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2003 Wrapups: New York Mets

With the 2003 season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
October 28, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Norfolk International 67 76 .469
AA Binghamton Eastern 63 78 .447
A+ St. Lucie* Florida State 77 62 .554
A Capital City South Atlantic 73 65 .529
SS Brooklyn New York-Penn 47 28 .627
R Kingsport Appalachian 25 39 .391
TOTAL 352 348 .503
   * won league championship


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Jose Reyes, ss      Age: 20
Reyes struggled with hamstring problems early in the season, but went on a tear at Norfolk after a stint on the DL and received a promotion to the Mets less than a week before his 20th birthday. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise miserable year at the big league level, Reyes hit .211 in his first 20 games, but .343 thereafter before missing the final month of the year with a severe ankle sprain.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Norfolk (Triple-A) 42 160 28 43 6 4 0 13 15 25 26 .269 .333 .356
Mets (MLB) 69 274 47 84 12 4 5 32 13 36 13 .307 .334 .434

2. Scott Kazmir, lhp      Age: 19
Last year's first-round pick, Kazmir was treated with extreme kid gloves during the first two months of the season (23.2 innings in first nine starts), but still put together one of the best seasons in the minors, leading all starting pitchers in K/9 while limiting opposing batters to a .202 average. Allowed just one hit over 5.1 innings in St. Lucie's Florida State League title-clinching game.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Capital City (Low Class A) 4-4 0 2.36 18 76.1 50 26 20 28 105
St. Lucie (High Class A) 1-2 0 3.27 7 33.0 29 15 12 16 40

3. Aaron Heilman, rhp      Age: 24
Heilman started fast, winning his first three starts of the year and was steady but unspectacular at Triple-A before earning a late June callup to the Mets. Suffered through a miserable major league debut in New York, where hitters lit him up for a .300 average.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Norfolk (Triple-A) 6-4 0 3.24 16 94.1 99 37 34 32 71
Mets (MLB) 2-7 0 6.75 14 65.1 79 53 49 41 51

4. David Wright, 3b      Age: 20
Wright suffered through a .177 July (14-for-79) but hit .331-8-32 over the final 50 games of the season to finish among the league leaders in on-base percentage and slugging while pacing the circuit in doubles. Hit .391 (9-for-23) in six postseason games.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
St. Lucie (High Class A) 133 466 69 126 39 2 15 75 72 98 19 .270 .369 .459

5. Justin Huber, c      Age: 21
Hit just .274-1-13 in his first 25 games for St. Lucie, then found his power stroke, batting .295-8-23 in his next 25 games and earning a promotion to Double-A. Hit .339 with runners in scoring position at Binghamton, and represented his home country of Australia in the Futures Game.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
St. Lucie (High Class A) 50 183 26 52 15 0 9 36 17 30 1 .284 .370 .514
Binghamton (Double-A) 55 193 16 51 13 0 6 36 19 54 0 .264 .350 .425

6. Matt Peterson, rhp      Age: 21
Seemed poised for a breakout season and delivered, leading the organization in ERA (2.18). Pitched 20 straight scoreless innings in July, allowing only six hits, and performed admirably following a late-season promotion to Binghamton.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
St. Lucie (High Class A) 9-2 0 1.71 15 84.0 65 24 16 24 73
Binghamton (Double-A) 1-2 0 3.45 6 31.1 29 18 12 20 23

7. Pat Strange, rhp      Age: 23
Strange had a 1.93 ERA in April, but failed miserably during a May callup and was just plain awful after being sent back to Norfolk and converted to a relief role. 6.94 ERA over the final three months of the season. Career may be on the down slope.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Norfolk (Triple-A) 5-4 1 5.74 31 89.1 111 61 57 44 64
Mets (MLB) 0-0 0 11.00 6 9.0 13 11 11 11 5

8. Jaime Cerda, lhp      Age: 25
Began the year in the Mets bullpen, but found himself back at Triple-A after giving up seven runs over two games in late April. Spent the rest of the season shuttling back and forth between Norfolk (where he was effective) and New York (where he wasn't).
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Norfolk (Triple-A) 3-0 0 1.67 22 32.1 29 7 6 10 35
Mets (MLB) 1-1 0 5.85 27 32.1 32 21 21 20 19

9. Bob Keppel, rhp      Age: 21
Keppel had a 1.67 ERA in his first six outings, but then missed nearly two months with a strained forearm. Made headlines upon his return with a no-hitter on August 2, but less than a strikeout every two innings is a red flag of enormous proportions.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Binghamton (Double-A) 7-4 0 3.04 18 94.2 92 36 32 27 46
Brooklyn (Short-Season) 2-0 0 2.51 3 14.1 10 5 4 2 13

10. Craig Brazell, 1b      Age: 23
The best pure power prospect in the Mets system, Brazell tied for the organization lead in home runs, but failed to improve upon his one glaring weakness -- getting on base. As a first baseman, he needs to become a bigger offensive force to have future value.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Binghamton (Double-A) 111 432 58 126 23 2 17 76 23 97 2 .292 .331 .472
Norfolk (Triple-A) 12 46 4 12 3 0 0 1 1 8 1 .261 .292 .326


Top Draft Pick:

Lastings Milledge, of    Lakewood Ranch HS, Palmetto, Fla.   Bonus: $2.075M
Milledge was considered one of the top prospects in the draft, but fell into the Mets due to concerns about bonus demands, makeup and troubles hitting the breaking ball. Possibly the best athlete in the draft, Milledge could develop into a dynamic power/speed threat, or could be the next Jeff Jackson.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Kingsport (Short-Season) 7 26 4 6 2 0 0 2 3 4 5 .231 .323 .308


Emerging Prospects:

Aaron Baldiris, 3b: 20-year-old Venezuelan thrived in his first full season, batting .313-6-68 for Capital City in 106 games while being named a Sally League all-star and finishing second in the circuit with an .396 on-base percentage.
Jeff Duncan, of: The oft-injured Duncan hit .373 in 69 games last season, and was an offensive catalyst for Binghamton during the first half of 2003, earning a second-half callup to the big leagues. Hit .308 in his first 18 games for the Mets, but found himself back in the minors after falling into a miserable .126 (11-for-87) slump. Projects as a fourth outfielder.
Mike Jacobs, c/dh: A 38th round pick in 1999, Jacobs was seen more of an organizational player until he hit .329-17-81 at Binghamton and led the Eastern League with a .548 slugging percentage. Defense is not a strong suit.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Mike Jacobs .329
Home Runs Mike Jacobs
Craig Brazell
17
Runs Batted In Aaron Baldiris 86
Stolen Bases Wayne Lydon 75
Earned Run Average Matt Peterson 2.18
Wins Miguel Pinango 13
Strikeouts Scott Kazmir 145
Saves Robert Paulk 22

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