The Gnats in May were largely similar to the Gnats in April, sporting an offense that relies very heavily on batting average (.255/.319/.376) and a strong pitching staff (3.11 ERA). However, the team was three-games over .500 in April and three games under (13-16) in May. The team finished May at an even 25-25, in fifth place, three and a half games behind first-place Rome in the tightly bunched Southern Division.
Why? However, after scoring five runs a game in April ( on a .277/.322/.378 line), the Gnats dipped to 3.67 in May. The Gnats team ERA moved from 3.36 in April to 3.11 in May, but ERA really doesn’t tell the story for this team. The Gnats allowed 17 unearned runs in April and 21 in May. Obviously, that has much to do with the 31 errors the team committed in the month, but it also reflects poorly, to a lesser degree on the pitchers, who put runners aboard in the first place. Jefry Marte’s miserable May included 11 errrors in 29 games, doubling the next most butcherous - 2B Jordany Valdespin with 5 miscues.
Seventeen-year old SS Wilmer Flores missed ten days in the middle of the month with what was described as fatigue.
Player of the Month
Ratliff was on fire in May, hitting .321/.377/.571 with a team leading 18 extra-base hits. The Mets fourth round pick from Stanford will swing and miss a lot – he whiffed 28 times in 28 games, and remember this is over a period when he was going well. I fear that as he moves up, pitchers will continue to exploit the holes in his swing. He ended May 10th in the league in batting average, first in hits and tied for seventh in extra-base hits.
Eric Campbell, the Mets’ 8th round pick out of Boston College last year hit .286/.374/.440 in 23 games. A college thirdbaseman, Campbell mostly played first and a little left (2 games). The 22-year old did a nice job controlling the strike zone; he walked 12 times and struck out just 14 times. His month ended on a down note, as he hit the DL left rotator cuff tendonitis.
OF Raul Reyes hit .356/.397/.508 for May.
1B/2B Josh Satin kept his quick start going by hitting .291/.403/.437 with nine doubles. Satin drew 20 walks and fanned 25 times so he’s clearly seeing lots of pitches. However, in a-ball, I prefer to see the types of numbers put up by Campbell, similar numbers of walks to strikeouts with whiff in roughly half the games versus nearly one whiff per contest. That many strikeouts says to me that a batter, in this case Satin, will have trouble making enough contact as he moves up the ladder. For power guys, it’s slightly less of an issue, but Satin will need to maintain his batting average to be an asset offensively.
Pitcher of the Month
Leading the league in ERA? Check. Promoted two days after the month ends? Check. Meet Jeffrey Kaplan who was 3-0 with a 0.85 ERA in five starts in May. In 31.2 IP, he struck out 19 and walked eight, while allowing just four runs, three earned. His peripherals were good, but he outpitched them in terms of his ERA which suggests that he was managing the game well or even a little lucky. On the day Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia were promoted from St. Lucie to Binghamton, Kaplan got the nod to move up from Savannah to St. Lucie. Kaplan, with a high 80s fastball is hardly overpowering, so will need to be pinpoint with his control to have any success at higher levels.
LHP reliever Jimmy Johnson was spotless in May with a 0.00 ERA in 12.2 innings out of the Savannah ‘pen. He fanned 12 and walked five. Johnson left Savannah with 16 straight scoreless innings to his credit.
LHP Robert Carson’s 1.01 ERA looks great, but it misses the fact that he allowed three earned runs and seven unearned runs in 26.2 IP. Adding the unearned runs back in gives him a r/g of 3.37. His peripherals (21 K, 10 BB and a 2.29 gb/fb ratio) remained strong.
Is it June Yet?
Jefry Marte (.153/.193/.279) with 11 errors is stoked by the calender’s change.