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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Twenty-One

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What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, August 25th to September 3rd?

Tony Dibrell
Chris McShane

Pitcher of the Week

Tony Dibrell

2018 Season: 23 G (23 GS), 131.0 IP, 112 H, 60 R, 51 ER (3.50 ERA), 54 BB, 147 K, .304 BABIP

Week: 2 G (2 GS), 11.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 14 K (Low-A)

With this last start, Dibrell ended his 2018 season with a 3.50 ERA in 131.0 innings. He allowed 112 hits, walked 54, and struck out 147. Those 147 strikeouts were tied for most in the South Atlantic League, tied with Lakewood right-hander Spencer Howard and Greenville Drive southpaw Jhonathan Diaz. I’m still not fully sure why he wasn’t promoted to St. Lucie when David Peterson, and Anthony Kay, and Joe Cavallaro were, but one of the possible reasons I thought was to keep him paired with pitching coach Jonathan Hurst, and maybe it was coincidence or maybe there is actually something to it, but Dibrell improved in the second half.

In 11 starts in the first half, Dibrell had a 3.67 ERA in 61.1 innings, allowing 48 hits, walking 33 and striking out 72. In 12 starts in the second half, he had a 3.36 ERA in 69.2 innings, allowing 64 hits, walking 21, and striking out 75. Everything pretty much stayed the same in his second half except for walks. In a handful more innings, basically one start’s worth I guess, he walked about ten fewer guys. Could be coincidence, but at least on paper, we see that he improved on one of the weakest parts of his game, his control. He did hit a few more batters- 7 in the second half as compared to 2 in the first- but not having seen all those HBPs and not knowing their context, I’m going to overlook them.

Dibrell is a lock to start in St. Lucie next year- he should’ve been pitching there this year- and hopefully he pitches his way to Binghamton by mid-year, like Justin Dunn did this season. I made a prediction that Dibrell would pitch his way into the Mets top 10 prospect list next year and with the year in the books, this prediction has a chance to be right. In no order, Andres Gimenez, Peter Alonso, Jarred Kelenic, Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton, Justin Dunn, Franklyn Kilome, Anthony Kay, and David Peterson all make up the “no doubt” top ten. Guys like Chris Flexen, Tomas Nido, Luis Guillorme, Ronny Mauricio, and Luis Santana are in that next tier, along with Dibrell, to slot into the remaining spot. All six have cases, and it will be exciting to see which player rounds out the Mets’ top ten for 2019.

Hitter of the Week

Jhoan Urena

2018 Season: 123 G, 421 AB, .261/.324/.418, 110 H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 39 BB, 112 K, 2/6 SB (Double-A)

Week: 10 G, 39 AB, .410/.465/.769, 16 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 10 K (Double-A)

Every so often, a player has a week that makes you just take a step back and take it all in. Jhoan Urena had one of those kinds of weeks. He started the week going 2-3 with a double. The next night, he had a historic game, going 3-5 with three home runs, setting a new club record for most RBI in a game. The next night he went 1-3, but that one hit was another homer. He went 1-3, 0-3, and 1-4 the next couple of games, but broke out again on September 1st with a 5-6 games. He went 1-4 the next night and finished the season going 2-5.

Urena quietly had a solid-if-unspectacular season, hitting .261/.324/.418 in 123 games in first go through in Double-A. The unspectacular part is a bit problematic though, since he’s not a spring chicken in prospect years anymore. He just turned 24 a few days ago, so he just had his age 23 season and will be having his age 24 one next year.

Urena was initially known for his plus raw power, but that power hasn’t really translated into in game power. The splits really haven’t changed, his batted ball profile has actually improved- he hit about 10% fewer ground balls in 2018 as opposed to 2017 and about 10% more fly balls- but the power just hasn’t been there. Part of that is probably his problems against breaking balls and his continued below-average ability to recognize them. Strikeouts aren’t the only outcome that good pitches can have. They also can induce poor contact, or less-than-optimal contact, and result in weak dribblers and pop-ups. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that a lot of Urena’s hits this year were in that mold, off of curveballs and sliders.

Urena has seven minor league playing seasons, so he is eligible to be a minor league free agent this winter. As an outfielder, he hasn’t been terrible, and he will be a lot younger than all of the fringy, quad-A players that played in Las Vegas’ outfield this year, so I’d rather see him over the Zach Borensteins and the Matt den Dekkers and the Patrick Kivlehans of the world. From covering these guys for so many years, you definitely get attached and biased to a degree and would rather see them get opportunities and chances over other guys. Kivlehan, for example, he had a really good season, and it’s not like he’s that baseball old or over the hill but if it came between him coming back or Jhoan Urena being an outfielder on the Syracuse Mets next season, I’d go with Urena every time. Everything else aside, Urena is a Met, has always been, and having followed him from the beginning, I want to see him make it to the top of that minor league ladder here.

Past Players of the Week

WEEK ONE 2018 (April 5-14): Justin Dunn/Ty Kelly

WEEK TWO 2018 (April 15-21): Chris Viall/Quinn Brodey

WEEK THREE 2018 (April 22-28): Chris Viall & Tony Dibrell/Peter Alonso

WEEK FOUR 2018 (April 29-May 5): Marcel Renteria/Jeff McNeil

WEEK FIVE 2018 (May 5-May 12): David Peterson/Jhoan Urena

WEEK SIX 2018 (May 13-May 19): Joe Cavallaro/Jeff McNeil

WEEK SEVEN 2018 (May 20-May 26): Mickey Jannis/Peter Alonso

WEEK EIGHT 2018 (May 27-JUNE 2): N/A

WEEK NINE 2018 (JUNE 3-JUNE 9): N/A

WEEK TEN 2018 (JUNE 10-JUNE 16): Justin Dunn/Wilmer Flores

WEEK ELEVEN 2018 (JUNE 17-JUNE 23): Nabil Crismatt/Peter Alonso

WEEK TWELVE 2018 (JUNE 24-JUNE 30): Drew Gagnon/Jeff McNeil

WEEK THIRTEEN 2018 (JULY 1-JUNE 7): Jaison Vilera/Jeff McNeil

WEEK FOURTEEN 2018 (JULY 8-JUNE 14): Jason Vargas/Blake Tiberi

WEEK FIFTEEN 2018 (JULY 15-JUNE 21): Tony Dibrell/Tomas Nido

WEEK SIXTEEN 2018 (JULY 22-JUNE 28): Luc Rennie/Mark Vientos

WEEK SEVENTEEN 2018 (JULY 29-AUGUST 4): Michael Gibbons/Mark Vientos

WEEK EIGHTEEN 2018 (AUGUST 5-AUGUST 11): Garrison Bryant/Peter Alonso

WEEK NINETEEN 2018 (AUGUST 12-AUGUST 18): Nicolas Debora/Matt Winaker

WEEK TWENTY 2018 (AUGUST 19-AUGUST 25): Christian James/Jarred Kelenic