Q & A with ESPN’s Jason Churchill

Today, ESPN’s Jason Churchill answer some Mets prospect questions.  In addition to his work at ESPN, Churchill is also the executive editor at Prospectinsider.com, and you can also find him on twitter: @ProspectInsider

MD:  Did Cory Vaughn do enough this summer to make him a legit prospect, or is the jury still out on him so to speak.  Does he have to show he can handle upper level pitching before fans can get excited about him?

JC I’d temper my enthusiasm until he’s shown he can hit better pitching; he’s a college draftee who may have faced better arms in school than he did in the NY-Penn League. The raw power is real, but so are the whiffs. The swing isn’t terrible, but scouts are concerned about the contact rates, and rightfully so.

MDKyle Allen had a disastrous season.  Was his season more adjusting to better competition, or simply not having the stuff to get results?

JCI haven’t seen Allen myself, but in asking about him it appears he lacks a little in the stuff department, but also is missing a feel for pitching that would help him a long. One player development staffer within the organization did say “there’s potential there, but we’re going to have to make some adjustments.” Typically, this means delivery issues and a lack of secondary stuff. One option that was shot down was a future in the bullpen. An NL scout said “I doubt (his stuff) plays up much in relief.”

MD:   Ryan Fraser was dominant for Brooklyn.  As a 16th round pick, you have to say the Mets picked a winner in Fraser.  How do scouts feel about Fraser?

JCHad to do some chasing to find a scout that’d seen Fraser as a pro… Sounds like he’s a 7th-inning arm if he stays in relief, maybe a setup man if his breaking ball improves enough. But two talent evaluators still want to see him start, even though he pitched exclusively in relief for Brooklyn.  He doesn’t have a lot of time to develop, so I’d bet the Mets keep him in the pen and try to push him through the system quickly.

MD:  With the Mets drafting Matt Harvey and signing Eric Goeddel late to an overslot deal, can you see both of these pitchers as top of the rotation type guys?

JC:   Harvey very well may be; the raw stuff is fine, the breaking ball was better late in spring and the Mets were sold even earlier than that on the right-hander. It’s about consistency and command for Harvey. At worst he’s a very good 8th-inning reliever or closer, but holding his velocity late was not a big problem so he’s got starting pitcher written all over him. One comp I have heard is Jeremy Bonderman, pre-injury, but personally I think that is lite for Harvey. I’d say Matt Cain as an absolute ceiling comp.

Goeddel was the best pitcher on the Bruins roster when they came to Seattle last spring, including Gerrit Cole. He was nails, though inconsistent at the time. He flashed No. 2 or 3 starter stuff late and the Mets are giddy they got him signed. Whether Goeddel is a top of the rotation type or not depends on whether he can consistently command his secondary stuff, since he doesn’t throw 98. Some scouts have long-term durability concerns, but when I am told that I just ignore it because once that is expected to become an issue, the pitcher is well into arbitration or his free agent years anyway.

MDJavier Rodriguez the Mets 2008 2nd round pick, had somewhat of a breakout season.  Do you feel he can play up to his tools now that he has matured mentally and physically a bit?

JCThe Mets believe they are starting to see results of the tools they drafted. They love his loose, quick swing and power potential and trust that he’s starting to put things together. He’s a player I have not seen myself, but the Mets tell me he has above average tools across the board but that the power potential is what will carry him. One team official said he feels Rodriguez just needed time to get comfortable and that the kid reached that point in ’10. The club may get aggressive with him if he starts off quick in 2011, too, to keep up the momentum.

There are 3 comments

  1. Aliza

    In all due respect to your analysis of Kyle allen you are dead wrong he has what it takes to make it in the starting rotation he has a great secondary change up that has been compared to some of the top major leaguers! and not everyone knows this but he had back problems from the beginning of spring training all the way until they pulled him on AUG 4th! Not only was he winning but a few of his games were blown by relievers,lets not look at the stats and lets see a few games in person before we judge a persons performance,because in the end its all he said she said unless you were there!The kid was throwing 94 to 95 with a bad back until he couldnt take it anymore seems to be a go getter to me and will be in the majors !!

    1. josesthyroid

      Wow Toby, I guess some of the minor league players do read your blog! Michael just asked Jason Churchill the question about your, ugh, I mean Kyle’s season and you have to admit, it wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for you. We didn’t know you were injured and I’m sorry to hear that. Do you think this back injury is something that is going to linger for awhile or are you resting it to get ready for a big season in 2011? Go luck in 2011 Kyle!

  2. Aliza

    LOL,Sorry to say Josesthyroid my minor league days were over way back in the early 90’s, So this isnt Kyle responding!I had the privilege of watching over half of the st lucie mets games this year, away and at home and i can tell you this much,There are alot of those players that need the right coachs to stand behind them and really get to know them alot better! Some of those coachs are just there for a pay check and you can tell that just from observing! Kyle’s back is doing alot better and in 2011 i can honestly say he will have a GREAT year! And if you would like an “OPINION” and thats all it will be but, it will be an opinion from someone that has seen a certian player play mutiple times ask and i will tell you what i see or have seen

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