Mets Merized Online » Roger N – Big Mets Fan Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:13:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Which MLB Players Do Current Mets Compare To? Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:00:09 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

If you were to go to Baseball-Reference to look up particular player, you can always see who the top ten players that have a similar statistical profile either overall and also through their current age.

I thought it would be fun to see which MLB players throughout history, some of our current Mets compared to through similar aged seasons. There’s nothing scientific about this whatsoever – so sit back and here we go:

Daniel Murphy

Billy Werber – Werber played in 11 MLB seasons (1930, 1933-1942) with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants. He appeared in 1,295 games, batting .271 with 78 HR, 539 RBI and 1,363 hits. Other similar players: Todd Walker, Martin Prado

Lucas Duda

Dan Pasqua – Pasqua played ten MLB seasons (1985-94) with the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, appearing in 905 games with 117 HR, 390 RBI and 638 career hits. Other similar players: Mike Young, Dick Gernert

Curtis Granderson

Ron Gant – Gant played 16 MLB seasons (1987-93, 1995-2003) with the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Anaheim Angels, Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres. He appeared in 1,832 games, hitting .256 with 321 HR, 1,008 RBI and 1,651 career hits. Other similar players: Bob Allison, Roger Maris

Juan Lagares

Jeremy Reed – Reed played eight MLB seasons (2004-2011) with the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 483 MLB games, batting .252 with 12 HR, 110 RBI and 315 hits. Other similar players: Endy Chavez, Leon Culberson


David Wright

Scott Rolen – Rolen played 17 MLB seasons (1996-2012) with the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Cincinnati Reds. While we recently featured Wright’s statistical similarities to George Brett through his age 31 season, his closest match was Rolen (Brett was #2). Rolen appeared in 2,038 games, hitting .281 with 316 HR, 1,287 RBI and 2,077 hits. Other similar players: George Brett, Aramis Ramirez

Ruben Tejada

Jose Offerman – Offerman played 15 MLB seasons (1990-2002, 2004-05) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets. He appeared in 1,651 games with a career .273 batting average with 57 HR, 537 RBI and 1,551 hits. Other similar players: Bucky Dent, Jack Barry

Eric Young Jr.

Mike Felder – Felder played ten MLB seasons (1985-1994) with the Miwaukee Brewers, San Fransicso Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Houston Astros. He appeared in 899 MLB games, hitting .249 with 14 HR, 173 RBI, 161 stolen bases, and 564 hits. Other similar players: Gregor Blanco, Milt Cuyler

Bartolo Colon

Jamie Moyer - Moyer pitched for 25 MLB seasons (1986-91, 1993-2010, 2012) with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, and Colorado Rockies. In 696 games (638 starts), he had a record of 269-209 with an ERA of 4.25 in 4,074 innings. Other similar players: Orel Hershiser, David Wells

Jeurys Familia

Roger McDowell – McDowell pitched for 12 MLB seasons (1985-96) with the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. In 723 games (mostly as a reliever) he had a record of 70-70 with a 3.30 ERA and 159 saves in 1,050 innings. Other similar players: Randy Moffitt, Jim Park

Dillon Gee

Cal Eldred – Eldred pitched for 14 years (1991-2001, 2003-05) with the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared in 341 games (192 starts) with a record of 86-74 and an ERA of 4.42 with 9 saves in 1,368 innings. Other similar players: Pascual Perez, Brandon McCarthy

Jenrry Mejia

Joe Kerrigan – Kerrigan pitched in four MLB seasons (1976-78, 1980) with the Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles. He appeared in 131 games with a career record of 8-12 and an ERA of 3.89 with 9 saves while pitching 220 innings. Other similar players: Bo McLaughlin, John Wetteland

jon niese

Jon Niese

Odalis Perez – Perez pitched in ten MLB seasons (1998-99, 2001-08) with the Braves, Dodgers, Royals and Nationals. He appeared in 252 games with a record of 73-82 with a 4.46 ERA in 1,335 innings. Other similar players: Matt Garza, Denny Lemaster

Carlos Torres

Matt Wise – Wise pitched eight MLB seasons (2000-02, 2004-08) with the Angels, Brewers, and Mets. He pitched in 209 games (18 starts) with a record of 17-22 and an ERA of 4.23 with 2 saves in 317 innings. Other similar players: Rene Arocha, Chris Sampson

Zack Wheeler

Vance Worley – Worley is still pitching, and has been in the majors for five years (2010-14) with the Phillies, Twins, and Pirates. Worley has appeared in 81 games (73 starts) with a record of 27-22 with a 3.75 ERA in 437 innings. Other similar players: Josh Johnson, Eddie Stack

Bobby Parnell

David Riske – Riske pitched for 11 MLB seasons (1999, 2001-2010) with the Indians, Red Sox, White Sox, Royals, and Brewers. Riske had a record of 20-20 with an ERA of 3.67 and 22 saves in 462 career appearances (all out of the pen) in 497.2 innings.Other similar players: George Frazier, Brandon League

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David Wright vs. George Brett: The Royal Treatment Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:08:44 +0000 david wright

David Wright has taken a lot of knocks over the last several months and undeservedly so… He’s a player on the decline. He’s always getting hurt. He’s washed up.

There was another MLB star Third Baseman who is currently in the Hall of Fame that has a similar statistical profile to Wright through their age 31 seasons. Like our captain, this HOF player missed a lot of time during his age 30 season to the disabled list and played in only 123 games. He also missed 29 games while on the DL during his age 31 season, playing in just 104 games. In his age 30-31 seasons, this HOF Third Baseman played in just 227 games, compared to David’s 246.

This other Hall of Fame Third Baseman is George Brett. David has played 11 seasons, getting called up in 2004. Brett appeared in 12 MLB seasons through his age 31 season (including 13 games in August/September 1973 and the strike shortened 1981 season).

Wright vs. Brett through age 31 seasons:

                                        David Wright                             George Brett

Games Played                      1508                                          1462

Batting Average                     .298                                           .314

Base Hits                               1702                                          1783

Runs Scored                           907                                            894

OBP                                       .377                                           .368

Slugging                                 .494                                           .500

Doubles                                  375                                             362

Triples                                     26                                               103

Home Runs                            230                                              163

RBI                                         939                                              866

Stolen Bases                          191                                              131

All Star Games                        7                                                  9

Is Wright washed up? No. Did he have a very uncharacteristic season? Yes, he was hurt. Brett’s age 31 season also was below his career norms when he was recovering from an injury that kept him from starting the season on time. He only hit .284 with 107 hits.

David will be fine.

george brett

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Morning Grind: James Shields Should Stay in Kansas City Sat, 18 Oct 2014 11:25:16 +0000 James shields

Big Game James Shields will likely leave Kansas City this offseason and will command a hefty deal in free agency this offseason. But if the Royals win the World Series, he should consider staying.

While I certainly won’t begrudge Shields the opportunity to enter free agency as a top flight, durable pitcher who may command a nine-figure contract… but by staying in Kansas City, he’ll get something he likely won’t be able to get anywhere else. Godhood.

Okay, maybe that’s a little strong, but think about it for a minute. He’s helped KC get to a once in a generation promised land. Just look at our own history – the Mets have taken home two crowns. The 1969 and 1986 Mets are legends. Keith and Ron have turned that one title into a successful postseason career. Bob Ojeda has been in the studio for years. Tim Teufel is on the staff. Wally Backman (even though he hasn’t been promoted to manager) is in the family. Mookie and HoJo remain legends. Let us not forget Darryl and Doc (even though both later became Yankees, they’re always and forever Mets). Even Rafael Santana is a member of the Alumni Association and makes appearances on the Mets behalf.

But what about Ray Knight? Knight has had a very successful post playing career. He was already a major league manager and is currently a broadcaster for the Washington Nationals. He also left the Mets via free agency and signed with the Baltimore Orioles after he and Frank Cashen were unable to agree upon a contract. Ray was also one of the few members of the 1986 team who did not appear for the 20th anniversary celebration of the 1986 team. Regardless of the reason for his departure following the season, the World Series MVP isn’t as beloved as his teammates. We see the replays, we know his fiery toughness, but he isn’t revered in the same manner that other members of the 1986 team are.

Should the Royals win the World Series, Shields can stay and become another Conquering Hero and a Hometown Legend. Or he can take the money and run and become another version of Ray Knight. Or Mike Hampton.


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Should We Open 2015 with a Six Man Rotation? Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:30:00 +0000 wheeler harvey

With all the discussion around which pitcher or pitchers the Mets will deal this offseason, I’ll toss this one out there… what about opening the season with a six-man rotation?

Before dismissing this as folly, it may actually make sense – especially with Matt Harvey coming off Tommy John surgery and likely being on some sort of innings limit. We’re all hoping that the Mets will be contenders in 2015 and we’re not all that far removed from the 2012 controversy surrounding Stephen Strasburg when he was shut down for the postseason the year after his own surgery. This is something we surely don’t want to see if the Mets are playing October baseball.

Another potential reason to look into carrying these six starters is the depth. Inevitably, someone will be sidelined with an injury. The team can always drop back down to five and not miss a beat. Or they can look to slide Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero into the sixth spot (provided one or both wasn’t traded). And if the season becomes a total disaster and the Mets are looking to make a trade in season, we’d be looking to jettison someone anyway.

The rotation is a strength. Use it. Someone will inevitably go down. Stay strong with MLB quality depth to help get to the postseason. Make sure Harvey is strong enough to pitch into October and let the rest of the starters battle it out to fill out the remainder of the postseason rotation.


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The 2,700 Hit Club Not in the Hall of Fame Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:00:31 +0000 cooperstown hall of fame hof

There have been 65 players in MLB history that have racked up at least 2,700 hits. 3,000 hits has been a magic benchmark, but to get 2,700 hits – if you’re not in the Hall of Fame – you’re just one notch below.

So who are the members of the 2,700 hit club that aren’t in the Hall?

Here they are including still active players.

65 – Doc Cramer. Doc played 20 seasons in the majors from 1929-48 with the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, and Detroit Tigers. During his career – he had 2,705 hits and a .296 career batting average. The Center Fielder made made 5 All-Star teams, had three 200 hit seasons, led the American League in hits in 1940, led the American League in at-bats 7 times, led the American League in singles 5 times, and was the hardest man to strike out in the American League 4 times. The closest he came to the Hall was in 1964 when he received 6% of the vote.

63 – Dave Parker. Dave played 19 MLB seasons (1973-91) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers, and California Angels. He had 2,712 career hits, a .290 career batting average and 339 home runs. The closest he came to the HOF was in 1998 when he received 24.5% of the vote. Dave was a 7-time All-Star, won two batting titles, three Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and was the 1978 National League MVP when he hit .334 with 30 HR, 117 RBI’s and won a Gold Glove. His 1,493 RBI’s is 54th in MLB history.

62 – Bill Buckner. We all know Bill. He was much, much more than the Goat of Game 6. He was an outstanding Major Leaguer that played 22 seasons (1969-90) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals. He collected 2,715 hits during his career with a career .289 batting average. He won a batting crown with the Cubs in 1980. He led the National League in doubles twice. He made one All-Star team. He was the hardest man to strike out in the National League twice and two more times in the American League. The closest he came to the Hall was in 1996 when he received 2.1% of the vote.

61 – Rusty Staub. Our Rusty played 23 seasons (1963-85) with the Houston Colt 45′s/Astros, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers. He collected 2,716 career hits and was a .279 career hitter. The closest he came to the HOF was 1994 with 7.9% of the vote. Rusty was a six time All-Star and led the National League in doubles in 1967. He also led the National League in outfield assists 4 times.

58 – Chipper Jones. Chipper generated 2,726 hits and a .303 batting average during his 19 year career (1993, 1995-2012) with the Atlanta Braves. He’ll get into the Hall when he’s eligible.

55 – Al Oliver. Al played 18 years in the Majors (1968-95) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays. He collected 2,743 career hits with a .303 career batting average. In addition to winning the batting crown with the Expos in 1982, he also led the National League in hits, doubles, and RBI’s that season. Al was a 7-time All-Star and won 3 Silver Sluggers. The closest he came to the HOF was in 1991 when he received 4.3% of the vote.

53 – Vada Pinson. Vada played 18 MLB seasons (1958-75) with the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals. He collected 2,757 hits with a .286 career batting average. He was a 3-time All-Star, won a Gold Glove in 1961, led the National League in Runs in 1959, led the National League in hits twice, had four 200-hit seasons, led the National League in triples twice, and led the National League in doubles twice. The closest he came to the HOF was in 1988 with 15.7% of the vote.

52 – Johnny Damon. Damon will be an interesting case as to how close he’ll get the the Hall when he’s eligible. I personally don’t think he’ll get in. He played 18 MLB seasons (1995-2012) with the Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Cleveland Indians. He collected 2,769 hits with a career .284 batting average. Johnny made two All-Star teams, in 2000 he led the American League in runs scored and stolen bases. He also led the American League in Triples in 2002.

50 – Ken Griffey, Jr. Junior played 22 seasons (1989-2010) with the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox and will be in the Big Room of the HOF when he’s eligible. He had 2,781 hits and a .284 batting average in his career. He was the 1997 MVP when he led the American League in HR, RBI, runs, and Slugging. Griffey was a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, and won 7 Silver Slugger awards. His 630 career Home Runs is 6th on the all time list.

46t – Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge played 21 MLB seasons (1991-2011) with the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals. He had 2,844 hits with a .296 batting average. He was the 1999 American League MVP when he hit .332 with 35 HR, 113 RBI while winning a Gold Glove. He was a 14-time All-Star, won 13 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers, and is 1st on the all time career list of games played as a Catcher. Were it not for PED suspicions, Rodriguez’s place in the HOF wouldn’t even be in question. We’ll see what happens when he’s eligible.

46t - Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro has 2,844 base hits in his 14 year MLB career with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The surefire Hall of Famer has a career .317 batting average and had 200+ hits during the first 10 seasons of his career including a MLB record 262 hits during the 2004 season. He is a 10 time All-Star, the 2001 American League MVP, the 2001 American League Rookie of the Year, won 10 straight Gold Gloves, 3 time Silver Slugger and 2 time Batting Champion.

43 – Harold Baines. He played for 22 years (1980-2001) with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, and Cleveland Indians. A Designated Hitter and Right Fielder for most of his career, Harold earned 2,866 hits with a .289 career batting average. The closest he ever came to the Hall was in 2010 when he earned 6.1% of the vote. He was a 6-time All-Star, won a Silver Slugger in 1989, and led the American League in Slugging in 1984.

40 – Omar Vizquel. Omar played 24 MLB seasons (1989-2012) with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays. He collected 2,877 hits with a .272 career batting average and was one of the greatest defensive Shortstops of all time. Omar was a 3-time All-Star and earned 11 Gold Gloves, including in 2006 during his age 39 season as a member of the Giants. His 2,709 games as a Shortstop is 1st All-Time and is 1,734 Double Plays turned as a SS is 1st All-Time. If Omar doesn’t get into the HOF – something is wrong with the voting.

33 – Barry Bonds. Barry played 22 MLB seasons (1986-2007) with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He has 2,935 hits and a .298 career batting average to his name. The 7-time National League MVP has been locked out of the HOF. His 762 Home Runs is 1st all time, as is his 2,558 walks and 688 intentional walks. He led the majors in home runs twice, including his MLB record 73 in 2001. He was a 14-time All-Star, won 8 Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers, won two National League Batting Crowns, and led the National League in OBP 10 times. The closest he’s come to the Hall was in 2013 with 36.2% of the vote. With his tainted PED career, the only way he may get into Cooperstown is as a paying patron.

32 – Alex Rodriguez. How many more hits Alex will collect when he returns from a year long PED suspension remains to be seen. As of now, he has played 20 MLB seasons (1994-2013) with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. He currently has 2,939 hits and a .299 career batting average. He is a 3-time American League MVP, 14 time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove winner, and 10-time Silver Slugger. He won a batting crown in 1996, led the AL in slugging four times, led the AL in runs scored 5 times, led the AL in hits in 1998, led the AL in home runs 5 times, led the AL in RBI’s twice, had three 200 hit seasons, scored 100+ runs 13 straight seasons, and 13 straight seasons of 100 RBI’s. He is 6th on the all-time RBI list and his 654 career home runs is 5th in MLB history. Despite this resume, he’ll likely be locked out of Cooperstown as well.

24 – Rafael Palmeiro. Rafael played 20 MLB seasons (1986-2005) with the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. Rafael is a member of the 500 HR club and 3,000 hit club and has 3,020 career hits with a .288 batting average and his 569 career home runs is 12th all time. He has the numbers to be in the HOF, but with his PED history – he never achieved more than 12.6% of the vote in 2012 and was dropped from consideration after the 2014 vote after failing to earn 5% of the vote. Rafael was a 4-time All Star, won 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers, led the American League in runs scored in 1993, and led the American League in hits in 1990.

20 – Craig Biggio. Craig played 20 years (1988-2007) with the Houston Astros. He has 3,060 career hits and has a .281 career batting average. He just narrowly missed being voted into the HOF in 2014 with 74.8% of the vote and will get in. Craig was a 7 time All-Star, won 4 Gold Gloves, won 5 Silver Sluggers, led the National League in runs scored twice, led the National League in Doubles 3 times, led the NL in hit by pitches 5 times, and led the National League in stolen bases in 1994. He was hit by 285 pitches in his MLB career (2nd all time).

6 – Derek Jeter. Derek ended his career 6th on the All-time Hit list, collecting 3,465 hits in his 20 year career (1995-2014). The future HOF’er ended with a career .310 batting average, was the 1996 Rookie of the Year, is a 14 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove winner, and has won 5 Silver Sluggers.

1 – Pete Rose. The All Time Hit King belongs in the Hall of Fame. Pete played 24 seasons (1963-86) with the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Montreal Expos. His 4,256 hits is first all time to go with a .303 career batting average. He was the 1973 National League MVP, a 17-time All-Star, won 2 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger, won 3 Batting Crowns, has played more games in MLB history (3,562) than anyone else, led the NL in hits 7 times, led the NL in runs scored 4 times, led the NL in doubles 4 times, is 2nd on the career doubles list (746), and had ten 200+ hit seasons.

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Mets Should Seize The Moment And Take Back NYC Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:09:13 +0000 curtis granderson jacob degrom

As we head into the offseason, the city of New York is ripe for the picking. The Yankees are still king while the Mets have been the butt of the joke for years. But an era is ending in the Bronx. The last link to the Yankee Dynasty will be gone. Our crosstown rivals will have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. Five Octobers will have passed since the last Yankee world series.

An entire generation of young fans have grown up knowing nothing but winning in the Bronx. The Mets on the other hand, have six straight losing seasons and have missed the playoffs the last eight. If becoming a Mets fan wasn’t ingrained into you from a relative that was already a die-hard and your baseball loyalties were up for grabs in the New York area – chances are you’re likely not reading this and you’re likely wearing a No. 2 jersey.

The Mets have a chance to spark some change and grab some of the New York spotlight as soon as the 2015 season… But will they take advantage of this opportunity?

Spearheading a Mets renaissance is a young, dynamic pitching staff being led by young guns Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Their back end of the rotation currently consisting of Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Bartolo Colon is solid, although at least one of them will likely be traded before next Opening Day. Not to worry as the Amazins have some strong reinforcements waiting in the wings in Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Steven Matz. Additionally, the bullpen, which was a perennial weakness, has suddenly emerged as a major strength.

Does the offense need some work? Yes, it does. The Mets rank 26th in the majors with a .670 OPS, 28th with a .238 batting average, and 22nd in runs scored. Clearly, they need to address this and it may take more than just bringing in the fences. Another bat or two is what it will take to get them into the top third of the league in runs. We squandered far too many solid pitching performances this season – enough to know that great pitching alone won’t get us where we want to be. We have a chance to do something special, but it will take a true commitment to winning and a dedication to securing the right pieces to make it all work.

When you look across town, what do you see? An icon that is gone, an offense that has struggled since their best hitter went to Seattle, and the return of baseball’s biggest freak show – Alex Rodriguez. With an aging roster saddled with too many bloated and underperforming contracts, the Yankees are clearly on their way down.

If the Mets play their cards right and are willing to address the few remaining issues this offseason, they can seize this opportunity and capture the city in a way that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s when the Mets ruled New York. It’s happened before and it could happen again. Even with the impediment of owners who don’t seem to care and are unwilling to increase payroll, we can still overcome their dysfunction and rock this town if we make the right moves this offseason. Let’s do it.

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Mets Are 13th Most Followed MLB Official Team Account Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:30:16 +0000 twitter-bird-on-baseball-social-media

In the social media and Twitter world, Mets fans are known to be very vocal. For those of us that are active on the medium, we are very familiar with the hashtag #MetsTwitter.

So when it comes to the actual number of accounts that are following the Mets on Twitter, where does our team rank?

To no surprise, the Yankees rule the Twitterverse, with nearly 360,000 more followers than the next most followed team. While the average Met fan may be down on the team right now, considering we’re still in the largest media market in the country, surely the Mets would be near the top, right?

Not quite. The Mets have the 13th most followers, more than 46,000 behind the Cincinnati Reds and less than 5,000 ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees have more than quadruple the number of followers than the Mets.

By sheer numbers, not only has attendance dwindled and frustration set in among fans – nearly twice as many people are interested in hearing what the Braves have to say than the Mets.

So how many followers do each of the MLB teams official twitter accounts have (as of Sunday evening, September 14th, 2014)

  1. Yankees -1,214,518
  2. Phillies – 855,619
  3. Red Sox – 853,444
  4. Giants – 645,743
  5. Dodgers – 572,513
  6. Braves – 535,743
  7. Cardinals – 500,509
  8. Blue Jays – 495,041
  9. Tigers – 487,450
  10. Rangers – 421,587
  11. Cubs – 385,803
  12. Reds – 328,461
  13. Mets – 282,251
  14. Pirates – 277,501
  15. Orioles – 249,417
  16. Indians – 239,075
  17. Twins – 233,445
  18. White Sox – 218,233
  19. Mariners – 217,213
  20. Brewers – 216,062
  21. Royals – 213,110
  22. Angels – 212,725
  23. Athletics – 204,930
  24. Nationals – 204,701
  25. Rays – 187,280
  26. Astros – 161,079
  27. Diamondbacks – 149,675
  28. Rockies – 149.115
  29. Padres – 134,422
  30. Marlins – 133,357

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1,700 Hits Down, 1,300 Hits To Go Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:00:03 +0000 david wright

With his single in the top of the first on Saturday off of the Reds Johnny Cueto, third baseman David Wright reached 1,700 base hits in his MLB career. The Captain will be entering his age 32 season in 2015 and with just 1,300 hits left until the magical 3,000 number, the question is can Wright get there?

Let’s say he collects only 10 more hits over the remaining 20 games of the season, that will leave him 1,290 hits away with just 152 hits on the season.

While it’s safe to say this has been the most disappointing season of Wright’s career, I chalk it up to him being hurt and I expect him to produce at a much higher level than what we’ve seen this year going forward, although I think we all know that the David Wright of 2006-2008 is a thing of the past.

Performing at his 2014 level (about 152 hits per year), it will take Wright roughly 8.5 seasons to get to the 3,000 hit mark or about midway through his 2023 season. He will be 40 years old by then. I certainly expect his production to tail off as he becomes a graybeard, but I also expect him to pick up the pace above the 152 hits/season before then as well.

His current contract with the Mets runs through the 2020 season. By then he’ll have 3,000 hits in sight. Hopefully the Mets will have been to the playoffs several times and we can raise another World Series banner.

It would be great for the franchise to finally have a player collect 3,000 hits as a lifelong member of the Mets. 1,700 hits down. 1,300 hits to go.

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Is David Wright Done? Of Course Not! Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:00:59 +0000 MetsIs David Wright in the decline? Is this the end of David Wright? Is David Wright washed up?

Calm Down.

While it’s obvious that Wright has been struggling mightily in recent weeks, his power has been sapped and he’s having the worst season of his MLB career, I’m chalking this up to injury. He has always been a gamer who never asks out of the lineup due to injury and has refused to blame any of his struggles on any ailment throughout his career, but rather places the blame on himself.

In 2009, Wright missed 15 games after he was hit in the head with a fastball.

In 2011, he missed 58 games between May and July due to a broken back. He also hit a career low .254 that season in 102 games. He suffered the injury on April 19th and started 22 of the next 23 games before being shelved for two months. He played with a BROKEN BACK. He’s not going to let a simple shoulder sideline him.

David wasn’t off to a particularly hot start in 2011 prior to the injury, hitting just .239 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in 67 at bats over 17 games prior to his back injury, however his production dropped while he was playing hurt. Once he got hurt, he hit just .215 with 4 HR and 10 RBI in 79 at bats. He did gather 19 walks for a .367 OBP before he went on the DL.

Once David returned, his production increased. He wasn’t back to the typical David Wright numbers we were used to seeing, but after being allowed time to heal, he hit .272 with 8 HR and 43 RBI over his final 63 games with 15 doubles. Once he was healthy again, his performance translated, over a 162 game season, was the equivalent of 21 HR, 111 RBI and 39 doubles. Even with the career low numbers David put up in 2011, his performance when healthy wasn’t too bad.

david wrightIn 2013, David missed 45 games with a hamstring injury. He injured the hamstring during a July 26th doubleheader against the Washington Nationals and continued to play another 6 games (sitting out one game) before finally ending up on the DL after exiting the game on August 2nd after singling off the Royals Luis Mendoza in the bottom of the 10th, replaced by pinch runner Zack Wheeler.

He was hitting .308 at the time of the injury and he picked up right where he left off when he came back and finished the season hitting .307. Yes, he missed a chunk of time, but let’s also not forget that when he landed on the DL, the Mets were 49-58 and 14.5 games out of first place and trailing 6 teams for the second wildcard spot. It was known right away that David would miss the next 3 to 5 weeks with a Grade 3 strain and with the team being so far out of it, there really was no rush to bring David back. He did return so he could get back on the field before spring training, but was given his rest, appearing in just 7 of the Mets final 10 games.

Which brings us to 2014.

While we don’t know exactly when David hurt his shoulder in June sliding headfirst into second base, we do know that as of June 2nd, David was hitting .296 with 4 HR and 32 RBI over his first 57 games with 72 hits. While his home run total was down, he collected 14 doubles over his first 57 games. Over a 162 game stretch, his numbers translated to 12 HR, 91 RBI, 40 doubles, and 205 hits. The home runs were down, but he was driving in runs, collecting doubles, and was hitting.

We do know that David hurt his shoulder again on Thursday, June 19th. He gutted it out and played 6 more games – actually hitting in all 6 games before finally getting a MRI on his sore shoulder and missing the next 7 games. A lot of people (myself included) thought that David should have been placed on the disabled list to heal prior to the All-Star break.

After missing only 7 games, David returned to the field on July 5th and didn’t miss an inning over the final 9 games before the break, when he finally received a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder. With the week’s rest, David was hot heading into the break, hitting .364 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 4 doubles in 33 at bats before receiving the shot. At the break, David was hitting .285 and still on a pace for 45 doubles, 89 RBI and 186 hits over a 162 game stretch.

Cortisone doesn’t heal an injury, and as Boomer Esiason points out in WFAN, it’s never good when you hear about cortisone shots. Once he got the shot, his production tanked. Since taking the shot in the shoulder, he’s played in 39 games while batting just .215 with 32 base hits, 2 doubles, 0 HR and 9 RBI.

Yes, David is now a player in his 30s. Yes, he’s had a couple of injuries over the last couple of seasons. Do I think we will ever see the same player we saw between 2006-2008 during which he hit 89 HR, drove in 347 runs, collected 566 hits, and hit .312? No. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t still perform at a very high level when healthy.

Ah…. when healthy, right? He’s at the age when injuries continue to nag. This is true, and this is a concern – but I do believe this is a matter of an injury and a proud player who is playing through pain when much lesser players would have long succumbed to the disabled list. This is a man who played for a month with a broken back and didn’t let out a peep. I’m sure David’s hurting. I’m sure his shoulder is hurting a lot worse than he let on. When he was hit by a pitch on August 16th, it hit him squarely in the injured spot. Since that plunking, which I’m certain has made a bad situation worse, he’s hitting just .128 (6 for 47).

I’m not worried that David is finished, washed up, or over the hill. I think he’s hurt. His skills haven’t suddenly deteriorated. He’s injured. He needs to rest up and heal once the season is over, if he even makes it through the rest of the season. I’m sure once October comes around, we’ll find out exactly how injured David is and has been for months.

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Minor League Hitting Streaks Abound! Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:57:24 +0000 Who’s Hot:

Kevin Plawecki

Matthew Bowman – Las Vegas. Bowman has allowed just two earned runs over his last 4 starts dating back to July 31st. Over his last 27.1 innings, he’s pitched to an ERA of 0.66 while allowing 19 hits, walking 5 and striking out 28 batters.

Kevin Plawecki – Las Vegas. Entering Sunday’s action, Plawecki was riding an 8 game hitting streak during which he was hitting .467 (14 for 30). In 95 games between Binghamton and Las Vegas, he is hitting .311 with 9 HR and 60 RBI.

Daniel Muno – Las Vegas. Muno was also hot with the bat entering Sunday’s action, on a 5 game hitting streak which included 3 separate 3 hit games. During this streak, he was batting .478 (11 for 23), scoring 4 runs with 2 HR and 9 RBI.

Matt Reynolds – Las Vegas. Reynolds had a 6 game hitting streak snapped on Saturday. During his streak, he was only hitting .500 (13 for 26) while scoring 6 runs. In 118 games between Binghamton and Las Vegas, he is hitting .349 with 156 hits.

Steven Matz – Binghamton. Matz continues to bring it. While he only has a 2-2 record over his last 4 starts, he’s pitched to a 0.36 ERA, allowing just 1 earned run in 25 innings. Over his last 4 starts, he’s allowed just 19 hits while walking 5 and striking out 22 to the tune of a 0.96 WHIP.

Juan Centeno – Binghamton. The Binghamton catcher is on an 8 game hitting streak, batting .467 (14 for 30) with 7 RBI over that stretch. He was demoted to AA when Taylor Teagarden came off the DL and ended up on the Las Vegas roster but he may very well be a September call up.


Dilson Herrera

Dilson Herrera – Binghamton. Dilson is another hot hitter riding a streak. Currently on a 6 game hitting streak, Herrera is batting .478 (11 for 23) over his latest streak while scoring 7 runs with 1 HR and 6 RBI. In 123 games between St. Lucie and Binghamton, he is hitting .323 with 163 hits, 33 doubles, 12 HR, 70 RBI, and 96 runs scored.

T.J. Rivera – Binghamton. Rivera’s also streaking. Currently on a 6 game hitting streak with 5 multi-hit games, he’s hitting .608 (14 for 23) over the streak while scoring 4 runs with 4 RBI. In 108 games between St. Lucie and Binghamton, he’s hitting .350 with 149 hits.

Darrell Ceciliani – Binghamton. Ceciliani had an 11 game hitting streak snapped on Sunday. Over his previous 11 games, he was hitting .422 (19 for 45) with 9 runs scored, 1 HR and 8 RBI. His recent streak brought his season average up to .292.

Who’s Not:

Beck Wheeler – St. Lucie. Before being placed on the disabled list, Wheeler was having a rough time on the mound, collecting 3 losses in his last three outings. In 1.1 innings over these three losses, he allowed 5 hits, 5 walks, and 7 earned runs. On the season, he’s 4-4 with a 5.88 ERA and 9 saves in 41.1 innings.

Robert Gsellman – Savannah. In his first game since August 9th, Gsellman returned to the rotation on August 22nd, allowing 9 hits and 5 earned runs over 3.2 innings while absorbing the loss, dropping his season record to 9-6.

Luis Arrizurieta – Kingsport. The Kingsport catcher is struggling at the plate, hitting just .050 (1 for 20) over his last 9 games dating back to August 4th.

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The ’62 Mets Were NOT The Worst Team Ever Sat, 23 Aug 2014 20:01:35 +0000 1962 mets Gil Hodges 3D

While we like to think that the 1962 Mets were the worst team in MLB history (a badge of honor we wear proudly) – they actually were not the worst team. They weren’t even close to being the worst team. Yes, they lost a modern era record 120 games… but there were four other teams that did worse than the Mets’ .250 winning percentage. They didn’t lose as many games as the Mets because the seasons were shorter.

WallyBerger_crop_north1935 Boston Braves – This team was bad and finished with a record of 38-115 (.248 winning percentage), a full 61.5 games out of first place. They finished in dead last, a full 26 games behind the second worst Philadelphia Phillies. They had a 15 game losing streak in July and they won only 17 games in the 2nd half of the season. They did have a pretty good player on the squad – Wally Berger who hit .295 for them and led the league in Home Runs and RBIs with 34 and 130. Wally also scored 91 runs and hit 39 doubles. He didn’t have much help, though. Their pitching staff was awful. The starting pitcher with the lowest ERA was Bob Smith (8-18 3.94 ERA) , who started 20 games (46 appearances) and was also their “closer” with 5 saves. Poor Ben Cantwell had a record of 4-25. Their offense was last in batting average, runs scored, base hits, doubles, stolen bases, walks, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. Their pitching staff had the highest ERA, allowed the most runs per game, had the fewest saves, and struck out the fewest batters.

nap lajoie1916 Philadelphia Athletics – They stunk. They finished with a record of 36-117 (.235 winning percentage), 40 games behind the next worst Washington Senators and 54.5 games out of first place. The rest of the American League beat up on them so badly, the Senators (who finished 1 game under .500) was the only other team that finished with a losing record. They scored a league low 2.90 runs per game while allowing a league high 5.04 per game. Their offense was last in batting average, base hits, doubles, stolen bases, walks, and on base percentage. Their pitching staff allowed the most walks and threw the most wild pitches. They had three pitchers lose more than 20 games – Elmer Myers (14-23), Bullet Joe Bush (15-24 with an ERA of 2.57) and Jack Nabors went a dismal 1-20. The team also had two pitchers named Rube – Rube Parnham and Rube Bressler. They also featured a First Baseman named Stuffy McInnis and a 41-year old Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie in his final season. Connie Mack managed the Athletics for 50 seasons and won 9 American League Pennants and 5 World Series titles. 1916 fell just a tad short.

alleghenys1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys – The Alleghenys would change their name to the Pirates the following season, and after the season they had in 1890, they certainly needed a change. The team made the 1962 Mets look like a World Series contender. The team finished with a record of 23-113 (.169 winning percentage). They suffered through a 23 game losing streak. They finished 66.5 games out of first place, and 23 games behind the next worst Cleveland Spiders. They scored the second fewest runs per game and allowed a whopping 8.95 runs per game (Cleveland was the next worst at 6.12/game). They had the lowest batting average and lowest on base percentage. They gave up the most hits, allowed the most home runs, hit the most batters and threw the most wild pitches. The squad featured players such as Doggie Miller, Ducky Hemp, Peek-A-Boo Veach, Crazy Schmit, and Phenomenal Smith. They had a Mike Jordan that hit worse than the former basketball player. They also had a Robert Gibson that wasn’t quite as good as the Cardinals Hall of Famer.

cleveland spiders1899 Cleveland Spiders – Now this was the worst MLB team of all time. The 1962 Mets were nearly twice as good. The Spiders went 20-134 (.130 winning percentage) and this early National League franchise went the way of the Dodo after this dismal season. Their first manager and third baseman Lave Cross got canned after an 8-30 start. His replacement and second baseman, the Mighty Joe Quinn didn’t do any better and went 12-104 the rest of the way. They finished 84 games out of first place and 34 games behind the next worst Washington Senators. They averaged a league low 3.44 runs/game and gave up more than twice that – allowing a dismal 8.13 runs/game. Their offense was last in hits, doubles, triples home runs, stolen bases, walks, batting average, and on base percentage. Their pitching struck out the fewest, hit the most batters, and balked the most times. They lost 24 straight games at one point. Their record after August 31st was 1-34. Crazy Schmit also had the distinction of playing for the worst two teams in MLB history and the only two teams with winning percentages under .200. Along with Crazy, the team had two Chiefs (Chief Sockalexis and Chief Zimmer), Sport McAllister, Kid Carsey, and Highball Wilson. The 1899 season was quite a fall from grace for the Spiders, for they had finished above .500 each of the previous seven seasons – but then again, all of those teams had a pitcher you may have heard of that had moved on to the St. Louis Perfectos by 1899 – his name was Cy Young.

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The Answer Is Contact – Part Deux Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:30:09 +0000 curtis-granderson

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The answer is CONTACT.

We all know the Mets offense has been struggling mightily since the All-Star break. At the break, I wrote how the Mets offense improved as their contact rates improved. As the Mets offense has faltered, guess what? Their contact rates have gone down as well.

It’s no surprise that as their post All-Star offense has faltered, their strikeout rate has gone up. Their best offensive period? When they struck out the least. This isn’t a team that lives or dies by the Home Run. If they did, we could live with the strikeouts. They don’t…. and boy, are the strikeouts killing us.

Runs Per 9 Innings

Average Per Games:
1-25    3.9
26-50   3.8
51-75   3.4
76-85   4.6

Average Per Games:
1-85    3.8
86-95   5.8

Post All-Star Break:
96-128   3.1

Pitches Per Plate Appearances:

Average Per Games:
1-25    3.9
26-50   3.9
51-75   4.0
76-85   3.9
86-95   3.8

Post All-Star Break:
96-128   3.9
122-126   4.0

Over the 5 game stretch from August 14th to August 19th when they managed a total of 19 hits, they took as many pitches per at bat as they did during their worst offensive stretch in the first half.

Plate Appearances Per Nine Innings:

1-25  37.7
26-50  38.4
51-75  37.6
76-85  38.1

Average Games: 1-85  37.9, 86-95  40.1

Post All-Star Break: 96-128  36.1, 122-126  34.1

The lineup has become significantly more stagnant post All-Star Break.

Percentage of plate appearances resulting in strikeouts:

1-25    24.4%
26-50   19.5%
51-75   21.3%
76-85   22.1%

Average games 1-85  21.8%, 86-95  15.1%

Post All-Star Break: 96-128  21.5%, 122-126  23.9%

After the hot stretch heading into the break, their strikeout rate jumped and their run output per nine innings tanked. The more they struck out, the more futile the office became.

Hits Per Nine Innings:

1-25    7.2
26-50   8.9
51-75   7.1
76-85   10.2

Post All-Star Break: 96-128  6.9, 122-126  4.0

Contact Rate versus runs per nine innings:

1-25     66.4% contact vs. 3.9 runs
26-50   72.5% contact vs. 3.8 runs
51-75   67.3% contact vs 3.4 runs
76-85   73.2% contact vs. 4.6 runs
86-95   74.8% contact vs. 5.8 runs

Post All-Star Break:

96-128   71.3% contact vs. 3.1 runs

122-126  65.0% contact vs. 3.3 runs.

Since the All-Star Break, the Mets have 4 or fewer hits in 11 (33%) of their games played. In these 11 games only 68.9% of all at-bats ended in contact and they averaged just 2.2 runs per 9 innings.

The Mets need to stop striking out and just put the ball in play.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not – Minor Leagues Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:45:19 +0000 DykstraWho’s Hot:

Gonzalez Germen – Las Vegas. Germen has pitched very well since being sent down to Vegas. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 4 outings dating back to August 8th, during which he’s pitched 6 innings, allowed 3 hits, with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts while picking up 2 saves. He was called up to replace Bartolo Colon who went on the bereavement list on Tuesday.

Logan Verrett – Las Vegas. Verrett was a 3rd round selection in the 2011 draft and has been pitching well as of late. In his last three starts, he has a record of 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA. In 23 innings, he’s allowed 11 hits, 8 walks and 16 strikeouts. During this stretch, opponents are hitting .147 against him with a 0.83 WHIP.

Allan Dykstra – Las Vegas. Dykstra is having a great month of August. In 13 games through August 17th, he’s hitting .357 (13 for 37) with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 walks, and a 1.117 OPS.

Juan Centeno – Binghamton. Centeno was on last week’s Who’s Not list and he’s reversed his fortune’s this week. The man who gunned down Billy Hamilton was on a 4 game hitting streak through August 17th over which he was hitting .462 (6 for 13) with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI.

Darrell Ceciliani – Binghamton. Entering Monday’s action, the 4th round pick in the 2009 draft was riding a 6 game hitting streak over which he was batting .417 (10 for 24) with 4 runs scored and 3 RBI.

Cam Maron – St Lucie. Through August 17th, Maron was on an 8 game hitting streak, batting .394 (13 for 33), raising his season average to .290 with 91 hits in 88 games.

Yeixon Ruiz – Savannah. The Dominican infielder is in his 5th season in the Mets organization. Through August 17th, Ruiz collected hits in 7 of his last 8 games during which he was hitting .429 (12 for 28) with 8 runs scored 1 HR and 8 RBI.

Who’s Not:

Chase Bradford – Las Vegas. On last week’s Who’s Hot list, Bradford makes the opposite list this week. In his last two appearances out of the pen, he’s pitched two innings, allowing 6 hits and 4 earned runs while striking out 2.

Erik Goeddel – Las Vegas. Goeddel is having a rough month of August. Opponents are hitting .462 against him in 4 appearances this month, yielding 12 hits in 5.2 innings including 2 home runs. This August he is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP.

Matt Koch – St. Lucie. The Mets 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft had a rough last outing on August 14th, lasting just 3.2 innings, giving up 10 hits, 6 earned runs while walking three batters. In 19 starts on the year, he has a record of 7-4 with an ERA of 5.20 in 98.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .299 off him on the year.

Beck Wheeler – St. Lucie. It’s been a rough week for Wheeler. The 25 year old righty absorbed the losses in his last two outings, pitching just 0.2 innings while allowing 3 hits, 3 walks, and 4 earned runs.

Albert Cordero – St. Lucie. Cordero has been struggling at the dish, batting just .040 over his last 7 games (1 for 25). On the season, he’s hitting .208 in 45 games for St. Lucie.

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It’s Tough to Snooker Sandy in a Trade Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:37:20 +0000 Long before becoming General Manager of the Mets, Sandy Alderson was the longtime General Manager of the Oakland A’s. He took over the helm of the A’s after Billy Martin was fired after the 1982 season in which the A’s went 68-94 and finished 5th in the American League West. During his run with the A’s, his teams appeared in three straight World Series from 1988-1990, winning the whole thing in 1989. They also won the American League West in 1992. He was at the helm for 15 seasons before the Moneyball Man, Billy Beane, took over.

Under Alderson the A's struggled initially but ended up World Series Champs in '89.

There is a lot of anticipation as to what Sandy will do during the offseason. Will he trade Daniel Murphy? Will he trade for a big bat? Will Bartolo Colon stay or go? Will he trade away some of the big prospects? One thing’s for sure – he likely won’t get beaten in a trade.

Does Sandy’s history of trades give us any indication as to what he will do this offseason? When he’s pulled off deals in seasons past, what did he get in return? What does 20/20 hindsight tell us about what he did during his A’s run? Sandy didn’t make many bad trades.

On December 6, 1982, the A’s traded away two players, Tony Armas and Jeff Newman to the Boston Red Sox. Armas was a 28 year old slugger who finished the season hitting .233 with 28 HR and 89 RBI. Armas would go on to play four seasons with the Red Sox before leaving as a free agent following the 1986 season and in 1984 led the American League with 43 HR and 123 RBI. Jeff Newman was a 34 year old catcher who hit .200 in 83 games for the Red Sox over two seasons. In return, the A’s received Third Baseman Carney Lansford, who was entering his age 26 season and was coming off two seasons where he hit .300 including an AL batting title in 1981. Lansford would go on to play 10 seasons with the A’s over which he hit .288 and is 10th all time on the A’s career hit list with 1,317. The A’s also received Gary Hancock, an outfielder who played 152 games for the A’s over two seasons and right handed pitcher Jerry King who never made it to the majors. Sandy made a good trade on this one.

December 7, 1983 – Sandy traded Rusty McNealy and cash to the Montreal Expos for Ray Burris. McNealy never had a base hit in the major leagues. The 33 year old Burris pitched 211.2 innings for the A’s in 1984, going 13-10 with a 3.15 ERA before being traded after the season. Another good trade for Sandy.

December 5, 1984 – Rickey Henderson, Bert Bradley and cash were traded to the Yankees in exchange for Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, and Jose Rijo. Bert Bradley never pitched again in the majors after being sent to the Yankees. Henderson was entering his age 26 season and was a four-time All-Star that had led the American League in steals the previous five seasons and spent 4+ seasons in New York before being traded back to the A’s in 1989. Tim Birtsas made 25 starts for the A’s in 1985, his best season, and played 5 seasons in the majors with the A’s and Reds without doing much else afterward. Jay Howell played three seasons with the A’s and was a two-time All-Star for them in 1985 and 1987 while collecting 61 saves. Stan Javier went onto a 17 year MLB career, but during his first stint with the A’s never did better than his 1988 season when he hit .257 with 2 HR, 35 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 125 games. Eric Plunk had a 14 year MLB career and appeared in 3+ seasons with the A’s before being sent back to the Yankees as part of the trade that returned Henderson to the A’s with his best work for the A’s coming in 1989 when he appeared in 23 games out of the pen with a 2.20 ERA and 1.01 WHIP before a midseason trade. Jose Rijo pitched three seasons for the A’s before being traded after the 1987 season, going 17-22 with a 4.74 ERA in 72 games with 49 starts while with the A’s. Sandy lost this trade, however it should be noted that the A’s were a team in rebuilding mode after having finished under .500 the previous three seasons and this trade will be discussed further in this post.

December 7, 1984 – Ray Burris, acquired a year earlier was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Eric Barry and a PTBNL (Ed Myers) for Don Sutton, who was entering his age 40 season. Sutton made 29 starts for the A’s before being traded before the end of the season, going 13-8 with a 3.89 ERA in 194.1 innings. Ray Burris pitched 3 more seasons in the majors, his lowest ERA was 4.81. Neither Barry nor Myers ever made it to the majors. While Sutton didn’t last a full season with the A’s, Sandy got the better part of this trade.

December 8, 1984 – Sandy traded 27 year-old reliever Bill Caudill, who was coming off an All-Star season with the A’s in which he went 9-7 with a 2.71 ERA and collected 36 saves to the Toronto Blue Jays for Dave Collins, Alfredo Griffin and cash. Caudill had one more good season in his arm and made his las MLB appearance in July 1987. Collins was coming off a 1984 season in which he hit .308 and led the American League with 15 triples at age 31. He hit .251 in 1985 and was traded after the season. Griffin played three seasons for the A’s and played in 468 games, including winning a Gold Glove at Shortstop in his first season in Oakland. Sandy won this trade.

March 24, 1985 – Sandy traded two prospects that never appeared in the majors, Ed Puikunas and Dan Winters to the San Francisco Giants for a 36 year old Dusty Baker. Baker played two seasons for the A’s and in 1985 he hit .268 with 14 HR and 52 RBI. Sandy won this trade.

September 10, 1985 – With the A’s out of the race Sandy traded pending free agent Don Sutton to the California Angels for two PTBNL (Robert Sharpnack – the Angels 2nd round pick in the 1985 draft and Jerome Nelson – the Angels 3rd round pick in the 1985 draft). While neither of the prospects ever made it to the majors, one can’t argue that it was a bad trade. Sandy turned a 40 year old free agent-to-be-pitcher into two high draft pick prospects. This was a good trade.

November 13, 1985 – After a poor 1985 season, Sandy traded Dave Collins to the Detroit Tigers for Barbaro Garbey. Collins was released by the Tigers after the 1986 season after the outfielder hit .270 with 1 HR and 27 RBI in 124 games. Collins would continue to play 4 more seasons in the majors as a pinch hitter. Garbey was a 28 year old outfielder / first baseman who hit .257 with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 86 games for the Tigers and was released by the A’s in Spring Training prior to the start of the 1986 season. While Garbey never made it through the spring, I’ll call this a push as it was a trade of two major league players that neither team had a use for.

December 10, 1985 – In a splash trade for Sandy, he acquired Joaquin Andujar from the St. Louis Cardinals for Tim Conroy and Mike Heath. Andujar was coming off back-to-back 20 win seasons for the Cardinals in which he went 41-26 while logging 1021.2 innings over the previous four seasons. Tim Conroy was a 26 year old lefty that had an unspectacular career with the A’s and went 8-13 with an ERA north of 5.00 in two seasons with the Cardinals. Heath was a catcher entering his age 31 season that hit .205 in 65 games for the Cardinals before being traded in August. While this would seem like a small price for a dominant pitcher and this looked like a steal for Sandy, let us not forget Joaquin’s meltdown in game seven of the 1985 World Series in which he was ejected by umpire Don Denkinger (who was the umpire that blew the famous call at first base in Game 6) and smashed up a toilet in the Kansas City clubhouse with a baseball bat. He was facing a suspension from Peter Ueberroth for dealing drugs to Cardinals teammate Lonnie Smith in 1982. A one-year suspension was handed down in February 1986, which was later reduced to community service and making anti-drug donations. Joaquin made 26 starts for the A’s in 1986, going 12-7 with a 3.82 ERA and lasted one more season on Oakland, going 3-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts in 1987. Despite a diminished Andujar, given the very little Alderson and to give up to acquire him, the 1986 season made this trade a win for Sandy.

March 30, 1986 – Just prior to the start of the 1986 season, Sandy traded four players to the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire right handed starting pitcher Moose Haas, who was entering his age 30 season. Prior to the trade, Haas had a record of 91-79 with a 4.03 ERA over 10 seasons in Milwaukee and was coming off an 8-8 season with a 3.84 ERA in which he made 26 starts and threw 161.2 innings. Haas had become expendable as rookie pitchers Bill Wegman and Juan Nieves made the Brewers rotation out of spring and Alderson landed the Moose by trading soon-to-be 26 year old catcher Charlie O’Brien (who would play 15 seasons in the majors as a light-hitting backup, but at the time had all of 16 MLB games under his belt), former Oakland 1981 first round pick Steve Kiefer (who hit .192 in 105 MLB games), minor leaguer Michael Fulmer (who was out of baseball after the 1986 season), and lefty minor leaguer Peter Kendrick (who was coming off two solid minor league seasons with sub 3.00 ERA’s, but never made it to the majors). In exchange for four non-impact players, Sandy got two seasons out of Haas. In 1986, Haas went 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts while battling injuries, making just four starts totaling 14 innings after May 16th. In 1987, Haas would make 9 starts before making his final MLB appearance on June 19th. It wasn’t a bad trade, but given Alderson only got a good month and a half out of Haas, I’d call this one a draw.

dennis eckersleyApril 7th, 1987 – Just before opening day in 1987, Alderson pulled off a steal, acquiring future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and Dan Rohn in exchange for three players who never made the major leagues – infielder Brian Guinn, right handed pitcher Mark Leonette, and outfielder Dave Wilder. The 32 year old Eckersley was coming off a 6-11 season with a 4.57 ERA in 32 starts for the Cubs in 1986. Eck would transform to a dominant reliever that propelled him to Cooperstown, saving 320 games for the A’s over 9 seasons, making 4 All-Star teams, winning the Cy Young and MVP in 1992 and was a key part of three straight A’s World Series teams, including the 1989 championship team. This was a major win.

August 29, 1987 – The A’s were tied for first place in the American League West when Sandy made a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire Rick Honeycutt for a player to be named later (Tim Belcher). At the time of the trade, Honeycutt was 2-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 115.2 innings for the Dodgers. Down the stretch he appeared in 7 games for the A’s, going 1-4 with an ERA of 5.32 while making 4 starts. In 1988, he would make 55 appearances out of the bullpen before re-signing with the A’s as a free agent after the 1988 and 1992 seasons and again prior to the 1995 season after spending one season in Texas. Tim Belcher would go on to pitch 14 seasons in the majors including 5 seasons with the Dodgers, during which he would appear in 138 games, making 119 starts with a record of 50-28 and an ERA of 2.99 in 806 innings. Belcher finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1988 and 6th in Cy Young voting in 1989 while throwing 230 innings and leading the National League with 8 shutouts. Honeycutt found a home in Oakland and was an important setup man for the A’s World Series teams. This trade was a win for both sides.

August 30, 1987 – In another stretch run trade, Alderson acquired right handed pitcher Storm Davis from the San Diego Padres in exchange for two players to be named later. Davis made 5 starts for the A’s in 1987, going 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA and made another 64 starts in 1988-89 with 35 victories, including a 19-7 season for the 1989 World Series winning team before departing as a free agent. In exchange, Sandy gave up left handed reliever Dave Leiper who made 69 appearances out of the pen for the Padres and first baseman Rob Nelson who hit .178 in 76 career MLB games. This was a win for Alderson.

December 8, 1987 – After the 1987 season, Alderson traded two parts of the Rickey Henderson trade from three years earlier (Tim Birtsas and Jose Rijo) to the Cincinnati Reds for 36 year old Dave Parker. While his best seasons were behind him, Parker played two years for the A’s, appearing in 245 games while hitting .261 with 34 HR and 152 RBI. Birtsas pitched for three years out of the pen for the Reds. Rijo was unspectacular with the A’s, but shined with the Reds, posting six straight sub-3.00 ERA seasons for the Reds and 87 victories over the next seven seasons. While Rijo went on to bigger and better things with the Reds and was a key starter for the Reds 1990 championship team that swept the A’s in the 1990 World Series, the trade was one that could be considered a win for both teams. Dave Parker, after all, did lead the 1989 World Series winning team with 97 RBI.

December 11, 1987 – In a three team trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, the A’s acquired Bob Welch and Matt Young from the Dodgers. Welch went on to pitch the final seven seasons of his MLB career with Oakland, earning 96 of his 211 career victories. Welch made 104 starts for the back-to-back-to-back World Series teams, going 61-23, including 27-6 with a 2.95 ERA en route to a 1990 Cy Young Award. Matt Young went on to pitch one unspectacular season with the A’s. What the the A’s give up? The Dodgers received shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who was on the downside of his career and Jay Howell, who had five excellent seasons in the Dodgers bullpen and was the closer in for the 1988 Dodgers team that defeated the A’s in the World Series. The Mets received from the A’s pitcher Kevin Tapani (who only pitched 3 games for the Mets before the Mets flipped him in the Frank Viola trade) who went onto a 13 year MLB career and 143 victories and Wally Whitehurst who appeared in 163 MLB games over 7 seasons. While, like the Parker trade, Sandy traded away a player that would later go on to be a key component of the team that defeated the A’s in the World Series, he acquired Bob Welch and this was a definite trade win.

rickey hendersonJune 21, 1989 – After having traded Rickey Henderson away following the 1984 season, Alderson re-acquired the Man of Steal from the New York Yankees in exchange for Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, and Luis Polonia. Cadaret pitched well for the 1988 team and had a 2.28 ERA out of the pen for the A’s before he was traded and went on to make 188 appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees from 1989-1992. Eric Plunk was traded for Henderson once and was traded once again and made 115 appearances for the Yankees from 1989-1991. Luis Polonia hit .313 for the Yankees in 66 games in 1989 before being traded again the next April. What did Ricky do for the A’s? He hit .294 after the trade while stealing 52 bases in 85 games and helped the A’s win the World Series in 1989. He was the American League MVP in 1990 when he hit .325 with 28 HR, 61 RBI, 65 stolen bases and led the American League with 119 runs scored and a .439 OBP for the American League Champions. In was a minor price to pay and the re-acquisition of Rickey was a big win.

May 13, 1990 – Sandy flipped light hitting outfielder Stan Javier to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a 35 year old Willie Randolph. Willie would go on to make 80 starts at second base for the 1990 American League championship team hitting .257 with 1 HR and 21 RBI. Javier didn’t have a place to play in an A’s outfield that included Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, and Jose Canseco and even though Randolph didn’t do a tremendous amount with the 1990 A’s, Alderson did turn a spare part into a veteran leader for a pennant winning team, so I would count this one as a win.

August 29, 1990 – The A’s were 6.5 games up in the American League West when Sandy made two separate transactions for the postseason roster. Harold Baines was acquired from the Texas Rangers for two players to be named later. Baines hit .266 in 32 games down the stretch and was an All-Star for the 1991 team. The two players he gave up were right handed pitcher Joe Bitker, who appeared in 15 MLB games, and right hander Scott Chiamparino who also appeared in 15 MLB games. This was another win for Sandy.

August 29, 1990 – The other trade made by Alderson on August 29th involved the St. Louis Cardinals. Willie McGee was a pending free agent after the 1990 season and was traded by the 6th place Cardinals who were 16 games out of first place. Despite being traded, Willie had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title in the National League and was the NL batting champ in 1990, hitting .335. In 29 games with Oakland, he hit .274 with 0 HR and 15 RBI before departing as a free agent to sign with the Giants. McGee scored 3 runs in 3 games in the ALCS versus Boston, but hit .200 (2 for 10) with 1 run as the A’s were swept by the Reds in the World Series. For the rental, Sandy gave up corner infielder Stan Royer who appeared in 89 MLB games, reserve outfielder Felix Jose who played three seasons for the Cardinals and was an All-Star in 1991, and right handed pitcher Daryl Green, who never appeared in the majors. While Sandy gave up a future All-Star, the A’s didn’t have room for Jose and McGee did play a role in the pennant wining team, although wasn’t a difference maker. This one was a push.

July 26, 1991 – After three straight World Series appearances, the A’s found themselves in third place and 5 games out when Sandy pulled the trigger to acquire 31 year old Brook Jacoby to play third base and fill the void left after a New Year’s Eve snowmobile accident cost incumbent third baseman Carney Lansford all but 5 games of the 1991 season. In 56 games for Oakland, Jacoby hit .213 with 0 HR and 20 RBI before going back to the Indians as a free agent in the offseason. In exchange, Alderson gave up their former 1987 first round pick outfielder Lee Tinsley who never appeared in the majors for Cleveland, but did play in 361 major league games over 5 seasons and minor league pitcher Apolinar Garcia. While the A’s didn’t give up much to acquire Jacoby as a rental, the void wasn’t filled. This one is a push.

July 31, 1991 – The A’s were still 5 games out when Sandy made another move to acquire Ron Darling from the Montreal Expos for left hander Matt Grott (who pitched in 2 MLB games) and right handed pitcher Russell Cormier, who never made it to the major leagues. Darling went 3-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts down the stretch and returned to the A’s as a free agent for the final four years of his career. For the 1992 AL West division champs, Darling went 15-10 with a 3.66 ERA. This was a win.

August 31, 1992 – The first place A’s were up 6.5 games in the division when they traded 28 year old Jose Canseco to the Texas Rangers. At the time of the trade, the 1992 All-Star and former American League MVP was hitting .246 with 22 HR and 72 RBI. The A’s got back pending free agent outfielder Ruben Sierra (whom later re-signed in the offseason and went on to be an All-Star in 1994), pending free agent Jeff Russell (who appeared in 8 games out of the pen before departing signing elsewhere after the season), and right handed starting pitcher Bobby Witt who made 63 starts for the A’s before departing as a free agent after the 1994 season. With the hindsight of the steroid era, this trade is definitely interesting. The A’s had a comfortable lead in the pennant race when they traded away a player who was second on the team in RBI and a former MVP in his prime for two rental players and a back of the rotation starter that pitched all of one inning for them in the post season. Even knowing what we know now about Jose Canseco, this one is a loss.

November 17, 1992 – The A’s record took a nosedive from 96-66 in 1992 to 68-94 in 1993. That offseason, Sandy traded light hitting shortstop and former 1988 Rookie of the Year Walt Weiss to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Eric Helfand and a player to be named later. Helfand hit .171 in 53 career MLB games, all with the A’s. The PTNBL was Scott Baker who pitched in 1 MLB game. Walt Weiss went on to start 153 games at short for the Marlins and 8 more MLB seasons. To be fair, Weiss’s replacement at short, Mike Bordick, did outproduce him offensively. Still, given the return Sandy received for Weiss, this one is a loss.

January 14, 1993 – Prior to the 1993 season, the A’s traded away incumbent DH Harold Baines to the Orioles. Baines went off to hit .313 for Baltimore in 1993 with 20 HR and 78 RBI. The A’s received reliever Bobby Chouinard, who appeared in 111 MLB games and pitcher Allen Plaster who never appeared in the majors. This was another loss.

July 31, 1993 – The A’s were well out of the pennant race when Sandy traded Rickey Henderson yet again. The Blue Jays traded for the outfielder who was a pending free agent and Rickey hit .215 in 34 games for the World Series champs. The Blue Jays sent right handed pitcher Steve Karsay who had an unspectacular career with the A’s and a PTBNL (Jose Herrera) who appeared in 141 games for the A’s over two seasons. Even though they didn’t get anything spectacular in return, they got something in return for a pending free agent. This was a win. Oh, and Rickey re-signed with the A’s in the off season.

July 28, 1995 – The A’s were 13 games out in the pennant race when Alderson shipped Ruben Sierra, who was hitting .265 with 12 HR and 42 RBI to the Yankees along with right handed pitcher Jason Beverlin (7 MLB appearances) in exchange for Danny Tartabull. Tartabull was traded in the offseason and out of the majors two years later. Sierra played 20 MLB seasons until 2006 and was flipped a year later by the Yankees for Cecil Fielder. Tartabull hit .261 in 24 games for the A’s. Sandy lost this one.

January 9, 1996 – After the death of A’s owner Walter A. Haas, Jr. in 1995, new ownership ordered Alderson to slash payroll. Starting pitcher Todd Stottlemyre, who had signed as a free agent the previous season and earned $2.05 million in 1995 was traded to the St. Luis Cardinals for outfielder Allen Battle (who hit .192 in 47 games for Oakland), pitcher Carl Dale (who appeared in 4 MLB games), pitcher Jay Witasick (who pitched in 29 games for the A’s before being traded and pitched 12 seasons in the majors), and Cardinals 1994 first round pick pitcher Bret Wagner (who never played in the majors). Stottlemyre would win 35 games for the Cardinals. Loss for Sandy.

January 22, 1996 – Danny Tartabull was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Andrew Lorraine (who appeared in 12 games with a 6.37 ERA for the A’s in 1997 and 59 MLB games) and career minor league outfielder Charles Poe. Tartabull went on to hit .254 with 27 HR and 101 RBI for the Sox in 1996 and was out of the majors after 1997. Another loss for Sandy.

February 13, 1996 – 40 year old Dennis Eckersley was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to save 66 games over the next two seasons and was the closer for the Cardinals, who lost in the National League Championship series. The A’s received Steve Montgomery, who would pitch 12 games for the A’s and 72 games in his MLB career. Loss.

January 27, 1997 – Before the 1997 season, Sandy brought back Jose Canseco whom he had traded away four and a half years earlier. In his one season back with Oakland, he hit .235 with 23 HR and 74 RBI. All the A’s gave up in return was starter/reliever John Wasdin (who had a career 5.28 ERA) and cash. Win for Sandy.

June 27, 1997 – The A’s were 14 games out in the race when the A’s shipped Geronimo Berrora to the Orioles. Berrora hit .290 with 36 HR and 106 RBI for the A’s in 1996 and was hitting .310 with 16 HR and 42 RBI in 73 games before being dealt. The A’s got back Jimmy Haynes who made 71 starts with an ERA of 5.40 over three seasons for the A’s and a PTBNL (Mark Seaver). Seaver never appeared in the majors. Berrora’s career quickly fell apart, hitting only 2 home runs after the 1997 season. Berrora was the DH on the AL East winning Orioles. Even though Haynes didn’t have a great run, the monumental fall of Berrora after 1997 makes this one a win for Sandy.

July 31, 1997 – In his last major trade as General Manager of the Oakland A’s, Sandy Alderson traded away Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals. McGwire went on to hit a tainted 70 home runs in 1998 to break Roger Maris‘ record. The A’s received three players in return – Eric Ludwick (6 appearances for the A’s and 31 in his MLB career with an 8.35 ERA), T.J. Mathews (who would have an 8 year MLB career as a middle reliever, including 5 years and 210 appearances with the A’s and a career 3.82 ERA), and Blake Stein (who made 21 starts for the A’s with an ERA of 6.60 and pitched in 117 MLB games over 5 seasons). Despite what we now know about McGwire, this was a major loss.

That’s 19 trade wins, 9 trade losses, and 4 trade ties.

By and large, Sandy was always a winner when it comes to making trades as the A’s GM. He didn’t come up on the losing end often, however it can’t help to be noticed that his trend did start to shift and he came up on the losing end more often once he was ordered to cut payroll. When he wasn’t hampered by payroll, his record was stellar when it came to trades. His biggest losses when his hands weren’t tied involved trading Rickey Henderson when the team was in rebuilding mode and trading away Jose Canseco when he was in his prime.

Even with the “loss” in the Henderson trade when looking at that trade in a bubble, this trade helped shape the A’s World Series teams. While only Jay Howell performed well while a member of the A’s, the later acquisition of Dennis Eckersley allowed for Howell to be flipped as part of the acquisition that landed Bob Welch. Two other parts of the Henderson (Tim Birtsas and Jose Rijo) trade were later flipped to acquire Dave Parker. Eric Plunk was later part of the acquisition to re-acquire Henderson. The fifth player, Stan Javier, was later flipped for Willie Randolph, another starter on the 1990 World Series team. So even the “loss” of that trade later turned into a key starter, a top RBI man, and a starting second baseman for their championship caliber teams.

All in all, not too shabby.

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Montero and Matz Are Nasty Good Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:20:04 +0000 montero (1)

Who’s Hot:

Chase Bradford,  Las Vegas – The 25 year old righty went to High School in Las Vegas and is no stranger to playing in the desert heat. In the last week, he’s made three appearances out of the pen, collecting 8 of his 9 outs via strikeout while allowing just 1 hit and walking no one. On the season, Chasen has made a combined 48 appearances out of the pen for Binghamton and Las Vegas with a 2.74 ERA in 62.1 innings and a combined 14 saves.

Rafael Montero, Las Vegas – If Rafael finds himself back in New York shortly to replace Jacob deGrom, he’s certainly doing it at the right time. In his last two starts, he’s 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and has pitched 14.2 innings while allowing just 4 hits, 4 walks, and striking out 17.

Matt Reynolds, Las Vegas – Matt continues to hit. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting .425 (17 for 40) with 7 runs scored, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 5 RBI and an OPS of 1.053. He’s hitting .337 at Las Vegas in 47 games after hitting .355 in 58 games at Binghamton.

Steven Matz, Binghamton – Steven continues to shine in Binghamton. He’s 1-1 in his last two starts with a 0.00 ERA, allowing just 1 unearned run in 13 innings. In his last 2 games, he’s allowed 10 hits while walking 3 and striking out 12. In 21 starts between St. Lucie and Binghamton, he has a record of 9-7 on the season with a 2.33 ERA in 123.2 innings while striking out 111.

Gavin Cecchini, St. Lucie – Gavin started off slowly since being promoted to St. Lucie, but has come on as of late. In the month of August, Gavin is batting .407 with (11 for 26) with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI with 8 walks, an OBP of .526 and an OPS of 1.119.

Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie – Jeff is currently on a 9 game hitting streak for Binghamton, during which he is batting .406 (13 for 32) with 7 runs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 RBI. He also has 5 walks during the streak for a .500 OBP.

Robert Gsellman, Savannah – Robert is having an outstanding August. The 13th round pick in the 2011 draft hasn’t allowed an earned run this month. In two starts, he’s 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing 9 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Luis Guillorme, Kingsport – Luis had a 10 game hitting streak snapped on August 10th. Over the streak, he was batting .380 (16 for 42) with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, and 2 RBI. Luis was a 10th round pick in the 2013 draft.

Who’s Not:

John Lannan, Las Vegas – John has made 3 starts for Las Vegas after 6 previous starts at St. Lucie. In his last two outings, he’s 0-1 with an ERA of 8.43. In 10.2 innings, he’s allowed 17 hits, 10 earned runs, 2 home runs, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts and a WHIP of 2.16. He’s certainly not pitching like a major league caliber arm, but with deGrom’s uncertain status… is it possible we may see Lannan back on the MLB squad for a late September start just because he’s an arm?

Juan Centeno, Binghamton – Since his demotion from AAA, Juan has struggled. After an initial 3 for 4 debut, Juan is 0 for 19 in his last 6 games dating back to August 2nd.

Phillip Evans, St. Lucie – The 15th round pick in the 2011 draft continues to struggle at the plate. After batting .179 in the month of July, he’s hitting just .067 in August and .053 (2 for 38) in his last 10 games.

Cole Frenzel, St. Lucie – The 7th round pick in the 2011 draft has struggled as of late as he adjusts to high A ball. In 32 games with St. Lucie, Cole is batting .189 (18 for 95) and in the month of August, he’s hitting just .069 (2 for 29).

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Frank Viola Made Mets Debut 25 Years Ago Today Sat, 02 Aug 2014 13:24:44 +0000 frank viola

Twenty Five years ago today, on August 2, 1989 – Frank Viola made his New York Mets debut.

It was Wednesday night in St. Louis in front of 41,438 at Busch Stadium. Frank went 8 innings while allowing 4 hits, walking 5 batters and striking out 2 batters in a 4-3 victory, earning the victory. Randy Myers picked up the save and the Mets raised their record to 55-50 on the season.

The Mets starting lineup that evening:

  1. Keith Miller – 2B
  2. Juan Samuel – CF
  3. Howard Johnson – 3B
  4. Darryl Strawberry – RF
  5. Kevin McReynolds – LF
  6. Dave Magadan – 1B
  7. Barry Lyons – C
  8. Kevin Elster – SS
  9. Frank Viola - P

Frank was acquired on July 31st in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani and David West. Jack Savage was later sent to the Twins on October 16th as the player to be named later to complete the trade.

The following season, his first full year with the Mets, Sweet Music would go 20-12 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in an MLB high 35 starts. He would finish third in the Cy Young voting behind Doug Drabek and Ramon Martinez, but his 20 wins as a Met would not be matched until 22 years later when R.A. Dickey won his 20th on September 27, 2012.

Viola now serves as the pitching coach for the Mets’ in Triple-A Las Vegas, his fourth season in that role which has seen him preside over the development of pitching prospects Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard.

Happy Anniversary, Frank.

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MMO Prospect Watch: Thor Solid, Conforto Keeps Raking Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:40:13 +0000 syndergaard

Here’s how our Top 10 Prospects performed on Sunday, July 27th.

Noah Syndergaard, Las Vegas – Noah went 5.0 innings in a no-decision for the 51s in front of 1,747 at Cashman Field on Sunday. Thor allowed 5 hits, walked 2, struck out 8, and allowed 2 runs (1 earned). On the season, Noah is 8-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 96 innings with 100 K’s.

Dilson Herrera, Binghamton – Dilson was batting second and playing Second Base against the Trenton Thunder in front of 4,348 at Arm & Hammer Park. He went 0 for 3, lowering his batting average to .345 with Binghamton.

Gavin Cecchini, St. Lucie – In Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Daytona Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Gavin was batting 7th as the DH and went 1 for 3. In Game 2, Gavin was batting 7th and playing shortstop, going 0 for 3. Cecchini is batting .179 at St. Lucie after being promoted from Savannah.

Dominic SmithSavannah – Dominic was batting third and playing First Base, going 0 for 3 with 2 walks in front of 3,195 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against the Lexington Legends. On the season, Dominic is hitting .287 with 0 HR and 32 RBI.

Michael ConfortoBrooklyn – Michael was batting fourth and playing Left Field at Edward A. LeLaceur Park in front of 3,417 against the Lowell Spinners. He went 2 for 4 with 1 RBI, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout, raising his average on the season to .412.

Amed Rosario – Brooklyn – Amed was batting second and playing Shortstop against the Spinners. On the day, he went 2 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI, raising his season average with the Cyclones to .299.

MMO Top 10 Prospects that did not see action on June 27th: Rafael Montero (AAA), Kevin Plawecki (AAA), Brandon Nimmo (AA), Steven Matz (AA)

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The Answer is Contact Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:09:05 +0000 lucas duda david wright

The Mets rode into the All-Star break on an 8-2 roll as the hottest team in the National League. The eyeball test tells us the same thing that the score sheet is telling us – this is a much improved team and the offense is now clicking right along with the pitching.

So what’s the biggest difference between the team we’ve been seeing over the last 10 games and the team we saw over the previous 85? Have they been more selective at the plate? Have they completely changed their hitting philosophy? Have they abandoned the “thou shalt walk” on base mentality? Was it the hitting coach? Is there anything that jumps out that correlates to the increased run production?

The answer is YES. The answer is CONTACT.

I went through the box scores and segmented the season into games 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, and segmented the most part of the season into 10 game segments for games 76-85 and their recent hot streak of games 86-95. The numbers were averaged out the numbers per nine innings. This is what I’ve found…

The offense has improved as of late, which we all know.

Runs Per 9 Innings:

Games 1-25 – 3.9
26-50 – 3.8
51-75 – 3.4
76-85 – 4.6
Average games 1-85 – 3.8
86-95 – 5.8

The offense has definitely improved over the last 20 games.

The eyes are telling me that they’re being much more aggressive at the plate. I guess they’re not working the count as much as they were before, right?

Wrong. The number of pitches per plate appearances has hardly changed.

Pitches Per Plate Appearances:

Games 1-25 – 3.9 pitches per at bat
26-50 – 3.9
51-75 – 4.0
76-85 – 3.9
86-95 – 3.8

One of the principals of Moneyball is because outs are finite, they should be avoided and the goal should be to get players on base to keep the line moving. The more plate appearances per nine innings, the better the line is moving. How have the Mets been at moving the line? The team’s been better at moving the line the last 10 games, for sure.

Plate Appearances Per Nine Innings:

Games 1-25 – 37.7
26-50 – 38.4
51-75 – 37.6
76-85 – 38.1
Average games 1-85 – 37.9
86-95 – 40.1

So what have they been doing differently as they’ve been moving the line more efficiently the last 10 games? They’re taking just as many pitches per at bat. Their offensive production has jumped. Something has to have changed.

Strikeouts have gone down. They’re making contact. When you put the ball in play, things happen. A strikeout isn’t just another out. It makes a difference in moving the lineup.

Percentage of plate appearances resulting in strikeouts:

Games 1-25 – 24.4%
26-50 – 19.5%
51-75 – 21.3%
76-85 – 22.1%
Average games 1-85 – 21.8%
86-95 – 15.1%

During their most recent stretch, the Mets have reduced their strikeouts by 6.7%. By making more contact and putting the ball into play, they’ve improved lineup movement by 5.8% and increased run production by 52.6%.

By making more contact and moving the lineup, they’ve managed to increase run production by that much? Sure. Base hits don’t just move runners station to station. Runners advance an extra base on a single. Extra base hits score runs. Even sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flys move runners over and situational hitting to get the runner over creates productive outs. How have hits per nine innings changed?

Hits Per Nine Innings:

Games 1-25 – 7.2
26-50 – 8.9
51-75 – 7.1
76-85 – 10.2
Games 1-85 – 8.0
86-95 – 9.7

Run per nine innings jumped at the same time that base hits increased. Lineup movement improved and run production improved. Base hits per nine improved and run production improved.

Let’s even take it one step further – how has at bats resulting in contact correlated with run production?

Percentage of at-bats ending in contact (neither a strikeout or walk) versus runs per nine innings:

Games 1-25 – 66.4% contact vs. 3.9 runs/9 innings
26-50 – 72.5% contact vs. 3.8 runs
51-75 – 67.3% contact vs 3.4 runs
76-85 – 73.2% contact vs. 4.6 runs
86-95 – 74.8% contact vs. 5.8 runs

One other interesting observation:

Plate appearances per nine innings and contact rates were very similar for games 26-50 as it was for games 76-85, yet run production was higher in games 76-85. The lineup was moving, but not generating runs as efficiently.

Overall contact rates were similar for both periods. What was the difference? The lineup was more efficient generating runs through hits than walks. They created more hits in games 76-85 (10.2 versus 8.9) with fewer walks (1.8 per nine vs. 3.1 per nine for games 26-50).

There’s nothing wrong with being selective and waiting for your pitch. Just put it in play and make contact. Numbers don’t need to be crunched for our eyes to tell us that. Good things will happen. We’re not that far off.

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis is Making the Most of His Latest Opportunity Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:48:16 +0000 kirk nieuwenhuis

One player who is really surprising me with his recent play is Kirk Nieuwenhuis. As I wrote last year on Mets Minors – Kirk was the forgotten man in the depth chart, a player whose star had fallen to the point where he didn’t even get a September call-up when the rosters expanded.

But here he is, back with the team since his exile in Las Vegas ended in June, and playing like the player we thought we had early in 2012. Since his recall, he’s appeared in 16 games, hitting .370 (10-for-27) with five doubles, one home run and five RBI. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but he doesn’t look lost like he did when he was with the major league team in 2013 and hit just .189 while striking out 32 times in 95 at-bats. He’s making a strong case for staying on the MLB roster as the fourth outfielder who won’t hurt you in the field and provides some left-handed punch off the bench.

He’s looking like a player who is realizing that his major league opportunity may pass him by if he doesn’t act now. He’ll be turning 27 next month and he’s at that age where the younger guys will pass right over him and he’ll be just another one of those career minor leaguers. In the last month, he’s making the most of that opportunity, and his stellar defensive play on Friday night to save a run with a throw to home plate was all hustle.

Despite being on the 40 man roster, Kirk wasn’t in the Mets plans last September. He didn’t make the opening day roster either as the Mets opted for Andrew Brown. It wasn’t until Juan Lagares went on the DL in mid-April that Kirk would get another big-league opportunity, but he was back in Vegas as soon as Lagares returned. When Eric Young, Jr. went on the DL in May, Kirk was bypassed in favor of Matt den Dekker.

However den Dekker batted just .156 in 49 plate appearances, and with Chris Young also struggling mightily, the Mets needed to get someone – anyone – that could help offensively. So on June 19th, den Dekker was demoted and a hot-hitting Nieuwenhuis got the call in what may be his very last opportunity to impress the Mets.

Here’s something impressive – the Mets are 9-0 when Nieuwenhuis is in the starting lineup.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but for the time being, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is making a solid case to remain the fourth outfielder. One has to wonder – maybe he can become another key reserve outfielder like Danny Heep was, and man that fourth outfield spot for the Mets over the next several seasons. Time will tell.

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Murphy’s Status is a Harbinger of Things to Come Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:47:48 +0000 The next few weeks leading up to the July 31st trade deadline will be quite telling about the future direction of the Mets and how they see themselves in 2015 and beyond. Most importantly, will Daniel Murphy stay or will he go?

sandy aldersonI still stand by my earlier statement that the team isn’t as bad as their record suggests. I still feel that we’re still a bat away from some serious contention. Contention this year? Of course not. I never thought they were more than a .500 team this season anyway, and the run differential supports that they should be much closer to .500 then the 11 games under they currently are.

But they had several games where they blew out their opponents, so take away the couple of blowouts and their run differential is much worse, right? True – but the same also holds in reverse where they were completely blown out in several games. Throw out those games (like the 14-2 shelling against the Angels) and the run differential is completely flipped on the positive side.

Over the course of 162 games, every team is going to be blown out several times and every team is going to win some blowouts. If you take the top four blowout wins and losses the Mets have participated in this season (or just under the 10% outliers), the Mets run differential in blowout games is only +3.

With the above being said, this isn’t about discussing sabermetrics. This is about the direction the team is going. While they’re 11 games under now, they should be closer to a .500 team as the roster currently stands. If they’re currently constituted as a .500, middle of the pack team – how far are they away from taking that next leap toward being a contender?

The pitching isn’t the issue. It’s the hitting. If Sandy and company truly feel that they are (and should be) a .500 team right now (which Sandy coincidentally reiterated a day after my run differential post), then they should also truly feel that they’re not that far from taking the roster from a .500 squad to a contender.

daniel murphyIf the Mets truly feel this way, then Daniel Murphy will still be on the roster come August 1st. Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Matt Harvey should all be there next season for a solid top three with players entering their prime and on the rise. Depending on if Bartolo Colon stays, and if he does, how he performs, that’s a solid four in the rotation. Rounding out the fifth spot would be Jacob deGrom with Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard also competing for the spot. (Where’s Wheeler?  I hope I’m wrong, but someone’s going to go down to injury). The bullpen is much improved and is young and strong. The improvements to get this team over the hump will be needed on offense.

What does this mean? It means taking a step forward.

Career .291 hitters with doubles power don’t grow on trees and a team that would be acquiring one in a deadline trade isn’t going to be trading away a viable part of their current offense to obtain one. In other words, if Daniel Murphy is traded, it will be for prospects.

If Murphy is traded for prospects, it’s just another position in the offense that will now have to be rebuilt and could be a step backwards. Anyone being called up or acquired is still unproven and the upcoming free agent class of second basemen doesn’t include any upgrades over Murphy.

If Murphy is traded, it’s a sign that next year is either A) just another rebuilding year in the eyes of the front office or B) the team’s financial woes aren’t behind them and the team doesn’t want to spend the money to pay Murphy what he would make in the arbitration process.

If the answer is “A” then we’ve all been sold a bill of goods and even this optimistic fan will be pissed. If it’s “B” here’s my answer to that one – put a contender on the field and fannies will be in the seats.

Daniel Murphy isn’t a cornerstone, but he is part of the foundation, he’s in his prime, and he’s a proven asset to this team. Murphy is part of the solution, not part of the problem. He needs to stay in Queens.

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