The Mets farm system, while considered middle of the pack, has come a long way in recent years. The organization, while being frugal at the big league level, has spent more freely attempting to replenish the minors.
Having said that, today we focus on four Mets prospects facing crossroads in their careers. These players, for varying reasons, have floundered and have reached put-up or shut-up time.
1. Reese Havens: Omar Minaya was downright giddy in 2008 after selecting Ike
Davis 18th and then the 2nd baseman Havens 22nd overall in the draft. Since then, Havens has suffered almost every conceivable injury. Havens has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, marginal defense, and an inability to stay in the lineup. Even more discouraging Havens last year stayed healthy enough
to get over 300 ABs yet hit a paltry .215 at Double-A Binghamton at age 25. Havens may get a shot at Triple-A Las Vegas. Wherever he lands he’d better rake.
The Mets still think enough of him to have him on their 40-man roster protecting him from the Rule 5 draft.
2. Jenry Mejia: Mejia is the Mets version of Joba Chamberlain. Over the last four years he’s been jerked around between the rotation and bullpen numerous times. He missed significant time in 2010-11 due to injury perhaps a result of the back and forth. While seemingly around forever, Mejia is still only 23.
Hopefully the Mets will let him make 28 or so starts and see what they have. Some think he will make the Mets bullpen given its sad state. What they need to do is commit one way or the other
3. Brad Holt: Drafted as a first round sandwich pick (33rd behind Davis & Havens). Holt is a pitcher with a gifted arm. Suddenly, in his third season, he couldn’t find home plate with a GPS. A starter initially, he was relegated to bullpen duty. Last year he showed some signs walking a more reasonable 28 in
47.2 innings. However, he is now 26 and has spent parts if not all of four seasons in Double-A. He is not on the 40-man roster and went unclaimed in the Rule 5 Draft, which says something.
4. Matt den Dekker: Already an accomplished center fielder den Dekker has
developed a knack for struggling at each level, figuring it out, then mashing until promoted. Last year he hit .340 in Double-A then .220 in Triple-A showing
extra base power at both levels. He has tremendous speed. At 25 den Dekker will be the Triple-A center fielder. His glove is already big league. How he hits will determine if he’s a regular or spare part.
Darrell Ceciliani – Needs to stay in one piece or he’ll be Reese Havens part deux.
Robbie Shields – A high draft pick ss who hasn’t hit in Hi-A.
Collin McHugh – Could be the first starter called up if a Mets pitcher gets hurt.
Has to refine location as he doesn’t throw hard or may top out at Triple-A.
Cory Vaughn – Son of former slugger Greg Vaughn. Holes in his swing have trapped him at Hi-A. Must adjust to breaking stuff.