The Mets minor league excitement has largely been confined to Las Vegas of late.  

The 51's, as always, love to score, with 44 HRs and 279 runs (nearly 6 per game) after a slow start to the season. Tons and tons of recent scoring, as the offense has been in ultra-high gear of late.   The pitching, alas, has allowed almost as many runs (268) due mostly to a few disastrous gents: Jeff Walters, Stolmy Pimentel, and the departed Dario Alvarez. End result? 27-22 on the rapidly progressing season.

Top Vegas performers - there are several:

Dilson Herrera had an up and down week, but finished it with a bang, and sat at .282/..326/.503 after Sunday's contest. 22 extra base hits already on the season, and still hasn't gone on a tear.

Travis Taijeron had a 10 hit, 3 walk week, including a bunch of doubles, 2 homers, and 8 RBIs.  For the season the extra base hit machine has 27 XBH in 47 games, and is at .299/.389/.557, including .343/.442/.620 vs. righties (amazing) and 39 RBIs.  Lefties, who he usually feasts on, he is hitting  just .135 against in limited ABs, so that should improve at any time.

TJ Rivera sits at .369/.402/.547, with 45 RBIs in 45 games. Tremendous. Somehow, Soup stays in NY and he stays in Vegas.  Consider me puzzled. (Spoiler alert: he was on 3 more times Monday and climbed to .374).

Gavin Cecchini misses 17 days with an injury, comes back, and has 9 hits and 2 walks in 6 games.  I have a feeling this Hot Gavin will be sticking around.  After a very cold start to the season, when he hitt just .182 in his first 12 games started, he is up to .304 after 30 games started.  Only 7 doubles and a single homer so far, though.  Pick up the pace on that, GC.

His first round twin, Brandon Nimmo, was hitting .182 on the same early season date as Cecchini, but has also awoken very nicely. Having now played 40 games, Nimmo has climbed to .300/.385/.444.  May he stay hot and start mashing some homers - just 1 to date does not cut it.  May I suggest push ups?

Gabe Ynoa continues his winning ways, sitting at 6-1, 2.40.  Just one mediocre start out of 10, spanning 64 IP.  Just 33 Ks, always puzzling as to his low K rate, considering how effective he is.

Sean Gilmartin had one gosh-awwwful start, but the other 8 have been mostly great, leaving him with a 5-2, 3.92 ERA record. A strikeout per inning is a plus.  A major leaguer stuck in the minors.

Johnny Monell started slowly, but went .333 with 10 ribbies in his last 10 games, and is up to .265. Go, Johnny, go.

Josh Edgin - no idea as to his recent velocity level. Results, though?  Great to date, mate.  In 18 games, spanning 13 innings, just 5 hits, one run, 18 Ks.  Stuck in Vegas purgatory until the Mets pen has a need or until/if he is swapped out for someone like Logan Verrett, who has rediscovered his homer-prone ways in Queens.

Rafael Montero has allowed just 5 earned runs over his last 4 relatively short starts. He has had an uncharacteristically high walk rate. Overall, 2-1, 3.98, 20 walks and 39 Ks in 40 IP.  1.55 WHIP so far is high, and needs to come down.

Danny Muno - he was just 1-23 and 3 walks through May 1. Danny never gives up, though, and during the rest of May he has gone 13-35 with 13 walks, a nice rebound that has his OBP up from nowhere  to .408.  Strong turnaround.

Below AAA, though, much less exciting action.

AA Binghamton is a well-deserved 19-29. With just 179 runs in 48 games, a mere 20 Dingers, and a .246 team average, the pitchers better be sharp.  They haven't been, though, tossing to a 4.21 ERA and allowing 210 runs.  In a moribund offense, Dom Smith has slid to .269.  Duda's back feels a little better seeing that…no imminent threat from Dom.

St. Lucie has split their 50 games.  Wuilmer Becerra has dipped to fall from a peak of .424 to .340 in 39 contests, with no homers and 10 doubles. Homers team-wise have been mighty scarce, occurring at a rate of 3 every 10 games for the Lucites.  Pitching has been solid overall, with a 3.34 team ERA, but with the team scoring just 3.7 runs per game, winning is tough.  Amed Rosario's early season extra base hit spree has halted as he has also slid but still is hitting .297.

Columbia is also at 25-25, despite a 40 run positive differential.  David Thompson sadly has been on the DL for 10 days and still leads the league with 40 RBIs.  Hopefully nothing long term there. Vinny Siena has a league leading .452 OBP, and PJ Conlon slipped to a marvelous 7-1, 1.42 when he allowed one bad pitch - a 3 run shot - in his last start.  It was only his 2nd pro homer allowed in 74 IP.

A special mention, before I sign off,  for Andrew Church, 2nd rounder in 2013, who pitched poorly through 2015 and then missed the first several weeks of 2016.  Low expectations from me at that point. 

He has now, however, made 2 starts, with stellar results: 12 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 15 K. May this constitute the beginning of a rapid progression for one Andrew Cody Church.

That's it for minor league excitement this week.  Kinda limited.  May next week be more exciting.

Mack’s Morning Report – 5-31-16 – Matt Harvey, Game Analysis, Jeurys Familia

Good morning.

It’s both Memorial and Harvey Day in my house today and I’m looking forward to watching the progress (regress) of Harvey on his attempts to get back on the horse.

None of us, trying to live with long term injures to our starting catcher (Travis d’Arnaud), first baseman (Lucas Duda) and third baseman (David Wright), have any pre-conceived notions about the offense of this team, nor do any of us disagree with the statement that, if we didn’t’ hit home runs and have the current top four pitchers in the rotation, we’d be fighting out with Atlanta for fifth place in this division.

I’ve said for years that the Mets are first a pitcher’s team and I’m not sure they can make their way back to the World Series without a complete turnaround of where The Dark Knight is heading.

In Monday’s game. Harvey’s first inning went 1-2-3 with his fastball at a steady 96-mph. He also had some sharp movement on his pitches, especially the sink on his last one for his first strikeout.

Inning two elevated Harvey’s velocity on two fastballs that hit 98. He also had a sick 92 slider.

In the third, Harvey’s fastball was reduced in the 95-96 range, but his control was close to perfect and he ended the inning with a 98 heater. Perfect through three innings (4-Ks).

In the fourth, a 91-slider produced his fifth strikeout. 96-fastball got him strikeout number six. Another 1-2-3 inning. Only thing close to criticism at this point would be his inability to locate to the inside of the zone. Other than that, he’s been close to perfect.

Harvey reaches the dreaded fifth inning, holding down a perfect game. Second batter ruins the perfect game with a single. Fans holding their breath as Harvey goes to the stretch for the first time.

His velocity actually increased to 98… Wilmer Flores made a fabulous catch at first place for an inning ending double play, returning Harvey to facing the minimal amount of batters once can face (15 batters in five innings).
(you start to worry around now because the score is 0-0 and the Mets are showing no chance to support at the plate what Harvey is producing today)
The sixth brought more of the same and the seventh represented the first time he pitched in the seventh inning this season; however, he started out the inning with a walk which was quickly followed by a no-out single.
The Mets quickly got the pen up.

Interesting was the velocity of his fastball had dropped into the 93-94 range, but a bunt produced the first out and a pop out got out number two. A grounder to short brought a standing ovation for Harvey right before the singing of God Bless America. Perfect.

The day ended a total winner. Even Jeurys Familia pitched well.

The chances that Harvey could return to the rotation as a positive factor could change everything for this team.

Dan Martin on Jeurys Familia

“I have to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong,” Familia said. “Everybody goes through hard times. You try to move forward. Tomorrow is a new day.”

Granderson believes getting Familia back on the mound in a save situation — something neither of the last two outings were — will help.

“The good thing is his velocity is good, his movement is good,” Granderson said. “He just happens to be getting hit. Hopefully things change quickly.”

Mack – This was a tough loss in a great game. I’d love to see Familia’s stats on non-save situations verses save situations. My guess is Granderson is right about what he is saying.

Yesterday was a first good step back.


Mack’s Morning Report – 5-30-16 – David Wright, Noah Syndergaard, James Loney, Matt Harvey

Good morning.

Seems we may have a new David Wright neck problem. 

He's out until earliest Tuesday while they try some anti-inflammatory medicine to ease the pain. I've taken plenty of that stuff and none of it prevents my spinal canal from re-opening.

This could be a long year for both David Wright and his fans. Let's hope for the best here.

I was watching the Mets game on Saturday when my dog Maggie sent the signs my way that she needed to be taken for a walk. I come back and Logan Verrett was pitching.

I caught the tail end of the discussion about what had happened to Noah Syndergaard and I did finally see a replay of the pitch that was thrown about a foot behind Chase Utley. It’s hard for me to believe that there wasn’t a warning issued here, but, at the same time, we all knew this was going to happen once Syndergaard and Utley faced each other. It represented the honor of a fallen teammate, even if the guy is no longer on the team.

Utley took the incident hard. He only hit two home runs in the game.

All four leading teams in the division lost that day so I guess the Mets survived. Still, the team looked like they were well on to winning another game behind their ace starter.

What would I have done?

Well, I never would have thrown behind him.

If I was good enough to be a starter in major league baseball, and I could throw a 100-mph fastball that takes less than a second to reach a batter, I would have made sure it was thrown right at his waist so Utley could have turned and taken a good one in the back.

But that’s just me.

Buster Olney - Over the last three weekends, Major League Baseball has had three very similar incidents of pitchers seemingly throwing at or near hitters with purpose, and the handling of the three incidents couldn't be more different. You cannot find a consistent strain of administration.

BTW… Ruben Tejada was designated for assignment by th St. Louis Cardinals

Mets catcher Rene Rivera on James Loney (who he played with last season) –
"He's got great numbers, a very good hitter. He brings that great defense at first base. It's great for us. We're missing Duda here, and I think that he can step up and help us."

Mack – True, he does have ‘great numbers’, but they come from AAA-PCL and wasn’t that the place that guy like Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell hit, like, .800?

Here’s the deal… he’s an outstanding defensive first baseman who can platoon with Wilmer Flores and definitely hit better than anyone that’s playing that position right now.

It cost the Mets only cash. It’s already a great deal.

Joe Trezza on Matt Harvey -

           The Mets believe they've pinpointed the root of Harvey's issues -- a mechanical flaw that flares up as he pitches deeper into games. Only a few Mets are aware of the specifics of the habit that's led to Harvey's 7.56 May ERA. Manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen headline an exclusive group that includes Matt Reynolds and Alejandro De Aza, who were summoned to stand in against Harvey and report on his progress.

Collins says Harvey isn't tipping his pitches but remained tight-lipped beyond that.

Mack – Interesting stat lines through the season so far for Harvey –

          1st time through lineup - .241/.292/.373

          2nd time - .301/.326/.518

          3rd time - .509/.563/.764

The most important thing I take away from this story is the fact that Harvey is working along with the staff to try and figure out just what the heck went wrong here.


Mack’s Sunday Draft Report – 5-29-16 – Deven Perez, Jason Groome, Kyle Lewis, Chris Okey, Will Craig

Eric A Longenhagen of Fangraphs was asked about Perez -

Alex: Are Delvin Perez’s “character concerns” being overblown and overanalyzed or is it a legit worry? Is it just a young kid being immature or is it something more serious? Thanks Eric and glad to have you here at FG!
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s justifiable for teams to worry about stuff like that if they’re about to give the kid $6+ mil AND pass on other talented players to take him. I also think part of the reason teams shy away from player like Perez is because they’re not confident in their own player devo infrastructure at the lowest levels. Ita’s often insufficient, especially for players from other cultures.

Other Q and A’s on the same article –

          Anonymous Coward: Thoughts on taking HS pitchers 1-1 in general? What about in the case of Jason Groome?    
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Groome is the most talented player in the class and I would have a hard time not taking the most talented player in the class if I were picking 1-1. Having said that, my job isn’t going to be evaluated by how this pick turns out like the jobs of members of Philly’s front office will. Given the track record of highly selected HS arms (which is bad) and Groome’s off-field stuff (which just adds to his riskiness) it’s justifiable to go in another direction.

wrburgess: Some of the negative views against Kyle Lewis is that he hasn’t faced quality pitching in college, but he has performed well in Cape Cod and other spotlight sessions. Based on your own views, does low-quality pitching matter as much for his potential?

Eric A Longenhagen: It isn’t Kyle Lewis’ fault that the pitching he’s faced at Mercer has mostly been bad and, other than maybe making it harder for him to adjust to seeing quality pitching more regularly in pro ball, it doesn’t impact his potential. What it does do is make him harder to scout, since scouts want to see if you can track and square pro-quality stuff. Teams are risk-averse and not knowing whether Lewis can identify a 50 curveball simply because he’s never had to makes him riskier than some Kyle Lewis clone who has raked in the SEC for three years.

Dooduh: Where do you rank Chris Okey of the top catchers in the draft? Think he makes it thru rd 1?

Eric A Longenhagen: There are, weirdly, a lot of interesting catching prospects in this year’s draft and Okey has a better shot at remaining behind the plate than guys like Thaiss and Collins, though it isn’t a lock. I don’t think Okey goes in Rd1 unless it’s for under slot, though.

Dooduh: Why isn’t Robert Tyler getting more love? Looks like a beast to me. Should go in the top half of rd 1 IMO. Haven’t seen him that high in any mocks tho. Thoughts?

Eric A Longenhagen: Some injury history, control issues, doesn’t consistently get on top of his curveball. I love the arm strength and the changeup, but it’s hard to teach any pitching prospect, let alone a college one, a better curveball than they naturally possess.

Bren: Would Will Craig be a big overdraft for the Mets at #19? Any chance they can get him at #31, or do they have to pop him if they think he’s there guy?

Eric A Longenhagen: In a vacuum, Craig is an overdraft at #19. BUT if you go underslot with Craig at 19 and use the savings to grab a falling high school arm at #31? Take a bow.

It’s mock time again and there’s 10 new ones again this week, including new mocks from Keith Law and Jim Callis -

1.     LHP       A.J. Puk                         Florida
2.     LHP       Jason Groome               Barnegat HS (NJ)
3.     OF         Kyle Lewis                      Mercer
4.     RHP      Riley Pint                       St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS)
5.     OF         Corey Ray                      Louisville
6.     IF          Nick Senzel                    Tennessee            
7.     IF          Delvin Perez                   Intl Baseball Academy (PR) 
8.     OF         Mickey Moniak              La Costa Canyon HS (CA)
9.     OF         Blake Rutherford           Charminade HS (CA)
10.  RHP     Dakota Hudson             Mississippi State                     
11.  RHP     Ian Anderson                 Shenendohowa HS (NY)         
12.  C-1B     Zack Collins                   Miami                                     
13.  LHP      Braxton Garrett             Florence HS (AL)                   
14.  RHP     Matt Manning               Sheldon HS (CA) 
15.  IF-P      Josh Lowe                      Pope HS (GA)     
16.  RHP     Forrest Whitley              Alamo Heights HS (TX)          
17.  OF        Buddy Reed                    Florida                                   
18.  RHP     Connor Jones                Virginia                                  
19.  1B-OF  Alex Kirloff                    Plum HS (PA)
20.  RHP     Jordan Sheffield            Vanderbilt                                       
21.  LHP      Joey Wentz                     Shawnee Mission HS    
22.  IF         Nolan Jones                   Holy Ghost Prep (PA)   
23.  RHP     Cal Quatrill                    Stanford                       
24.  OF        Taylor Trammell            Mount Paran HS (GA)  
25.  OF        Bryan Reynolds              Vanderbilt                     
26.  RHP     Kevin Gowdy                  Barbara HS (CA)          
27.  1B-3B   Will Craig                      Wake Forest                  
28.  RHP     Robert Tyler                   Georgia                                  
29.  RHP     Jared Horn                    Vintage HS (CA)                     
30.  OF        Will Benson                   Westminster Schools (GA)      
31.  IF         Drew Mendoza               Lake Minneola HS (FL)          
32.  RHP     Cody Sedlock                 Illinois                                    
33.  LHP      Kyle Muller                    Jesuit College Prep                 
34.  RHP     Logan Shore                  Florida                                   
35.  LHP      Anthony Kay                  Connecticut
36.  RHP     Justin Dunn                   Boston College                       
37.  RHP     Alex Speas                     Mceachen HS (GA)                
38.  IF         Carter Kieboom             Walton HS (GA)                     
39.  C           Chris Okey                     Clemson                                           
40.  LHP      Eric Lauer                     Kent State
41.  RHP     Alec Hansen                  Oklahoma                                        
42.  RHP     Daulton Jeffries             Cal                                         
43.  RHP     Zach Burdi                    Louisville                                
44.  OF        Jake Frahey                   LSU                                        
45.  RHP     Reggie Lawson              Victor Valley HS (CA)            
46.  3B         Joe Rizzo                        Oakton HS (VA)                     
47.  RHP     Joe Duplantier               Rice                                        
48.  LHP      Jesus Luzardo                Stoneman Douglass HS (FL)  
49.  IF         Bo Bichette                     Lakewood HS (FL)                 
50.  LHP      Matt Crohan                  Winthrop                                
51.  RHP     Corbin Burnes               St. Mary’s                               
52.  C           Sean Murphy                 Wright State                           
53. RHP      Austin Bergner              Windermere Prep (FL)           
54.  RHP     Zack Brown                   Kentucky                                
55.  OF        Ryan Boldt                     Nebraska                                
56.  SS         Gavin Lux                      Indian Trail Academy (WI)     
57.  RHP     Zach Jackson                Arkansas                                
58.  IF         Bryson Brigman            San Diego                               
59.  LHP      Matt Krook                    Oregon                                   
60.  C           Cooper Johnson            Carmel Catholic HS (IL)         
61.  IF         Bobby Dalbec                 Arizona                                  
62.  RHP     Bailey Clark                   Duke                                      
63.  OF        Penny Grier                    Auburn       
64.  OF        Heath Quinn                  Samford