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