Mets Merized Online » Dwight Gooden Thu, 12 Jan 2017 21:01:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dwight Gooden’s Epic 1985 Season (Part 1) Sun, 18 Dec 2016 17:00:03 +0000 dwight-gooden-3

A review of the single highest WAR pitching seasons of all time on Baseball Reference shows that Dwight Gooden had 12.1 WAR in 1985, the fourth highest single pitching season ever. That season was the highest WAR season for any pitcher post World War II.

For those who prefer traditional statistics, in that magical season, Dwight Gooden had 12.1 pitching WAR thanks to his 276 2/3 innings with a 24-4 record, a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. His ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league average and the pitcher’s home ballpark) was 229, meaning his ERA was 229% better than league average. In addition, his .226 batting average with one home run, 9 RBIs and 11 runs scored created an additional 1.1 offensive WAR. In this article we’ll begin to relive and review each start of Gooden’s historic season of 1985.

The first start of the season for Gooden on April 9 was not a good one. On opening day at Shea Stadium, against the rival St. Louis Cardinals, Gooden allowed four runs, three earned, in six innings striking out six and walking two. Jack Clark took Gooden deep leading off the second. Gary Carter had the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th against former Met Neil Allen.

The second start of the season went much better for Gooden as he pitched a complete game shut-out at Shea Stadium on April 14 against the Cincinnati Reds, striking out ten and walking two while allowing only four hits. One of the four hits allowed was to Hit King Pete Rose. Gooden dominated the Reds in a game that lasted only two hours and 26 minutes. A very different time, as no manager now would allow his ace to pitch nine innings in a mid-April game, especially with a comfortable lead.

The next start for Gooden came against the Phillies, in Philadelphia on April 19. It was a brisk 2 hour and 12 minute game, Gooden and the Mets defeated the Phillies 1-0 for Gooden’s second win of the season. Gooden pitched eight shut-out innings allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven, before Jesse Orosco came in the ninth to record his first save of the season.

In his fourth start  on April 24, Gooden was again matched up against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, opposing Joaquin Andujar. The two matched goose eggs through six innings before the Cardinals broke through against Gooden, scoring two in the seventh and three more in the eighth against Roger McDowell, winning 5-1. For the game, which lasted two hours and 16 minutes, Gooden allowed four hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. This was Gooden’s first loss of the season, dropping his record to 2-1 while Andujar improved to 3-0.

In the final start in April, Gooden pitched his second complete game of the month at home against the Houston Astros. Gooden allowed four hits and two walks, good for one earned run (a first inning home run by Denny Walling), while striking out eight. With two in the seventh and two more in the eighth, the Mets won 4 – 1, finishing the month in first place with a 12 – 6 record.
Gooden’s April statistics:




Hits Allowed





3 – 1








Notes: RE24, in the above chart is the base-out runs saved by the pitcher. Given the bases occupied, outs situation, how many runs did the pitcher save in the resulting play? The stat is compared to average, so zero is average and numbers above zero are above average.  WPA is win-probability added. Given average teams, this is the team’s change in probability of winning/losing the game. A change of +1/-1 would indicate a win added or lost.


Gooden’s first start in May was on the fifth of the month on the road against Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds. Gooden allowed seven hits, three walks and two runs in seven innings in a 3-2 Mets win. Forty-four year old Pete Rose had three hits that day, but was caught stealing in the first inning. Orosco pitched the final two innings for his third save of the season.

On the tenth of the month, Gooden pitched his third complete game and second shutout of the season in a 5-0 whitewashing of the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. On the day, Gooden allowed three hits and three walks in his nine innings of work, striking out 13. Gooden almost matched what he allowed from the batter’s box, with two hits and one walk.

The next start for Gooden came on the 15th against the Astros, in Houston. Gooden pitched “only” 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out only one. Gooden allowed was responsible for all three runs the Astros scored that day before Jessie Orosco pitched the final 2 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5 – 3 win, good for his fifth save on the season.

Dwight Gooden took the loss in his next two starts. On May 20th against the Padres at Shea, Gooden allowed at least one hit against every starter of the Padres with the exception of Tony Gwynn, who went 0 – 4. Gooden allowed two runs in eight innings, but took the loss against LaMarr Hoyt who blanked the Mets in a 2-0 Padres victory.

On May 25, the Dodgers visited Shea and handed Gooden his second loss of the week. In seven innings, Gooden allowed five hits, a walk, and three earned runs, two from a fifth inning home run by Greg Brock. Fernando Valenzuela pitched a complete game and beat the Mets 6-2. The loss was the Mets fourth in a row and dropped the team into second, a half-game behind the Cardinals.

Gooden bounced back in his next start, beating the Giants in Candlestick Park 2-1. The sole run by the Giants was a solo homer by former Met Alex Trevino. Gooden pitched his fourth complete game of the season, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out 14.




Hits Allowed






4 – 2

46 1/3








7 – 3

85 1/3







After Gooden’s May 30 start against the Giants, the Mets had a 27-15 record, their fourth win in a row, and they climbed into first place.

In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look Gooden’s June and July when he really started to turn it on with an incredible run of sheer dominance.

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Mets Minors: Top 30 Prospects, #5-1 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 15:41:27 +0000

#5 Wuilmer Becerra RF

Ht: 6’4″  Wt: 200   Level: High-A St. Lucie Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 10/1/1994 (Age 21)  Age Dif: -1.7

Acquired: With Travis d’ArnaudJohn Buck, and Noah Syndergaard in a trade for R.A. Dickey on 12/17/12

Preseason Rank: #6

2016 Statistics: 65 G, 263 PA, 243 AB, 77 H, 17 2B, HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB, 1 CS, 9 BB, 52 K .312/.341/.393


Hate it or love it, Becerra has some serious upside. Acquired in the deal that brought back d’Arnaud, Buck, and Syndergaard in December of 2012, Becerra was considered the lottery ticket throw-in of the deal, and it looks like the Mets may be cashing in big time. Signed originally by the Toronto Blue Jays on July 4th, 2012 for 1.3 million out of Venezuela, he was considered a guy with considerable upside early on in the power-speed mold. Directly after signing (not common among players in this period), he joined the Gulf Coast League, and hit .250/.359/.375 in 11 games before being hit in the jaw with a wild pitch by Yankees pitcher Graham Stoneburner and missing the rest of the season.

After slashing .243/.351/.295 in the 2013 season, he finally broke out in Kingsport the following year with a .300/.351/.469 slash line with seven homers in 58 games. He followed it up with a fantastic 2015 season in which he hit .290/.342/.423 with nine homers in 119 games, playing half his games in what was the worst stadium for hitters in the Minor Leagues (Historic Grayson Stadium.

However, this year was uneven. Early on, there seemed to be something wrong, because he seemed to have issues hitting for power, but no problem hitting for average. He didn’t start in the field often, and instead played nearly exclusively as a designated hitter. After two months and 40 games, he only played 13 games in the field and had not homered once.

Turns out, Becerra had a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder, which occurred in Spring Training and possibly chose a wait-and-see approach with cortisone shots, to see if he could continue to play throughout the year, but it proved to be too much. He underwent surgery at the end of July, and figures to be at least rehabbing the shoulder by Spring Training of 2017, barring setbacks.

When healthy, Becerra draws rave reviews for professional makeup and ceiling. He figures to be a mid to high ceiling right fielder with above-average power and plus speed at the moment. His above-average bat speed from the right side allows him to make hard contact as he figures to hit many doubles, and the high teens in home runs, while drawing walks at a decent rate and hitting for a moderately good average.

In the field, his actions are plus, with a plus glove in right field and an accurate arm. Despite the setback, Becerra could have a very bright future ahead of him.


#4 Brandon Nimmo OF

Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 Level: Triple-A Las Vegas 51′s

B/T: L/R   Age: 3/27/1993 (Age 23)  Age Dif: - 3.5 (AAA) & -5.3 (MLB)

Acquired: Drafted in 2011 in the First Round at #13

Preseason Rank: #6

2016 Statistics: 

AAA: 97 G, 444 PA, 392 AB, 138 H, 25 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 7/8 SB/CS, 46/73 BB/K, .352/.423/.541

MLB: 20 G, 64 PA, 59 AB, 14 H, HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB/17 K, .237/.297/.288


If you have prospect fatigue, I feel you. It seems like we’ve been hearing the likes of Nimmo on the top 10 prospect lists forever, and possibly that may be coming to a close. The first overall draft pick of the Alderson Regime in 2011, (I’ll be frank), Nimmo was draft far ahead of his pre-draft rankings at #13 overall. An athlete that came out of the baseball-starved state of Wyoming, with only American Legion Ball experience (close to equivalent of most high school ball), Nimmo seemed like a stretch of a pick, in terms of conventional experience. Nonetheless, at the time of the draft, he was pinned with a Paul O’Neill ceiling, and the results are mixed.

Nimmo after being drafted did not instill confidence with a .211/.318/.368 slash line with 14 strikeouts in 10 games, but then improved slightly to a .248/.372/.406 slash line with six homers as a 19-year old for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

In 2013, Nimmo had mixed results, in A-ball, with a .273/.397/.359 and a 27.3% strikeout rate, flaunting his ability to get on base at a very high clip, but striking out a lot, without hitting for power (though, once again, Historic Grayson was death to hitters). Finally with High-A St. Lucie, Nimmo started to hit better, posting a .322/.448/.458 with four homers in 62 games, and cutting down his strikeouts to an 18.4%. When he was promoted to Binghamton he hit for more power, launching six more homers in 65 games, but didn’t get on base much or hit very much in general with a .238/.339/.396 slash. He repeated Binghamton and sprained his ACL in May and missed a month.

After missing a month with a knee injury, it seemed like he was struggling a bit in Double-A with a .260/.340/.313 slash in 34 games before going to the very hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas and hitting .264/.393/.418 in 32 games.

Prior to this year, Nimmo was known to struggle against lefties after having a lackluster .203/.320/.250 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014-2015. This year, he had a total breakthrough, especially against left-handers, with a 19% Strikeout rate, and a higher OPS against them than RHP (.984 vs. 894). Some can assume that this could have been assisted greatly by the hitter’s paradise of the Pacific Coast League, but he earned a 20-game promotion to the Major Leagues because of it. He fell short of the batting title this year, finishing with his .352 average but did league the lead with his .423 on-base.

Nimmo’s main tool is his patience, which is pretty impressive. He knows the strike zone very well, and can control it well, which is good news for him in terms of value as an on-base machine. His left handed swing is smooth, but the bat speed isn’t above-average, and he can get beat by some good velocity up in the zone. In addition, he has some power in the teens, in terms of home runs, but still has yet to tap into his power fully in an environment other than Vegas.

Nimmo had above-average speed, but it regressed due to his knee injury to just solid-average. In the field, his range has not been great in center field, but both it and his above-average arm play well in left and right. In Vegas, the team has played him in center often, but when he was in the majors this year, they played him exclusively in the corners, not inspiring confidence that they believe he can be a center fielder. That’s a shame, because if he can’t play in center, and if he can’t hit for much power, his ceiling and upside drop dramatically. It drops to a fourth outfielder that can’t play center, or a Quad-A player if he can’t hit in the MLB. Despite this excellent year, that earned him the #4 placement, there is a lot of question marks on Nimmo’s ultimate upside in the major leagues.

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#3 Justin Dunn RHP

Ht: 6’2″  Wt: 185   Level: Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones

B/T: R/R  Age: 9/22/1995 (20) Age Dif: -1.4

Acquired: Drafted in the First Round of the 2016 Draft, 19th overall.

Preseason Rank: Unranked

2016 Statistics:  11 G, 8 GS, 30 IP, 25 H, 5 ER, 10 BB/35 K, 1.50 ERA


Another Long Island kid drafted by the Mets in the Alderson Regime, just like Steven MatzTyler Badamo before him, and Anthony Kay right after him. The Freeport resident was drafted 19th overall in the 2016 first year amateur draft out of Boston College. At 18, Dunn touched 92 as a starter at The Gunnery and went undrafted, before jumping in velocity at BC.

In his freshman year at BC, he pitched in seven games and started four.He went 12 innings allowing 10 earned runs, 11 walks, and 12 strikeouts. It was clear the stuff was there, but he had to work on his control. The next year he pitched in 20 games, and started three of them. He ended the year as the closer at BC, and his innings increased to 47.1.

As a reliever, his velocity up-ticked greatly, garnering interest by scouts, who subsequently requested to see him start more. In his draft year at BC, Dunn had statistically his best year, starting eight times in 18 appearances, and pitching to a 2.06 ERA in 65.2 innings. He struck out 72 in those 65.2 innings while thriving better as a starter.

Since Dunn pitched a career high amount of innings in college, the Mets decided to limit his innings as they placed him in Short Season-A Brooklyn. For his first three appearances, he was given two innings each in relief. For the next eight, he started the game, and pitched three innings each. He was pretty dominant for 30 innings, with a 1.50 ERA, and 35 strikeouts.

Why the Mets gave him the nod for the first selection of the Mets’ draft was pretty simple: he’s just oozing with potential and high ceiling stuff. With a lanky frame and a pretty loose delivery, his body type resembles former Met phenom, Dwight Gooden (This is not a comparison on potential, just body type). He has a pretty impressive arsenal also, tossing 92-95 and touching 97 at times (and touched 99 as a reliever), as well as a plus slider, an average curve and changeup.

His control right now isn’t great, slightly below average, but that can develop with time and refining mechanics. He has the potential to be a frontline starter, if everything goes right. Lucky for him, The Mets are usually pretty excellent at developing pitchers.


#2 Dominic Smith 1B

Ht: 6’0″  Wt: 250  Level: Double-A Binghamton Mets

B/T: L/L  Age: 6/15/1995 (21)  Age Dif: -3.3

Acquired: Drafted in the First Round of the 2013 Draft

Preseason Rank: #3

2016 Statistics: 130 G, 542 PA, 484 AB, 146 H, 29 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 91 RBI, 50 BB/71 K, .302/.367/.457


Drafted 11th overall from Junipero Serra High School from Gardena, CA in 2013, Dominic Smith was considered the most advanced high school bat in the draft. Dominic Smith had a monster 2016 season, hitting a career high in homers with 14, leading the team, and led as well in RBI’s. His strikeout percentage dropped by 1.4% to 13.7, and his isolated slugging reached a career high at .155.

Smith started slow, hitting .260/.311/.368 with four homers and nine doubles in his first 64 games. Before going on an absolute tear, hitting .343/.421/.545 with 10 homers, and 17 doubles for the remaining 66 games. During his hot final two months, he drew 32 walks and struck out 31 times.

Smith has always lived up to his billing as an advanced hitter, posting a .291/.358/.387 hitter in 1237 plate appearances from 2013 through 2015. In his first 51 games through the Gulf Coast League and Kingsport (three, to be exact), Smith started out very well, with a .301/.398/.439 slash line, including 13 doubles and three homers. He was jumped quickly over his previous first rounders, Brandon Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini to Full Season-A Savannah, and like both, did not fare too well.

As we continue the trend of offensive death and Historic Grayson, it manifested with Dominic Smith as he homered only once, and slugged .338 in 126 games. Smith didn’t start out very well the next year in St. Lucie, with a .157/.231/.171 slash line through his first 19 games, before going on an absolute tear, pacing the league in doubles, 32 games later. By the end of the season, Smith doubled his previous career high of home runs, hit 33 doubles, and led the league in RBI, earning the league’s MVP Honors in a notorious pitching league. He carried his success into the Arizona Fall League with a .362/.483/.511 slash line in the league.

The book on Dominic has always been his hitting, as explained above. When he was drafted out of high school, they stated he was one of the best hitters in the draft, however, he didn’t hit for as much conventional power as a usual first baseman. In his first 1237 plate appearances, he hit ten homers between rookie ball, and two different A-ball leagues with notorious abilities to suppress power between them. As predicted, by switching to friendlier confines of the Eastern League with better parks he doubled his previous career high of six. It looks as though Dominic’s power is still developing as he comes up the ladder.

Usually in the cases of young hitters, the cliche goes that power is one of the last tools to develop, if it hasn’t already. It’s very likely that what you saw from Dominic this year is only the beginning so throw that James Loney comp out the window. In addition to his hitting, Smith has a gift in regards to driving in runners, as evidenced by high RBI totals. Smith is an excellent defender, and is fantastic with his feet and hands at first base. When I saw him on July 30th, he dug up quite a few balls in the dirt with ease. His arm, though not important for first base, is plus, and in high school he reached 92 miles per hour as a pitcher.

Now for some issues he must overcome: while he is an excellent hitter, with great hitting mechanics, his bat speed only grades out as average, so the limit to his power may be around the low 20-ish range in terms of homers, and a lot of doubles. Another thing to watch is his ability to hit left-handers, which started to show this year at AA. Prior to the season, Smith hit .300/.367/.410 against left-handers in 359 career plate appearances. However, this year, he hit .261/.333/.340 in 129 plate appearances, and as the pitching gets harder, his issues versus them may be exacerbated, or it may have been an aberration.

However, his most pressing issue has been his weight, that has been getting heavier and heavier since last year, and Keith Law stated in the Arizona Fall League that he looked “sloppy”. Smith does a lot of work during the offseason, and usually attends the Mets’ Barwis conditioning Camps when they are held, but it does seem that he may need to do more work on getting into shape. He may just have a high-maintenance body that absorbs fat quicker than others, and requires more work than what he’s been able to sustain so far.

While on the road, most places these teams stop at are not healthy alternatives, and instead fast food. It’s something I noticed on July 30th as a problem going forward, but it’s his issue, and his choice on how he will proceed. However, no matter what, his play is the ultimate need and not the worry of his weight. That’s really what matters to me, and likely to the Mets as well, so I’m not going to shame his weight, just point out there’s an issue he may have to address soon.

Ultimately, Dominic is viewed as the first baseman of the future by the team and that may be very soon.


#1 Amed Rosario SS

Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 170 Level: Hi-A St. Lucie Mets & Double-A Binghamton Mets

B/T: R/R  Age: 11/20/95 (20) Age Dif: 

Acquired: On July 2nd, 2012 out of the Dominican Republic.

Preseason Rank: #2

2016 Statistics: 120 G, 479 AB, 65 R, 155 H, 24 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 71 RBI, 19 SB, .324/.374/.459


Since this is my final article ever, I’ll admit that Rosario has been my favorite prospect since I reported on him in Spring Training, 2013. Signed in 2012 for a franchise-high (for 16 to 23 year olds in the International Free Agency) bonus of 1.75 Million out of the Dominican Republic. He is the son of a judge, who named him Amed after his favorite character in an Iranian Soap opera.

Amed completed his high school diploma before being signed on July 2nd, 2012, which is something not many players his age do before being signed to contracts in the IFA. Those aren’t the reasons why he’s the top prospect, however. Instead it’s because he’s a high-upside shortstop with plus ability to hit and defend, who took off in a big way this year offensively. Due to his high performance and plus tools, he was awarded high honors of #15#13#18, and #13 on four separate midseason prospect lists.

In 2013, the team decided to be aggressive with Rosario, putting him in the advanced rookie league, Kingsport. When he was there, he hit .241/.279/.348 in 58 games with three homers and 15 extra base hits overall. The next season he held his own as an 18-year old for Brooklyn in the advanced league with a .289/.337/.380 slash line and 17 extra base hits in 68 games. He got a cup of coffee with Savannah at the end of the year to get him some advanced exposure.

It seemingly impressed the Mets to jettison him up to High-A St. Lucie with his best friend, 3B Jhoan Urena. He struggled offensively hitting .257/.302/.335, with 20 doubles and 5 triples in 102 games as the youngest player in the league. He also battled a couple of wrist issues towards the middle of the year that hindered his performance. Those wrist issues lingered towards the end of the year, and kept him out of the Dominican Winter League, where he was drafted to the Aguilas of Cibao.

This year, things were different, he was finally healthy, and started the season with a bang: a walk-off home run to right-center. In April, he matched his career high of home runs, with three, and was running rampant on the Florida State League with 11 extra base hits and a .537 slugging percentage. During that time he raised his walk rate by 2.2% to 7.2%, and his strikeout rate cut to 12.4% from 17.5% the year before.

On June 23rd, after appearing in the FSL All-Star Game, and leading the league in hits and triples, Rosario earned the promotion to Binghamton and got even better. He hit for a higher average (.305 in St. Lucie to .341 in Binghamton), walked at a higher rate at 8%, and hit for even more power, with the same amount of extra base hits in 12 less games.

While he finished with a .341 average, he slowed down greatly after enduring a mild hamstring strain towards the end of July. When he came back, he started to strike out at a much higher frequency, which ballooned his strikeout percentage from 15.1% to 21.5% within one whole month. While he struck out more, he hit for a bit more power, with his first two homers in Double-A. Offensively, overall, it was his worst month with a .290/.337/.409. However, over his final 13 games, he hit .407/.458/.519.

When he was signed, Amed was not known for his shortstop defense, and there was question on whether or not he was going to stick there long term and instead land in the outfield. His bat, however, was suggested as a power bat, with the potential to hit up to 20 home runs in a single season. The trouble with projections for a 16-year old player is that they can sometimes drastically shift, and while he will not hit for 20-homer power, he will definitely stick at shortstop.

Rosario has plus bat speed from the right side, that can get to almost anything in the zone. He’ll be able to hit for a pretty good average in the future, and has been improving his plate discipline and ability to walk every year. He still needs some development in recognizing spin, and learning what hanger to hit and lay off. Rosario adjusts from at-bat to at-bat, so these walk and strikeout numbers shown above may change even more as his career progresses.

He has above-average raw power that may play just average for the future, if there is no further development, but he will hit many extra base hits to the gaps that will play up to his plus to possibly plus-plus speed. According to Baseball Prospectus, Rosario’s speed took a jump this year in scouting grades from a 60 to a 70 on the 20-80 scale. How that can happen so late in development may be attributed to conditioning programs and running coaches that changed his running mechanics. He hasn’t utilized it completely for base stealing, but I could see more than 30 steals in a season with his speed, and plenty of triples.

As for defense, despite 23 errors this year, Amed is an excellent defender, featuring plus range, getting balls deep in the hole, and a plus arm with some very good hands. If there’s anything that will make Rosario fit in easily in the MLB, it will be his defense. However, sometime he gets reliant on his arm and stays back in the hole. This could result in rushing throws, or a hesitancy to charge the ball. Rosario gets great praise for his makeup and effort, and loves to be on the field, even when he can’t, as he coached first base when he was sidelined with a hammy issue.

Now for a warning, as I did for each player on this list. This one is about hype. Rosario is a young and potentially explosive player, and has earned praise in all of his abilities, but some people put some lofty expectations of comparisons on him. I’ve seen requests for Carlos Correa, and people ask if he’ll be our next Jose Reyes. The answer is likely no on both, because players rarely become that. Reyes and Correa are/were extraordinary players, Correa especially, who has the potential to be a once in a generation type of player, who can hit for a high average, 30 homers, and stick at shortstop. Reyes, who was the Mets fans’ standard for “good shortstop” since leaving had top of the scale speed and base running ability, and provided an exciting leadoff option in his prime.

Rosario is likely closer to a .270/.340/.440 slash line with 12-15 homer potential as he progresses, while stealing 30 bases. He’s the shortstop of the future, and has high potential, but just let him be him, no comparisons. Between his ability and his personality (that you need to see on twitter, it’s just great, and it IS him), he’s a one of a kind guy…just not the talent you’re expecting. He may not make it, as regulating commenters state, “most prospects don’t”, but he’s the one guy I have a feeling has the ability to do great things in Orange and Blue, when he gets a little bit more development and the chance. You should see him mid-year in 2017, or sooner if Asdrubal Cabrera gets hurt.

Writer’s note: This is it, final article. Wanted to thank the fans, for all your support and encouragement. Wanted to thank Joe D. for being so awesome for having me here the last three years, even though the only thing I really wanted to do initially was to do a fan shot. And Michael Mayer for keeping up and running, and getting me to write more regularly. These people are brilliant, please keep reading them and giving your support. Thanks, Satish Ram, I met you on the site, and you’re my best friend, best man, and little bro. Also, thanks Omar, you’re an inspiration.

Also wanted to thank my family, my dad for his support, not easy living in his shadows, but I found a niche somewhere, for a short time. My wife as well, for inspiration and insight. My mother, sister, friends for cheering me on, and especially the ones that don’t know baseball giving it a try on my articles nonetheless. 

Just now, I have to focus on my career outside of prospects. Focus on grad school and MSW. Maybe one day, there may be something between them with enough effort and connection.



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Familia Falters, But Mets Stand Their Ground In Wild Card Hunt Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:18:29 +0000 jeurys familia

Daniel Murphy started a ninth inning rally for the Nationals, but destiny was on the barrel of rookie T.J. Rivera’s bat, as he launched a tie breaking solo shot in the top of the 10th to keep the Mets in sole possession of the second wild card spot.

The native New Yorker accounted for three of the Mets four runs and since being summoned from Sin City, the Pacific Coast League Batting Champion is hitting a team high .333.

Noah Syndergaard, sporting an impressive 1.06 in his last five starts, got robbed of his 14th win when Jeurys Familia unraveled in the bottom of the ninth.  Murphy, the bane of Terry Collins’ ball club, beat out a sharp single to Asdrubal Cabrera, scoring on a base hit by Anthony Rendon.

After Jose Reyes botched a throw on Bryce Harper’s ground ball, Familia failed to corral a Wilson Ramos comebacker, which brought Rendon home with the tying run.   Pinch hitter Clint Robinson then laced a hard liner to Rivera at second base, allowing the Mets to double up Ramos at first to send the game into overtime.

In the top of the 10th, Fernando Salas recorded the first two outs before surrendering a bloop single to Jayson Werth, forcing Collins to make an emergency call to the bullpen. Jerry Blevins, facing Daniel Murphy, ran the count to 3-2, then fittingly, struck him out on a wicked breaking pitch.

It’s a shame that Syndergaard didn’t secure the well-deserved victory after seven solid innings of one-run four-hit ball.  But his 10 strikeouts brought him to 205 for the season, making him the fifth Mets pitcher to surpass 200 by the age of 24 or younger.  Not too bad of a consolation prize to become a member of a club that includes Jon Matlack, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden and Tom “Terrific” Seaver.

The Mets have won eight of their last 10 and are 17-6 over their last 23 games. All in all, the Mets seized a much needed win (they’re all much needed wins now, right?) and stood their ground in the wild card standings despite a St. Louis Cardinals victory.

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Syndergaard Must Work At Holding Runners On Sun, 04 Sep 2016 16:00:05 +0000 noah syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard has endeared himself to the legions of Met fans who tune in to every start he makes, hoping he turns in a brilliant performance and dazzles with double-digit strikeouts with his near triple-digit average fastball.

And while the man dubbed “Thor” has certainly hit the ground running since his major league debut back in May of 2015, there is one obstacle Syndergaard has yet to overcome, and that is holding runners on base.

Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Nationals is a perfect example of how his lack of holding runners on ended up curtailing a much better outing out of the 24-year-old right-hander. In the opening frame, Syndergaard had lead-off hitter Trea Turner in an 0-2 hole, after starting Turner off with two high nineties fastballs. Turner deposited the third straight fastball into shallow right field for a single.

Jayson Werth dug in next, and during his six pitch at-bat in which he ended up lining out hard to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, Turner stole not just second, but third base as well, for his 19th and 20th stolen bases of the season, in only 45 games played. After a Daniel Murphy walk, Bryce Harper lofted a fly ball to center, where Curtis Granderson corralled it but couldn’t muster a stronger throw home, giving the Nationals the early 1-0 lead.

But look how that inning was set up. Turner opened the inning with a lead-off single, but turned it into a triple by utilizing his speed, and knowing that Syndergaard was slow to the plate out of the stretch. Couple that with only one out in the inning, and a fly ball to the outfield was scoring Turner, which is the result that ensued. Even Daniel Murphy, with three stolen bases entering Friday’s game, stole second in the first, and isn’t exactly known as being the most fleet of foot. Syndergaard would give up a total of four stolen bases in his seven innings of work, limiting the damage to just two earned runs, the second scoring when Harper led off the fourth with a double, stole third, and later scored on Wilson Ramos‘ single.

Adding the four stolen bases from Friday’s defeat, Syndergaard has now given up a major league worst 45, compared to only six caught stealing in 162 innings pitched. That means that in his 26 games started this year (he’s appeared in 27 games, one was a relief appearance on May 31) Thor’s averaging close to two stolen bases a game, meaning more runners in scoring position and potential for more runs scored. If you look at Syndergaard’s rookie season in 2015, he allowed 15 stolen bases in 150 innings pitched, meaning he’s tripled that amount this season, and in only 12 more innings pitched! Not an upward trend Met fans want to continue to see rise over his career.

What’s alarming is that Thor’s 45 stolen bases is almost 20 worse than the second leading pitcher in Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson, who’s allowed 26 in 151.2 innings pitched. Syndergaard has thrown 10.1 more innings than Nelson, yet has surrendered 19 more stolen bases in that time.

If you break down the stolen bases Syndergaard has allowed per month, the trends aren’t easy on the eyes. For April, Thor allowed nine stolen bases, including an ugly five in an April 25 start against Cincinnati at home. In May he allowed six, then June he peaked to 13, including another five stolen base game against the Nationals on June 27. July was Syndergaard’s best month, allowing only two stolen bases in five starts, including three games that he did not allow any in. But then in August he was right back up to 11, and then his start on Friday night he allowed four, not a good way to open September up.

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Clearly Syndergaard and the coaching staff have work to do in the off-season and in the spring to get this problem righted. What’s puzzling is that Syndergaard hasn’t improved at all this season in allowing easy stolen bases, as shown by the amount of steals he’s allowed per month, begging the question of whether they’ve even been working on alleviating the problem at all this year?

One main point that several sports sites have pointed out is his deliberate set, and then his rather high leg kick that he uses when in the stretch. Those precious seconds count for potential base runners, and their ability to time Thor’s delivery to the plate makes it easier for the opposition’s first base coach to time him more precisely, giving runners a better opportunity to get better leads and jumps.

Thor is inching closer to a few dubious records: he’s already given up the most stolen bases by a pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 2001 (52 stolen bases), and is getting closer to the single-season record of 60 stolen bases allowed, which was reached by former-Met great, Dwight Gooden in 1990.

Syndergaard understands that he needs to improve at limiting the running game, something that’s come back to bite him in games.

“I was a little out of my delivery over the first three innings or so,” Syndergaard said. “I really didn’t do a good job on (holding runners on) the basepaths. Turner’s got unbelievable speed, but I’ve got to give Rene a chance. I got out of my delivery, got slow and methodical.”

Even with pairing veteran catcher Rene Rivera to Syndergaard’s starts, to hopefully help limit the stolen bases (Rivera has thrown out 26% of base runners this year and 36% for his eight-year career, compared to d’Arnaud’s 22% and 23% for his career) Thor is just too slow to the plate from the stretch, even Johnny Bench would have just as much trouble limiting the stolen bases. Point being, it’s not simply about having better catchers behind the plate, Syndergaard is the one that needs to put in the work and recognize the situations, paying more attention to the men on base and not allowing them to get large leads.

Of Syndergaard’s 45 stolen bases, 32 have been of second base, while the remaining 13 have been of third. Syndergaard has only one successful pick-off in his career, which came this year. Again, this is not to take away from the wonderful and electric career he’s had so far through his fist 50 major league starts. However, expect to see a concentration in spring on holding runners on for all the Met pitchers, including Steven Matz who’s tied for 5th in baseball with 20 stolen bases allowed. This type of stuff is baseball 101, and is just another example of basic baseball instruction that has been lacking from this year’s Mets squad.

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Syndergaard Ties Seaver, Has Third-Most Homers by Pitcher in Mets History Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:34:31 +0000 ARTBB-16C2S-16TN-0365-1


Noah Syndergaard is the embodiment of the #PitchersWhoRake hashtag that anti-DHers love to use. And it’s rapidly moving “Thor” up the ranks in the Mets’ history books.

Syndergaard’s two-run shot against the Diamondbacks last night made him the first pitcher in the majors this season to hit three home runs. It also tied Tom Seaver and Walt Terrell‘s franchise record for home runs by a pitcher in one season. He also moved up to third place in Mets history in career home runs by a pitcher, with his fourth career home run. He broke out of a four-way tie with Terrell, Don Cardwell and Rick Aguilera in the team’s record book.

Tying The Franchise Tom Seaver resulted in an Exclusive Topps Now Card recognizing the special achievement.

The 23-year-old is now three home runs behind Dwight Gooden‘s pitching franchise record of seven dingers. Tom Seaver is second in Mets history with six. If you’re a Mets pitcher alone on a list with those two names, it’s usually a pretty good indicator you’re doing something right.

But both Gooden and Seaver, obviously, had far more at-bats than Syndergaard: Gooden had 730 career at-bats and Seaver had 975. Syndergaard has just 86, so he has plenty of time– barring bone spurs– to continue to get to the top of the ladder. 

Maybe the Mets should consider starting Syndergaard in the field on days he isn’t playing. He would be on pace to have 34 home runs if he were to have 500 at-bats this season, more than any Met is on pace to get this season. Syndergaard’s career pace of 21.5 at-bats per home run is better than the mark of several all-time greats, including Todd Helton, Frank Thomas, Adrian Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran among others. 

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Remembering Frank Cashen: The Evolution Of The 1986 Mets Fri, 27 May 2016 17:10:17 +0000 frank cashen davey johnson

As the Mets get set to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their 1986 World Championship team, here’s a chronological timeline of how it all came together. Unfortunately, the architect of that championship team, Mets GM Frank Cashen, is no longer with us. But his legacy and the impact he had on our franchise lives on forever.

The following shows exactly how all the players from that Mets post season roster came to be acquired.

I broke it down to further illustrate how Cashen didn’t solely rely upon hoarding prospects as his means to an end. They surely helped, but had it not been for the trades that brought in many stars of their time, 1986 may have never happened.

Lets get to the list which I present in chronological order. The first three players were acquired before Frank Cashen was named general manager.

Essentially the team he inherited already had what would be his starting second baseman and center fielder, as well as his closer.

The Evolution of the 1986 Mets

June, 1977

Wally Backman, 2B: Drafted in first round

Mookie Wilson, LF: Drafted in second round

Dec. 8, 1978

Jesse Orosco, RP: Traded from Twins Feb. 7, 1979 to complete trade for Jerry Koosman

June, 1980

Darryl Strawberry, RF: Drafted in first round

June 10, 1980

Doug Sisk, RP: Signed as amateur free agent

November 1980

Kevin Mitchell, OF/INF: Signed as an amateur free agent

June 1981

Lenny Dykstra, OF: Drafted in 13th round

April 1, 1982

Ron Darling, SP: Traded from Rangers with Walt Terrell for Lee Mazzilli

June 1982

Dwight Gooden, SP: Drafted in first round

Roger McDowell: Drafted in third round

Dec. 10, 1982

Danny Heep: Traded from Astros for Mike Scott

Feb. 3, 1983

Ed Hearn: Signed as a free agent

June, 1983

Rick Aguilera: Drafted in third round

June 15, 1983

Keith Hernandez: Traded from Cardinals for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey

Dec. 8, 1983

Sid Fernandez: Traded from Dodgers with Ross Jones for Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz


Davey Johnson becomes manager

Jan. 17, 1984

Rafael Santana: Signed as a free agent

June, 1984

Kevin Elster: Drafted in second round

June 15, 1984

Bruce Berenyi: Traded from Reds for Matt Bullinger, Jay Tibbs, Eddie Williams and Eddie Williams.

August 28, 1984

Ray Knight: Traded by the Houston Astros to the New York Mets for players to be named later. The New York Mets sent Gerald Young (August 31, 1984), Manuel Lee (August 31, 1984) and Mitch Cook (minors) (September 10, 1984) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.

Dec. 7, 1984

Howard Johnson: Traded from Tigers for Walt Terrell

Dec. 10, 1984

Gary Carter: Traded from Expos for Hubie BrooksMike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans

March 30, 1985

Randy Niemann: Traded from White Sox for minor leaguers Gene Autry and Ken Reed

Nov. 13, 1985

Bob Ojeda: Traded from Red Sox with Chris Bayer, Tom McCarthy and John Mitchell for John Christensen, Wes Gardner, Calvin Schiraldi and LaSchelle Tarver

Jan. 16, 1986

Tim Teufel: Traded by Twins with Matt Crosby for Billy Beane, Joe Klink and Bill Latham

Aug. 3, 1986

Lee Mazzilli: Signed as a free agent (originally drafted in first round, 1973)

Of the 25 championship players here is the breakdown:

  • Three players (Jesse Orosco, Wally Backman, Mookie Wilson) were inherited.
  • Five were drafted in the first three rounds. (Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Roger McDowell, Rick Aguilera, Kevin Elster)
  • One was drafted in the late rounds. (Lenny Dykstra, 13th Round)
  • Two were signed as amateur free agents. (Kevin Mitchell, Doug Sisk)
  • Three were signed as MLB free agents. (Rafael Santana, Ed Hearn, Lee Mazzilli)
  • Eleven players were acquired in trades, many of which included the Mets top prospects. (Tim Teufel, Sid Fernandez, Ray Knight, Bruce Berenyi, Danny Heep, Bob Ojeda, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Howard Johnson, Randy Niemann, Ron Darling)


One of Frank Cashen’s first signature move after being named GM, was to trade for Reds’ All Star George Foster and then sign him to what was at the time the richest contract in baseball. Foster would be released in mid season during 1986 after making some inflammatory remarks about the front office. He was immediately replaced by longtime fan favorite Lee Mazzilli.

Sadly, the dynasty Cashen was hoping for never materialized and within two years he began dismantling the championship team he had built. Ray Knight, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson and Roger McDowell were either traded or released.

Frank Viola was brought in along with Juan Samuel, and Gregg Jefferies was going to be the new face of the franchise. But just five years after that famous trickler down the first base line, and after a dismal fifth place finish, Cashen stepped down as GM of the Mets and was replaced by Al Harazin.

25 years later, Frank Cashen was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1, 2010 along with his manager Davey Johnson, and his two top draft picks; Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry.

The brilliant Frank Cashen, who brought championships to both the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, passed away on June 30, 2014. I will always remember his friendly smile, his commitment to winning, and of course his bow ties.

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Noah Syndergaard Named NL Player of the Week Mon, 23 May 2016 18:44:49 +0000 noah syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard was named the National League Player of the Week for the week of May 16-22. He went 2-0 and didn’t allow an earned run over 14.0 innings, didn’t issue a walk and struck out 21.

Syndergaard is just the fourth major leaguer to have consecutive starts without allowing an earned run or a walk and record double-digit strikeouts. The others are Nolan Ryan (1987), Jose Fernandez (2014) and Clayton Kershaw (2015- who had three such starts).

The only other Met to have consecutive double-digit strikeout games without a walk was Dwight Gooden (September 12 & 17, 1984).

Syndergaard has 76 strikeouts through his first nine starts, the third-most in team history. Only Tom Seaver had more through his first nine starts (88 in 1970 and 77 in 1971).

Thor now has eight double-digit strikeout games through his first 33 career starts and is tied with Matt Harvey for second-most for a Met in team history through their first 33 starts. Gooden is first with 16 such starts.

This is Syndergaard’s second Player of the Week Award, also winning the honor on July 27-August 2, 2015.


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Stroll Down Memory Lane: Mets Top Prospects From 1983 Sat, 16 Jan 2016 22:00:45 +0000 darryl strawberry


The Baseball America archives go all the way back to 1983 for their annual Top 10 prospect lists and I thought it would be fun to take a look at what those players became. We will first look at the Mets Top 10 from 1983, seeing where BA missed and the ones they were right about.

Here is the Mets Top 1-5 Prospects from 1983 according to BA:

1.) Darryl Strawberry - The Mets selected him 1st overall in the 1980 draft out of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles California. He made his spectacular Major League debut at the age of 21 in 1983, hitting .257/.336/.512 with 26 homeruns and 74 RBI. He was the National League Rookie of the Year and then went on to make eight straight All-Star teams (7 with Mets) and won two Silver Slugger awards.

He was a crucial piece of the Mets World Series Champion team in 1986 but had his best individual season in 1987 when he hit .284/.398/.583 with 39 homeruns and 104 RBI. He finished sixth that year in MVP voting and would finish in the top 10 voting four times in his career.

Darryl signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in 1990 ending his career with the Mets. He finished as a career .263/.359/.520 hitter in eight season with the Mets. He also had 252 homeruns (most in Mets history), 187 doubles, 30 triples, 733 RBI, 191 stolen bases, and 1025 hits in a Met uniform.

2.) Jeff Bittiger - The Mets selected the right handed pitcher in the 7th round of the 1980 draft out of Montclair State University in New Jersey. He never pitched in the Majors for the Mets as he was traded in 1986 to the Phillies with Ronn Reynolds for minor leaguers Rodger Cole and Ronnie Gideon.

Jeff made his debut in 1986 with the Phillies going 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts. He pitched in the Majors the next three seasons with his best being for the White Sox in 1988 when he was 2-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 25 games.

Never returned to the Majors after 1989 but did keep pitching professionally until 2002 with the last six seasons coming exclusively in Independent ball for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

3.) Ron Darling - He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 1981 draft in the 1st round (9th overall) out of Yale University in Connecticut. The Mets traded Lee Mazzilli for Darling and Walt Terrell in April of 1982. Darling made his Major League debut for the Mets in 1983 making five starts.

In 1984, he went 12-9 with a 3.89 ERA over 205.2 inning and was fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. The next season he went 16-6 pitching a career high 248 innings and was voted to his only All-Star team.

Ron had his best season as part of the 1986 championship team, going 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, and finished fifth in Cy Young voting for the National League. He was also 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in four postseason starts including starting games 1,4,7 in the World Series.

He won a career high 17 games in 1988 and his only Gold Glove Award in 1989 with the Mets. He was traded by the Mets on July 15th, 1991 with Mike Thomas to the Montreal Expos for Tim Burke. He made only three starts for the Expos before being traded to the Oakland A’s 16 days later, whom he would end his big league career with.

Overall in his Mets career he was 99-70 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.288 WHIP while also hitting had two homeruns (back-to-back games in 1989)and knocking in 19 runs. He would finish with 136 career wins and 1590 strikeouts in 2360.1 innings.

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4.) Dwight Gooden -The Mets drafted Gooden as the 5th overall player taken in the 1982 draft out of Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida. Doc burst onto the MLB scene in 1984 as a 19-year old kid going 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA. He led all of baseball in strikeouts (276), FIP (1.69), WHIP (1.073), H/9 (6.6), and SO/9 (11.4). He was named the ROY, was an all-star, finished second in Cy Young voting, and 15th in MVP voting.

He followed up his incredible rookie season with what is considered one of the greatest seasons ever for a pitcher and became the youngest (2o years old) ever to win the Cy Young Award. He went 24-4 while leading the Majors with 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, 229 ERA+, and 2.13 FIP. He also had eight complete game shutouts and eight more complete games.

His 13.2 wins above replacement in 1985 is still the highest in modern baseball history for any player and the 20th highest of all-time. Only two players (Walter JohnsonBabe Ruth) had season with a higher WAR in the 1900′s.

He left the Mets after the 1994 season and missed was suspended for the entire 1995 season after testing positive for drug use as a repeat offender. He returned to the Majors in 1996 with the Yankees but was never the same pitcher ever again.

In his 11 seasons with Mets he was 157 wins (2nd most in Mets history) with a 3.10 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, and had 1875 strikeouts (2nd most in Mets history) in 2169.2 innings. He also hit seven homeruns, batted .197, and knocked in 65 runs for the Mets. He was a four time all-star and won the silver slugger in 1992.

5.) Rick Ownbey - The right handed pitcher was taken by the Mets in the 13th round of the 1980 draft from Santa Ana College in California. Made his MLB debut for Mets in 1982 making eight starts, had a 3.75 ERA despite walking more hitters (43) than he struck out (28).

He will be best known from Mets fans as one of the two guys (along with Neil Allen) that were traded to he St. Louis Cardinals for Keith Hernandez. Finished his big league career walking 91 hitters compared to 83 strikeouts in 146.2 innings.

This has to be one of the best Top 5 prospect years in Mets history producing one of the best hitters and best pitchers in team history. Not to mention, Darling, who is currently fourth on the Mets all-time win list and has the fourth most innings pitched as well.

Ownbey never did much with the Mets but his prospect value was useful because he helped bring Keith to New York. Strawberry, Gooden, Darling, and Hernandez all helped to bring the Mets the World Series trophy in 1986.

Notable names from other teams Top 10 lists include John Elway (#1, Yankees), David Cone (#6, Royals), Sid Fernandez (#3, Dodgers), Tim Teufel (#6, Twins), Kevin McReynolds (#1, Padres), and Ron Romanick (#5, Angels).

For more minor league coverage head over to and here you can read the recap of the 6-10 prospects from 1983.

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Doc Gooden’s Greatness On The Mound Extended Past The 1986 Season Sun, 16 Nov 2014 14:00:31 +0000 doc gooden shea stadium

Dwight Gooden, the Mets’ hurler who helped exhume the team from Grant’s Tomb and brought Shea Stadium back to life in the mid-’80s, is celebrating his 50th birthday today.  When Gooden was at his peak three decades ago, the baseball cognoscenti agreed that his first three seasons in the major leagues were among the best by a young pitcher in the game’s history.  Gooden took the mound 99 times from 1984 to 1986, going 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 complete games, 13 shutouts and 744 strikeouts – reaching 200 or more strikeouts in each season.

But after off-the-field problems came to light prior to the 1987 campaign, Gooden went from being Dr. K to being Dr. Just OK.  Or did he?

From 1987 to 1991, Doc’s numbers were clearly not the same as they were during his first three seasons.  But they were still pretty darn good.  In his fourth through eighth seasons with the Mets, Gooden went 74-34 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, striking out 797 batters, completing 22 games and tossing eight shutouts.  He also finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting twice.  (Gooden was fifth in the Cy Young balloting in 1987 and fourth in 1990.)  He accomplished all of this from 1987 to 1991 despite making fewer than 28 starts in three of the five seasons.

Perhaps his greatest and most under-appreciated accomplishment occurred in 1991.  After seven consecutive seasons of winning 87 or more games, the Mets finished under .500 in ’91.  But Gooden still managed to finish with a 13-7 record, 3.60 ERA and 150 strikeouts in only 27 starts.  In 15 of those 27 starts, Gooden allowed two earned runs or fewer, but received losses or no-decisions in six of the games, mainly because he was surrounded by a putrid offense.

Keith Miller (.280) and Gregg Jefferies (.272) were the only players with 300 or more plate appearances to finish the year with a batting average north of .260.  Howard Johnson (38 HR, 117 RBI, 108 runs) was the sole Met with more than 16 homers, 74 RBI or 65 runs scored.  Gooden basically had to help himself when he was in the game, as he batted .238 with three doubles, a homer, six RBI and seven runs scored in only 63 at-bats.  His .333 slugging percentage was higher than the marks posted by Mark Carreon (.331 in 254 AB), Vince Coleman (.327 in 278 AB) and Garry Templeton (.306 in 219 AB).

In the five seasons immediately following the 1986 championship campaign, when Gooden supposedly went from being a great pitcher to just being a very good pitcher, the right-hander’s winning percentage was .685 in 137 starts.  That was the highest winning percentage for all pitchers who made 100 or more starts from 1987 to 1991.  The rest of the top five included Dave Stieb, Roger Clemens, Bob Welch and Dave Stewart – pitchers who combined to win 909 games over their long and successful major league careers.

Dwight Gooden .685 137 74 34 3.39 2.78 .249 .304 .342 .647
Dave Stieb .667 137 68 34 3.32 3.78 .226 .306 .332 .638
Roger Clemens .662 172 94 48 2.74 2.61 .227 .284 .329 .613
Bob Welch .662 174 88 45 3.47 3.93 .245 .313 .375 .689
Dave Stewart .629 181 95 56 3.54 3.66 .246 .314 .366 .680

The Mets averaged nearly 99 wins a season from 1984 to 1986, with Gooden accounting for 58 of the team’s 296 wins in those three campaigns.  Although several stints on the disabled list caused Gooden to miss significant time in 1987, 1989 and 1991, Doc still won 74 games in the five years immediately following the team’s championship in 1986.

Averaging 27 starts per season from 1987 to 1991 should have allowed other National League pitchers to finish well ahead of Gooden in wins, but that never happened.  In fact, only Doug Drabek won more games in the Senior Circuit than Dwight Gooden did during that five-year stretch, as seen in the chart below.

Doug Drabek 77 165 162 26 12 .602 1106.0 1009 283 643
Dwight Gooden 74 139 137 22 8 .685 969.0 911 283 797
Greg Maddux 73 171 168 32 9 .549 1143.0 1107 374 718
Tom Browning 72 176 175 19 5 .576 1141.1 1123 297 573
David Cone 67 155 138 27 10 .620 994.2 829 336 945

When Gooden was at his best from 1984 to 1986, he was the league’s premier strikeout pitcher, fanning 200 or more batters in each of his first three seasons and averaging nearly 250 Ks per year.  Gooden’s propensity for throwing strike three earned him the nickname Dr. K, but just because he wasn’t leading the league in strikeouts from 1987 to 1991 as he did in his first two seasons didn’t mean he was no longer frustrating batters at the plate.

In his fourth through eighth seasons in the big leagues, the good Doctor struck out 797 batters.  Only one pitcher in the National League had more strikeouts than Gooden did during those five “post-dominant Doc” seasons – his teammate, David Cone, who won two strikeout titles of his own in 1990 and 1991.

Player SO SO/9 SO/BB K% GS W L W-L% IP BF
David Cone 945 8.55 2.81 23.1% 138 67 41 .620 994.2 4092
Dwight Gooden 797 7.40 2.82 19.8% 137 74 34 .685 969.0 4023
Sid Fernandez 733 8.40 2.55 22.8% 128 48 40 .545 785.2 3211
Mike Scott 719 7.13 2.72 19.4% 134 59 46 .562 908.0 3715
Greg Maddux 718 5.65 1.92 14.9% 168 73 60 .549 1143.0 4831

There’s one last thing that won’t show up in a boxscore or a chart that helps assess Dwight Gooden’s value to the Mets after his first three historic seasons with the team.  During the five-year period from 1987 to 1991, Gooden was outstanding at helping the Mets win games that immediately followed a loss, thereby preventing the Mets from suffering through extended losing streaks.

In Gooden’s 137 starts during those five years, 65 of them came after a loss by the team.  The Mets’ record in those 65 contests was 41-24, giving the team a .631 winning percentage in post-loss games started by Doc.  When any other starting pitcher took the mound immediately following a Mets loss during that five-year stretch, the team’s record in those games was 147-148, for a .498 winning percentage.  That’s how valuable Gooden was to the team after he had supposedly lost his ability to dominate hitters.

Dwight Gooden never had a winning percentage under .650 in any season from 1987 to 1991, while the Mets never posted a winning percentage above .625 in any of those five campaigns.  The entire team stopped being as great as they were in 1986, but not Doc.  He just continued to find ways to win.  If anything, he was one of the main reasons why the team continued to be competitive for as long as they did, until the bottom fell out in the early ’90s.

Today is Doc’s 50th birthday, making it a perfect day to look back at how golden he was not just during his first three seasons with the Mets, but in the years immediately following the team’s World Series championship.  The baseball pundits might say Gooden wasn’t the same pitcher after 1986, but that didn’t make him any less valuable to the Mets.  The numbers don’t lie.  Doc Gooden never lost his ability to be among the best pitchers in the league even when his club stopped being one of the best teams in the league.


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Could Matt Harvey Become A High Maintenance Super Nova? Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:39:55 +0000 Could the New York Mets have a potential problem with Matt Harvey?

There are already signs of him being high maintenance … signs he enjoys the trappings of New York too much … signs he doesn’t handle injuries well … signs of being too sensitive … signs he knows he’s good and isn’t afraid to let you know.

Harvey has never pitched a complete season and is 12-10 lifetime. While we’re not talking about the second coming of Tom Seaver, Harvey seems to be carrying himself with a sense of entitlement and a “you can’t touch me’’ aura.

The latest is his reported reluctance to want to undergo his rehab in Port St. Lucie, which the Mets prefer, and desire to work out in New York.

After Harvey threw for the first time Saturday, general manager Sandy Alderson backed off saying where the 24-year-old 2010 will rehab, but made clear his preference.

“As a general rule, our players rehab in Florida,’’ Alderson said Saturday. “But that’s not a decision we’re going to make or mandate [now]. When we get to the end of spring training we’ll see where he is, and I’m sure there will be discussion between now and then.’’

MattHarvey1For somebody with 36 career starts, why should there even be discussion? If Port St. Lucie was good enough for David Wright and Pedro Martinez to rehab, it should be good enough for Harvey.

In fairness, we haven’t heard Harvey’s reasoning for his preference of New York, which leads to speculation, with little of it showing him in a good light.

Making this more touchy is this could go before the Players Association, as the collective bargaining agreement mandates a player can refuse his rehab in a spring training locale during the season for longer than 20 days.

“The CBA imposes limitations. Yeah,’’ Alderson said. “But in the past, for the most part, our players have been here and it’s been a good situation.’’

We know New York is Harvey’s home, has superior Italian food and a better nightlife than Port St. Lucie.

But, what’s the purpose here?

New York’s nightlife makes one wonder, as Harvey clearly enjoys the perks of being a star – even though that might be a premature characterization of his professional status. Harvey likes the clubs and openly spoke about his drinking in a Men’s Journal magazine piece.

“I’m young, I’m single,’’ he was quoted as saying. “I want to be in the mix. … I have a 48-hour rule. No drinking two days before a start. But, those other days? Yes, I’m gonna go out.’’

The bottom line: If you’re 24 and a high-profile figure, you shouldn’t need a rule about drinking. If he finds it necessary to have a rule, he shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.

Everybody these days has a phone with a camera. Harvey has already been caught several times in incidents of public displays of affection with his former supermodel girlfriend, Anne V. at Rangers and Knicks games, where he is gifted the tickets. More trappings.

He’s now seeing another model, Ashley Haas, which has his comments of wanting to be like Derek Jeter resurface. Of course, It is doubtful Jeter would have ever posed nude.

“That guy is the model,’’ he said. “I mean, first off, let’s just look at the women he’s dated. Obviously, he goes out – he’s meeting these girls somewhere – but you never hear about it. That’s where I want to be.’’

New York’s nightlife has burned out dozens of athletes. Look what it did for Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Imagine what Mickey Mantle would have been able to accomplish with a little less drinking and womanizing.

And, as for Jeter, he’s not the Teflon he’s made out to be. Stories of sending his conquests home with a gift basket of memorabilia and forcing house guests to surrender their cell phones don’t portray him in a flattering light. Mom must be so proud.

Shortly after the magazine piece came out, Harvey complained about being misquoted and taken out of context. A reporter for a magazine profile records everything, so it is doubtful the quotes were manufactured. Backing off his comments shows a lack of accountability.

Harvey also got into it with WFAN talk-show host Joe Beningo, ripping him on Twitter and then deleting the post.

When it comes to fighting with a radio personality or the media in general, it is futile as it comes off as petty and unprofessional, plus, he’ll never have the last word.

The media isn’t as easy to bully as was former teammate Jon Rauch, whom Harvey forced out of town after challenging the former Mets reliever to a fight because he didn’t appreciate the rookie hazing, which included getting doused with water while sleeping on the trainer’s table.

If Harvey had a problem he could have confronted Rauch in private rather than making for a very uncomfortable clubhouse scene. That’s something somebody with a professional grasp on things would have done. Instead, he came off as behaving like Jordany Valdespin.

That’s not the only thing Harvey hasn’t handled well. Twice he wasn’t immediately forthcoming in disclosing injuries to the training staff, and arguably it led to his elbow surgery.

I want the best for Harvey. I want him to have a long and brilliant career. However, he has a long way to go, on and off the field. He hasn’t always shown good judgment and a case can be made it cost him this season.

He needs to reign himself in off the field, and that includes not making a big deal about where he rehabs. If reflects poorly on him and makes one wonder if this isn’t about carousing the bars with Haas and watching the Rangers.

If he maintains this course, instead of a franchise pitcher, he could end being a high maintenance super nova.

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This Day In Mets Infamy: My Brush With Ralph Kiner Fri, 07 Feb 2014 15:35:51 +0000 201402061436525825329

Yesterday another piece of my childhood faded away.

While I was at work I received a email from the Mets announcing the passing of Hall Of Fame ballplayer and original Mets announcer, Ralph Kiner. At first it didn’t sink in. I don’t know if this was because I was so caught up with my work – or I was just aloof. But upon driving in my car on my way home from the office I started to cry – and cry hard. I am not really the emotional type. I didn’t cry when my grandfather passed away six years ago , and I certainly didn’t cry when I got the news that my father had passed almost two years ago. But for some reason whether it was with Tug McGraw, Bob Murphy or Gary Carter before him I cried.

My best guess is because the aforementioned men were like my babysitters. I was barely old enough to remember McGraw as a Met – but for some reason I gravitated to his infectious source of positivity. With Murph and the Kid along with Ralph that was the era that I was truly aware of baseball – when I truly understood the game.

I had the honor being in Ralph’s presence twice in my lifetime. The first was around 1983 at a charity stickball event. I met the likes of Tom Seaver and Jake LaMotta that day – but Ralph was the nicest and warmest of the celebrities at that event. He even signed my autograph book without having to beg.

Fast forward to August of 2010. My wife and I are in attendance for the Mets Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies for Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson. Towards the end of the game my wife and I caught up with my sister, brother in law and two nephews in the Caesars Club. We all decided to leave just before the end of the game and we took the club elevator to leave the building. And then it happened…

The elevator stopped at one of the private floors and who happened to get on but Ralph Kiner and a woman who I guess was his wife being wheeled into the elevator car by their attendants’. My nephews who must’ve been about 5 at the time were acting precocious as most 5 year olds do, and Ralph just looked at them and smiled. I didn’t utter a word to Ralph in that elevator because I respected his privacy and he looked extremely tired. But Ralph looked at me and nodded. I smiled back and wanted to thank him but I was just basking in the aura of this man.

Technically Ralph wasn’t a Met – but in many respects he truly was. No he never played one game as a Met, but he will always be tethered to the tapestry of this team. He will always be an original Met.

Even in his latter years with his speech impaired by Bell’s Palsy and often sounding tired, he could still inspire me with stories from his days of old with the Pirates – or even regale you with tales of Choo Choo Coleman, Casey Stengel or Dwight Gooden.

My innocence was lost many years ago – but I always felt that as long as I heard Ralph’s voice I still could hold onto a childhood that left me many years ago. I will miss you Ralph – and as I shed a tear, I also raise a glass of whiskey in your honor.

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

  • Reserve outfielder from ’74-’76, Benny Ayala is 63 (1951).
  • One of the better starting pitchers from the “oh so bad early ’80′s teams“, Charlie Puleo is 59 (1955). Puleo was the main cog in the trade with the Cincinnati Reds that brought Tom Seaver  back to Flushing.
  • The man responsible for one of the most amazing catches in the history of the baseball postseason,  Endy Chavez is 36 (1978).

Other notable transactions include:

  • The  New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever,  Hank Webb and minor league pitching prospect, Rich Sanders to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league shortstop, Rick Auerbach on February 7, 1977.
  • One time Cy Young Mets pitcher, Mickey Lolich announced his retirement on February 7, 1977. Lolich would come out of retirement a year later to pitch for the San Diego Padres.
  • The New York Mets released utility infielder, Ross Jones on February 7, 1986.
  • The New York Mets claimed reserve infielder, David Lamb on waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on February 7, 2000.
  • The Seattle Mariners  signed backup catcher,  Kelly Shoppach of the New York Mets as a free agent on February 7, 2013.

Mo Vaughn was so fat he couldn’t bend over!!!”  Ralph Kiner, August 10th 2010

kiner waves

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Who Should be on Mets Rushmore? Thu, 09 Jan 2014 19:30:30 +0000 Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 9.46.56 AM

Photo Credit:

Four spots. 52 seasons. Who belongs on Mets Rushmore?

Without a doubt, Tom Seaver. If there isn’t a Mets Rushmore without The Franchise, it’s just another rock.

So how about the other three?

We could go with Casey Stengel. His number is already retired and on the wall. We can go with Gil Hodges. His is as well. Both are worthy.

How about Jerry Koosman? He’s Robin to Seaver’s Batman. Doc? Darryl?

Can’t forget the more recent half of our history. There are some worthy candidates, too.

So who would this Big Mets Fan put on Mets Rushmore?

Tom Seaver. Dwight Gooden. Mike Piazza. David Wright.

One great Met for each era.

Who’s on your Mets Rushmore?

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Historic First Round Picks Mon, 30 Dec 2013 23:11:08 +0000 matlack

The Mets have selected 62 players in the first round of the June Amateur Draft since 1965. 41 players have made it to the Majors, which is a 66% rate.

Who are some of the first rounders who have seen the most success at the Major League level?

  • Jon Matlack – Jon was the 4th overall pick in 1967 and went onto a 13 year MLB career with the Mets (1971-77) and the Texas Rangers (1978-83). He appeared in 361 games with a 125-126 record and an ERA of 3.18 and 3 saves in 2,363 MLB innings. He pitched 200+ innings 7 times, including a career high 270 innings in 1978 where he had a record of 15-13 and an ERA of 2.27. He led the National League in shutouts in 1974 (7) and 1976 (6) while with the Mets. He was the 1972 Rookie of the Year when he went 15-10 with an ERA of 2.32 in 244 innings. He was also a 3 time all star with the Mets (1974, 1975, 1976) as well as the MVP of the 1975 game.
  • Tim Foli – Tim was the 1st overall pick of the 1968 draft and spent 16 seasons (1970-85) with the Mets, Expos, Giants, Pirates, Angels, and Yankees including two stints with the Mets (1970-71, 1978-79). Tim was also part of trade that brought Rusty Staub to the Mets from the Expos on April 5, 1972. In 1,696 games, Tim hit .251 with 25 HR and 501 RBI with 1515 base hits.
  • Lee Mazzilli – Lee was the 14th overall pick of the 1973 draft and spent 14 seasons in the majors (1976-1989) with the Mets, Rangers, Yankees, Pirates and Blue Jays, including two stints with the Mets (1976-1981, 1986-1989). He was traded by the Mets to the Texas Rangers on April 1, 1982 for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell before returning to the Mets as a free agent for the stretch run of the 1986 team. He played in 1,475 games and was a career .259 hitter with 93 HR, 460 RBI, a .359 OBP and 1,068 base hits. His 162 stolen bases as a Met is 6th all time for the franchise. He is 14th in franchise history with 796 hits, 15th in doubles (148), and 10th in walks (438). Lee was an All-Star with the Mets in 1979.
  • Wally Backman – Wally was the 16th overall pick of the 1977 draft. The current AAA manager for the Las Vegas 52s played 14 seasons in the Majors (1980-93 with the Mets (1980-88), Twins, Pirates, Phillies, and Mariners. He appeared in 1,102 games in the majors, batting .275 with 10 HR, 240 RBI, 893 hits, 138 doubles and 117 stolen bases.
  • Hubie Brooks – Hubie was the 4th pick of the 1978 draft. He played 15 years in the majors (1980-94) with the Mets (1980-84, 1994), Expos, Dodgers, Angels, and Royals. He appeared in 1,645 games and hit .269 with 149 HR, 824 RBI, and 1,608 base hits. Hubie was traded to the Expos on December 10, 1984 along with Floyd Youmans, Mike Fitzgerald, and Herm Winningham for Gary Carter. Hubie was also drafted on 5 prior occasions (by the Expos, Royals, White Sox- twice, A’s) before signing with the Mets and was a two-time All-Star with the Expos (1986, 1987).
  • Tim Leary – Tim was the 2nd overall pick of the 1979 draft. Tim played 13 seasons in the majors (1981, 1983-94) with the Mets (1981, 1983-84), Brewers, Dodgers, Reds, Yankees, Mariners, and Rangers. Tim did not have much success with the Mets, appearing in only 23 games before being sent to the Brewers in a 4 team trade in 1985 that brought Frank Willis to the Mets. He pitched in 292 MLB games (224 starts) and had a career record of 78-105 with an ERA of 4.36 and 1 save. He pitched 1,491 1/3 innings and in 1990, he led the American League in losses (19) while a member of the Yankees. His best season was with the 1988 World Champion Dodgers where he went 17-11 with a 2.91 ERA in 228 2/3 innings.
  • Darryl Strawberry – Darryl was the 1st overall pick of the 1980 draft. He played 17 seasons in the majors (1983-1999) with the Mets (1983-90), Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees. He was the 1983 Rookie of the Year with the Mets, an 8 time All-Star (including 7 times with the Mets), won two Silver Sluggers (1988, 1990). In 1988, Darryl led the NL in Slugging (.545) as well as Home Runs (39). He played in 1,535 games in his career and hit .259 with 335 HR and 1,000 RBI to go with 1,401 hits, and 898 runs scored. He was a member of the 30 club in 1987 with the Mets (39 HR, 36 SB) and is among Mets franchise leaders in games played (8th – 1,109), hits (9th – 1,025), doubles (8th – 187), triples (6th – 30), home runs (1st – 252), RBI (2nd – 733), walks (2nd – 580), strikeouts (2nd – 960), stolen bases (4th – 191), OBP (11th – .359), and slugging (2nd – .520). Darryl was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1st, 2010.
  • Billy Beane – Billy was the 23rd overall pick in the 1980 draft and a compensation pick from the Pirates for Andy Hassler. While he did not see much success in 6 big league seasons as a player (1984-89) with the Mets (1984-85), Twins, Tigers and A’s where he hit just .219 in 148 games with 3 HR and 29 RBI, Billy has been the longtime General Manager of the A’s (1999-present) and was played by Brad Pitt in the 2011 film Moneyball, based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis.
  • John Gibbons – John was the 24th pick of the 1980 draft and was a compensation pick from the Red Sox for Skip Lockwood, the third of the Mets first round picks that year. John had a less than spectacular major league playing career, appearing in 18 MLB games as a player with the Mets (1984,1986) and was a career .220 hitter with 1 HR (off not-pop star Michael Jackson) and 2 RBI. John has spent two stints and the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays (2004-08, 2013-present) and has a career managerial record of 379-393.
  • Dwight Gooden – Doc was the 5th overall pick of the 1982 draft and Once Upon a Time looked like a sure lock for Cooperstown. Doc played 16 seasons in the majors (1984-94, 1996-2000) with the Mets (1984-94), Yankees, Indians, Astros, and Devil Rays. Dwight had a career record of 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA and 3 saves. He appeared in 430 games (410 starts) and threw 2,800 2/3 innings, including 7 seasons of 200+ innings and 2,293 strikeouts (48th all time in MLB history). He was the 1984 NL Rookie of the year when he went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA and a league leading 276 strikeouts in 218 innings. In 1985, Doc was the National League Cy Young Award winner when he went 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the pitching Triple Crown in 1985, leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (268) as well as threw a league leading 276 2/3 innings to go with a 0.97 WHIP. He was a 4 time All-Star with the Mets (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988). Dwight is among the Mets all time franchise leaders in wins (2nd – 157), ERA (6th – 3.10), games pitched (8th – 305), games started (3rd – 303), innings pitched (3rd – 2,169 2/3), strikeouts (2nd – 1,875), WHIP (6th – 1.17), and opponent batting average (8th – .235). Dwight Gooden was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on August 1st, 2010.
  • Calvin Schiraldi – Calvin was the 27th round pick in the 1983 draft and a supplemental pick for the loss of Pete Falcone. He pitched 8 seasons in the bigs (1984-91) with the Mets (1984-85), Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, and Rangers. He was part of the November 13, 1985 trade that brought Bob Ojeda to the Mets prior to the 1986 season. He appeared in 235 MLB games (47 starts) with a record of 32-39 and an ERA of 4.28 with 21 saves. In 553 1/3 innings, he struck out 471 batters. Calvin is best remembered as the losing pitcher for the Red Sox in both games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series.
  • Gregg Jefferies – Gregg was the 20th overall pick of the 1985 draft. He played 14 years in the bigs (1986-2000) with the Mets (1986-1991), Royals, Cardinals, Phillies, Angels, and Tigers. Gregg played in 1,465 MLB games and hit .289 with 126 HR, 663 RBI, 761 runs scored, 1,593 hits, 300 doubles, and 196 stolen bases. Gregg was a two-time All-Star with the Cardinals (1993, 1994), and led the National League in doubles (40) in 1990 while with the Mets. He was also a two-time Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (1986, 1987). In December 2011, Gregg was traded along with Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller for to the Royals for Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota.
  • Jeromy Burnitz – Jeremy was the 17th overall pick of the 1990 draft. He played 14 years in the majors (1993-2006) with the Mets (1993-94, 2002-03) and appeared in 1,694 games, batting .253 with 315 HR, 981 RBI, 917 runs scored, and 1,447 hits. Jeromy was an All-Star in 1999 with the Brewers.
  • Bobby Jones – Bobby was the 36th overall pick of the 1991 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Darryl Strawberry. Bobby played for 10 seasons in the majors (1993-2002) with the Mets (1993-2000) and Padres. In 245 games (241 starts) he had a record of 89-83 with an ERA of 4.16 in 1,518 2/3 innings. Bobby was an All-Star with the Mets in 1997. He also led the National League in losses in 2001 (19) while with the Padres.
  • Preston Wilson – Preston was the 9th overall pick of the 1992 draft and is the stepson and nephew of Mets Hall of Famer Mookie Wilson. Preston played 10 MLB seasons (1998-2007) with the Mets (1998), Marlins, Rockies, Nationals, Astros, and Cardinals. Preston was part of the 1998 trade that brought Mike Piazza to the Mets from the Marlins. He played in 1,108 MLB games and was a career .264 hitter with 189 HR, 668 RBI, and 1,055 base hits. In 2003, Preston was an All-Star with the Rockies as well as the NL RBI leader with 141. In 2000, he also led the NL in strikeouts (187).
  • Paul Wilson – Paul was the first overall pick of the 1994 draft. He played 7 seasons in the Majors (1996, 2000-05) with the Mets (1996), Devil Rays, and Reds. He pitched in 170 games (153 starts) and had a career record of 40-58 and an ERA of 4.86 in 941 2/3 innings.
  • Terrence Long – Terrance was the 20th overall pick in the 1994 draft and was a compensation pick from the Orioles for the loss of Sid Fernandez. Terrance played 8 seasons in the bigs (1999-2006) with the Mets (1999), A’s, Padres, Royals, and Yankees, playing in 890 games, batting .269 with 69 HR and 376 RBI. Terrance was part of the July 23, 1999 trade that brought Kenny Rogers from the A’s.
  • Jay Payton – Jay was the 29th overall pick in the 1994 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Sid Fernandez. Jay played 12 seasons in the Majors (1998-2008, 2010) and appeared in 1,259 games, batting .279 with 119 HR, 522 RBI, and 1,157 base hits. Terrance led the American League in games played (162) in 2001 and 2002.
  • Aaron Heilman – Aaron was the 18th overall pick in the 2001 draft. He played 9 seasons in the majors (2003-11) with the Mets (2003-08), Cubs, and Diamondbacks. He pitched in 477 games (25 starts) with a record of 35-46 and an ERA of 4.40 and 16 saves. He pitched 630 innings, striking out 548 with a WHIP of 1.36.
  • David Wright – David was the 38th overall pick in the 2001 draft and was a supplemental pick for the loss of Mike Hampton. David has played 10 seasons, all with the Mets (2004-present) and the Captain has appeared in 1,374 games with a career .301 batting average, 222 HR, 876 RBI, 853 runs scored, 1,558 hits (shameless plug – follow all of David’s hits on @DavidWrightHits), 345 doubles, 183 stolen bases, and a .382 OBP. David is a 7 time All-Star (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), a two-time Gold Glove winner (2007, 2008), and has won two Silver Sluggers (2007, 2008). David is among the Mets franchise leaders in games played (2nd – 1,374), runs (1st – 853), hits (1st – 1,558), doubles (1st – 345), triples (9th – 25), home runs (2nd – 222), RBI (1st – 876), walks (1st – 671), strikeouts (1st – 1,088), stolen bases (5th – 183), batting average (2nd – .301), OBP (4th – .382), and slugging (3rd – .506).
  • Scott Kazmir – Scott was the 15th pick in the 2002 draft. He never played for the Mets and was traded in July 2004 to the Devil Rays in the trade that brought the Mets Victor Zambrano. Scott has pitched 9 seasons in the majors (2004-11, 2013-present) with the Devil Rays/Rays, Angels, and Indians. Scott signed this offseason with the A’s for two years and $24 million. He has a career record of 76-70 with an ERA of 4.16. In 1,180 innings, he has struck out 1,155 with a WHIP of 1.40. He was a two time All-Star with Tampa (2006, 2008) and in 2007, he led the American League in strikeouts (239) and starts (34).
  • Lastings Milledge – Lastings was the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft. He played 6 MLB seasons (2006-11) with the Mets (2006-07), Nationals, Pirates and White Sox. He was traded to the Nationals in November 2007 for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. He appeared in 433 MLB games, batting .269 with 33 HR and 167 RBI with 404 hits. He is currently playing in Japan for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on a three-year, $4.4 million contract.
  • Philip Humber – Philip was the 3rd overall pick in the 2004 draft. He has played 8 MLB seasons (2006-present) with the Mets (2006-07), Twins, Royals, White Sox, and Astros. He was part of the January 2008 trade that brought Johan Santana to the Mets. He has appeared in 97 MLB games (51 starts) with a record of 16-23 and an ERA of 5.31 in 371 innings. On April 21, 2012 as a member of the White Sox, he pitched the 21st perfect game in MLB history against the Seattle Mariners. In November 2013, he signed a minor league contract with the A’s.
  • Mike Pelfrey – Mike was the 9th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He has played in 8 MLB seasons (2006-present) with the Mets (2006-12) and Twins. He has pitched in 182 games (178 starts) with a 55-67 record and an ERA of 4.48 with 1 save. He has pitched 1,049 innings and a WHIP of 1.47. On December 14, 2013, Mike agreed to a two year contract for $11 million to return to the Twins.
  • Ike Davis – Ike was the 18th pick in the 2008 draft. Ike has played 4 seasons (2010-present) all with the Mets. We know the current first base situation with the Mets. He has played in 442 games and is a career .242 hitter with 67 HR, 219 RBI and 360 hits.
  • Matt Harvey – Matt was the 7th pick in the 2010 draft. Matt was the starting pitcher for the National League in the 2013 All-Star game and while he’ll be missing the 2014 season, we’re excited to see what he does in 2015 and beyond. He has a career record of 12-10 and an ERA of 2.39 in 36 starts, 237 2/3 innings, 261 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.99.

Happy New Year MMO

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Yankees Clinch On A Walk-off Home Run By Ike Davis Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:11:14 +0000 Ike Davis

Marty Noble penned a new post for where he ponders a world where the Mets trade Ike Davis to the New York Yankees. It’s a terrifying world filled with ghastly apparitions of former Mets players turned Yankee pinstriped heroes, and ungodly visions of former Mets hurling no-hitters or launching game winning home runs in postseason play. Alright I’m exaggerating a little… Here’s what he writes:

In the first moments following Cashman’s words, my mind jumped far ahead and linked what I had heard, the Yankees’ possible need, with the Mets’ desire to unload a first baseman. Hmmm. I didn’t think logically — I recognize that now. I didn’t consider that the Mets probably wouldn’t consider dealing a player with the potential of Ike Davis to a team with a short right field and an area code identical to their own.

Moving Davis to the Bronx doesn’t have a fastball’s chance in Hades of happening, if only for that reason. But what if? What if the Yankees developed interest in Ike’s left-handed swing, and the Mets addressed their overpopulation at first base by sending Davis crosstown and he became the next Roger Maris? Or merely the next Kevin Maas.

How would the Mets deal with that? They weren’t too comfortable when their homegrowns, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, played for champion Yankees teams. Nor were they delighted when David Cone became a high-profile Yankees contributor. What in the name of Nolan Ryan would they do if they dealt Davis to the Yankees and he found the form he demonstrated in the second half of the 2012 season? What would they do if Ike bombarded the area inhabited by the Bleacher Creatures and points south and in fair territory?

Exactly… What would they do? I guess we’d do what we did all those other times… Cower in the corner and pout.

Read the entire article here.


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My Mock Interview With Sandy Alderson Thu, 05 Dec 2013 12:19:19 +0000 sandy aldersonRW: Hi Sandy. I want to thank you for taking time from your very busy schedule to speak with me.

SA: No problem. Glad to do it.

RW: Let’s get right to it, okay?

SA: You have fifteen minutes. How you use those fifteen minutes is entirely up to you.

RW: How’s the off season going so far?

SA: Fine. Its developing. We’re laying the groundwork.

RW: In June of this year, to a group of season ticket holders, you said, presumably to get them to re-up for 2014, the following: “I do believe that over the next six months or so we will be in position to make some significant acquisitions, whether it’s through free agency or trade. We’re certainly looking forward to that possibility.” It’s already December, which is six months later. In light of that, what exactly does it mean … you’re laying the groundwork?

SA: Suffice it is to say, we are actively trying to improve the club. You or anyone else wouldn’t understand the process, so lets not waste valuable time.

RW: Try me.

SA: Listen, would it do any good? Obviously you have your mind already made up. We’re not even out of December yet, for crying out loud, and already everyone is giving up and acting like spoiled little brats.

RW: Here’s the issue. You told us you had $30 million to spend this off season, and so far all we get is another Moneyball reclamation project, a rather expensive one at that, and a lot of excuses.

SA: Sometimes the medicine doesn’t taste good going down. I can’t help that.

RW: You were recently quoted as saying … “We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable.” By inevitable, do you mean endure another lousy season of baseball?

SA: We plan on being a competitive team in 2014.

RW: For the record, you said that in 2011, 2012, & 2013, too. Here’s a quote by you from a recent ESPN interview, “If the market is as robust as it seems to be, then we have to acknowledge that. It may not be manifest yet to the average fan, the average person, but I think we are more active than we were last year.”

SA: Yes, I said that. I think it speaks for itself. Am I on the stand?

RW: You’re the lawyer, tell me. You did nothing last year except waste $5 million on a pitcher who won one game, and a reliever who couldn’t get anybody out. So the bar couldn’t be any lower on ‘being more active than last year’. Is this more of the semantic shell game you seem to get such a diabolical kick out of?

SA: I’m not going to answer that nonsense.

RW: Would you be surprised if I told you that there is, in fact, a direct statistical correlation to the amount of money spent on payroll, and winning, or not winning, championships?

SA: Really? Fascinating. Can’t wait to hear this. Fire away.

RW: According to a February, 2013 Washington Times article entitled Does money really buy World Series titles?, teams in the top five of payroll have won the World Series eight times in the last 18 years, while twelve times teams ranked in the top 10 have been the winners of the World Series over the same 18 years. Seventeen of the last 18 World Series winners have had a payroll in the top 15. Of the losing teams in the World Series, six teams were ranked in the top five. Eleven of the last 18 losers have been ranked in the top 10 for player payroll. Fifteen of the losing teams were ranked in the top 15 in baseball. Only three teams ranked outside of the top 15 in player salary have managed to make it to the World Series, only to lose. To sum up, out of the 36 teams that played in the last 18 World Series, only one team won with a payroll lower than the top 15. If you add in the Red Sox World Series win in 2013, that’s 38 teams, 19 years, and only one team winning the World Series that did not have a payroll in the top 15.

SA: You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

RW: You’re the one that says the math never lies, and these metrics seem to indicate that Moneyball has become an extinct dinosaur, that its time and place have long passed, and that how much a team commits to payroll certainly has a huge statistical impact on the potential success of that team. The Mets payroll this year, which you now tell us will not be lower than $87 million, will put the Mets roughly at about 20th lowest in all of baseball, and certainly not in the top 15, based on last year’s payrolls. As you put so much stock into numbers, do you think you will somehow outsmart the statistical probability established over 19 seasons?

SA: Let me get this straight. You think merely by spending $100 million on payroll this year gives us a statistically better chance at getting to the World Series?

RW: Don’t take my word for it. The data is indisputable that the probability of success increases dramatically above a top 15 threshold, which right now would be approximately $100 million in payroll or higher.

SA: Besides, any fan who thinks the goal of the plan is to compete to win the World Series this year is, well, not paying attention.

RW: I get the feeling that you don’t have much respect for the average Mets fan. Why is that?

SA: (laughs) I love fans. They pay the bills. But they don’t run baseball teams. Not my baseball teams. None of this surprises me. The fact of the matter is, you can’t fully appreciate the subtle intricacies of my plan, and you never will.

RW: What I can appreciate, however, is you’re statistically one of the worst GM’s record-wise in baseball history.

SA: You know what, smart ass, I don’t listen to fans. If I listened to fans whine and cry it wouldn’t get us anywhere.

RW: You are entering year 4 of your regime with the Mets. Most GM’s get 5 years to figure it out, if that. Players from the last three drafts are already arriving into the majors, and yet no one is even close from the Mets. While you have some Mets fans believing that you have 5-7 future Hall of Fame pitchers in the minors, and all Mets fans need to do is wait for your grand plan to unfold, it is instructive to know that in the past 30 years, 97% of the pitchers the Mets have drafted have never pitched a game in the major leagues, and only one has been an All-star, and we all know his name. Here’s an excerpt from a recent SI article by Tom Verducci: Matt Harvey has won seven games in his young Mets career. This should tell you how bad New York has been at drafting and developing pitchers: Harvey already ranks 12th in wins for the Mets among the 766 pitchers they drafted in the past 30 years. Since the Mets hit on Dwight Gooden in 1982 … New York ranks with Kansas City and Baltimore among the teams that have been consistently lousy at drafting and developing starting pitchers over more than a quarter of a century. Verducci also went on to say that of the 766 pitchers drafted by the Mets since 1982, only one pitcher has made the All-Star team as a Met. So while I share the optimism towards the young pitching being developed in the Mets farm system, it also might be cautionary to point out that none of them are impervious to injuries, and that your grand plan is much too heavily reliant on yet another statistical anomaly.

SA: I missed the question.

RW: You’re smiling. Rather smugly.

SA: I have a plan to put this franchise on the right path. That’s all you really need to know.

RW: You were quoted this way when you took over the Mets: “Am I going to recommend that we sit here in New York City and function like the Oakland Athletics for the next 10 years? No I’m not. … I’m not asking you to believe me until you see some manifestation of that, which I hope is sooner rather than later.” Well, frankly, I’ve seen no manifestation of that yet, and, you’re right, I don’t believe you.

SA: You really are starting to get on my nerves.

RW: Here’s another quote of yours, from an ESPN interview. “No fan is probably ever going to be satisfied with what his or her team is spending on players. It’s kind of too bad that the measure of commitment, the measure of loyalty to the fan base, is measured in dollar signs. That be as it may, we’re going to spend more money this year than we’ve spent in recent years, just in terms of what we have to spend. You know, last year we only spent about $5 million on free agents. So this is going to be a new day. We have it to spend. We have to spend it wisely. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

SA: What’s the question?

RW: Those same fans will boycott Citi Field if the losing continues, unless something tangible isn’t done this off season to improve the team. Does that worry you at all?

SA: Boycott, is that what they are doing?

RW: Well, they’re certainly not coming to the stadium. Attendance is down each year you’ve been here, and it will go under 2 million this season. Sooner or later the house of cards will collapse.

SA: Typical fantasy league logic. Clock’s ticking.

RW: You also said this on ESPN. “Nobody can guarantee anything. I start with the premise that during the last 100 games of last season we were pretty good. We were .500. That’s not great, but it’s not real bad. It was a nice starting point. We haven’t really lost much from the group that went .500 the last 100 games. We get some players back. So the starting point isn’t as dire as some people like to imagine, I don’t believe.”

SA: Yes. I still feel that we didn’t play so bad last year. Part of my job is realistically managing expectations.

RW: “Success of big-market teams is not just money, but a successful farm system. We have a renewed effort in the draft.” When you said this, you must have known that most teams historically do very poorly in the draft. That’s one of the reasons why lousy teams stay lousy for so long even though they get top picks. It takes being actively involved in fee agency at the top levels, like the Yankees model, the extreme example, admittedly.

SA: I’ve let you make a number of statements that are ludicrous, but enough is enough. Don’t compare us to the Yankees. They spend and spend and spend like drunken sailors and where does it get them in the long run? They spent a billion dollars on one single World Championship. You’ve made my argument for me.

RW: 27 World Championships, with essentially the same philosophy for a hundred years – do whatever it takes to win. The promise from management that they will do anything, spend any sum of money, to win the next championship. 4 million attendance. A model of club building that seems to work quite well.

SA: Don’t be a wiseguy.

RW: Conceding that I don’t have any idea what I am talking about, you do realize that Matt Harvey will be missing from your ‘we didn’t do so bad last 100 game’ equation in 2014?

SA: Of course I do.

RW: You would also agree that’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle, and that he might have almost been single-handedly responsible for the Mets resurgence last year? How can you possibly make the statement that this is virtually the same team that went .500 for the last 100 games last season? Marlon Byrd is gone, John Buck is gone. Ike Davis might shortly be gone. The Mets might lose 90 games even if Chris Young hits 100 home runs, after which he gets signed by the Yankees in 2015.

SA: Wa, wa, wa. Pass the tissues. Harvey’s not here, and neither are the other two. We move on.

RW: Quid pro quo, have you been promised the commissioners job?

SA: Of course not.

RW: Are you saying you won’t be the commissioner when your buddy Selig retires?

SA: I didn’t say that; you did.

RW: If you googled the prospective free agents last year, you would have seen for yourself that the market was thin. Now you tell us the free agent market spooked you, whatever the hell that means.

SA: Whine like babies all you want, but Robinson Cano is not coming here.

RW: Did you bring your three sidekicks with you to the dinner with Cano’s agents?

SA: How is that relevant?

RW: Cano is a once in a lifetime free agent opportunity, going into his prime. The price of other lessor free agents might be inflated, but not Cano. There is nothing thin about Cano, and certainly everyone who can spell baseball knows he will get a very substantial contract. Most of the big spending teams seem to be out of it, the Yankees are playing chicken, and there appears to be a very real circumstantial opportunity to get him on the Mets. Do you, or do you not, have $30 million to spend on Cano?

SA: Not after Young.

RW: You can figure that out. Trade Davis and Duda, now you have $30 million back.

SA: You know, I can’t win either way with you people. Cano, really? Have you been paying attention? Have I ever signed a player like Cano?

RW: No, you haven’t, and that’s what really scares Mets fans. You seem intrinsically incapable of signing players that oppose your tired philosophy. Were you given a budget by the Wilpons? And did that budget include $30 million to sign free agents?

SA: See, this is what I’m talking about. I said we “need to get better, and not incrementally”, and I stand by that.

RW: We apparently also disagree on what incrementally means. For instance, your drafts in the past three years are mediocre at best, according to all the polls.

SA: Better than what I inherited. I certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about polls.

RW: Harvey was down there, in that barren farm system that Minaya turned over to you. Harvey may go down as one of the greatest draft picks ever in the history of baseball. Hardly barren, as you like to spin it. Any team you put together will have him as the anchor for a decade. Not for nothing, it took him only 3 years to get to the majors. I guarantee you that Harvey, unlike Wright, escapes from this madhouse first opportunity he gets if things don’t change. He’ll be pitching for the Yankees.

SA: You keep forgetting about Wheeler and Syndergaard.

RW: Excellent trades but, in truth, the jewels of other farm systems. You didn’t draft either player, and both were recognized as top tier minor leagues before you traded for them, nor have either of them had success yet in the majors.

SA: Is that a lefthanded compliment?

RW: Nobody wants you to succeed more than Mets fans do, because if you don’t succeed, we have to watch another lousy team for 162 games next year.

SA: Signing Cano would be reckless.

RW: Why did you have dinner with him, then, in the first place?

SA: Who?

RW: Cano.

SA: They asked. And Cano wasn’t there. Do your homework.

RW: Was it a dog and pony show, and nothing more? Perhaps for all parties, for different reasons?

SA: Draw your own conclusions. But you are sounding just a tad paranoid.

RW: Otherwise it might appear to the average fan that your only intention was to artificially pump up the Mets fan base, and for them to artificially pump up the market for their guy.

SA: Asked and answered.

RW: Not really. Asked and deflected. Trying to get Mets fans excited about the possibilities of having Robinson Cano hitting behind Wright for the next 6 years so you can sell more tickets when you had absolutely no intention of ever signing him could be considered a kind of fraud. Its certainly manipulative and dishonest. You have said many times before that the Wilpon’s finances have nothing to do with how you run the team. Are they broke?

SA: Let me put it this way. How insolvent could they be if they’re easily getting financing for the $3 billion Willet Point project surrounding Citi Field?

RW: Then its just you and your antiquated, intractable Moneyball philosophy that’s running this team into the ground? Is that what you’re telling me?

SA: My advice to you — get a life. This interview is over.

RW: When it doesn’t work, and you leave the Mets in an organizational shambles as you did San Diego, who still hasn’t recovered from the damage you did to them, will you do so to become the commissioner of baseball? Sandy?


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Stay Patient and Continue To Trust Sandy Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:37:25 +0000 sandy alderson

To my dearest fellow Mets fans.

I have been a Mets fan my entire life. I have bled blue and orange for that team in Queens since the day I was born. I am not what one would call a “fair weather fan”, I have stayed to the very last out of 14-2 butt whoopings on the road because I believe in my team (or I’m delusional, which ever suits the situation). I do not expect many other fans to have my same patience. But I encourage you to please bear this pain with me brothers and sisters. Let me lead you to salvation, and what I think “the plan” really means.

As it stands, our 2014 opening day line up is not much better (if at all) than or 2013 roster was at the end of the year. Many fans hoped this offseason would be a spending spree to bring in new talent and push us into a deep playoff run. This, however, is not what Sandy was hired to do. He was hired to rebuild the franchise from the ground up.

That means starting at the farm and creating a system with no gaps in it. One with such an embarrassment of riches you can deal prospects like Rafael Montero and Kevin Plawecki to fill one MLB level hole (outfield, SS) without having to worry about ridding yourself of potential greatness. The fear now is dealing these near MLB ready players, and finding out in three years we could have had the second coming of Dwight Gooden or another Mike Piazza, but instead traded them for a slightly above average corner outfielder we control for only a few seasons instead of having two cornerstones to build around for six years.

There is really not much in the Free Agent Market worth paying the asking price for, and the only ones that are worth that price are clearly out of our price range.

I ask that you wait to exercise your hatred and belligerence. I beg of you, continue to trust in Sandy as I do. You cannot expect things to be great over night, even if it’s promised to you, Marlins fans and Blue Jays fans each found that out the last two years. The Red Sox, Pirates, Indians, and Athletics are the exception, not the rule. You must always prepare yourself to be the rule, that is why rules exist.

This team is close to completing what I think “the plan” is, but if you still think the answers will come from free agency, I ask, who would you sign next offseason. The only players that strike me as a potentially worth while investment in that group are Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, and Brett Gardner. Cabrera strikes me as a 4-5 year deal between $42-54M. Hardy, perhaps 3-4 years for $45-55M, and Gardner will likely pull down somewhere around 5/$75M assuming he has a career avg season this year. Everyone else is scrap heap.

The main lesson here my friends is simply this. Superstars don’t hit free agency anymore, they get developed or traded for. You can’t trade a team nothingness from a garbage farm system if your system is broken and in disrepair like we were just a few short years ago. Now were are easily in the top 10, and arguably in the top 5. Should we continue to draft well, we will have a chip that every team wants. When 29 teams want what you have, you’re the one in control of what the return on your minor leaguers are, not them.

So please, mets fans, have patience. I know it is hard to hear asked of you over and over, but I believe in our franchise, and I believe in our team. From one active duty Marine to a Retired one, I believe in you Sandy. Semper Fidelis. They might just surprise you, Mets fans, if you let them.

* * * * * * * *

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

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The 10 Best Mets Pitching Staffs Since 1980 Tue, 26 Nov 2013 17:07:40 +0000 david cone

You have to score runs in order to win games, but you also need to pitch. Which Mets teams since 1980 have been the best at run prevention? Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Runs Allowed Per Game

  1. 1988   532 runs   3.32
  2. 1985   568 runs   3.51
  3. 1986   578 runs   3.57
  4. 1989   585 runs   3.61
  5. 1990   613 runs   3.78
  6. 1998   645 runs   3.98
  7. 1991   646 runs   4.01
  8. 2005   648 runs   4.00
  9. 2010   653 runs   4.03
  10. 1992   653 runs   4.03

Hmm… there was certainly a trend here. Over the eight year span from 1985-1992, the Mets had 7 of their best 10 staffs since 1980. The only year they missed the list was 1987. Even the 1991-1992 squads (which were among some of the worst Mets offensive teams of the last 34 years) had solid pitching.

While the Mets had some really good relievers during these years, a team is going to live or die by its starting rotation. What did the Mets rotations look like these years? The top 5 starters (in terms of games started) for these squads were as follows – we’ll progress by year from 1985-1992 (skipping 1987) so we can see the progression:

1985 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Ed Lynch, Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera

1986 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera

1988 – Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone, Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez

1989 – David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Dwight Gooden

1990 – Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling

1991 – David Cone, Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, Wally Whitehurst, Ron Darling

1992 – Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Pete Schourek, Bret Saberhagen

Some pretty good names, huh? There was also a lot of continuity as well. Dwight Gooden was in all 7 of these top 10 rotations. Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez were on 6. David Cone was on 5. Bob Ojeda was on 4. Those were 5 pretty good names. Former Cy Young award winners Frank Viola and Bret Saberhagen (although Bret’s best years were behind him by the time he became a Met) were there, too. No wonder this stretch saw a lot of really good Mets pitching. Unfortunately, we only saw two playoff appearances and one championship during this time.

So what about those other three starting rotations during those top 10 seasons?

1998 – Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, Al Leiter, Masato Yoshii, Hideo Nomo

2005 – Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, Victor Zambrano, Kazuhisa Ishii

2010 – Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, Hisanori Takahashi

On Deck: The 10 Worst Mets Pitching Staffs Since 1980

Presented By Diehards

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Doc Gooden Was Great After He Stopped Being Great Sat, 16 Nov 2013 18:46:48 +0000 Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Photo by Ray Stubblebine/AP

Baseball historians will say that Dwight Gooden‘s first three seasons in the major leagues were some of the best by a young pitcher in the game’s history.  Gooden took the mound 99 times from 1984 to 1986, going 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 complete games, 13 shutouts and 744 strikeouts – reaching 200 or more strikeouts in each season.

But after off-the-field problems came to light prior to the 1987 campaign, Gooden went from being Dr. K to being Dr. Just OK.  Or did he?

From 1987 to 1991, Doc’s numbers were clearly not the same as they were during his first three seasons.  But they were still pretty darn good.  In his fourth through eighth seasons with the Mets, Gooden went 74-34 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, striking out 797 batters, completing 22 games and tossing eight shutouts.  He also finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting twice.  (Gooden was fifth in the Cy Young balloting in 1987 and fourth in 1990.)  He accomplished all of this from 1987 to 1991 despite making fewer than 28 starts in three of the five seasons.

Perhaps his greatest and most underappreciated accomplishment occurred in 1991.  After seven consecutive seasons of winning 87 or more games, the Mets finished under .500 in ’91.  But Gooden still managed to finish with a 13-7 record, 3.60 ERA and 150 strikeouts in only 27 starts.  In 15 of those 27 starts, Gooden allowed two earned runs or fewer, but received losses or no-decisions in six of the games, mainly because he was surrounded by a putrid offense.

Keith Miller (.280) and Gregg Jefferies (.272) were the only players with 300 or more plate appearances to finish the year with a batting average north of .260.  Howard Johnson (38 HR, 117 RBI, 108 runs) was the sole Met with more than 16 homers, 74 RBI or 65 runs scored.  Gooden basically had to help himself when he was in the game, as he batted .238 with three doubles, a homer, six RBI and seven runs scored in only 63 at-bats.  His .333 slugging percentage was higher than the marks posted by Mark Carreon (.331 in 254 AB), Vince Coleman (.327 in 278 AB) and Garry Templeton (.306 in 219 AB).

In the five seasons immediately following the 1986 World Series championship campaign, when Gooden supposedly went from being a great pitcher to just being a very good pitcher, the right-hander’s winning percentage was .685 in 137 starts.  That was the highest winning percentage for all pitchers who made 100 or more starts from 1987 to 1991.  The rest of the top five included Dave Stieb (68-34, .667), Roger Clemens (94-48, .662), Bob Welch (88-42, .662) and Dave Stewart (95-56, .629) – pitchers who combined to win 909 games over their long and successful major league careers.

Despite his dropoff in strikeouts following the 1986 season, Gooden’s 797 Ks from 1987 to 1991 was surpassed by just one pitcher in the National League – his teammate, David Cone.  Cone struck out 945 batters over the five-year stretch.  Gooden’s 74 wins was also second in the NL to Doug Drabek, who won 77 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates from ’87 to ’91.

One other thing that Gooden was great at from 1987 to 1991 was something that never showed up in the boxscore.  During those five years, Gooden was outstanding at helping the Mets win games immediately following a loss, thereby preventing the Mets from suffering through extended losing streaks.  Doc started 65 games following a Mets loss from 1987 to 1991.  The Mets were 41-24 in those games.

Photo by Ed Leyro

Today is Dwight Gooden’s 49th birthday.  It’s been nearly three decades since he rocketed onto the major league scene with his blazing fastball and devastating curveball as a rookie in 1984.  It’s also been almost two decades since he threw his final pitch as a member of the New York Mets.

From the ages of 19 to 21, Gooden was arguably the best pitcher in the game.  Then, as his off-the-field habits started to come to light, he failed to approach his otherworldly numbers from 1984 to 1986.  But that didn’t mean he stopped being a great pitcher.  In fact, no one in baseball gave his team a better chance to win from 1987 to 1991 than Gooden, and only a handful of pitchers sent as many opposing batters back to the bench without putting the ball in play than Doc did.

Just because he wasn’t leading the league in strikeouts and threatening to throw a no-hitter in every start didn’t mean he wasn’t the Doctor anymore.  In fact, he continued to operate with surgical precision for quite some time after the 1986 campaign.

Doc Gooden never stopped being great on the mound.  It’s a shame that some people thought his greatness just wasn’t good enough.

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The Magic Is Back… Again… Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:00:57 +0000 Darryl Strawberry (L) with Mets General Manager Frank Cashen.

The Magic is Back! That was the Mets promotional slogan in the spring of 1980 after Nelson Doubleday Jr. and Fred Wilpon had purchased New York’s National League franchise. From a business standpoint, the new Met owners bought in at a perfect time. The Mets were in shambles, last place finishers in three consecutive seasons prior to the purchase.

Acting on the advice of several baseball people from outside the organization, the first decision the new owners made was to hire Frank Cashen as their team’s new GM. When the Mets came calling, Cashen, who had earned wide acclaim overseeing baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles from the late 60’s through the mid 1970’s, was working for baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn as the administrator of Major League Baseball operations.

Billboards all over NYC proclaimed the ‘Magic Was Back’ off the field, but, as the chart below proves, there was little on-the field magic on the field during Cashen’s first few seasons heading the Mets.


No, for Met fans the early Cashen years brought little baseball magic to Shea. Expecting bold moves to improve the baseball product, Met fans were left scratching their heads when Cashen originally sidestepped the trade route in starting his Met rebuild. In June, June of 1980, Cashen made his first noteworthy move, a risky move at that, projecting help sometime down the road by signing a raw and talented high school prodigy named Darryl Strawberry. During the same off-season, Cashen signed Doug Sisk and Kevin Mitchell as amateur free agents.

The cautious bow-tied GM, spent much of his early effort working to retool the Met minor league player development system. His evaluation of where the Mets where and where he hoped to take them, crawled into the 1981 season where his only substantial moves came from within, the elevation of Hubie Brooks and Mookie Wilson to the big team in Flushing.

george foster

Cashen quietly continued to utilize the draft as a major tool in plotting improvement signing Lenny Dykstra in the 13th round of the 1981 draft. 1981 was the first time Cashen put his big toe in the player trading market bringing in fan-favorite Dave Kingman for a second round with the team as a slugging bat in the line-up.

It was in 1982 when Cashen made two moves that created a collective stir in Metsland. With one bold strike, a move than never panned out quite like Met fans hoped, but an important symbolic maneuver that signaled to the fan base the Mets were serious about their rebuilding efforts, Cashen traded for and signed Cincinnati Red slugger George Foster to play for the Mets.

After buoying the hopes of Met fans, Cashen became the target of ire two weeks later when he shipped Met fan favorite Lee Mazzilli our of town for two pitchers, Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. Darling would later become a mainstay of the Met staff, an All-Star and critical piece in their World Series Championship run. Terrell won 20 games and lost 21
in his last two seasons as a Met and was an innings eater who pitched 215 innings in their turnaround season in 84. More importantly, Cashen traded Terrell for Howard Johnson in the off-season following the 1984 campaign.

With his eye always focused on young talent, Cashen continued to scour the baseball landscape looking for talent through the draft. In June of 1982 he signed future ace pitcher Dwight Gooden as a first round pick and Roger McDowell in the third round.

Sid Fernandez  winds back to pitchCashen continued his reconstruction project in 1983 signing Rick Aguilera in the third round of the draft. Even though the Mets failed to top a .420 winning percentage for the seventh consecutive year, Cashen’s trades for Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals and Sid Fernandez from the Dodgers added the fine china to the table Cashen had meticulously been setting in his early years as GM for the Mets.

Once the Mets turned their win/loss record upside down in 1984, fans flocked back to Shea, and Cashen’s GM decisions shifted. The Met GM was no longer table setting for future success but cherry picking and looking for main course dinner entrees to take the Mets over the top. Enter Gary Carter.

With the 2014 season coming to a close, a new season starts, the annual Sandy Alderson flash mob slam. Yes, the patience of many Met fans is wearing thin and Alderson stands front and center as the target of their ire.

I for one have not lost hope that positive change is underway. I can’t help but recognize the parallels between the early work of Alderson and his front office team and that of Cashen during the beginning of his stay as the Met G.M. The work overhauling the minor leagues, the emphasis on the draft, the retooling of the young pitching staff, the willingness to trade popular current pieces for projected future success are all Alderson moves utilized by Cashen long ago.

As I see it, the jury is still out on Sandy’s Met rebuild, and this off-season is critical. When the groundwork was laid in the early 80’s, Cashen stepped out of his comfort zone and used free agency and trades to procure the main ingredients for a championship dish. Sandy Alderson has failed to do that as of yet. If and how he does will be the difference maker that determines Alderson’s legacy as a GM of the Mets.

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Featured Post: Dillon Gee Has Pitched His Way Into An Exclusive Club Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:09:11 +0000 dillon gee

Prior to his start on May 30 against the Yankees, Dillon Gee was on the verge of losing his place in the starting rotation.  The Texas native was 2-6 with a 6.34 ERA and was hearing Zack Wheeler‘s footsteps as the über-prospect was just weeks away from being called up for his first taste of big league action.

But everything changed for Gee with that late-May start at Yankee Stadium.  Gee pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run on four hits.  He also set a career high by striking out 12 batters without issuing a walk.

After allowing four runs or more in six of his first ten starts, Gee has allowed two runs or less in 14 of his last 21 starts.  His 2-6 record is now just a bad memory, as Gee is leading the team with 12 victories.  Since Matt Harvey‘s season ended with nine wins and no other pitcher on the Mets has more than seven, it’s safe to assume that Gee will remain the team leader in pitching victories.  Therefore, the 2013 campaign will mark the second time in three seasons that Gee has led the team in wins, after finishing first on the Mets with 13 victories in 2011.

In doing so, Gee will become only the 14th pitcher in team history to lead the team or finish tied for the team lead in pitching victories multiple times.  The chart below lists the 14 pitchers who have accomplished this feat.


# of Times as Wins Leader

Years as Team Wins Leader


1967, 1969-73, 1975




1984-85, 1987, 1993


2001, 2003-04, 2006




1968, 1974, 1976


1988-89, 1991






1979, 1982


1989, 1992


1995, 1997




2011, 2013

With 33 major league victories under his belt, Dillon Gee has the second-fewest wins of the 14 pitchers who led the team in wins in at least two seasons.  (Nino Espinosa had 25 wins as a Met.)  But there are 30 pitchers in Mets history with more wins than Gee and most of them never led the team in wins more than once.  In fact, two of the top ten winners in franchise history never became two-time team leaders in wins.

Ron Darling had 99 wins as a Met – 4th all-time – but only led the team in wins once.  And when he did so (1989), he shared the team lead with David Cone and Sid Fernandez.  Similarly, Jon Matlack recorded 82 victories for the Mets – 7th all-time – but never led the team in wins.  (He can thank Seaver and Koosman for that.)

Tom SeaverJerry KoosmanDwight Gooden.  Sid Fernandez.  David Cone.  Johan Santana.  Those are some of the best pitchers who have ever taken the mound for the Mets over their 50-plus years of existence.  In addition to being six of the finest pitchers to wear the orange and blue, they also have another thing in common.  All six have led or tied for the team lead in wins multiple times.  Their exclusive club now has a new member, and his name is Dillon Gee.

Dillon Gee has come a long way to become a top starter for the Mets.  He was overlooked in the first twenty rounds of the 2007 amateur draft before the Mets selected him in Round 21.  After pitching well in the lower levels of the minor leagues, Gee had an ERA near 5.00 at AAA-Buffalo.  But he never gave up hope.  And now he’s accomplished something that Seaver, Koosman, Gooden, Fernandez, Cone, Santana and a small group of others have done.  Not bad for a pitcher who almost lost his spot in the rotation just four months ago.

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Buck Will Catch Harvey In His All Star Showdown With Scherzer Sat, 24 Aug 2013 13:02:21 +0000 harvey scherzer asg

It’s not exactly the fight of the century or even the Thrilla In Manilla, but when the Mets’ Matt Harvey and the Tigers’ Max Scherzer oppose each other on Saturday at Citi Field, it will mark the first time in MLB history that both All-Star Game starters have faced off at any point during the same regular season.

According to the Wall Street Journal, All-Star starters have only matched up twice before, both in the World Series: Paul Derringer (Reds) versus Red Ruffing (Yankees) in Game 1 in 1939, and Roger Clemens (Red Sox) versus Dwight Gooden (Mets) in Game 2 in 1986.

Whether by design or just mere coincidence, the Mets’ decision to have Harvey pitch on an extra day of rest made what should be an entertaining pitching showdown all possible.

Unlike Harvey’s last start when Travis d’Arnaud caught him against the Padres, Terry Collins said he plans to have John Buck catch his ace today at 4:05 PM.

“They’ve been together for 25 or 26 starts,” Collins said last night. “They’re pretty comfortable. And Travis will have 15 years to make up that ground.”

It’s amazing how evenly these two match up…

Scherzer is 18-1 with a 2.82 ERA and a league leading 0.89 WHIP this season. In 172.1 innings pitched, he’s allowed just 117 hits, 38 walks while striking out 185 batters.

Harvey is 9-4 with a 2.25 ERA and an identical 0.89 WHIP for the Mets, and in 171.2 innings pitched he’s allowed 122 hits, walked 31 and struck out 187 batters.

This oughta be one heck of a pitcher’s duel, so get your popcorn ready and enjoy the show.

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