Mets Merized Online » Alonzo Harris Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:11:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Minors: HoJo Loves deGrom, Weighing In On Vaughn, Havens Retires Tue, 21 Jan 2014 15:19:57 +0000 Jacob DeGrom

Oh No, Ho Jo…

New Seattle Mariners hitting coach Howard Johnson watched Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero from the opposing dugout while coaching in Triple-A last season, but it was Mets prospect Jacob deGrom who impressed him the most at Triple-A Las Vegas last season, according to what he told Adam Rubin.

“I saw deGrom. I like him a lot,” HoJo said. “As a matter of fact, at David Wright‘s wedding, I mentioned deGrom to the front office. He pitched one game against us, and he pitched very well. And the things I saw, I liked. He was the guy that I remember, for sure. And we saw them all — Wheeler, Jack Leathersich and some of the other guys.”

DeGrom was added to the 40 Man Roster by the Mets and will be in big league camp vying for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Reese’s Pieces?

Remember Mets second baseman of the future Reese Havens? Well Adam Rubin reports that the former 2008 first-round pick has decided to hang them up after a professional career that was fraught with one injury after another. Havens played six minor league seasons in all, and finishes with a career .252/.355/.423 batting line in 345 games played. What a shame for a kid who was oozing with so much talent and promise, but couldn’t find a way to stay on the field. Fare well, Reese… We hardly knew ye…

Vaughn For The Road…

Our Minor League Analyst Teddy Klein weighs in on Cory Vaughn who he says needs to stay on the field and get hings going.

“Because of his injury, I could see Cory repeating at Double-A, but just for a moment. At 24, Vaughn is on the cusp of losing prospect status, turning 25 in May. He will join his other outfield counterparts such as Darrell Ceciliani and possibly Alonzo Harris in Triple-A this year afterwards, and likely have a shot at making the bench if Chris Young or Cesar Puello falter. Long Shot, I know.”

Three more weeks until pitchers and catchers report…

mmn grain

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Gorski Demonstrates Pinpoint Control In Dominating Performance Last Night Sat, 31 Aug 2013 16:00:41 +0000 darin gorski 2Masterful.

That’s the only way to describe another Darin Gorski pitching gem at NYSEG Stadium last night. Last week’s Eastern League Player of the Week dazzled, staying ahead of hitters and once again causing batter after batter to pop the ball into the air, as he threw seven scoreless innings, one batter above the minimum, and picked up his sixth win of the year. Gorski’s string of scoreless innings lowered his ERA to a sterling 1.83 in Binghamton’s 3-0 win over New Hampshire.

Location, location, location could have been his refrain, as he continually pounded the strike zone and hit his spots. The tall left-hander didn’t allow a single base-on-balls, fanned five, and surrendered only two hits, one that was erased on a 6-4-3 double play.

As is his habit, Gorski continually enticed Fisher Cat batters to pop the ball in the air. He forced15 of the 21 outs to come via pop-ups, fly balls, or strike outs. Only three New Hampshire batters hit the ball on the ground during the game, a broken bat soft tap to first base, a weak 4-3 putout and the 6-4-3 double play.

Gorski set the tone in the early innings going 0-2 in the count to the first five batters he faced. The B-Met lefty threw first pitch strikes to 15 of the 22 batters he faced and was ahead in the count after 3 pitches in 15 of 20 at bats. He threw 68% of his 88 pitches for strikes, with only 10 of his 88 pitches coming from the stretch. Gorski got some flashy leather work from right-fielder Travis Taijeron in the visitor’s fourth to preserve his shutout. New Hampshire third baseman Andy Burns led off with a flare single over second baseman Danny Muno’s head into right field. That brought former Met power hitter Adam Loewen to the plate. Loewen blasted a 2-1 fastball into the gap in right-center with Taijeron on the run.

The B-Met right fielder had a “Ron Swoboda Moment” launching his body into the air parallel to the ground and snaring the Loewen bomb in mid air with his backhand. It was one of the more outstanding B-Met defensive plays of the season.

Fisher Cat shortstop Kevin Nolan followed with ground ball to short with Tovar, Muno and Lucas ‘turning two.’ The double play started a streak of 12 consecutive outs for Gorski to close his night’s work.

New Hampshire starter Deck McGuire matched Gorski frame-for-frame for most of his outing. McGuire no-hit Binghamton through five innings and allowed the first of three B-Met runs in the sixth without yielding a hit. Here’s how it went down. Joe Bonfe opened the inning with a ground ball to third but Burn’s throw to first pulled Kevin Ahrens off the bag for an infield error. Alonzo Harris worked a base-on-balls and Daniel Muno laid a slick sacrifice bunt down the third base line to advance both runners.

McGuire worked carefully to Josh Rodriquez, throwing his first three pitches for balls. Fisher Cat skipper, Gary Allenson, sent in the order to intentionally walk the B-Met third baseman on the next pitch. But, McGuire’s intentional ball sailed past his catcher with Bonfe racing home for Binghamton’s first score.

Taijeron ripped a shot down the left-field line into the corner scoring Harris and Rodriquez. The Mets three sixth inning runs were the only scores in the game.

Wifredo Tovar’s single to left in the seventh was the B-Mets only other hit in the contest. Frank Francisco pitched a scoreless eighth to earn a hold. The former Met closer threw a fastball between 90 and 93 mph and mixed in some low 80’s breaking stuff. Francisco got Ryan Schimpf to fly out to center-field to open the inning. Jonathan Jones grounded a single up the middle but was erased on Binghamton’s second 6-4-3 twin killing of the night.

Jeff Walters shut the door, earning his 38th save in the ninth. That ties him with Justin Eramus, who pitches in the Frontier Independent League for the most saves in 2013 in any professional baseball minor league.

A large and noisy crowd of over 5,000 people welcomed the Eastern League’s Eastern Division winners back to Binghamton for the final series of the regular season.

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Watching The B-Mets Clinch Their First Postseason In Nine Years Mon, 19 Aug 2013 14:20:39 +0000 At 1:47 PM I left my house to begin the journey to NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, NY, home of the Binghamton Mets. I arrived nearly two hours later with over two hours to spare until the gates opened. I used this time to tour the campus of SUNY Binghamton University, my mother’s alma mater, and to sit down for a late lunch/early dinner meal at the Lost Dog Cafe. If you’re in the area, check it out, it’s a wonderful spot just down the block from the stadium.

I got to the stadium at 5:30 with a half hour to go. I passed the time by 1) buying tickets 2) waiting in line and 3) walking around the exterior. My first impression of the stadium was eh. I know it’s a minor league stadium, but I wouldn’t expect a Double-A stadium to look as old as it did. But, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and I didn’t, which payed off. I saw groundskeepers pass time buy playing an intense game of basketball just beyond the right field fence, and two young boys in Yankees attire tossing a ball around outside Gate 1.

You can’t judge a book, by looking at its cover, ooh…

When the gates finally opened at 5:59 PM, I was greeted by a friendly woman who scanned my ticket and handed me my Baseball Bingo sheet which I furiously filled out throughout the night. I dashed through the concourse, but didn’t fail to notice the stats/standings board which included Major League and Eastern League info, the NYSEG Stadium Hall of Fame, or the beams decorated with pictures of Mets stars such as Matt Harvey, David Wright, and Ike Davis who used to call this place home.

I ran up the steps to section three and stopped to take in the surroundings. My very first reaction to the inside was, “Wow, this looks A LOT like Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie”. And that’s a good thing, because Tradition Field is probably my favorite Minor League ballpark of the ones I’ve been to.

I noticed some Rock Cats pitchers walking from the left field bullpen to the third base dugout, so I headed down there to see if I could snag some signatures. I heard a man call out “D.J.!”, and knew that it was 2012 Twins draft pick D.J. Baxendale. I saw the back of his jersey and the number confirmed it was him. I had him sign the roster sheet that came in the Mets program.

D.J. Baxendale was kind enough to sign my roster sheet.

After that there was tons of time where there was no player in sight. During this time I flipped through the program and read some very intriguing stories including one about a fan who has sat in the same seat in section 12 since 1992, the team’s inaugural year, and has had wild encounters with a lot of the players to stop at the Double A level.

I decided to wander down near the Rock Cats dugout and see what players happened to be sitting inside it. I couldn’t recognize any of the players but when outfielder Daniel Ortiz walked out of the dugout, he pointed me out and handed me a broken bat of his that was taped up so it was was still intact. Awesome! That was the first bat I had ever gotten at a professional baseball game and I didn’t even have to ask.

After that, a few Mets players began to exit the dugout, including the night’s battery, Mark Cohoon and Blake Forsythe, along with Alonzo Harris who wasn’t even penciled into the lineup. I would have been on that side, but the Rock Cats players were beginning to warm up and I, just like a handful of other fans, wanted to snag Twins top prospect Miguel Sano‘s autograph.

After some light stretching and an intense stretching out of Sano (it makes sense. A Miguel Sano injury = a training staff likely to be fired), he came over and signed my roster sheet right next to Baxendale’s John Hancock. Score! It was now time to get some Mets to sign which is what I really wanted. Unfortunately, by this time only three players remained. Josh Rodriguez and Allan Dykstra were the last pair to throw, as they ended with some pretty nasty knuckleballs, and Ryne Hughes was stretching and taking a few dry cuts before running off into the dugout. When Rodriguez and Dykstra were finished, they both took the time to sign the Mets side of my roster sheet.

Now it was time for the Mets relievers to make the walk to the right field bullpen. I recognized a few of them, such as Chase Huchingson and Jeff Walters but not all. One of them, who sported Rec-Specs and a funky mustache, was wearing the pink backpack so a number on his jersey was not visible. He was taking to an older man with facial hair not unlike the player he spoke to for a solid 30 seconds before they embraced and the player walked off with his teammates.

I asked the man who he spoke to and I found out that not only was the player Hamilton Bennett, but I was speaking to Hamilton Bennett’s father. We talked for about as long as he talked with his son, during which I told him I saw his son pitch during a spring training game against the Cardinals. Jeremy Hefner was hit in the arm by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Beltran, forcing him to leave early and the Mets to borrow some pitchers from minor league camp. I told him how impressed I was by his son. Our conversation ended with me saying “Best of luck.” To which he responded, “it’s on him not me”, before walking away. Cool guy. I crossed paths with him again throughout the night.

After my encounter with Mr. Bennett, I headed over to the home plate end of the Mets dugout, which was right by our seats, to see if any bench players were willing to sign. The National Anthem provided a minute long interruption, but once the song was through, backup catcher Xorge Carrillo was more than glad to sign my roster sheet.

The game was now underway and boy was it an interesting one. Only needing one game to clinch their first playoff birth since 2004, the B-Mets couldn’t muster a single hit through five innings. Mark Cohoon was knocked around early, including an absolute bomb on the first pitch of the second inning, courtesy of Miguel Sano. And let me tell you, Miguel Sano is 6-3, 195, but he looks 6-6, 240. The guy looks like a big leaguer and all evidence points to him being a real good one. The Rock Cats ended up with three runs after that inning and made it four in the fifth.

Miguel Sano: This kid is going to be a star one day.

Speaking of the fifth inning, The Mets secured a number in the hit column that inning with a RBI single courtesy of Josh Rodriguez after two men had reached via the walk. After loading the bases off of reliever Ryan O’Rourke, Allan Dykstra punched one into left to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Cory Vaughn added to the excitement, driving in another run off of the third pitcher of the inning, Cole Johnson, and paving way for Travis Taijeron to pull the Mets ahead with an RBI double just past the third baseman, Sano. A very peculiar inning which saw the B-Mets go from being no hit, to putting up a five spot.

Luis Natera Photo by Petey Pete

In the midst of the fifth, I called out to Mets hitting coach Luis Natera who happened to be the closest person in uniform to where I was sitting. When he turned around I said, “Nice game you guys got!” In response he smiled and gave me the thumbs up. If only I could have that conversation with Dave Hudgens at Citi Field…

I love minor league ballparks. Because they are so small, they give fans the opportunity to interact with the players and get close to the action, a nice alternative to either shelling out the cash at a big league stadium, or having connections. I enjoyed being able to get fist bumps from Wilfredo Tovar, and Ryne Hughes. I enjoyed being able to hear manager Pedro Lopez and pitching coach Glenn Abbott communicate with catcher Blake Forsythe. I enjoyed watching Alonzo Harris and Richard Lucas make their teammates (and the fans) laugh. But most of all, I enjoyed being able to watch the beautiful sunset fall over the wilderness just beyond left field. To me, that’s what baseball is all about.

Chase Huchingson came in to relieve Cohoon in the seventh and pitched two innings. Huchingson struck out four batters and got his fastball up to 89 mph, which was enough to baffle the hitters. He also mixed in a slider that came around 78. It was on to the ninth with the score still 5-4 Mets in front. And now it was time for – you guessed it – Jeff Walters. But no! Walters was nowhere to be seen – except for coaching first base, sharing the duties with Richard Lucas. Apparently he was unavailable which was disappointing for me, and most of the other fans who would have liked to see Walters add to his more than impressive save total. And wouldn’t it have been symbolic for him to get the save to send the team to the playoffs?

Anyway, no worries as Chasen Bradford came in to save the day and the game. Bradford was brought in and pitched a perfect ninth to lower his ERA to 0.48 and to earn his first save of the season.

Let the celebration begin, and it did!

b-mets clinch


The team rushed out onto the field and celebrated with one another. It was truly a great moment and I am glad I was there to witness it. Pedro Lopez was interviewed after the game, and despite the fact that his mic didn’t work, the stadium gave him a nice standing ovation.

All in all, a great night at the ballpark, and I sure will “bee” back in the future.


(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)

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Must See Video: Alonzo Harris Makes An Amazin’ Catch Wed, 14 Aug 2013 16:49:43 +0000 Check out this amazing catch by Alonzo Harris last night as he channeled his inner Willie Mays to make and over the shoulder catch with his back to the ball.

After a breakthrough season for Advanced-A St. Lucie in 2012, Harris has struggled this season at the plate for the Binghamton Mets, and has been plagued with a couple of minor, but nagging injuries.

Selected by the New York Mets in the 39th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of McComb (Miss.) High School, Harris posted a .287/.354/.437 slash for St. Lucie with 38 extra-base hits, 74 runs scored and 40 stolen bases in 433 at-bats in 2012.

However, this season has been a different story for Harris as his .220/.287/.304 batting line will tell you.

Thanks to Mr. North Jersey for the link…

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Mets Minors Report 5/6: Bowman Promoted To Lucie, Wheeler Heating Up, Leathersich Smoking Hot Mon, 06 May 2013 13:53:54 +0000 zack wheelerLast Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • Zack Wheeler had his second solid start in a row yesterday against Sacremento. In six innings pitched, he sacrificed three hits while only waling one. He held Sacremento to no runs. It was a nother step in the right direction for Wheeler, who the Mets could desperately use in their rotation. He showed improved command of his fastball in yesterday’s game, but he still has to work on throwing the breaking ball consistently for strikes in order to get major league hitters out.
  • MMO’s No. 8 prospect, Domingo Tapia, continues to pitch well. Very well actually. Through 32 innings of work this season, Tapia has compiled 28 strike outs to just 13 walks, only allowed 20 hits, and has only given up eight earned runs this season. The key to Tapia’s success seems to be his ability to handle adversity — the sinking action on his fastball and change up also helps. More regarding Tapia in the Quote of The Day.
  • The Binghamton bats awoke from a slumber in yesterday’s game. The team pounded out ten hits, three of which were home runs and the offensive attack was led by Alonzo Harris who had three hits, and a home run of his own. The other two players who added home runs were Richard Lucas and Josh Rodriguez.
  • Sticking with Binghamtom, Jack Leathersich is for real — dude mows down hitters. He struck out the side in the ninth inning of Binghamton’s victory last night. He has 27 strike outs in 15 innings pitched this season…wow.
  • Collin Cowgill smacked a three-run home run for Las Vegas yesterday. With Matt den Dekker getting closer to coming back and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the roster, Las Vegas is going to have a log jam of centerfielders.
  • If anyone wants to catch Rafael Montero pitch, he should be on the hill tomorrow night in Trenton. Starting in tonight’s game should be Cory Mazzoni (fresh off the DL), and on Wednesday night should be Logan Verrett on the hill.

Stat Lines of the Day

Zack Wheeler: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 4 K

Alonzo Harris: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

Jack Leathersich: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 K


  • Princeton product Matthew Bowman has been promoted from Savannah to St. Lucie.
  • Robert Gsellman to Savannah and Hansel Robles is back with St. Lucie and starting today’s game.
  • Cory Mazzoni is coming off the disabled list and will start for the B-Mets in Trenton tonight.

Quote of the Day

Here is what St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis had to say about Tapia, after his start yesterday:

Regarding his breaking ball: “It’s more of a curveball and it’s come along nicely,” Ellis said. “He’s starting to trust it a lot more. Even when he’s behind in the count, he’s comfortable enough to mix it in. He’s found control enough with it where he feels comfortable throwing it.”

“If he can control that fastball with heavy sink and mix in his curve to the other side of the plate, it doesn’t matter how hard he’s throwing,” Ellis said. “He’s going to keep guys off balanced. He’s absolutely confident with [the curve] right now. Hats off to him for that. That’s a big part of his development.”

Regarding dealing with adversity: “I’ve noticed him progressing in a way,” Ellis said. “He’ll slow himself down, step behind the rubber and toss around the rosin bag and calm himself down. He’s not pressing. He’s slowing the game down and making adjustments to get himself back in the zone.

Photo of the Day

Logan Verrett dealing in Binghamton (Photo by MMO Contributor Gordon Donovan)


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Cohoon Provides Five Shutout Innings In 6-1 Binghamton Victory Mon, 06 May 2013 08:42:47 +0000 55bing

Binghamton 6, Harrisburg 1

The Binghamton Mets launched a season-high three home runs and struck out a season-high fifteen Harrisburg Senators in a 6-1 victory at Metro Bank Park on Sunday afternoon. Binghamton used a ten-hit attack to secure their third series win of the season.

B-Met third baseman Josh Rodriguez set the tone early. After Danny Muno worked out his team-leading 21st walk of the season in the first against Harrisburg starter Caleb Clay, Rodriguez blasted an 0-2 pitch into the left field seats, giving Binghamton a 2-0 lead.

Binghamton starter Mark Cohoon flirted with danger in his second start, but came out unscathed. He allowed seven baserunners through his first four innings, but used six strikeouts to escape. Harrisburg stranded five runners with Cohoon on the mound and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. He capped his day with two more strikeouts in a perfect fifth.

Binghamton added to their lead in the sixth against Clay. Alonzo Harris started with a bunt single, stole second and came home on a single by Muno. Richard Lucas capped the inning by blistering a solo homer to left center, his first round-tripper of the season.

Chase Huchingson took over in the sixth and struck out two in a shutout inning. The southpaw returned for the seventh, but exited after allowing two singles. Sean Nicol greeted reliever John Church with an RBI groundout, cutting Binghamton’s lead to three.

Anthony Rendon singled to right to bring the tying run to the plate in Jerad Head. Church easily dispatched of Head and ended the threat, striking out the centerfielder on three pitches.

Binghamton put the game out of reach with two more runs in the eighth against reliever Pat McCoy. Harris launched his fourth home run of the season to left and Cesar Puello extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.

With a comfortable five-run advantage, Church posted a scoreless eighth inning and Jack Leathersich fanned three in the ninth.

Cohoon (3-0) collected his third win and first as a starter in 2013. The southpaw struck out a season-high eight over five shutout innings. Clay (3-1) was tagged for four runs on six hits in seven innings of work in his first loss of the year.

The B-Mets (16-14) continue their roadtrip and start a three-game series against the Trenton Thunder Monday night at 7:05 PM.

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

Daniel Muno: 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB

Josh Rodriguez: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R

Richard Lucas: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

Mark Cohoon: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 ER, 8 K

Chase Huchingson: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K

John Church: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Jack Leathersich: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 K

(Team Report)

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Ceciliani’s Big Day Leads Binghamton to 8-2 Victory Sun, 05 May 2013 07:40:35 +0000 54Bing

Binghamton 8, Harrisburg 2

The Binghamton Mets broke a tie game with a three-run fourth inning and four pitchers retired the final 19 Harrisburg Senators hitters in an 8-2 win on Saturday night at Metro Bank Park. Binghamton’s victory, their first in May, snapped their season-long three-game losing streak.

Darrell Ceciliani led the offensive charge with a three-hit performance. He drove in three runs and scored three of his own, while Richard Lucas chipped in with two RBI on a double and two singles.

Binghamton wasted little time getting the offense going against Harrisburg starter Paul Demny. Alonzo Harris led off the game with a double to left center and scored when Lucas chopped a single back up the middle. Binghamton doubled their lead on a run-scoring groundout by Allan Dykstra in the third.

B-Mets starter Erik Goeddel sailed through his first two innings, but labored through the third. The righty allowed two hits, walked two and surrendered a pair of runs in the 39-pitch frame. Anthony Rendon‘s 11-pitch plate appearance ended with a walk and set the stage for Jerad Head‘s game-tying two-run single.

After Demny walked Goeddel with two outs in the fourth and Anthony Rendon misplayed Alonzo Harris’ chopper up the line, Ceciliani pushed a two-run single to center to give Binghamton the lead for good. Lucas tacked on with an RBI double to left.

Head’s hit in the third proved to be Harrisburg’s final basrunner. Goeddel (2-2) made the lead stand, retiring the final ten batters he faced to earn the win. The righty allowed two runs on three hits and fanned four over six innings to end his four-game winless streak.

The B-Mets added to their lead with three more runs against the Senators bullpen. Joe Bonfe delivered a pinch-hit run-scoring single in the eighth and Ceciliani crushed his first home run of the season, a solo shot, in the ninth. Cesar Puello added a run-producing fielder’s choice to cap the scoring.

Binghamton’s bullpen continued their perfect ways to wrap up the victory. Adam Kolarek posted a quiet seventh, Josh Edgin racked up one strikeout in a shutout eighth and Jeff Walters shut the door in the ninth.

The B-Mets (15-14) conclude their three-game series against the Harrisburg Senators (14-15) Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM. LHP Mark Cohoon (2-0, 4.35) makes his second start of the season against RHP Caleb Clay (3-0, 2.17).

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 1-for-5, 1 2B, 1 R

Darrell Ceciliani: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB

Richard Lucas: 3-for-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Allan Dykstra: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB

Cesar Puello: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 R

Erik Goeddel: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 5 K

Adam Kolarek: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

Josh Edgin: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

Jeff Walters: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

(Team Report)

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Thoughts After Charting Montero At NYSEG Stadium Thu, 02 May 2013 20:24:11 +0000 Sometimes the anticipation and the pre-game excitement outshines the actual event. That was the case with my trip to NYSEG Stadium to watch the Binghamton Mets last night. For starters, the B-Mets were hot, matching a franchise record with 14 wins during the month of April.

The upstate New York weather was unreal, mid 70′s, our nicest day of the spring. But, it was the B-Met probable starter that had be antsy with anticipation all day long. Binghamton ace Rafael Montero was scheduled to climb the hill for the B-Mets. I had never seen Montero pitch live, and I couldn’t wait.

A ‘pitch to contact’ philosophy seems prevalent in major league baseball. I’m not sure what former pitchers like Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, and Tom Seaver would say about that, but ‘pitching to contact’ seems to be the name of the game in today’s major league game.

When pitchers pitch to contact they attempt to get batters to get the bat on the ball and put the ball in play. At it’s best the ball is intended to be hit on the ground preferably within the first three pitches to the batter. Pitchers don’t think contact, Instead they direct their best pitch to the batter’s hittable zone.

Pitching to contact is a byproduct of the emphasis on pitch counts in the modern game. Don’t try to be too fine, pitch to contact, and pound the zone are all part of the ‘pitch to contact’ philosophy.

That seemed to be the approach Montero took to the mound last night. I entered NYSEG Stadium aware of Montero’s other world ability to throw strikes. In that area the young Met prospect didn’t disappoint.

Total Pitches: 95 – Strikes: 65 (72%) – Balls: 25 (28%)

Montero commanded the strike zone regardless of his pitch choice or whether he was throwing from the full wind-up or the stretch.

  • Full Wind-up Fastball: Strikes 25 – 71%,  Balls 10 – 29%
  • Curves: Strikes 10 – 83%, Balls 2 – 17%
  • Sliders: Strikes 3 – 75%, Balls 1 – 25%
  • Stretch Fastball: Strikes 17 – 74%, Balls 6 – 26%
  • Curves: Strikes 4 – 44%, Balls 5 – 56%
  • Sliders: Strikes 6 – 86%,  Balls 1 – 14%

As is my habit, I struggle determining the difference between the curve and slider. Montero’s curve in not of the 12 o’clock to 6′ o’clock variety. The speed differential between the two pitches in minimal. Combining those points could mean my numbers on Montero’s off speed stuff are slightly askew.

As you can see, Montero commands the strike zone. He struck out five and walked 1 meaning his season totals are now 40 K’s and 4 BB’s. That’s a 10:1 K/BB ratio.

The reason I believe Montero had a ‘pitch to contact’ approach in his head was the number of batters who put the ball in play in less than 3 pitches. Montero faced 32 hitters and exactly half, 16, put the ball in play on the first or second pitch thrown to the plate.

Montero threw first pitch strikes at a 69% clip or 22 times of the 32 batters. 10 times batters put the ball in play on the first pitch. The problem: those batters racked up 6 of the 10 hits Montero surrendered. He eased through the first three innings retiring 9 of the 10 batters he faced, allowing one hit, and only throwing 28 pitches. You do the math, that’s an average of only 2.5 pitches per batter.

Things unraveled in the fourth. Here’s the sequence that was Montero’s undoing:

- Leadoff double down the left field line on a first pitch fastball.
- Single to right field on a first pitch fastball.
- Double down the line on a first pitch curveball.
- Infield single on a first pitch fastball
- A second infield single on a first pitch fastball.
- Three pitch strikeout for the first out.
- Five pitch strikeout for the second out.
- First pitch triple on a curveball and a 4-3 groundout on the 4th pitch. You get the picture.

There is a lot to like about this kid. Strike zone command is a positive, a solid foundation to make pitching progress. His fastball is sneaky fast and sometimes touched 94 mph. There was no visible reaction when he was getting hit hard. And, to be fair, the two infield hits in the sequence I described could have been ruled errors.

Shortstop Danny Muno made a diving stop on one, sprang to his feet and made a low throw to first. Had the third baseman communicated with Muno, the B-Met shortstop could have nailed the runner on second base who had started to third, stopped and froze when Muno fielded the ball on his stomach.

The next batter hit a hard grounder up the middle, I thought might end as a double play. Josh Rodriguez showed great range backhanding the ball behind the second base bag, but as he lifted his mitt to make the toss to second, the ball dropped out of his glove.

Later, in the SeaWolves three-run seventh, Cesar Puello misplayed a ball in right field that cost at least one and possibly two runs. Through it all Montero seemed unflappable.

Perhaps it’s the traditionalist in me. Perhaps it’s the fact I was raised a pitcher during a different era. Perhaps it’s because I still coach high school baseball at a Class D level where sometimes every batted ball can be an adventure. Whatever the case, I’m suspicious of the “pitch to contact’ philosophy as a rule. It fires me up to see Matt Harvey throw a two-strike pitch intending to punch a batter out, especially when he finds himself in a jam.

In my opinion, Montero was simply too fine in this outing. Extending his pitch count a bit in an attempt to miss a few more bats or at least miss the sweet spot on the barrel of the bat may have been beneficial even if Montero was forced to shorten his outing by an inning. Five consecutive hits on the first pitch is avoidable. Especially when you have this kids stuff.

Last night’s final totals weren’t pretty: 10 runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Even so, I’m excited about Montero and see real upside here. He is definitely in the mix of young arms Met fans could see pitching in Citi Field.

Points of interest:

  • Alonzo Harris hit a solo homerun in the seventh, his third of the year leaving him one behind team leader Corey Vaughn.
  • Darrell Ceciliani laced a triple to right-center field. This kid can fly. B-Met manager Pedro Lopez moved Ceciliani from left field to center field and shifted Harris from center to left last night.
  • Blake Forsythe continues to swing the bat well registering another multiple hit game. Forsythe was the DH last night going 2-for-4 with a double.
  • Cesar Puello went 2-for-4. The big guy has surprising speed, but struggled making plays in right field. Like many power hitter, that’s an area the B-Mets will look to improve.
  • Francisco Pena had a great night at the plate going 3-for-4 with two doubles, both just inside the left field line. Pena flied out to deep left field in his other at bat.
  • John Church recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Church has fanned 16 batters in 13.1 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.77.
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Binghamton Blanked, Can’t Support Montero In 4-0 Loss Sat, 27 Apr 2013 07:16:33 +0000 426Bing


Akron 4, Binghamton 0

So Rafael Montero is human after all…

The Binghamton Mets struck out a season-high 16 times, and were shut out for the second time in 2013, in a 4-0 loss to the Akron Aeros Friday night at NYSEG Stadium.

Danny Salazar carved through the B-Met batting order, matching a career-high with nine strikeouts in his five shutout innings. The righty allowed just three base hits, and erased two of them with double-play balls in the win. The Akron offense did just enough against Rafael Montero to support Salazar’s effort. With runners on the corners in the top of the third, Tyler Holt beat out a potential double-play ball which scored Ronny Rodriguez. Two batters later, Holt came around to score as Jesus Aguilar tallied his league-leading 23rd RBI with a single into centerfield.

Montero’s night ended after five innings; he gave up the two runs and struck out eight. Adrian Rosario walked two of his first three hitters in the sixth, and allowed them both to score on a two-run double by Roberto Perez to give Akron a 4-0 lead.

The combination of Austin Adams and Bryce Stowell picked up where Salazar left off for Akron. Adams struck out four in his two innings on the mound, and Stowell punched out three more in the last two frames.

The B-Mets (11-10) continue their three-game series with the Aeros (9-12) Saturday afternoon at 1:05 PM. RHP Logan Verrett (3-0, 2.55) will start for Binghamton against LHP Matt Packer (0-2, 3.15) for Akron.

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 1-for-4, 1 SB (10)

Allan Dykstra: 1-for-3, 1 BB

Richard Lucas: 1-for-2, 1 BB

Rafael Montero: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 8 K

Adrian Rosario: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 1 K

Chase Huchingson: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

Jack Leathersich: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 3 K (0.00 ERA)

(Team Report)

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Mets Minors Report 4/24: Syndergaard Bounces Back, Lagares Makes Debut, Boyd Ready For FSL Wed, 24 Apr 2013 14:44:34 +0000 Catcher Blake Forsythe is making the most of his playing time at Bingo. (Gordon Donovan)

Catcher Blake Forsythe is making the most of his playing time at Bingo. (Gordon Donovan)

Last Night’s Quick Scores

Prospect Pipeline

  • All eyes were on Noah Syndergaard last night, as everyone wanted to see how he would respond after his worst professional outing as a Met on April 18. In that game, Syndergaard pitched three innings and gave up seven earned runs — it was his shortest outing as a pro. So how did Syndergaard respond? By pitching six solid innings, scattering three hits and two walks, and holding the opposition to zero earned runs. It was only the second time in Syndergaard’s career that he went six innings into a game.
  • Jack Leathersich has yet to allow a run to cross the plate on his watch. His season ERA is all zeros, and he has fifteen strikeouts in ten innings pitched. His walks are up a bit, as he has allowed eight over those ten innings, but he is another guy in Binghamton that may be able to make the jump straight to Flushing very soon. Last night, he tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless and hitless relief with three more strikeouts.
  • Blake Forsythe is a catcher in the Mets organization that you don’t hear much about. Since Juan Centeno has been promoted to Las Vegas, Forsythe has been getting more playing time. Forsythe is currently batting .345, but he has yet to throw any potential base stealers out.
  •  The Rafael Montero watch has officially started. The over/under on him making his major league debut is Memorial Day. “All Montero does is dominate.”
  • Juan Lagares made his major league debut last night, adding a hit in the Mets loss to the Dodgers. I said this in the Mets Minor League Report on 4/21: “Juan Lagares is slowly proving that he is ready for big league action. He’s been hitting leadoff for Las Vegas and was is batting .356, with two home runs and a .390 OBP. The last time I checked, the Mets could still use some help in the outfield and the top of the order…what’s the holdup?” Nice to see the Mets read our morning reports. Before Tuesday’s game, Collins called Lagares “the future,” and went on to say that there are people in the organization that think he is a better outfielder than Matt den Dekker. As if we didn’t already know and say that…
  • Someone asked me if I had to update our MMO Top 25 would there be any changes in the top five sports. Hell yeah there would be changes. My top five right now is as follows: Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Brandon Nimmo. Both Noah Syndergaard and Michael Fulmer would drop out of the top five sports for me, while Nimmo and Montero jump in. That’s the trouble with projecting pitchers who have still to get past Single-A – it’s too volatile to make a real determination and anything can still happen – bad or good. (Joe D.)
  • Savannah first baseman Jayce Boyd was 2-for-4 with a double last night and has now raised his batting line to.394/.476/.549 to go with 11 walks and only 9 strikeouts in 18 games this season. The 22-year old is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak and he may just be ready to make the jump to St. Lucie. Unlike Nimmo who is three years his junior, Boyd is a polished college player and will move quickly. (Joe D.)
  • I wish people would stop comparing Wheeler to Matt Harvey. The two pitchers couldn’t be more different; one’s a high school pick and the other was highly polished and ready college pick from UNC who made it from his first pro game to the majors in 15 months and after 45 starts. And why are people trying to say that harvey had the same walk issues as Wheeler has as a pro? There is simply no truth to that unless you cherry pick specific small sample sizes to make your point. The only pitcher Zack Wheeler reminds me of is Zack Wheeler. (Joe D.)

Stat Line of the Night

Luis Cessa: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 7 K


RHP Tyler Vanderheiden was assigned to Savannah Sand Gnats from the Brooklyn Cyclones. Actually he was at extended spring training, but was initially slated to begin the season with Brooklyn.

RHP Tim Peterson (14.24 ERA) was demoted from Savannah where he was getting torched and will be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones when their season gets underway.

Tweet Of The Day

In case you missed it, Alonzo Harris got into some trouble as he was spotted in the early evening robbing home by authorities in Binghamton last night.

Photo Of The Day

I'm totally hooked on these MMO Mets Minors Reports!

I’m totally hooked on these MMO Mets Minors Reports!

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Alonzo Harris Steals Home But Binghamton Drops Game In Extras Wed, 24 Apr 2013 03:15:58 +0000 423bing


Portland 9, Binghamton 8

The Portland Sea Dogs scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the tenth inning to defeat the Binghamton Mets, 9-8, in walk-off fashion on a cold, wet Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.

With two outs, Heiker Meneses raced home with the game-winner when John Church‘s first pitch to Derrik Gibson skipped to the backstop. The errant offering capped a four-hour, three-minute contest that was played in a prevailing mist with temperatures hovering in the low 40′s.

Facing a Major League rehabber for the second straight night, the B-Mets jumped out of the gate against southpaw Craig Breslow. Alonzo Harris and Darrell Ceciliani started the contest with singles. With Josh Rodriguez at the plate, Ceciliani broke for second. Harris, leading from third, sprinted home with the game’s first run when the catcher’s throw to second skipped away.

Following a walk to Rodriguez, Allan Dykstra stroked a two-run double to right, giving the B-Mets a 3-0 lead and ending Breslow’s rehab appearance. Brandon Workman entered and racked up three outs to end the frame.

Binghamton added two more runs in the second against Workman. After a leadoff walk, Danny Muno zipped an RBI double down the left field line. The B-Mets second baseman scored later when third baseman Kolbrin Vitek let a hard groundball squeak through his legs.

The five-run lead nearly vanished in the third. B-Mets starter Tyler Pill allowed the first five batters to reach safely on two walks and three singles. JC Linares and Michael Almanzar chipped away with RBI singles and Christian Vazquez capped the inning with a two-run single to left.

With their lead trimmed to one, Binghamton responded in the fifth with a single score. Ceciliani stared the stanza with a double to left center, stole third and came home on a sac fly from Rodriguez.

The two-run advantage did not stand for long. Adam Kolarek took over for Pill in the fifth and could not avoid damage after Wilfredo Tovar unleashed an errant through on a groundball from Tony Thomas. Vazquez drove him in later in the inning with a single to left and scored the game-tying run on a triple by Heiker Meneses.

Meneses struck again in the seventh against Kolarek. Following a pair of two-out walks, the Portland nine-hitter smacked a two-run triple into the right field corner, giving the Sea Dogs an 8-6 lead.

The B-Mets took advantage of shake Portland defense to tie the game in the eighth. Reliever Will Latimer allowed the first two he faced to reach, but bounced back with two strikeouts. With two on and two outs, Wilfredo Tovar sent a chopper to third. Vitek fielded cleanly, but his throw to first skipped past Almanzar, allowing both runs to score.

Jack Leathersich preserved the tie game with 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The lefty struck out three during the hitless appearance.

In the tenth, Binghamton’s threat to retake the lead fell a few inches short. The B-Mets started the inning with a walk and a single against reliever Brock Huntzinger. Followed a sac bunt and a strikeout, Wilfredo Tovar launched a fly ball to center. Playing shallow to start, Shannon Wilkerson raced back and make a leaping catch to end the frame, setting the stage for Portland’s walk-off win in the bottom half of the inning.

Church (0-3) took his third loss and watched his stretch of scoreless appearances come to a close at five. Huntzinger (1-0) earned his first win of the year. Pill took a no-decision while allowing four runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Workman surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits over five frames.

The B-Mets (10-9) conclude their week-long roadtrip and end a three-game series with the Sea Dogs Wednesday night at 6:00 PM. RHP Erik Goeddel (1-2, 5.52) gets the ball for Binghamton against RHP Kyle Kaminska (0-2, 7.53).

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 1-for-5, 1 R, 2 SB (Stole Home)

Darrell Ceciliani: 2-for-5, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 SB

Allan Dykstra: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Blake Forsythe: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 BB

Tyler Pill: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 4 ER, 3 K

Adam Kolarek: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 R, 2 ER

Jack Leathersich: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 K

John Church: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K

(Team Report)

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Minor League Hops: Robles With Another Gem, Mets Sign D.J. Mitchell, Vaughn On A Tear Mon, 22 Apr 2013 22:14:18 +0000 cory vaughn

Quick Hops

  • RHP Jacob deGrom makes his second career Double-A start for Binghamton. After being promoted from St. Lucie, he was stellar in his debut on 4/17 against Portland. Unfortunately he was tagged with the loss, although he only gave up one run on eight innings in an eventual 1-0 shutout loss to Portland. He surrendered just three hits, struck out eight, and only walked one. Before being promoted, DeGrom was 1-0 in two starts with St. Lucie. In 12.0 innings with the St. Lucie Mets, he allowed four runs  and struck out 13. He was drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft by the Mets out of Stetson University.
  • Juan Lagares continues to produce. He had a lead off home run for Las Vegas in last night’s loss to Colorado Springs. Andrew Brown and Lagares are making strong bids to be called up to Flushing. Lagares is batting .346 with three home runs in the lead off spot this season, while Brown is batting .343 with nine doubles and fifteen RBI. The only knock on Brown this season is his strikeouts — fifteen so far.
  • Hansel Robles pitched another gem last night. In six innings of work he didn’t allow any runs, struck out six and only walked two batters. He is holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average this season.
  • The Binghamton Mets pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of a season-high eleven walks to defeat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 15-2, at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Allan Dykstra and Danny Muno each drove in three runs as the B-Mets matched a season-high with fifteen runs scored. Alonzo Harris led the offensive day with four singles, becoming the first B-Met in 2013 to compile a four-hit day. Vaughn also chipped into the multiple-hit effort with three of his own. Josh Rodriguez scored three times as the B-Mets had eight different players touch home.
  •  Right fielder Cory Vaughn is on another one of his tears at the plate. After a slow start to the season he is batting .395 in his last ten games with three homers and 13 RBI. Entering tonight’s action and is batting .298/.365/.526 for the season.
  • So I write an article espousing all the virtues of Collin McHugh yesterday and why he should get called up. If only I had glanced at the schedule and saw he’d be pitching in the notorious Colorado Springs. And as most pitchers do, especially control artists who pound the strike zone. On Sunday, average infield outs went beyond the reach of infielders and dropped in for base hits. McQ got tagged for 13 hits and 12 of them were singles. But get this… zero walks. On Saturday, Collins said referring to Wheeler and the PCL, “I don’t care how many hits he gives up in the PCL, but six walks is unacceptable. He’s better than that.” So I give McHugh a pass.
  • It looks like center fielder Brandon Nimmo is human after all. Last night, he went 0-for-3, but still managed to walk twice and even stole a base. His slash line is still at a jaw-dropping .424/.513/.576. The budding star leads the league in Batting, OBP and Triples. He spoke to Adam Rubin last night, “It’s baseball, so we’re going to go through cold streaks and hot streaks,” Nimmo said. “This is a hot streak right now. I’m going to go through a period where I’m not doing very well. We’re just going to try to keep this going as long as possible, just be consistent. But, yeah, there’s a reason people don’t hit .400 in baseball.”
  • LHP Adam Kolarek was transferred from Las Vegas (AAA) to Binghamton (AA) where he proceeded to toss two scoreless innings for the B-Mets upon his arrival.
  • Mets announced they have signed RHP D.J. Mitchell. He made four relief appearances for Yankees last season before being traded to the Seattle Mariners for Ichiro Suzuki. He’s only made one start for Tacoma (AAA) this year. The right-hander allowed three runs in four innings in the outing on April 8.
  • Shaun Marcum threw in a simulated game this morning in St. Lucie and it looks like he is still on target to start for the Mets on Saturday. The right-hander threw 52 pitches over five scoreless innings in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., the team announced today.
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Upper Minors: McHugh Battered, Lagares Homers, Muno Drives In Three Mon, 22 Apr 2013 14:23:28 +0000 422Vegas

Colorado Springs 8, Las Vegas 7

It was an up and down night for the Las Vegas 51s that ended on a low note as they fell to Colorado Springs in walk off fashion, going down in a wild one 8-7.

Mets rotation hopeful Collin McHugh took the hill and had himself a day he’d like to soon forget. Going just 5 1/3 innings, McHugh surrendered  four runs on a whopping 13 hits while walking none and striking out three. McHugh failed to put together a single 1-2-3 inning, however was able to limit the damage through the first five frames to three runs despite the high hit total in part due to the fact that only 1 of the 13 knocks surrendered was an extra base hit. Three of the runs scored on McHugh’s watch came in the third where Charlie Backmon, Nolan Arenado and Ryan Wheeler all cashed in RBI knocks in a merry-go-round of five straight singles. Later in the inning, Matt McBride lined a two-out base hit, however thanks to a strong throw by Juan Lagares, Arenado was tagged out at home to end the threat. McHugh would leave in the sixth with a runner on third and just one out. Justin Hampson would come on and give up three straight knocks, after which he was pulled for Armando Rodriguez , who would allow one more run to score on a sac fly, but retired the side. McHugh would receive a no decision, however his ERA ballooned from just 0.50 coming into today to a “lofty” 1.93 ERA.

The 51s were first to draw blood in this one as Lagares led off the game with a solo shot on a fly ball to left field. They would be held off the board in the second and third. In the fourth and fifth however, Las Vegas cashed in a run in each on RBI singles by Zack Lutz and Andrew Brown respectively. Lutz would be driven in in the top of the sixth on a Jamie Hoffmann drive to center that went for a double, his sixth on the season, making it a 4-3 Vegas advantage. After losing the lead in the previous half inning, the 51s Wilmer Flores came up in a 1st and 3rd situation with just one out and got himself a RBI-steak of his own. They would later load up the bases for Hoffmann who came through again, this time with a two-run single, to make it a 7-6 lead for the Mets Triple-A affiliate.

Greg Peavey came on and put up goose eggs in the seventh and eighth, and went out for his third inning of work in the ninth. Clearly gassed, Peavey was completely ineffective as he allowed the first three batters to reach base, loading them up for Tyler Colvin, who promptly served up a game winning, fly ball to right field that brought home the tying and lead runs to win it for the Colorado Springs Skysox. The 51s have now fallen to just two games over .500 at 10-8.

(Clayton Collier)

Key Stats

Juan Lagares: 1-for-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

Andrew Brown: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 R

Wilmer Flores: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB

Zach Lutz: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB

Jamie Hoffmann: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 3 RBI

Collin McHugh: 5.1 IP, 13 H, 0 BB, 4 ER, 3 K

Justin Hampson: 0.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 ER

Greg Peavey: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 K




Binghamton 15, New Hampshire 2

The Binghamton Mets pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of a season-high eleven walks to defeat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 15-2, at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Allan Dykstra and Danny Muno each drove in three runs as the B-Mets matched a season-high with fifteen runs scored.

Alonzo Harris led the offensive day with four singles, becoming the first B-Met in 2013 to compile a four-hit day. Vaughn also chipped into the multiple-hit effort with three of his own. Josh Rodriguez scored three times as the B-Mets had eight different players touch home.

Facing Deck McGuire for the second time in less than two weeks, the B-Mets wasted little time grabbing the lead. Binghamton loaded the bases in the first on a single and two walks and plated two runs on run-scoring groundouts by Dykstra and Cory Vaughn.

Blake Forsythe led off the second inning by bouncing a double off the right field wall and came home with two outs when Alonzo Harris zipped a single back up the middle.

The Fisher Cats scratched back in the fourth with one big fly from Ricardo Nanita. The outfielder launched a 2-0 pitch from Verrett over the right field fence for his second homer of the series, cutting Binghamton’s lead down to two.

Binghamton put the game out of reach with a five-run fifth inning. The B-Mets chewed through three New Hampshire pitchers, sent 11 men to the plate, collected three hits and took advantage of five walks to take an 8-1 lead.

Richard Lucas chased McGuire (1-2) from the game with an RBI single in the fifth. The righty exited after allowing six hits and handing out a career-high six walks. Chorye Spoone inherited three runners and allowed all to score, by uncorking a wild pitch and walking three of the four batters he faced. Trystan Magnuson finally put out the flames in the disastrous inning by inducing a fly out.

Verrett (3-0) went just far enough to pick up his third straight win. The righty allowed five hits and surrendered one run over five innings in the victory. His only blemish was Nanita’s solo homer in the fourth.

Binghamton’s offensive attack continued into a four-run sixth inning. The B-Mets took advantage of a fielding error with the bases loaded, a hit batsman and three hits, highlighted by Danny Muno’s two-run single off the top of the right field wall. They tacked on three more runs on three hits and two errors in the ninth.

Adam Kolarek, in his first game since returning from the Las Vegas 51′s (AAA), tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Adrian Rosario closed the B-Mets pitching tab and allowed one run on two hits in two innings of relief.

The B-Mets (10-7) continue their week-long roadtrip by starting a three-game series against the Portland Sea Dogs Monday night in Maine at 6:00 PM. RHP Jacob DeGrom (0-1, 1.13) takes the hill for his second Double-A start. RHP Brandon Workman (3-0, 3.00) gets the ball for Portland.

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 4-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SB

Allan Dykstra: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 RBI, 3 BB

Josh Rodriguez: 1-for-2, 1 2B, 3 R, 4 BB

Cory Vaughn: 3-for-6, 2 RBI, 2 R

Daniel Muno: 1-for-3, 3 RBI, 1 BB

Logan Verrett: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 1 ER, 1 K

Adam Kolarek: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 1 K

Adrian Rosario: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 2 K

(Team Report)

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Danny Muno Powers B-Mets Win With Three RBI Night Fri, 19 Apr 2013 06:21:56 +0000 418Bingham

Binghamton 4, New Hampshire 3

The Binghamton Mets stroked a season-high five doubles to defeat the New Hampshire Cats, 4-3, Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Danny Muno led the offensive charge with two hits and three RBIs.

Binghamton had to play catch-up after Tyler Pill‘s smooth start ran into a bumpy patch in the third. Ricardo Nanita started by stroking a double to center and scored two batters later on Amadeo Zazueta‘s RBI single to left. Kevin Pillar doubled New Hampshire’s lead later in the inning by scorching an RBI hit under Wilfredo Tovar‘s glove at short. Pill escaped any further damage by striking out Brad Glenn and Adam Loewen to strand the bases loaded.

Binghamton struck back in the fourth against Fisher Cats starter Ryan Tepera. Cesar Puello roped his second triple of the season over left fielder Kevin Pillar’s head to start the inning. Daniel Muno drove him home with a single to left and collected his fifth RBI of the season.

b-mets binghamton mets cap

After Ricardo Nanita extended the lead with a solo homer in the fourth, the B-Mets used three doubles to take the lead in the sixth. Cory Vaughn jump-started the two-bagger parade by shooting his second of the year to center. Tepera hit pinch-hitter Allan Dykstra with a 2-2 offering and exited after Francisco Pena‘s sac bunt.

Chorye Spoone inherited both runners and fell behind Danny Muno 2-0. In the driver’s seat, Muno laced a game-tying two-run double to right. Alonzo Harris followed quickly by dumping an RBI double into center, giving Binghamton a one-run advantage.

Pill preserved the lead and capped his night with a perfect sixth inning. The righty allowed three runs on seven hits over six frames. He struck out six, walked one and retired the final seven Fisher Cats he faced.

John Church took over in the seventh, making his second appearance in as many nights, and worked a perfect inning. Chase Huchingson worked around a two-out single in a scoreless eighth and Jeff Walters shut the door with a shutout ninth to earn his fourth save.

The B-Mets three-run sixth made a winner of Pill (1-1) for the first time at Double-A. Spoone (0-1) suffered the loss and blown save.

The B-Mets (8-6) continue their four-game set against the Fisher Cats (7-8) Friday night at 6:35 PM. RHP Erik Goeddel (1-1, 3.48) gets the ball for Binghamton against RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-2, 3.57).

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 1-for-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI

Cory Vaughn: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 R

Daniel Muno: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB

Tyler Pill: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 ER, 6 K

John Church: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Chase Huchingson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB

Jeffrey Walters: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB

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Goeddel, B-Mets Bullpen Struggle With Command In Binghamton Loss Sun, 14 Apr 2013 05:07:18 +0000 413Bing

New Hampshire 6, Binghamton 1

The B-Met pitching staff issued nine walks on the way to a 6-1 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Saturday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium.

Starting pitcher Erik Goeddel walked four hitters in 4.1 innings before being removed from the game. Manager Pedro Lopez then looked to the bullpen, but they fared no better.

After allowing the inherited runner to score on an Amadeo Zazueta single in the fifth, B-Met reliever Adrian Rosario ran into trouble in the sixth after issuing a bases loaded walk to Ricardo Nanita. John Church then came in, and surrendered two more bases loaded walks. For the inning, the Fisher Cats scored three runs on just one hit.

Binghamton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against starting pitcher Ryan Tepera. After Alonzo Harris led off with a single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a fielder’s interference call, he scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Richard Lucas.

After the rough first inning however, Tepera breezed through the Binghamton lineup for the next five innings. He allowed no more than four B-Mets to come to the plate in an inning, and turned it over the bullpen in the seventh. Tepera threw six innings, gave up one unearned run, and allowed three hits.

Fernando Hernandez threw the final three innings for New Hampshire, and earned his first save of 2013. The B-Mets were able to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t push a run across.

The series finale between the B-Mets (5-4) and the Fisher Cats (6-4) is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:05 PM. The game features two Opening Day starters, as Rafael Montero (1-0, 1.54) takes on Austin Bibens-Dirx (1-1, 0.69).

Key Stats

Richard Lucas: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 SB, CS

Alonzo Harris: 1-for-4, 1 R, SB, CS

Erik Goeddel: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 2 ER, 7 K

(Team Report)

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Upper Minors: Torres Ineffective In Vegas 6-1 Loss, Vaughn Explodes In B-Mets 15-7 Win Sat, 13 Apr 2013 13:11:47 +0000

Colorado Springs 6, Las Vegas 1

Fans who attended Opening Night at Cashman Field Friday were treated to a dominant performance — just not from the home team.

Behind seven strikeouts and only one earned run from former second-round pick Tyler Chatwood, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox downed the Las Vegas 51s, 6-1, in the team’s home opener.

The 51s’ bats were non-existent for most of the night, including the first four innings. It wasn’t until they had one out left in the fifth inning that the 51s notched an extra-base hit.

Left fielder Jamie Hoffman doubled and pinch hitter Reese Havens drove him in with a line drive to center field. The 51s offense once again fizzled after that.

Las Vegas’ four most ballyhooed hitters — catcher Travis d’Arnaud, first baseman Josh Satin, second baseman Wilmer Flores and third baseman Zach Lutz — went a combined 1-for-15.

The Sky Sox set the tone with three runs in the first-inning. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, the top prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization according to Baseball America, doubled and drove in a run in his first at-bat.

Colorado Springs scored one run in three of the next four innings, including a solo home run from ex-Chicago Cub Tyler Colvin in the fifth.

A crowd of 9,247 fans watched as Las Vegas fell to 5-4 on the year while Colorado Springs improved to 5-3. The 51s host the Sky Sox for the next three days in a row to complete the series.

Key Stats

Omar Quintanilla: 2-for-4

Carlos Torres: 3 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 HR

Greg Peavey: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 R

Binghamton 15, New Hampshire 7

The B-Mets tied a franchise record by scoring 11 times in the fourth inning en route to a 15-7 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Friday night at NYSEG Stadium.

Trailing 5-1 entering the bottom of the fourth, Rhyne Hughes got the inning started by launching his first home run of the season over the left field wall. Hughes was the first of nine consecutive batters to reach base safely to start the inning. They also all eventually came around to score. Binghamton scored eleven times, collected seven hits, and used the help of five walks and two Fisher Cat fielding errors in the decisive inning.

New Hampshire had their way offensively as well. They began the game with three consecutive hits, and scored twice in the first inning. On the night they finished with seven runs on eighteen hits, however they left 16 men on base.

Binghamton’s first run was scored in the bottom of the second inning, as Cory Vaughn doubled home Juan Centeno. Both Centeno and Vaughn finished with three hits and three runs apiece, with Vaughn tallying four RBI as well. As a team Binghamton collected 14 base hits by seven different players, and 14 RBI by eight different players.

Mark Cohoon (2-0) got the win in relief. He pitched two innings after replacing starter Tyler Pill, and gave up one run on four hits.

Key Stats

Alonzo Harris: 2-for-6, 3 RBI, 1 R,

Juan Centeno: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI

Cory Vaughn: 3-for-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB

Tyler Pill: 4 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

(Team Reports)

Site Note: I’m looking for 2-3 writers who are hooked on the Mets Minor Leagues for special features, live game coverage, players interviews. Email me at Serious inquiries only.

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Montero and Nimmo Cop MMO Minor League Players of the Week Honors Thu, 11 Apr 2013 14:50:47 +0000 As the first week of the Mets minor league comes to an end we’ve seen some great performances at every level. It’s been a feast for the eyes for those of you lucky enough to watch the games on MiLB TV this week and choosing one top pitcher and hitter was no easy task. But given the enormous pressure and high expectations for two of these players, I gave the nod to RHP Rafael Montero and CF Brandon Nimmo.

MiLB: JUL 12 - St. Lucie Mets at Tampa Yankees DBL Header (Game 2)



Montero has been the picture of poise, command and sheer dominance on the mound for Double-A Binghamton to begin the season. The most notable stat that jumps out at you? No walks and 16 strikeouts. He deserved a second win but his team got shutout in a 1-0 loss on Tuesday.

This kid is the real deal, and he’s skyrocketing up the system faster than a speeding bullet. He’s coming soon to a Rotunda near you.

Honorable Mentions

Rainy Lara, Matthew Bowman and Luis Cessa all came up big for Savannah. Jacob deGrom, Luis Mateo and Noah Syndergaard have yet to give up a run for St. Lucie… Cory Mazzoni hasn’t allowed a run yet either this season.




For all of you worry warts who were already to write this kid off, RELAX…  Brandon Nimmo is still one of the youngest players in his league and is now showing all the tools that compelled the mets to take him with their top pick in the 2011 Draft.

Nimmo burst out of the gate with 11 hits in his first 29 at-bats translating into a .379/.471/483 slash with 8 runs scored and 4 RBI. Throw in a double, triple and a stolen base for good measure. This is the Brandon Nimmo we’ve all been waiting for.

Check out the following video taken this week from notable scout Mike Newman who launched a great new site;

Honorable Mentions

Nimmo’s teammate Kevin Plawecki (.500) and Jayce Boyd (.440) are also off to torrid starts at the plate. This was a big week for Josh Satin (.480) who has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Las Vegas 51s with three homers already in the bank. Shortstop Matt Reynolds is lighting up the scoreboard for St. Lucie and catcher Camden Maron is right behind him. Josh Rodriguez and Alonzo Harris are tearing it up in Bingo.

See you next Thursday…

I can't get enough of these Mets farm hands.

I can’t get enough of these Mets farm hands.

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Upper Minors: Vegas Pulls Out Late Win For Gorski, Goeddel Strong For B-Mets Tue, 09 Apr 2013 06:35:49 +0000 Vegas48

Las Vegas 4, Fresno 3

Darin Gorski had a decent outing and the late hitting for the 51s sealed the win, 4-3.

Darin Gorski had a solid outing, going five innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, walking four and striking out three. Gorski did not exhibit solid command, but managed to miss the bats enough to walk away with a respectable start. Gorski will always be a contact pitcher, and the development of his breaking ball will determine his final resting place. Greg Peavey went two innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. Justin Hampson got the win, giving up one hit in his inning of work. Jeurys Familia came out for his inning to grab the save, giving up two hits but striking out one batter. Pitching has been a huge part of the 51s success and will continue to be.

On the offensive side, Vegas continued its early scoring mentality netting a run on a Wilmer Flores RBI groundout and an Andrew Brown RBI triple. Josh Satin would push an RBI single in the sixth inning to tie the game. A Jamie Hoffman RBI single in the top of the ninth inning would seal the win for the 51s. Despite many offensive explosion type games, the 51s have shown some clutch hitting as well as some great situational hitting.

Zack Wheeler toes the rubber for the 51s tomorrow evening at 10:05 ET as Las Vegas (4-1) continues their series with the Fresno Grizzlies.

Key Stats

  • Juan Lagares - 2 for 5, R
  • Travis d’Arnaud – 1 for 3, R, BB
  • Wilmer Flores – 0 for 3, R, RBI, BB, K
  • Darin Gorski - 5 IP, 5H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
  • Jeurys Familia - 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, SV

Binghamton Mets 7, Erie SeaWolves 2

Erik Goeddel had a great outing and the offense made sure there was no doubt in the 7-2 victory

Erik Goeddel put together a strong outing, going six innings giving up two runs on eight hits, walking no one and striking out five. Goeddel relied on generating ground balls and leaning on his defense, which is always a positive plan when you have a great defense behind you. Jack Leathersich came out for two innings of work, and allowed one hit while striking out two batters. Leathersich may be the fastest mover in the Mets system based on his ability to be a crossover reliever and dominate lefties. Jeffrey Walters came out for the ninth inning and allowed two hits and walked one batter pitching the ninth. The premier pitching surplus is present in Binghamton and they are utilizing it well.

The B.Mets offense didn’t take the day off either, with five earned runs crossing the plate and a few runs scoring due to some shoddy defense from the SeaWolves. Cesar Puello hit an RBI double in the fifth and was thrown out in a run down play being aggressive. Alonzo Harris hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. Wilfredo Tovar had an RBI fielders choice in the seventh, scoring Cesar Puello. Darrell Ceciliani had a two-RBI double in the seventh, and Cory Vaughn struck out swinging but a wild pitch allowed Darrell Ceciliani to score from third. Rhyne Hughes netted an RBI on a force attempt in the ninth inning, scoring Alonzo Harris.

Rafael Montero looks to build on his strong opening day start against Erie tomorrow evening at 6:05 ET.

Key Stats

  • Alonzo Harris - 3 for 5, HR, 2 R, RBI
  • Cory Vaughn – 0 for 5, 3 K
  • Cesar Puello – 1 for 3, R, RBI, BB, K
  • Erik Goeddel - 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
  • Jack Leathersich - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER. 0 BB, 1 K
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Mets Minors: Blake Forsythe Leads Offensive Attack In Binghamton Mets Victory Sat, 06 Apr 2013 22:43:21 +0000 Click scoreboard to see entire box score

Click scoreboard to see entire box score

Binghamton Mets 7, Akron Aeros 5

The Binghamton Mets moved to 3-0 on the season after defeating the Akron Aeros again this afternoon at Canal Park. The story of the day is Blake Forsythe, who led the offensive attack going 3 for 4, adding a double, a triple, and three RBI. The B-Mets offense jumped on Aeros starter, Matt Packer, right out of the gate. The offense pounded out thirteen hits, and six B-Mets players had multi-hit games, including Daniel Muno, Alonzo Harris, Darrell Ceciliani, Josh Rodriguez, Cory Vaughn, and of course, Forsythe.

On the mound, Logan Verrett picked up the win and was pitching a masterpiece until the sixth inning. He held the Aeros scoreless through six, only allowing one hit and one walk. However, in the sixth inning you could see some signs that Verrett was tiring. He gave up a deep double to Alex Lavisky, the Aeros’ number nine hitter, which hit off the fence and narrowly missed being a home run. Then, Aeros’ lead off hitter Tyler Holt smashed a wicked line-drive down the third base line which was stabbed by Josh Rodriguez to save a run. Verrett escaped the sixth, but the seventh inning didn’t get any easier. He gave up a hit to the inning’s lead off hitter, Carlos Moncrief, and then a deep home run to right-center field to the second batter of the inning, Jesus Aguilar, which signaled that Verrett’s day may have been over. He then walked the following batter, and then was replaced by John Church.

Verrett pitched an excellent game, and really only made a couple of mistakes the entire game. It was an excellent outing that Verrett will be able to build on. He pitched six complete innings (did not retire an out in the seventh), allowing three runs on four hits, and only walked two batters.

The Binghamton Mets are the only undefeated team in the Eastern League

Key Stats

  • Blake Forsythe3 for 5, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI
  • Alonzo Harris2 for 4, 2B, R, BB
  • Daniel Muno – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • Josh Rodriguez – 3 for 5, R, RBI
  • Darrell Ceciliani – 2 for 5, 2B, 3B, R
  • Cory Vaughn – 2 for 4, 3B, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Logan Verrett6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W

Tomorrow’s Game

Tyler Pill takes the hill for the B-Mets tomorrow afternoon, as they close out their four game series with the Akron Aeros at Canal Park. The game is slated for a 2:05 PM start.

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Mets Minors: Previewing The Binghamton Mets Sat, 06 Apr 2013 14:00:35 +0000 While, for most of the season, it will be the St. Lucie Mets grabbing the headlines, the Binghamton Mets have an intriguing roster as well. Bingo will feature a solid pitching staff, headlined by Rafael Montero, as well as some prospects that have largely flown under the radar in their careers, but have talent, such as Wilfredo Tovar and Alonzo Harris. The B-Mets will also feature two interesting names who haven’t been able to put it all together yet: Cory Vaughn and Cesar Puello, both of whom have very high ceilings. Now, let’s get to the players.

The Big Names

  • Rafael Montero (RHP)- Montero has risen through the minors unusually quickly, playing for seven of the Mets’ minor league affiliates after signing with them before the 2011 season. Although he had a fine 2011 season between the Dominican Summer, Gulf Coast, Appalachian, and New York-Penn leagues, he didn’t really put himself on the map until last season. Last season between Savannah and St. Lucie, he posted a 2.36 ERA in 122 innings, striking out 8.1 per nine while walking just 1.4. Scouts credit his strong secondary pitches for his successes so far in his career. His changeup and slider are both well-developed, which is why he has dominated and moved up so quickly. 
  • Wilfredo Tovar (SS)- Until last season, Tovar looked like a weak-hitting shortstop with a good glove, but also a bat that would keep him from the majors. In 2011, Tovar hit .251/.318/.318 in a full season with Savannah. He was moved up a level to St. Lucie last season, in which he started to look like more than a weak-hitting shortstop. In half a season with St. Lucie, he upped his batting line to .284/.377/.385 with 12 stolen bases in 65 games, earning himself an FSL All-Star Game selection. What was especially promising was his strikeout and walk rates, which were better than ever. He walked in 11.3% of his plate appearances, compared to his career-best of 8.0%, and struck out at a 6.6% clip, also the best mark of his career. He struggled in Binghamton last year, which is why he is repeating the league, but if he can harness the patience that we saw out of him over the first half of 2012, he could become a Ruben Tejada-type player.
  • Cory Vaughn (RF)- The Mets don’t have many pure power hitters in their system, but Cory Vaughn is one of them, and among the best. He is the definition of a power hitter: getting on base, and hitting a ton of extra-base hits. Last year, he hit 51 extra-base hits in 126 games with St. Lucie, 23 of them home runs. Vaughn, however, has speed that most power hitters don’t have. He swiped a career-best 21 bases last season. Vaughn’s biggest weakness right now is his hit tool. Everything else is there. If he starts hitting for a higher batting average, everything will come together.
  • Cesar Puello (RF)- Once dubbed the next Carlos Beltran, Puello may have the best tools in the entire Met system. He has speed, power, and is a solid defender in the outfield. It’s the health that will dictate his future. Last season, Puello hit .260/.328/.423 with 26 extra-base hits in 66 games.

The Sleepers

  • Danny Muno (2B/SS)- Muno was suspended for PED use last year, after hitting .355 in Brooklyn in 2011. The 2011 eighth-round pick still put up solid numbers, even after the suspension. He hit for a little bit of power, knocking 16 doubles, two triples, and six homers in 81 games with St. Lucie. He put up a .280/.387/.412 batting line. Muno walked an excellent 14.2% of the time while striking out only 15.1%. Oh, and he stole 19 bases.
  • Tyler Pill (RHP)- Pill is seeing his stock rising fast, and although he isn’t put in the same group as Wheeler, Fulmer, or Syndergaard, he has made a name for himself as a top-30 prospect. He only throws in the high-80s, but uses his excellent command to get hitters out. Last season, he put up an impressive 4.77 K/BB rate with a 2.31 ERA in 113 innings between St. Lucie and Savannah.
  • Jack Leathersich (LHP)- Leathersich has put up amazing strikeout numbers out of the bullpen since being drafted in 2011 in the fifth round out of UMass-Lowell. Leathersich is on the fast track to the major league bullpen, and will continue to move quickly if his strikeout numbers remain this high. Last season he struck out 14.1 batters per nine. Some call his delivery deceiving, which may explain why his ERA in the Florida State League this year was 4.12. Maybe more advanced hitters are catching on. Perhaps his high walk numbers are hurting him. Or maybe the high ERA was just a result of a small sample size, as so often happens with minor league relief pitchers.
  • Alonzo Harris (OF)- Harris, once deemed ruined after an aggressive promotion by Omar Minaya went horribly wrong, has re-gained his prospect status with a much-improved approach at the dish over the last few seasons. Promoted too quickly because of his athleticism and raw tools, Harris hit .224/.270/..342 as a 20 year-old, second-year player in Savannah. He was overly-aggressive and struck out over in over 20% of his plate appearances. Since then, he has seen his walk rates rise and strikeout rates fall steadily and now he has a solid approach at the dish. His success in 2011 in Savannah were attributed to him getting used to the league, but the even better walk and strikeout numbers in 2012 with St. Lucie have some people believing that he’s not done yet.

Other Names to Watch

  • Cory Mazzoni (RHP)- Mazzoni was the Mets’ second-round pick of the 2011 draft out of NC State. After a little over a year in the minors, it appears that that Mazzoni, with a limited arsenal, is headed to the bullpen. He will start for the forseeable future to get more in-game action, but his 6.5 K/9 last year leave much to be desired.
  • Logan Verrett (RHP)- Verrett only made six starts in St. Lucie after coming back from a shoulder strain, but will move up this year anyway. His 7.15 K/BB ratio last year was stellar. The only concern is the lower strikeout rate in the six St. Lucie starts, which fell to 6.1 K/9 from 9.3 in Savannah.
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MMO Fan Shot: What Will This Mets Dynasty Team Look Like? Mon, 25 Mar 2013 14:15:43 +0000 MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Detroit Tigers

If you are like me, you look forward to a time when the major rebuilding is done and the Mets can (hopefully) embark on an extended period of high level competitiveness and play meaningful games (to borrow a phrase) each fall. Assuming that time is near (2014? 2015?), what will the team’s roster look like? I offer a speculative peek from one fan’s perspective that will focus on internal options:

FIRST BASE: This should be easy. Assuming no blockbuster deal or career derailment, Ike Davis looks to be a lock to hold this position for years to come. In a year Ike will be entering his prime seasons (ages 27-32) and should provide steady defense and left-handed thump on a regular basis. Expect a move by management to sign him to a long-term deal fairly soon.

SECOND BASE: This is not an easy call. We have a convergence of players that can fit here including Daniel Murphy, Jordany Valdespin, Wilmer Flores, and Reese Havens. Most of this crew are somewhat challenged defensively, and Havens’ ability to stay healthy is a major concern. Murph has the hustle we all love and flashes the potential of a high-average hitter. Consistency is the key here. Valdespin (if he doesn’t ultimately wind up in the outfield) has the most speed of the group to go with surprising pop. The leather may remain an issue as well as what can charitably be described as a somewhat mercurial personality. Flores is a bat in search of a position. Third would likely have been his best bet, but we know what the deal is with that. I like his potential but my instincts tell me “trade bait.” Havens inability to stay on the field makes him an enigma, and at age 26 he’s getting a bit long in the tooth for prospect status. Still, he could certainly surprise. The verdict: Murphy, whose drive will improve his defense to “acceptable” and whose bat should produce enough line drives to offset his relatively low walk totals.

SHORTSTOP: Well, if the organization keeps drafting guys at this position, I guess they’ll find somebody they like. Really, the guy we ought to have is up in Toronto now but that’s a story for another day. Ruben Tejada has been steady, if not spectacular, and at 23 is young enough to take a few steps forward in his game. Speed is not part of the package, but he has a good eye at the plate and could develop a bit more power in time. Still, he’s likely to remain more of a “pesky” hitter than anything else. If he can bring his OBP up another 10% or so, he’d be more of an offensive component. The glove is fine. So, should we look for Gavin Cecchini, T.J. Rivera, German Rosario, Phillip Evans, or Wilfredo Tovar to supplant Tejada in the next two years? Doubtful, but ya never know. From what I read, Cecchini, Rosario, and Evans have potential, but they are years away (read 3-4), Tovar projects as a utility guy and Rivera, despite an eye-catching batting line at two levels of A ball last year, is a bit older for his level of competition and generally not rated as a top prospect by those rating the organization’s farm system. The verdict: Tejada, who will hopefully raise his offensive game a notch or two.

THIRD BASE: David Wright. ‘Nuff said.

CATCHER: If I put anyone here but Travis D’Arnaud, I’d be called anything you could imagine including late for dinner. Still, Kevin Plawecki has some intriguing skills (good eye, low strikeout rate, some evidence of mid-line power), so perhaps he’ll be in the picture as a backup. Francisco Pena has good bloodlines but hasn’t hit. So Travis it is.

OUTFIELD: I was reading today that the Mets haven’t sent a left fielder to the All-Star Game since Cleon Jones went 43 years ago. I also remember reading about the Red Sox having only three left fielders over a 50 year time frame (Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice). All of which makes me wonder when we will find the slugging stalwart we’ve been waiting for. I find Lucas Duda to be a likable type, and would love to see him blossom into…I don’t know, the next Greg Luzinski?

Barring a trade or (gasp) a Free Agent Signing, the outfield remains either a semi-barren rock garden or a fertile field, waiting for planting depending on your viewpoint. There isn’t a whole lot to work with here as far as players close to the majors, made worse with the injury to Matt den Dekker. The consensus is that his glove is great but his bat requires a season of adjustment per level to catch up to the advanced pitchers he has faced. Like Havens, age is an issue as he’ll be 26 in August. Essentially, he projects as Kirk Nieuwenhuis with more spectacular fielding chops and I don’t know if either of them will hit enough to break out of role player/4th outfielder status.

As for the best of the rest, Brandon Nimmo may be the real deal but is unlikely to figure in the picture before 2016 at the earliest, Juan Lagares and Cesar Puello (he of the looming PED suspension) show tools but doesn’t appear to be close to major league ready, and the intriguing names from the low minors such as Alonzo Harris, Travis Taijeron, Cory Vaughn, and the near-legendary Vicente Lupo are simply not in the picture at this time.

So…we gotta hope that Duda develops and that we catch lightning in a bottle with someone in the current group.The wild card is Valdespin who can force his way in through sheer production. I’m looking for the Wilpons to step up and maybe import Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones, or Shin-Soo Choo to hold down a position in 2014. And maybe management parlays some spare parts with value (e.g. Flores, Murph, etc.) into a legitimate outfield bat.

ROTATION: At last, something to regard as a strength. There are arms up and down the system and everyone already has visions of a potential starting five that will include Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Noah Syndergaard and Dillon Gee, with a plethora of promising choices to fill in if needed. Me too.

In the next few years, I expect that Jenrry Mejia, Luis Mateo, Rafael Montero, Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia, Hansel Robles, Jacob deGrom, Cory Mazzoni, et al. will feed the 25 man roster either as fresh arms or as trade fodder to maybe help shore up that pesky outfield. I have my doubts about Mejia from a durability standpoint, but the little I’ve seen of Mazzoni and Montero this spring looks quite promising. I think we can actually count on primarily in-house options here.

BULLPEN: Will Bobby Parnell emerge as the closer we’ve been waiting for? If he does it will represent a change in trend for a team that has imported players for this position consistently for decades. I think he can do the job now that he’s demonstrated an approach that relies more heavily on changing speeds and locations and less on sheer velocity. If Jeurys Familia can harness his control (where have I heard that before) then another home-grown option may loom. From the port side, Robert Carson and Josh Edgin look to have potential, and farther down the line Jack Leathersich seems to be one to watch along with Adam Kolarek. The bullpen is one area that the team seems to re-make almost entirely each off-season without a ton of success, so maybe the current crop of up-and-comers can lend some stability in the near future.

So there you have it. Do the Mets project as a possible dynasty team in the next few years? I think it is possible, but whether it will be a team that resembles the ’69-’73 Seaver/Koosman/McGraw and “enough” offense Mets, the mid-80’s Doc/Darling/Keith/Straw powerhouse, the late ‘90’s Bobby V/Piazza/Leiter/Ventura outfit, or the Pedro/Beltran/Delgado/Reyes/Wright group of a few years back is dependent on a host of factors.

When I look at this organization as currently comprised, I remind myself that the SF Giants have won consistently with gaping holes in their offense and a dominant rotation. I could see a similar evolution here, but I sure wouldn’t mind a bit more offense. Here’s hoping.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Gerry Silverman.

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