Morning Report: - 5.18.11 – Chris Schwinden, Edgar Ramirez, Sean McCraw, Tobi Stoner


Photo by Michael G.Baron

OF Angel Pagan had three hits Monday in an extended camp game.


Chris Schwinden is now 2nd in the International League in lowest ERA (1.82) and WHIP (0.96).

You should begin to hear others start writing more about Chris, so I thought I’d bring you up-to-date with what I have written about him in the past:

Selected by New York Mets in 22nd Round (674th overall) of 2008 amateur entry draft.

In 2008, Schwinden went 4-1, 2.01, 14 games, 8 starts, 70Ks, 62.2 IP, only 12 BBs, for Brooklyn.

In 2009, Schwinden became one of the “Savannah 5”, posting a 9-6, 3.28, 1.22 record in 21 games, 17 starts. He also went 1-0, 3.97 for Lucy in the last week of the season.

Forecast written in Jan 2010:: Everybody spent the entire 2009 season bragging on Jeurys Familia and Robert Carson, while Schwinden stayed under the radar. Hey, this is a guy with a lifetime 1.17 WHIP! So far, in two seasons, he’s 14-7, 2.90, 1.17. I’ll take that at any level. We may have ourselves another pitching prospect here.

7-3-10: - Schwinden has had a hard time solidifying himself within the Binghamton rotation, but that might be all in the past after last night’s first game of the doubleheader. Schwinden had a no-hitter after six innings and finished up the 7-inning game with a two hitter. He also struck out five and did not give up a walk.

10-2-10 interview:

Mack: – Hey folks. We’re here this morning with the 22nd round pick in the 2008 draft, starting pitcher Chris Schwinden. Hey Chris, thanks for spending a few minutes with us. First up, are you home or down in Ft. Myers in Instruction Camp? .

Schwinden: – Thanks for having me. I’m back home here in Visalia, CA.

Mack: – I have to ask you the same question I ask all of you… take us back to that classic day you found out you were drafted… what was that all about? .

Schwinden: – I was just sitting at home watching TV, Fish-eyeing my computer every round. Then I saw my name popped up under the Mets. I kind of double-taked for a second and I knew it was for real. and I was really excited.

Mack: – Chris, you signed and went straight to Brooklyn, where you went 4-1, 2.01, in 14 games, eight starts. Nore importantly, you had 70-Ks in only 62.2-IP, with only 12-BB. The new grind of rotating every five days didn’t seem to affect you at all….

Schwinden: – Well…Its the same game where ever you go.You have to throw the ball over for strikes and try and get guys out. I was fortunate enough to have a season like Brooklyn. Pitching every five days was some getting use to, but it’s what you do with those extra days to try and get yourself better for the next outing.

Mack: – You said it perfectly. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked “how do I get to the majors”… if they’re a pitcher, I tell them “well, you first have to throw strikes…”

Anyway, it was on to Savannah in 2009 (9-6, 3.28) and then finishing up with St. Lucie (1-0, 3.97), where you continued to shine in 2010 at (3-0, 1.83)… had you added anything new to your repertoire during this period?

Schwinden: – This past off-season I really wanted to work on my curve. It wasn’t that great in 09. So I really wanted to bring that back into play. This year mark brewer taught me how to throw a cutter and had lots of success with it. So I have another pitch that is going to be fun throwing.

Mack: – Last question… Chris, you’re at that place I call “the point of no return”. Minor league players really have two steps they must take to get to the Bigs…. one, they have to get to the AA level… and two, they have to get past it.

A coach told me once that there are no bad baseball players in AA. You’ve already had a taste of that this past season. Is it true and what are your off-season plans to get ready for your next step? .

Schwinden: – Well… I would say that there are guys that have experience where they have found success in what they have learned and there are some that haven’t found it yet. But they have done something great to get themselves where they are. I’m going to work on the cutter and try to establish that to the best I can get it. Also work on little mechanical problems that I endured over the season and go from there.

Mack: – Great ideas. The cutter turned out to be the difference for Mike Pelfrey. It’s a killer pitch with no predictable outcome. I always called it a fast-knuckler…

5-14-11: - No one seems to be able to give any explanation for what SP Chris Schwinden is doing different at the AAA level. His fastball remains in the 90-92 range, but it especially has good tail motion down and in to right-handed hitters. The changup did raise up last year to the 80-84 range, and he has an average slider (84-86) at best. His last and least used pitch is his overhand curve, in the high-70s. Anyone that has followed Chris’s game knows that the key here is command, and the ability to mix his pitches to his liking. I have to assume at this point that he is currently, as we say, in command.


RHRP Edgar Ramirez has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine, a performance-enhancing substance.

Ramirez was drafted in the 36th round of the 2006 draft by the Mets. He signed and reported to K-Port for the 2006 season.

In 2007, Ramirez pitched for Brooklyn (4-0, 3.07, 1.33, in 19 appearances, 1 start).

Edgar pitched a combined 4-2, 3.92 for Savannah and St. Lucie. In 2008

4-29-11: - I had hoped that Jeurys Familia would have been promoted into this start, but instead, RHP Edgar Ramirez makes his first start of the year. Edgar has pitched in 144 games at six levels and has only started seven times. He is one of the nicest, most articulate Mets I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He always has a smile on his face and an answer to a question. I wish him well. 36th round draft pick in 2006 out of LSU. Has consistently been a “good” reliever, but just hasn’t taken that next step.

5-9-11: - RHP Edgar Ramirez transferred from Binghamton (AA) to Brooklyn (SS-A). He has been 0-2, 5.93 for the B-Mets, in 8 outings, 2 starts. This included a start Sunday where he gave up one run in four innings. Ramirez continues to fall off the roster which is not a good thing for a 27-year old reliever right before the draft.

You know I have no tolerance these days for this. You don’t put shit in your mouth unless it’s approved and the only needle you stick in yourself is for diabetes. We won’t see Edgar again.

St. Lucie:

I wasn’t thrilled that St. Lucie tanked last night but it was great that ex-Mets minor league Sean McCraw was part of it. The Savannah Sand Gnats became a Mets affiliate in 2007 and McCraw was the original starting catcher (.272/.427 OBP with 37 walks in 151 official at bats. He was the obvious most talented catcher on the team and his backup was a young first baseman that the Mets wanted converted to catcher, named Josh Thole. Third string was the 16-year old Francesco Pena.

McCraw earned one of the first promotions to St. Lucie (I sort of remember it being the second, behind P Tobi Stoner, and he went on to hit .261 there in 88-Abs.

2008 came and brought a horrendous slump in the FSL (.143) that got him bumped back to get more time behind the plate, Thole was promoted to Lucy and the rest, as they say, was history. He finished the season with Savannah .266) and was abruptly released in the off season. He basically had to start over and has only earned back a back-up role with his new team, but I’m sure there was a wide smile on his face during that 6-run inning he participated in. Great kid who deserved a better treatment by Tony B.

Game wise, it would easy to write a headline like: “Stoner Gets Stoned”. I mean, he did give up 8-ER in 5.0-IP. But, I’m not going to do that for two reasons. One, I wrote the headline “The Gnats Get a Stoner” the day before he arrived in Savannah and he had a hard-on for me ever since… and, two, he was only the second worst pitcher in the game on Monday. RP/CL Ronnie Moria, who was recently promoted from Savannah, gave up 8-ER in only 2.0-IP. Oh yeah… Lucy scored nine and lost by ten.


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