Friday, March 15, 2013

Where Are They Now: 2010 B-Mets

The 2010 Binghamton Mets are the reason I know what I know about Minor League Baseball.  2010 was the year I finally thought about seeing Mike Nickeas play in person and even though I went to the game specifically to watch him, I left with an interest in a few other players as well.

Naturally, the first player to look at should be Nickeas.  2010 was the best full season he spent in the Mets season.  He was an Eastern League mid-season all star and made his MLB debut in September of that year.  It was a turning point in his career, as the Mets were ready to release him and he was preparing himself for an early transition to coaching if he didn't turn things around.

In 2011, Mike made his first Opening Day roster due to an injury and suspension of Henry Blanco.  Although he was back in AAA by the beginning of May, he was back before roster's expanded in September and fighting to prove he could be the next year's backup catcher.  After the season Mets officials admitted they were not satisfied with Blanco's 2011 performance and were preparing to start the 2012 season with Josh Thole and Nickeas as their catchers.

2012 brought another appearance on the Opening Day roster as he had the role of backup catcher.  He stayed in the majors until August, when he was swapped for Rob Johnson.  He struggled offensively in the big leagues but fortunately he found his stroke back with the Bisons.  He hit .364 during his month in AAA and was back with the Mets as a September call-up.

Throughout both the 2011 and 2012 seasons he gained experience catching R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball.  His defensive ability lead to his inclusion in the trade that sent Dickey to the Blue Jays.

This year will likely find him back with the Bisons.  His career since 2010 may not have lead to a stable place on a big league roster but it did lead to the opportunity for his first MLB hit, home run, and grand slam.  He was with the Mets to witness history when Johan Santana threw the team's first no-hitter and caught R.A. Dickey's one-hitter against the Rays.

That one-hitter also provided everyone with this awesome gif of the knuckleball in which Mike looks as baffled as one can be by the pitch (yet he still manages to catch it).

2010 was the first year I watched Mike Nickeas and the first year I watched Minor League Baseball.  There are other players from that team that will be familiar to Mets fans so I'll get to them later.

Let's Go Mets!

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