The beauty of spring training is that I can stand on the field. Not 20 feet from Juan Lagares. As he takes live BP against Jeurys Familia. While chatting about said players with the Mets General Manager. And I did, earlier today. Have I mentioned that I love spring training?
Below you can find paraphrased thoughts -- as well as some quotes -- from Sandy Alderson and J.P. Ricciardi on some of the Mets top prospects. I tried to focus mostly on guys who had some question in terms of their future roles.
JP on Wilmer Flores:
- It's not that he's not capable of playing short, "he's just so big". I see a move to a different position, probably third base.
- "He's not an outfielder"; lacks the foot speed. Definitely not going to happen.
JP on Kirk Nieuwenhuis:
- It's a real shame that he got hurt when he did because we would have liked to see what he could do in September.
- From everything we've seen of him, he's a center fielder. "The center field situation in the upper minors right now -- with Nieuwenhuis, Den Dekker (etc) -- is going to be very interesting to watch."
- The strikeouts are a concern, but not nearly as much if the power plays like it has at each level.
- I still think he's catching up to his peers as a guy who focused on two sports -- and pitching -- in high school and college. Azusa Pacific is a little NAIA school so I think he's still making up ground.
JP on Zach Lutz:
- "Speaking of injuries, he's had some rough luck."
- His bat will carry him. He can hit at the major league level.
- He plays enough defense at third to keep his bat in the lineup every day.
- Don't discount him because of age. "36 is old; he's not old." Players his age make a difference all the time.
JP on Jordany Valdespin:
- He's extremely talented.
- Defensively, "he's most comfortable at second base." But that doesn't mean he can't play shortstop long-term.
- In the end "I see a second baseman who will spell you at short from time to time."
Sandy on Juan Lagares:
- "We're going to play him in center field this year."
- He was able to get a few reps there in the fall and we think he can do it so we'd like to give him some more in 2012. We see him as part of the center field mix.
- In terms of his closeness to the majors, "he's certainly on the horizon though I don't like to put a timeline on any young player."
Sandy on Jeurys Familia:
- Same story about timeline. Could he potentially help this year? Absolutely.
- He has all of the tools -- in terms of repertoire -- to succeed in the majors right now.
- In terms of role, "we'll let him tell us". We're not going to limit him to any one box. Nor is any decision final. Could you see him help at some point this summer out of the bullpen? Possibly. But does that mean we'd never consider him a starter again? Absolutely not.
Some interesting thoughts here. Yet the wily DePodesta still eludes me...