Minor League Players of the Week - 4/11-4/17

The Mets' farm teams, sprinkled throughout the East coast, have been hot, showing off the burgeoning depth that GM Jim Duquette and farm director Kevin Morgan have worked to put together over the past two years.<br> <br> In order to take a closer look at the top prospects and top performers for these Minor League teams, NYFansonly will be naming each respective team's "Player of the Week". The following is the first edition of the awards, given for the week of April 11th through April 17th.

Triple A Norfolk: Craig Brazell, 1B

Stuck behind the logjam of Mike Piazza and Jason Phillips at the first base position in New York, Brazell, who spent last year at AA Binghamton, continues to make his statement for time on the Major League roster, whether it is at 1B or OF. Brazell, a powerful left-handed bat, hit .363 in 22 at bats, slammed five homeruns, drove one double, scored six and drove in eight; he had a eye-popping 1.091 SLG%. Brazell hit two homeruns on Saturday to put a lock on the player of the week award.

The knock on Brazell continues to be his lack of patience at the plate, as he rarely walks. This problem followed him to Virginia, as he has yet to draw a walk for the Tides. Brazell had six strikeouts this week, so he'll have to refine his eye and continue his massive power surge.

Double A Binghamton: David Wright, 3B

Perhaps the best third basemen in the whole organization, including the big team in Flushing, David Wright has been on a continued hot streak since the middle of last season, when team officials had him tone down his pre-game workout regimen.

Wright was given an extended look at Major League Spring Training, hitting .353/.450/.412 in 17 ABs, hitting a double, driving in a run and scoring three more. After he impressed manager Art Howe and the rest of the Mets' brass, he went down and continued to hit at the Minor League complex, this time for clips of .333/.458/.718, slamming three homeruns, one triple and four doubles.

Although he cooled down a bit this past week, he still hit .333 in 24 ABs, including five doubles along with two walks. David drove in four and scored two. The week saw him put up a .429 OBP, thanks in part to two HBPs, and a .542 SLG%, for a .971 OPS.

Wright brings the total package, and leaves the content on the field. Not only a great physical talent, Wright rebounded from two O-fers on Thursday and Friday to crack two doubles and drive in two runs on Saturday. Expect to see him named AA player of the week very, very often- at least until he is eligible for the same award at AAA Norfolk.

Single A+ St. Lucie: Tie- Miguel Pinango, RHP and Brett Harper, 1B

The first hurler to earn the NYF POW nod, Pinango exhibited the excellent control that has been his trademark since the Mets signed him out of Venezuela in 1999. In two starts, Pinango threw ten innings, and did not issue a base on balls. He also put up surprising strikeout numbers, K-ing nine in those ten innings. While he did give up ten hits, Pinango was able to limit the damage to three earned runs, giving him a 2.70 ERA for the week.

Pinango figures to spend most of his time at St. Lucie, as he is behind teammate Scott Kazmir in the line for the next promotion to AA Binghamton, whose rotation already features highly regarded prospects Matt Peterson, Neal Musser, and Jose Diaz.

Harper showed both power and a patient batting eye, swatting four doubles and walking five times this week. He hit .409/.519/.591 in 22 ABs, scored six runs and drove in seven. The twenty-two year old hit .310 at four different levels last year, and is continuing a torrid spring in which he hit .440/.491/.940 with seven homeruns, two doubles and a triple, drove in 15 and scored 11 in 50 ABs at minor league camp.

Harper should end the year at AA, especially because the Mets need to push 23-year old Tyler Davidson, currently at A- Cap City, quickly through the system. Binghamton has no legit prospect starting at first base right now, so if he continues his hot start, Harper could find himself there sooner than later.

Single A- Capital City: Ian Bladergroen, 1B

Bladergroen, a 2002 22nd round draft pick that signed last season out of Lamar Community College (Col.) as a draft-and-follow, continued a power tear, blasting four homeruns and driving in twelve. "The Blade", as he is known, also drove a double and a triple, and along with his four singles, hit .417/.444/1.042(!!!) in 24 ABs.

At Short Season A Brooklyn last season, Bladergroen hit .285/.364/.416 with 6 HR, 3 3B and 12 2B in spacious Keyspan Park, overlooking the famed Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster and beach. Like the rest of his NYF POW award winners, Bladergroen torched pitching this spring, going .394/.524/.667 with a homer, 4 2Bs and a triple. In addition, he walked seven times, all this coming in 33 ABs.

Bladergroen figures to split the year between Cap City and St. Lucie, depending on the advancement of Tyler Davidson and Brett Harper. It is conceivable that one or both of them could be moved up to AA Binghamton, thus opening up 1B at St. Lucie for the Blade.

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