Updated Top 50 Mets Prospects

Not many farm systems have seen the kind of shuffle in one offseason like the Mets have this past winter. After releasing our preliminary Top 50 Mets' Prospects rankings in November, combined with the recent subtractions of several prospects, here's our updated Top 50 Mets' Prospects rankings as listed in our upcoming annual "Prospect Guide", the February issue of Inside Pitch Magazine.

Sticking to our policy of not ranking players who haven't played one game in a Mets' uniform yet, the reported high-ceiling talents of Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, Deolis Guerra, Alay Soler, and Hector Pellot are absent from our rankings. While all five players reportedly have the talent to certainly rank in the Top 20, which drastically changes the landscape of the farm system, we refuse to rank players we haven't seen ourselves.

1. Lastings Milledge: In November, we listed Gomez first and Milledge second, explaining that they were more like 1 and 1A among the Top 50 Mets prospects as shown in our Prospect Guide cover. While Gomez does have the higher upside, Lastings Milledge is further along in his development and the safer bet to reach his potential. As a result, he was chosen as the top guy for our annual Prospect Guide issue.

2. Carlos Gomez: Make no mistake, Gomez is a rare talent. The issue of who to put at number one and number two was debated over several months. The bottom line is that while Gomez's ability to hit for average isn't as high as Milledge, Gomez has the better arm, more speed, and more power potential. Gomez projects to be the better starting corner outfielder, which is significant considering Carlos Beltran is locked up in center field for several more years.

3. Brian Bannister: Even before the Mets traded Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez, internally, they had already regarded Bannister as their top pitching prospect. For whatever reason, Mets fans are not as high on Bannister as many inside baseball circles. The addition of his cutter/slider has propelled him into a solid middle-of-the-rotation type of starter.

4. Philip Humber: Like Gomez and Milledge among the positional players, determining the upside between Bannister and Humber among the pitchers is also like splitting hairs. We gave the edge to Bannister in our Prospect Guide because he has proven it at a higher level and because of Humber's Tommy John surgery. The Mets are eager to see what Humber can do once he's healthy, including rediscovering the velocity he displayed in college. Like Bannister, he projects to be a solid #3 starter at the Major League level.

5. Mike Carp: A powerful left-handed slugger as a teenager, scouts love Carp's power projection. While some are down on the way he finished out the 2005 season, it should be pointed out that not many power hitters are going to fair too well while playing with a hurt wrist and a fractured hand. He had some strikeout issues in his first full professional season, but Carp is a much better he than he displayed. He projects to be a solid starting first baseman.

6. Ambiorix Concepcion: Fans had written off Concepcion after what many, including Concepcion, would label a disappointing season in 2005. Still one of the toolsiest players in the system, we're not ready to do that just yet. He possesses 30-30 potential and the fact that he hit better with each passing month, including a .308 average in his final 33 games, shows that he has the ability to make adjustments. 2006 will be a make or break year in his development. From there, we can get a more accurate read of his potential.

7. Shawn Bowman: Keeping with the theme of positional prospects who struggled in 2005, Bowman was no exception to faltering in the early going. Like Concepcion, Bowman made adjustments and wound up hitting .292 in the second half of the year before a back injury shelved him for the remaining portion of the season. He still belted 17 home runs in a little more than 300 at-bats in the pitching friendly Florida State League. Bowman's plus power and exceptional defensive ability is legit. He only slipped in the rankings with the uncertainty of his back injury.

8. Jesus Flores: Flores also got off to a rough start in 2005 after suffering a broken hand in the final exhibition game against the Washington Nationals the day before the start of the season. He never found his groove once he returned. He still is the most complete catching prospect in the Mets' farm system. Flores is a good contact hitter with solid power and defensive ability.

9. Jamar Hill: Hill, who is like Reggie Sanders in a lot of ways, has very good power for a wiry, athletic outfielder. The problem Hill ran into this past season was over-swinging. Confessing to Inside Pitch a year ago his goal was to hit 40 home runs in 2005, Hill found himself swinging for the fences and his average suffered. He hit .284 with 14 of his 16 home runs in his final 85 games and made marked improvements in shortening his long swing.

10. Anderson Hernandez: Unlike the majority of the positional players in the Mets' farm system, Hernandez had a career year in 2005 after coming over from the Tigers in the Vance Wilson trade. A defensive specialist with very good speed, Hernandez made the move over to second base since Jose Reyes is blocking him at shortstop. He's probably closer to the .270 hitter he has been in his career than the .300+ hitter he showed last year.

11. Nick Evans: Evans played the 2005 season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. After making the move over from third base to first base, Evans began the year in Extended Spring Training. A raw power hitter, Evans has the chance to develop into a Pat Burrell type. He made improvements on hitting to the opposite field and he showed he can more than serviceable at first base.

12. Matt Lindstrom: Not many pitchers can throw as hard as Lindstrom. We've been projecting him as a reliever for a number of years and the Mets didn't move him there until the second half of the 2005 season, where he proved to be a better pitcher. A stress fracture in his pitching arm more than a year ago, Lindstrom pitched hurt last year and it effected his control. Look for Lindstrom to remain in the bullpen where he still has the opportunity to be a successful pitcher.

13. Jose Coronado: A switch-hitting shortstop with a very projectable body frame, Coronado is a good gap hitter with decent speed. It is Coronado's plus defensive ability that has the Mets very excited. He boasts soft hands, excellent range, and a solid arm. His defense is special enough to allow him to move through the farm system quickly. He's still very raw offensively, but he projects to be a starting shortstop someday.

14. Angel Pagan: Pagan has developed into one of the more solid outfielders in the Mets' farm system. A switch-hitting outfielder with very good speed, Pagan has some pop in his bat and he's proven to be a very good clutch hitter in his career. If he was in another farm system, he'd likely project to be a starting outfielder. With the Mets however, Pagan appears to be a solid fourth outfielder who could fill in admirably for an extended period of time if need be. Think Timo Perez.

15. Corey Ragsdale: Ragsdale is one of those players that is more impressive watching than looking at his box scores. Always a hitter who could put a charge into balls, Ragsdale hit a career-high 19 home runs in 2005 while improving his contact hitting ability. He's one of the more athletic players in the system and he projects to serve a key role with the Mets someday, most likely as a utility player.

16. Chase Lambin: Lambin is an easy guy to root for. Like his good friend David Wright, Lambin is a leader on the team who does and says all the right things. He's a versatile defensive player who can play a multitude of positions. Lambin is a switch hitter with good power and he projects to be a Joe McEwing type with a more potent bat.

17. Brett Harper: Harper has developed into one of the better power hitters. He projects to be a solid starting first baseman who is arguably better suited for an American League team because of his suspect defensive ability. Still, Harper has little to prove offensively at the minor league level and with Carlos Delgado and Julio Franco in place at first base, there's no room for Harper with the Mets. It is that reason Harper doesn't rank higher on this list.

18. Shane Hawk: The forgotten man, Hawk missed the entire 2005 season with two tears in his labrum and one in his rotator cuff. When healthy, Hawk is one of the more effective relievers in the Mets' farm system. The tall and lanky left-hander has three plus pitches: fastball, slider, changeup. He was able to add some weight this past year and he has the talent to move up the system in a hurry. He projects to be a solid left-handed setup man.

19. Aarom Baldiris: He didn't hit with enough power to be a starting third baseman so the Mets moved him to second base. A very good contact hitter who did manage to hit a career-high 11 home runs this past season, Baldiris isn't the same defensive player at second base. He'll get an opportunity to improve his defense there, but right now, Baldiris projects to be more of a bench player.

20. Henry Owens: Selected by the Mets from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule V Draft last year, Owens is a power pitcher who consistently brings his fastball in the 94-96 MPH range. He has made marked improvements with his slider, but it is still raw enough to prevent him from ranking higher on this list. He's also working on a split-finger as well. The former catcher is like Matt Lindstrom in a lot of ways. The development of his secondary pitches will be the deciding factor in tapping his potential.

21. Jeremy Hill: The Mets haven't re-signed Hill just yet, deciding to wait until Spring Training to see how he responds from his injuries. When healthy, Hill is a power reliever with a dominating slider at times. The uncertainty of his free-agent status and questionable health concerns prevent him from ranking higher.

22. Sean Henry: Henry is one of the best kept secrets in the Mets' farm system. Our subscribers might remember that one National League scout told us over a year ago that he was the Mets' second baseman of the future, back when he was playing shortstop. Now making the move over to second base, Henry has an excellent combination of power, speed, and defensive abilitiy. He has the talent to rank much higher on this list as he continues developing.

23. Kevin Deaton: The big-bodied Deaton (6'5" and 235 pounds) is not a power pitcher by any means. Oddly enough, Deaton is more of a control pitcher cut in the mold of a Greg Maddux type. He mixes up his pitches well, changes speeds, and keeps hitters off-balance. Deaton's confidence and battling persona on the mound are second to none. He's simply a winner. Despite being an undrafted free agent, Deaton has a chance to defy the odds.

24. Evan MacLane: More of a soft-tossing lefty cut in the mold of a Jamie Moyer type, MacLane doesn't have dominating stuff. Like Deaton, MacLane is more of an intelligent pitcher than a natural thrower. His command is impeccable and he doesn't beat himself on the mound. The fact that he's a left-handed pitcher will allow him to get every opportunity to succeed.

25. Andy Wilson: Like his good friend Brett Harper, Wilson is more of a designated hitter type that is better suited for an American League team. He has good power and he shown to be a consistent run producer. Wilson has played all over the diamond and the plan, which was also the plan a year ago, is to move him behind the plate. At 25 years old, the odds are certainly stacked against him from becoming a Major League catcher. With the Mets, he projects to be more of a utility player.

26. Jeff Landing: Stuff-wise, Landing is like many of the other pitching prospects in the Mets' farm system. A seemingly lack of confidence in his stuff, combined with an inconsistent approach on the mound at times, haven't allowed him to reach his potential just yet. He's a ground ball pitcher that won't post the high strikeout totals, cut the mold of a Jae Seo type.

27. Scott Hyde: Hyde missed all of the 2005 season after Tommy John surgery. Possessing a power curveball, Hyde projects to be an Aaron Sele type if he reaches his potential. He has good arm action that allows him to live in the lower half of the plate. How he recovers from his Tommy John surgery will be the ultimate deciding factor in his place within the Mets' system.

28. Jeff Keppinger: Keppinger is a very good contact hitter with very little power or speed. He has become a fan favorite among Mets fans, but his overall game is suspect enough that the Mets are taking a chance on Bret Boone as a second base option in 2005. His exceptional contact hitting ability and his ability to play other positions make him project to be a very dangerous pinch-hitter and bench player.

29. Jorge Reyes: A product of the Dominican Summer League, Reyes is a very raw power pitcher. Armed with a fastball in the 90-95 MPH range, Reyes also showcases a potentially devastating curveball and a developing slider and changeup. He has a long way to go towards reaching his potential, but he's one to keep an eye on in the coming years.

30. Robert Paulk: Armed with one of the best curveballs in the system, Paulk served a "rehab" assignment with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005. He has a good fastball and a plus approach on the mound. Paulk projects to be a solid setup man at the Major League level. Ranking much higher on the Mets' list, Paulk needs to be challenged in 2006. He could see ample time with the Binghamton Mets next season.

31. Kole Strayhorn: Strayhorn is another fire-baller who throws some serious gas. Armed with a mid-90's fastball and a good curveball, Strayhorn is nearly unhittable when he's throwing his splitter well. However, inconsistent command of his splitter and health issues have risen concerns over his future. It was a positive sign that he finished the season healthy and the Mets are hoping the 23-year old can bounce back with a solid year in Binghamton in 2006.

32. Marcelo Perez: Perez has flown under the radar the last couple of seasons, but quite frankly he has done very well. Perez, like Reyes, is armed with a plus fastball and solid breaking pitches. But unlike Reyes, Perez projects to be more of a relief pitcher and possible setup man down the road. He was the pitcher that Gene Richards and the Suns leaned on the most this past season. The only drawback to Perez is his advanced age. The 25-year old could rank higher on this list once he shows he can get out batters closer to his age at the higher minor league levels.

33. Alhaji Turay: Turay's injury problems are now causing him to miss significant development time. When he was healthy to begin the year this past season, Turay looked lost at the plate despite playing a full year in the Florida State League the year prior. He has some of the best raw power of any hitting prospect in the farm system, but it is tough to prove if you can't get on the field. He makes the top 50 because of his talent, but until he can remain healthy and put up numbers, his value as a prospect continues to fade.

34. Miguel Pinango: Pinango is slowly becoming the pitching version of Turay because of his inability to remain healthy. Pinango is a solid pitcher with good control. He has an average Major League fastball, sitting 88-91 MPH with it, and he compliments his fastball with a good changeup and a developing slider and curveball. Pinango has Yusmeiro Petit-type ability, able to mix in his pitches very well. He's still just 22 years old and he could see significant time with Binghamton in 2006.

35. Aaron Hathaway: Hathaway is a very good defensive catcher who is blessed with a tremendous arm behind the plate. He's also very athletic for a catcher with good speed who also played some backup third base this past season. Hathaway doesn't hit for enough power to project as a starting player at the Major League level, but with his defensive prowess behind the plate and his athleticism in the field, he could become a key role player for the Mets coming off the bench.

36. Rafael Cova: Sleeper alert! Cova has some wicked stuff in his repertoire. Our subscribers probably remember his name being mentioned in the post-Instructs interviews we conducted as a guy to watch out for. Cova is a big-bodied pitcher that throws heat in the mid-90's consistently. He also has a solid curveball and a changeup. Cova can be wild at times and he doesn't appear to have the smartest plan on the mound. But his stuff is tremendous and once he learns to hone his control, he could be an outstanding pitching prospect.

37. Royce Ring: Once considered a solid setup man or possible left-handed closer, Ring has settled down into a possible left-handed situational reliever at the Major League level. His control is solid and the soon-to-be 25-year old limited left-handed batters to a .145 batting average at the AAA-level this past season. Righties however hit him way too much to be much more than a lefty specialist.

38. Joe Hietpas: One of the more solid defensive catchers at the minor league level, Hietpas has become the personal favorite battery mate of several pitchers in the Mets' organization. Pitchers just love the way he calls a game, receives the ball, and blocks anything thrown in the dirt. The problem is Hietpas doesn't appear likely to hit enough to warrant a starting spot in a Major League lineup. But he's the type of guy that could have a 15-year career in the Majors as a solid backup backstop.

39. Greg Ramirez: Ramirez is another back-end rotation type of guy or solid reliever. He has pitched primarily as a starter in his minor league career thus far. Ramirez has a solid four-pitch repertoire. His 2-seam fastball has some excellent movement and sink to it. He compliments his fastball with a good curveball, a solid slider, and a developing changeup. His problem at this point is age. He'll be 25 years old next season and he hasn't pitched in AA yet. A hot stretch in Binghamton next season could put him a stone's throw away from Shea though.

40. Jonathan Niese: Selected in the 7th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Niese has a lot of talent. Desperate to replaced former Mets' pitching prospects Scott Kazmir and Gaby Hernandez, Mets' fans are ready to anoint him a top ten prospect already. He certainly has the talent - 88-91 MPH fastball with an advanced changeup - to eventually get to that level. However, his curveball needs a lot of work and his splitter, while it has some projection to it, also is still in its infancy stage. Like Evans and Carp did this past year, Niese can drastically climb the rankings in his first full professional season in 2006.

41. Drew Butera: Butera is a wonderful defensive catching prospect. He has arguably the best arm behind the plate and can be an absolute game-changer throwing out would-be base stealers. But even with his professional career just beginning, some scouts believe there doesn't appear to be much projection in his bat, not enough to project as a starting catcher at the Major League level. But like Hietpas, he should at least reach the Bigs as a backup signal caller.

42. Jason Scobie: Scobie is one of many fourth or fifth starting pitching prospects in the Mets' farm system. While the likes of Philip Humber, Jeff Landing, and Brian Bannister still have some projection left, Scobie has reached his ceiling. The 27-year old has a solid four-pitch repertoire (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) and his fastball stands in the 87-90 MPH range. Scobie has proven he'll battle on the mound and he could be the first pitcher called up in a spot start situation next season.

43. Bobby Parnell: Parnell had a wonderful professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005. Armed with a very good 2-seam fastball, Parnell can bring his heat consistently in the low 90's. He has an intriguing combination of an effortless motion in his throwing arm, which allows him to pitch effectively longer, and a herk-jerky delivery in his wind-up that confuses opposing batters. He could develop into a Matt Clement type as his ceiling, but he'll need to put up the numbers to get his shot.

44. Anderson Garcia: Obtained from the Yankees in the Armando Benitez trade, Garcia is a hard thrower. He averages 90-97 MPH with his fastball and he compliments it with a biting slider. The problem with Garcia is that he hasn't mastered his changeup, a pitch he'll need to be successful at the higher levels. He throws his changeup too fast, 87-88 MPH, which often times becomes a meatball pitch in the middle of the zone. He could turn a corner if he could throw it a little bit slower.

45. Greg Gonzalez: Gonzalez already has opened some eyes in the Mets' organization with his speed, hitting ability, and approach at the plate. In fact, several scouts compare him to Angel Pagan. He can make a big difference on the base paths and he has tremendous range in the outfield. The question will be can Gonzalez hit for high enough average at the higher minor league levels in order to become a solid fourth outfielder. The Mets, and Inside Pitch, believe he can.

46. Edgar Alfonzo: Alfonzo is almost the left-handed reliever version of Yusmeiro Petit. He doesn't have overwhelming stuff. His fastball is only 87-91 MPH, but he does have a solid curveball and changeup. Alfonzo mixes his pitches well and he keeps hitters off balance. However, he'll need to start posting the numbers many believes he is capable of in order to hold of the likes of German Marte - who could rapidly climb the rankings as soon as 2006 - and others overtaking him on this list.

47. Matt Durkin: Durkin is the classic example of why it is prudent to wait on ranking new players to a farm system. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Durkin was shaky in his professional debut with the Hagerstown Suns. His velocity was down in 2005 and so was his command. Durkin prides himself on being a power pitcher, so with his velocity down, he obviously wasn't the same pitcher. He'll need to rebound in 2006 in St. Lucie to climb the rankings.

48. Eddie Camacho: An undrafted free agent in the summer of 2004, Camacho certainly has put up some eye-popping numbers in stops between Brooklyn and St. Lucie. He has a very good slider that he's able to throw at will. His fastball, which sits 88-90 MPH, is an average pitch for him. The slow progression of his changeup has some scouts worried about whether or not he'll have the same success at the higher levels. He'll have to keep posting the great numbers, but he's a likely candidate to not garner serious consideration like Blake McGinley.

49. Emmanuel Garcia: Garcia had a solid professional debut with the GCL Mets in 2005. He has an advanced approach at the plate for the lower levels, but scouts are not sold on whether or not he'll be able to hit for a high average in the upper levels. He's a solid defensive shortstop, but is probably better suited for second base. He's got some speed and he currently projects as a backup middle infielder, although he is still young enough to develop into a starter with more work.

50. Joe Holden: Holden is a scrappy throwback player who plays very good defense. He has a good approach at the plate and is quite fast. Holden is the type of player that could easily be a fan favorite with his hustle and gritty play. He might not hit with enough power to project as a starting outfielder, but he's got a shot as a reserve player in the future.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nSticking to our policy of not ranking players who haven't played one game in a Mets' uniform yet, the reported high-ceiling talents of Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, Deolis Guerra, Alay Soler, and Hector Pellot are absent from our rankings. While all five players reportedly have the talent to certainly rank in the Top 20, which drastically changes the landscape of the farm system, we refuse to rank players we haven't seen ourselves.
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\r\n1. Lastings Milledge: In November, we listed Gomez first and Milledge second, explaining that they were more like 1 and 1A among the Top 50 Mets prospects as shown in our Prospect Guide cover. While Gomez does have the higher upside, Lastings Milledge is further along in his development and the safer bet to reach his potential. As a result, he was chosen as the top guy for our annual Prospect Guide issue.
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\r\n2. Carlos Gomez: Make no mistake, Gomez is a rare talent. The issue of who to put at number one and number two was debated over several months. The bottom line is that while Gomez's ability to hit for average isn't as high as Milledge, Gomez has the better arm, more speed, and more power potential. Gomez projects to be the better starting corner outfielder, which is significant considering Carlos Beltran is locked up in center field for several more years.
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\r\n3. Brian Bannister: Even before the Mets traded Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez, internally, they had already regarded Bannister as their top pitching prospect. For whatever reason, Mets fans are not as high on Bannister as many inside baseball circles. The addition of his cutter/slider has propelled him into a solid middle-of-the-rotation type of starter.
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\r\n4. Philip Humber: Like Gomez and Milledge among the positional players, determining the upside between Bannister and Humber among the pitchers is also like splitting hairs. We gave the edge to Bannister in our Prospect Guide because he has proven it at a higher level and because of Humber's Tommy John surgery. The Mets are eager to see what Humber can do once he's healthy, including rediscovering the velocity he displayed in college. Like Bannister, he projects to be a solid #3 starter at the Major League level.
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\r\n5. Mike Carp: A powerful left-handed slugger as a teenager, scouts love Carp's power projection. While some are down on the way he finished out the 2005 season, it should be pointed out that not many power hitters are going to fair too well while playing with a hurt wrist and a fractured hand. He had some strikeout issues in his first full professional season, but Carp is a much better he than he displayed. He projects to be a solid starting first baseman.
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\r\n6. Ambiorix Concepcion: Fans had written off Concepcion after what many, including Concepcion, would label a disappointing season in 2005. Still one of the toolsiest players in the system, we're not ready to do that just yet. He possesses 30-30 potential and the fact that he hit better with each passing month, including a .308 average in his final 33 games, shows that he has the ability to make adjustments. 2006 will be a make or break year in his development. From there, we can get a more accurate read of his potential.
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\r\n7. Shawn Bowman: Keeping with the theme of positional prospects who struggled in 2005, Bowman was no exception to faltering in the early going. Like Concepcion, Bowman made adjustments and wound up hitting .292 in the second half of the year before a back injury shelved him for the remaining portion of the season. He still belted 17 home runs in a little more than 300 at-bats in the pitching friendly Florida State League. Bowman's plus power and exceptional defensive ability is legit. He only slipped in the rankings with the uncertainty of his back injury.
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\r\n8. Jesus Flores: Flores also got off to a rough start in 2005 after suffering a broken hand in the final exhibition game against the Washington Nationals the day before the start of the season. He never found his groove once he returned. He still is the most complete catching prospect in the Mets' farm system. Flores is a good contact hitter with solid power and defensive ability.
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\r\n9. Jamar Hill: Hill, who is like Reggie Sanders in a lot of ways, has very good power for a wiry, athletic outfielder. The problem Hill ran into this past season was over-swinging. Confessing to Inside Pitch a year ago his goal was to hit 40 home runs in 2005, Hill found himself swinging for the fences and his average suffered. He hit .284 with 14 of his 16 home runs in his final 85 games and made marked improvements in shortening his long swing.
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\r\n10. Anderson Hernandez: Unlike the majority of the positional players in the Mets' farm system, Hernandez had a career year in 2005 after coming over from the Tigers in the Vance Wilson trade. A defensive specialist with very good speed, Hernandez made the move over to second base since Jose Reyes is blocking him at shortstop. He's probably closer to the .270 hitter he has been in his career than the .300+ hitter he showed last year.
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\r\n11. Nick Evans: Evans played the 2005 season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. After making the move over from third base to first base, Evans began the year in Extended Spring Training. A raw power hitter, Evans has the chance to develop into a Pat Burrell type. He made improvements on hitting to the opposite field and he showed he can more than serviceable at first base.
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\r\n12. Matt Lindstrom: Not many pitchers can throw as hard as Lindstrom. We've been projecting him as a reliever for a number of years and the Mets didn't move him there until the second half of the 2005 season, where he proved to be a better pitcher. A stress fracture in his pitching arm more than a year ago, Lindstrom pitched hurt last year and it effected his control. Look for Lindstrom to remain in the bullpen where he still has the opportunity to be a successful pitcher.
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\r\n13. Jose Coronado: A switch-hitting shortstop with a very projectable body frame, Coronado is a good gap hitter with decent speed. It is Coronado's plus defensive ability that has the Mets very excited. He boasts soft hands, excellent range, and a solid arm. His defense is special enough to allow him to move through the farm system quickly. He's still very raw offensively, but he projects to be a starting shortstop someday.
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\r\n14. Angel Pagan: Pagan has developed into one of the more solid outfielders in the Mets' farm system. A switch-hitting outfielder with very good speed, Pagan has some pop in his bat and he's proven to be a very good clutch hitter in his career. If he was in another farm system, he'd likely project to be a starting outfielder. With the Mets however, Pagan appears to be a solid fourth outfielder who could fill in admirably for an extended period of time if need be. Think Timo Perez.
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\r\n15. Corey Ragsdale: Ragsdale is one of those players that is more impressive watching than looking at his box scores. Always a hitter who could put a charge into balls, Ragsdale hit a career-high 19 home runs in 2005 while improving his contact hitting ability. He's one of the more athletic players in the system and he projects to serve a key role with the Mets someday, most likely as a utility player.
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\r\n16. Chase Lambin: Lambin is an easy guy to root for. Like his good friend David Wright, Lambin is a leader on the team who does and says all the right things. He's a versatile defensive player who can play a multitude of positions. Lambin is a switch hitter with good power and he projects to be a Joe McEwing type with a more potent bat.
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\r\n17. Brett Harper: Harper has developed into one of the better power hitters. He projects to be a solid starting first baseman who is arguably better suited for an American League team because of his suspect defensive ability. Still, Harper has little to prove offensively at the minor league level and with Carlos Delgado and Julio Franco in place at first base, there's no room for Harper with the Mets. It is that reason Harper doesn't rank higher on this list.
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\r\n18. Shane Hawk: The forgotten man, Hawk missed the entire 2005 season with two tears in his labrum and one in his rotator cuff. When healthy, Hawk is one of the more effective relievers in the Mets' farm system. The tall and lanky left-hander has three plus pitches: fastball, slider, changeup. He was able to add some weight this past year and he has the talent to move up the system in a hurry. He projects to be a solid left-handed setup man.
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\r\n19. Aarom Baldiris: He didn't hit with enough power to be a starting third baseman so the Mets moved him to second base. A very good contact hitter who did manage to hit a career-high 11 home runs this past season, Baldiris isn't the same defensive player at second base. He'll get an opportunity to improve his defense there, but right now, Baldiris projects to be more of a bench player.
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\r\n20. Henry Owens: Selected by the Mets from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule V Draft last year, Owens is a power pitcher who consistently brings his fastball in the 94-96 MPH range. He has made marked improvements with his slider, but it is still raw enough to prevent him from ranking higher on this list. He's also working on a split-finger as well. The former catcher is like Matt Lindstrom in a lot of ways. The development of his secondary pitches will be the deciding factor in tapping his potential.
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\r\n21. Jeremy Hill: The Mets haven't re-signed Hill just yet, deciding to wait until Spring Training to see how he responds from his injuries. When healthy, Hill is a power reliever with a dominating slider at times. The uncertainty of his free-agent status and questionable health concerns prevent him from ranking higher.
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\r\n22. Sean Henry: Henry is one of the best kept secrets in the Mets' farm system. Our subscribers might remember that one National League scout told us over a year ago that he was the Mets' second baseman of the future, back when he was playing shortstop. Now making the move over to second base, Henry has an excellent combination of power, speed, and defensive abilitiy. He has the talent to rank much higher on this list as he continues developing.
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\r\n23. Kevin Deaton: The big-bodied Deaton (6'5\" and 235 pounds) is not a power pitcher by any means. Oddly enough, Deaton is more of a control pitcher cut in the mold of a Greg Maddux type. He mixes up his pitches well, changes speeds, and keeps hitters off-balance. Deaton's confidence and battling persona on the mound are second to none. He's simply a winner. Despite being an undrafted free agent, Deaton has a chance to defy the odds.
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\r\n24. Evan MacLane: More of a soft-tossing lefty cut in the mold of a Jamie Moyer type, MacLane doesn't have dominating stuff. Like Deaton, MacLane is more of an intelligent pitcher than a natural thrower. His command is impeccable and he doesn't beat himself on the mound. The fact that he's a left-handed pitcher will allow him to get every opportunity to succeed.
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\r\n25. Andy Wilson: Like his good friend Brett Harper, Wilson is more of a designated hitter type that is better suited for an American League team. He has good power and he shown to be a consistent run producer. Wilson has played all over the diamond and the plan, which was also the plan a year ago, is to move him behind the plate. At 25 years old, the odds are certainly stacked against him from becoming a Major League catcher. With the Mets, he projects to be more of a utility player.
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\r\n26. Jeff Landing: Stuff-wise, Landing is like many of the other pitching prospects in the Mets' farm system. A seemingly lack of confidence in his stuff, combined with an inconsistent approach on the mound at times, haven't allowed him to reach his potential just yet. He's a ground ball pitcher that won't post the high strikeout totals, cut the mold of a Jae Seo type.
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\r\n27. Scott Hyde: Hyde missed all of the 2005 season after Tommy John surgery. Possessing a power curveball, Hyde projects to be an Aaron Sele type if he reaches his potential. He has good arm action that allows him to live in the lower half of the plate. How he recovers from his Tommy John surgery will be the ultimate deciding factor in his place within the Mets' system.
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\r\n28. Jeff Keppinger: Keppinger is a very good contact hitter with very little power or speed. He has become a fan favorite among Mets fans, but his overall game is suspect enough that the Mets are taking a chance on Bret Boone as a second base option in 2005. His exceptional contact hitting ability and his ability to play other positions make him project to be a very dangerous pinch-hitter and bench player.
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\r\n29. Jorge Reyes: A product of the Dominican Summer League, Reyes is a very raw power pitcher. Armed with a fastball in the 90-95 MPH range, Reyes also showcases a potentially devastating curveball and a developing slider and changeup. He has a long way to go towards reaching his potential, but he's one to keep an eye on in the coming years.
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\r\n30. Robert Paulk: Armed with one of the best curveballs in the system, Paulk served a \"rehab\" assignment with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005. He has a good fastball and a plus approach on the mound. Paulk projects to be a solid setup man at the Major League level. Ranking much higher on the Mets' list, Paulk needs to be challenged in 2006. He could see ample time with the Binghamton Mets next season.
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\r\n31. Kole Strayhorn: Strayhorn is another fire-baller who throws some serious gas. Armed with a mid-90's fastball and a good curveball, Strayhorn is nearly unhittable when he's throwing his splitter well. However, inconsistent command of his splitter and health issues have risen concerns over his future. It was a positive sign that he finished the season healthy and the Mets are hoping the 23-year old can bounce back with a solid year in Binghamton in 2006.
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\r\n32. Marcelo Perez: Perez has flown under the radar the last couple of seasons, but quite frankly he has done very well. Perez, like Reyes, is armed with a plus fastball and solid breaking pitches. But unlike Reyes, Perez projects to be more of a relief pitcher and possible setup man down the road. He was the pitcher that Gene Richards and the Suns leaned on the most this past season. The only drawback to Perez is his advanced age. The 25-year old could rank higher on this list once he shows he can get out batters closer to his age at the higher minor league levels.
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\r\n33. Alhaji Turay: Turay's injury problems are now causing him to miss significant development time. When he was healthy to begin the year this past season, Turay looked lost at the plate despite playing a full year in the Florida State League the year prior. He has some of the best raw power of any hitting prospect in the farm system, but it is tough to prove if you can't get on the field. He makes the top 50 because of his talent, but until he can remain healthy and put up numbers, his value as a prospect continues to fade.
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\r\n34. Miguel Pinango: Pinango is slowly becoming the pitching version of Turay because of his inability to remain healthy. Pinango is a solid pitcher with good control. He has an average Major League fastball, sitting 88-91 MPH with it, and he compliments his fastball with a good changeup and a developing slider and curveball. Pinango has Yusmeiro Petit-type ability, able to mix in his pitches very well. He's still just 22 years old and he could see significant time with Binghamton in 2006.
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\r\n35. Aaron Hathaway: Hathaway is a very good defensive catcher who is blessed with a tremendous arm behind the plate. He's also very athletic for a catcher with good speed who also played some backup third base this past season. Hathaway doesn't hit for enough power to project as a starting player at the Major League level, but with his defensive prowess behind the plate and his athleticism in the field, he could become a key role player for the Mets coming off the bench.
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\r\n36. Rafael Cova: Sleeper alert! Cova has some wicked stuff in his repertoire. Our subscribers probably remember his name being mentioned in the post-Instructs interviews we conducted as a guy to watch out for. Cova is a big-bodied pitcher that throws heat in the mid-90's consistently. He also has a solid curveball and a changeup. Cova can be wild at times and he doesn't appear to have the smartest plan on the mound. But his stuff is tremendous and once he learns to hone his control, he could be an outstanding pitching prospect.
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\r\n37. Royce Ring: Once considered a solid setup man or possible left-handed closer, Ring has settled down into a possible left-handed situational reliever at the Major League level. His control is solid and the soon-to-be 25-year old limited left-handed batters to a .145 batting average at the AAA-level this past season. Righties however hit him way too much to be much more than a lefty specialist.
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\r\n38. Joe Hietpas: One of the more solid defensive catchers at the minor league level, Hietpas has become the personal favorite battery mate of several pitchers in the Mets' organization. Pitchers just love the way he calls a game, receives the ball, and blocks anything thrown in the dirt. The problem is Hietpas doesn't appear likely to hit enough to warrant a starting spot in a Major League lineup. But he's the type of guy that could have a 15-year career in the Majors as a solid backup backstop.
\r\n
\r\n39. Greg Ramirez: Ramirez is another back-end rotation type of guy or solid reliever. He has pitched primarily as a starter in his minor league career thus far. Ramirez has a solid four-pitch repertoire. His 2-seam fastball has some excellent movement and sink to it. He compliments his fastball with a good curveball, a solid slider, and a developing changeup. His problem at this point is age. He'll be 25 years old next season and he hasn't pitched in AA yet. A hot stretch in Binghamton next season could put him a stone's throw away from Shea though.
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\r\n40. Jonathan Niese: Selected in the 7th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Niese has a lot of talent. Desperate to replaced former Mets' pitching prospects Scott Kazmir and Gaby Hernandez, Mets' fans are ready to anoint him a top ten prospect already. He certainly has the talent - 88-91 MPH fastball with an advanced changeup - to eventually get to that level. However, his curveball needs a lot of work and his splitter, while it has some projection to it, also is still in its infancy stage. Like Evans and Carp did this past year, Niese can drastically climb the rankings in his first full professional season in 2006.
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\r\n41. Drew Butera: Butera is a wonderful defensive catching prospect. He has arguably the best arm behind the plate and can be an absolute game-changer throwing out would-be base stealers. But even with his professional career just beginning, some scouts believe there doesn't appear to be much projection in his bat, not enough to project as a starting catcher at the Major League level. But like Hietpas, he should at least reach the Bigs as a backup signal caller.
\r\n
\r\n42. Jason Scobie: Scobie is one of many fourth or fifth starting pitching prospects in the Mets' farm system. While the likes of Philip Humber, Jeff Landing, and Brian Bannister still have some projection left, Scobie has reached his ceiling. The 27-year old has a solid four-pitch repertoire (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) and his fastball stands in the 87-90 MPH range. Scobie has proven he'll battle on the mound and he could be the first pitcher called up in a spot start situation next season.
\r\n
\r\n43. Bobby Parnell: Parnell had a wonderful professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005. Armed with a very good 2-seam fastball, Parnell can bring his heat consistently in the low 90's. He has an intriguing combination of an effortless motion in his throwing arm, which allows him to pitch effectively longer, and a herk-jerky delivery in his wind-up that confuses opposing batters. He could develop into a Matt Clement type as his ceiling, but he'll need to put up the numbers to get his shot.
\r\n
\r\n44. Anderson Garcia: Obtained from the Yankees in the Armando Benitez trade, Garcia is a hard thrower. He averages 90-97 MPH with his fastball and he compliments it with a biting slider. The problem with Garcia is that he hasn't mastered his changeup, a pitch he'll need to be successful at the higher levels. He throws his changeup too fast, 87-88 MPH, which often times becomes a meatball pitch in the middle of the zone. He could turn a corner if he could throw it a little bit slower.
\r\n
\r\n45. Greg Gonzalez: Gonzalez already has opened some eyes in the Mets' organization with his speed, hitting ability, and approach at the plate. In fact, several scouts compare him to Angel Pagan. He can make a big difference on the base paths and he has tremendous range in the outfield. The question will be can Gonzalez hit for high enough average at the higher minor league levels in order to become a solid fourth outfielder. The Mets, and Inside Pitch, believe he can.
\r\n
\r\n46. Edgar Alfonzo: Alfonzo is almost the left-handed reliever version of Yusmeiro Petit. He doesn't have overwhelming stuff. His fastball is only 87-91 MPH, but he does have a solid curveball and changeup. Alfonzo mixes his pitches well and he keeps hitters off balance. However, he'll need to start posting the numbers many believes he is capable of in order to hold of the likes of German Marte - who could rapidly climb the rankings as soon as 2006 - and others overtaking him on this list.
\r\n
\r\n47. Matt Durkin: Durkin is the classic example of why it is prudent to wait on ranking new players to a farm system. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Durkin was shaky in his professional debut with the Hagerstown Suns. His velocity was down in 2005 and so was his command. Durkin prides himself on being a power pitcher, so with his velocity down, he obviously wasn't the same pitcher. He'll need to rebound in 2006 in St. Lucie to climb the rankings.
\r\n
\r\n48. Eddie Camacho: An undrafted free agent in the summer of 2004, Camacho certainly has put up some eye-popping numbers in stops between Brooklyn and St. Lucie. He has a very good slider that he's able to throw at will. His fastball, which sits 88-90 MPH, is an average pitch for him. The slow progression of his changeup has some scouts worried about whether or not he'll have the same success at the higher levels. He'll have to keep posting the great numbers, but he's a likely candidate to not garner serious consideration like Blake McGinley.
\r\n
\r\n49. Emmanuel Garcia: Garcia had a solid professional debut with the GCL Mets in 2005. He has an advanced approach at the plate for the lower levels, but scouts are not sold on whether or not he'll be able to hit for a high average in the upper levels. He's a solid defensive shortstop, but is probably better suited for second base. He's got some speed and he currently projects as a backup middle infielder, although he is still young enough to develop into a starter with more work.
\r\n
\r\n50. Joe Holden: Holden is a scrappy throwback player who plays very good defense. He has a good approach at the plate and is quite fast. Holden is the type of player that could easily be a fan favorite with his hustle and gritty play. He might not hit with enough power to project as a starting outfielder, but he's got a shot as a reserve player in the future.
\r\n
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