Upper Levels Thursday: Montero Surgical in 51s Win

AAA: @ Las Vegas 51s 9, Fresno Grizzlies (SF) 2 

Rafael Montero ST 13 (Baron)- Rafael Montero turned in the pitching performance of the night in the Mets system: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 55 of 79 pitches for strikes (70%). According to one eye-witness, he was sitting at 93 and made the Grizzlies look “silly” at times.

- Meanwhile, have a day LF Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The 26-year-old was 4-for-4 with a homer, threw out a runner at the plate, and made a nice running catch near the stands.

- Vic Black is still having control issues. He issued two walks and committed a throwing error, but used a pair of strikeouts to escape the eighth inning without allowing a run.

- Bobby Abreu singled as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning.

- Erik Goeddel worked out the bullpen for the first time as a professional (not counting a few piggy-back appearances with Savannah two years ago) and struck out one in a three-batter ninth.

 

AA: Akron RubberDucks (CLE) 7, @ Binghamton Mets 1 

The B-Mets had four hits, while their pitchers issued 11 walks. That’s not a winning combination.

LHP Jack Leathersich pitched a very Leathery eighth inning in a 4-1 game: 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, no hits. In 29.1 innings in AA last year, he allowed almost as many walks (16) as hits (19) to go with his 55 strikeouts.

Binghamton Mets (Almost) Opening Day Roster

bmetslogoThe B-Mets did not release their roster officially, but thanks to tweets from players and a roster preview story from beat writer Lynn Worthy, we can get pretty close to estimating the complete roster. The best prospect in the group is C Kevin Plawecki, my #11 Mets prospect.

 

Catchers
Kevin Plawecki
Blake Forsythe
Xorge Carillo

 

OF
Darrell Ceciliani
Cory Vaughn
Travis Taijeron
Kyle Johnson

 

Infield
SS Wilfredo Tovar
SS/2B Matt Reynolds
1B Jayce Boyd
1B Matt Clark
3B Dustin Lawley (will also see time in OF)
Util Rylan Sandoval (source)

Rotation
LHP Darin Gorski
RHP Logan Verrett
RHP Matt Bowman
RHP Rainy Lara
RHP Tyler Pill
RHP Greg Peavey

Bullpen
LHP Jack Leathersich
LHP Adam Kolarek
LHP TJ Chism
LHP Hamilton Bennett
LHP Angel Cuan
RHP Chasen Bradford
RHP Cody Satterwhite (source)

 

The list above has 24 players. Binghamton will open with 25, and presumably, I missed a backup infielder, someone like Josh Rodriguez, or TJ Rivera.

The addition of Cody Satterwhite takes this roster to 25 players, 13 pitchers and 12 position players of whom there are three catchers. The Mets could well use the phantom DL to stretch this roster with an extra arm or infielder.

12:40 pm: Adding Sandoval takes this roster to 26 players. It seems likely that only two catchers will be active at a given time.

The guy who seems like he belongs here is RHP Hansel Robles. In his age 22 season in the Florida State League, he ran a 3.72 ERA in 16 games over 84.2 innings with a 66 K/29 BB ratio. That’s not the stuff of stardom, but I figured it would be good enough for a trip to Binghamton, unless he is hurt.

Benches Clear, but Trenton Sweeps BMets

AA: Trenton Thunder 3, @ Binghamton Mets 0

The BMets’ offense scored just once in the final 18 innings and the last two games of this series. So, yeah, they missed the suspended Cesar Puello.

There was a big mess in the seventh inning that began with Xorge Carillo at second and Danny Muno at first. Muno was called out at second on a Wilfredo Tovar ground ball, and got into it with the Trenton middle infielders, which prompted both benches and bullpens to clear.

Ejections:
Trenton Thunder
2B Jose Pirela

Binghamton Mets
Manager Pedro Lopez
SS Wilfredo Tovar
2B Daniel Muno

Logan Verrett was ok: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

Frank Francisco struck out two batters in the ninth, which is nice.

AA Playoffs: Binghamton Slips into 0-2 Hole

AA: @ Trenton Thunder (NYY) 2, Binghamton Mets 1

bmetslogoOne night after their extra-inning heartbreak, the B-Mets lost game two in which Darin Gorksi pitched well, but the offense managed just two singles. The B-Mets did draw six walks in the game.

Gorski’s line: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB 5 K. After flubbing his first shot at AAA this year (17 H, 11 R, 9 BB in 13.2 IP), Gorski has pitched well enough in the second half in AA (46 H, 1.83 ERA in 78.2 IP) in AA to earn another shot in AAA to begin next year.

The B-Mets’ only hits belonged to SS Wilfredo Tovar (who was 1-for-3 with a walk) and 3B Josh Rodriguez (who homered in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1).

The B-Mets try to avoid elimination Friday night when the series shifts to Binghamton.

By the way, both C Kevin Plawecki and SS Matt Reynolds are traveling with Binghamton, but neither is on the team’s active playoff roster. Both players will only be activated if there is an injury or emergency need at their positions.

Down to their Final Out, Trenton Rallies to Beat the BMets

AA: @ Trenton Thunder 6, Binghamton Mets 5 (10 innings)

bmetshatUh-oh. The Mets used a walk, a single, a bunt and a sacrifice fly from Wilfredo Tovar and an RBI single from Josh Rodriguez to take a 5-3 lead.

The Mets handed the ball to Jeff Walters, who retired the first two batters of the tenth. Then the next five batters went: double, single (run scores), single, single (run scores), single (game winning run scores).

Noah Syndergaard, who has been on a short leash for the last month working just 18 innings in August, allowed two runs in the first and little else: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Zach Mort, at times he was working 98-100 with “life”and throwing his hard curve at 78-79 mph with “bite.” There’s little question he’s the Mets’ top pitching prospect at this point.

The Ghost of Frank Francisco handled the seventh inning with a strikeout, while Chasen Bradford worked scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth with three strikeouts.

The middle of the diamond players were productive with the stick: 2B Danny Muno reached base five times at the top of the order, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two walks, SS Wilfredo Tovar added two hits and CF Darrell Ceciliani three.

The good news for the B-Mets? This is a best-of-five series.

Binghamton playoff preview

The Mets AA affiliate in Binghamton clinched their first playoff berth since 2004 on August 17th and coasted to the division title, their first since 2000, which they wrapped up with a win on August 21st. It was a banner season all around as the B-Mets set a franchise record with 86 wins, had the league MVP in Allan Dykstra, and manager of the year was won by Pedro LopezJeff Walters set the team career saves record with his outstanding season, while Mark Cohoon extended his franchise records for starting pitchers.  Player of the week and month awards were too numerous to list.

On May 24th the B-Mets were 26-22 and were in fight for the top of the standings, two games behind Portland with Trenton right there as well. They would win their next three from Portland and not look back from there. They would win 4 of 5 from Trenton in early June, and 3 of 4 from them in late June to move 10.5 games ahead of them, a lead that ended up being insurmountable. A five game in three day set with Portland awaited the B-Mets out of the all star break. They won four of the five and had a comfortable 10+ game lead on everyone in the division. In all they went 60-33 from May 25th on. In an odd note they went 34-11 on weekends.

The regular season series with Trenton went to Binghamton 10-7, with 12 of the games played in Binghamton. Three of the five games in Trenton went to the Mets.  Trenton had the best home record of any team in the EL going 43-27.
Offensively Trenton has the lowest OPS and SLG% in the EL, hitting .245/.324/.364 as a team. They struck out the third most and stole the fewest bases. Yankees top prospects C Gary Sanchez and CF Mason Williams have joined the team during August and will likely see regular playing time.

Binghamton on the other hand was second in the EL in OBP and OPS hitting .253/.340/.393 as a team. While they lead the league in striking out they also walked the most, many games letting pitchers self destruct with patience. They ended up second in the league in runs scored, and third in homers. Allan Dykstra lead the league with a .938 OPS, the only qualifier over .900, lead the league in walks and was in the top ten in homers and RBI. Cesar Puello was also a huge part of the offense, hitting .326/.403/.547 over 91 games, but is suspended for involvement in biogenesis and will not be seen again until next year. Travis Taijeron (14 homers .826 OPS) and Cory Vaughn (10 homers .769 OPS) provided power threats in partial seasons with the team. Danny Muno hits leadoff and put up a walk (92) and doubles (27) heavy .249/.384/.379

Trenton put up a team ERA of 3.63 good for third in the EL, and were third in strikeouts, and allowed a league low 85 home runs. They led the league in walks with over 4 per game leading to the third worst whip at 1.41, and hit 72 more batters. Despite all the shortcomings they performed exactly as run expectancy would predict. They used 19 different starting pitchers thanks mostly to the Yankees constant need for new long relievers at the big league level messing with the AAA and AA rotations.  RHP Tommy Kahnle closes for them, with 74 strikeouts and 45 walks in 60 IP. LHP Francisco Rondon has struck out 79 and walked 50 (!) over 74 IP.

Binghamton put together the second best ERA (3.53) and whip (1.27) in the EL, and struck out the most batters while walking the second fewest. The B-Mets led the league in holds with 64, which is a silly stat, but does suggest they had many outstanding years from the relief crew outside of Jeff Walters. LHP Adam Kolarek and RHP Chasen Bradford are the relievers most likely to be seen in pressure situations. LHP Chase Hutchingson is out due to suspension after a solid season in a set up role.

Game One is Wednesday at 7:05

A & AA on Labor Day: The Regular Season Ends for Two Playoff Bound Teams

Both the double-A B-Mets and the A-ball Sand Gnats have long-since clinched playoff berths and both came up with just three hits on the season’s final day.

 

AA: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) 8, @ Binghamton Mets 1 

The B-Mets ran into Toronto prospect Marcus Stroman, their 2012 first-round draft pick. Stroman’s had a nice year in AA with 129 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 111.2 innings.

SS Matt Reynolds made his AA debut and was 0-for-3. The Mets’ second round pick in 2012, Reynolds hit a disappointing .226/.302/.337 in 117 games with St. Lucie as a 22-year-old. He and Kevin Plawecki were promoted to AA Binghamton to help out with the B-Mets’ playoff run.

 

A: Greenville Drive (BOS) 1, Savannah Sand Gnats 0 

Nimmo Dugout High FivesCF Brandon Nimmo(pictured): 0-for-3, BB, 2 K, SB. The 20-year-old finished the regular season at .273/.397/.359 in 110 games. He’s running better and taking stronger leads. He stole a base in each of the last two games of the season. In the second half, he’s 8-for-12 stealing bases (67%). That’s not special, but in the first half he was 2-for-5 (40%), that’s worse.
2B Dilson Herrera: 1-for-3, BB, K. Herrera’s single was a perfectly placed bunt in the second inning. In the ninth, he drew a two-out walk and went to second on a passed ball only to be stranded there when the game ended. The 19-year-old finished the SAL regular season at .267/.334/.416 with West Virginia and Savannah. As long as we’re on the subject of running, Herrera was 11-for-17 with West Virginia, and is a perfect 3-for-3 in seven games with Savannah. It might not be a meaningful change, or maybe he, like Nimmo, is picking his spots better.

The fact that Nimmo and Herrera can run is a nice ancillary boost to their overall value. They are good prospects because they can hit.
SS Philip Evans: 0-for-3. He finished the regular season at .203/.268/.263 in 106 games.

A+-AA Notes: Plawecki Plunked. In the Head. He’s Fine.

Halfway through the holiday weekend, lets check in on a few stories in the system.

- Friday night, C Kevin Plawecki left the St. Lucie game after getting hit in the head by a pitch. At the time, Plawecki was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. At ESPNNY, Adam Rubin reported that the move to remove him from the game was a “precaution.”  Sure enough, he’s back in Sunday’s lineup playing first base. The 22-year-old has hit .292/.389/.391 in 59 games in advanced-A.

- Sunday, Jeurys Familia worked a scoreless inning for St. Lucie with a walk, a hit, and a strikeout.

- In AA, Darin Gorski was sharp on Friday (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) in the B-Mets’ 3-0 win over New Hampshire.

- Also in AA Friday, Frank Francisco pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Which is cute, in some way. This is an odd way, one inning at a time, to audition for 2014 work beginning in late August.

Upper Levels Thursday: A Ruben Renaissance?

AAA: Las Vegas 51s 10, Colorado Springs (COL) 7  

TRuben Tejadahin air baseball is a different beast indeed.

SS Ruben Tejada hit his first home run of the year at any level in a 3-for-5 night that extended his hitting streak to eight straight games. He’s now hitting .385/.444/.590 in his last 10 games and .295/.347/.379 in 57 games with Las Vegas.

LF Dustin Lawley, in his second game in AAA, was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a homer.

The 51s pitchers: Matt Fox, Sean Henn, D.J. Mitchell and Chris Schwinden (0.1 innings of relief). Ugh. Lets move on.

The 51s are two games ahead of the Sacramento River Cats with four games to play.

 

AA: @ Bowie Bay Sox (BAL) 13, Binghamton Mets 1

The Bay Sox scored six times in the first inning against Erik Goeddel and three more times in the five-run fifth. Goeddel’s (9-7, 4.37) ugly line: 4.2 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 4 HR.

One modest bright spot for the B-Mets: RF Travis Taijeron, who was 2-for-4, with a homerun and a strikeout. Taijeron has in fact seen his strikeouts (75 in 63 games) eat his batting average as he’s down to .241/.320/.500 in 63 games in AA. The 24-year-old has more extra-base hits (30) than singles (24). It’s an all-or-nothing approach that will not play, in its current form, in the big leagues.

A-AA Tuesday: A Pair of New Binghamton Records

AA: Binghamton Mets 3, Bowie Bay Sox (BAL) 2 

bmetslogoHey, two records in one night. First, a three-run second helped the B-Mets to their franchise record 83rd win. Second, Jeff Walters tossed a scoreless ninth for his franchise record 37th save.

SS Wilfredo Tovar (.262/.321/.337 – 129 gms) was 2-for-4 with a double. The recently-turned 22-year-old has 49 strikeouts and 31 walks this season. The slick defender will be off to AAA next year.

Logan Verrett (12-6, 4.28), eh: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.

 

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 4, Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 2 

C Kevin Plawecki, who left Sunday’s game early with a hand injury, was back in the lineup Tuesday. He was 1-for-3 Tuesday with an RBI. Plawecki has slowed down a bit in August to .253/.352/.342 in 22 games.

 

A: @ Rome Braves 14, Savannah Sand Gnats 1 

Oh, ouch. The Gnats ran into Lucas Sims – one of the better pitching prospects in the SAL – and were outhit 13-5 as the Braves beat up Marcos Camarena and Wanel Mesa. SS Dimas Ponce did toss a scoreless eighth, so this game featured the always fun position player pitching.

CF Brandon Nimmo (.278/.401/.368 – 102 gms): 1-for-4
SS Philip Evans (.202/.271/.263 – 100 gms): 0-for-4, 3 K. Since returning from the DL, on August 18th, Evans is 2-for-23 (.087) with three walks against seven strikeouts.