There is an obvious lull in movement this off season due to the lack of finances that Sandy Alderson is permitted to work with. He did bring in guys like Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres, but there’s a chance that most of those guys are traded for prospects before the 2012 season is complete. I thought now would be a good time to pick 3 legitimate prospects from the farm that can impact the 2012 Mets.
1. RHP Jeurys Familia – In 2012 between High-A St Lucie and Double-A Binghamton Familia started 23 games and posted an ERA of 2.90. In 124 innings he allowed 106 hits, 11 home runs and had a K/BB of 3.07 (132 K/43 BB). I saw Familia start in Double-A and came away impressed with his fastball that sat 93-95 and touched 97 three times. With a change in his delivery to be more upright I saw more downward plane on his slider and an improved but still below average change-up. He has the ceiling of a #3 starter but in my opinion his delivery and arsenal might be best suited for late inning relief duty. I still think his slider and change need more work to be the type of guy I call a lock down closer. I consider him a pretty safe bet to be a quality 8th inning guy at the MLB level with the chance for more depending on how he improves. I see Familia starting in Triple-A and possibly being someone who can come up this year if there is a need in the rotation.
2. OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis – If Nieuwenhuis did not sustain the shoulder injury he did in 2011 there is a good chance we are talking about him as the center fielder for the 2012 Mets and chances are Andres Torres is not traded for. GM Sandy Alderson has come out and said that he feels Nieuwenhuis is about half a season away from being ready. I think that means if Torres does not perform like he should, Kirk could take over his job by the All Star Break. From what I have seen from Nieuwenhuis and what I have been told he is more or less average across the board tools wise. He is the type of guy I can see going 15/15 at the big league level. He does not have the arm for a corner and there’s question about his range to play center so he is a bit of a tweener. The way he plays the outfield reminds me a bit of Eric Byrnes who did man center for some time in Oakland. Nieuwenhuis is afraid of nothing and goes 110% after every ball. I’d put the likelihood of seeing him roaming center field at Citi Field this summer extremely high if he’s healthy.
3. 2B Reese Havens – PLEASE STAY HEALTHY KID. I have seen Reese Havens play in Binghamton the last two seasons and he is one of the most impressive hitters that I have seen as a B-Met in those couple years. He has a very smooth short stroke and barrels up the ball consistently. He drives the ball with authority all over the field and has a very good knowledge of the strike zone. Defensively I think the best you’re going to get is average, but he is comfortable around the bag turning the double play and makes all the plays he should. But he simply cannot stay healthy at all. Every year since being drafted he’s been hurt. The hope is that he will finally be healed from the surgery he had that shaved some rib off which was causing issues with his oblique. The Mets gave him the whole off season off to cure it and are confident he will come to camp ready to go. If that’s the case then I think it will be tough for the Mets to not have Havens up playing 2nd base every day sooner than later. I have always felt Daniel Murphy was best in a role where he spot started all over the place and was a quality left handed bat off the bench. I do not have the confidence he can play 2nd base full time and I am not a big Justin Turner fan. If you are a Mets fan you are praying for Havens’s healthy. If he is healthy and he gets some quality big league time he will open a ton of eyes around the league.