New York Mets: Warner Fusselle

Farm report II: Leaders, player notes

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
12:00
PM ET
Organization leaders

Average: Matt den Dekker, Buffalo, .339; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .323; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .321; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .304; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .296; Josh Rodriguez, Buffalo, .291; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, .289; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Luice, .286; Brian Harrison, Savannah, .282; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .279.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 12; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, 12; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 11; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 10; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 10.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 41; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 40; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 40; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 39; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, 33.

Steals: Alonzo Harris Jr., St. Lucie, 12; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, 12; Fred Lewis, Buffalo, 11; Luis Nieves, St. Lucie, 11; Pedro Zapata, Binghamton, 11.

ERA: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.66; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 2.48; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 2.48; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 2.50; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 2.83; Tyler Pill, St. Lucie, 3.03; Cory Mazzoni, St. Lucie, 3.25; Yohan Almonte, St. Lucie, 3.69; Gonzalez Germen, Binghamton, 3.86; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 3.88.

Wins: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 6; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 6; Yohan Almonte, St. Lucie, 6.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 15; Adrian Rosario, Binghamton, 13; T.J. Chism, Savannah, 10; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 67; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 64; Garrett Olson, Buffalo, 63; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 60.

Short hops

• The Brooklyn Cyclones open play Monday against Staten Island, with Kingsport beginning its schedule the following day. Farmhands generally will break camp from Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Friday -- with high school prospects more likely to head to the Appalachian League and the college players to Coney Island.

First-round pick Gavin Cecchini, a prep shortstop from Louisiana, will play for manager Jose Leger with the K-Mets. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo has been expected to be sent to Brooklyn, while 2009 top pick Steven Matz was expected to end up in Kingsport.

• The Mets on Tuesday confirmed the signing of their second overall selection, Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki (35th overall).

Other draftees already signed and working out in Port St. Lucie: right-hander Matt Koch (third round, Louisville), right-hander Brandon Welch (fifth, Palm Beach State), second baseman Richie Rodriguez (ninth, Eastern Kentucky), right-hander Paul Sewald (10th, San Diego), right-hander Matt Bowman (13th, Princeton), catcher Stefan Sabol (17th, Orange Coast Community College) and right-hander Tyler Vanderheiden (19th, Samford).

• After making seven starts across three levels of the minors, Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to make his bullpen debut with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday or Friday. The script calls for Mejia to face different types of situations -- mid-inning, back-to-back days -- over a two-week span. After that, Mejia could find himself in the major league bullpen.

• Observers continue to express concern about the lack of development of a changeup with 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey. In his most recent outing, Friday at Columbus with a bevy of scouts on hand, Harvey opened the first inning by throwing a changeup. He then served up a homer to former Mets farmhand Ezequiel Carrera later in the at-bat on that pitch. Afterward, Harvey threw the changeup only once or twice more the remainder of his 90-pitch, four-inning outing.

Pedro Beato, who entered Tuesday having retired 17 straight batters in Triple-A, saw that streak end but nonetheless continued his dominance at Buffalo. Beato surrendered a hit but faced the minimum while recording five outs, three via strikeout. He has not allowed a run in his past 12 1/3 innings spanning seven games. Beato did not appear in a major league game during a cameo with the Mets last week. He was demoted to clear room for the return of Chris Young from paternity leave.

• Shortstop Sean Kazmar, who drew rave reviews for his glove while at Binghamton, has struggled significantly both in the field and at the plate since a promotion to Buffalo that coincided with Omar Quintanilla’s rise to the majors. Kazmar, who appeared in 19 games for the San Diego Padres in 2008, opened his stint with Buffalo hitless in his first 13 at-bats. He picked up his first two RBIs with the Bisons on Tuesday, but is hitting 4-for-29 (.138) with 10 strikeouts in Triple-A. Kazmar also has committed five errors in 11 games.

• Binghamton third baseman Jefry Marte left Saturday’s game with a bruised hand, below the pinkie, after a scorching groundball hit the lip of the infield and bounced toward his face. Joe Bonfe manned the hot corner Sunday. The B-Mets had Monday off and were rained out Tuesday. Marte should be back in the lineup when Binghamton resumes play.

• Perhaps with an eye toward moving St. Lucie’s Wilmer Flores to Double-A, where Marte has occupied third base, Flores has started at second base the past three games in the Florida State League. Originally a shortstop, Flores has played second and third base in winter ball in his native Venezuela.

• A scout who recently watched Binghamton said there were three definite major leaguers on the Double-A team -- prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, Matt den Dekker (who just was promoted to Buffalo) and right-hander Collin McHugh. McHugh (5-4, 2.48 ERA) was described as a “Dillon Gee type.” Said the scout: “He’s going to pitch in the big leagues. For sure.”

Wheeler took advantage of free-swinging Reading and Harrisburg teams to continue his Double-A dominance this week. Wheeler has won his past six starts and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his 10 Eastern League outings. Next up for Wheeler: A Thursday morning matchup with Phillies top prospect Travis May.

Josh Satin, Manny Acosta and Jack Egbert -- all of whom cleared waivers after being removed from the 40-man roster -- have rejoined Buffalo.

• Sure-handed St. Lucie shortstop Wilfredo Tovar remains in the Florida State League, although Terry Collins recently indicated a promotion to Binghamton is imminent. Perhaps Tovar will move after Saturday’s Florida State League All-Star Game at Charlotte Sports Park. Tovar was one of seven St. Lucie selections. The others: right-hander Cory Mazzoni, left-handers Adam Kolarek and Chase Huchingson, catcher Blake Forsythe, Flores and outfielder Cory Vaughn.

• Bisons manager Wally Backman indicated on the team’s postgame show Monday that Jeurys Familia was tipping pitches in a five-run fifth inning against a veteran Norfolk team.

• Savannah right-hander Logan Verrett, a third-round pick out of Baylor last June, carried a no-hit bid through 5 1/3 innings in his first game since April 17. Verrett had been on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement.

• South Atlantic League All-Star selection Travis Taijeron will represent Savannah in the Home Run Derby. The first round will be held Monday morning on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown. The carrier is stationed in Charleston, S.C. Savannah’s T.J. Rivera and T.J. Chism also will play in the All-Star Game.

• 2008 eighth-round pick Eric Campbell, whose career looked on the ropes early last season, is enjoying a revival in his third season with Binghamton. Campbell, a Boston College product, had a two-homer, five-RBI game Saturday. He is hitting .321 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 137 at-bats while primarily manning first base in Allan Dykstra’s absence. Campbell’s .437 on-base percentage leads the Eastern League.

• Ex-Mets outfielder Jeff Duncan, who has not been in pro baseball since 2008, is eyeing a comeback in the Atlantic League, but has yet to sign with a club. Duncan, now 33, appeared with the Mets in '03 and '04.

• RIP Warner Fusselle, who served as Brooklyn’s radio broadcaster since the team’s inception in 2001. Fusselle, 68, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack.

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

Mets morning briefing 6.12.12

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
5:41
AM ET
After an off-day to regroup following getting swept in the Subway Series, the Mets resume play with a stern test -- the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop. Chris Young (0-0, 3.60 ERA) makes his second major league start since returning from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule. He opposes Rays right-hander Alex Cobb (2-2, 4.12).

Tuesday's news reports:

• The Mets could look to upgrade the bullpen if they continue in at least the wild-card race, but whether they will be a contender is still playing out. Regardless, don't look for Sandy Alderson -- who received prized prospect Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran last July -- to turn around and trade a significant minor leaguer.

Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post identifies Minnesota's Matt Capps, Oakland's Grant Balfour and Houston's Brett Myers as relievers who potentially will be available at the trade deadline. “And that’s the hard part," Alderson said about trade versus preserving the farm system. "Of course we want to win. We all want to win. It would be important for the fan base. It would be important for ownership. But, at the same time, we have to sort of take everything into account.” Regarding the bullpen, Alderson said: “This is an area to begin to look at externally."

The GM added: “One of the interesting things that exists currently is now people have expectations. When you lose six out of seven, people are unhappy. … From two months ago when nobody cared, in that sense, we’ve made progress. You want to be able to satisfy those expectations at some point.”

Warner Fusselle, the radio voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones since the team's inception in 2001 and a former host of "This Week in Baseball," died Sunday night. He was 68. Read more in the Daily News.

Brian Costa in the Journal notes that while Andres Torres' attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not causing his subpar production, his difficulty concentrating can make it more challenging to break the funk. Torres takes medication for the issue and was the subject of a documentary that recently was screened for the first time.

A switch-hitter, Torres is hitting .205 overall as a Met, and .163 against right-handed pitching. Once the Mets lose the DH on Friday back at Citi Field, and with Kirk Nieuwenhuis playing strongly, something will have to give with the outfielders' playing time. Assuming Jason Bay -- no given -- and Lucas Duda play regularly in the outfield along with Nieuwenhuis, Torres' playing time will decrease. If Duda shifts to first base for Ike Davis, another distinct possibility, that relieves some outfield crowding. But none of that accounts for getting Scott Hairston playing time, particularly against southpaws.

Writes Costa:

There is only so much information Torres can absorb before his mind strays. "He has kind of a difficult time staying on task," [hitting coach Dave] Hudgens said. "He's a great worker, great guy, really loves the game, but it's difficult for him to stay on one thing that he's trying to work on a lot of times." That is evident simply in talking to Torres by his locker. At times, he'll be only midway through one sentence when he jumps ahead to the next. He had been talking about hitting for less than a minute Sunday when he became distracted by the name on a reporter's credential. "Is that a Latin name?" he asked. It is just as difficult for Torres to keep his body at rest, which is why he works out constantly. After a game in Pittsburgh last month, Torres did push-ups off the seat of his chair while his teammates hit the showers.

• Bay, who is 0-for-11 since returning from the DL, tells Mike Puma in the Post he still can play. "Production-wise, it hasn’t been on par, I understand that, but I still feel like I can do those things -- that is the frustrating part,” Bay told Puma. “If I didn’t feel like I can do it, I think it wouldn’t be that tough. You wouldn’t be so hard on yourself, but I feel like I can do it and it’s just been a couple of years of searching for it.” Bay only has 68 plate appearances this season as a result of time lost due to a rib fracture, so he is unlikely to reach 500 plate appearances this season. Reaching that threshold, then again getting 500 PAs in 2013, would trigger a 2014 vesting option at $17 million. Bay (.197, 3 HR, 5 RBIs) still can trigger with it 600 plate appearances next season.

• Young is returning from the same surgery that was performed on Johan Santana. Only Young has done so more quickly than Santana. Young's procedure was performed on May 16, 2011. Santana underwent the shoulder surgery the previous September. “It represented more than just a no-hitter to my wife and I,” Young said about Santana's no-hitter to Anthony McCarron in the Daily News. “It represented hope that I’m going to be as good as ever, too. I know what it meant to the Mets, to the organization, and to the fans, the history there. But to me, I feel like it took on an even bigger meaning, symbolically.”

Writes McCarron:

At one point in May, Young told Santana he was hurting. His arm lapsed into what Young described as “the same kind of dead arm period you can get in spring training.” “He said he was feeling like he was hit by a truck,” Santana said. “I’m like, ‘I know exactly how you feel. Me, it was a train.’” On Santana’s advice, the Mets scheduled some extra rest for Young and he rebounded quickly. “I was achy and sore and since then, my arm has responded great and I anticipate it will continue to,” Young said.

The morning after his first major league start in 13 months start, Young's wife went into labor and he went on paternity leave. Doctors had been planning to induce labor that day, but she went into labor naturally, Young told Mike Kerwick in the Record. Grant Christopher is the newest addition to the family.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record reports Jim Duquette and 10-year-old Lindsey are doing well a week after the former Mets GM donated a kidney to his daughter. Writes Klapisch:

Both were crying, although for different reasons. Lindsey wept “out of pure fear,” said Jim, as the anesthesiologists converged on the little girl who was afraid of the bottomless black sleep where there are no sweet dreams. It broke Jim’s heart to see his child weeping, although he was coming apart, too. “But I was crying because I knew this was the start of something better for Lindsey,” he said. “For all of us.” It’s been one week since the transplant, and Lindsey’s doctors believe her nightmare, which began in 2004, finally may be over. Her new kidney, Jim’s gift, is functioning at 100 percent efficiency. Even though she will be on an immune-suppressing medication for the rest of her days, Lindsey soon could return to the life she’d nearly forgotten.

Read more in the Daily News.

• After David Wright and Omar Quintanilla's errors opened the door for a Yankees comeback from a three-run deficit Sunday, Anthony Rieber in Newsday concludes the Mets are a bad defensive club. Writes Rieber:

The Mets, who begin a three-game interleague series against the Rays Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., were the fourth-worst defensive team in the majors going into Monday's action. But here's the rub: The three teams with fielding percentages below the Mets' .978 -- Tampa Bay, Baltimore and San Francisco -- are all playoff contenders. As are the Mets, though their stock is dropping after they lost six of seven, including all three to the Yankees in the first go-round of the Subway Series. "We've talked about this time and again," manager Terry Collins said Sunday after a 5-4 loss in the Bronx. "We aren't the kind of club that can make a lot of mistakes. When you give teams as good as the New York Yankees or anybody else in the big leagues multiple-out innings, they're gonna get ya. We saw it several times in the last two weeks where we haven't made plays and the next thing you know, it becomes a big inning."

Read more on the Mets' lackluster fielding in the Times.

• Former Mets VP Tony Bernazard, who oversaw the farm system under Omar Minaya, is now working as a liaison to players for agent Scott Boras, Danny Knobler writes at CBSSports.com. Bernazard was at Yankee Stadium on Sunday for the Subway Series finale.

• The Mets' top two picks are now signed. The team confirmed the signing of first-round pick Gavin Cecchini, a prep shortstop from Louisiana, last Friday for a reported $2.3 million. Now, Jim Callis reports in Baseball America, the Mets' supplemental first-round pick (35th overall), also is on board. Purdue University catcher Kevin Plawecki signed for $1.4 million, according to the magazine. The commissioner's recommended amount for that slot was $1,467,400.

• Center field prospect Matt den Dekker was named Eastern League Player of the Week and was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. Den Dekker hit .340 with eight homers, 29 RBIs and 10 steals in 238 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton.

• After tossing four scoreless innings for Buffalo, Jeurys Familia ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing five runs, including a two-run homer by Lew Ford. The game was called due to rain after that inning, and Norfolk beat the Bisons, 5-4. Read Monday's full minor league recap here.

Jose Leger was named the manager of the Class A Kingsport Mets. The Appalachian League team begins play next Tuesday. Former Mets bullpen coach Jon Debus originally was due to serve as Kingsport manager, but instead became minor league rehab coordinator based in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when Randy Niemann left the organization to join Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox. Leger managed a Dominican Summer League Mets team the past two seasons and is a former minor league infielder with the Minnesota Twins.

Anthony McCarron in the Daily News notes Jon Rauch retweeted expletive-filled tweets directed at him from fans after the reliever served up Sunday's game-ending homer to Russell Martin.

TRIVIA: The Mets won only one game in the last series between the Mets and Rays in St. Petersburg, in 2001. Who were the starting pitchers in that game?

Monday's answer: In the ill-fated Scott Kazmir-for-Victor Zambrano swap, the teams also exchanged relievers. The Mets received Bartolome Fortunano. Jose Diaz was sent to the Rays.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.294 7 37 56
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 14
RBIL. Duda 48
RD. Murphy 56
OPSL. Duda .829
WB. Colon 8
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 105