Mets Merized Online » Minor League Stuff http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:49:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Mets Minors Report 7/28: Thor Dominates, Conforto Is Sizzling, Alvarez Is Human Afterall http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-728-thor-dominates-conforto-is-sizzling-alvarez-is-human-afterall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-728-thor-dominates-conforto-is-sizzling-alvarez-is-human-afterall.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161791 noah syndergaard - las vegas 51s

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Noah Syndergaard tossed five innings, allowing two runs (1 earned) on five hits, walking two and struck out eight. Even though Thor threw a dominating game, he did not earn the victory. Miguel Socolovich gave up three runs (2 earned) in the top of the 7th inning, to temporarily put the Bees in the lead.
  • Matt Reynolds launched a three-run shot over the left field fence in the 7th inning to put the 51s in the lead for good. Reynolds hit his first Triple A home run on Saturday, making it two straight days.
  • T.J. Rivera singled on Sunday to extend his current hit streak to five games.  In his last ten games, Rivera is batting .395 (15 for 38), with two doubles and seven RBI’s.
  • Rainy Lara (5-4, 4.98) gave up seven runs on 11 hits, giving up two home runs and only struck out one batter.  Lara has not won a decision since June 30, which dates back five starts including Sunday’s loss. In his last ten starts, he is 3-3, with a 5.68 ERA.
  • Jeremy Hefner pitches three innings, allowing three runs on three hits, walking four and striking out four. This was Hefner’s first start with St. Lucie on his comeback trail from Tommy John surgery. He pitched in three games with the Gulf Coast Mets prior to Sunday’s start.
  • Wilfredo Tovar started for St. Lucie in the doubleheader, is first two games with St. Lucie since coming off the DL, and a combined 1 for 7, with an RBI.
  •  Dario Alvarez suffered his first blown save and loss on the same night as he gave up three earned runs in the eighth inning.
  • Michael Conforto goes 2 for 4 to extend his current hit streak to nine games. What a start to his pro career, as he has at least one hit in each of his first nine games.
  • Amed Rosario went 2 for 6 and extended his current hitting streak to ten games. He is batting .383, (18 for 47), with 10 runs scored and eight RBI’s in that span.
  • Cyclone outfielder Michael Bernal went 4 for 4 with Four RBI’s in the victory.
  • Wuilmer Becerra finished 2 for 5, and has three straight multi-hit games. In his last ten games, Becerra is batting .366 (14 for 41), with two home runs.

Prospect Injury Update

  • Kevin Plawecki still has not returned to the 51s and hasn’t played since July 17th. Plawecki has been sidelined with a mild case of vertigo. According to Robert Brender, he caught in the bullpen yesterday for the 51s, a sign that he could be close to returning.

Fun Tweet From The Farm 

(Feature Photo Credit:  K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

 

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Why Is Conforto Toying Around In Low-A? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/why-is-conforto-toying-around-in-low-a.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/why-is-conforto-toying-around-in-low-a.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:35:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161951 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus seems to agree with me regarding first round draft pick Michael Conforto and the decision to start his professional career with the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Short-Season NYPL.

Here is what Dr. Parks has to say:

Conforto is a man among boys in the New York-Penn League, as his polished game and field utility make him look like a major leaguer playing a pickup game in the park against weekend softball warriors.

The fact that he stands out is both good and bad; the former is great for the Mets, as they clearly drafted a player of merit, but the latter is bad for scouting, as it’s hard to get an accurate picture of the player when he is facing highly erratic talent that doesn’t offer much of a challenge.

I like the swing, as it’s fluid and easy, and the ball jumps off the bat with some volume. I like the raw, although I’d peg the power in the solid-average range rather than a middle-of-the-lineup masher with a plus or better distinction.

The defense in left field has been fine, as he shows off athleticism and an accurate arm. He isn’t a burner but he runs well enough for the position and while on base, and he carries himself like a player who not only knows the game of baseball from a fundamental level but brings those skills to the field on all fronts. But it’s difficult in this particular context to see how bright his star will really shine, and based on a limited three game sample, I’d say the profile will be more solid-average than star. 

For some reason the Mets have been starting all of their top college draft picks in Low-A and longtime MMO readers will remember my rants about this when the Mets dispatched Kevin Plawecki to Brooklyn after the former Boilermaker was drafted and signed.

I feel like it’s a waste of time to place these 21-22 year old players in a league that is less competitive than the college level competition they hail from. Especially when we are talking about Division 1 All-Americans – or in other words – the best of the best.

What’s to be gained by having them play in a league where the majority of players are anywhere from 3-4 years younger than them and the league presents no challenge?

By the way, I’ve been asked a few time if I believe Conforto will be going to the Arizona Fall League this season. While nothing official has been announced, I’d be very surprised if Conforto wasn’t there with all of the other top prospects in baseball.

But then again, the Mets have recently usurped the original purpose of the AFL which was intended to be a showcase of future stars. In recent years, the Mets have been using the AFL as some sort of half-assed rehab camp for their recovering players or minor league fodder that needs additional playing time.

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MMO Prospect Watch: Thor Solid, Conforto Keeps Raking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-watch-thor-solid-conforto-keeps-raking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-watch-thor-solid-conforto-keeps-raking.html/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:40:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161878 syndergaard

Here’s how our Top 10 Prospects performed on Sunday, July 27th.

Noah Syndergaard, Las Vegas – Noah went 5.0 innings in a no-decision for the 51s in front of 1,747 at Cashman Field on Sunday. Thor allowed 5 hits, walked 2, struck out 8, and allowed 2 runs (1 earned). On the season, Noah is 8-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 96 innings with 100 K’s.

Dilson Herrera, Binghamton – Dilson was batting second and playing Second Base against the Trenton Thunder in front of 4,348 at Arm & Hammer Park. He went 0 for 3, lowering his batting average to .345 with Binghamton.

Gavin Cecchini, St. Lucie – In Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Daytona Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Gavin was batting 7th as the DH and went 1 for 3. In Game 2, Gavin was batting 7th and playing shortstop, going 0 for 3. Cecchini is batting .179 at St. Lucie after being promoted from Savannah.

Dominic SmithSavannah – Dominic was batting third and playing First Base, going 0 for 3 with 2 walks in front of 3,195 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against the Lexington Legends. On the season, Dominic is hitting .287 with 0 HR and 32 RBI.

Michael ConfortoBrooklyn – Michael was batting fourth and playing Left Field at Edward A. LeLaceur Park in front of 3,417 against the Lowell Spinners. He went 2 for 4 with 1 RBI, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout, raising his average on the season to .412.

Amed Rosario – Brooklyn – Amed was batting second and playing Shortstop against the Spinners. On the day, he went 2 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI, raising his season average with the Cyclones to .299.

MMO Top 10 Prospects that did not see action on June 27th: Rafael Montero (AAA), Kevin Plawecki (AAA), Brandon Nimmo (AA), Steven Matz (AA)

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First-Rounder Michael Conforto Shines In Cyclones Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/first-rounder-michael-conforto-shines-in-cyclones-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/first-rounder-michael-conforto-shines-in-cyclones-loss.html/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:42:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161736 BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It was Italian Heritage Night Friday at MCU Park in Coney Island, so that was the perfect setting for a big night from Mets first-round draft pick Michael Conforto.

Michael  Conforto (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Michael Conforto (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The 21-year-old Oregon State University product finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double, and he added a stellar defensive play in foul territory and an outfield assist – his second in two nights.

However, Conforto’s effort was not enough, as the Brooklyn Cyclones (19-22) fell by a score of 5-2 to the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The team is now 4-3 since Conforto joined the team July 19.

Conforto has recorded at least one hit in all seven games he’s played in his first week of professional baseball. In this small sample, he’s hitting .407 (11-for-27) with four doubles and three RBI.

“He (Conforto) take’s a lot of pride in his game, and his at-bats have just been terrific right from day one,” said Cyclones’ manager Tom Gamboa. “The rest of the guys can learn from him in BP and in his pitch selection in the games.”

The first-rounder singled sharply up the middle in his first at-bat and then followed that up with a two-out RBI double into the right field corner in the bottom of third inning to plate the Cyclones’ first run.

He later hit two balls hard to the left side, which went for outs, but he said he feels comfortable hitting the ball to all fields.

“I’m very comfortable,” Conforto said of his offensive production in his first week. “I think I’ve just kind of settled into a mode where I’m seeing the ball well and getting into a rhythm and getting confident. I’m getting a lot of pitches to hit, a lot of fastballs, and I’m doing what I can with them in trying to hit the ball where it’s pitched.”

Conforto’s defense has also impressed early on in his tenure in Brooklyn, especially his throwing.

“It’s one of those things that I’ve worked on, trying to get my arm in shape and making sure that when I was back home I wasn’t losing any arm strength,” Conforto said. “It (his defense) was something that was out there as a question mark, and I took that as a challenge personally. I’ve made it a priority to work on that part of my game.”

Michael  Conforto greets Brooklyn fans. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Michael Conforto greets Brooklyn fans. (Photo by Jim Mancari)

“The reports on him (Conforto) were adequate defensively, and we’re seeing way beyond that,” Gamboa said. “For a 21-year-old, he’s miles ahead of most guys I see come into professional baseball. That was his reputation coming here. That’s what we were told, except that he runs, throws and fields better than people gave him credit for. The focus was on his bat, but everybody is seeing a more complete player here.”

Righty Octavio Acosta started on the mound for the Cyclones and was able to pitch out of a few early jams up until the top of the fifth inning, in which eight Lake Monsters came to bat to plate three runs.

Acosta had gone at least 6.0 innings in each of his five starts since his 4.2-inning outing on Opening Day. But he only lasted five innings in this one and surrendered a season-high 10 hits. He falls to 3-2 on the summer with the loss.

The Cyclones only mustered seven hits on the night. One of those was a seeing-eye double over the third-base bag for third baseman Jhoan Ureña, which increases his hitting streak to 11 games. The 19-year-old had a 13-game hitting streak earlier this summer, and he joins Angel Pagan (2001) as the only two players in Cyclones’ franchise history to record two 10-game hitting streaks in the same season.

Although the team has cooled off since its hot start, it’s still very much alive in the Wild Card race with the season just beyond the halfway point. Brooklyn came into play at only 2.0 games behind the Staten Island Yankees and Williamsport Crosscutters in the race for the final playoff spot.

The team is back in action at home Saturday night, looking for a series win against the Lake Monsters. Texas native Corey Oswalt bids for his fourth win of the summer at 6 p.m.

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

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Mets Minors Report 7/26: Kirk Goes Deep, Herrera Hit Streak Snapped, Peavey Tosses Gem http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-726-kirk-goes-deep-herrera-hit-streak-snapped-peavey-tosses-gem.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-726-kirk-goes-deep-herrera-hit-streak-snapped-peavey-tosses-gem.html/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 05:00:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161758 kirk nieuwenhuis

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Rafael Montero, in only his second appearance with Vegas since returning from the DL, struggled in five innings, allowing five runs, on six hits, while walking one and striking out six.
  • In his first game since returning to Vegas from the Mets, Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 3 for 4 and launched a big three run homer in the 7th to put the 51s in the lead for good.
  • Allan Dykstra finishes 4 for 4, with three runs scored and hits his 14th home run on the season.
  • Greg Peavey pitches eight innings, allowing one run on five hits, one walk, strikes out seven and earns his eighth victory for the B-Mets.
  • Dilson Herrera was hitless in Binghamton’s win and ends his hit streak at 12 games.
  • T.J. Rivera was 2 for 4 and has hit safely in 8 of last 10 games, batting .389 (14 for 36) in that span.
  • Michael Conforto went 2 for 4, with a double on Friday night and has recorded at least one hit in all seven games he has played in to start his pro career. In that span he is batting .407 (11 for 27) with four doubles.

Organizational Pitching Leaders

ERA

1 Martires Arias KNG 0.59
2 Marcos Molina BRK 1.26
3 Octavio Acosta BRK 2.14
4 Kevin McGowan STL 2.31
5 Steven Matz BIN 2.39

Fun Events On The Farm 

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Keith Law on deGrom, Thor and Marcos Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/keith-law-on-degrom-thor-and-marcos-molina.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/keith-law-on-degrom-thor-and-marcos-molina.html/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:44:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161666 ESPN’s MLB Insider Keith Law should just call his weekly chat with Insider Subscribers, “Mets Chat”. These last few weeks have been incredibly full of Mets questions as the our farm system and top prospects continues to draw a lot of positive attention – and envy too.

Here are some nuggets I pulled out from Wednesday’s exchange:

Are you surprised by Dilson Herrera‘s 359./421./581. line in 30 games at Binghamton, so far? Is he a Top 100 candidate for next season?

I like Herrera quite a bit and he is a top 100 candidate, but 30 games at any level by any player is a blink of an eye.

Would it be in the Mets best interest to call-up Noah Syndergaard? Don’t they risk damaging his confidence or having him attempt to fix something that isn’t broken by letting him continue to pitch in that environment?

I talked to him before the Futures Game – he seems unfazed by the altitude out there and it’s not like he’s having bad results.

marcos molina

Is Marcos Molina someone Mets fans should be looking out for or is his delivery too much of a problem? Word is he has electric stuff.

I wrote about him a month ago – fastball is plus with good life, tough arm action for a starter between the low slot and ‘slinging’ delivery.

Is Jacob deGrom for real? He doesn’t seem to be they guy we watched in the minors. No complaints here.

Got a lot better this year. Late convert to pitching, found another gear with his secondary stuff post-TJ recovery. I had him as my #10 Mets prospect going into 2013 and Met fans said I was nuts to have him that high. I was *way* too light on him!

You’ve mentioned often that the Mets have several minor league affiliates (I’m thinking Savannah and Las Vegas) with unfavorable home environments. To what degree do those situations negatively impact the team’s ability to properly develop prospects?

I think they can cause two problems. One is players changing their approach to fit the park – e.g., a hitter over-swinging to try to hit homers in a park that depresses them, a pitcher trying too hard to miss bats because he’s afraid of contact. The other is internal evaluations – you have to be able to look past Syndergaard posting a 6 ERA in Vegas and realize he’s doing what you want him to do.

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Mets Minors Report 7/25: Nimmo Breaks Out With Three Hits, Conforto Still Hot In Brooklyn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-725-nimmo-breaks-out-with-three-hits-conforto-still-hot-in-brooklyn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-725-nimmo-breaks-out-with-three-hits-conforto-still-hot-in-brooklyn.html/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161610 brandon nimmo

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Matt den Dekker was 2 for 4 on Thursday and has five straight multi-hit games and four straight games with a double.
  • Brandon Nimmo has breakout game batting leadoff for B-Mets by going 3 for 5, with two doubles, raising his average above the Mendoza line to .207. 
  • Dilson Herrera singles to extend current hit streak to 12 games.
  • T.J. Rivera raises his batting average to .350 with a 3 for 4 night. He also added a double and a RBI.
  • Left hander Dario Alvarez threw two innings of relief on Thursday and won his seventh game of the season. In 19 relief appearances (6 starts), Alvarez is 7-0, with a 0.90 ERA, allowing only six earned runs, while striking out 93 batters in 60 innings.
  • Akeel Morris earned is tenth save in Savannah’s victory. In 30 relief appearances, he is 4-0, a 0.80 ERA, and 69 strikeouts in 45 innings.
  • Matthew Oberste goes 0 for 4, ending his hit streak at 21 games.
  • Michael Conforto singles to extend his hit streak to six straight games.
  • Amed Rosario triples and extends his hitting streak to nine games. In his last ten games he is batting .364 (16 for 44).
  • Right hander Martires Arias tossed seven shutout innings, allowing two hits, and struck out five batters, while lowering his ERA to 0.59 in Kingsport’s victory. 

Organizational Offensive Leaders 

Hits

1 Dilson Herrera BIN 132
2 T.J. Rivera BIN 114
3 Matt Reynolds LV 109
4 L.J. Mazzilli STL 103
5 Dominic Smith SAV 103

Upcoming Special Events On The Farm

 

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Mets Want To See More Consistency From Syndergaard http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-want-to-see-more-consistency-from-syndergaard.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-want-to-see-more-consistency-from-syndergaard.html/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:39:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161489 noah Syndergaard

Almost echoing what I said yesterday, after the Mets wrapped up their series win in Seattle, they said they are not yet convinced that Noah Syndergaard is ready to make the move to the majors.

What the Mets player development people are looking for from their top pitching prospect is the “consistency” that I talked about yesterday.

Two front office people did admit to the Daily News that Syndergaard has improved enough that the possibility of him making his debut in 2014 is more likely now than it was a month ago.

But until he strings together 2-3 more starts in a row like that on Tuesday night, I expect that the 21-year old will remain in Las Vegas to continue to develop his overall game. 

Another team source said on Wednesday that while the Mets would ideally like to bring up prospect Noah Syndergaard to plug into the rotation, they are adamant that they will not let the status of the major-league rotation affect Syndergaard’s development.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will be kept ready to make a spot start if Bartolo Colon is dealt and any trade is not an indication that Syndergaard is being promoted.

Some in the organization think that having Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola will help Syndergaard find that consistency and get him ready to make the leap to the majors when the time comes.

It’s nice to see the Mets wearing their big-boy pants on this.

My biggest fear has always been that the Wilpons will latch onto the howls from some in the Mets fan base and blogosphere, and that they’ll use an unwarranted Syndergaard promotion as a marketing gimmick to sell some extra tickets.

As I stated yesterday, Syndergaard was rushed through Advanced-A and Double-A, making no more than 12 starts at either level before beginning the 2014 season in Triple-A a full six years younger than the league’s average age – six years younger.

Among all Pacific Coast League starting pitchers, Syndergaard ranks 39th with a 5.34 ERA (minimum 15 starts) and 37th with a 1.53 WHIP.

This season is the first time in his five year minor league career that he has allowed more hits than innings pitched and the league is batting .303 against him.

Starting rotation mates Jacob deGrom (2.34), Rafael Montero (3.64), Matthew Bowman (2.79), Darin Gorski (4.56) and Logan Verrett (4.58) have all outperformed Syndergaard pitching in Las Vegas this season.

Additionally, Syndergaard would need to be added to the 40 man roster at a time when the Mets have several other prospects they must add to the 40 after the season to keep from losing them.

So far the only reasons I’ve heard for promoting Syndergaard now is; “it would be totally cool”, “the Mets owe it to the fans”, “let him learn how to pitch here”, and the always popular: “think of how exciting it would be.”

Let’s not screw this up…

July 23

Noah Syndergaard tossed 6.1 dominant innings for Las Vegas on Tuesday night, in a 4-0 win over the Tacoma Rainiers. He struck out five batters while scattering four singles and three walks and throwing a season high 109 pitches.

Syndergaard improved to 8-5 for the season and lowered his ERA to 5.34. Trying to figure out our top pitching prospect this season has been a Herculean task. He wavers between Thor for 1-2 starts and his evil brother Loki for the next 1-2 starts. Even the experts are baffled.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Keith Law said Syndergaard is in the midst of an excellent season, while others have labeled him as either underwhelming, going through the normal growing pains, paying the price of pitching in Las Vegas, or in a word, confounding. 

Syndergaard has already given the Mets two injury scares this season, and one of them, the strained flexor tendon, sent some in the organization and the fan base into a virtual tizzy.

He was expected to make his big league debut this summer, but that is obviously on hold for now and according to Collins we shouldn’t hold our breaths, calling a promotion this season very unlikely.

In an interview last week with Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, the young righty said he’s had to do a lot of growing up this season, believing he was major league ready during spring camp and counting the days until the Super 2 deadline to make his debut.

“I was thinking about that [Super 2] almost constantly,” he admitted.

He now realizes that succeeding at the highest level requires more than a 100-mph fastball and a hook from hell. He said he understands that he lacks the maturity and knowledge which can only be attained with more and more experience.

Initially, Syndergaard believed he was following the same path as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but realizes they were older and more polished pitchers. ”They were ready at that point. And right now, I don’t think I’m ready.”

Still, last night’s performance was good to see. It was step in the right direction especially coming off one of the worst pitching performances of his professional career in his previous starts when he was tagged for seven earned runs.

It has been a relatively tough season for Syndergaard, but he’s clearly still working things out. With the team in no apparent need for pitching, perhaps finishing out the season in Vegas might be the best way to go for him and for the organization. What’s to be gained by letting him burn a year off the arbitration clock just to have him struggling at the major league level in what might end up being a meaningless season when all is said and done?

He’s only 21 and he’s never had more than 12 starts in either Advanced-A St. Lucie or Double-A Binghamton. There’s no need to rush him if he’s truly as good as most people think.

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Mets Minors Report 7/24: Herrera Still On A Tear, Matz Wins 4th Game With B-Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-724-herrera-still-on-a-tear-matz-wins-4th-game-with-b-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-minors-report-724-herrera-still-on-a-tear-matz-wins-4th-game-with-b-mets.html/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161560 Dilson Herrera

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Matt den Dekker was 2 for 3, with a run scored and a double in Wednesday’s Vegas loss. In his last four games, he is batting .600 (9 for 15), three doubles, a triple, home run and five RBI’s.
  • Wilmer Flores and Allan Dykstra both launched their 13th home run on the season for Vegas.
  • Second baseman Daniel Muno has not drawn much fan fare but in Vegas he is batting .270/.386/.442, with 11 home runs and 44 RBI’s in 267 at bats.
  • Steven Matz earned his fourth victory for the B-Mets tossing seven innings, and allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out four batters. He has won his last three decisions.
  • T.J. Rivera just keeps hitting and now in Double A. Rivera is batting .329/.386/.421 and has hit safely in eight of his last ten games.
  • After tearing through Class A Advanced, Brandon Nimmo is struggling to get on track in Double A, batting just .189/.318/.360, but continues with his power surge, launching five home runs with Binghamton on the season.
  • Pitcher Robert Whalen returned to the mound for the first time since May 1st for the Sand Gnats. He was initially placed on the disabled list due to an infection in his pitching hand which required surgery. Whalen (5-0, 2.10) did not miss a beat as he earned the victory tossing 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out three batters.
  • Savannah DH/1B Matthew Oberste extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a home run on Wednesday night and is batting .446 (37 for 83), with seven home runs and 25 RBI’s in that span.
  • Michael Conforto was 2 for 4, with a double for Brooklyn and has hit safely in the first five games of his pro career.
  • Amed Rosario went 3 for 4, with a run scored and a triple and has an eight game hitting streak with the Cyclones.
  • Outfielder Wuilmer Becerra was 2 for 4, with two doubles in Kingsport’s loss and has hit safely in eight straight games. He is batting .531 with eight runs scored, four doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI’s during the streak.

Prospect Spotlight

Dilson Herrera will be the next top prospect to shine on the big club, and it will probably be sooner than most anticipate, especially with how he has been tearing through Class A and Double A, just this season alone. After his first week in Binghamton, Herrera went on a tear and hit in 11-straight games. He was hitless for just one game and took off again and after going 2 for 5 on Wednesday, he is currently enjoying another 11-game hit streak. In 67 games with St. Lucie, the Colombian native batted .307/.355/.410 with 16 doubles, three home runs, and 23 RBI’s in 283 at bats. So far with Binghamton, he has appeared in 29 games and is batting .359/.421/.581, with 10 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBI’s in 117 at bats.

Fun On The Farm 

Pick your favorite Mets Minor League Mascot

(Photo Credit: Mark Olson/MiLB.com)

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Law Ranks Mets Fourth Best Farm System http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/law-ranks-mets-fourth-best-farm-system.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/law-ranks-mets-fourth-best-farm-system.html/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:45:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161440 jake degrom

Keith Law of ESPN ranked the New York Mets among his top five farm systems, slotting them fourth behind No. 1 Chicago Cubs, No. 2 Minnesota Twins and No. 3 Houston Astros. (ESPN Insider)

4. New York Mets

The Mets have graduated a few prospects to the majors — Travis d’Arnaud (No. 2 in the system coming into the year) and Jacob deGrom (No. 13) in particular — but the guys still in the system have nearly all taken steps forward. Noah Syndergaard (No. 1) has had an excellent year in the pitchers’ hell of Las Vegas. Brandon Nimmo (No. 5) is hitting for power now that he’s out of Savannah, a terrible park for left-handed power hitters. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (No. 6) continues to receive well, as expected, but he also has hit well enough to push himself up to Triple-A in his second full season.

Eighteen-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario doesn’t look out of place among older players in the New York-Penn League, and he has the instincts and reactions to stay at short if he can find some consistency in the field. And they added the most polished hitter in this year’s draft class, Michael Conforto, who led Division I in OBP. They still have a ton of arms but are heavier on bats at the corners than in the middle infield or center, although Rosario might eventually make up for Gavin Cecchini‘s .194/.269/.247 line in high Class A.

He didn’t even mention my latest favorites Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera and Dominic Smith… The Mets continue to shine with the quality of prospects they are accumulating in the minors. Hopefully that begins to manifest itself on the major league level in the not too distant future.

The major league team still struggles to score runs but thanks to Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia the bullpen seems to have turned a corner. Starting pitching has been middle of the pack, but there’s also reason for optimism with the return of Matt Harvey next season and developing young arms in Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler. Hot hitting Wilmer Flores has been ready for regular MLB at-bats for two years now, but is blocked by Ruben Tejada. Left Field also remains a sore spot for the team and is in some sort of 4-man merry-go-round.

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Conforto Will Be Designated Hitter In Debut With Cyclones http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/conforto-will-be-designated-hitter-in-debut-with-cyclones.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/conforto-will-be-designated-hitter-in-debut-with-cyclones.html/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:32:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160790 conforto michael

Updated July 18

Mets beat writer for MLB.com Anthony DiComo tweeted that Michael Conforto will indeed make his professional debut on Saturday with the Brooklyn Cyclones.  He is scheduled to be the designated hitter.

 

 

July 15

Mets’ first round pick Michael Conforto has officially signed with the organization, inking his contract last Friday at Citi Field. His first time in the big city, Conforto took in the first game of the Mets’ eventual three-game sweep of the Marlins to close out the first half of the regular season.

Conforto, joined by his father, visited New York City for the first time in his life. He expressed his satisfaction of the Italian food that is offered.

He will return to Los Angeles for the Golden Spikes award before joining the Brooklyn Cyclones on their road trip over the weekend in Norwich, Connecticut against the Connecticut Tigers as noted in an article on brooklyncyclones.com.

Keith Law called Conforto, “the top prospect in the Mets Organization” which is a huge statement to make with guys like Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo, and Dominic Smith scattered among the ranks of the farm system.

It will be exciting to see how Conforto plays in his first pro season and for years to come. A guy projected to move up the ranks quicker then the high school products drafted in the first round from previous years, Conforto has a high ceiling and is excited to play for the Cyclones.

“I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about the Cyclones and playing in Brooklyn,” Conforto said in an article on brooklyncyclones.com. “Even some of the guys on the Mets were coming up to me during batting practice and telling me how much fun I’m going to have.”

(Photo Credit: NCAA.com)

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Amed Rosario’s Big Night Not Enough in Cyclones 7th Straight Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/amed-rosarios-big-night-not-enough-in-cyclones-7th-straight-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/amed-rosarios-big-night-not-enough-in-cyclones-7th-straight-loss.html/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:09:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161149 Amed Rosario (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Amed Rosario (Photo by Jim Mancari)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – For the Brooklyn Cyclones, the “Curse of SNY” continues.

The Mets Single-A short season squad was televised Thursday night on SNY, and the team dropped an 8-6 contest in 10 innings to the Jamestown Jammers, the short season affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, at MCU Park in Coney Island.

The Cyclones (15-18) are now 2-6 in the past three years when being televised on the Mets’ TV network and have been outscored 50-27 in those games. The loss is also the seventh straight for Brooklyn, which is 4-14 in its last 18 games after getting off to a fast 11-4 start. The losing streak matched the second longest streak in franchise history, and four errors certainly didn’t help with the effort.

“Losing teams will find ways to lose, and unfortunately, we’re in the midst of that right now,” said Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa. “This is a game tonight that we didn’t lose as much as we flat out just gave it away. These guys will learn that no one feels sorry for you in this game. This will keep happening until they make a decision as a unit that enough is enough.”

Other than committing an error, young shortstop Amed Rosario had a good night at the plate, finishing 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. He’s now hitting .284 on the season, which is almost at the halfway point. Third baseman Jhoan Ureña also drove in two runs on the night.

But the Cyclones’ collective offensive struggles continued in the loss to the Jammers. In what wound up being the Cyclones longest game of the season at 4:03, Brooklyn jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first two innings, and those five runs were more than the team scored in any full game during the six previous contests.

However, Brooklyn only mustered one run over the next eight innings, which allowed Jamestown to claw back for the victory.

Cyclones closer Shane Bay suffered his first loss of the season after surrendering two runs in the top of 10th inning. Right hander Casey Meisner started for Brooklyn and only lasted 2.1 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks.

The team’s strikeout rate has been through the roof through the first 32 games of the summer. In 1,051 official at-bats, Cyclones’ batters have struck out 305 times, which is a 29.1 percent rate. They’ve had 14 games in which they’ve amassed 10 or more strikeouts.

“We’ll just have to regroup again tomorrow,” Gamboa said. “It’s not fun to get beat day after day, especially when we give it away like we did tonight.”

The team should receive an offensive boost when Mets first-round draft pick Michael Conforto makes his professional debut Saturday. Meanwhile, the team will try to snap its losing skid Friday night at home against the Jammers, as lefty Carlos Valdez bids for his third win of the season.

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

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Herrera Coming On Strong, Continues To Impress With Bat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/herrera-coming-on-strong-continues-to-impress-with-bat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/herrera-coming-on-strong-continues-to-impress-with-bat.html/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:00:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161095 dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

Last August the Mets sent catcher John Buck and outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Vic Black and second baseman Dilson Herrera, a trade that benefited both sides with the Pirates getting the best of Byrd in their playoff run and the Mets working Black into their bullpen plans and Herrera into their future infield plans.

Even though Black has made his impact known already on the big club, the biggest part of the deal has to be the amazing talent that Herrera has showcased. He is only 20 years old, but he plays the game like a veteran, poised and under great control. For a young man that is just 5’10″ and 150 lbs, he has consistently shown that he can get on base, hit the ball with power and drive in runs.

After coming over to the Mets in 2013, Herrera was sent to Savannah and helped the Sand Gnats win the SAL Championship. This season he started out with Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets and in the first half he hit .307/.355/.410, with 16 doubles, three home runs, 23 RBI’s, and 14 stolen bases in 283 at bats.

His great play in St. Lucie earned him a promotion to Double A Binghamton where he has not let up and currently has a five game hitting streak while batting .333 (33 for 99), with three home runs and 21 RBI’s in 24 games. Since the promotion on June 19th, he has hit safely in 20 of 24 games, has eight multi-hit games and an 11-game hit streak mixed in. 

“He’s aggressive. He’s always hunting for that fastball early in the count,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez tells Tim Healey of MLB.com. “And if he gets it and he feels like it’s good for him to drive, he goes after that.”

“He’s starting to control the strike zone a little more in Binghamton. He’s shown surprising power for his size and age. … His athleticism, his body type [allows him to hit for power]. He’s aggressive and generates a lot of bat speed,” says Sandy Alderson.

The Colombian native is also versatile as he has played both middle infield positions, and even though he has logged in more time at second base, his range and strong arm has allowed him to play both extremely well. He was signed as a third baseman by the Pirates at the age of 16 and switched over primarily to second base. But with the Mets, shortstop has been a position that he has started to play and has held his own.

“If you play short, you can play anywhere on the infield,” Herrera tells MLB.com with B-Mets hitting coach Luis Rivera serving as translator. “I like shortstop more, because it’s harder to play. I move my feet more and take charge of more stuff. It’s more responsibility to play short.”

According to Lopez, the decision on where to play Herrera will be determined on his arm, but Alderson has a different take on what could happen with the young prospect. ”Ultimately, from my standpoint, the bat plays. If the guy can hit, let’s find him a position,” said the GM.

Herrera who is ranked #9 in the Mets system on MLB.com’s 2014 Prospect Watch has seen his stock soar this season and that only makes the Byrd trade that much better on the Mets end.

Thoughts by David C.

I have witnessed first hand his talents and I am very impressed with what he brings to the table. Standing next to him, he looks like he can be my little brother, but when on the field he can play with the best of them. Herrera is a very special player that when finally given the opportunity he will not disappoint. It’s selfish for me to say let’s see him take a stab at Vegas this season, but in due time if the Mets hold off until 2015, Herrera will get his chance and continue to impress. He told me recently that he has one goal and that is to work hard and make the majors and in his mind, it will become a reality and from what I have witnessed, I truly believe him. He is a very determined young man with a whole lot of talent on his side.

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Four Mets Prospects Crack Law’s Midseason Top 50 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/four-mets-prospects-crack-laws-midseason-top-50.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/four-mets-prospects-crack-laws-midseason-top-50.html/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:31:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161054 michael conforto

Michael Conforto, who is Keith Law’s #32 ranked prospect, signs his contract with the Mets last week

ESPN‘s Keith Law released his midseason update of his Top 50 Prospects list.

In his preseason Top 100 list there were five Mets who made the cut. They were Noah Syndergaard (24), Travis d’Arnaud (36), Dominic Smith (37), Rafael Montero (60), and Brandon Nimmo (92).

However this time around the Mets placed four prospects within the top 50 in all of baseball– and that’s with Travis d’Arnaud no longer considered a prospect.

Let’s take a look at the four names and where they placed:

# 16 Noah Syndergaard, RHP

It’s no surprise that Thor is our top rated prospect. The big right-hander is widely considered to be one of the best pitching prospects in the game. It is however a pleasant surprise to see that Syndergaard has risen to 16 despite what many are considering a subpar year thus far. In 16 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas Noah has pitched to a 5.31 ERA while striking out 9.3 batters per nine innings and walking 2.6 per nine.

Law’s take:

Thor is back, healthy, and throwing well, even though Vegas is no picnic for pitchers. (He told me before the Futures Game he’s more bothered by the heat than the altitude; when you throw straight downhill it’s probably easier to live with pitching in thin air.) He’s still mostly fastball-changeup, but will show a curveball and slider, neither of which is plus — though the curveball does have some depth thanks to his size (6-foot-6, 240 pounds) and really easy, fluid delivery.

# 32 Michael Conforto, OF

It has to make fans happy to see this ranking. The Mets drafted  Conforto with the 10th overall pick in this June’s draft. The 6’1 Oklahoma State product was considered by some to be the best college hitting prospect in the entire draft. He just signed with the Mets nearly a week ago for $2.97MM and is expected to join the Brooklyn Cyclones this week.

Law’s take:

Conforto was the most advanced college bat in the draft class this year, leading Division I in OBP despite playing in a major conference (Pac-12, for Oregon State), while showing above-average power and adequate defense in left field. He doesn’t have huge upside, but he’s very close to major league ready and should be at least an above-average regular with a higher ceiling if the power exceeds expectations.

# 34 Brandon Nimmo, OF

After a very impressive 2013 in Savannah the Mets saw fit to challenge Nimmo with an assignment to High-A St. Lucie to begin this season. All he’s done since then was have a breakout season that earned him another promotion, as well as increased notoriety in the prospect world. For the year the Wyoming native has hit .291/.417/.440 and has started to show some of the power many scouts believed would eventually come.

Law’s take:

The Mets’ first-round pick in 2011 was primed for a breakout once he escaped the pitcher-friendly environment of Savannah after last season. He’s done just that, showing power at two levels now all while showcasing his trademark patience. I don’t see him staying in center field and he might only be a moderate hitter for average, but very high OBPs and 20-plus homers a year with great defense in right would make for an above-average regular.

# 49 Dominic Smith, 1B

Smith’s stock seems to have dropped a bit when you simply look at the number he’s ranked, but you have to factor in players added to the pool who were drafted this year as well as other break out guys. Smith has had a very impressive season in Savannah, hitting .297/.354/.361, and although he hasn’t hit a homer his 21 doubles are indicator that there may be power to come.

Law’s take:

Smith’s lack of power output in low-A is partially the result of his home park, as Savannah is a terrible place for left-handed power hitters, and partially the result of a whole-field approach that has Smith hitting for average while striking out at a pretty low clip — well above the league mean or median despite his youth. Smith does have plus raw power, but we may not see much of it until he escapes the Sally League next year, much as Nimmo’s power didn’t come out until he left Savannah this spring.

To read the rest of Law’s list, click here (Insider only).

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Allan Dykstra Is Crowned The 2014 PCL HR Derby Champ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/allan-dykstra-is-crowned-the-2014-pcl-hr-derby-champ.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/allan-dykstra-is-crowned-the-2014-pcl-hr-derby-champ.html/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 19:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160733 Dykstra

On Monday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Allan Dykstra won the 2014 Pacific Coast League Home Run Derby.

Ironically, Dykstra beat former Mets farmhand and teammate Francisco Pena to claim the belt.

“My goal was to make sure I beat Frank,” jokes Dykstra about squaring off against his former teammate.

“I have enough power to have fun in this kind of competition,” Dykstra tells Bob Sutton, Special to MLB.com.

Dykstra launched the winning shot over the right field wall in the final round and walked away with the belt.

The 27-year old 51s first baseman was selected to represent Las Vegas as a DH in the All Star game on July 16th, but on Monday night in the derby he didn’t disappoint.

Dykstra finished the first half of the season batting .282/.428/.516, with 12 home runs and 59 RBI’s.

This is just another award that Dykstra has earned since joining the Mets organization when he came over in a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2011. In 2013, he was named the Eastern League MVP and the Sterling Organizational Co-Player of the Year for the Mets with 21 home runs and 82 RBI’s.

The 6’5″ lefty is only one step away from reaching his dream of becoming a major leaguer, even though at this point it may be a tough task to break through on a Mets team that already has a lefty hitting power first baseman. But on Monday night, Dykstra was given the opportunity to showcase some of his own power and he walked away victorious.

Congrats Allan on winning the HR Derby belt.

(Photo Credit: BrianFlemingPhotography.com)

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Syndergaard Closes Out USA Win In Futures Game http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/syndergaard-closes-out-usa-win-in-futures-game.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/syndergaard-closes-out-usa-win-in-futures-game.html/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 00:10:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160660 noah syndergaard

Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard pitched a scoreless ninth inning and earned the save for Team USA in today’s 3-2 Futures Game win over the World Team. The 6’6 Texan struck out a batter and allowed a hit in one inning of work.

Catching prospect Kevin Plawecki started the game behind the dish and went 0 for 2 at the plate with an RBI groundout that gave the USA it’s first run.

The Cubs Javier Baez and Rangers Joey Gallo, two of the games biggest power prospects, homered in the game. Gallo was named the games MVP.

(Photo credit: USA Today)

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Mets’ Farm System Has A Bumper Crop At Second Base http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-farm-system-has-a-bumper-crop-at-second-base.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-farm-system-has-a-bumper-crop-at-second-base.html/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:44:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160385 Much has been made of the Met organization’s penchant for accumulating shortstop prospects in recent years, a strategy that has paid dividends for many teams in the past. Generally speaking, players capable of handling what is considered the most demanding defensive slot on the fair territory side of the field are usually judged to be able to make the move to any other non-battery position if needed at a later time. If their bat looks to be enough of an asset to justify a starting role, it is assumed that they will find a place on the field where their glove will play effectively enough to hide any shortcomings that may have emerged over time.

Second base, interestingly enough, often seems to be a position in professional ball that is the repository for players who possess those shortcomings, either defensively, as with suspect range or a “fringy” arm, or if their bat won’t play at a more offensively oriented position such as corner infield or outfield. Naturally, there are many examples of second sackers who play brilliantly on both sides of the ball such as Chase Utley, but for every one of these there are a passel of “good glove-no stick” utility types or error-prone keystoners whose power (it is hoped) can offset their deficiencies in the field, a la Dan Uggla. Factors such as the tendencies of the pitching staff (flyball vs. groundball), the team’s home park (bandbox vs. pitcher’s haven), and the makeup of the rest of a team’s active roster can influence what type of players draw the 4 position assignment as well.

Second base has not been a storied position in Met team history. Clearly, Edgardo Alfonzo ranks as the best all-around player on the list, and some past-their-prime luminaries have filled the slot for a time as well (Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar), but generally, the Mets have run out a group of players there who could do something offensively and provide enough in the way of defense to keep the word “liability” from being mentioned in the same sentence with their name on a too-regular basis. Of course, the greatest offensive powerhouse to have played second in a Met uniform was Jeff Kent, but he saved his MVP-level performances for his future employers.

Interestingly, now that Daniel Murphy has established himself as one of the better offensive options in the league at the position, many are looking for him to be traded. While the merits of this idea can and have been debated, I thought it would prove insightful to look at the backlog of candidates to replace him that the team appears to be accumulating throughout its farm system.

wilmer-flores-2013-bm

Triple-A Las Vegas

Wilmer Flores continues to make it known that his time has arrived. Yes, his prodigious recent power display has come in the hitter-friendly parks of the PCL, but at age 22 (turning 23 next month), his apprenticeship looks to be overlong. He needs a spot in the big club’s lineup. Murphy’s bat has necessitated his reclassification as a shortstop, but his future appears to be elsewhere in the infield. His minor league numbers may be enhanced by the rarified air of Las Vegas, but he still profiles as at least a .270+ hitter with 15+ HR potential. If that type of production comes with passable defense, most clubs would be thrilled.

Matt Reynolds, while not a name that has been listed among the team’s top prospects, has nonetheless hit his way into consideration over the past season and a half. Another ostensible shortstop, no scouting report projects him there as a regular. He lacks power or elite speed, but having hit above the .350 mark across two levels over half a season and posted a combined OBP of .424, he at least merits some consideration as at least a candidate for a spring training tryout in the leadoff spot.

dilson-herrera-in-the-cage

Double-A Binghamton 

Dilson Herrera, who arrived last season from the Pittsburgh organization as part of the Marlon Byrd/John Buck deal that also netted current bullpen component Vic Black, may be relatively small in stature at 5’10” and 150 lb, but has also hit at every level, tallying a .312 career mark across rookie, low A, high A, and now AA levels. At only 20 years of age, his stroke is precocious enough (along with a hint of occasional pop) to intrigue.

T.J. Rivera, another “non-prospect” who went undrafted and signed as a free agent out of college, has done nothing but hit since joining the organization in 2011. In stints at Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savanna, St. Lucie, and now Binghamton, he has batted a composite .346 with an OBP of .392. Like Reynolds, he lacks the added dimension of plus power or speed, and at age 25 is older than is typical for his level, but his numbers demand consideration as a utility player if nothing else. Anyway, even Mike Piazza was only drafted as a “courtesy.”

mazzilli

Advanced-A St. Lucie 

L.J. Mazzilli, he of the pedigree, has shown a bit of his Dad’s hard-nosed style and a tad more power than the typical middle infielder in the Met organization. The 23-year old is in his second year of pro ball, now manning second for St. Lucie after a mid-season promotion from low A Savannah. Drafted in the fourth round last year out of the University of Connecticut, he had a respectable showing with short-season Brooklyn last year and has improved across the board this year with better numbers in average, slugging, and OBP. Definitely one to watch.

Single-A Savannah

Jeff McNeil, taken 8 rounds after Mazzilli out of Long Beach State, was assigned to Kingsport of the Appalachian League and hit .329 over the course of 164 AB while showing some base-stealing ability with 11 bags in 13 attempts. After showing similar numbers at Savannah this year (.332 with 15 steals in 18 tries over 232 AB) and making the Sally league All-Star team, he was promoted to St. Lucie where so far, he is demonstrating a need to adjust to elevated level of play.

While we all may find ourselves waiting a bit for Messrs. Evans, Cecchini, or Rosario to lay a claim to the shortstop position in Citifield, it appears that at least with the other half of the middle infield combo, a plethora of candidates may thrust themselves into the picture relatively soon. Competition at positions is said to be a good thing. In any event, it appears that the Mets should have no lack of supply of it at second base for years to come.

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MMO Prospect Pulse: LHP Dario Alvarez Continues To Shine http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-pulse-lhp-dario-alvarez-continues-to-shine.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-pulse-lhp-dario-alvarez-continues-to-shine.html/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 04:38:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160405 dario alvarez

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 make his way to Advanced-A St. Lucie any day now.

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Great First Impressions on Brandon Nimmo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/great-first-impressions-on-brandon-nimmo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/great-first-impressions-on-brandon-nimmo.html/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:08:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160172 brandon-nimmo-2

He’s one of the most talked about Met prospects, a subject of heated debate ever since he was selected with the Mets’ top pick in 2011. After getting my first extended live look at Brandon Nimmo during Saturday’s doubleheader at Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium, I think most Met fans are going to be impressed and pulling hard for our top outfield prospect.

At the center of the storm is a baseball neophyte.  After chatting with the guys sitting in front of me and telling them a little about Nimmo when he moved to the on-deck circle as he prepared to hit, one turned and said, “Wow, he really does look young doesn’t he?” as Nimmo approached the plate. Yes, Nimmo looks young and exudes an excitement and passion for baseball.

Watching Brandon Nimmo com to bat, dispels any argument about the fact that he is developing a plate discipline beyond his 21 years of age. Nimmo knows the strike zone. In seven plate appearances on Saturday, Nimmo worked three base-on-balls. Nimmo worked a ten pitch walk in his first at bat of the double header.  Even his strikeout in his last at bat of the opener forced Erie’s Tommy Collier to use 9 pitches.  Nimmo fouled off 9 of the 19 pitches he saw in those two at bats.

That profile is consistent with Nimmo’s St. Lucie Met stats this spring before his elevation to Binghamton and a huge part of his impressive on-base-percentage at the high-A level.  In 279 plate appearances in Florida, Nimmo worked 50 base-on-balls, one less than his strikeout total helping him build a .448 OBP.  That same command of the strike zone is taking shape in Binghamton where Nimmo has already walked a dozen times in 66 plate appearances.

And, Nimmo hustles. Nimmo doesn’t jog to first base after working a base-on-balls. He sprints. I’d always read Nimmo lacked speed. You would have fooled me making that claim watching the kid yesterday. After walking to open the second game of the double header, Nimmo stole second base easily on the next pitch then later raced home to score the B-Mets first run of the day when Brian Burgamy singled.  A second walk to lead off the third turned into Binghamton’s second run with Nimmo scoring when Dustin Lawley singled to left.  Later in the second game, Nimmo would pull a 76 mph curveball to right field for a single.

Nimmo’s all out hustle provided some anxious moments in the late innings of the nightcap.  Playing left field NImmo was off in full speed pursuit of a foul ball that floated near the stands on his side of the field.  Barely breaking stride, Nimmo smashed into the tarp stored along the outfield fence, the contact bringing gasps from the Binghamton crowd.  The young outfielder returned to his position apparently unmarred from tangling with the tarp.

Above all else Nimmo brings a refreshing enthusiasm to the baseball diamond.  He approaches the batters box with a big smile on his face, sometimes exchanging pleasantries with the umpire.  Nimmo runs all out on the bases and plays the game with a bounce in his step.

Brandon Nimmo didn’t do anything spectacular at NYSEG Stadium on Saturday.  He went a combined 1-for-4 at the plate, walked three times, stole a base, and scored two of the B-Mets 4 runs in the double header.  With that said, doing all the little things that help baseball teams win games, Brandon Nimmo was impressive.

And physically, Brandon Nimmo has a huge upside.  It’s pretty obvious Nimmo is far from filling out his tall, athletic frame.  There is a lot of growing and a lot of maturing still to come.

As it is with many youngsters tabbed with the label of baseball prospect, no one really knows what kind of major league baseball player Brandon Nimmo will be.  If Nimmo contines to approach the game like he showed me this weekend, I’m hoping when all the evidence is in the verdict will be a good one for Nimmo and New York Met fans.

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Flores Crushes Sixth Home Run In Four Days With 15 RBIs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/flores-crushes-sixth-home-run-in-four-days-with-15-rbis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/flores-crushes-sixth-home-run-in-four-days-with-15-rbis.html/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:11:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160038 wilmer flores

Wilmer Flores is an unstoppable force.

He did it again on Sunday, blasting another home run, scoring a pair of runs and driving in three.

He now has 18 RBI in his last ten games and six home runs in his last five games.

Since his demotion to Triple-A, Flores is batting .419 with a 1.352 OPS.

July 6

Wilmer Flores homered in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, giving him five home runs and 12 RBIs in the last three days. The righthanded slugger has hit in ten straight games and is batting .409 in that span with a 1.266 OPS.

Since June 27, when Flores was demoted and Ruben Tejada became the everyday shortstop, he is batting .225 (7-for-31) with no extra-base hits and one RBI.

Tejada has had his chances.

Tasked with filling the big shoes left by Jose Reyes‘ departure for Miami in 2012, Tejada played well. But after a promising start to his career, he fizzled, posting a paltry .218 average with mediocre defense over the past two seasons.

Perhaps he has kept the job this long for the sole reason that we have no other options; there are no free agents currently floating around, and no teams have been rushing to deal their franchise shortstop.

But today, the situation at the 6-slot is entirely different. Following a monstrous season at Triple A in 2013 where he smacked 15 home runs with 86 RBI’s, Wilmer Flores, put himself on the map as a viable option to be the 2014 starter. However, the front office chose Tejada this Spring and opted to let Flores go back to Triple-A. Eventually he was called up a month later, but played sparingly, mostly relegated to pinch-hit duty. For two months, one of our best hitting prospects was being treated like a marginal bench player.

Developmentally, I cannot fathom how difficult this must be for Flores. For a promising young player to be called up and sent down repeatedly, it can’t be easy. Confidence is everything for them at this age.

Flores has to be given the opportunity to play, hit everyday, and then we can see what we truly have and if he’ll blossom. Making Flores the starter now is also supported by practical reasoning. For a team so desperate for run production, it would make sense to get as many potent bats into the lineup as you can.

I can’t comprehend the logic in starting Ruben Tejada, a defense first, light-hitting shortstop, when we have such a better option in Flores, who can flat out hit and has proven himself throughout all levels of the minors. He has nothing left to accomplish there.

So why keep him in Triple-A when he can help in Queens now?

For those of you who are critics, I understand that starting Flores would sacrifice a little infield defense for offense, but this is a trade-off the Mets must accept. The opportunity for more production in a currently weak lineup cannot be passed up.

Bottom line is, it’s not like 22-year old prospects with plus-hitting skills grow on trees. Flores has tremendous upside as a young hitter and plays at a premium position. Run him out there. Let him play everyday. And who knows, maybe we’ll ultimately find our shortstop of the future.

Read more at onthemets.com.

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