Mazeika Finishes a “Season”

Patrick Mazeika St Lucie 2017When I was floating around on milb.com the other day, basically looking for cool stuff to cover (maybe), I noticed that Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2013) has played in almost exactly 162 minor league games in his career since he was drafted in 2015. The major leagues play 162 games, of course, and the minors play less, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at Patrick’s total numbers through what would be a complete “season.”

(By the way, Patrick killed it in the VBL in ’13. In 76 at-bats, he hit 382/552/566, with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home runs, and a 18/17 BB/K ratio.)

After being popped in the 8th round in ’15 by the Mets, Patrick was assigned to Kingsport of the Appalachian League. He moved up to Columbia, the Mets’ Low-A affiliated in the South Atlantic League, and he has moved up another level, to High-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League, in 2017.

Drum roll please………

In his first 162 games and 575 at-bats in professional baseball, Patrick Mazeika is hitting 337/433/497, with 99 runs, 110 RBIs, 194 hits, 53 doubles (53!!), 13 home runs, and 72 walks against 79 strikeouts.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a solid “season.” Here’s to hoping you keep in up, Patrick!

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Mazeika Named Mets Org All-Star

MazeikaThe latest Valley League alumni named to an organization all-star team is Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2013), who was named the New York Mets’ all-star catcher!

The article on milb.com, written by Robert Emrich, had this to say about Patrick:

An eighth-round pick out of Florida’s Stetson University — the same school that yielded Mets hurler Jacob deGrom — Mazeika made a big impact on the Appalachian League, finishing second in the circuit with a .354 batting average, second with 48 RBIs, third with a .991 OPS and pacing the league with 27 doubles. Not a bad opening act for the 22-year-old backstop.

“We really liked him as an offensive player, especially as a left-handed hitter,” vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta said. “He’s just hit everywhere he’s been. It was certainly a very encouraging start to his pro career.”

Indeed it was. If Patrick’s defensive skills are good enough, and he keeps hitting like this, he will move up the chain quickly!

Other Great Postseasons by VBL Alums

Most of know by now that Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05) had a blistering National League Championship series, clubbing home runs in a record six straight postseason games, while leading the Mets to their first World Series appearance since 2000.

This binge reminded me of some other, older series when Valley League alumni had postseason success. Here are three for you to peruse, dear brilliant reader….

Daniel Murphy head brYou have to start with Murphy. Murph, playing in his first postseason games as a big leaguer, crushed the LA Dodgers in the NLDS, hitting 333/333/810 in 21 at-bats, with a double, 3 runs scored, 3 home runs (off Clayton Kershaw twice, and Zack Greinke), and 5 RBIs. Then, on an even bigger stage, Daniel hit 529/556/1.294 in 17 at-bats in the NLCS against the Cubs. He scored 6 runs, hit a double, 4 home runs, and drove in 6 runs. He was easily the MVP of the series. Of course, you probably know that the hot streak ended. In the World Series against the Royals, Dan hit 150/320/150 in 20 at-bats, and committed a couple errors in the field. However, he will most likely be remembered for the blistering 38 at-bats before the ultimate series.

David Eckstein (Harrisonburg 1995-96) had an amazing run in the playoffs for the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Already possessing one championship ring (2002 Anaheim Angels), David saved his best hitting for the World Series in ’06. He hit 364/391/500 in 22 at-bats, along with 3 doubles and 4 RBIs, including 2 crucial RBIs in the Cardinals’ clinching 5th game against the Detroit Tigers. David was named MVP of the World Series.

Mike Lowell (Waynesboro 1993), the All-Star third baseman for the Boston Red Sox in 2007, drove in 120 runs in theMike Lowell head br regular season while hitting 324/378/501, and continued his hot hitting right through three rounds of playoffs. He hit 333/364/556 in the Red Sox’s three game sweep of the Angels in the ALDS, and followed that up with the line of 333/375/519 in the 7 games of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. He hit 2 doubles, a home run, and drove in 8 runs in 27 at-bats in that series. Then, the World Series. All he did was hit 400/500/800 in the 4-game sweep, along with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, a home run, and 4 RBIs. He even stole a base against the Rockies. If you add up the three series, Mike scored 10 runs, hit 7 doubles, 2 home runs, and drove in 15 runs. He was named the MVP of the World Series.

Eckstein holding World Series MVP trophy in 2006

Eckstein holding World Series MVP trophy in 2006

Two Named To Post-Season All-League Teams

It feels odd to put these two together, as one player hails from the entry-level Appalachian League, and the other from the just-two-steps-from-the-majors Texas League, but here goes….

We’ll start with Patrick Mazeika (Waynesboro 2013), who was named the catcher on the Appalachian League post-season All-Star Team! Patrick was just drafted this June in the 8th round by the New York Mets. He tore up the Appy League, hitting 354/451/540 in 62 games and 226 at-bats. He’s hit 27 doubles, 5 home runs, scored 44 runs, driven in 48, and has a sterling 24/26 BB/K ratio.

Chris Devenski

Chris Devenski

Secondly, Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011) was named to the Texas League post-season All-Star Team! Chris has gone 12-7, 2.80 in 109 1/3 innings so far this year. He’s allowed 105 hits, 31 walks, and struck out 92. He’s oh-so-close to the majors leagues….

Congratulations to both players!

Updates on Copeland, Liberatore, and Leathersich

The Valley League has seen three former players make their major league debuts so far in the 2015 season: Scott Copeland (Staunton 2007), Adam Liberatore (Waynesboro 2007-08), and Jack Leathersich (Haymarket 2009).*

* Interesting that two of the three won VBL titles- Liberatore in ’07 and Leathersich in ’09*

Scott Copeland Toronto headshot

Copeland

The fun part is that all three pitchers have been effective- to different levels of effectiveness, sure, but still effective- in their stints with their major league clubs.

Copeland has only pitched in two games (through Wednesday, May 20) for the Toronto Blue Jays, but has not allowed a run. Overall, he’s 0-0, 0.00, and has allowed 2 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings pitched. So his WHIP is 1.333, but the point of pitching is to keep the other guys from scoring, so he’s done his job.

Liberatore was poached by new Dodgers’ president of operations Andrew Friedman, who traded for the former Tampa Bay Ray after Friedman left the Rays. Adam has been outstanding since his callup in the middle of April. Overall, he’s 0-1, 1.64 in 12 games and 11 innings pitched. He’s allowed only 5 hits and 1 walk, while

Liberatore

Liberatore

striking out 11. If Liberatore keeps pitching like this, he’ll be with the major league club all year for sure, and have an excellent chance of breaking Spring Training camp next March.

Leathersich seems to have filled in the role for the Mets that Josh Edgin (Winchester 2007) filled last year- a lefty reliever to equalize left handed batters. Jack has pitched in 5 games, but has only completed 3 innings. He’s allowed 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, and struck out 2. His WHIP is high, at 1.667, but again, like Copeland, he’s not allowed a run, so he’s doing his job.

Hopefully all three will stay in the majors the rest of the year, and keep putting up solid numbers!

Leathersich

Leathersich

Leathersich Named Top Mets Prospect

And what a beard!

And what a beard!

We are down to just two Valley Leaguers left on mlb.com’s prospect lists- the second-to-last being Jack Leathersich, a member of the Haymarket Senator’s championship team of 2009.

Jack was named the Mets’ #20 prospect, which is not surprising given his results over the last couple years. Including his 10 strikeouts in only 5 innings so far in 2015, Jack has struck out an incredible 344 hitters in 202 1/3 innings pitched in his minor league career. Missing that many bats usually indicates a major league career down the road, and I would hypothesize that Jack’s career will be no different. (My guess is that he will be called up this season at some point to join Adam Liberatore.)

This is what mlb.com had to say about Jack:

Though Leathersich was a starter at Division II UMass-Lowell, the Mets sent him straight to the bullpen after drafting him in 2011 and he hasn’t looked back since, now on the brink of helping out the big league bullpen.

Leathersich misses a lot of bats, with an eye-popping 15.2 career strikeout-per-nine ratio heading into the 2015 season. While he only hits the low 90s with his fastball, hitters can’t pick the pitch because Leathersich throws it with a lot of deception. He has a good hard curve and will even mix in a changeup to keep left-handed hitters honest. Leathersich’s worst enemy has been his command and he made strides in that regard in 2014, doing a better job of keeping the ball down in the zone. More advanced hitters laid off of his stuff out of the strike zone, something he’ll need to improve to have lasting success in the big leagues.

While Leathersich clearly could be used to get left-handers out, his ability to miss bats of any kind could lead to a larger bullpen role if he can continue to harness his command.

Along with his 10 strikeouts so far in 2015, Jack hasn’t walked a single batter. Perhaps his control is starting to come around.

Congratulations, Jack, and keep collecting those strikeouts!

News on Beachy, Leathersich

Two quick hits this evening:

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Brandon Beachy (Woodstock 2008) as a free agent. The Atlanta Braves decided to “nontender” Brandon, which basically means that they declined to offer him arbitration. The Dodgers clearly have signed Brandon for extra rotation help when he returns from his *gulp* second Tommy John surgery last spring. The Dodgers have placed him on the 60-day disabled list.
  • If you haven’t checked out fangraphs.com, dear reader, you need to remedy the situation ASAP. On Sunday, Jack Leathersich Mets uniformDavid Laurila wrote a piece on former Valley Leaguer Jack Leathersich (Haymarket 2009), who will probably get a call to the majors in 2015. Among other things, he said this about Jack:

Leathersich is deceptive and has a nasty slider to go with an above-average fastball, so the potential is there to become a bullpen cog at Citi Field. Why he’s been unable to master his command remains the million-dollar question, and the answer extends beyond the physical.

Make sure you head on over and check out the whole article!