2005 GCL Mets Position Prospect Review

The Gulf Coast Mets finished their 2005 season at 37-16 with a strong combination of pitching and hitting. We take a look at the peripheral stats of these young hitters to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are as they continue to develop in the Mets' farm system. Though very early, we'll even handicap where this hitters will be playing in the 2006 season. Here are the hitters that amassed at least 90 at-bats for the GCL Mets in 2005.

Courtney Billingslea - OF

Drafted in the 10th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Billingslea is a huge presence in the batter's box, standing 6'6" and weighing an athletic 200 pounds. He is a raw talent with plus power projection, as evidenced by his 40.7% of hits that went for extra-bases in his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Mets. Billingslea showed an acceptable walk ratio in his first year and he's going to need to show the same patience at the plate as he progresses through the minor league system. It is going to be hard for the Mets to keep Billingslea out of Hagerstown once the 2006 season opens up, especially if he has a good Spring Training.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.233

.318

.422

.175

.079

40.7

116



Yasmil Bucce - C

Signed as an International free agent by the Mets out of Venezuela back in 2002, Bucce spent his first three seasons playing with the Venezuelan Summer League Mets where he hit a combined .246 with 8 home runs and 35 doubles in 528 at-bats. The 21-year old catcher posted a good walk ratio in his time in the Venezuelan Summer League and he was one of many Mets' prospects to post above average walk ratios in the Gulf Coast League tis past season. His peripherals were excellent across the board, even showing an adequate ratio of extra-base hits. He could platoon with Drew Butera in Hagerstown behind the dish to begin the 2006 season, but the smart money says he'll find his way to Brooklyn once the short-season leagues open up.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.337

.463

.429

.324

.162

21.2

98



Greg Cain - OF

Drafted in the 6th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Cain is very much like GCL Mets' teammate Courtney Billingslea in that he's a raw offensive talent. While his overall numbers don't jump off the page (.202 average, .200 average with runners in scoring position), his peripheral numbers show what kind of production he could have once he develops. His walk ratio (.175) was among the league leaders and his 36.8% of extra-base hits are an encouraging sign for the 18-year old slugger. It would be beneficial for him to see time with Hagerstown to begin the 2006 season, but it is more likely that he'll be a candidate for Extended Spring Training and start his year either with Kingsport or Brooklyn, depending on how the Mets' 2006 MLB Drafts shakes out.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.202

.358

.309

.200

.175

36.8

94



Jose Castro - 2B/SS

Drafted in the 32nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Castro posted decent overall numbers in his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Mets this past season. However, his peripheral numbers were right in line with a utility middle infielder. His walk ratio and and his extra-base hit percentage were among the lowest on the team. He's going to find it hard to break Spring Training with a long season team, especially with the likes of Hector Pellot, Jose Coronado, Jonathan Malo, and Sean Henry all vying for middle infield spots with Hagerstown to begin the 2006 season. Expect Castro, despite the fact he'll be 23 years old next season, to play with either Kingsport or Brooklyn next year.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.293

.359

.379

.273

.049

17.6

116



Junior Contreras - 1B

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in March of 2004, Contreras hit just .196 with two home runs in his one year with the Dominican Summer League Mets before making his debut on U.S. soil with the Gulf Coast League Mets this past season. Despite leading the team in strikeouts, Contreras was an offensive force for the GCL Mets in 2005. As shown below, Contreras had very good peripheral numbers, including a .396 batting average with runners in scoring position. Contreras, who also posted a phenomenal walk ratio, did fade down the stretch, finishing the year hitting just .227 in his last 19 games. Depending on his Spring, Contreras could break camp with Hagerstown as part of a 1B/DH platoon with Nick Evans in 2006 when he'll still only be 20 years old.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.291

.401

.500

.396

.149

34.9

148



Daniel Cummins - UT

The soon-to-be 23-year old utility player played with four different teams in 2005, albeit in limited action with all of them except the Gulf Coast League Mets. He put together solid overall numbers, including a .355 batting average with runners in scoring position. While his extra-base hit percentage was acceptable for a utility player, his walk ratio was less than impressive, especially considering he was much older than his competition in rookie-league ball. The fact that he's able to play catcher, among other positions, helps his value with the organization. Still, he's going to find it hard breaking Spring Training with a long-season league in 2006.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.327

.363

.449

.355

.045

28.6

107



Emmanuel Garcia - SS

An undrafted free agent signing out of Canada in September of 2004, Garcia had a wonderful professional debut with the GCL Mets in 2006. He finished third in the Gulf Coast League in batting and second in stolen bases with 17. Throw in an above average walk ratio and a .355 batting average with runners in scoring position, there's a lot to like about the 19-year old middle infielder. If there's one alarming statistic among his peripherals, it would be his lack of power. While middle infield is not a position where much power is expected, his 14.3% of extra-base hits were among the worst on the team. His overall numbers would suggest a trip to Hagerstown would be in order to begin the 2006 season, but the smart money says he'll see significant time with either Kingsport, or more likely Brooklyn, next season.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.339

.412

.409

.355

.101

14.3

186



Brahiam Maldonado - OF

Drafted in the 10th round of the 2004 draft out of St. Francis School in Puerto Rico, Maldonado played with the Gulf Coast League Mets for the second straight year this past season. He saw significant improvement in his overall numbers, including his walk ratio and extra-base hit percentage. Maldonado just turned 20 years old in September so he still has youth on his side. He does have some projection to his game, but considering the stock of outfield prospects at the lower levels, he might find it hard to begin the 2006 season in the long-season leagues. He has an outside shot of being a reserve outfielder with Hagerstown to begin the season next year, but it appears he could be headed to either Kingsport or Brooklyn once the short-season leagues begin.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.256

.355

.359

.262

.124

30.0

117



Jonathan Schemmel - 2B

The 22-year old second baseman posted some gaudy numbers with the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2005. No, those are not misprints in the table below. He had a .504 on-base percentage and yes, he hit .516 with runners in scoring position. His walk ratio was absolutely sick (.229), leading the league in that category as he walked 14 more times than he struck out. Still, he was considerably older than the competition he was playing against, and throw in the fact he amassed just 101 at-bats, enthusiasm should be curbed for now. If he can have a very good Spring Training, there's a chance he could break camp with the Hagerstown Suns as a utility infielder. But despite the remarkable peripheral numbers, Schemmel will most likely be placed on the Brooklyn roster next year.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.347

.504

.436

.516

.229

20.0

101



Joshua Thole - 1B/C

Drafted in the 13th round of the 2005 MBL Draft, Thole posted some excellent numbers in his professional debut as an 18-year old in the Gulf Coast League this past season. He displayed an excellent batting eye at the plate, especially at his age. His walk ratio and .379 batting average with runners in scoring position are hidden by a pedestrian overall batting average. Internally, the Mets are excited about his potential down the road. He did however have a below average extra-base hit percentage (14.3%), especially for a first baseman. Chances are Thole will be brought along slowly and with the likes of Nick Evans and Junior Contreras ahead of him on the depth chart, Thole likely will be back in short-season baseball in 2006. But he is one to keep an eye on next season.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.269

.406

.337

.379

.161

14.3

104



Leivi Ventura - 3B

Another product from the Dominican Summer League, Ventura was signed by the Mets back in 2003. The 22-year old displayed good power in the Gulf Coast League this past season, but his other peripheral stats were not as impressive. His walk ratio was one of the worst on the team and his production with runners in scoring position wasn't up to par with a lot of his younger teammates. Ventura is most likely headed to Extended Spring Training, barring injuries, and then break camp with either Kingsport or Brooklyn once the short-season leagues open up. His power numbers were good this past season, but he's going to have to duplicate the same success against competition closer to his age to open some eyes.

Level

Team

AVG

OBP

SLG

RISP

BB/PA

XBH

AB

R

Gulf Coast

.263

.326

.429

.258

.054

30.4

175



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