Each affiliate’s starter is listed in bold.
AAA: Rafael Montero
Wally Backman on Montero:
“He can spot both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down,” Backman said. “He doesn’t walk anybody and throws all his pitches for strikes.” (Las Vegas Review Journal)
This is the second straight year that Montero has made an Opening Day start after taking the ball for AA Binghamton last year to begin the season. If all goes well for Montero, my #3 Mets prospect, he will be in New York by mid-summer.
AA: Darin Gorski
This is the third go-round at AA for Gorski, who turned 26 last October.
Gorski on the Opening Day start:
“It’s exciting. You know, they’re putting the ball in your hand for the first game to go out there and set the tone for the rest of the season so I think it’s a big deal. I’m excited for the opportunity.” Lynn Worthy (Press & Sun Bulletin)
Worthy points out that Gorski joins a lineage of Binghamton Opening Day starters that includes:
’11: Josh Stinson
’12: Colin McHugh
’13: Rafael Montero
A+: Gabriel Ynoa
After a big 2013 with Savannah, Ynoa, my #13 prospect, will get the nod for Advanced-A St. Lucie at the tender age of 20.
A: Robert Gsellman
This is the second year that Gsellman has made an Opening Day start. He actually made the Opening Day start for Brooklyn last year on June 17. The funny part: that was already Gsellman’s eighth start of 2013. He made a pair of spot starts for St. Lucie and then five starts for Savannah, mostly in May. He was absolutely dominant in the New York Penn League on his way to my #25 ranked prospect in the system.
Gnats pitching coach Marc Valdes explained that while Gsellman was the most worthy choice to go on Opening Night for the Gnats, logistical issues, like throwing schedules matter too at this level: “The rotation is not really set up as a 1-2-3-4-5-6 guys. It was his time to throw. In a way, he did deserve it the way he was throwing in spring training and leading up from the end of last year. We felt he’s a guy, who had 6-7 days; he’s ready to pitch….. He is a good guy to go out there game one, especially with his command of his pitches. I think, right now, he gives us the best chance to win game one.”
Gsellman, had a nice spring in Port St. Lucie. Valdes reports that he impressed the AAA staff in an intra-squad game, “One example, he pitched against the AAA team, went five innings – no problem. Wally Backman said he held his composure – he gave up a couple hits, maybe a home run – just pretty much breezed through the five innings, moving his pitches in and out and changing speeds.”