Mack’s Updated Prospect/”Keeper” List – September:
1. IF/OF Dan Murphy/Mets – Technically, Murphy is still a prospect (he is being assigned to winter ball in October), though I’m betting he will never play another minor league regular season game. This is the Mets future second baseman, and that is where he will play next month in Arizona.
2. OF/IF Nick Evans/Mets – We have to all give a big tip of the hat to Evans who was one of the many newbies that kept the Mets in the race the past few months. The time spent in the majors did expose his deficiencies in fielding and running, but I believe he has graduated to one of the new Mets utility players next season.
3. SP Jon Niese/New Orleans – Niese has quieted any critics he might have had after not missing a beat at the AAA level. I’d like to think that he will be “2009’s Mike Pelfrey” and it will be fun watching him compete at Tradition Filed next March at spring training. He’s easily the Mets top prospect right now, behind Murphy and Evans.
4. SP Bobby Parnell/New Orleans – Omar Minaya mentioned Parnell as a possible September call-up, and the first sign that this might become reality was his promotion to AAA-New Orleans on 8-9. The promotion pushed him to the #2 slot, just behind Niese. I’m not sure what the Mets are going to do with this guy. He still looks like huge trade bait to me.
5. CL Eddie Kunz/New Orleans - Let’s face it, Kunz did not have a good month in Queens. But let’s remember he had to sit around many a night which is not how he pitched as the closer in Binghamton. Either way, he’s be off this list by next spring and will be an intricate part of the Mets bullpen.
6. OF Fernando Martinez/B-Mets – I’ve lowered Martinez to the #6 slot because I just don’t see him developing as fast as the Mets want him to. Also, there simply isn’t the kind of power everyone said this kid was suppose to have. Yes, he has had a flurry of hits the past week, and I still believe he will be in the Mets outfield starting sometime next year, but I don’t think he’s going to be that big stick everyone was hoping he would turn out to be.
7. SS Wilmer Flores/Gnats – All of a sudden shortstop Mets prospects are all over the place, none of which are ready for AAA. Flores probably will start the spring in Savannah (by process of elimination and experience). I mean, it’s not like we have to rush a SS to Queens, right? The latest reports is that the Mets don’t project him as a future shortstop and might move him to either 3B or 1B. Wilmer Flores on 1B? Be still, my heart.
8. 3B Jefry Marte/GCL - There’s no reason to fast track Marte; Shawn Bowman will be at AAA and Zach Lutz will most probably open at Lucy. Oh yeah, and there’s a guy named Wright in Queens. That being said, this kid might be the only one that can honestly make the Mets look to re-position David. I look for Marte to begin 2009 in Savannah.
9. 2B Greg Veloz/Lucy – With Murphy graduating to the Mets, Veloz easily becomes the number one 2B prospect in the Mets chain. With only failed ex-prospects (Hector Pellot) and organizational players (Jon Malo & Luis Rivera) ahead of him, he has an outside chance of jumping to B-Town in 2009, especially after his well deserved promotion to Lucy in early August.
10. LF Mike Carp/B-Mets – First, Carp gets passed over by Nick Evans. Then, the B-Mets start toying around with Shawn Bowman at first. This guy just can’t get any respect from this organization. Look for him to hold first down at whatever the AAA team will be next year.
11. 3B Shawn Bowman/B-Mets – 23 years old – no one in the Mets organization could have a happier ending to a miserable story than the one being played out, first in St. Lucie, and now in Binghamton. Bowman has successfully returned to full prospect status and doesn’t seem to have any problem playing at any level, or any position. He even tried out at 1B on 4-3 and hit two doubles the same day. Yes, he did cool off in August, but he’s probably dead on his ass after the first full season in 4. Look for Bowman to start 2009 at AAA.
12. 1B Ike Davis/Clones – I expect that Davis will jump over Savannah in 2009 and begin playing in Lucy come spring. He really didn’t have a great season in Brooklyn. I kept him in the top 10 simply because everyone keeps telling me that I was wrong when I said this was a bad draft pick. We’ll see next year, probably in Lucy.
13. SP Brad Holt/Clones – There’s a shitload of starting pitchers on this list, but none that brought more excitement this year to Mets minor league groupies than Holt. Let’s face it, the Clones just didn’t have enough hitting to support their pitchers this year, but that didn’t prevent Holt from churning out great numbers anyway.
14. OF Cesar Puello/GCL - He’s 6-3, 195, is 17 year’s old, and holding his own in Florida. Puello was signed the same year as Flores and Marte, and his stats speak of just how he may offer in the future. No power yet, but again, he’s 17.There’s no reason to rush this kid. He’s very young and very raw. I expect he’ll be showcased in Brooklyn come spring.
15. SS Ruben Tejada/Lucy – Tejada hasn’t had the best season, but he does have the most experience which just about guarantees him the B-Met job come spring. He also only turned 19 on 9-1, and though his 2008 stats were so-so), he’s got a long way to go. On the surface, there is no reason to rush him, but then where do you play Reece Havens and Wilmer Flores.? My hope is they keep Tejada at Lucy and send both Havens (maybe as a catcher) and Flores (1B?) to Savannah.
16. SP Dillon Gee/Lucy – was promoted to AA ball on 8-8, after posting Lucy stats of 8-6, 3.25 in 21 starts. Gee held his own at the AA-level and is a show-in for the B-Met rotation in the spring. Right now that rotation looks to be Gee, Owen, Ruckle, Antonini, and Stoner, and it will be fun to watch who emerges as the next best pitching prospect.
17. 3B Zach Lutz/Clones – 22 years old – Lutz spent much of 2008 injured, but I still look for him to make the jump to Lucy come next spring. Frankly, the only prospect material ahead of him is Shawn Bowman, who will play at the AAA level, and no one is really going to move David Wright now, are they, so either Savannah or Lucy would be fine. He will be pushed by Marte in 2010.
18. SP Mike Antonini/B-Mets – Mike has had some difficulty adjusting to his third level this year, but most of this might be due to simply arm weariness after a long, hot summer in Savannah and Port St. Lucie. Still, this should not deter the growth of a guy that basically came out of nowhere this year to dominate at both the A and A+ level. Antonini is a shoe-in for the AA-Binghamton rotation in the spring of 2009.
19. RP Eric Beaulac/Gnats - The late season promotion of Beaulac to Savannah has had mixed reviews, but look for a solid year at A-ball next year for the very talented young pitcher.
20. SP Brant Rustich/Gnats – Brant came off the 15-day and started on August 6th, throwing 5.0 scoreless innings. I first ran into him when he injured his shoulder in ST. he was supposed to start the season at Lucy, but worked out his problems (shoulder, blister) in Savannah and finished quite strong for the season. Will definitely be a high rotational pitcher at Lucy in 2009. Sadly, Rustich finished the season on the Savannah disabled list with a stress fracture in his right arm.
21. SS Reece Havens/Clones – No one is quite sure what position Havens is going to play next year, but since he didn’t get to play in the field until mid-August. My bet is he remains a SS for at least one more year. That being said, I expect him to make the Brooklyn-to Lucy jump that so many other top draft picks have done in the past.
22. SP Robert Carson/K-Port – Boy, this kid has come out of nowhere these past two months. First, he impresses at GCL (1.57 in 5 starts), but then the 19-year old goes unconscious at K-Port.
23. SP Jake Ruckle/B-Mets – A real tough year for a kid that was shooting to the moon. Yes, injuries set back a player, especially a pitcher, but don’t be surprised if Jake doesn’t bounce right back. I assume he will either repeat as a starter at AA, or be converted to a reliever/specialist, which could send him back to Lucy.
24. OF Ezequiel Carrera/Lucy – Carrera will join teammate D.J. Wabick in the B-Mets outfield next spring. Carrera held down CF for Lucy all year and faired well, coming on stronger as the year went on. A little bit of everything (doubles, truplies, homers, stolen bases), but not enough of anything. He’s turn 22 next June, and there’s no one ahead of him, so it’s on to the B-Mets.
25. SP Dylan Owen/B-Mets – Owen came to Lucy this year expected to be the first SP to move on to the B-Mets. That never happened, but that’s not saying he had a bad season. Owen’s stats were impressive, and he got his bump up to the B-Mets for an 8-20 start (6 IP, 1 ER). He will join Gee, Stoner, and Antonini in the B-Met rotation in 2009.
26. SP Scott Moviel/Lucy – Moviel came to the Mets (2nd rd. 2007) with all the bells & whistles, and got off to a great start for GCL (0-2, 3.38, 12 starts) in 2007. Things started rugh this year in Savannah, but he settled down and has insured himself of a promotion to Lucy and maintaining his prospect status. Big kid (6-11) and lots of nastiness. Another Lucy rotation dude in April.
27. C Francesco Pena/Gnats - I’ve watched Pena first hand for 2 years and I can only categorize them as disappointing. I’m not writing the kid off, but 2009 will be the Pena-come-to-Jesus year, especially defensively. Yes, he is catching better than last year, and yes, he is consistently hitting .250 (sic), but are these the kind of 2nd year numbers the Mets expected when they gave him a 7 figure bonus?
28. SP Tobi Stoner/B-Mets – Ask any Mets pitching coach in the system who are the guys that have the best ‘stuff’, and Stoner’s name comes up quite often. That being said, his promotion to AA this year has resulted in some hot and cold performances. I expect they’ll slow him down a little and let him repeat another year with the B-Mets, where he can be SP1.
29. C/1B Josh Thole/Lucy – There’s no one currently ahead of Thole that projects out as a future major league catcher, so he wins the Binghamton job, even though his real position is 1B. He had a wonderful year at Lucy, leading the team in hitting and playing flawlessly in the field. Turns 22 this October.
30. C Sean McCraw/Gnats - It’s hard to project exactly where McCraw will play next season. Both he and Francesco pena put up good enough numbers at Savannah to graduate to Lucy, but which one starts?
31. SP Angel Cuan/VSL Mets – It’s extremely hard to project players from either the DSL or VSL teams because the quality of the talent they play is quite suspect. That being said, Cuan led the league this year in strikeouts, which is the best you can ask a pitcher to do. And he did that for a team that just sucked when they had a bat in their hands.
32. SP Jeurys Familia/GCL - This easily is the most exciting pitcher on the GCL team this year. Jeurys is only 18-years old, but held his own handsomely throughout the short-season. Another of those exciting young low-level pitchers, there’s no reason to rush him anywhere. Hell, there’s no place other than Savannah to send him.
33. RP/SP Jenrry Mejia/Clones – Another raw 19-year old, people in Brooklyn say his stuff is crazy. Started the season lights out with GCL (2-0, 0.60, 0.80 in 3 starts) and was quickly sent to Brooklyn, where he held his own at a young age. I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch in Savannah in 2009 and this might be one of the highest ceilings in the organization.
34. OF Rafael Hernandez/K-Port – Sadly, the Mets are pretty lean in prospect-outfielders, so don’t be surprised that they don’t fast track Hernandez to see if he’s for real. He started out 2008 on fire, but calmed down for a decent season. I think he’ll start the season in Savannah.
35. OF D.J. Wabick/Lucy - Here’s another “non-prospect” no one ever writes about that had a great season at the A+ level. This is only the 4th outfielder ranked on this list, and 2 of the above mentioned list are kids at lower levels than Wabick. What all this means is the sky’s the limit for D.J. Look for Wabick to be one of the starting outfielders in B-Town in 2009.
36. 1B Lucas Duda/Lucy - Duda started out hot as hell, but cooled around the all-star break. Considering that Evans has moved on to the majors, and Carp will probably play AAA, that leaves Duda as the heir apparent for the B-Met job.
37. RP Junior Guerra/Lucy – Guerra pitched for Brooklyn, Kingsport, Savannah, and St. Lucie in 2009. He spent most of the year in Savannah, where he went 1-1, 1.75 in 10 outings. He also struck out 34 batters in 25.2 IP. He’s a fascinating story… was signed by Atlanta as a high international catching prospect, and played 4 years in their organization, batting .210. The Braves first converted him to a pitcher last year, but cut him loose. The Mets scooped him up and he’s off and running. Junior turns 24 in January.
38. OF Carlos Guzman/Gnats - I watched this kid mature right in front of me this year and I couldn’t be happier for Carlos. An undrafted free agent, Carlos was the most consistently hitter in Savannah this year and is a lock for the 2009 Lucy outfield. Will he blossom? Or will the A+-level eat him up as it has done to so many before him? Tune in next April.
39. SP Maikel Cleto/Lucy – This is 97 mph speed basically still out of control, and it’s been almost comical watching some of the catchers in Savannah try to harness his rising fastball. I sit with the scouts and they just loved this 19-year old raw talent. Not the best year, and he really needs to repeat at this level again, but you know the Mets. They’ll ship him to Lucy.
40. 2B Josh Satin/Clones – Satin is one of the big-time draft picks this year that started off in Brooklyn, but was sent to K-Port to work out the kinks. His combined 2008 stats were impressive and guaranteed him a bump up, though there doesn’t seem to be much room at second base lately.
41. SP Scott Shaw/Clones – Shaw has spent most of the year watching Bradley Holt get all the pitching press. He also had 2 horrible outings where he gave up 11 runs in a combined 2 innings. That being said, the rest of his stats were awesome. My guess is Savannah in April.
42. SP Christopher Schwinden/Clones – Schwinden started off as a reliever this year, but was stretched out in August and finished the year strong as a starter. Look for him in the Savannah rotation come spring.
43. RP Roy Merritt/Clones – 29th draft pick in 2007, Merritt is another of the very talented pitches in the Mets lower levels. Wemt 1-2, 2.88 in 17 relief appearances for K-Port in 2007, and followed that up with an impressive 2-0, 1.82 in 18 appearances with the Clones this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go straight to Lucy next spring.
44. RP Michael Powers/Gnats – Powers was the closer for K-Port in 2008 and put up some very respectable numbers, especially considering that he only gave up 7 earned runs all season, 4 of which came during one outing in August. He definitely earned himself a promotion and will wind up either in Brooklyn or Savannah in the spring.
45. SP Michael Olmsted/Gnats – Olmstead was a 9th rounder in 2007 that pitched very little (for 3 teams) that year. He started this past season for GCL (0-0, 3.86 in 2 starts), but was bumped to K-Port, where he was equally successful (1-1, 1.83, 0.81 in 4 starts) but also equally underused. He was promoted to Savannah on 8-24, which is where he will probably spend 2009.
46. 2B Kyle Suire/K-Port – Suire didn’t even have a starting role until the last week of July, where he wound up winning the APPY player of the week, posting numbers of: 462 (12-26), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB, .885 SLG… Thing did calm down from there but his year end stats earn him a bump up in 2009.
47. C Dock Doyle/Clones - They say in baseball that you can’t have enough good catchers. Right now, the Mets have a bunch of good ones, but Doyle might be the only one of them that projects out as possibly great. A small hiccup was the back injury that put him on the shelf in early August. I expect him to start 2009 in Savannah.
48. P Brandon Moore/K-Port – Moore was a 14th rounder in 2008 and pitched well, both at Brooklyn and K-Port this season. Started this season as a reliever but was converted back to being a starter in August. College boy. Look for him in A-ball in the spring.
49. SP Phillips Orta/Gnats - Orta was a 10th round draft pick a few years ago, that signed late and, thus ran into visa problems. He got off to a rocky start in Savannah last year, was converted to a reliever this year, though he was also used as a starter twice in August at K-Port.
50. OF Eric Campbell/Clones - Here’s another Clone outfielder that had a decent professional debut, but would we be ranking him if the Mets weren’t so weak in outfield prospects? I guess he’s move on to Savannah in 2009.
51. OF Gabriel Zavala/K-Port – It took 3 years for Zavala to get out of the VSL locker, and played the entire season this year for Kingsport in right field. There was a prospect buzz about him last year, after going .285/.364/.479, but he started very slowly this year, finishing with a disappointing .241/.282/.466 in 116 at bats. Zavala turns 22 next May, so he needs to pick it up next year, probably for either Brooklyn or Savannah.
52. RP Elvin Ramirez/Lucy – Ramirez had a wonderfull season in Savannah (3-1, 3.13 in 14 appearances), but struggled getting used to the increased talent at the A+-Lucy level. I would normally assume he would repeat this level next year, but he turns 25 in November, which puts him in that “move him fast or let him go category”.
53. OF Pedro Zapata/K-Port – Zapata had a terrific year in 2007 with the DSL Mets (.325/.382/.425), which got him his trip stateside for Kingsport. The 6-4 21-year old played all year in CF, but just didn’t put up the numbers he left back home. Is he a prospect? Probably not. Does he have a great name? Definitely. Will he get a promotion? Sure, why not. Look for him either in Brooklyn or Savannah.
54. 2B Alonzo Harris/GCL - Harris was a late 2007 draft pick that signed even later, and never played for the Mets last year. He was left off the 4 full season minor league teams and was finally activated for the GCL Mets after their season started. No one has ever considered Harris a prospect, and there’s a good chance that he isn’t, but the fact still remains that when he finally did get a chance to play this year, he played well. I hope to see him in Savannah in the spring.
55. 1B Stephan Welsh/Gnats – most probably this is your Savannah 1Bman come the spring of 2009. Has run a little hot and cold from the plate but his overall stats have earned him a shot to a full season team next year. My guess: Savannah.
56. OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Clones - Here’s another of those minor leaguers that hasn’t projected out as a prospect, but simply has produced well enough in his first professional season to guarantee a bump up. I would think he would wind up in the Savannah outfield next year.
57. SP John Holdzkom/Gnats - Highly touted Holdzkom will probably want to forget this year ever happened, but he is still showing flashes of the nastiest he impressed the scouts with.. IMO, he has two completely delivering, one dominate Randy Johnson like sweeping bullet, and a delivery from the motion with batters on that simply isn’t competitive in organized baseball. I look for Holdzkom to convert some day to a closer, where he can come in for one inning and start off with no runners on base. For now, he’s on the list because of how high he was drafted, the hype around it, and the bonus money paid.
58. IF Ignacio Medrano/K-Port - Medrano was cruising along this year as the second baseman in K-Port (.329/.380/.443), got suspended after refusing an assignment, and who knows where this former prospect is projected for next year. I’ll keep him on the list until I hear different, but, if he comes back, he’ll have to repeat at K-Port again.
59. C Jordan Abruzzo/Clones - Abruzzo proved in 2008 that he can hit at 3 levels. His problem is there are a bunch of almost-prospects ahead of him to guarantee him only a chance to compete in Savannah against Dock Doyle, or you just might see him beyond that level as a full time DH. Not in his favor is the fact that he really didn’t stand out in his last assignment in Brooklyn.
60. SP Gonzalez German/DSL - German has easily rose to the anchor of the DSL starting rotation this year. He turns 20 this month and the only thing that could hold him back from coming stateside is the fact this was his first organized season. I’m still betting a GCL Mets assignment here.
61. SP Jhonathan Torres/VSL – One of the 3 bright pitching stars out of the VSL team this year. Was 5-2, 3.39, 1.19 in 13 starts and I would expect him to pitch for the GCL Mets come March 2009.
62. SP Orlando Tovar – Tovar was shut down a little early this year, but his numbers were quite impressive: 0-1, 1.54, 1.07 in 8 starts, 52 Ks 10 BB 41.0 IP. Should join his buddies Torres and Cuan on the GCL staff next year.
63. SP Ismael Mendez/DSL – Right behind German, comes the 18-year old Mendez. Yes, 18 years old, and he pitched 11 games in 2007 for the Mets. His stats were impossible to ignore: 5-1, 1.22, 0.92, 54K, 66.1 IP. Should easily get to Florida and I expect him to start for the GCL team in 2009.
64. OF Julio Concepcion/DSL – The Mets are a little short of outfield talent in their system, so anyone that hits close to .300 is assured of moving up. Concepcion turns 19th on 9-5 and this past season was already his 2nd in the system. Not much power here, but enough to get a visa. 2008 stats: .285/.361/.393 in 267 at bats.
65. RP Samuel Tavares/DSL – On the surface, you gotta think that the worst job you can have in Latin baseball is a reliever, but it looks like the Mets are grooming this 19-year old as a future closer. His 2008 stats were sick: 4-2, 0.96, 0.93, 36 K, 6 BB, 28.0 IP in 21 appearances, 10 saves. He’ll come stateside and could rise as high as K-Port.
66. SP Armando Rodriquez/DSL - Armando Alberto de Jesus Rodriguez is a 20-year old pitching his 2nd season for the DSL Mets. In 2007 (2-2, 3.46), he was primarily a reliever and impressed scouts with his 29Ks in 26.0 IP. In 2008, he was converted to a starter and let teammates German and Mendez get all the press. All he did was go 3-3, 3.03, 1.10 in 13 games (12 starts). He’ll be in Florida in the spring.