The New York Mets may have another pitcher on the horizon.
Unheralded 23-year-old Darin Gorski has struck out 66 batters in 48 2/3 innings at Class A St. Lucie in the Florida State League. A starter in his first two years in the minor leagues since being drafted in the seventh round in 2009, the lefthander began 2011 in the bullpen but has been sensational since joining the rotation.
In his first six appearances – all in relief – Gorski allowed 17 hits in 16 innings with three walks, 22 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA. In six starts, Gorski is 3-0, 1.38 ERA with 26 hits, 10 walks and 44 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. His overall ERA of 1.85 leads the league.
“I definitely have better command this year and have my mechanics back in order,” Gorski told TCPalm.com. “I feel like I’ve been ahead in the count more this year than in the past. Even when I’ve fallen behind, I’ve been able to get back in the count.
“I have no idea why the strikeouts have been like that. I tell myself to pitch to contact and just pound the zone. Just being aggressive is probably the key to it. It allows you to get ahead and expand from there.”
Gorski hasn’t given up more than two runs or five hits in any of the six starts, beating Clearwater with seven scoreless innings in his last start Wednesday. In his previous start, Gorski fanned 13 batters in 7 2/3 frames.
Although righthanders are hitting .260 opposed to .221 vs. fellow lefthanders, Gorski has fanned 19 of 53 lefthanders while yielding just one extra base hit. With runners in scoring position, he has fanned 28 of 54 batters overall and yielded just seven hits. In those situations with two outs, hitters are 0-for-25.
“The progress he’s made is unbelievable. He and Phil (pitching coach Phil Regan) have put in a lot of work,” added St. Lucie manager Pedro Lopez, who had Gorski at Brooklyn in 2009 and Savannah last year. He’s throwing harder than he did when he was drafted,” “His slider is a plus-pitch for him, and he’s always had good feel for his change-up. He’s just mixing pitches really well.”
The 6-4, 210 pounder was 3-4, 4.91 ERA in ’09 for Brooklyn in the Class A New York Penn League and 6-8, 4.58 ERA for Savannah in the low Class-A South Atlantic League last season. He walked 69 and struck out 159 in 176 1/3 innings during his first two seasons.
St. Lucie placed six players on the Florida State League All-Star Team for later this month: pitchers Matt Harvey, Darin Gorski, Scott Moviel and Jeff Kaplan; and outfielders Matt den Dekker and Pedro Zapata will represent the South Division in the 50th annual FSL All-Star Game on June 18 in Clearwater. Noticeably absent from the team was shortstop Wilmer Flores.
Zapata leads the Mets with a .329 batting average, which ranks sixth best in the FSL. He also has scored 21 runs and leads the team with 13 stolen bases. Harvey is third in the league among starting pitchers with 10.83 SO/9 IP.
Buffalo righthander Chris Schwinden was literally left waiting for the call last weekend. He was held out of a start after New York starter R.A. Dickey injured his right foot and partially tore his plantar fascia against Chicago on May 26.
Dickey, a knuckleballer, tested the foot extensively a few days later and said it was fine, ironically leaving Schwinden as the pitcher to miss a start.
The Visalia, Calif., native has had a strong nine starts for Buffalo this year and is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA.
AROUND THE MINORS: LHP Mark Cohoon is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his first two Class AAA starts, allowing three homers and 15 hits in 10 innings. … Class AA 2B Reese Havens is 9-for-32 with two doubles and two RBI in his first eight games. His teammate, RHP Jeurys Familia was tagged for six runs – three earned – and seven hits with three walks in four innings in a loss to Erie on Wednesday. … Savannah OF Darrell Ceciliani is batting .368 (7-for-19) in June with a homer and two steals. The 2010 NYP batting champ is hitting .294 with four homers and seven doubles in 68 at-bats away from his pitcher-friendly home park while batting .197 with no homers and two doubles in 71 at-bats at Grayson Stadium.