Bright Lights


So much glum around here these days. The Mets are a team in turmoil. Injuries galore (did anybody stop breathing for a minute after Ike Davis and David Wright collided last night and Davis stayed down?) poor performances, and massive debt have turned this team into a three ring circus. I’ve already lost hope for this season, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost hope for the Mets in the long run. While the farm system is certainly no Royals system, there are some good players down there that can give us fans some hope for the future. Instead of focusing on all the injuries and the lack of money, let’s turn to the future!

Wilmer Flores, SS – 2011 stats .297, 1 HR, 20 RBI’s, 38 H in 32 games

Nobody is quite sure what position Flores will end up playing whenever he makes it to the majors. At this point, it doesn’t really matter. In 277 at-bats last season in St. Lucie, Flores batted .300/.324/.415. He is only 19 and is 6’4. In terms of pure stature, he certainly looks the part. He still has a few years before he makes the major league roster, but will be a staple (…somewhere…) on the Mets for a long time.

Jenrry Mejia, RHP – Career stats – 14-13, 2.66 ERA, 271 K’s in 280.2 IP

We all know the news about Mejia. Torn MCL, Tommy John surgery, sets his development back a good two years. The Mets top prospect, Mejia just symbolizes what the Mets past three seasons have been about. Great players, huge potential, injury. Looking pre-injury, the Mets didn’t handle Mejia the best, moving him between the bullpen and the rotation, which halted his development. He owns a mid-90’s fastball and a great change, and he was working on more secondary pitches in AAA. We can only hope when he returns, he can return to the form that made him the top prospect in our organization.

Matthew Harvey, RHP – 2011 stats – 4-2, 2.97 ERA, 42 K’s in 36.1 IP

I absolutely love this kid. The 7th pick by the Mets in 2010, the 6’4 Harvey has a cannon for an arm. He can easily reach 99 MPH on the gun and has a tendency to induce ground balls. In seven games at St. Lucie, Harvey is the proud owner of a 10.4 SO/9 innings statistic. He will need to work on his command a bit, but that is not unusual for a young kid with a big arm. It will get worked on as he moves up through the system. Mets fans are excited about this kid and they should be. It he continues to improve, he will probably be up with the big league club near the end of 2012 or certainly be a contender for a rotation spot in 2013. Some people are calling for him to be up the bigs by the end of this year, but I’m not sure rushing him up would be beneficial to his development.

Cesar Puello, OF – 2010 stats – .292, 1 HR, 34 RBI’s, 45 SB

Puello could be our answer to Jose Reyes leaving, at least in terms of replacing the speed at the top of lineup that Reyes brings. Puello swiped an eye-opening 45 bases in 2010, while hitting for 22 doubles in 109 games in low-A ball. He has gotten off to a bit of slow start this year, hitting only .240 with 4 stolen bases, but he does have 8 doubles in 31 games at St. Lucie. He is only 20 years old, and has a world of potential to be with the big league club by 2013 if he can keep improving.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF – 2011 stats – .311, 5 HR, 11 RBI’s, 37 H in 33 games

A third round pick of the Mets in 2008, Nieuwenhuis could probably contribute right now as a fourth outfielder, but the Mets are playing it cautious with him. I assume they are grooming him to be Carlos Beltran‘s replacement when he leaves (at the trading deadline, no doubt). Nieuwenhuis has good power, hitting 18 home runs between AA and AAA in 2010. He has the arm, bat and glove to contribute in many different area of his game. He has been tearing it up so far in Buffalo (.311/.414/.555) and with a little work to polish his all-around game, I could see him with the major league club soon.

Jeurys Familia, RHP – 2011 stats (between A and AA) – 1-1, 1.45 ERA, 36 K’s in 36.1 IP

Familia looks like the minors most improved player right now, posting a 1.45 ERA in seven starts between high-A ball and AA after posting a 5.58 ERA in 24 starts in 2010. The big thing is his command. In 2010, he walked 5.5 batters per nine innings. In seven starts this year, he has that number down to 1.7 and it has done wonders for him. To read a full recap of his first start in AA, go here. If he can keep his walks down, we may see him in a Mets uniform in 2012.

Fernando Martinez2011 stats – .292, 3 HR, 7 RBI’s, 19 H in 19 games

Remember when F-Mart was considered a top prospect? I do. Like many prospects in this system, it was a combination of injuries of bad management that doomed him. In 2009, Martinez got a chance to play in the majors and responded with a .174 batting average in 36 games, with one home run and 10 RBI’s. Since then, we haven’t heard much from him. He has put together a good start to the 2011 campaign, and still possesses that fast bat speed that got him noticed to begin with. He needs to work on facing lefties better, but still has a high ceiling and could be a serviceable .300 hitter for the Mets as long as he can stay off the DL.  And remember, at only 22 years old, he is far from old news.

Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B – 2011 stats – .197, 5 HR, 20 RBI’s, 23 H in 30 games

Rodriguez’s power intrigues me, and that is why he is making this list. I’ve heard reports that he has a bad work ethic and his defense isn’t up to par, and that concerns me a lot. Also concerns me is the 25 strikeouts through 30 games in low-A ball. However, the Mets need more power in their lineup, and if Rodriguez can keep the power numbers up and put to rest his character concerns, he could move up through the farm system rapidly.

Reese Havens, 2B- 2010 AA stats – .338, 6 HR, 12 RBI’s, 23 H in 18 games

For Havens, it is really quite simple. STAY HEALTHY. If he can do that, he could be the long-term answer at second base that the Mets are desperately looking for. He is a contact hitter, but does possess a good amount of power. I close my eyes and see the infield of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Ike Davis and Reese Havens, and I start drooling a bit. That could be one of the best infields in baseball.

Contrary to what some of the experts will have you believe, the Mets do have talent in the farm system. Because of bad management and injuries, many of these guys have had some hindered development. But if we can get them straightened out and maybe get some lady luck on OUR side for a change, the Mets do have a bright future. Breathe easy Mets fans, the end is not as close as it appears.