New York Mets: Top 10 Prospects

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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Fernando Martinez, of
2. Deolis Guerra, rhp
3. Carlos Gomez, of
4. Kevin Mulvey, rhp
5. Eddie Kunz, rhp
6. Brant Rustich, rhp
7. Philip Humber, rhp
8. Jon Niese, lhp
9. Nathan Vineyard, lhp
10. Robert Parnell, rhp
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Fernando Martinez
Best Power Hitter Fernando Martinez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Ruben Tejeda
Fastest Baserunner Carlos Gomez
Best Athlete Carlos Gomez
Best Fastball Brant Rustich
Best Curveball Philip Humber
Best Slider Kevin Mulvey
Best Changeup Deolis Guerra
Best Control Dylan Owen
Best Defensive Catcher Mike Nickeas
Best Defensive Infielder Jose Coronado
Best Infield Arm Wilmer Flores
Best Defensive Outfielder Carlos Gomez
Best Outfield Arm Carlos Gomez
PROJECTED 2011
LINEUP
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
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Grant Roberts, rhp Out of baseball
1999 Alex Escobar, of Nationals
2000 Alex Escobar, of Nationals
2001 Alex Escobar, of Nationals
2002 Aaron Heilman, rhp Mets
2003 Jose Reyes, ss Mets
2004 Kazuo Matsui, ss Rockies
2005 Lastings Milledge, of Mets
2006 Lastings Milledge, of Mets
2007 Mike Pelfrey, rhp Mets
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Jason Tyner, of Twins
1999 ^Neil Musser, lhp Royals
2000 Billy Traber, lhp Nationals
2001 Aaron Heilman, rhp Mets
2002 Scott Kazmir, lhp Devil Rays
2003 Lastings Milledge, of Mets
2004 Philip Humber, rhp Mets
2005 Mike Pelfrey, rhp Mets
2006 ^Kevin Mulvey, rhp Mets
2007 *Eddie Kunz, rhp Mets
* First round supplemental
^ Second round
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Mike Pelfrey, 2005 $3,550,000
Philip Humber, 2004 $3,000,000
Scott Kazmir, 2002 $2,150,000
Lastings Milledge, 2003 $2,075,000
Geoff Goetz, 1997 $1,700,000
METS
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New York Mets

Advance scouts descended on the Mets in September, as other contenders sent in their top evaluators to check out the team bound to win the National League East. As late as Sept. 12, New York led the Phillies by seven games.

But the team scouts saw in September wasn’t a playoff team. A listless team that played without enough energy, a manager in Willie Randolph who couldn’t find the right spark for his team, a bullpen constructed by general manager Omar Minaya that gave Randolph few if any reliable middle-relief options . . . the Mets were a mess. A team that spent 140 days in first place didn’t finish there, as Philadelphia won 13 of its last 17 games while New York was going 5-12.

It was a historic collapse, but the Mets didn’t suddenly become a bad team in September. In fact, they had been a .500 team since the calendar turned to June. New York went 34-18 in the season’s first two months and just 54-56 the rest of the way.

The Mets faltered in part because they got old in a hurry. Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca had the worst full-season numbers of their careers. Moises Alou remained productive but couldn’t stay healthy. On the mound, Tom Glavine got bombed in his final three starts and Billy Wagner blew three saves down the stretch.

More disconcerting, however, was that some of New York’s young building blocks struggled. Franchise cornerstone Jose Reyes wilted in the second half, hitting just .251 after the all-star break and .205 in September. Mike Pelfrey, who signed for a club-record $3.55 million bonus as a first-round pick in 2005, went 3-8, 5.57 and failed to keep the No. 5 starter’s job. Philip Humber, a first-rounder whose $3 million bonus ranks second in club history, got hammered by the Nationals in his lone start during the season’s final week.

Scouts from other organizations say the Mets have little immediate help on the way in the farm system. The jury is still out on how much Pelfrey and Humber can be counted on, and there’s not much in the way of upper-level position players behind outfielders Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez.

The lack of talent reflects New York’s decision not to wield its large-market resources to acquire talent the last two years, particularly in the draft. The Mets have surrendered their first-round choice as free-agent compensation in each of the past two drafts, and haven’t tried to compensate by exceeding MLB’s bonus guidelines with other picks. Minaya said that could change in the near future.

“We’ve adhered to the commissioner’s slot recommendations,” Minaya said. “We’ve been good citizens. But not all the teams have done that, and the competitive balance is not fair. We have to take that position under review as an organization.”

New York did sign 15 players internationally in the summer of 2007, more than any other organization, and has tried to use that market to find impact talent. The Mets have aggressively pushed prospects such as Dominican outfielder Fernando Martinez and Venezuelan righthander Deolis Guerra—the top two prospects on this list—and they’ve handled it well. A third, Dominican catcher Francisco Pena, faltered in full-season ball as a 17-year-old in 2007.

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