The Kingsport Mets begin their season Thursday night in the Appalachian League. Kingsport, and the Appalachian League, occupies a funny spot spot in the baseball hierarchy as a short -season league with some guys straight out of college and some high school and international players in their second or third year as professionals. The play is ragged, more so than the New York-Penn League, but the players are a little stronger, and less raw then the complex leagues.
|15||BROSHER, Brandon||1||R/R||6’3″||225||2/17/95||Spring Hill, FL||GCL||13/Mets/36th Round|
|4||GARCIA, Jose||S/R||6’0″||185||11/3/94||Estado Yaracuy, Venezuela||GCL||11/Mets/NDFA|
|55||LEAL, Miguel||R/R||6’0″||184||7/4/90||Cabudare, Venzuela||DSL||10/Mets/NDFA|
The Mets went overslot to sign Brosher for $167,500 in the 36th round in 2013 (the slot for all picks below the 11th is $100,000). He didn’t hit for average in his pro debut last summer, but he saw pitches and showed a little pop as part of a .180/.324/.344 line with 3 homers, 12 walks and 23 strikeouts in 22 games in the GCL. It’s an interesting beginning to a profile, as he’s listed at 6’3″, which is about the maximum size to stay a viable defensive catcher.
|NO.||INFIELDERS (9)||YRS||B/T||HT||WT||DOB||RESIDENCE||2013 CLUB||DRAFT HISTORY|
|3||CANELON, Leon||R/R||5’11″||150||9/10/91||Baruisimeto, Venezuela||GCL||10/Mets/NDFA|
|13||GUILLORME, Luis||1||L/R||5’10″||170||9/27/94||Davie, FL||GCL||13/Mets/10th Round|
|5||KAUPE, Branden||2||S/R||5’7″||175||4/10/94||Wailuka, HI||GCL||12/Mets/4th Round|
|34||MATHIEU, Zach||1||R/R||6’7″||265||11/25/91||Derry, NH||Kingsport||13/Mets/16th Round|
|21||PEREZ, Pedro||2||R/R||6’1″||190||8/31/94||Cartagea, Colombia||Kingsport||10/Mets/NDFA|
|1||RODRIGUEZ, Jean Carlos||S/R||6’0″||157||9/3/92||Santo Domingo, DR||GCL||10/Mets/NDFA|
|24||ORTEGA, Luis||R/R||5’10″||170||8/19/90||Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic||DSL||09/Mets/NDFA|
|44||GARCIA, Eudor||0||R/R||6’1″||215||5/17/94||El Paso, TX||El Paso CC||14/Mets/4th Round|
- Luis Guillorme, selected las year is a slick defender and should play everyday at shortstop. He had a 1:1 strikeout to walk ration in the GCL last year 17 K/17 K as part of a .258/.330/.283 line in 41 games.
- Eudor Garcia is this year’s 4th rounder out of El Paso CC. Baseball America’s John Manuel called him “one of the best hitters in the draft,” who “rakes.”
- I saw the best game of Pedro Perez’s career when he homered twice on July 3, 2013. I stuck him at #40 on my preseason list, but repeating the Appalachian league where he .264/.314/./365 in 45 games last year is a poor sign.
- Branden Kaupe was a surprise as a fourth rounder two years ago, he began in Kingsport two years ago, and then went down the GCL last year where he hit just .214/.354/.214 in 41 games. Still just 20, it’s about time for him for the little guy (5’7″, 175 lbs) to show something in game action in his third year as a professional.
|NO.||OUTFIELDERS (5)||B/T||HT||WT||DOB||RESIDENCE||2013 CLUB||DRAFT HISTORY|
|2||BECERRA, Wuilmer||R/R||6’4″||190||10/1/94||Caracas, Venezuela||GCL||12/Toronto/NDFA|
|47||CARABALLO, Oswald||R/R||6’2″||180||1/5/93||Cuidad Bilivar, Venezuela||GCL||10/Mets/NDFA|
|27||LUPO, Vicente||R/R||6’0″||180||11/26/93||Caracas, Venezuela||GCL||10/Mets/NDFA|
|22||WILSON, Ivan||R/R||6’3″||220||5/26/95||Ruston, LA||GCL||13/Mets/3rd Rd|
This is the most fun unit.
- Wilson was last year’s third round pick out of high school in Louisiana. He was a big, raw athlete who will play centerfield everyday. He walked a lot (12%), and struck out a ton (35%) in the GCL last year, with a .219/.321/.300 line with 8 extrabase hits in 47 games.
- Becerra came to the Mets with Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and John Buck for R.A. Dickey after signing with the Blue Jays for $1.3 million as an amateur. The Mets chose to take it slow with him after he played in just 11 games in 2012, when a pitch fractured his jaw, and sent him back to the GCL in 2013 where he hit .243/.351/.295 in 52 games.
- This group is a little thin, but the name to watch is Andrew Church, who was the Mets’ second-round pick in June 2013 out of high school in Nevada. He signed under slot for $850,000. At the time he was drafted, the Mets hoped that with a solid three-pitch mix and a fastball at 90-93, he could turn into a mid-rotation starter. I had Church ranked #28 on my preseason Mets Top 41.
- Connor Buchmann, this year’s 11th round pick out of Oklahoma, is quite a project. He appeared in only five games for the Sooners this year, and in 12 innings, he allowed six hits, and 12 (!) walks to go with 11 strikeouts. He’s not a big guy – listed at 6’1″, 190 lbs – but he’s a recent convert to pitching and throws 95 mph and even 98 mph in his back pocket according to his junior college coach at Howard College.
- There seems to be a discrepancy on multiple pitchers’ ages: Yoan Gonzalez and Luis Rengel. The Mets media guide, and this roster list him with an August 1995 birthday, which would make him 18 years old at the moment. MiLB.com and all of the official MLB sources list Gonzalez with January 1991 birthday, which would make him 23 years old now. Rengel is listed on the roster as having a February 1995 birthday which would make him 18, but MiLB.com has him with a March 1990 birthday, making him 24. Given that he’s already been pitching in the Mets’ system for five years, there is no way he is 18.
- The Mets paid Montgomery $250,000 in the 11th round in 2011 when they went on a run of HS hurlers that included Robert Gsellm an in the 13th round. Montgomery missed almost all of last season when he was suspended 50 games (timed to start at the beginning of the Appalachian League season) for a second violation of the MiLB drug policy for a drug of abuse. He’s thrown in just five games since he was drafted three years. It’s time to get going, or move aside.
- Ismael Tijerina is making the conversion from infielder to pitcher full-time this year. He was a career .235/.317/.281 hitter between the VSL, Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah and Brooklyn. But hey, the 6’0″ has a good arm, so even though he’ll be 25 in August, maybe this will extend his life in professional baseball.
- There are five guys from late in the 2014 draft: David Roseboom (17th), Bryce Beeler (19th), James Duff (20th), Nicco Blank (25th), and Matt Blackham (29th).