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Mets vs. Yankees: Catcher Prospects
If you missed them, we have comparisons of the Mets and Yankees' farm systems at other positions, just for our premium subscribers, and we'll finish up with the outfielder comparisons, starting pitcher prospects, and relief pitching prospects:
First Base Prospects
Second Base Prospects
Third Base Prospects
The Two Farm Systems: Perhaps the largest disparity position-wise between the Yankees and the Mets is at catcher, where the Yankees are devoid of any legitimate impact players at the catcher's position after Dioner Navarro was traded this past season. The Mets have quite a few catching prospects that not only could, but should, reach the Major Leagues as quality back-ups at minimum.
Two-time Mets' Minor League Hitter of the Year Mike Jacobs made a splash in New York towards the tail end of the season by hitting 11 home runs while adjusting to playing first base. Jacobs came through the Mets' farm system as a quality backstop, with a few questions marks about his ability to throw out runners. Like Mike Piazza, Jacobs is a solid all-around catcher with his arm being the lone drawback defensively.
Hagerstown catcher Jesus Flores is arguably the best all-around catcher, both offensively and defensively, between the two farm systems. He broke his hand in the final exhibition game in Spring Training and after missing the first six weeks of the season, took a bit longer to shake off the rust upon his return to action. Flores, still just 20 years old, has a lot of potential despite the pedestrian offensive numbers he posted in 2005.
Aside from Jacobs and Flores, neither the Yankees nor the Mets have any other catching prospects that project to become starting catchers at the Major League level. However, between the likes of Omir Santos, Jose Gil, and Irwil Rojas of the Yankees, and Joe Hietpas, Aaron Hathaway, and Drew Butera of the Mets, there are some quality catchers that could eventually make their way into the Major Leagues as excellent second catchers.
How Do They Compare In...
Power: With sluggers like Mike Jacobs and Jesus Flores already behind the dish, and with Andrew Wilson making the transition to the catcher's position this past year and in the Arizona Fall League, the Mets clearly have an edge over the Yankees in the power department among the catcher prospects. The Yankees don't really have one catching prospect that projects to hit 20+ home runs at the Major League level. Advantage: Mets
Hitting For Average: Again, the depth of catching prospects for the Mets gives them another edge over their cross-town rivals at the catcher's spot. Mike Jacobs has proven, albeit in a small number of at-bats, that he can hit Major League pitching with regularity. Flores is a much better hitter than his .216 average this past season and Andrew Wilson is a very good hitter as well. The Yankees have underrated Wil Nieves, a very good hitter in his own right, and Irwil Rojas, one of the better contact hitters around, keeps this race a little closer. Advantage: Mets
Defense: You'd be hard-pressed to find four better defensive catching prospects in one farm system than the New York Mets. Joe Hietpas is widely regarded as one of the elite signal callers at the minor league level. While Hietpas has a plus arm, catchers Aaron Hathaway and Drew Butera may have better arms. Throw in the all-around defensive ability of Jesus Flores, the defensive competition at catcher between the two farm systems is not even close.
Omir Santos of the Yankees is also a very good defensive catcher, but the rest of the Yankees' catching prospects are nowhere near as good as the Mets' quartet of catching prospects. Advantage: Mets
Speed: Does it really matter? The catcher's spot is traditionally known to house some of the slowest players on the baseball field and that is certainly the case with the combined catching field from the Mets and Yankees. Athletic players like Andrew Wilson, Aaron Hathaway, and Drew Butera give the Mets a slight edge in the speed department, but it is negligible overall because none project to be a difference maker on the base paths. Advantage: Mets.
Overall Potential: What the Mets decide to do with Mike Jacobs slightly effects the overall landscape of the overall potential between the two sets of catching prospects. Even if Jacobs remains at first base, the depth of quality defensive catching prospects in the Mets' farm system is too good to ignore.
If Jacobs is left behind the plate as Mike Piazza appears done in a Mets' uniform, and if Andrew Wilson can make a smooth transition to catching defensively, the Mets would have the top three catching prospects with the highest ceilings because of their offensive potential.
But the two systems combined do have a few quality catching prospects that could become excellent second catchers for their respective teams.
Highest Ceilings: Mike Jacobs (Mets), Jesus Flores (Mets), Andrew Wilson (Mets), Jose Gil (Yankees), Irwil Rojas (Yankees)
Best Power: Mike Jacobs (Mets), Andrew Wilson (Mets), Jesus Flores (Mets), Omir Santos (Yankees), Joan Martinez (Mets)
Best Average: Mike Jacobs (Mets), Irwil Rojas (Yankees), Andrew Wilson (Mets), Jesus Flores (Mets), Wil Nieves (Yankees)
Best Defense: Joe Hietpas (Mets), Aaron Hathaway (Mets), Andrew Butera (Mets), Jesus Flores (Mets), Omir Santos (Yankees)
Best Speed: Aaron Hathaway (Mets), Jose Gil (Yankees), Andrew Wilson (Mets), Joan Martinez (Mets), Andrew Butera (Mets).
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