Mets Merized Online » Minor League Stuff http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:00:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Triple-A Year In Review: Las Vegas 51s http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/triple-a-year-in-review-las-vegas-51s.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/triple-a-year-in-review-las-vegas-51s.html/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:44:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165892 o-LAS-VEGAS-SIGN-facebook

The Mets wanted their farm teams to experience winning in the postseason. So New York was judicious with September 1st call-ups, opting to promote only infielder Josh Satin and pitcher Erik Goeddel from the Triple-A Las Vegas roster, and bringing some additional players from Double-A Binghamton, like Juan Centeno and Dario Alvarez.

For the Binghamton Mets, the goal was accomplished as they capped off a sweep of the Richmond Flying Squirrels with a dramatic walk-off win to take the Eastern League Championship on September 12th. Las Vegas did not fare as well.

It’s always a bit of a shock when a team is dominant all season and then goes out in the first round of the playoffs. However, as we all know, anything can happen in a short series.

Las Vegas was evenly matched up with Reno in the PCL Division Series playoff, but fell to the Aces three games to one. The two teams had exactly the same record at 81-63 for the season, tying them for most wins in AAA with Syracuse in the International League.

Playoff disappointments aside, overall, 2014 was a great season for the 51s. PCL Manager of the Year, Wally Backman kept his team playing well and in first place in their division despite the fact that his players were being frequently called up to fill holes on the big club.

eric campbell

LAS to LGA Shuttle

There were a total of 24 players shuttling back and forth, to and from the Mets this year, including 15 who started the season in Las Vegas.

Let’s look at a few of them and see how they fared.

Eric Campbell:  Infielder/Outfielder Campbell was hitting .355 with 3 HR, 15 doubles and 24 RBI, in 33 games with the 51s before getting his first call to the big leagues in May. While playing pretty much every day in Vegas, Campbell was called up to be a role player, coming off the bench, making the occasional start, and playing several different positions. He experienced success right away, collecting his first RBI in his MLB debut with a sacrifice fly against the Phillies on May 10th. Campbell collected his first major league hit the next night, and his first home run 10 days later. He was 6 for his first 12 at bats. With limited playing time, Campbell was successful both starting and as a pinch hitter. He was hottest in June and July hitting for a .345 average during that period. He played all infield positions, left and right field, but got most of his playing time at third, capably filling in for David Wright when he was out due to injury.

Jacob deGrom: Right-handed starting pitcher deGrom was 4-0 in seven starts for Las Vegas with a 2.58 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 38.1 innings before he was called up to the Mets on May 13th. He made his first Major League start on May 15th at Yankee Stadium, tossing seven strong innings, giving up one run and striking out six, but took the loss because of the lack of offense from the Mets. DeGrom started out his MLB career with a tough-luck 0-4 record as he gave up three runs or fewer in five of his first seven starts. He earned his first win on June 21st in Miami going seven shutout innings, walking three and striking out seven. After a short stint on the disabled list (DL) in August due to rotator cuff tendinitis, deGrom picked up where he left off. The rookie pitcher has an 8-6 record and a 2.68 ERA in 20 starts, fanning 134 in 134.1 innings. He has a WHIP of 1.14 having walked only 40 batters and is often mentioned by analysts in Rookie of the Year talk. On Monday night he broke the Mets record and tied the major league record by fanning the first eight batters he faced.

Matt den DekkerThe centerfielder had a .269/.326/.421 slash line when he received his first call up to the Mets on May 26th. But he really heated up when he returned to the 51s on June 18th by batting .334/.407/.540 by the time he received his second call up to the Mets on August 8th. All he did during his two stints in Vegas was lead the team in batting average, doubles (31) and triples (7), hit eight home runs, score 70 runs and steal nine bases. At the time of his most recent call up, den Dekker’s .334 batting average led the PCL. He was awarded the 2014 Mayor’s Trophy, a team award voted on by the fans. His defensive prowess should be noted as well. Known for his speed and ability to close quickly on a ball in center, den Dekker has primarily played left field in New York, with former 51 Juan Lagares a fixture in center. He has made only two errors on the year, with eight outfield assists for the Mets. It has been mentioned more than once that a Mets outfield of den Dekker, Lagares and teammate Kirk Nieuwenhuis could be the best defensive outfield in the history of the franchise.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Nieuwenhuis is one of the most traveled of all 51s players this year. He has been called up to the Mets on three separate occasions. In Las Vegas, he started the season 4 for 4 against Fresno, including a home run and two runs scored and was batting .310 at the time of his first call up to the Mets this season. Playing mostly off the bench in New York, Nieuwenhuis has only 92 at bats so far, and is hitting .250 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. He finished his AAA season with a .265 average in 211 at bats, slugging 11 home runs and driving in 32.

Rafael Montero: Right-hander Montero started the season at Las Vegas, going 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA before being called up to make his major league debut in the Subway Series along with deGrom. Montero made his first start against the Yankees on May 14th, pitching six innings, giving up three runs and striking out three. He made four starts for New York before the return of Mets starters sent him back to Las Vegas. He also spent about a month of the season on the DL due to a strained left oblique, making rehab appearances in St. Lucie and with the Gulf Coast Mets. Montero’s second call up to the Mets came on August 12th when deGrom went on the DL, and he took a loss against Washington. Montero pitched well enough to win in his next start against the Cubs, going 7.1 innings and giving up only one run, but left trailing. The Mets scored to tie it in the bottom of the inning, but ended up losing the game. Montero returned to the 51s to slot into their playoff rotation. He made one start in the playoffs and got a no-decision in the only game won by Las Vegas in the Division Series against Reno. Montero was called up by the Mets to finish the season and finally earned his first major league win on September 10th against Colorado at Citi Field. He pitched 5.1 scoreless against the Rockies, striking out seven and walking four.

Wilmer FloresAfter starting the season in New York, Flores had two stints in Las Vegas before returning to New York for good at the end of July. His early season play resulted in a slash line of .307/.360/.500 at Las Vegas and earned him a return trip to New York on May 8th.  However, returning to New York just as Ruben Tejada hit a hot streak limited his playing time. He returned to Las Vegas in late June and during his final month in AAA this year, Flores went on a tear hitting safely in 22 straight games with a batting average of .378, seven home runs and 29 RBI during that stretch. Included in this were five straight games in which he homered, collecting six total home runs and 15 RBI from July 3rd to July 6th (which included a double-header).  Flores completed his time at AAA with a slash line of .323/.367/.568 and a total of 13 homers and 57 RBI. Given more playing time with the Mets lately, Flores had a seven game hitting streak from August 29th to September 6th, during which he hit .392. He is currently hitting .236 with four home runs and 22 RBI at the big league level, but his promise of more consistent offense, combined with more power, has been evident during his time in Las Vegas.

Travis d’Arnaud: Though d’Arnaud was intended to stay in New York all season, early struggles at the plate (a slash line of .180/.271/.273 with 3 HR and 9 RBI) led the Mets to send him to the 51s in early June. The move paid off big as d’Arnaud raked during his short stint in Vegas, hitting .436 and slugging six home runs and eight doubles in 15 games, helping the 51s go 10-5 during that stretch. He returned to New York with a renewed confidence and an improved approach at the plate resulting in a slash line of .282/.339/.495 with 10 HR and 31 RBI since his return.

Allan-Dykstra

Cashman’s Own

Of course, those who have yet to experience their first call-up to the show made up the majority of the 51s roster, and led the way to a second PCL Southern Division Championship in as many years. Let’s have a look at some of those who made a big impact in Las Vegas this year.

Allan DykstraInfielder Dykstra played his first year at AAA in 2014 after spending all of 2013 in AA Binghamton. He tied the team lead for games played this year with 117. He hit .280, with 16 HR and a team-leading 74 RBI. He also had 23 doubles, three triples and 62 runs scored. Dykstra was selected to represent the 51s and the PCL in the AAA All-Star Game and won the Home Run Derby on July 14th at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina. Dykstra started the season with a five game hitting streak, and rolled out three more equal streaks during the year with 22 multiple hit games. In the final game of the playoff series against Reno on September 6th, Dykstra’s 3-run home run kept the 51s in the game before they ultimately fell by a score of 7-3.

Logan VerrettVerrett didn’t start 2014 as the tall right-hander from Texas that everyone expected to be watching, but he definitely made people take notice. After a 12 win year in AA Binghamton in 2013, Verrett took the next step forward, leading Las Vegas in wins, and innings pitched, going 11-5 over 162 innings and 28 starts. He struck out 117 while only walking 34, resulting in a WHIP of 1.37. Verrett went at least five innings in all but two of his 28 starts, and never walked more than three in a game. Verrett was recognized as the big cog in the 51s starting rotation and was chosen Most Valuable Pitcher by the coaching staff.

Noah SyndergaardAll eyes were on Syndergaard this spring, many expecting his rise to emulate that of Zack Wheeler’s last year. This would’ve seen the 22 year-old making his debut with the big club sometime in May or June. But Syndergaard was able to focus on the here and now, building a good complete season at Las Vegas and furthering his development. He appeared in the MLB Futures Game during the All-Star break, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to close out the victory for the USA team. The Mets opted not to call him up in September when the playoffs ended, which allows Syndergaard to reflect on his complete body of work at AAA during the winter. He has some nice numbers to reflect on as he posted a 9-7 record for the 51s, with a 4.60 ERA, striking out 145 in 133 innings over 26 starts.

Matt ReynoldsAfter hitting .355 in 58 games at AA Binghamton, shortstop Reynolds was promoted to AAA Las Vegas on June 19th. He didn’t miss a beat, hitting .429 (12 for 26) in his first eight games. He ended the season hitting .333 with five home runs, 16 doubles, and 4 triples, driving in 40 in 68 games since his promotion. With the shortstop situation in New York still in flux, Reynolds made his case that he deserves to be in the conversation for next year. Matt also won the organizations Sterling Award for his outstanding season in Triple A.

Kevin Plawecki: Catcher Plawecki arrived in Las Vegas just after Reynolds on June 26th, having hit .326 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 58 games with the B-Mets. He played 43 games with the 51s, hitting .283 with 5 HR and 21 RBI. He hit safely in 28 of the 43 he played, including eight straight, and had 11 multi-hit games, including a 4-4 performance with two home runs on August 27th during the last regular season home game for Vegas. Plawecki’s home run in game one of the playoffs a week later helped his club get their lone victory over Reno. Plawecki also represented the 51s in the MLB Futures game. The catcher won the organizations Sterling Award for his season in Double A.

Chase BradfordBradford, a Las Vegas native, became a mainstay in the 51s bullpen as the season went on. He pitched to a 3-2 record with a 3.52 ERA and earned five saves in eight opportunities. He struck out 41 in 46 innings over 34 appearances.

daniel muno

Honorable Mentions

Many other 51s players contributed solid, and in many cases clutch, performances to help Vegas capture their 2nd straight Division Championship. Infielder Daniel Muno tied with Dykstra for the most games played with 117 and hit 14 home runs and drove in 62, scoring a team leading 74 runs.

Infielder/Outfielder Brandon Allen also slugged 14 home runs and was selected for the Community Service Award by the 51s front office.

Outfielder Andrew Brown, working around two stints with the Mets, led the team with 21 home runs and was named team MVP by the coaching staff.

Infielder Josh Satin appeared in 100 games, hitting .289 with nine home runs, 27 doubles and 49 RBI before being promoted to the Mets on September 1st.

The New York Mets formally renewed their Player Development Deal with Las Vegas for two more years, so there is much more exciting Mets minor league baseball to look forward to at Cashman Field through at least 2016.

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Peavey Leads B-Mets To Dominating 5-1 Victory http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/peavey-leads-b-mets-to-dominating-5-1-victory.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/peavey-leads-b-mets-to-dominating-5-1-victory.html/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 04:29:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165465 Greg-Peavey

All season long he’s been the Binghamton Met pitching ace.  Wednesday in Richmond Greg Peavey delivered his biggest outing of the year, seven innings of 1 run ball, helping the B-Mets down Richmond, 5-1, in the Eastern League finals.  The victory marks the fourth straight Binghamton road win and sends the B-Mets back home to NYSEG Stadium needing just one win to become the Eastern League Champion.

The longer he worked, the stronger Peavey performed against Richmond.  The B-Met ace retired the final 8 Flying Squirrels in order and fanned 5 of the last 6 batters he faced.  Peavey allowed 5 hits while striking out 9 without walking a batter.

The B-Mets continue to get offensive contributions from top to bottom in their batting order.  Wednesday it was catcher Xorge Carrillo who wore the hero’s laurel.  After Dustin Lawley opened the second with a walk, Carrillo ripped a shot over the leftfield wall to put Binghamton ahead, 2-0.

Back-to-back Mario Lisson and Devin Harris doubles to lead off the home second plated the only Richmond run of the game.  Angel Villalona followed with a ground single to leftfield, but with no one out the Flying Squirrels opted to hold Harris at third.  Peavey recovered to get Tyler Horan to pop out to Dustin Lawley at third, struck out Tyler LaTorre on a called strike three, and retired Adalberto Mejia on a comebacker to the mound.

That was the last threat against Peavey who allowed only LaTorre to reach first the rest of the way on a one out single in the 5th.

The score remained 2-1 until the visitor’s eighth when the B-Mets scored three more times to break the game open.  The rally started when Brandon Nimmo worked a one out base-on-balls.  T.J. Rivera grounded out shortstop to first with Nimmo advancing to second.  Richmond chose to walk Brian Burgamy intentionally, and Travis Taijeron made them pay, slamming a three run dinger over the leftfield fence.

Randy Fontanez pitched a scoreless eighth inning helped by a B-Met double play.  Cody Satterwhite was perfect in relief in the ninth striking out the first two batters he faced and securing a game ending double play.

The four straight post season victories is a first in Binghamton history.  The B-Mets will send Steven Matz to the NYSEG mound on Friday in a bid to close out a series sweep and win their first Eastern League title since 1994.

(Photo: B-Mets)

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Mazzilli Keys Game One Playoff Victory For Las Vegas http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mazzilli-keys-game-one-playoff-victory-for-las-vegas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mazzilli-keys-game-one-playoff-victory-for-las-vegas.html/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:56:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164910 L.J._Mazzilli

L.J. Mazzilli was signed by the Mets in the 4th round of the 2013 June Amateur draft and in a very short time he has found himself playing with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

Mazzilli starred with the Brooklyn Cyclones in his first season of pro baseball in 2013 and batted .278 with four home runs and 34 RBIs.

In 2014, the Mets moved him first to Class-A Savannah where in 66 games he batted .292 with seven home runs and 45 RBI’s, then onto Advanced-A St. Lucie where in 64 games he batted .312 with four home runs and 34 RBI’s.  But the Mets were not done moving Mazzilli, as he earned himself a promotion to Las Vegas on Monday where he’ll get a chance to help the 51s win a championship.

Well it didn’t take long for Mazzilli to make his mark, as he singled in the bottom of the eighth inning at Cashman Field to put the 51s in the lead for good.  After a 1-2-3 ninth, Wally Backman and his team walked away with a well earned victory on Wednesday night, to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Vegas found themselves down early 3-0, with Rafael Montero on the mound, but they clawed back in it on a home run by Cory Vaughn and an RBI single by Cesar Puello in the bottom of the fifth and a solo shot by Kevin Plawecki in the sixth to tie the game.

In the seventh Brandon Allen hit an RBI single scoring Matt Reynolds to put the 51s up 4-3. But after a sac fl by Reno’s Roger Kieschnick  in the top of the eighth tied the game at 4-4, the bottom of the eighth was left to Mazzilli’s heroics.

Las Vegas takes the field against Reno at Cashman Field on Thursday night for Game Two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm with Matthew Bowman (3-2, 3.47) facing off against Andrew Chafin (5-6, 5.34).

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Mets Promote Conforto, Rosario, Urena To Savannah http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-promote-conforto-rosario-urena-to-savannah.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-promote-conforto-rosario-urena-to-savannah.html/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:29:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164800 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/prospect-watch-molinas-secondary-pitches-rosarios-improving-approach.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/prospect-watch-molinas-secondary-pitches-rosarios-improving-approach.html/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:00:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164694 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/cyclones-eliminated-as-playoff-hopes-went-down-to-the-wire.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/cyclones-eliminated-as-playoff-hopes-went-down-to-the-wire.html/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:26:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164806 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/prospect-pulse-lhp-dario-alvarez-gets-the-call.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/prospect-pulse-lhp-dario-alvarez-gets-the-call.html/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:25:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160405 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/prospect-spotlight-marcos-molinas-breakthrough-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/prospect-spotlight-marcos-molinas-breakthrough-season.html/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:38:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164655 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mmo-exclusive-dilson-herrera-goes-from-big-dreams-to-big-leagues.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mmo-exclusive-dilson-herrera-goes-from-big-dreams-to-big-leagues.html/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:34:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164538 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/battery-of-syndergaard-and-plawecki-dominated-on-wednesday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/battery-of-syndergaard-and-plawecki-dominated-on-wednesday.html/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:33:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164467 plawecki-milbThe Mets top 2 prospects (according to MLB.com) 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/cyclones-win-wild-walkoff-on-hit-by-pitch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/cyclones-win-wild-walkoff-on-hit-by-pitch.html/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:44:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164463 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/b-mets-help-disabled-children-dream-and-do.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/b-mets-help-disabled-children-dream-and-do.html/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:52:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164387 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.

b-mets fan 2

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Mets Minors Recap: Reynolds Swipes Two Bases, Seratelli Slams 51′s Past Express http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-bingo-splits-with-new-britain-seratelli-slams-51s-past-express.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-bingo-splits-with-new-britain-seratelli-slams-51s-past-express.html/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164314 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

Hits

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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/alderson-on-mets-staying-put-in-las-vegas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/alderson-on-mets-staying-put-in-las-vegas.html/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:58:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164231 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-las-vegas-tramples-round-rock-satterwhite-saves-15th.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-las-vegas-tramples-round-rock-satterwhite-saves-15th.html/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164252 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? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-we-see-steven-matz-in-queens-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-we-see-steven-matz-in-queens-in-2015.html/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 20:33:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164183 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-vaughn-homers-again-rivera-on-a-tear-with-b-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-minors-recap-vaughn-homers-again-rivera-on-a-tear-with-b-mets.html/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:28:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164202 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

OBP

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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/looks-like-syndergaard-will-not-be-called-up-in-september.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/looks-like-syndergaard-will-not-be-called-up-in-september.html/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:45:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164172 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.

Seriously?

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Will We See Matt Reynolds In September? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-we-see-matt-reynolds-in-september.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-we-see-matt-reynolds-in-september.html/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:21:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164078 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 GetMetsmerized@aol.com. 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 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/herrera-drives-in-four-scores-two-now-batting-346.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/herrera-drives-in-four-scores-two-now-batting-346.html/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:21:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164037 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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