Mike Diaz of the excellent Mets Minor League Blog by Toby Hyde, was kind enough to answer some questions for us on some Mets prospects and the state of our minor league system.
1. Where do you rank the Mets Minor League System on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) in the following areas:
A) Starting Pitching: 4
B) Power Hitters: 4
C) Potential Star Caliber Players: 4
D) Overall: 5
2. During your time at Mets camp in Port St. Lucie this spring, which player impressed you the most and why?
Matt Harvey. He flashed 3 potential plus pitches (fastball slider curveball). He has the potential to be a top flight major league pitcher. The best overall stuff of all the pitchers I saw.
3. I know you got a chance to see Reese Havens. What are your thoughts on him and when do you think we’ll see him in the big leagues?
I like Havens. He shows good power for a second baseman, but he struggles to stay on the field. If healthy a September call-up could be a possibility.
4. Which Mets prospect took the biggest step forward in 2010?
Cesar Puello. Puello shows a potential 5-tool package. After making some adjustments mid-season, Puello went on to hit .346 over his last 47 games. He went on to steal 45 bases all while playing solid outfield defense. His raw power is there, but has yet to translate into games. Puello went from being a guy to keep an eye on, all the way to Baseball America’s #77 overall prospect.
5. Which Mets prospect took the biggest step backward?
Brad Holt. Holt stormed on the scene in 2008 with a blazing mid 90s fastball, dominating the NYPL. His 2010 his season was a disaster. He went 3-14 8.34 ERA between (High-A & AA). Holt has lost some velocity on his fastball that made him dominant in 2008. He has lost 3-4 mph off his fastball which is huge. 2011 is a big year for Holt to find his stuff and regain his 2008 form.
6. Give us your thoughts on Cory Vaughn. Is he legit? Can you draw any comparisons?
Vaughn has solid tools across the board. Some scouts still question whether or not he can make enough contact as he faces better competition. He had an outstanding pro debut for Brooklyn (.307/.386/.557), but did have a high strikeout rate of 23.9%. He should start 2011 at High-A St. Lucie, which will be a better gauge of what Vaughn can ultimately become.
7. How would you handle the Mets second base situation, do you have an opinion on how Collins should handle it?
I feel its time to move on from Luis Castillo, and let Justin Turner and Brad Emaus battle it out for the job. Turner does have minor league options left, so that doesn’t help his cause, but he can hit. The jury is still out on Emaus, but I still believe he has the inside track of making the club. Also, Daniel Murphy has worked extremely hard on his defense, but is still behind the other candidates. Murphy for me fills the ultimate utility guy, which has a ton of value on a NL club.
8. Lets have some fun. What will the 2013 Mets Opening Day Lineup look like?
Reyes (SS), Pagan (CF), Wright (3B), Davis (1B), Bay (LF), Martinez (RF), Havens (2B), Thole (C)
9. Boom or Bust?
A) Wilmer Flores: Boom. He is the Mets best hitting prospect. Defensively I see him as at 3B, but with Wright there he may end up being moved to the OF or traded.
B) Lucas Duda: Bust. At the plate Duda is solid. He is a defensive liability in the OF. More suited for an AL team as a DH.
C) Fernando Martinez: Boom. I still believe in Martinez. He is still only 22, and still has power and hitting ability. Health is the main concern with Martinez.
D) Dillon Gee: Bust. I like Gee, but he has average stuff. At best he is a 5th starter on a playoff team. I am rooting for him to prove that wrong.
E) Matt Harvey: Boom. Front line stuff with all the potential in the world. He gets his first taste of the minor leagues in 2011.
F) Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Bust. I only say bust because I feel he will end up in a different organization. I feel he will become an everyday ML OF for some other organization.
10. Who is the best Mets prospect most Mets fans never heard of?
Greg Peavey. Drafted in 2010 (6th RD, Oregon St) Peavey signed near the deadline and did not pitch in 2010. I saw Peavey pitch in a spring training inter-squad game, and came away very impressed. Peavey sat at 91-93 with his fastball, and flashed a potential plus curveball (83-84mph). His free and easy motion tells me he could add some more velocity in the future. Other names I will throw out there are Akeel Morris, Alexander Sanchez, Eric Goeddel, and Alberto Cordero.
11. Which pitching prospect will have the better major league career, Jenrry Mejia or Matt Harvey?
I will say Mejia. Better fastball, and he already has made it to the big league. Mejia is also 7 months younger than Harvey, and has already proven himself as a pro.
Mike grew up in Queens and has been a life long Mets fan with a particular interest in the Mets minor league system. He has been a fixture at Mets Minor League Blog for two years now, and together with Toby Hyde they have created the premier go to site for Mets minor league coverage. Mike’s always informative baseball content is filled with keen insights and observations, and stems from his own playing experience with the Angels organization in the late nineties.
Thanks Mike, for taking some time out of your busy day for us.