2011 Mets Minors Season in Review: GCL Mets

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I've been putting this off long enough, but now it's finally time to get our review of the 2011 season in the Mets minor league system underway. As usual, we'll start with the lowest levels of the system and work our way up over the next couple weeks. For you true minor league aficionados, today we'll look at the teenagers down in the Gulf Coast League:

Team Spotlight

Managed by Luis Rojas -- son of Felipe Alou -- the GCL Mets were just not very good this season, finishing the year with a 27-29 record, good for a .482 winning percentage and third in the GCL East division, eighth overall (out of 15 teams).

 

Final Standings:  

 

TEAM W L PCT GB
GCL Marlins 38 16 .704 -
GCL Cardinals 31 24 .564 7.5
GCL Mets 27 29 .482 12.0
GCL Nationals 20 33 .377 17.5
GCL Astros 20 34 .370 18

 

 

 

The Usual Suspects

(We're going to skip the typical stock up/down evaluation for these lower levels since few, if any, of the players have much of a substantial base to judge from)

 

RHP Matthew Budgell

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 1 5.74 7 2 0 0 0 15.2 18 11 10 0 5 10 1.91 .316

2011 tenth rounder drafted out of a CA high school, he's a highly projectable righty who -- like most prep pitchers -- is going to be a long-term project. But at 6'3", 155 lbs Budgell certainly has the kind of build and physical tools to make scouts dream big.

 

RHP Michael Fulmer

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 1 10.13 4 3 0 0 0 5.1 9 7 6 0 4 10 2.50 .346

The Mets 2011 supplemental first rounder, Fulmer is another prep arm out of Oklahoma who certainly looks the part of a top of the rotation horse. 6'3", 200 lbs, low-to-mid 90's fastball and an advanced power curve; not tough to dream on the kid's potential. He was beat up a bit in his first four professional outings, but no matter. Get used to seeing this name all over Mets top ten prospects lists over the next few seasons.

 

RHP Robert Gsellman

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 0 4.15 7 1 0 0 1 13.0 15 6 6 1 2 8 2.33 .288

Yet another in the Mets 2011 wave of projectable prep pitchers, the 6'5", 200+ lbs Gsellman is known more as a stud athlete than a stud pitcher. His stuff isn't as gaudy as fellow big man Fulmer but the word with him -- as with most of these high schoolers -- is projection. Again, not enough appearances to take much from his pro debut, but for a guy who's a little less polished, there's a definite possibility for a bullpen role long-term.

 

RHP Craig Missigman

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 1 1 5.48 9 3 0 0 1 23.0 17 16 14 1 6 18 1.00 .200

Missigman was yet another high school drafty from 2011 and though he wasn't selected until the 37th round, he's another example of excellent size (6'4", 175lbs) and excessive projectability. What's more, as evidenced by his 2011 line, he features very good command as well. More than the last couple guys, he's a better bet to reach the highest levels in a relief role.

 

RHP Rafael Montero

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
DSL MET DSL 1 1 1.00 4 4 0 0 0 18.0 7 2 2 1 0 20 1.00 .119
MTS GCL 1 2 1.45 7 4 0 0 1 31.0 28 11 5 0 6 32 0.63 .228
KNG APP 2 1 4.24 4 4 0 0 0 17.0 17 8 8 2 6 9 0.90 .258
BRK NYP 1 0 3.60 2 0 0 0 0 5.0 3 2 2 1 1 5 0.80 .176
Minors   5 4 2.15 17 12 0 0 1 71.0 55 23 17 4 13 66 0.78 .208

At 21, Montero is a bit old to be making his pro debut but you can't argue with the results as he blew through the lowest levels and pushed his way up to Brooklyn by season's end. Strange that a kid who can dial it up to 95 mph with three legitimate pitches went that long before signing but standing at 6' even, he looks like a late bloomer. After a dominant 2011 season Baseball America named Montero the #20 prospect in the entire GCL, the only Mets prospect to make the list. It'll be very telling to see what he can do against players his own age so expect to see him begin 2012 in the SAL with Savannah.

 

OF Eudy Pina

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MTS GCL .223 52 202 30 45 7 3 2 16 64 12 60 4 4 .285 .317 .602

After putting up a very strong 2010 campaign in the DSL where he batted .310 and showed off his excellent power/speed mix while playing center field, Pina regressed big time in his first stateside experience. Against better competition his poor plate discipline took a much heavier toll and pretty much short circuited every other aspect of his offensive game, as he collected about half as many extra base hits and dropped from 29 stolen bases to a measly four. While his long, athletic frame and excellent tools deserve continued attention, he'll have to take a big step forward in 2012 to stay relevant.

 

LHP Zach Dotson

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 0 0 54.00 2 0 0 0 0 1.0 4 6 6 0 5 0 0.50 .667

The 21-year old Dotson was one of my biggest disappointments of 2011 as I really expected a step forward from the '09 13th rounder with excellent stuff. However, like fellow talented '09 lefty Steven Matz, Dotson really hasn't had a chance to even get his pro career underway. In 2010 he spent the first half in instructs before having his season cut short by a drug suspension. Come 2011 he missed the first half due to the remainder of his suspension and then missed nearly the entire back half thanks to pain in his arm. Hopefully 2012 will allow him to put all that stuff behind him and really get his Mets career underway as there is definitely talent there.

 

RHP Beck Wheeler

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MTS GCL 3 0 0.87 14 0 0 0 2 20.2 8 3 2 1 9 20 1.29 .121

The other Wheeler is a very interesting case that's worth some attention going into 2012. He was a so-so position player through most of his college career. However, this season -- in his senior season -- coaches at UC-Santa Barbara decided to see if his strong arm would translate to the mound. He worked mostly bullpens though and only logged four innings total. So the draft came and his name was, not surprisingly, never called. But one of his coaches at UCSB arranged a workout with an acquaintance who happened to be a Mets scout. A few days later Wheeler got the call and he was signed by the Mets as a non-drafted FA. Naturally in his first 20+ pro innings Wheeler was dominant, striking out a batter an inning and flashing a low 90's fastball. Who knows how Wheeler will continue to take to his new role but it's certainly going to be an interesting story to follow going forward.

----------------------------------------------------

And while it's probably not worth evaluating the campaign of an entirely developmental club, why don't we also take a look around the rosters of the DSL Mets as there are a few notable names as well as interesting performances worth checking in on:

OF Michael Bernal

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MTS DSL .274 67 215 44 59 7 5 11 36 109 37 68 17 11 .396 .507 .903

Bernal isn't one of the big-name IFA's but that kind of power at such a low level is definitely not common -- especially when paired with some speed. Keep in mind, there was only one other player among both DSL clubs who hit more than three homers in 2011...and even that guy only hit five.

 

OF Maikis De La Cruz

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MTS DSL .324 45 170 29 55 13 0 0 18 68 16 27 25 8 .389 .400 .789
DSL MET DSL .316 28 95 11 30 6 1 0 13 38 11 12 8 4 .389 .400 .789
Minors   .321 73 265 40 85 19 1 0 31 106 27 39 33 12 .389 .400 .789

In his pro debut, the 20-year old outfielder showed the kind of speed and more importantly plate discipline that you don't often see from youngsters down in the DSL. 

 

3B Pedro Perez

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MET DSL .262 61 210 26 55 9 1 2 38 72 25 47 15 2 .350 .343 .693

The switch-hitting Colombian was one of the biggest names of the 2010 IFA class and he showed the tools to back it up in a strong pro debut, especially when you consider he played this season as a 16 year old. And while he made 14 errors in just 38 games at third and also appeared in 12 at first base, Perez features the kind of all-around athleticism to theoretically stick at the hot corner long-term after being signed as a shortstop. Definitely an interesting name to watch going forward.

 

OF Vicente Lupo

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MET DSL .197 49 132 21 26 7 1 5 13 50 23 59 5 0 .325 .379 .704

Another highly touted 2010 IFA Lupo had a rough season, on and off the field as he was recovering from a bout with malignant hypothermia, which took a significant toll on his health last winter. Known for his power, Lupo trailed only Michael Bernal in home runs among the DSL Mets in 2011.

 

RHP Luis Mateo

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
DSL MET DSL 6 1 2.00 13 13 0 0 0 63.0 44 17 14 1 5 80 1.45 .194

This one-time highly touted Dominican saw contracts with the Giants as well the Padres both fall through for myriad reasons, ranging from injuries to false identity-related suspension. But when he finally got his pro career underway he seemed to be worth the wait, completely dominating the competition all season. Nevermind the fact that the competition was a year or two younger; you simply can't ignore the 80 K's in just 63 IP. Oh yeah and five walks. Five. That's crazy. For a guy that was once lauded by scouts, it's going to be very interesting to see what he can do going forward.

 

OF Eris Peguero

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MET DSL .308 63 237 37 73 9 4 1 20 93 19 37 30 9 .376 .392 .769

Like Bernal, Peguero is not a highly touted IFA but you've got to like that kind of performance from a kid making his professional debut. Problem is Peguero signed late, he's actually 21 years old. But hey, all you can ask for him to do is produce and that he did.

 

3B Elvis Sanchez

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
DSL MTS DSL .157 70 198 26 31 4 0 3 20 44 62 73 5 3 .367 .222 .589

Outshined by fellow 16 year old third baseman Pedro Perez, Sanchez had a somewhat underwhelming and kind of confusing season. He looked pretty lost when he swung the bat, featuring one of the lowest averages among starting players. However, he also ranked second in the league in walks so obviously he's got an idea of what he's doing. Either way, should be interesting to see what the kid does going forward; expect to probably see him back at the hot corner in the DSL next year.

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