Monday, April 17, 2006

Mets Minor League Report 4-17-2006

Isn’t it nice to know you root for the best team in baseball?

Last Wednesday, I broadcast a California League record. My team, the Visalia Oaks, became the third team in League history to hit 8 HR in a game in a 17-15 win over the Bakersfield Blaze. Shortstop Reid Brignac had 3, and 8 RBI. He said it was the first time in his life he’d ever hit 3 roundtrippers in a game. The other two times teams to hit 8 HR in a game did it on consecutive days on August 14th, and 15th,1999. Yup, it’s minor league minutiae time.

Norfolk

Since I last wrote, the Tides are 1-4. In their losses, they have scored 2 or 3 runs in every game, and allowed between 5 and 8. Norfolk is now 3-8.

Kaz Matsui is 1-4.

Two guys have had standout games over this stretch: Jeremi Gonzalez, who was a NRI to spring training threw 7 shutout innings on Wednesday night. He struck out nine and walked just one. Jeff Keppinger had a big night in the Tides win Friday with a 3-4 night and 3 runs scored.

There is really good news for me in Norfolk’s first 11 games. The three guys who have the greatest potential to help the Mets in 2006 and beyond, Jeff Keppinger, Heath Bell and Lastings Milledge are all off to good starts. Kepp and Bell fall into the helping in 2006 category while Milledge is in the beyond. I think Keppinger and Bell should be on the Mets roster right now, but I’d be willing to bet they will be by June. Keppinger is hitting .323/.436/.355 (AVG/OBP/SLG). His only extra base hit is a double, but he’s drawn 7 walks while striking out just once! Bell (0-0, 2.08) has struck out eight without giving up a walk in 4.1 IP. Milledge is hitting .325/.404/.475 and leads the team with 4 2B, 7 R, and is the only Tide with a 3B.

Binghamton

The B-Mets are 3-2 in their last five, although they dropped two of three to Portland over the weekend.

Some big offensive lines for B-Mets hitters so far. Twenty-fiver year old catcher Andy Wilson, an NRI to big league camp following MVP honors in St. Lucie a year ago, is getting on base like it’s his job: .300/.404/.350. Baseball America notes that scouts wonder whether Wilson can catch at the big league level, and compares him to Kevin Millar. The previous year’s St. Lucie MVP, Brett Harper leads the team with 5 doubles propelling him to a .382/.475/.529. Harper’s 36 bombs a year ago were good for third in all of minor league baseball. Jonathan Slack, a career .258 hitter in four minor league seasons is off to a big start bopping along to .360/.433/.560 with 3 2B and a triple in 9 games. Aren’t early stats fun?

Not so fun is Carlos Gomez’s start. The youngster is hitting but .186/.321/.279 in 43 AB. He’s already stolen 7 bases and been caught twice, but he’s struck out 9 times already.

Henry Owens continues to dominate. He’s faced 25 hitters and struck out 16 and hasn’t yet given up a hit or a run.

Twenty-six year old Willie Collazo has been untouchable in 12 innings. He hasn’t given up a run or a walk yet and just five hits while punching out nine. Last year in Salt Lake, the Angels AA affiliate he was 0-1, 7.71 ERA in just 23 IP. His best ERA at AA or better is 3.66 in Greenville in 2003. Can anyone who watched him throw for PR in the WBC offer any comments?

St. Lucie

The FSL Mets are 8-2 and trail the Brevard County Manatees by a game in the FSL East. The Mets have won 3 in a row, 5 of 6 and hold a league leading 1.76 ERA. Alay Soler has thrown 10 innings without giving up a run. The good news is that he’s given up only five hits, and struck out 11. The bad news is that his control has been erratic.

Pelfrey has been perfect.