Mets' Prospects Finishing Off Strong

Ambiorix Concepcion Hit .295 in August

While many people will judge various prospects by their overall numbers to see how good they are, many scouts and the Mets' brass will take a closer look at how they have down coming down the stretch. Here's a look at the Mets' hitting prospects that are finishing off their 2005 season in a strong fashion.

CF, Greg Gonzalez, Cyclones: Gonzalez, splitting his final month with the Kingsport Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones, has had one of the quietest, but yet tremendous, months of any prospect all season long. He hit a combined .396 with 21 stolen bases in August, leading all Mets' positional prospects in both categories. Gonzalez also scored 22 runs in 25 combined games and he is turning many a head in the Mets' organization for his play down the stretch.

2B/SS, Anderson Hernandez, Tides: Splitting time between the shortstop and second base position for the Norfolk Tides in August, Hernandez finished up the month with the second highest batting average among the Mets' positional prospects. He hit .348 in 28 games for the Tides in August, swiping 11 bases and scoring 15 runs. If there is one knock on his production down the stretch, it would be the fact that just 2 of his 39 hits last month went for extra bases (one double & one triple).

CF, Lastings Milledge, B-Mets: The Mets' top prospect finished his 2005 season prematurely to go play for Team USA, and he did so on a high note. Milledge heads into the offseason hitting .345 in his final 31 games for Binghamton, leading the entire farm system with 13 doubles in the month of August. Throw in the fact he had 4 home runs last month, equaling his stolen base total for August, Milledge hit 41.5% of his hits last month for extra-bases, a number way above the Eastern League average. He also scored 23 runs in his 31 games with 13 RBI out of the leadoff spot.

1B, Brett Harper, B-Mets: It comes as no shock that Harper lead all Mets' hitting prospect in home runs in August, clubbing 8 long balls to bring his season total up to 35 on the year. He hit .307 in August with 22 RBI and 21 runs scored in 33 games for Binghamton. Harper also drew 17 walks last month, which was just one shy of the 18 walks he drew in the months of April and May combined with the St. Lucie Mets. Throw in his 7 doubles last month, 42.9% of his hits went for extra-bases.

SS, Corey Ragsdale, B-Mets: A career .193 hitter entering the 2005 season, many pundits have written Ragsdale off as a legitimate prospect. After hitting .260 in his first 68 games with the St. Lucie Mets earlier in the season, Ragsdale was promoted to AA-Binghamton where he struggled to hit just .155 in his first 26 games with the B-Mets. He has responded quite well ever since, hitting .279 with 7 home runs in August. Ragsdale had 21 RBI, scored 20 runs, and drew 14 walks in 33 games for Binghamton last month, showing that closing the proverbial book on his prospect status right now may be a bit premature.

2B, Aarom Baldiris, B-Mets: Baldiris has always been a conistent hitter throughout his minor league career. The one negative to his game was his lack of power. After not recording his first home run until June 29th, it seemed Baldiris may never realize his power potential. However, Baldiris .300 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI in 32 games in August. He had just 5 home runs in his first 359 at-bats for Binghamton! His power surge down the stretch may have helped keep his priority status as a prospect.

SS, Emmanuel Garcia, GCL Mets: Garcia turned some heads in July, hitting .320 with an amazing 18 RBI in 24 games out of the leadoff spot for the Gulf Coast League Mets. Proving that July was no fluke, Garcia finished his 2005 campaign hitting an even better .328 with 16 runs scored and 6 stolen bases in his final 16 games for the GCL Mets. A .344 hitter batting leadoff this season, Garcia was even better in the clutch, hitting .355 with runners in scoring position.

OF, Jamar Hill, St. Lucie: A disastrous start to his 2005 season, hitting just .187 in his first 42 games in the Florida State league, had Jamar Hill's stock as a prospect falling rapidly. However, Hill is showing his slow start was more of a fluke, hitting .305 in August with 6 doubles and 3 home runs in his 29 games with St. Lucie last month. He scored 18 runs and drove home 15 to give him 51 RBI since June 1st after recording just 10 RBI in the first two months of the season. Hill has a .279 batting average during that time.

C, Aaron Hathaway, St. Lucie: Hathaway has been known more for his defense behind the plate than his success at the plate since being selected in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft. After hitting a respectable .259 with the Hagerstown Suns, Hathaway was promoted up to St. Lucie on June 29th. A funny thing happened though, he started to hit! Hathaway hit .337 last month in 22 games for St. Lucie, scoring 15 runs and drawing 11 walks. He had just 11 walks in his first four months. Hathaway is using a strong finish offensively to make the Mets think twice about his hitting ability.

UT, Chase Lambin, Tides: Chase Lambin could have the quietest 24 home runs of any Mets' minor leaguer in history. Perhaps splitting time between Binghamton and Norfolk or the lack of a full-time position has something to do with it. Either way, Lambin's production can not be ignored. While his .272 average in August may not turn many heads, the fact that he had 8 doubles and 6 home runs last month not only shows that his power is not fading, but it has actually gotten better as the season has worn on. Lambin's hot finish in the power deparment may have solidified him a bench role with the Mets in 2006.

OF, Ambiorix Concepcion, Suns: Like Hill, Concepcion's start to the 2005 season was a nightmare. He hit just .203 in his first 48 games with Hagerstown, but he is finishing of the 2005 season on a high note. Concepcion, who hit .295 in 28 games for the Suns last month, is hitting .273 over his last three months. He had 18 runs scored, 14 RBI, and 8 stolen bases for Hagerstown last month. His strong finish may have the Mets' brass forgetting his horrendous start to the year.

OF, Carlos Gomez, Suns: Just like Concepcion, Gomez is playing his first full year of long-season league baseball. So no matter how he started off the year, how he finishes is more of a telling sign. Gomez, who hit .259 in his first 87 games, hit .321 in 28 games in the month of August. He had 15 RBI, scored 15 runs, and stole 16 bases last month. It was his best batting average, RBI, and stolen base totals for any month of the 2005 season! There was already internal discussions among the Mets' brass if he was the top prospect or not. His strong finish may persuade the naysayers to think twice.

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