Ashley Marshall has a nice study at MiLB.com to create simple five-year minor league park factors. It’s not news that it is hard to hit homeruns in Savannah’s Historic Grayson Stadium. However, it turns out that relative to league average, Grayson Stadium with a HR park factor of .480 is the hardest stadium in which to hit a home run. Relative to league scoring, it is the second furthest from league average among actively used parks (behind only Sacramento).
As far as other Mets’ full-season affiliates, St. Lucie is the second-most offensive friendly park in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, Binghamton is a fair park in a fair league and Las Vegas is an offensive park in an offensive league. Only Abuquerque, Reno and Colorado Springs are better for offense than Vegas among PCL parks.
Marshall has a great note about the pitching leaderboards in the two AAA leagues, the PCL and the International League (IL):
In the PCL, strikeout leader John Ely of the Isotopes had the lowest ERA (3.20), and only seven qualifying pitchers posted a sub-4.00 mark. Back in the IL …. the top 21 pitchers by ERA all had marks below 4.00.
Both advanced-A St. Lucie and low-A Savannah announced their 2013 coaching staffs this week, and in both cases, the Mets will send the identical coaching lineup to each team as they did in 2012.
In St. Lucie, this means Ryan Ellis will serve as the manager, with Phil Regan as the pitching coach and Benn Distefano teaching hitting.
In Savannah, Luis Rojas take his second go-round as manager, with Frank Viola working as his pitching coach and Joel Fuentes as his hitting coach. (I get lucky. This is a really easy staff to work with, and you can’t beat Frank Viola’s insight.)
Including AA Binghamton, the Mets will have the exact same staff in place in three of their four full-season affiliates. That’s awfully impressive. Continuity is a good thing.
The Mets and the Savannah Sand Gnats just announced via a team press release that the two teams have agreed to extend their player development contract for two more years, through 2014. By the end of the term of the agreement, the Mets and Gnats relationship will be eight years long.
The quotes in the team press releases for these things are usually all happy basic stuff devoid of content, but not so here, as the Gnats enlisted Sandy Alderson to help the team make the case for a new stadium in Savannah.
Here’s the relevant passage:
“The Mets are pleased to extend our relationship with the Sand Gnats and the people of Savannah,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. “Savannah is a wonderful city, and our players, coaches and scouts enjoy their time there. Grayson Stadium continues to present issues from a player development standpoint, but we are familiar with what the Sand Gnats ownership has accomplished in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and have monitored their efforts to partner with the City to create a new outdoor multi-use venue in Savannah. We hope and believe those discussions are headed in the right direction.”
Labor Day marks not just the end of summer, and a wonderful day for going to the beach, but the end of the minor league baseball regular season for the four full-season levels: AAA, AA, advanced-A and A. That leaves two Mets affiliates still playing baseball, the Brooklyn Cyclones and St. Lucie Mets.
The Brooklyn Cyclones are closing in on a wild-card berth, with a magic number of one to clinch a playoff spot with two games to play.
The St. Lucie Mets, who set a new franchise-high for wins in a season at 83-52, begin the best-of-three Division Series on the road in Jupiter Tuesday. The series shifts to St. Lucie for game two on Wednesday, and if necessary, game three on Thursday.
The AAA-Buffalo Bisons, AA-Binghamton Mets and A-Savannah Sand Gnats are done for the year.
A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 7, Bradenton Maruaders (PIT) 3
LHP Chase Huchingson struck out a season-high 11 batters in his final regular season start of the year: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K. I still think that if the long lefty has a big league future, it’s in the bullpen. However, for what it’s worth, he has slight reverse platoon splits this year as lefties have a .729 OPS against him in 140 AB while righties have a .689 OPS in 321 AB.
RF Cesar Puello was 1-for-2 with a triple, a walk and a HBP. The 21-year old is hitting .284/.377/.537 in 21 games in August, but still has fanned 16 times and walked just three times even in his best stretch of the year. It’s going to be a problem at higher levels.
LF Alonzo Harris (.288/.355/.429) was 2-for-5 and stole his 40th base of the year. He’s running at an 80% clip (40-for-50) and has swiped 28 bags in the 62 games since the All-Star Break while hitting .301/.360/.438. He’s earned his promotion to AA to start 2013.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats 4, @ Kannapolis Intimidators 2
DH Cam Maron was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run in his final game in Savannah before he was promoted to advanced-A St. Lucie. The 21-year old leaves the Gnats as a .300/.403/.408 hitter in 93 games with 53 walks against 73 strikeouts. He threw out 13% of opposing base stealers (10 of 80).
LHP Alex Panteliodis was ok without the kind of peripherals I look for: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 5, Bradenton Marauders 1
I’m telling you, Jacob deGrom is legit. With a fastball that can touch 95 or 96 on some nights, he is a serious arm. His line Thursday: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 WP.
In four starts (one rain-shortened) in the FSL: he’s fanned 18 batters and walked six in 21.2 innings with a 2.08 ERA thanks to 14 hits allowed and a .177 opponents’ batting average. The Mets have tended to promote pitchers after a minimum of 12 starts or so, but if deGrom adds another good start in the FSL playoffs he will only reach five or maybe six in the FSL. He’ll be 25 in June 2013, so I would like to see him get a crack at double-A.
Aderlin Rodriguez played first and was 1-for-4. It was the 10th time this year, between Savannah and St. Lucie he’s played first, his likely eventual defensive home.
A: @ Asheville Tourists 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 2
The Gnats have lost six games in a row and 12 of their last 13.
RHP Yohan Almonte: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP
A+: @ Jupiter Hammerheads 2, St. Lucie Mets 1
The Mets had just four hits, and RF Cory Vaughn, who was 1-for-3 with a double, had the only extra-base knock.
RHP Logan Verrett had a strong outing: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. In six starts in the FSL, Verrett, the Mets’ third round pick a year ago, has a 2.09 ERA, driven by the fact that he hasa 0.88 WHIP. He’s walked FOUR batters in 38.2 innings, a walk rate of 2.7. That’s a remarkable degree of control. All the same, I look at strikeout rate first, and here, he’s fanned 26 batters, a rate of 17%. That’s a little low. I really want to see a pitcher in advanced-A striking out a batter an inning – in the 20-25% range. I don’t know how this “all strikes, few strikeouts” plan will play in AA or the big leagues.
A: @ Asheville Tourists 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 0
Miller Diaz came up from Kingsport to make his first start in the SAL and he did not get a whole lot of help from his defense in a game in which the Gnats committed five errors: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, although he also balked twice. The 20-year old Diaz struck out over a batter an inning in Kingsport out of a sturdy frame, listed at 6’1″ and 210 lbs.
A+: @ Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 5, St. Lucie Mets 4 (7 innings)
@ Jupiter Hammerheads 4, St. Lucie Mets 2 (7 innings)
RF Cesar Puello (.257/.325/.424) was 1-for-3 with a homer in game one. He played rightfield in both games, while Darrell Ceciliani roamed in center in game one and Alonzo Harris did the same in game two.
LF Cory Vaughn (pictured) was 2-for-3 with a double (his 22nd), a homer (his 23rd) and a stolen base, (his 21st) in game one and doubled and walked in game two. Vaughn is tied for the FSL homerun lead with Marlins OF Marzel Ozuna, who won game one with a walkoff off Adam Kolarek in the bottom of the seventh. Ozuna might be a better prospect simply because as a 21-year old who won’t turn 22 until November, he’s a year and a half younger than Vaughn, who turned 23 this year. After a .222/.330/.430 line in 61 games in the first half, Vaughn is up to .269/.382/.510 in 60 games in the second half as he’s cut his strikeouts from 60 to 50. He has a significant platoon split as he’s run a .922 OPS versus lefties and a .773 OPS versus right-handed pitching. Before you get excited about the next Scott Hairston, remember that he plays center and Vaughn doesn’t.
With a couple walks in game one, and two hits and a walk in game two, “SS” Danny Muno is up to .289/.390/.429 in 76 games. I got some questions on Twitter about him. I see him as a MLB utility guy. First of all, he’s 23 in advanced-A and was suspended 50 games this year for testing positive for an anabolic steroid metabolite. Second, he does not have the range for short everyday.
RHP Erik Goeddel was ok in game one: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
A: @ Asheville Tourists (COL) 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 5
Domingo Tapia shutout a good Asheville lineup through five innings, but was touched for five runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined. His line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR. Want something positive? Think nine strikeouts and no walks.
Who plays is often as important as the results in the low minors. That was the case with the Gnats this weekend. Savannah elected to skip RHP Michael Fulmer, who was scheduled to start on Sunday in favor of RHP Marcos Camarena. The 19-year old Fulmer, the Mets’ supplemental first round pick in 2011, is fine physically. However, the team is contemplating whether to shut him down for the year. As of Sunday, the Mets and Gnats staff had not made a final decision about whether Fulmer would make another start.
Fulmer threw 68 innings in high school last year and 5.1 as a professional for a total of 73.1. He’s up to 108.1 innings now, an increase of 35.1 innings over a year ago. The 19-year old has improved measurably over the course of the year, lowering his ERA from 3.35 in 11 starts and 51 innings in the first half to 2.20 over 57.1 inning and 10 starts in the second half. His strikeout rate increased from 20% in the first half to 24% as his slider improved.
Matt Reynolds, 2012′s second round pick out of Arkansas remains sidelined by a strained groin. He did not take batting practice over the weekend, so with seven games remaining in the Gnats’ season, I suspect he is done for the year. After a slow start (.215/.292/.290) he adapted and was hitting .333/.412/.500 in 16 games in August with six extra-base hits, five walks and nine strikeouts. He surely will move to St. Lucie to begin 2013.
On the field, the Gnats were swept in a doubleheader Saturday, 2-0, 4-1 and lost 4-3 on Sunday.
C Cam Maron is the Gnat hitter finishing strongest. The 21-year old catcher is hitting .328/.474/.448 with 15 walks against 10 strikeouts in August to lift his season total to .301/.403/.413. Maron does many things well: he controls the strike zone and makes contact. He works with his pitchers well, and really understands their strengths and weaknesses. There are things he does not do: hit for power (an .112 ISO) or throw out baserunners as opponents were 70-for-79 89 % against him this year.he was 9-for-79 (11%). Maron started to drive the ball a little more in the second half, he hit four of his five homers after the All-Star Break and his ISO moved from .093 in the first half to .132 in the second half.
A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 5
Jacob deGrom was ok, but not great: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
RF Cory Vaughn was 1-for-3 with a homer, his 22nd of the year, and a walk. I’m a broken record on Vaughn: the power (21 2B, 22 HR) and the speed (19 of 22 stealing bases are great), but the .243 batting average at age 23 in the FSL is scary. The physical tools are there, but scouts as one scout gently put it, the swing is “complicated.”
In his third game back from the disabled list, DH Darrell Ceciliani was 2-for-4. It’s been a pretty wasted year for Ceciliani, who has played in just 17 games. At 22 now, I’d think he would be a good candidate for the one of the Mets’ Arizona Fall League a-ball exemptions.
A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 6, Rome Braves 2
C Cam Maron was 2-for-3 with a homer, his fifth and two walks. The 21-year old, whose game is Josh Thole-ish, is hitting a healthy .302/.401/.415 in 87 games in the SAL.