Arizona Fall League

Lets start Monday around here with a look at the Mets playing baseball in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

There are few surprises.

RF/LF?Cory Vaughn?- Hits in four of his last five contests have moved his batting average up 20 points so that the 24-year-old is hitting .254/.329/.394 in 18 games. Once again, Vaughn owns a huge platoon split: .318/.464/.455 with a homer and five walks in 22 AB against lefties and .224/.255/.367 with four extra-base hits including three triples, two walks and 13 whiffs in 49 AB vs. righties. Vaughn's platoon splits have been strong now for the last three years. It's a thing. He hits lefties, but does not hit righties.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Toby Hyde
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Lets check on a few Mets prospects playing baseball out in the Arizona Fall League.

Position PlayersRF/LF?Cory Vaughn - Vaughn had an eight-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday with an o-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. In that eight-game streak, he hit .333 with a .545 slugging percentage. Overall, he's hit .244/.320/.400 with three extra-base hits against four walks and 14 strikeouts in 11 games.

"3B"?Aderlin Rodriguez - After a hitless beginning to the AFL, has hit safely in six of his last seven games but is still at just .205/.225/.256 overall with 11 strikeouts and zero walks in 10 games. ?Rodriguez will be 22 in November, and hit .260/.295/.427 in 62 games in St. Lucie this past year. He's playing for an Opening Day 2014 assignment to double-A, but he'll need to do a lot more in the AFL's final few weeks to earn it.

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After a slow start some of the Mets participants are warming up in the AFL

Scottsdale played six games this week and went 3-3

Aderlin Rodriguez went hitless Monday to extend his start to 0-for-10, but has since gone 5-for-13 with a double.? Through 6 games he is hitting .217/.250/.261 with 5 K and no walks.? In the field he has made two fielding errors while playing 3B.

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They take the weekends off in the AFL so lets have a look at what's happened in the first four days.

Thursday Scottsdale lost 6-3 and Friday the Scorpions lost 5-1

On Thursday:

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Hey look, box scores with Mets in them.

Salt River beat Scottsdale (the Mets' team) 12-2.

Most of the Mets' position players played.

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The Surprise Saguaros, the team that Mets farmhands are playing on this year in the Arizona Fall League, have only ?three games remaining. The Saguaros are one half game out of first,?in the AFL West,?behind the Peoria Javelinas if you're looking for a little mid-November pennant chase.

While the AFL has a reputation as a crazy league for offense, it has not played that way this year with a collective batting line of .270/.351/.400 and 5.3 runs per game scored per team. AFL pitchers own a 4.55 ERA with a K/BB of 2 (1365 K/691 BB) in 1544.1 innings.

- CF?Darrell Ceciliani?has hit .258/.342/.348 in 66 AB over 18 games with four extra-base hits, nine walks and 13 strikeouts. ?Ces

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Cesar Puello, Toby Hyde
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Saturday night, the Arizona Fall League held their annual prospect showcase - the Rising Stars game. Two of the game's better prospects,?Cincinnati's?Billy Hamilton and Washington's Brian Goodwin?shone brightest.?It featured only one Met, LHP Chase Huchingson. Huchingson faced two batters: issued a walk and induced a groundout.

He was an odd choice to represent the Mets in the game as he was neither a "name" prospect nor had been effective in the AFL. In fact, in his six AFL appearances, he had walked nine and fanned four in 6.1 innings and allowed seven runs, six earned for a 8.53 ERA. If the AFL, wanted a situational lefty, they could have turned to Adam Kolarek who had an 8/4 K/BB ratio, but had yielded 13 hits in his 8.1 innings of work.

The fact that neither CF Darrell Ceciliani (.234/.315/.340 for a .655 OPS in 13 games) nor Cesar Puello (.232/.317/.268 for a .585 OPS in 14 games) merited inclusion on the squad was fairly damning.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Chase Huchingson, Toby Hyde

Yesterday, I pointed out that early in the Arizona Fall League season, offensive numbers in the league are down fairly significantly.

- CF Darrell Ceciliani left Monday's game?(a 3-0 Surprise loss) early, in the middle of the fifth inning. Ceciliani missed all but 23 games for his age 21/22 season in St. Lucie this year, mostly with hamstring problems. Ceciliani was hitting .259/.344/.370 with four walks against eight strikeouts in eight games in the AFL.

- While Ceciliani had been playing center the last few days, Cesar Puello shifted over to right. Puello, who is younger, and more powerful, is more likely to produce at a level that would make him valuable on the corner. The 21-year old Puello has hit safely in seven of his eight games in the AFL going .278/.316/.333 with one extra-base hit - a triple - on Friday. Most concerning is that he's running a 10/0 K/BB ratio. It's early and all, but that's an awful sign after a 58/7 K/BB ratio in 66 games in the Florida State League this past season.

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This was going to be a post about performance of Mets' farmhands out in the desert in the Arizona Fall League, but instead it turned into a post about league itself.

I was going to apply the usual AFL caveat that this is an extreme hitters' league and thus, one should treat the numbers produced by both hitters and pitchers with a light touch, or normalize them for league values. Then I looked at the numbers. The AFL is still is absolutely a hiters' league, but it is less so than in recent years.

This year, the AFL is hitting a collective .266/.344/.397 and scoring 5.2 runs per game. That's roughly comparable in terms of scoring to the 2012 version of the Pacific Coast League (.278/.345/.430; 5.1 R/G), but with a little less power. However, it is the lowest level of offense for the AFL in the last five years. The AFL's isoloated slugging, a measure of power, is down to its lowest level in eight years (before that the data is scattered and hard to collect). On a year over year basis, AFL scoring is down 13%.

Tags: Analysis, Arizona Fall League, Toby Hyde
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Cesar Puello played center, and was 1-for-5 with two more strikeouts Wednesday. The 21-year old is now hitting .333/.385/.333 with eight singles, zero walks, zero extra-base hits and seven strikeouts while hitting safely in each of his five games. He's 2-for-2 stealing bases with two hit-by pitches. I was hoping that he would show some signs of plate discipline in the AFL (as Jefry Marte did a year ago, for example), but at least in the first week, he has not. Also, that's Puello at right, and the 'fro looks strong beneath his hat.

Darrell Ceciliani has been sharing the centerfield position with Puello and is off to a solid .294/.381/.471 start in five games with six whiffs and three walks.

Dustin Lawley played third base both Tuesday and Wednesday and after doubling Tuesday, homered Wednesday. He's at .278/.278/.556 (5-for-18) through four games.

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What were Mets' farmhands up to in the Arizona Fall League this weekend? All of the Mets' pitchers threw Thursday, and with the AFL taking Sunday off, there were just two games - Friday and Saturday - to talk about.

CF Darrell Ceciliani - Friday: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. ?The hits were his first in three games for Surprise. At 22, he's playing for an Opening Day assignment to AA Binghamton in 2013.

CF Cesar Puello - Saturday - 2-for-5, RBI, K. Puello has at least one hit in each of his three games in the AFL, going 5-for-14 (.357) but five strikeouts and zero walks to go along with one HBP. This would be a good time to start learning the more disciplined approach he will need in AA and the big leagues.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Cesar Puello, Darrell Ceciliani, Toby Hyde

All of the Mets pitcher threw Thursday, making their Arizona Fall League debuts and the results were not, on the whole good as the four pitchers combined to allow four runs, all earned, over five innings with nine hits, a walk, and four strikeouts.

PitchersRyan Fraser: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Greg Peavey: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

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Lets meet the pitchers the Mets sent to the Arizona Fall League this year.

Teams can use the AFL for a number of reasons including as:?finishing school for top prospects, preparation for the transition to a higher level, either AA or AAA, as extra-playing time for a guy who was injured during the season or as an extra audition for a spot on the team?s 40-man roster.

I covered the position players in some depth here?when the rosters were announced, but seem to have skipped the pitchers. ?Anyway, the four pitchers are RHP Ryan Fraser, LHP Chase Huchingson, LHP Adam Kolarek and RHP Greg Peavey. None of the quartet made my Mets' preseason Top 41 Prospects list, and all are longshots to make this year's list.

Tags: Adam Kolarek, Arizona Fall League, Chase Huchingson, Greg Peavey, Ryan Fraser, Toby Hyde
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Lost in the fun of the post-season, which again has cruelly and correctly shut out the Mets, the Arizona Fall League, baseball's gathering of top prospects, began yesterday.

This year, the Mets guys are members of the?Surprise Saguaros?who lost their first game 5-2 to the Peoria Javelinas.

The only Met who played was CF Darrell Ceciliani, who was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Toby Hyde

Lets go to the Desert, where the Arizona Fall League is winding down.

Jefry Marte - The 20-year old was removed from the Peoria Javelinas roster on Friday, the 11th after sustaining an injury in the 8th inning of the game on Thursday, the 10th. ?I do not know the severity, nor the specific injury, yet. ?(EDIT: Marte was involved in a collision at first.) ?In 22 games, he hit .333/.436/.538 with four doubles and four homers. ?That's nice, but the most impressive thing is that he drew 12 walks and fanned just 12 times. ?His K/BB this past season for St. Lucie was 2.1 (86/41), the best of his his career, and a mark that's steadily improved over time. ?Note too that Marte played as much first base as he played third base in Arizona.

Juan Lagares - Apparently, the 22-year old Lagares was moved from the Taxi Squad to the regular roster as he played Wednesday, Friday and Saturday last week and of course picked up two hits both Friday and Saturday. ?He's now sitting at .364/.407/.582 overall in 55 AB in 12 games. ? ?He's played mostly centerfield and a few games in right.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jefry Marte, Toby Hyde
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Mets RHP Taylor Whitenton was the only Mets farmhand selected to play in the Arizona Fall League's annual All-Star Game the Rising Stars Game. ?The game, played Saturday, November 5 at 3 ET will be televised on MLB network and MLB.com.

In the AFL, Whitenton is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 innings. ?He's allowed 11 hits, but has walked nine, while fanning 15. ?His 15 strikeouts are tied for tenth in the AFL, while his nine walks are tied for 12th.

The 23-year old is a three-pitch guy with a fastball, a change-up and a slider. ?He's been sitting 91-93 with his fastball and touching 94 in short appearances in the AFL. ?He trusts his change-up, which often had a little cutting action, as his second pitch over ?the slider.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Juan Lagares, Taylor Whitenton, Toby Hyde
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How have Mets' pitchers fared in the hostile desert?


This Week
  • McHugh: 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. ?McHugh started on eight days rest Saturday. ?More importantly, he was our guest on the Mostly Mets Podcast last week.
  • Carson: 1 G, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Juan Lagares committed an error in right that led to both runs being unearned. ?However, Carson invited trouble by issuing a leadoff walk and then a one-out double.
  • Whitenton: 1 G, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Turgeon: 2 G, 2.2 IP, 3 solo homeruns, 0 BB, 0 K
- Of Carson's 31 pitches, 19 were strikes. ?He threw five pitches that pitch-fx calls change-ups and two sliders. ?So, that's 77% fastballs, 16% changeups, and 6% sliders (does not add to 100 thanks to rounding).
- Whitenton threw 19 of his 35 pitches, or 54% for strikes. ?The MLB average is 62%.
Tags: Arizona Fall League, Collin McHugh, Robert Carson, Taylor Whitenton, Toby Hyde

Lets make this an every Monday thing and go around winter-ball to check on Mets still playing ball.

We start in the Arizona Fall League where the hitters are enjoying themselves.


Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jefry Marte, Juan Lagares, Wilfredo Tovar, Toby Hyde
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There's a nice video of Peoria Javelinas manager Pedro Lopez discussing Mets prospects 3B Jefry Marte, OF Juan Lagares, C Juan Centeno and SS/2B Wilfredo Tovar here, with highlights from a few of the players. ?Lopez managed Marte and Lagares in Savannah in 2010 and St. Lucie in 2011 and Centeno in St. Lucie in 2011.

Here's the Lopez quote that caught my eye. ?After answering a question about Marte's plate discipline, which remains a work in progress, he answered a question about Lagares' big 2011:

You talk about Marte having that plate discipline, [but] Lagares has been that guy [who] used to swing at a lot of pitches outside the strike zone. Even last year in Savannah, in 2010 he had a good year for me ... before he went up to St. Lucie, but he was still swinging too much out of the strike zone.? This year he was able to do a better job managing the strike zone and it's paid off for him.
Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jefry Marte, Juan Lagares, Toby Hyde

Robert Carson: 2.89 ERA, 5 G, 9.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K

  • Last outing: Friday - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. ? - This was one of his best two outings of the AFL
Taylor Whitenton: 4.00 ERA, 5 G, 9 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 12 K

  • Last outing: Saturday - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Collin McHugh: 8.18 ERA, 4 G, 11 IP, 18 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 8 K
  • Last outing: Friday: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Erik Turgeon: 2.25 ERA, 6 G, 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 HB, 3 BB, 2K
- Whitenton is doing what he's done in the SAL for the last two years - miss bats and walk batters.
- It might be nothing, but after two rocky outings to begin the AFL, Carson has been better over his last three appearances, yielding just one run on four hits in six innings with four strikeouts against three walks.
- McHugh has allowed 18 hits in 11 innings. ?Is this due to BABIP luck, hard hard contact, or some of both? ?I'd suggest the third choice.
Tags: Arizona Fall League, Toby Hyde


Juan Centeno: .333/.455/.444 (6-for-18) 2 2B, 4 BB, 1 K - 5 G

Juan Lagares: .393/.414/.714 (11-for-28) 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K - 6 G

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On Saturday, Mets prospects Jefry Marte and Juan Lagares each homered and drove in two runs to lead the Peoria Javelinas to a 8-7 victory over the Scottsdale Scorpions. ?Marte's homerun, his first of the AFL season, broke an eighth inning tie.

Peoria hitting coach, Alonzo Powell (a former big league outfielder) had some good things to say about Marte and Lagares: (via MLB.com)

Powell on Marte:

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jefry Marte, Juan Lagares
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The AFL is a whole week old, so lets check in on the kids in the desert.

PitchersRHP Taylor Whitenton: 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K

LHP Robert Carson: 3.38 ERA, 3 G, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

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Yesterday, Juan Lagares and Jefry Marte made their Arizona Fall League debuts. ?RF Lagares just continued his strong work from the regular season, when he hit a combined .349/.383/.500 between advanced-A and AA, going 2-6 with ?two strikeouts.

3B Marte (pictured) was 1-for-3 with two walks, and a strikeout. ?Marte was significantly better in the first half of the 2011 season when he hit .283/.357/.402 than in the second when he slipped to .210/.263/.284. ?It's not all batting average: his first half isolated slugging percentage was .119 while it slipped to .074 in the second half. ?Also, he walked at a 9.4% clip in the first half and 5.6% in the second half. ?He had eight multi-walk games in 2011, but just one in the second half. ?What happened? ?Can he regain his first-half form in the AFL?

You know, the way he hit in the first half moves him closer to double-A readiness than I thought.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jefry Marte, Juan Lagares, Toby Hyde

Salt River Rafters 12, @ Peoria Javelinas (Mets and others) 9Hey, look a box score with Mets farm hands. It shouldn't make me that excited, but it does.

Anyway, this one comes has pitch-fx with velocity readings for pitchers.

The pitch-fx star of the day was Robert Carson who sat 92-95 with his fastball and hit 96 once. He threw 63% of his pitches for strikes (22 of 34). The velocity readings on his change-up (82-86) and slider (81-91) seem a little inconsistent, so I wonder if 1. he really was that erratic, or 2. pitch-fx was misclassifying his pitches. Carson: 1.1, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Collin McHugh, Pitch FX, Robert Carson, Toby Hyde
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The Arizona Fall League begins play today. ?The AFL, which is usually a finishing school for top prospects, runs through the Thursday before Thanksgiving and usually tilts heavily towards the hitters. ? This year, the Mets kids will play as Peoria Javelinas under Manager Pedro Lopez. ?Lopez has risen a level a year from Brooklyn in 2009, to Savannah in 2010 and then St. Lucie in 2011.


The Mets in the AFL:

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The Arizona Fall League finished up its season over the weekend so it's time to examine what happened out in the desert for Mets farmhands.

Keep the League environment in mind. This is an offensive friendly league where the ball carries well, and the infields are hard and fast.? The AFL hit .283/.357/.431 and scored 12 runs per game in 2010.? By contrast, the National League hit .255/.324/.399 and scored 4.3 runs per game.? The AFL had a .330 BABIP, the NL .299.

The level of play in the AFL is inconsistent: there are guys who will play in the big leagues, and be impact players in short order, and there are guys who will be below average players in AA.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jordanny Valdespin, Joshua Satin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Toby Hyde
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Satin GraduatesJosh Satin had graduated from the Arizona Fall League's Taxi Squad to the varsity.? Taxi squad players are only allowed to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays.? However, Jordanny Valdespin strained his forearm, so the Mesa Solar Sox needed a second baseman.? In nine games, Satin is hitting a robust .438/.526/.594 with two doubles, a home run, five walks and 12 strikeouts in 32 AB.? How unsustainable is that line? He's running a .684 BABIP.? Satin, who will be 26 two days before Christmas, hit .308/.395/.472 and looks destined for a 2B/utility role at AAA in 2011.

STS on Armando Rodriguez Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally.com writes up a scouting report on RHP Armando Rodriguez. Mike is not a fan, concluding:

"I just don?t know how I can possibly project 90-92 MPH with fringe breaking stuff as a future big leaguer.? In trying to run the big league scenarios for a pitcher with his arsenal through my head, I just don?t see where he fits into a major league pitching staff.
Tags: Arizona Fall League, Armando Rodriguez, Joshua Satin, Toby Hyde

Baseball America has released a list of minor league free agents.? What makes a minor league FA?? Here is Matt Eddy's explanation:? Any player who was not on a 40-man roster on Nov. 7 qualified for free agency if he had accumulated at least six years of service time (minors and majors inclusive) while still bound by his first uniform player contract. That contract is broken if the player is released or granted free agency by other means before he logs six years.

The Mets have 24 total minor league free agents, which ranks them in the top 10 organizations, in total FAs.

Here are the Mets minor league FA:

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Baseball America, Kai Gronauer, Kirk Nieuwenhuis
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Yesterday, Adam Rubin reported that 2B Jordany Valdespin had "suffered a forearm strain," and his Arizona Fall League campaign might be done.? After going 0-2 Monday, if true, Valdespin would finish his AFL campaign hitting .355/.388/.461 with four walks, 12 strikeouts and six errors in 19 games.? He'll be 23 in December.

Before heading to the AFL, he hit .232/.243/.304 with 23 strikeouts and two walks in 28 games for AA Binghamton after a .289/.323/.437 line in 65 games for advanced-a St. Lucie.? At this point, I would not put him on the 40-man roster.? Yes, that would mean exposing him to the rule five draft.

Last night, Keith Law tweeted:

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jordanny Valdespin, Toby Hyde
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I didn't watch the AFL Rising Stars game Saturday night.? I was too busy enjoying Stanford's 42-17 beatdown of Arizona.

Robert Carson gave up an unearned run in the third in the game on an infield single, an error and a passed ball.? Again, via pitch fx, he was mostly 92-94 with his fastball.? Still, the prospect watchers were unimpressed.? Baseball America's Ben Badler tweeted that he thought Carson was a "Fringy guy with some situational relief potential."? Jordany Valdespin was 1-2 at second.

Did you watch?? What'd you think?

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Toby Hyde

Yesterday in the Arizona Fall League, three Met pitchers threw an inning of relief: Eric Niesen, Brad Holt, and Nicholas Carr.? This would normally not be notable except once again the pitchers were pitching in Peoria, which has Pitchf/x cameras installed.? Naturally one inning per pitcher results in a tiny sample size for each, but it's better than nothing, so let's take a look at the three pitchers today.

Brad Holt

Brad Holt has been a very frustrating pitcher.? In Brooklyn, and even part of last year his fastball was said to hit 94-95 and be a pitch that at worst made scouts think he might be a good reliever.? This year however, his results fell off a cliff and his velocity dropped.

Tags: Analysis, Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Eric Niesen, Nick Carr
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Robert Carson started on Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League and threw 58 pitches over 4 innings, giving up just 4 hits (2 doubles, 2 singles) and 1 run while striking out 4 and walking none.? Interestingly, he did so in Peoria, one of the two parks with Pitchf/x cameras set up (Met pitchers have had little games seemingly in these parks so far, which is kind of lame).? As such, we can take a look at what pitches Carson was throwing on that day, their movement and their speed.

Figures 1 and 2: The Movement and Velocity of Carson's pitches.? The Graph is shown from a catcher's point of view. To Read:

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Pitch FX, Robert Carson
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As exciting as Sandy Alderson's press conference was Friday, there are still Mets farmhands playing baseball in Arizona and the Caribbean.? In general, it was a brutal week for Mets pitching in Arizona.

I've excerpted the highlights for me, but the full list of Mets' guys playing winter ball and their stats is available here.

Position Players2B Jordany Valdespin - Mesa Solar Sox - AFL

Tags: Arizona Fall League, DWL, VWL, Toby Hyde
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Brad Holt was named the Arizona Fall League's Pitcher of the Week for Week 2.? In his nine AFL innings, he's allowed four hits, four walks and struck out nine.? Scouts have noted that he's working in the low 90s and touching 95 and been working on an upper-80s cutter-type offering that is, to quote one, just "meh" right now.

Daniel Murphy, despite going hitless in his first two games had three doubles in his third, which was enough to earn Aguilas's team Player of the Week, says Adam Rubin.

You can follow all of the Mets playing in winter-ball here at MLB.com's aggregate page.? They've had this feature for a few years on their proprietary site, but I hadn't seen it publicly available before.? So good job MLB.com.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Dan Murphy, DWL, Toby Hyde

I talk to Adam Wogan, the Mets Director of Minor League Operations about Jordany Valdespin, Brad Holt and the team's farmhands in the Arizona Fall League.

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Tags: Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Jordanny Valdespin, Video, Toby Hyde
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In his second AFL start, Brad Holt gave up one unearned run on two hits in three innings.? However, his command was shaky: three walks, three strikeouts, and just half of his pitches, 27 of 54, were strikes.? In six AFL innings, Holt now has four walks and four strikeouts.

Eric Niesen gave up a hit and a walk while picking up one strikeout in an inning of relief in his third AFL appearance.

Also Monday, 2B Jordany Valdespin was 2-3 with his second double.? He's had a hit in each of his five games with a plate appearance and is hitting .381 with four strikeouts, one walk and two stolen bases.? CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 1-4, but was caught stealing a base.? In his five games, he's walked three times and struck out six for a .313/.450/.438 line.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, VWL, Toby Hyde
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Thursday, Wilmer Flores strained his left calf.? According to the team's twitter feed, as translated by Mike Diaz, he'll be out 4-7 days.? He was 0-1 before his departure.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis left Thursday's game early because according to Keith Law, "with a bloody nose after a bad hop hit him in the face. Doesn't sound serious."? The good news is that Nieuwenhuis was 2-3 with double, his second, before his bloody nose.

Kai Gronauer entered for Tony Sanchez in the seventh inning and went 0-2 in Mesa's 11-6 win.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, VWL, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Arizona Fall LeagueKai Gronauer saw his first action for Mesa in a 6-3 loss, going 0-1 as an in-game replacement.

2B Jordany Valdespin was 1-5 with an RBI from the top of the lineup.? Adam Wogan says he's going to play at least four days a week in the AFL.

Eric Niesen was gave up a run on two hits, with a walk and a strikeout in his inning of work.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, VWL, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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The first day of the Arizona Fall League is in the books and on the whole, it was a good one for the Mets who this year year will be playing as Mesa Solar Sox.? Mesa defeated the Phoenix Desert Dogs (one of my favorite logos in all of baseball) 8-3.

2B Jordany Valdespin was 1-5 with an RBI and two 2K? and a stolen base from the leadoff spot.

CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 2-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI and two R from the #8 spot in the Mesa order.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Jordanny Valdespin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Nick Carr, Toby Hyde
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Today is opening day for the Arizona Fall League, with Brad Holt getting the call for the Mesa Solar Sox today against the Phoenix Desert Dogs.? Holt is looking to rebound after a disastrous (and thats an understatement) 2010 regular season.

Holt, the former 2008 1st round pick (33rd overall), finished his season 3-14 with a 8.34 ERA between AA Binghamton and A+ St. Lucie.? The most puzzling stat was he walked (79) nearly as many batters as he struck out (87).? His?BB/9 was a whopping 7.48!!!? After bursting on the scene in 2008, Holt's stock has fallen faster than an Aroldis Chapman fastball.? With all that being said, with a solid AFL campaign in front of numerous scouts and baseball front office personel, Holt has a chance to redeem himself and springboard into 2011.

Wishful thinking? Lets hope not.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Eric Niesen, Jordanny Valdespin, Kai Gronauer, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Nick Carr, Robert Carson
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According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNY, the Mets have added hard-throwing RHP Brad Holt and Nick Carr and LHP Eric Niesen to their Arizona Fall League squad.? All three guys have shown plus fastballs in the minors, and all have struggled to throw strikes.? Both Carr and Niesen missed time this year with injuries.? It'll be nice to get pitch/fx readings on all three guys.

Holt, who will turn 24 on the second day of the AFL season on October 13, was the single biggest disappointment in the system in 2010.? The 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft bombed out of AA with a 10.20 ERA in 30 innings only to struggle in the advanced-A Florida State League with a 7.48 ERA with 56 walks and 62 strikeouts in 65 innings.? Scouts reported varying velocities on Holt in AA, but the Mets claimed that his velocity was consistently better in the FSL than it was in AA.? Maybe the Mets saw something better from Holt in Instructional League, going on in Florida, that made the team think Holt was ready for the advanced hitters and tough pitching conditions in Arizona.

Coming off a strong finish to 2009 at AA, Niesen too had a disappointing 2010.? He began the year as a starter going 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 starts.? His peripherals were ugly:? he walked 41 batters and fanned 38 in 52 innings.? He missed a month, from April 23 to May 26 with a concussion after getting hit by a throw down to second by Luke Montz.? You can watch the video of the play here.? The Mets moved Niesen to the bullpen in the second half and he was strangely hittable, yielding 40 hits in 25 IP with 19 walks against 21 strikeouts.?? Check out this discrepancy: as a starter, Niesen allowed a .219 opponents' batting average on a .260 BABIP while as a reliever, opponents hit .360 against him with a .412 BABIP.? Wow.? Overall, Niesen prevented lefties from hitting for any power at all, hold them to a .296 slugging percentage as part of a .241/.396/.296 line while righties hit a much more robust .287/.408/.473 against him suggesting that he might end up as a left-handed specialist.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Brad Holt, Eric Niesen, Nick Carr, Toby Hyde
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Multiple beat writers announced that the Mets will send LHP Robert Carson, RHP Josh Stinson, C Kai Gronauer and 2B Jordanny Valdespin to the Arizona Fall League this year.? That's a pretty inexperienced group with very, very little success at AA.

- I touched on the 20-year old Carson (1-6, 8.74) earlier on Tuesday.? Sure, he's been sitting in the low 90s and touching 94, but the 20-year old has been getting torched regularly in AA.

- The 22-year old Stinson was Binghamton's best starter in the season's first half and left AA with a 9-3 record and a 4.24 ERA and 68 strikeouts against 50 walks in 110.1 IP.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jordanny Valdespin, Josh Stinson, Kai Gronauer, Toby Hyde
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The good guys over at Project Prospect have put together their list of the top five prospects in the Arizona Fall League.? Their list:

1. Stephen Strasburg

2. Buster Posey

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Ike Davis, Toby Hyde
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Let's take a look how some of the more interesting prospects are fairing in winter ball:


Chris Carter9227413101115.293.365.457.822
Jose Coronado8624410111014.279.364.349.713
Josh Thole1094391221239.394.504.5501.054
League AVG.287.365.426.791
Josh Thole is still on a torrid pace. He leads the league in OBP, and is 2nd in BA, and 4th in OPS.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, DWL, VWL
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Reese Havens goes 3-4 with an opposite field HR today. He lead off the 9th inning with a single, and eventually scored the game winning run. His season totals now stand at .368/.478/.658/1.136 in 38 AB's.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Reese Havens
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After a fully managerially focused morning, lets take a look at one of Tim Teufel's likely charges with the 2010 Binghamton Mets, 23 year-old SS-2B Reese Havens.

Havens is in Arizona Fall League, but as a member of the taxi squad for the Surprise Rafters, is only eligible to play twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday.? I saw him play one game and take a few BPs and two infields.? Havens admitted that the unusual playing schedule forced him to adjust, "That?s been a little different out here just trying to find a routine that works for me just playing two days a week," he said before a Tuesday game.

As for the transition to second, Havens has played only a handful of games at the position, and unsurprisingly admitted that he's still "getting used to it.? It?s just something you need to get a bunch of reps.?? I?m just trying to get comfortable over there."? He did not have to turn a double play at game speed in the game I saw him play, but pointed to the new angle to the second base bag as his biggest challenge at his new home, "Probably the biggest difference is the footwork around the bag."

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Reese Havens, Toby Hyde
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Thursday, Jenrry Mejia earned his first win since June 1, back when he was with St. Lucie.? He was charged with five runs, four earned, in 3.2 innings, but two of those runs were bequeathed to RHP Josh Stinson, who was very hittable and allowed both to cross the plate. ? At the request of Dan Warthen, Mejia used his two-seam fastball much more than in previous outings.

Mejia was pleased with his performance relative to his other AFL outings, "I pitched better today," he said.? He explained that the difference was mechanical, "Before, I had no extension.? I wanted to throw hard.? Now I wanted to throw more strikes, I felt more comfortable today."? Mejia threw strikes with 58% (33 of 57) of his pitches Thursday, approaching the MLB average of 61%.

His fastball which sat 93-95 mph is a real weapon.? He can cut it, or not.? His two-seamer had life at 92-93 mph as well.? However, he still struggles to throw strikes with his hard curveball (78-80 mph).? According to Brooks Baseball, he only found the zone on two of his six hooks Thursday.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Jenry Mejia, Toby Hyde
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Alongside top prospects Ike Davis, Jenrry Mejia and Ike Davis, the Mets also sent unheralded 21-year old RHP Josh Stinson to the Arizona Fall League.? After winning the 2006 Sterling Award for the Gulf Coast League, Stinson put up a pair of unremarkable seasons in ?07 and ?08 for Savannah.? However, moved to the bullpen fulltime in 2009, the sturdily built 6?4? Stinson flourished.

He was 2-2 in 42.1 IP with Savannah with 49 strikeouts against just ten walks with the Gnats, an impressive k/rate of 10.4 with a K/BB of 4.9.? In St. Lucie, he was 3-1 with six saves with a 1.98 ERA.? His strikeout rate declined slightly down to 8.7 k/9 while his walk rate jumped to 4.7 BB/9.

Stinson, credits former GCL Mets Pitching Coach Rob Ellis for teaching him a new trick, that made all the difference:

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Josh Stinson, Toby Hyde
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- There's a nasty cold going around the Surprise Rafter clubhouse.? Nick Evans was not at the field on Monday.? He reported a temperature over 101 and was told to stay home.? Jenrry Mejia's sickness forced him to miss his start last Friday. ? Mejia is scheduled to start Thursday against the Peoria Javelinas.

- LHP Eric Niesen is out with a strained oblique.? It's questionable whether he'll throw again in the AFL.

- Mets Pitching Coach Dan Warthen and Rehab Pitching Coordinator Guy Conti are in town to watch the youngsters throw this week.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Toby Hyde
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