Decided to split this up, because reading it all can be strenuous in one sitting, so you get 8 now, and 7 in the next post. Read below this post for SPs 9 thru 15.
Needless to say, the late breaking trade of 3 of the top 4 prospects that were on this list severely diminshes the starting depth in the organization. However, the addition of Santana diminishes the need for the farm to produce any starters. Indeed, with Mike Pelfrey here, you have 4 starters 28 and younger for the foreseeable future, and the likelihood of a contract extension for Pedro Martinez would preclude the need for a starter until the 2011 season, by which time the pitchers taken in the 2007 draft should be close to ready, if they pan out.
1. Mike Pelfrey (23) R/R (AAA New Orleans 3-6, 4.01 era, 14 GS, 74 IP, 74 H, 26/56 BB/K, 1.35 WHIP, MLB New York 3-8, 5.57 era, 15 G, 13 GS, 72.2 IP, 85 H, 39/45 BB/K, 1.71 WHIP
Total 2007 Stats: 6-14, 4.79 era, 29 G, 27 GS, 146.2 IP, 159 H, 65/101 BB/K, 1.53 WHIP
Pelfrey was originally drafted by the Devil Rays in the 15th round of the 2002 draft, but instead of signing, he opted to go to Wichita State, where he posted a 33-7 record, with a school-record 2.18 ERA, in 3 seasons. The consensus top pitcher in the 2005 draft, he fell to the Mets at the 9th pick due to signability concerns. Pelfrey signed early in 2006, and after pitching 7 innings in major league camp, he went to high class A St. Lucie, where it was obvious he outclassed the league, after 4 starts in the Florida State League, he went up to Binghamton.
Pelfrey credits veteran catcher Mike DiFelice--whom the Mets sent to Binghamton solely to serve as mentor--with helping him gain confidence in his secondary stuff. He earned a major league callup when Pedro Martinez first went on the disabled list in July and won his first big league start before being sent to Triple-A Norfolk.
Strengths: There are few pitchers in the minors whose fastball can rival Pelfrey's. His two-seamer sits at 92-95 mph with fierce sink and late life and rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He throws it effortlessly from a 6-foot-7 frame on a steep downhill plane with great extension and solid command. He also has a four-seamer for extra velocity higher in the zone. Though Pelfrey barely needed to use a changeup as an amateur, he already has a good feel for it and it's his No. 2 pitch. He fiddled with his grip in 2006 and improved his command of the pitch. He fields his position well and has a good pickoff move, though the Mets would like to see him get faster to the plate from the stretch.
Weaknesses: A lack of a reliable breaking ball is the biggest thing holding Pelfrey back. He has thrown both a curveball and a slider but now favors the slider, which is better suited for his power arm. He throws it at 84-87 mph with some depth, and he can reduce the break on it to give it more of a cutter look against lefthanders. He has yet to learn how to command his slider consistently, and it probably always will be his third-best pitch. Though his mechanics are clean, he tends to over-rotate his lower half in his windup, which hurts his ability to locate his pitches.
The Future: Though he needs better command of his secondary stuff, there's little left for Pelfrey to prove in the minors. With Martinez out until at least the all-star break, Pelfrey will definitely be in the mix for the Opening Day rotation. He should be in the Mets rotation for years to come and has the potential to be a legitimate No. 1 starter.
Contrary to popular belief, Mike Pelfrey is still very highly thought of inside and outside the Mets organization. The ceiling to become a legit #1 is still there. However, what has somewhat changed is that he is a year deeper into his pro career, and to most, he hasn't made the necessary adjustments to maximize his talents, neither has he been afforded a full season of minor league ball to develop. It also did not help that his leech of an agent had him hold out into 2006. Once more in 2008, Pelfrey should be considered to be the favorite to win the #5 starter spot with the big club out of spring training.
2. Jon Niese (21) L/L (A+ St. Lucie 12-7, 4.02 era, 29 GS, 143.1 IP, 155 H, 34/122 BB/K, 1.32 WHIP)
Niese was drafted in the 7th round of the 2005 draft, after allowing a staggering 1 run in 78 innings, for a 0.11 ERA. He was deemed a tough sign, but after a recruiting call from Gary Carter, he signed for above slot money, $175,000. He was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he went 1-0, 3.65 in 7 games, 5 starts. In 2006, Niese started in Hagerstown, skipping Kingsport and Brooklyn. He showed no ill effects of the jump, and before late season arm fatigue, was dominating the South Atlantic League. A late promotion to St. Lucie produced mixed results. His first start was decent, as he allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, in 5 innings, while walking 3, striking out 5 and allowing 3 hits. His next start, however, was not good, as he surrendered 5 runs, 4 earned, over 5 innings, while walking 2, striking out 5 and allowing 5 hits.
He's a projectable (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) lefty who already has a high-80s fastball. His splitter, curveball and slider all have potential.
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup
Niese throws his fastball in the 88-91 range, but can dial it up to 92-94 when he needs to. He spent 2007 working on many things, including pitching inside with his fastball. His best pitch, however, is his over the top curveball which he throws in two ways. One is a more relaxed curveball which he uses to change a hitters pace and eye level. The other is much more devastating pitch that he snaps off with much sharper break, serving as his finishing pitch. He consistently works on its improvement, but it currently is a very lethal pitch. In addition to the fastball and curve, he also has a change which he throws in the 77-81 range. He has worked on strengthening the change since entering the system in 2005. Niese spent 2007 working on command and control, sacrificing other metrics, and did cut his walk rate noticably, which allowed him to stay in games longer.
ETA. 2010. Niese projects as a 3-4 starter, with definite upside as a possible 2. The Mets have been relatively conservative with him, only moving him a level per season. With that in mind, he should spent all (or most) of 2008 in Binghamton, with a projected 2010 MLB debut.
3. Bobby Parnell (23) R/R (A+ St. Lucie 3-3, 3.25 era, 12 GS, 55.1 IP, 56 H, 22/62 BB/K, 1.41 WHIP, AA Binghamton 5-5, 4.77 era, 17 GS, 88.2 IP, 98 H, 38/74 BB/K, 1.53 WHIP)
Total 2007 Stats: 8-8, 4.19 era, 29 GS, 144 IP, 154 H, 60/136 BB/K, 1.49 WHIP)
The Mets selected Parnell in the 9th round of the 2005 draft out of Charleston Southern College, where he had simply an abysmal junior year (3-5, 8.86). However, Met scouts saw something in Parnell, and the Mets drafted and signed him, sending him to Brooklyn. Parnell excelled in Brooklyn, going 2-3, but with a 1.73 era in 15 games, 14 starts. In 2006, the Mets sent Parnell up to Hagerstown, their Sally League affiliate, where he performed decently, 5-10 with a 4.04 era in 18 GS. A 3 game trip to the FSL proved disasterous, leading to an 0-1, 9.26 line in 11.2 innings.
Parnell began 2007 in St. Lucie, where he performed very well, 3-3, 3.25 in 12 GS. The Mets then promoted Parnell to Binghamton, where he struggled, but showed flashes of brillance (0-2, 3.13 era in 4 GS, 18 IP in June and 4-1, 3.24 era in 6 GS, 33.1 IP in August). Indeed, if you removed Parnell's last 4 starts, he would've ended his stint in Binghamton with a 7-7, 3.86 line. Parnell should open the 2008 season right where he ended 2007, in Binghamton, with a mid-season promotion to New Orleans not out of the question.
Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup
A lot of mention this spring was spent on Deolis Guerra's increase in velocity, but Parnell also came to camp with more life on his fastball. He can now dial his 4 seam fastball into the mid 90s, while his sinker sits comfortably in the 91-94 area. In addition to his two fastballs, Parnell also has a nasty overhand slider which can buckle right-handed batters because of its steep downward movement. He throws this pitch in the 82-85 range, and can throw it in any count. Parnell finishes off hitters with a developing changeup. The one negative in Parnell's game is his walk rate, which was 3.75 per 9 innings, but this is negated by his high GB/FB ratio (3.08 in the FSL, and 1.11 in the EL, combined 1.54).
Parnell projects as a solid 3-4 starter in the majors, due to his devastating ability to generate ground balls, and his plus slider. There is also a good chance he could end up in a late inning bullpen role thanks to his velocity and slider but we would expect that, with a lot of the SP depth now in Minnesota, he will stay a starter for now. Parnell should open 2008 right where he ended 2007, and much like 2007, a good performance in Binghamton should pave the way for a promotion to New Orleans sometime in the middle of the 08 season. That would leave him primed for a mid 2009 debut in the majors.
ETA. mid-2009(as a reliever), 2010(as a starter).
4. Nathan Vineyard (19) L/L (R GCL 0-3, 5.27 era, 9 G, 7 GS, 27.1 IP, 30 H, 9/33 BB/K, 1.43 WHIP)
The Mets selected Vineyard in the first round, with their 47th pick in the 2007 draft out of Woodland High School in Georgia, where as a senior, he put up these numbers as a senior: 9-3, 1.19 era, 12 GS, 6 CG, 70.2 IP, 39 H, 12 BBs, 130 Ks; .429/.547/.714, 13 2b, 3b, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 22/7 BB/K. He was sent to the rookie level GCL, where he struggled, but did register more then a K per inning. Given the Mets aggressive policy with prospects, it wouldn't be shocking to see Vineyard in the Sally League at some point in 2008 (either starting there, or ending up there).
Here is a pre-draft scouting report, which will be followed by a post-season scouting report.
Nathan Vineyard (LHP - Woodland HS, Georgia)
Fastball: Vineyard's fastball sat in the 88-91 mph range, and has average life
Slider: Right now, Vineyard's slider is average, but it's already an out pitch.
Changeup: Vineyard's change is below-average now, but projects to be average
Control: He's got below-average command currently, but with a good delivery, projects to have average or above-average command in the future.
Poise: He's got good athletic actions on the mound and excellent aggressiveness in attacking hitters.
Physical Description: The decently sized southpaw has a Jamie Walker-type body.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: He has the chance to have a three-pitch mix. He's got a good delivery and is athletic on the mound.
Weaknesses: He needs more movement on his fastball because there's not a lot of projection to it.
Summary: He has the chance to have a good three-pitch mix with a slider that is an out pitch right now. While there's not a ton of projection to make, he should improve on things like command and fastball movement.
Here is how Vineyard sees/describes himself:
Low to mid 90s fastball, touches 93, with a hard 84-86 slider. His secondary pitches are both around 76-79, a circle change and a curveball. His slider is his best pitch, which he compares to Randy Johnson's, while his curveball needs the most work.
Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Curveball, Changeup
Vineyard's fastball is in the low 90s, but he can touch 93 when he needss to. He can locate the pitch down in the strike zone and both sides of the plate with tailing movement. Only 19 years old, he still does have potential to add a few MPH on his fastball, which would turn it into a trus plus pitch. Vineyard's best pitch is his devastating three-quarters slider which he throws in the mid 80s. It has massive break that tails hard down and away to left-handers, dives under the bats of right-handers, and serves as his finishing pitch. He also throws a developing curveball which is in the 76-79 range, and a circle change, in the same range. His change is his third best pitch. Right now, Vineyard keeps the ball down with his full compliment of pitches, pounding the strike zone with his fastball and changeup before finishing hitters off with his slider. He only walked 1 batter every 3 innings, and with further refinement of his pitches, that rate should only improve. As he gets older and his pitches become even finer, he may become more of a strikeout pitcher thanks to his growing velocity combined with his tremendous slider and improving changeup.
ETA. 2012. With Vineyard's deep repertoire (especially for someone as young as he is), and the quality of those pitchesh he has the arsenal to be a leading arm at the front of a big league rotation, most likely a sturdy number two. Vineyard should find himself on the Sand Gnats at some point during the 2008 season, either starting there, or ending up there after spending time at a short season team. After that, he should spend a season at each level between St. Lucie and the majors, setting himself up for a 2012 debut.
5. Scott Moviel (19) R/R (R GCL 0-2, 3.38 era, 12 GS, 40 IP, 45 H, 11/37 BB/K, 1.40 WHIP)
The Mets selected Moviel in the 2nd round, with their 77th pick in the 2007 draft, out of St. Edward High School in Ohio. Moviel was 6-2 this season with a 1.62 era for the Eagles with 102 strikeouts in 50.1 IP. After drafting him, the Mets sent him to the GCL, where he performed well, with a 3.38 era in 40 innings. As with most tall pitchers (Moviel's 6'10), his delivery can sometimes get out of whack, so the Mets may take a slower approach with Moviel, keeping him in extended spring training to work out any kinks. However, as with Vineyard, it wouldn't be a shock to see Moviel end up in the Sally League sometime this season.
Here is a pre-draft scouting report, which will be followed by a post-season scouting report.
Fastball: Moviel threw his fastball in the 88-92 mph range and threw it consistently at 90 mph.
Curve: Moviel's curve has the chance to be a good offering, but he gets in front of it a little too much and his mechanics sometime get in the way of consistently delivering the pitch.
Changeup: He showed a changeup, but he didn't throw it much in this outing.
Control: With all that can go wrong with a 6-foot-10 pitcher's delivery, Moviel can struggle with his command when his mechanics go awry.
Poise: Moviel had very good mound presence and stands out there like he wants to win.
Physical Description: Big, imposing right-hander, much like NC State starter Andrew Brackman. Like Brackman, Moviel could be headed to NC State and is a former basketball player, so he's fairly athletic, especially for someone his size. He's very coordinated and has surprising quickness.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: The body plus the arm strength. At 6-10, Moviel could have the ability to throw a plus, plus fastball to go along with an above-average curve. It's all about projectability.
Weaknesses: He's a project. He struggles with inconsistency and guys his size have to make sure they have everything completely together for everything to work properly. His pitches past his fastball lag behind currently.
Summary: Moviel is a huge 6-foot-10 right-hander who'll be a bit of a project for whichever team takes him. He is fairly athletic and used to play basketball, but as is often the case with pitchers his size, he struggles to repeat his delivery and maintain his mechanics. He does have a solid average fastball, a curve that could become a good pitch with some help and a changeup he doesn't throw much. Finding consistency will be the key to Moviel's success. Some pitchers his size have found it, others have not.
Repertoire: Fastball, Sinker, Changeup, Curveball
Due to Moviel's imposing height, his low 90s fastball appears to be harder. He has very good location with the pitch and is able to consistently spot it on the corners. It is a straight fastball, so he typically doesn't throw it in hitter's counts, or in 2 strike counts. To get his outs, he usually relies on his hard sinker, which he added more depth to this season. When Moviel came to the Mets, he leaned on his curveball as his primary secondary pitch, but as he learned to throw a changeup, it became his favorite option behind his sinker. He throws this pitch in the upper 70s to low 80s, depending on if he wants movement or location. As for his curveball, it sits in the high-70s and is still there when he needs it. He usually will throw it when he feels he can get the hitter out in front or chasing. Moviel doesn't yet have imtimidating velocity, but that really isn't his MO right now. He is a contact pitcher who induces a ton of grounders with his sinker/change combination. He can still collect his share of strikeouts, and he keeps his walks at a minimum, which bodes well for him as he moves up the ladder.
ETA. mid-late 2012. Moviel, like Vineyard, has shown to be a quick student, and pitches well above his age. With this in mind, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Mets challenge him with an assignment to Savannah to begin 2008. Either way, he will be there at some point during 2008, playing a lead role on what will be a very young staff. We will hedge our bets and say that if all bodes well, he could be looking at just three more years in the system before making the big league roster. 2012 is a safe target date, but the organization could play it a bit more conservative and push his debut back another year.
6. Cole Abbott (19) R/R (R GCL 0-3, 7.31 era, 10 G, 2 GS, 16 IP, 18 H, 12/10 BB/K, 1.88 WHIP)
The Mets stole Abbott in the 25th round, with their 783rd pick in the 2007 draft. Expected to go much higher, Abbott fell precipitously, and the Mets snapped him up, and sent him to the GCL, where he did not pitch much, and struggled with command when he did toe the rubber. Abbott should find himself in Kingsport to start 2008, with an outside shot of ending his season in Savannah.
Here is a pre-draft scouting report from Abbott's coach
Tall athletic pitcher with a fastball in the low 90's. Has touched 93 on several occasions. Above average slider that he can throw for strikes in any count. Cole only weighs about 170 pounds. As he matures and grows he has the frame to easily carry 200-210 pounds. When he develops his legs, his velocity should go up and he will be able to go much deeper in games. Cole is very athletic and very competitive. These two attributes will allow him to learn and develop at a much faster pace than a lot of pitchers. Seems to be very natural on the mound. Needs to develop a third pitch. Has the ability to throw a decent change up, but lacks the confidence to throw it in games.
When Cole misses he misses up and tends to put himself in bad counts. Needs to tweak his grip a little to be able to get some movement on his fastball. As he gets better and throws more innings, I have complete confidence that he will be successful as a professional, and he will learn to get great hitters out.
ETA. 2013. Abbott should not be challenged significantly in 2008, expect him to open in Kingsport or Brooklyn, where he should stay for most of the season. Four more years in the minors puts him in line for a 2013 debut.
7. Nick Carr (20) R/R (A- Brooklyn 5-2, 3.80 era, 14 GS, 66.1 IP, 55 H, 27/74 BB/K, 1.24 WHIP, HWL Waikiki 1-0, 3.65 era, 5 G, GS, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 10/10 BB/K, 1.70 WHIP)
Total 2007 Stats: 6-2, 3.78 era, 19 G, 15 GS, 78.2 IP, 66 H, 37/84 BB/K, 1.31 WHIP
The Mets drafted Carr in the 41st round of the 2005 draft, out of Twin Falls High School, in Idaho. Instead of signing with the organization out of high school, Carr took his mid-90s fastball and deadly slider to the junior college ranks, more specifically - Southern Idaho College, where he was a teammate of Todd Privett. Carr went 5-4 with a 2.96 era in 13 games, 11 starts, spanning 54.2 innings. He allowed 38 hits, while walking 38 and striking out 66. Carr signed with the Mets as a draft and follow on May 17th.
Carr was sent to the rookie level Appalachian League, where he posted decent numbers, as a 19 year old. Carr should be in the mix for a starting job in the South Atlantic League with Savannah.
Carr instead spent the season in Brooklyn of the New York Penn League, where he put up very good numbers, going 5-2, 3.80 in 66.1 innings. He played in Hawaii during the fall, getting into 5 more games, totalling 12.1 innings, and posting a 3.65 era. Carr should either continue his one level ascent through the system, or if the Mets feel like pushing him, he could open the year in St. Lucie.
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider
Carr's fastball isn't talked about much, but he can easily pitch in the mid-90s with it, and he has some projection left, so it could turn into a true plus pitch in the future. He likes to work his heater high in the zone, especially in two-strike counts to change a hitter's eye level. He comes back with a good two-seam fastball that he works on both sides of the plate, but to be truly effective, he needs to work on the consistency of his command with both pitches. Carr throws a mid 80s slider to compliment his hard fastball, and this is his finishing pitch. He also has a strengthening curveball in the low-80s, but he is still working on its consistency. A still developing changeup (currently in the low 80s) rounds out Carr's repertoire. Carr is a pitcher who goes after hitters, and isn't afraid to challenge anyone. He vastly improved both his stuff, and his command in 2007, leading to a lot more success then 2006. As he continues to develop both his curveball and changeup, that should make him even more dynamic and tougher to hit as he moves up the ranks.
ETA. mid-2011. Right now, Carr projects as a 3-4 starter, but further refinement of his repertoire would boost that projection. He certainly has the velocity to be a number 2, it depends on the development of his secondary pitchers whether he gets there or not. If he doesn't, a career in the bullpen wouldn't be out of the question. Although Carr did not make it to a long-season squad as previously predicted, his strong year in Brooklyn should set him up to break camp with St. Lucie, which would put him on pace to spend 2 additional seasons in the minors, before cracking the major league roster at the start of the 2011 season.
8. Dylan Owen (21) R/R (Francis Marion 10-1, 1.14 era, 17 G, 13 GS, 3 CG, 102.1 IP, 77 H, 19 BBs, 121 Ks, 0.94 WHIP, A- Brooklyn 10-1, 1.4 era, 15 G, 14 GS, 77.1 IP, 55 H, 12/76 BB/K, .87 WHIP) + 5 ip, 4 h, 7 ks
Total 2007 Stats: 20-2, 1.25 era, 32 G, 27 GS, 179.2 IP, 132 H, 31/197 BB/K, 0.91 WHIP
The Mets selected Owen with their 20th round pick in the 2007 draft, 633rd overall, out of Francis Marion College, where he went 10-1, 1.14 as a junior. Owen was sent to Brooklyn where he put up insane numbers, going 10-1 with a 1.40 era. Overall in 2007, Dylan Owen put together an altogether ridiculous year, with 20 wins and a 1.25 era over 179.2 innings. Owen will no doubt be in St. Lucie to open the 2008 season, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him end up in Binghamton.
Here are a couple of pre-draft and draft week scouting reports from Owen's coach and a rival coach. And following that will be a post-season scouting report.
Dylan features a fastball that sits around 88-91, topping out at 93. His slider is his (strike)out pitch, sitting at 78-82. He also throws a curve and change. His curve sits 73-76, while his change is between 79-83. He feels he needs to work on throwing the fastball inside more, and also get more comfortable throwing any pitch inside.
Here are Coach Chris Calciano's (GCSU) thoughts on a rival pitcher the Mets drafted, Dylan Owen.
"The Mets took another kid from our Conference Dylan Owen, who is in Brooklyn right now. I really like that kid!!! He can flat out pitch. Plus slider that is 80-83 and an excellent strikeout pitch. His fastball is 89-92 with some movement.
Both kids are physically a bit smaller than you would like, but mechanically they are solid and should not breakdown with injuries!"
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup
Owen sits 90-92 with his fastball, but he can pump it into the mid 90s when needed. Overall, he does not try to overpower hitters, but instead he works to contact. His slider, as mentioned above, is a deceptive pitch he uses to great effect. His very good command of his slider gives him the ability to spot it on the outside corner to righties or backdoor it to lefties, making for a very effective out-pitch. He also features a changeup which he doesn't hesistate to throw in any count. It is about 6-8 MPH slower then his fastball, so he does need to work on taking a touch more off it. Due to his strong 4 pitch arsenal, Owen is a bulldog on the mound, attacking hitters rather then being passive. During his rookie season, he demonstrated excellent control and was not hit hard with any frequency
while pounding the strike zone with his whole arsenal.
ETA. late 2010. Owen doesn't project to add anymore velocity, and with that being the case, he projects as a 4-5 starter in the majors. After embarassing both DIII and the NYPL in 2007, Owen should find himself with a more challenging task in the FSL. It wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility to see him in AA if he excels in St. Lucie. No matter how his time in the system is divided, Owen is still looking at three full seasons down on the farm before making his big league debut sometime during the 2010 season.