AA: Binghamton Mets 2, @ Akron Aeros (CLE) 1
Well, hot damn Rafael Montero: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
He threw 75% (!) of his pitches (63 of 84) for strikes. That’s just nuts. Cliff Lee led qualified MLB starters in 2012 at 70% and there were only five pitchers above 66%. The too numbers are not identical, as Montero’s strike percentage would probably decline against MLB’s more disciplined hitters, but that does not minimize his remarkable command now.
Where the OF are:
CF Alonzo Harris (1-4, 2B)
DH Darrell Ceciliani (0-4)
LF Cory Vaughn (0-3, BB, K)
RF Cesar Puello (1-3, BB).
I think it’s fascinating that Harris started in center over Puello and Ceciliani. It’s only one game, but it is the season’s first game which seems like it carries a smidge of extra weight.
The B-Mets roster is out as is the rotation.
Starting Rotation (not in order)
RHP Cory Mazzoni
LHP Darin Gorski
RHP Rafael Montero
RHP Erik Goeddel
RHP Logan Verrett
RHP Tyler Pill
Once again, the Mets are going with the six-man rotation to build in an extra day of rest. Obviously Montero’s the sexy name in this group. Mazzoni and Gorski are pitching for Las Vegas before the end of the first half of the season.
If you want to know the difference between Logan Verrett (who was on Top 41 this year, at #30) and Erik Goeddel, look no further than their control. In his time in the FSL, Verrett walked batters at a 2.7% clip, while Goeddel issued free passes in 7.6% of his opponents’ plate appearances. Goeddel also bounced 13 wild pitches over the course of 108.1 innings while Verrett issued five between Savannah and St. Lucie in 103.1 innings.
RHP: John Church, Adrian Rosario, Jeff Walters
LHP: Mark Cohoon, Chase Huchingson, Adam Kolarek, Jack Leathersich
I feel like the AA bullpen is often an interesting place as the winnowing process begins in earnest. Rosario and Walters have nice arms. Leathersich and Huchingson have some deception. This could be an effective group, with one or more guys who pitch some big league innings eventually.
1B: Allan Dykstra, Rhyne Hughes, 2B: Danny Muno, SS: Wilfredo Tovar, 3B: Richard Lucas, UTIL: Josh Rodriguez
Can Tovar hit enough? Can Muno?
I accidentally left Richard Lucas out of the original post. As reader BS points out, Lucas has had one of the strangest progressions through the system.
Darrell Ceciliani, Alonzo Harris, Cesar Puello, Cory Vaughn
This is St. Lucie’s outfield from 2012 and a really interesting unit. All four guys were in my Top 41 and deserve to play. The question is which guy plays CF most regularly? Most of the team’s DH at-bats should come from this group. Last year, Alonzo Harris ended up playing the most center after Puello and Ceciliani injured themselves. However, when they returned, Harris stayed in the centerfield mix.
Francisco Pena, Blake Forsythe and Juan Centeno
Any wonder why the Mets were so eager to draft Kevin Plawecki in 2012 and trade for Travis d’Arnaud the following winter??
The AA Binghamton Mets announced their 2013 field staff and it’s exactly the same as their 2012 field staff. Pedro Lopez will be the manager, Glenn Abott will be the pitching coach and Luis Natera will serve as the hitting coach.
After a string of five years in which it seemed like no manager spent more than one year in any place, it’s nice to see some stability in the system. After all, Wally Backman is returning to Buffalo, and the early indications are that the a-ball staffs will at least look similar to last year.
Lopez has worked his way up through the Mets’ system from a-ball hitting coach, to rookie ball manager, and then AA manager. He’s disciplined, organized and his teams play hard for him. Abbott came to the Mets from the Padres, with stops in Oakland and Texas before that so he’s an Alderson/dePodesta guy. He started in the Mets system in 2011 in Savannah. By my count, 2013, will be his 28th year as a professional coach. The man has charted somewhere around a million pitches in his life, and combines a deep feel for the game, with strong teaching. Natera’s been in the Mets’ system for 22 years, teaching hitting and managing internationally. I don’t know him as well as I know Lopez or Abbott, but he’s always had time for my questions.
Sorry, its been slow around here. I’ve had a busy week of work.
I wanted to catch up on a few links that slipped through the cracks in the last week.
We’ll start at Amazin’ Avenue, where Rob Castellano spent many, many words, more than I will, reviewing the 2012 Binghamton Mets.
Josh Leventhal at Baseball America:
Despite public assurances by its owner that the team is not on the move, several baseball sources say the Eastern League’s Binghamton Mets are the team that has been targeted for a renovated ballpark in Ottawa.
Binghamton hopes to keep minor league baseball in town, however, with a short-season New York-Penn League franchise. Sources said city officials have already inquired about purchasing the Batavia Muckdogs.
At the end of August, the Mets signed a four-year extension with the B-Mets covering the 2013-2016 baseball seasons. If indeed, the B-Mets move to Ottowa for 2014, the Mets would have their AA team in Canada’s capital for three years. Given the uncertainty about the B-Mets future, I do not understand why the Mets signed a four-year deal when they did.
As a market for baseball, I discussed why Ottowa makes more sense than Binghamton here.
Labor Day marks not just the end of summer, and a wonderful day for going to the beach, but the end of the minor league baseball regular season for the four full-season levels: AAA, AA, advanced-A and A. That leaves two Mets affiliates still playing baseball, the Brooklyn Cyclones and St. Lucie Mets.
The Brooklyn Cyclones are closing in on a wild-card berth, with a magic number of one to clinch a playoff spot with two games to play.
The St. Lucie Mets, who set a new franchise-high for wins in a season at 83-52, begin the best-of-three Division Series on the road in Jupiter Tuesday. The series shifts to St. Lucie for game two on Wednesday, and if necessary, game three on Thursday.
The AAA-Buffalo Bisons, AA-Binghamton Mets and A-Savannah Sand Gnats are done for the year.
AAA: Buffalo Bisons 8, @ Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 5
3B Zach Lutz was 1-for-5 with an RBI in his final game of the year in AAA. The Mets recalled Lutz and C Mike Nickeas after the game. The 26-year old Lutz has hit .299/.410/.496 this year in AAA with 10 homers in 72 games. He’s never been able to stay on the field, but when he’s played in the minors, he’s hit. He’s played both third and first, but is a below average defender at third, his primary position. He might be a decent right-handed hitting bench bat.
2B Jordany Valdespin (.286/.335/.415 – 37 games) was 2-for-4 with a walk, his third straight game with a free pass.
RHP Chris Schwinden was ok: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. He has a solid 3.21 ERA and a 2.7 K/BB ratio in AAA. He’s a good AAA pitcher but not a big league asset.
AA: @ Binghamton Mets 8, Trenton Thunder (NYY) 5
I’m less interested in the homers hit by LF Dustin Martin and 1B Allan Dykstra in favor of the one hit by 2B Wilmer Flores who was 1-for-3 with a homer, his 18th of the year between advanced-A and AA. The 21-year old is enjoying a .377/.436/.632 in August and is up to .324/.375/.517 in 63 games with Binghamton.
I don’t think he’s a second baseman, but I think it’s pretty clear he’s a major league hitter.
AAA: Buffalo Bisons 10, @ Rochester Red Wings 3
Maybe it’s taken Jeurys Familia the better part of a AAA season to figure it out. His line Thursday: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 WP – 61% strikes. The nine strikeouts tied a season-high. After walking at least three batters in each of his first six starts of the year and eight of his first nine, Familia has walked one batter or fewer in three of his last four outings.
His combined line in his last four starts: 25 IP, 27 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 7 BB, 28 K. That’s a 3.60 ERA, a 4 K/BB and an opponents’ batting average of .270. It’s not dominant, but it’s much, much better than the early season version of Familia who had an ERA above five in April and July and right around 4.50 in May and June. Crucially, he’s 22 making him younger still than many players in Savannah or St. Lucie.
Familia’s late-season progress is very, very encouraging. Whether or not the Mets call up Familia for a look in September this year, I hope the team stays patient with him and returns him to AAA (wherever) to begin 2013 where he can continue to work as a starter.
2B Jordany Valdespin was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. That’s two games in a row with a walk.
Deolis Guerra, part of the package the Mets sent Minnesota for Johan Santana, threw two innings in relief for Rochester, giving up a run, as the 23-year old’s ERA hovers at 4.95.
AA: @ Reading Phillies 7, Binghamton Mets 2
Ah, come on. On the day I put up some links to some nice articles about Darin Gorski he did this: 2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP. The homer he allowed was the 38th of the year for 26-year old Darin Ruf, breaking Ryan Howar’s REading team record. That’s a rare case of Darin on Darin violence. Ruf, a first baseman, is hitting .321/.412/.634 in 135 games in the Eastern League this year.
After Jefry Marte (.255/.326/.374 – 125 games) started at third base, going 1-for-3, Wilmer Flores (.323/.374/.506 – 62 games) came in for the game’s final innings, picking up a single and a walk.
The New York Mets and the Binghamton Mets have announced a four-year extension to the player development contract that will run through the 2016 season.
There had been rumors that the Binghamton team was going to be sold and moved to Ottowa. That seems unlikelier now.
Binghamton is last in the Eastern League in attendance, drawing 2,888 fans per night the AA Eastern League where six teams average over 5,000 per night and eight of the 12 teams pull in over 4,000.
The Mets also have expiring PDCs in Savannah and Buffalo.
AA: Binghamton Mets 6, @ Reading Phillies 2
RF/CF Juan Lagares was 3-for-5 with a double. Lagares is hitting .300/.343/.444 after the AA All-Star Break in an Eastern League that hits .260/.330/.392 overall. Note that most of Lagares’ distance from League average is driven by batting average. He needs to hit for a high average to have value.
The Phillies slowed down 2B Wilmer Flores, who was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
RHP Gonzalez Germen (8-11, 4.42) was solid: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Germen now has allowed 121 hits in 114 innings in double-A this year.
The Bisons were off Wednesday and finish up with five games on the road: two in Rochester and then three in Lehigh Valley over the weekend.