Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mets Prospect Questions

Having been completely devastated by the Mets trade of Lastings Milledge, I look to what remains of the farm system for consolation. Some players you might not know about who are close to The Show.

Carlos Muniz - P - 26
Not sure why he has been buried for so long. Muniz posted a 0.45 ERA and struck out a guy per inning at Brooklyn in 2003 in his professional debut. He then spent all of 2004 and most of 2005 toiling at A-ball or lower. When he finally made it to High-A St Lucie, he posted a very nice line of:

3.14 ERA
48 IP, 44K
1.15 WHIP

Given his lower minors performance, this should have been predictable. But now, he's 25 and still at A. Why? He spent 2007 closing for AA Binghamton, posting another great line of:

2.45 ERA
58.2 IP, 62K
1.02 WHIP

Still, great. He also collected 54 saves in those two seasons. Upon his callup to AAA, he went unscored-upon in 5.2 innings, with a WHIP of 0.88. He also had a two-inning cup of coffee in the majors which I watched. He didn't look spectacular, but he looked decent. He looks like the type of guy who could really help the back end of the bullpen if he was ever given the chance.

I think he sticks with the big club for 2008. He has a career minor league line of 3.32 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, despite being a little old for each level (good job). He should help this year. According to ZiPS projection, he will post a 4.92 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. I think that's a little pessimistic, but if he posts a 4.5 ERA he'll be an asset.

Adam Bostick - P - 24

One of the acquisitions in the Henry Owens/Matt Lindstrom trade, Bostick has been underwhelming. He posted a 5.66 ERA this year for AAA along with an ugly 1.56 WHIP. Encouragingly enough, he allowed only 106 hits in 97 innings while striking out 91 in a hitter-friendly league, but he walked 45 guys. He seems to have had control problems his whole career, with a minor league average of 4.5 walks per nine innings.

Maybe a switch to the bullpen might help. His strikeout numbers are good and he is lefthanded - guys like that pitch forever. He's having a nice offseason in the AFL with an ERA 1.42 and 17 strikeouts in 18 innings. He's the kind of guy you keep an eye on and hope he gets a little better grip on his control. He's not too old to do so, but its unlikely he amounts to anything as a starter.

Phil Humber - 24 - P

Speaking of hitter-friendly AAA, did you know that Phil Humber, just one year off Tommy John surgery, was in the top ten in ERA, fifth in strikeouts, and FIRST in WHIP in his league last year? He allowed only 1.24 walks+hits per inning and struck out almost a batter per inning in the most hitter-friendly league in all of baseball.

I expect big things from Humber this year. Pelfrey, not so much.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mets Trade Lastings Milledge

Mets Trade Lastings Milledge

World ends.

We traded 22-year old Lastings Milledge for a 31-year old catcher who can’t hit and for a 28-year old right-fielder worse than him. We traded him within the division. This is a nightmare scenario.


Unless there is something that I don’t know about him behind the scenes, this is a horrible trade. There is literally no way around that.

Comparison to the Kazmir deal

This is not as bad for a couple reasons. Kazmir’s deal was made for even dumber reasons than this – the Mets thought they were in the playoff hunt when they were not. Kazmir was a better prospect than Milledge, and we got less in return. Zambrano was worthless. Church and Schneider are at least okay.


Is going to start every day. This isn’t awful. He’s supposedly a great game-caller and will allow Castro to be a super-sup. However, he can’t hit. He really can’t hit, even for catchers. He also is old, will deteriorate defensively, and due $10 million dollars in the next two seasons. We already had a player just like him – Johnny Estrada. I liked the Estrada deal – no, I loved it. Estrada isn’t the best, but he isn’t the worst either. He’s younger and has some upside. Schneider is more expensive and done.


He’s alright. Unfortunately, he’s older than Milledge and not as good. Certainly, he’s not even as good as Milledge today, and Milledge has serious upside. He’s got doubles power, and plays decent defense. He also bats left handed.


Even if Milledge is a failure and does not progress one inch beyond where he is today, the trade is bad. But… that’s ridiculous. This is a kid who hit .300 in his minor league career despite being two to five years younger than everyone at his level. He was the top prep talent in the country and the best position player available in his draft year. Best case scenario the trade is bad – worst case scenario its an absolute disaster.

I don’t think Milledge is the next coming of Gary Sheffield – but he’s a good player. He’s a natural centerfielder and he hit .275 as a 22-year old. He made huge strides in between 2006 and 2007, despite missing a huge chunk of time with a broken foot bone. As I said before, I see Lastings’ upside as an above-average centerfielder who can hit .330 with 20 home runs a year. I see him as a Tony Gwynn with more power and less walks. Like Andruw Jones with less power. Like a miniature Sheffield with good defense. He’s not a Hall of Famer, but he might be the best player on the Nationals as soon as next year.

It's a bad trade, there's no other way to cut it. It is a clear indication of our organizational philosophy and of Omar Minaya's thinking. Just because you have two other highly-regarded outfielders coming up, doesn't mean that you should get eighty cents on the dollar for the one who is already established.