Mets Minors Weekly Report: Lagrange On Fire With Kingsport

WEEK IN REVIEW

The Las Vegas 51s (37-61, fourth in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern division) have hit the dog days of summer, as they went 2-6 on their recent homestand.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (52-41, second in the Eastern League Eastern division) swept a four-game series from Reading and split another with Akron, but still find themselves 11.5 games out of first place.

The St. Lucie Mets (44-51, sixth in the Florida State League South division) have won three games in a row two times in the last two weeks, but they continue to sit at the bottom of the standings.

The Columbia Fireflies (51-43, third in the South Atlantic League Southern division) hung 16 runs on Lexington in Wednesday’s noon game.

The Brooklyn Cyclones (10-20, fourth in the New York-Penn League McNamara division) have won three games in a row for the first time since a five-game streak in August 2016.

The Kingsport Mets (11-15, fourth in the Appalachian League West division) continue to put up big numbers in the run column, having scored at least nine runs three times this week, and are averaging almost seven runs per game.

The GCL Mets (5-13, fifth in the Gulf Coast League East division) are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, with their last victory coming on July 9.

The DSL Mets1 (27-16, second in the Dominican Summer League South division) lost on Tuesday for the first time following a nine-game winning streak. They have won 17 of their last 20 ballgames.

The DSL Mets2 (28-12, first in the Dominican Summer League San Pedro division) put up ten runs on Wednesday, thanks to Luis Santana‘s first two home runs as a professional.

METS MINORS NEWS & BUZZ

LHP Thomas Szapucki, the Mets’ fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com, underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in New York, the team announced. Read more here.

RHP Chris Flexen was named the Eastern League’s pitcher of the week for the period ending July 16. In his one start of the week, Flexen allowed one hit over eight shutout innings, striking out nine. In ten starts between Binghamton and St. Lucie, Flexen is 6-1 with a 1.76 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.

OF Jose Miguel Medina and LHP Gunnar Kines were recognized as the New York-Penn League’s player and pitcher of the week for the same period. It was the first time two Cyclones won the award in the same week since July 2012, when IF Cole Frenzel and RHP Luis Mateo were honored. Read more here.

Mets prospects Sebastian Espino and Jhoander Saez combined to go 0-3 with a strikeout in Saturday’s Dominican Summer League All-Star Game.

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS

AVG – Dominic Smith .334 (LVG), Amed Rosario .330 (LVG), Kevin Taylor .315 (BNG), Jhoan Urena .299 (STL), Luis Guillorme .290 (BNG)

OPS – Travis Taijeron .909 (LVG), Dominic Smith .899 (LVG), Amed Rosario .841 (LVG), Jhoan Urena .832 (STL), Jayce Boyd .825 (LVG)

HR – Travis Taijeron 18 (LVG), Dominic Smith 13 (LVG), Peter Alonso 12 (STL), Josh Rodriguez 11 (LVG), Dash Winningham 11 (COL)

RBI – Dominic Smith 64 (LVG), Travis Taijeron 60 (LVG), Michael Paez 58 (STL/COL), Dash Winningham 54 (COL), Amed Rosario 53 (LVG)

SB – Champ Stuart 28 (BNG), Jose Miguel Medina 20 (STL/COL/BRK), Amed Rosario 17 (LVG), Patrick Biondi 15 (BNG), Jhoan Urena 14 (STL), Jacob Zanon 14 (COL/BRK)

STARTER ERA – Merandy Gonzalez 1.54 (STL/COL), Chris Flexen 1.76 (BNG/STL), Jordan Humphreys 1.79 (STL/COL), Corey Oswalt 2.87 (BNG), Nabil Crismatt 3.00 (STL)

RELIEVER ERA – Adonis Uceta 1.32 (COL), Austin McGeorge 1.78 (STL/COL), Max Kuhns 2.10 (COL), Kyle Regnault 2.13 (LVG/BNG), Matt Blackham 2.15 (COL)

SV – Cory Burns 11 (LVG/BNG), Adonis Uceta 11 (COL), Tyler Bashlor 10 (STL), Chasen Bradford 10 (LVG), Johnny Magliozzi 6 (STL), Tim Peterson 6 (LVG/BNG)

WHIP – Chris Flexen 0.82 (BNG/STL), Jordan Humphreys 0.87 (STL/COL), Merandy Gonzalez 0.94 (STL/COL), Marcos Molina 1.17 (BNG/STL), Nabil Crismatt 1.24 (STL)

PROSPECT PULSE

(MiLB.com)

The Mets signed Gunnar Kines on the eve of the 2017 New York-Penn League season from the independent Schaumburg Boomers, and he was thrown right into the fire with the Brooklyn Cyclones. In his first start of the season, the former Marlins draft pick was knocked around for six runs and 11 hits in six innings. He made one more start before heading to the bullpen for two outings, after which manager Edgardo Alfonzo felt comfortable slotting him back into the rotation.

In that start, this past Sunday, Kines was brilliant, twirling six shutout innings while allowing only one hit, striking out three. For his efforts, he was named as the NYPL’s pitcher of the week. For the season, Kines is 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 20 strikeouts to four walks.

Kines spoke with MMN after his stellar outing to discuss his recent performance.


On what has been working for him on the mound…

”I’ve been able to change my pitching mechanics around, which then helped me with my offspeed pitches and being able to locate in and out, rather than just outside.”

On the adjustments he made after his first outing…

“I knew that after that start my approach going in wasn’t what I wanted it to be, so I knew I just had to locate more on the inner half and not let them hit balls that were out over the plate.”

On the experience of this season…

“It’s actually a dream come true. The Mets have always been one of my favorite teams to watch, so it was awesome when I found out I got signed.”

On his side preparation…

“It’s definitely a big routine. I’ve been in the training room every day, and I can’t thank [strength coach Sam] Nickelsen and [trainer Gio] D’Onza enough for doing everything they do for me, and helping me get my arm healthy. It’s definitely been more off the field prep than on the field.”

On the mentality difference in starting vs. relieving…

“It changes a little bit coming out of the ‘pen, because you’re going straight into the game and everyone is already wound up while you’re just getting yourself into it, but you still just have to attack the hitters and get ahead in the count.”

On if recent victories can turn the Cyclones’ season around…

“Oh I believe so. We’ve been right on the edge of winning so many ballgames throughout the whole year, so this is a step in the right direction.”


TRANSACTION REPORT

7/14

Chase Ingram transferred to Columbia from Brooklyn….Edgardo Fermin transferred to Brooklyn from Kingsport….Yadiel Flores assigned to GCL….Oscar Rojas activated from DSL2’s temporarily inactive list.

7/15

Hansel Moreno transferred to Kingsport from GCL….Bryce Hutchinson assigned to GCL.

7/16

Pedro Ventura transferred to GCL from DSL2….Jack Schneider assigned to GCL.

7/17

Luis Mateo transferred to Binghamton from Las Vegas….Chasen Bradford optioned to Las Vegas from New York….Hansel Robles recalled to New York from Las Vegas….Thomas McIlraith placed on Columbia’s disabled list….Placido Torres transferred to Columbia from GCL….Gene Cone placed on Columbia’s disabled list….Edwin German transferred to GCL from Kingsport….Aneury Olivo transferred to Kingsport from GCL.

7/18

Luis Mateo transferred to Las Vegas from Binghamton….Andrew Church transferred to Binghamton from St. Lucie….Austin McGeorge activated from St. Lucie’s disabled list….Luis De Los Santos transferred to Brooklyn from Kingsport….Michael Gibbons transferred to St. Lucie from Brooklyn….Edwin German transferred to Kingsport from GCL.

7/19

Felix Sosa transferred to DSL2 from DSL1.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

After bursting onto the scene with the 2015 DSL Mets, Wagner Lagrange struggled mightily under the Florida sun last season. His batting average of .347 dropped 116 points, his OPS of .822 fell 245 points, and the Sterling Award he won the year prior had no chance of returning. This season has been a return to dominance for the 21-year-old, as is evidenced by his .352/.393/.467 slash line through 24 games, and his 26 runs driven in has already surpassed his 2016 total.

This past week, Lagrange put a beat down on Appy League pitching, as his .400/.441/.667 line and 13 runs driven in garnered our notice. Additionally, his two home runs this week equaled his career total entering the period. After his teammate Edgardo Fermin was promoted to Brooklyn on July 14, it should not be crazy to think Lagrange could earn a trip to join the Cyclones in the near future. Brooklyn’s league-worst offense could sure use the boost.

Our Co-Player of the Week is the powerful Peter Alonso from the St. Lucie Mets. He’s hit six home runs in his last nine games with a 1.000 slugging percentage in that span.

UPCOMING SCHEDULES

Las Vegas: @ Memphis (7/21-24), @ Nashville (25-28)

Binghamton: @ Harrisburg (7/21-23), @ Akron (24-26), New Hampshire (27-30)

St. Lucie: @ Florida (7/21-24), Bradenton (25-28)

Columbia: @ Lexington (7/21), @ Kannapolis (22-25), OFF (26), Augusta (27-30)

Brooklyn: @ Connecticut (7/21-22), Aberdeen (23-25), OFF (26), @ Lowell (27-29)

Kingsport: @ Princeton (7/21-23), Danville (24-26), Burlington (27-29)

GCL: MIA (7/21), @ WSH (22), STL (23), HOU (24), OFF (25), @ MIA (26), WSH (27), STL (28)

DSL1: COL (7/21), @ COL (22), OFF (23), NYY (24), @ NYY (25), MIN (26), OFF (27), @ PHR (28)

DSL2: @ TX2 (7/21), TX2 (22), OFF (23), @ MIL (24), MIL (25), @ PHW (26), OFF (27), PHW (28)

As a reminder, all 51s, Rumble Ponies, and select Fireflies and Cyclones games can be seen on MiLB.tv.

About Jacob Resnick 63 Articles

Jacob Resnick covers the Mets’ minor leagues for Mets Merized and MetsMinors.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Resnick.