January 18, 2007

Dreaming of the future

Ben Shpigel at the NY Times, writes about the Mets 3 outfield prospects and a day when all of them could be together as Mets:

As team officials acknowledge, they promoted Milledge a little too soon last May. His off-field problems during two stints with the Mets generated as much discussion as his superior bat speed. But his name still comes up in trade talks. At the moment, there is no space in the outfield for him. He appears headed for New Orleans and, at some point, he may be joined there by Gómez.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2002 at age 16, Gómez, a right-handed hitter, is viewed as having few weaknesses that experience cannot eliminate. He has stolen 105 bases over the past two seasons, and once he fills out his lanky 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, he is expected to hit about 25 home runs a season. Gómez has a strong arm, which makes him a candidate to shift to right field from center once he is ready for the majors.
The Mets challenged Gómez, then 20, last season by placing him at Class AA Binghamton. After hitting .406 there in July, he finished the season batting .281 with 7 home runs and 48 runs batted in. He will begin the season back in Binghamton.
Martínez is the most precocious player in the system. He batted .279 with 10 homers and held his own defensively at three minor league stops at an age when most players are still in high school.
The Mets are enthralled with his compact swing, 30-homer potential and projection to hit for a high average, and how he handled being the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League. Listach called him the league’s most exciting player and compared him to Carlos Beltrán.

"At 18 years old, I thought he’d be overmatched," Listach said. "But after the first week, he was passing by people with more experience. His bat speed was tremendous. He hits to the opposite field as well as anyone. And he had the best arm of anyone I saw in the fall league."

It is natural to fantasize about a future outfield of Gómez, Martínez and Milledge, one that could take the field when the Mets move into their new stadium in 2009. But Beltrán has five years left on his contract and does not figure to be going anywhere soon. Besides, Minaya may just as easily trade one, two or all three before then. It is up to him.

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