Zack Wheeler’s AAA Debut. Jenrry Mejia, Starting Pitcher and Other Bisons Notes

Monday
Game 1: @ Syracuse Chiefs 5, Buffalo Bisons 4
Game 2: @ Buffalo Bisons 4, Syracuse Chiefs 3

Zack Wheeler, the Mets’ top minor league pitching prospect made his triple-A debut: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP. He threw 60% of his pitches for strikes, and gave up five free passes, so obviously, he has work to do on his control. This should not be news after a walk rate of 3.3 BB/9 and 10.5% in double-A. I caught a few innings on the Syracuse feed on my computer, but it paused regularly, so I do not feel confident breaking down the start in very much detail. His fastball on the Syracuse gun was 93-95 mph but was completely explosive up in the zone with big-time hop.

After the game, Wheeler told MiLB.com: “I felt good with my curveball.” Wheeler blamed his control on his mechanics, “It’s just going out of the stretch, thinking I have to be faster. I’m fast to the plate, but it’s just out of the stretch, I rush and have a problem staying back. Whenever I rush to the plate, the arm slot is high and that’s what happens. It’s easy to fix, but it’s something you have to work and work on.”

 

Jenrry Mejia, Starting Pitcher
In his second start since returning to the Buffalo rotation, Jenrry Mejia did this on Monday: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with 62.5% of his pitches (45-of-72)  for strikes. The Mets let him throw 57 pitches in his first start on July 30 after 16 relief appearances, so he’s still increasing his pitch count. Small sample size and all, but in 21.1 innings and 16 games out of the Bisons’ bullpen, Mejia had a 5.48 ERA and opponents hit .303 against him. In 23.1 innings as a starter, he has a 1.16 ERA and opponents have hit .181 against him. Total fluke, or something real and important or something completely in-between?

 

Duda Back to 1B
Monday, behind Wheeler, Lucas Duda played his second game at at first base this year for the Bisons. The big guy homered and walked in the first game Monday as well. He hitting for power again too, as he has two homers and a double in his last four games. In his last six games, he’s played four games in left-field and two at first.

 

Meanwhile, in the Outfield
CF Matt den Dekker (.196/.228/.402 – 50 games) launched a grand slam Monday, his 16th homer of the year, and his eighth in AAA. Just a few days shy of his 25th birthday, den Dekker hit .211/.235/.459 in his first 109 AB in AAA, but has sunk to .176/.220/.329 in his subsequent 85 AB. Batting average can fluctuate, but note that his isolated slugging percentage has dropped from .248 in his first 25 games to .153 in his second 25 contests.

In better news, the Mets confirmed that Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a “partial tear of the plantar facia in his right foot” and will head to St. Lucie for rehab, but will not need surgery.

 

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