Dustin Lawley leads the St. Lucie Mets with 12 homers. His latest long ball came in the 10th inning Tuesday, on a two-run shot that lifted the Florida State League club to a 4-2 victory against Clearwater.
“I’m pleased with it,” said Lawley, a 19th-round pick in 2011 out of the University of West Florida, about the power numbers.Courtesy of New York Mets
Lawley, who will join St. Lucie teammates Noah Syndergaard and T.J. Rivera in the FSL All-Star Game at Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday, exclusively has played left field or served as designated hitter this season.
A natural infielder, Lawley moved from third base to center field his senior year in college to take advantage of his speed after the program had an incoming recruit take over the hot corner.
After the position switch, Lawley played alongside right fielder and now-fellow Mets farmhand Greg Pron in West Florida’s outfield. Lawley actually has the scar to prove it, from getting severely spiked by Pron.
“It was a fly ball in the right-center gap,” Lawley recalled about the game his senior year. “It was kind of funny. Our record was 52-9. That was one of the games we lost. That was a critical situation. There was a ball hit in the gap and I took off and he took off at it. At the last second -- nobody called it -- we hit each other. We collided. And I caught it. Well, the umpire said I dropped and the guy scored on a regular fly ball.”
Since joining the Mets organization, the 24-year-old Lawley had split time between third base and the outfield … until this season.
“I guess as of right now the outfield is where they want me,” Lawley said.
He continued: “I love the outfield. I’m very comfortable out there. I guess you can always learn, but I’m very comfortable in left field -- any position in the outfield, really.”
Lawley won a Division II national title his final college season -- the first championship in school history. He owns the second-best batting average in the program’s history.
Before moving to West Florida, Lawley played at Wallace-Hanceville, a junior college in his native Alabama. Craig Kimbrel, a year ahead, was the No. 1 starter for the team his freshman year.
Average: Jayce Boyd, Savannah, .336; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .330; Kevin Plawecki, Savannah, .323; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .321; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .313; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .311; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, .307; Josh Satin, Vegas, .305; Cory Vaughn, Binghamton, .288.
Homers: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 13; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 12; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 11; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Vegas, 10; Aderlin Rodriguez, St. Lucie, 9; Josh Satin, Vegas, 9.
RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 47; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 46; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 44; Kevin Plawecki, Savannah, 41; Aderlin Rodriguez, St. Lucie, 41..
Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 17; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 14; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 13; Cory Vaughn, Binghamton, 8; Danny Muno, Binghamton, 8.
ERA: Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 1.41; Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 2.45; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.62; Collin McHugh, Vegas, 2.87; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.97; Noah Syndergaard, St. Lucie, 3.11; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 3.32; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 3.55; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 3.79; Carlos Torres, Vegas, 3.89.
Wins: Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 7; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 7; Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 7; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 7.
Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 16; Bret Mitchell, Savannah, 10; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 5; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 5; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 4.
Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 77; Carlos Torres, Vegas, 67; Zack Wheeler, Vegas, 66; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 65; Noah Syndergaard, St. Lucie, 64.
• The Brooklyn Cyclones begin play Monday at Staten Island. Rich Donnelly manages the club for a third straight season. While college players drafted last week primarily will comprise the roster, 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini -- a high school pick out of Louisiana -- is expected to man shortstop. Right-hander Robert Gsellman (13th round, 2011) is expected to claim a rotation spot.
• Cory Vaughn underwent an MRI on his ailing right elbow. Doctors will evaluate whether the B-Mets outfielder will require surgery. Vaughn, 24, was hitting .288 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 170 Eastern League at-bats when he landed on the disabled list.
• Right-hander Michael Fulmer, who is making a deliberate return from spring-training surgery to repair a torn meniscus, is due to throw five innings this week in an intrasquad game in extended spring training.
• Once officially on board, 17-year-old first-round pick Dominic Smith is expected to play first base for the Mets’ revived Gulf Coast League team in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Among those already on board from this year’s draft is slick-fielding high school shortstop Luis Guillorme (10th round), who signed for a reported $200,000.
• Zack Wheeler makes his final Triple-A start on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET against Tacoma, which is managed by John Stearns and coached by Howard Johnson.
• Mets officials are debating whether to leave Rafael Montero in Binghamton rather than expose him to the challenging Pacific Coast League conditions with Las Vegas.
• Reigning Eastern League Player of the Week Cesar Puello suffered a jammed left finger and was forced to leave Tuesday’s game at Trenton. Puello hit .500 with five homers in 24 at-bats during the week. You can view the injury here, courtesy of Trenton Thunder beat reporter Josh Norris.
• Ex-Rockie Carlos Torres has tossed consecutive complete games with Las Vegas, allowing only one run in the 18 innings.
• Despite an 0-for-5 performance Tuesday at Trenton, Travis Taijeron is hitting .357 with two homers and six RBIs in three games since a promotion from St. Lucie to the B-Mets.