WEEK IN REVIEW
The Las Vegas 51s (10-11, third in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern division) have dropped six of their last eight games, including their last two by giving up 11 runs in each game. Neither their offense or pitching has stood out thus far, with the 51s checking in at the middle of the pack for nearly every team statistic.
The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (9-8, fourth in the Eastern League Eastern division) went 4-2 over the last seven days, taking two series from the Erie SeaWolves and the Akron RubberDucks. Binghamton’s pitching was anchored by Corey Oswalt, who allowed one earned run in 13 innings over two starts this week.
The St. Lucie Mets (8-13, sixth in the Florida State League South division) have fallen into a funk, losing seven of their last eight ballgames. The lone victory came on Wednesday, when the Mets were helped by a home run from Patrick Mazeika and the first victory of the season for first-round pick Justin Dunn.
The Columbia Fireflies (12-9, second in the South Atlantic League Southern division) have benefited from a few top pitching performances in April, but their offense has begun to pick it up as well. Over the last week, Tim Tebow hit .435 with four extra-base hits and only four strikeouts in 23 at-bats.
METS MINORS NEWS & BUZZ
The Fireflies’ pitching staff has been all the rage this season, as they sport two pitchers, Jordan Humphreys and Merandy Gonzalez, who have spotless 4-0 records. The last two Mets minor leaguers to go 4-0 in April were Logan Verrett (Binghamton, 2013) and Jorge Sosa (New Orleans, 2008).
2B Jeff McNeil made his 2017 debut on Tuesday by homering in his first at-bat for St. Lucie, after surgeries to repair a hernia and a separate operation on his hip. The long ball came in his first appearance in 378 days, because he missed all but three games of the 2016 season.
After being placed on Columbia’s disabled list with shoulder issues that popped up at the beginning of spring training, LHP Seth Davis has begun a normal throwing program in extended spring training. The 23-year-old has a 2.42 ERA in 47 appearances over two minor league seasons.
OF Brandon Nimmo became the third player to join St. Lucie on a major league rehab assignment this season, following Juan Lagares and Jeurys Familia. Nimmo has gone 1-5 with two RBI and three walks, as he works his way back from a hamstring strain.
OPS – Josh Rodriguez 1.020 (LVG), Anthony Dimino .998 (STL, COL), Jhoan Urena .953 (STL), Dominic Smith .924 (LVG), Amed Rosario .904 (LVG)
The Mets selected catcher Anthony Dimino in the 28th round of the 2015 draft, and he became one of only two players taken after the 23rd round to sign with the team. The 23-year-old from Belmont Abbey College has done nothing but hit since entering the organization, recording a .318 average in his first two seasons.
Dimino was assigned to Columbia to begin the 2017 season, but a broken hand for St. Lucie’s Peter Alonso forced a promotion of Dimino less than one week into the season. In the first month of 2017, he has played catcher, first base, third base, and even tossed a scoreless inning to record a save on April 17.
Anthony joined MMN for a Q&A, where he discussed versatility, his hitting philosophy, and more.
On his goals entering the season…
“Some of my goals included learning how to handle playing several positions throughout a season to help the team with my versatility, improving my approach at the plate, as well as breaking camp with a full season team. I’ve already played a few different positions and look forward to switching around more throughout the season.”
On getting promoted less than a week into the season…
“Breaking camp was awesome, playing near home in Columbia, and playing in front of a bunch of fans was a blast. However, my goal is obviously to move up, so when I got that opportunity I was very excited to help a new team in any way possible.”
On his versatility…
“Being able to play different positions helps me have different ways to help whatever team I’m on, whether it’s injury, guys that need an off day, or any other situation. I enjoy being a utility type player.”
On the coaching he has received in the organization…
“All of the coaches and managers I’ve come in contact with in the organization are very professional as well as knowledgeable. My catching coordinator, Bob Natal had specifically helped me learn a new position and in my opinion one of the toughest on the field. I can accredit a lot of the learning process to him.”
On how he has grown as a hitter since being drafted…
“In college I relied solely on my hands, as well as my eyes. Just kind of a see and react hitter. Towards the end of my career at Belmont Abbey we started putting plans together and creating an approach to help go along with physical attributes. The mental side of hitting has definitely helped with my success in pro ball because the pitching talent is definitely elevated.”
On his approach at the plate…
“My approach is to keep it as simple as possible. Look at the situation before I go up, figure out what can I do to help the team in that situation, then look for the pitch that can help me succeed.”
Jeff McNeil activated from Binghamton’s disabled list….Dale Burdick transferred to Binghamton from St. Lucie….Mickey Jannis placed on Binghamton’s temporarily inactive list….Blake Tiberi activated from Columbia’s disabled list….Harol Gonzalez placed on Columbia’s disabled list, retroactive to April 21.
Jeff McNeil transferred to St. Lucie from Binghamton.
Sean Gilmartin optioned to Las Vegas from New York….Matt Reynolds recalled to New York from Las Vegas….Brandon Nimmo assigned to St. Lucie on rehab….Thomas McIlraith placed on St. Lucie’s disabled list….Tyler Bashlor activted from St. Lucie’s disabled list.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
It should come as a surprise to no one that this man has come ready to play. Amed Rosario, the top prospect in the Mets’ organization has not only been tearing up the Pacific Coast League over the last week, but really the whole season. The 21-year-old has hit .458 over the last seven days, while putting up a .397/.442/.462 slash line since the season commenced.
With the current struggles of Mets infielders at the major league level, it should be comforting to fans to hear that their number one prospect is living up to the hype in the minor leagues. When the organization needed Rosario to take a leap forward offensively in 2016, he obliged, and has clearly continued that in 2017. On the other side of the ball, Rosario was exposed to third base for the first time since 2014 last Friday, part of the organizational plan to increase versatility, while still keeping him sharp at shortstop.
While the batting average alone is impressive, it should be noted that nearly all of his work is coming off singles. Through Thursday, only four of Rosario’s 31 hits were for extra bases, which includes no home runs. This can partially be attributed to lower fly ball rates and a higher tendency to go to the opposite field, putting up numbers that he hasn’t since playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014.
While a rash of injuries at the major league level may unwillingly change the Mets’ plans, Rosario is not close to being promoted, as many reports have suggested.
Las Vegas: Albuquerque (4/28-5/1), Tacoma (5/1-5)
Binghamton: New Hampshire (4/28-30), Akron (5/1-3), @ New Hampshire (5/4-7, doubleheader on 5/5)
St. Lucie: Clearwater (4/28-30), @ Bradenton (5/1-4), Fort Myers (5/5-7)
Columbia: Resumption of suspended game (4/28), @ Hickory (4/28-30), OFF 5/1, Delmarva (5/2-4), Lakewood (5/5-8)