Mets Minors Beat: Prospects Have Big Week As Wheeler, Pill, Montero, And DeGrom All Pitch Great
Welcome back for the second installment, and first Friday Edition of the brand new, MMO Mets Minors Beat. I’m your host, Petey Pete, and I’ll be going over the transactions reports and box-scores everyday, scanning the team reports, talking to the players and coaches, pouring over reams of scouting reports and statistics. Analyzing, crunching numbers. compiling notes, making coffee, and doing whatever it takes to bring you the latest and most undeniably, indispensable, blend of facts and opinion on the Mets Minor leagues. It’s great stuff you can’t find anywhere else, it’s only on MMO.
Not much happening as far as player movement within the system this week. Other than Wheeler going up to Triple-A, everybody pretty much stayed put, and fortunately our guys did a good job of avoiding the D.L. The only injury news seems to be minor (pardon the pun). It’s been reported (and I have no idea by whom, trs) that Steve Matz will miss a turn possibly two, with what is being described as “shoulder soreness” that is not considered serious.
So without further adieu – The Mets Minors Beat / Friday Edition
Zach Lutz – As the summer months heat up, so does Lutz’ bat. In his last 33 at-bats covering nine games, Lutz has wacked 14 base-hits, scored eight runs, had two doubles, a triple, and smashed four homers, with four walks, and eight RBI. His slash-line over that time is: .424/.500/.909. Now if he can just stay off the D.L.
Collin McHugh – If you go by the definition of “quality start,” which is six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs given up, Collin McHugh has had a string of them at Buffalo dating back to July 3rd (although one was 5.1 innings with one earned run). This week he started on Tuesday night against Indianapolis and tossed his sixth quality start in a row in picking up a no-decision. He went six innings giving up two runs both earned, on three hits, four walks and four strikeouts. In nine Triple-A starts McHugh is 1-3 with a 3.75 ERA with a K/BB ratio of 49/21, and 43 hits given up in 50.1 innings for an opponent’s batting average of .228.
Garrett Olson – Olson sneaked into this write-up in the eleventh hour with a masterful performance on Thursday night against Syracuse. In what was probably his best game of the year, the veteran south-paw threw seven innings of one run, two-hit ball, walking one and striking out seven. It just so happened that the Bisons’ offense would go into hiding for the game as they were able to manage no runs on only two hits. That made a tough-luck loser of Olson and dropped his record to 4-7 on the year. He tossed 84 pitches on the night, 59 of them for strikes.
Zack Wheeler – The long anticipated promotion to Buffalo finally came after Wheeler’s last Eastern League start on Tuesday against Harrisburg. With Tuesday’s start Wheeler was able to put the skids on a personal two-game losing streak, and pick up his tenth Double-A win. His final Double-A numbers: 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA over 116 innings and 19 game starts. He had a H/9 of 7.1, a HR/9 of 0.2, a BB/9 of 3.3, a K/9 of 9.1, and a K/BB ratio of 2.72. Recently Sandy Alderson was quoted as saying they would limit Wheeler’s innings this year to around 150. That means another six or seven starts which would bring him right to the end of the Triple-A season.
Adam Kolarek – The big lefty picked up in the Eastern League right where he left off at St. Lucie, and notched his first Double-A save on Tuesday night with a scoreless inning in relief of Wheeler.
Frank Francisco – The rehabbing big leaguer tossed three more scoreless innings this week, making it four straight scoreless in his last four games. If you throw his first Double-A appearance out the window, when he got roughed up in New Britain last week, Francisco has thrown 4.0 scoreless innings with one save, three hits, and three strikeouts.
Dustin Martin – Martin who was originally drafted by the Mets in the 26th round in 2006, and subsequently traded to the Twins along with Drew Butera for Luis Castillo in 2007, returned to the organization this spring when he was released by Minnesota at the end of spring training. The past week the lefty swinging right-fielder has been the B-Mets best hitter, with an eight-game hitting streak working. Over those eight games Martin is hitting at a .480 clip, or 12-for-25, with four walks, three runs scored, a home run and eight RBI.
Tyler Pill – One of the most consistent pitchers in the Mets farm system this year, Pill has done nothing but impress, with his poise, his stamina, and his array of quality pitches. Talk about flying under the radar! With all the buzz about Wheeler and Harvey, Montero and Tapia, Matz and Mateo, nobody is saying very much about Pill, and that is pretty tough to swallow. This past Tuesday night against Lakeland, he won his fifth consecutive Florida State League decision by going 7.0 innings and giving up two runs, one earned, while scattering seven hits, walking two, and striking out seven. Since his call-up from Savannah, Pill is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in eight starts, and overall for the season he is 8-5, with a 2.35 ERA in 17 games, and a 95/20 K/BB ratio, in 103.1 innings.
Rafael Montero – Like Pill, Montero started the year in Savannah, making 12 starts there and going 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA before being promoted to the FSL. Since arriving in Florida, Montero has been putting up the exact same numbers. In seven starts he is 4-2, with a 2.51 ERA. In Low-A he had a 54/8 K/BB ratio, in High-A he has a 51/8 ratio. This guy is a truly amazing combination of power pitching and good command and like with Tyler Pill, I can’t wait to see what he is going to do at the next level. On Tuesday night Montero won his second consecutive start, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on five hits. It was his tenth win combined this year at the two stops he has pitched at, but the impressive thing about Tuesday was his K/BB ratio for the six innings he tossed: 14/0. Nuff said.
T.J. Rivera – There are not too many players swinging a hotter bat in the Mets system than Rivera right now. The undrafted free agent who opened eyes in Savannah in the first half, is doing the same thing now in the Florida State League. This guy is for real. He has an 12-game hitting streak going, and during those games has gone 21-for-50, for a cool .420 batting average, with eight runs, five doubles, a triple, nine RBI, and two stolen bases. On July 20th he was hitting .252, but thanks to the streak, he is now up to .307 at St. Lucie.
Dustin Lawley – Lawley doesn’t get a lot of press, but he quietly gets the job done, and has emerged as a leader on his team for the second year in a row. He leads the Sand Gnats in at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks, stolen bases, SLG%, and OPS. And yet he has been passed over for promotion while he has said sayonara to teammates Aderlin Rodriguez, T.J. Rivera, Travis Taijeron, Tyler Pill, Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett and Jack Leathersich. Maybe soon Lawley’s day will come. It’s not like it’s hard to find a defensive spot for the guy as he can play CF, LF, and 3B with proficiency. In his most recent 14 games, Lawley has gone a very hard hitting 19-for-50, for a smokin’ hot .380 batting average. Over that time he has scored ten runs while compiling five doubles, a triple, four home runs, and knocked in a whopping 17 RBI. His OBP was .415 and his SLG% over the 14 games was .720. As a former associate of mine on MMO was known for saying, “C’mon already!”
Gilbert Gomez – Check it out Alex! Gomez is heating up and bringing it every night these days, and we finally have some neat stuff to write about him. He is still only hitting .264 with one home run and 15 RBI, but lately he has shown some signs of life. In his last ten games, Gomez has become something of an offensive catalyst for St. Lucie, posting an unusual slash-line of .323/.523/.387. The .523 OBP is the result of 13 walks to go with his nine hits over that span.
Cole Frenzel – When this guy took an 0-for-2 in a game on July 19th, he was hitting a woeful .128 with Savannah, but then Cole Frenzel got the bat going. In his last ten games he is 13-for-36 with six runs, six doubles, a home run, and four RBI. The barrage gave him a ten-game slash-line of .361/.410/.611, and brought his batting average while at Savannah up to .241, after having raked at Brooklyn to start the season with a .342 mark.
Jacob DeGrom – DeGrom picked up a no-decision this week after rattling off three consecutive wins in his previous starts. On Tuesday night against Greensboro, he pitched terrific going 7.0 innings while giving up only one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. For the year in 83.2 innings over 14 game starts, DeGrom has a record of 6-3 with an ERA of 2.37 and a K/BB ratio of 73/13.
Rainy Lara – Between what I’ve written about right-hander Luis Mateo lately, and what the other minor league beat writers have written about him here on MMO, you could fill several volumes. So I am not including him as one of this week’s notables but instead would like to focus on three of his rotation mates that have been pitching brilliantly this year. In seven starts Lara, the 6’4″ right-hander, is tied for second in the league in wins with five. He is second behind Mateo in strikeouts, and tied for third in the league in WHIP with teammate Gabe Ynoa. For the year Lara is 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA, a K/BB ratio of 54/5, and a WHIP of 0.88. In only one of his seven starts has he allowed more than two earned runs, and on that occasion he allowed four in picking up his only loss of the season.
Gabe Ynoa – The numbers Ynoa has put up this year are in some ways truly remarkable. First of all, he has started out 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 37/7 in 48 innings. The amazing thing about Ynoa though, is his consistency in those starts. In each start, he has gone 6.0 innings, in all eight starts, 6.0 innings, no more, no less. In seven of them he has not allowed more than two earned runs, the league is hitting .202 against him, and his WHIP has him tied with Lara for third in the league with a 0.88.
Hansel Robles – The third of the trifecta of relative unknowns that have been torching NYPL hitting this year as members of the Brooklyn starting rotation is Robles, who in seven starts doesn’t have a lot of wins to boast about, but has nonetheless pitched very well. He got a no-decision this week going 5.0 innings against Mahoning Valley on Tuesday night, and giving up just one run, on five hits with seven strikeouts and getting a no-decision. Last week it was 8.0 innings pitched, one run, and a no-decision. It’s been like that all year for Robles. In seven starts for the Cyclones, Robles has a record of 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA, and a 36/6 K/BB ratio.
Brandon Nimmo - With the Brooklyn offense struggling mightily to score runs these days, one player has been holding up his end of the bargain, and that player is Brandon Nimmo. After hitting just .200 in June, Nimmo turned it up a notch in July hitting .270 for the month. Over his last ten games he is hitting .325, but over his last four games he has gone 10-for-19, with six runs, three doubles, a home run, and four RBI.
John Gant – The young right-hander has pitched very well in three of his last four outings as he looks for more consistency his first time around in pro ball. Thursday night Gant picked up his second win in beating the Greeneville Astros, to even his record at 2-2. Gant went 5.2 innings, and allowed two runs, on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.
I hope you enjoyed this rendition of MMO Mets Minors Beat. I will be doing this piece every Monday and Friday through to the end of the season, or until I have a nervous breakdown whichever comes first. Vegas has it 3:1 it will be the breakdown.
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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