Final 2002 Scouting Report: RHP, Jae Weong Seo

Jae Weong Seo was signed out of Korea prior to the 1998 season. Seo pitched for the Korean National Team, so he does not have a military obligation in Korea. His progress through the Mets system has been seriously delayed. When the Mets signed him, the Mets felt he might be ready for the majors before the end of 1998, but a persistent sore elbow prevented his progress. Seo underwent tendon muscle replacement surgery - a procedure usually referred to as Tommy John surgery.

Seo missed the remainder of 1999 and all of 2000. Seo also suffered a set back at the Arizona Fall League where he suffered from shoulder tendonitis. He continued to be plagued by physical problems in 2002.

Despite being 20 lbs. overweight in 2001, Seo had a fine season in 2001 at 3 different levels. Seo has yet to regain his 92-93 mph FB. And, his slow start in 2002 was clearly affected by shoulder tendonitis, and later performances affected by a pinched-nerve in the neck. With exception of his BB-rate, Seo's ratios are unacceptable for a starting pitcher and strongly suggest a long reliever/spot starter future: 10.1 hits per 9 IP, 1.5 BB per 9 IP, and 6.1 K per 9 IP. Undoubtedly, minor ailments affected his performance. But, Seo's failure to regain velocity remains the great concern.

In 2002, Seo continued to struggle to get hitters out, allowing more hits than innings pitched....something he did not show until he reached the AAA level. Jae Seo hardly walks any batters (he has walked just 47 batters in 317 minor league innings), but he needs to cut down on the amount of hits he allows to show the same promise he had in the lower levels.










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*Stats as of 10/01/02.

Repertoire. 4-seam fastball (FB), split-fingered fastball (spl. FB), curve ball (CB), slider (SL), and change up (CU). Seo has great control of all his pitches.

Fastball. Currently, Seo's FB sits in the 87-88 mph range topping off at 90 mph. His FB has limited movement. Seo locates his FB very well and should remain fairly effective even at 87-88.

Other Pitches. Seo's spl. FB, CB, SL and CU are all major league ready pitches.

Pitching. Seo has excellent poise and a deceptive motion that hides his pitches. Seo relies upon his ability to locate his secondary pitches rather than break and movement.

Projection. Seo projects to be a middle RP, long RP and spot starter. Improvement in secondary pitchers or velocity would make him an end of the rotation SP.

ETA. 2003.

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers Team
Jae Weong Seo AAA - Norfolk Tides
Patrick Strange AAA - Norfolk Tides
Tyler Walker AAA - Norfolk Tides
Nick Maness AA - Binghamton Mets
Jeremy Griffiths AA - Binghamton Mets
Joseph Cole AA - Binghamton Mets
Jake Joseph AA - Binghamton Mets
Bob Keppel A - St. Lucie Mets
Dave Mattox A - St. Lucie Mets
Tanner Osberg A - Capital City Bombers
Luz Portobanco A - Capital City Bombers
Matthew Peterson A - Capital City Bombers
Miguel Pinango A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Kevin Deaton A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Chad Bowen A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Adam Elliot R - Kingsport Mets
Rafael Castro R - Kingsport Mets
Matthew Lindstrom R - Kingsport Mets


Starting RHP remains the strength of the organization. Matthew Peterson ranked #26 in early June jumps into the top 10 perhaps as high as #3. Championships are built around pitching, and with the emergence of Peterson, the Mets have enough quality arms performing well to foster dreams of great Mets rotations of the past. More importantly, the depth of quality to arms suffices so that 1 or 2 injuries won't be as devastating.

1. Jeremy Griffiths has emerged as the organization's second hardest thrower in 2002. He's plagued by inconsistent mechanics and command that is not unusual for a 6'7´pitcher with limited experience. Griffiths first began pitching in 1999. He'd make an ideal candidate for conversion to the bullpen.

2. Matthew Peterson in his last 5 starts demonstrated his ability to dominate with his high ceiling repertoire. Perhaps, the most impressive aspect of his performance is his ability to sustain velocity late into games. He was reaching 97 mph in the 7th inning of one of his starts. When considering any prospect, it's far more important to know the velocity late in games than at the beginning of games. This means the pitcher has the ability to close out victories themselves, or hand the game over to the closer rather than setups or middle RPs.

3. Aaron Heilman remains the organization's top pitching prospect. Heilman's remarkable command of his FB and SL sets him apart from other starters. Heilman also sustains his velocity deep into games and has the body and arm strength to pitch a lot of innings. He still needs to improve his secondary pitches. Due to his collegiate and International experience, Heilman may play a pivotal role in the Mets future. When the Leiter/Piazza era comes to a close, Heilman should be best able to accept the staff leadership mantle for a strong group of minor league prospects.

4. Patrick Strange also sustains and in fact increases his velocity as the game progresses. His 67-21 record is not just an accident. Strange demonstrates a remarkable ability to close out victories and hand games to the closer instead of others. His ability to sustain velocity late into games is a critical part of his success.

5. Bob Keppel is on the same fast track that the Mets had for Strange. But, Keppel's more extensive repertoire (4-seam FB, 2-seam FB+, cut SL, spl. FB and CU) than Strange at the seam age means he should not struggle as much as Strange did when promoted to Binghamton. He's also working on a knuckle CB. Keppel has the 2nd highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Mets organization, but he definitely needs to seriously bulk up.

6. Kenneth Chenard should be converted to a RP. He simply lacks the durability to become a SP. Should Chenard be relegated to the bullpen, Maness has the 3rd highest ceiling of any starter in the long season leagues. But, his continued struggles at Binghamto will soon regulate him to marginal prospect status. It's not likely the Mets will return him to their 40-man roster.

7. Luz Portobanco continued to struggle at Columbia. Tanner Osborne took his spot in the rotation. Portobanco has been plagued by poor control of his CB and CU both of which are close to MLB plus pitcher (but if he can't throw them for strikes it doesn't matter). Just as happened at Brooklyn, hitters stopped swinging at his off-speed pitches.

8. Tyler Walker's addition of a decent SL makes him MLB ready. With a loss of about 30 lbs., Walker is better able to sustain his velocity deep into games.

9. With the depth of quality arms, the Mets can move Jae Seo to the bullpen to serve a Ramiro Mendoza type role. When healthy (he's been plagued by minor ailments throughout 2002), Seo has command of FB, CB, SL, CU and spl. FB. Bobby Valentine called him the best young pitcher he had ever seen when urging the Mets to sign Seo despite his having a sore elbow that eventually needed Tommy John surgery.

10. David Mattox has come on very quickly. He was promoted to St. Lucie after starting at Columbia. His pitches (4-seam FB, 2-seam FB, CB, CU) have excellent movement.

11. Jake Joseph has good stuff, however, his progress has been stifled by numerous not-pitching related injuries and a lack of confidence in his repertoire (FB, SL, CU).

12. Joseph Cole probably possesses the worst repertoire of the three Js pitching at Binghamton (J. Griffith, and J. Joseph being the others), but he might turn out to be the best pitcher. He has a solid end of the rotation repertoire featuring a sinking FB and big breaking CB.

13. Adam Elliot has outstanding command of a plus FB and CB to have survived until the 6th round of the 2002 draft. Elliot also has the makings of a nasty SL and decent CU. Apparently, Elliot's perceived bad attitude cost him several hundred thousand dollars. For the Mets he's just another high ceiling pitching prospect amongst many.

14. Jason Weintraub, the great unknown, possesses a FB that sits at 88-89 mph and tops off at 92-93 mph. Weintraub's ease of motion, balance, frame, and leg strength, strongly suggests that he can add more than the usual 4-5 mph projection. The great unknown is whether his FB will eventually sit at 91-93 mph good but nothing special or sit at 96-98 while topping off at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

15. Miguel Pinango has impressive command of his FB. The Mets roving pitching instructor worked with him on developing a 2-seam FB and tightening his CB. The Mets are typically a 4-seam FB, CB and CU teaching organization for young pitchers (unless they have a SL, 2-seam FB, or spl. FB before signing.) For the Mets to teach Pinango a 2-seam FB at this stage, means either the Mets intend to move Pinango through their system quickly or the don't believe he'll develop a quality CB or both.

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