The Mets have had great success this year with an unheralded righty who uses a deep repertoire of pitches to make up for an average fastball with Dillon Gee. They may have another such pitcher with Triple-A All-Star Chris Schwinden, who is 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA for the Buffalo Bisons this season.
In his last start, Schwinden threw seven shutout innings against Lehigh Valley, and allowed four hits and no walks. He struck out eight batters and ran his scoreless innings streak to 15.2 IP. Schwinden got a no-decision in the game, as Buffalo lost 2-0. But even though he did not get rewarded with the win, there’s no doubting how well he has pitched this season.
In his last four games, Schwinden has allowed 5 ER in 25.2 IP (1.75 ERA) and has allowed 6 BB and notched 25 Ks. In Friday’s game against the Iron Pigs, Schwinden retired the first 10 batters he faced and ended his outing by setting down his final eight hitters.
“Me and [Raul Chavez] were working well together,” Schwinden told Rodney McKissic of the Buffalo News. “The cutter was working really well, the curve ball — I was getting them with the off-speed and the curve ball so that really helped us out a little bit.”
Schwinden reaches the low 90s with his fastball, but it is not an eye-popping pitch. Scouting reports say his heater has good tailing movement to righties. His cutter is a nice weapon against LHB, who are batting just .196 against Schwinden this season.
The 24-year old, a 22nd-round pick of the Mets in the 2008 Draft out of Fresno Pacific University, is fourth in the International League in ERA and eighth in strikeouts (75), which helped him make the mid-season All-Star team.
“I’m definitely getting seen now a little bit more, which is good,” Schwinden said. “[My confidence] is really high right now but success will do that.”
2011 Draft Update: The Mets have signed 19 of their 51 draft picks, with most of the college picks going to either the New York-Penn of Appalachian Leagues with the high school products going to the Gulf Coast League. Typically, the Mets try to field a strong team in Brooklyn and this year seems no different as the Cyclones are off to a strong start at 10-7.
Eighth-round pick Daniel Muno, the highest-drafted hitter to sign, is off to a fast start with the Cyclones, as he has a .320/.433/.500 line after seven games. Muno is playing second base for Brooklyn after playing as a shortstop with Fresno State. Muno batted .346 as a senior for the Bulldogs this past year and he led the team in hits (71), runs (47), walks (46), and steals (14) and finished second in RBIs (52) for a team that went 40-16 and won the WAC Tournament.
Another 2011 Draft pick starring for Brooklyn is Travis Taijeron, who has a .273/.418/.432 line after 14 games. Taijeron concluded his impressive collegiate career with a strong senior season for Division II Cal Poly Ponoma by batting .392 with 16 HR, 51 RBIs and 59 runs scored. He posted a .534 OBP and a .744 SLG mark and was selected as the California Collegiate Association Male Athlete of the Year.
Sunday, Cory Mazzoni, the Mets second-round pick (#71 overall) and the highest draft pick to sign, made his professional debut with the Cyclones and pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Mazzoni went 6-6 with a 3.30 ERA for North Carolina State in his junior year. He had 137 Ks in 114.2 IP and impressed everyone by going 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last three starts.
“Cory had such a great season and such a great career here, but he really stepped it up for us the last few weeks,” Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent told gopack.com. “It’s unusual for a college starter to pitch on four days’ rest, and he flourished on four days’ rest his last three starts. He’s been a very special pitcher for us and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
NEWS & NOTES: Jordany Valdespin, who made the Eastern League All-Star team, continues his hot hitting. He has four straight multiple hit games, including a 4-for-5 outing with a double and a home run on Sunday (7/3) versus Bowie… Juan Lagares got off to a slow start but has been lights out ever since for St. Lucie. After posting a .262 AVG in April, Lagares now sits with a .346 mark overall. He had a .365 AVG in May and a .368 mark in June. In his last 10 games, the 22-year old has a .385 AVG with 15 hits and four doubles in 39 ABs… Lagares’ teammate Gregory Peavey on Saturday ran his record to 2-0 since his promotion from Savannah. The Mets’ sixth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Oregon State, Peavey was 6-2 and made the South Atlantic League All-Star game prior to his promotion… Buffalo 3B Zach Lutz, who has a .968 OPS in 27 games, is expected to be activated from the DL this week. Lutz last played June 24th, when he was beaned and suffered a concussion.