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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Baseball America: Callis: Ask B.A.

...about revisiting the Mets Top 10 Prospects list.

The sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, Wheeler is a 21-year-old righthander who easily delivers fastball in the mid-90s while also showing the potential for a plus curveball and changeup. Like a lot of young pitchers, he needs better command and consistency, but his upside as a frontline starter is undeniable.

Getting Wheeler was a coup for an organization that hasn’t had much go right in recent years. One player alone doesn’t make a farm system, but the trade for Wheeler is just one of several positives for the Mets on the minor league side. Others include a successful pro debut for 2010 first-rounder Matt Harvey, significant steps forward for Jeurys Familia and Jordany Valdespin, continued strong play from Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the drafting of Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer. Assuming Nimmo signs as expected, I’d predict that the Mets would rank in the 11-15 range when we unveil our farm system rankings in the 2012 Prospect Handbook.

1. Zack Wheeler, rhp
Not an easy call, but I’m taking Wheeler over Harvey because he has a higher ceiling.
2. Matt Harvey, rhp
Tore up high Class A, has struggled in Double-A during his first pro season.
3. Brandon Nimmo, of
Highest pick ever from Wyoming (No. 13) was one of draft’s best athletes.
4. Jeurys Familia, rhp
Still throwing in mid-90s, has improved command after rough 2010 season.
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, of
Not fair to call him an overachiever when he keeps producing everywhere he goes.

Repoz Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:11 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, mets, minor leagues, projections, prospect reports, sabermetrics, scouting

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. BDC Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:51 PM (#3891002)
   2. Sam M. Posted: August 02, 2011 at 01:07 PM (#3891008)
Callis says it's a tough call to put Wheeler over Harvey, and I think he's wrong in this case to go with ceiling over (relative) certainty. While I love the Wheeler trade for the Mets, he has a lot of work to do in harnessing his stuff. Since Harvey also has a hell of a ceiling, I don't think I'm selling out in preferring him.

The bigger bizarro call is Callis' failure to include Corey Vaughn in this Top 10 list, while stubbornly continuing to keep underperforming tools kings Puello and Flores. Vaughn has tools as good and useful as theirs (especially if you include power, a tool BA often overlooks or underrates). And he's actually performed. I haven't given up on Flores or Puello, but I will absolutely be happy to bet that, if only one of those three make it, it will be Vaughn.

Here's the other thing: of the 10 guys on Callis' list, three were acquired by Alderson in one draft and one trade, including two of the top three. In Sandy I trust.
   3. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 02, 2011 at 01:09 PM (#3891010)
I'm liking the look of the Mets top guys.
   4. Sam M. Posted: August 02, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3891014)
By the way, Wheeler made his (St Lucie) Mets debut last night. Dunedin welcomed him to the FSL with a 3-run first -- oops -- and he ended up with:

4 7 4 4 0 4

Not a disaster, but not great. Got to like the no walks.
   5. ColonelTom Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:24 PM (#3891062)
The Astros list is interesting. 5 of their top 6 (Singleton, Cosart, Villar, Oberholzer, Paul Clemens) were acquired via trade over the last 2 years (4 at the deadline this year); the sixth is George Springer, who still hasn't signed yet. Reasonable minds may differ on whether Wade got enough in his deals, but he has upgraded the farm system, at least. Callis also mentions the Astros' "inactivity in Latin America" as part of the long-term problem in their organization. They recently signed two 16-year-old shortstops from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, so there's a hint of life there.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3891069)
5 of their top 6 (Singleton, Cosart, Villar, Oberholzer, Paul Clemens) were acquired via trade over the last 2 years (4 at the deadline this year)


Of their top 9, 6 were acquired in trade and the other 3 are their last 3 first round picks (guys who should be listed). They have not developed anyone.
   7. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3891105)
The bigger bizarro call is Callis' failure to include Corey Vaughn in this Top 10 list, while stubbornly continuing to keep underperforming tools kings Puello and Flores. Vaughn has tools as good and useful as theirs (especially if you include power, a tool BA often overlooks or underrates). And he's actually performed. I haven't given up on Flores or Puello, but I will absolutely be happy to bet that, if only one of those three make it, it will be Vaughn.


Almost every scout is fairly confident that Vaughn won't succeed at higher levels. I'm cautiously optimistic for him, but he's just treading water so far in A+. I don't think anyone is going to take him seriously until he does something in AA.
   8. ColonelTom Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3891113)
They have not developed anyone.

Yet on the player-development side, their big move to fix things last offseason was to swap their longtime player-development and professional-scouting directors. Brilliant.
   9. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#3891124)
the more interesting question may be how bad the prospects the 'Stros got in trade may have needed to be in order not to be top 10.
   10. Sam M. Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3891133)
If Vaughn is just "treading water" at St Lucie, then Puello and Flores are going under. Vaughn has shown more power and better control of the strike zone, despite limited experience in the tough hitter's environment. Yes, he's older (22) than Flores (turns 20 in a few days) and Puello (20), but their much longer pro experience has me feeling it's time -- past time -- to expect tools to be translating into performance. Vaughn may well peak at AAA, but he has quality tools and reasonable performance.

You can also make a case for Matt Den Dekker. If people would get over this bias in favor of young prospects just because they're young, and ask whether they can play, Den Dekker looks like a guy with both defensive and offensive value. I'd take him over Flores at this point, who sure looks to me like a man without a position -- even if he ever hits.
   11. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3891147)
If Vaughn is just "treading water" at St Lucie, then Puello and Flores are going under. Vaughn has shown more power and better control of the strike zone, despite limited experience in the tough hitter's environment. Yes, he's older (22) than Flores (turns 20 in a few days) and Puello (20), but their much longer pro experience has me feeling it's time -- past time -- to expect tools to be translating into performance. Vaughn may well peak at AAA, but he has quality tools and reasonable performance.


I expect Flores to quietly drop off most Mets top 10 lists this off season. He has no position and his bat isn't as good as people hoped. Puello is 2 years younger than Vaughn has almost as much power (.143 ISO vs .169) and is better defender. Puello has a much higher ceiling, but is more raw than Vaughn.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3891153)
I'm just happy to hear that the Mets have an above average farm system. I think that's the first time that's been true since Reyes/Wright were in the minors.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3891177)
How about Josh Satin? He has been old for every league, and has been promoted very slowly, but the guy hits everywhere. .325/.423/.538 this year in AA, and hitting .341 in his first taste of AAA. Looks like a guy that will be able to help this ballclub, even if he doesn't have much star potential.
   14. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3891180)
How about Josh Satin? He has been old for every league, and has been promoted very slowly, but the guy hits everywhere.


Looks like he might be a decent bench guy.
   15. Sam M. Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#3891189)
Puello is 2 years younger than Vaughn has almost as much power (.143 ISO vs .169) and is better defender. Puello has a much higher ceiling, but is more raw than Vaughn.

Almost as much power, and a lot less plate discipline. Puello has drawn 13 walks in 371 ABs (96 games) at St. Lucie this season; Vaughn has already drawn 11 in 124 ABs (35 games). Yes, Puello is two years younger, but balanced against that is his substantially greater number of games in minor league baseball. Puello's been in the system since 2008, and you'd like to see a breakthrough in the performance utilizing the tools.

I have by no means given up on Puello. The FSL is a very tough hitting environment. But that makes it all the more impressive to me that Vaughn is holding his own, continuing to show useful power and getting on base, in his first crack at the level.
   16. billyshears Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3891191)
The Mets look to be building nice depth in pitching prospects, but I don't think there is a position player in their system who projects to be an above average player at their position. The only position players who have taken significant steps forward this season are Jordany Valdespin and Juan Lagares, and they were both coming from way, way back. Vaughn has merely held serve. Nieuwenhuis looked to be making progress then he got hurt. F-Mart and Havens got hurt because that's just what they do. Den Dekker is an old 23 and is hitting .234 at AA. Flores, Marte, Puello, Ceciliani and Aderlin Rodriguez, who were the prospects in the system who were capable of taking big steps forward to be major prospects, have all disappointed. I can't consider the Mets to have a good system when there might not be 1 legitimate bat in it.
   17. Sam M. Posted: August 02, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3891207)
The Mets look to be building nice depth in pitching prospects, but I don't think there is a position player in their system who projects to be an above average player at their position.


Well, it does say something that the # 1 position player prospect on Callis' list is a guy who hasn't even signed yet.

And I'll go out on a limb and say that Nieuwenhuis looks to me like an above-average player in the Shane Victorino mold -- contributes in a bunch of different ways with decent power, gets on base. The fact that he's left-handed is critical, because if he were right-handed then Citifield would nullify him as even a moderate power threat. But lefty, I expect he'd be a 10-15 home run threat for the Mets, and with good speed and on-base ability, that plays as an above-average center fielder (as long as the defense is average).

F-Mart and Havens got hurt because that's just what they do.


F-Mart is back! Get it while it lasts! He even hit a home run for the Bisons last night. I've got August 12th in the pool for his next time being sent to the DL, but for now, he's back.
   18. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 02, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3891231)
Heard a guy who saw Wheeler pitch last night on the Kennedy/Duquette XM radio show earlier. He said that Wheeler was leaving his slider up in the zone in the first, recovered nicely in the second and third, then ran out of gas in the fourth.

I would think that's a combination of nerves and (perhaps) taking a little something off the slider in an effort to throw it for strikes.

-- MWE
   19. base ball chick Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#3891593)
the astros have developed jordan lyles. period.

jason castro does not look like a major leaguer to me no matter WHAT fast eddie and his syncophant milo-ie sez

they lucked into JD martinez and altuve because weren't neither one of em "prospects"

i like how first rounders are always put into a prospect list no matter HOW lousy they do - at least for 2 years. they FINALLY took mier off

it's pretty sorry when your best prospects are the other Organizations rejects because they have better guys
   20. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:28 AM (#3891642)
Jordany Valdespin

When did people start letting OOTP name their children? I swear this guy won 300 games for me from 2019-2038.
   21. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3891686)
I expect Flores to quietly drop off most Mets top 10 lists this off season. He has no position and his bat isn't as good as people hoped. Puello is 2 years younger than Vaughn has almost as much power (.143 ISO vs .169) and is better defender. Puello has a much higher ceiling, but is more raw than Vaughn.


90/13 k/bb
90/13 (255/60 career)
he has done one thing thsi eyar he had not really done before- hit teh ball hard, 31 XBHs

Flores, still awful young even for the FSL, and .275/.317/.390 is actually pretty decent for someone 19 in the FSL- but me thinks he's gonna end up on the wrong side of the defensive spectrum

Lagares never did anything before this year, but being 22 means he's not too old- this may be a "Great Leap Forward" or it may just be a BABIP fluke, but his utterly atrocious k/bb rates also improved to merely bad this year.

Josh Satin, progressively sliding over to the wrong end the defensive spectrum, too old, yada yada yada, but in 173 AA games hit .317/.410/.508 and just 12 AAA games, but so far so good: .354/.415/.479 - kind of like the Lucas Duda career path- BUT he older than Duda

BTW Mike Carp is now at 202 MLB PAs and his OPS+ is 113

We also have the perpetually injured Zach Lutz, and Nick Evans is still around, we have a veritable army of aging "prospects" who could likely put up a 100-110 MLB OPS+ but whose best MLB position would likely be 1b/dh and LF in a pinch- most are gonna end up like Val PAscucci
   22. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3891719)
I like this letter to BA:
I can't imagine anyone is leading Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie in the race for Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year Award. Lawrie's .357/.420/.679 numbers are gaudy for anyone, and sensational considering he's a 21-year-old in his first trip through Triple-A. Balls might take off quicker than personal debts in Las Vegas, but he's hitting .372/.432/.669 on the road. I've been watching baseball for a long time, and I can't remember anyone this young tearing up Triple-A like this in their first time at that level. Is he your Minor League Player of the Year if you had to vote today?

Mike Marinaro
Tampa

The PCL is at .360/.452 this year, the whole league is like pre-Humidor Coors, but without further adieu, here's the top 15 AAA hitters to date by OPS+ :
1 Ryan Lavarnway 23 PAW AAA BOS 201
2 Chris Davis 25 RRK AAA TEX 197
3 Anthony Rizzo* 21 TUC AAA SDP 178
4 Trevor Plouffe 25 ROC AAA MIN 173
5 Wily Mo Pena 29 REN,TAC AAA ARI,SEA 170
6 Lucas Duda 25 BFL AAA NYM 169
7 Kyle Blanks 24 TUC AAA SDP 167
8 Ryan Langerhans* 31 TAC,REN AAA SEA,ARI 164
9 Justin Christian 31 FRE AAA SFG 164
10 Justin Maxwell 27 SWB AAA NYY 163
11 Bryan LaHair 28 IWA AAA CHC 162
12 Bryan Petersen 25 NOR AAA FLA 161
13 Mike Carp 25 TAC AAA SEA 159
14 Brandon Belt* 23 FRE AAA SFG 154
15 Brett Lawrie 21 LVG AAA TOR 154

Kind of take some air from Lawrie doesn't it? Well, it's still a fine year and he YOUNG for AAA

which brings me to Ryan Lavarnway- Sickels had him as 9th in the Boston org, BA had him outside their top 10 (though they did project him as the Sox starting catcher in 2014)- the numbers above are based upon Lavarnway's 193 AAA PAs, but guess what, unlike Chris Davis magnificent half year- that's not a sample size fluke, his career minor league numbers are .289/.380/.524- and that's from the Sallie League, the Carolina League, EL, IL, no PCl or Calif league time in sight. The IL is at .330/.402 this year- that's the best offensive context Lavarnway has ever played in.

Lavarnway should be up much higher on prospect lists.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3891744)
The problem with Lavarnway is whether or not he is a catcher. It seems like he is making some strides back there but I think if you got a group of prospect-hounds together most would say he won't stick there.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3891756)
The problem with Lavarnway is whether or not he is a catcher.

The thing with Lavernway is that he very well may be able to hit enough to stick at DH if need be.

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