Mets Minors: Cesar Puello and Wuilmer Becerra among those who finish strong

Cesar PuelloCesar Puello did not duplicate his breakout 2013 season but he is finishing this year with a flourish. Monday he had his third straight multiple-hit game with an RBI. Over his last 44 games, Puello has a .293/.405/.519 line with 18 XBH in 159 PA. The streak includes 32 runs and he was also successful on all five steal attempts.

The good news is that’s a nice extended stretch of good hitting. The bad news is that’s nothing special for the PCL and it came with a .363 BABIP. But given that he started the year with a .620 OPS over 212 PA, it shows that Puello has made improvement as the season has progressed.

Puello started the year with high expectations but was yanked from the everyday lineup due to poor production. Just when he started to find his groove, he wound up on the disabled list with a concussion. He’s been in the lineup on a full-time basis since returning to action on July 6th.

In an ideal world, Chris Young turned in a productive year for the Mets in 2014 and then left for greener pastures, replaced by Puello. Neither player really held up their end of the bargain this season. At least Puello has rebounded to be in the conversation. But even if the Mets do not get a big OF bat in the offseason, Puello will have to deal with Matt den Dekker and Eric Campbell ahead of him and two recent first-round picks behind him vying for a starting OF spot.

Triple-A

L.J. Mazzilli started the year in Lo-A but recently skipped Double-A and found himself in Las Vegas. Mazzilli had a hit in five ABs in his PCL debut.

After a slow start, Kevin Plawecki started to hit for the 51s but was not providing much in the power department. Last Wednesday, he had a four-hit game and clubbed two homers. But in three games since then, he’s 1-14.

Double-A

The Mets had another aggressive promotion, sending 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini to Binghamton. Cecchini had an .838 OPS over his final 33 games for St. Lucie. In his Double-A debut, he singled and scored a run over four at-bats.

Since the beginning of August, Jayce Boyd has been on fire. In his last 112 PA, Boyd has a .372/.464/.574 line. The 23 year old has a .382 OBP this season.

In three games this past week, covering 6.2 IP, Hansel Robles allowed just 1 ER and had 12 Ks. Two of the three games he came on in relief and in 12 games out of the pen this season, Robles has limited opposing batters to a .453 OPS and has a 24/7 K/BB ratio.

Hi-A

Maikis De La Cruz has not turned many heads his four years in the organization. But over the past two weeks, the Dominican native has had perhaps the best stretch of his career, batting .333 with an .847 OPS. He has seven extra-base hits in his last 57 at-bats.

Switch-hitter Jared King is riding a seven-game hitting streak. Since July 31, he has an .853 OPS over his last 120 PA.

Lo-A

Savannah was hit hard when many of its starts were promoted after the mid-season All-Star game. But the Sand Gnats just received reinforcements from Brooklyn. Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena were promoted from the Cyclones for a chance to participate in the playoffs.

Robert Whalen ran his Savannah record to 9-1 with five shutout innings Monday against the Rome Braves. Whalen missed two months with an infection on his throwing hand but after undergoing a minor procedure, he came back to post a 2.11 ERA over his final seven games.

Short-Season

August was a good month for Kingsport 1B Zack Mathieu. A collegiate pick from the 2013 draft, Mathieu had struggled in his second go-round in the Appalachian League. But over the last month, he posted a .313/.370/.482 line in 92 PA.

In his last start of the season, Wuilmer Becerra went 3-for-5 with a triple and 4 RBIs. He finished the year with a .300/.351/.469 line and placed fifth in the Appalachian League in Slugging.

Vicente Lupo claimed the final Player of the Week award of the season for the Appalachian League. He tied Becerra for fourth in the loop in homers (7) and his .504 Slugging would have led the league if he had enough PA to qualify.

Over his final 17 games with Kingsport, Jean Rodriguez had a .968 OPS, which earned him a late promotion to Brooklyn. In three games with the Cyclones, Rodriguez is 2-7 with a triple and a run scored.

Georgia native Raphael Ramirez shook off a slow start to post a solid professional debut in the Gulf Coast League. In his first 20 games, the 18 year old had a .418 OPS. But in his final 21 games, Ramirez posted a .320/.369/.453 line, with six extra-base hits, including four triples. Ramirez swiped 16 bases in 19 tries during this stretch.

9 comments for “Mets Minors: Cesar Puello and Wuilmer Becerra among those who finish strong

  1. Metsense
    September 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I think Puello and Tovar will be casualties on the 40 man roster. The Cecchini promotion is the writing on the wall for Tovar who is only a Tejada-lite.
    Jayce Boyd looks like he will fill Allan Dykstra’s spot in AAA in 2015.
    LJ Mazzilli can hit for a second baseman and may start 2015 in AAA. He is another example of second base depth in the organization.
    Whalen is another pitcher to watch in the Met pitching pipeline.
    Alderson has put together a strong minor league system and now needs to cultivate that talent into trades for major league players or replacements for current Mets that are approaching free agency or traded away. I am not convinced he is the man for this next step in the rebuilding process.

    • September 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

      I guess I would agree with this if Cecchini needed to be added to the roster this year but he doesn’t.

      I still have the Mets with an open spot on the 40-man. They still have to add back Harvey and Parnell from the 60-day DL. From Chris Walendin’s site, I see the following guys who need to be added: Leathersich, Mazzoni, Syndergaard, Verrett, Ynoa and Akeel Morris. Six guys plus one more from the DL means they need to clear seven spots.

      Here are the candidates to be removed: Alvarez, Carlyle, Eveland, Germen, Goeddel, Matsuzaka, Rice, Centeno, Recker, Satin, Tovar, Brown and EY

      I say goodbye to two of the three lefty relievers, one of the two catchers, Matsuzaka, one of the three righty relievers, Brown and EY. And I’d cut all of the relievers and Satin before giving up Tovar. And I would be shocked if Puello was a candidate to be released.

      • Jerry Grote
        September 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

        Never, ever release a guy that has struck out 14 batters per 9. Never – he’s kept until he proves that he’s an axe-murderer or his arm literally falls into the gutter.

        Not sure if you are saying you’d value a defensive SS with truly meh offensive numbers over Alvarez, but that’s not for me. To me, Tovar’s upside is 1-2 WAR. Alvarez might be

        • Jerry Grote
          September 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

          Alvarez might be 50 innings of lights out set up work.

        • September 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

          Alvarez did most of his work this year in the SAL. FanGraphs minor league leaderboard goes back to 2006 so here are all of the guys since 2006 who pitched 40 or more innings in the SAL with a 14 K/9 or greater:

          Corey Maddon
          John Gaub
          Dan Remenowsky
          Julio Rodriguez
          Chris Manno
          John Cornely
          Shae Simmons
          Dietrich Enns
          Akeel Morris

          It’s hardly a star-studded list.

          • Jerry Grote
            September 3, 2014 at 11:23 am

            Not sure how to access that database, but I’m guessing that if you filtered it down to players that had almost a 7:1 K/9, nearly zero HR, and .9 WHIP, the list might start to look a little different.

            Those are fantasy numbers, and I always want the guys that literally dominate in their leagues. Tovar, as a comparison, is lighting it up at 690 pace when the league average is 715. The same league where Herrera produced, again, fantasy numbers.

            Not to say I don’t have a good feeling about Tovar. 7:1 is pretty good, and I’m glad the team brought up Dario.

            • September 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

              Agreed – glad we get to see if his stuff will work against MLB hitters.

              It’s hard for me to believe he’s not better than Scott Rice.

  2. Jerry Grote
    September 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Really surprises me every time I see that somebody like Dom Smith or Mike Conforto or Amed Rosario or Wuilmer Becerra take a day off.

    You would think the prime prospects for a team like ours would be trying to play every day.

  3. Patrick Albanesius
    September 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Glad to see the Conforto and company promotions. Throw them into the pool.

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