4/28/16

HOW ARE THOSE COLUMBIA FIREFLIES LOOKING - Tom Brennan

8 comments

 

HOW ARE THOSE COLUMBIA FIREFLIES LOOKING? by Tom Brennan

Having previously elaborated, joyfully mind you, on the 3 higher Mets’ full season farm teams in past weeks, here’s my not-so-dirty low down on the Columbia Fireflies, based in the great state of South Carolina.

NEW DIGS: Before getting to the players, Spirit Communications Park (brand spankin’ new and located in downtown Columbia, SC) is the new home ballpark of the Fireflies, the Mets’ Class-A affiliate in the S. Atlantic League. Its dimensions are hitter-friendly; LF – 319 ft; CF – 400 ft; RF – 330 ft.   Players have to smile at those dimensions, quite a bit more than the “historic” (read ancient) Savannah ball park (cavern) they played in last year.  Whether the Flies produce many homers remains to be seen (9 so far in 20 games in 2016).

Savannah in 2015 was a great squad, winning roughly 40 more games than it lost.  With normally expected promotions and a few trades, this year’s bunch represents a huge # of newly promoted faces.

So, Dude, like who’s who?  Let’s take a peek.

PROGRESS NOTE: At time of publication, the Flies have gone a solid 12-8, so this is part preview, part progress update.  This team has had solid starting pitching, decent pen work, and a spectacular offensive 20 game start to 2016 by IFs Vinny Siena and David Thompson.  The team’s 112 runs in 20 games is tied for the league’s lead.  A team ERA of 3.75 and 9.5 K’s per 9 inning to boot.

PITCHERS – AN INTERESTING LOOKING SQUAD:

NAME
THW
AGE
COMMENTS
STARTERS
L
22
Impeccable career control (3 BB, 41 IP) and ERA (0.66).
R
21
Very solid in his 4 starts.
R
22
Ditto. Very solid in his 4 starts.
R
23
Decent Brooklyn stint in 2015, struggling in 2016.
R
22
Jumped a few levels. Stuggling in 2016.
L
22
Decent in Bklyn in 2015, good in three 2016 starts.
RELIEVERS
 
R
23
Out 2 years, great start to his 2016 with 9 IP, 2 R, 12 K.
R
23
Decent 2015, limited but good so far in 2016. Smallish at 5’9”.
L
22
29th Rd in 2015. Career 2.56 ERA so far in relief.
R
24
Career 3.55 in 37 games.  Did close out a no hitter this season.
R
23
1.53 ERA, 71 K in 53 IP, 25/28 SV career.  A for effort.
R
23
Lots of Ks & BBs. Last 3 outings, just 1 BB in 7 IP. Big, live arm.
R
22
37th Rd 2011, and slow out of gate in 2016. 
R
24
1.96 career ERA for the 37th founder. But on DL.
R
24
10th rounder in 2015 has struggled in limited outings.

CATCHERS – MAZELKA (ON DL) MAY BE ONE TO WATCH:

NAME 
BAT
AGE
COMMENTS
L
21
Barely playing.
L
22
6’3” 210 lb. Tore up Kingsport in 2015. Yet to play in 2016.
L
22
Hitting .175 in 76 games in 2015 and 2016.
R
22
Barely playing.

 
            VINNY SIENA
 
 DAVID THOMPSON
 



INFIELDERS – SOME DECENT PROSPECTS IN THE FOLD (see above):

NAME 
POS
BAT
AGE
COMMENTS
1B
R
22
213 games. 253 Ks, .263 career average, modest pop.
3B
L
21
Suspended. Hit well here last year. See you in 30 games
SS
R
20
3rd Rd 2014. Career .262. Hitting .200 so far in 2016.
3B
S
23
Hitting .169 after 16 games.
2B
R
22
.518 OBP after 20 games. Amazing.  Wow.
3B
R
22
Over .300, .520 with RISP, 23 RBI in 20 games. Wow.
1B
L
20
Making great contact. Real potential.

 

OUTFIELDERS: SOME HIGH K GUYS, AND A GUY WITH  KK INITIALS:

NAME 
BAT
THW
AGE
COMMENTS
L
R
24
Great 2015 in Kingsport, .180  2016 start. On DL
R
R
22
Just off DL. Good power, but needs to drastically cut Ks.
R
R
24
Poor prior to 2016, doing well so far part time.
L
R
23
Drafted in 2011. Career .230 hitter.
R
R
20
Great reduced Ks. Just 1 in last 3 games. Impressed.

 

Columbia’s predecessor, Savannah, in 2015 was awful in roughly its first 20 contests, but soared thereafter.  Columbia’s fine first 20 games this year may or may not be an accurate indicator of its future performance, but so far, so good.  

We'll have to see how the Fire Flies fly in 2016.  I think the Flies will fly high.

 
 

8 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Great post.

I wasn't particularly impressed with this roster when it came out and the last two people I expected to be the stars that this point in the season are Siena and Thompson.

EVERY college scouting report said that Thompson will not stick at third and can only survive in the majors some day as either a first baseman or a designated hitter.

I just considered Siena a bad draft pick.

jmerritt said...

Went to the game last night and it's a pretty nice venue, especially compared to Savannah. Thompson has a lot more speed than I would have thought, he scored on a passed ball that didn't get too far away after going first to third on a SB attempt. Seems to have good baseball instincts and has a chance to be the 3B of the future. Wilson has some pop, he hit one to straight away center that gets out of most minor league parks. The ball seems to explode out of Bashlors hand, nice to see him finally pitching healthy.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, all vinny Siena has done is get on base. Over 40 times in 20 games.

He started hot last year, then faded, but Brooklyn was a really poor hitting squad the last 60 games of 2015, and it is hard to hit when no one is. I was waiting to see a fade, but he has been an on base machine all season.

With Thompson, one grain of salt to his RBI total: Siena is always on base in front of him. lots of opportunities. But even so, Thompson has rebounded nicely after a poor 2015 debut. Deserves a lot of credit. Can he keep pounding? Time will tell. Still only 1 homer, I believe, which is disappointing..

Thomas Brennan said...

jmerritt - great observations. Thanks much.

I am surprised the ball does not carry there, given it is 400 to CF. Good to know. I am excited to see Ivan in action and finally showing that he may have real potential after all. If he hits with little power this year but makes normal contact, that would be a huge stride. He has real power, but without decent contact, it is not a workable scenario.

Do they have a speed gun reading on the scoreboard? Curious if you saw what Bashlor topped out at.

jmerritt said...

Unfortunately they did not, control is a bit of a concern. Never good to see a lead off walk with a huge lead but there's some definite life on his pitches.

Mack Ade said...

Columbia has the same summer inland humidity as Savannah - will be a tough stadium for home runs

Thomas Brennan said...

"Columbia has the same summer inland humidity as Savannah - will be a tough stadium for home runs - that is a shame, Mack, as most guys in the majors hit their share of homers - it is one of the skills minor league guys should be able to develop. If I could not hit homers much due to lack of carry, I would concentrate on line drives to up the batting average, and ignore the homers. If guys don't hit homers (e.g., TJ Rivera), it could hold them back.

Thomas Brennan said...

jmerritt - hear you...Life on the pitches can help a guy someday have life in the big leagues

Mack's Mets © 2012