Lucie Logistics: Ad-Rod and TJ Rivera Hot, Mets Not Stealing Bases And Rainy Lara’s Success

By Bill Passonno

May 29, 2013 No comments

It’s Raining Lara: Last Thursday, Rainy Lara became the second pitcher to shift from Low Class A Savannah to St. Lucie in the past three weeks as he joined budding talent Matthew Bowman in Florida. The promotion came largely due to starting pitcher Hansel Robles‘ move to the 7-day disabled list, but the right-hander also performed well during his first venture with the Sand Gnats after a successful run at Brooklyn last year.

Lara, who is slated to make his team debut Friday at Charlotte, enhances an already sterling staff for St. Lucie, especially in the starting corps. Anchored by top prospect Noah Syndergaard, the Mets entered a three-game series against Jupiter on Tuesday ranked fourth in the 12-team Florida State League with a collective 3.43 ERA. Though the group has been hit hard at times (33 home runs allowed), the Mets are the only team with more than 400 strikeouts (401 in 425.2 innings).

Four St. Lucie starters — Syndergaard, Robles, Bowman and Alex Panteliodis — own an ERA below 3.40 (minimum four starts) and red-hot lefty Angel Cuan follows close behind with a 3.69 mark thanks to shutouts in his past two outings. Lara, meanwhile, brings a 1.42 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over eight starts at Savannah to St. Lucie, and is another pitcher who could be on the fast track through the organizational ranks with a strong impression in the FSL.

Aderlin dosage increases: Third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez‘s first foray at St. Lucie last season left much to be desired as his numbers fell significantly following his arrival from Savannah. This year has been quite different. After registering a robust .833 OPS with the Sand Gnats last year, the 21-year-old stumbled a bit with St. Lucie and recorded eight home runs and 30 RBI in 42 games with the club for a .720 OPS. But in his first 47 games this year, he has tallied 14 doubles and nine homers while driving in 37 runs, tied for most on the team with left fielder Dustin Lawley.

Rodriguez has 12 multi-hit performances on the season and a pair of four-RBI outings over his past nine games. Most of his starts have come at the hot corner this year, but he has also received playing time at first base. Defense has been a slight issue for Rodriguez as he’s committed a team-high eight errors, including his initial blunder at first base last Thursday.

Hitting his stride: Shortstop T.J. Rivera has been one of the Mets’ most consistent hitters during his first full season with the club, producing a .288 batting average and .351 on-base percentage. He doesn’t generate much power — he owns a meager .351 slugging percentage — but his hit total (55) ranks tied for seventh-most in the FSL. Through his first 45 games, the Bronx native has notched at least one hit in all but 10 outings.

Steal curtain lifting: With the Mets carrying some heavy lumber in the batting order, that has resulted in limited speed on the base paths. But the young squad has started to take more chances lately and recorded four stolen bases during its three-game series against Bradenton. The outburst came after St. Lucie managed three steals during a four-game set at Dunedin before returning home. The Mets still entered play Tuesday with the second-fewest steals in the FSL, ahead of only Lakeland. They have nabbed 23 bases in 37 chances.