A-Ball Saturday: Encouraging 2013 Debuts for Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom

A: @ Rome Braves 6, Savannah Sand Gnats 3 

Matz Gnats HeadThe most important story in the Mets system in Saturday night’s games: Steven Matz’s full-season debut. I watched most of this start on the Rome Braves’ video feed. His line: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Matz (pictured) held the Braves off the scoreboard through the first four innings, but left two runners on base via a double and a walk in the fifth, and Jake Keubler allowed both to score. Matz threw a lot of fastballs. The good news: the pitch was very lively. He induced lots of swings and misses and late swings that turned into foul balls. However, his command of the offering appeared spotty.

He really did not throw many breaking balls. In the span of watching a few innings I saw one good slider, and one more that looked more like a curve. The slider I remember, was buried, but the movement was tight. It would be more surprising if he could throw his off-speed pitches for strikes. There were a few pitches that the Rome broadcaster described as two-seamers, and I wonder if a few of them were actually changeups, but I could not be sure over video.

Matz just needs health and innings. His performance sort of reminded me of an early-season Michael Fulmer line from 2012: live arm, reliant on the fastball, command that comes and goes. For example, in 2012, Fulmer did not finish five innings on the road until his third try, on May 12th. Matz is two years older, of course.

With a night game after a morning bus trip, Kevin Plawecki did not catch, but DHed. He was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and a strikeout. His first three games in the SAL: 6-for-11, 2 BB, 1 HR for a .545/.615/.818.

 

A+: St. Lucie Mets 6, @ Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 1

Jacob deGrom’s season debut was very nice: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K to go along with 8 groundouts and only one flyout. All five hits he allowed were singles. Again, the Mets have generally had starters make 10-12 starts at a minimum at a level before promoting them. deGrom now has five starts at Advanced-A between 2012 and 2013 with a 1.63 ERA and a K/BB of three (24 K/8 BB) in 27.2 innings. So, I expect him to spend all of April and most of May in St. Lucie.

24-year old 2B TJ Rivera who was 2-for-5 with a double was the only Met with multiple hits.

For the third straight game, with Brian Harrison out of the lineup, Aderlin Rodriguez played first.