New York Mets: Chat
Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.
There are a ton of questions already lined up, so we can get started a few minutes early. Thanks for joining me.
Howard (NJ): Hey, Adam. It's been a tough year
(and week!) for us long time Mets fans. How close was Steven Matz to
the top 10 and will he and Robbie Shields our first two draft picks
figure into the top 30?
Tough year for me, too. Particularly late
July. I imagine today's an especially tough day with a parade in the
Canyon of Heroes. Anyway, Steven Matz was really close, but I
believe—and I think the Mets concur—that Urbina's potential is slightly
higher. Neither appeared in a game at the end of the regular season
after signing. Robbie Shields will be in that next group as well.
Unfortunately for Shields, he needed Tommy John surgery and will miss
the first half of 2010. By most accounts, his subpar numbers at
Brooklyn were partially the product of being worn down, having stepped
in right after a college season. Everyone says his best asset is his
grinding mentality, and being the baseball equivalent of a gym rat.
DG (paris, France): Were any of what seemed
like a more than solid group of starting pitchers at Savannah even
considered for the top 10 and who of that group might we see in the top
You'll see plenty of Sand Gnats pitchers
elsewhere on the list, including Kyle Allen, Jeurys Familia, Robert
Carson, Josh Stinson and Eric Beaulac.
Ben (Leland Grove): How confident are you that Havens will successfully adapt to 2B?
I think he has a better chance to adapt at
second than to make it as a shortstop. I saw him at the start of the
Arizona Fall League season and he had lost 20 pounds since spring
training, which definitely will help. Tim Teufel is slated to manage
Double-A Binghamton in part so that Havens has a mentor there who
played the position in the big leagues.
Sholom (Smithtown, New York): I recently read
two columns on the Mets by Peter Gammons which mentioned that Mets
ownership treat the draft as a afterthought and have instructed their
scouts not to sign anyone over slot. When will ownership figure out
that they are putting themselves at a competive disadvantage?
They went $500,000 over slot for their top
pick, Steven Matz, but I agree with you generally about the Mets being
good MLB citizens at their own expense. The greater disappointment has
been the conservative nature of spending on international free agents,
since that was how the Mets were supposed to offset the forfeiture of
draft picks. (Matz was the top pick at No. 72 overall.) Until the Mets
signed Juan Urbina for $1.2 million, they hadn't reached that figure
since Fernando Martinez ($1.3 million in 2005). They let big prospects
sign elsewhere such as Jesus Montero, while going a less-expensive
route with Francisco Pena.
DG (Paris, France): It really looked like Jon
Niese had arrived this summer before he was hurt, and yet, why is it I
have the sneaking suspicion that the Mets will pay lip service to
letting him fight for the fifth spot before using his options against
him and handing the ball over to this year's Livan? Do you honestly
think there is anything left for Niese to prove in the minors at this
point? Shouldn't the team just give him the ball every fifth day?
It's going to be an interesting offseason
for the Mets. By right, they need a No. 2 starter behind Johan Santana
so they don't have to be overly dependent on bounceback years from Mike
Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez. But I'm not sure the Mets are
going to spend the money or find that person. Obviously, if the Mets
bring in a John Lackey, that could push Jon Niese to Buffalo. But I
forecast now that Niese will be the No. 5 starter. It's a shame he had
the hamstring tendon issue that required surgery and forced him to miss
the end of the season when he could have established himself. The
development of a cutter last season really gave him another weapon
against righthanded batters.
Ben (Leland Grove): Are there any 2009 draftees you feel will be sleepers?
I don't know if Zach Dotson qualifies as a
sleeper, but getting taken in the 13th round is deceptive. The Mets
planned to select him in the third round, but could not agree to terms
and passed. They went back to him later and signed him for $500,000.
Dotson had committed to Georgia.
DG (Paris, France): Adam, this is my last
question, I swear! I read conflicting reports all summer about the
status of Nathan Vineyard, the Mets' second supplemental pick in the
2007 draft - that he had been operated on, that he had left the
organization, that he had moved to Canada and taken up curling (okay,
that last is just plainly not true!). So, what really happened to him?
He just quit as far as I know. At one
point the Mets were considering trying to recover part of the signing
bonus, but I don't know if they ever went that route. There may have
been some personal issues involved, but I don't want to speculate.
Harris (Brooklyn): How did Nieuwenheis and/or
Familia not make the top 10 over Thole? They both project to be better
players than Thole. This should be list of players who will be better
in the majors and not how fast they can get to the majors.
Guess you disagree, but we projected them
to be better players than Thole, they probably would have been ranked
higher than Thole on our list. They should be in the next set of 10.
Nieuwenhuis has 20-homer, 20-steal potential, and one scout was
reminded of Kirk Gibson—in terms of Nieuwenhuis' mentality. Familia,
named by the Mets as their top pitching performer, is exceedingly raw.
Here's what one scout who watched Familia closely said about him: "He's
got arm strength, that's it. Great kid. Arm strength. Bad delivery. No
breaking ball. Walked six guys the outing I saw him. Everything in
delivery messed up. Was up to 95 mph. Doesn't get through with his back
side, no real balance, misses up in zone because doesn't follow
through/finish. He can't because of the rest of stuff that's going on."
JAYPERS (IL): Kirk Nieuwenhuis had arguably
one of the best seasons of any Mets prospect this year, yet missed the
list. How close did he come, and what's the skinny on him?
Here's a little more on Nieuwenhuis from
someone who watched him after he was promoted to Binghamton: "He will
garner comparisons to Curtis Granderson in terms of his position and
ability to fill up the stat sheet in many offensive categories. Good
opposite field power and a plus overall hitter. Great contact guy.
Batted in the leadoff spot at the end of the season with St. Lucie and
Binghamton and produced many multi-hit games. Figures to be a 20-20
guy. Good range in center and an average to slightly above average
JAYPERS (IL): Did Kyle Allen make the overall top 30? Are you bullish on him?
Allen is one of the more underrated
pitchers in the Mets' system, and he'll definitely be on the list. His
slider has improved and may rival his changeup as his top pitch. His
fastball ranges from 90-95 mph, and usually sits at 91-92 mph. He also
throws a breaking ball—a hybrid-type curveball—that ranges from 80-83
mph. Mets officials also were excited about Allen's
groundball-to-flyball ratio in the South Atlantic League: 2.18-to-1.
Chris (Tampa, FL): Where does Sean Ratliff fall within the organization?
Ratliff will appear in the top 30. He
showed some power with Savannah, but he needs to improve his plate
discipline and resist trying to pull every pitch. He particularly
struggled on pitches away from him. Ratliff's bat is in and out of the
strike zone quickly, which contributed to 141 strikeouts in 496
at-bats. An American League scout I spoke with debated labeling Ratliff
an extra outfielder who might hit .255-.260 in the majors or an
up-and-down type player.
Brent (Queens): Cesar Puello has put up a good
avg and obp in his first 3 seasons. Does he start next year in a full
season league and does he project as a major league regular or more of
a 4th OF type?
Mets people say Puello likely is ticketed
for Savannah in 2010. His speed is his biggest asset at this point (15
steals in 20 attempts at Kingsport). Right now, he's a hacker, but has
shown power to left field. He moved to right field this season and has
a legit arm, though not close to the arm of incumbent right fielder
Max (New Orleans): Don't you think it's a bit
early to place Juan Urbina in the top 10? How does his stuff compare to
Jeurys Familia's or Kyle Allen's?
The Mets spent $1.2 million on Urbina
because they believe he's a top-10-caliber prospect. His fastball
averages 88-89 mph, with a peak of 91 mph, but he has a clean delivery.
Team officials believe the velocity will climb a little as he gets
instruction, but that's fine for a lefthander. Familia throws from the
opposite side and considerably harder and doesn't have a clean
delivery. Allen also is righthanded.
Max (New Orleans): Who ranked higher: Cesar Puello or Jefry Marte?
Marte is several slots higher. I believe
he will have more success next year when he repeats at Savannah. He
started last season at age 17.
Nick (Boston): Thanks for taking my question,
is Stefan Welch a consideration for the Top 30? What can we expect from
him 2010, he held his own in 2009 and seems like with a big year he
could rocket up the charts
Stefan Welch is on the depth chart at
first base, but I believe he'll fall outside the top 30. Obviously, Ike
Davis is at the top of the list at that position. There's also Lucas
Duda, who had to leave the Arizona Fall League because of a right wrist
injury, as well as Jeff Flagg, Eddie Lora and Alexander Sanchez.
Harry (Flushing, NY): Are the Mets officially out of the running for Aroldis Chapman?
They're keeping in touch with the agent, Edwin Mejia, but I don't believe they're going to be the most aggressive bidder.
Paul (NYC): It's been rumored that Holt may be a reliever long-term. Do you see this as a distinct possibility?
I know a fair amount of the scouts who
watch Binghamton regularly during the season. The consensus seems to be
that he will be a No. 3 starter in the majors. Here's a report one
person gave me on Holt: Good four-seam fastball (88-93 mph, peak 95),
curveball (75-78) and changeup (79-81). Command needs work. Wasn't
quite the same after missing three weeks with an ankle injury. Has to
learn to maintain a consistent release point. He'll add some weight as
well which will improve his durability and stamina. Needs to improve
from a mental perspective. Often allows situations to get out of hand
by compounding problems due to overthrowing. Has to eliminate obsession
BG (Chicago): Last year people rated Holt's
fastball as plus or plus-plus. Now it sounds just a bit above average.
What is the difference now?
Perhaps it's just the grind of a full season, but I'm told Holt's fastball ranged from 88-93 mph and topped out at 95 mph.
DG (Paris, France): Adam, for all the
justifiably on point criticism of the Mets minor league system, I was
wondering if one aspect, the organization's aggressive challenging of
players, is perhaps having better results than most of us would have
thought. A fine example of beyond Jenrry Meija, would be Ruben Tejada,
who had a really fine season at a level he supposedly should have
struggled at; further, Jeurys Familia also put up excellent numbers
after being bumped up all the way from the GCL. Would it be fair, in
your view, to praise the Mets aggressive handling of certain prospects
in an otherwise wire thin organization?
I've actually spoken with people in the
organization who believe the Mets will be far less aggressive in
pushing prospects to levels beyond their means as teenagers, with
limited exceptions, now that Tony Bernazard has departed. In the case
of Tejada, he was representing Panama in the World Baseball Classic
last spring training, and he has the personality to be able to handle
Kyle (FL): With no one on the top 10 list older than 23, just how much importance do you place on age when putting this list together?
If there were someone deserving older than
23, I'd certainly put them on the list. Just trying to project who is
going to have the best major-league careers. Obviously, if you're
playing at a higher level, there's less variability with what you're
likely to become.
KB (upstate NY): Ike Davis is rated 4th in the
Mets organization...yet he is projected to be in the Mets starting
lineup next year, supplanting Murphy.... Does he make it into the BA
I don't know that Ike Davis will be the
Mets starting first baseman in 2010. Certainly, 2011 is a strong
possibility. I believe the Mets will let Carlos Delgado walk as a free
agent, and pair Daniel Murphy with a righty-hitting first base option.
Marty Noble on Mets.com suggested maybe that righty bat is Troy Glaus,
but we're both on the same page I think. ... The BA top 100 is not
something I've involved with.
Jake (Manhattan): I know it's extremely premature, but where would Mejia rank in a top 100 list?
The top 100 is beyond my pay grade. I will
say that Jerry Manuel went to watch Mejia in the Arizona Fall League to
gauge whether he can help in the Mets' bullpen in 2010, even though
Mejia projects as a front-of-the-rotation starter. Mejia's early
performances in the AFL and control issues suggest he needs a little
more time in the minors.
Mike (MO): Besides Fernando Martinez, do you see any of the top 10 helping the big club in 2010?
Fernando Martinez has fallen far enough
that the Mets talk about going outside for a left fielder for 2010.
Certainly, Jon Niese may be the No. 5 starter. Mejia at least will get
a spring-training look for the bullpen. And Ike Davis could be up at
some point next season.
Warren (Texas): How close were Veloz and Lutz to making the Top 10? Where do they stand as prospects? thanks for the chat!
Lutz is on the top-30 list, but I couldn't
say he was particularly close to cracking the top 10. He's viewed as a
hitter, not a fielder, and needs to put injury issues behind him. I
think best-case-scenario, he's a pinch-hitter type for a major-league
bench. It should be a big year at Binghamton for him in determining
what he may be. Veloz was traded to the Nationals for Anderson
Jim Jones (MIA): Who should the Mets protect this month? Anyone who could be a Rule V pick if left off?
The Mets just added Shawn Bowman to the
40-man roster, which also prevented him from leaving as a minor-league
free agent. I'm not sure you could name someone with the required
service time who would stick on a major-league roster at this point and
needs to be protected. One major reason Ruben Tejada wasn't called up
last year was because he doesn't need to be added to the 40-man roster
Mike (MO): Has Eddie Kunz completely fallen of any prospect list? Or is he just a situational relief pitcher?
Eddie Kunz is still on the list, but it
speaks volumes for how the Mets regard him that he's been snubbed for a
September call-up two straight years. Kunz is using a low,
three-quarters angle and leaves too many pitches over the plate.
Mike (MO): Who has been the biggest prospect bust? Eddie Kunz, Francisco Pena, Eric Niesen, Nathan Vineyard?
Well, Vineyard isn't playing, so I suppose
you'd have to pick him in the sense that there's no chance of him
reaching the majors with the Mets. I doubt Francisco Pena even appears
on the top-30 list at this point. Niesen has a chance to be a
DG (Paris, France): Okay, so I lied about that
being my last question! You mentioned Ike Davis above as the possible
1B in 2010, but he has also played the outfield and has shown
significant skill (as recently as this summer with Team U.S.A. or the
World Cup team, I forget which). Any chance with his strong arm that he
just as easily might be the future left or right fielder?
Given the Mets' need at first base, and
that he's above average defensively there, I don't foresee a move. Team
USA needed outfield help at the World Cup and asked permission to use
Mets fan (binghamton): Adam, I thought Jose De
La Torre was one of the better pitchers I saw in Binghamton this year.
Where did he fall in the top 30? Is he Rule V elegible?
I hear no buzz about De La Torre from
people in the organization. I believe his first pro season was 2006,
and I don't believe the Rule 5 draft is an issue.
josh (sf): is Duda considered for the top 30?
he seems to have a good eye, but hasn't reached his full power
potential. does he top out as a 4th OF/1B platoon?
Duda got pushed to left field when Ike
Davis rose to Binghamton, but he's not going to play that position in
the majors. Unfortunately for him, his Arizona Fall League season ended
after five ABs because of a right wrist sprain. He has a long swing and
is probably going to fall outside the top 30.
Juan (Puerto Rico): At this point, who would you pick as a righty reliever: Jose De La Torre or Eddie Kunz?
Andrew (Centereach, NY): Do you think that Thole is good enough to be an everday C, despite his lack of power? Will he need a RH compliment?
Thole needs to improve his defense, but
that will continue with more experience. He only started to play
catcher full time as a pro in 2008. I believe he's thrown out two of
the first 20 or so runners while playing winter ball for Caracas in
Venezuela. I don't know that he'll be a No. 1, everyday catcher. But I
think he'll be a major-leaguer.
Mike (MO): Looking at the list, the 2008 draft
seems to be a success. With that being said, the 2007 draft class,
especially with the extra picks, has been a huge disappointment. Any
hope for the 2007 draft class to make a move next year?
Scott Moviel is having a fine showing in
the Arizona Fall League. You may remember he was set back by meniscus
surgery in January, which required a second procedure at the end of
spring training. But you're right about that draft: Kunz (1s), Vineyard
Andrew (Centereach, NY): Were Rustich or Moviel close to the top 10? Can either help out in the bullpen this season or next?
I expect both to be in the bottom third of
the top 30. Rustich still has significant issues with a hairline
fracture in his pitching arm. It's been an issue for two years now. If
he's healthy, Binghamton comes first. Moviel same thing. He needs some
Double-A experience. He's also 6-11, so he needs to get his mechanics
in order. We spoke about that when I was in Surprise, Ariz., at the
start of the AFL season. Moviel developed a slider this year under St.
Lucie pitching coach Phil Regan's tutelage, which Moviel has been
pleased with. He also understands the importance of a changeup.
Howard (NJ): Is Lance Broadway eligible for the top 30? As a former #1 prospect he seems to be an afterthought (perhaps deservedly).
The cutoff is 50 innings or 130 ABs, so Broadway is over. He's at 55 innings in his career.
Mike (MO): Any other 2009 draftees in the top 30?
Steven Matz, Robbie Shields and Zach
Dotson have to be in there. There were a handful of others that deserve
serious consideration, including Darrell Ceciliani and Nick Santomauro.
Mike (MO): How much has Richard Lucas helped himself out this year? Where does he rank relative to other 3rd basemen?
He was certainly in the dialogue for a
top-30 spot. He'd be in the top five at third base, with Jefry Marte,
Zach Lutz, Aderlin Rodriguez and Shawn Bowman.
Andrew (Centerach, NY): Has Sandy Johnson retired? If so will this change anything in the Mets scouting philosphy?
Sandy Johnson was with the Mets' contingent at the Arizona Fall League, and there's been a report that he was sticking around.
josh (sf): are there any names we should watch
from this years VSL/DSL teams? guys who will be in the GCL/Kingsport or
even Savannah this year?
I'm relying on the Mets rather than my own
eyes on these, but the two names they've promoted are:
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE (R): ALEXANDER SANCHEZ (1B)
Height: 6-3 Weight: 200 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 11/28/90
Resides: Santo Domingo, DR Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (6/09)
Signing Scouts: Ramon Pena, Ismael Cruz, Franklin Taveras
The 18-year-old first baseman finished the season tied for the
Dominican Summer League lead with a .372 (71-191) batting average. In
47 games with the DSL Mets, Sanchez drove in 42 runs, which was among
the team leaders. In 213 plate appearances, Sanchez struck out only 19
times and hit .432 (48-111) with three home runs and 25 RBI in 27 games
during the month of July. VENEZUELAN SUMMER LEAGUE (R): ANDRES PEREZ
Height: 6-1 Weight: 180 Bats: Right Throws: Right Born: 7/5/89 Resides:
San Cristobal, DR Obtained: Non-drafted free agent (8/07) Signing
Scouts: Ramon Pena, Ismael Cruz, Marcelino Vallejo
Perez hit .311 (75-241) with 25 runs scored, 14 doubles, one triple,
five home runs, 44 RBI in 67 games for the Venezuelan Mets. He posted a
.356 on-base percentage and a .440 slugging percentage. Perez finished
fourth in the League in RBI, batting .406 (28-69) with runners in
Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa 50702): thanks for the chat. Who projects to have a bigger upside, Julio Teheran, or Mejia? thanks
Unlike the full-time Baseball America
staff, I'm at a disadvantage and can't answer a question like that
because I don't know the other team's prospects that well.
Mike (MO): Am I way off to think that Fernando is not untouchable in trades anymore? Do you see him with the organization long term?
His value is so diminished right now. He's
certainly not untouchable, but teams are very concerned because he's
been unable to stay healthy for four straight years.
Andrew (Centereach, NY): I believe there was a
report that before the '08 draft some teams thought and may have even
worked Reese Havens out as a catcher. Is there any chance he moves
behind the plate?
I've never received any indication that
was the Mets' intent. He's going to Binghamton to further learning
second base. They're assigning Tim Teufel to Binghamton as manager in
part to mentor him at that position. Sounds like they're pretty
invested in him at that position.
Andrew (Centereach, NY): How does Holt compare to Bobby Parnell. It seems that they have the same type of stuff?
Parnell throws harder, I believe. I
suppose the need to develop secondary stuff and not being reliant on a
fastball is a similarity.
J-Rod (Queens): Does Rudy Terrasas deserve to be fired after what seems like some terrible drafts. Eddie Kunz in the first round??? C'mon.
I didn't understand using two high round picks on relievers, but I'm not going to call for any firings.
Jaime (Cleveland OH): Adam, who are the org sleepers? Allen, De La Torre?
Here's another sleeper, if you can call
him that: Robert Carson, the 14th round pick in 2007. He's a southpaw
with significant arm strength. He registered as high as 95 mph last
season. He is a straight sinkerball pitcher with a solid cut to the
pitch as well.
Kevin (Miami): Adam, Very interesting list. I
was pretty surprised to see Flores at #2. He's so young, so I guess the
lack of power displayed wasn't too much a concern? What do scouts
project his power to be?
Even before signing, he displayed
opposite-field power potential. He's projected to hit for power to all
fields as he matures, even if he launched only three homers this year.
DG (paris, France): A personal question if I
might ask, I don't think anyone who reads your work with BA (or for
with the Daily News for that matter) could possibly doubt your honest,
in depth knowledge of the Mets organization and yet you got trashed
this summer in what has to be one of the more embarrassing incidents in
a long line of Met gaffes; how hard has it been to continue doing the
excellent job that you do? And BTW: thanks for doing it!
Thanks for the support. It was an
interesting year. Honestly, the vast majority of people whom I interact
with were thankful that the reports over the summer contributing to a
change in the organization.
Dave (Pensacola, FL): What's the prospect status of catcher Dock Doyle? Why didn't he make a full season team?
I'm not sure what to make about it. In
quizzing people within the organization before determining this list,
and the wider top 30, no one advocated including him. Catching is
woefully thin with the Mets behind Josh Thole, Francisco Pena and Nelfi
Thanks to everyone for joining me.
Hopefully I selected questions that represented what people were
curious about, even if I was unable to get to a ton more in the queue.
You can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.