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Farm Report: Cyclones closer Alex Palsha is nearly perfect

Mets pitching prospect Alex Palsha is holding opposing hitters to a .130 batting average. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones

Right-hander Alex Palsha nearly has been perfect as the closer for the Brooklyn Cyclones this season. The lone blemish came on the final day of the first half, as Palsha was set to travel to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

Palsha, a 27th-round pick in 2014 out of Sacramento State, allowed a ninth-inning run on Aug. 16. Hudson Valley ultimately beat the Cyclones, 3-2, in 11 innings that day. That is the only run and blown save Palsha has surrendered this season. He has a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings and 13 saves in 14 chances. Opponents are hitting .130 against him.

“It was definitely a bummer. It’s one of those things you definitely have in the back of your mind, thinking about,” said Palsha, who added that he was more disappointed the team lost.

Palsha, 23, throws a fastball that tops out at 95 mph, as well as a curveball and a changeup.

He had Tommy John surgery during his senior year of high school in Danville, California, and redshirted his freshman year at Diablo Valley College. He went on to pitch one season there, one season at the College of San Mateo, then one season at Sacramento State.

Palsha has a half-semester to go to complete a degree in organizational communications.

Palsha was used as a reliever at Sacramento State, setting up Sutter McLoughlin, who now also is in the New York-Penn League, with the Phillies' affiliate in Williamsport.

“When I found out I was a reliever in college, I wasn’t really used to it, because I’ve always been a starter, and I’ve always wanted to be a starter,” Palsha said. “As the season worked its way through the year, I developed a routine and realized it’s a really good fit for me as a pitcher. I feel like it’s been working out well and carried over to pro ball.”

Palsha’s 25-year-old brother Ryan pitched from 2009 through 2012 in the Baltimore Orioles organization after being selected in the 16th round. He had a career 4.71 ERA in 53 career relief appearances at the Class A level. He is now back in school, finishing his degree at San Jose State.

“We played high school on the same team and travel ball on the same team,” Palsha said. “He was a role model, especially when he went pro even more. It just made me want to do what he was doing and just compete with the best out there.”

ORGANIZATION LEADERS

Average: Patrick Mazeika, Kingsport, .353; Kevin Kaczmarski, Kingsport, .349; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .324; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .317; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .315; Luis Carpio, Kingsport, .312; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .311; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, .301; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, .299.

Homers: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 23; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 18; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 16; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 16.

RBIs: Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 75; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 69; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 66; Brandon Allen, Vegas, 64; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 60.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 34; Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 30; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 22; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 21; Kevin Kaczmarski, Kingsport, 18.

ERA: Thomas McIlraith, Kingsport, 1.76; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 2.35; Martires Arias, Savannah, 2.39; Nabil Crismatt, Kingsport, 2.41; Merandy Gonzalez, Kingsport, 2.52; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.63; Ronald Guedez, GCL Mets, 2.93; Ricky Knapp, Savannah, 3.09; Kevin Canelon, Brooklyn, 3.31; Audry German, Kingsport, 3.35.

Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 13; Scarlyn Reyes, St. Lucie, 12; Casey Meisner, St. Lucie, 10; Corey Oswalt, Savannah, 10.

Saves: Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 22; Jon Velasquez, Binghamton, 20; Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 13; Jimmy Duff, St. Lucie, 13; Alex Palsha, Brooklyn, 13.

Strikeouts: Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 116; Martires Arias, Savannah, 109; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 101; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 97; Scarlyn Reyes, St. Lucie, 96.

SHORT HOPS

  • Center fielder Desmond Lindsay, the organization’s top pick in June (second round/53rd overall), was promoted Wednesday to Brooklyn. Lindsay, 18, hit .304 with one homer and six RBIs and had a .400 on-base percentage in 21 games in the Gulf Coast League.

  • Savannah right-hander Chris Flexen has been named the South Atlantic League player of the week. Flexen tossed eight scoreless innings on Friday against Kannapolis. He has a 0.44 ERA through three starts with the Gnats since returning from Tommy John surgery. Mets officials say Flexen is throwing harder than before the surgery. John Mora, Scarlyn Reyes and Wuilmer Becerra also have won the SAL weekly with Savannah award this season.

  • Savannah’s 18-game winning streak -- the longest in the majors or minors since 2005 -- was halted by a tie against Kannapolis on Sunday. The game will not be resumed because it was the final meeting between the clubs this season. The Gnats then lost for real on Tuesday, 4-1 at Asheville. It was the Gnats’ first defeat since Aug. 2.

  • The Mets were making arrangements on Tuesday to have 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini examined by a doctor because of a hip injury. Cecchini (.317/.377/.442) has been sidelined for a week with Binghamton.

  • Right-hander Robert Gsellman landed on the DL with the B-Mets with a forearm issue, although the injury is not believed to be elbow related.

  • Michael Fulmer, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers in the deal that returned Yoenis Cespedes, narrowly missed facing his old team this week. Erie’s four-game series against the B-Mets ends on Wednesday. Fulmer is next due to pitch Thursday. Since the trade, Fulmer is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA and .190 opponent batting average for the Tigers’ Eastern League club.

  • Outfielder Travis Taijeron produced a three-homer game Friday for Las Vegas. He now has 23 homers, trailing only Sacramento’s Adam Duvall (26) and Reno’s Jamie Romak (24) in the Pacific Coast League. Taijeron is unlikely to be a consideration for a September call-up. Although Taijeron has a .401 on-base percentage, he also has struck out 133 times in 353 at-bats. The Mets will need to see a better contact rate.

  • If the season ended today, Las Vegas, Binghamton, Savannah and Kingsport would qualify for the playoffs in their respective leagues.