Scouting Mets Prospect: INF Jonathan Malo

Scouting Mets Prospect: INF Jonathan Malo

The St. Lucie infielder was twice drafted by the New York Mets, first in the 40th round of the 2002 MLB Draft, then once again in the 48th round of the 2003 MLB Draft. Since signing as a draft-and-follow the following year, Malo has been a welcomed piece with any team he has played with, acting as a reliable utilityman. Here is a scouting report on St. Lucie infielder Jonathan Malo.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jonathan Malo
DOB: September 29, 1983
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Jonathan Malo entered the Mets' system on an atypical path compared to most prospects, but in a short time he received an opportunity to play at a higher level than most would expect even in his rookie season. Though he was selected near the back of the draft, in his first season with the organization, he made it to St. Lucie albeit for a short time. Nonetheless, that promotion set the tone for a career which has found him to be a favorable choice of coaches to play around the infield.

In 2006, he returned to St. Lucie for 91 games after a brief stint in Brooklyn to start the season, setting the stage for a full year in High-A ball in 2007 where he would be an important piece to the Mets' infield.

He got off to a very rocky start as he went just 9-for-44 [.204] through his first twenty games last season, but rebounded through the summer culminating with a .316 batting average in August. That hot month allowed him to finish the year with a career-high .255 average in 78 games played. Malo has never been a significant producer for any lineup in which he has hit, but he knows his role and diligently follows it.

"I'm always looking to complete whatever job needs to be done in every single at-bat. I don't go for myself. I'm trying to win and do whatever I can to help the team win. If it doesn't work with the bat, I'll do with my defense," said Malo.

Yet, what Malo does not provide at the plate, he makes up with very steady glove and an ability to move around the infield. He began the year as a backup to third baseman Daniel Murphy, but before the year was over, he saw time backing up Emmanuel Garcia at shortstop and saw time at second base as well.

"I think I'm a pretty solid defensively player. Lately, I think I've played really well, making some great plays. It's always been a big part of my game. I think I've move dup in the minor leagues because of my defense. It's definitely my strength in baseball," he explained.

Malo's value resides in his defensive flexibility and winning attitude to help the team in anyway he can. Moving forward, it is that attitude that will earn him spots with higher level clubs despite average production with the bat.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

St. Lucie

.255

231

59

6

40

29

2

23

37

.322

.377

2006

St. Lucie

.239

284

68

7

33

42

3

34

53

.333

.366

2006

Brooklyn

.179

67

12

0

5

7

0

12

16

.309

.224

2005

St. Lucie

.143

14

2

0

2

1

1

2

4

.250

.214

2005

Brooklyn

.231

130

30

2

15

25

7

33

31

.392

.369



Batting and Power: Malo's offensive gameplan is to work pitchers, find his pitch and move the ball around the field. He possesses a good eye and consistency at the plate which allows him to drive in his share of runs from the bottom of the order. Early on his career, he showed minimal power but since then has seen his home run totals grow incrementally as his strength and swing have improved.

Base Running and Speed: Malo is a very reliable person on the basepaths. Although his stolen base totals may not eclipse double digits in any given season, he is a smart baserunner who is effective in the hit and run and will not run himself into outs. Defensively, he boasts good quickness, a leading factor in his versatility around the diamond.

Defense: Malo's defense vastly improved last season as he saw his error total decrease from 18 miscues in 2006 to only six last season. As stated, he can play anywhere in the infield, including first base spent some time manning back in '06. He has good arm strength which allows him to make all necessary throws.

Projection: Malo does have work to do offensively, but the opportunities he has received in St. Lucie shows that the Mets still find many positives in his game and are willing to give him the chances to improve. Now with three years under his belt, Malo will have to make strides in order to move up the depth chart and earn a slot as a utilityman at the big league level.

ETA: 2010. A full year in St. Lucie last season backing up the infielders could set the stage for a similar role with Binghamton this upcoming spring. If he can crack the Double-A roster, that should leave him in could shape for a natural progression leading towards a utility role with the Mets come the 2010 season.

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