Movin' On Up.....
Lasting Milledge moving up to AA? Check.
Phil Humber moving up to AA? Check.
Brian Bannister moving to AAA? Check.
Gaby Hernandez moving to high A? Check.
Yusmeiro Petit moving to AAA? Not yet.
"We feel he's ready for the next challenge," said Gary LaRocque, New York's vice president for player development and scouting. "He's been steady in St. Lucie for the majority of the season, and he's ready for that next step. We're pleased with him. He did well in St. Lucie and made the kind of strides he needed to make in order to be moved. It's a great opportunity for him, and he deserves the chance to take the next step."
All good stuff. His power was a bit disappointing, but he was playing in a pitcher’s league and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to moving up to Eastern League, which is a great hitter’s league.
"For me, personally, I usually like to see a guy tear up a league before he gets promoted. But sometimes an organization will promote a guy just to say they are promoting a guy and show ownership the players are moving up. But is it good for the player? But he's a talented kid who has all the ingredients to be a solid big league player. For me, he's not a top-of-the-order guy or a middle-of-the-order guy; he's more like a six hitter. I think he'll hit for more power than people will expect and run less than they expect."
I guess it could be debatable whether or not Lastings actually earned a promotion just yet. You could make the argument that he really did not special enough numbers to move up to AA, but he has been doing great after a bad first month. As of May 8th, he was batting .175/.224/.418 with two doubles, one homer, six RBIs, and nine runs scored in 63 at-bats. Since May 9th, Lastings has hit .349/.402/.479 with 39 runs scored, thirteen doubles, three homers, sixteen RBIs, and fifteen walks (OBP was calculated without the HBPs and he was plunked thirteen times). It's safe to say he had pretty solid command of that league and needed to be moved up. He has improved his ability to take a walk and has made strides in improving a big hole in his game.
As for the pitchers you kind of knew there would be promotions done in tandem to backfill the open positions at each level, but it was surprising not to see Petit slid up into AAA as well. My guess is there just is not much room in AAA for another starter and Bannister may be primed for trade bait with a couple successful starts in AAA to look more Major League ready. Petit will probably be moved up in August by way of a trade or promotion opening up a spot for him in AAA.
Not really secrets I guess, more so common sense. For those of you without ESPN Insider, here are the highlights.
Our guy, Furcal, has a really low on-base percentage this year [.300], but he's still our best guy. Because if he's hot, we win. If he's on base, we score. And he's starting to get hot.
In the No. 2 hole, I've used Kelly Johnson and Giles. They flip-flop a lot. Kelly's on-base percentage is going to be huge. And when you get a guy like Furcal on base, the second-place hitter is going to see a lot of fastballs.
“ Making out a lineup isn't overrated, but guys fall into place automatically. They put themselves in the lineup positions. The players do it by the way they perform. ”
— Bobby Cox
I've always felt like you can move good hitters anywhere. It doesn't matter where they hit. A guy will get locked in his mind, "I'm a third-place hitter. I'm not a cleanup hitter," for whatever reason, and I just don't get it. In the players' minds, I think the best hitter in your lineup is supposed to be third. I've always heard that. But Roger Maris hit third and Mickey Mantle hit fourth, and Mantle was the perfect third-place hitter.
You know what I think? You ought to be happy to have a uniform on, and if you're in the lineup, you should be thrilled and you shouldn't worry about where the manager hits you. That's my philosophy. Because we're not trying to lose the game. We're trying to put a lineup out that wins.
I get tickled when I hear a manager say, "I have to drop this guy to seventh." My attitude is, just do it. I know it bothers a lot of guys, because everybody has a little pride. But if a player is hurting you in a certain spot, you bring him in and tell him. I always talk to a guy first before I drop him down in the order.
I don't believe in doing things to take pressure off young players. We brought up Johnson from Triple-A and I hit him third right away. The kid has always hit, and he walks. He has a great eye. He went 1-for-30 and even some of our people wanted to send him back. But he hit about seven balls good and he walked about seven times during that stretch. I wouldn't take him out of there for anything.
I think balance is definitely important in a lineup, and there's merit to the idea of protecting guys. For years, the Giants never had a lefty to go behind Barry Bonds. And I thought, "Damn, if you had a Jim Edmonds or a Jim Thome behind him -- just to throw a couple of names out there -- there's no telling what he would have done." The guy might have hit 100 home runs.
Four things stood out for me the most. One was his determination to stick with Furcal. Reyes is all to similar to him and if Reyes is on base making noise, the Mets typically do win. They are the most logical options for both teams, but they also are the source of their scoring woes which is what is so frustrating. Cox said if he's hot, we win. If, if, if, if, if. A little more consistency would be nice, and that is what the opponents to these two players in the leadoff spot focus on. The second thing was about dropping players in the order and why managers are reluctant to do so. Cox seems to be blessed with the Midas touch because all his decisions just seem to work out well, but if something is not going the way he would he like it, you can be sure he would act on it an change it. Cox is not a guy who cares about what other people think. The third thing was about not doing things to protect younger players. If the kid ripped in the minors, Bobby expects him to hit in the Majors and he has not hesitated to put a rookie in the third spot in the order because it seemed like the best fit for the team. The final thing, was about having a balanced lineup that adds protection to certain players. I think Willie needs to take a struggling Piazza and give him more protection if he is going to keep him in his present slot and decide he is his #5 guy. While it is true that he did not particularly excel with Floyd behind him, he certainly will not excel knowing that the guy that may pitch around him for is a singles hitter. Cox had mentioned was that regardless of where a player bats, a good hitter should be able to hit anywhere in the lineup. I do agree with Bobby when he says that a good hitter should be able to hit anywhere, but when you do not have a team full of good hitters, their placement and use is of utmost importance. You can tell Bobby Cox is definitely and old school kind of thinker and things are pretty black and white the way he approaches managing his team. You have to love his style and approach to managing the game. His quote above stated a lot of the obvious things, but it was cool to see his thought process on some things.
- Norfolk beat Richmond 5-4. Angel Pagan went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, one RBI, and a walk. Anderson Hernandez went 0 for 4 with an RBI, Victor Diaz went 2 for 5 with an RBI, and Eric Valent went 2 for 5 with a run scored.
- Binghamton played a double header vs. Norwich. In game one, the B-Mets lost 2-1. In the second game, the B-Mets fell 4-1. Wayne Lydon went 2 for 4 with a double and Aarom Baldiris went 1 for 3 with his fourth homer of the year.
- West Virginia beat Hagerstown 2-1. They managed only two hits and Carlos Gomez and Ryan Coultas notched the only two hits.
- Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley 3-2. Jonathan Malo went 0 for 2 with three walks. Nick Evans is struggling a bit and is now batting .083 and has only one hit in twelve at bats.
- Princeton beat Kingsport 4-2.
"Now I'm not leading the charge, but I'm still charging, you know? I'm just not out front with the sword slashing and hacking."
"He kind of pushes the ball out of his uniform, and it's on top of it [the plate] before you know it," said Dan Warthen, the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple-A Norfolk affiliate, who has worked extensively with Petit in spring training and worked for the World team yesterday. "So that 91 looks like 94 or 95."