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Mets Prospect Update Live from the AFL



By Chuck Johnson ~ October 22nd, 2011. Filed under: Digest Contributors, Mets Minors.

Chuck Johnson is covering the Arizona Fall League. Occasionally he will be providing us updates about any Mets and Yankees prospects. Tonight he had a chance to see 3 Mets farm hands during the Peoria Javelinas/Surprise Saguaros game. 

I was not impressed with either Juan Lagares or Jefry Marte today.

Neither are considered top prospects in the system, as a matter of fact, Lagares is a six year free agent who is not on the 40 man, so he’s likely heading to the Rule V draft. He has a bat, although even at that he’s a .278 career hitter in 1800 career minor league games with a pedestrial .720 OPS.

He seems lazy in the OF…he blew a potential out at third on a single by overrunning the ball, and dropped a pretty easy fly ball in center.

I was expecting to like Marte and was probably more disappointed in him than Lagares.

I was initially impressed with his arm, he made a nice play in the hole and threw a seed to first early in the ballgame. But he missed two relatively easy plays later on, one to each side, and got about four inches off the ground on a liner right at him.

RHP Taylor Whitenton threw as well. he was the Mets’ 39th round pick in 2009. Out of 31 pitchers listed on BA’s pre-season prospect list, he was not mentioned. He looked pretty good, fastball around 90, got it up to 94, and a decent, if not inconsistent curve. He’s started 40 of 56 pro games but threw everything from the stretch today, which tells me the Mets might be looking at him as a bullpen possibility, probably in 2013.

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A life-long Yankee fan who counts among his fondest memories seeing “The Mick” play in person, Chuck is a long time member of SABR and the Minor League Alumni Association. A staff researcher for Retrosheet, and a former part-time scout with the Mariners, Chuck now works for the Milwaukee Brewers in their Spring Training Operations Office and holds a similar role in the offseason for the Arizona Fall League. Chuck's newest venture is as a staff writer for MLB.com's new minor league blog http://thefuturists.mlblogs.com, led by Senior Writer Jonathan Mayo. You can check him out there under user cjohns56 (same as Twitter), and on his soon to be launched personal website, www.mlbprospectpulse.com.

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13 Responses to Mets Prospect Update Live from the AFL

  1. Daniel

    Let me get this straight, you believe the Mets are going to let a 21 or 22 year old Juan Lagares go in to a rule 5? The guy only hit .350 and has the speed potential to swipe 30+ a year. Keep waiting for F mart…who got promoted way too early…. meanwhile guy’s like Lagares worked their way up.

    Go check some recent reviews on the kid by the organization before you write. Lagares is being rated as a player quickly on the rise.

    Oh…and, I like how you threw in he’s been with the mets “six years” very clever. You just forgot to mention that he joinged the mets when he was 16. Yea I get it, you’re the reason (fans like you) the mets have sucked all these years. You expect guy’s to be promoted by 19 and become stars. Considering most guy’s don’t get drafted until they are 21 or 22 you I would say Lagares is a head of schedule. Is he going to be a superstar ? No. Will he be an every day player I’m sorry to break it to he has all the talent to be a solid every day player.

  2. Stu B

    What’s more ridiculous is that he seems to be making judgements on these guys’ abilities based on seeing them in one game.

  3. Chuck Johnson

    “What’s more ridiculous is that he seems to be making judgements on these guys’ abilities based on seeing them in one game.”

    So…you’re saying you can’t!?

  4. Chuck Johnson

    Daniel,

    “Let me get this straight, you believe the Mets are going to let a 21 or 22 year old Juan Lagares go in to a rule 5?”

    I said it’s likely, which is possible. He’s a six year minor league player not on the 40 man. He’s a free agent, so the Mets’ could conceivably lose him without doing anything. If they sign him, then it would be contingent on him being added to the 40 man, but the Mets already have seven OF’s on the roster, which means someone would need to come off.

    I don’t see Pagan coming back, so that’s one, and Mike Baxter is a filler player, so that’s two. So, yeah, it’s possible.

    “The guy only hit .350 and has the speed potential to swipe 30+ a year.”

    Once. He’s a career .278 hitter with a career .720 OPS in over TWO THOUSAND career plate appearances. That’s not a small sample size, that’s a career.

    His career high in stolen bases is 18, and you think he can “swipe 30+”?

    “Go check some recent reviews on the kid by the organization before you write. Lagares is being rated as a player quickly on the rise.”

    Google “Juan Lagares” and the first three links are his Baseball Reference and MiLB stat pages.

    The first “review” that comes up is on something called the “Mets’ Minor League Blog”, and in an article written on 8/4/11, Mets Minor League Hitting Coordinator Lance Johnson calls Lagares “the ultimate utility guy.”

    The second link is from something called “SNY”, and in an article written on 8/21/11, Lagares is said to “have lost speed (30+ steals?) and “will only go as far as his bat will take him. (I think I said that, but, OK.)

    The third link is from “MetsMerized”, in a pre-season article looking at the farm system, says about Lagares. “after six years in the system, Lagares has gone from a prospect to a nobody…”

    So, Daniel, my man, where are “these recent reviews by the organization” you are talking about?

    Enlighten me, brother.

    “Oh…and, I like how you threw in he’s been with the mets “six years” very clever. You just forgot to mention that he joinged the mets when he was 16.”

    So, joining a professional organization at 16 is a negative?

    I grew up in Connecticut, and was fortunate enough to be a pretty good player and got some summer playing opportunites other kids didn’t get. So, I played maybe 25 games during the high school season and maybe another forty or so during the summer.

    So, conservatively, that’s 150 games over three years, maybe 170 as a reach.

    His first three years in the Mets’s system, Lagares played 205.

    Not to mention when he wasn’t PLAYING, he was practicing.

    I was working.

    And considering Lagares probably quit school in fourth or fifth grade and played baseball everyday of his life instead of being in school or working, he likely played more baseball by his sixteenth birthday than I did in my life.

    “Yea I get it, you’re the reason (fans like you) the mets have sucked all these years.”

    I’m not a Met’s fan, and I doubt anyone in the Mets’ organization blames their sucking on the fan base.

    “You expect guy’s to be promoted by 19 and become stars.”

    Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Robin Yount would like a word with you.

    “Considering most guy’s don’t get drafted until they are 21 or 22 you I would say Lagares is a head of schedule.”

    Nope.

    “Is he going to be a superstar ? No. Will he be an every day player I’m sorry to break it to he has all the talent to be a solid every day player.”

    Again, nope. Ask Lance Johnson.

    “…before you write.”

    I don’t know you, Daniel, but I do know you’ve never seen Lagares play..your writing betrays you.

    I’d love to continue to debate you on this, but show some respect and do some homework next time, OK?

    Bloggers…sheesh.

  5. Stu B

    “So…you’re saying you can’t!?”

    You can do whatever works for you. I’m just saying it seems shortsighted not thorough. I said “seems” because I thought maybe you’d seen them play other times and it wasn’t clear in the piece.

    Many factors can influence a players’ performance on any given day, often having nothing to do with baseball. I would think that scouts take that into account.

  6. Stu B

    *shortsighted and not thorough.

  7. Chuck Johnson

    “Many factors can influence a players’ performance on any given day, often having nothing to do with baseball. I would think that scouts take that into account.”

    Absolutely true.

    But even if you’ve never seen a player before, it’s not difficult to tell if a player is sick or hurt.

    Just by how they move while walking, how long or how intense their pre-game stretching/warm-up routine is, if they take in more fluids than their teammates, etc.

    It’s not that players don’t make errors, it’s how they make them.

  8. omar

    This is the problem with putting career stats when it comes to a player that was not only rushed as a 18 year old when he was started on the low A Savannah instead of rookie ball. He clearly was over matched and then you add the fact that he was injury prone for most of that time, yet you conveniently forgot to insert those facts in your appraisal of Lagares, but yeah why let facts get in the way of a good bashing.

    This is what matters most to me, Lagares for the 1st time has had over 500 at bats in the minors and not only did he did really well in high A posting a .873 OPS, he went on to demolish AA by posting a .903 OPS and now is destroying the AFL.

    As a fielder again you forgot to mention that he has for the most part played the corner positions in his career after being moved from the infield, but again why add facts?

    I read many scouting reports on Lagares, some good some bad and the prevailing thought is that he will be a 4th outfielder based on the fact that he may not hit for enough power to be an every day corner outfielder and he does not have the excellent speed to play CF everyday. He does have the arm to play RF though.

    Yet reality is that many teams left fielders do not hit for power and that included some of the better teams in the majors this year and Lagares with his good speed, extra basehit ability and ability to not strike out much could in fact be a regular in the majors.

    I seen Lagares live about 4 times this year and came away impressed with his bat, though he swings at too many pitches and on the field he looked better than average.

  9. Chuck

    “He clearly was over matched and then you add the fact that he was injury prone for most of that time, yet you conveniently forgot to insert those facts in your appraisal of Lagares, but yeah why let facts get in the way of a good bashing.”

    Class A ball is irrelevant.

    “This is what matters most to me, Lagares for the 1st time has had over 500 at bats in the minors..”

    470 actually. Not a big difference, but if you’re going to harp on facts, probably a good idea to make sure you’re right before ripping someone else.

    “As a fielder again you forgot to mention that he has for the most part played the corner positions in his career ..”

    197 career games on the corners, 196 in the middle.

    So,yeah, I guess that counts as the majority.

    “..the prevailing thought is that he will be a 4th outfielder..”

    So, you agree with the referenced suggestion that he’ll be an “ultimate utility guy”?

    If so, then I’m not really sure what the point is of your post, Omar.

  10. omar

    Why is class A ball irrelevant?

    because you say so?

    He had 505 PA, so when I said at bats, I misspoke.

    …and again your numbers are wrong.

    He has 56 games in CF, 70 in RF and 121 in LF, so yeah 191 games as a corner outfielder compared to just 56 equals the vast majority.

    …and no I do not agree because if you read the whole post I say how many teams have guys like Lagares starting for them and that includes winning teams.

  11. Chuck Johnson

    “Why is class A ball irrelevant?

    because you say so”

    For reasons which exceed your knowledge base.

    “He has 56 games in CF, 70 in RF and 121 in LF, so yeah 191 games as a corner outfielder compared to just 56 equals the vast majority.”

    So, the 121 games he played as a SS don’t count?

    “He had 505 PA, so when I said at bats, I misspoke.

    …and again your numbers are wrong.”

    Because you misspoke?

  12. Robert

    Chuck this article is a joke. Do you even know anything about baseball? Do everyone a favor and stop writing nonsense.

  13. Chuck Johnson

    “Chuck this article is a joke. Do you even know anything about baseball?”

    That’s it?

    No feedback about what you disagree with?

    And I’m the one writing nonsense?

    OK, then.

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