Appy notes: Church, Taylor learn together

K-Mets rotation headlined by a pair of 2013 second-round selections

The 48th overall pick last year, Andrew Church is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts for the Mets. (Allen Greene)

By Bob Sutton / Special to | July 31, 2014 10:00 AM ET

This is more like it for Andrew Church, a second-round pick of the New York Mets in 2013.

After a season in the Gulf Coast League, the 19-year-old right-hander graduated to the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League.

"It's been very fun," Church said. "This is how I thought pro baseball would be. It's fun going out and having an atmosphere."

But Church isn't the only second-round pick from the 2013 Draft in the Kingsport rotation.

That's because lefty Blake Taylor is with the Mets, too, after a trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization -- part of the deal that sent big league first baseman Ike Davis to the Pirates.

Taylor, who turns 19 in August and is rated as the No. 17 prospect in the Mets system, said he's catching on to some of the details of how the organization wants him to go about his business after about a month with the club.

"Every organization is different," Taylor said. "Their philosophy is different. You have to learn to adjust to it. The Mets have been really cool with it."

Oddly, as high school freshmen, Church (from Henderson, Nevada) and Taylor (from Mission Viejo, California) played on teams against each other in a tournament. Back then, Church was a catcher and a closer for Bishop Gorman before transferring.

Now they're on the same team on the other side of the country.

Church said he understands that improvement is the focal point, and he doesn't dwell on specific outcomes. That's one component that works well for him because Leger said his composure is an asset worth noting.

"He is very professional about it," said Mets manager Jose Leger. "He is in complete control."

Church said he set a goal to make a full-season club this year but that he didn't have any preconceived notion on where he would be placed. He said the Appalachian League is providing a stern test, yet he knows he's evaluated on a high standard because of his Draft position.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Church said of expectations. "I really haven't been living up to mine, but I try to control what I can control."

Taylor, who was with Pittsburgh's GCL club a year ago, said he needs to show more consistency as he goes through this summer.

"It's a big jump," Taylor said. "Hitters are a lot more aggressive. Everything has jumped up, which means I have to learn to compete."

In brief

He hits it far: Princeton Rays first baseman Nic Wilson, a first-year pro out of Georgia State, has hit six of his seven home runs on the road. Several of them have been memorable shots, even going opposite field. "He's a big man," Princeton manager Danny Sheaffer said of the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Wilson, who was recently named the league's Player of the Week. "Normal-sized men like the rest of us can't do that."

No reason to punt: When 6-foot-11 Cole Way gave up his role as college punter and kickoff specialist for Tulsa's football team, it turned some heads. He turned more with the Burlington Royals, because in his first appearance in an organized game in four years (Tulsa doesn't have baseball), the left-hander's debut was a perfect inning in relief that included striking out the first two batters he faced. "Before I threw the first pitch, I looked around and thought, 'I'm about to pitch in a professional baseball game,'" Way said. "I started laughing in my glove."

He gets around: After playing for his second college team (Fisher College in Boston) in the spring and two college summer teams in recent months, Spencer Hermann made his Appalachian League debut following three wins in the AZL. It worked out well for the Pulaski Mariners because Hermann tossed six scoreless innings July 30 at Burlington. "He threw the ball real well and he was efficient," manager Rob Mummau said of the left-hander.

Bob Sutton is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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