Thursday, April 14, 2011

Minority Report: Episode I

Sometimes, when your team is not winning, you NEED to look at the minors for something positive. Sometimes, you can't find anything even there. My weekly Minority Reports will alternate between good news... and bad news. I'm starting with good news because... Met fans NEED good news.


AAA, Jenry Mejia (SP) - 2011... two starts down and Mejia is well on his way BACK to the majors. If I had to guess how Mejia will eventually fit into the rotation in the majors, it would be that Capuano would shift into a relief role and Mejia would take the #5 starter job. How soon might this happen? I keep hearing that Alderson is going to be more conservative than Alderson, but I'd say that mid-late May is in the realm of maybe. Depends on Mejia continuing to be awesome in all ways and Capuano/Byrdak continuing to struggle in their roles.

AAA, Dillon Gee (SP) - I am not Gee's biggest fan. The right handed Mark Cohoon isn't what I look for in a minor leaguer. Then again... neither is the left-handed Dillon Gee, but I like Cohoon and don't like Gee anyway. Gee isn't going to blow anyone away and his major league success is baffling. The big thing with Dillon is that he can eat innings. Gee will go out and keep the team (more or less) in the game. THAT is totally worth something. He's simply not going to suddenly be worth more than a #6 pitcher. He's not going to suddenly become an Ace and teams are not going to suddenly be clamoring to trade for him. Take him for what he is.

AAA, Jose De La Torre (RP) - At 25 years of age (now, he'll be 26 in October) he's reaching the make it or break it point in his minor league career. Jose first jumped out at me after his 2009 season in AA/AAA. 2010 he spent in AAA and had an equally nice line: 70.1 IP, 2.69 ERA, 80 K's and 34 BB's. What could be wrong with that? Not a whole lot. In 2011 he's made 4 appearences between 1 and 2 innings. He's keeping the ball on the ground AND maintaining his 9.00 K/9 that he's been good for since 2009. He'll be up with the Mets in 2011 at some point. Someone want to turn him into a lefty for me?

AAA, Michael O'Connor (RP) - He's 30 now and he'll be 31 in August, so... it's not like Mike is going to be a big star. That's okay though. He IS a lefty and he's been effective. I'm not just talking about his (thus far) perfect 2011. I'm talking about his eye-opening 2010. His numbers won't knock your socks off, but if Byrdak continues to struggle, O'Connor is the next in line to try to run with the LOOGY role.

AA, Josh Stinson (SP) - He's only 23 and he's had pretty decent success throughout his minor-league career. Let me couch that by saying he's never REALLY been outstanding, but he's never been awful. He's a big (6'4" 210lbs) righty who has pretty good control. The best news is that he's been generally healthy through his minor-league career. He's been as high as AAA and he could go back there soon. Stinson has a good shot at a call-up in 2011 but it might be as a reliever.

AA, Robert Carson (SP) - 2008 was Carson's "Break-Out" year. It was in pitcher friendly Savanah, so don't get too excited. At 22, he's still not old to be at AA and at this stage in development. He's another guy who looks like he might be in the middle ground between relief and starting, but the potential for a back-end rotation guy is there. Carson's first start was fine, but he'll need to keep it up for me to not forget him quickly.

AA, Mark Cohoon (SP) - Cohoon dazzled in Savanah last year. So much so, that the Mets had him skip the FSL and move straight to Binghamton. The experiment looked like a bad idea, but Mark turned things around in his final starts of 2010 and re-assured a lot of his supporters. Who does Cohoon remind me of? Besides Dillon Gee as a lefty? I suppose in a perfect world he could turn into Rick Reed. Mark Cohoon gets things done by forcing hitters to put the ball in play. That is a scary thought should Murphy be playing second and Duda roaming the outfield, but it's not like pitchers haven't had good careers with similar stuff. AND... he's a lefty, so... there's that too.

AA, Bradley Holt (SP) - Wait a second, I thought this guy was washed up and washed out. He was a total failure in 2010, right? Well... yeah... but that doesn't mean so much in my mind as long as he rights the ship in 2011. Let me start by saying he's had 1 start in AA in 2011 and he's never looked better at that level. His K's are down and BB's are up but, Holt could definitely re-establish a future with the Mets if he continues to pitch this well.

AA, Chris Schwinden (RP) - Who? Really... WHO? I have never heard of Chris before I did the research for 2011. He's... well, he's yet another starter/reliever that most farms are chock full of. I was going to ignore him and his 3 innings of work for 2011 but they were good innings so he made the list. Perhaps the only blog he's been on thus far. Hey Chris, keep getting 2 K's an inning and I'll keep putting you on my minor league reports. Deal?

A+, Jeurys Familia (SP) - Familia had a good 2008 and followed it with a good 2009 so last spring, people watched him. They REALLY liked what they saw. Frankly, he throws really REALLY hard. Most scouts like that sort of thing. 2011 has started off SWIMMINGLY for Jeurys, who will likely be moving onto AA in the next month or so. He's getting more K's, he's walking less players and... well... 13 innings and 2 hits isn't going to make anyone think he's not something special. Unlike Harvey, I think he's not in the running for a rotation spot until 2013 or later.

A+, Matthew Harvey (SP) - Matt was drafted LAST year and already Met fans are calling for him to come up to the majors. I wish I was kidding, but with the Mets needing a starter in the near future and Gee not available to come up people were saying, "Why not Harvey? Nobody has a scouting report on the guy." I listed Matt a few days ago and went Google diving for a photo, if you MUST see his face, check the archives. Harvey's 2011 has had 2 starts. In his first game, he only lasted 5 innings but struck out 9 and didn't give up a run. In his second start he lasted 6 but only K'd 8. This lowered his K/9 to 13.9 while his ERA hovered around a RESPECTABLE 0.00. He's pegged to move up to AA when Binghamton thaws.

A, Gregory Peavey (SP) - Another draft pick from last season, I like to think that Greg is related to Jake. Maybe they are... but nothing came up on my first sweep. Greg is in Savanah and has had 1 sparkling successful start and 1 not so successful one. I'll throw him up here and hope he gets back to those 5 inning, 8 K shutouts.

A, Yohan Almonte (SP) - Almonte became known last season as he pitched wonderfully in Brooklyn. Personally, I liked Cuan better but, let's not get into it. Yohan is going to have a K/BB somewhere around 4.00 and a K/9 somewhere around 6.00. That means he's not a blow-em away pitcher, but he's always had a good ERA and he just seems like he's got a shot. This year he's starting in Savanah and he'll need to continue to have a 3.00 or better ERA to keep my interest but... I think he can do it.

A, Ronny Morla (RP) - Morla looks a lot older than he is. That photo makes him look 30 when he was born in 1988. Now... being from Latin America, he might wind up being 30, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt. The reason I want to do that is that he's got a K/9 over 9 and a steady history in the minors since 2006. None of his numbers SCREAM at me, but having 7 K's in 5 innings of relief seems to fit his overall profile.

A, Chase Huchingson (RP) - He's tall and skinny and a lefty. He also has gotten more K's than innings pitched and he's only 22 (as of yesterday). I don't know him from Adam but I can tell you he went undrafted and got a small taste of the APP league in 2010.


AAA, Ruben Tejada (SS/2B) - Tejada REALLY wants me to start having some faith in him. I'm not there yet, but I'm on the way. Firstly, he's batting over .300 (.346, but who's counting) which he'll need to do because he's got only 1 extra base hit. That being said, after 7 games he's stolen two bags and is well on his way to a 20-30 SB season. Will I take a middle infielder who can get on base and run? Sure I will. If Ruben keeps this up, he might make Terry think about giving him the reigns at 2B soon.

AAA, Fernando Martinez (RF) - Let's get this out of the way first. Fernando is injured... AGAIN! I don't think it's serious as much as it is one of those lingering ailments he always seems to find. Also... after 4 games he's only had 1 good one. Going 4-5 with a double is pretty DARN good, but I'm not going to get too excited or start demanding that he come up to the majors. Fernando needs to stay healthy once he's recovered or I think his time with the Mets will be drawing to a close.

AAA, Zach Lutz (3B) - Somebody smacked me when I said that Lutz had a bad glove. That is not true, he's got a fine glove and a good arm. he's also slugging .565 (as of yesterday) and looking like the offensive leader of the AAA team. That's pretty good considering that: Nick Evans, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Justin Turner and others with higher acclaim are surrounding him. Zach will not be manning 3B for the Mets anytime soon, but I think that he's played and hit well enough to attract notice from teams who might be looking for a new 3B option.

AA, Kai Gronauer (C) - Zur Germans are coming! Hide the BEER! Kai Gronauer is probably in line to be the back-up/platoon-mate for Thole after 2011. Though Paulino could certainly change our tune. What I like best is that unlike F-Mart, he's getting hits consistently and not all at once. He's hit in 4 of 6 games he's started and that shows me that he's got potential to be useful in a major-league lineup. He's not Mauer, V-Mart or Posey, but he looks like he'll be useful.

A+, Pedro Zapata (CF) - You will hear people called prototypical center fielders. What this means is good defense, good speed and HOPEFULLY good contact. Pedro is all those things and looks like he might be developing a fairly good floor to his overall value. You will often hear things like Wilmer Flores has an extremely high ceiling but with no SURE position, his floor is still low. Zapata's floor looks like it would be a major league 4th OF. That isn't too bad.

A+, Francisco Pena (C) - Pena is big and his big-ness leads people to believe he has power. I might believe it too if he'd shown it yet. I'll be satisfied if he can continue to hit for average and stay healthy for the full year. With Kai Gronauer above him, I don't think he'll be rushed along... at least... he shouldn't be. He is also young, so he's not exactly due in the majors for a while. Maybe 2014? Keep him somewhat on your radar as he was once highly praised by scouts.

A+, Jefry Marte (3B) - This is Marte's best start... EVER. Maybe he's turned the corner? Probably just getting lucky though. I'm not sure he has the chops to cut it anywhere in the majors but he's VERY young so he could sure develop some of those tools in the minors. His 2010 was pretty solid, so if he has even a slightly better 2011 he'll be moving up to AA before he turns 20.

A, Sam Honeck (1B) - He's not a big-time prospect but hitting .476 with 3 BB's and 2 doubles is worth listing in my book. He played in Savanah last year and hit a robus .091... so yeah... good job and we hope to see you again on the good list.

A, Cory Vaughn (OF) - Aww... Greg Vaughn's son is totally adorable. Compared to Greg, that is. Cory displayed plenty of power in Brooklyn but lately he's mainly proving he can play EVERYWHERE. He's played LF, CF and RF for the Sand Gnats and he's played okay. He's also hitting near .300. My favorite stat is that he's walked 4 times and K'd 4 times... this from a power hitter? Well... he's more of an all-around hitter. Cory is blocked by a crowded bunch of talented OFs throughout the Met's system but I can't imagine he won't find his way moving onto Florida in 2011.

A, Javier Rodriguez (OF) - He's only hitting .261, but... he's got a double a triple and 2 HR's. So he's slugging .652 and that is pretty great. Javier was a top pick from one of our meager free agent heavy years. He had a nice year in 2010 and looks to be having an even better 2011. He's definitely a corner OF from what I hear but if he's going to keep getting extra-base shots, I won't complain.

Most numbers compiled as of 4/14/11

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