I was traveling over the weekend, and largely apart from Mets Minor League box scores. It was interesting. I missed them a little. Anyway, since I have no interest in going play-by-play through the weekend, I figured it was a good time to take a slightly larger picture look at what’s going on at each affiliate.
We’ll start at the bottom of the full-season level in Savannah.
Brandon Nimmo has not played since April 29 with a “hand bruise” on his left hand. The Mets officially placed him on the disabled list on May 7, so he was eligible to return to action almost a week ago. He was taking batting practice 10 days ago. I should have more on his situation later.
No, seriously it’s time to talk promotions for a trio of 22-year olds.
C Kevin Plawecki is hitting .364/.444/.615 with 19 doubles, five homers and 14 walks against 20 strikeouts in 39 games. He’s #1 in the SAL in batting average, doubles and extra-base hits (25). He’s #2 in slugging (.615) behind only Tom Murphy, who plays his home games in Asheville, so Plawecki is tops among players who play in non-mountain environments, and it’s even more impressive considering that Historic Grayson Stadium is the least power-friendly ballpark in America. Plawecki is #3 in hits (52) and OBP (.444). He’s a fine receiver. His arm is the weakest part of his game, so he will need to be perfect mechanically on every throw and rely heavily on his pitchers’ keeping runners close. He has nothing left to prove to me in the South Atlantic League.
1B Jayce Boyd is hitting .356/.449/.510 with 14 doubles and three homers and 24 walks against 19 strikeouts in 39 games. He’s #2 in the SAL in average, OBP and hits (53) and fourth in doubles (14). First basemen usually need to hit the ball over the wall to profile at the position. For example, in 2012, among 1B who accumulated at least 1.0 fWAR, Yonder Alonso was the only one who hit fewer than 18 homeruns. Among those who reached average-or-better production, (2.0+ WAR) everyone except Adrian Gonzalez hit 20 homeruns. Boyd is limited to first, but there’s little else the sixth-rounder in 2012, who is walking more than he strikes out, can accomplish in the SAL.
RHP Rainy Lara is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA and 47 strikeouts against 5(!) walks in 46 innings. He’s tops in the SAL in WHIP and is #2 in opponents’ walk rate. Lara throws 90-91 and can touch 92 or 93 on a given night. He’s kept the SAL off-balance with sliders, lots and lots of sliders. He has really nice feel for the pitch, although will need to tighten up its break. Lara, like Plawecki and Boyd, is 22.
Philip Evans: .176/.271/.235, 5 XBH, 18 BB, 26 K – 136 AB, 40 G
Stefan Sabol: .190/.290/.273, 6 XBH, 17 BB, 33 K – 121 AB, 35 G
I expected more from both hitters. Sabol turned 21 in February, while Evans will not turn 21 until after the regular season.
Steven Matz: 2.83 ERA, 28.2 IP, 31 H, 30 K, 10 BB.
He’s the Gnats’ best arm. His fastball has been sitting 93-95 mph from the left side, and his range has been as wide as 92-97 mph. About once or twice a game, he’ll throw something that looks like a Major League slider. He just needs to throw the pitch more to get used to using it in games.
First, Adam Rubin reported that RHP Rafael Montero was headed to AAA Las Vegas.
Then, Lynn Worthy the beat writer for Binghamton’s Press & Sun Bulletin tweeted, “Montero’s Las Vegas start looking like a spot start situation. #BMets expect to have him back in their rotation.”
The Mets pulled this routine earlier this year, promoting RHP Luis Mateo from advanced-A to AA for what was initially called a “spot start.” Mateo came down with elbow discomfort, and has pitched little since.
Anyway, call it whatever you want. If Montero does not fall on his face in his first start or two in AAA, he’s staying. Until Zack Wheeler returns to the AAA rotation (likely Wednesday) Montero is the Mets’ best pitching prospect in the high minors. His development certainly takes precedence over getting any of the following Vegas regulars turns in the rotation: D.J. Mitchell, Chris Schwinden or Carlos Torres.
At the time of his promotion, Montero was 4-3 wit ha 3.47 ERA in 46.2 innings over eight starts this year. He was tied for second in the Eastern League with 54 strikeouts, was third in WHIP (0.99), and had the third-lowest unintentional walk rate in the league 1.16/9 IP.
Montero, my pre-season #9 prospect, has outstanding fastball command that makes his slightly above average fastball at 92-93 mph play up. In the early part of 2012, his changeup was his primary off-speed pitch, but he worked at integrating his slider into his arsenal. By spring training 2013, he was throwing his slider as his secondary offering of choice. In Florida, it looked like a below average pitch. His control and fastball will get him to the big leagues, but to be an impact starter, he is going to have to continue to improve that slider.
Montero was more dominant in April 1.95 ERA, 33% strikeout rate, 11.7 K/BB ratio and 18% hit rate than in May 5.68 ERA, 23% strikeout rate, 6.3 K/BB, 26% hit rate. To some degree, his ERA is driven by an outing on May 1 when he allowed 10 runs, seven earned on 10 hits in 6.2 innings, but well, that happened. He also yielded eight hits in six innings in his last start. For whatever reason, his strikeout rate has dropped and the Eastern League hit him harder, in his last three starts.
Las vegas 51s 3, @ Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 4
2B Wilmer Flores has been on a tear for the 51s, extending his hitting streak to five games Sunday with a 1 for 4 effort. The one hit was a solo homerun in the 5th inning off Omaha starter Ryan Verdugo, his third homer in the last 10 games. During the hitting streak Flores is batting .315 with four rbi. His plate discipline has also been evident, striking out only three times in the last seven games (all three on Sunday).
If Flores is hot at the plate, Zach Lutz is on fire. Two more hits Sunday extended Lutz’ hitting streak to nine games, during which time he’s 16 for 36 (.444). Amazingly his overall batting average is up to .273, almost 70 points higher than where it was before the streak began.
Outfielder Andrew Brown left the game after one at-bat due to a reported oblique injury. His status is unknown at this point. The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Brown, who was in the midst of a 15 game hitting streak. His slash line is a very impressive .371/ .442/ .655. That’s an OPS of 1.097.
The 51s head to Iowa to start a four game series with the Cubs Triple-A affiliate Monday.
AA: Binghamton Mets (23-19) @ Portland Sea Dogs (24-16) Listen
Sunday 1:00 ET – RHP Cory Mazzoni (1-1, 1.98) vs. LHP Drake Britton (3-3, 4.35)
Cory Mazzoni allowed 1 run on 4 hits over 5.2 IP, striking out 5 in his second start off the disabled list.
Drake Britton lost in Binghamton on April 16th allowing 3 runs on 6 hits over 5 IP. He struck out 7 that day, which is tied for his season high.
A+: St. Lucie Mets (24-16) @ Bradenton Marauders (16-26) Listen
Sunday 1:00 ET – RHP Hansel Robles (3-1, 2.64) vs. HP Nick Kingham (4-2, 3.79)
Hansel Robles has not faced Bradenton yet this year. He only went 4 IP his last start, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 5.
Nick Kingham couldn’t get out of the first inning in his last start, allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. He’s pitched much better at home, putting up a 2.25 ERA and striking out 23 to 1 walk.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (23-17) @ Augusta GreenJackets (24-17) Listen
Sunday 2:05 ET – RHP Luis Cessa (2-2, 3.93) vs. HP Martin Agosta (5-1, 2.17)
Luis Cessa has allowed 13 runs in his last three starts, and in his last start he walked 4 after only walking 2 in his five prior starts. His road ERA for the year is 5.06.
Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki are hitting an identical 52 of 143 (.364) and have each scored 24 runs with 30 RBI.
Martin Agosta allowed 2 runs on 6 hits over 6 IP in his last start, walking 2 and striking out 7. At home he has a 1.21 ERA winning all 4 of his starts.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s (20-20) @ Omaha Storm Chasers (20-20) Listen
Sunday 3:05 ET – RHP Chris Schwinden (2-4, 5.85) vs. LHP Ryan Verdugo (2-2, 4.38)
Chris Schwinden allowed 5 runs on 7 hits over 5 IP in his last start, striking out 4 and walking 1. 26K/15BB on the year with 7 homers and a .294 BAA.
Ryan Verdugo has a 5.17 ERA in 3 home starts, 12 K and 8 BB in 15.2 IP.
Las Vegas 51s 9, @ Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 4
The Las Vegas offense pounded out double digit hits for the fifth consecutive game on their way to a 9-4 win Saturday in Omaha. Starting pitcher Carlos Torres (2-3) cruised for the win, despite giving up four earned runs in six innings. It’s the second straight six inning outing for the right hander after he failed to get that far in his first six games this season.
RF Andrew Brown extended his hitting streak to 15 games in a row with a 2 for 3 performance, including a two run homerun in the 3rd inning and a triple in 5th. He drove in four runs and now leads the 51s with 31 rbi. During his hit streak, Brown is 26 for 63 (.412).
1B Josh Satin (pictured) added three hits in five trips to the dish with a pair of runs scored. Satin is 7 for 13 (.538) in the first three games of the series and has hit safely in five straight games.
After a day off yesterday, 3B Zach Lutz got right back to hitting with a 2 for 5 evening which included a double, triple and three runs driven in. Lutz has a season-best eight game streak with at least one knock, during which he’s 14 for 32 (.437). Lutz’ slash line is now .266/ .342/ .430. Not bad considering where it was before this streak of great play began.
The 51s conclude their four game series in Omaha tomorrow afternoon before heading to Iowa Monday.
Despite the return of a couple of injured starers, two veteran lefties will remain in the rotation giving Binghamton and St. Lucie six man starting staffs.
AA: Binghamton Mets (23-18) @ Portland Sea Dogs (23-16) Listen
Saturday 1:00 ET – LHP Mark Cohoon (3-1, 3.15) vs. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (5-1, 1.38)
Mark Cohoon has not faced Portland yet this year. He has allowed 3 runs on 10 hits over 13.2 IP as a starter, striking out 16 and walking 6.
Anthony Ranaudo picked up a win against Binghamton on April 15th, throwing 5 no-hit innings, striking out 6 and walking 1. Overall this year he has struck out 41 and walked 10.
A+: St. Lucie Mets (23-16) @ Bradenton Marauders (16-25) Listen
Saturday 6:30 ET – LHP Angel Cuan (3-1, 5.76) vs. RHP Adrian Sampson (1-0, 5.85)
Angel Cuan has faced Bradenton twice, picking up two wins while allowing 4 runs on 11 hits over 10 IP, striking out 12 and walking 3.
Adrian Sampson has started twice against St. Lucie allowing 3 runs on 7 hits over 9 IP striking out 5 and walking 4.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (22-17) @ Augusta GreenJackets (24-16) Listen
Saturday 7:05 ET – RHP Matt Koch (1-2, 5.40) vs. LHP Matthew Lujon (NR)
Matt Koch‘s poor outing to start the year (1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER) came against Augusta. Since that game he has worked to a 3.23 ERA, and still hasn’t walked a batter on the year, while striking out 20.
Matt Lujon makes his SAL debut today after pitching last year in the Arizona rookie league. In 37 IP he struck out 35 and walked 11, while allowing batters to hit .185 against him.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s (19-20) @ Omaha Storm Chasers (20-19) Listen
Saturday 8:05 ET – RHP Carlos Torres (1-3, 6.35) vs. LHP Chris Dwyer (3-1, 2.70)
Carlos Torres had his best start of the year his last time out, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk over 6 IP, while striking out 3. He has a 2.45 ERA in two road starts.
Chris Dwyer (2009 4th round pick) has posted a 1.77 ERA in 3 home starts, striking out 18 and walking 8.
Las vegas 51s 7, @ Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 3
RHP Matt Fox had a successful debut with the 51s, allowing three earned runs in five innings for the win. The Columbus, Ohio native, who signed signed as a Minor League free agent this week, was previously pitching for the New York Revolution of the Atlantic League. He has prior major league experience, starting one game for the Twins and making three relief appearances for the Red Sox, all in 2010. He last pitched for a MLB affiliated team last season, making three starts for Tacoma in the Mariners chain.
Pitching line for Fox: 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K. He threw 85 pitches, 48 for strikes.
For the first time in a while, the Vegas bullpen didn’t allow a run. This time, the combination of Gonzalez Germen, Armando Rodriguez and Josh Edgin threw four scoreless frames, with only one hit allowed and seven strikeouts. Edgin in particular was impressive, striking out three in one inning of work.
It was a great night for the 51s offense, pounding Omaha pitchers for seven runs on 10 hits, three of which were homeruns. The 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup (Satin, Brown and Flores) were a combined 6 for 13 with a homer and four rbi. The long ball for Josh Satin was a three run shot in the 3rd inning, his team leading 6th bomb of the season. The other homers were a pair of solo shots struck by Landon Powell (2) in the 7th and Collin Cowgill (2) in the 9th.
Despite not having success with the Mets during his recent two week big league stint, Andrew Brown continues to hit in Triple-A. In three games since returning to Vegas, Brown is 5 for 14 (.357 BA) and has now hit safely in 14 consecutive PCL games. His slash line is .366/ .435/ .616.
AA: Binghamton Mets (22-18) @ Portland Sea Dogs [BOS] (23-15) Listen
Friday 6:00 ET – RHP Erik Goeddel (3-2, 5.45) vs. RHP Matt Barnes (3-1, 4.65)
Erik Goeddel faced Portland on April 24th allowing 4 runs on 6 hits over 4 IP with 2 BB and 3 K. He’s struck out 36 and walked 16 on the year.
Matt Barnes has struck out 38 and walked 12 in 31 IP this year. He has not faced Binghamton yet in 2013, and has allowed 2 ER in his last three starts including a 10 strikeout effort at Reading.
Michael Almanzar is hitting .304/.373/.511 and hit his 10th double and 6th home run last night as part of a 3 hit, 5 rbi game. Xander Bogarts is hitting .323 and slugging .523 at home versus .242 and .339 on the road.
A+: St. Lucie Mets (23-15) @ Bradenton Marauders [PIT] (15-25) Listen
Friday 6:30 ET – RHP Jenry Mejia (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Zack Dodson (0-1, 4.09)
Jenry Mejia went two innings in a rehab start six days ago. The game was halted by rain, canceled and the results expunged. LHP Angel Cuan (3-1, 5.76) could follow as he has experience both as a starter and reliever this year, and hasn’t appeared since last Friday.
Zack Dodson allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 1 BB in 6 IP six days ago, in his second start this year. He was a 4th round pick in 2009 out of high school and has logged over 250 IP below Advanced A.
Since starting the year 2-12 Bradenton has stabilized, going 8-10 since they last faced St. Lucie.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (22-18) @ Augusta GreenJackets (23-16) Listen
Friday 7:05 ET – RHP Robert Gsellman (1-0, 1.69) vs. RHP Joe Biagini (1-0, 6.38)
In his first SAL start Robert Gsellman allowed 1 run on 4 hits over 5.1 IP, with 2 BB/2 K. In two FSL starts he walked 5 and struck out 5.
Joe Biagini allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 BB in 3 IP in his last start, back on April 8th he faced the Gnats going 4.1 IP allowing 3 R (2 ER) on 3 hits and 2 BB, striking out 5.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s (18-20) @ Omaha Storm Chasers (20-18) Listen
Friday 8:05 ET – RHP Matt Fox (NR) vs. LHP Will Smith (3-1, 1.85)
Matt Fox was signed to join the 51s rotation to help offset the loss of Collin McHugh and Zack Wheeler who is missing one start. Wheeler was put on the DL yesterday to make room for the return of Brandon Hicks who came off the DL and played SS. Another move will be needed to get Fox on the active roster. Fox had been with York in the Atlantic League this year, in 17 IP he had struck out 18 and walked 3. He made 3 starts for Tacoma last year (0-3, 5.11) in his only PCL experience.
Will Smith has struck out 41 and walked 11 in 34 IP (6 starts) In his last 4 AAA starts he’s allowed 1 run or less and gone 6 full innings.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats 6, @ Augusta GreenJackets (SF) 0 (11 innings)
Maikis De La Crux drove in two runs to begin the scoring in the Gnats’ six-run 11th inning.
Rainy Lara, as he was last week, is still too good for the SAL: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. In his last 29.1 innings, Kara has allowed one earned run, struck out 32 and walked one. His average fastball that’s usually 90-91 (he will touch 92 or 93 but not work there) combined with his slider-heavy approach are too much for SAL hitters.