Mets' Youngsters Performing Well in Arizona Fall League

Patrick MurraySenior Analyst IOctober 26, 2008

The Arizona Fall League is a six-team league in the Phoenix area created by Major League Baseball. The purpose is to give prospects some extra playing time and hopefully accelerate their path to the majors.

Each MLB team sends six players, most of whom are Double-A and Triple-A players. Each team is allowed to send just one class-A player. No player with more than one year of MLB service is eligible to participate with the exception of Rule 5 draftees. The six AFL teams have 30 players each.

Several of the Mets' representatives already have some Major League experience. The Mets prospects, led by Daniel Murphy, have joined forces with White Sox, Padres, and Cardinals prospects to lead the Peoria Saguaros (11-5) to the best record in the league thus far.

Joining Murphy in the desert are pitchers Eddie Kunz, Bobby Parnell, and Jason Vargas, as well as catcher Josh Thole and third baseman Shawn Bowman.

Bowman and Thole have emerged from the shadows and are hitting .297 and .375, respectively.

After a brief major-league stint that consisted of 2.2 innings in 2008, Kunz is serving as the closer for the Saguaros (a type of cactus). Kunz was superb in his first four innings in the AFL. He didn't allow a run while recording two saves.
Unfortunately, he imploded in his fifth outing, surrendering eight earned runs in just a third of an inning against Mesa. Hopefully, Kunz will be able to recover from this poor outing. He holds an ERA of 12.79 in 6.1 innings for Peoria.

The other Mets pitchers have fared much better. Parnell, who had a 5.40 ERA in five September innings with the big-league club, has a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings in the AFL. In his last outing, Parnell threw four innings while allowing just one hit and striking out five.

Jason Vargas, who was acquired from Florida prior to the 2007 season, has been dominant this fall. Vargas, who was recovering from hip surgery this season, has yet to allow a run in 12.2 innings. Furthermore, he has surrendered just five hits and one walk while striking out seven.

On to the man who everyone is eager to hear about: Daniel Murphy.

Murphy has had quite a fall so far. In 10 games, he has hit .400 with a .480 OBP, two homers, and 11 RBI, and he leads the team with 12 runs scored.

Murphy has been playing second base for Peoria. However, this will probably not be the position he plays in New York. According to Omar Minaya, the Mets' GM, Murphy is seen as the man who will take over for Carlos Delgado at first base, perhaps in 2010. For now, Murphy will likely play the outfield in New York.

The Arizona Fall League season runs up to the week prior to Thanksgiving. The Mets' youngsters and the Saguaros have 22 games remaining.