As you undoubtedly saw in the fanshots or somewhere else yesterday, Baseball America released its top 10 prospects list for the Mets, with Adam Rubin reprising as the author of the write-up and subsequent chat. Rubin's article didn't provide much insight into the ranking, but the chat cleared a few things up. Here are the things I found most interesting about the list with relevant quotes:
- Fernando Martinez, the incumbent #1 prospect for two years, drops to #3 after his best season in the minors (.877 OPS in AAA at age 20). He continued to be chronically injured, tearing his meniscus, as mentioned in the article. Rubin said in the chat, "Fernando Martinez has fallen far enough that the Mets talk about going outside for a left fielder for 2010." That makes me worry the Mets are putting stock into his worthless sample-size major-league audition, because I find it hard to believe an injury could hurt his stock so much in a season where he had a break out. I know it was his fourth straight season with an injury, but on the other hand, that means he's gone from injury prone, projectable, with no results to injury prone, projectable, with good results. Rubin later said, when asked about Martinez no longer being untouchable, " His value is so diminished right now. He's certainly not untouchable, but teams are very concerned because he's been unable to stay healthy for four straight years."
- Mejia taking the #1 spot is not surprising, but his being ranked four spots ahead of Holt kind of is. Rubin said this of Holt: "I know a fair amount of the scouts who watch Binghamton regularly during the season. The consensus seems to be that he will be a No. 3 starter in the majors. Here's a report one person gave me on Holt: Good four-seam fastball (88-93 mph, peak 95), curveball (75-78) and changeup (79-81). Command needs work. Wasn't quite the same after missing three weeks with an ankle injury. Has to learn to maintain a consistent release point. He'll add some weight as well which will improve his durability and stamina. Needs to improve from a mental perspective. Often allows situations to get out of hand by compounding problems due to overthrowing. Has to eliminate obsession with strikeouts." Holt supposedly was throwing in the lows 90s peak 98 on his fastball in 2008. When a reader questioned the change in perception later in the chat, Rubin insisted that Holt tops out at 95.
- They still love Wilmer Flores, and put him in rightfield on the "Projected 2013 lineup." I wouldn't read into that much, since they basically just throw whatever prospects they can into these projected lineups; they likely will never happen. Take, for instance, the projected lineup for next year according to the 2006 version of this list:
Catcher Francisco Pena First Base Carlos Delgado Second Base Anderson Hernandez Third Base David Wright Shortstop Jose Reyes Left Field Lastings Milledge Center Field Carlos Beltran Right Field Fernando Martinez No. 1 Starter Mike Pelfrey No. 2 Starter Philip Humber No. 3 Starter John Maine No. 4 Starter Deolis Guerra No. 5 Starter Kevin Mulvey Closer Billy Wagner
Reflects something of a past optimism, as opposed to the 2011 projected lineup, which reflects something of a past delusion:
Catcher Francisco Pena First Base Fernando Martinez Second Base Greg Veloz Third Base David Wright Shortstop Jose Reyes Left Field Lastings Milledge Center Field Carlos Gomez Right Field Carlos Beltran No. 1 Starter John Maine No. 2 Starter Oliver Perez No. 3 Starter Mike Pelfrey No. 4 Starter Deolis Guerra No. 5 Starter Kevin Mulvey Closer Eddie Kunz
That outfield is awesome, but that pitching staff might be the worst-conceived in history. Also note them sticking Fernando Martinez somewhere, a la Wilmer. I also find it interesting that they projected a healthy Carlos Beltran to be in right field by 2011, but they this year, they put Carlos Beltran with irreparable bone-on-bone knee injuries in CF in 2013.
- Speaking of Francisco Pena, apparently he will be left off the top 30 prospects list, per Rubin. Not even Mark and I did that in our ongoing top-26, and I really dislike Francisco Pena as a prospect.
- Kirk Niewenhuis got ranked best defensive outfielder, which is encouraging, since the biggest question about his abilities are related to his fielding, not his hitting. Rubin passed along this scouting report: "He will garner comparisons to Curtis Granderson in terms of his position and ability to fill up the stat sheet in many offensive categories. Good opposite field power and a plus overall hitter. Great contact guy. Batted in the leadoff spot at the end of the season with St. Lucie and Binghamton and produced many multi-hit games. Figures to be a 20-20 guy. Good range in center and an average to slightly above average major-league arm." He also cited a scout that compared his mentality to Kirk Gibson's. That's high praise, for a guy that didn't crack the top 10.
- Nate Vineyard retired.
- Juan Urbina made the top-10 without throwing a professional pitch. Rubin justified ranking him ahead of the more established Jeurys Familia and Kyle Allen, thusly: The Mets spent $1.2 million on Urbina because they believe he's a top-10-caliber prospect. His fastball averages 88-89 mph, with a peak of 91 mph, but he has a clean delivery. Team officials believe the velocity will climb a little as he gets instruction, but that's fine for a lefthander. Familia throws from the opposite side and considerably harder and doesn't have a clean delivery. Allen also is righthanded." I nominate "Allen also is righthanded" to be the go-to non-sequitur at Amazin' Avenue.
- The Mets won't push prospects anymore with Tony B gone.
- Robbie Shields has grission. Rubin called him the baseball equivalent of a "gym rat," which is a new one.
- Jordany Valdespin was named best athlete. He put up good numbers last year in Savannah, but didn't get promoted, so I assumed he must be a bad athlete or something. Guess not.