David Wright landing on the disabled list is something very few in the Mets organization and Met fans could’ve prepared for. He’s only been on the DL one other time in his career, and has appeared in an average of 156 games per season from 2005-2010. In the short term, Justin Turner will see most of the reps at third, with Nick Evans possibly seeing some time as well. The combination of Wright’s injury and the possibility of him being dealt in the next couple of years (which, for the record, I am opposed to, but nothing can be ruled out) has me wondering about the organization’s depth at the hot corner, both immediately and in the long term. MetsMinorLeagueBlog recently looked at some of the more immediate fixes at third, so here are some potential options in the future.
Jefry Marte (A+): Marte is off to a strong start at St. Lucie this season, batting .302/.376/.482 with five long balls. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Marte posted a .930 OPS in rookie ball in 2008 before struggling at Savannah in ’09. He performed better with the Sand Gnats last season and has continued to improve at St. Lucie, where he is almost at his home run total (6) from each of the past two seasons, which took him 526 and 366 plate appearances, respectively. He also averaged roughly one strikeout per 4.5 plate appearances in ’09, but has cut that down to one K per 5.4 PA. Marte will only be 20 years old this June, so there is still a lot of time for him to develop, but his fast start this season is encouraging.
Aderlin Rodriguez (A): The Santo Domingo native split 2010 between rookie ball at Kingsport and Savannah, but he was impressive on both teams. In 306 PA last season, Rodriguez hit .300/.350/.532 with 14 dingers (a homer every 21.9 PA) and 23 doubles. He is off to a slow start this year, batting just .200/.244/.387, but he has smacked seven long balls. At age 19 (he won’t be 20 until the season is over), Rodriguez was rated the ninth best prospect in the Mets system by Baseball America in addition possessing the best raw power. His defense is shaky, posting a .900 fielding percentage last year at the hot corner, but Rodriguez is still very raw, like Marte, should develop in time, as will the power. Toby Hyde projects his major league arrival in September of 2014.
Wilmer Flores (A+): Flores ranks near the top on several lists of the Mets top prospects (BA has him second) and has a chance to be a superstar. He currently plays shortstop at St. Lucie, but it is possible he’ll move to third base because of his large frame. The 19 year old signed with the Mets in 2007, and at the age of 16 in ’08, made his way as high as Savannah (although he only spent one game there), but spent most of his time at Kingsport and Brooklyn. He spent a full year with the Sand Gnats in ’09 and split 2010 between Savannah and St. Lucie, where he hit a combined .289/.333/.424 with 11 homers. He’s off to a .277/.302/.371 start at St. Lucie this season with two homers. Flores’ big problem right now is his OBP, which has remained low due to his low walk total (in 2010, he walked just 32 times in 597 PA. He’s walked just seven times in 172 PA so far this season). The thing is he doesn’t strikeout all that much either, fanning just 77 times last year and 21 times this year. That being said, if he wants to advance further in the organization, he’ll need to draw more walks. His projected arrival is 2013, which coincidentally is the option year on David Wright’s contract.
Josh Satin (AA): This option is kind of a wild card, since Satin is a natural second baseman, but he has gotten some looks at third (nine game’s worth) due to other players, such as Reese Havens, playing the same position. The appealing thing about Satin is that he can, and has always, hit, batting .310/.425/.460 with three home runs at Binghamton this season. When Havens returns to the lineup, it will be interesting to see where Satin is moved, but it’s good to know he could play third in a pinch