Reese Kaplan -- First Hand Look at the Las Vegas 51s

The Las Vegas 51s came to town to face the Pacific Coast League champion El Paso Chihuahuas.  Thus far it’s not gone too well, with the hometown Chihuahuas taking 3 of the first 4 games in the unusual 5-game series that concludes Monday morning.

Note the lineup.  It's interesting to see a manager who puts a shortstop batting 3rd and a thus far high contact hitter without much power hitting cleanup.  Whenever Amed Rosario makes the majors, rest assured that Terry Collins will bat him 8th.  He habitually sets rookies up to fail.

Las Vegas starter Sean Gilmartin looked a little shaky.  Even though his first inning was a 1-2-3 affair, he was not fooling anyone as two of the three hitters tattooed the ball off of him.  It didn’t take long for those hard outs to become productive hits.

The first one was deposited over the CF wall by the Chihuahuas  journeyman 1st baseman Jamie Romak who added his 3rd HR of the young season.

There were a few tenuous Mets connections to the hometown team with their manager having played catcher for the 2010 squad – Rod Barajas.  I got to see a lot of him as he took his place as the 3rd base coach and my seats were behind that dugout.

The more surprising connection was 2013 opening day centerfielder Collin Cowgill who now toils in relative obscurity at 30 years of age for the El Paso Chihuahuas.  He struck out in his first AB leading me to ridicule him.  Retribution was swift when Cowgill hit a long home run off Gilmartin but then rebounded to strike out again.

The final long ball damage was done off recent Met Erik Goeddel who served one up to 3rd baseman Cory Spangenberg.

Now 2nd baseman Gavin Cecchini hit everything hard each time he was up but had nothing to show for it.  He certainly looks as if he could handle the offensive side of the game in the big leagues now, but the defense is going to be what determines whether or not he can take the next step.

Dominic Smith is surprisingly adept at fielding for a big man giving me some Bartolo Colon flashbacks.  On the offensive side, he hit an opposite field line drive so hard off the left field wall that he was held to a single due more to the fast ricochet to the left fielder than to his lack of running speed.  Later in the game he delivered a clutch single pulled to right field to drive in a run and set up what would become a failed comeback attempt.

Amed Rosario reminds you of a younger Jose Reyes not so much for his speed, but for his overall athleticism.  He only handled two chances in the game, but during one of them he was in the middle of 4-6-3 double play (Cecchini to Rosario to Smith).  Unfortunately when he did his Jose Reyes impression, easily stealing 2B but oversliding the bag and getting tagged out.  More importantly, it was done when the team was behind 4-0 and was probably ill advised taking the chance in the first place.

The lineup was a little bit of a surprise with diminutive (5’9”) infielder Phil Evans starting in left field.  He flashed some surprising leather on a laser beam to left which Evans handled tumbling feet over head while making the impressive catch.  Even the Chihuahuas fans gave a rousing ovation for the effort.  Surprisingly manager Pedro Lopez midway through the game flip flopped him with Matt Reynolds who had started at 3B.  I guess both are trying to improve their versatility in order to get promoted it was a bit odd to do so in the middle of the game.

Travis Taijeron demonstrated a very good eye at the plate, but did strike out once and left a bad taste in your mouth for his poor execution on a drive to right field that he totally misjudged into a double.  He looked like a Little Leaguer confused as a ball flew over his head.

Newcomer Desmond Jennings looked quite athletic in CF and mostly looked professional at the plate.  I can see him arriving in Queens at some point later this season.

Perhaps the offensive highlight of the forgettable day for the 51s was a pinch hit HR by Josh Rodriguez.

On the pitching side, Sean Gilmartin was most definitely prone to the long ball.  Logan Taylor in the middle innings was adequate but Erik Goeddel coughed up the 2 runs the 51s had posted in the bottom of the previous inning.  David Roseboom allowed an inherited runner to score but otherwise emerged unscathed.

Another day another game.  Las Vegas 51s lose 7-2.


Mack Ade said...

Thank you for the on-site report Reese.

We expect you to travel with the team for the remainder of the season.

Reese Kaplan said...

Does that mean my expenses are reimbursable? :)

Mack Ade said...

two words...

cattle car

bill metsiac said...

Sad to see the careers of Gilmartin and Goeddel seemingly sliding on the proverbial slippery slope, not just this season but over a year or more.

Looks like the 51s have an all-star IF and a AAAA OF. The only way we'll see Jennings in Queens is if we have multiple ML injuries. Once Lagares returns, both Nimmo and Conforto will likely be playing the corners in Vegas and rank way ahead of him on the callup list.

Reese Kaplan said...

What you said is perfectly logical, Bill, but we're talking about the Mets who promoted Ty Kelly of all people to start the season. They have the Conforto service time issue to consider so if they lose an outfielder between now and the 55 days Conforto must be kept in the minors then Jennings would be a possibility. You know that once either Nimmo or Lagares are off the DL that Conforto is on the first flight to Vegas. Winning is still secondary to salary considerations. By keeping Conforto in the minors for 55 games they gain another year of control.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese called me, Mack. You give him a per diem of 50 cents a day, he is good for the rest.

Reese, if Conforto hits like he did yesterday, he will be very hard to demote.

bill metsiac said...

Money is not the issue. They've said multiple times that they want him playing every day, and only injury or trade would create a spot here.

Mack Ade said...

Money does seem to be the issue to Reese though

Reese Kaplan said...

Read what SA said -- he wants him playing every day either here or in Las Vegas. You are suggesting they will bench their $15 million or $13 million men to make room for him? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that might be of interest to you...

bill metsiac said...

Of course not. As soon as Lagares is back, he will be the every day CFer in Vegas until a spot opens up here. Nothing else makes sense.

Mack Ade said...

Lagares starts tonight in St. Lucie

Mack's Mets © 2012