June 25, 2008
The B-Team: Why the Team’s Future May Be in Binghamton

Whenever Carlos Delgado strikes out in a big moment, Mets fans can take solace in the fact that his replacement could be within the state. Whenever Mets fans complain that Moises Alou has more days on the Disabled List then Runs Batted In, they can still dream about Fernando Martinez’s arrival to the Big Apple. And whenever Billy Wagner blows a save, Mets fans can wait for a closer who actually has a championship under his belt. Mike Carp, Fernando Martinez, and Eddie Kunz are just three players the Mets are excited to see one day in the major leagues, but there could be some more gems up in Binghamton.

Do you remember when Mookie’s grounder rolled through Buckner’s legs? Well Fernando Martinez doesn’t. In fact, Martinez wouldn’t even be born until roughly two years after the miracle event (his birthday is closer to the forgettable ’88 NLCS). Nonetheless, the Dominican Republic product is a five-tool outfielder who could roam the depths of CitiField as early as 2009. Although he’s only 19 years old, Martinez is in the middle of his second season of Double-A ball for the Binghamton Mets. A quick outfielder with a smooth swing from the left side of the plate, Martinez has been hyped as one of the best and brightest prospects in all of baseball. Injuries have partially stunted Martinez’s development, but the teenager still has a .280 batting average in 157 at-bats. Although scouts have worried about his power, his slugging is up over 30 points since last season. Hopefully, Martinez can live up to the hype and become the superstar insiders have claimed he would be.

Also roaming the field in upstate New York is first baseman Mike Carp. Carp, a big left-handed first baseman who was drafted by the Mets out of high school in the ninth round in 2004, has found his swing after a rough year last season. Playing for Binghamton last year, Carp only slugged .387 while batting .251 and working his way through injuries. However, Carp ahs taken off this year, sporting a .936 OPS through 68 games in the Eastern League. Carp already has 10 homers, a .411 OBP, and more doubles than all of last season. As a 22-year old, Carp would be a possible replacement for the ailing and free-agent bound Carlos Delgado.

With Billy Wagner getting older and other Met relievers struggling, the bullpen may be in need of a shakeup in 2009. A player the Mets may turn to is Eddie Kunz. Kunz, who throws similarly to Joe Smith, is only beginning his second season at pro ball for the Mets. Kunz was the closer for an Oregon State team that won the College World Series in both 2006 and 2007. Pitching for the B-Mets this season, Kunz has been good, but not great. In 33.1 innings, Kunz has struck out a respectable 29 batters. However, his control has been off, and he’s walked 21 batters in those same innings. With a 4.05 ERA, Kunz does have one state all closers thrive for: zero home runs allowed. A right-hander, Kunz has held righties to a .208 batting average in 22 innings (but lefties are killing him at a rate of a .327 batting average). If Kunz can control his command and pitch better to lefties, he could be an incredibly effective big leaguer on the fast track to CitiField (or possibly Shea).

While the B-Mets mentioned have been great and have the potential to become stars, there are also some solid players on the team who could contribute in the near future. Lefty Jon Niese has a 3.05 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 82.2 innings. Nick Evans, who has already began his big league career (but is back at first base for the B-Mets), is hitting .304 in Double-A. Third-sacker Dan Murphy, blocked at his position by superstar David Wright, is hitting .321 with a 21:30 BB:K ratio. And finally, there is righty Tobi Stoner, who is originally from Germany. Besides his comical name, Stoner provides a good fastball and great command. Prior to his promotion, Stoner had walked only nine in 52 innings and had a 2.60 ERA in 52 innings for Single-A St. Lucie. In limited time in Double-A, the 23-year old has a 1.64 ERA. While you may hear the Mets farm system is completely depleted, there may be some hidden gems hiding in good ol’ Binghamton.

7 Responses to “The B-Team: Why the Team’s Future May Be in Binghamton”

  1. Comment posted by Gangstas get on the field on June 25, 2008 at 3:22 am (#739432)

    Man, I hope these guys can come in and contribute to the team.

  2. Comment posted by Eli on June 25, 2008 at 11:05 am (#739718)

    With the NY Mets sucking horribly, we must look for optimism anywhere we can find it. There is very little cause for that when one views the the New Orleans roster – many in their late 20’s and early to mid thirties that might provide at best, a serviceable replacement for a few games. The B’Mets give some reason for hope, but I think Pat, you are being a bit too hopeful – in particular, with Kunz. If we want a reliever that can’t hit the strike zone, we can always put Ollie in the bullpen :) Nevertheless, the B’Mets are our best bets for maintaining some baseball sanity.

  3. Comment posted by madisonmetsfan on June 25, 2008 at 12:34 pm (#739881)

    Not sure of the point of this article. The analysis of the players’ skills is superficial, and site regulars are already familiar with these guys.

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  5. Comment posted by John Peterson on June 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm (#739968)

    Can’t have something groundbreaking and novel every day, Madison. I’m sure there are some people for whom this was an interesting and revealing article. Good work, Pat.

    Personally, I doubt very much that any of the players mentioned with be stars in the major leagues. Ask me why sometime.

  6. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on June 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm (#740239)

    Kunz, who throws similarly to Joe Smith,

    Meaning pitching philosophy or motion? Smith is a side-armer/submariner, and I thought Kunz was a normal fastballer…

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  8. Comment posted by Alex Nelson on June 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm (#740256)

    Kunz throws from a higher armslot, but it is pretty low.

  9. Comment posted by griffyusc on June 26, 2008 at 2:43 am (#740865)

    how can you talk abou Alou missing games as a Met when Fernando has probably missed more games then Alou has