Mets Merized Online » Chipper Jones http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:46:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 A Yankee Lesson For Nimmo, Cecchini and Some Mets Fans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-yankee-lesson-for-nimmo-cecchini-and-some-mets-fans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-yankee-lesson-for-nimmo-cecchini-and-some-mets-fans.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:58:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140436 Jeter

A good friend of mine recently sent her only child, a son, off to college. I remember those times as heart wrenching moments when each of my three children left the nest. To occupy my mind, I would usually wrap myself around some kind of project. That may have been my friend’s strategy, too.

Knowing that I love reading about baseball, especially autobiographies, she appeared with a stack of sports books that she and her son had read over the years. Cleaning out the house is sometimes a good mind occupying project.

I got the chance to read “The Life You Imagine, Life Lessons For Achieving Your Dreams.” That’s a tome from the pen of Derek Jeter written in 2000 during the earlier years of his career.

As a Met fan and a contributor to Metsmerized and MetsMinors.net, I have read several threads over the last two years on many a Mets site, where people almost bayonet the Met front office for their first round draft selections of Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini. When both logged rather modest statistics during their first full season of baseball with identical .248 batting averages the howls were harsh and loud.

Imagine what the reaction may have been had either Met prospect brought home Derek Jeter’s stats during his first professional year. Moving directly from high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as a 17-year old kid, Jeter was overwhelmed by his start in professional baseball. Jeter laughs at his naivety when he remembers his request to the Yankees to delay his professional baseball start for a week so he could spend July 4th at home with his parents and girlfriend, a request the Yankees politely nixed.

Jeter was miserable that first summer. USA’s top high school baseball player in the country and the Yankees number one draft pick had batted .557 in his senior year at Kalamazoo High with 7 HR’s and had struck out only 1 time the entire season. Jeter’s professional baseball debut came during a doubleheader where he went 0-7 and struck out 5 times. It took Jeter 15- at bats before he would register his first professional hit. The future Yankee great hit .202 that first year in Class-A for Tampa in the Rookie League.

Jeter was overmatched and depressed. He talks about doubting his lifetime dream of becoming a Yankee for the first time, of crying himself to sleep at night, and running up telephone bills back home to his Mom, Dad and girlfriend, of between $300 and $400 dollars a month. That was tough to do in those days.

Luckily, Jeter had a strong support network. His Dad reminded him over and over again that Chipper Jones had only hit .229 during his first year in the minor leagues. The Yankees didn’t dwell on his statistics, identifying characteristics of his batting approach that they liked and emphasizing those instead.

Jeter’s batting stabilized some during his second minor league season when he batted .295 with 5 HR’s and 71 RBI’s, not quite the mark of Kevin Plawecki, but a huge upgrade indeed. But, during his second campaign, Jeter’s defense was a mess. The future Yankee Hall of Famer made 56 errors for Class-A Greensboro.

Could you imagine the ruckus if Cecchini (who has committed 13 errors in his first two seasons) had comparable shortstop fielding stats. My ears would still be ringing.

Once again, Derek’s Dad was supportive reminding his son that Mickey Mantle totaled over 50 errors as a shortstop during his second minor league year. The Yankees rushed Gene Michael, the “Stick.” to Greensboro to counsel and work with Jeter and signed him up for the summer Instructional League to focus only on defense. Jeter was a designated shortstop who only played defense in games after 3 hours of morning skill drill work, 24/7. The young shortstop received one-to-one tutelage from Brian Butterfield the only student for Butterfield that summer.

Nimmo and Cecchini

Let’s make this perfectly clear. In no way am I suggesting or even hinting that I think Brandon Nimmo or Gavin Cecchini is going to become a Derek Jeter. I’m only pointing out that like it was for Jeter, two years in the minor leagues is not sufficient to determine the value of a baseball prospect.

Like Jeter, as a professional baseball team’s number one draft pick, both Nimmo and Cecchini have played the game at the highest plateaus at the amateur level. That’s still no guarantee of major league baseball success. Only with time and patience will the answer of whether or not the two Met prospects contribute as major leaguers will become more clear.

That said, it often leaves me shaking my head when I read some comments here and elsewhere that almost sound like some Met fans are hoping Nimmo and Cecchini fail just so they can hammer the front office some more. Whether you are happy with a front office draft selection or not, it makes sense that every Met fan should hope these entry level prospects do well. God knows we could use the help.

Presented By Diehards

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Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, and a Yankee Lesson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/brandon-nimmo-gavin-cecchini-and-a-yankee-lesson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/brandon-nimmo-gavin-cecchini-and-a-yankee-lesson.html/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 07:57:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131167 derek-jeterA good friend of mine recently sent her only child, a son, off to college. I remember those times as heart wrenching moments when each of my three children left the nest. To occupy my mind, I would usually wrap myself around some kind of project. That may have been my friend’s strategy, too.

Knowing I host a weekly radio show, she appeared with a stack of sports books that she and her son had read over the years. Hoeing out the house is sometimes a mind occupying project. Last weekend, I plowed through “Ya Gotta Believe,” the book penned by Tug McGraw as he was dying of cancer. It was a fascinating read and the primary focus of Friday’s radio show.

This weekend saw me busy at work reading “The Life You Imagine, Life Lessons For Achieving Your Dreams.” That’s a tome from the pen of Derek Jeter written in 2000 during the earlier years of his career, a topic the Dawg and I hope to cover on a future show.

As a Met fan and a contributor to Metsmerized and MetsMinors. Net, I have read several threads over the last two years where people almost bayonet the Met front office for their first round draft selections of Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini. When both logged rather modest statistics during their first full season of baseball with identical .248 batting averages the howls were harsh and loud.

Imagine what the reaction may have been had either Met prospect brought home Derek Jeter’s stats during his first professional year. Moving directly from high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as a 17-year old kid, Jeter was overwhelmed by his start in professional baseball. Jeter laughs at his naivety when he remembers his request to the Yankees to delay his professional baseball start for a week so he could spend July 4th at home with his parents and girlfriend, a request the Yankees politely nixed.

Jeter was miserable that first summer. USA’s top high school baseball player in the country and the Yankees number one draft pick had batted .557 in his senior year at Kalamazoo High with 7 HR’s and had struck out only 1 time the entire season. Jeter’s professional baseball debut came during a doubleheader where he went 0-7 and struck out 5 times. It took Jeter 15- at bats before he would register his first professional hit. The future Yankee great hit .202 that first year in Class-A for Tampa in the Rookie League.

Jeter was overmatched and depressed. He talks about doubting his lifetime dream of becoming a Yankee for the first time, of crying himself to sleep at night, and running up telephone bills back home to his Mom, Dad and girlfriend, of between $300 and $400 dollars a month. That was tough to do in those days.

Luckily, Jeter had a strong support network. His Dad reminded him over and over again that Chipper Jones had only hit .229 during his first year in the minor leagues. The Yankees didn’t dwell on his statistics, identifying characteristics of his batting approach that they liked and emphasizing those instead.

Jeter’s batting stabilized some during his second minor league season when he batted .295 with 5 HR’s and 71 RBI’s, not quite the mark of Kevin Plawecki, but a huge upgrade indeed. But, during his second campaign, Jeter’s defense was a mess. The future Yankee Hall of Famer made 56 errors for Class-A Greensboro.

Could you imagine the ruckus if Cecchini (who has committed 13 errors in his first two seasons) had comparable shortstop fielding stats. My ears would still be ringing.

Once again, Derek’s Dad was supportive reminding his son that Mickey Mantle totaled over 50 errors as a shortstop during his second minor league year. And, the Yankees rushed Gene Michael, the “Stick.” to Greensboro to counsel and work with Jeter and signed him up for the summer Instructional League to focus only on defense. Jeter was a designated shortstop who only played defense in games after 3 hours of morning skill drill work, 24/7. The young shortstop received one-to-one tutelage from Brian Butterfield the only student for Butterfield that summer.

Nimmo and Cecchini

Let’s make this perfectly clear. In no way am I suggesting or even hinting that I think Brandon Nimmo or Gavin Cecchini is going to become a Derek Jeter. I’m only pointing out that like it was for Jeter, two years in the minor leagues is not sufficient to determine the value of a baseball prospect. Like Jeter, as a professional baseball team’s number 1 draft pick, both Nimmo and Cecchini have played the game at the highest plateaus at the amateur level. That’s still no guarantee of major league baseball success. Only with time and patience will the answer of whether or not the two Met prospects contribute as major leaguers will become more clear.

It often leaves me shaking my head when I read threads that almost sound like some Met fans are hoping Nimmo and Cecchini fail. Whether you’re happy with a front office draft selection or not, it makes sense that every Met fan should hope these entry level prospects do well. God knows we could use the help.

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Mets GM Praises Allan Dykstra Who Becomes A Free Agent This Winter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-gm-praises-allan-dykstra-who-becomes-a-free-agent-this-winter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-gm-praises-allan-dykstra-who-becomes-a-free-agent-this-winter.html/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 13:40:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128972 allan_dykstra

After a season in which Allan Dykstra put together a .274/.436/.503 line with a career-high 21 home runs and 82 RBIs for the Binghamton Mets, the first baseman/designated hitter is eligible to be a minor league free agent this winter. In his third year of Eastern League action since the Mets acquired him from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Eddie Kunz, he earned League MVP honors. However, the former first rounder is now 26-years-old, and it sounds as if some are down on his potential to have any impact in the big leagues.

Except for Sandy Alderson.

Here’s what the Mets GM had to say about Dykstra, reported by Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin:

He is a little bit older, but he’s a former first-round draft pick. In fact I was in San Diego when he was drafted. A couple of us — Paul DePodesta being the other — were involved in trading for him from San Diego (to bring him) here. He has had a great season, and he has approached the game, offensively, the way the organization hopes to approach the game at the major-league level. I’m hopeful that he can be rewarded for that.

With regard to any potential contributions from the tall left-handed hitter in the big leagues, Alderson still sounds optimistic:

I think that remains to be seen, but I think it’s entirely possible. This is his second year in this league, but only because we were full basically at Las Vegas at his position. So he’s done a great job this year. He’s been a key part of the team, and we still think he’s got a future. Absolutely.

Dykstra has been with the B-Mets for three seasons, but I’m assuming Alderson meant that the first baseman has played two full seasons with Binghamton; his 2012 season was cut short by injury (62 games played in AA). Or, maybe I’m just making an excuse for him.

While it’s possible Alderson was skirting the question and choosing to stay optimistic, what he said is not surprising. Dykstra has built a reputation for drawing a lot of walks and having an insane on-base percentage, which are two things we know the front office cares about.

The first base position at the big league level currently has a lot of uncertainty moving toward 2014; we all know the trials and tribulations between both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. It remains to be seen what New York’s plan is for the position heading into this winter; if they decide to stick with one of these two internal options, it would be nice to have a potential internal backup plan in case it all goes haywire.

I’m hoping (and anticipating) for Dykstra to remain in the Mets organization beyond this season, and to report to Triple-A Las Vegas at the start of 2014. He’ll essentially act as an insurance policy for the position in the big leagues should something go wrong in Flushing.

Thoughts from Joe D.

When we first acquired Dykstra for Eddie Kunz, I thought very little of the trade. Two first round busts being swapped, big deal. But thanks to the Mets, we are privileged to get access to these players and after watching them play, hearing them talk after a good or bad game, and even speaking to them one on one as I did with Allan last month, a certain bond develops.

I’ve been touting Dykstra all season long on MMO, I didn’t realize until Matt mentioned it that he becomes a minor league free agent now that the season has ended. I do hope we make every attempt to keep him. It has always been my contention that a platoon of Dykstra and Josh Satin at first base would be more productive than any of the seasons we ever got from Keith Hernandez offensively.

Here are some questions and answers from my interview with Allan:

I asked Dykstra, no relation to Lenny by the way, if he knew the Padres were going to select him in the first round in 2008.

“Actually, the Padres were one of the only teams that did not meet with me. Being a San Diego native and growing up in their backyard, they were the team I grew up rooting for. On the day of the draft when I received that call, I was so happy to be drafted by them and knowing I was playing for my hometown team. But obviously I learned quickly that baseball is a business and they traded me to the Mets.”

“That had to be a killer”, I said. “How did you find out… What was going through your head at the time?”

“It was unexpected. We were breaking spring training camp in 2011 on a Sunday, and at about 9:30 in the morning, the Farm Director told me, ‘We traded you. Best of luck. We thought it was a batter fit for the players involved. Tomorrow you’ll be with the Mets”’

“That was it. I was shocked and didn’t know what was happening. I din’t know how to go about it, there’s no instruction guide or handbook for when something like this happens to you. You get plane ticket for a flight in the morning and it’s goodbye and good luck.”

“I don’t mean to laugh,” I told him. “But damn… That sounds so freaking cold.”

He laughed along with me and recalled how little time he had to get to know his new teammates because it was toward the end of spring training for the Mets, and basically he got the tour of the complex and it took a few days to get his bearings straight and learn the lay of the land. “But believe me, it’s a big shock to get traded.”

“There’s a feeling of rejection, but you have to tell yourself that it’s a fresh start and make the best of the situation.”

JD – I know you’ve been blocked at first base at Triple-A, but are you ready for a new challenge?

AD – Definitely. You always want to move up and last year was a disappointment with me getting hurt. I was hoping to start there (Triple-A) this year, but I realize that’s not my decision to make. It’s like you said, there’s just so many players in the organization that all play the same position. That said, it’s something that I can’t let it bother me and I still have a job to do. I love this game, and whether it’s at Las Vegas or Binghamton, I’m still playing baseball and I’m grateful always for that.

JD – Is there a former player you’ve looked up to or even modeled your game after?

AD – When I was younger I was a big Tony Gwynn fan, but as I got older I became a big fan of Chipper Jones. Yes, I know most Met fans probably don’t want to know that, but I initially was a third baseman and a shortstop when I started playing ball and to me Chipper was the best in the game. I also loved Cal Ripken too. Those three players represented the kind of baseball player I wanted to be and were big inspirations. As far as modeling my game, it was Chipper even down to his toe-tap at the plate.

JD – You probably envisioned yourself being in the majors by now?

AD – I envisioned myself there a long time ago, but no seriously, I realize that during my first two pro seasons I didn’t meet a lot of those expectations baseball people had for me. Then I got sidetracked by injuries on top of that, but last year I really started to put up the kind of numbers I knew I was capable of. I continued to work hard and I am proud of the season I’m having now.

JD – Who is the biggest influence for you right now?

AD – Right now and for the last three seasons it’s definitely my hitting coach Luis Natera. He discussed my ups and downs with me when we first met and he really helped me understand things in a way that connected and clicked for me. He’s been a huge influence in my baseball career. I talk to him everyday and not even about baseball stuff, but my personal life too. He’s really been there for me through good times and bad. He’s not only a great coach, but he’s a great person and a great friend.

JD – Do players and coaches normally form this kind of bond at the minor league levels?

AD – I don’t really know, other than my own experience. It’s my third year with Luis Natera and when I first arrived I knew nobody and was looking to make a fresh start and he introduced himself to me and has helped and guided me ever since. He listened to me. When I was down he genuinely listened and cared and said he was going to do whatever he could to help me improve my game and my focus. And that’s exactly what he did.

(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)

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MMO Mailbag: Could Wright Be Convinced To Move To Left Field? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-could-wright-be-convinced-to-move-to-left-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-could-wright-be-convinced-to-move-to-left-field.html/#comments Mon, 12 Aug 2013 16:44:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126938 I thought I would share an interesting email exchange I had with Dave In Spain who I’m sure most of you know from MMO and several other popular Mets sites.

I know they’d never ask the Captain, but do you think David Wright could ever be convinced to “volunteer” to move to left field?

This would solve the Flores positional issue, leave Murphy in place, and make it easier to go all-in on Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury for right field. Chipper did it (later in his career)…

Just thinkin’ outside the box….

Thanks for the question Dave…

wright batI have no doubt in my mind that Wright can pull it off. His range and arm would actually make him a great left fielder, and he has the speed and burst to compensate for lack of instincts on reading the ball off the bat. Eventually in 2-3 months he might be well above average defensively.

Yes, you are right and Chipper Jones did move to left field for a few years to make room for third baseman Vinny Castilla. Jones has always been a team-first player and so has Wright.

I think the stumbling block to such a move for Wright would be the Wilpons – who have always muffed things up in situations like these.

This is definitely a conversation that would need to be had with Wright, Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon all in the same room. If they did that, Wright would most likely do it for the team – and gladly.

But instead they’d likely handle it all wrong and put Collins in the uncomfortable position of making it look like it’s his idea alone and that won’t fly with Wright.

Sandy alone wouldn’t be able to handle it either because he is too unattached to any of his players and has no real bonds with them. To him, the players are simply inventory and a means to an end.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Jeff and Wright are very close friends and have a tight relationship. In this particular case Jeff Wilpon would actually be an asset in trying to pull this off.

I think it would improve the team immensely and solve the growing Wilmer Flores question…. Even if we didn’t sign Choo or Ellsbury and just waited for Puello or Vaughn to come along, it would solve some problems for the Mets while improving the team’s offense. I think Wright is athletic enough and has the instincts to succeed where others like Daniel Murphy have failed.

Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening. Maybe in a year or so, but not now…

Great question….

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Beltran’s Cooperstown Headgear http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/beltrans-cooperstown-headgear.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/beltrans-cooperstown-headgear.html/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 13:21:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125376 MLB: SEP 22 Mets v MarlinsI find it impossible to read an article or a forum about Carlos Beltran without there being some mention of “the curveball” or Adam Wainwright. That of course refers to Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS where, with the bases loaded and the winning run on first base with two outs in the ninth, Beltran stared a curveball from Adam Wainwright all the way into the glove of Yadier Molina, thus ending the series. I also find it appalling that many choose this one playoff at-bat to define Beltran’s career. Do they forget that Beltran owns the highest career OPS in Major League Baseball postseason history? Or that he is a career 11/11 in stolen base attempts during games in October? Enough about the postseason. Beltran’s career batting average at .283 is higher than that of Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Larry Doby. His career OPS surpasses that of George Brett and Al Kaline. If his eight All Star nominations (equivalent to the number reached by Andre Dawson, Darryl Strawberry, and Chipper Jones) and his eight 100 RBI seasons aren’t Hall of Fame worthy, well, he’s sixth in WAR among active players, and he’s only 36! He still has maybe three more decent years before he decides to hang up the spikes. And according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that’s exactly how many more years Beltran actually wants to play. So let’s say Beltran gets into the Hall of Fame. What team’s cap should he wear? Which team deserves it? Let’s find out.

Beltran has played for five teams. The Royals, the Astros, the Mets, the Giants, and he currently wears the uniform of the Cardinals. We can eliminate two of those right away. Beltran played in Houston for all of three months, so bye bye ‘Stros. Beltran was traded to the Giants at the deadline in 2011 for Zack Wheeler and ended up playing in San Francisco for 44 games so no love in the Bay Area when the Hall of Fame comes knocking.

beltran royalsThat leaves us with Kansas City, New York, and St. Louis. Beltran played for the Royals and Mets for six and a half seasons each, and he’s currently in his second year with the Cardinals. So say Beltran plays his three more years with the Cardinals, and makes two more All Star teams. 10 selections sure isn’t bad. With that being said, the Cardinals do have to go, only because five years loses to six and a half in the end. Why do years matter? Well, look at history. Gary Carter went in to the Hall of Fame as an Expo because he played more years (12) than he did in New York (5) despite having some of his greatest seasons in the Big Apple.

So we’re down to two. The Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets. Let’s take a look at what Beltran did in a Royals uniform. Despite only receiving one All Star spot in his tenure, the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year hit .287 with 123 HR while he was there. He lost his starting center field job in 2000 to Johnny Damon but got his job, and his Rookie of the Year form, back in 2001 when he hit .306 and recorded 101 RBI. Beltran went on to hit over .300 once more in his time in Kansas City. All in all, a solid career in the state of Missouri.

And now for an analysis of his Mets career. In his six and a half years in New York, Beltran hit .280 with 559 RBI and 149 HR. Not to mention his two years with ten or more assists. He was named to the NL All Star squad six times and racked up three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers for his mantle. His time with the Mets was shortened by injury, hitting only 17 HR from 2009-2010, but despite this still managed to play at least 60 games in every year. Beltran recorded 100 stolen bases and managed to get caught only 16 times. He finished with an above average OPS at .869 and his SLG was an even .500. A brilliant career in New York that is unfortunately overshadowed by one pitch.

So now the decision. Beltran stole 164 bases and hit .287 with the Royals, but hit 149 HR and drove in 559 runs with the Mets. He can’t be in the Hall with two hats, so he must wear…that of the New York Mets.

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David Wright And The Hall Of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/david-wright-and-the-hall-of-fame.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/david-wright-and-the-hall-of-fame.html/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:12:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123076 wright hof

We compare Wright against Sandberg, Dawson, and Jones to determine whether David Wright is on track for the Hall of Fame.

A few days ago, the guys on MLB Now were talking about David Wright‘s chances at the Hall of Fame. He had just recorded his 1,500 hit of his career, and those sorts of milestones tend to bring up this kind of debate.

So is David Wright a future Hall of Famer? Obviously we don’t have the answer to that question yet, but we can certainly use Wright’s career numbers up to this point to see if he is at least on track to Cooperstown.

To do this, I will use three players whose numbers are very similar to Wright’s. The first two are Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson, who each got in with just over 75% of the vote. The third is a certain future Hall of Famer: Chipper Jones. Let’s see how they compare.

Offensive Production

Offense has definitely been David Wright’s bread and butter. A consistent .300/.390/.500 hitter, Wright has been one of the top offensive players in the game, and one of best (and at times, the best) third baseman in baseball.

He stacks up very well with Sandberg, Dawson, and Jones through age 30:

Dawson: 1313 G, .279/.324/.476, 205 HR, 760 RBI, 235 SB

Sandberg: 1389 G, .287/.342/.452, 179 HR, 649 RBI, 275 SB

Jones: 1252 G, .309/.404/.544, 253 HR, 837 RBI, 114 SB

Wright: 1334 G, .301/.382/.507, 216 HR, 859 RBI, 178 SB

As you can see, Wright stacks up just as well with Dawson, Sandberg, and Jones in a few catagories, and has significantly better slash lines than Dawson and Sandberg. Jones is considered a much better player than Wright, but Wright’s numbers still stack up well against him.

Clutchness

One can’t evaluate offensive performance without evaluating how a player performs in the high leverage situations. The issue here is the fact that Wright, Sandberg, and Dawson each have very little postseason experience, while Jones has almost 100 games in October under his belt. Here is how they compare on this front:

Dawson: 15 G, .186/.238/.237, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB

Sandberg: 10 G, .385/.457/.641, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB

Jones: 93 G, .287/.409/.456, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 8 SB

Wright: 10 G, .216/.310/.378, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB

With only these small sample sizes, you can’t really judge (with the exception of Jones), how “clutch” a player is. Dawson, Sandberg, and Wright frankly haven’t been on good enough teams to even be put in those high leverage postseason situations, while Jones has the luxury of making the playoffs on 12 different occasions. Now we have to dig into regular season stats to find an answer. To do this, I look at batting lines in “high leverage” situations, moments in the game that have a big influence on the outcome of the game.

Dawson: 2428 PA, .278/.331/.456

Sandberg: 1792 PA, .290/.352/.462

Jones: 2085 PA, .304/.406/.513

Wright: 1227 PA, .316/.389/.518

Now looking at batting lines in clutch situations is great, but it’s also important to put them in context with a player’s normal production. For that, you look at tOPS+, which is OPS+ specifically for that player’s production. So instead of 100 being league average, it’s a player’s normal production, with each digit higher or lower representing one percent better or worse than normal. Out of the four players we’re looking at, Sandberg and Wright are tied for the highest tOPS+ with 104, meaning they are four percent better than usual in high leverage situations. Dawson has a 97 tOPS+ and Jones has a tOPS+ of 98 in those situations. It’s safe to say Wright comes up big in tense situations pretty often, or at least more often than some of his comparables.

Run Environment

Just as with clutchness, you need to consider run environment when evaluating a player’s production to really put it into context. For this, the easiest metric to use is park factors. Wrigley Field, the home of Sandberg his entire career, has historically been one of the easiest park’s to hit and score in. With its smaller dimensions, it’s one of the best parks for home run hitters. Dawson played the first half in a very neutral stadium in Montreal. Turner Field, where Chipper Jones played his home games, slightly favors hitters as well. Meanwhile, Shea Stadium has historically been a very pitcher-friendly ballpark, with park factors for home runs and hits in the bottom third of the league most years. Citi Field has been even friendlier to pitchers.

Simply using OPS+ takes the park factors out, meaning the advantages and disadvantages of certain ballparks are removed. Here are their OPS+ marks through age 30:

Dawson: 122 OPS+

Sandberg: 115 OPS+

Jones: 143 OPS+

Wright: 136 OPS+

Defense

Defense is always the toughest aspect to evaluate. The stats aren’t as advanced as they are for hitting and pitching, and judging defense with the naked eye often produces shaky results. Nonetheless, it’s clear that this is David Wright’s weakest point. He has had a very up-and-down career at third, and both the stats and the eye can tell you that. Jones is very similar to Wright on defense, and is wildly inconsistent. Dawson and Sandberg have the edge here, as they were both dazzling defenders with fantastic range. Here is how they stack up in both the traditional metrics (fielding percentage) and modern metrics (Range Factor/9 innings):

Fielding Percentage:

Dawson (OF): .983

Sandberg (2B): .989

Jones (3B): .954

Wright (3B): .954

Range Factor per 9 innings

Dawson: 2.39

Sandberg: 5.31

Jones: 2.42

Wright: 2.65

 Positional/Era Comparison

Every era is different, and every position is different as well. At the corner infield and outfield positions, there tend to be more productive offensive players. During different time periods, the league may be low on power-hitting third baseman, for example, so putting a player’s production in context with their era and their position in that era is important. For this, we’ll have to go through each player one-by-one.

Andre Dawson

dawson

Ryne Sandberg

sandberg

Chipper Jones

jones

David Wright

wright

While Dawson and Sandberg were among the best at their position, both Wright and Jones were among the best in all of baseball.

Verdict

It is hard for people to compare players like Wright to Hall of Famers because their careers aren’t over yet. At first glance, you may think that Wright is nowhere near any of these players, and you’d be right. That’s completely unfair to Wright, however, because he is only 30 years old. We have the luxury of being ably to look back at the second half of Dawson’s, Sandberg’s, and Jones’s careers and see all the great things they did past 30, while we can’t see that with Wright. When you get past that, however, you begin to see that Wright is unquestionably on the path to Cooperstown.

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Mets Take The Series: Wright Homers Twice In 4-3 Win Over Braves http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-take-the-series-wright-homers-twice-in-4-3-win-over-braves.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-take-the-series-wright-homers-twice-in-4-3-win-over-braves.html/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 03:22:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122714 david wright homers

Wright rounds the bases after hitting his second home run of the game tonight…

On the strength of three home runs, two of them by David Wright, the Mets beat the Braves by the score of 4-3 tonight at Turner Field to take the rubber game of a five-game series.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news as the Mets may have potentially lost lefthander Jon Niese for an extended period of time after he came out of the game in the fourth inning with shoulder discomfort. Niese motioned for the trainers to come out after delivering a pitch to Tyler Pastornicky and pointed to his shoulder. For a few weeks, he had been dealing with what the team has called shoulder tendinitis. Hopefully, he’ll be fine.

After Niese departed the game and the Mets down 3-2, David Aardsma, LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell all pitched in relief and combined to toss 5.2 scoreless innings, holding the Braves offense at bay until the Mets would come back to take the lead.

The star of the game was Wright, who blasted two solo home runs, his 10th and 11th homers of the season, while going 3-for-4 at the plate. Andrew Brown, fresh up from Triple-A Las Vegas, walloped a pinch-hit in the fifth, his first as a Met, to tie the game at 3-3. Then Josh Satin ripped a pinch-hit RBI double to drive home Omar Quintanilla with what would be the winning run. For Satin, it was his fifth straight time on base in five plate appearances.

Defensive play of the game…

MURPH!!!

Atlanta entered the series an MLB-best 23-8 at home this season, but lost three of five games to the Mets, and it was also their first series loss at Turner Field in 2013. #LOLBraves

Our own Ed Leyro and founder of Studious Metsimus pointed out on Twitter that Wright at 30 years old has 32 home runs against the Braves, while Chipper Jones at 30 only had 26 homers against the Mets. Can you say Braves Killer!

The Mets now head to Philly for a weekend series. RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96 ERA) opposes LHP Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40) at 7:05 PM on Friday. Please note that my 2013 Mets Sleeper of the Year has the better ERA. :-)

I wish

Hey, I’m getting old and am looking for a couple of writers to help me do these recaps. Email me at GetMetsmerized@aol.com and join the revolution…

(GIF credit: SNY Tumbler)

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Harvey And Wheeler Give Met Fans A Glimpse Into The Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/harvey-and-wheeler-give-met-fans-a-glimpse-into-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/harvey-and-wheeler-give-met-fans-a-glimpse-into-the-future.html/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 14:44:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122393 zack wheeler 2There might be some question if Zack Wheeler is ready to assume the role of savior for the New York Mets, despite his and manager Terry Collins’ proclamations to the contrary of those lofty expectations.

With the statistical and financial numbers having been crunched, the decision is it is time to start the clock on Wheeler. The Mets don’t know who’ll be dropped from the rotation. Because of today’s doubleheader, the Mets will go at least one cycle through the rotation with six starters.

Wheeler will start the second game with Matt Harvey taking the opener. That pitching future the Mets have been bragging about? Well, we’ll get a glimpse today.

Ideally, the Mets don’t want to return Wheeler to the minor leagues after today. As their thinking when Harvey came up last year, they want him here to stay. Because Wheeler won’t be activated until between games, rules prohibit him of being in the dugout to watch Harvey.

That will happen soon enough.

“[It will be] a fun day,’’ Collins said this afternoon at Turner Field. “It’s a great thing for this organization and its fan base to see what the future is going to be like. We’ve got two young guys that are going to be very, very, very good.

“Pitching is the name of this game. We’re going to run two guys out there [Tuesday] that can take this organization north pretty fast.’’

Harvey has been exceptional this season, but is just 1-1 with eight no-decisions in his last ten starts. In that span Harvey has given up 19 runs. If nothing else, what Wheeler should learn quickly about pitching on the major league level is there will be times when he’ll have to do it without run support, which is what Harvey is currently experiencing.

Harvey has been successful in large part because of his composure, self-confidence and sense of worth. Harvey understands his stature and expectations of him, but hasn’t let it go to his head.

Wheeler might as well have been reciting a script given him by Harvey.

“I don’t think I’m the savior at all,’’ spoke Wheeler in a press conference Monday afternoon at Turner Field, almost a half-hour where he grew up watching Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine.

Continuing his refreshing travel down humility road, Wheeler said: “We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys, and hopefully we can turn it around soon. … I’m just trying to come up here and play the best that I can, help out the team any way I can.

“I know people are going to scrutinize. We aren’t doing too well right now, but hopefully we can turn it around and everybody will like us again.’’

Mets fans have liked Wheeler all spring in hope of what he might give them. Today is his first chance to deliver.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Last night I told one of my friends that today’s doubleheader was giving me the familiar feelings I had when Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman were taking the mound back in 1968. Back then, Seaver was embarking on his second full season as a major leaguer and Kooz was about to pitch his first. They each delivered on their promise that year and suddenly by the time that season was over there was a sense that somehow 1969 was going to be special for the Mets.

Koosman had the better season in ’68 winning 19 games for a team that finished in ninth place and won only 77 games that year. He posted a 2.08 ERA in 34 starts for those Amazin’ young upstarts.

Seaver, on the other hand, already had his smashing debut the season before with 16 wins and a 2.76 ERA. He duplicated that win total the following season and improved his ERA to 2.20.

Wow, what was happening here I wondered…

I spent that fall and winter flipping and trading baseball cards with all the Yankee fans in my neighborhood. My goal was to get as many Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman cards as I could get my hands on. Back then, none of the Mets hitters had a .300 average… none of the Mets hitters had hit more than 15 home runs… and I think Ron Swoboda led the team with 50-something RBIs…

The only thing the team had going for them was Seaver and Koosman and yet somehow there was a feeling that that might be enough.

That was a long time ago my friends…. The game’s changed a lot since then, but the circumstances almost feel the same where Wheeler and Harvey are concerned. I hope I’m right…

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Bob Costas Can Kiss Our Collective Orange and Blue Asses http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/bob-costas-can-kiss-our-collective-orange-and-blue-asses.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/bob-costas-can-kiss-our-collective-orange-and-blue-asses.html/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 04:09:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122250 bob costas

Is it me or has veteran broadcaster and baseball historian Bob Costas gone from beloved to just plain old bewildering over the last few years? He always seems to embroil himself in every controversy that comes around and not in a good way either… Sometimes he even likes to stir up his own controversies,,,

During a sports update on NBC this evening, they showed video of the Mets comeback 4-3 comeback win and the celebration that ensued at home plate following Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ walk-off homer at Citi Field. That prompted Costas to say the following:

“The Mets with four in the bottom of the ninth to win it, 4-3, and a team fourteen games under .500 celebrates as if it just won the seventh game of the World Series. Another indication of the ongoing decline of western civilization.”

Some Mets players took to Twitter to respond to Costas:

Jeremy Hefner: Hey Mr. Costas.. We will enjoy our wins!

David Aardsma: I love Bob Costas but are we supposed to roll over and die on the season? Or should we celebrate the excitement of a huge comeback?

Jim Malone: I respect Bob Costas as a broadcaster, but his comments today are a classic example of a non athlete not “getting it”

Costas’ snide remark also led to an official edict from Mets media guru Jay Horwitz:

Even retired Braves third baseman Chipper Jones chimed in and said:

“I’m thinking Mets fans will let Costas know about that little comment.”

I think Costas has lost that reverence he once held and has gotten too caught up in his own celebrity. He now spends hours with a makeup crew before each broadcast, who try desperately to make him look like hes still 30 when he’s actually 60.

Hey Bob, don’t tread on my Mets…

By the way, I’m well aware that many of us, including me, have had Chipper Jones on our Top 10 Most Hated Player list for almost two decades. But for the last 3-4 months, he has really gone out of his way to support the Mets as a team, or one of our players every chance he gets via social media.

I thought some of the things he said about Matt Harvey this season were very cool, and I thought it was classy of him to personally congratulate Zack Wheeler on Twitter last week when it was announced he was going to debut on Tuesday.

Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all… Just a really, really, great player who used to kick our butts all the time while wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform…

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Chipper Jones Says Hell No To The Yankees http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/chipper-jones-says-hell-no-to-the-yankees.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/chipper-jones-says-hell-no-to-the-yankees.html/#comments Sun, 10 Mar 2013 22:23:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110722 chipper jones

CHIPPER TO YANKEES: Chop This!

I was very glad to see Chipper Jones reject the Yankees’ overtures for a comeback. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to see Jones have a change of heart, but not with the Yankees … not with anybody else but the Braves.

I’ve always admired players to begin and end it with the same team. That‘s what I want to see for David Wright. It’s one of the things I liked about Cal RipkenDon Mattingly and Derek Jeter.

It’s rare these days for a player to retire with the same team he began his career with. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way with Pete RoseHank Aaron and Willie Mays.

The Yankees’ stream of injuries prompted WFAN to run a poll of retired players fans wanted to come back with the Yankees. Ripken was on the list. I wonder if it is more a sign of respect or just not being realistic.

Incidentally, Wright is enjoying his time at the WBC, but I can’t but wonder if his time would have been better off had he stayed in Port St. Lucie.

Think of it for a moment, he’s going to be the captain of this team, so it stands to reason his presence would be beneficial to the younger players in camp.

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As Good As David Wright Is, He’s Not Chipper Jones http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/09/as-good-as-david-wright-is-hes-not-chipper-jones.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/09/as-good-as-david-wright-is-hes-not-chipper-jones.html/#comments Sat, 08 Sep 2012 14:33:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=95631 I am a David Wright fan.  I’ve been an ardent supporter of the Mets’ third baseman since his first call-up to the big leagues in 2004.  I’ve seen him produce some of the greatest offensive seasons in franchise history and I’ve seen him make outstanding defensive plays.  I’ve also seen him represent the Mets at the All-Star Game more often that not.

I have never been a Chipper Jones fan.  I’ve disliked him since before anyone knew his name was Larry.  I’ve seen him win only two Silver Slugger Awards and I’ve never seen him win a Gold Glove.  I’ve also seen him very little at the All-Star Game, as he has missed the Midsummer Classic more than he has played in it.

I gladly cheer for David Wright.  I loudly boo Chipper Jones.  That being said, David Wright has a long way to go to be as great as Chipper Jones.

Chipper Jones and David Wright. One is an all-time great. The other is a great Met.

The soon-to-be-retired Jones has been killing the Mets for nearly two decades.  But then again, fans in Miami, Philadelphia and Washington (Montreal, too) can claim the same thing, as Jones has been an equal opportunity slugger against every team in the National League East.

Since making his debut for the Braves in 1993, Jones has torn the cover off the ball against every division rival.  Don’t believe me?  Here are the numbers to prove it:

vs. Mets:            .312/.408/.550, 46 doubles, 49 HR, 158 RBI, 167 runs in 240 games.

vs. Marlins:       .299/.393/.505, 47 doubles, 40 HR, 165 RBI, 151 runs in 242 games.

vs. Phillies:        .332/.442/.599, 70 doubles, 49 HR, 151 RBI, 165 runs in 243 games.

vs. Expos/Nats: .299/.405/.505, 62 doubles, 41 HR, 160 RBI, 173 runs in 262 games.

Simply stated, Jones has been a dynamo against the teams in his own division.  His production has been one of the main reasons why the Braves have been competitive in the National League East for two decades, despite the constant player turnaround.

Jones has also been wonderful in the postseason.  In the playoffs, the Braves’ third baseman has a .288 career batting average and .411 on-base percentage.  He also has 18 doubles, 13 HR, 47 RBI and has scored 58 runs.  But more incredibly, Jones has been a part of countless postseason rallies for the Braves, reaching base a whopping 169 times in only 92 games.  That’s almost two times on base per playoff game over his entire career!

Meanwhile, David Wright has also been very good against teams from his own division, but has only gotten a small taste of the postseason, not doing particularly well in his one October experience with the Mets.

In nine seasons with the Mets (which is approximately half of the service time accumulated by his fellow hot corner handler in Atlanta), Wright has complied the following career numbers against the other teams in the National League East:

vs. Braves:         .268/.347/.489, 29 doubles, 28 HR, 76 RBI, 65 runs in 142 games.

vs. Marlins:        .328/.396/.537, 35 doubles, 22 HR, 94 RBI, 95 runs in 136 games.

vs. Phillies:        .282/.352/.508, 36 doubles, 26 HR, 93 RBI, 79 runs in 137 games.

vs. Expos/Nats: .303/.381/.502, 48 doubles, 19 HR, 84 RBI, 97 runs in 146 games.

Wright’s splits are just slightly below what Jones has produced in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage over his career, but his extra-base hits and run production have been on par with Jones.  Just looking at those numbers would lead anyone to believe that Wright’s career is taking a similar path as Jones.

But there is one glaring difference between Jones and Wright that keeps the Mets’ third baseman a notch below his counterpart.  Jones has always come up big in key spots.  David Wright, on the other hand, isn’t quite there yet.

In 1999, Chipper Jones willed the Braves over the Mets in the NL East.  In a three-game sweep over the Mets in late September, Jones sealed the deal on the National League MVP Award, hitting four home runs and driving in seven of the 13 runs the Braves scored in the series.  Jones continued to hurt the Mets in the NLCS that year, reaching base 15 times in 29 plate appearances.

Before Shea Jones was born, Chipper Jones came to life at Shea.

Meanwhile, David Wright didn’t factor much in his sole postseason appearance in 2006.  In the Mets’ seven-game loss to the Cardinals in the NLCS, Wright batted .160, collecting as many strikeouts (four) as hits.

For his career, Wright is a .301 hitter with a .382 on-base percentage.  But in the final month of the regular season, his numbers aren’t nearly as good.  In September (and those few regular season games played in October), Wright’s batting average dips to .291 with a .359 on-base percentage.  Meanwhile, Jones gets hotter as the season progresses.  The lifetime .304 hitter (with a sparkling .401 OBP) is batting .305 with a .408 on-base percentage after September 1st.  The dog days of summer don’t affect Jones the way they do Wright.

Finally, as good as Wright has been for the Mets, Jones was better at a similar point in his career.  Here are Wright’s numbers through games of September 7 (his ninth season with the Mets), followed by Jones’ numbers with the Braves after his ninth season:

Wright: .301/.382/.507, 318 doubles, 19 triples, 200 HR, 804 RBI, 778 runs, 992 Ks

Jones:  .309/.404/.541, 305 doubles, 26 triples, 280 HR, 943 RBI, 966 runs, 781 Ks

Jones leads Wright in all offensive categories except doubles, but Wright has also struck out 211 more times than Jones had at the same point in their careers.  In fact, Wright has averaged approximately 120 strikeouts in every full season he’s played in the majors.  Jones has NEVER struck out 100 times in a season.  His career high of 99 whiffs was achieved in his first full season with the Braves in 1995.

David Wright has five 100-RBI seasons to his credit.  Jones had eight consecutive 100-RBI campaigns from 1996-2003.  (He has nine 100-RBI seasons overall.)  From 1998-2008, Jones had a .400 on-base percentage in every year but one (2004).  In 2007, Wright enjoyed his only season with an on-base percentage over .400.

Wright has batted over .315 only once in his career (2007).  Jones has had six such seasons.  In fact, from 2006-2008, when he was in his mid-thirties and supposedly in the twilight of his career, Jones batted a combined .342, winning the National League batting title in 2008 with a .364 batting average.

So how valuable has David Wright been to the Mets in the eyes of the MVP voters?  Not very much, as Wright has finished in the top 20 in MVP voting only four times.  Meanwhile, Jones has finished in the top 20 eleven times, including each of his first nine full seasons in the majors, which coincidentally is the same number of years that David Wright has played in the big leagues for the Mets.

Chipper Jones has always stood tall next to David Wright.

David Wright has been one of the best players in the history of the Mets, ranking among the team leaders in almost every offensive category.  But Wright’s competition on the Mets’ all-time leaderboard includes Ed Kranepool, Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson.  Those players were great Mets, but they’re not all-time greats in the sport.

Chipper Jones is also omnipresent on his team’s all-time offensive leaderboard.  But take a look at the top three in most of those categories.  You won’t find any Kranepools, Strawberrys or Johnsons there.  Instead, you’ll find two names joining Jones in the majority of those categories – Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, both of them Hall-of-Famers and among the all-time greats of the sport.

So the next time someone talks about how great David Wright has been, you can agree with them, but only in comparison with other Mets.  When someone brings up Chipper Jones, however, feel free to mention him in the company of the game’s all-time greats.  As good as he’s been for the Mets, David Wright has a long way to go to be an all-time great.  By the same token, Wright also has a long way to go to be like Chipper Jones.  Love him or hate him, Chipper Jones deserves the respect given to the best players in the game’s history.  He’s done everything on the field to earn it.

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Morning Grind: Why The Negativity Towards Wright? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/05/morning-grind-why-the-negativity-towards-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/05/morning-grind-why-the-negativity-towards-wright.html/#comments Mon, 14 May 2012 12:58:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=81171 I have noticed a theme both here and across the entire Mets fanbase of an increasing percentage of people who look at David Wright in a bad light. They put him down no matter how well he is performing and are the first to jump on him when he makes an error or strikes out in a key spot; and that’s just not right. If you are a true fan of your team, you should root FOR the longest-tenured and one of the greatest players in team history, not against.

After several years of struggles and injuries, David Wright has come busting out of the gates in 2012, batting .402/.489/.598 with four homers and 21 RBIs. While leading the league in batting average and OBP, Wright also has cut down on his strikeouts, only going down 18 times so far this year. That’s on pace for 97 strikeouts, the same amount he had last season when he missed 60 games with a back fracture. Not to mention, his defense is the best I’ve ever seen him in his career. So if there is any argument against him in 2012, I’d really like to hear it.

As for those saying that Wright is simply playing for a contract, you’re wrong. Wright has always been a player to give 100% whenever he could to the team. The 29-year old was coming off a career year in ’08 when he began to struggle at the new Citi Field, but it was not until after the concussion from Matt Cain’s plunking that Wright hadn’t been the same. He wasn’t “taking it easy from ’09-’11, he was simply trying to get himself back on track. He has worked hard and come back from an unfortunate past few seasons, overcoming plenty of nay-sayers, to start off at an unbelievable pace in 2012.

One of my favorite sayings about baseball is that some of its great heroes fail seven out of ten times. Wright so far has failed only six out ten times this year, and get treated like a villain by some of his own team’s “fans”.

Adam Rubin pointed out something pretty incredible yesterday in one of his columns:

After this season, once Chipper Jones has retired, you will be able to count on Antonio Alfonseca’s right hand the number of active players who have appeared in more major league games than David Wright and done so in only one uniform. Derek Jeter. Todd Helton. Ichiro Suzuki. Michael Young. Jimmy Rollins. Brian Roberts.

Look at some of those names, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Chipper Jones, Michael Young; some of the most beloved players in their respective teams history, and Wright is right up there with them. It has become such a rare phenomenon for players to spend their entire careers with one team, yet Wright has an increasingly high chance of doing just that.

Just yesterday, Sandy Alderson said ”I certainly do not foresee, under any circumstances, David being a topic of discussion at the trade deadline”, and the Wall Street Journal reported that extension talks with Wright could come soon. So don’t assume he’s just going to skip town like Reyes come 2013; Wright could very well be here for a long time to come.

Wright is the face of the franchise, he has been with the organization since he was 18. He is the longest tenured Met and possibly will be the first career-Met since Ed Kranepool. He continues to show why he is one of the greatest Mets to every put on the uniform and why he is the face of the franchise. He at the very least deserves some respect from his own fans. Why that is so difficult for a disturbingly large group of fans is beyond me.

 

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MMO Mets Quotables: Opening Day Edition http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-mets-quotables-opening-day-was-a-big-hit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/04/mmo-mets-quotables-opening-day-was-a-big-hit.html/#comments Fri, 06 Apr 2012 18:03:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=76301

Here’s a another edition of MMO Mets Quotables which includes some pre and post Opening Day game quotes as well as some other assorted goodies.

“It’s a great feeling. We’re as ready as we can possibly be right now. We’ve got the big boy going and that means a lot. That’s an exciting time for everybody to see him on the mound again. It’s Opening Day. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” ~ Terry Collins on Opening Day.

“It means everything that we have done since I had my surgery all the way to today has paid off. We worked hard, and I’m very happy that I have an opportunity to start the season from day one with the team. That’s something that I really was looking forward to. I’m excited about it.” ~ Johan Santana on Opening Day start.

“It was exciting, especially in the big situations, you could really feel it. You missed that a little bit last year when you’re not winning for them, and they want you to win, so to get the crowd back in the game really meant a lot to us.”  ~ Josh Thole

“It don’t matter to me. He ran Ronny out there. Ronny made a good play on a funky hop. So I started screaming to T.C. I told him it was a great managing move. He’s a better defender than I am. I mean, I’m not going to say I’m a better defender than he is. So, good play.” ~ Daniel Murphy after being replaced for defense in the ninth.

“You can’t ask for anything better, knowing it was the perfect situation to show some negative people out there that we can do it. I believe that we’re going to win a lot of more games like that.” ~ Frank Francisco

“He really cared about his team. Carter’s nickname — “Kid” — was a fitting one. He was happy among a bunch of animals. He never said anything negative or bad about anybody. How do you do that?” ~ Darryl Strawberry 

“It’s a tribute to one of the great players to ever play the game and certainly one of the great Mets that’s ever played. A lot of these guys didn’t know Gary, but the ones who knew him, they can’t say enough good things about him. Not only was he a great player and great teammate, but off the field, one of the greatest humanitarians there is. It’s an honor to wear his number today and everybody supports it and I think it’s really a cool gesture.” ~ Terry Collins

“I don’t think it’s going to be able to turn a guy who hits two home runs into a guy who hits 50. But for guys that hit the ball in the air, I imagine it’s going to help a little bit. Whether it’s three, four, five, ten outs or doubles that end up being home runs, it makes a pretty big difference when you look at it at the end of the year.” ~ Jason Bay on new walls.

“I think David Wright is a shining star and if you are on the world’s biggest stage, you have to keep your shining star. David Wright is a cornerstone. You build teams around guys like him. Certainly, when I think of the Mets, I think of David Wright. I think he exemplifies what this town and what this organization is all about.” ~ Chipper Jones

“There are so many arms in this organization; it’s pretty impressive. The next couple of years, if they do it right, this is going to be the franchise that everybody in baseball is going to say, “Where did all of these pitchers come from?” They’re that good.” ~ Frank Viola on Mets pitching prospects.

“It’s a blessing. I’m not really surprised, because they wanted to do it, and they expressed interest. I think both sides wanted to get it done fairly quickly, before the season got going. It’s a burden off my shoulders and it’s something that I don’t have to think about when I go out and pitch. I can just go out and pitch and have fun and help the team win.” ~ Jon Niese on his new deal.

Lets Go Mets!

 

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Is This Your Retirement, Larry? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/is-this-your-retirement-larry.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/is-this-your-retirement-larry.html/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 22:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=75116

Earlier today, Chipper Jones announced that he will be retiring at the end of the season after almost two decades spent entirely with the Atlanta Braves.  Jones will retire as one of the Braves’ all-time greatest players, finishing in the top three in many of the team’s offensive categories (along with Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews).  He will also end his career as one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history, joining other greats such as Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray and Pete Rose.

Chipper Jones was like Norm from Cheers, with every fan at Shea Stadium and Citi Field saying his first name in unison as he strolled into the batter’s box.  But unlike Norm, whenever Jones heard his name, it wasn’t usually in adulation.

When the Braves and Mets competed for National League supremacy in 1999 and 2000, it was Jones who repeatedly delivered in the clutch, keeping the Mets from ending the Braves’ reign atop the division.  By then, he was already known as “La-a-a-a-a-arry” to the Shea faithful, similar to the way Darryl Strawberry was known as “Da-a-a-a-a-arryl” to Red Sox fans during the 1986 World Series.  Of course, Strawberry got the last laugh, hitting a towering home run off Red Sox reliever Al Nipper in Game 7.  Chipper Jones usually hushed the crowd as well with his ability to come through in the clutch.

And what a clutch hitter he was against the Mets.  In 812 career at-bats versus New York, Jones hit .318 with 48 HR and 154 RBI.  Only Hall of Famers Willie Stargell (60) and Mike Schmidt (49) hit more career home runs against the Mets than Chipper Jones.

But Jones wasn’t just a great hitter when the Mets were in the other dugout.  He was an equal opportunity slugger, especially within his own division.  Through 2011, Jones has hit at least 40 HR against every team in the National League East, numbers that will only rise as he plays his final year in the major leagues.  Despite his inability to stay on the field because of various injuries throughout the latter part of his career, he still managed to win a batting title in 2008, hitting an impressive .364 at age 36.

Over the years, Mets fans at Shea Stadium and Citi Field would shower Chipper Jones with boos and remind him of his given name whenever he stepped up to the plate.  But did they really hate Chipper Jones or was it just a masked sign of respect for a great player?

Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino also get pooped on by the boo birds whenever they come to New York.  But all three of them brought it upon themselves by not being able to keep their mouths shut.  Cole Hamels may have been the biggest offender of Mets fans when he famously claimed that the Mets were choke artists.  In fact, his mouth is so big, he could insert Shaquille O’Neal’s foot in it and it still wouldn’t shut him up.  Those players are players Mets fans genuinely hate.  There’s no respect in those boos.

But Chipper Jones is different.  He never guaranteed anything even when the Braves were racking up division titles faster than the current Mets rack up injuries.  He also never disrespected a fan base like Hamels or his former teammate, John Rocker, did.  In fact, Jones loved playing in New York so much, he named his son Shea.

Why was Chipper Jones booed so much in New York?  Because he was good.  Really good.  For a very long time.

Larry did his homework on the Mets, which is why he was so great against them for nearly two decades.  But he didn’t just pick on the Mets; he picked apart opposing pitchers all over the National League.  When the Braves make their final appearance at Citi Field this year on September 9, Mets fans should put aside their negative feelings and give Chipper Jones a standing ovation.  After so many years booing him, it’s time to recognize that he was one of the best players of his generation.  Jones is a certain first ballot Hall of Famer who, like Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, played his entire career with one team.  Only special players get to do that.  Chipper Jones has been a special player.

When the 2012 season comes to a close, Chipper Jones will be retiring from baseball.  Ask any Mets fan how they feel about the news and they’ll say they won’t be at a loss, which shouldn’t be surprising.  Why not?  Because when the game was on the line, the man they called “La-a-a-a-a-arry” usually had their favorite team at a loss.  It’s no wonder Mets fans will probably enjoy Chipper Jones’ retirement more than Chipper himself.

 

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Ike Davis is Pure CHAOS! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/02/ike-davis-is-pure-chaos.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/02/ike-davis-is-pure-chaos.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 17:25:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=72116

“Me, I’m like pure chaos and I swing as hard as I can.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen a guy, pound for pound, with more pop than he’s got.  If he connects, the ball will hit the Grand Canyon.”  ~  Chipper Jones

Davis has quickly become one of my favorite Mets. He has an intensity and drive you don’t see in some of the other players and he absolutely hates to lose. I see him quickly becoming the leader of this team in the mold of Keith Hernandez. His quick bat and the power he generates from his lower body tells me we could see many 30+ home run seasons in his future. His defense is close to elite and it won’t be long until he starts racking up a few Gold Gloves. Get back on the diamond Ike, it’s what you were born to do.  ~  Joe D.

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Say Hello To The New Mets Killer http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/say-hello-to-the-new-mets-killer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/09/say-hello-to-the-new-mets-killer.html/#comments Sat, 18 Sep 2010 13:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=36160 Just when we thought things would get easier with the possible retirement of Chipper Jones, someone just as talented and just as dangerous has stepped up to be the new Mets killer.

Enter Jason Heyward.

Like Chipper before him, Heyward was a first round pick. He was selected 14th overall by the Braves in the 2007 draft. That year, the Mets forfeited their first round pick for signing free agent Moises Alou. They did have two supplemental first rounders; Eddie Kunz and Nathan Vineyard.

Isn’t it amazing how after eleven straight first place finishes from 1995-2005, the Braves finish third in 2006 and while Mets fans still have nightmares over one nasty curveball, Braves fans got what could possibly be the most exciting and talented rookie since Ken Griffey Jr.?

Heyward has burst onto the scene with all the subtlety of a hydrogen bomb. Jason Heyward hit .323 with 17 home runs in 99 games last year in the minors. Baseball America selected him as the 2009 Minor League Player of the Year. This season, Heyward has been as good as advertised, and maybe even better.

In Spring Training, Chipper Jones was awed by his immense power and stature.

“Heyward looks like a bigger, more muscular version of Fred McGriff. And that’s saying something. Fred’s 6-5, 230 or so. This kid, he’s built like a brick house. To watch the way the ball jumps off his bat. It’s batting practice, I know, and everybody’s supposed to do that in batting practice, but…I got to hit with him yesterday, and I was more than impressed.”

In May, Chipper would later go to manager Bobby Cox and plead with him to bat Jason Heyward third instead of himself because it would make the team better. Now that’s what I call class. Can you imagine any Mets veteran ever doing something as selfless as that?

While us Mets fans debate over whether Lucas Duda or Fernando Martinez is the better prospect (I use the word prospect very loosely.), lets look at Heyward a little closer.

Heyward rolled into Citi Field last night in the midst of tremendous hot streak, the hottest of his short career.

He showed no signs of slowing down and blasted a three-run homer of Jon Niese that still hasn’t landed and lifted the Braves to a 6-4 win against the Mets. After another successful conquest, Heyward is now 40-for-97 (.412) with 13 extra-base hits, 23 runs and a .519 on-base percentage in his last 25 games. Those are some jaw-dropping numbers.

The first thing any Braves fan will tell you about their young phenom is not how great a hitter he is, but instead they describe him in one word… CLUTCH.

We are only now beginning to see that as Mets fans. His success against us though impressive, may only be just the tip of the iceberg. In his past five games against the Mets, he is 11-for-22 with three doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.

How good is Heyward, and where does he rank among other great rookies who debuted at the age of 20 years old? Here is what I discovered, only nine players in baseball history have had a higher OPS than Heyward if his season was to end today. In order they are: Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Al Kaline, Jimmy Foxx, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Tony Conigliaro, and Vada Pinson. There’s a good chance he can still finish ahead of the last four names on that list.

Pretty wild, huh?

They’re calling him the J-Hey Kid… And I have a super bad feeling that he could be just as big of a Mets killer as Chipper Jones was.

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Chipper Jones Won’t Be Naming Next Kid Citi http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/05/chipper-jones-wont-be-naming-next-kid-citi.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/05/chipper-jones-wont-be-naming-next-kid-citi.html/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 20:52:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=4753 Last night, during a post game interview, Chipper Jones was still fuming over a call at third base that saw Carlos Beltran slide in safely on a steal attempt. Replay video showed that Beltran may have been tagged before touching the base, but that’s baseball.

Chipper had plenty to say as he voiced his frustrations and pinned the loss on third base umpire Greg Gibson.

“I’ve never had a guy slide into my glove and be safe,” Jones said. “That’s the whole game right there. So to say, ‘We’re a little upset’ is an understatement. We played a perfect game tonight, and we got it taken from us.”

“That was top-notch baseball and it was decided by a blown call,” Jones said.

Chipper Jones also hit a shot that would have been a homerun at Shea or just about any other park, but at Citi Field he had to settle for a 410 foot out.

Before the game, Chipper revealed that he had ordered a pair of Shea Stadium seats for $869, but that they were never sent to him and he wanted to know from the Mets where they were.

“Yeah, I wrote the check, but I’m still looking for ‘em. I need to talk to somebody.”

According to Adam Rubin, Chipper was then provided with delivery tracking information which showed that they were indeed shipped to Turner Field and signed for by a Mr. Jones.

That’s hilarious! Hey Larry, I’ll sell you mine for $869,000…

Larry’s been getting the best of us for more than a decade…

It feels good to finally get the best of him.

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NL East Preview – Atlanta Braves http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/04/nl-east-preview-atlanta-braves.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/04/nl-east-preview-atlanta-braves.html/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2009 01:09:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/wordpress/?p=2743 The Atlanta Braves enter 2009 with ideas of contention and a rebuilt rotation. Gone are John Smoltz and Mike Hampton, in are Derek Lowe, Javier Vasquez, and Kenshin Kawakimi. Garret Anderson was also signed as a free-agent from the Angels.

In the outfield, Garret Anderson will start in LF, and top prospect Jordan Schafer will start in CF. Jeff Francoeur will seek to put last season’s struggles behind him and have a productive season in RF. Francoeur remains one of the better outfield arms in the NL.

The infield remains the same as the one that finished last year. Chipper “Larreee!” Jones, fresh off of his 3-year extension, will man 3B. Yunel Escobar will play SS, Kelly Johnson at 2B, and Casey Kotchman at 1B. The Braves top power hitter, Brian McCann, will set up shop behind the plate.

Clearly, the most drastic changes are the ones throwing to McCann. After depending on 3 older and injured pitchers, the Braves went out to overhaul their rotation. They paid $60 mil for Lowe, signed Kawakimi from Japan, and traded for Javier Vasquez from the White Sox. Jair Jurrjens will be the 4th starter, and the 5th is an interesting question. Tom Glavine would have filled that spot, but he will start the season on the DL. Tommy Hanson is the top pitching prospect, and trendy ROY pick, but if he takes Glavine’s spot, the rotation will be all right-handed. So that’s why Jo-Jo Reyes is going to be in the conversation all year if anyone struggles or gets injured, Reyes is the only left-hander close to starting, but he went winless in his last 13 starts last year. Rafael Soriano will set-up for closer, Mike Gonzalez.

Notes: Derek Lowe will be making his third consecutive start against the Phillies tonight, he faced them twice in the NLCS…The Braves went 21-12 in the Grapefruit League… Prospects Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward had good springs, but will start the year in the minors… The Braves will retire Greg Maddux’s number 31 this July… In February, the Braves become the first MLB team to open a baseball academy in Spain.

The Braves could be the Toronto Blue Jays of the NL East, 84+ wins, not enough to catch the top two teams in the division.

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Now for a game, Movie Star to Met 6 Degrees of Separation.

Can you find the 6 Degrees of Separation between Ashton Kutcher and Johan Santana.

Answer to follow in the Philadelphia Phillies preview.

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Mets Knock The Braves’ Chip(per) Off Their Shoulder! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2007/02/mets-knock-the-braves-chipper-off-their-shoulder.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2007/02/mets-knock-the-braves-chipper-off-their-shoulder.html/#comments Wed, 14 Feb 2007 21:43:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/wordpress/?p=1406

It is so freaking cool to finally go into Mets Spring Training camp and not have to hear about the damned Atlanta Braves and their damned streak of consecutive titles. You have no idea how much I hate that team. I will never forget the year that they clinched just before going into the last series of the season against the Mets. Bobby Cox, who I despise, decided that rather than resting his regulars for a couple of days, he would instead play them all weekend long so that he could keep the Mets from winning a Wild Card spot. The Mets needed only one win, and of course the Braves swept them and the rest, as they say, was history. But this spring the Mets are wirting their own history as the enter Port St. Lucie as the defending NL East Champs for the first time in over a decade! Did you hear that John Rocker!

Did you know that the 2006 Mets made the fewest pinch-hitting appearances in the National League, the sixth-fewest pitching changes and the sixth-fewest defensive changes. Thanks to Marty Noble for that interesting fact.

I definitely think the defensive changes will increase a great deal this year with the addition of Moises Alou and a full season of Shawn Green. Plus if Anderson Hernandez makes the team, you can be sure to see alot of him late in the game.

ESPN recently reported that Pedro Martinez’ fitness therapist had this to say about Pedro’s ongoing rehab. "Pedro will be brand-new, the Pedro of maybe ’97. It is my challenge, to build Pedro the old Pedro way. Pedro will again have the power in the fastball."

Wow, this is the second time in a month that I’ve heard such optimism regarding Pedro’s return, and this time it’s coming from the guy who’s sole purpose it is, to nurture him back to health. Can you imagine the impact Pedro would have on the rotation if he is anything close to his 90′s form when he returns after the All-Star break? I dont know if this is just another case of overblown optimism, or if there really is a chance that Pedro can come back and be as good as he was five years ago. But I do know this…  If Pedro does come back and pitches lights-out, the Mets will win 100 games in 2007. You read it here first.

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