(Portland ME) Irresistible collection of baseball prospects at Hadlock Field in Portland on Thursday night.
The local Portland Sea Dogs, however, lost 4-0 to the Binghamton Mets and continue to have the worst record (35-62) in the Eastern League.
I arrived at Hadlock 1 ½ hours early in time to see long lines of folks outside the park ahead of the 7PM start. Didn’t imagine that the fan passion was over the prospects I hoped to see……..and it wasn’t.
Turns out that the first 1000 fans were going to receive a free Travis Shaw bobblehead. The lure for a $3 item featuring the former Sea Dog drew that crowd and I’m guessing that there were more than the 1000 in the lines.
Anyhow, the lure for me was a look at the New York Mets’ top two prospects as well as yet another look at Red Sox prospects Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi.
There was clearly a sense of urgency. All four players could well be in triple A very soon, they’re that good. In fact, I checked the Eastern League transactions regularly while the Sea Dogs were on the road to see if any of them had been moved. I remembered how quickly Xander and Mookie came and went from Portland.
But none of the four had moved up and when I checked the starting lineups all four were there.
I had seen Andrew twice and Yoan once, so spotting them for pictures was easy. The tough part in shooting them was the setting sun which necessitated sunglasses for some players. Andrew is one of those.
The two Mets were a different problem. I had never seen them before in person. I did have numbers but in the Eastern League the numbers are only on the back. So I didn’t expect to get any early shots of #1 Amed Rosario or #22 Dominic Smith.
I was wrong about that because both players stopped and interacted with Portland players so that I was able to see the numbers on the back. The Portland players have names on the back as well but not Binghamton.
Since I had pictures of Yoan and Andrew from a previous visit I concentrated on being sure I had some of Dominic and Amed. I started the game on the edge of the Binghamton dugout because those two players would come towards me at the end of innings. I was also aware that switch-hitting Yoan would be facing my way while batting.
I had to adjust my settings on the Binghamton side because the sun was blocked by the height of the stadium as it set. Not so on the Portland side.
I would have loved to have had another camera available with a small lens because I was very close to the Binghamton players. That Nikon I made an offer for during a recent yard sale might have been the ticket.
Despite all the hype (in my head), the four promising ones were all hitless for the night. Yoan reached on a walk and I hoped that the minor league’s leading base stealer might run but he didn’t.
Dominic Smith was a Mets first-rounder in 2013. Not tall (6’) but big (250 pounds). The twenty-one year old Binghamton first baseman was the MVP in the Florida State League last season. Going into last night’s game he had 12 homers, 67 RBI, and a .294 batting average.
Amed Rosario is only twenty. The Dominican was signed by the Mets as a 16-year-old. The 6-2 shortstop has played a good part of this season with St. Lucie in the Florida State League. With Binghamton so far, after 23 games, he has 33 hits, 14 RBI, and a .379 batting average.
The two Mets players should reach AAA Las Vegas in August. Yoan and Andrew should see Pawtucket shortly. Andrew may make it to Fenway. I will be very pleasantly surprised if I return to Hadlock and Yoan and Andrew are still on the Portland roster.
It was disco night at Hadlock and that may well have been why Slugger continued his losing streak. His pants were seriously tight and I think he was afraid that he might rip them out so he didn’t take any chances. On this night he faced a little kid with plenty of jets. This kid was so fast that he was able to stop at second and allow Slugger back into the race and then blow the big guy away. I am not sure that looser pants would have made a difference now that I think of it.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)