How Mets Minors Can Affect Their Younger Hitting Prospects

sandy alderson paul DePodesta

Due to their consistent offensive struggles and the possibility that Michael Cuddyer could end up on the disabled list, the Mets desperately need more bats. However, it doesn’t seem like a trade for a hitter is coming anytime soon.

Once again, the Mets will probably look to their farm system for offensive help. It might not be as deep as their pitching was, but they have some potential future stars awaiting at Double-A Binghamton.

Which brings me to an interesting article I read by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, who spoke to Mets VP of Player Development, Paul DePodesta.

DePo spoke about why so many of the organization’s draft picks out of high school struggle so much to begin their careers. Prospects like Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith.

“In all candor, our system is not set up for high school position players to be successful,” said DePodesta. 

“(Short-Season Single-A) Brooklyn is tough. So is (Low-A) Savannah. Not until they get to Double-A (Binghampton) is it neutral.”

“They are not going to put up great numbers. They just aren’t. They aren’t in environments that are conducive to that. This is the reality. We tell them, ‘We don’t expect you to put up huge numbers. The numbers will come.”

One example is Cecchini, who was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft out of high school. Last year with Savannah, he only had 3 home runs. Now this year, he has six home runs for Binghamton. It’s still not overwhelming power numbers but it shows progress.

Baseball America associate editor Matt Eddy bought up an interesting stat line of minor league ballparks and compared the overall ballparks to the Mets minor league ballparks.

He determined that 92% of minor league ballparks feature more runs per game than Savannah. For High-A St Lucie, it dropped to 64%. Then 49% for Binghamton.

Once they get to hitter’s park Cashman Field in Las Vegas, it’s 4%. So the Mets minor league position players pathway gets easier as they move up.

When DePodesta was asked if this  concerned hitters development mentally, he said: “Not necessarily. It hasn’t negatively impacted the final product. To some degree, it’s hardened them and forced them to become more complete hitters along the way.”

“If we see evidence that it’s beaten guys down, we’ll reconsider. But it’s played out as we thought it might. These guys are all showing that they haven’t suffered negatively from it.”

On the other hand, Mets pitching prospects all start out easy and it gets tougher as they move on through the system.

“Which may actually be advantageous to some degree,” said DePodesta. “A young pitcher, he may need to get away with a little more. They need to get away with a little more. They need to get more fine. It gives them a lot of confidence to attack the strike zone early in their careers, and then they face the ultimate test in the (Pacific Coast League).”

It was pretty interesting to hear his take on this and it does explain a lot about some of the struggles we’ve seen with the high school selections.