Final 2004 Scouting Report: 2B, Blake Whealy

The New York Mets selected Blake Whealy in the 13th round of the 2002 draft out of Evansville University where he led the team in home runs (13) and stolen bases (18) as a junior. A product of good baseball genes, Whealy's father Patrick played in the Dodgers' farm system. Here is a scouting report on the Bombers' second baseman, Blake Whealy.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Blake Whealy
Position: Second Base
DOB: May 27, 1980
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Born in San Benito, Texas, Whealy was the middle child of two athletically inclined parents. His father played baseball while his mother did tennis-- both competed at the collegiate level, with Blake's father a former prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers' system. When Blake was seven, his family moved to Chicago where he took up baseball as a summer sport and the rest as they say, is history. Blake began his collegiate baseball career with the Texas A&M Aggies and was part of College World Series' Championship his freshman year. After not getting very much playing time in his sophomore season, Whealy transferred to Evansville before being selected by the Mets in the 2002 draft.

Whealy made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2002 and quickly became a team and fan favorite for the Cyclones with his gritty play in the field and at the plate. He quickly showed his power by hitting ten home runs in his first taste of pro ball. He also displayed good base running skills and good speed, stealing nine bases in eleven attempts. In 2003 he really struggled with striking out and those struggles chipped away as his confidence. Despite leading the Capital City Bombers in home runs (12), Whealy was sent back to Brooklyn last season and struggled the rest of the way.

In his three years in the Mets' organization, Whealy has shown the glimpses of power and speed that made him such a good ball player in college. Ever since being drafted Whealy has worked really hard to improve his patience at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts to make that next leap offensively. And after struggling in his first two pro seasons, Whealy finally put it all together in 2004. He set career highs in every offensive category and was the clubhouse leader. As he was at Evansville, Whealy is always looked upon as the charismatic leader of any team he plays for. "He works hard every day and he's the type of guy that, if you're down and you're not having good day or something's going wrong in your life, he's a person you can go talk to. He's always positive; he's never got anything negative, even if he's having a bad day," says his former teammate Shane Hawk.

After struggling mightily in the first part of the 2004 season with the Bombers, Whealy was Capital City's most consistent hitter the second half of the season and helped them to the South Atlantic League playoffs before falling in the championship. It was a tale of two seasons for Whealy. He could not get his average over .200 for the first 40 or so games, flailing away at every ball thrown to him. Then something just clicked! He began hitting everything in sight and his finals numbers were a complete 180 turnaround from the start of the year.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Capital City

.281

427

120

23

82

100

10

67

126

.387

.541

2003

Capital City

.257

241

62

12

41

47

9

34

85

.352

.485

2003

Brooklyn

.247

182

45

2

26

24

7

20

63

.329

.363

2002

Brooklyn

.289

204

59

10

34

32

9

21

58

.361

.534


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. As evident from his 2004 totals, Whealy has plus power for a middle infielder. He has tirelessly worked on his patience and selectivity at the plate and if his 2004 numbers are any indication, Whealy has the look of a late bloomer. He has excellent power and a decent eye at the plate. In fact, he's the Mets' 2B prospect with the most power of anyone in the system. He could be the type of player that annually hits 20+ home runs at each level with around a .280 average.

Base Running and Speed. Whealy is not your typical middle infielder. While he does have good speed, he's not a Luis Castillo type that could steal 30 bases each year. He's a smart base runner and is excellent at picking his spots to steal a base. He's like Kevin McReynolds in that respect. If you're napping on the mound, Whealy is as good as gone.

Defense. Used as more of a utility player in his first two professional seasons, 2004 was Whealy's first full season as a second baseman. He has decent range and soft hands. As he did with his strikeout totals, Whealy really worked hard on turning the double play in 2004. He's not the best defensive second baseman going, but Whealy is more than solid at that position. He also has the ability to play shortstop and third base if needed, showing an excellent arm.

Projection. Whealy, who was 24 years old this past season, was quite old for low-A ball. So while his numbers were really good this past season, frankly, he should have done that well considering his age in relation to the other players in the league. He'll have to prove that 2004 was no fluke and duplicate those same numbers at the higher levels in a hurry. Whealy might be challenged in 2005 and send directly to AA-Binghamton because of his great success in 2004 and because of his age. Because of the age factor, Whealy projects to be a useful utility player at the Major League level and will most likely be overlooked as a legit second base prospect.

ETA. 2006. It all depends on how he is challenged in 2005. If he can show success at AA-Binghamton next year, Whealy could find himself at Shea Stadium in 2006 as a very useful utility player. Think Joe McEwing with a lot more pop in his bat.

Second Basemen

2004 Team

Danny Garcia

AAA - Norfolk Tides

David Bacani

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Chris Basak AA - Binghamton Mets
Chase Lambin AA - Binghamton Mets
Robert McIntyre A - St. Lucie Mets
Wilson Batista A - St. Lucie Mets
Blake Whealy A - Capital City Bombers
Matt Fisher A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Kevin Rios A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Marcos Cabral R - Kingsport Mets
Bryan Zech R - Kingsport Mets
Todd Dulaney R - GCL Mets
Armand Gaerlan R - GCL Mets


Comments

The Mets are loaded with possible Major League utility men at second base for them in the minors. Garcia, Bacani, and Basak all have the look of utility players and possible situational hitters down the road. Chase Lambin is the one second base prospect that could wind up being a starting second baseman at the Major League level, but it's more likely he'll be #1 on the utility prospect depth chart. Blake Whealy is the most intriguing second base prospect. He can be a great utility player down the road if he doesn't make the leap as a starting second baseman. There's a decent chance that the Mets might move a shortstop prospect or two over to second base. Here's a quick breakdown the Mets' first base prospects:

1) Danny Garcia - Garcia has been the victim of the New York-Norfolk shuffle, enough so that it has been tough to find consistent at-bats. He's consistent enough at the plate, with good gap power, and solid in the field. Garcia's a legit Major League prospect, but most likely as a utility player and pinch-hitter. Think Joe McEwing with more pop.

2) David Bacani - Nicknamed "Pound for Pound" by his teammates, Bacani gets the most out of his size. At just 5'7", Bacani is a good hitter with some decent power and was among the Eastern League leaders in hitting this past season. He's probably too small to be an everyday starting 2B at the Major League level, but don't tell him that. Bacani can be a very good backup player in the Majors.

3) Chris Basak - Basak is another prospect that has the look of a very useful utility player at the Major League level. He can play 2B, SS, and 3B. He's a decent hitter with adequate power and good speed on the base paths.

4) Chase Lambin - Talk about your logjams. Lambin is another very good utility prospect in the Mets' system but has perhaps the best chance (among Basak, Bacani, and Garcia) to be a Major League starting second baseman. He got some time in at first base and third base at the Instructs this fall. He's a leader in the clubhouse and on the field and is easily one of the hardest workers among all Mets' prospects.

5) Robert McIntyre - Time is running out for McIntyre as a 2B prospect. So much so, he was tested as a possible pitcher in the Instructional Leagues this fall. He's a non-factor as a legit prospect at the plate after hitting .208 for the St. Lucie Mets this past season.

6) Wilson Batista - Batista logged more games in at SS but a permanent switch to 2B is not far off. Blessed with great speed, Batista has a good batting eye and has shown flashes of being able to be a consistent hitter atop the lineup. He only needs some more seasoning before being able to make that leap into the next category of good prospects.

7) Blake Whealy - Perhaps the best Major League 2B prospect in the Mets' farm system, Whealy has shown excellent power for a middle infielder and that should aid his cause as he rises through the ranks. He turned around his season after a disastrous start and got a lot of scouts to sit up and take notice with his strong finish to the 2004 season. Whether or not he makes it to Shea, chances are he'd be a great piece in a future trade at minimum on the strength of his bat.

8) Matthew Fisher - Fisher is a decent power hitter for a guy his size (5'9"). Solid in the field, Fisher has the look of a late round draft pick (33rd round in '04) that could defy the odds and make some noise in the prospect ranks. He reminds some scouts of Marcus Giles for his stature and approach at the plate.

9) Kevin Rios - Rios has more potential than he's shown thus far. Right now he has the look of a very useful utility player, able to play most infield positions. Think Danny Garcia with a little more power potential. He still has a chance to be a good 2B prospect for the Mets.

10) Marcos Cabral - Cabral has decent gap power and could prove to be a useful infield utility player down the road. He does not project to be a Major League starting second baseman at this time.

11) Bryan Zech - A Florida State product, Zech's baptism to professional baseball and the wooden bat did not go over well this past season. He did not show the same promise he had at FSU (.342-8-46-9). We'll see what he can do next season as he's better than his numbers suggest.

12) Todd Dulaney - Dulaney is steady. He's steady on the field and at the plate. The problem is he does not have the look of a difference maker at the plate in the early going.

13) Armand Gaerlan - Despite playing 2B, SS, and 3B, Gaerlan has the look of a future second base prospect in the Mets' farm system. He committed way too many errors this past season and looks more comfortable at second base. Gaerlan has good speed and an excellent batting eye. He could be a good leadoff hitter as he matures.

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