12/24/10

Mets “On The Bubble”

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It seems that I’m always featuring SPs in my yearly “on the bubble” post. The reason is simple. Most of the guys the Mets have drafted under the Omar Minaya era have been 3-year college pitchers who’s velo tops off in the very low 90s… meaning… they are 100% projectable at this point in their career. They come to the Mets in the 21-23 year old range, with no expectations for increased velo. This is it. So, you wind up with 4-6 candidates every two years for the SP5 slot.


Usually, none get a chance. Last year, due to injuries to members of the Mets rotation, Dillon Gee did get a chance. Was he better than two of the guys mentioned in this post? Actually, it was just his turn and it has worked for him. Would he be in the rotation if Johan Santana wasn’t hurt and the Mets resigned Hisanori Takahashi (or a new FA)?


24-27 year old pitchers still pitching in the minors with a fastball sitting below 92 just doesn’t hack it in the pros, especially on big market teams.



I believe that Mr. Alderson understands what I’m suggesting and I think the only pitchers drafted in the top five rounds, under him, that currently top out at 92 or below, will be high schoolers that still project some velo.



Anyway, moving on: 



SP Dylan Owen – Owen will be playing 2011 for the next Rule V draft. He projects out better as an SP5 than a relief pitcher, but is blocked by the future promotions of Jenrry Mejia and Matt Harvey. He struggled at the AAA level in 2010 (7.11 ERA in 10-G, 7-starts), will turn 25 next July, and opposing AAA teams had a batting average of .319 against him. Great guy who hopefully will be converted full time to the pen this spring. If not, don’t look for a future for him as a Met.



SP Mike Antonini – Mike hasn’t done much wrong in his minor league career, but is running out of options. He’s a year older than Owen and throws the same kind of velo as Dylan, but it is from the left side. He’s had difficulty turning his AA success into the same at the AAA level… 2009: 12.27 ERA… 2010: 5.11. Antonini is scheduled to be the SP2 in Buffalo this spring behind Mejia, which does noting for his chances to make the Mets some day. Look for him to be another good Rule V pickup come next year.



RP Roy Merritt – Merritt is a perfect example why we try not to get too excited about pitchers at lower levels. He owned the NY-Penn League in 2008 (3-0, 1.49, 25-G, 55-K, 42.1-IP), but you have to remember that he was pitching against a bunch of kids that swing at anything. Pitchers with good late movement eat up the rookie leagues. The true test comes around the AA level when you start pitching against starting lineups with decent strike zone awareness. Now you have to pitch. Roy’s first limited shot at AAA in 2010 went badly… 4 games… 14.54 ERA. 2011 will be his 5th year as a Met. He’s 25, which is still young for an RP, but it’s time.



P Brad Holt – I don’t know where to begin. Here’s what I do know first hand. The Mets screwed this kid up royally, trying to get him to add different pitchers when really all he was was a top prospect flame thrower. I don’t know what shape his arm is in, but his head has to be on sideways by now. Will he get a new life as an 8th inning dude? I hope so, but if he repeats his league leading total of wild pitches in spring training, he may never come out of extended camp. Look, he had 96-Ks in 72.1-IP for Brooklyn in 2008… then, 54-Ks in 43.1-IP for St. Lucie in 2009. Then the craziness started. My question: If you use a first round pick on a 6-4 pitcher that was known for one plus plus pitch, why fuck with this? But, what do I know?



IF Eric Campbell – Campbell was an 8th round draft pick that sort of ho-hummed his way through both the 2008 and 2009 season, playing third base, outfield, and first base. Then, in 2010, he combines for a .306/.369/.467/.836 stat line, for GCL (rehab)-Lucy-Bing. He also hits 10-HRs and knocks in 51 runs in 360 at bats, but still doesn’t have a primary position to play. Had a miserable winter (.210), which makes one wonder if his stats in Lucy last year (.335) is the true aberration.

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