Mets vs. Yankees: Second Base Prospects

Hector Pellot is refining his game

Comparing what the Yankees and Mets have at each position in the minor leagues, we take a look at the crop of second base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two New York farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Both farm systems took a hit with their depth at the second base position this past season. The Mets lost Aarom Baldiris and Jeff Keppinger from a year ago while Chase Lambin moved over to third base full-time. The Yankees moved the speedy Justin Christian to the outfield. But both farm systems have some intriguing second base prospects moving up from the Dominican Summer League in the form of Cuello, Almonte, and Veloz - all three with very high ceilings.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: While the Yankees have the top two projected power hitters at the second base position, collectively the Mets have more power hitters at the second base position than the Yankees. Prilys Cuello of the Yankees, who played in the Dominican Summer League this past season, is the only second base prospect who projects to possibly hit 20+ home runs at the big league level some day and his game compares favorably to Robinson Cano.

Switch-hitting Abraham Almonte, who also played in the Dominican Summer League for the Yankees this past season, also has a powerful stroke. The Mets counter with the likes of Hector Pellot, Greg Veloz, and Wilson Batista. All three have the power to hit somewhere between 12-15 home runs in a given year, tilting the scales slightly in the Mets favor. Advantage: Mets

Hitting For Average: This is where the Yankees have a clear advantage over their cross-town rivals. The Yankees boast four hitters who could possibly become .300 hitters at the big league level some day. Reegie Corona, who was leading the South Atlantic League in batting average for a good portion of the 2006 season, is an able switch-hitting second baseman. Cuello, Almonte, and Mario Holmann each have the patience and selectivity at the plate to develop into perennial .300 hitters.

Throw in the fact Wilmer Pino hit .326 for the Staten Island Yankees this past season, the Yankees have many solid contact hitters at the second base position. Anderson Hernandez of the Mets, who struggled with injuries, had a down year this past season and hit just .249 for the Norfolk Tides after hitting well over .300 in 2005. Not many believed he would become a .300 hitter, but he isn not as bad as his 2006 numbers showed either. Advantage: Yankees

Defense: Just like hitting for average, it is not even close. The Mets' Anderson Hernandez is a special defensive player and he wowed crowds with his amazing defensive plays at Shea earlier in the season. But beyond Hernandez, the Mets don't really have much in the way of defensive second basemen, although Veloz is reported to have defensive potential.

The Yankees, with the likes of Gabe Lopez and Mario Holmann, have the far superior defensive players at the second base position. Both have plus range, soft hands, are adept at turning the double play, and could easily be among the top defensive second basemen in the big leagues right now. Throw in the solid defensive abilities of Reegie Corona and Wilmer Pino, the Yankees can pick it with the best of them. Advantage: Yankees

Speed: The Yankees seemingly took a big hit in this department when Justin Christian - among the stolen base leaders in the minors the last two seasons - moved to the outfield this past season. But the signing of Abraham Almonte last July replaced the loss of Christian's speed at second base. The 17-year old Almonte, who played a good portion of the 2006 season as a 16-year old, has plus, plus speed and has drawn comparisons to the Mets' Jose Reyes as a result. Still learning how to read pitchers, Almonte swiped 36 bases in just 63 games for DSL Yankees1 this past season.

Not to be outdone, Mario Holmann of the Yankees is a speedster himself. He only stole 27 bases this past season, but it was a down year for him across the board. When he's going right, the sky is the limit for him on the base paths. The presence of Wilmer Pino (18 stolen bases with Staten Island this past season) gives the Yankees a slight advantage in the speed department overall.

The Mets boast plus runners at the second base position in Anderson Hernandez and Greg Veloz. Hernandez has the ability to swipe 30+ bases in any given season and Veloz stole 28 bases with the DSL Mets this past season. Veloz will need to learn to be more patient at the plate and become a better contact hitter to take advantage of his plus speed and become the great stolen base threat many scouts believe he can be. Advantage: Yankees

Overall Potential: Between the two New York farm systems, there really is only one rock-solid bet among all the second base prospects to become an everyday starting second baseman at the big league level - Prilys Cuello. While his defense needs some work, he is the complete package offensively and he will only get better as he matures.

While Cuello is the safest bet to reach his potential, both the Mets and the Yankees have some high-ceiling second base prospects with enough talent to become potential stars. Abraham Almonte and Greg Veloz both have special speed and each stings the ball when they make contact. With their speed they both have tremendous range at second base, but both have work to with their hands and techniques at the position.

Mario Holmann has all the tools to be an elite second baseman except power. How his power develops will be the tell-tale sign in his development. His plus speed, plus defensive ability, and eye at the plate has some believing he could become a Luis Castillo type if everything falls into place, but he is going to have to show more power than he has thus far.

Both the Yankees and the Mets have intriguing second base prospects that project to be utility players down the road in the form of Reegie Corona and Hector Pellot, but both are talented enough and possess the great work ethic that they could develop into solid starting second basemen down the road. Wilmer Pino of the Yankees also falls into this category. He is very good at making contact but needs to work on his patience and selectivity at the plate before he reaches the higher minor league levels.

Highest Ceilings: Prilys Cuello (Yankees), Abraham Almonte (Yankees), Mario Holmann (Yankees), Reegie Corona (Yankees), Greg Veloz (Mets)

Best Power: Prilys Cuello (Yankees), Abraham Almonte (Yankees), Hector Pellot (Mets), Greg Veloz (Mets), Wilson Batista (Mets)

Best Average: Reegie Corona (Yankees), Prilys Cuello (Yankees), Mario Holmann (Yankees), Abraham Almonte (Yankees), Anderson Hernandez (Mets)

Best Defense: Anderson Hernandez (Mets), Gabe Lopez (Yankees), Mario Holmann (Yankees), Reegie Corona (Yankees), Wilmer Pino (Yankees)

Best Speed: Abraham Almonte (Yankees), Mario Holmann (Yankees), Anderson Hernandez (Mets), Greg Veloz (Mets), Wilmer Pino (Yankees)

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