Scouting Mets' Prospect #16: Aarom Baldiris

The New York Mets signed third baseman Aarom Baldiris as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 1999 and has earned the reputation as one of the Mets' best contact hitters at the minor league level. Ranking #16 among the Top 50 Mets' prospects, here's a scouting report on Aarom Baldiris.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Aarom Baldiris
Position: Third Base
DOB: January 5, 1983
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Aarom Baldiris, with his first name ending in "m", spent the first few years in the Mets' organization known as "Aaron" as everyone spelled his name incorrectly. Aarom, who is named after his mother Moraima (his name is spelled backwards, "Mora" with an extra "a"), grew up in the same part of Venezuela as fellow Mets' farmhands Edgar Alfonzo Jr. and Miguel Pinango. In fact, as Pinango and Baldiris played on the same team together in St. Lucie in 2003, the two have played together since they were five years old. Baldiris broke in playing for the Universidad de Carabobo with the Mets in the Venezuelan Summer League where he wound up hitting .353 with 7 homeruns and 35 RBI. He finished tied for second in the VSL with his 7 homeruns and wound up second in the league in RBI.

After finishing tied for third in home runs and sixth in batting average in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2002, Baldiris was sent to the Kingsport Mets to finish out the season where he wound up finishing eighth in batting average and earning an Appalachian League All-Star nomination. Baldiris finished fifth in the South Atlantic League in batting average and second in on-base percentage in 2003, earning himself the Sterling Award as the Bombers' most outstanding player. He hit .380 against left-handed pitching and despite finishing the 2003 campaign with the Cyclones the last month of the season, he still finished the year leading the Bombers in hits, walks, triples, and RBI, earning his second straight All-Star nomination when he was voted as the SAL All-Star utility player.

Baldiris was promoted to high-A with the St. Lucie Mets in 2004 as the starting third baseman and once again displayed is excellent hitting skills, hitting .305 but managed just 24 extra-base hits from a power hitting position. Not just a one way player, Baldiris was also named by Baseball America and other organizations as the top rated defensive third baseman in the Florida State League in 2004. Baldiris, at the tender age of 21 years old, made his AA debut with the Binghamton Mets later in the year and hit below .300 for the first time in his career, albeit in just 21 games. In just three short seasons in the Mets' minor league system, Baldiris has earned the reputation as a professional hitter and an excellent defender.




























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* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Baldiris was one of two regulars to play in the Florida State League and bat over .300, a notorious pitchers' league. Baldiris is more of a line drive hitter that uses all fields. He has an excellent eye at the plate and his approach has been compared to that of fellow Met, Edgardo Alfonzo. He's a very good contact hitter, but his one downfall has been his lack of power, especially coming from a power hitting position like third base. In '04, Baldiris had a stretch of 35 games where he managed just two extra-base hits. His lack of power at third base is the reason the Mets have considered moving him to second base, a position he was moved to during the 2004 Instructional Leagues. But Baldiris can really rake and has been compared to Dave Magadan by some scouts as the same type of hitter - good contact, very little power. He only turns 22 years old in January so the power still has a chance to develop.

Base Running and Speed. Baldiris has decent speed and will steal the occasional base here and there. Entering the 2005 season, Baldiris has a 64% career base stealing percentage, which puts him at about average in that department. He's got good baseball instincts and is a smart base runner, but he's moved to second base, he would rate as having below average speed.

Defense. Was named the best defensive third baseman in the Florida State League in 2004. He's very good at picking the balls out of the dirt on short hops and plays very well behind the third base line. It's his defensive skills at third base that has been the main reason why he has not been switched to another position yet. He has the range, quickness, and skills to play second base.

Projection. The bottom line is Baldiris projects to be a starting second baseman at the Major League level if he can make the transition defensively, as most scouts agree he could. He simply does not provide enough offensive power to project as an everyday third baseman in the Majors. He's such an excellent contact hitter with a tremendous eye at the plate that the Mets are going to be forced to find a spot for him in the lineup. If he's moved over to second base, he has the potential to be a very good regular player. His bat is too good to project as a utility player, especially if he improves some on his power. With David Wright ahead of him at third base, and with Shawn Bowman on the horizon, the move to second base only makes sense.

ETA. 2007. With Matsui already locked up for two more years, there will not be a need to rush Baldiris but he could be ready sooner than '07 if need be. He'll be in AA-Binghamton in 2005 and all eyes will be on his progress at second base, if in fact he's moved over there.

Third Basemen

2004 Team

Rodney Nye

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Chris Basak AA - Binghamton Mets
Aarom Baldiris A - St. Lucie Mets
Jay Caligiuri A - St. Lucie Mets
Shawn Bowman A - Capital City Bombers
Grant Psomas A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Travis Garcia R - Kingsport Mets
Nick Evans R - GCL Mets


Even after David Wright making it all the way to Shea Stadium, the Mets have some good third base prospects, especially at the lower levels. Shawn Bowman leads the pack and could eventually force the Mets to move David Wright to another position down the road. Nick Evans look like good power hitting third basemen that have chances to be a special prospect down the road. Here's a rundown of the Mets' third base prospects:

1) Rodney Nye - After being the Mets' 7th round pick in the '99 draft, Nye just completed his sixth minor league season with the Mets. It's not clear whether or not he'll be back with the Mets in 2005. Nye's been a solid minor leaguer but does not fit in the Mets' plans.

2) Chris Basak - Originally drafted as a shortstop, Basak had the unenviable task of replacing David Wright at third base in Binghamton after Wright was promoted to Norfolk this past season. Basak is a solid player that can play 3B, SS, and 2B. He could prove to be a very useful utility player for the Mets.

3) Aarom Baldiris - Baldiris is an excellent contact hitter but does not provide the power needed from a power hitting position. With Wright locked in at third base and with Shawn Bowman on the horizon, Baldiris needs a new position. He could make a move to second base to get his bat into the lineup and give the Mets a decent second base prospect.

4) Jay Caligiuri - Originally drafted as a third baseman, Caligiuri has played some first base as well. If Baldiris does move to second base next season, chances are Caligiuri will be the everyday 3B for Binghamton. He's got good power potential and a good eye at the plate. He could become good trade bait at some point.

5) Shawn Bowman - A defensive wizard at third base, Bowman has the talent to be as productive as David Wright someday. He has excellent power projection and is only going to get better as he matures. He's the top 3B prospect in the Mets' system and one of the best third base prospects in all of baseball.

6) Grant Psomas - Like Bowman, Psomas was drafted as a shortstop and immediately moved to third base to begin his professional career. Psomas has intriguing power but will have to hit his way through the system to make some noise as a prospect.

7) Travis Garcia - Drafted in the 21st round of the 2003 draft out of Iona College, Garcia has decent power and a good eye at the plate. Like Psomas, Garcia's a little old for his level and is going to have to produce at the higher levels to be considered a legit prospect.

8) Nick Evans - Drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft out of high school, Evans has the chance to be a very special prospect in the Mets' farm system. He has big time power potential but needs some work defensively. He's the Mets' second best third base prospect behind Bowman, but has the potential to make a name for himself in a couple of years.

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