Top 75 Prospects: Prospects 26-50

In Part II of the Top 75 Mets' prospects list, we list the prospects ranked 26-50. Calvin also goes over a quick summary of the players currently in either high A - St. Lucie or A - Capital City. And now...the prospects ranked 26-50!!

2001 Top 85 Prospects Top 75 Prospects: Prospects Ranked 1-25 Top 75 Prospects: Prospects Ranked 26-50
Prospects A - K Prospects L - P Prospects Q - Z

St Lucie and Columbia Positional Players

Craig Brazell (1B), Enrique Cruz (3B), Justin Huber (C), Joseph Jiannetti (2B), Angel Pagan (CF), Jose Reyes (SS), and David Wright (3B) comprise the top positional talent that began the season at St. Lucie and Columbia. These players project to become average–to-above average regulars. Jeffrey Duncan (CF), Daniel Garcia (2B), Jason Bay (RF), Brett Kay (C), and Wayne Lydon (CF) also have the potential to develop into regulars. Michael Jacobs projects to platoon catcher. Ronald Acuna (RF), David Bacani (2B), Jay Caligiuri (1B/3B), Frank Corr (LF), Joe Hietpas (C), Robert McIntyre (SS), Marvin Seale (LF), and John Wilson (C) might see time in the major leagues as reserves.

The Mets possess a strong collection of positional talent at the long season A level as any MLB team. And, they will spearhead improved ranking of the Mets farm system. While Jose Reyes is clearly the star, the Mets have strength at CF, 3B and C.


Kenneth Chenard, Lenny DiNardo, Robert Keppel, Neal Musser, Dave Mattox, Matthew Peterson, Josh Reynolds, and Luz Portobanco comprise a deep crop of potential front-end starters (read as an above average #3 SP or better.) Joseph Cole, Jake Joseph, and Ross Peeples should get a chance to pitch in the major leagues either as a SP or RP.

The bullpen corp has a substantial group of relievers who should eventually pitch in the major leagues. The best RP prospect might be Steve Bennett whose stuff projects to a setup. Quentin Patterson and Matthew Gahan have the best stuff, but have enough issues to overcome that they may never make it. The remaining RP prospects project to middle RP, situation RP and long RP. The group includes David Byard, Chad Elliot, Tim LaVigne, Rafael Lopez, Nick Mattioni, Blake McGinley, Ryan Olson, Rylie Ogle, Orlando Roman, and Jason Scobie. Lopez, Roman and Scobie are likely to be the best RP from this group.

Ranking Minor Leaguers

The age and level at which a player/pitcher plays is critical in their evaluating. The typical age for the 4 long season teams are as follows:

At AAA, 24 years old or younger makes a player a prospect. A player 25 or older are generally considered suspect.
At AA, prospects should generally be 23 years old or younger.
At high A, prospects should generally be 22 years old or younger.
At low A, prospects should be 21 years old or younger.

The reasoning is fairly clear, a younger player matures physically, mentally and emotionally more than an older player. A less experienced player is more likely to improve than an older player. The vast majority of Hall of Famers were younger than prescribed for each level. Few Hall of Famers were older than the prescribed age-level, but Warren Spahn and Wade Boggs are exceptions.

The issue isn't how good a player is at each level rather it's how much can the player improve is the real issue. Thus, I don't follow a strict age-level, if I have reason to believe the player will improve more than expected.

At Norfolk, I have no reason to believe Marco Scutaro, a 26-year old veteran of 9 minor league seasons is likely to improve very much despite his great performance (.349, 7, 23). He'll turn 27 in October. So there's little reason to believe he'll develop into a decent starting infielder. On the other hand, Tyler Walker just turned 26 in May. He's considered a prospect because he's a converted catcher and has been pitching only 6 seasons beginning in 1997 at USC. So he doesn't have the repetitions of someone with experience at little league, pony league, Babe Ruth league, scholastic, summer, and college. So, a 26 year old might have 12-15 years of experience pitching. Walker was a reliever until 1999, so he had few repetitions in those seasons.

At Binghamton, Aaron McNeal is 24 and playing at AA for his 3rd season. It's hard to give him a high ranking based upon his stats, since he's not likely to improve much. Aaron McNeal has worked hard to alter his approach to hitting by hitting for power to the opposite field. Still, it's hard to consider him more than a platoon player. On the other hand, Jeremy Griffith converted from shortstop to a pitcher in 1999, so this is only his 4th as a pitcher. Thus, he has limited experience as a pitcher and will be prone to mechanical inconsistencies at his height which is 6'7".

At St. Lucie, Jason Bay was old at 23 at the beginning of the season. He's from Canada and played for Univ. of British Columbia playing NAIA/Division III schedule. So the level of competition he's played against before beginning his professional career was weak. So it might take more time for him to develop than someone from the US or Dominican Republic.

Another reason why a player may be older for than the prescribed age-level is if a player's progress has been blocked. For instance, Enrique Cruz and David Wright would block any player stuck behind them. The Mets intend to use Jay Caligiuri at 3B, but he's playing 1B to get AB at Columbia. Despite performing well at Columbia, Andres Rodriguez was returned to Brooklyn to make opportunities for Caligiuri to get ABs.

Player Rankings 26 through 50

26. Matthew Peterson (RHP), who has the best upside of any pitcher in the Mets farm system, is pitching well recently at Columbia (5-5, 3.86, 79.1). In his last 2 starts totaling 13 IP, Peterson struck out 23 and issued no walks. In about 79 IP, he has 83 K and 37 BB. Peterson's repetoire (FB, CB, CU) is very solid with a FB that sits at 91-93 mph and tops out at 95-96 mp. He should add about 2-3 mph to his FB. The CB has tight spin and the CU is promising. He could jump to the top 10 if he continues to perform at this level.

27. Luz Portobanco (RHP) has struggled at Columbia with the control of his CB and CU (3-5, 5.71, 64.7). Portobanco (4-seam FB, 2-seam FB, CB, CU) possesses a really good power sinker (2-seam FB), curve and change up. The 4-seamer has limited movement and sits at 91-93 mph topping off at 95 mph.

28. Tyler Yates (RHP), the top RP prospect, was having a solid season at Norfolk (2-2, 1.32, 34.0) before an arm injury required Tommy John surgery. He would have been ranked in the 8-12 range. Yates is a hard thrower (FB sits at 93-94 mph but he can reach 97-98 mph) with a solid slider. The Mets acquired him from Oakland in the Dave Justice deal.

29. Heath Bell (RHP) has solid potential as a set up reliever. He features low 90s fastball and sharp slider. After starting the season on the disabled list, Bell performed well at Binghamton (1-0, 1.47, 30.7) and promoted to Norfolk (1-2, 4.76).

30. Mark Corey (RHP) throws a mid-90s FB complemented by a decent CB and CU. He could develop into a solid RP with better command of his off-speed pitches. He's had a solid season at Norfolk (2-1, 1.17, 23.). He had 6 saves and issued 7 BB while striking out 33. He's a bit old for a better ranking.

31. Jason Bay (RF) can play all 3 outfield positions and projects to be a 4th OF. The Mets acquired Bay from Montreal in the Chen/Gonzalez for Strickland trade. Bay played well at St. Lucie (.272, 9, 54) and promoted to Binghamton (.125, 1, 5). At both stops, Bay has displayed patience by drawing a combined 41 BB in 295 AB. He's stolen a combined 26 bases in 28 attempts. He's a fine defensive OF and could make a move in the rankings.

32. Chris Basak (SS), an excellent defensive SS with good small ball skills, struggled at Binghamton (.237, 3, 24). He's a prototypical #2 hitter who bunts, and hits and runs well. A strong finish propels him back to the top 25.

33. Jeffrey Duncan (CF) is a fine defensive player and great base stealer. He started well at Columbia (.378, 3, 15) and promoted to St. Lucie (.350, 1, 5). He's stolen a combined 20 bases in 23 attempts. He stole 41 consecutive bases in 2001. He's just learning to drive the ball. He's a left-handed hitter. Expect Duncan to move up the rankings also.

34. Dave Mattox (RHP) pitched well at Columbia (6-1, 3.55, 66.0) and at St. Lucie (1-1, 3.75, 12.0). Mattox has very limited experience (he began pitching in 1999.) His repetoire (FB, CB, CU) has promise because all of his pitches have excellent movement.

35. Wayne Lydon (CF) is the best defensive player among the OF prospects. He's also the fastest player among the Mets prospects. He has 51 SB in 56 attempts. After struggling the low .220 from 1999 through 2001, Lydon is having a breakout season in 2002 at Columbia (.309, 0, 23.) He began switch-hitting in 2001.

36. Joseph Jiannetti (2B) struggles at Columbia while being converted to 2B (.241, 2, 9). He's a hard-nosed player with good speed and above average power for a middle infielder. While it will take some team, he has the tools to develop into a good defender.

37. Alhaji Turay (RF) can play all 3 OF positions. He's an aggressive player at bat, in the field and on the base paths. He comes to play every game. He already possesses outstanding power. He'll need to cut down his aggressiveness at the plate. He's played well at Brooklyn (.340, 1, 5).

38. Roberto Solano (CF) was among the top DSL Mets hitters in 2001, and is off to a great start at Kingsport (.391, 2, 10). He has the kind of tools that are worth watching. He should be among the top prospects in a couple of seasons.

39. Marvin Seale (LF) can play all 3 OF positions and projects to be a 4th OF. He converted to being a switch hitter prior to the 2000 season, but continues to struggle at St. Lucie (.248, 5, 34). He's shown power from both sides of the plate, but must make adjustments to make consistent contact.

40. Ross Peeples (LHP) possesses a developing repetoire (FB, CB, SL, CU) who knows how to pitch and has good control. He pitched well at Columbia (4-2, 1.82, 49.3), but he struggled when promoted to St. Lucie (2-3, 5.59, 29.0). He projects to be an end of the rotation starter.

41. Brett Kay (C) is a very solid all-around catcher who runs well, defends and has some power. He handles the bat well, and is a good bunter. He's struggled at St. Lucie (.224, 2, 17). The problem may be due in part to a three catcher rotation that includes Michael Jacobs and John Wilson.

42. Jason Roach (RHP) converted to pitcher in 2000 and has developed rapidly at Binghamton (3-4, 3.65, 44.3) and Norfolk (1-4, 4.30, 46.0). When the Mets drafted Roach, they intended him to pitch. Although Roach had been a pitcher/position player since little league, he preferred to hit, so Roach has played C, 1B and 3B in the minors. Roach's repetoire (FB, CB, SL, CU) is solid and his strengths are his ability to throw strikes and change speeds. He projects to be a long reliever/spot starter.

43. Aaron McNeal (1B), a power hitter who has adjusted from being a pull hitter to a hitter who can drive the ball to the opposite field, is having a good season at AA in his 3rd try (.301, 14, 55). Of McNeal's 14 HR, 13 were hit to the opposite field. He could develop into a nice part-time or bench player.

44. Marco Scutaro (SS), a good defensive middle infielder, is having an excellent season at Norfolk (.349, 7, 23).

45. Saul (Rabell) Rivera (RHP) is a hard throwing RP whose performing well at Binghamton (2-2, 2.60, 34.3). He leads minor league RP in saves with 10. The Mets claimed him on waivers from the Minnesota Twins in August 2001.

46. Robert Stratton (RF) possesses enormous power, but continues to struggles against the CB. He's an excellent defensive player with a strong arm. He's regained speed lost to a chronic bad back. Despite the numbers (.233, 20, 49), Stratton is a marginal prospect.

47. Ty Wigginton (3B), who has no true position defensively, is playing well for Norfolk (.323, 5, 39). He can play 2B, 1B and LF. Potentially, Wigginton could develop into an excellent pinch hitter.

48. Tim LaVigne (RHP) projects to becoming a middle RP with a 88-89 mph FB and a big breaking CB. The CB is his out pitch. He pitched well at St. Lucie (0-2, 3.76, 26.3) and struggled at Binghamton (1-2, 4.70, 7,7).

49. Corey Ragsdale (SS) is a fine athletic, defensive shortstop with good speed and base stealing ability. As his body fills out, Ragsdale should hit for 20 HR+ power. The Mets must be patient in developing his hitting. Ragsdale has struggled at Columbia (.177, 1, 12) and Brooklyn (.152, 0, 5).

50. Miguel Pinango (RHP) has an excellent repetoire (FB, CB, CU) and has performed well at Brooklyn (0-1, 2.55, 16.0). Pinango recorded 20 K and issued only 1 BB.

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