Becerra plates career-high five for St. Lucie

No. 7 Mets prospect blasts his first home run of season during rout

St. Lucie's Wuilmer Becerra has gotten his batting average back up to .316. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Chris Tripodi / MiLB.com | June 28, 2016 1:48 AM

Wilmer Becerra entered Monday's game in a 4-for-28 slump. He exited with a career high in RBIs.

The Mets' No. 7 prospect plated five runs while finishing 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and two runs scored as Class A Advanced St. Lucie shellacked host Jupiter, 17-0.

"He had a good first at-bat, seeing some pitches, drawing the walk," St. Lucie hitting coach Valentino Pascucci said. "The other times he came up in situations with runners on base and was able to lay off some good pitches, and the ones he hit he took advantage of. It was a good night."

Becerra's first-inning free pass came one batter after Kevin Taylor cleared the bases with a double to right field. After seeing five pitches in his first at-bat, the 21-year-old outfielder drove the first pitch he saw in the second the opposite way for a two-run double with the bases loaded. Luis Guillorme followed with a two-RBI single to left to give the Mets an 8-0 lead.

"It all starts with your teammates getting on base first, and when they're doing damage, you always want to come up with runners in scoring position -- to be that guy and drive those runs in," said Pascucci. "We've seen their starter [Michael Mader] quite a few times, especially the guys who played against him last year, so they knew what to expect. But you still have to execute. ... It's always nice when the offense gets going like that."

The Venezuela native came up again with two outs in the third against reliever Scott Squier and took the left-hander's third pitch over the fence in left-center field for his first homer of the season in his 50th game. Becerra bashed nine in 118 games last season with Class A Savannah and seven in 58 games in 2014 with Rookie-level Kingsport. Pascucci hopes the latest blast brings his slugging penchant back.

"It's a little bit bigger stadium here in Port St. Lucie," the coach said. "He's hit some balls to the warning track and got robbed of a home run a few games ago, so he's been hitting some balls lately. Hopefully, those power numbers will keep going up, and hopefully, this is the jump-start to that."

After sitting with a .363/.393/.437 slash line on May 25, Becerra had just seven hits in his past 47 at-bats entering Monday's game. The big outing brought his line back up to .316/.350/.396.

"It all comes down to getting good pitches to hit," said Pascucci. "He went through a little bit where he grounded out a lot, some close plays. Tonight, I don't think he chased a pitch out of the zone, laid off some off-speed early. When you can do that, getting a hitter's count, you can do damage from there."

Becerra held a 39-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio entering the night, but 13 of those whiffs had come in the past seven games -- outings in which he only collected four hits and a walk.

"He likes to be aggressive, and sometimes, I have to settle him down," his coach said. "He wants to swing -- he's not a passive hitter, he's looking to get a good pitch and swing. Sometimes you have to tell him to slow down and the game situation can get ahead of him a bit, but he's done a good job of calming down, especially with runners in scoring position. If he can do that, he can continue to have success."

Taylor finished 3-for-5 with a double, four RBIs and three runs scored out of the cleanup spot, while Guillorme, Champ Stewart and Mets' No. 11 prospect Jhoan Urena added three hits apiece.

Ricky Knapp (7-4) allowed four hits and three walks while striking out five over seven innings for St. Lucie.

Mader (3-4) was tagged for four runs on four hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.

Chris Tripodi is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @christripodi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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