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Winter League Update - 11/8

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Let's take another look at how some of the most intereresting Mets names playing in the warmer weather have fared:

CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .281 16 57 9 16 5 1 0 10 23 6 20 0 2 .359 .404 .763

More of the same from The Captain: he's looked solid but I wouldn't say he's really distinguishing himself all that much at the plate so far in Arizona.  His always troublesome K:BB rate has looked just as bad thus far, he's been caught stealing in both attempts and he's still waiting on his first bomb.  On the bright side, he has been back to playing mostly center field after a stretch in mostly left and right.

2B Jordany Valdespin (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .365 18 74 19 27 3 1 1 11 35 4 11 7 0 .397 .473 .870

On the other side of the coin, Valdespin is asbolutely distinguishing himself offensively out in the desert.  He's in the midst of a ten-game hitting streak and six of those have been multi-hit efforts.  Meanwhile he's 7-for-7 in stolen bases after a regular season that saw him go 17-for-29 (59%) and even better, even though it's a small sample he's featuring a walk rate (5.4%) over twice that of his regular season (2.6%).  It's not great but hey, baby steps.  Valdespin currently ranks second in runs, third in hits and stolen bases and seventh in the league in total bases.  He also appeared in the AFL Rising Stars game on Saturday and acquitted himself nicely, going 1-for-2 with a hard single off a 97-mph Brewers '06 first-rounder Jeremy Jeffress heater.  Unfortunately his glove play is still quite raw as he made two more defensive miscues last Friday which brings him to a team-leading six errors.

C Kai Gronauer (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .148 8 27 2 4 1 1 0 4 7 3 4 0 0 .233 .259 .493

Kai's playing time has still been sporadic with just three appearanes in the past two weeks but he's warming up a bit with three hits in his last ten ab's, including a big 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double and two walks last Tuesday.  Unfortunately, Gronauer also made his third error last Friday as well as his second and third passed balls of the fall; on the bright side he did pick off a runner at first in the same game.

1B Josh Satin (AFL - Mesa)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MSS AFL .476 6 21 3 10 2 0 1 6 15 3 8 0 0 .560 .714 1.274

Speaking of players distinguishing themselves, Satin hasn't missed a beat since he joined the Solar Sox with multi-hit performances in four of his first six games thus far.  Unfortunately, Satin is on the team's taxi squad (meaning he only plays on Wednesdays & Saturdays) but his solid all-around approach at the plate seems to be translating just fine in the AFL which when coupled with his strong performance in 2010 makes Satin's case for a major league gig in 2011 that much more legit.  However, for those hoping to see Satin at second, you can pretty much give up on that one; he's being featured exclusively at first base with Mesa and he's already made a couple of errors over there.

RHP Brad Holt (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 2 1 2.92 5 4 0 0 0 12.1 10 7 4 0 9 13 0.64 .222

Things have come back to Earth quite a bit for Holt whose scoreless streak came to an end last Friday in a rough outing that only lasted 2.1 IP where he allowed three earned (five overall) on three hits and four walks, including a wild pitch and a hit batsman.  His next appearance came in relief where he surrendered another run on three more hits and another walk.  He threw just 53% for strikes between the two appearances and even worse, in his first exposure to Pitch FX this fall, he was only working in the low 90's, topping out at 93mph, not the 95-96 we were accustomed to before 2010.  I'm still awaiting word as to why Holt was held out of the Rising Stars game but suddenly there's quite a damper on his fall resurgence.

LHP Robert Carson (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 1 0 7.27 3 3 0 0 0 8.2 12 7 7 1 1 7 1.57 .333

Carson has been up and down in his last few performances:  Last Wednesday he was absolutely shelled in a 1.2 IP, 6 ER performance that looked like one of his starts in Binghamton.  He threw just 24 of 44 pitches for strikes (55%) and had just one K.  However, in his last start he fared much better throwing far more strikes (69%) and allowing a single run in four innings with four strikeouts.  Carson also filled in for Brad Holt in the Rising Stars game, allowing one unearned run in one inning.  To be fair to Carson, the only hit was a swinging bunt and his defense really failed him with an error by the third baseman and a passed ball allowing the runner to score.  He didn't allow a hard-hit ball in the inning and we probably saw a glimpse of Carson's future as he fared well against four straight lefties, all top prospects (Revere, Gindl, Ackley & Hosmer).  Carson threw exclusively four-seamers and worked between 90-94mph though he wasn't spotting his fb all that well.

RHP Nick Carr (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 0 1 4.91 7 0 0 0 0 11.0 11 8 6 1 8 5 0.56 .244

Carr's lack of command is really starting to hurt him as he's allowed runs in four of his last five appearances, including a 1 IP, 1 ER performance on Wednesday where he walked the last three batters he faced.  Carr hits 96mph with ease but with his complete lack of control I don't see him making a prolonged positive impact in the Mets bullpen in 2011.

LHP Eric Niesen (AFL - Mesa)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MSS AFL 1 0 4.15 8 0 0 0 0 8.2 14 8 4 1 3 7 0.80 .341

Unlike Holt & Carr, Niesen has righted the ship of late with three straight scoreless appearances and just one walk in his last four innings.  Though his command clearly comes at the expense of some stuff/velocity and he's still got to throw more strikes (especially with his sweeping slider), if Niesen can keep this up he'll most definitely be in the mix as a second lefty out of the 'pen come spring (Feliciano or not, Niesen is still not at the point where he can be counted on as the primary LOOGY). 

3B Eric Campbell (VWL - Anzoategui)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
ORI VWL .222 22 72 7 16 6 0 0 4 22 14 16 0 0 .356 .306 .662

After a hot start, Campbell is mired in a big-time slump right now going 4 for his last 36.  Fortunately, Campbell has maintained his strong plate discipline with ten walks in that same stretch.  Defensively, Campbell has been playing exclusively left field.

RHP Manny Alvarez (VWL - Magallanes)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
MAG VWL 0 0 2.13 8 0 0 0 1 12.2 12 4 3 0 4 9 0.45 .250

A bit shaky of late, Alvarez has still continued his very strong 2010, acquitting himself very nicely against a mostly veteran crop of competition while maintaining his excellent walk rates.  To me, continued success in Venezuela signals a very good chance for Alvarez to audition for a major league relief job come spring training.

RHP Jose De La Torre (PWL - Caguas)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
CAG PWL 0 0 1.35 6 0 0 0 0 6.2 3 2 1 0 3 7 3.33 .150

Like Alvarez, De La Torre is facing off against mostly veteran competition and is doing himself a big-time favor as far as his chances to break camp with a role in the Mets 'pen.  However, De La Torre's size (5'9") and his average stuff won't guarantee him anything so after a solid season in Buffalo he'll have to finish 2010 strong and follow that up with a good showing in camp.

2B Daniel Murphy (DWL - Aguila)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
AGU DWL .265 14 49 2 13 4 0 1 9 20 6 4 3 0 .339 .408 .747

Murphy has hit in six of his last seven games and knocked his first homer of the season on Halloween night.  One would assume his leg feels pretty good as he's also nabbed three stolen bases, one less than his entire season in 2009.  As advertised, Murphy has played nearly every day at second but is also getting some time back at first.

LHP Raul Valdes (DWL - Este)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
TOR DWL 1 0 1.46 3 2 0 0 0 12.1 11 2 2 0 4 14 0.54 .229

Valdes suddenly looms large with the apparent loss of Hisanori Takahashi.  But to me these stats just confirm what we saw in his time with Buffalo: the guy is a Quad-A star and I don't trust him to fill Takahashi's shoes.

Francisco Pena (DWL - Cibaenas)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
AGU DWL .148 10 27 1 4 1 0 0 1 5 2 6 2 0 .207 .185 .392

Pena has not looked good thus far; strangely, he has a couple of steals though.  It'll be interesting to see how the new regime handles him if he has another poor showing in 2011 considering his initial contract is up after the season.

RHP Jeurys Familia (DWL - Cibao)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
GIG DWL 0 0 18.00 1 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 2 2 1 1 1 0.00 .400

Roughed up in his only appearance thus far; he'll likely be used exclusively out of the 'pen.

RHP Armando Rodriguez (DWL - Escogido)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
ESC DWL 1 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 0 2.1 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.50 .222

Good start so far for the strong-armed righty who like Familia is being used as a reliever down in the DR (which is likely a look into his future role).

LHP Michael O'Connor (DWL - Licey)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
LIC DWL 1 0 3.60 7 0 0 0 0 5.0 6 2 2 0 2 6 0.50 .273

Like Valdes, O'Connor becomes more important after the loss of Hisanori and coming off a very strong season as Buffalo's lefty long man, O'Connor should get a long look come spring.

LHP Oliver Perez (MWL - Culiacan)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
CUL LMP 0 0 9.00 2 0 0 0 0 2.0 2 2 2 0 1 3 2.00 .250

Is there any way we can convince Culiacan to reach his innings limit for 2011? 

C Henry Blanco (VWL - Margarita)

Team League AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
MAR VWL .265 11 34 6 9 1 0 2 7 16 3 2 0 1 .324 .471 .795

Crushed a couple of bombs since we last checked up on him.

RHP Marcos Tabata (VWL - Zulia)

Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
ZUL VWL 0 0 0.87 10 0 0 0 2 10.1 5 2 1 0 11 10 1.50 .152

Excellent ground ball rates and a lot of luck continue to mask control problems for Tabata who had a solid year split between Savannah & St. Lucie.