Mets Merized Online » Cy Young http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:34:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 DeGrom Feels Great, Believes Mets Rotation Could Be Very Special http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jacob-degrom-excited-to-be-part-of-a-potentially-historic-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jacob-degrom-excited-to-be-part-of-a-potentially-historic-rotation.html/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230664 jacob degrom

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post caught up with Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom at spring training Saturday and was greeted with a smile. I would be smiling too if I was part of a starting rotation with as much potential as the Mets’.

“I think it could be a lot of fun,’’ deGrom told Kernan at Tradition Field. “I’m definitely looking forward to what it could be, and I think everybody else on the staff is, too.’’

The potential of this Mets staff blows Generation K out of the water. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler are all joining deGrom in a healthy rotation for the first time ever, with the promising young Robert Gsellman for insurance. All of those pitchers are capable of throwing a shutout on any given day, but injuries have always loomed over their heads.

Jacob deGrom had surgery in September to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. When asked about his progress, he said, “Since I’ve had the nerve moved, I haven’t had any of the pain that was there, so I would call it a success so far.”

If deGrom comes back healthy, he is capable of winning a Cy Young award. Noah Syndergaard is also capable, while Matt Harvey is harder to predict. Nobody is really sure how he will come back from surgery to remove a rib, however so far this offseason there have only been positive reports. If he comes back healthy, however, he is absolutely capable of winning the award.

Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Robert Gsellman, while less likely to win a Cy Young, are by all means formidable pitchers and round out what could be the best starting rotation in the Majors.

“We are healthy and we are ready to go,’’ deGrom said. “It should be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to it.’’

So am I, Jake… So am I.

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Nationals Discussing Deal For Chris Sale, Other Teams Still In The Mix http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-discussing-deal-for-chris-sale-other-teams-still-in-the-mix.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-discussing-deal-for-chris-sale-other-teams-still-in-the-mix.html/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 03:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227615 chris sale

Update, 10:26 p.m.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, other teams are still in the mix for Sale and that no deal is expected tonight. He also reports that the Nationals are refusing to give up Trea Turner in any deal for Sale.

Original Post, 10 p.m.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Nationals have a “legitimate chance” to land White Sox ace Chris Sale and are now “haggling over the final pieces” with Chicago.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that a rival executive believes the chances are 80/20 that Sale ends up in Washington.

Rosenthal says the deal as of now would send top outfield prospect Victor Robles as well as fireball right-hander Lucas Giolito. They are the two best prospects in the Nationals’ system and Giolito is considered one of the top five prospects in all of baseball.

Sale, meanwhile, is coming off another superb season for Chicago in which he went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA over 226.2 innings pitched. He posted stellar strikeout (9.3 K/9) and walk (1.8 BB/) rates as well. He has been in the top six in the AL Cy Young Award results each of the past five seasons. Over that span, he’s fourth in Fangraphs pitcher WAR behind only Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and David Price.

Needless to say, the Nationals would be adding a stud to an already-loaded pitching staff. Washington posted a 3.52 ERA last season, which was second in baseball only to the Cubs. As a staff, they struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings, second only to the Dodgers. Their 2.89 BB/9 rate was ninth in baseball.

Their starting staff was as good as the Mets in just about every metric. Nationals starters owned a combined 3.601 ERA compared to the Mets’ 3.61. They posted a higher strikeout rate (9.25 K/9 vs 8.07) but posted a worse walk rate (2.85 BB/9 vs 8.07). With Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Tanner Roark, this deal could give the Nationals’ staff the edge going into 2017 — at least on paper.

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NL East News: Braves Sign R.A. Dickey http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/nl-east-news-braves-sign-r-a-dickey.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/nl-east-news-braves-sign-r-a-dickey.html/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 16:19:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226268 r.a. dickey

In an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Atlanta Braves have signed veteran R.A. Dickey, 42, to a one-year deal with an option for 2018.

The former Cy Young Award winner had a down year for the Blue Jays in 2016, going 10-15 with a 4.46 ERA, striking out 126 batters in 169.2 innings pitched. This is his highest season ERA since 2009, and the first time he hasn’t pitched at least 200 innings since 2011 with the Mets.

The Braves seem to be using him as a stop gap until their top starting pitching prospects are MLB-ready.

It’s a one-year deal with an option for the 2018 season, the value of the contract has not yet been reported.

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October 25, 1986: Oh, What A Night! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/october-25-1986-oh-what-a-night.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/october-25-1986-oh-what-a-night.html/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2016 04:07:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225334 apollo 11

Every generation has its defining moment. People who grew up in the 1960s know exactly where they were when President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated. In the 1980s, every American knows where they were when the Space Shuttle exploded. It’s no different for Mets fans.

People who grew up rooting for the Mets remember every detail of the 1969 Miracle Mets’ run to the World Series. Fans of my generation well up with happy tears when you mention two words to them: Game 6. How can anyone forget the night of October 25, 1986?

The Mets were facing elimination entering Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. They fought back to tie the Series at Fenway Park after dropping the first two games of the Series at Shea Stadium. Then Bruce Hurst shut them down in Game 5 to send the series back to New York with the Mets down three games to two.

It was up to Bob Ojeda to save the Mets’ season. He was opposed by Roger Clemens, who was later given the 1986 AL Cy Young Award. Ojeda was also called upon for Game 6 of that year’s NLCS against the Astros, a game in which the Mets defeated Houston in 16 innings to claim the National League pennant. In that game, Ojeda struggled early, giving up three runs in the first inning before settling down. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was no different for Ojeda. He gave up single runs to the Red Sox in each of the first two innings, but then settled down.

When Ojeda was replaced by Roger McDowell to start the seventh inning, the Mets had come back against Roger Clemens to tie the score at 2. Although the drama that unfolded in the tenth inning is what Game 6 is most known for, a number of interesting events occurred in the seventh inning that are often forgotten.

With one out and Marty Barrett on first base for the Red Sox, Jim Rice hit a ground ball near the third base line that barely stayed fair. Ray Knight fielded it and threw wildly to first base, with the ball popping in and out of the glove of a leaping Keith Hernandez. That brought up Dwight Evans with runners on the corners. Evans hit a ground ball for the second out of the inning, but Barrett scored the go-ahead run and Rice was able to advance to second base. That was when Mookie Wilson became a hero for the first time that night.

Roger McDowell was able to get ahead of Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman by throwing strikes on the first two pitches, but Gedman then grounded the 0-2 pitch from McDowell between short and third for a base hit that appeared to give the Red Sox an insurance run. However, Mookie Wilson charged the ball and fired a strike to Gary Carter at home plate to cut down a sliding Jim Rice for the third out of the inning.

1986-ws-gary-carter-jim-rice

The defensive efforts of Wilson and Carter helped keep the Red Sox lead at one, a lead that would be erased when the Mets came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Roger Clemens had been pinch hit for in the top of the eighth inning, so the Red Sox brought in former Met Calvin Schiraldi to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. Schiraldi had been brilliant in relief for the Red Sox during the regular season, compiling a 4-2 record and a sparking 1.41 ERA. However, all that changed once Lee Mazzilli led off the inning with a base hit. Lenny Dykstra followed with a sacrifice bunt, but he reached first base safely when Schiraldi threw wildly to second base in a failed attempt to nail Lee Mazzilli. Now the Mets had two men on with nobody out for Wally Backman, who laid down a bunt of his own. His successful sacrifice moved Mazzilli and Dykstra into scoring position for Keith Hernandez, who was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought up Gary Carter. On a 3-0 pitch, Carter had the green light and lined a sacrifice fly to left field. The fly ball allowed Lee Mazzilli to score the tying run. When neither team scored in the ninth inning, the stage was set for the most dramatic inning in Mets history.

The inning started with a bang, but not the one wanted by Mets fans. Dave Henderson led off the inning with a laser beam down the left field line that just stayed fair as it cleared the wall. The home run off Rick Aguilera silenced the Shea Stadium crowd of 55,078 and gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. They weren’t done yet. Aguilera came back to strike out the next two batters but then proceeded to give up a double to Wade Boggs and a run-scoring single to Marty Barrett. The latter hit gave the Sox an insurance run as the lead was now 5-3. The next batter was hit by a pitch. Who was the victim of Aguilera’s wayward offering? None other than Bill Buckner (more on him later). Now there were two men on base for Jim Rice. Rice could have redeemed himself for being thrown out at home in the seventh inning with a hit in the tenth. However, Rice failed to add to the Red Sox lead when he flied out to Lee Mazzilli in right. His failure to come through in two crucial spots set up the events in the bottom of the tenth inning for the Mets.

gary carter 1986 ws hit

Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez were due to lead off in the bottom of the tenth inning. However, two fly balls later and the Mets were down to their final out with no one on base. The dream was one out away from becoming a nightmare. 108 regular season wins and a thrilling NLCS against the Astros would mean nothing if the Mets couldn’t start a rally against Calvin Schiraldi and the Red Sox. The Shea Stadium scoreboard was flashing “Congratulations Red Sox: 1986 World Champions” and NBC had already awarded its player of the game to Marty Barrett. Then Gary Carter stepped up to the plate and something special began to happen.

On a 2-1 pitch from Schiraldi, Carter singled to left. Then Kevin Mitchell, pinch-hitting for Rick Aguilera lined a hit to center on an 0-1 curveball. The tying runs were now on base for Ray Knight. If you recall, Knight had made an error in the seventh inning that led to a run for the Red Sox. Perhaps this game would never have gone into extra innings had Knight not committed his error. Knight didn’t care. All he cared about was getting a hit to continue the inning. Unfortunately for him, Schiraldi threw his first two pitches for strikes. The Mets were down to their final strike, but Ray Knight had something to say about that.

On a pitch that was headed for the inside corner of the strike zone, Knight fisted it over Marty Barrett’s head into short center for another base hit. Carter scored from second base and Mitchell went from first to third on the hit. The tying run was 90 feet away and the winning run was at first base. Red Sox manager John McNamara had made up his mind. He was going to Bob Stanley to try to win the World Series. Stanley would face one batter, Mookie Wilson, with everything on the line.

Stanley would throw six pitches to Mookie Wilson to get the count to 2-2. Hoping for strike three with his seventh pitch, Stanley let go of the pitch and at the same time, let go of the lead. The pitch was way inside, causing Mookie to throw himself up in the air to avoid getting hit. Fortunately, the ball didn’t hit Mookie or Rich Gedman’s glove (or home plate umpire Dale Ford for that matter). The ball went all the way to the backstop and Kevin Mitchell was able to scamper home with the tying run. The wild pitch also allowed Ray Knight to move into scoring position with the potential winning run. All Mookie needed to do now was get a base hit to drive him in, or perhaps he could so something else to bring him home.

During the regular season, John McNamara had always removed first baseman Bill Buckner for defensive replacement Dave Stapleton during the late innings. However, this time Buckner was left in the game despite the fact that he was hobbling around on two gimpy legs and had just been hit by a pitch in the previous inning. What was McNamara’s reasoning for the decision? He wanted Buckner to be on the field to celebrate their championship with his teammates. Instead, Buckner was on the field during a different kind of celebration.

Buckner was at first base as the count went to 3-2 on Mookie Wilson. A mountain of pressure had been lifted off his shoulders once he went airborne to elude Stanley’s pitch. A relaxed Mookie came back to the plate to finish what he came up there to do. After fouling off two more pitches, including a line drive that curved foul down the left field line, Wilson hit a little roller up along first, bringing Mets fans to their feet as Bill Buckner hobbled to the line in an attempt to field it. I’ll let NBC broadcaster Vin Scully describe what happened.

“Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”

A miracle had happened on the diamond. Perhaps Mookie’s grounder hit a pebble. Perhaps Buckner took his eyes off the ball as he watched Mookie sprint down the first base line. Perhaps God was a Mets fan. Regardless of what caused it to happen, Mookie’s grounder found its way under Buckner’s glove and the Mets lived to see another day.

bill-buckner

As a dejected Bill Buckner walked off the field, Shea Stadium was rocking as it never had before. Mookie Wilson was still running towards second base because he had no idea that Ray Knight had scored the winning run. Ron Darling, who was scheduled to start the seventh and deciding game of the World Series the following night (even though it was rained out and played two nights later), admitted that he could see dust falling from the roof of the Mets dugout because of the vibrations caused by the fans jumping up and down over it. Keith Hernandez had left the dugout to go into Davey Johnson’s office after making the second out of the inning, but never moved from the chair he was sitting in, even after the historic rally had begun because as he admitted afterwards, the chair he was sitting in had hits in it.

As the unbelievable events were flashing on the TV screen for those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to have tickets to the game, Vin Scully came back on the air after a long pause to tell the viewers everything they needed to know about what they had just seen unfold at Shea Stadium on that Saturday night. The Hall-of-Fame broadcaster said:

“If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words. But more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are well and they will play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow.”

Game 6 didn’t give the Mets the World Championship as many baseball fans mistakenly believe. There was still one game left to play. Although it was scheduled for the following night, rain put a hold on Game 7 until the night of Monday, October 27. Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who had been scheduled to start the seventh game for the Red Sox, was scratched from his start to allow Met killer Bruce Hurst to pitch. But I’ll leave that blog for another night.

ray knight

For now, think of the memories you have of that unbelievable Game 6. Imagine how different things would have been if Jim Rice had not been thrown out at home plate in the seventh inning, or if Bob Stanley had relieved Calvin Schiraldi before Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell or Ray Knight produced base hits in the tenth inning. Mets fans who celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Miracle Mets this season might still be talking about that team as their only championship team.

A miracle happened at Shea Stadium 30 years ago today, on October 25, 1986. It is the single greatest Mets memory I have. I’m sure for many of you reading this, it’s your favorite Mets memory as well. Do Mets fans believe in miracles? If you watched Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the answer is a definite yes.

The rest, as they say, is a matter of history…

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MMO Roundtable: Which Mets Starting Pitcher Will Have The Best Season? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-roundtable-which-mets-starting-pitcher-will-have-the-best-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-roundtable-which-mets-starting-pitcher-will-have-the-best-season.html/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 16:00:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209171 degrom harvey syndergaard

Which Mets starting pitcher will have the best season this year?

Mets Daddy – Going into this season, I was expecting Matt Harvey to have the best season of any pitcher, in part, due to the return of his slider. It’s funny how that one Noah Syndergaard start made me at least question my decision. However, I will stick with Harvey because when he had that slider in 2013, he put together a better season than any of this trio. At the end of the day, you can argue any of these starting pitchers (including Jacob deGrom), but I think we see 2013 Harvey again.

Joe D. – You just won a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro (V8 455 horsepower model of course) and you have to choose from Red Hot Red, Nightfall Gray or Metallic Tri-Coat Black. No matter which one you choose, you can’t go wrong. I’m going with Matt Harvey but I could just as easily go with Syndergaard or deGrom.

Logan Kader – Noah Syndergaard

Matt Fritz – Noah Syndergaard

Logan Barer – Noah Syndergaard

Robert Piersall – Matt Harvey. Tommy John surgery is a distant memory, and after having a better season than anyone could have imagined in 2015, Harvey will be 100% back to his ace self.

Tim Donner – Boy, this is a hard one, but I’m going with the Dark Knight – still THE ace of this staff replete with aces, as his Pitching Coach Dan Warthen sees it. Hard to imagine Jacob deGrom getting much better, and while Thor has the best stuff, he is still more erratic than the others (talk about splitting hairs…).

Brian Greenzang – Noah Syndergaard, in his first full major league season is going to be a force to be reckoned with. In the most exciting rotation in baseball, no player excites me more on this team than the god of thunder, Thor. The spunk we heard from him after some complaining from the Royals for throwing up and in on Alcides Escobar shows the no fear attitude that he brings to the mound each night. He is overpowering, electric and stoic on the mound, It’s going to be a big year for the young righty.

Jacob Resnick – First, let’s just appreciate the fact that we have the choice. Second, it’s Noah Syndergaard. It’s true that the faster the pitcher throws the baseball, the harder it will be for the batter to make contact. And that’s exactly what Thor does: throw ridiculously hard, with unbelievable consistency. As long as he’s missing bats with his offspeed stuff and locating the fastball, Syndergaard will make a run for the Cy Young award.

Mike Simon – Jacob deGrom

Michael Mayer – Jacob deGrom, but Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard will join him in finishing in top 10 for the Cy Young award.

Martin Kester – Noah Syndergaard has always had the stuff. His performance in last year’s postseason provides the confidence and this year, he’ll prove to be the best of a fearful foursome of starters.

Tommy Rothman – Matt Harvey. Thor will take the biggest leap, but Harvey is and will be the ace.

Gerry Silverman – I agree with the common wisdom that players who undergo TJ surgery do better their second year back. I expect Matt Harvey to dominate more consistently this season as a result.

XtreemIcon – Harvey. He has something to prove and an arbitration case to make. I’m not sure which is more important to him and I honestly don’t care. Whatever gets him into Cy Young consideration. He’ll be given a run for his money by Thor because he’s the most talented of the bunch. Can you imagine a team where JDG is the third-best pitcher?

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Jacob deGrom Open To Long-Term Deal With Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/jacob-degrom-open-to-long-term-deal-with-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/jacob-degrom-open-to-long-term-deal-with-mets.html/#comments Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:43:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206067 jacob deGrom

In an exclusive interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, RHP Jacob deGrom said he was open to working out an extension deal to remain with the New York Mets long-term.

“I’m a little bit older so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

According to the 2014 Rookie of the Year, the Mets have yet to approach him about an extension, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said last week that the team could begin extension talks with the young starting pitchers during Spring Training.

A super-two player, deGrom could become eligible for arbitration as soon as the end of this season, but that won’t be known until much later on in the year. He earned $556,875 last season, finishing sixth in the NL Cy Young voting.

DeGrom, 27, won 14 games this season and posted an outstanding 2.54 ERA and a staggering 0.979 WHIP in 30 starts. He also saw his K/9 improve to 9.7, and his K/BB jumped from 3.35 to 5.13.

Surprisingly, deGrom believes he can be even better this season if the Mets keep him on a regular routine.

“It’ll be nice to have a five-man rotation and stick to that,” deGrom said. “I think it’s a lot easier when you can stick to that routine and not worry about having to skip starts and stuff.”

In the playoffs, deGrom went 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA during the postseason, although he struggled in Game 2 of the World Series, allowing four runs in a 7-1 loss. Losing to the Kansas City Royals in five games still haunts him.

“Losing that game and watching them celebrate on the field like that was heartbreaking,” deGrom said last month. “It definitely left a hunger in everyone’s mind and in their hearts to get back there next year and win the whole thing.”

“I think now that we got a taste of it, we want it even more. We’re looking forward to getting out there.”

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Game Changer: The R.A. Dickey Trade Turns Three http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/game-changer-the-r-a-dickey-trade-turns-three.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/game-changer-the-r-a-dickey-trade-turns-three.html/#comments Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:06:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202726 dickey tips cap

Today marks the three year anniversary of the trade I’ve come to refer to as The Game Changer for the New York Mets. It was on this day in 2012, that Sandy Alderson dealt the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a package that included top prospects Travis d’ArnaudNoah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra.

The Mets also received catcher John Buck in the deal, while young backstops Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas headed up north.

Such deals always take years to truly measure which team came out on top, but at the time, there were only a scant few who didn’t see this blockbuster deal as huge win for the Mets and a franchise-altering moment.

Following a brutal 2012 MLB season in which the Blue Jays finished with just 73 wins, good for fourth place in the American League East, 22 games back of the New York Yankees, Toronto appeared to be lost in the wilderness. With just 19 wins total in the months of August and September, the Jays appeared to be years away from competing for their first World Series title since winning back-to-back championships in 1992 and 1993.

Indeed, five straight fourth-place finishes had started to take its toll, with attendance continuing to drop precipitously in the wake of a 20-year playoff drought for Toronto.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, feeling the pressure to quickly turn around the Jays fortunes, shook the baseball world with a November 2012 blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins that brought All-Star shortstop and former Met Jose Reyes as well as Cy Young caliber pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto in exchange for young hurler Henderson Alvarez, infielders Yunel EscobarAdeiny Hechavarria, and several other young prospects.

However, the Jays remained in desperate need of another big arm in the rotation, setting the stage for the deal for R.A. Dickey.

But much to the horror of Blue Jays fans and the quiet delight of Mets fans, Anthopoulos’ rapid two-month rebuild failed to produce wins, and Toronto finished dead last in the AL East. Dickey posted a 14-13 record with a 4.21 ERA, his worst numbers since becoming a full-time starter in 2010 – and a far cry from his final season with the Mets when he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and led the league in strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.

Things got no better for Dickey and the Blue Jays in 2014. After posting a 21-9 record in May, the Jays flirted with the best record in baseball and were once again World Series betting favorites. But an 11-23 run in the five weeks prior to the All-Star Break once again doomed the Jays to a third-place finish, well out of contention.

travis d'Arnaud

From the Mets side of things, the deal began to produce promising results almost immediately as veteran catcher John Buck hit 15 homers and drove in 60, while guiding a young Matt Harvey to an All Star campaign and breaking the young and exciting Zack Wheeler.

Top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud made his MLB debut that season and the Mets knew they were looking at their catcher of the future. They would parlay Buck along with Marlon Byrd and flip them to Pittsburgh for two more prospects, reliever Vic Black and promising youngster Dilson Herrera as the Dickey trade transitions into the gift that keeps on giving.

In d’Arnaud the Mets had themselves a solid major league catcher with a wonderful line drive swing that produced some nice power, as well as an impressive defensive skill set highlighted by some of the best pitch framing in the game. There’s a potential All Star caliber catcher packed in TDA and if he can stay healthy for a full season the numbers bear that out.

Syndergaard Noah

The future appears even brighter for Noah Syndergaard, whose rapid development has been incredible to watch. The 22-year old struggled with injury early on in 2014, pushing back his much anticipated major league debut. But scouts raved about the hard-throwing righty who was now hitting 100 mph with regularity in the PCL and emerged as one of baseball’s top ranked prospects overall and the No. 1 right-handed pitching prospect in the game.

In 2015, Syndergaard made his major league debut and he delivered big-time on all the promise and expectations that had preceded him. Syndergaard made 24 major league starts and finished the year with a 3.24 ERA, 3.25 FIP and a 1.041 WHIP in 150 innings with a 10.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. Amazing.

Syndergaard was oozing with confidence and carried himself with so much swagger that he had no qualms about buzzing one past the head of Alcides Escobar in the World Series and later admitting it was with full intent. The Royals flipped out and had blood in their eyes. But the young Thor responded by daring them to meet him 60 feet and 6 inches from the mound if they had a problem with it. By his third start of the season it was no longer the Big Two, but the Big Three as Syndergaard became part of the Mets’ dominating triumvirate along with Harvey and Jacob deGrom.

But there’s more.

wuilmer becerra

The throw-in to the deal was a little known 17-year old outfield prospect named Wuilmer Becerra. This young talent is often the forgotten one, but after a breakthrough 2015 season he had scouts drooling over his five-tool skill set and his stock quickly vaulted to the top of every known prospect ranking.

Blessed with a powerful throwing arm, this exciting right fielder batted .290 last season with a .342 on-base percentage and .423 slugging while playing at the cavernous Grayson Stadium – the toughest hitting environment in minor league baseball. In 118 games for Single-A Savannah, Becerra stroked 27 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, scoring 67 runs, driving in 68 and stealing 16 bases.

Three words. What A Haul.

Perhaps manager Terry Collins best described what a huge impact the R.A. Dickey trade had on the franchise when he said the following:

“The year he won the Cy Young, we weren’t in the hunt,” Collins said before facing the Blue Jays last June. “What he brought back has allowed us to be in the hunt, so I think his value, what he provided for this organization, was a chance to move a guy and move the organization forward. He was a huge asset to the organization and one of the great stories in all of baseball.”

Yes, Dickey was a great story. Who knew when Omar Minaya signed him off the scrapheap, what destiny had in store for the future of the New York Mets.

The day was December 17, 2012. That was when everything changed for the Amazins. That was their tipping point. That trade was the Game Changer. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. LGM

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Six Reasons Why Niese For Walker Trade Made Sense http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/six-reasons-why-niese-for-walker-trade-made-sense.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/six-reasons-why-niese-for-walker-trade-made-sense.html/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:37:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202159 neil walker

As you know, the Mets have traded left-handed starting pitcher Jon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker. From the reaction on social media it appears there’s a good chunk of fans who don’t like the deal. I’d like to point out six reasons why this was a fantastic trade for the Mets.

Neil Walker is really good at baseball

In 2010, his first full season, Walker finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting. He has not let up and since then, Walker has a career .273/.338/.433 slash line, averaging 136 games, 16 home runs, 29 doubles, and 70 RBI per season. He also won a Silver Slugger award in 2014 for NL second basemen.

Last season was more of the same, as he hit .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI to go with a .325 wOBA and 108 wRC+. Slightly lower than his career average, but nothing to be worried about. He did appear in 151 games, and that consistent durability he has shown throughout his career is another reason why he is so valuable.

Defensively he is slightly below average, but definitely an upgrade over Daniel Murphy. He has never made more than 9 errors in a season, and in 2015 he made only 7 in 1,224.2 innings. The Pirates have many sinker-throwing pitchers such as A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, and Tony Watson, so he’s had plenty of opportunities. He is very fundamentally sound and will rarely make an error.

Draft Picks

Because Daniel Murphy turned down the qualifying offer the Mets extended to him this offseason, the Mets will receive a compensatory first-round draft pick in the 2016 draft. If the Mets had re-signed Murphy, they never would have gotten that extra pick.

Furthermore, Neil Walker will be a free agent after the 2016 season. He should be one of the top second basemen on the market at only 31 years old. Considering he is almost an identical player to Ben Zobrist, except for the position flexibility, he would probably command a similar contract. From the sound of it, he’ll also get to play some third base for the Mets.

Taking all this into consideration, there’s a good chance that the Mets will extend Walker a qualifying offer following this season, which he will almost certainly reject. This means a compensatory draft pick in for the team in the 2017 draft as well.

$ Money $

Jon Niese will be paid $9 million this season, with club options for $10M in 2017 and $11M in 2018. Walker is expected to make $10-11 million in arbitration this offseason, which is more expensive in the immediate future, but also has no financial commitment in the long term.

After Walker walks, barring any setbacks, Dilson Herrera will almost surely be ready to take over as New York’s primary second baseman. He will be very cheap and Michael Cuddyer will be off the books as well, leaving the Mets plenty of money to possibly extend the contracts of one or more crucial players like Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto, etc.

Dilson Herrera May Not Quite Be Ready

Many people think 21 year-old Dilson Herrera is ready to take over the role at second base, but this deal allows him another full season to develop without rushing. He could certainly be included on the Major League roster, maybe in a platoon with Walker against left-handed starters (more on that later).

If Herrera is not ready yet, however, the Mets could keep him in AAA Las Vegas knowing the keystone is manned for the season.

harvey degrom syndergaard matz

Four Young Guns, Five When You Count Wheeler

I’ve always been a fan of Jonathon Niese. He put in over 1,000 innings of work for the Mets which will not soon be forgotten. But unfortunately for him, the Mets have the four guys in that picture. They have four incredibly talented pitchers, all of whom are arguably capable of winning a Cy Young Award at some point. They all certainly have the potential to do so.

The Mets really don’t need Niese anymore. What they need right now is a stopgap for half a season until Zack Wheeler, another talented young flamethrower, comes back from Tommy John. They can go to the free agent market or use internal options like Logan Verrett or Rafael Montero, and won’t have to pay $9 million for that pitcher like they would have paid Niese.

The Mets also need better defense behind these guys. While Neil Walker is no Brandon Phillips at second base, he is definitely better than Daniel Murphy and will probably save some runs for the Mets this season.

Lineup Flexibility

Walker hit in every spot in the lineup except leadoff in 2015. His best and most frequent spot was second, where in 198 at-bats he hit .293/.344/.475 with 7 home runs and 2 stolen bases. He also batted 4th, 5th, and 6th quite often and has proven he can hit anywhere in the lineup.

The fact that he is a switch hitter also helps greatly. While he is far better as a left handed hitter against right handed pitching, he is no slouch batting righty against lefties.

Career against RHP: 2668 PA, .275/.343/.457, 87 home runs, 141 doubles, 13 triples

Career against LHP: 758 PA, .260/.317/.338, 6 home runs, 33 doubles, 1 triple

As you can see, he has little to no power from the right side of the batters box, but still hits for a decent average. Terry Collins could choose to sit him against lefties, either utilizing a straight platoon with Dilson Herrera at second base, or shifting Wilmer Flores to second and starting Ruben Tejada at shortstop.

I love this trade, but I don’t think the Mets are done yet, as I think they must continue to look for bullpen help and resolve the center field situation with an everyday player or a platoon partner for Juan Lagares. Regardless, this was a fantastic deal and absolutely helps the team. I don’t see any cons to the deal, but if you do, comment below I’d love to hear it. Let’s Go Mets!

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Wright Snaps 1-for-19 Slump With RBI Double Off Arrieta http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/wright-snaps-1-for-19-slump-with-rbi-double-off-arrieta.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/wright-snaps-1-for-19-slump-with-rbi-double-off-arrieta.html/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 16:30:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197180 david wright

Despite entering Sunday night’s game in a 1-for-19 slump, David Wright delivered the first blow against the Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta. Wright crushed a double to centerfield over the head of Dexter Fowler that scored Curtis Granderson all the way from first base.

The double ignited the Mets first inning outburst off Arrieta, who did not allow a run during in the first inning over his previous 25 starts.

“Yeah, it felt nice,” The Mets captain said. “I’ve said all along I’ve had some poor at bats and some good at bats where you have nothing to show for it. But through all of it, you try to grind it out and you try to do some other things, if you’re not swinging the bat that well. So it’s nice to be able to come out and contribute early, especially off a guy that’s probably the frontrunner for the Cy Young.”

“It’s huge,” Terry Collins explained. “He’s so important to the club. I told you we had a little laugh last night when I asked him how he was feeling physically and he said he was fine, and he said, “Outside of the fact that I suck right now, I’m doing good.” But that’s the mentality.”

Even though Wright only has two hits this postseason, both have come in huge situations. Wright drove in the winning run in Game 1 against the Dodgers with a RBI single during the 7th inning. He turned on a 99 MPH fastball from Pedro Baez and belted it up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded.

Hopefully, his clutch RBI double last night is a sign that he’s ready to break out very soon. He’s batting just .087 in the playoffs, but he also went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts during his final three at bats yesterday.

However, Wright is one of the best hitters in franchise history, so it’s only a matter of time before he figures it out.  After returning from the disabled list late in season, he still preformed at a high level with a .289 average and five home runs during 38 games.

“We need his presence in the lineup,’ Collins said. “He’s still dangerous, and every time he walks in that batter’s box, you just feel good like he’s going to get something good to hit, and hit it over the fence or against the fence. That leadership, you’ve got to have it on the field.”

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NLCS Cubs vs Mets: Series Preview, Key Players, Predictions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/nlcs-cubs-vs-mets-series-preview-key-players-predictions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/nlcs-cubs-vs-mets-series-preview-key-players-predictions.html/#comments Sat, 17 Oct 2015 14:24:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=196883 nlcs 15 cubs

The last time the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs were in our national consciousness man had just landed on the moon, our country’s cities had been burning and we were mired in Vietnam.

The Mets, in their seventh year of existence, climbed out of a huge deficit to overtake the Cubs and blitz through the postseason to win the World Series. The similarities of those teams in 1969 and those in 2015 were quite remarkable.

The 1969 Mets were built on pitching depth, as is this team. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry in the rotation and Tug McGraw in the bullpen then; Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey in the rotation and Jeurys Familia in the bullpen now.

The 1969 Mets had a core of Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones, but came to life after the mid-season trade for Donn Clendenon. The 2015 Mets had its core in David Wright and Daniel Murphy, but needed the spark of Yoenis Cespedes.

The 1969 Cubs had quality pitching in Fergie Jenkins and Ken Holtzman. Today’s Cubs will throw at you Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Both the 1969 and 2015 Cubs are power laden teams. Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams then; Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber now.

The similarities are many, including the Cubs still playing in rickety old Wrigley Field and lamenting a century’s worth of bad luck.

By the way, there’s no truth to the rumor the Mets invited Steve Bartman to throw out the first pitch.

jacob deGrom

WHY THE METS WILL WIN (John Delcos)

After nine years of misery, these Mets are a talented bunch, with “a bright future,’’ says manager Terry Collins. However, I don’t want to hear about the future, I want to see them win now, and it is possible with that young pitching staff. While the home field will play a role, the Mets will win the NLCS because their rotation is deeper and Familia is a better closer than the Cubs’ Hector Rondon.

After Arrieta and Lester, there’s nothing frightening about Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. Meanwhile, I like the Mets’ Nos. 3 and 4 starters have.

The belief here is the Mets’ pitching can hold down the Cubs’ power, while New York’s offense can better manufacture runs.

Although the Mets won Game 5 of the NLDS in Los Angeles, it’s always better to have the extra game at home and Game 7 at Citi Field is enticing.

The Mets also have the “it’’ factor in having overcome so much this season to return to the postseason for the first time since 2006.

The Cubs owned the Mets 7-0 in the season series, but that run can’t last forever, as can’t the prolonged slumps of Wright and Lucas Duda.

Cubs advance to NLCS Rizzo

WHY THE CUBS WILL WIN (John Delcos)

Yes, the Mets are due, but after a century’s worth of disappointment so is Chicago. After billy goats and Bartman, this could very well be the Cubs’ year. Sooner or later it has to happen.

One bright spot if it is will be that we won’t have to hear Cubs’ fans whining anymore about being cursed.

Arrieta should be the National League’s Cy Young Award winner, and Lester has proven to be a big-game pitcher in his own right.

Speaking of having a big game mentality, as good as Mets’ manager Terry Collins has been, Chicago’s Joe Maddon might be the best big game manager in the sport.

Pitching usually trumps power, but when that power is on a roll – as are the Cubs now – it is hard to contain. Bryant and Rizzo might be the game’s best 1-2 punch, and Schwarber makes three. The Mets don’t have that kind of power.

From top to bottom, the Cubs are loaded.

I don’t believe Chicago’s regular-season success will be the deciding factor, but the Cubs can’t help but enter the series with a measure of confidence. The Cubs clinching the day before gives them added rest, and we can’t help but wonder if the Mets aren’t emotionally spent from a grueling Game 5 against the Dodgers followed by a cross-country flight.

Being fresher could enable the Cubs from stealing one of the first two games at Citi Field.

Another reason to like Chicago is deep dish pizza.

Cespedes Yoenis

WHY THE METS WILL WIN (Joe D.)

Almost all season long I’ve referred to the Mets as a team of destiny. Think for a moment of all the adversity this team has endured. They started the season losing a top of the rotation starter in Wheeler, then their closer gets suspended, their third baseman and starting catcher miss over three months of the season, all the controversies and media driven drama they’ve had to deal with, and yet here they are today, four wins away from the World Series. Why will the Mets win? Because it’s written in the stars.

But on a more serious note, the Mets will win because their starting is deeper and better. Sure the Cubs have Arrieta and Lester, but deGrom and Harvey are no slouches and Syndergaard and Matz easily trump Hendricks and Hammel. It’s not even close, Mets starting pitching is deeper and better.

I keep hearing about how much power the Cubs have, and granted they have some great young hitters. But the Mets hit more homeruns and had more extra-base hits than any other team in the league from August 1 to the end of the season. They also had more multi-homer games than anyone else. Yoenis Cespedes will be a beast in the NLCS and if Daniel Murphy stays hot and David Wright and Lucas Duda decide to join the party, the Cubs have no chance.

But the biggest reason the Mets will win comes down to one man, Justin Turner… The Cubs don’t have him. Only kidding, it’s my man Jeurys Familia… He has become a weapon of mass destruction.

joe+maddon+cubs

WHY THE CUBS WILL WIN (Joe D.)

Wait, what? Who says the Cubs are going to win? Fine, I’ll play along.

It saddens me to say this, but the Cubs are going to win because Joe Maddon makes Terry Collins look like a mental midget. Maddon is a brilliant strategist and tactician who is always looking for that edge. And he does his homework and always shows up well prepared, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in that opposing dugout. He’s considered one of the most innovative managers in baseball, having popularized defensive shifts and making the safety squeeze a staple. His players play hard for him, and so does Collins’ but it’s all those other things that sets Maddon apart.

The Cubs will win because they have two of the best young sluggers in the league if not the game in Bryant (5.9 WAR) and Rizzo (6.2 WAR) who combined for nearly 60 homers and 200 RBIs while also stealing 30 bases between them. They have tremendous bat speed and each of them can take over a game at anytime.  Mets pitchers, beware.

murphy game 5

FIVE METS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Daniel Murphy: The Dodgers still don’t know where he is and it cost them the series. Plus, Murphy is a lifetime .305 hitter against the Cubs, including .349 with four homers and nine RBI in Wrigley Field.

Matt Harvey: Being the Game 1 starter also puts him in line to start Game 5 and maybe Game 7. Remember, there are no restrictions. Harvey is about atonement and he wants to make up for Game 3 against the Dodgers.

David Wright: He says he’s been waiting nine long years to get back into the playoffs and his .083 average against the Dodgers was not what he or anyone else was expecting. Look for Wright to flex some muscle in this series.

Yoenis Cespedes: The most dangerous and most explosive hitter in the Mets lineup. If Cubs pitchers leave one hanging or groove one in his zone, Cespedes will make them pay for it. He could be a big threat to steal second when Lester is on the mound. Which brings us to…

Eric Young Jr. – My hunch is he makes the NLCS roster for the Mets so that they can exploit Lester and manufacture a run late in the game, especially in a tight one. But it’s a big if whether he makes the cut at the time of this writing.

 

Jake Arrieta

FIVE CUBS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Jake Arrieta: He struggled in his last NLDS start against St. Louis and you have to wonder if the season hasn’t taken a toll. Or he could come back with a vengeance.

Kris Bryant: He’s no Justin Turner, but he can carry a team, and he can do it for seven games. His match-ups against Harvey and deGrom could be monumental. Frightening thought: For as good as Bryant is, his numbers did not match Rizzo.

Javier Baez: As the replacement for the injured Addison Russell he’ll attract a lot of attention. The Cubs don’t lose that much defensively. but Baez is better known for his bat. He went 4-for-5 with a home run, stolen base, and three ribbies in the NLDS.

Kyle Schwarber: He only has 288 major league at-bats, but has proven he can hit in the clutch – and drive the ball into next week. He is 7-for-13 in the postseason with three homers and five RBIs.

Kyle Hendricks: There will be games not started by Arrieta or Lester, and the Cubs need to win at least one of those. Either Hendricks or Hammel must find a way to beat the back end of the Mets’ rotation, which is much, much better.

John’s Prediction: I’m already on record saying I believe the Mets can get into, and win, the World Series. That means beating the Cubs in the NLCS. They’ll do it in seven games.

Joe’s Prediction: The Mets will win the NLCS in five games if Syndergaard starts Game 2, otherwise the Mets will defeat the Cubs in six games.

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Sizing Up Jacob deGrom and the NL Cy Young Race http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/sizing-up-jacob-degrom-and-the-nl-cy-young-race.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/sizing-up-jacob-degrom-and-the-nl-cy-young-race.html/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=192363 jacob deGrom

In his sophomore season, Jacob deGrom has pitched even better than he did last season, when he won the NL Rookie Of The Year. On a team with immense pitching talent, he has stood out among the crowd for both his stuff as well as his hair.

The ultimate award for a pitcher this day and age is the Cy Young, the award given to the most outstanding pitcher in the National and American Leagues. This season, many pitchers are vying for that honor in the NL, with many worthy candidates. Despite some recent struggles, deGrom’s numbers are definitely outstanding and in the mix.

He is 12-7 with a 2.40 ERA, which is 4th best in the NL. In 169 innings (11th) he has struck out 175 batters (7th) and walked 34, and he has  a 0.961 WHIP (5th) so far this season to round out his impressive 2015 resumé. He also has a stingy .210 opposing batting average,  4th best in the league among all qualified starters.

The won-loss records of starting pitchers have a great importance in the eyes of voters, so deGrom’s “mere” 12 wins may prove costly. People who follow the Mets closely however, know that the first half of the season was wrought with plenty of no-decisions for deGrom, in which he pitched well enough to win.

His numbers are absolutely impressive, but are they impressive enough? Let’s take a look at some of deGrom’s competition for the 2015 NL Cy Young Award.

clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw, the reigning MVP and Cy Young winner has already had an amazing career. He has led the Major Leagues in ERA each of the last 4 seasons, with a 2.11 ERA in 895.1 innings in that span. After a rocky start this season, he has returned to typical Kershaw form.

Kershaw is 12-6 with a 2.18 ERA, good for 3rd best in the league. In 194 innings (1st), he has struck out an incredible 251 batters (1st) and walked only 34. He has a 0.897 WHIP (2nd), a .199 BAA (3rd), and a K/9 rate of 11.64 (1st). He has struck out 200 batters for the 6th consecutive season, and has already passed his former season strikeout mark of 248 set back in 2011. He has 3 complete games (T-1st) and 2 shutouts (T-1st) this season.

Since June 22 (12 starts), he has allowed more than one run only once. He has struck out 10 or more batters in one game 12 times so far this season, and has had games with 8 or more strikeouts and 0 walks 9 times. If he continues his dominant form and keeps lowering his ERA, he will absolutely be a worthy recipient of the Cy Young award for the 4th time in his young career.

Zack Greinke

The second Dodger on this list, Zack Greinke has had perhaps the best year so far of all these pitchers mentioned. He is 15-3 with an absolutely magnificent 1.59 ERA, best in the majors. In 186.2 innings (2nd) he has struck out 169 (8th). His .189 BAA (1st) combined with him allowing only 32 walks and 126 hits accumulates to a pristine 0.846 WHIP (1st).

Greinke, who won the AL Cy Young in 2009 with the Royals (16-8, 2.16 ERA), is currently in the best season of his career. This includes an impressive 45.2 inning scoreless streak in June/July ended by the Mets. If the season ended right now, he would most likely be selected the winner. If he continues to pitch well for the rest of the season, he has a very good chance of taking home his second Cy Young award.

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta is very quietly having an amazing season for the Cubs. He has pitched to the tune of a 18-6 record with an immaculate 2.03 ERA (2nd). Like Kershaw, he has 3 complete games (T-1st) and 2 shutouts (T-1st), which includes a no-hitter against the Dodgers on August 30th.

In 191 innings this year (2nd), he has struck out 197 (4th) batters. 44 walks and 132 hits allowed comes out to a 0.92 WHIP (3rd), to go with a .194 BAA (2nd).

He has had a mostly tumultuous career before this season. From 2010-2013 with the Orioles and Cubs, he was 24-27 with a 5.23 ERA. A high walk rate (4.0 per 9 IP) led to an extremely high 1.428 WHIP during that span. However, last season, he pitched better going 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA. This season though, finally, he has put it all together. He is currently in the midst of a 17-game quality start streak and is absolutely worthy of consideration for the award.

madison bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner, fresh off a World Series MVP nod, has pitched very well for the Giants this season. He is 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA (13th). In 188.2 innings (3rd), he has struck out 203 batters (3rd), walked 32, and allowed 167 hits for a 1.05 WHIP (7th). He has tossed 3 complete games (T-1st) and has one shutout.

After a rocky first half, MadBum is 8-2 since the All Star Game with 82 strikeouts and 10 walks in 69.2 innings, allowing only 20 runs (2.60 ERA). Until this point, his regular season numbers have been fairly overrated, but he is proving haters wrong so far this season. If he lowers that ERA significantly before the end of the season, he has a decent shot at the Cy Young.

Jacob deGrom

As you can see, young Mr. deGrom has his work cut out for him going into the final month of the season. If he strings together some stellar starts he will absolutely be strongly considered for the Cy Young and pick up plenty of votes, but clearly the odds are stacked against him.

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Matz’s Debut A Day To Remember http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/matzs-debut-a-day-to-remember.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/matzs-debut-a-day-to-remember.html/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:45:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=185810 Steve Matz debut

Between his 7.2 very solid innings, six strikeouts, three hits and four RBIs, Steven Matz‘s debut proved to be worth the wait.

Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Matz did not make it to a professional mound until 2012 due to complications following Tommy John surgery. Eventually battling back to debut with the Kingsport Mets, the Stony Brook native shot quickly up the Mets ranks to achieve the esteem of a top prospect, and now a major league starter.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s like a dream,” said Vito Cervone, a former catcher of Matz at Ward Melville, seated in section 113 Sunday to see his former battery mate’s debut. “I’m living vicariously through him.”

With more than two years of rehabbing following surgery in 2009, and the prospect of having to potentially undergo a second Tommy John operation, it at one point became a real question whether a day like Sunday would ever be possible. Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki said Matz persevering to make it to this point is just a testament to how hard pitchers who’ve had Tommy John have to work.

“Anyone who goes through a surgery like that, you Harvey, Wheeler too, it’s a tough surgery, but it just shows the work ethic that all these guys have,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s part of the game nowadays. Thank goodness there’s doctors and rehab programs good enough to get these guys back healthy and where they were beforehand.”

Steven, Matz

His MLB debut would be further delayed by an addition three hours and 26 minutes as Saturday’s suspended game concluded, during which time Matz told 1988 AL Cy Young Award winner and current Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola that he “must have walked three miles” waiting for the first game to end. Viola told WSOU, Seton Hall’s student radio station, how proud he was of Matz.

“It’s like watching a child of yours get the chance to do something that a lot of people have always wanted to do,” he said.

Viola said above all, Matz is genuinely a good person.

“He’s more than just a baseball player, that’s secondary, he’s just a wonderful person, terrific kid, you root for people like that,” Viola said. “The world need more people like Steven Matz.”

Matz’s debut marks the last of a tidal wave of young arms coming through the Mets system in recent years. Now that these long-awaited prospects are here, as Terry Collins said, the future, now shifts to the present.

“It sends a message to our fan base that the future is now,” he said. “We’ve been talking about down the road, next year, next year; the future is now.

(Photos By: Clayton Collier, MMO)

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Pedro Martinez Says Mets Fans Settle, Yankee Fans Don’t http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/pedro-martinez-says-mets-fans-settle-yankee-fans-dont.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/pedro-martinez-says-mets-fans-settle-yankee-fans-dont.html/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:12:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172692 New York Yankees v New York Mets

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that during his Hall of Fame press conference, Pedro Martinez said that Mets fans “settle for what they have,” while “Yankees fans cannot” settle.

It’s strange to hear a player contrast two fan bases from the same city that way, but the question is, is Pedro right?

Ironically, I wrote a post this morning that kind of touched on that somewhat.

I’ve see many Mets fans become overcome with apathy and many more others now resorting to saying things like “that player costs too much” or “pass, we can’t afford him”, basically sounding like they’ve been conditioned by years of watching an inept ownership operate like a small market operation.

There is also a large contingent of Mets fans who will not settle and those are the ones who stopped going to games in some kind of protest, or who keep calling for change. They are most likely the ones who are largely responsible for declining attendance and ratings and demand a better product after six consecutive losing seasons.

Getting back to Pedro, we do congratulate him on his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

A three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, Martinez dominated in an era known for big bats and big home runs. Always such a fun player to watch with a positive demeanor off the field, he was a fierce competitor on the mound and helped the 2004 Red Sox win the World Series.

With the Mets, Martinez pitched parts of four seasons and compiled a 32-23 record with a 3.88 ERA and 1.159 WHIP. His first season with the Mets was his best by far, going 15-8 record with a 2.83 ERA while striking out 208 batters in 217 innings.

So do Mets fans settle? What has been your experience? Speaking for myself, I’ve never settled on anything important to me in my entire life, and I’m not going to begin now. My writings on this site will strongly reflect that.

(Updated 1/7)

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Revisiting the R.A. Dickey Trade, Two Years Later http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/revisiting-the-r-a-dickey-trade-two-years-later.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/revisiting-the-r-a-dickey-trade-two-years-later.html/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:31:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169541 dickey tips cap

It has been close to two years since the New York Mets’ blockbuster trade that sent NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a package that included prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.

Such deals always take years to truly measure which team came out on top and with two complete MLB seasons played since the December trade that got fans on both sides of the border talking about baseball at Christmas, the short and long term impacts are now coming into focus.

Following a brutal 2012 MLB season in which they finished with just 73 wins, good for fourth place in the American League East, 22 games back of the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays appeared to be lost in the wilderness. With just 19 wins total in the months of August and September, Toronto appeared to be years away from competing for their first World Series title since winning back-to-back championships in 1992 and 1993.

Indeed, five straight fourth-place finishes had started to take their toll, with attendance showing signs of tailing off in the wake of a 20-year playoff drought.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, feeling the pressure to quickly turn around the Jays fortunes shook the baseball world with a November 2012 blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins that brought all-star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson to Toronto in exchange for young hurler Henderson Alvarez and several other young prospects.

However, the Jays remained in desperate need of another big arm in the rotation, setting the stage for the deal for Dickey.

Following the acquisition of Dickey, the Jays’ immediately emerged as strong favorites to capture the 2013 World Series in MLB online betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com/.

But to the horror of Blue Jays fans and quiet delight of Mets fans, the Jays’ rapid rebuild failed to produce wins, with Toronto finishing dead last in the AL East, while Dickey posted a 14-13 record with a 4.21 ERA, his worst numbers since becoming a full-time starter in 2010.

Things got no better for Dickey and the Blue Jays in 2014. After posting a 21-9 record in May, the Jays flirted with the best record in baseball and were once again World Series betting favorites. But an 11-23 run in the five weeks prior to the All-Star Break once again doomed the Jays to a third-place finish, well out of contention.

Dickey once again finished with a 14-13 record and improved ERA of 3.71, but at age 40 and with the Blue Jays now at a crossroads following their failed experiment, Dickey’s future is uncertain.

The deal has also produced some interesting early results for the Mets. Top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud has developed into a solid major league catcher, hitting .242 with 13 home runs in 108 games before missing the end of the regular season due to bone spurs in his right elbow.

However, the major concern for the Mets is the 25 year old’s history of concussions that has led to speculation that the club could transition d’Arnaud to the outfield in the future, but that’s not an immediate concern. If d’Arnaud can produce the same near .800 OPS as he did in the second half over a full season, the Mets will have themselves a potential All Star caliber catcher.

The future appears even brighter for Syndergaard, whose rapid development has been watched with chagrin from afar by Jays fans. The 22 year old struggled with injury early on in 2014, pushing back his much anticipated major league debut. But upon his return, Syndergaard unveiled his 100 mph fastball while emerging as one of baseball’s top prospects, and appears destined for a spot high in the Mets’ rotation as early as next season.

Syndergaard more than held his own in a hitter’s paradise where he was almost six years younger than the average Pacific Coast League player and more often dominated than not. What issues he did have were mostly with consistency and not due to a lack of an overpowering arsenal. He’s the first prospect often mentioned by opposing scouts or teams looking to trade with the Mets. That right there, speaks volumes.

The throw-in to the deal Wuilmer Becerra is often forgotten and yet this young outfielder is quickly garnering some major attention from the scouting community. Only 19, this right-handed slugger made some noise in Kingsport this season where he batted .300/.351/.469 with seven home runs, 29 RBI, 37 runs scored and seven stolen bases in just 205 at-bats.

Given all this immense potential that still has to play out for the Mets, and the fact that Dickey is at or near the end of his career, what appeared apparent two years ago still holds true today; the Mets were huge winners in this trade.

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October 25, 1986: Little Roller Up Along First… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/october-25-1986-little-roller-up-along-first.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/october-25-1986-little-roller-up-along-first.html/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:19:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168653 apollo 11

Every generation has its defining moment. People who grew up in the 1960s know exactly where they were when President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated. In the 1980s, every American knows where they were when the Space Shuttle exploded. It’s no different for Mets fans.

People who grew up rooting for the Mets remember every detail of the 1969 Miracle Mets’ run to the World Series. Fans of my generation well up with happy tears when you mention two words to them: Game 6. How can anyone forget the night of October 25, 1986?

The Mets were facing elimination entering Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. They fought back to tie the Series at Fenway Park after dropping the first two games of the Series at Shea Stadium. Then Bruce Hurst shut them down in Game 5 to send the series back to New York with the Mets down three games to two.

It was up to Bob Ojeda to save the Mets’ season. He was opposed by Roger Clemens, who was later given the 1986 AL Cy Young Award. Ojeda was also called upon for Game 6 of that year’s NLCS against the Astros, a game in which the Mets defeated Houston in 16 innings to claim the National League pennant. In that game, Ojeda struggled early, giving up three runs in the first inning before settling down. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was no different for Ojeda. He gave up single runs to the Red Sox in each of the first two innings, but then settled down.

When Ojeda was replaced by Roger McDowell to start the seventh inning, the Mets had come back against Roger Clemens to tie the score at 2. Although the drama that unfolded in the tenth inning is what Game 6 is most known for, a number of interesting events occurred in the seventh inning that are often forgotten.

With one out and Marty Barrett on first base for the Red Sox, Jim Rice hit a ground ball near the third base line that barely stayed fair. Ray Knight fielded it and threw wildly to first base, with the ball popping in and out of the glove of a leaping Keith Hernandez. That brought up Dwight Evans with runners on the corners. Evans hit a ground ball for the second out of the inning, but Barrett scored the go-ahead run and Rice was able to advance to second base. That was when Mookie Wilson became a hero for the first time that night.

Roger McDowell was able to get ahead of Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman by throwing strikes on the first two pitches, but Gedman then grounded the 0-2 pitch from McDowell between short and third for a base hit that appeared to give the Red Sox an insurance run. However, Mookie Wilson charged the ball and fired a strike to Gary Carter at home plate to cut down a sliding Jim Rice for the third out of the inning.

1986-ws-gary-carter-jim-rice

The defensive efforts of Wilson and Carter helped keep the Red Sox lead at one, a lead that would be erased when the Mets came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Roger Clemens had been pinch hit for in the top of the eighth inning, so the Red Sox brought in former Met Calvin Schiraldi to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. Schiraldi had been brilliant in relief for the Red Sox during the regular season, compiling a 4-2 record and a sparking 1.41 ERA. However, all that changed once Lee Mazzilli led off the inning with a base hit. Lenny Dykstra followed with a sacrifice bunt, but he reached first base safely when Schiraldi threw wildly to second base in a failed attempt to nail Lee Mazzilli. Now the Mets had two men on with nobody out for Wally Backman, who laid down a bunt of his own. His successful sacrifice moved Mazzilli and Dykstra into scoring position for Keith Hernandez, who was intentionally walked to load the bases. That brought up Gary Carter. On a 3-0 pitch, Carter had the green light and lined a sacrifice fly to left field. The fly ball allowed Lee Mazzilli to score the tying run. When neither team scored in the ninth inning, the stage was set for the most dramatic inning in Mets history.

The inning started with a bang, but not the one wanted by Mets fans. Dave Henderson led off the inning with a laser beam down the left field line that just stayed fair as it cleared the wall. The home run off Rick Aguilera silenced the Shea Stadium crowd of 55,078 and gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. They weren’t done yet. Aguilera came back to strike out the next two batters but then proceeded to give up a double to Wade Boggs and a run-scoring single to Marty Barrett. The latter hit gave the Sox an insurance run as the lead was now 5-3. The next batter was hit by a pitch. Who was the victim of Aguilera’s wayward offering? None other than Bill Buckner (more on him later). Now there were two men on base for Jim Rice. Rice could have redeemed himself for being thrown out at home in the seventh inning with a hit in the tenth. However, Rice failed to add to the Red Sox lead when he flied out to Lee Mazzilli in right. His failure to come through in two crucial spots set up the events in the bottom of the tenth inning for the Mets.

gary carter 1986 ws hit

Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez were due to lead off in the bottom of the tenth inning. However, two fly balls later and the Mets were down to their final out with no one on base. The dream was one out away from becoming a nightmare. 108 regular season wins and a thrilling NLCS against the Astros would mean nothing if the Mets couldn’t start a rally against Calvin Schiraldi and the Red Sox. The Shea Stadium scoreboard was flashing “Congratulations Red Sox: 1986 World Champions” and NBC had already awarded its player of the game to Marty Barrett. Then Gary Carter stepped up to the plate and something special began to happen.

On a 2-1 pitch from Schiraldi, Carter singled to left. Then Kevin Mitchell, pinch-hitting for Rick Aguilera lined a hit to center on an 0-1 curveball. The tying runs were now on base for Ray Knight. If you recall, Knight had made an error in the seventh inning that led to a run for the Red Sox. Perhaps this game would never have gone into extra innings had Knight not committed his error. Knight didn’t care. All he cared about was getting a hit to continue the inning. Unfortunately for him, Schiraldi threw his first two pitches for strikes. The Mets were down to their final strike, but Ray Knight had something to say about that.

On a pitch that was headed for the inside corner of the strike zone, Knight fisted it over Marty Barrett’s head into short center for another base hit. Carter scored from second base and Mitchell went from first to third on the hit. The tying run was 90 feet away and the winning run was at first base. Red Sox manager John McNamara had made up his mind. He was going to Bob Stanley to try to win the World Series. Stanley would face one batter, Mookie Wilson, with everything on the line.

Stanley would throw six pitches to Mookie Wilson to get the count to 2-2. Hoping for strike three with his seventh pitch, Stanley let go of the pitch and at the same time, let go of the lead. The pitch was way inside, causing Mookie to throw himself up in the air to avoid getting hit. Fortunately, the ball didn’t hit Mookie or Rich Gedman’s glove (or home plate umpire Dale Ford for that matter). The ball went all the way to the backstop and Kevin Mitchell was able to scamper home with the tying run. The wild pitch also allowed Ray Knight to move into scoring position with the potential winning run. All Mookie needed to do now was get a base hit to drive him in, or perhaps he could so something else to bring him home.

During the regular season, John McNamara had always removed first baseman Bill Buckner for defensive replacement Dave Stapleton during the late innings. However, this time Buckner was left in the game despite the fact that he was hobbling around on two gimpy legs and had just been hit by a pitch in the previous inning. What was McNamara’s reasoning for the decision? He wanted Buckner to be on the field to celebrate their championship with his teammates. Instead, Buckner was on the field during a different kind of celebration.

Buckner was at first base as the count went to 3-2 on Mookie Wilson. A mountain of pressure had been lifted off his shoulders once he went airborne to elude Stanley’s pitch. A relaxed Mookie came back to the plate to finish what he came up there to do. After fouling off two more pitches, including a line drive that curved foul down the left field line, Wilson hit a little roller up along first, bringing Mets fans to their feet as Bill Buckner hobbled to the line in an attempt to field it. I’ll let NBC broadcaster Vin Scully describe what happened.

“Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”

A miracle had happened on the diamond. Perhaps Mookie’s grounder hit a pebble. Perhaps Buckner took his eyes off the ball as he watched Mookie sprint down the first base line. Perhaps God was a Mets fan. Regardless of what caused it to happen, Mookie’s grounder found its way under Buckner’s glove and the Mets lived to see another day.

bill-buckner

As a dejected Bill Buckner walked off the field, Shea Stadium was rocking as it never had before. Mookie Wilson was still running towards second base because he had no idea that Ray Knight had scored the winning run. Ron Darling, who was scheduled to start the seventh and deciding game of the World Series the following night (even though it was rained out and played two nights later), admitted that he could see dust falling from the roof of the Mets dugout because of the vibrations caused by the fans jumping up and down over it. Keith Hernandez had left the dugout to go into Davey Johnson’s office after making the second out of the inning, but never moved from the chair he was sitting in, even after the historic rally had begun because as he admitted afterwards, the chair he was sitting in had hits in it.

As the unbelievable events were flashing on the TV screen for those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to have tickets to the game, Vin Scully came back on the air after a long pause to tell the viewers everything they needed to know about what they had just seen unfold at Shea Stadium on that Saturday night. The Hall-of-Fame broadcaster said:

“If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words. But more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are well and they will play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow.”

Game 6 didn’t give the Mets the World Championship as many baseball fans mistakenly believe. There was still one game left to play. Although it was scheduled for the following night, rain put a hold on Game 7 until the night of Monday, October 27. Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who had been scheduled to start the seventh game for the Red Sox, was scratched from his start to allow Met killer Bruce Hurst to pitch. But I’ll leave that blog for another night.

ray knight

For now, think of the memories you have of that unbelievable Game 6. Imagine how different things would have been if Jim Rice had not been thrown out at home plate in the seventh inning, or if Bob Stanley had relieved Calvin Schiraldi before Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell or Ray Knight produced base hits in the tenth inning. Mets fans who celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Miracle Mets this season might still be talking about that team as their only championship team.

A miracle happened at Shea Stadium 28 years ago today, on October 25, 1986. It is the single greatest Mets memory I have. I’m sure for many of you reading this, it’s your favorite Mets memory as well. Do Mets fans believe in miracles? If you watched Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the answer is a definite yes.

The rest, as they say, is a matter of history…

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 1:10 PM (This Is It!) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:02:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166825 bartolo colon

The end is near. This afternoon at Citi Field the New York Mets will play their final game of the season, a rubber match against the Houston Astros. The veteran Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) will close out the 2014 campaign for the Mets and he’ll be opposed by Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in a 1:10 PM start.

The Mets (78-83) enter the final day of the season tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East, and one game ahead of the fourth place Miami Marlins.

Colon is just 3.2 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau for the Mets. The last time he tossed 200 innings was in 2005, when he went 21-8 and won the American League Cy Young Award for the Los Angeles Angels.

Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup for what will be his final start as a major leaguer. On Friday, the 40-year-old veteran outfielder announced that he would retire after this season. “I feel happy with my career,” he said. “I’m blessed. We all create goals in our lives. And to me, as a baseball player, I created all my goals and I met all those goals.”

After hitting a dramatic walk-off home run on Saturday night, Lucas Duda is just one more longball away from a 30-homer season. He’s also two runs batted in away from a 90 RBI season.

No matter what happens today, the Mets will not have a protected draft pick in 2015. That means they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker – LF
  2. Bobby Abreu – RF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson – CF
  6. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno – C
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

The Mets and Astros button up the jerseys for one more time this season as they look to turn the lights out on the 2014 season. Last night, the Mets won thanks to a walk-off homer from Lucas Duda, his 29th of the season, and today they look to win 79 games in a season for the first time since 2010. Today Bartolo Colon takes the mound as he squares off against Nick Tropeano.

Bartolo Colon is 14-13 over 30 games this season pitching 196.1 innings with a 4.08 ERA. Colon is going to have to bounce back from a poor start in Washington where he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. Last year he pitched against Houston four times allowing 3 earned over 6, none over 7, 5 over 4 and 1 over 6. The Astros have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Altuve 5-14, 2B
  • Dominguez 2-12, 2B
  • Castro 6-9, HR
  • Carter 1-10, 2B
  • Villar 1-5

Nick Tropeano gets the fourth start of his rookie season. He is coming off of the worst start of his brief career, allowing 4 ER over 6.2 innings. He has not faced the Mets in a major league game and has never faced any current Mets players.

This is my last game preview of the year. It’s been a pleasure writing these for you. I’ll be back again in the Spring when I begin my 8th season with the best group of Mets writers on the web – Metsmerized!

Lets Go Mets!

mmo

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With A Heavy Heart, Colon Delivers A Sparkling Performance http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/with-a-heavy-heart-colon-delivers-a-sparkling-performance.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/with-a-heavy-heart-colon-delivers-a-sparkling-performance.html/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:20:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152909 USATSI_ bartiolo colon by brad barr

One of my favorite moves of the offseason was the signing of Bartolo Colon to a two year, $20 million dollar deal. And while I never expected him to duplicate his near-Cy Young season of a year ago, I loved the veteran presence he was bringing and his ability to bear down in every game, throw strikes and give our team a chance to win.

Once you get past all the fat and age related jokes, you might just find that Colon is every bit the ace of this team.

Last night we saw Colon stymie the Atlanta Braves and toss seven scoreless innings as the he picked up his first win of the season and his first as a member of the Mets.

There was no nibbling on the corners, no long delays in between pitches, and no unnecessary wasted pitches. All we got was a blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone performance – the kind we don’t get enough of.

Colon allowed just six hits, no walks and struck out five. In a word, he was stellar. Among his 101 pitches thrown, the soon to be 41-year old threw 65 of his 88 fastballs for strikes.

When he threw his final pitch of the evening, a 93 mph fastball to retire Jason Heyward on a groundout, he looked like he was ready to go all the way. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

“He was really, really good tonight,” said Terry Collins after the game. “He pitched in, pitched out, pitched down, pitched up. He really gave them a different look no matter what he was throwing. He really did a good job.”

Asked about his dominating performance, Colon told reporters he felt great. “Especially when you face a team as tough as Atlanta, you prepare to be very tough mentally. So that’s how I felt today.”

Perhaps his catcher Travis d’Arnaud described it best. “His ball moves all over. I don’t even know what to say. I just know he has command of all his pitches and he did what he wanted to do.”

What made his performance even more remarkable was that Colon pitched the entire evening with a heavy heart.

“I have not had my head in baseball for several days. Not since they called me from my house to tell me that my mom has cancer,” Colon told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

His mother, Adriana Morales, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Bartolo will learn the results of further tests today.

“It’s a situation where you’re trying to be strong, but you cannot,” Colon said. “Everyone in the family is very worried, hoping the results come out negative. But when you hear the word cancer, you always think the worst.”

Colon plans to bring his mother to New York to ensure the best care.

“My mom is my best friend, my confidant,” he said. “I talk to her every day, and the only thing that comforts me is that she has not lost her sense of humor. She is a very happy woman.”

Say a prayer for our ace who left it all on the field last night. Let’s hope he gets some good news today about his mom…

Presented By Diehards

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Frank Viola To Undergo Heart Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/frank-viola-to-undergo-heart-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/frank-viola-to-undergo-heart-surgery.html/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:01:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151664 viola

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York is reporting that former Cy Young winner Frank Viola is scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

Viola, 53, had a heart issue detected during his initial spring-training physical. Viola spent the past three seasons as a Class A pitching coach for the Mets.

Ron Romanick is expected to replace Viola as the pitching coach for the Pacific Coast League team.

Very sad to hear… All of us at MMO wish Frank the best with his surgery, our prayers are with him.

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Inside Look: Dead Arm Syndrome http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/inside-look-dead-arm-syndrome.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/inside-look-dead-arm-syndrome.html/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 19:10:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=149099 jon nieseHere is a little more information about what Jon Niese thinks he is experiencing, and why the Mets are sending him back to New York for a MRI. The following is taken from Wikipedia:

Dead arm syndrome starts with repetitive motion and forces on the posterior capsule of the shoulder. The posterior capsule is a band of fibrous tissue that interconnects with tendons of the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Four muscles and their tendons make up the rotator cuff. They cover the outside of the shoulder to hold, protect and move the joint.

Overuse can lead to a build up of tissue around the posterior capsule called hypertrophy. The next step is tightness of the posterior capsule called posterior capsular contracture. This type of problem reduces the amount the shoulder can rotate inwardly.

Over time, with enough force, a tear may develop in the labrum. The labrum is a rim of cartilage around the shoulder socket to help hold the head of the humerus (upper arm) in the joint. This condition is called a superior labrum anterior posterior (SLAP) lesion. The final outcome in all these steps is the dead arm phenomenon.

The shoulder is unstable and dislocation may come next. Dead arm syndrome won’t go away on its own with rest—it must be treated. If there’s a SLAP lesion, then surgery is needed to repair the problem. If the injury is caught before a SLAP tear, then physical therapy with stretching and exercise can restore it.

Here is an excerpt from a piece that was on MLB.com, back in 2009, on Dead arm syndrome:

For Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith and many other Major League pitchers, it’s mostly a Spring Training thing.

“You’re coming off an offseason where you have your own throwing program,” Rowland-Smith says.

“All of a sudden you get to camp and you’re throwing to bases, doing extra stuff. You’re on your legs all day, and that’s when you get that dead arm. You’re in the heat, with day games after day games. You’re up early in the morning. All those things factor into it.”

And when the dog days of August hit and teams are plowing ahead in the latter stages of a 162-game regular-season grind, dead arm can resurface and potentially taint a pennant race.

The key, most veterans agree, is to do the only thing you can do to get rid of it.

“Just pitch through it,” C.C. Sabathia says.

Easier said than done for a 6-foot-7, 280-pound perennial Cy Young candidate, but Linebrink says Sabathia’s dead-on about curing dead arm.

“You absolutely have to just keep going and pitching and you know it’ll come back,” Linebrink says.

And here is an excerpt from a piece written in the Wall Street Journal back in 2011:

Still, “dead-arm syndrome” varies so much in its degrees and its causes that even its name “has become sort of a bucket term,” said Dr. Michael Hausman, the vice-chairman of orthopedics at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s not a precise diagnosis.”

Usually, Hausman said, a pitcher who has a “dead arm” has a slight injury to his labrum, the rim of cartilage that keeps the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint stable. The injury and the shoulder’s resulting instability might be so subtle that the pitcher wouldn’t sense any pain at all. “The brain is trying to protect your body,” Hausman said, “and it basically lowers your fastball in order to prevent you from damaging your arm.”

My experiences with pitchers and players experiencing dead arm (it’s not just isolated to pitchers), is that there generally isn’t pain involved with dead arm. As you can see from the Wikipedia description, nowhere is the word pain used in the explanation. Dead arm is simply fatigue—the ball doesn’t come out with the same snap as usual. It’s fairly common in pitchers early in camp as they do extra throwing due to fielding practice and adjust to the Florida heat…

But the pain scares me. Pitching coaches and trainers know the signs of dead arm, so to be sent for a MRI means there may be more to it. Let’s hope that Niese’s dead arm is not a result of an underlying injury, and his body’s way of protecting itself from further injury by lowering his arm strength, as Dr. Michael Hausman pointed out in the WSJ article.

Keep checking back with MMO for updates on the Niese situation.

Presented By Diehards 

 

 

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2014 Mets Top Prospects: No. 2 Travis d’Arnaud, C http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/2014-mets-top-prospects-no-2-travis-darnaud-c.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/2014-mets-top-prospects-no-2-travis-darnaud-c.html/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147656 Top 25 Prospects d'arnaud 2

2. Travis d’Arnaud, C

Height: 6’2”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 24
Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Travis d’Arnaud was the centerpiece in the deal that moved R.A. Dickey to Toronto last offseason and he became the best position prospect the Mets had right way. To give you an idea of his ceiling, let me first mention that he was twice traded for Cy Young Award Winners. He was originally drafted by the Phillies as the 37th overall pick in the 2007 draft. In 2009, the Blue Jays acquired him when they sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies and of course, the Mets acquired him in 2012. Now 25, Travis is definitely one of the older top prospects in baseball. That’s not necessarily because it took him a while to figure it out but has more to do with the multitude of injuries he’s experienced. He probably would have made his major league debut two seasons ago if it weren’t for foot, back and knee injuries. Although more of a freak injury, last season he took a foul ball off the foot, causing a fracture, which delayed his major league debut until August. In his short stint in the majors, d’Arnaud slashed a dull .202/.286/.263 with 21 K’s in 99 AB’s. He should be cut some slack for those numbers, however, as he worked hard rehabilitating his foot and then not only had to deal with the New York media, but also prove he could be a viable defender behind the plate and properly handle a young Mets pitching staff. The Mets see d’Arnaud as their catcher of the future with good reason. His sweet swing gives him the chance to hit for both a good average and considerable power; a very rare combination from behind the plate. It doesn’t stop there though as his natural athleticism and above average arm should allow him to be a pretty nice defender at the position. He’s a quiet kid but a natural leader who should have no trouble handling a pitching staff.

Outlook: There will continue to be questions in regards to d’Arnaud’s health and ability to stay on the field and it is up to him to prove the naysayers wrong. I believe his health will be just fine as he is one of the more athletic catchers I’ve seen and last years injury had more to do with bad luck than anything else. Kevin Plawecki is making a name for himself in the minors right now and if d’Arnaud cannot make improvements this season, his leash will continue to shorten until Plawecki is ready. D’Arnaud still has a much higher offensive and defensive ceiling than him, however, so I think the Mets are really hoping he works out. During the latter half of his debut last season, d’Arnaud looked like he was finally putting it together, making more contact and hitting hard line drives. At his peak, I could certainly see d’Arnaud hitting between .280 and .300 with 15-20 home runs per season and solid defense; accolades that could probably earn him multiple All Star game selections. He needs to start putting it together soon though because at 25 he is only 2 years away from his supposed “prime”; one that could certainly be shortened due to the physical demands of catching everyday. Due to the current state of the Mets offense, a breakout season from him would give the Mets a huge boost in their run scoring abilities.

MMO TOP 25 PROSPECTS

25. Wilfredo Tovar, SS

24. Juan Centeno, C

23. Cory Mazzoni, RHP

22. Jeff Walters, RHP

21. Jack Leathersich, LHP

20. Luis Mateo, RHP

19. Jayce Boyd, 1B

18. Domingo Tapia, RHP

17. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

16. Vic Black, RHP

15. Michael Fulmer, RHP

14. Jeurys Familia, RHP

13. Dilson Herrera, 2B

12. Jake deGrom, RHP

11. Gavin Cecchini, SS

10. Steven Matz, LHP

9. Brandon Nimmo, CF

8. Amed Rosario, SS

7. Cesar Puello, OF

6. Wilmer Flores, 2B

5. Kevin Plawecki, C

4. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Rafael Montero, RHP

2. Travis d’Arnaud, C

1.

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Previewing Mets Opening Day Starter Candidates http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/previewing-mets-opening-day-starter-candidates.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/previewing-mets-opening-day-starter-candidates.html/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:20:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=146281 opening day

With our injured ace Matt Harvey on the sidelines for imaginably all of 2014 (although Harvey eyes a September return), there is still an argument to be made as to who should be the Mets Opening Day starter.

The hurlers that have a shot at standing on the mound on March 31st, 2014 (Mets Opening Day) are Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee. With an honorable mention for sophomore Zack Wheeler, who needs to get some more MLB experience in him and also work on his control issues. If all goes well this season for Wheeler, he might be in the Opening Day starter debate come 2015.

So here we go…

The Contenders

jon niese 2013Jonathon Niese: The Mets southpaw was the Opening Day pitcher for the Mets in 2013. Niese had a mediocre season last year, as he struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, posting a 4.32 ERA during the first half. He was injured for about a month of the season, when he partially tore his left rotator cuff in late June. But after his return from the DL Niese definitely settled in, as his second half ERA was at a much palatable 3.00. Niese has proven that he is a competitive pitcher who can battle on a mound and help the Mets win some games. He definitely has the credentials to be the first pitcher to touch the rubber at Citi Field this year. If the Mets hadn’t signed Colon, Niese probably would have been the odds on favorite.

dillon geeDillon Gee: Dillon Gee needs a strong case to win over Collins, but he has also shown that he has talent. You may remember at the beginning of last season, Gee had his struggles. It was to the point where Terry Collins, the Mets manager, said during a post-game that it was either Dillon Gee or Jeremy Hefner that was going to be sent to the minors. You may also remember that after this statement by Collins, both Gee and Hefner showed vast improvement. Dillon’s ERA through the first two months of the season was a staggering (not in a good way) 6.34. The game against the Yankees was the start of his turnaround. Against the Yankees, Gee went 7.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits. Dillon’s ERA in the last 4 months of the season was around 2.75. Like Niese, Gee has shown he can be a big time competitor when he’s on the mound. He is without a doubt the underdog in the competition, but he sure has a valid argument for the nod.

bartolo colonBartolo Colon: The newest addition to the rotation, Bartolo Colon, is likely the favorite to start for the Mets on Opening. Colon has has roughly twice as many years of service than Jon Niese and Dillon Gee combined and is Sandy Alderson’s top pitching acquisition this Winter. Colon has had an extremely successful career with with an outstanding 189-128 won-loss and finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young Award voting four times, while winning once. The only thing stopping Colon from being the Opening Day starter would be a complete meltdown in Spring Training or an overpowering performance by one Niese or Gee. Colon is getting a bit long in the tooth, but last year at the age of 40, he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA, and finished 6th in the Cy Young voting. He is hands down the number one candidate for the job right now, but anything can happen between now and March 31st, so stay tuned.

“Spring training is what makes or breaks a team.”  ~  Rickey Henderson

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