Results tagged ‘ New York Mets ’

Knights in the 2015 MLB Postseason: Addison Reed

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Addison Reed was acquired by the Mets from the Diamondbacks on August 30, 2015.

Former Charlotte Knights right-handed pitcher Addison Reed is currently a member of the New York Mets, who will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. The Mets went 90-72 to win the National League East Division this season. They finished seven games ahead of second place Washington.

Reed has proven to be a solid member of New York’s bullpen since he was acquired by the club on August 30, 2015 from Arizona in exchange for two minor league pitchers (Miller Diaz & Matt Koch). The former Knights hurler posted a 1-1 record with a 1.17 ERA down the stretch for the Mets this year (17 games).

A native of Montclair, CA, Reed was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. The 6’4″, 230-pound reliever quickly made his way through Chicago’s system. He made his professional debut in 2010 with Great Falls (Rookie League) and went 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 13 games with the Voyagers.

In 2011, Reed’s rise through the system was quick. He began the year with Single-A Kannapolis and posted a 1.12 ERA in four games. Next, it was on to High-A Winston-Salem, where Reed went 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA in 15 games. He continued to jump classifications, going to Double-A Birmingham next, where he compiled a 0-1 record with a minuscule 0.87 ERA in 13 games. Was he done there? Not even close.

Reed was promoted to Triple-A in late July and was sharp as a member of Charlotte’s bullpen. He struck-out four batters in two innings for his Triple-A debut on July 26 at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC. Reed_Addison

Appearing in 11 games with Charlotte that year, the San Diego State University product posted a 1.27 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. It was his final test before a promotion to Chicago was in the cards.

On September 4, 2011, Reed made his major league debut with the White Sox against the Detroit Tigers (1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO). On that day, his journey through the system that season came full circle. After beginning in Kannapolis, and continuing through Winston-Salem, Birmingham, and Charlotte, Reed was now a member of the White Sox at the young age of 22. He finished the season with a 0-0 record and a 3.68 ERA in six games with Chicago.

Overall in 43 games (combined between four teams) at the minor league level in 2011, Reed went 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA. He fanned a whopping 111 batters in 78.1 innings pitched.

Reed spent the next two seasons (2012-13) with the South Siders, saving 29 games in 2012 and a career-high 40 in 2013. On December 16, 2013, things changed for Reed. On that day, the Los Osos High School product was traded to the Diamondbacks for 3B Matt Davidson, who spent the past two seasons with the Knights (2014-15).

With the D’Backs, Reed went just 1-7 with a 4.25 ERA in 2014 (59.1 IP), his first of two seasons with the organization. Still, the talented righty saved 32 games for Arizona in his first season and struck-out 69 batters over that span. In 2015, he was back in Arizona’s bullpen and went 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA with three saves in 38 games (40.2 IP). He also spent time in Triple-A Reno, where he went 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 11 games. With the 2015 season winding down and the Mets looking for bullpen help, the two teams worked out a trade to bring Reed to the Big Apple. Once he got there, he shined.

Reed played a key role in New York’s bullpen in September. He compiled a 1.17 ERA in 17 games and was a big part of the team’s success down the stretch. As a late-inning reliever, Reed was exactly what the Mets were looking for to help bridge the gap to closer Jeurys Familia.

Now, the 26-year-old reliever will look to continue his impact into the 2015 MLB Postseason. Reed is sure to see some action throughout the series against the Dodgers. Stay tuned…

Hall of Fame Day Brings Back Fond Memories

On January 6, 2015, the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed four new members — Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio. Those four players will be enshrined at Cooperstown in July with all-time greats such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, and many others. nationalbaseballhalloffamelogo

For me, Hall of Fame election day brings back many fond memories of my all-time favorite player, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 — his sixth year on the ballot. So, who was that player?

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY — and growing up a diehard Mets fan in the 1980’s — there was only one player for me — Gary Carter.

He wore #8, which was my favorite number. We were both born on the 8th day of a month (me in January, him in April). There were many other reasons too — and if you saw him play, you know those reasons.

He had heart. He had class. He worked hard. He was loved by many. He never gave up. He played to win. He succeeded. He was the final piece of the Mets championship puzzle. He always smiled. He was my baseball idol.

At my first-ever game at Shea Stadium as a kid with my dad, “the Kid” signed my program. He made me want to be a catcher in Little League — and I did for awhile — until I learned that I can pitch. Carter

I followed him throughout his career (well, from his Mets days on) and I continued to follow him in his retirement. I always thought he should manage the Mets someday. You know what they say — catchers make the best managers. He would have been a very good Major League manager, too.

For six years, I remember waiting patiently on Hall of Fame day to see if he would finally get that much-deserved call. To me, he was a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was finally elected on January 7, 2003 — a day before my 22nd birthday. Not a bad birthday present!

Sadly, Gary passed away on February 16, 2012 at the age of 57. The Mets wore a patch on their uniforms that season in honor of him. I remember thinking that it was going to be my goal one day to interview former players to learn more about my baseball idol. I did that later that year when Wally Backman’s Buffalo Bisons visited Knights Stadium to face the Charlotte Knights.

WATCH: Wally Backman talks to Tommy Viola about Gary Carter on Knights TV

For many reasons, January 7, 2003 was a memorable baseball day for me. It’s up there with the first Mets game I ever attended, the time I struck-out 17 batters in Little League, my first game working in baseball, and Opening Day in Uptown Charlotte last season. image

All and all, sitting here in the Charlotte Knights press box today thinking about Gary Carter reminds me of so many great times watching and talking baseball with my dad and grandfathers. It reminds me of my early life when my family and I were living in Brooklyn and I could cheer on Gary Carter and the Mets.

My goal in 2015 will be to pick up where I left off in 2012 and continue to learn more about Gary Carter. Stay tuned for interviews later this year.

Here’s looking at you, “Kid”.

Here is more on Gary Carter from the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Winter Meetings: Tommy “the V” Viola, Meet Sweet Music Viola

As a kid growing up with the last name VIOLA, there was one player that I always wanted a chance to meet. I got that chance on Tuesday night in Orlando when I had the opportunity to say hello to Frank “Sweet Music” Viola. viola-frank

Living in New York for the early part of my life, people thought it was odd that I had one of my favorite players on a team from Minnesota. Frank Viola was the star pitcher for the Minnesota Twins in the 1980’s. He won the Cy Young Award in 1988 after posting a 24-7 mark with a 2.64 ERA in 35 starts. In eight seasons with the Twins, Viola won 112 games. Overall, he won 176 games over a 15-year Major League career.

In 1989 — Viola — a native New Yorker — became a New York Met when he was traded by the Twins to the Amazins for  package of players that included Rick Aguilera, David West, Jack Savage, Kevin Tapani, and Tim Drummond.

I remember when Viola became a Met. As an eight-year-old living in Brooklyn, I went nuts! Now, I would have two very good reasons to root for Viola. He made 12 starts for the Mets the rest of the 1989 season, and excelled on the mound in Flushing a year later.

In 1990, Viola won 20 games for a 91-71 Mets team that finished second in the NL East. It was great to see him have success!

It’s funny, one Frank Viola story for me was when I moved from Brooklyn to the Poconos (PA). Everyone that I met in PA would always ask me if I was related to Frank Viola. In school, Little League, church, everywhere! While I never knew the answer, I would say yes. Why not, right?

Being a big baseball fan, it made a lot of sense to me. And, being from New York, it sounded like a no-brainer!

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On Tuesday, I had a chance to shake his hand, tell him my story as a kid growing up with the last name Viola, and how I had a room full of Viola plaques, baseball cards, and more. I was able to grab a quick photo with him (pictured, right), which I immediately sent to my Viola family.

All and all, it was nice to talk to him for a few minutes and I have to thank Knights GM Scotty Brown for introducing me. Meeting him was 30+ years in the making for me!

Meeting Frank was a great way to cap-off the evening. Tuesday was a busy, busy day here at  the Winter Meetings for me. I’ll have a blog with interviews from Tuesday, but just to make one note about Tuesday…

At 1:30 PM on Tuesday, the Knights, along with the Chicago White Sox announced a six-year extension to their Player Development Contract. White Sox manager Robin Ventura spoke to the media at 1:30 and then Buddy Bell and Knights Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski spoke to some media afterwards.

For more information about Tuesday’s announcement, read my press release here:
Knights Ink Six-Year PDC Extension with White Sox from Orlando, FL