Overview of Starting Pitching Prospects - Part I

Starting pitching remains the strength of the farm system. Talented arms exist throughout the organization from Norfolk to Brooklyn to Venezuela/Dominican Republic in 2002. Some arms began to emerge in 2002 as quality prospects. The group included Jeremy Griffiths (RHP), Matthew Peterson (RHP), and Dave Mattox (RHP). The Mets have a number of quality arms that might emerge or re-emerge in 2003.

The system now has plenty of left-handed pitching prospects due to stockpiling in the 2001 and 2002 drafts, and International free agent signings. So, the Mets have decent balance.

Long Season Leagues

Peterson, Aaron Heilman (RHP), Scott Kazmir (LHP), Bob Keppel (RHP) and Patrick Strange (RHP) represent the cream of the crop. The long season leagues include a number of prospects with similar upsides yet to emerge such as Adam Elliott (RHP), Luz Portobanco (RHP), Lenny DiNardo (LHP) and Neal Musser (LHP). DiNardo has been working hard to build himself up and he should have a breakthrough season in 2003. Miguel Pinango (RHP) and Kevin Deaton (RHP) are two good prospects that should make their long season debut in 2003. Phil Seibel (LHP), despite not having overpowering stuff, has a repertoire that works nicely together. And, he might be an overachiever. Chad Bowen (RHP) who has been plagued with injuries in 2001 and 2002 could be a sleeper.

Short Season Leagues

The Mets lack returning short-season pitchers who would be considered stud prospects. Nonetheless, several arms exist that possess good potential including Jason Weintraub (LHP), Ryan Danly (LHP), Celso Rondon (RHP), Ivan Maldanado (RHP), Edgar Alfonso (LHP), and Kelvin Garay (LHP). The Mets' Latin teams should also provide 5-6 pitching prospects. The best appear to be Yusemeiro Petit (RHP), Jose Sanchez (RHP), and Heriberto Peralta (LHP). Chris Munn (RHP) is the best potential draft and follow signee. He's 6'4", and weighs 175 lbs. Munn possesses a good arm and has lots of projectability. Good fastball and change up in a repetoire that already includes a slider that has bite and a sweeping curve. He started pitching in the summer 2001 so he's short on experience. He's attending Manatee CC. DeWayne Carver (RHP) is another possible draft and follow pitcher to keep an eye on. Great athlete was signed to play quarterback by Louisville Univ. He's attending Daytona Beach CC.

Norfolk Tides - Aaron Heilman and Mike Bacsik will compete for a slot with the Mets. One or both are likely to being the season with the Tides. Adam Walker should begin the season on the DL. The Tides have a lot of potential starters this season. Some will end up in the bullpen and others at Binghamton.

Player (Repertoire)


Stats (W-L, ERA, IP)


Aaron Heilman (4-FB, SL, C-CU, spl. FB)


(6-7, 3.64, 145)

A top prospect. Expected to be a #2 or a quality #3 SP. FB has good sinking action, the SL great potential. And, the splitter is a K-pitch. CU need work. Durable inning eater. Great command and K/BB ratio of (132 K/44 BB).

Mike Bacsik*  (4-FB, ct-FB, CB, K-CB, CU)


(5-5, 3.74, 108)

Bacsik's best pitch is his CU. His K-pitch is his knuckle CB. End of the rotation type. Likely to peak on the other side of 30. Needs to improve CB, because calling his 85-87 mph FB with limited movement mediocre at best is being kind. Good command (75 K/ 25 BB). Pitched well for the Mets in limited action. (3-2, 4.32, 56).

Jeremy Griffiths (4-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(8-6, 3.89, 153)

The only plus pitch is his FB with excellent sinking action. A deceptive motion makes his SL and CU very effective. Might serve better as a closer. Struggled with command and control 1st half and only a tremendous 2nd half gave this outstanding K/BB ratio (126 K/54 BB). His Arizona Fall League performance was solid (0-1, 1.91, 33) and his command was indicative of his late performance at AA (25 K, 5 BB).

Phil Seibel*  (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(10-8, 3.97, 150)

Repertoire works nicely together. 87-88 mph 4-FB has good sinking action, and 2-FB has good right-to-left movement. CB, SL and CU all have a chance to be quality pitches. After struggling early, Seibel finished strong and had a good ratio (114 K/49 BB).

Jae Seo (4-FB, 2-FB, spl. FB, CB, SL, CU)


(9-11, 4.37, 124)

Hasn't recovered velocity from TJ surgery. Probably should be moved to long RP, improvement of 2-3 pitches could easily allow him to be a successful end of the rotation SP. Great command (93 K/23 BB).

Tyler Walker (4-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(10-5, 3.99, 142)

Had knee scoped. FB loss some of its sinking action. If it returns, he's a solid end of the rotation SP or a good closer prospect. His SL needs to be effective against left-handed hitters for him to start. While struggling with command at times had good ratio (109 K/38 BB).

Jason Roach (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(9-10, 3.05, 151)

Long RP/spot SP is best-case scenario for Roach. Control and the ability to change speeds are his best assets. Needs to improvement on both FBs. Roach's ratio was (87 K/43 BB).

Adam Walker*  (4-FB, SL, CU)


(0-2, 6.17, 12)

Had TJ Surgery likely to miss the first half. He'll be 27 when he returns. Never considered him much of a prospect despite great AA stats. Very little beyond great CU.

Nick Maness (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(7-9, 4.40, 149)

Given up on high ceiling prospect. Has the stuff to be a #1 or #2 SP, but unlikely to harness it due to lack of command and inability to control his emotions. Maness had an extremely poor ratio (120 K/80 BB).

Patrick Strange (4-FB, SL, C-CU, ct-CU)


(10-10, 3.82, 165)

Had elbow surgery to remove bone spurs. Solid stuff, but needs another plus pitch to be a quality SP. Elbow surgery will delay introduction of spl. FB that he threw in HS. Strange didn't have a strong ratio (109 K/59 BB).

Binghamton Mets - Look for 1 or 2 pitchers competing at Norfolk to start at the beginning of the season for B-Mets. At mid-season, look for 2-3 starters from St. Lucie to be in the rotation. Starting Musser here in 2002 would help break the logjam at St. Lucie.

Player (Repertoire)


Stats (W-L, ERA, IP)


Joseph Cole (4-FB, CB, CU)


(10-6, 3.38, 155)

Has decent stuff, but is being passed by better prospects. End of the rotation or long RP are his likely role. Low-90s FB with decent sink and good CB. Cole had an adequate ratio (103 K/48 BB).

Jake Joseph (2-FB, SL, CU)


(9-8, 3.42, 163)

Has been plagued by non-arm related injuries. Needs to trust his stuff. Better suited to be a RP. He has excellent 2-seam FB, changes speeds on slurvy SL well. Joseph had adequate ratio (90 K/40 BB).

Marino Cota (FB, CB, CU)



Had shoulder surgery.  Not a prospect.

John Bale*  (4-FB, CB, CU)


(2-2, 3.54, 28)

Missed most of 2002 with injury that opened the door for Jaime Cerda. Good stuff featuring a great CB and low 90's FB. Injuries and bouts of wildness have hurt his career. Could be a sleeper, but not likely.

Bob Keppel (4-FB, 2-FB, spl. FB, K-CB, ct-SL, CU)


(9-7, 4.32, 152)

Needs to bulk up if he is to remain a SP. Has extensive repertoire and is a strike-throwing machine when in sync. Best pitch is low 90s 2-FB. 4-FB should eventually top out at 96-97 mph, but lacks good movement. Keppel had a decent ratio (109 K/43 BB).

Neal Musser*  (4-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(2-0, 1.09, 32)

Struggled with stress fracture in foot. Might have been on the verge of a breakthrough season. Plagued by a variety of non-arm related injuries in his 4 seasons. Good CB and CU. FB has good sinking action. Velocity has been inconsistent.

St. Lucie Mets - The Mets generally carry more than 25 players on this roster early in the season, and generally carry 12-13 pitchers. The availability of the extended ST facility allows pitchers to get additional work. The Mets have a logjam of pitchers who need to start at St. Lucie. Obviously, several SPs are headed to the bullpen. Eckert and Ough are the best candidates. Both of them would benefit from another half season as starters before the conversion. The Mets will need to be creative in handling SP candidates.

Player (Repertoire)


Stats (W-L, ERA, IP)


Kenneth Chenard (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(3-5, 3.62, 70)

Had nagging injuries in 2002. His 4 seasons have been plagued by arm and non-arm related injuries. Doesn't have the durability to be a SP or to be a reliable closer. Like him in a long RP/spot SP role. With the exception of Kazmir no one has better stuff in the Mets organization. Chenard who previously showed good command, struggled with it in 2001 and 2002 after surgery in 2001. Ratio was weak (46 K/29 BB).

Lenny DiNardo*  (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(5-5, 4.35, 101)

Struggled with tired arm and blisters. Has yet to regain his 90-91 mph FB, but off-season training should help. Great CB and CU. Has good command of both. Needs to challenge hitters with FB more. SL is a K-pitch. Poor ratio (103 K/56 BB) Serious GB/FO pitcher (135 GB/ 42 FO).

David Mattox (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(12-6, 3.29, 142)

All 5 pitches have good movement. 2-FB and CB are his best pitches. While not having overpowering stuff, with 5 good pitches, he'll be as good as his command -- great command, great pitcher and lousy command, lousy pitcher. Command needs work. Weak ratio (126 K/66 BB). Ground ball pitcher (105 GB/ 58 FO).

Matthew Peterson (4-FB, CB, CU)


(9-10, 3.77, 144)

Best 4-FB of any RHP in the system. FB rides in on right-handed hitters. Sits at 92-94 mph, but touches 97 mph. CB has sharp break. CU has promise. Needs to improve command and control his emotions. A top prospect. Struggled mightily with command in May (18 K/17 BB), but was solid otherwise (158 K/63 BB).

Ross Peeples*  (4-FB, CB, SL, CU)


(9-10, 3.69, 144)

Decent repertoire. Works very hard. Repertoire suggests end of the rotation type SP or long RP/spot SP. Good ratio (124 K/ 38 K). Something of a ground ball pitcher (139 GB/87 FO) at Columbia, but A+ hitters had much less difficulty elevating the ball.

Harold Eckert (4-FB, SL, CU)


(13-7, 3.88, 139)

Recovering from serious arm injury in 1999 that cost him 2 seasons. Nasty SL is his best pitch. Probably should be converted to RP. Good ratio (149 K/51 BB), but not likely to maintain K-rate so needs to improve control.

Luz Portobanco (4-FB, 2-FB, CB, CU)


(4-8, 5.93, 99)

Struggled with shoulder ailments. Great potential, but needs to begin harnessing it. 2-FB is best pitch with great sinking action, but he also can give good left-to-right movement. Probably needs to add a SL. 4-FB lacks movement but touches 94-96 mph. Control is an issue. Very poor ratio (61 K/41 BB).

Brian Walker*  (4-FB, CB, SL, CU)



Struggled with a tired arm. Has yet to regain 89-90 mph velocity he had at Miami U. Nice CB and SL combo, but needs to regain velocity.

Wayne Ough (4-FB, CB, CU)


(6-11, 3.92, 110)

Control has been an issue. Last 6 starts at Columbia showed improved control. Great FB and CB combo. Lack of other pitches requires him to be a RP. But needs more starts to harness mid 90s FB with sharp breaking CB. Very poor ratio (92 K/62 BB), although it did improve late.

· * left-handed pitcher
· & composite stats from 2 or more teams.
· age as of 4/3/03.
· 4-FB – 4-seam fastball
· 2-FB – 2-seam fastball
· ct-FB – cut fastball
· spl FB – split-fingered fastball
· CB – curve
· K-CB – knuckle curve
· SL – slider
· sl SL – slurvy slider
· ct SL – cut slider
· CU – change up.
· C-CU – circle change up.
· ct-CU – cut change up.
· GB ground ball outs.
· FO fly ball outs.

Do you have an opinion on the Mets? Be sure to let us know on the message board. NYfansonly.com is always looking for die-hard Mets fans who would like to be writers for the site. Click here to learn more on how to become a Mets beat writer for NYfansonly.com.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories