Post-Season 9: Nine Burning Questions Part II

InsidePitchMagazine.com continues to answer nine of the pressing questions facing the Mets farm system now that the 2010 season is over. In the second part, we ask, what can be taken away from the 2010 draft class? Who, if anyone, will be ready to contribute in 2011? What area needs more prospects? Find the answers to those questions and more.

5. What can be taken away from the 2010 draft?

The Mets bucked their draft style of 2009 which was to go young in the draft. In 2010, the organization committed a complete 180 from that approach. The Mets' first five picks this year all hailed from major collegiate programs. Top pick Matt Harvey, third round pick Blake Forsythe, fourth round pick Cory Vaughn, fifth round pick Matt Den Dekker and sixth round pick Greg Peavey all played their college ball at major Division I programs. Collegiate players ruled the draft board further down the list with Akeel Morris being the lone high school player selected in the first 20 rounds.

What does this mean? It means the philosophy for this draft was selecting players who hopefully will require shorter development timelines. Harvey signed at the deadline and thus did not pitch a single inning this season, but obviously headlines the draft as a power pitcher the Mets' hope will be in New York sooner than later.

6. Will the next manager of the Mets come from the farm system?

This question became a hot topic with the increasing chatter about Wally Backman making the jump from Brooklyn to New York next season. The decision whether or not Backman will be the next Mets manager will come in due time, but for now the organizational managing tree should remain intact unless Jerry Manuel's successor is hired from the farm. The choices? Backman for one, but Triple-A Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell could be another. Oberkfell has coaching experience with the big league team and could be poised to take over in New York if the club does not make a splash with a known, big league commodity. Binghamton manager Tim Teufel may be a dark horse, but his time could come a bit further down the road.

7. Has the philosophy of rushing prospects changed?

The approach hasn't swung completely in the other direction, but the decision makers have become more guarded in their approach of pushing prospects too fast. Now, Jenrry Mejia is on obvious choice of a prospect that was "rushed" given his assignment to New York out of spring training. Other than Mejia the organization has not made any notable rushed decisions.

Wilmer Flores personifies the changing methodology. Flores was an obvious choice of a player who could have been subjected to the accelerated timetable, but the decision to send Flores back to Savannah to begin the year before moving him up to St. Lucie midseason exemplifies the more measured approach.

8. Which specific position should be watched more closely for development?

Without question it is second base. Luis Castillo is on his way out (and not soon enough for Mets fans) and the organization needs a prospect to step up and fill the void. Ruben Tejada is the likely the solution in the short term, but concerns about his ability to hit consistently at a high enough level could push him out of the role down the road.

2008 first round pick Reese Havens is the most desired player for the position, but he was limited to just 32 games in 2010 and faces an uphill climb. Daniel Murphy returned from a knee injury and began playing second base full time during the Instructional League. In the end, it may be Jordany Valdespin, who has been on the receiving end of favorable promotions, that could be the player to take over second base perhaps in 2012.

9. Which prospects will be ready to contribute at the big league level in 2011?

Jenrry Mejia seems like at least a solid bet to again start the year in the Mets bullpen unless the organization remains committed to developing him as a starter. Depending on how the front office decides to approach the starting rotation, Dillon Gee could be back as a fourth or fifth starter come April. Lucas Duda could open the season as a fourth outfielder.

Otherwise, there isn't a prospect who has yet to play in the big leagues that is right on the fringe of the 25-man roster like Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole were last spring. A hot start by Kirk Nieuwenhuis could get him consideration for a promotion, but the safer bet is that he spends at least the first half in Triple-A. Of course, Fernando Martinez cannot be overlooked if he is able to stay healthy and rip through Triple-A to start the season.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n5. What can be taken away from the 2010 draft?
\r\n
\r\nThe Mets bucked their draft style of 2009 which was to go young in the draft. In 2010, the organization committed a complete 180 from that approach. The Mets' first five picks this year all hailed from major collegiate programs. Top pick Matt Harvey, third round pick Blake Forsythe, fourth round pick Cory Vaughn, fifth round pick Matt Den Dekker and sixth round pick Greg Peavey all played their college ball at major Division I programs. Collegiate players ruled the draft board further down the list with Akeel Morris being the lone high school player selected in the first 20 rounds.
\r\n
\r\nWhat does this mean? It means the philosophy for this draft was selecting players who hopefully will require shorter development timelines. Harvey signed at the deadline and thus did not pitch a single inning this season, but obviously headlines the draft as a power pitcher the Mets' hope will be in New York sooner than later.
\r\n
\r\n6. Will the next manager of the Mets come from the farm system?
\r\n
\r\nThis question became a hot topic with the increasing chatter about Wally Backman making the jump from Brooklyn to New York next season. The decision whether or not Backman will be the next Mets manager will come in due time, but for now the organizational managing tree should remain intact unless Jerry Manuel's successor is hired from the farm. The choices? Backman for one, but Triple-A Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell could be another. Oberkfell has coaching experience with the big league team and could be poised to take over in New York if the club does not make a splash with a known, big league commodity. Binghamton manager Tim Teufel may be a dark horse, but his time could come a bit further down the road.
\r\n
\r\n7. Has the philosophy of rushing prospects changed?
\r\n
\r\nThe approach hasn't swung completely in the other direction, but the decision makers have become more guarded in their approach of pushing prospects too fast. Now, Jenrry Mejia is on obvious choice of a prospect that was \"rushed\" given his assignment to New York out of spring training. Other than Mejia the organization has not made any notable rushed decisions.
\r\n
\r\nWilmer Flores personifies the changing methodology. Flores was an obvious choice of a player who could have been subjected to the accelerated timetable, but the decision to send Flores back to Savannah to begin the year before moving him up to St. Lucie midseason exemplifies the more measured approach.
\r\n
\r\n8. Which specific position should be watched more closely for development?
\r\n
\r\nWithout question it is second base. Luis Castillo is on his way out (and not soon enough for Mets fans) and the organization needs a prospect to step up and fill the void. Ruben Tejada is the likely the solution in the short term, but concerns about his ability to hit consistently at a high enough level could push him out of the role down the road.
\r\n
\r\n2008 first round pick Reese Havens is the most desired player for the position, but he was limited to just 32 games in 2010 and faces an uphill climb. Daniel Murphy returned from a knee injury and began playing second base full time during the Instructional League. In the end, it may be Jordany Valdespin, who has been on the receiving end of favorable promotions, that could be the player to take over second base perhaps in 2012.
\r\n
\r\n9. Which prospects will be ready to contribute at the big league level in 2011?
\r\n
\r\nJenrry Mejia seems like at least a solid bet to again start the year in the Mets bullpen unless the organization remains committed to developing him as a starter. Depending on how the front office decides to approach the starting rotation, Dillon Gee could be back as a fourth or fifth starter come April. Lucas Duda could open the season as a fourth outfielder.
\r\n
\r\nOtherwise, there isn't a prospect who has yet to play in the big leagues that is right on the fringe of the 25-man roster like Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole were last spring. A hot start by Kirk Nieuwenhuis could get him consideration for a promotion, but the safer bet is that he spends at least the first half in Triple-A. Of course, Fernando Martinez cannot be overlooked if he is able to stay healthy and rip through Triple-A to start the season.
\r\n
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