Opening night, for the kids. Thirsty Thursday and fireworks all across America. Have fun.
AAA: Fresno Grizzlies (SF) (0-0) @ Las Vegas 51s (0-0) – 10:05 pm
LHP Mike Kickham v. RHP Rafael Montero
Scoreboard | Listen
It’s pretty unusual for a AAA team to have three of the top five prospects in the system, and my top two ranked arms (Thor, Montero, and Cesar Puello). It would have been four, but Wilmer Flores was in New York to fill in for Daniel Murphy. Las Vegas should be really good, especially early this year.
AA: Akron RubberDucks (CLE) (0-0) @ Binghamton Mets (0-0) – 6:35 pm
Scoreboard | Listen
RHP Cody Anderson v. LHP Darin Gorski
And the flipside is that the AA team has only two my preseason top 20 prospects: #11 Kevin Plawecki and #20 Jack Leathersich.
A+: Palm Beach Cardinals (0-0) @ St. Lucie Mets (0-0) – 6:30 pm
Scoreboard | Listen
RHP Mike Mayers v. RHP Gabriel Ynoa
Three top ten prospects (#6 Brandon Nimmo, #7 Steven Matz and #10 Dilson Herrera) on the advanced-A roster seems like just about the right number. The race is really in the rotation here as Fulmer and Tapia who were each on the roster in 2013, battle with Matz to prove themselves ready for AA. Ynoa, the Opening Night starter, is so young, it’s hard to see him as anything other than a very long horse in the first to AA competition.
A: Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI) @ Savannah Sand Gnats – 7:05 pm
RHP Mark Leiter v. RHP Robert Gsellman
This is a fun Gnats lineup. Gavin Cecchini leads off, Jared King is in the cleanup spot, L.J. Mazzilli hits fifth, followed by Dominic Smith hitting sixth.
A: Hagerstown Suns @ Savannah Sand Gnats Listen
Game Three 7:05 ET - RHP Dakota Bacus (10-5, 3.23) vs. LHP Steven Matz (6-6, 2.46)
Dakota Bacus was the Athletics 9th round selection in the 2012 draft, and the player traded for Kurk Suzuki in late August. He throws the fastball in the low to mid 90s, as well as a slider and change-up. Pitching nearly the entire year for Beloit in the low A Midwest League as a tandem starter Bacus (9-5. 3.56) struck out 90 and walked 38 over 121.1 IP while batters hit .263 against him. Despite the low innings totals he did manage to go 8 IP twice for Beloit.
He joined Hagerstown for one start and then a relief appearance on the final day of the season, in 8.1 IP he allowed 2 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 5. In the second game against West Virginia he pitched 4 inning of relief, allowing just 1 unearned run on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4.
Steven Matz had what was probably his best start of the year in beating Augusta to clinch the division series. He went 7 allowing just 1 hit, striking out 8 without walking a batter. During the regular season Matz had walked 8.8% and had actually seen a few more walks in the second half than the first. He struck out 121 over 106.1 IP in the regular season, 27.6%.
A: Hagerstown Suns @ Savannah Sand Gnats Listen
Game Three 7:05 ET – LHP Kylin Turnbull (7-5, 3.58) vs. RHP Gabriel Ynoa (16-4, 2.70)
Kylin Turnbull started and won the decisive game three in the Suns division round win, holding the Power to 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 5 IP while striking out 3. After spending most of last year putting up mediocre numbers with Hagerstown the Nations promoted Turnbull to Advanced A to start this year and it did not go well. Over 3 starts and 10.2 IP he allowed 20 hits, walked 8 and struck out 3. Moving back to Hagerstown didn’t change a whole lot (5 G, 22 IP, 31 H) and Turnbull was sent to extended spring training to work things out. In addition to working on his mechanics Turnbull added a split-change to his fastball/slider/curve arsenal. A trip to the NYPL came next, and over 4 starts for Auburn he allowed earned runs just once, struck out 15 and walked 3. While he struggled at times after moving back in the SAL he got the walks under control and put up 8 or more K three times. Pitchers with 4 useful pitches are rare in the SAL so he should make for an interesting challenge to the Gnats raw lineup. (Thanks to Eli Pearlstein for the detail on Turnbull’s season.)
In the game three win over West Virginia RHP Ronald Pena (4-3, 3.48) pitched 4 shutout innings to finish the game. If he is not in consideration for a start later in the series he could be a weapon for tonight’s game.
Gabriel Ynoa won the Sand Gnats first playoff game against Augusta with the following outing: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. His 15 regular season wins were 3 more than anyone else in the SAL, while his whip of 1.02 was second only to Augusta’s Kendry Flores.
In the regular season RF Eudy Pina hit .233/.334/.396 showing the ability to take a walk and drive the ball (163 ISO) In the postseason he 6-for-16 with 2 triples and 1 walk (.375/.412/.500) from the leadoff spot. Brandon Nimmo has gone 0-for-6 with 2 walks and a sac fly in the two games against the Suns after hardly making an out in two games against Augusta. Cole Frenzel put up a .235/.333/.346 slash in the season playing half the time at 3B and half at 1B. After a 0-for-12 start to the playoffs his single, double, and walk effort last night helped both multi run innings.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats @ Hagerstown Suns Listen- Suns Audio
Game Two 7:05 ET – RHP Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.53) vs. RHP Austin Voth (1-0, 3.38)
Seth Lugo got a chance with the Gnats as an injury fill in and ran with it. Over 7 starts in the SAL he struck out 39 and walked 6 over 32 IP, holding batters to a .196 mark against him. Its all the more impressive compared to his NYPL numbers where he strugled with command, walking 13 in 34.1 IP and was hit at a .260 clip.
Austin Voth pitched the Suns to a win in game one of the first round, shuting out West Virginia for 5 IP allowing 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. The Nationals selected Voth in the 5th round of this years draft, made 2 starts at the GCL level, 7 at the NYPL level, and finished up the regular season with two for the Suns. Like his teammated from last night he was overmatching the NYPL with a 1.47 ERA and a .193 batting average against, while striking out 42 in 30.2 IP. He managed 9 more strikeouts with 2 walks and 8 hits over 10.2 IP in two starts against Lakewood before the playoff win.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats @ Hagerstown Suns Listen- Suns Audio
Game One 7:05 ET – RHP Luis Cessa (8-4, 3.12) vs. RHP Jake Johansen (0-2, 5.79)
Luis Cessa was one of the SAL’s best pitchers in 2013, totaling a 1.19 whip on the strength of just 19 walks over 21 starts. He struck out 124 over his 130 IP. His last game action was August 31st when he wrapped up his season with yet another walk-less start (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K)
Jeurys Familia will join the Gnats on his rehab from an elbow issue earlier this year, otherwise the Gnats roster remains the same as the previous round.
Jake Johansen made just two starts for the Suns after spending most of this season in the NYPL with Auburn. He was the Nationals second round pick in this years draft, from Dallas Baptist U., and showed why with a 1.06 ERA while holding batters to a .147 batting average over 10 starts with Auburn. Over 42.1 IP he allowed 22 hits, 18 walks, and struck out 44. Two of the SAL’s lesser teams managed 13 hits over his 9.1 IP, walking 5 and striking out 7 in his two starts after being promoted.
The match-up includes two of the three lowest team home run totals in the SAL. The Gnats hit 50 homers this year, the Suns 6 more. The Gnats were one of the top pitching teams in the SAL all year with a league best 1.17 whip, league low walks (by 101! over next best) and second lowest ERA with a 3.15 team mark. Hagerstown scored the most runs in the SAL, tied for the best OBP with the second most walks and second best batting average. The Gnats ability to take walks out of the game should be a key in this series, helping to limit the Suns rallies that lead them to almost 700 runs this year.
The Rising Apple has a preview of the matchup
AAA: Salt Lake Bees (2-1) @ Las Vegas 51s (1-2) Listen
Game Four 3:05 ET – Unnamed vs. RHP Aaron Harang (0-0, 4.50)
The remaining starters for Salt Lake include RHP Billy Buckner (7-4, 4.87) who allowed 21 runs in his final 14.1 IP and LHP Dontrelle Willis (2-1, 6.43) who allowed 14 runs over his last 9 IP.
Aaron Harang made 22 starts at the big league level this year pitching for Seattle (5-11, 5.76) allowing 133 hits and 28 walks over 120.1 IP, striking out 87. On September 1st he was released by the Mariners and signed a minor league deal with the Mets the next day. In his lone PCL appearance he pitched long relief the seasons final day 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K. He threw 73 pitches, 49 for strikes in that appearance five days ago. Before that he threw 101 pitches on Aug 25th in his final game for the Mariners, so he should have no problem working deep into the game.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats off
Hagarstown hosts West Virginia to see who advances to the SAL championship. The winner of this game will host game one against the Gnats on Sept 9th. Game two will be played the next night, and after a travel day the final three games (as needed) will by played in Savannah.
AA: Trenton Thunder @ Binghamton Mets Listen Alternate Audio
Game Three 7:05 ET – RHP Shane Greene (8-4, 3.18) vs. RHP Logan Verrett (12-6, 4.25)
Like most of the Trenton roster Shane Greene began his year in Tampa (4-6, 3.60) making 13 starts (75 IP, 69K, 10BB, .279 BAA) before being promoted. Unlike his teammates Greene does not walk a lot, allowing just 20 free passes in 79.1 IP at the AA level. He picked up a win in Binghamton on June 29th (6 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 K) in which Danny Muno and Josh Rodriguez took him deep. Travis Taijron has gone 3-for-6 with a double and a walk against him over two contests, one of which was in the FSL in April.
Logan Verrett is another Mets farm hand up against a work limit. As he is already 40 IP over last year he has not been allowed to finish a 6th inning in his last six starts of the regular season. Logan has been inconsistent all year, from allowing 3 hits or less five times to allowing 9 hits or more four times, from striking out 8 or more seven times to striking out 3 or less eight times, on his way to leading the team in wins. He was consistent at being a strike thrower, walking just 31 (5.3%) on the year, and often working deep into games on low pitch counts.
Against Trenton, he had an early season gem 8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K on May 8th in Trenton, lost to them at home on June 29th (6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K) and picked up his final loss of the year against them on July 28th (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K) In all he has totaled 20.1 IP, 14 H, 1 BB, 21 K, and a 2.66 ERA against the Thunder.
The B-Mets have stranded 21 runners in losing the first two games by 1 run. Hansel Robles was added to the Binghamton roster, Hamilton Bennett is going to LasVegas.
A: Augusta GreenJackets @ Savannah Sand Gnats Listen
Game Two 7:05 ET – RHP Kendry Flores (10-6, 2.73) vs. LHP Steven Matz (5-6, 2.62)
Kendry Flores finished his first year of full season ball 5th in the SAL in ERA, 3rd in strikeouts, and 2nd in IP. The Gnats have faced him twice and it has not gone well for them either time. On May 16th Flores (and Rainy Lara) took a shutout into the 9th (8.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K) and on July 10th he allowed just an unearned run (7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K) Pitching deep into games was something Flores made a habit of this year, averaging more than 6 and a third IP, and completing the 8th four times. This is due in part to nullifying the free passes, as he walked just 17 and hit 4 batters while striking out 137 over 141.2 IP.
We’ve seen Ynoa and Cessa have magical years in the K:BB department, and Flores topped them both. Four times this year he has struck out 10 or more, and walked 1 total in those starts, including a 15K/0BB gem on August 21st.
Steven Matz faced Augusta just once as part of a double header on August 18th. In 4 IP he allowed 5 R (3 ER) on 1 hit and 4 walks while striking out 8. Striking out 2 an inning should work out a bit better than that. On the year Matz struck out 121 and walked 38 over 106.1 IP. After making just 6 starts last year for Kingsport and having his year end early due to injury, its fair to question how many quality innings Matz could have left in his arm this year this deep in the year.
AAA: Salt Lake Bees @ Las Vegas 51s Listen
Game Three 10:05 ET – RHP Jarrett Grube (7-5, 4.47) vs. HP Name (0-0, 0.00)
Jarrett Grube made two starts in Las Vegas in the first half of the year. On May 24th he allowed 10 hits (1BB/1K) over 4 IP, and on June 24th he allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7 over 5.1 IP. He would make a home start against the 51s on July 9th allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks over 4 IP, and then make a 2.1 IP hittless relief appearance against them in mid August in which he struck out 4 and walked 2. Against the 51s he’s totaled 15.2 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 17 K and a 5.17 ERA.
Giancarlo Alvarado seemingly came out of nowhere (he was pitching in the Mexican League) to help the 51s, starting out with 4 wins in his first five starts. The start he did not win took place in Salt Lake, a game in which he hurt himself in the 2nd inning on a fielding play and had to leave after allowing the next two batters to reach. In his last seven starts he would only record one more win, four times he would allow 4 runs or more. This included a 2 IP 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K start in Salt Lake against the Bees. In total he has allowed the Bees 8 hits and 5 walks over 3.2 IP, while striking out just 1.
Roster management: the Mets called up Sean Henn (who pitched the last two nights) to replace Scott Rice. Henn had faced 6 batters in the postseason and retired just 2 of them. Hamilton Bennett, who hasn’t pitched since Labor day, is joining the 51s. Another move will be needed to active Alvarado from the DL. Jake deGrom is likely done for the year.
The Mets top two affiliates look to bounce back from game one losses that included blowing late leads. They each have their best pitcher going to the mound to help turn things around.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s @ Salt Lake Bees Listen
Game Two 8:35 ET – RHP Rafael Montero (5-4, 3.05) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (0-2, 5.49)
Rafael Montero made his 4th AAA start against Salt Lake at home and had one of his worst games that day. He allowed 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out just 1 over 3 IP. On August 20th he had a solid effort in Salt Lake allowing 8 hits and walking 2 over 5 IP, striking out 3. With 4 K in 8 IP against the Bees they are certainly an aberration to his typical K rate of 21% or 8K/9IP.
Montero has backed up his Sterling award winning 2012 with 27 starts split between AA and AAA. He ended up with a 2.78 ERA over 155.1 IP for 2013 with 150 K and 35 BB.
Tommy Hanson‘s difficult and disappointing 2013 continues in AAA. He has struck out 15 and walked 6 over four starts for Salt Lake, but has allowed at least one home run per start. After holding the 51s to 5 hits and 1 walk over 5 IP he has been less successful in his last three starts. (15.2 IP, 18 H, 12 R)
In the big leagues this year Hanson was pitching to a 33% ground ball rate, down from a norm of 40%. As you can guess he’s set a career worst 44% fly ball rate. As a pitcher who has had a tough recovery from a rotator cuff tear that did not require surgery, he seems like a bargain/project in the coming offseason. But for now he gets to test that fly ball rate against one of the best hitting teams in the PCL in one of the best environments for hitters.
AA: Binghamton Mets @ Trenton Thunder Listen-Alternate Audio
Game Two 7:05 ET – LHP Darin Gorski (6-1, 1.83) vs. RHP Mikey O’Brien (7-8, 4.12)
After struggles in the PCL (6.59 ERA, 1.95 whip) and six weeks on the DL with shoulder difficulties Darin Gorski joined Binghamton and had the best stretch of his career. After going 9-8 with a 4.00 ERA with Binghamton in 2012 I don’t think anyone saw this level of dominance coming. Over 14 ‘starts’ Gorski held EL batters to a .178 BA and walked 22, for a 0.86 whip, while striking out 67 in 78.2 IP.
He faced Trenton twice, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 over 4 IP in his return from the DL. On July 25th he went the distance, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. He would take the loss that day as Nik Turley and the Trenton pen would throw a 1 hit shutout.
Gorski has already participated in post season for Brooklyn, and Savannah and St. Lucie. Adam Rubin talked with Darin about his year, and updates us on few injuries in his Farm Report.
Mikey O’Brien made 19 starts and 2 relief appearances for Trenton after 6 starts for Tampa to begin the year. At the AA level he has struck out 90 and walked 44 over 107 IP. He has faced Binghamton 4 times this year. In 17.2 IP he allowed 22 hits, walked 10 and struck out 19, while going 1-3 with a 8.66 ERA.
A: Augusta GreenJackets @ Savannah Sand Gnats off
These two teams travel to Savannah for game two and a potential game three the next two nights.
Savannah took Game one behind Gabriel Ynoa. Box Toby’s recap
The Mets three full season affiliates to make the postseason get their series underway tonight.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s @ Salt Lake Bees [LAA] Listen
Game One 8:35 ET – RHP Matt Fox (8-4, 4.59) vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker (11-13, 4.64)
Matt Fox ended up leading the 51s in wins and second in IP despite not making his first start until mid-May. Fox has been solid down the stretch with 5 wins in his last 8 starts, and 19 K to 1 BB over his last two starts, but is an interesting choice for game one in Salt Lake. On August 19th he allowed 8 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks in Salt Lake, and on July 10th he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits (2BB/4K) over 4.2 IP in Salt Lake. Back on June 24th Fox faced Salt Lake in Vegas and limited them to 2 runs on 9 hits over 6.1 IP. Fox has a 2.66 ERA in 8 home starts and a 6.02 ERA in 12 road starts.
Matt Shoemaker finished 4th in the PCL in wins, and tied for 4rd in losses, leading the league in starts (29), IP, hits, strike outs, and homers allowed (27). He’s held the 51s to 5 runs total in three starts against them, striking out 22 and walking 2 over 20.2 IP. He’s made 64 regular season starts for Salt Lake and allowed 55 homers, so he is not stranger to the hitter friendly environment in Salt Lake.
AA: Binghamton Mets @ Trenton Thunder [NYY] Listen-Alternate Audio
Game Two 7:05 ET – RHP Noah Syndergaard (6-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-0, 1.93)
Starting the year in St Lucie Noah Syndergaard showed flashes of his top prospect status, striking out 7 or more four times, but mostly meandered his way through 12 starts on his way to a mid-season promotion to Binghamton. Instead of being tested by what might be the toughest jump in the minor leagues Thor exploded on the Eastern League. His K rate ballooned to 32.2% a career best and his walk rate dipped to a best of 5.6%. On August 16th he struck out 10 and allowed just 3 hits over 5 IP and at the time he had a 1.59 ERA through 10 EL starts, striking out 64 with 10 walks over 51 IP. After being skipped a turn to help extend his season into the playoffs he took the mound on August 26th and got smacked around for 9 ER on 9 hits (2BB/5K) over 3 IP. The 9 ER doubled his total in AA and nearly doubled his ERA. With the Mets concerns about his workload (which is 117.2 IP after 103.2 IP last year) was this start a sign that he is tiring, or just a rusty/low adrenaline performance for a team that had already clinched its playoff spot.
Bryan Mitchell is a curious choice for game one as he has made just 3 starts at the AA level, however he did finish up the year with a 10K/0BB 4 hit over 7.1 IP performance against New Britain. He spent most of 2013 pitching for Tampa (4-11, 5.12 ERA) with 104 strikeouts and 53 walks over 126.2 IP. He faced St. Lucie on July 29th in a game that included Cory Vaughn as well as Plawecki and Reynolds. Plawecki had the only hit of that trio, it was a double (of course), with each of Binghamton’s late season additions walking once.
Greg Peavey has rejoined the Binghamton staff, and it appears that Kevin Plawecki and Matt Reynolds will not be a part of the active roster as the playoffs start.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats @ Augusta Greenjackets [SF] Listen
Game One 7:05 ET – RHP Gabriel Ynoa (15-4, 2.72) vs. RHP Martin Agosta (9-3, 2.06)
Gabriel Ynoa beat Augusta 3 times in the course of a month this summer. In the first two starts he gave up just 1 run on 11 hits and 1 walks while striking out 9 over 12.2 IP. However in the third match-up the Greenjackets figured him out to the tune of 10 hits and 4 ER over 5 IP, 0BB/3K. Is it a case of over-exposure, or just one poor start late in a long season…
Marcos Camarena was left off the postseason roster, while OF Greg Pron was activated to give the Gnats 13 position players.
Martin Agosta made the jump from low rookie ball to the SAL this year as a 22 year old and as a result saw a limited workload throughout the year. As a result he came up 20 IP short of qualifying for the ERA title which he otherwise would have won (leader was 2.25) He is a low contact pitcher having struck out 109 and walked 43 over 91.2 IP while batters hit just .180 against him. Against the Gnats he’s had some trouble with walks, on April 10th he walked 3 and struck out 2 while allowing 6 hits over 3.2 IP. On May 19th he walked 5 and struck out 5 while allowing 4 hits in 3.1 IP, in a game that did NOT include Plawecki and Zurcher. His very next start he put it together against the Gnats going 7 shutout innings, striking out 8 and walking 2 on May 25th. He did not face the Gnats in the second half as the Giants began spacing out his starts to not run into innings limits.
Regular season finale for the Cyclones
A-Sh: Brooklyn Cyclones (37-37) @ Tri-City ValleyCats (44-31) Listen
Wednesday 6:00 ET – RHP Miller Diaz (6-3, 2.01) vs. RHP Troy Scribner (1-2, 5.51)
The Cyclones led the NYPL in attendance for the 13th straight year.
Bonus points if you follow along with this contest…
R: Greeneville Astros @ Kingsport Mets
Game Three 7:00 ET – RHP Frederick Tiburcio (3-2, 2.43) vs. RHP Robert Whalen (3-2, 1.87)
Frederick Tiburcio was a part of the Astros early season sweep of the Mets with a 7 strikeouts over 5 IP while allowing 2 hits and a walk. He hasn’t faced them since. On August 13th he got tagged by Johnson City, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits over 3 IP (2BB/2K) in his only start in which he allowed more than 2 runs. He rebounded with 12 K, 1 BB, and 10 hits over his last 2 starts against quality teams Elizabethtown and Bluefield. For the year he has struck out 51 and walked 19 over 55.2 IP, holding batters to .213
Robert Whalen was among the best pitchers in the APL this year. He finished second in ERA and whip (0.93) among qualifiers, led the league in IP as one of just two starters to average more than 6 IP/start (Flexen) and finished second in the league with 76 strikeouts. He faced Greeneville three times this year, and didn’t factor in the decision in any of them.
June 26th: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K
July 9th: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 UER, 2 BB, 6 K
Aug 9th: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K
In the first two he left with the lead only to see Greeneville rally for wins, in the last game he left trailing and his teammates would rally for the win. The last game was just the second time he struck out less than 6, and the second time he walked more than 2. As you can see the K/BB numbers in those starts are trending down. Has Greeneville seen him enough to stop swinging at his pitches out of the zone?
A-Sh: Brooklyn Cyclones (37-36) @ Tri-City ValleyCats (43-31) Listen
Tuesday 6:00 ET – RHP John Gant (6-3, 2.33) vs. LHP Evan Grills (6-1, 3.38)
A four game losing streak in the seasons final week has eliminate the Cyclones, who now try to avoid having a losing season. John Gant had probably the best start a Mets farmhand has had this year, striking out 6 and facing the minimum over a complete game shutout. He walked 1 and allowed 1 hit, but both were erased on a double play and a caught stealing.
Evan Grills has struck out 46 and walked 12 over 56 IP working in a tandem starter role with RHP Kevin Comer (2-5, 4.80, 43K/17BB in 45 IP)