Before the 2007 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now, it's time to recap all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent draft class.
Performance didn't exactly measure up to potential in the Mets system in 2007.
That's not to say there were no positive developments. The Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs made it to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series. The St. Lucie Mets also made it to the postseason in the Florida State League, while Brooklyn reached the final round, coming up short in the New York-Penn League.
But overall, the organization's .442 winning percentage was 30th among 30 organizations. Now winning isn't always the best way to measure progress in the Minors, but that finish is not a positive sign, especially when it includes poor showings for the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer League teams -- areas in which the Mets have been very aggressive in signing the top talent.
Much of that talent has been pushed quickly ahead in the system, and while there have been glimpses, none of the younger prospects challenged with such a move stepped up in a big way in 2007. There's still plenty of time for them to start fulfilling their potential, but that doesn't help the lack of depth at the top of the system. Lastings Milledge has been traded this offseason and it's unclear just what kind of future the top pitching tandem of Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber will have in New York. A decent draft, along with the continuing efforts internationally, brought in some more talent, but it remains to be seen how that will impact the organization long-term.
Organizational Players of the Year
Carlos Gomez, OF: Gomez ended up spending too much time in the big leagues -- and on the disabled list -- to really be considered for this spot. He was good while in the Minors, especially on the basepaths, and while he showed some glimpses in New York, he finished with a .232 average and .592 OPS, though he did steal 12 bases. He's spent some time playing in the Dominican while hearing his name mentioned in counless trade rumors.
Video: Gomez rips a double
Deolis Guerra: We said that Kevin Mulvey was the safer choice, and you'll see below we were right with that. That doesn't mean Guerra doesn't have a bright future. He pitched all year at age 18 and was in the Florida State League. He missed some time due to shoulder tendinitis but still made it to the Futures Game in San Francisco. Overall, he had a 4.01 ERA and .240 opponents' batting average over 89 2/3 innings.
Audio: Guerra closes out six shutout innings
As chosen by the author, not the organization
Brett Harper, 1B: The organization officially went with Anderson Hernandez and he had a nice year, hitting .301 for New Orleans. Instead, we'll go with Brett Harper, who bounced back from an injury-riddled 2006 season by hitting .296 while leading the organization in home runs (24) and RBIs (88). Yes, he was playing in Double-A and turned 26 in July, but he resurrected a career that had stumbled with the injury issues a year ago.
Audio: Harper singles in a run
Audio: Harper caps a two-homer game
Kevin Mulvey, RHP: In this case, we agree with our "safer pick" and the official organizational pitcher of the year. Truth be told, there wasn't a whole lot to choose from, pitching-wise, in the system, but Mulvey led Mets pitchers in full-season ball with 12 wins and a 3.20 ERA while finishing third in strikeouts. He did almost all of it in Double-A in his first full season of pro ball.
Video: An All-Star chat with Mulvey
Climbed the Ladder
Carlos Gomez, OF: So it wasn't as outstanding as expected, but the truth is Gomez still contributed at the big-league level at the age of 21. He also hit .286 with 17 steals with New Orleans. Over 125 big-league at-bats, he batted .232 and went 12-for-15 in stolen-base attempts. A broken hamate bone in his left hand cut things short for him in 2007, but he should make some kind of contribution in 2008, either in the New York outfield or as part of a trade that brings in something the Mets feel they need.
Audio: Gomez goes deep
Kevin Mulvey, RHP: Mulvey was fairly consistent all season in Binghamton, then moved up to New Orleans and tossed 13 shutout innings for two victories, one of them coming in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Even if he starts the year back there, it's clear he should be able to contribute at some point soon.
Audio: Mulvey notches his sixth K
Carlos Muniz, RHP: Drafted back in 2003, Muniz has always closed games for Mets Minor League teams, with mixed results. In 2006, he saved 31 games for St. Lucie but was a little old for the level. He made up for that this past season, starting the year in Double-A and finishing it in the big leagues. Along the way, he posted a 2.24 ERA and 23 saves to lead the organization in the Minors. Minor League hitters managed just a .198 average against him. He's on the 40-man roster now and has the chance to help out the Mets bullpen in 2008.
Audio: Muniz registers a whiff
Joe Smith, RHP: He didn't climb the ladder so much as leap up it. The 2006 third-round pick used his unusual delivery to spend most of his first full pro season in the big leagues. While he struggled some later on and got sent back to the Minors, he did finish with a respectable 3.45 ERA in 54 big-league relief outings and struck out slightly more than a batter per inning.
Audio: Smith gets a Triple-A save
Kept Their Footing
Corey Coles, OF: Drafted back in 2003, Coles had a big year in 2006 in the Florida State League, albeit at age 24. He had to start back there in 2007 but ended it in New Orleans. Combined, he hit a respectable .286 but with a .688 OPS and played in a grand total of 98 games, his season ending at the end of July. So on one hand, he did play at three levels; on the other, he finished on the DL and did not secure a spot on the 40-man roster.
Audio: Coles crushes one
Audio: Coles clears the bases
Deolis Guerra, RHP: A 4.01 ERA isn't dominant, and he missed a bunch of time with a bad shoulder, but he'll still be a teenager in 2008, so even if he repeats the Florida State League, he's way ahead of most. He capped the year with a 2.89 ERA in five August outings, a good way to finish things off.
Video: Guerra's mic'd up at the Futures Game
Philip Humber, RHP: Most may say his 2007 was disappointing, but cut the guy some slack. He had Tommy John surgery in July 2005, so this was his first full season post-surgery. He had thrown only 76 1/3 innings in 2006, so logging 139 at New Orleans is something. He lowered his ERA by more than half a run in the second half and held opponents to a .183 average in 42 2/3 post-break innings, finishing things off with his first big-league start.
Video: Humber gets a K in his Triple-A debut
Audio: Humber flirts with a no-no
Bobby Parnell, RHP: On the plus side, Parnell threw quite well in St. Lucie, with a 3.25 ERA and 62 K's in 55 1/3 innings. That earned him a promotion to Double-A, but the leap was not an easy one. He had a 4.77 ERA in 17 starts for Binghamton, though he finished the year by going 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA in six August starts (we'll ignore the September clunker). All told, his 136 K's in 144 IP topped the organization.
Audio: Parnell strikes out the side
Slipped a rung
Matt Durkin, RHP: Truth be told, Durkin slipped before 2007, but going 4-8 with a 4.00 in the South Atlantic League after being a second-round pick in 2004 didn't exactly help things get back on the right track. That's the same level at which he began his pro career in 2005, so you get a sense of how things have gone. He threw only 22 1/3 innings in 2006, missing most of the year following elbow surgery. He started out well in 2007, with a 2.90 ERA and .216 opponents' batting average, but he stepped backward again with a 5.82 ERA and .287 average against as his command regressed considerably.
Fernando Martinez, OF: Yes, he was by far the youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League. Yes, a hand injury hampered him for most of the year and ended his season in July. And yes, scouts still, for the most part, like his potential. That being said, an uber-prospect like Martinez is expected to do more than the .713 OPS he put up in 60 Double-A games. He's also only played 139 games over the past two years. He certainly has time to start turning potential into performance, and perhaps the Mets moved him too quickly, but the 2007 season certainly didn't help his prospect status.
Francisco Pena, C: Perhaps another rush job by the Mets, who sent the 17-year-old to the full-season South Atlantic League for his pro debut. Tony's son hit just .210 with a .547 OPS. Here's hoping he can learn from adversity because he was given a healthy dose right off the bat.
On the Radar
Nick Evans, 1B: A 2004 fifth-round pick, Evans put up some pretty solid numbers in the Florida State League, with 15 homers, 25 doubles and a .476 slugging percentage at age 21. That might not sound that terrific, but it put him seventh in slugging and tied for ninth in homers.
Audio: Evans caps a two-homer night
Emmanuel Garcia, 2B/SS: Garcia spent the year in St. Lucie, and while he hit just .256, he stole 34 bases (good for second in the organization) and has shown the ability to play second and short. Following the season, he hit .348 in 17 games in the Hawaiian Winter League and went 8-for-9 in stolen-base attempts.
Audio: Garcia busts up a pitchers' duel
Daniel Murphy, 3B: Listed in our "Under the Radar" section, the University of Jacksonville product bounced back from a rough summer debut with a very solid first full season with St. Lucie. The lefty hitter batted .285 with 11 homers and 78 RBIs, then played well in Hawaii, finishing eighth in that league in slugging percentage.
Audio: Murphy hits a tying homer
Jon Niese, LHP: To be fair, he was probably on the radar after leading the organization in strikeouts in 2006, his first full season, but he jumped on it a little more firmly with in 2007. His overall numbers may not look all that exciting -- a 4.29 ERA and .285 opponents' batting average -- but it's how he responded to his struggles that was impressive. After a first half that saw the then-21-year-old post a 5.31 ERA, Niese improved to 3.52 in the second half -- and 2.62 in six August starts.
Audio: Niese notches a ninth K
2007 Draft Recap
1. Eddie Kunz, RHP: A short reliever who helped Oregon State win two national titles, Kunz could be on the fast track after a brief pro debut. After tossing 12 innings in Brooklyn, the supplemental first-round pick pitched in the Arizona Fall League. College relievers often move quickly, so don't be surprised to see Kunz in the Mets bullpen sooner rather than later.
Audio: Kunz works a 1-2-3 ninth
2. Nathan Vineyard, LHP: The Georgia high school product was another of the Mets' supplemental first-round picks. He got his feet wet in the Gulf Coast League, where he struck out 33 in 27 1/3 innings. He allowed only four earned runs over his final 18 innings (1.78 ERA), spanning five games.
3. Scott Moviel, RHP: The big second-rounder is 6-foot-10 and a former basketball player. While he's very athletic, he has a live arm and showed a decent idea of how to pitch during his debut. He was pretty good in the GCL, posting a 3.38 ERA and 37 K's in 40 IP.
Others of note: RHP Brant Rustich (second round) helped ease pre-draft concerns by posting a 1.57 ERA at two stops, striking out 21 and walking only two in 23 IP. ... RHP Stephen Clyne (3) had a 2.05 ERA, .214 opponents' batting average and eight saves in 26 1/3 IP. He struck out 30. ... 1B/OF Lucas Duda (7) hit .299 with an .859 OPS in his debut for Brooklyn. He then posted a 1.050 OPS over 15 games in Hawaii. ... At two stops, LHP Michael Antonini (18) combined for a 1.96 ERA and .216 average against in 36 2/3 IP. ... RHP Dylan Owen (20) went 9-1 with a 1.49 ERA and .197 opponents' average for Brooklyn to earn NY-Penn League All-Star honors as well as the MiLB.com Short-Season Starting Pitcher of the Year award.