About two weeks ago, I emailed some questions to our friends at Mets Prospect Hub. After much deliberation, here are the responses I got back from David and Tejesh, the guys behind their great blog. They did a nice job.
The two of them do an amazing job covering the Mets minors both during the regular and offseason.
1. Where do you rank the Mets Minor League System on a scale of 1-10 in the following areas:
A) Starting Pitching
Tejesh: 3 or 4, maybe even as low as 2. None of the “Quartet” (Allen, Beaulac, Carson, Familia) took steps forward in 2010, combine that with Brad Holt completely falling apart, and Jenrry Mejia losing a year to idiots…there’s just not alot there you feel even remotely confident about. Hell, beyond Mejia and Harvey, as it stands right now, there’s no one who you can project to be a #1 or #2 in a rotation. And even there, there are significant questions about Mejia which should have been answered in 2010, but were not.
David: 5. Gee looks like a major league 4/5, potential is there with Mejia, and even though Allen, Carson, and Familia didn’t have great 2010’s they are young and have quality stuff, plenty of time to get there.
B) Power Hitters
Tejesh: 6 or 7. Here, the Mets have a few very good upper level bats. Lucas Duda hit 27 homers across 3 levels (6 in AA, 17 in AAA, 4 in MLB) in only 509 ABs, along with 46 doubles, and 66 walks. Zach Lutz and Reese Havens, the injured Binghamton duo, slugged .571 and .592 respectively, though Havens only played 32 games and amassed 125 ABs, he hit 9 homers. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is more of a tweener, not really a “slugger” in the true sense of the word, but he slugged .510 in AA over 394 ABs (35 2B, 16 HR), and is a future 40/20 guy, in my opinion. Then of course you have the lower level sluggers (Wilmer Flores and Aderlin Rodriguez) who should begin to turn projection into production. So where coming into 2010 we were excited about the pitchers, going in 2011, it is the hitters which headline the system.
David: 6. Duda broke out in 2010, hitting 27 home runs in the minors. Haves and Lutz need to stay healthy, if they can I’d look for them to break out finally in 2011. Aderlin has big time power potential, love him as a prospect.
C) Potential Star Caliber Players
Tejesh: Depends on what you mean by star, if it’s All-Star caliber, then I could easily see half a dozen or more, in the best case scenarios. By my more stringent definition of star, I’d say…maybe 3 (Mejia, Wilmer, Harvey). Fernando potentially, and the others are a ways off. I’d give the Mets a 2 or 3 here.
David: Probably a 3. I just don’t see too many guys who jump out as future All-Star’s. Fernando Martinez can’t stay healthy, but has the talent and is still young enough to become a good MLB player. Kirk’s upside isn’t exactly All-Star level. Mejia needs to learn a couple more pitches to become an All-Star starter, but also has the potential at being an all-star closer some day. Havens has the pop to be a Dan Uggla type 2B, which I guess could be considered All-Star, but like many others he can’t stay healthy. Wilmer Flores has the ceiling of an All-Star, and I really like Aderlin Rodriguez’ bat but he is too far away to tell.
Tejesh: 3 or 4, I think we’re a below average system right now, which is to be expected when you officially graduate Jon Niese, Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada. I’m definitely not as excited about 2011 as I was about 2010.
David: 5, average system that has a chance to take a step forward in 2011. Key prospects need to stay healthy, and the pitchers must improve to get back on the radar.
2. At what position do the Mets have the most quality depth and why?
Tejesh: Probably middle infield. I won’t count Wilmer in here, since his likely home is a corner. We have Justin Turner (not really a prospect, but he’s someone who’s mastered AAA), Ruben Tejada (who’s graduated but may open 2011 in Buffalo, Reese Havens (always hurt, but elite bat for 2B), then we have Jordany Valdespin and Alonzo Harris as lotto tickets, not to mention Wilfredo Tovar.
David: It’s really a wash. Middle infield has the most prospects who are closest to being MLB ready.
3. Which Mets prospect took the biggest step forward in 2010?
Tejesh: Lucas Duda, definitely. He was someone who’d been solid but never displayed the sort of power one expected from his body type/size, his previous career high in HRs was 11 in 2008, with a .398 SLG that year.
Honourable (yeah, with an extra vowel ;)) mention to Josh Stinson, who, after a few years as a reliever, re-emerged as a started in 2010 and dominated AA and AAA.
David: Another vote for Duda.
4. Which Mets prospect took the biggest step backward?
Tejesh: All of them? No, just kidding (sorta). I think more was expected from Brad Holt than from Kyle Allen or Jeurys Familia, so I’ll pick Holt, who slid on my personal list from 6 to 17. But make no mistake, there are a ton of people up for this category, outside of the three I mentioned. They’re just the most egregious.
David: St. Lucie’s entire pitching staff?
5. Lets have some fun. What will the 2013 Mets Opening Day Lineup look like?
Boy, projecting out 3 years is a tough tough thing to do with prospects…
Tejesh: Reyes (SS), Pagan (CF), Wright (3B), Davis (1B), Bay (LF), Havens (2B), Nieuwenhuis (RF), Thole (C)
David: Reyes(SS), Thole (C), Wright(3B), Bay(LF), Davis(1B), F. Martinez(RF), Nieuwenhuis(CF), Havens(2B)
6. Boom or Bust?
A) Wilmer Flores
B) Dillon Gee
C) Fernando Martinez
Tejesh: Bust, hate to say it, but, it’s been every year now, he just can’t stay on the field. And it’s not one or two years, it’s five.
David: Boom, still think he can be a solid MLB player some day, still only 22 years old.
D) Brad Holt
Tejesh: Bust, never liked the pick.
David: Bust, possible reliever some day.
E) Reese Havens
Tejesh: Boom, he was a stud at SC, hope he’s healthy in 2011 and he’ll take off.
David: Boom, needs to stay healthy though.
7. Who is the best Mets prospect most Mets fans never heard of?
Tejesh: I would say Jefry Marte, who was definitely the ‘third’ of the trio signed in 2007 (Wilmer and Puello being the other two). He’s a third baseman who was pathetic in 2009, but had a good year in 2010 cut short by injury. I’d look for him to start 2011 in Savannah before a midyear bump up to St. Lucie.
David: Aderlin Rodriguez, love his bat and power potential.
8. The Mets will have the #13 pick in the 2011 June Draft. I know it’s early, but are there any solid players that will be there for the Mets? Who do you like?
Tejesh: No idea, sorry, way too early. But, for what it’s worth, this draft is said to be deep.
David: Also not sure yet. Hopefully Daniel Norris if he falls, or Matt Barnes out of UCONN.
9. What is your opinion on Ruben Tejada as a starting second baseman for the 2011 season?
Tejesh: He did OPS .801 in September. I think he could put up a mid .600s OPS next year, along with outstanding defense, the question is, do you want him to just ‘survive’ in the majors, or actually excel? If you want him to excel, I’d let him begin 2011 in Buffalo, why not give Justin Turner an extended look? Or Daniel Murphy?
David: I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to it. Would like to give Murphy a shot, see if he could handle 2B because his bat plays solidly there.
10. Which pitching prospect will have the better major league career, Jenrry Mejia or Matt Harvey?
David: I think Harvey is the safer bet at SP, but Mejia has more upside and possibly a very good closer. I’ll go with Mejia.