Minor League Roundup - 11/22: AFL Recaps, Winter League Updates & Rule 5 Candidates

In the wake of '92 Buffalo Baseball HOF Member Terry Collins introduction as Mets manager, we've got a bunch of interesting things to look at today. As always we'll check in on the Mets winter league participants including the emphatic return of Wilmer Flores. With the Arizona Fall League champions crowned on Saturday we've got a bunch of completed fall performances to evaluate. And with the announcement of four players added to the Mets 40-man roster last week, I went over those left eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft so you'll find a pretty comprehensive list of potential candidates down below. So let's get started:

Arizona Fall League Recaps

CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .256 26 90 14 23 6 1 1 12 34 12 25 2 3 .356 .378 .734

After a season-ending 3-for-25 slump, Nieuwenhuis saw his average drop down into the .250's. Beyond that, Kirk batted only .207 in 29 total ab's against lefties. All in all, not a great showing for the Captain who didn't really take advantage of this opportunity to really stamp himself as a top prospect. I will say that Kirk has always been the kind of player that upon promotion to a new level (and in this case I'm lumping the AFL in with Triple-A) he struggles early only to figure things out after a couple months or so.

2B Jordany Valdespin (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .355 19 76 19 27 3 1 1 11 35 4 12 7 0 .388 .461 .848

As we know, Valdespin's AFL season ended two weeks back with a strained muscle in his forearm. Unlike Kirk though, after struggling in his first exposure to Double-A pitching in 2010 Valdespin really took this opportunity by the horns ending up seventh in the star-studded league in batting along with an impressive 100% sb rate. Though he did make six errors, his offensive showing really forced the Mets to add Valdespin to the 40-man roster this week (if they weren't going to already). I wouldn't call him a shoo-in for the second baseman of the future but he has definitely thrown his hat into the ring.

C Kai Gronauer (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .222 13 45 3 10 3 1 0 8 15 4 5 0 0 .286 .333 .619

Though his final totals aren't very impressive, Gronauer really came on strong in the second half of the fall season, batting .364 in November. Strangely the German backstop batted .083 in night games. Either way I have to imagine the sporadic playing time (he played about once every three days) probably wasn't easy to get used to but some struggles (offensively and defensively) aren't too surprising for a player in just his first season of A-ball. He remains an interesting catching prospect worth watching going into 2011.

1B Josh Satin (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .390 12 41 4 16 2 0 1 6 21 6 13 0 0 .479 .512 .991

Satin really shined in his brief opportunity in the AFL this fall. With Valdespin out of commission, Satin was pulled off of the taxi squad and got some reps at his natural second base. And though he wasn't an offensive juggernaut by any means, if nothing else Satin continued to prove that he can hit upper level pitching like he did with Binghamton in 2010. His ceiling is probably just a part-time utility man but any questions about whether or not he'll be able to hold his own against major league pitching are quickly fading.

RHP Brad Holt (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 2 1 2.92 5 4 0 0 0 12.1 10 7 4 0 9 13 0.64 .222

Holt was another one who saw his AFL season ended early thanks to an apparent injury during a short appearance on Nov. 3rd. Otherwise, it was kind of a strange showing for Holt: Through his first three starts he held opponents to a .133 average along with a 0.00 ERA. But his final two appearances saw a return of the wildness that was so customary for Holt in 2010 as he allowed four earned runs in just 3.1 IP. But the really damning aspect was that in his time pitching in front of Pitch FX equipment, he was regularly throwing his once electric fb in the low 90's and topping out at 93mph. Once again we're left with more questions than answers about the quickly fading one-time top prospect but I must say the chances of a return to form are looking less and less likely.

LHP Robert Carson (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 1 2 7.71 6 6 0 0 0 18.2 27 16 16 1 5 14 1.25 .351

Carson picked up right where he left off at Binghamton with the Solar Sox this fall as he mixed a few competent outings between a number of complete disasters. The Pitch FX data showed that the big lefty does have nice velocity (working between 92-94mph) but just like in Bingo, an inability to spot that fb as well as undeveloped secondary stuff made someone with such a strong arm just too hittable. At the very least even when he was hit Carson still showed strong ground ball rates thanks to his tall stature and nearly overhand delivery but for me, this AFL appearance confirmed that Carson's future is likely in the Mets bullpen.

RHP Nick Carr (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 0 1 5.06 10 0 0 0 0 16.0 18 13 9 1 12 10 0.52 .265

It was feast or famine for Carr in his time in the AFL: In half of his appearances, Carr allowed zero earned runs with seven strikeouts in 8.2 IP. But in the other half, he allowed nine runs with nine walks in 7.1 IP. For a guy with an outside shot to get a serious look during ST, the 23-year old fireballer didn't do himself any favors this fall. He just doesn't throw under control with enough consistency, once again showing why the Mets were able to draft a kid who can easily reach the upper 90's all the way in the 41st round back in '05. On the bright side, if he can ever harness that arm he showed that when he's not forced to groove fastballs, he can really miss bats.

LHP Eric Niesen (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 1 0 5.40 11 0 0 0 0 11.2 17 11 7 2 4 8 1.00 .309

Like Carr, Niesen is a guy who will get a look for the major league 'pen next March, especially with the Mets sudden dearth of lefty arms. Problem is that Niesen too pitched poorly this fall. Though he was able to cut down on the walks a bit, he was alarmingly hittable for a guy once known for his nasty stuff from the left side. Even worse, he allowed an awful .280 average to lefty hitters. I'm not sure what's going on with Niesen as it seems like his command/stuff just disappeared in 2010 but the 25-year old's window is quickly closing with this organization.

 

 

Winter League Updates

 

2B Daniel Murphy (DWL - Aguila)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
AGU DWL .305 26 95 7 29 6 1 3 19 46 11 10 4 1 .376 .484 .860

Another homer for Murph who is fresh off an 11-game hit streak and looking very strong at the plate lately.

 

SS Wilmer Flores (VWL - Margarita)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MAR VWL .375 5 16 1 4 1 0 1 4 10 1 0 0 0 .412 .625 1.037

Look who's back from the leg strain that sidelined him for over a month. And he's not wasting any time launching his first bomb of the winter season on Sunday as part of a big 2-for-3 day with 2 RBI's.

3B Eric Campbell (VWL - Anzoategui)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
ORI VWL .210 25 81 8 17 6 0 0 5 23 17 21 0 0 .354 .284 .637

Campbell hasn't played since our last check and hasn't appeared in a game since Nov. 12. After a pretty awful slump, chances are that Campbell was either benched for good or was cut altogether. These unaffiliated clubs don't have much leniency with pro prospects if they're not performing as they're less about developing and much more about competing. 

RHP Manny Alvarez (VWL - Magallanes)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MAG VWL 0 0 2.45 10 0 0 0 1 14.2 13 5 4 0 5 10 0.43 .241

Alvarez got back on the horse with a nice 1.1 IP scoreless appearance this Friday.

RHP Jose De La Torre (PWL - Caguas)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
CAG PWL 0 0 2.19 10 0 0 0 0 12.1 8 4 3 0 4 11 1.45 .190

Like Alvarez, De La Torre too got back on track with three more scoreless outings this week.

LHP Raul Valdes (DWL - Este)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
TOR DWL 2 1 3.63 5 4 0 0 0 22.1 23 10 9 4 6 25 0.68 .256

More of the same good, not great, results from Valdes.

Francisco Pena (DWL - Cibaenas)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
AGU DWL .182 17 44 2 8 2 0 0 1 10 2 10 2 0 .217 .227 .445

Nothing to report since last week. Like Campbell, Pena was benched after a brutal slump.

RHP Jeurys Familia (DWL - Cibao)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
GIG DWL 0 0 18.00 1 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 2 2 1 1 2 0.00 .400

No appearances this week.

RHP Armando Rodriguez (DWL - Escogido)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
ESC DWL 1 0 4.50 5 0 0 0 0 4.0 4 2 2 0 2 7 0.67 .250

Another earned run in the only appearance this week for the newest member of the Mets 40-man roster.

LHP Michael O'Connor (DWL - Licey)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
LIC DWL 1 0 1.74 13 0 0 0 0 10.1 8 2 2 0 3 14 0.42 .200

Four more scoreless games for the lefty this week who is looking more and more like a serious candidate for the Mets 'pen in 2011.

1B Stefan Welch (ABL - Adelaide)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
ADE ABL .152 8 33 3 5 2 0 0 4 7 3 13 0 0 .243 .212 .455

That's right, the big lefty is playing winter ball back home in the Australian Baseball League, their only professional league. Thus far Welch hasn't been great but expect him to have success against very green competition after a solid year with St. Lucie.

LHP Oliver Perez (MWL - Culiacan)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
CUL LMP 1 0 9.00 5 0 0 0 0 5.0 7 5 5 0 3 6 1.00 .350

Two more ugly outings for Ollie this week.

 

Mets Candidates for the Rule V Draft

Pitchers

RHP Nick Carr (Hi-A St. Lucie)

Carr is probably the best shot to get plucked thanks to his rocket arm which is why the Mets were probably hoping to get him on the 40-man last week but couldn't due to really poor AFL results. He showed very little command this year but coming off of TJ surgery in '09, clubs looking for power bullpen arms can hope for better results (and even more velocity) going forward. I could easily see a non-contender carry Carr for a year hoping to stumble across a hard-throwing late reliever a la Evan Meek and the Pirates in '09.

LHP Michael Antonini (AAA Buffalo)

The '07 18th rounder had an OK season, posting a solid 3.98 FIP in Bingo but had a little more trouble in six starts with the Bisons. Though he's a lefty arm in an organization suddenly in need of LOOGY help, Antonini is not much of a candidate to replace Feliciano/Takahashi (or get picked) because he's only ever made a handful of relief appearances in his pro career and because he's actually allowed higher averages against lefties than righties at numerous levels.

RHP Jose De La Torre (AAA Buffalo)

This will be De La Torre's second year exposed to the draft though like last year, I don't foresee a lot of demand for the diminutive righty. Though he has shown success at the upper levels (including a 2.98 ERA at Triple-A in 2010) De La Torre is a 25-year old 5'9" righty with middling velocity/stuff, not great command and a history of injuries. Wouldn't be a huge shock if he went as cheap bullpen depth but guys like him are a dime, a dozen (see, Carlos Muniz).

LHP Eric Niesen (AA Binghamton)

A year ago I would have thought it nearly impossile that the Mets would leave the '07 third-rounder unprotected but with a complete collapse in performance and stuff in 2010, it would be tough to expect him to survive in the majors in 2011. There is a chance a club with low expectations for 2011 in need of a LOOGY takes him as a reclamation project a la Donnie Veal & the Pirates in '09.

RHP Eddie Kunz (AA Binghamton)

That's right, the '07 first rounder (42nd overall) is finally eligible and if we're lucky someone hasn't been paying attention and thinks he's actually worth the $25,000 transer fee he would cost to draft. Kunz once again couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in 2010 as he walked more than he struck out in a season split between starting and relief and for the third time in four pro seasons, posted an ERA above 5. 

RHP Scott Moviel (Hi-A St. Lucie)

Speaking of wasted draft picks, the Mets '07 second rounder is also available this winter thanks to four years of mediocrity. Again, if someone wasn't paying attention his physique (6'11", 235lbs) and former 2nd round status might fool them into taking a long shot. But after posting a 5.59 ERA in A-ball in 2010 (starting and relief) he isn't close to ready for the majors.

RHP Brant Rustich (Hi-A St. Lucie)

It wouldn't be complete if we didn't get the Mets second, second round pick from that '07 draft up here. Rustich may garner some interest due to his strong arm and good results but his complete inability to stay on the field will likely keep him undrafted. Man what a crappy draft.

LHP Roy Merritt (AA Binghamton)

I'd say that Merritt is as likely as anyone to go thanks to the fact that he's a solid LOOGY candidate. With Binghamton in 2010 he held lefties to a .228 mark. Though the Mets could use him as much as anyone his overall numbers (4.40 ERA in '10) just don't warrant a spot on the 40-man.

RHP Elvin Ramirez (AA Binghamton)

The 23-year old has some ability (3.55 FIP & .212 average against at Hi-A in '10) and could garner attention thanks to a good sinking fb that works around 93mph and shows potential to be a plus pitch. However, he's been slow to develop thanks to back problems (never good for a pitcher) and has serious command issues: Even after a full-time move to relief in 2010 his BB/9 jumped up to a career-high 5.28 in 2010. He's got a great arm and a perfect pitchers build but you can't really justify giving him a spot on the 40-man.

RHP Dylan Owen (AA Binghamton)

The '07 20th rounder really fell behind Dillon Gee as a late-round diamond in the rough and as a righty with eh stuff/command who posted a 5+ ERA in 2010, Owen won't garner much any attention in the draft.

RHP Ryan Coultas (AA Binghamton)

'04 sixth rounder out of UC-Davis, drafted as a shortstop, converted to pitching in '08. He's got a strong arm and has shown the ability to miss bats; this is just the kind of quirky story that usually belongs in the Rule 5. However, Coultas' name probably won't be called as he missed the entire 2010 season to injury and after seven years with the Mets his contract status for 2011 is up in the air.

RHP Richard Pena (Hi-A St. Lucie)

Like Coultas, Pena is a converted position player and in his first full year of relief work, Pena posted a 3.25 ERA in 2010. He also posted solid K totals and showed good command. Probably too far from the majors for anyone to take a shot but he's an interesting story going forward.

RHP Edgar Ramirez (AA Binghamton)

The older E. Ramirez, the 27-year old '06 30th rounder posted a 4.93 ERA in 2010 and won't garner any attention.

LHP Orlando Tovar (Hi-A St. Lucie)

6'3" lefty put up very strong results in rookie ball this year but despite his advanced age (22) he's much too far away. Interesting guy to watch going forward though. 

RHP Gabriel Zavala (Lo-A Savannah)

23-year old converted outfielder posted a 1.56 ERA in Savannah in only his second year on the mound with good command and very strong K-rates. Too far away to be drafted but definitely worth watching in 2011.

RHP Guillaume Leduc (Lo-A Savannah)

French-Canadian 6'4" righty has decent stuff but he's super-raw. Way too far away.

RHP Marcos Tabata (Hi-A St. Lucie)

24-year old righty out of Venezuela put up solid results in 2010 but much too far away.

RHP Tony Feliz (RK Kingsport)

Big 25-year old righty is one of the rare arms in the Mets system that can reach upper 90's. He's still a big-time project (posting a 4.11 ERA against much younger competition in 2010) and for that reason probably won't get any attention but arms like these don't grow on trees.

 

Outfielders 

RF/DH DJ Wabick (AA Binghamton)

Eligible for the second-straight year, the '05 25th rounder has proven he can definitely hit for average, posting a career .296 average in his six years with the organization. He's batted around .300 at just about every level including Triple-A Buffalo in 2010 but the problem is he doesn't do much else; he has very little secondary skill to speak of. To me he looks like a future Jesus Feliciano (though he can't even play center) meaning he'll probably need to hang out in the minors for at least a couple more seasons and with his 2011 contract with the Mets up in the air, he won't get much draft attention.

RF Carlos Guzman (AA Binghamton)

He's only had one good season in four in the pros; minor league filler.

LF Raul Reyes (AA Binghamton)

Eligible for the second year. Like Guzman, he's minor league filler.

LF Juan Lagares (Hi-A St. Lucie)

Probably the highest-rated prospect on this whole list and though he's got the tools to one day make it to the show, the 21-year old Lagares is just too raw for consideration. 2010 was a breakout year for the one-time highly touted IFA and if he can follow-up in 2011 this same decision next year will be a tough one for the Mets. However, if there's going to be a shocker pick of a high upside prospect who a bottom tier team will just carry all season (a la Jesus Flores & the Nats in '07) it'll be Lagares.

RF Rafael Fernandez (Hi-A St. Lucie)

2010 was a quietly good year for the 22-year old lefty outfielder out of the Dominican though he shouldn't be on many draft boards. Though he doesn't have the power or speed to currently project as an everyday major leaguer, many like his athletic build and his solid bat but not until down the line.

CF Pedro Zapata (Hi- A St. Lucie)

Another guy who is too far away to consider for the Rule 5, Zapata is another very athletic outfielder from the DR. Like Fernandez, he doesn't have a lot of power but he's got a solid bat and a lot more speed which makes him a good defender in center.

RF/IF Manny Garcia (Hi-A St. Lucie)

The 24-year old Montreal-native is a strange case of a guy who has played at nearly every level and can do a bit of everything including play all over the field. Unfortunately, he does nothing exceptionally well so he's going to try to make it as a Joe McEwing-type which is not in high demand in the Rule 5 and he may not even have a contract with the Mets beyond 2010. Garcia has experience with the Canadian National team in the WBC as well as the Olympics. 

 

Infielders

2B Hector Pellot (AA Binghamton)
The '05 fourth rounder was the Mets first big whiff (but not their last) out of the PR Baseball Academy. Pellot's strong defense isn't as valuable playing at second and he hasn't shown enough bat for Double-A let alone the majors; no chance he's drafted.
SS Matt Bouchard (Hi-A St .Lucie)
'07 11th rounder out of Georgetown looks a lot like organizational filler.
3B Richard Lucas (Hi-A St. Lucie)
Another high round bust, this '07 fourth rounder showed some promise batting .318 across three levels in 2009 but really struggled at the higher levels, batting .212 with 150 strikeouts in under 130 games with St. Lucie this year. 
 
1B Stefan Welch (Hi-A St. Lucie)
The big lefty from Australia is eligible but while he's got an OK bat, he doesn't hit nearly enough for a first baseman. Through his first three pro seasons he's averaging about six homers a year which obviously isn't going to cut it.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker