Mets Merized Online » Logan Barer Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:29:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Keith Law Ranks Mets’ Justin Dunn As 84th Best MLB Prospect Mon, 23 Jan 2017 19:42:05 +0000 justin dunn 3

Keith Law is rolling out his top prospect list, starting with 100-81 on ESPN Insider. At #84 is New York Mets pitching prospect Justin Dunn, the 19th overall selection and the Mets first pick in the 2016 draft.

Law has this to say about the Mets prospect: “Dunn has always had a good arm and is a tremendous athlete, but he didn’t throw this hard or throw many strikes until 2016. Now, Dunn is throwing 93-96 mph with plus life along with a plus changeup that might end up a 70 pitch, and he throws both for strikes.” MMO ranks Dunn as the Mets’ 6th best prospect.

Dunn’s repertoire is based off his fastball, which sits in the mid 90s, and tops out at 97 mph. He throws a slider and and curveball, which flash in the low-80s. If his fastball is labeled as “plus,” his breaking balls would fall around “average.” Dunn also throws a developing change-up which, as Law mentions above, can turn into a “plus plus” pitch for him.

In 2016 he appeared in 11 games at Brooklyn, eight of which he started. He logged 30 innings, going 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .227 BAA, and 35/10 K/BB. The 21 year old righty will probably start with St. Lucie (A+) to begin the 2017 season, but unless they project him as a reliever in the major leagues, there is really no need to rush his development. Wherever he pitches, Dunn will need to work on his stamina and secondary pitches to be successful at higher levels.

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Mets Vs. Nationals: Who Has The Better Position Players And Bench? Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:00:46 +0000 nationals mets LOGOS

Going into 2017, the Mets and Nationals will clearly be the two teams fighting for the NL East title, with the Braves, Phillies, and Marlins lagging behind. While most people give the overall edge to the Nationals saying they will take the East, let’s take a closer look at these two teams and see who has the edge. In this article, we’ll compare the position players and benches of the two teams.

Catcher – Mets

After losing All Star and Silver Slugger Wilson Ramos to free agency, they traded for Derek Norris to replace him. After having two strong seasons including an All Star appearance in 2014, Norris had an absolutely abysmal 2016 slashing .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs. At 27 years old, it is entirely possible he can return to form this season, but in the pitching-rich National League East that will be difficult. While they are comparable defensively, d’Arnaud’s pitch framing skills gives him the slight edge defensively.

The Mets starting catcher will be Travis d’Arnaud and Sandy Alderson has made that clear. In 2014 and 2015, d’Arnaud and Norris were actually very comparable hitters. However, while both endured down years in 2016, d’Arnaud put up considerably better numbers albeit in less games. He slashed .247/.307/.323 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 75 games. Of the two, d’Arnaud has more potential, and considering he hit 12 home runs in only 67 games in 2015, it is possible he could break out in 2017. The Mets take this category, but it’s a barn burner.

First Basemen – Mets

While Ryan Zimmerman has had a very productive career, 2016 saw a major regress in his statistics. In 115 games, the 32 year-old hit .218/.272/.370 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs. Lefty Clint Robinson, who shared first base with Zimmerman, was not much better, hitting .235/.305/.332 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 104 games (196 ABs).

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is coming off a stress fracture in his back which is now fully healed. After hitting 57 home runs in the two seasons prior, Duda was limited to 47 games in 2016, hitting .229/.302/.412 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. Duda, who at 30 years old is younger than the two Nationals first basemen, has much more upside going into 2017 and will not have to share his position as much as they do. It is for these reasons I give the slight edge to Duda and the Mets.

Second Baseman – Nationals

This one hurts for obvious reasons. Daniel Murphy put up MVP numbers in his first year as a National, slashing .347/.390/.595 with 24 home runs and 104 RBIs. His 47 doubles, .595 SLG% and .985 OPS all led the National League. He earned a trip to his second All Star game as well as the Silver Slugger award for second basemen. He has always been a good hitter, but he has blossomed into the great hitter many Mets fans foresaw. Unfortunately, he is wearing the wrong uniform.

While Murphy gives the Nationals the edge at second base, the Mets’ man is nothing to scoff at. Neil Walker was having a phenomenal year before season-ending surgery, slashing .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs in 113 games. Walker, back on a one-year deal, should be healthy again in 2017 and provide similar offense, as he has always been a very consistent hitter. While Walker is a superior defender than Murphy, he just doesn’t come close enough on offense.

Shortstop – Nationals

Before the acquisition of Adam Eaton, the Mets would have taken this category. However, with that trade, Rookie of the Year runner-up Trea Turner can move back to shortstop in 2017, his natural position. Playing out of position in center field, Turner was electric, slashing .342/.370/.567 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases in 73 games.

As with second base, the Mets shortstop gives Turner a run for his money as well. Asdrubal Cabrera was everything the Mets hoped for in 2016, slashing .280/.336/.474 with 23 home runs and 62 RBIs in 141 games. He put up those numbers whilst playing through a strained left patella tendon, so it will be fun to watch him play 100% healthy in 2017. Unfortunately, it is hard to see him producing as much offensively as Turner will for the Nationals, so I have to give them the edge.

Third Base – Nationals

Anthony Rendon had a standout year for the Nationals, hitting .270/.348/.450 with 20 home runs, 85 RBIs, 38 doubles, and 12 stolen bases. He stayed healthy which allowed him to participate in 156 games. At just 26 years old (and two years removed from a 5th-place finish in MVP voting), he has a ton of upside coming into 2017.

David Wright will be starting most of the games at third base when healthy, and nobody really knows what to expect out of him. Serious injuries have limited his playing time to 75 games over the past two seasons, and he hit 12 home runs and drove in 31 during that span. His defense, specifically his throwing, has diminished greatly further lowering his overall production. However, the seven-time All Star might still have some tricks up his sleeve. Even so, I have to give the edge to Rendon and the Nationals.

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Left Field – Mets

Considering Yoenis Cespedes is the best left fielder in the Major Leagues, this doesn’t come as much surprise. Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBIs while providing elite defense in left field. He is the Mets best position player by far and easily takes this category.

His competition is Jayson Werth, who even at his best seven years ago, would still not be as good. Werth’s productivity has diminished greatly mostly due to his well below average defense. He has not posted a positive dWAR since his 0.2 mark in 2008. Since 2009 he has averaged -1.1 dWAR and of late has not produced enough offensively to make up for it. 2016 saw him hit .244/.335/.417 with 21 home runs and 69 RBIs in 143 games. He is not a bad player, but compared to the best left fielder in the game he can not win.

Center Field – Nationals

35 year-old Curtis Granderson has been an important cog in the Mets organization since his was brought aboard three years ago. He had a fine year in 2016, slashing .237/.335/.464 with 30 home runs and 59 RBIs. His numbers will be curtailed a bit in 2017 as he will surely have to share the spotlight with up-and-comer Michael Conforto, who will also need consistent at bats.

The Nationals gave up the farm to acquire former White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton. At 28 years old, Eaton has blossomed into a very valuable player, providing stellar defense while producing at the plate as well. In 157 games, Eaton hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, and an American League-leading nine triples. While Granderson is not a bad player by any means, Eaton takes the cake here.

Right Field – Nationals

As of now, the Mets starting right fielder is Jay Bruce. The three-time All Star and two-time Silver Slugger is a pretty good player in his own right. Despite struggling in a Mets uniform last season, he still managed a season slash line of .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs and 99 RBIs in 147 games. While his time on the Mets may end before the season begins, or perhaps in July at the deadline, his playing time might be affected by Michael Conforto just as Granderson’s would be.

Bryce Harper is 24 years old and has already attended four All Star games and won an MVP unanimously. While he did have a down year in 2016 with a .243 batting average, he still managed an impressive .373 OBP. He hit 24 home runs and drove in 86, stealing 21 bases for the first 20-20 season of his career. He was, however, caught 10 times. He is still very young and there is every possibility he will go back to putting up monster numbers. He has much more upside than Bruce so he takes this category.

wilmer flores jose reyes

Bench – Mets

The Mets might have the best bench in the Major Leagues. They’ve got four-time All Star and former batting champion Jose Reyes as a super-utility man who can play shortstop, second base, or third base, and is even trying his hand at center field this spring. Next off the bench is Wilmer Flores who demolishes lefties, and in only 307 at bats hit 16 home runs in 2016. He can play any infield position adequately while providing serious pop off the bench. The Mets have a strong backup catcher in Rene Rivera, who provides very good defense behind the plate.

In the outfield, the Mets have Gold Glover Juan Lagares who will be used as a defensive replacement in center field at the end of most games, and can also be used as a pinch runner or pinch hitter against lefties. As the Mets outfield is very crowded, on any given day the bench will also include one of Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, or Michael Conforto. Further, if any injuries were to occur, Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera are waiting in Triple-A Las Vegas to fill in.

The Nationals infield depth consists of Wilmer Difo who has had only 77 plate appearances since his debut in 2015. He hit .261/.338/.348 with one home run and three doubles during that span, however his value comes with his ability to play second and third base as well as shortstop. The Nationals also have Clint Robinson backing up Ryan Zimmerman at first base, but Robinson can also play the corner outfield positions in a pinch. Their backup catcher is Jose Lobaton, an average defender who has hit .213/.296/.328 with six home runs in 83 games over the last two seasons.

Their best outfielder off the bench is Michael Taylor, a career .228/.281/.363 hitter that provides above average defense at each outfield position. They also have Chris Heisey who can play center field as well, but is better suited to play the corners. He hit .216/.290/.446 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs in 83 games for the Nationals in 2016. The Mets clearly have a better bench than the Nationals, and in my opinion, a better bench than any other team.

There you have it! The Mets take four categories while the Nationals take five. Check in on Wednesday for a comparison of the starting rotations and bullpens! Do you agree with my assessments of the position players and benches? What team do you think has a better rotation or bullpen? Comment below!

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Just How One-Dimensional Was The 2016 Mets Offense? Mon, 23 Jan 2017 12:30:39 +0000 neil walker

The 2016 Mets offense hit 218 home runs, setting a new franchise record and was the 5th highest mark in the Major Leagues. They had four players hit more than 20 home runs, two of which hit more than 30. However, despite the many long balls, the 2016 Mets offense has been described by plenty of people as one-dimensional. Would that be a correct assessment?

Despite hitting the 5th most home runs in the Major Leagues, they were 16th in slugging percentage with a .417 mark. Slugging percentage is calculated by dividing total bases by at bats, and therefore a pretty good measure of the power of a certain player or team. It stands to reason that a team or player that hits a lot of home runs, which account for four bases in one at bat, would have a high slugging percentage. For example, the Baltimore Orioles led the league with 253 home runs and had a team .443 SLG% good for third in the league.

How is it possible that they hit so many home runs but still could only manage a .417 SLG%? It might have something to due with the fact that the Mets’ 240 doubles ranked 29th in the Majors only ahead of the Phillies’ 231, and their 19 triples rank 27th. If they had never brought in Jose Reyes, who hit four of those triples, they would have ranked 29th ahead of only the Baltimore Orioles, who tallied only six.

Out of all the Mets players who hit at least 15 home runs in 2016, only one of them hit more doubles than dingers. Yoenis Cespedes hit 31 home runs and 25 doubles, Curtis Granderson hit 30 home runs and 24 doubles, Wilmer Flores hit 16 home runs and 14 doubles, and Neil Walker hit 23 home runs and only 9 doubles. Asdrubal Cabrera stood apart with his 30 doubles compared to 23 home runs. Curtis Granderson hit five triples, Jose Reyes hit four, Juan Lagares hit two, and nobody else hit more than one.

The Baltimore Orioles have an excuse for their low double and triple rates compared to home runs in that their stadium is a bandbox. Their offense was built to hit home runs to take advantage of their stadium, just as the Yankees stack their offense with left-handed hitters to take advantage of their right field dimensions. The Mets do not have that excuse in that Citi Field has a roomy outfield and can definitely be describes as a pitcher-friendly park.

Apart from slugging percentage, the Mets were lacking in other offensive categories as well. They stole 42 bases, and with the exception of Jose Reyes who swiped nine, nobody else stole more than five. They ranked 28th in stolen bases ahead of only the Cardinals (35) and the Orioles (19). They were, however, successful in 70% of their stealing attempts, good for 14th in the Majors. If they were adequate in that category, why didn’t they steal more bases?

The most glaring response to that would be that they hit so many home runs so they didn’t have the chance to steal. Another less obvious response would be that they didn’t find many ways to first base in general. The Mets were 23rd in the Majors with a .316 OBP, which when combined with their .417 SLG%, adds up to a .733 OPS, good for 17th in the Majors.

The Mets aren’t a slow team. While they don’t steal many bases as a whole, they are not too slow to get to second or third base on a ball in the gap. The problem seems to be that they’re not hitting line drives to the gap. They’re hitting the ball high in the air, either sending it over the fence or in to an outfielder’s glove. Hitting a ton of home runs is absolutely fine and fun to watch, but as the Mets were 26th in runs scored in 2016, they obviously need to do more.

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Former General Managers Discuss Mets’ Jay Bruce Situation Sun, 22 Jan 2017 18:00:26 +0000 jay-bruce-2

John Harper of the New York Daily News recently spoke to a few former General Managers about the Mets current situation involving Jay Bruce. He spoke to former Dodgers’ and Giants GM Ned Colletti, former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, and former Mets GM Steve Phillips.

Ned Colletti was certainly a good person to talk to on the subject, as he was manager of the Dodgers when their outfield was packed with Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Yasiel Puig from left to right. He opted to keep all four outfielders, all with high salaries, instead of dumping one for some salary relief.

“I lived in that situation,” he said. “And the season is so long, inevitably things happen. Is it worth making a trade when you can’t guarantee health and productivity from everybody else? With our outfield, there were far more days when only three of them were available than four. And there were a lot of days when only two were available… I can’t give you a black-and-white answer if payroll is part of it, but I just know that if you take away the safety net, are you sure of what you’re getting? Because if you’re not, a lot of times you will pay and pay and pay for that.”

The difference between the Mets and his Dodgers is that the Mets currently have five legitimate starting options, in Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and of course Bruce. You could even count Jose Reyes in that group to a lesser degree as he is learning to play outfield in spring training, plus Brandon Nimmo is waiting in the wings. So, in terms of keeping Bruce because he’s a safety net, I would have to disagree with Colletti.

Dan O’Dowd, the former Rockies GM, has a different take: “So if it’s me and I can’t get what I think he’s worth, I’m bringing him to spring training and it may work itself out. Worst-case scenario, Michael Conforto spends some more time in the minors. I know Scott Boras might have a coronary hearing me say that, but he’s a young player whose development program has been somewhat disjointed.”

I’m going to have to disagree with Mr. O’Dowd as well. Why would you keep a veteran in the Majors when you could have a youngling putting up as good if not better numbers, whilst providing better defense and not jeopardizing his development by shuttling him back to Triple-A?

The former Mets GM Steve Phillips had a very different take on the situation: “With all the corner outfielders, I would have tried to trade Bruce and Granderson, and I think you could have done that early in the offseason if you were just trying to free up money. From there I would have non-tendered Duda and signed Encarnacion to play first base.”

“Then, I would have tried to trade Conforto and Matz to get either Charlie Blackmon or Andrew McCutchen. I like Conforto but I don’t think he’s going to be as good as those guys. And I worry about the injuries with Matz. Blackmon is a great player and I’m convinced McCutchen will bounce back and play at an MVP level. With either of those guys you get a true center fielder.”

That is drastic to say the least. He suggests the Mets should have tried to dump his salary at any cost, and while I wholeheartedly disagree with his method, I do agree with his motivation: “The Mets need to sign a reliever. There are still some good lefties out there. Boone Logan. I like Travis Wood as a guy who can give you one inning or multiple innings. Or Blevins.”

If you’d like to read the much more comprehensive report from Harper which has the full quotes from all three former general managers, please read the original article from the New York Daily News.

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Can Mets Eclipse Last Season’s Franchise Record 218 Home Runs? Sat, 21 Jan 2017 17:29:01 +0000 USP MLB: MIAMI MARLINS AT NEW YORK METS S BBN USA NY

Last season the Mets hit 218 home runs, 5th most in the MLB. That mark also set a new franchise record for most home runs in a single season. A question for this season then becomes: Can the Mets put up similar power numbers in 2017? The names on the 2017 roster will be mostly the same, however in actuality, the lineup on any given day will have some major differences than 2016.

First of all, and probably the most important difference, is slugger Lucas Duda should be healthy for an entire season. The Mets went without his services for most of the 2016 season, employing light-hitting James Loney who hit nine home runs in 100 games, as opposed to Duda’s seven home runs in only 47 games.

In 2014, Duda hit 30 home runs in 153 games and 27 in 135 games in 2015. It remains to be seen how his injury last season affects his power going forward. It is a safe assumption to say he will return to form after an offseason’s work and will be good for as many as 30 home runs in 2017. We must also take into account that it is, for the first time in his career, a contract year as he will be a free agent after the season.

Another huge ‘if’ is whether or not Michael Conforto can break out into the power threat we all hope he can be. Even in his absolutely abysmal 2016, he still managed to hit 12 home runs in 109 games. Nobody knows for sure how good he will be in 2017 and beyond, but if he emerges this year as a legitimate offensive threat at the age of 23, I would not be surprised if he hit at least 20 home runs.

The Mets have yet to trade outfielder Jay Bruce, but for the sake of this article, that is a good thing. In nine seasons, Bruce has hit 241 home runs, averaging 31 per 162 games. Even though he didn’t exactly hit the ground running when he got to New York in 2016, he still managed to crush 33 home runs in the season. If he remains a Met on Opening Day, it is safe to assume two things: First of all, he will definitely be a trade deadline candidate, and second, his role will not be the every day starting job he’d enjoyed in Cincinnati.

Yoenis Cespedes will start every day, and as the Mets front office has said they want Michael Conforto out there every day as well, Bruce will be fighting for at bats with Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares. Before being traded to the Mets in 2016, Bruce hit 25 home runs in 97 games for the Reds. If he were to play slightly less games due to the clogged outfield and then get traded in July, I’d estimate he’d add about 20 home runs to the Mets’ total.

bartolo colon card

The Mets will also be without constant home run threat Bartolo Colon. In 2016, Mets pitchers accounted for four home runs with Noah Syndergaard blasting three, including two in one game against Kenta Maeda. Matt Harvey also has a home run in his career (2015), and while Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz have yet to hit one over the fence, they are both above average hitting pitchers. I could see Mets starters accounting for five home runs in 2017, but again, the loss of Colon really hurts here.

There will be some constants returning to the Mets lineup. Neil Walker hit 23 home runs last season, and as he averages 21 home runs per 162 games, another 20 home runs out of him would not be crazy to ask for. Yoenis Cespedes blasted 31 homers of his own, and after hitting 35 the year before, his goal for this season should be at least 30. Fellow outfielder Curtis Granderson has improved on his home run total each of the past three seasons, blasting 30 in 2016. I think he will be good for another 25-30 home runs in 2017.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit 23 home runs last season, falling just short of his career-high 25 set in 2011. He missed some time in 2016 with a strained left patella in his knee, and even after he came back he was still playing through pain. Coming in to this season healthy, a conservative prediction for him would be somewhere in the 20 home run range.

Utility man Wilmer Flores has quietly hit 16 home in each of the past two seasons, last year doing it in only 307 at bats. With everyone coming back healthy, he will probably not get as much playing time as either of the last two seasons barring any injuries in the infield. Even so, at the rate he has been improving, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit 15 home runs in 2017 as he will surely be facing a lot of lefties, against whom he thrives.

David Wright and Jose Reyes will be sharing the spotlight at third base this season, so it would be best to group them together. Reyes hit eight home runs in 60 games last season, and will probably play plenty more than that in 2017. I estimate he will account for 10 home runs this season. Wright, while not the 30-homer threat he used to be, is still plenty capable of hitting it over the fence. It remains to be seen how many games he will play in, but after hitting 12 home runs in only 75 games the last two seasons, that seems like a good estimate for 2017.

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at New York Mets

The last starting player to predict, with the exception of maybe Michael Conforto, is the toughest. Travis d’Arnaud has severely underperformed his entire career, hitting only 13 home runs in 108 games in 2014, improving with 12 homers in 67 games the next year, falling back to only four home runs in 75 games last season. He has many problems to work on, but his .323 SLG% is certainly one of them. The front office is giving him one last chance in 2017, passing on free agent All Star catcher Matt Wieters. An optimistic prediction is that he breaks out with 20 home runs this season, but a more realistic expectation is in the 10-15 range.

It is important to remember the bench when making these predictions, as they will account for plenty of home runs. Juan Lagares hit three home runs last year, but he’s got more than that in the tank. Unfortunately, whether or not Bruce gets traded, his playing time will once again be severely curtailed, so I wouldn’t expect more than five out of him. Rene Rivera is returning, and the six home runs he hit last season is a good expectation for 2017 as well.

To sum up, here is a list of my final predictions for each Mets’ home run totals in 2017 (keep in mind I am a very optimistic person):

Yoenis Cespedes: 31-35
Lucas Duda: 27-33
Curtis Granderson: 24-30
Michael Conforto: 21-25
Asdrubal Cabrera: 20-24
Neil Walker: 18-23
Jay Bruce: 18-23 (before traded at deadline)
Wilmer Flores: 13-18
David Wright: 13-18
Travis d’Arnaud: 10-15
Jose Reyes: 8-13
Rene Rivera: 3-7
Juan Lagares: 3-7
Pitchers: 3-7

Some of those players will hit less than my prediction, some will hit more, and most likely, some will get injured. The Mets hit 218 home runs last year without Lucas Duda and a productive Michael Conforto. Those two additions alone should help shatter last year’s home run total as long as everybody else hits around the same amount they did last year.

We must give serious credit to Mets hitting coach Kevin Long. Before he arrived, the Mets were 20th in home runs, hitting only 125 as a team in 2014. In 2015, his first season, they moved up to 8th with 177 home runs. In 2016, with the help of Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, and a full season from Yoenis Cespedes, they jumped up again to 5th place with 218 dingers. While the Mets made some strong acquisitions during that time, Long was certainly one of them.

I think the Mets will eclipse their total from last year. I predict they’ll move up to second in the Majors, surpassing the Seattle Mariners, the Toronto Blue Jays who lost Edwin Encarnacion (42 HRs in 2016) and the St. Louis Cardinals who lost Matt Holliday (20) and Brandon Moss (28). The Baltimore Orioles should lead the league again, especially after re-signing Mark Trumbo who hit 47 last season.

What do you think of my predictions? Do you think they’re too lofty or should they be higher? Comment below!

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David Wright Doesn’t Want Sympathy – He Wants A Ring Sat, 21 Jan 2017 15:22:57 +0000 david wright

Speaking at his own charity event, David Wright made it clear that all the work he is putting in to stay in shape is not for any other reason than a passion for the game and a desire to win.

“Health is extremely important, but I have to go out there and do what I’m capable of doing,” Wright said in an interview with Kevin Kernan of the NY Post.

“That’s just as much in the equation as staying healthy, playing well. This is not about being a feel-good story, we’re trying to win. There are no personal feel-good stories. There is a fire burning inside of me to succeed.”

The event was the 7th annual David Wright Vegas Night at the Virgina Beach Convention Center, which raises money for the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

Also attending was long-time friend and former met Michael Cuddyer. Of Wright, he said, “Hey, I know when it’s time to retire. To succeed, first and foremost it’s a mindset. You’ve got to get yourself in the mindset that you are not going to go through the motions.”

“He’s in the mindset I’m not only going to prove myself right, I’m going to prove everybody else right that has stuck with me, that I am going out and battle. I’m going to do my best to get this team back to the World Series.”

Another person attending the event that knows Wright pretty well was his wife Molly, who said, “David is a fighter, he is so determined to get back on the field, literally he will do whatever it takes.”

“I’ve had people come up to me the last couple of weeks and ask: ‘Do you still play?’ That’s how little I’ve played,” said Wright. “This is the longest stretch I haven’t played baseball in my life.” Wright, 34, has managed to play in only 75 games over the past two seasons, batting .260/.365/.436 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs.

I can speak from my own experience in this case. I play baseball at Ithaca College and have torn the ACL in my right knee twice in the last three years. I have worked my way back and will be pitching again this season for a team that expects to win the Division III College World Series. People ask me why I went through so much rehab (so much) and my answer would be the same as Wright’s: I love the game and I want to win. He doesn’t want my sympathy, but he sure as hell gets my empathy.

David Wright, though, has gone through much more than just two ACL tears. Not only did he have neck surgery, not only is he dealing with a chronic issue of spinal stenosis, but he is under the scrutiny of the New York spotlight.

I am tremendously impressed with how he has carried himself under these circumstances and how perfectly he has said what he has wanted to say – He wants to win, and no herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or spotlight can stand in the way of him doing just that.

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Jose Reyes Ready For Anything In 2017 Sat, 21 Jan 2017 12:30:44 +0000 jose-reyes

Jose Reyes lit a fire under the Mets last season when he joined the team and produced more than enough to be brought back for 2017. He can play second base, third base, and shortstop so he will serve as a super-utility man this season. His versatility will be increased as he will be learning to play outfield in Spring Training.

In a phone interview on Mets Hot Stove, Reyes said, “I’m ready to do whatever they ask me to do, that’s all I’m focused on right now… It’s going to be different. When I played third base last year, it was still the infield. I never had the opportunity to play outfield other than one game when I played rookie ball in 2000. But, like I told you, whatever they ask me to do I’m going to be more than happy to do.”

“It’s all about the right mindset,” he said. “I’m going to have the right attitude and work at every position in spring training. I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Reyes has a strong, accurate arm which paired with his plus speed should make his transition to the outfield comparatively easy.

Reyes brings a certain spark to the team that the Mets had been lacking since, well, Jose Reyes. In 2016, Reyes hit .267 with four triples, eight home runs, nine stolen bases, and 24 RBIs while playing shortstop and third base in 60 games.

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Breakout Prediction: Josh Smoker Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:00:08 +0000 josh smoker

Left-handed reliever Josh Smoker had an impressive 2016. Playing in a very hitter-friendly environment with the Las Vegas 51s, he pitched 57 innings, striking out 81 and walking 18 with a 4.11 ERA. That impressive 12.8 K/9 was blown away, however, when after he was called up to the Bigs, he struck out 25 batters in 15.1 innings (14.7 K/9).

Smoker has the potential to have a breakout 2017. I am not the only one who thinks so, as Steamer projects he will have a 3.10 ERA (3.17 FIP) in 65 innings with an 11.1 K/9 and 0.9 WAR. As he is a lefty, the question many people will ask is: Can he get lefties out?

In his entire career, lefties have a .254 batting average against Smoker while righties have hit .225. He should not be counted on to be a lefty specialist, but trusting him with the 6th or 7th inning shouldn’t be a problem if he pitches close to his potential. He likes to keep the ball away from lefty hitters, rarely pitching inside. If he wants to be more successful against them, he must pitch inside more.

With the trade market for Jay Bruce fizzling each day, it seems more and more likely that a bullpen will have to come from within. I predicted Hansel Robles would breakout in 2017 as well, and if one or both of these guys produce, the Mets will have a very strong bullpen.

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Breakout Prediction: Hansel Robles Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:30:07 +0000 hansel robles

I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who says the Mets need to bring in a late-inning reliever to supplement Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. However, with a recent report saying the Mets want two prospects for Jay Bruce, there is a possibility that they might not bring in a player like that. If that possibility comes to fruition, the Mets have someone I believe could fill that role.

Hansel Robles will have a breakout 2017 season. In 2016, he went 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 85 batters in 77.2 innings. Those are average numbers for a reliever, but upon further investigation into his statistics, they show that he could be a lot better. Below are his splits by month:

April: 10.2 IP, 15 Ks, 3 BB, .286 BAA, 1.69 ERA
May: 12.1 IP, 12 Ks, 6 BB, .146 BAA, 5.11 ERA
June: 15.1 IP, 19 Ks, 9 BB, .267 BAA, 2.91 ERA
July: 11.2 IP, 12 Ks, 2 BB, .225 BAA, 0.00 ERA
August: 15.0 IP, 13 Ks, 12 BB, .293 BAA, 9.00 ERA
September: 12.0 IP, 13 Ks, 4 BB, .182 BAA, 0.75 ERA

As you can see, one month he would pitch lights out, and the next he would pitch poorly. However, the reasons he pitches poorly vary. In May, despite a very good .146 BAA, his opponents still managed to score seven earned runs in 12.1 innings off him, due to a whopping five home runs allowed that month. However, in June, despite a high .267 BAA and nine walks in 15.1 innings, he managed to keep his ERA at a respectable 2.91.

What is the cause for his inconsistency? What can Robles to in order to consistently put up numbers like he did last April, July, and September? First of all, he needs to be able to throw his secondary pitches in hitters counts. Here are opponents batting averages against him in hitters’ counts:

0-0: .406 (13-for-32), 4 2B, 1 HR
1-0: .286 (6-for-21), 2 2B, 1 HR
2-0: .000 (0-for-4), 0 2B, 0 HR
2-1: .545 (6-for-11), 3 2B, 1 HR
3-1: .400 (2-for-5), 1 2B, 0 HR

I as a pitcher know the importance of getting a secondary pitch over the plate when the hitter is surely sitting dead red. Smart hitters will take the pitch for a strike, and others will be out in front and hit a weak ground ball. Robles has always had a good slider, and has recently learned a changeup which proved effective (.208 BAA in 2016).

A mark of a good pitcher is the ability to get batters out even after falling behind in the count. If he were to throw his changeup or slider in the above counts instead of fastballs, he would surely enjoy more success.

By the same token, he has shown that he is very good at putting hitters away when ahead in the count:

0-2: .167 (5-for-30), 1 2B, 1 HR, 17 Ks
1-2: .119 (7-for-59), 1 2B, 0 HR, 34 Ks
2-2: .159 (7-for-44), 1 2B, 3 HR, 20 Ks
3-2: .229 (8-for-35), 2 2B, 0 HR, 14 Ks

As you can see, once he is ahead, he has no problem doing away with hitters. However, getting ahead is the hard part, and therein lies another one of his problems. Above, you saw that batters hit .406 on the first pitch with four doubles and a home run. However, if he lived to throw another pitch, here is how batters fared against him, throwing a first pitch strike or a ball:

After 0-1: .189 (28-for-148), 8 2B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 56 Ks
After 1-0: .259 (28-for-108), 6 2B, 4 HR, 25 BB, 29 Ks

As is the case with most pitchers, Robles is much more effective when the first pitch he throws is strike one. So, Hansel Robles must get ahead in the count. If he falls behind, he must trust his slider and changeup. If he does those things, I would expect him to have a standout 2017 and emerge as a very good option for the Mets going forward.

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New-And-Improved Craig Breslow To Hold Showcase Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:00:53 +0000 Craig-Breslow-Greg-M.-Cooper-USA-TODAY-Sports

Journeyman reliever Craig Breslow will be holding a showcase on January 23rd. This is newsworthy because at 36 years-old, he has remade himself.

From 2014 to 2016, Breslow went 2-10 with a 4.93 ERA (5.16 FIP), striking out 90 batters in 133.1 innings. It was after he pitched only 14 innings for the Marlins last year he knew a change had to be made.

With the help of a “Raspodo device,” the lefty has worked at his craft since last season. The device, which he downloaded on his iPad, tracks velocity, total spin, spin efficiency, and tilt axis. The most important change in his mechanics has been the dropping of his arm angle, producing movement on his pitches described as “sick” by a scout.

Since 2005, Breslow has gone 22-29 with a 3.35 ERA (4.06 FIP). In 535.1 innings he has struck out 419 batters and walked 212. However, if he has reinvented himself, his past statistics might not speak much to his future success. He could end up being a very valuable reliever to the team that takes a chance on him, possibly filling the role of a lefty specialist.

The Mets will be attending his showcase, along with the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and more.

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Will 2017 Be Lucas Duda’s Last Season As A Met? Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:30:06 +0000 lucas duda

New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is entering his final year of team control in 2017. This is the time the front office, as well as the fan base, debates if the Mets should offer him a contract extension or let him go. This debate should be interesting, considering the 30 year-old played only 47 games in 2016 due to a back injury.

Prior to 2016, Duda was a legitimate power hitter, launching 30 home runs in 2014 and 27 in 2015 accounting for a 6.6 WAR during that span. He is a slightly less than average defensive first baseman, averaging -1.1 dWAR per season. His offense, albeit streaky, more than makes up for the slight discrepancy in his defense. When healthy, he has certainly been a valued member of the Mets. But is his time coming to an end?

Currently working his way up the Minor League ranks is first base prospect Dominic Smith. The 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft has hit .294/.360/.409 since he became a member of the organization. In 2016, though, he finally started to hit for power. In 130 games playing for AA Binghamton, he slashed .302/.367/.457 while hitting 14 home runs and driving in 91.

The up-and-coming slugger has also been described as an above-average defender. At just 21 years old, he could be the Mets’ first baseman of the future. However, the only thing blocking him from seeing time in the Show is Lucas Duda. At first glance, it seems logical that Duda will play this season, the Mets will let him walk, and Dom Smith will take over in 2018. However, there are a few possibilities that would complicate that scenario.

Lucas Duda is coming off a season during which he had a stress fracture in his back and played only 47 games. It is possible that he doesn’t return to form in 2017 and the Mets need to either promote Smith early, or find another option for first base. The other possibility is that Smith takes a major step back in his development in 2017 and his numbers regress. However, considering the level of play he has exhibited, as well as the fact he will be playing in AAA Las Vegas, that seems unlikely.

In short, I believe 2017 will be Lucas Duda’s last season in the orange and blue. Dominic Smith might be reason enough to arrive at that conclusion, but there is one last factor that seals the deal: Money. As Duda will be a free agent, all teams in need of a first baseman or a DH can bid for his services. His main competition will be Mitch Moreland, who is with the Red Sox on a one year deal, and long-time Royal Eric Hosmer.

The All Star and three-time Gold Glover Hosmer will surely be the gold standard of free agent first basemen next winter, however there is a very good chance he is extended by the Royals. He has long been a fan favorite, however they will have other fan favorites to extend. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Danny Duffy will all be reaching the respective ends of their contracts. Hosmer and Cain are the highest caliber players of the lot, so its logical to think they would focus on extending them first.

If Hosmer is taken off the board upon an extension with the Royals, Duda would be the best remaining free agent first baseman. He would probably fetch a large multi-year contract if he produces in 2017, and with Dominic Smith coming up, it makes almost no sense to extend him. It is for all these reasons I highly doubt we will see Lucas Duda in a Mets uniform after this season.

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Carlos Beltran Offers Hitting Instruction To Jose Reyes Wed, 11 Jan 2017 01:00:24 +0000 carlos-beltran

Jose Reyes hit it off with Carlos Beltran in a batting cage, posting a video in Instagram with the caption, “You’re never too old to take advice.”

As Carlos Beltran is one of the best switch-hitters of all time, Reyes, a very good switch-hitter in his own right, is wise to accept his advice. If Beltran retires after 2017, which he has said he is planning on doing, he will be eligible for the Hall of Fame five years later. Then the question becomes what hat he will wear in Cooperstown?

His two options seem to be either a Mets hat or a Royals hat. He began his career in Kansas City in 1998, and stayed there until he was traded to Houston during the 2004 season. During that span, he won the Rookie Of The Year and made one All Star appearance.

He then signed a 7-year deal with the Mets, whereupon he made five All-Star appearances, won three consecutive Gold Gloves, and earned two Silver Slugger awards. He led the Mets to the NLCS in 2006 against the Cardinals, whereupon his memory was forever tarnished when he was bested by Adam Wainwright‘s curveball.

In his career, Beltran has slashed .281/.354/.492 with 2617 hits, 421 home runs, 1,536 RBIs, 312 stolen bases, and a 70.4 WAR. Hopefully he will be enshrined with a Mets hat on, but until then, Jose Reyes should definitely listen to whatever hitting advice he has to offer.


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Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, A’s Among Potential Landing Spots For Jay Bruce Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:22:38 +0000 jay-bruce

Jay Bruce is still a Met, despite the obvious notion that Sandy Alderson wants desperately to trade him. It has been a slow moving offseason for power hitters and it seems just about everyone including players and their agents have misread the market.

There have been very few moves made over the last few weeks, but finally we saw a couple of trades and both of them may have impacted the market for Bruce. Here is an updated list of teams that might still be interested in him.

Toronto Blue Jays

After having 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and RF Jose Bautista elect free agency, the Blue Jays have over 80 home runs to replace. They already brought in DH Kendrys Morales on a 3-year $33 million contract, and with Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello available to play first base, it seems like they will shift their attention to right field.

Jay Bruce would be a great fit in the middle of their lineup with Josh DonaldsonKendrys Morales, and Troy Tulowitzki, and they know that. Chris Cotillo reported that the Blue Jays are “making a push” for Bruce, as he would be a lot cheaper (and younger) than bringing back Bautista.

In return, the Mets could ask for reliever Danny Barnes. The 27 year-old pitched 13.2 innings for the Blue Jays in 2016, striking out 14 batters and recording a 3.95 ERA. However, in a minor league career spanning six seasons, he pitched to a 2.39 ERA, striking out an impressive 422 batters in 320.1 innings. He relies primarily on a fastball and slider combination, sounds like some Warthen could help get even better.

He could immediately bolster the Mets bullpen, and if the Jays were to add a high-level prospect to the deal, it could be a good haul for the Mets. Another player to keep an eye on his right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini who can start and relieve. Biagini dials his fastball up to 96 MPH, throws a hard slider at 90, while also throwing a curveball and changeup.

The last time the Mets and Blue Jays dealt with each other, it ended up working out pretty well for the Mets. They sent R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole to Toronto for Noah SyndergaardWuilmer Becerra and Travis d’Arnaud.

Oakland Athletics

According to Jon Heyman on FanRag, the Athletics have interest in free agent Mark Trumbo. They have wanted to bolster their lineup after dealing Danny Valencia late last season, however signing a big time free agent like Trumbo goes against Billy Beane‘s MO. If the price tag for Trumbo gets too steep, a fallback option for them could be Jay Bruce.

The Athletics have already signed speedy outfielder Rajai Davis to a one year, $6 million deal which could limit their checkbook in the Trumbo sweepstakes.

Baltimore Orioles

Originally, Jay Bruce going to the Orioles would be contingent on whether or not they bring back slugger Mark Trumbo. However, they have recently traded for Seth Smith, a lefty corner outfielder. While Smith is not at the same level with Bruce offensively, he is still a decent and very consistent player. Despite the trade, the Orioles could still want a DH and that’s where Bruce comes in.

With Chris Davis at first base, the Orioles best option for DH is Trey Mancini who only has 14 MLB at-bats. Jay Bruce would fit nicely into their lineup as the designated hitter.

Philadelphia Phillies

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to add a bat to play a corner outfield position or first base. From the free agent side, the Phillies are interested in Michael Saunders and Brandon Moss. On the trade front, the Phillies could be interested in a hitter like Jay Bruce.

At the moment, the Phillies do not have a strong collection of bullpen arms they can offer the Mets in exchange for Bruce outside of closer Jeanmar Gomez and setup man Hector Neris.

Furthermore, according to Rosenthal, the Phillies are not interested in moving more than a lower tier prospect in exchange for a player like Bruce. They’re looking to get a hitter at a similar price for what they gave up to get Clay Buchholz and Howie Kendrick earlier this offseason.

It is possible the Mets keep Jay Bruce. The Mets have the option to trade either him, Curtis Granderson, or even Michael Conforto if they wanted. However, if they were to trade Bruce, it is most likely that he will go to one of the above teams – and according to a couple of reports the Mets may have to absorb some of Bruce’s $13 million dollar contract.


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Pirates Continue Shopping Lefty Reliever Tony Watson Mon, 09 Jan 2017 19:30:01 +0000 tony-watson

Per Fansided, according to an industry source, the Pirates “want to deal one of their lefties bad.” One of their lefties is Tony Watson, a very effective reliever. The source does mention the Mets as one of the possibilities, along with the Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Blue Jays, and Nationals.

Watson, 31, is one of the most consistent lefty relievers in the game, having appeared in at least 67 games every season since 2012. During that span, he has gone 24-11 with a 2.40 ERA (3.31 FIP), striking out 308 batters in 345.1 innings. The sinkerballer gets most of his outs via groundouts, with the fortunate side effect being he rarely gives up home runs, allowing no more than five in a season from 2012-2014 and only three in 2015.

He had somewhat of a down year in 2016, during which he went 2-5 with a 3.06 ERA and 4.37 FIP, allowing 10 home runs. He was thrust into the closer role after Mark Melancon was traded away, so the change of roles seemed to have taken a toll. In September for example, he went 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings. Opposing batters hit .275 off him in what was the worst month of his 2016. This is the first year in his career he posted anything but elite numbers, so it is safe to say that there’s a good chance he will return to form in 2017.

The Mets should absolutely be interested in obtaining his services for two reasons, the first of which being he would make an excellent 7th inning man in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. The second reason is that he has held lefties to a .200/.266/.284 slash line in his career. Even in his “down year” in 2016, he held them to a .206/.253/.324 line.

If the Mets needed him to be a lefty specialist on any given day, he could certainly fill that role. He could step in to face the likes of Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, or Justin Bour when needed. Against Watson, Harper has gone 0-6, Murphy has gone 2-5, Freeman is 1-6, and Bour is 0-1.

The Pirates have a logjam of lefty relievers, also including brief Met Antonio Bastardo. They would like to trade one of them and teams would most definitely give more for Watson. MLBTR projects Watson will make $5.9 million in his third year of arbitration, which seems like a steep price tag for a reliever, but would be very reasonable if he continues to be the lights out setup man he has been since 2012.

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MMO Mailbag: Is David Wright’s Contract The Worst In Mets History? Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:00:53 +0000 david wright

Jose asks…. 

Is it safe to say that David Wright‘s contract will go down as the worst in franchise history? The Mets paid him $60 million over the last three years and still owe him $67 million over the next four years.

Logan replies….

Hello, Jose. I don’t think his contract will go down as the worst in Mets history. Bad, yes, of course, but not the worst. While he has severely underperformed, mostly due to his spinal stenosis and more recently the herniated disc in his neck, he is still the Mets captain. He supplies superb leadership that, while not worth $20 million a year, helps improve the team.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes that the Mets would undo the contract extension if they could go back and do so. Ryan Davis of CheatSheet ranks Wright as #5 on a list of contracts that teams will regret in the 2017 season. As you can see, Mets fans aren’t the only ones concerned about his contract.

In 2013, the first year of the extension, Wright made the All-Star team, hitting .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs, 58 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 112 games with a 5.9 WAR. The following season, he stayed mostly healthy, playing in 134 games, but hit only .269/.324/.374 with eight home runs and 63 RBI, still managing a 2.7 WAR.

The next two seasons, 2015 and 2016 can be grouped together, as he only played in 75 games during that span. When healthy he hit .260/.365/.436 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI, but wasn’t a difference maker at all, posting a 0.3 WAR during that span. The time missed in 2016 was due to a herniated disc in his neck that required surgery. David Wright has started swinging a bat and is on track to be as healthy as can be going into 2017.

Another reason this won’t be the worst contract is that it’s not backloaded. Wright is owed $20 million in 2017 and 2018, $15 million in 2019, and $12 million in 2020 when he will be 37 years old.

It is also important to remember that just because the last three years have been subpar for Wright, he is still a very talented and hardworking player. If anyone can overcome spinal stenosis, it’s him. Furthermore, the Mets haven’t exactly been hindered with this contract. They got to the World Series in 2015 and the Wild Card game in 2016, reaching the playoffs in two consecutive seasons.

So, if not Wright, whose contract is the worst in Mets history?

Current National Oliver Perez got a very lucrative albeit ill-conceived contract from Omar Minaya. Lasting only two years of a three-year, $36 million deal, Perez went 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA and 1.985 WHIP.

Frank Francisco certainly did not earn the $12 million paid to him during his two years in Flushing. In only 56 games, he went 2-3 with a 5.36 ERA. He had some redeeming peripherals, such as a 3.79 FIP and 9.8 K/9, however.

jason bay

I think you knew this one was coming. After an All-Star season with the Red Sox, in which he hit 36 home runs while posting a 5.2 WAR, the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four year $66 million deal. He only made it through three years, slashing .234/.318/.369 with 26 home runs, even posting a -1.1 WAR in 2012.

I don’t think Wright will ever earn all of what he is paid, but he will definitely earn some. We have seen this offseason that teams wanted 35 year-old Curtis Granderson more than 29 year-old Jay Bruce. A big reason for that is the leadership Grandy provides even though he might not be putting up numbers worthy of the $15 million he is owed.

While it is possible Wright’s contract could be worse than Bay’s eventually, I don’t see that happening. If Wright continues to produce even moderately offensively, while being a great leader in the clubhouse, his contract won’t be a total waste.

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Top Five Mets Concerns For 2017 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 22:00:49 +0000 steven-matz

Yesterday we looked at five reasons to be excited about the 2017 Mets. However, there are certainly some things to be worried about with the current Mets roster, so we must also look at five reasons to be concerned about 2017.

1. 30 Starts Or Bust

It is true that the Mets have five starters capable of putting up All Star numbers, and possibly even Cy Young credentials. The “Fab Five”, consisting of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler, is completely intact going into Spring Training. With the exception of Thor, though, they all have undergone recent surgery.

Harvey just had a rib removed, Wheeler was supposed to come back in July but never saw the light of day, Matz had bone spurs removed, deGrom needed the ulnar nerve in his elbow repaired, and Thor is pitching through bone spurs in his elbow. Over the past few seasons, the Mets remained in contention thanks to the help of Bartolo Colon who filled the void in their absences. This year, they will not have him to eat innings if one or two of the starters miss time, which is entirely possible.

They will, however, have emerging starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Both pitchers performed admirably down the stretch last season, but neither had particularly laudable Minor League statistics. While it might mean the Mets have seven viable starters, there’s no telling if it might have been a fluke.

The Mets also saw the likes of Rafael Montero, Jon Niese, Logan Verrett, Sean Gilmartin and Gabriel Ynoa make starts in 2016, showing that it takes more than seven starters normally to get through a season.

The Mets starting pitching situation is very unique in that it will either be the Mets biggest strength, or a serious concern.

2. Infirmary In The Infield

The starting pitchers aren’t the only Mets coming off injuries. The entire Mets starting infield dealt with some form of ailment last season.

Lucas Duda had a stress fracture in his back, limiting him to only 47 games in which he hit .229/.302/.412 with seven home runs. Neil Walker was having a stellar season (.282/.347/.476 with 23 HR in 113 games) before it was derailed by season ending back surgery to fix a herniated disc. Asdrubal Cabrera missed some time in the middle of the season due to a strained left patella tendon, but was still able to put up arguably the best numbers in his career. David Wright, already dealing with his spinal stenosis condition, had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

The Mets do have Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and even T.J. Rivera as plans B, C, and D, however each of those players (with the exception of Reyes) represents a significant drop-off in either offensive or defensive production from the infield depending on the player.

jeurys familia

3. Case Closed?

If Jeurys Familia is suspended to begin the season, a decision which is still in limbo, the Mets could be without their star closer for the first 30 games of the season. Last year in April, Familia pitched in 12 games and saved eight of them. He had the help of Addison Reed, as he did all season, however this coming April, Reed might have to close those eight games. If he does, who will be behind him?

Right now, the Mets do not have a clear answer to that question. Hansel Robles comes to mind, but he can either be extremely effective or extremely ineffective and shouldn’t be relied on for the 8th inning. Josh Smoker showed some promise last season, striking out 25 batters in 15.1 innings, however the sample size is still a bit to small to thrust him into that role.

The Mets are still shopping Jay Bruce with the hope that he will bring in a player like the Orioles’ Brad Brach, however absolutely nothing has happened on that front and probably will stay that way until Mark Trumbo and/or Jose Bautista find homes.

It should also be noted that Familia has led baseball in appearances since 2014 with 230 (243 including playoffs) and Reed isn’t that far behind with 197 (207 with playoffs).

The Mets could still sign one or two of the top ten remaining free agent relievers (except Drew Storen who signed with the Reds). As of now, though, Familia and Reed is pretty much all they’ve got.

4. Center Of Attention

Who is going to play center field? It is fairly obvious that the Mets have all but given up on Juan Lagares, one of the best center fielders in the game. Yoenis Cespedes will play left field every day, but Lagares, Michael Conforto, and Curtis Granderson will have to split time in center and right field.

On one hand, a straight platoon of Lagares and Conforto in center field makes a lot of sense. Conforto, if swinging well, mashes righties and Lagares mashes lefties. This would leave Curtis Granderson to play right field every day. However, many Mets higher-ups have said that they want Conforto to play every day, against both righties and lefties. So, the Mets could platoon Granderson and Lagares in center, but will they?

There are two big “if’s” that concern me. The first and biggest “if” is the possibility that Michael Conforto just can’t find his swing and is banished to AAA once again. If that happens, the outfield would be pretty clear with Cespedes/Lagares/Granderson from left to right.

The second “if” is what happens if the Mets can’t bring in a good haul for Jay Bruce? He is a All Star-caliber slugger that Sandy will not trade for peanuts. If a good deal doesn’t come his way, he will not trade him. If Bruce were to remain a Met, they would either have a serious surplus of outfielders or they would trade another outfielder, probably Granderson.


5. What’s The Catch?

Four-time All Star Matt Wieters is a free agent. Sandy Alderson could swoop in and sign him and the Mets would have a another option behind the plate for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, it does not seem like that will happen as Sandy has said on multiple occasions that he is trusting Travis d’Arnaud with the starting catcher job.

While his excellent pitch-framing skills will directly help the pitching staff, he is lacking in most other areas. He has a very hard time throwing people out, throwing out only 23% of potential base stealers in his career. After hitting 12 home runs (.485 SLG%) in only 67 games in 2015, his power was almost nonexistent in 2016, posting a .323 SLG% in 75 games.

He does have a lot of potential, however that’s all it is right now — potential. If the Mets are planning on winning the World Series, which they have the pieces to do, is it the best course of action to totally invest in someone who has either been injured or severely underperformed since his debut in 2013?

He would split his time with Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher Rene Rivera. Rivera, a good defensive catcher who has thrown out 36% of potential base stealers in his eight-year career, could also start other days when d’Arnaud is struggling either at or behind the plate. Rivera would not be much of an offensive upgrade over even a struggling d’Arnaud, as he hit .222/.291/.341 with six home runs in 65 games in 2016.

What are you most concerned about going into 2017? Comment below!

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Five Reasons To Be Excited About The 2017 Mets Wed, 04 Jan 2017 12:30:36 +0000 USP MLB: MIAMI MARLINS AT NEW YORK METS S BBN USA NY

1. Back in the New  York Groove

This one is pretty obvious. The man in that picture is pretty freaking good, and he’s going to be a Met for the next four years. Since becoming a Met, Yoenis Cespedes has been an offensive juggernaut, and now with the incentives in his contract, we might not have to deal with his lackadaisical antics. With the Mets Cespedes has a career .903 OPS compared to a .790 OPS before coming to New York.

Those incentives include $50k for an All Star selection, $50k for Silver Slugger, $100k for Gold Glove, $125k for NL MVP, $50k for NLCS MVP, and $100k for World Series MVP. It is exciting in itself to see those playoff incentives which say a lot about the team’s goals.

2. All Together Now

Going into 2017, all of the Mets’ “Fab Five” will be healthy. A rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler may finally be coming to fruition. It remains to be seen how Harvey and Wheeler will come back from their surgeries, but Thor, deGrom, and Matz will have a totally normal spring training.

While it is unrealistic to expect them all to make 30 starts, having the rotation intact at the beginning of the season is nothing to scoff at. If they are all healthy and pitch close to their potential, they would be the best rotation in the Majors.

Syndergaard is coming off a Cy Young caliber season and is still just 24 years old as he’s primed to be the Mets ace for the foreseeable future. DeGrom is coming off a “down” year in which he still posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.7 bWAR. We’ve all seen what the trio of Harvey (career 2.79 FIP), Matz (3.16 ERA) and Wheeler (9.1 K/9 in 2014) are capable of when healthy.

3. I’ll Be There

If a member of the Fab Five does get injured, though, the Mets have an insurance plan. Last year saw the emergence of pitchers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Both pitched extremely well down the stretch and earned spots on the 2017 roster as far as I’m concerned. Unless the Mets go to a six man rotation at various points during the season, these guys will probably be in the bullpen for the majority of the season where they performed well last season.

Lugo and Gsellman were both welcome recipients of the Dan Warthen boost in velocity once they hit the big leagues which will help them whether they’re in the rotation or in the bullpen. Both pitchers maxed out at 97 MPH with their fastballs in the big leagues and 91 MPH on their sliders.

michael conforto

4. Take A Chance On Me

This upcoming season may also see the permanent emergence of Michael Conforto. We all know how abysmal he was during the 2016 season, but the silver lining is his .422/.483/.727 slash line with nine home runs in 33 Minor League games. He is certainly capable of putting up monster numbers, as we saw in 2015 and April of 2016, so hopefully we will see him put it all together in 2017.

It’s easy to forget, that overall as a big leaguer, Conforto has still been an above average major leaguer with a 105 OPS+ and has been a plus defender as well with 10 defensive runs saved in only 137 games.

5. The Prodigal Son

The Mets will have Jose Reyes for an entire season, and that is certainly something to be excited about. The spark he provides at the top of the lineup completely changes the team and he will almost certainly be worth more than his league minimum salary. It remains to be seen how much playing time he will get, which will be directly proportionate to David Wright‘s health. When he does play, though, he will be a difference maker.

What are you most excited about this upcoming season? Comment below!

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Top 10 Remaining Free Agent Relievers Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:17:17 +0000 jerry blevins

Here we take a look at the top-10 remaining free agent relievers. The Mets certainly have a need in the bullpen with the possible suspension of Jeurys Familia, so these free agents are options for Sandy Alderson to consider if he doesn’t want to address the need via trade.

Jerry Blevins - Blevins was as steady as they come in 2016, pitching to a 2.79 ERA over 73 appearances. The southpaw accumulated 42 innings while pitching to a WHIP of 1.21. He had success against both right-handed and left-handed hitters, while at times just being used against lefties. The 33 year-old is searching for a three year deal this offseason.

Greg Holland - In 2013 and 2014, Holland was one of the most dominant closers in the game, saving 93 games and pitching to a 1.32 ERA. In 129.1 innings he struck out 193 batters and pitched to an 0.889 WHIP. When his average fastball velocity took a downward turn in 2015, from over 96 MPH to 93.6 MPH, it was discovered that he had actually torn his ulnar collateral ligament late in the 2014 season, and it surely affected his performance. It will be 17 months since his surgery when 2017 spring training arrives, he could be an option for the Mets.

Sergio Romo - Since 2008, Romo has been one of the most consistent relievers in the game for the San Fransisco Giants. He sports a career 2.58 ERA and 2.71 FIP to go with a 0.8 HR/9, 1.8 BB/9, and 10.2 K/9. He has plenty of closing experience, having saved 84 games in his career, so he could be pursued by teams needing a closer, driving up his price tag.

Santiago Casilla -  At first glance, Casilla’s 69 saves over the last two seasons make him an appealing target. However, the 36 year-old has telling peripherals, mainly a career 3.89 FIP, much higher than his 3.19 ERA. While there are better targets out there, there are also worse options. He could be a decent addition to the Mets’ bullpen in the 7th inning.

Neftali Feliz - The 2010 Rookie of the year averaged 96 MPH on his fastball in 2016, reaching as high as 99.9 mph. These are far better numbers than anything he has put up since 2011, as his fastball velocities from 2012-2015 were 94.6, 93.7, 93.6, and 94.6 MPH. Now at 28 years-old, he is a solid option for the Mets bullpen after posting a 3.52 ERA in 53.2 innings with 61 strikeouts for the Pirates in 2016. He seems to be on the up-and-up, so now could be a great time to bring him aboard.


Fernando Salas - The 31 year-old had a Reed-like impact on the Mets after he was acquired from the Angels on August 31. In 17 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.635 WHIP, and a 9.9 K/9. Salas completely took over the seventh inning role, and he allowed both Reed and Familia some rest down the stretch. He could continue to be an effective weapon for the Mets going forward if they were to bring him back.

Joe Blanton - Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2015, Blanton has been very effective. In 2016, he went 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA (3.33 FIP) with a 1.013 WHIP. The journeyman has finally found a home in the bullpen and should certainly be an option for the Mets.

Joe Smith - Since 2009, Smith has been one of the most reliable relievers in the game, appearing in 503 games (7th among Major League relievers), with a 2.80 ERA, 146 holds (5th), 1.151 WHIP, and 203 runners stranded (6th). Smith’s best overall season came in 2014 as a member of the Angels, where he posted a career best 1.81 ERA, tied his career high in wins with seven, pitched a career high 74.2 innings, had a career high 68 strikeouts, and posted his best WHIP at 0.804 (6th in the majors).

Travis Wood - Once a full time starter, Travis Wood was an important cog in the Cubs’ bullpen during their World Series run. He was extremely effective against lefties in 2016, holding them to a .128/.208/.239 slash line. Overall, he went 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA. He has also been used as a pinch hitter, as he has nine career home runs.

Drew Storen - The 29 year-old had a down year in 2016, going 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA (4.21 FIP) and a 1.335 WHIP. However, from 2010 to 2015 he was an integral part of the Nationals bullpen, serving as their closer at times. He would be a nice addition to the Mets bullpen in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.

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What Can We Expect From Third Base In 2017? Mon, 02 Jan 2017 12:30:45 +0000 david wright

While David Wright is easily one of the best Mets in franchise history, injuries have severely diminished his level of play over the last few seasons. While his throwing and home run power are the most obvious areas to take hits, he is still David Wright and still capable of producing offensively. Of course, that all depends on his health. As he is suffering from spinal stenosis, there are more question marks surrounding him than most other players in the Bigs.

Sandy Alderson has said this offseason that he would like Wright to play in four out of every five games, which would tally up to around 130 for the season. While at first that sounds like a lofty goal, that number most likely includes pinch hitting appearances and is not just games started.

Despite what Sandy has said, many would prefer to see Jose Reyes starting the bulk of the games at third base in 2017. After coming back last year playing a good third base, he showed that he can still provide the all-important spark at the top of the order.

Wright, 34, has demolished lefties in his career (.337 average) which leads one to say that a straight platoon between the two would be a good idea. Reyes starts against righties, which would happen on most days, and Wright starts against the relatively rare lefty starter. However, there is a hitch in that theory.


Reyes, 33, is a career .292/.353/.432 hitter against lefties and a .292/.339/.435 hitter against righties. He is not better against one or the other; in fact he is good against both. Right now, he is also a better defender than Wright who has had throwing issues due to his back.

David Wright will start if healthy. The Mets are paying him too much for him to ride the bench even though Reyes is, at least on paper, the smarter option. There will be times, though, that both Reyes and Wright will be in the lineup. Reyes could spell Asdrubal Cabrera at short or Neil Walker at second, or even someone in the outfield as he will be trying that out in spring training.

There is one thing that David Wright provides that the Mets need badly. He is clutch. The Mets batted only .225 with runners in scoring position in 2016. Conversely, Wright has hit .293 with RISP in his career, driving in at least 100 runs five times. Obviously we can not expect 100 RBIs from him in 2017, but we can expect him to continue to be clutch.

Third base will provide one of two things on any given day in 2017. It will either provide a bona fide leadoff hitter, or a clutch bat to drive in much needed runs. Which of those the Mets get will depend almost entirely on Wright’s health on any given day, but either way, I will not be worrying about getting production from the hot corner in 2017.

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New Year’s Resolutions For The 2017 Mets Mon, 02 Jan 2017 11:00:48 +0000 mets win Cespedes walker Cabrera

As we enter the new year, we all determine our New Years resolutions: What will we do to better ourselves in 2017?

As I’ve torn my ACL twice in the last three years, my own resolution is to get through my senior season with all my ligaments intact. Avoiding injury is a resolution shared by many Mets players, but even the perfectly healthy ones are not without flaws. All the Mets have something to work on and this is what I think each player should focus on in 2017:

Jacob deGrom: After tossing only 148 innings in 2016 and undergoing a relatively minor surgery, you must stay healthy this season, Jake. Your 2015 innings total of 191 innings is a good goal to shoot for. Aside from staying healthy, you should also consider throwing more sliders while shying away from curveballs and changeups in hitters counts. In 2016, batters hit only .168 against your slider compared to .254 and .258 against your curveball and changeup respectively.

Noah Syndergaard: Noah, I know you love striking people out, I do too, but it’s raising your pitch count and limiting how deep you can go in games. Despite being healthy for an entire year, you only managed 183.2 innings in 2016. You’ve got some of the best stuff in the world, the strikeouts will come. Pound the zone, keep your pitch count down.

Matt Harvey: Just… Be healthy, okay? We all know how badly you want to win, and if you’re healthy, you will win plenty.

Steven Matz: While you have very good stuff, sometimes throwing too many strikes can be a bad thing. Don’t be afraid to waste a few pitches when you get to two strikes. Averaging 6 innings a start as you did in 2016 is great, but with your stuff, 129 hits in 132.1 innings is a bit much. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more swings and misses, but you would induce weaker contact and give up less hits.

Zack Wheeler: Aside from just working hard to stay healthy, you’ve got to throw more curveballs. Besides putting less strain on your elbow than sliders, it is easily your best pitch. After all, batters hit just .147 against it in 2014.

Robert Gsellman: Listen to every word Dan Warthen says. You’ve got great stuff, but he can help you refine your slider into a formidable weapon as he has with the other starters.

Seth Lugo: When Terry asks you to start the 2017 season in the bullpen, don’t be discouraged. You were great last season, but the Mets have a plethora of amazing starting pitchers. Work hard and be ready to start on any given day because with the Mets’ injury history, you might be called upon for a spot start.

Jeurys Familia: Where’d that 95 mph splitter go? Get that back! Also, use your words at home.

Addison Reed: Get ready to close for the first part of the season, because chances are Mr. Familia will be suspended. You’ve got 106 saves under your belt, I know you can do it!

Hansel Robles: Stay consistent. At times you are lights out and at times you can’t get an out. When things are going good, work with Coach Warthen to focus on what you’re doing right and keep doing it.

travis d'Arnaud

Travis d’Arnaud: The Mets traded a Cy Young Award winner for you in 2012 but we’re still waiting for that potential to present itself. Yes, the Mets did get Noah Syndergaard in that deal too, but they need a catcher. You’ve got to step up big time.

Asdrubal Cabrera: Make sure you take care of those knees! We saw big things out of you in 2016 and we’re expecting big things out of you in 2017 as well, and keeping your knees healthy is a huge variable.

Lucas Duda: The story of your career has been consistency. We are all aware of the juggernaut you become at times, while for weeks at a time you essentially go into hibernation. Stay healthy, stay consistent.

Wilmer Flores: Get better defensively. You know how to play all the infield positions, now it’s just a matter of getting good at them. You’ll get plenty of playing time this year, so make the best of it.

Jose Reyes: With Bartolo Colon gone, the Mets will be looking to you to provide veteran leadership alongside Grandy and the Captain. You were the spark plug the Mets needed when they signed you in 2016, but with the advantage of a full spring training this year, you’ve got to produce. The Mets need those stolen bases and triples at the top of the lineup.

David Wright: Don’t let us Met fans get to you. While many of us will repeatedly say you’re done, it was a mistake to sign you long term, or that you can’t play third base anymore, we do love you. You’re our captain and we all want to see you do well. Maybe try your hand at first base, as you demolish left handed pitching you would be half of a formidable platoon with Lucas Duda and you wouldn’t have to throw the ball as much.

Neil Walker: Another guy who’s biggest key is just staying on the field, he was worth a Mets position player high 3.7 fWAR in 2016. Keep crushing lefties Neil. Walker entered last season with only six home runs off lefties, but hit eight long balls against them with the Mets.


Michael Conforto: Forget May-September 2016. Deep inside you is an All-Star waiting to come out!

Curtis Granderson: You’ve got to drive in more runs! 30 home runs and only 59 RBIs? Really? And don’t use batting leadoff as an excuse because in 68 of the 149 games you played, you batted somewhere in the order other than leadoff. I’d like to see you steal more bases, too. You walk a lot, and a walk and a steal is as good as a double. I know you don’t have the speed you use to, but you’re smart and can swipe a bag when needed.

Yoenis Cespedes: Just because the Mets gave you all that money doesn’t mean you can take it easy now. This is New York, we expect 100% effort from all the Mets players at all times. No dogging it. No more dropped routine fly balls. Also, you’ve got amazing speed, try swiping a few bases every once in a while. And welcome back, you’re still the man!

Juan Lagares: Get as many reps against live pitching as you can. It is obvious you perform better when logging consistent at bats, but unfortunately, until Granderson leaves after this year (unless he is re-signed), you will probably remain as a late-game defensive replacement and spot starter against lefties.

Jay Bruce: Oh, you’re still here? Well while you’re around I guess you can work on your defense. You’ve got a very good arm, but your ball tracking skills have been declining drastically. You are better at coming in on the ball so try playing a bit deeper as your arm can help make up for it.

Terry Collins: Work on your use of the bullpen. You’ve gotten better, but your progress will be tested early in the season if Familia is suspended. Listen to your coaches, and maybe listen to the fans as well!


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Can The Mets Replace Jerry Blevins Internally? Wed, 28 Dec 2016 14:00:49 +0000 josh smoker

Jerry Blevins was very effective for the Mets in 2016. While that helped get the Mets to the Wild Card game, it also might have set his price out of the Mets’ range this offseason. With other lefty relievers like Brett Cecil getting big contracts, the 33 year-old free agent has set his sights on a three year deal and it looks like he might get it.

Other options on the free agent market are subpar, and after the failed signing of Antonio Bastardo last offseason, Sandy Alderson might be wary of bringing in anyone else especially for more than one year. So, the question remains, how will Blevins’ role be filled if he can’t be resigned?

The Mets have two lefties right now that could possibly replace him, those being Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker. Blevins pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 73 games last season, so they will have big shoes to fill.

Edgin, 30, appeared in 16 games at the end of 2016 after returning from Tommy John surgery. In those games he allowed six earned runs in 10.1 innings. In a very small sample size, though, he fared better against lefties who hit .235 against him in 17 at bats compared to righties’ .300 average in 20 at bats.

Smoker, 28, has a larger yet still small sample size, featuring opposite splits. He fared much better against righties who hit .200 against him in 35 at bats while lefties mashed him, hitting .360 in 25 at bats. However, in 165 minor league games, lefties have hit .258 against him which is lower but still far too high for a LOOGY.

In looking for a lefty specialist, however, the Mets could have one in Josh Edgin. He has good stuff, but hasn’t pitched consistently in a long time as he is coming off Tommy John surgery. The Mets could see how he does in spring training and bank on him being the lefty specialist going forward, and though that seems a distinct possibility now, there is a lot of offseason left; Sandy Alderson could have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Despite his reputation, Blevins was not a lefty specialist by any means in 2016. While righties batted only .182/.266/.345, lefties managed a .255/.313/.324 line against him. Edgin and Smoker would be asked to be the LOOGYs in the Mets 2017 bullpen even though Blevins did not perform as that in 2016.

When talking about replacing Blevins, the conversation should go back to what we have all been talking about this offseason: Getting a 7th inning man in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.

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