I Talk Prospects to Ignore the Pain
Jim Callis talks top 10 and I talk prospects so I can ignore the bigs.
1. Fernando Martinez, of
Still young and talented, but his lack of production may mean he's overhyped.
2. Ike Davis, 1b
Hulking lefthanded slugger can handle the outfield and pitch, too.
3. Reese Havens, ss
More likely a third baseman or possibly a catcher, stands out with approach and pop.
4. Jon Niese, lhp
Quietly having success in Double-A at age 21, he owns three solid pitches.
5. Dan Murphy, 3b
Having a breakout year with a .325 average and eight homers in Double-A.
6. Mike Carp, 1b
Back on track in Double-A after slumping in 2007, he's hitting .351 with nine homers.
7. Eddie Kunz, rhp
New York's top 2007 pick has held his own in Double-A in his first full season.
8. Brad Holt, rhp
2008 supplemental first-rounder can touch 96 mph, needs a reliable second pitch.
9. Javier Rodriguez, of
2008 second-rounder is a lean athlete with speed and projectable power.
10. Nick Evans, 1b
Another Double-A masher (.295, nine homers), he destroys lefthanded pitching.
First thing you may notice is the #2 and #3 prospects were the 2008 first rounders and #8 and #9 were drafted in the sandwich round and the second round respectively. Now, that might seem disconcerting to some, but I would a bit shocked and disappointed if a team's first rounders were not immediately in the top ten.
I mean, you would have to have a system better than Tampa to not have that happen and I would venture to guess Davis and Havens would have cracked a lot of top tens and plenty of top fives. Yes, the Met systems is weaker than many others, but Davis and Havens are solid ballplayers for sure.
As far as Holt and Rodriguez go, Holt can throw really, really hard which will always garner some attention. I am tepid on him to say the least and I think the Mets should give him a go as a starter and let him work on his secondary stuff and not make some Brandon Morrow debacle out of him and rush him through as a reliever with the lack of anything but a fastball or a Mike Pelfrey debacle and just plain 'ole rush him and change him too much.
Rodriguez has a sweet swing. You do not need to be a scout to see that and he looks like a solid player and if Mr. Callis says he has projectable power to go along with that sweet swing, I am a fan. He has a little bit of a uppercut, but nothing tremendous, and should be able to generate some lift. Some guys are too flat to really hit for a ton of power like Milledge, but this guy looks solid fundamentally.
Also, the Mets finally have some guys at higher levels that are performing. Five of the top ten are in AA and Murphy, Carp, and Evans are all in the top 15 in OPS in the league. Niese has put together a solid year and is still walking a bit too many, but had put up some solid numbers.
As for the Mets #1 prospect, I wholeheartedly agree with Callis. Yes, he is talented, but his best trait these days is being 19 in AA. Yes, he has been held back because of injuries, but why in the name of Kim Kardashian's ass do they continue to rush him? The only year you could call a good one is the first half of '06 when he had an OPS of .880 at 17 years old. Since them, he has put up .641, .713, and .722. I want him to be a stud just as much as anyone, but I cannot see one justifiable reason to rush him and not allow him to let his talent and production dictate when he is moved rather than some absurd timetable like a new stadium.
Overall, every year I am perhaps overly optimistic about the Mets system. Right now, it is painfully clear they need more pitching and especially so because Pelfrey is going through so many ups and downs. However, there are some bats and a few potential impact players that will be ready as early as 2009 which is in stark contrast to some previous season where the Mets have been pitching heavy and laden with prospects in the lower ranks.
Waggoner is a hot name on college baseball's coaching hot stove. He truly believes he can get quality players to come to Marshall, and he has expressed affection for the school and administration. He says he's not thinking of going anywhere. However, Marshall must step up and deliver a home ballpark to have any shot at keeping such an up-and-coming talent in town for long. Right now, that looks like a longshot, because the school claims to be short on funds.
The other hot name on college coaching wish lists is New Orleans' Tom Walter. The Privateers have reached regionals in consecutive years for the first time in nearly two decades despite unimaginable adversity resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The local Times-Picayune ran a terrific story about Walter that outlines all the obstacles New Orleans has had to overcome and what the future might hold for the coach and the program. It's well worth a read.
Basketball and Football both scout the college ranks for coaches. More often than not, it does not work out because the coaches go from being a big fish in a little pond to being quite the opposite and scrutinized more than they are used to. Less job security, less input, less everything...
However, with such a lack of coaching talent (seemingly anyway), it is surprising no MLB teams have even tried this approach for looking for coaches. MLB seems to be a tightly knit frat that respects ex-MLB ballplayers more whereas in the past, non-MLB players were used more liberally.
I have no idea if it is a respect thing, but it is something that probably hurts the coaching pool. Football and basketball have plenty of non-ex pros as coaches, but in baseball? Not so much. Maybe it is time to broaden the horizon a bit and expand the search for coaches.
Dan (NJ) : Do you think the Mets have what it takes to make a run at the wild card, let alone the division? They look pretty messed up right now.
Rob Neyer: I haven't looked it up lately, but over their last 162 games the Mets are essentially a .500 team. Are they more talented than that? I believe they are, but I think they need a shock to their system. Like a new manager.
It seems that Mr. Neyer cannot get enough of the Mets and some national baseball writers are taking notice of our crusade.
Speaking of consistency, over their last 162 games the Mets are 82-80. Yes, it's cherry-picking. While 162 is not an arbitrary numbers, it's little more indicative than 142 (72-70) or 182 (90-92). But you know, 182 games is a fair number of games. The Mets are two games under .500 in their last 182 games. That means something, doesn't it?
Bad luck? Maybe. But over those same 182 games the Mets have scored 868 runs and they've allowed 869 runs. Exactly the profile of a .500 team. Over 182 games. That means something doesn't it.
And yet the organization just rolls merrily along with the same manager and the same general manager. If I were a Mets fan I would be leading a revolt in the streets. (Actually, I would be hoping that someone else would lead a revolt that I could follow, at a safe distance.)
Blissfully ignorant they continue to trudge down the path of mediocrity.
“Until they prove differently, they’ve been playing this way for almost a year now, so it’s hard to believe they’re going to turn back to 2006 all at once before the All-Star break,” Darling said.
Why anyone thinks things will magically turn around is beyond me.
But Darling says it’s time to re-think the metrics of the Mets’ presumed superiority. The reason, he says, is linked to the changing industry itself: more and more teams are drifting away from older, higher-priced players, particularly free agents, and are instead filling their rosters with younger, less expensive talent. In many respects, having too much money is a curse – the Yankees and Tigers are prime examples — which is why Darling says the Mets’ $140 million payroll is a guarantee of nothing.
That will never happen as the Mets have committed themselves to winning. Rebuilding is not an option at this point and that typically leads to a vicious circle.
“We’re back to the days where 35 is old again,” Darling said. “Except for the last 10 years, when a player reached his mid-30s, he was done, he was old. And old players play like horse-[bleep]. That’s the tradition of the game for the last 50 years.”
Does this mean the Mets are cooked for 2008? Darling won’t – can’t – say that. The wild card is their beacon of light, and it’s probably what’s keeping Willie Randolph employed. Still, the manager seems more out of touch every day, insisting he saw “positives” in the blowout against the Diamondbacks, trying to convince reporters that Arizona’s hitters “found a few holes and we didn’t.”
And there we have it...even keeled Willie.