By Mike Steffanos
I suppose I have to write at least a quick recap for last night's game, but before I do here are a couple of items that aren't about the team not hitting and not winning.
Memories of Vern
Former Mets bullpen coach Vern Hoscheit passed away Monday at the age of 85. Bob Sikes, who was assistant trainer of the Mets during Hoscheit's tenure in New York, shares some memories with us on his blog.
There was an interesting piece yesterday in Baseball America ($) on 18-year-old Mets prospect Fernando Martinez, who is already playing at the Double-A level in his second year of pro ball. Basically it was the opposing view of 2 scouts, one who liked the kid and the other who didn't.
The scout who didn't like him felt he was a poor outfielder who had a lot to learn at the plate. The scout who liked him pointed out the obvious - he was an 18-year-old that was keeping his head above water in Double-A. The views of the first scout are something I've been coming across a little this year in various places and it seems frankly ludicrous to me. I think what we have come to is the difference between the almost zero coverage of prospects when I was a kid to too much coverage these days.
No one with the Mets is pretending that Martinez projects to be a CF in the bigs, or that his defensive skills are what makes him special. He may not be hitting for much power yet, and he has a lot to learn at the plate, but HE'S 18. Anyone that wastes a lot of ink picking apart an 18-year-old kid who is playing at a level 2 steps away from the majors and doing decent has no business being taken seriously. I'm glad that the unnamed National League scout who was so down on Martinez works for another NL team and not the Mets, because he sounds like an idiot to me.
Think of it this way. If your 11-year-old is a young genius and gets bumped up to ninth grade, does the fact that he or she has some problems making the adjustment make them any less of a prodigy? There are 20-something top prospects with the age and experience that Martinez lacks that are struggling more than him. The kid is an amazing prospect with some work left to do before he's ready for the show.
Toby Hyde weighs in on the article in today's Mets Minor League Report:
I'm still rather impressed by his .283/.353/.374 AA line with 17 BB and 40 K at age 18. I'll always remember in my first year in baseball, one very good baseball executive telling me that game power is the last tool to develop. It sticks with me as one of the first of many quiet, enlightening conversations with baseball's decision makers, who have taught me more than I could explain in one blog post. Also, hand injuries tend to sap a hitter's power long even after a guy is medically cleared to return to the lineup. I'd say, F-Mart is so far ahead of the curve developmentally, we need to just relax and wait. Remember, he's younger than many of the kids who will be taking the field in the short season leagues that include Brooklyn, Kingsport or the GCL firing up next week.
By the way, for following the Mets prospects I rank Toby's Mets Minor League Report as indispensable as subscriptions to Met's Inside Pitch Online and Baseball America. Unlike the last 2, Toby's site is free, and does the best job of day-in, day-out updates on all Mets farm teams. You can even sign up for a daily email version here.
I've got a couple of appointments to run off to, but will be back later with the unhappy recap from last night.