We will be featuring a few new candidates for authors in the coming week. We want your opinions. While many authors have applied only a few will make this cut and then you the reader will have a chance to voice your opinion. Just like the GM search except you get to be part of the process.
Candidate 1 applying for Mets minor league guru.
The New York Mets minor league system has recently become a reason for disappointed fans to look ahead to a brighter day that includes the next Chase Utley, Tim Lincecum or Ubaldo Jimenez. It represents youth as well as the promise of knowing that the next big thing in baseball could be an 18 year old pitching in Binghamton. The problem is when the hype machine grabs on to a young prospect and makes them out to be a guaranteed star on the pro level. The phrase “Can’t miss prospect” has become more and more prevalent in today’s game and more times than not these prospects come up to the big stage too early and become overwhelmed and lose all confidence. Every year it seems like the Mets have a young player who is thought to be a future cornerstone of the Mets organization. From Jay Payton to Alex Escobar to Aaron Heilman to Lastings Milledge these players have come up and been nothing short of a let down. Of course, players such as David Wright, Jose Reyes, and (for now) Ike Davis and Mike Pelfrey help to restore some respect to the farm system but as a loyal Mets fan it has become harder and harder to trust the organization when it comes to player evaluation and development. On a side note, it would help to not have retired Mets players compare a player like Daniel Murphy to Pete Rose and a pitcher like Jenrry Mejia to Mariano Rivera; these comments help to fuel the hype machine.
When looking at today’s Mets farm system there are a few bright spots including Mejia, current shortstop Wilmer Flores and the still surprisingly young outfielder Fernando Martinez. Do not be fooled by the final month of the 2010 season though, most of the big league roster is spoken for in 2011. Only second base and catcher may be open for competition and perhaps one or two spots in the rotation pending the injury to ace Johan Santana. Of course the new General Manager will have a lot of decisions to make regarding the organization and many of these prospects may find themselves as part of a package to either shed salary or bring in a starting pitcher. If they do remain within the organization it may be a good thing that the big league roster is set for the foreseeable future. Letting youngsters like Reese Havens, Matt Harvey, Steve Matz, Wilmer Flores and Fernando Martinez develop in the minors without a ticking clock may be the only way to allow them to reach their full potential. Like any die hard Mets fan I too get excited when hearing the terms “five-tool player” and “can’t miss prospect” but scouts have been wrong before and will be wrong again.
The most important idea is stock piling talent and assets so that maybe one of every four or five prospects can be every day players on the pro level. That is what good teams like the Phillies do. They collect talent so that they can plug them in the lineup when need be, but also include them in trades that bring back essential players. Instead of just competing with teams, maybe we can learn a thing or two from them as well.