Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mets' Top 10 Prospects - 1981

When I wrote that the 1967 crop featuring Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman was probably the strongest group of prospects the Mets ever had, I was weighting it heavily on the future success of those three pitchers. But in terms of potential and depth, it would be hard to top the 1981 list.

Here's what a list of the Top 10 Mets' Prospects for 1981 may have looked like. Injuries and addictions certainly played a role in limiting the success of some of these players, but it was a talent-rich group.

1. Tim Leary rhp - Just off a season where he was the best pitcher in the Texas League as a first-year pro, Leary looked like the best Mets' pitching prospect since Seaver.

2. Daryl Strawberry of - The previous season's #1 draft pick now had a half season of pro ball under his belt and though he was far from dominant, his star potential shone through.

3. Mookie Wilson of - The International League's All Star Centerfielder would soon make Lee Mazzilli expendable leading to a chain of deals that brought the Mets Ron Darling and Howard Johnson.

4. Hubie Brooks - if/of - The Mets hadn't yet decided if Hubie would be an infielder or outfielder, but he was coming off a solid year in AAA and looked major league ready.

5. Wally Backman 2b/ss- Tidewater's switch-hitting second baseman would later abandon righthanded hitting and emerge as a solid #2 hitter and gritty infielder.

6. Rick Ownbey rhp - with a big year at Class A Lynchburg followed by a successful stint at AA Memphis, Ownbey was coming on as a future star in the Mets' rotation. He never made it, but was a valuable chip in the Keith Hernandez trade.

7. Mike Scott rhp - Tidewater's #1 starter was ready for the big leagues although he wouldn't blossom until dealt away.

8. Ed Lynch rhp - a solid starter for Tidewater who was pencilled in as a likely #4 starter type, which is just what he became.

9. Juan Berenguer rhp - The International League's strikeout leader, he was a strong candidate to shift to the bullpen, where he enjoyed a measure of big league success although not with the Mets.

10. Brian Giles 2b - this smooth-fielding second baseman hit .286 in the Texas League and it looked like his glove could propel him ahead of Backman as the 2nd baseman of the future.

2 Comments:

Anonymous G-Fafif said...

Barry,

Thanks for the TSN link. In the last half-hour it's already answered two questions I've been toting about for years. It is indeed the best news ever.

Greg

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Scott actually broke in in 1979, beating the Giants 10-5. I remember the umpires were on strike and MLB used minor league umps at the time. There was a big controversial play in the outfield that showed the umps' inexperience. Scott was never friendly to hometown fans and always refused to sign autographs, despite being a mediocre pitcher at the time.
I recall all the hype about Tim Leary. He made his major league debut in freezing temps at Wrigley and hurt his arm and was never the same. Critics always blamed Joe Torre for that one.

1:28 PM  

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