New York Mets: Maggie Watson

Farm report: Fulmer moves beyond 2013

May, 7, 2014
May 7
8:44
AM ET
MIAMI -- When the Mets selected Michael Fulmer with the 44th overall pick in 2011, Paul DePodesta suggested the right-hander was the third big prep arm in that year’s draft from the state of Oklahoma, along with Dylan Bundy (fourth overall/Orioles) and Archie Bradley (seventh overall/Diamondbacks).

Three years later, the 21-year-old Fulmer is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in five starts for Class A St. Lucie this season. The recent results have been encouraging, though.

After allowing 16 runs over his first three starts, Fulmer has produced consecutive scoreless efforts. In 11 innings over those two recent Florida State League starts, he has allowed seven hits and three walks and hit a batter while striking out five.


Courtesy of New York MetsMichael Fulmer


He throws a fastball (92-94 mph), slider, curveball and changeup.

Last year, Fulmer required March 12 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and did not appear in a Gulf Coast League game until June 25. He ended up making only nine appearances between the GCL and Savannah before getting shut down with biceps tendinitis after an Aug. 18 appearance.

So this season’s slow start might have been partly attributable to knocking off the rust after limited work a year ago.

“It’s a little bit of that. Most importantly, it’s the things me and [St. Lucie pitching coach] Phil [Regan] have been working on in between starts -- tweaking deliveries here and there,” Fulmer said. “I think I just kind of put everything together at once and these past couple of starts kind of worked out.”

The tweaks?

“It’s staying back a little longer on my backside. And then really getting over on top of the ball and keeping my front side strong and keeping it closed,” Fulmer said. “It’s just little things. I think everything is going in the right direction.”

As for 2013, between the meniscus surgery and biceps issue, Fulmer said: “I just never really got going. I tried to come back from the meniscus surgery and it felt fine, felt fine. And then I finally got back and just didn’t feel right basically all year. But it’s a new year. Everything is feeling 110 percent healthy. And I’m excited to get this year going. It was basically just inflammation of the biceps tendon. Nothing too big.”

Early on in his Mets career, fellow Oklahoman Jeremy Hefner took Fulmer under his wing, including going to dinner a couple of times during spring training that year. Both are represented by agent Jay Franklin.

As for three years ago, Fulmer ended up meeting the big-league club shortly after the draft, because the Mets were playing an interleague series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

“I remember being speechless when I met Jose Reyes,” Fulmer said. “You follow baseball, the entire MLB, and you know who guys are. I was just 18 at the time and never really met anybody in the major leagues. Just to meet all those guys on the team, it was basically a dream come true. They were all nice and welcomed me in and talked to me a little bit.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .393; Wilfredo Tovar, Binghamton, .350; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, .347; Matt Reynolds, Binghamton, .337; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .331; Matt Clark, Binghamton, .330; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, .329; Dilson Herrera, St. Lucie, .299; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .298; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, .297.

Homers: Matt Clark, Binghamton, 7; Taylor Teagarden, Vegas, 7; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 5; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 5.

RBIs: Aderlin Rodriguez, St. Lucie, 32; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 29; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 26; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 25.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 8; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, 7; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 6.

ERA: Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 1.48; Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 1.89; Steven Matz, St. Lucie, 2.14; Buddy Carlyle, Vegas, 2.16; Kevin McGowan, Savannah, 2.77; John Gant, Savannah, 2.79; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 3.04; Hansel Robles, Binghamton, 3.51; Matt Koch, St. Lucie, 3.58; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 3.58.

Wins: Jacob deGrom, Vegas, 4; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 4; Rob Whalen, Savannah, 4.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 6; Chasen Bradford, Binghamton, 5; Robert Coles, Savannah, 5; Randy Fontanez, St. Lucie, 4.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 36; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 36; John Gant, Savannah, 30; Steven Matz, St. Lucie, 30; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 29.

Short hops

Vic Black has taken over closing duties from Jeff Walters with Vegas. Walters has a 9.82 ERA and was 6-for-9 in save chances. Walters suffered the blown save and loss Monday at Tacoma, when he entered with a one-run lead and surrendered a pair of ninth-inning runs. Black has walked 10 and hit a batter in 12 1/3 innings this season, but he also has a 0.73 ERA. He has not issued a walk in his past three appearances, although he did allow three hits before preserving Vegas’ 7-6 win Tuesday night at Salt Lake.

• Right-hander Rob Whalen, who is 4-0 for Savannah, has been released from the hospital after having an infection on his throwing hand surgically cleaned. Whalen will need to wait a couple of weeks before resuming throwing. Teammate Robert Gsellman, who sports an organization-best 1.48 ERA, also landed on the disabled list, with a hamstring strain. Gsellman has resumed tossing a baseball and should get on a mound again soon.

• Former Mets reliever Royce Ring is back with the organization as Gulf Coast League pitching coach. Ring, 33, briefly pitched last season for the independent Long Island Ducks. The Mets may have one more minor-league pitching coach vacancy, but there is hope Frank Viola will be well enough to join Vegas in time for Tom Signore to return to his originally intended role as Brooklyn Cyclones pitching coach. Viola underwent open-heart surgery on April 5. Brooklyn’s season opens June 13. Viola will be the Mets' ceremonial representative at the televised June 5 draft.

• Kansas State product Jared King proposed to his girlfriend Maggie Watson before Saturday’s Savannah game. She accepted.

• Left-hander John Lannan has yet to report to Vegas because of an ongoing family issue, team officials said. Lannan last appeared in a game April 13, with the Mets.

• Former second-round pick Cory Mazzoni, who was forced to depart the final spring-training game in Port St. Lucie in the second inning with a lat issue, has started throwing and is moving closer to mound work. Mazzoni had been ticketed for the Triple-A rotation to open the season.

(Read full post)

Morning Briefing: Rocky Mountain low

May, 4, 2014
May 4
5:29
AM ET
DENVER

FIRST PITCH: Suddenly, the Mets need a quality performance from Dillon Gee to avoid getting swept in a four-game series at Coors Field and avoid dropping to .500 for the first time since April 22.

Gee (2-1, 2.88 ERA) opposes Colorado Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in Sunday’s 4:10 p.m. ET game. Chacin is making his season debut after dealing with a right shoulder strain. He went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 31 starts last season.

Sunday’s news reports:


Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesKyle Farnsworth walks off the field after surrendering a game-ending two-run homer to Charlie Culberson.


Kyle Farnsworth surrendered a walk-off two-run homer to Charlie Culberson and the Mets lost to the Rockies, 11-10, Saturday night. The Mets led 6-0, but Jenrry Mejia surrendered eight fifth-inning runs, capped by a one-out grand slam by Nolan Arenado. It marked the second straight season the Mets had blown a six-run lead at Coors Field.

Terry Collins suggested leaving Mejia in to face Arenado made sense, since Arenado had hit groundballs the previous two at-bats. “Arenado did not have particularly good swings on Jenrry Mejia,” Collins said. “I thought he could get another groundball out of him.”

Opponents are now hitting .438 against Mejia the third time through the order this season, which raises the question of whether Mejia might instead be better in a late-inning role.

As for Culberson’s decisive homer, Farnsworth said: “Fastball up and away. It just came middle, I guess. He put a good swing on it.”

The Mets dropped to 15-14.

Read game recaps in the Denver Post, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and at MLB.com.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has a right-calf injury, but downplayed the severity.

Juan Lagares is now the “everyday” center fielder, Collins said, while allowing for periodic rest to avoid Lagares irritating his right hamstring.

Collins nonetheless said he would “try” to get Eric Young Jr. in Sunday’s lineup, after E.Y. Jr. was on the bench for three straight games.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and at MLB.com.

David Wright has not homered since Opening Day, when he went deep in the 10th inning against Washington’s Jerry Blevins. Wright has gone a career-high 115 at-bats without a long ball.

Wright nonetheless had three hits and an intentional walk Saturday to lift his season average to .275, albeit with a .333 slugging percentage.

“To me, you expect results when you do things you're supposed to do right,” Wright told Marc Carig in Newsday. “And when you don’t get those results, I think it’s easy to try to hit the ball extra hard next time. Sometimes you can get yourself into a bit of a hole. …

“There were some balls that I hit at Citi Field that quite frankly, I hit very well. They catch them on the track in right-center. You try to tell yourself to keep with the plan and they’ll start falling. But it’s only natural in the next at-bat to instinctively try to hit it even more hard.”

• Outfield prospect Jared King proposed to his girlfriend Maggie Watson at Savannah’s game Saturday.

• Pitching prospect Rob Whalen has been hospitalized with an infection on his pitching hand.

• Matt Clark scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch as Binghamton won the opener of a doubleheader against Portland. Luis Cessa allowed one run on two hits in five innings as St. Lucie salvaged a doubleheader split with a 5-1 win in its nightcap at Bradenton. Gavin Cecchini went 3-for-6 as Savannah beat Rome, 12-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Matt Harvey’s rehab from Tommy John surgery is set to advance to throwing on flat ground at 120 feet.

Lucas Duda started at first base against a left-handed pitcher Saturday and likely will be doing that more in the future, according to Collins.

• Marc Carig in Newsday suggests one reason the Mets kept Duda over Ike Davis is that the speed of balls off Duda’s bat is among the elite in the league, rivaling Joey Votto’s. Writes Carig:

The Mets noticed the trend playing itself out last season, when [Sandy] Alderson said Duda finished “in the upper echelon” of big-league hitters.

According to the team’s internal metrics, the number of Duda’s batted balls above 100 mph was more than double the league average. It was enough to make him second among National League first basemen in exit speed, behind only the Reds’ Joey Votto.

Of course, nobody is mistaking Duda for Votto, a perennial MVP contender. But the Mets believe Duda is capable of bridging that gap in production.

• A former Mets massage therapist has been accused of sexually abusing two female trainers, Julia Marsh reports in the Post.

• Sal Cacciatore in Newsday gets fan reaction to the Mets’ “True New Yorkers” pitch.

• Reigning NL batting champ Michael Cuddyer was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday to face the Mets, but remains day-to-day as he mends a left hamstring strain, writes Nick Groke in the Denver Post. No. 1 Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario is dealing with the flu and did not play Saturday, Groke also writes.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times catches up with ex-Met Collin McHugh, who is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in two starts for the Houston Astros.

From the bloggers ... NY Mets Life suggests the Mets need to allow Matt Harvey to be Matt Harvey.

BIRTHDAYS: Miguel Cairo turns 40. ... Robinson Cancel is 38. ... Manny Aybar is 42.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets consider using Jenrry Mejia as closer (or, at least, in a late-inning reliever) and place Daisuke Matsuzaka or a Triple-A arm in the big-league rotation?
LAS VEGAS at TACOMA (ppd.): The teams will play a 4:35 p.m. ET doubleheader Sunday.

BINGHAMTON 3, PORTLAND 2
PORTLAND 9, BINGHAMTON 3: A half-inning after Portland tied the score, Binghamton plated the decisive run in the sixth inning of Game 1 when Matt Clark scampered home on a wild pitch from Henry Owens. Clark had been hit by a pitch and advanced to third on Kevin Plawecki's double. After five scoreless innings from Darin Gorski, Portland had evened the score at 2 in the top of the sixth. Shannon Wilkerson doubled and moved to Mookie Betts' single. After Betts stole second, Travis Shaw delivered a two-run single. B-Mets reliever Chasen Bradford loaded the bases in the seventh, but escaped unharmed and earned his fifth save by inducing Betts to fly out and Deven Marrero to line out. Gorski (2-1) allowed one run on six hits over six innings to earn the win. Binghamton had opened the scoring with a two-run second. Cory Vaughn singled and Jayce Boyd walked. Travis Taijeron and Wilfredo Tovar then produced RBI singles.

In Game 2, Matt Bowman (3-1) was tagged for nine runs on 10 hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered two homers. Trailing 5-0, the B-Mets got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Taijeron reached on a throwing error by Portland third baseman Carlos Rivero to start the inning. After Xorge Carrillo singled, Tovar grounded into a double play that moved Taijeron to third. Kyle Johnson then singled to plate Taijeron. The score remained that way until the fifth inning. Marrero led off with a homer in what became a four-run frame. Box 1, Box 2

BRADENTON 3, ST. LUCIE 2
ST. LUCIE 5, BRADENTON 1: Luis Cessa limited the Marauders to one run and two hits in five innings as St. Lucie salvaged a doubleheader split. He struck out a season-high six batters. Aderlin Rodriguez plated Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera with a first-inning double. After the Marauders got a run back on a sac fly in the bottom of the fifth, the Mets answered a half-inning later on Rodriguez's run-scoring groundout for a 3-1 lead. Rivera delivered a two-run single in the seventh. Randy Fontanez pitched two scoreless innings to earn his fourth save. After driving in three runs, Rodriguez now leads the Florida State League with 31 RBIs. Rivera went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. He went 7-for-9 in the three-game series and leads the FSL with a .421 batting average.

In Game 1, the Marauders stunned the Mets with a rally in the seventh. With the score tied at 2 and two outs, Ryan Fraser walked the bases loaded. Then, with a two-strike count on Josh Bell, Fraser threw a wild pitch and Raul Fortunato easily scored for the walk-off win. The Mets had a chance to break the game open against John Kuchno in the first. Dilson Herrera, Nimmo and Jairo Perez all reached to start the game. With the bases loaded, Rodriguez grounded out to plate a run. Cam Maron followed with another run-scoring groundout to make it 2-0. Kuchno hit a batter and walked another to reload the bases, but he got Phillip Evans to strike out on three pitches to end the threat. The Mets would only place three more runners on base. Twice runners were erased on double-play balls. The Marauders were able to manufacture two runs against Domingo Tapia. In the third, Tapia got what looked like the third out on a routine grounder to Perez at first. Perez stumbled and had to flip to Tapia covering first base. Tapia was late getting to the bag and Taylor Lewis was safe. Meanwhile, Jonathan Schwind, who started the play at second base, never broke stride and scored to make it 2-1. In the fifth, Tapia gave up a single and a walk to put the tying run at second. After a sac bunt, Lewis grounded out to bring home the tying run from third. Tapia pitched five innings in a no-decision. He allowed five hits and two runs while walking one and striking out two. Box 1, Box 2

SAVANNAH 12, ROME 2: Outfielder Jared King proposed to his girlfriend Maggie Watson pregame after she threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She said yes. Once the pitches were real, the Gnats extended their winning streak to five games, matching a season high. The Gnats have outscored their opponents 24-5 in those five games. The 10-run margin of victory was the largest of the year for Savannah. The Braves scored the game’s first run on Victor Reyes' RBI single. The Gnats scored the next 11 runs. Stefan Sabol produced a two-run double with the bases loaded and King scored on a wild pitch in the first to put Savannah up 3-1. The Gnats added a run in the second on L.J. Mazzilli’s RBI single. Savannah made it 7-1 with a three-run third. Jeff Glenn singled home a run and Gavin Cecchini added a two-run single. Cecchini finished 3-for-6 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. He extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games. Glenn finished 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Victor Cruzado and Dominic Smith had run-scoring doubles in a four-run fourth that gave the Gnats an 11-1 lead. Starter John Gant allowed one run on five hits in five innings. King finished 0-4 with a walk and a run scored on his big night. Box

Compiled with team reports

Mets prospect proposes on the field

May, 3, 2014
May 3
6:28
PM ET

Courtesy of Savannah Sand GnatsJared King proposes to girlfriend Maggie Watson while in uniform Saturday.


DENVER -- Mets prospect Jared King's girlfriend Maggie Watson got quite the surprise before Saturday's low-A Savannah game against the Rome Braves.

After she threw out the ceremonial first pitch, King surprised her by proposing on the field.

She said yes, according to Sand Gnats officials.

King, 22, was selected in the fifth round last year out of Kansas State.

Savannah went on to beat Rome, 12-2. King went 0-for-4 with a run scored and walk while batting cleanup.

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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