In his third season in the Binghamton Mets bullpen, Tim McNab has become the fireman. The arm…
Coles Sets the Tone
In the leadoff man's first trip to the plate in game two of a three game series with the with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the B-Mets were down 2-0 after Kevin Mulvey's shaky first inning. No matter, Coles took ball one. And then ball two. And ball three, and strike one, and finally, a walk.
In his second at-bat in the third inning, Coles took nine pitches, before finally chopping out to third base.
Coles was displaying the plate discipline that Baseball America ranked as the best in the Mets' system: he finished second in the Florida State League last season in hits, with 156, and first in on base percentage, at .407. In 72 at-bats with the B-Mets entering Sunday, Coles is batting .375.
"Wow … it's always fun watching him, you never know what's going to happen," said B-Mets closer and Coles' teammate in St. Lucie last season, Carlos Muniz.
"We sit in the bullpen and kind of play around sometimes, ‘Hey, how many hits do you think he's going to get? Two or three, sometimes four."
The 25-year-old left-hander was called up from St. Lucie on May 9. Since Coles' arrival, the B-Mets have gone 15-4 and are on a seven-game winning streak.
Coles was batting .286 in just 14 games with St. Lucie—he started the year late due to offseason surgery on the labrum he tore 2/3 into last year. Now as a B-Met, has been the difference maker at the top of the lineup.
"We've seen some pretty good arms as far as pitching, just getting lucky a few times, just kind of scraping a little bit harder to get an extra hit here and there," Coles said. "Just sticking with my plan, sticking with my approach, not thinking that I'd be overwhelmed."
"In the Florida State League pitchers throw harder," he continued. "Here the average fastball is a little bit slower but pitchers have better stuff: they throw at least two pitches, sometimes three for strikes. I've seen a lot of cutters, down in the Florida State League there's not many guys who have cutters."
Nelson Silverio, the B-Mets hitting coach, worked with Coles last season as well on simple mechanical things, such as keeping his head still, staying inside the ball, and going the opposite way.
"He's awesome, he's one of the better hitting coaches I've ever been with," Coles said of Silverio. "He's real good at not changing your swing too much, there have been hitting coaches that try to make everyone hit exactly the same."
Silverio said he was not surprised by Coles' instant success in Double-A: "If you're a hitter, you're going to make the adjustment right away, you know what's going on."
Coles was not error-free that game, however. After his walk in the first inning, Wilson Batista singled to move Coles to second. After Fernando Martinez lined out, red-hot Caleb Stewart hit a shallow liner to center that Fisher Cat centerfielder Dustin Majewski faked as though he was going to catch, when in reality he had to play it on a bounce. Coles bit, retreating too close to second and was thrown out at third.
"The biggest mistake was he wasn't aware where the outfielders were playing. Especially with Stewart batting, they're playing back," said manager Mako Oliveras. "On that play you play half way, you turn around the other way, if the ball bounces or he catches the ball, this way you can get back to the bag or advance."
Putting Coles at the top of the lineup is probably the best addition to the B-Mets yet. With his work ethic and natural ability, the few kinks he has are expected to be ironed out.
"I get here early and I see him getting here early, taking cuts in the cage, doing what he needs to do to do to stay on top of his game," said Muniz.
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