Mets Merized Online » Dylan Blanke-White Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Turning Point: Early CarGo Blast Proves Fatal Fri, 02 May 2014 12:29:47 +0000 bartolo colon

Through five starts this season, Thursday’s pitcher Bartolo Colon (2-4) has allowed six home runs. The long ball has bit Colon on numerous occasions this season most notably, via the 2-3-4 portion of the Angels lineup consecutively. During Thursday’s 7-4 loss in Colorado, it bit him again. This time he let Carlos Gonzalez turn on a fastball diving inside, putting Colorado on the board 1-0 in the first and providing the turning point of the game. It was all downhill from there.

Colon has been allowing the long ball at a rate very unlike him. Last season, Colon allowed only 14 home runs all year, less then .5 homers a start. This year, he has allowed over a homer per start. It is early, but so far we have seen two starts from Bartolo during which he was absolutely pounded.

Colon allowed 7 earned runs in the Colorado game, his worst line since he let 9 men cross home in Anaheim. While Colon was prone to a rocky start or two last year, he never suffered as much as he has thus far. Colon never allowed more than 6 earned in a start last season and through five starts this year he has done that twice.

We can examine Colon’s rough beginning as much as we want but the fact remains, Colon was assumed, at least in the offseason, to offset the loss of Matt Harvey and thus replace his production, at least in part, in the rotation. So far, he has not, he’s struggled with his command and is leaving pitches over the middle of the zone. The rest of the rotation has pulled its weight and pitched remarkably well, but a tall task such as that cannot be expected out of them for the rest of the year.

In order for the Mets’ pitch first, hit second philosophy to take hold this year, their $20 million investment will have to get back on track.

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Mets Turning Point: Tejada With Bases Loaded Wed, 30 Apr 2014 12:16:14 +0000 USATSI ruben tejada

Okay, it’s hard to love Ruben Tejada right now. The shortstop, entering Tuesday’s rainy 6-1 victory over Philadelphia, was sporting an all too familiar sub-Mendoza Line Batting Average. The patience with Tejada, if not completely diminished was wearing dangerously thin with seemingly everybody other than Terry Collins. But Ruben was out there again, batting eight, but out there.

And then, a glimmer of hope. A stat flashes across the screen, surely a typo.

Ruben Tejada career with the bases loaded: .409 (9-22), 27 RBI.

No, not a typo and Ruben made sure that people like me, ogling the silly looking .409 batting average under a name like Tejada, knew that it was right where it belongs. He cracks one to center and drops it in front of Ben Revere, two men score. With that, Cole Hamels‘ night was through as were those of plenty of Philly fans as they headed for the parking lot, leaving behind a soon to be ghost town called Citizens Bank Park.

The game clinching knock was Tejada’s second hit of the night, locking in only his second multi-hit game of the year. Just like that, that the average was back at a slightly more aesthetic .200., the Mets were on there way to their seventh win in nine days, and those silly numbers that promptly introduced that turning point single grew.

Ruben Tejada career with the bases loaded: .435 (10-23), 29 RBI.

Hey, we’ll take what we can get.

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Success and Lineup Consistency Sun, 16 Mar 2014 11:30:00 +0000 During the MLB Network broadcast of Reds, Brewers game, the color commentator suggested that in order for a team to be successful, they need consistency in their lineup. The commentator insisted that a lineup must include a leadoff man who maintains that slot in the lineup every day. He went on to mention that for a team to win, slots 1-4 in the lineup must be filled with non-platoon players. If you have a platoon in the leadoff spot, things can go wrong. “Your first four hitters in your lineup have to be in there pretty much every day. You don’t want a platoon time player as your leadoff guy”. The comment was given regarding the Brewer’s lack of a true leadoff hitter. Scooter Gennett is the closest thing they have with Jean Segura batting second.

I can’t help but think that lineup consistency is simply a result of overall team talent. If a team has four players who are so good that they belong in the lineup every day, then they will play every day. A consistent lineup will result from the desire to get the best players out there every day. If a team has significantly less talent, their lineup will not be as consistent and will include more platoons. The players that make up the starting lineup of the less-talent team will more closely preform at replacement level than the more-talent team whose players play every day. If a starting lineup includes replacement level players or players within a win or two of replacement level, there will be more platoons and swaps between bench players.

Lineup consistency is not a measure that must be achieved in order for success to be attained; it is a byproduct of a team with plenty of talent who doesn’t need to tinker with its lineup. Lineup consistency and winning do not directly affect each other.

Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays is known both for being one of the best managers in baseball and for often shuffling his lineup around. Maddon clearly does not subscribe to the rule of consistency, and just has plenty of talent to work with. Maddon’s method provides an example in which talent is isolated and lineup consistency is thrown out.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times detailed Maddon’s strategy:

“Maddon was at his best — or worst — using a majors-most 151 batting orders for their 162 games, and no one more than three times.”

That stat refers to the 2012 season in which only three Rays exceeded 575 plate appearances. In 2013, as pointed out by Rob Rogacki of SB Nation, five Rays exceeded those 575 plate appearances, the most by a Joe Maddon coached team since 2010.

Maddon has earned himself a reputation as a man who tinkers with the order of his lineup, yielding a batting order described as anything but consistent. Despite this well-documented strategy, the Rays as a team, remain quite consistent, winning 97, 84, 96, 91, 90, and 92 games in each season since 2008 respectively. Maddon has managed every one of these teams.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Gary Shelton provided the totals as far as different lineups were concerned.

“For each of the past five years, Maddon has started an increasing number of lineups. In 2008, it was 115. The next year, it was 123. In 2010, it was 129. In 2011, it was 130. Then last year (2012), with Longoria hurt, it was a whopping 151 lineups in 162 games.”

There are three factors at work here and this announcer was looking to thread them together when in reality, correlation does not imply causation. The three factors are lineup construction, talent and winning. Talent and winning always belong together, lineup construction proves to just be the third wheel.

Why have Maddon and the Rays been so successful despite notoriously tinkering with their lineup? Talent. Is manufacturing a batting order with the same team members slotted in their respective places a plausible strategy or a oft occurring result of a talented team that does not directly influence success?


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Spring Training Battles: Will Consistency be Rewarded at First Base? Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:52:28 +0000 lucas duda ike davis

In an article written Monday for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff asked 30 questions, one for each major league team as they head to spring training. Of the Mets, Davidoff asked the following.

“Who is the starting first baseman, and does the loser of the Ike Davis/Lucas Duda competition stick around?”

The answer to the first part of this question is still very much up in the air and will come down to pure production come springtime, but if overall consistency can serve as a projector, Josh Satin may win at least part of that starting job. We all want facts and stats to determine 2014’s starting First Baseman, and for those we will need to hang on a bit longer and wait for spring training to start. But until then, why not have a little fun? Here are Josh Satin’s slash lines (AVG/OBP/SLG) in each level of pro ball.

satin stats

Satin, through each tour in the Mets’ organization rarely faltered. His numbers dipped a bit when he joined the Mets’ midseason in 2013 but that was to be expected. It doesn’t appear that his numbers fell enough to suggest banishment to the minors forever. What is a bit worrisome is Satin’s K% of 25.3% that he posted once he joined the the big league team. This clip was the highest he had every posted. However, Satin accompanied that percentage with a 13.6 BB%, which in his first year of pro ball is a pretty nice mark. For a player who does not rely on raw power but on sharp, well-placed line drives a high BB% would be key in his overall success. Satin’s tremendous On Base Percentages throughout his minor league career offer encouragement that he may be able to bring those to the Majors.

This is not to suggest that Davis and Duda did not enjoy similar success in the Minors, they did. But we have seen both men prove less than successful in the Major Leagues. With Davis’ batting average hovering around .216 in his last two seasons and Duda posting a career -0.8 Wins Above Replacement, it is hard to figure that it will take a phenomenal spring for Satin to slide into that starting job. Ironically, the fact that Satin has played the least in the Major Leagues is what may prove to benefit him most significantly in the competition. Satin, with a strong spring could spark Collins to opt with the “lets try this guy” approach.

As for the second question offered by Davidoff, will the loser of the Davis/Duda competition stick around? I can’t imagine so and Sandy Alderson sounded like the loser could very well go to Triple-A, in his interview on WFAN on Tuesday, even adding that both still have minor league options.

Both Davis and Duda bat left-handed while Satin bats Righty. Joe DeCaro of MetsMerized offered an insightful article on the possibility of a platoon situation involving Satin and Davis with Duda falling by the wayside. The “winner” of this competition should prove to be the second piece of a platoon with Satin at First Base, while the loser heads back to AAA.

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Has The Confidence Of Some Returning Players Been Shaken? Sun, 26 Jan 2014 16:13:56 +0000 The Mets front office, purposefully or not, is damaging the confidence of their young players. The likely starting lineup this year will feature players who have been the subjects of trade rumors, mid-season minor league demotion, or work ethic criticism. It is difficult to pinpoint the result of such degradation yet, but it is hard to imagine the result being positive.

ruben tejadaThe confidence of Ruben Tejada, the Mets prospective opening day shortstop has reached peaks and valleys. Once thought of as a capable Jose Reyes replacement, the confidence and subsequent performance of the 24-year-old Tejada has since plummeted.

In a piece written in November by Andy Martino of the Daily News, Martino understandably predicted an end to Tejada’s time with the Mets by the end of this offseason. Martino’s prediction came on the basis of several conflicts between Tejada and the Mets. Most recently, Tejada’s grievance threat and most notably his 2013 spring training appearance, to which he arrived out of shape.

The latter misstep on Tejada’s part was a mistake, and for a 23-year-old shortstop of a New York team, missteps should be expected. However, instead of privately consulting Tejada, both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson took to the media to express their disappointment. “Extra batting practice, extra this, extra that, doesn’t happen unless someone else is insisting on it”, Alderson griped in a WFAN interview.

The complexities that arise when a player is thrust into the New York City spotlight are well documented. Tejada is currently experiencing everything the media has to offer as his coaches make public his private issues. Now, less than a year later, the Mets are counting on Tejada to open the season at Shortstop, expecting a change. The newfound dependence on Tejada speaks to the Mets’ desperation, lack of a formidable substitute, and the necessary resources to acquire one. The Mets on the trade market are talking the talk but have yet to walk the walk, thus sacrificing the confidence of the players they are depending on.

Bobby Parnell, despite lingering neck issues, was all set to be the opening day closer for the Mets. That was at least, until the Mets reportedly were willing to shell out $12 million for Grant Balfour. The Rays swooped in and Balfour opted to stay near his hometown, cutting short what might have been a Closer Controversy.

The fact that the Mets, according to Adam Rubin, are now “in dialogue” with Fernando Rodney suggests that something is up with Parnell. Either way, the Mets are not confident in Parnell to open the season as their closer and are actively searching for a replacement.

Joe DeCaro of MetsMerized details in a recent article Parnell’s Twitter cameo, in which he notes “the neck is very good”, and that he is “throwing, running, lifting all on schedule for the start of the season.” Parnell’s intentions seem to be in discordance with those of the Mets. Either way the Mets will have to rely on Parnell and we must wonder how his confidence will have been altered.

The same pattern has occurred with Ike Davis and now, after having been booed off the field in 2013 and the Mets having failed to find him a new home, Davis is on track to open 2014 with the Mets. Hard to believe after the months of ongoing rumors fueled by the front office.

Davis, Parnell and Tejada are still young players playing in a very tough baseball town. Their confidence has taken many hits of late and yet all three are expected to preform in starting roles as the season approaches. Little has been done this offseason to enhance the confidence of these players and they will be left to their own devices due to failed attempts to replace them. I ask you the reader, what effect if any will the organization’s lack of confidence have on these Mets players this season?

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Mets Newcomers Sport Unusually High Strikeout Percentages Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:00:12 +0000 Coming off a 2013 season that saw the Mets strikeout as much as any other team in the National League, Sandy Alderson and the front office has done little to ensure that they won’t accomplish the same feat. In fact, they may surpass it in 2014.

The two major offensive acquisitions made this season by the Mets include men with astronomical strikeout percentages, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson.

Sandy Alderson acknowledges their weakness and is willing to embrace it. In a Q&A with fellow Metsmerized contributor Clayton Collier, Alderson suggested that “Having a high number of strikeouts doesn’t preclude a team from being pretty good offensively”. While this may be true, the two new Met outfielders will have to do quite a bit to compensate for their tendencies to go down on three strikes.


In Young’s 2013 season with the Athletics, he struck out 24.8% of the time, nearly once every four at-bats. If we were to round this percentage up to 25%, Fangraphs would categorize it as “poor”. High strikeout totals are commonplace for power hitters and Young is no exception. Young has struck out at least 20% of the time in each of his seven full Major League seasons. Pending a huge outlier of a season, we are likely to see the same from Young in 2014.

Granderson’s propensity for the K is not pretty either. In 2012, Granderson played 160 games for the Yankees, during which time he struck out at a staggering 28.5% percent clip. Fangraphs would regard the frequency by which Granderson struck out as “awful”. Granderson however, blasted 43 home runs that season, if he can do that with the Mets, I’ll never mention his strikeout percentage again.

It is entirely likely that both Young and Granderson will have similar seasons, strikeout wise, as they have had in years past. Lee Panas’s book Beyond Batting Average found that K% is the statistic that is most predictive of future performance. Panas conducted a study in which he tracked the statistics of 428 players from year to year. K% had the highest correlation (0.83), year to year, of any statistic.

Alderson may be considering last year’s high strikeout total and going all-in, sacrificing a large amount of strikeouts for the sake of added power. It could also be that the only significant power threats available on the free agent market happened to boast unusually high strikeout percentages. Either way, Young and Granderson will not contribute to the lowering of the Mets league-leading strikeout total. The hope is, as I’m sure every Met fan is aware, that they will provide the pop the Mets so desperately need, even if it takes a few strikeouts to do it.

All statistics were accessed via Fangraphs 

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