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Eddie Kunz

When Eddie Kunz was drafted in the 1st round (42nd overall) in 2007, the Mets saw him as a dominant late inning power reliever. Blessed with a mid 90s fastball and wipe-out slider, Kunz had 27 saves in 2008 (AA), and found himself in New York pitching in the heart of a pennant race in August of 2008. In 4 appearances for the Mets, Kunz had an ERA of 13.50, and his career, starting with such promise, had begun to spiral downward. In 2009 Kunz pitched for Buffalo (AAA), and finished with 1 save, an ERA of 5.02, walking 31, while only striking out 38 in 61 innings. That's not what the Mets envisioned Kunz to be when they drafted him.

With the Binghamton Mets (AA) opening day upon us, Kunz is looking to change his misfortunes. The B-Mets have slated Kunz to open the season as a starting pitcher. He is scheduled to make his first start on Monday vs. Erie. Kunz has found his change-up that he always had, but seldom used. Kunz says of his change-up, "I have always had it, but I never used it, and since I never used it, I was never consistent with it."

With discovering this unused pitch, Kunz hopes to resurrect his career as a starter. It will be a tough transition, but Kunz is hoping this is the change his career sorely needs.

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Yesterday, Adam Rubin of the Daily News reported that the Mets were likely to promote RHP Eddie Kunz and 1B/LF Nick Evans from AAA Buffalo and C Josh Thole (pictured) from AA Binghamton when MLB rosters expand on September 1.

I've recommended calling Thole up in September.? The Mets would have had to ad him to the team's 40-man roster in any case this off-season, so they might as well give him a chance to show what he can do in the season's final weeks. The 22-year old Thole has hit an eye-popping .332/.400/.429 in 97 games in AA.? He's fifth in the Eastern League in OBP, third in batting average and his 28 doubles tie him for 12th on the circuit.? It's an interesting question how his contact oriented approach will fare at the big league level.? I think he'll be fine.

Defensively, he's thrown out 31.% (25/79) of would-be basestealers, or fourth out of sixth qualifiying catchers.? Thole's nine passed balls are the fourth most in the EL, and he's caught the fourth-most games in the league.? Reviews of his defense have been poor all season from impartial observers.? He's improved his receiving abilities, but evaluators were still concerned about his arm.

Tags: Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Nick Evans, Toby Hyde
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In today's New York Times, Ken Belson writes about the Mets tumultuous first season in Buffalo. Belson points out that injuries to the Mets have forced them to raid their farm, hurting the upper levels in a shallow system.

?No one is tearing it up and is a can?t-miss guy? in the Mets? farm system, said Jim Callis, the executive editor of Baseball America, who ranks the Mets near the bottom in talent acquired via the draft. ?There?s a correlation between what you spend and what you get.?
Belson connects the Mets losing to the Bisons losing to the Bisons attendance, to the B-Mets losing to the B-Mets attendance, only to find that the B-Mets attendance is holding, and per capita spending is up.? B-Mets GM Scotty Brown:

?It?s not necessarily about wins and losses, but the show you put on,? Brown said. ?And the more people who know about the city, the better.?
In today's Buffalo News, Mike Harrington takes a more detailed look at the Bisons' worst attendance year since Coca-Cola Field was built in 1988.? Three factors have contributed to the Bisons attendance drop: 1. a horrible Buffalo economy which trimmed season seat sales, and presumably corporate hospitality although Harrington doesn't address it directly, 2. a rainy, cool summer and 3. a Bisons team that started 2-17. One big argument for the primacy of the weather explanation is that last Friday, the Bisons packed in 17,788, one of the biggest minor league crowds of the season.

Tags: Adam Rubin, Buffalo Bisons, Business of Baseball, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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The only professional talent evaluators to watch the Bisons and Knights on Monday and Tuesday nights were the Mets own Bryan Lambe, Special Assistant to the GM, and two scouts from other teams.? Lambe, who has an extensive scouting background, is one of three special assistants to GM Omar Minaya alongside Sandy Johnson and Ramon Pena.

Of the scouts, one from an American League East club and one from an NL Central team, one is from a team that will definitely be a seller at the deadline, and one should be a seller.

A few scout thoughts below:

Tags: Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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I need to thank everyone who's been emailing questions in the last few weeks since our last mailbag here.? The vast majority of questions I've received have been about Brad Holt, Eddie Kunz and Wilmer Flores, with Holt absorbing the most attention.

Please email me questions here.? Include name and hometown please for mailbags in the future.

Kevin asks:

Tags: Brad Holt, Eddie Kunz, Mailbag, Toby Hyde
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The Buffalo Bisons defeated the Memphis Redbirds (AAA affiliate of the Cardinals) 6-0 on Wednesday afternoon in Jupiter, FL

LHP Jonathon Niese tossed six shutout innings before giving way to RHP Kyle Snyder, RHP Eddie Kunz, and LHP Connor Robertson. Each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to close the game.

On the offenside side, OF Fernando Martinez, OF Cory Sullivan, and INF Rob Mackowiak each had two hits and drove in a run in the victory.

Tags: Daily Recap, Eddie Kunz, Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese
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LHP Jon Switzer and RHP Eddie Kunz each tossed two scoreless innings.

Fernando Martinez was 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The Bisons are now 0-3-2 in their exhibition schedule, a record which doesn't matter? at all.

Tags: Daily Recap, Eddie Kunz, Fernando Martinez, Toby Hyde
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Thursday, the Mets sent Josh Thole, Rob Mackowiak, and Valerio de los Santos to minor league camp and optioned Eddie Kunz to minor league camp.? Kunz was the only one of the four on the Mets 40-man roster, so he was the only player who needed to be optioned.
Tags: Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Transactions, Toby Hyde
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Two of the candidates for the fifth starters spot threw against UM Sunday and both were lousy in their own way: Freddy Garcia threw in the mid-80s (per Marty Noble), and Tim Redding gave up five runs in .1 of an IP.

On the prospect side, Eddie Kunz gave up one run on a solo homer, on two hits in two innings.? He didn't strike out a batter, nor did he walk one.

Connor Robertson, acquired for Scott Schoenweiss, dealt a perfect two innings with three strikeouts.? He has not yet allowed a hit in four spring innings.

Tags: Connor Robertson, Daily Recap, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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Reader thebigstapler points us to the following quote from Eddie Kunz at his AFL blog:
As I look back on the AFL I can see that I learned alot and fixed things that I have needed to work on. I have met my goals here in learning to control my pitches better and throw more strikes. Now even though my stats don't show it I feel really good about what I did down here and it will really help me when it comes to Sring Training next year. Now that it is all over back to Oregon I go and home to rest and relax and get ready for Spring Training.
Kunz is right to a degree.? Results in the AFL don't matter.? His performance in Spring Training will be much more important than a few (bad) innings in the desert.? Even more important than his numbers in ST will be how he looks and his ability to command his pitches.

Image from MLB.com.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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Minorleaguebaseball.com announced the Topps AA All-Star team.? was the only Met to make the squad.? From MiLB.com:

Eddie Kunz (22) of Portland, Ore., recorded 27 saves in 30 opportunities for the Binghamton Mets, before being summoned to the big leagues in August. The right-hander made four appearances for the New York Mets and ended his year in Triple-A. Kunz was drafted in the second round in 2007 out of Oregon State University.
In AA this year, Kunz was 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA.? In 48.1 IP, he gaveup just 39 H for an opponents' batting average of .222.? He walked 25 and struck out 43.
Tags: Awards, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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Paul Greco of Gotham Baseball has been hanging out in Arizona talking to players and clearly sitting with the scouts at the games.? He posted a really strong player by player review for both the Mets and Yankees.

Excerpts of his commentary follows, as usual, mine is italicized.

P ? Eddie Kunz : Although he's been a closer in the minor leagues, the scouts told me that he is not aggressive enough to be a closer at the major league level.? As a matter of fact, two scouts I spoke with went as far to say that Eddie Kunz would be no better than a situational right handed pitcher.

Tags: Arizona Fall League, Daily Recap, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz, Josh Thole, Robert Parnell, Shawn Bowman, Toby Hyde
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The Eastern League named Mike Carp, Dan Murphy and Eddie Kunz to the post-season All-Star team.

Carp (pictured) is the lone player of the three still with the B-Mets. Now hitting .294/.394/.471 he leads the team in HR (17), RBI (69), R (64) and hits (130).

Murphy hit .308/.374/.496 with Binghamton and has torn up big league pitching to a .404/.491/.617 tune in 18 games after a one-day stopover in New Orleans.

Kunz converted 27 of 30 save opportunities in double-A to go along with a 2.79 ERA. In 48.1 IP, he walked 25 and struck out 43, but his control improved markedly over the course of the year. After walking over five batters per nine innings in the first two months, he only walked on 11.1 July innings. His gb/fb ratio was a crazy high 3.55. After a brief and rough introduction to the major leagues, Kunz is waiting for another chance at triple-A New Orleans.

Tags: Awards, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz, Mike Carp, Toby Hyde
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I wanted to add a technical postscript to the Eddie Kunz post from this morning. Why should it matter whether a pitcher starts from the stretch taller or bent?

Kunz own answer is that he stays balanced better through the delivery and that?s by far the most important. I had him demonstrate the cascade effect throughout his delivery from altering his beginning. Of course, he?s exaggerating in the pictures below for easy analysis.

Tags: Analysis, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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The Mets new closer, Eddie Kunz can stand proud and tall of his most recent title. Actually, it has only been by standing tall, that Kunz will have a chance to close for the Mets at all.

For at least the next few days, Kunz will get a chance to be the Mets interim closer, interim manager Jerry Manuel told MLB.com after Monday?s bullpen meltdown. The plan as of this writing is that Kunz will close games while John Maine recovers from his start Wednesday, and then Maine will hold the back of the bullpen until Billy Wagner returns.

In 2007, Kunz had a problem. He walked eight batters in 12 innings in the NYP League on his way to a 6.75 ERA. In the Arizona Fall League, a very advanced placement for a first year player, Kunz walked eight in 10.2 IP on his way to a 10.13 ERA.

Tags: Analysis, Eddie Kunz, Majors, Road Trip, Toby Hyde
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Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus posted a National League East notebook on Thursday. His Mets analysis is based on a conversation with a pro scout who sees Jon Niese and Eddie Kunz as ?productive big leaguers.?

Niese has had a solid year as the team's ace, with a 3.09 ERA in 20 starts. What does that mean as far as the majors, though? "He's a back-end rotation guy for me, no doubt," said the scout. "He sits in the upper 80s and can touch 90 mph with the fastball, and there's deception with his delivery. He also pitches inside with the fastball and plays around with it a lot?adding and subtracting, sinking it, cutting it." Niese's best pitch remains an above-average curveball, but his changeup still needs work, and that is borne out in his splits, as right-handed batters have done much better against him. "It maybe projects as average, he really tips the pitch with his arm action," concluded the scout.

Tags: Analysis, Baseball Prospectus, Eddie Kunz, Jon Niese, Toby Hyde
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Eddie Kunz, who was the Mets first selection in the 2007 First Year Player Draft, was honored along with his Oregon State University teammates at the White House today. The Beavers have won back-to-back national championships.

Kunz will also be in attendance for tonight's game at RFK Stadium.

...do you think anybody would notice if we put Kunz in Guillermo Mota's uniform...

Tags: eddie kunz, MetsBlog
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