Davis #13 on BA EL Top 20

I apologize for the slow weekend around here. Duty forced to travel to New Orleans for one of my best friend’s bachelor parties. It was pretty damn awesome.  Every day spent in New Orleans or Las Vegas must take at least a year off my life expectancy. 
 
Anyway, Friday, Baseball America released their list of Eastern League Top 20 prospects.  Only 1B Ike Davis made the list. 

John Manuel, one of BA’s best, handled the writeups.  He had this to say about Ike Davis, who he ranked at #13:

….Whereas fellow Mets ’08 draftee Brad Holt stumbled in Binghamton, Davis thrived. He led the B-Mets with 13 homers in just 55 games before joining Team USA for the World Cup.

Davis has true plus power from the left side. He sells out to reach it at times, spinning off balls in an attempt to jerk the ball out of the park, and it costs him plate coverage. Lefthanders took advantage of that tendency, and he struck out 25 times in 71 at-bats against them (though he did his .262/.342/.465).

Davis isn’t afraid to go deep in counts and showed the ability to make adjustments. He has the bat speed to turn on good fastballs inside.

A potential plus defender at first base, Davis has good hands but needs a bit more focus with the glove. He has above-average arm strength—he pitched some at Arizona State—and got a brief trial in the outfield with Binghamton.

Davis’ L/R splits by OPS by level in 2009:

.             .vs LHP            .vs RHP

FSL         .509                 .992

EL           .807                 1.027

The point I’m trying to make is that he showed some progress against the southpaws over the course of the 2009 season.

Manuel also took chat questions about Josh Thole, RHP Brad Holt and SS Ruben Tejada. 

Michael (NY, NY): In hope of any good news, Mets fans are looking to the good season of Josh Thole. Was it his limited upside that left him off the list or is defense still too shaky at catcher to make a positive impression?

John Manuel: He’s just not a great profile. He’s just fringy defensively, fringy offensively because of the lack of power. … Thole is the all OBP, no power catcher. Scouts don’t seem to think that will work long-term, but scouts have been wrong before. The Mets sent Thole up to the majors as much to learn from Brian Schneider on the subtleties of catching and handling a pitching staff as they did any other reason. If we went 30 deep, Thole would have made it, but when I wrote up his report, he just sounded like less of a prospect than the other 25 or so that I wrote.


    Zach (Wilton, CT):
    What do you make of Brad Holt's struggles in Binghamton?

John Manuel: First full pro season, a little fatigue, and a little lesson in how to use his breaking ball. He can spin the breaking ball; one scout in particular who has read what we’ve written about Holt says the problem with his breaking ball isn’t that he doesn’t have one, it’s that he doesn’t command one. He didn’t throw it often in college because he didn’t have to; now, in Double-A, when he needed it, he couldn’t shorten it up and throw it for strikes to keep people honest on his fastball. He was in a lot of 2-0 and 3-1 counts and guys were sitting on his heat. That sounded eerily like Phil Humber, and that’s not a good sign. I like Holt so I hope he makes better adjustments next season.

By the way, Philip Humber is now a minor league free agent – this is not a flattering comparison.  Humber, who at the time he was drafted had a plus fastball, had a below average heater by the time he reached AAA. 

    Zach (Wilton, CT): What is your take on Ruben Tejada?

John Manuel: Definite 21-30 guy, would have made the top 30 if he just had one plus tool. He had a nice season, though, and I’m impressed with how well he grinds through a year. He had a poor April and then was solid the rest of the season. But again, he’s maybe a 55 runner according to the scouts I talked to, and the guys who liked him considered him fringy offensively with below-average power. The consensus was that he’s more of a utility guy as a result.

No question he has below average power.  He also hit .289/.351/.381 at age 19.