Lefty Bullpen Competition | Chris Soto- If you saw yesterday's game, you would have caught a glimpse at a new competitor in the left handed relief battle. His name is Chase Huchingson and he's pretty good. Yesterday threw 1.1 IP, induced an inning ending double play against Slade Heathcott, hit a batter, then walked a batter, got top prospect lefty 1B Greg Bird to ground into a force-out, gave up a hit to Nick Noonan, then struck out Ben Gamel. All the batters were left handed. It was mixed results but you could see why lefties have a tough time hitting him. His 3/4 arm slot motion is tough to pick up on and he has just enough juice on his 92 mph fastball to keep guys unbalanced.
Mike Puma | New York Post- In case there was any doubt about the 24-year-old fireballer cracking the major league roster, that was all but settled with Montero’s performance Wednesday, when he allowed one run on three hits over four innings with four strikeouts.“That is the best I’ve seen him,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets’ 7-2 victory. Montero, according to Collins, could be given a shot at the seventh-inning job to start the season, because the team expects Vic Black to begin April on the disabled list.
(Chris Soto: Montero showed us something yesterday that he did not utilize when he initially was promoted to the big leagues last year. He used his filthy change-up like he's done in the past in the minors. Last season Montero was getting cute, using his slider at a near 20% clip while using his change-up only 13% of the time, despite the slider being only an average to below average pitch. In the minor leagues Montero's usage was closer to 10% for the slider and 25% for the change so it's nice to see him go back to his bread and butter methods.)
Mike Puma | New York Post- The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning in Port St. Lucie against Triple-A New Orleans in his first game action in nearly a year. According to reports, Parnell’s fastball was mostly in the 90 mph range. He topped out at 92. But Parnell — who routinely flirted with triple-digits on the radar gun two years ago — explained he wanted to avoid overthrowing, so he wasn’t concerned about the velocity.“I hope to return in May, but I’ll let my body and arm tell me when I’m ready to come back,” Parnell said.
(Chris Soto: Yesterday was a busy day for Puma....It's a step in the right for Parnell. Puma is unfairly comparing the velocities between 2 years ago and today. If we all remember, per the direction of Jason Isringhausen, Parnell actually took a lot of velocity off his fastball when he added the knuckle-curve to his arsenal. In 2013 his fastball was routinely in the 94-96 mph range vs. the 96-98 mph range back in 2012. Based on that, Parnell sitting at 90 and hitting 92 mph is right about where I would expect him to be with still a month and a half of rehab left.)
(Chris Soto: As bad as the lefties were early in camp....All of a sudden everyone seems to be locking in at the right time. It's still a wide open race with Gilmartin, Scott Rice, Duane Below, Erik Goeddel, and now Chase Huchingson all capable of winning the job. The only guy who has fallen out of it so far is the "Leather Rocket" Jack Leathersich.)