Mets righthander Jenrry Mejia made a compelling case that his future ought to be in the rotation. He fired eight one-run innings in his Triple-A debut for Buffalo last night. The diminutive 20-year-old struck out nine Syracuse batters, including seven of the first eight he faced and six in a row at one point, while allowing seven Chiefs to reach via five hits, a walk and a hit batter. Mejia reportedly sat at 96 mph for much of the outing, and the lone run he allowed came courtesy of a solo homer by Syracuse center fielder Michael Martinez.
The Bisons lost 4-1 when reliever Mike O'Connor permitted three runs in the ninth inning. Regardless, Mejia has done little wrong in August, going 2-0, 1.11 in four starts for Double-A Binghamton and another for Buffalo. He has struck out 30, walked 11 and allowed just 20 hits (only one home run) over 32 innings, while his ground-to-fly out ratio register at a tick above 3-to-1.
Mejia has taken just about the most circuitous route possible to Triple-A this season. He surprisingly began the year in the big league bullpen, where he held his own, before a demotion to Binghamton resulted in a quick visit to the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff. Mejia re-joined Binghamton on Aug. 7 to wreak the havoc outlined above. The Mets called him up following his dominating turn for Buffalo, this time to start.
Not Drafted? Not A Problem
Braves Triple-A righthander Brandon Beachy may lead the minors with his 1.83 ERA, but for one night he was upstaged by another Braves nondrafted free agent find. Gwinnett lefty Scott Diamond, who signed in August 2007 after a star turn in the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League, completed an eight-strikeout, two-hit shutout of Norfolk in the Tides' final home game of the year. The 24-year-old Binghamton University product took a no-hitter into the eighth inning but ultimately settled for the shutout. He allowed only one walk in addition to the two hits.
Diamond has gone 4-0, 2.41 in nine starts for Gwinnett since jumping to Triple-A, along with Beachy, in July. Incidentally, the Braves uncovered Beachy in the summer collegiate Valley League after his junior year at NAIA Indiana Wesleyan in ’08—one year after signing Diamond under similar circumstances.
On the same day he learned he won Double-A Texas League player of the year honors, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas celebrated in style by walloping three home runs for Triple-A Omaha and setting a franchise record with 11 RBIs. He went 4-for-6 with four runs scored and a double in the Royals' 23-5 drubbing of Round Rock. The 21-year-old Moustakas hit both a two-run and a three-run shot in the second inning, settled for a three-run double in the fourth and then blasted another three-run homer in the seventh.
Moustakas victimized Andy Van Hekken, Gary Majewski and Casey Daigle for his home runs, giving him 34 on the year and vaulting him past Paul Goldschmidt, Jerry Sands and Mark Trumbo, who all have 33 bombs, for the minor league lead. Omaha closes out the season by hosting Round Rock for three more before finishing with four at Oklahoma City.
Wild Finish For Appy League Wild Card
The Rookie-level Appalachian League instituted a wild card playoff entrant this season in an effort to level the playing field. In recent times, the Danville Braves and Elizabethton Twins seemed all but predestined to run away with their respective divisions and square off for the league title. Naturally, the Pulaski Mariners and Johnson City Cardinals won the Eastern and Western divisions, respectively, in Year One of the new format.
In fact, Danville, the defending league champs, missed the playoffs altogether after dropping three straight one-run games to the Burlington Royals. The Braves could tie the Royals in the standings with a win tonight, but Burlington holds the head-to-head tiebreaker and thus moves on to play the Cardinals in the first round.
Burlington's Crawford Simmons, a 19-year-old lefty, struck out six over five innings last night, allowing only one run on four hits. The ’09 14th-round pick—he signed for a well above-slot $450,000—finished the year at 6-2, 2.77 in a league-leading 14 starts and 78 innings. His 70 strikeouts rank fourth in the Appy League with one day left in the season.
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