The Mets Minor League system has been the subject of debate all season long in 2009. The criticism is mostly justified in my opinion based on two things.
1. The Mets claim that they have a superior farm system loaded with talent that they consider untouchable. The overall standings of the Mets minor league affiliates tells a much different story and most of their top prospects are struggling or are having below average seasons. Their most prized prospects are teenagers who are long on potential and short on actual accomplishments. Ironically, the only AAA minor leaguer to make the All Star team was 35-year old Nelson Figueroa. Don’t fault the Mets for talking up their system, as all teams do the same.
2. When the Mets major league roster was beset by injuries, the Mets were not able to draw any help from this so-called talent rich system. Their top prospect Fernando Martinez failed to impress and ended up on the DL again for the fourth straight season. He has never played a full season in his professional career. Their bullpen has featured an assortment of career minor leaguers or waiver wire fodder ranging from Ken Takahashi to Jon Switzer, and their top relief prospect Eddie Kunz, who was their fifth ranked prospect a year ago, is buried in the minors and was never even considered for a callup. To replace an injured John Maine, their first two attempts were Nelson Figueroa and Fernando Nieve, who were both considered ahead of their so called top pitching prospect Jon Niese who eventually did come up and was bitten by the injury bug too.
Things are so troublesome and the Mets affiliates are so concerned, that it prompted a special visit from COO Jeff Wilpon and Assistant GM John Ricco this week.
Wilpon was in Coca-Cola Field Monday night in Buffalo, and apologized to the teams owners and pledged that the Mets will not let the disaster of 2009 happen again in Buffalo in 2010. He is referring to the disaster of the Class-AAA Bisons, not the NY Mets which he hasn’t apologized for yet. I see another full page ad in our future with a letter of apology signed by the three stooges. Here is what Jeff said to Buffalo reporters afterward.
“There’s disappointment in the fan base and ownership here as well as ownership in New York with how they’ve performed. We have to fix that,” Wilpon said. “It’s something we want to do better and we will do better for the city of Buffalo and for the Mets. It’s good business to do better and it’s also the morally right thing to do because Buffalo has opened its arms to us and we really appreciate that.”
How touching… So much for all that minor league talent Omar Minaya has been yapping about all season. He should consider it a Godsend that any team had even the tiniest of interest in one of our minor leaguers. If it were me I would have jumped at the opportunity to spear any major league talent I could get for these overrated prospects.
The Mets continued their thrifty ways all the way up to Monday’s signing deadline for players drafted in the Amateur Draft. Baseball America had this to say about us.
While the cross-town Yankees spend money like nobody’s business in the draft, the Mets toe the line. Sure, they paid top pick Steve Matz an above-slot bonus, as he got $895,000, almost $400,000 more than the recommended slot. That’s a Mets rarity, and with no first-rounder (lost for signing free agent Francisco Rodriguez), Matz basically got a first-round bonus. The Mets failed to sign their fifth- and sixth-rounders, and only had two players—Matz and 13th-round pick Zach Dotson, a Georgia prep lefty signed for $500,000—who signed for as much as the Yankees gave their 44th-round pick. No large-revenue team uses its money less in the draft than the Mets.
For a minor league system that is chock full of more thirty-something players than any other team in baseball, you would think the Mets would do everything they can to fill their levels with some fresh young meat. Especially when the COO of the team promised better results in 2010. Memo to Buffalo: Expect more of the same next season.
In another Baseball America article, they created a chart which details the final tally of all thirty Major League teams and how much they spent on drafting new players. The Mets ranked number thirty which put them in last place. Ironically that’s exactly where their Class-AAA and Class-AA affiliates find themselves. They were outspent by the Royals, Rays, Twins and every other low market team you could think of.
The Mets spent just $1.86 million dollars, while the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates dished out over $8 million bucks.
What more can I say…