Mets Merized Online » Roger N – Big Mets Fan Mon, 23 Jan 2017 23:09:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Additional Mets Spring Training Broadcast Dates Not On SNY or WPIX Mon, 29 Feb 2016 18:59:59 +0000 david wright spring

In addition to the Mets Spring Training Games that are being broadcast on SNY and WPIX, die-hard fans will also have access to Mets spring training games with no blackouts on which aren’t being broadcast in the Mets home market.

Eight additional available Mets broadcasts not being televised on SNY or WPIX can be watched live as follows:

Saturday, March 5 – Mets vs. Astros (Kissimmee)
Monday, March 7 – Mets vs. Cardinals (Jupiter)
Sunday, March 13 – Mets vs. Marlins (Jupiter)
Saturday, March 19 – Mets vs. Nationals (Viera)
Saturday, March 26 – Mets vs. Braves (Kissimmee)
Monday, March 28 – Mets vs. Cardinals (Jupiter)
Thursday, March 31 – Mets vs. Cubs (Las Vegas)
Friday, April 1 – Mets vs. Cubs (Las Vegas)

SNY and WPIX announced their spring training coverage for the Mets earlier this month.



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Pitching Efficiency Outliers: Who’s At Risk For Injury In 2016 Tue, 16 Feb 2016 16:03:58 +0000 wheeler

There were red flags pointing to Wheeler’s elbow injury in 2015

A Major League Pitcher is a fragile thing. An unnatural motion is repeated over and over again with great stress until, inevitably the elbow or shoulder wear down and/or break. As every pitcher is different, there is no exact science to determine what the breaking point will be or how much stress the arm can take before it breaks down.

I decided to take a look at MLB starting pitchers over the last 10 seasons to see if there was any correlation between the number of pitches per inning (the amount of stress on the arm before getting a rest between innings – much like a break between reps in a workout) and injury. I went into this little study with no preconceived notions or assumptions and decided I would look at simply the raw data. The benchmark I’m also using is 20 starts in a MLB season (although many of these starters also logged innings in relief and/or the minors in any given year).

Over 2006-2015 seasons, starters with 20+ starts were fairly consistent:

2015 – 124 pitchers
2014 – 130 pitchers
2013 – 128 pitchers
2012 – 125 pitchers
2011 – 132 pitchers
2010 – 126 pitchers
2009 – 117 pitchers
2008 – 128 pitchers
2007 – 122 pitchers
2006 – 115 pitchers

Number of pitches/inning for the median pitcher:

2015 – Jon Niese (Mets) – 15.85
2014 – James Shields (Royals) – 16.00
2013 – Wade Miley (Diamondbacks) – 15.98
2012 – Jake Peavy (White Sox) – 15.92
2011 – John Lannan (Nationals) – 15.91
2010 – Jon Lester (Red Sox) – 16.14
2009 – Chris Volstad (Marlins) – 16.36
2008 – Jamie Moyer (Phillies) – 16.16
2007 – Jeff Suppan (Brewers) – 16.17
2006 – Scott Olsen (Marlins) – 16.14

As illustrated, the Median has also been fairly consistent over the last 5 years.

The upper 10% efficiency:

2015 – 14.78/inning or less
2014 – 14.88/inning or less
2013 – 15.00/inning or less
2012 – 15.03/inning or less
2011 – 15.01/inning or less
2010 – 15.09/inning or less
2009 – 15.25/inning or less
2008 – 14.93/inning or less
2007 – 14.93/inning or less
2006 – 14.96/inning or less

As illustrated above, averaging roughly 15 pitches per inning gets a pitcher into at or near the top 10% in efficiency. That is 105 pitches to get through a full 7 innings and 120 pitches to get through a full 8 innings before yielding to the closer.

The lower 10% efficiency:

2015 – 17.01/inning or more
2014 – 17.12/inning or more
2013 – 17.43/inning or more
2012 – 17.19/inning or more
2011 – 17.13/inning or more
2010 – 17.05/inning or more
2009 – 17.56/inning or more
2008 – 17.48/inning or more
2007 – 17.36/inning or more
2006 – 17.14/inning or more

By the same token, averaging roughly 17 pitches/inning or more will put a pitcher at nearly the lowest 10% in terms of inefficiency. While an additional two pitches per inning may not seem like a lot, does the stress of throwing max effort an extra two times per inning before taking a break on the bench make a difference? Over 7 innings, that would be an extra 14 pitches. That is roughly 102 pitches to get through 6 innings, or approximately cramming a 7 inning start for an efficient pitcher into 6 innings with less rest. Does cramming this work into a shorter period create more stress that ultimately leads to breakdown?

From 2006 to 2015, 70 different pitchers had 127 instances of pitchers averaging 15 pitches per inning or less with 20 starts in the majors.
From 2006 to 2015, there were 200 instances of pitchers averaging 17 pitches per inning or more.

Is there any correlation between extreme efficiency or inefficiency and shoulder/elbow injuries during that season or the following year?

Seven of the 70 pitchers who hit the elite efficiency mark did it for the first time in 2015. Of the 63 pitchers where we can see if they had any shoulder/elbow issues the season after achieving elite efficiency, 14 (22%) became injured:

Chris Carpenter (TJ in 2007 after 1516 career innings – had prior elbow/shoulder issues), Tim Hudson (TJ in 2008 after 2017 career innings), John Smoltz (shoulder in 2008 after 3395 career innings – also prior TJ), Justin Duchscherer (shoulder after 426 career innings), Dallas Braden (shoulder after 491 career innings), Roy Halladay (shoulder in 2012 after 2531 innings through 2011), Jaime Garcia (shoulder ended 2012 after 495 career innings), Josh Tomlin (TJ ended 2012 after 341 career innings), Clayton Richard (shoulder ended 2013 after 773 career innings), Cliff Lee (elbow ended 2014 after 2156 career innings), Bronson Arroyo (TJ ended 2014 after 2364 career innings), Patrick Corbin (missed 2014 with TJ after 315 career innings), Martin Perez (TJ ended 2014 after 213 career innings), Henderson Alvarez (shoulder ended 2015 after 563 career innings), and Masahiro Tanaka – (partially town elbow in 2014 after 1315 innings in Japan through 2013, returned later that year).

Notice a pattern among the injuries among the elite efficiency pitchers? Half of them had racked up significant mileage in excess of 1300 innings before suffering an injury during or after an elite season. Of the 7 pitchers that didn’t have excess mileage, 5 of the injuries were shoulder related. Only two pitchers that didn’t have a ton of mileage on their arms suffered Tommy John after an efficient season.

As there were pitchers who hit the efficiency list more than once, there were 120 instances where we have elite efficiency and we were able to see the impact that same or the following year. A few on the list also logged in a ton of innings over long careers before going down. When looking at the following season effect, we have a shoulder/elbow injury rate the following year dropping to just 12%. The Tommy John rate following an elite efficiency season was just 4%.

If the 12% shoulder/elbow injury rate holds true for the 2016 season, we can expect two injuries among the 14 pitchers who are returning in 2016 and achieved elite efficiency (Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, John Lackey, Mike Leake, Hisashi Iwakuma, Phil Hughes, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Cory Kluber, Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Harvey, Sonny Gray, and Masahiro Tanaka). Two of the 16 pitchers who achieved the elite mark in 2015 (Tim Hudson and Mark Buehrle) have retired. An injury among any of the above is also much more likely to be shoulder related if historical patters hold true.

In reviewing the inefficient pitchers, there were 127 pitchers who made at least 20 starts. How many ended up with shoulder or elbow issues that were either shut down that very season or missed time the following year? 30 of these pitchers ended up injured, which is a 24% rate of injury. If we were to take this on a per-instance rate, there were 32 injuries after 187 instances from 2006-2014 where we saw the effect the following year, which is a 17% injury rate. We’ve already seen the effect of the inefficient 2015 seasons on Lance Lynn who will miss 2016 with Tommy John, Joe Kelly who was shut down at the end of 2015 with shoulder issues, and Nathan Eovaldi who had 2015 end early with elbow trouble – if we were to include these three injuries, we’d be at 18%.

The difference in injury to the individual pitcher isn’t much (22% vs 24%), but half of the pitchers who were injured following elite efficiency years had significant mileage. We also see an uptick in total injury instance the following year on a per-instance basis (12% vs 17%). Where we do see a huge injury jump is the injury rate among pitchers who have been highly inefficient for two or more seasons. 38% (18 of 47) pitchers who have been highly inefficient in more than 1 season in which they’ve made 20 or more starts have ended up with shoulder/elbow issues the same or following year:

Scott Kazmir (shoulder), John Maine (shoulder), Edinson Volquez (elbow), Gil Meche (shoulder), Doug Davis (elbow), Kyle Davies (shoulder), Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow), Tom Gorzelanny (elbow), Phil Hughes (shoulder), Danny Duffy (elbow), Chad Billingsley (elbow), Drew Pomeranz (biceps/elbow), Mike Pelfrey (shoulder/elbow), Felix Doubront (shoulder), Matt Moore (elbow), C.J. Wilson (elbow), Nathan Eovaldi (elbow), and Lance Lynn (elbow) all had issues after averaging 17 pitches/inning or greater 2x or more while making 20+ starts.

If a 38% injury rate among pitchers who have been highly inefficient on more than one occasion and were inefficient the previous year holds true, we can expect to see 2 of the 6 pitchers who reached this status go down in 2016. Lance Lynn was one of the six and will miss all of 2016 following had Tommy John. Who else is in the danger zone for 2016?

  • Nathan Eovaldi (Yankees) – his 2015 season ended early with elbow trouble (614 career innings).
  • Danny Duffy (Royals) – he’s already had Tommy John once (443 career innings).
  • Ian Kennedy (Royals) – he just signed for 5 years, $70 million (1234 career innings).
  • Yovanni Gallardo (free agent) – can this be a factor in his lack of a signing? (1473 career innings)
  • Hector Santiago (Angels) – he also had his innings load jump 27% over 2014 (532 career innings).

Two of the above five have already had elbow issues. Two more are at or near innings levels where even elite efficiency pitchers have broken down. One saw an increased workload at higher stress levels.

So how does our Mets staff look and how have their pitch efficiency been over the last few years?

Matt Harvey:

2015 – 14.78
2013 – 15.12
2012 – 16.48 (in 10 starts)

Jacob deGrom:

2015 – 15.58
2014 – 15.93

Noah Syndergaard:

2015 – 15.87

Steven Matz:

2015 – 16.15

Bartolo Colon:

2015 – 13.90
2014 – 14.88
2013 – 14.59
2012 – 14.05
2011 – 15.47

Zack Wheeler:

2014 – 17.85
2013 – 17.28 (in 17 starts)

Notice something interesting? I was using 20 starts as a barometer, a benchmark that Wheeler did not make in 2013. However, in his 17 starts he was in excess of 17 pitches/inning. Remember the little observation that pitchers who had two or more seasons with a lot of starts and extreme inefficiency had a 38% injury rate right after an inefficient season? Wheeler’s injury risk was a blinking red light. Then again, Harvey was just above that 15 pitch/inning mark when he went down in 2013 (after a season where he was pushing the 16.5 mark in 2012).

I’m not a professional statistician, but I think you’d agree that this is an interesting observation on the outliers when it comes to starting pitching… the most efficient starters get hurt at a much lower rate and they rarely have Tommy John issues the year following an efficient workload (which bodes well for Matt Harvey). Those that are repeatedly inefficient are much more likely to succumb to injury – which would suggest that Wheeler should focus on pounding the strike zone and get quicker outs.


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Why Latest Mets Moves Don’t Sit Well With Me Sun, 27 Dec 2015 19:36:51 +0000 de aza

Like many others in Panic City, I was none too thrilled with the Mets acquisition of Alejandro De Aza last week. As I’ve looked at the roster and looked at the player, I’ve tried to wrap my brain around exactly what I was feeling and why this move bothered me the way it has.

On the surface, De Aza isn’t a bad player. He’s a complimentary player and for all intents and purposes, he is simply a replacement over Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the roster. In a vacuum, it would be hard to make the argument that De Aza over Nieuwenhuis isn’t an upgrade, because it certainly is.

If you look at the lineup as it currently stands, you don’t see any glaring holes with the exception of center field which is a virtual unknown quantity at this point. While we lost Daniel Murphy’s bat in the lineup, he has been replaced by the switch-hitting Neil Walker who has very similar offensive numbers. Murphy has a career .755 OPS to Walker’s .769. Murphy hits more doubles, but Walker hits more home runs and also improves the team defensively.

There are other questions, of course – some bigger than others. Will Lucas Duda be a more consistent middle of the order presence in 2016? Throwing error aside in Game 5, he’s become a very solid defender at first base and has averaged 28 HR and 82 RBI the past two seasons.

Will David Wright be able to stay on the field for 135-140 games? Can he still provide the offensive production we’ve come to expect from him moving forward? We will see, but now that we have Asdrubal Cabrera to play shortstop full time, it allows Wilmer Flores to slide into a super-utility role and cover third base whenever he is needed while also providing coverage at second and short when Walker and Cabrera need a day off. I’d expect to see Wilmer getting 400 or more at-bats even though he won’t have a full-time position.

Will Michael Conforto take the next step in his evolution and hit LHP as an everyday player? I think the answer will be a resounding yes. Conforto profiles as a future middle of the order bat and I don’t see any reason why he can’t bat at least .285 while hitting 20-25 home runs in 2016. He showed in Game 4 that he can crush the ball with the best of them and he’s strong enough to hit it out of Citi even when he gets fooled.

Can Travis d’Arnaud finally have that full healthy breakthrough season and avoid the DL in 2016? If the Mets need to lean heavily on Kevin Plawecki again, will his bat show some significant improvement in his second season as the backup to TDA? Will we see d’Arnaud getting some time at first base against left-handed pitchers when Duda is given the day off?

I still keep going to center field as the biggest concern, mostly because we had an opportunity to really address it this offseason and I’m not sure we resolved anything there. Which Juan Lagares will show up next season? Will it be the Lagares we saw in 2014 that earned him the contract extension, or will it be the one that regressed in 2015? Were it not for the Lagares regression in 2015, we would not have traded for Cespedes. I do understand the reasoning behind the De Aza signing – he was brought in on a one-year deal to challenge Lagares and to be able to provide some replacement player production to hold down the fort until mid-season when the Mets could determine if they needed to acquire another big bat for the postseason stretch run. In a vacuum, I get the move. In a vacuum, I understand the move. In a vacuum, it’s a move that makes sense.

So why is this move not sitting well with me?

I, like many of you that are reading this, do not believe that the team’s financial difficulties are over. We were fed the company line that when fans returned to the park, the payroll would rise accordingly. And after a World Series appearance and the prospect of defending our National League title in 2016, I guess I expected to see a more aggressive approach. If not now, then when?

I understand that baseball is a business and that businesses are in business to make money. I’m also not suggesting that we spend money just for the sake of spending money. But we basically had two main objectives this offseason and that was to improve the bullpen and address center field.

The Mets – at least so far – also opted not to significantly upgrade the bullpen with any of the top-tier options that were out there. We have our shut down closer in Jeurys Familia, but we struggled all year long to find a reliable bridge to him.

Jerry Blevins was re-signed and he was excellent in an extremely small sample size before his season ended in April. But he’s also a pitcher who had a 4.87 ERA in 2014. Josh Edgin is a big question mark after Tommy John surgery. Jenrry Mejia is out for half the season. Rafael Montero is completely unproven in the majors and untested in the bullpen. Addison Reed and his 4.01 career ERA will be returning next season and could earn $6 million in arbitration. He pitched well after being acquired, but he’s still the same player that was demoted to the minors in 2015 due to ineffectiveness and was ultimately waived by the Diamondbacks. At this point, he’s hardly a proven commodity to be our second shut down reliever. Hansel Robles pitched well, but he’s also not that proven second guy. Carlos Torres? Logan Verrett? Josh Smoker? Sean Gilmartin?

Darren , O'Day

If the team’s financial difficulties were truly behind them, wouldn’t they have gone after the top setup man on the free agent market in Darren O’Day with a little more gusto? I would like to think so. Not only has O’Day been incredibly consistent, he walks very few batters and his pitching style is a complete contrast to the Mets flame throwing starters and he would keep opposing batters off balance before yielding to the closer. The $31 million contract over four years for O’Day, shouldn’t have been a bank-breaker for a New York team with a sold out stadium, rising TV ratings, and a healthy financial situation. O’Day should have been tops on their wish list and he was well worth the risk.

Did the Mets make a run at Ryan Madson? Madson has more risk given his injury history, but he’s also highly effective (when healthy) and he could have been had for less money than O’Day. He shouldn’t have been out of the budget. The Mets weren’t even in on Joakim Soria according to reports which was another head-scratcher. He could have also been signed as a setup man without hindering the payroll budget and he would have also served as a second closer.

I don’t get it. We basically were looking to accomplish two significant goals this Winter and we seemingly tip-toed our way around it with the same financial hesitancy we’ve become so accustomed to over the last six years. This in spite of record attendance, ratings, merchandising and revenue increases.

The Mets had the opportunity to strengthen a weakness without breaking the bank or adversely impacting future payroll budgets. The Mets had the opportunity to strengthen a weakness without having to forfeit a draft pick. The Mets had the opportunity to strengthen a weakness during a 3-4 year window when our lights-out rotation is still young and very affordable.

I still feel good about the season heading into 2016. Thankfully the NL East is looking like the weakest division in the league and the Nationals haven’t made any significant improvements. We have our dominating rotation which keeps us in the hunt. We have a pretty solid lineup even though we could have done more at center field.

However, I do feel that we struck out royally (pun intended) by not acquiring one of those top available setup relievers that would have taken our bullpen from good to dangerous. Buster Olney and Jon Heyman both recently chided the Mets for lacking the aggression you typically see from any team coming off a World Series appearance.

What this offseason has shown me is that the Mets’ financial difficulties are still not a thing of the past. And as long as the Wilpons remain in charge, there’s probably no hope that will ever change. Too bad for baseball. Too bad for us.


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Big Sexy is Back and He’s Moving On Up Sun, 20 Dec 2015 23:14:43 +0000 Colon Bartolo

With Bartolo Colon coming back for a third season with the Mets, Big Sexy will continue his climb up Major League Baseball’s record books as a Met.  He’s also making a climb up all-time lists with the Mets as well.

All-Time MLB Rankings:

Wins – 76th with 218

Losses – 146th with 154

Career Starts – 69th with 467

Innings – 136th with 2,980.2

Hits allowed – 120th with 3,029

Earned Runs allowed – 79th with 1,314

HR allowed – 27th with 355

Walks – 194th with 856

Strikeouts – 53rd with 2,237

Total Batters Faced – 125th with 12,588

All-Time Mets Rankings:

Wins – 35th with 29

Losses – 49th with 26

Games Started – 40th with 62

Innings – 48th with 397

Hits allowed – 41st with 435

Earned Runs – 45th with 182

Strikeouts – 47th with 287

Total Batters Faced – 50th with 1661

Colon turned down higher offers to re-sign with the Mets. “I’ve had a great experience in New York,” Colon, said on Friday. “The fans are great, being part of the postseason was great. I’ll do anything Terry wants me to do this year, start or relieve. I just want to help us get back to the World Series.”


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Nationals Are Running Out Of Time As Mets Keep Rolling Sat, 22 Aug 2015 17:56:47 +0000 USATSI_8749025_154511658_lowres

The Washington Nationals continued to plummet on Friday, dropping under .500 after a 10-3 loss to the last place Milwaukee Brewers.

Things look much bleaker for the Nats, who will now need to pick up nine games on the Mets over the next 38 games in order for the Amazins to lose control of their own destiny prior to the final Showdown at Citi Field on October 2-4 to wrap up the season.

What? The Mets have a five-game lead after Friday night’s victory over the Rockies. How can it be nine games?

As long as the Mets aren’t four games back heading into the October 2nd game, they are in complete control of their destiny. They can be three back and still sweep the Nationals to force a one game playoff. Right now they are five ahead. The Nationals would have to pick up nine games on the Mets in order to lock them out before that final series.

The much more likely scenario is that the Mets will have locked out the Nationals prior to the final weekend series and that the starting rotation can be rested and set for the playoffs. This being said, we all know what happened in 2007 and 2008.

No lead is safe and until the division is signed, sealed, and delivered – the Nationals pose a very dangerous threat, no matter what their record is showing. They have a dangerous (even if underperforming) rotation and they have a potent (if at times impotent) lineup including the frontrunner for the NL MVP hitting in the number three spot.

I don’t think we’ll collapse by any means. I’m counting down the Magic Number (currently at 37), but there is no time to rest until the division is won.

But I’ll tell you this – I’m looking to playoff baseball at Citi Field this October.


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It’s Playoffs or Bust for the Amazins Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:31:43 +0000 wilmer flores

It is now Playoffs or Bust time for the Mets and the latest baseball odds have the team’s chances of winning the World Series in the top five of all MLB teams.

With the team sitting on a 4.5 game lead and the Magic Number down to 40 entering play on August 19th, making the playoffs is the only option or else the 2015 season will go down as another collapse.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, nor do I think that this team will have their season go the way of the 2007 or 2008 squads. But if this team, with its pitching, revamped offense, and struggles of the Nationals, isn’t playing in the NL Division Series, this won’t be remembered as season of improvement or a season of a team on the verge – this will be remembered as a team that squandered the opportunity that was firmly in their grasp.

world series odds

This is a team that’s poised to go deep into the playoffs. They have the potential to win the World Series. And while I won’t be satisfied with a first round exit, even being swept in an October playoff series wouldn’t be viewed as a failure.

Barring an act of God, the St. Louis Cardinals will be playing the Wild Card winner and the Mets would be left to face the winner of the National League West, most likely the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Losing to Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in a short series isn’t anything to be ashamed of – and to be fair – no team wants to face the Mets rotation, either.

So where do your feelings stand? Would you still consider this season a success if the Mets failed to make the postseason?What about if they make the postseason and fail to advance beyond their first round?

For now, the Mets are in first place and looking good. So let’s enjoy this run, keep the pedal to the metal, and whatever other cliché comes to mind. Let’s Go Mets!!!


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Mapping Out the Mets Rotation to October Sat, 08 Aug 2015 16:11:04 +0000 terry collins

While Terry Collins said his mapped out plan to manage the innings of Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard is under lock and key, I think I’ve picked the lock.

I’ve mapped out the remaining 53 games and, barring injury, weather, or any other setbacks, I’ve figured out how the Mets can manage the remaining schedule, keep all the pitchers in the rotation, and give everyone five days between starts down the entire stretch.

Starting with Friday’s game against the Rays, the current rotation is running Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Matt Harvey.

With the off day on August 6th, everyone is getting an extra day of rest going into the weekend this time around the rotation.

The Mets have off days on August 17th, August 20th, September 3rd, September 17th, and September 28th. All starters will have an extra day by virtue of the calendar.

I’m expecting to see spot starters on August 12th against the Rockies, August 26th against the Phillies, and September 1st against the Phillies.

The spot start on the 12th will be between Harvey and deGrom’s turn in the rotation. Jacob is getting an extra day before his start on the 7th as a result of the off day, but by inserting a spot starter against the Rockies on this day, he (as well as the rest of the guys behind him) get an extra day. With the off days on the 17th and 20th, everyone is getting an extra day of rest. There are no scheduled off days between August 21st and September 2nd, so a spot start on August 26th after deGrom’s start gives Noah an extra day of rest. Another spot start on September 1st also gives Syndergaard another extra day.

As long as Steven Matz can come back to action in mid-September, I’m looking for him to join the rotation as the sixth man when the rotation would turn around to another time when the Mets would again be looking for a “spot start” on September 9th in a crucial game against the Nationals (ahead of Bartolo Colon). The rotation would then cycle through with six guys for the duration.

Based on the above scenario, we would be looking at 10 starts left for Syndergaard (which could be cut to 9 if the Mets clinch before the final weekend). Harvey, deGrom Niese, and Colon would have 9 remaining starts, and Matz would have 4 starts. Harvey and deGrom can be cut back to 8 should the Mets clinch before the final series.

noah syndergaard

The series in Washington against the Nationals on September 7-9 would map out to deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. Should the division still be up for grabs the final weekend of the season, the Mets would be lined up to drop the hammer with Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard to battle for the division head to head against the Nationals.

Of course, clinching the division before the final weekend with the Nats allows the Mets to set up the rotation how they want it for the playoffs.

Nine more starts for Harvey and deGrom projects to between 54-63 more innings (based on between 6-7 innings per start). Ten more starts for Syndergaard projects to another 60-70 innings. These regular season totals can be reduced should the Mets clinch before October 2nd. Should the Mets clinch before October 2nd, the team would be able to set their rotation to roll Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz right on through the postseason.

Here is my map – let’s see how close I am to the actual plan:

8/8 – Syndergaard vs. Rays
8/9 – Colon vs. Rays
8/10 – Niese vs. Rockies
8/11 – Harvey vs. Rockies
8/12 – Spot starter vs. Rockies
8/13 – deGrom vs. Rockies
8/14 – Syndergaard vs. Pirates
8/15 – Colon vs. Pirates
8/16 – Niese vs. Pirates
8/17 – off day
8/18 – Harvey vs. Orioles
8/19 – deGrom vs. Orioles
8/20 – off day
8/21 – Syndergaard vs. Rockies
8/22 – Colon vs. Rockies
8/23 – Niese vs. Rockies
8/24 – Harvey vs. Phillies
8/25 – deGrom vs. Phillies
8/26 – Spot starter vs. Phillies
8/27 – Syndergaard vs. Phillies
8/28 – Colon vs. Red Sox
8/29 – Niese vs. Red Sox
8/30 – Harvey vs. Red Sox
8/31 – deGrom vs. Phillies
9/1 – Spot starter vs. Phillies
9/2 – Syndergaard vs. Phillies
9/3 – off day
9/4 – Colon vs. Marlins
9/5 – Niese vs. Marlins
9/6 – Harvey vs. Marlins
9/7 – deGrom vs. Nationals
9/8 – Syndergaard vs. Nationals
9/9 – Matz vs. Nationals
9/10 – Colon vs. Braves
9/11 – Niese vs. Braves
9/12 – Harvey vs. Braves
9/13 – deGrom vs. Braves
9/14 – Syndergaard vs. Marlins
9/15 – Matz vs. Marlins
9/16 – Colon vs. Marlins
9/17 – off day
9/18 – Niese vs. Yankees
9/19 – Harvey vs. Yankees
9/20 – deGrom vs. Yankees
9/21 – Syndergaard vs. Braves
9/22 – Matz vs. Braves
9/23 – Colon vs. Braves
9/24 – Niese vs. Reds
9/25 – Harvey vs. Reds
9/26 – deGrom vs. Reds
9/27 – Syndergaard vs. Reds
9/28 – off day
9/29 – Matz vs. Phillies
9/30 – Colon vs. Phillies
10/1 – Niese vs. Phillies
10/2 – Harvey vs. Nationals
10/3 – deGrom vs. Nationals
10/4 – Syndergaard vs. Nationals

If it comes down to needing the final weekend to make the postseason, we will be lined up to have the horses we want.

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Mets Still In Striking Distance For NL East Title Sun, 12 Jul 2015 02:41:58 +0000 IMG_20150711_120045

This will certainly serve as fodder for debate between the “Stand Pat” crowd and the “Do Something” crowd, but here is one little factoid that cannot be disputed…

As long as the Mets stay within three games of the Washington Nationals, they hold their post-season destiny in their hands.

Why is that?

As long as the Mets stay within that three game striking distance of Washington entering into the final series of the season, they control their own fate.

The final series of the season is on October 2nd – 4th against the Nationals at Citi Field.

While it certainly wouldn’t be an ideal situation, as long as the Mets go into that final series no more than three games out they’ll still be in a position to sweep the Nationals and force a one-game playoff on October 5th for the division title and a playoff berth.

Of course if the Mets fail to win the division, there’s a chance they can qualify for one of the two wild cards and if they make it they’ll have to play a one-game playoff to advance to the NLDS. So obviously, winning the division has some huge advantages.

Entering Sunday’s game tomorrow, the Mets are only two games behind the Nationals. Their postseason odds are back up to 39% after being down to just 20% on July 4th.

They’re not out of it yet. And in fact, they’re actually in their best position to make the playoffs since June 19th. Things are not nearly as bleak as some in the media would have you believe. So keep watching, keep rooting, and most of all, keep believing. LGM

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Las Vegas and Binghamton Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:37:52 +0000 Boyd Jayce

Who’s Hot:

Jayce Boyd, Las Vegas – Boyd was riding a 6-game hitting streak entering into action on July 5th, batting .381 (8 for 21) with 3 doubles and 4 RBI over that span.

Alex Castellanos, Las Vegas – The Vegas outfielder has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 games through July 4th with 5 multi-hit games. Over this stretch, he’s hit .440 (11 for 25) with 5 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 HR, and 5 RBI as well as 2 walks.

Darin Gorski, Las Vegas – In his last 2 starts, the 7th round pick of the 2009 draft has gone 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA. In 12.2 innings, he’s allowed 12 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7.

Chase Huchingson, Las Vegas – Since being promoted from Binghamton, Huchingson hasn’t allowed an earned run in 9 appearances. In Vegas, he’s pitched 10 innings while allowing 5 hits, 5 walks, and striking out 10.

Dario Alvarez, Binghamton – In Alvarez’s last 9 appearances, he hasn’t allowed an earned run. Over this span, he’s pitched 10 innings while allowing just 2 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 14.

Michael Fulmer, Binghamton – In Fulmer’s last 5 starts for Bingo, he has a record of 2-1 with an ERA of 0.59 in 30.1 innings. Over this stretch, he’s allowed 19 hits while walking 5 and striking out 34 with a WHIP of 0.79.

Who’s Not:

Dillon Gee, Las Vegas – Gee has fallen hard in the desert. In two starts for Vegas, he’s 1-1 with an ERA of 13.50. In 9.1 innings, he’s allowed 20 hits while walking 3 and striking out 8.

Brandon Nimmo, Binghamton – Over Nimmo’s last nine games, he’s managed just 3 singles, hitting .091 (3 for 33) while striking out 13 times.


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Mets Postseason Odds Down to Season Low 28% Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:30:32 +0000 Mets bench

On April 27th, the Mets had a record of 15-5 and were eight games ahead of the Washington Nationals.

According to the Postseason Probabilities chart on, the Mets had a 68% chance of making the postseason, which was their high water mark for the season.

After being swept by the Atlanta Braves, the Mets were at their season’s low with now just a 28% chance of making the postseason.

On April 27th, the only two teams who had a better postseason probability than the Mets were the Los Angeles Dodgers (94%) and the St. Louis Cardinals (71%). On June 20th, the Mets were trailing the Cardinals (97%), Dodgers (86%), Nationals (74%), Cubs (65%), Pirates (64%), and Giants (51%).

There is still plenty of season left to go, and with a 36-35 record, just 1.5 games behind the Nationals, the division and postseason is very much within reach.

However, six runs in the last five games, squandering outstanding performances from aces Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, and consistently poor defense isn’t going to cut it. The question is, who is going to step up?

Let’s be clear – the Mets are in a much better place than they’ve been for years. They’re just a big bat away from being very, very dangerous. Their postseason odds are at 28%. Where have they been on June 21 in recent years?

2014 – 3%
2013 – 1%
2012 – 24%

The Mets never reached above 16% during the 2014 campaign. That was their high water mark on April 30 when their record stood at 15-11.

The last time the Mets were above 28% was during the 2013 season when on April 8 they had a 5-2 record.

The 2012 team made it as high as 40% on July 3, when the team had a 44-37 record. They were sitting 3.5 games behind the Nationals in the East.  It’s hard to remember that the team was seven games above .500 that late in the season in recent years, but they were.

The Mets eventually ran out of gas in 2012 and finished with a 74-88 record, 24 full games behind the Nationals and 14 games out in the wildcard.

After the collapses in 2007 and 2008 and the freefall in 2012, is it really any surprise that all the fan enthusiasm over this season’s 15-5 start has already been replaced with gloom and the expectation of another deflating collapse and disappointing year?

It’s up to ownership and the front office to change the perception. Too often there’s been a lot of lip service and not nearly enough accompanying action.

The quick answer might be to pull the trigger on a trade, but who are we going to get to spark the offense and solidify the defense? The available options don’t seem to fit any of the Mets’ needs.

And nobody is interested in giving away one of our golden arms just to roll the dice on a one or two year rental.

The odds may not be in our favor right now, but we’re still very much in the hunt. The question is, what happens next?


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Reynolds, Cessa, Satterwhite Top This Week’s Hot List Sat, 13 Jun 2015 14:09:25 +0000 matt reynolds

Who’s Hot:

Matt Reynolds, Las Vegas: Reynolds has hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games, going 15 for 40 (.375 batting average) with 9 runs score, 9 RBI, 4 doubles and 1 HR.

Cody Satterwhite, Las Vegas: Satterwhite hasn’t been scored upon in 5 appearances out of the Vegas bullpen this June, pitching 6.1 innings, while striking out 6 to go with a 1.11 WHIP.

Luis Cessa, Binghamton: Over his last 3 starts, Cessa has allowed just one run over 19.2 innings, going 2-1 with a 0.46 ERA over that span. He’s also allowed just 10 hits and 2 walks while striking out 15 with a 0.61 WHIP over that span.

Michael Conforto, Binghamton: Over his last 10 games, the 2014 first round pick has hit .400 (10 for 35) with 8 walks, 8 runs scored, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 Home Run, and 9 RBI’s.

Matt Koch, Binghamton: Koch hasn’t been scored upon since May 13th. Over his last 8 appearances out of the Bingo bullpen, he’s pitched 12 innings with a 0.00 ERA, allowing 6 hits, 0 walks, 8 K’s, a WHIP of 0.50 with 2 wins.

Dominic Smith, St. Lucie: The 2013 first round pick has hit safely in 26 of his last 31 games dating back to May 9th, including a 16 game hitting streak from May 18th to June 3rd. Over this stretch, he’s hit .350 (43 for 123) including 14 multi-hit games while scoring 24 runs, 19 doubles, 2 HR, 30 RBI, and 7 walks.

Patrick Biondi, Savannah: Biondi was a 9th round pick in the 2013 draft. The Gnat outfielder has 5 multi-hit games since May 29th. Over his last 9 games, he’s hit .412 (14 for 34) with 6 runs scored, raising his average on the season to .317.

Casey Meisner, Savannah: The 6’7” third round pick in the 2013 draft is 4-0 over his last 4 starts dating back to May 21st. Over this stretch, he’s pitched 29.1 innings, allowing 19 hits, 8 walks, striking out 24 with a WHIP of 0.92.

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Who’s Not:

Brandon Allen, Las Vegas: Over his last 11 games dating back to May 28th, Allen is batting just .088 (3 for 34) with no extra base hits and 15 K’s.

Chasen Bradford, Las Vegas: Bradford has allowed 6 earned runs in his last three appearances out of the Vegas pen over 4.2 innings. Over this stretch, he’s pitched 4.2 innings with a 11.57 ERA, allowing 11 hits, two walks, and striking out six with a WHIP of 2.79.

Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton: Over Ynoa’s last four starts, he’s 0-3 with an ERA of 9.30 in 20.1 innings. Over this span, he’s allowed 21 runs, 29 hits and four walks while striking out six.

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Mets Minors: Cecchini, Morris, Sewald Make This Week’s Hot List Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:00:42 +0000 baseball grass spring training

Who’s Hot!

Duane Below – Las Vegas. In his last three outings, the 29 year old lefty is 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA and a WHIP of 0.88 in 24 innings. Two of his last three starts were complete games, including a shutout on May 25th.

Steven Matz – Las Vegas. Matz took the loss on 5/31 in a 1-0 game, but he still lowered his ERA on the season to a sparkling 1.98. Over his last two starts, he’s 1-1 with an ERA of 0.72 in 12 innings while allowing 6 hits, 3 walks, and 9 strikeouts with a WHIP of 0.75.

Gavin Cecchini – Binghamton. Entering Monday’s action, the 2012 first round pick had 4 straight multi-hit games, hitting .625 going (10 for 16) over that span.

Paul Sewald – Binghamton. Sewald hasn’t been scored upon in his last 5 outings dating back to May 19th. Over that span, he has 4 saves and allowed 4 hits with 1 walk and 5 K’s in 5 innings.

Jeff McNeil – St. Lucie. McNeil was riding an 8 game hitting streak entering Monday’s action during which he’s hitting (.444) 16 for 36 while scoring 9 runs with 3 doubles, 1 HR, and 3 walks.

Akeel Morris – St. Lucie. Morris may only be in A-ball, but he’s on the Mets 40-man roster and has continued his dominance. He hasn’t allowed a run in 10 appearances since May 2nd, a span of 12 innings, allowing just 3 hits, 5 walks, and striking out 14.

Dominic Smith – St. Lucie. Entering Monday’s action, the 2013 first round pick had a 13 game hitting streak which started May 18th. Over this stretch, he was hitting .377 (20 for 53) while scoring 10 runs, smacking 10 doubles, 1 HR, and 14 RBI.

David Roseboom – Savannah. Roseboom was a 17th round pick in the 2014. The lefty has been unscored upon in his last 5 outing out of the Savannah pen. Over this span, he’s pitched 5.2 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 6.

Who’s Not!

Matt Bowman – Las Vegas. Bowman was a 13th round pick of the Mets in the 2012 draft. Over his last 4 starts, he’s 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA and an WHIP of 1.69 in 21.1 innings while allowing 8 walks and striking out 7.

Brooks Conrad – Las Vegas. The 35 year old infielder appeared in 13 games for the San Diego Padres last season. He’s struggled at the plate for the 51s this season and has been cold of late, hitless in his last 5 games since May 27th, going 0-14 over that span with 1 walk and 5 K’s.

T.J. Rivera – Las Vegas. After a hot start following his promotion to AAA, Rivera’s bat has cooled off. Entering Monday’s action, he was hitless in 5 straight games, going 0-15 with 1 walk.

Gabriel Ynoa – Binghamton. Ynoa’s 0-2 in his last two starts, allowing 13 hits (2 home runs) while walking out 3 and striking out just 3 batters in 11.1 innings, pitching to an ERA of 7.94 and a WHIP of 1.41.

Darwin Frias – Savannah. Entering play on Monday, Frias allowed runs in 4 straight appearances out of the Sand Gnats pen. In 4.1 innings over this span, he pitched to an ERA of 16.62, allowing 11 hits, walking 4, and striking out 3.

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Mets Minors: Conforto, Rivera, Smith, Morris Are Red Hot Tue, 26 May 2015 15:52:45 +0000 t.j. rivera homers

Who’s Hot:

John Church – Las Vegas. The 23rd round pick of the Mets in the 2009 draft may no longer be considered a “prospect” at age 28, but he’s putting together a very solid season in the Vegas pen. Entering Monday’s action, he hasn’t been scored upon in his last 6 appearances, and in his last 11 appearances dating back to April 28th, he has a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 0.59 in 15.1 innings with a WHIP of 0.72 with 4 walks and 11 K’s.

T.J. Rivera – Las Vegas. Since being promoted to Las Vegas, Rivera has appeared in 8 games through May 24th, hitting .414 (12 for 29). Prior to his promotion, he was hitting .318 at Binghamton in 22 games.

Jayce Boyd – Binghamton. Boyd was a 6th round pick of the Mets in the 2012 draft and is currently riding an 11 game hitting streak over which he’s hitting .386 (17 for 44) with 8 runs scored with 4 doubles and 1 HR.

Beck Wheeler – Binghamton. The Bingo reliever hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 5 outings. Since May 15th, he’s pitched 5 innings, allowing 2 hits, no walks, and 5 K’s and a WHIP of 0.40.

Michael Conforto – St. Lucie. Last year’s first round pick is on an 8 game hitting streak and has hit in 11 of the last 12 games, hitting .340 over that stretch (17 for 50). Over this span, he’s scored 9 runs with 8 doubles.

Akeel Morris – St. Lucie. Morris was a 10th round pick in the 2010 draft and has been outstanding over the last three minor league seasons. In 2014, he posted a 0.63 ERA while striking out 89 batters in 57 innings for Savannah. The 22 year old righty has allowed just 6 hits in 22 innings on the season. Over his last 8 games dating back to May 4th, he’s pitched 9.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 4 walks, and striking out 11 to a WHIP of 0.62 and an ERA of 0.00.

Amed Rosario – St. Lucie. The 19 year old Dominican shortstop is on a 6 game hitting stream and has hit in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .360 (18 for 50) over that span while scoring 9 runs.

Dominic Smith – St. Lucie. The 19 year old first round pick of the 2013 draft is riding a 7 game hitting stream over which he’s hitting .370 (10 for 27) with 5 doubles.

Patrick Biondi – Savannah. Biondi was a 9th round pick in the 2013 draft. Through May 24th, Biondi had hit in 9 of the previous 10 games batting .419 (13 for 31) including 4 multi-hit games.

Who’s Not:

Kyle Johnson – Las Vegas. The 25 year old Vegas outfielder hasn’t had a hit or a walk since May 15th entering Monday’s action. He’s 0 for his last 15 with 5 K’s.

David Cooper – Binghamton. Cooper was a former 1st round pick of the Blue Jays who appeared in 72 major league games for Toronto in 2011-12. He was playing in the Independent Atlantic League earlier this season before being picked up by the Mets. In his last 7 games dating back to May 17th, he’s hitting .083 (2 for 24) while playing first base.

Julian Hilario – Binghamton. Hilario has struggled since being promoted from St. Lucie. In his four appearances since being promoted, he’s had an ERA of 13.50, allowing 6 earned runs in 4 innings, allowing 11 hits, walking 4 with a WHIP of 3.75 and opposing batters hitting .524 off him.

Darwin Frias – Savannah. The 23 year old Dominican pitcher has been scored upon in his last three appearances entering Monday’s action, allowing 5 earned runs in 2.2 innings while yielding 6 hits and 4 walks. Over his last three appearances dating back to May 17th, he’s pitched to an ERA of 16.88 and a WHIP of 3.75.

Jon Leroux – Savannah. The 24 year old infielder was hitting .197 on the season entering Monday’s action. Over his last 7 games dating back to May 15th, he’s hitting just .043 (1 for 23) with 9 strikeouts.

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Jon Niese is Moving Up the All-Time Mets Ranks Wed, 13 May 2015 18:14:07 +0000 jon niese

He’s a back end of the rotation guy and certainly not someone who attracts the kind of attention of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard.

His future in the Mets organization is uncertain beyond 2015 despite being under contract for $9.05 million for 2016 with club options for 2017 and 2018.

Despite being one of the Rodney Dangerfields of the Mets rotation, Jon Niese is putting up solid numbers in 2015 and has quietly moved up the ranks among All-Time Mets pitchers.

For his career, Niese’s 154 starts puts him 13th in franchise history and, barring injury, he should pass David Cone’s 169 starts for 10th place.

His 738 strikeouts is already 9th all time,although he still has a ways before he reaches Jon Matlack’s 1,023 for 8th.

His 921.2 innings are 15th in franchise history and he should pass Tom Glavine’s 1,005.1 innings this year to move into 11th all time.

Niese’s 55 wins are 14th in Mets history, and another 12 victories (which is not out of reach this season), will pass Steve Trachel’s 66 to also put him into the top 10.

Niese isn’t going to win a Cy Young award anytime soon. We’re not asking him to be one. He doesn’t even have to keep on pitching to his team-best 1.95 ERA and currently 7th best in MLB. We just need him to be what he is – a capable and valuable lefty in the rotation.


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Mets Minors: Carrillo, Matz, Cecilliani Are Red Hot Mon, 11 May 2015 13:00:34 +0000 steven matz

Who’s Hot (AAA,AA)

Steven Matz – Las Vegas. Matz could just as easily have earned the promotion to the Mets when Gee ended up on the disabled list. Over his last 5 appearances (4 starts) dating back to April 19th, he’s 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA while striking out 36 batters in 32 innings and a 0.72 WHIP. In his most recent start on Mother’s Day he had a no-decision while allowing zero runs and striking out 7 in 7 innings.

Noah Syndergaard – Las Vegas. Thor was on fire in Vegas and earned the call up when Dillon Gee ended up on the disabled list. What has he done lately? Over his last 3 starts he’s only gone 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA while striking out 27 in 22 innings. His WHIP? A sick 0.59. Oh yeah, and he only went 3-for-4 with a home run at the plate in his last start. Let’s hope this is the last time Noah is on any minor league list.

Darrell Ceciliani – Las Vegas. Ceciliani was a 4th round pick of the Mets in the 2009 draft and is in his 7th season in the Mets organization. The 24 year old outfielder has been on a tear since May 3rd, batting .414 (12 for 29) and an OBP of .485 with 8 runs scored.

Jack Leathersich – Las Vegas. Since returning to the 51s, Leathersich hasn’t missed a beat. In four appearances out of the Vegas pen, pitching 3.1 innings, he’s allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 6.

Xorge Carrillo – Binghamton. The B-Mets catcher has hit in 9 of his last 10 games hitting .400 (14 for 35) over that stretch while scoring 6 runs with 2 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, and a .462 OBP.

Matt Koch – Binghamton. Koch was a 3rd round pick of the Mets in the 2012 draft. In his last 4 appearances out of the Bingo pen, he’s pitched 6.2 innings, allowing 5 hits, 0 walks, striking out 4 batters with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.75.

Adam Kolarek – Binghamton. The 11th round selection of the Mets in the 2010 draft got off to a rough start to 2015 with an ERA of 14.14 after his first 5 appearances. He’s settled down since then – in his last 4 appearances out of the bullpen since April 29th, he’s allowed zero runs in 8.1 innings with a crisp WHIP of 0.48 and striking out 5 batters.

Who’s Not (AAA,AA)

Albert Cordero – Binghamton. The other B-Mets catcher has been cold at the plate, hitless over his last 5 games dating back to April 28th going 0 for 18 over that stretch with 0 walks.

John Gant – Binghamton. Gant is 0-2 over his last 2 starts with an ERA of 6.30, allowing 15 hits, 8 walks and striking out 8 in 10 innings with a 2.30 WHIP.

Gilbert Gomez – Binghamton. The 23 year old Dominican outfielder is in his 7th season in the Mets organization. He finally broke through with a hit on Sunday after being hitless in his previous 8 games. Since April 24th, he’s hitting just .040 (1 for 25) with 11 strikeouts.

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Mets Promote Johnny Monell, Option Eric Campbell Tue, 05 May 2015 19:36:01 +0000 johnny monell

The Mets have optioned Eric Campbell back to Triple-A Las Vegas and activated catcher Johnny Monell to their 25 man roster.

Monell gives the Mets a third catcher as well as a left-handed bat off the bench.

Campbell, 28, batted .200/.320/.323 in 50 at-bats with the Mets, but had been slumping badly over the last week.

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Triple-A catcher Johnny Monell is on his way to New York and is expected to be activated in time for Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. No corresponding move has been announced.

After a strong showing this spring, Monell has made a case for himself to be the Mets backup catcher, especially with Anthony Recker continuing to struggle at the plate.

However, a report from Mike Puma of The Post says the Mets intend to carry three catchers, suggesting that Eric Campbell could be heading back to Las Vegas.

Monell, 29, has hit in 8 of his last 9 games during which he’s been hitting .444 (16 for 36) with seven runs scored, two home runs, and 12 RBI.

Overall, he is batting a league-leading .397 with a .455 OBP, four home runs, 15 RBI and a 1.092 OPS in 58 at bats for Las Vegas.

Monell agreed to a minor league contract last November with an invitation to major league spring training.

He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2013, when he had one hit and three strikeouts in nine plate appearances with the Giants.

Monell spent the 2014 season batting .238/.301/.364 with 40 strikeouts in 226 plate appearances between the Triple-A affiliates of the Dodgers and the Orioles.


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MMO Special Feature: Mets Starters Are The Best In The NL East Mon, 04 May 2015 18:38:03 +0000 matt harvey

We’re five weeks into the regular season and even though the Mets offense has been struggling lately, the pitching has been strong. So how good has the Mets starting five been? Let’s compare the Mets rotation to the top five starters throughout the rest of the National League East.


Mets starters have been the best thus far and have gone deepest into games. But as expected, Nationals starters aren’t too far behind. Spots three, four, and five are pretty much what was expected at the start of the season.

The Mets rank 1st in ERA, K/BB Ratio, and IP/S and are second behind the Marlins in WHIP.

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Matt Harvey leads all Mets starters with a perfect 5-0 record. He tossed 7.0 scoreless innings on Friday to earn the only Mets win against the Nationals this past weekend. He is now 3-1 with a 0.68 ERA in six career starts against Washington.

Bartolo Colon has been a rock in the rotation, Jacob deGrom is building on last season, Jon Niese has pitched extraordinarily well, and on Sunday, Pedro Martinez called Dillon Gee the best No. 5 starter in the game.

It’s a long season and as they say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But from the early returns, it looks like the Mets starting pitching has been better than anyone could have imagined, and that would account for the Amazins’ first place standing atop the NL East.

These results are amazing to say the least, and with continued good health there’s no reason not to expect them to keep producing at this level – or perhaps even better.

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Was Last Night deGnome-Gate? Sun, 03 May 2015 15:21:39 +0000 jacob deGrom gnome

In a year where Mets ownership is looking to get the fans back, the team is sitting in first place in early May, and there is a buzz at Citi Field that has never been seen with such regularity before. But are the Mets are making a big blunder when it comes to their premium promotions in 2015?

Last night was Jacob deGrom Gnome Night. The first 15,000 fans received the giveaway. There was just one problem… the official attendance was 39,730.

The team was promoting the giveaway pretty heavily for nearly a month. It was everywhere, a dozen promos per broadcast, popup ads on, Twitter and Facebook campaigns, and several emails as well. And after all that heavy pushing, they weren’t even available for half the fans at the game.

In recent years, the Mets have cut their giveaways for premium items such as bobble-heads significantly from 25,000 to 20,000 in 2014, and now down to 15,000 for this season, despite attendance increasing the last two seasons.

Lines were long to get into the game before the gates opened, and I’m hearing from others on social media that the giveaways were long gone, even though they were in the park early.

Hey Mets – you’ve been trying to win the fans back. Don’t leave a bad taste in the mouths of the people you’re trying to get back. I understand that by limiting the number of items, you’re encouraging people to arrive early and thus spend extra money at the park, but you’re also creating negative goodwill instead of positive.

Think of the kid that was hoping to get the gnome, but his parents didn’t arrive early enough… the parents had to hear it all game long and they may not bring their kid back because they don’t want to hear the complaining again. You want to get the next generation at the ballpark early and often.

There are a couple of other premium giveaways coming up this season. I understand that it may be too late to order extras in time for some of the other giveaways, but you can still make up for it.

Prior to the game, announce that additional items are being ordered if you didn’t get a giveaway through the gate, or that you can get a rain check and pick it up at the park at another game. You create the positive goodwill and guess what…you’ll get someone back at another game if they want the item bad enough.

But what do I know?

If you were at the game last night, what was your experience?

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Mayberry, Granderson, Lagares Sizzling Mon, 23 Mar 2015 19:10:15 +0000 john mayberry

Who’s Hot:

Matt Harvey – Harvey has come out swinging this spring. National League – be afraid. Be very afraid. In 14.1 innings this spring, he’s struck out 12 while walking 1 with a WHIP of 0.84 to go with a sparkling 1.26 ERA. He’s also been breezing through his starts. We missed you Matt. Welcome Home.

John Mayberry, Jr. – Mayberry has been hitting this spring at a .452 clip with 14 hits in 31 sprint at bats. He’s also walked 5 times and knocked in 2 HR’s and 8 RBI for a .514 OBP / .710 slugging line. The Mets signed Mayberry to give the team some pop from the right hand side against lefties – he’s struggled in his career against right handed pitching with a career .224/.293/.365 slash line. This spring he’s been tearing up right-handers going 9 for 18 with 4 walks. So is this spring an illusion? We’ll see once the bell rings on the regular season.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Kirk knows that it’s now or never for him. He has the upper hand in the 4th outfielder spot over Matt den Dekker since he’s out of options, but he also has to earn his roster spot. He’s playing like he wants on the team for sure, hitting .432 (16 for 37) with 5 doubles, 6 walks and a .512 OBP with a 1.079 OPS. He won’t hurt us at any of the outfield spots and he has left handed pop off the bench. No complaints about him breaking camp with team.

mmo feature original footerJuan Lagares – The Golden Man is flashing the bat this spring, too. He got an inside the park homer against the Yankees on Sunday and he’s hitting .417 with a .475 OBP. We want our leadoff hitter to get on base. Yep, he’s doing it. Well done, Juan.

Johnny Monell – He’s hoping to earn the Mets backup catcher spot. He’s making his case to do so, hitting .379 with 3 HR in 15 spring games. Do I think he’ll break camp with the team? Highly unlikely. Even if he does hit lefty and has some pop off the bench, Recker also has pop. Recker also threw out 37% of base stealers last season vs. just 17% for Monell. The Mets need someone who can throw out runners.

Curtis Granderson – The Grandy Man has been hitting a Ted Williams – esque .407 this spring with 2 HR, 6 walks, and just 4 strikeouts. Let’s see him take this north and continue!

Jacob deGrom – Hitters are batting just .162 off deGrom this spring. In 11 innings, he’s allowed 2 hits, 1 walk while striking out 12 batters. His WHIP of 0.64 isn’t too shabby, either.

Honorable MentionsDaniel Muno, Matt Reynolds, David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Wilmer Flores

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Who’s Not:

Bartolo Colon – Bartolo has a 7.71 ERA this spring in 11.2 innings and batters are hitting .367 off him. I highly doubt he cares what his spring stats are. He’s a veteran and not trying to make the team. I won’t be worried unless we’re seeing these same numbers after 4 regular season starts.

Scott Rice – Rice isn’t stating his case very well for the wide open lefty spot in the bullpen. He’s no longer on the 40 man roster, and a 9.64 ERA in the spring isn’t likely to get it done, unless it’s entirely by default.

Sean Gilmartin – Rule 5 pick Gilmartin has his opportunity right in front of him. He’s made 6 appearances this spring with batters hitting .308 against him with 4 walks in 6.1 innings. Not exactly getting the job done.

Dario Alvarez – Alvarez also has an opportunity to win the lefty bullpen job. Hitters are hitting only .176 against him. Unfortunately he’s also walked 5 batters in 5 innings. No one is taking the lefty spot by the horns.

Anthony Recker – Recker is trying to hold onto his backup backstop role. He’s being chased by Monell and is batting just .148. Luckily for him, he’s the incumbent and as previously mentioned, throwing out 37% of base stealers is in his favor. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t go north, but he may be in danger as Plawecki progresses.

Dishonorable MentionsBrandon Allen (since sent to minor league camp), Travis d’Arnaud, Matt den Dekker

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This Year is Different… Or Is It? Sat, 07 Mar 2015 16:01:59 +0000 mets spring training 2015

I don’t know about you – but I’m excited about this year. Okay, so I’m excited about the start of every baseball season, but this year is different. This year there is that nervousness that’s been missing. This year there is that “what if?” factor. This year there are higher expectations.

The past few seasons of Mets baseball have been like going to the local high school production of “Guys and Dolls” – heading in, you have absolutely no expectations, you’re just getting out of the house, you’re hoping that you’ll see something you can sincerely cheer and clap for, but you know that you may see something pretty painful and awful, and you know that the odds of seeing Broadway is a fleeting dream at best.

But this year is different.

We have some big names on the marquee. We have bright lights on the stage. We’ve seen some of the performers in some pretty darn good roles and we’re hopeful that this cast of characters has what it takes to put together a great ensemble cast that will put together a long run instead of having the curtain close prematurely.

So yes, I’m excited. I’m nervous, too. The last few seasons haven’t disappointed me. After all, if you don’t have any expectations, you can’t be disappointed. I haven’t been disappointed by my Mets since 2008 when they were eliminated by postseason play on the final day of the season.


After two straight season ending failures, I didn’t have any expectations for 2009 when Citi Field opened. Not only were we coming off two epic collapses, we just got kicked in the balls by Bernie Madoff. The Mets lived up to my serious lack of expectations by finishing with a 70-92 record. Sure, they teased a bit that year and were three games over .500 as late as June 25th before getting swept by the Yankees at home, but any real hope was already long gone with Jose Reyes mired on the disabled list. Luis Castillo’s dropped ball on June 12th pretty much summed up what it was like to be a Mets fan.

Come 2010, even Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn’t provide any hope, but by then I was OK with it and coming to grips with it. I mean, c’mon – when your opening day lineup included Alex Cora leading off and playing shortstop, Gary Matthews, Jr. in center field and Jeff Francoeur in right, did you really expect me to have any expectations?

But like I said, I was OK with it by then – I was beginning to indoctrinate my oldest one into Mets fandom and began taking her to games (which I know she will someday curse my name for doing it) and my goal was to just get out of the house and enjoy time with my kid. The team actually improved that year to 79-83, but still finished a distant fourth, 18 games out of first and 12 out of the wildcard. They were never really in it and no one believed, even when the team was 10 games over .500 and in second place as late as July 6th.

The team stumbled going into the All-Star Break and collapsed afterward. All this collapse did was confirm to the fan base that the team would couldn’t keep it up to the end, just like they couldn’t in 2007 and 2008. No need to get excited, nothing to see here, folks. Ya Gotta Believe it wasn’t. Actually, we did believe – we believed the inevitable would happen, which it did. We believed Jason Bay would collect a paycheck, which he did. Oh, and we had the Oliver Perez nonsense.

After 2010, Omar Minaya was ushered out and Sandy Alderson was brought in to clear payroll and save the Wilpons from themselves. The glory days of 2006 were in the rear view mirror and entering 2011 we were now four seasons away from that last  playoff appearance,  and expectations were lower than ever. The team stumbled out of the gate and was 4-11 by April 16th after dropping 7 straight and getting swept in two straight doubleheaders against the Rockies and Braves. It was the same old Mets. Yes, R.A. Dickey got us back to .500 after beating the Yankees on May 20th, but we were never in it.

johan-santana no-hitter

Then came 2012 and the Payroll Purge. Nearly $50 million in payroll came off the books as Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Francisco Rodriguez were gone. We found some good performances in our own high school version of “West Side Story” as Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history,  R.A. Dickey won 20 games and won the Cy Young, and top prospect Matt Harvey made his debut. But once again, there were no expectations. Attendance dropped to 2.2 million good for only 11th in the National League as disgruntled fans stayed away.

Come 2013, all we had to hang our hat on was the All-Star Game and getting David Wright to start in front of his home crowd… oh, and there was a ton of electricity when the Dark Knight took the mound. But we knew the season was all about some sizzle, but no substance. Sandy Alderson declared “What outfield?” during the Hot Stove season and once the All-Star excitement was gone, we were left to dream about 2014, the season where we were finally expected to move towards contention. Then the news came… Matt Harvey. Elbow. Devastation. So much for 2014.

So last year became another year where the goal was to go to Citifield, have a good time with your kids, and just enjoy the National Pastime. But this year is different. We have Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom. We have a healthy David Wright. We have our own version of the Nasty Boys in the bullpen. We’re ready to believe. We need to believe. I want to believe.

I’m hoping for a blockbuster. I don’t want Howard the Duck. Damn those dreaded expectations.


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Ranking the NL East Catchers Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:10:59 +0000 Florida Marlins v Washington Nationals

How do the National League East Catchers shake out? There can be a lot of debate on this list, and by mid-season this list may be completely different – but let’s take a look and see how they currently rank…

1. Wilson Ramos (Nationals) – Ramos is the best catcher in the East. He gunned down 38% of would be base stealers in 2014 while hitting .269 with 27 HR and 106 RBI over the last two seasons. He just has to stay on the field after tearing his ACL in 2012, a hamstring injury in 2013, and a broken hand in 2014.

2. Carlos Ruiz (Phillies) – As catchers go, Chooch is getting long in the tooth entering his age 36 season. He’s also steady behind the plate. He threw out 27% of baserunners and 27% for his career. Over the last 8 seasons, he’s averaged 114 games with a .272 batting average, .358 OBP, 24 doubles and 8 home runs. As a solid veteran on a rebuilding team and two years (+ a team option) with $17.5 million guaranteed heading his way, will he be traded to a contender that needs a solid backstop?

3. Travis d’Arnaud (Mets) – This is a big season for TDA with Kevin Plawecki knocking on the door in AAA, just waiting for his chance. Last year was a tale of two seasons for d’Arnaud – are we going to see the player who hit .272 with 19 doubles and 10 HR in 69 games after he was recalled from the minors, or will we see the player who hit .180 with 3 doubles and 3 HR in 39 games before being banished to Vegas? He threw out only 19% of base runners last year, and only threw out 13% after being called up. The Mets are going to need to win this year with pitching and defense. Travis is going to need to step up this year for the Mets to contend. Given his improved offensive production in the latter half of 2014, I’ll rank him ahead of the next man on the list, but depending on his start, he can find himself sliding either up or down on the list very easily.

4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Marlins) – There’s nothing particularly exciting about Salty. He’s a career .242 hitter who threw out 19% of runners last season (well below the 28% league average). He has some pop, hitting 11 in 2014 and averaging 16 over the last 4 seasons. But hey, he’s owed $15 million by the Marlins through 2016 – not bad work if you can get it.

5. Christian Bethancourt (Braves) – The 23 year old rookie backstop enters the season as tops on the depth chart after trading away Evan Gattis. While A.J. Pierzynski and John Buck were veterans that were signed in the offseason that can mentor the young catcher and possibly step in if he needs more seasoning, the job is Bethancourt’s to lose. He has some pop in his bat, is a career .269 hitter in the minors, and has thrown out 36% of would be base stealers in the minors. The Braves feel he’s their catcher of the future – he’ll just have to show if his promise lives up to his potential. As he’s completely unproven at the MLB level, he’s number 5 on the list, but with production, he may find himself moving up the list.


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