On Labor Day, the 51s finished their season with a 4-1 win, leaving them with a painful final record of 56-86.

Vegas had a terrible season pitching, and hit below prior seasons’ standards – put those 2 things together, and you end up with a .394 W/L percentage.

So how did Vegas get there?

On the pitching end, the Mets were grabbing from Vegas any pitcher who seemed half way competent to pitch for them throughout the season.

On the hitting end:

The Mets were not much helped by promoting Vegas hitters. One might initially think that the promotions of Rosario, Smith and Plawecki in August might have caused a nosedive, but it did not: the team only played 2 games under .500 from August 1 forward, so their departure had little impact.

Vegas was 8th out of 16 in both hitting and scoring at .275 with 690 runs scored; considering that there are several teams that play in lower offense environs in the Midwest, their finishing 8th is really more like them finishing at the top of the bottom 3rd, when hitting environments are equalized.  Simply, OK but not great.  And 7th in homers, at 146. 

The .275 average was boosted by 4 current major leaguers with a combined .327 average in 1,225 .at bats (Rosario, Smith, Plawecki, Reynolds).  Besides them, only Jayce Boyd (.297) and Phil Evans (a surging .279) hit well.  Both surged after Rosario, Smith and Plawecki were promoted.

To continue naming names, the currently exposed Travis Taijeron had virtually identical stats to those he had in 2016, hitting .272.  Gavin Cecchini hit just .267 (almost 60 points below 2016) and while-he-was-rehabbing Brandon Nimmo hit just .227, 125 points lower than 2016.

Hobie’s own Victor Cruzado got in 94 games and sad to say, his performance was non-descript: .262/.347/.385.  A decent MLB prospect's Vegas #'s should be at least 50 points higher.

Not to be overlooked was a decent hitting performance by the often overlooked and now 28 year old perennial back-up catcher Xorge Carillo (.270/.320/.425 in 252 at bats), but he nailed only 13 of 72 base stealers (18%), so his future as a possible major league back up is murky...he did, however throw out 30% of 100 guys the prior year, and 33% in 2015, so maybe the crappy pitchers were to blame in 2017.  Carillo, with 7 years under his belt, is now a free agent.

Lastly, too many Vegas at bats were absorbed by journeymen Travis Snider, Desmond Jennings, Cody Decker and Jio Mier, but when a team is lacking talent, journeymen get signed to plug holes.

OK, let's get back to "on the pitching end":

Vegas was second to last in ERA at 5.40, and allowed 5.85 runs per game (earned and unearned).  This dismal showing was largely due to its use of a patchwork of journeyman starters. In fact, 75 games were started by Wilfredo Boscan (26 starts, 4-13, 5.44); Donovan Hand (17 starts, 4-6, 7.60); Mitch Atkins (14 starts, 4-8, 5.65); Sean Gilmartin (9 starts, 2-3, 6.57); and Adam Wilk (6 starts, 2-3, 5.91).  May they all pitch elsewhere in 2018.

Besides those 75 starts, younger Ricky Knapp really struggled in 25 starts: 6-13, 5.97…the good news for Knapp was that he was treated for PTSD and then he was 1-0, 2.00 in 4 starts after being demoted late in the season to AA, and will as a bonus pitch in the AA playoffs.  Reminds me of Tyler Pill.

Calling up Paul Sewald (3.29 ERA in Vegas in 2016) early in the season due to Mets’ bullpen malfunction and the critical loss of Jeurys Familia really hurt the Vegas staff. 
The Sewald-less pen was weighed down by 3 particularly bad performances: Beck Wheeler: 58 IP, 8.18 ERA; Eric Goeddel: 30 IP, 6.67 ERA; Al Baldonado: 43 IP, 6.65.  And even Hansel Robles (23 IP, 5.79) was of no help to Vegas during his demotion period.

On a rare positive note, lefty Kyle Regnault had a fine AAA bullpen season (5-0, 3.28 in 49 IP, and 7-0, 2.48 between AA and AAA this year). 

Overall, a bad year…and with Smith, Rosario and Plawecki promoted, any future major leaguers out of the remaining guys will be few and likely have marginal success at best.

NEXT UP: a St Lucie season recap. 

I am skipping AA Binghamton for now, because they are the only Mets squad out of the 7 minor league teams to make in the playoffs!


Mack's Mets © 2012