200 Miles From the Citi

March 10, 2010 6:15 AM

A Peek At The Future

F_Martinez.JPGFar be it for me to anoint anyone as "The Next Big Thing"...I've seen too many busts to get my hopes way too high.

In the disappointing prospects category, there's the whole Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher trio.

As far as false hopes in Spring Training, there's Butch Huskey - he would have been a first-ballot Spring Training Hall of Famer.

All that said, though, this year's crop of youngsters has me excited about what could be with the Mets.

Let's shelve the Brad Holt talk for a bit - he doesn't seem to be factoring into the Mets' immediate plans (though, mark my words, you'll hear from him sometime).

There's a big three that will merit watching this year, even if all three start the season in the minors - and even if they never make it to the Major Leagues with the Mets (I wouldn't put it past the parent club to deal a combination of these players for immediate help at the Major League level).

They are Fernando Martinez (left), Ike Davis, and Jenrry Mejia.

I'll start with Mejia, because he's probably the least likely to be making an appearance in the Majors anytime soon.  But the Mets might as well bring him straight to the Majors, because they're already screwing with the baseball gods.  Every time one of the Mets brass talks about Mejia, they compare him to someone - Pedro Martinez, or Dwight Gooden - where the expectations, already high, are just going to skyrocket.  Why can't they just say he's a very good pitcher who has a chance to be even better?  They're even comparing him to Johan Santana, then following that up with the idea that he is the ace-in-waiting for when Santana's time is done.  I don't think that's fair to him.  I wish the PR machine would jam up on this guy and just let him pitch, and not build up unrealistic expectations prematurely.

Fernando Martinez made his Major League debut in late May last year, played for a little more than a month, and then suffered a season-ending injury in early July.  Early returns on a successful recovery are positive, as he has started this spring hitting .588 with two homers in five games.  The Mets have already broken the ice on Martinez by bringing him up last year - I think he's ready to contribute.  Unfortunately, I don't know how much room on the roster there is for him - he could easily fill in for Carlos Beltran, but then he'd take a backseat to Beltran when he returns.  The Mets aren't moving Jason Bay or Jeff Francoeur, so it looks like Martinez will get the chance to play every day in the minors and then look at a call-up if needed.

Ike Davis could be the reason Daniel Murphy's stay at first base is short.  The talk is that Davis is good with the glove, and he's been Huskey-esque in Spring Training, belting two homers in eight games and hitting .524.  If he starts in the minors and continues at that kind of pace, it will be hard for the Mets to ignore the numbers in an effort to protect a young player from being brought up too soon.

It's still too early in Spring Training to know that these hot starts are going to continue straight through the season.

But it sure is fun to think about some future talent on a team that wasn't supposed to have any.

Of course, we only have to look back to the 1995-1996 era to remember that these futures and spring performances don't always pan out with the Mets - Isringhausen, Wilson, and Pulsipher are examples.  And so is the 1B/3B/OF on those teams - Butch Huskey.

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