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.
The aggressiveness problem is new for Kunz who was pounding the zone in AA over the summer. I guess getting hit a little (in the bigs and the AFL) has him a little gunshy. The only positive way to spin these recent assessments is scouts still see Kunz as some kind of bullpen piece.
P – Bobby Parnell : ...has impressed many of the scouts I spoke with this past weekend. Although I didn't have an opportunity to see him pitch, three scouts I talked to who did seem him pitch were very impressed. Two of those scouts said he has an extremely live Major League fastball and if he can continue to work on his changeup this off-season he could be a decent back of the rotation type guy. The one knock that the three scouts all mentioned was his conditioning. They said right now it would be tough for him to work into the sixth inning.
1. The scouts banging on a guy for not being able to pitch into the sixth inning in the AFL is a waste of time. Pitchers in the AFL are on very strict pitch counts and are not expected to pitch deep into games. The night I saw Parnell in August when he was stretched out, he hit 95 in the 6th inning over 90 pitches.
2. Yes, Parnell needs to improve his changeup. I thought that the slider I saw up close AA was a fringy MLB pitch. I wanted to see him both tighten it up and learn to command it better.
P – Tobi Stoner : Unlike Eddie Kunz, Tobi Stoner is a guy who pounds the zone. Scouts were saying that Stoner would be a great 7th inning situational pitcher for the Mets. ....Some scouts said he's a year away from joining the Mets, but, one scout I spoke to thought he had a chance to see time in 2009.
I think "great 7th inning situational pitcher" is an oxymoron. If the guy was that good, he wouldn't be a situational guy.
P – Jason Vargas : The AFL's Pitcher of the Week for Week 3, Vargas looked like a man among boys. Scouts told me that his command and his fast ball looked better than it did prior to his injury. I was also told that because of the way Vargas has been pitching in the AFL, the Mets may not look to retain free-agent Oliver Perez.
C – Josh Thole : A left handed hitting catcher, Thole thrives at the plate. Scouts seem to love his compact swing and his patients at the plate. The downside to Thole is his defense, which he freely acknowledges. This , scouts feel is a clear upside and sign of maturity. Thole is still a few years away, but if he can continue to hit, the Mets will be forced to find a spot on the roster for him.
Having shown little power thus far, Thole will need to stay at catcher before the Mets are "forced to find a spot on the roster for him." A LF or 1B who doesn't hit homers is a below average player or a AAA All-Star. Paul's point about Thole being at least a few years away (giving him the necessary time to improve his defense) is well taken.
OF – Shawn Bauman (Left 28 Oct) : [Toby's note: I believe this entry refers to 3B Shawn Bowman, despite the repeated mispellings of his name.] In nine AFL games, Bauman showed the promise that many Scouts called “potential in a can.” At anytime this kid could explode. .... there are several major league baseball officials who like Bowman a great deal, and at least one front office executive told Gotham Baseball's Mark Healey that “if he's not protected on the 40 man, we'll take him in the Rule V draft.”
Barring lots of early FA signings (unlikely) there will be space on the Mets 40-man roster.
2B/OF – Daniel Murphy : When I spoke to Saguaros coach Jack Voigt,-- also a New York Mets minor League instructor -- on Murphy's progress, he was very pleased.
“He's a guy that's going to go out and do what ever you ask him to do. He won't care if he's put behind the plate to catch as long as he's one of those nine spots in the lineup card.” The scouts agree. Three I spoke with say it's going to be his stick that gets him into the Mets' everyday lineup. Murphy is going to hit for average, has the potential for 20-25 home runs, and could steal 10-12 bases. His defense is going to the be the issue and Murphy recognizes the fact that he needs work.
As the cheapest one of the most versatile Mets, I happen to think that Murphy's eventual (primary) position in 2009 will be driven by the other most cost-effective ways for the club to improve.
I now envision this memo from Omar Minaya to all Mets player development officials:
You are not, under any circumstances to indicate that Daniel Murphy's defense has improved enough at 2B that he will become a good option for the ballclub on Opening Day 2009. That would make Luis Castillo even harder to trade than he is now. Come on guys, this is alreay a problem. Please be positive about Murphy, who we all think highly of, but please also remember the larger picture.
Thanks for your understanding.