MMLN – Nearly No-Hit in New Hampshire

Robert Carson made his Double-A debut

MANCHESTER, NH – It was a rough night in New Hampshire for the B-Mets as the lineup came within five outs being no-hit and Robert Carson grinded out a rocky Double-A debut. The B-Mets finally got runs on the board in an eventual 6-2 loss, but there was more to take away from Friday night's game in this edition of Mets Minor League Notebook.

Robert Carson was not at his best in giving up four earned runs on seven hits over four innings, but the most impressive part of his start was his velocity. Carson's fastball ranged 92-95 MPH, sitting at 93-94 MPH and sustaining into the fourth inning despite a strenuous first inning workload. Carson threw 40 pitches in the first inning with the majority of them fastballs.

Carson had good downward plane with the fastball, showing a free and easy delivery to generate the velocity. Carson's slider sat at 84-86 MPH which he threw inside to right-hander without fear. However, it was the slider that cost him at times as he struggled to keep the pitch down in two-strike counts. He did get two of his four strikeouts finishing the slider, which was inconsistent during the start, down and in to right-handers.

Carson only sprinkled in his changeup, throwing it 83-85 MPH and limiting it to less than 10 thrown in the start.

Mechanically, Carson was his usual self. He pitched with good balance, rhythm and somewhat deceptive pop on his fastball given his easy delivery.
The biggest struggle for Carson was finishing off at-bats. He did not get hit early in the count. He struggled at times to get ahead in the count, but even when he did much of the inflicted damage came in two-strike counts. He stuck with the fastball in two-strike counts which is something he will unlikely get away with at the same regularity if he is to pitch to success in the Eastern League.

To his credit though, Carson did not nibble when he got into trouble. He attacked the strike zone and pumped his fastball. He remained aggressive.

An American League and National League scout agreed that Carson's arm should play at the big league level at least in the bullpen.

Eric Niesen pitched 1 1/3 inning of relief but struggled because he lacked command of his slider. His slider came out at 78-80 MPH but was wild out of the zone. Niesen's fastball ranged 90-94 MPH, showing good running action on the four-seam and good tail and sink with the two-seam fastball. He attacked hitters and relied on his movement, but his command wasn't there. His walk total is extremely high this year (43 BB in 38 IP) and the lack of slider command appears to be a big reason why.

Eddie Kunz came out of the bullpen with a fastball that sat 90-95 MPH. Kunz did a very good job of keeping the ball down with tail and sink out of the full windup. However, his command rapidly broke down when out of the stretch. It should be no surprise why his opponent's batting average jumps from .224 with the bases empty to .313 with runners on base. Out of the stretch the ball stayed up and that's when he paid for it. This is not a new pattern for Kunz. If/when he can command the ball down in the zone with runners on like he does with bases empty, his stock will go up.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis took an 0-for-4 on the night with two strikeouts. One (slight) knock against Nieuwenhuis is the amount of strikeouts he can tally. Last night it was witnessed why. He has a tendency to chase breaking pitches down and expand his strike zone up. Nieuwenhuis is simply an aggressive hitter. He showed controlled swings, but still needs to work on his plate discipline.

Josh Satin is doing a good job of putting the ball and playing and hitting his way on base in Double-A, but I have concerns about his power and production as he continues to move up. That is because of the amount of hand movement in his load and backswing. A significant and prolonged bat waggle and a drop of his hands got him well behind breaking pitches last night and the amount of breaking pitches he sees will only increase from here on out.

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