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Remaking the Farm

Mike SteffanosThursday, February 2, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Today's news roundup features an interesting look at the future of the Mets farm system:

Gotham Baseball: Starting from scratch
Mike McGann is back with another strong column, this one on the gutting and what we all hope will be the eventual rebuilding of the Mets farm system. As McGann points out, a lot of Mets fans are upset that the farm system is now ranked at the bottom of major league systems.

Omar Minaya was obviously unhappy with the Mets' system of scouting and development, making wholesale changes on both sides. After speaking with Minaya, McGann offers this on what Minaya saw as the problem:

Two issues are immediate: Minaya wasn't happy with the scouting criteria being used to draft and sign players. He also wasn't happy about the lack of a central way of doing things, a Mets way to teach and play, much as the Braves have done for many years. He disagreed with my observation that there was too much chaos in the system, but said changes such the new scouting department, new farm director Adam Wogan and all the new managers were to put a new philosophy in place.

Despite the fact that the system has actually managed to produce some major league talent the last couple of years, I couldn't agree more with Minaya that drastic changes were needed. Moreover, what I really hope to see is some consistency in the long term. The organization changes its developmental philosophy with the same squirrel running in the road frenzied changes of direction that have been more obvious on the major league level.

I remember back a few years when the organization specialized in speedy OF prospects that couldn't hit. None of them made it. McGann pokes fun of another organizational fad with this statement:

The rebuilding continues with the June draft. It will be interesting to see how many 6'-2", 220-pound righthanded pitchers with a 92 MPH fastball, the former speciality of the Mets draft house, get taken this year. My guess is fewer.

Funny, but somewhat sad, too. If Minaya can attack the two issues of scouting criteria and a lack of a standardized developmental philosophy, maybe we can look forward to a day when the Mets have a really productive farm system, that produces not only a Wright and Reyes, but solid guys for the bench and the bullpen, too. Maybe there will come a time when trading 4 or 5 prospects in a winter doesn't completely gut the system.

Mets.com: Delgado looking forward to playing against the Cubans
Marty Noble reports that Carlos Delgado is pumped up by the prospect of his Puerto Rican team facing the Cubans in the World Baseball Classic, quoting Delgado on the novelty of the experience:

It's a unique thing. We never played against each other. I know in Puerto Rico, everyone is looking forward to it.

Non-professionally, they're one of the best teams in the world. Due to the proximity, a lot of people want to see Cuba. They'd like to see how they match up against a professional team.

Noble points out that, with the Puerto Rican team training in Port St. Lucie, at least Delgado and Carlos Beltran will be in close proximity to their Mets teammates.

Also on Mets.com: The middle infielders
In the latest weekly installment of Around the Horn, Marty Noble looks at middle infielders Jose Reyes and... Matsui, Keppinger, Hernandez, or Brett Boone -- whoever winds up at second base.

As for Reyes, Noble offers the following:

He beats them with his glove, he beats them with his arm and he beats them -- and the clock -- with his sprinter's speed. Jose Reyes is a triple threat without swinging a bat. And the term applies just as well when he does swing. He can drop three bases on 'em at any time. He's a triple threat in two ways. Even the NBA doesn't have a double-triple.

If he could learn to take a few more walks, he might score 125 runs in this more powerful offense.

..getting paid to watch: Urban Legends and Practicalities
Bob Sikes, who was once an assistant trainer with the 1986 Mets, has a new blog that is written from a perspective few can provide. This particular fascinating story about Dwight Gooden focuses on how the young pitcher's changing body affected his pitching.

NY Sports Day: Adam Rubin's Book
John J. Buro reports on Adam Rubin's forthcoming book on the New York Mets, Pedro, Carlos, and Omar: The Story of a Season in the Big Apple and the Pursuit of Baseball's Top Latino Stars. As most of you know, Rubin is the Mets beat writer for the Daily News. Rubin's book concentrates on the moves Omar Minaya made to restore credibility to a floundering franchise -- something conveniently forgotten by a few fans this winter.

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