During last night’s rain delay, Sandy Alderson came up to the SNY booth to talk to Gary Keith and Ron in an extensive and interesting interview.
Sandy talked about a variety of things- the team’s lack of offense, the David Wright rumors, as well as Ike Davis‘ struggles at the plate- but one thing Sandy spoke about that I absolutely loved was his handle on the minor leagues.
Here is is (h/t Amazin Avenue)
GC: Jeremy Hefner making the start tonight, the third different pitcher that you’ve plugged into that spot that was vacated by Mike Pelfrey‘s injury, and Jeremy’s looked terrific so far, but all every Met fan wants to talk about is Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia. Give us an update on the young pitchers and give us, if you can, some kind of timetable for what you guys are thinking about with them.
SA: We’ve got actually three of those pitchers will be in Triple-A as of tomorrow. Jenrry Mejia will be going up there and continuing his rehab stint. He pitched in Binghamton today, so we’ll have Harvey, Familia, and Mejia all at Triple-A, and, of course, Zack Wheeler is at Double-A. What I’ve tried to say in the past is that, not of all four, but certainly Harvey, Wheeler, and Familia at this point, their development is independent of anything that we may or may not need at this level, at least at this stage. Their development right now is more important than any short-term benefit that we might get. Harvey’s pitched well, hasn’t pitched great, we’d love to see him pitch more consistently and well over time. Familia has had some command issues. Mejia is just coming back. You know, I could see Jenrry, perhaps, in the bullpen later this year, just depending on what our need is because I think that if we handle his injury right that he could probably benefit us in that way potentially down the road.
Wheeler was lights out yesterday, apparently. J.P. Ricciardi was there and said he was major league caliber yesterday, but he’s still at Double-A and I would not expect him to move anytime soon. But in Wheeler’s case, I think we’d be doing well if we were to get him a month or two months of Triple-A ball if his performance warrants it, and then we’ll see what those guys at Triple-A do, and if they’re able to string together some solid performances and depending on what our needs are here, we’ll see. But I want to emphasize that those are cornerstone players, potentially, and we don’t want them to fill roles in the margin for us just because of a short-term need here.
GC: Now it’s interesting what you say there because if you get later in the season — I mean, you’re two games out of first place right now — you get to August or even late July and you’re in a similar spot, does that mean that you might consider pushing them a little faster than you otherwise would?
SA: Well I think it’s going to depend on how they perform between now and then, and, again, I think what you try to do is maintain some independence between what’s going on here and what’s going on with them. But if there’s a merger and it’s not rushing them, it’s just recognizing their further development, then so be it
This is great. It’s a huge contrast to Omar Minaya, who directly connected the big league team’s performance with the development of prospects. If you remember a few years back when, in a desperation move, Omar took Jenrry Mejia off the track to being a starter and put him in the bullpen, which needed the help.. Well, it turns out that Mejia is still being affected by that move. Sandy Alderson isn’t going to make that kind of mistake again.
With pitching prospects, things are very up and down. When evaluating them on a start-to-start basis, you can’t get very high or low on them because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next like you do with major league pitchers. If they string together a couple of good starts in a row, you can’t use that as reason to suddenly call a guy up. A GM should only wants to call up a pitching prospect one time. If the pitcher isn’t completely ready to pitch in the big leagues and stay in the big leagues, don’t call him up. That’s Sandy’s philosophy and I like it.