Posted by Mack Ade at 12:00 PM
I wrote this for NY Sports Day on July 5, 2006
Currently, the Mets are going through some pitching problems, but no fear, help is on the way. Very quietly though, the Mets brass has been assembling a combination of draft picks, international signings, and Rule V acquisitions, and the following list highlights some of the names you may come to know in the near future.
Willie Collazo - Collazo was originally drafted in the 10th round, in 2001, by the Atlanta Braves, and played in their organization in Jamestown (2001), Macon (2001), Greenville (2002-2003), and Myrtle Beach (2003). The Braves lost Collazo to Anaheim in the Rule V draft, where it seemed that his career took off in the wrong direction. 2004 was spent at AA Arkansas (6-10, 4.62) and in April 2005, Collazo was suspended for 15 games for testing positive for steroids. His stats that year were a disappointing 6.75 ERA wth the Los Angeles Angels' Class AA and AAA teams. In 320.1 minor league innings, Collazo has posted a 3.82 ERA. His second chance came in March of 2006, when the Mets signed Collazo to a minor league contract after pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets promoted Collazo to AAA Norfolk on 6-28-06, after going 6-5 and 2.86 with the B-Mets.
Mike Pelfrey - Pelfrey spent his college career at Wichita State University, where he went 12-3 in his last season, posting a 1.93 ERA in 139.2 innings. The Mets selected Pelfrey in the 1st round (ninth overall) of 2005 draft, and gave Pelfrey a $5.25 million contract, through 2009, with a $3.5 million signing bonus. Mike was named to the Eastern League all-star team in 2006, and OnDeck currently ranks him as the Mets No. 2 prospect. He has posted outstanding numbers (4-2, 2.71) so far this season and is expected to be called up to the Mets before the season ends.
Eddy Camacho - In 2003, Camacho played for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League. The Mets signed Camacho in 2004 after a very successful year at Cal-State Northridge, where he had allowed only 19 hits in 44 innings pitched that year. He finished that year in Brooklyn, posting a 3-1 record and a 0.69 ERA. 2005 brought more success, this time at St. Luice (2-4 2.74 10 saves). This year, he is 2-1 with a respectable 3.27 ERA.
Jose Sanchez – Sanchez was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He came to the Mets through a Rule V acquisition, in 2005, and was assigned to Hagerstown. Sanchez had a banner year, going 11-5, with a 4.20 ERA. So far this year, Sanchez is 8-4, with a 3.54 ERA, giving him a combined Met career record of 19-9.
Phil Humber - Humber was first drafted in the 29th round of the 2001 draft by the New York Yankees, but chose to attend Rice University instead. Humber pitched three years for Rice University, compiling a 35-8 record and a 2.80 ERA. The Mets picked him as their No. 1 pick (third overall) in 2004, where he received a $3.7 million signing bonus. In 2005, Humber went a combined 2-7 for St. Lucie and Birmingham, and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He returned to St. Lucie on 6-28-06. Baseball America ranked Humber the 20th top prospect in the Florida State League. Humber throws a 90-94 mph fastball that tops off at 97, a true ‘12-6’ curve, and a splitter that he also uses as a change. OnDeck lists him as the Mets No. 3 prospect.
Michael Devaney - Devaney was drafted by the Mets in the 23rd round (674th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He attended school at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he played both ways, hitting .409 with 10 HR's in his senior season. During his sophomore season, Devaney threw a no-hitter against Rockies prospect Jeff Francis. Scout.com listed him the 43rd top Mets prospect in 2004. In 2005, Devaney had a wonderful season last year in Brooklyn and was one of the top pitchers in the NY-Penn league. So far this season, he is 8-3 with a 1.62 ERA. You dream for a 23rd pick like this one.
Jonathan Niese – Niese was voted Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year for two straight years. The Mets drafted him in the 7th round in 2005, and Niese got his feet wet at the GCL Mets, going 1-0 in 7 games, posting a 3.65 ERA and throwing 24 Ks in 24.2 IP. This year, Niese is 8-4 for Hagerstown, with a 3.24 ERA. OnDeck has Niese listed as the 18th Mets prospect
Deolis Guerra – Guerra was one of top 2 International prospects secured by the Mets last year. The Mets inked the 16 year old Guerra in July 2005 for $700,000, and he made his professional debut with Hagerstown on May 6, 2006. OnDeck ranks Guerra as the eighth Mets prospect. His pitches include a 91-92 mph fastball, and a developing change-up. It’s hard to judge a 17 year old playing organized ball, but Hagerstown has purposely limited Guerra’s pitches so far this season. He is 3-3 with a respectable 2.48 ERA.
Nelson Portillo - Portillo is a product of the Mets Venezuelan Summer League program. In 2005, Portillo went 6-0 with a 1.16 ERA. He allowed just 38 hits in 62.1 innings, while walking 17 and striking out 60. In 2006, Portillo spot started for the Hagerstown Suns and was transferred to Brooklyn when their season started. He is currently 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
Nicholas Carr - Carr was drafted No. 41 in the 2005 MLB draft by the Mets. He came straight out of Twin Falls High School, where he posted a 17-4 record over his junior and senior year. Carr decided not to sign, and instead attended the College of Southern Idaho, where he went 5-3, 2.18 ERA, last year. The Mets signed him as a draft-and-follow on May 24, 2006. Terms of his deal were not disclosed. Currently Carr is all speed, with a fastball that tops out at 95
Greg Mullens - The Mets signed Mullens as a free agent out of the Western Major Baseball League in Canada. In 2005, Mullens was named the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) Pitcher of the Year, leading the league in wins, complete games, strikeouts, and OBA. The big righty is a native of Saskatoon, Sask., Canada and graduated from Columbia University in 2006. . After attending a Mets pre-draft workout in June and holding private workouts in his hometown, three major league teams show interest: the Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. In his final outing during the National Senior Championships, the Mets offered to sign Mullens and he became a professional player in August, 2005. He had a no-hitter going after 4 innings in his first outing at Kingsport this year and is currently 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA.