Minor League Monday

Tentatively, Mondays will be a day to report on the Mets minor leagues, and perhaps some notes from around the farm systems of other teams as well.

  • If you were impressed by youngster Jonathan Niese during spring training, you’re not alone. Niese was solid during the spring – not ready, but showing certain promise – and his first start of the minor league season for AA Binghamton was 5 shutout innings of 1-hit, 5 strikeout ball. Baseball Prospectus notes that “While working on this pre-season’s Mets Top 11, two separate people inside the game pointed at Niese as having breakout potential.” Certainly bears watching.
  • Top prospect Fernando Martinez started the year 2 for 13 at Binghamton. He’s just one of a bunch of top prospects around the minors who started in a rut (we’ll get to some later).
  • I mocked the signing of Fernando Tatis, and still maintain that position. But his line the first week is pretty funny: .200 AVG, 800 SLG, 1.000 OPS. He’s 3 for 15…all three hits are homers.
  • I liked what I saw out of 3B Dan Murphy during his spring stay with the big club. Obviously, he’s blocked by Wright, and he’s not thought to have enough power to play a corner, but he bears watching. Nice start, 5-13, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Outside the Mets:

  • Jay Bruce had a rough start down at AAA Louisville, going 2 for 14. Corey Patterson’s inevitable slide hasn’t begun yet, but it will, so here’s hoping Bruce gets righted quickly.
  • Evan Longoria is 0 for 14 with 5 strikeouts.
  • Switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters was given a record signing bonus by the Orioles ($6 million), and responded by slamming two homers in his debut.
  • Remember Jeff Allison? Top Marlins pitching prospect, focus of a Sports Illustrated report on his drug addiction and legal problems (he’s on probation for felonies, including grand theft auto and heroin possession). Hasn’t pitched since 2005…until the other night. Struck out 4, gave up 2 hits in 3 innings for High-A Jupiter with the Marlins. Long way to go, but he is only 23. Would be a great story if he makes it back.
  • Sticking with the Marlins, remember Dallas McPherson? The former standout Angels prospect and presumed Troy Glaus replacement until years of back injuries wiped out his prospect status. He homered in his first 3 games at AAA Albuquerque. I doubt he’ll ever be an impact player, but I’d love to just see him stay healthy a full year and see what he does.
  • Browsing AAA rosters is always good fun, because you find guys you didn’t even know were still around. Great things were expected for John Ford Griffin, the Yankees first-round pick in 2001. They never happened, and after being the key to the disasterous Jeff Weaver trade and years of assorted injuries, he’s now in AAA for the Dodgers.

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