Those wishing to learn about the ups and downs of various prospects scattered throughout the Mets’ minor league system could do worse than pay attention to the reporting of the Newark Star Ledger’s Eli Gelman. They could, for instance, read back issues of Hello! magazine, which feature little to no coverage of the Mets’ stars of tomorrow.

On broadcasts of Hagerstown Suns games, the announcer refers to Dante Brinkley as “The Inferno.”

Brinkley (above), the starting left fielder for Hagerstown, laughs at the nickname he has been given for being the team’s top hitter.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay even-keeled and not get too high or low,” said Brinkley, hitting .371 with 12 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 32 RBI through Sunday’s games. “I don’t look at my stats. I don’t think I’m Dante’s Inferno like everyone else. I’m just picking up a couple hits and minimizing the 0-for-4 games.”

Brinkley’s maturity has impressed his manager Gene Richards, who calls the 23-year-old “a gamer” and said he reminds him of Darin Erstad, the first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whom he coached as a roving instructor with the club.

“He’s a throwback. He reminds you of an old-time ballplayer who wants to fight if things don’t go right,” Richards said. “He’s my leader. Players tend to listen to their peers and Dante’s not afraid to tell guys what he sees. He criticizes, points them in the right direction.

“He’ll bunt, hit and run, throws his body around out there, will go into the wall. He does a lot of the dirty work that others wouldn’t do.”

Gelman also notes that the Mets’ no. 1 pick from the 2004 draft, Rice’s Phillip Humber (above), allowed 7 earned runs and 8 hits in 3 innings of work against the Yankees’ FSL Tampa affiliate last Wednesday. Compared to fellow ’04 Big 12 grad Huston Street (seen collecting the win in Oakland’s come from behind victory over Tampa Bay late last night), Humber’s path to the big leagues should be a bit longer.