Mets Merized Online » Dan Warthen Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:30:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Zack Wheeler to Start Rehab Assignment on Saturday Mon, 01 Aug 2016 19:03:08 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training wheeler

Latest Update – 5:04 p.m.

More good news on Zack Wheeler’s comeback trail.  Anthony DiComo of reports that Wheeler will start a rehab assignment this Saturday.  It remains to be seen how long Wheeler will need to shake off the rust, but he still appears on target for a late August return.

Update – August 1

Zack Wheeler threw his first session to live hitters without incident, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

Wheeler sat in the 90-93 mile per hour range with his fastball and reported no discomfort.

The session is a significant step forward for the right hander as he looks to return to the Mets by the end of August.

Update – July 31

Right-hander Zack Wheeler is scheduled to face live batters on Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Last week, Wheeler said he believes that he could rejoin the team sometime around mid to late August after throwing a bullpen session.

“I’ve already had two setbacks, so hopefully nothing else arises,” Wheeler said. “Hopefully we just go smooth sailing from here.”

The former top Mets prospect last pitched in the major leagues on September 22, 2014, and posted a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 187 batters in 185.1 innings over 32 starts that season.

Original Report – July 24

Zack Wheeler rejoined the Mets in Miami and threw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Dan Warthen on Friday, Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reports.

During the session, Wheeler threw 30 pitches without incident.

“I’m happy where I’m at right now,” Wheeler told reporters in Miami.

The next step for the 26-year old right-hander is to face live batters before throwing simulated innings and eventually heading out on a minor league rehab assignment.

As of now, Wheeler’s return timetable remains the same. The Mets still believe that he can be ready to take the mound at Citi Field by mid to late August.

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MMO Players Of The Week: A Switch-Hitter and A Southpaw Tue, 31 May 2016 17:00:02 +0000 Mets POTW

As we head into the warmer months on the schedule, the New York Mets are looking to heat up themselves, trying to navigate through some injuries and under-performing players.

The bats have remained inconsistent from game-to-game, relying heavily on the long ball still, while Manager Terry Collins tries to get some of his veteran bats going. Choosing an offensive Player of the Week was a bit tricky, since most of the Mets’ lineup has ebbed and flowed more than the Hudson River.

But after some heavy consideration, I landed on a player that batted nearly .500 for the week of May 22-28. And the selection was very apropos, considering he led the offensive charge in Monday’s 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox with a solo home run in the 7th inning.

yoenis cespedes neil walker


Neil Walker had a strong week at the plate for the Mets, going 8-for-20 with one home run, one double, two runs batted in, four runs scored, and three walks. In the six games the Mets played during that stretch, Walker was on base in every game at least once.

Walker went back-to-back with Yoenis Cespedes in Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals in the fifth, giving the Mets a 7-1 lead, which would be the final score. Walker also knocked in the first run of Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, doubling off of rookie LHP Julio Urias to drive in Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Mets the early lead.

In terms of his production against the rest of the second baseman in the Majors, Walker is currently 2nd in home runs (12), 6th in slugging (.506), and 7th in OPS (.837) at the conclusion of Monday’s game. He’s provided solid defense up the middle for the Mets, and has been fun to watch partner with Cabrera on the double-play ball. It’s quite a change of what we’ve been used to watching up the middle defensively these past several years, at times having to close our eyes on balls hit up the middle and hope for the best.

steven matz


Steven Matz earns MMO’s Pitcher of the Week, pitching a gem against the Nationals in Wednesday’s rubber game. After another brutal outing by Matt Harvey the night prior, the Mets were looking to win their first series against their rivals.

Matz was brilliant in the day game, tossing eight innings of four hit baseball. Matz reached the eight inning mark for the first time in his Major League career, tossing 7 2/3 innings twice before. Matz didn’t give up a run in this game, after the Nationals scored seven on Tuesday night. He only walked one batter, and struck out seven, his fifth game this year with at least seven strikeouts.

Matz faced some trouble in he eighth inning, when he surrendered a pinch-hit single to Clint Robinson with two outs in the inning. That brought the tying man to the plate, which was pinch-hitter Bryce Harper, the reigning National League MVP. Matz got behind Harper 2-0 with two fastballs on the outside part of the plate. It was at this moment that pitching coach Dan Warthen turned to Collins and said, “”We’ll find out what he’s made of right here.”

And find out they did, as Matz threw another fastball that Harper took for a called strike, and went after him again with a 93 mph heater that Harper chopped over the mound. Matt Reynolds gloved it and tossed to Eric Campbell at first to retire the side, and keep the Mets lead in tact. Matz stayed tough and resilient in a moment where things could’ve turned ugly, considering he was facing one of the best hitters in the game. His poise and rise to the big moment should give Mets’ fans lots to look forward to from the 25 year-old lefty, as he and Noah Syndergaard have paired up to be in the discussion as one of the best one-two punches in the game.

What a rebound Matz has had since his disastrous opening start on April 11th against the Miami Marlins, when he gave up seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched. He’s won all seven of his next starts, and now has a stat line of 7-1, with a 2.36 earned run average, and a WHIP of 0.99. He’s currently a top contender for National League Rookie of the Year, where he leads all rookie starting pitchers in wins (7), earned run average (2.36), WHIP (0.99), and second in strikeouts (50), behind only Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers who has 51.

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Talkin’ Mets Podcast: Mets Sweep, Harvey Conundrum, Duda’s Back Issue Sun, 22 May 2016 22:38:51 +0000 yoenis cespedes conforto

I am joined by MMO contributor and nationally syndicated talk show host, Tim Donner.  Tonight’s show is long, but chock full of great discussion and debate.

The Mets ended the homestand on a high note, sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers before heading to DC for a three game series against the Washington Nationals.

During the show Tim and I discuss a variety of ways to improve the Mets offense. We also discuss the latest with Lucas Duda and his balky back. Could Alejandro De Aza be the answer at first base if Duda lands on the DL? What internal and outside options are available to the Mets?

Of course we discuss the Matt Harvey situation and why it’s important for him to throw zeroes on Tuesday. What if it’s more of the same?

We discuss all this and more on the latest edition of the podcast.

I hope you enjoy and I am looking forward to your comments.



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Syndergaard Is Syn-Sational Thu, 21 Apr 2016 15:00:49 +0000 noah syndergaard

What an amazing transformation Met fans are able to witness as Noah Syndergaard is quickly blossoming into the conversation as one of the best starting pitchers in the game.

Syndergaard is rounding into quite a complete pitcher, featuring an arsenal of plus pitches in his four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, curveball, and his new toy, a slider. What’s even more amazing is that Syndergaard ranks first in average velocity on his fastball (98.4 mph), slider (92.3 mph), and changeup (90 mph). Even his curveball ranks first in average velocity at 82.9 mph!

And all those velocities are up from his rookie campaign in 2015, with his slider being a big part of the reason for his early season success so far. In 2015, Syndergaard threw his slider only 2.1% of the time, for an average velocity of 87.9 mph. This season, Syndergaard is relying on his slider almost a quarter of the time, at 23.2% for an average speed of 92.4 mph.

The slider has become a pitch that is synonymous with pitching coach Dan Warthen, whose been helping his pitchers incorporate it into their games.  There were early accounts of Warthen’s slider tutelage in 2012, when Matt Harvey praised Warthen for teaching him how to hold the grip during Spring Training.

“Dan Warthen helped me out with the grip during Spring Training,” Harvey said. “I threw it last year, but I didn’t really know how to throw a slider.”

Fast forward to the present, where Syndergaard is taking Warthen’s slider and turning it into his own secret weapon, throwing it much harder than most that throw it. In his first start of the season on April 5th, Syndergaard went to the slider 23 times, and the Royals could do absolutely nothing with it. They went 1-for-9 with six strikeouts, which ESPN NY’s Adam Rubin reported was as many strikeouts as he had with the slider in the entire 2015 regular season.

Royal’s manager Ned Yost was amazed at the dominance Syndergaard had with his sliders, particularly in Syndergaard’s last batter in the sixth against DH Kendrys Morales with the bases loaded.

“There is no man alive who could have hit those three sliders [Syndergaard] threw to Morales,” Yost said. “I don’t think I have ever seen a 95-mph slider. George Brett was in here [his office] and I asked him if he could have hit that, and he said no way.” (NY Post)

While Syndergaard’s slider is a marvel of a pitch, he will always get high praise for his triple digit readings on the radar gun, and his ability to locate his fastball. On Monday night in Philadelphia, Syndergaard threw 12 pitches that were at least 100 mph, adding to his season total that currently stands at 15 according to MLB Statcast.

Of the 25 total pitches registered at 100 mph or greater this season, Syndergaard has thrown 60% of them, and three other pitchers threw the other ten pitches registered at that speed. Syndergaard owns five of the top ten fastest pitches this season, a stat we’re sure to see rise each start he makes.

Syndergaard’s meteoric rise has led to many comparisons to other All Star and Hall of Fame talent, past and present. He’s even been compared to a “max 10 video game player”, as David Wright recently spoke on after the Mets Monday night victory.

“My friends ask me about him,” the Mets captain said of his flame-throwing teammate, “and I say, ‘Think of it this way: When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build a player and put all the abilities up to max 10.’ He’s that guy you build in the video games.”

Former ’86 Champion and current Mets broadcaster Ron Darling told Mike Puma on Wednesday that he likens him to another former Met of the past.

nolan ryan

“He looks like Nolan Ryan,” Darling said. “He walks like him. He acts like him, throws like him. He just has better control than Nolan had at that age. From my seat I’m having a hard time finding the words describing what he is doing.” (NY Post)

If Syndergaard’s career looks anything like Ryan’s, albeit with better control as Darling points out, we’re all in for something very special. This kind of talent doesn’t come around very often, and add in the poise and mound presence he has after only 27 Major League starts, and it makes it even more unbelievable.

How far we’ve come from just last Spring Training, when Syndergaard had to be spoken to by David Wright and ex-Met reliever Bobby Parnell for eating lunch in the clubhouse during an intrasquad game. They way Syndergaard handled the situation, and took the lumps from the captain was an encouraging sign that he was eager to learn from the misstep, and move on.

“It was just a learning point for me, a team camaraderie thing,” Syndergaard said. “I understand where David was coming from. We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.” (Newsday)

I love Thor’s attitude, the way in which is conducts himself on the mound, and his ability to locate all of his pitches for strikes. Looking at Fangraphs, Syndergaard’s plate discipline numbers are all showing vast improvements from last year.

First, Syndergaard’s O-Swing %, which is the percentage of pitches batters swing at outside the strike zone is up over five percentage points this year, currently at 38.4%. His O-Contact %, which has to do with the percent of time a hitter makes contact with a ball thrown outside the strike zone, is at 41.1% compared to last year when he registered a 58.1%.

This could be the effect of having better movement on his off-speed pitches and the inclusion of the slider. And his SwStr%, which is the percentage of strikes swung at and missed is up over seven percentage points this season at 19.3%. And it shows, as Syndergaard is currently tied for the most strikeouts in the Majors alongside Vince Velasquez of the Phillies.

There’s no sugarcoating it, Syndergaard is becoming the ace of this Mets staff. Joe D. asked the MMO staff before the season started on which Mets pitcher was going to have the best season. Before the season started, it was hard to pick out of deGrom, Harvey, and Syndergaard which one would have the best season. Joe D. made a great analogy in choosing a pitcher.

“You just won a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro (V8 455 horsepower model of course) and you have to choose from Hot Rod Red, Nightfall Gray or Metallic Tri-Coat Black. No matter which one you choose, you can’t go wrong.”

After his first three starts on this season, Syndergaard is quickly making this question an easy one to answer.


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Will Dan Warthen’s Fix Bring The Dark Knight Back? Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:40:53 +0000 matt harvey

When the Mets open up their three game set against the Atlanta Braves on Friday evening, Matt Harvey will be taking the mound. Harvey brings in a very not so Harvey like record of 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA. Manager, Terry Collins is confident the issue with Harvey’s mechanics that pitching coach Dan Warthen addressed, has helped.

“He was very confident,’’ Collins said. “He thought it was the best bullpen [Harvey] has had in a long time, so that was really good news.” (NY Post)

After Harvey’s last start, Warthen, had advised that there was an issue with Matt’s back leg as he was throwing. Warthen is said to have helped Harvey to correct the issue.

“I’m not a pitching coach. I believe in my pitching coach. He’s very, very good, and if that’s what he’s determined and they’ve got it fixed then Matt Harvey will be back,’’ said Collins. “The way we tried to get all those young guys ready for the season, he might have not done enough extra work in the bullpen.

There has yet to be any panic shown by anyone on the Mets’ side regarding Harvey and his poor start. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before the Dark Knight regains his throne in Gotham, becoming again the pitcher we all know he can be. Collins, has no doubt that it will happen.

“I still have all the confidence in the world he’s going to get it going and at the end of the year he’s going to be right where he always is, and that’s pitching great.”

 Matt harvey

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Matt Harvey’s Rough Start To 2016 Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:05:03 +0000 harvey matt

If anyone would’ve guessed that Matt Harvey would start the year winless in his first three starts, and be in the bottom third of qualifying pitchers in ERA, well then maybe you should play the Power-Ball.

For everyone else, Harvey’s first three starts to the 2016 season have been filled with early promise, only to crumble in the middle innings. It’s interesting to note that during the first three innings, Harvey’s allowed only two runs, one earned, struck out six and walked two batters. His OPS against numbers during those first three innings is a minuscule .325.

Harvey turns from Batman into Harvey “Two Face” during innings four through six however. In the 8 1/3 innings Harvey’s pitched in innings four to six, he’s allowed ten earned runs, walked five and struck out only three. The impressive OPS against numbers he owns during the first three innings balloons to a whopping 1.083. Clearly Harvey is having early season issues going through the batting order a second and third time around.

And the numbers back this up. In the first plate appearance against Harvey, batters have a combined .317 OPS with five strikeouts and two walks. In the second plate appearance, the OPS against starts to creep up, to .551. The strikeout numbers also start shrinking in the second time around, only striking out three batters in the early start to the season. In the third plate appearance, hitters are teeing off, combining for OPS of 1.597, with four walks and one strikeout. Of the eleven runs Harvey’s surrendered thus far, six of them have come in the third plate appearance against.

Numbers aside, it’s evident that Harvey is struggling to find that dominant command and presence that has made him one of the most electrifying starters in baseball. Could the issue be mental? Possibly, especially considering that Harvey has dealt with issues and questions surrounding a cornucopia of topics, from innings limits, to Game 5 of the World Series, condensed off-season, to the blood clot at the end of Spring Training and the media having a field day over it.

I suspect a lot of it has to do with his mechanics though, especially out of the stretch. Pitching Coach Dan Warthen provided some interesting comments after the Mets lost on Saturday 7-5 to the Cleveland Indians.

“We worked on it the last bullpen,” Warthen said. “Still, you get into a pressure situation, you do fall back into bad habits. This has been Matt’s biggest bugaboo since I’ve had him — being able to stay up. He’s trying to be quick to home plate. We’re trying to give our catchers a chance [to throw out base stealers]. In doing so, he collapses the back side and ends up pushing a lot of baseballs, or spiking them.” (ESPN)

Warthen has noticed that Harvey’s had early season issues out of the stretch, suggesting that mechanical issues involving Harvey collapsing on his backside rather than staying upright, which results in Harvey almost forcing the baseball instead of delivering it fluidly. The Indians took advantage of Harvey’s struggles out of the stretch, going 5-8 against him from the fifth inning on in Saturday’s loss.

harvey warthen

Basically Harvey might be tensing up some when he’s out of the stretch, which results in him rushing the baseball and not being able to locate as he would want, and also would explain the reduction in velocity, something that was evident during Saturday’s start.

In April of 2015, Harvey averaged 96.6 mph on the gun, Saturday he averaged 94 mph. While it’s only a drop off of two miles per hour, Harvey was also coming back from Tommy John surgery last year. It would’ve made more sense if he had a small drop off in velocity heading into last year than this one, now fully healed and off any innings limit.

Harvey has also seen a large uptick in the percentage of contact made when swinging at all pitches, in and out of the strike zone. When Harvey’s at his best, he normally hangs around in the low to mid 70 percent range, which he produced in 2012, ’13, and ’15. This year, Harvey is well above his career norms, sitting at 83.1 percent. This could indicate that he’s not fooling as many hitters as he had in the past, which is also pretty clear when you see his K/9 numbers. Before the season, the lowest K/9 rate Harvey registered was last season, which was 8.94, still good for 21st in all of baseball. He’s currently at 4.67, a career low even dating back to his minor league days.

Many will suggest that Harvey had an abbreviated spring, which is true and might be a potential reason why he’s had a rocky start to 2016. He had to deal with the blood clot situation near the end of camp, which resulted in Harvey feeling hurt and betrayed by the media for their over the top coverage on the matter. He only threw twelve innings in Spring Training, and the results weren’t pretty there either, surrendering ten earned runs and walking nine, coming close to matching his overall numbers to start 2016.

Dating back to the last regular season game of 2015, Harvey has now lost four in row, something he has never done before in his young career. Harvey would certainly take the results from that October 3rd game however, where he threw six innings of one run ball, with no walks and eleven strikeouts. Harvey hasn’t even matched his strikeout total from that one game last year, with only nine strikeouts in 2016.

Harvey knows that there’s plenty more starts for him to get things turned around. However, April has normally been a strong month for Harvey. In 2013 Harvey went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA. Harvey also went 4-0 in his 2015 return, and only allowed three walks in those starts combined. He’s already more than doubled that this year, sitting with seven free passes so far.

Frustration has been setting in for the 27-year-old through his first three starts.

“Nobody’s more frustrated right now than I am — not just today, but the last couple of starts. I think there’s a lot of things that went wrong,” Harvey said.  “There’s a lot more baseball to be played, which is good. Obviously I have to redraw things up tomorrow and get back after it. Like I said, nobody’s more disappointed than I am.”

I suspect Harvey will work out of the funk he is currently in before too long. The season’s too long, his stuff is too good, and we know that Harvey can pitch on the biggest of stages. Maybe going through the adversity will help Harvey in the long run. In his career, he’s always had the spotlight for mainly positive actions on the diamond. With his early season struggles, this will be an excellent test to see how Harvey works around it, and how fast he can correct the mechanical issues that seem to be plaguing him to start the year.


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Dan Warthen Has Some Work To Do Tue, 12 Apr 2016 18:32:17 +0000 harvey warthen

Before last night’s loss, the Mets led the National League in ERA. After Steven Matz‘ dud last night, the Mets are now ranked sixth. They went from a 2.08 ERA to a 3.40 ERA. It’s a warning of overlying on small sample sizes.

It’s also a reminder that it’s really about the process. While it’s a results oriented business, the pitching coach needs to focus on things like the pitcher’s mechanics and not his ERA.

In that respect, Dan Warthen has some work to do as three of his starters have some mechanical issues.

Steven Matz

Last night, Matz was terrible. There are a number of things you can point to as the reason like the long layoff. However, as Kevin Kernan reported in the NY Post, Matz’s mechanics may have been to blame:

“He looks like a young guy who needs a month in Triple-A to clean up some things,” one veteran scout at the game told the Post.

Looking at last night’s game, there was no doubt Matz needs some work. He wasn’t fooling anyone last night, and the Marlins were on top of his pitches. Preferably, Matz can do that work with Dan Warthen instead of Triple-A. Regardless of where he does it, Matz needs to get himself right.

Jacob deGrom

The talk throughout Spring Training was Jacob deGrom‘s fastball ranging between 91 – 93 MPH. That is down from the 96 MPH fastball he averaged last year. There were a number of reasons posted why that was the case from him starting getting ready for the season later to him saving bullets for the regular season to him getting nicked up a couple of times during Spring Training.

In his first start of the season, deGrom was still averaging 92 MPH. Some said there was no need for caution because he looked dominant at times even without the extra velocity on the fastball. Some later speculated it might’ve been the result of his lat injury.

However, on the April 11th edition of MLB Tonight, Pedro Martinez stated that deGrom was dropping his arm angle. It was his belief that if deGrom fixed his arm angle the extra MPH could return to deGrom’s fastball.

Matt Harvey

This season is supposed to be the season for Matt Harvey. He’s another year removed from Tommy John surgery. He’s got his slider back. The only thing he had to worry about was going out there and dominating like he did in 2013.

It hasn’t started out that way. Harvey was 8-0 in the month of April coming into this season. This year he’s 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.463 WHIP. At times, he seems to have difficulty locating pitches. Harvey isn’t blaming his bladder problems. As Neil Best of Newsday reported on Opening Day, it’s a mechanical issue:

“I felt alright,” Harvey said. “There were times I felt fine and other times when it was hard finding a rhythm and getting my release point.”

During Sunday’s loss to the Phillies, Harvey’s fortune changed on one bad pitch he left out over the plate. Again, as Kevin Kernan of the NY Post reported, it was a mechanical issue.  “Harvey said he didn’t get the arm extension on the killer 1-2 slider.”

As Kernan further pointed out, the coaching staff is concerned enough for Dan Warthen to start “studying film to see what the issue is with Harvey.”

Dan Warthen has his work cut out for him. He’ll be hitting the books and studying film for at least three of his starters. Fortunately, it is still early in the season and the Mets have plenty of time to figure things out.

The pitching is going to be there, and yes, the offense will be there as well. However, while the offense is figuring things out, the Mets need their pitching. As we saw last year, this Mets staff can keep even the most abysmal of offenses afloat. As we saw last year, the Mets pitching can carry them to the World Series. And it’s the Mets pitching that is going to get them there again this year. On the plus side, in Warthen the Mets have one of the best pitching coaches in the game so expect these few issues to get resolved in short order.


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Harvey Dominates Cubs For Second Career Playoff Win Sun, 18 Oct 2015 13:00:31 +0000 matt harvey

In the second playoff start of his career, Matt Harvey was outstanding. He struck out nine batters in 7.2 innings while allowing just two runs and four hits.

With the win yesterday, he became the third pitcher in franchise history to win the first two games of his Mets’ playoff career. Tom Glavine did so in 2006, and Jacob deGrom became the second earlier this postseason.

Even though he won in his last outing, Harvey was still disappointed with how he performed against the Dodgers. He expected better of himself, and couldn’t wait to get on the mound again in Game 1 of the NLCS.

“No, I think after the first go around I definitely wasn’t happy. Obviously we won, and that was the most important thing. But I think I kind of said in the press conference yesterday that I really wanted to be back out there as much as I possibly could, and getting the ball the first game, I really wanted to start things off the right way and get us rolling. Fortunately enough I had things working pretty well, and we were able to do that.”

Harvey certainly set the tone early as he retired the first 12 batters he faced. He looked as dominating as ever, and kept the dangerous Cubs lineup off balance all night.

After all the controversy surrounding him this season, this was exactly the kind of outing he needed to redeem himself to the fans, who chanted his name as he left the field. He pitched deep into the game, and proved he could be relied on as an elite postseason starter.

“Oh, it was great. I think after everything that’s happened, I think the biggest thing was really staying focused on what I had to do tonight. Regardless of what’s happened, my job was to go out and give us quality innings and keep the damage down and really, like I said, get us starting off right.”

Harvey will be ready to go for his next start against the Cubs, and will look to overpower them once again. The Mets got a scare after he got hit in the arm by a line drive, but he did not suffer an injury and turned out to be okay.

“It’s a little bit swollen right now, but the training staff will take care of that and we’ll be all set.”


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Dan Warthen Deserves Heaps Of Credit For Mets’ Pitching Renaissance Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:39:35 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Pitching coach Dan Warthen told Marc Carig of Newsday that he is “very skeptical” Harvey will be allowed to reach the 200 inning threshold that Sandy Alderson talked about last week. Warthen indicated that a more appropriate limit would be between 180 and 190 innings pitched.

“I would be very skeptical of 200 innings,” Warthen told the newspaper. “I don’t think we’re going to reach that number, but it would be very close. That’s at the high, high end.”

Warthen also said he believed Harvey could have pitched during the end of last season, but in retrospect he’s glad the Mets held off.

* * * * * * * *

Dan Warthen also told reporters that a decision on who will be the Mets Opening Day starter will have to be made by March 18.

The only starter who is not being considered is Matt Harvey who understands and is perfectly fine with the decision. Harvey will start one of the following four games.

“Matt will say the same thing: ‘I’m a good teammate. I plan on being the No. 1 guy for many years to come but right now I’m probably not the one that is deserving,’” Warthen said.

* * * * * * * *

On Monday, right-hander Zack Wheeler acknowledged to Mike Vorkunov of that he dislikes defensive shifts and would prefer the Mets not employ them when he’s on the mound.

“I don’t want to piss anybody off but, honestly, I don’t like it,” he said. “Teams are starting to be more analytical these days. … I don’t like analytics all that much, but I’m not the boss here. I really can’t control it. They know where I stand on that.”

At a conference this weekend, Alderson asserted that the Mets stopped using a shift behind one of its pitchers. Wheeler saw the information relayed in a tweet that day and, when asked, told a reporter he guessed it might have been him and, indeed, it was.

Terry Collins said the Mets have reached an accord with Wheeler, who appreciated that they listened. While the numbers may be on their side, sometimes there are other considerations to be had.

“We said you’re right,” Collins said. “You’re too important not to have confidence on the mound. So we’ll make the adjustments.”

* * * * * * * *

Matt Harvey is excited at how good his curve has been post surgery. Harvey said, the curveball came easier to him, so he began throwing it more. He added that pitching coach Dan Warthen encouraged it because the curve places far less torque on his elbow than the slider.

“It’s a great combination to be able to throw a four-seam fastball up in the zone and come back with a curveball,” Warthen said. “The delivery, everything is repeating itself beautifully right now.”

“I always threw sliders,” said Harvey, who threw approximately four of them for every three curves in 2013. “It’s nice having that develop.”

Look for him to reverse the trend and throw 4:3 curve to slider this season which could be huge. Harvey’s curve was his top out pitch over his MLB career with a nearly 40 percent strikeout rate.

* * * * * * * *

Finally, and I know many of you will disagree with me, but Dan Warthen deserves a ton of credit for how all of our young pitchers have developed. He works tirelessly with all of them to bring out their best and many of them are exceeding expectations.

For too long he’s been at the butt end of jokes, but in fact he should be held in high esteem for what’s become a pitching renaissance in Flushing and the juggernaut that is fueling all this talk of playoffs.

A big MMO hat tip to Dan Warthen for a job well done.


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Lamar Johnson Will Not Return As Hitting Coach Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:30:14 +0000 lamar johnson

Official Release

The New York Mets today announced that hitting coach Lamar Johnson and assistant hitting coach Luis Natera will not return to their positions in 2015. Johnson and Natera have been offered positions within the minor league system.

“We appreciate the hard work of Lamar and Luis this year at the Major League level,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. “We hope they will continue to be part of the Mets organization in the future.”

Natera was named to the newly created position of assistant hitting coach on March 24. Johnson took over for Dave Hudgens, who was fired on May 26.

The Mets also announced that Mike Barwis, a strength and conditioning consultant to the Mets since 2011, has been appointed to oversee all Major League and Minor League strength and conditioning for the Mets organization.

Barwis, known for his “Barwis Methods” performance training programs for professional and amateur athletes, will remain a consultant, but will now be directly involved in the hiring and supervision of all Mets strength and conditioning coaches and will be responsible for implementing a system-wide performance training program.

4:00 PM

According to CBS’s Jon Heyman, the Mets have officially announced that Lamar Johnson will be replaced as hitting coach. Johnson and his assistant Luis Natera will not retain their roles within the organization. It is still unclear if they will be reassigned or released.

Johnson replaced Dave Hudgens after he was fired on May 27. There was no difference in batting or on-base after the switch.

While the Mets overall hitting rankings were not the worst in the National League, they struggled to hit with runners on base all year. They ranked seventh worst in baseball with 3.61 runners left in scoring position per game.

Bob Geren, Tim Teufel, Tom Goodwin and Dan Warthen will all return for the 2015 season.

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3 Up, 3 Down: The Kids Are Alright Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:32:05 +0000 MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets

The Mets finished up their three game set against the Marlins with a 2-1 series victory last night. New York has an interesting parallel with their division rivals from Miami, in that both organizations have dwelled at the bottom of the NL East cellar for many years now, but through those years they also stockpiled young, athletic players with the potential to be stars. Let’s see how the Met’s youngsters stacked up in this edition of 3 Up and 3 Down.

3 Up

1.  Matt den Dekker, Juan Lagares and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are a stellar defensive unit in the outfield, they’re fast and fearless, but that speed and tenacity has transitioned recently at the plate. Of the three, I’ve been most impressed with den Dekker as of late. The indictment against Matt has always been that his offense may never develop enough to give his glove an everyday spot in the lineup. I’m only evaluating a small sample size, but MDD is showing improvement in areas that project future success. Mainly, he’s reverted to a shorter, more compact swing, allowing him to turn on pitches quickly. He’s also showing vast improvements in his plate discipline. In his first 12 games in August, he was seeing an average of 12.4 pitches per game. In his last seven, that number has gone up to 16.4 pitches per game, with a 22% increase in strikes. His walk rate has remained relatively flat, but now Matt is seeing better pitches and taking better swings. The results are fantastic as den Dekker left Miami with a triple slash line of .545/.615/1.252, plating a run, swiping a base and scoring twice. His defense holds up pretty well to his counterpart in center field as well.

2.  Juan Lagares is no stranger to Mets fans at this point. He continues to improve in every facet of his game, becoming more of a student, while retaining his ‘hair on fire’ style of play.  Lagares took tremendous strides in this series and gave us a glimpse of a superstar in the making.  First base coach Tom Goodwin has challenged Juan to transition his speed in the outfield to the basepaths and unsurprisingly, it’s been a success. Juan had three stolen bases in three attempts against the Marlins this series. In his last six games, he is 5-for-5, as Goodwin at times has forced him to steal. Lagares noted that he had previously been hesitant given the duress on his hamstring, but at 100%, he seems unstoppable. Prior to his recent streak, he was 4-for-7 all year. It also seems that the coaching staff is making a unique case for Lagares’ approach at the plate by ditching the one-size-fits-all philosophy and building on Juan’s strengths. Pitchers began to recognize his ability to hit balls on the outside of the plate, so they started going inside to him. Lamar Johnson worked with Lagares to pull the ball on the inside and it translated into home run power. Opposing pitchers are once again pitching him low and outside the strike zone and Juan has adjusted nicely by continuing to drive those balls to the opposite field. Tuesday, Lagares put his talents on exhibition, going 4-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases. Overall, the center fielder batted .500 with an OPS of 1.105 in South Beach.

3.  Little “d” on the mound and behind the plate, means a W in the books. The battery duo of Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud has produced a team record of 5-3 in the games they start together, allowing a meager 1.07 walks/hits per innings pitched. Last night kept pace with that production, as deGrom went 6.0 innings, allowing only one earned run while striking out six.  He has lowered his ERA on the season to 2.87 and kept his name hot in the hunt for Rookie Of The Year.  Meanwhile d’Arnaud (the little ‘d’ is killing my auto-correct) continues to emerge as one of the top offensive catchers in the league. He already leads all rookies in home runs with 12, but had a great series, giving his pitchers a boost on offense. Travis produced a triple slash line of .500/.571/1.155 this series and is now a point away from having a .300 OBP and .700 OPS on the year, which is fairly remarkable given his woes prior to returning from AAA Las Vegas. Consistency is the name of the game for the youngsters, it’s the only true measurement of projecting sustained success in the future, and these players named so far have done a great job making the future very bright.

3 Down

1.  Pitching was atrocious for the most part in this series, which for the Mets, has been their strength all year.  Zack Wheeler was fortunate enough to have minimal damage done to his ERA, as it now sits at 3.45.  He only gave up two earned runs in Monday’s loss, but as a whole, he allowed five runs total while he was on the mound. Wheeler again turned in a brief outing, going only 4.2 innings with five hits and two walks, using 114 pitches to get through it all.  Zack clearly has the material to be an ace, but he has yet to figure out a way to keep his pitch counts down and go deeper into games.  Pitching coach Dan Warthen has got to prioritize this and reverse the trend or Wheeler may never reach his full potential. Jon Niese remarkably was able to walk away with a win on Tuesday, thanks entirely to an eight-run offensive outburst by his teammates (Jon did go 1-1 with a run scored to be fair), but he still surrendered 10 hits and six earned runs.

2.  Errors absolutely killed this team.  Jeurys Familia is a relief pitcher, so I’m slightly less aggravated by his two errors in the series, although they were total blunders. Dilson Herrera committed two errors in his three starts and David Wright also had a pair in the series, giving him 15 on the year. Wright is a seasoned vet and a former gold glover, although watching his errors gave me hope and disappointment simultaneously. Hope, because they had nothing to do with injury or lack of range. Disappointment because he was back on his heels when he committed a fielding error and he wasn’t squaring his body up when he made a poor throw. When David struggles from injury, I’m probably his biggest apologist and have been all year. This series was not a good display of The Captain leading by example though.

3.  In game decision making by the manager, in my opinion, cost the Mets their only loss in this series and could have cost the team another loss last night as well.  In the top of the 7th of a tie ball game on Monday night, Terry Collins made an offensive switch to bat Eric Campbell against lefty reliever Mike Dunn, taking Matt den Dekker out of the game.  Conventional wisdom agrees with Collins’ move here, but there were different elements that immediately made me feel like this was a poor choice.  The Marlins were producing runs all night, using all parts of the outfield to knock out base hits. Den Dekker is clearly the better defensive choice, and had also been producing at the plate that night too. In a game where the Mets pitchers were getting lit up, it made sense to leave den Dekker in. The result was Campbell flying out to center and in the following frame he dropped a ball he dove to catch in left field, It was the beginning of an error-filled meltdown. Hindsight is 20/20, but den Dekker was playing great that night and he undoubtedly would have made that catch. This isn’t a knock on Soup, but he’s not an outfielder. I also understand situational hitting, but at the same time, this is supposed to be a developmental period for our up and coming youngsters.  All position players who are looking to lock down a job in 2015 should be tested in all situations across nine innings of baseball to see what they’re really made of. As for last night, leaving Carlos Torres in to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth, instead of pinch-hitting Curtis Granderson, was a dangerous choice that just barely paid off. The entire reason behind that decision was so that Torres could face Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom of the eighth. The result?  Stanton cranked his 36th home run of the year, a magnificent bomb to left field.  Again, this is another case of hindsight after the fact, but I was baffled when I saw Torres toss a batting helmet on.  If it weren’t for a slick defensive play by Lucas Duda to rob a rocketed baseball off the bat Marcel Ozuna and end the inning, it most certainly could have backfired.


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Mejia Leaves Game With Forearm Bruise, Going For X-Rays Sat, 29 Mar 2014 02:47:18 +0000 jenrry mejia USATSI

10:00 PM

Jenrry Mejia was cruising on Friday night at Olympic Stadium until he was struck by a liner off the bat of Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins in the bottom of the fifth.

The ball struck Mejia in the right forearm and after a visit from Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez, he was pulled from the game.

The team called it a bruise but said Mejia would get X-rays after the game. Terry Collins said he had a lump develop on his forearm very quickly.

Collins also said that John Lannan might be fallback if Mejia or Jon Niese is not OK.

Mejia was tabbed to start next Friday against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. 

More details to come…

5:10 PM 

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that according to Terry Collins, Jenrry Mejia may very well start next Friday at Citi Field against the Cincinnati Reds, with Daisuke Matsuzaka held back for a potential start two days later should Jonathon Niese be unable to come off the disabled list that day.

Rubin adds, rather than have Mejia and Matsuzaka on the Opening Day roster, the Mets will instead carry only four starting pitchers to begin the season, allowing them to have an extra bench player (Andrew Brown) for five games.

1:20 PM

Poor Jenrry Mejia… After a long road back from Tommy John surgery and at the precipice of officially being named the Mets fifth starter, a bunion on his right toe could derail his chances of making the opening day roster. That’s right, a bunion.

Mejia was actually forced to leave his last start early when it became too painful to continue pitching, and pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters the bunion was still an issue when he threw his last bullpen.

Manager Terry Collins said this could become a factor in whether the team turns to Mejia or Daisuke Matsuzaka to start the season and may impact the fifth-starter race. However, nothing definitive has been decided as of yet.

Asked if he’d be okay for his start on Friday, Mejia said, “I feel pretty good. I’m very excited to pitch tomorrow.”

With Jon Niese feeling amazing and Matsuzaka set to start on Saturday, this fifth starter decision looks like it will go down to the wire.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Alderson and Warthen Apologize For Ethnic Slur Thu, 13 Mar 2014 03:54:17 +0000 warthen

The Mets issued statements on behalf of Sandy Alderson and pitching coach Dan Warthen, who used an ethnic slur while conversing with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s interpreter, Jeff Cutler, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s what occurred:


Cutler and I turned around. It was Dan Warthen, the Mets pitching coach.

“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler.

“It’s OK,” Cutler replied.

“I didn’t mean to insinuate –- I know you’re not Chinese,” Warthen said. He paused. “I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.”

“It was,” Cutler said, with a small laugh.

Warthen walked away.

I didn’t say anything, but I was startled. As a 27-year-old Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard the term “Chinaman,” a derogatory word originally given by white Americans to Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.

Here are the two statements:

“I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse,” Dan Warthen said in a statement released by the team. “They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting.  I am very sorry.”

Said Alderson:  “On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by of one of our staff members.  The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.”

That these things can still happen in an MLB clubhouse is pretty sad…

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Parnell Returns From Sore Quad To Toss A Bullpen Sat, 22 Feb 2014 15:56:37 +0000 bobby parnell

Bobby Parnell returned to the mound today and threw a bullpen session this morning, two days after missing a scheduled bullpen on Thursday.

According to a report by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York on Friday, Parnell had his bullpen session put on hold temporarily due to an injured quadriceps muscle he got while covering first base during a drill Thursday.

Rubin said that he had been listed to throw Thursday, but the Mets decided to wait an extra day to be safe as he returns from surgery.

It now appears that everything is fine and maybe we’ll get some official word from Parnell later today.

Presented By Diehards

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Dice-K Still Remains In The Mix For The Mets Wed, 15 Jan 2014 15:38:54 +0000 daisuke matsuzaka

While there was no truth to last evening’s report that the Mets had reached an agreement with Daisuke Matsuzaka on a minor league deal – a report that was refuted by the Mets – Andy Martino of the Daily News writes that the Japanese righty still remains in the mix for the Amazins.

“The Mets are looking to fill out their starting rotation with additional depth, and a reunion with Matsuzaka remains a possibility, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.” 

While a report yesterday out of Japan saying that the Mets were bringing Matsuzaka back was either inaccurate or premature, the veteran righthander remains in the mix, sources said.

I would venture a guess that Jenrry Mejia has a leg up on the final spot in the rotation, behind Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee. However, a little competition on a minor league deal wouldn’t hurt and could provide some depth in case of injury or ineffectiveness come April or May.

January 14, 8:30 PM

An earlier report that said that the Mets may re-sign RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor-league deal, has been shot down by at least two team officials who denied it, and possibly a third that told Adam Rubin that any report of a deal is “not true at all.”

The Mets have been rumored to be interested in about a half dozen pitchers this offseason, but so far no word that they’ve exchanged numbers with any of them.

I wouldn’t mind having Dice-K back, who seemed to rediscover his old self after three bad starts and a fix by pitching coach Dan Warthen.

After allowing 15 earned runs in his first 12.1 innings pitched, the former Japanese phenom held the opposition to just four runs in his next 26.1 inning spanning four starts. That resulted in a 3-0 record with a 1.37 ERA with a 0.835 WHIP to close out the season and finish with a flourish. Not bad, huh?

Overall he posted a 4.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in seven starts with the Mets. 

Presented By Diehards

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Upon Further Review: The Mets Coaching Staff Mon, 25 Nov 2013 17:54:50 +0000 terry collins 2

When the Mets renewed Terry Collins‘ contract at the end of September once the season had concluded, it was also announced that the entire coaching staff would return as well. This announcement didn’t come as a huge shock, but it was conceivable due to the fact that the crew has been the same since the start of the 2012 campaign. There has been criticism, praise, doubt, hopefulness, hopelessness, and devotion to the staff, but it still raises the question, Does the Coaching Staff Deserve to be Here? Let’s find out.

Bob Geren, Bench Coach

Bench coach Bob Geren was hired back in October in 2011, coming off a five year tenure as manager of the Oakland Athletics and replacing Ken Oberkfell. Although not completely favored among his players, Geren finished with a winning percentage just under .500 in over 700 games managed. As bench coach, he is responsible for assisting the manager in making late game decisions and serving as his right-hand-man, if you will. In my opinion, I don’t see anyone more certified than a former manager to fill that position. So I say Geren is fine in that role going forward. Another plus to his resume is Geren’s 289 games played at catcher in his major league career, coming up with a fielding percentage of .992 for the Yankees and Padres. I believe that is an extreme upside for Travis d’Arnaud and others going forward. And also, before every game this past year (home and away, including Spring Training), Geren and that day’s starting catcher, whether it be John Buck, Anthony Recker or others, would go out to the bullpen and practice blocking balls in the dirt and other catching tactics. I think that relationship between player and coach is absolutely invaluable.

Dan Warthen, Pitching Coach

Longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen was hired in 2008 when the managerial position changed hands from Willie Randolph to Jerry Manuel, replacing Rick Peterson. Warthen is well liked around the clubhouse and in the front office, always a plus. Pitchers say that he prepares them well for starts and he is one of the best coaches they have worked with. Obviously something has to be going well if Warthen is about to begin his sixth full season on the job, and the numbers don’t tell much different. From 2007 to 2008, the Mets pitching staff improved in ERA, strikeouts, complete games, SO/BB ratio, and H/9. Although Peterson was well liked by players and fans, Warthen was a nice improvement. I say Dan Warthen deserves to be here, and possibly for the long term, as his contract runs through the 2015 season.

Dave Hudgens, Hitting Coach

The 2011 signing of Dave Hudgens as hitting coach was, to say the least, surprising, considering he played in just six major league games, connecting on one base hit in seven at bats. It is obvious that the Mets offensive production has been down over the past few years, but is Hudgens really to blame? Although Marlon Byrd says that he deserves credit for reconstructing his swing, David Wright‘s production went down from 2010 to 2011, as did Angel Pagan and (although there may have been other reasons) Jason Bay. Hudgens is well liked by players, and he is the lone Mets staff member that participates on social media (@dmhudgens), but I think the Mets could do better when it comes to their hitting coach; there has even been talk of the Mets adding an assistant hitting coach.

Tim Teufel, Third Base Coach

Longtime fan favorite Tim Teufel rejoined the Mets in 2012, when he replaced Chip Hale as the third base coach. Teufel had been around the organization since 2001, but had not been with the big league club since his playing days from 1986 to 1991. Teufel brings with him eight years of minor league managing experience, compiling a 464-562 record in that span. His best year came in 2003 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, when they finished with a 47-28 record, winning the New York-Penn League. Personally, I love how aggressive Teufel is in the third base coaching box. He is never reluctant to send runners, and even when you think he made a bad decision, the runner is usually safe at home plate. Like I said before, Teufel is well liked by the fans, so I don’t believe his position will be in jeopardy any time soon. I’m looking forward to seeing Teufel in the coaching box on March 31st.

Tom Goodwin, First Base Coach

Tom Goodwin was only six years removed from his professional playing career when the Mets signed him in 2012 as the first base coach. Goodwin played 13 years in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies, Giants, and Cubs. His duties as a coach include “handling the outfielders and baserunning instruction,” according to the Mets media guide. Goodwin committed only 22 errors in 1,288 career games and went 369 for 487 on stolen base attempts, so he passes that test. Goodwin also frequently communicates with runners at first base (unlike Ricky Henderson, who I once saw talk to only a single runner during a nine inning game — that runner was Ramon Castro), so he passes that test too. So Tom Goodwin can stay for now. Any objections? Okay, let’s move on.

Ricky Bones, Bullpen Coach

What are the duties of the bullpen coach? To chart pitches and pick up the phone in the ‘pen? Who couldn’t do that? All kidding aside, Bones brings with him 11 years of big league experience split between seven teams. During this time, he posted an ERA just south of 5 and finished with 19 more losses than wins. Can we bring Guy Conti back?

Who doesn’t love a ‘stache like that? And a name like Ricardo Bones? Priceless.

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Are Mets Still Interested In Bringing Dice-K Back? Thu, 21 Nov 2013 20:18:13 +0000 Earlier this week I suggested things could heat up in the Hot Stove and this might be the time for the New York Mets to strike.

And, I didn’t mean Prince Fielder, or Brandon Allen for that matter.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson agreed the other day things could get warm, but wouldn’t say how close he’d get to the “Stove.’’

“We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable,’’ Alderson said. “If the market is as robust as it seems to be, I think we have to acknowledge that.’’

OK, he acknowledges it. Then what?

“And, consistent with that acknowledgement, if we’re going to participate, we have to recognize that,’’ Alderson added.

The operative word in all that was “if.’’

daisuke matsuzaka

Well, are the Mets going to participate? A robust market means spending and Alderson’s checkbook is still under wraps.

Alderson said the team has been more active, but that has to mean working the phones because we’re not seeing anything public outside of Allen, the departures of Mike Baxter and LaTroy Hawkins, and, of course, the ones who got away – or are about to.

Because we’re not going to see Matt Harvey outside of a courtside shot of him at the Knicks game Wednesday night, the Mets are in need of pitching first and foremost. I’m aware of the crying for a power outfielder and the need of a shortstop, but the Mets only have three starters. Nothing happens without pitching.

It would have been sweet to get Josh Johnson, but that wasn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang could get away. Late season pick-ups last year, both provided quality innings at the back end of the rotation. In a combined 11 starts, only twice – both times by Matsuzaka – did they not get out of the fifth.

Alderson said he wanted veteran innings at the back end, and these two are as veteran as you can get. And, what they gave the Mets is what they are seeking now. Sure, the Mets want to do better. But, better means spending more.

Matsuzaka pitched well in September after pitching coach Dan Warthen tinkered with his mechanics and got him to speed up his delivery. My concern is he pitched well enough for him to catch another team’s eye and might be willing to give him two years. The presumption is the most the Mets will offer is one year plus an option. That would mean the Mets would lose him.

It’s still November, and there’s plenty of time remaining, but that’s not the issue. It’s a matter of who will be remaining when the Mets are ready to do more than talk on the phone.


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Is It Time For A Mike Pelfrey Encore? Thu, 07 Nov 2013 18:36:05 +0000 Washington Nationals v New York MetsCould the New York Mets’ desperate need for starting pitching lead them back to Mike Pelfrey?

Seriously. Should GM Sandy Alderson decided there’s not much in the free-agent market, and with the Twins moving faster than the Mets regarding Bronson Arroyo, there are probably worse ideas than re-signing Pelfrey.

Pelfrey, released by the Twins, made $4 million last year, so whatever the price it isn’t outlandish for a fifth starter. Pelfrey might also fit in the bullpen, where the Mets contemplated using him in 2007.

The numbers said Pelfrey had a miserable 2013 season, going 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.552 WHIP. On the plus side, the elbow injury that sidelined him for all but three starts in 2012 appears to be fine as he did make 29 starts and worked 152.2 innings, would is an acceptable workload for a No. 5 starter.There can be numerous reasons for his poor record, including: 1) getting acclimated to a new league, 2) pitching against the designated hitter, 3) pitching in a park with friendlier dimensions than Citi Field, 4) rebounding from the injury, 5) being away from Dan Warthen, a pitching coach he trusts and one who appeared to straighten him out prior to the injury.

There’s also the potential that at age 29 he’s already washed up and is just bad. You have to consider all the possibilities.

Even so, the market doesn’t appear to be hot for Pelfrey, but at 29 he’s young enough to where he can turn it around.

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Did The Mets Fix Dice-K Only To Lose Him? Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:59:52 +0000 Even knowing that the New York Mets would not have Matt Harvey next season, there was a slight glimmer of optimism they might have enough to piece together a rotation and spend elsewhere.

That glimmer is fading.

daisuke matsuzakaPitching coach Dan Warthen fixed Daisuke Matsuzaka’s long and cumbersome delivery, complete with a hitch. With a faster delivery, Matsuzaka showed he could be the real deal. After a rocky first two starts, Matsuzaka settled in to become one of the Mets’ most reliable starters in September.

Matsuzaka finished at 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in seven starts with the Mets. His fastball returned with bite as evidenced by his 33-16 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He averaged just under eight strikeouts per nine innings.

The Mets were interested when Matsuzaka came out of Japan, but didn’t come close to matching Boston with the qualifying negotiating offer to his Japanese team.

Matsuzaka earned $1.5 million this season from the Mets, who picked him up after Cleveland released him at the end of spring training.

The Mets also signed innings-eater Aaron Harang, Sept. 1, after his release from Seattle. Harang, who has also pitched for Cincinnati, San Diego and the Dodgers, is a reliable workhorse. From 2004 through this season, Harang has pitched less than 150 innings only twice, including this year when he worked a combined 143.1 innings with the Mariners and Mets.

Harang gave the Mets six innings in three of his four starts, and five in the other. He was 0-1 with a representative 3.52 ERA, but struck out 26 in 23 innings. However, he did give up five homers.

What Harang and Matsuzaka did was log enough innings to conserve the bullpen and prevent the Mets from unraveling the last month of the season.

What Harang and Matsuzaka also did was impressive to enough scouts to where somebody will make them an offer to pry them away if the Mets go low-ball. The last thing a journeyman pitcher wants to do is not leave an impression in September.

This would not be something new to the Mets, as both Chris Capuano and Chris Young proved enough in their Flushing auditions for another team to take them away.

They aren’t the only ones.

Carlos Torres, who previously pitched in Japan, Colorado and with the Chicago White Sox, was an asset as a spot starter, long reliever and situational reliever this season. In 33 games with the Mets, nine of which were starts, Torres was 4-6 with a 3.44 ERA.

He pitched 86.1 innings, which isn’t bad considering he wasn’t on their radar in spring training. He struck out 75 and walked just 17 with a career-best 1.112 WHIP.

Torres, who made $415,000 this season, will leave if the Mets don’t tender him a contract.

So, that feeling of holding the fort until Rafael Montero is ready, and to a larger extent, until 2015, is giving way to a sense the Mets might have done it again and fixed several pitchers to where somebody else will take them away from them.

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Matt Harvey And The Velocity Trap Fri, 04 Oct 2013 13:48:15 +0000 matt harvey

Wouldn’t it be great if Matt Harvey wasn’t really injured? If it was just some sort of minor strain that was blown way out of proportion by Dan Warthen, Ray Ramirez and “Dr. James Andrews?” A coaching staff conspiracy if you will? In lieu of imposing hard innings limits on Harvey and Zack Wheeler perhaps they fabricated the whole thing. The season was obviously a lost cause, why not implement this ingenious little medical reuse to ensure the front office thinks twice before dealing from a purported strength in starting pitching? No?

I’m kidding of course. I think it fair to say Harvey did indeed hurt his elbow, but oddly enough Matt Harvey’s injury may have intruded in the front office’s decision making process at just the right time to effectively derail notions of trading from our pitching depth, like a giant MRI wrench tossed into the gears. In this sense, Harvey’s injury may actually benefit the Mets in the long run, particularly if it dissuades team officials from trading some of the more important and promising cogs on our minor league pitching rosters.

My sense is that one of Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero was slated to be traded this Winter and (particularly with all the talk about adding a free agent starter) I no longer believe that is the case. This is a good thing. It is good because while home runs put fannies in seats, pitching wins championships. It is good because it keeps Montero in a Met uniform, and Montero, if he remains a Met, will win more games for the Mets than Syndergaard, Wheeler, and maybe even Harvey. There, I said it.

Now hear me out before you start throwing cabbages and tomatoes. There’s been a staggering volume of research and data surrounding pitching injuries in recent years in an effort to get to the bottom of why so many pitchers end up blowing their elbows out. The consensus, at least anecdotally, bemoans a time when men were men and pitchers routinely threw 300 innings. Sadly, most analytics seem to point to breakdowns in mechanics and sudden increases in workloads, when the real culprit may be something far simpler.

The radar gun.

Since the advent of the radar gun, scouts have taken copious data on velocity as a virtual be all end all to a given prospect’s “chances.” Rather than taking a more informed approach to the craft of pitching, which is what scouts did prior to the radar gun, these days the heart of a scouting report involves whether a prospect can “touch 97.” The idea behind this is that you can teach the other stuff, you can teach anyone to throw a change-up, but you cant teach 97 mph. It also makes the scout’s job a lot easier. There was a time when a hard luck prospect on a bad team who didn’t throw very hard but who nevertheless had a knack for getting guys out still had a shot, these days not so much.

Harvey threw harder in 2013 than he’d ever thrown before. He was blowing batters away with high 90’s heat late in games and he routinely seemed to run out of gas in the 8th. It was amazing to watch but you’ve got to wonder if he’d have been better served had he dialed it back a notch and whether he might have actually completed a few more games that way. You want to know why so many guys blow their elbows and shoulders out? Look no further than our contemporary velocity trap. These guys are bigger, stronger and maybe better conditioned than baseball players have ever been before, but the human body can only do so much, and the human elbow and rotator cuff can only throw so hard. There are structural, mechanical and anatomical limitations to how hard a person can throw, and while we see an increase in the number of players who can throw in the upper 90’s with every year, we aren’t going to see anyone throwing 110 or 115 mph in the near future. It’s not physically possible.

Barry Bearak penned a fascinating piece in the N.Y. Times a couple of weeks ago in which he profiled Dr. Glen Fleisig’s life and career as a player (he was actually a Met for a while) and a biomechanical engineer. He quoted Fleisig:

“Everyone is trying to throw faster these days, especially youngsters,” said Fleisig, the biomedical engineer, whose office is in Birmingham. “The ticket to being scouted is to light up someone’s radar gun.” In the process, he said, pitchers are populating the practices of orthopedic surgeons.

He also concluded that pitchers have been getting hurt with greater frequency because more of them are big enough and strong enough to approach that dangerous limit.

“Oh, there may be an outlier, one exception here or there,” he said. “But for major league baseball pitchers as a group of elites, the top isn’t going to go up anymore. With better conditioning and nutrition and mechanics, more pitchers will be toward that top, throwing at 95 or 100. But the top has topped out.”

Over the past 25 years or so pitchers have been running up against an anatomical wall with greater and greater frequency because of improved conditioning and nutrition … this is why we have witnessed this explosion of arm injuries.

This is why Montero, a pitcher who relies on impeccable control, on poise and guile and intelligence more so than sheer throw through a brick wall velocity, a guy who only throws as hard as he needs to, will have a longer career and will win more games for the Mets than our prized cadre of fireballers. The irony with Harvey is that his stuff and his instincts are so good you could argue he doesn’t need to throw that hard … but don’t tell that to the guys working in the radar gun factories!

Does anyone here really think these cigar smoking beer guzzling 300 inning guys from the good old days (it was estimated albeit crudely that Walter Johnson’s fastball came in at around 86 mph) threw as hard as the Matt Harveys of our world? Not a snowball’s chance in Bora Bora … the reason they lasted so long was because they only threw as hard as the situation called for. They were locating, they were changing speeds, they were spinning nasty breaking pitches, they were throwing smart, and they didn’t have radar guns judging their every pitch. There’s a reason why knuckleballers can pitch well into their 40’s.

For anyone interested, here is a handy dandy slideshow presentation on pitching biomechanics (in PDF) by Fleisig himself.

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Pitching Coach Dan Warthen Also Gets A 2-Year Deal Mon, 30 Sep 2013 18:03:53 +0000 Andy Martino of the Daily News is reporting that the Mets have given pitching coach Dan Warthen a two-year contract, according to front office sources.

Earlier today, Sandy Alderson confirmed that all coaches the coaches were being retained, but Warthen is the only one to receive a multi-year deal.

Warthen has been the Mets’ pitching coach since Jerry Manuel took over for Willie Randolph in 2008, but has worked on a series of one-year deals, until now. Martino also adds that he is also invited to participate in organizational meetings this week in Florida.

Wow, didn’t see that coming, but you know what?

He’s the only one, and that includes Collins too, that actually had great results this season on a performance level.

Matt Harvey was phenomenal, Zack Wheeler got through a rough start to finish on high note and is primed for a solid season in 2014, Dillon Gee delivered his best season ever, and once Niese returned from injury he was incredible.

Lets not forget Jeremy Hefner and the transformations of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang after terrible first starts.

In the bullpen. Bobby Parnell has a career year as a closer, and journeyman LaTroy Hawkins became a key piece as did rookie Scott Rice.

I’m okay with this… It’s Dave Hudgens I have the real problem with…

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