Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mets Raid Farm Again

Horrible. Stupid. Embarrassing. Yup. Those words can now be used once again to describe the Mets front office. Harsh? Yup. Deserved? Believe it. The Mets traded their top first base prospect Ian Bladergroen for Doug Mientkiewicz.
Do Omar and friends deserve a little grace period for their successful winter? Not at all. They paid good money, and lots of it, to sign the best position player and best pitcher. They still have a team with lots of holes that is a few pieces shy of contending for the playoffs. To recap the winter's bad moves: Omar overpaid for Benson, missed out on Delgado, and overpaid for an essentially useless firstbaseman in Mientkiewicz. On balance, with Pedro and Carlos, that's two good moves, two bad, and one not made.
Minky is supposed to provide defense and leadership at first base, neither of which are all that usefull if a team is interested in winning baseball games. Remember, Minky was a late inning defensive replacement for the Sox following his mid-season acquisition. He hit just .238/.326/.350 for the season with six HR.
I'm not sure I'd rather have Minky at first base than Bladergroen in 2005, although there are developmental reasons not to put Bladergroen at the big league level. PECOTA, Baseball Prospectus' fine forecasting system agrees with me wholeheartedly.
PECOTA sees Bladergroen hitting an adjusted .259/.319/.431 with a VORP, that is Value Over Replacement Player, measured in runs of 11.4 given 103 games.
For Mientkiewciz, PECOTA sees an adjusted line of .267/.361/.413 for a VORP of 12.7 based on 96 games at first base.
I’m not actually arguing that the Mets should have started 2005 with Bladergroen at first base. Nor is Mientkiewicz the worst option around. What is frustrating is that the Mets gave up their best first base prospect for a guy the Red Sox didn’t want. Do the Mets think that poorly of Bladergroen? This feels like the Huber trade last summer, where the Mets gave up a valuable prospect for very little.
Bladergroen, who will be 22 in February is coming off a huge year in Low-A Capital City where he hit: .342/.397/.595 in 72 games. The Blade tore ligaments in his wrist on July 1st, but is expected to return in time for 2005. The Mets originally selected Bladergroen in the 44th round in 2002 as a draft and follow out of Lamar CC.
Upside: Minky: Nil. Bladergroen: considerable.
Downside: Minky: $3.75 million. Bladergroen: Zero.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Baseball America's Top 10

I thought just for fun, I'd take a look at BA's Mets Top 10 list.

1. Lastings Milledge - Clearly the top position prospect in the Mets system.
2. Yusmeiro Petit - Clearly the top pitching prospect who's actually thrown a minor league inning.
3. Gaby Hernandez - Keeping the seat warm for Phillip Humber. Dominated in the GCL, 58 K, 12 BB, in 50 IP in rookie ball.
4. Ian Bladergroen - .342/.397/.595 in Capital City as a 22 year old, but those numbers are ridiculous. His rebound from a snapped wrist ligament will be very interesting. His 2004 numbers certainly justify this spot as the #2 position player.
5. Ambio Concepcion - Young, toolsy outfielder who hit .305/.338/.475 as a 21 year old in Brooklyn.
6. Alay Solar - Based solely on scouting reports. As a Mets fan I can only hope he deserves this spot.
7. Shawn Bowman - I'm not sure why he jumped over Aarom Baldiris as far as the best 3B in the Mets system after a .258/.338/.459 in Capital City as a 20 year old while Baldiris connected for .305/.384/.397 in 406 FSL at bats for St. Lucie. It is true that Baldiris struggled in 21 AA games: .235/.296/.284, but he's just 21 and in AA already.
8. Victor Diaz - This is way too low for a guy who as far as I'm concerned should be in the New York Mets starting outfield in 2005. Diaz followed up his .292/.332/.491 line in 528 AAA AB with a .294/.321/.529 debut in 15 games for the Metropolitans. Look, I want him to take a walk too, but he can hit.
9. Jesus Flores - As a 20 year old, the catcher hit .319/.368/.532 in the GCL.
10. Matt Lindstrom - has never struck out more than a batter an inning at any of his minor league stops until fanning 64 in 56 innings in Capital City innings in 2004. He dropped off with 50 punchouts in 79.2 IP in St. Lucie. This seems a little high for the 25 year old, although the scouts like that his FB sits 94-96, according to BA.