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2004 Mets' Minor League Pitcher of The Year
Each year we have voting from our minor league writers to award the "Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year". And the winnner is... As if you didn't already know. Yusmeiro Petit was by far and away the clear-cut winner, collecting 14 points based on the scoring of 5 points for a first place vote, 4 points for a second place vote, and so. LHP Evan MacLane of the Cyclones and Bombers came in second place with 7 points, while Greg Ramirez and and Blake McGinley (all five points from one first place vote) tied for third with five points. See the voters thoughts on each vote below. Rank Patrick Teale Bobby Vangelatos Dan Goldberg 1 Yusmeiro Petit Yusmeiro Petit Blake McGinley 2 Greg Ramirez Evan MacLane Yusmeiro Petit 3 Evan MacLane Kevin Deaton Neal Musser 4 Jason Scobie Gabriel Hernandez Michael Devaney 5 Matt Lindstrom Michael Devaney Greg Ramirez Patrick Teale 1) Yusmeiro Petit: This is the easiest vote of the year. I had the pleasure of watching five of Petit's starts this year and for a while I believed I was his good luck charm, until I realized the kid was just flat out amazing. Petit dominated in the South Atlantic League all the way up to the Eastern League where he was baffling hitters six and seven years older than him in his AA debut. His combined numbers for 2004: 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA, 139.1 IP, 84 Hits, 41 Walks, 200 strikeouts. Combining his numbers also reveals opposing batters hit just .172 off of him this season. Forget the questions about his "stuff". This kid can get batters out. 2) Greg Ramirez: As a closer or a starter, Ramirez pitched a whale of a season in 2004 for the Capital City Bombers. Ramirez went a perfect 7-0 with ten saves for the Bombers and sported a tiny 2.06 ERA in 96 innings for Capital City. Used primarily as a reliever to begin the season, Ramirez notched his ten saves by July 20th before being shifted to the rotation after Lindstrom and Petit went to St. Lucie and Evan MacLane went to Brooklyn. Ramirez was dominant in the bullpen. In 14 appearances from June 13th through July 24th, he allowed just one earned run in 25 1/3 innings while striking out 32 batters and walking just six batters. In the rotation, Ramirez went 4-0 in eight starts and finished the season striking out 105 batters while only walking 28. 3) Evan MacLane: It would have been interesting to see what MacLane would have done had his 2004 Brooklyn destiny not been preordained in Spring Training. While Petit was getting all the headlines in Capital City in the beginning of 2004, MacLane was actually pitching just as well for the Bombers. In 136 2/3 innings between Capital City and Brooklyn, MacLane showed his impeccable control, allowing just 16 walks while striking out 134 batters. 4) Jason Scobie: Sure Scobie isn't considered a top prospect, but don't tell him that. In 24 starts, Scobie was just 5-5 but ranked second in the AA-Eastern League with a 2.82 ERA. Sure his peripheral stats are not fantastic (.250 average, 1.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.27 WHIP), but it's hard to ignore the fact he prevailed very well in not allowing many runs...especially against AA hitters. 5) Matthew Lindstrom: The Mets have been waiting for Lindstrom to finally put his "stuff" together and that's what Lindstrom did in 2004, going a combined 8-7 with a 3.52 ERA for Capital City and St. Lucie in 2004. Lindstrom did not match his strikeout ratio at St. Lucie when compared to his stint with the Bombers, but he's finally showing the progress that had scouts raving earlier in his career. Honorable Mention: Few Mets' pitching prospects flew as far under the radar as the Tides' Heath Bell. Bell went 3-1 with 16 saves and a 3.23 ERA for the Tides this season, striking out 68 batters in 55 2/3 innings. LHP Neal Musser (9-6, 3.41 ERA for Binghamton) had a bounce back season after struggling with injuries the past two seasons but had a hard time adjusting to his first taste of AAA (2-4, 6.25 ERA). Reliever Blake McGinley went 9-2 with a 3.73 ERA for Binghamton before going 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 appearances for the Tides. Control, McGinley's signature trademark, was his key to success...allowing just 22 walks in 99 1/3 innings this season. Kevin Deaton (6-3, 2.99 ERA), Shane Hawk (3-1, 10 saves, 2.58 ERA), and Vincent Cordova (9-9, 4.07 ERA) all had good seasons as well for St. Lucie and Capital City. And the young pitchers from the Cyclones: Michael Devaney, Scott Hyde, Joseph Williams, Mike Swindell, Eddy Camacho, and Gaby Hernandez are just a glimpse of what's coming down the road among pitching farmhands. For the record, I gave pitchers who pitched well at higher levels a nod over the short-season pitchers despite there were some brilliant performances from the aforementioned pitchers. Bobby Vangelatos 1) SP Yusmeiro Petit: Is an explanation needed? Went from the South Atlantic League to the Eastern League in just one season. Dominated the Sally League, the Florida State League and showed similar signs of overpowering hitters in the Eastern League (16S0-12IP) Petit went a combined 12-6 with a 2.20 ERA this season. In 139.1 total regular season innings he walked just 41 batters and struck out 200. His strikeout to innings pitched ratio basically remained the same from the jump to St. Lucie. The same can be said about his hits to innings pitched ratio. 2) SP Evan MacLane: The crafty left hander began the season with the Bombers and went 5-2 with a 2.39 ERA. In 67.2 innings he allowed 57 hits and just 10 walks while striking out 66. He had the talent to move up to the Florida State League, however was told in Spring Training he would be pitching the second half of the season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. MacLane continued his success going 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 69 innings pitched. He allowed just 61 hits and 6 walks while striking out 68 in the regular season for Brooklyn. MacLane biggest developmental point was adding 4 mph to his fastball this season and developed his curveball as a pitch he can now throw for strikes and can use to strike out hitters. 3) SP Kevin Deaton: Deaton had a very quiet season with the St. Lucie Mets starting 19 games and going 6-3 with a 2.99 ERA. He allowed 94 hits in 96.1 innings pitched while walking 23 and striking out 73. Deaton has had success in every single level he has pitched at and this season was no difference. 4) SP Gabriel Hernandez: The Mets 3rd Round Pick in the 2004 Draft certainly made a name for himself pitching in the Gulf Coast League. He went 3-3 with a 1.09 ERA while allowing just 25 hits in 49.2 innings and striking out 58. Hernandez joined the Cyclones after his GCL season finished and appeared in one game and getting the win pitching 3 innings and striking out 6 batters. 5) SP Michael Devaney: The second 2004 draft pick to make the list. During his first 8 starts you would never have imagine that Devaney would have made the list. At that point he led the NY-Penn League with 23 walks and had a 0-0 record. Devaney at that point had allowed 1 earned run or less in 7 of his 8 starts, however not being able to pass the 5 inning mark did not get him any attention. That all changed in his final 6 starts, where Devaney went 5-0 and walked just 6 batters. Devaney led the NY-Penn League in ERA for most of the final month of the season before finishing 3rd. He finished his first professional season 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA. He became the first Cyclone pitcher to record 5 wins in one month and the first Cyclones starter to go a full season without getting a single loss. His manager Tony Tijerina put it best when he said "Devaney is the pure definition of development." Honorable Mention: Jason Scobie pitched to a 5-5 record and a 2.82 ERA in 24 starts (26 games) for the Binghamton Mets. The 25 year old allowed 137 hits in 147 innings pitched while walking 49 and striking out 95…Scobie's teammate Neal Musser also had a solid season for Binghamton. He went 9-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 19 starts. In 108.1 innings he allowed 103 hits while walking 40 and striking out 70...Cyclones reliever Eddy Camacho went undrafted in the 2004 draft, however earned himself attention this season pitching to a 3-1 record with a 0.69 ERA. In 39 innings he allowed just 19 hits, 3 earned runs, 11 walks and struck out 38 batters. Dan Goldberg 1) Blake McGinley: Yes, he is a reliever and yes, he is not even a closer, but this guy flat out produces at every level. He was unstoppable in Binghamton going 9-2 with 83 strikeouts and 15 walks in only 72 innings. After being sent up to Norfolk, he struck out 28 in 26 innings and only walked 7. The man simply does not walk people. His control is excellent and his fastball is sneaky quick. He has a breaking ball and changeup that can both be used as effective out pitches. He is a talented lefty relief pitcher, a commodity that the Mets do not have right now. 2) Yusmeiro Petit: He had a 2.39 ERA in Cap City and a 1.22 ERA in St. Lucie. You could flip him with McGinley but I gave Blake the nod because he has performed on higher levels and will probably be in the majors sooner. Petit pitched very well in two of his three starts at AA. He was cruising in the playoffs, pitching four shutout innings, when he had to leave the game due to a blister. He also pitched the last two months of the season without giving up a homerun. Petit had a dominant season and should have another. He is only 19 years old, which makes him even more attractive. 3) Neal Musser: Easily has the most potential of any B-Mets starter. He won nine games before he was sent up to Norfolk in mid July. He pitched well in Norfolk and could have had a better won loss record had he had a little bit better luck. He deserved to stay but was sent back to Binghamton to fill a spot more than anything else. Came back and could have easily won three more games had the Mets bats not gone quiet. His fastball tops out in the low 90's which isn't outstanding but he has a great curveball and a very deceptive change. He should start in Norfolk next year. He's a big strong lefty and is used to success. 4) Mike Devaney: 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA with Brooklyn this year. He was clearly Brooklyn's best starter. He struggled with his command in the beginning of the year but like all pitchers who get used to professional ball command came with experience and maturity. He has got a strong fastball but his out pitch is his slow curve that confuses hitters who are geared up for the fastball. He has tremendous confidence in his breaking pitch which allows him to throw it at any time in the count. He also has a changeup and a slider that are developing nicely. 5) Greg Ramirez: He went 8-0 with Cap City this year with a microscopic 2.06 ERA. In 96 innings he struck out 105 and walked only 28. He has a two seam fastball and a four seam fastball which he tends to leave up over the plate. He is able to get away with this in A ball but it is something that he will have to continue to work on and continue to improve if he wants to succeed in AA and beyond. He also has changeup and a curveball that he is able to get over the plate. It's a little early to get too excited about this guy but he certainly had one of the best seasons of anyone in the organization.
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