Syracuse Mets Inaugural Season 2019 (Photo: The 7 Line)

Mets Down On The Farm Weekly Update #2 – Syracuse Mets Triple-A

The Mets Triple-A minor league inaugural season in Syracuse NY is underway. The second weekly report from down on the farm follows…

Now in the third week of their season, the Syracuse Mets find themselves in second-place of the very competitive North Division of the International League with a 13-8 record going into play on Friday. No one in the entire league has a better home record (11-3).

Standings North Division IL (Source: MLB.com)
Standings North Division IL (Source: MLB.com)

Following the recent historical path of their mother team in New York, the Syracuse Mets are utilizing good solid pitching to overcome a hitting deficit. The team has the second-best ERA in the International League (IL) with a mark of 3.72 while surrendering the second-fewest runs (78).

Individually, Drew Gagnon has made three starts for the Syracuse Mets, winning two against no losses, and has a sparkling 0.051 ERA with only four base-on-balls in 17.2 innings pitched. The 28-year old right-hander appeared in one game for the New York Mets, an appearance he’d like to forget (5.1 IP, six runs surrendered on seven hits).

Of the position players, outfielder Travis Taijeron is showing good power with seven home runs and 15 RBI, but if he can’t avoid striking out 26 times (almost half of his 59 at-bats), his future with the big club remains in doubt. Taijeron appeared in 22 games with the New York Mets in 2016 with similar strikeout stats.

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This is Taijeron’s second go-around with the New York Mets after having been released once by the team. Syracuse Mets manager, Tony DeFrancesco, who managed against Taijeron in the PCL last season, said he’s improved handling pitches high in the zone.

“Right now we’re watching some amazing opposite field power,” DeFrancesco said. When I managed against him there was a lot of swing and miss. He had problems with some elevated stuff. But he seems like he’s making some adjustments and having some pretty good quality at-bats for us.” (Syracuse.com)

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria leads all regulars with a .348 batting average, but overall the team is hitting only .240, putting them fourth from the bottom in the league. Hechavarria, at 30, has bounced around the minors and majors and barring injury to Amed Rosario, is blocked from being promoted.

And what about Tim Tebow? Well, the popular left-fielder for the Syracuse Mets is struggling big-time, batting only .164 with only two extra-base hits and 22 strikeouts in 55 at-bats. This is supposed to be the year that Tebow takes that final step in his climb to the major leagues.

Ironically, Tebow’s claim to fame this season came when accidentally he kicked his first base coach in the groin.

Tebow continues makes it a priority to impact the communities in which he lives, and he’s announced his first such endeavor in Syracuse.

The Syracuse Mets outfielder will appear at the second annual Mercy Works Gala dinner Sept. 28 at the Oncenter. The event will help raise money for youth-oriented community projects and programs.

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Overall, the Syracuse Mets roster is loaded with older players hoping for an opportunity to return to “The Show”, any show and not necessarily with the Mets. One such player is Rajai Davis, a veteran of 13 major league seasons, who is wearing his age well in what is his first extended run in the minors since 2007.

At 38, Davis told Syracuse.com with a carefree attitude, “I’m just enjoying myself, and the opportunity to play,” he said. “I guess I’m feeling good.” Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco added: “Every day he comes with a smile. He has a lot of energy every day. His legs are still fresh. He can still steal a bag and I think he can help the Mets down the road.”

The Syracuse Mets will be on the road this week before returning home to play the New York Yankees highest level farm team, the Scranton Railriders next weekend. With tickets to Sunday’s game, I’m looking forward to seeing both teams in action.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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