LF Dustin Lawley was 2-for-3 with a pair of homers and a walk to sink the Marauders. The 24-year old is now hitting .184/.244/.421 in 20 games with St. Lucie. He’s a strong dude, and eight of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases. Still, this is a complicated swing that makes him unlikely to hit for enough average to provide value on the corners above AA.
After a lost 2012 (.194/.276/.270 in 76 games in Savannah) C Albert Cordero was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (! – he’s not fast) to push his little hitting streak to five games and his batting line to .294/.333/.382 in nine games. Cordero is now 23, but is a fine defensive catcher with a strong arm. He just needs to hit a little bit to stay employed playing baseball for a long time.
Soft-tossing Angel Cuan started: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
The two teams combined for five runs in the first four half-innings and then one in the subsequent 13 as both starters and bullpens found their groove.
The Gnats scored three runs in the first, helped out by a bases loaded walk, a pair of hit-by-pitches (one with the bases loaded) and a bases-loaded infield single from SS Philip Evans. C Kevin Plawecki was plunked, it looked like near his left wrist, received a visit from his trainer and manager, but he stayed in the game. I would not be surprised in the slightest, if he DHed or had the day off Saturday. He also singled up the middle. More importantly, he threw out two of three runners who attempted to steal against him (two with Steven Matz on the mound and one with Julian Hilario). Plawecki has now thrown out five of 18 attempted thieves (28%). The one he missed, was a throw a few feet to the right of second base, which is the direction he seems to miss when he misses. I’m not sure why mechanically.
1B Jayce Boyd was 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games – the longest active streak in the SAL and the longest by a Gnat this year. He’s hitting a modest .465 wit ha .538 OBP in his last 11 games with five doubles and a homer for a .651 slugging percentage. Overall, he’s leading the SAL in AVG (.420), OBP (.505) and hits (34), is third in doubles (9) and total bases (49) and is fourth in slugging (.605).
Steven Matz 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He was sharp in the first, third, and fourth innings, but lost control of the strike zone in the second inning, when he threw almost 40 pitches and which led to him getting pitch-counted out of the ball game right near 90 pitches. He induced five grounders. It looked like he was throwing his changeup a whole lot more than he did in his first start at home (a low bar considering I think he he threw three in that start on April 13). He threw a few really good ones with sink and good armspeed. He threw very few sliders, but clearly he was working on his changeup, his primary offspeed pitch a year ago in Kingsport.
In the second, he walked two and gave up two singles, and only got out of the inning thanks to an excellent running catch by LF Stefan Sabol. which is embedded below. Sabol caught the ball on the warning track at Historic Grayson Stadium just to the left of the manual scoreboard. That’s a three-run homerun in a lot of parks or at least a two-run double off the wall in others.
CF Brandon Nimmo, who was 1-for-his-last-16 had his first off-day of the season after 20 straight starts.
The St. Lucie bullpen helped turn a 1-1 tie into a laugher. Domingo Tapialeft in a 1-1 game in the sixth with a runner at third at two out. Wanel Mesa allowed that run to score and then the rout was on.
Tapia’s line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. 7 GB/2 AO. That’s good if not great. His fastball will get him to the big leagues.
Offensive notes: SS Matt Reynolds: 2-for-3 with a walk to push his 20-game line to .291/.349/.392 with five extra base knocks and six walks against 14 strikeouts in 20 games. I think there’s a big leaguer in there, but he’ll need to show more pop to profile as an everyday guy.
3B Aderlin Rodriguez: 1-for-3 with a walk. The walk was his first of the year in his 19th game. At age 21, he’s hitting .173/.190/.347 with one walk and 16 strikeouts. This one of the more disappointing (healthy) Aprils in the system.
This St. Lucie offense is hitting .225, one point above last in the FSL and is last in the League with a .327 slugging percentage.
Gabriel Ynoa was really very sharp for the Gnats: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K to go with 7 GO and 1 AO. He retired 12 in a row and 18 of 20 from the of the first through one out in the seventh. It would have been 20-of-20 but for some shaky Gnats’ defense up the middle. Guys were late on his fastball, which he spots well. (I don’t have velo readings, but I suspect it was his standard 90-93 ish, sitting 91 ish.) As the night went on, he showed more sliders and some nice changeups. He has some feel for both. I like the changeup better right now, but he got a pair of swinging strikeouts with his slider in the fifth. Just 19, he will not turn 20 until late May. There’s something here. How much his slider develops will say a lot about his ceiling and eventual role, but for right now, just monitor his progress.
The 22-years are crushing the SAL.
DH Kevin Plawecki: 3-for-4, 2B, HR. The homer was a first pitch (fastball, I think) that he blasted to left. Plawecki is hitting .392/.447/.603. He’s leading the SAL, in doubles, extra-base hits, slugging and is second in batting average and fourth in OBP.
1B Jayce Boyd: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Boyd came to the plate 14 times the Gnats’ three-game sweep of Delmarva and reached base safely 11 times, going 7-for-10 with four walks, two doubles and a jack. He’s leading the SAL in AVG and OBP as part of a .429/.516/.623 line in 20 games.
The key to understanding the difference in prospect status between the two players is all about position. Plawecki plays the premium position, while Boyd, the Mets’ sixth round pick last year is a first baseman, the position with the greatest offensive expectations.
In terms of offensive ability, both players could move to the Florida State League tomorrow and be productive. In the last two years, the Mets have been slow to move their position players, who started in Savannah to St. Lucie. However, Boyd and Plawecki’s performance might push the Mets’ plans. In 2011, the first Gnat regular to move to St. Lucie was Robbie Shields on June 15 (the same day as Josh Edgin). Cory Vaughn had to wait until the All-Star Break. Last year, the team did not promote any regulars until the All-Star Break (when TJ Rivera and Travis Taijeron earned the nod). Boyd and Plawecki are far more dominant than any of those guys were in their time in Savannah. I suspect they’ll be in Savannah for a few more weeks, but not much more. The 20-year olds had a tough night.
CF Brandon Nimmowas 0-for-5 with a strikeout and four groundouts. He was 1-for-13 in the three games against Delmarva with six strikeouts. His timing, which was on point for the first two weeks of the season, has deserted him this week as he’s getting beat by fastballs regularly. All told though, he’s still bopping away at .367/.463/.494 good enough for seventh in the SAL in AVG and second in OBP.
SS Philip Evanswas 1-for-4 with a single to center and two errors defensively, one on a ball in front of him, and one on a throw from behind the pitcher’s mound. He’s committed nine errors in 19 games while hitting .176/.250/.221.
The Gnats trailed 3-0 after four innings in this one, but after getting a run back in the fifth walked their way to a six-run sixth. The Gnats drew three bases-loaded walks in the sixth to force home the tying run at 3-3 and then two insurance runs to go to 5-3. DH Jeff Glenn, the backup catcher then lined a ball into left to drive home two for a 7-3 lead. RBI doubles from 1B Jayce Boyd and C Kevin Plawecki made it 9-3 in the seventh. The Gnats, who came into the day leading the SAL in team on-base percentage drew 12 walks – tying a season high.
Boyd reached base in all five of his plate appearances going 2-for-2 with three walks. He shot a single through the right side with two strikes on him early in the game, and then clubbed a double to left-center in the seventh. He’s hitting .411/.506/.575, leading the SAL in both batting average and OBP (grabbing the lead in both categories away from Brandon Nimmo). Boyd now has drawn 14 walks and fanned only nine times.
RF Eudy Pina shows up in the box score with three hits, two were infield jobs, but he also crushed one to the base of the rightfield wall for a double in the Gnats’ six-run sixth.
Daily Nimmo Nimmo was 0-4, with three strikeouts and an intentional walk. His first three AB came against LHP starter Matt Taylor, the first left-hander to start a game against Savannah in 2013. Nimmo was 0-for-3 against Taylor with two strikeouts both on fastballs. He swung through a fastball in the seventh for his third strikeout against reliever Kevin Jacob who at 6’6″ works off a delivery that is almost spastic. Nimmo is visibly less comfortable in the batter’s box against left-handed pitching. He seems like he just does not pick up the ball well, and his legs have a tendency to buckle against lefties.
He’s now 2-for-12 with five strikeouts and no walks against lefties for a .167/.231/.167 line. He’s at .435/.532/.597 with all five of his extra-base hits, in 62 AB vs. RHP. Of course, it’s early, but it’s certainly something to monitor.
Matt Bowman was steady over six innings: 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. All six hits were singles, and some would have been fielded by more agile defenders.
Big Noah Syndergaard bounced back nicely after allowing seven runs in three innings in his last start. Tuesday: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Of his non-strikeout outs, he picked up eight on the ground and four in the air. In 18 innings, Syndergaard has fanned 19 (good), and walked nine (not so good).
SS Matt Reynolds and 1B Aderlin Rodriguez were each 1-for-4 with a double. Rodriguez has now played first in three of his last four games. He neither walked nor struck out so the 21-year-old is 18 games into the 2013 season with 16 strikeouts and zero walks as part of a .167/.173/.347 start in 18 games.
RHP Luis Cessa (pictured) made it look easy for six shutout innings while the Gnats’ batters on the other side ground their way through at-bats, took their walks and bopped three run-scoring doubles.
Cessa’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He induced six ground ball outs and just two air outs. Four of the hits he allowed were singles, and the fifth probably should have been but for Eudy Pina overrunning a ball in right field. Cessa threw first pitch strikes to 19 of 23 batters. I don’t have velocity readings on Cessa, but I suspect he was low 90s most of the night. He has some feel for a breaking ball and changeup.
Of his seven strikeouts, four were looking and three swinging. Of the three swinging strikeouts I described one as swinging at a breaking ball, one late on a fastball, and one I let the pitch type go uncalled, but I suspect it was a fastball. I believe all of the looking strikeouts came on fastballs. Cessa was able to work to both sides of the plate with his heat on this night. It was a fine performance. In three starts, Cessa now owns a 1.02 ERA with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
At the plate, 1B Jayce Boyd was 2-for-4 with a double ripped up the left-centerfield gap and a walk. He’s up to .394/.476/.549 with 11 walks against nine strikeouts in 18 games in Savannah. He extended his hitting streak to eight straight games, a Sand Gnats’ season-best. The 22-year old sure seems to have the SAL figured out.
SS Philip Evans doubled home two runs in the Gnats’ three-run fourth inning. It was a breaking ball up, and Evans dropped it along the rightfield line for his first double of the year in his 17th game. He also made a nice play on a ball up the middle in the ninth that reliever Tyler Vanderheiden deflected. Evans swooped in, made the bare-handed pick and fired to first in time. He went the other way with a line out in the sixth, but he seemed to do a better job Tuesday of staying on contact and using the right side of the field on pitches away.
CF Brandon Nimmo: 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. The hit was a clean single up the middle. He earned the walk after falling behind in the count in the sixth and then battling back to full. He chased fastballs in his first two at-bats for the strikeouts.
Boyd’s RBI double, and Evans’ nice plays are embedded below.
RHP Hansel Robleshad his best outing of 2013: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
Four of St. Lucie’s six hits were doubles.
3B Aderlin Rodriguezhad one of the doubles – his third of the year – in a 1-for-4 afternoon. The 21-year old is now hitting .156/.164/.344. Six of his 10 hits have gone for extra-bases and there’s nothing wrong with his isolated slugging percentage of .188. The issues: 1. no singles (well few: just four) and 2. no walks. Seriously. No walks. He’s played in 16 games and has zero walks and 15 strikeouts. We are officially putting Aderlin Rodriguez on a walk-watch. He’s too talented to do this.
Rodriguez does have a history of slow starts. In 2012 with Savannah, he hit .200/.266/.370 in April, but he did draw eight walks in the month, a mark he will be hard-pressed to replicate in 2013. Actually, his 2013 looks a whole lot like his April 2011 in Savannah when he put up a .209/.236/.442 line with 10 extra-base hits, eight singles and two walks in 21 games in the month.
Ho-hum, more production from C Kevin Plawecki and 1BJayce Boyd.
Boyd (.388/.468/.537 – 17 gms) was 2-for-5 with a double. Plawecki (.381/.444/.667 – 16 gms) was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 0-for-3, but walked twice and stole a base, his second of the year. He’s only hitting .424/.513/.576, topping the SAL in average and on-base percentage and triples (3).
Logan Taylorfinished four innings, but had his issues: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Matt Kochfollowed, allowing one run on two hits in four innings with one strikeout and no walks. He throws hard, so it’s a little surprising that he does not miss more bats, especially in the SAL.
By going 0-for-3 with a strikeout, Philip Evans slipped to .179/.254/.214 in 16 games with the Gnats.
SS Philip Evans (pictured) had one at-bat on Saturday and popped out to first base. He was then removed from the game by Gnats’ manager Luis Rojas because he did not run out the play. “It’s organizational policy,” Rojas explained after the game. “We talked about it, and he [Evans] understands.” The 20-year-old Evans has had a tough start to the year, hitting .189/.254/.226 through 15 games with seven errors.
The good: 1B Jayce Boyd: 3-for-4, 1 2B, BB, 4 RBI. The 22-year-old is hitting .387/.473/.532 with 10 walks against nine strikeouts (!) in his 16 games with the Gnats.
CF Brandon Nimmo: 1-for-3, 3B, 2 BB, 1 K. It was the second game in a row with a triple for Nimmo, who now has more triples (3) than doubles (1) to go along with eight walks and 13 strikeouts in 16 games for a ridiculous .444/.520/.603 line. It’s early and all, but he’s off to a 2-for-9 start (.222) against lefties.
DH Kevin Plawecki: 1-for-4, 2B. The double was his ninth in his last 10 games to move him into a tie for the league lead with nine doubles and a .373/.441/.678 line overall in 15 games.
The not: Rainy Lara:5.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
Frank Francisco threw an inning of scoreless relief in the eighth inning, in his second outing with St. Lucie.
The Good: Domingo Tapia: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. The 21-year old has bounced back nicely from his 0.2 outing on April 11 in which he walked four batters. In his last two starts, he’s fanned 14 and walked two, while allowing just two earned runs in his 13 innings of work.
SS Matt Reynolds: 3-for-4, RBI, SB. In 16 games, he’s up to .297/.357/.406.
2B TJ Rivera: 2-for-4, 2 2B.
The Not: 1B Aderlin Rodriguez: 0-for-4, K. Look, guys are allowed to take an -for. However, in 15 games to start the year, Rodriguez has now fanned 14 times without walking once for a .150/.159/.333 line. Also he played first base again. His days at third are numbered, clearly.
CF Brandon Nimmowas 4-for-4 with a triple, that was a few feet shy of becoming a homerun on a windy night in New Jersey, and a walk. His base hits included a bunt, a liner to left, a liner to center and his almost homer/triple. The 20-year old is now hitting .450/.514/.583 with six walks and 12 strikeouts in 15 games with Savannah. He’s leading the SAL in batting average, on-base percentage, hits (27), runs (16) and is tied for fourth in total bases (35). Yeah that’s a good first two weeks.
C Kevin Plawecki was 3-for-4 with a homer, his second, a walk and 4 RBI. He’s hitting .382/.444/.691 four four walks and six strikeouts in 14 games. The 22-year old is fourth in the SAL in batting average, third in RBI, #1 in extra-base hits (11), tied for second in doubles (8), second in slugging percentage (.691) and tied for third in hits (21). At 22, this is what it looks like when a well-decorated college hitter is too good for a-ball.
Steven Matz (pictured)was pretty good, or at least better than Lakewood: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with six groundouts against one flyout to lower his ERA to 1.29. According to AA’s Jeff Paternostro, he was 91-94 easy, with his fastball. Although the slider was “rough” and hung “too much” he snapped off a good one at 84 mph that offered reason for hope.
AnAderlin Rodriguez homer in the fourth inning gave the Mets an 8-7 lead in the fourth inning. However, the Mets did not score again, while Fort Myers tallied twice against the bullpen in the seventh and tacked on single runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
Good Stuff – The Bats
The Rodriguez (pictured) homerun gave him three straight games with a jack. In 13 games, he’s hitting .173/.182/.385 with five extra-base hits, zero walks and 12 strikeouts. It’s early, but that’s an unusual looking line.
SSMatt Reynolds was 2-for-5 with a triple, a two-run homerun and three RBI. In 14 games, the 22-year old is hitting a healthy .286/.355/.411 in 14 games.
CF Gilbert Gomez was 2-for-4 from the bottom of the order with seven walks and 14 strikeouts and just one extra-base hit in 14 games, he’s hitting .326/.415/.348.
Not So Good – The Arms Noah Syndergaard gave up two runs in the first inning, on a homer to Twins prospect Miguel Sano, and five runs in the third. His ugly line: 3 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. Fort Myers improved to 13-1 with the win.
Daily Nimmo: CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-5 with a run scored and a strikeout. Nimmo now has multiple hits in four-straight games to run his 13-game line to .442/.508/.558 with three extra-base hits, five walks and 10 strikeouts. When the day started, he was leading the SAL in both batting average and on-base percentage. Most likely, the 20-year-old will be in the same position at the end of the day.
DH Gregory Prondoubled in a 2-for-3 day and drove home three.
Gnats’ starter Matt Bowman (pictured) improved to 2-0 by allowing one run on four hits and a walk in his 5.1 innings while fanning five. In 15.2 innings, he owns a 1.62 ERA with 14 strikeouts against four walks. Yes, at 22, he’s a polished college hurler rolling through the SAL. It’s a common movie.
Oh man. The Gnats scored three runs in the top of the ninth to come back from a 6-5 deficit to take an 8-6 lead only to watch Greensboro win it on a three-run walkoff jack i nthe bottom of the frame.
The Gnats’ ninth: CF Brandon Nimmo singled, SS Yucary De La Cruz reached on an error, 1B Jayce Boyd sacrifice fly (tied the game), C Kevin Plawecki (pictured) two-run homer for the lead.
The ‘Hoppers’ ninth vs. reliever Julian Hilario: single, single, bunt to move the runners to second and third, three-run homer by Viosergy Rosa, his third of the year.
After going 3-for-5, Nimmo now has three-straight multi-hit games and is beating SAL pitching at a .447/.518/.574 rate in his first 12 games as a 20-year old. Boyd is bopping along at .383/.455/.553 in his 12 games while Plawecki is sitting at .375/.426/.667 in his dozen contests. Boyd, Nimmo and Plawecki have powered the Gnats offense.
Luis Cessawas solid but let down by his defense: 5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. Philip Evans made an error behing Cessa that opened the door on a three-run bottom of the second. After striking out to end the third to fall to 0-for-2, he was ejected. 3B Cole Frenzel also committed two errors behind Cessa.
The Mets scored five runs in the fourth and six runs in the sixth to blow out the Crabs. Every St. Lucie starter had a hit and scored a run in this one.
C Cam Maron led the way from the two-spot in the order, going 3-for-5 with a triple and 3 RBI. The 22-year old has finished his first 10 games hitting .286/.318/.405.
3B Aderlin Rodriguez hit his first homer of 2013 in a 2-for-5 effort. The 21-year old is off to a slow start (.159/.170/.273 – 7 H/44 AB) in part because he’s not controlling the strike zone at all (0 BB/ 9 strikeouts).
LF Dustin Lawley had a grand slam, which is nice, because slams are fun.
Reliever Wanel Mesa made his first appearance as a Met. The 26-year-old ran a 7.00 ERA in the SAL with Hagerstown, a Nationals’ affiliate last year in 2010, in 54 innings over 38 relief appearances. His peripherals were about as poor as you would expect: .304 opponents’ batting average, 32 strikeouts/25 walks. I suppose the Mets signed him as a minor league free agent.