After his third go-around in Hi-A, Wilmer Flores will soon be making his Double-A debut. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Green)
Rather than clogging up Pack's recaps, let's do our own dedicated story for the mass promotions from around the Mets system in the last 24 hours.
First and foremost, the biggest news took place in Binghamton as the resurgent Wilmer Flores and 2011 second rounder Cory Mazzoni were promoted to Double-A. For Flores, this move was pretty much expected since a May which saw him bat .358 with seven home runs.
Overall the 20-yr old infielder was batting .289/.336/.463 at the time of the call-up, nothing earth-shattering but a definite improvement from his underwhelming 2011 totals (.269/.309/.380). However one has to wonder if this improvement is a function of real development or familiarity with his context. As we pointed out last month, this represents his third go around with St. Lucie. He's now logged over 1100 pa's at this level, far more than you typically see any prospect spend at any one level.
In terms of where he's going to play, with Jefry Marte entrenched at third I'd say that Reese Havens season-long slump may well be playing him off second base. Expect Flores to begin splitting time there, while probably also seeing reps at first and third.
For Mazzoni, this move was even less of a surprise as the team had made it known he'd be promoted upwards of a week or two ago. While he hadn't been dominant at St. Lucie (3.06 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 6.8 K/9) he certainly hadn't been bad. And as a 22-yr old a college player out of a relatively notable program (NC State), it's not unreasonable to push him along at this point.
And in his first Double-A start last night Mazzoni was certainly up to the challenge, pitching a 7-inning complete game, allowing just one run on five hits. My only concern for Mazzoni going forward would be that rather low K-rate. For a guy who can reach the mid-90's with a decent curve I'd expect more than 48 strikeouts in 63 innings. This may go back to the idea of a very straight fastball, which has been said about Mazzoni before.
Flores wasn't the only 20-yr old Venezuelan infielder on his way to Bingo last night. That's because Wilfredo Tovar was also promoted to Double-A. The slick fielding shortstop was currently batting .284/.377/.385 for St. Lucie; in addition, he's been among the toughest men in the FSL to strike out in 2012, posting just 17 K's versus 29 walks. Tovar continues to be the anti-Flores as this was a case of the bat having to catch up to the glove.
Additionally, former top catching prospect Francisco Pena got the call. The 22-yr old Pena was batting a solid .254/.305/.423 for St. Lucie, clearly showing a lot more of the power expected from his big frame. However, he's spent parts of the last four seasons at this level and he too was approaching the thousand plate appearance plateau in St. Lucie. So we'll soon see whether or not this power growth is for real.
But wait, there's more! There were a number of promotions from Lo-A Savannah -- to St. Lucie -- yesterday as well:
First off, 21-yr old Rafael Montero made the jump after posting a sterling 2.52 ERA in 12 starts with the Sand Gnats. Despite a nice low 90's heater and a good slider, the diminutive righty managed just a 6.8 K/9 with Savannah. However, what makes him so interesting is that 1.0 BB/9. Montero represents another in a growing group of younger Mets pitching with the killer combo of good stuff balanced with good command.
Surprising to no one, outfielder Travis Taijeron got the call as well. The 2011 18th rounder has been a beast for the Gnats, batting .291 with a .401 OBP and a ridiculous .548 SLG. After leading the NYPL in that category last season, the powerful righty placed fourth in slugging in the SAL before his promotion. Unfortunately he's still featuring a 25+ K% which will almost certainly cut into his success at higher levels, however his growing propensity for walks definitely helps some.
Next up was Gnats shortstop TJ Rivera. The kid from the Bronx was batting .333 with eight homers for Savannah. And though he doesn't possess a ton of prospect value -- as a 23-yr old former undrafted free agent -- you can't argue with the results, especially the surprising pop from a MI in a very pitcher friendly environment.
Finally, righty-handed reliever Jeffrey Walters made the jump as well. Thus far he'd posted a 0.95 ERA with 30 K's in 28 IP for Savannah. The club's seventh round pick back in 2010 out of the U of Georgia, the 24-yr old hard-throwing righty has a big arm and is definitely one to watch in terms of relief prospects.