Farm Report: Patrick Mazeika follows Jacob deGrom's route to Mets

While Jacob deGrom tries to become the third qualifying pitcher in New York Mets history to finish with a sub-2.00 ERA, another former Stetson University player is having a standout season in his first few months with the organization.

Patrick Mazeika leads Mets farmhands as well as the Appalachian League with a .367 average (in 188 at-bats). Mazeika’s 43 RBIs rank second in the league, trailing only Kingsport teammate Dash Winningham’s 45.

Mazeika, 21, was an eighth-round pick in June out of the DeLand, Florida, school. He is the first Stetson player to be selected by the Mets since deGrom went in the ninth round in 2010.

“Early on it was an adjustment, after having a month off, just getting back into my approach and working with the hitting coaches every day -- getting my confidence and facing some different style of pitching,” Mazeika said. “A lot of these guys are pretty hard throwers [in the Appalachian League]. It was a little different in college. In college, a lot of guys throw a three-pitch mix. A lot of guys here are hard throwers -- with a few good off-speed pitches, but they like to use the fastball.”

During his first two years of college, blocked by Garrett Russini behind the plate, Mazeika primarily played first base at Stetson. He moved to catcher his junior season. Since turning pro, Mazeika has appeared in 25 games at catcher, 10 at first base and 17 as the designated hitter for the K-Mets.

“I came in as a catcher [at Stetson], but we had an older, more-experienced catcher that had been doing a good job,” said Mazeika, who hails from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. “They wanted to get as many bats in the lineup as possible. So for the first year I played first base. And the second year I caught a little bit. And then he moved to the outfield and I became the primary catcher my junior year.”

Mazeika led all Atlantic Sun Conference players with a .439 batting average in league play his freshman season. He was named a freshman All-American that year.

“Going in to Stetson, I just wanted a chance to play as a freshman,” he said. “So I was willing to do whatever it took to get in the lineup. First base was open. I swung it pretty well in the fall and that gave me the opportunity to play. I was just excited to play. The position I love is catcher, and I’ve always been a catcher. It’s good to get back there in pro ball again.”

Undrafted, Russini signed a free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates and currently is assigned to the Gulf Coast League.

Mazeika has never met deGrom, although he was present when the reigning NL Rookie of the Year returned to his alma mater to throw a ceremonial first pitch at the opener this past season. Mazeika was busy catching that day’s starting pitcher in the bullpen and did not receive the throw from deGrom.

“He briefly talked to all the guys,” Mazeika said. “But I haven’t talked to him one-on-one. Hopefully I get that chance sometime, in the offseason maybe.”


Average: Patrick Mazeika, Kingsport, .367; Kevin Kaczmarski, Kingsport, .351; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .316; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .314; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .312; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, .310; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .308; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, .300; Luis Carpio, Kingsport, .299; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, .297.

Homers: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 19; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 17; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 16; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 14.

RBIs: Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 72; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 67; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 60; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 60; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 59.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 33; Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 30; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 22; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 21.

ERA: Nabil Crismatt, Kingsport, 2.29; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 2.35; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.45; Martires Arias, Savannah, 2.50; Edwin German, GCL Mets, 2.55; Merandy Gonzalez, Kingsport, 2.80; Ronald Guedez, GCL Mets, 2.93; Ricky Knapp, Savannah, 2.98; Audry German, Kingsport, 3.35; Gaby Almonte, Brooklyn, 3.41.

Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 12; Scarlyn Reyes, St. Lucie, 11; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 10; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 10.

Saves: Jon Velasquez, Binghamton, 20; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 20; Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 13; Jimmy Duff, St. Lucie, 12; Alex Palsha, Brooklyn, 11.

Strikeouts: Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 104; Martires Arias, Savannah, 103; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 98; Steven Matz, St. Lucie, 96; Scarlyn Reyes, St. Lucie, 94.


  • Alex Palsha and Gaby Almonte each tossed a perfect inning while representing Brooklyn in Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Aberdeen, Maryland. UConn product Vinny Siena went 0-for-2 off the bench at second base as the South lost 4-2. Palsha had been unscored upon and had not blown a save in 17 appearances (19⅔ innings) this season before suffering his first blemish on Sunday, on the final day before the All-Star break.

  • Playoff-bound Savannah -- playing in its final season before relocating to Columbia, South Carolina -- has reeled off 15 straight wins. The Gnats already have clinched a postseason berth by winning the season’s first half. Savannah leads Greenville by a game atop the Southern Division’s second-half standings as well. For the Gnats, Eudor Garcia is hitting .400 (20-for-50) with one homer and 10 RBIs in August.

  • If the season ended today, Las Vegas (68-56), Binghamton (65-54), Savannah (72-48) and Kingsport (29-25) would qualify for the playoffs.

  • Second-round pick Desmond Linsday produced his first professional homer on Tuesday in the Gulf Coast League. Lindsay, 18, is hitting .313 (15-for-48) and has a .411 on-base percentage to begin his career.

  • Kevin Kaczmarkski, the Mets’ ninth-round pick out of the University of Evansville, is the runner-up to Mazeika in the Appy League with a .351 batting average. Meanwhile, in addition to Winningham’s RBI total leading that league, the Florida high school product also has a league-best 12 homers.

  • 2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith is batting .365 with a homer and 13 RBIs in 63 at-bats this month with St. Lucie.

  • A scout offered this assessment of Las Vegas reliever Vic Black: “Black’s stuff is there, but still too many walks. It’s hard to square up when he’s in or near the zone.” Black has walked 17 in 20 innings with the 51s this season.

  • Dilson Herrera has produced four multihit games in the past week with Vegas to raise his average to .349.

  • The Mets have liked the early performances in the Gulf Coast League of a trio of pitchers drafted out of high school: Jake Simon (2.08), Max Wotell (2.57 ERA) and Jordan Humphreys (1.12 ERA).