Mets Merized Online » Minor League Stuff Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:07:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Promote Conforto, Rosario, Urena To Savannah Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:29:14 +0000 michael conforto

The Mets have promoted outfielder Michael Conforto to Single-A Savannah as the Sand Gnats head to the playoffs.

Joining the 2014 first-rounder will be his Brooklyn Cyclones teammates shortstop Amed Rosario and third baseman Jhoan Urena.

Conforto batted .331/.403/ .448 with three home runs, 10 doubles, 30 runs and 19 RBI in 42 games with Brooklyn.

Urena batted .300/.356/.431 with five home runs, 20 doubles, and 47 RBI in 75 games for Brooklyn.

Rosario batted .274/.320/.372 with two home runs, 11 doubles, 6 triples, seven stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 75 games for Brooklyn and Savannah.

Very happy to see these three excellent prospects rewarded for their fine seasons.

Go Gnats!

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Prospect Watch: Molina’s Secondary Pitches, Rosario’s Improving Approach Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:00:20 +0000 Saturday night I had the pleasure of catching a game between two of the New York Penn League’s best teams, the Tri City Valley Cats and the Mets’ own Brooklyn Cyclones. Let me tell you MMO, we can begin to get excited about a couple farmhands on that roster, specifically Marcos Molina and Amed Rosario.

Marcos  MolinaI expected to be impressed by Molina, based on the glowing scouting reports and his numbers this season. After his 10-strikeout performance, I certainly was. However, it wasn’t his 90-92 mph fastball that wowed me. I found his slider and changeup to be particularly special considering his age and level. The slider moved down and away from righthanded hitters and made several Tri City players look completely overmatched. The pitch was thrown around 82-84 mph. Molina’s change was thrown in the mid-70s and had excellent sink down the strike zone. He appeared to throw it equally to batters on both sides of the plate.

In the midst of this breakout season, Molina has upped his strikeout to walk ratio from 3.07 in 2013 to 5.06 this year. His walk rate, a particular concern with any young pitcher, has also improved from 2.36 last year to 2.12 walks per nine this season. We will certainly hear more from Marcos “La Maquina” Molina.

I was looking forward to watching shortstop Amed Rosario as well. I’d read many a glowing report on the young man’s talent, character and work ethic. After watching him this weekend, I have to say I am very impressed.

Rosario is listed at 6’2″ and 170 pounds, a sturdy athlete by any standard. But his movement around the infield is fluid and effortless. At 18 years of age, much can change physically. That said, I would be surprised if Rosario had to move from shortstop.

Amed  Rosario (Photo by Jim Mancari)

What most impressed me was a play in the early innings. A Tri City batter hit a hard ground ball past Molina toward the second base bag. I was sure the ball was destined for center field. Like a cat, Rosario glided effortlessly to the ball, scooped it up and made a running throw to first base for the out.

At the dish, Rosario was even more impressive. He had two hard-hit doubles on the evening, though his first hit should have been a triple. The runner ahead of him on base fell rounding third and had to retreat to the bag, forcing Amed to stay at second base. Both hits rocketed off his bat. Michael Conforto‘s ninth inning homerun notwithstanding, I’d say that Rosario hit the ball with more authority than any Cyclones hitter.

All this aside, Rosario is several years from Citi Field. But there is reason to be very excited about the young man’s future. He’s improved from last year and he’s playing in a league where he is about two years younger than the average NYP league player. His strikeout rate per plate appearance has gone from an unhealthy 19% in 2013 down to 15.7% this year. In addition, Rosario has upped his walk rate from 4.9% to 5.9% in a year. His 2013 on-base plus slugging average of 637 has climbed to 715 this year. All proof positive that Amed Rosario is developing nicely.

I won’t go as far as to say the future is bright. But it’s a sunnier forecast than 2014, that’s for sure.

(Photos by Jim Mancari, MMO)

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Cyclones Eliminated As Playoff Hopes Went Down to the Wire Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:26:10 +0000 Beginning the last day of the season, the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Connecticut Tigers were locked in a tie for the only New York-Penn League Wild Card slot.  Connecticut held the tiebreaker, meaning Brooklyn needed both a win and a Tiger loss to make it to the playoffs.  The dust finally settled three hours after the Tigers started their final game of the season on on a Monday night to remember for New York – Penn League fans.

cyclones 2Let’s start with Brooklyn’s game, which was a must-win if the team wanted any chance at a playoff berth. After Casey Meisner for the Clones and Sean Carley for the Yankees threw up zeroes in inning number one, Brooklyn struck first in the top of the second. With runners on second and third, and two outs, Jean Rodriguez singled on a grounder to right field. Jhoan Urena scored from third, but 20 year-old Austin Aune nailed Tomas Nido at the plate to limit the damage to one run.

Meanwhile in Norwich, the Lowell Spinners were giving the Connecticut Tigers everything they could handle.  After Chase Edwards and Kevin McAvoy, both the aces of their staffs, chalked up three shutout innings for the Tigers and Spinners respectively, Jordan Betts put a jolt into the Lowell offense.  Leading off the fourth inning, Betts lined a homer over the left field fence, putting the Spinners up by one.  This blast was just the beginning of a productive fourth inning, as the Red Sox affiliate would tack on two more runs in the frame.

In the bottom of the fifth, Tigers’ star Brett Pirtle knocked a line drive double to the right field wall, scoring 2014 1st rounder Derek Hill.  Lowell answered right back in their next turn at bat, when Mike Meyers hit a sacrifice fly to right fielder Ben Verlander.  Both teams would score once more in their next turns at the dish, and after six and a half innings the Spinners were leading 5-3.

Back in Brooklyn, things were looking up heading into the eighth inning.  The Cyclones were controlling the game against their crosstown rivals: Brooklyn was leading 3-0 with only six outs remaining.  However, in the bottom of the eighth, the Staten Island Yanks would finally get something started.  Isaias Tejeda led off the frame with a double by the left fielder Michael Conforto.  After both Austin Aune and Vincente Conde had unproductive at-bats, the lineup turned over to leadoff hitter Collin Slaybaugh who got a pitch he liked and drove it into right field, closing the gap to only two runs.  After Bill Fleming grounded out to shortstop, the game would head into the ninth, and final, inning.  With the Spinners leading and Brooklyn dominating the Yanks, the Cyclones were in a prime position to grab the coveted playoff spot.

Entering the seventh inning, Lowell had a comfortable two run lead over Connecticut.  And after Derek Hill led off the bottom of the seventh by striking out, it seemed the Spinners were going to spoil Connecticut’s playoff hopes once again.

But the Tigers’ youngsters never said die.  Will Maddox reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Cisco Tellez. Then Brett Pirtle singled to left, with Maddox moving first to third on the play.  Anxious over a potential comeback, Spinners’ right-hander Kuehl McEachern proceeded to throw a wild pitch, which scored Will Maddox from third.  After a Steven Fuentes struck out, third baseman Joey Pankake stepped up to the plate.  The 2014 7th round draftee did not disappoint, lacing a line drive single to score Mike Meyers from third.  After seven innings, this crazy game was knotted at five apiece.

cyclones 3The fans at MCU Park were feeling good about their team’s playoff chances.  Although the Tigers had just tied the Spinners, the Cyclones only had three more outs to get in order to win their final game of the season.  Kelly Secrest, sporting a 1.82 ERA in 24 innings with Brooklyn, was called upon to close the game for the Cyclones. The 22 year-old southpaw easily sent the Yankees down 1-2-3, with the final two batters striking out swinging.  The Cyclones’ playoff fate now hung in the balance of a game being played over 140 miles away.

In Norwich, lock-down reliever Gage Smith came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Tigers.  Smith sent the Spinner batters down in order, allowing his team a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Carlos Pinales came in to face Franklin Navarro in the bottom of the eighth inning.  Navarro had seen Pinales one week earlier, when he hit a grand slam off the right-handed hurler.  Unfortunately for Pinales, history repeated itself.  After fouling off a pitch straight back to the backstop, Navarro lifted a home run over the right field fence, giving the Tigers their first lead of the night.  After giving up the long bomb to Navarro, Pinales lost his composure.  He walked the next two batters, and gave the runners second and third thanks to a failed pickoff attempt.  After Derek Hill failed to lay down a bunt, Pinales buckled down and struck out the struggling center fielder.  Then the Lowell bench made a questionable call.  They beckoned the righty to intentionally walk leadoff hitter Will Maddox, which loaded the bases, so he could face Brett Pirtle, who was 2-4 on the day.  Pirtle made the Spinners pay in a big way, clearing the bases with a three-run line drive double down the right field line.  Connecticut was now leading 9-5 heading into the ninth inning, and Brooklyn’s playoff hopes had all but faded at this point.

Gabe Hemmer, with his impressive 2.13 ERA, was brought in to close down the game for the Tigers.  The inning started off well, with Hemmer striking out leadoff batter Mike Meyers for the first out of the frame.  However, the Spinners were not going to go down easy.  The next man up, David Sopilka, singled on a hard line drive to left field.  Hemmer, who boasted an impressive 1.5 BB/9 entering the game, fed the Lowell rally by walking outfielder Bryan Hudson, which moved Sopilka to second.  Deiner Lopez continued the comeback by ripping a double in the center field gap, scoring the runner from second.  The Spinners now had men on second and third with just one out.  Next, Mauricio Dubon hit a deep fly ball to center field, which scored Hudson from third base but left the Spinners down to their final out of the season.

tigersWith the score at 9-7, Jordan Betts, who previously homered in the game, stepped up to the plate in hopes of tying the ballgame with one swing.  However, Betts’ hopes would not come to fruition, as the former Blue Devil hit a routine pop-fly to second baseman Brett Pirtle.  After a valiant comeback attempt, it looked like the Spinners had come up just short.  Shockingly, Pirtle flat-out dropped the fly ball, scoring the runner from third and cutting the Tiger lead in half.  Hemmer went on to walk Nick Moore, which put the tying run in scoring position.  With Joseph Monge batting, the Spinners successfully pulled off a double steal, meaning a base hit would put the team ahead.  With two outs and the game on the line, Monge popped up to second baseman Brett Pirtle, who this time caught the ball.

The Connecticut Tigers had clinched a playoff victory in nail-biting fashion, leaving Brooklyn at home in the process. September 1, 2014 will go down as one of the greatest nights in the New York-Penn League’s history.  I can only hope next year’s final game will carry the same excitement.

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Prospect Pulse: LHP Dario Alvarez Gets The Call Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:25:18 +0000 dario alvarez

Here is a reposting of an article I wrote about Alvarez last month that includes quotes from pitching coach Mark Valdes. Enjoy.

July 9 – Dario Alvarez Is On The Move

On Monday, left-hander Dario Alvarez was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, the second time this season he’s copped that honor.

The 25-year-old Dominican native has not allowed an earned run in his last 22 innings pitched, spanning seven appearances.

For the season, Alvarez has posted a 0.87 ERA and 0.981 WHIP in 16 appearances which includes six starts.

Alvarez, who was initially signed by Philadelphia in 2007, has been nothing short of remarkable since the Mets signed him in 2013 on the advice of their Dominican scouts who spotted him playing Winter Ball in Venezuela.

He made 12 starts for Short-Season Brooklyn in 2013, going 2-4 with a 3.10 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 58 innings. But it was his work with pitching coach Marc Valdes last summer, that would transform Alvarez into the pitcher he is today.

Valdes worked with Alvarez on improving the consistency of his delivery without sacrificing any of his stuff or the deception of how he throws.

“That slider, it looks like it’s going to stay in one area, one zone, and then it just disappears. It cuts down hard and away to his glove side. When he stays behind it and gets on top of it, gets that elbow up, it’s pretty crisp.”

“He’s a little better than he was last year,” Valdes said. “He’s made some strides mechanically.”

The results are hard to argue with, Alvarez has worked out of the bullpen and the rotation for the Sand Gnats, but his effectiveness has been a constant in both roles.

In 52.0 overall innings, he’s allowed just 38 hits and 12 walks while striking out 86 batters – that’s the second most among all Mets minor leaguers. His 14.9 strikeout per nine-innings rate is among the best in the league and he does that while maintaining an impressive 2.2 walk rate.

Look for Alvarez to quickly advance with a promotion to Advanced-A St. Lucie any day now.

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Prospect Spotlight: Marcos Molina’s Breakthrough Season Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:38:00 +0000 marcos molina

Everyone who follows baseball intently knows that it is the most rigorous sport when it comes to making it to the majors after being signed or drafted. Players must perform at several levels of the minors before they are given an opportunity to finally show their skills in the big show.

One prospect has been lighting up the New York Penn League all season and has flown under the radar thus far. Sure, it is tough to project a 19-year old kid. Yes it is only short-season. Still, when a player has such a pronounced skillset, it cannot go ignored and unnoticed.

The prospect in this case is right-hander Marcos Molina, the ace of the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Molina has been perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the league this season, earning the starting nod in the league’s All-Star Game.

Molina is the only starting pitcher in the league with a sub 2.00 ERA, coming in at 1.77. He has proved his ability to put away batters with his arsenal, tallying 91 strikeouts so far this season (to put it into perspective, the next qualifying pitcher has 67 strikeouts). Perhaps even more impressive than the K’s is his league best 0.84 WHIP. Control is often hard to come by for 19-year old pitchers.

A two-seam fastball is the go-to pitch for Molina that sits around 91-93 with lots of natural movement. While scouting reports have indicated that his changeup is a plus pitch, his slider might be the most improved offering he has this season.

“He has thrown it (the slider) to both lefties and righties and gotten called strikes and swings & misses with it,” Stuart Johnson said, the Cyclones radio play-by-play broadcaster.

Keep in mind, that despite leading the NYPL in many of the top pitching metrics, Molina is 2.5 years younger than the average player in the league. It makes his breakthrough season all the more impressive.

“Molina is very athletic and competitive,” Johnson said. “He takes his conditioning very seriously and fields his position well. He is very quick to home plate which makes him tough to run on.”

Johnson also pointed out that Molina tends to be a bit top-heavy, or in other words, he doesn’t use his legs much in his delivery. Throwing like this can sometimes put excess strain on the arm.

The Dominican native did not disappoint on Saturday, striking out 10 batters, his third double-digit strikeout game in his last four outings. Additionally, Molina has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 of his 12 starts this season and is holding the league to a .174 batting average.

This exciting prospect has certainly earned a promotion, but it’s late in the minor league season and he’ll likely stick with the Cyclones for their playoff series.

Molina is definitely someone to watch as the young righty advances through the Mets system. Yet another promising arm in a Mets farm system full of them.

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MMO Exclusive: Dilson Herrera Goes From Big Dreams To Big Leagues Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:34:19 +0000 herrera

Wow, what a dramatic change of events for the Mets on Thursday night, first Daniel Murphy goes on the DL and then the Mets catch everyone off guard and call up top prospect Dilson Herrera.

When I first heard the news, I was shocked and not because Herrera does not deserve the opportunity, oh he definitely does, but because the Mets actually thought enough of his amazing season to jump him straight from Double-A.

I spoke with Dilson last night after finding out the news and he was just so thankful that his dreams are finally becoming a reality. But from what I have witnessed from spending time with him and just chatting about baseball and life, was that he has a confidence that I have never seen before in a player so young and he knows in his mind that he belongs in the majors.

The Mets bring up a player that has played exciting baseball in both Advanced-A St. Lucie and then got better at Binghamton. For his reward, he’ll now showcase his amazing talent on the big stage and what better place to do that than New York City.

What he isn’t is a flashy player. What he is is a player with a solid bat that can turn on a fastball and drive it. He can also take the ball the other way and knows how to get on base. He plays good defense, gets the job done, and has proven to be a winner.

I am very excited about this move and looking forward to seeing him perform in the show. Also with Herrera being the first Colombian native to don a Mets uniform, Citi Field should be rocking again very shortly.  The team will not be in contention this season, but with a few more moves the future is going to be brighter than ever.

Below is an interview I conducted with Herrera this past season..

When the Mets knew that their 2013 season wasn’t going anywhere, they decided to unload two main players, Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates, hoping that in return they would receive some future value to the organization. What they did receive would not pay any dividends for years to come, but it was a way to continue to solidify their farm system with additional talented ballplayers.

In last summers trade with the Pirates, the Mets brought in relief pitcher Vic Black and middle infielder Dilson Herrera, and even though Black may have been the player to make an immediate impact to the big league roster, Herrera could actually be the most significant part of the deal.

Herrera signed an international contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates at 16 years old. I asked him if they were the only team that showed interest in him, “I tried out with a few organizations and wasn’t sure who I would sign with, but the Pirates showed the most interest, so I decided I would sign with their organization,” he says.

While growing up in his native land of Colombia, both his father and grandfather played baseball and he tells me that he owes his talents to his upbringing, “My family has always loved baseball, and because my father played the game, he was able to show me how to play the right way.”

Before signing a contract to play professional baseball, Herrera was molded to be a shortstop and he even emulated how Jimmy Rollins played the position. But the Pirates had other plans and decided to sign him to play third base. But then after one season they moved him to second base.

Even though Herrera preferred to play short, he tells me that the move to second was a better fit.

“I felt that I was more comfortable playing second base, because shortstop was a bit more difficult to get adjusted to early on and the throws were much longer. But now, I have shown that I am capable of adjusting and playing both positions very well.”

In 2011, the he played his first pro season in the Venezuelan Rookie League for the Pirates and he hit .308/.413/.472 with 19 doubles, five triples, two home runs, and 27 RBI’s. The following season he was promoted to the Pirates’ Gulf Coast team and in 53 games, he batted .281/.341/.482 with seven home runs, and 27 RBI’s. Herrera finished out the 2012 season with a bump to Low-A State College in the NY Penn League and in seven games batted .321/.345/.536.

Herrera would call the South Atlantic League home in 2013, and in 109 games for Single-A West Virginia he batted .265/.330/.421, with 27 doubles, 11 home runs, and 56 RBI’s. His prospect status was on the rise.

During that summer, Herrera represented the Pirates in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field, and became the second-youngest player to ever play in the game.

“It was an amazing experience to be in New York and have an opportunity to play at Citi Field. It was very special to me to be chosen for the game and something I will never forget,” says Herrera.

When the Pirates decided to part ways with the young infielder, initially he says he didn’t take it too well.

“I was a bit confused and down when I was traded to the Mets, because I didn’t understand why the Pirates would trade me especially since they were the first team to sign me. I felt like they were my team.”

For a young kid from another country who was still not comfortable with the English language, leaving the only organization he ever knew was a shock to the system. But the one of the good things that came out of it was the immediate connection he made with the Mets organization.

Pedro Perez, a player within the Mets farm system, knew Herrera from their homeland of Colombia and he played a big part in helping Herrera to adjust to his new organization.

“Pedro was the first person to contact me and welcome me to the Mets and I was very thankful that I had a friend that understood me and could help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings.”

After the trade, Herrera was assigned to Single-A Savannah for the last seven games of the season. He batted .316/.417/.316 with his new club. The move also allowed him to be a part of a team that would capture the 2013 SAL Championship.

“When I arrived in Savannah, the players, especially our manager Luis Rojas welcomed me and instantly made me feel like a member of the team. It was a great feeling to play with a group of guys that were good enough to win the league championship. I was very grateful for the opportunity to not only play but help the team win.”

For a player that is 5’10”, Herrera has displayed some surprising power, belting 22 home runs in three minor league seasons. But his plate approach is not about hitting home runs, but as he says, playing the game the right way. “I like to drive the ball the other way, and I don’t focus on hitting home runs, I just focus on putting the bat on the ball and making things happen,” says Herrera.

Dilson  Herrera Bunting

Herrera oozes with confidence and focuses on producing the best he can from day to day. He tells me that he doesn’t worry about things beyond his control. “My main focus is to do what needs to be done on the field. I can only control that part of my game and I know that in time I will get my opportunity.”

Herrera, who is now playing with Advanced-A St. Lucie in his first full season with the organization, started the year 3-for-17 (.176) in his first five games. But since then he reeled off an 11-game hit streak in which he batted .391 (20 for 51), with three doubles, a triple, home run, five RBIs and four walks.

Overall this season, he has been a catalyst, batting .333/.389/.432, with eight multi-hit games. After seeing his hitting streak come to an on Monday, he started a new one on Tuesday with three hits and one more hit in Wednesday night’s game.

This exciting infield prospect has solidified himself in the lead-off spot for St. Lucie and he is one of the main components in a potent lineup that leads the Florida State League through Wednesday games with a .283 batting average, 99 runs, 190 hits, 92 RBI’s, 267 TB, and a .356 OBP.

“I feel very comfortable playing with St. Lucie and we have a very good team with a great group of talented guys that go out each and every night and compete.”

I had a chance to watch Herrera play from April 17-19, when the Mets visited the Miracle in Fort Myers, and what I witnessed was a very talented ballplayer that could turn on any fastball and drive it with power. His range at the shortstop and second base were flawless and his throws to first were very strong and accurate.

Only 20 years old, Herrera has had an incredible minor league career thus far, producing at every different level he’s played. He’s been dynamic both at the plate and in the field. In a few short years I can see him becoming an impact player on our big league roster. I’m excited for the day he makes his debut and electrifies our lineup.

Interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English for our readers to enjoy.

mmo always believe

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Battery of Syndergaard And Plawecki Dominated On Wednesday Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:33:52 +0000 plawecki-milbThe Mets top 2 prospects (according to Noah Syndergaard and Kevin Plawecki teamed up for an effort worthy of those rankings on Wednesday.

Making his 25th start for the AAA Las Vegas 51′s, Syndergaard made it one of his best. Over 6.2 he struck out 9 and yielded just 1 run on 7 hits. What was most impressive was his command of the strike zone. Of the 110 pitches that Syndergaard threw, 80 went for strikes. This was a purely dominant start for the top prospect.

Syndergaard’s battery mate Plawecki provided just about all the offense the 51′s would need. He launched two home runs into the Las Vegas night, finishing 4 for 4 with 3 RBI’s. Plawecki’s batting average is now .304 and he has emerged as one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball (he is currently ranked 4th by Major League Baseball).

For these two prospects, good fortune may have come at the perfect time. With a potential Bartolo Colon trade and September call-ups just around the corner, both Syndergaard and Plawecki could get their chance in the majors. For now, every member of the 51′s has September 3rd circled. That night they will open up the Pacific Coast League playoffs and unless he’s in Queens, Syndergaard will be on the hill throwing to Plawecki.

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Cyclones Win Wild Walkoff On Hit-By-Pitch Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:44:41 +0000 Scarlyn Reyes turned in 7.0 innings of two-run ball. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Scarlyn Reyes turned in 7.0 innings of two-run ball. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In a game that featured three wild pitches in the same inning leading to a critical run, it was a fitting end that the Brooklyn Cyclones earned a victory on a walkoff bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.

The Cyclones (40-31) needed 11 innings to defeat the Staten Island Yankees 3-2 at MCU Park in Coney Island Wednesday night, but the win keeps Brooklyn 2.0 games ahead of the Connecticut Tigers in the Wild Card race with five games left to play.

Brooklyn rebounded from a rough patch in the middle of the season to now be 25-12 over its last 37 games and has outscored its opponents 169-116 in that stretch. Not surprisingly, this stretch coincides with the addition of Mets’ first-round draft pick Michael Conforto to the lineup.

Conforto was 4-for-5 Wednesday night with a run scored. The team is now 18-2 when he scores at least one run. The first rounder now has 16 multi-hit games this season, including five in his last seven games.

“This was a huge one for us,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa. “They all are at this stage of the game. You can’t say enough about our pitching, which has been good all year.”

Right-hander Scarlyn Reyes made his sixth start of the season, and after surrendering a first-inning run, he settled in nicely over the next five frames.

With the Cyclones leading 2-1 in top of seventh, Reyes wound up striking out the side. However, after giving up a leadoff single, he threw three wild pitches, allowing the tying-run to come around easily.

Reyes finished with seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings but was tagged with a no-decision.

Both teams couldn’t muster anything offensively over the next four innings. Cyclones’ lefty relievers Kelly Secrest, Shane Bay and Brad Wieck turned in another dominant combined relief effort to keep Brooklyn in the game.

The Cyclones loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th inning with only one out. To that point, the team had struggled all game with runners in scoring position.

But it was the 18-year-old Amed Rosario who was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run.

Brooklyn heads upstate Thursday to open a three-game game series against the Tri-City Valleycats, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Houston Astros. Martires Arias takes the ball for Brooklyn looking to improve upon his 2-0 record with a 1.10 ERA. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Cyclones control their own destiny with five games to play. If the team can hold on, the first round of the New York-Penn League playoffs would open Wednesday, Sept. 2 at MCU Park.

“We’re two up with five to play,” Gamboa said. “We just have to keep playing.”

Click here to view the complete box score from this game.

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B-Mets Help Disabled Children Dream and Do Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:52:45 +0000 A Dave Clark D3 (Disability, Dream and Do) Baseball Camp is good for what ails you. It is good for the heart. It is good for the mind. And, it is good for the soul. Walk into a D3 baseball camp feeling a little blue, a little down in the dumps, a little like life isn’t fair and your luck has turned sour and you’ll walk away with an upbeat and refreshed point of view.

dave clarkThe Dave Clark Foundation President Doug Cornfield Sr. likes to call the Dave Clark story the greatest “mostly unknown” professional sports account of our time. Clark, who was stricken with polio as a 10-month old child has built his life on positive possibility. Those possibilities included playing professional baseball.

A minor league pitcher, Dave Clark, pitched for several years in the minor leagues on crutches. Clark tackles every life challenge the same, ‘bust your tail working hard and preparing with no guarantees.’ And, as he told folks in his charge at a recent Disability Dream Day at Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium, “Never limit potential. My parents never told me I couldn’t do anything and always encouraged me to try things. Let loose the leash and allow people to explore. We have limitations but they shouldn’t be limits. You never appreciate anyone’s potential unless you allow them to explore.”

Positive possibility reigned on the baseball diamond on Saturday. The Binghamton Met baseball players assembled as baseball camp instructors manning five stations; toss and catch, fielding, two batting stations and a target practice station with the B-Met players the targets and participants tossing the balls.

“It was a pretty humbling experience all together,” highly touted Met pitching prospect Steven Matz said after playing baseball with the disabled folks at the D3 camp. “I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never heard of Dave Clark. I’m really happy he came and we were a part of his camp, probably as much for me and the other guys as all of the kids.”

Matz’s reaction was typical of the reactions of the other B-Mets. Originally, guarded and somewhat reserved, it didn’t take long for the spirit and enthusiasm of the special needs kids to unleash the kid in the professional baseball players. The result was pure magic.

Matz relished working with the kids. He was the pitcher at a batting station that quickly transformed into a sandlot baseball game. Using an exaggerated Juan Marichal like leg kick and pumping his pitching arm around and around in circles, Matz would slow his motion to float a lollypop like serve toward home plate and simply delight when one of the kids stepped into it.

dave clark 2A young red haired lad named Tim with a buoyant personality was clearly not intimidated facing the flame throwing B-Met lefty. As he approached home plate Tim pointed his bat like Babe Ruth to the spot where he intended to rocket Matz’s pitch, to the hoots and hollers of Matz’s B-Met teammates.

A toss and catch station quickly changed shape becoming a baseball dodgeball game with B-Met pitchers Hansel Robles and newcomer Dario Avarez almost transported to their school yard days, twisting and turning to avoid a barrage of throws from participants. Eventually, Robles and Avarez weren’t afraid to return fire in a rollicking and lively remade baseball exchange.

One of my favorite moments came at the intended baseball target station, always a favorite of the kids. B-Met closer Cody Saterwhite made an inviting scarecrow like target with soft baseballs pelting him from all angles. The kids threw from behind a firing line, but one eager youngster kept inching forward, inching forward, closing in on his favorite target, B-Met outfielder Kyle Johnson. When he was finally almost on top of Johnson, the lad wrapped his arms around Johnson in a tight embrace. A surprised Johnson quickly returned the hug asking, “What’s up. Man?”

The towering relief pitcher Chase Hutchinson had a special knack of communicating with the kids. Like a popular camp counselor, Hutchinson would greet his charges at each station change with high fives and fist bumps directing personal greeting their way. “What’s your name, Big Guy?” “Whoa, you look like a real slugger.” “You ready to slam one a long way,” were typical queries Hutchinson sent the kids way.

As he had last summer, B-Met skipper Pedro Lopez delighted in watching his guys working with the youngsters. “We have to be grateful to the Lord for all the good things we have,” Lopez said when explaining what the day meant to he and his B-Mets. Lopez talked about the individual struggles people shoulder and how special the opportunity to give back and have fun with the kids and their families is for his B-Mets.

B-Met pitcher Tyler Pill had won his ninth consecutive game the night before the D3 baseball camp. Yet, it was working with the disabled kids on Saturday that really helped Pill appreciate how fortunate he and his teammates are to get an opportunity to play baseball at NYSEG. “This is a big day for us, a very special day,” Pill explained. “To see how much the kids enjoy getting a chance to play on this field, to watch how happy they are helps you appreciate how fortunate we are to play here everyday.”

The closing ceremony is a capstone event, an emotional finishing touch to a remarkable day. Team officials mark off a miniature sized baseball diamond down the left field line with the B-Met players standing almost shoulder to shoulder in a ring stretching from first base to third.

One at a time, Conner Gates, the Director of Community Relations for the B-Mets introduces the participants, each youngster to the plate where they select a plastic bat, then step into the batter’s box to face B-Met outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, the honorary pitcher for the day. Every hit is a home run with the kids running the bases to the cheers and chants of the B-Mets and the community volunteers, the sluggers high fiving and fist bumping the players as they make their journey around the bases. Each arrives back at home plate to a safe call where they receive a certificate for taking part in the special D3 baseball day.

Someone once said there are souls in our world who have a special gift in finding joy everywhere and leaving some behind wherever they have gone. Dave Clark and his D3 baseball camp brought a healthy dose of joy for all to share Saturday at Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium, a joy that rises beyond even another record setting B-Met baseball campaign.

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Mets Minors Recap: Reynolds Swipes Two Bases, Seratelli Slams 51′s Past Express Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:40 +0000 Logan Verrett is quite the talented young pitcher.

Logan Verrett won his 11th game of the season Tuesday Night

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Minor League Notes

  • Anthony Seratelli hit his second home run in as many nights.  This time it was a grand slam in the second inning.  Seratelli now has eight RBI in his last two games.
  • Logan Verrett won his 11th game of the season for Las Vegas.  Verrett lasted five innings giving up two runs on four while striking out five.  It was his first win since August 10th.
  • Allan Dykstra scored twice in the 51′s victory over Round Rock on Tuesday night.
  • Matt Reynolds stole two bases for Las Vegas who swiped four as a team.  Reynolds also went 1-for-3 with a double, a RBI, and a run scored.  His season average is now .340
  • Brandon Nimmo continued his hitting streak with a single in each game of the double header.  He was 2-for-7 on Tuesday, and has nine hits total during the streak.
  • Dilson Herrera went 0-for-4 in game one of the double header halting his streak at seven.  He did register a hit in game two hopefully starting up a new one.
  • T.J. Rivera started the first game and collected a hit extending his streak to eight games.  He wasn’t in the lineup for the second game.
  • Maikis De La Cruz picked up two more hits giving him 14 in his last 11 games.  He went 2-for-4 with a double on Tuesday night in St. Lucie’s win.
  • Eudy Pina hit a base-clearing double in the seventh inning on Tuesday for St. Lucie, which proved to be the game-winning runs.  The three RBI give Pina 59 on the season.
  • Matt Koch won his ninth game of the season.  Koch went 7.2 innings striking out eight on Tuesday night.  It was his longest outing of the season, with the eight K’s also a season high.
  • Jon Leroux hit his fourth home run of the season for Savannah in their loss against Augusta.
  • Dominic Smith who has struggled a bit in his last 10 games, hit his first triple of the season.  Smith is hitting just .190 during this stretch.
  • Robert Whalen struck out seven in 6.2 innings in the no-decision on Tuesday night for Savannah.
  • Amed Rosario went 3-for-5 for Brooklyn driving in two runs.  The Cyclones pounded on the Yankees winning 8-2.
  • Michael Conforto went 2-for-5, and now has a multi-hit game in five of his last seven games.  He is hitting .314 on the season.
  • Jhoan Urena added two more RBI to his season total bringing him up to 43 for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
  • Luis Guillorme and Eudor Garcia each had three hits in Kingsport loss to Johnson City on Tuesday night.
  • David Roseboom threw two innings of relief for Kingsport striking out four batters.

Organizational Leaders


1 Dilson Herrera BIN 165
2 Matt Reynolds LV 159
3 T.J. Rivera BIN 152
4 L.J. Mazzilli STL 142
5 Jeff McNeil STL 128

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Alderson On Mets Staying Put In Las Vegas Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:58:27 +0000 cashman-field-vegas

With the Rochester Red Wings officially renewing their agreement with the Minnesota Twins in the International League, the Mets are officially stuck with Las Vegas as their Triple-A affiliate through the 2016 season.

“We’ve been happy in Las Vegas,” Sandy Alderson said Tuesday afternoon. “Some of the distance issues and so forth notwithstanding, we really have had a good relationship there. We haven’t had a lot of problems getting players here or wherever we may be because of the frequency of flights. So there are some positives there.”

Translation: This sucks, but I can’t force affiliates closer to home to like Jeff Wilpon.

August 25

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporter Todd Dewey of the Review Journal, that the Mets are likely to keep their Triple-A team in Las Vegas for two more seasons.

“That’s a very strong possibility,” Alderson said. “We have a great relationship with the 51s organization. I’ve known team president Don Logan a long time, and he runs an excellent operation.”

I’ve got a real good feeling we’re going to be back,” 51s manager Wally Backman added. “I don’t know that for sure, but I think we’ll be back.”

The Mets will probably sign another two-year player development contract with the Triple-A affiliate, according to Alderson.

The Mets moved their Triple-A team to Las Vegas beginning in the 2013 season after Buffalo decided not to renew their agreement with the Mets.

Lets face it, Las Vegas is the armpit of all minor league affiliates and no team wants to be there. The problem is that none of the other affiliates are reaching out to the Mets either, and I’m told by two excellent sources that it’s because they don’t want to work with Jeff Wilpon who was the leading factor as to why Norfolk cut ties with us as well.

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Mets Minors Recap: Las Vegas Tramples Round Rock, Satterwhite Saves 15th Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:38 +0000 plawecki-milb

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Minor League Notes

  • Kevin Plawecki went 2-for-4 for Las Vegas, and is now hitting over .400 in his last 10 games, and has registered a multi-hit game six times during that time frame, and raised his batting average over 30 points.
  • Anthony Seratelli drove in three runs for the 51′s, as they downed Round Rock 9-3 on Monday night.
  • Matthew Bowman made his 6th start in Triple-A, and picked up the win going five innings and striking out six.  Bowman has six or more punch-outs in five straight starts.
  • Rainy Lara pitched 7.2 strong innings enroute to a no-decision on Monday night.  It was Lara’s third out of his last four outings that he lasted at least seven innings.
  • Cody Satterwhite picked up his 15th save for the Binghamton Mets, throwing one inning giving up a hit and striking out one.
  • Brandon Nimmo extended his hitting streak to six games with a 1-for-2 outing in Binghamton’s win.
  • Dilson Herrera went 1-for-4 on Monday night extending his hit streak to seven.
  • T.J. Rivera is borderline unstoppable.  He, like a couple of other teammates, extended his hitting streak to seven games.  Rivera has seventeen hits in his last ten games and his batting .486.
  • Dustin Lawley drove in two runs for Binghamton, giving him 68 RBI on the season.  Lawley who has seen his share of struggles, has six hits in his last three games.
  • Maikis De La Cruz went 3-for-4 for the St. Lucie Mets in their loss on Monday against Charlotte.  De La Cruz has 12 hits in his last 10 games.
  • L.J. Mazzilli continued his torrid pace over his last 10 games.  His 3-for-5 night gives him 15 hits in his last 10 games where he is hitting .395.
  • John Mora snapped his six-game hitting streak with an 0-for-4 night in Brooklyn’s loss to the Staten Island Yankees.  Mora had 10 hits during that span and has hit .324 in his last 10 games.
  • Michael Conforto added two more hits to his first professional season.  To date he has 41 hits in 35 games for the Cyclones.

Organizational Leaders

Earned Run Average

1  Marcos Molina BRK 1.56
2 Corey Oswalt BRK 2.04
3 Steven Matz BIN 2.19
4 John Gant SAV 2.59
5 Robert Gsellman SAV 2.67

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Will We See Steven Matz In Queens In 2015? Mon, 25 Aug 2014 20:33:18 +0000 Jeff Roberson Associated Press  steven matz

Steven Matz tossed five quality innings for the Binghamton Mets Sunday afternoon, and now has a 0.36 ERA over his last four starts.

Between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton this season, Matz possesses a 10-8 record, with a 2.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over a span of 135.2 innings.

Matz, 23, was a second round draft pick for the Mets out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, NY in 2009.

However, Matz underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2010, dealt with some complications, and didn’t pitch professionally until the 2012 season.

Since then, Matz has done nothing but impress, as he has breezed through the Mets system and is dominating yet again this year in Binghamton

If this torrid pace he is on continues, one has to wonder, will he get the call sooner rather than later? I think he will.

With Matz being the top southpaw in the Mets system and now dominating at one of the higher levels, one has to imagine he will be in Queens come next year, especially if Jon Niese, our only current left-hander in the rotation, is moved this season or early next year.

I don’t see Matz making the team out of Spring Training next season, but I can see him getting called up around the same time Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero got called up this season.

Matz is a guy to keep your eye on, for he is the top lefty in our system and is ranked only third behind Noah Syndergaard and Montero on the Mets Top 20 Prospect list.

(Photo: Bryan Green)

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Mets Minors Recap: Vaughn Homers Again, Rivera On A Tear With B-Mets Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:28:33 +0000 vaughn

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Minor League Notes

  • Cory Mazzoni is now 5-1, after tossing 7 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out eight for the victory.
  • Chasen Bradford saved his fifth game for Vegas, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.  Bradford has not given up a run in four straight appearances.
  • Cory Vaughn homered in his second straight game and finished 2 for 3, with two runs scored and three RBI’s. He also has nine RBI’s in his las five games.
  • Matt Reynolds had a single in four at bats and has hit safely in eight of his last ten games batting .366 (15 for 41) in the span.
  • Steven Matz won his sixth game for the B-Mets tossing five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking none, striking out six and lowered his ERA to 2.17.
  • Brandon Nimmo had one double in four at bats and extended his hitting streak to five games.
  • Dilson Herrera had one single in three at bats and extended his hitting streak to six games.
  • T.J. Rivera went 3 for 4 and has five multi-hit games in his last five games batting .650 (13 for 20) in that span.
  • Kevin McGowan won his third game for St. Lucie tossing 6.1 innings, allowing one run in three hits, no walks and striking out two batters.
  • Gavin Cecchini was 2 for 4, with a double.
  • Yeixon Ruiz had one single in four at bats and has hit safely in nine of his last ten games.
  • Marcos Molina won his seventh game against just two losses, by throwing 6.2 innings and allowing one run on one hit, walking five, striking out eight and lowered his ERA to 1.56.
  • Michael Conforto was 2 for 5, with two runs scored and three RBI’s and now batting .307 for the Cyclones.
  • John Mora was 3 for 4, with three runs scored and extended his hitting streak to six games with Brooklyn.
  • Vicente Lupo was 2 for 4 and extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Organizational Offensive Leaders


1 Allan Dykstra LV .424
2 Matt Reynolds LV .413
3 John Mora BRK .410
4 Matt den Dekker LV .407
5 Brandon Nimmo BIN .405

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Looks Like Syndergaard Will Not Be Called Up In September Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:45:46 +0000 noah syndergaard

On Friday night, Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, in six innings of work for Triple-A Las Vegas.

It now appears more and more likely that Syndergaard will not pitch in the majors in 2014.

“The results are just not there,” a Mets source told the Daily News on Friday. “We know he’s talented, but we just aren’t seeing the results yet. He’s young and it shows.”

Syndergaard has a 4.85 ERA in 24 starts for Las Vegas this season and has often claimed that he needs to become more consistent before he could confidently say he was ready to pitch in the big leagues.

Two weeks ago, pitching coach Frank Viola suggested that the Mets leave the 21-year old at Triple-A where he can continue developing as a pitcher. He believed that promoting him before he was mentally and physically ready can end up backfiring at a critical stage in a young pitcher’s development.

Additionally, Syndergaard has already has logged 124.1 innings – seven innings more than last season despite two separate stints on the disabled list including once for a strained forearm.

Terry Collins had this to say on Saturday. “He’s got to be a little more consistent. He’s had some good games. He’s had some rough games.”

Look… As I’ve maintained all season long, there really is no need to rush Syndergaard at this stage of the game.

However, I do find it appalling that so many people, including Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, believe Syndergaard should be promoted simply because it would be exciting for the fans.


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Will We See Matt Reynolds In September? Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:21:25 +0000 I couldn’t help paying a little extra attention last night when Gary Cohen brought up the subject of shortstop after Wilmer Flores committed his second error of the game which led to three unearned Dodgers runs. What struck me as odd was when he downplayed the Mets promoting Matt Reynolds because he isn’t on the 40 man roster and that the Mets will likely need those spots to address other players they don’t want to risk losing in the Rule 5 Draft.

I completely get what Cohen was referring to, and you know what, to a certain extent he’s actually right. However the Mets will have until late November to lock in that 40 man roster, and for the time being their bigger priority is sorting out this current problem at shortstop.

wilmer floresLook, I’m not going to sit here this morning and pile on Wilmer Flores because he had a bad night in the field. Defensively, he’s shown off a solid arm and despite poor lateral range, he’s even made an occasional spectacular play.

But I think it’s very clear now that his future does not lie at shortstop. He simply does not possess the instincts that the position demands and you end up holding your breath everytime a ball is hit in his direction.

Hey look, I was one of those who wanted to see what Flores could do with some extended playing time at short, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s happening here. The experts were right, Flores is not a shortstop.

The other thing is Flores’ bat… Where is it? This was his time to show the Mets what he could do and by and large he’s been invisible. What’s concerning to me is that even in those few instances when he gets full extension and hits the ball hard and right on the sweet spot there’s no real power. His line drives frequently fall to the ground like dead quails. He rarely lifts anything past the warning track an there’s absolutely no power or momentum being generated from his lower body. He just stands there at the plate and waves at the ball – he’s all arms.

Anyway, enough on Flores.

matt reynoldsLast night Matt Reynolds continued his torrid pace at the plate going 4-for-4 with a walk to raise his average to .349 for the season. He doubled and stole third base for his 15th swipe of the season.

Through 117 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, Reynolds is hitting .352/.417/.465 with an .882 OPS. Over his last ten games for Vegas, the 2012 second rounder is batting .422 with two home runs, eight RBI and ten runs scored. 

I think it would be in the Mets’ best interest to get Reynolds up here on September 1st, if only to see if his performance can translate to the majors.

As we enter another offseason of uncertainty – particularly at the shortstop position – it’s imperative that we examine all of our options now, so that we can have as much information as possible before determining how we’ll proceed in 2015.

There’s no telling if Reynolds can continue to rake as he has at this level, but we have nothing to lose in bringing him up and giving this team a charge that it so desperately needs. My hunch is that Reynolds will impress both with his bat and his glove.

“I’m not going to wow you with my power, I’m not going to wow you with my speed,” he said. “But I guarantee that I’ll give it 100 percent and play the game right and play the game hard.”

There’s a lot of Wally Backman in this kid. He’s just as fiery and he can be a catalyst at times. I believe he deserves a shot and that he should be among the players that get called up when rosters expand next weekend.

ATTENTION: MMO is looking to revamp their minor league team. If you love covering the Mets minors and following our prospects, contact me at We’re also looking for a new senior editor to lead our minor league division, someone with a heavy statistical point of view, who enjoys analysis, and is an experienced writer. If you’re passionate about the Mets minor leagues and enjoy writing, drop me a line.

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Herrera Drives In Four, Scores Two, Now Batting .346 Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:21:57 +0000 dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

Dilson Herrera had another great game tonight for Binghamton who beat Akron by a score of 12-3. Herrera finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, four RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.

ESPN’s Keith Law had heaps of praise for the Mets’ 20-year-old second baseman prospect  in an online chat.

Herrera is capable of becoming an above average, every-day, big-league second basemen, and maybe more, he revealed in his weekly chat. He continued, saying “If he ended up on a few All-Star teams, I wouldn’t be shocked.”

Between Single-A and Double-A this season, Herrera has hit .320 with a .378 OBP while hitting 12 home runs and driving in 65 runs. Add in 22 stolen bases and some sound defense up the middle and he has had an incredible all-around season.

Herrera was acquired in the trade that sent John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last season. The Mets also received Vic Black in the deal that is now looking like one of the best we’ve seen from Alderson thus far.

Barring injury, I would expect Herrera to start next season in Las Vegas and he could earn a call to the majors sometime late in 2015.

It is also important to note Herrera’s age and production in context of his peers. He is 4.7 years younger than the average hitter in the Eastern League. And yet his age has not held him from being among the top offensive players in the league thus far.

His production in Binghamton has dwarfed his St. Lucie production. So far in Binghamton, he is producing at a .344/.417/.574 clip with nine homeruns and eight stolen bases while driving in 46 runs. Keep in mind that he has played in 14 less games in AA as well.

All things considered, age, position, and offensive production, I believe Herrera has the potential to be a star in the majors, and he will significantly affect the Mets’ decision-making when it comes time to re-sign or part ways with Daniel Murphy.

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Mets Minors Recap: Puello’s Homer And Muno Slam Lead Vegas To Crown Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:25 +0000 Cesar Puello

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Minor League Notes

  • Daniel Muno hit his 13th home run for a Grand Slam and drove in five runs.
  • Matt Reynolds singled in four at bats and scored two runs and extended his hitting streak to five games.
  • Kevin Plawecki was 2 for 4, scoring two runs, and extending his hitting streak to seven straight games. He is batting .481 (13 for 27) with five multi-hit games in that span.
  • Cesar Puello finished 3 for 3, with two runs scored, two doubles, his fifth home run and drove in two runs.
  • Tomas Nido went 1-for-3 for Brooklyn and now has a healthy 10-game hitting streak.
  • John Mora now has a five-game hitting streak for the Cyclones after going 1-for-2 in Brooklyn’s win over the Yankees.
  • Tyler Moore has now recorded at least one RBI in each of his last four games for Brooklyn.
  • In his final rehab start, Daisuke Matsuzaka went five innings striking out seven, with two hits and two walks.
  • With his 14th save of the season, Shane Bay is now tied for the lead in the New York-Penn League.
  • Yeixon Ruiz RBI on Savannah’s loss to Rome, gives him 12 in his last 10 games.
  • Champ Stuart extended his hit streak to six games after going 1-for-3 Thursday night.

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Who Are The Top Left-Handed Pitchers After Matz? Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Jeff Roberson Associated Press  steven matz

With a dominating season across two levels of the minors, Steven Matz has clearly established himself as the top left-handed prospect in the Mets organization. Matz owns a 9-8 record and an excellent 2.27 ERA in 22 starts for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced Single-A St.Lucie. He has been so successful this season that many believe that he now ranks inside among the top 100 prospects in the game.

Although the Mets do not have another southpaw who has the ability of Matz, they do have several who can become solid contributors. Here is a breakdown of the top 5 left-handed prospects after Matz.

Blake Taylor
Height/Weight: 6’3, 220
Age: 19

The Mets acquired Taylor as a player to be named later in the Ike Davis trade earlier this season, and he appears to be a nice find for New York. Taylor’s fastball sits in the low 90’s, and he has solid secondary offerings with a good curveball and a newly developed changeup. While Taylor has struggled with a 5.13 ERA in Kingsport, this is mainly due to the fact that he is one of the youngest players in the Appalachian League. As he gets older and gains more experience, he has the talent to emerge into a top prospect for New York.

Jack Leathersich
Height/Weight: 5’11, 200
Age: 24

Leathersich quickly became fan favorite due to his exceptional strikeout rates throughout the minor leagues. Leathersich has struck out 324 batters in 192 career innings, which translates into an incredible 15.2 K/9 However, his stock dropped dramatically after a disastrous stint in Triple-A Las Vegas last season where he posted a 7.76 ERA and 29 walks in 29 innings. Leatherisch still has the potential to become a solid reliever despite these struggles, but he needs to show better results in Triple-A soon in order to live up to his former hype.

Dario Alvarez
Height/Weight: 6’1, 170
Age: 25

Alvarez is one of the biggest surprises in the Mets minors this season with a 1.17 ERA and 14.0 K/9 in 69 innings. While he has pitched mostly against weaker hitters in Single-A ball for the Savannah Sand Gnats, his performance this year has been too good to ignore. Alvarez did not allow a single run in 23 of his 26 appearances while pitching for Savannah. The Mets aggressively promoted Alvarez to Double-A Binghamton recently, and his performance there will be pivotal. If he is able to dominate hitters in the Eastern League, he will be an intriguing option for the Mets bullpen in the near future.

Adrian Almeida
Height/Weight: 6”0’, 150
Age: 19

The Mets signed Almeida as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2012. While most fans have not heard of Almeida yet , he has shown a lot of promise this season at the rookie level with the Gulf Coast League Mets. In six starts, he has a strong 1.80 ERA and 9.8 K/9. His control has been problematic though with 21 walks in 35 innings, but he is someone fans should monitor as he climbs up the Mets system.

Darin Gorski
Height/Weight 6”4’, 210
Age: 26

Gorski first grabbed the attention of minor league analysts after being named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year in 2011. For the St. Lucie Mets that season, Gorski posted a 11-3 record with an outstanding 2.08 ERA. In the years that followed however, he has not been as successful. He had a mediocre 4.00 ERA in Double-A in 2012, and was demoted from Triple-A early in the season in 2013 after several sub-par outings. While some consider him a non-prospect because of his age and these setbacks, I think he could prove these skeptics wrong. He is a crafty and intelligent pitcher on the mound, and he has rebounded nicely this season back in Double-A with a 2.22 ERA.

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Dice-K’s The Competition, Picks Up Win In Cyclones’ Rehab Start Fri, 22 Aug 2014 04:36:37 +0000 main

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In front of an over capacity crowd of 8,005 at MCU Park in Coney Island, Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed five scoreless innings for the Brooklyn Cyclones to earn a win in his third rehab start since going on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation July 26.

The Cyclones (36-29) defeated the Staten Island Yankees 2-0 and remain two games ahead of the Connecticut Tigers in the New York-Penn League Wild Card race. It was Brooklyn’s ninth shutout victory of the summer.

The Japanese right-hander struck out seven batters while allowing two hits – both in the first inning – and two walks. He threw 72 pitches – 51 for strikes.

“I’m sure the Mets are going to be very pleased with how he threw, his command, his stuff, and most important of all when he came out after 72 pitches, he said he felt great,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa.

Dice-K said there were no problems with his elbow and that he wanted to use all of his pitches in different situations.

“I just wanted to go out there and pitch well and give the team a chance to win,” said Matsuzaka through a translator.

It seemed that every batter he faced was behind in the count, which was something he was conscious of coming into this start.

side“That’s definitely something that I wanted to do today,” he said. “In my previous experience in rehab starts, the guys (opposing hitters) have tended to be pretty aggressive, so I kept that in mind and wanted to attack them early.”

With his start, Matsuzaka became the 20th Major Leaguer to rehab with the Cyclones and the second to do so this season, with Dillon Gee making two rehab starts in Brooklyn earlier this summer. Dice-K joined Tsuyoshi Shinjo (2001) and Kazuo Matsui (2005) as the only Japanese-born players to rehab with the Cyclones.

Matsuzaka ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the first inning, giving up a leadoff double. The bases wound up being loaded with only one out, but Dice-K retired the next two batters via strikeout en route to striking out the side.

The top of the second saw him strikeout the side again, but he only needed 11 pitches to do so unlike his 27-pitch first inning.

He only threw nine pitches to retire the side in the top of the third. After retiring 10 straight batters, he surrendered a walk in the fourth but then retired the side in order in the fifth to conclude his outing.

The Cyclones’ offense rallied at just the right time to get Dice-K the win. Brooklyn first baseman Pedro Perez lined a one-out double to right center, and the next batter, All-Star right fielder Michael Bernal, stroked an RBI double down the right field line to give the Cyclones a 1-0 lead.

The following inning, Cyclones’ second baseman Tyler Moore plated an insurance run with a two-out RBI single up the middle.

Three lefty Cyclones relievers – Brad Wieck, Kelly Secrest and Shane Bay – combined for four scoreless innings in relief of Matsuzaka. The All-Star Bay is now 14-for-14 in save opportunities this season.

intBrooklyn’s starting pitching has been one of its strengths all season, but in the heat of a playoff race, the timing of having a savvy veteran like Matsuzaka make a rehab start was quite perfect.

“For our team, it was huge,” Gamboa said. “From a development standpoint, we have 17 pitchers on our staff here and for them to get a chance to see an established big leaguer, for them to get a chance to watch him warm up, how he goes about his business, how he pitches, his balance point on the rubber and his ability to take the sting out of a hitter’s swing, I think it was good for our pitchers to see.”

As for Matsuzaka’s return to the big club, he said the decision is not up to him but that he feels ready. In fact, he said he felt ready after his previous start in Binghamton. He said he’s not sure whether he’ll start or come out of the bullpen when he returns, but with a big smile on his face, he made it known that he prefers to start.

The Cyclones remain home to open a three-game weekend set against the Tri-City Valleycats, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Houston Astros. Right-hander Martires Arias takes the bump for Brooklyn at 7 p.m.

Click here to view the complete box score from this game.

All photos by Jim Mancari.

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