We'll start at the top with Buffalo.
Record: 4-7, 7th place, (out of seven) in IL North
Quick overview: The Bisons offense, which I thought would be really good, is hitting .222/.292/.328 through 11 games. That's 12th in the 14-team IL in batting average, 13th in OBP and 12th in slugging, and ninth in runs scored.
On the hill, the Bisons 4.38 ERA is also 12th in the IL. The staff has issued 52 walks, the most of any team, and ten more than Indianapolis which has handed out 42, the second-most in the League.
Story lines: MLB Depth?- Dillon Gee made two starts for the Bisons before giving the Mets a very welcome solid effort Sunday afternoon in Atlanta to help the team snap its seven-game losing streak.
-Regular readers should be familiar with the position player options on the infield (Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner) and in the outfield (Lucas Duda, Valentino Pascucci).
- With Ryota Igarashi already in the big leagues, the relief corps in Buffalo includes Mike O'Connor, Manny Acosta, Manny Alvarez, Jose De La Torre, Dale Thayer and lefties Justin Hampson, Taylor Takersley and Michael O'Connor. Hmm.
How close is Jenrry Mejia?Not far, but not quite there yet.
In two starts, the best Mets pitching prospect has not yielded a run going 12.2 IP with just seven hits, five walks and 11 strikeouts. I've only been able to watch bits and pieces of his starts, but I thought Mike's breakdown of his second start was really strong. The takehome: Mejia's command still needs work, but he's thriving on the strength of his nasty stuff. He's thrown 60% of his pitches for strikes (113 strikes/189 pitches). MLB average is 62% and big league hitters will be less likely to chase than even AAA hitters.
Nieu-ly Figuring out AAA PitchingKirk Nieuwenhuis rides a seven-game hitting streak over which time he's hitting .400 (10 H/25 AB) with four doubles, 2 RBI, three walks and nine strikeouts. In 11 games overall Nieuwenhuis is hitting a very nice .324/.444/.514.
Zach Lutz, HitterWhenever Lutz has been healthy and playing, he's hit. That's been the case thus far for Buffalo. He's hit in eight of the nine games in which he's played while smacking five doubles and a home run to hit .344/.417/.594 in 32 AB.
F-Mart Still Stands for FragileAfter going 5-for-16 (.313) to start the season, the 22-year old Martinez hit the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He's still very young and talented, but has never had a DL-free season and 2011 won't be his first. He still needs to find a way to stay healthy.
What's on Second: 2B Luis Hernandez/Justin TurnerLuis Hernandez arrived in Buffalo over the weekend and went 0-for-8 on Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, Justin Turner just keeps rolling along (.300/.364/.475) with five extra-base hits. He's mostly played second but played third base on Saturday and Sunday in deference to Hernandez.
Friday, Adam Rubin wrote of Hernandez:
"He's expected to primarily play second base with Buffalo.
" That doesn't mean that Hernandez is going to be the team's primary
second baseman, just that second base would be the position where he
spends the most time.
It'll be interesting to see how the Bisons allocate playing time between the two. Presumably, Turner will play third in place of Lutz a little bit as well.
Raiding AA for PitchingWith a doubleheader on Sunday, and Dillon Gee heading to the big leagues and Boof Bonser heading under the knife for Tommy John Surgery, the Buffalo Bisons have needed pitching.
That meant inserting Dylan Owen into the starting rotation on Thursday (3 IP, 5 h, 4 R, 2 HR, 0 BB, 4 K), Chris Schwinden on Saturday and Josh Stinson on Sunday. Schwinden's AAA debut was great success (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K). Stinson made no secret of the fact that he was hoping to break spring training with Buffalo, not Binghamton, but now he'll get his chance to prove that he belongs.
The Mets designated Pat Misch for assignment to clear space for Gee. If Misch clears waivers, and the odds of that happening are pretty good, getting him back will help the pitching rotation that would otherwise be relying on the recent imports from AA, Mejia and Casey Fossum at least for the next few spins through the rotation. There's a chance that Jason Bay will buttress the offense on a brief rehab assignment as well.