Kudos to our own Joe DeCaro for his keen insights as a radio guest on “The Sounds Of Shea” last week. Joe proved why his baseball observations, particularly in reference to our Mets, bring hordes of Met fans to Mets Merized Online each and every day.
There is always room for viewpoints across the spectrum on a sports blog or in any walk of life. What Joe does is state his opinions and back them up with facts. He may disagree with you, but always argues about the point and not the person. When my father-in-law was alive he used to say, “It’s a sign of intelligence when people can disagree without being disagreeable.” Guess who may have been his intended target with that piece of advice. Just kidding, he was a great guy, someone I will always respect and admire.
The other night, Joe went to town covering the Mets and Met issues from every angle. He referred to opinions folks express here on MetsMerized Online, discussions he’s held with Mets personnel, and previous posts he’s made on this blog. Like it is with any radio guest, with some of the points made you agree and with some you disagree. But, even when I disagree, I found myself, admiring the way Joe uses his experiences and varied reference points to support an idea.
Joe, my biggest point of contention has to do with first base. It’s pretty apparent you have lost faith with any notion of returning either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda at first base. I can understand that. The first base situation on the Mets is a huge bone of contention with legions of Met fans.
Yet, you proposed that should the Mets not seek reinforcement from outside the organization, Allan Dykstra and Josh Satin would make a productive platoon. I don’t think so. Over the last several years, I’ve watched each of the Met internal first base options for an extended period of time in Double-A. In my opinion, Ike Davis, by far and away, has the greatest chance of being an impact major leaguer at first base.
Yes, Allan Dykstra had a terrific season in Binghamton as the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player and up for consideration as the best offensive player in all of the major leagues. Dykstra is a great kid who has earned a shot. But, it’s far from certain what he’ll do with that shot should it arrive.
Dykstra had a huge season going into the All-Star game. His numbers tailed off dramatically after the Eastern League mid-season classic when he hit only .209. That average included a .189 mark in August.
There are many factors that may have helped divide Dykstra’s batting statistics into the “Tale of Two Seasons.” Perhaps the biggest delineator might have been Cesar Puello’s suspension. With Puello hitting in front of Dykstra through most of July, Dykstra blossomed. With Puello’s Eastern League leading average .326 and EL best OPS of .950, Dykstra was transformed into a slugging beast. Without Puello setting the table it was something else again. It’s a great example of the difference one monster power bat can mean to a lineup. Everybody gets better.
Ike Davis had pretty impressive batting numbers during his B-Met stay back in 2009. In 207 at-bats, Ike hit .309 with 13 HR’s and 43 RBI’s. More important is the fact Ike blasted 32 HR’s with 90 HR’s in a major league season not that far removed from today. Regardless of his recent troubles at the plate, Ike is only 26 years old and those home runs and power numbers are no small potatoes.
Defensively, even with his brain lapses last season, Davis is a decided upgrade over both Dykstra and Satin, an important constant on a team built around pitching success.
So, on that point, Joe, we agree to disagree. If the Mets elect to fill the first base slot in-house, a platoon of Davis and Satin is far tastier to my palette than one of Dykstra and Satin.
By the way, Joe, I loved your observations about Wilfredo Tovar and Juan Lagares. Tovar is a tough kid and someone I think could fit in well as a major league shortstop, but, as you noted, only on a team with a roster with power hitting players at other positions. And, Lagares should be a fixture in centerfield, our defensive wizard. We should build our outfield around him looking for power options in at least one, and, perhaps, two of the corner positions.
Thanks, Joe, for a great night of listening and learning about our Mets.