Finishing with a terrible record in 2009 affords the Mets a few luxuries, the most obvious being that they will have the seventh overall pick in this year's Amateur Draft. However, also worth paying attention to, they will receive the same selection in this winter's Rule 5 Draft. Though the Rule 5 draft is essentially a swap meet of replacement level players, gems like Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton and Dan Uggla do occasionally emerge from its depths, especially in the first few picks. With that, here are a few interesting names who are eligible and have been left off their respective club's 40-man rosters:
Update in comments by acerimusdux:
Edgar Osuna, LHP - ATL
Another interesting 21 year old is Braves prospect Edgar Osuna. He was ranked 17th in the Braves system, and had a solid year in AA as well. He may have less upside, but it sounds like his stuff could fit well as the second lefty in the pen.
Per BA:Osuna challenges hitters with an assortment of pitches that he mixes well. He spots his mid 80s fastball with precision and uses it to set up a plus curveball and the best changeup in the system. He has fine control and does a good job of locating his pitches.
Graham Godfrey, RHP - OAK
Another good AA starting pitcher exposed in a very pitching deep system is A’s prospect Graham Godfrey. A 24 year old who had a 3.50 ERA in 28 starts, it sounds as though he has a good low 90s sinker and above average slider which could play well in a relief role. Godfrey was the prospect the A’s received from the Jays 2 years ago when they dealt Marco Scutaro.
Steven Wright, RHP - CLE
Finally, the best Cleveland Indian exposed might be another 24 year old, Steven Wright. Wright was a second round pick in 2006 and seems especially well suited to a bullpen role. In 2005, he had won the award for the best reliever in the Cape Cod League. He worked as a SP in the minors the last 2 seasons, with 61 starts under his belt, before being converted back to relief this year in AA. After moving to a bullpen role on 4/29, he threw 71.1 IP in 35 appearances, with a 2.39 ERA. Over his last 26 appearances, he had a 1.25 ERA. Basically, you have a guy with enough minor league innings under his belt to be reasonably prepared, plus already having a comfort level in a bullpen role, and having passed the AA test. He reportedly throws a low 90s fastball and a plus slider. He might not have the most upside, but if you are looking for an MLB ready pen arm Wright might be the best bet.
Tug Hulett, INF - KC
Another interesting bat, Hulett is already 26, but he hit .297 / .389 / .479 in Triple-A this year, and .300 / .382 / .519 last year at the same level in Seattle's system. He can play all over the infield, primarily playing 2B in his career but also floating around at SS and 3B in different years. He combined to hit 25 HR and 83 XBH in the last two seasons in about 850 PAs. He seems like a great candidate for a Rule V utility guy with upside if he needs to fill in for an extended period, maybe even Dan Uggla part deux with better defense and a less power.
UPDATE: It turns out Hulett was Designated for Assignment on November 20th, so the Royals have till the 30th to trade him or he can choose between a minor league assignment or free agency. If he chooses the former, he will still be Rule V eligible, otherwise he can sign with any team. I would take a hard look at this guy if I'm the Mets, or just about any team, guys with bats who can play all over the infield are not common commodities. Part of the downside on him appears to be body type, I've heard him described as "short and fat," but shouldn't that just make the Dan Uggla comp even more appropriate?
UPDATE 2: Well, forget Hulett. Why does it always seem the Red Sox make the moves I want the Mets to make?
Benjamin Snyder, LHP - SF
Pitched well in relief as a 24 year old in Double-A with a good strikeout rate and decent command. Absolutely dominated lefties with a 10.65 K/9 and 1.71 BB/9. Probably not someone worth taking in the first round, but could make an interesting LOOGY if he's available afterwards.
Brad Snyder, OF - CHC
A lefty hitting outfielder who missed some time in 09 due to injury, Synder flashed some real pop this year by hitting .278 / .333 / .553 with 14 HR in just 260 PAs in Triple-A. He'll be 28 next year, but he can play all three outfield positions, and though he played mostly RF this year, he did have a +7 TZ/150 in CF last year in Triple-A. Could be a useful fourth outfielder, but again, probably not a guy worth taking with the 7th overall pick.
Also, I fixed the broken Minor League Splits links and switched them to B-R for Lofgren, Kroenke, and Texeira.
Update added in the comments by Robcast23:
Scott Mathieson, RHP - PHI
For those who have forgotten Mathieson, he was an ‘02 draft of the Phillies out of Canada with a pretty live arm. He’s a big strong righty with a mid 90’s FB but health has been a very big concern for him. He’s had 2 major elbow surgeries since blowing out his elbow in ‘06 and he’s currently on his most recent comeback. pitching exclusively out of the bullpen now, he was quite strong in the AFL posting a 2.84 ERA w/ 15k’s in 12.2IP. He walked a bunch of guys, however command is usually the last thing to come back after arm surgeries and apparently his velocity was good.
I'm not sure what to make of Mathieson. The impressive AFL is definitely encouraging, and if his velocity's back, he's definitely worth taking a look at, but it would be risky to imagine keeping him on a big league roster all year unless you can really afford to be patient with him.
Aneury Rodriguez, RHP - TB
You may remember Aneury Rodriguez being swapped for Jason Hammel before the ‘09 season. Another big righty with a live fastball, Rodriguez was on a very steady climb through the minors when the rays started him in AA this season. However, he scuffled a bit in his Double-A debut, posting a 4.35ERA w/ a declined K rate, but in 142IP he still only allowed 122 hits w/o a ridiculous BB total. Sounds like bad luck to me, or at the very least he’s not very hittable. His issue is that beyond his mid 90’s FB, his secondary offerings aren’t great. in a relief role i think he could excel as soon as next year.
Rodriguez does sound interesting. I also took a brief glance at him but saw his Double-A struggles and didn't look too far beyond it, but a big righty with a live fastball like is certainly worth considering. Having him spend a year in the bullpen might prove a very good gamble.
Drew Locke, OF - HOU
Locke is a righty, power-hitting OF who just dominated AA to the tune of a .340 AVG and 20 HRS with an acceptable 42/86 BB/K ratio. he was actually a Dodger prospect that was taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft last winter and has very steadily put up solid offensive seasons since being drafted out of BC in ‘05. two issues with him though; one, he’s going to be 27 next year (though it looks like he was brought along slowly in the dodgers OF rich system). and two, his D is supposedly pretty suspect. Sounds like he’d basically be vying for Nick Evans’ spot on the team as a righty bat with pop off the bench.
Sounds similar to Garner.
Danny Dorn, 1B/OF - CIN
Hit .277/ .344 / .470 as a 24 year old in Triple-A this year and seems to have played passably at 1B and LF. Also hit .275 / .363 / .535 last year in Double-A. He struggled against southpaws, but hit .299 / .370 / .497 against righties this year and .312 / .394 / .554 through his career. The 66 homers he's hit in roughly 1600 career career PAs suggest he has some real pop. Gets bonus points for having a three syllable name with alliteration. If he's available at pick seven, he should be a very strong consideration. He's a guy you can essentially throw into the mix with Daniel Murphy and Chris Carter as a potential lefty half of a first base platoon, and his ability to play the outfield could make him a useful bench piece if he doesn't win the starting gig.
Yohan Pino, RHP - CLE
The PTBNL return the Indians received for Carl Pavano, Pino has bounced back and forth between the rotation and pen the last few years in the Twins system, but he's been pretty effective either way. His listed birthdays are different on B-R and Minor League Splits, the former suggesting he's 25 and the latter saying he turns 24 in December. His fastball is not overpowering, high 80s, but he has a quality breaking ball and spots the ball well. And even with the less than dominant heater, he still managed to strike out 117 of the 499 batters he faced in Triple-A (23.4%), while walking just 29 (5.8%). He is flyball prone, with a sub-1.00 GB/FB ratio each of the last three seasons, and even in CitiField his 3.5% HR/FB is sure to rise, but he still could be a useful arm.
Chuck Lofgren, LHP - CLE
Once a big name prospect, Lofgren has already been a victim of the Rule 5 draft once. Whatever upside he once had is mostly gone, but he may still have some short-term upside as a LOOGY.
Steven Johnson, RHP - BAL
Another fly ball prone arm given away in a salary dump trade, Johnson went from LA to Baltimore in the George Sherrill deal. According to Baseball America at the time of the trade, Johnson, a former 13th round pick has stuff that's a bit above average, but he has a high effort delivery that causes him his command troubles. He pitched very well in HiA and Triple-A this year as a 21 year old. Putting him on a big league roster would be a risk, but the reward may be higher than with a guy like Pino.
Tommy Mendoza, RHP - LAA
Perhaps not the best fit for a big market club like the Mets, Mendoza just turned 22 and is coming off a 3.80 FIP season in Double-A. Can't find much info on his stuff, but you have to at least look at a pitcher like this if you can get him for nothing. Just based on the numbers, command seems to be his hallmark, and if there's any potential development left here, a team thinking long term could find a very useful piece in Mendoza.
Cole Garner, OF - COL
A lefty masher with good tools, Garner hit .288 / .342 / .492 in Double-A last year with 16 homers in 440 PAs. He also stole 13 bases in 18 attempts and played quality defense in the corners and below average defense in center. He hit lefties to the tune of .330 / .386 / .557. As a 24 year old in Double-A, he's not the safest bet, but the combination of tools and power make him an interesting player.
Zach Kroenke, LHP - NYY
Kroenke's a 25 year old reliever who posted a 3.65 FIP in Triple-A after a good year in Double-A in 2008, though his K% declined. Still, he gets groundballs and was effective against lefties and righties alike. He looks like a decent gamble to stick in a big league pen.
Kanekoa Texeira, RHP - NYY
A dominant groundball reliever with a decent K% to go along with it, Texeira is 23 and has only topped out at Double-A thus far, but could be effective as a big league reliever. A classic sinker/slider pitcher, he maintained a 61.2 GB% this year. He could be a decent middle reliever or ROOGY right away.
Chris "Disco" Hayes, RHP - KC
A submarining righty with a blog and an affinity for advanced metrics, Hayes was recently discussed in this fanshot. He has a fastball in the low-70s and is a strike thrower. Hayes probably isn't the best choice with the 7th overall pick, but he could be worth a flier in the later rounds as the heir to the greatness that was Chad Bradford.
Feel free to add anyone I missed, I'll try to keep the post updated.