Wilmer Flores - After a slow start, Flores has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, going .295/.385/.455 in that time with four extra-base hits and six walks.
NotThere are not a lot of good candidates for this award. Cesar Puello's .619 OPS is the lowest among the Vegas regulars, but he's 5-for-11 in his last two games with a triple. He's really helping get himself out with two walks in 71 plate appearances, a walk rate of under 3%. Yuck.
PitchersHotJacob deGrom is fourth in the PCL in ERA (1.57), fifth in WHIP (0.96) and fifth in lowest batting average against (.200). DeGrom believes his broken finger, suffered right before Spring Training in 2013, threw his mechanics out of whack last year, and he fought the whole year to get them back.
NotThor. The 20-year-old Noah Syndergaard has been far from immortal in his last three starts: 14 IP, 17 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 7 BB, 10 K - 5.79 ERA with opponents hitting .304/.375/.464 against him. He's still the best prospect in the system, he's just had three lousy starts in the PCL. It happens.
AA - Binghamton MetsHittersHotSS/2B Matt Reynolds has hit safely in nine straight games and is sitting at .364/.435/.418 in 15 games for the B-Mets.
The 23-year-old knows who is as a hitter:
“I’ve never been a power hitter in my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be,” Reynolds said. “I just try to hit line drives consistently and consistently make solid contact and have good (at-bats).” (Lynn Worthy, Press & Sun Bulletin)Reynolds did not hit much last year, and his comments about how that impacted his outlook on the game are pretty self-aware:
"My mental aspect of staying positive and everything wasn’t there last year. I got down on myself, and I beat myself up too much.
Even if I hit a ball hard right at somebody, I’d be mad about it, but this year I’m just trying to stay positive and always take positivity off of something.”
Jeff Paternostro, who scouted Reynolds recently for Amazin' Avenue, sees his upside as a bench player- a "Justin Turner with a little more on-base ability."
Reynolds is basically the same guy he was last year, but he's had more singles fall. Lets check on the walk and strikeout ratios in a month. In the early season, his walk and strikeout look similar to last year, if a bit better in both dimensions, while he's hit for slightly less power. When his batting average regresses, his whole stat line will as well.[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]
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Cory VaughnA week shy of his 25th birthday, Vaughn is hitting .106/.218/.170 in 14 games. He's 3-for-his-last-33 (.090), although all three hits have been doubles.
PitchersHotRainy Lara's 1.47 ERA is superficially impressive, and he allowed just one unearned run in his last 13 innings of work. However, over those same 13 innings, he's struck out four and walked three of the 45 batters to face him. That's not very good.
NotHansel Robles walked seven batters in 4.2 innings in his last start. Yeah.
A+ HotBrandon Nimmo - Nimmo has actually had three hitless games in his last six, but he's still fourth in the FSL in batting average, tied for second in hits, third in walks, fourth in on-base percentage and tops in runs scored as part of a .360/.467/.467 line in 19 games. He's walking in 16.7% of his plate appearances which is just a monster number and his strikeout rate is down from 27% in the SAL last year to 21% this year. the major hole in his offensive game is his power, but I'm still reasonably optimistic that it will come as he learns to pick pitches to drive.
Dilson Herrera - The little dude has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games while hitting .375/.414/.500 in those contests. Just past his 20th birthday in March, he's tied with Nimmo for second in the FSL in hits and is 10th in batting average as part of a .333/.389/.432 line in 19 games.
Aderlin Rodriguez - Last 10 games: .286/.348/.452. Half of his 12 hits have gone for extra bases (5 doubles and a triple). Now the bad news: his on-base percentage in that time was sustained by three extra-base hits and one walk. He's walked twice all season in 85 PA, a rate of 2.3%. That's not going to work. The power plays, but he must become more selective to leverage his strength.
NotOF Eudy Pina is off to a .169/.244/.225 start with 21 strikeouts in 18 games at age 23.
PitchersHotHeading into Thursday's start, Steven Matz is 10th in the FSL in ERA (2.00). The 23-year-old's 24% strikeout rate is sixth in the FSL, and he's doing it against a sharp 4.2% walk rate. He took a no-hitter into the sixth in his last start. He's off to a great start to the year.
NotTwo pitchers who rolled through the SAL in 2013, Gabriel Ynoa and Luis Cessa have each scuffled to start the year. Neither is missing bats. Ynoa, who will not turn 21 until May, has a 5.40 ERA through four starts with an 11/3 K/BB ratio and a 12% strikeout rate.
Cessa has allowed 20 hits in his 17 innings to reach his 4.24 ERA with a 6/5 K/BB ratio and an 8% strikeout rate.
A - Savannah Sand GnatsHotJeff McNeil - This should be a new name for all but the most hard-core of Mets Minor League watchers. In his last 12 games, the 22-year-old has hit .370/.434/.652 with eight extra-base hits (5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR), four walks and four strikeouts. Sure, his .366 BABIP is high, but the left-handed hitter is scorching the ball. Overall, he's leading the SAL in doubles (8), tied for the lead in extra-base hits (11) and is fourth in slugging (.563).
The Mets drafted McNeil in the 12th round last year out of Long Beach State where he was primarily a second baseman, although he played a little outfield and shortstop. This year, late in Spring Training, when he was hitting the ball well, the Mets told him to go play third, a position he had never played as a professional OR an amateur. In fact, he's played relatively little baseball - only one year of high school ball. He was primarily a golfer in high school, but in his one season at Nipomo HS, he was the team MVP. That ball-striking ability and golf pedigree is reflected in his current swing.
The rail-thin McNeil is growing up as a baseball player in a hurry, last year, he had 11 extra-base hits in 47 games with Kingsport on his way to an .080 isolated slugging percentage. He already has 11 extra-base hits 17 games into this season on his way to a .250 isolated slugging percentage.
NotDominic Smith - The 18-year-old has hit .105/.205/.105 (5 BB, 5 K) in his last 11 games on his way to a .167/.227/.167 line through 17 games. The one piece of good news: he's not striking out obscenely - just 12% of the time so far. The 2013 first round pick is just not doing much damage on contact.
HotAkeel Morris Out of the Savannah bullpen, he's allowed just three hits in 11.2 innings with a 19/7 K/BB ratio. However, he's walked at least one batter in each of his five outings. I'd like to see him start, or at least used as a tandem starter. Remember, an eye-popping SAL reliever's k-rate is no guarantee of future success; ask Jack Leathersich, or Bret Mitchell to cherrypick only a few Mets examples. Speaking of silly k-rates....
LHP Dario Alvarez has fanned 17 and walked 4 in 12.1 innings in one start and a pair of relief outings. He's allowed six hits and no runs. Alvarez, who's now 25, pitched in the DSL for the Phillies in 2007-2009, but never made it stateside. He did not throw in a professional game in America 2010-2012. The Mets saw him in Venezuela in winterball in 2012 where he made three appearances and threw 5.1 innings total. That was enough to earn a tryout, and then a contract, and then a placement in Brooklyn where he made 12 starts with a 3.10 ERA with 57 strikeouts agains 26 walks. I've only had one look at him, but he's throwing well.
Kevin McGowan, last year's 13th round pick, has a 5.27 ERA and an 11/6 K/BB ratio in 13.2 innings over two starts.