2002 Scouting Report: LHP, Neal Musser

Neal Musser was drafted out of high school as a 2nd round selection in the 1999 draft. He was the Mets first overall pick because the Mets did not have a 1st round selection due to the free agent signing of Robin Ventura.

With the exception of Gulfport in 1999, Musser has exhibited excellent control having walked 28 batters in his l40 innings in 2000 and 2001. Musser has only given up 5 home runs in his last 140 innings.

The Mets had planned to fast track Musser and have him at Columbia in 2000, but his physical problems delayed his progress. Musser was limited to 33 innings in 2000 due to a rib cage injury and a sore elbow. Musser's career continues to be plagued by injuries as he has missed most of this season with a stress fracture in his foot.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2002

St. Lucie

2-0

19

20

5

12

1.42

2002

Brooklyn

0-0

13

7

5

12

0.69

2001

St. Lucie

3-4

46

45

19

40

3.55

2001

Cap City

7-4

95

86

18

98

2.84

2000

Kingsport

3-0

34

33

6

21

2.10

1999

Gulfport

2-1

31

26

18

22

2.01


*Stats as of 8/25/02.

Repertoire. Fastball (FB), curve ball (CB), slider (SL) and change up (CU).

Fastball. Musser's FB sits in the 89-90 mph range and tops off at 92 mph. He should add 1 or 2 mph to his FB. His FB has excellent sinking action. He's allowed very few HR.

Other pitches. Musser throws an excellent CU and mixes in a workable SL. He has excellent control of both his CU and SL. Musser has a potentially dominant slow CB that isn't quite as slow as Bobby J. Jones' "Lord Charles" but will offset his other pitches nicely when he can throw it more consistently for strikes.

Pitching. Musser has outstanding control of 3 pitches 2 of which are already major league quality out pitches. His CB is potentially another out pitch when he can better locate it. He doesn't walk many and his pitches are difficult to lift. Musser also has very good poise so he should be able to move quickly through the system should he be able to stay healthy.

Projection. Musser projects to a high quality #3 starter.

ETA 2004. If he remains healthy, a September call up in 2003 is likely.

Left-Handed Starting Pitchers Team
Mike Bacsik New York Mets
Phil Seibel AA - Binghamton Mets
Leonard DiNardo A - Capital City Bombers
Ross Peeples A - Capital City Bombers
Scott Kazmir A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Ryan Danly R - Kingsport Mets
Kelvin Garay R - Kingsport Mets


COMMENTS


The Mets system has a number of left handed pitching prospects. With Bacsik promoted to the Mets, the farm system has only 4 starters pitching at the moment. The injured Brian Walker could be developed as a starter.

1. While Bacsik projects to a #5 SP or long RP/spot SP, there is room for improvement. The most likely improvements in repetoire would be from changing speeds on his CB or on his CU. If Bascik can learn to change speeds on his CB, then his ceiling would be a #4 SP or better. Jaime Moyer learned to change speeds on his CU and as a result he became a front-end SP. Only, Omar Daal also changes speeds on his CU. Historically, Stu Miller and Doug Jones relied heavily on changing speeds on their CU to become effective RPs. If does both, then a front end starter is possible. For now, I'd leave the #5 or long RP/spot SP projection.

2. Neal Musser completed a rehab assignment at Brooklyn and returned to St. Lucie. He was having an excellent season until a foot injury sidelined him. He's added weight during the off-season and could move quickly through the system if he can remain healthy.

3. Lenny DiNardo is still recovering from a tired arm and is on a severe pitch limit constraint. He needs to throw more strikes to be successful. With his extensive repetoire, he could move very quickly through the system.

4. Ross Peeples is an end of the rotation SP with his work ethic.

5. Yunior Cabrera is starting at Brooklyn. This is Cabrera's 6th season in the Mets farm system and he has spent precious little time above short season leagues. For the most part, Cabrera has been a RP. Thus, the Mets likely are trying to fast track him by starting him. The 22-year old Cabrera throws an excellent CB and should add 2 mph to his FB and reach 90-91 mph. He has good control of both pitches and should move quickly through the system when he returns to the bullpen.

6. Jayson Weir and Ryan Danly could both return to starting after a stint in the bullpen.

7. Scott Kazmir automatically becomes the top left-handed starting pitching prospect in the farm system.

8. The recently signed Kelvin Garay bears watching also.



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