MMLN - Midseason Top 50 Review Part V

Many are still waiting on Fernando Martinez

InsidePitchMagazine.com wraps up its review of last fall's Top 50 Prospects by taking a look back at the top ten prospects in the organization-or how they were viewed prior to the season. The top ten has been a productive bunch, helping the big league team during the season as a top ten should while housing a number of prospects who continue to flourish right before our eyes.

10. Reese Havens (SLU/BNG) - .312, 9 HR, 19 RBI, 21 R, 14 BB, .386 OBP, .978 OPS

Havens has been impressive whenever on the field, but the previous four words remain the thorn in Havens' side-literally. Havens has been unable to consistently stay on the field due to an oblique strain that delayed the start of his season and threw a wrench into the middle of it. Havens has appeared in just 32 games this season split nearly evenly between High-A and Double-A.

Havens immediately impressed upon his arrival in Binghamton. In 18 games, he has hit .338 with six home runs, 12 RBI and a .400 OBP. However, Havens again went down the oblique injury has yet to return. However, in that short time Havens demonstrated better defensive skills at second base and increased the belief that he could at least hold the job without too much trouble at the highest level.

9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (BNG) - .298, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 76 R, 13 SB, .344 OBP, .876 OPS

Nieuwenhuis remains arguably the most impressive offensive prospect in the system. He still gets caught chasing pitches and his strikeout ratio is still a bit high (23 percent), but Niewuenhuis hits for home run power, extra-base power, and is so far a run-producing machine. He leads the Eastern League in extra-base hits (50) and is second in runs scored. He is an above-average center fielder with a strong arm and a quick release.

STOCK: Up. The impression was to wait for Nieuwenhuis to return to Double-A and show he can excel at the level after torching the Florida State League last year. Well, Nieuwenhuis has done exactly that and I've yet to come across a scout who doesn't believe the B-Mets centerfielder will be a big league contributor.

8. Josh Thole (BUF) - .267, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 20 R, 19 2B, 22 BB, .353 OBP, .783 OPS

Thole had a dreadful start to the season hitting .172 in April, but a .317 average in May and June got Thole back on track and eventually back in New York. Thole is hitting .417 in 18 games with the Mets and continuing to show his high on-base skills and improving defensive skills. It was expected Thole would take over the backup role sometime in 2010. It appears Thole is going that way though the Mets catching depth chart remains crowded.

STOCK: Steady. Thole was impressive in digging himself out of his .172 hole, but his stock holds steady because he is doing what was anticipated before the season. He was on the shuttle in the first half and is on the active roster for the second half.

7. Ruben Tejada (BUF) - .292, HR, 12 RBI, 22 R, 9 2B, 12 BB, .342 OBP, .698 OPS

Tejada, like Thole, was expected to see plenty of time in New York this season. He began the season on the 25-man roster before returning to Buffalo. Tejada returned to New York in early June where he spent nearly six weeks on the big league roster before again returning to Triple-A on July 21. Tejada will likely remain a "4-A" player for the rest of 2010 before more likely breaking camp with the Mets in 2011.

STOCK: Steady. Tejada didn't offer much in his 35 games with the Mets this season, but he filled the void defensively as expected. It is possible Tejada eclipses the rookie limit of at-bats before the season is over.

6. Jonathon Niese (NYM) - 6-4, 3.54 ERA, 17 GS, 101.2 IP, 83 K, 32 BB, .268 OBA

Niese returned from his devastating hamstring injury and became one of the most pleasant sights off the farm and in the big league rotation this year. He has pitched admirably from the number three spot in the rotation and has lately pitching as the second best starter. Niese made one start in Triple-A this year, but has officially arrived as a long-term solution in the Mets rotation.

STOCK: Up. Niese's stock is up for now. He's filling the role that was originally projected for him which is a middle of that rotation pitcher. However, I think even the most unwavering Mets fans are somewhat surprised by how consistent and effective has been in 2010.

5. Wilmer Flores (SAV/SLU) - .302, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 47 R, 25 2B, 25 BB, .348 OBP, .793 OPS

Flores got off to a very good start in Savannah (.278, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .342 OBP) and is backing that up with a strong stint in St. Lucie since his promotion (.351, 3 HR, 20 RBI, .360 OBP). His ability to move up to a much more advanced level and handle the pitching is a strong sign of Flores ability to make adjustments. The move up a level came with a dedicated contact swing to adjust to the FSL's pitching with the power following later. His strike zone discipline, bat control, and plate coverage are all improving. Defensively, Flores is showing better mobility and a greater feel for the shortstop position.

STOCK: Up. Without a doubt. Moving up to the pitcher's league and hitting for average and power in the early going is a great sign. He is filling out physically and the speed of his adjustments is also a very positive development.

4. Ike Davis (NYM) - .249, 14 HR, 46 RBI, 48 R, 20 2B, 34 BB, .322 OBP, .764 OPS

It took only 10 games in Triple-A (.364 HR, 2 HR, 4 RBI) before Davis was promoted to New York where he has remained ever since. Davis was viewed as a possible immediate option to take over first base full-time in 2010 as early as late 2009. However, Davis kicked the door down following a good showing in the Arizona Fall League and impressive Spring Training season. Mets fans have long waited for the farm to produce to a legitimate power bat and future piece for the corner infield or outfield. They got it in Davis.

STOCK: Up. Davis arrived in New York and there isn't much else you can ask from a rookie in his first rodeo. Davis is showing his defensive prowess, providing thump from the middle of the order and looking everything like a team's top pick in the draft.

3. Brad Holt (SLU/BNG) - 3-8, 8.10 ERA, 15 GS, 60.0 IP, 50 K, 42 BB, .302 OBA

For as good as Davis has been, Holt has been the opposite. Aside from a couple of promising starts in Double-A and two good starts since his demotion to St. Lucie, Holt is simply not the pitcher he was last year-especially in the first half. Holt's fastball velocity has been anywhere from 88 MPH to 95 MPH this year with secondary pitches that have been flat more than good. Holt suffered a relatively minor wrist injury before Opening Day, but his poor season has been reflective of a loss of command and power in his repertoire.

STOCK: Down. Without question, Holt has been the biggest disappointment in the organization this year. His outings appear to be either good or very poor. Holt was sent down to St. Lucie in order to regain his rhythm in a less intense atmosphere. That hasn't happened. My one hope for Holt is that the organization will not have to break him down and build him back up from the beginning.

2. Jenrry Mejia (NYM) - 0-2, 3.25 ERA, 30 G, 27.2 IP, 17 K, 15 BB, .266 OBA

Jerry Manuel wanted Jenrry Mejia to break camp in the big league bullpen and that's what the Mets manager got it. Whether it was the right move or not can be debated until we're blue in the face. Mejia had his moments in New York while showing his power fastball and excellent changeup, but it was all leading up to a return to the Double-A rotation in late June. That hasn't materialized because of a shoulder injury which has kept Mejia off the field since his second outing. The organization has a legit, power arm to work with for the future.

STOCK: Steady. Mejia entered the season as the organization's top pitching prospect and he remains as such. The more time Mejia misses in 2010 the greater the odds, I believe, he again breaks camp with the big league team as a reliever in 2011.

1. Fernando Martinez (BUF) - .242, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 31 R, 13 2B, 12 BB, .298 OBP, .732 OPS

Martinez remains the biggest frustration in the system at this time. He has again battled comparatively minor injuries during the season which has limited him to 60 games in Triple-A. He also continues to show glimpses of his potential and promise, but that production comes with far too much inconsistency. He is still 21 years old at Triple-A and his cumulative numbers at the level aren't terrible, but 105 games over two seasons is that point of frustration. He is also walking very infrequently which is taking a negative run at his on-base percentage.

STOCK: Down. It is unfortunate because Martinez can still be a corner outfield solution, but it appears even the organization will not get serious about him until he shows he can stay healthy for an extended amount of time and produce at a high level. Martinez still has the potential, but he has got to find the right formula of health and offense.

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