I don’t know if you noticed (how could you not?) but it seems like every time a young player does something positive, we see discussions here, and even on WFAN yesterday regarding which GM brought that player to the Mets.
First, as I’ve said here I think Minaya did a better job than most give him credit for. Second, let us please stop pretending that Alderson has been here for 5+ years and has yet to produce a young talent. He’s been here for 1 full season. If there wasn’t a single talent in the Mets farm system for him to use, Minaya would have probably never worked in baseball again. He’s in a role that suits his skill set in San Diego.
However, I will say this. People often think that the criticisms of Minaya were geared towards having “nobody in the minors.” I don’t think that is true. I think it’s an exaggeration. I think the arguments are 3 fold
A) He went after aging veteran players through free agency, who would then cost the Mets valuable draft picks.
B) When high priced trade bait was dangled after the Santana trade, everybody around the league seemed to agree that the Mets didn’t have enough to get a deal done.
C) The COMPARISON of what other teams were doing in their farm compared to what the Mets did was the issue.
To quickly touch on point B: Several teams have traded away prospects to net them a big veteran player. Everybody said the Phillies won the Halladay deal, but the Phillies have yet to win a World Series with him and Kyle Drabek is starting to show signs he could be a very good pitcher.
While Halladay’s velocity is dropping a bit, the Blue Jays are sitting on a 23 year old catcher Travis d’Arnaud in AAA.
If the Mets believed they had the farm system to net guys like Halladay, Lee etc. then they did a poor job at selling their own players.
I want to focus mostly on argument C though. On the big league roster, the Mets have the following players from the Minaya regime:
Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell.
There’s nothing wrong with that list. I’m sure for the most part, we are all very happy these players are on the Mets today.
So I took a look at each NL’s roster and only noted players drafted (or signed) from 2005-2010 by their current team.
Atlanta: Freddie Freeman, Tyler Pastornicky, Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlan, Johnny Venters.
Arizona: Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, Josh Collmenter, Bryan Shaw
Chicago: Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Tony Campana, Jeff Samardzjia, James Russell
Cincinnati: Zack Cozart, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Logan Ondrusek, Sam Lecure.
Colorado: Troy Tulowitzki, Wilin Rosario, Juan Nicasio, Matt Reynolds, Rex Brothers.
Houston: Jason Castro, Jose Altuve, Chris Johnson, JD Martinez, Brian Bogusevic, Bud Norris
Los Angeles: Dee Gordon, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Lindblom
Miami: Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Coghlan, Steve Cishek.
Milwaukee: Jon Lucroy, Mat Gamel, Ryan Braun
Philadelphia: Freddy Galvis, Vance Worley, Joe Savery, Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh: Pedro Alvarez, Alex Presley, Andrew McCutcheon, Tony Watson.
San Diego: Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Will Venable, Anthony Bass, Cory Luebke
San Francisco: Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Manny Burriss, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo
St. Louis: Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia
Washington: Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman, Steve Lombardozzi, Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen
If you’re looking for quantity, then the Mets are right there with the likes of Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco and Cincinnati. However, if you’re looking for top tier players, you could argue that all 4 of those teams have them, and the Mets do not.
That’s not to say players like Davis, Duda or Tejada can NOT one day become a top tier player.
It’s just me saying as of now, they are not on the level of guys like Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Jay Bruce, Tommy Hanson etc.
If you look at the other teams, sure they have developed less talent from 05-10 (that are still with the team), but there are some significant names on their list.
Names like Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Andrew McCutcheon, Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Upton for example.
While our expectations for some of these players may be high. They have yet to prove they are as good as we expect. Do they play hard? Yes. Are they enjoyable to watch? Yes. Are they on par with players drafted in a similar time frame? Maybe not.
There is more to developing a player than assigning a GM to get all of the credit. For me, every time a young Mets player does something positive, I don’t check to see who brought that player here.
I believe Terry Collins and his staff have more to do with the play on the field than a GM that was fired almost 2 years ago. Collins may have been brought into the organization by Minaya, but he was hired by Alderson to do a job that almost every Mets fan wanted Wally Backman to get.
If you look at the list of teams with homegrown talent on their roster, you can make a serious argument that 10 of the remaining 15 NL teams have a star player amongst them. You can make an argument that maybe one day a player like Davis CAN be a star player, but right now, he is no such thing.
So while there are several players up in the majors today, none of them are homegrown stars…yet.
You’re never going to see somebody who knocks Alderson bring up the fact that when he was with San Diego the following players were drafted:
Chase Headley, Will Venable, Nick Hundley, Mike Baxter, David Freese, Mat Latos (dealt to CIN), Wade LeBlanc, Cory Luebke, Eric Sogard, Jason Kipnis, Anthony Bass. You’ll also never hear them mention that he brought in Clayton Richard by dealing Jake Peavy in 2009.
You could argue that Mat Latos, and World Series MVP David Freese alone are more impressive than anybody currently on the Mets right now.
My point is not to shift praise to Alderson. My point is that there is more to a young player making his way up than the GM who originally brought him here.
When you rank farm systems, your best player has the most influence in how you compare to everybody else.
If that’s the case, then Minaya’s class as of now is somewhere in the middle of the NL at best.
At the end of the day, the 25 men in uniform where a NY Mets uniform, and a #8 “Kid” patch on their arm. There is no patch on their sleeve representing the GM who brought him to the team.
They are the New York Mets, not the New York Minayas.