2008 Binghamton Mets Preview

The St. Lucie Mets will ultimately have the flash and draw of many 2007 draftees and successful Brooklyn players making their jump to long-season ball, but it is in Binghamton where there prospects closest to the big league reside. With many returning faces plus the addition of 2007 St. Lucie leaders, the B-Mets figure to have much stronger season than last year's club.

Roster: [2008 Inside Pitch Magazine Prospect Guide rankings in parenthesis]

RHP Nick Abel [2007 St. Lucie - 2-3, 2.37 ERA, 57 IP, 7 SV, 42 G]
RHP Salvador Aguilar [2007 Binghamton: 7-9, 5.81 ERA, 119.1 IP, 28 G]
LHP Edgar Alfonzo [2007 St. Lucie – 5-7, 3.95 ERA, 73 IP, 39 G]
RHP Eric Brown (32) [2007 St. Lucie – 10-8, 4.13 ERA, 143.2 IP, 26 G]
LHP Eddie Camacho [2007 Total – 3-2, 3.41 ERA, 71.1 IP, 46 G]
RHP Joe Hietpas [2007 St. Lucie – 4-3, 2.47 ERA, 43.2 IP, 27 G]
RHP Eddie Kunz (11) [2007 Brooklyn – 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 12 IP, 5 SV, 12 G]
RHP German Marte [2007 St. Lucie – 5-3, 3.50 ERA, 61.2 IP, 5 SV, 35 G]
RHP Jonathon Niese (8) [2007 St. Lucie – 11-7, 4.29 ERA, 134.1 IP, 27 G]
RHP Bobby Parnell (10) [2007 SLU/BNG – 8-8, 4.19 ERA, 144 IP, 29 G]
RHP Jake Ruckle [2007 St. Lucie – 6-6, 3.48, 85.1 IP, 27 G]
RHP Jose Sanchez [2007 Binghamton – 4-9, 4.52 ERA, 145.1 IP, 27 G]

C Rafael Arroyo [2007 SLU/BNG - .207, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 164 AB, 55 G]
C Salomon Manriquez [2007 Frisco - .275, 16 HR, 53 RBI, 247 AB, 71 G]
C Salvador Paniagua [2007 Total - .282, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 227 AB, 60 G]

1B Mike Carp (7) [2007 Binghamton - .251, 11 HR, 48 RBI, 363 AB, 98 G]
1B Nick Evans (9) [2007 St. Lucie - .286, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 378 AB, 103 G]
2B Emmanuel Garcia (31) [2007 SLU: .256, 0 HR, 31 RBI, 488 AB, 130 G]
2B Jonathan Malo [2007 St. Lucie - .255, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 231 AB, 78 G]
SS Jose Coronado (29) [2007 BNG - .212, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 307 AB, 81 G]
3B Daniel Murphy (20) [2007 SLU - .285, 11 HR, 78 RBI, 502 AB, 135 G]

OF Fernando Martinez (2) [2007 BNG - .271, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 236 AB, 60 G]
OF Jamar Hill [2007 SLU/BNG - .279, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 333 AB, 103 G]
OF Ambiorix Concepcion (40) [2007 SLU – 3 HR, 45 RBI, 289 AB, 77 G]
OF Josh Petersen [2007 St. Lucie - .277, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 307 AB, 89 G]

Notes: Manager Mako Oliveras will have a lot of decisions to make with the likes of Carp, Evans, Murphy and Petersen. All have seen time at each other's respective positions and it is likely a consistent rotation will emerge from this foursome. Evans is likely to see time at third base this season, returning to the position at which he entered the organization. Dan Murphy, who struggled on the hot corner in 2007, will likely move around more than anyone and see time on both corners and in the outfield. Petersen will likely spend most of his time in the outfield, and platoon at first base. Mike Carp, the best defensive option at first, saw time in the outfield during Spring Training but figures to see the majority of his playing time at his natural position.

On the Rise: It is difficult not to look at this roster and not have your eyes jump right to Fernando Martinez as the 19-year-old outfielder returns to Binghamton after his 2007 season was cut short by a hand injury. Older, stronger, and with the experience of another Spring Training under belt [with plenty of time in big league camp], expect Fernando to demonstrate just why he is so coveted by the Mets and unquestionably remains the prize of the organization.

Pitching: There are many reasons to watch the reloaded Binghamton staff in 2008. Though many names have returned from last year's roster, the starting rotation features the top two starting pitching prospects in the organization in Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell. Niese comes to Binghamton after a strong showing in big league camp and figures to be the club's ace. The 21-year-old southpaw is bigger, stronger and hopes to continue the maturation of his repertoire. General Manager Omar Minaya has already hinted a big league promotion is not out of the question in 2008.

Bobby Parnell was inconsistent at times during his second half stay in Binghamton after a terrific first half of 2007 with St. Lucie. Armed with a dynamite sinker/slider combination, Parnell is ready to build upon his first go-around with the B-Mets and have the kind of effectiveness he showed in St. Lucie.

Eddie Kunz, the Mets' top overall pick in the 2007 draft, makes the jump all the way from Brooklyn to Binghamton. Though he ran into his share of troubles in Brooklyn and endured a disappointing Arizona Fall League season, his hard, heavy sinker backed up by his biting slider has the organization wanting to see how quickly they can move Kunz towards Flushing.

Position Players: Fernando, Evans, Murphy and Carp figure to provide a daunting middle of the order for opposing pitchers and knock in top of the order guys in Emmanuel Garcia and Jose Coronado. Evans' took his production to a new level last season as he improved his contact skills to go along with his very good power while Murphy is a smooth swinger who can drive the ball to both gaps and hit for a high average. Anticipation rests that when Fernando Martinez is going right this season, he will provide both the long ball and a high average. Mike Carp is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2007 season in which he saw both his average and power numbers drop after tearing through St. Lucie in 2006.

Ambiorix Concepcion has failed to rediscover his production potential that he showed earlier in his career. Strikeouts and low on-base percentage have been his pitfalls the last few years but hopes are he can revitalize his career in Binghamton where he will not face any pressure of having to be a relied upon run producer.

Jose Coronado's slick glove in the field provides stability up the middle but he still leaves much more to be desired at the plate. After batting .226 in 2006 and .212 in 2007, he is best served by spraying the ball around the field and utilizing his quickness on the bases.

On the Spot: Emmanuel Garcia continues to remain in good standing within the organization though he experienced a significant drop-off in production from 2006 to 2007. He went homerless and struck out 103 times in 130 games last season in St. Lucie [.301 slugging percentage] so getting his bat going is a priority in the early stages of the season. Despite his shortcomings at the plate, he remains a regarded defensive piece to the puzzle and could see time at shortstop this season after spending most of his career at second base.

Under the Radar: Though he entered the organization as a catcher, and spent six years behind the plate, Joe Hietpas made a remarkable transition into a relief pitcher in just one season. 2007 was his first on the mound and though his velocity may not light up any radar guns, he maintains a consistent attacking approach that allows him to keep his walks down and hitters off the bases. His move to Double-A exemplifies how quickly he has settled into his new role.