4/30/15

April 30th 2015 -- Nationals 8, Mets 2

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An error by Met shortstop Wilmer Flores in the top of the 4th inning led to a 3 run inning, the Nationals come from behind to beat the Mets 8-2.  It was Jacob deGrom vs Stephen Strasburg. The Mets got first blood in the bottom of the first inning on back to back doubles by Flores and Kevin Plawecki and an RBI single by Curtis Granderson and it was 2-0 Mets.  In the 3rd after Denard Span walked, Flores error opened the door for the Nats.  Jason Werth hit an RBI single to make it 2-1.  Ryan Zimmerman hit a sac-fly to tie the game at 2.  Werth then scored on a fielder’s choice by Wilson Ramos.  To that point deGrom had only allowed 1 hit. In the top of the 6th the Nats scored twice more. Yunel Escobar singled and went to 3rd on a double by Bryce Harper.  Zimmerman brought home Escobar with an infield single and Wilson Ramos made it 5-2 with an RBI single to center.  Erik Goeddel came in relief.  After a walk Juan Lagares ended the inning catching a fly by Danny Espinosa and throwing out Zimmerman trying to tag up. It was the 2nd straight shaky outing for deGrom. He went 5 2/3’s allowing 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned) 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. deGrom takes the loss falling to 2-3. Strasburg gets the win improving to 2-2.  Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, Buddy Carlyle followed deGrom. Carlyle allowed 3 hits in the 9th and was relieved with the bases juiced and one out with rookie lefty Jack Leathersich.  Bryce Harper greeting Leathersich with a 3 run double to put the game out of reach (The runs were charged to Carlyle.) Offensively for the Mets Lucas Duda went 2 for 3; Escobar had 3 hits for the Nationals. With the loss the Mets drop their first game at home in 2015 snapping their 10 game winning streak now standing at 10-1.  Overall the Mets are 15-8 and have dropped 5 out of their last 7.  Friday night is game two of the series and it looks to be a terrific match-up.  Matt Harvey (4-0 3.04) goes for the Mets, Max Scherzer (1-1 1.71) goes for the Nats. 
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DISABLED LIST - SP - Rafael Montero

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Rafael Montero was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation 

Mack - reports are that the Mets are considering calling up either Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz (scheduled to pitch tonight for Las Vegas) for the spot start that Montero was scheduled to throw. They also are considering Matt Bowman. The only other option could be a 'short start' for Carlos Torres.
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Tom Brennan – MAJORING ON THE MINORS: HOT/NOT HOT, VOL. 3

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Tom Brennan – MAJORING ON THE MINORS: HOT/NOT HOT, VOL. 3

It is TOUGH to get this update down to a manageable size.

Why? Mostly because the Las Vegas, and to a lesser extent Binghamton, teams are hitting. A lot.  And while there have been many fine pitching lines from our guys so far, quite a few tossers (and some hitters) have been pretty bad so far.

To briefly elaborate, Vegas may be in a hitters' league, but THEY are the hitters in that league, hitting .306 (next highest team .283) and in runs (134, 6.7 RPG, a run more per game than the next best team).  And amazingly, that is with them having promoted 3 top hitters. Campbell, Plawecki, and Muno). 

Binghamton is a close 2nd in the Eastern League in both BA (.276 - lead team at .283) and runs (91, 6 less than the leader), so they are excelling too.

All things considered, I decided to have a top 10 hitters list, top 10 starters list, and top 5 relievers list.

HITTERS

1.    Alex Castellanos - AAA: 17 extra base hits in 18 games. 19 RBIs. .362 average.  Hottest of the hot.

2.   Matt Reynolds - AAA: after a .380 spring, the hitting machine started slowly, but is at .333 with 21 RBIs in 20 games. 12 extra base hits.

3.   Dilson Herrera - AAA: also started with a few slow games, but has rocketed up to .375. 18 runs scored in 19 games.

4.   Johnny "what about me" Monell - AAA: like Reynolds, a terrific spring, which continued into the season. Now, he is hitting .378/.453/.622 in 14 games.

5.   Travis Taijeron - AAA: .352/.419/.667 in 15 games.  Still striking out too much, with 21, but his power is intriguing.

6.   Michael Conforto - HI A: recent 0 for 9, but still at .308 with 6 HRs and 12 free passes in 20 games.  I'm sure he'd like to hit in Vegas.

7.   Gavin Cecchini - AA: a groin injury limited him to 11 games so far , but .342/.419/.553 has to have Sandy grinning.

8.   Jeff McNeil - HI A: he has been hot for a few weeks, surging to .329, with 14 runs in 18 games. One to watch.

9.   Maikis de la Cruz - HI A: cooling after a hot start, but is at .306/.338/.486.

10. Darrell Ceciliani - AAA: 9 extra base hits give him a .646 slugging percentage so far.  He started out as a big-bodied, low power speedster. Maybe he is adding power commensurate with his size.

Special Mention: T J Rivera was hitting .441 but in just 9 games when the injury bug struck.

STARTERS

1.    Steve Matz - AAA: great last game in the same hitters' league that his teammates are destroying.  2.01.
2.   Noah Syndergaard - AAA: Only one good start, but it was his last one, and it was utter domination.

3.   Rainy Lara - AA: 3 starts, 2-0, 2.04. Nice.

     4.   Luis Cessa - AA: 3 starts, 1-1, 2.25.  Almost as nice.

5.   Robert Gsellman - HI A: 4 Starts, 3-0, 2.14.  St Lucie luvs the Giz.

6.   Rob Whelan - HI A: 0-1 in 3 starts, but sporting a 1.93 ERA.

7.   Miller Diaz - HI A: also 0-1, but 1.80 in 3 starts.  Miller and Rob have petitioned the court for more support.

8.   Marcos Molina - HI A:3.38 ERA for the highly regarded youngster, with 18 Ks in 16 innings.

9.   Martirez Arias - A: picking right up where he left off from last year's terrific season in rookie ball. He is 2-0 and 2.12 for 3 starts.

10. Casey Meisner - A: ditto my comments on Arias.  Meisner is 1-1, but same # of innings and ERA as Arias . 17 Ks in 17 innings.


RELIEVERS:

1.    Paul Sewald - AA: in 101 minor league games a 1.71 ERA and terrific K and WHIP ratios. This year, unscored upon in 7 dominant outings. 13 Ks in 12 innings.

2.   Akeel Morris - HI A: in 11.1 innings, 4 hits and 17 Ks.  That's his normal ratio, folks.

3.   Jack Leathersich - AAA: just promoted, he finally manhandled AAA hitters. He allowed a 2 run shot for his only runs, but in 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, and the usual basketful of Ks (13).

4.   Kelly Secrest - Hi A: 2-0, 0.96 in 9.1 innings, 9 Ks.

5.   David Roseboom - A: 1-0, 1.04, 12 Ks in 8.2 innings.


WHO'S NOT HOT?

 Plenty of chilly fellers pitching in Uglyville, so I will list mostly names and sparse details to keep this edition a tad short of War and Peace:

·       Matt Bowman and Tyler Pill have a combined ERA of nearly 9.00.  

·       Cory Vaughn is 6 for 38 for Vegas.  In that hitter’s league.

·       Cody Satterwhite a 10.13 ERA in 8 relief outings.

·       Gabe Ynoa has a 4.86 ERA, coupled with a 1.74 WHIP and a mere 7 Ks of around 80 batters.

·       Adam Kolarek is saddled with a 14.14 ERA.

·       Josh Prevost is 0-3, 6.75 in 3 St Lucie starts.

·       Vicente Lupo is hitting .167 with 18 Ks in 42 at bats.

·       Tyler Moore is off to a frigid 2 for 26 start.

·       Jhoan Urena is .192/.224/.288 with 20 Ks so far. Growing pains.

·       Lastly, back up catchers Jeff Glenn and Adrian Abreu are a combined 2 for 29 for the Lucies.

If there is a player’s name you wanted to see, but didn’t here, they are neither hot nor cold.  So the likes of Amed Rosario and Wuilmer Becerra need to get hot.

That's all, folks.  Until we meet again.
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Minor League Recap - 4-29-15

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Slow night, with only 2 of the 4 teams playing baseball. Two wins, though.

Minor League Player of The Night - 

    Savannah 2B Jean Rodriguez. J ROD #1


Honorable Mention -

    Binghamton 3B Josh Rodriguez. J ROD #2


AAA - Las Vegas -  no game scheduled

Only way to cool down the Vegas bats is to give them the night off. 6.7 runs per game, boys and girls. Impressive.


AA - Binghamton (12-8) 8  -  Portland (7-13) 3

    RHSP Rainy Lara - 4.0-IP, 6-H, 3-R, 2-K, 2-BB, 2.91

    3B Josh Rodriguez -   2-4, 2-R, HR (3), 4-RBI, .298

    1B Aderlin Rodriguez -  1-5, 1-R, HR (3), 2-RBI, .206

    2B Jairo Perez -  2-4, 1-R, HR (1), 2-RBI, .333

    DH Dustin Lawley - 0-4, 2-K, .246

    CF Brandon Nimmo - 2-4, 2B, 3B, BB, .284. Now hitting.

         Mack - there's been a fair amount of Mets weenies (minor league fans) that have had big hopes for the power generated by Lawley (2013: 26-HRs, 96/RBI at St. Lucie... 2014: 20-HR, 69-RBI at AA-Binghamton), but it always was the high strikeouts (111 in 469 in 2013 and 134/447 in 2014). Well, the strikeouts are down this year (13 in 61-AB) but so is the pop (3-HR, 10-RBI). Add to that the fact that he's playing 2015 as a 26-year old (repeating AA) and his prospect days are over.


A+ - St. Lucie -  no game scheduled


A - Savannah (7-12) 7  -  Delmarva (11-8) 5

    RHSP Corey Oswalt - 6.0-IP, 7-H, 3-R, 4-K, 1-BB, 4.84

    2B Jean Rodriguez - 3-4, 1-R, 1-RBI, .288

    CF John Mora -  2-4, 2-R, double, 2-RBI, .286

    SSw Luis SSwllorme - 2-4, BB, R, .306

A couple of their top hitters lead the Gnats to a much needed win. Came from behind in the 7th after being down 4-2.

NO GOATS TODAY, FOLKS





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The Morning Report 4.30.2015 | Injury Updates, Colon Off the Trade Block, Bleacher Report Observations.

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Injury Updates | Chris Soto

  • According to Matt Ehalt of NJ.com, RP Victor Black has resumed throwing once again after resting his slightly herniated disc.
  • OF Brandon Nimmo caused a bit of a scare last night when he hit the second base bag awkwardly and twisted his knee. According to Michael Baron of JustMets, Nimmo is ok and will take a day or two of rest.
  • 3B David Wright is inching his way closer to a return as he took live batting practice yesterday at the Mets Minor League complex in Port St. Lucie. According to SNY's Gary Cohen, Wright could be 7-10 days away from returning to the Met line-up. 
  • SP Rafael Montero is on his way to New York to get an MRI for what he is describing as shoulder discomfort. According to assistant GM John Ricco, if Montero needs to miss any time, the Mets would not abandon the sporadic spot starter plan. Instead the team would adjust and have one of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, or Matt Bowman take Montero's role.


Andy Martino | NY Daily News- [Bartolo Colon] is entertaining, and has become a significant part of the Mets’ loose clubhouse culture. This matters, but Colon’s production is more important; after winning 15 games in 2014, he is 4-1 this year, with a 3.31 ERA. Because of these factors, the team the team has changed its stance on whether to trade him, according to sources. The idea then was to keep him around long enough for a few youngsters to break in, and then move his contract to another team. That plan was very much alive before last July’s trade deadline, but the Mets were surprised when a robust market did not develop. Now, seeing the benefits of Colon’s experience and leadership, the Mets are not expecting to make him available this July, unless trading him would somehow directly improve their playoff chances. 

(Chris Soto: Ya know...Part of me agrees with this thinking for now. Colon has been superb for the club so far this year and if the Mets are serious about making a playoff run, then anyone who is helping the club should be retained. That said, look at that last line..."unless trading him would somehow directly improve their playoff chances." If by some chance another team is in a dire situation for pitching and blow Alderson away with an offer come July, I don't see him turning it down as he could just hand over the reigns to Syndergaard or Matz without much trouble.)


Shale Briskin | Bleacher Report- 5 Observations from the Mets' Season so Far

  1. The Mets Can Still Win a Lot Despite Various Injuries
  2. The Mets Have Enjoyed Playing at Citi Field More Than Ever Before
  3. Matt Harvey Has Not Missed a Beat
  4. Jeurys Familia Has Emerged as a Very Reliable Closer
  5. Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores Have Already Shown Offensive Improvement


(Chris Soto: There's actually very few things wrong with the club right now. Yea the middle infield defense still struggles at times and this recent 2-4 road trip was disappointing, but the team still looks good. They're run differential is 6th best in baseball at +22, they aren't being shut-out, Wright is on his way back, and they still have the 2nd best record in baseball as they head back home where they are 10-0 so far this season.)
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Savannah 7 - Delmarva 5

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One day removed from the Shorebirds (11-8) 12 run power surge, the Gnats (7-12) plate four runs in the seventh inning to give them the 6-4 lead and the eventual 7-5 victory at Historic Grayson Stadium on Wednesday Night.

The Gnats offense started early and often, 2B JC Rodriguez reached on a single and C Tomas Nido would follow suit. After LF Patrick Biondi’swalk, the bases were loaded for DH Vicente Lupo. Lupo was issued a free pass, which scored Rodriguez for the game’s first run. Rodriguez was 3-for-4 on the night with an RBI.

With the Gnats up 2-0 in the fourth, the Shorebirds LF Conor Bierfeldt would single home two runs off Gnats starter Corey Oswalt (2-0, 4.84). Oswalt went 6.0 IP allowing seven hits, three runs (2 earned), and striking out four.

Delmarva would take the lead with a run in the 6th and 7th innings, but the Gnats would battle back. The Gnats would load the bases again, after walks were issued to Biondi, Johnathan Johnson, and Luis Guillorme. With runners at every base and the Gnats down by two, CF John Mora crushed a double to deep right field to tie the game at 4. 1B Stefan Sabol would plate Guillorme and Rodriguez would bring Mora in for a four run 7th inning.

Johnson would score in the bottom of the 8th for the Gnats and Delmarva’s 1B Riley Palmer would come around to score in the ninth to round out the scoring on Wednesday.

The win would go to the newest Sand Gnat, RHP Josh Smoker (1-0), who pitched in the seventh allowing just one run on one hit and striking out two. LHP Shane Bay would earn his second save of the season.
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Binghamton 8 - Portland 3

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Josh Rodriguez and Aderlin Rodriguez (unrelated) drove in a half-dozen runs and three Binghamton Mets relievers tossed five scoreless innings in an 8-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday night at Hadlock Field. Binghamton launched three homers to secure the series sweep and extend their winning streak to four games.

Josh Rodriguez started his big day by blasting a solo home run in the first, Binghamton’s third first-inning long-ball on the road trip. Rodriguez deposited Mike McCarthy’s payoff pitch to dead centerfield for this third homer of the season.

The B-Mets infielder struck again in the third. With the bases loaded on a single and two walks, Rodriguez smoked a line-drive double into left-center clearing the bases and giving the B-Mets a 4-2 lead.

Jairo Perez added to Binghamton’s advantage with a controversial two-run homer in the fourth. The second baseman ripped an 0-2 pitch from McCarthry down the left-field line. Originally ruled foul by home plate umpire Blake Felix, the call was overturned, kicking Binghamton’s lead to 6-2.
The B-Mets flexed their muscle again in the seventh. After Kyle Kraus issued a two-out walk, Aderlin Rodriguez belted his third home run of the season over the Maine Monster in left field.
Given plenty of offensive support, Rainy Lara needed 85 pitches to survive four innings. The righty surrendered three runs on six hits before ceding to the bullpen.

Adam Kolarek led the reliever charge with three scoreless innings. The southpaw induced six groundouts and struck out David Chester to strand two in the seventh inning. Dario Alvarez worked a scoreless eighth and Jon Velasquez sealed the victory with a blank ninth.

Kolarek (1-0) earned his first victory since May 18, 2014. McCarthy (2-2) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in the loss.

The B-Mets (12-8) enjoy an off day on Thursday before starting a three-game series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Friday night at 7:05 PM. RHP Gabriel Ynoa gets the ball for Binghamton. 

POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton has scored in the first inning in four of their last five games...Binghamton finished April with a 12-8 record, marking their 11th consecutive winning month (April – August) under Pedro Lopez…the B-Mets have collected 10 hits or more in five of their last six games
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4/29/15

April 29th 2015 -- Marlins 7, Mets 3

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Dee Gordon’s sac-fly broke a 3 all tie in the bottom of the 7th inning and Ichiro Suzuki clubbed a 3 run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Marlins win their 2nd straight over the Mets with a 7-3 win Wednesday night. 

The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against the Marlins and Mat Latos when Michael Cuddyer stroked a 2 run homer, his 2nd homer on the year . In the bottom of the 1st Giancarlo Stanton tied the game at 2 with a 2 run blast (6) off Mets starter Bartolo Colon. In the 3rd, the Mets took a 3-2 lead when Curtis Granderson scored on a ground out by Lucas Duda.  In the 5th with 2 out and Donovan Solano on third, Stanton hit an infield hit that Daniel Murphy tried in vain to get to first in time and the game was tied at 3. 

Colon pitched into the 7th. He allowed a lead-off double to Adeiny Hechavarria. Hechavarria was sacrificed to third and then came home on the sac-fly.  In the 8th Hansel Robles started the inning and was relieved by Alex Torres with 2 on and 1 out and in an epic at bat, Ichiro ended up hitting his first homer on the year to ice the game. 

Colon is the starter and loser going 6 2/3 allowing 9 hits 4 runs (all earned) and struck out 2. He falls to 4-1.  Sam Dyson pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief and picks up the win he’s now 1-0. The Met offense only managed 7 hits on the night. Kevin Plawecki and Cuddyer  each had 2 hits.

With the loss the Mets drop 2 of 3 to the Marlins. They now stand at 15-7 overall and 5-7 on the road.  Thursday night the Mets are back home in Flushing to host a four game set with the Nationals.  Thursday night Jacob deGrom 2-2 2.96) goes for the Mets, Stephen Strasburg (1-2 4.88) goes for Washington.  
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Binghamton Mets 2015 Game Notes

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Binghamton Mets (11-8) at
Portland Sea Dogs (7-12)
(Double-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox)

RHP Rainy Lara (2-0, 2.04) vs. RHP Mike McCarthy (2-1, 4.80)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015  Game #20  Road Game #14
Hadlock Field   Portland, ME  6:00 PM


LAST GAME: The B-Mets threw their third two-hitter of the season, beating Portland 7-1 Tuesday night in seven innings at Hadlock Field. The two teams first finished their suspended game from Monday, which the B-Mets took 11-7. Binghamton scored multiple runs in four different innings, as three B-Mets drove in multiple runs. Jake Kuebler then started the second game, allowing just one hit over four shutout innings. It was his first start since 2013. Beck Wheeler got the win in relief, as he and Chase Huchingson closed out the two-hitter. Dustin Lawley hit his third home run of the season, as Binghamton scored all seven runs in the first two innings. Four different B-Mets had multiple hits in the seven inning affair.
BINGHAMTON STARTERRHP Rainy Lara makes his fourth start of the season and third on the road. The righty allowed an earned run in six innings pitched against New Hampshire last time out, earning a no-decision. He received wins in each of his first two starts. Opponents are hitting .183 against the starter, including .190 (4-for-21) with men on base. Righties are batting .154 (6-for-39) against the 24 year-old. Lara was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three starts against the Sea Dogs last season. He picked up the win in the EDCS, allowing two runs in six innings in his lone start.

PORTLAND STARTER: RHP Mike McCarthy makes his fourth start of the season and third at home. The righty is coming off back-to-back wins, allowing four hits in six shutout innings against the Trenton Thunder last time out. The 27 year-old is working on an 11 inning scoreless streak, surrendering just six hits and striking out eight during that time. This is his third season in the EL, after spending 2014 between Portland and Pawtucket (AAA). In total, he went 10-4 with a 4.74 ERA in 28 appearances, 12 starts, last year. He’s 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA in six career appearances, five starts, against the B-Mets.

THE POWERFUL KINGJared King has driven in a run in five straight games for the third time in his career. He had a career-high six game streak from July 31-August 7, 2014 with St. Lucie, where he hit two home runs and drove in seven. King is batting .381 (8-for-21) with two home runs and six RBI during the current stretch, hitting leadoff in five of six games.

ERRORS: Binghamton has committed an error in seven straight games and 13 of their last 14. The 18 errors in their last 14 games have led to eight unearned runs allowed. The B-Mets had committed an error in one of their first five games to start the year. The B-Mets are currently tied for the third most miscues in the league. 

HITTING STREAKS: Both Dustin Lawley and Eudy Pina are currently on seven-game hitting streaks. Lawley is batting .391 (9-for-23) with two home runs and six RBI during the streak, which followed an 0-for-17 stretch. It’s his longest streak since a 14-gamer, May 21-June 14, 2014. Pina is batting .370 (10-for-27) with three RBI during his streak. It’s his longest streak since a nine-gamer, July 26-August 4, 2014. Pina has recorded a hit in 12 of 13 starts this season. The dual seven game streaks are tied for the longest (with T.J. Rivera) for Binghamton this season.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Binghamton has won their last four games at Hadlock Field, dating back to last postseason. The B-Mets have averaged 10 runs per game during that stretch, outscoring the Sea Dogs 40-23.

SERIES FINALES: The B-Mets are 3-2 in series finales this year, winning their last two. Binghamton was 3-4 in series finales against the Sea Dogs in 2014.
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Stephen Guilbert - Why Zack Wheeler to the Bullpen in 2016 Makes Sense

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Zack Wheeler pre-Tommy John Surgery. He will miss 2015 and the start of 2016 recovering from the injury. 

With the recent handling of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast Leage by both of the Mets top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, the continued relevance of Rafael Montero and an already-full rotation, Zack Wheeler's 2016 mid-season return will create yet another traffic jam in one of the NL's best staffs. Recovery from Tommy John surgery is a long and arduous process that typically takes longer than 12 months. In the case of Matt Harvey, he spent more than 18 on the road to pitching again. Wheeler will not have two off-seasons to recover like Matt Harvey did, though if Harvey continues to pitch like a Cy Young candidate, the Mets and other teams might look to the longer recovery as the reason for his immediate and dominant success.

I do not think it would be a good idea to give Wheeler 2016 mostly off, nor do I believe Wheeler would like that idea nor agree to it. However, I also see value both for his recovery and for the Mets by pitching him in the bullpen in 2016. His outings can be meticulously controlled, his innings will be far lower than any threshold they would set for him as a starter, and, frankly, his stuff plays in the bullpen. Big time. Zack Wheeler would be a dominant reliever and it allows the Mets to run a rotation in 2016 of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and whichever of Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Rafael Montero proves the most valuable.

It gives the Mets a full year of evaluation--both of Wheeler and his recovery as well as the trio of Las Vegas prospects who would be rotation regulars on most teams. I do not mean to suggest this would be a permanent move. I believe that Zack Wheeler has upside somewhere between Homer Bailey and Zack Grienke and that sort of talent should not be wasted in the middle-to-late innings out of the bullpen. However, for 2016, that is where Zack Wheeler should pitch.

The move also strengthens a Met bullpen that is still in a state of flux. While, ideally, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell return and are effective, both are dealing with injuries that can nag, can be re-injured, and can threaten effectiveness both this season and next. While Familia has a hold on the closer's position for now, the Mets continue to give a lot of innings to pitchers like Alex and Carlos Torres, rookies like Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles and veterans like Buddy Carlyle. While the bullpen has been extremely effective in 2015 thus far, it is far from an annual powerhouse. Putting Zack Wheeler as the set-up man in 2016 makes the late innings really tough for opposing team and solidified the unit as a whole.

Consider,

CL- Familia
SU- Wheeler
SU- Parnell
RHRP- Black
LHRP- Edgin
LOOGY- Blevins
RHRP- Robles

(You can switch Robles for Carlos or Alex Torres, Erik Goeddel, Rafael Montero, Dillon Gee, Akeel Morris or anyone you fancy. My guy is Hansel Robles.)

That is a sick bullpen. Five of those guys regularly throw 96-98. The other two are pretty nifty lefties who have had no small degree of success in getting outs in the big leagues.

I am not certain that Wheeler's ultimate role is in the rotation. However, come 2017, I want him back in there. We might find that he is best suited for the bullpen. We also might have more injuries, regressions and poor performances which happen with young players and pretty regularly. We might need Wheeler back in the rotation come June of 2016. However, with the landscape the way it is now, give me Zack Wheeler in the 'pen. No one will care if he throws 25 pitches an inning. The Mets will be diligent about spacing his outings out to cater to his recovery. And, yea, it makes a sick, sick bullpen that will protect just about any lead the Mets give them.

What do you think? Would you pitch Zack Wheeler in the bullpen in 2016? What about Syndergaard in the bullpen late in 2015 to limit his innings? Answer in the comments below.

--SG
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Reese Kaplan -- Stevie Wonder Was Right: "Superstition Ain't the Way"

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Ever since Abner Doubleday started this game of baseball, superstitions have long been a part of its colorful lure.  Whether it’s not talking about a no-hitter until it’s in the books, or Wade Boggs eating chicken before every game, a pitcher hopping over the base lines on the way back to the dugout, or some player refusing to shave until his batting streak (or the team’s winning streak) comes to an end, there are any number of nonsensical rituals that bear no outcome on results, yet people cling to them as if they have meaning.
This topic arose recently with the early season success the Mets have been having.  Yes, a lot of things have gone wrong for them in terms of player health, but shockingly they still sit atop baseball with the best record in baseball (as of Tuesday morning).  Consequently there are a great many people expounding the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy which is akin to not washing your socks because doing so will somehow have a negative impact on the outcome of the game.   
Take the Washington Nationals, for example.  Last season they cruised to the NL East Division Championship primarily on the backs of their starting rotation.  Did they stand pat and not change anything?  No.  They booted Tanner Roark, he of the 15-10 record and a 2.85 ERA, to bring on Max Scherzer, the Cy Young Award winning ex-Tiger pitcher who had become a free agent.   

Smirking “stay the course” types are licking their chops, saying, “You’re making our point for us!  The Nats are in last place!”   

Yes, of course they are.  However, that move to Max Scherzer is not the cause.  He’s pitching to a surprising 1-2 record considering he’s got a 1.26 ERA and a miniscule WHIP of just 0.84.  He is not the problem.  The trio of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman pitching to ERAs of 4.88, 5.01 and 5.23 respectively has a lot more to do with Washington’s losing ways.  Throw in injuries to Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Craig Stammen, Nate McLouth and Casey Jansen.  Then look at the slow starts offensively by everyone but Bryce Harper and Yunel Escobar.  Believe me, Scherzer isn't the reason they're losing.  (And by the way, Roark has been very solid out of the bullpen with a 2.89 ERA.) 

So looking at the Mets, what changes could be made that might seemingly tamper with the so-called primal forces responsible for the team’s success?   

Ride the Hot Hand
Without going into the innumerable times we’ve heard the phrase, “We’ve got to get him going” when some player is slumping, it might make sense to move the hot hitting players into run producing spots in the batting order rather than sticking steadfastly to what’s not working.  Until these past two days Daniel Murphy was a good example of someone totally lost at the plate, yet he was continually put in the upper two thirds of the batting order where he got more opportunities each game to flail away helplessly at the plate.  Ditto Curtis Granderson.   Recently Juan Lagares was surprisingly moved up to the number two spot in the order as he was on fire with the bat.  Wilmer Flores, however, continues to reside in his 7 spot despite his recent surge in offensive production.  Is there a reason he’s hitting behind the likes of .237 hitting Eric Campbell?  (A side note – when Flores hit his 2nd home run and his 5th RBI in a 3-game span after a slow start, did that seem like a good time to take him out of the lineup?  I certainly didn’t think so, but hey, I’m advocating riding the hot hand.) 

Learn to Play Small Ball
Believe it or not, there’s been an uptick in the Mets’ power game despite residing 9th of 15 teams.  That is an improvement over the previous several years, yet it seems at times Collins manages as if he’s Earl Weaver with the 1969 Baltimore Orioles slugger-filled lineup, just waiting for the 3-run homer.  Recently Collins uncharacteristically flashed a hit-and-run sign and it worked.  Imagine that!  More power should come as some players get into the groove and/or recover from their injuries, but until then you have to think how to maximize what you have in the lineup NOW instead of what you expect it will be later.   

Don’t Burn Out Your Closer
Ever since the current regime took over, we’ve seen pitcher after pitcher burn out from overuse in the bullpen.  Usually it’s the middle reliever getting the brunt of it, but this season Jeurys Familia has been in a lot of games already.  When the team has a lead of say 4-1 going into the 9th inning you don’t necessarily have to pitch Familia on that day just because it is save-eligible.  That might be a day to let another pitcher finish the game and hold Familia back for some rest or to come in if that alternative pitcher gets into trouble.   
Conclusion
The overall message here is a simple one.  Don’t be afraid of change.  Embrace it.  When something works, great!  When something doesn’t work, try another approach.  When things are going well, don’t rest on your laurels.  Instead, pile on and do what you can to make things even better.  After all, there’s no mercy rule in pro ball. 
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Minor League Recap - 4-28-15

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A great night in the high minors, but A ball squads got F grades on Tuesday night.

Minor League Player of The Night -  Jack Leathersich, for NOT pitching and getting called.up to the land of the big boys. But the actual player of the night is Wilfredo Tovar, whose 2 run, walk off double erased a 5-4 deficit. Sweet.


Honorable Mention - Dustin Lawley has 2 productive game with the stick. Let's include his AAA power clone Travis Taijeron, whose 3 for 4 nite boosted him to .350.


AAA - Las Vegas (12-8) 6  - Albuquerque (9-11) 5

    RHSP Tyler Pill - 6.0-IP, 7-H, 5-R, 5-K 2-BB, 9.00

    1B Brooks Conrad - 2-5, 1-RBI, .231

        Mack - the 51's slipped this one past me... they signed the 35-year old to spell Brandon Allen at first base or when Allen plays in the outfield. Conrad is aprofessional slugging AAAA player. 186 home runs in 12 minor league seasons.

    3B Alex Castellanos -   1-41-R, 1-HR (7), 2-RBI, .362

    Mack - after the Mets game , SP Rafael Montero was optioned back to Las Vegas and LHRP Jack Leathersich had his minor league contract bought out by the Mets.


AA - Binghamton - (11-8) swept Portland (6-12), 11-7 and 7-1

    Game 1 - Seth Lugo -  1.1-IP, 3-H, 0-ER, 0-K, 1-BB, 1.38

                    RP Paul Sewald -  3.0-IP, 1-H, 0-R, 3-K, 1-BB, 0.00    

                    SS Gavin Cecchini - 1-4, 2-R, 3-RBI, .324

Sewald continues to do nothing but pitch brilliantly in his career as a reliever.  101 career games, 1.71 ERA, 0.99 WHIP. 
    Game 2 - RHSP Jake Kuebler - 1 H, 4 IP, 1 BB, 1 K

                    3B Dustin Lawley  -  HR (3), 2-3, 3 RBI. Super twin bill, 3-5, 2 BB

                   SS Gavin Cecchini - 2 for 4, .342. Missed some games with groin, but .342 in AA is nothing to sneeze at.

18 runs and 21 hits in the twin bill show that this is a potent hit squad.


A+ - Jupiter (8-12) 4  -  St. Lucie (10-10) 1

    RHSP Miller Diaz - 4.0-IP, 5-H, 3-R, 3-K, 2-BB, 1.80

    OF Michael Conforto - 0-4, .30811

        Mack - Newsday reports that the Mets are considering promoting Conforto to Binghamton in the next 10 days so he can get more pitchers thrown to him.

Four hits AND 4 errors for the Lucies.  May they learn the errors of their ways. Jeff McNeil continues to stroke, 2 more hits vaulting him to a team-leading .329.a


A - Delmarva (11-7)  12  -  Savannah (6-12) 0

    RHSP Scarlyn Reyes -  1.2-IP, 4-H, 7-R (1-ER), 1-K, 3-BB, 

"Lordy, let's pray for rain, boys."  And mercy, the rains came, ending this dreadful 5 inning debacle.  But a loss is a loss, and go get 'em tonight. The Gnats are in struggle mode, with only one hit and FIVE errors.

TONITE'S GOATS: Virtually the entire St Lucie and Savannah squads.  Take yer pick.3
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The Morning Report 4.29.2015 | Where's Montero's Change-up?, 6-Man Rotation, Dilson Herrera's Defense, Rare Failure by Torres.

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Matt Ehalt | North Jersey Advance Media- The Mets received encouraging signs from spot starter Rafael Montero, who was optioned to the minors after the game for lefty reliever Jack Leathersich. The Mets hoped to see Montero incorporate more of his off-speed pitches and command the strike zone like he has in the minors, and he accomplished both. In his April 10 outing against Atlanta, Montero threw 35 straight fastballs in a relief appearance. Montero threw 54 of his 85 pitches for strikes, and showed a willingness to use his off-speed pitches. He tossed 58 fastballs, 21 sliders and six change-ups, per MLB.com.

(Chris Soto: Montero's slider was better last night but it still concerns me that his bread and butter pitch that got him through the minors, the change-up, is hardly being used. Why wouldn't you use the only "plus" pitch in your arsenal? It is something that he is going to have to rectify because we have seen how inconsistent his slider can be. When it's off....it gets tattooed...which then leads him to using exclusively fastballs.)


John Delcos | Mets Report- The Mets were treated to a solid performance from Rafael Montero to where the idea could be floated of considering a six-man rotation. Doing so would give everybody an additional day of rest. Specifically, the real goal would be to give Matt Harvey an additional day and ultimately preserve his workload. However, could a six-man rotation work for the long term? For something that unconventional to work, it can’t be imposed a month into the season. I suggested something similar in the offseason that would have enabled the rest of the rotation to get into a routine.

(Chris Soto: The six man rotation has its pluses, however, the main case against it is that, in theory, that 6th starter is going to be your weakest guy. So instead of Harvey being thrown out there every 5th day and providing an almost 80% chance of winning, his now only going out every 6th day. It reduces the overall quality of the pitching staff. These "spot starts" by Montero during long stretches of no off-days are actually smart and I give credit to the Mets front office for coming up with the idea.)


Quinn Berry | MetsMerized Online- Herrera, 21, has been a Top 100 prospect in baseball, ranking as high as No. 46 on MLB.com to as low as No. 82 on Baseball Prospectus. But just how good is the Mets’ young second baseman? Can he become an All-Star, as Keith Law predicted, or is he more destined to be a solid starter? Offensively, Dilson Herrera has the bat-speed to make scouts drool. His lightning quick hands should allow him to hit for a good batting average accompanied by solid-average power at the major league level.  His defense [though] leaves a lot to be desired out of a middle infielder. Baseball Prospectus reports that South Atlantic managers felt the youngster’s actions were “stiff” in the field, and Minor League Ball’s John Sickels concurred with those concerns last August.

(Chris Soto: Defensively, I have seen the same things out of Herrera when he was in Binghamton last year. While his hands are soft and his range/first step are good, he just doesn't look smooth at 2B. That said, neither does Daniel Murphy...but rather than rushing Herrera the Mets are taking their time with him and working to improve that fluidity so that he can eventually replace Murphy in 2016.)


Adam Rubin | ESPN New York- Despite heavy usage, Torres largely has been reliable. Tuesday, however, proved an exception. Entering with the score tied for the bottom of the eighth, Torres issued walks to two of the first three batters he faced. "Those two walks cost us big," Torres said. "It's the difference between throwing and trying to 'feel. I was just trying to stick the ball in the zone and make sure to throw strikes instead of just throwing it and it would be a strike. When you try to 'feel,' that's what happens. The balls get sprayed a little bit, which really sucks, because once I got my rhythm ... I was pounding the zone. But that's the name of the game. I didn't look on film, but I don't throw too many two-seam fastballs. I thought it was down. I thought it was good. But he's a professional, too, and he's a good hitter."

(Chris Soto: Torres just didn't have it last night. As he indicates, he was aiming the ball rather than just throwing which tells me he just didn't feel great when he was warming up in the pen. It's too bad cause now fans are going to call for his head even though he's been absolutely solid for us over the past 2+ years. His heavy usage so far this season is concerning though. I would love to see Terry Collins give Robles an opportunity to pitch in a higher leverage situation to see if he can take a bit of the pressure off of Torres.)

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Las Vegas 6 - Albuquerque 5

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NEED TO KNOW: For the second time during the opening road trip of the season, the Albuquerque Isotopes (9-11) fell victim to a walk off victory. The Las Vegas 51s (12-8) claimed a 6-5 win after a two-run ninth inning at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, NV, Tuesday afternoon. The Isotopes return home to face the Salt Lake Bees Thursday night at 6:35 p.m.
DECIDING MOMENT: The Isotopes jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the second inning after back-to-back home runs from Angelys Nina and Tim Smalling. Dustin Garneau singled to get the offense started before Tim Wheeler drew a walk. Nina lined a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall, and Smalling followed with a solo shot of his own. The 51s chipped away to cut the Topes lead to 5-4 in the seventh. After escaping a bases loaded, no one out jam in the bottom of the eighth, Albuquerque needed just three outs to take the final game of the series. Las Vegas had other ideas as Johnny Monell led off the ninth with a double. Following back-to-back outs, a walk put runners on the corners with two down. Wilfredo Tovar then doubled in both runs to give the 51s the walk-off win.
BACK-TO-BACK: Angelys Nina and Tim Smalling blasted back-to-back home runs in the second inning. The long balls were the first of the year for each player. It is the first time Isotopes players have gone back-to-back since Mike Baxter and Joc Pederson went back-to-back on August 18 of last season against Nashville.
TWO-OUT TURBULANCE: The 51s posted five two-out RBI Tuesday afternoon. Combined with Monday's two-out magic, 14 of the last 17 runs given up by the Isotopes pitching staff have come with two outs. In the four-game series against Las Vegas, Albuquerque surrendered 27 runs in total, 17 of which came with two outs.
NINA ON FIRE: Second baseman Angelys Nina turned in his best outing of the year, a 3-for-4 showing with a homer and four RBI. It is his third three-hit game and fourth multi-hit game overall. Nina's four RBI tops his three-RBI performance on April 12 against Reno.
FORMER TOPES, CURRENT FOES: Albuquerque faced two former Isotopes during their series in Las Vegas: catcher Johnny Monell and infielder Alex Castellanos. The duo produced plenty of offense against their former team. Monell turned in a 6-for-13 series with two doubles and four RBI, while Castellanos combined to go 7-for-14 with a double, a triple, two homers, five RBI and two walks in the series.
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