© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

11/04/08 10:00 AM ET

Mets still rebuilding thin system

Murphy makes an impact while some young arms show promise

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

Oh no, not again.

That's undoubtedly what Mets fans said as the club failed to make the postseason at the big-league level for the second straight year.

With that disappointment in the rear-view mirror, it would be great to report that Mets fans have some big-time talent coming up from the farm to turn things around. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be true.

With the exception of Fernando Martinez, there are no bats in the system most scouts would say are of the impact variety, and even Martinez's star has faded somewhat.

That's not to say there's no help on the way. It's important to note that a system supposedly stripped bare by the Johan Santana trade did provide some assistance in the form of hitters like Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans and some pitching help -- albeit spotty at times -- in the form of Jonathon Niese, Carlos Muniz and Bobby Parnell. Not exactly star power, but probably better than most expected when the 2008 season began.

Behind that group there were some players who took some steps forward and some interesting players brought in via the Draft. How they continue to develop could help determine whether the Mets' farm system help bring October baseball back to New York.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Fernando Martinez, OF: We'd said the only thing that would keep Martinez from winning would be a fast track to Shea. We should have added, "or another injury." A bad hammy kept him out of action for a little over a month. He hit .287 over 352 at-bats for Double-A Binghamton.
Martinez gets mic'd at Futures Game
Martinez takes one deep

•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies
Jonathon Niese, LHP: The only thing we got wrong here is that we said he'd be ready for the bigs by 2009. Starting the year in Binghamton, he moved up to Triple-A New Orleans and was eventually pressed into service in New York, where he had two bad outings and one fantastic one.
Niese fans seven Braves in eight shutout innings

MLB.com Postseason Selections

Daniel Murphy, IF/OF: He may have only spent 99 games in the Minor Leagues, but boy was it impressive. Murphy hit .315 with 13 homers and 14 steals and gave the Mets confidence that he could contribute to the big club in the second half of the season.
Murphy clocks three longballs in one game

Jonathon Niese, LHP: Niese made 29 starts between Binghamton and New Orleans, going 11-8 with a 3.13 ERA and leading the organization with 144 strikeouts. His biggest improvement from came last offseason, when he continued to get serious about his conditioning and showed up to Spring Training in terrific shape. That enabled him to pitch deeper into games all year and use all three of his pitches effectively, putting him on the cusp of being a permanent member of the Mets rotation.

Climbed the Ladder

Michael Antonini, LHP: The 2007 18th-round pick began the year in Class A Savannah and finished it up two levels in Binghamton. Along the way, he posted a 2.77 ERA to lead full-season Mets pitchers in that category. His 126 strikeouts were third in the system, and he held hitters to a combined .228 batting average. In 162 2/3 innings, he walked just 39.
Antonini racks up five strikeouts

Nick Evans, IF/OF: Evans played first, third and some outfield in Binghamton, hitting .311 in 75 games. He also hit 14 homers with 53 RBIs and a .561 slugging percentage. The Mets brought him up when they needed outfield help and he hit .257 in 50 games. He only had a .706 OPS, but the 23-year-old will get a chance to improve on that next year.
Evans drives home a half-dozen

Wilmer Flores, SS: He began his season in June with Kingsport in the rookie-level Appalachian League. He hit .310 over 59 games to earn postseason All-Star honors and a promotion to Savannah before finishing the year with Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League. For the year, he hit .307 with eight homers and 42 RBIs over 280 at-bats. It looks like the 17-year-old should be ready for a full-season assignment in 2009.
Flores sends one over the fence

Daniel Murphy, IF/OF: Not only did Murphy put up outstanding numbers with Binghamton, making the Eastern League All-Star team in the process, but he also moved to the outfield pretty much on the fly at Shea and hit .313 over 49 games with New York. He went to the Arizona Fall League to learn second base as the Mets figure out the best way to get his bat into the lineup.

Jonathan Niese, LHP: See postseason selections.

Kept Their Footing

Mike Carp, 1B: Spending his first full season in Double-A, Carp hit .299 with 17 homers and 29 doubles to go along with 72 RBIs in 478 at-bats. He may not be and everyday first baseman, but the 22-year-old left-handed hitter did bat .314 and slugged nearly 50 points higher against right-handed pitching, suggesting that perhaps a career in a platoon role could be in his future.
Carp collects six RBIs

Eddie Kunz, RHP: On the one hand, he easily led the organization with 27 saves, all in his time with Binghamton. He also had a 2.79 ERA there and held hitters to a .222 average. On the other hand, he walked 27 batters in 54 innings, didn't pitch all that well in six games of Triple-A action and the Mets clearly didn't feel he was ready to contribute in the Majors for any length of time. With more control, we probably would've seen him when New York's 'pen was imploding. One awful outing will make his Arizona Fall League numbers look bad, but other than still struggling with some command issues, it looked like he made some strides there.
Kunz notches save with a strikeout

Bobby Parnell, RHP: The right-hander spent most of the season with Binghamton and was an Eastern League All-Star, going 10-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 24 starts. Five outings in New Orleans led to a 6.64 ERA, and he was pressed into bullpen service with the Mets. With the exception of one outing, he was generally effective. A strong AFL season could help him make the leap to the Queens for good in 2009.
Parnell picks up fifth strikeout

Francisco Pena, C: Challenged with a move to full-season ball in 2007, Pena couldn't handle the rigors of the long summer. He learned a lesson about conditioning and taking care of himself and headed back to Savannah for another shot. The 18-year-old had a modest year, hitting .264 with six homers and 41 RBIS in 105 games. The better news is that, rather than fall apart as the season wore on, he improved, raising his batting average 25 points in the second half of the season.
Pena plants one in the seats

Slipped a Rung

Fernando Martinez, OF: This may seem a bit harsh considering how young F-Mart still is, and the fact remains that scouts still love his swing. But while there's more than enough time for Martinez to fulfill his potential, the time is starting to come where he's going to have to show the ability to stay healthy and put up numbers. He was getting a lot of playing time in the Dominican League, a good sign, and was performing well in that competitive circuit.

Nathan Vineyard, LHP: It's not fair to penalize a young player because of injury, but the fact remains that the Mets' other supplemental first-rounder from 2007 (Eddie Kunz was also taken then) made just two starts in April for Savannah before getting shut down and having shoulder surgery. The good news is he'll be just 20 years old for all of next season, so there's plenty of time to bounce back.

On the Radar

Dillon Gee, RHP: The Mets took Gee out of the University of Texas-Arlington in the 21st round of the 2007 Draft and they may have themselves a find. Sent straight to Class A Advanced St. Lucie for his full-season debut, Gee was a Florida State All-Star who went 8-6 with a 3.25 ERA in 21 starts. He earned a bump up to Binghamton and didn't miss a beat, going 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts.
Gee gets seventh strikeout

Dylan Owen, RHP: Owen led the organization with 13 wins and finished second with 131 strikeouts. Like Gee, he spent most of the year in St. Lucie, with a late call-up to Binghamton to end the season. He was named an FSL All-Star and the league's Most Valuable Pitcher -- not bad for a 20th-round pick in 2007 out of Francis Marion University.
Owen owns Cats with seven Ks

Greg Veloz, 2B: Veloz's first foray in the United States in 2007 didn't go so well, as he struggled with the challenge of Savannah. He saved his season a bit with Kingsport to combine for a .224 average and 135 strikeouts in 132 games. This past year was a bit better as the 20-year-old second baseman hit .286 with 28 steals in 111 games with the Sand Gnats, earning a call-up to St. Lucie late in the year. His 29 stolen bases led the organization, and he cut his strikeout rate down nicely, especially with Savannah.
Veloz puts a charge into one

2008 Draft Recap

1. Ike Davis, 1B: The son of Ron Davis, Ike played outfield and first for Arizona State before being taken No. 18 overall. Playing only first base for Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League, Davis hit .256 in 58 games. He's got power potential but didn't homer in his pro debut and slugged .326.
Davis drills run-scoring double

2. Reese Havens, SS: A sore arm kept Havens, the No. 22 overall pick out of South Carolina, from playing the field much this past summer. He did get 77 at-bats as a DH (seven as a shortstop) for Brooklyn, and he hit .247 with a .471 SLG.
Havens hammers a homer

3. Brad Holt, RHP: Taken in the sandwich round (33rd overall), the UNC Wilmington product had as good a pro debut as anyone in the Draft class. The right-hander led the NYPL with a 1.87 ERA and 96 strikeouts, holding hitters to a .171 batting average over 72 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star for his efforts.
Holt racks up 14 Ks in six innings

Others of Note: C Dock Doyle (fifth round) hit .305 in Kingsport over 41 games before finishing the season with Brooklyn. ... RHP Scott Shaw (16th round) formed a good rotation-mate with Holt in Brooklyn, going 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 outings. Over 74 innings, the Illinois-Champaign product struck out 79 and walked just 15. ... RHP Chris Schwinden (22nd round) finished just behind Holt in the NYPL ERA race with a 2.01 mark. The swingman struck out 70 and walked 12 in 62 2/3 frames. ... RHP Kyle Allen (24th round) was very sharp in the Gulf Coast League, posting a 2.12 ERA over 34 innings. He struck out 45 and walked just 10 while keeping hitters to a .194 average. ... 2B Kyle Suire (35th round) hit .299 and slugged .549 for Kingsport, good four fourth in the Appy League and a late promotion to Brooklyn.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.