Today we're going to begin our 'Minor League Season in Review' series where we'll look back at how the 2010 season treated not only the Mets minor league affiliates but also some of their most notable players.
So let's start our climb up through the system at the bottom, with a look at the teenagers down with the Gulf Coast League Mets:
The GCL Mets were actually a pretty strong team this season, posting a 31-25 overall record which gave them a .554 win percentage, the best figure in the league for a non-division leader which earned them a wild card spot. They finished the regular season six games back of the Marlins in the GCL East division and ultimately lost in their one-game semi-final appearance to the eventual GCL champion Phillies.
As an aside, they were managed for most of the year by Sandy Alomar Sr. but for those that missed it, Alomar was suspended in the final week for an on-field dispute with his own pitching coach Hector Berrios. Details have been sparse at best but apparently the organization has said that the conflict did not get physical. Alomar was replaced by Mets Minor League Field Coordinator Terry Collins for that final week.
The Usual Suspects
(We're going to skip the stock up/down evaluation for these lower levels since few, if any, of the players have much of a substantial base to judge from)
LHP Juan Urbina
For a brief taste of Urbina's 2010 season, check out the earned run totals in his last 9 starts (not including his last appearance which was purposely limited): 1, 7, 1, 5, 1, 4, 0, 5, 2. So yeah, it was a roller coaster debut season for Urbina who took the kind of lumps expected of any 17 year old in pro ball but at times also flashed the potential that has scouts excited about his future. The lanky lefty touched 90mph with his heater and showed signs of a strong breaking ball and a surprisingly developed change and still isn't close to filling out his long, 6'2" frame. Don't let the ERA fool you, for a kid who would have been a junior in high school in America, this was certainly a promising season. Like I've mentioned before, if there's any positive to take from Stephen Matz's injury it's that it probably puts these two teenaged lefties on a similar timetable which could be a lot of fun to watch over the next few years.
RHP Akeel Morris
The question with Morris around draft time was the level of his competition in high school but he seemed to answer those questions and then some. The 2010 tenth rounder from the Virgin Islands showed right away why many consider his one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher the Mets drafted last June. Though he only made eight appearances and pushed past four innings just once, the wiry righty consistently flashed electric stuff, touching the low 90's with the makings of a hard breaking curve. He possesses extremely impressive arm strength/speed (seen here) especially when you consider he was yet another seventeen year old in the GCL Mets rotation. Like Urbina, Morris has a long way to go before he fills out but is already reportedly highly thought of within the organization and will be another very interesting teenaged starter to watch come 2011.
The 6'4", 200lb Concepcion is a big, strong, athletic outfielder who had a very nice season in 2010. After a late season slump, he ended the year just outside the top ten in batting and finished three homers off the league lead. However, he turned 21 last week, making him old for this league so it was odd to see him spend his second full season in the GCL considering that he was among the offensive leaders all season long. The reasoning was likely nagging injuries that not only held him out to start the year but reappeared to keep him out of the lineup a few times throughout the season. Concepcion definitely has some interesting tools and has showed enough with the bat that he warrants attention as a budding outfield prospect but at the age of 21 he'll have to take a big step forward going into 2011. He'll likely start in Kingsport but I'd hope to see him up to Lo-A Savannah (at least) by year's end.
RHP Erik Goeddel
Yes Goeddel pitched just a single inning in 2010 but he's worth mentioning here as possibly the most intriguing arm drafted by the Mets in 2010. The UCLA product was a shocking 24th round signing for the Mets, who uncharacteristically paid way overslot for a kid with potential first round talent. And while Harvey probably trumps him on pure stuff alone, Goeddel features a low 90's fb that touches the mid-90's and the edge for him is that he commands the offering very well. Add in a sharp slider and a developing change with good fade and you're looking at an interesting pitching prospect. Now arm injuries plagued him late in high school and early into college but he's just now starting to hit his stride which means there might be more in that slender yet somewhat projectable frame there that has yet to be tapped. There's a question from scouts about whether he can hold up as a starter but even in relief Goeddel could prove to be an absolute steal for the Mets.
More Names to Watch For:
You may remember LHP Zach Dotson as the Mets '09 13th round overslot steal or for his fifty game suspension over a possible decongestant this spring. Either way, Dotson is a big, strong 19 year old lefty from Georgia that possesses a low 90's fastball with nasty life; not the kind of player to sneeze at (ok, bad pun)...Huntington, LI native C Camden Maron, who was drafted in the 34th round in 2009, spent another summer mostly in instructs but once again showed some interesting tools when he did play in games. The athletic nineteen year old backstop hit for some power and for the second straight year flashed a nearly 1:1 BB-to-K ratio...SS Randoll Santana didn't quite live up to his 47 steal '09 in the DSL, batting just .252 with only 14 steals. However, a shortstop with this kind of speed and a nifty glove is always worth keeping an eye on...At 21, CF Tillman Pugh is too old to be hitting .230 in the GCL. However, he also had a .398 OBP thanks to a 15:16 BB-to-K ratio; add in his exceptional speed/power mix and the fact that he missed time the last few collegiate seasons due to ineligibility and it's just too early to write him off...Despite melting down in their lone playoff game, starter RHP Domingo Tapia was the GCL Mets Sterling Award winner and though he wasn't spectacular this year (note the pretty poor K-rate), as a 6'4", teenaged righty, he showed enough this season to make it worth keeping an eye on him come 2011.