Friday in A-Ball: Domingo Tapia Makes Groundballs, Gnats behind Gabriel Ynoa, Plawecki and Nimmo Pound Braves

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 1, Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 0 (10 innings)

The game winning rally in the bottom of the 10th: CF Gilbert Gomez walked, C Cam Maron ground a single to right field and then 2B TJ Rivera ground a single to left field.

Domingo Tapia: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 10 groundball outs, and three flyouts. The ground balls are good, but Tapia should miss more bats with his fastball. I worry that relatively few strikeouts means opposing hitters are sitting on his fastball and making contact rather than fearing his slider at all.

Aderlin Rodriguez played first base for the second straight night. I was told that he’s playing first because Brian Harrison, who the Mets planned on having play first, while Aderlin played third, tweaked his ankle right before Opening Night. That forced the team to shift Rodriguez across the diamond to first while Ryland Sandoval plays third. It strikes me that the team could just leave Rodriguez at third and try Sandoval at first, so clearly someone is not completely opposed to playing Rodriguez at first anyway.

 

A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 12, Rome Braves 3

Ynoa Delivery (Devyatkin)The Gnats took advantage of a strong Gabriel Ynoa start, 12 walks (!) from the Rome Braves pitching staff and four extra-base hits to earn their first win of 2013.

Lets start with Ynoa (pictured), who will not turn 20 until the end May. Working off his fastball, which was sitting 91-93, he put together five shutout innings, yielding just one hit and one walk, both in the second inning. He struck out six and retired the final six to face him. He got swings and misses off his fastball which seemed to sneak up on hitters a little bit. He threw a few good sliders down in the zone (and some more mediocre ones). He mixed in a few changeups as well. In all, it was a very impressive performance for a very young pitcher. He does not have the arm of Michael Fulmer, who was a Gnat at 19 last year, but his command is ahead of Fulmer’s at this point in the season.

Usually when a team scores 12 runs, everyone in the lineup hits. This was not the case Friday as four starters did not record a hit, although each of those four did reach base safely via at least one walk. On a night with plenty of offense, lets start with Kevin Plawecki who was 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI. He’s pretty locked in, using the center of the field to start the season, and making solid contact on nearly everything back up the middle. In the third, his lined single into center helped initiate a five-run frame. He ripped a a home run to lead off the fourth that was a linedrive that just kept on carrying towards the leftfield corner. Finally, he singled home another run in the sixth on a single up the middle. Both of his outs were flyballs to center.

CF Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-6 from the two-hole and had his first two AB against a LHP this season. He ground a single through the right side against left-handed reliever Brandon Rohde and tripled in the sixth against hard-throwing RHP Braves prospect Lucas Sims. It was a seed up the gap in right-center, and once it got by Braves CF Tony Mueller and into Historic Grayson Stadium’s big gap, Nimmo cruised into third easily. He had no trouble against Sims’ heat. He attacked the first fastball he saw from the left-handed reliever Rohde, but had more trouble against a funky motion from LHP reliever Carlos Perez later in the game. Nimmo had a fairly extreme platoon split in 2012 (.875 OPS vs. RHP; .594 OPS vs. LHP) so I will carefully scrutinizing his AB against LHP. (I’m also going to grumble if Nimmo EVER sits versus a LHP. The place to learn to hit LHP is a-ball. The only way he’s going to learn to hit lefties is to hit against them every chance he gets.)

SS Philip Evans was 2-for-4 with a triple, 2 RBI and a walk. The single was a clean liner into center. The triple should have been caught: he made good contact on a drive deep into the left-center field gap, but the Rome LF, after a long run, reached out and dropped the ball.

1B Jayce Boyd was 1-2 with 3 BB. The Florida State product has a pretty mature approach.