Ben Altsher continues his top prospects in the EL

Today we focus on Binghamton, Bowie and Erie


Binghamton Mets -
Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets

The Mets have spent big lately, only to come up small.  Free agents haven’t worked out at the major
league level, and the problems have filtered down the minors as well.  There’s plenty of raw ability to be found,
but even the highest of New York’s prospects have flaws.  Here’s a look at three of the more intriguing
names:

Wilmer Flores, SS – The Venezuelan native has made a quick
ascent up the Mets’ system as a teenager, thanks to his hitting ability.  A nightmare to strike out, Flores has a very
loose and easy swing.  The problem is his
defense, which doesn’t project well as a major league shortstop.  No word on whether a position switch will
come this year, but expect to see Flores somewhere on the field for the B-Mets
in 2011.

Reese Havens, 2B – Another up-the-middle defender known more
for his bat than his glove, Havens ended last year with Binghamton, hitting
.338 over 18 games.  If he can stay
healthy (and it’s been a problem for him), Havens can be a threat in the middle
of the lineup, while providing enough defense not to necessitate a move.  His main goal should be to get through a
season playing 100 games, something he’s yet to do.

Brad Holt, RHP – The 2008 first round pick is no stranger to
the Eastern League.  Problem is, Holt’s
probably still having nightmares about his first two forays into Double-A
ball.  In 2009, he had a 6.29 ERA over
eleven starts.  Last year was even worse
with a 10.20 ERA over 30 innings with the B-Mets.  He worked hard to re-adjust some mechanical
flaws and will hope to finally conquer his Double-A monster this season.

Bowie Baysox -
Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are another organization that has struggled for
the better part of the decade, never quite finding enough talent to compete
with the Red Sox, Yankees, and most recently the Rays.  Not surprisingly, their farm system has some
solid pieces, ones that Baltimore management hopes will bring a winner back to
Camden Yards.  Here’s three guys who
should help:

Xavier Avery, OF – Perhaps the best overall athlete in the
organization, Avery was persuaded to go straight into the system out of high
school, shunning a football scholarship to Georgia in the process.  He made the jump to Bowie last year as a 20
year old.  Now he’ll likely spend a full
season at Double-A as he could turn into one of the league’s top leadoff men
and base stealers.

L.J. Hoes, 2B – An interesting prospect, Hoes has a solid
bat, projecting as a .300 hitter. 
However, his power numbers are very low (7 homers in 3 pro seasons) and
he sports only average speed.  His
defensive tools are just as mystifying as he probably would be better suited at
third base or left field.  The problem
there is that the team can probably find better offensive options at those
positions.  The enigma that is Hoes will
get a full season with the Baysox, likely shining a brighter light on his
possible MLB future.

Wynn Pelzer, RHP – The Orioles picked up Pelzer from the
Padres when San Diego nabbed Miguel Tejada at the deadline last year.  He’s been a starter for most of his career,
but had recently shifted into a reliever’s role before Baltimore picked him
up.  He finished 2010 with the Baysox and
probably will start there this season. 
The only question is whether or not he’ll be starting games, or
finishing them.

Erie SeaWolves -
Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers

The Tigers shifted towards getting younger by moving Curtis
Granderson prior to last season.  Though
some of that talent was able to help in the big leagues immediately, Detroit
management is counting on some of their top talent to step up and pitch in
their load soon.  Here are some of the
players on their way to help:

Jacob Turner, RHP – Ranked by Baseball America as the Tigers’ top prospect, Turner has an easy
fastball that registers in the mid-90s without a problem.  In fact, the fastball is so good, that his
secondary pitches still need more work, although his curveball shows amazing
potential.  He’s coming off a solid first
season in pro ball, and likely won’t start in Erie, but should finish there.  Oh, and he’s only turning 20 in May.

Francisco Martinez, 3B – Another youngster who turned 20 at
the end of last season, Martinez could be a staple at the hot corner for Erie
in 2011.  He’s very solid with the glove,
although his footwork isn’t tremendous. 
Plus, he’s got more than enough arm to make all the throws.  Offensively, his power numbers should improve
as he develops, but he’s already a solid line drive hitter and has decent speed
to boot.

Chance Ruffin, RHP – The former Texas Longhorn
has a chance (excuse the pun) to crack the Tigers bullpen this season despite
not having pitched a full pro season yet. 
More likely, he’ll spend the majority of his time with the SeaWolves
using his low-90s fastball and wipeout slider to befuddle Eastern League hitters.  Ruffin should 

1 Comment

Thanks for itnrodcunig a little rationality into this debate.

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