John From Albany - 2019 Binghamton Rumble Ponies recap


In 2018 Binghamton enjoyed the likes of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Tim Tebow to help the team to their best attendance in 25 years.  In 2019, the rain washed it all away as Binghamton saw the attendance drop to 3,000 a game and 182,990 for the season.

Here in upstate NY, we usually don’t get much of a spring, but we usually get something.  In 2019 it rained, and it rained, and it rained.  In fact, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies had 9 games postponed due to rain or wet grounds in the month of April alone!  And as Mack Met’s own Tom Brennan noted back in May, it was cold.

Still, the Ponies started off the season pretty-well going 11-8 in April and 19-11 in May before going 37-54 the rest of the way to finish with an overall 67-73 record (fourth out of six in the Eastern League Eastern Division in the first half and dead last in the second half).
Much of the season’s early hopes were pinned on Top Met prospect SS Andres Gimenez. 

Andres followed up a .282 average in St. Lucie with a .250 average at Binghamton at 20 years of age.  However, it was not just Andres.  That .250 average was good enough for the team lead in 2019!  Andres also led the team with 54 runs and 28 stolen bases while winning the Sterling Mets Minor League Defender of the year award with a .973 fielding percentage.  Hitting wise, Andres seemed to turn things around when Upstate NY finally heated up in July hitting .295 but he fell back down to his .250 average in August.  Recently, Andres has gone to the Arizona Fall League where his bat has so far responded to the warmer weather. 

Patrick Mazeika led the team with 69 RBIs (tied for second in the Eastern League).  He gave Binghamton two of the best endings of the year with a walk-off grand-slam with two outs on May 14th and a three-run walk-off homer also with two outs on August 7th.  Overall, Patrick was the best hitter on the team with 16 homers to go with those 69 RBIs and .245 average (after a .194 in the frigid/wet April). 

Not rated as good a defensive catcher as Tomas Nido or Ali Sanchez, Patrick still has thrown out 31% of would be base stealers in his career.  In 2019, he also played first base 53 games to go with 55 games behind the plate.  One other thing about Patrick, when knuckle-baller Mickey Jannis takes to the mound, Patrick seems to always get the call behind the plate.  Mickey’s ball moves a lot and catching him is no easy task.

At 31 years old, Mickey was once again the overall ace of the staff throughout the year.  In 20 games, Mickey went 7-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 119 innings.  Mickey can all of a sudden lose control and have a bad inning only to find it again the next inning and pitch lights out the rest of the game.   Mickey pitched well enough to get two different calls to Syracuse but they did not go well.  In two games in ‘Cuse he went 0-2 with a 22.95 ERA. 

Anthony Kay was Binghamton’s best pitcher in the first half going 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA and had the teams only complete game shutout of 2019.  He added 70Ks in 66.1 innings and .92 WHIP.  Like Mickey Jannis, Kay struggled at AAA Syracuse going 1-3 with a 6.61 ERA before being dealt to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman trade where he turned things around in Buffalo going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA before being called up to Toronto where he has so far gone 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA. 

Left hander Kevin Smith was the best Ponies pitcher in the second half earning the Sterling Mets Minor League Pitcher of the year award.  After going 5-5 with 102 Ks in 85.2 innings in St. Lucie, Kevin was promoted to Binghamton and went 3-2 in 6 starts allowing three runs or fewer in five of the six outings.  He added 28Ks in 31.1 innings with Binghamton to bring his annual total to 130 - leading all Mets minor leaguers.  Kevin could start 2020 in Binghamton but is expected in Syracuse and maybe in Flushing sometime in 2020. 

As discussed in the Syracuse re-cap, Harol Gonzalez had a good year for Binghamton before heading up to ‘Cuse, 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.09 WHIP. 

Another notable starting pitcher was Lefty David Peterson.  The Mets number one pick in 2017, 20th overall, had an uneven season.  He struck-out 122 in 116 innings with 119 hits, 1.34 WHIP, 3W-6L, and 4.19 ERA. 

The Binghamton bullpen had 4 significant relivers, Stephen Villines, Joe Zanghi, Blake Taylor, and Adonis Uceta. 

Maybe it was the different ball that was used this last year in MLB and AAA than the ball that was used in AA and levels below or maybe it was the tougher competition but one recurring theme in the Binghamton-Syracuse tale of 2019 was how a number of Binghamton pitchers went to Syracuse and how they fared.  While Harol Gonzalez and Matt Blackham did well, Anthony Kay, Mickey Jannis, Stephen Villines, and Joe Zanghi (and to a lesser extent Adonis Uceta) did not.

Stephen Villines, and Joe Zanghi were stellar all year for Binghamton. 

Stephen, the side arming right hander, had progressed through the minors to land in Binghamton where he pitched to a 2-1 record with a 1.20 ERA, 42 Ks, 45 innings in 28 games.  When he was called up to Syracuse he pitched to a 6.75 ERA in 13 games, 16 innings. 

Joe Zanghi, 3-3, 2.34 ERA, 31 Games, 57.2 innings, 50 Ks, 1.21 WHIP in Binghamton; 6.35 ERA in 5 games with a 2,12 WHIP in Syracuse.

Adonis Uceta, 5-3, 1.44 ERA, 56.1 innings, 36 games, 55Ks, 1.03 WHIP.  In 1.1 innings in Syracuse, he had a 33.75 ERA.

Lefty Blake Taylor, who came to the Mets as the player to be named later in the Ike Davis to Pittsburgh trade, followed up a 2-2, 2.63 ERA, 21 games, 27 innings record in 2019 for St. Lucie to go 0-1, 1.85 ERA, 18 games, 39 innings for Binghamton.  He pitched .1 innings for Syracuse as well getting out the only batter he faced.

Blake, Adonis, and Joe are all Rule 5 draft eligible so we may hear more about them this winter.

On the hitting side, outside of Andres Gimenez and Patrick Mazeika, there was not a lot.

Sam Haggerty played well enough to be called up to Syracuse and eventually Flushing playing both the infield and the outfield.  Showing excellent base stealing ability with 19 steals in 23 attempts, he hit .259 with a .370 OBP, 39 runs, 2 homers and 13 RBIs, in 247 at bats. 

Luis Carpio, 2B, hit .263 after his call up from St. Lucie, with .347 OBP, 3 HRs, 22 RBIs,

Will Toffey, the prize prospect in the 2018 Familia trade with Oakland struggled in his second year at AA with injuries hitting just .219 in 91 games with 5 HRs and 27 RBIs.

Ali Sanchez, the best defensive catching prospect in the Mets system, Ali hit .278 in 71 games with 30 RBIs splitting time with Mazeika before he was called up to Syracuse.

When Sanchez was called up, Austin Bossart was acquired from the Phillies for Jason Vargas.  At the time of the trade multiple outlets said the only reason why the Mets traded for Austin despite his .195 average for Reading was his relationship with Jeff Wilpon’s son.  However, as Mack astutely pointed out, two weeks prior, Austin hit 3 of his 7 season total HRs against Binghamton over the two-day period between July 15th and 16th.    For Binghamton, Bossart hit .200 in 19 games with no HRs. 

After hitting .285 in 53 games with St. Lucie, Quinn, Brody was a mid-season callup going .251 with 5 homers and 24 RBIs. 

Finally, another former top Met prospect coming back from injury, 1st and 3rd Baseman David Thompson, after hitting .189 in 41 games in Syracuse was sent to Binghamton where he hit .230, 6 HRs, 23 RBIs in 82 games.

Overall some good performances by the Binghamton players but the losing and the weather doomed the season and the attendance.  However, I have an out of the box idea for next year that may help (what a surprise – huh).

Since Syracuse and Binghamton are only an hour apart from each other, and since when Syracuse is home, Binghamton tends to be on the road and vice versa, next year, why not share Tim Tebow?  Tim can play in Syracuse one week and Binghamton the next.  It is a win for Binghamton, Syracuse and Tim Tebow. 

Tim won’t have to take those long Pawtucket to Buffalo bus rides that Syracuse had to endure last year.  Syracuse and Binghamton get the attendance boost.  I have an easier time convincing friends and family to make the trip with me from Albany to Binghamton or Albany to Syracuse.  

What do you think? 


Tom Brennan said...

Lots of good stuff. I am curious about Mickey jannis' future and curious if David Peterson is about to pick up the pace.

John From Albany said...

It will be fun to see how they progress. I hope they give Mickey time to adjust to AAA ball the next time he gets called up.

Mack Ade said...

I believe we have three potential stars of the game that played here in 2019:




John From Albany said...

I hope so Mack. It will be fun to see how the Syracuse and Binghamton rosters shake out next year.

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