Mets Winter Leagues Update

This week we'll take a look at the final numbers from the Arizona contingent while catching up with a growing number of Caribbean participants, including the World Baseball Classic.

Below you'll find the compiled winter league statistics for all Mets participants as of last night's action, as reported by MLB.com (click image to embiggen):

Winterleagues1126_large

  • The final numbers from the AFL participants are in and they aren't particularly pretty. Specifically, Cesar Puello continued his meh 2012 batting .247 with just two extra-base hits in 23 games, though the ten stolen bases were a nice-to-have. The minor silver lining is that his walks were up, but so too were his strikeouts. The 21-year old has already latched on in the DWL where he's hitless in five at bats.
  • The only pitcher who posted decent results out in AZ was lefty Adam Kolarek, who had a 2.92 ERA and eight strikeouts in 12 innings pitched. However, even Kolarek allowed a .365 opponent average and struggled against lefties, a key indicator for his long-term success.
  • In World Baseball Classic news, Ruben Tejada's Panama club was eliminated in the qualifier round by long-shot Brazil. Kind of a bummer but also kind of good news as Tejada won't be splitting time during spring training. Tejada batted .313 with three doubles in four games and for anybody watching on MLB Network, the shortstop looked to be in mid-season form with the leather.
  • Tejada wasn't the only Mets property appearing for the now-defeated Panama club. Manny Acosta didn't allow a run in his two appearances while organizational lefty prospect Angel Cuan posted four innings of one-run ball in his elimination game start. The soft-tossing 23-year old posted a 4.01 ERA for St. Lucie in 2012.
  • Down in the DWL, Jordany Valdespin has continued to look very strong. Aside from the nice batting line, the most intriguing development for the 24-year old has been the growth of his plate discipline. He's clearly placed a much higher emphasis on seeing more pitches; his ten walks through 16 games have already matched his totals at both levels last season. For a guy that showed increasing patience as the summer progressed in 2012, this is a continued good sign for his long-term ability to play every day in the big leagues.
  • Another interesting development in the DWL has been the re-appearance of Justin Turner, who must really love winter ball because he's down there every year. Unfortunately, Turner has exposed himself a bit thus far batting .184 with a sub-.500 OPS through 13 games. One can assume that all nine of his hits have been extremely clutch. Even so, it's tough to justify a spot on the roster for the light-hitting, light-fielding infielder in 2013.
  • Jenrry Mejia has been excellent through five starts with DWL powerhouse Licey. In 22 innings the just-turned 23-year old has posted a 2.05 ERA with a solid 17 strikeouts and six walks. Not surprisingly he's forcing over two ground balls for every fly out thus far.
  • The Mets newest bullpen candidate, Greg Burke, has been outstanding as a member of the Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League. Through 21.2 innings he's posted a sub-two ERA with 19 strikeouts versus just one (!) walk. The newly-converted sidearmer figures to get a long look during spring training, and I'll go out on a limb and say that I expect Burke will be a bullpen mainstay by the end of 2013.
  • Speaking of 30-year old relievers the Mets just inked on minor league deals, lefty Scott Rice has been very strong thus far in the DWL. Through ten games he's posted a 2.45 ERA and most importantly -- if he wants a future with the Mets -- just a .167 opponent average against lefties. Over the past couple seasons he’s posted a .184/.263/.253 line against lefties with an 11.32 K/9 across Double and Triple-A, far better numbers than internal option Robert Carson over the same span.
  • 22-year old Marcos Camarena has also gotten off to a nice start as a reliever in the Mexican League. Serving as the Gnats swingman in 2012, Camarena posted a solid 3.52 FIP in 30 games (11 starts). His stuff won't blow anyone away, but the 6'3" righty is highly versatile and features pinpoint command (see, 1.39 walks per nine), enough to make him an interesting organizational piece going forward.
  • Perhaps the most interesting recent addition to the winter league slate is outfield prospect Cory Vaughn after he had a strange season at Hi-A St. Lucie in 2012. On the one hand, the 2010 fourth rounder knocked 23 home runs and stole 21 bases. However, he also struck out in over 21% of his plate appearances and batted just .243 as one of the older players around. Playing for Manati in the Puerto Rican Winter League Vaughn has been outstanding thus far, continuing to show off his excellent power/speed mix while actually walking more than he's struck out. Vaughn absolutely has the tools to profile as a strong everyday right fielder in the majors, and if he can just cut down the amount of swing-and-miss in his game he'll be well on his way.
  • Staying in the PWL, catching prospect Juan Centeno has gotten off to a blazing start so far. Through eight games he's batting .391 with a .965 OPS, a homer and just one strikeout. We recently discussed the 23-year old in the 2013 Catcher Outlook as likely the Mets most developed catching prospect. The contact-oriented, slap-hitting lefty also features strong defensive skills, and with continued success in Binghamton in 2013 he's likely not far from his first cup of coffee in Queens.
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