Mets Merized Online » Davis Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:42:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 There’s No Limit To How Good Conforto Can Be Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:31:05 +0000 Michael , Conforto

Watching the Mets lose the 2015 World Series was tough. There were a lot of what-if moments. The Mets lost three ninth inning leads. There was a lot to get you down.

However, there was one at-bat from that entire series that made me smile. The funny thing was the at-bat had no bearing on the outcome of any of the World Series games. It was the penultimate at bat of the World Series.

Michael Conforto stepped up to the plate against Wade Davis. The Mets were down 3-1 in the series. Davis has a career 0.84 career postseason ERA, and he had not allowed a run in the 2015 postseason. The Royals were leading 7-2 in the 12th inning. There were two outs, and Davis had two strikes on Conforto.

There wasn’t going to be any rallies reminiscent of the 1986 World Series. It was over, and the only issue in doubt was who was going to become the answer to a trivia question for making the last out of the World Series. It wasn’t going to be Conforto.

He would hit an opposite field single. It was a great at-bat. In a World Series where he hit two home runs in a game, I was most impressed with this at bat. It spoke to what he was as a player. He was never going to quit despite mounting odds. It showed how special he was going to be.

Unsurprisingly, Conforto picked up where he left off. On Opening Day, he went 2-2 with a single, double and two walks. On a day where the Mets hitters struggled, Conforto couldn’t make an out. It was yet another sign of how special a player this kid is going to be. There may be no limit to what he can accomplish. From an offensive standpoint, it’s hard not to compare him to another player who skipped AAA to star in the majors.

In 2003, Miguel Cabrera skipped AAA, and he was called up to the majors to play left field for the Florida Marlins. He was the missing piece for the eventual World Series champions. That year, he hit .268/.325/.468 with 12 homers and 62 RBI in 87 games. He had a 106 OPS+, 106 wRC+, and a 0.6 WAR. He notably hit a home run off Roger Clemens in the World Series.

Cabrera would go on to win a Triple Crown, two MVP Awards, and six Silver Slugger Awards. He’s a 10 time All Star. He’s a future Hall of Famer.

Last year, Conforto played in 56 games hitting .270/.335/.506 with 9 homers and 26 RBI. He had a 132 OPS+, 134 wRC+, and a 2.1 WAR.  As discussed before, he hit two homers in a World Series game. When he hit the first home run, he became the youngest player to homer in the World Series since Cabrera. Furthermore, he has shown himself to be a good left fielder with a strong, accurate arm.

Also of note, Conforto is a winner wherever he goes. He’s the third player ever to appear in the Little League World Series, College World Series, and the MLB World Series. He’s the only person to record an RBI in all three World Series. There is no stopping Michael Conforto.

Cabrera went on to become one of if not the best hitters in the sport. The scary part is Conforto was better than Cabrera was at this point in his career. Judging by the first game of the season, a small sample size to be sure, Conforto is not taking anything for granted. He’s going to do everything he can do to unlock his full potential. That could mean All Star games, Silver Sluggers, and possibly MVP awards. Hopefully, there will be at least one World Series title too.

Right now, the sky is the limit for Conforto. We shouldn’t be surprised at what he can accomplish this season and moving forward.


]]> 0
Celebrating 1986: Jesse and Roger in the Outfield Sun, 10 Jan 2016 14:00:58 +0000 Jesse Orosco delivers a pitch

As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 Mets Championship Season, we’re going to roll out a special retrospective piece every Sunday to relive some of those moments from that memorable and magical season. Enjoy!

Championship seasons are invariably marked by certain games and plays that are later tabbed as “turning points” for posterity.  For the 1986 edition of the New York Mets, their turning point may well have occurred in only the 6th game of the season when, after winning their first two contests but dropping the next three, the team sat a game under .500.

Although another 157 games remained to be played, many fans and even tabloid back pages cried out: “What is wrong with the Mets?” The answer of course, was nothing, and they set about proving that by winning their next eleven games and seven of the next eight after that on their way to finishing a gaudy 21½ games in front of the runner-up Philadelphia Phillies for the division title.

But there are also games that seem to be indicative of some kind of destiny intended for a team. When it appears in retrospect that a team was destined for greatness, the games that stick out are the type where a win that seemed wholly improbable at one point was captured either through perseverance, dumb luck, a managerial gamble, or some apparently mysterious force. Such was the case when the Mets met up with the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium on the night of July 22 of that memorable year.

The Mets were down to their last out in the top of the ninth inning, trailing 3-1 as Keith Hernandez faced John Franco with the tying runs on base. Hernandez lifted an easy fly to right that looked to be the last gasp for the Amazins’ as the Reds’ Dave Parker settled under it. But in a stunning turn of events, Parker dropped the easy chance and the runners scurried home to tie the score. Given second life, the Mets began a tenacious and somewhat  outre’ extra-inning odyssey.

A combination of factors including the use of three pinch hitters, a double switch, and an ejection (Darryl Strawberry in the 6th for arguing a strike call) had left the Met bench bereft of options for manager Davey Johnson. As the game moved into the bottom of the 10th, Johnson brought in Jesse Orosco as the fifth Met pitcher of the evening. It was at this point that an element of strangeness began to pervade the proceedings.

After Parker was retired for the first out, Pete Rose, then player/manager of the Reds, inserted himself as a pinch hitter and singled. He then reverted to straight managerial mode and brought in Eric Davis to pinch run. Davis promptly stole second and then went for third on a subsequent pitch. His hard slide brought him into contact with Mets third sacker Ray Knight who responded with a bit of contact of his own.

A shoving match ensued along with some words being exchanged and before you knew it, Knight’s Golden Gloves instincts had led him to pop Davis right in the kisser. The result was your standard bench-clearing bedlam, and when order was restored, two players from each team were ejected including Knight, Davis, Reds pitcher Mario Soto and Mets RF Kevin Mitchell who had been inserted to replace Strawberry. This left the Mets without sufficient position players to field a full team as the only remaining bench asset at this point was backup catcher Ed Hearn.

Having conferred with his coaches and remaining eligible players, Johnson elected to shift Gary Carter from behind the plate to third base replacing Knight and inserted Hearn at Catcher. The outfield was another matter entirely.

roger mcdowell

Anticipating the probability of needing a right handed arm to spell Orosco if the game continued much beyond the current inning, Johnson inserted reliever Roger McDowell in RF and initiated a strange merry-go-round of pitchers and outfield alignments to compensate for the Mets’ suddenly shorter bench.

As different Reds players came to bat, Johnson would shift either Orosco or McDowell to the mound based primarily on whom he felt could best induce the batter to hit the ball to an established outfielder if solid contact was made (at this point, Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra comprised the other two thirds of the outfield).

As the game wore on, players were shifted repeatedly as Johnson managed to dodge situations where his pitcher/outfielders would actually have to figure in a defensive play. By way of contrast, one of his other displaced troops sparkled in the bottom of the twelfth when, with two Reds on base and none out, emergency third sacker Carter figured in the middle of a nicely turned double play to end the threat.

In the bottom of the thirteenth, Tony Perez stepped to the plate seemingly intent on exploiting the Mets’ compromised defense.  Looking for a pitch he could drive the other way, he swung at a McDowell offering and lined a shot to right field where Orosco was stationed. Jesse made a quick lateral move and snagged the liner, unable to suppress a smile at the seeming absurdity of it all.

Finally, in the top of the fourteenth, Howard Johnson provided the coup de grace with a long three-run bomb off pitcher Ted Power and McDowell finished the Reds off for a 6-3 victory.  In retrospect, the result of this game seemed almost inevitable, as the Mets of that season were a juggernaut that apparently could beat you with one outfielder tied behind their back.


]]> 0
Time To Pull Plug On Chris Young Experiment Thu, 22 May 2014 13:00:52 +0000 chris young

Guaranteed playing time or not, the Mets commitment to Chris Young should not last too much longer given his recent struggles. At some point the Mets will have to pull the plug on Young and start giving his playing time to more worthy and productive players.

For some odd reason manager Terry Collins decided to put the slumping CY in the cleanup spot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Dodgers. Young went 0-for-3 with a rally killing double-play in one of those at-bats and a runner stranded in scoring position in another.

Many people, including myself, were unhappy with the Chris Young signing and would of preferred the Mets go after a more proven power bat, such as a Nelson Cruz, who ended up signing a nearly identical contract with the Orioles very late in free agency. Or the money could have been better utilized to fill another need like shortstop.

The Mets came into the season with a logjam of four starting outfielders in CY, Eric Young Jr., Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, three of whom could play center field. It appeared that the organization had no trust in the up-and-coming Lagares despite his breakthrough defensive season in 2013 and a phenomenal offensive showing in Winter Ball.

However, an early stint on the disabled list for Chris Young changed everything. Lagares stepped in, got a chance to play everyday, and wowed everyone with an electrifying start to the season both in the field and more importantly at the plate as well.

By the time Chris Young returned from the DL, Terry Collins was unwilling to keep Lagares as the everyday center fielder and announced a 4-man outfield rotation that would give everyone equal playing time. However that almost led to a revolt when at one point Collins benched Lagares for three straight games and four of five, prompting outrage from the ticket-buying fans and harsh criticism from writers and analysts.

The situation is still unresolved to this day and Collins is under the microscope before each game as to which three outfielders gets to be in the starting lineup. It’s a tenuous situation.

Granderson is almost a given to be starting everyday because of the Mets’ $60 million dollar commitment to him for the next four years. Lagares continues be the team’s best hitter and with three more hits on Tuesday is now slashing at a .315/.361/.472 for the season. Obviously, his glove has shined and only adds to his value as an everyday centerfielder. Terry Collins has taken a liking to Eric Young Jr., who he says gives the Mets a pure leadoff hitter who can wreak havoc on the base paths. EY has a low .202 batting average and his .311 on-base is hardly leadoff-worthy, however his ability to reach base in the first inning makes him additionally attractive to Collins. EY has a .394 OBP in the first inning of games this year has it proved helpful to get the Mets on the scoreboard early.

Chris Young should be the odd man out at this point. He is producing at a .206/.272/.360 clip this season with only three home runs and 11 RBI.

Sandy Alderson brought in Young this winter in the hopes of him revitalizing his career and bringing some power to Citi Field. Sandy believed that Young’s struggles were attributed to being platooned while in Oakland where he batted .200/.280/.379.

So he gambled $7.5 million that with regular playing time Young would flourish. Sandy was wrong. Perhaps he should have looked at Young’s career righthanded splits, then he would have seen why Billy Beane eventually placed him in a platoon role.

Alderson knew this was a risky signing this winter. If he produced, Alderson looks like a genius but this hasn’t been the case. The Mets preach that they want to win now, and if that’s true Chris Young should be heading to the bench no matter how much playing time he was promised.

The Mets need to stop this four-way outfielder rotation. For now, Granderson and Lagares need to play everyday. If Collins wants to maintain his fixation on EY, then it should be at the expense of Chris Young and not the other two.


]]> 0
MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Diamondbacks – Sweep the Snakes! Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:29:54 +0000 dillon gee

The Mets will be looking for their first series sweep of the season this afternoon at 3:40 PM, when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for the Mets, still search searching for his first win, and he will be opposed by right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78) for the D’Backs.

Since defeating the Yankees on May 30, 2013, Gee is 10-5 with a 2.98 ERA (56 earned runs/169.0 innings pitched) in 54 starts.

In his last start, he earned his third no-decision of the season in the Mets’ 5-4 loss in 11 innings to the Los Angeles Angels on April 11 at Angel Stadium. Gee allowed four runs including two home runs, walked four and struck out five.

The Mets reached the .500 (7-7) mark with last night’s win for the first time this year. The last time New York was .500 or better was on April 25, 2013 when the club was 10-10.

The last time the Mets swept a series of three or more games in Arizona was in 2006 when New York went 4-0 from June 8-11.

Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  3. David Wright – 3B
  4. Ike Davis – 1B
  5. Andrew Brown – RF
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF
  7. Anthony Recker – C
  8. Ruben Tejada – SS
  9. Dillon Gee – RHP

Game Preview

This is the time of year when things start to seriously get into swing as Dillon Gee makes his 4th start of the season. In his first three starts he is without a decision while posting a 5.03 ERA and 19.2 innings of work. Over that stretch he has allowed 16 hits, 11 earned runs while walking 7 and striking out 14. Last year he faced Arizona once allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs, walked 2 batters and struck out 7 all over 7.0 innings. The Diamondbacks have the following numbers against Dillon:

  • Prado 4-23, 2B
  • Parra 2-10, 2B
  • Montero 2-7, HR
  • Goldschmidt 2-6
  • Chavez 0-6
  • Pennington 1-4, 2B
  • Hill 1-3

McCarthy joins Gee in making his fourth start of the season. In his first three he has allowed 17 runs in an identical amount of innings (19.2) which is a 7.78 ERA. In that stretch he allowed 23 hits, 3 walks and 11 strikeouts. He is 0-2 this season. He faced the Mets once last year where he allowed 2 ER over 7 innings while walking 1 and striking out 4. The Mets have the following numbers against Brandon:

  • Granderson 2-14
  • E Young 2-6
  • Davis 2-2, 2B
  • Lagares 1-3, HR
  • Murphy 0-3

Lets go for the sweep!

homer the dog

]]> 0
Featured Post: Time To Start Acting Like A 90 Win Team Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:23:15 +0000 sandy aldersonWe shall see if the New York Mets are capable of winning the 90 games that general manager Sandy Alderson believes they can.

I like manager Terry Collins’ response to his players, that they should take it as a compliment. That’s one way to look at things. What else can he do now that his boss has thrown down the gauntlet.

While Alderson expects his players to play like 90-win players, and Collins to manage like a 90-win manager, I wonder if that extends to him and Fred Wilpon?

Reportedly, Fred Wilpon said “they’d better win 90 games.’’

If that’s the case, will Wilpon give Alderson the go-ahead to get what is needed at the trade deadline? Just wondering.

For his part, how can Alderson believe 90 wins are possible when he has so many unresolved issues including first base, shortstop, the outfield and bullpen, not to mention an unproven catcher and being without his best pitcher?

I also can’t help but wonder how long a leash Alderson will give Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada. In each of the past two seasons the Mets dragged their feet when Davis floundered early. Ninety-win teams don’t act like that, When they have to make a move they do it, and fast. A 90-win team needs a 90-win general manager.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
MMO Fair or Foul: When Do Mets Stop Stockpiling and Start Winning? Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:10:13 +0000 fairorfoul

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that it’s time for Sandy Alderson and the Mets to stop stockpiling and start winning.

Sherman says that when a top player becomes available, we need to have the wherewithal in prospects, capital and aggression to get him.

Many of the great phases in Mets history have elite pitching as a backbone — notably 1969, 1973 and 1986. But all of the best Mets teams were finished off by a willingness to trade for a significant hitter, often at the cost of big prospects and/or big money:

1969 — Donn Clendenon

1973 — Rusty Staub

1986 — Keith Hernandez/Gary Carter

2000 — Mike Piazza

2006 — Carlos Delgado

He goes onto saying that Alderson has shown that he could flip star caliber talent for minor leaguers, but hasn’t shown he can go the other way like other Met GMs have done. He sees that as a potential problem for the Mets.

The solutions are harder than ever to find in free agency, with teams proactively locking up their best players, particularly for prime years. I believe this will stimulate the trade market, specifically in the hunt for position players. In fact, I think the new free agency will see more teams than ever trading players under long-term contracts.

Here is why: A flush baseball economy combined with the enticement of a second wild card have moved many teams to boldly stretch budgets. I can’t remember a time when more front offices were convinced their teams could make the playoffs.

Jeff Wilpon says that bringing a big chip like that is all on Sandy and that he hasn’t been held back by ownership. “When it is prudent, I am sure Sandy will bring it up,” Wilpon said. “We usually say yes to what the baseball department says it wants.”

But we have yet to see Alderson’s tolerance for dealing from his youthful stockpile, Sherman writes. 

If, for example, the Blue Jays continue not to contend, will they want the three years at $70 million still owed Reyes after 2014? The Mets didn’t want to do a six-year deal with Reyes, but would they go after him in his 30s should they still need a leadoff man/shortstop? How about Troy Tulowitzki or Matt Kemp? How about if Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t want to go long-term and Miami makes him available (the Mets did get Piazza and Delgado in deals with the Marlins). How about if the Orioles don’t believe they can do a long-term deal with the Scott Boras-repped Chris Davis?

Are we there yet? Is Sherman right? I’d have to say yes. Wright isn’t getting any younger. If not now, when?

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Collins Says Davis and Tejada Out Until Friday, Duda “Really Sore” Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:05:15 +0000 duda davis

Marc Carig of Newsday reports that Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada will not play until Friday at the earliest, according to manager Terry Collins. Lucas Duda may need some time as well since he’s battling soreness.

Davis is dealing with a tight calf, Tejada has a tight hamstring and Duda has sore legs.

Also, Zack Wheeler could get the Opening Day start, although it depends largely on if Jon Niese will be ready to go.

“With our situation right now, hell, he may be the Opening Day starter,” Collins said.

Niese threw a bullpen session and remains on track to pitch in a “B” game against the Astros on Thursday after battling muscle fatigue in his left shoulder.

(Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets at 1:05 PM Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:35:00 +0000 zack-wheeler1

Zack Wheeler makes his Grapefruit League debut today at 1:10 PM when the Mets host the Houston Astros at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. You can watch the game on SNY or listen in on WOR 710 AM.

Wheeler was 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts for the Mets last season, but was too often lacking control. He walked 10.7 percent of the batters he faced last season, seventh worst among starters who pitched at least 100 innings.

He said his goal this season is to slow things down and have a more consistent delivery. The righthander attributed his control problems to rushing his delivery and getting his mechanics out of whack.

I’m excited to see how he looks today as the Mets shoot for two spring wins in a row…

Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets today are Kyle Farnsworth, John Church, Vic Black, Adam Kolarek, Scott Rice and Cory Mazzoni.

By the way, veteran baseball writer John Delcos, a frequent contributor to Metsmerized, will answer your comments and questions over on his blog, Post your questions on the game thread and he’ll be there throughout the afternoon to respond.

Here are today’s lineups:

New York Mets

  1. Eric Young Jr., LF
  2. Chris Young, CF
  3. Curtis Granderson, rf
  4. Brandon Allen, 1B
  5. Josh Satin, 3B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  7. Taylor Teagarden, DH
  8. Anthony Seratelli, SS
  9. Omar Quintanilla, 2B

Houston Astros

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Jose Altuve, 2B
  3. Marc Krauss, RF
  4. Chris Carter, DH
  5. Jesus Guzman, 1B
  6. Carlos Corporan, C
  7. L.J. Hoes, LF
  8. Jonathan Villar, SS
  9. Cesar Izturis, 3B

Eric Young Jr., who had been dealing with a side-muscle issue, is making his 2014 Grapefruit League debut. However Ike Davis (calves and Lucas Duda (legs) are both still sidelined.

Brandon Allen makes his second straight appearance in the cleanup spot, while Seratelli and Quintanilla compose the middle of the Mets infield. Keep taking deep breaths…

Daniel Murphy and David Wright continue to get vacation time from Collins and may get to play their first game of the Spring at the end of the week. Maybe.

(Photo Credit: US Presswire)

addicted to mets button

]]> 0
ESPN: Indians Should Trade Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to Mets Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:36:55 +0000 large_asdrubal-cabrera

Cristina Kharl of ESPN, wrote a comprehensive post on why she thinks the Mets should trade Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and RHP prospect Michael Fulmer to the Indians to get Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Mets’ gains are pretty obvious, especially if you accept projections of Cabrera rebounding in 2014, whether Baseball Prospectus’ .734 OPS, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS (.736 OPS, 17 home runs) or the Bill James Handbook’s projecting a .746 OPS. That’s a 100-point jump from what’s generally expected from incumbent Ruben Tejada at the plate. Like Cabrera (minus-16 in BIS’ plus-minus last year), Tejada’s defense wasn’t an asset last year (rating minus-9 in almost a third of a season); unlike Cabrera, there’s no past track record to suggest that he can do better. And why Duda and not Ike Davis? Well, if you’re drinking the Kool-Aid that says 90 wins is possible for this team now, I have to believe Davis’ .954 OPS in the second half last year is a big part of the reason. And trading for Cabrera means you’re drinking pretty deeply from that pitcher of Kool-Aid.

Why does this work for the Indians? Because it gives them help now and upside. Starting with the least valuable player first, Duda would give Cleveland a lefty bat to mix in at first, DH and the outfield, another moving part with platoon punch to fit within Terry Francona‘s lineup-card shifts. Duda’s career numbers against right-handers (.255/.356/.456) will come in handy, especially if David Murphy‘s awful 2013 season (.656 OPS) was his career’s death rattle, leaving the Tribe without a good answer for lefty at-bats at first or in right.

Read the whole article here.

I hate moving that many players in a trade for one player. However, I don’t have problem moving Duda or Fulmer given our pitching depth in the minors. Including Flores too scares me. I gotta let this one simmer.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Braves at 1:05 PM Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:55:45 +0000 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Noah Syndergaard, 21, makes his Grapefruit League debut today at the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. this afternoon at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

This game is not being televised, but you could listen to the game on WOR 710 AM.

Jacob deGromMiguel SocolovichGonzalez GermenJosh Edgin and Jeff Walters also are scheduled to pitch for the Mets. 

First baseman Ike Davis, who had been scheduled to DH in today’s game, has been scratched by Terry Collins with calf tightness. The Mets manager said, “I didn’t want him to hit a ball in the gap and make things worse.” Terry should get a part time gig at The Laugh Factory. Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Sunday.

Mike Piazza is in camp today serving as a guest instructor for the rest of this week. Travis d’Arnaud on having his childhood idol in camp: “It’s a dream.” The Mets could use some offense, maybe MLB will allow him to bat cleanup while he’s here.

After a successful return to throwing last week, Matt Harvey looks to take another step forward today when he attempts to throw on back-to-back days. If everything goes well this morning, the righthander who continues to make strides in his return from Tommy John surgery, will throw a baseball again on Tuesday.

Jon Niese also threw a bullpen session and said he felt good afterwards. Looks like everything will be okay with him. Hopefully he’ll get a start soon.

After getting off to a 0-3 start in Grapefruit League play, the Mets could use a win today if only to keep Terry Collins from sweating bullets. He sounded like he was in mid-season form after Sunday’s loss.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

New York Mets

  1. Chris Young, rf
  2. Juan Lagares, cf
  3. Lucas Duda, 1b
  4. Matt Clark, dh
  5. Wilmer Flores, 2b
  6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
  7. Zach Lutz, 3b
  8. Anthony Recker, c
  9. Omar Quintanilla, ss

Atlanta Braves

  1. Jason Heyward, rf
  2. B.J. Upton, cf
  3. Justin Upton, lf
  4. Evan Gattis, dh
  5. Ryan Doumit, c
  6. Tommy La Stella, 2b
  7. Mark Hamilton, 1b
  8. Tyler Greene, 3b
  9. Elmer Reyes, ss


Matt Clark batting cleanup today… Interesting to see Lagares in the two hole…

Not exactly the Mets’ most optimal infield defense for Thor…

And I would have preferred d’Arnaud catching Syndergaard for his first spring game in a big league camp… Why not showcase the battery of the future?

Oh Terry…

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

homer the dog

]]> 0
Spring Training Recap: Cardinals 7, Mets 1 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 21:46:43 +0000 daisuke matsuzaka dice-k

It was another dreary game for our Amazins as they headed down to Jupiter, Florida and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals by the score of 7-1. The loss now has the Mets at 0-3 to begin the Grapefruit League season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka got the start for the Mets and he was opposed by pitching phenom Michael Wacha for the Cards. Dice-K pitched decently, but allowed a run on two doubles in his two innings of work.

Steven Matz made his Spring debut and the Long Island native pitched an impressive inning, striking out two and flashing a mid-nineties fastball with great late movement. I love this kid…

The Cardinals scorched Jose Valverde and Jack Leathersich for six runs, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Mets. Valverde continues to look very underwhelming as does Kyle Farnsworth.

The Mets scored their only run of the game in the eighth on a Danny Muno RBI single. Curtis Granderson had a nice game with a double and a walk in three plate appearances.

Juan Lagares batted leadoff and went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first at-bat (strike up the band!). But cleanup hitter Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game. (Thum-Da-Thump-Thump)

Not much else happened… Come on guys, lets get it together…

Coming Up: Righthander Noah Syndergaard will make his first start of the spring for the Mets on Monday as the they take on the Atlanta Braves in a 1:05 PM start. Can’t wait to watch this one…


Photo courtesy of the New York Mets.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
First Base Battle Is Underway Between Duda and Davis Sat, 01 Mar 2014 15:49:30 +0000 MLB: New York Mets-Workout

Terry Collins hasn’t stopped raving about Ike Davis ever since he the 27-year old first baseman arrived to camp last month.

The former first-rounder is locked in a battle with his best friend Lucas Duda for the Mets’ everyday first base job and after just one game, they find themselves in a dead heat. This gonna be great to watch…

Davis started at first base on Friday and went 1-for-3 with hit a two-run homer, while Duda doubled in his three at-bats and was robbed of a hit.

The plan is to each of them 80 plate appearances and then Collins will choose a winner. The loser could begin the season riding the pine, get demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas or even get traded to what ever team wants him.

You would think that Davis may have jeopardized his chances when he revealed that he battled an oblique injury for most of last season before the muscle finally snapped and he missed the rest of the season. But Collins has always been one of Davis’ biggest supporters and still is.

“He looks more like the guy I saw when I first came to this organization,” he told reporters after the Mets’ 5-4 loss to the Nationals. “A guy with the bat coming through the zone, much better swing path through the zone. He got so fly ball crazy that he created such a huge uppercut that he created holes. Those holes aren’t there right now. At least they haven’t been in batting practice, and his bat path is much improved.”

Collins isn’t leaning any particular way in terms of who he’d like to see win the first base job, at least not publicly.

“I really think they are bound and determined to make every game count,” manager Terry Collins said. “As I’ve told them both, ‘I know it’s spring training, and we’ve got a long way to go, but each time you’re out there you’ve got to get yourself ready to play,’ and that showed today.”

Still, I’m thinking he’s pulling for Ike because he wants 30 homers from the position rather than 80 walks, and because the solid defense is an added bonus.

Photo courtesy of Howard Simmons/Daily News

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Spring Training Recap: Nationals 5, Mets 4 Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:47:26 +0000 mets spring

The Mets opened their Grapefruit League season on Friday, with a 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

It was scintillating to watch a Mets game again, even a meaningless spring training game like this one. There was lots to be excited about, the least of which being the performances of Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom on the mound and Ike Davis at the plate.


Here’s what happened:

  • Rafael Montero started the game and looked sharp, dominating and in mid-season form, tossing two perfect innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
  • Jacob deGrom followed Montero with another pair of perfect innings. Here’s someone who could win a spot in the bullpen or go to Vegas and be the first call-up when the Mets need someone to relieve.
  • Cesar Puello drove in a pair of runs with a hard-hit double.
  • After striking out looking in his first plate appearance of the spring, Ike Davis blasted a two-run homer to right.
  • Juan Lagares went 2-for-3 with a double, and Travis d’Arnaud had a double in two at-bats.

The Mets play the Marlins on Saturday at 1:10 PM. (WPIX)

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
It’s Clear That Ike Davis Is The Best Option At First Base For The Mets Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:38:46 +0000 MLB: New York Mets-WorkoutIke Davis is two seasons removed from his breakout campaign in 2012, where he belted 32 homeruns. It’s such a rare feat in major league baseball to hit 30-plus homeruns that only 5-10% of players do this, on average, any given season. You can’t hit 30 homeruns in a season by accident.

Davis gets a bad rap for his unorthodox swing. You didn’t have to be a hitting coach to see what was wrong with his swing at the beginning of last year—he started with his hands up above his head, then as the pitcher began his motion, he dropped them all the way down to waist level only to have to bring them back up to the hitting zone to take his swing.

Simply stated—Davis’ timing was off. The science of hitting is so precise, that the time that it takes you to blink your eye can turn a would-be homerun, to a weak grounder or even a swing and miss. A millisecond is all it takes to turn a potential All-Star into a player getting run out of town.

He eventually went down to Triple-A to work out the kinks, and came back with a tweaked version of his original swing.

While he still drops his hands, as was evident in the video posted by Adam Rubin of Davis taking batting practice the other day, it’s not as dramatic. He now keeps his hands at about shoulder height in his stance, cutting down the distance he drops his hands. This should allow him to get to the ball quicker.

It’s not the dropping of the hands that is the problem with Davis, it was the distance he was dropping them. Dropping the hands is the way Davis loads his swing, it just looks awkward because most hitters bring their hands straight back. It’s different from the way we were all taught growing up. The only difference is, you and I are sitting on our couch watching him play every week on our television, and he’s a major league baseball player. That means he is in the top five percent of baseball players on the entire planet—that deserves our respect.

Plenty of players have had successful swings with unorthodox swings—Gary Sheffield is the first player that comes to mind, and there are countless others.

After he made the adjustment to his swing down in Triple-A last season, he was hitting much better. Take a look at the splits below:

1st Half 63 239 212 21 35 3 0 5 18 2 0 25 73 .165 .255 .250 .505 .222
2nd Half 40 138 105 16 30 11 0 4 15 2 0 32 28 .286 .449 .505 .954 .351

After the adjustment, you can see that Davis really became an offensive threat again. Those second-half numbers are outstanding. He increased his walks and batting average while reducing his strikeouts (and I mean, he really reduced his strikeouts). He had almost as many hits, homers and RBI as he did in the first half of the year but with over 100 fewer at-bats. This turn around was all due to the slight tweak in the distance his hands travelled in his swing—he gained back that millisecond he was losing.

If we apply what he did in the second half of 2013, across a hypothetical 500 at-bats, he would have hit in the .280-range, with 20 homeruns, 100+ walks, and about 40 doubles in 2014. If we were in Boston, we would be saying he hit the ball wicked-hard, but in New York, we want to over-analyze his swing and run him out of town because of it.

If Davis can stay focused, there is enough here to think he can get his career back on track. He shouldn’t be concerned with what the newspaper writers, or anyone else for that matter, thinks about 2013. He has to put 2013 behind him for good, or he will never be able to move on with his career. I will leave you with a quote, from Keven Holmes, which summarizes the mindset hitters have to have at the plate…

“If you live in the past, you have no future. Forget what you did yesterday, and achieve your goal for today.”

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Collins Wants Players To Speak Up About Injuries Mon, 24 Feb 2014 16:36:41 +0000 terry-collins1

After Terry Collins learned that Ike Davis played through an oblique injury for most of the season, as reported by Mike Puma of the NY Post, he addressed the matter this afternoon at Tradition Field in St. Lucie.

“There’s got to be a conversation. And then certainly it’s up to me to decide which way to proceed,” Collins said regarding whether injuries should be disclosed by players to Mets staff.

Regarding Davis specifically: “As I look back now, everything would have been better off had he said something, and certainly he’ll hopefully learn from it that he needs to speak up.”

“Guys deal with stuff in different ways,” Collins said. “Certainly, if you’re failing at what you’re supposed to be doing, something needs to be addressed. And if you feel it’s taking away from your game, you’ve got to say something.”

For Terry’s full comments, check out ESPN New York.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Collins On Flores: His Bat Potential Is Off The Charts Mon, 24 Feb 2014 15:36:48 +0000 wilmer - flores

Terry Collins said Wilmer Flores earned a big compliment while the Mets manager was talking to someone who had watched Flores play winter ball for several years. According to Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger, Collins was told Flores was reminiscent of former Mets’ second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo.

“The bat potential is off the charts. Everybody talks about what a big RBI guy he is, what he’s going to be. Somebody told me yesterday they’ve watched him in winter ball for a few years and he reminds them of Fonzie. That is a big statement. And if that’s what Wilmer Flores is going to be, obviously you have to find a position for him to play.”

I previously wrote about what two scouts had to say about Flores when they saw him at Winter Ball this offseason. They each remarked about his improved athleticism and look. Today, Collins alluded to that as well.

“First of all, I tip my hat to him. He’s got a whole different body right now than he did at the end of the season,” Collins said about Flores, who took grounders at both middle-infield positions during Sunday’s workout. “He went to the fitness and nutrition camp in Michigan. He looks tremendous. He came in lighter. He came in more athletic.”

“I’m going to let him play some shortstop, but I want to see him at second. I want to see him at third.”

The problem for Flores is that the Mets failed to open up a position for him this offseason as many had hoped, and all his hard work and development may have him going straight back to the minors to begin the season.

As much as I’d like to see him make the team, I don’t see that happening and I don’t believe there’s any chance he sticks as a bench option – not that he should at his age.

Only an Ike Davis trade would open things up for the 22-year old infielder. Maybe.

(Photo by US Presswire)

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Eric Young Ready and Excited For Start Of A New Season Mon, 24 Feb 2014 15:05:39 +0000 eric young jr 2

Coming into 2014, one of the main focuses has been who will be in the starting lineup for the Mets when it pertains to the outfield. Speculation has it that Terry Collins is leaning towards having Eric Young, Jr. in left field, Chris Young in center and Curtis Granderson in right.  At this point, since the games have yet to begin, its really hard to assess where exactly everyone will fit, and other than Granderson, the other two outfield spots are pretty much up for grabs.

Now with the 2014 season about to start, Young is ready to do his part on the field. I caught up with him at the Mets Spring Training Complex on Sunday and asked him how he felt his chances were of winning an opening day roster spot, “I’m feeling good, I know I can contribute to the team on a day to day basis, but those type of things I try not to worry about, I just get myself ready for a long season and take it from there.”

In 2013, the Mets acquired Young in a mid-season trade with the Colorado Rockies after he was placed on waivers. He mostly played in left field and used his speed to lead the league with 46 stolen bases. With games about to begin, Young says he is ready for the grapefruit league season to get underway. “Feeling good, feeling stronger and I’m excited to get these games on, but ultimately I feel good and ready to go.”

Young understands that he must improve his ability to get on base and is focused on taking it up to .340 or .350 which would be significant to a team that needs to score more runs.

Getting on base more would also lead to more stolen bases, but more importantly he’d be setting the table for  the big bats of David Wright, Curtis Granderson and hopefully a rejuvenated Ike Davis. This could be the year it all comes together for Young.

(Photo Credit: US Presswire)

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Yelling At Reporters Isn’t Going To Fire Up Ike Davis Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:49:45 +0000 ike-davis

One of the more ridiculous things I’ve read in the wake of the Ike Davis - Mike Puma verbal spat is the notion this will motivate the underperforming first baseman. If that’s the case, the New York Mets have a greater problem than they thought.

That thinking is flawed on many levels. As a professional athlete, if Davis needs a confrontation with a reporter to fire him up, it says little about his mental faculties.

It says that mental makeup is weak.

A professional athlete should be motivated first by pride and second by a sense of accomplishment. These rank even ahead of money, as oftentimes you’ll hear if a player is solely motivated by dollars his fire dies and the game becomes a grueling job.

The hottest fire is the desire to compete, and yelling at a reporter is misguided and wasted energy. If Davis need jousting with Puma to get him going then he’s in the wrong profession.

If you’ve seen Davis struggle you have to know his pride is wounded. That is where the rebuilding must originate. Arguing with a reporter does nothing to restore his pride, unless he thinks it makes him big in the eyes of his teammates. Even then, I bet most of the were probably thinking to themselves, “please Ike, shut up.’’

Davis’ confidence is in tatters for the simple reason because what worked for him in high school, college and the minor leagues abandoned him in the major leagues.

The competition level is much greater and Davis has not adjusted. Those few good moments he’s enjoyed in the major leagues were snuffed out by superior pitching and injuries, and he doesn’t know how to react.

One just does not restore confidence without a fundamental overhaul, which in Davis’ case is his basic Neanderthal approach to hitting of  “I see ball, I crush ball.’’

Davis labels himself as a “home run’’ hitter with the understanding “strikeouts will happen.’’

What Davis doesn’t understand is why strikeouts happen, which are because of both mechanical and mental flaws. The two become linked.

Davis wants to pull the ball and does not use the whole field. Doing so leaves himself open to the mechanical issues of pulling his head off the pitch and opening up too quickly.

When that happens, there’s no way he can hit the outside pitch, especially if it is a breaking ball. He’s simply not in good hitting position.

Davis also has a terrible hitch and dramatically moves his hands before the pitch arrives, leaving him behind and slow in his swing.

The more he struggled with mechanics, the greater the frustration and the more he pressed. It grows into a vicious cycle.

If Davis said he was hurt last year I believe him, but what I don’t accept is the injury did not affect him. Being in pain makes it hard to swing the bat and slows everything.

And, hitting is about being quick. Being quick with your thinking and pitch recognition, being quick with your hands and with your hips.

Yelling at a reporter does nothing to speed up your swing.

Mechanics are the issue and in Davis’ case they stem from a poor approach. That good stretch of at-bats he needs to get him going – as some said – will never come unless he changes his thinking.

Look, Davis said he wants to be with the Mets and I believe him. Yesterday probably hurt the chances of the Mets making a trade because the perception is Davis is a headache in the clubhouse.

And, in the parking lot.

That Davis continued with Puma in the parking lot shows he didn’t adjust to the incident from earlier in the morning. Much like he hasn’t adjusted to the down-and-away slider.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Ike Davis and Athletes Being Athletes Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:42:57 +0000 ike davis cage 2

Before the furor grows over the Ike Davis revelation that he played almost the entire season last year with an oblique injury, Met fans should slow down and consider what that fact means relative to Davis’s current standing on the team. I expect Davis will be roundly criticized for not disclosing the injury. In fact, it was not Davis’s intention to disclose his physical limitations at all. He only affirmed the injury when other sources, aware of his physical issue spilled the beans.

Playing hurt is old school baseball, expected baseball behavior of past generations, but something that seems almost alien against modern standards when a toenail can keep a player off the field for a month. As proof of that fact here’s Walter Bingham writing about Mickey Mantle in Sports Illustrated in 1962.

“It was nothing less than a cold and ruthless gamble. Faced with a losing streak and the distasteful prospect of not winning the pennant for a change, the New York Yankees rushed the most valuable property in baseball back into action last week and ran the risk of losing him forever.

Mickey Mantle’s legs had not yet healed, as anyone could see. He limped when he walked and staggered when he swung. He ran stiff-legged and he was unable, or afraid, to make turns. He was not, in short, ready.

The front office denied that it had ordered Mickey’s early return, insisting that Mantle had made the decision himself (and ignoring the fact that most ballplayers—and particularly Mantle—will always insist that they are ready to play, even flat on their backs), but it was undeniable that the Yankee brass had permitted Mantle to play before he had fully recovered. It was a decision made out of desperation.”

Bingham was right then and his words ring true now – most ballplayers of that era, ignoring their physical reality when facing injury, insisted they were ready to play, when in fact they were not. The same egos that helped drive an athlete to commit the time and dedication required of acquiring the skills needed to play a professional sport, often skew reality when evaluating physical limitations when playing hurt. No one challenged Willis Reed’s loyalty to his team when he pulled himself on the basketball court dragging one leg behind him to play in a Game Seven championship game for the New York Mets.

Now, before you have my head, in no way am I implying Ike’s playing through oblique issues matched the heroic former deeds of guys like Mickey Mantle and Willis Reed. I’m simply making the point, a point every high school or youth sports coach inherently understands; when facing a sports injury an athlete will almost always minimize the injury and attempt to play hurt.

Rather than throw ice water on Ike for not being a team player using the fact he played injured as another reason to dump him, stop and take consider what the injury may have meant to his performance last season and to the possibility of a dramatic uptick on the baseball diamond this summer.

In a Sunday column he wrote for the Daily News addressing the Braves signing their homegrown talent to long term contracts, sports columnist Bill Madden makes an interesting point about Atlanta’s willingness to sign an emerging Freddie Freeman to a big money multi year deal. Here’s what Madden says. “The bigger picture here for baseball is the vanishing 25-30 homer hitter and the accompanying law of supply and demand. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were only 30 hitters in baseball last year with 25 or more home runs, which was the lowest total since 1992. There were 65 in 2001, the height of the steroids era, and 55 as recently as 2009, three years after baseball began testing for amphetamines.”

Ike Davis is one year, a year we now learn he played with oblique issues, removed from hitting 32 home runs. The news of Davis playing hurt, regardless of how foolish that was on Ike’s part, doesn’t minimize what it means relative to Ike’s potential to hit the long ball.

Rather than add fuel to the fire that the Mets should be racing Ike for the exit doors, Ike’s admission of having played hurt should slow down such conjecture and put caution and reason into play when evaluating his future as a Met.

Was withholding medical information that he was suffering from oblique issues last season an informed smart move for Ike Davis? Of course not. In holding back his physical limitations, Ike seriously limited his playing capacity, thus placing his career in jeopardy. That fact does not minimize the fact that Ike Davis had and still has power potential, an incredibly shrinking asset in the modern game of baseball, something that should not be minimized because Ike let his ego get ahead of his reason and played hurt. In fact, news of Ike’s physical woes, not supplied willingly by Ike as an excuse, could help explain his horrid batting performance making it even more important Met brass slow down and take a wide angled, long-term look at what Ike could mean to the future of the Mets.

Presented By Diehards

]]> 0
Ike Davis Strongly Reacts To Story About Oblique Injury Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:15:30 +0000 MLB: New York Mets-Workout

Updated Post

According to a report on ESPN New York, Ike Davis loudly lectured Mike Puma of the NY Post this morning regarding the article about him concealing an oblique injury, as teammates and other media watched.

“You made it look like an excuse,” Davis stated, directly addressing the article’s author. “It’s an excuse. It shouldn’t have been a story anyway. … It’s just an overblown thing.”

“Everyone has injuries and then they get hurt. So it was pointless to write an article. I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad.”

Davis acknowledged he never informed GM Sandy Alderson or manager Terry Collins last year. He added that he did not feel the need to clear the air now with them.

“You can’t tell people stuff because you won’t play,” Davis said.

Reporters like Puma report what they learn all the time. Unless the conversation was off the record, Davis is fuming all because the guy did his job. Puma was going to publish his story regardless and gave Davis an opportunity to weigh in on what the source had told him. Obviously his source was accurate.

This is New York. This is the way things are. Players and reporters have a job to do.

It seems like the issue is that Ike thinks reporting about him playing in pain last season will keep him from winning the first base job this Spring. That’s not what will win or lose him the first base job.

Word of advice to Ike – Just hit the ball.

Original Post

Ike Davis concealed an oblique injury from Mets officials for most of last season because of bad timing and the fact he was struggling and didn’t want to surrender his spot in the lineup, the beleaguered first baseman told Mike Puma of the the NY Post on Sunday.

Davis told Puma that he was on the verge of getting demoted to Triple-A at the time and didn’t want team officials to think he was using the oblique as an excuse or inventing an injury.

“I thought about saying, ‘Hey, I would like to take a couple of weeks off, because I’m not feeling great,’ ” Davis said. “But then the timing was bad and it was when I was getting sent down. It would have been a great time, but it looks bad and I just can’t say that.”

Davis did not blame the injury for his poor performance at the plate saying, “It makes me look like a baby, like I’m whining about how I stunk. I was terrible, now it’s over.”

Neither general manager Sandy Alderson nor manager Terry Collins seemed aware of the situation until asked about it Sunday by The Post. ”He didn’t say anything to me or he wouldn’t have played,” Collins told Puma.

“I probably should have said something earlier, but what are you going to do?” Davis said. “I wanted to play better, I didn’t want to come out. If I was hitting .380, I probably would have been like, ‘Maybe I should let this cool down so I don’t miss [extensive] time,’ but when you’re hitting .200, you can’t take weeks off.”

“I had an oblique injury for the whole season, basically,” Davis said.

Unreal… What is even more disappointing is that Davis only came clean today because another source knew about it and told Puma who then confronted Davis about it.

It’s always something. I wonder how Collins and Alderson will react to this. Surely they must be pissed…

On the other hand, maybe a healthy season will bring back the 2011 version of Ike Davis when he had a .925 OPS before he injured his ankle?

(Photo by Brad Barr, USA TODAY Sports)


]]> 0
Collins Continues To Rave About Ike Davis Sat, 22 Feb 2014 19:43:11 +0000 ike davis cage 2

Terry Collins continues to rave about Ike Davis even though he hasn’t had one at-bat against live pitching since his last at-bat of the 2013 season. Here is a quote from MetsBlog:

“I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen,” Collins said. “His swing is absolutely, completely different than it was last year. He’s really quited down all the action he had at home plate. He knows he needed to do it. The batting practices are outstanding. He’s hitting a lots of balls to center field, left-center field.”

The thing of it is, everyone looks like Babe Ruth in the batting cage when Bob Geren and Tim Teufel are throwing down-the-middle marshmallows to the batter.

Three beat writers have all commented that Davis is STILL dropping his hands before every swing. That’s a problem.

I saw a shot of Ike Davis last week (from Adam Rubin) following through on a swing where he was so off balance he looked like he was going to fall over.

Spring Training games begin next week. Let’s wait and see how he fares on a Stephen Strasburg breaking pitch before we start using words like “brilliant, outstanding and impressive” to describe Ike Davis’ swing.

Photo by Veloz

Presented By Diehards


]]> 0