Organizational Rankings: Future Talent – New York Mets

What to make of the Mets?

The club currently seems to be drifting a little aimlessly and that indecisiveness can be felt in the minor leagues, as well. The club has some interesting players but they can best be described as promising but raw, especially when discussing the likes of Wilmer Flores, Jeurys Familia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Urbina, and Kyle Allen.

The club has also received mixed results from top draft picks like Ike Davis, Reese Havens, and Brad Holt. The lack of first round picks in ’07 and ’09 has hurt – especially since the club doesn’t seem to believe in playing the over-slot game. The ’07 draft was an absolute disaster. As well, the club hasn’t had much luck scouting later round players, with the odd exception like catcher Josh Thole.

If there is one bright spot, it’s the club’s ability to scout the international market. Some of the key players signed by the Mets organization include perennial prospect Fernando Martinez, Ruben Tejada, Jenrry Mejia, Jefry Marte, Cesar Puello, Flores, Urbina,

At the MLB level, the club has two of the most talented young players in the game: David Wright and Jose Reyes. Unfortunately, they are both coming off of nightmarish seasons. The 27-year-old third baseman is entering his seventh MLB season and he experienced his worst power season in ’09 after hitting just 10 homers in 535 at-bats and posting an ISO rate of .140 (His first season below .217). On the plus side, he still hit more than .300 and stole 27 bases. Reyes suffered through injuries in ’09 and appeared in just 36 games. A thyroid condition will likely bite into his 2010 season.

The 24-year-old Daniel Murphy will man first base in 2010 for the Mets but he’s miscast at the position. He’s not likely to produce more than fringe-average power for the position after posting an ISO rate of .160 over the past two seasons. His wOBA of .318 suggests he’s a platoon player at best.

There is some youth in the starting rotation with Mike Pelfrey (26), and Jon Niese (23) but neither player projects as more than a No. 3 starter. The club is currently toying (stupidly) with the idea of keeping 20 year old Mejia at the MLB level to begin 2010. The club would utilize the top prospect – who has just 10 appearances above A-ball – in the bullpen, much like the Rangers did with Neftali Feliz in ’09, albeit for a small portion of the season.

The club’s insistence on rushing its young players through the system is both baffling and frustrating. It’s had its ups (Reyes) and its downs (Martinez). The big league club has a mix of young players and veterans, but I’m not sure it’s the right mix.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect and rookie analysis. He also operates AstrosBall.com and can be reached via email at: marchulet@astrosball.com, or follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

23 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: Future Talent – New York Mets”

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  1. CaseyB says:

    “Reyes suffered through injuries in ‘09 and appeared in just 36 games. A thyroid condition will likely bite into his 2010 season.”

    Reyes should lose zero time in 2010 because of the thyroid condition. He has already returned and been cleared to play by the doctors. He doesn’t need any medication and the experts say the thyroid condition is unlikely to come back.

    Again, it’s disappointing that these articles appear to be written by people who really didn’t research the players too much before they wrote them.

    Davis and Martinez have been ripping the cover off the ball in spring training. Martinez and Thole hit well in the winter too, with Martinez being the MVP of one of the winter league series. He seems to finally be coming into his own. Of course, I understand that doing it in the majors during the regular season is another matter, but it seems these prospects have been given too little credit here.

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    • snapper says:

      You think he’s in shape to play every day, given the pre-existing leg injuries and now the missed time due to the thyroid?

      Missed time doesn’t have to be 30 days on the DL. It can be having to sit 1 day in 4 b/c you’re not in top game shape due to lost time.

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    • CaseyB says:

      The pre-existing leg injuries are a non-issue at this point. He was over them by the time the thyroid condition was diagnosed. He was ready to play everyday at that point.

      He’s sat on the couch for two weeks as the doctors ordered since then, but he came into camp in excellent condition and you don’t lose all of that in just two weeks. There are also about two weeks left before opening day. So he should be able to recoup what he lost before his first start which should be around the first week of the season, if not opening day.

      At this point, today, neither the thyroid condition or last year’s leg injury are factors for Reyes.

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    • CaseyB says:

      Correction: At the most, Reyes will lose only a few days in the beginning of the season due to the thyroid condition as he may need a little more than the two weeks remaining in spring training to get back his stamina after sitting on the couch for two weeks. But the thyroid condition itself is not a factor, nor will it be throughout the year. He may even be in the opening day lineup.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      1) Reyes was cleared to return to the field yesterday about the same time I wrote the article, and I felt he wouldn’t be at game shape to break camp with the big league club.
      2) The issue could very well flare up again… costing him time. This could be a chronic issue (teams do not have to give full disclosure and often don’t) and we really have no idea how it will impact his ability to play at a world-class level so it’s safe to assume he could miss time as a result of the issue… he’s still learning how to deal with the issue through diet, etc. We don’t know the whole story.

      If you have ongoing issues with the quality of these articles… as Keith Law says, the door is on the left.

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      • CaseyB says:

        There is a good chance Reyes will be in the opening day lineup. And if not, he should be playing by the first week of the season. His thyroidism was caused by a virus. Essentially, he is “cured” now and all the experts have said this type of thyroid issue shouldn’t recur. It’s not like he came down with a chronic disease that will impact his ability to play baseball.

        I frequently read fangraphs and have had no issues with the content in the past The organizational write-ups on the Mets are a different matter. But I will take your advice and refrain from reading the organizational rankings in the future.

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      • Omar says:

        “Every team’s analysis has been spot on except mine”

        At least I’m universally an asshole.

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      • CaseyB says:

        I’ve never once ventured an opinion on any other team’s writeup. Not once.

        As for your second statement, speak for yourself.

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      • Shamik says:

        Reyes’ condition is typically a one-time thing, it really shouldn’t reoccur. He probably should watch himself though, because his overactive thyroid can now become UNDER-active for a couple weeks before settling back down to normal. All things considered, he has been out of action for a long time and has been yo-yo’d around between being active and inactive. He will almost certainly be rusty. I think the Mets may put him on the DL retrospective to the spring and have him miss maybe a week or two just to get him back to playing speed before bringing him in mid-late April. In the end, playing 150 games or so out of a 162 game season is not bad at all. Whats important is that he waits until he is 100% before stepping on to the field.

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      • TheMagicIsBack says:

        Marc, I am new to this site and a big Mets fan.

        I felt your “door is on the left” comment a bit rude.

        Perhaps I am biased, but it appears the Mets are stockpiling talent at the Minor League level. It appears the Mets will have several solid options at 2B and Ike Davis looks like a keeper at 1B. Fernando Martinez is the RF of the future.

        The question to me is catcher. Is Thole good enough to catch in NY, will Pena step up and live up to his potential or should the Mets trade for or draft a catching prospect. Is it possible that Bryce Harper falls to the Mets in the draft?

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  2. JohnF says:

    “The club has also received mixed results from top draft picks like Ike Davis, Reese Havens, and Brad Holt.”

    What has been mixed about Ike Davis’ results? He didn’t hit for power in 2008, but made up for that in 2009, and is almost ready to take over first base from Murphy. Havens has struggled with injuries, and is moving to a new position (2B) this year. Holt was pitching well until he hurt his ankle last year. He needs more time to work on his secondary pitches, but could contribute next year.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      What’s mixed? One good power season, one bad power season. 50/50… and for the others you pretty much described mixed results in your comment….

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      • rich says:

        What you neglect to mention is that the bad power season was 239 Plate Appearances while the good power season was 488 PA. Not 50/50.

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      • Choo says:

        Jeez, Marc, how dare you say 50/50 when it’s really 67.125/32.875. Off the cuff comments should be strictly prohibited here at fangripes.com. We demand anal retention down to the 5th decimal…minimum.

        Besides, everybody knows a mix has to be 50/50. No more. No less. For example, night and day is not technically a mix unless you a) reside directly on the equator or b) apply z-scores for crepusculum variance and regress to your non-equatorial position.

        Also, I hate to break it to you…but those mix tapes you made for your girlfriend back in high school weren’t really “mix” tapes. No wonder she broke up with you.

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      • Zack says:

        And Marc, you didnt even mention his struggles against LHP (<.700 OPS) or his very high BABIP last year.

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  3. Great website folks, I’ve been trying to find this info for a while now. Keep up the good work, you have some great quality content here. Thanks…

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  4. Tron says:

    *Insert unbased indignation over telling the truth about a team*

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  5. Omar says:

    When describing Wright’s awful season, don’t neglect that his K-rate spiked too, and he had the second highest GB/FB of his career.

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  6. M.C. Teufel says:

    On the brighter side is the fact that the positions where the Mets are weakest are also where they have their most ML-ready talent:

    C: Thole
    1B: Davis
    2B: Tejada/Havens
    RF: Martinez

    1) Thole: An earlier FanGraphs article on defensive ratings of catchers had Thole at about average, which is pretty good considering he’s only been playing the position for about 3 years. He has hit at all levels (minors, majors, winter leagues) so its not far fetched to project him about about 2.5 – 3 WAR for his solid OBP and average to probably above average fielding as he gains more experience behind the plate.

    2) Davis: He had a rough debut season but has been raking since in AA, Arizona and during spring training. There are less than 2 years of professional ball to analyze here so his results are definitely “mixed” but the facts that his stretches of great play are not only greater in quantity but also the more recent in time. He’s also known as having a plus glove which generally-speaking is pretty much a skill that transfers well from minors to majors. He’ll play at AAA and will likely be a mid-season call up but he seems like a big improvement over Murphy.

    3) Tejada: Has the most question marks as he’s only had one solid year of hitting in the minors, which Anderson Hernandez can claim as well. He needs another year in the minors to learn a bit more about hitting. Regardless, his plus defense will make him a wash when it comes to replacing Castillo even if he doesn’t hit well. With a huge groundball pitcher like Pelfrey his defense will likely make any defensive improvements at 2B more meaningful than normal. This likely won’t be felt until 2011 but he should be ok.

    4) Havens: He is another option at 2B. He’s had some injuries but has put up solid power (~.200 ISO) and walks quite a bit (12.8 BB%) to make him a plus hitter. He still hasn’t played a game at AA yet but he will play between AA and AAA this year and should make the jump to the Majors by 2011.

    5) Martinez: The only knock on Martinez has been injuries but he raked at AAA, the winter leagues, and spring training and is ML ready right now.

    Although we can’t expect all to fair well in the majors it’s a safe bet to expect one of Martinez/Davis to do well and the rest to fair well enough to be as a whole to be much better than what the Mets have as starters to these positions on Opening Day.

    I see 2010 as a transition year where the Mets finally start seeing the fruits of Omar’s big presence and spending in the Latin America market (as long as they don’t screw up with Mejia!). Their recent change of guard in minor league development should also lead to better results from the minors as the former player development director Bernazard and his strange philosophy on player development (challenge them early, train hitters to focus on opposite field hitting instead of learning how to take a pitch, etc.) has been replaced with experienced development personal focusing on actual beneficial skill development.

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  7. john malcolm says:

    Mets farm should be wayyy better and im not even referring to how they sign type a’s often. There is no excuse to not go overslot for premium talent. The 2 mil they spent on cora and the 1.5 on escobar would’ve better served on one or two draft prospects.

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    • M.C. Teufel says:

      I think everyone agrees with you on the Mets draft selections and avoiding going over the slot as well as their overspending on marginal players which could have been spent on acquiring draft talent.

      However the Mets have done very well on the international scene. So overall their future talent is still league average despite their mismanagement of the draft. In FanGraph’s ranking of top 10 talents of every organization a couple months back the Mets had four B+ or better talents (with many B-rated talents). Only one team had 5. So they are overall solid but not where they should be.

      If they would just have spent that an extra million in their drafting instead of wasting it on replacement-level bench players or the 5 catchers that take up space on their 40 man roster (no other team has more than 4 catchers on their 40-man roster) they would be in the top-5 in regards to future talent right now.

      I guess their philosophy is spend your future talent budget on getting many international players and using the draft to pick up slot-level players who won’t be hard to sign. If one was to determine what their strategy is (if they have one) it seems that their philosophy is on drafting and signing young, low-risk talent at reasonable costs which is a bit odd for a big market team but compared to their “strategies” they have elsewhere at least it has some solid results so far.

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  8. CROTUS says:

    “The club currently seems to be drifting a little aimlessly and that indecisiveness can be felt in the minor leagues, as well. ”

    YAWN.

    Another supposed “expert” jumping on the bandwagon criticizing the Mets lack of orginizational talent. Another “expert” who, I take it, didn’t bother to watch any of the actual ST games to actually evaluate some of the young talent that he so easily dismisses.

    Like I said, YAWN. Wake me up when this “expert” stops taking his cues from ESPN and the back pages of the NY tabloids.

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  9. Jack Straw says:

    “5) Martinez: The only knock on Martinez has been injuries but he raked at AAA, the winter leagues, and spring training and is ML ready right now.”

    Except that he isn’t. The only thing Martinez has proved to date is that he can hit respectably at AA. 43 PAs in spring training are scarcely relevant, and if you want to count the Carribean playoffs you can, but you’ll be nearly alone in thinking they’re relevant.

    Here are the numbers:

    .276/.336/.451 in A at age 17
    .271/.336/.377 in AA at age 18
    .287/.340/.432 in AA at age 19
    .290/.337/.540 in AAA at age 20 in 176 ABs
    .176/.242/.275/.517 in the NL at age 20 in 100 PAs.

    There’s no shame in being humbled in your first year in AA, particularly not when you’re only 18 years old, then needing an extra year at that level to regain most of your power stroke. His AAA numbers are promising, but to draw significant conclusions from 176 ABs? Martinez was thoroughly overmatched at the major league level, but I wouldn’t draw more than the most tentative inference from either his AAA or his ML numbers.

    To assert that Martinez is major league ready is simply erroneous. Can we take comfort from his good Carribean and Spring Training stats? Sure. Can we draw any solid conclusions whatever from those 65 PAs? No.

    I also want to note the incredible consistency of his OBP, omitting his dismal ML numbers: .336, .336, .340, .337. That’s remarkable and, in one of your top prospects, unfortunate. It tells us that Martinez is not improving his strike zone judgment. The significant caveat is that he’s managed to carry that OBP from A to AAA, but still, it’s not a heartening number. It’s not .380, or .370, or even .350.

    The plain fact is that Martinez has shown, as of age 20, that he can hit respectably only as high as the AA level, a level which he did not come close to dominating. It’s clear to me that he needs to put in a full, *healthy* year at AAA before we can even consider putting him on the ML club.

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