The Kingsport Mets, our franchise from the lengthy state of Tennessee (drive it and find out), had a mixed season.  Offensively, it was a team of early sadness, hitter strikeouts and malaise, and offensive surges from a few key players.  It was a team that gave us fine shortstop play. 


I love homers. Catcher Brandon Brosher homers in 4 straight games first week of the season - OK, Brandon, you wasted no time getting my attention - but only 31 at bats into the season, knee injury, season over.  Sad, and I hope he comes back strong in 2015.  But hey, he can brag to his friends that he had an OPS of 1.198!!

Hitter strikeouts and homers, with a little malaise thrown in:

2013 3rd round power hitter out of high school, Ivan Wilson, stuck out a lot in 2013 in the GCL. Improvement in 2014? Nope, got worse as he K'd 99 times in just 188 official at bats.  Work to do.  Understatement. But his 11 HRs led the league, and he’s a strong dude, so one can only hope for globs of wood putty to fill in the bat holes.  Oddly, as Ivan led the league in homers and Ks, the guy (from another team) who came in 2nd in both was also named...Wilson.  Odd.

Wilson's teammate Vicente Lupo was spectacular in the DSL in 2012, but in the GCL in 2013 alongside Ivan, he had a very similar poor, high K year. He started 2014 the same way, striking out a lot, and played sporadically.  Then came a spectacular August, and he ended up with 7 homers, and .278/.415/.504, and was chosen Sterling Award winner for the K Mets for 2014.  Awesome, but I thought the next guy would win it all along until racehorse Lupo passed him down the stretch.

Who he? The other Wilmer (well, almost, add a U), Wuilmer Becerra:
3rd cog of the Dickey blockbuster trade, started slowly, went on a tear in July, then eased off but finished with strong #s: 7 homers, and hit .300/.351/.469 with 29 RBIs. 

Will he and Lupo go straight to full season Savannah in 2014?  Hope so - more games, quicker development.

So the above 4 guys homered a combined for 29 homers in a league where only 2 only other teams did not have that many. I love the long ball, so let's see how this fearsome foursome performs in 2015.
And let’s not forget 3B Jean Rodriguez, who was an impressive .312/.387/.422 in 190 plate appearances before heading to Brooklyn for a cup o’ joe.   At 6’1, 160, time to pack on some pounds this winter and show us what you got in 2015, Jean.
And lastly, the "human rake", Eudor Garcia...his rake was not fully functioning in 2014 following the draft (4th rounder), but he did OK (.262/.327/.347 in 218 plate appearances).  I anticipate a fully functioning rake and more gaudy #'s from the 20 year old, 6'1" 215 3rd base playing Eudor in 2015.


It ain't all longball, baby. No team should be without glue.  Leather.  Acrobatic defensive play.
Luis Guillorme (.283/.340) brought some of that glue to the SS position with pretty strong glove play, and hit nicely too, with a low strikeout rate.  My bet is the defense goes from good to superior with this lad. The next Ruben Tejada?  Rey Ordonez? A guy could do worse than being one of those two; maybe Luis exceeds them...anxious to see his 2015 progress. Late promotion to Savannah for their playoff run.

So, offensively, the K Mets led in homers (47 in 68 games) and runs (345, or 5.1 per game, to join Vegas and Binghamton as teams scoring over 5 per, which is incredibly impressive), and was 2nd in doubles and 3rd in hitting at .258.  No problems there.  Kudos to the boys with the bats.

But: More Malaise   
Pitching-wise, it was a mensa-mensa year at best, despite some great individual performances.  The staff collectively was 9th out of 10 in the league in ERA with 4.05, last in Ks, and in a virtual tie for last in WHIP.  They were also (due to porous overall defense) second worst in unearned runs with 82, so total runs per game allowed were also 5.1, tying the offense.   It is why, despite the strong offensive stats, they finished at .500 (34-34) and missed the playoffs.   Pitching and D have room to improve.

There were a few very nice pitching performances.  Persio Reyes was 2-0, 1.34, 31K in 33.2 innings, and 0.89 WHIP. Jimmy Duff (3-1, 1.83) was strong in relief too, as was David Roseboom (1.59, 30 Ks in 22 2/3).    Matt Blackham was 2-0, 1.42. Several other pen dudes not far behind, too. It was mostly a real strong pen and one of the team’s strong points.
Martirez Arias was spectacular in 8 outings (4-0, 0.50) and went on to Brooklyn.  Combined stats? 6-0, 1.11.  Not shabby.  Tall guy with perhaps even taller expectations.

High 2013 draftee Andrew Church struggled but had a handful of positive starts late.  2015 will be the year for him to move forward. 
Blake Taylor (he of the Ike Davis trade) struggled with his control, but is thought of extremely highly by the organization, and should right the ship in 2015.  And the picture says it all: lefty.  I'm a lefty too - but Blake's got the talent.
Christian Montgomery’s career finally started to roll a bit.  It was a tough year for him with a walk per inning, but got a little better later in the season and the 11.6 Ks per 9 offer some hope that taming his control could lead to better things.  Maybe he needs to go to an Ollie Perez baseball camp...Ollie went from wild man to quite effective in Seattle the past 2 seasons.

Actually, the pitching was the haves and have nots.  Guys on the squad with ERAs above 4.00 went a combined 8-25, with 228 runs in 273 innings.  As Austin Powers might say, OUCH. VERY OUCH.

Overall, a nice if not spectacular season for the K Mets, but good enough to make it a Happy Recap!

You, the reader, can comment if you choose, but not if you're from Tennessee.  You Tennessee guys lost your objectivity once Elvis showed up.

NEXT UP: the Gulf Coast League Metsies.


Thomas Brennan said...

Let me update the following:

Mack the other day talked with Mets prospect catcher Brandon Brosher, who gave him an update on his injury this past season:

"The broken fibula was true and the torn ACL is false. However, the injury was far greater than just a broken fibula. I also tore a ligament on the opposite side of my ankle as well as the little ligaments that hold the tibia and fibula together. I had surgery early July and had a second surgery to take out some of the hardware. This was the last step in the recovery process. I've been healing great throughout this whole thing and now I'll just be focusing on gaining strength back and being ready to compete come spring. The injury shouldn't hinder me in any way."

So that makes for more of a HAPPY RECAP.

Hobie said...

Nice news & thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Lupo and Becerra jump to Low A also, in a system devoid of power bats, their acceleration (assuming success) could be a big boost along with Conforto and Nimmo. If C&N pan out near as projected in the next year and a half, it would be great to have other prospects like L&B on their heels.

Anon Joe F

Thomas Brennan said...

Joe F. I could not agree more. Move those power bats (Lupo and Wuilmer) as fast as they're capable. Savannah may not be homer-friendly, but I'd like both to bypass the short season and play in leagues that play twice as many games in a season.

I'd really prefer to see baseball turn Brooklyn-level teams into full season teams. I think 2 teams in short season ball are easily enough to absorb drafted, and signed but undrafted, players, DSL promotions., and repeat short season guys.

Luis Guillorme (Sr) said...

Good article Mr. Brennan.

In my opinion, Oswald Caraballo also had a great season. He hit .300/.351/.469 with 29 RBIs.

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Luis. Yes, Oswald had a very solid season and I frankly neglected to include him. My oversight.

Please wish your son and any of the players you're in touch with a great off-season and continued success and growth in 2015. I know I am looking forward to their progress next year,

Luis Guillorme (Sr.) said...

Thanks Thomas I will tell them. By the way I made a mistake in Caraballo's stats, he hit .289/.317/.410 with 38 RBIs.

Mack's Mets © 2012