1/27/09

The Mack Attack - 1-28-9

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Manager Jerry Manuel on Manny: “probably one of the best right-handed hitters in our generation….to have a shot at managing [him] would be exciting for me… I'd love to have the opportunity to watch Manny hit every day… I don't have a problem with people that produce in the form and fashion that Manny Ramirez produces… we don't spend, shouldn't spend that much time in the locker room, anyway.”

Mack: Sure sounds like a manager talking about someone that’s going to be in the same dugout… wonder how Mr. Wilpon enjoyed reading that over his poached eggs…

The Mets signed RHP Tim McNab and released RHP Jason Lavorgna, 2B Michael Parker, and OF Darren Clark

RHP Kyle Snyder and LHP Jon Switzer were signed to minor league contracts.

The State of Met’s SPs:

We’ll be setting up our annual stat check on the spring training starters and who is fighting it out for the rotation spots. My educated guess is the SP1 is Johan Santana (DOH), followed by Mike Pelfrey and John Maine. Contenders, until Ollie’s rented car arrives at Traditions, are: Jon Niese, Nelson Figueroa, Noel Redding (couldn’t help that…),Freddy Garcia, Bobby Parnell, and Brandon Knight.


New Mets:

RHP Kyle Snyder – September 9,1977 - Houston, Texas - 6-8 220 Bats: Right Throws: Right - High School: Riverview (Sarasota, Florida) - College: University of North Carolina - Drafted: Selected by Kansas City Royals in 1st Round (7th overall) of 1999 amateur entry draft (June-Reg) - Prospect Rankings according to Baseball America: - 2000 - 70th ranked MLB - 2000 - 3rd ranked for Kansas City Royals - 2001 - 10th ranked for Kansas City Royals - 2002 - 8th ranked for Kansas City Royals - 2003 - 7th ranked for Kansas City Royals

MLB (5 seasons): 8-17 5.57 1.55
2008 – Boston: 0-0 21.60 2.40

Mack: Like I said many times before, sign as many 1st rounder to minor league contracts as you can… you never know if they were managed correctly by their last pitching coaches…

LHP Jon Switzer – August 13,1979 Bowling Green, Kentucky - 6-3 190 Bats: Left Throws: Left - High School: Clear Lake (Houston, Texas) - College: Arizona State University - Drafted: Selected by Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2nd Round (47th overall) of 2001 amateur entry draft (June-Reg) - Prospect Rankings per Baseball America : 2003 - 7th ranked for Tampa Bay Devil Rays

MLB (4 seasons): 2-4 6.11 1.79
2008 – PAW-AAA: 5-1 4.40 1.37

Mack: Okay, this was a second rounder… but why not… the Mets can always cut him after ¾ outlings…


Of Cory Sullivan – Positions: OF-478, CF-253, LF-27, RF-14 - August 20,1979 Tulsa, Oklahoma Map - 6-0 180 Bats: Left Throws: Left - High School: North Allegheny (Wexford, Pennsylvania) - College: Wake Forest University, Cypress College - --Drafted: Selected by Colorado Rockies in 7th Round (214th overall) of 2001 amateur entry draft (June-Reg) - - MLB Debut: April 4,2005

2008: Colorado AAA 94 G 381 AB .320/.373/.475/848
Colorado MLB 18 G 23 Abs .217/.250/.304/.554

Mack: Err… nice AAA numbers, but so does Michel Abreu. Would someone try and explain to me why the Mets are signing all these dud outfielders? Don’t they realize they have a ton of dud outfielders already in their system?

Mack’s Prospect List Update:

Don’t Forget The “Ruckle Shuffle” - SP Jacob “Jake” Ruckle is getting ready to return to Traditions Field and reclaim his SP role at Binghamton. He leaves his west coast home tomorrow, with sidekick Nick Evans. Reports are that Jake feels better than ever and has bulked up to 207 lbs in the off-season/rehab program. I can vouch for the fact that he has worked his ass off to get back in shape and pick up before he injured his arm last year. Jake’s been training with his father for the past two months somewhere in the Mohave desert, a place thankfully without internet/cell phone access. His father Mark is basically a legend down there when it comes to personal training. He's a former college linebacker and is known for facilitating intense workouts. He's currently the football strength and conditioning coach for a 3A High School in Mohave Valley Arizona. Jake spent many a day running up and down sand dunes along the Colorado River with boots on, in the blistering desert heat. When Jake was a Draft and Follow in 2004 and attending Chandler Gilbert Community College, his Dad made the 500 plus mile round trip to Phoenix nearly every weekend… for a year and a half! But let’s get back to Jake. Ruckle was drafted in the 41st round of the 2004 amateur draft. That was the 1,214th person draft pick that year, which just be more people that live in his home town of Mohave Valley, Arizona. Scout Dave Birecki liked what he saw and the rest was the start of Mets Life with Ruckle.

All Ruckle did was: Go 8-1, 2.10 1.06 in 11 games (8 starts) for the GCL Mets in 2005…. Go 5-3 3.44 1.20 in 14 starts for the Clones in 2006 … Get promoted to Lucy and finish up 4-3, 1.60 1.07 in 2006 … And then go 6-6 3.47 1.18 in 27 games , 11 starts for Lucy again in 2007.

2008 started out strong, and then came the bum are. It’s hard to tell when the injury hit, but you can always tell something is wrong when a good pitcher goes rubber… immediately… Jake went 1-3, 7.36, 1.67 in only 6 starts until he was shut down and sent to the Doctors. 2008 was over and all of us switched gears and started writing about guys like Gee, Antonini and Holt. But me? Nah, I stayed in touch and followed this kid through all the rehab. No letdown, no loss of speed, bulked up, and ready to go. Trust me here. Jake Ruckle will start the 2008 season in AA-B-Town as a rotational pitcher. I still am a firm believer that his unconventional delivery (there’s a You Tube video and rap song on “the Ruckle Shuffle”) will make him an eventual one-inning specialist, but we’ll see. What I will tell you this. No one has worked harder (okay, so has Shawn Bowman) to be successful at his trade, and don’t be surprised if you are reading feature stories on him at www.MiLB.com right after the season starts.



Prospect News:

2B Greg Veloz (Mack’s Mets Prospect # xx) - from Toby Hyde:
Veloz hit his way out of the SAL with a scorching performance after the All-Star Break at age 20. He brings plus big league speed to the ballpark every night. Veloz has the ability (range, hands and arm) to play MLB caliber defense at second, one of the tougher positions on the diamond to fill. 2008: Veloz hit .258/.304/.352 in 267 AB before the All-Star break but decided he’d had enough of the SAL and went out and hit .324/.388/.473 in 188 to earn his promotion to St. Lucie and the FSL. Projected 2009 Start: St. Lucie as the team’s everyday 2B.

Mack: I know there are a lot of doubts in many of the scouts that Veloz will someday make to CitiField, but he is easily the top 2B prospect in the system. I watched him mature after the all-star break in Savannah, where he batted 1st, was pitched around every game, and still hit .324. His speed is Reyes-like. I like him and I’m not afraid to rank him where I have him.

SP Michael Antonini (Mack’s Mets Prospect # XX)

Antonini was lit up Saturday night in the PRWL championships, giving up three unearned runs, on seven hits, in 2.1 IP.

From Toby Hyde:
Antonini graduated from both full-season A-ball leagues in his first full professional season, and that success from a left-hander counts for something. His fastball is fringe-average from the left side, sitting at 88-89 when I saw him in July. He touched 91, but did not pitch at that velocity. The fastball plays up thanks to good command as he can spot it to both sides of the plate. His changeup is his second pitch, but when he didn’t finish the pitch, it stayed up, and got hit hard in AA. 2008: SAL? Check. FSL? Check. AA? Working on it. Winter ball? No problem. That’s a great year. Projected 2009 Start: AA Binghamton rotation

Mack: One of the nicest kids you will ever meet, Antonini is, in my opinion, not in the class of Bradley Holt or Jonathan Niese. Actually, he’s not in the class of Tobi Stoner or Dillon Gee either. He’s one of those control pitchers that bore you to death, but wins more than they lose. I’m not sure what his future is, especially since none of his pitchers stand out that would make him a great relief pitcher either. Sort of another Aaron Heilman.

Keith Law/ESPN came out with his annual minor league prospect ranking and put the overall Mets system as 17th in the league, saying: “It took a few major trades, but their system finally has thinned. Their international scouting department has saved the system, with three of their top six prospects (Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte) all coming via that route. Keep an eye on Brad Holt, a potentially fast mover from the 2008 draft whose curveball is improving.” It’s hard for someone like me, who follows only the Mets, if that’s a proper placement, and I frankly don’t remember where he had the Mets last year (though I expect it was lower). Anyone out there remember where Lew ranked the Mets system in 2008?

Inside Pitch Top 20 Mets Prospects –

1. Fernando Martinez - - 2. Wilmer Flores - - 3. Jonathon Niese - - 4. Bradley Holt - - 5. Eddie Kunz - - 6. Dan Murphy - - 7. Nick Evans - - 08. (Mike Carp) - - 09. Bobby Parnell - - 10. Tobi Stoner - - 11. Brant Rustich - - 12. (Ezequiel Carrera) - - 13. Scott Shaw - - 14. Dillon Gee RHP - - 15. Matt Bouchard - - 16. Ruben Tejada - 17. Juan Lagares - 18. Reese Havens - - 19. Mike Antonini - - 20. Greg Veloz

Mack: This is supposedly a new list. If so, why not remove Carp and Carrera? Also,they ranked Bouchard and Tejada in the top 20 prospects… are they watching the same games as the rest of us? How do you rank Matt Bouchard 15th and Jenry Marte 26th? The list was 51 players on the list, but I stopped listing them here after continually getting annoyed at the names being listed here. A real bad job.

Keith Law’s full report on his 17th prospect – OF Francisco Martinez:

Martinez's big issue is staying healthy; he has yet to reach 400 plate appearances or play in 100 games during any of his pro seasons, excluding winter ball. This is a shame, because Martinez has a special bat and the injuries plus some aggressive promotions have obscured it. Martinez offers huge power potential, putting on a display in BP, but it has only briefly started to emerge in games. He has very quick and strong wrists, letting the ball travel on him before exploding quickly and making solid, hard contact. In the field, he's looking more likely to end up in right field; the Mets have one of the game's best center fielders in the big leagues and don't need to groom Martinez for that position. His pitch recognition, while good for his age, hasn't progressed over the last two years, and the more he's pushed up the system the less likely it is that the skill will develop. Martinez has now played the equivalent of a full season in Double-A before his 20th birthday, and the Mets are faced with the difficult decision of whether to promote him to Triple-A because he has "graduated" from the lower level or return him to the Eastern League for the third consecutive year so he can work on his plate discipline and, maybe, catch his breath.

Keith Law on his 55th pick – SS Wilmer Flores:

Flores is, more than anything else, young -- he doesn't turn 18 until the first week of August, and could start the year in a full-season league after finishing with 30 at-bats in Brooklyn. Flores' calling card is his bat -- he has quick wrists and is very short to the ball, squaring very well except on balls toward the bottom of the zone. Flores plays short now but is below-average already, and he'll move to another position as he fills out, probably third base given his arm strength and the fact that his bat will play there. His power potential is an open question. He has some power now because he makes such hard contact and has loft in his finish; if he fills out physically, he should end up with plus power, topping 30 in his best years. Had he been born in the U.S., he'd be a top 10 pick in the upcoming draft.


Alumni:

Razzball listed their top 40 outfielders in fantast baseball:

39. Carlos Gomez - Now for the last tier of the top 40 outfielders for 2009. I call this last tier, “Probably not the 39th thru 41nd most valuable outfielders, but I’m just pointing out some upside guys.” There’s a chance for 10 HRs and 40 steals with CarGo. Granted, his average might be tremendously bleh. I wasn’t crazy about CarGo last year, and I’m not completely sold on him yet, but a sleeper is a sleeper is a sleeper. I could have wrote Denard Span here instead of Gomez, but he’s not as exciting to me. 2009 Projections: 90/10/60/.260/40

40. Lastings Milledge - At some point early on last year, I said get rid of Milledge. He’s not ready yet. He needs more time to season and absorb some of his juices. Of course, Bowden left him on the grill for those first four months, and, by August, Milledge started to finally cook. 2009 Projections: 75/18/90/.280/20

Mack: It never bothered me that Gomez was shipped, but I’m starting to thing the Mets should have sent F-Mart instead of this kid. Regarding Lasto, long term Mack readers know how I feel about him…

The Cincinnati Reds released P Jon Atkins

The Detroit Tigers signed OF Timo Perez to a minor league deal

Former Met minor leaguer, OF Raul Gonzales, homered and drove in two runs in Ponce’s 9-6 victory in the 4th game of the Puerto Rican World Series, against Arecibo. Mets AAA- veteran OF Jesus Feliciano went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Arecibo.

P Aaron Heilman to a Seattle reporter:

"Playing in New York is the only existence I've known and I think you get used to it," Heilman said, standing by a heater Sunday in the Mariners dugout. "You learn to accept the fact that you are dealing with a very passionate, very knowledgeable fan base. "New York's one of those markets where unless you win the World Series, it's not a good year. There's a lot of competition in New York from all sides, whether it's the Mets against the Yankees or whether it's between the newspapers."

Mack: I will always remember Aaron as a gentleman, who treated my brother-in-law, and his son, with absolute respect during a remote broadcast at car dealership last year. I wish him, and his family, well.

From ajc.com: Convicted steroids dealer Kirk Radomski, the New York man who was one of the central witnesses in baseball’s Mitchell Report, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Sunday that he twice took urine tests in place of Dwight Gooden when he was a clubhouse boy for the Mets. Radomski, 39, of Manorville, N.Y., has written a tell-all book called “Bases Loaded” that is to be released Tuesday. He was a Mets clubhouse boy from 1986-95 and says he directly or indirectly sold steroids or human growth hormone to “maybe two, three hundred” former or current baseball players, including Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, David Justice and Miguel Tejada.

Mack: Excuse me, but does anyone care which one of these two pissed in who’s cup anymore?

Mets who wore #17: Jason Anderson, Kevin Appier, Mike Bordick, Choo Choo Coleman, David Cone, Wilson Delgado, Larry Elliot, Gil Flores, Rod Gaspar, Satoru Komiyama, Dae-Sung Koo, Frank Lary, Graeme Lloyd, Luis Lopez, Teddy Martinez, Brent Mayne, Jeff McKnight, Felix Millan, Jerry Morales, David Newhan, Dennis Ribant, Bret Saberhagen, Jimmie Schaeffer, Dick Stuart, Fernando Tatis, Ellis Valentine, Don Zimmer… and Keith Hernandez.

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