The Weekend in Buffalo: Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Lucas Duda

Lets play catch-up on important happenings affiliate by affiliate as the minor league season enters its home stretch.

Saturday: Scranton W/B Yankees 5, @ Buffalo Bisons 1
Sunday: @ Buffalo Bisons 9, Pawtucket Red Sox 3 

The Bisons rolled out two good arms, Zack Wheeler Saturday and Jenrry Mejia Sunday and won once.

Wheeler’s line in his second AAA start: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. He issued two of the walks in his sixth inning. Perhaps he was fatigued, or had trouble gripping the baseball in a sideways rainstorm. On the whole, he again showed off his explosive fastball. It was 96 mph early, and then 93-96 throughout the game according to the velocity calls of the Bisons’ broadcast. Both his curve and slider were sharp and produced swings and misses. I don’t recall many changeups, I remember he threw one that missed down.

In 10.2 innings in AAA with the Bisons, Wheeler has given up five hits but walked 7 while striking out 11. Triple-A hitters, like double-A hitters are having trouble squaring up his stuff. It’s that good. The issue simply is that he still has trouble controlling his weapons.

While I watched almost all of Wheeler’s start on Sunday, I never could get the stream to work on Sunday for Jenrry Mejia’s start. His line: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Consider that in six starts with the Bisons this year, three in his initial rehab from Tommy John surgery and three since a failed move to the bullpen, he has a 0.95 ERA (3 ER/28.1 IP) with a .206 opponents’ batting average while in 16 outing out of the bullpen he’s run a 5.48 ERA (13 ER/21.1 IP) on a .303 opponents’ batting average. That makes it look like he’s been clearly better as a starter. And he has. But those numbers overstate the case. Add his unearned runs back into the calculation and his ERA as a starter rises to 3.18 R/9 (10 R/28.1 IP) compared to a R/9 as a reliever of 6.34 R/9 (15 R/21.1 IP). His K/BB ratio was 10/9 out of the bullpen and is 14/9 as a starter – put simply not great in either role.

The WFAN broadcast on Sunday evening discussed the idea that the Mets would bring Mejia and Familia up as relievers when rosters expand in September. Given the control problems each as experience in AAA, they might not offer much more than new bodies.

Lucas Duda missed three games with root canal surgery and subsequent complications, but returned with a vengeance on Sunday, going 3-for-5 with two doubles. He’s hit .367/.441/.667 with three doubles and two homers and four walks against six strikeouts in his eight games in August. Sure looks like he’s getting comfortable again.