Friday, May 20, 2011

The Future of Met Hitting

I focus on the positives with the minor leagues. So... you can take this post as an indication that not all our young pitching is flourishing, but rest assured that Harvey, Familia, Goeddel, Peavey and Schwinden are all doing fine. I've simply focused on farm pitchers already and it's time to focus on some bats.

AAA, Buffalo Bisons:

Fernando Martinez, Nick Evans, Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada are all in Flushing so that leaves the Met prospect list in AAA a little under manned. There is still ONE familiar face and Toby Hyde would like us fans to stop demanding that the Mets promote him. Just because he blogs about the minors for SNY doesn't mean he has the authority to promote anyone.

Kirk Niewenhuis, OF - Kirk went through a bit of a dry-spell for the first part of may but is back to his hitting ways. Why is he still in AAA? Well... that has a lot to do with Angel Pagan not being long from returning to the MLB. He's really shown a pretty solid bat through his first 125 ABs and he's displaying a good amount of power with 14 doubles, 2 triples and 6 Hrs. If Kirk can play MLB CF, then he's an A+ prospect if he's a corner outfielder that power becomes more necessary and I'm not sold on him hitting more than 20 dingers a year... particularly in Citi-Field.

AA, Binghamton B-Mets:

Maybe I'll catch a game when my wife and I visit her family in the area. With their inconsistent play, I'm not sure how wild I am to do it though. The fact is, that with all the offensive stars in the Met system... Binghamton is the lightest equipped. Not their fault Reese Havens is an injury waiting to happen.

Joshua Satin, 2B/Util - Josh is going to move on up to AAA at some point... I'd wager soon. Or at least as soon as Havens can actually play. With AAA so heavily mined it makes sense. Now... I'm not sold on Satin being a major league starter. I don't think MANY people are. I do think he could be a major league utility guy. What's the issue? Well... we already have Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans and the list goes on. A big feather in Satin's favor is an advanced eye that means to me that he'll be a good PH candidate.

Jordany Valdespin, SS/2B - After a rough start to the year, the guy some peg to "replace" Jose Reyes (Next week: The Save Reyes Campaign Begins), Valdespin is rounding into form. He's got some power... 10 doubles, 2 triples and 2 Hrs and some speed... 10 SBs. What he doesn't have is command of the strike zone. He's walked 9 times and K'd 29. Now... that isn't awful but it's a long way from what we'd need. Should Reyes leave town, he's still the likely incumbent but I don't see Jordany as a long-term replacement unless he can get that ratio to 1:2.
A+, Port St. Lucie Mets:

High A is one of the better teams the Mets have, though recently it seems the bullpen is struggling. The fact is the team has 4 or even 5 very good OFs and for that reason I believe a few will be Northward bound in the very near future. I am not going to list them all because I want to focus on players I see as true impact players right now.

Matt Den Dekker, CF - More than a few people are excited about Matt. He's got a great glove... so... no worries about needing to shift to a corner and he's showed a good amount of power (for a CF). 15 doubles, 7 triples and 2 HRs. His speed is pretty normal and I'd put him in the 15-20 SB range in the majors but I'll take the healthy mix he DOES provide any day. One thing he DOES do it hit... a lot. He's hitting .331 and that is pretty solid by anyone's measure. The issue is that common BB:K problem. 8 walks and 35 K's is a big reason why he has not made the jump to AA.

Juan Lagares, OF - Lagares beats out Pedro Zapata and Caesar Puello because of his RECENT hitting. On the double header of May 15th, Juan belted 3 HRs between the two games. He's seemed a little slower to develop than some other prospects. He caught up to the SAL last year and looked over-matched in the FSL. Now he's caught up to FSL so I think that next year he should be ready to try AA. He's got some power but will need to develop a bunch more to be a major league starter.

Wilmer Flores, SS - I couldn't resist. With all the great starts young players have had, Flores has been lost in the flow a bit. Chalk up part of that to stupid minor league reporters for Baseball Prospectus who thing they're being original when they re-hash the, Wilmer can't play SS story. No... he can't... but I am pretty sure 3B, LF, RF and 1B are still places he could shine. Has he hit for power? Not to the extent people want to see... no. HOWEVER, he's hitting for some power and he's picked up the power numbers more now that he's settled into the season. Take a cue from Douglas Adams and "Don't Panic!"

A, Savannah Sand Gnats:

Some of the players I'm particularly excited about have not proved me right as of yet so I'll focus on two guys who aren't disappointing.

Cory Vaughn, OF - Greg Vaughn's kid is... AWESOME. He may not be hitting for prolific power like he did in the NYP but he's doing almost everything you could want a prospect to do. Is he hitting? You bet! He's hitting .331 and slugging .478 (He's hit 2 of his three HRs recently so it might be a sign of things to come). How's his plate discipline? TOPS! He's got a 27:37 BB/K ratio and is a leader in OBP. How's his defense? Pretty good. He's played all three outfield positions. He projects to have the hitting chops to play anywhere anyway. If I had to find a flaw it would be the 4 CS in 10 attempts. It doesn't look like he's a prolific base stealer. Though... 6 SBs does point to the ability to nab at least a few.

Robbie Shields, SS - Can Shields stick at SS? I don't know. He's got more of a shot than Wilmer Flores. Shields is a hitting infielder and that isn't something to scoff at. He's got a few TRULY gaudy stats. His K/BB ratio? 21:21. That's sick! Most of his hitting has come in May and that should tell you that he's potentially a big star who just took a month to REALLY get going. My biggest worry is that Shields is also not destined to stick at SS and that hurts his value.

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