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Farm Report: Patrick Biondi back on center stage

Patrick Biondi is hitting .270 with 29 RBIs and 22 steals for Class A St. Lucie this season. Courtesy Helene Haessler/St. Lucie Mets

Patrick Biondi had a familiarity with his current home ballpark even before signing with the New York Mets organization. While playing for the University of Michigan, Biondi annually spent a week at the Mets’ Port St. Lucie complex with his Wolverines teammates as guests of Mets owner and Michigan alum Fred Wilpon.

In fact, before getting drafted in the ninth round by the Mets in 2013, Biondi even got to face Dillon Gee during a Michigan-Mets spring training game.

Biondi is hitting .270 with 29 RBIs and 22 steals for Class A St. Lucie this season. He has been on fire of late, hitting for a .378 average (31-for-82) with 14 runs scored and 13 RBIs in his last 22 games.

“I’m controlling the strike zone a lot better,” Biondi said. “… I think just continuing to improve on that is going to be really big for me, because in the last month or so I’ve seen how much it affects my success at the plate. The more I’m able to control the strike zone and be aggressive in the areas I’m looking for, I think that will open up a lot of different opportunities for me.”

Biondi initially manned both corner outfield slots for St. Lucie this season. Since Champ Stuart got promoted to Double-A Binghamton in early July, Biondi has settled back into his customary center field.

“I’m really comfortable in center. That’s what I’ve played most of my career,” Biondi said.

Biondi did have a memorable moment during spring training back on March 23. Borrowed for a cross-state trip, he homered in the top of the ninth inning against right-hander Roberto Osuna in Dunedin to break a scoreless tie with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mets went on to lose the game in the bottom half of the frame when Buddy Carlyle surrendered a walk-off three-run homer to former Mets farmhand Ezequiel Carrera.

“That was an awesome experience just to be used for a spring training game,” Biondi said. “Obviously to contribute was a really cool experience.”

One thing that does stand out about Biondi is his height. He is listed at 5-foot-8, which has caused people to underestimate him in the past.

“When we’re not playing, I don’t really think about it,” Biondi said. “But you go through the draft process and everything like that, and you’re not as ‘projectable’ as other players. That’s a term that gets used a lot. So I think it’s something that I’ve always had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because of.”

ORGANIZATION LEADERS

Average: T.J. Rivera, Vegas, .349; Brandon Nimmo, Vegas, .344; Carlos Sanchez, GCL Mets, 327; Tomas Nido, St. Lucie, .319; Amed Rosario, Binghamton, .314; Gavin Cecchini, Vegas, .314; Reed Gamache, Kingsport, .308; Phillip Evans, St. Lucie, .300; Dominic Smith, Binghamton, .298; Walter Rasquin, Kingsport, .297.

Homers: Johnny Monell, Vegas, 19; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 18; Dilson Herrera, Vegas, 13; Marc Krauss, Vegas, 13; Dominic Smith, Binghamton, 13.

RBIs: David Thompson, St. Lucie, 82; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 81; T.J. Rivera, Vegas, 80; Dominic Smith, Binghamton, 80; Johnny Monell, Vegas, 65.

Steals: Champ Stuart, Binghamton, 34; Patrick Biondi, St. Lucie, 22; Jacob Zanon, Brooklyn, 20; J.C. Rodriguez, Columbia, 16.

ERA: Thomas Szapucki, Brooklyn, 1.38; Harol Gonzalez, Brooklyn, 1.57; P.J. Conlon, St. Lucie, 1.81; Andrew Barbosa, GCL Mets, 2.03; Sixto Torres, Kingsport, 2.36; Ricky Knapp, Binghamton, 2.65; Luis De Los Santos, GCL Mets, 2.76; Gabriel Llanes, Brooklyn, 2.92; Merandy Gonzalez, Brooklyn, 3.40; Kevin Canelon, Columbia, 3.54.

Wins: P.J. Conlon, St. Lucie, 11; Ricky Knapp, Binghamton, 11; Casey Delgado, St. Lucie, 10; Gabriel Ynoa, Vegas, 10; Sean Gilmartin, Vegas, 9.

Saves: Corey Taylor, St. Lucie, 18; Alex Palsha, St. Lucie, 16; Paul Sewald, Vegas, 13; David Roseboom, Binghamton, 10; Akeel Morris, Binghamton, 6; Beck Wheeler, Vegas, 6.

Strikeouts: Joe Shaw, Columbia, 123; Chase Ingram, Columbia, 112; Tyler Pill, Vegas, 110; Kevin Canelon, Columbia, 101; Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 100.

SHORT HOPS

  • Colombia native Nabil Crismatt, who began the season with Brooklyn, earned the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honor on Tuesday. Crismatt, a 21-year-old right-hander, is 0-1 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts since getting promoted to the Fireflies. He allowed two hits and two walks and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings against Greensboro on Saturday.

  • Binghamton first baseman Dominic Smith lost a 12-game hitting streak when he went 0-for-2 with two walks on Monday. He hit .429 (21-for-49) with six doubles, one homer and eight RBIs during that stretch.

  • B-Mets infielder Phillip Evans produced the first four-hit game of his career on Friday against Harrisburg. A 15th-round pick in 2011 out of high school in Carlsbad, California, the 23-year-old Evans already has established career highs for doubles (24) and homers (seven). His .315 average also is on track to be a career best.

  • Columbia’s Spirit Communications Park will host the 2017 South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 20, 2017.

  • The three-run homer surrendered by Brooklyn right-hander Austin McGeorge on Monday proved noteworthy. McGeorge, a seventh-round pick out of Long Beach State, had started his professional career with 11 1/3 scoreless innings spanning 10 relief appearances. More incredibly, McGeorge had never allowed a homer in organized baseball. He tossed 83 innings at Long Beach State without giving up a long ball and also had not surrendered a homer during his four-year career at Canyon High School in Anaheim, California.

  • Cyclones outfielder Desmond Lindsay is making up for lost time after missing the beginning of the New York-Penn League season with a hamstring strain. Lindsay has reached base safely in 14 of 15 games with the Cyclones. The former second-round pick owns a .458 on-base percentage with Brooklyn.

  • Columbia third baseman Eudor Garcia, who opened the season serving a PED suspension, has hit his stride. Garcia has seven RBIs in his last 11 games and is hitting .350 (14-for-40) during that stretch.

“Farm Report” appears on Wednesdays during the regular season