While Jacob DeGrom was striking out the side in the All-Star Game and his major league teammates were taking the week off, the Mets organization stayed busy with signings and minor league action. Here’s what you missed while you were watching the All-Star Game!
Signings and Roster Moves
– 7/11: The Mets signed free agent OF Joe Benson to a minor league deal
– 7/14: RHP Rafael Montero headed to the Gulf Coast League for a rehab stint with the GCL Mets
– 7/15: The Mets released Aderlin Rodriguez, Dustin Lawley, and Eudy Pina
– 7/16: The Mets signed RHP Jordan Humphries and 3B Zack Lutz to minor league contracts
Around the Minors
Thanks to the All Star break, it was a pretty quiet week for roster moves. But the Mets made some minor league signings to keep things interesting. On Thursday, the Mets signed 3B Zack Lutz, a player whose name will sound familiar to longtime fans. Lutz was actually once a top prospect in the Mets system. Blocked for years by David Wright, he was released in 2014 and headed overseas to play in Japan. He did well in Japan but very poorly in Korea, where he played this year. The Mets will send him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Lutz is 29 now, so a big breakout doesn’t seem to be in the cards, but he could be a stopgap this year while David Wright is rehabbing – assuming the Mets don’t trade for a better option.
The Mets lost as many players to far East as they gained, though – OF Alex Castellanos, who was lighting it up in Las Vegas, is headed to Japan. The 28-year-old may have merited a try in the big leagues had he stayed, but mostly likely only if the Mets failed to make a trade for offense.
The teams themselves had a pretty good week: Las Vegas’ AAA squad continued to dominate the Pacific Coast League, adding another two wins to their seven-game streak. AA Binghamton has gone 3-1 since last Friday, including a win over Portland that came courtesy of L.J. Mazzilli’s two-run double. Mazzilli’s father is Lee Mazzilli, a former Met who fans will remember from the 1986 World Series team. The younger Mazzilli lost the first 50 games of this season to a drug suspension, but has hit quite well since his return. Mazzilli came back to single-A Port Saint Lucie, but is now in Binghamton thanks to a promotion he earned in just five games.
Mazzilli wasn’t the only one who had a good week. 1B Dominic Smith was named player of the month in the Florida State League. Over in the Pacific Coast League, LHP Darin Gorski was named Pitcher of the Week.
The Triple-A All Star Game was this week, and it featured Las Vegas OF Travis Taijeron and IF Matt Reynolds. The Pacific Coast League lost to the International League, 4-3.
OF Michael Conforto and OF Brandon Nimmo both appeared in the Futures Game at Great American Ball Park as park of the All Star Game festivities. Conforto went 2-2, and Nimmo went 1-2 with an RBI.
Graphic via amazinavenue
ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law released his mid-season prospect rankings, and the Mets did pretty well. Michael Conforto was ranked #12 and Dominic Smith was ranked #40 in Law’s top 50. That’s quite a good showing for a team that has promoted most of its best prospects (Syndergaard, Matz, and Plawecki among them) already this year, and it’s an encouraging sign that the Mets minor league system is not yet close to running dry. Law was a bit bearish on Conforto’s defensive skills, but it’s his offense that the Mets need – if he keeps hitting as he has been, he won’t be in the minors much longer.
Graphic via metsmerizedonline