We are now a weekend away from the start of the 2010 Major League Baseball Season and New York Mets fans all over the planet are pulling out their remaining hair and saying to anyone who will listen “Oh no, here we go again”..
Well not so fast. True the season will start with a third of their starting lineup on the Disabled List, but unlike last year when more than half the starters seemed to be out for most of the year, this year the Mets are prepared for injuries and the substitutes they put out on the field will not resemble the 2009 version of “The Little Sisters of the Poor”.
If Spring Training has shown Mets fans anything, other than thank goodness it’s over, it is the fact that the players down on the farm are hardly as bad as the media has depicted them to be. Players like Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, Jenrry Mejia, Nick Evans and Ruben Tejada, to just name a few, have given Mets fans an opportunity to see a brighter future even if they may struggle in 2010.
There’s more. Chris Carter and Frank Catalanotto are certified Major League quality bench players who are fighting for the final spot on the roster. Further down the farm sits Brian Holt, Wilmer Flores, Reese Havens, ( I almost said Richie) and Scott Bowman.
Yes, the starting pitchers have had a rough spring, but if you have followed Spring Training statistics for as long as I have you would know not to take them too seriously.
For my younger readers I’ll give a prime example that you can relate to. Just as recently as last spring, 2009, a young pitcher for the Kansas City Royals was getting his ass handed to him prior to the opening of the season. In about six or it might have been seven appearances, he gave up around 30 runs, a gazillion hits, more walks than strike outs, and if he had been on the Yankees or Red Sox squad, he never would have seen the likes of a major league ball park. His name… Zack Greinke. I rest my case.
Johan Santana is still one of the five best pitchers in baseball. The triumvirate of Mike Pelfrey, Ollie Perez, and John Maine can very well win 45 games between them and Jon Niese who may have one of the best curveballs seen in years in Queens, can be a true ace in years to come.
David Wright has hit half as many home runs in 5 weeks this spring than he did in the entire 2009 season. Wright is right again and despite his .300+ average last year he very well may win the comeback player of the year after all.
Jason Bay has been nothing short of excellent this spring and is coming on strong as Monday’s opener nears. He’s hit 4 homers which were flat out bombs, four doubles,10 RBI’s, an awesome .414 OBP and an even more impressive .673 slugging percentage.
Now the naysayers out there are probably saying “sure you can discount the crappy pitching, but then you throw positive offensive stats out there at the same time. Sounds like hypocrisy to me”. Actually it’s not, because over the years hitters with a good spring usually carry that over into the season while pitchers do not. Most pitchers are not throwing their actual game pitches and are usually still tinkering and trying new thins out. Again, think Zack Greinke.
Now all of a sudden the Mets fans favorite whipping boy, Daniel Murphy, is out from 2-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. “Bring up Ike Davis now” they say, but this time, for a change, the organization is not making a rash, impulsive wrong decision. They got Mike Jacobs in the off season and all he did today was slam two HR’s. Fernando Tatis will serve as Jacobs backup until Murphy returns while Davis will get his valuable ab’s in AAA where he belongs.
Here’s the deal from Vegas Rich.
Reyes will be back by week two. Expect to see Carlos Beltran no later than May 20th. Don’t be surprised to see Angel Pagan leading the National League in hitting by May 1st. Watch Gary Matthews Jr. fill in for both Pagan and Jeff Francouer and be effective off the bench. See Ruben Tejada make at least one fine defensive play each game that Alex Cora wouldn’t have a shot at. Get excited about observing Frankie Rodriguez looking like the best closer in the game and here’s the best yet, and I’m going to get slammed with this prediction.
Be prepared to witness the first no run, no hit game ever to be pitched by a New York Met in team history. It won’t be Johan Santana either.
Let’s Go Mets and let’s get those fair weather fans to close their pie holes once and for all.