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It's time.  Actually, it's past time, but here we go on a mid-season review of my pre-season Top 41 Prospect Rankings for the 2009 season.  We'll be going through in groups of five, although this first review has an extra bonus as 36-41.  If I get 10 prospects done a day, we'll finish up next week, and unveil a new top 20 (in honor of Hojo) or 31 (for Piazza) or some other number for some other reason.  I'm open to suggestions.


#36 RHP Scott Shaw

Stock: Holding, barely


Shaw is what he is.  Those numbers are superficially nice, but I can't read them as suggesting a leap up the prospect rankings.  Why?  He's striking out 7.64 batters per nine innings with a K/BB ratio of 2.2.  Those are ok numbers, but not standout numbers.  Without a MLB fastball, or MLB swing and miss pitch, this is what you get.  Shaw remains a nice organizational arm for me.

#37 LHP James Fuller


Stock: Up a little

Fuller, a little lefty with a fastball that lives 89-91 was tough out of the Brooklyn bullpen last year.  With some effort in his delivery, he's been pounding the strike zone with good results again this year.  Having Fuller start at a level he basically conquered last year is another apparent testament to the Mets desire to produce a winning team in Brooklyn at the expense of development.  What's the developmental purpose here?  Well, holding Fuller back to a short-season league holds down his innings pitched, which matters for someone with a history of breaking down.  Moving him to a starter's role gives him a chance to have more in-game reps and throw on the side between starts to work to improve his offerings.  And, to be fair about the thing, the Savannah rotation was crowded at the beginning of the year.  I wonder what another organization might have done with Fuller this year, and I doubt the answer would have been: send him back to the NYP.

#38 Eduardo Aldama


Stock: Up some

Aldama lost out to fellow teenagers Kyle Allen and Jeurys Familia for a chance to break spring training with the Savannah Sand Gnats in the SAL.  Instead, after biding his time in extended spring training, he put together two strong starts for Kingsport.  With a live fastball that touched 94 in the GCL last summer, I look forward to hearing more about Aldama's work as the summer progresses.

#39 SS Juan Lagares


Stock: Down

Lagares' value is hurt by his move from shortstop, a premium position out to leftfield and the fact that he hasn't played since May 26 with a right wrist problem.  In left, as I write about a lot, he will need to show the secondary skills (patience and power) that will make him an MLB force.  Thus far, he's shown neither, with no homers and a brutal K/BB ratio.  In fact, his walk and extra base hit rates are down from last year and his strikeout rate was way up.  The only thing to point to here, is that Lagares is hitting for the best average of his career and he's still just 20 years old.

#40 LHP Roy Merritt


Stock: Up a little.

Merritt, the  Mets 29th round draft pick in 2007 has been one of the system's success stories in 2009, holding his own at the back of the AA bullpen.  However as a lefty sidearmer who still struggles against righties (.301/.379/.518), his ultimate ceiling is still limited to that of a situational pitcher.  Note also that when unearned runs are added to his ERA, Merritt's total RA jumps to 4.91.

#41 1B Lucas Duda


Stock: Down a little.

Basically the same player, Duda can't afford failing to improve and hold his spot.  Duda's triple slash line looks pretty similar to his season ending .263/.358/.398 from 2008 with St. Lucie. The concern I expressed pre-season, that the 23-year old Duda still hasn't translated his size and strength into usable game power is still a problem.  Scouts who see him hit in BP are often impressed by his pop, but he has not taken it to games yet, as he often seems content to flick the ball the other way into leftfield.

Tags: Scott Shaw, Juan Lagares, Roy Merritt, Eduardo Aldama, Top Prospects Series, Lucas Duda, James Fuller , Toby Hyde
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