January 25, 2007

Mets history of outfielders

Marty Noble at Mets.com, writes about the Mets outfield and how their luck may have changed:

The Mets seldom have been known for their outfielders. More often than not, pitchers, catchers and infielders have been primary contributors to in the teams' success. And the club, in its 45 years, has developed only a handful of outfielders who have had extended and productive careers -- Darryl Strawberry, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie and Preston Wilson, Jeromy Burnitz, Lee Mazzilli, Jay Payton, Cleon Jones and Ron Swoboda.

Perhaps, the franchise DNA was changed of late, because the brightest lights on the Mets' horizon are outfielders. Lastings Milledge, his star dimmed by developments of last summer, remains a highly-regarded talent and, until the season's first week, a 21-year-old. And following him are prospects the club seems to value even more than it did Milledge at comparable stages -- center fielders Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez.

If the Mets close their eyes, cross their fingers and develop their arms, so trading for pitching doesn't become necessary, they rightfully can envision Gomez and Martinez playing in the club's new home, CitiField, at some point in 2009. If Gomez, a fleet player with energy and a right field arm, can climb to Triple-A this year, he could be an '08 arrival. But Martinez, a teenager with can't-take-your-eyes-off-him left-handed power, could ascend to the big leagues before 2009 is complete.

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