Bug Bites: An Injury, A Prospect Progressing and a Slump

gnatslogoThe Rain
Going back through last Friday, this team has played and finished just six games in 10 days. It’s hardly the worse example of rain impacting a baseball season, my point is just that there is a limited amount things can change when the team plays circles the starting rotation just once in a week and a half.

Steven Matz is Legit
Matz threw Sunday, and put up, by his recent standards, an uninspiring line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
In five starts since the SAL All-Star Break, he has put up a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings with a K/BB ratio of 30/12 while allowing opponents to hit .139/.239/.168. The only eery note in there is the walks, as he’s walking opponents at a 10% rate. He’s whiffing opponents at a 26% rate. He’s doing it mostly with his fastball (92-96, sitting 93-ish) and changeup, which has a chance to be a plus pitch. He’s still working on repeating his slider release point.

The Mets were hoping to get 100-105 inning from Matz this year after 29 in Kingsport last year. With 81 under his belt, that gives him 24 more innings to play with – or about five starts. With the Gnats’ already qualified for the playoffs, will the Mets 1. let Matz pitch every sixth day until he hits his innings limit and shut him down? 2. Keep him in Savannah with Frank Viola and have him skip a start or two to give him a chance to pitch in the SAL playoffs, or 3. Given his apparent health and effectiveness, extend his innings slightly to keep him on turn in rotation for the duration of the year.

 

Philip Evans is Hurt
SS Philip Evans has not played on the team’s current road trip, last appearing in a game last Monday, July 15. The 20-year-old is dealing with what is being described for now as lower back tightness, but is scheduled to see the doctor on his return to Savannah. His overall line (.213/.283/.282 – 87 games) camouflages a guy who has improved over the course of the year. After a ghastly first half (.188/.251/.233 – 65 games), Evans was hitting better (.294/.385/.441 – 22 games) in the second half. Back injuries are scary stuff and tend to turn chronic.

 

Nimmo?
Brandon Nimmo’s second half: .183/.290/.226 with 40 strikeouts in 25 games. This from a guy who hit .302/.404/.420 in 42 games in the first half. I still think the 20-year-old’s hand is not right. If his hand is fine, then that’s a scary, scary line for a first round pick.

 

Matt Koch is Trying to Break Your FIP
The Mets’ 3rd rounder out of Louisville: 5.09 ERA, 74.1 IP, 98 H (!), 4 BB, 65 K. Again, fastballs up are either swung on and missed, fouled back, or lined for hits.

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