We continue our examination of leaders at each position. In this feature, the focus is on the…
Scouting Mets Prospect: SS Brandon Richey
Vital Statistics: Name Brandon Richey DOB: April 27, 1986 Height: 6'0" Weight: 180 Bats: Right Throws: Right Even as a top ten draft pick, Brandon Richey may not impress with flash when on the diamond, but what he lacks in glitz he makes up with well-round skills and a stern determination to improve himself. A three-year star at Northwestern State University, Richey catapulted his draft stock on the Mets' board thanks to tremendous spring in which he hit .365 [73-for-200] with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 18 stolen bases for his alma mater. The well-rounded nature of his game is what made him so attractive to the Mets. Richey got of to a slow start with the K-Mets in his first month, hitting .273 with no home runs and just four RBI. Though he typically appeared in the bottom half of the Kingsport lineup, he feels his offense is the catalyst to his overall game. "I'm definitely a little more offensive mind. I feel I've always swung the bat well, and I've got the speed going for me and being a gap-to-gap hitter I like to get the ball into the outfield and run the bases," said Richey. His July turn-around played an important role in how the rest of his season laid out. Richey came to realize that he was doing things outside of his normal approach and that he needed patience to rediscover what made him such a consistent hitter at the collegiate level. "I was shaky that first month but then I really got myself in control and contributed to the team. I felt like I started playing good baseball everyday. I learned to just play under control a lot more," he explained. After wrapping up 41 games in the Appalachian League, Richey received a late-August promotion to Savannah where he received a chance to play every day. His offense never really got going against South Atlantic League pitching as he registered just a .167 average in 11 games [6-for-36]. That performance led the way for a concerted effort to improve his offense during his stay in the Instructional League. "Offensively, I was trying to utilize my speed more through bunting, but more importantly I worked on hitting to right-center so that I can stay off pitches more, especially off-speed pitches. We worked on more situations and pitching. Being that I played through college, my mechanics are there but it was just more of a mental approach to the game—I needed a plan at the plate," explained Richey. He looks back on his first season with tremendous confidence, but moving forward, he is excited to get back on the field and tackle the work need to be done to strengthen his game. "I have the framework of how to play the game in the Mets' system, but I'm an entirely new player from where I was in college. The progress I've made has been amazing," he said. "I feel I'll be ready to tackle a long-season club next year and get myself closer to the big leagues." Year Team AVG. AB Hits HR RBI R SB BB K OBP SLG 2007 Savannah .167 36 6 0 1 5 0 4 9 .250 .194 2007 Kingsport .243 136 33 3 22 19 5 12 38 .314 .375 Batting and Power: Richey does not possess big home run power, but has enough pop to be a strong doubles hitter with complimentary home run power at higher levels. He hits with intelligence and is able to work deep into counts, but still lacks a consistent approach against secondary pitches. As his offense matures, Richey will have the look of one who can hit for a strong average with solid contributions from the bottom of a big league order. Base Running and Speed: Richey has good natural speed that will always allow him to be a legitimate base stealing threat. Last season, he did not run with the frequency that he did in college, but as improves on his ability to detect pitch patterns he should receive the green light much more often. His speed also makes him a reliable run-scorer as he moves around the bases extremely well and can take three bases without much of a challenge. Defense: Richey is a sound defensive shortstop with good instincts who reads the ball of the bat very well. Though he moves well to his glove side, he is very strong to his backhand and possesses a strong arm which allows him to make the necessary throws from the hole. Projection: Richey is very solid in many parts of his game and does just about everything with consistency and a solid approach. He boasts strong defense and very good speed, but his offensive development will be the leading factor into how fast he can ascend towards the big leagues. Though he has been a shortstop his whole life, he may see days around the infield as he moves up higher levels. If he shows steady growth at the plate, he has a good shot at a reserve / utility role at the big league level. ETA: 2011. Richey completed his 2007 season in Savannah and while there is a very good chance he could start the new season in the same location, he does stand a good shot at breaking camp in St. Lucie. Staying conservative, if he begins the year in Savannah 2011 looks like the year he would see his first big league action. However, if he starts in St. Lucie, that date should be moved up a year.
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