Mack’s Updated Prospect List – Dec. 2008
Requirements: Be 24-years old at the beginning of the regular season, or have less than 100 at-bats at the major league level in one season.
Elliminated: Nick Evans (100+ at bats for the Mets in 2008), Ezequiel Carrera (trade), and Mike Carp (trade).
1. OF Daniel Murphy – 23 yrs old – I’m sure Murphy will be in Queens when the season starts, and yes, he had more than 100 at bats with the Mets last year, so he’s not even a rookie anymore, but out of respect, I’m still going to list him as a prospect until the final opening day roster is announced. Murphy won the Sterling Award in 2008 for Co-Player of The Year. Murphy continued his hot hitting in the AFL, going .397/.487/.619/1.106 in 63 at bats.
2. SP Jon Niese – 22 yrs. old - 2008: 11-8, 3.13/NO-Bing - Niese won the Sterling Award for Pitcher Of The Year in the Mets minor league system. Like Murphy, he will most probably be with the Mets come opening day, but until he is named to the rotation, we’ll keep him on this list.
3. SP Brad Holt – 22-yrs old - 2008: 5-3, 1.87, 1.05, 14 starts, 96Ks, 72.1 IP for Brooklyn - Holt hit 100 mph in a game last year against Aberdeen. The Brooklyn pitching coach, Hector Berrios, says that he feels that Holt will be in the front end of the Mets rotation ‘in a couple of years’. Holt won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the Brooklyn Cyclones. Baseball America ranks Holt as the 7th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn League. I consider Holt and Niese the two untouchable pitching prospects right now in the Mets pipeline.
4. SS Wilmer Flores – 17 yrs old - 2008: .842 OPS/K-Port - Even the experts at Baseball America have now declared that Flores was the top International signee in 2007. Flores won the Sterling Award for the top player in Kingsport in 2008. Baseball America ranked Flores as the 2nd top prospect coming out of the Appalachian League. The sky’s the limit for this Manny-type prospect. I pray they send him to Savannah in the spring and leave him alone for a season.
5. OF Fernando Martinez – 20 yrs. old - 2008: .292/GCL-Bing - F-Mart had a nice BA last year, but he continued to get dinged and his projected power still didn’t appear. It’s not that anyone things he’s not for real; it’s just that the Mets are starting to project him as a number two hitter, rather than four or five. He did play winter ball and put up good numbers in the DWL, but a guy with this kind of projection isn’t supposed to put up only good numbers. Obviously, the Mets still project him as a starting OFer in 2010, but he’s starting to sneak his way down the prospect list. Hint: Marte really should be ranked ahead of F-Mart, but I tried to be kind here.
6. 3B Jefry Marte – 17 yrs. old - 2008: .930 OPS/GCL - At 17 years old, Marte led the GCL league in OPS. Ben Badler/BA said at the end of last season that Marte was the 2nd top International signings in all of baseball a year ago (behind the #1 signing, Wilmer Flores). Marte also won the Sterling Award for the top player on the GCL team in 2008. In late September 2008, Baseball America listed Marte as the 3rd top prospect in the GCL league. Marte should wind up in Hispanic-friendly Savannah for the beginning of the 2009 season. From there, who knows.
7. SP Bobby Parnell – 24-yrs old - 12-8/Bing/NO – most of you that follow my prospect lists over the years know I never had Parnell very high on them. In his defense, I have never seen him pitch, so it’s hard to judge whether or not he has a future in the majors as a pitcher. I believe he does, but not as a Mets starter. Parnell is in a bad position at his age. He’s projected directly behind Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese, which, going into the 2008 season meant he was behind two untested kids for a rotational spot on the parent squad. The good news for him is Pelfrey is now solidly entrenched into the 2009 rotation. The bad news is the Mets are never going to rotate two rookies at the same time; thus, Niese would get the first shot this year, and that’s not even certain at this point. One of three things will happen to Parnell in 2009. One, he will park his car in Buffalo for a year and wait it out. Two, he will be packaged for a season positional player (OF, C, RP, SP) the Mets need immediately. Or three, he will be converted to the bullpen. At print time, it looks like number three wins out, possibly for the parent squad.
8. SP/RP Tobi Stoner – 24-yrs old – from Sandnats.com: Stoner, 23, concluded his AFL season with a 2-0 record and a 3.66 ERA. A normal starter, Stoner was used exclusively out of the bullpen in the fall league. He made 11 appearances and surrendered more than one earned run in just two of them while never permitting more than three runs in an outing. The Landstuhl, Germany-born Stoner fanned 15 batters over 19.2 innings pitched and didn’t allow a run in seven of his 11 appearances. I think we have begun to see the conversion of Stoner to the pen here, which should begin this spring in Binghamton, end the year in Buffalo, and possible make the parent team in 2010.
9. SP Scott Moviel – 20-yrs old – 2008 combined for Sav/Lucy: 10-8, 4.25, in 25 starts – Moviel was a workhorse in 2008, and, being a kid right out of high school, should remain in Florida for another season. Look for him to anchor the Lucy rotation.
10. SP Jenrry Mejia – 19-yrs old - 2008: 5-2, 2.89/GCL-Clones - Mejia regularly sat on 94 as an 18 year old in Brooklyn, and got as high as 97. He also struck out 67 batters in 71.2 IP, as an 18 year old. Baseball America ranks Mejia as the 9th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn league. The Mets are very high on this kid and a lot of teams have tried to trade for him in the off-season. Being young, he should start the season for Savannah, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see him at Tradition Field instead.
11. SP Dillon Gee – 23-years old - 2008: 10-6, 2.92/Lucy-Bing – Gee won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the St. Lucie team. Probably destined to be converted to a bullpen pitcher, if he remains in the Mets organization. Look for that to begin this season in Binghamton.
12. SP Brant Rustich – 24-yrs old - Rustich pitched dinged for most of the 2008 season, for Savannah, but still managed to post stats of: 3-4, 3.62, 1.17,in 20 games, 8 starts, 48Ks, 49.2 IP. I expect him to prove his ranking for Lucy come spring.
13. 2B Greg Veloz – 21 yrs. old - 2008: .278, 29 SB – Gnats/Lucy – Veloz won the Sterling Award for the top player in 2008 on the Savannah Sand Gnats. Veloz went to the HWL worn out from a long season and stayed that way until they put him on the shelf: .195/.279/.221 in 77 Abs. Go to sleep Greg and we’ll see you in March at Lucy. Right now, this is the only legitimate 2B prospect that could make Queens, as early as 2011.
14. C Josh Thole – 22-yrs old - a big time step-up for Thole in the 2008 season, which he just added to by hitting .397/.507/.741/1.248 in 38 at bats in the AFL. Definitely the top catching prospect in the Mets organization. From Sandgnats.com: Thole, 22, played extremely well in his first test versus Double-A and Triple-A talent. The Breese, Ill. native finished the AFL season with a .319 clip to go along with two home runs and 17 RBI. Thole played in 19 games and reached base safely in 16 of the 19 contests. At one point, Thole was riding a nine-game hitting streak in which he hit .470 (16/34). The productive stint in the AFL wraps a fine season for Thole, who led the St. Lucie Mets (High-A) in batting with a .300 average. He was a mid-season Florida State League All-Star selection and finished sixth in the league with his .300 average.
15. 1B Ike Davis – 22-yrs old - Davis had a so-so 2008 season, though he did hit better near the end. He played the entire season for Brooklyn, going .256/.326/.326 in 215 at bats. Davis had 0 HRs and only 17 RBIs in 58 games. Baseball America ranks Davis as the 17th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn league. Davis should take over the first base slot at Lucy and we’ll see if he was worthy of so high a pick.
16. OF Cesar Puello – 18-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: .305/.350/.364/.714 in 151 at bats - In late September 2008, Baseball America listed Puello as the 12th top prospect in the GCL league. Everybody was concentrated on his 2008 teammate Marte, which was just fine with Cesar. One downside: very little power here. Look for him to start as high as Lucy this spring.
17. 3B Zach Lutz – 22-yrs old - Lutz played the entire 2008 season for Brooklyn, going .333/.442/.514/.956 in 72 at bats. This included 4 doubles, 3 HRs, and 12 RBIs in 24 games. Yes I know, the Mets have a third baseman. I’m not quite sure where this kid will play in 2009, especially since the Mets want to play Marte next to Flores this spring. We’ll see.
18. SP Mike Antonini – 23-yrs old - 2008: 9-7, 2.77 – Sav/Lucy/Bing – Mike pitched winter ball and had one horrendous outing. Other than that, he’s ready to start at the AA level and work his was to Buffalo by the end of the 2009 season. I envision Mike being trade bait in a future package deal.
19. SP Eric Beaulac – 22-yrs old – 2008 combined forGnats/Clones/King: 2-2, 3.38, in 14 games, 8 starts, 60 Ks in 48.0 IP – The first thing the Mets have to do is put this kid in a rotation somewhere and leave him there for the season. Beaulac spent most of the 2008 season at the airport, but still impressed wherever he was sent. I hope he comes back to Savannah and settles in.
20. SS Reece Havens – 23-yrs old - In 2008, due to injuries, Havens was used exclusively as a DH, at Brooklyn, going .247/.340/.471, with 3 HRs and only 11 RBIs in 23 games. Baseball America ranks Havens as the 11th top prospect coming out of the NY-Penn League. I expect to see something out him right out the box this year.
21. SP Robert Carson – 20-yrs old - In 2008, Carson started out with the GCL Mets and pitched impressively: 1-0, 1.57, 0.74. He was promoted to Kingsport, where he went 2-3, 1.76 in 6 starts. You might see Carson held back to Brooklyn, because of his young age and the logjam of starters ahead of him. If not, he’s start for Savannah.
22. RP Roy Merritt – 23-yrs old - 2008: 0.92 whip 25 Gs/Clones – Merritt did, err, okay, in the HWL this fall: 1-2, 3.86, 13 G, 18.2 IP, 20 Ks. I was hoping for a little more, but it’s been a long season, right?
23. RP Michael Powers – 23 yrs old - In his debut year, Powers pitched for Kingsport and Savannah, combining for: 2-2, 2.88, in 18 relief appearances. He’s a big kid (6-3) from a big school (Michigan), who should be fast tracked in 2009.
24. RP Jimmy Johnson - 23 years old - 2008 for the Clones: 5-0, 1.25, 0.86, in 23 relief appearances, 41 Ks in 36.0 IP – easily, one of the most impressive relief jobs in the organization in 2008. Another aging college boy, I expect him as high as Lucy come the end of March.
25. RP/CL Eddie Kunz – 23-yrs old - 27 saves/Bing - Kunz had a miserable debut as a Met, which did knock him down a couple of positions here, but still doesn’t remove him as a top prospect. Eddie didn’t help his cause in the AFL this fall, going 2-2, 10.93, 2.43 in 14 relief appearances, 2 saves. With the signings of Francisco Martinez and J.J. Putz, this kid doesn’t stand a chance of becoming a Met. Look for him to wallow in Buffalo until he can be packaged in a deal.
26. SP Dylan Owen – 22-yrs old – 2008 combined Bing/Lucy: 13-7, 3.66, in 27 starts, 2 complete - another of those possible SP5 candidates that would best be served as trade bait in a package deal, especially if he gets off to a good start in 2009. Owen will start the 2009 season back in the Binghamton rotation.
27. SP Scott Shaw – 22-yrs old - Clones 2008: 6-3, 2.80 – Shaw pitched well in the HWL this fall: 1-2, 2.31, 6 G, 5 starts, 27Ks/23.1 IP. The more this kid pitches, the more he looks like the real deal. Look for him in the Sand Gnat rotation in 2009.
28. C Francesco Pena – 19-yrs old – 2008 for Savannah: .264/.308/.380/.688 in 397 at bats – Pena was in the top 10 list at the beginning of last year but has steadily unimpressed scouts throughout the 2008 season. He also has a long way to go defensively and I’m not sure what the Mets are going to do with him this spring. Most probably, he will split assignments with Sean McCraw in St. Lucie.
29. SP Jeurys Familia – 19-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: 2-2, 2.79, in 11 starts – Familia had a wonderful first assignment stateside, and will either anchor the Brooklyn or Savannah rotation this spring. There’s no reason to rush this 19-year old, especially since there is a logjam ahead of him.
30. 2B Josh Satin – 24-yrs old – 2008 combined for King/Brooklyn: .303/.370/.503/.873 in 155 at bats – another young second basemen that made this list, Satin should wind up in Savannah this spring playing in the same infield with Marte and Flores.
31. SP Christopher Schwinden – 22-yrs old - In 2008, Schwinden went 4-1, 2.01, 14 games, 8 starts, 70Ks, 62.2 IP, only 12 BBs, for Brooklyn. This makes him a perfect candidate for a top rotational position in 2009 with Savannah.
32. SP Michael Olmsted – 21-yrs old – 2008 combined GCL/King/Sav: 2-1, 2.67, in 8 starts, 37 Ks in 33.2 IP – Olmstead pitched well at all three levels and should start the 2009 season as the SP1 or SP2 for Savannah. There’s no reason to rush him.
33. 2B Kyle Suire – 23-yrs old - 2008 for Kingsport: .297/.369/.549/.919 in 182 at bats, 9 home runs, 36 RBIs in 48 games – Suire showed some nice power and got a late season promotion to Brooklyn, but there’s a good chance he may start this year in Savannah ahead of Alonzo Harris, especially since he is 4 years older.
34. C Dock Doyle – 23-yrs old - 2008: In 2008, Doyle impressed at Kingsport (.308) and eventually was promoted to Brooklyn. His combined stats were: .303/.382/.389 in 175 at bats. It’s a rare thing having a Mets minor league catcher batting over .300. I expect Doyle to be fast tracked due to his age, but he’s in a catcher logjam behind Francesco Pena (scheduled for Lucy) and Josh Thole (scheduled for B-Mets).
35. P Brandon Moore – 23-yrs old – 2008 for King/Brooklyn combined: 5-1, 3.00 in 14 games, 2 starts, 33 Ks in 27.0 IP – look for the 23-year old college boy to be fast tracked, as high as St. Lucie come April.
36. RP James Fuller - 21-yrs old – 2008 for the Clones: 1.00, 1.11 in 8 games, 1 start, 22Ks in 18.0 IP – Fuller had a great first season in baseball and it will be interesting to see where he starts playing this spring, what with the need of good, quality, young relievers in the system.
37. 2B Alonzo Harris - 19-yrs old – 2008 for GCL: .308/.379/.510 in 104 at bats, 5 HRs - Harris very quietly had a great year and added himself to the growing list of 2B prospects in the Mets system. He was a late signing 2007 draft pick that simply fell back in the rotation because of that. I hope to see him in Savannah in late March.
38. SP Gonzalez Germen - 21-yrs old – 2008 for DSL: 5-2, 1.34, 0.76 in 15 games, 14 starts, 70 Ks in 74.0 IP - Germen won the 2008 Sterling Award for the top player on the 2008 DSL team. A little older than most players that come out of Latin America, you might see Germen as high as Savannah this spring.
39. SP Jhonathan Torres – 19-yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 5-2, 3.39 in 13 starts - Torres won the 2008 Sterling Award for the top player on the 2008 VSL team. There’s an outside chance he might start for the Kingsport team rather than the normal first stateside stop with GCL.
40. SP Angel Cuan – 19-yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 1-8, 3.13 in 14 starts as SP1, 74Ks in 72.0 IP – Cuan had virtually no support from his teammates in 2008. It’s close to impossible to turn in a 3.13 ERA after 14 starts that resulted in a 1-8 record, but he pulled it off. I look for him to anchor the GCL team this year.
41. SP Orlando Tovar – 21/yrs old – 2008 for VSL: 0-1, 1.54 in 8 starts, 52 Ks in only 41.0 IP. Orlando was a strikeout machine last year in the VSL and will most probably join his old teammate Cuan in the GCL rotation.
42. RP Samuel Tavares – 20-yrs old – 2008 for DSL: 4-2, 0.90, 0.90 in 23 relief appearances, 12 saves, 37 Ks in 30.0 IP – we don’t normally see a relief pitcher in Latin America stack up stats like this kid, who just might be something special. There’s a good chance he will go full season come the end of March.
43. 3B Aderlin Rodriquez – 16-yrs old – Aderlin was signed in July 2007 which included a 500k+ bonus. He should surface for the DSL Mets in 2009.