According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNY, the Mets have added hard-throwing RHP Brad Holt and Nick Carr and LHP Eric Niesen to their Arizona Fall League squad. All three guys have shown plus fastballs in the minors, and all have struggled to throw strikes. Both Carr and Niesen missed time this year with injuries. It’ll be nice to get pitch/fx readings on all three guys.
Holt, who will turn 24 on the second day of the AFL season on October 13, was the single biggest disappointment in the system in 2010. The 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft bombed out of AA with a 10.20 ERA in 30 innings only to struggle in the advanced-A Florida State League with a 7.48 ERA with 56 walks and 62 strikeouts in 65 innings. Scouts reported varying velocities on Holt in AA, but the Mets claimed that his velocity was consistently better in the FSL than it was in AA. Maybe the Mets saw something better from Holt in Instructional League, going on in Florida, that made the team think Holt was ready for the advanced hitters and tough pitching conditions in Arizona.
Coming off a strong finish to 2009 at AA, Niesen too had a disappointing 2010. He began the year as a starter going 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 starts. His peripherals were ugly: he walked 41 batters and fanned 38 in 52 innings. He missed a month, from April 23 to May 26 with a concussion after getting hit by a throw down to second by Luke Montz. You can watch the video of the play here. The Mets moved Niesen to the bullpen in the second half and he was strangely hittable, yielding 40 hits in 25 IP with 19 walks against 21 strikeouts. Check out this discrepancy: as a starter, Niesen allowed a .219 opponents’ batting average on a .260 BABIP while as a reliever, opponents hit .360 against him with a .412 BABIP. Wow. Overall, Niesen prevented lefties from hitting for any power at all, hold them to a .296 slugging percentage as part of a .241/.396/.296 line while righties hit a much more robust .287/.408/.473 against him suggesting that he might end up as a left-handed specialist.
I’ve had a soft spot for Carr for years since I saw him throwing 92-93 for St. Lucie and touching 95 back in 2008. In fact, coming into 2009, I had Carr ranked as my #30 prospect in the system. Since that ranking, Carr has thrown just 73.1 innings in the last two seasons after Tommy John surgery in 2009. Carr has always missed bats, but his control has been very, very rough. This year, in 23.1 innings in the FSL, he fanned 26 and walked 16. The Fall League will be a good test for Carr to prepare him for his first exposure to AA in 2011.