Welcome back to MMO’s Mets Minors Beat: The Monday Morning Edition. It was a weird weekend in the Mets minors. Terrible weather in the southeast caused postponements for the Sand Gnats and the St. Lucie Mets. But some very cool things happened too, as two Mets hurlers very nearly pitched no-hitters. Jacob DeGrom made a huge splash in his Florida State League debut. T.J. Rivera has a 20-game hit streak, Josh Satin extended his hit streak to 11 games, and Nimmo is simply en fuego. And maybe best of all, was the return to form of Akeel Morris. To get a handle on everything of note, from this past weekend on the farm, check out this edition of the Mets Minors Beat.
Josh Satin – The Herd first-baseman extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games on Sunday with a 1-for-3 night. During the streak he has gone 17-for-39 with nine runs, six doubles, three home runs, four walks, and 11 RBI. His slash for the 11 games is .436/.488/.821. For the season Satin has gone 111-for-368 with 63 runs, 24 doubles, a triple, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 63 walks, two stolen-bases, and a slash-line of .302/.405/.478.
Zack Wheeler – The Mets number one prospect made his second Triple-A start on Saturday night and pitched much better this time around than he did in his first start. Previously he lasted only 4.2 innings in his debut last Monday, giving up two earned runs and getting a no-decision against Syracuse. In that contest he threw a total of 101 pitches, of which 61 were strikes. This time around he went to work against the hated SWB Yankees, and went 6.0 innings, giving up one earned run on two hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. After a one-out double in the first plated the Yankees only run off him, Wheeler went on to retire 14 of the next 15 batters he faced, giving up no hits, and throwing his fastball 98 mph while doing so. He walked the lead-off man in the third but erased him on a double-play. Then he walked two in his final inning of work, but tossed another double-play grounder to avoid trouble. He threw a total of 93 pitches, 54 for strikes, lowering his ERA to 2.53 and picking up another no-decision.
Lucas Duda – The big Duda missed three consecutive games, Thursday through Saturday, with a root canal. He was back in the line-up on Sunday night and looked like he was feeling much better going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two doubles, to raise his Buffalo batting average to .275.
Jenrry Mejia – The Bisons continue to stretch Mejia out as a starting pitcher with his third consecutive start on Sunday night against Pawtucket. In his first start he went 3.0 innings, his second he went 4.1, and on Sunday he went 5.0 innings, giving up two unearned runs on six hits, with a walk and two strikeouts, to earn the win. His record at Triple-A this year now stands at 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA. In his last 17.2 innings over six games, he has allowed only one earned run.
Mark Cohoon – The 24-year-old south-paw pitched his finest game of the year on Friday night against the Harrisburg Senators, taking a no-hitter into the seventh and finishing the night with a 9.0 inning, two-hit shutout, to improve his record on the year to 7-8 with a 3.44 ERA. Cohoon has now tossed six quality starts out of his last seven games, and improved his record from 3-7 with a 4.11 ERA, to where it is now. For Cohoon it was the fifth shut-out of his pro-career, and the first he has thrown since he hurled three of them in succession, when he was a member of the Sand Gnats in June of 2010. On Friday his line in the game went: 9.0 innings, no runs, two hits, one walk, one hit batter, and ten strikeouts. He threw 113 pitches in the contest, 81 for strikes. In addition to his ten K’s, Cohoon induced 11 ground-outs and six outs in the air. He also helped his own cause at the plate by going 1-for-1 with an RBI, and three sacrifices.
Wilmer Flores – Flores is really heating up with the bat these days. In his last four games he is 10-for-18 with three runs scored, two doubles, and two RBI. In four of his last five games Flores has played second-base, in the other game he played first. He has a good glove for the infield, but I have yet to see him have to range right or left. His foot speed is rather slow, so the jury is still out as to whether he will have sufficient range to play second base, but he looks much smoother fielding the position than Daniel Murphy. Perhaps it is his lack of speed that has kept the Mets from tinkering with him in the outfield thus far.
Cory Mazzoni – The 22-year-old 6’1″ righty pitched 5.0 strong innings against Harrisburg on Sunday afternoon, surrendering just one run, it was earned, on six hits, three walks, and two strikeouts. The performance was supported by a solid effort from the B-Mets bullpen to give Mazzoni his fifth win against three losses at Double-A. He is now 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in ten starts for Binghamton, and was 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA at St. Lucie in 12 starts.
Logan Verrett – They say the third times the charm, and it proved accurate for Verrett as he had to wait until his third Florida State League start Friday night, before getting credited with his first win despite having pitched well enough to win all three games. In his first two starts since being called up from Savannah, he went 6.1 and 6.0 innings respectively, giving up two earned runs in each contest and picking up no-decisions. On Friday against the Fort Myers Miracle, the 6’2″ 22-year-old right-hander went 6.1 innings, with only one run this time, on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts to earn the victory. In 11 game starts at Savannah he had gone 3-2, with a 3.06 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 67/9 in 64.2 innings.
T.J. Rivera – After his June promotion from Savannah, Rivera went through an adjustment period to the Florida State League as he batted just .231 in his first ten games. Then things started to heat up at the plate for Rivera as he hit .327 for the month of July, and has kept it going in August hitting .317 as we approach the month’s midway point. Although his slugging and on-base have not rebounded yet the way his batting average has, he is making strides and showing improvement at the plate against the superior breaking pitches of the FSL. His slash-line at Savannah in 261 at-bats: .333/.396/.487, at St. Lucie in 187 at-bats: .305/.345/.401. By going 1-for-4 on Saturday night Rivera extended his current hitting streak to 20 straight games. He has not gone hitless since July 20th when he was batting .252. Since then he has gone 31-for-89 with 12 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, 12 RBI, and a slash-line of .348/.370/.461, to bring his average to .305.
Alonzo Harris - One of the few stolen base threats that the Mets have anywhere in their system, Harris is doing it all this season putting up career numbers in nearly every offensive category, while manning left-field for St. Lucie. For the year the 22-year-old super-utility guy is 108-for-371 with 63 runs, 22 doubles, seven triples, six homers, 37 RBI, 42 walks, 32 stolen bases, and a slash of .291/.366/.437. Harris is intent on finishing strong as he enjoys his best month of the season. For the month of August so far, he is 18-for-43 with ten runs scored, three doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven RBI, three walks, four stolen bases, and a slash of .419/.457/.674.
Jacob DeGrom – The 24-year-old 6’4″ right-hander made his first start at St. Lucie since being promoted from Savannah the other day. He wasted no time in notching his first win with a dominating performance in his debut Saturday night. Going up against the Fort Myers Miracle, he fired off 7.0 innings giving up no runs on one hit, striking out eight and walking three to pick up the victory. While with Savannah he went 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 15 game starts. In 89.2 innings, he had a K/BB ratio of 78/14, and a 1.01 WHIP.
Taylor Whitenton – The 2011 ERA leader in the South Atlantic League was moved to the bullpen upon arriving at St. Lucie this season, and has gotten better and better as the season wears on. Since June 1st, he has a record of 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA, and six saves. For the year, he is 7-2 with a 2.06 ERA and 7 saves, and a 62/32 K/BB ratio in 52.1 innings. The 6’3″ right-hander has a batting average against of .226 against right-handed batters, and .152 against left-handed hitting.
Richard Lucas – Lucas only went 1-for-6 with a double over the weekend, but he has been slaughtering the ball over his last nine games. During that time he has gone 13-for-33 with six runs, three doubles, a home run, six RBI, and three stolen-bases, and a slash-line of .394/.429/.576. The only real knock on Lucas is his penchant for striking out. In 354 at-bats this year he has whiffed a total of 115 times. Even over the last nine games when he was crushing the baseball, he went down on strikes 12 times versus three walks. For his career in 1572 at-bats over six years, he has struck out 487 times.
Domingo Tapia – After Thursday nights game against the Greenville Drive was suspended after one inning of play, Tap was tabbed to start the game Friday night when it resumed in the second inning, as part of a nine-inning twi-night double-header. The 6’4″ right-hander tossed innings two through seven, pitching very well. Unfortunately he did not get credit for the win as the Sand Gnats scored the decisive run in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth. Tapia went 6.0 innings, giving up two runs, both earned on one hit, with four walks and eight strikeouts. Tapia has gotten very little run support this year, and could easily have double-digit wins at this point if he had gotten some. However despite having little to show for it he has pitched outstanding and you can see it in his peripheral stats. His overall record with Savannah this year is 5-3 with a 3.44 ERA. He is an upper-90′s ground-ball machine, who in 91.2 innings has given up only 69 hits for an opponents batting average of .208, he also boasts an 81/29 K/BB ratio.
Greg Pron – The Sand Gnats had an abbreviated weekend with the two games on Friday, a rainout on Saturday, and an off-day on Sunday. But the righty-hitting Pron has begun to show signs of coming out of his extended slump. On the final day of June, Pron was hitting .221. Since then he has hit at a .297 clip to raise his average for the year to .250, with no home runs and 36 RBI in 320 at-bats. He still has been woefully inept at getting on base, and SLG%. A slash-line this year of .250/.299/.341 is not what you expect from a 6’6″ power-hitter, and will not be good enough to get him promoted to the next level. Unless he starts to produce some runs heading down the stretch, he will at best, be asked to return to Savannah again next year. And about that time Savannah will be reloading with talented outfielders like Brandon Nimmo, Stefan Sabol, Maikis De La Cruz, Eudy Pina, and perhaps Jeff Diehl. Competing with those guys at Savannah in 2013, playing time will not be easy to come by for Pron. Just to make it interesting, in his last four games over the past week, Pron has gone 7-for-13 with two runs scored, two doubles, and five RBI.
Cam Maron – The lefty-hitting, 21-year-old catcher continues to put up terrific offensive numbers this season as he has hit .370 so far in the month of August. His success this season has propelled him to the top of the list of top Mets catching prospects. In his last seven games Maron is 10-for-25 with three runs scored, a double, a triple, three walks, and five RBI. For the year he has gone 90-for-298 with 42 runs, 17 doubles, two triples, four homers, 38 RBI, 39 walks, and two stolen-bases. His slash-line sits at a very solid .302/.390/.413.
Hansel Robles – C’mon already! What is up with this guy? He has been pitching better and better and better this year. And after it was announced last week that he had made the NYPL All-Star team, he celebrated on Friday night by throwing his best game of the year, 8.0 innings, no runs, one hit, no walks, seven strikeouts. As a matter of fact he had a perfect game going until there were two-outs in the eighth, when he allowed a single. In 54.2 innings over nine game starts this season, Robles has given up 38 hits and nine earned runs, a 51/6 K/BB ratio, and a record of 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA. His opponents batting average is .197 and his WHIP is 0.80. He’s second in the league in WHIP, third in the league in ERA, and tied for third in the league in strikeouts. In his nine starts, he has never gone less than 5.0 innings, he has given up zero runs three times, one run on five occasions, and in the other start, four earned runs in what was his only loss of the season. In his last four starts, he has gone 8.0 innings twice, and seven innings once, with the other start lasting 5.0 innings. Over his last 39 innings he has given up just four earned runs.
Julian Hilario – In previous Mets Minors Beat posts I have waxed poetic about starting pitchers one-through-five in the Cyclones rotation. NYPL All-Stars Luis Mateo, Hansel Robles, and Gabriel Ynoa, and also Luis Cessa, and Rainy Lara have had their exploits this year chronicled in depth by myself and others all over the media world. But did you know the Brooklyn Cyclones employ a six-man rotation? Did you know that 6’1″ right-hander Julian Hilario was the other Brooklyn starter? On Saturday night Hilario made his seventh game start of the year. He went 5.0 innings against the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Oakland A’s organization, and gave up one earned run on five hits, with five strikeouts and two walks. Turning the game over to the bullpen with a 4-1 lead in the sixth to close out the game, it eventually became a 6-3 Cyclones victory, giving Hilario the win, and improving his record to 2-3 with a 3.14 ERA.
Logan Taylor – The 6’5″ 20-year-old right-hander has gotten off to a very good start in his pro career. Drafted by the Mets this past year in the 11th round, Taylor arrived a little late to start the season and didn’t get into his first game until July 12th. Since then he has appeared in 9.2 innings over eight games, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, with four hits given up, ten strikeouts, and no walks.
Brandon Nimmo – I’d say it is safe to say that we have found Nimmo. The real Nimmo that is. For all the haters out there who resent the kid strictly because they resent the general manager, I say Phooey! To you Mr. Francesa for your recent comments about Mr. Nimmo “not being able to hit his own weight in the rookie leagues!” To you I say phooey too! Nimmo is on freakin’ fire in the New York Penn League, and by-the-way, the NYPL is not a “rookie league.” But it was a nice touch by Fat-Head Fran. Nimmo started out in Brooklyn indirectly because of the Mets decision to do away with their Gulf Coast League affiliate. With only one team now lower than Brooklyn, Kingsport (which is the rookie leagues), there was only one place to send the most inexperienced players, Kingsport. Nimmo was not one of those players, he was more advanced, so they were forced to send him to Brooklyn. What they should have done was sent him to the GCL for a few weeks, then promoted him to Kingsport (the rookie league) for the rest of the season, with perhaps a cup of coffee at Brooklyn at the end of the year. That’s how most teams would have handled players in Nimmo’s situation. Look at how Courtney Hawkins has been handled this year. The rookie league all the way. But Nimmo was thrown in the fire with older more experienced players, college players, and he struggled for a while, and all his critics said how he was going to be a bust. But look at him now. It has taken him only half-a-season and now he is hitting like one of the top hitters in his entire league. For the last ten games Nimmo has gone 19-for-43 with 14 runs scored, eight doubles, one homer, four RBI, and a slash-line of .442/.500/.698. Stick that in your fat….ear, Francesa.
Jorge Rivero – The all-purpose utility-man has been the best hitter in the K-Mets line-up for a while now. Settling into the three-hole in the order, and recently finding a home in left-field, the 23-year-old Cuban is starting to put up some numbers this year. In his last ten games he has gone 18-for-44 with six runs scored, three doubles, three triples, five RBI, and a stolen-base. His slash-line over that time is .409/.413/.614. So far this year he is hitting .325 by going 25-for-77 with ten runs, six doubles, three triples, and seven RBI.
Akeel Morris – After giving up ten earned runs in 2.0 innings in a July 24th start, Morris was dropped from the Kingsport starting rotation and sent to the bullpen. Many wondered what had happened to the hard-throwing righty who looked so promising in the K-Mets rotation in 2011. But since his change of assignment, he has looked a whole lot better throwing ten innings in three games in relief, and giving up just one run on five hits, with seven walks and 16 strikeouts. On Sunday night Morris went 5.0 innings in relief of starter Miller Diaz, and gave up no runs, on two hits and two walks, with nine strikeouts.
Gavin Cecchini – The Mets 1st-round pick in last June’s draft made his first appearance since going on the D.L. with a fractured finger-tip on August 2nd. Sunday marked his first game back and he went 3-for-7 with two RBI, as the DH in the 13-inning, 6-5 loss to Danville. For the year Cecchini is now hitting .260 with one home run and 15 RBI.
Andrew Carpenter – The 6’3″ 230 lb. right-hander was originally drafted by the Phillies in the 2nd-round, the 65th overall selection in the 2006 MLB draft. He spent the next six seasons in the Philadelphia organization, and pitched 24.1 nondescript big league innings between 2008 and 2011 posting a 1-1 won-lost record. He elected to become a minor league free agent after last year and signed with Toronto. He started the year well in the hard-hitting Pacific Coast League, working as both a starter and a reliever for the Las Vegas 51′s. He made 12 game starts and pitched another nine games in relief, for a total of 74.2 innings in which he struck out 56 while walking 19, and going 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA. He was called up to the bigs in July and got into six games for the Blue Jays going 0-0 with a 5.00 ERA in nine innings. He did okay in some ways, although command was obviously an issue for him when he got to the majors this time, striking out nine and walking six. He gave up just seven hits in the nine innings but the problem was that four of those hits were home runs. He was outrighted by the Jays on August 6th and cleared waivers before refusing his assignment to Triple-A, making himself a free-agent. The Mets scooped him up immediately and assigned him to Binghamton. He made his debut in Saturday’s loss at Harrisburg, pitching 1.0 inning and giving up no runs on one hit, with two strikeouts. It is a smart pick-up for the Mets, being that it is very low-risk. Now they have another bullpen option to check out for the remainder of the season, and who knows? If he pitches well, he could be brought up to help out at Citi this year.
Adrian Rosario – To make room for Carpenter, the B-Mets sent Adrian Rosario back to Port St. Lucie where he had terrific success pitching in the Florida State League earlier in the season. But the Eastern League was not as kind to the 6’4″ right-handed Rosario as his command seemed as if it had deserted him. While at Double-A he struggled to the tune of 1-2 with a 5.83 ERA. In 29.1 innings he produced a woeful K/BB ratio of 27/29 and the league was hitting .307 against him.
Rafael Montero – Three days after carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Mets placed Montero on the D.L. due to the fact that he has reached his innings limit for the year. Montero has thrown 122.0 innings this season between Savannah and St. Lucie, going a combined 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA, and a 110/19 K/BB ratio. It is organizational philosophy to limit pitchers to throwing no more than 50 innings over their total from the year before. In 2011, Montero threw a total of 71.0 innings.
Dylan Owen – The Bisons activated the righty swing-man from the D.L. in time for Saturday’s game against the SWB Yankees. This year for the Herd he has gone 4-9 with a 6.05 ERA in 27 games, nine of which were starts.
I hope you enjoyed this Monday’s edition of Mets Minors Beat exclusively on MMO. Mets Minors Beat is brought to you every Monday and Friday morning until the end of the 2012 minor league season. In it you will see who is on a roll, who has done something special, who got hurt, who got healthy, who got acquired, traded or released. We will even sprinkle in a few choice tidbits here and there, and a few opinions from time to time. Kind of a Met minor league, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. See you again on Friday!