As the 2013 season draws to a close for the New York Mets, what can be taken away from their fifth-straight losing season is the emergence of a number of young talents ranging from the pitching mound to the bullpen; from home plate, to centerfield.
Met-Legend Edgardo Alfonzo was once an up-and-coming prospect himself, becoming a premiere bat and a defensive wonder during the Amazin’s turn-of-the-century stretch of October runs from 1999-2000.
When I asked about the talented youth at the major league level today, the 40-year old former infielder had nothing but positive things to say.
“They have a bunch of new guys,” said Alfonzo when asked about the arrival of several prospects in Flushing. “I think it’s going to be a great future.”
When getting into specifics, Alfonzo said he is looking forward to seeing how the young pitching develops, however stressed the need to posses confidence in order to be successful.
“The pitching staff is going to be amazing,” said Alfonzo. “The longer they get to learn the game and have the confidence, I think it is going to be good.”
On the offensive side of the diamond, Alfonzo spoke primarily about his fellow Venezuelan-native Wilmer Flores, keeping with the theme of confidence at the major-league level across the board for any blossoming talent.
“I like Flores because I have seen him play and I know the kind of talent he has,” said Alfonzo. “When he gets that confidence at the major-league level it is going to be good for him.”
What has remained uncertain about Flores is his position with the team in the years to come. Alfonzo says that remains to be seen, given the wild uncertainty of trying to predict the future in Major League Baseball.
“I see him being at first base or second base, or even at third, you never know; you never know,” said Alfonzo. “This game is so weird that you don’t understand. You just have to be there and they will make a decision.”
That said, if it were up to him, Alfonzo would personally put the young talent at second.
“If I were the manager today, I would say Flores will play second base,” said Alfonzo. “He needs to work and get back to that position the way he’s supposed to, because this is a young guy; he has power, and like I said, once he gets that confidence, I think he’s going to be fine.
As a youngster on a team of primarily veterans in their prime years, it took Alfonzo a pair of seasons to get his offensive game going before having a breakout year in 1997. This season has shown that some of their offensive prospects have the talent, but may take some time to become comfortable in the major-leagues.
“There’s a bunch of guys,” said Alfonzo when asked about anyone in particular he believes will have success at the major-league level. “I’m not going to just pick one guy. I talk about Flores because I have known him since Venezuela, but the pitching man, it’s going to be great.”
They come from far and wide: Harvey drafted out of the Constitution State. Wheeler reeled in from the West Coast; their backstop in Travis d’Arnaud acquired from North of the Border. A 24-year old defensive angel in the outfield in Juan Lagares hailing from the D.R., and the long-awaited Wilmer Flores originating in Venezuela.
They headline an ever-deepening pool of young and talented ballplayers assembling at Citi Field. Their presence marks both the end of the “future” and the commencement of the long-awaited present Mets fans have so desperately yearned for for seven seasons.