Deep in the darkest days of winter, a package arrives at the Megdal household that warms and brightens my life: John Sickels’ annual, The Baseball Prospect Book.
For those who don’t know Sickels, he studied with Bill James, and his prospecting is generally, in my opinion, about as good as it gets. This is, after all, what he does.
Thought I’d share a few tidbits about Mets prospects from the book, but really, go order this yourself.
On Cory Vaughn: “Although I think he deserves a partial injury mulligan, there are still legitimate questions about both Vaughn’s ability to handle breaking balls and where he ends up defensively.”
Incidentally, I am higher on Vaughn than this- think he will comfortably fit in a corner outfield spot. But Sickels is right- if he doesn’t show more pop after an offseason to heal, his stock will drop, and fast.
On Reese Havens: “I think he can hit .260 in the majors, with 15 home runs and 60 walks. But can he play a full year?”
When looking at the 2012 Mets, few things can do more to help their long-term outlook than receiving a healthy season from Havens.
On Cesar Puello: “If he can get some of his plate discipline back and combine it with the power, he’ll blossom. Doing that in Double-A won’t be easy, but it’s possible, and he’s quite young.”
I refuse to get excited yet about a hitter who walked 18 times and struck out 103 times in Single-A.
On Juan Urbina: “His veloity is starting to pick up, from the upper-80s into the lower 90s last year, but he has problems with location and mechanical consistency…Urbina still has a lot of time to develop, but I’m back to being cautious.”
I think Sickels sells Urbina short here. His fastball improved, his walk rate was just 3.2 per 9 and his strikeout rate 7.9 per 9 in Kingsport in his age-18 season, and those splits against lefties- .419- sure look artificially high to me. Will be interesting to see what he does in 2012.
Anyhow, pick up the book. I’ll let you know what I see of these minor leaguers, and others, in person next month.