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Mets Farm System Top 5: Lefties

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For today's Minor League Monday we'll look at another Farm System Top 5, this time the Mets' crop of top left-handed pitchers. Now for those that don't know, the Mets system is a wasteland as far as pitching goes. However, things are improving and a lot of that has to do with some of these young guys.

Juan Urbina – The 17-year old son of former major leaguer, current inmate Ugueth Urbina showed the kind of physicality and poise in his debut in the Gulf Coast League to really make scouts dream. At 6’2", 170lbs, Urbina is already touching the low 90’s with the makings of a good breaking ball and a surprisingly developed change for someone his age. Considering the fact that the long-limbed lefty still has some projection left in him, it isn’t crazy to project a future front of the rotation starter. But remember, the kid was born in 1993 meaning he’s a while away.

Mark CohoonThe 23-year old Cohoon had quite a year as he jumped from the Lo-A SAL up to Double-A Binghamton on his way to winning the organization’s 2010 Pitcher of the Year award. Not just that but the well-built southpaw also put himself on the radar for a major league rotation, potentially as soon as this year. Chances are he’s likely back of the rotation material at best as he barely ever tops 90mph but he stays ahead with pinpoint command and a strong mix of secondary offerings, as well as superb mound presence.

Stephen MatzDespite missing a year to TJ surgery at the beginning of 2010, the ’09 second rounder still possesses a combination of youth, size and stuff that isn’t common from the left side. At 6’2", 200lbs Matz was already touching 94mph before his 20th birthday with the makings of a good curve. If all goes well with his rehab the Long Island product will likely appear with a short-season affiliate this summer but expect the organization to really take the reigns off come 2012.

Zach DotsonDon’t let the late round tag fool you, Dotson was a steal by the Mets in the 13th round in ’09, dropping due to a seemingly strong commitment to UGA. In a move that the Phillies in particular have used to bolster their farm system, the Mets (finally) went over slot to buy Dotson out of his commitment to be a Bulldog. Like Matz, Dotson is another prep lefty with that trio of youth, size and stuff, featuring the kind of natural life on his low 90’s fastball that just can’t be taught. To be honest, I could easily see Dotson surpassing Matz when all is said and done.

Robert CarsonDespite a disastrous promotion to Double-A Binghamton, the big-bodied 22-year old possesses the kind of velocity that you love to see from the left side, regularly working around 94mph. Thanks to his overhand delivery his fastball comes in on a downward plane which leads to a ton of ground balls. However, Carson’s secondary offerings are rather undeveloped and point to a potential move to the ‘pen at the big league level.

Honorable Mention:

Jim Fuller At just 5’10", he’s the kind of 'max out at 90mph', bulldog-type lefty that will have to keep proving himself at each rung of the minor leagues. Regardless, he posted a sub-2 ERA in the SAL and made a nice Hi-A debut in ’10 all while allowing a ridiculous 3 homers all year; could be a lefty bullpen option before long.

Eric Niesen

He had a disastrous 2010, like Brad Holt bad. But like Holt, it wasn't long ago that Niesen was ranked as a top 20 arm in this system. Remember: His final seven starts at Double-A Binghamton in '09 produced a 2.40 ERA with 45 K's in 41.1 IP. As an '07 third rounder Niesen boasted low to mid-90's velocity with a sharp curve from the left side; however in 2010 his stuff wavered as he battled through inconsistent mechanics. Niesen now claims that he has ironed out the problems and if that is true, he can still move fast as a potential LOOGY.