New York Mets: Top 10 Prospects

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Adam Rubin
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Jenrry Mejia, rhp
2. Wilmer Flores, ss
3. Fernando Martinez, of
4. Ike Davis, 1b
5. Brad Holt, rhp
6. Jon Niese, lhp
7. Reese Havens, 2b/ss
8. Josh Thole, c
9. Ruben Tejada, 2b/ss
10. Juan Urbina, lhp
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Josh Thole
Best Power Hitter Ike Davis
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Reese Havens
Fastest Baserunner Alonzo Harris
Best Athlete Jordany Valdespin
Best Fastball Jenrry Mejia
Best Curveball Jon Niese
Best Slider Brant Rustich
Best Changeup Dillon Gee
Best Control Chris Schwinden
Best Defensive Catcher Mike Nickeas
Best Defensive Infielder Ruben Tejada
Best Infield Arm Jefry Marte
Best Defensive Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Best Outfield Arm Cesar Puello
PROJECTED 2013
LINEUP
Catcher Josh Thole
First Base Ike Davis
Second Base Reese Havens
Third Base David Wright
Shortstop Jose Reyes
Left Field Fernando Martinez
Center Field Carlos Beltran
Right Field Wilmer Flores
No. 1 Starter Johan Santana
No. 2 Starter Mike Pelfrey
No. 3 Starter Jenrry Mejia
No. 4 Starter Brad Holt
No. 5 Starter Jon Niese
Closer Francisco Rodriguez
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Alex Escobar, of Out of baseball
2001 Alex Escobar, of Out of baseball
2002 Aaron Heilman, rhp Cubs
2003 Jose Reyes, ss Mets
2004 Kazuo Matsui, ss Astros
2005 Lastings Milledge, of Pirates
2006 Lastings Milledge, of Pirates
2007 Mike Pelfrey, rhp Mets
2008 Fernando Martinez, of Mets
2009 Fernando Martinez, of Mets
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Billy Traber, lhp Red Sox
2001 Aaron Heilman, rhp Cubs
2002 Scott Kazmir, lhp Angels
2003 Lastings Milledge, of Pirates
2004 Philip Humber, rhp Twins
2005 Mike Pelfrey, rhp Mets
2006 Kevin Mulvey, rhp (2nd round) Twins
2007 Eddie Kunz, rhp (1st round supp.) Mets
2008 Ike Davis, 1b Mets
2009 Steve Matz, lhp (2nd round) Mets
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

After being eliminated from the playoffs on the final day of the regular season in 2007 and 2008, the Mets continued to generate drama in 2009—though this time it was primarily off the field. New York christened Citi Field by going 70-92, the third-worst record in the National League, after they were expected to contend.

General manager Omar Minaya fired vice president of player development Tony Bernazard, whom he viewed as a trusted friend, on July 27 after Bernazard had a series of over-the-top confrontations with members of the organization. The incidents included Bernazard removing his shirt and challenging Double-A Binghamton players to a fight after a game there, and getting into a heated exchange on a team bus with Francisco Rodriguez after a lopsided loss in Atlanta.

The front-office turnover continued after the season as well. The team fired Ramon Pena, a special assistant who oversaw Latin American operations, as well as field coordinator Luis Aguayo. Vice president for scouting Sandy Johnson was mulling retirement.

Minaya and big league manager Jerry Manuel got a reprieve after injuries decimated the major league roster, with Carlos Delgado (hip) and Jose Reyes (hamstring) not playing after May and John Maine (shoulder) and Oliver Perez (knee) missing significant portions of the season. The farm system showed its weakness at the upper levels and provided little in the way of reinforcements, which prompted Minaya to acquire plug-ins such as Anderson Hernandez, Pat Misch and Wilson Valdez.

The biggest player-development success story was Bobby Parnell, who set a franchise rookie record with 68 appearances and at one point emerged as the primary set-up man to Rodriguez. Parnell’s audition as a starter didn’t go as well, as he went 1-5, 7.93 in eight starts. Josh Thole came up to New York in September, batted .321 and looked better than the Mets other catching options.

After hitting .313 in New York in 2008, Daniel Murphy flopped as a left fielder, eventually succeeded Delgado at first base. He didn’t hit as hoped. Fernando Martinez, the No. 1 prospect in the organization the previous two years, got a chance to replace Murphy and hit .176 before tearing the meniscus in his right knee, requiring season-ending surgery in July. Jon Niese’s chance to claim a spot in the big league rotation went awry when he tore a tendon in his upper right hamstring and needed surgery in early August.

Like the Mets, the clubs at the upper levels of their system performed dismally. Buffalo, in its first season as the organization’s Triple-A affiliate, went 56-87, the worst record in the International League. At 54-86, Binghamton had the worst record of any full-season team in the minors. Of New York’s seven domestic minor league clubs, only short-season Brooklyn posted a winning record, and their combined 338-412 (.451) record was the second-worst in baseball.

Though the Mets bring in more money than most big league clubs, they continued to remain conservative in the draft. They spent just $3.1 million on the 2009 draft, the lowest figure in baseball. New York forfeited its first-round pick as compensation for Rodriguez and used its top choice (second round) on Long Island high school lefthander Steve Matz.

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