Updated Post 5:00 PM
The Mets demoted right-hander Collin McHugh to Triple-A Buffalo despite a stellar debut on Thursday in which he tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and a walk while fanning nine.
The Mets needed the roster spot for the return of Jeremy Hefner who was on a three-day paternity leave.
Original Post 8:00 AM
Welcome back for this week’s Friday installment of the exclusive MMO feature Mets Minors Beat. This is the TGIF Edition and I’m your host Petey, thanks for stopping by. This week on the farm it was all about pitching, pitching and more pitching. And promotions too. Collin McHugh made his big league debut with the Mets, and Rob Carson was brought up to get a tryout in the big league pen for the rest of the season. Then there were a slew of guys who had been struggling at the lower levels who are really starting to emerge and show something positive as the minor league seasons dwindle down. Pitchers like Julian Hilario of Brooklyn, and Kingsport’s Persio Reyes, Miller Diaz, and Chris Flexen all had very nice performances this week. Keep reading to see who else is heating up for a strong finish.
Zack Wheeler – Wheeler has shown flashes since being promoted to Buffalo at the beginning of August. But in the four AAA starts he has made so far, he has struggled to the tune of an 0-2 record with a 4.71 ERA. The factor at work here? I think it’s fatigue. In his first professional season, as a 20-year-old in 2010, he threw 59 innings for Augusta. In 2011 he tossed a total of 115 innings, and this season he’s now up to 137 innings. They haven’t been the easiest innings to pitch either, as he’s been publicly criticized, and scrutinized under a microscope all season long. There’s no way that doesn’t wear on any young player, if it goes on for long enough, I mean they’re only human.
This was a very successful season as far as Wheeler’s development is concerned. At this time a year ago, he was just finishing up a good season in High-A ball, with a combined record between the Giants and Mets organization affiliates of 9-7, and a 3.52 ERA, in 22 game starts. Now, a year later, he is being talked about as a possible candidate (although an extremely remote one) for a September big league call-up. I believe he will make two more starts this season at Buffalo, and that he has a cap of 150 innings. Next year he will start out at AAA, and with some continued growth, should be ready to make his big league debut no later than mid-season.
Jenrry Mejia – Mejia has been pitching outstanding of late as he completes his comeback from Tommy John Surgery. He was moved back to the starting rotation full-time for the Herd on July 30th. Since then he has made five starts covering 24.1 innings, he has allowed only three earned runs, for a record of 2-0 with a 1.11 ERA, and a 14/7 K/BB ratio. He has gone six innings in each of his last two starts with an improving Pitch/Strike ratio. I fully expect Mejia to be a September call-up for the Mets.
Darin Gorski – The big left-hander went 7.0 innings on Monday night giving up three runs, two earned on four hits, with four walks and nine strikeouts. But the quality outing went for naught as the offense sputtered all night, only managing two runs on five hits, and making a loser of Gorski who dropped to 8-7, 3.81, on the year in 22 starts.
Greg Peavey – The 24-year-old right-hander followed up Gorski’s solid outing with a brilliant one of his own. This time the B-Mets offense only managed one run all night. But that was all Peavey would need as he hurled 7.0 innings, giving up no runs on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. Thanks to two scoreless innings of relief by Jeff Kaplan and Andrew Carpenter, Peavey improved his record to 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 23 game starts this year.
Wilmer Flores – Flores continues to punish the baseball. In his last ten games he is hitting at a 17-for-40 clip, with a slash of .425/.489/.625. In this breakout season for Flores, it becomes pretty clear that the Mets may be eye-balling this kid for a shot at third-base if they are unable to sign David Wright to an extension beyond 2013.
Reese Havens – Well the good news is the 89 games and 305 at-bats Havens has gotten this season are the most he’s contributed in any one season since 2009. The bad news is that despite staying on the field pretty much all year, which was the goal when the season started, he is only hitting .223 and has 107 strikeouts to his credit. It is no wonder why the once promising prospect is in free-fall this year and has also tumbled down the organizational depth chart.
Logan Verrett – With his win Thursday night, the 22-year-old righty out of Baylor has now thrown five straight quality starts since his call-up to St. Lucie. His Florida State League numbers are 2-0 with a 2.27 ERA over 31.2 innings in the five starts. He has also struck out 22 and walked four. On Thursday against the Jupiter Hammerheads, he fired 7.0 innings, giving up one run, earned, on three hits and a walk, with six strikeouts.
Domingo Tapia – Tapia got hammered on Wednesday night in what will most likely be his last appearance this season. Starting against Asheville he was hit hard and hit often, and had to leave the game after 4.0 brutal innings in which he gave up seven runs, five earned, on ten hits, with five strikeouts. He picked up the loss in the game to drop his South Atlantic League record to 6-4 with a 3.78 ERA, in 18 game starts and 102 innings. Mets organizational philosophy is that pitchers are not to exceed fifty innings pitched more than what they threw the year before, in any given year. Since Tapia hurled 56 innings in 2011, his 2012 innings total cannot exceed 106, so he’s right there. See ya next year buddy!
Julian Hilario – The 22-year-old righty has been pitching with more and more confidence as the season wears on. With his win on Monday night he has now won his last three starts, to even his record at 3-3 for the year. During those three games he has thrown 16 innings, and given up just one earned run on 13 hits, to lower his ERA to 2.76 in ten games, eight of which were game starts covering 49 innings.
Luis Cessa – The 20-year-old right-hander made the start for Brooklyn on Wednesday night and picked up the win to even his record at 4-4. He went 7.0 innings and gave up just one earned run on six hits, with three strikeouts to help the Cyclones beat the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Astros organization, who have the league’s best record at 44-18. The effort also lowered his ERA to 2.50 in 58 innings over 11 starts.
Matt Bowman – The 21-year-old righty who was the Mets 13th round draft choice out of Princeton in the 2012 MLB draft, continues to pitch great coming out of the Cyclone bullpen. In 23.1 innings over ten games this year he is 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA, three saves and a 25/2 K/BB ratio.
Jeff Glenn – The Brooklyn back-up catcher is quietly putting together some good games despite not playing with much regularity. He started the season hitting .214 for the month of June, then .189 in July. But August is another story as he is hitting .292 with an OBP of .393. Presently he is working on a modest six-game hitting streak over which time he has gone 7-for-21 for a slash of .333/.391/.381.
Gabe Ynoa – The 19-year-old NYPL All-Star pitched a very strong outing on Thursday night, but came away with a no-decision when the game became tied at 2-2 after regulation, and had to be decided in extra-innings. For his part, Ynoa went the first 6.2 innings, one run, earned, on five hits, a walk, and five strikeouts. In 61 innings this season over ten game starts, he has a record of 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 51 strikeouts, and eight walks.
Miller Diaz – The hard-throwing 20-year-old right-hander with the excellent command, has been putting it all together lately for the K-Mets. With just one rough outing out of his last eight, he has improved his record to 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA in 43 innings. On Thursday night against the Bluefield Blue Jays, he turned in his most dominating performance of the season, going 6.0 innings and giving up no runs on two hits, with no walks and six strikeouts.
Persio Reyes – After a horrendous start to his season that saw his numbers shoot to 0-4, and an 11.49 ERA, the 19-year-old righty has thrown six good outings in a row, over which time he has gone 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA, with 20 strikeouts and nine walks.
Martires Arias – The 6’7″ right-hander is having a very good season pitching out of the Kingsport pen. He got his second win Tuesday pitching one scoreless inning in relief of Reyes. For his last ten games, over 13.2 innings he is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA, with 18 strikeouts, and five walks.
Chris Flexen – The 18-year-old right-hander who the Mets took in the 14th round of last year’s draft, has pitched two good games in a row now and his performance on Wednesday night was perhaps the best of his young career. He picked up his first professional win by going 6.0 innings against the Burlington Royals, giving up no runs on just three hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. The victory gives him a record of 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA in seven games, six of which were starts.
Collin McHugh – The 25-year-old right-hander has replaced Johan Santana in the Mets rotation for the foreseeable future. In case you missed it, Thursday afternoon at Citi, he made his major league debut and went 7.0 innings for the Mets giving up no runs on two hits, with one walk and nine strikeouts, in picking up a no-decision.
Rob Carson – The 6’4″ 240 lb. south-paw has been brought back up to the Show to be a playmate for Josh Edgin as two of the lefties in the Mets pen for the rest of 2012. At some point they may be joined by fellow port-siders C.J. Nitkowski, and/or Justin Hampson when the rosters expand to 40 on September 1st.
Armando Rodriguez – The hard-throwing righty made his AAA debut for the Bisons on Thursday night taking the place of Collin McHugh in the Herd rotation, at least for one game at any rate. Rodriguez acquitted himself well, throwing 4.1 innings (remember he’s a reliever) and giving up one run, earned, on three hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. The Herd lost in 11 innings 4-3.
Dylan Owen – The right-hander was activated off the D.L. by the Bisons on Tuesday. He has a record of 4-9 with a 6.05 ERA for the Herd in 2012.
Darrell Ceciliani – Darrell Ceciliani was activated by St. Lucie off the D.L. for something like the third or fourth time this year, as the talented center-fielder has re-injured his hamstring over and over again this season. With the Mets now taking the chance he might re-injure it yet again before it has a chance to fully heal, his career now hangs in jeopardy. For the life of me I can’t fathom why they are bringing him back now with only two weeks left to go in the minor league season. If he hurts it again, forget about it. I would have opted for an entire off-season of rest and rehab and strengthening considering this is a lost year for him anyway.
Rafael Fernandez – To make room for Ceciliani, the PSL Mets placed the lefty hitting outfielder on the D.L. In 207 at-bats at St. Lucie this year Fernandez has put up a slash-line of .242/.313/.430 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. The biggest issue he needs to overcome to move up to AA, is to cut down on his strikeouts, and improve his K/BB ratio as a hitter, which is presently 57/20.
I’ll be back with another edition of the Mets Minors Beat on Monday morning with all the stuff that happened over the weekend down on the farm. Don’t forget to check back to get filled in on everything that’s going on as the season winds down, in this exclusive feature brought to you two times a week, only right here on MMO.