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Season Review

Our never-ending position-by-position review of the Mets organization finishes up the infield today with guys who manned the hot corner for the short-season affiliates.

 

BrooklynBrian Harrison and Richard Lucas, split this job.

Tags: Dustin Lawley, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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Yesterday, we looked at a bunch of guys who played third base in the upper minors, and are unlikely to be successors to David Wright. ?Today, lets move down the chain and check out two interesting a-ballers who just might be the Mets' third basemen in a post-Wright world, if the Mets ever have to face a post-Wright world.

A+On the surface, Jefry Marte had a disappointing regular season, hitting .248/.313/.346 in 131 games for St. Lucie after spending the previous two years in Savannah. ?On the other hand, the mitigating factors for Marte are his age - he turned 20 in June, and the league - the FSL hit .262/.331/.386. ?Marte got off to a hot start in April (.321/.396/.524 - 5 2B, 4 HR), producing the most extra-base hits of any month in 2011 in his first try. ?However, as the summer wore on, he wore down, hitting just .210/.263/.284 in the second half.

One reason for optimism about Marte's offensive game: his 2011 strikeout rate of 16% was his lowest in his three years of full-season baseball, a full 6% lower than his 22% whiff rate in 2009 with Savannah. ? A second reason for optimism: his strong Arizona Fall League performance, in which he had an equal number of walks and strikeouts (12 in 22 games) or 12.8% of plate appearances. ?That kind of strike zone control is a very large step forward.

Tags: Aderlin Rodriguez, Jefry Marte, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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We've gone through catcher, first base, second base and shortstop, so lets slide over to third base to finish up the infielders in the Mets minor league system.

At the big league level, even coming off the worst season of his professional career, the Mets are set with David Wright. ?I am willing to bet a full paycheck (of mine, not Wright's) that Wright, who from 2006-2008, was one of the very best players in baseball, will be the Mets third baseman to begin 2012. ?I believe that he will Met for Opening Day 2013, too, but after that, it's unclear whether he and the Mets will be right for each other. ?Moving Citi Field's walls in will help him, although by how much is difficult to say. ?For the Mets to be contenders in 2012, Wright would need to turn back the clock four years,?shucking?aside the concussion related problems, and yes, more recently, his broken back.

Secure in the knowledge that thirdbase is occupied, at least for the next year, and likely two, lets take a look at guys who played third base in the minors.

Tags: Eric Campbell, Joshua Satin, Season Review, Zach Lutz, Toby Hyde
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Appropriately, the guys playing shortstop in the lower levels of the Mets' minor league system are interesting prospects in their own right.

 

SSA - BrooklynNo player had a better professional debut than Danny Muno, the Mets' eighth-round selection out of Fresno State who hit .355/.466/.514 for Brooklyn in the New York Penn League. ?Forget the batting average for a moment: he walked (in 16% of his PA) more than he struck out (14.6% of his PA). ?He led the NYP in OBP ?and was third in slugging. ?He rapped out 23 doubles, tied for the NYP lead, and accounted for an extra-base hit in over 10% of his plate appearances. ?His 43 walks were third in the NYP.

Tags: Daniel Muno, Philip Evans, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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Continuing on with our never-ending look at prospects by position, we move to the guys who played shortstop for the A-ball affiliates in St. Lucie and Savannah in 2011.

A+Perhaps the Mets prospect who engenders the most passionate reactions, rightly or wrongly, is 20-year old shortstop Wilmer Flores, who manned the position for 129 of St. Lucie's 140 games in 2011. Flores hit a superficially unimpressive .269/.309/.380 in 133 games. The most impressive thing he did make contact: he fanned in just 12.2% of his at-bats. That was fifth in the Florida State League among all qualified batters. Also, he was the 11th youngest player in all of advanced-A at 19.92 years. That's the good stuff.

On the downside, his walk rate of 4.8% was the 9th-lowest in the FSL. His isolated slugging percentage was just .110 and his extra-base hit rate declined slightly from 8.4% overall in 2010 to 6.6% in 2011. Bottom line offensively: he can make contact, but he must develop his secondary skills - the ability to draw walks and hit for power.

Tags: Season Review, Wilfredo Tovar, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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The biggest decision of the Mets' off-season, which will shape the franchise for years, clearly has to do with the shortstop position. ?This is not a post about whether the Mets can or should resign Jose Reyes, although I hope they do. ?Instead, it's about everyone else who played shortstop around the system.

I will point out that even if Reyes departs, the Mets have a reasonable replacement in Ruben Tejada. ?Just 22 on Opening Day 2012, Tejada hit a very solid .284/.360/.335 in 98 games for the Mets. ?Sure, he didn't hit for any power as his .052 isolated slugging makes plain, but his plate discipline peripherals were strong, a 9.3% walk rate and a 13.3% k/rate. ? In fact, his wRC+ was 100, precisely Major League average. ?Even more to the point, among all shortstops with over 350 plate appearances, he was 14th. He fell comfortably in a group that included Alexei Ramirez (96), Elvis Andrus (96), Hanley Ramirez (96 -suffering through his worst year as a professional), Jamey Carroll (104) and Derek Jeter (104) clustered within four percentage points of average. ?Given that Tejada is the second-youngest of the top 30 shortstops sorted by wRC+, older only than Starlin Castro, he has plenty of room for growth. ?Again, he's not Reyes, who was the best offensive shortstop in baseball in 2011 by rate, but he certainly looks like a capable Major League player.

I'm loathe to use defensive statistics over partial seasons, but Tejada, by UZR and defensive runs saved grades out as near average in the last two years.

Tags: Jordanny Valdespin, Ruben Tejada, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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So lets rank Mets minor league second basemen!

Excluding the big league guys, here's what we're left with on the farm in order of overall prospect status at second:

  • Reese Havens
  • Jordany Valdespin
  • Wilfredo Tovar
  • Josh Satin
  • Robbie Shields
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Obviously, the most interesting choice is at the top where you can choose between the plate discipline of Reese Havens versus the athleticism, and hacktastic ways of Valdespin.
Tovar makes this list because while he can play second base, his value as a prospect comes from his ability to also play short very well. ?His youth, defensive ability, and even a little bit of plate discipline, push him past Satin and Shields. ?Satin, who can hit, doesn't have a defensive home, while Shields, needs to get healthy again.
This is a weird list.
Tags: Rankings Season, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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Lets finish up the second-base thing by looking at the guys who played the position in short-season ball. Part one on upper-level second basemen is here, while the guys in A-Ball are here. This might be the most boring post I've ever written. Again, Major League second basemen are usually converted shortstops, so the guys playing second in the low minors are often place holders or organizational fodder.

BrooklynBrandon Brown, who turned 24(!) in 2011 led the Cyclones with 28 games played at second while hitting .303/.361/.465. He's 24, folks.

Ismael Tijerina, who turned 22 in August, split time between short (24 games) and second (23 games) while hitting .223/.307/.268.

Tags: Season Review, Toby Hyde
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Earlier this week, I wrote about the guys who played first base for the Mets full-season affiliates, so lets move on to the guys who played first for the short-season teams.

Brooklyn

Cole Frenzel, the Mets 7th round pick out of the University of Arizona played the most at first for Brooklyn. He has some power, but at least in college was fairly pull oriented. In Brooklyn, he hit .238/.321/.294 with just six extra-base hits in 43 games. He showed some patience (17 walks). The bet here is that he starts for Savannah on Opening Day 2012.

Tags: Season Review, Toby Hyde
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We covered catchers last week, so lets move on to perhaps the least-interesting position in the Mets' minor league system: first base.

Same format as before, I'll look at the guys who played everyday for the full-season affiliates in one post, the short-season affiliates in a second post and then rank 'em in a third post.

First base in the minors is a little funny: one needs to be an offensive monster to project to play the position in the big leagues, but, especially at the lower levels, the best athletes (those who can really hit) are trying to prove that they can stick at other positions.

Tags: Season Review, Toby Hyde
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So we've looked at all of the catchers in the system, both at the full-season level, and in the short-season level.

Here's how I rank them:

1. Albert Cordero

Tags: Season Review, Toby Hyde
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Earlier this week I started on the season review with a look at the catchers for the full-season affiliates. It wasn't pretty as whole, although there are some interesting guys in a-ball.

Brooklyn CyclonesThe Mets 14th round pick this June, Xorge Carillo made his professional debut for Brooklyn on July 4. Carillo, who turned 22 in April, has been drafted four times, by the Jays (2007), Indians (2009), Padres (2010) and then the Mets. He didn't hit much at all - .217/.298/.304 in 104 PA. On the other hand, the good news is that he controlled the strike zone well - nine walks against just 11 strikeouts, with a very low BABIP of .231. He's probably destined for Savannah to start 2012.

At the beginning of the season, Nelfi Zapata split the catcher's job with Amauris Valdez. He hit .269/.271/.403 while swinging at everything, as evidenced by his one walk and nine strikeouts. He showed a little pop, but missed nearly all of August with a sprained ankle. Zapata, the Mets' 19th round pick in 2009, has moved one level a year beginning at the Gulf Coast League in 2009.

Tags: Cam Maron, Season Review, Toby Hyde
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I want to do a position-by-position review of the Mets system this year. I have no interest in going affiliate-by-affiliate. We've covered the 2011 versions of the affiliates, but grouping players by affiliate no longer makes sense. The players are home or in instructs, or the Arizona Fall League or preparing to play winter ball.

We'll start our position-by-position wrap at catcher.

There's a sense in which it's difficult to write about minor league catchers for what I'll call the Mike Nickeas effect: any catcher with enough catch and throw skills can reach the big leagues. Nickeas, now 28, has actually seen action in 26 games in the big leagues in the last two years for the Mets, predictably "hitting" .190/.239/.254 for an OPS+ of 37. Yeah, 37! And yet, he's there. His batting performance was not aberrant: he hit .232/.326/.321 in 1111 PA over parts of six AA seasons and .211/.275/.296 in 412 PA over parts of four AAA seasons. So anyway, the lesson is that sometimes, nay often, defensive skills will take a catcher to the big leagues. ?Hitting "enough" is really just hitting?occasionally.

Tags: Season Review, Toby Hyde
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