Tag:

Josh Thole

#1 1B Ike Davis

Why Ranked Here: I liked that Ike played everyday and had learned to turn his power into game production in his first full minor league season in 2009.

What Happened: The 23-year old beat up on AAA pitching for a week and a half while Mike Jacobs sucked it up at first base. Davis was installed as the Mets? everyday first baseman from the day of his call up on April 19.? He's been a few runs above average both at the plate and in the field, and by WAR is the fifth-most valuable Met.

Stock: I feel good about ranking Davis #1 coming into the season.? This might have been my best call.

Tags: Brad Holt, Fernando Martinez, Ike Davis, Jenry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jon Niese, Josh Thole, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Reese Havens, Top Prospects Series, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Quick follow-up to the Wilmer Flores/Josh Thole piece I posted Tuesday about the relative value of the young Metsies to a package of Twins prospects (Ramos/Hicks) that apparently was never offered to the Mariners.

I mentioned Thole's six passed balls, and several readers, some via the comments section, and some via email, wondered whether that had to do with catching RA Dickey's knuckleball on a consistent basis.? The answer is: a little.

Thole caught seven of Dickey's eight starts with the Buffalo Bisons.? The first five went off without a hitch, but on May 4th, he was charged with two passed balls while Dickey was labeled with a wild pitch.? Dickey was also labeled with a wild pitch on May 9th in his next start, which Thole also caught.

Tags: Analysis, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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Josh Thole has been recalled by the New York Mets, as C Henry Blanco is placed on the bereavement list, due to a family illness.? Thole was hitting .203 with 10 RBI in 21 games for Buffalo.? Thole had a dreadful April, hitting .172 (10-58) in 15 games.? He has since heated up a bit in May, hitting .286 (6-21) in 6 games.? Blanco will be sidelined for a minimum of 3 games.
Tags: Josh Thole, News
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After focusing on those who are off to strong starts earlier, we now turn to those who haven't been so fortunate:
  • C Josh Thole, Bisons: The team's top catching prospect has struggled out of?the gate, managing just one hit in his first 12 at bats.
  • OF Fernando Martinez, Bisons: After tearing up spring training (.383/.415/.745), Martinez is 3-for-17 with with 5 strikeouts in Buffalo's first four games.
  • RHP Scott Shaw, B-Mets: The right-hander got shelled in his first start against Akron on Saturday, lasting just 2.1 innings and yielding 8 hits, 7 earned runs, and two walks.
  • RHP Scott Moviel, St. Lucie: After not making his debut last year until July due to a knee issue, Moviel would like nothing more than a strong start to 2010. That didn't happen on Saturday after he allowed 5 earned runs, 5 hits, and 4 walks in 4 innings of work against Jupiter.
  • OF Cesar Puello, Savannah: Scouts have begun to take notice of his skills and believe he could develop into a solid all around player. It's been a tough go so far though, going 2-for-15 with 6 strikeouts in the Gnats first 4 games.
Tags: Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, Notes
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Update:This is the article, from El Universo in Venezuela, to confirm Onley's report.

The President of the Leones de Caracas, Luis Avila, is quoted saying," It's a shame, but we came to a mutual decision, because he (Thole) wants to rest in December, and although he could have stayed with us until the 4th of January, he would have to leave to the United States the 8th to then return on the 11th. It was a very complicated itinerary where it was going to wear a lot on him and that is not our intention. What's good in all of this, is that he is willing to come back next season."

Tags: Daily Recap, Josh Thole
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TholeOn Thursday, while Mets fans and Americans across the country were watching lousy NFL football and eating delicious food, Josh Thole was in Venezuela, doing the same thing he's been doing for going on two years now: hitting.? The 23-year old Thole was 2-5 on Thanksgiving with a pair of doubles, giving him doubles in three straight games*.? He homered on Friday and had three more hits Saturday to briefly push his batting average over .400.? An 0-4 Sunday dropped Thole down to .391/.488/.571 133 AB over 39 games.

He leads the VWL in AVG and OBP, is second in doubles, is fifth in slugging and is the second toughest player to strikeout in the league. As a whole, its an offense friendly league which is hitting .287/.364/.428, but Thole is just raking down there.? Thole owns 13 2B, 1 3B, and 3 HR and 24 walks against 13 strikeouts.? Just think about this: he has more extra-base hits than strikeouts.

Reviews of Thole's defense this summer were not good, but the results appear better this winter.? He's been tested in Venezuela, where opponents' 38 stolen base attempts are the most against any catcher.? Thole has thrown out 11 runners, a 29%.? By contrast, the rocket-armed Henry Blanco, has nailed 62% (16 of 26) would-be basestealers. In terms of receiving, Thole has not been charged with a single passed ball.? Also, Caracas' pitching staff has been charged with 23 wild pitches, the second-fewest in the league, but this is a staff with good control; it also leads the league in fewest walks.

Tags: Analysis, Josh Thole, Majors, Toby Hyde
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Yesterday, Adam Rubin of the Daily News reported that the Mets were likely to promote RHP Eddie Kunz and 1B/LF Nick Evans from AAA Buffalo and C Josh Thole (pictured) from AA Binghamton when MLB rosters expand on September 1.

I've recommended calling Thole up in September.? The Mets would have had to ad him to the team's 40-man roster in any case this off-season, so they might as well give him a chance to show what he can do in the season's final weeks. The 22-year old Thole has hit an eye-popping .332/.400/.429 in 97 games in AA.? He's fifth in the Eastern League in OBP, third in batting average and his 28 doubles tie him for 12th on the circuit.? It's an interesting question how his contact oriented approach will fare at the big league level.? I think he'll be fine.

Defensively, he's thrown out 31.% (25/79) of would-be basestealers, or fourth out of sixth qualifiying catchers.? Thole's nine passed balls are the fourth most in the EL, and he's caught the fourth-most games in the league.? Reviews of his defense have been poor all season from impartial observers.? He's improved his receiving abilities, but evaluators were still concerned about his arm.

Tags: Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Nick Evans, Toby Hyde
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Man, am I picking the right week to go see some B-Mets baseball.

C Josh Thole hits the DL with a dislocated thumb so he'll miss at least the next week.

That's better than RHP Ryan Coultas, who will miss the entire rest of the season to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.? Coultas gave Brian Moritz a great quote:

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Josh Thole, Ryan Coultas, Toby Hyde
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Three Binghamton Mets, C Josh Thole, OF DJ Wabick and LHP Roy Merritt have been selected to the Eastern League's North Division All-Star team for the EL All-Star Game to be held Wednesday, July 15th in Trenton.

1. Thole

The lefthanded hitting Thole (.346/.414/.455 on July 1) has been at the top of the League's leaderboards in hitting and OBP all year.? At this writing, his line drive stroke and contact orient approach have produced a line that second in the EL average, and fifth in OBP.? Thole has hit just one home run, but his 21 doubles are third in the EL.? I had the 22-year old Thole ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Mets system coming into this year.? He's risen up those ranks, but not as much as some fans might think.? (I swear, I'm going to get to a top 41 update soon.)? The gap between his perfect world projection (Dr. Pangloss) and his downside, still lingers.? Here's what I wrote over the winter:

Tags: Analysis, Josh Thole, Roy Merritt, Toby Hyde
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AA: New Hampshire FisherCats 3, @ Binghamton Mets 2

Josh Thole (pictured) left the game in the third inning after committing a passed ball having trouble receiving a pitch from Eric Niesen.? The word out of Binghamton is that it's just a dislocation, although he'll have X-Rays today.?? The final score camoflages how wild Niesen (0-4, 7.64) was: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Daily Recap, Josh Thole, Savannah Sand Gnats, Toby Hyde
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Friday, in his chat at Baseball America, Matt Eddy took a few Mets related questions:

    richard (brooklyn): do you think jerry mejia,brad holt, and josh thole will be in the top 100 and if so where?
Matthew Eddy: Holt and Mejia have a bead on the Top 100 if they keep up the pace. Though Holt's ankle injury has sidelined him since his first Double-A start. Thole shows an impressive feel for hitting (he leads the EL in average), but without another standout tool, he's probably not a Top 100 prospect.

Just to review, the traditional five tools are: hitting, hitting for power, catching, running and throwing.? Thole's hit tool is just fine, his power is below average, and his arm is average.? That leaves the big question: his defense.? I'm hoping to catch him in person by the end of this week and get some other perspectives on his development.

Tags: Baseball America, Brad Holt, Jenry Mejia, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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Mike Silva at New York Baseball Digest had MLB.com and Trenton Thunder writer Jed Weisberger, who's covered minor league ball for over three decades, on his show this week.? They talked prospects.? You should listen to the half-hour program here.

Weisberger's most quotable lines are below:

Flores - "the best prospect they have in the organization."
Thole - "No reason he couldn't be a starting catcher in the big leagues"
One moment that cracked me up was Mike asked Jed a question about Jeffrey Kaplan, and Jed, after answering the question, started talking about Brad Holt.
Tags: Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Friday, after publishing a Prospect Hot Sheet that was Mets-free, JJ Cooper took a couple of Mets questions in his associated chat.

    JAYPERS (IL): Josh Thole has been very consistent thus far this season. Is he in your Mets' Top 10 prospects list if you had to put one together today?
J.J. Cooper: I couldn't put him in my personal Top 10 yet because I'm still worried about where he plays in the big leagues. On the one hand, the man can hit, and that's the most important tool there is. But on the other, there are still concerns about where he'll play in the big leagues. He ranks near the bottom of the Eastern League in caught stealing percentage (31.5 percent) and he's still working on framing pitches. If he can't catch well enough to be an everyday catcher, he doesn't really have a clear full-time position. He doesn't have the power (one home run this year with a career high of five) to play first base, especially for a big-market team like the Mets, and he's too slow to be an outfielder. He may end up as a very useful lefty hitting backup catcher who can play some first, but his lack of a profile means he still has an uphill battle for a starting job.
I agree with Cooper that if Thole's defense is not good enough to start at catcher, he's a tweener, whose offensive profile doesn't play at first at all. On the other hand, I have Thole in my Mets top 10 now. I'll also point out that with the relative decrease in the importance of stealing bases to offensive production around the leaguein the last twenty-five years, the Mets could live with a catcher who doesn't have a Pudge-like arm. Lets play a game, construct a reasonable Mets top 10 without Thole.
    Jack Bauer (We'll see): Where's Ike Davis? He hit .333 with 2 HR, 1 2B, 4 BB and only 3 K. He's leading the Florida State League in XBH and Total Bases and is near the top of the leaderboard in just about every stat. Where's the love?
J.J. Cooper: Dropping 24 references won't work on me like it will on Callis?try Top Gear references for me, but I'll answer anyway. Ike was on the short list this week, although he was a little ways from making the photo. But he's having a very solid year and has done a good job of putting last year's putrid start behind him. But he is a good example of how it's worth remembering when some first or second-round pick goes out and stinks up the joint in short-season ball this year that it isn't time to write them off. Prospects can be gassed or otherwise struggle in their first pro season, just ask Chipper Jones.
Tags: Baseball America, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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Adam Rubin caught up with Josh Thole this week for his Minor League Report at his Surfing the Mets Blog.

Thole covered some familiar ground about himself and his work at improving behind the plate:

?I?m coming along. ....I?ve still got a lot of stuff to work on. ... Hector Berrios, the pitching coach, has been doing a lot of mental stuff?game calling and all that. So I?m getting there. That?s something I have to keep getting my work in every day and keep improving.

Tags: Brad Holt, Jenry Mejia, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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One of the nicest surprises of the 2009 minor league season has bee the play of C Josh Thole in AA.  The Mets converted Thole, a high school catcher back to catching fulltime in 2008, when he hit his way into the lineup during the St. Lucie Mets' slow start.  Promotod to AA Binghamton for 2009, Thole (.364/.436/.481 with16 2B, 1 HR, 21 BB and 20 SO in 162 AB) is leading the Eastern League in batting average and on-base percentage at this writing.  Moreover, he's shown more aptitude behind the plate. 

Tags: Interview, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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After two other positive articles this week, at his minorleagueball.com blog, John Sickels says he would raise Josh Thole's grade.? Sickels gave Thole a C over the winter and now says that he's "at least a C+ now."? Sickels writes in part:

He still needs defensive polish according to the reports I have, and I remain concerned about the relative lack of power, but he's just 22 years old, makes contact, controls the zone, and plays a premium position.
hattip Robert Z.
Tags: Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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AAA: Buffalo Bisons (3) @ SYRACUSE CHIEFS (6)

RHP Brandon Knight took the start and allowed three runs and seven hits, while striking out eight, in his six innings but suffered his first loss. 1B Michel Abreu added a two-run homer in the ninth and C Rene Rivera also added two hits. RF Fernando Martinez was 0-for-4.

AA: PORTLAND SEA DOGS (12) @ Binghamton Mets (4)

Tags: Daily Recap, Josh Thole
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During Saturday's SNY broadcast, Kevin Burkhardt asked Mets catching insructor Sandy Alomar Jr. about the Mets young catchers.

Alomar responded in part:

I'm very happy with all of them.? ... Josh Thole is going to be a pretty good catcher.? He does everything fundamentally correct.
Tags: Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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The Bisons fell 11-3 to the Memphis Redbirds this afternoon in Jupiter, Fla. SS Jose Coronado hit a two-run home run, IF Rob Mackowiak went 3-for-4 and OF Fernando Martinez went 2-for-5.

C Jose Thole started for the Mets on Saturday and went 0-for-2 against old friend Tom Glavine and the Braves. The young catcher has appeared in 9 games for the big league club this spring, going 3-for-10 with 3 BB, 1 R, and 1 K.

...Coronado had a very good performance in the Venezuelan Winter League (28-for-91, .308/.373/.429) and will be looking to carry that over with Buffalo... he plays very solid defense, but his bat and lack of power have been his biggest negative...

Tags: Daily Recap, Fernando Martinez, Jose Coronado, Josh Thole
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Thursday, the Mets sent Josh Thole, Rob Mackowiak, and Valerio de los Santos to minor league camp and optioned Eddie Kunz to minor league camp.? Kunz was the only one of the four on the Mets 40-man roster, so he was the only player who needed to be optioned.
Tags: Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Transactions, Toby Hyde
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Tuesday, in the Mets 5-5 tie with Washington, Nick Evans was 2-4, with a 2B, 3B, BB, and an RBI.? Each of his last three hits have gone for extra bases including his slam on Monday.? That modest power boost has raised his slugging percentage nearly .300 points in five AB.? Yay for small sample sizes (Yfss).? However, since the Mets released Duaner Sanchez, Marty Noble suggests that the team is likely to carry seven relievers and just five bench players in which case Evans would be Buffalo bound.

2B Greg Veloz was 0-2.? He is 0-5 this spring.

C Josh Thole was 1-1 with two walks.? This spring he's drawn three walks and fanned just once, while singling thrice in six AB.? That adds up to a .667 OBP.? (Yfsss)

Tags: Greg Veloz, Josh Thole, Nick Evans, Toby Hyde
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The Binghamton Mets announced last week that they will play 11 exhibition games between March 18 and April 2 in Florida before heading north to open their season April 8th against the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

The schedule includes five games against the Jacksonville Suns (AA affiliate of the Marlins) and six games against the Springfield Cardinals (AA affiliate of the Cardinals).

Mets minor league pitchers and catchers reported to camp last Friday while position players will report on Wednesday. However many of the teams top prospects have already been at the Mets' Port St. Lucie complex working and / or seeing action with the major league club over the last few weeks.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Dillon Gee, Josh Thole, Michael Antonini, Shawn Bowman
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Over the weekend, Ben Shpigel of the New York Times caught up with Josh Thole, the Mets 22-year-old catching prospect. The young backstop took hitting lessons growing up from Jason Rakers (a former Padres minor leaguer), whose family owned a farm in southern Illinois.

Shpigel writes how Thole would work on his hitting "inside a converted hayloft, on the second floor of a barn" which was owned by Rakers' family. "It had all the essentials ? an L screen, a black protective net and a hitting tee ? and the aroma of cow manure."

When the season began and Rakers left for minor league ball, Thole would head to the barn by himself and take cuts and work on his swing for hours upon hours.

Tags: Josh Thole, Links
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Marty Noble of MLB.com takes a close look at a new drill Mets' manager Jerry Manuel is utilizing in camp this spring. It uses a rapid fire pitching machine that forces hitters to overcome fatigue and rely on their hands.

One of the participants was 22-year-old catching prospect Josh Thole. Noble writes:

With Manuel standing directly behind the cage, the machine relentlessly fed breaking pitches to Thole, the 22-year-old left-handed-hitting catcher the Mets have learned to appreciate in the past year. And Thole put good swings on the first 20-25 pitches. In one way, at least, he is a clone of Daniel Murphy. Thole's natural swing drives the ball to left-center, occasionally left field. And the drill called for opposite-field hitting exclusively.
To read more about Thole, who Toby ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Mets' system earlier this month, click here. The young catcher most likely will begin the season in Binghamton...
Tags: Daily Recap, Josh Thole
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Paul Greco of Gotham Baseball has been hanging out in Arizona talking to players and clearly sitting with the scouts at the games.? He posted a really strong player by player review for both the Mets and Yankees.

Excerpts of his commentary follows, as usual, mine is italicized.

P ? Eddie Kunz : Although he's been a closer in the minor leagues, the scouts told me that he is not aggressive enough to be a closer at the major league level.? As a matter of fact, two scouts I spoke with went as far to say that Eddie Kunz would be no better than a situational right handed pitcher.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Robert Parnell, Shawn Bowman, Toby Hyde
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Adam Rubin catches up with C Josh Thole from the Arizona Fall League. Here's the most important part:

Q: You had been primarily a first baseman with the Mets before ?08, no?

A: ?This last year was the first tine that I did a lot of catching. I think I caught about 70 games. That?s the most I?ve ever caught. I was drafted as a catcher. Then when I got to the Mets I caught a little bit - in the Gulf Coast, Kingsport and then Savannah just a handful of games. I mainly played first base. Getting back into the catching, it?s a lot different here than what I had to go through in high school. It?s kind of like starting from scratch. I kind of redid everything, from the stance to throwing to second base to blocking. Everything has just been a whole big change for me. Bobby Nadal, our catching coordinator, really has been putting in a lot of time with me.?

Tags: Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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I wanted to post a follow up to my wrap-up on St. Lucie catchers, Josh Thole in particular. So, one of the features that I haven?t written enough about is that 2008 was Thole?s first season working primarily as a catcher.

The games at DH is merely derived by subtracting Thole?s games at catcher and first base from his total games played since games at DH is not listed separately for minor league players.

Tags: Analysis, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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Jordan Abruzzo ?S/R ? 6?2? 220 lbs ? 13th rd ?07 ? b. 8/2/24

Tags: 2008 Review, Jordan Abruzzo, Josh Thole, Toby Hyde
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The Arizona Fall League released the first draft of its rosters Wednesday. The Mets assigned 23 year old RHP Tobi Stoner and 25 year old LHP Jason Vargas, 21 year old C Josh Thole, 23 year old INF Dan Murphy and 23 year old 3B Shawn Bowman to the Peoria Saguaros. The Mets can send two more pitchers to the league.

The AFL begins play on October 7th, which happens to be the day that both NL Division Series are tentatively scheduled for game five if they go that far. So hopefully Dan Murphy?s resting up for the NLCS.

Stoner is 4-6 with a 4.62 ERA in 14 starts for Binghamton. In 74 IP, he?s fanned 57 (6.9 K/9) and walked 26 (3.2 BB/9).

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Dan Murphy, Josh Thole, Shawn Bowman, Tobi Stoner, Toby Hyde
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