I spent most of the day at the Minor League side of the Mets’ complex here, watching the team’s young players in STEP camp compete in an intrasquad game.
I’m no scout, so there’s not a hell of a lot substantive I can report without overstepping my bounds. But here’s some:
– The pitchers were all working with 20-pitch limits. Zack Wheeler threw an impressive inning, striking out two, walking one and yielding a fly out to center field. This could be confirmation bias, but it looked like he threw the hardest of any pitcher who went. There’s an audible sizzle on his fastball. I’ll have some video of Wheeler’s outing shortly.
– Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, Paul DePodesta and John Ricco were all in attendance. Terry Collins came by for a few innings and greeted some of the players in the dugout. It’s easy to forget that Collins was the team’s Minor League Field Coordinator just two years ago.
– Overheard from the dugout: Minor Leaguers talking about Chipotle.
– Huntington native Cam Maron, a lefty-hitting catcher who played most of last season in rookie ball, had the game’s only home run — a bomb to right field off Yohan Almonte.
– The pitchers appear to be pretty solidly ahead of the hitters at this point of the spring. Jack Leathersich and Domingo Tapia also pitched well.
– Outfielder Sean Ratliff, who missed all of last season after surgery following a scary eye injury suffered in Spring Training, played in the game. Ratliff didn’t do much besides put the ball in play a few times in the game, but he hit the hell out of the ball in Double-A in 2010. He’s 25 now, so hopefully for his and the Mets’ sake the year off didn’t set him back too much, he feels few lingering effects of the surgery and can pick up where he left off and play himself back into the Mets’ outfield mix.
– At second base, Luis Nieves made a gorgeous diving stop going to his left and righted himself in time to make a strong throw to first to get the runner.
– The Mets have a lot of short Minor Leaguers. I don’t know if they have appreciably more than other teams or if this is just a coincidence, but 2011 draft picks Leathersich, Philip Evans and Danny Muno all appear as if their listed (sub-6′) heights are a bit generous. Am I connecting too many dots to wonder/hope/fantasize/speculate that I’m onto some Paul DePodesta secret? Yes, yes I am.
– Brandon Nimmo struck out twice in three at-bats. But he was facing pitchers several years older and several levels ahead of him.
– Major Leaguers are way, way better at baseball than Minor Leaguers. The Minor Leaguers are still inexplicably good by normal human standards, but it’s not hard to see the differences between the STEP-camp guys and their big-league counterparts.