Catcher Tomas Nido’s opening two weeks in the Florida State League could not have been scripted much better. Nido produced four straight multi-hit games to begin the season with St. Lucie, and he currently owns the best batting average in the Mets organization among qualifiers at .368. He has hit safely in nine of 10 games. And he has struck out a modest four times in 38 at-bats.
“With two strikes I’m trying to let the ball travel deeper and stay focused on hitting the ball up the middle and the other way a little more instead of trying to pull or try to swing too hard,” said Nido, a South Atlantic League All-Star last season with Savannah.
Nido was drafted by the Mets in the eighth round in 2012 out of Orangewood Christian, just north of Orlando, Florida. A $250,000 signing bonus helped entice him to sign rather than attend Florida State.
“It was tough because Florida State was always my top school, before I even committed to go there. And I knew a lot of people there. I had some friends who were going there, too,” Nido said. “At the end of the day, I wanted to go play baseball. And I felt like it was going to be the right move in the long run for me to grow as a player and learn more about the game.”
Nido was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but he moved to Florida to play high school baseball. Initially, he lived with the family of teammate Vince Conde. When Conde graduated, Nido’s mother moved to the Orlando area for the remainder of his high school stay, while his sisters stayed behind in Puerto Rico. Conde was drafted by the Yankees in the ninth round in 2014 out of Vanderbilt. Fellow Orangewood Christian teammate Dante Bichette was selected with a supplemental first-round pick (51st overall) in 2011, also by the Yankees.
“It’s pretty different in Puerto Rico, where high school baseball was more that you played on the weekends,” Nido said. “Coming to the United States, or Florida, it’s a different type of schedule, I guess I could say. You’re more focused during the week. You have games every other day instead of just playing every other weekend. It was better for me, for my education and school-wise. And then for baseball I would get more exposure.”
As for living with another family in high school before his mother joined him, Nido added: “At first when I moved here it was just really me by myself and Vince’s family, which we were pretty close. It’s like a second family. It was pretty comfortable to move. It wasn’t like I was moving here with people I didn’t know.”
Despite the quick start with the bat, Nido also has solid catching skills. He has thrown out six of 14 would-be base stealers this season.
“I think my strength is throwing people out. But I think I’ve gotten a lot better with my game-calling and trying to do my best to get the pitcher through those six or seven innings and to minimize the damage with the runs,” Nido said. “I do my best to study the hitters beforehand. And along with the pitching coach I get help and we go into the game with a plan. I think that’s my strength right now -- more game-calling and throwing guys out while always working to get better at every other aspect, too.”
Average: Tomas Nido, St. Lucie, .368; Roger Bernadina, Vegas, .345; Joe Tuschak, Columbia, .313; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, .309; Vinny Siena, Columbia, .308; Derrik Gibson, Binghamton, .303; Michael Katz, St. Lucie, .282; Dilson Herrera, Vegas, .278; Matt Oberste, Binghamton, .276.
Homers: Roger Bernadina, Vegas, 1; Marc Krauss, Vegas, 1; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 1; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 1; Xorge Carrillo, Binghamton, 1; Maikis De La Cruz, Binghamton, 1; Jeff McNeil, Binghamton, 1; Dominic Smith, Binghamton, 1; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, 1; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 1; Jhoan Urena, St. Lucie, 1; J.C. Rodriguez, Columbia, 1; David Thompson, Columbia, 1; Joe Tuschak, Columbia, 1.
RBIs: David Thompson, Columbia, 13; Michael Katz, St. Lucie, 7; Milton Ramos, Columbia, 7; T.J Rivera, Vegas, 7; Joe Tuschak, Columbia, 7.
Steals: Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 5; Roger Bernadina, Vegas, 4; Amed Rosario, St. Lucie, 3.
ERA: Seam Gilmartin, Vegas, 0.84; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 1.46; Joe Shaw, Columbia, 1.50; P.J. Conlon, Columbia, 1.69; Ricky Knapp, St. Lucie, 1.74; Casey Delgado, St. Lucie, 2.03; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 2.38; Gabriel Ynoa, Vegas, 2.38; Thomas McIlraith, Columbia, 2.53; Chase Ingram, Columbia, 2.81.
Wins: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 2; Casey Delgado, St. Lucie, 2; Ricky Knapp, St. Lucie, 2; Joe Shaw, Columbia, 2.
Saves: Johnny Magliozzi, Columbia, 2; Corey Taylor, St. Lucie, 2.
Strikeouts: Chase Ingram, Columbia, 20; Joe Shaw, Columbia, 16; Josh Prevost, St. Lucie, 15; Kevin Canelon, Columbia, 13; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 13.
After being limited to serving as a DH and pinch hitter early in the season because of a mild shoulder issue, Dilson Herrera has started at second base the past four games for Las Vegas.
2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith produced his first Double-A homer on Monday. Smith now has 11 homers in 1,133 career minor-league at-bats.
B-Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman, who participated in big-league camp during spring training, has added a slider to his repertoire. “Now, it’s just getting it down on a more consistent basis and getting it down in the zone so I can get some swings and misses with it or weak contact,” Gsellman tells the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.
Left-hander Andrew Barbosa originally was assigned to Binghamton to open the season, but was rerouted to Las Vegas for a spot start before ever making his B-Mets debut. In his first-ever Triple-A appearance, Barbosa allowed one run on seven hits in five innings in a no-decision. He now has returned to the B-Mets and is scheduled to make his debut with the club on Thursday. Barbosa, 28, originally was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 36th round in 2012. He spent parts of last season with the D-backs and Braves organizations as well as with the independent Long Island Ducks. Barbosa then pitched for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico winter league, where he was teammates with T.J. Rivera.
Outfielder Wuilmer Becerra, who came from Toronto in the same trade as Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud, has served as the DH for St. Lucie the past three days after missing a week with a sore right shoulder.
Tim Peterson, a 20th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky, has tossed five scoreless innings out of St. Lucie’s bullpen to open the season.
Texas Tech product Corey Taylor, the lone player to skip the South Atlantic League and be assigned directly to St. Lucie, is 1-0 and has converted both save chances this season. He also has tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in three appearances.
Amed Rosario leads the Florida State League with four triples.
Right-hander Joe Shaw, a 12th-round pick last year out of Dallas Baptist, has a 1.50 ERA and has logged six innings in each of his two starts this season with Columbia. He has struck out 16 and walked none. Dallas Baptist had five pitchers selected in the opening dozen rounds of last year’s draft.
University of Miami product David Thompson lost an 11-game hitting streak on Monday night with Columbia. He was one of three professional ballplayers to open the season with a hitting streak of that length. A solid defensive third baseman who hit only .218 in 206 at-bats with Brooklyn last year, Thompson currently is tied for first in the South Atlantic League with 13 RBIs.
Spirit Communications Park, home of the newly launched Columbia Fireflies, had an announced crowd of 9,077 for the club’s home opener.
“Farm Report” appears on Wednesdays during the regular season