only beef I have regarding Omar and the farm is his apparent over-valuation of college relievers.


    Position players or starters in the top rounds please. no relievers.

    1:46 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    ....and of course his reluctance to tell Selig and his slotting system to go to hell.

    Hopefully that changes this year.

    1:46 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Guerra was the key as potential ace. A lot of projection, but he could be reaaaally good. This could be a win/win.

    Ad bad '08 would scar me. It would be a very bad thing.

    The colledge reliever thing is crazy. Just nuts. It has been a disturbing trend of his as it looks like he is drafting for big league need rather than actual top talent.

    Slotting is for sissies. Omar needs to blow that the hell out of the water and get three guys that are legit prospects.

    1:59 PM

    Anonymous tc said...

    Is Beltran ever 100% healthy? He needs to stop being a whiny little bitch and channel his inner mole and suck it up.

    As far as the minors, it'll be fun to see the Mets grab three 1st rounders beyond the slot money. I read before that the draft is semi-deep with talent, but that because more teams are pushing the line with the suggested slot, the Mets chances of getting a top 10 quality pick at 18 are slightly lessened.

    Re: Joe Blanton ... no idea what Beane is thinking. Then again, no one ever does, and somehow he puts a competitive team on the field with a $40 million payroll. Is Blanton really good? I mean his numbers are there, but he just reminds me a of beer league softball guy that shows up in the 3rd inning on a Saturday morning half hungover and half drunk.

    2:45 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Mr. Callis says it is deep so I am optimistic.

    18 is still pretty good though. Hughes was 18th and he did not drop for signability, Michael Main, Kyle Drabek...etc. Plenty of talent is down there for the Mets.

    Blanton is 110% league average. He is in no rush to trade him with three years left so I get where he is coming from, but if he could get Votto/Cueto/Bailey, Stubbs, and another marginal guy then I think he should jump on that one.

    I have no idea what exactly the Reds offered, but Votto + Bailey/Cueto is insane.

    2:50 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    id rather draft a college level reliever than sign latroy hawkins or anyone else to a fat contract

    beltran needs to be loved. he is the man and i dont mets fans appreciate his talents. he does piss me off though. but then i look at like this. can you drive a car with a slow leak? yea. can you race with that same car? no

    beane will get his man. one way or another

    3:03 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    id rather draft a college level reliever than sign latroy hawkins or anyone else to a fat contract

    No way man. Give me some high ceiling talent!

    I don't trash Beltran. I like him a lot, though I would not mind him being healthy for an entire year.

    3:32 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    Olmedo Saenz....


    welcome to the fold.

    another whatever move, guy is old and sucked in 2007, but before that he was kinda productive. Not horrible. He's supposed to be a great clubhouse guy too!

    Old and great in the clubhouse, uh oh, Willie may start him at first!!!!! ;)

    7:11 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    For the next year or so, the Mets system will be regarded as weak on paper, and that's something we are all going to have to accept for now.

    But I'm OK with this, because there is more talent here than people realize. The Mets challenge their players, and it hides their talent. Keep in mind that David Wright was never, going into any year, a Top 3 prospect for the Mets. Seriously.

    There are plenty of upside hitting prospects at A+ or below - Dan Murphy, Lucas Duda, Hector Pellot, Greg Veloz, Juan Legares, Ruben Tejada, Wilmer Flores, Sean McGraw, Francisco Pena, Raul Reyes, and Brahmiam Maldonado. (I'm not as high on Carp or Evans). All these guys are high upside, talented players who are young for their league. I can guarantee at least half of them wash out. But I can also guarantee that 2-3 will be bigtime prospects by the end of this season.

    Same thing with the pitchers - Nick Carr, Dylan Owen, Mike Olmstead, Phillips Orta, Elvin Ramirez, Scott Moviel, Cole Abbott, Jon Niese, Michael Antonini, Nate Vineyard, and Robert Carson are all talented kids either just drafted or young for their level. Some of them will flame out this year, but again 2-3 of them will take a step up.

    Which means, by the end of this year, the Mets will likely have a Top 5 prospect in all of baseball (Fernando), 3 good promising hitters, 3 good promising pitchers, 3 very good draft picks (I fully expect the Mets to get one of the 5-8 best players in this draft due to signability) and one or two highly touted IFA's. That's a system which would be ranked somewhere between 10-15 in baseball.


    11:00 AM

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