Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Before we delve into each minor league team, the big news today is Jordany Valdespin’s promotion to AAA Buffalo from AA Binghamton.

All this kid has done this season is hit, and he has gotten better every month. After starting the year left off of just about every high profile Mets Top Ten Prospects lists, his development has virtually come out of nowhere. The irony with him is that he happens to wear jersey number seven, and plays short stop. So who knows, with an outstanding finish to the season and a strong Spring Training, we may still have a number seven at SS next season, just not the one most Mets fans are hoping for.

Buffalo Bisons August Record: 2-5

As for the players already in AAA, Josh Satin has officially done everything as a hitter. He now has a 15 game hitting streak, with a .357 average and an 890 OPS in his last ten games. He is a player that should be in Queens for September when rosters expand. Fernando Martinez has also continued to swing a hot bat, with six extra base hits in his last six games. However, as I mentioned last week, his problem has never been the talent. At only 22 years of age, he is still young for AAA (Satin is 26), so just because you have been hearing his name seemingly forever, do not forget about his talent. If he finds a way to stay on the field, his talent will definitely keep him in the everyday lineup.

Binghamton Mets August Record: 4-3

In Binghamton, Matt Den Dekker and Robert Carson have continued to struggle. Den Dekker is hitting .219 over his last ten games, striking out in a whopping 38% of his at-bats. Even with his outstanding defense, his plate discipline needs to improve dramatically. Carson started the season as a promising lefty either for the bullpen or rotation, but has not had any success this season. With an ERA of 5.77, a WHIP of 1.94 and a BB/K ratio of 28:34 over his last ten, Carson will need to refine his approach if he ever wants to advance past AA.

As for the hitters, I love Reese Havens and his potential more and more every day. Over his past six games, he is 7-15 with five walks and only one strikeout. With second base a weak position for the Mets going forward, how Havens develops the rest of the season is yet another important thing to watch. With Havens turning 25 in October, and only 205 at bats beyond A ball to his name, Reese really really needs to stay healthy if he wants to live up to his potential, he has essentially become a Fernando Martinez clone.

St. Lucie Mets August Record: 3-6

Two of the most encouraging stories in the entire organization are coming out of St. Lucie: Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores.

When the Mets got Wheeler from the Giants, every organization was excited about his potential and power arm, while being weary of his control. In his second start as a Met, check out Wheeler’s box score:

6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 8 gb outs/1 fb out.

It is incredible how reverting back to his old delivery has made him immensely more comfortable on the mound. For a guy who was supposed to have command problems to pitch this well, (zero walks in 11 innings pitched), I could not be more excited about any player in the system.

For Flores, people have started worrying about him. His numbers on the season had not quite lived up to the “experts” expectations, and since he is a prospect because of his bat, I had begun to worry as well.

Not anymore.

Since the all-star break, it seems a hitting switch has been turned on, because he is hitting .306 in his last ten, with a .444 SLG. This kid’s ability to make contact is uncanny for a player his age, especially playing in high A ball. The only question about him should be around his position, as his bat will put him on the field somewhere; think Daniel Murphy.

In addition, after going 2-2 with a walk on Sunday, Cory Vaughn tweeted “I feel like i finally got 500lbs off my chest..whew #relieved.” (@SugarFreeCV is his twitter). It is nice to see Vaughn break out of his prolonged slump. With just about a month left in the season, hopefully he can put together a good couple of weeks and finish strong.

Brooklyn Cyclones August Record: 4-3

In Brooklyn there is not much to update. Danny Muno continues to be Danny Muno, piling up the hits and the walks. He leads the Cyclones hitting .333 on the season, and with 28 walks against 29 k’s, he may be ready for a promotion.

Savannah Sand Gnats August Record: 5-3

Savannah has some players who have come out of nowhere this season, namely Angel Cuan and Albert Castillo. Stay tuned for an in-depth report on Castillo this week, as he has developed into the premiere catching prospect in the entire organization.

As for Cuan, he started the season in the Gnats bullpen and impressed enough to be moved into the starting rotation after the all-star break. Since the move, he has made nine starts and pitched very well. In 51 innings, he has an 2.82 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP with an outstanding K:BB ratio of 7.8! How good is that number? Try tenth place all time if it were at the major league level. Cuan was strong last season in Brooklyn as a starter, but this season he has taken his performance to another level, transforming himself into a legitimate prospect.

Kingsport Mets August Record: 6-2 (current six game winning streak)

Akeel Morris has continued to be extremely talented, but unfortunately, just as wild. In his latest start he pitched five innings, gave up two hits and zero earned runs, but walked FIVE batters. He is still extremely young so the strike outs and low ERA are nice, but improving his control needs to be the primary focus for him this offseason.

As for a new player on the scene, take a look at Chasen Bradford. As a 35th round pick in this year’s draft, not much was expected. However, he has pitched well beyond those expectations. In his last ten appearances he has thrown 18 innings, with 21 strike outs against only three walks, another great K:BB ratio of 7.0. He is putting himself on the map, and for a player drafted that low, that is great progress.

Michael Fulmer update:

Mets second round pick, 44th overall, Michael Fulmer made his professional debut in the gulf coast league. While the results were not pretty, his attitude was excellent. To sum up his tweets: he knew he did not have his best stuff, he knows the first game is behind him, and now it is time to work and get better. Fulmer has been ranked as high as the eighth best Mets prospect, so getting him on the mound this season and his feet wet at the professional level is a boon for the organization.

This week was a successful week for the Mets minor league teams. Zack Wheeler has pitched lights out in his first two starts, while other prospects from the recent draft class are developing and starting their professional careers. With less than a month left in the minor league seasons, it will be fun to watch how each of these teams, and their prospects, finish out the year.

Zach is also the author of Follow him on Twitter @zpetersel

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