Last week, to conclude April, we did a stock watch at the end of the month, but now we can return to our more weekly focused fare for hot players in the system.
IF Wilmer Flores: On the verge of a return to the big leagues, the 22-year-old has hit .353/.411/.612 with five doubles, a triple and five home runs to go along with eight walks and 16 strikeouts in 95 PA over his last 22 games since April 13. He must make sure to extend that selectivity to the plate in the big leagues where his walk rate is under 5% (4.8 % on 5 BB/105 PA)
RHP Noah Syndergaard: Last two starts: 12.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 15 K – 0.71 ERA with opponents hitting .239/.314/.239. The word out of Vegas is that he’s using all of his pitches better and holding mid-90s velocity deep into his starts. The 21-year-old will be a big part of the Mets’ future and soon.
Honorable Mention: After walking 10 guys in his first 9.1 innings this season (44 BF), Vic Black has gone four innings and 15 batters over his next four outings without walking anyone.
OF Cesar Puello: The Mets excused him from Wednesday and Thursday’s games to handle a personal matter. Even so, in a league where everyone hits, the 23-year-old Puello has not, yet, batting .236/.277/.281 in 94 PA. Moreover, he’s only playing a few times a week. He’s had nine plate appearances since the calendar flipped to May. The team says he’s healthy, and they’re working on him to refine his approach and there’s no question his 3% walk rate (3 BB/93 PA) is unacceptable. Even so, that’s best accomplished by playing everyday.
SS/2B Wilfredo Tovar: Hitting .421/.463/.553 (thanks in part to a .429 BABIP) with two doubles and a home run in his last 12 games to lift his overall line to .349/.389/.434 with four extra-base hits, four walks and three strikeouts in 86 PA over 25 games. Yeah, that’s a 4.4% walk AND 3.3% strikeout rate. The 22-year-old up to 9th in the EL in batting average.
C Kevin Plawecki: After a .250/.300/.304 line with three doubles in 14 games in April, Plawecki has started off May by hitting .375/.360/.500 which is to say, he is 9-for-24 with three doubles, no walks and two strikeouts in six games. It’s nice that he’s already equaled his doubles output from April in just under one half the May contests, but the 23-year-old is still looking for his first homerun of the year. Everyday big leaguers have to put the wall sometimes (of course how often depends on their position, defensive prowess and other offensive attributes).
OF/1B – Here are the season lines for the primary AA outfielders and 1B: Jayce Boyd (.244/.346/.400, 2 HR – 26 G; age 23), Darrell Ceciliani (.282/.308/.365, 0 HR – 21 G; age 24), Dustin Lawley (.194/.272/.269, 1 HR – 26 G; age 25), Corey Vaughn (.176/.269/.253, 1 HR – 26 G; age 25), Travis Taijeron (.190/.299/.379; 1 HR – 18 G; age 25). Oh, and then there’s 27-year-old Matt Clark bopping along at .323/.414/.613 in 111 PA over 28 games.
IF Aderlin Rodriguez – The 22-year-old is hitting .280/.368/.520 in his last 14 games with 3 doubles, three homers and seven walks. The ball will go far when he connects, but in years past, he has been too eager to expand his strike zone. A few walks and improved strike zone judgement will help him tremendously.
RHP Domingo Tapia has walked four batters total in his last 16 innings over three starts (6.8%) working five inning or more in each of his last three games. He had walked eight in 14 innings in his first three starts (14.3%). It’s little, but for a guy who’s struggled to throw strikes this is progress. Guys can’t hit his mid-upper 90s sinker; the FSL is hitting .205/.282/.259 against him this year. As long as he’s throwing strikes, he’ll be a big league reliever.
2B Dilson Herrera– The little guy has is 2-for-his-last 17 to slip down to .281/.338/.349 overall. On the other hand, he still has hits in 26 of his 34 games this year. His extra-base hit rate is down from 8.2% in the SAL to 4.3% in the FSL, but his strikeout rate has dropped as well from 13% to 14.9%. He just turned 20 this past March making him the youngest regular in the St. Lucie lineup and the 7th youngest player in the FSL.
CF Brandon Nimmo – After an unconscious April (.384/.508/.515) he’s 1-for-his-last 18 and 3 for his last 23 while going .148/.361/.148 in his first 8 games in May. On the other hand, he’s drawn nine walks against eight strikeouts in those eight games and leads minor league baseball with 34 walks.
RHP Gabriel Ynoa – The FSL is hitting an unsightly .360/.406/.640 with 3 2B, 6 3B, 3 HR against him on 8 BB and 11 K in 19.1 innings. Yikes. He owns a 6.16 ERA in six starts overall.
SS Philip Evans – .211/.231/.211 (8-for-38) in his last 10 games with one walks and zero extra-base hits to pull his season line to .281/.322/.351 in 30 games.
1B Dominic Smith – .450/.522/.575 (.563 BABIP) with five doubles, six walks, and eight strikeouts in his last 12 games to take his season line to .271/.336/.318 in 31 games. Oh, and he’s still 18. If you’d asked me before the before the season, what a modestly successful year would look like for Smith, at age 18 in the pitchers’ paradise of Savannah, I’d have suggested, .275/.340 AVG/OBP with some a doubles and a few homeruns. He’s on pace.
SS Gavin Cecchini – doubled in his first plate appearance Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, but then was removed from the game with what I was told was a right knee issue. He was hitting .462/.488/.769 with five doubles, two triples and one homerun (with a .531 BABIP) on his streak. With 12 extra-base hits in his first 30 games, he’s surpassed last year’s total of eight in 51 games in Brooklyn. He’s making much, much more authoritative contact.
RHP Akeel Morris – Still has not allowed a run in 16.1 innings out of the bullpen with 25 strikeouts to go along with 10 walks.
OF Jared King – .120/.290/.160 in his last seven games with one double, five walks and three strikeouts. On the plus side, the 22-year-old got engaged.
2B LJ Mazzilli – .167/.278/.267 in his last 8 games since April 30 to pull his season total to .218/.284/.303 in 31 games at age 23 in the SAL. Committed an error at short when a bouncer rolled under his glove Thursday.