Mets Winter League Update

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

While the Mets season ended some time back in August, quite a few of their top prospects remain active in warmer climates.

Below you'll find the compiled winter league statistics of all Mets participants as of this morning, according to MLB.com (click image to embiggen):

*As a side note, the list has been filtered to include mainly prospects. In other words, if you're looking for Miguel Batista's DWL stats thus far, you won't find them here.

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A few thoughts:

  • Foremost is the performance of Jordany Valdespin. Through six games he's already knocked a pair of bombs and a double for Licey. We had some interesting discussion on his power the other day, namely whether he'd ever hit 20 homers in the bigs. For me, he clearly has the bat speed to do so and the strength he's displayed over the past season-plus only belies that point. I feel it's more a question of whether or not his plate discipline allows him to stay in the lineup enough to actually do it. To that point, the four walks so far -- versus just two strikeouts -- are a continued good sign in an area where he's really shown some growth over the last calendar year. Defensively, we thought we'd see Valdespin strictly at second, yet he's played a few games out in right field as well. Probably not ideal since I'd rather see him get the reps at his true defensive home, but there's a good chance he ends up back in the outfield at some point in 2013 so not really a big deal.
  • Close behind is the continued resurgence of Wilmer Flores' bat. After starting his winter campaign on a six-game hitting streak, he's just been doing exactly what we saw throughout 2012. That means good power accompanied by a solid walk rate, though a few more strikeouts than you'd expect after a recent rash. Regardless, the bat looks primed for a big season at Double-A, which would have him knocking on the door shortly. The only question -- as always -- is the glove. He's been featured exclusively at third thus far, however he's already made three errors. Expect him to continue slotting in wherever he fits around the Bingo infield in 2013, a strategy the big club could very easily borrow to get his bat into the lineup at some point late next season.
  • In our AFL preview I noted the importance of this time for Darrell Ceciliani, after he missed most of 2012 with injuries. Well he continued his stretch of performing when he was on the field, posting a strong walk rate, a homer and three stolen bases through nine games. Then he got hurt again. No word yet on what pulled him out of the game on Monday, but he's been able to get back into the lineup over the last couple days so who knows. However, it's not unfair to speculate about his balky hamstrings, which were already a serious long-term concern before this incident.
  • Speaking of outfielders in AZ with hamstring issues, the good news is that Cesar Puello has managed to stay on the field this fall. The problem is the continued decline of his plate discipline. Despite solid overall gains throughout the system based on new leadership, Puello has continued to regress to unacceptable levels and his stay in the AFL thus far has only hurt the cause.
  • For those expecting to see Danny Muno in AZ, he was delayed for 'personal reasons' -- though he'll be there soon (likely to replace Ceciliani). In the meantime, Savannah 3B/OF Dustin Lawley replaced him and is capitalizing on the opportunity. The unexpected call speaks to the growth of Lawley's stock in 2012, as he is at the least a strong organizational piece with real power and a flexible glove going forward.
  • The Mets don't have the strongest pitching crop active this offseason, but there are definitely opportunities for a couple in particular to make moves. Specifically, relievers LHP Adam Kolarek, out in AZ, and RHP Armando Rodriguez, down in the Dominican, could effectively put themselves on the major league radar in 2013 with strong showings this fall/winter. The duo could conceivably follow the footsteps of lefty/righty duo Josh Edgin and Elvin Ramirez as the next crop of in-season big league relief depth next year.
  • Additionally, it's been good to see Greg Peavey working effectively out of the Surprise bullpen out in the AFL. While starters often shift to relief strictly for the fall due to roster crunch, this may mark a new beginning for Peavey, who may have worn out his usefulness as a good command/mediocre stuff starter in Bingo in 2012 (see, 5.06 ERA, 5.25 strikeout per 9). Ideally his stuff will begin to play up in shorter stints; Pitch F/X data has his velocity consistently around 92-93 MPH in the first inning of his appearances thus far, which is a slight uptick.
  • After a highly disappointing 2012, watch to see if 19-year old lefty Juan Urbina shows any signs of life while pitching back in his native Venezuela this winter.
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