New York Mets Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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It’s hard to peg hitting stars for the St. Lucie team because there was a lot of movement at this level. Still, here’s the best of the best.
Juan Lagares – amongst hitters who played more then 80 games for St. Lucie, Lagares led the team with an .873 OPS. He didn’t really lead the team in other than that because he played in just 82 games but he finished with 15 doubles, six triples, seven home runs and a .338 batting average.
Stefan Welch – Welch led the team in games played (129), home runs (16) and he finished with an .800 OPS. Oddly, he only drove in 53 runs despite having 38 extra base hits.
Wilmer Flores – Flores led the team with 81 RBIs despite a mediocre .689 OPS. He also led the team in hits with 139 but because he doesn’t draw walks, he finished with just an .309 OBP. Not a lot of power here either.
Darin Gorski – Gorski led the team in innings pitched (138 2/3), strikeouts (140) and he finished 11-3 with a 2.08 ERA. He was 23 for most of the season so age is an issue but the guy was sharp. He only gave up one earned run in his final four starts.
Matt Harvey – He was only with the Mets for the first half of the year before getting promoted but in 14 starts, he was 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 76 innings. His Double-A season wasn’t all that bad and this guy is knocking on the door and could be in a Mets uniform soon.
Jeurys Familia – He was only with St. Lucie for six starts before getting promoted but he struck out 36 and walked only eight in 36 1/3 innings with a 1.49 ERA. He was as good for the B-Mets so this guy looks like he’s a keeper.
The B-Mets had some good pitching and some not so good pitching. Here’s a look at the better hurlers in 2011.
Collin McHugh – McHugh was the best starter on the team with 100 strikeouts and 32 walks in 93 1/3 innings. That equated to a 2.89 ERA and an 8-2 record. The downer was, he followed this up with a rough stint in the Arizona Fall League where he had a 6.91 ERA in 27 1/3 innings.
Jeurys Familia – Familia made 17 starts for the B-Mets and he struck out 96 in 87 2/3 innings. He finished with a 3.49 ERA and a 4-4 record. Flyballs could be a problem and he finished with ten home runs against.
Jack Egbert – You know you’re stretching when you go into middle relief but Egbert finished with a 1.88 ERA in 24 innings (over seven relief appearances). He’s 28 so he’s well past being a prospect but he sported a decent enough 17/6 strikeout to walk ratio.
John Sickels recently released his top twenty Mets prospects list. It doesn’t look like there’s much top talent in the system but there’s a little depth with plenty of guys getting B rankings. Topping the list is Matt Harvey. Given a B+, Sickels projects Harvey as a potential number two starter. Right there with him is number two Zack Wheeler. Like Harvey, Wheeler projects to be a good but not front line starter.
Round out the top five are Jeurys Familia (RHP), Brandon Nimmo (OF) and Cesar Puello (OF). Sickels had some nice things to say about Nimmo.
The B-Mets had their share of troubles this year (as did their parent club) and while they finished near the bottom of the standings, they did have their share of hitting stars. Here were a few.
Josh Satin – The second baseman led the team in OPS, at least out of the regular players, and he did with a solid combination of doubles power (35) and 57 walks. His .962 OPS led the team and his 110 hits were second. He’s no longer prospect age (he’ll turn 27 later this month) but this guy raked at the Double-A level and it earned him a call up to the Mets.
Allan Dykstra – Dykstra led the team in walks (69) and he was second with 19 home runs to finish with an .864 OPS. He’ll turn 25 in May so he’s reaching the end of his prospectdom but it’ll be interesting to see what this second generation player can do when he gets to Triple A.
Brahiam Maldanado – The leftfielder led the team in at bats (477), home runs (28) and was second to Dykstra with 74 RBIs. He also led the team in runs with 64. The problem is, he hit only .222 and that was a 25 year old. This guy can mash, but that’s about it and he struck out 146 times last year.
Offense was a challenge at times for the Bisons but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of hitters. Here’s a look at some of the better hitters in 2011.
Valentino Pascucci – Pascucci led the team in just about everything. He played 130 games, had 117 hits, 21 home runs, 91 RBIs and 58 runs. His .264 batting average wasn’t great but he also walked 76 times so his OBP was a decent .375.
Luis Figueroa – Figueroa played 101 games and finished with a .294. This is a contact hitter without a lot of power and while had a nice 40/32 strikeout to walk ratio, he hit just one home run and a .348 slugging percentage.
Lucas Duda – This is a weird one but Duda raked in his time with the Bisons before getting called up to the big league club. He had a 1.011 OPS in 38 games and he hit ten home runs. Even better, he walked 23 times and struck out just 27 times.
The Bistons pitching staff had a good but not great year. Here were some of the better hurlers on the team in 2011.
Chris Schwinden – Schwinden led the team in just about everything and that even earned him a call up to the Mets. He was tied for the team lead with eight wins, he had 26 starts, 145 2/3 innings, 134 strikeouts and he walked 48 hitters. I like the strikeout rate and the strikeout to walk ratio while his 1.28 WHIP seems better then his 3.95 ERA. He’s getting past the point of being a prospect (he just turned 25) but he he could be in the mix for the Mets pitching staff in 2012.
Dale Thayer – The team’s closer, Dale Thayer picked up 21 saves and won four games in 71 innings for the Bisons. He struck out 66 and walked just 15 and he had a nice enough 0.97 WHIP. Home runs were a minor issue (he gave up eight) but he got it done when the Mets called him up.
Ryota Igarashi – Igarashi had a very impressive out of the pen and he’s one of the first Chinese pitchers to move up the ladder. He pitched 31 innings and he struck out 34 and his WHIP was an incredible 0.77. His batting average against was just .140 and he eventually played the bulk of the season with the Mets.
Buffalo lost to SWB 5-1 as the offense had a tough time getting anything going. Valentino Pascucci went three for three with a walk in the loss. Luis Figueroa went two for four.
Mark Cohoon fell to 4-11 on the season with a tough start. He gave up five runs on ten hits with two strikeouts.
Brandon Moore improved to 8-7 on the season with a really nice start in the B-Mets 10-1 win over Reading. He gave up two hits and he didn’t allow a walk with six strikeouts in six innings.
Juan Lagares went five for five with two doubles, a triple, three runs and an RBI. Brahiam Maldonado went two for four with a home run and three RBIs.
While I wouldn’t call it a disaster, the Mets’ Triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, are off to a rough start. They’ve 10-14 which puts them in fourth place in their division and they’re four and a half games back of the first place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was one of the hitting stars with a .974 OPS. He has four home runs to lead the team but only six RBIs. After that, things kind of thin out although Ruben Tejada leads the team with 14 RBIs despite a mediocre .751 OPS. Jennry Mejia has been the most effective hurler and he’s 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
The B-Mets are off to an equally ineffective start. They’re in dead last in their division with a 7-13 record. That puts them 7 1/2 games back of first place Reading. Joshua Satin has been the top guy at the plate. He’s hitting .324 with a .921 OPS. He’s struck out a lot (23 times) but he has some walks (15) to go with it. Mark Cohoon as the been the top pitcher. Despite a 1-2 record, he has 25 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in thirty innings.
St. Lucie is getting it done at least. They sit atop their division with a 19-6 record and they already have a six game lead. Matt Den Decker has been the man there. He has a .996 OPS and he leads the team with 24 runs and thirteen doubles. Matthew Harvey has been lights out on the mound. He has 30 strikeouts, a 4-1 record and a 1.37 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.
St. Lucie is the lone outlier because the Savannah Sand Gnats are just 9-14. Cory Vaughn is the top hitter with an .854 OPS and Gregory Peavy has 24 strikeouts in 24 innings on the mound.
Kevin Goldstein put out his list of the Mets top eleven prospects last week and I always like his list best because it’s the most sabermetrically leaning list. There’s some nice talent at the top, but after that things thin out quick. Number one is the lone five star prospect, Jennry Mejia. The righthander made five different minor league stops and then he got into 33 games for the Mets. Goldstein sees Mejia spending most of his time at Triple A and he likes his chances of being in the Mets rotation in 2012.
The Mets 2010 first round pick, Matt Harvey is the lone four star prospect. He signed too late to pitch in 2010 and he should start at St. Lucie. He needs to work on his command but the guy throws hard and I look forward to tracking this guy too.
Shortstop Wilmer Flores comes in at number three and he’s the top three star prospect. He had a solid season splitting time between Low-A and High-A and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Rafael Furcal and whether Flores will have room to move up. Cesar Puello (outfielder, a couple of years away) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (outfielder, major league ready) round out the top five.
Baseball America unveiled their list of the top ten Mets prospects. Baseball America has been doing this for years although one of my knocks against them is they tend to pick the more major league ready players. Not a bad approach but they’re also less sabermetrically inclined then some of the other lists out there.
Coming in at number one is pitcher Jenrry Mejia. The righthander played for five different teams in 2010 including an extended stint with the Mets, Outside of the big league club, he spent most of his time with the B-Mets where he made six starts. He’s only 21 and that’s a big plus and while he projects to be in the rotation, he got most of his time out of the pen with the Mets.
Wilmer Flores is number two. The shortstop is only 19 and he split exactly his number of at bats between High A and Low A. His numbers were only good but he was playing at a level where most 19 years old don’t get too. He’ll probably start out at St. Lucie again but expect him to be in a B-Mets uniform at some point in the season.
Number three is outfielder Cesar Puello. He’s also only nineteen and while he’s a few years away, he had a nice season for the Sand Gnats. There’s not a lot of power (one home run) but he showed some speed with 45 stolen bases. Matt Harvey (top pitcher, 2010 first round pick) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (outfielder, major league ready) round out the top five.
So there’s some nice young talent. Most of it is a couple of years away and there were only two pitchers (further down the list) but I guess a solid farm system could provide some trade bait for some rotation help down the line.
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