Mets Winter League Update - 10/17/11

With the Caribbean Leagues recently underway and the Arizona Fall League in full swing, let's kick off our offseason Minor League Mondays by taking another look at how the Mets participants have fared since our last check:

IF Josh Satin (VWL - Caracas)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
CAR VWL .333 5 15 4 5 0 0 1 2 8 5 3 0 0 .500 .533 1.033

Probably the biggest name of the Mets winter league contingent -- that is until Brandon Nimmo laces it up in the DR -- Josh Satin will be collecting some more ab's before 2011 is through after spending most of September on the bench at Citi. Just last night he hit his first homer for Tim Teufel's Leones, and considering he's yet to find a level where he hasn't hit expect an average around .300 and more than a few doubles.

 

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 .200 5 20 0 4 0 0 0 1 4 1 3 0 0 .238 .200 .438

Playing for Manager Don Baylor's Bravos, Flores has gotten of to something of a slow start in what's been an overall down year for him. His prospect luster has certainly faded some as he didn't really follow up on his extremely promising FSL debut.

In fact, It's pretty easy to downplay Flores' batting line in 2011 as he took a step back in just about every offensive category from 2010. But it's important to keep in mind that kids his age starting every day and putting up the numbers he did at Hi-A don't come around that often -- especially not in the Florida State League's pitcher's parks. 

 

SS Jordany Valdespin (DWL - Licey)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
LIC DWL .286 3 14 2 4 0 1 0 1 6 0 0 2 0 .286 .429 .714

He's only gotten a few plate appearances thus far but it should be interesting to watch the 23-year old's exploits down in the DR this winter as the Reyes drama unfolds. Should Jose return Valdespin instantly becomes the bluest of Sandy's trading chips; should Jose go, suddenly we might be previewing our shortstop of the future.

Obviously Tejada would get the first shot after acquitting himself nicely this season. But after a 2011 where Valdespin batted .294 with 17 homers and 37 sb's between Double-A and Triple-A, it may be hard to keep him down by mid-2012.

Among other top prospects as well as some premium big league talent (Ubaldo Jimenez) DWL powerhouse Licey will also also star St. Lucie's speedy Pedro Zapata, who batted .292 with 36 sb's in Hi-A in 2011. 

3B Jefry Marte (AFL - Peoria)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
PEJ AFL .259 8 27 6 7 1 0 1 7 11 4 6 1 0 .364 .407 .771

The 20-year old started the fall season right, collecting hits in each of his first four games as well as at least one RBI in three of them. He's cooled a bit since then but hit his first homer of the fall season on Saturday -- a game-winning 2-run shot.

After a very promising first half for Hi-A St. Lucie (.283/.357/.402), Marte stumbled to the finish line batting .210/.263/.284 in the second half. Did he just tire down the stretch of a 131-game season? Was it the .285 BABIP to blame? Who knows, but a strong showing in the AFL would certainly help the stock of the kid Jonathan Mayo recently rated the Mets no. 10 prospect.

 

OF Juan Lagares (AFL - Peoria)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
PEJ AFL .389 4 18 5 7 1 0 2 4 14 1 3 1 0 .421 .778 1.199

Lagares is on Peoria's Taxi Squad, meaning that he's only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. However, he hasn't let that slow him down in the slightest. After batting .349 with nine homers between Double and Triple-A in 2011, the 22-year old Dominican has kept on hitting, going 7-for-18 in his first four games. Even better, three of those hits were for extra bases, including a pair of home runs last week.

After Wally Backman reckoned Lagares a Major Leaguer earlier this summer, his Hitting Coach out in AZ -- former big league outfielder Alonzo Powell -- concurred. On Saturday Powell said of Lagares, 'He is a five-tool type of player and he plays a real good center field. He has a lot of potential.' That's nice, but I keep imagining what he might look like if he stuck at shortstop, where he started back when the Mets signed him in back in '06...

 

SS Wilfredo Tovar (AFL - Peoria)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
PEJ AFL .269 7 26 4 7 3 0 0 2 10 3 1 0 0 .345 .385 .729

The light-hitting Tovar has gotten off to a pretty decent start out in AZ, knocking three of his seven hits for doubles and displaying his trademark contact ability, striking out just once in seven total games. This season for Savannah he whiffed just 53 times in 131 games, versus 44 walks.

While his lack of pop tempers peoples expectations, keep in mind that Tovar is actually five days younger than fellow Venezuelan middle infielder Wilmer Flores. And unlike Flores, not only does he project to stick at short, he could win Gold Gloves there.

 

C Juan Centeno (AFL - Peoria)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
PEJ AFL .091 3 11 1 1 1 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 .231 .182 .413

The 21-year old backstop hasn't gotten a ton of play just yet with a couple of more advanced catchers on the Peoria roster, however, this is clearly an opportunity for Centeno to make a name for himself. While he may represent little more than catching depth, he can certainly build on a nice 2011 where he batted .318 in 52 games for Hi-A St. Lucie by having a nice showing against the other top prospects.

 

SS Juan Carlos Gamboa (LMP - Los Mochis)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MOC LMP .429 4 14 3 6 2 0 1 3 11 1 2 0 0 .467 .786 1.252

The 20-year old Mexican middle infielder has gotten off to a very nice start for his hometown club, hitting in each of his first four games including his first homer of the winter season on Friday. In 2011, he batted .293/.355/.450 across four levels, including a late season cameo with Savannah where he played in four of their final seven games, including their championship elimination game.

Gamboa was signed as an IFA in 2010 and since then has shown a lot of ability, including surprising pop from a kid listed at 5'7", 150 lbs as well as an extremely strong glove. In a lot of ways he's a very similar player to fellow Sand Gnat Wilfredo Tovar and in my view, 2012 is the year that he joins Tovar in the prospect discussion.

 

LHP Robert Carson (AFL - Peoria)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
PEJ AFL 0 0 3.38 3 0 0 0 0 5.1 7 2 2 0 2 2 0.44 .318

Carson only got into one game this week, pitching two strong innings on Wednesday, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out a batter. Unfortunately, as this game was played at Mesa there isn't any Pitch F/X data available; in his first two appearances the data had him regularly working between 93-95 mph with his fastball and 82-84 mph with his change-up.

 

RHP Collin McHugh (AFL - Peoria)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
PEJ AFL 1 1 9.00 3 2 0 0 0 8.0 13 8 8 0 4 5 3.00 .382

McHugh also had just one appearance this week, another start. And once again he was hit, allowing two runs over four so-so innings. Once again he recorded most of his outs on the ground (6-of-7), but he's still walking too many batters and giving up a few too many hits (see, .382 opp. against). Like Carson there is no Pitch F/X data. 

So he's been holding some pretty great Q&A's over at his blog, and he addressed the question of fatigue, something I've been wondering about since he arrived in AZ. He pointed out that his arm is feeling fine but ultimately he's thrown a ton of innings this year, without any long periods of rest. So take these results with a grain of salt.

 

RHP Taylor Whitenton (AFL - Peoria)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
PEJ AFL 0 1 5.40 3 0 0 0 0 5.0 5 3 3 0 4 6 1.00 .263

In Whitenton's one appearance this week, he was hit pretty hard allowing three runs over 1.2 IP. Once again he was guilty of walking too many guys but the problem were the three hits he allowed, including two doubles. On the bright side there was Pitch F/X data available, which had him throwing all four of his pitches, fb, change, slider and curve. The fastball was between 91-93 mph while his change-up dropped as low as 77 mph, same with his curve and his slider was in the mid-80's.

 

RHP Dylan Owen (VWL - Caracas)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
CAR VWL 0 0 3.00 2 1 0 0 0 6.0 5 2 2 0 0 8 9.00 .217

Owen joins Satin with the Leones, following up his strong winter performance last season. In 2010, Owen posted a 1.13 ERA over three appearances in the Puerto Rican Winter League, pretty much showing all of us why winter stats don't mean much as he'd go on to post a 4.42 ERA in 29 games across Double and Triple-A in 2011.

 

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 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.33 .000

One more name to watch this winter is 23-year old Armando Rodriguez, who was firmly on the team's radar during spring training but ended up working to salvage a year marred by an early season oblique strain. He'd end up posting an ok 3.96 ERA in 16 starts for Hi-A St. Lucie, though the 4.49 FIP doesn't bode well for the future. 

While his BB/9 (3.48) regressed a bit this year, his continually strong K/9 (8.88) coupled with a strong showing this winter could easily have Rodriguez back in the mix for a big league bullpen job come next spring.

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