(Updated) Mets Minors Beat: Mateo, Fulmer, Matz, Tapia Making Strong Cases For Promotions
** Updated with new players/info.
Collin McHugh – The right-hander threw perhaps his best game so far in his first eight starts at Triple-A. On Wednesday night against the Louisville Bats McHugh went 6.2 innings giving up no runs, on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts, while absorbing a no-decision. Since joining Buffalo, McHugh is 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. He has a K/BB ratio of 45/17, and the opposition is hitting just .237 against him. McHugh seems to be adjusting very well to Triple-A, and will undoubtedly be added to the Mets 40-man roster this winter.
Josh Rodriguez – The Herd shortstop had a mega-night on Thursday against Louisville when he went 3-for-5 with three doubles, two runs scored, and five RBI, to pace the Bisons over the Bats by a score of 10-7. Since joining the Herd to replace the now departed Omar Quintanilla, Rodriguez has appeared in 32 games and in 131 at-bats, has 38 hits, 19 runs, nine doubles, four homers, and 23 RBI with a slash-line of .290/356/.450.
Gonzalez Germen – The 6’1″ right-hander got the victory in his Triple-A debut on Thursday night, and was immediately dispatched back to Binghamton for his troubles, in order to make room for left-hander Rob Carson who was recalled to Buffalo. His line in Thursday night’s game: seven innings, seven hits, four runs all earned, three strikeouts and two walks to pick up the win and post a 1-0, 5.14 ERA for his time with the Herd.
Jean Luc Blaquiere – The Bisons placed the back-up catcher on the D.L. on Friday, for the second time this year. The nine-year veteran of the Mets minor league system who originally hails from Montreal, has had limited playing time this year hitting .214 in just 28 at-bats.
Mark Cohoon – One of the hottest pitchers in the Binghamton Mets starting rotation these days is not Zack Wheeler. It’s 2010 Mets Organizational Pitcher of the Year, Mark Cohoon. Since returning to Binghamton from Buffalo five games ago, he has put up some good numbers, but over those most recent five starts he is 3-0, and over 33.1 innings has only surrendered seven earned runs for an ERA of 2.03. For the season at Bingo Cohoon is 6-7, with a 3.59 ERA in 17 game starts.
Rob Carson – The hard-throwing south-paw who has bounced around between Binghamton, Buffalo and New York this season, is headed to Buffalo having been called up on Friday. He got his first Triple-A save on Sunday by going the final 1.1 innings, giving up one hit and striking out two. I talked to him on Wednesday and he is so candid and easy going it’s really cool. Rob is a go-with-the-flow sorta guy and is just happy with the progress he is making this year, as well he should be. Although making the transition from starter-to-reliever-to-closer this season has not come without some speed-bumps, Rob has made significant progress, and definitely opened some eyes. He is looking forward to finishing the season strong and getting a real look-see, either in September or in spring training next year as a bullpen option in N.Y.
Erik Turgeon – The 25th-round draft pick by the Mets in the 2008 MLB draft out of UConn never got on-track this season, and has been released by the Mets. He struggled mightily for Bingo in 2012, going 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA in 17 games. He was brutalized by Eastern League hitting to the tune of a .384 opponent’s batting average and a WHIP of 2.26.
Adam Kolarek – With Carson heading back to Buffalo, the B-Mets would need a new closer and who better to fill the void than St. Lucie closer Adam Kolarek? So on Friday the Binghamton Mets tabbed the big lefty to close games for them for the foreseeable future. I spoke to B-Mets pitching coach Glenn Abbott on Monday and he was talking about how “not everyone can close games.” He was saying how the closer needs to have a special make-up in order to get the job done. Kolarek fits the bill. For St. Lucie this year he went: 1-1, with a 1.65 ERA, and 15 saves. In 49 innings, he gave up just 38 hits, one home run, a .213 opponents batting average, and a K/BB ratio of 63/15.
Cory Mazzoni – The fire-balling righty was activated from the D.L. on Friday, having recovered from a thumb laceration which caused him to miss a start. He was activated in time to pitch game one in Friday night’s double-header against Portland, and picked up the win, going six innings and giving up one earned run on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. So far since his call-up to Binghamton, in seven starts he has gone: 4-3, 3.21 ERA, and boasts a 27/8 K/BB ratio.
Logan Verrett – The 3rd-round pick in the 2011 draft is enjoying a very solid first professional season and was rewarded on Friday with a promotion to advanced-A St. Lucie from Savannah, to join the already strong Lucie starting rotation. While at Savannah Verrett went 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts. In 64.2 innings opponents were hitting .228 against him and his K/BB ratio was a scintillating 67/9. Verrett made his first St. Lucie start on Sunday against Lakeland, and pitched well but the bullpen could not protect a 4-2 lead, and he ended up with a no-decision. Verrett tossed 6.1 innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on eight hits, a wild-pitch, and no walks, with four strikeouts.
Cesar Puello – The talented young outfielder goes back on the D.L. once again, this time with a hamstring injury. This is not good since Puello only just returned from a broken hamate bone and this latest injury further mars his season, which has been a very disappointing one as it is. This year Puello has only garnered 152 at-bats, and is hitting .243 with one home run, and 11 RBI.
Joe Bonfe – The utility man came off the D.L. the other day and is chomping at-the bit to get back onto the field. I spoke to Joe yesterday and told him now that he’s back in there, to let his bat do the talking, and he said: “I will, I’ve been anxiously waiting, and I am really excited to get back.”
Domingo Tapia – This 6’4″ right-hander is one of the most intriguing pitching prospects in the system. He tops out with his fastball at 100 mph, but he is also a ground-ball machine who rarely gives up balls in the air. For the year he has gotten 2.93 ground balls for every fly-ball he has given up. His season record at Savannah is 5-2 with a 3.56, but in his last ten starts he is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA and an opponents batting average of .226. Last Sunday he threw one of his best games going seven innings and giving up one unearned run on just one hit, with eight strikeouts and two walks, to pick up the win. Tapia who has thrown 58 and 56 innings respectively in 2010 and 2011, is already up to 78.1 innings this year. With him still only 20-years-old, the Mets will want to protect this amazing arm, and will limit his innings by probably only letting him start a few more games in 2012, before shutting him down.
Michael Fulmer – This 19-year-old right-hander is taking the South Atlantic League by storm this year and seems to get better with every outing. For the season he is 6-5 with a 2.51 ERA (good for best in the league). But his ERA over his last ten games has been 1.76, with only 35 hits given up in his last 56.1 innings. And this success is against players several years older than him which makes it even more amazing. Unfortunately I can’t see him pitching much longer this season. At his age, and considering he was pitching in high school a year ago, the Mets won’t push him past 100 innings this year and he is already up to 86 innings. I look for him to make perhaps two more starts this year before being shut down until instructional league in the fall.
Alex Panteliodis – The big left-hander had one of his best starts as a pro on Thursday against Kannapolis. Pants went seven innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits, with a walk and nine strikeouts. This comes on the heels of his last start in which he went six innings against Rome, giving up two runs on six hits, but he also struck out ten, and walked just one.
Brandon Sage – The lefty reliever comes off the D.L. on Friday after not appearing in a game since the 2011 season. Sage was the Mets 37th round draft-pick in the 2009 MLB draft out of the University of South Alabama. He has appeared in 103 games for Mets affiliates from 2009-2011.
Luis Mateo – The talented right-hander bounced back from his previous rough outing to pitch a sparkler against Batavia on Thursday night. He left with two-out in the seventh inning, having given up just one run, on six hits, with seven strikeouts and picked up a no-decision. For the season so far Mateo is 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA, a K/BB ratio of 48/6, and an opponents batting average of .169.
Jonathan Clark – The speedy, lefty hitting outfielder was put on the D.L. on Friday with a right shoulder injury. For the year Clark was hitting .220 in 41 at-bats for the Clones.
Julio Concepcion – To replace Clark, the Cyclones called Concepcion up from Kingsport. The 6’4″ righty hitting outfielder was 4-for-22 this year in the rookie leagues. In eight games he was hitting .182 with two home runs, and five RBI, while striking out nine times in his 22 at-bats.
Eddie Rohan – The Mets 50th round draft pick from 2011 out of Winthrop College, was assigned to the Cyclones to begin a rehab stint. Rohan, a catcher, played DH in his first game of the year on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk in the 10-5 win over Mahoning Valley.
Steve Matz – It won’t be long before the Mets bring home their prodigal son Steve Matz when they assign him to Brooklyn any day now, which will be a big relief to opposing hitters in the Appalachian League. The way Matz has been pitching there is nothing for him left to prove at this level. It is time to let him abuse some hitters in the New York Penn League while bringing him back to NYC for some home-cooking, and Coney Island hot dogs. For Kingsport, Matz has made six starts and after getting his feet wet the last three have been remarkable. In his most recent three game starts, Matz has gone 2-0 while hurling 18 innings and given up no runs, on five hits, with 23 strikeouts, and eight walks. For the year his record stands at 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA, and the opposition is hitting only.158 off him. Now 100-percent healthy for the first time in his professional career, there have been reports lately that the 21-year-old lefty is topping out with his fastball in the upper-nineties. Let’s Go Matz!
Brad Marquez – After being promoted to Savannah for the sole purpose of being stashed on their disabled list, Marquez was activated and immediately returned to Kingsport where he will languish on the bench until he heads off to play football at Texas Tech in another week. What a waste of money this signing was/is. In his first professional baseball season, which he arrived late to because of football commitments, and will bolt from early too, Marquez has appeared in only six games and gotten just 17 at-bats. His batting average is at .235 as a result of going 4-for-17 with a double, a triple, and an RBI. It may be time to pull the plug on this nutty experiment.
Hunter Carnevale – The right-handed reliever was placed on the Kingsport roster for a rehab assignment as he works to come back from arm ailments which have kept him on the shelf since last season. Last year pitching at Brooklyn, Carnevale tossed 16.2 innings over 12 games for a record of 1-1 and an ERA of 1.08 with two saves, and a K/BB ratio of 19/5. He was originally selected by the Mets in the 33rd round of the 2010 MLB player draft out of Pacific University.
Peter Birdwell – The 6’4″ righty reliever was the Mets 25th round selection in the 2010 MLB draft out of Vanguard University. Birdwell was trying to pitch while struggling with injuries the past two years, and he announced his retirement Friday after going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA this season, in two appearances. In three seasons in the Mets system, Birdwell pitched in 22 games, and 42.1 innings. He has a combined record of 3-1 with a 4.68 ERA, and a 39/25 K/BB ratio.
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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