New York Mets: Farm report

Farm report: Plawecki catches on as B-Met

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
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Kevin Plawecki struck out only eight times in 223 at-bats during his junior season at Purdue. That helped persuade the Mets to select the catcher 35th overall in 2012, with a supplemental pick obtained for losing Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins.

The 23-year-old Plawecki’s propensity for making contact has continued as a pro, albeit not at that unsustainable college rate. In 693 career at-bats as a Mets farmhand, Plawecki has produced a .374 on-base percentage and struck out only 80 times.

This season, he is off to a .286/.333/.357 start through seven games with Double-A Binghamton.


Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesKevin Plawecki


“I really don’t know how to answer the question every time I’m asked it,” Plawecki said about his low strikeout total at Purdue. “I just say that I like getting good pitches to hit, and I feel like I get myself in good hitter’s counts. I try not to chase and expose any weaknesses that the pitcher on the other team might be able to use against me at any point in the at-bat or in the series.

“And with two strikes I’m just up there battling, just trying to put the ball in play. Make them get you out any way possible -- with errors and all that stuff, any way to get on base. I’d rather have a slow-rolling groundball to third base.”

Plawecki was a non-roster invite to big-league camp during spring training, so he had the opportunity to receive tutelage from bench coach Bob Geren, visiting instructor Mike Piazza as well as Travis d’Arnaud.

“One thing Mike Piazza told us: When he wasn’t hitting really well, he focused on doing the little things -- catching and working with the pitching staff,” Plawecki said. “He felt he could make a big difference behind the plate as well.”

Throwing technique to second base became a spring-training emphasis for Plawecki. Accomplished offensively, Plawecki has thrown out 29 percent of runners as a pro (15 of 51).

“I think my throwing is getting a lot better from last year,” Plawecki said. “I worked on a few things in spring training to get my arm going a little bit. I think that’s improved. … In the past, sometimes there was a ‘hitch.’ That may be a bad term.

“Just a more fluid motion,” he continued, referring to the mechanical retooling. “I was kind of getting caught up, and my feet were working too quickly, and my arm was having to do something extra in the process. It was almost like a false movement that we’re just trying to eliminate. It takes a lot of stress off the arm in general and obviously makes it quicker in the process. That’s just one thing we’re trying to clean up a little bit, and I think we’re on the right track with that right now.”

Plawecki does not need to be added to the 40-man roster next offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, so his big-league debut may wait until 2015.

Last year, in his first full professional season, which he split between Savannah and St. Lucie, Plawecki appeared in 17 second-half games at first base. That primarily was designed to keep his bat in the lineup as he wore down from the grind. The position was open anyway with St. Lucie teammate Jayce Boyd dealing with a shoulder issue that eventually required surgery.

There is at a modest chance Plawecki could end up full time at first base eventually, depending on how he progresses behind the plate. However, Plawecki clearly envisions himself a catcher.

“I don’t think they play on using me at first at all this year. At least nobody has brought that up to me,” Plawecki said. “I’m strictly a catcher. Last year was one of those deals where Jayce, with his arm surgery and stuff like that, they couldn’t really use him at first base. I played a few games in college, and it just happened to work out that I played a few games over there, but nothing long term.”

Organization leaders

Average: Matt Clark, Binghamton, .394; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, .391; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .390; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, .367; Wilfredo Tovar, Binghamton, .355; Dilson Herrera, St. Lucie, .340; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, .323; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .318; Jared King, Savannah, .316; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Vegas, .310.

Homers: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 4; Matt Clark, Binghamton, 4.

RBIs: Zach Lutz, Vegas, 12; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 12; Eric Campbell, Vegas, 11; Jared King, Savannah, 11.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 3; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, 3.

ERA: Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 0.00; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 0.50; Domingo Tapia, St. Lucie, 0.90; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 0.93; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 1.46; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 2.19; Daisuke Matsuzaka, Binghamton, 2.25; Gabriel Ynoa, St. Lucie, 2.38; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.60; John Gant, Savannah, 2.77.

Wins: Josh Edgin, Vegas, 3.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 3; Chasen Bradford, Binghamton, 2; Robert Coles, Savannah, 2; Randy Fontanez, St. Lucie, 2; Beck Wheeler, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 18; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 15; Jack Leathersich, Binghamton, 14; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 14; Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 14.

Short hops

• Right-hander Akeel Morris, a 10th-round pick in 2010 from the U.S. Virgin Islands, earned the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week award. In three relief appearances this season, Morris has struck out 14 and allowed only one hit and three walks in 6 2/3 innings. Morris, 21, had a 1.00 ERA and struck out 60 in 45 innings with Brooklyn last season.

• Right-hander Cory Mazzoni (lat) is expected to resume throwing later this week. He was injured in the final Grapefruit League game.

• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo is hitting .391, which ranks third in the Florida State League. His .491 on-base percentage ranks second, and he leads the league with 13 runs scored. Nimmo has an eight-game hitting streak and has reached base in all 13 of his games. He has five multi-hit performances in his last six games.

Matt Clark and Brian Burgamy are proving too advanced for the Eastern League. The 27-year-old Clark, who slugged 25 homers in Japan last season with Chunichi, has four homers through 10 games with Binghamton while splitting time between DH and first base. Burgamy, 32, also has four homers in 10 games while seeing action at third base, second base and first base. Burgamy played last season for York and Sugar Land in the independent Atlantic League as well as in Mexico with Campeche.

• Second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was acquired with Vic Black last August for Marlon Byrd and John Buck, has led off for eight straight games with St. Lucie. He is hitting .389 (14-for-36) in that span with eight runs scored. The Colombia-born Herrera has a seven-game hitting streak.

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Farm report: Who's on 1st? Boyd again

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
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Jayce Boyd hit a combined .330 with nine homers and 83 RBIs in 458 at-bats last season between Savannah and St. Lucie.

After June 28, however, the righty-hitting/righty-throwing Boyd was limited to DH because of thoracic outlet syndrome. That compression in the shoulder led to tingling as he released the baseball -- “like hitting your funny bone on something” -- and compromised throwing.

Boyd, 23, had early symptoms dating back to his college days at Florida State. He had the issue surgically repaired in late September by doctor Robert Thompson in St. Louis and resumed playing first base on Opening Day this month for Double-A Binghamton.


Courtesy of Binghamton MetsJayce Boyd


Thompson is the same doctor who surgically repaired Dillon Gee’s throwing shoulder in 2012 after the near-complete blockage of an artery led to numbness in his arm.

“I came into [last] season prepared and ready to go,” said Boyd, a sixth-round pick in 2012. “It obviously takes a toll on anyone just playing pretty much every day. It got fixed, and I’m excited to move on.”

Boyd’s .330 average ranked first in the organization last season, while his 83 RBIs trailed only Dustin Lawley (96) and Wilmer Flores (86).

“Last year was great, getting to learn what I am as a hitter and refining my approach, how to translate it from college into the professional atmosphere,” Boyd said. “… I did widen my stance a little bit and just tried to refine my zone as far as pitches I wanted to hit and drive. Working counts and getting into good hitting counts is obviously the goal of hitting. Last year, I got much better at laying off the marginal pitches, whether it was fastballs or offspeed -- the marginal ones I knew I could put in play, but I just couldn’t put in play hard. I think that’s what I’ve gotten better at -- swinging at better pitches that I know I can drive.”

As for his power potential, Boyd added: “My approach has never really been to hit home runs. My approach isn’t to get in the box and try to hit the ball out of the ballpark. My philosophy is to hit the ball gap to gap and be more, I guess, a doubles guy than a home-run guy. But I think those translate into home runs eventually as you get stronger and progress as a hitter.”

After starting at first base on Opening Day for the B-Mets, Boyd served as designated hitter the next two games. That was not about easing him back after the shoulder injury, Boyd suggested. Instead, it was about ensuring playing time for teammates. Matt Clark, who slugged 25 homers in Japan last season, started Game Nos. 2 and 3 at first base. Boyd returned to first base Tuesday, with Clark DHing.

“I think we just have a lot of guys in our lineup who are pretty much everyday guys,” Boyd said. “So everyone is getting in the rotation and getting their chance to play.”

As for his 2014 goals, Boyd said: “I’m just refining my approach still, growing as a player. And getting back into playing first base. It’s been a while since I played first every day and felt comfortable over there. It’s an exciting feeling to get out there and to be able to play comfortably and not have to worry about anything anymore -- any symptoms coming back.”

Organization leaders

Average: Zach Lutz, Vegas, .500; Matt Clark, Binghamton, .412; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .360; Jared King, Savannah, .357; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, .353; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Vegas, .346; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, .313; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .313; Wilfredo Tovar, Binghamton, .308; Cesar Puello, Vegas, .304.

Homers: Eric Campbell, Vegas, 1; Zach Lutz, Vegas, 1; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Vegas, 1; Matt Clark, Binghamton, 1; Gilbert Gomez, St. Lucie, 1; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 1; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 1; Gavin Cecchini, Savannah, 1; Victor Cruzado, Savannah, 1; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 1.

RBIs: Zach Lutz, Vegas, 9; Eric Campbell, Vegas, 7; Jared King, Savannah, 7; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 5.

Steals: Jeff McNeil, Savannah, 2.

ERA: Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 0.00; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 0.00; Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 0.00; John Gant, Savannah, 1.50; Logan Verrett, Vegas, 1.50; Domingo Tapia, St. Lucie, 1.80; Dawrin Frias, Savannah, 2.08; Seth Lugo, St. Lucie, 2.08; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.45.

Wins: Josh Edgin, Vegas, 1; Erik Goeddel, Vegas, 1; Daisuke Matsuzaka, Vegas, 1; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 1; Jeff Walters, Vegas, 1; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 1; Jack Leathersich, Binghamton, 1; Cody Satterwhite, Binghamton, 1; Gabriel Ynoa, St. Lucie, 1; Dawrin Frias, Savannah, 1; John Gant, Savannah, 1; Tim Peterson, Savannah, 1.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Binghamton, 2; Robert Coles, Savannah, 1; Jeff Walters, Vegas, 1; Beck Wheeler, St. Lucie, 1.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 14; Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 8; Dawrin Frias, Savannah, 7; John Gant, Savannah, 7; Jack Leathersich, Binghamton, 7.

Short hops

• After Eric Campbell started three straight games at first base to open the season with Las Vegas facing southpaws, Campbell shifted to second base the next two games against right-handers. That allowed Wally Backman to start Allan Dykstra at first base. Team officials say that it more about trying to get both bats into the lineup than a burning desire to see Campbell at second base. Campbell, who nonetheless should benefit from the increased versatility, last played second base in 2008 with Brooklyn, in his first professional season.

• Mets doctors have diagnosed Cory Mazzoni with a lat strain, a team official said. The preliminary diagnosis had involved the triceps. Mazzoni apparently is now not particularly close to joining the Triple-A Las Vegas rotation, but Mets officials are relieved it is neither a shoulder nor elbow injury that might raise alarm. Mazzoni was forced to pull himself from the Grapefruit League finale as the Mets were breaking camp two weeks ago.

Zach Lutz is off to a strong start at the plate with Vegas. Not only is the third baseman hitting an organization-best .500, he also has a .679 on-base percentage through six games with the 51s.

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Farm report: Nimmo finds St. Lucie

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
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2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo had no shortage of role models while training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this winter. His workout partners included National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, All-Star Pedro Alvarez and Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront.

NFL prospects trained alongside too, including Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“Cutch doesn’t act like an NL MVP at all,” Nimmo said. “He’s a very down-to-earth guy. He’s very much like [Curtis] Granderson, where any questions that I had he would answer them, and anything that I needed he would come right to me and be honest with me. It was just awesome to be around that kind of guy and understand what kind of work ethic will get you there.”

The 21-year-old Nimmo arrived at IMG weighing 187 pounds. He departed at 207, which he believed translated into success while in big-league camp during spring training. Albeit in a small sample size, Nimmo hit .429 (3-for-7) with an RBI and two walks in Grapefruit League play.


Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosBrandon Nimmo


“They put 20 pounds on me,” said Nimmo, a 6-foot-3 outfielder from Wyoming. “And it was really good muscle. None of it was bad weight. I had a nutritionist watching what I was eating. We just did it the right way. And I felt like that was what I needed. I felt like I needed to move on and train a little bit more like a professional. Obviously now you see the results of that physically.”

Nimmo hit .273 with two homers, 40 RBIs and 10 steals and had a .397 on-base percentage in 480 plate appearances with low-A Savannah in 2013. Yet it was an uneven, complicated season.

Nimmo was hitting .444 two weeks into last season, but all of a sudden went into a nosedive, including going hitless in 20 at-bats over five games before disappearing from the Gnats lineup for a month.

Nimmo suffered a hand injury that resulted in a dislocated joint and partial tear of a couple of ligaments. The problem: The injury went undetected by an MRI taken in Savannah. So Nimmo resumed playing in late May and the issue lingered the whole season. He eventually was checked out by Mets doctors in New York and the full extent of the injury was discovered.

“It was a situation where we got the MRI done in Savannah, and it happens where nothing showed up, so I played the rest of the season with it,” Nimmo said. “I let the people know afterward it still wasn’t all the way there. I went to New York and that’s when we found out everything that happened. And we went to Cleveland, too, and saw a pretty good hand doctor there, Dr. Thomas Graham. He said, ‘It isn’t going to change things. You don’t need surgery. They’ve already repaired themselves. You’re just going to have to get it stronger.’ And, actually, we took a couple of months off.”

Nimmo insisted he did not want to use the hand injury as an excuse for his season.

“I came back because I wanted to play,” he insisted. “And we felt like nothing was really wrong there. The one thing I noticed was I never fouled so many balls straight back. I didn’t quite have my top hand on top of it. It happens. You’ve got to learn how to play with injuries sometimes. It just was a learning experience for me.”

The Gnats won the South Atlantic League title, so Nimmo did participate in a championship. But his first-half teammates and friends, including Kevin Plawecki and Jayce Boyd, had received midseason promotions to high-A St. Lucie while Nimmo was snubbed.

“With how I started I felt like I should have left earlier,” said Nimmo, who opens this season in the Florida State League. “But I didn’t play the way that I was supposed to after that point. After April, I didn’t deserve a promotion. So it’s nothing against the Mets. I was mad at myself for not playing better. I feel like if I would have played at my best, maybe I could have got to St. Lucie. But I didn’t. I didn’t play my best. And so I needed to learn more in Savannah. And then I got to win a championship with them. It ended up working out well.

“Kevin is one of my best friends. Me and him compete. And Jayce is one of my best friends out here, too. We really thrived off of each other and really got a lot of information from each other. So obviously those two leaving, yeah, I was upset with myself about not being there. I just took it as I needed to get better. And I felt like I finished the season well.”

What’s on Nimmo’s agenda to learn? He spent spring training working on covering more ground in the outfield, including putting his head down when a ball is clearly over his head and taking the first three strides full throttle before trying to locate the baseball. Offensively, being able to hit the curveball with two strikes is one thing to hone.

Nimmo, by the way, is fully aware of who was taken with the pick immediately after him in 2011. After the Mets selected Nimmo 13th overall, the Marlins used the next pick on now-reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez out of high school in Tampa.

Nimmo said there was not extra pressure on him because of Fernandez’s achievements. He noted he has been facing Bryce Harper since the Nat was on a travel team for 9-year-olds out of Denver called the Rocky Mountain Steel.

“He was 6-2, 185 when we were 12 years old. I mean, he was a beast,” Nimmo said about Harper.

As for the Mets picking him over Fernandez, Nimmo opined: “If everybody knew how it was going to turn out, I think he probably would have went No. 1 overall. There were 12 other teams that passed on him, too. But I can’t put any pressure on me. I played against Harper since I was 9 years old. I played those guys. There’s nothing that I can do. I’m myself. I just have to control what I can control and just go out there and have fun.

“It’s the way it is. They’re very talented. Very talented. And they learned the game a little bit quicker than I did. I don’t feel like I’m going to be anywhere behind them. I think I’m going to be playing against them one day and on the same playing field, but it just took me a little bit longer. I hope to face [Fernandez] 1,000 more times, hopefully in the big leagues. We’ll see how it goes. But no more pressure. I’ll just be myself and play.”

2013 organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .330; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .329; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .314; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .305; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .304; Dominic Smith, Kingsport, .301; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .299; Jeyckol De Leon, Kingsport, .298; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .293.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 26; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 23; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 21; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 96; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 83; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 82.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 31; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 25; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 21.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.87; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.03; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.09; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.58; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.72; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.78; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.85; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.89; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.06.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 15; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 38; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 20; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 19; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 150; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 133; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 132; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 125; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 124.

Short hops

• Right-hander Cory Mazzoni, who strained his right triceps in the Grapefruit League finale, remained in Port St. Lucie when Triple-A Las Vegas players broke camp. The injury is considered “nothing significant” and Mazzoni is unlikely to miss much time, a Mets official suggested. Still, Mazzoni is due for a follow-up appointment with team doctors in New York.

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Farm report: Gorski rebounds from 40 drop

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
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Only two years ago, Darin Gorski had been honored at Citi Field as the Mets minor league pitcher of the year for the 2011 season.

During the final week of spring training this year, the southpaw lost his 40-man roster spot and cleared waivers.

As Josh Satin also has demonstrated, however, Gorski has shown that losing a 40-man spot does not have to be fatal.


Courtesy of New York MetsDarin Gorski


The 25-year-old southpaw went 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) for Double-A Binghamton this season after joining the club for a June 12 start. He recently was honored as Eastern League pitcher of the week.

Gorski is scheduled to start Game 2 of the playoffs for the B-Mets, on Thursday at Trenton. Noah Syndergaard gets the assignment in Game 1. Logan Verrett starts Game 3 of the best-of-five series.

“I got taken off, but I wasn’t really angry about it,” Gorski said. “It was something where I wanted to go out and prove my worth again, and go out there and give whoever I’m pitching for -- whether it be Las Vegas or here in Binghamton -- the best chance to win.”

Gorski’s season briefly stalled early on. After posting a 6.59 ERA in four appearances (three starts) in April with Triple-A Las Vegas, he was diagnosed with a shoulder strain and did not return until early June, with Binghamton.

Gorski’s fastball sits at 88-91 mph. He also throws a slider and changeup.

“I feel like I’m getting stronger every time out,” Gorski said. “I’m just trying to build strength and get the arm back in shape.”

Binghamton went 86-55, the best record in the Eastern League club’s history, and won its first division title since 2000.

Gorski, a seventh-round pick in 2009 out of Division II Kutztown in Pennsylvania, has now been a part of playoff squads with Brooklyn, Savannah, St. Lucie and Binghamton during his professional career. He remains in search of a championship, though.

“There’s definitely a difference in even the crowd coming out to the games,” Gorski said. “With the playoff buzz, people are coming out a little bit more.

“As far as the team goes, it’s been a lot of fun. We have a lot of young guys on the team this year. They’ve been coming up together, so they know each other really well. It’s been great to mesh with these guys, because they bring a lot of energy at the field every day and make it a lot of fun to play.

“It’s not every year you get the opportunity to play for a championship, so right now that’s basically my primary focus -- what’s going on with this team.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .330; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .329; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .314; Kevin Plawecki, Binghamton, .305; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .304; Dominic Smith, Kingsport, .301; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .299; Jeyckol De Leon, Kingsport, .298; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .293.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 26; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 23; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 21; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 96; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 83; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 82.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 31; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 25; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 21.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.87; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.01; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.09; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.58; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.72; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.78; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.85; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.89; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.06.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 15; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 38; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 20; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 19; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 150; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 133; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 132; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 125; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 124.

Short hops

• Las Vegas’ Eric Campbell enters the postseason on a tear. Campbell went 6-for-9 with two doubles and three RBIs in the final three regular-season games against Tucson to finish with a .314 average. Campbell posted a .435 on-base percentage and .910 OPS.

Dustin Lawley finished the regular season four RBIs shy of the 100 RBI-mark between St. Lucie and Las Vegas. Lawley also had 26 homers. The 96 RBIs were the most by a Mets farmhand since Brett Harper had 102 in 2005 between St. Lucie and Binghamton.

Also, Savannah’s Gabriel Ynoa -- the Gnats’ Game 1 postseason starter -- finished the regular season with 15 wins. That’s the most since Jason Scobie had 15 in ’05 with Triple-A Norfolk.

Rafael Montero’s organization-leading 150 strikeouts were the most since Matt Harvey had 156 in 2011.

• St. Lucie first baseman Jayce Boyd, who exclusively served as DH after June 28 because of a shoulder injury, is not yet definitely proceeding with surgery. Boyd hit .292 with four homers in 209 at-bats with the Florida State League club after a promotion from Savannah.

Jacob deGrom, who left his final regular-season start with Las Vegas after two innings as a precaution because of shoulder tightness, is not yet locked into pitching in the first-round postseason series. Matt Fox starts Game 1 on Wednesday night. Montero starts Game 2, opposite ex-Brave Tommy Hanson. Sandy Alderson indicated Tuesday that deGrom or Montero would have a legitimate shot at making the 2014 Opening Day rotation assuming Harvey undergoes Tommy John surgery.

• B-Mets first baseman Allan Dykstra was named Eastern League MVP. Dykstra’s .436 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage led the league. His 82 RBIs ranked fourth.

• St. Lucie’s Kevin Plawecki and Matt Reynolds have joined Binghamton for the postseason.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones need a win in Wednesday’s regular-season finale to avoid the first losing season in the club’s 13-year history.

• Kingsport right-hander Rob Whalen’s 1.87 ERA finished second in the Appalachian League. Jeff McNeil’s .329 average also ranked second. Chris Flexen’s eight wins led the league.

This is the final "Farm report" of the 2013 season.

Farm Report: V.I. product Morris dealing

August, 28, 2013
8/28/13
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Akeel Morris’ statistics with the Brooklyn Cyclones are gaudy. The 20-year-old right-hander from the U.S. Virgin Islands is 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA in 40 innings this season. He has 53 strikeouts while allowing only 26 hits, albeit with 21 walks.

“I mean, I expect a lot out of myself,” said Morris, a 10th-round pick in 2010. “I like the results that I’m seeing.”

Morris primarily relies on a fastball that sits at 90-94 mph and touches 96-97 mph as well as a changeup. He also has a curveball.


Courtesy of New York MetsAkeel Morris


He began the season working in a “piggyback” role with Brooklyn, logging lengthier innings than a typical reliever with the appearances spread out like a starter. His last two outings have come as a starter, though.

Morris’ mother Corlette originally is from Antigua. His father Kenneth was born in St. Kitts.

Of the 1,525 players selected in the 2010 MLB draft, four were born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The others besides Morris: Jabari Blash (eighth round, Mariners), Morris, James Sneed (14th round/Angels) and Jamaine Cotton (15th round/Astros). Players subject to the draft include those from the 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and other territories, but not international players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan and other countries.

Morris’ mother played in a local softball league in the U.S. Virgin Islands, while his father played high school basketball. They encouraged him to start playing baseball at age 5.

“It’s actually growing down there,” Morris said about baseball in his homeland. “I watched baseball games on TV. I would see it on ESPN -- and for some reason the Florida Marlins a lot, because they’re the closest.”

His favorite player at that time?

“Growing up I played the middle infield, until I started pitching. So Derek Jeter was my favorite,” Morris said.

According to Baseballreference.com, 11 players have been born in the Virgin Islands and reached the majors: Jerry Browne (1986-95), Joe Christopher (1959-66), Horace Clarke (1965-74), Callix Crabbe (2008), Henry Cruz (1975-78), Midre Cummings (1993-2005), Elrod Hendricks(1968-79), Al McBean (1961-70), Jose Morales (1973-84), Calvin Pickering (1998-2005) and Elmo Plaskett (1962-63).

Morris said he auditioned for the Mets in the Dominican Republic, with his parents funding the trip.

“Other teams were interested just from going to showcases [in the U.S.] and playing summer ball,” Morris said. “But I just went down to the Dominican to see what could happen for me. And I chose the Mets’ complex and I worked out there. And that’s how the Mets got interested in me.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .327; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .326; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .321; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .304; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .303; Jeyckol De Leon, Kingsport, .301; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .301; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .301; L.J. Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .298.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 25; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 22; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 20; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 92; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 80; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 79; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, 78.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 30; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 23; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 21; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 17.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.49; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.09; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.22; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.31; Gaby Almonte, GCL Mets, 2.31; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.67; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.71; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.85; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.0-; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 14; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 37; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 19; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 17; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 142; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 133; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 126; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 120; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 119.

Short hops

• Right-handers Chasen Bradford and Hansel Robles, catcher Cam Maron, infielder Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielder Cory Vaughn will represent the Mets in the Arizona Fall League. Two pitchers will be added later.

• Outfielder Dustin Lawley received a two-level promotion with Matt den Dekker getting a call-up to the majors. Lawley, the Florida State League leader in homers (25) and RBIs (92), is jumping all the way to Las Vegas. The one downside: Lawley will fall two RBIs and four homers shy of St. Lucie single-season records. He did become the fourth St. Lucie Met ever named Florida State League Player of the Year, joining Chris Donnels (1989), Nikco Riesgo (1990) and Randy Curtis (1993).

• The Mets have two affiliates locked into the playoffs, and could have as many as five qualify as minor league regular seasons near completion.

Las Vegas’ division lead over Sacramento was trimmed to 2½ games with Tuesday’s loss. Seven games remain in the 51s’ season. The four division leaders qualify in the Pacific Coast League.

Binghamton already has clinched its first division title since 2000.

St. Lucie is on the brink of elimination from postseason contention. The Florida State League club must win out and get a ton of help. St. Lucie is in third place, trailing division-leader Charlotte by four games. But second-place Palm Beach, two games back, plays its final four games against Charlotte.

Savannah won its first half and has qualified for the South Atlantic League playoffs.

With three games remaining, Kingsport is in second place, a half-game behind division leader Greeneville. The top two teams in each division make the playoffs, and the K-Mets have a two-game lead over third-place Johnson City.

Brooklyn trails first-place Aberdeen by a half-game in its New York-Penn League division with eight games remaining. Three division winners and one wild-card team qualify in the NYPL. The Cyclones all but need to win the division. They trail Pinckney Division runner-up Jamestown by 6½ games for the wild card.

• Despite receiving a 50-game suspension for a second violation involving a drug of abuse, the Mets would need to add left-hander Chase Huchingson to the 40-man roster this winter to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. Oddly, the suspension could make Huchingson more attractive in that draft, since he would not tie up a 25-man roster spot at the major league level for the first quarter of the season. Binghamton’s playoff games do not count toward suspension time served.

• Vegas left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich had the briefest of demotions. Leathersich officially had been demoted to Binghamton, but never ended up leaving the 51s. When Robert Carson was promoted to the Mets, Leathersich was transferred back to Vegas without ever leaving the city limits. Leatherisch, a strikeout machine during his pro career, has 48 Ks in 28 innings in Triple-A. But he also has a 6.75 ERA, 27 walks and three hit batters. That signals a September call-up is unlikely, especially since he does not yet need to be added to the 40-man roster.

• Although he remains a catcher, Kevin Plawecki is getting some first-base action with St. Lucie. Plawecki has appeared in 15 games at the position with the Florida State League club. He recently missed two games after taking a foul tip off his bare hand while catching Sunday against Fort Myers.

• Right-hander Michael Fulmer will remain on the DL for the rest of St. Lucie’s season with a right shoulder strain.

• Binghamton left-hander Darin Gorski was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Right-hander Robert Gsellman was named New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week. He had 13 strikeouts Saturday for Brooklyn.

• Binghamton backup catcher Xorge Carrillo has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games (22-for-56), raising his batting average 110 points, to .301.

• Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani returned to the B-Mets’ lineup Sunday after missing seven games. Ceciliani, a former New York-Penn League batting champ, had tweaked an ankle rounding third base. His 30 steals rank second in the Eastern League, trailing only Akron’s Jose Ramirez (38).

Logan Verrett’s win last Wednesday clinched Binghamton’s first division title in 13 years. Verrett, a Baylor product, now has a league-leading 12 wins.

• Center fielder Patrick Biondi, the Mets’ ninth-round pick in June out of the University of Michigan, has a right wrist injury. He has not started with the Cyclones since Aug. 19, but can pinch run or bunt if needed.

• Despite tossing seven scoreless innings in his most recent outing, St. Lucie right-hander Domingo Tapia remains winless since April 20. He is 2-9 with a 4.86 ERA in 22 starts and has walked 62 in 96 1/3 innings.

Farm report: Chism an FSL leader like dad

August, 21, 2013
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T.J. Chism has 16 saves for Class A St. Lucie, which ranks third in the Florida State League. The southpaw isn’t the first member of his family to rank among that league’s leaders.

Chism’s father Tom hit .314 and won the FSL batting title in 1975. The elder Chism, a first baseman, went on to appear in six games for the Orioles four year later.

“We have a lot of team pictures and stuff like that of him and Cal Ripken right next to each other,” Chism said. “It’s kind of cool. I was born after he was done playing, but I still feel like I was alive, because there’s all that stuff around the house. He won a Florida State League batting title, which is crazy now that I’m playing in the same league. He always tells me this is a pitchers’ league.”


Courtesy of New York MetsT.J. Chism


Not that the 5-foot-10 Chism’s mother, Kelly MacIntosh, was a slouch athletically.

“She’ll take all the credit, if you ask her,” Chism quipped. “She played high school basketball and stuff like that. She was a little bit smaller, which is why I think I got a little bit slighted on the height side. But her athletic ability was tremendous. She always tells me stories about how she scored 50 points in basketball games, which is weird because I can’t shoot a basketball to save my life. I played every other sport but basketball.”

Chism is a 32nd-round pick in 2009 by the Mets out of La Salle University. He grew up a 40-minute drive from the Philadelphia campus. He led the Explorers in homers his junior year with 11 and averaged nearly a run and RBI per game.

“I was a hitter. That was my passion,” said Chism, who noted that he pitched to get seen by scouts and because there were not clear alternatives on the team.

Added Chism: “I would start on Sundays and I’d still hit for myself. I got into the sixth inning one time, I think. That was against Temple. I was good for two or three innings and then the wheels fell off.”

Chism, who turned 25 on Aug. 9, does not have eye-popping velocity, but results are results.

In 54 innings over 42 appearances, Chism has limited opponents to 46 hits and 13 walks (three intentional) while striking out 50. His 16 saves have come in 19 chances. He has a 2.33 ERA. Lefty batters are hitting .194 with one homer in 62 at-bats against him.

Chism began closing as part of a revolving set of back-end pitchers in 2011 with Brooklyn. He then became established in the role last season with Savannah.

He primarily throws a four-seam fastball (86-87 mph) as well as a slider and changeup. He dropped to a three-quarters arm slot in 2010 with the encouragement of Jonathan Hurst, his Kingsport pitching coach.

“We were playing catch one day, and I couldn’t throw a strike to save my life,” Chism said. “So I dropped down a little bit on my own, and he goes, ‘Chiz, what’s going on? You doing something different?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I dropped down a little bit just to get a consistent release point.’ He’s like, ‘Dude, the ball is jumping out of your hand. Let’s roll with it.’ I was like, ‘All right, let’s do it.’ That saved my career.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .328; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .326; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .319; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .316; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .314; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .308; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .299; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .296; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .295.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 25; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 21; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 19; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 90; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 77; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 76; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, 76.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 29; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 23; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 18; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 17.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.67; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.14; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.43; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.50; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.54; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.55; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.59; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.71; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.88; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 14; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 35; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 17; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 16; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 137; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 128; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 117; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 116; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 116.

Short hops

• Despite innings caps, right-handers Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom should be permitted to pitch with Las Vegas through the playoffs, provided the 51s qualify. The exception: If Las Vegas became eliminated from postseason contention early, the pitching prospects likely would skip their final regular-season starts. Montero and deGrom are expected to be on 90-pitch limits for the remainder of the season.

Innings limits are hitting the entire system. Double-A phenom Noah Syndergaard, who regularly has been capped at five innings of late, is skipping a start. He is due to reenter the rotation Monday. With St. Lucie, Matt Bowman is at least temporarily shut down.

• The Mets added a pair of starting-pitching arms for Las Vegas -- right-handers Mitch Talbot and Daryl Thompson.

Talbot, 29, made one appearance for Triple-A New Orleans in April before experiencing elbow tendinitis and getting shut down. He was released by the Marlins organization at his request after appearing in two Gulf Coast League games -- the latter a five-inning effort on Aug. 1 against the Mets in Port St. Lucie -- because New Orleans did not have any roster room. Talbot is a career 12-19 with a 5.30 ERA in 43 major league appearances (41 starts) from 2008 through 2011 with the Rays and Indians.

Thompson, 27, is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) with the Reds in 2008 and ’11. He was 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 124 2/3 innings for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the independent Atlantic League this season.

Las Vegas needs the extra arms, particularly because of an upcoming six-game series over four days at Colorado Springs.

The bullpen is so taxed, especially with Greg Burke getting a call-up, that starter Matt Fox had to log 107 pitches Monday despite getting drilled for eight runs in four innings.

• An observer clocked Tim Byrdak’s fastball velocity at 88-89 mph during an appearance Monday and suggested he should be no-brainer to be up with the Mets after rosters expand. Byrdak currently is on a minor league contract as he returns from Sept. 6, 2012 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

The Mets should have 40-man roster room for call-ups, including Byrdak. Since Cesar Puello and Jordany Valdespin are on the restricted list and do not count, the Mets’ 40-man roster is at 38. Players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-man roster, either. The Mets already have Frank Francisco, Jeurys Familia and Johan Santana on the 60-day DL. Team officials potentially can open two 40-man roster more spots by shifting Jenrry Mejia and Jeremy Hefner to the 60-day DL.

While it is premature for any commitments, logical September call-ups include Anthony Recker on Sept. 1 and then Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Robert Carson and Matt den Dekker once the 51s’ season ends. (Zach Lutz, on the 40-man roster, is far more iffy.)

Den Dekker is not on the 40-man roster, but needs to be added this offseason anyway for Rule 5 protection.

The Mets often reward an unheralded player for performance, too. That could wind up being 26-year-old Eric Campbell, an eighth-round pick in 2008 from Boston College, who has more walks (55) than strikeouts (52) and a .419 on-base percentage. He can play corner infield and outfield positions.

• Binghamton’s magic number for its first division title since 2000 technically remains at one, but the B-Mets already have clinched because they own the tiebreaker with Trenton by virtue of winning the season series. The 2000 squad included Ty Wigginton, Alex Escobar, Tyler Walker, Dicky Gonzalez and Pat Strange, as well as top prospect Brian Cole, who died the following spring training.

• The B-Mets dodged a pair of injury bullets. Outfielder Cory Vaughn, struck in the back of the helmet with a pitch Monday, passed concussion tests and returned to the lineup a day later as DH. Shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, hurt in the same game, underwent X-rays on his left wrist that were negative.

Vaughn, incidentally will be part of the Mets’ Arizona Fall League contingent, his agents at Northwest Sports Management Group announced. Also AFL-bound: B-Mets right-hander Cory Mazzoni, assuming he heals from season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Mazzoni faces a five- to six-week rehab timetable.

• Savannah’s Gabriel Ynoa earned his 14th win Tuesday. That is the most wins by a Mets farmhand since Jason Scobie had 15 with Triple-A Norfolk in 2005.

• B-Mets first baseman Allan Dykstra’s 97 walks are the most in the Eastern League since Brian Myrow had 107 walks with the Trenton Thunder in 2003.

Michael Fulmer preliminarily has been diagnosed with biceps tendinitis after leaving his last start. He is due to see team doctors in New York on Thursday.

• With 14 games remaining in St. Lucie’s season, Dustin Lawley is chasing several of the Florida State League club’s single-season records. Lawley sits at 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 31 doubles. The St. Lucie records belong to Robert Stratton with 29 homers in 2000, Nikco Riesgo with 94 RBIs in 1990 and David Wright with 39 doubles in 2003.

T.J. Rivera leads the Florida State League with 137 hits (including one in Tuesday's suspended game). The St. Lucie record is 156 hits, jointly held by Omar Garcia (1993) and Corey Coles (2006).

Gavin Cecchini’s hit streak with Brooklyn ended at 16 games Monday, one shy of matching the Cyclones’ record set by Lucas Duda in 2007. Cecchini isn’t the only former first-round pick heating up. Brandon Nimmo is batting .393 (24-for-61) with one homer, 12 RBIs and a .543 on-base percentage in August with Savannah.

Kyle Johnson, acquired from the Angels for Collin Cowgill, has a 15-game hitting streak with St. Lucie -- including a hit in Tuesday’s suspended game that will resume Wednesday.

Omar Minaya, now a special assistant for the Padres, is predicting big things for one of his former Mets signings. Minaya last weekend praised Mexican right-hander Luis Cessa, who is 7-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 19 starts with Savannah. Cessa, as noted by Minaya, originally was signed as a third baseman and dabbled in the infield in 2009 and ’10 before moving full time to pitching.

Farm report: Walters notches saves record

August, 14, 2013
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Right-hander Jeff Walters has produced 33 saves this season, breaking the Double-A Binghamton single-season record, which previously had been set by Jerrod Riggan with 28 in 2000.

Next up for Walters: The all-time B-Mets saves record. Tim Lavigne notched 36 saves with the B-Mets while spending parts of five seasons with the Eastern League club, from 2002 to 2008.

Walters’ save total is the most in all of minor league baseball. The runner-up, Chris Hatcher, has 29 with Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins).


Courtesy of New York MetsJeff Walters


“It’s been really cool,” said Walters, a seventh-round pick in 2010 from the University of Georgia. “I didn’t think that our team would be doing this well, either, you know? When you win 75 games this early in the season, hopefully you get a couple of cracks at some saves. But I’ve been fortunate to be put in that situation. We’ve had some tight games.”

Walters actually had a streak of 20 straight save conversions snapped Tuesday night with only his third blown save of the season. He issued a walk-off wild pitch. It was his first time working in five days. The organization had backed off his usage because of a shoulder issue.

Walters’ fastball sits at 93-95 mph. He has registered 97 mph a couple of times this season, but generally tops out with an occasional 96 mph. He also sports a slider (83-86 mph) and changeup (82-84 mph).

He originally served as a starting pitcher in the minors, including 14 starts for Brooklyn in 2011. He shifted to the bullpen with Savannah and St. Lucie last season, and emerged as Binghamton’s closer this year.

Walters, 25, had familiarity with the relief role. He served in that capacity during most of his junior year with Georgia, before stepping in as a starter at NCAA regional time. He then settled into to a Saturday starting role his senior year with the Southeastern Conference program.

“I’d be in that situation in JUCO as well, before I had gotten to Georgia,” Walters said. “I’ve been back and forth to both spots and am comfortable either way.”

Walters has an unusual distinction. He was drafted five times before signing with the Mets.

He was selected out of high school in Orlando, Fla., by the Giants in the 24th round in 2006, by the Nationals in the 47th round out of St. Petersburg College in ’07, by the Indians in the 30th round in ’08 out of the same junior college, then by the Orioles in the 17th round in ’09 as a junior at Georgia. With no more college eligibility, he signed with the Mets after being drafted in the seventh round his senior year.

As atypical as that is, Walters had a mentor who went through the same experience. His high school pitching coach, Randy O’Neal, also was drafted five times. O’Neal eventually signed with the Tigers as a first-round pick in 1981 out of the University of Florida.

O’Neal went on to make 142 major league appearances (46 starts) over seven major league seasons, with the Tigers, Braves, Cardinals, Phillies and Giants.

“It was awesome,” Walters said about having O’Neal as a coach in high school. “I got to the point where I was learning more about the game than actual mechanics. Most of it at this point [in Double-A] for a lot of pitchers is not mechanical anymore. It’s being able to understand the mental game -- what to do, when to do it, and how to accept defeat as well as how to accept when you do good. I was taught that from very early, and he has helped me with that a lot.”

Next up for Walters, aside from an appearance with the B-Mets in the Eastern League playoffs? Because he was drafted in 2010 as a college senior, Walters needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason in order to be protected from Rule 5 draft eligibility.

The recent shoulder issue may have given the Mets too much pause for a September call-up, although it’s not entirely out of the question. Pitchers who clearly should be with the Mets after rosters expand are Greg Burke, Robert Carson and mostly likely Tim Byrdak.

“I can only take care of what I do on the field,” Walters said. “That’s all I’m concentrating on right now is trying to finish out the season strong with this last month, and then hopefully with us going to the playoffs. And then whatever happens in the offseason happens. I’ll take it whatever it is and prepare and come back next year and hopefully get a chance next year.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .336; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .329; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .326; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .321; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .317; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .314; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .303; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .298; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .296.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 24; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 20; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 19; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBI: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 88; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 76; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, 74.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 28; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 22; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 18.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.72; Octavio Acosta, GCL Mets, 2.28; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.36; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.39; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.54; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.55; Carlos Valdez, Brooklyn, 2.58; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.68; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.69; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.71.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 13; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 11; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 10; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 33; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 16; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 15; Robert Carson, Vegas,10; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 126; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 118; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 117.

Short hops

• Attempting to close out a victory for the NL in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, Brooklyn Cyclones left-hander John Mincone surrendered two ninth-inning runs and the AL won, 4-3, in walk-off fashion. Playing in his home state, LJ Mazzilli came off the bench and went 0-for-1 with a run scored in the game at Norwich, Conn. Starter Miller Diaz allowed one run in one inning. Robert Gsellman tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out two.

• A pair of Mets farmhands were named their leagues’ pitchers of the week.

B-Mets left-hander Mark Cohoon earned the Eastern League honor after going 2-0 and allowing one earned run in 13 innings over two starts. Cohoon, a 12th-round pick in 2008, owns the B-Mets’ record for most career innings pitched (371 1/3).

Savannah right-hander Seth Lugo, a 34th-round pick in 2011 out of Centenary College in Shreveport, La., earned the South Atlantic League honor. Lugo, 23, appeared in 11 games (10 starts) after the draft with Kingsport, but did not pitch last year. He missed significant time with a back injury.

• The Mets have not yet named their Arizona Fall League contingent, but team officials indicated players who missed chunks of time during the season because of injury would be prime candidates. Fitting that criteria: Binghamton outfielder Cory Vaughn as well as right-handers Cory Mazzoni, Michael Fulmer and Hansel Robles.

Noah Syndergaard is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in nine starts since a promotion to Binghamton. He has allowed 34 hits and 10 walks while striking out 54 in 46 innings.

• 2011 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini took an 11-game hitting streak into the New York-Penn League All-Star break. Cecchini lifted his season average from .214 to .282 with the surge.

Lucas Duda’s last three starts have come at first base with Las Vegas. Duda is hitting .200 (5-for-25) with one RBI and six walks in eight games since joining the 51s.

Farm report: King, of Brooklyn

August, 7, 2013
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Brooklyn Cyclones left fielder Jared King has been switch-hitting since he can remember.

His father Jeff, who played college ball at Ohio State and one season professionally with the Yankees in the New York-Penn League, set up a batting cage in the family’s basement in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, for Jared and brother Jason to learn from a young age.

“He knew you’ve got a better shot if you can swing it from both sides,” Jared said. “He made it a job to try to get us to both be able to do it. And we stuck with it and it’s helped out tremendously.”


Courtesy of Brooklyn CyclonesJared King


Both brothers ended up playing for Kansas State, then getting drafted professionally in early rounds.

Jason, a third baseman, was selected in the fourth round in 2011 by the Tigers and currently is playing in the Midwest League for Western Michigan.

Jared, a fifth-round pick of the Mets two months ago, is hitting .264 with 16 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage in 42 games with Brooklyn while serving as the regular left fielder. (He suffered a left oblique injury Tuesday and is day-to-day.)

The brothers, three years apart grade-wise and 2½ years in age, overlapped for one season at Kansas State because Jared needed to be redshirted his junior year while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“We’re always talking,” Jared said. “Usually every other day, or every day, we just either text or call each other to see how things are going. He’s always been there to be a support system for me as well as the rest of my family, so it’s been a huge help.”

The family has quite a legacy in Columbus. Jared and Jason’s grandfather Frank Ellwood was a quarterback at Ohio State in 1954 when the program won a national championship. Ellwood went on to be the head football coach at Marshall and an assistant coach with the Buckeyes as well as at Air Force and Ohio University.

Initially it did not seem like the brothers would be able to play together in college.

“We were kind of looking at it that when he’s a true junior, he’s going to be getting drafted. So I’m really not going to be able to play with him again,” said Jared, who played one season of high school varsity with Jeff, when they were a freshman and senior, respectively. “And then he got hurt and was going to be there another year. So it opened another opportunity to be with him. He helped me through that process as well, adjusting from high school to college. It was just a great move for me and the right thing to do.”

The brothers’ experience growing up also was shaped by a tragic event. The day before Jason signed to play at Kansas State, their mother Susan passed away after a battle with colon cancer.

“It was very emotional,” Jared said. “It’s just more motivation for Jason and I to get to where we want to be and follow our dreams.

“When something like that happens, it kind of makes you grow up quicker than you’re supposed to. I really had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life, and this is what I want to be doing. The same with him.

“And here we are, still chasing the same dream as when we were five years old.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .336; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .336; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .333 Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .328; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .317; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .302; Joe Tuschak, Kingsport, .297; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .290; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .290.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 23; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 18; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 18; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 83; Cesar Puello, 73; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 72; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 70.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 25; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 22; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 17.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.54; Octavio Acosta, GCL Mets, 2.17; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.34; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.36; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.37; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.47; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.67; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.68; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.74; Carlos Valdez, Brooklyn, 2.75.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 13; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 10; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 10; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 32; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 15; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 14; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 9.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 117; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 113; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 111; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 109; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 107.

Short hops

• Although Ruben Tejada officially has been a minor leaguer since completing a rehab assignment and getting optioned to Las Vegas on July 7, he should comfortably qualify for arbitration eligibility during the upcoming offseason.

Even if he were not to return to the majors this year, Tejada already has accumulated 98 major league service days this season, giving him two years, 151 days for his career and making him a clear-cut Super 2.

Depending when Tejada returns to the majors, he could even cross the threshold and have three years of service time, meaning he would be eligible for free agency a year sooner. A full MLB season is granted for 172 days of service time, so Tejada only needs 21 more major league days this year to bypass Super 2 entirely.

• Just like at the major league level with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, every inning is being counted for Noah Syndergaard at Double-A Binghamton. That is why Syndergaard departed his start Sunday after five innings despite working on a two-hit shutout and with his pitch count only at 66. Syndergaard was pulled from his previous start, when he allowed only one hit and one run in six innings, with his pitch count at 59.

The aim is to keep Syndergaard pitching through the end of the season, which should include the postseason in the B-Mets’ case. Binghamton is 72-43 and has opened a 13-game lead over Trenton for first place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.

Syndergaard, who has a 1.98 ERA in eight starts since joining the B-Mets, has logged a combined 104 2/3 innings this season between St. Lucie and Binghamton. He had 103 2/3 innings in 2012 while a Blue Jays farmhand. Although there are other factors, a general rule of thumb is capping innings jumps at 30 over the previous season.

Syndergaard, incidentally, was just named as being the best pitching prospect and having the best fastball in the Eastern and Florida State leagues by Baseball America.

• Baseball America’s newly released tools lists by league included several other Mets farmhands:

For the Pacific Coast League, the still-eligible Wheeler was named best pitching prospect and as possessing the best fastball. Now-suspended Cesar Puello was named most exciting player and Pedro Lopez was named best manager prospect in the Eastern League. Savannah’s Gabriel Ynoa was cited as having the best control and Jayce Boyd was named as the best defensive first baseman in the South Atlantic League.

• With 32 saves, Binghamton closer Jeff Walters already has established a new single-season saves record for the Eastern League club. Next up: Walters is closing in on Binghamton’s all-time saves record. Tim Lavigne accumulated 36 saves over parts of five seasons with the B-Mets, from 2002 through ’08. Binghamton has 27 regular-season games remaining.

• 2012 third-round pick Matt Koch was released from the hospital Monday, three days after getting struck with a line drive in the head while pitching for Savannah against Mario Martinez. Koch’s brother picked him up at the hospital in Greenville, S.C., and drove him back to Savannah. Koch has several upcoming doctor appointments and may not pitch again this season, according to a Mets official. Selected out of Louisville last year, Koch is 6-4 with a 4.70 ERA in 18 appearances (15 starts) for the Gnats this season.

• Brooklyn had five players selected to next Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Norwich, Conn. Right-hander Miller Diaz will start for the National League squad. He will be joined by right-handers John Gant and Robert Gsellman, left-hander John Mincone and second baseman LJ Mazzilli. Mincone, a product of Half Hollow Hills East High on Long Island, is now a two-time All-Star selection in the league.

• Outfielder Cory Vaughn could not have scripted his return to Double-A much better. Vaughn produced six RBIs in Tuesday’s Binghamton doubleheader sweep, after logging nine games in the Gulf Coast League and 12 games with St. Lucie. Vaughn had last played for the B-Mets on June 2, after which he landed on the DL with an elbow strain in his right, throwing arm. Vaughn, the son of ex-big leaguer Greg Vaughn, is hitting .301 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 176 Eastern League at-bats this season.

• With Wilmer Flores in the majors and Jordany Valdespin suspended for 50 games, Las Vegas used an infield Tuesday night of Eric Campbell at first base, Brandon Hicks at second base, Tejada at shortstop and Zach Lutz at third base.

Farm report: Johnson meets the Mets

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
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Outfielder Kyle Johnson did not expect to receive word he had been traded to the Mets for Collin Cowgill when he was summoned to the front of the Burlington Bees team bus in late June.

“We were just pulling off the highway getting something to eat,” said Johnson, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels out of Washington State University in the 25th round last year. “And my manager, [Jamie] Burke, called me up to the front and handed me a cell phone and said, ‘Hey, take this.’ It was Bobby Scales, our farm director. He’s just like, ‘Hey, Kyle, how are you doing?’


Courtesy of St. Lucie MetsKyle Johnson


“If you’re going up or down, that’s not really the guy you talk to. The manager usually just tells you. He’s like, ‘Hey, I just want to say congratulations. You’ve been traded to the Mets.’ I was just like, ‘OK.’ I was caught really off-guard. I didn’t really know anything about it. He asked if I had any questions, and I was just kind of speechless.”

Johnson, 23, and his fiancée subsequently drove 16 hours over two days from Burlington, Iowa, to join the Mets’ low-A affiliate in Savannah. After eight games, he was on the move again, having been promoted to St. Lucie.

“It was kind of at the point right where I was really getting used to those guys when I moved,” Johnson said about the Gnats. “And then you come here and you start over. It’s great, too, because I’ll know a lot more people heading into spring training instead of just 25 or 30 guys I would have known if I was just in Savannah or came straight to Port St. Lucie. Now I know about 60 guys.”

Johnson fits the Mets’ profile because of his penchant for posting a high on-base percentage. He also puts up big stolen base numbers.

In his two-year pro career between the Angels and Mets, Johnson has hit .290 with a .395 on-base percentage. He has stolen 46 bases in 53 attempts in 128 career games. He also has been hit by 16 pitches. In his final college season at Washington State, Johnson had a .408 OBP and 17 steals in 22 attempts while appearing in 48 games (41 starts).

“I’ve always been a top-of-the-order-type guy,” Johnson said. “I get on base any way I can. One thing I learned in college is a hit by pitch and a walk is just as good as a hit -- just getting on base for those big Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 hitters to get those RBIs and get me in. I’ll get RBIs every once in a while, but I kind of pride myself on stolen bases and scoring runs.”

As for the trade, Johnson said: “Just being wanted makes it a lot easier and makes it exciting. I think the Mets are giving me a real cool opportunity that maybe I wouldn’t have had with the Angels, just because of the Angels’ depth with outfielders all the way up to the top. The Mets organization is rebuilding and developing from within. So I’m really excited about that. I think I’m going to have a great opportunity here.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .344; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .334; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .333 Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .333; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .322; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .313; Joe Tuschak, Kingsport, .308; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .296; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .296; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .292.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 20; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 18; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 17; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 14.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 85; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 76; Cesar Puello, 73; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 69; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 69.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 23; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 20; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 15.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.36; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.19; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.31; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.48; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.48; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.56; Octavio Acosta, GCL Mets, 2.59; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.61; Carlos Valdez, Boroklyn, 2.78; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.80.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 11; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 9; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 9; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 30; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 15; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 8.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 113; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 110; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 104; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 104; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 98.

Short hops

Jayce Boyd, who is hitting a combined .334 between Savannah and St. Lucie this season, exclusively has served as DH since June 29 with the Florida State League club. Boyd, a first baseman drafted in the sixth round last year out of Florida State, has been instructed not to throw by team doctors. He is due to undergo shoulder surgery after the season. The injury does not restrict Boyd’s hitting.

Travis d’Arnaud, who has played in six Gulf Coast League games since returning from a broken first metatarsal in his left foot, is expected to move to Double-A Binghamton.

• 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini returned to shortstop for Brooklyn Saturday after missing more than three weeks with an ankle injury. He is 1-for-16 since returning from the DL.

• Trying to limit left-hander Steven Matz’s innings, the Mets skipped his last turn with Savannah. Matz has logged 81 innings this season. His previous two seasons were limited because of a prolonged recovery from Tommy John surgery and other injuries.

Matz should be an interesting case this offseason. He will be Rule 5 draft eligible, so the Mets may have to protect him, despite Matz -- the organization’s top pick in 2009 -- never having pitched above low-A. Still, despite a 2.33 ERA through 16 South Atlantic League starts and being left-handed, there is no guarantee. One scout’s report on Matz had his fastball extremely straight.

• Left-hander Pedro Feliciano last Thursday made his first Triple-A appearance since 2006, when the Mets were aligned with Norfolk. Feliciano has retired all six batters he has faced -- four lefties, two righties -- over three appearances since the promotion from Binghamton to Las Vegas.

• After a torrid start, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo’s average has dipped to .261 with Savannah. Nimmo has struck out 99 times in 283 at-bats.

Jordany Valdespin, the reigning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week, continues to put up gaudy numbers with Vegas. Despite losing a six-game hitting streak in Tuesday’s rain-shortened game at Nashville, Valdespin is hitting .453 (24-for-53) with three homers and 24 RBIs in 14 games since a demotion.

Of course, Valdespin triggered a bench-clearing brawl against Sacramento. After admiring a homer, Valdespin then was hit by a pitch later that night. When the Mets retaliated, with Armando Rodriguez hitting a Sacramento batter, both benches emptied. Valdespin, Rodriguez and manager Wally Backman were ejected. Valdespin went 9-for-14 in the weekend series against Sacramento.

“Valdespin being Valdespin,” said one observer. “He pimped singles more than the home run, though. He also hit .600 against this team. LOL. That will piss people off.”

Bradley Marquez, a 16th-round pick in 2011, has returned to Texas Tech for another college football season. While splitting time between left field and center field with Kingsport, the 20-year-old Marquez hit .250 with one homer and nine RBIs in 84 at-bats. A Mets official said Marquez for the first time does plan to attend spring training in 2014, so the shift from college football to baseball as the priority looks like it will begin then.

• Right-hander Noah Syndergaard earned Eastern League Player of the Week honors. Syndergaard is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since a promotion to Binghamton.

Syndergaard logged 103 2/3 innings last season in the Blue Jays organization with Class A Lansing. He has thrown 99 2/3 innings this season between St. Lucie and the B-Mets, so he probably has slightly more than 30 innings remaining this season before reaching his cap.

• Right-hander Akeel Morris, a 10th-round pick in 2010 out of the U.S. Virgin Islands, continues to post remarkable numbers with Brooklyn. Morris has tossed 25 scoreless innings. He has allowed 12 hits and 12 walks while striking out 31.

• The Mets are talking with 2011 10th-round pick Matt Budgell about returning to the organization for spring training. Budgell, a right-handed pitcher who made 12 appearances for Kingsport last year, had decided to retire from baseball earlier this year.

• Mets prospects will be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, on a team with farmhands from the Braves, Yankees, Pirates and Giants. Luis Rivera, the Mets’ short-season hitting coordinator, will serve as hitting coach for that AFL squad.

• 2012 seventh-round pick Corey Oswalt, a right-handed pitcher selected out of high school in San Diego, is due to undergo surgery today to repair a knee injury.

Farm report: Fuller takes to relief quickly

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
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In his first full season as a reliever, left-hander Jim Fuller put up gaudy numbers with Class A St. Lucie this year.

The 26-year-old southpaw posted a 0.84 ERA while allowing only 15 hits in 32 innings, albeit with 16 walks. Lefty batters in the Florida State League hit only .116 (5-for-43) against him and received only three of those walks.


Courtesy of New York MetsJim Fuller


“I was healthy there. I mixed it up. My arm felt good,” said Fuller, who made his Double-A Binghamton debut on June 20. “I just attacked the hitters there.”

Fuller missed the entire 2011 season recovering from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. He missed the early part of last season, too.

“It took a while,” he said about the rehab process. “I didn’t really start feeling good until this past offseason -- a year and a half after surgery. It takes a while, a lot of hard work rehabbing and stuff. But it’s paying off finally.”

A 21st-round pick in 2008, Fuller began his college career at Southern New Hampshire before bouncing to a junior college in Oklahoma and then Southern Connecticut State. The Marlborough, Mass., native earned the Mets’ attention while tossing 59 straight scoreless innings for Division II SCSU.

His fastball sits at 91-92 mph and tops out at 94. He also possesses a curveball and changeup.

Fuller actually landed on the B-Mets’ disabled list Tuesday with left biceps tendinitis, although the injury is not considered serious. He had a 9.64 ERA through seven Double-A appearances, which he just chalked up to an adjustment period to the higher level.

“That’s going to happen,” Fuller said. “I’m not too worried about that. I’ve had some good outings, too.”

As for the adjustment to the bullpen after being a starter throughout his pro career, Fuller said: “It didn’t go too bad. I adjusted right away. It’s just the whole point of getting up quicker. You’ve got to be ready in a batter or so. It caught me off guard at first, but I adjusted to it pretty well.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .345; Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .338; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .332; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .320; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .317; Joe Tuschak, Kingsport, .307; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .305; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .305; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .305; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .299.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 20; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 18; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 17; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 12.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 77; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 74; Cesar Puello, 71; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 69; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 67.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 23; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 23; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 17; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 13; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 13.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.34; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 1.93; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.16; Steven Matz, Savannah, 2.33; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.37; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.62; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.76; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.82; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.86; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.88.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 10; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 9; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 9; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 27; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 15; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, Binghamton, 8.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 105; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 102; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 100; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 97; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 94.

Short hops

Pedro Feliciano is about to get tested to see if he is MLB worthy. After 14 relief appearances with Binghamton, Feliciano has been promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Feliciano had a 1.26 ERA with the B-Mets. Lefties hit .167 and righties hit .192 against him in 14 1/3 innings. However, Feliciano did not use his fastball much in the Eastern League. He instead deceived the less-sophisticated Double-A hitters primarily with a slider-changeup combo. His lesser-used fastball did top out at 85 mph, but was far more frequently in the low-80s.

Feliciano’s promotion was part of a flurry of roster moves in the upper minors Tuesday. With Greg Burke and Feliciano joining Las Vegas, and with Jenrry Mejia due to start Friday in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Nationals, Greg Peavey and Armando Rodriguez were shifted from the 51s to Binghamton. They were due to report to the B-Mets on Tuesday, but their connecting flight was canceled and they were stranded in Detroit overnight.

• Left fielder Cory Vaughn, who was having a solid season with Binghamton (.288, 6 HR, 31 RBIs in 170 at-bats) before a right elbow strain landed him on the DL, appears fully healed. After appearing in nine Gulf Coast League games, Vaughn was activated from the DL on Tuesday and joined Class A St. Lucie.

• Outfielder Dustin Lawley continues to tear up the Florida State League. Lawley was named the league’s player of the week after hitting .444 with one homer and six RBIs in five games during the week ending Sunday. Lawley, a 19th-round pick in 2011 from the University of West Florida, has an FSL-leading 20 homers.

Jordany Valdespin may have further cemented himself in management’s doghouse for his demotion reaction in Pittsburgh, but solid production since reporting to Las Vegas at least is tempering things. Through six games, Valdespin has 10 hits in his first 25 at-bats, for a .400 average. He has produced two homers and 13 RBIs. Five of Valdespin’s six starts have come at second base, since Wilmer Flores has been on the DL with an ankle injury. The other start came in right field, and Valdespin committed an error. Flores was activated Tuesday, although he recently continues to see more action at first base than second base.

• Gulf Coast League catcher Alex Machillanda was arrested Sunday for felony shoplifting, battery and resisting arrest, the St. Lucie Police Department announced. Machillanda, 21, had appeared in eight Gulf Coast League games. He is a native Venezuelan.

Travis d’Arnaud, returning from a broken left foot, should appear in a Gulf Coast League game no later than Thursday.

• Binghamton outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, a former New York-Penn League batting champ, has a 16-game hitting streak with Binghamton.

• B-Mets closer Jeff Walters has an Eastern League-leading 27 saves. His next save will match Jerrod Riggan for the Binghamton record. Riggan had 28 saves in 2000 with the B-Mets.

Minors 7.19.13: Kingsport splits double dip

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
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NEW BRITAIN 8, BINGHAMTON 7: Binghamton couldn't complete the comeback on Friday night. New Britain broke open a 3-3 game in the fourth with five runs. Allan Dykstra and Rhyne Hughes each hit homers. Starter Darin Gorski lasted just 2/3 innings. Box

ST. LUCIE 3, BREVARD COUNTY 1: St. Lucie scored single runs in the first, seventh and eighth. Starter Alex Panteliodis pitched seven shutout innings and struck out seven while giving up just four hits to pick up the win. Box

SAVANNAH VS. WEST VIRGINIA: Postponed due to rain

DANVILLE 12, KINGSPORT 5 (Game 1) ... KINGSPORT 1, DANVILLE 0 (Game 2): Kingsport split the doubleheader. Danville scored in four of the seven innings in Game 1 to win in a blowout. Starter Jean Carlos Gil gave up five runs in three innings. In the second game, Joe Tuschak had the lone RBI. Starter Persio Reyes threw six shutout innings, striking out 11. Game 1 Box; Game 2 Box

MAHONING VALLEY 2, BROOKLYN 1: Mahoning Valley scored two in the seventh and Brooklyn couldn't rally. L.J. Mazzilli had Brooklyn's lone RBI on the night. Starter Robert Gsellman gave up two runs over seven innings and was tagged with the loss. Box

GCL NATIONALS 11, GCL METS 6: The GCL Mets blew a 6-3 lead as the GCL Nationals plated five in the eighth to break a 6-6 tie. Brandon Brosher hit a three-run homer. Box

Farm report: Wrist healed, den Dekker a 51

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
8:35
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Center fielder Matt den Dekker has appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays four times during his baseball career between his University of Florida and Mets tenures. A bid for No. 5 led to a fractured right wrist in a March 24 Grapefruit League game and cost him nearly three months.

The lefty-throwing, lefty-hitting den Dekker, 25, suffered the injury on a shot to deep center by Detroit’s Austin Jackson, when the center fielder tried to brace his fall with his right hand.

“When they first told me, it was six weeks,” den Dekker said about the original estimate of the length of his absence. “I was like, ‘That wouldn’t be too bad.’ But you don’t really know how it’s going to heal.


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsMatt den Dekker


“When I first got the cast off, I couldn’t do anything. I could barely move it for the first two weeks. It was just trying to get the motion back. It took me probably a month to get my motion back. And then I had to start strengthening it and stuff and start hitting. I don’t have the full, full rotation and mobility back yet. They said that could be a year or two until you get all that. But there’s no pain swinging or anything like that.

“It wasn’t necessarily longer than anyone expected. It just kind of takes time. It’s one of those things you don’t want to rush too much with the wrist. It was just tough being down there so long idle, not doing much. It was my first time being injured.”

Den Dekker, after two weeks playing with Class A St. Lucie in the equivalent of spring training, debuted with Triple-A Las Vegas on July 1. He started out 1-for-his-first-25 in the Pacific Coast League, although Wally Backman excused that as still getting up to speed against players in midseason form. Den Dekker since has produced a pair of homers and has four multi-hit games in his past six starts.

“The first couple of weeks were a little ‘off,’ but I think it’s coming,” den Dekker said.

Den Dekker figures to be a September call-up once rosters expand, especially since he needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft anyway. His speed allows him to cover a ton of ground in center field, and his diving catches can fill a highlight reel, although Juan Lagares may be a bit more graceful.

Had the injury not occurred, den Dekker’s marching orders out of spring training would have been to improve his pitch recognition, make more contact and cut down on his strikeouts. After a midseason promotion to Triple-A last year, den Dekker struck out 90 times in 295 at-bats with Buffalo.

Den Dekker does have a history of adjusting to higher levels in his second experience there (.235 in Binghamton in 2011; ,340 there in 2012). So the expectation is he will again take a leap forward now that he is in his second season in Triple-A.

“It’s a matter of finding what works for me,” den Dekker sad. “I feel like I’ve been through so many things with my swing, just changing it back and forth. Once I find that thing that clicks, I’ve got to stick with that. I think coming into this year I’ve been seeing the balling well. I’ve made strides in that way. I still chase some pitches. I’ve got to work on that.”

Den Dekker says he has no hesitation making highlight-reel catch attempts because of the injury.

“I kind of had a ball similar to the one I got hurt on the other day when we were in Salt Lake,” he said. “I played it a lot better. I found the wall. When I got hurt, I didn’t find the wall and kind of just jumped. I feel like it was kind of a freak accident. I’m usually pretty good when it comes to diving and stuff. So far it’s been like normal out there.”

As for a bevy of outfielders getting promoted from Triple-A to the majors this year -- including Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Andrew Brown and Lagares -- and missing a chance because of the wrist injury, den Dekker said: “People tell me, ‘Oh, you’d be up in the big leagues.’ I’m just like, ‘Whatever. Things happen for a reason.’

“I mean, it’s unfortunate. You can’t really think about it that way. I’m glad for the guys that got the opportunity to go up there and play. I keep working. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I’ll be fine. I’ll get a chance.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .362; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .349; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .331; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .326; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Leon Canelon, GCL Mets, .314; Joe Tuschak, Kingsport, .313; Luis Guillorme, GCL Mets, .311; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .311; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .310.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 19; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 17; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 16; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 15; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 12.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 75; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 68; Cesar Puello, 62.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 20; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 18; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 16; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 12; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 12.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 0.89; Gaby Almonte, GCL Mets, 1.69; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.09; Steven Matz, Savannah, 2.25; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.57; Tim Peterson, Brooklyn, 2.59; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.68; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.69; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.72; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.84.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 10; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 9; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 9; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 8; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 8.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 24; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 13; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 9; Hamilton Bennett, Binghamton, 7.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 101; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 96; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 92; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 90.

Short hops

Wilmer Flores will skip tonight’s Triple-A All-Star Game after having to leave Saturday’s Las Vegas game with an ankle injury. The Mets will not have a substitute in the Reno, Nev., event.

After primarily playing second base with the 51s this season, four of Flores’ past seven starts in the field have come at first base. Terry Collins said he was not aware of any organizational directive to use Flores at first base, but added it makes sense since it is unlikely Daniel Murphy will be dislodged from second base at the major league level anytime soon.

Mets insiders have been highly critical of Flores’ range at second base and note he has difficulty getting back to his feet after diving. But Las Vegas observers do say Flores has worked hard and has shown at least moderately improved range as the season has progressed.

Travis d’Arnaud is due to see a team doctor Monday, after which he should gain clearance to enter minor league games. D’Arnaud last played in a game April 17 with Las Vegas, when he was struck with a foul ball while catching and fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot.

• Left-hander Angel Cuan allowed three runs in six innings in his Double-A debut Tuesday with Binghamton after going 6-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 16 appearances (10 starts) with St. Lucie. Cuan, 24, struck out 64 and walked only 10 in 70 2/3 innings in the Florida State League. The B-Mets have a six-man rotation, with Jenrry Mejia also having stepped in, and with Cory Mazzoni (hamstring) sidelined.

• Right-hander Akeel Morris, a 10th-round pick in 2010 from the U.S. Virgin Islands, has not allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings with the Brooklyn Cyclones this season. Morris is “piggybacking” -- meaning he is working closer to a starter’s length on a regular rotation, but not starting the game. He is averaging three innings an appearance. Opposing New York-Penn League batters are hitting .138 against him.

Cory Vaughn, who hasn’t appeared for Binghamton since June 2 due to an elbow strain, is close to rejoining the Eastern League club. Vaughn has appeared in four Gulf Coast League games since mending -- the first two at DH, then a pair in left field.

• Left-hander Steven Matz, the Mets’ top pick in the 2009 draft, out of Ward Melville High School on Long Island, has allowed four runs (three earned) in 31 1/3 innings over his past five starts with Savannah -- good for a 0.86 ERA. Matz’s pro career initially was slowed by a lengthy rehab from Tommy John surgery.

The Mets selected another left-handed pitcher from Ward Melville High in last month’s draft, Anthony Kay in the 29th round, but he apparently is headed to UConn.

• Outfielder John Mora and left-hander Jose Medina were selected to the Dominican Summer League All-Star team.

Farm report: Ex-fielder deGrom makes pitch

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
8:40
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Right-hander Jacob deGrom’s offseason included working part time at his neighbor’s livestock company in De Leon Springs, Fla., to earn extra cash and occupy his time.

It ended up affecting his primary employment.

DeGrom was kicked by a little calf at the cattle ranch and fractured the ring finger on his glove hand, requiring a cast. When he got to spring training, he eventually was able to throw bullpen sessions with someone catching the return throws for him.


Courtesy of New York MetsJacob deGrom


He nonetheless became the talk of minor league coaches in spring training for the quality of his pitching, according to Dan Warthen.

“I was able to keep throwing, just not really in games in the spring,” said deGrom, who opened the season on time with Class A St. Lucie. “I got my pitch count up to where they wanted it. I was fine when the season started.”

Now, perhaps unexpectedly, the 25-year-old deGrom has risen all the way to Triple-A Las Vegas.

With injuries to Luis Mateo and Cory Mazzoni, deGrom moved to Double-A Binghamton after two Florida State League starts. Then, with Zack Wheeler and Carlos Torres summoned to the major league level and Collin McHugh traded, deGrom moved up again, this time to the Pacific Coast League.

Mets executives initially were unsure whether deGrom would just make a spot start or stick around with the Triple-A club. But after deGrom, a ninth-round pick in 2010 out of Stetson, allowed only two runs in 18 2/3 innings over his first three 51s starts, the decision to leave him there became cemented.

DeGrom did get roughed up for five runs in five innings on July 4, but nonetheless is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA through five Triple-A starts.

“I pitched well in St. Lucie when I went there at the end of last year,” deGrom said. “I kind of thought that maybe I would start in Double-A, but things didn’t work out that way. I guess when I started in St. Lucie I thought I would end in Double-A.”

DeGrom’s fastball sits at 91-94 mph. The sinker is complemented by a slider and a changeup.

DeGrom’s story has parallels to Bobby Parnell’s rise.

Like Parnell, deGrom was not a pitcher -- at least with any regularity -- until college. During his junior season, Stetson’s coaches asked deGrom, the shortstop, if he would like to serve as the team’s closer.

“I was pretty good defensively, but wasn’t a great hitter,” deGrom said.

Later in that 2010 college season, deGrom became a starting pitcher.

“Halfway through they pulled me into the office and asked me if I minded starting,” deGrom. “And I told them no. So that’s pretty much when it started.”

DeGrom, because of the inexperience, is still learning about pitching. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander -- who is so rail thin minor league teammates nicknamed him “fungo” -- missed the 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“My secondary stuff still can improve, so I feel like there’s still learning to be done there,” he said. “I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I’m kind of new to the pitching. I’ve been doing it for about two years now. I feel like there’s still a lot to learn.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .375; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .362; Jorge Rivero, Brooklyn, .339; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .323; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .317; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .316; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .313; Wuilmer Becerra, GCL Mets, .306; Josh Satin, Vegas, .305; Jeff Diehl, Kingsport, .300.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 18; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 17; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 14.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 69; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 63; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 58; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 56; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, 56.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 19; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 17; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 16; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 12; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 11.

ERA: Carlos Gomez, Kingsport, 0.00; Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 0.89; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 1.99; Steven Matz, Savannah, 2.28; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.45; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.67; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.68; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.70; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.76; Tim Peterson, Brooklyn, 2.95.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 10; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 8; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 8; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 8; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 7.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 22; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 8; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 7.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 99; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 92; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 87; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 85.

Short hops

Cesar Puello was named the Eastern League Player of the Month for June after hitting .441 with eight homers and 24 RBIs during the month. Puello, one of five B-Mets All-Stars, competed Tuesday in the league’s home-run derby, which was won by Bowie’s Caleb Joseph. (Watch Puello hit a shot off the scoreboard here.) Tonight’s All-Star game in New Britain, Conn., also features B-Mets Josh Rodriguez, Allan Dykstra, Logan Verrett and Jeff Walters.

Puello, who has been linked to the South Florida clinic Biogenesis by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” reportedly may soon receive a 50-game suspension from MLB along with other 40-man roster players tied to the clinic.

• Binghamton infielder Danny Muno was the EL’s Player of the Week after hitting .417 with three homers and 12 RBIs during the stretch.

• Right-hander Michael Fulmer, the Mets’ 2011 sandwich pick out of high school in Oklahoma, has recovered from spring-training surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Fulmer made his Florida State League debut Sunday, allowing three runs in five innings.

• Sunday’s Futures Game at Citi Field begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are expected to start opposite each other, with Brandon Nimmo also participating.

• Center fielder Matt den Dekker is off to a slow start since recovering from a fractured right wrist and moving to Las Vegas. Den Dekker is 3-for-32 with five walks and 11 strikeouts in nine games since joining the 51s.

• Bahamas-raised Champ Stuart, the Mets’ sixth-round pick out of junior college in North Carolina, has a .462 on-base percentage through 15 games. Stuart has “plus, plus speed,” according to one Mets official.

• Reliever Chasen Bradford has been promoted from St. Lucie to Binghamton. Known for a solid sinker, Bradford was 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 30 relief appearances in the Florida State League.

• Mexican League signee Giancarlo Alvarado left his last start with Las Vegas with a hamstring injury, but Mets officials hope it was only a cramp. Alvarado was due for further examination Tuesday.

Farm report: Dykstra nails All-Star bid

July, 3, 2013
7/03/13
9:53
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Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta presided over the Padres when they drafted first baseman Allan Dykstra with the 23rd overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Wake Forest.

Having relocated to New York, they then acquired Dykstra at the end of spring training two years ago in a change-of-scenery deal with San Diego for reliever Eddie Kunz, the Mets’ top pick (42nd overall) in 2007.


Courtesy of New York MetsAllan Dykstra


Kunz now is out of baseball. Dykstra, meanwhile, is reestablishing himself with an All-Star season with Double-A Binghamton.

The 26-year-old first baseman is hitting .316 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs and has a .478 on-base percentage through 68 games. He will join B-Mets teammates Cesar Puello, Josh Rodriguez, Logan Verrett and Jeff Walters at the July 10 Eastern League All-Star Game in New Britain, Conn.

Asked if he feels back on the radar, Dykstra said: “I can’t personally say that. I hope that’s true. I’m having a great year. Personally, my confidence is back. I feel like I did when I got drafted, where I know what I’m doing with my swing. It’s not really up to me to decide if I’m back on the radar or not.”

Dykstra grew up a Padres fan in San Diego. He even attended the 1998 World Series in which his hometown team was swept by the Yankees.

When the March 29, 2011 trade occurred, though, Dykstra welcomed the change of scenery to jumpstart his career. Dykstra acknowledged he had been outplayed by a trio of other first-base farmhands with the Padres -- Nate Freiman (now a major leaguer with the A’s), Cody Decker and Matt Clark.

“When I got traded, I think it was more a fresh start,” Dykstra said. “I kind of felt like I was getting a little lost with the Padres. It wasn’t even really their fault. There were a bunch of guys they had playing first base -- a couple of them are in the big leagues now -- that were just outplaying me. I kind of got lost in the shuffle, and I wasn’t putting up the numbers that they thought I could and that I knew I could put up. Getting traded really opened a new opportunity for me.”

The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing Dykstra genuinely is looking forward to the Eastern League All-Star Game, even though the selection comes in his third year in the league. His 2012 season was stalled for a couple of months earlier in the year by a fractured left wrist, which he suffered reaching into the runner for a throw from pitcher Darin Gorski.

“This All-Star Game is awesome. It’s the first in my minor league career,” Dykstra said. “I’m really excited about attending this one. I just hope after that I will move up. That’s out of my control.”

Something will have to give with Dykstra soon if the Mets have any plans for him. He is eligible to be a minor league free agent after the season if he is not added to the 40-man roster.

“I would like to continue playing baseball hopefully with the Mets,” Dykstra said. “And if not, it’s just the way the game works. On a personal level, I would love Las Vegas and being close to my family. I’ve been on the East Coast playing for the last couple of years.”

As for the question he is most often asked: No, he is not related to Lenny Dykstra.

“Oh, man. My whole life I’ve been asked that a bunch,” the B-Met said. “I’m from California. Lenny Dykstra is from California. The first year I got traded over here, with Wally [Backman] being my manager, because Wally and Lenny were good friends and teammates, I think that was the most I’ve ever been asked. [Teammate] Mark Cohoon was telling me I think he gets it more than I do from people in the stands getting curious [while he is charting other starting pitchers]. I almost wanted to put it on the scoreboard to clarify and save some people some questions.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .366; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .331; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .320; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .320; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .320; Jeff Diehl, Kingsport, .319; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .316; Josh Satin, Vegas, .305; Jorge Rivero, Brooklyn, .302; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .300.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 16; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 15; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 12.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 64; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 60; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 57; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 55.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 18; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 16; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 16; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 12; Danny Muno, Binghamton, 10.

ERA: Carlos Gomez, Kingsport, 0.00; Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 0.79; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 1.79; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.44; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.45; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.89; Michael Fulmer, GCL Mets, 3.00; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.01; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 3.14; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 3.14.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 9; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 8; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 8; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 7; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 7.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 21; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 9; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 6; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 6.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 96; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 87; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 84; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 82; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 80.

Short hops

Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are expected to start opposite each other in the July 12 Futures Game at Citi Field. Of course, it helps that Mookie Wilson (USA) and Edgardo Alfonzo (World) will manage the squads. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo also will be part of the game after being voted in by fans.

Wilmer Flores will represent Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be held July 17 at Reno. Flores went 5-for-6 Tuesday to up his average to .320 with 10 homers and a league-leading 64 RBIs.

• Puello, the B-Mets outfielder, had a sizzling June. He hit .441 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 17 games during the month. Puello currently has a 0.996 OPS for the season -- having just dipped under 1.000. Matt Wieters (2008) and Pedro Alvarez (’09) are the only players younger than 23 in the Eastern League since ’06 who had an OPS of at least 1.000 for a season while getting 250 plate appearances, according to the Mets.

• Walters, a seventh-round pick in 2010 from the University of Georgia, converted his 21st save in 23 chances Tuesday. He is the first B-Met to reach the 20-save plateau since Kunz had 27 in 2008. The Binghamton saves record is 28, by Jerrod Riggan in 2000.

Ruben Tejada, technically on a rehab assignment, joined Las Vegas on Tuesday. He had a pinch-hit RBI double in his debut and should start for the first time for the 51s today.

Terry Collins recently received a call from a friend in scouting offering a complimentary review of Double-A right-hander Cory Mazzoni, a second-round pick in 2011 from NC State. The scout projected Mazzoni (4-2, 4.04 ERA) as a reliever because he relies on two pitches -- a slider and sinker -- and throws 94 mph.

Mike Baxter left Las Vegas to be with his wife in New York on paternity leave. Baxter is hitting .217 with two homers and three RBIs in 16 games with the 51s since a demotion from the major league club.

Jacob deGrom, who opened the season in St. Lucie and has risen two levels, continues to shine for Las Vegas. Through three Pacific Coast League starts, the 25-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

• First-round pick Dominic Smith is hitting .200 (5-for-25) with two RBIs and two walks through seven Gulf Coast League games.

Kyle Johnson, the 23-year-old outfielder acquired from the Angels for Collin Cowgill, fits the profile the Mets seek. He has a career .400 on-base percentage and nearly has as many walks (49) and strikeouts (62) through 431 professional plate appearances. Johnson also has 37 steals in 42 attempts in 105 games since leaving Washington State University as a 25th-round pick.

• The Mets signed 25th-round pick Brandon Brosher, a high school first baseman from Florida, for a reported $167,500. They have signed 25 of 41 draft picks. DePodesta said the Mets are “probably done” signing draft picks, but have another 10 days in case something changes.

Farm report: Boyd surge continues in FSL

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
10:15
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First baseman Jayce Boyd received word of his promotion to St. Lucie while at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Lakewood, N.J., with Savannah teammates Kevin Plawecki and Brandon Nimmo.

Plawecki, the catcher selected with a supplemental first-round pick last year out of Purdue, as well as closer Bret Mitchell also earned Florida State League promotions. Although likely not for long, Nimmo stayed behind -- partly because he missed a month in the first half with hand and back injuries, and partly because Matt den Dekker temporarily is occupying center field with St. Lucie as he returns from a fractured wrist.


Courtesy of New York MetsJayce Boyd


“You kind of halfway expect it, but at the same time you can’t think too much about it,” Boyd said about the promotion, which came after hitting a league-leading .361 with five homers and 46 RBIs in 249 at-bats as Savannah won its first-half division title. “Kevin and Brandon were up there at the All-Star Game, as far as position players go. I thought Brandon may be coming with us as well. I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Boyd -- a sixth-round pick in 2012 out of Florida State, where he was a three-year starter and two-time College World Series participant -- has continued his torrid pace at the higher level.

He has hit safely in all six games since the promotion. The first five games he produced multi-hit performances. He is batting .462 (12-for-26) with one homer and seven RBIs in the Florida State League.

“It’s been working out so far,” said the 22-year-old Boyd.

The righty-hitting, righty-throwing Boyd hit a modest .239 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 201 at-bats with Brooklyn after last year’s draft.

Boyd suggested the upswing in performance mostly has to deal with getting a breather. A year ago, he was not prepared to play a full college season through the College World Series, then play 54 additional games with Brooklyn. He was with the Coney Island team days after the Seminoles were eliminated in Omaha.

“I think it was more so just having that offseason to prepare and get stronger -- to be a little more physically ready to go into a full season than coming out of college after playing 75ish games and then going in and playing another 60,” Boyd said.

As a pro, Boyd has adjusted his stance. He used to hit more upright. Now, as the game speeds up at higher pro levels, he has widened his stance and reduced his movement, allowing him to see the pitch longer.

He was drafted by the Rangers out of high school in Cantonment, Fla., and “a little bit” considered turning pro before instead continuing on to Florida State.

“After the first couple of weeks, after I let it all sink in, I kind of figured out that school may be the best choice for now,” Boyd said. “Obviously I don’t think there was a wrong decision or a right one. I think either path could have led to where I am now. But I’m glad I went to school and got to experience everything I did.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jeff Diehl, Kingsport, .417; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .371; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .338; Wuilmer Becerra, GCL Mets, .333; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, .333; Champ Stuart, Kingsport, .333; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .321; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .316; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .312; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .308.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 15; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 14; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 14; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 12; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Vegas, 10.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 61; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 56; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 53; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 51; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 50.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 17; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 16; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 15.

ERA: Michael Fulmer, GCL Mets, 0.00; Carlos Gomez, Kingsport, 0.00; Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 0.00; Andres Perez, Kingsport, 1.50; Luis Rengel, Kingsport, 1.59; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 1.67; Christian Chivilli, Brooklyn, 2.35; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.57; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.77; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.79.

Wins: Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 8; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 8; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 8; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 7; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 7.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 18; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 9; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 6; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 6.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 92; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 80; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 80; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 77; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 76.

Short hops

Giancarlo Alvarado, the 35-year-old Mexican League right-hander signed by the Mets, is expected to enter Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation. That could bump Jacob deGrom back down to Binghamton, despite deGrom having performed solidly through two Pacific Coast League starts (0.77 ERA in 11 2/3 innings).

DeGrom was pressed to the higher level because of Zack Wheeler and Carlos Torres’ promotions and the trade of Collin McHugh. Leaping two levels in a short period of time (de Grom began the season at St. Lucie) probably is asking a lot, especially considering the ninth-round pick in 2010 lost a full season to Tommy John surgery as a pro and only started pitching late in college at Stetson.

• The Mets may have a pair of familiar left-handed relief options in the not-too-distant future.

Tim Byrdak, who underwent Sept. 6 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, has worked in structured games on back-to-back days a couple of times and now has made a Florida State League appearance. He long has eyed July for a major league return.

Pedro Feliciano may have more of an uphill climb, even though he is currently at a higher level. Feliciano has allowed one hit and no walks in 4 1/3 innings spanning four appearances with Binghamton, although a team official acknowledged his fastball velocity remains hovering in the 82-83 mph range he displayed during spring training.

• McHugh, who was acquired by the Rockies in the trade for Eric Young Jr., has been assigned to Double-A Tulsa and has yet to make his debut.

Cesar Puello is expected to be named one of the B-Mets’ four or five Eastern League All-Star selections when the roster is announced later today. Puello, despite briefly being sidelined by finger and foot issues, is hitting .481 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 13 games in June.

A team official suggested a promotion to Las Vegas is not imminently looming for Puello, though. The Mets do not mind Puello finally having a prolonged period of success. Plus, the outfield is about to become crowded in Triple-A with den Dekker very soon joining the 51s outfield, which already includes Mike Baxter, Jamie Hoffmann and part-time outfielder Eric Campbell and Brian Bixler.

Right-hander Logan Verrett, like Puello, should be a lock for the Eastern League All-Star Game in New Britain, Conn., on July 10.

Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking one in his Double-A debut Sunday.

• Right-handers Ricky Knapp (eighth round, Florida Gulf Coast) and Kevin McGowan (13th round, Franklin Pierce) have joined Brooklyn and should imminently make their professional debuts. Fellow draftee Paul Paez, a left-hander selected in the 38th round, also is with the Cyclones and should debut next week.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 1.86 12 9
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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