(These rankings project the speed impact players could have with the Mets someday)
: Coles finally broke the 20-stolen base plateau in 2006 after swiping 21 bags for the St. Lucie Mets. He has good speed but with a .407 on-base percentage in a career year, he has developed into more of a station-to-station runner than a true base stealer.
: Ragsdale is a natural athlete with good speed, enough to steal as many as 30 bases in any given season. However, just a career .207 hitter, he doesn't get on base frequently enough to take advantage of his good speed and, with just a 69 percent success rate in his career, gets caught too often to break into the top ten.
Top Ten Speed Prospects
10) Joe Holden
: Holden has often been compared to Lenny Dykstra for his scrappy style of play and because of his speed. In what equates to the equivalency of a full major league season, he has swiped 38 bases since signing with the Mets. His success rate - 71 percent - could be a little bit better for a player with his wheels however. He has more natural speed than the other players ranked above him on this list, but until he secures a starting spot in the organization in the long-season leagues, his speed impact doesn't project to be more significant than the others.
9) Daniel Stegall
: Stegall stole just five bases with the Gulf Coast League Mets in his professional debut last season. Part of the reason for his low stolen base total was due to the fact his low batting average kept him off the bases too frequently to showcase his speed. A quarterback in high school who had committed to the University of Miami prior to signing with the Mets, he rushed for 1,475 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading his school to the state championship. He has a lot more speed than Mets fans realize.
8) Fernando Martinez
: As the legend of Fernando Martinez continues to grow, so does the lore of some of his tools. While he did play centerfield in his professional debut with the Mets last season, and he did manage to steal eight bases in an injury-plagued season, his speed has become a bit overrated. He has solid speed and he could manage to steal as many as 20 bases in a given year, but it might not ever live up the hype his speed has received since signing with the Mets.
7) Hector Pellot
: Like Stegall, Pellot's inability to consistently get on base limited his opportunities to steal bases in 2006. He managed to steal just five bases but considering his batting average stood at just .189 and he got on base in less than 30 percent of his at-bats, he never was able to display his above average speed. The old baseball adage goes 'you can't steal first base', so once Pellot learns to be a better hitter his speed will follow. He has the type of speed to steal 30+ bases in a given year.
6) Dustin Martin
: At 6-foot-2 and a compactly built 210 pounds, Martin's speed surprises many of his opponents. He has the power to hit in the middle of the lineup but he also possesses the speed to hit atop the batting order as well. Martin stole just seven bases in his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2006 but he lead the team in doubles and triples and he didn't get the 'go' sign because of where he was batting in the order. The Mets will try and utilize his speed more in 2007 and beyond where he could be a huge factor.
5) Emmanuel Garcia
: What Garcia has been able to accomplish on the base paths in his first 111 professional games has been nothing short of staggering. Not only has he stolen 39 bases, but his career success rate is at 85 percent! He has yet to get the opportunity to showcase his plus speed in a starting role in the long-season leagues, but if he can grab a starting role, he could rank higher on this list in the coming years.
4) Sean Henry
: Just like Garcia, Henry has not found a permanent position in his career with the Mets, shifting from shortstop to second base before ultimately being moved to the outfield in 2006. Henry has 55 stolen bases in his career in what equates to a full major league season. With a career success rate of 80 percent, the Mets are going to have to find a way to get him more playing time. The fact he hasn't gotten more playing time in the long-season leagues is the only thing preventing him from ranking higher on this list.
3) Ambiorix Concepcion
: With a career success rate of just 71 percent, Concepcion is still very raw in his base stealing abilities. But as one of the fastest players in the organization, he has the ability to steal as many bases as he wants over the course of a given season. He has averaged nearly 31 stolen bases over the last three seasons and his blazing speed is the reason why he has continued to get starting opportunities despite struggling with his bat at times. If he learn to read pitcher's moves better and improve his success rate, there's no telling how many bases he could swipe.
2) Anderson Hernandez
: As is the case with Concepcion, Hernandez continues to get opportunities with the Mets because of his superb defensive play and plus speed. He struggled to make consistent contact at the plate in 2006 and only stole 15 bases with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, but his 35 stolen bases in 2005 are a better indication of his true speed game. If he can chip in with the .300+ batting average he had two years ago, Hernandez could be a major impact on the bases.
1) Carlos Gomez
: Gomez is simply the fastest runner in the entire farm system and some Mets officials believe he could be even quicker than Jose Reyes
. He saw his stolen base total decrease by 23 bags in 2006, not because of anything wrong with his abilities, but due to a more mature approach to the game. Often times swiping bases late in games with the decision not in doubt in Hagerstown, Gomez learned to be a better sportsman while playing in Double-A last season. He has the ability to steal a base at any time and pile up stolen bases totals in a hurry.
The losses of Wayne Lydon, Angel Pagan, Jeff Duncan, Prentice Redman, and Dante Brinkley over the last two years, plus with Lastings Milledge losing his rookie eligibility in 2006, has reshaped the speed landscape of the Mets' farm system. InsidePitchMagazine.com analyzes the top speed prospects in the Mets' system, ranking the top ten stolen base threats.
Inside Pitch lists the top ten speed prospects in the Mets' farm system.