Monday, June 28, 2004

A Motley Collection from 6-27

Ok, so although my main topic is the Mets minor League system, it’s hard to get around today’s disappointment in the Bronx. I know, I should be used to it since it happens every year, but this time around was just like every other time around: the Mets lost a series to the Yanks. I guess I can take solace in the fact that one of the firemen in the ESPN opening tonight got something right when he said, “Both teams come from the greatest city in the world.”
I listened to the final hour of game 1, and watched most of game 2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Gary Cohen is my favorite broadcaster in baseball. I had a bunch of notes from game 2, but I left them at the bar - The Graduate, Stockton, CA -where I watched the day’s final innings. I do have a few random thoughts about game two.
It’s hard not to like the Richard Hidalgo trade and harder not to like it now.
Ok, so Ginter was a little rattled by Yankee stadium, but he recovered, and gave the Mets a chance, albeit a slight one. At least he got someone out. Mike Stanton, I’m looking at you.
I really like Joe Morgan because if I pay attention for the entire game, I’ll learn something. It’s true that he often suffers from twice-itis where he repeats everything, and then says the same thing twice. However, a few comments on his commentary, from early in game two, when I could bear to listen to every word are in order.
In the first inning of game two, after Sheffield lined a hanging slider for a basehit, Morgan said, “He can handle any pitch.” Well, K-Zone showed he hit a pitch right down the middle, belt high. However, a batter later, Morgan made up for it by explaining how Hideki Matsui’s weak swing showed he was looking for the wrong pitch.
Then, in the second inning, Kaz Matsui went to his right, deep in the hole to short, picked the hop on Derek Jeter’s bouncing ball, set and quickly fired high and wide to first off his back foot for an error. It was a difficult, but not exceptional play. Morgan, a player turned broadcaster, and thus an apologist for the players, quickly launched into a speech about how difficult Matsui’s transition to Major League Baseball is, and lectured Mets fans to be patient. Initially, I was annoyed by Morgan’s logic. After all, we’re paying him real US money to produce real US results, and we moved a future superstar off his natural position to make room for Kaz. Also, scouts I’ve talked to recently say that a prospect’s arm is matched only by his feet in determining whether he’ll be able to play SS at the major league level. Kaz does not have a major league shortstop’s arm. Every night, I watch a 19-year old, a single-A shortstop, Joaquin Arias, who has a far better arm than Matsui. I went through all of that in about a minute. And I kept thinking…
What if Joe Morgan is right in this situation, and not just defending a player for the sake of defending a player? Imagine that play happened in Japan for a moment. In Japan, most fields are Astroturf, and if Kaz had fielded that ball in the same position, deep in the hole, it would have gotten to him much more quickly than on the Yankee stadium grass, and he would have had time to lob the ball to first and throw out the runner. In fact, I watched a comparable situation earlier in the day in the College World Series. In the CWS, where the players swing aluminum or some other space-age material, the balls get to the shortsop much faster, almost as through they were playing on Astroturf. I saw the Texas shortstop make a play at short, straighten and lob the ball to first, in time to record the out. The lackadaisical throw struck me as funny, and it wasn’t until Morgan’s Kaz comment later that I figured out why it bothered me. With a wood bat, shortstops almost never have time to lob the ball. So maybe Morgan was right. Or maybe he was just making excuses. You decide.
The question remains, however, why did the Mets sign Matsui to be a sub-par defensive shortstop, to move Jose Reyes to second?
One other thought about the difference in style struck me today. Most of the American hitters I talk to have been schooled to “lock-out” with their front leg at contact. On Matsui’s basehit in the seventh, his front leg was very flexed. For comparison, Sierra was locked out on his single to left in the bottom half of the inning that made it 9-5 and effectively ended the game.

True Story:
Tuesday. Stockton Ports at San Jose Giants, Ports batting, top of the seventh inning. Runners on second and third, two out, score tied 3-3. Ports infielder Seth Taylor batting. The pitch, it was 2-2 I think, runs inside, and hits him on the left wrist. Taylor doubles over in pain clutching his arm. Meanwhile, the ball rolls weakly out toward the pitcher’s mound. The alert San Jose pitcher picked up the ball and threw to first, prompting the field umpire to make the out signal for out number three. Taylor, at this point, was holding his arm near the on-deck circle being attended to by trainer Brian Bobier. The Giants sprinted off the field, and no Port took the field for a few moments. After a lengthy argument, the Ports took the field, at which point the homeplate ump, ejected someone from the Ports dugout. (He didn’t even know who he’d ejected.)
I saw the X-rays on Wednesday morning and they were very easy to read. Seth Taylor had broken his left arm - the bone was sticking in two directions. As the players might say: No Bueno.
Wednesday. Seth Taylor, with his left arm in a cast, exchanges the lineup card at homeplate with San Jose Giants Manager Len Sakata. One ump refused to acknowledge him. One expressed sympathy for his injury. Seth then coached first for the first inning, where the ump wouldn’t say a word to him.

The Mets have now signed 4 of their first picks, but haven’t been able to come to terms with either of the first two selections: Phil Humber or Matt Durkin. Thirdrounder Gaby Hernandez, fourth rounder Aaron Hathaway (one of the top defensive catchers in the draft), fifth rounder Nick Evans, and sixth rounder Evan Coultas are all on payroll.

I hear some very worrisome things about Matt Durkin. He reportedly is seeking a $900,000 bonus. The Mets offered him $750,000. In one scout’s opinion, he’s barely worth one tenth of that. I was told me that he was no better now, than when he was drafted out of HS, in the tenth round. His fastball, on good days will sit at a legitimate 95-96. However, other days he will throw 89-92. Also, he’s essentially stopped throwing his curveball, which had potential to be plus major league pitch a few years ago. Scouts have big questions about “his makeup.”

On the other hand, most folks I’ve asked who are in a position to know, and I don’t run into many out here in California, think the Mets made the right choice with Humber over his teammate, Niemann in the first round.

It’s a small world. I met a girl who went to Bullard HS in Fresno. At first, I had no idea why that sounded familiar since I don’t know anyone in Fresno. I figured it had something to do with some baseball player. I was right: with their 50th pick, that’s the last one, the Mets scooped up a lefty named Sean Cunningham. They don’t expect him to sign, but the chances that they’ll draft him next year, when he will sign are good. You heard it here first.

Norfolk
The Tides have now lost six in a row, after a sweep at the hands at Scranton-Wilkesbury this weekend. Norfolk couldn’t manage more than three runs in any of this weekend’s games.
Sunday, Bob Keppel gave up four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings.
Saturday, Aaron Heilman was solid, allowing just one earned run in six innings. He fanned six, gave up six hits, walked one and plunked one. He did allow one unearned run. The Tides allowed three unearned runs in the game, including two by Jason Roach. Tyler Yates struck out two in a perfect inning out of the bullpen.
Friday, Scranton-WB used a six run (not that again) fourth to cruise to a 7-2 win. Scott Erickson gave up seven runs, four of them earned on eight hits in six innings. He struck out six and hit a batter.
David Wright was a modest 5-16 vs. Scranton-WB with two home runs and two doubles. It’s only a matter of when, not if.

Binghamton
Like their AAA brethren, the B-Mets were 0-for-the weekend, losing three to Trenton.
Angel Pagan was 6-14 with two doubles in the series and is now hitting .321/.375/.435. He’s swiped 20 bags, and has only been caught twice.

I’m done for the day. I’ll be spending the California League All-Star Break out of the Central Valley, and back in civilization, San Francisco or there-abouts.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 6-23

I met the Northern California Mets scout today who drafted Matt Durkin, the San Jose State pitcher, and Ryan Coultas, the UC Davis shortstop. He thought Coultas if he didn’t sign today, would ink very shortly. He was not expecting Durkin, who is represented by Scott Boras, to pitch anytime soon. He was also very high on seventh round draft pick Scott Hyde, who led George Fox to the DIII championship, and I like if only because his name has a certain ring to it.

Stars of the Day:
AA:Wayne Lydon/Jose Diaz
High A: Jay Caligiuri/Kevin Deaton
Low A: Ryan Harvey/Vincent Cordova
SSA: Corey Coles/Joseph Williams


Norfolk
Off.

Binghamton 5, Norwich 3
Wayne Lydon was 2-4 with a double and walk and scored a pair of runs. Centerfielder Angel Pagan had a 2-5 night with two stolen bases to raise his average to .316/.431/.375 from a nadir of .190 on May 3rd. The speedster has 13 doubles, five triples and 19 stolen bases while only being caught twice. Chris Basak singled home a run, as did third baseman David Detienne.
Jose Diaz improved to 4-3 with the win. He gave up three runs, seven hits, and two walks in five innings. Ken Chenard was terrific out of the ‘pen: four scoreless, one hit innings with one walk and four strikeouts.

Clearwater 7, St. Lucie 11
Every St. Lucie starter had at least one hit, but no one had more than two. St. Lucie used two big innings: scoring six runs in the first, and five in the seventh to put away the Threshers.
First baseman Jay Caligiuri homered and drove in four in a 2-5 night. 25 year old DH Andres Rodriguez plated three with a homerun and a single.
The recipient of all this run support was Kevin Deaton who won his fifth decision. He allowed just one solo home run and one other hit while striking out six to lower his ERA to 2.87.

Asheville 2, Capital City 4
The first three Bombers reached base, and all scored. Lastings Milledge and Rashad Parker singled, and Ryan Harvey bombed a three run homer to bring them both home. Harvey’s .360/.439/.553 line puts him first in the league in average, first in active players in OBP and sixth in the league in SLG, but he’s 25, and in low A.
Vincent Cordova won with six innings of one run ball striking out six Tourists. He gave up five hits and walked just one, but hit two. Shane Hawk struck out three in a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

Brooklyn 6, Tri-City 3
Derran Watts drilled a solo home run, singled, and scored three runs. The 24 year old was hitting .273 with Capital City. Centerfielder Corey Coles was 2-5. The 22 year old lefty from Louisiana-Layfayette hit .333/.396/.406 for Kingsport last summer. Ambio Concepcion was 2-4.
Joseph Williams, 23, from St. Xavier and making his first career start, went five scoreless innings and allowed only two hits. He struck out five and walked two.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 6-21

I attended my first major league game of the year: Blue Jays at Padres, on Sunday afternoon. Jays won 3-0, but don’t ask me for details about what happened, I was paying scant attention because I was preparing for my broadcast later that day. The real point of that story is that PETCO Park is really stunning. It now passes SBC as my favorite new ballpark. Really, everything about PETCO is done right: the feel – very southern Californian, the setting- on the water, in the middle of downtown, the colors- Padres blue, and the white, with exposed brick, amenities– including the park in centerfield. There’s one downside: the upperdeck is roughly a mile from the field. I sat briefly in the nosebleeds nearly even with first base and felt very far away from the action. The Padres brag about their “cantilevered” upper deck, but it’s just far away. I used to love sitting in the upper deck at Shea. Maybe I’m just picky now, or spoiled, but I didn’t remember feeling that divorced from the field. Or maybe I didn’t care.
One mechanical note, I realized that I was losing home/away info by putting the winning team first, so I’ve begun listing the visiting team first, followed by the home team.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: Jeff Duncan/Prentice Redman
AA: Chris Basak/ Wayne Ough
High A: Alhaji Turay/Matt Lindstrom
A: Yusmeiro Petit/Andrew Wilson
SSA: Michael Devaney/Dante Brinkley


Norfolk 3, Pawtucket 9
David Wright did what he does: a double and a walk in four total plate appearances. Prentice Redman was 1-4 with a triple and 2 RBI. Old-timer Jeff Duncan was 2-5.
Jason Roach gave up four runs in 3.2 innings. Jake Joseph allowed 3 in 1.1. Mike Meyers gave up just 2 in 3 innings.

Binghamton 9, Norwich 3
Leftfielder Wayne Lydon tripled and drove in three. Ron Acuna was 2-5 with a double. Thirdbaseman Chris Basak did his best David Wright imitation: 3-4 with a double.
Wayne Ough won to improve to (2-3, 5.37) by allowing three runs in six innings. He struck out four and walked three while giving ups seven hits. Tim Lavigne was a walk away from perfection in his three relief innings to pick up the long distance save.

Palm Beach 3, St. Lucie 4
Alhaji Turay hit a two-out walkoff homerun in the bottom of the ninth to win the ballgame for St. Lucie. Jonathan Slack’s two run triple tied the ballgame in the bottom of the eighth. Bobby Malek added a 2-4 effort.
Starter Matt Lindstrom kept his team in the game with one earned run over 5.2 innings. He gave up four hits and walked three. The bullpen of Tim McNab, Michael Cox and Robert Paulk didn’t allow a run after that.

Augusta 1, Capital City 6
Lastings Milledge was 2-4 at the top of the order. Rashad Parker, the Mets 23rd round pick in 2002, drilled a three run homer. Andrew Wilson homered and doubled a drove in two.
Nineteen year old (at least in Venezualan years) Yusmeiro Petit improved to 9-1 with the win. Petit was just selected as a representative for the World Squad at the All-Star futures game, so someone’s noticing what he’s doing. He gave up just one hit, a solo home run, over 5.2 innings. He fanned 11, while walking only one. Petit lowered his ERA to 2.10, and the league is hitting just .157 against him. I’m not a big fan of the win statistic, but he’s won his last five decisions, and hasn’t been defeated since April 28th, when he gave up five runs, the most in any outing this season against Savanah. Petit has also picked up a win in each of his last three starts, allowing 1, 0, and 1 run respectively in 6, 6, and 5.2 innings. He’s reached double digits in strikeouts as well, striking out 10, 14 an 11. Petit’s struck out 112 batters in 77 innings and has walked just 21!!!
How does he do it? Petit’s fastball is average: just 88-91, but apparently, it’s very hard to pick up. His pitching coach, Blain Beatty recently compared him to a righthanded Sid Fernandez, in Baseball America, for the way batters have trouble picking up the ball out of his hand. Petit throws a change, is working on making his slider tighter, and at the Mets’ urging dropped his curve before the season to focus on his slider. His coaches have praised his presence and leadership qualities, but how long will he stay in Capital City? Meanwhile, there isn’t an obvious spot for him one level up since the St. Lucie rotation of Scott Kazmir, Matt Lindstrom, Brian Bannister, and Kevin Deaton has been good – Kazmir and Lindstrom are the only ones with an ERA over 4.00.

Brooklyn 4, Hudson Valley 5
A nice debut for Cyclones starter Michael Devaney, the Mets 23rd round draft pick started who went the first four innings, and gave up just one run on two hits and a walk. He whiffed five.
Offensively, a funny night, four guys had two hits, and no one else had one. Dante Brinkley (23rd round, 2003) tripled, singled, walked and scored every time he was on base. Twenty second rounder from the University of Kentucky, left fielder Caleb Stewart drove in two with a single and a double.

Kingsport 11, Johnson City 1
11th Rounder Josh Wyrick was 1-6 in the leadoff hole. Marcos Cabral homered in a 3-6 night. Cabral was a draft and follow in 2002, and hit .198 last year for Kingsport. Carlos Gomez was 3-4 with a triple. Gomez hit .240 for the DSL Mets last year. Seth Pietsch was 2-4 with a walk. He hit .200 for Kingsport last summer.
Orlando Rengel went the first three innings without allowing a run, and gave up three hits. Jeff Brewer got the win for his five innings of one run ball during which he struck out five gave up just four hits without walking a batter.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 6-16

AAA: David Wright
AA: Justin Huber/Blake McGinley
High A: Brett Harper
A: Celso Rondon/Shawn Bowman



Norfolk 3, Syracuse 15
Pat Strange was hit hard, giving up nine runs, seven earned in his 5.1 innings. He allowed ten hits and walked three. Strange’s ERA increased to 6.19 with his performance.
David Wright had two hits: a double and a solo home run in four trips. Victor Diaz was 2 for 4 with a double. Craig Brazell’s only hit was a homerun.

Binghamton 10, Akron 5
Binghamton has now won four in a row, while Akron has dropped four in a row. Akron couldn’t retire Justin Huber who doubled, homered, drove in three runs and walked three times. Gil Velazquez doubles and drove in a pair in going 2-5. Wayne Lydon, Ron Acuna and Josh Pressley each had two hits.
Wayne Ough only went 1.2 innings and gave up three runs and walked four. Injured? Blake McGinley came on in relief and allowed only one run on a solo home run in 4.1 innings to pick up the win to advance to 5-1.

Lakeland 7, St. Lucie 4
Brett Harper had a three run home run that accounted for most to the Florida Mets offense. Jonathan Slack drove in the other run with an RBI single. Aarom Baldiris was 1-3 with a walk. No Met had more than one hit, and Harper’s homer was St. Lucie’s only extra base hit.
Brian Bannister allowed four runs on seven hits and a pair of walks to take the loss in five innings. Robert Paulk struck out 3 in an inning and a third, but gave up one unearned run.

Greensboro 4, Capital City 6
Strange pitching night, four pitchers, and each went at least 2 innings, but none went three innings. Celso Rondon pitched a perfect 2.1 innings and struck out three for his third win. Greg Ramirez fired two scoreless for his sixth save and struck out five of the six outs he recorded.
Shawn Bowman provided half the offense with a three run jack. Ian Bladergroen drove in a pair with a sacrifice fly and a single in a 1-3 performance. Lastings Milledge walked, stole a base, and stole a base. Catcher Yunir Garcia singled and doubled.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 6-15

A 4-4 night for the organization is nice, and throw in the big club and it was a perfect 5-5. Two different players drove in 6 runs and neither were named Wright.

Stars of the Day
AAA: Pedro Feliciano/Chris Basak
AA: David Detienne/Gil Velazquez/Jason Scobie
High A: Brett Harper/Matt Lindstrom
A: Wilson Batista/Yusmeiro Petit


Norfolk 15, Syracuse 8
Aaron Heilman was hit hard in 4.1 innings. He gave up all eight of Syracuse’s runs on seven hits, six walks and a hitsbatsman. He fanned five. The bullpen was solid. Pedro Feliciano walked three and struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings for the win. Royce Ring and Jose Parra each dealt scoreless innings of their own to lower their ERA to 2.67 and 1.69 respectively.
Chris Basak had a huge night. He homered twice, and singled on the way to driving in six runs. Craig Brazell had three singles in five trips. The boys from AA made themselves right at home in the lineup as well. Prentice Redman doubled twice and drove in one, as part of a 3-4 night. David Wright went 2-4 with a sac fly, two RBI and three runs scored. His batting average in two AAA nights fell to .625.

Binghamton 8, Akron 6
Binghamton continues to roll, and got it going tonight in a seven run first inning. Third baseman David Detienne tripled and scored a pair of runs. Shortstop Gil Velazquez drove in a pair with two singles. Ron Acuna doubled in a run and scored one as well in five trips. Jose Reyes was 0-3 with a walk, sacrifice fly and a stolen base.
Jason Scobie won his third game of the year to improve to 3-1 with seven innings of five hit, four run ball. Those four runs were all unearned as his ERA dropped to an even 3.00. He fanned six and walked three. Jeremy Hill snagged his tenth save, when he struck out two, but left the bases loaded in the ninth.

Lakeland 3, St. Lucie 11
St. Lucie led the entire way thanks to a three run first, but broke the game wide open with a seven run eighth.
Brett Harper led the charge going 4-5 with a pair of RBI. Last night’s hero Joe Jiannetti was 2-4 with two runs scored. Bobby Malek also had two hits, a single and a double in five plate appearances. Jonathan Slack singled and walked twice.
Matt Lindstrom fired six innings and gave up just two runs and three hits. He fanned three while walked one and hitting a batter. The 24 year old was the Mets 10th round pick in 2002 and has good size at 6’4” 210 lbs.


Capital City 16, Greensboro 2
It was all good for the bombers as they bombed the Bats into submission with thirteen runs in the first four innings. Wilson Batista drove home six runs and missed only a home run for the cycle. Lastings Milledge doubled twice and scored three from the leadoff spot. Baseball America’s #4 ranked prospect is now hitting .333/.375/.583 with 10 doubles, a triple and four HR in just 96 AB. Wilson Andrew drilled a two run homerun in three trips. Rightfielder Jamar Hill singed and doubled and drove home three runs.
Yusmeiro Petit was the beneficiary of all this support. He was almost as good as the offensive dealing six scoreless innings. He allowed just four baserunners: two hits, a walk, and a hit by pitch. He also whiffed fourteen Bats. Petit advanced to 8-1 with a 2.14 ERA. He’s just 19 years old and a solidly built 6’0” 230 who can throw in the low 90s with a “potentially plus” changeup according to JJ Cooper at Baseball America and solid curve. Petit dropped his ERA to 2.14 and now has whiffed 101 batters in just 71.1 innings while walking 20.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Mets Minor League Recaps for 6-14

The BIG news of the day is David Wright’s promotion to AAA, where he joins Prentice Redman on the Tides. Both men were among the top five in Runs Above Replacement Level, (a measure of offensive prowess at www.baseballprospectus.com), in the Eastern League, with Wright leading everyone. After scaling for the difficulty level of the competition, David Wright’s stats project to a Major League Equivalent Average of .287, better than Ty Wigginton’s .275, where .260 is the major league average. Put simply, David Wright is not only better than Wigginton, he would already be among the top half of major league third basemen. EQ Average attempts to measure all of a batter’s offensive contributions adjusting for OBP and power and scales for park and league effects. If you don’t read BP, you should.

Stars of the Day:
AAA: David Wright/Jeff Duncan
AA: Neal Musser/Wayne Lydon
High A: Scott Kazmir
A: Evan MacLane/Ian Bladergroen

Toledo 13, Norfolk 6
The Mudhens scratched and pecked away at Scott Erickson who surrendered eight runs, all in the first two innings, and ten hits in five innings. The bullpen didn’t provide much help as each pitcher gave up a run. Jake Joseph gave up a pair in his two innings. Jason Roach only needed one inning to give up two. Heath Bell allowed a solo homer in the ninth. In all, Jason Roach was the only Tide not to allow a homer.
Wright and Redman seem to be handling their transition to AAA just finely thank you. Wright was 3-4 with a double and a walk. Redman was 2-4 with a pair of singles. Centerfielder Jeff Duncan was 3-5 with a triple from the top of the other with two runs scored. Danny Garcia, Victor Diaz and Tom Wilson each drove in a run. Strangely, Norfolk had 6 runs, but only 3 RBI.

Binghamton 7, Bowie 4
Neal Musser improved to 6-2 with eight innings of one run ball. He gave up seven hits, but did not walk a batter and struck out six. He dropped his ERA to 3.42. Kole Strayhorn was tagged for a three run home run in the ninth.
The B-Mets knocked out 14 hits, thirteen of them singles. David Bacani’s solo homerun was the only extrabase hit of the night for Binghamton. Wayne Lydon was 3-5 with two RBI, a runs scored, and a stolen base. Angel Pagan was 2-4 with an RBI and a run.
The game was played in a brisk 2:31.

St. Lucie 4, Lakeland 3
St. Lucie won the first meeting of the season over the Tigers, thanks to a couple of encouraging performances. Jose Reyes doubled to lead off the bottom of the first, and came around to score on Jonathan Slack’s double. The double was Reyes’ only hit of the night and he committed an error.
The other encouraging performance belonged to Scott Kazmir who has struggled with a muscle pull. He gave St. Lucie 5.1 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs and three overall. He struck out six and walked only one. This was the deepest Kazmir has worked into a game in 2004, and one of his two best starts.
Pinch hitter Joe Jiannetti drove in a run in his only at bat in the bottom of the ninth to deliver the win for St. Lucie.
Randy Keisler, down from Norfolk, where he started seven games, got the win for his 3.2 innings of scoreless relief work.

Capital City 5, Augusta 0
Lefty Evan MacLane hurled six scoreless innings to improve to 4-2. He allowed just two baserunners: one double and a walk. The former All American and California JUCO pitcher of the year in ’03 now boasts a 2.30 ERA. Anderson Garcia picked up the three inning save, his first
Ian Bladergroen doubled twice in a 3-5 effort, which included scoring once and driving in a run. Secondbaseman Blake Whealy also doubled twice in going 3-4. Wilson Batista and Yunir Garcia each added a pair of hits.

Monday, June 14, 2004

A June Catch Up

I’ve been entertaining my parents out here in California for the last week, so I chose family over Mets box scores.
And now for some shameless self promotion…If you wish, you can now listen to my broadcasts on the internet. The Stockton Ports just struck a deal and we will now put all of our road games online. Our next broadcast is this Friday at 7:05 PM PDT at Lake Elsinore. You can get to the broadcasts through our website www.stocktonports.com. All games will be archived at www.baysportsradio.com.
This is a busy time of year as the short season rosters take shape, and I’d be on the lookout for movement around the system. I think the Mets had a fine draft, but I also think it’s crazy to get really excited about a baseball draft. The odds on each guy making the show, especially for those picked after the first few rounds, is just so small. The Short Season teams start this weekend.

Norfolk

The Tides (29-32) sit in last place in the International’s very tightly bunched South Division, four games behind division leading Durham. Although they are just 4-6 in their last ten games, the Tides are 6-6 in the month of June.
The good news, at least on the surface in the starting pitching rotation is limited to Jeremy Griffiths. This month he’s 2-0, with a 2.33 Era in 19.1 IP. He’s allowed opponents just a .203 batting average, and he’s struck out ten and walked seven. However, any improvement since last year when he was successful at AAA before struggling with the big club is hard to discern on numbers alone. His K/IP rate hovers around .5 in AAA and his K/BB which last year was nearly 3 is down to just over 1 in 2004.
The rest of the rotation has not been good recently: Aaron Heilman, Pat Strange, Bob Keppel, have all struggled in June, and really all year. Aaron Heilman is 0-2 in the month, and the International League continues to hit him hard to the tune of a .306 batting average against that includes four home runs that account for many of the eight earned runs he’s allowed. He’s fanned seven and walked five in his 12 June innings. Bob Keppel has been a little worse: 0-2 with an 8.15 ERA in 17.2 innings and the league is hitting .351 against him. Keppel’s struck out eight and walked seven, but hasn’t allowed a ball out of the yeard.
The bullpen has been better than the starters lately. Royce Ring has only given up one run in his last four appearances and Jose Parra hasn’t been scored on since June 1st. Meanwhile, Tyler Yates is still adjusting to his role in the ‘pen.
Victor Diaz is the hottest Tide hitter going .362/.412/.511 with four doubles and a homer in the last two weeks – and he’s stolen two bases. Craig Brazell has cooled off considerably, and his now hitting just .222 in twelve games in June.


Binghamton
The B-Mets lead New Hampshire by five games and lead the Eastern League with a 37-25 record, although they are just 5-7 in June.
David Wright continues to mash: .463/.520/.756 with 6 doubles and a pair of homers in the month. On the year he’s hitting .363/.467/.619 with 27 doubles, and 10 HR. He’s got 39 walks and just 41 strikeouts. I read his name in trade rumors again last week. I don’t take it too seriously, but I really do think that he should be absolutely and completely off limits. I honestly don’t think you can construct a single realistic trade that would convince me to give up Wright. Can you think of a single player who’s available who would make sense? Please let me know, and no, the answer is not Carlos Beltran who is dedicated to testing the market this winter. In other good news, catcher Justin Huber has gotten hot going .314/.479/.486 in June, he’s walked nearly as much as he’s struck out, 8 and 11 times respectively.
The best pitcher in June has been Ken Chenard who struggled earlier in the year. He dropped five innings of scoreless relief on June sixth and allowed only three runs in five innings Saturday when he started the second game of a doubleheader. Each of his three starts has come as part of a twinbill this year. In each five inning outing he’s struck out four, and has walked just two batters in his ten innings this month. Overall, he’s struck out 37 in 39.1 IP so the stuff is there, but he’s uncorked 9 wild pitches.

St. Lucie
The Florida Mets sit at 32-29, four games behind Palm Beach in the Florida State League’s Eastern Division.
The League took their All-Star break this past weekend for the first domestic all-star game of the year, hosted by St. Lucie at Tradition Field. The West beat the East in case you were worried. St. Lucie’s representatives were pitchers David Byard (3-3, 2.97), Joey Cole (1-3, 4.84), Kevin Deaton (3-1, 2.98) and Robert Paulk (5-3, 3.58). The only St. Lucie position player to be honored was Bobby Malek who is currently hitting .253/.314/.421.
Some of you might notice that Scott Kazmir didn’t make the team, nor did he deserve the honor. He’s 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA, and the league is hitting .307 against him. If you’re looking for a good sign know that he has struck out 24 in 21 innings.

Capital City
The South Atlantic League announced its all-stars, and Capital City placed five players on the team--Yusmeiro Petit, Greg Ramirez, Ian Bladergroen, Wilson Batista and Ryan Harvey.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Mets Minor League Weekend Wrap - Memorial Day

Well, the workweek begins a day late, and the big weekend wrap follows on a similar schedule.

Norfolk has won three of five including the last game of a four game set with Rochester and split the first four of a five game series against Buffalo to finish the month of May one game under .500 at 14-15. While the team’s ERA of 3.53 was solid, the offense managed only a .316 OBP percentage for May. There were a bunch of encouraging pitching performances over the weekend from Jake Joseph, Jeremy Griffiths, Pat Strange and Tyler Yates, but Aaron Heilman’s struggles continued on Monday.
On Friday night, in a 7-2 Tides victory that manager John Stearns called “our best game of the year overall” Jeremy Griffiths got the win when he allowed just one run over seven innings. He allowed just one run on six hits while fanning three and walking a pair. It’s only the second time this year that Griffiths has gone seven innings, and ranks with his outing on May 14th when he went seven scoreless as his top performances of the campaign. Gerald Williams and Craig Brazell each went 3-5. Tyler Yates struck out two and allowed one run on two hits in the eighth.
In Game 1 of the doubleheader Saturday which Norfolk lost 5-3, Jason Roach gave up a pair of home runs and five runs overall in his five innings of work. Out of the bullpen, Royce Ring tossed two scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He has now allowed just three runs in his last 15.1 innings for an ERA of 1.76 stretching back to the end of April.
Norfolk won the nightcap 4-1 behind five scoreless innings from 26 year old Jake Joseph who gave up just four hits and a walk. He fanned two and hit a batter. Joseph began this year in Binghamton where he was dominating: 1.90 ERA and a .165 batting average against. He fanned just 15 in 23.2 innings and walked 7. This was his first start for the Tides after a rough outing last Wednesday out of the ‘pen. Originally the Mets supplemental round draft pick in 1999, Joseph has reached AAA each of the last two years with most of his innings coming last year when he posted a 5.93 ERA in 71.1 innings.
Sunday was a laugher as the Tides won 12-2. Victor Diaz was 3-3 with a homerun, 5 RBI and two walks. Gerald Williams was 3-4 with a double as well. Craig Brazell was 3-5 with three RBI on three singles. Tyler Yates added a scoreless inning in relief.
On Monday, Aaron Heilman gave up eight runs and eight hits in just four innings of a 8-6 Tides loss. In fairness, only four runs were earned, but I really do believe that total runs allowed is a better measure of a pitcher’s overall effectiveness. He gave up one home run, walked one, and struck out one. Pat Strange kept the Tides close: five innings of scoreless three hit ball with five strikeouts and no walks. Craig Brazell homered twice in the eighth and ninth innings, but it was too little too late.


Binghamton
The B-Mets are a comfortable 5.5 games ahead of New Hampshire and still leads the league in average and runs scored.
Saturday night in Binghamton Matt Peterson was solid again giving up just one run and four hits while throwing five innings. He gave up five walks and struck out three. Kole Strayhorn pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save. Ron Acuna, Gil Velazquez and Wayne Acuna each tripled. David Wright doubled in four trips.
Sunday night in an 8-0 loss Jose Diaz was solid early, but Ken Chenard was hit hard. Diaz gave up three runs, two earned on four hits and three walks in four innings. He gave way to Chenard who allowed five runs and a homer in the following four frames.
Monday’s game was rained out.

St. Lucie
Scott Kazmir went only 2.2 innings Monday in his first loss of the season. He allowed three runs on three hits, walked two and struck out five. I have a nagging fear that he might be injured, but couldn’t get it confirmed on the St. Lucie website or papers. Or maybe he just hit his pitch count, but why leave in the middle of the inning on a night when he had good stuff striking out five? I’m a little confused.
The bullpen was very good, shutting out the Hammerheads the rest of the day. Luz Portbanco, Tim McNab and Ryan Olson were each unscored upon. Jonathan Slack had two hits and Corey Ragsdale and Aarom Baldiris each doubled.
Good news (?) Sunday: in Scott Erickson’s rehab start – a 10 – 2 victory – was his six innings of five hit ball with five strikeouts. Corey Ragsdale doubled and homered. Bobby Malek doubled twice and drove in four.

Mets Minor League Weekend Wrap - Memorial Day

Well, the workweek begins a day late, and the big weekend wrap follows on a similar schedule.

Norfolk has won three of five including the last game of a four game set with Rochester and split the first four of a five game series against Buffalo to finish the month of May one game under .500 at 14-15. While the team’s ERA of 3.53 was solid, the offense managed only a .316 OBP percentage for May. There were a bunch of encouraging pitching performances over the weekend from Jake Joseph, Jeremy Griffiths, Pat Strange and Tyler Yates, but Aaron Heilman’s struggles continued on Monday.
On Friday night, in a 7-2 Tides victory that manager John Stearns called “our best game of the year overall” Jeremy Griffiths got the win when he allowed just one run over seven innings. He allowed just one run on six hits while fanning three and walking a pair. It’s only the second time this year that Griffiths has gone seven innings, and ranks with his outing on May 14th when he went seven scoreless as his top performances of the campaign. Gerald Williams and Craig Brazell each went 3-5. Tyler Yates struck out two and allowed one run on two hits in the eighth.
In Game 1 of the doubleheader Saturday which Norfolk lost 5-3, Jason Roach gave up a pair of home runs and five runs overall in his five innings of work. Out of the bullpen, Royce Ring tossed two scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He has now allowed just three runs in his last 15.1 innings for an ERA of 1.76 stretching back to the end of April.
Norfolk won the nightcap 4-1 behind five scoreless innings from 26 year old Jake Joseph who gave up just four hits and a walk. He fanned two and hit a batter. Joseph began this year in Binghamton where he was dominating: 1.90 ERA and a .165 batting average against. He fanned just 15 in 23.2 innings and walked 7. This was his first start for the Tides after a rough outing last Wednesday out of the ‘pen. Originally the Mets supplemental round draft pick in 1999, Joseph has reached AAA each of the last two years with most of his innings coming last year when he posted a 5.93 ERA in 71.1 innings.
Sunday was a laugher as the Tides won 12-2. Victor Diaz was 3-3 with a homerun, 5 RBI and two walks. Gerald Williams was 3-4 with a double as well. Craig Brazell was 3-5 with three RBI on three singles. Tyler Yates added a scoreless inning in relief.
On Monday, Aaron Heilman gave up eight runs and eight hits in just four innings of a 8-6 Tides loss. In fairness, only four runs were earned, but I really do believe that total runs allowed is a better measure of a pitcher’s overall effectiveness. He gave up one home run, walked one, and struck out one. Pat Strange kept the Tides close: five innings of scoreless three hit ball with five strikeouts and no walks. Craig Brazell homered twice in the eighth and ninth innings, but it was too little too late.


Binghamton
The B-Mets are a comfortable 5.5 games ahead of New Hampshire and still leads the league in average and runs scored.
Saturday night in Binghamton Matt Peterson was solid again giving up just one run and four hits while throwing five innings. He gave up five walks and struck out three. Kole Strayhorn pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save. Ron Acuna, Gil Velazquez and Wayne Acuna each tripled. David Wright doubled in four trips.
Sunday night in an 8-0 loss Jose Diaz was solid early, but Ken Chenard was hit hard. Diaz gave up three runs, two earned on four hits and three walks in four innings. He gave way to Chenard who allowed five runs and a homer in the following four frames.
Monday’s game was rained out.

St. Lucie
Scott Kazmir went only 2.2 innings Monday in his first loss of the season. He allowed three runs on three hits, walked two and struck out five. I have a nagging fear that he might be injured, but couldn’t get it confirmed on the St. Lucie website or papers. Or maybe he just hit his pitch count, but why leave in the middle of the inning on a night when he had good stuff striking out five? I’m a little confused.
The bullpen was very good, shutting out the Hammerheads the rest of the day. Luz Portbanco, Tim McNab and Ryan Olson were each unscored upon. Jonathan Slack had two hits and Corey Ragsdale and Aarom Baldiris each doubled.
Good news (?) Sunday: in Scott Erickson’s rehab start – a 10 – 2 victory – was his six innings of five hit ball with five strikeouts. Corey Ragsdale doubled and homered. Bobby Malek doubled twice and drove in four.