Minicamp Q&A with Kevin Morgan

Mets Director of Minor League Operations Kevin Morgan knows just how rich the talent is within New York's farm system – after all, it's his job.<br> <br> Morgan, a former infielder in the Mets organization who played in one game in 1997 before moving to the front office, took time out from his workload to analyze the state of the system.

How satisfied are you with the progress the organization has made in its system?

I'm pleased. I don't know if I'm satisfied – I think we can always get better. I'm pleased with the progress we've made over the last several years and with scouts getting players into the system, and with the vast progression of guys. I think we have some intriguing guys on the way.

What are your thoughts on No. 1 prospect Lastings Milledge and his progression?

Lastings is a kid who came out of high school playing a lot of baseball, and he has a vantage and a passion for the game. He's very athletic and he's progressing well. We have a lot of good staff members working with him who are really refining his game, while letting him play and show his abilities.

What do you say to those who believe that No. 2 prospect Yusmeiro Petit doesn't have the pure "stuff" to compete at the higher levels?

Not everyone in the major leagues has a 95 MPH fastball. A lot of times, it's stuff and pitchability and a guy understanding what he needs to do to get guys out. At some point, that's really what it boils down to. Guys who have the 95 MPH fastball may not get guys out. If you have that combination of 'stuff' and pitchability, hey, that's great. But it's just a matter of whether you can get guys out.

What prospects would you tell the average fan to keep an eye on in the Mets system? Someone who could be a real sleeper?

Somebody like Brian Bannister. A guy like that is really up and coming - he pitched for St. Lucie last year for the most part, then went up to Binghamton for a few games and pitched well, then went to the Fall League and really pitched well. He's one of the guys who understands how to pitch and an interesting guy to keep an eye on.

What about a rookie level guy? A guy, in your mind, who has the tools?

When you talk about the rookie levels, [Ambiorix] Concepcion is a guy who was at the lower levels and has a lot of tools. He has a lot of time to refine it and get the skills down to play the game. He has a ton of ability so he'd be an interesting guy.

Was that the thinking behind placing Concepcion on the 40-man roster prior to the Rule V draft? That he would be selected if left exposed?

Well, it's his ability. That's really what it boils down to. It's hard to say [if another club would have drafted him] because you never know what another club is thinking, but I think whenever you have to make a decision, you have to make the decision that best suits your organization.

How about Ian Bladergroen? What did you feel about his year in 2004?

Ian is another interesting guy. Unfortunately, he got hurt last year, but he was on pace to have a phenomenal season. That's his track record: coming out of junior college, he swung the bat very well. He's a guy that can swing and play solid defense, and he still can improve.

Did Ian show enough last season to prove that he'd mastered that level to the point where he won't have to repeat it, regardless of the injury?

Yeah, I think he could be a guy that would warrant at least an opportunity at the next level. The thing we try to do is challenge guys without overmatching them, and they wind up dictating to us – through the eyes of the staff – the decisions. Hopefully, they step up to the league, but we're constantly making evaluations and decisions.

With the year Shawn Bowman had at Capital City, did he significantly increase his value in the organization's eyes?

Talking to the staff and knowing what we know about Shawn, we feel that he has a ton of ability. He's a Canadian kid who hasn't played that much baseball, so if you talk about increasing his value, he's valuable to us. We like him and we like his abilities, and I think he's just going to keep progressing. I don't exactly think they have this [Florida] weather in Canada so the more he can play, the better off he'll be.

Personally speaking, does it offend you when people in the New York media – who may have never seen any of the minor leaguers play – characterize the Mets' farm system as "barren" or lacking talent?

It's all really subjective. There's opinions and everyone has different opinions; it's like scouting, where one guy may like a guy and another may not. We build a foundation here and come out day to day and try to make guys better and max out their ability. Hopefully, maxing out their ability means they end up getting to New York and making a significant contribution.

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