August 29, 2008

The "Experts" Called Our Minor League System "Shallow"...

On the timely quest to find out exactly who "they" are (as in "they don't want you to know" or "If it was left up to them"), and why they always think "they" are right, in this case, we've discovered that "they" are all of the so-called "experts" who derided the Mets' farm system at the beginning of and during the early months of this season, as being barren of top level prospects and not all that deep; gee, do you wish they had some nice seasoning with which to eat their words with now? (And NO, I'm not referring to "Dylan Gee" although I could!) And now we find that "they" are not only not correct, they are far from the mark.

Yankees- Prospects or Suspects?

A few days ago, in his column for the NY Post, writer Joel Sherman admitted that all of the hype before the season about how great the Yankee's minor league talent was, and how shallow the talent pool was for the Mets, turned out to be completely wrong- in fact, it is the Mets' who've been producing major league talent and not the Yankees (can you say "Philip Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, Shelly Duncan, etc.?) After the Santana trade (and remember, he could have been a Yankee for Cabrera, Kennedy and another prospect or two- think they want a re-do right about now?) many specualted that the Mets had diminished their major league ready talent, as Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey were thought to be major league ready and Deolis Guerra, although young, looked to be the top prospect in the trade. Now, after a season in which both Humber and Mulvey failed to turn in ERA's below 4, where Carlos Gomez proved to have some great potential but remained unable to find consistency at the major league level, and where Guerra took a step back in his development, this trade isn't looking too bad for the Mets, now, is it? Especially in light of the fact that Santana has the second best ERA in the NL, is in the top 10 in whiffs, at the top of the list in innings pitched, and if not for lack of run support from the offense, would have a record of around 17-5, all in all, again, I'd say this trade certainly worked out for the best- especially in light of the fact that not only have the players they traded away failed to produce, but players still in the system, like Nick Evans, Daniel Murphy (see photo), Eddie Kunz, Carlos Muniz and Argenis Reyes have all helped to keep the Mets in contention, via various levels of contribution. Additionally, with the likes of Niese and Parnell about to come up to the bigs when rosters expand on September 1st, I'd say that the young reinforcements are about to further plant a nail in the coffin of those naysayers.

Pelf Brings Wealth to the Rotation

Furthermore, there has been a HUGE full-season addition to the roster this season; someone whom without his contributions, we'd be far from first; someone who was the biggest draft pick of Omar's regime, to date; someone who a lot wasn't anticipated from this quickly, but of whom much was expected long-term; and finally, someone whom, earlier in the season, seemed to be a lock for demotion and now is looked at as a lock for becoming the number one starter everyone hoped he'd become- yes, we're talking about former Met minor leaguer, now Met star pitcher, one Mike Pelfrey!! If you wanted to knock the Mets farm system before the season, now you have to give it props for being able to import Santana utilizing prospects only, and for being able to elevate Pelf to the bigs permanently, with their addition giving the Mets one of the best rotations in the game. Just because Tom Seaver needed only a short time in the minor leagues doesn't mean Mike Pelfrey had to emulate "the franchise." For the last two years, we've all been antsy as to when big "Pelf" was going to pay dividends for the big league team; however, from looking at his size and the power of his fastball, we knew it was just a matter of time before the big right-hander would begin to make his presence felt in the majors. If we're going to look objectively at Omar and company's tenure then we MUST take Pelf's rise into consideration, and give Omar props for not listening to sports-writers and bloggers (myself included) who were clamoring for Pelfrey's demotion back in May. Pelfrey's rise sure makes us happy we've always taken the stance of "In Omar, We Trust!"

What's Next

Before the most recent draft day was finished, again, the so-called "experts" (yep, them again) were practically calling for Omar's head! Many were quick to point out whom the Mets didn't select- like pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, selected by the Yankees at the end of the first round and possessing a 98 mph heater (he's also represented by one Scott Boras)- the same Cole who decided to ignore any offer the Yanks might present in favor of going to college at UCLA (and man, will I be rooting for their baseball team next season- I'll even go to a game or two!) Instead, we selected Ike Davis, son of the old Yankee reliever Ron, a first baseman-outfielder who has shown flashes of the power expected of him in a few years during his brief minor league career with the Cyclones (although he's yet to hit a home run and has been battling through a few minor injuries). When Tom Glavine selected to return to the Braves, the sandwich pick we received resulted in pitcher Brad Holt (see photo), the soon-to-be 22 year old righty with a great fastball that has resulted in 84 k's and 31 walks in 66 innings with the Cyclones, where he's posted a 4-3 record with a 1.76 ERA. We'll be talking about this kid for a long time to come, and he'll probably be in AAA before too long (think late 2009).

Wilmer's No Flintstone

Let's go beyond this year's draft- and focus on one Wilmer Flores, who has perhaps pushed Fernando Martinez out as being the "prospect who can't miss." Flores, a shortstop right now, has centerfielder written all over him, possessed of excellent speed, a whip-like arm and great instincts for the game. All he has done is hit, hit and hit at every level he's been- oh, and lest I forget, he just turned 17 a few weeks ago!!! He ripped up pitching while playing in low A for Kingsport, batting .310 in 59 games and 245 at-bats, with 8 knocks, 41 RBI's, a .352 on-base percentage and a .490 slugging average- in his first full-season of organized ball - at the age of 16!!!! Filling in at Brooklyn for a game, all Flores did was go 3 for 4 with an RBI- a .750 average- it's only one game, I know, but this kid is for real!!!! I hope all of our expectations, the ballclub included, don't come to overwhelm his progress, after all he's of an age where he should only be worrying about things like his driver's license, prom and MTV, but instead he's come to represent the beginning of the promise made by Omar that their scouting and academies in the Dominican would begin to pay-off with top prospects. In Wilmer, and of course, not to forget Martinez, we've got the makings of that pay-off in ways even grander then we dared hoped for! Can you imagine, in 2-3 years, a line-up of mostly home-grown talent that included Reyes, Wright, Murphy, Evans, Martinez, Davis and Flores? It finally looks like this might be more real then we'd thought it could be, and if so, this would be the ultimate testimony to Omar's tenure as GM. Hey- I've been down this road too many times before (Tim Leary, Terry Blocker, Alex Escobar, Greg Jeffries or Kirk Presley, anyone) and yet, I still remain incredibly hopeful...for that, truly, is what being a Mets fan is all about!

So, when September 1st comes along (in, oh, 3 days), get used to seeing young talent like Parnell and Niese, just like you've already gotten used to the names Evans and Murphy- it's NOT the last time you'll be hearing their names!!!

1 comment:

Mr Met 1967 said...

We have a LOT more prospects then anyone wants to admit, and Omar will be vindicated when F-Mart, Flores and Holt all play leading roles in our long-term success!! Great post- as usual!