Readers of my Met’s Minors column may have grown accustomed to me ignoring players who might be struggling in a given week. For this reason you have heard a lot about: Matt Harvey, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Travis Taijeron and Aderlin Rodriguez, but less about others. Well I tend to go by the doctrine of, “If I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
So it was with Jeurys Familia, Reese Havens, Michael Fulmer and Brandon Nimmo. The four players all didn’t get their seasons started on the right foot. A wise and venerable man once told me, “There is a reason they play a whole season.” That has proven to be sage advice time and time again. In this case… perhaps it means that I might have been counting a few players out too quickly.
Jeurys Familia: On the year, Jeurys Familia has: a 7 and 5 record and a 4.33 ERA. In 95.2 innings he’s struck out a respectable 87 but also walked a regrettable 56. These stats should not have anyone too excited. Yet… since July 6th, Jeurys Familia has been a different pitcher entirely.
In the three games since July 6th, he’s pitched a total of 20.2 innings. In that span he’s struck out 20 and only walked 4. That is much more like the Familia who blew through two levels of the minors in 2011. In the three most recent games his ERA has been a measly 0.87 and his WHIP a phenomenal 0.825. What does this mean?
Well… hopefully it means that a flaw in Familia’s game has been discovered and corrected. Hopefully it means that Familia is still on track to be a front-line starter. What does it ACTUALLY mean? He’s pitched three good games. It’s not enough to get excited, but it is enough to have hope.
Reese Havens: Enough already, he’s always hurt and he’s done. The Mets top 2B prospect is Wilmer Flores… MOVE ON! Hold the phone. The fans may have been a little over-eager to dump poor Reese and his sweeter than sugar swing from their radar.
He’s played 69 games this season and seems to be healthy… FINGERS CROSSED. What bugs people is that trough those games he’s hit .231. Look at the splits:
Before the All-Star Break: .217/.351/.353
After the All-Star Break: .333/.419/.630
Still not convinced? Well… 7 games is hardly a sampling so how about we look at how his May Slashes: .127/.286/.177 compare to his June: .269/.364/.462 and July: .286/.412/.482.
Why do I think there are big things on the horizon? Well… despite his poor start and .231 yearly batting average, Reese has still managed to hold a .743 OPS for the year. That’s not too shabby.
Michael Fulmer: He’s a different case than the others. Fulmer hasn’t been bad in 2012. He’s got a 2.67 ERA… how bad could he have been? Let’s say instead that his stock with me was hurt based on some questionable starts and some less than spotless peripherals. 81 innings pitched and only 72 strikeouts doesn’t sound to me like the mid-rotation pitcher people tell me he’ll become. I mean… especially in pitcher friendly Savannah. More troubling are the 30 walks and barely higher than 5 innings per start.
Word on the street is that Fulmer has turned a corner in development and his last start might prove it. He threw 6 innings of 4 hit, 2 walk baseball while striking out 7. THAT, is impressive to me. He’s going to need to induce more ground balls in the future, but I think he’s still got the track for mid-rotation and perhaps I’ll be a little kinder in the weekly minor posts.
Brandon Nimmo: In June… Brandon Nimmo showed us that he could take a walk. He walked 13 times and struck out only 10. When he hit (he only had 8) it usually went for extra bases (3) but he didn’t look like a first round talent early on. In July… Brandon Nimmo showed us he DOES have a bat. He’s hit .265 in the month with 6 doubles 1 triple and 1 HR. He’s still not tearing the cover off the ball but he’s making contact. I’m not in the least disturbed that in July he has more K’s than B’s… HE SHOULD HAVE MORE K’s THAN B’s!!! Do I think Brandon Nimmo is on a sweet tear? YES! He’s got 5 of his July extra base hits in the past 6 games. He’s on track to get tortured for a season in Savannah… that’s what we wanted.
Don’t take my word for it, I’ve asked around…
Mack Ade, Mets Minor League Maven: I have always considered this season a big ‘upswing’ because I never expected the team to compete for even a wild card. There are raves about Nimmo, both with a bat in his hand and a controlled smile on his face. Fulmer is so ready for St. Lucie (he’s 19!!!) and Familia still needs some time to command the zone before going out next to chop shops.