Archive: November 29th, 2010

2010 Analysis: Jesus Feliciano

Through 13 minor league seasons, all Jesus Feliciano did was hit, hit, and hit some more, posting a career .285 batting average while playing solid outfield defense.

However, he didn’t do much else. For example, he didn’t get on base very often until fairly recently, he didn’t do anything extraordinary on the bases, and he didn’t hit for much power. In many ways, he was the minor league, outfield version of Luis Castillo: a singles hitter with above-average speed and solid defensive skills. Unfortunately for Feliciano, there isn’t much demand for an outfielder with Luis Castillo‘s offensive skill set.

Thanks to a rash of injuries, Feliciano finally made it to the bigs in 2010, and showed a ton of hustle, strong fundamentals, and the ability to put the bat on the ball. He didn’t get the ball to fall safely often enough to turn heads (.231 AVG / .276 OBP / .563 OPS in 119 plate appearances), but he did provide entertainment with his occasional RBI singles, strong defense, and passion for the game. His MLB debut at age 31 was an inspiration and one of the feel-good stories of 2010.

2011 Projection

Unless something awful happens in 2011, there likely isn’t room in the Mets outfield for Jesus Feliciano. I imagine he’ll either move on to another organization or return to Buffalo next season, and keep grinding it out. He knows how to play the game, respects it, and should have a career as a coach or manager some day if he chooses to go that route.

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2010 Analysis: Nick Evans

How do we evaluate a player who had only 37 plate appearances at the Major League level? A difficult, if not impossible task.

Evans fought his way back to the bigs after a terrible slump that pushed him down to AA in 2009. He began the ’10 season in AA as well, smacking 17 HRs in 88 games before a late-season promotion to AAA. He continued to swing the bat well for Buffalo, finishing with a .314 AVG / .384 OBP / .557 SLG in 157 plate appearances. He was part of the MLB expanded roster in September and hit .306 while used primarily as a pinch-hitter.

What Evans showed us in 2010 was similar to what we saw of him in 2008 — a long swing that showed potential power but also a vulnerability to swinging and missing, adequate defense, and slow baserunning. Though his minor league numbers have historically suggested that he has a patient approach and good strike zone discipline, but he has yet to show either at the MLB level — probably because he hasn’t been given enough regular duty; pinch-hitters are generally expected to be aggressive. Evans may also have changed his approach in MLB due to confidence issues, and/or a need to prove his ability. Whatever the case, it would be interesting to see what Evans might accomplish if given an extended opportunity.

2011 Projection

Evans turns 25 in January, and has shown signs of improvement as a minor leaguer. He should be given every opportunity to win a job on the big club as a utilityman / pinch-hitter. Personally I’d love to see what might happen with a platoon of Evans and Chris Carter in LF but that’s unlikely to happen unless something drastic changes with the current outfield situation.

One thing that I continue to wonder about is whatever happened to Evans’ attempt at catching? He can already handle the outfield and infield corners, and adding catching to his resume would seem to be a no-brainer — both for the Mets and Evans — if he can handle it even in an emergency situation. If anyone has any info on the subject, please post in the comments.

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Free Agent Focus: Catchers

A few weeks ago, Sandy Alderson said the Mets will seek a veteran backstop, as he is not convinced that Josh Thole can be an everyday catcher:

“We’re looking for more catching,” Alderson said. “I think it would be a little bit premature if I were to make a judgment on Thole without ever actually having seen him play.”

He wants to “see” Thole play? Can’t he just look at Thole’s numbers on Paul DePodesta’s computer? Weird.

Since then, though, manager Terry Collins announced that Thole would be the team’s #1 catcher in 2011.

Now I’m really confused; isn’t Collins supposed to be taking orders from above, and executing the plan set forth by Alderson?

Regardless of whether Thole is the starter, the Mets will need a second backstop — and presumably are in the market for a veteran. Even with Mike Nickeas and Omir Santos around, the Mets need some depth.

However, the free-agent pickings are slim; there are a total of 14 MLB catchers currently available. Let’s have a look at them.

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