Scouting Mets' Prospect #40: Wayne Lydon

Lydon's Speed Is His Best Asset

The New York Mets drafted outfielder Wayne Lydon with their 9th round pick in the 1999 draft out of Valley View High School in Jessup, PA. Lydon is one of the fastest players in the Mets' organization and has improved his gap power the last couple of seasons. It's this reason that Lydon ranks #40 on our Top 50 Mets' Prospects list.

(FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)

Vital Statistics:
Name: Wayne Lydon
Position: Center Field
DOB: April 17, 1981
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

The year started out brighter than Florida sunshine for Wayne Lydon.

Invited to major league camp and dressing across the way from players like David Wright and Jose Reyes, Lydon soaked up as much of the major league atmosphere as he could and headed into the season intent on making his way to Triple-A by season's end.

But Binghamton packed a blast of frosty reality for the 24-year-old outfielder, whose return engagement with the B-Mets never really took off. Lydon hit just .198 through the first two months of the season and needed a late surge to finish at .244, numbers he acknowledges were a disappointment.

"I started the season ice cold," Lydon said. "I don't know it happened. It was just something I got blind-sided with, and I didn't know how to get out of it. It was one of the worst I've ever been in. Everything I tried back-fired on me."

Essentially splitting his time between batting leadoff and second for Jack Lind's B-Mets, Lydon – a relatively new switch-hitter, picking up the skill in the Instructional Leagues in 2000 - struggled more from the left side of the plate, batting just .240 against right-handed pitching.

Mired in an extended slump, the mechanics of hitting from two sides of the plate seemed to be more than Lydon could evaluate all at once. He says accepting advice from multiple sources hindered the process, switching back and forth, essentially overloading with information and thought.

"I got in and out of things," Lydon said. "I'd get hot for a week or two weeks, and then I'd go back and get cold again. It was a battle. It took until the last week of the season before I actually got something that allowed me to hit without thinking; something that was more natural."

The turning point came late when Tony Bernazard – one of Omar Minaya's chief deputies and a former major league veteran with six clubs – happened by the Binghamton club and instructed Lydon to try keeping his front shoulder in, slapping the ball through center field.

It worked, and even though it was too late to make much of a dent in Lydon's overall numbers, he finished the year on an 11-for-36 run (.305).

"[Bernazard's advice] was something simple, and it really gave me something to build off," Lydon said.

Actually, it was an adjustment that might have been speedier, had Bernazard and Lydon been able to discuss it way back in Port St. Lucie. Lydon said the two first met on one of the back practice fields at Tradition Field, albeit briefly.

"He saw me in spring training when I was hitting off a tee, but I didn't know who he was," Lydon said. "He said, 'You're hitting it too deep.' I was just practicing, and I was like, 'OK.' And then he just walked away."

Though Lydon's batting statistics won't jump off the page, he was successful in 42 of 56 steal attempts and played solidly in left field and center field – points in the favor of a player who expects speed and defense will eventually get him to the major leagues.

"It wins ballgames," Lydon said. "I think when my hitting comes around from the left side, it's going to be part of a package I can offer to help teams win."

At the very least, Lydon said 2005 provided him with valuable mental experiences. The B-Mets clubhouse was something of a pressurized atmosphere – Lydon described it as "produce or you're on the hot seat" – and compared the attitudes of the coaching staff to a gridiron braintrust.

"I took a lot away from handling adversity," Lydon said. "It was pretty tense – I never experienced that since I played football. I think I benefited from going through it."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2005

Binghamton

.244

491

120

2

43

70

42

46

101

.313

.340

2004

Binghamton

.271

506

137

5

43

78

65

49

119

.338

.360

2003

St. Lucie

.264

488

129

4

44

83

75

52

96

.342

.346

2002

Capital City

.294

473

139

0

46

93

87

54

104

.368

.334

2001

Brooklyn

.246

57

14

0

1

12

10

7

18

.328

.263

2001

Kingsport

.184

98

18

0

8

14

15

11

35

.266

.255

2000

Kingsport

.203

172

35

3

20

34

35

24

47

-

.291

1999

GCL

.183

60

11

0

5

13

0

7

13

-

.233



Batting and Power. Lydon had come a long way in his progression as a hitter, but seemingly regressed in his second stint at the Double-A level. Once a light-hitting speedster, Lydon had vastly improved his gap power to become a more complete hitter. However, Lydon just completed his seventh minor league season and he hasn't shown the ability to make enough consistent contact to be a force at the top of a lineup, where his speed is better utilized. He also strikes out a bit too much, annually posting less than stellar on-base percentages.

Base Running and Speed. Despite seemingly deteriorating base stealing skills (his stolen base totals have dropped annually each of the last four years), Lydon is still a game changer on the base paths. Opposing batters are intimidated when he's on base as Lydon continually draws a lot of attention with his plus speed. His speed will be the reason he's given a shot at the Major League level someday.

Defense. Lydon has very good range with his speed but his route-running hasn't developed as well as the Mets would have liked by now. Once a very good centerfielder, Lydon is now better suited for left field. His arm is average at best, but his speed, he can play all three outfield positions if needed.

Projection. Lydon's defensive ability makes him a lot less valuable in left field due to his lack of power. His speed is his best asset and it will be the reason he'll break in at the Major League level as a reserve outfielder. Lydon can play all three outfield positions and his speed will allow him to be a very good bench player for the Mets. He just doesn't hit consistently enough or with enough power to project as a starting outfielder for the large-market Mets.

ETA. 2007. Lydon will have to compete with the likes of Angel Pagan as the Mets' reserve outfielder of the immediate future. Pagan's better all-around game gives him an edge over Lydon. Lydon still needs a year at Triple-A for some more seasoning so if and when he makes it to the Majors, it likely won't be until 2007.

____________________________________________________

Subscribe to NYfansonly.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Inside Pitch Magazine subscription (10 issues), Total Access Pass, and all premium content on NYfansonly.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.

Sample the NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories