Brooklyn’s Marcos Molina was sharp in his start for the South at the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. The Mets’ undrafted free agent in 2012 from the Dominican Republic threw just 15 pitches, 10 for strikes, while striking out two. Molina leads the New York-Penn League with 73 strikeouts and is second in ERA at 1.58 and WHIP (0.83).
Molina has allowed more than two earned runs in only one outing this season. Gamboa sees the 19-year-old moving quickly through the Mets’ system.
“He’s dominated this whole league,” Gamboa said. “We’re fortunate the Mets have left him here through the season, probably because he’s only 19. Personally I see him being on the very fast track to pitch in the big leagues.
“I felt that way before the season started and he’s only added to my belief, watching him throw nearly 60 innings.”
Hudson Valley manager Tim Parenton had the early scouting report on his incoming first baseman, Casey Gillaspie, the first-round pick of Tampa Bay in the June draft. Parenton was a teammate of Gillaspie’s father, Mark, at Mississippi State.
“His dad was a different type of player,” Parenton said. “He had a great arm. He was smaller than Casey. Casey doesn’t run as well as his father did, but he has a little bit more power than his dad. There aren’t many similarities.”
Gillaspie, whose brother Conor plays for the White Sox, has blended patience with power for Hudson Valley. He leads the league in walks with 32 while blasting seven home runs. With only a few weeks off between the end of his college season at Wichita State and the start of the New York-Penn League, Gillaspie has hit the proverbial wall.
He’s just 8-for-36 in his past 10 games prior to the All-Star Game. Gillaspie struck out looking and drew a walk in the All-Star game.
“Most college kids if you ask them will say, ‘Man it’s just getting on me right now,” Parenton said. “Most people don’t understand that the college season starts Jan. 7. Spring training starts Feb. 28. They’ve played a little longer and they want to prove their worth out there, so they go real, real hard.
“He (Casey) will get back into it. The two days off for him will be good.”
J.P. Sportman has been one of the hottest hitters in the New York-Penn League just a month after arriving from the Arizona League. The Athletics’ 27th-round pick in June from Central Connecticut State had his batting average hovering around .400.
He’s hitting .324 over the past 10 games for the Vermont Lake Monsters prior to the All-Star Game. The righthanded-hitting Sportman (5-9, 190) has dominated lefty pitching to the tune of a .458 average, but those numbers weren’t good enough to land him an original spot on the All-Star team.
He eventually was named to the team, going 0-for-1 late in the game.
“I just wanted to play hard, but everything just started going my way,” said Sportman of his fast start in the league. “I started to beat out infield singles.”
He hit .321 and registered an on-base percentage of .414 in Arizona.
“Down there the pitchers are just trying to locate and throw fastballs by you,” Sportman said. “Up here the pitchers are more experienced.”