This year we decided as a staff to preview each of the team’s preliminary assignments to the 2012 AFL and our goal is to tackle each of the 30 organizations over the next 7-10 days. We hope you will follow along with us, check in several times each day and enjoy reading what we come up with. If you’re not familiar with the eligibility rules or how the rosters are constructed just click here to brush up.
The New York Mets have assigned seven players to join the Surprise Saguaros roster next month. While the four pitchers set to make their way south aren’t going to get a ton of notice, the three position players that will be joining them were all Top-30 prospects in the organization heading into the season (according to Baseball America).
RHP – Ryan Fraser (24) – Mets 2010 16th Round Pick
2012 – St. Lucie: 2.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 30 H, 7 BB and 18 SO in 30.1 IP
2012 – Binghamton: 3.48 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 29 H, 13 BB and 25 SO in 33.2 IP
Fraser has a 3.08 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 233.2 innings as a pro. He spent the bulk of the 2011 season in Savannah’s rotation but has otherwise been used solely as a reliever. Statistically he’s not an overly exciting or intriguing player but he has increased his strikeout rate to 6.7 per nine innings and dropped his H/9 down to 7.8 while in Double-A. Both of those rates are an improvement over what he did with the Sand Gnats in 2011 and St. Lucie earlier this season. While he’s trending in the right direction his present strikeout and walk rates do not eliminate the skepticism I have about his chances to carve out a major league career. Most organizations have several guys like this in their system and very few of them get much of a taste of a big league career.
LHP – Chase Huchingson (23) – Signed as a NDFA on July 6th, 2010
2012 – St. Lucie: 4.10 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 120 H, 55 BB and 102 SO in 120.2 IP
Huchingson was drafted by the Rangers in 2007 and the Astros in 2008 but opted instead to pitch in college. He was so bad with Central Arkansas that he went unsigned but he was able to use a strong performance in a collegiate summer league to earn a contract with the Mets. The 6’5″ 200 pound lefty was simply fantastic with Savannah in 2011 (1.82 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.8 SO/9) while pitching both as a reliever and as a starter at various points in the season. This year 22 of his 24 appearances have come as a starter and it has clearly been an adjustment. Those looking for optimism can point to the 5 starts he made in August which totaled a 2.65 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 34.0 innings of action. The peripheral data doesn’t quite line up with those stats but he was coming off a three month stretch where he had a 5.18 ERA in May, 6.65 in June and 7.43 in July so really anything he did during August figured to be a step in the right direction.
LHP – Adam Kolarek (23) – Mets 2010 11th Round Pick
2012 – Binghamton: 5.68 ERA, 2.21 WHIP, 10 H, 4 BB and 8 SO in 6.1 IP
2012 – St. Lucie: 2.37 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 49 H, 21 BB and 70 SO in 57.0 IP
Kolarek was sailing with an ERA under 2.00 for the bulk of the first four months of the year. He was promoted to Binghamton at the end of July and pitched 3.0 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts in his first 3 Double-A relief appearances. He got knocked around a bit in his next three outings and was demoted back to St. Lucie in Mid-August. Instead of getting back on track however, he’s continued to get knocked around in the FSL allowing 11 H, 6 ER and 5 BB with only 5 K in his last 7.0 innings of work. Most relievers hit the occasional bump and I would presume that is all that has happened here. Even during his recent rough stretch, he’s struck out nearly a batter per inning and has an 11.1 SO/9 overall in 2012.
RHP – Gregory Peavey (24) – Mets 2010 6th Round Pick
2012 – Binghamton: 5.06 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 169 H, 37 BB and 84 SO in 144.0 IP
Peavey features a fastball that sits between 88-92 mph and a slider that is solid average and he tends to fill up the strike zone with both. His success has been predicated on hitting his spots and keeping the ball down. That formula worked rather well with Savannah last season and had it’s moments after his promotion to St. Lucie. Unfortunately, pitchers of his ilk tend to hit a brick wall once they get to Double-A and Peavey does not appear to be the exception. While the opposing batters of the South Atlantic and Florida State Leagues put up an OPS of 0.642 and 0.661 respectively, Eastern League hitters have slugged nearly 0.500 off him to go with a bloated 0.821 OPS. Peavey pitched fairly well in August and had his best month of the season as a result, but he continued to give up too many hits and I don’t believe he’s turned any sort of corner. He lacks a viable third offering, but more importantly he lacks that swing-and-miss out pitch that would allow him to put batters away.
2B – Daniel Muno (23) – Mets 2011 8th Round Pick
2012 – St. Lucie: 0.280/.387/.412, 16 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 19 SB, 50 BB and 53 SO in 352 PA
Muno was having a solid season (0.283/.339/.461) when he was suspended for 50 games in May as a result of a positive drug test. When he returned in mid-July he finished the month 11-48 with two doubles, but did manage to draw 19 walks in 17 games. Muno is adept at making contact, getting on base and maximizing his above-average speed. In August he showcased his primary skills by hitting 0.313/.423/.422 with as many walks as strikeouts (16) and 7 stolen bases. His pro debut propelled him from the NYPL straight to the FSL and despite the suspension he appears ready to take on the Eastern League next season. Players like Muno are typically overlooked, but I believe he is capable of playing a big role in the Mets future if he stays on track. He’s not going to be a star but I think he will be more than the utility player some expect of him. On top of everything else, he’s impressed me with the way he bounced back from his positive test.
OF – Cesar Puello (21) – Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets on July 2nd, 2007
2012 – St. Lucie: 0.260/.328/.423, 17 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 19 SB, 7 BB and 58 SO in 252 PA
If you read a scouting report or profile on Puello, you will invariably come across a statement touting his tools and some sort of a projection that he could develop into a 20 HR, 20 SB major league regular. He stirred the pot and heightened expectations by hitting 0.299 with an improved OBP and SLG the final two months of the 2011 season. What got missed by those that focused on the improved slash stats in the second half were his 45-7 SO-to-BB and an unsustainable BABIP well over 0.370. Given that he’s spent 2012 back in the FSL, the Mets took in the totality of Puello’s 2011 instead of focusing solely on the perceived positives. This season Puello’s K% has increased from 21.1 to 23.4 and his walk rate has dropped 1.3%. That might not sound like much but considering his 2011 rate was just 3.7% to start off, that’s pretty disturbing. He’s coming off a month where he hit 0.284/.377/.537 which is certainly a positive but he’s been fairly up and down from month to month. There’s no question he has talent but until he can develop some semblance of plate discipline, especially with regard to the offspeed and breaking stuff, he’s not going to be able to reach his ceiling and probably shouldn’t be exposed to Double-A pitching. It will be fascinating to see how he handles the Arizona Fall League as the environment should work in his favor but he will be facing a higher grade of stuff on a day to day basis.
OF – Darrell Ceciliani (22) – Mets 2009 4th Round Pick
2012 – St. Lucie: 0.329/.402/.459, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 SB, 10 BB and 13 SO in 99 PA
Ceciliani is no stranger to the disabled list. He missed time in 2011 with a hamstring injury and has landed on the 7-day DL three times in 2012 with various hamstring injuries. The good news is that when he’s been on the field he has played at a very high level. Even though he lacks the tools of a prospect like Puello, Ceciliani gets results from what he does have. The package isn’t all that exciting here; below average power, below average arm, average speed and average range, but he has a good grasp of what to do when he steps into the batter’s box and isn’t afraid to fall behind in the count. While his speed is just average he shows good instincts on the basepaths and in the field. With his ability to handle the bat and take a walk, he’s a very capable leadoff hitter making him a very valuable and underrated commodity. Since he missed several months worth of playing time this season Ceciliani is a perfect choice for the AFL.
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