Scouting Mets' Prospect #48: Jonathan Slack

Slack Turns 23 in December

The New York Mets drafted outfielder Jonathan Slack with their 5th round pick in the 2002 draft out of Texas Tech University. Slack is a throwback ballplayer who hustles on every play and is blessed with great speed . It's this reason that Slack ranks #48 on our Top 50 Mets' Prospects list. Here's a scouting report on Jonathan Slack.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jonathan Slack
Position: Center Field
DOB: December 4, 1981
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Slack played ball at the Community College of Southern Nevada before transferring to Texas Tech University prior to the 2002 collegiate season where he helped lead the Red Raiders to their 8th straight NCAA Tournament by hitting .333 with 7 home runs and 29 stolen bases in 62 games while playing a dazzling centerfield. Slack scored Texas Tech's only run in a 3-1 loss to the University of Washington in the NCAA Regionals that year, eliminating Tech from the tournament. Slack overshadowed Red Raider teammate Gera Alvarez in 2002 and became the Mets' 5th round draft selection.

After signing with the Mets in June of 2002, Slack began his professional career in Brooklyn where he showed his tremendous speed in a reserve role for the Cyclones. Slack was promoted to Capital City in 2003 where he manned the starting center field position and leadoff spot for the Bombers. Impressing scouts and coaches alike with his excellent work ethic and all out speed in the field, Slack was sent back to Brooklyn to help bolster their lineup despite showing good success in the South Atlantic League.

On the strength of his solid debut in low-A ball with the Bombers, Slack was sent directly to St. Lucie in 2004 where he batted mostly leadoff for the Mets this past season. Slack had an up and down year for St. Lucie but did manage to put together a season high 16-game hit streak in June that saw him hit .403 during that stretch.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

St. Lucie

.258

445

115

6

30

66

30

41

75

.327

.353

2003

Capital City

.273

238

65

3

27

47

21

42

60

.387

.366

2003

Brooklyn

.256

211

54

0

13

30

17

35

47

.361

.299

2002

Brooklyn

.245

147

36

1

11

16

5

20

47

.341

.333


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Slack has decent gap power for a guy his size and has the ability to hit with line-drive power. He's got an average eye at the plate and makes good contact. He'll never hit more than ten home runs but with his speed, has the chance to hit for a good amount of extra-base hits.

Base Running and Speed. Speed is the strength of Slack's offensive games. He ranks only behind Milledge, Lydon, and Cory Wells in overall speed. He's a very intelligent base runner and has improved his stolen base percentage each year. He had an 85.7% success rate in stolen bases for St. Lucie this past season, getting caught just 5 times in 35 attempts.

Defense. Slack has tremendous range in center field and has a good enough arm to make the necessary throws. While he is good in center field, he projects to be more suited for left field as his arm is not his strongest suit. However, he has plus range in the outfield and could play any of the outfield positions if called upon.

Projection. The Mets have quite a few outfield prospects that project to be starters down the road and have a bit more talent than Slack. That said, Slack's defensive ability and speed will carry him a long way and he could prove to be a valuable reserve outfielder and bench player for the Mets someday. Think Timo Perez for a good MLB comparison.

ETA. 2007. Slack is still a young player. He turns 23 in December and will be one of the younger players in AA next season where he should be penciled in as the starting centerfielder for Binghamton. He could earn a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2006 as a September call up, but should be ready to help the Mets in some capacity by 2007 when he'll still only be 25 years old on Opening Day.

Outfielders

2004 Team

Victor Diaz

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Prentice Redman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Jeff Duncan

AA - Binghamton Mets

Angel Pagan AA - Binghamton Mets
Wayne Lydon AA - Binghamton Mets
Ron Acuna AA - Binghamton Mets
Bobby Malek AA - Binghamton Mets
Alhaji Turay A - St. Lucie Mets
Jonathan Slack A - St. Lucie Mets
Joseph Jiannetti A - St. Lucie Mets
Lastings Milledge A - Capital City Bombers
Jamar Hill A - Capital City Bombers
Ryan Harvey A - Capital City Bombers
Rashad Parker A - Capital City Bombers
Caleb Stewart A - Capital City Bombers
Ambiorix Concepcion A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Corey Coles A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Dante Brinkley A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Derran Watts A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Seith Pietsch R - Kingsport Mets
Carlos Gomez R - Kingsport Mets
Joshua Wyrick R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Gamero R - Kingsport Mets
Horace Lawrence R - Kingsport Mets
Cory Wells R - Gulf Coast Mets
Brahiam Maldonado R - Gulf Coast Mets
Parris Austin R - Gulf Coast Mets
Miguel Garcia R - Gulf Coast Mets


Comments

Two years ago, the Mets were really devoid of any real threat in the outfield among their prospects. They currently have a handful of legitimate outfield prospects, players that could become full-time starters at the Major League level. While Victor Diaz and Prentice Redman are the closest to the Major Leagues, Lastings Milledge, Jamar Hill, and Ambiorix Concepcion give the Mets a very athletic look in the future. The Mets could have a very, very good outfield down the road.

1) Victor Diaz - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Diaz, making the switch from second base to right field in 2004, looked pretty comfortable in the field and at the plate. There's never been a question about his bat (he has won two minor league battle titles), just his attitude and defense. It will be interesting to see if the Mets make the commitment to Diaz in their outfield after a very good AAA debut in 2004, or use him as a trading piece for an established Major League talent.

2) Prentice Redman - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Redman does a little bit of everything well. He can run, hit, hit for power, and possesses speed. The problem is he doesn't any one of them very well. His future at the Major League level is as a reserve outfielder.

3) Jeff Duncan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Once patrolling centerfield for the Mets, Duncan was demoted all the way down to AA this past season. With Cameron tied up for the next two seasons, and with Milledge right behind him (or ahead of him in many ways), Duncan needs a change of scenery with a new organization.

4) Angel Pagan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Pagan is developing into a very good reserve-type outfielder that can play all three outfield positions and can hit at the top or bottom of the lineup. He make very good contact at the plate, has excellent speed, a good arm, and brings good enthusiasm into the clubhouse.

5) Wayne Lydon - AA -Binghamton Mets - Lydon is all about the speed. With 227 stolen bases the last three seasons, Lydon's a light-hitting defensive player that has a knack for the stolen bases. His ticket to the Majors is as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.

6) Bobby Malek - AA-Binghamton Mets - There's a reason the Mets made Malek their 4th round selection in the 2002 draft. Malek is a very good defensive player that possesses a rare combination of power and speed. After struggling last season after elbow surgery, Malek regained his college form in 2004, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 15 bases. Malek still has the potential to be a starting outfielder at the Major League level. 2005 could be a breakout year for Malek.

7) Ronald Acuna - AA - Binghamton Mets - A very good contact hitter and excellent defensive player, Acuna's lack of power is his downfall as a prospect. He has just 5 HRs in his last 1,441 minor league at-bats. He's a 4th or 5th outfielder at the Major League level.

8) Joseph Jiannetti - A-St. Lucie Mets - Originally drafted as a 3B, the Mets moved him to 2B back in 2002 and then moved him to the outfield in 2004. Jiannetti is a nice hitter with decent pop. He's got the potential to be a reserve outfielder or as a possible utility player.

9) Jonathan Slack - A-St. Lucie Mets - Slack is a good defensive centerfielder much in the same mold as Lydon. Good defensively, decent hitter, great speed, and not much power. He's got the look of a possible reserve outfielder.

10) Alhaji Turay - A - St. Lucie Mets - The talent is there. A good defensive player, Turay has big time power potential and excellent speed. He has 30-30 potential and is easily one of the Mets' best run producing prospects....WHEN HEALTHY! Turay has to put together a full, healthy season before he becomes an elite prospect, but he does have that kind of talent.

11) Jamar Hill - A - Capital City Bombers - Hill, with 26 HRs & 20 SBs in 2004, had a breakout season this past year and showing the promise he displayed in Kingsport back in 2002. If he can duplicate the same success at St. Lucie in 2005, Hill could make that leap into one of the better outfield prospects in all of baseball.

12) Lastings Milledge - A- Capital City Bombers - Already considered the Mets' top prospect after the Mets trade Scott Kazmir, Milledge had a very good first year of long-season baseball. Milledge does it all: power, speed, defense, hitting, etc. He strikes out a bit too much, but could learn more selectivity as he matures. Easily the top outfield prospect for the Mets!

13) Ryan Harvey - A - Capital City Bombers - Harvey certainly gets overlooked by many despite being a very solid outfielder. Harvey, the Bombers' lone All-Star in '04, does a little bit of everything. Currently, he has the look of a reserve outfielder at the Major League level but he could be a late bloomer much in the same manner Jason Bay was. He's one to keep an eye on.

14) Rashad Parker - A - Capital City Bombers - Parker's a defensive and speed replacement at the minor league level. There's no reason to expect anything else.

15) Caleb Stewart - A - Capital City Bombers - Stewart is a big kid that moves very well. He has a very good batting eye and decent power. He could develop into a Major League starting outfielder down the road.

16) Ambiorix Concepcion - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - The player formerly known as Roberto Solano, Concepcion is a five-tool talent that has the raw ability to be an elite outfield prospect for the Mets. Voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in the NY-Penn League this year, Concepcion reminds scouts of Vladmir Guerrero at the same point in development.

17) Corey Coles - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Coles had a tremendous start to the 2004 season for Brooklyn and then had a disasterous finish. At 23, he's going to have to have some success at higher levels before we get too excited about him.

18) Dante Brinkley - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Brinkley is a nice player that can do a little bit of everything. He has the look of a future reserve outfielder.

19) Derran Watts - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Has more speed than Brinkley, a better arm, and is better defensively. But has a long way to go to become legit outfield prospect.

20) Carlos Gomez - R - Kingsport Mets - Gomez was a wide-eyed 18-year old kid playing rookie ball this past season, but has the raw talent to be a special prospect. He's got a cannon for an arm, good batting eye, and developing power. He could be atop this list next year along with Lastings Milledge and Jamar Hill as the Mets' best outfield prospects.

21) Seth Pietsch - R - Kingsport Mets - A little old for the Appy League, Pietsch is a strong kid with good power and speed. He needs to show some success at the higher levels.

22) Joshua Wyrick - R - Kingsport Mets - Wyrick, an 11th round pick in the 2004 draft, had a decent professional debut. He's a speedster with great range.

23) Jesus Gamero - R - Kingsport Mets - Has an excellent batting eye and developing power.

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