Prospect Pulse: Who’s Hot Who’s Hotter – The Hitters
Well it’s been a little while so I thought it was time to take a look at who is really hot right now with the bat in the Mets minor league system. And you know what? A lot of the guys you had come to expect to see here, are no longer on this list. Guys like Travis Taijeron, and Bobby Scales, Zach Lutz and T.J. Rivera have all been bumped off the list and replaced with guys you might not expect to see. Guys like Vinny Rottino and Fred Lewis, Eric Campbell, Rafael Fernandez, and Brian Harrison. How did these first-timers get themselves onto the who’s hottest list? Keep reading to find out.
Vinny Rottino – The all-purpose Rottino is unconscious at the plate these days, being in the midst of a 20-game hitting streak that has seen his season’s average climb to .317. During the last 20 games Rottino, who has played left-field, right-field, and catcher so far this year, has gone 25-75 for a .333 BA, with 10 runs, six doubles, one triple, one HR, and 13 RBI’s.
Fred Lewis – The left-hand hitting veteran outfielder has been an outstanding mid-season pick-up for the Mets. Batting in the two-hole and playing left-field for the Herd, Lewis has been hot lately. On May 7th he was hitting .240, now, 10 games later he has raised his average to .304 by going 15 of his last 44, with 11 runs, three doubles, two triples, four RBI’s, and a slash line of: .341/.383/.500.
Valentino Pascucci – Last year’s Bisons Team MVP has picked right up where he left off this year. Leading the team in runs scored, home runs, and RBI’s in 2012, Scooch could end up repeating as Team MVP before all is said and done. For the year in 140 AB’s Pascucci is hitting .279, on 39 hits, 19 runs, six doubles, eight homers, 27 RBI’s and 19 walks. A streaky hitter, he is hitting .316 with two home runs and nine RBI’s over his last 10 games. His one fault is his penchant for striking out, which he has already done 51 times this year. Pro-rate that over a full season and he could approach a staggering number like 200 strikeouts.
Matt den Dekker – Over his last 10 games, den Dekker has been one of the hottest hitters in the Mets farm system. He has a ten-game hit streak working, and has hit at a .372 clip over that time in 43 AB’s with 16 hits, nine runs, six doubles, one triple, two homers, seven RBI’s, and three SB’s. For the year Double D, in 151 AB’s, has 26 runs, 46 hits, 15 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 20 RBI’s, five SB’s, and a slash of: .305/.363/.543. His K/BB ratio this year is 37/11, which is still high, but a vast improvement over the AA numbers he put up in the second half of last year.
Jefry Marte – The Binghamton Mets Player-of-the-Month for April is still enjoying his best season as a professional thus far. In 122 AB’s he has 16 runs scored, on 38 hits, seven doubles, one triple, two home runs, 18 RBI’s, one SB, and a slash of: .311/.370/.434. Marte had been going through a mysterious power outage this year until the last five games when he has hit his first two dingers of the year, and driven in five runs.
Eric Campbell – The big righty hitting first-baseman has done a terrific job stepping up his game after the loss of Allan Dykstra to a broken arm. In his last 10 games, Campbell is 11 for 30, with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run, four RBI’s, four walks, and two SB’s, with a slash line of: .367/.472/.567. For the year Campbell now has his average up to .303, with two homers and 12 RBI’s.
Juan Lagares – Lagares has recently brought his season numbers up to a respectable level. After the B-Mets game on May 4th, he was hitting a woeful .232. Since then, over his last 10 games Lagares has a 10-game hit streak, and has exploded for 17 hits in his last 39 AB’s including three doubles, a triple, five runs scored, six RBI’s, one SB, and a slash of: .436/.463/.564. The offensive outburst has raised his average .059 points over those last 10 games to .291.
Wilmer Flores – The recent hitting success of Flores has been well chronicled on Mets sites everywhere. The 20-year-old third-baseman is enjoying his finest season as a pro also. Through 139 AB’s this year, Flores has 17 runs scored and 45 hits, including seven doubles, six homers, two SB’s, and 23 RBI’s. His slash-line is a very solid: .324/.359/.504, but what he has done the last 10 games has taken his play to a whole new level. Over his last 38 AB’s he has 15 hits, six runs scored, two doubles, two homers, four RBI’s, and his slash reads: .395/.439/.605. Not bad.
Cesar Puello – Like Lagares and Flores, Puello is another highly regarded prospect that got off to a slow start this year. But as the weather starts to heat up so has Puello’s bat. Over his last 10 games Puello has gone 11 for 35, with nine runs, four doubles, one triple, one homer, three RBI’s, two SB’s, and a slash line of: .314/.351/.571. The recent surge raised his average from .268, where it was on May 5th, to where it is now at .282.
Rafael Fernandez – What kind of player is Rafael Fernandez? Well there is one player in the Mets system that he is very similar to. Here’s a description: Fernandez is a fleet-footed, athletic outfielder, who can play any of the three OF positions with ease. He is a very talented left-handed hitter with surprising pop for a guy his size, but unfortunately can become enamored with his own home run power at times. The big knock on Fernandez? He strikes out way too much. Now who does he remind you of? Don’t know? Well he sure reminds me a lot of Matt den Dekker, only maybe a year behind.
In any case, Fernandez has been making a case for himself to get a AA call-up for the last 14 games he has played at St. Lucie. Going back to April 23rd, when he was hitting.179, Fernandez has come alive to go 18 for 44 including hitting safely in his last six games, and 13 of his last 14. Besides scoring nine runs over those 14 games, he has clubbed four doubles, three home runs, and driven in 11 RBI’s. His slash line for those games: .409/.480/.704. The sizzling two weeks have raised his average from that miserable .179 all the way to .294.
Albert Cordero – Hey remember this guy? He put together such a good season at Savannah last year that the MMO minor league “expert” had him pegged to open 2012 with St. Lucie. Show’s what I know. Anywhoo not only did he remain in Savannah for the start of this season, but he got off to a horrendous start. Well what, you may ask is he doing in the “Hot” category these days? Let me tell you. I am very much aware that he is hitting only .171 this season in 70 AB’s, and that’s very poor, I understand that, but he is hitting .250 over his last 10 games by going 8 for 32, not much I know, but an improvement. But the reason I included him in this edition of who’s hot is that out of those eight hits in the last 10 games, three went for doubles, and two went for home runs, good for seven RBI’s and a .531 SLG. There are signs of life, let’s hope Cordero is truly emerging from his funk and is ready to compete with Blake Forsythe again for the title of: interim-top Mets catching prospect.
Brian Harrison – The biggest surprise to make this list to everybody except perhaps Harrison himself. I was kinda getting used to seeing Harrison struggle with the bat this year. After all, he was hitting only .200 as recently as May 5th. But thanks to the last nine games where he has gone 13 for 33, with five runs, three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI’s, four walks, one SB, and a slash line of: .394/.460/.636, his average has now climbed to a more respectable .248.
Wow there’s actually like nine new-comers to this list, and a few big surprises which is cool. It’s also nice to see some of the big name guys starting to show a pulse, pardon the pun. If you liked this piece, then check back over the weekend when I hope to unveil the Who’s Hot, Who’s Hotter – The Pitchers edition. That should be interesting as a lot of our top pitching prospects have struggled lately. So I wonder whose names are actually going to make that list this time around? Check back and see.
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About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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