With the A-ball all-star breaks all but over the parade of promotions in the minor leagues has started, with four players being moved from St. Lucie to Binghamton and four making the move from Savannah to St. Lucie.
Moving from St. Lucie up to AA Binghamton are Wilmer Flores, Wilfredo Tovar, Cory Mazzoni, and Francisco Pena. Promoting Flores was a no brainer after he tore up the FSL in the first half hitting .289/.336/.463. Flores first came to St. Lucie midway through the 2010 season, so after two full seasons in the FSL he’s ready for AA. The issue is how the B-Mets handle playing time with Flores and Jefry Marte both being third basemen. Flores has played a little second base recently, but that’s where Reese Havens plays and he’s no where close to a AAA promotion. Marte could also see some time at first base, where he saw a little time last fall in Arizona. Either way, they’ll find a way to get Flores his at bats and after a half season at AA we should know a lot more about what kind of future Flores has. Tovar should become the primary shortstop for the B-Mets. He won’t turn 21 until August, but he’s rule 5 eligible after this season so the Mets need to see him at the higher levels after a first half line of .284/.377/.385. Tovar is a skilled defensive shortstop and despite being the 9th youngest player in the FSL he was one of the toughest in the league to strikeout, while also hitting a lot more doubles than expected. If he can keep putting the ball in play in the upper levels of the minor leagues his defense will carry him to the big leagues. Mazzoni was solid if not spectacular during the first half in St. Lucie, putting up a 5-1 record with a 3.25 ERA in 12 starts. In 64 innings he struck out 48, walked 16, and had a 1.25 WHIP. It’s not surprising that Mazzoni is moving up quickly after being a 2nd round pick last year, but he does profile more as a reliever when he reaches the majors. Pena finally gets a promotion after being with St. Lucie since the start of the 2009 season, although he missed considerable time in that span with injuries. After having so much promise years ago a lot of Mets fans have lost faith and lost track of Pena, but he’s still 22, which makes him age appropriate if not a little young for AA. He has the genes (son of Tony Pena) to be a big league catcher and he did have the second best OPS in the FSL among catchers behind only teammate Blake Forsythe. So after finally getting out of the Florida heat Pena has a great opportunity to get back on the prospect radar, something the Mets really need him to do.
Making the move from Savannah to St. Lucie will be Travis Taijeron, T.J. Rivera, Rafael Montero, and Jeff Walters. Taijeron was an obvious choice for a promotion, finishing the first half fourth in the SAL in OPS. His final line was .291/.401/.548 with 12 homers and 17 doubles. Taijeron has had an incredible first year in the organization and has been remarkable for an 18th round pick out of a division 2 college. He doesn’t have the notoriety of his now St. Lucie teammates Cesar Puello, Cory Vaughn, and Darrell Ceciliani, but Taijeron is definitely a guy to keep an eye on. Rivera has done nothing but produce since coming to the Mets and while he’s not considered to be a great prospect with a major league future, he really earned this promotion, and if he can keep producing he’ll get another one at some point. Montero is having a great season in his first full year in the U.S. after starting last year in the Dominican after being signed in January 2011. The 21-year old Montero is well prepared for the FSL. He has great control, walking 8 batters in 71 innings this year, and has a good three-pitch mix, which you don’t always see in A-ball. In 12 starts he put up an ERA of 2.52 and a WHIP under 1. Walters isn’t a name most Mets fans know, but this is a well-deserved promotion putting up a 0.95 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 28 innings, despite not even being on Savannah’s opening day roster. He was a 7th round pick in 2010 out of Georgia, so he’s already 24 and after his performance in the first half needs to move up.
To fill the holes left in Savannah, Jeremy Gould, Xorge Carrillo, and Yucarybert De La Cruz have been promoted from Brooklyn just a couple days into the Cyclone’s season.