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.
A+: @ Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 3, St. Lucie Mets 2
Often in A-Ball games whether a team wins of loses is less important than how a top prospect or two performs. Such was the case Thursday. Fans should skip past the St. Lucie bullpen allowing the winning run in the bottom of the ninth and focus instead on the performance of Noah Syndergaard.
Syndergaard’s a box score night: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. If the season-high 10 strikeouts and his first zero walk start doesn’t get you a little bit excited, we’re not coming from the same place. Syndergaard induced six ground ball outs and three fly outs.
Syndergaard’s last five starts: 32.2 IP, 27 H, 6 R 4 ER, 0 HR, 6 BB, 33 K. That’s an ERA of 1.10 with a K/Bb ratio of 5.5. Yeah that’s good.
Las Vegas 51s 4, @ Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 5
After a slow start to the season, Zach Lutz’ bat has come alive. With his 2 for 4 effort Thursday in Omaha, Lutz extended his season long hit streak to seven games, a stretch that’s seen him bat .444 (12 for 27), with two doubles, three homeruns and seven runs batted in.
Eric Campbell also stayed hot at the dish with a perfect 3 for 3 night and two rbi, his second three hit game of the campaign. In the last two games, Campbell is 5 for 8 and his season average is up to .318.
Las Vegas led 3-1 after three innings but starter D.J. Mitchell allowed a single run in the 4th and two more in the 5th giving Omaha a lead they would not surrender. Trailing 5-3 heading to the 9th, the 51s plated one run and loaded the bases with two outs. However, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was struk out by lefty Donnie Joseph ending the ballgame.
With the loss, the 51s are 18-20 on the season and 10-8 on the road. They will play three more games in Omaha before heading to Iowa to start a four game series Monday.
A+: St. Lucie Mets (23-14) @ Brevard County Manatees (20-18) Listen
Thursday 6:35 ET – RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 2.61) vs. RHP Brooks Hall (2-3, 2.75)
Noah Syndergaard has gone at least 6 IP in his last 4 starts, allowing just 4 runs (2 ER) striking out 23 and walking 6 over those 26 IP.
Brooks Hall last pitched in May 7th, throwing 5 IP and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks, after which he went on the DL, and is expected to be activated for tonight’s game.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (21-16) @ Augusta GreenJackets [SF] (23-15) Listen
Thursday 7:05 ET – RHP Rainy Lara (4-1, 1.42) vs. HP Kendry Flores (2-2, 2.65)
Rainy Lara has lasted at least 7 innings in his last three starts, in which he has allowed 3 runs (1 ER) on 14 hits (.213) while walking 1 and striking out 23. Savannah pitching has walked the least in the SAL with 56 and hit just 3 batters, the next best teams have walked 115 and hit 12.
Kendry Flores has let in 2 runs in each of his home starts. In those 18.1 IP at home he’s allowed 13 hits and 2 walks while striking out 12. SS Matt Duffy is hitting .299/.417/.440 with 27 BB and 19 K.
Augusta’s offense is next to last in the SAL in OPS with a .238/.321/.318 slash line, but they are in first place on the strength of their pitching which has struck out the second most in the SAL, while allowing the second fewest home runs. The just swept three games from Rome to stay 1 game ahead of Charleston who swept the Gnats who fell to fourth, 1.5 games back.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s (18-19) @ Omaha Storm Chasers [KC] (19-18) Listen
Thursday 7:35 ET – RHP D J Mitchell (1-0, 6.62) vs. LHP Justin Marks (0-2, 6.00)
D J Mitchell has walked 10 and struck out 9 with Las Vegas after walking 7 in his lone start for Tacoma. Josh Edgin has joined the team, taking Greg Burke’s spot in the bullpen.
Justin Marks made two starts in AA before earning the jump to the PCL where he’s allowed 13 hits in 9 IP, walking 6 and striking out 3. He was the A’s 3rd round pick in 2009 and was included in the David DeJesus trade.
Omaha’s Werner Park is one of the most neutral parks in the PCL, allowing 2% less runs and hits than average for the league, while allowing 9.3% more home runs. Old friend Xavier Nady is hitting .336/.391/.528 and has had three multi-hit games in his last four games.
AA: Binghamton Mets (22-18) off
Logan Verrett leads the EL in innings pitched with 54.1 while Rafael Montero is 6th with 46.2 IP and they are two of five EL starting pitchers with a whip under 1.00, Montero leads the EL in strikeouts with 54.
Binghamton heads to Portland Maine to take on the first place PawSox (22-15) The B-Mets have gone 2-4 against Portland this year, including losing two out of three in Portland in mid-April, in a series plagued by sloppy play, played in freezing temps.
At Baseball America, JIm Callis has an updated comment on the Mets draft strategy:
“I discussed college bats for the Mets in last week’s first-round projection, but am beginning to hear they’d love for one of the better college arms (Gray, Appel, Shipley, Stanek, Manaea) to get to them. Not sure that will happen, though.”
Gray and Appel are the consensus top two pitching talents. It’s very, very, very hard to imagine they’d get out of the first four picks.
In his first mock draft, Callis had the Indians and #5 picking Braden Shipley, the Royals at #8 going after Ryne Stanek and Sean Manaea lasting until the Pirates at #14.
Of the three guys who might realistically make it to the Mets at #11, Shipley seems the next least likely. A converted shortstop, BA writes that his “fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range and gets as high as 98, and he already has feel for one of the draft’s best changeups.”
Stanek is a tall hard-throwing RHP out of Arkansas. In the last two years alone, the Mets have drafted three Arkansas commits (Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer and Teddy Stankowicz) and one actual Razorback (Matt Reynolds) in the top two rounds.
Manaea, a LHP out of Indiana State is one of the bigger wild cards in the top half of the draft as he touched 96 last summer, but has worked 88-93 this year while dealing with a hip problem that was the result of a cascade injury from a rolled ankle. As BA wrote, “There’s still time for him to work his way as high as No. 3 to the Rockies, but teams that never thought they’d have a shot at Manaea are making sure they do their due diligence.” Keith Law seems to think he’s slipping, possibly out of the top ten. Coming off a good outing last Friday, Law, who had Manaea #3 in his March pre-drat Top 50, wrote, “There still are teams in the back half of the top 10 who are considering the left-hander, but he’ll need more efforts like this to keep that consideration.”
From my perspective, I would add Stanek and Manaea to the list of college hitters from last week as among the Mets’ likeliest selections. They would need something really improbable to happen to make Gray, Appel or even Shipley available at #11.
Zack Wheeler complained of some soreness near his collarbone, and was diagnosed with a “mild inflammation of the AC joint in the shoulder.” The doctors gave him a cortisone shot, told him not to throw for 48 hours and sent him back to Las Vegas, where he will miss one start, but hopefully no more.
Post exam, Wheeler tweeted:
Assistant GM John Ricco on Wheeler and his potential MLB callup:
He’s progressing, and I think the results have shown that. I don’t think there’s any one magic thing we’re looking for. We talk on a start-by-start basis and we’ll make a decision based on when we think the time is right.
And on the trip to New York and the medical exam:
“We were somewhat conservative by having him checked out. But I still think it was the right decision.”
No argument here. Allowing Wheeler, or any other pitcher to pitch through shoulder discomfort is counterproductive.
@ Binghamton Mets 9, Akron Aeros (CLE) 2
The B-Mets won despite committing five, count ‘em five, errors. Sure, that stuff happens in a-ball. It should happen less in double-A.
There are three performances worth discussing.
1. RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 4.86): 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. This was his second-longest outing of 2013, and his best since his AA debut on April 17. In 37 innings, he’s fanned 25 and walked 10, but given up 42 hits. I suspect that, while he was able to overpower a-ball hitters on his strength of his sinker, AA hitters are eliminating his breaking ball and timing his fastball better.
2. DH Cory Vaughn hit a grand slam in the B-Mets’ six-run fifth inning. It was the fifth homer, and fourth against a righty, for Vaughn who is now up to .294/.379/.500 in 28 games.
3. Cesar Puello was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. He’s up to .288/.357/.510 in 30 games, and is two years younger than Vaughn. Puello struck out 17 times in 15 games in April (too much) but has cut that back to eight whiffs in 15 games in May. On the other hand, fewer strikeouts have come with fewer walks – five in April and two in May. He remains very much a work in progress, but it is working now.
A: @ Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 3
Steven Matz: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. Matz was 92-97 in his last start before this one, and sitting 93-95 and threw his fastball 78% of the time. There’s plenty of arm-strength, but he’s still raw.
C Kevin Plawecki (.370/.436/.637 – 36 games) extended his streak to 26 games in which he has reached base safely by going 1-for-4.
DH Jayce Boyd (.356/.453/.519 – 36 games) doubled twice.
A+: @ Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 4, St. Lucie Mets 3
1B Aderlin Rodriguez (.231/.256/.442 – 36 games) was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. It was the second straight night he has played first and the ninth time in 36 games. In 12 games in May, he’s bopping along at a .320/.352/.620 rate with nine extra-base hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Last May in Savannah, Rodriguez hit .315/.406/.562 with 12 XBH, 14 walks and 19 whiffs.
St. Lucie had almost as many errors (5) as hits six.
Alex Panteliodis (0-1, 2.81) picked off three runners to help him finish six innings: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.
AA: Akron Aeros (19-20) @ Binghamton Mets (21-18) Listen
Wednesday 6:35 ET – RHP Jordan Cooper (1-0, 1.93) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (0-4, 5.10)
Jordan Cooper made four starts in Advanced A (1-2, 2.19) with 17 K and 7 BB before being promoted to AA. In his last start he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 BB with 5 K at Reading.
Jacob deGrom has not has as easy an adjustment to AA striking out 14.6% and walking 6.9% at the level. His 9 walks in 5 AA starts are nearly halfway to his total of 22 walks over 21 starts at the A and Advanced A levels.
A+: St. Lucie Mets (23-13) @ Brevard County Manatees [MIL] (19-18) Listen
Wednesday 6:35 ET – LHP Alex Panteliodis (0-0, 2.70) vs. HP David Goforth (2-4, 3.41)
This series shifts a few miles north to Viera. Alex Panteliodis will make his third start of the year tonight. He allowed 6 hits including 2 homers and 2 BB over 10 IP while striking out 7.
David Goforth has alternated between starts in which he has allowed no earned runs, and starts that he has allowed 5 runs or more. In his last start he went 7 shutout IP on 1 hit and 4 BB/1 K.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats (21-15) @ Charleston RiverDogs (20-15) Listen
Wednesday 7:05 ET – LHP Steven Matz (2-0, 1.85) vs. RHP Cesar Vargas (1-1, 4.28)
Steven Matz allowed 1 run on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 4 over 6 IP in his last start. On the year he has struck out 29 and walked 8 over 27.1 IP in 6 starts.
Cesar Vargas struck out 4 and walked none over 2.2 IP in his last start. On the year Vargas has struck out 26 and walked 9 in 27.1 IP and limited RH batters to a .164 average.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s (18-19) off
The 51s are in last place in the PCL Southern but just 3 games out of first. They will spend the next eight days on the road, going first to Omaha (19-18) and then Iowa. They will start this stretch without their two best starters as Zack Wheeler is resting his sore
shoulder clavicle for a turn after seeing doctors in New York and Collin McHugh has joined the Mets in St. Louis to give the overworked pen a long reliever. This would be a good time for Wilmer Flores to go on a tear…
The news, as you already know, if you’re reading this blog is that Zack Wheeler is heading to New York to visit the Hospital for Special Surgery for an examination of his sore right collarbone.
Mets assistant GM John Ricco as quoted by multiple sources:
“I think we’re being a little bit conservative given who it is and making sure our guys see him right away.”
“It was nothing that happened during the last outing. It was something that he felt a couple of days after. It’s near his right clavicle. That’s all I have right now until we have a doctor see him tomorrow. I think we’re being a little bit conservative given who it is.”
According to Wheeler’s agent, Al Goetz, as reported by Marc Carig in Newsday, the exam is “totally precautionary” and the issue has ”[b]een more of an annoyance than anything else for the last couple of starts. He could have continued and [it] wasn’t affecting his performance.”
If Wheeler has really been dealing with this soreness for the last few starts, it has corresponded with his best pitching of 2013. In his last three starts, over 20 innings, he has a 1.35 ERA and 19 strikeouts against three walks while holding opponents to .192/.224./233 line in 76 plate appearances.
(So, I recommend more clavicle soreness for all pitchers. Ok, bad idea.)
In all seriousness, it’s in everyone’s interest to downplay the seriousness of this right now. And it might be relatively unimportant in the long run or even in the short run if Wheeler misses just one start and his shoulder feels fine. However, that seems unlikely given that the Mets have flown Wheeler from Las Vegas back to New York.
It’s something. The collarbone in essentially the top of the shoulder. Pitchers need their shoulders healthy to pitch (duh!). Any discomfort in Wheeler’s shoulder is ominous. Wheeler’s previous health issues in the minors have been limited to hand and blister issues. I cannot help but wonder if what is being described as “collarbone” for now, a relatively unusual diagnosis for baseball players, is associated with other issues in Wheeler’s shoulder.
Do not panic yet. But hey, lets see some MRIs.