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Matt Harvey Stands Out to Alderson This Spring

By Mike Silva ~ March 25th, 2011. Filed under: Mets Minors, Mike Silva.

All spring the talk has been about a Yankees farm system deep in pitching jewels. Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman stole the spotlight, rightfully so, throughout the early days of March. Most independent publications have not been kind to the team across town when it comes to their system. This may be more perception than reality since the opening day roster could feature 10 homegrown players, seven of which were drafted during the Omar Minaya regime, three (Ike Davis, Jonathon Niese, and Josh Thole) that were called on last year to play a significant role. Mets Vice President of Player Development & Amateur Scouting, Paul DePodesta, mentioned during a Baseball Prospectus chat how they have some of the best people working in Latin America as well.

The Mets may not have the depth of the team across town, but the system may not be as bad as many independent publications want to make you believe. When I asked Alderson about this during his conference call yesterday his response was as follows:

I try not to assess the farm system against the opinions of others outside the organization. We have to make our own judgment. I do think that independent observation, independent publications are a nice way of measuring what we have, but at the same time I think you’ve got to make your own judgment. I think the reason that the farm system perhaps doesn’t get as much credit as it should, is that number one, we’ve graduated several players now from the system as recently as last year, so if you look at [Josh] Thole, [Bobby] Parnell, [Ike] Davis, that’s a very good rate of emerging players in one year or so. And we have some other players that are on the verge. [Jenrry] Mejia will be at Triple-A, Dillon Gee is somebody who pitched well last year, and I think further down we have a number of players, Cesar Puello, Wilmer Flores, those players tend to get high marks from the independent publications, but a guy who has looked very good so far this spring is our number one pick from last year, the right-handed pitcher [Matt] Harvey who has pitched very well, and of course didn’t pitch at all last year, so overall I think we’re reasonably happy with what we have, recognize that we need to be a little more aggressive and probably a little more successful in developing players out of the draft, to try to match the success we’ve had internationally.

If you don’t know, Harvey is the Mets number one pick out of North Carolina last year. Harvey’s fastball sits between 91-98 mph, according to reports. He also throws a hard slider (83-85 mph), curveball (79-81 mph) and changeup. He went 8-3 with a 3.09 ERA, 102 strikeouts and 35 walks in 96 innings as a junior. This spring he’s been lighting up radar guns, and was impressive throwing against Team Italy.

Earlier in the spring I talked about how important both Harvey and Jenrry Mejia are to the near term success of the organization. We all know how expensive starting pitching is on the free agent market. If the team is going to compete, even at a $150 million dollar payroll, there needs to similar type of pitching options to what we saw in Tampa with the Yankees.

If Harvey is the real deal I suspect we could see him at Citi Field next year. The key will be how well his secondary stuff translates professionally. Some still believe that Harvey will ultimately be a great bullpen arm. They have said this about Jenrry Mejia as well, but that’s where the Mets player development personnel comes into play.

In a spring full of negativity due to the off the field financial news, Alderson’s take on the farm system should give many reason for hope.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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