It took 3 hours and 30 minutes and 11 innings but the Staten Island Yankees came out victorious … [visit site to read more]
Michael Conforto has been nothing short of a revelation for the Mets as a terrific hitting outfielder. He skyrocketed through the minors in 2015 and became a major part of the late surging Mets, joining the starting lineup through the playoffs.
In 2016 Met fans had sky-high expectations and through March and April, Conforto delivered. Through his first 21 games he’d managed a line of .365/.442/.676 and drove in 18 runs. He also had a .411 BAbip but fans saw only bright days to come in his future. From May on, things have not been bright. That 1.118 OPS of March and April was a mere .591 in May and .419 in June.
What went wrong?
His BAbip took a nose-dive but, more importantly, Conforto lost his confidence. Watching him at the plate through the months of May and June he no longer looked like the confident kid Met fans had been used to seeing since his original promotion. As Keith Hernandez says, “Once your confidence goes, everything goes.” He swung at bad pitches, watching his strikeouts rise and walks diminish.
So what now?
Now, Conforto will go to AAA Las Vegas and hopefully remember what it is to step into a batter’s box like you own the place. He certainly has the talent, we’ve seen that, he just needs to actualize on it and have some faith in his own abilities. The good news is that Las Vegas and the PCL, having inflated stats, should do just that.
What about the other guy?
Who? Jose Reyes? Yes, he’s back in the minors too but it’s a different scenario. Reyes is mostly proving to Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins that he’s in baseball shape. He’ll not be spending too long in the minors but you can bet that I’ll be paying close attention.
AAA: Las Vegas
Brandon Nimmo promoted – I don’t anticipate him to hit the ground running but he deserved a first taste of the big leagues. I expect him to be switching back with Conforto in a few weeks.
Gavin Cecchini looking very put-together – He’s hitting consistently and he’s getting on base all the time.
Amed Rosario starts strong – Rosario is proving that the promotion was a long time overdue by making a big impact in his first games at AA.
Dominic Smith’s new friend – Since Rosario has joined him, Smith is 4 for 11 with 2 home runs.
A+: Port St. Lucie Mets
Somebody save Wuilmer Becerra – After becoming hotter than the deserts of Tatooine he’s become colder than the planet Hoth.
Andrew Church is a prospect again – After doing little to follow up his high draft pick Church is finally beginning to make Alderson look less foolish.
A-: Brooklyn Cyclones
Blake Tiberi has a solid debut – He’s a nice hitter for a team that selected him as late as the Mets did.
Nick Sergakis looks better than 23rd round – He’s off to a very good start but has a very limited ceiling.
Jay Jabs hitting well – It’s all early but Jabs (who has my favorite name to say of the Met draftees) is doing very well.
Merandy Gonzalez might be a big deal – He’s looking like he might be an “Ace” caliber prospect after his first two starts.
Nabil Crismatt arrives – His first outing, in relief was poor but he followed it up with a splendid 3 inning outing that should make everyone a little happier.
R1: Kingsport Mets
Thomas Szapucki looks really good – He pitched one heck of a first game for Kingsport. Only giving up 2 hits over 6 innings and striking out 13 batters.
Jose Reyes is back, returning Sunday afternoon with the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets Single-A affiliate. It was quite the scene in Coney Island as fans flooded the ballpark for a chance to see the former fan-favorite. Despite his well-documented off-field issues, Mets fans were thrilled to have their man back.
Reyes received a standing ovation during his first plate appearance and a “Jose! Jose! Jose!” chant broke out. It felt like old-times at Shea Stadium. Although his first at bat ended with him striking out swinging, fans applauded him as he walked back to the dugout. He was greeted with another loud ovation when he came up for his second at bat of the afternoon. Reyes’ second at bat came to an end quickly as he grounded out to third base on the first pitch. He did, however, show off his speed, getting down the line well on the groundout. Reyes then hit into a fielder’s choice in his third and final at bat of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, in the field, Reyes played third base for the first time since he was 17. He got his first opportunity in the top of the 2nd, catching a pop-up in foul territory to end the inning. Reyes caught another pop-up with ease in the top of the 5th inning. Fans broke out in another “Jose! Jose! Jose!” chant after he made the catch.
Only one grounder came Reyes’ way in his six innings in the field. He handled the ground ball without trouble. Although he was not tested in the field too much today, Reyes looked pretty comfortable at third base for someone who had not played the position in sixteen years.
Reyes’ day was over after six innings, as it was his first game action in two weeks. He met with the media after he left the game and was peppered with questions about his Domestic Violence incident.
Reyes said about the issue: “I am sorry for what happened. I am a human being. I made a mistake.”
Reyes continued, throughout the press conference, to apologize for his actions and repeatedly harped on the fact that he is a human and that he made a mistake. He also said that he understands if people do not like him, but he hopes they will give him a second chance.
Although most of the questions were about Domestic Violence, Reyes did answer some questions about baseball. He mentioned that he was unhappy in Colorado and that being traded mid-season last year and having to move his family was hard on him. He noted that he knows he is not the same player he was during his first stint as a Met, but that he thinks still can contribute to the club. He later said that he does not expect it to be too long before he joins the Mets in the big leagues.
Afterwards, Cyclones manager, Tom Gamboa, said that Reyes would most likely make his first start in left field and get four ABs in tomorrow night’s game.
Jose Reyes (Photo Credit: Mark Suleymanov/Scout.com)
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brooklyn Cyclones finished their first week of the 2016 New York-Penn League season in a state of transition. With a 3-6 record in their first nine games, the Cyclones are adding new talent on the fly from the draft and hope they can adjust quickly to their surroundings. On Sunday, Jose Reyes added to equation in the first of two appearances with the club as he works his way back to the big leagues. With a sellout crowd on hand on the bright lights of the city upon them, the Cyclones put together their most complete performance of the season, defeating the Hudson Valley Renegades 1-0 at MCU Park.
Unlike most games thus far this season, the Cyclones threatened to score first against Renegades starter Jose Alonzo (0-1), putting runners at the corners in the second inning, but an Enmanuel Zabala ground out to second base ended those aspirations. Alonzo and his counterpart Erik Manoah (1-0) battled valiantly for much of the afternoon allowing just two hits between them heading into the fourth inning. The Cyclones would break the deadlock that inning, as shortstop Colby Woodmansee scored on a Jacob Zanon RBI single to give Brooklyn a 1-0 lead and tag Alonzo with his first loss of the season.
The single run appeared sufficient enough with Manoah on the mound, who dominated for six shutout innings, allowing just a Garrett Whitley infield single in the first inning in his first win of the season. “Erik has made great strides in Florida for the first time at showing maturity. Today the composure and the mound presence were great and he looked like a pro,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. Manoah pitched to contact for much of the afternoon and relied on his defense to preserve the one run margin. “I changed my mindset going into this start today,” Manoah said. “All I had to do with execute with it. I attacked the strike zone and let my defense work. I can’t ask a better job from my catcher.”
The Cyclones have had difficulty stringing together hits in the early portion of the season, but received four of their eight tallies from Woodmansee, who went 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored, batting .478 in first six games in professional baseball. “They have always prided themselves at Arizona State with having one of the top programs in the country from the days of Bob Horner and Sal Bando. He is going to be a hitting machine for us. He will hit in the middle of the lineup. You can bet on that,” said Gamboa.
For the home supporters, all eyes were affixed on Reyes as he takes his first step in his return to the New York Mets, after serving a 50 game suspension from Major League Baseball for violation of Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policy. Reyes was hitless in his three at-bats on Sunday, but fielded third base flawlessly in his first action at the position since his first pro season in Kingsport in 2000. “I have happy to continue my career. I am a human being. People make mistakes,” Reyes said. “Today was good (at third base). I fielded two popups and a ground ball so I can’t complain. My body is fine.”
According to manager Tom Gamboa, Reyes will play left field in his second and final game with the Cyclones on Monday and expects him to have anywhere between three to four plate appearances. “Today’s game certainly added electricity and excitement to the fanbase. He will be back tomorrow for three to four at-bats and we’ll leave it to the Mets after that.”
The Cyclones will look for their third win in their last four games when they take the field Monday night for their final game of the series against the Renegades and move within three games of the upstart Staten Island Yankees in the McNamara Division.
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