Mike Hessman, Minors Home Run Leader, Retires
The greatest home run hitter the domestic minor leagues have ever seen has decided that 19 seasons is enough. First baseman/third baseman Mike Hessman, the U.S. minor league career home […]
Top Ten Prospects: New York Mets
Complete Index of Top 10s
By Matt Meyers
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, 2006.
Unlike the year before, the Mets resisted the urge to part with their top prospects at the 2005 trade deadline in an effort to bolster their playoff chances. Ironically, the team was more suited for a postseason run and stayed in the National League wild-card race until late September.
Omar Minaya made a splash in his first offseason as Mets general manager by signing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to lavish contracts. While Martinez proved to be the frontline starter the Mets hoped, Beltran was a disappointment. Nonetheless, New York hovered around .500 in late July and rumors circulated that they were close to acquiring Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez in a variety of three-team scenarios with the Red Sox and Devil Rays that would have cost them top prospects Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit, along with Mike Cameron.
While they failed to make the postseason, their hesitance to part with their top prospects for short-term gain indicated a potential change in organizational philosophy and a willingness to build through their farm system.
While the Mets system has lacked depth for years, it has produced impact talents such as Scott Kazmir (sent to Tampa Bay in a horribly shortsighted deal for Victor Zambrano in 2004), Jose Reyes and David Wright. Their emergence influenced Minaya’s decision to ultimately not part with Milledge and Petit, who soon should get a chance to make their mark in New York.
The Mets bolstered their system in 2005 by delving into the Latin American market, which was as strong as it had been in years. They invested a total of $2.1 million in a pair of 16-year-olds, power-hitting Dominican outfielder Fernando Martinez and projectable Venezuelan righthander Deolis Guerra.
Minaya was once the Mets’ international scouting director, and seems intent on making his club the dominant force in signing Latin American talent. New York saw the Martinez and Guerra signings as a way to make up for the loss of their second- and third-round picks in the 2005 draft as free-agent compensation.
Minaya also has made an imprint on the scouting department, restructuring
it twice since becoming GM. After the 2005 season, 11 scouts were fired
or demoted. Russ Bove, who had replaced Jack Bowen as director of amateur
scouting a year ago, was reassigned as a major league scout. Assistant
scouting director Rudy Terrasas was promoted to replace Bove.
It’s hard to put all the blame on the scouting department for that lack of depth, however. In three of the last four drafts, the Mets have given up their second- and third-round picks after signing free agents.
Mike Pelfrey, considered the best pitching prospect in the 2005 draft,
slipped to New York as the ninth overall pick because of a high price
tag. He had yet to sign by the end of October, but the Mets were expected
to work out a deal this winter.
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