Mets Merized Online » Bryce Harper http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:41:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Commissioner Manfred Needs to Lift the Ban, But Not on Pete Rose http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/commissioner-manfred-needs-to-lift-the-ban-but-not-on-pete-rose.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/commissioner-manfred-needs-to-lift-the-ban-but-not-on-pete-rose.html/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202803 He was arguably the greatest natural hitter of his generation. He was idolized by hometown fans and feared by those he competed against. He was the one guy opposing pitchers vowed not to be beaten by. His batting stance was copied in ball fields and backyards across the country. He was a World Series champion. He even had a cool nickname.

Am I talking about Charlie Hustle or Shoeless Joe?

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On Sept 11, 1985, Pete Rose became Baseball’s all-time hit leader, shattering a record many experts believed would stand forever. By the time he retired he was first in hits, singles, games played, AB and had appeared in 17 All-Star Games. But despite being perhaps the greatest hitter to walk onto a diamond Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame.

Days ago, in the face of growing support to have Rose’s lifetime ban lifted, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred upheld the 1989 decision in the Dowd Report. Manfred stated Rose was “misleading” in a recent meeting.

“Rose initially denied betting on baseball currently and only later in the interview did he ‘clarify’ his response to admit such betting,” Manfred wrote in his decision.

I applaud the Commissioner’s verdict to not be swayed. In the face of growing pressure, Manfred put the integrity of the National Pastime first.

In 1989, Rose agreed to a permanent inclusion on Baseball’s Ineligibility List, claiming there is “a factual reason for the ban.” In 2010, at a function attended by several former teammates, the hard-edged Rose openly wept, acknowledging he had “disrespected baseball” and promised to never do it again.

In 2004, he confessed to gambling on baseball. Attorney John Dowd who’d been retained by Commissioner Bart Giamatti revealed that Rose bet anywhere from $2000 to $10000 per game from 1985 through 1987 while managing Cincinnati. In ‘87 alone he bet on nearly one-third of all Reds games, games that as manager he had a direct impact on. Although Rose maintained he only bet on his team, never against them, there is no discrepancy in Rule 21 section D:

Any player, umpire, or club, or league official, or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Men enshrined in Cooperstown’s hallowed halls are there for what they did on the field, not off the field. The Hall of Fame includes racists, bigots, anti-Semites. If character was a judge of baseball brilliance there’d be plenty more wall space.

Granted, we are a forgiving society. But Baseball has always governed itself. And Pete Rose broke those rules.

Like Reggie Jackson or Pedro Martinez or Bryce Harper, Rose was one of those guys you loved to hate. Still, for us fans who witnessed the legends’ fall from grace in 1989, it was damn heartbreaking. Twenty five years ago the thought of Rose even being considered for eligibility was inconceivable, especially when you recall Commissioner Giamatti died only eight days after handing down his decision.

If Rose was to be enshrined does this open the door for more rule breakers to receive the same honor? A generation from now, as time passes, will the public be clamoring for others to be immortalized? Will people look back on the 90’s and laugh at the overreaction to steroids?

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How would you feel bringing your children or grandchildren to Cooperstown one day and seeing Roger Clemens’ plaque alongside Tom Seaver’s? Or seeing Alex Rodriguez a few feet from Ralph Kiner? Would you be able to explain why Rafael Palmeiro is enshrined and Gil Hodges is not?

The tide is turning. More than 60% now feel Rose’s ban should be lifted. He worked as an analyst during the post-season on FOX and was granted permission to participate in All-Star Game activities this past year in Cincinnati.

Personally, I’m against Rose being respected alongside iconic heroes like Mickey Mantle and Cal Ripken and Willie Mays. However, if Rose is one day included in this elite brotherhood I feel that another player must be enshrined first.

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Rose was found guilty of betting on Baseball for at least three full seasons. Joe Jackson was accused of accepting bribe money for 8 games and subsequently banned for life.

Life. He died more than 60 years ago.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were one of the greatest teams in baseball’s young history and were expected to crush the NL Champion Reds. As we all know The Black Sox lost 5 games to 3.  Eight players were in on the fix. However, unlike Rose, who admitted his guilt in gambling, Jackson’s involvement is cloudier.

His .375 BA in the Fall Classic was the highest of any player on either team. He hit the Series’ only home run. He handled 30 chances in the OF without incident or making an “error.” He threw to the correct cut-off man every time. The film Eight Men Out argued the point that Jackson, who was illiterate, did not comprehend what he was getting involved in, going so far as to argue he only consented after teammate Swede Risberg threatened Jackson’s family.

Jackson himself asserted that on two occasions he refused to accept the $5,000 bribe, despite the fact it was more than double his annual salary. Teammate Lefty Williams, who was in on the fix, flung the cash onto Jackson’s bed in a hotel room and walked out just prior to the first pitch of Game One. Shoeless Joe tried to contact Sox owner Charlie Comiskey to advise him what was going down. Comiskey refused to speak with his star player.

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It seems unlikely that Jackson, who rivaled Ty Cobb in prominence, would tarnish his own legacy. This was a man who averaged an unheard of 397 over his first three seasons in the majors. By Game One of the 1919 World Series he was just 32 years old and had averaged 331 over his previous 3 seasons. Unlike co-conspirator Chick Gandil this was not an aging player with diminishing talent in the twilight of his career. Jackson’s lifetime BA of 356 is third best in history, behind only Cobb and Rogers Hornsby.

The eight men in question were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Yet, Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis overruled the courts and banned the players for life.

Years later, the seven men out disclosed Jackson was never present in a single meeting with gambler Arnold Rothstein. In 1951, Jackson had agreed to “finally set the record straight” in an exclusive interview. Sadly, as arrangements for the tell-all were being ironed out, Shoeless Joe died of a heart attack. He was just 61.

If Rose, who admitted his mistake, is granted access to the game’s Holy Land, then shouldn’t Joe Jackson, whose guilt is questionable, be honored first?

In 1920 eight men were forever excoriated with fixing the World Series. Commissioner Landis wrote the following:

Regardless of the verdict of juries…no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will never play professional baseball.

If Landis’s statement was good enough for Shoeless Joe, isn’t it good enough for Charlie Hustle?

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Bryce Harper Wins NL MVP, Tips His Cap To Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/bryce-harper-wins-nl-mvp-tips-his-cap-to-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/bryce-harper-wins-nl-mvp-tips-his-cap-to-mets.html/#comments Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:59:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200491 bryce harper

Bryce Harper was named the National League Most Valuable Player on Thursday night, becoming the youngest unanimous MVP winner in baseball history. Harper, 23, got all 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The Nationals’ three-time All Star led the majors in slugging percentage (.649), OBP (.460), OPS (1.109) and fWAR (9.9) while batting .330 with 42 home runs, 118 runs scored, and 99 RBI.

He was the first player from a Washington franchise to win an MVP — no one on the original or expansion Senators or Nats had ever won it.

Harper had some nice things to say about the Mets after accepting his award.

“I think a lot of people saw what the National League East was about. How much pitching we had, how much competition we had in that aspect with Harvey and deGrom and Syndergaard.  Those three guys were unbelievable this year, so I tip my cap to them and the Mets organization.” (Washington Post)

Last month, Harper also complimented the Mets after winning the NL East saying:

“The Mets had everything going for them. They did a lot of things. That deadline came around and they got Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard and they built their team. They did a great job this year and they’re doing it. Coming from the East, I hope they win it all ”

Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all… Nah… Who am I kidding. :-)

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Bryce Harper Says Nationals Are “Still” The Team To Beat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/bryce-harper-says-nationals-are-still-the-team-to-beat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/bryce-harper-says-nationals-are-still-the-team-to-beat.html/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 13:35:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180931 USATSI_8553439_154511658_lowres

After crushing three home runs in yesterday’s 7-5 win over the Marlins, National’s slugger Bryce Harper boldly declared Washington as the team to beat. (Scott Allen, Washington Post).

“We’re such a great team,” Harper said of the 14-15 Nationals, who have won seven of their last nine since a six-game losing streak. “We’re the team to beat. Everybody knows that. We’re going to get hot. Everybody knows that too.”

Before the game, Jayson Werth also made similar comments.

“We know who we are,” Werth said. “We know our identity. We are the team to beat in the National League. Everybody knows it. We know it. It’s just how it is. It doesn’t change anything.”

Thoughts:

The Nationals remain a formidable opponent even though they have stumbled out of the gate.

Their rotation is outstanding,  and they are blessed with a blossoming young star in Harper.

This season looks like the year Harper will finally live up to his lofty expectations. Despite being on the radar for awhile now,  It’s easy to forget that he is only 22 years old.

With yesterday’s outstanding performance, he became the youngest player since 1970 to hit three home runs in a game. He now has eight homers on the season along with 20 RBI and an OBP over .400.

This is shaping up to be an exciting rivalry as the Mets are off to a surprisingly hot start. It’s going to be fun watching these two teams battle it out for the division crown for the rest of the season.

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MMO Game Recap: Nationals 2, Mets 1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mmo-game-recap-nationals-2-mets-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/mmo-game-recap-nationals-2-mets-1.html/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:07:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178512 jacob degrom

The Mets fell short against the Nationals on Wednesday night, losing 2-1 in the nation’s capital.

Jacob deGrom got the start for the Mets and was good, although he didn’t have his best stuff. deGrom went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks, striking out six.

The game was delayed for nearly an hour by a rainy forecast, keeping deGrom and Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann waiting. Possibly because of this (but more likely because of the sophomore slump! panic!), deGrom didn’t come out sharp in the first inning, and surrendered a two-run shot to Ryan Zimmerman that would hold up for the rest of the night.

It probably shouldn’t have held up, however. After Michael Cuddyer lined out to start the top of the third, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares, and Travis d’Arnaud strung together three straight singles, getting a run on the board and putting runners on first and second. #8 hitter Jacob deGrom failed to get a bunt down, but Wilmer Flores reached on an infield single to load the bases for Curtis Granderson with two out. Granderson worked the count full, and when the payoff pitch appeared to sail in high, Granderson started walking to first, only to be called out by the home-plate umpire, ending the inning and denying the Mets their second run.

deGrom worked in and out of trouble for the next few innings, not pitching particularly efficiently, but not allowing the Nationals to add to their lead. Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann coasted through the Met lineup, inducing a mix of weak pop-ups and hard-hit balls which never failed to find a Washington glove (not even the pop-ups!)

The Mets got the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the seventh when Kirk Nieuwenhuis worked a walk off the bench and stole second, but Wilmer Flores could not bring him home against Craig Stammen, symbolically grounding out to Ian Desmond. Rafael Montero came in to pitch after the Stretch and worked around a Michael Taylor double to put up a scoreless frame.

David Wright roped one for a one-out hit, his first base knock of the season, in the top of the eighth. But he wouldn’t get to spend long on the basepaths. Lucas Duda lined one right at the pitcher Blake Treinen, who caught it and doubled off the Captain at first. Montero was perfect in the home half of the eighth, and the Mets headed into their final turn at the plate needing one run to tie the game.

But Drew Storen would have none of it, retiring the side in order and striking out a pair en route to his first save of the season.

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I forgot how much I hate losses… those that count, that is. The Mets fell behind early and spent nearly the entire game fighting for the run they needed to tie it up. And they couldn’t do it. We’ve seen our fair share of those games over the years, haven’t we?

From a results standpoint, the offense has been pretty poor these first couple games after an amazing spring. We have four runs in eighteen innings, only one of which was earned. But make no mistake: the Mets could have easily put up some crooked numbers in this game. Duda, Cuddyer, and Lagares in particular had some awful luck on well-struck balls. The Nationals were somehow catching everything out there. For Exhibit A, however, we should look to one of the few baseballs that did land safely for a hit. Duda’s single in the top of the sixth had no business being a single. The Big Lebowski rocketed one to right that took a perfect carom off the wall right to where Bryce Harper was waiting for it, seemingly losing no speed after its impact with the fence. The slow-footed Duda was right to avoid testing Harper’s arm– I’m not sure if an average runner could have made it to second after that freak bounce.

Speaking of Harper, he was everywhere tonight. He is absurdly talented, and he’s my MVP pick for a reason. He had two hits tonight after going deep in the opener, and wreaked havoc defensively despite not making any highlight-reel plays. His arm (and good positioning, and good fortune) held Duda to a single in the sixth and did the same to Wright in the eighth. He showed great range, covering a good amount of ground to flag down some balls in the gap, and he never looked like he was trying all that hard while he was doing it. I can’t stand that guy, because he’s missing one key thing: he’s not on my team.

deGrom wasn’t the guy we’ve become accustomed to seeing, but he was quite solid. I’m tempted to give him a pass on the first-inning mistake due to the rain delay (and even if I don’t, two runs isn’t too bad). After falling behind early, he did what he needed to do, giving the Mets a chance to beat Zimmermann, working out of jams to keep that precious third run off the board. The bats (and the BABIP gods) just didn’t pick him up tonight.

Montero looked great out of the pen. His command was terrific. The offense has been a bit of a letdown over the first couple games, but the bullpen has been a pleasant surprise (including Mejia becoming the first Met in a century to be diagnosed with an elbow issue and not going under the Tommy John knife within the next week. I hope. The week is young.)

Another Spring-defying “trend” (and I use the term way too loosely) in the opening days of the season? Travis d’Arnaud has been picking up some hits, after struggling mightily in Port St. Lucie. It’d be great if he could get off to a good start after what he went through early last season.

One big complaint: Curtis Granderson. Curtis is a veteran. He’s a smart guy. And he absolutely HAS to know by now that the easiest way to get called out on a 3-2 pitch is to start walking to first base! That pitch didn’t look like a strike. Regardless of Granderson’s actions, the umpire probably should have called it a ball and made it a 2-2 game, which might have changed the outcome of the evening. But Grandy may have sealed his fate with the premature reaction. Curtis, my basketball team (Let’s go Knicks!) is already losing games on purpose. I don’t need my baseball team throwing ballgames away as well.

Up Next: 1:05 PM Thursday. You know who’s pitching. Let’s take this series.

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Mets Need A Killer Instinct Mentality Against The Nationals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-need-a-killer-instinct-mentality-against-the-nationals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mets-need-a-killer-instinct-mentality-against-the-nationals.html/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:49:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175703 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

The Mets aren’t the only ones in the division talking about stacked rotations, October baseball and winning a championship. Last week, Bryce Harper of the Nationals did some touting of his own.

“It’s absolutely stupid how good our staff is. To add a Cy Young, to add a guy that’s unbelievable in the postseason… Where’s my ring? I’m going to bring back a title to D.C. no matter what. And I’m getting chills thinking about it.”

Harper’s boasts didn’t escape Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, who says he and his teammates can’t wait to thwart the Nationals’ and Harper’s plans to win a World Series.

“I guarantee you we all saw what Bryce Harper said,’ ” Wheeler said with a smile. “We’re going to make it hard for him to get that ring, I’ll guarantee you that.”

Harper and the Nationals might chuckle at any notion that they’ve fueled the Mets’ aspirations for a breakthrough 2015 season, writes Andy Martino of the Daily News.

“After all, they’ve owned Terry Collins’ ballclub in recent seasons, especially last year when they won 15 of the 19 games the two teams played.”

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Wheeler admits he loves the challenge of trying to outpitch the Nats and shut them up.

“I’ve thought about it,” he said. “It’s like, ‘they’ve got a good staff, but I wonder if we can go out there and sort of put them to shame. A bunch of young guys against the older guys; put ’em to shame, you know.”

“Obviously they’re a good team, but that’s baseball. We’ve got a good pitching staff, so do they. We’ve got good athletes, so do they. Who cares? Let’s go.”

With 23 of the first 26 games this season coming against the NL East, Sandy Alderson was asked how important it is for the Mets to get off to a strong start this season?

“We played very well against the NL East last year, with one obvious exception. When they signed Max Scherzer, my response was, how much worse can we be?”

“It’s extremely important to establish a fighting posture against these newly constructed teams, and I think the first impression is critical, as is the last impression. We hope it goes reasonably well. We started off well last year but things tailed off. The beginning of the season is important.”

While getting off to a strong start would be great, I’d say it’s more important to improve our performance against the Nationals.

The Nats have owned the Mets in recent years, compiling a 41-15 record against them over the last three seasons, and they beat the Mets in 15 of 19 contests in 2014, outscoring them 95 to 52.

If you take away those 19 games (4-15) against the Nationals last season, the Mets were a surprising 75-68 against everyone else – seven games over .500.

Solving and beating the Nats will go a long way in getting to the playoffs. I’m hoping Terry Collins knows this and goes into the season opening series in Washington with a killer instinct mentality.

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MMO Fan Shot: Big Market Hickory http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mmo-fan-shot-big-market-hickory.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/mmo-fan-shot-big-market-hickory.html/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:28:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173639 HoosiersTeam

An MMO Fan Shot by Dezzy S.

To state the painfully obvious, Mets fans have not been given many gifts from the Baseball Gods over the years. Disasters, yes. Collapses, for sure. Heartbreaks, more than we care to count. But with the signing of Max Scherzer, we might have been given the greatest gift we could ever ask for…

Unquestionable underdog status.

Here me out for a second, as this article is light on metrics and WAR and long on gut feel.

Let’s face it, the Mets don’t do a particularly good job of meeting lofty expectations, and they have a comical track record of signing formerly respectable free agents who disintegrate before our eyes under the New York spotlight (I won’t list them here so your salty tears don’t interfere with your ability to read on).

We win — with one rare exception in 1986 — when no one expects it. The Nationals, on the other hand, cannot seem to win when everyone expects it. How many years has the press talked about Bryce Harper’s projectable awesomeness, which somehow always seems to translate into a .270 and 55 RBI season? The Nationals have been a favored team to win it all for several years running now, and how many times have they made it out of the first round of the playoffs?

The way I look at the Scherzer deal is that it adds enormous pressure on a team that has yet to prove it can handle it. Bryce Harper, Matt Williams, Stephen Strasburg, and the whole crew can thank the $210 million dollar Boras monster contract for exponentially increasing the pressure on the Nats to win right now.

To me, the Scherzer signing makes 2015 a make-or-break year for the Nationals’ collective psyche. If they choke again, how will they exorcise what will become The Curse of Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit? How can you not win it all with far and away the best pitching staff in baseball and a lineup stocked with stars? The Nats’ core group won’t be the same, psychologically, or, for that matter, from a personnel standpoint due to impending free agent departures of key players.

If they don’t win it all this year I think they are done.

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The Mets have a perfect opportunity to thrive as the underdog here. Crappy ownership. Small market budget in a big market city. A bunch of kids looking to make their mark, older guys looking to return to glory, and major contributors returning from injury. Who would have thought a New York City team could actually become the Hickory of MLB.

The Baseball Gods are lining things up for Mets fans to truly embrace our real heritage and identity – and why we love the team so dearly. We love the fighter and the underdog and the disrespected. This is who we are and now the Mets have the absolute perfect opportunity to embody everything that we love. We have always been more Rocky than Drago, more David than Goliath, more Hickory than South Bend.

Here’s how you can bring some light to what feels like a very dark Mets’ winter:

Think Ed Pinckney and Patrick Ewing, Villanova versus Georgetown. The 1985 National Championship game that stunned the sports world just one year before the Mets won it all.

Who’s gonna be our Harold Jansen or Jimmy Chitwood? Who’s gonna stand up and say, “I’ll make it.”

My bet, Matt Harvey, whether he is 100% back or 50% back from his injury.

He’s the one that will stand up and say, “Bring it on Nats. Let’s see what you got, Beltway Evil Empire. We cannot wait to see you wilt under the heat of the spotlight. And when you do, we’ll be there to snatch that NL East title right out of your grasp.”

Lets Go Mets! Opening Day can’t come fast enough.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Dezzy S.. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at  FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 4, Nationals 3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-4-nationals-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-4-nationals-3.html/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 02:52:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165645 travis d'arnaud

The Mets (72-76) won the second game of this 4-game set against the division leading Washington Nationals (83-63) by a score of 4 to 3.

What You Should Know: 

The Mets started off strong, coming right out of the gate with three runs in the 1st inning. An Eric Young Jr. single, Juan Lagares hit-by-pitch and Lucas Duda walk loaded the bases and set the stage for Travis d’Arnaud. D’Arnaud delivered a base-clearing double down the left-field line. Duda scored all the way from first when he slid into Wilson Ramos’ glove as he applied the tag, knocking the ball loose.

The Nationals started their comeback in the top of the 3rd with a double, RBI single and double off the bats of Anthony Rendon, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond respectively. After Bryce Harper grounded into a double-play, Wilson Ramos hit a two-out, RBI single to tack on the second run of the inning.

The 5th inning featured one-run innings by both teams. The Nationals scored with an Anthony Rendon solo homerun off the top of the wall in left field. However, the Mets retaliated. After another leadoff single off the bat of EY, Lagares drove him in with an RBI double.

Dillon Gee found himself pitching out of the stretch for the majority of the game. He managed to pitch 5.1 innings, giving up a season high nine hits, three earned runs and two walks while striking out four. Of his 108 pitches, 71 were thrown for strikes.

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Carlos Torres relieved Gee and induced an inning ending double-play. He stuck around for the 7th, inducing yet another double-play to end the inning once again. Jeurys Familia pitched an electric 8th, striking out both Harper and Ramos while making them look silly.

Jenrry Mejia closed it out for the Mets in the 9th, clinging to a one-run lead. After allowing a single to Denard Span, Mejia retired Cabrera and Rendon. He fell behind Adam LaRoche 3-0 and then intentionally walked him to bring up Ian Desmond, who Mejia struck out. Everyone should know by now that Mejia needs the adrenaline of a couple runners on base to get the save.

On Deck:

The Mets will play the third game of this four-game-series against the Nationals tomorrow at 7:10 p.m. when Zack Wheeler (10-9) squares off against Doug Fister (13-8).

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Video: Must See Play By Daniel Murphy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/video-must-see-play-by-daniel-murphy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/video-must-see-play-by-daniel-murphy.html/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 01:46:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151490 daniel murphy

Why is this man laughing?

I’ll tell you why, it’s because he just shocked the shit out of this guy…

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That’s Washington Nationals’ phenom Bryce Harper, who just got robbed of a basehit by Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

With one out in the sixth in Sunday’s win against the Nationals, Harper laid down a bunt to the right side of the infield. Murphy charges the ball, bare-hands it, and then fires a throw to first base between his legs. That’s right, between his legs. Watch it:

The expression on Harper’s face was priceless…

“It was a really good bunt by Bryce,” Murphy said. “I just felt like it was the only way I could get it over to first from the angle I was going to have to take. I could probably do it another 15 times, and throw all 15 of them in the fourth row of the stands.”

Remember all the coaches, scouts and experts who said Murphy could never play second base adequately?

It kind of reminds me a similar situation we have going on right now. :-)

By the way, Murphy says his leg feels great.

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Why The Mets Won’t Invest $100 Million On Any Player… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/why-the-mets-wont-invest-100-million-on-any-player.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/why-the-mets-wont-invest-100-million-on-any-player.html/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:03:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132232 wilpon alderson sandy

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog weighed in on the $100 million dollar player issue and explains why the Mets won’t go there.

There are revenue reasons, I’m sure, no question. But, also, regardless of budget size and your team’s financial situation, I just don’t think Sandy Alderson believes in those sort of commitments when building a baseball team. What’s more, thanks to some of Omar Minaya‘s handy work, ownership sounds skeptical of getting bogged down in those sort of deals again. So, I think when you add these three things together (less revenue, Alderson’s principals and ownership’s fear), it makes sense.

So there you have it… Blame 3M – Money, Methodology, Minaya

Class dismissed…

Original Post 11/7

Rather than draw up another post on something I already touched on yesterday, I wanted to update this with something that Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo reported.

Hitting on something I’ve been saying for nearly two months now, I don’t believe the Mets are in a position to offer any player a $100 million contract – even if it was “hypothetically” for players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Giancarlo Stanton.

Here is what DiComo said:

Speaking this month with a number of people both inside and outside the Mets organization, I came away with the impression that no one really expects general manager Sandy Alderson to commit a $100 million contract to any one player.

Looking at the current free agent crop, that would eliminate players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and if the bidding gets out of hand, Brian McCann and Curtis Granderson too.

It would also take potential trade targets like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and others out of the equation too…

You can read my reply to a mailbag question below…

Andrew asks…

Well now that the Mets say they will be willing to give up a draft pick to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer, do you feel more confident that we will have a good offseason and play meaningful games next September?

Joe D. replies…

The fact that Sandy Alderson said a draft pick wouldn’t prevent him from signing one of those free agents doesn’t sway my opinion of this upcoming offseason one bit. It was said in a vacuum and he was appealing to those fans who needed to hear him say that. I operate at a different level.

The real question is will the Mets be able to win a bidding war for any of those top tier free agents that will require big dollars in addition to the loss of a draft pick?

Remember that all of those players who will become free agents are walking away from a guaranteed $14.1 annual salary. Consider that the starting point for most of those players and then multiply that by the 3-7 year deals they will all get. That is the starting point in any bidding.

Also consider the flood of revenue all the teams will be getting from the new National TV deal. To most teams that is found money and they will spend it. Even the lowly Astros have said as much. The Mets on the other hand, will be using that money to pay down mounting debt.

The way I figure it, the Mets will likely spend $25 million of the $40 million coming off the books. Assuming that’s correct, do you think they will spend more than half of that budget on just one free agent? I don’t.

I’d expect them to spread that $25 million around to sign or acquire 4-5 players. The Mets have stated needs at shortstop, two outfield spots, at least one starter if not two, two bullpen pieces, and a backup catcher. This is what general manager Sandy Alderson outlined in an interview with WFAN after the season ended.

Realistically, with all those needs and so little money to fill them all, how can Sandy target and sign any top tier free agent this offseason?

The answer is he can’t.

So of course it’s safe to say he won’t let a draft pick stop him from signing any free agent. That’s because it will never come to that.

This is still about money and financial flexibility… Or a lack of it…

monopoly-mccain

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The New York Mets And Their Mysterious Arizona Fall League Strategy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-new-york-mets-and-their-mysterious-arizona-fall-league-strategy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/the-new-york-mets-and-their-mysterious-arizona-fall-league-strategy.html/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:48:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132495 AFL13

I always thought that the Arizona Fall League was a place where teams sent their top prospects to play against the top prospects of other teams. The reasoning behind this is to get them playing against the best competition available, which would be beneficial to their development. In fact, on the AFL official website, it states “given the top prospects who play here, every game in the AFL is like a future All-Star Game. It’s a definite destination for baseball fans and families who want to see great action on the diamond.”

Most teams send a wide range of prospects, but the majority of them rank in the top 20 of their organizations. The stands are packed with scouts who are all their to see and evaluate. This season, the AFL features Byron Buxton, who many consider the top prospect in all of baseball. In previous years, we have seen Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, David Wright, and many other top players in the game grace the AFL fields in October.

The question is why do the Mets continue to use this league as an extension of the regular season for players that missed time, rather than send their top prospects?

Hansel Robles is the highest ranked prospect that was sent to the AFL this season. Robles is currently ranked as the Mets’ No. 20 prospect on MLB.com, but depending on who you ask, that ranking could be lower. Don’t get me wrong, the five players they sent are nice players, but they aren’t considered the cream of the crop.

I had a brief discussion with Metsblog’s Michael Baron on Twitter yesterday, and we both have differing views on what the AFL is about. He argued that it was a way for the Mets to get the players they sent extra at-bats since they missed time due to injuries, and to further evaluate players. I argued that while it is about evaluating players, the AFL is supposed to be reserved for the top talent in the minor leagues.

The Mets obviously side with Baron’s idea of what the AFL is all about, while the majority of other teams in baseball seem to side with my view.

cory vaughn

If it were up to me, I would be sending guys like Kevin Plawecki, Jayce Boyd, and T.J. Rivera to see what they can do against upper-echelon prospects of other teams. I would also had sent Cesar Puello.

Having these guys play against other top players would be incredibly beneficial to their development, and a way for the Mets to showcase some of their top talent.

Unfortunately, a lot of the Mets top talent is still in the lower levels of the minors, and you can only send one player that is below Double-A to participate in the AFL.

I scratched my head when I saw the players that the Mets sent this year. I understand that with strict innings limitations, they are limited with the pitchers they can send. I understand sending Cory Vaughn, but if they are trying to get players that were injured during the season more time, then why not send guys like Travis d’Arnaud, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Fulmer? Those guys could all use the extra work and they fit the bill of being top prospects in the organization.

While fans of other teams in baseball get to watch their teams’ top prospects playing AFL games on MLB Network, Mets fans get to watch players that the Mets send to get more at-bats. The Mets must’ve missed the memo that “every game in the AFL is like a future All-Star Game.” The AFL is a showcase league, and the Mets can’t even get that right.

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2014 MLB Draft Profile: Alex Jackson, C/RF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2014-mlb-draft-profile-alex-jackson-crf.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2014-mlb-draft-profile-alex-jackson-crf.html/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 18:47:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130978 alex jackson

Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo H.S (CA)

Position: C/RF

Height: 6’2

Weight: 210

Bats/Throws: R/R

Last week we took a look at high school shortstop Jacob Gatewood. We’ll keep it in the high school ranks this week and take a look at a fellow Californian in Alex Jackson– a high-ceiling, potential top five pick that I’ll be hoping the Mets can get their hands on.

Jackson is listed at 210, but he’s probably bigger than that– and not in a bad way. He’s a monster of a kid — built like a man already. He enters his senior season coming off a year that ended with him being named Baseball Prospectus’ Prospect of the Year. Already widely considered a top-10 pick and the best high schooler in the 2014 class, Jackson looks to add to his résumé and solidify his draft spot. He has verbally committed to attend Oregon University (not likely to happen).

Hit

Alex is a veritable tool-shed, and this may be his finest tool. Jackson has a smooth swing with above-average bat speed and strong hands. He demonstrates excellent plate coverage and an approach that is considered advanced for a player his age. He keeps his lower half quiet which allows him to stay balanced. Alex has a deep load and tends to wrap his bat, which can lead to his swing becoming long at times– a mechanical issue which can be fixed and shouldn’t be a problem long term.

Current: 45

Future: 65+

Power

Scouts are somewhat split on Jackson’s power. Some see plus raw power that could be his carrying tool, others think it’s above-average and is aided by his advanced hit tool. He uses his big frame and sturdy lower half to spray the ball out of the ballpark to all fields. Development and physical maturity may allow the power to play up in games, but it’s at least above-average power.

Current: 50

Future: 65

Fielding

Before putting any grades on his defense you first have to decide where Jackson will play on the diamond. Most scouts like his chances to stick behind the dish. He’s athletic for a kid his size, and a hard worker as well. It’s definitely a work in progress, but the makings of an average catcher are there. Some scouts simply don’t think his defense behind the dish will be enough of a factor to risk keeping him there– a similar situation to that of Bryce Harper. Unless he’s going to be a game-changer, why risk all the foul-tips, collisions and the mental workload required of a catcher? I guess that question will be answered by the team drafting him. His most likely spot is right field where he figures to be at least average.

Current: 30 at C

Future: 50 at C, 55 in RF.

Arm

One reason scouts like the idea of keeping him as a backstop is his arm. Jackson has an absolute cannon– posting sub 1.80 pop times to second base. He likes to show his arm off as well, often attempting to back-pick runners. Should Alex move to the outfield, his arm would still be an exceptional weapon.

Current: 65

Future: 70

Speed

Jackson runs pretty well for a kid his size. The speed certainly isn’t a weapon, but he moves well and should handle right field just fine if need be.

Current: 45

Future: 45

Summary

Much like Gatewood, Jackson looks the part of a certain top five pick, making it unlikely he gets to the Mets when they pick 10th. His tools, combined with his excellent makeup has scouts drooling. However the draft is a long way off and there’s plenty of time for other players to pop-up and jump ahead of said players. There’s also the chance a player like Jackson falls due to expected demands considering the new draft budget and his college commitment.

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Harvey and Wright Crack Top 20 Best Selling Jerseys http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/harvey-and-wright-crack-top-20-best-selling-jerseys.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/harvey-and-wright-crack-top-20-best-selling-jerseys.html/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 16:23:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130077 harvey wright

Matt Harvey (# 2) and David Wright (# 13) are among the top 20 selling jerseys in a list released by Major League Baseball.

The list which follows, is based on MLB jersey sales since the All-Star break.

Top 20 Selling Jerseys

1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2. Matt Harvey, Mets
3. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
4. Manny Machado, Orioles
5. Buster Posey, Giants
6. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
7. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
8. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
10. Mike Trout, Angels
11. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
12. Derek Jeter, Yankees
13. David Wright, Mets
14. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
15. Bryce Harper, Nationals
16. Chris Davis, Orioles
17. Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers
18. David Ortiz, Red Sox
19. Robinson Cano, Yankees
20. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Wright was actually fourth on this list prior to the All-Star break, but dropped to thirteenth. Cant help but notice Puig and Cespedes ranked so high… Wonder if Abreu will be there next year?

harvey wright jerseys

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Is Jurickson Profar Worth What It Would Take To Get Him? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/is-jurickson-profar-worth-what-it-would-take-to-get-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/is-jurickson-profar-worth-what-it-would-take-to-get-him.html/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 19:02:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127088 Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers

Mailbag time again at MMO. This time, Marcus asks:

Long time reader; first time question asker…

What’s with all the Jurickson Profar love? He’s rated number 1 by popular prospect polls; his minor league numbers (with my un-sabrey-eye) don’t seem to justify his rankings. Heck, he was ranked in front of Wil Myers who had some killer numbers. I get that he plays a premier position; but it’s not like he’s been a 20/20 guy with a 330 avg./400 obp through the minors. I read somewhere (maybe at MMO) that the Rangers have a knack for over hyping their prospects. I’m hearing some crazy trade proposals involve Wheeler, Montero or Thor. What’s your take? What back ups the high ranking? Hype machine or some metric or advanced scouting I don’t get. B/c the killer traditional (avg., hr, rbi) numbers are not there.

Thanks, Marcus. I’ll begin with the disclaimer that what I write below isn’t MMO’s stance; it’s mine. Perhaps some writers might agree with me, but I did a small poll to a scant three other writers, including Joe D., and it seems that I’m on my own here. So here it is: Profar is legit.

I think you underestimate the tools and skills Profar has, as well as the numbers he’s put up. I’ll also remind you that prospect rankings are less about what the player is currently doing in the minors performance-wise and more about what his skills and tools say his potential could be. Of course, reaching that potential isn’t a sure thing, so it’s very possible Myers ends up with the better career, but Profar has the higher upside.

If you’re judging him based on his .239/.301/.354 major league line in only 234 plate appearances at ages 19 and 20, I feel you’re not looking at the big picture. He’s had excellent offensive seasons in the minor leagues, and always played young for his league to boot. He hit .286/.390/.493 with 12 home runs as a 18-year-old in High A, .281/.368/.452 with 14 home runs in AA at 19 before his call up last season and hit .278/.370/.438 with four home runs in 36 games this season in AAA at 20 before heading back to Arlington, probably for good. He also stole 45 bases at a 76% success rate in those minor league seasons. Those are outstanding offensive numbers for a top-of-the-order shortstop. There were only 14 hitters in all of baseball last season that hit at least .280/.375/.460, a rough mean slash line for those three seasons. And not all 14 played exceptional defense at a premium position.

Which brings me to his defense. He’s widely considered (as you probably know from reading the prospect polls) one of the best defensive shortstops in the minor leagues. But don’t take my word for it. I’ve only seen him play a handful of times. I went looking for scouting reports from trusted people that have seen him plenty and I wasn’t surprised with what I found. Consider this from our good friend John Sickles from before this season:

He does all the stuff you want a prospect to do. He hits for a solid average. He hits for power, good power for a shortstop anyway. He steals bases, and he does it at a sabermetrically-sound percentage. He draws walks. He plays excellent defense. He works hard, thrives under pressure, is highly intelligent, and has a great personality. Jurickson Profar does not do the things that you don’t want a prospect to do. He doesn’t strike out too much. He doesn’t swing at pitches three feet off the plate. He doesn’t run himself into outs. He doesn’t make a huge number of errors. He doesn’t snarl at the press or alienate his teammates.

Take all the positive things, and the lack of negative things, and combine that with a guy who has been very young for his levels and you have, well, Jurickson Profar. With Bryce HarperMike Trout, and Manny Machado safely ensconced in the majors, Profar is now the best prospect in baseball. With additional physical maturity, this is a guy who could win Gold Gloves while hitting .300, hitting 15 homers, stealing 20 bases, drawing 80 walks, and charming puppies and kittens and beat reporters all across North America. Grade A.

Also from John:

On defense, he features plus range and plus arm strength at shortstop. His error rate isn’t bad for such a young player, and his reliability will continue to improve. Despite average running speed, he’s adept on the bases and a threat to steal. His makeup and intelligence are exceptional. He has no significant flaws, and the main thing he needs is simple experience.

Professional scout Mike Newman had this to say:

In the case of Jurickson Profar, I’ve scoured my notes and video to identify problem areas in his all-around game, but I simply can’t find any. At present, the young shortstop is as complete a position prospect as one could hope to find at any level of the minor leagues.

Baseball America graded him as follows on the 20-80 scouting scale: Bat: 70. Power: 60. Speed: 55. Defense: 65. Arm: 60. For reference, the scale is defined as:

70+: MVP, Perennial All-Star – Front-line ace pitcher; superstar position player

60-69: Above average, All-Star caliber – #1 or #2 pitcher; position player among the best

55-59: Solid MLB player – #3 or #4 pitcher or top middle relief; solid starting position player

50-54: Average MLB player – Back end starter, average relief; position player that could start on most teams.

45-49: Backup – Spot starter, fair relief; utility/bench player

40-44: Fringe player – Up and down, could make the team for lower-tier club

30-39: AA or AAA – Emergency call-up

20-29: Low minors

Additionally, the good folks at Baseball America add:

To paraphrase one Rangers instructor, Profar may not have the most power, the most speed or the strongest arm on the field, but typically he’s the best player out there. A natural right-handed hitter, he learned to switch-hit after signing and now shows uncommon bat speed from both sides of the plate, lending him more power than his lean 6-foot frame suggests. Profar surprises some opponents with his pop—which is above-average for a middle infielder—but he may have to tone down his swing to maximize his overall production. He takes a disciplined approach to hitting, with strong knowledge of the strike zone that ought to make him a consistent .300 hitter in his prime. An above-average defender at shortstop, Profar has instincts that outstrip his plus range. His hands and arm are above-average as well. Some of his throws to first base tend to sail when he gets on the side of the ball, but that’s just a matter of adjustment. He has solid speed and knows how to use it on the bases, stealing 16 bases in 20 tries in 2012. Observers rave about Profar’s mental toughness, leadership skills and grace under pressure. “He’s all about winning and getting better,” one club official said. As his body matures, he ought to hold up better under the rigors of the long season.

So, Marcus, to answer your question “What backs up the high ranking? Hype machine or some metric or advanced scouting?” it’s a combination of all three. His stats are excellent, the scouting reports back it up, and the hype is real. He’s #1. And what makes him more unique is that those hypothetical trade offers you read about, from the Mets or any other team, that include two or three of a team’s top prospects aren’t normally offered for a prospect. Those are usually reserved for young studs, and it’s Profar getting that kind of attention. He’s going to be something else.

Hat tip to Teddy Klein for contributing the Baseball America scouting report and scouting grade.

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AL Defeats NL 3-0 In Mid-Summer Classic Amid Some Memorable Moments http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 04:29:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124959

Well the 2013 All-Star Game has come to a close as the American League defeated the National League by the score of 3-0. It was the lowest-scoring All-Star Game since 1990, when the AL earned a 2-0 victory.

I loved the Opening Ceremonies and it was great to see Carlos Beltran and Mariano Rivera get some nice ovations, but not nearly as loud and boisterous as the ovations for the Mets All-Stars David Wright and Matt Harvey.

USP-MLB_-All-Star-Game matt harvey

Matt Harvey was greeted by a first pitch double by leadoff hitter Mike Trout, but then went on to pitch two scoreless innings and facing eight batters while striking out three.

Things got a little scary when he hit the Yankees’ Robinson Cano just above the knee and he was removed from the game. Harvey apologized to Cano afterward and it looks like the All Star second baseman will be fine.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said.

david wright

David Wright, who has now made more All-Star Game appearances than any other Met in franchise history (7), went 1-for-3 with a single. This will end a whirlwind three days for Wright who was running around all over the city as the face of the Mets and the face of this All-Star Game, acting as the unofficial ambassador and saying all the right things.

“I’m glad that I could help promote this game,” said Wright. “I’m glad that I could help represent the New York Mets. I look at is as trying to be a good host. I think I’m trying to be a good ambassador for the game and then obviously trying to be an ambassador for the New York Mets. That’s kind of the responsibility that I feel.”

Some of the in-game entertainment included was Candice Glover singing the National Anthem, Marc Anthony singing God Bless America, and Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline. When I first heard Diamond would be appearing I thought it was silly, but then I learned it was to honor the bombings in Boston. Both Diamond and Anthony absolutely energized the crowd.

mariano rivera

Then Mariano Rivera came out to pitch the eighth inning and it was the highlight of the evening for me. That’s what I will remember most about this All-Star Game. Citi Field blasted Metallica’s Enter Sandman while players and coaches in both dugouts came out and applauded him while the crowd gave him a 4-minute standing ovation. It was quite a moment and everyone was on their feet.

Rivera was named the All-Star Game MVP for his 1-2-3 inning. Afterward, he was to emotional to speak, but eventually got out a few choice humble comments. Classy as always.

All in all it was a great Mid-Summer Classic and the largest crowd in Citi Field history nearing close to 42,000 fans including standing room only.

harvey wright

Original Post 3:30 PM

The starting lineups for tonight are…

American League

  1. CF: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. 2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
  3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  4. 1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
  5. LF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  6. DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  7. RF: Adam Jones, Orioles
  8. C: Joe Mauer, Twins
  9. SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer, Tigers

National League:

  1. 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
  2. RF: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
  3. 1B: Joey Votto, Reds
  4. 3B: David Wright, Mets
  5. LF: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  6. C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  7. SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
  8. DH: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
  9. CF: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Starting pitcher: Matt Harvey, Mets

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Slideshow: 2013 Home Run Derby http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/slideshow-2013-home-run-derby.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/slideshow-2013-home-run-derby.html/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 16:54:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125109 Check out my photos from the Home Run Derby.

I was seated in the front row of the excelsior level, so a few of the photos came out a bit blurry.

But enjoy anyway!

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Mets Well Represented In Top 5 In Jersey Sales http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-well-represented-in-top-5-in-jersey-sales.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-well-represented-in-top-5-in-jersey-sales.html/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:00:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124566 According to ESPN.com and Major League Baseball, the Mets have two of the five most popular jerseys purchased this season.

Probably to nobody’s surprise, Matt Harvey finds himself #5 on this list, but quite frankly to my surprise, David Wright is ranked #4 on the list!

Jersey sales are a funny thing. Often times when a player changes teams you’ll note a spike in jersey sales, but this year’s doesn’t really represent anything like that.

The Mets rank 20th in average attendance this year, yet two of their players are seemingly some of the most popular players in today’s game.

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about whether or not David Wright is a superstar. In order to be a superstar, you need to have extreme popularity along with a high level of talent and performance.

It’s hard to argue against that criteria when it comes to Wright & Harvey.

The entire list consisted of Buster Posey, Mariano Rivera, Yadier Molina, David Wright, Matt Harvey, Bryce Harper, Derek Jeter, Manny Machado, Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig.

Reports that Pittsburgh fans are upset with Major League Baseball for including Bryce Harper on this list and not Pedro Alvarez are unconfirmed.

Congratulations to David Wright & Matt Harvey!

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Wright Apologizes To HR Derby Snubs, Explains His Rationale http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/wright-apologizes-to-hr-derby-snubs-explains-his-rationale.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/wright-apologizes-to-hr-derby-snubs-explains-his-rationale.html/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:13:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124265 david wright homers

After David Wright and Robinson Cano announced their Home Run Derby teams last night, I was about to post on it, but held off. I was hoping that Wright would explain his rationale in selecting his team and was happy to see that he did.

The more I looked at Wright’s choices, the more I wondered what he possibly was thinking about his decision to go with Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer over some other more worthy candidates that included Domonic Brown, Paul Goldschmidt, Pedro Alvarez and Carlos Beltran.

Here are the top five home run leaders in the National League:

Harper has 13 home runs this season and Cuddyer has 15 longballs. Cuddyer has averaged 16 home runs over the three year period entering this season. Nine of his home runs in 2013 have come at Coors Field where he has a 1.069 OPS compared to .885 on the road.

As one of the designated captains, Wright was free to choose whomever he wanted and here is what he had to say to reporters on his selections before the game.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are disappointed,” Wright said. “I did it as easy as I knew possible.”

“I took the National League home run leader. I took the guy that won the fan poll — the guy who the fans really wanted to see in the Home Run Derby. So you have CarGo and Bryce Harper. And that left me with the the friend I grew up with Michael. I think that he’s one of the more underrated players in the game. And, obviously, the friendship had something to do with it”

“I really am sorry. Carlos Beltran, Domonic Brown, Goldschmidt, Votto, and Alvarez were all in the original list that I had, I had all of those guys. It’s a lot tougher than you would think it is. And you don’t want to leave anybody out. And there’s obviously guys that I left out. I apologize for that. Some people had to get left out.”

Honestly, I’ve never been a big Home Run Derby guy. I think the last time I watched the entire event was in 2006. Usually, I just watch the first round before I get bored and pick up the remote. I mean how many times can you hear Chris Berman say, “Back, back, back, back, back, back, GONE!”

This year, I plan to tune in and catch as much as I can for as far as David Wight goes…

NL Home Run Derby Team

  1. 13 HR – David Wright, Mets
  2. 24 HR – Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  3. 15 HR – Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
  4. 13 HR – Bryce Harper, Nationals

AL Home Run Derby Team

  1. 20 HR – Robinson Cano, Yankees
  2. 15 HR – Prince Fielder, Tigers
  3. 33 HR – Chris Davis, Orioles
  4. To Be Determined (As usual, a Yankee creating drama)

Even without the fourth player named as of yet, the American League has a 68 to 65 home run advantage.

The Home Run Derby will take place on July 15 at Citi Field as part of the 2013 All Star Game festivities.

bears all star

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Ike Davis Is Determined To Make It Back To The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/ike-davis-is-determined-to-make-it-back-to-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/ike-davis-is-determined-to-make-it-back-to-the-mets.html/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 06:19:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121381 Ike Davis

Poor Ike Davis…  He gets demoted to Triple-A, deservedly so, and leaves for Las Vegas without commenting on his feelings or the matter. The obviously crushed first baseman kept his head down after the game on Sunday as he emptied his locker, packed his bags and headed for the airport.

SNY sent their Baseball Insider Andy Martino to Vegas and asked Davis what was going through his mind after a couple of days to let the reality of the situation sink in.

“It’s not a good feeling. I was a little down, for sure,” he said. “You’re getting fired or demoted. In a normal job, that’s what happens, but you’ve got to brush yourself off and go back to where you should be. You don’t ever want to come back to the minor leagues after playing in the big leagues for three straight years.”

Ike Davis is now where he belongs. I wish they had done this in April when I first pointed out his slump would continue because his swing was out of whack. This wasn’t a problem of not making contact as much as it was a swing that that was in need of an overhaul. Anyway, better late than never…

The good news is that manager Wally Backman is determined to get Davis back on track and the Met first baseman has put his hurt feelings and bruised ego aside and is prepared to let Wally help him. The goal is to bring back the Ike Davis who thrilled fans from 2010 until Ankle-Gate in 2011.

When asked if the Mets gave him any type of timetable for a return, Davis responded:

“I’ve proven that I can get hot in a couple of months and totally turn things around,” Davis said. “Hopefully, if I rake, I’ll be back soon, but they didn’t have a date or anything.”

It’s hard not to like Ike… He’s the ultimate competitor and we all know what a positive presence he was in the clubhouse from day one. He fit right in from the start.

I’m confident that Davis will be back and that Backman will have him performing better than ever. You couldn’t have a better qualified person than Wally to get Davis through this. He’ll keep his new first baseman motivated and focused as he begins the task of getting him to play and enjoy the game the way he used to.

Davis will have plenty of time to make adjustments without having to worry about the boo-birds haunting him if he strikes out. The atmosphere will be relaxed now that he’s away from the pressure cooker at Citi Field. He’s gonna be just fine…

Get back soon, Ike…

Original Post 6/11

Anthony Rieber of Newsday, spoke to Las Vegas manager Wally Backman who has been charged, along with hitting coach George Greer, with fixing Ike Davis beginning today.

“It may be two weeks. It could be a month. I don’t know,” Backman said regarding the length of Davis’ demotion. “He’s coming here for us to fix him, and we’re going try to fix him. I think there’s a lot more mental than there is physical. When I sit him down and talk to him, we’re going to try to attack that. Try to clear his head from everything. He was getting, from what I heard, lots of different people giving him a lot of different information. So basically, mentally, he’s totally messed up.”

Backman said that he’s already “watched hours and hours of tape” on Davis and that his swing now is so completely different from when he first arrived to the big leagues.

“He’s made so many changes. I think personally it’s been too many changes. Try to get him back to what he did to get to the big leagues. We’re going to work with him on a daily basis. It’s going to be one-on-one work with me, him and George. Nobody else is out there. We’re going to let him really try to figure it out.”

Greer, who coached Davis in the minors, told Rieber that they will be going back to square one with the former Mets first baseman.

“We’re just going to go from ground zero. He’ll tell me how he feels, and I’ll tell him what I see, and because we have worked together in the past, we’ll come hopefully to a happy medium where he can start feeling good about himself.”

One thing to consider is that Davis, who is now earning $3.125 million, could become a non-tender candidate for the Mets after this season. Especially if he doesn’t get himself sorted out. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.

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Wright Losing More Ground To Sandoval In All Star Voting http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/wright-losing-more-ground-to-sandoval-in-all-star-voting.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/wright-losing-more-ground-to-sandoval-in-all-star-voting.html/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 02:11:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121588 pablo sandoval

PLEASE DON’T LET THIS GUY BEAT DAVID WRIGHT…

The second National League All-Star update has been released and six-time All-Star David Wright is losing even more ground to Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants for starting third baseman.

With 1,473,381 votes, Wright now trails Sandoval by over 200,000 votes almost doubling the gap from the first ASG voting release a week ago.

Of course with attendance and interest waning at Citi Field, and the San Francisco Giants continuing to sellout almost every home game, the only shot Wright has at being selected as a starter would be through an aggressive online get out the vote campaign. But so far that doesn’t seem to be working.

Daniel Murphy has picked up some slack and moved up to the 5th spot among NL second basemen, but it’s unlikely he’ll even get close to the runaway leader Brando Phillips of the Reds.

John Buck remains third among catchers and has no chance to catch Buster Posey who is the leading the National League with 1,961,861 votes.

Former Met Carlos Beltran has made his way into the top three in the outfield and trails only Justin Upton and Bryce Harper.

You can vote for Wright, Murphy and the rest of your favorite Mets by clicking on the following banner…

 

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The Unforgiving Road To The Show Starts With The MLB Draft http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-unforgiving-road-to-the-show-starts-with-the-mlb-draft.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-unforgiving-road-to-the-show-starts-with-the-mlb-draft.html/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:45:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121105 bryce harper 2With the MLB Draft on tap this evening, it’s a good time to look at the unforgiving road to The Show.

A little over 60 percent of first rounders make it to the big leagues—that’s a little more than half. We aren’t even talking about being an impact player, we are talking about playing in a major league game. And after that first round, the percentages slowly dip as you get deeper into every draft.

Since the time we are young ball players, we are told that with hard work and dedication, we could play in the big leagues some day. That is only about one-third truth. While hard work and dedication is helpful, many more things come into play.

You’ve heard it before—ninety percent of the players who sign professional baseball contracts will never play an inning in a major league game. That’s a staggering number. We all know that becoming a professional athlete is rare, but what is the difference between the ten percent that make it to The Show, and the ninety percent that don’t?

Think about it. That ten percent of players that make it to the bigs aren’t more talented. Maybe one or two percent are the Mike Trout’s and Bryce Harper’s of the world, but everyone else who signed a contract to play professional baseball have similar talents.

The terminology that the players are “a dime a dozen” comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, there are varying levels of skill and ability in the areas of the coveted five tools, but for the most part, the players all trying to climb through the minor league systems have similar abilities.

The one thing that separates a guy that is going to play in the big leagues one day, from the other guys that won’t, is the mental makeup of the player. Confidence, self-assurance, intelligence, and the ability to deal with adversity are all the things that eventually separate the pack.

It’s well known in baseball circles that the jump to Double-A is what really tests the players. Why is that so? It’s because that is the level where players have to make adjustments and rely on more than just God given talent. The pitchers have to understand the art of pitching. They have to exploit the hitter’s weaknesses. They have to be able to get out of jams without relying on simply blowing a fastball by a hitter. Everyone can hit a fastball at Double-A, if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be there.

For hitters, it’s all about how they handle adversity. As you climb through the ranks, the pitchers get better and better, and it makes it more difficult for hitters to break out of slumps. Pitch recognition, discipline, and remaining confident will be the difference for the hitter coming through the system.

And now it’s easier to see why baseball prospects can be such a crap-shoot. In the NFL, players are given a test called the Wonderlic. The prospects are given twelve minutes to answer 50 questions which are used to test the players’ mental makeup. It’s sort of an insurance policy for the team who is about to make a big investment, and a way to see if the player will be able to survive the mental rigors of being a professional athlete. Vince Young was a much more prominent player coming out of college than Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a perfect score on his Wonderlic and Vince Young had one of the lowest scores of all-time. Who’s still in the NFL?

multilpe choice testOne might wonder why a test like this isn’t used when evaluating baseball players before the MLB draft. It seems logical until you take into account that the NFL draft consists of approximately 224 players, and the MLB draft often consists over 1,000 players. You can see why the MLB has probably avoided issuing the test, as it would be pretty difficult to administer the test to that many potential draftees.

However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some sort of test on some of the higher draft picks that get paid significant signing bonuses. Unfortunately, there may not be any test out there that can truly measure whether a player can withstand the mental rigors of professional baseball.

As if the rigors of the game of baseball are tough enough, take into account the lifestyle of a minor league player, and all of a sudden baseball doesn’t feel like a game anymore—it becomes unforgiving. Many of these young men are leaving their friends and families for the first time in their life, sometimes playing in towns and cities they have never heard of before. They ride buses for hours, sleep in motels, and barely get enough meal money to go to McDonalds twice in a day. The lifestyle can indeed be unforgiving, and many times these guys break. We read stories about prominent players being pushed to the limits by a culmination of things snowballing, and no story is more prominent than that of Josh Hamilton.

For those of you who didn’t read Hamilton’s book, he led a very sheltered life growing up. His parents often traveled with him on the road when he first broke into professional baseball. But when they stopped, he suffered through a rash of injuries, and the combination seemed to take him off the road to the show and lead him down the road to nowhere. Here we had one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen, so great in fact, that he was compared to a youngMickey Mantle. Yet even this player carved out of stone by the baseball gods themselves couldn’t handle the mental rigors of the game. He was written off as what could have been.

josh hamilton hvrI got a chance to see Josh Hamilton in his first season of professional baseball. He played a handful of games with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the NY-Penn League that year, and I was in college at the time. I had a summer job working in Dutchess Stadium (the home of the Renegades), and I remember the buzz in the crowd when Hamilton joined the team. But he got off to a horrible start, going 1/20 at the plate if I recall.

I remember standing and talking to a co-worker and college teammate in the stands about how we weren’t impressed with Hamilton, and maybe he was going to be a bust. The crowd was rich with scouts. They were all in attendance to see the young phenom, and one must’ve overheard my friend and I speaking. He came over to us and said “Hamilton is a future hall of famer. You guys heard of Mike Schmidt right?” My friend and I said “sure.” “Well,” the scout said, “Mike Schmidt got off to a terrible start in the minor leagues too, but nobody remembers that now, do they?”

That statement from the scout always resonated with me. It was almost like he was saying that nobody gives a crap what Josh Hamilton does at A-ball, he was destined for greater things. This isn’t supposed to be a post about Hamilton, but just an example about how the mental rigors of baseball, coupled with that unforgiving lifestyle of the minor leagues is the main reason why only one in ten prospects ever play in a major league game. Luckily for Hamilton, he was so incredibly gifted, he was able to overcome all of his challenges, and used his faith in God to help conquer the mental aspect of the game.

It’s crazy to think that there are nine guys sitting on their couch that have similar talents and abilities of the guys they’re watching playing on television. The truth is, not everyone who is good enough to play professional baseball ever actually does—maybe life events take them away from the game, maybe they prefer to play some other sport, maybe they just live in some remote place and nobody ever noticed them before.

The difference between sitting at home watching the game, and playing the game on ESPN Sunday Night baseball is not much more than having the luck of being acknowledged and liked by a scout, and the ability to deal with adversity and having confidence in themselves as players. If a young prospect can master those last two things, then the sky is the limit.

Check out more writing like this at MetsMinors.net, where the future of the Mets begins.

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