New York Mets: Top 10 Prospects

1. Mike Pelfrey, rhp
2. Fernando Martinez, of
3. Carlos Gomez, of
4. Philip Humber, rhp
5. Deolis Guerra, rhp
6. Kevin Mulvey, rhp
7. Jon Niese, lhp
8. Mike Carp, 1b
9. Joe Smith, rhp
10. Alay Soler, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Fernando Martinez
Best Power Hitter Fernando Martinez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Corey Coles
Fastest Baserunner Carlos Gomez
Best Athlete Carlos Gomez
Best Fastball Mike Pelfrey
Best Curveball Philip Humber
Best Slider Joe Smith
Best Changeup Deolis Guerra
Best Control Willie Collazo
Best Defensive Catcher Drew Butera
Best Defensive Infielder Jose Coronado
Best Infield Arm Corey Ragsdale
Best Defensive Outfielder Carlos Gomez
Best Outfield Arm Carlos Gomez
Catcher Francisco Pena
First Base Carlos Delgado
Second Base Anderson Hernandez
Third Base David Wright
Shortstop Jose Reyes
Left Field Lastings Milledge
Center Field Carlos Beltran
Right Field Fernando Martinez
No. 1 Starter Mike Pelfrey
No. 2 Starter Philip Humber
No. 3 Starter John Maine
No. 4 Starter Deolis Guerra
No. 5 Starter Kevin Mulvey
Closer Billy Wagner
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Jay Payton, of Athletics
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
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Geoff Goetz, lhp Nashua (Can-Am)
1998 Jason Tyner, of Twins
1999 Neil Musser, lhp (2nd round) 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 (2nd round) Mets
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
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New York Mets

No team cruised to the postseason more easily then the Mets in 2006, who did so with a team built through a variety of ways. There were free agents (Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner), homegrown talent (Jose Reyes, David Wright) and trade acquisitions (Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, John Maine). A late-season injury to one of their biggest free-agent signings, Pedro Martinez, undermined New York in October. After winning 97 regular-season games and sweeping the Dodgers in the Division Series, the Mets fell to the Cardinals in a memorable seven-game Championship Series.

Though the season’s finish was disappointing, New York should be in position to contend for several years. The Mets did their best to ensure that in August, when they locked up both Reyes and Wright beyond their arbitration years for a combined $88.25 million. Reyes is signed through 2010 with an option for 2011 and Wright through 2012 with a 2013 option. Combined with Carlos Beltran, who’s signed through 2011 and has yet to turn 30, the Mets will continue to have one of the game’s best position-player cores for years. All three finished in the top 10 in the National League MVP voting.

The Mets are one of the biggest spenders in baseball and should be able to fill in most of their major holes on the free-agent market. They plugged their hole in left field by signing Moises Alou. But their farm system has improved to the point where they have players at the upper levels ready to make an impact.

Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber, their first-rounders from 2005 and 2004 appear poised to break into the big league rotation at some point in 2007 and could be its anchors for years to come. Lastings Milledge (who just missed qualifying for this list) and Carlos Gomez may factor into the outfield as well.

General manager Omar Minaya is always willing to trade prospects for big leaguers, too. He parted with three of his best prospects (righthanders Gaby Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit, plus first baseman Mike Jacobs) last season to get Delgado and Lo Duca in separate deals with the Marlins. This winter, he dangled Milledge in front of the Athletics in an attempt to bolster New York’s rotation.

In recent years, the Mets have done an outstanding job of signing high-ceiling talent. Their drafts haven’t been especially deep, in part because they’ve forfeited eight premium picks in the last five years as free agent compensation, but since 2001 they’ve signed Aaron Heilman, Wright, Scott Kazmir, Milledge, Humber and Pelfrey as first-round or supplemental first-round picks.

A former Mets international scouting director, Minaya also has re-emphasized his club’s efforts on the worldwide market since becoming GM in September 2004. New York invested a combined $2.1 million on Dominican outfielder Fernando Martinez and Venezuelan righthander Deolis Guerra in 2005, and both had outstanding debuts in full-season leagues at age 17. The Mets dipped into the international well again last summer to sign Dominican catcher Francisco Pena, the son of former all-star Tony Pena, for $750,000.

In just two years at the helm, Minaya has turned the Mets from a punchline into one of the teams best equipped for the next half-decade. He has big league talent, minor league talent and a budget as large as anyone in the NL. Like the Mets’ offense in 2006, it’s a lethal combination.