Wednesday in AA: Two Homers = Hail Cesar

AA: Binghamton Mets 3, @ Trenton Thunder 1 

Puello ST Stance (BeGreen90)Start here with the most important thing: RF Cesar Puello homered twice, doubling his season total from two to four. Puello now owns a 15-game hitting streak over which time he is hitting .327/.373/.655 with eight extra-base hits (and for what it’s worth a .378 BABIP). Puello’s streak is fairly remarkable too in that he has not drawn a walk in 12 games. Overall, the 22-year old is up to .296/.360/.531 in 24 games in AA. Here’s a crazy stat from Baseball Reference: he has ONE plate appearance this year against a pitcher younger than himself.  He’s big, fast and strong and quite likely a Major League outfielder. The question is whether there’s enough plate discipline and in-game power to be an impact guy on the corner.

Also, for those impatient, and to answer a question I’ve received a few times on Twitter recently, yes there’s a chance that Puello sees some time in Queens this year. He will need 1. to perform and 2. a little bit of help. First, the thing he controls: he will needs to hit his way out of AA and improve his walk rate. Second, the Mets will need to have a hole in the outfield to justify giving Puello a shot. As far as #2 goes, Mets’ outfielders have hit an ugly combined .217/.301/.381 so far, 27th in MLB in wOBA and RC+. I like wRC+, which scales to 100 as average – the Mets’ OF has a collective 91 wRC+ compared to MLB average.  He’s already on the 40-man roster, so that will not be a hurdle. To be clear, we are not talking about Puello as anything like an imminent outfield, but there’s a chance he will make his big league debut in August or September. No guarantee, just a chance.

RHP Logan Verrett had his best start of the year, one of his best as a professional: 8.2, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. The key: he threw 71 of his 99 pitches for strikes. It’s the second time in three starts that Verrett has finished eight innings. In fact, those two 8+ inning starts have accounted for over 50% of his strikeouts this year, as he’s fanned 30 in 47.1 innings for a 16% strikeout rate.