Start reading a short-season box score by focusing on the best prospects.
A short-season box is a funny thing: the players are years away from the big leagues and their underlying skills and ability are much more important than their production. That is even more true on the level of a season over a single game. Nevertheless, good production beats the alternative.
To that end, I’ve re-ordered the top of the Mets’ 2012 draft class by signing bonus.
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The big movers upward are high school arms Corey Oswalt (7th round, 4th largest bonus) and Chris Flexen (14th round, 6th largest bonus).
Also take a look at the assignments: five of the eight players with the largest bonuses in the 2012 draft class have been assigned to Kingsport.
SSA: @ Batavia Muckdogs 2, Brooklyn Cyclones 0
An 0-for-4 dropped CF Brandon Nimmo to 6-for-38 (.158) in his last nine games with two doubles, five walks and 17 strikeouts. He’s down to .221/.360/.350 with 27 walks against 44 whiffs in 38 games.
R: Bristol White Sox 3, @ Kingsport Mets 1
SS Gavin Cecchini was 2-for-4 with a triple. The 2012 first round pick is hitting .194/.278/.323 in his last 10 games, but has drawn four walks. He’s at .243/.316/.340 in 30 games in the Appy League.
There’s a lot about Cecchini here.
Perhaps you missed it last night waiting for the Matt Harvey show to begin, but Steven Matz threw his third straight game in which he finished six innings and did not allow a single run in leading the Kingsport Mets to a 1-0 win in game one of a double-header.
Matz’ last three starts in the rookie level Appy League: 18 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 8 BB, 23 K.
Yeah, sure, he’s walking too many batters. Also, the league can’t hit his stuff. He’s throwing in the mid 90s, around 95, and touching 98. It’s time to give the 21-year old a taste of the South Atlantic League for a month.
I was asked on Twitter whether he was a top-10 guy in the Mets system. I think so. Based on MLB promotions, and the usual seasonal rearrangements, it would be hard to keep a lefty with plus velocity and a chance to have an average curve and changeup out of the top 10.
SSA: Staten Island Yankees 4, Brooklyn Cyclones 2
RHP Luis Mateo who began his Cyclones’ season by yielding just one run in 17.2 innings gave up four runs for the second time in his last three starts. His line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 K. The Three walks were a new season-high.
C Kevin Plawecki was 3-for-3 with a double, his second three-hit game of the season and his second in his last three contests, lifting his season line to .234/.359/.338.
R: @ Kingsport Mets 2, Greeneville Astros 0
@ Kingsport Mets 2, Greeneville Astros 1
Steven Matz was very sharp in game one: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. His last two starts: 12 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 15 K. That’s good.
Persio Reyes was sharp in game two: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. I wrote about the rail-thin Reyes last week.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 7, @ Hudson Valley Renegades 3
We will start at the end, where, with a two run lead and two men aboard in the ninth, Brandon Nimmo doubled to left-center. Then, Little League style, he came home on a throwing error on the Renegades shortstop. After a rough first 10 games, he’s up to .296/.393/.493 in his last 19 contests.
DH Kevin Plawecki, this year’s supplemental first-rounder put together his first career three-hit game, going 3-for-3 with a double and a walk. Plawecki is hitting .221/.354/.324 in 19 games, but he’s the third-toughest player in the New York-Penn League to strikeout (7.3% K/PA).
R: Bristol White Sox 10, @ Kingsport Mets 7
Ouch, Akeel Morris: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 2 HBP.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 7, @ State College Spikes (PIT) 4
CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-5 with a double (his sixth), a walk and a strikeout. It was his fourth-straight multi hit game. He’s up to .351/.442/.486 in his last 10 games with four extra-base hits and six walks against 12 strikeouts. He’s up to .250/.397/.396 in 27 games in Brooklyn.
Both LF Stefan Sabol (.292/.422/.416 – 25 games) and 1B Jayce Boyd (.275/.333/.451 – 13 games) picked up two hits each.
R: Kingsport Mets 1, @ Johnson City Cardinals 0 (7 innings)
@ Johnson City Cardinals 4, Kingsport Mets 1 (7 innings)
Hey, not one, but two whole games for the K-Mets.
Game one was clean: John Gant pitched well and DH Julio Concepcion homered for the only run.
Gant (pictured): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
Gant’s dad told me on Twitter the other day that he’s been 90-92 with his fastball, with a changeup at 81 and a curve at 78 mph. That’s actually consistent with his scouting report at Baseball America last year which had him at 87-91, touching 93 with an “athletic, projectable frame” and a “solid-average breaking ball.” The Mets went overslot ($185K) to sign Gant, a 21st round pick away from LIU.
SS Gavin Cecchini was 3-for-5 with a double and a walk across the two games. The Mets 2012 first round pick is hitting a very solid .280/.345/.373 in his first 21 games in the Appalachian League as an 18-year old.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 3, @ State College Spikes (PIT) 2
CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-4 with a double (his fifth), his third-straight multi-hit game. With a .333/.429/.472 line in his last 10 games, he’s up to .242/.391/.385 in his first 26 games in a Brooklyn uniform. He’s first in the league in walks and 18th in on-base percentage.
RHP Luis Cessa was solid again: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
R: Kingsport Mets @ Johnson City Cardinals – ppd by rain
It was a hot, clear afternoon in Johnson City. Driving to the ballpark around three, I noticed some tall, puffy clouds massing to the south. Hmm, I thought.
The K-Mets took batting practice and I did some interviews (manager Jose Leger, Gavin Cecchini, Brendan Kaupe and Tomas Nido). I took a little video of the hitters (see, folks, coming attractions). Then the skies darkened. And it rained, softly at first, around 5:30 or so. A quick check of the radar revealed a small cell with the ballpark on the edge of the bad stuff.
The grandstand’s metal roof amplified the rain. The rain paused. And then the cell started growing and it poured. The Cardinals left their dugout to head back to the clubhouse. Oh well.
It was the K-Mets fourth rainout in five days. The team has played one game since last Monday including last Tuesday’s scheduled off-day.
Surely the Appalachian League could solve this with some nice retractable domed roofs.
On the plus side, during the rain delay, I tried a Dr. Enuf soda which is bottled locally in Johnson City. It’s somewhere between a Sprite and a Mountain Dew in flavor, but closer to a Sprite with a splash of Dew: citrusy, sweet and tangy.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 6, @ State College Spikes (PIT) 3
CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-3 with a triple, his first as a Cyclone, and a walk and a strikeout. He’s hitting .230/.387/.368 in 25 games with 21 walks against 26 strikeouts.
Then there’s Luis Mateo: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP. In 30.2 IP in the New York-Penn League, he’s allowed a whopping 21 base runners and struck out 38. He’s shut out the opposition in three of his five starts. He’s 22 and has stuff in a fastball/slider combo that is simply too good for NYP hitters.
R: @ Johnson City Cardinals 11, Kingsport Mets 3
RHP Chris Flexen, the Mets’ 14th round pick this year, made his professional debut. The stuff was impressive, but the results were not. The Mets went overslot to sign him away from Arizona State, and his $374,400 bonus was the sixth-largest of the draft class.
His line: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Yeah, thanks to a wild pitch, he fanned six, but only went 1.2 innings. The impressive parts: he showed a 92-94 mph fastball and then four other pitches. He used his cutter a lot, at 85-86 mph, it looks like a slider, but he calls it a cutter. He also showed a curveball at 74-75 that has a chance to be average, a slider at 81 mph and changeup at 83 with some good armspeed.
He was hurt by fastball command. “I went out there, left a few pitches up, guys swung the bat,” he said. “Just gotta go back, analyze everything and fix the mistakes. I was leaving a lot of fastballs up and middle. So, location, location, location. Gotta hit the spots better.”
The Mets will keep Flexen in a piggy-back role for the duration of his time in Kingsport.
The K-Mets started slender 19-year old RHP Persio Reyes. Reyes showed a fastball at 89-94 mph, settling in around 92 in the third inning and then 90 in the fourth as he lost steam. His changeup around 81 was his second-most frequent pitch – it was ok, but not a put-away offering. He threw maybe five curveballs from 71-74 mph that on the whole were poor. He’s extremely skinny (
as you can see in the picture at right. D’oh. I misplaced my USB cord. Pictures coming tomorrow.) and there’s arm strength out of a delivery with some effort, but his fastball command within the strike zone and he must learn to spin a breaking ball. In fact, there was even more velocity than he took to the game. In the third inning, he took a hard line drive off his right shoulder-blade. After he was examined by the trainer, he threw a warmup pitch, reaching back for 96 mph, harder than any pitch he threw in game action, to prove that he was healthy enough to continue.
Matt Budgell, the Mets’ 2011 10th rounder threw an inning of relief. The rail-thin RHP was 84-90, sitting 87-88 and showed slider at 76 and one at 82. It was not an inspiring set of weapons.
The K-Mets bats had a rough night, although C Tomas Nido clubbed a double off the left-centerfield wall and walked once in his four trips to the plate.
Little 2B Brendan Kaupe was 1-for-2 with an infield single, two walks and a pair of nice diving plays defensively.
A+: St. Lucie Mets 4, @ Bradenton Maruaders (PIT) 1
Cory Vaughn: 2-for-3, 2 2B. He’s hitting .382/.447/.765 with eight extra-base hits in nine games in July and is sitting at .242/.344/.470 overall in 80 games.
SSA: Jamestown Jammers 5, @ Brooklyn Cyclones 2
CF Brandon Nimmo (.205/.379/.342 – 21 games) expanded his NYP-leading walk total by going 1-for-2 with two walks. Philip Evans’ two-run single in the sixth put the Cyclones out in front 2-1 briefly.
Starter Hansel Robles was sharp: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K to lower his ERA to 2.57.
This game was on SNY. What did y’all see?
R: @ Pulaski Mariners 7, Kingsport Mets 6
The story in the system last night: LHP Steven Matz: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
He told MiLB.com:
“My changeup was working good. I only threw one breaking pitch though the first five innings, just using my fastball and changeup. One of the things I was working on with the pitching coordinator is shortening my stride. I shortened my stride up and everything fell into place.
He also told MiLB his fastball “touched 95.” He issued both of his walks in the first inning and did not allow his one hit until the fourth.
The K-Mets lost because RHP Cory Oswalt gave up seven runs on five hits and retired just one batter.
21-year old RF Maikis De La Cruz, was 4-4 with a homer. He’s on the old side for the Appy League (really) but is crushing at .348/.357/.500 in 19 games.
SSA: @ Brooklyn Cyclones 7, Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) 6
2B Richie Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk, the Cyclones’ third of the 11th to force in the winning run. That’s taking walk-off a little literally, don’t you think?
Both Cyclones’ first rounders had two hits. 2011 first rounder CF Brandon Nimmo (.203/.373/.344 – 18 games; pictured) was 2-for-5 with two strikeouts, and an RBI. 2012 supplemental first rounder Kevin Plawecki put together his second two-hit game. In 11 games, he’s rocking a .205/.367/.359 line with five walks and two strikeouts and two homers.
Sixth-rounder Jayce Boyd homered, his first pro blast. The Mets’ 6th rounder is off to a quick start for the Cyclones (8-for-20) with six extra-base hits in his first five games.
R: @ Elizabethton Twins 6, Kingsport Mets 2
@ Elizabethton Twins 5, Kingsport Mets 4
Gavin Cecchini (.241/.279/.293 – 15 games) took an 0-for-7.
Still no Bradley Marquez in centerfield. He has not played in eight days.