New York Mets: Eddie Kunz

Farm report: L.I.'s Matz flirts with no-no

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
9:30
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Left-hander Steven Matz took a no-hit bid two outs into the sixth inning in his latest start for Class A St. Lucie, when a bunt single by Fort Myers’ Levi Michael ended that pursuit.

“I’m not really sure how it would have panned out,” said Matz, noting the staff likely would not have let him try to complete the game anyway and disregard a pitch limit.

As for a bunt breaking up the bid, Matz added: “It was a little frustrating. But he’s got to do what he’s got to do. It’s a 2-0 game in the sixth. He’s a leadoff hitter anyway, so I guess that’s part of his game.”


Courtesy of New York MetsSteven Matz


A Stony Brook, Long Island, native, Matz is one of three New Yorkers on St Lucie’s roster. His batterymate in that no-hit bid was Hicksville product Cam Maron. Bronx-raised T.J. Rivera plays first and second base and currently leads the Florida State League in batting average at .400.

Matz and Maron played against each other in summer ball on Long Island growing up -- Matz with the Storm and Maron with the Astros. They currently are roommates with St. Lucie.

“New York is flourishing on this team,” Matz said.

Matz, added to the 40-man roster last winter, definitely opened eyes in big-league camp despite having no experience above low-A ball entering this season. One scout compared him to Jeremy Affeldt at the same age. Another scout suggested Matz could have seamlessly bypassed the Florida State League and jumped to Double-A Binghamton to open this season. (That was not a consideration because the Mets wanted to start Matz in warm weather after he missed most of his first two pro seasons with a lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery.)

Matz, the Mets’ top pick in the 2009 draft (second round, 72nd overall), tossed two scoreless Grapefruit League innings while in big-league camp. He surrendered one two hits and one walk while striking out five in a pair of appearances against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Matz struck out Yadier Molina, the first batter the young southpaw ever faced in a Grapefruit League game.

A scout at that game had Matz at 94-95 mph with a high changeup at 85 mph and a rolling curveball at 78-80 mph.

“Facing him was pretty cool -- just the whole atmosphere, being around big-league guys,” Matz said. “The St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series last year. And I’m in the other dugout.”

So far this season, Matz is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts. He has logged 18 innings and allowed 14 hits, three walks and a hit batsmen while striking out 17.

“This year I really want to focus on going deeper into games,” said Matz, who logged 106 1/3 innings in 21 regular-season starts with Savannah in 2013. “Last year, especially the first half of the year, I wasn’t very efficient with my pitches. My walks were up a little bit (3.2 per nine innings) -- not crazy.

“My last outing I was pretty happy with how many groundballs I was able to get. My walks have been down. So I’m happy with that.”

The best news with Matz is that Tommy John surgery is now an afterthought. He underwent the ligament-replacement procedure on May 18, 2010. Because of a long recovery, he did not appear in his first regular-season minor-league game until June 20, 2012.

“It’s definitely in the rearview mirror,” Matz said. “I’ve got a good season and a half under my belt. My elbow hasn’t given me any problems at all. I really don’t even think about it much anymore.”

Organization leaders

Average: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, .419; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .400; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, .380; Matt Reynolds, Binghamton, .364; Matt Clark, Binghamton, .354; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .346; Dilson Herrera, St. Lucie, .338; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, .333; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, .327; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .299.

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

RBIs: T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 21; Eric Campbell, Vegas, 18; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 18; Aderlin Rodriguez, St. Lucie, 15.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 5; Jared King, Savannah, 4; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, 4; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 4.

ERA: Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 1.23; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 1.47; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 1.56; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 1.57; Steven Matz, St. Lucie, 2.00; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 2.30; John Gant, Savannah, 3.50; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 3.80; Luis Cessa, St. Lucie, 4.24; Matt Koch, St. Lucie, 4.86.

Wins: Josh Edgin, Vegas, 3.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 5; Chasen Bradford, Binghamton, 3; Randy Fontanez, St. Lucie, 3; Robert Coles, Savannah, 2; Beck Wheeler, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 24; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 21; Dana Eveland, Vegas, 20; Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 19; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 18.

Short hops

• First baseman Allan Dykstra was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. Dykstra is a former first-round pick of the Padres under Paul DePodesta, who was part of a change-of-scenery trade for Eddie Kunz on March 29, 2011. Dykstra’s .419 average ranks seventh in all of minor-league baseball. His .561 on-base percentage ranks first. Dykstra, 26, was playing winter ball with Magallanes in Venezuela when he suffered a fractured fibula on Nov. 14.

• After deliberation, the Mets decided to have 18-year-old Dominic Smith break camp with low-A Savannah rather than have the 2013 first-round pick remain in extended spring training (like 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini had done the previous year). So far, Smith is off to a slow start with the Gnats. The first baseman is hitting .175 (10-for-57) with five walks and no extra-base hits through 16 games.

• Fans can catch Smith and Cecchini with the Gnats this weekend in their only Northeast appearance of the season. Savannah has a four-game series at Lakewood, N.J., beginning Thursday.

• Lefty-throwing Charley Thurber, a 39th-round pick out of the University of Tennessee in 2011 as an outfielder, is converting to pitching in extended spring training. Thurber, 24, hit .227 with five homers and 39 RBIs in 277 at-bats with St. Lucie in 2013. The Mets had seen Thurber throw off a mound during a pre-draft workout, although the Elmira, N.Y., native was not a pitcher for the Vols.

• First baseman Brandon Allen, who suffered a calf strain and was confined to a boot in big-league camp during spring training, should join Las Vegas soon. Allen has appeared in four games with St. Lucie since returning from the injury (two at first base, one at DH and one in right field). The 28-year-old lefty hitter has appeared in 116 big-league games over four seasons with the Diamondbacks, Athletics and Rays.

Noah Syndergaard has a 4.95 ERA through four starts with Vegas, although Mets personnel suggest those struggles are just an inevitable adjustment period to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

• Although the Mets do plan to expose Vegas pitchers such as Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero to relief work in Triple-A, that is not coming imminently. DeGrom is off to a particularly hot start with the 51s. He is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts. In 23 innings, he has allowed 16 hits and six walks while striking out 21. He has surrendered only one homer.

Zack Thornton, the right-handed reliever acquired from the Pirates in the trade for Ike Davis, made his Mets debut with Vegas on Sunday. He allowed a solo homer and two other hits while striking out one in two innings.

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: Satin gets another second look

May, 18, 2011
5/18/11
1:24
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Josh Satin’s natural position is second base. In recent seasons, however, he has started to get more exposure to first base and even third base, in part because other prospects received priority at his customary spot.

But with Jordany Valdespin restored full time to shortstop in Double-A and 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens only now appearing in extended spring training games because of injury woes, Satin again primarily is playing second base. He also is continuing to hit, which never has fluctuated.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Josh Satin


“Really, at the end of last year, I wasn’t playing much second at all. I went to instructional league and I pretty much didn’t play at all at second,” Satin said. “One of the reasons I went there was to work at the corner positions. Obviously, I can see what’s going on and I would like to be a second baseman. But if that’s not the case, that’s OK.”

Satin hit .308 with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 79 games during the second half of last season with Double-A Binghamton after a promotion. He then worked on the corner infield positions in the organization’s fall instructional league in Fort Myers, Fla. Late in that stint, farm director Adam Wogan informed Satin he was being rewarded with a spot in the prestigious Arizona Fall League as a taxi-squad member -- meaning he was only eligible to play twice a week. But an injury to a prospect from another organization opened the door for Satin to be transferred to a full roster spot. Satin went on to hit .390, with a .479 on-base percentage, in 12 games in the AFL.

He has continued that level of success this season in a return to the B-Mets. In 126 at-bats, Satin is hitting .310 with three homers and 17 RBIs. He has a .425 on-base percentage. Satin has logged 21 games at second base and eight games at first base and five at DH.

There were rumblings in recent days he might be moved to Triple-A Buffalo, but that did not materialize.

“The main thing I want to improve here in my offensive game is being able to hit earlier in the count successfully,” Satin said. “I have always, and especially this year, walked and struck out a lot because when I get in the box I like to get deep into counts. I don’t like to swing early. I’m more comfortable seeing a few pitches. But this year I’ve tried -- actually I’ve failed a little more than I’d like to -- at trying to swing earlier. Because once you get to the big league level, you can’t just take pitches. If that’s the one pitch you’re going to get to hit, you’ve got to hit it. That’s really the main thing I’d like to improve, being able to hit that first-pitch breaking ball that’s just hanging there that they’re trying to get over instead of taking it.”

The 26-year-old Satin is a sixth-round pick in 2008 from Cal-Berkeley. That’s the draft that yielded Ike Davis and Havens in the first round.

Satin’s Pac-10 baseball program recently was poised to be eliminated, but donors stepped forward and have come through with roughly $8 million of the $10 million needed to keep the program afloat for the next three years, according to Satin.

Jeff Kent is the program’s most prestigious baseball product. Satin played with Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow, St. Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig and A’s right-hander Tyson Ross while at Cal. Their success at the major league level gives Satin confidence he ultimately can succeed at the highest level, too.

“I still talk to all of those guys,” Satin said. “I played with those guys for a couple of years and know exactly what they can do. I was the guy hitting third on the team.”

Organization leaders

Average: Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .354; Cory Vaughn, Savannah, .349; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, .320; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .310; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Buffalo, .306; Jefry Marte, St. Lucie, .302; Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .293; Mike Fisher, Buffalo, .283; Robbie Shields, Savannah, .280; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .277.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 9; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 7; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Buffalo, 6.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 26; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 25; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, 23; Sam Honeck, Savannah, 23; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 23.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 10; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 9; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, 7; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 7; Robbie Shields, Savannah, 7.

ERA: Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 1.25; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 1.69; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.35; Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 2.61; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 2.74; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 3.00; Scott Moviel, St. Lucie, 3.02; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.05; Brad Holt, Binghamton, 3.12; Erik Goeddel, Savannah, 3.16.

Wins: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 5; Scott Moviel, St. Lucie, 4.

Saves: Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 8; Josh Edgin, Savannah, 6; John Lujan, Buffalo, 4; Ronny Morla, St. Lucie, 4.

Strikeouts: Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 48; Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 46; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 44; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 42; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 40.

Short hops

• First baseman/outfielder Lucas Duda (back) and corner infielder Zach Lutz (broken ring finger) remain sidelined with Buffalo. Duda is expected to begin light swings in a cage to see if his troublesome back will loosen. Wogan believes a weekend return to the lineup is possible. Duda (.241, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 83 AB) has not appeared in a game since May 8. Lutz, who broke the ring finger on his non-throwing hand when struck with a foul ball while already out with a hamstring injury, is currently back in Port St. Lucie. He was due to have the swollen finger drained to see if gripping a bat would be a hindrance.

Nick Evans had a five-game hitting streak, during which he was 9-for-20 with four multi-hit games, before his promotion with David Wright landing on the disabled list. Because the out-of-options Evans was outrighted when he did not make the Mets out of spring training, he can declare free agency if the Mets again try to send him to the minors and he clears waivers. Evans should be a limited righty-hitting complement to Daniel Murphy at first base.

• The Mets added outfielder Bubba Bell and infielder Luis Figueroa to provide bodies to depleted Buffalo. Figueroa, 37, actually had a tour with the Mets in the minors before being sent to the Expos in the April 2002 trade that brought reliever Scott Strickland to New York. Wogan knew Figueroa from those Montreal days. He had been released from Milwaukee’s Triple-A Nashville affiliate after hitting .296 with three RBIs in 41 at-bats. Wogan describes him as a hard worker who can play defense and will be a positive influence. Bell, 28, recently has been traded twice -- from Boston to Cleveland and then to the Mets. Bell was lost in a numbers game at Triple-A Columbus in the Indians organization, where he had appeared in only eight games. In his first start with Buffalo, Bell had a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning Sunday for a 4-3 win at Louisville. Figueroa is hitting .389 through five games with the Herd.

• Technically on a rehab assignment, Bobby Parnell allowed five inherited runners to score over a two-appearance stretch. In four relief appearances with the Bisons, he has allowed three runs -- including a homer to Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero -- on four hits while striking out five and walking none in 3 2/3 innings. Terry Collins has indicated Parnell will remain with Buffalo until he demonstrates command of his upper-90s mph fastball. One observer said Parnell’s slider has lacked bite, too.

Jenrry Mejia underwent Tommy John surgery Monday. The recovery time is generally at least 12 months.

Chin-lung Hu went through outright waivers while still on the Mets’ active roster, so the team was able to send him to Buffalo after Monday’s game without interruption. With Ruben Tejada’s promotion, Hu joins Luis Hernandez and Figueroa as Buffalo’s primary middle infielders.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden has continued a remarkable string of performances with the Bisons that has even caught Mets staffers off-guard. An outing after taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Schwinden tossed seven scoreless innings at Louisville on Monday. Schwinden’s 1.82 ERA in seven starts ranks second in the International League, trailing only Durham’s Alex Cobb (1.31 ERA).

Ryota Igarashi returns to Triple-A, where the bullpen has been highlighted by left-hander Justin Hampson. The southpaw, who turns 31 next Tuesday, is 1-0 with a save and 2.04 ERA in 13 relief appearances spanning 17 2/3 innings. The success has come against left-handed and right-handed batters (.174 and .167 opponent batting average, respectively). Hampson pitched for the York Revolution and Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League last season. He had undergone shoulder capsule surgery after appearing in 74 games for the San Diego Padres between 2007 and ’08.

Jeurys Familia justified a promotion from Class A St. Lucie to Binghamton. Familia was still registering 95-97 mph with his fastball in the seventh inning on Sunday at Trenton, when he limited the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate to three hits, three walks and a hit batter in seven scoreless innings. Through two Eastern League starts, the 21-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs (one earned) in 14 innings, although he is still seeking his first B-Mets win. Familia also throws a hard curveball that resembles a slider and has made progress with a changeup.

• First baseman Allan Dykstra, the player acquired from the Padres late in spring training for reliever Eddie Kunz, delivered a game-winning homer Saturday and has raised his offensive game. Dykstra opened the season 1-for-13, but now has a .267 average with three homers and nine RBIs in 75 at-bats. He also has a .411 on-base percentage. Kunz is 1-0 with a 5.93 ERA at Double-A San Antonio. He has allowed 15 hits, 11 walks and hit three batters in 13 2/3 innings.

• The free-swinging Valdespin isn’t walking much (eight times, once intentionally), but he’s hitting his way on base at Binghamton. The shortstop is hitting .269 with two homers and 10 steals in 12 attempts in 35 games.

Brad Holt had a brief flashback to his 2010 control woes with Binghamton. He walked four and threw two pitches to the backstop in a meltdown inning last Friday against Trenton. Holt, who had limited opponents to 10 walks through his first five starts, has walked another 10 in 7 1/3 innings over his past two appearances.

• Binghamton right-hander Edgar Ramirez received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine, the commissioner’s office announced.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey rebounded from his roughest professional outing (eight runs in 3 2/3 innings on May 10) by tossing five scoreless innings against Brevard County. Wogan indicated Harvey’s next start again will be with St. Lucie.

• St. Lucie left fielder Juan Lagares homered three times in a doubleheader Sunday at Brevard County. An athletic player, the 22-year-old Lagares already was playing full-season minor league baseball at age 17 and battled through injuries early in his pro career.

• Havens, who has been tormented by oblique issues that led to surgery to remove an inch of a rib last offseason, has started swinging a bat while playing in extended spring training games. Wogan said Havens’ current activity is akin to March spring training for other players.

• The Mets signed 21-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Mateo for $150,000, Baseball America reported. He reportedly originally signed with the Giants in 2008 for $625,000, but the contract was voided over elbow concerns related to bone chips. The Padres, then operated by Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta, got involved. Writes Baseball America:

That November, the Padres agreed to a $300,000 deal with Mateo, though that contract also never became official. Major League Baseball's investigation into Mateo's background turned up "inconclusive," MLB's way of saying that it feels it lacks sufficient evidence to either confirm or reject the accuracy of a player's age and identity. MLB finally suspended Mateo in March 2010 for one year for lying about his age, and his date of birth changed from March 17, 1992, to March 22, 1990.

Armando Rodriguez, who went 8-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 27 starts for Savannah last season, is pitching in extended spring training games. He had been out since the start of the season with a strained oblique.

• St. Lucie right-hander Kyle Allen, a 24th-round pick out of high school in Florida in 2008, drew compliments for attacking the strike zone in his most-recent outing. Allen, who had walked 18 in 23 2/3 innings over his first six appearances, tossed a season-high seven innings while allowing two hits and no walks Monday.

Tobi Stoner returned from a shoulder impingement with mixed results for St. Lucie. He tossed five scoreless innings in his first Florida State League appearance, but followed that up by allowing eight runs on 10 hits in five innings Tuesday in his second start.

• 2010 New York-Penn League batting champ Darrell Ceciliani, who missed early time with Savannah with a hamstring injury, has started to heat up at the plate. Ceciliani has a six-game hitting streak and has lifted his average from .190 to .265 during that span. The spurt included a 5-for-5 performance Saturday at Rome. Teammate Cory Vaughn (eight-game hitting streak) also had a big week that has lifted his average to .349, which ranks ninth in the South Atlantic League.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season

Mets morning briefing 3.30.11

March, 30, 2011
3/30/11
6:20
AM ET
Chris Young takes the mound for Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. Grapefruit League finale against the Florida Marlins. And with the Mets set to bus down to Miami Thursday morning, there are still matters unresolved with two days to go until the regular-season opener against, well, the Florida Marlins.

Jason Bay could be headed to the disabled list to open the season, perhaps paving the way for Lucas Duda on the Opening Day roster. Jason Isringhausen is expected to give his verdict as to whether he will commit up to two weeks in extended spring training in Port St. Lucie after Blaine Boyer was selected for the final bullpen spot. Nick Evans and Luis Hernandez waiver verdicts should be known Wednesday afternoon. And Carlos Beltran tries to play for a second straight day in the Grapefruit League, with Terry Collins planning to start him five of the first seven games of the regular season, provided Beltran's cranky knees allow.

On to Wednesday's news reports:

• Post beat writer Mike Puma picks the Mets that fit these and other categories:
- Most important position player: Jose Reyes
- Most important pitcher: R.A. Dickey
- Bigger-than-expected year: Beltran
- Most likely to disappoint: Mike Pelfrey

• Post columnist Joel Sherman offers these and other predictions:

Jose Reyes thrives, but the Mets don’t, and a July trade bidding war emerges among the Giants, Angels and Reds. Cincy obtains Reyes by dealing Homer Bailey and shortstop prospect Zack Cozart. ... Josh Thole increases his power to hit 35 doubles and 10 homers while Ike Davis and Angel Pagan validate that they are strong contributors, as well. ... Brad Emaus becomes a poor man’s Dan Uggla. ... The offense still is nothing more than middle of the pack because Carlos Beltran cannot get on the field enough and Jason Bay still does not conquer Citi Field in his second season as a Met. ... R.A. Dickey is the real thing, producing 200 innings and 15 wins; but Mike Pelfrey takes a step back, his ERA climbing toward 4.50.

• Broadcaster Tim McCarver said on a media conference call that he believes there should be an ownership change with the Mets. Newsday writes:

Based on what he has read, he said, he assumes selling a minority position without ceding control will not be enough. "I can't see any other way for them to go but to sell the ballclub," he said. McCarver added SNY's Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling will find it "very difficult to broadcast under these circumstances" because of the delicate nature of the ongoing story. "It's very, very difficult for everybody in that organization," he said, "and, I might add, for everyone in baseball."

• The Daily News covers McCarver's comments too. "It's deplorable. I would not want to be a player on the Mets right now," McCarver says. "Not because they are not talented enough, but because of all the questions surrounding the team this year will be [about] the off-field problems. It's very difficult to play under those circumstances."

• The Wall Street Journal also gets into the Opening Day spirit by talking about how the depressed real-estate market is a drag on Mets owners. Writes author Eliot Brown:

Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz ... made their fortune in real-estate investment long before they bought a stake in the Mets in 1980. But now, the largest of the real-estate funds they invest in and control, the $609 million Sterling American Property V fund, has seen values decline significantly and troubled properties accumulate. Last year, a loan servicer filed to foreclose on two office buildings in Fairfield, N.J., where the fund defaulted on a $35 million mortgage, according to loan research service Trepp LLC. ... In 2009, the Sterling fund agreed to hand over to lenders its 43-story tower at 333 Bush Street in San Francisco after a major tenant went bankrupt. The fund's investors have been hurt. Of the $35 million that the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana put into the Sterling fund, its investment at the end of 2010 was valued at $18.1 million, according to the Louisiana fund's chief investment officer.

David Waldstein of the Times looks at the roster Sandy Alderson assembled on a shoestring offseason budget. “You can do it for that amount of money,” Alderson tells Waldstein about $10.8 million in salary commitments for players arriving from outside the organization. “The question is, how good are the players coming in? Right now, we think that our guys have performed pretty well. ... When we sat down in November to talk about our roster, we weren’t really happy with a lot of spots. We did an analysis of above the line, and below the line, of players we were happy with, and said these are areas we think we can improve. We end up opening day with a 50 percent turnover.”

• Newsday has its season-preview content, including:
- Beltran and Bay's situations here.
- How the clubhouse dialogue is upbeat and not about Bernard Madoff here. ("I couldn't have asked things to run better," Collins says. "I guess if Carlos would have come in 100 percent, but we kind of anticipated him taking some time, obviously. Our pitchers are throwing the ball great, our players are seeing the ball great. They're not too tired, they're not overused. I think we're on a great path for the start of the season.")
- Pelfrey as the Opening Day starter here. ("I always thought that watching Johan Santana throw during the last couple years, 'Man, it's pretty cool to get the ball on Opening Day,'" Pelfrey says. "It's a great honor, it's a great experience and now I'm going to get that opportunity.")
- Ten questions with Reyes here. ( "I consider David [Wright] my brother," Reyes says. "I've known him since 2001 in the minor leagues and we've never had any problems. Every time we come here, we come here smiling. We talk every day. I love David, and hopefully we can continue to play together for a long time.'')
-Wright's relationship with new hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who succeeds Wright's "baseball father" Howard Johnson here. ("You don't want to change too much," Wright says. "I think that Hudge really came in and did a great job transitioning. He knew some pretty key points in my swing from Day 1. He watched a lot of video during the winter and really got to know my swing pretty good. I was excited that our first conversation had to do with my specific swing, not his theory of hitting or anything."... Says Hudgens: "I just thought he had too much movement, too much going on in his swing, and I've just been trying to get him to calm down a little bit, slow down and be consistent at what he does. He's a great hitter, the ball jumps off his bat, but sometimes you're trying to do too much, trying to cover too much of the plate. He doesn't need to swing hard to do a lot of damage. Sometimes I'll watch his videos and it's like he's revved up and wants to kill the ball -- a lot of guys do that. I thought if he could slow down a little bit, get better pitches to hit, he could be more consistent.")
-Position-by-position analysis here.
-A look at both New York teams' GMs here.

Andy Martino of the Daily News notes that with Bay's injury, this is the second straight year the Mets may have lost a player to the disabled list on the eve of the season. Last year, days before the Mets were poised to break camp, Daniel Murphy suffered the first of two 2010 injuries to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Murphy was poised to be the Opening Day first baseman. Instead, Mike Jacobs and Frank Catalanotto made the team -- rather than just one of those players.

• Read more about Bay and Beltran in the Star-Ledger, Post, Journal, Record and Daily News.

• Alderson said about not selecting Isringhausen for the Opening Day roster and asking him to stay behind in Florida: "There is always going to be some injury concern with Jason. But the next two weeks [would] tell us a little bit more about his velocity and how he bounces back from day-to-day, and will tell us a little more about our own situation in New York with the bullpen.” Read more in the Post.

Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune summarizes Tuesday's change-of-scenery trade of first baseman Allan Dykstra to the Mets for right-handed reliever Eddie Kunz this way:

Dykstra batted .241 last year at (Class A) Lake Elsinore with 16 home runs and 70 RBI. He struck out 122 times in 386 at-bats. The Padres are deep in first-base prospects, including Kyle Blanks, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Clark and Cody Decker. “With the first basemen we currently have in the system, it was going to be hard for Allan to find at-bats,” said Padres Assistant General Manager Jason McLeod. “We wish him well in New York.” Dykstra was considered a questionable pick by former General Manager Kevin Towers at the time because he suffers from a degenerative hip.

BIRTHDAY: Terry Bross, who made eight relief appearances for the Mets in 1991, turns 45. The 6-foot-9 St. John's University product is now an agent.

Mets send Kunz to Pads

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
1:40
PM ET

Icon SMI
Eddie Kunz (left) was dealt to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, reportedly for former first-round pick Allan Dykstra (right).
The Mets have acquired minor league first baseman Allan Dykstra in a trade with the Padres for right-handed reliever Eddie Kunz, the Mets confirmed.

Kunz, 24, was the Mets' top pick in the 2007 draft (42nd overall) out of Oregon State. The Mets took closers with their top two picks that year, also selecting Brant Rustich out of UCLA.

Kunz appeared in four games in '08 with the Mets, but has not reappeared since. The right-hander was 7-8 with a 5.34 ERA in 42 appearances (12 starts) with Double-A Binghamton last season.

Dykstra, 23, hit .241 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 386 at-bats last season in Class A, with a .372 on-base percentage. He was a first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2008 out of Wake Forest by Sandy Alderson's Padres. He is not related to ex-Met Lenny Dykstra -- that's Cutter, who was just traded to the Nationals.

Kevin Gemmell of The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about Dykstra last summer:

The hope was that the physically gifted, 6-foot-5, 215-pound first baseman would be further along in his career two years out of Wake Forest. Not that anyone expected him to supplant Adrian Gonzalez overnight. But one would think that a first-round draft pick -- especially a power hitter with college experience -- would have climbed higher than Advanced Single-A Lake Elsinore and the California League by this point. ... “I’ve had a rough 18 months,” Dykstra said. ... Dykstra attributes his struggles at the plate to overanalyzing his swing. ... Because of his draft status and the million-dollar-plus contract he accepted in 2008, he’s going to get his share of mulligans. The fact that he’s just the third San Diego native selected in the first round (23rd overall) by the Padres (Matt Bush 2004, Bob Geren 1979) might even win him some sentimental favor. But he’s also a product of the Grady Fuson regime and might not carry as much regard with the current front office. In that draft, the Padres also coveted Reese Havens, an infielder who was taken one spot before Dykstra by the Mets. “You never want to say it’s too late for a guy,” Padres Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jason McLeod said. “But we certainly all know this is a performance-based business. And when you consider the position and the numbers that are expected out of that position, I’m sure he knows he’s got to pick it up a notch."

Mets drop 5 from 40-man roster

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
3:09
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Five players who had been on the Mets' 40-man roster have been removed and have been outrighted to Buffalo after clearing waivers: right-hander Eddie Kunz, left-hander Raul Valdes, catcher Omir Santos, infielder Mike Hessman and outfielder Jesus Feliciano. Coupled with the waiver claim of infielder Joaquin Arias by the Kansas City Royals, the Mets' roster now has 34 players.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187