APPALACHIAN HIT SQUAD – Tom Brennan
I love offense. The NY Mets have turned from offensive jelly beans to juggernauts over the past month. Millions of Mets fans smile, while Nat fans sweat.
Offense is sugar, and as long time Mets fan Julie Andrews once sang, "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." (Well, maybe it is the Metropolitan Opera "Met" that she loves, but let's not quibble. Mary loves the way the Mets are Poppin homers).
Another Mets squad (one not playing in rarified western air) that has some slugging to smile about is the Kingsport Met team. A fine-tuned offensive assault unit. A hit-generating hit squad.
In case you haven't noticed, here's what is generating Mets smiles down south (league-wide rankings in parens):
Pat Mazelka .353 (1st)
Kevin Kaczmarski .349 (2nd)
Luis Carpio .312 (9th)
Pat Mazelka - 27 (1st, next guy is 6 behind him)
Dash Winningham - 17 (#5)
Kevin Kaczmarski - 14 (tied for 10th)
Dash Winningham - 49 (ranked #1)
Pat Mazelka - 47 (#2; next guy has 43)
Kevin Kaczmarski - 18 (ranked #2, leader has 20)
Kevin Kaczmarski - 43 (2nd, leader has 47)
Pat Mazelka - 40 (7th)
Pat Mazelka - .549 (2nd)
Dash Winningham - .505 (#8)
Kevin Kaczmarski - .485 (#11)
Pat Mazelka .447 (#1)
Kevin Kaczmarski .414 (#5)
Luis Carpio .382 (#11)
Who are these terrific 4 guys who are atop the Appalachian League charts?
· Pat Mazelka: 8th rounder this season, a 6’3”, 215 left hitting catcher, who at 21 years of age has played 29 games behind the dish, 11 at 1B, and the remainder as DH. Just one error. The likely player of the year in the Appalachian League.
· Kevin Kaczmarski: 9th rounder this season, a 6’0”, 190 lefty hitting OF, who at 23 years of age has played mostly LF (11 games in CF). No errors! 4 OF assists.
· Dash Winningham: 8th rounder in 2014, and is just 19 in his 2nd season. A lefty bopper listed at 6’2”, 230. Five errors in 50 games at 1B.
· Luis Carpio was an international signing in 2013 for $300K (he was ranked the #30 international prospect at that point). Recently turned 18, the righty hitter has hit great for his age, and has made 6 errors in 20 starts at SS, and 2 errors in 15 games at 2B, not an unusual rate for a guy his age.
Besides the above four, a note on a potentially promising hitter who has struggled.
Ivan Wilson, a toolsy high draft pick out of high school in 2013, has struck out at a truly high rate so far in his career, but “just” 13 in his last 12 games, a dramatic drop for him. And he hit .176 in 2014, .250 so far this year, another promising sign. Hopefully, he is figuring things out in regards to making more consistent contact. When he does, he's dangerous.
Keep it up, fellas.