- Friday night, Mets’ RHP Domingo Tapia burned his left (non-throwing hand) while cooking and was placed on the disabled list. Tapia was off to a nice start for advanced-A St. Lucie. In seven starts, he had a 2.23 ERA. His strikeout (22.5%) and walk rates (10.4%) were unremarkable, but he was not giving up hits – just 20 in 32.1 innings. It’s hard to hit a mid-upper 90s power sinker. Indeed, last week, Mets VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting Paul dePodesta told Baseball America that Tapia was touching 100 mph. I saw 99 mph from him last year and I heard rumors of triple digits. That’s fun and all, but as dePodesta pointed out, it’s better at 96 with more sink.
I’m not very concerned about Tapia’s hand, mostly because it’s his non-throwing hand. Also, in the long run, cooking for himself and his teammates is, burns aside, certainly healthier than eating out every night.
- Lynn Worthy reports that AA RHP Tyler Pill has been shut down for three weeks with a Bennett lesion in his right shoulder. Per Worthy, “Bennet lesion is a buildup or mineralization in a ligament located in the back of the shoulder capsule.” Not all Bennett lesions are painful. One study found 22% of asymptomatic pitchers had Bennett Lesions, and pain is associated with a bony spur. This falls into the category of impingement in the area around the posterior rotator cuff which are not good words for pitchers. This might be nothing and some minor irritation that goes away, but I suspect that Pill will be out for a significant length of time. Even after a three-week shutdown, he’d need a few weeks in the throwing program to build his arm strength back up so he’s looking at 5-6 weeks minimum.
- CF Brandon Nimmo, who was placed on the Savannah disabled list retroactive to May 7 with a hand bruise, took full batting practice over the weekend. He was hitting wearing physio tape underneath a wrist wrap and reported that his hand/wrist felt much, much improved versus a week ago.
There were some twitterers who wanted to be critical for the Mets’ handling of Nimmo in this case, and I just don’t see it. His hand started bothering him around April 20, he tried to play through it for a week, found it affecting his swing because he didn’t trust his hands, and was rolling over balls and couldn’t reach the outside pitch with authority. He then saw a doctor., went through the basic tests, determined nothing was broken, rested, and is now progressing back to game action. Hand injuries have a habit of sapping a player’s bat control and strength, so I just hope he’s given himself enough time to heal.
Bats/Throws: Left/Right Height/Weight: 6’1”/185 lbs Acquired: 4th rd, 2011 (Cal State Fullerton) Born: May 29, 1990 (Covina, CA) 2012 Rank: NR | Stats Why Ranked Here: Tyler Pill had a very nice 2012, dominating A-ball hitters by throwing lots and lots of strikes without a single plus or even average Major League pitch. His fastball lives 88-91. He commands a slider and some nights shows a curveball. His changeup can be a little firm, but he throws everything for strikes. If Pill makes the major leagues, he will do so at the back end of a big league staff, but his strike-throwing ability will always give him a chance.
A nice athlete, his brother plays in the big leagues too. 2012: Nine strong starts in the South Atlantic League earned Pill a quick trip to Advanced-A where he lowered his ERA a few ticks. He strikeout rate dipped to 21% in the Florida State League while his walk rate rose towards normal.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Jeremy Hefner Debbie Downer Says: AAA Cannon Fodder Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton MLB Arrival: 2014
Why Ranked Here: Vaughn is a frustrating player to rank. He posses valuable secondary offensive skills – power and patience – but I simply do not see enough hit tool to play everyday in the big leagues as a corner outfielder. He will be playing most of 2013 at age 24 in his first exposure to AA. It appeared early in spring training 2013 that he was working with a cleaner, simpler setup than he had in previous seasons. His complicated swing at the time meant he had trouble with good fastballs. He has average speed, but he can pick his spots and steal a base (he was 21 of 25 in 2012).
After playing him a little centerfield early in his minor league career, the Mets moved Vaughn to a corner in 2012.
One thing that keeps Vaughn near the bottom of the list is his extreme platoon split. In the last two years, he’s hit .291/.400/.525 in 310 PA versus lefties, but just .232/.340/.395 against righties. These are a-ball and advanced-A righthanders.
If I was being charitable, I could rank Vaughn anywhere from here up to about 23 in the system. That’s how fluid the back half of this Top 41 is.
2012: Vaughn finished second in the Florida State League in homeruns and fourth in walks. His extra-base, homerun and walk rates all improved in his second tour of duty in the FSL. At the same time, his strikeout rate was similar to the year before and his BABIP of .276 held down his batting average.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Vaughn’s power and ability to hit lefties plays off an MLB bench. Debbie Downer Says: Vaughn’s low batting average and struggles against righties keep him from providing big league value. Projected 2013 Start: AA Binghamton MLB Arrival: 2014
- St. Lucie 3B Aderlin Rodriguezhas been out of the lineup for the last week with an irritation in his right eye that was giving him “a little trouble with vision.” He is expected back tonight. The 20-year old has hit 26 doubles and 22 homers this year between Savannah and St. Lucie and is easily the top power-hitting prospect in the system. He had just started to turn it on in August as well in St. Lucie, ripping four homerun in his seven games in the month as part of a .321/.387/.786 line in seven games.
- RHP Tyler Pill was removed from his August 9th start in St. Lucie after just two innings with what was I was originally told was forearm tightness. However, when Pill, last year’s fourth round pick, was placed on the disabled list this week, the diagnosis was altered to triceps tendonitis. The Mets do not believe it is serious, but his return date is unclear at this point.
St. Lucie’s charmed season continued when 2011 17th round pick Jonathan Clark singled into centerfield to drive home 2009′s 29th round pick, ZeErika McQueen. Clark was in his first game with St. Lucie, just added to the roster because Rafael Fernandez was placed on the disabled list. McQueen, who was playing his seventh game as a St. Lucie Met, was added to the roster on May 30 when Joe Bonfe was sent to AA Binghamton and Darrell Ceciliani was placed on the disabled list. The 21-year old Clark hit a combined .186/.294/.229 in 42 games last year between Kingsport and Brooklyn.
More interesting to prospect watchers:Tyler Pill(pictured) last year’s fourth round pick made his advanced-a debut. It was exactly what I’d expect: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Remember, he gave up over a hit an inning in Savannah. His command will get him to AA, but his ordinary fastball velocity might prevent him from making a big league impact.
Another night at the office for 3B Wilmer Flores, who was 1-for-3 with a sac fly and is up to .314/.358/.510 in 55 games.
The Gnats and Tourists were rained and will try for two on Thursday.
St. Lucie turned a good pitching matchup of 2011 draftees Taylor Jungmann and Cory Mazzoni into a blowout late with nine runs in the final two innings against the Manatees’ bullpen. The bottom of the order did much of the damage.
Once again, SS Wilfredo Tovar was 2-for-4 with a walk to push his line to .290/.356/.411 in 31 games. The tiny 20-year old has walked nine times and struck out just 10 times, making him the fifth-toughest player to strikeout in the Florida State League and gone 5-for-5 stealing bases.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Jungmann with the 12th overall selection, in 2011, one spot in front of the Mets who plucked OF Brandon Nimmo. And on this night, the second-round pick Mazzoni and Jungmann put up nearly identical lines.
Tyler Pill: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. The 10 whiffs are a new season and career high. His ERA rose to 1.89. In 33.1 IP, he’s yielded 35 hits, while running a K/BB ratio of 5.3 (37 K/7 BB). With Logan Verrett working his way back from a right shoulder issue, Pill could well be the first Savannah starter promoted to advanced-A St. Lucie.
After two games out of the lineup, 3B Aderlin Rodriguez returned in an 0-for-3 effort. The 20-year old is hitting .187/.259/.333 in 31 games. In fact, the bottom four hitters in the Gnats lineup all were hitting under .200 at the conclusion of the game.
At the top of the order, 2B TJ Rivera (.362/.457/.543 – 33 G) continues to rake. The 23-year old was 2-for-3 with a homer, his fifth. However, he has also wrested the team’s error lead away from Rodriguez by a count of eight to seven.
RF Cory Vaughn won this for the Mets with a solo home run in the top of the 10th inning. Vaughn, who was 2-5, had gone three straight game without a knock going into Friday and is now sitting at .269/.364/.478.
3B Wilmer Flores was 1-for-5 to push his hitting streak to an even dozen. He’s hitting .386 (17-for-44) over his run.
Twenty-year old OFGilbert Gomez picked up his first start as the DH in St. Lucie and was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Angel Cuan worked into the sixth: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
Adrian Rosario, pitching on back-to-back days, took care of the bottom of the 10th. His performance early in 2012 has been one of the nice stories around St. Lucie.
Tyler Pill (2-1, 2.11): 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K led his team to a split in West Virginia. He refuses to issue walks. In 21.1 innings, he’s fanned 19 and walked just four. He is fourth in the SAL, and third on the Gnats (behind Rafael Montero and Domingo Tapia) with 1.69 BB/9.
3B Aderlin Rodriguez is skidding. After an 0-for-4, the 20-year old is sitting at .191/.265/.371. He’s physically gifted enough to be much better.
C Albert Cordero was 2-for-4 with a double to up his line through 12 games to .143/.229/.190. He does not have a single start at DH yet this year. Maybe a few extra AB rather than playing every other day, will help him get going.
At first pitch, the Gnats’ lineup had five guys hitting under .200, but by game’s end, the number was down to four as RF Greg Pron was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles to hop above the Mendoza line to .206/.286/.294. The 23-year old has hit safely in four straight.
Meanwhile, TJ Rivera just keeps banging out hits. After going 2-for-4 with two RBI, the 23-year old is up to .402/.485/.561 in 21 games while splitting time between shortstop and second base. The 23-year old is leading the SAL in batting average, is second in OBP, third in total bases, and is the fourth-toughest guy to strike out.
The interesting stuff begins with who is not on the St. Lucie Mets roster. Darrell Ceciliani was placed on the St. Lucie Mets’ disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Meanwhile, Sunday, Cory Vaughn was placed on the temporary inactive list.
On the field, the Mets scored five times in the seventh and eighth innings to overcome a 4-1 deficit. The team’s four-run seventh was keyed by a two-run double from C Francisco Pena. The 22-year old Pena has five hits this year and four have gone for extra-bases.
In his second game back, CF Cesar Puello was 1-3 with a pair of walks, his first two of the season.
Angel Cuan started and was meh: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
The GreenJackets scored in the bottom of the eighth in this to snap Savannah pitching’s run of 30 scoreless innings over the final 3+ games of the four-game series. Sunday’s starter was Tyler Pill: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 10 gb/1 fb who early on looks like he just has too much command for SAL hitters.
The 4th round pick in 2011 is rocking a two start line of: 12 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K.
The offense played home run derby with three longballs, one each from 3B Aderlin Rodriguez, CF Travis Taijeron and DH Dustin Lawley. Taijeron enjoyed a big series in Augusta (7-for-12) and his hitting a gaudy .371/.488/.600 in his first 10 games in the SAL. Meanwhile, the 20-year old Rodriguez (.239/.300/.522) crushed his third home run of the year as part of a 2-for-5 day that included his 7th error of the year defensively in his first 11 games.
The DC Story
Darrell Ceciliani was 4-for-5 with a triple and the game-winning home run. An impressed scout texted that he “smoked” four balls. Ceciliani has hit safely in all four of St. Lucie’s games and is 8-for-18 overall with three walks. He’s also 2-for-2 stealing bases. In 2011, Ceciliani was hampered by a pulled hamstring and hit just .245/.335/.370 in 48 games in the first half in Savannah. He said he felt great in spring training, but doesn’t every player say that?
Cory Vaughn 2-4, 2B, HR. He’s five-for-17 (.294) but has struck out eight times in four games.
Nice ‘Pen Start
Adam Kolarek. The lefty entered with runners at first and third and picked up a strikeout to get out of trouble in the fifth inning and then worked a 1-2-3 sixth. In 3.1 innings this year, he’s fanned four and given up just one hit.
The Walk Off
2B Luis Nieves ground a single down the first base line with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th to bring home the game’s first run.
It sounded like this. 4-9 Nieves GW 1B
The Pitching Story
RHP Tyler Pill’s Savannah Debut: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
LHP Jack Leathersich: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
RHP Jared West: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
This was my first look at Pill. He was just an absolute strike-throwing machine. I counted 52 strikes and 23 balls among his 75 offerings, a superlative strike percentage of 69%. (When I’m counting pitches on air, I’m usually within a pitch or two, but recognize that I might be off a touch.) Point stands. He threw lots and lots of strikes. In the first three innings, he threw 28 of his 34 pitches (82%) for strikes. Nuts.
And what was he throwing? His fastball was 87-89 all night on the scoreboard gun. He mixed in heavy doses of a 75-77 mph curveball and a change-up at 78-80 that had nice arm action and sink.
Jack Leathersich came on in the seventh and fanned six of the 10 batters he saw. He was sitting 88-89 with his heater and touched 91 once. His slider was 76. He got swings and misses up in the zone.
Jared West was 88-90 with a slider.
Again, the stadium gun might be light by a mile or two, but it’s close.
Rome is 0-4 and has lost three 1-0 games, two to Charleston and one to Savannah. The Braves have scored one run in their first 39 innings. Wow.
Note: all of the above velocity references are off the stadium gun, which I now believe, based on conversations with other who had their own guns out last night, was about 2 mph light all night. For Pill, he was more 89-90 with some 91. For Leathersich, that puts him 90-91, with some 92. West, 90-92.
The aspiring Savannah Sand Gnats, the A-ballers dropped an 11-1 decision to the Marlins in Jupiter. The Marlins ran hard-throwing 19-year old Jose Fernandez, one of their top prospects out on the hill.
RHP Logan Verrett started for the Mets, yielding two runs over five innings. Thanks to this wonderful game report from Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs, Verrett was throwing a fastball at 88-92 mpg, a slider at 82-84 mph and a changeup. Carson has some interesting observations about the way Verrett changed the look on his slider – he liked the one that had mostly vertical break. I suspect however, that what he called the slider with gloveside run was actually a changeup.
Tyler Pill, who was scheduled for 5 IP, went 4.1 and allowed seven runs before hitting his pitch count. Pill was the Mets’ 4th round pick last year while Verrett was the third-rounder.
It was not a great day for the bats who collectively struck out 14 times against Fernandez and friends.
DH Eddie Rohan, last year’s 50th round pick, was 2-2, with a double as the DH. Rojan, who will be 22 on Opening Day, is fighting to break camp as the Sand Gnats’ third catcher.
In Tuesday’s intra-squad game, group 3 (advanced-A) beat group 4 (A) 3-1 behind a good outing from Domingo Tapia.