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New York Mets 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking according to Baseball America (2009)
2009 (17) | 2008 (17) | 2007 (13) | 2006 (28) | 2005 (19) | 2004 (10)

Record of Major and Minor League Team(s)
MLB: [70 – 92] NL East
AAA: [56 – 87] International League
AA: [54 – 84] Eastern League
A+: [66 – 88] Florida League
A: [65 – 72] South Atlantic League
A(ss): [45 – 30] New York – Pennsylvania League
R: [30 – 35] Appalachian League
R: [22 – 34] Gulf League

The Run Down
An injury riddled season destroyed the Mets chances at contending in 2009. Furthermore, readers here at Razzball, and others elsewhere, have declared Citi Field, Petco of the east, aka Metco. There was definitely a few bright spots for the Mets in 2009 – Angel Pagan, Jonathon Niese, Josh Thole, and Bobby Parnell. Pagan was picked up from the Cubs prior to the 2008 season and proved valuable last year. Taking over for Beltran when he went down with a bum knee, Pagan secured at least a fourth outfielder role for 2010 and possibly even pushing Jeff Francoeur for a starting gig. Before Niese went down with a torn right hamstring (that required surgery to fix), he pitched 25 solid, yet unspectacular, innings. Although he was injured in early August, he looked poised to stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season. If his recovery goes according to plan, Jon Niese could be a nice sleeper pick in the later rounds. Thole came up in September and continued his great hitting slashing .321/.356/.396 in 56 at-bats at the major league level after slashing .328/.395/.422 in 384 minor league at-bats. Nothing powerful, but definitely adequate when combined with his average defense behind the plate. If the Mets don’t sign another catcher this offseason, Thole could be battling Omar Santos and Henry Blanco for catching duties to start the 2010 season. Lastly, Parnell. He didn’t pitch extraordinarily well but did show his versatility in starting eight games. As with any rookie, he showed his ups and downs. Even with the injuries in 2009, 2010 could prove a more interesting year with the signing of Bay and the assistance of a few young players from this past season (Parnell, Niese, Evans, Thole and maybe even Fernando Martinez).

Graduating Prospects
#5 – (RHP) Bobby Parnell; #9 – (1B/OF) Nick Evans

Arizona Fall League Players – Surprise Rafters
Pitchers – #7 (RHP) Jenrry Mejia, #13 (RHP) Scott Moviel, (LHP) Eric Niesen, (RHP) Josh Stinson
Hitters – #11 (1B) Ike Davis, #8 (SS) Reese Havens, #16 (SS) Ruben Tejada, #20 (OF) Lucas Duda

Players of Interest
Hitters
#1 – Fernando Martinez | CF | AAA | 20 | .290/.337/.540 | 176 AB | 16 2B | 8 HR | .250 ISO | 33:11 K:BB | .319 BABIP | 49.3 GB% | 18.1 LD% | 32.6 FB%
Just turned 21 this offseason, Martinez struggled in his brief stint in the majors early in the season hitting just .176/.242/.275 in 91 at-bats. Being so young, he is clearly still their top prospect. His power was greater this year than in the past (.250 ISO). Not destined to the next great center fielder, however, he does have the tools and skills to produce at a corner outfield spot. Keep him on your radar for 2010 in case of any injury problems occur for the Mets. He should start the 2010 season where he left off – Triple-A.

#11 – Ike Davis | 1B | A+/AA | 22 | .298/.381/.524 | 429 AB | 31 2B | 20 HR | .216 ISO | 112:57 K:BB | .365 BABIP | 39.8 GB% | 17.3 LD% | 42.8 FB%
After hitting zero home runs in 215 at-bats in 2008, doubters began questioning his “raw power,” but failed to consider an oblique injury. Splitting time between High-A and Double-A, Davis flat out raked. Not necessarily the most polished hitter, he still has some work to do with his swing and strikeout rate but he should continue to hit for power as he keeps a decent rate of balls in the air (42.8 FB%). He’ll start 2010 where he left, Double-A, and may progress to Triple-A if all goes well.

#16 – Ruben Tejada | SS/2B | AA | 19 | .289/.351/.381 | 488 AB | 24 2B | 5 HR | .092 ISO | 19/3 SB/CS | 59:37 K:BB | .325 BABIP | 45.6 GB% | 14.4 LD% | 35.7 FB%
Extremely young, the Mets have pushed him since he signed in the winter of 2006. Not necessarily the most skilled or polished player in the infield, his defense is at least above average, but he will eventually move to second base to accommodate for Jose Reyes. He isn’t super speedy, but is smart of the base paths and has a great feel for the strike zone considering his age. He may stay at Double-A for another season in 2010 to allow his age to catch up to his level so his success can be greater. However, that wisdom was supposed to be employed in 2009 when he should have repeated High-A where he struggled. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Triple-A in 2010.

Pitchers
#7 – Jenrry Mejia | RHP | A+/AA | 19 | 8.7 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 94 2/3 IP | 3.14 ERA | 3.10 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | .2 HR/9 | .311 BABIP | 59.3 GB% | 9.1 LD% | 21.5 FB%
Dominating competition at both High-A (44 1/3 IP) and Double-A (50 1/3 IP) with a mid 90′s fastball, a curve and an awesome change-up. Rarely does a power pitcher produce high ground ball rates, but Mejia induced a drool worthy rate (59.3 GB%). For comparison sake, Joel Pinero had a rate of 60.5 GB% in 2009. Mejia has an extremely high ceiling, and probably is the Mets best pitching prospect. Although he struggles repeating his delivery, he is on the fast track. He should return to Double-A in 2010.

#4 – Brad Holt | RHP | A+/AA | 23 | 8.8 K/9 | 3.2 BB/9 | 101 1/3 IP | 4.88 ERA | 4.62 FIP | 1.26 WHIP | 1.2 HR/9 | .295 BABIP | 38 GB% | 14.1 LD% | 43.3 FB%
He struggled mightily at Double-A, but is still one of their better pitching prospects. He throws a mid 90′s fastball that can top out at 98 mph, with a potential plus slider, and a raw change-up. There is some questioning whether he should be a starter or a reliever as he only has two pitches he can control well. He started last year, but the majors may dictate otherwise.

#19 – Tobi Stoner | RHP | AA/AAA | 24 | 5.7 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 144 2/3 IP | 3.55 ERA | 4.35 FIP | 1.15 WHIP | .9 HR/9 | .247 BABIP | 39.6 GB% | 14.3 LD% | 42.3 FB%
I struggled where to place Stoner. He pitched 97 2/3 innings at Triple-A and pitched well (5.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 with a 4.25 FIP and 1.29 WHIP). Not an exciting pitcher with a 91 to 93 mph fastball and average off season pitches (Slider, Curve and Change-up), Stoner received a September call-up and threw nine innings of scrap time. Nevertheless, he may pitch well enough to play out of spring training or one of the first players to called up if there is an injury. He could be worth a few spot starts or decent ratios from the bullpen.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
#2 – Wilmer Flores | SS | A | 17 | .264/.305/.332 | 488 AB | 20 2B | 3 HR | .068 ISO | 3/3 SB/CS | 72:22 K:BB | .304 BABIP | 40.9 GB% | 12.5 LD% | 46.6 FB%
Eventually Flores will be shifted to a corner infield spot as he projects to fill out his body frame. He wasn’t overmatched at Single-A while producing lackadaisical numbers. He is placed in honorable mentions because he won’t sniff the majors until 2011 at the earliest.

#8 – Reese Havens | SS | A+ | 22 | .247/.361/.422 | 360 AB | 19 2B | 14 HR | .175 ISO | 73:55 K:BB | .277 BABIP | 39.4 GB% | 13.1 LD% | 47.1 FB%
Havens turned 23 this offseason. He is a “swing for the fences” type hitter who actually has decent walk and strikeout rates (13.3% and 20.3% respectfully). Of the two hitters drafted in 2008 (Davis and Havens) Havens was projected to be on the fast track for the majors. His slash line looks sad if one ignores his low BABIP (.277), however, the power is there and the plate-discipline is good. Look for him to play at Double-A next year (with Tejada moving up to Triple-A or second at Double-A).

Kirk Nieuwenhuis | OF | A+/AA | 21 | .282/.364/.479 | 514 AB | 38 2B | 17 HR | .197 ISO | 17/5 SB/CS | 127:57 K:BB | .347 BABIP | 54 GB% | 13.2 LD% | 32.2 FB%
He played only eight games at Double-A (40 AB), and should return there in 2010. He was drafted in 2008 and played his first full season this past year. Possessing above-average speed and playing in center, Nieuwenhuis did well in nearly all parts of his game. He strikes out a bit too much, walks at a good rate, uses his speed by hitting the ball on the ground, but doesn’t hit the ball hard often (13.2 LD%) and could see his ISO falter if his fly ball or line drive rate doesn’t rise a bit (32.2 FB%). However, he injected himself into the conversation about who may play in the Mets outfield in the future. Next year at this time you may be seeing his name in the above section.

Pitchers
Jeurys Familia | RHP | A | 19 | 7.3 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9 | 134 IP | 2.96 ERA | 3.40 FIP | 1.16 WHIP | .2 HR/9 | .279 BABIP | 48.8 GB% | 12.8 LD% | 31.3 FB%
Aided by a slightly below average BABIP, Familia rose quite a few brows this year. Possessing a 88-94 mph fastball, a curveball, and a change-up, he went from an afterthought to a prized prospect. It was just one season, but the hype is now there. If he repeats this type of performance, he could be pitching in the majors by 2011.

Kyle Allen | RHP | A | 19 | 8 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 125 1/3 IP | 3.45 ERA | 3.96 FIP | 1.28 WHIP | .6 HR/9 | .289 BABIP | 55 GB% | 15.1 LD% | 24.9 FB%
I couldn’t find much on Allen, but his ground ball rate jumps off the screen. Combined with his age and numbers, Allen may get some hype as the season wears on.

  1. matthole says:
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    mets suck ass

  2. matthole says:
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    Hawk only HOFer

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @matthole: Saw that about Hawk. Bit surprising that he was the only one to go in, but I guess the old-timey voters refuse to let certain people in on a first ballot.

  4. Mann of Sandd says:
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    We keep 12 players in my 14 team league, and inflation is normally running at about 40%. I traded for a ton of expiring contracts while trying to win the title last year, and as a result I’m a little light on quality depth. I’m thinking of going into the auction only keeping my true values, even if that results in me going in with six or seven players instead of keeping my full allotment of 12. Is this a sound strategy?

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mann of Sandd: Without knowing the players, that makes sense.

  6. Charlie says:
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    Good write up. Have to think that one of Havens/Tejada are going to be trade bait, I definitely prefer Havens as a player. Also, keep an eye out for a mid-summer shot at the show for Davis if the Mets give Murphy the starting nod. Don’t think Stoner will ever be fantasy relevant but I think Captain Kirk is going to be the guy everyone is talking about this time next year, so go out and get him now in your dynasty leagues.

  7. Mann of Sandd says:
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    Grey, thanks for the quick response…Right now if I were to keep 12 it’d probably look like this as a hypothetical:

    1B- Tex (43)
    CI- Butler (10)
    2B- Utley (46)
    OF- Ellsbury (7)
    OF- Ethier (21)
    OF- Ludwick (2) (several similar options here)
    P- Lester (9)
    P- Wandy (16)
    P- Wolf (4)
    P- Franklin (7)

    Other similar options for the last two spots are Bradley (1), Kuroda (6), Damon (10), Barmes (2), and it devolves from there. By the way, we start 10 pitchers.

    As I said, inflation runs pretty high during the draft, but like all other auctions there is value to be had if you’re patient. We have a 260 cap for the auction (goes up to 325 in season). I hate going in spending so much early on so if I am very hesitant about Tex and/or Utley but I feel they’ll be just as expensive in the auction as they’ll be two of the better players available. Besides Lester and Ellsbury, are any of the others obvious keepers at those prices?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mann of Sandd: That is a lot for Utley and Tex, but those are the only two guys you can hang your hat on. If people have money at the draft and bid up all the big names, your going to be left without any names. I’d pay for those two and shed Wandy. I like him a lot, but at $16 you can find cheaper pitching.

  9. Stephen says:
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    @Charlie: I agree with everything you said. Kirk will fly off this time next year if he repeats this past year. Furthermore, I could actually see the Mets trading Havens as he has a bit more value. Right now, he looks like Dan Uggla at shortstop – maybe a slide to third will happen. Stoner may have no relevance in shallow leagues. However, for middle reliever believers, or for those in hold leagues, he may eventually serve more purpose than one might think. Davis will make an appearance if someone gets hurt, otherwise, he’ll have to perform out of his mind for a major league call up. That or the Mets will have to field a time like they did last year on an every day basis again.

  10. Shmorgie S. Board says:
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    Oh Jesus. I’m a Mets fan and a rundown on the barren farm system was the last thing I wanted to read. So I didn’t.

    Listen, I liked the Bay signing and I can’t believe I hope they nab Pinieiro for 3/30-ish, can’t we let it be for a moment? I’m actually un-unhappy right now.

    Maybe we could talk about the silly HoF vote for 2010 instead? Please? My ballot woulda been Blyleven, Raines, Alomar, and Larkin. Whatchoo got?

    OK, I skimmed the piece. When I see Ike Davis, I want to think of him as a cross between Ike Hilliard and Miles Davis. Hard hitting, a birther of cool, and one serious racist.

    You have your dreams, I keep to mine.

  11. Stephen says:
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    @Shmorgie S. Board: I don’t necessarily think that it’s a terrible farm system. There are a few bright spots. Over at Minorleagueball.com, John Sickels put together a nice top 20 list with grades. The only thing of concern is that he doesn’t project a future all-star, but that doesn’t mean that there wont be a future all-star within the farm.

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