MMO Fan Shot: Defending Minaya’s Minor Leagues

An article by posted on March 22, 2012

One of the misconceptions about Omar Minaya’s tenure as GM is that he ignored the minor leagues, and did a bad job of developing players. But the Mets do have a solid group of young players from Minaya. We have quality players in both the majors, and minors from him.

 Lucas Duda who was drafted in the 7th round in the 2007 MLB draft, last year did a great job filling in for Carlos Beltran, hitting .304 with 9HR’s and 36 RBI in 181 AB’s. He led all NL Rookies in OBP and SLUG%, and was 3rd in batting average.  Duda has tremendous power and could easily hit 30HR’s in a full season. And current Mets GM, Sandy Alderson has compared Duda to Joey Votto and Jason Giambi.

Ike Davis was the Mets 1st round pick in 2008. Davis was having a breakout season last year until he collided with David Wright trying to catch a pop up. Davis was hitting .302 with 7 HR’s and 25 RBI. If you translate that into a full season, that’s 32HR’s and 113 RBI. Davis like Duda, has tremendous power. He’s hit some really long distance HR’s, and I think there’s no doubt he can hit 30+ HR’s in a full season. And not only is he a great power hitter, but he plays gold glove caliber defense at 1st base.

Daniel Murphy was the Mets 13th round pick in 2006. The problem with Murphy has always been his defense, but he’s a great hitter.  He’s a career .292 hitter, and last year his average was .320. Before his injury last year, Murphy was top five in the league in hitting and in doubles. Murphy was on fire when the Mets started playing him full time, hitting .338 to the end of the year.  Now with the walls being moved in, I can see Murphy hitting 15-20HR’s.

Jon Niese was the Mets 7th round pick in the 2005 MLB draft. Niese is a big lefthander with a nasty curveball.  I think Niese has the potential to be a number 2 or 3 starter. Last year, Niese showed flashes where he looked really good; his curveball looked almost unhittable some games.  His biggest problem has been his stamina.  His career ERA for the month of September is 7.09. He had offseason nose surgery to help with his breathing, so hopefully that will help his stamina. At age 25 I think 2012 will be a breakout year for Niese.

Ruben Tejada was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 2006. Tejada is a solid middle infielder. He plays good defense, he has a good average, and OBP. What’s not to like about this guy?  The best part about him is that he’s still only 22 years old, so we likely haven’t seen him at his best yet.  Tejada  has also added  a lot muscle in the offseason, and is much stronger than he was last year, so he should hit for more power than last year.

The Mets selected Dillon Gee in the 21st round of the 2007 draft.  Gee started off the season great, going 8-1 with a 3.32 ERA. There was even some talk of him possibly making the all-star team. But the final three months of the year were awful for Gee.  His ERA was for the last three months was 5.42. According to Gee, his problems in the 2nd half of last season were because of fatigue. So, if Gee can work on his stamina, the Mets have a solid back of the rotation starter in Dillon Gee.

The Mets also have some good prospects in minors from Minaya like Matt Harvey. Harvey was picked 7th overall in the 2010 draft. He was 13-5 with a 3.32 ERA and 154 K’s in 135 IP in A and AA last year. He was rated 54th best prospect by Baseball America. Harvey’s fastball  is usually around 94-96 MPH. We might see Harvey in the majors by the end of the season, and he has the potential to be a number 1 starter.

Other players we have in the minors from Minaya are Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. Both are hard throwers, and have the potential to be successful big league starters. Familia had a 2.90 ERA with 132 K’s in 124 IP last season in A and AA.  Mejia missed most of last year because of TJ surgery, but he’s expected to rebound from the injury, and start pitching in games again in May.

There’s also Kirik Nieuwenhuis, who was hitting .300 in AAA last season, and would have been called up to the majors  if he didn’t get injured. One of the Mets outfield prospects,  Juan Lagares, hit .350 in A and AA last season. And Darin Gorski, dominated A ball last year going 11-3 with an 2.08 ERA. The Mets also have some high upside pitchers in the low minors with  Morris, Tapia, and Urbina.

So, even though many people don’t give Minaya credit for the minor leagues, and developing players, he did leave the Mets with a solid group of young players that have a bright future.

This Fan Shot was submitted by MMO reader, Vinny B. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over ten-thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask about being a regular contributor, and share your opinions with an engaging community that loves to debate.

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