06.28.09

DC’s Catalano : Mets’ Paucity Of Power = Panic

Posted in Baseball at 1:39 pm by

After being humbled at home on successive days by the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, the Mets’ lack of power hitting appears to be less of a problem compared to their lack of any hitting in general  (1 run, 4 combined hits over the last 18 innings). But as Dugout Central’s Paul Catalano points out, the not-so-Amazins’ 46 total HR’s this season reflect “a line-up that doesn™t have opposing pitchers waking up in the middle of the night screaming in fear.” Catalano’s solution? “The Mets should try to trade for Michael Cuddyer by offering the Twins SS prospect Wilmer Flores.” (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Michael Cuddyer, when healthy, is a solid RF, with a good arm and, more importantly from the Mets prospective, power. While he can play a number of positions, RF is where he is best suited”he has had season of 18 and 19 assists from RF, and can handle the new CitiField well. As of this writing, Cuddyer is slugging .514, or what would be 2nd on the Mets squad behind the injured Beltran. Also, he has an OPS of .878, which would place him 4rd behind Wright and Beltran and the soon to be injured Sheffield.

The Twins have a glut of outfielders”and trading Cuddyer could clear space for other able players. Right now, the Twins are breaking in young outfielders Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez (of the Mets farm system), both young and talented and who need time to grow. The Twins also have Jason Kubel and Denard Span”productive players both as Kubel is slugging .558 and Span is batting .287 with 12 stolen bases.

What the Twins don™t have is a blue-chip shortstop, either at the Majors or in the minor leagues. Nick Punto and Brendan Harris are fine shortstops, but franchise rocks they are not. Franchise rocks like Jose Reyes. Reyes is the engine that makes the Mets go. And at 26, he will be said engine for a long time. Which means SS Wilmer Flores, the Mets biggest prospect according to Baseball America, will be blocked by the time he is ready to hit the Majors. While only 17, Flores is on the fast track to the majors.

Considering Catalano admits Flores “projects to have the same kind of power A-Rod or Ripken had at the shortstop position”, this is a somewhat curious proposition. The Mets already gave up on a highly touted prospect (ok, Lastings Milledge) to acquire Ryan Church, and the esteemed columnist from Dugout Central suggests following that move with trading one of the organization’s few youthful bargaining chips at the exact moment Jose Reyes’ long term prognosis is questionable. Can we really presume Flores’ path to the big leagues is going to blocked by Reyes in 2-3 years’ time?

While Flores and his Savannah Gnats teammates ended a three game winning streak with Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Charleston, the other big Mets minor league news this morning concerns Oliver Perez, who’s scheduled to make a minor league start for Single-A Brooklyn (NY-Penn) today at 5pm.  Ollie’s Keyspan Park debut precedes Yo La Tengo‘s by 15 days, and while the inconsistent left-hander will certainly command a higher fee for his performance, the odds are pretty good Yo La Tengo will have a longer outing, even with the constraints of opening for Wilco.

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