Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Lists

Baseball America will do their Top 10 Mets Prospects on December 30. I'll be sure to discuss it.

I was thinking about doing my own top Prospects list. I'm not sure that I feel comfortable ranking players of different ages and positions who I've never seen play so I might do a position by position rundown. I'll figure it out.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Who's excited for the Rule V Draft?

I know I am.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Pavano takes Benson Money

Pavano $39 million over four years = 9.75 per year
Benson $22.5 million over thre years = 7.5 per year

At least they're close in terms of performance:
VORP by Season
2003 2004
Benson -.6 22.4
Pavano 28.1 62.4

The braintrust deserves a nice round of applause.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Thank God for David Ortiz

...but that 2PM start is going to cripple my monday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Reason for Hope

I love that the Mets are bringing back Omar Minaya. I thought Minaya handled the absurd Expos mess as well as he possibly could have. From the AP story: "Minaya had spoken with the Mets last offseason and was offered a job, but declined it when he was not offered full decision-making power. He now will be above general manager Jim Duquette in the hierarchy, although his formal title has not yet been determined, the baseball official said." This suggests that Minaya will now have full decision making power, so this being the Mets, even good news brings big questions. What exactly will Duquette's role be? Will Wilpon now trust Minaya and Duquette to work together, or will his be the tie-breaking voice in the trio?
Here's the ESPN link.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1890947

Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit check in at 3 and 5 respectively on Baseball America's list of the SAL's top prospects. More on this to follow.
That reminds me of a rant I wanted to go on: Trading Milledge or Ambio Concepcion for Lou Pinella as has been discussed in print and it would be crazy. Managers don't get key basehits, drive balls to the wall, make running catches or nail runners at the plate. It's the players who decide games, not the men in the dugout. Would the Cardinals be leading the Central without LaRussa? I think the best managers in the game might be worth at most five wins a year. After Bobby Cox and Felipe Alou I'm not sure who else I'd put in that category. Someone once asked the rhetorical question with respect to baseball managers: in what other industry are middle managers allowed to dictate organizational policy and assigned as much credit and blame as baseball skippers?

A Ray of Hope

I love that the Mets are bringing back Omar Minaya. I thought he handled the Expos embarrassment as well as anyone could have been expected to. From the AP story: “Minaya had spoken with the Mets last offseason and was offered a job, but declined it when he was not offered full decision-making power. He now will be above general manager Jim Duquette in the hierarchy, although his formal title has not yet been determined, the baseball official said.” Since this is the Mets even a good move raises questions. What exactly will Duquette’s role be? Will Wilpon trust Minaya, or does Big W retain a tie-breaking vote if Duquette and Minaya don’t agree?
Here’s the ESPN link: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1890947 . As of this writing, no NYC paper has Wednesday’s paper online.

Baseball America selected Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit as the #3 and 5 prospects in the SAL respectively. More on this later.

Front office + prospects brings me to another point. Trading Milledge or Ambio Concepcion for Lou Pinella as the media has suggested is absolutely and completely nuts. Managers don’t get big basehits to drive in runs, they don’t make diving catches, throw beautiful curveballs, or swing and miss. Players win games, managers sit in the dugout. Maybe, the most valuable managers, Felipe Alou and Bobby Cox are worth 3-5 wins, but I’m not sure I’d put anyone else even in that class. This is not the NFL which truly is a coaches’ league. Once, I heard someone ask the following rhetorical question: in what other industry are middle managers given as much power, prestige and assigned the same degree of credit/blame for their organization’s success as baseball’s skippers?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Mets add a team, a player, and some hardware

1. Mets add a team
2. Mets add a player, and second base analysis
3. Mets farmhands hardware: Ambio Concepcion,


1. The Mets moved their South Atlantic League operation from Capital City to the Hagerstown Suns. I hear a summer in Columbia South Carolina is hot and not necessarily a lot of fun. The Bombers played in an aging stadium in front of paltry crowds: just a 1,550 per game average. On Labor Day, the final day of the regular season, Capital City announced a whopping 317, so there were fewer than 200 humans at the ballpark. Hagerstown was right in the middle of the SAL pack in attendance with a respectable 2,007 average, or 128,508 for the year. (It is a downgrade in terms of logo as Capital City featured one of my favorite hats, and Hagerstown’s just doesn’t do it for me.) Nonetheless, a solid move.

2. The Mets picked up secondbaseman Josh Hoffpauir, who turned 27 yesterday, from the Texas Rangers as the PTBNL for Scott Erickson. The really, really good news is that he’s not Scott Erickson. Hoff is also a buddy of mine since he spent the second half of this summer playing for the Stockton Ports, my team. Hoff, a left handed hitting second baseman plays hard and hit for Stockton this summer.
Hoffpauir expects to be an assistant coach at his alma mater, Southern Mississippi in the offseason. The way he relates the story, he was hanging out in the spring, and wasn’t sure what to do with himself, and, after four minor league seasons, and two organizations, thought he’d give baseball one more shot. Hoff played for the Jackson Senators of the independent Central Baseball League where he hit .269/.336/.363 before signing on with the Rangers who needed another middle infielder. He had planned on this being his last season as a professional, but I’m not sure how the trade affects that. I'll try to give him a call this week. My first thought was that the Mets had picked him based on the assumption Hoff would hang 'em up and they wouldn't have to pay him. On the other hand, the Mets aren’t exactly toting around a ton of blue-chip second base prospects, which makes moving Victor Diaz to rightfield even dumber so Hoff might be able to stick on a roster as a backup.
What follows began as an examination of where Hoffpauir might fit into the Mets plans, and ended up as an analysis of secondbase in the Mets system.

MLB 04: Jose Reyes/Joe McEwing/Jeff Keppinger/Danny Garcia/Ricky
Gutierrez/whoever was awake

AAA: Danny Garcia (48-2B, 3-3B, 15-SS, 10-OF, 242 AB): .260/.322/.351

David Bacani (promoted 7/20 from AA) 144 AB: .264/.350/.410
AA: 32 gms @ 2B 3 E, 158 AB: .329/.414/.500.
Listed as 5-7, 165 turned 25 @ end of July

Chris Basak (28-2B, 6-3B, 26-SS, 193 AB) .223/.260/.415

At AA:
Bacani +
Chase Lambin (96 gms @ 2B, 24 E- turned 25 7/7/04) .244/.331/.390


FSL: Robert McIntyre 81 gms, .208/.253/.277

Wilson Bautista 27 gms .165/.231/.165

David Reaver (15-2B, 4-SS, 62 AB) .290/.362/.323 (10th rd, 2003, 23 in 2004)
Reaver in the SAL (4-2B, 31-SS, 123 AB) .154/.228/.171

SAL: Blake Whealy (124 gms, 104 @ 2B) .281/.387/.541, 32 2B, 5 3B, 23 HR - and he was 24 this summer. He has to move up, but can he skip the FSL and go right to AA? Age 25 in the FSL is not good.

Jesus Linares (81 gms, 30-2B, 22-3B, 31-SS) .289/.388/.426 he's 22, and had 29 BB in 249 PA (.116 BB/PA) which is pretty high for a Venezualan.

NYP: Matt Fisher (2004 33rd rounder: 34 gms @ 2B, 126 AB) 246/.405/.299

Kevin Rios (21 gms @ 2B, 6 @ 3B, 29 @ SS, 158 AB): .177/.239/.234.

How would you distribute this talent?

Here’s my plan:

05:
MLB: Matsui/Garcia
AAA: Bacani/Keppinger
AA: Lambin/Hoffpauir?
FSL: Jesus Linares/Whealy
SAL: Fisher
NYP:

That is my list, and not my best guess at what the Mets will do,
although I don't think it's that far off.

Based on his versatility, Danny Garcia is a nice guy to have on the
Big league roster. He'll be 25 next year, and I have trouble seeing him as an every day position player on a playoff team. I say he beats out Keppinger as the total utility man.

Keppinger and Bacani split time in AAA, waiting for Matsui to fail to live up to his contract, again, or get injured.

It’s tempting to jump Whealy, based on his strong SAL showing, over the FSL right to AA because both FSL guys, McIntyre + Bautista, struggled in 2004. Based on his age, Whealy can't afford to spend another year below AA. Next year’s spring training could feature a fascinating (in a way) battle for the starting AA second base spot: 27 year old Hoffpauir, vs. the 26 year old Lambin and 25 yo Whealy.

Jesus Linares was impressive at Capital City, so he gets promoted to St. Lucie where he could play anywhere on the infield.

The Mets drafted only 2 2B in 2004, neither of whom, Fisher nor Bryan
Zech, had particularly impressive debuts.

3. Ambio Concepcion earned Baseball America’s top prospect ranking for the NYP league. One very frustrating part of these BA rankings is that there is no explicit criteria. Are these the players with the highest ceiling, or most likely to be big leaguers? Or some combination? What is clear is that they take age into account and do not just pick the top player in the league. One comment stands out: “As Jamestown manager Benny Castillo put it, "It's Concepcion, then the rest of the league." Two managers compared his strong, wiry, athletic frame to Vladimir Guerrero's.” Concepcion finished with .305/.338/.475 in 259 AB after hitting just .214 last year in the Appalachian league.

Third round pick Gaby Hernandez picked up the #2 spot in the BA GCL list for his dazzling debut. He leed in the GCL with a 1.03 ERA in 49.2 IP. He fanned 58, while walking just 12, a sterling 4.83 K/BB ratio. Hernandez worked with a fb in the low 90s and a “sharp, hard curveball.”

BA selected nineteen year old catcher Jesus Flores (.319/.368/.532) as the #16 prospect in the GCL, and claims he’s “widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in the Mets system.” Hyperbole? He’s 19, come on.

At #18, BA tabbed Carlos Gomez (.268/.303/.361) just 18 and earning his spot on his “five-tool ability” and not his production.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Mets Playoff Recaps for 9-17

Stars of the Day:
A: Ivan Maldonado/Jose Gomez/Blake Whealy

Capital City 2, @ Hickory 9
The Crawdads completed their three game sweep of the SAL Championship series by smacking around Bomber starter Greg Ramirez who lasted only three innings. Ramirez gave up a double and hit a batter to begin the first, and then Hickory rightfielder Bobby Kingsbury jacked a three run homer before Ramirez had retired an out. Craig Stansberry added another longball two outs later to put the Crawdads up 4-0 at the end of the first inning. Hickory added single runs in the second and third innings on RBI singles by Mike Cockrell and Stansberry and to up their lead to 6-0.
Ivan Maldonado stopped the bleeding working the next three scoreless innings on the hill. He gave up just one hit and fanned a pair. Jose Gomez struck out two in his scoreless seventh.
Meanwhile, Wardell Starling had grounded the Bomber offense. Capital City managed only three walks between a Lastings Milledge single to left to lead off the ballgame and a one out rally in the sixth off Starling. After a Milledge strikeout to start the inning, Wilson Batista, Jamar Hill and Ryan Harvey all singled to load the bases. Blake Whealy then doubled home Batista and Hill. With two more runners in scoring postion, the Bombers were unable to get any closer as Andy Wilson and Shawn Bowman struck out to end the threat.
Mike Cockrell added a two run homer in the eighth off Brian Walker who gave up hits to each of the four Crawdad batters he faced. Cockrell finished the evening 2-4 with a homer, single and three RBI. Kingsbury had a huge night 4-5, with a homer and 3 RBI.
All of those performances dwarf the Bombers’ evenings. No Capital City hitter had more than one hit and Blake Whealy’s double was the Bombers only extrabase hit. Capital City earned three walks and struck out nine times.
The loss ends the 2004 postseason for the Mets franchise.


There is baseball ahead for most of the top prospects in the Mets organization as they will report to either the instructional leagues or the Arizona Fall League. I’m not sure how available those box scores and recaps are, but I’ll do my best to follow that action in the next few months.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Mets Minor League Playoff Recaps for 9-15

Scott Kazmir beat Pedro Martinez tonight. Kazmir: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9K, against the mighty Red Sox, but he’s no Victor Zambrano. God Damn.
I got home tonight pissed because my good friend from work had refused to include Barry Bonds among the greatest players of all time in favor of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb in a liquor-lubricated discussion at our bar, Fats, in Stockton, Ca. I spent a few hours on this and posted it on the blog at metsminors.blogspot.com. I could have included it in this email, but it was so off-topic that I didn’t. I’ll summarize: there is no way that Bonds can now be left out of the greatest ever discussions. Oh, and if Bonds doesn’t hit 700 in Milwaukee this week, you better believe I’ll be in SBC Friday night.


Hickory 5, @ Capital City 4
I enjoyed listening to a few innings of Hickory broadcaster’s Dave Friedman’s webcast, since the Bombers do not broadcast their games. However, the sound quality of the Crawdad’s webcasts, while not as poor as Binghamton’s, left a little something to be desired as it was rather scratchy.
Hickory scored in the top of the first off Matt Lindstrom, but Jamar Hill answered right back with a two run blast in the bottom half to put Capital City up 2-1.
In the top of the third, with a runner on, and Hickory firstbaseman Jon Benick at the plate, Friedman was relating a discussion he’d had with another Crawdad about which hitter deserved recognition as tops in the SAL. Before he could finish the story, Benick parked one for a 2 run jack that gave the Crawdads a 3-2 lead. By the way, Benick finished the regular season: .328/.396/.592 with 29 2B, 32 HR and 104 RBI in 488 AB. The only blemish on his season were his 95 K. That’s 3rd in the league in average, fifth in OBP, second in slugging, second in extra base hits, first in HR, and second in RBI. Good call, Dave Friedman. Before you get excited, know that Benick is 25, much older than his SAL competion, and therefore not really a prospect, although he’s still probably the best hitter in the league.
Hickory added two more runs in the top of the sixth, one on an RBI double, and one on an errant pickoff throw by pitcher Brian Walker that allowed the fifth and decisive run to score. They’re human, remember?
Capital City answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to one run on an Andy Wilson double that sent home Ryan Harvey and Jamar Hill.
Capital City had the tying run at second in the sixth and ninth innings, but couldn’t find the hit to tie up the ballgame and now trail the series 2-0, as it shifts back to Hickory.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Greatest Ever - Racism?

Ty Cobb vs. Babe Ruth vs. Barry Bonds

At the bar tonight, I was involved in a baseball discussion/argument with other members of my office. Go Figure. I work for a baseball team, what else would we talk about? We discussed among other issues: the correct number of games for Franklin Francisco's suspension (I argued it shouldn’t exceed Alomar’s 10 for spitting in an ump’s face), who’s better: A-Rod vs. Giambi (It’s A-Rod) and of course, the greatest player of all time. Now, there will never, ever, ever be any agreement about the top five players of all time. Nor should there be, because there is a certain amount of prejudice/personal prefererence about which statistics to rely on to evaluate players. However, my litigious adversary EXCLUDED Barry Bonds from consideration from the top 5 players of all time. As far as I’m concerned that is unacceptable. Barry Bonds is the greatest position in my lifetime, and I think, the best ever. I’m not willing to include pitchers because the metrics to compare hitters to pitchers and position players are fuzzy enough that they scare me. Here are the position players that my buddy placed ahead of Bonds: Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

What the hell are the numbers in the table below? Good question, and they all come from Baseball Prospectus. I honestly feel that if you don’t read Baseball Prospectus you are no longer a well informed baseball fan. The first column is a batter’s EQA, that is Equivalent Average which, according to the BP website is: A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. Average is .260.

EQR stands for Equivalent Runs produced by a batter over his entire career, while playing his particular position in the field. BRAR stands for Batting Runs Above Replacement but without the adjustment for the postition. (Whoa, what’s replacement? Easy, a .230 EQA.) Both EQR and BRAR are derived from the batter’s EQA. PRAR is pitching runs above replacement, and FRAR is fielding runs above replacement. TRAR1 +2 are stats I made up, and stand for Total Runs above Replacement Level and where TBRAR1=BRAR+PRAR+FRAR and TRAR 2= EQR+PRAR+FRAR. Please note that TRAR 2 adjusts the player’s offensive contribution by accounting for the difficulty of the position he played.

Player EQA EQR BRAR PRAR FRAR TRAR 1 TRAR 2
Cobb .327 2464 1423 2 492 1917 2958
Ruth .366 2327 1597 250 268 2115 2845
Bonds .356 2484 1652 0 351 2003 2835

First, let me say that if for some reason, my methodology is incorrect, and I have double counted along the way, please let me know.
What does it all mean? Basics. According to career EQA: the order stands: Ruth, Bonds, Cobb. According to EQR: Bonds, Ruth, Cobb. On offensive value alone, Cobb is a clear third, while Ruth and Bonds battle it out at the top.
Cobb, by virtue of the fact that he played all over the diamond and most importantly, centerfield, beats the other two in FRAR, but note that Bonds, for all of his supposed loafing, beats Ruth. Pitching runs isn’t close, and in fact, unfairly skews the TRAR1 +2 calculations in favor of Ruth. Remember, the original question I sought to answer at least at the bar, concerned position players. Including Ruth’s pitching numbers changes all of that. In TRAR2, Cobb beats Ruth and Bonds, and I’m wondering if, by using EQR and FRAR I’m double counting Cobb’s defensive contributions.
The point here wasn’t to conclude that Barry was better than Cobb or Ruth, although I think he is. The point wasn’t to prove who’s the best of all-time since I’m not that smart. The point is that you can’t mention the greatest ever without including Barry. This isn’t new.
I’ll end this discussion by noting that my buddy who excluded Barry in favor of Cobb said that to eliminate Cobb was to discount him because of his racism. I’ll add this: to leave Barry out in favor of the others is purely racist.

9-14 Capital City Bombed in Championship Opener

Stars of the Day:
A: Shawn Bowman/Andy Wilson/Lastings Milledge

Hickory 11, @ Capital City 7
The Crawdads never trailed, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after two innings to take the 1-0 lead in the best of 5 series. Capital City got a run back in the second and third, but Hickory gained some distance with a five run fifth to make the score 9-2, chasing Vincent Cordova. Cordova was hit hard, giving up seven runs, all earned, on eight hits including three longballs. Bryan King, Ryan Danly and Anderson Garcia (who struck out 5 and allowed a longball in 2.1 innings) each allowed a Hickory run or two. Jose Gomez was the only Bomber to avoid getting shelled.
Thirdbaseman Shawn Bowman who finished the year at .258/.338/.449, was 3-5 with a pair of doubles to lead the charge. Andy Wilson was 2-5 with a jack and three RBI. Lastings Milledge was 2-4 with a double.
Game 2 is Tuesday night at 7:05 PM, Eastern. I’ll try to catch the online broadcast via www.hickorycrawdads.com.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Playoff Wrap - Binghamton Eliminated

New Hampshire 5, @ Binghamton 2
The FisherCats eliminated the B-Mets Saturday night in front of 2042 paying customers. New Hampshire never trailed, scoring three times against Ken Chenard, once in the third and twice in the fifth. Chenard went seven, allowing those three runs on seven hits. He walked one and fanned six and took the loss.
Binghamton rallied in the bottom of the seventh for two runs to close within a run at 3-2. With one out, Aarom Baldiris singled and Joe Hietpas doubled to put both men in scoring position. Gil Velazquez then singled Baldiris home and Wayne Lydon’s groundout brought home Hietpas.
Micah Mangrum allowed a pair of unearned runs in the eighth to make the score 5-2. The ugly eighth inning featured two errors, including one charged to Mangrum, and a wild pitch. Tim Lavigne fanned one Fishercat in a perfect ninth.


Capital City
The Bombers, the only Mets affiliate still alive in the post-season take on the Hickory Crawdads Monday at 7:05 to begin the SAL championship series.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Mets Minor League Playoff Recaps for 9-11

Before I get to the Mets affiliates, I’d like to start with the baseball game I watched in person tonight. I saw the San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports 5-3 to win their first round series 2-1. I was struck again for the umpteenth time this summer at just how young the players are. I watched a team get jittery and hand a game away on the road. It’s easy to forget looking at statistics and reading boxscores that there are actually humans playing the game.
The Ports led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh thanks to six excellent innings from their starter, former Fullerton star Wes Littleton, before the guys felt the pressure. The first pitcher out of the bullpen walked the first batter, the #9 hitter in the order on nine pitches to leadoff the seventh. The leadoff man then tried unsuccessfully to bunt and was down 0-2. He fouled off a few pitches and with a full count, worked a walk. The tying and go-ahead runs were on base, and the Ports brought on a new reliever, who has a great fastball but gave up 16 unearned runs in 58.2 regular season innings. Bad things just follow Omar who was brought in to face a solid bat handler, the #2 hitter, AJ LaBarbera. LaBarbera squared as if to bunt, but with the corners charging brought the bat back and lined softly to leftcenterfield, where Port leftfielder Anthony Webster made a diving catch. Now, with one out, and runners and first and second, a groundball could end the inning. Lo and behold, Omar induced a groundball, to his second baseman, who picked it up, turned towards second for the double play and dropped the ball. He would get an out and first, but instead of getting out of the inning, the Giants had the tying run at third, and the goahead run at second. The cleanup hitter then grounded a sharp one-hopper to the shortstop’s left. He took one step, gloved, and as he spun to fire the ball to first, the ball popped out of his mitt as everyone was safe. The official scorer ruled it a hit because it hit him in a bad spot: the glove. One run, two walks, and a jittery team. They’re human. They’re young. Hey, I made mistakes too. I think I was too critical on air tonight, but trust me, it was depressing end to a season.
Also, I don’t know about other people, but last night’s recap didn’t show up in my inbox until 10pm. I sent it around 2 AM. Damn Hotmail.
Ok. Mets time.

Stars of the Day:
AA: Neal Musser/Royce Ring/Aarom Baldiris
A: Greg Ramirez/Jamar Hill/Andy Wilson
SSA: Jim Burt


New Hampshire 0, @ Binghamton 1
Remember that nerves thing I was just talking about? What’s funny is I wrote the paragraphs above before I looked at this Binghamton Game Log.
It took 9.5 innings, but finally Binghamton scored with an unearned run in the bottom of the tenth. Aarom Baldirs and Joe Hietpas each singled with one out. Then Baldiris scored on an E6 on a ball hit by Gil Velazquez.
Neal Musser was awesome with seven shutout innings. He allowed just four hits and plunked two, but struck out eight. Royce Ring allowed but one hit over his two innings recording one whiff as well. PJ Bevis gave up one hit in the tenth but earned the win.
The win keeps Binghamton, now down 2-1, alive in the series and broke a franchise worst 11 game losing streak.

Charleston 0, @ Capital City 3
Capital City blanked the Riverdogs behind 6.2 one hit innings from Greg Ramirez who fanned ten and walked one. Ramirez finished the regular season with a 7-0 record, ten saves, and 2.06 ERA and a 3.66 R/G in 96 IP. He fanned 105 and walked just 28. Brian Walker followed with two, two hit innings, and Carlos Muniz recorded the final out for the save.
Capital City did all of their damage with the long ball. Jamar Hill was 1-2, with a walk and a solo jack in the bottom of the first. Andy Wilson added a two run bomb in the sixth driving in Jamar Hill who had walked.
The Bombers swept the series 2-0, and will take on the Hickory Crawdads for the SAL Championship beginning Monday.
Brooklyn 1, @ Tri-City 6
They’re humans remember. They’ve been sitting in the same crappy hotel in Troy for two days of rainouts. And the Cyclones were eliminated from the playoffs.
Joe Williams gave up three runs in his five innings on a pair of HR. Gabriel Hernandez also gave up three, but he needed only 1.2 innings.
The Cyclones managed only 5 singles and Jim Burt who was 1-3 with a walk scored the only run.

With my season over, I’ll go watch some college football tomorrow as I plan to be in Stanford Stadium to watch the Cardinal take on the BYU Cougars.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Mets Minor League Playoff Recaps for 9-10

Giddy-up. A big league win. How about this postgame jewel from Kris Benson: "I'm looking for stability from a family standpoint. The money will work itself out. I'm looking for at least a three-year deal and maybe stick around for a fourth. I don't want to be a journeyman." Wasn’t it all about family for Mike Hampton too?
“I don’t want to be a journeyman.” I can’t even decide how to approach this remark, so just please just chortle right along with me.

Stars of the Day:
AA: Angel Pagan

Binghamton 4, @ New Hampshire 10
New Hampshire scored three times in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly and a two run homer by John Hattig, and never trailed. Jason Scobie struggled and gave up eight runs, all earned, on 11 hits through five innings.
Binghamton scored a run (!) in the third when Angel Pagan doubled home Wayne Lydon, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. The B-Mets loaded the bases in the top of the fourth, but managed only one run as Aarom Baldiris grouded into a run scoring, rally killing doubleplay. With the run, Binghamton closed within one run at 3-2. However, after that, it was all New Hampshire.
New Hampshire added one more run in the bottom of the fourth, and three more in the fifth off Scobie. Orlando Roman gave up a two run homer in the six to make the score 10-2.
Gil Velazquez and Angel Pagan added RBI doubles for Binghamton in the seventh innings to complete the scoring.
Going back to the nine game losing streak to conclude the regular season, Binghamton has now lost 11 in a row. Over those 11 games, the B-Mets have scored 16 runs (1.45 R/G) and have been shut out four times. The FisherCats lead the best of five series 2-0.

Capital City
Game two tomorrow. Bombers lead the Charleston Riverdogs 1-0.

Brooklyn
Rained out for the second day in a row. Wonder how those players couped up in hotel rooms are doing? Game 3 will be Friday, and the championship series will begin Saturday night.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Mets Minor League Playoff Recaps for 9-9

“The Mets have lost 11 in a row, including six since last week to Florida, and haven't had a lead in 58 innings.” It’s a good thing I care about the minors as well, where there is good news.


Stars of the Day:
AA: Yusmeiro Petit
A: Jamar Hill/Vincent Cordova
SSA: see you tomorrow


Binghamton 0, @ New Hampshire 2
Lets start with the good news. Yusmeiro Petit dominated for the first 4.1 innings. He allowed just one hit, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out nine. That’s right, he recorded 13 outs, and nine of them were punchouts. The bad news was that he developed a blister, which became painful and bloody, and couldn’t finish the game or the fifth inning. He gave way to Tim Lavigne who gave up both runs including a homer on four hits and three walks in his two innings. Royce Ring controlled the damage with 1.2 scoreless innings. Ring fanned two and gave up just one hit.
It’s hard to win a baseball game if you have only one hit, and that’s all the B-Mets managed tonight. Joe Hietpas led off the sixth with a single and that was all the offense Binghamton could muster.
New Hampshire leads 1-0.
The B-Mets lost nine in a row to end the season, so this is now the tenth in a row.
I tried to listen to this game online. However, the B-Mets internet feed sounded as if it originated underwater. I’ve had mixed success with Binghamton’s internet broadcasts, but mostly sound ok if a little scratchy. Today was awful so I switched over to the FisherCats radio work for the middle innings when I could sit in front of my computer. The rain that delayed the game 1.5 hours meant I missed the decisive end.


Capital City 2, @ Charleston 1 (11 innings)
This one’s a little tough to believe. The game was scoreless until the eleventh inning. Some poor fielding by the River Dogs put two runners on with two outs for Capital City in the top half of the eleventh. Then Jamar Hill came through with a 2 RBI double sending Lastings Milledge and Yunir Garcia home with a pair of unearned runs. Capital City managed just four hits, and Jamar Hil had two of ‘em.
Of course, if you send a game scoreless to the 11th inning, the pitching had to be awesome. Vincent Cordova worked the first 7 frames giving up seven hits, but he struck out ten without walking a batter. Daniel Foli followed with two more scoreless innings striking out three. Carlos Muniz finished with two innings, and allowed a solo HR in the bottom of the 11th.
Capital City leads 1-0.

Brooklyn @ Tri-City
Rained out. They made it to the top of the third tied 1-1, but that all disappears when they go back to 0-0 in the top of the first tomorrow.
The series is tied 1-1 for the decisive 3rd game.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

9-8 Recaps and 2003 Trade summary

Slow day. One game in the Mets system, and the California League playoffs begin tomorrow. So I took the day off from baseball. Or not.
I was discussing Jim Duquette and his track record with Avkash, of www.theraindrops.com. I did a little research, (because that’s what I like doing) on last summer’s salary dumps. The first name is the Met traded away, and I have included just a few details about the prospects acquired in return.


Roberto Alomar – Royce Ring - solid in AA and AAA - why was he demoted?
RHP Edwin Almonte (waived by Mets, ineffective in Pawtucket in 2004),
IF Salvo (released, spent 2004 w/ the Long Island Ducks of independent Atlantic League)

Armando Benitez - RHP Jason Anderson (5 R, 1 IP in Cleveland in 2004),
RHP Anderson Garcia (9-2, 4.50, 6.10 R/G, 92 H in 84 IP w/Cap City),
RHP Ryan Bicondoa (w/ North Shore Spirit, indpendent NEL)

Jeromy Burnitz, - RHP Jose Diaz (traded),
2b/3b/RF Victor Diaz (at wrong position, but still hitting) and
RHP Kole Strayhorn (10 HR/50 IP, but K/BB - ok)

Rey Sanchez – OF - Kenny Kelly (granted release following 03. As 25 yo in 2004 in Reds org: AA: .356/.441/.545 AAA: .254/.320/.440)

Graeme Lloyd - Jeremy Hill (more 36 k /32 IP in AA, at 27, did he get hurt?)



Stars of the Day:
SSA: Tyler Davidson/Michael Devaney/Blake Eager

Brooklyn 2, @ Tri-City 3
The Valley Cats won to set up a deciding game tomorrow at 6:45.
Tyler Davidson put Brooklyn up 2-0 with a two run jack in the top of the fourth as part of his 2-4 night.
23rd round draft pick Michael Devaney gave up 3 hits and 3 walks in his 3.1 innings to start the game, but left up 2-0. 30th round draft pick Blake Eager followed with 3.2 scoreless innings fanning three. In the eighth, Eddy Camacho gave up a two run homer to shortstop Ben Zobrist to tie up the ballgame. In the ninth, Celso Rondon gave up a single and walk and then gave up the game winning single to leftfielder Mitch Einertson.

Binghamton and Capital City begin their postseason tomorrow.

Mets Minor League Recaps for 9-8

Slow day. One game in the Mets system, and the California League playoffs begin tomorrow. So I took the day off from baseball. Or not.
I was discussing Jim Duquette and his track record with Avkash, of www.theraindrops.com. I did a little research, (because that’s what I like doing) on last summer’s salary dumps. The first name is the Met traded away, and I have included just a few details about the prospects acquired in return.


Roberto Alomar – Royce Ring - solid in AA and AAA - why was he demoted?
RHP Edwin Almonte (waived by Mets, ineffective in Pawtucket in 2004),
IF Salvo (released, spent 2004 w/ the Long Island Ducks of independent Atlantic League)

Armando Benitez - RHP Jason Anderson (5 R, 1 IP in Cleveland in 2004),
RHP Anderson Garcia (9-2, 4.50, 6.10 R/G, 92 H in 84 IP w/Cap City),
RHP Ryan Bicondoa (w/ North Shore Spirit, indpendent NEL)

Jeromy Burnitz, - RHP Jose Diaz (traded),
2b/3b/RF Victor Diaz (at wrong position, but still hitting) and
RHP Kole Strayhorn (10 HR/50 IP, but K/BB - ok)

Rey Sanchez – OF - Kenny Kelly (granted release following 03. As 25 yo in 2004 in Reds org: AA: .356/.441/.545 AAA: .254/.320/.440)

Graeme Lloyd - Jeremy Hill (more 36 k /32 IP in AA, at 27, did he get hurt?)



Stars of the Day:
SSA: Tyler Davidson/Michael Devaney/Blake Eager

Brooklyn 2, @ Tri-City 3
The Valley Cats won to set up a deciding game tomorrow at 6:45.
Tyler Davidson put Brooklyn up 2-0 with a two run jack in the top of the fourth as part of his 2-4 night.
23rd round draft pick Michael Devaney gave up 3 hits and 3 walks in his 3.1 innings to start the game, but left up 2-0. 30th round draft pick Blake Eager followed with 3.2 scoreless innings fanning three. In the eighth, Eddy Camacho gave up a two run homer to shortstop Ben Zobrist to tie up the ballgame. In the ninth, Celso Rondon gave up a single and walk and then gave up the game winning single to leftfielder Mitch Einertson.

Binghamton and Capital City begin their postseason tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Labor Day Recaps

A few weeks ago I suggested that the Mets should hire Grady Fuson as GM, so I was very excited when Jamey Newberg, who writes the Newberg Report about the Texas Rangers system wrote: “Joel Sherman of the New York Post hints today that the Mets might approach Grady Fuson in the off-season to head up their scouting department,” on 9/5. I ran a search for Fuson’s name on the Post’s website, and couldn’t find the original article. Can anyone tell me what exactly went into this hint? Let’s not settle for the scouting department and let Fuson head up player development as well. Or, even better, he can be the GM.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Victor Diaz/Aaron Heilman
AA: Brian Bannister
A: Matt Lindstrom/Jabe Bergeron/Ryan Harvey
SSA: Evan Maclane

Norfolk 0 @ Richmond 3
The offense managed four hits, all singles. No Tide started the day with a batting average north of .300. Victor Diaz at .291 was the only one above .280. Mike Meyers gave up all three runs, although only two were earned in his five innings.

Norfolk 2, @ Richmond 3
Good start for Aaron Heilman who tossed four scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, plunked one and walked one, but didn’t record a strikeout. Blake McGinley was tagged with the loss, as the first four Braves to face him in the sixth inning, his second inning of work, all reached base.
Victor Diaz was 1-3 with a sacrifice fly and both Norfolk RBI, each time driving in David Bacani.

The Tides finish the year an even 72-72, eight and a half games behind Richmond in the International League’s South Division. Victor Diaz’ .292/.332/.491 with 31 2B, 24 HR, and 94 was the top offensive line on the team. He led the team in HR, RBI, and batting average among those with over .200 AB. David Wright hit .298/.388/.579 in only 114 AB.


Reading 5, @ Binghamton 1
The BMets had a lead for two innings, but couldn’t hold it en route to losing their ninth in a row heading for the playoffs finishing with a 76-66 record. Brett Harper’s solo HR in the bottom of the fourth but the B-Mets out in front 1-0, and it remained that way until the seventh when Royce Ring was touched up for a pair of homers and three runs. According to the BMets website the brief lead broke a string of 74.1 innings without a lead for Binghamton. It wasted a brilliant start from Brian Bannister who went the first six shutout innings and allowed only three hits. Bannister walked two and fanned two.
Yusmeiro Petit will start for Binghamton versus the New Hampshire Fishercats Wednesday at 6 PM. I will be listening to this game rather than the Big Mets Wednesday afternoon California time.

St. Lucie
The FSL hasn’t completed a game since 9/2. Aarom Baldiris was named to the FSL postseason allstar team, the only St. Lucie Met to make the cut.

Charleston 1, @ Capital City 5
The Bombers broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Strange night offensively for the Bombers: 5 runs, 4 hits, six walks. All of the hits belonged to two men: Jabe Bergeron was 2-4 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBI, and Ryan Harvey was also 2-4 with a double and two runs driven in. Bergeron out of tiny Williams College hit .278/.429/.556 for Capital City in 72 AB after hitting .291/.318/.476 with Kingsport. The firstbaseman is large: 6’3”, 230, and supposed was born in 1900 according to the Sportsnetwork (oops). The non-drafted Free agent was a four year letterman in baseball and hockey for the Ephs and was the player of the year in the NESCAC. You gotta root for the non-drafted free agents.
Matt Lindstrom allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out five in six shutout innings. Jose Gomez earned the win for a scoreless eighth inning, and Brian Walker walked two, but closed out the victory.
Capital City followed up their first half championship with the secondhalf crown as well. The bombers were 45-21 in the second half, 99-47 overall.
After sweeping the Riverdogs this week, the Bombers will see Charleston in the first round of the playoffs starting Wednesday.

Tri-City 0, @ Brooklyn 2
The first playoff game pretty much went like the rest of the season: Evan MacLane dominated. MacLane shut down Tri-City over seven innings allowing only four hits and a walk while fanning four. Eddy Camacho picked up the two inning save without allowing a hit.
Jim Burt knocked one off the wall to drive home Dante Brinkley in the sixth with the go ahead run. Tyler Davidson plated Derran Watts with an insurance run in the eighth.
I have been told that the one hard and fast rule in the Mets minor league system is: Brooklyn must win. Well, the Cyclones are in playoffs again.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

9/1 - New Month SOS

Another night, another loss in the bigs. From the AP story: “Attendance was 17,770, compared with 51,777 across town at Yankee Stadium and 21,740 for the night session at the U.S. Open tennis tournament across the street from Shea.” To be honest, I probably would have gone to the Open tonight. Check that, I would definitely have gone to the Open tonight if I had tix and wasn't in California.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-31

I think it’s time I buy a David Wright jersey. In August: .314/.346/.549.

Bob Klapisch summed up the last looooong month for the Mets on espn.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=klapisch_bob&id=1871002


Stars of the Day:
AAA: Victor Diaz
AA: Jason Scobie
High A: Joe Jiannetti
A: the raindrops
SSA: Scott Hyde/Tyler Davidson


Norfolk 6, @ Charlotte 9
After the Tides tied it at 6 with a run in the top of the seventh, the Knights regained the lead with a pair in the bottom half, and added one more insurance run in the eighth with all three runs coming off reliever Blake McGinley. Pat Strange started, surrendering six runs, all earned, on nine hits.
Victor Diaz’s three run homer in the first put Norfolk up 3-0 before the Knights had recorded an out. Diaz was 2-4 with a walk and 5 RBI in upping his average to .290/.330/.496. He has played rightfield exclusively this year. I believe his value would be maximized by playing as many positions as possible, and he has played first, second and third over the last three years. Craig Brazell had a solo homer. Shortstop Chris Basak was 2-4 with a walk and a triple.
With the loss, the Tides have dropped 5 of 6.

Portland 3, @ Binghamton 0
Jason Scobie took the loss. Scobie managed to only allow one run, on a solo homer, over his six innings even though he gave up six hits, walked five and struck out just one. Scobie’s only 1-2-3 inning was the fourth. Jake Joseph gave up a pair in the seventh to complete the scoring.
Five hits for the B-Mets. Ron Acuna was 1-4 with a double and Bobby Malek was 1-3 with a double.
Rain stopped the game after eight innings.
Note: I almost didn’t assign a star of the day for the B-Mets in this game, but decided that Jason Scobie, who hasn’t won a game since August 8th deserved a little love even if the linescore wasn’t pretty.

Vero Beach 4, @ St. Lucie 2
Kevin Deaton threw a very solid six innings over which he allowed two runs on five hits. A rehabbing Scott Strickland was charged with two runs and his first FSL loss. Jose Rodriguez was effective following Strickland, walking one and striking out one in his 1.2 innings.
St. Lucie lead 2-0 on solo homers in the first and second innings respectively by firstbaseman Jay Caligiuri and thirdbaseman Joe Jiannetti. Jiannetti was 3-4 with a would as well. Secondbaseman Robert McIntyre, who added two singles was the only other Met with multiple hits.
This was the final regular season home game for St. Lucie which finishes up at Vero Beach, Jupiter and Daytona. The St. Lucie website notes that the Mets and Dodgers are now tied in the race for the Treasure Coast Cup. With the loss, St. Lucie falls to 27-33, and 11.5 games behind Vero Beach in the second half.

Columbus @ Capital City
Rained out.
Do you know how many rainouts there have been in the California League this year? 0. A pitcher said to me Sunday that he was looking forward to going home (to Illinois) in part to see some rain.

Batavia 2, @ Brooklyn 5
The tastefully named Scott Hyde improved to 4-3 with seven innings of one run ball. He struck out eight without a walk, and allowed five hits. The Muckdogs scored their only run on a solo homer by shortstop John Hardy. For the year, Hyde has a 3.23 ERA, 3.42 R/G, with a .218 BA against and 16 BB versus 45 K. Remove his one bad start, when he allowed seven runs on four innings on August eighth, the only time he has given up more than three runs, and his numbers become: 2.07 ERA, 2.28 R/G, in 43.1 IP, 13 BB, and 40 K.
Ambio Concepcion was 3-4 with an RBI and a run. Tyler Davidson tripled, scored and drove in a run in a 2-3 night. The triple was the Cyclones only extra basehit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-25

It’s been a dizzying few days of roster moves, and I have only a rough idea where most Mets players are. Aaron Heilman was returned to Norfolk today while Ober Moreno was placed on the 60 day DL freeing up a spot on the 40 man roster, which was turned over to Heath Bell who made a very good big league debut. In the last two days Matt Ginter has been up and down from AAA. Fortunato and Keppinger have both appeared at the big league level. And I’m having trouble making myself care…
By the way, I’ve solved the Mets problems. Yeah, yeah, everyone has an idea, but this one’s good. There’s a brilliant baseball man out there, sacked by his former club in an awful power struggle. He’s helped build two of the teams contending for the AL West title, each time developing talent from within and pulling off a few shrewd moves, and leaving his former clubs with stacked farm systems, and a talented big league roster. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present my choice for the next Mets GM:….. GRADY FUSON. Maybe this isn’t an original thought, but I swear, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Anyway, Grady was run out of Texas this summer after essentially signing on as the Rangers GM. I’ve met him, interviewed him, talked baseball with him, and been consistently impressed. Let us begin the movement: Fuson for the Future


Stars of the Day:
AAA: Prentice Redman/Tyler Yates/Victor Diaz
AA: Ron Acuna/Ken Chenard
A: Blake Whealy/ Lastings Milledge
A: Jamar Hill

Norfolk 5, @ Charlotte 3 (15)
Prentice Redman’s only hit of the night, a two run homer in the top of the 15th, pushed Norfolk to the extra inning victory. Victor Diaz also launched two solo homers for the Tides. Craig Brazell was 2-6 with a walk.
Randy Keisler gave up all of the Charlotte runs in his seven innings before turning the game over to the bullpen that dealt eight scoreless innings. Tyler Yates threw the final two perfectly while fanning two to earn the win. Yates followed three innings each from Vic Darrensbourg and Jake Joseph.

Binghamton 3, @ Norwich 2
The B-Mets touched up Brion Treadway for three runs over six innings. Treadway started off the year in the California League where he was 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA, but bounced 13 WP and hit 8 batters in 111 + IP I’ve also seen him and wasn’t that impressed. For a full scouting report on Treadway, click here: http://www.calleaguers.com/TreadwayBrion.html to read Sam Gaeney’s report. (I often use information from Sam’s work in my broadcasts.)
Binghamton was held without an extra base hit tonight. Bobby Malek and Ron Acuna each went 2-4 and Acuna drove in a pair.
Ken Chenard was very good giving up just two unearned runs on three hits over seven innings, while fanning nine without walking a batter. Micah Mangrum and PJ Bevis each pitched a scoreless inning in relief to preserve the one run win.

Daytona @ St. Lucie
PPD. Yesterday Vero Beach took two from St. Lucie. Yusmeiro Petit lost the first game and allowed three runs, one earned on four hits over six innings while striking out seven. He didn’t walk a batter.

Rome 5, @ Capital City 8
The Bombers took a little while to get revved up but racked up eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to win this one in their final turn at bat. Wilson Batista doubled home a pair, but the big blow of the inning was a Blake Whealy grand slam that drove home the third-sixth runs of the inning before an out was recorded. Lastings Milledge also singled home a pair.

Rome 4, @ Capital City 6
Another final AB win, this time Capital City scored three in the bottom of the seventh on Jamar Hill’s dramatic two out homer to complete the sweep. Lots of homers here, as the Braves did all of their damage by going over the wall, and Shawn Bowman had a two run dong as well. Lastings Milledge also singled home a run.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-19

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Vic Darrensbourg/Ozzie Timmons
AA: Brett Harper/Ron Acuna
High A: Jonathan Slack/Jose Rodriguez
A: Tim Worthington/Wilson Batista
SSA: Joseph Williams
Rookie: Josh Wyrick


Charlotte 4 @ Norfolk 3
Jae Seo walked six and gave up nine hits in 5.1 innings on his way to allowing only four runs. Given that line, it could have been worse, but Seo induced two double plays. Vic Darrensbourg settled things down with 2.2 innings of one hit ball, with two strikeouts.
Thirty-four year old Ozzie Timmons who’s bounced between the majors, AAA, Japan and independent ball in the last nine years had the only two extra base hits for the Tides: a homer and a double. Victor Diaz was 2-4. Prentice Redman was 1-3 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI.

New Hampshire 4, @ Binghamton 3
Brett Harper and Ron Acuna were each 2-4. Josh Pressley, who I discussed yesterday doubled and drove in a run (and scored one) for his only hit in 4 AB.
Ken Chenard gave up all four runs in his seven innings, but struck out eight. He gave up a pair of homers, which accounted for three runs, included a tie-breaking solo shot in the fifth.

St. Lucie 2, @ Jupiter 1
Jonathan Slack singled home Corey Ragsdale with the winning run in the eighth. Bobby Malek, who was 2-4 with a homer and a double, put the Mets in front with a solo shot in the fourth.
Once again, a lot of St. Lucie pitchers, each throwing just a few innings. Michael Cox started, walking three and striking out three. Domingo Acosta went the next two fanning four, but giving up the only Hammerheads run of the night. Jose Rodriguez won the game for his three scoreless innings.

Hagerstown 5, @ Capital City 2
Tim Worthington, who was a non-drafted free agent last spring, and pitched for Brooklyn, and has split time between Kingsport, Brooklyn and Capital City, took a hard luck loss. Worthington allowed just one run on two hits through five innings while fanning seven Suns. Bryan King was hit a little harder, giving up four runs, two earned over the next two innings.
Wilson Batista was 2-5 with a double. Ryan Harvey and Blake Whealy were each 2-4 with a run scored in the eighth, and Harvey also walked.

Brooklyn 1, @ Staten Island 0
Dante Brinkeley drove in the game’s only run with a bases loaded walk in the third inning, as the teams combined for eight hits. Jim Burt singled twice, and scored the Cyclones only run.
Joseph Williams turned in his fifth scoreless performance of five innings or more in 2004, and this one lasted six. He fanned six and walked one, while allowing three hits.

Elizabethton 6, @ Kingsport 2
Josh Wyrick was 3-5. Seth Pietsch launched a solo homer and Josh Petersen was 2-4 with a double and a run scored.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-18

Is it possible for Zambrano to retro-actively fail a physical? Can we make it possible?

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Blake McGinley
AA: Josh Pressley
High A: Luis Pineda
High A: Yusmeiro Petit
A: Lastings Milledge

Charlotte 4, @ Norfolk 2
Matt Ginter took the loss for giving up four runs, three of them earned. He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six. Blake McGinley was perfect over the final two innings striking out three.
A depleted Norfolk lineup managed three hits. Victor Diaz and Ozzie Timmons each singled home a run and David Bacani doubled and scored.

New Hampshire 6 @ Binghamton 2
Brian Bannister allowed three runs on seven hits through the first six innings.
Josh Pressley was 2-4 with a double and a run scored to improve to .296/.381/.404 in 307 AB with 42 strikeouts against 58 walks. The 24 year old first baseman has never really hit for much power, - the last time his SLG was over .400 was back in 2000, with Charleston in SAL, but that OBP and strike zone judgment is intriguing. He’s hitting .316/.390/.430 with 20 2B vs. righties.

ST. Lucie 4, @ Palm Beach 2
Luis Pineda gave up only one hit over the final three innings for the win, while striking out four. Brian Edwards and Luz Portobanco each allowed a run in their two innings.
Only two RBI, for St. Lucie, even though four crossed the plate. Jay Caligiuri singled and doubled in four AB and shortstop Corey Ragsdale was 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI. No other Met had more than one hit, although catcher Zach Clement doubled in a run in hit only at bat.

St. Lucie 1, @ Palm Beach 5
Palm Beach did all their damage in a five run fourth against Tim McNab who didn’t get anyone out in the inning was charged with three runs. Yusmeiro Petit struck out three in a perfect two innings to start the game. Are all the pitchers essentially now on bullpen pitch counts so everyone’s available with all the hurricane outs and doubleheaders coming up?

Hagerstown 4, @ Capital City 11
Lastings Milledge led the charges by going 3-4 with two doubles and a homer with a walk and three driven in. Andy Wilson was also 3-3 with a walk.
Tanner Osberg coasted through 6.2 allowing three runs on five hits to lower his ERA to 6.16. He struck out six, and walked three.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-17

So I’ve been slacking recently, and haven’t written much in a while. I don’t really have a good explanation. It’s true that I’ve moved – from one end of Stockton to the other. It’s true that I’m tired from the endurance contest that is a minor league baseball season – and I’m the radio guy, just imagine how the players feel. It’s also true that I was, and am still, very upset about trading Kazmir and Huber. I mean, if the Mets management won’t take their prospects seriously, why should I? Anyway, now I’m back with a vengeance.
We’ll start with what I thought was a funny joke. At ESPN.com, Jayson Stark wrote:
One reason the Mets' end of those trades might not look so bad in the end is the two prospects they got back from Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh -- pitcher Bartolome Fortunato and second baseman Jeff Keppinger.
One scouting director we talked to raved about Fortunato's 97-mph fastball and projected him as a potential No. 2 starter. Keppinger, meanwhile, was described as "a hard-nosed guy" who is hitting .336 in Double-A, with just 19 strikeouts all year in 400 trips to the plate.

Let’s start with Fortunato. He’s 30 years old. He has appeared in 35 games in AAA this year out of the ‘pen. Let’s start small and get to a AAA rotation first, before moving to the front end of a big league rotation, huh? Nineteen and 20 year olds, projectable, 30 year olds, not. To be fair, Fortunato made four AAA starts in 2003, but of his 163 career minor league appearances, only 31 have been starts and he has started a grand total of 11 games in the last three years, including five in High A Bakersfield in 2002.
Keppinger was hitting .338 with Altoona to go along with a solid .387 OBP. However, his slugging was just .413. That’s an isolated slugging percentage of .085, and the second year in a row he has seen his ISO slide from .128 in the SAL in 2002, to .106 in the Carolina League in 2003.
Let me be perfectly clear: These two are not elite prospects. Fortunato has as small a chance to be a #2 starter as any pitcher in affiliated baseball. Keppinger could be a useful utility man.

In cleaning out my room I found an article that Alan Schwarz wrote for the May 3rd, New York Magazine titled “Re-Engineering the Mets - In the playoffs by 2006…” that my parents were kind enough to send to me. I enjoyed the article, because it laid out a solid plan. The Plan: 2004: Assesment – figure out which young arms can be trusted, Winter 04-05 Sign a bopper, while letting Piazza go, 05: trade an elderly arm (Leiter or Trachsel) freeing up more time for the young guns, Winter 05-06: buy more talent. The basic premise was the following: the Mets had a good young infield core, and some interesting minor league arms to go along with an aging big league roster that could still be turned into an asset by trading some older more expensive players. He summed it up with: “A new philosophy must grow from within.” (Of course, Schwarz, a Baseball America writer takes a few cheap shots at Moneyball, which is stupid because the basic premise in Moneyball, that there are imperfections in the market for baseball players because teams do not evaluate talent properly seems to apply to the Mets as much as any other major league franchise. By the way, Baseball America does not include OBP in their stat packages.) Schwarz, I suppose, helped inspired me to start writing about the farm system by hyping the young guns.
The point that made the made the most sense was that the Mets needed a few of their minor league arms – Schwartz names Kazmir, Jae Seo, Tyler Yates, Matt Peterson, Bob Keppel and Jeremy Griffiths - to pan out. One by one: Kazmir – Traded. Peterson – Traded. Griffiths – Traded (good trade). Yates – in bullpen with 7.07 ERA. Seo – a cheap average big league pitcher, and now back in AAA. Baseball Prospectus puts Seo four runs below average for the season – a classic back end of the rotation guy. (Those two Studs the Mets paid dearly for are not much better: Victor Zambrano was two runs above average with the Devil Rays, and Benson was one run above average for Pittsburgh.) Keppel – struggling (2-6, 5.11 ERA) in AAA.
The Mets assessed, and dispatched their talent to other teams.
And on to the remaining talent…

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Prentice Redman/Jeff Keppinger
AA: Micah Mangrum
High A: Vincent Cordova
A: Blake Whealy
SSA: Ambio Concepcion/Jim Burt

Norfolk 2, @ Indianapolis 6
Pat Strange gave up six runs on eight hits in five innings. Jeff Keppinger singled twice to up his AAA average to .625 (5H/8AB) each time driving in Prentice Redman who singled twice as well. Redman and Keppinger were the only Tides with multiple hits as Norfolk was held without an extra base hit.

New Hampshire 4, @ Binghamton 0
Binghamton managed only three singles while Mike Meyers gave up all four runs, three earned in his four innings. Micah Mangrum was awesome in relief. He gave up just one hit while fanning seven, without a walk over the next four innings.

Brevard Country 1, @ St. Lucie 0
Vincent Cordova lost a pitchers duel to Expos top-prospect Clint Everts. Cordova, in his fourth FSL start and second in a row against the Manatees, made it his best, going seven three hit innings while fanning a very nasty 12.
Like their AA brethren, St. Lucie managed only three hits. Joe Jianetti had two, including a double. Alhaji Turay singled as well.

Hagerstown 3, @ Capital City 5
Blake Whealy homered twice in a 3-4 night, while driving in three runs. Thirdbaseman Shawn Bowman drove in a run with a single and a double. Catcher Yunir Garcia launched a solo homer along with a single in a 2-4 night.
Greg Ramirez lasted only four innings, allowing all three runs. Twenty-four year old Jose Gomez earned the win for his three innings of one hit baseball. He fanned six and didn’t walk a batter to up his strikeout total to 15 in 8.2 SAL innings.

Aberdeen 5, @ Brooklyn 4
Ambio Concepcion homered and drove in a pair. Former Hurricane Jim Burt singled, doubled and drove in a run in four trips. Catcher Aaron Hathaway came out of the game after two at bats.
Mike Swindell gave up four runs, two earned on five hits in six innings.

Archives at metsminors.blogspot.com.
I’m back.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-3

Sad day in Metsland, with Bob Murphy’s passing. One of the voices that made me want to become a broadcaster won’t speak again.
I realized that after every victory I tell listeners to Ports games that “we’ll be right back with a happy recap.” I knew I stole it straight from Murph, but it just seems like such a good way to celebrate. Someday, maybe I’ll be smart enough or good enough to coin my own phrase. Right now, I think I’ll settle for borrowing from a great one, and think of my Mets after every victory I call.
Lets do some recaps before I get choked up.

I shouldn’t do this, but if you want to get more upset about the Mets idiocy last Friday, read http://theraindrops.weblogs.us/. I should warn you, Avkash will make you more upset than you might want to be.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Bob Keppel/Prentice Redman
AA: Jason Scobie/Gil Velazquez
AA: Orlando Roman/Josh Pressley/Brett Harper
High A: Hurricane season
A: Blake Whealy/Tanner Osberg
A: Jamar Hill
SSA: Scott Hyde/Ambio Concepcion

Norfolk 6, @ Toledo 3
Bob Keppel won his third game of the year for his six one run innings. He gave up seven hits without walking a batter, while striking out two. Blake McGinley gave up two runs, one earned and a homer in his three inning save.
The Tides featured a balanced attack as no Tide scored more than one run, nor drove in more than one, while only two had more than one hit. Prentice Redman tripled and doubled, drove in a run and scored one. Rodney Nye also doubled as part of a 2-4 night, drove in a run, and scored one. Tom Wilson homered for his only hit in four tries.

Binghamton 3, @ Trenton 4 (Game 1)
I listened to the early parts of this game, thanks to the beauty of webcasting. I learned a lot. For example Trenton features the first female headsgroundkeeper in AA.
Wayne Lydon was the only B-Met with multiple hits: two singles. Gil Velazquez tripled and walked twice.
Jason Scobie gave up four runs, three earned, in 5.2 innings. He hit two batters, but didn’t walk one, while striking out five.

Binghamton 5, @ Trenton 2 (Game 2)
Orlando Roman won his first AA start giving up just two runs on four hits through six innings. He walked four while fanning only two. PJ Bevis gave up a couple of hits, but completed his fourth save. Roman, who was originally drafted in the 31st round in 1999, began his career as a starter, but spent most of 2001, 2002 and 2003 as a reliever. At the end of July 2003, he was sent from St. Lucie, where he’d worked out of the pen, back to Capital City where he resumed his starters career.
Jeff Duncan singled and doubled. Brett Harper and Josh Pressley each singled and doubled while driving in a pair and a run respectively. Catcher Jimmie Gonzalez was 2-4 with an RBI.

Palm Beach @ St. Lucie
Rained out.

Capital City 5, @ Delmarva 2 (Game 1)
Blake Whealy drove in a pair with a single and a double. Ryan Harvey tripled and scored a run. Andy Wilson homered and scored a pair of runs thanks to his walk.
Tanner Osberg allowed two unearned runs on six hits. He walked a batter, and hit a batter while retiring four on strikes.

Capital City 5, @ Delmarva 8
2001 fourth rounder Brian Walker gave up the first five runs and took the loss. The good news I suppose is that he struck out seven while walking one. Anderson Garcia allowed three runs, but only one was earned over the final inning and two thirds. He gave up two hits and two walks, so it’s not as though he was completely the victim of bad luck.
Jamar Hill homered and drove in two in a 2-4 nightcap. Blake Whealy tripled, so he was shy of a homer for a cycle split between the two games of the doubleheader. Jesus LInares singled home a pair.

Brooklyn 8, @ Aberdeen 5
My boy Scott Hyde (no relation) allowed only one run two hits and two walks over 5.2 innings. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a solo homer. He struck out six to improve to 2-0. In 19.2 IP, he’s given up just three runs, while striking out 16 and walking seven and holding the NYP to a .141 BA against.
Ambio Concepcion singled, doubled, tripled, drove in three, and stole a base. He’s already got 16 stolen bases in 35 games to go along with a .300/.340/.469 line. Matt Fisher doubled and scored twice. Dante Brinkley singled twice and scored each time.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 8-2

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Prentice Redman/David Bacani/Randy Keisler
AA: The Rain
High A: Yusmeiro Petit/Lastings Milledge
A: More Rain
SSA: Evan MacLane/Ambio Concepcion

Norfolk 9 @ Toledo 7
Norfolk led 4-1, then 7-3, but the bullpen gave away the lead, and the Tides needed two in the top of the tenth to win the ballgame. Tyler Yates blew the save by giving up a two run homerun, but gave up just a walk in the bottom of the tenth to earn the win. Randy Keisler sent the first six innings allowing three runs on two homers and six hits. He fanned six. New Tide Bartolome Fortunato retired two batters.
Prentice Redman drove home the winning run with a bases loaded walk in the top of the tenth. Rodney Nye drove in his second run of the game by grounding into a fielder’s choice. Secondbaseman David Bacani went 2-4 with a three RBI triple. Rodney Nye singled twice and walked twice in six plate appearances and drove in a pair. Victor Diaz launched a solo homer.

Binghamton
Rained out. Binghamton will play two tomorrow at Trenton. Jason Scobie will start the first game, and Orlando Roman will make his AA debut. The 26 year-old Roman was 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA, 3.88 RA. He held the league to a .220 batting average while walking 33 and striking out 99 in 102 IP. He was originally a 31st round draft pick in 1999 out of Indian Hills (IA) CC.

St. Lucie 1, @ Palm Beach 2
Yusmeiro Petit allowed just one run on seven hits over the first 6.2 IP. The new top Mets pitching prospect fanned 11 while walking one to lower his FSL ERA to 1.19. David Byard gave up the deciding unearned run in the bottom of the eighth.
Lastings Milledge tripled and scored in his 2-4 night. Corey Ragsdale drove him home with a sacrifice fly.
Now starting for Palm Beach: Rick Ankiel. The only hit he allowed in his two innings was Milledge’s triple.

Capital City
Rained out at Delmarva. The Bombers and the Shorebirds will play two on Tuesday.

Brooklyn 4, @ Aberdeen 5
The Ironbirds scored four in the bottom of the ninth to beat first place Brooklyn.
Evan MacLane who has absolutely no business being in the New York Penn League dealt the first 5.2 innings allowing only one unearned run on seven hits. He fanned four without a walk. Remember up in the SAL MacLane was 5-2 with a 2.39 ERA, 2.79 RA. The SAL was hitting only .225 against him, and he’d struck out 66 while walking only 10. I guess this is old news, but it never ceases to be frustrating. With Brooklyn, MacLane has horrified the NYP with 35 K and just 2 (!) walks in 42 innings.
Ambio Concepcion singled and homered and drove in two. Dante Brinkley had a pair of singles. Ryan Coultas was 1-4 with a single and an RBI.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Mets Screw UP- Trade Farm away

Oh God. It's like a nightmare come true. The Mets gave up the farm today. This is one of those Dykstra/Juan Samuel type moments. 1. Mets trade SCOTT KAZMIR and Jose Diaz to the Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato. 2. Mets trade catcher Justin Huber to the Royals for minor league infielder Jose Bautista. 3. Mets trade Bautista, Ty Wigginton and Matt Peterson to the Pirates for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger. Lets start from the beginning with the Devil Rays deal. 1. Prior to the season, Kazmir was ranked as the second best prospect in the system, behind Kaz Matsui, and ahead of David Wright. Kazmir struggled a little bit due to injury, but recovered to pitch lights out in St. Lucie and earn his promotion to AA. With Binghamton, Kazmir was 2-1, 1.73 ERA, 2.08 RA, and the league was hitting .188 against him. He'd struck out 29 and walked 9 in 26 innings. That's awesome. And he's a 20 year old lefty. A future Stud. Jose Diaz was BA's 17th best Mets prospect entering the year. The former catcher features a live arm, but struggled with his control this year. The Mets received 28 year old arbitration eligible Victor Zambrano who this year is 9-7, 4.43 ERA, 4.789 Ra. The league is hitting .237 against him as he's allowed 107 hits in 128 innings. His K/9 sits at 7.66 after increasing steadily each of the last two years. Zambrano's a nice pitcher, and will help the Mets, but Kazmir alone would have been too much for me. Fortunato has some good AAA numbers for Durham out of the bullpen. 4-3 9 Saves, 2.42 ERA league hitting .183 against him. He's fanned 54 and walked 21 in his 44.2 innings. He'll be 30 in August. 2. Huber for Bautista. You can't give up on catchers who can hit......271/.417/.487 in AA, and was doing fine in AAA. Like young lefties, catchers who can hit are rare breeds. 3. Huber (by way of Bautista), Wigginton, and Peterson, for Benson and Jeff Keppinger. BA had Huber ranked as the sixth best prospect in the organization before the system by the way. Matt Peterson was the fourth ranked prospect in the Mets system according to BA before the season. Peterson's 22, and large at 6-5, 210, with the ceiling of a #2. Peterson was having a solid year in AA: 6-4, 3.27 ERA, 3.78 RA, with 90 K vs. 45 BB in 104.2 innings. He gave up 11 HR, but otherwise was just fine. Wigginton was a very useful everyday guy to have on the team given his versatility and his bat: .285/.335/.487 in 312 AB. Benson, who's contract is up at the end of this year has been a first round pick who's never quite lived up to expectations. His last two months were good, but his career has not been. Baseball Prospectus lists his most comparable pitchers coming into this year as: Bryan Rekar (2002 edition), Dick Bosman (1973), Roy Smith (1991). Other notable names on the list include: #7, Dustin Hermanson (2002), #9 James Baldwin (2001), #19 Steve Trachsel (2000). Benson is 8-4 with a 4.22 ERA and a 4.68 RA. His K/9 has slipped his year to 5.65 down from a high of over 7.5 in 2000. 24 year old second baseman, Jeff Keppinger is hitting .338/.387/.413 for AA Altoona. I like that OBP, and he's got 17 2B, 2 3B, and 1 HR in his first year in AA. Keppinger did not make BA's top 30 prospects, and he's having a fine year, but he is not among the caiber of prospects the Mets traded away. This will be remembered as a dark day in Metsland unless of course there are rings handed out this year with World Series Champions inscribed on them. I'm nearly speachless I'm so upset, but I have to put myself together and do a broadcast tonight, but my thoughts will hardly be on the Stockton Ports/Inland Empire 66ers game in front of me. For the record, the Pirates asked about Rangers stud 19 year old left John Danks and were immediately rebuffed by the Texas front office. Looks like Tampa and Pittsburgh found their suckers...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Recaps for 7-26

        Scott Erickson last night:  Two innings, seven runs against the Expos.Remember, this was the man who would “solidify” the Mets starting rotation.The Expos.  This is a Montreal team dead last in the Majors with 350 runs,51 behind Milwaukee, last in OBP and last in Slugging.        Of course that nearly overshadowed David Wright’s first Major Leaguehomer,which we can all be excited about.       
I missed writing very badly last week.  I hope to be more regular thisweekfrom Rancho Cucamonga.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Aaron Heilman/Danny Garcia
AA: Scott Kazmir/Josh Pressley
High A: Aarom Baldiris/Corey Ragsdale/Alhaji Turay/Tim McNab
Low A: Vincent Cordova/Ryan Harvey/Shawn Bowman
SSA: Joseph Williams/Ryan Coultas

Norfolk 6, Indianapolis 3       
Pinch hitter Mike Glavine drove in the winning run in the bottom of theseventh. Justin Huber began the rally with a walk.  Danny Garcia had theonly extra basehit a double in a 2-4 night.  Gerald Williams singled twiceand drove in two.  Justin Huber didn’t have a hit, but drew three walks.
Aaron Heilman earned the win, his fourth in a row to improve to 5-8. Heilman dealt seven innings and allowed three runs all in the sixth inningwhen he walked two batters with the bases loaded.  On the night he walked four and hit a batter while striking out two.  Heilman didn’t allow ahomerun for his second straight night.  Heilman has allowed a homer in 11 ofhis 20 Norfolk appearances, and tonight was only the third time in theseason that he has managed to go two consecutive appearances without givingup a long ball.Vic Darrensbourg worked a perfect eighth, striking out all three Indians hefaced.  Heath Bell gave up one hit and struck out one to record his ninthsave.

New Britain 2, @ Binghamton 5       
Oh yeah.  Scott Kazmir fired seven one run innings while striking outseven.  He gave up five hits, walked two and hit a batter.        Josh Pressley doubled twice, scoring a pair.  Centerfielder Wayne Lydon,who can fly, was 1-2 with two hit by pitches, but was caught stealing.Readers around here should know that I rarely reference a batting averagewithout the corresponding OBP, but know that no player in the Binghamtonlineup had a batting average over .300.St. Lucie 4, @Lakeland 3 (11 innings)        Homers by Aarom Baldiris (his 3rd) and shortstop Corey Ragsdale (his6th)sent this game into extra innings where a homer by Alhaji Turay (his 13th)won it for the Mets.  Baldiris and Turay were each 2-5.  Lastings Milledge doubled for his only hit.       
Tim McNab dealt three scoreless innings for the win.  He struck outthreewithout walking a batter and allowed just one hit.  Brian Bannister started, going six innings giving up three runs on six hits.  The former USC Trojan, Bannister struck out eight – his third highest total of the season.  JoseNunez bridged McNab and Bannister with two scoreless innings of his own.
Augusta 2, @ Capital City 5       
Vincent Cordova dominated: seven one run innings, with just three hitsand13 strikeouts without a walk.  Those 13 strikeouts are a career high,although he ended 2003 with 10 strikeouts in his final appearance forBrooklyn.  Cordova has a sick 7.167 K/BB ratio with 86 strikeouts againstjust 12 walks.  His ERA sits at 3.99 (46 ER/103.2 IP), but his RA is 5.21(60 R/103.2 IP) as he has allowed a very high number of unearned runs, whichis reflected in his .500 record – 7-6 so far.       
Thirdbaseman Shawn Bowman homer in four trips, to go along with a pairofwalks.  2001 draft and follow Jamar Hill homer and walked.  Ryan Harveymissed a homerun for the cycle as he singled, doubled and tripled.  Harvey,now 24, is hitting .330/.405/.500.  That .330 is third in the league, andthe .405 OBP is fifth, his 27 doubles are tied for fifth in the league.  Ifor one would like to see him face FSL pitching this season.  It’s not likethe St. Lucie outfield is loaded with top-shelf prospects.  The St. Lucieoutfield consists of two guys, Jonathan Slack (.276/.357/.378) and BobbyMalek (.254/.307/.409) who have made 80+ starts and two in Joe Jiannetti(.255/.307/.349) and Alhaji Turay (.254/.297/.466) who have made roughly 50 starts sharing the other spot.

Brooklyn 1 @ Aberdeen 3       
Seventeenth round pick Joseph Williams from St. Xavier (Ill.) fired sixscoreless innings to star the game.  There were baserunners, with five hitsand four walks, but Williams kept the Ironbirds at bay to lower his ERA to1.83.  He’s fanned 34 and walked 15 in his 39.1 IP, and the league ishitting just .181 against him.       
Outfielder Corey Coles had the only extrabase hit, a double.  ShortstopRyan Coultas, the sixth rounder from UC Davis singled, stole a base, anddrove in the only Brooklyn run of the night.  No Cyclone had more than onehit.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Wrap-Up and catchup from 7-19

            I am going to start reporting and calculating total runs against average alongside the more traditional ERA for pitchers.  After all, the pitcher should still be responsible for putting the guys on base.  As writers Michael Wolverton and Dayn Perry among others have noted, the issue of separating defense and pitching statistics is complicated, and the ERA rule merely makes a half-assed attempt, while the RA avoids the any attempt at correcting for defense.  A pitcher on the Ports put the issue a little less delicately when he told that “after the error, it’s like saying nothing matters, and you could just shit the bed.”  Like OBP, just give RA a few years. 
            Would anyone care to hazard a guess as to how many runs Mike Cameron has saved Mets pitchers this year?  
            The White Sox again traded prospects for Carl Everett.  I asked a sportswriter what he thought that would do to clubhouse atmosphere.  He replied flippantly that it wouldn’t do a thing because the other payers would regard him as an alien presence.  I think that’s wishful thinking out of an A’s fan. 
 
Norfolk
            The Tides went 2-2 following the All-Star Break, and has been getting solid starting pitching all the way around. 
Thursday, fresh off his Futures Game appearance, David Wright homered twice to give the Tides a 3-0 lead they’d eventually give back.  Matt Ginter started but only lasted one inning.  Randy Keisler allowed four runs in his six innings.  Tyler Yates dealt a scoreless inning, but hit a batter and allowed a hit.  David Wright is handling AAA very well: .308/.392/.607.  That heady .607 slugging percentage can be explained with the fact that of his 33 AAA hits, eight have been doubles, and eight(!) have been homeruns.  Wright’s running buddy from AA, Prentice Redman is still adjusting to AAA: .241/.298/.379.  You can’t blame his strikeout rate, 20 in 87 AB, because he struck out in nearly 1 out of 4 AA plate appearances with 68 K in 245 AB.
Recently signed thirty-four year old Vic Darensbourg dealt a perfect inning.  The lefty is a good candidate to show up in the Mets bullpen shortly after pitching well in AAA Charlotte where the league was hitting .22 against him and he had 33 strikeouts against nine walks.  His left/right splits do not exactly suggest a lefty specialist as rights are hitting .206 against him, while lefties a heftier .261.  He does strike out lefties at over one an inning in AAA.
Friday Pat Strange dropped allowed just one unearned run on four hits.  He fanned three and walked just one.  Victor Diaz tripled and Craig Brazell had a pair of singles. 
Saturday Bob Keppel earned his first win of the year.  Gerald Williams homered, and dropped a sacrifice bunt in the same game.  The Tides scored four runs with two RBI.
Sunday, Aaron Heilman turned in his fourth solid start in a row.  He earned his third win in a row for his seven innings.  Heilman allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits.  He struck out eight and walked two.  In four starts in July in 26 innings his ERA is 2.42 and his total runs against average is 3.11.  With 26 strikeouts and ten walks his K/BB ratio is 2.6.  That’s all good, but he’s still allowed a homerun in two of those starts.  He’s given up 15 homers, tied for ninth in the league, in 110 innings so far this year.  Victor Diaz homered and doubled.  David Wright dropped another 2-4 performance with a walk and an RBI.  Tyler Yates picked up a John Franco style nerve racking save: 1.1 innings, 1 hit, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, but he got the job done.
 
Binghamton
            At 55-39 the B-Mets lead the Eastern League’s Northern Division by three games ahead of New Hampshire.  Angel Pagan’s .312 batting average is fourth in the league and he’s hitting .312/.366/.438.  The team features three pitchers in the top ten in the league in era: Jason Scobie (3-2, 2.91 ERA, 3.53 RA), Matt Peterson (6-4, 3.27 ERA, 3.78 RA), and Neal Musser (9-4, 3.33 ERA, 4.34 RA).   Twenty-three year old Wayne Lydon (.269/.339/.352) leads the league with 52 stolen bases, nearly twice the total of second place Tyrell Godwin who has 27.  Even without David Wright and Prentice Redman the B-Mets have won 3 of their last 5 including two on Sunday.
            Scott Kazmir won his first AA game with five one run innings in a 10-3 victory Thursday.  He fanned five, but walked one and plunked two.  Josh Pressley doubled in a 2-3 night while driving in three.
             
St. Lucie
            The Floridians are playing .500 ball in the second half at 12-13, and find themselves fourth in the tightly bunched East Division four games behind Vero Beach.  Aarom Baldiris is hitting .305/.387/.383, big numbers in the pitcher friendly FSL.   That OBP puts him sixth in the league, and his .305 average puts him eighth.  Jonathan Slack (.281/.361/.391) is tied for second in the league with 27 stolen bases, but has only been caught 4 times. 
            Lastings Milledge was promoted from Capital City and is 3-9, with a double and a triple.  Firstbaseman Brett Harper, originally a 45th round pick in 2000 is now clubbing along to a .360/.455/.579, all numbers that would put him in the top three in the league if he had enough AB to qualify.
            Yusmeiro Petit earned his first High A win this week with six scoreless, one hit innings versus Jupiter.  He fanned six and walked two.  In 11.2 FSL innings, he’s given up just one run. 
 
            Once again, this will be a relatively slow recap week as I will be on the road again.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Mets Weekend Wrap 7-11

Two Mets prospects played in the Major League Baseball Futures game, for the country’s best prospects: Yusmeiro Petit and David Wright. It’s dangerous to read too much into their performances, since this was an All-Star game, but even so, the scouts were there in force, and it’s a very cool showcase. For each prospect, there was some good and some bad.
Defensively, David Wright had a rough third inning behind Rangers prospect John Danks. Danks, a 19 year old has a big time curve and induces grounder after grounder. With a runner on first, Danks induced the World centerfielder to bounce the ball on the left side, to Wright’s left. He angled back, let the ball play him, and had the ball bounce off his glove for an error. With his next chance, with runners at first and second and one out, Wright received another bouncing ball at third. This one should have been two, by way of second, to get out of the inning. Instead, Wright snagged the ball, chased and tagged the charging runner, which left runners again at first and second. Next, Danks induced a slow roller towards third, that Wright didn’t get to quickly enough to make a play. This would have taken a sensational play to get the runner at first. So: two blunders, one half mental (apologies to Yogi)/half physical, and one completely mental. I watched the inning with Danks’ current teammates which also includes one of Wright’s buddies- Josh Rupe, who was disappointed with Wright’s defensive performance. He promised to call his boy and give him a hard time. On the plus side, Wright at the plate was 1-3. The one was a line drive single up the middle on a 98 mile an hour 2-2 fastball.
Meanwhile, Yusmeiro Petit was one of three pitchers alongside Danks, and the Expos’ Clint Everts, who was selected to the game based on their achievements in low A. I didn’t watch his inning, but listened online. He faced three batters, and retired two with a single and a strikeout; that’s the good. However, he allowed both runners he inherited to score.


Norfolk

Friday 7/9: Norfolk 8 @ Scranton WB 1
Saturday 7/10: Norfolk 4 @ Scranton 1
Sunda 7/11: Norfolk 6 @ Scranton 2

Sunday saw a good performance by Aaron Heilman who gave up just a 2 run homer in six innings. He struck out 4, and walked five, while allowing five hits in six innings. Tyler Yates struck out three in an inning in which he faced four batters, but didn’t allow a hit or walk. Pedro Feliciano worked a perfect ninth with a pair of whiffs. Prentice Redman homered.
Saturday was Scott Erickson time. He went 8.1 innings and allowed one run and seven hits. He struck out two and walked two. That’s solid, but hardly dominating. Victor Diaz had a pair of hits, which included a double. Gerald Williams homered.
Friday night Randy Keisler hurled seven one run innings. He struck out six without walking a batter while giving up seven hits. Yates gave up one hit and fanned two in one inning. Royce Ring gave up a hit in the ninth.
I’ll take Keisler’s 6Ks over Erickson’s 2 any day of the week.

Binghamton
The big news is Scott Kazmir’s AA debut Saturday. He described himself as shaky, but left with the game tied. He went six innings and allowed two runs. Kaz fanned seven but walked five.
Ken Chenard started again Sunday and was solid, earning the win for his five shutout innings. He gave up just three hits. He struck out six, but plunked two. Jason Scobie went four innings for his first save of the year. Josh Pressley was 2-3 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBI. Jeff Duncan was 3-5 with a triple and a pair of singles. Chase Lambin drove in three with a double and two singles.
Friday Bowie scored a 9-0 victory. This one was a 2-0 game in the seventh when Neal Musser left the game. Musser gave up just one earned run, and allowed but three hits over his seven frames. He fanned four, but walked only one. Jose Diaz “had his titties lit.” Six runs, 2 walks, 2 HPB, 2 hits. The B-Mets managed only two hits.


St. Lucie

St. Lucie 5 @ Jupiter 4 Sunday; 25 year old Rule 5 draftee Brian Edwards dealt six inning ad gave up one run. He struck out four, without walking a batter. The big hit in the game: Alhaji Turay’s three run homer in the bottom of the eighth to put Binghamton ahead.
St. Lucie 2, Jupiter 1 (18 innings); !!!! Orlando Roma fired eight one hit innings while fanning 10. Tim McNab won the game for his 4.2 innings while striking out five.

I’m not sure how much writing I’ll do this week from Visalia, but I’d like to find a computer.
As you might have noticed, I switched formats halfway through the report. Since on Sunday, I try to cover a little more, which makes for the easiest reading?

Pass on to friends!!!
Toby

Friday, July 09, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 7-8

From Adam Rubin in the Daily News: “Most Mets officials have never seen Soler pitch, but the belief is that the righthander, who throws in the low-90s and is purported to be 24 years old, could be in the rotation after several minor-league starts.” Let me get this right, $3 Million dollars, and you’ve never seen him pitch, AND his CUBAN birth certificate says he’s 24, AND he’s had two major shoulder surgeries... Oh, now I get it. Who knows, maybe Alain Soler takes the Mets to the pennant in 2004. “The belief is that the righthander, who throws in the low 90s….” Belief? George Bush believes that we are winning the War on Terror. I want a scout or a GM to KNOW what a guy throws.
Also from Rubin: “Soler’s addition and the likely promotion of Scott Erickson from Triple-A Norfolk…could solidify a rotation that includes shaky back-end starters Matt Ginter and Jae Seo.” Huh? Scott Erickson isn’t a shaky back-end starter? Just for fun, lets compare some AAA numbers:

Erickson: 2-3, 5.15 ERA, 43.2 IP, 49 H, .283 BA, 5 HR, 10 BB, 28 K
WHIP: 1.36 K/BB: 2.8 K/9: 5.83
Ginter: 0-2, 1.56 ERA, 34.2 IP, 27 H, .211 BA, 1 HR, 4 BB, 27 K
WHIP: 0.89 K/BB: 6.75 K/9: 7.01
Seo (2002): 6-9, 3.99, 128.2 IP, 145 H, .284 BA, 14 HR, 22 BB, 87 K
WHIP: 1.30 K/BB: 3.95 K/9: 6.09

Erickson’s numbers are actually fairly similar to Seo’s 2002, with a WHIP around 1.3 and a K/9 around 6. But Seo’s control was better as evidenced by his K/BB ratio. Ginter’s performance at AAA was far superior than Erickson’s in every dimension and he’s ten years younger.


Stars of the Day:
AAA: Pat Strange/Gerald Williams
A: Jay Caligiuri/Jonathan Slack
High A: Jonathan Slack/ Jay Caligiuri
High A: Aarom Baldiris/Corey Ragsdale
A: Lastings Milledge/Rashad Parker


Norfolk 3, @ Scranton-WB 2
Pat Strange won his first game in a month, with his best start in nearly two. He gave up seven hits and two runs over six innings, while fanning four. Jason Roach followed with two innings and allowed just one basehit. Tyler Yates got his first save for a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.
The Tides used a pair of homeruns to do all their damage. David Wright’s solo shot in the first put Norfolk up 1-0. Gerald Williams’ two run returned the lead to Norfolk at 3-2. Both Wright and Williams were 1-4. Esix Snead and Rodney Nye each doubled for their only hit. In fact, no Norfolk hitter had multiple hits as Norfolk needed just five hits, four of which went for extra bases.
Javier Cordona started tonight behind the plate. The 29 year old spent all of last year in the independent Atlantic League. He’s at AA, but not much at AAA or the major league level. He last saw the bigs in 2002 when he hit .103 in 39 AB for the Padres.

Binghamton
Off. The B-Mets begin a four game series vs. Bowie Friday night.

St. Lucie 4, @ Sarasota 6 (10 innings)
Chris Durbin’s two run homer in the tenth off Robert Paulk won the game for Sarasota. That ruined Paulk’s otherwise solid 3.1 innings of relief work. Brian Bannister worked in and out of trouble for the first 6.1 innings allowing four runs, two earned. He gave up eight hits, walked two unintentionally, issued one intentional pass, and plunked a pair.
Jonathan Slack was 3-5 with a stolen base and a pair of runs scored from the top of the order. Aarom Baldiris was 2-5 with two singles. Jay Caligiuri was 2-4, with a homer and 3 RBI.

St. Lucie 1 @ Sarasta 10
This was a looong doubleheader. Yusmeiro Petit started and lost for St. Lucie, but was the best pitcher of the ballgame for the Mets: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K. Luz Portobanco gave up three runs in 2.1 innings, and David Byard surrendered 6 in his 2.
Two Mets had two hits: Aarom Baldiris singled twice with an RBI, and Corey Ragsdale singled and doubled. That was it.

Capital City 6, @ Asheville 16
Ivan Maldonado was charged with 13 earned runs in 3.1 innings.
Lastings Milledge was 3-5 with a solo homer. Rashad Parker singled and doubled in five trips. Jamar Hill and Blake Whealy each had one hit: a solo homer.

Brooklyn
Off. The Cyclones play Staten Island this weekend.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 7-7

Scott Kazmir was promoted to AA Binghamton and is scheduled to make his AA debut Saturday at 7:05 against the Bowie Baysox. He should be added to the roster Friday. I read on Mets.com, that Yusmeiro Petit’s start in St. Lucie this week was supposed to be a spot start, but he was so good, the Mets were thinking about keeping him in Florida. Could that have pushed Kazmir to AA? Or maybe it was just Kaz’s 0.78 ERA in his last four starts that did it.
Ryan Harvey earned Topps Player of the month honors for the SAL in June for his .381/.458/.667 month that included a 17 game hit streak. He had 32 hits in the month, and an even 16 of them, twelve doubles and four homers went for extra bases. And he walked seven times.
Ian Bladergroen, who was having a huge (.349/.375/.554) breakout season is now done for the season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Victor Diaz/Bob Keppel
AA: Matt Peterson/Angel Pagan
A: Brian Walker/Blake Whaley/Ryan Harvey
R: Seth Pietsch


Richmond 2, @ Norfolk 4
Victor Diaz was the hero tonight with a two run pinch hit double in the bottom of the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. Diaz’s hit scored Rodney Dye and John Pachot who had each singled. David Wright: a single, a double and a walk.
Bob Keppel threw the first two innings and allowed nothing but struck out two Braves. Then the rains came. A 94 minute rain delay followed. Jake Joseph allowed two runs, neither earned in four innings of relief. Mike Meyers walked one in a scoreless inning. Pedro Feliciano snagged the win, his fourth for striking out two batters in the top of the eighth. Heath Bell struck out a batter for his fifth save.
Each team committed four errors in an ugly game that didn’t end until 11:52 local time.


Binghamton 12, @ Erie 9
Matt Peterson cruised through the first six innings giving up two earned runs while striking out eight. Then the bullpen of Blake McGinley and Kole Strayhorn make this one a lot more interesting by giving up seven earned runs over the final two innings.
You gotta feel for Erie pitching. The defense committed eight errors so 8 of Binghamton’s 10 runs were unearned.
Angel Pagan drove in four with a three run triple and a sacrifice fly. He added a double to complete a 2-4 night. Karim Garcia drove in three runs with a double and sacrifice fly in five AB. Chris Basak was 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Wayne Lydon put together an amusing line: 0-3, 2 BB, 3 R, 1 SB.

St. Lucie
Rained out.

Capital City 12 @ Asheville 2
Something I don’t understand in the boxscore: Matt Lindstrom is listed as the starter, but didn’t face a single batter. Brian Walker went the first 5.2 “real” innings, and gave up two runs on seven hits. Bryan King earned the long distance save in a 10 run game. He was perfect facing the minimum 10 batters in 3.1 innings with four strikeouts.
The Bombers broke a 3-2 game after three innings wide open with a five run fifth, and a four run sixth and set a season high with 17 hits.
The big hit in that five run fifth was Blake Whaley’s three run blast. Whaley finished 2-4. Shawn Bowman was 2-3 with a two run homer in the sixth, a single, a walk, and a sac fly. Andy Wilson doubled twice. Ryan Harvey was 3-5 with a double.

Brooklyn @ Auburn
Rained out. The game will not be made up this season.

Burlington 2 @ Kingsport 11
Seth Pietsch was 2-3 with a HR, and three RBI. DH Travis Garcia had 5 RBI in a 2-4 night that included a homer and a single. Garcia played at every level of low A last year: Brooklyn, Kingsport and Capital City where he hit .288 in 59 AB.

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