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Mets minor league playoff preview
Three Mets affiliates begin minor league playoff series on Wednesday. Here’s a breakdown of each series:
THE MATCHUP: Las Vegas (81-63), Pacific Southern winner, vs. Reno (81-63), Pacific Northern winner
THE SERIES: Begins with two games at Cashman Field on Wednesday and Thursday before shifting to Reno on Friday. If needed, the final two games of the five-game series will also take place at Reno.
SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas is 8-8 vs. Reno
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: Reno (Diamondbacks). The Aces took their PCL division title with a 10-inning thriller on Monday, highlighted by Arizona prospect Nick Ahmed driving in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (RENO): Ex-Met Mike Jacobs hit .299 with a .370 on-base percentage and 19 home runs during the regular season. Former top prospect Andy Marte had a .388 OBP and 19 home runs. Ahmed hit .312 with a .373 OBP. Mike Bolsinger was the Aces’ best starter, with a 3.93 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Kevin Munson had a 2.60 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 62.1 innings of relief.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (LAS VEGAS): Andrew Brown leads the 51s with 21 home runs and has a .283 average and .372 OBP. Matt Reynolds has been a force atop the lineup since his call-up, batting .333 with a .385 OBP and eight stolen bases. Kevin Plawecki has come on after a rough start and is hitting .283 with a .345 OBP and five home runs. Pitching will be a strength for Las Vegas with Matthew Bowman (3.47 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) and Noah Syndergaard (145 strikeouts) slated to get the starts in Game 2 and 3, respectively. Rafael Montero has the Game 1 nod. Logan Verrett and Cory Mazzoni are the Game 4 and 5 probables, if neccesary, according to the 51s.
THE MATCHUP: Binghamton (83-59), Eastern division second seed, vs. Portland (88-54), Eastern division winner
THE SERIES: Begins with two games at NYSEG Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday before shifting to Portland on Friday. If needed, the final two games of the five-game series will also take place at Portland.
SEASON SERIES: Binghamton is 8-10 vs. Portland
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: Portland (Red Sox). The Sea Dogs finished the regular season with their best record in franchise history.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (PORTLAND): The Sea Dogs’ main source of power is second baseman Sean Coyle, who hit .295 with a .371 OBP and 16 home runs. Other team leaders like Blake Swihart, Travis Shaw and Mookie Betts have been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket or to the majors, a factor that should limit Portland’s potency in the playoffs. Lefthanders Eduardo Rodriguez (3.60 ERA in 22 starts) and Brian Johnson (1.75 ERA in 20 starts) could be dangerous.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (BINGHAMTON): Among the organization home run leaders were Brian Burgamy with 23 and Dustin Lawley with 20. First baseman Jayce Boyd hit .293 with a .382 OBP. Middle infielders Wilfredo Tovar and T.J. Rivera are supplemented by recent call-up Gavin Cecchini. Catcher Cam Maron, a Hicksville native, is another recent call-up with outstanding plate discipline, though his playing time will likely be limited. Brandon Nimmo hasn’t had much success with his average since joining Binghamton, but he sports a .339 OBP and .396 slugging percentage despite his struggles. Long Island’s Steven Matz (2.27 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) is the star of the pitching staff.
THE MATCHUP: Savannah (85-51), Southern division first half winner, vs. Asheville (89-49), Southern division second half winner
THE SERIES: The three-game series begins at Asheville on Wednesday before shifting to Grayson Stadium on Friday and, if needed, Saturday.
SEASON SERIES: Savannah is 3-6 vs. Asheville
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: Asheville (Rockies). The Tourists finished second to Savannah in the first half, going 41-28, before a 48-21 second half reversed that order.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (ASHEVILLE): Corelle Prime and Ryan McMahon were the only two players in the South Atlantic League to reach 100 RBIs. Prime has 21 home runs and McMahon has a .358 OBP and 18 home runs. Asheville’s top three starters are all righthanded: Johendi Jiminian (3.99 ERA), Alex Balog (3.95 ERA) and Antonio Senzatela (3.11). Lefthander Kyle Freeland, who’s only made five starts for the Tourists, has impressed with an 0.83 WHIP and 0.83 ERA.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (SAVANNAH): Matt Oberste and Stefan Sabol lead the team with eight home runs each. Champ Stuart has 29 stolen bases and Patrick Biondi has 24. First baseman Dominic Smith hasn’t shown the power he’s been projected to have, but has a .271 average and .344 OBP. Jon Gant (2.56 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), Robert Gsellman (2.55 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) and Robert Whalen (2.01 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) are excellent in the rotation, but the real star of the pitching staff is closer Akeel Morris. Morris has 16 saves, an 0.63 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and has struck out 89 in 57 innings.