10 Mets prospects to watch

10 Mets prospects to watch

With the 2009 season quickly approaching, MLB.com takes a look at 10 of the Mets' most intriguing prospects that you should keep an eye on.

Ike Davis, 1B: The son of former big-league reliever Ron Davis, Ike parlayed a college career at Arizona State into being a first-round pick in last year's Draft. He struggled during his pro debut, showing no power, but he did finish a little better (.368 over his last 10 days). He has a good left-handed swing that should produce pop as he moves up and he's capable of playing first or the outfield, with a plus arm (he also pitched throughout college). Look for him to get back on track with a full-season assignment in 2009.

Wilmer Flores, SS: The Mets have not hesitated to push their young players aggressively, with mixed results. Flores, however, seems up to the task. The 17-year-old shortstop hit .307, slugged .468 and drove in 42 runs in 68 total games last year. His bat is his best tool and most see him as one who might move to third base down the line. He's been compared to Miguel Cabrera and he might have the skills to live up to it. He got a taste of full-season ball in a game with Class A Savannah last year and that should be where he begins the season.

Reese Havens, SS: The Mets' second first-round pick last June, Havens hasn't really been able to build off of a huge junior year during his pro debut, as groin and elbow issues limited him to DH duties for Class A Short-Season Brooklyn. He's a gritty player with some pretty good offensive tools, including good strike-zone discipline and perhaps average power. Defensively, he makes up for a lack of speed with good instincts and an above-average arm at shortstop. Some feel he'll end up moving to second. Either way, he's the type who could move fairly quickly.

Brad Holt, RHP: Holt had perhaps the best debut of any 2008 Draftee in the system, if not the entire class. The supplemental first-round pick was a New York-Penn League All-Star after leading the Class A Short-Season circuit in ERA and strikeouts. He has a plus fastball with movement and command, but his other pitches aren't quite there. His slider looks good at times, but is inconsistent and his changeup is a work in progress. How those secondary pitches improve will determine if Holt can remain a starter or have to slide into a relief role. Either way, he should move fast.

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Eddie Kunz, RHP The hope for the first player the Mets took in the 2007 Draft (No. 42 overall) was that the college closer would move quickly through the system. In that regard, he succeeded, leading the organization in saves with 27 in his first full season and getting to New York. That didn't go so well, however, and he did struggle with command most of the season. His AFL performance didn't go quite as planned, so he might need to work a bit more in the Minors. He's likely to head to Triple-A with his fastball-slider combination, waiting for another shot.

Jefry Marte, 3B: Signed as part of the same international class as Flores (above) and Mejia (below) in 2007, Marte is another young (17) and talented infielder in the system. His incredibly quick bat helped him lead the Rookie Gulf Coast League with a .930 OPS last summer. He has a pretty good idea at the plate, especially considering his age, and he should hit for average and power. A good athlete, it's too early to tell whether he'll be able to stick at third. For now, he could form an exciting left side of the infield with Flores in Savannah.

Fernando Martinez, OF: People may be tired of hearing his name by now, but the truth remains that he's still just 20 years old. Yes, he's been injured a lot more than you'd like to see, but there's still a lot to like about his game. He hit extremely well this winter in the Dominican Republic and even ended up on the Dominican roster for the Caribbean Series. He's still got plus bat speed and power potential and if he can stay on the field long enough, this could be the season everyone gets to see it in Queens for the first time.

Jenrry Mejia, RHP: Another 2007 signee, Mejia more than held his own at age 17 in the New York-Penn League, holding older hitters to a .209 average against there. He's got a fastball that touches the upper-90s and there might even be a little more there as he gets older. He's got a nasty offspeed pitch to go with it, though his breaking ball lags behind. He'll need to do some work with his delivery to improve his command, but there's definitely plenty to work with here. His stuff could look great in the bullpen, but it's far too soon to worry about that.

Jonathon Niese, LHP: The pick for MLB.com's Pitcher of the Year in the Mets organization last year, Niese's commitment to conditioning and nutrition helped him take off in 2008. He went from Double-A to the big leagues, leading the organization in strikeouts along the way. The lefty has excellent command of three pitches and repeats his delivery well. His out pitch is his curve and he can throw it whenever he wants in the count. He's very much in contention for the Mets' No. 5 spot in the rotation this spring.

Bobby Parnell, RHP: Using a heavy fastball and an above-average slider, Parnell made a seamless transition to the Mets bullpen last last year and pitched well in some key situations. When shortened up, he was touching the upper-90s and he can get plenty of groundballs thanks to the sink on the pitch. He's got a changeup which isn't bad at times, meaning he might still be able to start -- a role he continued to work on in the AFL. For now, though, he's competing for a big-league job in the bullpen and that might be his best long-term home.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.