March 14, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Matt den Dekker (68) against the Detroit Tiger during a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
We've got a couple days of news and notes to cover so let's get started.
Opening Day Assignments
So that whole discussion about Jordany Valdespin or Matt den Dekker possibly making the Opening Day roster has dried up in a hurry, huh? Both were optioned to minor league camp in the past couple days with the returns of both Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and reports of Andres Torres on the mend.
- Jordany Valdespin figures to begin the season back at Triple-A Buffalo. The bat certainly looked close to ready during camp, though he'll no doubt continue to work on honing his plate discipline in the minors as that could still be a deal-breaker in terms of his success at the next level. The bigger question right now though is whether or not the Mets plan to follow through on the whole outfield experiment. Should be interesting to watch going forward.
- Matt den Dekker will be doing his thing back in Binghamton where he'll continue to see if his bat develops to the level that he can play every day in the bigs. If spring training told us anything it's that he looked entirely overmatched by major league pitching. At age 24 his growth curve is a little bit shorter, though I've never really subscribed to the mindset that a prospect is necessarily finished developing as he approaches his mid-20s.
- As for Josh Edgin, it did seem at one point that he might surprise everyone by making the Opening Day roster. However, Terry Collins has said that that won't be the case, as Danny Ray will take Tim Byrdak's place for the first week-plus. The remaining intrigue there revolves around how high Edgin ends up. Under normal circumstances you'd think Double-A, but there's a good chance his spring performance greased the wheels a bit, earning him a spot in Buffalo and only a strong month or two from Citi Field.
- Finally, it's no big surprise that Chris Schwinden was sent back to the minor league side -- destined for Buffalo -- in lieu of Miguel Batista. It should be interesting to see how that Bisons rotation shakes out.
You'll remember Javier Rodriguez as the Mets' second-round selection back in 2008, slotting in after Ike Davis, Reese Havens, and Brad Holt. Rodriguez was drafted out of high school in Puerto Rico and fit like a glove into the Minaya/Terrasas mold of cheap, mediocre talent. Mildly praised for his good all-around tools, he never showed much speed and was quickly relegated to the corner outfield, a position where he lacked the requisite power. He was ranked in the very last spot in the AA Top 50 Prospects this winter based on a decent bump in power, but he's not much of a loss.
Michael Hebert was a seventh rounder from that same draft and has had an uneven career, flashing strong velocity/stuff at times but also looking extremely ordinary at others. I'm a bit surprised to see him here as he's still just 21 and had his best pro season in 2011, posting a 3.44 ERA in Savannah with nearly a strikeout per inning and well under a hit per inning. Decent flier for some team that's paying attention.
Michael Powers was a 32nd rounder from 2009 who posted solid results as high as Double-A. But he's 26, pitches strictly in relief, and offers very little projection going forward.
Additionally, the Mets have inked minor league free agent IF Josh Rodriguez, whose name you may remember as the first pick in last year's Rule 5 draft. However, he put on a Brad Emaus-like performance and was cut by the Pirates after just seven games, then went on to bat .258 with a sub-.700 OPS in Triple-A. He's definitely not an upside guy, more like a Justin Turner-esque player with a ceiling as a backup infielder who can cover any position, though there's little reason we should see much of him in Queens.
Actual Baseball (from Wednesday, 3/28)
ZEPHYRS 1, BISONS 3
The Buffalo Bisons defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs, 3-1. On Wednesday, the Bisons got a two-run home run from INF Matt Tuiasosopo. The 25-year old spent the entire 2011 season with Triple-A Tacoma and hit .226 (99-439) with 20 doubles, six triples, 14 home runs, and 77 RBI in 116 games.
OF SEAN RATLIFF also went 2-for-3 with an RBI-single on Thursday while OF Raul Reyes finished the game 1-for-3.
LHP Mark Cohoon earned the win for Buffalo. The southpaw allowed just an unearned run in five innings of work.
SUNS 6, B-METS 10
The Binghamton Mets collected a dozen hits and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 10-6 win today over the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
Cesar Puello, just four days shy of his 21st birthday, finished a triple short of the cycle. The outfielder went 3-for-4 and swiped two bases. Puello hit .259 in 117 games with the St. Lucie Mets (High-A) last year. Darrell Ceciliani chipped in with a pair of doubles and Travis Ozga launched a two-run home run.
Left-hander Darin Gorski made the start and logged five innings. The Pennsylvania native allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five. Brad Holt struck out the side in his one inning of work.
*Compiled from team reports
METS (A) 1, MARLINS (A) 11
Mets batters had a tough time facing off against one of the Marlins' top prospects, RHP Jose Hernandez. In fact the only offensive performance of note came from the Mets' 2011 50th round selection C Eddie Rohan, who went 2-for-2 with a double.
On the mound things started nicely as Mets 2011 third rounder RHP Logan Verrett got the start, allowing two runs over five innings pitched. Verrett ranked #37 on the prospect ranking and figures to start the 2012 season in St. Lucie.
Unfortunately things took a turn when the Mets' 2011 fourth rounder Tyler Pill entered the game. In four-plus innings Pill allowed seven runs and things were pretty much off the tracks from there. Like Verrett, Pill is battling to start the season in St. Lucie.