Welcome back for another installment of the MMO Mets Minors Beat: The TGIF Edition! I’m your host Petey, and we have a lot to cover from this past week. There were some incredible pitching performances throughout the system, yet again. There were a ton of transactions, if you are into that sort of thing. And a few of the notable performers who are simply putting together outstanding seasons, have made it back into The Beat for like the umpteenth time. Guys like Collin McHugh, Wilmer Flores, Alonzo Harris, Richard Lucas, Cam Maron, Hansel Robles, and Jorge Rivero have been regulars here every week, but the way they are playing you can’t not mention them. So without further elaboration, here’s your newest version of the Mets Minors Beat: The Friday Edition, found only here on MMO.
Jeurys Familia – After a string of three straight starts in which he pitched poorly, from July 23rd until August 3rd, the 6’4″ 22-year-old has now tossed two good outings in a row. The second one which was against Lehigh Valley this past Tuesday night, was simply outstanding. He went 7.0 innings, giving up no runs on four hits, with a walk and eight strikeouts to earn the win. The effort improved his record for the season to 8-7 with a 4.69 ERA in 25 game starts. In 119.0 innings this year he has given up 122 hits, seven were for home runs, he has also posted a K/BB ratio of 108/67. In 2011 he pitched 124.0 innings which means the Mets could push him up to 175.0 innings this year but not beyond. So with 56.0 innings still in his gas tank, and the fact he is already on the Mets 40-man roster, he is virtually a lock to be called up for a few September starts.
Collin McHugh – The 6’2″ right-hander pitched another solid outing on Monday night, although once again he would have nothing to show for it. With 62.0 Triple-A innings under his belt over the course of 11 game starts, McHugh sports a 3.77 ERA, with only 52 hits given up, a K/BB ratio of 63/27, and an opponents batting average of .221. And yet he only has a 1-4 record to go along with those terrific peripherals. A starter for most of his five-year career, McHugh has a 9.0 K/9 ratio over 514.0 professional innings. Since the Mets are going to be forced to add McHugh to the 40-man roster this year to keep from losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, they might as well add him early and call him up for September when they could use him either as a starter or out of the pen.
Zack Wheeler – Making the start under bright skies on Thursday afternoon didn’t help Wheeler much this week. His pitches were elevated throughout his outing, and the Iron Pigs hitters were enjoying elevating the ball even more. There were five earned runs over 5.0 innings, on eight hits, two of which were doubles, and one left the yard, to go with five strikeouts. He took the loss in the 5-2 defeat, for his first Triple-A decision, his ERA now stands at 4.60 after his first three starts. Most of the K’s on Thursday came on 97 mph fastballs up out of the strike zone, the kind of pitches major league hitters would not be swinging at. Wheeler has yet to find any consistency at Triple-A but when he is on he shows signs of sheer domination unlike any other pitcher in the system. Having the opportunity for him to start three more games this year, which would bring his innings pitched total to about 145.0 would be ideal. That would represent an increase over 2011 by about 30 innings. It would also set him up for a 175 inning season in 2013, which would also be the season he will debut in the major leagues so Wheeler’s timetable is right where it should be for an ETA during the first half of 2013.
C.J. Nitkowski - The 39-year-old left-hander is throwing the ball extremely well with his version 2.0 side-arm pitching motion. As he becomes more and more comfortable with his new delivery, he feels more and more confidence that he will get back to the show, despite not having pitched there since 2005. So far in 10.0 innings split between Binghamton and Buffalo, he has a record of 0-0, with a 0.00 ERA, and one save. He has allowed just seven hits and one unearned run while striking out 13 and walking six. With Josh Edgin the sole south-paw in the Mets pen, Nitkowski may be pitching his way into the perfect storm as far as his comeback goes. With a little luck, we should be seeing him back in the bigs very soon.
Wilmer Flores - The hard-hitting infielder keeps raking this season. In his last ten games he has gone 14-for-39 with six runs, two doubles and three RBI, for a slash of .359/.432/.410. For the year, in 428 combined at-bats between St. Lucie and Binghamton, he is hitting .292, with 55 runs scored, 23 doubles, one triple, 14 homers, 66 RBI, and a 53/33 K/BB ratio.
Darin Gorski – The big left-hander won his eighth game of the season on Wednesday night with a very strong effort against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The 6’4″ south-paw scattered eight hits over seven innings giving up two runs, one earned, with two walks, a wild-pitch, and six strikeouts. He improved his record on the year to 8-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 123.0 innings over 21 game starts, with 114 hits and 19 home runs allowed, and a K/BB ratio of 98/44.
Francisco Pena – Over his last five games the 22-year-old backstop is hitting at a 7-for-14 clip, with a double, a homer, and four RBI.
Erik Goeddel – The 22-year-old right-hander is quietly putting together a very good season in 2012. His 19 games, 17 game starts, 91.1 innings, and 81 strikeouts this year are all career highs for him, and he has a shot at throwing between 105 and 115 innings this season. For the oft-injured hurler, these may not be dramatic improvements, but represent definite progress and show he is moving forward and building on his good health and increasing arm-strength. He pitched one of his better performances on Wednesday night going seven innings against Palm Beach, and allowing no runs on two hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts. He has not gotten a lot of run support lately, and only has a 4-6 record for the season, with a 3.65 ERA, but if he finishes the year strong and healthy, this year has to be viewed as a huge success for him, and something to build off of moving forward.
Angel Cuan – The 23-year-old left-hander had a rough month of July, but has pitched much better in the month of August. On Thursday night he went 7.0 innings against Palm Beach giving up only one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts, to pick up the win and improve his record to 6-8 with a 3.35 ERA.
Danny Muno – Muno has been very consistent for St. Lucie down the stretch. For his last ten games he is 15-for-38 with six runs, three doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBI, five walks and four stolen bases, for a slash of .395/.465/.605. For the year in 245 at-bats, he has hit .290 with six home runs and 31 RBI.
Alonzo Harris – The speedy top-of-the-order performer has made the Mets Minors Beat nearly every time so far as he continues to enjoy a career year for St. Lucie. In his last ten games he has continued to rake to the tune of 19-for-43 with nine runs, three doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBI and five stolen bases for a slash-line of .442/.478/.698. In 57 at-bats during the month of August Harris is hitting .386 with three home runs, ten RBI, and six stolen bases.
Richard Lucas – Another player who has been noteworthy lately and has thereby made the Mets Minors Beat multiple times these past few weeks. In Lucas’ last ten games he is hitting to a .400/.488/.571 slash-line with eight runs, three doubles, one homer and six RBI. This is an important year for Lucas who will be a minor-league free agent at the end of the season.
Cory Vaughn – The slugging outfielder is only batting .242 this season but he has been mashing home runs at a pretty good clip, especially this week. In each of the last three games he has hit home runs to bring his RBI and home run total for the year to 60 RBI, and 21 home runs, just one behind Aderlin Rodriguez for the system lead in dingers.
Chase Huchingson – Hutch had a good start on Tuesday night. He pitched through the sixth inning, and by the time he hit the showers after six complete, the score was St. Lucie 8, and Palm Beach 2. Hutch probably figured that barring a major melt-down by the Lucie pen, he would certainly be notching his eighth win of the year. Well guess what? There was a major meltdown by the pen, and they gave up six runs in the top of the ninth to allow Palm Beach to tie the score at eight, and taking a potential win away from Huchingson. After a string of seven poor starts from the end of June until the end of July, he has thrown two quality starts in a row now, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. On Tuesday he threw 6.0 innings, giving up two runs, both earned, on seven hits, three walks, and six strikeouts. For the year the 6’5″ 23-year-old lefty is 7-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 19 game starts.
Michael Fulmer – Fulmer pitched another gem on Monday as he just continues to shine this season. Leading the Savannah staff in innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts, he is still in line for three more starts before the end of his season. So far his record sits at 7-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 102.2 innings over 20 starts. The 6’3″ 19-year-old right-hander has given up 83 hits, five homers, with a K/BB ratio of 93/36, a WHIP of 1.16, and an opponents batting average of .219. On Monday night he went 5.0 innings to pick up the win, giving up just one run, earned, on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.
Cam Maron – The 21-year-old catcher continues to rake for the Sand Gnats in 2012. After hitting just .221 in the month of April, and then .263 in May, Maron went on a tear hitting .397 in June, .288 in July, and .325 so far in August. For the year he is batting .299 with four homers and 40 RBI, in 311 at-bats. In his last ten games, he is 11-for-34 with three runs, a double, a triple, seven RBI, and five walks, for a slash-line of .324/.415/.412.
Marco Camarena – The righty swingman was added to the rotation on July 29th but got roughed up pretty good in his first two starts. He picked up his first win in a month on Wednesday night, going 5.0 innings against Lexington and only giving up two unearned runs on four hits, with three walks and four strikeouts. For the year the 6’3″ 21-year-old right-hander has a record of 7-4 with a 3.14 ERA. He has pitched 83.0 innings over 27 games, eight of which have been starts, giving up 79 hits, eight home runs, with a K/BB ratio of 59/15, and a 1.13 WHIP.
T.J. Chism – Buffalo closer Fernando Cabrera leads the Mets system with 19 saves, do you know who is in second place in the system with 18 saves? If you guessed T.J. Chism then you were right. Last year’s closer at Brooklyn is having a tremendous season this year in the South Atlantic League, and could be having the best season statistically, of any reliever in the system. In 47.0 innings over 42 games, he is 4-2 with a 2.11 ERA and 18 saves. His K/BB ratio is 39/13, his WHIP is 1.13, and he has only given up one home run this season.
The Cyclones lost their games on Wednesday and Thursday, but were off for the first half of this week for the NYPL All-Star break and they sent a contingency of four players, all pitchers, to participate. Let’s check out how they fared in the miniature version of the mid-summers classic.
Luis Mateo – The unofficial “ace” of the Brooklyn staff started the All-Star game for the National League squad. He pitched the first inning retiring the side in order. He struck out the lead-off hitter looking, got the second hitter on a grounder to first with Mateo covering, and fanned the number three hitter swinging.
John Mincone – Jamestown right-hander Nick Wittgren replaced Mateo for the second inning, and induced the first batter to fly-out to RF. After the fifth hitter in the order for the Americans, DH Joe Sever, singled to center, National League manager Angel Espada pulled the righty, and replaced him with Brooklyn south-paw and local product, John Mincone from Huntington, NY. Mincone went two-thirds of an inning, and struck out both batters he faced swinging. The Cyclone reliever wound up getting the win in the game when the Nationals defeated the Americans by a final score of 8-1.
Hansel Robles – The other Cyclone “ace” this season, Robles, came on to replace Mincone in the third inning for the National League squad. The first batter he faced grounded out third-to-first. The second batter popped out to the catcher in foul ground. Then with two out, second-baseman Thomas Coyle roped a triple into right-field, but he would remain stranded on third when Robles got the next hitter to ground out to first-base.
Gabe Ynoa – And finally the fourth Cyclone participant in the All-Star game got into the fray when he came on to pitch the seventh inning with his team up 3-0. The 19-year-old righty quickly fanned the first two batters he faced before allowing a single up the middle. He then got the next batter on a fly-ball to center to end his night.
John Gant - The 6’3″ 20-year-old right-hander has been the most consistent pitcher on the Kingsport staff this season and he turned in another quality outing on Wednesday night against the Johnson City Cardinals. Hurling 6.0 innings and giving up just an unearned run on six hits, two walks, a wild-pitch, and five strikeouts, he improved his record on the year to 3-2, and lowered his ERA to 4.80.
Matt Budgell – The 19-year-old right-hander picked up his first professional win on Tuesday night against Johnson City. Right-hander Andrew Massie had started the first game of the double-header, but lasted only four innings giving up two runs, one earned on five hits. Budgell fired the final three innings on the night, giving up a hit and striking out two to pick up the win and even his record at 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA on the year. He was drafted in 2011 by the Mets in the tenth round out of Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California.
Jorge Rivero – Rivero has been showing his usefullness this year by playing all over the infield and outfield for the K-Mets. But it is his bat that has been doing all the talking. For the month of August, in 62 at-bats the 23-year-old Rivero has a slash-line of .403/.400/.565. In his last ten games, he is hitting even better at .439/.419/.561.
Yeixon Ruiz – The 21-year-old switch-hitting second-baseman has been heating up with the bat as the season wears on. Over his last nine games, Ruiz has a slash-line of .366/.409/.463 with seven runs, a double, a home run, and six RBI. For the year, in 109 at-bats, he is hitting .248 with a homer and 13 RBI.
Anthony Chavez – The 19-year-old infielder is opening up some eyes with his play over the last week or two. His bat has woken up and he is starting to contribute to the K-Met offense. Over his last nine games, Chavez is 13-for-30 with seven runs, one double, one triple, six RBI, six walks, and four stolen bases. His slash-line over those nine games is .433/.528/.533. The only thing Chavez needs to focus on at this point is cutting down on his strikeouts as he has already fanned 39 times this year in 114 at-bats.
Maikis De La Cruz – The K-Met center-fielder made this edition purely because of what he did on Wednesday against Johnson City. His line for the night: 4-for-5 with two doubles, one triple, and four RBI.
Craig Hansen - On Wednesday the Cyclones activated 6’6″ 28-year-old former big-league right-hander Craig Hansen who was signed to a free-agent minor league contract on July 24th. Hansen was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round (26th overall) of the 2005 MLB Draft, out of St. John’s University. He was in the three-team trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to Boston in 2008. Originally from Glen Cove, NY, Hansen has appeared in 95 major league games over parts of four seasons for the Bosox and the Pirates between 2005 and 2009. He has a lifetime record in the bigs of 4-9, with a 6.34 ERA, and three saves. His K/BB/Hits/9 for his career is 6.7 K’s, 6.1 walks, and 9.4 hits, per nine innings. He has not pitched since the 2010 season. In 2009, Hansen was diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner syndrome, a rare condition causing pain, weakness, and numbness in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. Recovery can be total, but can take as long as five years. When Hansen pitched in 12 minor league games in 2010, he was not at full effectiveness, and the Pirates released him in early 2011. He pitched in his first game for Brooklyn on Wednesday night against Tri-City, tossing the eighth inning and allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk.
Rob Johnson – The catcher was sent back to the Bisons on Wednesday when the Mets activated newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach. In 52 at-bats with the Mets this year the 30-year-old backstop hit .250 with two doubles and four RBI.
Pedro Beato – Pedro we hardly knew ye! The hard throwing 25-year-old righty emerged as a major disappointment to the Mets and their fans after his outstanding start to the 2011 season. The 2012 season made it all too clear that 2011 was a fluke, as the former Rule 5 acquisition battled arm-weakness and looked like a shell of his former self. Even at Buffalo this year he was wildly inconsistent, and the experiment finally ended on Thursday when it was announced he was going to be the PTBNL in the Kelly Shoppach deal. This year at Buffalo in 37.0 innings over 24 games, he went 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA, and a 27/11 K/BB ratio. In his last ten games he was 1-2 with a 7.41 ERA. For the Mets in 2012 the 6’4″ right-hander went 4.1 innings over seven games, and gave up five earned runs on five hits, with two walks and five strikeouts for a record of 0-0, and a 10.38 ERA. Boston assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Scott Patterson – Last Saturday the Bisons placed recent acquisition Scott Patterson on the D.L. with an undisclosed injury. After signing with the Mets at the beginning of August the 6’7″ right-hander appeared in just two games for the Herd, tossing 1.2 innings and giving up four earned runs on seven hits, and absorbing the loss in a game against Syracuse on August 6th.
Garrett Olson – The veteran lefty passed through waivers and was activated by Buffalo on Tuesday. While with the Mets the 28-year-old swing-man pitched just one-third of an inning giving up four earned runs on a walk, and three hits.
Dylan Owen - The right-handed swing-man was put back on the D.L. on Tuesday with an unknown injury. He came off the D.L. just last Saturday and got into both games over the weekend against the SWB Yankees throwing 1.2 innings combined, giving up one run, and picking up the loss in Saturday’s game. For the year the 26-year-old is 4-9 with a 6.05 ERA at Triple-A.
Adam Kolarek – Was sent back to St. Lucie on Tuesday after pitching poorly his first go-round in Double-A. In 6.1 innings over six games, the big left-hander went 2-0 with a save, however he struggled with his command and was hit rather hard. He gave up four earned runs on ten hits and two home runs, with four walks and eight strikeouts. Many prospects run into a bit of a wall with their first taste of Double-A, righty Adrian Rosario is another recent example. I wouldn’t worry about any long-term negative effect with this move and fully expect to see the 23-year-old Kolarek back at Double-A by the start of next season. He got his 16th save of the season for St. Lucie with a scoreless ninth inning on Thursday night to preserve a 7-5 win for Angel Cuan.
Edgar Ramirez – The big right-hander was activated off the D.L. by Binghamton on Tuesday. Between the Bingo and Buffalo bullpens this season, he is a combined 1-2, with a 4.87 ERA, in 40.2 innings.
Tyler Pill – Tyler Pill left his last start on August 9th after just 2.0 innings with what has been described as “tightness in his forearm.” He was placed on the D.L. last week, with what is now being called triceps tendinitis. It is unclear how long he will be out, or whether he will return for the post-season. The combined numbers between Savannah and St. Lucie for the 2011 4th round draft pick, stand at 9-5, with a 2.31 ERA in 113.0 innings over 20 games. He gave up 109 hits, five home runs, 22 walks and struck out 105.
Ismael Tijerina – The Sand Gnats activated the slick fielding shortstop off the D.L. on Wednesday. After hitting .259 for Kingsport in 116 at-bats in 2010, and .223 in 157 at-bats for Brooklyn last year, the soon-to-be 23-year-old has had a wasted 2012 season so far, spending much of it on the D.L. or the Savannah bench. In just 25 at-bats this year, over nine games he has just one hit for an .040 batting average, with seven walks and three runs scored.
Xorge Carrillo – To make room for Tijerina, the Gnats placed the 23-year-old catcher on the D.L. on Wednesday. For the season in 11 games, Carrillo is 6-for-39, with two runs, one home run, and four RBI, for a .154 batting average.
Well that wraps up this edition of MMO’s Mets Minors Beat, I hope you enjoyed it. In case you are just tuning in, this feature is an MMO exclusive that comes out every Monday and Friday, throughout the remainder of the Mets minor league season. We will be bringing you facts and insights, and making mention of notable performances throughout the system, as well as comings-and-goings from the transaction wire. We’ll see you right back here on Monday morning to get you all caught up with anything you might have missed over the weekend. LGM!