Week: 6 G, 19 AB, .368/.556/.632, 7 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 BB, 8 K, 1/1 SB (Triple-A)
2023 Season: 59 G, 64 AB, .167/.290/.268, 33 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 32 BB, 92 K, 19/25 SB, .274 BABIP (High-A)/42 G, 146 AB, .143/.260/.222, 18 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 17 BB, 62 K, 8/9 SB, .246 BABIP (Double-A)/21 G, 238 AB, .250/.380/.594, 16 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 13 BB, 29 K, 3/4 SB, .333 BABIP (Triple-A)
In 2019, I took a trip down to Kingsport, Tennessee and Pulaski, Virginia, to catch the Kingsport Mets in, sadly, what would end up being their final season as an affiliated major league ballclub. The Kingsport Mets played the Danville Braves at home at Hunter Wright Stadium and then traveled to Calfee Park to play the Pulaski Yankees in the Big Apple-Achian Rivalry. I saw Fransisco Alvarez as a 17-year-old who hit .282/.378/.443 with 5 home runs in 35 games and knew that he was the real deal. I saw the newly drafted Brett Baty and was impressed by the power but not enthused by his plan of attack at the plate. I saw Gregory Guerrero and said to myself, “Man, why couldn’t he be Vladimir Guerrero Jr instead?” Another player who I saw was a player that I liked back when he was drafted, but his performance really made me take notice and strap the rocket boosters to him.
Drafted out of Holy Cross High School literally 10 minutes from Citi Field, I was extremely high on Jaylen Palmer after that trip down to Appalachia. He went 4-28 in that series, with a double, a home run, and 4 walks to 10 strikeouts, but I came away impressed. He was rough around the edges, sure, and struck out at a more than alarming rate, but I saw a player who had a ton of raw talent. His bat had some pop. He was athletic and speedy. He played both shortstop and third base and looked equally solid at both positions thanks to his range and strong arm and definitely could see him playing in the outfield at some point in the future. The Amazin Avenue’ minor league team collectively ranked Palmer the Mets’ 16th top prospect for the 2020 season and the Mets’ 8th top prospect for the 2021 season, but I was more aggressive in my placement of him in my personal rankings both years than Lukas, Ken, and Thomas.
When the 2021 season began following a lost year in 2020, Palmer began the year with the Single-A St. Lucie Mets and hit .276/.378/.386 in 66, showing a ton of gap double power. I thought we were seeing the preview of a breakout, but unfortunately, it was not to be. He was promoted to his native Brooklyn- Palmer is a Canarsie native- for the remainder of the year and hit .189/.314/.336 in 39 games. He repeated the level, spending the entire 2022 season with the Cyclones and hit .184/.318/.324 in 103 games. He began the 2023 season there as well and hit .167/.290/.268 in 59 additional High-A games before getting, frankly, and undeserved (based on performance) promotion to Double-A Binghamton. He hit .143/.260/.222 in 44 games with the Rumble Ponies until the end of August, when he was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. As if one needed further confirmation that the offensive environment of the International League was all out of whack in 2023, Palmer appeared in 21 games for Syracuse and hit .250/.380/.594 with 4 doubles, 6 home runs, and 13 walks to 29 strikeouts.
In three seasons at High-A, Palmer hit a cumulative .180/.309/.310 in 201 games, a batting line that even Rey Ordonez would think is bad. He was just as bad in Double-A, and while he had success in a month or so with Syracuse, it’s very easy to see it is an outlier. I don’t know where Palmer’s career goes from here, but I can say this: Jaylen Palmer is a nice, humble kid. Jaylen Palmer is a hard worker. Jaylen Palmer thinks New Park Pizza is the best pizzeria in the city when everyone knows it’s Spumoni Gardens, but still a solid choice- he didn’t say Sbarro.
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (Double-A)
2023 Season: 26 G (26 GS), 124.0 IP, 108 H, 56 R, 53 ER (3.85 ERA), 49 BB, 160 K, .319 BABIP (Double-A)
With the stakes about as high as they can possibly get- starting an elimination game would be the only other situation with more inherent pressure, I would say- Binghamton Rumble Ponies manager Reid Brignac turned to Dominic Hamel. The right-hander responded by twirling one of his best starts of the 2023 season, throwing seven-plus scoreless innings, walking two and striking out eight while scattering three hits. Reliever Paul Gervese took over in the bottom of the eighth after Hamel reached 97 pitches, 65 of which were thrown for strikes (67%), and completed that Hamel began, shutting out the dangerous Somerset Patriots lineup and clinching the Eastern League Northeast Division.
Coming into this start, Hamel had a 14 inning scoreless streak going, throwing six scoreless innings against the Harrisburg Senators on September 1st, three scoreless against the Hartford Yard Goats on September 8, and five scoreless against the Reading Fightin Phils on September 15th. With his 7.2 scoreless in this playoff start, the right-hander now has a 21.2 inning scoreless streak.
Being on the field when Binghamton punched their ticket to the Eastern League Championship Series probably was the highlight of his week, but Dominic Hamel is also receiving a highly coveted McNeil, having been named Players of the Week four times over the course of the 2023 season. He joins Ronny Mauricio as having been McNeil’ed this season, and he has the distinction of being the first pitcher to get McNeil’ed since Players of the Week was conceived in 2018.