2001 Mets' Minor League Hitter of The Year
Jose Reyes Wins!
Jose Reyes Wins!

Posted May 22, 2002


Take a look with the NYfansonly.com Mets' writers to see who the better minor league hitters were in the 2001 season. This list is not about who the better prospect is or who will be the better major leaguer. This list is based soley on what they did in the 2001 season. Each writer lists their top five and then expands on their selections (and other notes) below.

And the Winner Is... 

SS Jose Reyes.  Reyes (23 points) barely edged 1B Earl Snyder (22 points) in our voting system using the following formula: 5 points for 1st place votes, 4 points for 2nd place votes, 3 points for 3rd place votes, 2 points for 4th place votes, and 1 point for 5th place votes.  Not too far behind was 1B Craig Brazell, who came in 3rd place with 18 points.  Unlike the numerous pitchers selced, three different players were selected by six different writers as the "2001 Mets' Minor League Hitters of the Year" and 10 different players were selected for the Top Five, which only shows what kind of year the Mets' minor league pitchers had in 2001.

Mets Minor League Hitter of the Year

Rank

Patrick Teale

Peter Simon

Matt Young

Steve Usinger

Calvin Young

Chris Brewster

1

Jose Reyes

Earl Snyder

Earl Snyder

Craig Brazell Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes

2

Earl Snyder

Jose Reyes

Tony Tarasco

Jose Reyes Earl Snyder Craig Brazell

3

Craig Brazell

Craig Brazell

Frank Corr

Rob Stratton Craig Brazell Earl Snyder

4

Scott Hunter

Joe Jiannetti

Rob Stratton

Frank Corr Scott Hunter Frank Corr

5

Frank Corr

Danny Garcia

Jason Phillips

Earl Snyder Rob Stratton Danny Garcia

Patrick Teale
...2001 was a down year for the bats in the Mets' Minor League system.  Before I get to my selections, I would like to make observations of a few of the players not in my "Top Five".  First and foremost, Alex Escobar did not make my list.  Perhaps expectations were too high for him this season.  But be that as it may, 12 home runs in 397 at-bats isn't too juicy...especially when 5'9" Frank Corr hit one more home run in 185 LESS at-bats.  Also, when you consider Escobar struck out a whopping 146 times this season, you have a recipe for disappointment.  Escobar's 146 K's were the second highest total in the entire Mets' farm system.  I desperately wanted to include Angel Pagan in my "Top Five" but couldn't find the room.  If this list was based on prospect potential, I would obviously take out Scott Hunter and put Pagan in his place.  Pagan hit .315 and stole 30 bases for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the short season NY Penn League.  Though Rob Stratton has monstrous power, I couldn't feel right about putting a player who struck out 201 times this season on my list.

At 18 years old, SS Jose Reyes is my "2001 Mets' Minor League Hitter of the Year".  Reyes was simply fantastic for the A - Capital City Bombers.  After a slow start to the season, Reyes went on fire and ended the season hitting .307 with 71 runs scored, 22 doubles, 15 triples, and 5 home runs.  He also wound up 48 RBIs batting leadoff most of the season and he stole 30 bases.  As impressive as those stats are, Reyes finished the 2001 campaign with a robust .472 slugging percentage.   When you compare his slugging percentage to those of the current New York Mets, only Mike Piazza (.562) has a higher slugging percentage.

1B Earl Snyder is not considered to be one of the Mets' top prospects.  However, Snyder had a good season for the Binghamton Mets in 2001.  He hit .281 with 69 runs scored, 20 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 4 stolen bases.  They were not fantastic numbers, but better than most Mets' minor league hitters this season.  Since he does not have the prototypical numbers for a first baseman, Snyder has been testing a move to third base...most likely to make room for 1B Craig Brazell.  Brazell, like Snyder, had a fine season.   Hitting for the A - Capital City Bombers, Brazell finished the season with a .308 average.  He had 25 doubles, 19 home runs, and 72 RBIs.

If Scott Hunter (who turns 26 in December) was five or six years younger, the Mets' would be touting him as a top-notch prospect after his 2001 season.  Hunter came close to recording a 20-20 season, playing for both the Binghamton Mets and the Norfolk Tides.  His totals for the 2001 season: .274, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 19 SBs.  To round out my "Top Five"....Frank Corr of the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Corr, a 17th-round selection in the 2001 draft out of Stetson University, did not scare opposing pitchers with his size (5'9"), but did with his bat!  Corr clubbed 13 HRs in 202 at-bats to be one of the league leaders.  He quickly became a fan favorite of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Peter Simon
...Earl Snyder - Snyder, a former 36th round draft choice, made a seamless transition to the AA level, and for some stretches was downright dominant. Snyder put up a .281 batting average, almost identical to the .282 he had in St. Lucie in 2000. The progress, however, was that his walk rate improved significantly, and he hit for a bit more power as well, giving him excellent figures of a .374 OBP and .526 SLG. Snyder is still a bit old for a prospect (25), but he has undeniable hitting skills.

Jose Reyes - Snyder could almost be the 18-year-old Reyes's father (well, not quite), but that didn't stop Reyes from hitting his way into national recognition as one of top 5 or so SS prospects in the game. Reyes' horrific early season struggles were sharply reversed after he became old enough to buy cigarettes in mid-June; he went on an absolute tear, and finished at .307/.337/.472, with 30 steals. He needs to get on base more, but those numbers are still superb compared to positional averages for a SS, let alone one playing against competition that's generally two or three years older.

Craig Brazell - I'll penalize Brazell a little because he was repeating the Sally League, but if you take that and position (1B) out of the equation, Brazell was the most productive hitter in the minors for the Mets this year. His season was cut by injuries to only 83 games, but he raked the ball to the tune of 19 homers, a .308 average, and a blistering .586 slugging percentage. The only downside, as with Reyes, is that he doesn't walk (.343 OBP), which is odd for a power hitter.

Joe Jiannetti - Jiannetti, 19, came out of nowhere (he was a late round JuCo draft choice in 2000), but was a mainstay in the middle of the Brooklyn Cyclones batting order after being recalled from Kingsport. Combining both stints, he batted .324/.391/.477. Hopefully for the Mets, who need a 3B prospect desperately, he will continue to hit for average the way he did in Brooklyn (.348). He showed the ability to walk and hit for power, but could stand to do both a bit more.

Danny Garcia - Garcia, the Mets' 5th round pick out of Pepperdine this year, is so far looking like a steal. Garcia started off the year at Brooklyn, hitting .321/.387/.411 in a 15-game stint. But lest one think he's another Chris Basak, he actually improved when moved to full-season ball in Capital City, hitting .301/.409/.495 in 30 games there. Garcia plays 2B, another position of need in the Mets organization, and if he can continue his all-out play and solid all-around hitting, he may move through the system quickly.

Matt Young
...The one thing that none of the Mets' minor league clubs did well, was hit. Compared to the likes of Calgary (AAA), Edmonton (AAA), Salt Lake City (AAA), New Britain (AA), and Reading (AA), the Mets looked like Little Leaguers. The one guy, though, who was really able to smack the ball this year was Earl Snyder. In his first year of AA ball Snyder showed everyone that that's where he belongs: hitting .282 in 481 games, collecting 69 runs, hitting 20 homers, while knocking in 75 runs. The only thing Snyder did wrong was strike out: going down hacking 111 times while walking only 58. Snyder finished the season with a .571 slugging percentage and a .371 OBP.

Tony Tarasco is a little old to be a minor leaguer, but I think that he was the best, all around batter this year. Tarasco kept his average above .300 for most of the season, but lost his swing in the last few weeks, fininshing off with a .292 average. In 366 games, Tarasco crossed the plate 53 times, while hitting 7 homers, and bringing in 57 runs. What made Tarasco possibly the best hitter at AAA-Norfolk this year, was his walk to strike out ratio, 48:43, and his 14 stolen bases.

The Brooklyn Cyclones (A) finished the season as co-champions with a
great deal of thanks to Frank Corr. In 212 games, Corr hit .302, with 38 runs, 13 homers, 46 Runs Batted In. in his first year of A-ball, Corr was able to make contact as well as hit the ball over the fence. The only thing that Corr lacked this year was patience at the plate and speed on the bases.

Rob Stratton has been in the Mets' Minor leage System for some time now. Known for his power at the plate, and he didn't disappoint this year; hitting 28 homers and driving in 71 runs. Stratton is also known for his impatience at the plate, and boy did he follow suit; striking out 197 times. In spite of the outragous number of strikouts stratton managed to bat .248.

Jason Phillips has always been know as a catcher with great defense, but little offense. Well, Phillips still does have great defense, but he's finally established some pop in his bat. In AA-Binghamton Phillips batted .293 through 317 at-bats; while hitting 11 homers and driving in 55 runs. Phillips established much patience at the plate, having a 31:25 base-on-ball to strikeouts ratio. Phillips was moved up to AAA-Norfolk towards the end of the season where he continued to hit well, posting a .303 average while hitting 2 dingers and driving in 14 runs, through 66 games.

Steve Usinger
...Comments: Not much to choose from, not an Adam Dunn or Albert Pujols in sight, demonstrating how depleted the farm system is… I like Stratton's power very much, but he strikes out at an alarming rate. Corr reminds me of the Giles Brothers, Brian and Marcus, in stature…he's hit with some power…just hope he can keep it up. Reyes is the man of the system now, along with Brazell. Mets lineup desperately needs speed, just hope he's around long enough to help at the majors and isn't included in a trade somewhere down the line.

Calvin Young
...Jose Reyes for an 18-year old had a remarkable season in which he hit .307 with 5 home runs, 48 RBI, and 30 SB. Reyes had an OPS of .807 and played exceptional defense. Several coaches have indicated that based upon his tremendous maturity, Reyes might be able to make the jump to the majors sometime in 2002. I hope the Mets have a little more patience than that. He was rated the South Atlantic League's #2 prospect by coaches and managers. To put his performance in perspective, Reyes is respectively 20 months and 14 month younger than Alex Escobar's and Andruw Jones' assaults on the SAL.

Earl Snyder was considered a marginal prospect prior to his stellar 2001 season when he passed the critical AA test. Older minor leaguers are not normally considered prospects until the pass the AA test.

Chris Brewster
...No one really put up monstrous numbers in 2001, but several players, particularly in the lower leagues, had excellent seasons. If the stats from Capital City and Brooklyn are any indication, there's a group of real solid positions players making their way to Shea.

Topping the list is SS Jose Reyes, who started the season at Capital City at age 17, young even for low-level Class A play, but rebounded from early struggles to hit .307 with excellent speed (30 steals) and some pop (42 extra base hits, including 15 triples). And he's got a fantastic glove. Reyes needs to show more patience from the leadoff spot, as he walked just 18 times in 108 games, but he's off to a flying start.

Capital City teammate Craig Brazell also stung the ball. The first baseman was limited to just 83 games because of injuries but hit 18 home runs, drove in 72 runs and hit .308.

Moving up a level, Binghamton 1B Earl Snyder hit .281 in his first season in AA, adding 20 homers and 75 RBI, second in both categories. The numbers aren't staggering, but the Eastern League is annually a pitcher's league. On the down side, Snyder did strike out 111 times, which was only 3rd-worst for the free-swinging B-Mets.

A little man with a big bat, Brooklyn OF Frank Corr made the most of his first minor-league season. The Mets' 17th-round pick in June, the 5-foot-9 Corr led the Cyclones with 13 home runs and 46 RBI in 202 at bats in the short-season Class A season. Corr showed good plate discipline too for a power hitter, striking out just 32 times in 61 games.

Rounding out the top 5 is another 2001 draft pick, 2B Danny Garcia, who split time between Brooklyn and Capital City. In 45 games, Garcia hit .308, scored 31 runs, stole 10 bases and had an on-base percentage of over .400.


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