Yes, New York Mets fans, there are those out there that do believe in your minor league system. 3B Wilmer Flores and RHP Luis Mateo are #1 and #9, respectively, among Baseball America.com top minor league prospects. This is welcome news after so many writers and analysts hace belittled the Mets system for so long.
We already know that the system is packed with pitching, so Mateo is not really a surprise here. It is Flores, however, who at 21 years old has begun to find his form and flourish. Flores signed with the Mets on his 16th birthday out of Venezuela and was immediately put on the fast track. He struggled at the time and found himself sitting idle in single-A St. Lucie until he turned 20. He then found his groove and got promoted to Double-A Binghamton and over the past 62 games has been hitting .323/.374/.506 with 17 HRs. His power has returned and while being shuffled around the infield, clearly 3B is the best option for this youngster.
Mateo, in a short season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, is 0-0 with a .064ERA, 14IP, 9H, 1R, 2BB and 14SO. At 22 years old, Mateo was signed by the Mets last year and in a combination of the Dominican Summer League last year and with Brooklyn, all he has posted numbers-wise is an impressive 73 1/3IP with 10.4SO and 1.1BB per inning. Baseball America rates Mateo as having a mid-90’s fastball and an edgy slider.
These prospects are only two of the many the Mets have found in their system the past year or two, and maybe Omar Minaya did know what he was doing, after all. The Mets need to distinguish now what to do with their prospects as they come up to MLB. They can not possibly keep all the pitchers in their system, and the one thing all teams need is pitching. Over the offseason, I expect the Mets to entertain plenty of offers for the likes of Flores, Mateo, Colin McHugh and others in order to bring in the one area they lack in the minors, outfielders.
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