9/15/09

Minors Stuff

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B-Mets:


No. 18 IKE DAVIS, 1B


Team: Double-A Binghamton (Eastern) / high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State)
Why He's Here: .298/.381/.524 (128-for-429), 20 HR, 31 2B, 3 3B, 71 RBIs, 58 R, 57 BB, 112 SO, 0-for-2 SB


The Scoop: Davis overcame a startlingly slow start as a pro (.260/.330/.338 without a home run through his first 312 plate appearances) to assert himself as a top first base prospect. (He played two games in right field, too, in preparation for the World Cup.) And if spending half a season with Binghamton, the worst team in the minors, had any ill effects, it was not apparent in Davis' performance. He hit significantly better in Double-A than he had in high Class A (.951 OPS vs. .863), and from April 28, the date of his first pro homer, to the end of the season he batted .303/.388/.551 in 415 PAs.


One of five college first basemen taken in the '08 draft's first round—a group that includes Yonder Alonso, David Cooper, Allan Dykstra and Justin Smoak—Davis this season led the quintet in average, home runs, RBIs, OPS (.906) and isolated power (.226). The power came at a cost: He also averaged the most strikeouts per at-bat (26 percent) and posted the lowest walk-to-strikeout ratio (.48), indicating areas for improvement.



KIRK NIEUWENHUIS, CF


Team: high Class A St. Lucie (Florida State) / Double-A Binghamton (Eastern)
Why He's Here: .282/.364/.479 (145-for-514), 17 HR, 38 2B, 6 3B, 73 RBIs, 99 R, 57 BB, 127 SO, 17-for-22 SB


The Scoop: After hitting a combined three home runs in June and July, Nieuwenhuis began pulling the ball for power in August. The results: he batted .345/.406/.647 with six homers and 13 doubles in 27 games, earning a promotion to Double-A for the final week. Had it not been for this offensive explosion, Nieuwenhuis would likely still be regarded as an obscure '08 third-rounder with a hard-to-pronounce name. (Kirk's father assures us it's NEW-en-hice.) But that assault on Florida State League pitching catapulted him to a No. 1 ranking among league batters in doubles (35), slugging (.467), extra-base hits (56) and runs scored (91). He finished third with 16 home runs. A physical, lefty-swinging center fielder, Nieuwenhuis will have to reign in the strikeouts as he advances, but it's an encouraging full-season debut for an NAIA product who bypassed low Class A.



Lance Hoge, LHP, Brooklyn - A good way to draw attention to yourself is to throw your shoes and loudly cuss at a powerful foreign leader. Another way is strike out four of the five batters you face in a minor league baseball game. Hoge did the latter of these things during the present contest, sending down Lowell's one through four hitters. There's nothing really to suggest that Hoge is this kind of pitcher. As a 22-year-old in low Single-A ball, he had 16 strikeouts in almost 23.1 innings entering the game. He was drafted in the 36th round. He wasn't even the best pitcher at Kansas State in 2009, posting 46 K and 22 BB in 71.1 IP versus fourth round pick A.J. Morris' line of 116.1 IP, 100 K and 30 BB. That said, he struck out 13 in 16 SAL innings this summer, as well.



Here is a better number for the "blow 'em up" crowd to consider: 25. That's the grand total of games the Mets got this year with their nucleus of Reyes, Beltran, Wright and slugger Carlos Delgado on the field at the same time.


That's 17 percent of the Mets' schedule to date, and all of those games came before Delgado underwent hip surgery in mid-May.


And you know what the Mets' record was in those 25 games? A respectable 15-10. That's a .600 winning percentage, which would extrapolate to a 97-65 record over a full season.
Not only that, but the Mets were 28-21 and a half-game behind the Philadelphia in the NL East on the final day of May before they were swept up in an almost biblical tidal wave of injuries.
People seriously want to break up a potential 97-win team?



Padres farmhand Cory Luebke struck out 10 Canadians and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning as Team USA cruised to an 8-0 victory at Reggio Emilia, Italy, in in the second round of World Cup play. In its previous two games, the Americans got big efforts from Trevor Reckling (Angels), who struck out 11 against China, and Todd Redmond (Braves), who pitched eight two-hit, scoreless frames against Germany on Friday.

But Luebke was the story as he dominated a fairly talented lineup that includes Futures Game MVP Rene Tosoni (Twins), whom he fanned twice, as well as Brett Lawrie (Brewers), Tim Smith (Royals) and Shawn Bowman (Mets), who struck out in each of his three plate appearances.

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