I’m having a hard time reconciling a few things. When Sandy Alderson arrived in October of 2010, one consistent message had been that a major order of business was the need to rebuild a “barren” farm system. Now, it is June of 2014, and I have seen a lot of praise for this part of his GM job. The narrative is that, sure, the team stinks every year, but Sandy is re-stocking the farm, especially with young pitchers.
Well, two very intriguing young pitchers made the 2014 Mets out of spring training, Jennry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Both of them were signed by Omar Minaya, and were part of the supposedly barren farm system Sandy inherited. That didn’t compute for me, but I figured, okay, that’s just two guys. Then I looked a little further. Of the pitching prospects we hear about with the Mets, the following were signed or drafted by Omar Minaya.
- Gabriel Ynoa, signed as an international free agent in 2009
- Jake DeGrom, drafted in the ninth round in 2010
- Steven Matz, drafted in the second round in 2009
- Rainy Lara, signed as an international free agent in 2009
- Hansel Robles, signed as an international free agent
- Domingo Tapia, signed as an international free agent
So when he took the GM job, Sandy Alderson inherited a minor league system with the list above, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Meija, and Jeurys Familia. If these pitchers are no good our system is a mess. They all show up regularly in our top prospect lists. And if they are the real deal, isn’t it fair to say Alderson inherited a pretty good farm system?
You neglected to mention Montero, a Sandy signing only by technicality. Montero was identified and scouted by Omar’s guys, contracted just weeks after Sandy decorated his office . . .
So I agree with your thesis. The narrative on Omar has always been off base. But, you know, that’s common in history. There’s the immediate reaction , then time passes, and we read a new cycle of revisionist history that (often) benefits from cold distance and greater objectivity. More facts, less emotion. Whatever anyone thinks of Obama now, it will take at least another 20 years for his full impact to be properly assessed.
Look, I don’t think Omar did a great job with the system, and Bernazard killed his credibility, but Omar was always in a win-now mode. He signed free agents, lost high draft picks, traded away players in an effort to win. And for a while, it worked. Sandy’s task has been much easier, since the worry of winning has not been a concern.
Sandy was hired to work in a very different economic environment than Minaya. Omar was clearly a GM who liked to work the checkbook, and he wasn’t careful with it. After Madoff his style was never going to work, so I understand why he was asked to leave. But just like Sandy is working a plan, Omar was working one, too. There was money available, and he decided he was going to work the free agent market aggressively. This cost the team high draft picks most years, but Omar was very active in the International free agent market. That is where most of the players above have come from, and a couple of non-pitchers too, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores.
I’m not a minor league maven the way some people are, but I have followed Mets prospects for the past 45 years. I had all those Topps baseball cards and looked forward to the arrival of Tim Leary and Terry Leach, Juan Berenguer and Joey Ramone.
Sandy just oversaw his 4th draft as Mets GM. In fairness, a GM probably needs 5-6 drafts and then another 5-10 years on top of that in order for any of us to make a valid assessment. There’s a lot that’s impossible to know at this time.
And by “impossible” I mean: No way, no how, nobody knows.
What irks me, at times, is the “truth” that’s widely accepted by some of the true believers. That Sandy has done this great job with the system, based on very little evidence. I mean, he certainly hasn’t worked wonders.
There are very few potential prospects or players above A-ball in the Mets organization that were drafted or signed by Alderson. But as we are seeing now with the blossoming of Minaya’s acquisitions, it takes years to get a full picture. Maybe some day players such as Nimmo, Smith, Plawecki, and Rosario will be Mets stars. Until that time the Mets need to rely on the talent that Sandy inherited.
That might not be so bad.
Yeah, four years later it’s just now starting to pay dividends. I’d love to see a few everyday, homegrown players show up. I don’t think Omar succeeded in that area, but again, tough to do when pursuing a different strategy than, say, the Cubs.
In the end, no great point to make here. Just trying to inject a dose of reality into the oft-told, erroneous story of the Omar Years.
Well, I guess there’s another point, and that’s relying almost exclusively on Farm System, even if it is reasonably good, just ain’t gonna git ‘er done.