(SS): Bouchard really made an impression during his rookie campaign in Brooklyn. The 11th round pick in last June's drafted earned a NY-Penn League All-Star selection and finished the year with a .348 batting average over his last 22 games. Not only does Bouchard possess a strengthening offensive game, but his defensive capabilities are what really have the Mets excited. He has a terrific sense for his position and the arm to make throws from deep in the hole. A three-year starter at Georgetown
, Bouchard has firmly supplanted himself as the shortstop with the brightest upside within the organization. With a likely promotion to St. Lucie this spring, Bouchard will have the opportunity to flash his full array of talent against a much higher level of competition.
Closest to the Majors
(SS): After his third year in the organization, the Mets still hold Coronado in high regard and continue to work with him to round out and improve his game. The Binghamton shortstop endures his share of struggles at the plate, but has given signs of being a good contact hitter thanks to a compact, level swing. Defensively, Coronado's quick feet, strong reactions and good arm can translate to success at higher levels.
(SS): At 18 years old, Tejada still has a long ways to go in his career as he just reached the Gulf Coast League for the first time last summer. However, his production last season [.324 AVG, .434 OBP, .423 SLG %] was much higher than anticipated and he already boasts both a swing and knowledge of the strike zone beyond his years. The Mets may be tempted to test him by offering a significant promotion this season, which could be a challenge for him, but as long as he continues along the positive path he began last spring, Tejada should make headway in years to come.
(2B): Veloz struggled to maintain a quality batting average in nearly 500 at-bats last season between Kingsport and Savannah, but at 19 years old, he demonstrated very good power by hitting seven home runs and driving in 42 RBI. Like Tejada, he is still very young but his appearance in Savannah for half a season bodes well for his future. If his power continues to grow, Veloz's path to the big leagues may continue to shorten. Nonetheless, he is one to keep an eye on in coming years.
Needs More Work
(2B): Though Pellot had what could be classified as a breakout season in 2007, questions do remain as how his game will come together as he moves up to higher levels. He turned around a dismal 2006 at the plate in which he hit .189 in Hagerstown by hitting .274 in Savannah with good power and with an added weapon of his 33 steals. Yet, there are hesitations about the development of his swing and his defense which make the Mets want to see more out of him before they feel more confident about his future.
(SS): The Savannah shortstop made a very large jump in his second professional season, going from the Dominican Summer League to the South Atlantic League in one off-season. Lagares battled through his share of troubles on both sides of the ball as he hit just .210 and committed 40 errors in 83 games played, but the Mets believe he has a bright future within the organization and are willing to dedicate plenty of time and attention to get his game to its highest level. However, it will be a long, tested road and it will be up to Lagares to take advantage of his opportunities.
The Jury is Still Out
(2B): Garcia made the leap from Brooklyn to St. Lucie over the last two seasons with the hope that the challenge of the Florida State League could kick start some momentum. Unfortunately for Garcia, he played through a rather inconsistent season in which he portrayed minimal power while he suffered the same inconsistencies on defense. Once a highly regarded middle infield prospect, his stock has since dropped some and he will need to show strong corrections before he can redefine a definitive spot in the Mets' future.
(SS): Richey, the Mets' 10th round pick in last June's draft, had a steady first season in which he spent 41 games with Kingsport before a late season call up earned him 11 games with Savannah. He struggled at times with the bat, but he is a gamer who plays the game tough as nails. Richey is willing to go to the wall for success yet will need important development in many facets of his game before a definitive picture of his future develops.
(2B): The success of the Mets' 24th round selection in last June's draft, and subsequently the Appalachian League Player of the Year, flew under the radar in comparison to many other draftees. In 43 games in Kingsport, he showed a natural talent at the plate both in hitting for contact and plate discipline. He batted .298 with a .367 on-base percentage while playing stout defense all over the infield. It is in his ability to play around the infield that could trigger more attention as he moves forward. For now though, eyes will be on Parker to see if he can carry those traits into higher levels of the organization.
We continue our examination of leaders at each position. In this feature, the focus is on the middle infielders. Though there are not many players at the highest levels of the farm who fill out this list, there is a competitive group in the lower ranges of the farm who will all get their opportunity in the future.