Mets Prospect Over/Unders – Part II

How low will Phillips Orta's ERA go in 2008?

Inside Pitch continues it is predictions of certain players and statistical achievements each may or may not exceed this upcoming season. How many innings will Brant Rustich toss this season? How many homers will Fernando hit? How high will Ruben Tejada's average go? How many games will Scott Moviel win? Look inside for those answers – and more.

OVER / UNDER:


Total Innings Pitched for Brant Rustich – 100: The decision to move Rustich to the starting rotation spread like wild fire across minor league news circuits. However, his shift to starting will be closely monitored. The Mets will not want his shoulder to be worked excessively so they can protect against any exhaustion as he has not started since early in college career. How he holds up over a full year will be a season-long story line, but for a pitcher in his transition, this number is a standard benchmark to clear. Therefore, we will say Rustich will surpass 100 innings pitched, but it may not be by more than a few frames. OVER

Total Home Runs for Fernando Martinez – 15 The Mets got what they wanted by retaining Fernando in the Johan Santana sweepstakes. Now, with a healthy hand and a refreshed perspective on his standing in the organization, 2008 will be a pivotal season for F-Mart to truly cement his place as one of the top prospects throughout baseball. To do that, his power production must rise yet many overlook the fact that he has stepped to the plate only 560 times so far in his professional career. The need to find consistent timing and a consistent power stroke, plus the season-long challenges he has still yet to conquer at this level of play will make 15 home runs just out of his reach. UNDER

Batting Average for Ruben Tejada - .300: Lots of attention went towards Ruben Tejada after he scorched through the Venezuelan Summer League and Gulf Coast League last year. We figure the Mets will take a gamble on Tejada much like they did with Greg Veloz in 2007 and have him briefly appear in short-season league before promoting him to Savannah for a large percentage of his games. If the Mets do follow through with such a plan, the learning curve for the 18-year-old Tejada will be that much steeper and thus we believe that although he has the tools to be a .300 hitter in coming years, it will be a challenge for him to go over .300 in 2008. UNDER

Batting Average for Daniel Murphy -- .285: In his first full season [second overall] with the Mets, Murphy had a very productive year at the plate as he recorded 34 doubles and led St. Lucie with 78 RBI. Though he did not demonstrate the home run power scouts would like to see from a third baseman, it is tough to deny his smooth swing and natural contact abilities. Due to those traits, we believe Murphy will hit a shade higher than his 2007 mark. OVER

Total Wins for Scott Moviel – 8: The towering right-hander is one of a number of intriguing pitching prospects from last year's draft class and could be one of even smaller company to make the jump from the Gulf Coast League directly to a long-season squad. He hit his innings peak last summer of 40 innings without recording a win, but his balanced repertoire should put him in greater position to earn victories this season. However, he will turn just 20 years old on May 7 which figures to keep him on an innings limit once again. That factor could land him in a relief role in the latter part of the summer which could cause him to fall short of the mark. So for now, we will say UNDER

Total Home Runs for Brahiam Maldonado – 13: The outfielder's power has been on the rise the last two seasons, and it is not just home runs that have helped his offense, but his batting average has steadily increased as well. He demonstrated a lot of growth last season as he led Savannah in home runs and batting average, and we expect more power from him this upcoming season. With his stock on the rise, Maldonado looks primed to take a starting spot in St. Lucie this season which will give him plenty of opportunities to exceed our mark despite the wide expanses of Tradition Field.OVER

Earned Run Average for Phillips Orta – 4.00: The young right-hander appeared at three different levels last season, ending his year with just two-third of an inning pitched in Savannah and that should be right where he picks up this season. Orta boasts a lively fastball, a very sharp curveball, and a budding changeup and while he should be an effective starter in what looks to be a very young rotation for the Sand Gnats, after posting a 4.58 ERA in 11 starts with Kingsport last season we do not see him cutting more than half a run off his ERA. OVER

On-Base Percentage for Lucas Duda – .385: The Mets have higher aspirations for the former seventh round pick's long-term power, but Duda showed during his rookie season that he knows how to get on base [.299 AVG/.398 OBP in Brooklyn - .340 AVG/.390 OBP in Hawaii] and figures to hold down the first base spot in St. Lucie this upcoming season. The practice for Duda is to use more of the field, but it is difficult to deny that he makes a ton of contact, and when including his keen ability to earn walks, that should allow him to get on base nearly forty percent of the time. OVER

Total Home Runs for Daniel Stegall – 3: Though Stegall possesses tremendous natural athleticism and Mets believe there is a high-quality hitter waiting to show up, the young outfielder has yet to crack his first professional home run. He has struggled so far with his swing and contact, but time is still on his side. Despite his early pitfalls, Stegall will crack his goose egg this season and collect his share of home runs as he improves his overall abilities at the plate. OVER

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