SSA: Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 5, @ Brooklyn Cyclones 2
RHP Matt Koch, the Mets’ third round pick this year, made his professional debut over 1.2 innings, he allowed three runs, all earned on a hit, two walks and a HBP.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 1-for-3 with a walk, his first hit in his last five games. In 11 games, he’s hitting .167/.400/.222 with six hits, 13 walks and 10 strikeouts.
SS Philip Evans (.244/.380/.439 – 11 G) was 0-for-4.
R: @ Kingsport Mets 4, Bluefield Blue Jays 3
SS Gavin Cecchini was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. He’s off to a solid .286/.324/.371 start (10-for-35) with two walks and eight whiffs in his first nine games.
SSA: @ Brooklyn Cyclones 4, Hudson Valley Renegades (TB) 1
Cyclones’ starter Hansel Robles: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. In 10.2 innings over two starts, Robles (pictured) has 11 strikeouts and one walk.
Dave Gershman at the Penn League Report has a fairly positive review of Robles’ first start, noting that he was sitting 91-92 with his fstball, which touched 94 at times.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. While going hitless in his last four games, he has drawn five walks and is up to 12 walks against 10 strikeouts in 10 games this year. He’s also 5-for-33 (.152/.391/.212).
R: @ Danville Braves 8, Kingsport Mets 1
19-year old Persio Reyes, who had a 1.95 ERA in the DSL last year is having a tougher time in the Appy League: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
Speaking of rough times, there’s LHP Zach Dotson who, for the second outing in a row, lasted just 0.1 of an inning. His line of .1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 WP lowered his ERA from 54.00 to 40.50.
SS Gavin Cecchini was 0-for-2 before departing before the bottom of the sixth inning.
SSA: @ Hudson Valley Renegades 4, Brooklyn Cyclones 2
When I open up a Brooklyn Cyclones box score, I look for Brandon Nimmo and Philip Evans first. They were both 0-for on Tuesday night, but Nimmo drew a walk and struck out.
The Cyclones had just seven hits, all singles, including two from LF Stefan Sabol, who also committed an error, his second.
Rookie: @ Danville Braves 5, Kingsport Mets 3
Steven Matz took his first professional loss, but pitched pretty well in his second game: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP.
SS Gavin Cecchini: 2-for-4 with a triple, his first, and an RBI. The Mets’ first rounder this year is hitting .276 (8-for-29) with two walks and eight strikeouts in seven games. Last week, I talked to a scout who had Cecchini in his area and really liked the kid. Cecchini was not an option for his team based on their spot in the draft, but he liked the pick and thought Cecchini would hit.
C Tomas Nido, the Mets’ eighth round pick was 2-for-4. He’s catching every other day, and has hit .294 (5-for-17) in his first four games.
SSA: Staten Island Yankees 8, @ Brooklyn Cyclones 1
The Yankees scored six times in the seventh inning to turn a close game into a laugher.
Don’t blame starter Hansel Robles, who was effective through five innings: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. According to Dave Gershman at the Penn League Report, the 21-year old was sitting 90-91 and touched 94 with a usable slider and curveball. Robles, who is listed at just 5’11″, 185, put up good numbers in the Kingsport bullpen a year ago. Sounds like a reliever to me.
SS Philip Evans was 2-for-3 with a homerun, his first as a professional. He’s off to a .385 (5-for-13) start with five walks and two strikeouts in four games.
CF Brandon Nimmo picked up a hit, a walk and a strikeout and now has walked six times in four games.
@ Princeton Rays 15, Kingsport Mets 2
SS Gavin Cecchini was 0-for-3 and eventually removed for a pinch-runner. Hmm.
Zach Dotson, who the Mets went overslot to sign in 2009, appeared in his seventh professional game and was less than effective: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.
I’ll try to have short-season box score notes up around 10 on weekdays in the future, so we’re a little behind today.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 7, @ Staten Island Yankees 2
LF Stefan Sabol led the way offensively, going 2-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts. He’s an interesting mid-round pick from this year. Look for an interview with him around here in the next week.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 1-for-3 with a double, his first extra-base hit of the year, two walks, and an RBI. In three games, he’s walked five times and struck out once, which is nice.
First start of the year for Luis Cessa: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
R: @ Princeton Rays 10, Kingsport Mets 7
If the teams combine on 21 hits and nine errors, odds are, you’re looking at an Appalachian League box score.
The news here is Steven Matz, who pitched in an official game for the first time. The Mets’ top pick, in the second round in 2009 did this: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. He induced five ground balls and allowed four flyouts. The important thing is that his career is now taking place on the mound rather than under the surgeon’s knife or in the training room.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 4, @ Staten Island 1
Tuesday in Staten Island, RHP Luis Mateo shut down the Yankees. He’s an interesting arm. In his 5.2 innings, he allowed just two hits, one a solo homerun, a walk and struck out nine. In the first inning, he was sitting 94-95 mph with his two-seamer with movement. In the second, he was down to 93-94. By the fifth, he was living 90-91, although he reached back to sit 92 mph in the sixth.
His slider was in the upper 80s, although I liked the bit on it at 87-ish best. He induced both swings and misses and called strikes with the offering. He got a away with a few up, but also hung a flat one that turned into the Yankees’ only run on a solo home run by DH Saxon Butler in the third. At times, he just did not finish the pitch.
Already 22, he has plenty of size at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. Why is he 22 and just starting out? In 2008, he signed with the Giants, who tore up the contract after finding bone chips in his elbow. Then after agreeing to terms with the Padres that fall, MLB began investigating. It turned out he had lied about his age, and was suspended for a year in March 2010. The Mets signed him immediately thereafter.
Pitching Coach Marc Valdes was a happy camper post-game, saying of Mateo, “He attacked. He threw a sharp slider today. He had good movement later when it looked like he got a little bit tired. … He went for the strikeouts today. When he was 0-2 and 1-2, those are his times when he can be selfish and go get those strikeouts.”
At times, Valdes wanted Mateo to pitch more to his strength, “There was one inning where I thought he was primarily too many sliders,” Valdes said. “He’d get ahead with the fastball and then want to go slider, slider. For me, not when he’s got that good fastball. He mixed well.”
Mateo’s changeup was pretty raw. Valdes pinned its velocity “at times it’s about 86-87. He fluctuates between 81 and 88. Sometimes he hits it and gets it pretty good and turns it over at times, but it falls out armside pretty good.” Some, however, he pulled across the plate.
Long Island product LHP John Mincone followed Mateo with 2.1 innings of nearly perfect baseball. Mincone, was 87 mph on his heater with a 78 mph curveball. He’s going to get a lot of outs in the New York Penn League this summer.
LHP Jeremy Gould struck out the side in the ninth working with a similar 87 mph heater and an 80 mph hook. After the game, manger Rich Donnelly announced that Gould was heading to Savannah alongside C Xorge Carillo and INF Yucarybert De La Cruz.
At the plate, SS Philip Evans barreled up a hanging curveball and ripped it for a single into left-center. he finished 1-for-4 with a walk.
1B Cole Frenzel, who was a Gnat for a week, was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
(More about Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki’s nights coming in a separate post.)
After the game Jeremy Gould, Xorge Carillo, Yucy De La Cruz were promoted to Savannah.
R: @ Princeton Rays 8, Kingsport Mets 4
First rounder Gavin Cecchini was hitless in his professional debut, going 0-for-3 with a two walks and two strikeouts. 2012 fourth-rounder Branden Kaupe was 0-4 with one walk and three whiffs.
Akeel Morris: 3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
On the plus side, LF Joe Tuschak was 1-for-3 with his first professional homerun. He was homerless in 32 games in the GCL in 2011 when he hit just .204/.318/.222 in 32 games.
The Kingsport Mets, who begin their 2012 Appalachian League season tonight, have now updated their roster on Kmets.com. There are players worth watching up the middle and on the mound.
Up the Middle
SS Gavin Cecchini, the Mets first round pick in the 2012 is the team’s biggest name. His double-play partner will be 2012 fourth-round pick Brenden Kaupe, a diminutive Hawaiian, listed at 5’7″.
The outfield features one of the best athletes from the Mets’ 2011 draft class Brad Marquez. Marquez, the Mets’ 16th rounder that year, had a decent season as a freshman wide receiver at Texas Tech.
He’s joined in the outfield by Joe Tuschak, 2011′s 6th round pick who didn’t hit much in his brief professional debut in the GCL in 2011, but has nice fluid movements defensively.
Behind the dish, Tomas Nido, 2012′s 8th rounder leads four catchers. The Mets had to go $113,100 overslot to sign Nido away from a Florida State commitment. His power made him a top-10 round pick although, as is usually the case with HS catchers, there are questions about his work as a receiver.
On the corner, I’m a little interested in 17-year old 3B Pedro Perez, who will not turn 18 until the final day of August. Perez hit .262/.350/.343 in 61 games in the DSL last summer, going 15-for-17 stealing bases which speaks well of his athleticism and 25 walks against 47 strikeouts in 61 games which speaks reasonably well of his plate discipline.
Lots of interesting names here again, starting with Steven Matz, the Mets first selection in 2009, in the second round, who has yet to throw a professional pitch after Tommy John Surgery in May 2010. So, good to see he’s survived his setbacks to make a roster.
It’s very interesting that RHP Akeel Morris will repeat Kingsport. The hard-thrower fanned 10.7 batters per nine innings (61 K/51.1 IP) in 2011, but also walked 6.7 (38/51.1 IP). He was tied for fourth in the league in strikeouts, but led the Appy League in walks.
The Mets had to go $328,400 overslot to sign 7th round RHP Corey Oswalt away from a UC Santa Barbara commitment. According to Baseball America, he “is a long-term project,” as he throws 88-90, but can touch 91-92 mph with “some feel” for spinning a breaking ball.
Also, LHP Zach Dotson is on the K-Mets’ roster. The Mets went overslot for a $500,000 bonus to sign their 13th round pick in 2009. He tested positive for a banned substance in 2010, and threw just one inning over two appearances in the GCL in 2011.
Kingsport Mets 5, @ Bristol White Sox 3
The GCL season ended Saturday, so the Mets promoted two of the jewels of their 2011 draft class, first rounder Brandon Nimmo and 15th rounder Philip Evans to Kingsport for the final three games of the Appalachian League season.
Nimmo, batting ninth, and playing centerfield, was 1-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. In eight games as a professional, Nimmo has hit .258/.361/.452 with five walks and 10 strikeouts.
Evans, batting eighth, and playing shortstop, was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a strikeout.
The K-Mets season ends Tuesday. On Sunday, a commenter asked whether the Mets would promote Nimmo and Evans to Brooklyn to keep them playing competitive games for as long as possible or just send them back home for a few weeks until instructs start on the 17th. The Cyclones, who were Irened out Sunday, play eight games in seven days to finish the NYP season starting Monday and lead the NYP wild card chase by one half game with eight to play. I’d be surprised if it happened, but it’s really not a bad idea.
On the plus side, it would get two of the better prospects in the system more at-bats. Their bags are already packed, and they’d get a taste of the big city. On the other hand, it would turn the final few games of the Cyclones’ season into a circus with media attention.
Would it help the Cyclones on the field?
In the 10 days since the NYP All-Star break, Tillman Pugh has received the bulk of the playing time in centerfield. The 22-year old Pugh is off to a nice start with the Cyclones (.333/.448/.583 in 9 games) after hitting an unexceptional .252/.328/.398 in 39 games with Kingsport in the Appalachian League. Pugh, last year’s 15th round pick out of Sonoma State played at Arizona State his freshman year, before transferring to Gateway Community College in Phoenix and then back to California for Sonoma State. This article from the Daily News in Washington state, where Pugh was playing in a college summer league in 2010, praises his “blazing speed.”
Travis Taijeron (.299/.399/.551) had been playing three out of four games or so in center through the early part of August. He missed two weeks after fouling a ball off his ankle, but returned as the Cyclones’ DH Friday.
Fitting Nimmo in at centerfield would not be a problem. However, Evans might be a little trickier. The Cyclones’ best player this year has been SS Danny Muno (.335/.441/.490 in 52 games) the team’s eight-round pick in 2011. Muno did play two games at third this year for Brooklyn and in college. Evans was a shortstop in high school. While projections from our own Mike Diaz, Keith Law, Baseball America and others see him as potentially moving to second base in future years, I can’t find any evidence that he’s ever actually played the position. It seems like a stretch that with a playoff berth on the line, the Mets would move Muno to third in favor of Evans, who would be playing games 9-12 of his professional career.
I think it’s a long shot, but I kinda like the idea. Lets see Nimmo and Evans play.
SSA: Brooklyn Cyclones 7, @ Tri-City Valley Cats 4
With the win, the Cyclones move into a tie for the wild card lead.
Hey, guess who keeps hitting? SS Danny Muno, who was 2-4 with a double and a walk is up to: .333/.437/.492. He did commit a pair of errors and is now up to 11 in 50 games as a Cyclone.
CF Tillman Pugh, who began the season with Kingsport had a big night, going 3-4 with a triple, two RBI and two stolen bases. The Mets drafted Pugh, who’s now 22, in the 15th round last year out of Sonoma State. He played football and baseball in high school at the San Francisco Bay Area powerhouse La Salle.
Also, yes, that’s 24-year old Nick Carr, who has pitched in full-season ball since 2008, and in the Arizona Fall League last year, closing out the game for the Cyclones.
R- Kingsport Mets 9, Pulaski Rangers 2
Pick your own hitting star, but I’m more interesting in Akeel Morris (3-2, 3.86): 5 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB (!), 5 K, 1 HR.
He’s third in the Appy League in strikeouts (61) and leads the circuit in walks (38) while giving up just 30 hits in 51.1 innings pitched. That’s interesting.
No GCL game Thursday.
SSA: @ Tri-City Valley Cats 7, Brooklyn Cyclones 4
This was a gut-wrenching defeat for the Cyclones, who rallied from down 2-0 to take a 4-2 lead in the seventh and then watched the bullpen give up a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth.
2011 39th rounder Charlie Thurber had a perfect night, going 3-3 with a double, two walks, a run and an RBI, reaching base in all five plate appearances.
R – App: @ Kingsport Mets 9, Danville Braves 4
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.
R- GCL: GCL Nationals 13, GCL Mets 2
Hey, look CF Brandon Nimmo hit his first professional home run and drew his first walk, going 1-3 with a bomb and a walk.
In his second professional game, SS Philip Evans was 2-for-4 with a double.