As yet another baseball season comes to a close, I would like to thank all of the readers for checking in each week. In this final issue of Mets Clubhouse, I look towards the future and list several players fans may see in a Mets uniform a few short years from now.
There is one word that strikes fear into the heart of every sports fan: rebuild.
While rebuilding usually translates to not being competitive for several years, it can also spell a shift in direction and a positive change in philosophies.
Such a change is long overdue for the New York Mets.
The Mets must, and likely are, in rebuilding mode, and the hiring of Sandy Alderson last October proved that team ownership desires baseball minds focused on youth products rather than expensive signings. Management has already hinted at a significant payroll cut for the 2012 season.
With most franchises, long term success is only established when their minor league affiliates are regularly producing talent. The Mets already enhanced their farm system during the season by trading Carlos Beltran for highly respected pitching prospect Zach Wheeler. The team will look to continue to do so this offseason and during next summer’s First-Year Player Draft, during which the Mets could have up to three first-round picks if Jose Reyes decides to take his talents elsewhere.
The team’s compensation for losing their leadoff hitter could be the first-round pick of the team that signs him as well as a conditional first-round pick to group with the one they currently hold, which if the season ended today would be the 13th overall selection.
While this draft reportedly lacks the superstar talent that has been present in recent years, three early picks have the potential to bolster any farm system, particularly when Alderson is the man in charge of the selections.
Pitching is not a large concern for the Mets, with Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia as solid prospects, and hurlers Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee already having success in the majors.
The Mets should therefore look to improve their performance at the plate next summer.
One prospect that may be available is outfielder Victor Roache. Roache, who attends Georgia Southern University, exploded last year as a sophomore to lead all of college baseball with 30 homeruns and 83 RBI. Roache would surely provide the Mets with the big bat the team is missing, as well as provide offensive production from the outfield, an area in which the Mets were greatly lacking this season.
While it appears unlikely that Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero would fall to the Mets, Alderson could draft Stanford’s Kenny Diekroeger, who has hit .324 over two seasons with the Cardinal, to replace Reyes if he departs.
Other offensive options include LSU commitment Joey Gallo, a versatile player who has tremendous power at the plate and can reportedly throw 94 mph from the mound or across the diamond, or third baseman Trey Williams, a Pepperdine commitment with remarkable homerun hitting capability.
If the team does decide to improve pitching, the Mets may snag Kevin Gausman, a 6 foot 4, right handed pitcher from LSU. Gausman is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the nation, with a smooth delivery and a fastball that averages in the mid to low 90’s, but has been clocked as high as 100 mph.
Despite negative connotations associated with rebuilding, Mets fans should view this time as a chance to correct the mistakes of the past and build a contender the right way – by drafting and scouting intelligently and developing a superior farm system. If anyone is meant for the job, it’s certainly Sandy Alderson.