2003 Mets' Minor League Hitter of The Year

Take a look with the NYfansonly.com Mets' writers to see who the better minor league hitters were in the 2003 season. This list is not about who the better prospect is or who will be the better major leaguer. This list is based only on what they did in the 2003 season. Each writer lists their top five and then expands on their selections (and other notes) below.

And the Winner Is...

3B David Wright! David Wright (23 points) easily beat C Michael Jacobs (16 points) in our voting system using the following formula: 5 points for 1st place votes, 4 points for 2nd place votes, 3 points for 3rd place votes, 2 points for 4th place votes, and 1 point for 5th place votes. Not too far behind Jacobs was 3B Aaron Baldiris, who came in 3rd place with 10 points. Eight different players were selected among the panel's "Top Five".

Mets Minor League Hitter of the Year


Rank

Patrick Teale

Calvin Young

Dan Troy

Kyle Smith

Darren Uscianowski

1

David Wright

Michael Jacobs

David Wright

Michael Jacobs

David Wright

2

Michael Jacobs

David Wright

Justin Huber

David Wright Marcos Scutaro

3

Aaron Baldiris

Aaron Baldiris

Victor Diaz

Justin Huber Matt Watson

4

Tyler Davidson

Craig Brazell

Aaron Baldiris

Aaron Baldiris Justin Huber

5

Victor Diaz

Tyler Davidson

Michael Jacobs

Victor Diaz Michael Jacobs


Patrick Teale
...3B David Wright put together a monster season in the very, pitcher friendly Florida State League. Forget his .270 average! Some might even be turned off by his 15 home runs. Don't be! Wright posted some gaudy numbers at St. Lucie this season. At just 20 years old, Wright lead the Florida State League in doubles (39) and tied for the lead in extra-base hits (56), was third in slugging percentage (.459), and fourth in on-base percentage (.369). Add in the fact that he stole 19 bases in 24 attempts and that he is very good defensively, you have a recipe for a successful season. It will be interesting to see how Wright does in AA next season.

D. Henson
Michael Jacobs: Despite sharing catching duties, Jacobs still found time to club 17 home runs and 36 doubles this season.
Sooner or later scouts are going to have to start recognizing the talents of C Michael Jacobs. Jacobs, seemingly always in a platoon with another catching prospect (John Wilson and Justin Huber this season), continues to play well despite a lack of consistent at-bats. Jacobs really raked the ball in 2003, hitting .329-17-81 with 36 doubles in just 407 at-bats. His walk ratio and lack of speed (it would be an interesting foot race between he and Jason Phillips) are the two negatives to Jacobs' game this season. John Stearns and Gary Carter worked with Jacobs on his defense.

3B Aaron Baldiris also had a deceivingly good season in 2003. His numbers (.322 6-86) at Capital City and Brooklyn are not eye-popping, but very steady. Baldiris sported an on-base percentage over .400 and stole 15 bases in 22 attempts between his two stops. If Baldiris keeps putting together season like this, he's going to make the Mets have an interesting problem down the road (since Wright plays 3B as well). OF Tyler Davidson is a monster...both in stature (6'4", 240 lbs) and with his stats. Davidson rocked the Appalachian League to the tune of a .669 slugging percentage (29 extra base hits in just 172 at-bats). Davidson's slugging percentage was .120 points higher than the second place guy (.549). 2B Victor Diaz was not an easy choice at number five. There were a couple of people who I could have chosen here: Craig Brazell, Justin Huber...but I decided not to punish Diaz simply for not playing his entire season in the Mets organization. Diaz, who came over to the Mets organization from the Dodgers in the Jeromy Burnitz trade, hit a combined .317-16-77 (.354-6-23 in 45 games for the Mets) with 31 doubles and 15 stolen bases. Now if the Mets could just teach him some defense, Diaz could challenge Danny Garcia at 2B for the Mets down the road.

Calvin Young
...Aaron Baldiris, a 20-year old who plays both 1B and 3B, continued his stellar hitting in 2003. At Brooklyn and Columbia, Baldiris combined for (.322, 6, 86). He demonstrated remarkable plate discipline with 65 BB and 68 K. He had combined 36 extra-base hits and had a combined 15 SB in 22 SBA. He had combined OBP of .403 and SLG of .435. He also can add strength to his upper body to eventually generate greater power production.

Craig Brazell, a 23-year old who plays 1B, had a good season at Binghamton in 2002 where he was plagued by Bell's Palsy and bad knees that caused him to miss more than 3 weeks. At Binghamton and Norfolk, Brazell combined for (.289, 17, 77). He displayed slightly improved plate discipline with 24 BB and 105 K. Brazell who suffers from bad knees at times was rated the top defensive first baseman in the Eastern League. I wouldn't project any major league gold gloves for him, but when healthy he'll be a good defensive first baseman. He stole 3 bases in 4 attempts. Again, when healthy Brazell runs well for a man his size. Brazell also has physical projectibility in that he can add another 10-15 lbs. of useful muscle. Ty Davidson, a 22-year old outfielder, had a remarkable season at the Mets 2 low short-season affiliates (.332, 11, 40). Aside from the HRs, Davidson had an extraordinary 13 doubles and 8 triples in only a combined 218 AB at Brooklyn and Kingsport - an off the charts XBA of 0.147. Davidson is fast for a player his size 6'4", 240 lbs - he also stole 7 bases in 9 attempts. He possesses the best tools in the system after Lastings Milledge. He displayed an adequate plate discipline of 20 BB and 50 K - an acceptable 2.5 K/BB ratio. Considering that Davidson missed the 2002 season with wrist surgery, his debut was remarkable despite his advanced age for those levels. Nonetheless, despite the tools, Davidson can't be considered a top prospect until he passes the AA test, since he'll be old for A levels in 2004.

Mike Jacobs, a 22-year old, left-handed hitting catcher, broke through in 2002 with an exceptional season at Binghamton (.329, 17, 81). He had 36 doubles and 1 triple in 406 AB - an XBA of 0.133. Jacobs received limited AB because he shared catching duties with John Wilson early in the season and Justin Huber later in the season. Jacobs needs to improve his plate discipline - 28 BB and 87 K. Jacobs didn't steal a base in 3 attempts - he's slow enough to be endangered of losing a race to a tortoise without being overconfident. He finished 2nd in BA and 1st in SLG at 0.548 in the Eastern League. Only Davidson's 0.669 SLG at Kingsport was the only Mets farmhand with a better SLG who had at least 150 AB.

David Wright, a 20-year old third baseman, had a very strong finish leading to another fine season at St. Lucie (.270, 15, 79). Wright had 39 doubles and 2 triples in 466 AB - a XBA of 0.120 in pitcher friendly Florida State League. Wright possesses extraordinary plate discipline with 72 BB and 98K. Wright plays excellent defense and stole 19 bases in 24 attempts. Wright is among the most fundamentally sound players in the system who despite a lack of great speed is a real good base runner along the lines of a Paul O'Neil. Until Milledge or Davidson prove otherwise, Wright is the best all-around player in the Mets farm system. Additionally, Wright is a hard-nosed, intense player that the old-timers (like myself) will love to watch the game played the way it was meant to be.

I vote for Michael Jacobs as the Mets minor league position player of the year. Jacobs just had a remarkable season while playing the tough catcher position that he shared with Wilson and Huber over the course of the season. Jacobs performance justified the award over the all-around and post-season play of David Wright. I didn't consider Victor Diaz at all, since he only played about 6 weeks in the Mets farm system which should certainly disqualify him for any consideration.

Dan Troy
...You could probably flip the top 2, but I'll give the nod to Wright for his awesome walk rate, his excellent defense, and for smacking 56 extra base hits at age 20 in the soggy FSL. Huber continues to show a fine bat for a catcher, though his throwing still needs work. Wright's superior defense and walk rate made the difference for me. While Diaz's prospect stock is highly dependent on his ability to remain at 2B, he certainly had a great year with the bat, particularly for a 21-year old at AA. He'll need to pick up that walk rate, though, as he won't hit .350 in the big leagues. Badiris affirmed his status as an emerging 3B with a fine age 20 season in the SAL. Love that nearly 1 to 1 BB to K ratio and .396 OBP. If the power develops, he'll get a lot more attention next year. Jacobs simply rocked at Binghamton this year. A 22-year old catcher that posts a .329/.376/.548 season in AA deserves notice. Indeed, he outhit the overhyped Craig Brazell by a healthy margin. He needs to improve his plate discipline, show he can handle the position defensively, and assure us his 2003 season wasn't a fluke by performing well next year to get himself on the radar screen.

Kyle Smith
...1) Mike Jacobs - Dominated AA, hitting for average and power.

2) David Wright - Superb peripherals, and good counting stats as well. Extreme pitcher's league masks his performance.

3) Justin Huber - Another solid year, although he did seem to tire towards the end of the season again.

4) Aaron Baldiris - Put up very strong discipline numbers in a pitcher's league at a young age. Power numbers were lacking early, but he started to show more towards the end.

5) Victor Diaz - Only 175 AB, but he flat out raked. Very impressive debut to the Mets system.

Darren Uscianowski ...1) David Wright, 3b, A - St. Lucie Mets .270/.369/.459 BA/OBP/SLG

Though he hit but .270, Wright's peripherals outclass any competitor for the MLHOY crown. He displayed excellent discipline and projectible power, as he walked in 13.1 percent of his plate appearances (72 walks in 549 PA) and had an impressive 44.4 percent of his hits go for extra bases. Wright led the Class A South Atlantic League with 39 doubles in 466 AB, and added 15 home runs.

2) Marcos Scutaro, INF, AAA - Norfolk Tides, .311/.401/.520

Though he is not a prospect on account of his age (27) and looking not in the Mets plans despite the fact he is as good an in-system option for second base in 2004 as anyone (Victor Diaz not being ready), Scutaro tore the cover off the ball in 244 AB at AAA Norfolk. He hit for average (.311), displayed patience (walked in 11.1 percent of his PA), and hit for power (39.5 percent of hits going for extra bases).

3) Matt Watson, OF, AAA - Norfolk Tides .295/.366/.504 AA - Binghamton Mets .393/.452/.607

A possibly overlooked prospect in the system, an OF acquired from the Expos in the Scott Strickland trade, Watson put up an impressive season in a year marred by injury. In 254 AB at AAA after scalding the AA Eastern League in 28 AB, he hit for average (.295), posted an acceptable walk rate at 7.9 %, and hit for excellent power as exactly 40 percent of his hits went for extra bases.

D. Henson
Justin Huber: In just 50 games for St. Lucie, Huber hit 15 doubles and 9 home runs.
4) Justin Huber, C, AA - Binghamton Mets .264/.350/.425 A - St. Lucie Mets .284/.370/.514

Splitting the year between class A St. Lucie and class AA Binghamton, Huber posted solid peripherals at both levels. His walk percentage was nearly identical - 8.1% at St. Lucie, 8.5% at Binghamton. At both levels, he showed a willingness to sacrifice his body for the greater good, getting hit by a total of 16 pitches in fewer than 400 AB. In 183 AB at St. Lucie, his power surpassed Wright's, as he hit 46.2 percent of his knocks for extra bases. After his promotion, his XBH% remained solid at 37.3 % in 193 AB.

5) Mike Jacobs, C, AA - Binghamton Mets, .329/.376/.548

The "other" catcher prospect in the Mets system not already in the bigs (hello Jason Phillips), Jacobs posted a stat line that screams for attention. His average was without flaw at .329. His power was immune from rebuke, as he launched 40.3 percent of his hits for multiple bases. However his walk rate was flawed - in only 6.2 percent of his PA did he take a free pass. Hence, he falls to fifth on this list.

Mark Healey
...C Mike Jacobs - .329, 17 HRs, 81 RBIs

The left-handed slugger broke out in just his third year of pro ball. All of his offensive numbers were career-highs. Though his Ks (87) dwarfed his walk totals (28), his pitch recognition has gotten better in each of his minor league seasons. He's not as highly thought off in the organization as a catcher as uber-phenom Justin Huber, but there is little difference between the two behind the dish.

Jacobs, who hit .347 (34-for-98) in the final 25 games last season with Single-A St. Lucie to lift his average from .229 to .251, is a gamer that works as hard as any player in the entire organization.

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