Welcome to the third installment of MMN’s offseason Organizational Depth Chart. Each week, we’ll take a look at the top players at each position in the Mets organization. We hope to provide Mets fans with some insight to what the Mets currently have at the major-league level, as well as some players they can expect to hear about from the minor-leagues in the coming years.
For the third part of the series we’ll take a look at second base.
Murphy is a converted corner infielder whose bat played a role in landing in the middle infield. Brought through the system as a third basemen, his hitting proved too valuable to leave off of the lineup card. With the corner spot taken by David Wright, the Mets needed to find somewhere for him to play. After a failed experiment in the outfield, Murphy has settled in nicely at second base. The transition came with a learning curve, but over the last few years his defense has turned from a liability, to a very serviceable attribute. For the moment, second base seems to be one of the few questions the major league team has going into the 2014 season.
On the Farm
Herrera came to the Mets via a late season trade with the Pirates that also netted Vic Black. Sending both John Buck and Marlon Byrd to Pittsburgh, Herrera joined our system and immediately became the organization’s top prospect at second base. Herrera hit .267 on the year between the West Virginia Power and the Savannah Sand Gnats. Other stats included a .334 OBP and .416 SLG with 11 homeruns, 27 doubles and 3 triples. He struck out at a rate of exactly one time per game which isn’t atrocious, but definitely an area he could improve a little. I expect Herrera to open the 2014 season with St. Lucie, and if he can keep progressing I can see him finishing the year with Binghamton.
Mazzilli was acquired by the Mets as their 2013 fourth round draft selection. This, among other things was a bit nostalgic as his father Lee Mazzilli had two stints with the Mets during his playing career. L.J. Mazzilli was drafted out of the University of Connecticut and played 70 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones and finished with a stat line of .278/.329/.381. What impressed me the most were his extra base hits that included 12 doubles, two triples and four home runs. He has a good eye and only struck out in about 20% of his at-bats.
ETA: 2015 (Late)
3. T.J. Rivera
Rivera was a doubles machine last year, belting 23 total in 2013 for St. Lucie. Rivera has been in the Mets’ system since 2011 and played this past season entirely for the St. Lucie Mets after a promotion in 2012. He finished 2013 with a slash line of .289/.348/.351. His stats were down across the board from last year, but not so dramatic that one would worry about regression as he was named a FSL Mid-Season All-Star. The Bronx-born right hander is tall at 6’1’’ and he uses his tall frame to drive the ball. I wish there was more power there, but if he can at least give his team extra base hits he’ll be successful.
4. Daniel Muno
Muno was drafted by the Mets in the 8th round of the 2011 Draft out of Fresno State. In 2013 he saw his average dip to .249, but had career highs in doubles, home runs, walks and stolen bases. Muno did strike out almost 100 times and didn’t steal as many bases this year than in 2012. In 2011 he was named a NYP Mid-Season All-Star and a MiLB.com Organization All-Star, but since then he seems to have plateaued a little. He is still young, and has progressed to the next level of competition each year he’s played professional baseball. He is going to have to get his batting average up again and cut down on the strike outs before moving up another level. I expect him to start 2014 back in Binghamton but could warrant a promotion midseason if he stays consistent.
ETA: 2014 (Late)
5. Jeff McNeil
Jeff McNeil, another 2013 draft selection, was picked by the Mets in the 12th round. The second baseman played college ball at Long Beach State and played his first professional season with the Kingsport Mets. He tore up the APP with a stat line of .329/.413/.409. He also added 11 extra base hits and only struck out 9% of his at-bats. He came out of the gate storming and I expect him to make the jump to Savannah next year. At 6’1’’ he’s tied for tallest on this list, but at 165 he could probably benefit from putting a little more bulk on his tall frame. He’s a speedster, and with 11 stolen bags already under his belt it might be his legs that help him progress through the system.