Following his the release of his list of the Mets Top 11 Prospect List at Baseball Prospectus, I chatted with prospect guru Kevin Goldstein. Please read his piece first, as our talk is meant as an auxiliary to his posted work. Our conversation largely focused on those players who were included on his list, although we also covered some of the near misses. To keep the comment section clean, I've cut the interview into six pieces, each focused on a particular player or issue.
TH: Lets do a general question or two first. Does ranking the Mets system pose any particular challenges versus other systems?
KG: Well, you do have the issue of the top talents are so young, especially Marte and Flores. Obviously, they had great scouting reports coming up as amateurs, and they lived up to, if not exceeded expectations in their pro debut, but there is still a lot of unknowns with them. Even with a guy like F-mart, you're always trying to keep the age in mind with reference to what he's done and what the scouts are telling you.
Then you have additional challenges with the 08 draft guys as Havens was playing hurt and Davis was so highly regarded and then just tanked on such a huge level, so how do I balance six years of amateur info on Davis with what he did (or did not) do in Brooklyn.
TH: Those were the exact challenges I was thinking about. So you brought up Davis, and we have to talk about him. He's one of two guys in your top 11 that I have ranked outside my top 11. I happily acknowledge his power, but I saw him just look like a mess in Brooklyn this summer. Is your ranking of him based in large part on his longer amateur pedigree?
KG: Sure. I have six years of amateur info to go on, and then I have what just happened. That certainly shouldn't be discounted, but still, we can't act like what we saw at ASU was some kind of fluke that is now discounted by 200 something pro at-bats. Concerned? sure. Ready to write him off? Hardly.
KG: can I add to that?
KG: I think what we saw was realistically the first time Ike Davis has ever struggled on a baseball field in his life, and players react very differently to it and some bounce back quicker than others from it.
TH: I absolutely agree that his struggles had a feedback loop associated with them and built on themselves. Does that raise makeup questions for you?
KG: That's tough. Makeup is a funny thing, and I don't want to just say Davis has bad makeup, but like you say, the struggled got to him, and one scout I talked to mentioned how incredibly frustrated he looked at the plate, like he was just saying, "what could go wrong next?" The unanswered question for me isn't what happened, it's what he learns from it and what adjustments he makes.
TH: Sure. I'd be willing to bet that by this time next year, we'll all have a very good idea about what Davis will be. Either he hits in A-ball or he doesn't.