Update On Mets Prospects

For everyone looking forward to 2010 and beyond (and I do assume, that’s “everyone”), John Sickels has posted an update to his New York Mets prospect list.

I encourage you to take a gander and then come back to suggest the lineups we may see in the near future. Sure, it may be unrealistic to conjure the future based on the stat lines next to various 18-year-old phenoms, but it’s a heckuva lot more fun than watching the current “product on the field”.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Mike August 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm
    I follow the Mets Minor League Blog as well as try to find daily box scores for all the Mets affiliates. I find that most teams have about the same amount of talent from A-ball and below. One team might have a more highly talented or revered prospect than others, but all in all these players are far enough away that the collective potential of the players is about the same per system. This tells me that it comes down to player development and we all know just how bad the Mets have been at that.

    A+ is St. Lucie and there are a few interesting prospect there: Zach Lutz, Scott Shaw, Scott Moviel, Reese Havens and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. None of these guys are very highly touted save for Havens but he is a man without a definite position and he can’t even stay healthy. Best case for him is to finish strong, start next year in AA at 2nd base. Ceiling is a 2nd baseman with decent pop, acceptable average and OBP, and plenty of heart as he is known to play the game “the right way.” Don’t expect him for 2-3 years though (2011 the earliest unless the Mets rush him like everyone else).

    AA is Binghamton and this is where most of the A+ players of note have ended up already. Ike Davis, Jenry Mejia, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Brad Holt, and Lucas Duda are names to keep an eye on. We know most of them and their status as prospects but what is really important is how long can we expect to wait for them. Davis should start next year at AAA and if he can continue to develop power, discipline and defense, I don’t see why he can’t make an appearance late next year. Mejia is young but probably the most exciting arm the Mets have. He need this and next year at AA to really refine his stuff but if he ever shows he is done with AA he by all means would be moved up. Problem is he likely will be rushed. In a perfect world we wouldn’t see him until late 2011 the earliest. Holt and Tejada are similar in that they show signed of potential but have still much more to show. Tejada is young and can stand to wait, eventually moving to the outfield from SS is a possibility if he develops more power. Holt needs to work on secondary pitches and should compete for the 5th starter spot by 2011. Thole needs to continue to develop as a catcher but has clearly left AA behind with his bat. AAA next year and I think we could see him get a serious look next spring training. Duda I simply like as a potential power bat off the bench in a few years. He needs to do a lot of work but I can see him reaching the bigs.

    Finally AAA. We all know the story. Evans, Martinez, Niese, Adam Bostick, Eddie Kunz, and Carlos Muniz. Evans is a power bat off the bench at best, Niese will compete for the 5th starter spot next spring, Martinez should replace Beltran when he leaves or is traded after the 2010 season (and not a moment before as he is clearly not ready). Bostick is maybe a 4th starter one day, Kunz might be able to crack a ML bullpen one day, but is clearly not a closer in waiting as was previously thought and Muniz is predictably bad this year.

    If I were a betting man I’d say Mejia, Davis, Martinez and Thole are the best shots at being good major league players, but I think all I mentioned are worth following the rest of the year, plus more below and even a few I left out.

  2. joejanish August 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    Mike, thanks so much for sharing that detailed assessment. Very fair, unbiased, and realistic.

    I keep hearing about Thole and hope he can make it behind the dish, because otherwise the Mets are up the creek back there. Though, I get the feeling his defense will never be up to par, and unless he develops power may end up as a Robert Fick.

  3. dyhrdmet August 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm
    that doesn’t look real good that most of those prospects are C or C+.

    And we didn’t want to trade these guys for big names because…?

  4. Mike August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm
    That was the grade prior to the year. Wait on grades until after the year. The comments are what you should read.
  5. isuzudude August 14, 2009 at 3:00 pm
    I just don’t understand why Thole is still toiling in AA. With his savvy BB to K ratio and his high average, it looks like he’s more than ready to make the jump to AAA. And I would think it would behoove the Mets to get him into a higher level if they intend on giving him a long look next spring for a role on the big club. Maybe they forecast losing him via Rule 5 draft?
  6. Mike August 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm
    I think it is a combination of having him work on his catching and not being overwhelmed at the plate at the same time. I think at AAA a catch needs to be able to handle pitchers and not have to be taught how to do so on the job. In AA he can work more closely with the staff and not be as concerned with his hitting at the same time. He clearly has left AA behind but he can stand to add some more pop. The benefit from my view point is that he can keep hitting comfortably for the remaining season and continue his development as a catcher. He will need the experience in AAA next year.

    I think his ceiling as a defended is quite low. That does not mean you should abandon his defense altogether. The Mets know his bat won’t work at 1b unless he develops more power. With the move to catcher I believe they do not think he can add the power, so their belief is he can add the defense much easier. As a hitter we won’t know for sure what he can be until he spends some time in AAA, but if he proves that he can do the same thing there he has a future as a ML hitter.

  7. joejanish August 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm
    ‘dude, I think Mike has hit the nail on the head — Thole needs to fully develop his catching skills before he can even think about playing at the MLB level. Or he needs to learn how to play 2B.

    Do you ever get the idea that the Mets’ system is filled with Dan Murphy clones? In other words, guys who either don’t field well enough or hit well enough for their position? Really makes you wonder about what they’re doing in the minors in regard to evaluation and development.

    Next clone up: Reese Havens, who likely won’t hit well enough to play the OF nor field well enough to play the infield. Every scout outside the Mets’ organization pegged Havens as an ideal player to convert to catcher — but the Mets in their infinite wisdom leave him at SS. I guess they know better than everyone else.

  8. Mike August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm
    It is not infinite wisdom that stays the Mets hand. It is the tendency to wait too long instead of pulling the trigger early and having a guy play one position in the minors. Instead defense is a second class citizen in this organization. Guys like Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores (Savanah: low A-ball, futures game participant) typically outgrow their positions in their development and then naturally transition to another position. This happens a lot and in most systems. I have no problem playing them where they are most comfortable for fear of stunting their growth if you move them elsewhere: for now. Additionally they may never outgrow the position so moving them because they might end up there is lazy in my opinion.

    The problem is that guys like Thole, Havens, and Murphy are not committed to one position but instead are taught to hit and consider defense after they get to the show so they can get on the job training. This is folly as we have all seen. I hope the next director of player development takes the reigns on this and puts players in one place for their careers. This trend is the result lack of foresight or a lack of wisdom which is clearly not infinite 😉