Alburquerque Isotopes (LA) 8, @ Las vegas 51s 5
3B Zach Lutz is in the midst of his best hitting streak of the season, picking up at least one knock in six consecutive games (10 for 23 during that stretch). On Tuesday morning, the PA native went 3 for 4, drove in his 20th run of the season and reached base four times in the 51s 8-5 loss to Alburquerque at Cashman Field. It’s Lutz’ first three hit game of the year and increased his slash line numbers to .252/ .331/ .395. Far from outstanding, but clearly he’s on the right track.
Wilmer Flores appeared in the game as a pinch hitter midway through the ballgame and remained in to play second base. He collected a double in two at-bats and is now tied for the team lead in two baggers with 13. Flores has been hot at the plate, hitting safely in eight of 10. He had a five game streak broken Monday.
RHP Chris Schwinden (2-4) started for the 51s and wasn’t good. In five innings he allowed five earned runs on seven hits and took the loss. Three relievers followed him and combined to give up three more runs (two earned), bringing the season total to 90 earned in 135 innings for the Vegas pen.
Travis d’Arnaud and Matt den Dekker could be getting close to rehab appearances with St. Lucie. Players names link to articles from Metsblog about their progress.
Collin McHugh has been sent to St Louis to take the roster spot of Scott Atchison who went on the DL, meanwhile Matt Fox was signed to a minor league deal to start games for the 51s. And Josh Edgin is reportedly on the way to join the 51s in Omaha.
AA: Akron Aeros (19-19) @ Binghamton Mets (20-18) Listen
Tuesday 6:35 ET – RHP Paolo Espino (1-0, 4.46) vs. RHP Logan Verrett (5-1, 3.04)
Paolo Espino has faced the B-Mets twice this year, combined he’s allowed 6 runs on 11 hits 5 BB amd 9 K over 9 IP. He has struck out 8 in each of his last two starts.
Logan Verrett nearly threw a complete game in his last start, getting lifted with one out to go after he had allowed 1 run on 5 hits and a walk with 9 strike outs. It was a season high in K’s and the first start of 2013 in which he didn’t allow a home run. The last time Verrett faced Akron at home he went 8 IP allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 BB and 8 K. He’s had three starts with 6 or more strike outs, and four starts with 3 or less.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (21-14) @ Charleston RiverDogs (19-15) Listen
Tuesday 7:05 ET – RHP Gabriel Ynoa (4-2, 4.32) vs. LHP Dan Camarena (0-2, 8.14)
Gabriel Ynoa last pitched 7 days ago in Hickory where he allowed 5 runs on 8 hits including 4 homers over 5 IP. He struck out 4 and walked none. 13 of the 17 runs Ynoa has allowed this year have come in his three road starts, in which he is getting hit at a .333 clip as compared to just .156 at home.
Cesar Vargas struck out 4 and walked none over 2.2 IP in his last start. He was relieved by Dan Camarena who allowed a run on 3 hits over 3.1 IP, walking none and striking out four. The two pitchers shared the start after a rain out and an off day, and both remain on turn today. On the year Vargas has struck out 26 and walked 9 in 27.1 IP and limited RH batters to a .164 average, while Camarena has struck out 20 and walked 6 overall, but is being hit at a .324 mark.
AA: @ Binghamton Mets 5, Akron Aeros (CLE) 2
Tuesday’s games are already in progress, but I wanted to point out a few things from Monday night’s AA game.
- Rafael Montero (4-3, 3.47): 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K… 67% strikes (66 strikes/98 total pitches). This is sort of what I expected a standard Montero start to look like in AA. Lots of strikes, but contact and hits allowed. After a .277 BABIP in April led to a .188/.212/.257 opponents’ line, a .345 BABIP in three May starts has led to a .269/.296/.385 performance. We’re into SSS territory here, but the numbers suggest more solid contact against him. Also, his strikeout rate has dropped from 33% in April to 23% in May.
- RF Cesar Puello (.281/.349/.510 – 28 games) homered again, his fifth. I’m basically a believer in Puello. He has a big league body with speed and strength. He’ll be a big leaguer. The question is whether he’ll be a good one; to become that, he’ll need to improve on his 5.7% walk rate. We discussed this on the forthcoming Mostly Mets Podcast, but he’s one of only two outfielders currently playing in full-season ball for the Mets that I could reasonably believe could become an everyday regular.
- Jeffrey Walters: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Now up to 14.2 IP, 4 BB and 13 K. His ERA of 0.61 is out-performing his peripherals some as he’s fanned 22% of opposing batters, which is good but not dominant while walking 8.4%. He has a good arm, and might be a middle reliever in the end.
A couple of 10:30 AM local starts in today’s action.
A+: Brevard County Manatees (19-17) @ St. Lucie Mets (22-13) Listen
Tuesday 10:30 AM – RHP Drew Gagnon (3-2, 5.29) vs. RHP Matt Bowman (1-0, 4.50)
Drew Gagnon was the Brewers 3rd round pick in 2011. He spent half of 2012 in the FSL putting up a 2.83 ERA with 49 K and 18 BB over 67 IP in 11 starts. This year he’s struck out 38 and walked 13 over 34 IP in 7 starts.
Matt Bowman made his FSL debut a week ago going 6 IP allowing 3 runs on 6 hits (including his first homer allowed of 2013) 1 BB and 7 K. Combined with his 5 starts for Savannah Bowman has struck out 33 and walked 5 this year.
AAA: Albuquerque Isotopes (19-19) @ Las Vegas 51s (18-18) Listen
Tuesday 1:35 ET – RHP Angel Castro (2-2, 3.97) vs. RHP Chris Schwinden (2-3, 5.40)
Angel Castro is scheduled to make his 5th start after beginning the year in the pen. In his first two starts he allowed 1 run on 9 hits over 13 IP, but in his last two starts he’s been much more hittable 9 IP, 20 H, 11 runs (8 ER).
Chris Schwinden pitched into the 7th in his last start, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk. He left the game with a 4-1 lead and two runners on, which wouldn’t hold up. Schwinden struck out none that day, and has 22 K/14 BB on the year.
Alburquerque Isotopes (LA) 5, @ Las Vegas 51s 2
RHP Carlos Torres had his best start of the season for the 51s, limiting the ‘Topes to one earned run on three hits in six innings. He had a chance to win for the first time in two weeks and just the second time this season, leaving with Vegas ahead 2-1. However, the bullpen immediately lost the lead, giving up four runs in the top of the 7th and the Vegas offense failed to score again, losing 5-2.
Dylan Owen was the first reliever to enter the game for the 51s and retired just one batter while allowing three earned runs on one hit and a pair of walks. Justin Hampson followed Owen and subsequently surrendered a pair of hits and an additional run to cap the four run meltdown. Las vegas relievers have made 36 combined appearances this season and are 8-8 with a 5.91 era.
lf Zach Lutz hit his 4th homerun of the season in the 2nd inning. He’s hit safely in five straight games and has his average up to .235 this season.
Both A-ball starters walked four batters Monday. Oops.
A+: Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 6, St. Lucie Mets 5
Hansel Robles, not so good: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.
The Met’s offense had little trouble against Brewers RHP Jed Bradley, (5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 3 K) the Brewers first round pick at #15 overall in 2011. Bradley, the Georgia Tech product has walked 20 in 31.2 innings this year.
LF Dustin Lawley and RF Travis Taijeron each homered, but I’m more interested in the work of 3B Aderlin Rodriguez. The 21-year old was 2-for-5 with an RBI. He’s sitting at .333/.370/.667 with eight extra-base hits, three walks and three strikeouts in his last 10 games. Aderlin has the best raw power of any Mets farmhand. This is the best raw power in the Mets’ system.
A: @ Charleston RiverDogs 5, Savannah Sand Gnats 3
The Dogs scored twice in the eighth against hard-throwing reliever Julian Hilario. Starter Luis Cessa outpitched his peripherals, yielding just three runs despite four walks and two homers: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 HR.
1B Jayce Boyd and C Kevin Plawecki combined to go 0-for-9, although Plawecki walked. When that pair goes hitless, Savannah will have a tough time scoring enough to win.
Three Mets affiliates are opening a new series tonight.
Andrew Brown is on his way to Las Vegas because Rick Ankiel is a Met. (Yes you read that correctly)
AA: Akron Aeros [CLE] (19-18) @ Binghamton Mets (19-18) Listen
Monday 6:35 ET – LHP Matt Packer (1-4, 3.72) vs. RHP Rafael Montero (3-3, 3.54)
Matt Packer‘s last start was his longest of the year. 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R (0 ER) 2 BB, 2 K. He’s struck out 18 and walked 16 while allowing 47 hits (.318) in 36.1 IP. He has lost to the B-Mets twice, over 9 IP he has allowed 19 hits with 3 BB and 3 K in those two contests.
Akron has won four of their last five games, and both teams are 4 games out in their respective divisions.
Rafael Montero comes into this contest with 48 K and 6 BB in 40.2 IP this year. In his last start he threw 6.1 IP allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8. It was the third time this year he has struck out 8, and the sixth time he has struck out 6 or more. Two of those 8 K outings have come against Akron, along with 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 10.2 IP in those two starts against the Aeros.
A+: Brevard County Manatees [MIL] (18-17) @ St. Lucie Mets (22-12) Listen
Monday 6:30 ET – LHP Jed Bradley (3-1, 3.04) vs. RHP Hansel Robles (3-1, 2.36)
Jed Bradley threw 6 shutout inning in his last start, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 K. He’s walked 17 and struck out 25 on the year and has put up a 4.91 ERA in 4 road starts.
Brevard Co. batters are last in the FSL in hitting with a .230/.291/.359 slash, lead the league in strike outs (306) and are tied for last in walks with 84. Their pitching is middle of the pack overall in the FSL, but they allow the second most walks while being second to the bottom in hits allowed. St. Lucie’s more patient hitters should do well in this series.
Hansel Robles makes his second start since returning from the DL. Seven days ago he threw 6 innings allowing a run on 2 hits 0 BB/5 K pushing his season total to 6 BB/21 K. Travis Taijeron leads the Mets with 18 walks and a .385 OBP.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (21-13) @ Charleston RiverDogs [NYY] (18-15) Listen
Monday 7:05 ET – RHP Luis Cessa (2-2, 3.81) vs. LHP Dan Camarena (0-2, 8.14)
Luis Cessa has allowed 5 ER in each of his last two starts, raising his ERA from 1.01 to 3.81. He didn’t walk a batter in either of those starts and has totaled 26 K to 2 BB on the year. Right handed batters are hitting .337 against Cessa.
After struggling through five starts Dan Camarena‘s last appearance came out of the pen where he allowed a run on 3 hits over 3.1 IP, walking none and striking out four. He’s struck out 20 and walked 6 overall, but is being hit at a .324 mark.
Charleston is 2.5 games behind Savannah in the tightly bunched SAL Southern. They come in on a three game win streak.
AAA: Albuquerque Isotopes (18-19) @ Las Vegas 51s (18-17) Listen
Monday 10:05 ET – RHP Matt Palmer (0-1, 7.43) vs. RHP Carlos Torres (1-3, 7.39)
Matt Palmer allowed 7 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk over 4.1 IP in his last start in Tucson. He’s struck out 11 and walked 3 on the year, and had allowed 2 runs in each of his prior two starts.
Carlos Torres is allowing righties to hit .436 against him and while he has struck out 27 in 28 IP 10 of those K’s came in one game. His home ERA is 10.59 … go Montero?
After losing Greg Burke to the Mets the current Vegas relief group has pitched to an ERA of 6.23 and a whip of 1.84. Choose wisely Wally… Josh Edgin has allowed multiple runs three times out of five appearances for Binghamton, so he would fit in well here.
The Mets have signed 33-year-old left-handed hitting OF and former pitcher Rick Ankiel. This is a waste of money.
Ankiel was dreadful with Houston this year, hitting .194/.231/.484 with 35 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances before he was released last Thursday. Oh, small sample size you say? Sure, but no. His 90 OPS+ is actually higher than his full season total in 2011 or 2012.
Since the start of the 2009 season, covering his age 29-33 seasons, Ankiel has “hit” .232/.292/.388 with strikeouts in 28% of his plate appearances. Remarkably, that’s worse than the Mets’ cumulative 2013 outfield production of .223/.302/.392.
The last time Ankiel was an above average MLB hitter: 2008 when he hit .264/.337/.506 with 25 homers in 120 games for the Cardinals.
Ankiel can play the outfield a little bit, but a cumulative reading of the advanced metrics suggest he is below average. Total Zone puts him a few runs above average per 150 games for his career. That result seems driven by an improbable +14 overall and +21/150 games for Washington in centerfield in 2011. UZR has him -7.8 for his career and -2.7/150. Defensive runs saved has him -6 for his career in centerfield and -2/150 games.
Ankiel becomes the fourth left-handed hitting outfielder on the Mets, joining Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, and Jordany Valdespin.
Adding Ankiel will take playing time away from left-handed hitting outfield options like Baxter, Valdespin and even Kirk Nieuwenhuis if he ever makes it back to Queens. This is bad. The idea should be to play the younger to see if they can you know, play.
So, why did the Mets just sign Rick Ankiel?
- Friday night, Mets’ RHP Domingo Tapia burned his left (non-throwing hand) while cooking and was placed on the disabled list. Tapia was off to a nice start for advanced-A St. Lucie. In seven starts, he had a 2.23 ERA. His strikeout (22.5%) and walk rates (10.4%) were unremarkable, but he was not giving up hits – just 20 in 32.1 innings. It’s hard to hit a mid-upper 90s power sinker. Indeed, last week, Mets VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting Paul dePodesta told Baseball America that Tapia was touching 100 mph. I saw 99 mph from him last year and I heard rumors of triple digits. That’s fun and all, but as dePodesta pointed out, it’s better at 96 with more sink.
I’m not very concerned about Tapia’s hand, mostly because it’s his non-throwing hand. Also, in the long run, cooking for himself and his teammates is, burns aside, certainly healthier than eating out every night.
- Lynn Worthy reports that AA RHP Tyler Pill has been shut down for three weeks with a Bennett lesion in his right shoulder. Per Worthy, “Bennet lesion is a buildup or mineralization in a ligament located in the back of the shoulder capsule.” Not all Bennett lesions are painful. One study found 22% of asymptomatic pitchers had Bennett Lesions, and pain is associated with a bony spur. This falls into the category of impingement in the area around the posterior rotator cuff which are not good words for pitchers. This might be nothing and some minor irritation that goes away, but I suspect that Pill will be out for a significant length of time. Even after a three-week shutdown, he’d need a few weeks in the throwing program to build his arm strength back up so he’s looking at 5-6 weeks minimum.
- CF Brandon Nimmo, who was placed on the Savannah disabled list retroactive to May 7 with a hand bruise, took full batting practice over the weekend. He was hitting wearing physio tape underneath a wrist wrap and reported that his hand/wrist felt much, much improved versus a week ago.
There were some twitterers who wanted to be critical for the Mets’ handling of Nimmo in this case, and I just don’t see it. His hand started bothering him around April 20, he tried to play through it for a week, found it affecting his swing because he didn’t trust his hands, and was rolling over balls and couldn’t reach the outside pitch with authority. He then saw a doctor., went through the basic tests, determined nothing was broken, rested, and is now progressing back to game action. Hand injuries have a habit of sapping a player’s bat control and strength, so I just hope he’s given himself enough time to heal.