AAA – Las Vegas 51s
Alan Dykstra – The reigning PCL Player of the Week hit .481/.611/1.000 (13-for-27) with five doubles and three homers and nine walks in his last nine games.
Wilmer Flores – After a slow start, Flores has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, going .295/.385/.455 in that time with four extra-base hits and six walks.
There are not a lot of good candidates for this award. Cesar Puello’s .619 OPS is the lowest among the Vegas regulars, but he’s 5-for-11 in his last two games with a triple. He’s really helping get himself out with two walks in 71 plate appearances, a walk rate of under 3%. Yuck.
Jacob deGrom is fourth in the PCL in ERA (1.57), fifth in WHIP (0.96) and fifth in lowest batting average against (.200). DeGrom believes his broken finger, suffered right before Spring Training in 2013, threw his mechanics out of whack last year, and he fought the whole year to get them back.
Thor. The 20-year-old Noah Syndergaard has been far from immortal in his last three starts: 14 IP, 17 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 7 BB, 10 K – 5.79 ERA with opponents hitting .304/.375/.464 against him. He’s still the best prospect in the system, he’s just had three lousy starts in the PCL. It happens.
AA – Binghamton Mets
SS/2B Matt Reynolds has hit safely in nine straight games and is sitting at .364/.435/.418 in 15 games for the B-Mets.
The 23-year-old knows who is as a hitter:
“I’ve never been a power hitter in my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be,” Reynolds said. “I just try to hit line drives consistently and consistently make solid contact and have good (at-bats).” (Lynn Worthy, Press & Sun Bulletin)
Reynolds did not hit much last year, and his comments about how that impacted his outlook on the game are pretty self-aware:
“My mental aspect of staying positive and everything wasn’t there last year. I got down on myself, and I beat myself up too much.
Even if I hit a ball hard right at somebody, I’d be mad about it, but this year I’m just trying to stay positive and always take positivity off of something.”
Jeff Paternostro, who scouted Reynolds recently for Amazin’ Avenue, sees his upside as a bench player- a “Justin Turner with a little more on-base ability.”
Reynolds is basically the same guy he was last year, but he’s had more singles fall. Lets check on the walk and strikeout ratios in a month. In the early season, his walk and strikeout look similar to last year, if a bit better in both dimensions, while he’s hit for slightly less power. When his batting average regresses, his whole stat line will as well.
A week shy of his 25th birthday, Vaughn is hitting .106/.218/.170 in 14 games. He’s 3-for-his-last-33 (.090), although all three hits have been doubles.
Rainy Lara’s 1.47 ERA is superficially impressive, and he allowed just one unearned run in his last 13 innings of work. However, over those same 13 innings, he’s struck out four and walked three of the 45 batters to face him. That’s not very good.
Hansel Robles walked seven batters in 4.2 innings in his last start. Yeah.
Brandon Nimmo – Nimmo has actually had three hitless games in his last six, but he’s still fourth in the FSL in batting average, tied for second in hits, third in walks, fourth in on-base percentage and tops in runs scored as part of a .360/.467/.467 line in 19 games. He’s walking in 16.7% of his plate appearances which is just a monster number and his strikeout rate is down from 27% in the SAL last year to 21% this year. the major hole in his offensive game is his power, but I’m still reasonably optimistic that it will come as he learns to pick pitches to drive.
Dilson Herrera – The little dude has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games while hitting .375/.414/.500 in those contests. Just past his 20th birthday in March, he’s tied with Nimmo for second in the FSL in hits and is 10th in batting average as part of a .333/.389/.432 line in 19 games.
Aderlin Rodriguez – Last 10 games: .286/.348/.452. Half of his 12 hits have gone for extra bases (5 doubles and a triple). Now the bad news: his on-base percentage in that time was sustained by three extra-base hits and one walk. He’s walked twice all season in 85 PA, a rate of 2.3%. That’s not going to work. The power plays, but he must become more selective to leverage his strength.
OF Eudy Pina is off to a .169/.244/.225 start with 21 strikeouts in 18 games at age 23.
Heading into Thursday’s start, Steven Matz is 10th in the FSL in ERA (2.00). The 23-year-old’s 24% strikeout rate is sixth in the FSL, and he’s doing it against a sharp 4.2% walk rate. He took a no-hitter into the sixth in his last start. He’s off to a great start to the year.
Two pitchers who rolled through the SAL in 2013, Gabriel Ynoa and Luis Cessa have each scuffled to start the year. Neither is missing bats. Ynoa, who will not turn 21 until May, has a 5.40 ERA through four starts with an 11/3 K/BB ratio and a 12% strikeout rate.
Cessa has allowed 20 hits in his 17 innings to reach his 4.24 ERA with a 6/5 K/BB ratio and an 8% strikeout rate.
A – Savannah Sand Gnats
Jeff McNeil - This should be a new name for all but the most hard-core of Mets Minor League watchers. In his last 12 games, the 22-year-old has hit .370/.434/.652 with eight extra-base hits (5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR), four walks and four strikeouts. Sure, his .366 BABIP is high, but the left-handed hitter is scorching the ball. Overall, he’s leading the SAL in doubles (8), tied for the lead in extra-base hits (11) and is fourth in slugging (.563).
The Mets drafted McNeil in the 12th round last year out of Long Beach State where he was primarily a second baseman, although he played a little outfield and shortstop. This year, late in Spring Training, when he was hitting the ball well, the Mets told him to go play third, a position he had never played as a professional OR an amateur. In fact, he’s played relatively little baseball – only one year of high school ball. He was primarily a golfer in high school, but in his one season at Nipomo HS, he was the team MVP. That ball-striking ability and golf pedigree is reflected in his current swing.
The rail-thin McNeil is growing up as a baseball player in a hurry, last year, he had 11 extra-base hits in 47 games with Kingsport on his way to an .080 isolated slugging percentage. He already has 11 extra-base hits 17 games into this season on his way to a .250 isolated slugging percentage.
Dominic Smith – The 18-year-old has hit .105/.205/.105 (5 BB, 5 K) in his last 11 games on his way to a .167/.227/.167 line through 17 games. The one piece of good news: he’s not striking out obscenely – just 12% of the time so far. The 2013 first round pick is just not doing much damage on contact.
Akeel Morris Out of the Savannah bullpen, he’s allowed just three hits in 11.2 innings with a 19/7 K/BB ratio. However, he’s walked at least one batter in each of his five outings. I’d like to see him start, or at least used as a tandem starter. Remember, an eye-popping SAL reliever’s k-rate is no guarantee of future success; ask Jack Leathersich, or Bret Mitchell to cherrypick only a few Mets examples. Speaking of silly k-rates….
LHP Dario Alvarez has fanned 17 and walked 4 in 12.1 innings in one start and a pair of relief outings. He’s allowed six hits and no runs. Alvarez, who’s now 25, pitched in the DSL for the Phillies in 2007-2009, but never made it stateside. He did not throw in a professional game in America 2010-2012. The Mets saw him in Venezuela in winterball in 2012 where he made three appearances and threw 5.1 innings total. That was enough to earn a tryout, and then a contract, and then a placement in Brooklyn where he made 12 starts with a 3.10 ERA with 57 strikeouts agains 26 walks. I’ve only had one look at him, but he’s throwing well.
I’ve been driving the Chris Flexen bandwagon for a few years, but after three starts, he’s allowed 20 hits in 16 innings and has an 8/7 K/BB ratio.
Kevin McGowan, last year’s 13th round pick, has a 5.27 ERA and an 11/6 K/BB ratio in 13.2 innings over two starts.
Gabriel Ynoa allowed three earned runs over six innings. He allowed eight hits and struck out four. Dilson Herrera picked up a single. Brandon Nimmo struck out twice. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Ricky Knapp struck out eight in five innings. Akeel Morris struck out three in three innings. Dominic Smith had a RBI sac-fly, Matt Oberste had two doubled, scoring once. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Double-A Binghamton’s game was postponed due to inclement weather.
Las Vegas pounded out 21 hits and 21 runs against El Paso. Allan Dykstra and Matt den Dekker both homered. Dykstra and Eric Campbell each doubled twice. Wilmer Flores went 2-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Dykstra and den Dekker each drove in five and scored four times. Campbell drove in three. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Hansel Robles struggled, walking seven and allowing three runs (two earned), in just 4 2/3 innings. Cory Vaughn, Matt Clark and Kyle Johnson all doubled. Kevin Plawecki and Jayce Boyd each drove in one. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Toby Hyde and Robert Brender say goodbye to Ike Davis, break down the broken offense, and get expert advice from DraftStreet.com about Mets fantasy baseball.
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Matt Harvey…the bird is the word!
Goodbye Ike, what did we get?
The offense is not good, why? (16:10)
Matt Birnbach from DraftStreet.com calls in (29:50)
Mets fantasy values and advice
Special offer from DraftStreet.com
One Good Thing, One Bad Thing (37:35)
Good: Bullpen lately, Jenrry Mejia
Bad: Valverde lately, Camo Unis (good idea, bad execution)
Toby Hyde, Mets Minor League Blog:
“I feel like I have something to prove this year,” Michael Fulmer said.
His 2014 is off to an up and down start with two poor outings sandwiched around one good one.
Coming off a promising 2012 season with the Savannah Sand Gnats, Fulmer, the Mets’ supplemental first round draft pick in the 2011 draft at No. 44 overall, had his 2013 ruined by a torn meniscus suffered early in spring training. The injury, and the lost development time, are forcing him to repeat the Florida State League in 2014. Fulmer initially felt knee pain after throwing his first live batting practice session of STEP Camp, the pre-Spring Training gathering for Mets top prospects in Port St. Lucie and had surgery to repair his torn meniscus on March 12, 2013.
A setback in May postponed his return to game action back to June 25, when he first appeared in a Gulf Coast League game.
After two rehab starts in the GCL, Fulmer progressed to the advanced Single-A Florida State League where he made seven starts beginning on July 7. While his top-line ERA of 3.44 over 34 innings was fine, his peripheral stats were unexceptional. He fanned 29 and walked 19 for a strikeout rate of 20 percent and a walk rate of 12 percent. For context, the average FSL ERA in 2013 was 3.70, with a 19 percentstrikeout rate and with an unintentional walk rate of 8 percent. For a top prospect, just barely surpassing the league average in ERA and strikeout rate, while walking batters at 50 percent above average rates will not do.
He admits the knee, and the thought of the knee, bothered him nearly all year.
“It’s a little hard to feel right,” he said of his recovery from surgery. “It’s hard to have that same leg strength as you did before. I’m always conscious of it… It’s always there, it’s always on your mind. You tend to overcompensate for it a little bit. I don’t think I was ever 100 percent because of that. I just didn’t trust my knee like I should have.”
To get ready for 2014, Fulmer, who turned 21 in March, and stands an imposing, barrel-chested 6’3” north of 200 lbs, emphasized stability training for his legs in addition to traditional strength work. The idea was that the balance would help him repeat his mechanics.
St. Lucie Pitching Coach Phil Regan, who worked with Fulmer in 2013, sees the difference two whole knees makes.
“Well, right now, he’s looking much better [than last year] and I think the reason being that he’s healthy,” Regan said by phone.
Balance is a key word and concept for Fulmer and Regan as they refine his delivery.
Regan explains that he and Fulmer have, “worked a lot on his balance, and staying over the ball, instead of coming off. … A lot of it is in your leg kick, where he was kicking up and kicking off balance. When he was throwing the ball, he was falling off to his glovehand side.” The goal instead, Regan said, was to, “try to cut that kick down and get him going directly to home plate, instead of off to the side.”
Fulmer can feel the change.
Eric Campbell and Taylor Teagarden both hit their third home runs of the season, both two-run shots. Cesar Puello went 2-4 with a triple and run scored. Vic Black and Jeff Walters each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Binghamton had only five hits, but four of them were doubles. Jayce Boyd had one of the doubles, walked twice and drove in two. >> Read more at MiLB.com
Las Vegas’ first baseman Allan Dykstra was named the Pacific Coast League’s player of the week.
From the league:
Dykstra dominated opposing pitching staffs this past week with a .450 batting average, ten RBI, and two home runs. The first baseman also compiled a .900 slugging percentage, while helping the 51s to a league best 13-5 record. Dykstra’s .593 on-base percentage was the highest in the PCL last week, and his 12 walks for the season are tied for the fifth-most in the league. His first home run of the season came on April 17th, helping Las Vegas to a 6-0 victory over the Reno Aces. The San Diego native produced six RBI during the 51s’ four-game series win at Reno.
Kevin Plawecki, the Mets first round draft pick in 2012, has worked his way up to Double-A in his age 23 season. In the brief season so far, the catcher is hitting .286 with a .359 OBP and .343 slugging percentage. Over three professional seasons, Plawecki had progressed from low Single-A in Brooklyn to Double-A Binghamton, hitting .287 with a .375 OBP.
Robert Brender recently had a chance to talk with Plawecki about his experience in major league camp in 2014 and his development behind the plate and at the dish…
Brender: You spent the majority of Spring Training in big league camp this year. How was the experience and what did you take from it?
Plawecki: It was a great opportunity and a great honor to be invited to big league Spring Training. It was my first one. Just being in the same locker room as David Wight and Granderson and everybody in that locker room who have been in the big leagues before, it was good being around them and getting to know them. From a baseball standpoint, learning from the other catchers, the other four guys in camp who have all been in the big leagues at one point or another. It was just great to get to know them and pick their brains when I could and just take it all in. It was a lot of fun.
Brender: As a young catcher, is it more important for you right now to work on your defensive game or offense and how tough is it to not lose track of one or the other?
Plawecki: Well, I don’t think you can focus on one. It’s important to be a complete player and nice to have both. I try to stay consistent with them every day, with my hitting routine, and take each at-bat one at a time and try to simplify the game as much as I can. Defensive-wise, I’ve been working on some things. Just trying to get to know the pitching staff and work with the pitchers really well and win ballgames. Ultimately, we’re here to develop but it’s always nice to win in the process.
Brender: When you were at Spring Training did you notice a tremendous difference catching pitchers who have big league experience and did that change what you need to do behind the plate?
Plawecki: A little bit. They’re in the big leagues for a reason. The biggest thing I noticed was the consistency, really. They throw all their pitches for strikes when they need to and also nibble the corners a little bit more than some guys. But that’s what the Minor Leagues are for, to get to that level. A big thing for me in Spring Training, working with the older veteran guys, was not being afraid to talk to them if I saw something or to see what pitches they threw in certain situations. Getting to know them, so when I got into games I was comfortable with knowing what pitches they throw and what their strengths were. I think it was overall a good experience.
Brender: Do members of the Mets organization talk to you regularly about their hitting philosophy and what they want you to work on as a hitter?
Plawecki: It’s pretty simple really, just getting good pitches to hit, getting yourself in good count to hit in and make sure you put a good swing on the ball. Not chasing borderline pitches and not chasing balls in the dirt. Taking walks along with the hits. It’s all about just being on base. If you’re on base it allows for more runs to be scored. Everybody has bought into that system and its really worked out for us. So far, here in Binghamton, we’ve had some really good games and really good at-bats and we’ve had a lot of base runners. It makes the game a lot more fun, gets the batter more RBI situations and ultimately win ball games. Just finding a way, any way to get on base is the majority of the thing. To read more of this story, click here
Jacob deGrom struck out six over five innings. He allowed three earned runs to score on six hits and two walks. Las Vegas pounded out 12 hits, including three home runs. Bobby Abreu, Danny Muno and Allan Dykstra all homered. Muno went 4-4 and drove in four runs, while Abreu drove in three and Dykstra drove in two. Wilmer Flores, playing shortstop, went 1-2 with three walks and three runs scored.
Ex-Met Jeff Francoeur threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning for El Paso.