AA Wednesday: Deja Vu – A Jefry Marte Error and ‘Pen Collapse Wastes Collin McHugh’s Good Start

AA: New Britain Rock Cats (MIN) 5, Binghamton Mets 1

I just wrote about this game. Tuesday, Jefry Marte’s error led to three unearned runs off Robert Carson in the ninth. Wednesday, Marte’s eighth inning error led to four unearned runs off Erik Turgeon. As was the case with Carson Tuesday, Turgeon was not effective Wednesday. The Rock Cats eighth: error, fly out, strikeout, double, walk, double, single, double, strikeout.

The eighth inning meltdown wasted another nice start from Collin McHugh: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP. He threw 67 of his 100 pitches for strikes. With the win, he lowered in 2012 ERA to 2.40. Since the 2011 AA All-Star Break, McHugh has a 1.85 ERA in 97.1 IP with a 3.7 K/BB ratio (101 K/27 BB) and an opponents’ batting average of .201 (71 H/353 AB). Barring an injury, my guess is that McHugh will make at least a few more double-A starts. The AAA rotation is currently: RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Jeremy Hefner, RHP Chris Schwinen and LHP Garrett Olson with Jenrry Mejia coming soon.

CF Matt den Dekker tripled in four at-bats and struck out twice. The 24-year old is hitting .281/.348/.488 with 33 strikeouts in 30 games, but nearly half of his hits (16 of 34) have gone for extra-bases.

LF Juan Lagares (.257/.333/.352 – 29 games) picked up two singles. His walk rate is a very healthy 9.3%, which would easily be a career-high, but his extra-base hit rate is way down, as is his BABIP which was a crazy-high .439 in AA in 2011.

Upper Levels Friday: Jeurys Familia Goes Wild. Andres Torres Rehabs Everybody Wins

AAA: @ Buffalo Bisons 7, Rochester Red Wings 3

The Bisons overcame a short, wild start from Jeurys Familia thanks to homers from C Lucas May and SS Omar Quintanilla. Familia: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 3 K. He threw just 39 of his 80 pitches for strikes in a start when he tied his career-high for walks.. For the year, he’s walked 22 batters in 21.2 innings pitched. That’s bad. Hey, at least he’s whiffed 26. Still, his control is a wreck right now.

Jack Egbert followed Familia and settled things down with three scoreless innings. Egbert’s 1.88 ERA is deceivingly good; half of the six runs he’s allowed have been unearned.

CF Andres Torres was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a walk, and a stolen base in his first rehab game in AAA.

The homerun for May was his second in as many games. The 27-year old is sitting at .209/.261/.558 with seven of his nine hits for extra-bases. Mike Nickeas looks safe for now with May’s slow start, especially after the Bisons placed C Rob Johnson on the disabled list with a left knee sprain retroactive to Wednesday.


AA: Binghamton Mets 3, @ Erie Sea Wolves 1

Lets start with one of the most pleasant surprises for the Mets in April: 3B Jefry Marte who was 2-for-3 with a walk to push his line so far to .375/.429/.500 with five walks against nine strikeouts. It’s a lot of batting average, but it’s also a lot of hits for a 20-year old in AA.

Matt den Dekker (.296/.356/.519 – 20 G) who was 0-for-3, was also hit by a pitch and was caught stealing. He’s now just 2-for-6 stealing bases. That’s… not good.

The B-Mets had more walks (6) than hits (4) in this one.

Mark Cohoon was fine: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. In 24 innings this year, he’s walked nine and fanned 10. As his 6.11 ERA in AAA in 2011 illustrated, that’s not going to work.

Fresh off his three days hanging around the big club, LHP Robert Carson tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Elvin Ramirez retired the side in order in the ninth, to run his scoreless innings streak to 11.1. Look past the absurd 26 strikeouts for a moment and the five walks will illustrate that he’s not quite ready for the next level.

AA Wednesday: B-Mets Bats Make up for Gorski Stumble

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 9, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) 5 

Darin Gorski did not have a good night, but the offense pounded out 14 hits to pick him up.

Gorski: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 WP.

Elvin Ramirez was perfect through the final two innings with a strikeout.  He’s fanned 16 of the 40 batters he’s seen (40%) in 10.1 innings. He’s been throwing in the 94 mph range, and his breaking ball is coming along. Mets fans remember Josh Edgin from Spring Training, but Elvin Ramirez might not be too much further behind.

Six different B-Mets picked up two hits in the game starting against Jays’ prospect Deck McGuire whose ERA rose to 8.24 after tonight’s drubbing. Lets focus on the best two prospects in the B-Mets’ order.

CF Matt den Dekker (pictured): 2-for-4 with a double, a two-run homerun and a walk. The 24-year old is hitting .288/.346/.493 in 18 games thus far in AA.

3B Jefry Marte: 2-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout. Now less than two months shy of his 21st birthday, he’s sitting at .367/.418/.490 with just seven whiffs in 49 AB over 14 games in AA.

Upper Minors: More Hits for Jefry Marte and the B-Mets

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 6, Portland Sea Dogs 1

The B-Mets trailed 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth, when they tied the game, and then pulled away with three in the sixth and two in the eighth.

3B Jefry Marte was 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 straight games. Overall, in his first 11 games in AA, the 20-year old is hitting .405/.463/.568 with four walks and four strikeouts. It’s an impressive few weeks for Marte. Jeff astutely pointed out in the comment section yesterday, that Marte enjoyed a hot April last year for St. Lucie when he hit .321/.396/.524.

RF Matt den Dekker was 0-5 from the leadoff spot with two more strikeouts. He’s up to 17 whiffs in 15 games and is hitting .258/.313/.403 through 15 games. In 87 games at AA between 2011 and 2012, den Dekker, who will be 25 in August, has hit .240/.312/.422 with a 28% strikeout rate. It was the first start in right for den Dekker since last May in St. Lucie. He also started four games in left that year. Getting him a few games on the corners to allow him to get comfortable with the greater degree of slice makes sense as it will make him a more valuable backup outfielder in the big leagues.

Mark Cohoon (1-2, 2.50): 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Elvin Ramirez took care of the ninth, walking one and striking out a batter. He’s now fanned 15 of the 34 batters he’s faced and walked five.

 

The Bisons were washed out. They’ll play two in Syracuse beginning at noon on Sunday.

Thursday Links

At ESPNNY, Adam Rubin writes about Cory Vaughn.

In the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, Jefry Marte says he got tired at the end of last year and to prepare for this year, ” tried to do a little bit more work.”

Also, the Bisons are playing another day game.
Here’s the box score.

Upper Minors: Matt Harvey’s Second Start in Football Weather

AAA: @ Rochester Red Wings (Min) 5, Buffalo Bisons 3

Matt Harvey’s line on a miserable day for baseball in Rochester: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. It was about 43 and overcast at first pitch. By the fifth inning, it was colder and pouring rain.

Strangely, in the fifth, when the weather was the worst, I saw Harvey snap off some of his best curveballs of the game. His fastball was lively all day, and he touched 95, but he had trouble commanding it, especially early when he gave up a walk and a couple of singles that led to a run. At times, he was able to get hitters off balance with his change-up. He’ll be fine. Remember: it was 1. his second AAA start and 2. it was weather better suited to hanging out on the couch watching a movie than playing a baseball game outside.

CF Jordany Valdespin was 1-for-5 with a single and a caught stealing. Through six games he’s hitting .222/.250/.222 and is 0-for-2 stealing bases.

His inexperience as an outfielder was on display in the first inning. With one out, and a runner at second, he settled under a fly ball in medium deep center. The Red Wings runner at second saw this, tagged and went to third. Valdespin, and this came up on the Bisons radio broadcast, should have set up behind the ball so he could catch it, and step into the throw. As it was, he got very little on the throw to third. In terms of physical ability, Valdespin can play centerfield, but he will need to learn these types of nuances to be good out there.

 

AA: Erie Seawolves 6, Binghamton Mets 1

Not much good here outside of Jefry Marte as the B-Mets were held to three hits.

3B Jefry Marte was 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Marte’s off to a 6-for-16 start with three walks and two strikeouts in six games. It’s early yet of course, but Marte made strides with his strike zone control last year in the Florida State League and the Arizona Fall League, so it’s encouraging to see that continue in AA.

Mark Cohoon: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, HBP – Meh.

Robert Carson: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR. Carson has given up a home run in each of his one-inning outings in 2012.

Brad Holt: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. That’s three walks in two innings of work for Holt.

Video: Jefry Marte Hitting

 

Jefry Marte has slipped down my Mets Prospect rankings in the last four years, but I’m not willing to completely give up on him yet. He’s still just 20, and finished #10 in the Arizona Fall League in OPS in 2012 when he hit .333/.436/.538 with 12 walks and 12 strikeouts. Also, his plate discipline seems to be improving as his 2011 strikeout rate in St. Lucie of 16% was his lowest at a full-season level.

By year:
2009 – #8
2010 – #12
2011 – #31
2012 – #25

 

#25 – 3B Jefry Marte

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190

Acquired: NDFA (7/2/07)

Born: 6/21/91 (La Romana, DR)

2011 Rank: 31

Why Ranked Here: I have no idea what to do with Marte anymore. I ranked him way too highly at #12 two years ago and dropped him to #31 a year ago.  After a really unimpressive year in the Florida State League, he went out and ripped up the Arizona Fall League for a month as a 20-year old.  Then he broke his wrist (technically a distal radial fracture) right before the end of the season.

 

I saw a few games out of him in St. Lucie this year, and he showed an agility at third that I never saw in Savannah in 2010. All the same, the Mets had Marte begin learning first base in the Arizona Fall League.  If he flips across the diamond, he’ll have to hit a lot, and a lot more than he ever has, to have any value.

 

On the offensive side, there are glimmers of hope as he seems to be making strides with his plate discipline. At St. Lucie, he cut his strikeout rate down to a mere 16%, his lowest ever for a full-season level, and dramatic decline from his 22% in 2009. Marte continued that progress with his plate discipline in Arizona, walking 12 times and fanning just 12 times in 22 games.

 

Contact and walks?  Sure.  That’s a good start, and he still won’t turn 21 until June.

 

2011: Marte was second on the St. Lucie Mets in plate appearances (537), doubles (22) and walks (41).

Dr. Pangloss Says: An everyday third baseman.

Debbie Downer Says:  He never hits .270 over a full-season.

Projected 2012 Start: St. Lucie

MLB Arrival: 2014

 

 

Basic


G AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG
2011 FSL 131 483 120 22 2 7 41 86 .248 .313 .346
2011 AFL 22 78 26 4 0 4 12 12 .333 .436 .538

 

 

Advanced


XBH% SO% BB% HR% BABIP
2011 FSL 5.8 16.0 7.6 1.3 .285
2011 AFL 8.5 12.8 12.8 4.3 .349

Season Review: Thirdbase in A-Ball

Yesterday, we looked at a bunch of guys who played third base in the upper minors, and are unlikely to be successors to David Wright.  Today, lets move down the chain and check out two interesting a-ballers who just might be the Mets’ third basemen in a post-Wright world, if the Mets ever have to face a post-Wright world.

A+
On the surface, Jefry Marte had a disappointing regular season, hitting .248/.313/.346 in 131 games for St. Lucie after spending the previous two years in Savannah.  On the other hand, the mitigating factors for Marte are his age – he turned 20 in June, and the league – the FSL hit .262/.331/.386.  Marte got off to a hot start in April (.321/.396/.524 – 5 2B, 4 HR), producing the most extra-base hits of any month in 2011 in his first try.  However, as the summer wore on, he wore down, hitting just .210/.263/.284 in the second half.

One reason for optimism about Marte’s offensive game: his 2011 strikeout rate of 16% was his lowest in his three years of full-season baseball, a full 6% lower than his 22% whiff rate in 2009 with Savannah.   A second reason for optimism: his strong Arizona Fall League performance, in which he had an equal number of walks and strikeouts (12 in 22 games) or 12.8% of plate appearances.  That kind of strike zone control is a very large step forward.

I saw him only very briefly in 2011, but I thought he was moving better at third base than when I saw him in 2010.   I should point out that he started playing first base in Arizona, and it was while playing first, that he broke his wrist.  There’s no good time to break a wrist, but the fall, when he should have a full three and a half months to heal the bone and strengthen the muscles before spring training seems like one of the less bad scenarios.  If you’d asked me in August, where Marte would rate on my list of Mets prospects, I’d tell you he would be way down from his pre-season rank at #31.  Now, I think he’s more “holding.”

 

A
Lets make this simple: Aderlin Rodriguez, who turns 20 today, has plus power.  His 17 homeruns were the most by a Gnat as a Mets affiliate (exceeding Sean Ratliff’s 15 in 2009), and the most by any Gnat since Luke Montz hit 19 in 2005.  He was just the fourth Gnat as a Mets affiliate (since 2007) to hit double-figures home runs.

Everything else in his game needs work.  He hit just .221/.265/.372 overall.  Sure, some of that was hurt by his .245 BABIP, but that BABIP is also a product of lot of weak contact, especially popups.

He committed 44 errors at third.  His arm, to my eyes is stronger than Marte’s.  His footwork was at least ast good.  However, his hands aren’t as good.  It’s very possible that he will have to slide across the diamond to first base eventually.