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Mets Prospect Mailbag: 2011 Draftees, September Call-Ups and More

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Anonymous asks:

This is a difficult, if not impossible question, but would any of the Mets 2011 draft picks rank in the top 10 of their system? Top 20?

You're right, that is a tough one. But of their newly-drafted talent, there are most definitely a few guys who should already be in consideration for top 20, or even top 10 spots.

Obviously the first name is Brandon Nimmo. Based on his outstanding athleticism alone, as well as the fact that he was scouted -- by many organizations -- as an upper first round talent, he has to be in consideration for a top 10 spot. I personally am not one to go overboard based on projection/potential however, he's got the kind of superstar ceiling that you just don't see often and cannot ignore. Now his background brings with it more risk however, he's still in that discussion.

Then you pretty much go down the line. Michael Fulmer -- the Mets supplemental pick -- is considered by some a top 10 guy. As a projectable teenager with a mid-90's fastball and high 80's slider, you can see why. Next, the four college arms -- Mazzoni, Verrett, Pill & Leathersich -- all deserve consideration, with Leathersich the one who is forcing his way in with his dominant NYPL performance.

Finally, the Mets made a couple of nice later round shortstop steals. First, Fresno State's Danny Muno, who just won a batting title in Brooklyn and looks like a very polished hitter, was nabbed in the eighth round. With their 15th round pick they got California HS shortstop Phillip Evans who was considered a 2nd-3rd round talent but dropped due to signability issues. Both will probably hover around the top 15-20 and could push higher quickly in 2012.

All in all, by spending a lot more money than they're used to, the Mets bolstered their farm system with a lot of mid-to-upper tier talent in a hurry and that will reflect in the prospect rankings you'll see this winter and certainly going forward.

David H asks:

"Do you expect any players not currently on the 40-man roster to be promoted in September? I assume F-Mart, Lutz, Valdespin, Thayer, O'Connor, etc. are the obvious choices but is there any chance we get to see a guy like Havens in MLB? Also is it now safe to assume Nieuwenhuis is done for 2011?"

Let's start with the easy part. Yes, Nieuwenhuis' season ended prematurely back on June 9th thanks to an injury to his non-throwing shoulder suffered on a diving catch which required labrum surgery. So don't expect to see him in any fall or winter leagues. He was batting .298/.403/.505 with Triple-A Buffalo at the time of the injury and he is expected to be ready for spring training in 2012.

As we've seen, there have been a few "off menu" selections as far as September call-ups. Guys like Josh Satin and Chris Schwinden both represent players who were not on the 40-man roster, but needed to be added to remain ineligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter. Then there were guys like Miguel Batista and now Val Pascucci who more represent depth, but both deserved a pat on the back and 15 more minutes of fame -- Batista for his 100th win and Pascucci for raking in Buffalo for what seems like forever.

There's still a chance we could see guys like Jordany Valdespin or Dale Thayer who reside on the 40-man. And it would certainly be interesting to catch a glimpse of someone like Havens or perhaps Juan Lagares, which would be more of a surprise. But Terry has already indicated that it's going to be a tight squeeze with the current group so I wouldn't count on seeing anyone else, unless injuries required it.

Layton asks:

"1. Is Reese havens injured. If not why is he in and out of the lineup?

2. Darin Gorski: Why is he not with Binghamton?

3. Will J. Valdespin get called up by the Mets in Sept? Is he as good as his numbers indicate?"

1) No, Havens was not injured. He was sitting one out of every three games strictly as a precaution. He'll appear in the Arizona Fall League in October in order to catch up on missed time in 2011.

2) Good question. After posting a 2.08 ERA with St. Lucie and winning the FSL Pitcher of the Year, he absolutely deserved it. The problem was that space in the Binghamton rotation was very limited all season, especially when you consider that two spots were pretty much reserved for Familia and Harvey. Even with the demotion of Holt, guys like Carson and Moore weren't stellar but probably didn't deserve to lose their spots to a guy that came into 2011 as a non-prospect.

3) I answered the first part above. As for the second part, frankly no...at least not yet. The numbers he put up in 2011 --.294, 17 hrs, 37 sb's -- are indicative of his excellent raw talent. The problem is that word: raw. Namely with his plate discipline. With Triple-A Buffalo he walked 4 times compared to 25 K's. That level of aggressiveness rarely allows sustained offensive success in the bigs. Also, his 30+ errors belie that rawness in the field as well. So until he begins to reign it in, he'll probably be a player like Carlos Gomez that flashes crazy potential but more often leaves you wanting.


As always, send all of your questions about the Mets farm system to AAProspectMailbag@gmail.com!