Big Picture: Savannah

gnatslogoI 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.

 

Where’s Nimmo
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.

 

PROMOAT
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.

 

Sub-Mendoza Hitters
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.

 

Mostly Matz
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.

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