Mets Minor League Notes: Wheeler and Familia To Make 2012 Debuts

An article by posted on April 6, 2012

Hey everyone, while Pete’s up in Binghamton, New York taking in a couple of minor league games this weekend, I’m going to post some notes from the the B-Mets and Bison’s. He’ll have some good stuff to share including pics and plenty of notes, quotes and interviews including tonight’s starter Zack Wheeler. And just in case Jay Horwitz is reading this… Thank’s so much for intervening today, Jay. It was very MUCH appreciated. :-)

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Pawtucket Red Sox in the second game of a two-game series at McCoy Stadium (6:15 p.m.). The Herd looking to earn a split of the set following a 4-2 loss last night. After tonight’s game, the Bisons will travel to Rochester for a four-game set at Frontier Field, April 7-10.

RED SOX: Dating back to last season, the Bisons are now just 2-10 in their last 12 games against the Red Sox. That mark includes a 1-7 record in their last eight games at McCoy Stadium. In those eight games, the Bisons have been outscored by the PawSox, 43-23.

OPENING WOES: With last night’s 4-2 defeat, the Bisons have now lost their last four season openers. The last time the Herd picked up a victory in their first game was a 9-4 in Norfolk on April 3, 2008. The good news is in each of the past two years, the Bisons have rebounded to win the year’s second game.

WE ARE FAMILIA: RHP JEURYS FAMILIA will make his Triple-A debut for the Bisons tonight. The 22-year old is the Mets’ #4 prospect by Baseball America. Last season, Familia struck out 132 batters over 124.0 innings at Double-A Binghamton and Single-A St. Lucie. He was given the Sterling Award as Binghamton’s Most Valuable Player last season.

NIEU TEAM: The Mets announced today that they will recall OF KIRK NIEUWENHUIS before their game on Saturday against the Braves. Nieuwenhuis walked twice and stole a base in last night’s defeat. The Mets 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft will be making his major league debut for New York. He hit .298 with six home runs and 14RBI with the Bisons in 2011.

REINFORCEMENTS: The Buffalo Bisons today announced that OF RAUL REYES has been promoted to the team from Double-A Binghamton. Reyes will take the roster spot of OF KIRK NIEUWENHUIS. Reyes, 25, played 18 games with the Bisons last season and hit .200 (11=55) with two home runs and eight RBI. The outfielder spent the rest of 2011 with Double-A Binghamton where he averaged .292 (107-367) with 20 doubles, 12 home runs, 50RBI and six stolen bases in 106 games for Wally Backman’s B-Mets.

MVP RETURNS: IF VALENTINO PASCUCCI picked up right where he left off from 2011. The slugger hit a 4th-inning home run for his first hit of the season. Pascucci blasted 21 homers as the Bisons MVP in 2011. With his total from 2010, he now has 39 career Bisons home runs. With one more, he’ll become the 12th Bisons player in the modern era to reach 40 homers with the team.

LAST GAME: The B-Mets mustered just three hits, all singles, in a 4-0 loss to the Akron Aeros in the season opener last night at NYSEG Stadium. RHP Collin McHugh was saddled with his first loss of the season after allowing two runs on four hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out four. Akron starter RHP Paolo Espino pitched into the third before being removed due to injury in the midst of an at-bat against Sean Kazmar. The Aeros bullpen pitched in with seven scoreless innings. RHP Kyle Landis hurled in the third and fourth. RHP Jose De La Torre earned the official scorer-awarded win after striking out three over three scoreless frames. RHP Matt Langwell picked up his first save with a scoreless eighth and ninth. The Aeros put up two runs on three hits in the third, highlighted by an RBI double by Tim Fedroff and an RBI single from Jared Goedert. Ryan Rollinger doubled and scored in the sixth and Robert Perez scored an insurance run in the ninth. RHP Kevin Mulvey al- lowed an unearned run in two innings of work for Binghamton and RHP Armando Rodriguez allowed a run in two frames.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-0, —) will make his Double-A debut after being acquired by the New York Mets in July 2011. The right-hander from Georgia was traded to the Mets from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran prior to the trade deadline last year. Before the trade he went 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts with the San Jose Giants (High-A). He finished the season with six starts with the St. Lucie Mets (High- A), going 2-2 with 2.00 ERA. In 115.0 innings last year, he racked up 129 strike outs. LHP T.J. McFarland (0-0, —) started last season with Kinston Indians (High-A), but was quickly moved to Akron after two starts. The Illinois native went 9-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 25 starts for the Aeros. He finished first on the team in complete games (2), third in starts and strike outs (129) and second in innings pitched (137.1). He won his only start against the B-Mets last year (6/5), allowing three runs on four hits over six innings.

THE GORY DETAILS: The B-Mets pushed one runner to second base last night and never had anyone make it to third. They had just two at bats with a runner in scoring position and went hit- less over the final four frames.

LET’S NOT MAKE IT A HABIT: The B-Mets first shutout loss last season came against the Akron Aeros in the fourth game of the season on April 10. Binghamton was shutout just four times during the 2011 campaign.

HIGHLY REGARDED: Tonight’s B-Mets starter RHP Zack Wheeler was named the top prospect in the Mets’ system by Baseball America prior to the season. The 21-year-old entered last season as the second-ranked prospect in the San Fran- cisco Giants system, his original organization.

NABBED: The B-Mets got the leadoff man aboard twice in the first three innings via walk. Both, Pedro Zapata in the first and Matt den Dekker in the third, were thrown out by catcher Roberto Perez when attempting to steal second base.

BETTER KNOW A MANAGER: New B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez is the 14th in franchise history. He is the second native of Puerto Rico to skipper the ballclub. Mako Oliveras, who led the club from 2007 to 2009, was the first. Lopez enjoyed a 13-year playing career in the minor leagues and won a Texas League champion- ship with the Wichita Wranglers (AA) in 1992; the same year the B-Mets won their first Eastern League title.

LENGTHY AFFAIR: Last night’s game clocked in at 3:04, the longest opening day game since 2004 when the B-Mets and Norwich Navigators took 3:12.

NEXT GAME PREVIEW: The B-Mets and Aeros wrap up their three-game series tomorrow in the first day game of the season for both teams. LHP Darin Gorski will make his Double-A debut against the RHP Steven Wright. The teams will meet again in Akron for a four- game set starting on April 30.

I’d like to thank Tim Heiman, the Director of Media Relations for working with us so that we can provide our readers with a better and more comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor leagues. 

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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