Minors: Baseball America Likes Ike

Mets 22–year-old Double-A 1B Ike Davis was listed on Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet this week.

According to Baseball America, “Davis has clubbed more home runs this season (12) and compiled a higher slugging percentage (.486) than any of the other four first-round first basemen from the 2008 draft.”

In 31 games since being promoted to Double-A, Davis is batting .308 with seven HR, 24 RBI and .400 OBP.

…i asked some people who know the team’s system about davis the other day, and i left with three things, so far, a) he has adjusted well to hitting off speed pitches, something he struggled with last season, b) he is capable of being a major-league first baseman, but c) he has such a strong arm, so strong he could be a relief pitcher, it might make sense to eventually put him in right field, especially if the Mets are committed to Daniel Murphy at first

The report also comments on Mets 17-year-old Single-A SS Wilmer Flores, who is showing strong discipline at the plate.

Prospects: Two Mets in Futures Game

The Mets will have two prospects in this afternoon’s All Star Futures Game in St. Louis.

RHP pitcher Jenrry Mejia, who has recently been clocked at 102 mph during a Double-A game, will be one of the prospects playing for Team World.

Mejia was 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA for St. Lucie, and is 0-3 with a 3.74 ERA since his promotion to Binghamton.

In addition, 17 year old Wilmer Flores will also represent Team World.

Flores is hitting a respectable .280 for Single-A Savanah but his on-base percentage is just .319.

…he is only 17 and there is plenty of time for Flores to mature before he ever puts on a Major League Uniform..from what we saw in Spring Training this year, I think there is a lot to be excited about with this kid and I am looking forward to watching him and Mejia in today’s game…

Minors: Mets Teens in Future's Game

Mets 17-year-old SS Wilmer Flores and 19-year-old RHP Jenrry Mejia will represent the Mets on this year’s World Team during the Future’s Game in St. Louis, played the day before the All-Star game, according to Baseball America.

Mejia is 0–3 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts since being promoted to Double-A, though he has 24 strike outs in 21.2 innings pitched.

the Mets love mejia, and his serious fastball, and i suspect we’ll begin to hear more and more about him as the season goes on, especially next spring

Meanwhile, Flores is batting .268 with 14 extra base hits in 60 games for the Low-A Sand Gnats in Savannah.

…i just can’t believe he’s 1717… i mean, i’m nearly twice his age

In a report an off-season for Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein wrote, “Flores has a huge frame and the potential for plus-plus raw power to go with the hitting skills to make consistent hard contact. Defensively, he has soft hands and an above-average arm. He’s an average runner.”

…17, folks… i mean, seven… teen… it’s crazy

To get an answer to ‘Who is Flores,’ check out this old post from Adam Rubin on his blog for the Daily News.

Note: Watch Wilmer Flores on Ch. 11

Mets 17–year-old SS prospect Wilmer Flores is starting at shortstop today against the Nationals.

The game will broadcast locally on Ch. 11.

To learn more about Flores, read Adam Rubin in the Daily News.

Interestingly, 21-year-old C Eric Campbell will start at catcher.

The Connecticut-born Campbell was drafted in the eighth round last season, then hit .260 with 13 extra base hits and a .359 OBP in 66 games for Brooklyn.

Read: Law Ranks 2 Mets in Top 100

Continuing his yearly list making over at ESPN.com, Keith Law released his Top 100 prospects in baseball. He ranked two Mets in the top 100: OF Fernando Martinez at #16, and SS Wilmer Flores at #55.

Law remains high on Martinez, saying he has a “special bat” and writing:

…Martinez offers huge power potential, putting on a display in BP, but it has only briefly started to emerge in games. He has very quick and strong wrists, letting the ball travel on him before exploding quickly and making solid, hard contact. In the field, he’s looking more likely to end up in right field…

Law writes that the Mets face a tough decision with where to place Martinez to open ’09: back in Binghamton for a third season, or advancing him to AAA Buffalo at age 20, even if he may not be quite ready.

As for Flores, Law is high on his offensive potential, as well:

Flores’ calling card is his bat — he has quick wrists and is very short to the ball, squaring very well except on balls toward the bottom of the zone. Flores plays short now but is below-average already, and he’ll move to another position as he fills out, probably third base given his arm strength and the fact that his bat will play there.

Law believes that while it’s early in his career, the young Venezuelan could end up topping 30 homers a year.

These seem like fair enough rankings… it says a lot that despite years of injuries, Martinez is still this highly regarded, though perhaps his successful DWL season helps that… hopefully he’s healthy this year… as much as i’d like to see him at Citi Field next year, the most important thing is getting his development on track and not rushing him like they have…

…also pleased to see Flores so high, which means that with a big year in the Sally League, he could shoot up this list next year…

Read: Law: Mets' Farm Middle of the Pack

Keith Law, writing for ESPN.com, ranks every organization’s farm system, with the Mets coming in at 17th:

It took a few major trades, but their system finally has thinned. Their international scouting department has saved the system, with three of their top six prospects (Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte) all coming via that route. Keep an eye on Brad Holt, a potentially fast mover from the 2008 draft whose curveball is improving.

…i think this is a fair ranking, but one that could be drastically different next year… as Law notes, Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte are two of the team’s top six prospects, and played at Kingsport and in the GCL, respectively in ’08… as such, big seasons further up the ladder should catapult them, as well as the rest of the system… also, better seasons out of first rounders Ike Davis and Reese Havens should help, as well…

Law ranks the Braves as the fourth best system, while he places the Marlins at eight, the Phillies at eleven and the Nationals at twenty nine, while the Yankees are fifteenth.

Minors: Who is Wilmer Flores

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus each recently ranked SS Wilmer Flores as the Mets second-best prospect, behind Fernando Martinez.

In a post to his blog for the Daily News, Adam Rubin, who authored the Baseball America report, essentially answers, ‘Who is Flores,’ by providing all sorts of information about the 17–year-old shortstop, who Minor League Ball actually ranked ahead of Martinez.

In 280 minor-league at bats this season, Flores hit .307 with a .347 OBP, 25 extra base hits and 42 RBI in 68 games.

Speaking of prospects…

ESPN.com’s Keith Law e-mailed me to say Mets LHP Nathan Vineyard has not retired, according to a person he talked to inside the Mets organization.

However, he added, “I wouldn’t be shocked if Vineyard did eventually retire, it’s just that I confirmed that he hasn’t done so.”

For more on Vineyard, and talk of him ‘quitting,’ click here.

Minors: Sickels Top 20 Prospect List

John Sickels has published his version of the Top 20 Mets Prospects on Minor League Ball.

Sickels believes SS-3B Wilmer Flores is the team’s top prospects, who he gives a B+, and says, “I might take some flack for this, but in this case I think his upside is higher than Fernando Martinez.  If I could have just one of them, I’d pick Flores.”

Sickels ranks Martinez second, followed in order by LHP Jon Niese, RHP Brad Holt, SS Reese Havens, 3B Jefry Marte, RHP Jenrry Mejia, RHP Robert Parnell, RHP Eddie Kunz and 1B Nick Evans, who round out the Top 10.

Ultimately, Sickels says the team’s farm system ranks among the middle of the pack in MLB, concluding:

“The Mets continue to make a big push in Latin America, and they seem to have a knack for finding some interesting pitchers in the later rounds of the draft… They have the financial resources to be a lot more aggressive in the draft than they have been, so there’s really no excuse for this NOT to be a good farm system…. They have made significant progress and there is quite a bit of upside here, but more needs to be done.”

Last week, Adam Rubin compiled the team’s Top 10 Prospects for Baseball America, while Kevin Goldstein released his Top 11 Prospects for Baseball Prospectus.

Speaking of minor leaguers…

According to Toby Hyde of Mets Minor League Blog, there is an Internet rumor going around that suggests Mets 20-year-old LHP Nathan Vineyard has decided to retire.

Hyde is working to confirm or deny the rumor about Vineyard, who missed most of the 2008 season following shoulder surgery.

By the way, Vineyard does not appear on any of the above lists.

Minors: Hyde on Prospects, BA's Mets Top 10

Baseball America released its Mets Top 10 Prospects List today, which looks as follows: 1) OF Fernando Martinez, 2) SS Wilmer Flores, 3) LHP Jon Niese, 4) RHP Brad Holt, 5) RHP Robert Parnell, 6) 3B Jefry Marte, 7) RHP Jenrry Mejia, 8) SS Reese Havens, 9) 1B-OF Nick Evans, and 10) RHP Eddie Kunz.

the weirdest part about the list, actually, is that it is written by Adam Rubin, beat writer for the Daily News…which is not to knock rubin, whose work i enjoy, it’s just, when this list comes out, i find myself looking forward to hearing from Jim Callis, or John Manuel, Matt Meyers, J.J. Cooper, of whomever else from BA typically compiled the list

that said, i know rubin follows the minor-league system as well as any one, and keeps in contact with any one who’s any one involved in scouting such talent, so i have no doubt his work is solid…it’s just, if i want to read rubin, i’ll read the Daily News, you know what i mean…

that said, i’m glad to see F-Mart still getting respect…because, at this point, i have lost count of people around the game who have expressed concern to me about his progress

…for his sake, though, the Mets are not one of them…from what i understand, Omar Minaya and Tony Bernazard are still very excited and confident about martinez, so much so that it is factoring in to their plans for filling left-field this season…because, i truly believe they envision Fernando Martinez in left field and Daniel Murphy at first Jefry-marte-stance-cropped-210x300base when dreaming up the future

By the way, on Mets Minor League Blog, Toby Hyde answers a question about Mets prospects Jefry Marte and Wilmer Flores, who play SS and 3B, two positions that will hopefully be filled in Citi Field at least through the next few seasons.

Hyde also discusses Mets RHP Brad Holt, saying, among other things, “The chances of seeing Holt in the Big Leagues in 2009 are very, very low, bordering on nil, despite the fact I think he’s the Mets best pitching prospect.”

Also on his blog, Hyde conducts an exclusive Q&A with Kevin Goldstein, who recently released his much-anticipated Mets Top 11 Prospects list for Baseball Prospectus, during which they discuss Josh Thole and Dillon Gee, both of whom were left off of Goldestein’s list.

Minors: Mets Top 11 from Baseball Prospectus

The following, from Baseball Prospctus, is Kevin Goldstein’s list of the Top 11 Mets Prospects:

Four-Star Prospects: 1. OF Fernando Martinez, 2. SS Wilmer Flores, and 3. 3B Jefry Marte

Three-Star Prospects: 4. RHP Brad Holt, 5. LHP Jon Niese, 6. SS Reese Havens, and 7. RHP Jenrry Mejia

Two-Star Prospects: 8. 1B Ike Davis, 9. RHP Bobby Parnell, 10. RHP Eddie Kunz, and 11. RHP Scott Moviel

…to me, what’s most noteworthy here, is not who is ranked where and why, but, instead, goldstein did not list a single Mets prospect as being worthy of his five-star status

Minors: Why BA ranked Flores over FMart

Last week, in a chat for ESPN.com, Baseball America’s Jim Callis ranked Mets 17–year-old SS Wilmer Flores as the organization’s top prospect – ahead of Fernando Martinez.

Yesterday, in a mailbag for Baseball America, Callis was asked how he could rank Flores over Martinez, to which he responded:

“Both Flores and Martinez have interesting bats, and the big difference between the two is that there’s more to Flores’ game than just his offense.  He has a chance to play a premium position and at worse will be a third baseman, while Martinez will be a left fielder…While Martinez has been pushed aggressively by the Mets and consistently has been very young for his leagues, he hasn’t been overwhelmingly impressive since a 45-game stint in low Class A…Flores will be 17 when he heads to low Class A next year, and I think he’ll outperform Martinez.  It’s still very early in Flores’ career, but I’ve had scouts compare his ceiling to Miguel Cabrera’s.”

In 275 at bats between Single-A Brooklyn and Kingsport, the 17–tear-old Flores hit .306 with eight HR 47 RBI during 67 games.

Callis also answers questions about other top outfielder prospects, as well as Yankees C Jesus Montero, and the state of signing players from the top of the draft, among other questions.

Also, for more on the minors, check out Mets Minor League Blog, where Toby Hyde answers a mailbag question about the pros and cons of moving Triple-A to Syracuse or Buffalo.

Minors: Callis on Flores

In a chat for ESPN.com, Baseball America’s Jim Callis writes that, as of now, Mets 17-year-old OF Wilmer Flores is the organization’s top prospect, ahead of Fernando Martinez.

In 66 combined games this season with Kingsport, Brooklyn and Savannah, Flores hit .315 with 8 HR and 42 RBI, whiles striking out 34 times in 273 at-bats.

In an injury-plagued season, playing only 86 games for Double-A Binghamton, Martinez hit .287 with 8 HR and 43 RBI, whiles striking out 73 times in 352 at-bats.

…it’s hard to comment on players you’ve never seen, but based on reports and production, the proclaimed ‘Teenage Hitting Machine’ has not lived up to his hyperbolic potential during his time in the Mets minor league system…granted he has unfortunately seen his share of injuries in the last couple years and may be a victim of his own hype…

For more on the Mets Minor League system, check out Toby Hyde’s excellent Mets Minor League Blog.