A+ & AA Monday: Thor Leaves Mjollnir (His Hammer) At Home.

AA: @ Bowie Bay Sox (BAL) 11, Binghamton Mets 0 

Syndergaard Stl HeadIn Norse mythology, Thor slays the serpent Jörmungandr, and then ties himself from the snake’s venom. In another story Thor’s hammer Mjollnir is stolen, and eventually Thor tricks the thief using an age-old cross-dressing strategy before killing all who tried to steal his treasured hamer. Lets just say we’re at the point in the story without a hammer.

Noah Syndergaard is alive, but had a bad outing Monday night: 3 IP, 9 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Hey at least he threw 64% of his pitches (55 of 86) for strikes. He was pitching on nine days rest because the Mets are limiting his innings down the stretch. Prior to Monday’s meltdown, since a homerun alllowed on 7/28, Thor had been untouchable: 20.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 26 K, .106 OBA, 239 pitches/178 strikes (74%). One bad start does not seem like a big deal. I suspect he will get an extra day or two of rest and then throw in game one or two of the B-Mets’ playoff series next Wednesday or Thursday.

The B-Mets had two hits, singles from 3B Josh Rodriguez and C Xorge Carillo.

 

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 2 

Domingo Tapia walked three batters in the first inning and then allowed two unearned runs in the second thanks to an error by 3B Robbie Shields. He settled in nicely after that facing three over the minimum from the third through the seventh innings thanks to two walks and a double. His final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. A night like this counts as a step forward for Tapia.

Dustin Lawley was 2-for-4 with a double. The 24-year-old has hit .260/.313/.512 this year in St. Lucie with 63 extra-base hits and 111 strikeouts in 122 games. He’s also 24.

A-AA Thursday: Everybody Loses.

AA: @ Akron Aeros (CLE) 7, Binghamton Mets 3

A day after clinching the Division Title, the B-Mets put together a performance that looked like a hangover with four hits and four errors leading to five unearned runs which the team’s own official recap called “ugly.”

CF Alonzo Harris had a nice night at the top of the order: 2-for-4, 3B. The 24-year-old has hit .219/.284/.306 overall, weighed down by a .170/.261/.245 line in the last 34 games after the All-Star Break.

A+: @ Palm Beach Cardinals 6, St. Lucie Mets 3 

C Kevin Plawecki was 2-for-4 to move his average back over .300 to .302/.402/.397 in 52 games in the FSL as a 22-year-old. Between Savannah and St. Lucie, he has 35 doubles and 8 homeruns in 117 games. And yes, he will start in AA next year.

Also, at 22, SS Matt Reynolds drove in a couple of runs, but has hit just .231/.305/.335 overall in 108 games. I thought there would be a little more average in there for last year’s second round pick.

 

A: @ Kannapolis Intimidators 1, Savannah Sand Gnats 0 

The Gnats finished up their 10-game road trip to Rome, Augusta and Kannapolis at 3-7 while scoring just 25 runs (2.5 runs/game).

CF Brandon Nimmo was 0-for-4, with a strikeout.

RHP Julian Hilario (7-6, 3.67) was very solid, but took a tough loss: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.

Wednesday in AA: B-Mets Clinch Eastern League Division Title

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 5, Bowie Bay Sox (BAL) 3 

Taijeron B-Mets HeadThe B-Mets juggernaut clinched their first division title since 2000.

RF Travis Taijeron was 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and two RBI. The 24-year-old Taijeron (.245/.330/.526 – 56 gms in AA) has pretty much gone for an all-or-nothing approach in AA as he has more extra-base hits (29) than singles (19) and a whole mess of strikeouts 66. It’s certainly a modern baseball approach in which power is a priority amid the recognition that doubles and homeruns are more valuable than singles (duh!). The cost is that a player will be on base less, and that too has value.

RHP Logan Verrett (11-6, 4.37): 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

RHP Jeff Walters (36th save): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2K. That’s 57 K/16 BB for Walters in 53 innings. See you on the 40-man roster. One interesting piece is that while many prospects are dealing with major innings jumps this time of year, Walters, a reliever a year ago between Savannah and St. Lucie is not. He threw a combined 54.2 innigns in 2012 and is sitting on 53.0 right now. If he appears in a few more games in the regular season and the Eastern League playoffs, he should still have a few bullets left if the Mets want to give him a look in the big leagues in mid-late September. The other option for the Mets, instead of a big league look, is to give him a month off and then send him out to the Arizona Fall League.

A-AA Tuesday: Brandon Nimmo and Gabriel Ynoa Shine

A: Savannah Sand Gnats 5, Kannapolis Intimidators (CHW) 2 

Ynoa Delivery (Devyatkin)The Gnats put up a five-spot in the top of the seventh in a rally started by a couple of walks from guys at the bottom of the order. Batting with the bases loaded, CF Brandon Nimmo then singled into left field to drive home two runs to give the Gnats a 2-1 lead at the time. Nimmo was 3-for-5 with a run scored of his own and a strikeout. A ridiculous August (.393/.543/.508 in 19 games with 18 BB and 18 K) has lifted the 20-year-old’s his overall line to .282/.401/.374 with 22 extra-base hits, 61 walks, and 118 strikeouts in 95 games.

Gabriel Ynoa was good enough: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. After a slight rough patch at the end of July, Ynoa (pictured) has bounced back to finish well, going 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last four starts with 16 strikeouts against just one walk in his last 26 innings while holding opponents to a .200/.209/.278 batting line. His velocity has moved around a little bit this year, but while sitting 90-92 in his last start in Savannah, a scout told me he saw three major league pitches in Ynoa’s fastball, changeup and slider. Just 20 years old, Ynoa the strike-throwing Ynoa, who has walked just 14 batters all year, a rate of 2.7%, is working towards a reasonable shot at a Major League rotation future.

 

AA: Bowie Baysox (BAL) 4, @ Binghamton Mets 1

The Baysox scored three runs in the final two innings against the B-Mets’ bullpen to break a 1-1 tie.

Danny Muno played shortstop for the 17th time this year while Wilfredo Tovar nurses a bum wrist.

 

A+: St. Lucie Mets 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 2  (4.5 innings)

They’ll try to finish this one Wednesday evening.

C Kevin Plawecki is already 2-for-3 in the game.

Nothing impressive about Rainy Lara’s line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. After running a K/BB of 8.5 in the SAL in 50.2 innings, Lara, the slider specialist, is down to 3.06 (49 K/16 BB) in 69.1 inning in the FSL.

A-AA Monday: Nimmo’s August is Now Absurd

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

Closer Jeff Walters walked in a run in the top of the ninth to blow his fourth save of the year, but C Blake Forsythe picked him up with a game winning homerun in the bottom of the tenth.

It was the 10th homerun of the year for the 24-year-old catcher and his third in his last four games. In 80 games this year, Forsythe has hit .197/.276/.376 with 28 extra-base hits, 29 walks and 91 strikeouts. He has more extra-base hits (28) than singles (27).

Darin Gorski gave the B-Mets a fine outing: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.

 

A: Savannah Sand Gnats 3, @ Augusta GreenJackets (SF) 2
Augusta GreenJackets 4, Savannah Sand Gnats 0 

Nimmo Gnats HeadBrandon Nimmo in game 1: 0-0, 3 BB, 0 K. And game two: 2-for-3, K. Nimmo is now up to .277/.399/.370 in 94 games this year, on the strength of a quick start and an absurdly good August. In August, he is hitting .375/.539/.500 with 18 walks and 17 whiffs and five extra-base hits in 18 games. Right now, August is the only month in which he has fewer strikeouts than games played.

SS Philip Evans, in his second game back from the DL with a lower back strain, was 0-for-3 in game one. The 20-year-old is sitting at .210/.275/.274 in 94 games this year.

Seth Lugo was good enough in game one: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Jake Kuebler, who had been on the shelf for three weeks with shoulder inflammation, made the start in game two and was solid in a short outing: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. The converted infielder has been solid all year, working to a 2.86 ERA, and a K/BB of over 3 (50 K/14 BB) in 72.1 innings.

AA Saturday: B-Mets Clinch Playoff Berth And a Memory Trip To ’04

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 5, New Britain Rock Cats (MIN) 4

bmetslogoWith this win, which clinched their first playoff berth since 2004, the Binghamton Mets earned a champagne shower, for all.

Binghamton used a five-run rally in the sixth inning to erase the damage done by Twins’ prospect Miguel Sano’s 31st homerun of the year. (After hitting a whopping .330/.424/.655 in 56 games in the FSL, Sano is “down” to .243/.346/.580 in 53 games in AA. He turned 20 in May. He’s scary.)

Mark Cohoon (9-3, 4.18), who is the Binghamton career franchise leader in wins, innings, and strikeouts lasted six innings (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Cohoon is a great example of a guy who has reached his  level. He ran an ERA of 6.77 in AAA in 2011 and 2012. On the other hand, he’s a useful guy for a double-A staff, so this year, the Mets left Cohoon, who will be 26 in September in Binghamton all year to make 18 starts and help extend the B-Mets’ rotation.

The 2004 B-Mets earned the wild card thanks in part to a big first half fashioned by a 21-year-old 3B – Mr. David Wright who hit an obscene .363/.467/.619 in 60 games with 27 doubles, 10 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. Jose Reyes played four rehab games for the ’04 B-Mets. Other notable big leaguers from the ’04 playoff team included Angel Pagan (.287/.346/.405) as a 22-year-old CF and Jeff Keppinger (.338/.389/.416 overall in the EL) as a 24-year-old included in the Mets’ trade deadline deal for Kris Benson for Matt Peterson Jose Bautista and Ty Wigginton.  A 20-year-old Scott Kazmir made four starts for Binghamton before the July 30 trade that sent him to Tampa Bay for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano. Tampa immediately pushed Kazmir to the big leagues where he struggled with his control.

The ’04 team was managed by Ken Oberkfell, who helmed the Mets’ AAA affiliate from 2005-2010 in Norfolk, New Orleans and Buffalo. Obie is now in independent ball with the Lincoln Saltdogs. He’s a baseball lifer who deserves better.

Tim Heiman’s radio call of the final out sounded like this:

AA: Thor Hammers Rock Cats Friday

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 1, New Britain 0 Rock Cats 0 

Syndergaard (Donovan)Just the facts first before the gushing.

Noah Syndergaard: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 2 groundouts/0 flyballs, 48 pitches/66 strikes (72%).

The 20-year-old has not allowed a run in his last three starts, spanning 15 innings, while punching out 18 and walking just two.

Thor’s last four starts: 21 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 26 K.

He will celebrate his 21st birthday on August 29, one day after his next scheduled start on August 28.

Now the color. From the Lynn Worthy’s lede in the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

 Binghamton Mets pitcher Darin Gorski summed up Noah Syndergaard’s dominating performance fittingly when he quipped from across the clubhouse that Sydnergaard could at least make it look like he was being “challenged.”

Syndergaard himself, as quoted by Worthy:

I just feel like I had all my pitches going for me tonight. … It’s a lot of fun to pitch when you’ve got the fastball, curveball, and changeup going for you.”

In last night’s game thread, Nate made reference to the Mets’ Pitcher of the Year award. The race is over. Syndergaard has won.

The B-Mets’ only run came on a homerun from C Blake Forsythe (.198/.275/.370 – 78 gms), his ninth.

The BMets have a magic number of one to clinch a playoff berth.

Upper Levels Thursday: Rafael Montero Dominant Again in AAA

AAA: @ Las Vegas 51s 3, New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA) 2 

Rafael Montero ST 13 (Baron)Hey, now, Rafael Montero: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The eight strikeouts for Montero were one off a AAA season-high set in his last start. After an ordinary first 10 starts in AAA, Montero’s August has been spectacular: 3 GS, 0.82 ERA, 22 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 21 K. He’s striking out batters at a rate of 27.6% in his last three starts and walking them at a 2.6% rate. After 122 innings a year ago, Montero has thrown 138 this year, so he likely only has another 15-20 to play with before the Mets will shut him down for the year. That, plus the fact that the 22-year old is not on the Mets’ 40-man roster, and will not need to be added for Rule 5 protection for two more years, means he will not get a chance to make his big league debut until next year. Instead, bet on 2014 for Montero.

C Travis d’Arnaud (1-for-3, BB, RBI) is hitting .304/.487/.554 with 21 walks against 12 strikeouts in 19 games in AAA. This is a guy who drew 19 walks in 67 games in Las Vegas when they were a Blue Jays affiliate in 2012. He has addressed the major flaw in his on-field game: his patience at the plate.

RF Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a solid night at the top of the order, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two strikeouts. In 55 games in AAA, the 26-year-old has hit .243/.342/.471 with 30 walks and 59 strikeouts. Nieuwenhuis is playing right while Matt den Dekker patrols center.

 

AA: Binghamton Mets 9, @ Reading Fightin’ Phils 3 

The Binghamton Mets are now a franchise-best 30 games over .500. Which is nice. The B-Mets’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is just one. Which is also nice.

CF Alonzo Harris had a nice night at the bottom of the Binghamton order, going 3-for-4 with a double. Despite leadoff man speed, the 24-year-old is the owner of a .225/.292/.310 line in 88 games.

Upper Minors Wednesday: Travis d’Arnaud Still Waiting on BabyBuck

AAA: Las Vegas 51s 8, New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA) 1 

For the second straight night, Travis d’Arnaud was hitless, (0-2,) but walked twice. You want strike zone control? d’Arnaud has walked 20 times and fanned just 12 in 18 games in AAA for a .302/.486/.566 line. Combine that new patience with vicious batspeed, and d’Arnaud is just waiting on his call. He’s still just waiting on BabyBuck and saying  the right things while he waits.

Juan Centeno pinch hit for d’Arnaud in the 7th.  Hmm…

RF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (2-for-3 with a homer, 2 walks and 2 RBI) and 1B Lucas Duda (3-3, 2B, 2 BB) carried the 51s offense. Duda has played four straight games at first base, which is nice, because it’s the position where he belongs.

The homer was the 12th of the year for Nieuwenhuis (.238/.336/.465) who has more homers than doubles (8) in AAA.

Matt Fox was sharp: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

 

AA: Binghamton Mets 4, @ Reading Fightin’ Phils (PHI) 3 

One night after blowing his first save since June, Jeff Walters was right back on the hill, working around two hits to nail down the final three outs with a strikeout.

Darin Gorski was ok, but unexceptional: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

 

Full-Season Levels A-AA Tuesday: Nimmo, Ynoa, Wild Pitch Walkoffs and Go Ahead Homers

AA: @ Reading Fightin’ Phils 7, Binghamton Mets 6 

Walters B-Mets HeadFor the second time this year, the B-Mets lost a game on a walk-off wild pitch. This time the offender was Jeff Walters who blew his first save in 21 attempts, dating back to June 6. A recent scout’s pithy report on Walters, “He has a chance. Nice sinker.” Walters (pictured) has run a 3.9 K/BB ratio in AA (51 K/13 BB) with over a strikeout an inning (49 innings). He’s a fastball slider guy, who with a fastball in the low-mid 90s, certainly profiles as a middle reliever. Walters, like deGrom, who I wrote about in AAA today, seem like extremely strong bets to be added to the Mets’ 40-man roster this off-season.

LF Cory Vaughn was 2-for-5. He’s bopping along at .379/.406/.724 with a double, three homers, one walk and six whiffs in eight games since his return to AA at the beginning of August. He had six homers in his first 46 games in AA this year before this run. It’s interesting too that Vaughn is playing left while Travis Taijeron plays right for the B-Mets.

Erik Goeddel, Meh: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

 

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 5, Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 4 

C Kevin Plawecki’s two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Mets the runs they needed in a comeback win. Plaweckis is up to .322/.426/.430 with a 17/17 K/BB ratio to go with 12 extra-base hits against 10 HBP in 44 games in advanced-A. I had Plawecki ranked as my #11 prospect pre-season. He will move up a couple of notches in 2014.

Rainy Lara, meh: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. Lara’s working a 49/16 K/BB in 69.1 innings in advanced-A.

By the way, 19-year-old Twins prospect Byron Buxton was 3-for-4 in the game to lift his line to .300/.365/.456 in 38 games in the FSL.

 

A: @ Rome Braves 2, Savannah Sand Gnats 1 

CF Brandon Nimmo: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 1 K. The 20-year-old is rolling along at .366/.519/.488 in 12 games in August with 11 walks and 13 strikeouts. It’s particularly important to see him get his strikeout rate under control after fanned 69 times in 49 games in June and July. I strongly suspect, because I watched him that either his hand was not 100% healed in June/July, or if it was “healed” he didn’t trust it, because he was trying to compensate mechanically.

Gabriel Ynoa just rolls along too: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K. After a pair of rough starts at the end of July, Ynoa has been untouchable in his last three: 18.2 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 13 K. That’s a 0.96 ERA, a 1% walk rate and a 19% k/rate. This is why K% is better than k/9. By K/9, Ynoa’s at 6.3 K/9, but he faces so few batters, because he allows few hits and almost never walks a batter, that he’s actually fanning a healthy, if not overwhelming, number of batters.