Mets Minor League Month In Review: May
It’s the first day of June, so let’s take a look at where the Mets minor league teams stand two months into the season: LAS VEGASThe 51s are still in last place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division, but they are a game over .500 (27-26) and just 3 games out of first place. Pitching hasn’t been kind to Vegas, especially with Collin McHugh on the major league roster. Even Zack Wheeler has an ERA over 4. Outside of Wheeler and McHugh, the rotation is mostly veteran spot fillers. At least for now, the bullpen lacks viable prospects, as Josh Edgin continues to struggle. Gonzalez Germen, who is on the 40-man roster but could be sent through waivers when the Mets need to open up a spot or two, has a 4.65 ERA, but good peripherals with a WHIP of 1.16 and 31 strikeouts in 31 innings.Offensively, Vegas was much better in May. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has started to hit a little, and with some power. Collin Cowgill is just below .300 and is even drawing some walks. Wilmer Flores is plugging along with 20 doubles this season, but he’s still not showing a lot of homerun power. We should all be familiar with the way Josh Satin is raking to the tune of .318/.427/513. Eric Campbell, Jamie Hoffman, Andrew Brown (before his injury), and Omar Quintanilla (before his promotion) are all over .300. Catcher Francisco Pena has made quite a mark in just 10 games.At some point, something has to give with the cluttered 40-man roster, the Ike Davis situation, and the injured relievers, so the 51s roster should be quite fluid the rest of the season, but if their pitching is halfway decent, they can remain competitive and stay in the playoff hunt the rest of the way. BINGHAMTONThe B-Mets find themselves in a 3-way tie in the Eastern League Eastern Division at 31-24. I’m not surprised that they’re doing well, but I’m a little surprised that they’re doing this well. Rafael Montero has been an ace and Logan Verrett has won 6 games in 11 starts, while Mark Cohoon has pitched a few gems as well. Jacob deGrom hasn’t had a lot of success, but he’s been a little better lately, and didn’t get a lot of time in St. Lucie before being promoted. Cory Mazzoni has been limited to just 6 starts this season and hasn’t stood out. The bullpen is what’s putting the B-Mets over the top. Jeff Walters has been great as a closer. Chase Huchingson, Jack Leathersich, and Adam Kolarek are all rocking sub-3 ERA’s as lefties in the pen. Leathersich has an astounding 48 strikeouts in 25 innings and a 1.11 WHIP. Oddly, lefties are hitting .350 against Leathersich and righties .114. In any event, he could find himself in Flushing later this year.Offensively, outfielders Cesar Puello and Cory Vaughn have helped lead the way. Puello is hitting .293/.376/.494, while Vaughn has emerged as a potential righty-platoon bat. Puello needs more seasoning in AA, but Vaughn could be promoted to AAA if there is playing time available in the 51s outfield, which there isn’t right now. Darrell Ceciliani has come along slowly, which was to be expected, while Alonzo Harris hasn’t replicated the kind of season he had last year.On the infield, Wilfredo Tovar has been better, hitting .255/.284/.286 in May, but that’s still not good enough to be excited about his future. Danny Muno is still below the Mendoza line; Allan Dykstra is providing some power at first base, although he is not a viable ML option, and Josh Rodriguez has been arguably the B-Mets best hitter this season. The B-Mets play a full season, and if this roster stays in tact, they have a chance to stay in the playoff hunt, but there are a few pitchers and maybe a couple position players that could get a promotion within the next month or two. ST. LUCIEThe Lucies are tied for the second best record in the FSL, but they remain 8 games back of a phenomenal Fort Myers team in the FSL South Division, so another division title is a long shot. As you can guess, the rotation has led the way for St. Lucie. Noah Syndergaards has been impressive, and it’s possible the Mets could bump him up to AA after the FSL all-star break. Despite a couple hiccups when he’s had control problems, Domingo Tapia has been good, but probably not a candidate for promotion. Hansel Robles, Matt Bowman, and Alex Panteliodis have also been great in the starting rotation, as has veteran Angel Cuan. Rainy Lara has recently been promoted after a strong 2 months in Savannah. In the bullpen, lefties Jim Fuller, Hamilton Bennett, and T.J. Chism have all stood out.Offensively, there’s not too much to like in St. Lucie. The lone exception could be Aderlin Rodriguez, who was abysmal in April but hit .343/.372/.581 in May. He now has 9 homers and 14 doubles. He’ll be rule 5 eligible again this year, so if A-Rod keeps that up for another month, he could get to Binghamton by the end of June. Travis Taijeron has been good at times, but nothing about him screams great prospect. Matt Reynolds has been solid but unspectacular as the everyday shortstop. Gilbert Gomez has been a little disappointing.The pitching continues to be the thing to watch in St. Lucie, but they haven’t hit enough to stay within striking distance of Fort Myers and they could lose a lot of pitching to promotions in the second half, which could keep them out of the postseason for the first time in a few years. Regardless, just about every night they have a starter on the mound that’s worth watching. SAVANNAHThe Sand Gnats are in quite the race with less than 3 weeks left in the first half of the season. Savannah is 32-22 and trails Charleton by 2 in the loss column, but with several other teams close behind them in the SAL Southern Division. Matt Bowman and Rainy Lara have already made the move to St. Lucie, while Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Cessa, and Steven Matz remain fixtures in the Savannah rotation, although Matz is back on the DL with a blister. In the bullpen, Julian Hilario has struck out 36 in 20 innings, Bret Mitchell has struck out 34 in 24 innings, and Beck Wheeler has struck out 33 in 22 innings, which has given the rotation plenty of support.On offense, it’s all been about Brandon Nimmo, Jayce Boyd, and Kevin Plawecki. Nimmo is finally back after missing nearly all of May with an injury. Boyd wasn’t quite as good in May as he was in April, but he’s still hitting .354 and should be inline for a midseason promotion, although at some point he’ll have to hit more homeruns, hitting just 3 in a spacious stadium so far. Plawecki may be the best hitter in the SAL the first 2 months of the season, hitting .340/.414/.553 and yet the Mets brass are equally impressed with his performance behind the plate. Right after the SAL all-star game, he’ll be on the first bus/train/car heading to St. Lucie. Outside of the big trio, Eudy Pina has shown some good power and Maikis De La Cruz filled in nicely for Nimmo, but neither is young enough to be considered a prospect. Stefan Sabol has been better in May after a bad April, while Phillip Evans has continued to be disappointing, hitting .191 with 17 errors.The final 3 weeks should be exciting for Savannah, as they chase a playoff spot, but the second half may not be quite as nice. The starting rotation has already started to migrate to St. Lucie, and once Plawecki and Boyd move on up as well, Nimmo will be left alone with little help in the lineup.