Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Talent Is On The Doorstep

Two days ago the Times ran a great piece on the Mets farm system entitled "The Mets Future Suddenly Feels Far From Barren." The piece was written by David Waldstein, who Metsblog recently gave props to, calling him "smart" and that he is "doing a terrific job." I'd tend to agree.

Here are some snips:
Manager Jerry Manuel has been raving about the prospects who he thinks could help the Mets this season — like 20-year-old Jenrry Mejia, who has drawn comparisons of sorts from Manuel and Dan Warthen, the pitching coach, to both Mariano Rivera and Dwight Gooden...

The promising first baseman Ike Davis already has 12 total bases in 13 at-bats, including one towering blast that Manuel said was hit as far as any ball he has seen at Port St. Lucie. Manuel said Davis could also prompt him to rethink plans to send him down to Class AAA Buffalo if he continues to hit the way he has...

If Josh Thole, a young hitter with a sweet swing and a burning desire to improve, continues to learn his position, he is likely to be the Mets’ catcher of the future.

* * *

And finally, Fernando Martinez, who may be the best of the team’s prospects, hit two solo home runs and had four hits in four at-bats.

* * *

Only six games have been played, and this is the time for the young players to take the field. As spring training progresses, more at-bats and innings will be taken up by the veterans as they prepare for the regular season. But with Mejia, Davis, Thole and Martinez, the Mets’ future may not be as bleak as it appeared a year ago.

It's a short - but very good - read. Waldstein seems to take a good objective look at things, especially in the way he referred to Fernando Martinez. It's easy to forget about F-Mart this year, with all the hype around Davis and Mejia, and maybe that's a good thing.

For the spring, in case you are wondering, Martinez is hitting .588/.556/1.176 and leads the team in total bases.

And even if you don't think that any of these players are going to be world-beaters and all-stars, it's hard not to agree with Manuel's assessment when he says:

“What happened last year is that those guys were, like, a year away,” Manuel said. “And now if anything were to go wrong in terms of questions of depth, we’re seeing some young players come up and play extremely well...

The talent is on the doorstep,” Manuel said. “It’s not in the living room, but it’s right there waiting.”

And although I think I join a majority of sabermetrically inclined Mets fans when I say I'd prefer to see Mejia starting in Binghamton rather than setting up in Queens - it is undeniable that these prospects all seem to be blossoming at the same time.

From the blue-chippers who have a chance to become stars someday (Mejia, Martinez) to players who have a decent chance of being good regulars (Davis, Thole, Havens, Niese) there is opportunity. And just as importantly, there is a whole crop of players who could be useful parts and cheap - including guys like Parnell, Kunz, Takahashi, Figueroa, and Gee.

The talent is on the doorstep, and it will be interesting to see how much is there.


[1] Ok, I didn't really look hard. Or at all.

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