Scouting Mets' Prospect #28: Wayne Lydon

The New York Mets drafted outfielder Wayne Lydon with their 9th round pick in the 1999 draft out of Valley View High School in Jessup, PA. Lydon is one of the fastest players in baseball and has developed his all-around game the last couple of seasons. It's this reason that Lydon ranks #28 on our Top 50 Mets' Prospects list.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Wayne Lydon
Position: Center Field
DOB: April 17, 1981
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Wayne Lydon was drafted by the Mets on the strength of his blazing speed. After signing in June of 1999, the Mets sent Lydon to the Gulf Coast League to make his professional debut. He had an inauspicious beginning to his career, hitting just .183 in 37 games for the GCL Mets. He didn't get to showcase his speed until his second season when he stole as many bases (35) as he had hits (35) for the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League. A right-handed batter in high school, the Mets then realized Lydon was never going to hit for power and began his progression towards switch-hitting at the Instructional Leagues following the 2000 season to better utilize his great speed.

As is the case with every young player learning to hit from a different side of the plate, Lydon struggled in 2001 in two stops between Kingsport and Brooklyn. Despite struggling offensively, the Mets were impressed with his defensive abilities and tremendous range in the outfield. 2002 was Lydon's breakout year offensively. After having one full year of switch-hitting under his belt, Lydon became more comfortable at the plate, hitting a career-high .294 for the Capital City Bombers. "I spent a lot of time in the batting cage and listened to what my coaches told me and practiced real hard and eventually it paid off. And it's still paying off", Lydon told NYfansonly.com this past season. Being more comfortable at the plate and getting on base at a much higher rate, Lydon was able to burst on to the prospect scene with an organizational high of 87 stolen bases! After making huge strides with switch-hitting, the next task the Mets asked Lydon to improve on was driving the ball more. Despite his breakout season in 2002, Lydon tallied just 14 extra-base hits in almost 500 at-bats. To make that next leap, Lydon was going to have to hit for more power. And that's exactly what Wayne Lydon set out to do at St. Lucie in 2003. After collecting 24 extra-base hits at St. Lucie, Lydon earned a promotion to AA-Binghamton this past season. He once again improved his overall power numbers, hitting a career-high 29 extra-base hits, including a career-high five home runs.

In his six minor league seasons in the Mets' organization, Lydon has done everything asked of him. They asked him to switch-hit. He worked tirelessly to master his craft. They asked him to hit for more power, and he has. "You have to produce if you want to move up. I know there's an opportunity with the big league club in center field. If I want a shot at that spot, I have to produce. That's why I'm making the adjustments", said Lydon. "I've got a shot to make the big league club. What I'm doing down here is closing up any weaknesses now, so that if I get that call I can produce on the big league level. That's what it is all about. I understand the big picture. It isn't about what you do here, its about what you do at the next level. Of course good numbers are nice, because its good for your stock, but the coaches down here are working with me. I'm working hard, and I think everyone understands that I'm trying to put things together to get better."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Binghamton

.271

506

137

5

43

78

65

49

119

.338

.360

2003

St. Lucie

.264

488

129

4

44

83

75

52

96

.342

.346

2002

Capital City

.294

473

139

0

46

93

87

54

104

.368

.334

2001

Brooklyn

.246

57

14

0

1

12

10

7

18

.328

.263

2001

Kingsport

.184

98

18

0

8

14

15

11

35

.266

.255

2000

Kingsport

.203

172

35

3

20

34

35

24

47

-

.291

1999

GCL

.183

60

11

0

5

13

0

7

13

-

.233


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Lydon has come a long way in his progression as a hitter. Once a light-hitting speedster, Lydon has vastly improved and turned himself into a more complete batter. He hits the ball with more authority and has learned to utilize his speed by hitting the ball the other way when he's batting left-handed. Lydon still strikes out a bit too much to be considered a true leadoff hitter. His 2004 numbers at Binghamton are the types of numbers he'll settle in on producing: .270 with about five home runs annually.

Base Running and Speed. Lydon is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, players in the Mets' system. He has the green light to steal bases whenever he's on base. He has stolen 227 bases the last three season and has a better than 81% success rate during that time. Lydon is a game changer on the base paths and pitchers hate facing him in the batter's box because they know they are in trouble if he gets on base.

Defense. Obviously with his tremendous speed, Lydon has awesome range in the outfield. He also gets a good jump on balls hit anywhere near him and is one of the top defensive players in the Mets' system. He also has a terrific arm, giving him the ability to play any of the outfield positions if called upon. Lydon can beat you with his defense.

Projection. For years it appeared Lydon would make the Majors only as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. However, he has progressed very well in his all-around game and there's still the possibility he could reach the Big Leagues as a starting outfielder now that he's hitting the ball with more authority. That said, right now, Lydon projects more as a solid fourth outfielder and terrific bench player. Think Timo Perez for a good MLB comparison, but with a lot more speed.

ETA. 2006. It's hard to believe that Lydon will still only be 24-years old come Opening Day next season. He'll most likely start the year off at AAA-Norfolk, playing left field and center field for the Tides. With another strong season, he should earn a September call-up to the Mets and could figure into their bench plans as early as 2006.

Outfielders

2004 Team

Victor Diaz

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Prentice Redman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Jeff Duncan

AA - Binghamton Mets

Angel Pagan AA - Binghamton Mets
Wayne Lydon AA - Binghamton Mets
Ron Acuna AA - Binghamton Mets
Bobby Malek AA - Binghamton Mets
Alhaji Turay A - St. Lucie Mets
Jonathan Slack A - St. Lucie Mets
Joseph Jiannetti A - St. Lucie Mets
Lastings Milledge A - Capital City Bombers
Jamar Hill A - Capital City Bombers
Ryan Harvey A - Capital City Bombers
Rashad Parker A - Capital City Bombers
Caleb Stewart A - Capital City Bombers
Ambiorix Concepcion A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Corey Coles A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Dante Brinkley A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Derran Watts A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Seith Pietsch R - Kingsport Mets
Carlos Gomez R - Kingsport Mets
Joshua Wyrick R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Gamero R - Kingsport Mets
Horace Lawrence R - Kingsport Mets
Cory Wells R - Gulf Coast Mets
Brahiam Maldonado R - Gulf Coast Mets
Parris Austin R - Gulf Coast Mets
Miguel Garcia R - Gulf Coast Mets


Comments

Two years ago, the Mets were really devoid of any real threat in the outfield among their prospects. They currently have a handful of legitimate outfield prospects, players that could become full-time starters at the Major League level. While Victor Diaz and Prentice Redman are the closest to the Major Leagues, Lastings Milledge, Jamar Hill, and Ambiorix Concepcion give the Mets a very athletic look in the future. The Mets could have a very, very good outfield down the road. (Note: In premium articles, we break down each outfield prospect. Be sure to read our comments on each outfielder in future scouting reports on the outfield prospects).

1) Victor Diaz - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Diaz, making the switch from second base to right field in 2004, looked pretty comfortable in the field and at the plate. There's never been a question about his bat (he has won two minor league battle titles), just his attitude and defense. It will be interesting to see if the Mets make the commitment to Diaz in their outfield after a very good AAA debut in 2004, or use him as a trading piece for an established Major League talent.

2) Prentice Redman - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Redman does a little bit of everything well. He can run, hit, hit for power, and possesses speed. The problem is he doesn't any one of them very well. His future at the Major League level is as a reserve outfielder.

3) Jeff Duncan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Once patrolling centerfield for the Mets, Duncan was demoted all the way down to AA this past season. With Cameron tied up for the next two seasons, and with Milledge right behind him (or ahead of him in many ways), Duncan needs a change of scenery with a new organization.

4) Angel Pagan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Pagan is developing into a very good reserve-type outfielder that can play all three outfield positions and can hit at the top or bottom of the lineup. He make very good contact at the plate, has excellent speed, a good arm, and brings good enthusiasm into the clubhouse.

5) Wayne Lydon - AA -Binghamton Mets - Lydon is all about the speed. With 227 stolen bases the last three seasons, Lydon's a light-hitting defensive player that has a knack for the stolen bases. His ticket to the Majors is as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.

6) Bobby Malek - AA-Binghamton Mets - There's a reason the Mets made Malek their 4th round selection in the 2002 draft. Malek is a very good defensive player that possesses a rare combination of power and speed. After struggling last season after elbow surgery, Malek regained his college form in 2004, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 15 bases. Malek still has the potential to be a starting outfielder at the Major League level. 2005 could be a breakout year for Malek.

7) Ronald Acuna - AA - Binghamton Mets - A very good contact hitter and excellent defensive player, Acuna's lack of power is his downfall as a prospect. He has just 5 HRs in his last 1,441 minor league at-bats. He's a 4th or 5th outfielder at the Major League level.

8) Joseph Jiannetti - A-St. Lucie Mets - Originally drafted as a 3B, the Mets moved him to 2B back in 2002 and then moved him to the outfield in 2004. Jiannetti is a nice hitter with decent pop. He's got the potential to be a reserve outfielder or as a possible utility player.

9) Jonathan Slack - A-St. Lucie Mets - Slack is a good defensive centerfielder much in the same mold as Lydon. Good defensively, decent hitter, great speed, and not much power. He's got the look of a possible reserve outfielder.

10) Alhaji Turay - A - St. Lucie Mets - The talent is there. A good defensive player, Turay has big time power potential and excellent speed. He has 30-30 potential and is easily one of the Mets' best run producing prospects....WHEN HEALTHY! Turay has to put together a full, healthy season before he becomes an elite prospect, but he does have that kind of talent.

11) Jamar Hill - A - Capital City Bombers - Hill, with 26 HRs & 20 SBs in 2004, had a breakout season this past year and showing the promise he displayed in Kingsport back in 2002. If he can duplicate the same success at St. Lucie in 2005, Hill could make that leap into one of the better outfield prospects in all of baseball.

12) Lastings Milledge - A- Capital City Bombers - Already considered the Mets' top prospect after the Mets trade Scott Kazmir, Milledge had a very good first year of long-season baseball. Milledge does it all: power, speed, defense, hitting, etc. He strikes out a bit too much, but could learn more selectivity as he matures. Easily the top outfield prospect for the Mets!

13) Ryan Harvey - A - Capital City Bombers - Harvey certainly gets overlooked by many despite being a very solid outfielder. Harvey, the Bombers' lone All-Star in '04, does a little bit of everything. Currently, he has the look of a reserve outfielder at the Major League level but he could be a late bloomer much in the same manner Jason Bay was. He's one to keep an eye on.

14) Rashad Parker - A - Capital City Bombers - Parker's a defensive and speed replacement at the minor league level. There's no reason to expect anything else.

15) Caleb Stewart - A - Capital City Bombers - Stewart is a big kid that moves very well. He has a very good batting eye and decent power. He could develop into a Major League starting outfielder down the road.

16) Ambiorix Concepcion - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - The player formerly known as Roberto Solano, Concepcion is a five-tool talent that has the raw ability to be an elite outfield prospect for the Mets. Voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in the NY-Penn League this year, Concepcion reminds scouts of Vladmir Guerrero at the same point in development.

17) Corey Coles - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Coles had a tremendous start to the 2004 season for Brooklyn and then had a disasterous finish. At 23, he's going to have to have some success at higher levels before we get too excited about him.

18) Dante Brinkley - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Brinkley is a nice player that can do a little bit of everything. He has the look of a future reserve outfielder.

19) Derran Watts - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Has more speed than Brinkley, a better arm, and is better defensively. But has a long way to go to become legit outfield prospect.

20) Carlos Gomez - R - Kingsport Mets - Gomez was a wide-eyed 18-year old kid playing rookie ball this past season, but has the raw talent to be a special prospect. He's got a cannon for an arm, good batting eye, and developing power. He could be atop this list next year along with Lastings Milledge and Jamar Hill as the Mets' best outfield prospects.

21) Seth Pietsch - R - Kingsport Mets - A little old for the Appy League, Pietsch is a strong kid with good power and speed. He needs to show some success at the higher levels.

22) Joshua Wyrick - R - Kingsport Mets - Wyrick, an 11th round pick in the 2004 draft, had a decent professional debut. He's a speedster with great range.

23) Jesus Gamero - R - Kingsport Mets - Has an excellent batting eye and developing power.

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