Mets Merized Online » Collin Cowgill http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:38:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Collin Cowgill – A Mets Offensive Measuring Stick http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/colin-cowgill-a-mets-offensive-measuring-stick.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/colin-cowgill-a-mets-offensive-measuring-stick.html/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=158436 collin cowgill sage

Collin Cowgill, remember him?

Cowgill was the starting Met center fielder for a brief time last season– the opening day starter who hit a grand slam home run. I noticed a headline in the MLB Morning Line Up the other day, “Cowgill’s Walk-off in 14th Gives Halos Fifth Straight W” and wondered what was going on with the gritty Cowgill.

A check of Cowgill’s statistics proved amazing. So far in 2014 Collin Cowgill is putting together a career year. Who’da Thunk? In 162 plate appearances, Cowgill has a .289 batting average. Not bad. 16 base-on-balls have helped Cowgill amass a .369 on-base-percentage. Not too shabby. Tack on five home runs that help give Cowgill a .437 slugging percentage.

Put it all together and Cowgill’s .806 OPS bests every position player on the Met roster. Say what? That’s right, through one-third of the 2014 season former Met Colin Cowgill’s OPS bests that of any New York Met position player.

Ouch! I knew things were bad but this seems more than ridiculous.

Thoughts from Kirk C.

It’s great to see Cowgill playing well, as I’ve always liked him as a player. However, I don’t think a good 56-game stretch is enough to make me think he’s anything more than a part-time/platoon type player. I think as the season progresses you’ll see those numbers come down. His current BABIP of .388 would be more than 50 points higher than his career norm, and his 14.3% HR/FB is well above his career mark as well. So while it’s encouraging, and all together possible that the 28-year old is coming into his own, I would bet against it carrying forward. That said, it would be nice to have had the 1.7 WAR (which would be 2nd on the Mets) he’s contributed to the Angels thus far.

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Mets Had One Of The Best Under The Radar Offseasons http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-had-one-of-the-best-under-the-radar-offseasons.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-had-one-of-the-best-under-the-radar-offseasons.html/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 01:57:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139543 Mike Petriello of ESPN (Insider Subscription) writes that the Mets had one of the best under-the-radar offseasons by signing Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to upgrade their outfield defense.

For most of the first third of 2013, he writes, the corner outfielders in New York were Lucas Duda in left and Marlon Byrd in right, flanking a rotating combination of Rick AnkielCollin CowgillJordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field. That’s pretty brutal.

juan lagaresWhile Byrd was somewhat above average, he adds, Duda is so bad that he’s  accumulated a shocking minus-42 defensive runs saved (DRS) in parts of four seasons for the Mets. He was eventually replaced by Eric Young, but even he was only slightly better, with minus-7 DRS for the season.

Petriello says that things turned around when Juan Lagares took over the bulk of time in center and proved to be one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.

Well deserved praise for Lagares and the Mets by ESPN. With Lagares in center flanked by Granderson and Young in the corners, Mets pitchers should reap the benefits of one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.

After what we’ve seen over the last 4-5 years, it will be a pleasure not to hold our breaths everytime a batter sends one sailing over the infield. I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them patrolling the same outfield when spring training games begin in about five weeks.

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It Would Be A Mistake If Lagares Is The Odd Man Out http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/it-would-be-a-mistake-if-lagares-is-the-odd-man-out.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/it-would-be-a-mistake-if-lagares-is-the-odd-man-out.html/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 17:39:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135413 USATSI_7369102_154511658_lowres

It’s something that is asked of me more and more in the last three weeks; will Juan Lagares lose any playing time or even his starting job in center field in light of the Mets new outfield additions?

I’d always thought there was no chance that anyone would supplant Lagares in center, but I began to have my doubts when during a conference call with Sandy Alderson he said that Chris Young would compete with Lagares for the center field job. It was said matter of factly with no vagueness at all.

Young also made it very clear that he expects substantial playing time in center field.

I happened to catch something Adam Rubin of ESPN New York said in his Winter Meetings wrap this morning.

If Daniel Murphy stays and the Mets do not upgrade at shortstop, one interesting lineup question will be: Do the Mets have to get Eric Young Jr. into the lineup and leadoff spot? That was a topic of conversation among club officials later in the winter meetings. There have been some rumblings Juan Lagares could end up on the bench or in Triple-A, despite his Gold Glove-caliber defense.

The Mets seem very obsessed with getting Eric Young everyday playing time. While nothing in his career has shown him to be an everyday player, the front office sees him as their ideal leadoff candidate for now despite his .249 average and .310 on-base last season in 418 plate appearances. Until he arrived to the Mets, Young was a part-time player in five years for the Rockies before they placed him on waivers and the Mets traded for him.

The soon to be 29-year old certainly has the speed you desire in a leadoff man, but it may be a critical mistake to give him that role, just as it was with Collin Cowgill and Andres Torres the previous season.

It would be a shame to see such an exciting young player as the gifted 24-year old Lagares become the odd man out should the Mets roster stay as it is going into the new season. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.

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Mets Offseason ’13-’14: Anything Beats The Bargain Bin http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-offseason-13-14-anything-beats-the-bargain-bin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-offseason-13-14-anything-beats-the-bargain-bin.html/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:46:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132304 Citi Filed and Homerun Apple Beautiful Citi Field - Photo by Clayton Collier

Photo By Clayton Collier

The Mets can spend this offseason.

That has been the overall message conveyed for the past several months, however will they spend and to what degree remains the begging question.

The “Red Sox Model” has been mentioned a great deal, meaning the Amazin’s would avoid the top-tier free agents, instead finding the Shane Victorinos and Mike Napolis on the market and signing them to lesser deals. Staying true to the theme of this mid-level shopping method, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors listed Curtis Granderson, Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo and Roy Halladay among those headed to Flushing in his pre-winter predictions; all possibilities.

Those of a more optimistic and perhaps unrealistic nature float names such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo around. New York has been reported to have significant interest in the latter of those two, although as has been a consistent theme for the Aldersonian era of Mets baseball, the price tag is likely too rich for their orange-and-blue blood.

nate-mclouth-540x359

Then there are those in the mindset of MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, who in responding to a question for his regular Mets Inbox segment, lists David Murphy, Nate McLouth or even Carlos Beltran as the type of players that fans should come to expect to see considered this offseason, although Beltran would command a substantially larger contract.

But whether it’s Ellsbury or McLouth, Adam Wainwright or Jason Hammel; anything is better than the bargain-bin raiding we have witnessed out of Sandy Alderson and the Mets over the past three winters.

The plan called for severe cutting of payroll while replenishing the farm system. That is understandable; rebuild, reload and in the meantime get by with the most cost-effective free agents until the Zack Wheelers and Wilmer Flores‘ are ready to make an impact.

Now that the youth movement is in full swing, the time has come for the acquisition of some real, substantial talent; not a D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Cedeno, or Collin Cowgill, but actual major league players with the capability of being difference-makers.

latroy hawkins 2

The front office did a nice job bringing in LaTroy Hawkins and catching lightning in a bottle with Marlon Byrd last season, but if this team is legitimately looking to contend, there needs to be more than one or two solid pick-ups.

In the winter of 2011, super-agent Scott Boras stated that the Mets are typically in the “steak section” however are now found in the “fruits and nuts category” in reference to their offseason spending habits. The Amazin’s remain far from the ‘steak section’, but that doesn’t mean they are picking through pistachios either.

The Mets have the money to spend significantly, and if they are looking to put their long-followed plan into action, the time to spend is now. Whether that means a top-flight free agent or a lesser-known name; anything beats the stopgap, bargain bin, fruits-and-nuts acquisitions that have entered the mix since the rebuilding process began on October 29th, 2010.

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MMO Fan Shot: Did Not Having A Leadoff Man Hurt Mets More Than We Think? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mmo-fan-shot-did-not-having-a-leadoff-man-hurt-mets-more-than-we-think.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mmo-fan-shot-did-not-having-a-leadoff-man-hurt-mets-more-than-we-think.html/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:52:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130120 collin cowgill

Opening Day Lead-off Man, Collin Cowgill

On September 22, 2013, Rob Rogan of Mets360.com wrote an article titled, The 2013 Mets were worse than you thought.

In his article, he includes the following table to show how the Mets performed by position using fWAR:

STATS

From April 20 - May 25, the Mets record was 9-22, a .290 winning percentage.  Horrible.  Their opponents were: Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs, Reds, and Braves.  Some very good teams, some not as good, but a .290 winning percentage?

While his evidence tells us that “by position” the Mets should have a record ranking 18th in MLB, I want to make a case for the opposite.  That is, the Mets in fact were better than their final record.  As of this writing, the Mets are 73-85.  Although every team has good streaks and bad streaks, I want to point out a seven week period starting April 20 and ending June 15.

Following the improbable sweep of the Yankees, they went right back to a 3-10 nosedive, a .230 winning percentage.  These opponents featured such powerhouses as: Marlins, Nationals, Marlins, Cardinals, and Cubs.

Excluding this period, the Mets went 60-55, a .522 winning percentage.  Over a 162 game season, that’s 84 wins.  Not playoffs, but, not embarrassing either.

So, what happened from late April until middle of June?  It would be too easy to just say that it took Ike Davis to be sent down on June 10 and then the Cardinals came to town.  But, then the Cubs came after that and yet it took a pinch hit 3-run homerun by Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the ninth inning off Carlos Marmol to avoid being swept.  However, could the difference be the acquisition of Eric Young Jr. on June 18?

The close proximity of these two transactions to the turnaround may be coincidental, or they may not have any difference at all.  However, it should be pointed out that in late August with Davis back, David Wright got hurt, and Marlon Byrd was traded away, the Mets never performed this poorly.

Several factors played a role:

Daniel Murphy was quite cold during that time, dropping his batting average down to .258 on May 12, before rebounding to .304 by month’s end.

  1. Ike Davis…well, you know.
  2. Eric Young came in hitting 15-for-47 (.319) during June, with 8 runs scored, 7 runs batted in, and 3 steals.  Not bad for 11 games’ work.

Can it be said that not having a leadoff hitter hurt the Mets more than we realized?

Michael Bourn hit .333 in an injury shortened April, he hit .288 in May, and .292 in June.  However, .247, .219, and .220 in July, August, and September, respectively screams out “What happened?”

What if the Mets had him on April 1?  What do you think?

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, TexasGusCC. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Has Eric Young Jr. Done Enough To Warrant The Left Field Job In 2014? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/has-eric-young-jr-done-enough-to-warrant-the-left-field-job-in-2014.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/has-eric-young-jr-done-enough-to-warrant-the-left-field-job-in-2014.html/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:31:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128873 Eric Young Jr. has helped solidify this outfield and provided a spark offensively

Ever since we acquired Eric Young Jr. from Colorado after they placed him on waivers, I never looked at him as anything more than a utility outfielder. I saw a player who was taking advantage of his increased playing time which came as a result of flops by Collin Cowgill, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter.

Young took hold of his new opportunity and has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Mark Simon of ESPN New York summarizes his recent performance:

Eric Young Jr. continued a recent hot streak with the game-winning hit in the Mets’ lone victory in the series on Sunday. It was his second career go-ahead hit in the ninth inning or later, both of which have come with the Mets. Young is 15-for-40 (.375 batting average) with nine runs scored, six RBIs and five steals in his last 10 games. He’s in the midst of a stretch in which he’s been safe on 16 of his last 17 steal attempts.

The Mets are 36-34 in Young’s 70 games played (28-43 without him). Estimates on his value to the team using advanced stats vary from 0.9 Wins Above Replacement (via Baseball-Reference.com) to 2.0 Wins Above Replacement (via Fangraphs.com), though both are big fans of his baserunning. In fact, for the season Young rates third in the majors in Fangraphs’ baserunning metric (Ultimate Baserunning Rating or UBR), contributing 8.6 runs, 8.2 of which have come with the Mets. He has the highest UBR in the game (3.8) over the last 30 days.

Has Young’s recent play given you pause to give him a second look and ask yourself if he should be considered an everyday player for the 2014 season?

I’m still leaning toward no. What he’s doing now is playing his ass off for a job next season. Terry Collins himself challenged his team right after the All Star break and told them they were all playing for the right to an everyday job next season for the team. Is it possible that this extra motivation is playing a part in what we’re seeing from Young now?

Also, let’s not act as though we are seeing elite or even above average numbers from Young. He’s still has a negative WAR for the season – a metric that considers all things offensively and defensively.

Before his current hot streak, Young was mired in a horrendous five week slump that saw him post a .236/.288/.300 batting line in August. And let’s not ignore that for all the hoopla, he’s still only batting .266 as a Met.

Young is up for arbitration this season and should get a nice raise from his $550K salary and possibly as much as $2 million. He’s under team control so no matter what, he’s ours to keep or to trade. But my question is, does this recent spurt change your opinion of him?

For those of you who already thought of him as our 2014 left fielder, has he validated your opinion?

For those of you who didn’t see him as an everyday player, has his recent performance changed your mind?

And for those of you who were sitting on the fence, where do you sit now as this season comes to an end?

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Another Juan Of Those Posts About Lagares http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/another-juan-of-those-posts-about-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/another-juan-of-those-posts-about-lagares.html/#comments Tue, 03 Sep 2013 21:46:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128457 Who remembers John Milton Rivers?

You know, that speedy center fielder that used to run funny and played for the Yankees during their 1977 and 1978 championship years?

I guess you probably know him better by his baseball name, Mickey…

Last week, I had an interesting debate with the executive producer of SNY, when I asked him why two of his blogs posted that Daniel Huchingson was suspended for 50 games.

“It’s his given name.”

I thought that was funny being everyone else in the universe including himself and his mom refer to him as Chase Huchingson.

“Wouldn’t it be better to use his baseball name rather than his given name,” I asked?

“It doesn’t matter”, he retorted.

“By the way, what did you think of Richard’s press conference this afternoon?”

“Who’s Richard?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I was using his given name. I’m talking about Sandy.”

bugs bunny

Ain’t I a stinker?

Getting back to Mickey Rivers, I loved this quote he once said about playing center field.

“The first thing you do when you get out to center field is put up your finger and check the wind chill factor.”

I wonder if Juan Lagares does that?

juan lagares

FUTURE 20+ HOMER GUY?

Last week, I was happy to see the response Bobby Ojeda gave to the following question…

Which Met player do you expect to improve their game the most in 2014?

Ojeda responded:

“Juan Lagares. I think you’ll see much more power out of his at bats. I think that’s something this ballclub needs on a consistent basis.”

How many of you were a bit perturbed when Lagares was shifted over to right field to accommodate Matt den Dekker in center field this past weekend?

I know I was…  So what does this amazing talent do?

Not much, all he did was fire a perfect relay throw to Daniel Murphy to tag out Bryce Harper at third. The kid’s got a rocket launcher for an arm…

bryce harper

YOU’RE OUT, PUNK….

Lagares now leads the National League with 12 outfield assists and is second in the majors, despite playing about 40 less games than everyone else in the top ten. His dozen assists also tied the franchise rookie record set by Tsuyoshi Shinjo in 2001. But enough about his Gold Glove defense, I want to talk about Lagares’ bat and that comment by Ojeda.

Going into yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the Braves, Lagares had hit in three straight games and in six of his last seven dating back to August 25. Over those seven games, he was batting .370 (10-27) with four runs scored, two doubles and two RBI.

When I saw him penciled into the number five spot in the lineup yesterday, I was kind of excited. Of course that spot is usually reserved for one of your team’s top sluggers and here was Lagares getting a chance to do some damage and drive in some runs. He went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and  He’s now batting .364 over his last ten games and even drew four walks to shut-up the folks on twitter who even now still  complain about his lack of walks and aggressiveness. There’s just no pleasing some Met fans…

In 45 games since the All Star break, the 24-year old whiz-kid is batting .301 with a .448 slugging and .799 OPS. Among his 49 hits he has stroked nine doubles, three triples and three home runs while driving in 17 and scoring 19 runs. He has transformed himself at the plate and drives the ball with authority.

I love watching him come to the plate with two outs. He has this thing about never wanting to make the last out and in 99 at-bats he’s slashing at a .303/.361/.465 clip and an .816 OPS. We could use a few more players with this mindset…

We hear the term 5-tool player thrown around all the time, but for the most part those players never deliver on that promise. In Juan Lagares we have someone who is exhibiting all the hallmarks of those five tools scouts look for and the best part is that he plays for the Mets. He’s all ours and is having one of the best rookie seasons in the game.

Currently, only Carlos Gomez and Andrew McCutchen have a higher WAR than the 3.6 Lagares has among centerfielders. And among rookies that ranks third as well behind Yasiel Puig  and Nolan Arenado. I would argue that if Terry Collins had used his noodle and didn’t waste so many at-bats on Rick Ankiel, Collin Cowgill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lagares could have a WAR that would be close to or even surpass 5.0. Wow… That is David Wright terrain…

So what’s my point about all of this?

Just wanted to say that I am really excited about a lot of things for the Mets in 2014, and I can’t wait to see what Juan Lagares does for an encore next season.

Now I’m not saying we’re gonna go out and win a Wild Card next season, that has more to do with what Richard, I mean Sandy, does this offseason. But if he really wants to field a contender – a real contender – he has plenty of money to do it and plenty of trade chips to swap along with a core of great young pitching and hitting to build around. Now it’s time to fill in the gaps…

This offseason is all on him and it’s time for Sandy to finally put up or shut up…

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Harvey Speaks To Halladay, Doctor Says Surgery Can Be Avoided http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-speaks-to-halladay-doctor-says-surgery-can-be-avoided.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-speaks-to-halladay-doctor-says-surgery-can-be-avoided.html/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:30:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127935 matt harvey

Matt Harvey was in no mood to talk to reporters yesterday, telling a group of them, “I’m good” after they approached him wanting to know more about his tweet heard ’round the world. The injured ace, who is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery, was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, but tweeted Tuesday that he’ll be back on the mound next April.

I can’t say that I blame him for shunning the press after SNY and other media outlets decided to mock him for his optimism and poke fun at him all day… “Maybe he’s delusional”, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog quipped.

Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that Harvey is in good spirits after talking to other pitchers who had similar injuries and decided against surgery. That includes former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay of the Phillies.

“It just sounded similar to what I had,” said Halladay. “I was talking to Terry Collins, and he asked if I’d talk to Matt. We just talked a little bit about some of the strengthening stuff I did. It sounded to me that it’s very similar to what I had.”

“I shared that with him and what I went through. Dr. James Andrews had told me that they felt like at some point they would have to go in and repair it. That was eight years ago, and I’ve never had an issue since.”

Halladay has won 16 or more games six times since he opted against surgery and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting for six straight seasons, actually winning the second Cy Young of his career in 2010.

Collins or Harvey didn’t reveal which other pitchers they spoke to who also successfully let the UCL tear heal on its own and went on with their careers.

The reaction to Harvey’s tweet was addressed by Sandy Alderson as well yesterday, ”There is some possibility that surgery can be avoided,” Alderson said. “There is still some possibility that surgery will not occur and Matt will decide to do something else. We’re going to wait three weeks and test it, to see if he’s hurting.”

Scott Boras, who represents Matt Harvey, also agreed saying that is depends on how big or small the tear is and for now it’s too early to tell.

“When you’re talking about the term ‘partial tear,’ you’re talking about 5 percent to 95 percent. You have to get in and get the specifics and get more information medically before we can really make a determination as to what we’re dealing with. There’s a lot of swelling in there now. … I’ve had situations with no surgery.”

The one thing the drama queens, pessimists, and shock-bloggers won’t tell you, is what one sports surgeon told me yesterday after I reached out to get some outside opinions.

“The fact that there is no shooting pain and no mention of soreness or pain in the elbow itself, would indicate a very small tear. When your UCL ligament goes or ‘pops’ you know it… you feel it.”

“So far, based on what you’re telling me, all they know is that this player has a sore forearm which could be a precursor and indication of something worse or more significant like a UCL tear. But the fact his soreness is limited to just the forearm and not the elbow, bodes well for a small tear that can heal on its own with appropriate rest, rehab and strengthening exercises for the surrounding area in that elbow.”

“From what you’ve told me, the diagnosis itself sounds very preliminary and mostly inconclusive. It’s certainly not enough to say surgery is a slam dunk. Better imaging will give the doctors a clearer indication as to the extent of the tear and if it’s small enough, there’s no reason why he cannot avoid surgery and pitch to the same level as he was pre-injury.”

The Mets said no decision will be made until Harvey is re-examined in a few weeks after the swelling subsides.

Original Post 8/28

I’m officially in 2014 mode, what about you? Actually, I have been for some time now, but the Matt Harvey news and the purge that followed clinched it for me.

Speaking of Harvey, God bless that poor kid. After the news broke about his torn UCL, my heart went out to him and I tweeted him the following:

Matt Harvey responded to the overwhelming outpouring of prayers and hope with the following:

I responded back to him with yet more optimism and also a warning:

Then 30 minutes later, this from MetsBlog:

Matt Harvey will be ready April 1?

Umm, what’s that? April 1? So, does this mean he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe it means he thinks he isn’t having surgery? Or, maybe he’s delusional? I can’t wait to find out more…

Wow, delusional?

What is there to find out?

This is about a kid whose entire world was turned upside down after spending the last 18 months sitting on top of it…

He’s thanking his fans while showing some optimism, likely more for his own good than for ours…

What kind of reporting is this? Better yet what kind of show of support is this for our team’s most valuable asset and player who has thrilled like no other from the first day he burst onto the scene?

I hope to High Heaven that Matt Harvey never saw that post on MetsBlog calling him out for showing a little optimism… Calling him delusional…

This post is to commend Matt for his message of hope and wish him well as he faces one of the toughest decisions of his life…

Matt, do whatever your heart tells you to do… It’s gotten you this far already… Don’t stop now…

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How The Mets Almost Derailed The Career Of Juan Lagares http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/how-the-mets-almost-derailed-the-career-of-juan-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/how-the-mets-almost-derailed-the-career-of-juan-lagares.html/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 12:17:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127192 juan lagares

In a chat for ESPN Insider, baseball analyst Keith Law fielded a couple of questions about the Mets including one on Juan Lagares.

Keith Law: Pretty darn good defender, better than I’d ever heard (never saw him before he reached the majors). He was 10th on my Mets prospect rankings before 2012, so he was on the radar, but spent about a decade in Savannah before he finally hit enough to move up the ladder.

Joe D: Law is right in that Lagares spent a ton of time in Savannah that included one full season and parts of three others, but there is a backstory to this that needs to be told. At the age of 17, Lagares was playing shortstop for the Mets’ Dominican Summer League. The following season at 18, he was skipped three levels (GCL, Kingsport, Brooklyn) and began the year in Single-A Savannah – a jump that he was clearly not ready for, and he was the youngest player in the league. Apparently Tony Bernazard, who made that call, was bent on rushing this raw talent up the food chain as quickly as he could. It was a bad call. Lagares remained in Savannah for the entire season and batted a disappointing .210/.262/.317 in 304 plate appearances.

In 2008 and 2009, Lagares was now being tossed all over the place, making stops at the Gulf Coast League (Rookie Ball), Brooklyn (Low-A) and eventually two more stopovers in Savannah. By the time he was ready to be promoted to Advanced-A St. Lucie, the decision was made to convert him from a shortstop to an outfielder because he was being blocked by Jose Reyes. He started a fourth season at Savannah being tested at all three outfield positions where they decided he was best suited for center field.

Ironically, he’d be moved to a corner outfield position once Matt den Dekker came along, even though many outside the organization believed Lagares was the more superior center fielder.

Lagares was mishandled almost from the very beginning and it proved to be an impingement to his development and stunted his ability to have a smooth and natural progression through the system.

In 2011, Lagares finally had his breakthrough season and batted .338/.380/.494 for Advanced-A St. Lucie and then after a promotion to Double-A Binghamton he actually improved, posting a .370/.391/.512 slash in 170 plate appearances. The rest as they say, is history.

Since his promotion to the majors in April of this season, Lagares has enjoyed steady growth at the plate and has made adjustments along the way while working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

After batting .234/.255/.340 in sporadic play that included week-long stretches on the bench, Lagares has finally cemented himself as the Mets regular centerfielder and he has responded with a .294/.336/.500 showing in the second half. As an everyday player and fixture in the lineup he even earned himself a National League Player of the Week honor in late July – a month that saw him post a team best .937 OPS.

Defensively, the 24-year old centerfielder is rated among the best in the majors and leads the National League with 12 outfield assists and is second in DRS (defensive runs saved) at his position despite only logging 57 games as a starter.

The Mets will have many questions going into the 2013 offseason, but center field isn’t one of them.

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Collins Will Ignore The Numbers And Reward Davis With Starts Against Lefthanders http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/collins-will-ignore-the-numbers-and-reward-davis-with-starts-against-lefthanders.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/collins-will-ignore-the-numbers-and-reward-davis-with-starts-against-lefthanders.html/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:43:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127015 ike davis

Looks like what I was afraid would happen is gonna happen…

Terry Collins told reporters last night that he is going to reward Ike Davis for raising his average above the Mendoza Line by putting him against lefty starter beginning tonight against Hyun-jin Ryu or on Wednesday against Chris Capuano.

Since his promotion, Davis’s batting average had climbed from .161 to .205. Of course what that doesn’t telly you is that Davis hasn’t homered in his last 110 plate appearances since returning from Las Vegas.

Also, as one reader pointed out to me yesterday, what Ike Davis is doing right now is completely unsustainable based on his .667 BABIP in August and .414 BABIP since his promotion. In other words, luck has played a huge part in his .310 batting average and if you were to normalize it, Davis isn’t really hitting any better than he was before he got sent down. But he looks good doing it…

Additionally, he has lost all semblance of the aggressive power hitter he once was and has transformed himself into David Magadan Lite.

I guess that Terry Collins let the SNY booth into his ears and he will ignore the fact that the first baseman has a .153/.206/.224 batting line against left-handers…

Terry seems to love rewarding veterans while punishing rookies with a joy ride on the bench after a great game or hot streak… This is what he does…. This is how he manages…

Hey Satin… Take your .386 average against left-handers and get your ass on the bench… I’m gonna go with Ike…

Original Post

After going 1-for-2 with three walks in yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks, Ike Davis is batting .300 with a .467 on-base since being recalled from a three week exile in Las Vegas.

Since the calendar turned to August, he’s been even better batting .500 with 14 walks, 10 hits and an eye-popping .706 on-base percentage in ten games. There’s a problem though… Where’s the beef? Where’s the power? Where’s the home runs? His .317 slugging percentage this season is right up there with such notable sluggers as Omar Quintanilla, Collin Cowgill and Mike Baxter.

Has this recent hot streak put himself back into the conversation of who should be our first baseman in 2014?

You see, I’ve got to be honest… It’s going to take a lot more for me to forget that atrocious .510 OPS Ike posted before he packed his sunscreen and left for the Nevada desert. I just can’t get that Ike Davis out of my head just yet.

Has he made some huge strides? Of course he has, there’s no denying it. But I’m still not convinced he’s suddenly back to being the Mets first baseman of the future.

Listening to Gary Cohen babble on about reinstating Ike Davis as the everyday first baseman made my ears hurt on Sunday. Are we just supposed to ignore the fact he has a .153/.206/.224 batting line against left-handers?

Does Cohen not realize that part of the reason that Davis looks so good now is because he’s only starting against right-handed pitching? You do know that, right?

Even Terry Collins flinched when one of the beat writers asked him if Davis has done enough to earn his everyday job back.

“When we start to see he’s taking good swings, aggressive swings, pretty much the same approach he does with righties in certain counts to do some damage, then we’ll do it,” Collins said.

“A lot of it’s tied up in that I am sitting here and looking at these numbers. When Josh Satin has a batting average against lefties that starts with a four, it’s pretty impressive.”

That might be the smartest thing Terry Collins has ever said as Mets manager.

So no, I’m not ready to proclaim Ike Davis the first baseman of the future based on what I’m seeing now. I want my first baseman to be an everyday player and I am not convinced that Davis will ever be that again. He never really was to begin with.

Cholula Hot Sauce be damned, but if I’m Sandy Alderson I tell everyone that Davis is available and I’ll take the first damn offer that comes along.

Six homers and 12 doubles in 82 games is simply not going to cut it with me. With 47 games left to the season he’ll likely finish the year with ten home runs if he’s lucky. His fall from grace was a very hard one. But a change of scenery is now in order.

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MMO Fan Shot: I’ve Had Enough of Collins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-fan-shot-ive-had-enough-of-collins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-fan-shot-ive-had-enough-of-collins.html/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 15:03:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126739 terry collins

A Mets team source told Andy Martino of the Daily News, that provided the Mets don’t collapse down the stretch of the season, there’s a good possibility Terry Collins could be retained beyond 2013,

“We can’t have a collapse, and Terry knows that. Otherwise, at the end of season, something good might happen,” the source told Martino.

With that bit of news this morning as my intro, here is my Fan Shot on the matter of Terry Collins being retained as manager for next season and beyond.

Let us start by understanding how Collins became the manager of the New York Mets.

In 2010, Fred Wilpon went to Bud Selig for advice and assistance on how to save his ownership of the Mets. Wilpon had a high payroll and financial problems, and needed a loan from MLB to keep the Mets solvent. At the time, his investments were struggling and his credit lines were dry. Selig wanted to help a friendly owner. He gave a loan and some advice. That advice was to hire Sandy Alderson to clean up the finances of the organization.

Sandy Alderson was working as an adviser to Bud Selig, and had helped MLB in negotiations with the umpires’ union in his first tenure in the commissioner’s office in the early 2000s. Alderson is a lawyer, quite smart, and known for not being risky when it comes to spending money. He had built the Oakland A’s into winners in the 1980s and took over as CEO of the San Diego Padres in 2005, winning divisions his first two years.

Upon hiring Sandy Alderson to be the General Manager following the 2010 season, Fred Wilpon also recommended that Alderson “consider” Terry Collins as the next Mets manager. Collins had been hired in early 2010 to be a minor-league player adviser for the Mets, and had previous MLB managerial experience, but couldn’t get a job. He was brought to Wilpon’s attention by Sandy Koufax his lifelong friend. Koufax had met Collins in 1982 with the Dodgers, and in February 2011 said of Collins: “He’s always been a good baseball man. He’s organized. He’s devoted. He’s passionate. And he’s just a good guy.”

On the day before the all-star game at Citi Field, Wilpon said that Collins was doing a great job considering what he had to work with, and he would remain as the Mets manager for the duration of the year. Considering what he had to work with? This, somehow, seems like an odd choice of words for an owner to say about his own product, but it echoed his son Jeff’’s sentiments as told to Mariano Rivera regarding the possibility of the Mets getting to the World Series to play the Yankees when the Yankees were in first place in May. So, these guys both feel the team sucks, but they want us to buy tickets and merchandise, and want to keep Marlon Byrd to carry the momentum? Really??

To begin the Fan Shot, let me start with excerpts from two postings following another loss to the suddenly hot and talented lineup of the Kansas City Royals:

86Mets

So for Collins to publicly criticize Wheeler while he’s still refining his game is over the top and uncalled for when the coaching staff is obviously still working with him. Collins has no patience with young players, which has been demonstrated numerous times this season alone. This is not the man you want developing young players because he won’t play them enough for them to really learn to play at that level (unless he’s forced to play them for lack of a veteran to plug in there).

Tlagee

Hiring Sandy came from Selig. Sandy’s job was not to design the team for the future, rather it was to save the present team for Fred. He was told to seriously slash payroll. Of course, when you have trading chips such as the current Cy Young winner and a possible future hall of fame outfielder you are going to get prospects. But that was result of cutting.
Today, right now, we have a sub-par team with a small market payroll and a lack of stud position players in the minors to replace anyone not hitting or injured. That is unacceptable after Sandy’s three off seasons and letting go players such as Reyes. He traded -got prospects – and never replaced the players he traded.

Which leads us back to Collins.

Who knows – under a different GM, with better players, he might be a success. I find it hard to determine.

First, let’s look at what a manger is supposed to do as described:

In Oxford: a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization.

In Wikipedia: In baseball, the manager is an individual who is responsible for matters of team strategy on the field and team leadership. The manager chooses the batting order and starting pitcher before each game, and makes substitutions throughout the game – among the most significant being those decisions regarding when to bring in a relief pitcher. How much control a manager takes in a game’s strategy varies from manager to manager and from game to game. Some managers control pitch selection,defensive positioning, decisions to bunt, steal, pitch out, etc., while others designate an assistant coach or a player (often the catcher) to make some or all of these decisions. The manager’s responsibilities normally are limited to in-game decisions, with off-the-field and roster management decisions falling to the team’s general manager.

terry collins

To get to the chase, my point is to show that even though Collins has faults, and is a good guy, he’s a bad manager.

Let’s go through some of the reasons:

Lack of Fundamentals

The team has never been fundamentally sound. As I watched the Oakland A’s play one night, I was stunned. Every play was made exactly as it should be. They threw to the right base, cut-offs were fielded, bunts were executed. Last week I noted how in successive plays Ike Davis was out of position to field cut off throws from the outfield. Further, three players tried to steal third this year (to my recalling: Baxter, Murphy, and Valdespin) with two outs, but only Valdespin got ripped openly. Also, remember when Ike Davis didn’t try for the hit down the line that he thought was foul but the umpire called fair? These things must not happen on a team of players of which just about all are trying to make a name for themselves in the majors.

Player Development (or lack thereof)

Collins, as has been discussed in great detail, favors veterans over youngsters. This makes sense if your veterans are “stars” and the expectation of performance is great, however, Collins prefers veterans even that aren’t performing. Collins is a big fan of platooning young players, but his “veterans” play everyday. How does a youngster learn, if he’s not allowed to play? He benched Tejada for hitting too many fly balls but played Davis every day when he was swinging and missing everything.

Ripping the Paying Customers

In May, Collins was asked if he was aware of the fans feelings regarding younger players; his response was “I don’t answer to fans. They don’t play this game. They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate at this level”, and that he has been in baseball 42 years, so he has nothing to answer to.

Benching Players After Great Performance or Game-Winning Hit

In many sports, coaches “play the hot hand”. It’s also true in baseball, as players that do something special are usually rewarded with more playing time than those who don’t. Not in Collins’ world. When Valdespin hit a game winning grand slam, he sat for three games while the team was struggling to score. When Lagares hit a game winning three run homerun, he sat for six games waiting for the next left handed pitcher while the starter Ankiel went oh-for-the week. When Andrew Brown hit a game winning double in extra innings to beat Arizona, he didn’t play for five games. On a team of which EVERYONE is fighting for a job, there must be no favorites.

Double Standard For Veterans and Rookies

We’ve heard all the excuses for why veteran players make a mistake, but we haven’t heard any for younger players. Just today on WFAN, Evan Roberts threw Collins a meat ball and Collins still swung and missed. Roberts asked him if he felt the fielding mistakes on Sunday cost Wheeler in the fifth inning. Rather than saying that it made his job harder or something kind, Collins adamantly said no. As if a young pitcher, or even an older pitcher, having to get five or six outs in one inning is no big deal in MLB.

Bullpen Management

Don’t get me started. Collins treats relievers like dogs treat fire hydrants. Besides using four relievers to get one out in a game that he was up by four runs in the eighth (Harvey’s game against the Nationals) and he lost it, Hefner was removed after 83 pitches with a spent bullpen and double headers to follow and again, they lost it. Collins brought in Atchinson to face a right-handed batter in the ninth inning of a game against the Phillies, knowing Howard was holding a bat waiting for the righty. Scott Rice hadn’t pitched yet in this game. Howard’s hit beat the Mets.

Putting Players in Prolonged Slumps in Key Lineup Spots

Earlier this year, the lineup consistently featured non-producing players in prime hitting positions. Furthermore, upon removing Davis from the lineup and moving Buck down in the lineup in June did the Mets offense started to roll. Coincidence? Doubt it. Also, Murphy has been terrible getting on base this year. In late July, his OBP was .310. He should not have been hitting second until that point. He swings at pitches with all arms and mostly hits the ball in the air to left center. Collins termed his play before the all-star break as tired, but we didn’t see any rest for a player that was slumping anyways. Further, under this heading we will put his overuse of John Buck; Recker started just three games in the month of May.

Saying One Thing and Doing Another

Open competition in spring training and using Valdespin in center exclusively, but on opening day his defense wasn’t good enough. Saying Lagares is their best defensive centerfielder then, the next two days using Collin Cowgill there two days in a row as a defensive replacement and costing them two wins: One when Howard’s ball went over his head and landed on the warning track, and the next day when Cowgill broke back on a short fly and it landed in front of him for a two run single in the ninth, losing that game, too. That’s just one of many…

Name the last hit and run you remember the Mets putting on; name any three attempts this year. On a team that is offensively challenged, shouldn’t we see more plays being put on?

Not playing hot hitters like Satin, Nieuwenhuis, or Brown when they first came up but rather allowing them to sit for four days to a week before inserting them in the lineup. The Mets were fortunate that Satin was able to pick up where he left off at AAA after sitting so long while the Mets were thinking about sending Davis down. Then, after Satin hits .386 at the MLB level, they replace him with Davis who hit .293 at the AAA level. It’s just one thing after another…

In my first day at Brooklyn College, my economics professor, Prof Goldstein said the following: “80% of the people have their job not because of what they know, but who they know.” Twenty-five years later, I agree with him everyday.

It’s not easy for me to ask that Collins be fired right now, but he should be given another position within the organization and someone who knows how to accentuate the assets of the team should be brought in. Forget the extension. If I were running the Mets, I would try one of my coaches for the rest of the year to see how things look and what difference it would make.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Kostas Livaditis (TexasGusCC). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 18,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Juan Lagares: The Future Is Here http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/juan-lagares-the-future-is-here.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/juan-lagares-the-future-is-here.html/#comments Wed, 07 Aug 2013 15:16:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126671 future stars lagares

Considering how many years I have been extolling the virtues of Juan Lagares, I found it almost embarrassing this morning when I discovered that I never designed a custom graphic for him in all this time. Can you ever forgive me Don Juan?

This talented prospect whose combination of power, speed and defense has seduced me since I first laid eyes on him at Binghamton, had all five of his tools on full display as he single-handedly defeated the Colorado Rockies 3-2. In addition to another spectacular defensive grab to deny the Rockies, Don Juan drove in all three of the Met runs including the go ahead RBI in the bottom of the eight inning as he turned on his afterburners to reach first base as Eric Young scored what would be the winning run. Wow!

I still recall more than half the Met fans on Twitter wanting him sent down because he was batting .170 after a month on the team and 50 or so sporadic at-bats courtesy of his clueless manager. “Sending Lagares down before getting a months shot at everyday job would be criminal”, I said. “He’s the best centerfielder on the team and in the entire organization, and he can hit.”

You all know I’ve been calling Lagares the center fielder of the future since the Winter, but I thought it was time to ask a few of our writers at MetsMinors.net what they thought of when I posed these questions to them.

I have a question for all of you…

Should Juan Lagares be our 2014 Opening Day everyday centerfielder? Assume the season ended today and all you have to go by is what he’s done so far. 

Matt Musico – If the season ended today, I think Lagares deserves to be on the Opening Day roster, but not in the everyday lineup. I can see him as being a very valuable fourth outfielder if he embraces the role. Now, I only say this because if the season ended today, Eric Young, Jr. would be in my starting outfield. If New York decides EY is not part of the answer, then Lagares should be in the lineup every day to provide defense and some element of speed. I’m not saying EY is just as good as Lagares is defensively (he’s not, by far), but there needs to be some form of speed out there. If it’s not Young, I’d rather get younger with Juan instead of overpay for someone like Choo or Ellsbury.

Prince Rahman – I would not give Lagares the job next season. In fact, I would try to use him in a trade package along with Montero, Mazzoni, and others to get CarGo. Why? This is because I simply don’t think Lagares will hit for enough power and display enough speed for my taste. I think he compares favorably to Gerardo Parra: Elite defense and good hitting bat. There is nothing wrong with Parra. In fact: Parra is GREAT player. However, I just don’t think Lagares’ tools play well at Citi Field. He has pop but not enough to hit more than 10 homers annually. He has speed but does not use it on the base paths. I feel that Curtis Granderson would fit in very well with the Mets. He has speed and is left handed. People say he doesn’t have “true” power. This simply isn’t true as he hit 30 HRs in a pitchers park like Comerica. You can use Lagares to sweeten the pot for CarGo, sign Granderson to play CF, and sign Corey Hart to play RF (on the cheap). Your outfield would be CarGo/Grandy/Hart. But hey: what do I know? I’m not the GM! :)

Teddy Klein – Lagares should be starting CF until he proves he can’t. He’s a righty version of Card’s Jon Jay, but better. When he was signed, they thought he would be better than Jose Reyes, but Reyes developed too well to be denied.

David Conde – Okay the question that I must think about is, is there anyone else that can play CF for the Mets and make an impact, if the season ended today, and the answer I say is no. Can he really be as consistent as we would hope, honestly I am still not sure. But his defense and the way he covers ground in center field and his arm, is one that unless we can land a power center fielder like an Elsbury, I don’t see anyone else that can play the position within our farm system and be an impact player. So if the season ended today, in my mind he would be the Starting CF for 2014. He is young and he can still get better with the bat, and you can see his confidence from playing everyday, so barring any big moves this winter, he is my man for the job.

Kirk Cahill – If the Mets can add some offense at the corner outfield spots I don’t see any reason why Lagares can’t be our centerfielder next season. He’s never going to be a high on-base guy, but his at bats have been improving. I think he’ll develop some power. So when you factor in his defense, he’s capable of being a solid player. I’m a big proponent of defense up the middle.

Okay, so there doesn’t seem to be as much enthusiasm for The Don as I had hoped. Looks like me and Lagares still have a lot of people we need to convince. How about we take a look at his splits this season and notice the trend as his playing time increased:

  • April – 14 PA, .083/.214/.083/.298
  • May – 36 PA, .171/.171/.314/.468
  • June – 72 PA, .271/.282/.386/.667
  • July – 77 PA, .353/.408/.529/.937

Luck? Or a player on a learning curve and making adjustments as Terry Collins alluded to at the beginning of this current homestand? I say it’s the latter…

In the last six weeks he has raised his batting average over 100 points and his OPS by over 250 points. Over the last 28 games including last night, Lagares is batting .353 with a .400 on-base to which Gary Cohen sighed and said, “I wish he’d walk more.” Seriously? The guy provided the only offense in the entire game and he’s complaining? Tell you what Gary, let’s bring back Collin Cowgill who you couldn’t stop raving about for three weeks.

Anyway… I remember how Paul DePodesta raved about Lagares before the season started and he called him one of the players he expected to breakthrough in 2013. I’ll take it one step further and call this more than just a breakthrough. Lagares owns that center field job and I think Sandy Alderson is smart enough to realize that as well.

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Eric Young Is Drawing Rave Reviews As A Met, But Is It Sustainable? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/eric-young-is-drawing-rave-reviews-as-a-met-but-is-it-sustainable.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/eric-young-is-drawing-rave-reviews-as-a-met-but-is-it-sustainable.html/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:34:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124621 eric young points

Terry Collins had some high praise for Eric Young Jr. yesterday, in a conversation with the New York Post.

“The energy level has been raised since we got E.Y. and called up some guys from the minor leagues,” Collins said. “Andres Torres did a nice job last year when he wasn’t hurt, but certainly this year Young has made a big difference in our lineup.”

And even right fielder Marlon Byrd is happy to have Young patrolling the outfield with him and batting at the top of the order. “He’s the prototypical leadoff guy,” Byrd said. “I’m just so glad we have him over here.”

Ever since being acquired for starting pitcher Collin McHugh, Eric Young Jr. has been a spark plug at the top of the Mets lineup. He is hitting for a high average, and he has jolted the top of the Mets lineup with speed. Young’s speed has also made a difference defensively since he is a vast upgrade over the slow-footed Lucas Duda in left field. There is no denying that Young has been terrific so far, but is his performance sustainable?

There are a number of factors that make me skeptical about Young’s hot start. Before being traded to the Mets this year, Young was in the midst of an atrocious season. He was only hitting .240, with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 22 RS, 8 SB’s (4 CS’s) and 11 BB’s for Colorado in 57 games. In fact, he was performing so poorly that Colorado designated him for assignment.

Not only did Young struggle to produce offensively this year with Colorado, he struggled to produce his entire career. In 776 at bats with Colorado, Young has possessed .260/.329/.342 slash line with only 6 home runs and only 40 RBI. His numbers were also aided by an extreme hitter’s park in Coors field. In games played on the road, Young has hit under .230 in his career. It’s also important to note that Young isn’t a prospect that had struggled. He is 28 years old, which is considered the prime of a player’s career.

Young has been exciting to watch so far, but his success has come in a very limited amount of playing time. Just in this season alone, there have been many instances of players who have started their Met’s career s great like Young, but quickly faded away. John Buck, Collin Cowgill and Rick Ankiel also started their Mets career on fire like Young, but now Cowgill and Ankiel are no longer in the organization and Buck is struggling to maintain his average over the Mendoza line. How is Young’s great start any different from theirs?

Young’s 776 at bats with Colorado tell us more about the player he is than 93 at bats with the Mets. I think when all these facts are considered, it is unlikely that Young sustains his success. Even though Young has been a great addition to the team so far, I believe his success will be short lived.

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Mets Lead Majors With 90 Good Fielding Plays In Last 30 Days http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-lead-majors-with-90-good-fielding-plays-in-last-30-days.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-lead-majors-with-90-good-fielding-plays-in-last-30-days.html/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 14:15:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124267 Omar Quintanilla

Last night, just before the game, Mark Simon tweeted that in the last 30 days, the Mets led MLB with 90 Good Fielding Plays.

Not surprising to see David Wright and Omar Quintanilla leading the pack here…

The Mets had a rough start to the season defensively. The usually reliable Ike Davis was taking his slump to the field with him, Ruben Tejada was more erratic then ever, and Collin Cowgill and Lucas Duda didn’t take so well after being named everyday starters in left field and center field.

The Mets were in the top five in errors and the bottom five in fielding percentage through the end of May. Neither metric is as highly regarded as they once were in determining a team’s fielding prowess, but I couldn’t find what their UZR was broken down by month. The Mets have a -14.3 UZR so far this season which ranks 24th in the majors.

juan lagares

That said, the Mets have made great strides with Omar Quintanilla and Juan Lagares both making significant defensive contributions in extended play, and also some surprisingly solid fielding from Marlon Byrd in right field. Thanks to them, the Mets now rank 19th in fielding percentage and errors, both very notable improvements.

Now here’s the real kicker… While Juan Lagares leads the team in with a 4.3 UZR this season, the much improved Daniel Murphy is second with a 3.4 UZR. Keep in mind this metric is not very reliable in small sample sizes, but I thought I would throw that in.

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Lagares Is Batting .291 In June, Covering Lots Of Ground In Center Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/lagares-is-batting-291-in-june-covering-lots-of-ground-in-center-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/lagares-is-batting-291-in-june-covering-lots-of-ground-in-center-field.html/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:09:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123163 Juan Lagares

Juan Lagares is covering lots of ground in center field and Mark Simon of ESPN New York has the clear and convincing evidence of just how much better Lagares has been over every other Mets center fielder.

“The average center fielder makes an ‘out of zone’ catch every 14 innings,” he says. “Juan Lagares has made one every seven innings, basically amounting to one per game.”

“Those catches add to Lagares’ value, though they’ve come at a cost of letting some balls drop in within his zones. The net payoff has been good, particularly when you factor in that he’s also thrown out four baserunners attempting to take an extra base. And the Mets are adjusting to the player they have.”

juan lagares

“It changes a lot when you’ve got a center fielder who can go get it in center field.” ~ Terry Collins

When we released our Top 25 Mets Prospects in January I ranked Lagares No. 21 which agitated some prospect aficionados. He was left off many a list, but in Lagares I always saw a tremendous toolsy athlete who could hit and pick it in the outfield. I loved this particular gem:

You need to really know the system to start doing top 25. Putting Lagaras anywhere on it speaks volumes. Having him at 21 is nuts. He’s just not a good outfield prospect. He’s not fast enough for center and doesn’t have enough power for a corner outfield spot.

juan lagares

On a few occasions before his promotion I wrote how some in the organization told me that they felt Lagares was better than Matt den Dekker in center field. Any questions?

After being jerked around by Terry Collins and left to squander on the bench, many were willing to give up on him when Lagares ended May with a .214 average in very sporadic play. When it finally dawned on Collins that Lagares might be his best defensive and offensive center fielder, he started playing him more regularly in June and the kid responded and is now batting .291 with a .418 OPS in 55 at-bats so far this month. A far cry from what we saw in Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and others.

Keep playing Lagares, Terry… We may have another keeper here….

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Mets Trade Collin Cowgill To Angels For Kyle Johnson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-trade-collin-cowgill-to-angels-for-kyle-johnson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-trade-collin-cowgill-to-angels-for-kyle-johnson.html/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 22:53:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123106 collin cowgillThe Mets have traded Collin Cowgill to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league right fielder Kyle Johnson.

Johnson, 23, was batting .310 with with a .414 on base and had 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 30 RBI in 67 games for Single-A Burlington. He also had 30 stolen bases.

The right-handed hitting outfielder was drafted in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft from Washington State University. He will be assigned to Low-A Savannah.

Cowgill, 27, was designated for assignment after batting .173/.189/.327 in 53 plate appearances for the Mets this season.

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The Mets Weekly 6/24: How About Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard For Starters? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-mets-weekly-624-how-about-harvey-wheeler-and-syndergaard-for-starters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-mets-weekly-624-how-about-harvey-wheeler-and-syndergaard-for-starters.html/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:57:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122983 Collin Cowgill is making  gritty fashionable again for the Mets.

Chris and Jenson bring you another edition of The Mets Weekly. In this episode they recap the week that was against the Braves and Phillies while weighing in on the Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Travis d’Arnaud and Collin Cowgill storylines.

Follow Chris and Jenson on Twitter at @TheMetsWeekly and you can subscribe to them on their YouTube channel at youtube.com/themetsweekly.

wheeler harvey

“See that guy over there? They call him Cowgill. He’s a real bad-ass.”

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Mets Acquire Eric Young Jr. For Collin McHugh, DFA Cowgill and Promote Brown http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-acquire-eric-young-jr-for-collin-mchugh-dfa-cowgill-and-promote-brown.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-acquire-eric-young-jr-for-collin-mchugh-dfa-cowgill-and-promote-brown.html/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 03:41:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122475 eric young apThe Mets announced that they have acquired outfielder Eric Young Jr. from Colorado for RHP Collin McHugh.

On Wednesday, the Rockies designated Young for assignment giving them 10 days to trade him.

Young, 28, hit just .261 with a .671 OPS in 313 career games and is a .211 career hitter away from Coors Field.

Young was hitting .246 on the season with one home run and eight stolen bases, but his defense was the subject of plenty of scrutiny over the course of his time with the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Mets VP Jay Horwitz also announced that OF Andrew Brown is on his way to join the Mets. To make room for Brown, the Mets have designated Collin Cowgill for assignment.

 

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The Worst Baseball On The Planet http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-worst-baseball-on-the-planet.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-worst-baseball-on-the-planet.html/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 14:28:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121614 david wright

Bill Madden of the Daily News with the sobering reality most Met fans probably don’t want to hear:

There were 21,747 gluttons for punishment at Citi Field Sunday for the conclusion of another Mets-Marlins series, which now qualify for the worst baseball on the planet. Not satisfied with having tortured their fans for 20 innings of record-tying ineptitude the day before, the Mets lost in similar fashion — just not so long in doing it — and when it was over, when they had gone another 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, on top of the 0-for-19 the day before that equaled the worst performance of clutch hitting by a team in the last 50 years, and gotten one infield hit after David Wright’s two-run double in the third inning, it was as if Alderson and Collins couldn’t wait another minute to start shipping the bums out of here.

I was asked what I thought about the moves and as I asserted in my report on it yesterday this won’t change anything in Flushing.

This is not the cavalry coming and it’s more like bringing in a few pallbearers to put the 2013 season to rest. None of the players coming in can be classified as upgrades.

As Madden also pointed out in his article, the problem is, the changes made Sunday are all internal changes and, internally, the Mets don’t have any players at Triple-A who are much better than the ones they’re sending out.

Since the end of last season I’ve been harping on the Mets needing to bring in at least one position player from the outside for the rebuild process to work. The Mets have no outfielders that are close or that you would call a keeper. Even top pick Brandon Nimmo is still in A-Ball since being drafted in 2011 and the word is that’s exactly where he will stay for the rest of this season. Gavin Cecchini is still in extended spring training and awaiting short season baseball to begin. The Mets took another position player in last week’s draft in Dominic Smith and he’ll be at least 4-5 years away – with all due respect to his mother who has much higher aspirations. Such is the love of a mother.

Anyone who thinks we can be a playoff contender on the strength of pitching alone and a purely homegrown roster is misguided, misinformed and are clueless as to the dearth of position players in our system even after three Sandy Alderson drafts.

The San Francisco Giants wouldn’t have won a World Series without Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence. The St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t have a 2011 World Series banner without Matt Holliday‘s seven year mega-deal and wouldn’t be the best team in baseball today without giving Carlos Beltran $13 million a season.  No need for me to mention the 2009 Yankees, the 2008 Phillies, and the 2007 Red Sox, and how all three won their World Series, right?

It takes quality to get quality. We don’t get Zack Wheeler if lets say a player like Collin Cowgill or Andres Torres was the return. It took an all star caliber talent like Carlos Beltran to land him. It took a reigning Cy Young winner to bring in Travis d’Arnaud. You don’t get something for nothing…

It’s going to take a Zack Wheeler or someone like him to bring back the legitimate bat in the outfield that this team so desperately needs. Get that into your heads.

(Photo Credit: Ron Antonelli)

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Mets To Promote Josh Satin, Collin Cowgill, Josh Edgin To Replace Davis, Baxter And Carson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-to-promote-josh-satin-collin-cowgill-josh-edgin-to-replace-davis-baxter-and-carson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mets-to-promote-josh-satin-collin-cowgill-josh-edgin-to-replace-davis-baxter-and-carson.html/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:08:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121544 ike-davis

Updated by Satish Ram at 7:45 PM:

Adam Rubin is reporting that first baseman Josh Satin, center fielder Collin Cowgill and lefthanded reliever Josh Edgin will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson who were all optioned to Triple-A after today’s 8-4 loss to the Marlins.

Satin will be added to the 40-man roster to fill the empty spot left when Rick Ankiel was released yesterday.

That means within the last 24 hours, Satin, Cowgill, Edgin and Nieuwenhuis were all added to the MLB roster.

Let’s go youth movement!

Thoughts from Joe D.

No surprise here. As I speculated earlier there was no chance that anyone was coming from Double-A Binghamton and that these three were your likely suspects.

Of the three, the only one I look forward to watching is Josh Satin who I’ve been calling for since mid-April. I can assure you he will outproduce Ike Davis simply because he’s a more disciplined hitter than Ike was and he knows how to get on base.

I don’t foresee much success for Cowgill or Edgin unfortunately, and I’m not sure any of this will change anything or have a significant impact on the standings.

Original Post

Sandy Alderson has announced that the Mets have optioned Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson to Triple-A Las Vegas following today’s brutal 8-4 loss to the Marlins.

“At some point you just have to say to yourself this is not in his best interest,” Sandy Alderson said about Davis’ demotion. “I was one of his biggest supporters. I just felt at some point we’ve got to get him out of here. Hopefully he’ll be back in a short period of time. But he needs to go there. He needs to be able to play every day. He needs to be able to work on his swing without worrying necessarily about the outcome. We think it’s in his best interest.”

“It’s tough to sit through 30 innings and score not even a handful of runs,” Alderson said. “It’s been frustrating for everybody. I’m sure it’s frustrating for the fans, too. But we’ve got an off-day tomorrow and we’ve got to pick it up on Tuesday.”

Corresponding moves are expected to all come from Triple-A Las Vegas, but will not be announced until Monday. If true that means no Jack leathersich or Robert Carson.

David Wright (courtesy of ESPN New York) added this:

“When you’re struggling the way we’re struggling, changes come — whether you like it or not,” Wright said. “That’s the name of the game. I think what every player, what every front office, what every coach strives for is consistency. But you can’t have consistency when you are a dozen or so games under .500.”

“You keep getting asked about the Marlins and teams you should beat,” Wright said. “I think I said it the other day: Teams are probably looking at us that way, where you’ve got to come in here and beat us. So we can’t look at any other team that way.”

This team is an absolute joke right now. This should have been done a month ago when the season was still relevant, not now when they are floundering and playing worse baseball than the Miami Marlins – if that is at all possible.

These moves come a day after Rick Ankiel was released and let’s call this what it is – an act of desperation by the front office..

Davis has been in a season-long funk that has suffocated the offense and sucked the life out of it. He will not be replaced at first base by Lucas Duda or Justin Turner – so look for Josh Satin to get the call.

This could also open the door for Wilmer Flores, but unless he’s given an everyday job, I doubt it. Look for either Andrew Brown or Collin Cowgill to replace Baxter. Both players have already disappointed this season with the Mets forcing their own demotions to Triple-A, but lets face it folks – the cupboard is bare.

Will Josh Edgin replace Carson? Probably, but he’s had a rough go of it in Binghamton and Vegas since being demoted himself. Edgin was one of the first relievers to get axed from Sandy’s 2013 bullpen.

This team sucks right now… We’ve gone from bad to worse… They can’t do anything right…

I will keep updating this post with more of my thoughts throughout the night…

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It Is Time For Jack Leathersich http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/it-is-time-for-jack-leathersich.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/it-is-time-for-jack-leathersich.html/#comments Sun, 09 Jun 2013 22:31:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121570 Credit: Gordon Donovan

Credit: Gordon Donovan

It’s time.  Losing seven out of our last eight to the Miami Marlins is proof enough.  Measured changes at Citi Field are long overdue. Binghamton’s southpaw reliever Jack Leathersich has been nothing short of dominant this season — and his ascent to the show should be at the top of a long list of personnel changes.

As a B-Met fan who attends Binghamton games regularly, I would hate to see Leathersich go. He is a joy to watch pitch in person and never fails to deliver. Yet, player development is the primary purpose of the minor leagues, and Leathersich has proven he has electric stuff.  There is nothing left for Leathersich to prove in Binghamton and with the major league team playing AAA like ball in Flushing, there is much to gain in jumping Leathersich from Binghamton to the big club.

Leathersich has been lights out in Binghamton.  The kid has a mid 90′s fastball, above average curve and a funky windup that can be deceptive for opposing hitters.  Leathersich’s Eastern League strikeout numbers are dazzling.  In 28 innings, the B-Met pitcher has fanned 53 batters, nearly two per inning. He has held opposing hitters, as a whole, to a miniscule .170 average.

In late May, Rob Castellano of SB Nation reported Leathersich’s strikeout percentage was a full 20% higher than the average in the Eastern League. Leathersich misses bats — this is something I can validate from my visits to NYSEG Stadium this spring. He is also improving his command, as he has walked only three batters in his last twelve innings, after he walked ten in his first 13.0 to begin the season.

Sandy Alderson just reported that Robert Carson is headed back to Triple-A.  At the press conference Alderson reported the Mets will be looking for a second left-handed arm to offer support to Scott Rice in the bullpen.  The numbers are literally screaming at Alderson to make the call for Leathersich.  His 1.61 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and those crazy strikeout numbers all build a case for adding Leathersich to the major league team.  Elevating Leathersich now provides the Mets adequate time to conduct a fair evaluation to help determine if the lefty reliever should be part of the team’s overall improvement plan.

Thoughts From Satish R. 

You know what? Leather Rocket would be better served to pitch in Flushing than with the Las Vegas team at this point and he is absolutely dominating AA. He is the most advanced homegrown relief pitcher in our system right now and has recently drawn rave reviews, including a comparison to Billy Wagner from our own Joe D.

The only issue here is that Leathersich is not only the 40-man roster, and the Mets have only one open spot. My original idea that was the Mets would promote Josh Satin and Collin Cowgill for Ike Davis and Mike Baxter, respectively. Satin would take up a new spot on the 40-man and that would likely leave Josh Edgin as the man in line to be promoted for Robert Carson. That being said, the Mets could drop Carson from the 40-man and promote Leathersich with Satin — or promote Andrew Brown over Satin and then take Leathersich…

Bottom line? Keep your eyes and ears open.

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