PM Minor League Roundup 12/13: Winter Ball Updates & Rule 5 Scouting Reports

Mets infielder Justin Turner got his winter ball on starting last week; Turner was caught here doing his best Toby from 'The Office'. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Another Minor League Monday, another Minor League Roundup. And aside from a crop of new winter leaguers, we'll also have some scouting reports about the Rule 5 bounty beyond the oft-discussed Brad Emaus & Pedro Beato.  So without any further ado, let's get started:

Winter League Updates

RHP Jenrry Mejia (DWL - Licey)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
LIC DWL 0 1 3.38 2 2 0 0 0 5.1 5 2 2 0 4 6 9.00 .227

That guy who pitched out of the Mets 'pen in 2010 showed up to make a few starts for the Tigres down the stretch and thus far has looked pretty good. He showed a bit of rust in his first appearance back since being shut down in early September, walking three guys and allowing two earned runs in 2+ IP.  However, in his start last Friday, Mejia was back to his old dominant self, allowing no runs on two hits and one walk over 3 IP while striking out four. His fb topped out at 96mph, Mets bullpen coach - and Licey pitching coach - Guy Conti was pleased with the results:

"I was very, very impressed with what he did tonight. He showed a major league curveball, a major league fastball and was poised,"..."I was very, very pleased with him. He’s made tremendous progress. I was really pleased with him. I’m impressed with Jenrry." ESPN NY

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 .320 28 103 9 33 6 1 4 22 53 13 11 5 1 .395 .515 .910

These were Murph's final totals as he left the DR about a month early and returned to NY with leg fatigue; nothing serious.  If anything his showing out in winter ball should remind Mets fans that this guy can definitely hit some and one report from a scout on his defense sounded mildly optimistic: 

"He was very serviceable...He made all the plays but one. He had a routine groundball go through his legs. But it was no big deal. He turned a couple of double plays. He moved to his left and his right. He moved better to the first base side, which would be to his left. And his throwing was good. It was accurate. His arm action is a little long from second. If he could tighten that up, it might serve him a little better. It's almost like an outfield thrower's arm. A catcher brings it up short and tight to his ear; you want to have a little shorter arm action. But he's working hard." ESPN NY

IF Justin Turner (DWL- Escogido)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
ESC DWL .323 15 62 11 20 6 0 1 8 29 4 7 0 0 .373 .468 .841

Not to be forgotten, Justin Turner too keeps hitting away down in the DWL. Playing third base, Turner is exhibiting the kind of defensive versatility that makes him a strong candidate for a role somewhere in the Mets infield come 2011.

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 .369 21 65 7 24 5 0 2 15 35 5 9 1 0 .397 .538 .936

Flores has been dynamite at the plate ever since returning from that leg strain a couple weeks back. Strangely in this latest hot streak, he's hitting tons of singles - much like his initial stretch in St. Lucie - with an OBP of .359 and a SLG of .375 over his last ten games. Regardless, Wilmer has hit for plenty of extra-base power in his stint with Margarita making his overall line that much more impressive, especially when you consider (as Toby Hyde points out) that the average line in the veteran-heavy VWL is .257/.341/.364.

2B Brad Emaus (DWL - Este)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
TOR DWL .263 33 114 16 30 8 1 4 17 52 13 17 2 1 .349 .456 .805

As a Toro, Emaus has showcased the trademark patience and power that made him the Mets' first-round Rule 5 selection on Thursday and a serious contender for the starting second base job this spring.

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

Like Murphy, Campbell's line represents his final totals as he's been sent home for the winter. In his case it was lack of performance that got him booted from the VWL, despite his hot start. Campbell doesn't have much value as a prospect outside his bat so going into next season he's going to have to keep on proving that what he showed in the first half of 2010 was for real. 

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 2.95 17 0 0 0 1 14.2 13 5 4 0 5 10 0.43 .241

Alvarez has been good, not great, in his winter league stint. Despite showing a continued ability to keep the ball in the yard, he certainly is walking a bunch more guys than he did during the 2010 campaign.

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 1 5.21 14 0 0 0 0 19.0 19 12 11 1 8 19 1.29 .260

Having given up 4 ER in two of his last four appearances, De La Torre is showing why he wasn't touched in the Rule 5. And his overall poor performance against the veteran-laden PWL also isn't easing the concerns of those who feel that despite his impressive minor league numbers, he looks like a Quad-A player whose middling stuff just won't cut it against major league hitters.

RHP Pedro Beato (DWL - Licey)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
LIC DWL 0 0 16.20 2 0 0 0 0 1.2 2 3 3 1 0 0 1.50 .250

The newest contender for a spot in the Mets 'pen, Beato has had limited chances thus far for Licey - and he's been hit when he has pitched -  but once again, Guy Conti provides some insight have seen him throw:

"I’ve only seen him throw in the bullpen, But I'm excited about what I saw,"..."I’m not excited about the extraordinary number of pitches. He’s throwing every pitch that can be thrown. But he's got a power arm. I think [Mets pitching coach] Dan Warthen will mold and fix and hopefully he can pitch for us." ESPN NY

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

His numbers just get worse and worse as Pena seems absolutely lost at the plate. If he can't keep up in winter ball I think that tells you more than enough about his chances in the high minors, let alone the bigs.

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

Still no more chances for Jeurys after getting things off on the wrong foot.

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

A-Rod has scuffled against the advanced hitting he's seen in the DWL lending more credence to the idea that he's going to have a hard time sticking in the rotation long-term. Should be interesting to see if his stuff plays up when/if he makes the switch full-time.

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

O'Connor hasn't allowed a run since well before Thanksgiving and is pretty much punching his ticket to PSL this February. Despite his reverse splits thus far, O'Connor deserves a very serious look to replace Hisanori as the lefty longman.

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

Kind of weird that he's struggling so mightily as he showed at least a serviceable bat in 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

And then there's Ollie; so much for that 10-inning scoreless stretch huh? I'm going to keep on saying that if Ollie ever appears in a major league game again I will be at least mildly surprised. I'm not trying to be funny or mean, he just has absolutely nothing left in that arm; he's no longer a major league caliber pitcher, in any role.

 

Rule 5 Scouting Reports

Obviously the big dog of the group is Emaus but there's not much more I can say that hasn't been covered by Sam, Eno or a whole host of other commentators. Except that if you were wondering, it's pronounced E-miss. Also here are some first-hand accounts I was able to gather from contacts:

"Never saw a lack of effort at anytime....Hard-nosed, spends a lot of time working both offensively and defensively...Aggressive on the basepaths; not fast but works hard for the extra or stolen base...saw him both at 2nd and 3rd but mostly at second where he played very well. Told me either was fine. Third was not new to him...Good sense of humor...He could develop into a 20-hr guy. He has the power stroke but seems content to drill to the gaps and take his doubles.  Strong plate discipline."

Beato too has been covered to death; by this time we all know he graduated from Xavierian in Brooklyn, was originally a 17th round Draft & Follow by the Mets that Omar failed to sign, was drafted 32nd overall by the O's, converted full-time to relief in 2010 and is now "happy to be home". As far as his stuff, Beato no longer features the high 90's velocity he showed when he was a senior but he still has the hard sinker and sharp slider. His changeup never fulfilled the potential he showed as a youngster but he's got more than enough stuff for relief and his low 90's velocity has actually played up since moving to the 'pen.

 

As far as the minor league phase, the Mets used their first Triple-A selection on Cubs 22-year old reliever RHP Ronny Morla. The A's originally signed him in '06 as an IFA out of the DR. The lanky 6'3" righty was most notably part of the return that netted the A's Jake Fox last offseason. The Cubs promptly moved him to full-time relief in 2010 and saw good results as he posted a 3.09 FIP wih their Lo-A Peoria affiliate. Even more impressive was his 9.84 K/9 which has always been a strength of his. As far as stuff, Morla features a low 90's fb that jumped up this year in relief to 93-94mph with good run. Bred as a starter, Morla possesses a four-pitch mix which also includes a hard slider and a decent curve & change. Expect Morla to start 2010 with Hi-A St. Lucie with the ability to move fast to Bingo if he performs. More first-hand accounts from someone who saw him on a daily basis:

"Intimidating presence, never buckles, goes after hitters, not scared at all...He was always the guy you wanted coming in to get you to the closer...He throws quality strikes as you can see from his K/BB ratio and K/9IP ratios...Seemed to be a "Do as I do" leader with our Latin players. He was always among the first ones at the ballpark and never had any issues with attitude or disciplinary problems..His slider does get a little flat at times and would get hit hard...I guess his age may be working against him a bit, turning 23 in May and never been above Low A...But there is a lot to like in Morla."


With their second pick in the Triple-A phase, the Mets took White Sox relief prospect RHP Ricky Brooks. Everyone knows about Beato's homecoming story but Brooks was a graduate of Buffalo's North Tonawanda High and will essentially be playing for his hometown Bisons in 2011. Brooks was originally drafted by the Sox in the 3rd round of the '05 draft out of East Carolina University. After a couple mediocre seasons he was converted to relief where he saw his K-rates jump; couple that with his strong control and Brooks has been a very effective reliever the last three seasons, posting FIP's in the 2's at all three stops including Double-A Birmingham in 2010. As far as stuff, Brooks features the typical sinker/slider/change (in that order) reliever's repertoire. Like Morla, he's exceptionally good at keeping the ball on the ground with a plus sinker that he throws around 92-93mph. Also like Morla his secondary offerings lag behind his fb. Expect to see him in Buffalo to break 2011; outside shot to reach the majors by late 2011 if he performs. First-hand accounts on Brooks:

"Tempo important when successful, Ricky works quickly…Ricky broke camp as our closer. He held that until twisting his ankle in late April...Two years ago, Rickey made the jump, in-season from WS to Birm..Last season slowed by ankle then shoulder issues, he struggled to get comfortable…Competitive demeanor, good sinker, developing a good change, slider is hit-or-miss...He is from North Tonawanda (Buffalo, NY) and is a huge hockey fan and great hockey player. Loves the Sabres."

 

With their only Double-A selection, the Mets used their final pick on Padres OF Quintin Berry. Originally drafted by the Phils in the 5th round of the '06 draft out of San Diego State, the Padres acquired him off of waivers in mid-July this summer. Berry is your quintessential, no-power speedster, having stolen 55, 51 & 48 in his first three pro seasons. The good news with him is that beyond the fact that he's lightning, he's got a decent eye posting double-digit BB-rates nearly every season. The bad news is that he can't really hit; he posted a .207 average in 2010 but only a .266 average in Double-A in '09 at the best of times. If he can find a way to take full advantage of a high walk/high bunts/slap-oriented approach (a la Padres Luis Durango), he might be able to survive in Binghamton (where he'll debut in 2011) and even Triple-A but with his offensive skill set it's hard to foresee him succeeding in the show. Sorry, no contact in Lake Elsinore thus no first-hand reports on Berry.

 

For the record, the minor league Rule 5'ers are now Mets property, not subject to the same 25-man roster requirements as the major league guys.

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