June 26, 2008

If 1 in 4 Top Prospects Make it, Our Future Offense can be Great!

By Jack "the hack" Mason (guest blogger)

Okay- we've drafted a bunch of mature position players in the draft a few days ago, including Ike Davis, Reese Haven and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, we have 4 high-ceiling position players in AA, Mike Carp, Nick Evans, Daniel Murphy and F-Mart, we have a very young catching prospect in F-Pena (give him a break - he's only 18) and some very interesting lower league players like Wilmer Flores, who's probably 4-5 years away. Although Omar and company have taken a lot of heat over the last few seasons for what has been dubbed a "weak" minor league system, it seems to me that we will soon be able to reap the rewards of some excellent positional players within the next year or so, and the talent levels at the lowest levels are anyone's guess, but I'd bet that they are laden with some very interesting and talented young players.

It's unrealistic to expect any General Manager to get a middling team into contention, sign a lot of major league free agents and at the same time develop a strong minor league organization; and yet that is what Omar has been attempting to do, and so far he's delivered a team that contended the past 2 years, regardless of the final outcome; has signed a ton of free agents but still drafted cleverly (Mulvey was included in the Santana deal, as was Latin American pick-ups Gomez and Guerra) and gets no credit for a great move such as letting Tom Glavine go but offering salary arbitration, which netted a second first round pick and a sandwich pick - and Glavine is injured and debating whether or not he'll be able to pitch again this season, if at all.

Now, if at least 2 of the 9 players I just mentioned pan out according to their potential, that would give us a very nice core of players at the major league level, as Wright, Reyes and Beltran are locked up long-term, as is Santana, and I'm sure Maine will end up being a Mets-lifer as Pelfrey might as well. Combined with some of our minor league relievers, the future seems brighter to me then most have alluded to, and Fred Wilpon's comments about their minor leagues might end up more prophetic then people gave it credence -

"Contrary to what you all are reporting about our minor leagues, our minor leagues are in much better shape than what's being reported. But there's a process that goes on. And there's an organization. People are working hard to produce in the minor leagues and, hopefully, produce at the major-league level."

Imagine if Davis, Murphy and Pena all make it to the bigs within the next 3 years- what a nice core we'd have then! We're like the Yankees' of the early 1990's - except we're competing much sooner then they did. So give Omar and company a break, and enjoy the upcoming 4 games against the Yankees- we should be in for some very interesting baseball!

Editor's Note (from David): Right after Jack posted this, we received the following comment, posted anonomously, from someone who claims to be a major league scout. We thought it was worth repeating, as it seems his thoughts are more middle-of-the-road then either the naysayers or Wilpon is:

I've been a minor league scout for 22 years, and I've never worked for the Mets, but my sons are both Mets fans and asked my opinion about the Mets minor league system. Overall, it's not as optimistic as Fred Wilpon believes, nor is it as bad as some would say. They await break-out performances from Martinez and Pena, and their pitching, beyond Niese and Kunz, is on the thinner side. However, I agree that they did draft some interesting bats in the recent draft, and if I had to bet on any of the 3 bats at AA, I'd bet on Murphy- Carp hasn't proven himself as a fielder, and Evans doesn't grade out as an all-around hitter. Murphy seems to pick it well, has a good eye, good hands, knows the strike zone and has the type of swing and strength that translates well to the majors. Figure him as a 25-30 homer guy, 85-100 RBI's and decent defense. He's also a good character guy, from what I've heard - I've only seen him play about two dozen times and haven't spoken to him, but of those that I know who have, they all agree that he's a "gamer" type. It's too early to really "grade" Pena or Flores, but both look to have very interesting upsides, and as for Martinez, who knows with him? For how well he's been promoted, I've yet to see him take over a game or a pitcher. The Mets minors, to me, is no worse then 14-16 other teams, and may have a lot of "sleepers" spread throughout the organization. I still like Rustich and Vineyard, pitchers with Savannah who have interesting arms- though I thought Rustich would be more advanced now, coming from UCLA- he has to learn how to use his height to better advantage. But to say the Mets have a "bad" minor league system is unfair. Middle of the pack, definitely- possibly higher, yes, I'd say with some success for Brooklyn's first year players and if Martinez gets hot, definitely. Bad, no, not in my opinion...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been a minor league scout for 22 years, and I've never worked for the Mets, but my sons are both Mets fans and asked my opinion about the Mets minor league system. Overall, it's not as optimistic as Fred Wilpon believes, nor is it as bad as some would say. They await break-out performances from Martinez and Pena, and their pitching, beyond Niese and Kunz, is on the thinner side. However, I agree that they did draft some interesting bats in the recent draft, and if I had to bet on any of the 3 bats at AA, I'd bet on Murphy- Carp hasn't proven himself as a fielder, and Evans doesn't grade out as an all-around hitter. Murphy seems to pick it well, has a good eye, good hands, knows the strike zone and has the type of swing and strength that translates well to the majors. Figure him as a 25-30 homer guy, 85-100 RBI's and decent defense. He's also a good character guy, from what I've heard - I've only seen him play about two dozen times and haven't spoken to him, but of those that I know who have, they all agree that he's a "gamer" type. It's too early to really "grade" Pena or Flores, but both look to have very interesting upsides, and as for Martinez, who knows with him? For how well he's been promoted, I've yet to see him take over a game or a pitcher. The Mets minors, to me, is no worse then 14-16 other teams, and may have a lot of "sleepers" spread throughout the organization. I still like Rustich and Vineyard, pitchers with Savannah who have interesting arms- though I thought Rustich would be more advanced now, coming from UCLA- he has to learn how to use his height to better advantage. But to say the Mets have a "bad" minor league system is unfair. Middle of the pack, definitely- possibly higher, yes, I'd say with some success for Brooklyn's first year players and if Martinez gets hot, definitely. Bad, no, not in my opinion...

Wright Is Right said...

Hack, you and Wilpon might just be the only ones who think the minors are decent. Omar still doesn't impress me...uh...uh...and not happy with the job he's done so far in the minors. Just my opinion.