This is unequivocally a good thing. The Mets did not have a GCL team in 2012, and instead made due with Kingsport, in teh Appalachian League as their lowest-level domestic affiliate. Kingsport, suffered for it, finishing at 23-43, the second-worst record in the Appalachian League. More importantly, the players struggled. First year guys straight out of high school who were drafted in 2012 and players in their first year stateside after playing in the Dominican and Venezuela were jumped to Kingsport.
The new collective bargaining agreement moved the deadline for players and teams to sign from August 15 to July 15, so more American guys will sign and play in the year they are drafted. Now, the high schoolers will have an appropriate team to play for. Also, with the high-ceiling high school guys playing in the GCL, there will now be more playing time for the more developed collegians, who might turn into org pieces in the Appy League.
This was about correcting a mistake. Criticize the mistake (cutting the GCL team in 2012) if you would like, but make sure to recognize that the Mets have admitted their error and applaud that they fixed the problem for 2013.
Despite reportsthat the Mets were dropping their rookie level team in Kingsport, TN, it turns out that the Mets will not be fielding a Gulf Coast League team in 2012. The GCL is the lowest level of professional baseball in the US, and is usually the first landing spot for high school draftees, and international free agents.
The games are played at a pretty low level, but it is the first exposure to professional baseball. This is the most important facet of rookie ball – the at bats and innings young players get. In 2011, the GCL Mets collective had 1854 AB and threw 491 innings over 56 games. Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer and Joe Tuschak and others from the 2011 draft class made his professional debuts. Erik Goeddel and Kai Gronauer, minor leaguers from full-season leagues, used the GCL as a return to competitive action.
How much money could the Mets be saving here? In player and coach salaries it’s probably about $250,000. Travel costs were low, almost all of the team’s road trips were commutes with no hotel stays. If I recall correctly, the Mets owned their own Florida bus (going rates on coach rentals are about $700-800 per day). What other costs are there? The team was paying for some of the dorms and food for their players. This was probably a major cost. Insurance, which is probably not insignificant. League dues, which are probably insignificantly small – under $10k annually. Uniforms – also probably insignificant since the GCL team wore hand-me-downs. David Waldstein in the New York times puts the annual cost of a GCL team at $750-800,000 annually. For those keeping score at home, that’s roughly 1/5-1/4 of a Jon Rauch annually.
The real big issue will be the revised cost of operating the team’s Port St. Lucie complex over what used to be the GCL season. However, the advanced-A team will still play at Digital Domain Park, so the complex will stay open. The Mets will presumably still use their PSL complex for rehab. So unless I’m missing something here, I just don’t see much cost-saving. I do see the loss of developmental time and opportunities for young players.
The GCL had 15 teams, while the Arizona League had 13 teams in 2011. Assuming no other teams drop their GCL or Arizona affiliates, the Mets will be one of just three Major League teams in 2012 who will not field a true rookie ball team.
One thing stands out: Domingo Tapia (5-5, 3.78) 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Since a 0.2 inning implosion at the end of July, Tapia has been lights out in August: 3-1, 1.13 ERA, 24 H, 17 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 15 K with a go/ao of 2.06.
SS Danny Muno just keeps hitting: 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. The Mets eight-round pick out of Fresno State, the 22-year old Muno is sitting at .332/.434/.492, tops in the NYP in on-base percentage and third in slugging.
LHP Juan Urbina, coming off one of his best outings of 2011 cruised through three innings, allowing just a single over the minimum before it fell apart on him in a six-run fourth inning. His final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.
SS Philip Evans, the Mets 15th round pick, who received the third-highest signing bonus in the Mets draft class, made his professional debut going 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and two runs scored from the #3 spot in the batting order.
Hitting in front of Evans, CF Brandon Nimmo was 0-4 with three strikeouts. As people pointed out to me on both twitter and email, he’s now whiffed in seven of his last eight at bats. My response: chill. He’s played four games as a professional at age 18 without having played high school baseball.
Bob Gsellman, the Mets’ 13th rounder out of Santa Monica, made his first professional start, tossing three innings of one-run ball with no walks, two hits and a strikeout.
1B Cole Frenzel (.250/.346/.328), this year’s seventh round pick out of Arizona was 3-4 with a double and an RBI. After a slow start to his professional career and a .215/.315/.291 line in 20 games in July, Frenzel is rolling along at .324/.409/.405 in August. He’s not hitting for much power yet, but at least he’s hitting for average.
Rain held Eduardo Aldama’s night to 2.2 so the bullpen had to pick up the slack. Tyler Pill, this year’s fourth-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton, tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
The Cyclones are now tied for the wild card lead (of course) and are three games out of first.
SS Danny Muno (.341/.448/.494) was 1-3 with a double and a walk. In 44 games, the 22-year old has extra-base hits in 9.8% of his plate appearances with exactly the same number of walks and strikeouts 32, a rate of 15.7%. He’s also rocking a .412 BABIP. Some of these things are sustainable, one is not.
3B Richard Lucas (.313/.404/.487) was 2-4. Mike wrote about the 22-year old Lucas yesterday and his desire to prove people wrong.
Meanwhile, out of the bullpen, Jack Leathersich struck out four and walked one in 1.2 innings pitched. In 8.2 innings pitched in Brooklyn, the Mets’ 2011 fifth-rounder faced 34 batters and fanned 20. That’s crazy good.
Also, I loved, the Cyclones Brooklyn Nite Jerseys with the image of the bridge, which you can see below.
Probably the best thing to happen in the system Wednesday night: Juan Urbina put together his best professional start. He shutout Johnson City on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. In 17 innings in Augusta, he’s fanned 12 and walked four and run a 2.12 ERA. Whether you want to look at ERA, K/BB ratio, opponents’ batting average, Urbina has improved in every month of the 2011 season.
DH Cam Maron was 2-3. The 20-year old, the Mets 39th rounder in 2009, is hitting .309/.417/.383 in 46 games for Kingsport.
Bunch of interesting notes here actually: Chin-Lung Hu continues to rehab. In eight games in the GCL, he’s hit .138 (4-for-29) with seven walks and six strikeouts and zero extra-base hits. He also committed his second throwing error. Zach Dotson made his second appearance since returning from a 50-game suspension and recorded one out: 0.1 iP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. Dotson, who received the second-largest bonus in the Mets 2009 draft class, despite being selected in the 13th round, has thrown 1 inning this year and 17.1 in the GCL since signing. Robert Gsellman, this year’s 13th rounder, tossed two scoreless innings.
CF Joe Tuschak, this year’s sixth rounder, was 2-3 with two walks to push his batting average back over .200 and up to .205/.333/.229.
Zach Dotson, the Mets 13th round pick in 2009, made his first appearance of the 2011 season on Saturday. Dotson faced seven hitters, retiring two of them while issuing three walks, two hits, a wild pitch, and two runs.
It’s good to see Dotson finally returning to the mound after serving a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a banned substance. Toby profiled Dotson here in his Top 41, and last year Dotson received high praise from then Mets Minor League pitching coordinator Rick Waits.
Michael Fulmer‘s second pro start was cut short due to rain on Sunday. He gave up a hit then recorded an out before the rains came down and ended Fulmer’s day.
Domingo Tapia failed to get out of the first inning for the second time this season, but this time it was not because of an injury. Tapia recorded only two outs on the night, giving up six hits and five earned runs. He also walked one and struck out one.
Tapia’s season totals: 2-4, 6.23 ERA, 26 IP, 33 hits, 7 bb, 15 k.
I saw Tapia throw in spring training and was impressed with his arm strength, but was concerned with the lack of a solid breaking ball. Even with a big fastball, Tapia has failed to miss bats this season, leading me to believe his secondaries need to be refined.
Good thing for Tapia is that he will not turn 20 until December.
The Kingsport defense didn’t exactly help the cause, as they committed six errors.