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Mets' Top 10 Prospects - 1981

Barry DuchanSunday, October 14, 2007
By Barry Duchan

Editor's Note: We will publish a post from Barry Duchan every Sunday covering some aspect of Mets history. - M.S.

When I wrote that the 1967 crop featuring Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman was probably the strongest group of prospects the Mets ever had, I was weighting it heavily on the future success of those three pitchers. But in terms of potential and depth, it would be hard to top the 1981 list.

Here's what a list of the Top 10 Mets' Prospects for 1981 may have looked like. Injuries and addictions certainly played a role in limiting the success of some of these players, but it was a talent-rich group.

  1. Tim Leary rhp - Just off a season where he was the best pitcher in the Texas League as a first-year pro, Leary looked like the best Mets' pitching prospect since Seaver.

  2. Daryl Strawberry of - The previous season's #1 draft pick now had a half season of pro ball under his belt and though he was far from dominant, his star potential shone through.

  3. Mookie Wilson of - The International League's All Star Centerfielder would soon make Lee Mazzilli expendable leading to a chain of deals that brought the Mets Ron Darling and Howard Johnson.

  4. Hubie Brooks - if/of - The Mets hadn't yet decided if Hubie would be an infielder or outfielder, but he was coming off a solid year in AAA and looked major league ready.

  5. Wally Backman 2b/ss- Tidewater's switch-hitting second baseman would later abandon righthanded hitting and emerge as a solid #2 hitter and gritty infielder.

  6. Rick Ownbey rhp - with a big year at Class A Lynchburg followed by a successful stint at AA Memphis, Ownbey was coming on as a future star in the Mets' rotation. He never made it, but was a valuable chip in the Keith Hernandez trade.

  7. Mike Scott rhp - Tidewater's #1 starter was ready for the big leagues although he wouldn't blossom until dealt away.

  8. Ed Lynch rhp - a solid starter for Tidewater who was pencilled in as a likely #4 starter type, which is just what he became.

  9. Juan Berenguer rhp - The International League's strikeout leader, he was a strong candidate to shift to the bullpen, where he enjoyed a measure of big league success although not with the Mets.

  10. Brian Giles 2b - this smooth-fielding second baseman hit .286 in the Texas League and it looked like his glove could propel him ahead of Backman as the 2nd baseman of the future.

Note: More of Barry Duchan's writings can be found on his own Metscentric blog.

About Barry Duchan: I've been following the Mets since 1962. Have to admit I was a Yankee fan as a kid, but I found it to be so much more interesting to see how a young team could build itself up rather than following a team where the season didn't really begin until October. I remember them all - Casey, Marv, ChooChoo, Don Bosch, The Stork, etc. As the years went on, I became more and more of a Mets fan, and a Yankee hater once Steinbrenner and Billy Martin entered the picture.   Read More -->

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