Martires Arias has a lot going for him.
"He's tall and he looks downhill well. Plus, I think he has this little short-arm delivery that makes him sneaky. Not a lot of guys get good swings on the ball," short-season Brooklyn pitching coach Dave LaRoche said of the 6-foot-7 right-hander. "He's an especially good athlete too and he helps himself out a lot around the field."
Making his New York-Penn League debut Thursday, the Mets prospect allowed two hits and three walks while striking out six over six frames en route to the Cyclones' 4-0 victory over the Scrappers at Mahoning Valley.
"He threw a great game. He has good life on his fastball, and he mixed in his curveball and changeup well. He still has work to do on the offspeed stuff, but he threw some very good ones also," said LaRoche. "For the most part, he got ahead of hitters. Of the two hits, one was a little popup that got lost in the dusk, so they didn't hit a lot of balls very hard off him."
Arias, who went 4-0 with a 0.50 ERA over eight games -- three starts -- for Rookie-level Kingsport before his promotion, had worked with LaRoche before. The pitching coach knew he didn't need much to get the 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic ready for his first outing on the new circuit.
"I saw him in extended spring [training] and liked him a lot there, and he threw a solid side for us," LaRoche said. "I didn't say anything to him, because there was nothing to change. I told him to keep doing what he was doing."
Arias erased Francisco Mejia's leadoff single in the second by getting Taylor Murphy to hit into a double play. A missed-catch error by Tyler Moore put Juan De La Cruz on at the start of the third, but Arias fanned Drake Roberts for the first out, walked Yonathan Mendoza and then got Greg Allen and Ordomar Valdez on outs in the air.
"He's one of the few guys at this level who there's no difference in how he throws out of the stretch or out of the windup. We worked hard on throwing out of the stretch in extended," LaRoche said. "And for a big guy like him, he's got a real low time to the plate."
In Arias' final inning of work, he demonstrated his athleticism by snuffing a bunt attempt by Mendoza, but Greg Allen reached with the Scrappers' second hit when left fielder Michael Conforto lost the ball in the twilight. Arias walked Leo Castillo with two outs in the inning, but he got out of danger with a flyout by Mejia.
Considering the results, LaRoche is sticking to a laid-back coaching approach with Arias.
"One of the worst things we can do at any level is over-coach," he said. "You want them to keep under control of themselves, and help them slow the game down if they need to. But for the most part, with somebody throwing the ball like [Arias is], you want to let him keep doing what he's doing."
Conforto, the Mets' fourth-ranked prospect, went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
Indians' fifth-round pick Julian Merryweather fell to 1-2 after allowing a run on three hits and three walks over four innings. He struck out three.