12/31/08

The Mack Attack - 1-1-9

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The Mack Attack - January 1, 2009

MLB – NY Mets:

The NY Mets are now putting together an offer to the agent for SP Oliver Perez, while they wait for a return salvo from the agent of SP Derek Lowe. Sounds like one phone call to me.

From Adam Rubin: - "Yosef Sebrow sends in this look at what appears to be modest tweaks to the black uniforms the Mets wear, which he shot at a Sports Authority in Forest Hills. It's labeled "METH," presumably for Mets' home. He writes: "The old one was black, orange drop shadow, then white, then blue. And the accent stripe around the buttons: just blue. This has four colors for the Mets logo: big white splotch, then a black drop shadow, then orange, then blue, and the stripe around the buttons is blue and orange."

From Mets Today: - In an effort to better tie in the New York Giants' side of their history, the Mets will be wearing green home jerseys as "alternates" in lieu of the traditional blacks. From what I gather, the green matches the color of the Citi Field seats, which as you may know are a tribute to the green seating in the old Polo Grounds. The green dye used to produce this particular hue is 100% organic, made from a mixture of soy and lentils. According to a person familiar with the team's thinking, the use of this dye is part of a new "green" initiative by the Mets to be more earth friendly. In fact the jerseys are consumable, and, strangely enough, those sold at retail will have detachable green wafers made from the same material so you can "sample" the flavor — though I'd suggest you smear a little mustard on them before taking a bite

.From John Harper/NYP: - The fact that the Mets would consider taking outfielder Andruw Jones in a trade tells you they are continuing to explore all avenues to dump second baseman Luis Castillo's contract. Jones is owed nearly $18million next season, the second year of a two-year, $36 million deal he signed with the Dodgers last season, and he had a disastrous 2008 season, hitting just .158. However, according to a baseball source, the Mets would take Jones if it meant unloading the final three years and $18 million of Castillo's contract. But the Dodgers, who have young Blake DeWitt as their second baseman, have repeatedly said no to taking
Castillo.


AAA – Buffalo:

OF Jose Coronado went 2-4 with an RBI for Caribes/VWL on Tuesday night.

I was told on my blog that the reason P Nelson Figueroa pitched so bad the other night was he was in the hospital the night before and then was returned to the hospital in the DR after trying to make his start to help out his team in the playoffs. He spent the entire day back in the hospital yesterday.

BA named Fernando Martinez as the best Met prospect for power hitting (bet no one came in second…)

Famous Bison alumni: Richie Sexson, Jay Bell, Moises Alou, Otis Nixon, Hal McRae, Tony Pena, Ron Kittle, Tim Wakefield, Cleon Jones, Johnny Bench


AA – B-Mets:

The B-Mets have made the playoffs in 6 of 8 even-numbered years, but never in an odd-numbered year.


A+ - Lucy:

RP Roy Merritt (Mack Met prospect #22) pitched another scoreless inning Tuesday night for Mayaquez/VWL. His seasonal ERA is now 0.90.


A – Gnats:

BA named SS Wilmer Flores as the best Met hitting prospect for average.

Brooklyn Bums continues his New Year's resolutions: - Nick Carr- Bring down those walk totals. 5-2 with 74 K's and a respectable 3.80 ERA in 2007 with Brooklyn, Carr was starting to look like a sleeper prospect. Shedding 25 pounds before the season, the 2005 41st round pick seemed to be beginning to understood what it took to be succesful in professional baseball. That seemed to go out with window last season in Savannah and St. Lucie, where his walk totals were beginning to become a bigger problem than they were before. Never having amazing control to say the very least, Carr was averaging a K an inning in Brooklyn and less than a hit an inning as well, which made up for his mediocre at best control. Last season in St. Lucie, not only were his strikeout totals down, but his walk numbers were up as well as his hits allowed. In order for him to continue to develop into a solid power pitcher at higher levels, those numbers will obviously have to change.


Low A – Clones:

New Year's resolution from Brooklyn Bums: - Matt Smith- Stay healthy and consistent. His first dozen games with Brooklyn this season, Smith was an on-base machine. He drew long counts and wasn't scared to take a pitch in a hitter's count. He was so good that after about a week, it seemed like the Clones had found their temporary replacement Reese Havens. However, after about 50 ABs, he started to swing a bit more than he was before and all of a sudden, his batting average was under .200 and his on-base percentage was average, rather than stellar. Playing through a few injuries during the time, Smith's season was finished, leaving the Aces to look for another shortstop in what turned out to be an injury-riddled season for both Smith and Brooklyn. If healthy, he can and will be a solid middle-infielder at the Double-A level and perhaps even higher, despite being known more for his glove than his bat. It's just a matter of him getting in the at-bats he needs to show the Mets what he's truly capable ofBA named IF Reece Havens as the top Mets prospect for strike-zone discipline


2010 Free Agents:

Second basemen: - Ronnie Belliard (35) - Jamey Carroll (36) - Mark DeRosa (35) – Akinori Iwamura (31) - $4.25MM club option with a $250K buyout - Adam Kennedy (34)- Felipe Lopez (30) - Mark Loretta (38) - Placido Polanco (34) - Brian Roberts (32) - Freddy Sanchez (32) - $8MM club option with a $600K buyout


International:

Baseball America recently posted a feature on the new international prospects entering the minors this year and none were Mets. It seems to be very quiet this year on the Mets international scene, but it's normal for the Mets to play this area of development down. We'll see; however, if big money was given to somebody, we would have read about it.


Alumni:

Hot-hitting Anderson Hernandez (.500) collected three hits, three RBIs and three runs as Licey improved to 3-1 in the Dominican Winter League round-robin playoffs with a 10-8 win over Este on Tuesday

The Dodgers signed pitcher Claudio Vargas to an incentive-laden, one-year deal. He'll earn $400K and has $1.4MM in incentives.

The Orioles are still interested in free-agent pitcher Braden Looper, but the price tag likely would have to decrease significantly for them to sign the veteran right-hander


General Baseball News:

Fr: NYP - Derek Lowe, John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley are the only pitchers to win 20 or more games in one season and save 40 or more in another. Fr. Fenway West: - Derek Lowe will not be returning to the Boston Red Sox. The Mets have offered him a 3-year deal and with the Red Sox signing of Brad Penny there is very little chance they would want another middle of the road starter. The Daily News had this additional information: Lowe recently told a friend that the Red Sox, who signed Brad Penny to a one-year deal this week, have never showed serious interest in him, and indicated that he thinks he'll wind up as a Met, telling the friend the two sides had exchanged contract proposals before Christmas.


Med Talk:

Got a written explanation of my neck MRI… lots of references under C-5, C-6, and C-7 to the word "severe" and basically racked with Arthur Ritis, but the neuro-dudette from the VA said surgery is only recommended at this point if the patient deems it too uncomfortable at present… picking up a CD of the MRI on Friday (218 mile roundtrip) and seeing my private doctor that worked on my back next Thursday… still looking for someone to put me down…
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The Mack Attack - 12-31-9

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The Mack Attack - December 31, 2008

MLB – NY Mets:

The Mets have announced that partial season ticket plans for the 2009 season will be available to the general public on January 6th at 10 a.m

Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless inning for Ponce/DWL. - 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 K.

ProjectProspect ranked the top SS under 25 years of age: - 1 Hanley Ramirez SS Followed .400 wOBA in '07 with .394 rate in '08; much improved patience (7.4% BB vs. 13.3%) 24.8 FLA - 2 Jose Reyes SS Returned to '06 form (.356 wOBA) in '08 (.351 vs. .329 in '07); 20% LD, but only .317 BABIP 25.3 NYM - 3 J.J. Hardy SS Coming off most productive yr of career (.283/.340/.478); wOBA increase in each MLB season 26.2. (no mention of Wilmer Flores).

AAA – Buffalo:

The Fantasy Man ranked the top 20 baseball prospects of 2009: - 11. Fernando Martinez, OF, NYM - 20 - This guy is the pride and joy of the Mets farm system. No matter what, the Mets won't include Martinez in a trade. Somehow, the Mets kept him out of the Johan Santana deal and so far in this off-season, the Mets have kept him out again. I think they're going to go with some combination of Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Josh Reed, Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis in the outfield with Beltran and Church as the mainstays while the other guys hold the fort for Martinez to mature. Martinez possesses a fantastic power/speed combo as he had 8HR and 6SB in 352AB. Those numbers don't jump off the page at you but Martinez is only 20 but he missed some time last year with some injury. Martinez probably won't make the team out of spring training but could be a mid season call up if A. the Mets are decimated with injury or B. Martinez absolutely tears up AA.

The Buffalo Bisons have heavy hearts this holiday season. The Bisons are deeply saddened at the passing of long-time team official scorer and dear friend Mike Kelly at the age of 62. On December 27, Kelly lost a 10-year battle with prostrate cancer

1B Michel Abreu was 0-3 with a walk and a run scored for Azucareros/DWL

C Rene Rivera went 0-3 for Arecibo/PRWL

RP Eddie Camacho retired the only 2 batters he faced for Arecibo/PRW

LP Edgar Alfonzo gave up a hit in 0.1 innings for Magallanes/VWL

OF Jose Coronado was 0-3 with a walk and an RBI for Caribes/VWL

C Robinson Cancel was 1-6 with an RBI for Ponce/DWL.

Of Jesus Feliciano was 2-5 with 2 runs scored for Arecibo/PRWL


AA – B-Mets:

OF Brahiam Maldonado was 0-2 for Caguas/DWL.

RP Emary Frederick struck out 1 in a scoreless inning for Carolina/PRWL


A+ - Lucy:

From MiLB.com: - Hector Pellot, 2B - Sometimes repeating a level is a good thing. Pellot was sent to the South Atlantic League in 2006 at age 19, and it didn't go so well. The second baseman hit .189 in 100 games for Hagerstown, then the Mets' affiliate. Last year, he went back to the SAL, this time with Savannah, and the results were much different. Pellot batted .274 with 33 steals in 114 games and was named a SAL All-Star. He finished the season with a nice six-game stretch in St. Lucie and a good showing in Hawaii Winter Baseball, so he's ready for a full year with St. Lucie at age 21.A – Gnats:P Manuel Oliveras gave up 2 runs in 2 innings for Zulia/VWL, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 Ks.

From MiLB.com: - Francisco Pena, C - The Mets were aggressive with Pena and several other international signees last year and Savannah's roster was full of teenagers. The son of Tony Pena, Francisco started out like he'd handle the transition just fine, hitting .278 in April and .256 in the first half. Then the wheels fell off and Pena saw first-hand just how long a full season is. He hit just .166 after the break and clearly was out of gas. He learned how important staying in shape, eating well and resting is over the long haul of a pro season. He'll go back to Savannah for another try and, since he'll be just 18 all year, it's not like he's fallen behind the curve.


Rookie – K-Port:

C Juan Centano was 1-1 with a triple and a run scored for Carolina/PRWL


2010 Free Agents:

First basemen:

Russell Branyan (34)Frank Catalanotto (36) - $5MM club option with a $2MM buyoutCarlos Delgado (38)Ross Gload (34) - $2.6MM club optionNick Johnson (31)Adam LaRoche (30)Chad Tracy (30)Dmitri Young (36) -$6MM option vests with 500 PAs in '09


Fantasy:

Fr. RotoAuthority: Scott Kazmir is being drafted 12th among starters, in the sixth round on average. I have Kazmir posting a 3.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 185 Ks in 170 or so innings. There are definitely more than eleven starters I would take before Kazmir. Kazmir missed April with an elbow strain, and he was mediocre-to-bad in the season's final three months. His walks continue to damage his WHIP, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him miss more time due to injury or post an ERA over 4.00 in 2009. There is no way I would take a player this risky in the sixth round. The latest you'll see him drafted is the ninth round, but even then he wouldn't be my top choice among starters.


International:

From espn.deportes: - Right-hander Yadel Marti, Cuba's best pitcher in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, and outfielder Yasser Gomez left the island and are in an unknown location before attempting to reach the Dominican Republic to seek an MLB career, sources told ESPNdeportes.com. Players' relatives and friends in Cuba confirmed their departure, without disclosing details of the planned route. Marti and Gomez, members of the popular team Industriales de la Habana, were kicked off the team's payroll for the current National Series tournament "for having committed a serious [infraction]," according to the Cuban baseball authorities. Sources informed ESPNdeportes.com last month that Marti and Gomez were punished and banned from Cuban baseball after being caught with others while trying to board a boat to leave the country illegally. A talent scout who has seen Marti and Gomez playing at international events told ESPNdeportes.com that both are ready to play in the majors. Marti, 29, was the best of Cuba's pitchers in the 2006 WBC. The right-hander went 1-0 with two saves and led the tournament in ERA (0.00) after not allowing a single run in 12 2/3 innings. He was elected to the WBC All Star team. Marti won 67 games with a 3.23 ERA in his career with Industriales but participated in a limited capacity last season (4-2, 3.12 ERA in 15 games). Gomez, 28, is a fast outfielder who was Rookie of the Year in 1997 and hit .394 with 51 runs scored and 41 RBIs in 66 games in the most recent National Series tournament. He has a .331 career average with Industriales. He was left off the Cuban National Team in the 2006 WBC and the 2008 Olympic Games.Alumni:

From BrooklynBums: - Joe Smith- I've already spoken at length about how good Smith was in Brooklyn, so I'll spare everyone the brown-nosing. In his rookie year, Smith was overused by Mets manager Willie Randolph, but still put up solid numbers, going 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA. Last season, despite some bumps and bruises, the kid pitched in 82 games and had a 3.55 ERA. Simply put, I think he's got the ability to be one of the best situational relievers in the game. It's too bad the Mets gave up on him before that really happened.

Ezequiel Carrera- This was one of those late-season call-ups in 2007 that everyone knew was going to mean something in the future. Hitting over .300 in 20 games with Brooklyn that year, every reporter knew that Carrera pretty much earned himself a promotion to either Savannah or St. Lucie for 2008. A .283 hitter with 50 steals in only 179 minor league games, Carrera has the tools to be an Endy Chavez type-player down the line and maybe even more. His defense is solid, even though I dig his range much more than his arm. His 83 strikeouts last season with St. Lucie where a bit alarming, but overall, I like his patience at the plate and his speed is too damn good to deny him a spot at the bigs in the next few seasons.

Evan Maclane- One of my good buddy and Home Reporter writer Jim Dolan's all-time favorite Cyclones and for good reason, he can pitch. Given up in the Shawn Green deal, Maclane was 9-8 for Norfolk when the Mets traded him to the D-Backs. He's had some problems over the past two seasons with Tuscon, the AAA affiliate of Arizona, especially with the gopher ball, but he's got great control and I think would another guy who could be a great situational reliever at the MLB level.

Kansas City signed LHP Lenny DiNardo to a minor league contract.

The Los Angeles Dodgers released P Scott Strickland.

The Minnesota Twins signed P Bobby Keppel.


General Baseball News:

Fr. Fenway West: - If you didn't have enough reason to dislike the Yankees prima donna third basemen, here's another story to add to the list. From the NY Daily News: Onlookers say, the Yankees slugger blocked traffic with his black Maybach while waiting for a parking spot at the Bal Harbour Mall. "It was ridiculous," one witness fumed. "He's in a $400,000 car, chatting away on his cell phone, oblivious to everyone honking at him. He was holding up traffic in both directions. You'd think he could pay the $25 for valet!"
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12/30/08

The Mack Attack - 12-30-8

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NY Mets:

From Mike Puma/NYP: - There's probably a better chance of Cleon Jones playing for the MetsNew York Mets next season than Andruw Jones. Although an ESPN report last night indicated the Mets and Dodgers were in trade discussions that could potentially make Jones the Mets' new right fielder, a person familiar with the situation said it won't happen. Jones' name was mentioned to Mets GM Omar Minaya several weeks ago, but the discussions never intensified. Jones, the biggest bust in baseball not named Barry Zito, is due $15 million in 2009 after batting .158 with three homers and 14 RBIs last season.

From Kat O’Brien/Newsday: - The Mets continue to try to sign one more starting pitcher, but general manager Omar Minaya said nothing is imminent. "We're talking, we're having discussions, but nothing's going to happen in the next day or two," Minaya said by phone Wednesday afternoon. Several reports online had the Mets close to agreement on a four-year deal with righthander Derek Lowe. Minaya said Lowe is just one of several pitchers the Mets are in negotiations with, along with Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. The Mets stand a strong chance of eventually signing one of those three starters. Minaya said it wouldn't happen in the immediate future, though, urging: "Go enjoy the holiday

From Matt Cerrone: Marty Noble of MLB.com believes the Mets will make offers this week to at least two starting pitchers, if not three, from a group consisting of Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. According to Noble, ‘the Mets still view Wolf as a fall back alternate to the other two,’ with Lowe still the team’s top priority. Noble also reports on the team’s plan for the bullpen, which does not include Joe Beimel, and may not include an additional left-handed reliever, according to Omar Minaya

MLB.com's Marty Noble reports that the Andruw Jones-to-the-Mets talks took place at the winter meetings and that there were never any serious discussions. A person familiar with the discussions said Monday "nothing is on-going, and nothing [no trade] is going to happen." That's just what we figured. Just ESPN trying to turn something of very little note into a headline for the website. Source: MLB.com

C Ramon Castro hit his first home run in 18 games in the Venezuelan Winter League, going 3-4 and helping to earn a split of a doubleheader for his Aragua team, against La Guaira.

MLB.com's Marty Noble on the Mets: They intend to make offers early this week to at least two and probably three free-agent pitchers -- Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf -- in hopes of signing one of them. Noble says the Mets continue to rank the three in that order - Lowe, Perez, Wolf. The Mets haven't shown any indication of wanting to sign more than one. Lowe and Perez should be ready to sign soon now that Scott Boras isn't occupied with Mark Teixeira. Noble adds that the Mets aren't terribly concerned about having only one left-handed reliever on the roster (Pedro Feliciano). They'll look for bargains rather than pursue a Joe Beimel type. Mets GM Omar Minaya does want to acquire a utility infielder, with Alex Cora atop the list.From the Boston Globe: Agent Scott Boras seemed to think Derek Lowe would be the next free agent pitcher to sign. The Mets appear to be the front-runners, but the interest is not necessarily limited to them. The Phillies also appear to be interested in coaxing Lowe to the East, and don't eliminate the Red Sox, who now have more money to devote to pitching with Teixeira out of the picture. According to the Denver Post, the Mets, Orioles and Rockies are the most aggressive pursuers of Tim Redding at the moment. The Rangers have also been mentioned in connection with Redding. The Mets can and should do better. If the Rockies can't sign Redding, they may again look to pick up Jason Marquis from the Cubs, though the Cubs would have to eat most of his salary in a deal.

AAA – Buffalo:

OF Raul Gonzales went 2-5, 1 RBI in the 9-1 Ponce win, against Santurce, in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Gonzales is now batting .393 in the league.

SP Nelson Figueroa gave up 5 runs in 2.0 IP last night for Aguilas of the DWL and his winter ball ERA is now 22.50.AA –

B-Mets:

SPs Michael Antonini and Dillon Gee combined for four hitless innings in the 9-1 Ponce win against Santurce, in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Antonini’s ERA is now 3.45, while Gee’s is 2.22.Rookie –

K-Port: According to Tricitiessports.com, Kingsport Mets general manager Roman Stout was awarded the 2008 Sterling Minor League Executive of the Year Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings earlier this month in Las Vegas. Stout has had great success in Kingsport, raising attendance steadily during his time as GM of the Mets Class-A Rookie affiliate. The K-Mets finished 34-32 in 2008, their third consecutive winning season, anchored by notable prospects SS Wilmer Flores and RHP Eric Beaulac. They have been a Met affiliate since 1980. “The award is in recognition of the total commitment to establishing an outstanding Minor League operation and for the tireless effort and dedication to providing a superior environment in which to develop players for the New York Mets organization.”

International:

Cuban right-hander Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have defected and are in an unknown location before attempting to reach the Dominican Republic to seek an MLB career, sources told ESPNdeportes.com. It seemed like only a matter of time. Both were kicked off their team, Industriales de la Habana, earlier this year, likely for plotting to leave the country. Marti was Cuba's best pitcher during the 2006 WBC, but he wasn't given the chance to participate in the Olympics this year. The 29-year-old may not be cleared to play in 2009, but he'll likely get a significant major league deal once he becomes a free agent. Gomez, 28, isn't likely to be pursued as heavily.

Alumni:

Of Karim Garcia had 3 hits, including a home run, in the 8-5 Hermosilla win against Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.

Royals Minor Leaguer Mario Lisson belted a three-run homer and tripled to spark a five-run sixth inning for the first-place Leones. Franklin Gutierrez (Mariners) and Gregorio Petit (A's) each added a pair of RBIs for Caracas, which scored eight runs in four innings off Magallanes starter Victor Zambrano, who walked six and yielded four hits.

General Baseball News:

The New York Journal News reports that Bernie Williams "suffered a serious quadriceps injury" after joining a Puerto Rican winter ball team. Williams joined the team with eye on playing for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but the injury could derail the 40-year-old's comeback attempt.

Giants prospect Jesus Guzman lined a two-run single in the eighth to set a new Venezuelan Winter League single-season record with 67 RBIs for the Leones in their road loss. Guzman tied Pete Koegel's 1973-74 mark on Saturday with his 65th RBI against Maragarita.

Some of the key players that will be available via free agency, after the 2009 season, are: Jason Bay (31), Carl Crawford (28) - $10MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout, Matt Holliday (30), Rick Ankiel (30), Jermaine Dye (36) - $12MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout, Vladimir Guerrero (34), Magglio Ordonez (36) - $15MM club/vesting option with a $3MM buyout, Randy Winn (36), Aubrey Huff (33)

Mack Update:

Still no phone call from the VA. Am attempting to reach them this morning with a fax, which is the only way I'm allowed to communicate with them. Very bad headaches this morning.

Mack
http://www.hardeevilletoday.com/
http://www.blufftontoday.com/
http://www.scout.com/
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12/29/08

The Mack Attack - 12-29-8

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The Mack Attack - December 29, 2008

MLB – NY Mets:

Omar Minaya on whether Johan Santana will play in the WBC: ““He should be O.K., but we’re going to be conservative. If we have a little bit of doubt or concern, we’d rather have him not play. We’re pro-Classic, but we always have to be mindful and protective of our players.

”BleacherReport.com predicts that both P Derek Lowe and C Jason Varitek will sign with the Mets…their comments on Lowe: “The 35 year-old Lowe is coming off his best year since 2002, after winning 14 games for the Dodgers last season, in the course of posting a 3.24 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. While his ability to sustain that success is highly questionable, Lowe is the best free agent pitcher remaining on the market, and he's likely to earn himself a nice payday because of it. The Mets are reportedly deep in discussions with Lowe, but an offer has yet to be confirmed. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are rumored to be lurking on the periphery and could bring him back if the price is right. If neither of those pans-out, the Brewers, Braves, and Nationals could attempt to lure the sinkerballer.”…their comments on Varitek: “The Red Sox's Captain remains one of the premier pitch-callers in baseball, but Varitek's bat has gone south in a hurry, and he's no longer an adequate thrower, having nabbed just 22.2 percent of opposing base-stealers in 2008. While the 36-year-old figures to improve on the .220 average and .672 OPS he posted this year, even Scott Boras will have trouble marketing him based on his bat. If the Red Sox are able to acquire a viable backstop via trade, or opt to go with another free agent such as Gregg Zaun, Varitek may struggle to get more than a one-year deal worth far less than he'd like to earn…

they also predict that P Pedro Martinez will sign with the Pirates, and P Oliver Perez with the Nationals…

the 2008 Mets finished 55-38 under Jerry Manuel…

David Lennon on Martinez: “The ever-competitive Pedro is 38 and seems determined to find ways to win. However, he went 5-6 despite nearly 5 runs of support per game last year. He is by no means the pitcher he used to be, and I feel that his time in New York is rightfully up. If he chooses not to retire, someone will take a chance on Pedro, similar to how the Giants just did with 45-year-old Randy Johnson. I guess I'm just surprised to see that someone who came into New York like a lion, has gone out like a lamb.”

Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes, “The Mets have quietly continued to gauge the market for Luis Castillo, and if they find a taker for at least some of his salary, that would leave them in position to pursue Orlando Hudson”…

AAA – Buffalo:

Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, batting .556, hit a two-out walk-off grand slam off Royals reliever Leo Nunez to give the Gigantes the dramatic win in a game that took just over four hours. Juan Francisco (Reds) added a solo homer in support of Mets reliever German Marte, who recorded two outs in the eighth to pick up the win for Cibao…

ChicagoTribune.com lists OF Fernando Martinez as one of the standout players from the winter leagues this past month…

the current Bisons roster, listed on their website, has only four players etched in stone… P Eddie Camacho, P John Madden, OF Carl Loadenthal, and 1B Michel Abreu…

A+ - Lucy:

ScoutingBook.com now ranks 1B Ike Davis as the 67th top prospect in baseball, saying: “Ike is a legitimate threat to hit 40 homers in the big leagues, and the Mets are one of the best places for a young first baseman to be right now. His refined college approach to the strike zone means he should do it without Howardesque strikeout numbers. One of the 2008 draft's most polished picks, Davis should be ready by late 2009.

Fantasy:

From RotoAuthority: “Looking for double digit HRs and SBs from your shortstop? At this point I'm projecting six options: Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Alexei Ramirez , Rafael Furcal , and Derek Jeter. If you don't spring for one of the first-rounders, you're looking at Ramirez (fifth round), Furcal (sixth round), and Jeter (eighth round). All three have their flaws, but Alexei interests me the most. Sophomore slump or a leap into fantasy stardom? Five other shortstops who could sneak into double digits in both HRs and SBs: Michael Young, Mike Aviles, Edgar Renteria, Felipe Lopez (assuming 13 games cuts it), and Asdrubal Cabrera. Three with playing time questions: Brandon Wood, Clint Barmes, and Ben Zobrist.

Alumni:

OF Victor Diaz’s winter numbers: .313/.382/.662/1.044, 17 HRs, 50 RBIs …

Endy Chavez, recently traded from the Mets to the Mariners, hit a three-run homer in the fourth to help Magallenes beat Aragua, in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Edgardo Alfonzo, batting .320, went 2-for-5 with an RBI for the Navegantes…

RP Willie Collazo signed with the Florida Marlins…

ScoutingBook.com now lists SP Maikel Cleto as the 228th top prospect in baseball, though he wasn’t listed before the trade…

General Baseball News:

From TheBallclub.com: The 2006 Mets were the Championship Team that wasn't. They kicked off a wild ride that began with aspirations of serious contention for a playoff spot, and ended up taking off with such a fury that, by Mid-June, it was apparent that they were going to run away with the NL East. And, they did. They did not have any serious challenges from any other team in the Division, though there were moments that Atlanta and Philadelphia came close. But as the season went on, things just got more and more fun as the Mets proved themselves to be in every game they played, and got outstanding performances all around, from David Wright, to Carlos Beltran, to Jose Reyes, to Delgado, to unexpected guys like Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver. The mix of talented youngsters and wily, experienced veterans meshed perfectly, the team playing with constant joy and flair. And it culminated on September 18th, when they nailed down the NL East and touched off a Wild Celebration. In the Postseason, they faced off against the Dodgers, and whenever it seemed that LA would dance and jab, the Mets would respond with a haymaker, eventually overwhelming their opponents and shoving them off the dance floor in a 3-game sweep. Things looked unstoppable. But the injuries and inconsistency finally caught up with them, ending on October 19th in a game of Beautiful Misery. But it was a team that made it fun to be a Mets fan again, and a team that made us believe.
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12/28/08

The Mack Attack - 12-28-8

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The Mack Attack - 12-28-8

MLB – NY Mets:

Adam Rubin on the SP5 opening: “Mets officials have said they intend to bring in a low-cost pitcher in January, whether that's on a minor-league contract or one that allows for being cut in spring training with the Mets only on the hook for 30 or 45 days pay. Bobby Parnell should be a factor, too, though he's projected to wind up in the bullpen. I imagine Nelson Figueroa would be on the fringes of that competition as well, though I'm sure they'd pursue a trade in spring training if it came to that.”… Rubin on LF: “Ryan Church, before the second concussion, was making a case to be the Mets' MVP. I suspect he'll be fine with an offseason without trauma. Whether Fernando Tatis can duplicate last year's performance is a question even some Mets officials have, though obviously you can't know 100% that Daniel Murphy is going to continue at last year's level either. I'd be more concerned about left field. But there will be Fernnado Martinez and Nick Evans sitting at Triple-A Buffalo. And if the Mets need to make a trading-deadline maneuever, that's doable.”… from Mike Silva: “As mentioned numerous times, it is down to Derek Lowe and Oliver Perez as the Mets starting pitching upgrade this offseason. As long as Lowe remains reasonable, and by that I mean a 3 or 4 year deal in the $15 million dollar range, I fully expect him to be pitching at Citi Field this summer. That means the Mets move on from Perez and risk him blossoming elsewhere. Instead of debating upside vs. potential, which we have done all winter with Lowe/Perez, how about signing both? Despite the calls from fans, some members of the mainstream media, and me it doesn’t appear Manny Ramirez will be playing for the Mets anytime soon. The Mets payroll will roughly be the same in 2009, but by increasing it just a tad bit more you could potentially have the proverbial “cake and eat it too”. Have both the consistency of Lowe and upside of Perez. Sound crazy? Maybe, but the market is shaping up as very thin for Perez. I think this makes this scenario at least something to talk about. Buster Olney reported yesterday that it’s unlikely that teams such as the Cardinals and Brewers will spring for either pitcher. With the Rangers focused on Ben Sheets where does that leave Perez? Unless the “once bitten, twice shy” Atlanta Braves become emboldened and give Perez the money earmarked for AJ Burnett (unlikely or I think they would have done it already), Perez could be had for a modest two to three year deal. For arguments sake lets say Perez gets 3 years/$30 million dollars. He would increase the Mets payroll slightly above last year (assuming Lowe gets in the neighborhood of $15 million per season). In 2010 you have Wagner, Delgado, and possibly Putz coming off the books. That is about 30 million dollar savings. As mentioned yesterday, trading away young left handed pitching is risky. I am willing to do it because of the track record of Derek Lowe. Think about the alternative. Just imagine, Santana, Maine, Pelfrey, Lowe, and Perez. That would be the best starting five in all of baseball. It also gives you comfort in knowing that you can have Jon Niese develop in AAA, ease the injured John Maine back into action, and monitor Pelfrey’s innings. None of those are possible with mediocre scrap heap fifth starter.The Mets are a win now team and Lowe fits that mentality. It would be nice to have insurance. Let’s not forget, the Mets aren’t the luckiest team when it comes to veteran free agents. How about having your cake and eat it too? Sign both Lowe and Perez.”


A+ - Lucy:

Adam Rubin on both Cs Josh Thole and Francesco Pena: “The top two prospects are Francisco Pena, Tony's son, and Josh Thole. Dock Doyle, taken in last year's draft, also has impressed as a hitter. Pena is still a teenager, and was just at low-A Savannah last season. He hit .264 in his second season with the Sand Gnats, but has underwhelmed. Pena’s throws to second are fairly accurate. But while he’s been timed as quick as 1.90 to 1.95 seconds on occasion throwing to second base, he has widely inconsistent ranges. Pena’s weight also has been an issue, though reports from the instructional league suggested Pena made dramatic improvements in his physical shape. Thole is a great story. He was a catcher in high school in Illinois, but was more of a first baseman in the Mets' system. When Sean McCraw struggled at the plate to open the St. Lucie season, Thole got a chance to start and ended up being a Florida State League All-Star while hitting .300. Thole should start at Double-A Binghamton this year. Because he's inexperienced behind the plate, he has significant work to do to catch up technique-wise.”… Surfing the Mets has learned that Brant Rustich, the Mets' second round pick in 2007 out of UCLA, where he was the Pac-10 school's closer, pitched this past season with a fractured humerus bone in his upper right arm that wasn't detected until afterward. Suggestions that Rustich had simple arm soreness clearly were unwarranted. Rustich is expected to pitch in 2009 without the need for surgery. He also has labrum and UCL tears, but rehab is the prescribed course of action… The Brooklyn Bums on 1B Ike Davis: Ike Davis-“ Teach this guy to change his approach at the plate. Unlike Reese Havens, who realizes very quickly he wasn’t going to be a power hitter in pro baseball, Ike Davis was fighting himself the entire season in Brooklyn this past summer. The result? Zero homers. In spite of that, it seemed like the last three weeks of the season that Davis was beginning to see how effective he could be hitting balls up the middle and in the gap. As I’ve said before, I see him as a Lyle Overbay type, and not as a power hitter. There’s nothing wrong with that though either. However, if he doesn’t continue to stay back and be smart at the plate, he’ll project as nothing more than a bench player.”…


A – Gnats:

The Brooklyn Bums on SS Wilmer Flores: “Give him some time in Brooklyn to develop before calling him up to higher levels. Still only 17-years-old, Flores looked out of place in Brooklyn after his hot start. Still getting used to pitchers with good off-speed pitches, Flores would benefit a ton from proving himself in the NY-Penn League. I know it’s the Mets mentality know to push these kids ahead to see how they deal with adversity, but this kid is still developing at too rapid a pace. He needs to build confidence and some kind of consistency. He also needs to learn English and make friends on the team’s he plays on, rather than be thrown around the organization like a rag doll. At his age, he’s way too delicate emotionally as well and could benefit from some camaraderie.”…


Low A – Clones:

The Brooklyn Bums on P Roy Merritt: “Help him develop another off-speed pitch to compliment his slider and changeup. At the NY-Penn League level, this guy was simply dynamite. However, even his uber-supportive pitching coach, Hector Berrios agreed last season that he has to work on something else this offseason to keep hitters guessing. I personally think a decent sinker, that he can use just to mix things up a bit would do the trick, especially since his slider moves like a curveball attached to a frisbee.”…


Alumni:

From Baseball Etcetera: “When I think of Tug McGraw I think about him pitching out of bases loaded situations in the eighth and ninth innings in Game 7 of the 1980 World Series and ended it by striking out Willie Wilson. McGraw saved Game 1, lost Game 3 and saved Game 5 in the Philadelphia Phillies World Series win over the Kansas City Royals. Another memory of McGraw was him slapping his glove against his leg. I can't remember any reliever before or after McGraw who was more anxious to pitch or had more enthusiasm. He may not have Hall of Fame numbers but he still fans will remember him as the pitcher who said "Ya Gotta Believe" during the 1973 season in which the Mets would win the NL pennant but would lose to the Oakland Athletics in the World Series in seven games. In Game Two of the 1973 World Series McGraw entered the game with Mets winning 6-3 in the seventh inning but gave up a run making it 6-4 in the seventh inning and then gave up two more runs in the ninth to tie the score at 6-6. McGraw would retire the Athletics in order in the tenth and eleventh innings. The Mets went ahead 10-6 in the top of the twelfth inning but McGraw would allow one more run in the bottom of the twelfth when one of the batters he had allowed to reach base scored after he was relieved making the final score 10-7. Can you imagine someone like Mariano Rivera pitching six innings in relief today? McGraw would get a save in Game 5. McGraw would finish his career with a 96-92 record and a 3.14 ERA. He was admitted into both the Mets and Phillies Hall of Fame. McGraw pitched from 1965-1974 in the Mets organization but spent the 1968 season with the Jacksonville Suns. This article about his girlfriend while he was with the Suns tells about how she became the mother of McGraw's son Tim McGraw who would go on to become of the most popular country singers today.

General Baseball:

From Baseball Awards: “1963 National League - After ending 1962 in a tie and then losing the playoff, the Dodgers captured the 1963 pennant, then swept the Yankees in the World Series. The Cardinals made it a race, but finished second, six games off the pace. San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati were in a knot for the 3-5 spots, with Milwaukee 6th and Chicago springing up to an above-.500 7th. Pittsburgh dropped to 8th, with Houston 9th and the Mets losing 111 for last. Sandy Koufax won the MVP with a strong season for the winners. The Dodgers were 6th in the 10-team league in runs scored, while allowing the least runs, but a lot of that was the effect of their park, heavily weighted toward pitchers. In road games, the Dodgers were second in runs scored, fifth in runs allowed. They were actually a stronger offensive team that pitching or defense on the year. Tommy Davis won the batting title at .326, and Roberto Clemente was second at .320. Hank Aaron lead in RBI with 130 and tying for the HR lead with Willie McCovey at 44. Aaron also led in slugging and OPS, and runs with 121. Ken Boyer was second in RBI with 111. Vada Pinson led with 204 hits and 14 triples, and Dick Groat with 43 doubles. Maury Wills led in steals, but was down to a more normal-looking 40. Koufax and Juan Marichal tied for the wins lead at 25, while Jim Maloney and Warren Spahn won 23. Dick Ellsworth posted 22 victories. Koufax lead in ERA with a Chavez Ravine-aided 1.88. Ellsworth was second at 2.11. Koufax also led in strikeouts, with 306, while Lindy McDaniel led in saves with 22, followed by Ron Perranoski at 21. Spahn pitched 22 complete games, while Koufax tossed 11 shutouts. Win Shares leaders, players; Hank Aaron (Milwaukee) 41, Willie Mays, (San Francisco) 38, Johnny Callison (Philadelphia) 32, Vada Pinson (Cincinnati), Eddie Mathews (Milwaukee) and Dick Groat (St. Louis) 31, Orlando Cepeda (San Francisco) 30, Tommy Davis (Los Angeles) and Willie McCovey (San Francisco) 29, Billy Williams (Chicago) and Junior Gilliam (Los Angeles) 28, Maury Wills (Los Angeles) and Bill White (St. Louis) 27, Ron Santo (Chicago) and Tony Gonzalez (Philadelphia) 26, Curt Flood (St. Louis) 24. WS leaders, pitchers; Dick Ellsworth (Chicago) and Sandy Koufax (Los Angeles) 32, Juan Marichal (San Francisco) 27, Larry Jackson (Chicago), Jim Maloney (Cincinnati) and Warren Spahn (Milwaukee) 22, Don Drysdale (Los Angeles) and Bob Friend (Pittsburgh) 21, Ron Perranoski (Los Angeles) 20, Joe Nuxhall (Cincinnati) 19. WARP3: Aaron 13.3, Mays 13.9, Callison 11.3 (career year), Pinson 8.8, Mathews 11.3 (after which Mathews would go into decline), Groat 12.4 (career year, even with his 1960 MVP), Cepeda 9.7, Davis 7.1, McCovey 8.8, Williams 10.1, Gilliam 8.6 (last good year), Wills 7.2, White 7.4, Santo 10.1, Gonzalez 7.6, Flood 7.7. Pitchers, Ellsworth 10.2 (career year), Koufax 10.6, Marichal 9.1, Jackson 6.6, Maloney 7.9, Spahn 5.8 (last good year), Drysdale 7.5, Friend 7.1, Perranoski 7.5, Nuxhall 6.3.
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12/23/08

Mets 2009 "Big Board" - RP

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Mets 2009 “Big Board” – RP

Okay, this gets messy real quick.

First of all, each team will carry somewhere between 8-10 relief pitchers on their active roster. Since there are 7 stateside teams, that makes a full pen in the range of 56-70 names. Well, as of right now, there are 67 RPs on the board, and that doesn’t include this year’s draft, Latin signings, free agents,and additional DSL and VSL promotions.

Now, a couple of these guys did get through the Rule V and may still be technically unsigned, but they are listed on the official roster, so that’s good enough for me.

One additional point: The last couple of drafts have been particularly successful for finding quality prospect material for the Mets pen, especially the 2008 draft. By my count, there are 12 “prospects” at various levels, most of which will play this year for Lucy. I’ll highlight them as we go team for team.

AAA-Buffalo:

Current on the board: Rocky Cherry – Eddie Kunz – Carlos Muniz – Darren O’Day – Connor Robertson – Edgar Alfonzo – Joe Hietpas – Eddie Camacho – Juan Padilla

This just might be the actual group that comes out of ST and flies to Buffalo for the first of many snow-outs. Kunz is your prospect here, though I suggest you don’t look at his stats with the Mets last year, or his winter one’s either. Camacho might not make the final roster, and two guys (Elvys Quesada and Yury Santana) could jump AA and move directly here from Lucy.

AA-Binghamton:

Currently on the board: Elvys Quezada – Nick Carr – Ryan Coultas – Emary Frederick – German Marte – Edgar Ramirez – Tim Stronach – Yury Santana

This is probably one less than the amount the team will carry and there might be three openings if both Quezada and Santana go to Buffalo. No problem. There are six prospects on the Lucy board just dying to come north. By the way, none of the names above are considered prospect material, though both Frederick and Stronach are borderline.

A+ - St. Lucie:

Currently on the board: Steve Cheney – Stephen Clyne – James Fuller – Jimmy Johnson – Roy Merritt – Christopher Schwinden – Nick Abel – Jose Bierd – Junior Guerra – Julio Polanco – Josh Stinson – Nick Waechter.

At least three too many names here. I’m not sure what the future of Guerra is. He was horrendous in winter ball, but has the age and experience to go as high as AAA. Cheney, Clyne, Fuller, Johnson, Merrit, and Schwinden are all coming off all-star years and are solidly on my prospect list. The Mets tend to push quality relievers, especially the college boys, so don’t be surprised some of these names wind up a B-Met come the end of March. Now comes the real log jam.

A – Savannah:

Currently on the board: John Holdzkom – Manuel Oliveros – Rhiner Cruz – Brad Burns – Michael Houck – Jason Lavorgna – Samuel Martinez – Michael Powers – Steven Puhl – Nathan Vineyard – Matias Carrillo – Jeffrey Kaplan – Pedro P. Martinez – Wendy Rosa – Eric Turgeon

At least six, many seven of these guys have to go somewhere other than here.And, trust me, there’s no room in either Binghamton or Brooklyn either. A couple of casualties should be Burns and Vineyard, who is rumored to have quit baseball. The only prospect on this list is Powers, who could easily go straight to Lucy like the other ones listed on that team. Right now, the only other locks to remain in the organization seem to be Hodlzkom, and Martinez. This could be quite the blood bath in the later part of March.

A-low – Brooklyn:

Currently on the board: Manuel Alvarez – Travis Babin – Jorge Rodriquez – Zach Rosenbaum – Robert Carson – Chris Hilliard – Luis Rojas – Jonathan Sanchez

Carson and Hillard are both prospect material and will be watched closely. The rest could all be affected by whomever the Mets draft this year, though I expect them not to concentrate on this position in the high rounds.

Rookie – Kingsport:

Currently on the board: Brandon Moore – Thomas Paredes – Santiago Valdez – Nick Abbott – Kyle Allen – Julio Bello – Rogers Figueroa – Jacob Goldberg – Johnathan White
Moore is your prospect here, though many are high on Allen as well.

Rookie – GCL Mets:

Currently on the board: Tim Erickson – Tony Feliz – Mike Lynn – Pedro E. Martinez – Timothy Smith – Samuel Tavares

Tavares is a Latin prospect who pitched lights out last year for the DSL team.
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12/20/08

Proected 2009 Mets Minors - SP

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A Look At 2009 Rosters – Part I – Starters

Most Mets fans are sitting in front of their television screens at this time of the year, watching the trailer at the bottom of the screen on the ESPN News broadcast, waiting for an announcement that the Mets just signed somebody that throws 100+.

Me? Well, I try to figure out who gets assigned to each minor league club and who gets sent home.

The Mets have seven stateside minor league teams (Buffalo, B-Mets, Lucy, Gnats, Clones, K-Port, GCL), plus 2 more in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

As of today, there are 200 players already on the “Big Board”, projected to go to one of the seven teams located in the states. Frankly, since this is well before the draft, and each team carries 25 players , that’s an awful lot to have already under contract.

Certain positions, especially relief pitching, are completely overloaded, but our first look will be at the projected rotations throughout the organization. Remember, this is just speculation at this point, but I’d say we’re guaranteed to be around 85% correct per each position.

First, a couple of assumptions:

1. Jonathan Niese will be the Mets SP5 in Queens

2. Bobby Parnell will be in the parent Mets’ bullpen

If either, or both, of these assumptions are wrong, they would both project out as a AAA-Buffalo starter and, thus, this whole story should be immediately crumpled up and thrown into the fireplace; however, assume we will.

AAA-Buffalo: In no particular order, the rotation should be 5 of these 6:

Nelson Figueroa
Jose Sanchez
Sal Aguilar
Brandon Knight
Tobi Stoner or Eric Brown


I wouldn’t go to bed with this lineup yet.

Both Stoner and Brown are being currently worked out as relievers, with Brown being projected as a possible Mets long-man in 2010.

I expect the Mets to sign someone long-in-tooth to round out this rotation, and both Tobi and Eric will move to the pen.

AA-Binghamton: This is an exciting group of young, talented pitchers:

Dillon Gee
Mike Antonini
Dylan Owen
Jake Ruckle
Eric Niesen

Ruckle is coming off of season-ending surgery and, I assume, he’s still slotted as a starter.

Potentially, there might be 5 future major league pitchers here. Really exciting.

A+-St. Lucie: Not as deep as the B-Mets squad, but close, and individually, maybe more talented:

Bradley Holt
Scott Moviel
Brant Rustich
Angel Calero
Elvin Ramirez

Holt is the kid to keep your eye on. He’s currently projected as a possible SP5 as early as 2010. Both Moviel and Rustich are big time draft picks with loads of talent.

A-Savannah Here’s our first overage. Currently, there are six starting pitchers slotted to go to the Coastal Empire this spring:

Mark Cahoon
Eric Beaulac
Michael Olmstead
Phillips Orta
Jenrry Mejia
Scott Shaw

A couple of these guys are ready for Lucy, but there just is nowhere to send them. Orta might be the odd man out here. He’s stumbled once before and, I can’t see keeping any of the other five out of a rotation. They simply all project out as prospects.

A-short – Brooklyn I’ve got this rotation filled up already and the draft is still months away:
Raul Batis
Guillaume Leduc
Collin McHugh
Oscar Melendez
Jeurys Familia

Only Familia projects out as a prospect, so there could easily be some additions (and thus, subtractions) once draft time comes around.

Rookie – Kingsport Right now (pre-draft) a good guess would be:
Eduardo Aldama
Michael Herbert
Lachlan Hodge
Jhonathan Torrez
Gonzalez Germen

Both German and Torrez pitched great last year for their respective Latin Mets team.
Rookie-GCL Same as K-Port, just guess work right now. Six names to consider:

Gavin Dloughy
Omar Perez
Brian Venezuela
Orlando Tovar
Angel Cuan
Luis Duarte

Duarte is already stateside and playing in winter ball. Both Cuan and Tovar earned a promotion from the DSL Mets team.

Folks, there’s a lot of talent here. I project Holt making it as high as an SP2, while both Moviel and Rustich should hit the SP3 level some day. In addition, Gee will comfortably have a long career as either an SP4 or SP5.

Others, like Stoner, Brown, and Ruckle, should be converted to relievers and project out as successful major league pitchers. That’s seven future major leaguers out of one season of minor leaguers.

Trust me, that’s a bunch.
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12/19/08

Mack's Pre-Exhibition Mets Prospect List

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Mack’s Updated Prospect List – Dec. 2008

Requirements: Be 24-years old at the beginning of the regular season, or have less than 100 at-bats at the major league level in one season.

Elliminated: Nick Evans (100+ at bats for the Mets in 2008), Ezequiel Carrera (trade), and Mike Carp (trade).

1. OF Daniel Murphy – 23 yrs old – I’m sure Murphy will be in Queens when the season starts, and yes, he had more than 100 at bats with the Mets last year, so he’s not even a rookie anymore, but out of respect, I’m still going to list him as a prospect until the final opening day roster is announced. Murphy won the Sterling Award in 2008 for Co-Player of The Year. Murphy continued his hot hitting in the AFL, going .397/.487/.619/1.106 in 63 at bats.

2. SP Jon Niese – 22 yrs. old - 2008: 11-8, 3.13/NO-Bing - Niese won the Sterling Award for Pitcher Of The Year in the Mets minor league system. Like Murphy, he will most probably be with the Mets come opening day, but until he is named to the rotation, we’ll keep him on this list.

3. SP Brad Holt – 22-yrs old - 2008: 5-3, 1.87, 1.05, 14 starts, 96Ks, 72.1 IP for Brooklyn - Holt hit 100 mph in a game last year against Aberdeen. The Brooklyn pitching coach, Hector Berrios, says that he feels that Holt will be in the front end of the Mets rotation ‘in a couple of years’. Holt won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the Brooklyn Cyclones. Baseball America ranks Holt as the 7th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn League. I consider Holt and Niese the two untouchable pitching prospects right now in the Mets pipeline.

4. SS Wilmer Flores – 17 yrs old - 2008: .842 OPS/K-Port - Even the experts at Baseball America have now declared that Flores was the top International signee in 2007. Flores won the Sterling Award for the top player in Kingsport in 2008. Baseball America ranked Flores as the 2nd top prospect coming out of the Appalachian League. The sky’s the limit for this Manny-type prospect. I pray they send him to Savannah in the spring and leave him alone for a season.

5. OF Fernando Martinez – 20 yrs. old - 2008: .292/GCL-Bing - F-Mart had a nice BA last year, but he continued to get dinged and his projected power still didn’t appear. It’s not that anyone things he’s not for real; it’s just that the Mets are starting to project him as a number two hitter, rather than four or five. He did play winter ball and put up good numbers in the DWL, but a guy with this kind of projection isn’t supposed to put up only good numbers. Obviously, the Mets still project him as a starting OFer in 2010, but he’s starting to sneak his way down the prospect list. Hint: Marte really should be ranked ahead of F-Mart, but I tried to be kind here.

6. 3B Jefry Marte – 17 yrs. old - 2008: .930 OPS/GCL - At 17 years old, Marte led the GCL league in OPS. Ben Badler/BA said at the end of last season that Marte was the 2nd top International signings in all of baseball a year ago (behind the #1 signing, Wilmer Flores). Marte also won the Sterling Award for the top player on the GCL team in 2008. In late September 2008, Baseball America listed Marte as the 3rd top prospect in the GCL league. Marte should wind up in Hispanic-friendly Savannah for the beginning of the 2009 season. From there, who knows.

7. SP Bobby Parnell – 24-yrs old - 12-8/Bing/NO – most of you that follow my prospect lists over the years know I never had Parnell very high on them. In his defense, I have never seen him pitch, so it’s hard to judge whether or not he has a future in the majors as a pitcher. I believe he does, but not as a Mets starter. Parnell is in a bad position at his age. He’s projected directly behind Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese, which, going into the 2008 season meant he was behind two untested kids for a rotational spot on the parent squad. The good news for him is Pelfrey is now solidly entrenched into the 2009 rotation. The bad news is the Mets are never going to rotate two rookies at the same time; thus, Niese would get the first shot this year, and that’s not even certain at this point. One of three things will happen to Parnell in 2009. One, he will park his car in Buffalo for a year and wait it out. Two, he will be packaged for a season positional player (OF, C, RP, SP) the Mets need immediately. Or three, he will be converted to the bullpen. At print time, it looks like number three wins out, possibly for the parent squad.

8. SP/RP Tobi Stoner – 24-yrs old – from Sandnats.com: Stoner, 23, concluded his AFL season with a 2-0 record and a 3.66 ERA. A normal starter, Stoner was used exclusively out of the bullpen in the fall league. He made 11 appearances and surrendered more than one earned run in just two of them while never permitting more than three runs in an outing. The Landstuhl, Germany-born Stoner fanned 15 batters over 19.2 innings pitched and didn’t allow a run in seven of his 11 appearances. I think we have begun to see the conversion of Stoner to the pen here, which should begin this spring in Binghamton, end the year in Buffalo, and possible make the parent team in 2010.

9. SP Scott Moviel – 20-yrs old – 2008 combined for Sav/Lucy: 10-8, 4.25, in 25 starts – Moviel was a workhorse in 2008, and, being a kid right out of high school, should remain in Florida for another season. Look for him to anchor the Lucy rotation.

10. SP Jenrry Mejia – 19-yrs old - 2008: 5-2, 2.89/GCL-Clones - Mejia regularly sat on 94 as an 18 year old in Brooklyn, and got as high as 97. He also struck out 67 batters in 71.2 IP, as an 18 year old. Baseball America ranks Mejia as the 9th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn league. The Mets are very high on this kid and a lot of teams have tried to trade for him in the off-season. Being young, he should start the season for Savannah, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see him at Tradition Field instead.

11. SP Dillon Gee – 23-years old - 2008: 10-6, 2.92/Lucy-Bing – Gee won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the St. Lucie team. Probably destined to be converted to a bullpen pitcher, if he remains in the Mets organization. Look for that to begin this season in Binghamton.

12. SP Brant Rustich – 24-yrs old - Rustich pitched dinged for most of the 2008 season, for Savannah, but still managed to post stats of: 3-4, 3.62, 1.17,in 20 games, 8 starts, 48Ks, 49.2 IP. I expect him to prove his ranking for Lucy come spring.

13. 2B Greg Veloz – 21 yrs. old - 2008: .278, 29 SB – Gnats/Lucy – Veloz won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the Savannah Sand Gnats. Veloz went to the HWL worn out from a long season and stayed that way until they put him on the shelf: .195/.279/.221 in 77 Abs. Go to sleep Greg and we’ll see you in March at Lucy. Right now, this is the only legitimate 2B prospect that could make Queens, as early as 2011.

14. C Josh Thole – 22-yrs old - a big time step-up for Thole in the 2008 season, which he just added to by hitting .397/.507/.741/1.248 in 38 at bats in the AFL. Definitely the top catching prospect in the Mets organization. From Sandgnats.com: Thole, 22, played extremely well in his first test versus Double-A and Triple-A talent. The Breese, Ill. native finished the AFL season with a .319 clip to go along with two home runs and 17 RBI. Thole played in 19 games and reached base safely in 16 of the 19 contests. At one point, Thole was riding a nine-game hitting streak in which he hit .470 (16/34). The productive stint in the AFL wraps a fine season for Thole, who led the St. Lucie Mets (High-A) in batting with a .300 average. He was a mid-season Florida State League All-Star selection and finished sixth in the league with his .300 average.

15. 1B Ike Davis – 22-yrs old - Davis had a so-so 2008 season, though he did hit better near the end. He played the entire season for Brooklyn, going .256/.326/.326 in 215 at bats. Davis had 0 HRs and only 17 RBIs in 58 games. Baseball America ranks Davis as the 17th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn league. Davis should take over the first base slot at Lucy and we’ll see if he was worthy of so high a pick.

16. OF Cesar Puello – 18-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: .305/.350/.364/.714 in 151 at bats - In late September 2008, Baseball America listed Puello as the 12th top prospect in the GCL league. Everybody was concentrated on his 2008 teammate Marte, which was just fine with Cesar. One downside: very little power here. Look for him to start as high as Lucy this spring.

17. 3B Zach Lutz – 22-yrs old - Lutz played the entire 2008 season for Brooklyn, going .333/.442/.514/.956 in 72 at bats. This included 4 doubles, 3 HRs, and 12 RBIs in 24 games. Yes I know, the Mets have a third baseman. I’m not quite sure where this kid will play in 2009, especially since the Mets want to play Marte next to Flores this spring. We’ll see.

18. SP Mike Antonini – 23-yrs old - 2008: 9-7, 2.77 – Sav/Lucy/Bing – Mike pitched winter ball and had one horrendous outing. Other than that, he’s ready to start at the AA level and work his was to Buffalo by the end of the 2009 season. I envision Mike being trade bait in a future package deal.

19. SP Eric Beaulac – 22-yrs old – 2008 combined forGnats/Clones/King: 2-2, 3.38, in 14 games, 8 starts, 60 Ks in 48.0 IP – The first thing the Mets have to do is put this kid in a rotation somewhere and leave him there for the season. Beaulac spent most of the 2008 season at the airport, but still impressed wherever he was sent. I hope he comes back to Savannah and settles in.

20. SS Reece Havens – 23-yrs old - In 2008, due to injuries, Havens was used exclusively as a DH, at Brooklyn, going .247/.340/.471, with 3 HRs and only 11 RBIs in 23 games. Baseball America ranks Havens as the 11th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn League. I expect to see something out him right out the box this year.

21. SP Robert Carson – 20-yrs old - In 2008, Carson started out with the GCL Mets and pitched impressively: 1-0, 1.57, 0.74. He was promoted to Kingsport, where he went 2-3, 1.76 in 6 starts. You might see Carson held back to Brooklyn, because of his young age and the logjam of starters ahead of him. If not, he’s start for Savannah.

22. RP Roy Merritt – 23-yrs old - 2008: 0.92 whip 25 Gs/Clones – Merritt did, err, okay, in the HWL this fall: 1-2, 3.86, 13 G, 18.2 IP, 20 Ks. I was hoping for a little more, but it’s been a long season, right?

23. RP Michael Powers – 23 yrs old - In his debut year, Powers pitched for Kingsport and Savannah, combining for: 2-2, 2.88, in 18 relief appearances. He’s a big kid (6-3) from a big school (Michigan), who should be fast tracked in 2009.

24. RP Jimmy Johnson - 23 years old - 2008 for the Clones: 5-0, 1.25, 0.86, in 23 relief appearances, 41 Ks in 36.0 IP – easily, one of the most impressive relief jobs in the organization in 2008. Another aging college boy, I expect him as high as Lucy come the end of March.

25. RP/CL Eddie Kunz – 23-yrs old - 27 saves/Bing - Kunz had a miserable debut as a Met, which did knock him down a couple of positions here, but still doesn’t remove him as a top prospect. Eddie didn’t help his cause in the AFL this fall, going 2-2, 10.93, 2.43 in 14 relief appearances, 2 saves. With the signings of Francisco Martinez and J.J. Putz, this kid doesn’t stand a chance of becoming a Met. Look for him to wallow in Buffalo until he can be packaged in a deal.

26. SP Dylan Owen – 22-yrs old – 2008 combined Bing/Lucy: 13-7, 3.66, in 27 starts, 2 complete - another of those possible SP5 candidates that would best be served as trade bait in a package deal, especially if he gets off to a good start in 2009. Owen will start the 2009 season back in the Binghamton rotation.

27. SP Scott Shaw – 22-yrs old - Clones 2008: 6-3, 2.80 – Shaw pitched well in the HWL this fall: 1-2, 2.31, 6 G, 5 starts, 27Ks/23.1 IP. The more this kid pitches, the more he looks like the real deal. Look for him in the Sand Gnat rotation in 2009.

28. C Francesco Pena – 19-yrs old – 2008 for Savannah: .264/.308/.380/.688 in 397 at bats – Pena was in the top 10 list at the beginning of last year but has steadily unimpressed scouts throughout the 2008 season. He also has a long way to go defensively and I’m not sure what the Mets are going to do with him this spring. Most probably, he will split assignments with Sean McCraw in St. Lucie.

29. SP Jeurys Familia – 19-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: 2-2, 2.79, in 11 starts – Familia had a wonderful first assignment stateside, and will either anchor the Brooklyn or Savannah rotation this spring. There’s no reason to rush this 19-year old, especially since there is a logjam ahead of him.

30. 2B Josh Satin – 24-yrs old – 2008 combined for King/Brooklyn: .303/.370/.503/.873 in 155 at bats – another young second basemen that made this list, Satin should wind up in Savannah this spring playing in the same infield with Marte and Flores.

31. SP Christopher Schwinden – 22-yrs old - In 2008, Schwinden went 4-1, 2.01, 14 games, 8 starts, 70Ks, 62.2 IP, only 12 BBs, for Brooklyn. This makes him a perfect candidate for a top rotational position in 2009 with Savannah.

32. SP Michael Olmsted – 21-yrs old – 2008 combined GCL/King/Sav: 2-1, 2.67, in 8 starts, 37 Ks in 33.2 IP – Olmstead pitched well at all three levels and should start the 2009 season as the SP1 or SP2 for Savannah. There’s no reason to rush him.

33. 2B Kyle Suire – 23-yrs old - 2008 for Kingsport: .297/.369/.549/.919 in 182 at bats, 9 home runs, 36 RBIs in 48 games – Suire showed some nice power and got a late season promotion to Brooklyn, but there’s a good chance he may start this year in Savannah ahead of Alonzo Harris, especially since he is 4 years older.

34. C Dock Doyle – 23-yrs old - 2008: In 2008, Doyle impressed at Kingsport (.308) and eventually was promoted to Brooklyn. His combined stats were: .303/.382/.389 in 175 at bats. It’s a rare thing having a Mets minor league catcher batting over .300. I expect Doyle to be fast tracked due to his age, but he’s in a catcher logjam behind Francesco Pena (scheduled for Lucy) and Josh Thole (scheduled for B-Mets).

35. P Brandon Moore – 23-yrs old – 2008 for King/Brooklyn combined: 5-1, 3.00 in 14 games, 2 starts, 33 Ks in 27.0 IP – look for the 23-year old college boy to be fast tracked, as high as St. Lucie come April.

36. RP James Fuller - 21-yrs old – 2008 for the Clones: 1.00, 1.11 in 8 games, 1 start, 22Ks in 18.0 IP – Fuller had a great first season in baseball and it will be interesting to see where he starts playing this spring, what with the need of good, quality, young relievers in the system.

37. 2B Alonzo Harris - 19-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: .308/.379/.510 in 104 at bats, 5 HRs - Harris very quietly had a great year and added himself to the growing list of 2B prospects in the Mets system. He was a late signing 2007 draft pick that simply fell back in the rotation because of that. I hope to see him in Savannah in late March.

38. SP Gonzalez Germen - 21-yrs old – 2008 for DSL: 5-2, 1.34, 0.76 in 15 games, 14 starts, 70 Ks in 74.0 IP - Germen won the 2008 Sterling Award for the top player on the 2008 DSL team. A little older than most players that come out of Latin America, you might see Germen as high as Savannah this spring.

39. SP Jhonathan Torres – 19-yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 5-2, 3.39 in 13 starts - Torres won the 2008 Sterling Award for the top player on the 2008 VSL team. There’s an outside chance he might start for the Kingsport team rather than the normal first stateside stop with GCL.

40. SP Angel Cuan – 19-yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 1-8, 3.13 in 14 starts as SP1, 74Ks in 72.0 IP – Cuan had virtually no support from his teammates in 2008. It’s close to impossible to turn in a 3.13 ERA after 14 starts that resulted in a 1-8 record, but he pulled it off. I look for him to anchor the GCL team this year.

41. SP Orlando Tovar – 21/yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 0-1, 1.54 in 8 starts, 52 Ks in only 41.0 IP. Orlando was a strikeout machine last year in the VSL and will most probably join his old teammate Cuan in the GCL rotation.

42. RP Samuel Tavares – 20-yrs old – 2008 for DSL: 4-2, 0.90, 0.90 in 23 relief appearances, 12 saves, 37 Ks in 30.0 IP – we don’t normally see a relief pitcher in Latin America stack up stats like this kid, who just might be something special. There’s a good chance he will go full season come the end of March.

43. 3B Aderlin Rodriquez – 16-yrs old – Aderlin was signed in July 2007 which included a 500k+ bonus. He should surface for the DSL Mets in 2009.
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