Firsthand Report: Chris Flexen Dazzles in Rumble Ponies Debut

I had the opportunity to catch the Binghamton Rumble Ponies play a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon with them splitting the two games thanks to dominant pitching performance from Chris Flexen.

Flexen, 22, was making his Double-A debut for Binghamton after making three starts with the St. Lucie Mets to begin the season. He pitched a seven-inning complete game while allowing only five hits, zero walks and six strikeouts on 83 pitches. The right-hander was spectacular in the Rumble Ponies 3-0 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

His four-seamer was sitting at 93/94 MPH, two-seamer at 90-91 MPH that has wicked movement but the curve is the money pitch. He disguises it well even though it’s a loopy 76. Only time I saw anyone make contact it resulted in a ground ball double play. He got a bunch of swinging strikes with the curveball and a couple called too.

Flexen also has has what I think is a get-me-over change that he only threw two or three times. That pitch certainly needs work. Overall, he could be a mid-rotation guy and probably pretty soon.

He’s also bulldog type on the mound. In that regard, he reminds me of former Mets prospect Michael Fulmer when I watched him pitch in the minors.

Other notes from the doubleheader:

Outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski hit a long double off the right field wall that had some serious exit velocity. We all know he can hit but what surprised me was how quickly he got to second base.  That’s part of his game I wasn’t aware of, he can move. Kacz is hitting .293/.378/.379 with seven stolen bases in nine tries this season.

Catcher Tomas Nido had a great rhythm with his pitchers even though they got hit around in game one. The 23-year-old is hitting .262/.304/.416 with only 15 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Infielder Luis Guillorme‘s ability to put bat on ball and produce hits reminds me of T.J. Rivera. He doesn’t have as much power and Rivera is a better pure hitter but Guillorme’s bat combined with his glove and versatility should make him a very valuable utility player pretty soon. He looks bigger than the last time I saw him as well. The former South Atlantic League MVP is hitting .286/.333/.325 with eight doubles, 15 walks and three stolen bases.

Both photos taken by Stephen Guilbert