Kazmir started the 2003 season in Cap City before being promoted to St. Lucie and becoming a key cog…
2003 Mets' Minor League Pitcher of The Year
And the Winner Is... Matthew Peterson. Matt Peterson (23 points) easily beat LHP Scott Kazmir (18 points) in our voting system using the following formula: 5 points for 1st place votes, 4 points for 2nd place votes, 3 points for 3rd place votes, 2 points for 4th place votes, and 1 point for 5th place votes. Not too far behind Kazmir was LHP Lenny DiNardo, who came in 3rd place with 15 points. Bob Keppel followed up in fourth with 7 points. Mets Minor League Hitter of the Year Rank Patrick Teale Calvin Young Dan Troy Kyle Smith Darren Uscianowski 1 Matthew Peterson Matthew Peterson Scott Kazmir Matthew Peterson Lenny DiNardo 2 Lenny Dinardo Scott Kazmir Matthew Peterson Jeremy Griffiths Matthew Peterson 3 Scott Kazmir Lenny DiNardo Lenny DiNardo Scott Kazmir Scott Kazmir 4 Bob Keppel Bob Keppel Miguel Pinango Bob Keppel Aaron Heilman 5 Yusemeiro Petit Yusemeiro Petit Bob Keppel Orber Moreno Jeremy Griffiths Patrick Teale ...As my colleagues are sure to hit the highpoints of my selections, I wanted to discuss a couple of pitchers I had to leave off of my list. Relievers Orber Moreno and Blake McGinley each had fantastic seasons in 2003. McGinley went 9-1 with a 1.02 ERA in 37 relief appearances for the St. Lucie Mets this season, holding opposing batters to a .184 batting average. As impressive as those stats are, what was more impressive was McGinley's 0.89 WHIP (walks + hits per innings pitched) ratio. Moreno was lights out in the closer's role for the AAA Norfolk Tides. Moreno went 5-1 with 12 saves, sporting a 1.90 ERA in 38 games. Like McGinley, Moreno's success could also be attributed to keeping runners off base...he allowed just 54 base runners in 52 innings pitched. Calvin Young ...1. Matthew Peterson, a 21-year old RHP, despite missing 6 weeks due to shoulder issues, continued his dominating performance in 2003 at Binghamton and St. Lucie (10-4, 2.18, 115.3). At St. Lucie, Peterson had dominant command (73 K/24 BB) = 3.0. Overall, Peterson had 95 K and 44 BB. He allowed only 4 HR in 115.3 IP - 1 per 19.9 IP. Peterson saved his best for last in Florida State League playoffs (2-0, 0.64, 14). He struck out 19 without issuing a BB. Peterson relies upon a 92-94 mph FB with excellent riding action that tops out at 96-97 mph and a sharp breaking CB. He's learned to change speeds on his CB and his CU is in development. 2. Scott Kazmir, a 19-year old LHP, had a good season at St. Lucie and Columbia (5-6, 2.63, 109.3) despite a serious pitch count limit. Kazmir's exceptional (145 K/44 BB) ratio of 3.27 demonstrates how dominant he was in 2003 more than his won-loss record or ERA. He struck out an astounding 11.9 hitters per 9 innings. He allowed only 6 HR. He finished off his season by pitching 10 scoreless innings over 2 starts during the Florida State League playoffs. Kazmir features a mid-90s FB that tops off at 97-98 mph combined with a nasty slurvy SL that he can change speeds on. He mixes in a quality CB. The Mets have him working on a CU. 3. Lenny DiNardo, a 24-year old LHP, performed well at both St. Lucie and Binghamton (4-11, 2.30, 125). DiNardo also displayed outstanding command (129 K/27 BB) ratio of 4.78. DiNardo pitched really well despite the won-loss record. DiNardo allowed 4 HR. DiNardo finished off his season by pitching 6 scoreless innings in the Mets run to the Florida State League championship. DiNardo features a plus CB and CU that he has tremendous command of. He sets it up his plus pitches with a FB that ranges from 85 mph to 88 mph. He throws 4-seam, 2-seam and cut FBs. He uses his SL as a K-pitch. 4.* Bob Keppel: Keppel struck out just 4.4 batters per nine innings in 2003.Bob Keppel, a 21-year old RHP, continued his steady progress in his latest stop Binghamton (9-4, 2.97, 109) that included a rehab assignment at Brooklyn after suffering an injury. Keppel's season also included a no-hitter. Keppel had 59 K and 29 BB. He allowed 6 HR. Keppel features a 2-seam FB, CB, SL and CU. His low 90s 2-seamer is his best pitch and he uses his knuckle CB as his K-pitch. Keppel also has a split-fingered FB that he doesn't use, but can be retrieved for use when necessary. And, he has a mid-90s 4-seam FB that he seldom uses. 4.* Wayne Ough, 24-year old RHP hailing from Australia, performed well at St. Lucie (7-5, 2.86, 103.7) in what was his first season primarily as a starter. Ough showed solid command for the first time with 97 K and 37 BB. He allowed 3 HR. Ough features a 91-95 mph FB with wicked sinking action, a big breaking CB and a nasty SL. His CU is a work in progress. 4.* Yusmeiro Petit, an 18-year old RHP from Venezuela, performed well at Kingsport and Brooklyn (4-3, 2.18, 74.3) in his first season in the US. Petit displayed astonishing command for a pitcher so young (85 K/10 BB) for a K/BB ratio of 8.5. He allowed 2 HR in hitter friendly Appalachian League and a hitter friendly park in Brooklyn. He hit 4 batters and threw 1 wild pitch. If he was born in the US and I was witness to his birth I wouldn't believe an 18-year old would issue 10 BB, hit 4 batters, allow 2 HR and throw 1 wild pitch in 74 IP. Petit features an 87-93 mph FB with good movement, a good CB, and solid CU. He also mixes in a sharp breaking SL and changes speeds well on his FB. An 18-year old is not supposed to effectively change speeds on his FB. I vote for Matt Peterson as the Mets minor league pitcher of the year. It's not really easy to select Peterson over the Kazmir and DiNardo. Kazmir and DiNardo had great seasons when you examine their peripheral ratios. And, in all fairness, perhaps there should be a 3-way tie. Since all 3 pitched in the playoffs, it's easy to give Peterson the award based upon his post-season performance. Quite frankly all 3 are deserving of the recognition. Petit didn't get 4th place to himself only because he performed in short season leagues. Dan Troy ...The top 2 choices were easy. While Kaz showed occasional glimpses of mortality due to a few control hiccups, he largely dominated older competition in his stints in the SAL and FSL. For the season, he struck batters out at a rate of 11.9 per 9 IPs, showed reasonably good control for a 19-year old, and was generally an unwelcomed sight for opposing hitters. He's the real deal. Peterson built upon his 2002 breakout season with an even better performance this year. His control improved dramatically, as he walked only 24 batters in 84 regular season SAL innings. The 21-year old earned a promotion to AA, and returned to St. Lucie in order to school FSL hitters in the playoffs (14 IPs, 0 runs, 19 Ks, 2 BBs, etc.). Len Dinardo proved he belonged at upper levels, but spent most of the season humiliating FSL hitters. He totaled 93 Ks against a miserly 14 BBs in 85 FSL innings. He also pitched well in his stint at AA, but for some reason, the Mets neglected to make room for the 23-year old. Pinango showed amazing command at Brooklyn in 2002, and he didn't disappoint in the SAL league this year. The 20-year old compiled an impressive 4.25 to 1 K to B ratio in 132 innings this year, and yielded only 8 HRs. The strikeout rate is a tad low, but he has time to develop a knockout pitch. Maybe I'm being a tad harsh by ranking Keppel 5th after the 21-year old posted a 3.04 ERA in AA while tossing a no-hitter. But his K rates are beginning to scare me, as he punched out only 46 in 94.2 innings (4.4 per 9 IP). He has the repertoire to do better. Kyle Smith ...1) Matt Peterson - Made huge strides forward on his command, and dominated A+. Held his own in AA at a very young age. 2) Jeremy Griffiths - Excellent year for Norfolk, and has shown some flashes in the majors. 3) Scott Kazmir - Kept up his incredible number of strike outs, and got over a bout of wildness early in the season. 4) Bob Keppel - Dominated AA most of the year, although the league seemed to catch up to him in his last few starts. Needs to work on getting more Ks. 5) Orber Moreno - Toasted the IL to the tune of 1.90 ERA with lots of strike outs and not many walks. Darren Uscianowski ...1) Lenny DiNardo, A - St. Lucie, 85.0 IP, 93 SO, 14 BB, 1 HR, 2.01 ERA One of a morass of solid pitching prospects ranking behind standouts Scott Kazmir and Matt Peterson, the lefty DiNardo established himself with a bounce-back year. Lenny DiNardo: Sported a 4.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2003.His strikeout rate (9.85 K/9) isn't as mind-blowing as Kazmir's, but DiNardo posted better walk (1.48 bb/9) and home run (0.106 HR/9) than the ace prospect. He handled a promotion to AA Binghamton well, posting an ERA of 3.60 in 40 innings, striking out 36. 2) Matt Peterson, A- St. Lucie, 84.0 IP, 73 SO, 24 BB, 2 HR, 1.71 ERA The number 2 ranked pitching prospect in the Mets system, Peterson answered questions about his control in a big way. He walked just 2.57 batters per nine innings, while maintaining a strong k rate (7.82 K/9) and allowing just 2 home runs. A promotion to AA Binghamton saw Peterson post an ERA of 3.45 in 31.1 IP. 3) Scott Kazmir, A- Cap City, 76.1 IP, 105 SO, 28 BB, 6 HR, 2.36 ERA One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, Kazmir backed up his reputation with a k rate of 12.38 K/9 IP. His walk rate was acceptable at 3.30 bb/9, and he allowed just 0.707 HR per nine innings. A promotion to class high A St. Lucie saw Kazmir post an ERA of 3.27 in 33.0 IP, striking out 40. 4) Aaron Heilman, AAA - Norfolk Tides, 94.1 IP, 71 SO, 32 BB, 5 HR, 3.24 ERA Though flummoxed at the Major League level, Heilman showed nothing like the control problems he suffered for the big club at Norfolk. He walked 3.05 batters per 9 IP, a rate one can win with. He struck out a solid 6.77 batters per nine innings (and has continued to strike out about 7 per 9 IP in the bigs), and was stingy with the gopher ball, giving up just 0.477 per 9 IP. 5) Jeremy Griffiths, AAA Norfolk, 115 IP, 78 SO, 26 BB, 6 HR, 2.74 ERA Not rated as highly by the scouts as his teammate at two levels, Aaron Heilman, Griffiths made his case in strong fashion at AAA Norfolk. His strikeout rate was middling at 6.10 K/9, however he walked a nearly Maddux- like 2.19 batters per 9 IP, and gave up long balls at about the same rate as the misfortuned Mr. Heilman - 0.469 HR/9. Curious who our 2003 Mets Minor League Hitter of the Year was for this year? Click here to find out!
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