5/5/16

Portland 2 - Binghamton 1

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The Binghamton Mets fumbled a late one-run lead and missed out on a sweep opportunity in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Sea Dogs on a cold Thursday afternoon at Hadlock Field. Portland plated two runs in the seventh and stiff-armed a late Binghamton rally to snap the B-Mets’ 14-game winning streak at Hadlock Field. Binghamton settled for a pair of victories in Portland, securing their third consecutive series win.
Trailing by a run, Portland’s offense finally clicked against Rainy Lara in the seventh. Tim Roberson laced a double into the right-field alley to start the inning. Rainel Rosario tied the game with a double into left-center. Lara issued a walk to Ryan Court before handing off to Akeel Morris. Tzu-Wei Lin greeted the righty by zipping a go-ahead RBI single into left field.
Forced to play from behind, Binghamton threatened in the eighth, but failed to break through against reliever Simon Mercedes. Maikis De La Cruz singled to open the frame, but was thrown out trying to swipe second. The two following B-Mets reached, but Niuman Romero grounded out and Dominic Smith flied out.
The B-Mets had been kept in check by Portland starter Aaron Wilkerson. The righty retired the first eleven batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk in the fourth inning. He stranded two runners that inning and put down seven of the final eight he faced to carry the game through six innings.
Binghamton pushed their only run across without hitting a ball out of the infield in the seventh. Victor Cruzado dragged a bunt single to start the rally against Mercedes. The B-Met outfielder took second on a groundout, grabbed third on LJ Mazzilli’s broken-bat infield single to short, and scampered home on a two-out wild pitch.
Lara’s rocky seventh spoiled a strong first six innings. He scattered five singles over a half-dozen scoreless innings, matching Wilkerson zero-for-zero. Lara (2-3) took the loss after Morris allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh.
Mercedes (2-2) walked the tightrope over two innings to pick up the win. Chandler Shephered tossed a perfect ninth to seal Portland’s first win this season against the B-Mets.
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B-METS GAME NOTES: Game #24 - B-Mets (13-10) at Sea Dogs (8-18) - 11:00 AM

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BINGHAMTON METS
(13-10), 4th EL Eastern, 5.0 GB
(New York Mets)
PORTLAND SEA DOGS
(8-18), 6th EL Eastern, 11.5 GB
(Boston Red Sox)

Thursday, May 5, 2016  11:00 AM
Hadlock Field  Portland, ME
RHP Rainy Lara (2-2, 3.47) vs. RHP Aaron Wilkerson (1-1, 2.70)
WYOS 1360 AM


LAST TIME OUT: The Binghamton Mets erased a two-run deficit and beat the Portland Sea Dogs 6-3 Wednesday night at Hadlock Field. The game was called final in the bottom of the seventh inning due to rain. Kyle Johnson went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Matt Oberste was 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a double. 

BINGHAMTON STARTERRHP Rainy Lara will attempt to build on his strongest start of the season. Lara allowed only one run on one hit in seven innings at New Hampshire on Friday. He struck out three and the lone hit allowed was a home run in the 4-1 Binghamton win. Lara has not seen Portland yet this season and was 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA against the Sea Dogs in 2015.

PORTLAND STARTER: RHP Aaron Wilkerson makes his fifth start with Portland and his sixth overall. Wilkerson made a spot start with Pawtucket (BOS: AAA) 4/22 and gave up three runs over 4.2 innings against Lehigh Valley. He last pitched on Friday against Reading and was hit hard for six runs, five earned on eight hits over 3.1 innings. Wilkerson had allowed only one run in his first three Double-A starts in 2016.

MAKE THE COFFEE: Today’s 11:00 A.M. first pitch marks the first of five games on the B-Mets schedule that will begin in the morning, all of which will take place in the next month.

THEIVERY: Maikis De La Cruz was 2-for-2 on attempted stolen bases in Wednesday’s win over Portland, the first Binghamton baserunner to swipe multiple bases in a game this season. De La Cruz leads the team with four steals. The B-Mets are tied for eighth in the league with 15 but their 75% success rate (15/20) is second to only Harrisburg’s 83% (24/29).

THE RUNNING MAN: Kyle Johnson scored two of Binghamton’s six runs Wednesday night and has now scored runs in each of his last six games. He has multiple runs in five of those six games. Johnson leads the B-Mets with 13 runs on 
the season despite playing in only 15 of Binghamton’s 23 games.

LOCK DOWN HADLOCK: After Wednesday’s 6-3 win, the B-Mets have now won 14 straight games at Hadlock Field. A 10-0 record in Portland in 2015 was preceded by two wins to close out the Eastern Division Championship Series in 2014. Binghamton’s last loss at Hadlock Field was Game 3 of that series, 9/5/14, 7-0.

ENDING EARLY: Wednesday’s game was called final in the bottom of the seventh after a 36-minute rain delay, the first B-Mets game this season that didn’t make it to the ninth inning.

RISP-Y BUSINESS The B-Mets are batting .260 with runners in scoring position. Matt Oberste is batting .417 with 11 of his 12 RBI with RISP.
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HIGHER DECISIONS by Tom Brennan

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HIGHER DECISIONS by Tom Brennan

No, this is not a philosophical treatise - mostly, anyway.  "Higher Thoughts" here mean what?  From my perch as a Mack’s Mets writer, I've focused on Lower Thoughts – no, nothing like that - I mean that over the past several weeks, all of my musings and reportage have focused on the Mets' minor league wannabes.

I now veer for a day sharply towards Queens for this post.  To Citifield.

Higher Decisions are ones in Mets land that may not have been easy to make, that took real guts, but when made, and later found to be successful, they must be oh, so satisfying to the decision makers.  

5 such decisions come to mind that helped alter the landscape of this franchise.

1)    Re-signing Cespedes: I either wrote articles, or added comments to Morning Reports, every doggone day in the fall, for Mets ownership to do what most prognosticating Met fans assumed would just not happen: that the Mets would have the cojones to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes.   

I wrote that he was, in complement with our young stud pitching, an offensive game changer, one who would bring excitement daily, put fear in opposing team's hearts, and put fannies in the seats.  One who would reverse the trend of ceding the ability to bomb in this town to the Bronx Bombers.  I rationalized that he'd make the Mets’ hitting great, to go with great starting pitching and a great pen.   

I added that the days of having all of your borderline offensive players (utility types like Mayberry and Decker) get up 700 times and hit .180 (like those guys did last year before the cavalry was summoned in late July) had to be a thing of the past.  Well, it is - not saying they read a word of this madman's ramblings, but they did the right thing, and signed Cespedes.  I'm sure they are getting facial stretch marks from how much they are smiling over that decision.  WARNING: Constant smiling can lead to facial discomfort!   

2)   Avoiding "Met Penny Pinching" - in the past, how many of you would agree with me was the Mets way was to go cheap, with fingers tightly crossed?  Well, if that trend had continued, besides not re-signing Cespedes, our infield would look like Herrera at 2B, Flores at SS (until Cecchini or Rosario arrived), and Tejada backing up.  HOW MUCH BETTER ARE THINGS WITH WALKER AND CABRERA STARTING, AND WITH FLORES BACKING UP?   

I kept posting and posting in hopes that the Mets would spend to beef up the offense to support a once-every-30-year uber-rotation.  To their great credit, they did spend.  No more Muno and Nieuwenhuis flawed, marginal types.  Rather. a carefully constructed, top to bottom potent offense.  To which (as a Mets fan who has seen far too many impotent Mets offensive squads since 1962) I say THANK YOU SO MUCH. 

3)   Shortened Fences - it is not easy to admit your mistakes.  The original Citifield dimensions were a huge mistake.  How else to say it?  Colossal. 

Ridiculous fence dimensions turn thrilling, fan-increasing moments like Cespedes' game tying recent 3 run pinch homer into long outs or hits staying in the park (Cespedes' 3 run shot would have only been a single, and probably a thrilling win becomes a painful loss).  I wrote to Mets management, by letter and on this web site, repeatedly in years past, to move the fences in, stating above all it would make good bottom-line, business sense.  Google old articles on the fence moves - they got it.   

What did I write to them? 
a) Fans love homers, and low scoring is boring.  If a 73 win team hits 100 homers, and another wins 73 and hits 200 homers, I'll go to more games for the latter.  So will most fans.
b) The Yanks owned the claim to power hitting in NY for years (sucking in disproportionate numbers and ticket sales $$ of new fans in the process). 
c) Fans love a team that is not impotent offensively (and losing homers to deep dimensions fed the cycle of impotence). 
d) Some said that it would all even out – the Mets hit more, the opponents hit more – au contraire: with the great pitchers we have, we'd figure out collectively how to minimize any increases in opponents' HR totals while greatly increasing our own, leading to more wins.  
e) Lastly, psychologically, as guys like Jeff Francoeur, David Wright, Jason Bay, and Grandy (year 1) were mentally screwed by cavernous fences.  Shorter fences give them doubles and HRs instead of frustrating long outs, boosting their batting averages, slugging percentages, and egos.  Pressing hitters press - and do poorly.  Happy hitters do nicely.    

THANK YOU FOR MOVING THE FENCES IN - TWICE. Took guts. Smart.
4)   Re-signing Bart - it would have been easy to save $8 million and pass on signing Bartolo Colon again. He is, by baseball standards, ancient.  

Mets crossed their fingers in years past while “economizing” and hoped that the likes of a Montero or a Verrett could be every-fifth-day starters.  But the Mets realized Bart was a different breed of cat, more of a sure thing, and took a chance in re-signing him.  So far, so good.  
They realize that a 100 win team making the playoffs will draw a whole lot more fans, and ring up the cash registers a whole lot more, than a team struggling to win 88 and missing a wild card slot by 2 games.  Young guys tend to struggle.  Instead, they spent in hopes to win big and earn big.   

Bart is part of that World Series Winner philosophy of spending.  The Yanks have been lucky, crazy spenders mostly, for years.  Jeter was clutch and effective until the very end.  Rivera never slipping as the years pressed on.  Now it has caught up, though, as the Yanks have 8 mostly struggling guys averaging 35 years of age making more $ ($135 million) than the entire Mets team.  Our only old guy is a 40+, 300 pound leprechaun.  Our payroll is affordable.  Sweet. 

5)   Working correctly with David Wright - another team (or even this team a few years ago) might have exhorted him to retire on disability so they could try to collect the substantial insurance. Yet, here is the Captain, encouraged and believed in by ownership, with a .380 on base % and .470 slug % through Monday, a valuable contributor so far and team symbol, as was Jeter to the Bronx Bunglers. May our King David stay healthy and get carried off the field smiling after the Mets win the 2016 World Series. 

Because he will be carried off triumphant.  After all, it is our time. Because... 

We made the right decisions. 
Thanks to ownership and management for that.
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5/4/16

Reese Kaplan -- Conforto's Hitting a Rarity for Mets

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For a franchise primarily built on pitching since its inception, it’s understandable that people are gushing over the offensive exploits thus far by Michael Conforto.  Here’s a rare, home-grown player who is not only living up to his hype but thus far exceeding at the major league level even what he did in the minors.

To wit, in his 589 AB minor league career he hit 15 HRs, drove in 73 and batted .308.  Those are nice numbers for sure, but right now he’s tracking for a 162 game major league average of 27 HRs, 91 RBIs and a .292 batting average.  It’s easy to see why fans who have endured outfielders the likes of Andres Torres, Collin Cowgill, Vinny Rotino, Andrew Brown and Eric Campbell during the current regime are salivating over a number three hitter with that kind of talent. 

To give you an idea of how bereft the Mets have been when it comes to producing offensive players, you have to hearken back to the club’s lone offensive Rookie of the Year -- Darryl Strawberry – who in 1983 in just 420 ABs hit 26 HRs, drove in 74 while hitting .257.  He then went on to average 32 HRs and over 90 RBIs per season while stealing 20+ bases as well. 

David Wright’s health has betrayed him, but he also averaged 25 HRs and 100 RBIs per 162 games with a .297 AVG.  He also average 20 SBs per year, but it’s not likely going to be a part of his game anymore to preserve his back. 

Fan favorite Edgardo Alfonzo was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to home run power but in the late 1990s developed into a feared hitter, hitting double digits in HRs for six straight seasons for the Mets. 

After that pickings get mighty slim…Mike Vail had a 23 game hitting streak as a rookie and finished with a .302 average.  The Mets believed in him so much that they traded away popular Rusty Staub to Detroit to make room for him in the outfield.  After an off-season basketball injury to his foot, he never approached that level of performance again.  He hung around for another several years as a part-time player for the Mets, Indians, Cubs, Reds, Giants, Expos and Dodgers. 

John Milner was a beacon of hope during some very bad Mets years in the 1970s.  He posted three seasons in a row with 17, 23 and 20 HRs but his inconsistency (and admitted cocaine usage) derailed his career. 

Todd Hundley mysteriously crushed 41 HRs one season for the Mets after his previous season high of just 16.  Of course, he was not alone with the inflated power numbers during the mid 1990s…and after one more solid (if allegedly aided) 30 HR season the Mets had acquired Mike Piazza which made him extraneous.  He ironically went to the Dodgers and provided two more 24 HR seasons before ending his career with the Cubs (save for a final brief reunion with LA). 

After posting 19 HRs as a rookie then two years later slamming 32 HRs, the Mets kept hoping Ike Davis would amount to the solution to 1B for many years, but his Valley Fever, injuries and inability to cut down on his strikeouts made them select Lucas Duda over him.  While Duda’s inconsistency can drive people to drink, it sure appears they made the right call with Davis no longer in the majors. 

Four years after making his rookie debut, Butch Huskey finally put together the kind of season they’d hoped to see – 24 HRs, 81 RBIs and a .287 AVG.  Unfortunately he slipped across the board next year and was sent packing.  He did have a solid 22 HRs and 77 RBIs  with a .282 AVG for the Mariners and Red Sox in 1999 but was relegated to part-time status for the Twins and Rockies in 2000, never to return to the majors, ending his career at age 29 by retiring. 

Daniel Murphy’s post-season long ball heroics notwithstanding, he was and is a solid number two hitter whose career high in homers is just 14. 

Hubie Brooks showed promise but never put together a 20 HR season while playing for the Mets. 

Amos Otis was more consistent than many of the others and twice eclipsed 20 HRs while playing Gold Glove centerfield for the Kansas City Royals.  While people bemoan the ill-fated Joe Foy trade that sent him packing, Kevin Mitchell was probably the one that got away…MVP for the San Francisco Giants in 1989. 

Here’s hoping Michael Conforto’s stay is long and productive.  Many people are looking for comps of who he might become.  I tossed out the names of a few players in the past when this question arose…I’d be happy if he became John Olerud with the bat.  For his career he averaged 18 HRs, 89 RBIs and .295.  I'd sign up for that right now, though, of course, I'd hope for even more.    
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Mack’s Morning Report – 5-4-15 – Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Amed Rosario, Wuilmer Beccera

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Good morning.


We talk every morning about the great young starters this team has, including Zack Wheeler, who is still currently healing from TJS and Logan Verrett, who was the first pitcher in the history of organized ball to go 2-0 as a reliever and also put up the kind of numbers he has generated as an emergency starter.

I have to throw another name at you at this point.

Gabriel Ynoa.

This kid just hasn’t had a bad year:
          2012 – Brooklyn: 5-2, 2.23/0.93, 13-starts
          2013 – Savannah:  15-4, 2.72/1.02, 22-starts
          2014 – St. Lucie:  8-2, 3.95/1.32, 14-starts
          2015 – Binghamton:  9-9, 3.90/1.23, 24-starts

Now, in 2016, Ynoa threw his fifth start this season for AAA-Ls Vegas and we all know how much pitchers are eaten up in that PCL league, right? Well, he’s 2-0, 2.05/1.04 through Monday night.

Ynoa is only 22-years old


Eric H @TeamFirstEric  - @JohnMackinAde hope all is well with you.  DO you know why Becerra is DH and not playing in the field???? Thanks for any help  
Adam MacDonald - He’s been dealing with a sore throwing shoulder since spring training so that’s why he’s been strictly DH. They’re building him arm back up so he can get back to RF.


Josh Edgin’s velocity continues to be an issue during his rehab… Monday’s speeds ranged in the 86-87 range. I don’t see this enough to get him a slot in Queens so I expect the Mets to stretch out his rehabbing as long as the rules allow. Edgin also has options.


 Rotographs on Mets prospects -

2016 Sleeper: Gavin Cecchini, SS: The brother of Garin Cecchini, Gavin has turned himself into a nifty little prospect, although he’ll never be a huge impact guy. The middle infielder is a solid defender and could play either shortstop or second base in the majors for the Mets. At the plate, he projects to hit for a decent average and his done an excellent job tightening up his approach and currently has more walks than strikeouts in triple-A (12-11 BB-K). He’ll never hit for much pop or steal a ton of bases so his offensive value is mostly tied to his ability to get on base.

Mack – Boy, isn’t it great when they describe one of your first round picks as someone that will never be a ‘huge impact guy’. I’m not going to go back and keep wining about who should have been picked with this pick. The good news here is the guy we’re going to talk about next will be a year behind him and should take over shortstop for a long, long time.

2017 Stud: Amed Rosario, SS: OK so the 2017 might be a bit of a stretch but I truly believe Rosario is advanced enough to be ready before the middle of next year if the club can find a place to play him defensively. I’ve been ranking him more aggressively than most for the last three years or so and he broke out in ’15. His success has continued in high-A ball this season. He has a ,300 average and is showing increasingly more pop. He could be a 15-15 (HR-SB) down the road.

Mack – I’m going to project him a little more conservatively. Right now, I don’t see any reason to plan on moving Astrubel Cabrera off of short during the 2017 season. Therefore, Rosario automatically becomes a September call-up that season and should take over the starting slot in 2018.

Long-term Investment: Wuilmer Becerra, OF: The R.A. Dickey trade with Toronto could get a lot more ugly for the Blue Jays even as Travis d’Arnaud loses some of his shine as a potential impact catcher. Becerra has overcome an ugly hit-by-pitch to his face in the low minors to develop into a strong offensive player. Currently in high-A ball he’s hitting more than .370 after breaking out in low-A ball in ’15. He hasn’t hit for a ton of power yet but he projects to hit 15-20 homers in the future. Investments in the draft and the international market have given the Mets an embarrassment of riches in the lower minors.

Mack – We talked a few years ago about Becerra possibly being the hidden gem in this deal. Sandy Alderson would not have consummated this trade without this guy and everyone is starting to realize why.

2018 looks like an electric year with Rosario and Dilson Herrera projected for the infield and Becerra and Michael Conforto as corner outfielders.
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Binghamton 13 - Portland 2

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The Binghamton Mets set season-highs in hits and runs and had four different players record three-hit games in a 13-2 rout of the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night at Hadlock Field. Niuman Romero drove in five and Dominic Smith added four RBI to lead the B-Mets to their 13th consecutive win over the Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field. Binghamton racked up 18 hits to earn their seventh win in eight games.
Romero opened his big night, and set the tone for the B-Mets, by ripping a two-run double to the right-field alley in the first inning. Smith followed by launching a two-run homer off the video board in left-center. Smith’s second homer on the road trip kicked Binghamton’s lead to four.
Binghamton threw another four-spot on the board in the fourth. With a run already home in the inning, Romero launched Teddy Stankiewicz’s 2-1 offering into the right-field seats for his first home run of the season.
The offensive explosion was plenty for Andrew Barbosa to pick up his first win of the season. Coming off a 10-strikeout performance against Portland a week earlier, the southpaw set down eight of the first nine batters he faced over three scoreless innings.
The lone blemish on Barbosa’s tab came in the fourth when Portland scored two runs when Romero failed to cleanly field a potential inning-ending double play grounder at short. Barbosa capped his night with a scoreless fifth inning.
The B-Mets blew the game open with another four-run inning in the sixth against Sea Dog relievers Rob Wort and Luis Ysla. Smith laced an RBI single to right, Matt Oberste deposited run-producing double into right-center and Colton Plaia sent a two-run single into right.
Barbosa (1-0) allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over five innings to pick up the win. Logan Taylor, Luis Mateo and David Roseboom combined for four scoreless innings to close Binghamton’s pitching tab.
Stankiewicz (0-1) was tagged for eight runs on nine hits and lasted just 3-2/3 innings in the loss.Press release
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Bradenton 5 - St. Lucie 1

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The Bradenton Marauders defeated the St. Lucie Mets 5-1 on Tuesday at McKechnie Field.

Bradenton starter Alex McRae held the Mets to one run on seven hits over six strong innings. Junior Lopez tossed scoreless seventh and Edgar Santana didn’t give up a hit in the final two innings to close it out.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Wuilmer Becerra’s two-out RBI single that plated Amed Rosario. However, the lead was short-lived, as the Marauders scored three runs in the bottom of the inning against Chris Flexen. Elvis Escobar laced a two-run triple to make it 2-1. Escobar then scored on a sac fly.

Connor Joe hit a home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth to make it 4-1.

The Marauders scratched their last run across off of Kevin McGowan when Jerrick Suiter singled home Kevin Kramer in the seventh.

Suiter went 4 for 4 with four singles, one run and one RBI. Escobar went 2 for 4 with a double and triple.

Becerra finished 2 for 4 and raised his FSL-leading average to .400.
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5/3/16

B-METS GAME NOTES: Game #22 - B-Mets (11-10) at Sea Dogs (8-16) - 6:00 PM

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BINGHAMTON METS
(11-10), 4th EL Eastern, 6.0 GB
(New York Mets)
PORTLAND SEA DOGS
(8-16), 6th EL Eastern, 10.5 GB
(Boston Red Sox)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016  6:00 PM
Hadlock Field  Portland, ME
LHP Andrew Barbosa (0-0, 3.65) vs. RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (0-0, 1.13)
WNBF 1290 AM


LAST TIME OUT: The New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored three unearned runs in the first inning and the B-Mets fell 3-1 in the finale of the three-game series in Manchester, snapping their season-long six-game winning streak. Robert Gsellman struck out five with four hits against over five innings but took his first loss of the season. Jared King went 2-for-3 to lead the Binghamton offense.

BINGHAMTON STARTERLHP Andew Barbosa will try to carry the momentum from his last start, a ten strikeout performance against Portland on Tuesday at NYSEG Stadium. Barbosa took a no-decision in Binghamton’s 3-2 win. He allowed two runs on three hits in 7.1 innings.. His ten strikeouts were the most he had totaled since 7/10/15 vs. Chattanooga while pitching with Mississippi (ATL: AA). That was his first start back in affiliated ball after ten starts with the Long Island Ducks (IND).

PORTLAND STARTER: RHP Teddy Stankiewicz makes his second consecutive start against the B-Mets and he took a no-decision last Tuesday at NYSEG Stadium. Stankiewicz allowed two runs, one earned on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts. He has not received a decision in four starts this season and his 1.13 ERA is the fourth lowest mark in the Eastern League.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The B-Mets have enjoyed their recent visits to Maine, as Binghamton has won its last 12 matchups at Hadlock Field. A 10-0 record in Portland in 2015 was preceded by two wins to close out the Eastern Division Championship Series in 2014. Binghamton’s last loss at Hadlock Field was Game 3 of that series, 9/5/14, 7-0. The last regular season loss was 7/22/14, 4-3. Binghamton has won 11 straight regular season games in Portland.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER: For the fifth-straight game, the bullpen did not allow a run Monday at New Hampshire. It combined for four no-hit, shutout innings. It was the third time in the past five games that the bullpen had not allowed a hit. Since the bullpen ERA hit a season-high of 4.82 on 4/22, B-Mets relievers have allowed only one earned run in 23 innings for a 0.39 ERA.

CUT EM DOWN LIKE (SEA) DOGS: In the three-game series sweep at NYSEG Stadium from 4/25-4/27, B-Mets pitchers allowed only six runs, held the Sea Dogs to a .143 (13-91) batting average and totaled 30 strikeouts.

NO WALKING: For the first time this season, Binghamton batters failed to work a single walk during Sunday’s 3-1 loss to New Hampshire. The last time the B-Mets did not have a walk in a game was 8/31/15 at Reading, a 6-2 loss.

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY: Monday’s rainout was Binghamton’s fourth weather postponement of the season. Three of the first five games this season were postponed, most recently on 4/11.
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AM I THE ONLY ONE EXCITED? WEEKLY MINORS RECAP: Tom Brennan

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AM I THE ONLY ONE EXCITED? WEEKLY MINORS RECAP: Tom Brennan

Sometimes there are ups and downs in life.  
Mets' minors lads, though, have their downs and ups.
In other words, previous week crappy, this past week much improved.
AAA Las Vegas and AA Binghamton both rebounded with very solid weeks, including a Bingo 6 game win streak; and St Lucie and Columbia combined to win half their games last week. All told, the 4 teams are a combined 7 over .500, with the Lucites leading the foursome at 14-10.  So how are some guys doing?  Let's lift the hood and look at last week's Monday thru Sunday fun and games.
STARS OF THE WEEK: 
WUILMER BECERRA: Willie B hit over .400 for the week to climb to .371.  What is most exciting to me about the 21 year old St Lucie OF is who he is doing all that hitting against.  How does a batting average of .396 against RIGHTIES for the righty hitter strike you?  Nothing short of amazing to me. Consider also that he tore up lefties last year...exciting to ponde ra guy who may be ready to explode. (Monday nite update: Becerra added 3 more hits - against eighties - and is now hitting .421 against them!)

T J Rivera: 12 hits, 2 homers, and 7 RBIs last week.  Only 8 whiffs in 18 games. Hitting .338.  Nice.  Real nice. 
Let me add this: some guys hit the famed Mack AA Wall: T J got to AA in mid 2014 and has since put in about the equivalent of a 162 game stretch of # 2 hitter time, and what has he done?  Busted the wall: .336, 669 ABs, 105 R, 225 H, 47 2B, 10 HR, 91 RBIs.  Amazing, really. (2 more hits Monday night)
AAA LAS VEGAS 51'S:  
Vegas hit squad started firing on all cylinders last week, rapidly climbing to finish the week at .275.  
OF Ty Kelly still has a .483 OBP (2nd in PCL) despite getting on just twice in his last 13 plate appearances to end the week.  Amazing.
IF TJ Rivera - a Star of the Week...see above.
OF Travis Taijeron sitting at .296/.407/.521; encouragingly, he is hitting a whopping .364 against righties so far....his numbers are usually propped up by utterly destroying lefties, so he may be on the cusp of a big year if the righty trend continues.
IF Matt Reynolds (.284) had a 10 game hit streak snapped Sunday,
Struggling mighty in a limited role?  Danny Muno, 1 for 23 with 3 errors.
  
Pitching?  The Sean and Gabe Show continues, as both Sean Gilmartin and Gabe Ynoa have ERAs well below 2 after 4 starts each.  Gabe's lone concern to me is his continued low K rate (12 in 24 IP), but a 1.48 ERA indicates it is working for him.  It worked for guys like Whitey Ford too. (Monday nite, Ynoa added a solid winning start, pitching into the 7th)
Chase Bradford sports a spiffy 0.73 ERA after 9 relief outings.  Chase those bums outa the box! 

Rafael Montero 
had 1 so-so outing this week, 9 H, 3 R in 5 IP. 18 H in 14 IP.

Seth Lugo's fourth start was not good - but an improvement.  It did, however, bring his ERA down to 9.68.  May he be pitcher of the month in May. He certainly hasn't been pitcher of the year so far.

Paul Sewald – always doing well. He may have the best long term minor league stats of anyone not yet in the majors - anywhere in baseball.  His career #'s are beyond sterling: 204 IP, nearly 250 K's, 1.89 ERA, very few walks and only 7 homers allowed.  And a 13-6 record with 49 of 52 saves.  
Those #'s say one thing to me: Queens can't be too far away. (Add a perfect inning Mon. nite save)

Dario Alvarez - a bad outing Sunday marred an uptrend for Dario, who has K'd 17 in 8.1 IP.  Don't forget flame throwing Josh Smoker (4.15, 15 K in 8.2 IP).

LAST WEEK, THEY WERE THE LOWLY THE.196 BOYS:
 This was, however, a very different week for 1st rounders Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo. Still only 1 HR between them, but progress is progress, with BOTH climbing over 60 points this week. (Cecchini added 2 for 3 Monday nite, climbing to .282, 100 points higher than 8 days earlier)

Nimmo had that one game where he went 0-4, with 4 Ks.  Otherwise?  In his last 6 games, including that stinker, he had 9 hits and 2 walks and sits at .260.  Whew!  
Cecchini sputtered through mid-week, sliding to .182.  But those last 4 games, oh baby: he had 8 hits (including a tater) and 2 walks to climb to .261. Time to stay on a tear, Gavin.

AA BINGHAMTON METS:
A bounce back week for the B Mets but most of the hitters are parked between .233 and .278, so someone needs to get hot, pronto.

Jeff McNeil is still out after the first 3 games (this is my get well card, Jeff),
Dominic Smith has crept up to .259, with a .412 OBP.  He does have a team-leading 16 RBIs in 21 games, so once he really gets started, maybe we’ll get a 100 RBI season from Smitty.
Phil Evans is doing his Danny Muno imitation at 4 for 28.  He sits at .232 after about 1500 career plate appearances, in case you were wondering. 
The outfield is still struggling – Cruzado and Sabol are a combined 15 for 91. Jared King is the lone bright OF bat, with 7 hits in the past 4 games, but just 26 at bats so far this season for King.
Pitching-wise, Rob "the Giz" Gsellman lost Sunday despite allowing no earned runs.  sits at 1-0, 1.45 after 3 very fine starts.  
Tyler Pill?  2 terrible starts, then 2 great ones, with 14 IP and 2 earned runs.

The Pen:
mostly unimpressive so far.  Let’s leave it at that.
A - ST LUCIE METS:  
The SLM's are 14-10 in 2016.  HR hitting has not gotten them where they are, as they have managed a mere 8 HRs in 24 games. 
SS Amed Rosario continues a fine campaign with 11 extra base hits in 23 games and a .305/.340/.537 stat line.  Almost time for Met fans to start drooling?  Patience, rabid fans...he won't be 21 until Thanksgiving.

Luis Guillorme is heating up a bit, and is up to .247.  Amazingly, the slick glove man, in over 1,000 career at bats, has ZERO triples and homers.  By comparison, the patron saint of slap hitters, Bud Harrelson, was like Giancarlo Stanton, with 45 triples & 7 dingers in 5,516 plate appearances. I await your first triple, Luis.
OF Wuilmer Becerra - see above. My co-star of the week.
C Tomas Nido is hitting nicely at .313 (just 6 Ks in 67 ABs).
Pitchers?  Glad you asked.
Casey Delgado moved up to 4-0, 2.67 with his 4th solid start to the season. Undefeated is a nice place to be.  Ricky Knapp slipped to 3-1 with a solid, 6 IP, 3 R loss, and a nifty ERA of 2.38.
Corey Oswalt followed 2 fine starts with a bad fourth start - he allows too many hits, (294 in 263 career) and needs to put that on a diet. 
TURNAROUND TOSSERS:
1) Chris Flexen was 0-3, 4.82, but then tossed a gem for his first win this week, dropping his ERA to 3.76.  I bet he takes off from here. 
2) Scarlyn Reyes: a decent start after 3 ghastly outings, but all it got him was a 4th straight loss, with an ERA that descended from the stratosphere to 9.18.

Remaining really impressive out of the St Lucie pen are Tim PetersonKevin McGowan, Al Baldonado, and Ben Griset (combined 46 IP, 0.97 ERA, 59 Ks).  Some other good ones, too.
A - COLUMBIA FIREFLIES: 

Two hitting stars thru my prior update remain at the top of the Fireflies’ list:
IF Vinny Siena: Vinny (“you can call-a me Vincenzo, capisce?”) has still been on base almost 50% (26 hits and 19 walks in 23 games), not to mention 21 runs scored.  Some guys just don’t like to sit down.
 
3B David Thompson, hitting a solid .287 with 12 extra base hits and a terrific 27 RBIs (7 games out of the last 10 with 2 or more RBIs) – some of those RBIs no doubt due to Siena being on base constantly in front of him.  Both need to cut down on the Ks (a combined 45 times in 47 games).  

1B Dash Winningham; Dash has an absolutely amazing low K rate (7 in 85 plate appearances, one in his last 9 games) for a young future slugger, and a .372 OBP in 21 games.  Consider that he struck out 102 times in about 475 plate appearances in 2014 and 2015 and the improvement is astonishing in that regard.
OF Ivan Wilson - his strikeouts year to date are improved and he clocked his 3rd homer in an 8 game span on Saturday nite.  Ivan, do what Dash does and keep those K’s dropping.
SS Milton Ramos (a sluggish .200 through 19 games)
3B J.C. Rodriguez - .140 on April 23 but a 7 game hit streak since (8 hits, and 4 walks).  Very nice bounce back week, JC.
The Fire Flies' hurlers doing well this week include born-in-Belfast–Ireland’s   PJ Conlon (3-0, 1.14, 1 walk in 23.2 IP).  The Lefty Leprechaun is sitting at an amazing 0.66 after 21 career outings and 40.2 IP.  
Joe Shaw and Chase Ingram stay solid - both are 2-1, with ERA’s in the 2’s, with a combined 52 Ks and 7 BB’s in 43 IP.   In the pen, Alex Palsha sits at 4.22, but has K’d 19 in 10.2 innings.
Lots of great stories. Some less great.  
Everyone has their downs and ups.  Ups are better.
I was excited this week. I suspect I'll be excited next week too. 
What say you, reader?


 


 



 



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