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Las Vegas 51s

The Las Vegas 51s were the only minor league affiliate in action on Monday, and won 7-6 to improve to 4-1 this season.

Need to Know: Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three earned runs over five innings. He walked four and struck out four.

LF Matt den Dekker had two hits and two RBI. DH Bobby Abreu hit two doubles. C Juan Centeno had three RBI for Las Vegas.

Tags: Daily Recap, Las Vegas 51s, Andrew Vazzano
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AAA: @ Las Vegas 51s 9, Fresno Grizzlies (SF) 2?

- Rafael Montero turned in the pitching performance of the night in the Mets system: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 55 of 79 pitches for strikes (70%).?According to one eye-witness, he was sitting at 93 and made the Grizzlies look "silly" at times.

- Meanwhile, have a day LF?Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The 26-year-old was 4-for-4 with a homer, threw out a runner at the plate, and made a nice running catch near the stands.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Rafael Montero, Toby Hyde
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Monday, the Las Vegas 51s, the Mets' AAA affiliate quietly posted an initial roster on the team's site.

There are no surprises here.

This rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom is prospect-fun.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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While Frank Viola is recovering from open heart surgery, the Mets will ask Tom Signore, who had been scheduled to serve as the pitching coach for SSA Brooklyn to fill in (Per Kevin Burkhart on Thursday's SNY broadcast).

This is a return to Vegas for Signore, who was the Jays' AAA pitching coach in 2011.

Signore, who had been with the Toronto Blue Jays sine 2005, had worked as their double-A pitching coach for the last three years.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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Frank Viola will join the Mets' AAA staff in 2014. Viola will coach alongside manager Wally Backman and Hitting Coach George Greer.

Viola's great. He always had time for me in Savannah, but more importantly, made his pitchers better. He understands what makes each pitcher successful, and seems adept at prioritizing the areas for each pitcher to improve. Frank is a ball-buster in the classic sense and enjoys his time on the field. He also gets a kick out of mixing in a few breaking balls or running a pitch in on a hitter's hands in batting practice. He can still make his ball move like a Cy Young award winner

I'm disappointed personally that I'll likely spend less time talking pitching with Frank this summer, but thrilled for him personally and professionally.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde

The Major League Mets are not going to the playoffs, but the majority of their minor league affiliates are still fighting for playoff berths. So lets check up on each race, starting with the full-season teams where two of the four teams have clinched and one more is close.

 

AAALed by almost big leaguers Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and earlier Lucas Duda and Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores on the position side and Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero and friends on the hill, the Las Vegas 51s are 76-58 and two games ahead of the Sacramento River Cats for first place in the PCL Southern Division with 10 games to play in the next eight days thanks to a pair of doubleheaders with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: @ Las Vegas 51s 3, New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA) 2?

Hey, now, Rafael Montero: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The eight strikeouts for Montero were one off a AAA season-high set in his last start. After an ordinary first 10 starts in AAA, Montero's August has been spectacular: 3 GS, 0.82 ERA, 22 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 21 K. He's striking out batters at a rate of 27.6% in his last three starts and walking them at a 2.6% rate. After 122 innings a year ago, Montero has thrown 138 this year, so he likely only has another 15-20 to play with before the Mets will shut him down for the year. That, plus the fact that the 22-year old is not on the Mets' 40-man roster, and will not need to be added for Rule 5 protection for two more years, means he will not get a chance to make his big league debut until next year. Instead, bet on 2014 for Montero.

C Travis d'Arnaud (1-for-3, BB, RBI) is hitting .304/.487/.554 with 21 walks against 12 strikeouts in 19 games in AAA. This is a guy who drew 19 walks in 67 games in Las Vegas when they were a Blue Jays affiliate in 2012. He has addressed the major flaw in his on-field game: his patience at the plate.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Rafael Montero, Toby Hyde
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AAA: Las Vegas 51s 8, New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA) 1?

For the second straight night, Travis d'Arnaud was hitless, (0-2,) but walked twice. You want strike zone control? d'Arnaud has walked 20 times and fanned just 12 in 18 games in AAA for a .302/.486/.566 line. Combine that new patience with vicious batspeed, and d'Arnaud is just waiting on his call. He's still just waiting on BabyBuck and saying ?the right things while he waits.

Juan Centeno pinch hit for d'Arnaud in the 7th. ?Hmm...

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 6, @ Las Vegas 51s 3

RHP Jacob deGrom (pictured) made his second start for Las Vegas since being called up from Binghamton June 17, and he was fantastic. The Florida native shutout Salt Lake for six innings but was not involved in the decision after the bullpen blew the lead, with an assist from the 51s defense. Thanks to?four runs in the 8th inning, the Bees came from behind to beat the 51s 6-3 at Cashman Field.

Pitching line for deGrom: 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 4BB, 7K. He threw 98 pitches (60 strikes). In 11.2 innings since his promotion, deGrom has limited his two opponents to one run with 10 strikeouts. It's a remarkable improvement, considering he was 2-5 with a 4.80 era in 10 starts with Binghamton. The main concern is his control; 28 walks?in 83.2IP?at both levels this season (6BB in 11.2IP at AAA).

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Las Vegas 51s, Rob Brender
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The Las Vegas 51s prepare to open a four game series in Tacoma Thursday night with a 31-26 overall record, one game behind Tucson and Sacramento for 1st place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division. They're in the midst of their best winning streak of the season, having reeled off seven straight, including sweeping a four game, wrap-around series in Fresno early this week. They've also won nine of their last 10. What makes the 51s recent quality of play so surprising is the roster, especially on offense, has been stripped of quality due to injuries and call-ups.

Outfielder Andrew Brown (.371/.442/.655) was forced to the?disabled list?May 20 with a strained oblique while leading the team in most offensive categories. Despite being gone for 24 days, he still leads the squad in triples, BA, SLG, OBP and OPS and his 32 rbi are second on the team behind Wilmer Flores's 39.

Zach Lutz, who was playing his best ball of the season in May, landed on the DL May 28, also with the dreaded oblique strain. The PA native, who celebrated his 27th birthday June 3, had hit safely in eight of his previous nine games before leaving the ballgame May 26 against Salt Lake after one at-bat with discomfort on his side. Thanks to a red-hot May with the lumber, Lutz improved his average to .277/.360/.419 overall with 4 homers and 26 driven in. Before they were injured, both Brown and Lutz were serious contenders for big league promotion with Ike Davis slipping toward a trip to Sin City. In fact, it's conceivable if Mets brass had the option of promoting Brown or Lutz at the end of last month, Davis wouldn't have been given as much time to work out of his slump.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Rob Brender
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AAA: Las Vegas 51s 2, Fresno Grizzlies (SF) 1?

RHP Zack Wheeler put together his first quality start in his three tries since his return from a right shoulder strain. His line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. He threw 65% of his pitches for strikes. Wheeler's line in his last three starts: 15 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 4 HR, 6 BB, 12 K.?He's getting closer, and the Super Two deadline is getting close and the Mets have need in their rotation. However, given that he gave up two homers in each of his last two starts before Saturday, I still think he'll get a few - like three - more starts for Vegas.

CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered again, his eighth in 31 games in AAA. He's gotten hot in a big way: in his last 11 games, he's hit .293/.431/.756 with one double and six homers, 10 walks and 10 strikeouts.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Rafael Montero, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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AAA: @ Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) 8, Las Vegas 51s 7

The Sox scored twice in the bottom of the ninth against the combination of Greg Peavey and recently acquired Sean Henn, neither of whom recorded an out. Peavey allowed a pair of singles to start the inning, Penn walked the bases loaded and then allowed the game-winning single to LF Tyler Colvin.

The two teams combined on 15 runs, 32 hits (!) all in a brisk 3:33. So add this to the "Yay, PCL!" column.

Tags: Alonzo Harris, Binghamton Mets, Collin McHugh, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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- Ted Berg at USA Today has a wonderful in-depth look at how difficult Las Vegas is for player development thanks to its offensive friendly ways.

A few great quotes:

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) 19, @ Las Vegas 51s 5?

The wind was blowing out at Cashman Field and the two teams combined on 24 runs, 28 hits, four homers and 15 walks in an action-packed 3:24. The 51s also committed six errors. PCL Baseball!

Chris Schwinden started and wore a whole bunch of that damage - yielding eight runs, four earned including two homers in 3.2 innings. Adam Kolarek, recently promoted from AA Binghamton had a rough one as well: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. The 51s ended the game with position player Eric Campbell on the hill - he too gave up four runs in an inning.

Tags: Juan Lagares, Las Vegas 51s, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Once again Robert Brender contributes this from Vegas.

Poor starting pitching put the Las Vegas 51s in a hole they couldn?t dig out of, falling for the 2nd straight night to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 11-6 in front of 5,848 at Cashman Field.

Tonight, Darin Gorski (0-1) was the victim of the hot-hitting Sox, surrendering five runs (all earned) in just two innings, collecting the loss. Gorski had difficulty with command, walking four in his brief outing and throwing 72 pitches, 38 for strikes (53%).

Tags: Daily Recap, Darin Gorski, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: Las Vegas 51s 14, Fresno Grizzlies 3

An efficient Vegas offense, helped by four (!) Fresno errors scored 12 runs in the first three innings on their way to a two touchdown performance.

Perhaps more important than the 51s' hit parade was Collin McHugh's performance. McHugh (pictured) allowed two unearned runs thanks to a Juan Lagares error, on four hits in seven innings, did not walk a batter and struck out five. In 12.1 innings over two starts, McHugh has allowed eight hits and a walk while fanning 12. Remember, the Mets are asking both Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Hefner to hold down starting spots. McHugh will get his shot to stick at the back of the Mets' rotation soon enough.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Collin McHugh, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: @ Fresno Grizzlies (SF) 6, Las Vegas 51s 3

Bad: Chris Schwinden did not give his 51s a chance in this one: 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 HR.

Good:?Josh Satin?(pictured) homered again, his third already in a 2-for-4 night while lifting his batting average to .483/.516/.862 (!) after a week's worth of play.

Tags: Joshua Satin, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: @ Fresno Grizzlies 4, Las Vegas 51s 1

The Zack Wheeler show made its second stop of the 2013 season in Fresno on Tuesday. The results: 5.1 IP, 8 H 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Wheeler threw 68% of his pitches (62 of 93) for strikes. The 22 year old has now walked six batters in 8.2 innings this year a rate of 14%.

For some reason, despite installing the new Flash player, my computer was not cooperating last night, and I could not pull up the video feed of Wheeler's start and the 51s. Oh well. Marc Carig in Newsday points out that five of the eight hits Wheeler allowed came on two strike counts. Carig reports that this was "an indication of the pitcher's difficulties in putting away opposing hitters. He could also blame his lack of fastball command, which was enough to get him in trouble despite secondary offerings that were mostly sharp."

Tags: Joshua Satin, Las Vegas 51s, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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AA: @ Akron Aeros (CLE)?13, Binghamton Mets 3?

Tyler Pill allowed one run through the first five innings. Then he began the sixth, allowed three singles and a walk to load the bases and score a run, and his night was done. Mark Cohoon allowed all three inherited runners to score. Pill's final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, ?K.

In addition to three of Pill's runs, Cohoon gave up five of his own to turn a close game into a blowout.

Tags: Binghamton Mets, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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AAA: Las Vegas 51s 6, @ Sacramento RiverCats (OAK) 1?

Collin McHugh was sharp to help the 51s improve to 3-0. McHugh's line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He threw 60% of his pitches for strikes (56 of 93).

Offensively, the big names (Juan Lagares, Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores) were all o-for. Instead, the offense came from SS Brian Bixler (2B, 3B), DH Andrew Brown (3-for-4), Josh Satin (HR, 2 RBI) and Jamie Hoffman (3-for-3, BB). I got the feeling that Terry Collins really likes Hoffman during spring training. If the Mets' outfield is unproductive, he'd be on Collins' replacements list.

Tags: Alonzo Harris, Binghamton Mets, Collin McHugh, Cory Vaughn, Darrell Ceciliani, Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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The Las Vegas 51s released their Opening Day Roster Monday evening. The complete roster is here.

The big names are RHP Zack Wheeler and C Travis d'Arnaud.

Outside of Wheeler, the pitching staff is nearly exclusively MLB depth guys like Collin McHugh and Aaron Laffey and Carlos Torres.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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The AAA Las Vegas 51s named their coaching staff today, headed by manager Wally Backman. I am mildly surprised that Backman chose to return to the Mets to manage in Las Vegas, but I think it speaks to the fact that switching jobs, or finding a better one, can be awfully difficult. Backman will be joined by pitching coach Randy St. Clair and hitting coach George Greer.

This is St. Clair's first go-round with the Mets after working for the Marlins for three seasons in the big leagues and six some odd seasons for the Expos/Nationals. He's an interesting hire in that he seems never to have worked with Sandy Alderson, Paul dePodesta or J.P. Ricciardi before. Rather, he would have worked with Omar Minaya, Tony Bernazard and their associates in the final days of the Montreal franchise.

Greer is now in his eighth year with the Mets. He's worked his way up from rookie ball after 23 seasons as the Head Coach at Wake Forest.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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Monday night, the Mets made their divorce with the Buffalo Bisons official, signing a two-year player development contract with the Las Vegas 51s.

From the Mets' press release:

The New York Mets today announced they have signed a two-year player development contract with the Las Vegas 51s, which will be the club?s new Triple-A affiliate. ?The 51s play in the Pacific Coast League and have Cashman Field as their home stadium.

Tags: Las Vegas 51s, Toby Hyde
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