A+: St. Lucie Mets 5, @ Clearwater Threshers (PHI) 4
The Mets scored the go-ahead run in the ninth when CF Gilbert Gomez walked and scored on T.J. Rivera’s single into right field.
The most notable thing in this box score was ugly as Domingo Tapia walked five. His line: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. He induced four groundouts, but the bottom line is that he walked five of the 22 batters he faced. That’s not good. Tapia has now walked 25 in 47.2 innings thus far and 12 in 15.1 since returning from his burned hand on May 24.
A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 9, Greenville Drive (BOS) 4
The Gnats moved this close to clinching a playoff berth Thursday. Savannah’s win, combined with Charleston’ double-header split versus Augusta dropped the Gnats’ magic number to two with three games to play.
1B Jayce Boyd, who had done 14 games in a row without an extra-base hit, broke out, going 4-for-4 with a double and a three-run homerun in the third inning that put the Gnats up 4-0. The homer was a line drive down the leftfield line on a hanging curveball. The 22-year-old Boyd is now back up to .346/.420/.471 with 16 doubles and four homeruns. Surely, he’ll be headed to advanced-A St. Lucie immediately after the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
On the hill, converted 1B Jake Kuebler dominated the Drive through five innings. He set down the first 13 batters in a row, nine on groundballs. He did not give up a hit under a chopper kicked out of his own glove with one out in the fifth. He was using his two-seamer a lot, and letting Greenville beat it into the ground. I was told coming into the start that his two-seamer has been 90-92 and he possesses the ability to reach back for 94 mph. The 23-year old’s batting average against and ERA by month: April: .322/3.60, May: .200/2.45 and June: .156/2.45. His breaking ball is pretty raw, but Kuebler has size and a decent enough arm that he might show up in a Major League bullpen with continued progress.
Signs of life from SS Philip Evans’ bat? He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. One of the hits was a gift on a lousy throw from the Greenville 3B, but he hit a few balls hard on a line. After going 5-for-10 in his last three games, the 20-year-old is UP to .186/.251/.233.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 1-for-5 with an RBI triple in the eighth. He struck out twice. The triple was crushed to right-center and was the classic Grayson Stadium triple in that it was a home run in almost every other professional stadium in America. Nimmo (.300/.404/.413 – 39 games) now has more triples (5) than doubles (4). A scout pointed out to me that Nimmo does not handle the inside pitch well. Opponents have started recognizing this, and have worked to pound him inside with fastballs.
A+: @ Clearwater Threshers 6, St. Lucie Mets 0
The Mets picked up two hits.
RHP Rainy Lara was pretty good: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.
Aderlin Rodriguez (0-for-3) was back at third after a few games at first.
A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 9, Asheville Tourists (COL) 2
Matt Koch (5-2, 4.56): 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K. The right-hander from Louisville took advantage of a nice, large strike zone to set down the first nine batters in a row. He gave up a couple runs in the fourth. In the sixth, with his pitch-count north of 80, two singles and a double-steal put runners at second and third with no outs in a 6-2 game and Koch (pronounced: Cook) responded by striking out the next three batters in a row, all swinging. Koch (pictured) got most of his strikeouts with high fastballs. He works aggressively, throwing in on batter’s hands when he needs to to week contact and for swings and misses. He was ahead a lot, throwing first pitch strikes to seven of his first nine batters. There’s plenty of arm strength in here, as he’s 91-95 on any given night, sitting 93-94. He threw his curve and change sparingly, but got a few swings and misses with the curve. A scout who saw him a few weeks ago liked his cutter (at 87-91 mph), but truth be told, I had trouble picking it out from the press box. Easily the most impressive set of numbers of Koch’s season: 51.1 innings and 52 strikeouts against ONE walk. ONE. Oh, and he’s getting better. His ERA by month: April – 6.75, May – 4.00, June – 3.27.
3B Cole Frenzel was the most productive Gnat with an RBI single and a two-run double.
This was a very a-ballish game: twice, the Tourists missed getting an out when their second baseman Juan Ciriaco left second too early on force plays. The Gnats’ two-run rally without a hit in the third inning began when SS Philip Evans reached on a strikeout and wild pitch. Evans had a productive game, going 1-for-3 with a single, two runs scored and a sac fly.
The Gnats’ win kept Savannah one game ahead of the Charleston RiverDogs for first place in the SAL Southern Division with four games to play for the Gnats and five for the Dogs.
CF Brandon Nimmo was 0-for-2 with two walks, a strikeout and a HBP. Nimmo also committed his second error of the year in CF, overrunning a single up the middle that allowed the batter/runner to take second base.
A+: St. Lucie Mets 4, @ Clearwater Threshers 2 (10 innings)
LF Dustin Lawley lifted a two-run homer, his 12th, in the top of the 10th inning to give St. Lucie the extra-inning win. The 24-year old Lawley is strong (33 XBH) but is hitting just .226/.288/.485 overall.
Alex Panteliodis was meh: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.
Aderlin Rodriguez (.263/.299/.432 – 61 gms), who was 2-for-4 played first base for the second straight night. It was the seventh time in his last ten games that he has played first. Hi, position change.
A: Asheville Tourists 4, @ Savannah Sand Gnats 3 (8 innings)
@ Savannah Sand Gnats 1, Asheville Tourists 0 (11 innings)
I called 19 innings of baseball Tuesday. That might be a new personal-high.
Lets go backwards through the day. The Gnats won game two when CF Brandon Nimmo drew a bases-loaded walk. Apparently, in the big leagues, this is cause for a #shrinpalert. I had no idea. Anyway, the at-bat was impressive. He fell down 0-2, took two pitches to get to 2-2, then fouled off six in a rown. Finally, the reliever threw two more out of the zone to put him aboard and force in teh winning run. The win kept hte Gnats one full game in front of Charleston for first place in the SAL Southern division with five to play for the Gnats and six for the RiverDogs.
SS Phllip Evans (.178/.247/.226) snapped an 0-for-23 skid with a pair of singles in game two.
I thought Logan Taylor threw the best he has all year against a tough Asheville lineup: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K. I’ll have to get accurate velocity readings Wednesday, but I suspect he was back in the 92-94 range. It looked like his secondaries have made a little progress, but still he’s mostly about the fastball for now.
In game one, the Tourists scored the go-ahead run when Francisco Sosa came around from second base on a wild pitch by Beck Wheeler that catcher Jeff Glenn could not find off to his right. Second base!
Gabriel Ynoa rolled through the first five innings, in game one before giving up a homer and then two more runs on some bleeders, bloops and infield hits in the sixth inning that evened the game at 3-3. His line: 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
1B Jayce Boyd had a single in each game of the double-header, but the first baseman has now gone 13 games without an extra-base hit as part of a .336/.413/.444 overall line in 60 games for a .108 isolated slugging percentage.
A+: @ Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 2, St. Lucie Mets 1 (8 innings)
St Lucie Mets 4, @ Jupiter Hammerheads 1 (14 innings)
The advanced-A affiliates of the Mets and Marlins decided to match their parent clubs and play a pair of extra-inning games on Sunday.
SS Matt Reynolds doubled and 3B Aderlin Rodriguez walked to start a three-run St. Luicie rally in the top of the 14th inning in game two to ensure that the Mets did not come up empy in extra-innings this weekend. Neither player has hit well recently as Reynolds is down to .242/.325/.354 in 58 games, and Rodriguez to .255/.287/.430 in 59 contests.
Matt Bowman made a decent start in game two, but without strong peripherals: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
A: @ Rome Braves 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 3
The Braves’ Josh Elander hit a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Savannah reliever Bret Mitchell. The Savannah loss, combined with the Charleston win, left the RiverDogs six one-thousands of a percentage point in front of the Gnats for first place in the SAL Southern Division with seven games to play in the season’s first half.
The Gnats took a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning on a Brandon Nimmo RBI double, a wild pitch and a 1B Jayce Boyd single. After a 3-for-4 day with a double and a walk, Nimmo is hitting .316/.409/.426 in his first 35 games in the SAL. Nimmo was also picked off on the bases and threw out a runner at the plate.
RHP Luis Cessa was strong: 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.
SS Philip Evans was 0-for-3 with a walk and a throwing error, his 20th error of the game in his 59th contest. Evans is hitless in his last six games, a span of 19 at-bats to slip to .173/.244/.223 for the year.
A+: Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 5, St. Lucie Mets 0
Meh. The Mets had four hits, all singles.
LHP Alex Panteliodis (2-2, 3.06): 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 9, Lexington Legends (KC) 2
Just too much Gnats as Savannah used a six-run second inning to cruise past the Legends and, with the help of a Charleston loss, into first place in the SAL Southern Division with 12 games to play in the first half.
Logan Taylor, who has been sidelined since April 21 with a strained oblique was limited to 65 pitches, but did good work after allowing the game’s first two batters to score runs. His line: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. He got the first two strikeouts on curveballs for a called strike three and then used fastball up to finish off his next victims. Given the time away, it was a nice performance. I’ll get velocity readings on him Wednesday, but he had plenty on his fastball.
Julian Hilario also continues to make progress in the Savannah bullpen, giving the Gnats two shutout innings with three strikeouts. In his last five outings, he’s thrown 12 innings with 6 H, 1 BB and 13 strikeouts. He’s been 92-95 in recent outings.
CF Brandon Nimmo (.314/.410/.415 – 30 gms): 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB
It was a very nice night for Nimmo (pictured).
Nimmo’s first three plate appearances were against a left-handed starter. In his first at-bat, he saw nothing in the strike zone, earning a four-pitch walk. In his second, he sat back nicely on an 0-2 offering and laced it over the shortstop’s head for a lined RBI single into left-center. He swung at the first pitch he saw in the fourth, and made solid contact, flying out to center. Facing a right-handed reliever in the sixth, he pulled a crisp single through the right side before walking in the bottom of the eighth. He’s still looking for his first extra-base hit against a lefty in 2013, hitting .250/.308/.250 (6-for-24 with one walk, six singles and seven strikeouts).
Nimmo was charged with an error in the first inning. Speedy Lexington LF Ethan Chapman dropped a single to shallow left-center. Nimmo got caught in between and dealt with a high hop that he fumbled, allowing Chapman, who’d taken a good hard turn at first, to race up to second.
SS Philip Evans: 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and two errors (his 18th and 19th of the year). He’s down to .180/.250/.232 and lost at the plate. Strikeouts had not been his problem: entering Tuesday the 20-year-old had a moderate 15.6% strikeout rate and had not struck out more than twice in any game this year. Defensively, he fumbled a ball in the seventh that ended up rolling between his legs. Then, on the subsequent plate, Hilario induced what should have been a double-play ball. His throw to second was not great – a little to Evans’ left and a little low. However, Evans could not catch the ball and was charged with his second error in as many plays. After the game, a friend asked me what the Mets should do with Evans. I think they’ll continue to run him out basically everyday in Savannah. While playing Yucarybert De La Cruz more might be defensive upgrade, the team is more invested in Evans.
Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 2, @ St. Lucie Mets 1
Noah Syndergaard was just fine: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Adam Rubin had him hitting 94 on the stadium gun. Want something nice? In his last 19.1 innings, Thor has walked just two batters, while fanning 21. Yum.
At the plate, RF Travis Taijeron just keeps getting hotter. Named the FSL Player of the Week earlier in the day, he celebrated by going 3-for-4 with a homer to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games. He’s homered four times in his last three games and five times in his last five while hitting .471/.500/1.029 in his last 10 to push his season line to .313/.405/.582 in 53 games. At 24, he’s old for the FSL, and he’s repeating the circuit, but this is still awfully impressive.
The Gants, who start a three-game series at home on Tuesday, were off.
A+: @ Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, St. Lucie Mets 4 (7 innings)
St. Lucie Mets 5, @ Charlotte Stone Crabs 3 (7 innings)
- Have a day Travis Taijeron. The LF/RF combined to go 3-for-5 with three homers, and two walks.
The 24-year-old is raking at .455/.474/.939 (!) with four homers in his last 10 games to push his season line to .303/.398/.562 in 52 games. Taijeron (pictured) had a fairly miserable April (.228/.347/.380 with 1 homer) but turned it on in May and is off to a loud start in June. He’s also second in the FSL with 20 doubles. He’s not going anywhere for a little while. The room ahead of him – the AA outfield – is full with Cesar Puello, Cory Vaughn, Darrell Ceciliani and Alonzo Harris sharing playing time and rotating through the DH spots. Both Vaughn and Puello are younger than Taijeron so he will need either a promotion or an injury to open a hole ahead of him. Taijeron, in his first exposure to the FSL last year, hit only .203/.304/.373 in the second half with 52 strikeouts in 48 games. He used to use an arm-bar to begin his swing which helped his power, but made him susceptible to fastballs in.
- Aderlin Rodriguez, who had two hits and a walk, his seventh of the year, in game one, played both ends of the double-dip at first. The 21-year-old hit hitting .264/.292/.458. Rodriguez has one more home run than Taijeron, six fewer doubles, and four more singles, but has walked 16 times fewer giving Taijeron a healthy advantage in all three slash categories.
- RHP Matt Bowman, who was off to a fast start in the FSL put together a more pedestrian effort Sunday: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.
- RHP Luis Mateo made his second rehab appearance with St. Lucie, and it did not go well. Mateo threw on Thursday, so he was appearing on two days’ rest. The line was ugly: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K. With extended spring training shut down this week, it makes sense to get Mateo into games as part of his rehab. The surprise to me is that he’s not doing so on a starter’s schedule and working every five days with a bullpen and a side in between.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats 7, @ Kannapolis Intimidators (CHW) 1
Gabriel Ynoa is getting the hang of this South Atlantic League thing becoming the first pitcher in the League to throw a nine-inning complete game this year: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Since giving up six homers in a two-start span in early May, Ynoa has learned to keep the ball down and been excellent: 29.1 IP, 19 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 23 K. That a 1.23 ERA and a 7.7 K/BB ratio for those of you playing along at home. Ynoa just turned 20, and sits 91-92 with a developing slider. At a lean 6’2″, he is certainly a name and arm to watch.
CF Brandon Nimmo (.304/.396/.409 – 29 games) was 2-for-5 with a double, his second game in a row with a two-bagger. The strikeouts were numbers 32 and 33 in 29 games and push his strikeout rate to 25% so far this year. It’s an issue. On the other hand, he’s walking at a 10% clip, which is very nice.
A+: Jupiter Hammerheads 4, St. Lucie Mets 3 (10 innings)
Rainy Lara’s advanced-A debut was very nice: 8 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. One opposing manager in the SAL who I talked to thought Lara (pictured) could be a mid-rotation starter because of his strike-throwing ability, but that’s a much more optimistic assessment than most scouts, the most optimistic of whom think he could be a back-end starter or middle reliever.
Both members of the left side of the St. Lucie infield 3B Aderlin Rodriguez and SS Matt Reynolds committed errors, their 10th and 9th respectively. Yeesh. On the more positive defensive side, LF Dustin Lawley threw out a pair of runners at the plate, which is cool.
DH Travis Taijeron had two hits, including his fifth homer of the year to push his season line to .292/.383/.503 in 49 games. The 19 doubles are nice, but the 51 strikeouts are scary. The 24-year-old is lean and strong, but he’s old for the FSL and there’s too much swing and miss in there for me to think he’s a big league regular.
A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 8, Kannapolis Intimidators 2 (continuation of suspended game from May 3)
@ Kannapolis Intimidators 5, Savannah Sand Gnats 4 (11 innings)
These two teams played a lot of baseball on Thursday. They picked up game one, which was suspended by rain at the beginning of May, in the fourth inning and then took the nightcap, which was scheduled for seven innings, all the way to 11 for a 17-inning evening of baseball.
LF Stefan Sabol had a big game one, going 4-for-4 with a homer, his second of the year. Oh, and C Kevin Plawecki had two doubles in game one and two more hits in game two? Of course he did.
RHP Matt Koch (3-2, 4.91) started game two and was ok: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He’s 92-95, sitting 93 or 94 on good nights and he’s fanned 34 and walked just one. However, he gives up hits – 49 in 40.1 innings. There’s plenty to work with here, but the results have been less impressive than the fastball velocity might suggest.
After sitting in game one, CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-5 with two strikeouts in game two, his first two hits since returning from the DL on May 28. The 20-year old is now hitting .304/.405/.402 in 26 games.
A+: Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 4, @ St. Lucie Mets 1
@ St. Lucie Mets 7, Jupiter Hammerheads 4 (7 innings)
Game one was the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended game. The Hammerheads scored the go-ahead run off Jeurys Familia, making his second rehab appearance with St. Lucie, in the seventh inning.
In game two, the Mets scored four in the first and never led by fewer than three runs the rest of the way.
After going 4-for-6 in the two games, “3B” Aderlin Rodriguez is up to .269/.295/.477 in 49 games this season. This is the highest his OBP has been after any single game in 2013. The 21-year-old has hit .350/.380/.600 in 25 games in May. He also committed an error in game two, his ninth of the year, and his second in three games. The bat is real, but I really think it’ll have to play at first.
SS Matt Reynolds was 0-for-3 in game two with a pair of errors. After a quick start, he’s down to .249/.333/.362 in his 48 contests.
LHP Alex Panteliodis (2-1, 2.03) was ok: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.
A: @ Greenville Drive (BOS) 5, Savannah Sand Gnats 1
Robert Gsellman: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. I wrote about the 19-year-old after his last start in Savannah, where he worked nearly exclusively off his fastball and changeup.
The combination of CF Brandon Nimmo, DH Jayce Boyd and C Kevin Plawecki were 1-for-10 with two walks (both by Nimmo) and six strikeouts.
Before this game, the Gnats placed Steven Matz, who left his Tuesday start with a blister problem, on the seven-day DL.
A+: Sunday: @ St. Lucie Mets 8, Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 2
The FSL did not play baseball on Memorial Day, which seems almost un-American.
They did play on Sunday, and Matt Bowman was sharp again: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Bowman’s been great in four starts in the FSL: 27 IP, 2.57 ERA, 21 H, 4 BB, 33 K. The Princeton product has a full five-pitch arsenal, two and four seam fastballs, curve, slider and splitter, which replaced his changeup this year. There’s a little bit of deception in his Tim Lincecum-like delivery. Bowman, who will turn 22 in five days, is rolling through a-ball because he throws strikes, can spin his off-speed pitches for strikes, and can out-smart hitters. His strike-throwing ability will move him up the ladder, but there’s just a really sharp limit on the ceiling on a 6′ right-hander with a fastball regularly at 89-91 mph.
Sunday: Augusta GreenJackets (SF) 3, @ Savannah Sand Gnats 1 (12 innings)
Monday: Savannah Sand Gnats 4, @ Greenville Drive (BOS) 1
The Drive are lousy (14-36), but Gabriel Ynoa was still really good on Monday in South Carolina: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Ynoa, who turned 20 on Sunday has really started to roll. In his last three starts, he’s gone a combined 20.1 IP, with 14 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB and 19 K for a 1.33 ERA. He hits at 91 and can touch 92 or 93. Ynoa is a stronger prospect than Bowman because he is younger, bigger, throws a few ticks harder on his fastball and gets more outs with his fastball.
Sunday, Luis Cessa threw well (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), but the team didn’t score enough for him as Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki combined on five of the Gnats’ 10 hits.
A combined 1-for-8 in the last two games dropped SS Philip Evans to .183/.261/.238 in 48 games.
Still no Brandon Nimmo.