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Mets “Lousy” Farm System on Display in Victory

By Mike Silva ~ April 26th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

The Mets farm system hasn’t won any popularity contests over the years. In an age where prospect writing and analysis falls into the same lazy memes and groupthink we see in mainstream sports reporting, the Mets have ranked in the bottom third of most publications. They look even worse as the Yankees aggressive spending the draft has yielded some of the best pitching talent.

What’s funny is that today’s Mets lineup featured 9 homegrown players- 10 if you count Jose Reyes who started for Miami at shortstop- for the first time since September of 1971. This while the darlings across town are waiting for a star from their 90s dynasty to come out of retirement and save their rotation. It goes to show you that we just don’t know how these kids will turn out. Winning the prospect writing popularity contest doesn’t always translate into a successful big league career.

Jonathon Niese pitched 7 solid innings and Kirk Nieuwenhuis collected three hits and the game-winning RBI. We have also seen Lucas DudaJosh Thole and David Wright, who is a grizzled veteran of this group, play important  roles in the three game sweep of Reyes’ Marlins. Ruben Tejada looked like the better shortstop this series, while Daniel Murphy is starting to actually look comfortable at second base.

One of the goals coming into this year was to see the young offensive players develop into productive major leaguers. If Ike Davis can return to prior form, the Mets appear to have 7 positional players that could be the foundation of a playoff team. Only the Astros offense is younger than the Mets average age of 27.4. That is a great foundation that may allow them to invest in the type of impact bat (think Gary Carter or Keith Hernandez) when Jason Bay‘s money comes off the books in a couple of years. By that time this group would have three years of experience playing together as a team.

The next step in the process is the pitching. With Mike Pelfrey lost for the season due to a torn UCL, Jonathon Niese takes the mantle as the “homegrown” veteran of the staff. He will be joined by Chris Schwinden and Dillon Gee, two pitchers that aren’t stars, but certainly may be able to provide the 6 innings and 3 runs to keep them in most games.

The real pitching future is playing down in Binghamton and Buffalo. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 1.80), Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.85) and Jeurys Familia (2-1, 5.30), the big three, all have demonstrated inconsistencies to date. You have to prepare for the possibility that only one will pan out as everyone predicts. You need not to look further than across town and the sad stories of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for proof. That’s why the emergence of lesser hyped arms down in Binghamton such as Darin Gorski (2-0, 2.75), Collin McHugh (3-1, 1.59) and Greg Peavey (2-0, 3.14) is so important. Further down the line you should keep an eye on Domingo Tapia (1-0, 2.55) and Tyler Pill (1-1, 1.76), both currently pitching in High-A. I haven’t even gotten to the forgotten man, Jenrry Mejia, and some arms that could profile well in the bullpen, such as spring training surprise Josh Edgin (1.42 ERA, 2 SV) and Jack Leathersich (0.75 ERA, 1 SV). These are just some of the young arms that have begun to make noise in the organization.

The Mets don’t have a hyped Top-10 prospect like Bryce Harper, but they have shown the ability to produce ballplayers with the ability to be very solid major leaguers. A big market team like the Mets can go out and buy stars, but where they struggled the last decade was bringing in talent and depth around the core. If they had this kind of young talent around the Delgado-Beltran-Reyes-Wright Mets of 2006 to 2008, they might have found a way to get to the postseason more than one time. After the disastrous 2007 draft that saw Omar Minaya take college closer Eddie Kunz in the first round, the organization has been focused on a better process of drafting and developing players.  Two players- Duda and Gee- were actually picked that season. Davis and Nieuwenhuis was part of the class of 2008.

There is still the issue of ownership. No one will believe the Wilpons have the ability to spend until they actually open up their pocketbooks for the next big free agent. They may need to do that in the near future if Wright continues to show signs of returning to form. Eventually this group is going to need their Mark TeixeiraCC Sabathia or Carlos Beltran type of free agent acquisition. All championship teams need that impact acquisition, the ’86 Mets didn’t come to fruition until Gary Carter was brought into the fold.

This season probably won’t yield a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a lot of fun. If this group of young players continues to play hard, compete and improve it will take on a feeling like the “Catch the Rising Stars” 1984 team.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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4 Responses to Mets “Lousy” Farm System on Display in Victory

  1. Daler

    They have zero all stars here. It’s a system of 4A players besides DW

  2. Chuck Johnson

    Geez, if I didn’t know you, I would have been offended by the first two sentences.

    Judging the Mets’ farm system on having nine homegrown players in the starting lineup is like judging a beauty contest at a senior center.

    They all look good compared to each other, but the ain’t winning Miss America, either.

  3. Stu B

    Terry Collins pointed out that when Reyes came to bat, they actually had 10 homegrown players on the field. They may or may not be a winning team this year, but they were good enough to sweep the hyped-up Marlins.

  4. motohero

    if the bmets bats would fire up wheeler could get some wins.

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