New York Mets: Fernando Perez

Farm report: Whitenton a Star with Gnats

July, 27, 2011
Right-hander Taylor Whitenton’s second full professional season resulted in his first appearance in an All-Star Game. Whitenton was a starting pitcher in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, and is currently 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA and one save in 18 appearances (four starts) for Savannah. Four of Whitenton’s first five appearances came in relief, piggybacking starts by teammate Ryan Fraser, before he entered the rotation.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Taylor Whitenton

“I’m just trying to stay more in the zone this year, throw more strikes and force more contact with all of my pitches,” said Whitenton, who went 8-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 26 starts (18 appearances) with Savannah in 2010. “I’m working on commanding all of them. I don’t have complete command of them all yet. That’s what I work on -- throwing all of them for strikes. That’s probably the difference from last year to this year.”

Whitenton, 23, was drafted by the Mets in the 39th round in 2009 out of Darton College, a two-year school in Albany, Ga. He is from Conyers, Ga. -- “maybe a four-hour drive” from his current home with the Gnats.

Whitenton’s fastball sits at 90-92 mph. He also throws a curveball and changeup. He has missed two starts with a right-forearm strain, but is due to reenter the rotation Saturday at Greensboro.

He was drafted by the hometown Atlanta Braves out of high school in the 40th round, but instead signed with the junior college.

“I’m not sure if they were going to make me a shortstop, but I loved playing shortstop and they did draft me as a shortstop,” Whitenton said.

Those days in the infield are over. Whitenton became a full-time pitcher during his second college season, after playing shortstop and third base as a freshman at Darton.

“I thought that was the position where I would get the furthest in baseball,” he said.

Organization leaders

Average: Danny Muno, Brooklyn, .375; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .350; Juan Lagares, Binghamton, .349; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .322; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .320; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .314; Brandon Brown, Brooklyn, .308; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .307; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, .306; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .305.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 19; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 15; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 13.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 70; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 64; Josh Satin, Buffalo, 63; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 61; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 54.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 31; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 28; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 18; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 14; Rafael Fernandez, Savannah, 14.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.15; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.63; Erik Goeddel, GCL Mets, 2.86; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 2.88; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 3.02; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 3.16; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 3.19; Brett Mitchell, Kingsport, 3.41; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 3.42; Jeffrey Walters, Brooklyn, 3.45.

Wins: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 9; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 9; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 8.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 21; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 11; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 9.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 120; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 111; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 100; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 100.

Short hops

• Infielder Josh Satin made his Triple-A debut Friday, registering an infield single in four at-bats against Pawtucket. A sixth-round pick in 2008 from Cal, Satin hit .325 with 11 homers and 60 RBIs in 338 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton. He had a .423 on-base percentage, which still ranks second in the Eastern League, one point behind Portland’s Alex Hassan (.424). Satin has alternated between first base and third base with the Bisons. His natural position is second base.

Juan Lagares made his Double-A debut Saturday in left field for the B-Mets after hitting a Florida State League-best .339 with seven homers and 49 RBIs in 307 at-bats with St. Lucie. Lagares, 22, produced a five-hit game Sunday for Binghamton, relying on his compact swing. He should see the bulk of his outfield action in left field, with Matt den Dekker in center and Raul Reyes in right. That could diminish the playing time of Brahiam Maldonado, despite his long ball production (19 homers), since the B-Mets primarily play National League affiliates and will not have many DHing opportunities in the next several weeks.

• Maldonado was named Eastern League Player of the Week. He hit .450 with three homers and nine RBIs last week.

• Den Dekker -- known for speed, not power -- had four homers in a three-game stretch. The wind was blowing out, but the University of Florida product squared up the shots.

• In four professional innings with Brooklyn, fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich has struck out 10 of the 13 New York-Penn League batters he has faced. He has allowed one hit and no walks in four scoreless innings.

Ruben Tejada opened his latest Triple-A stint in an 0-for-13 rut while exclusively playing shortstop. He is hitting .125 (3-for-24) with one double and two walks in six games since rejoining the Bisons.

• After racing to a 10-0 start in the Florida State League, left-hander Darin Gorski suffered his first loss of the season Sunday in a 3-2, seven-inning defeat against Brevard County. Gorski allowed a one-out tiebreaking solo homer to Juan Sanchez in the top of the final frame. Gorski still leads the Florida State League with a 2.15 ERA. Dunedin’s Nestor Molina (9-3) ranks second at 2.56.

Nick Evans is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday and again accept assignment to Triple-A Buffalo rather than declare free agency.

• 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens returned last Wednesday after a month-long absence for a back injury. He is playing every other day at second base.

• 2011 first-round pick Matt Harvey is 0-3 with a 7.15 ERA in five Double-A starts. He has now logged 98 2/3 innings between the B-Mets and St. Lucie this season. He may be capped at 120-130 innings.

• Newly signed center fielder Fernando Perez made his organization debut last week with Buffalo and is hitting .259 with two RBIs in nine games. The speedy Perez, a Columbia University product who has major league experience with the Tampa Bay Rays, tripled Monday and scored on Mike Nickeas’ RBI to break a 7-all tie. He took over center field from Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who underwent season-ending surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

• Outfielder Mike Baxter, a waiver claim from the San Diego Padres, a pick fueled by Paul DePodesta’s former association with that club, homered on the first pitch he saw as a Buffalo Bison on Tuesday night. Baxter, now on the 40-man roster, has multiple option years remaining, so he does not need to be on the major league roster next season. After hitting .301 with 18 homers, 72 RBIs and 22 steals in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League last season, Baxter was 1-for-8 with the Padres as a September call-up. He replaced right-handed reliever Jose De La Torre on the Bisons roster. De La Rosa was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement.

• Boston College product Eric Campbell lost a 10-game hitting streak Tuesday. It was the longest streak by a Binghamton player this season. Campbell nonetheless has struggled in 2011. He is hitting .227 with two homers in 299 at-bats.

• Former UCLA right-hander Erik Goeddel, who had been out since May 23 with Savannah because of a shoulder strain, returned to pitch an inning in the Gulf Coast League on Friday.

• Buffalo DH/first baseman Valentino Pascucci is hitting .360 with five homers and 20 RBIs and has a .406 on-base percentage in 22 games since the Triple-A All-Star break.

• Brooklyn’s Danny Muno leads the New York-Penn League with a .375 average. Teammate Travis Taijeron has 13 RBIs in his past five games, including a ninth-inning grand slam to lift the Cyclones to a victory. Brooklyn’s Richard Lucas ranks third in the league with a .350 average. He is hitting .500 (19-for-38) in his past 11 games.

• Catcher Kai Gronauer rejoined Binghamton after missing more than two months with a hamstring strain. He and Dusty Ryan will share the B-Mets’ duties behind the plate.

Miguel Batista’s fastball sat between 92-94 mph in his latest start for Buffalo. Gustavo Chacin, after a spot start in a doubleheader, has returned to bullpen duty with the Bisons.

• B-Mets left-hander Robert Carson earned his first win since June 17 on Monday. He had been 0-1 with five no-decisions in his previous six starts.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season

Farm report: Frenzel first for Cyclones

July, 20, 2011
Amateur scouting director Chad MacDonald predicts the best has yet to come from seventh-round pick Cole Frenzel, a first baseman from the University of Arizona.

Several factors, MacDonald suggests, point to that conclusion.

The 21-year-old Frenzel hails from Dickinson, N.D., a climate that limited his ability to play year-round. Frenzel also missed much of his freshman season in college after breaking the hamate bone at the base of his right hand while fouling off a fastball against Long Beach State in his second collegiate game, limiting his development time.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Cole Frenzel

Of course, it also was attractive to the organization that Frenzel had a .461 on-base percentage in the Pacific-10 Conference this season -- 35 points better than No. 2-ranked Danny Pulfer of Oregon, who became a 19th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“We thought he was trending upward,” MacDonald said.

Frenzel, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, is hitting .297 (11-for-37) with seven RBIs through 10 professional games as a Brooklyn Cyclone.

As is the case with still-unsigned first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who hails from Wyoming, climate certainly restricted Frenzel from playing baseball year-round in North Dakota.

“Obviously you couldn’t go outside pretty much from the fall all the way until the spring,” Frenzel said. “I would hit indoors. We had a college baseball team there (NAIA Dickinson State), and they would have cages in the gymnasium. I’d go hit there with my dad all the time -- twice a week in my off-time -- play catch, take groundballs. I didn’t do much baseball throughout the winter and fall because I played football and hockey. But I’d still make time to hit just to stay in shape a little bit. We used wood bats in high school, too. So that helped out.

“The weather, I mean, winters get cold up there. You get 30-below-zero like nothing.”

Frenzel played inside linebacker and fullback/tailback in football and forward in hockey during high school. He had opportunities to play junior hockey and was also recruited by Division II college programs, but his father Doug and brother Tyler played college baseball -- Tyler at the University of North Dakota. Baseball seemed like the most promising path.

“Once I got into eighth grade, freshman year of high school, that’s when I realized I’m going to do hockey all summer or I’m going to play baseball,” Frenzel said. “Hockey would have turned into year-round. My dad played college baseball. My brother did too. I still loved baseball. And I was a little better at baseball. It was my best chance in athletics.”

Frenzel, because of his date of birth, actually was eligible for the draft this year, after his sophomore season at Arizona. Typically, a player at a four-year program is not eligible until after his junior season. Armed with the leverage of being able to be drafted for two more years, Frenzel received a $200,000 signing bonus, according to Baseball America -- the highest for that round this year.

MacDonald said he believes Frenzel will grow into power, too.

“I try to keep it simple and put the barrel on the ball,” Frenzel said. “I try to hit for average. Power usually comes.”

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .337; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .333; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .322; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .317; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .316; Brandon Brown, Brooklyn, .310; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .304; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, .299; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .292; Jeff Glenn, Kingsport, .292.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 13.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 61; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 60; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 59; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 58; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 47.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 29; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 27; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 16; Rafael Fernandez, Savannah, 14.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.03; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.43; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.63; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.71; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.81; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 3.00; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 3.09; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 3.18; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 3.21; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.26.

Wins: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 9; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 8; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 7.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 20; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 9.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 115; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 107; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 100; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 93; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 87.

Short hops

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden tossed a perfect inning at Salt Lake City, requiring only seven pitches, in the Triple-A All-Star Game as Buffalo’s lone representative last Wednesday. Schwinden retired Albuquerque’s Trayvon Robinson, Reno’s Collin Cowgill and Sacramento’s Anthony Recker on groundouts. It marked the fourth straight year a Bison has tossed a scoreless relief inning in the All-Star Game, with Schwinden joining Rich Rundles (2008), Nelson Figueroa (2009) and Pat Misch (2010) in continuing that streak. Schwinden (6-4, 3.31 ERA) then opened the second half by suffering his first loss in eight starts. He allowed four runs while lasting a season-low 4 1/3 innings at Rochester.

• St. Lucie left-hander Darin Gorski improved to 10-0 on Monday against Clearwater. That win total is more impressive because Gorski did not enter the Florida State League team’s rotation until April 27, after making five relief appearances. Gorski’s 10 wins are tied for third in minor league baseball, trailing only the 11 victories by Julio Rodriguez (Class A Clearwater/Phillies) and Craig Westcott (Class A San Jose/Giants).

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder to repair the labrum.

• Third-base prospect Zach Lutz’s hard-luck season injury-wise continued Tuesday when he was hit with a fastball in the head by Syracuse’s Chien-Ming Wang in the first inning and later experienced concussion symptoms that sent him to the hospital. Lutz remained in the game until Michael Fisher replaced him in the bottom of the third. Lutz already has suffered a concussion this season after getting hit with a curveball in the head on June 24 against Norfolk.

• Left-hander Gustavo Chacin is scheduled to make his Buffalo debut Wednesday, with fellow newcomer Miguel Batista starting the other game of a doubleheader at Syracuse. Chacin, 30, was released by the Houston Astros after going 3-6 with a 5.13 ERA in 18 relief appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He allowed 81 hits and 24 walks in 66 2/3 innings. The right-handed Batista, 40, was released by the St. Louis Cardinals after a June 21 appearance against Philadelphia in which he walked consecutive batters with the bases loaded to force in runs. After two relief appearances with the Bisons, Batista made his first minor league start in 11 years on Thursday, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings while building his pitch count to 64. Jack Egbert, returning from Tommy John surgery this season, will move to the Double-A rotation to clear room with the Bisons.

• The Mets signed a pair of position players for the upper levels of the organization. Outfielder Fernando Perez, a Columbia University product and published poet, was assigned to Buffalo. Infielder Niuman Romero joined Binghamton. Perez, 28, hit .238 with three homers and 20 RBIs and had 17 steals in 19 attempts in 76 games with Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs organization. Perez once scored the game-winning run by tagging up on a shallow fly ball in Game 2 in the 2008 American League Championship Series for Tampa Bay against Boston. Romero, 26, hit .239 in 34 games in the Eastern League with Reading in the Phillies organization. He also appeared briefly in the Blue Jays minor league system this season.

• Romero has started his first three games at shortstop with the B-Mets, prompting middle infielder Jordany Valdespin to man second base. Valdespin, who has 27 errors this season, should return to shortstop, however, with 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens activated from the disabled list following a back injury that has sidelined the second baseman since June 23.

• A pair of the Mets’ more highly regarded prospects found themselves on the disabled list. Outfielder Fernando Martinez was placed on the Buffalo DL with a left hip flexor injury, while right-hander Jeurys Familia had been shut down with the B-Mets with a shoulder impingement, but has resumed throwing. Familia had been given more than two weeks off between starts before returning to the rotation July 4. Familia is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in Double-A this season. B-Mets left-hander Roy Merritt also landed on the DL with a bruised shin.

• Familia had been one of three B-Mets selections to last Wednesday’s Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, N.H., but was unable to attend. Josh Satin (0-for-1, walk) and Valdespin (0-for-2) started for the East, which lost, 8-3.

• Satin has now reached base in 43 straight games with the B-Mets. His .322 average ranks fifth in the Eastern League, while his .421 on-base percentage trails only Portland’s Alex Hassan (.430).

• Buffalo designated hitter/first baseman Valentino Pascucci was named the International League hitter of the week. In five games since the All-Star break, Pascucci is hitting .381 with three homers and 11 RBIs.

Jose De La Torre made his first Buffalo appearance since May 3 on Tuesday, recording four outs but issuing three walks. The right-handed reliever had been out with a shoulder strain.

• St. Lucie, and rehabbing David Wright, faced Tim Teufel’s son Shawn on Saturday. The 25-year-old southpaw, a 25th-round pick last year out of Liberty University by the Detroit Tigers, suffered his first career Florida State League loss. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk in five innings and now sports a 2.50 ERA in the league in 36 innings (14 appearances/two starts).

• Right-hander Brad Holt, the 33rd overall pick in 2008, who was bounced from the rotation to bullpen because of wildness, had a recent run of success out of the B-Mets pen. Holt retired 16 straight batters until the streak ended Monday when he allowed three runs in an inning. Still, Holt has not allowed a walk in his past four appearances spanning six innings. He had walked 50 through 67 innings this season.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out nine in five innings Monday at Portland. He is 0-2 with a 7.64 ERA through four Double-A starts.

• Thirteenth-round pick Robert Gsellman, a high school right-hander from California, made his professional debut Monday with a scoreless inning, with two strikeouts and two walks, in the Gulf Coast League. The Mets also signed ninth-round pick from Alex Panteliodis, a left-hander from the University of Florida. Panteliodis arrived with a hip injury the organization was aware of and will not pitch until next season.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season

Mets sign ex-Ray, F-Mart injured

July, 18, 2011

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
The Mets signed Fernando Perez and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo.

The Mets have signed outfielder Fernando Perez to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. Perez could replace Fernando Martinez on the Bisons' roster. Martinez has a hip injury and has not played since Friday.

Perez, 28, appeared in 41 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and '09, hitting .234 with three homers in 94 at-bats. He is a product of Columbia University and The Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.

He hit .238 in 76 games with Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs organization this season.

Perez is a published poet. He told Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune earlier this year: "I was trained as a poet and I write a lot of poetry still, but since playing baseball I've started to write personal essays more. I've also experimented with fiction. So there's lot of stuff I write that makes it out occasionally."

Perez scored the winning run in Tampa Bay's Game 2 win in the ALCS against Boston in 2008 on a shallow sacrifice fly.



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187