Mets’ Paez Relishes Underdog Role

NEW YORKAfter winning the College World Series with Coastal Carolina, fourth-round pick Michael Paez began his pro career at shortstop at short-season Brooklyn.

However, Paez will primarily play second base with the Cyclones because Arizona State fifth-rounder Colby Woodmansee will see most of the time at shortstop.

“We like the plate discipline that (Paez) showed throughout his career, and in the Cape (Cod League) with the wood bat against really good pitching,” assistant scouting director Marc Tramuta said.

“We think he can handle shortstop, but certainly there’s a backup plan at second base, where he can be more offensive-oriented . . . He’s also an extremely tough kid who plays with an attitude and a little bit of swagger, which bodes well having that kind of makeup for a long journey through the minor leagues.”

Coastal Carolina won the Big South Conference title this year, defeating Liberty 1-0 in the championship game on Paez’s third-inning homer. The Chanticleers ultimately advanced to the school’s first CWS on Paez’s walk-off chopper over third base in a super regional at Louisiana State.

The magic continued in Omaha, where Coastal Carolina defeated Arizona.

The underdog story line certainly fits the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Paez, who had to work to get recruited at all. While playing high school ball in Miami, he received no attention from the major in-state programs.

“I just played in a lot of tournaments and am blessed that one of the Coastal Carolina coaches watched one of my teammates play,” said Paez, 21, “and I ended up playing very well in that game.

“They sent me an email to come to a camp. Sometimes those camps are money-makers, so I was hesitant to go. But I was like, ‘What do I have to lose? I’ll go to Myrtle Beach on a little vacation with my parents and just play baseball.’ I played really well in the camp and they offered me that day.”


• The Mets demoted righthander Rafael Montero to Double-A Binghamton to open the second half. He went 4-6, 7.20 at Triple-A Las Vegas and walked 4.5 per nine innings.

• Binghamton first baseman Matt Oberste earned MVP honors in the Eastern League all-star game. He went 4-for-5 with four RBIs for the victorious Eastern Division.

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