Friday, September 2, 2011

Mets Minor League Update: As Regular Season Ends, Opportunities InPlayoffs Begin

Buffalo Bisons: 3 – 4

The Bisons were eliminated from playoff contention a long time ago, currently sitting 15 games back in the Wild Card race with only three to play. Their season comes to a close Monday.

Josh Satin has already finished his season with the Bisons, as he was called up to the Mets when rosters expanded. To earn at bats, Satin will have to produce early, whenever his chance ma come, because with Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada already splitting at bats at second base, Nick Evans playing well with his chance as the everyday first baseman, and David Wright at third, there is not a lot of room for Josh.

Some other potential AAA call-ups include Val Pascucci, Chris Schwinden and Pat Misch. It is doubtful these guys have a long term impact on the Mets, but will mainly just be bodies to give the regulars some rest, or eat up some innings as the season winds down.

As for the prospects still in Buffalo, Jordany Valdespin is finishing the season on a tear. He now owns a ten game hitting streak, hitting .400 with a .600 SLG over that span, with two walks and eight strikeouts. It is not a large sample size, only 91 at bats, but it should boost his confidence knowing he can play at AAA, heading into the offseason.

Binghamton Mets: 6 – 1

The B-Mets will also miss the playoffs this season, but things are looking up. They are closing the season playing their best ball of the year, finishing August with a 20 – 7 record, and are riding a six game winning streak heading into tonight’s action.

The stories continue to revolve around the same prospects.

Juan Lagares is still sizzling at the plate. Despite snapping his 19 game hitting streak Wednesday, he is still hitting .359 in his last ten, leaving him at .375 for the year with AA. Whoever saw this season coming, power to you, as he has gone from a no name prospect, to a player scouts now consider a possible major leaguer down the road. The Mets are sending him to the Arizona Fall League to continue his break out season.

A player who will join Lagares in Arizona to continue his development and get more at bats is Reese Havens. Reese had by far his best month of the season in August, hitting .333 with 12 walks and four home runs, (compared to 13 walks and two home runs the previous three months combined!), and a .564 slugging percentage. As I have been saying all season long, when this kid is healthy, he produces patience and power. It is great to see his luck turning around (knock on wood).

Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia continue to lead the rotation for the B-Mets. Harvey struggled a bit in his last start, walking four with only three strike outs in five innings, but with a sparkling 5-0 record with a 2.67 ERA, I cannot find much to complain about. Expect to see him start next season in AAA.

Familia finished up with a great outing: five innings, five hits, zero earned runs, two walks, four strike outs, and ten ground outs vs. only two fly outs. On the season he pitched 83 innings with a 3.38 ERA and 92 k’s, in his first turn in AA, as a 21-year-old, is very exciting for the Mets and their fans. Whether it is in the rotation or as a dominant late inning reliever, this kid has a bright future.

Speaking of late inning relievers, how about recent Mets callup Josh Stinson. Since the All-star break, he has been used exclusively as a reliever and his results have improved markedly. Before the break he threw 22 innings, with a 5.73 ERA and opponents hit .289 off him. After the break, he has appeared in 18 games, throwing 25 innings with a 2.49 ERA, and opponents are only hitting .225 off him.

He is mainly a two pitch pitcher, with a fastball ranging from 94-96 MPH, and a slider which comes in at 88-90 MPH. With the Mets bullpen struggles, it will be interesting to see how Stinson is used in September, as he could propel himself into a spot for next year’s team with a strong performance. Here is a more detailed scouting report with video.

Port St. Lucie: 4 – 5

St. Lucie has qualified for the A+ playoffs, which start next Tuesday.

In his final start to get ready, Zack Wheeler was, for lack of a better term, Zack Wheeler. He threw two innings, and five of the six outs he recorded, were via strike out. In 27 innings as a Met, he has a 2.00 ERA with 31 punch outs against only five walks. It has been an unbelievable turnaround for a pitcher who had control problems, 4.8 BB/9, throughout his minor league career with the Giants. His BB/9 has dropped from 4.8 to 1.7, and he has even improved his K/9 rate from 10.0 to 10.0. It is still hard to fathom how Sandy Alderson acquired him at the deadline for two months of Carlos Beltran. What a job.

As for the hitters, since Cesar Puello returned from injury Aug 27, he has been spectacular. With ten hits in his last 21 at bats, five runs scored, a home run and four steals, Puello is closing strong. He will be 20 years old at the start of Spring Training next season, so it will be interesting to see if he gets another go-round in St. Lucie, or if the Mets promote him to AA Binghamton.

On the other end of the prospect spectrum, Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte continue to struggle. Flores is hitting .179 in his last 39 at bats, with only one extra base hit, and Marte’s second half slump continues, as he has hit.216 in 232 at bats since the All-star break with a paltry .284 slugging. These two hitters started the season as two of the more promising bats in the Mets system so while it is way too early to give up on them, it looks like they will need another year in St. Lucie.

Savannah Sand Gnats: 4 – 3

After winning the first half division title, the Gnats will be participating in the playoffs, which begin next Wednesday, September 7.

One hitter to keep an eye on will be Darrell Ceciliani. After hitting .351 last season with Brooklyn, Ceciliani got off to a pedestrian start in Savannah. He hit .220 in May and .245 before the All-star break, but has really turned it since. After hitting .316 in his last ten, with an even more impressive nine walks against only seven strike outs, Darrell finished August hitting .320 with ten steals on the month.

As for a pitcher to watch for, look for Angel Cuan to lead the Gnats. After two rough starts where he gave up 12 runs and 26 base runners in only 11 innings, Cuan was back to his old self last night, pitching five innings, striking out five, giving up only one hit and zero walks. Even with those two horrific starts, Cuan’s ERA as a starter sits at 3.50 for the season, and he could start next season in St. Lucie.

Brooklyn Cyclones: 7 – 1

The Cyclones are making quite the late season push for a playoff spot. After finishing up a three game sweep over Lowell, the Cyclones have a one game lead in the Wild Card race with three games to play.

The star of this team, and for the NYPL for that matter, continues to be Danny Muno. After going 3-3 in last night’s game, Muno sits atop the NYPL leaderboard in average (.353), OBP (.463), and OPS (.975). His may lack home run power right now with only two home runs, but with 22 doubles, and a fantastic eye at the plate (41 BBs vs. 39 K’s), he is showing that there is potential for more down the line.

After his promotion from Kingsport, 19 year old Domingo Tapia is scheduled to make his Cyclones debut tonight. In August for the K-Mets, Tapia really turned it on, going 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in four starts. It will be a nice test to see how he handles the tougher competition in the midst of a playoff race.

Kingsport Mets: 5 – 1

Kingsport played their last game of the season August 30, finishing with an impressive 29-10 record in their final 39 games.

Recently drafted Phillip Evans and Brandon Nimmo were able to play in three games with these Mets, hitting .364 and .111 respectively. The most positive thing to take away from these two is their desire to play the game and start their careers. It is very common to see highly touted prospects to wait, and make their official debuts in Spring Training, with the pros. To see these two sign at the Aug 15 deadline, and be able to play so quickly, is a great sign for their future development.

On an even more positive note, apparently Juan Urbina was saving his best for last. After giving up six runs in four innings in his previous start, Urbina struck out six in 5.2 innings, only giving up four hits and a walk, while surrendering just one run. Juan is only 18 years old, so he still has a long way to go before he reaches Queens, but he took some big steps this season, trimming his ERA every month from 9.35 in June, to 7.40 in July, down to 3.71 in August. He should start next season with Savannah.

For the players in Savannah and Brooklyn, this next month of baseball represents a great opportunity to experience pressure packed, playoff baseball.  How the players handle the environment, finding out who steps up and performs when the game is on the line versus who falters will be interesting to watch. There is a big difference from “we’ll get them tomorrow” versus “win or go home”, so getting this experience early in their careers is very valuable. The mental ability to not only handle that type of situation, but to thrive in it, is just as important as any physical tool they may possess.  As an organization and a fan, there is nothing more exciting.

Zach is also the author of Follow him on twitter, @zpetersel

No comments:

Post a Comment