Mets Merized Online » homeruns Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:23:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dave Kingman: Flushing’s Sultan of Swat Wed, 21 Dec 2016 17:17:47 +0000

Happy Birthday to Dave Kingman who turns 68 today.

Dave Kingman was one of the most fascinating players in Mets’ history. Because he played in one of the Mets’ major down periods – the mid ‘70’s to early ‘80’s, you  don’t hear his name mentioned much in Mets’ retrospectives, but for a while, he was clearly the Mets’ biggest star and one of their very few drawing cards, at least at home. If remembered at all, it’s as a low-average power hitter, but Kingman deserves to be remembered for so much more.

Kingman was an outstanding pitcher in High School up through his sophomore year at USC, but coach Rod Dedaux thought he could help the team more as a regular player. Kingman reportedly wanted to stay a pitcher and it seemed at times throughout his career he was angry about something. That might have been it.

Kingman was  drafted by the Giants out of USC and rose to the big leagues quickly, mostly because of his prodigious power. At 6’6 with a long sweeping swing,  Kingman certainly looked the part. His long legs also gave him above average speed on the bases, but his defense was mediocre at best.

Dave always seemed to give the impression that fielding was a part of the game he wasn’t very interested in.  It was ironic that Kingman who was made for the role of designated hitter spent the first 10 years of his major league career in the National League where he was forced to play the field.

Dave Kingman (27)

Since the Giants always seemed well stocked in the outfield and at first base, Kingman’s last shot at staying with the team as a regular was at third base, but found wanting there, he was sold to the Mets before the 1975 season.

For a cash deal, this proved to be a great pickup for the Mets as “Kong” (a nickname he hated) went on to set a club record for homeruns with 36 in 1975 and broke it the following year.

Although it’s hard to say he was one of  the Mets’ most popular players since reporters characterized him as surly and uncooperative, he was certainly one of the few players  Mets’ fans came out to see on an otherwise dull and uncompetitive team.

Kingman hit some of the longest home runs in history while a Met, but like the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver,  Kingman  let it be known that he considered himself underpaid and dissatisfied with the direction of the team and that led to a ticket out of town, being traded to San Diego on June 15, 1977, the same day  Seaver  was traded to the Reds.

Kingman brought back the underwhelming package of mediocre pitcher Paul Siebert and future Mets’ manager, then fading utility player, Bobby Valentine. Toward  the end of the 1977 season, San Diego let him go and Kingman appeared for both the Angels and Yankees, helping the Yankees win the division.

Following the season, he signed a free agent deal with the Cubs, but eventually wound up back with the Mets during the early years of the Wilpon/Cashen regime in a trade for Steve Henderson. Although Kingman continued to hit some long home runs, once the Mets dealt for Keith Hernandez and seriously began to build a winner , Kingman’s value to the team declined and he was released at the end of the season.

Today, Kingman is remembered more for his sour disposition than his long homeruns, although as a Met he was relatively well-behaved. It was as a Cub that Kingman dumped ice water on a reporter’s head, and as an Oakland A, following his second stint with the Mets that he sent a female reporter a live rat.

Despite hitting over 400 homeruns, no one (least of all, reporters who vote) considered Kingman a candidate for the Hall of Fame. But Mets fans like me will never forget the anticipation every time Kingman came to the plate, unmatched in Mets’ history.

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Mets Really Need Granderson To Step Up Mon, 15 Aug 2016 11:00:52 +0000 curtis granderson

After a solid 2015 season, Curtis Granderson has struggled to produce this year for the Mets. Through 465 plate appearances, Granderson is batting .226/.318/.423 with 18 homeruns and he has a .741 OPS.

While his 97 OPS + is around the league average, his struggles are far more pronounced when taking a closer look. With runners in scoring position, Granderson is batting .130 has a .402 OPS.

Furthermore, his woeful .208 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position is the worst in all of baseball. This failure to come through in the clutch is why he has only has 31 RBI despite hitting 18 homeruns even with him batting mostly first or second.

Consider this, in 2014 and 2015, Granderson was getting an RBI per 8.5 and 8.3 at-bats respectively. This season, his AB/RBI is at 13.1, the second worst mark in his career.  He’s also walking less, seeing his walk rate dip from 13.3 to 10.1.

While all these numbers are concerning, they are also uncharacteristic for Granderson, so maybe there’s hope he can reverse most of these trends.

Last year, Granderson was perhaps the team’s unsung hero as he blasted ten homeruns and had a .886 OPS down the stretch in August and September. He then followed that up with three homeruns, 12 RBI and .866 OPS in 64 plate appearances in the postseason.

That’s the Curtis Granderson the Mets need right now, but so far he’s not yet showing any signs of breaking out.  He’s batting .186/.252/.309 in 102 plate appearances in the second half, and hitting just .163 in the month of August.

If this slump continues, he’s in danger of losing playing time, especially when  Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list next weekend.

Perhaps at the age of 35, Granderson’s skills have declined. But it was just one season ago when he led the Mets with a 5.1 bWAR, and given his strong track record of success I’m not ready to write him off.

With the Mets offense still looking to find some consistency, they need Granderson to come through and play at the same performance level we are accustomed to seeing. Granderson has shown throughout his career that he is capable of being a major difference maker, and that’s exactly what the Mets can use right now.

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The Mets Need To Hit “More” Homeruns Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:09:33 +0000 juan lagares

Let’s start with the obvious.  In each and every at-bat, the optimal result is the homerun.  One through nine, you want each and every one of your batters to hit a homerun each and every time at the plate.  That’s not always going to happen.  As a result, you are going to have to build runs through base hits, walks, and effective at-bats with runners in scoring position.  The best offensive teams are able to score runs and win games even when they are not hitting homeruns.  Accordingly, the Mets are not a good offensive team as they are overly reliant upon hitting homeruns.

No matter how you slice or dice it, the Mets offense is entirely dependent on hitting a homerun.  Here is the breakdown:

HR/Game Games Record Runs/Game
0 20 5-15 2.1
1 19 11-8 3.3
2 12 8-4 4.7
3+ 11 10-1 6.3

In essence, if the Mets don’t hit any homeruns, they are not scoring runs, and they are not winning games.  Why?

First and foremost, the Mets just don’t get on base that frequently enough to score runs without hitting home runs.  The Mets team batting average is .233 which ranks 27th in the majors.  The team OBP is .309 which ranks 23rd in the majors.  In order to score runs by something other than a long ball, you need to get people on base. In that respect, the Mets are one of the worst teams in the game right now.

The Mets’ next problem is that even when there are runners on base, they do nothing with the baserunners.  The Mets are the worst team in baseball with a .226 batting average with runners on base.  Their .303 OBP with runners on base is 28th.  When you look at stats like this, the answer most people advocate is the Mets should start playing some good old fashioned small ball.  The problem with that is the Mets are really bad at playing small ball.

neil walker

The Mets rank 24th in the majors in productive outs.  A productive out is an out that advances a baserunner, like when a pitcher lays down a successful sacrifice bunt with one out, or when an out scores a runner.  The Mets have had 613 such opportunities this season, and they have been successful only 29.4% of the time.  A large part of that is, as a team, the Mets have struck out 563 times this year which is the fifth most in the majors.  With the Mets being ineffective in getting people on base, they cannot afford to be this ineffective in moving runners over when they make those outs.

When baserunners take matters into their own hands, the results are just as poor.  This Mets team has not been blessed with much speed, and as a result, the Mets do not try to steal many bases.  In fact, the Mets rank second to last in stolen base attempts (22) and stolen bases (13).  When the Mets do attempt stolen bases, they are successful only 59.09% of the time.  Now, it has been espoused in order for stealing bases to be an effective tactic, the baserunner needs to be safe 75% of the time although 80% is where you want to be ideally.  Therefore, in those rare instances when Mets baserunners try to steal a base, they are hurting the team with a poor percentage play.

The Mets not only have trouble getting runners on base and into scoring position, but they also have problems getting those runners home.  The Mets rank DEAD LAST in the majors with a .214 batting average with runners in scoring position.  The Mets 129 RBI with runners in scoring position is tied for last place with the Philadelphia Phillies.  It’s even worse with two outs.  With runners in scoring position and two outs, the Mets are again DEAD LAST in team batting average (.163) and RBI (43).

Finally, the Mets are last in the majors with nine sac flys.  In fact, when the Mets have a runner on third with less than two outs, the baserunner only scores 42% of the time.  Again, that’s last in the majors.  Overall, when the Mets get a baserunner, that baserunner only scores a league worst 23% of the time.  The end result is the Mets having one of the worst offenses in all of baseball.

Simply put, the Mets are not scoring runs unless they hit a homerun.  When they don’t hit homeruns, they don’t win many games.  There have been many discussions about whether the Mets hit too many homeruns.  As it turns out, the answer is they don’t hit enough of them.

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Neil Walker Is Pulling A Bernard Gilkey Tue, 07 Jun 2016 13:08:26 +0000 Bernard Gilkey

For the past year, we have seen the magic that can happen when a player plays for the team he rooted for throughout his entire life.  Steven Matz is an astounding 11-1 as a Met.  Not only has he become a beloved Met, but his grandfather has become a beloved figure as well.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

However, what happens after that?  What happens when the team you love decides they are better off without you?

Twenty years ago, that was what happened to Bernard Gilkey.  Gilkey was born and raised in St. Louis.  In 1984, Gilkey was signed as amateur free agent.  Six years later, Gilkey made his major league debut for his hometown team.  In six years, Gilkey played very well for the Cardinals.  He hit .284/.354/.431.  In his four seasons as a starter, he had a 117 OPS+.  Then, after the 1995 season, the Cardinals decided they could do better than him as they had Ron Gant, Ray Lankford, and Brian Jordan.  This facilitated a trade to the Mets.

Gilkey responded by going 2-for-4 with a homerun and two RBI on opening day against those same St. Louis Cardinals.  It was the first step in what turned out to be a career year for Gilkey.  Gilkey hit .317/.393/.562 with 30 homers and 117 RBI.

He set a still standing Mets record of 44 doubles.  He had a 155 OPS+.  It stands out as the greatest season a Mets left fielder has ever had and it’s also among the Top 10 seasons ever for a Mets position Player, maybe even Top 5.. Gilkey responded to the heartbreak of leaving his hometown team, the team that drafted him with a career year.

neil walker hr

This year Neil Walker finds himself in the same situation that Gilkey did twenty years ago.  And he is responding in a very similar fashion with aplomb.

Moreso than Gilkey was to St. Louis, Walker was to Pittsburgh as far as their emotional and personal connections.  Neil’s father was even good friends with legendary Pittsburgh icon and baseball hero Roberto Clemente.

Neil Walker walks this earth because Clemente urged his father not to get on that plane that fateful night.  Walker was born in Pittsburgh, and he grew up in their suburbs.  He was the Pirates first round pick in 2004, and he made his debut with the team in 2009.

Walker was an important part of the make-over of the Pirates from a team that had a record 20 consecutive losing seasons to a team that had made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.  Despite all of this, the Pirates decided Walker was too expensive, and they traded him to the Mets.

Like Gilkey, Walker is responding with a career. year.  Walker has already hit 13 home runs this season.  That’s a 38 homerun pace, which would shatter his career high of 23.  He is hitting .279/.348/.505.  The OBP stands to be his second highest ever, and his slugging percentage would be a new career high.  His 131 OPS+ would also be a career high.  Perhaps more important than any of this is the fact that Walker is now a true switch hitter.

Before coming to the Mets, Walker only hit .261/.306/.338 with only six homeruns against lefties.  This year, he’s hitting .341/.396/.727 with five home runs.  He’s nearly doubled his career home run total.  He’s gone from being meek against lefties to being a force in the lineup against lefties.

Like Gilkey before him, being traded from your hometown team and coming to the Mets has been the best thing ever to happen for Walker as a player, and the timing couldn’t be better as he gets set to test free agency after this season.

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La Potencia: Cespedes Plays 100th Game As A Met Fri, 27 May 2016 20:56:10 +0000 neil walker yoenis cespedes

Tonight Yoenis Cespedes Plays His 100th Game In Mets Uniform

During the 2013 Home Run Derby, Mets fans got a chance to see Yoenis Cespedes‘ awe inspiring power. During Cespedes’ display of his potencia, he would hit 23 homers to beat Bryce Harper for the title.

On that stage in Citi Field, Cespedes showed himself to have outstanding power. However, it never fully translated to games. In his first three seasons, he only averaged 24 homers and a .464 slugging. He was never Top 10 in the American League in either catergory. His isolated power over those three seasons was a very good .201. However, seeing Cespedes in that home run derby, you just knew that he was capable of more.

Maybe he needed to get out of ballparks like the Oakland Coliseum or Comerica. Maybe he needed to play in a bigger market with a bigger stage. Maybe, just maybe, he just needed to set foot back in Citi Field. Whatever it was, Cespedes is crushing baseballs and the New York Mets have been the biggest benefactor.

As reported by Anthony DiComo of, Cespedes feels comfortable and at home as a member of the Mets. ”I’ve said as much as I got here last year, it feels very much like home here.”

His manager Terry Collins agrees saying, “Cespedes wants to play in New York City, and that says a lot, because a lot of guys would shy away from that challenge.”

In just 57 games with the Mets last season, he hit .287/.337/.604 with 17 homers. Extrapolating that over the course of a full 162 game season, Cespedes would’ve hit 48 home runs, which would’ve led the league. And his slugging percentage would’ve been good for second in the league. The .314 isolated power was off the charts good.

The only thing more spectacular than Cespedes’ performance after last year’s trade deadline, is the run he’s on to begin the 2016 season.

yoenis cespedes

Cespedes, 30, is currently hitting .302/.378/.660 with 15 homers in 42 games. He’s leading the majors in both homers and slugging. His .358 isolated power is even better than it was last year. He’s on pace to hit 58 homers.

While these numbers may seem unbelievable and unsustainable, they’re not. This is quickly becoming what is expected from Cespedes – this could just be his new norm. Assistant GM John Ricco agrees. “I hope it’s sustainable. Whether it is or not, we’ll see. But he’s certainly proven over his time with us that he is that level of player.”

Hitting coach Kevin Long it’s all part of the evolution of Cespedes as a hitter. “Its hard to say this and not sound arrogant about a certain player, but he’s getting better. He’s really understanding his self, his swing, his strike zone, what pitches he does more damage on. He’s maturing as a player.”

Cespedes agrees with Long’s statements saying, “You don’t usually seeing someone at this age make adjustments. However, when you meet someone in this league that’s 29 or 30, they’ve probably also been playing longer than the five years that I have. So I think if they feel they need to make adjustments, they probably make them earlier in life.”

With these adjustments, Cespedes has vaulted himself to an elite level and he’s now among the best players in the game. Collins puts it perfectly. “He’s a star. He’s a good player. He does what stars do.”

Cespedes had to come to the Mets to become a star. He had to come to the Mets to unlock his full potential. Cespedes belongs in a Mets uniform.  ”It feels as if I’ve been playing here a very long time. And I could spend the rest of my life with this team.”

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It’s Too Early To Boo Cespedes Sun, 10 Apr 2016 11:00:48 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes booed after striking out in the 8th inning, USA Today

Well, that happened rather quickly. I think Mets fans took longer to boo Bobby Bonilla and Jason Bay than they did for Yoenis Cespedes. The same player who helped carry the Mets into the postseason last year, Cespedes has gone from a conquering hero to getting loudly booed after just four regular season games.

Cespedes went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and stranded Asdrubal Cabrera in scoring position twice as the Mets lost 1-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night, and he is now hitting .125 (2-for-16) with seven strikeouts to begin the season.

Slow start yes, but way too early to start riding the guy. Part of this is due to the unrealistic expectations by fans. Cespedes came to the Mets last August, and he hit .287/.337/.604 with 17 homeruns and 44 RBI in just 57 games. Every time he stepped to the plate last season, you expected magic.

“I’m not worried at all,” Cespedes told reporters after the game. “It’s just a timing issue, I think. Over time, when the games start kicking in, everything will settle in.” (

Whether Mets fans admit it or not, they’re expecting [or desperately hoping] for more of the same this year. Unfortunately the law of averages say it’s not going to happen. Cespedes is a career .270/.319/.484 hitter and prior to 2015 he averaged 24 homeruns and 81 RBI. On top of that, he’s a career .234/.298/.477 hitter at Citi Field.

What Cespedes did in his first four weeks with the Mets was virtually unprecedented and historic, much like Daniel Murphy‘s performance in the NLDS and NLCS. To hold Cespedes to that standard is totally unfair and unrealistic. Similarly, Cespedes’ struggles so far this season is also not going to continue for the next six months.

There is no doubt Cespedes has had a rough start to the season. On his first play of the season, he dropped an easy out giving many flashbacks to the inside-the-park homerun created by his lackadaisical play in center. At the plate, he has not been good, and at times, he has appeared over-matched. With all that said, Mets fans have an awfully short leash if they’re starting to boo him after a handful of games.

Yes, it is too soon to boo him. However, it is not too soon to be concerned. ”I think he’s chasing out of the zone a little too much,” manager Terry Collins explained. “But we certainly think he might duplicate what he did last year when it starts to get a little warmer.”

Last year, Cespedes removed himself from Game Four of the NLCS with an aggravated AC joint. With the shoulder injury, Cespedes would hit just .150/.143/.150 with six strikeouts in what was for him a forgettable World Series.

During Spring Training, Cespedes felt a twinge in the same shoulder. Additionally, he dealt with a sore hip. These two issues caused Cespedes to only miss one game. However, Cespedes was dealing with some injuries that could affect his ability to make solid contact. In fact, he’s one of a few players in baseball who has yet to have one hard-hit ball this season.

Another issue that could be affecting Cespedes is his approach at the plate. Hitting Coach Kevin Long worked with Cespedes to focus on driving the ball up the middle and the other way rather than pulling the ball as ferociously as he did with the Mets last year.

They are also trying to get him to layoff those high fastballs which did him on Saturday night. He has looked lost or crossed up at the plate, but that will change.

“If we get him to stop chasing a little bit, I think he’ll start squaring some balls up,” Collins said about his slugger’s early struggles.

So no, it is not time to boo Cespedes. It is way too soon in the season for that. Sure there’s some early concerns, but almost the entire team is in a funk as their .192 batting average would attest. We have a great team with elite pitching and a potent lineup and once everything starts clicking the Mets will be unstoppable. Sit tight and relax… The season is only four games old.

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Can David Wright Cement A HOF Bid With A Strong 2016 Wed, 17 Feb 2016 22:27:55 +0000 David, Wright

Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters at Port St. Lucie today and said the team will monitor David Wright throughout the season as they try to get a better handle of managing his spinal stenosis diagnosis and maximizing his contribution to the team.

“We’re going to have to be mindful of his physical situation. We’ll have to anticipate, rather than react, to that condition,” Alderson said.

On Monday, Alderson projected that Wright will likely play about 130 games as they try to give him regular days off to try and minimize any flareup’s of Wright’s condition. “We’re going to have to be proactive, and hopefully that fits with his mindset as well.”

When David Wright came up in 2004 he hit the ground running and quickly became one of the league’s most productive players and ranked among the best third baseman in the game.

Through his first six full seasons, Wright averaged 40 doubles, 26 home runs, 104 RBI and 22 stolen bases while posting a .902 OPS, winning a pair of Gold Gloves and five consecutive All Star nods. No one denied the Mets had themselves a special player who was clearly on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

However, things began to slow down somewhat for Wright because of some various injuries that included playing through a fractured back, pulling his hamstring, and then of course his spinal stenosis diagnosis which wiped out the bulk of his 2015 season. To his credit, he still kept producing at an above average level for third basemen. Is there still a chance that with a big year in 2016, Wright can bolster his Hall of Fame chances?

Third base is the least represented position in the Hall of Fame. Accordingly, standards are high to enter the Hall of Fame as a third baseman.  The average of 13 Hall of Famers at the position had a career WAR of 67.5, a WAR7 (best seven years combined) of 42.7, and a JAWS of 55.1. Looking at the stats, Wright falls short. His career WAR is 50.1. His WAR7 is 40.0. His JAWS is 45.1. For a player that Mets fans believed would be a Hall of Famer, he now has an uphill climb.

david wright


Looking at theses factors, it’s presumably easiest for Wright to increase his WAR7. To do so, he would need to have one year where he accumulates 2.7 more WAR that his seventh best season. Here are his seven best WAR seasons:

  1. 2007 – 8.3
  2. 2012 – 7.0
  3. 2008 – 6.8
  4. 2013 – 5.9
  5. 2005 – 4.8
  6. 2006 – 4.1
  7. 2009 – 3.2

For Wright to put his WAR7 within range, he would need to have one more season that is 5.9 or better. Wright last did that in 2013. That year Wright only played on 112 games. He hit .307/.390/.514 with 18 homers and 58 RBI. His 156 OPS+ was the best of his career. In that season, Wright missed a significant amount of time with a strained hamstring.

The Mets are hopeful that Wright can play 130 games in 2016. Judging from Wright’s 2013 season, it is certainly possible that Wright can have a 5.9 season again. A better and much stronger Mets lineup will assist him in that task.

Cumulative WAR

Going into the 2016 season, Wright has a career WAR of 50.1, which is presumably 12.4 behind the 67.5 career WAR he would need to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

This is where things may get a little tricky for Wright’s chances. Don Mattingly had back problems, and his once promising Hall of Fame career was over at 34. Lenny Dykstra had spinal stenosis, and his career was over at 33. David Wright is entering his age 33 season. Based on other player’s careers, he’s near the end of his career. If Wright plays past his age 34 season, he will be in uncharted territory.

Naturally, it is safe to assume Wright will not have a 12.4 WAR season thereby cementing his Hall of Fame case. To do that, Wright would have to match Babe Ruth‘s 1927 season when he hit 60 homeruns. No, if Wright is going to accumulate the needed 12.4 WAR, he’s going to have to remain healthy and effective. He’s going to have to manage his spinal stenosis.

Wright is currently signed until 2020. There are $90 million reasons why Wright will do all he can to finish that contract.

Presuming Wright does do that, he has five more years left in his career. In order to attain the necessary 12.4 additional WAR, Wright will have to average a 2.5 WAR a year for those five seasons.

In 2014, Wright played 134 games, and he was a 2.7 WAR player. In that season, he hit .269/.324/.374 with eight homers and 63 RBI. If Wright manages his back, and his treatments are effective, seasons like this over the next five years are certainly attainable.

Other Criteria

As Wright’s peak is over, there really isn’t anything he can do to improve his JAWS. With that in mind, we need to look at other areas that would improve Wright’s Hall of Fame case.

Unfortunately, he will be unable to surpass Mike Schmidt‘s 548 homeruns or even reach the once magic number 500 homeruns. He won’t catch Chipper Jones‘ 1,623 RBI. He won’t catch Brooks Robinson‘s 16 Gold Gloves at third base. It does not appear Wright will reach 3,000 hits as he would need to average 250 hits over the next five years to reach that number. No, it seems like the only thing that will help Wright is the narrative.

The best thing going for Wright is the fact that he will most likely play his entire career as a Met. Aside from Tom Seaver, Wright is making a case as the best player to ever play for the Mets. Here are his Mets rankings:

  • Games Played – Second (307 behind Ed Kranepool)
  • Runs – First
  • Hits – First
  • Doubles – First
  • Home Runs – Second (17 behind Darryl Strawberry)
  • RBI – First

In addition, Wright’s 50.1 WAR with the Mets is the second most any player has accumulated with the Mets; the most accumulated by any Mets position player. Even with Mike Piazza‘s recent election to the Hall of Fame, it appears that Wright is the team’s best position player.

So overall, Wright still has a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame. His name will be atop all the major offensive catergories. His WAR and other catergories will put him on the cusp of election. A strong 2016 will get him a lot closer to those goals.

Winning a World Series in 2016 can’t hurt either.


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Rays Agree On One-Year Deal With Steve Pearce Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:28:18 +0000 MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

According to Marc Topkin of Tampa Bay Times the Tampa Bay Rays have an agreement in place on a one-year deal with Steve Pearce, pending a physical. He says that Pearce will DH some while playing the first base and a little outfield against left-handed pitching.

Pearce struggled with the bat last year, hitting only .218/.289/.422 with 15 homeruns and 40 RBI while playing first base, second base, left field, and right field. Jon Heyman reported earlier this offseason that the Mets were looking at Pearce as a potential piece of the bench to compliment their left-hand heavy outfield. He is a career .262/.343/.481 hitter in 522 at bats vs. left handed pitching.

He had a career year in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles hitting .293/.373/.556 with 26 doubles, 21 homeruns, and knocked in 49 runs. He also had a good year defensively making dim worth 1.5 dWAR and a career high 5.9 WAR overall.

Right-handed hitting bench options are now down to Ryan Raburn, Chris Denorfia, Marlon Byrd, and Austin Jackson if the Mets decide they need to add some more depth.

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Mets Invite Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith To Big League Camp Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:27:19 +0000 Photo by

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The Mets have announced that they have invited first round picks Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini to Major League camp for Spring Training. They also invited pitchers Paul Sewald, Chasen Bradford, and Zack Thornton. For position players they invited T.J. Rivera, Johnny Monell, Xorge Carrillo, and Travis Taijeron.

Smith had a breakout year for the St. Lucie Mets hitting .305/.354/.417 with six homeruns and a league leading 33 doubles. He also led the Florida State League with his 79 RBI and was the named the leagues Most Valuable Player. He also had a great showing in the Arizona Fall League hitting .362/.483/.511 in 14 games for the Salt River Rafters.

Cecchini had a great year at the dish for the Binghamton Mets hitting .317/.377/.442 with 26 doubles, four triples, seven homeruns, and knocked in 51 runs. He was an Eastern League All-Star and the leagues Rookie of the Year. Cecchini enjoyed success in the AFL too in limited at bats going 5 for 13 with five runs scored and four walks before being shutdown because of an injury.

Both Smith and Cecchini were their respective teams recipient of the Sterling Award for the most valuable Mets player at that level.

Everyone on the Mets 40-man roster automatically receives an invite to big league camp. Ty Kelly, Stolmy Pimentel, Jim Henderson, and the recently signed Nevin Ashley also received invitations to MLB camp when they signed with the Mets.

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Expect Big Things From Michael Conforto In 2016 Mon, 28 Dec 2015 21:32:58 +0000 michael Conforto

When the Mets drafted Michael Conforto in the first round of the 2014 draft, it was clear right from the start that he was different from all the other top draft picks by Sandy Alderson. He was an advanced and polished college player out of Oregon State, and he was someone who didn’t have to spend a lot of time developing in the minor leagues.

While the Mets’ front office knew he could advance quickly, nobody could have predicted just how soon he would advance to the major leagues and make a significant impact. However in just over one year since being drafted, Conforto not only made his big league debut, but the youngster thrived and showed off his tremendous offensive potential.

In 56 games with the Mets last season, Conforto batted .270 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 30 runs scored and 26 RBI. Blessed with a fluid line drive swing with power to all fields, Conforto put up an impressive .506 slugging percentage with a .360 wOBA  and 134 wRC+ in 194 plate appearances.

His .841 OPS ranked second on the team behind only Yoenis Cespedes, and his 2.1 fWAR ranked 6th despite playing less than half the season.

Can we be looking at a 6.0 WAR season in 2016? Absolutely, and why I believe that’s possible was the maturity he displayed last season and his ability to adjust to the game as pitchers adjusted to him.

His contributions were one of the most overlooked factors in the Mets’ resurgence during their second half postseason run, but his heroics didn’t stop there. Conforto continued to play great baseball in the postseason and had one of the best games for a rookie in World Series history.

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In Game Four against the Royals, Conforto blasted two home runs and became the first rookie to do so since Andruw Jones in the 1996 World Series against the Yankees, and the first Met to do it since Gary Carter in 1986. His first home run was a towering blast into the Pepsi Porch and his next was a rocket over the right field wall.

“He’s going to be a very, very good player,” Terry Collins said after that game. “He’s dangerous, and tonight he showed that. This guy is going to be an outstanding offensive player.”

In 15 total at-bats in the series, he batted .333 with four runs batted in. While his efforts weren’t enough to win the series, he showed that he could compete at this level and even take over a game with an exciting combination of game-breaking offense and his underrated above average defense.

In the field, Conforto not only displayed a powerful and accurate throwing arm, but he also showed off some surprising range and excellent instincts. He finished the year with six outfield assists, a 7.5 UZR and nine defensive runs saved which ranked second on the team to Curtis Granderson.

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Conforto, 22, is expected to be in the lineup every day in 2016, even against left-handed pitching, according to manager Terry Collins. Steamer projects him to hit .260 with 22 doubles, 17 homeruns, and 60 RBI in 122 games next season. Way too conservative in my opinion.

Scouts have raved about his polished swing and discipline at the plate for years, but once he arrived, it was the rookie left fielder’s teammates that were doing all the raving. Team captain David Wright described Conforto as the “perfect player” last September. “If you were going to build a ballplayer with the right approach along with the right amount of talent, he’d be the guy,” Wright said.

“Some guys come in here and they’re loud, a lot more talking than they are listening and he’s the opposite. He’s an excellent player, a great person, one of those young guys who gets it.’’

It’s possible that the league adjusts to Conforto next season, but he looks like a player that is very mindful of that and will continue to keep getting better. I won’t be surprised to see him build off this season and hit .290 with 20-25 homeruns and 85+ RBI in 2016. He’s an extremely talented player, and he certainly has the ability to shatter expectations once again.

Let me go out on a limb here and say that there’s a good chance we can see Conforto post a better OPS, OPS+ and wRC+ than Yoenis Cespedes next season. Crazy talk? You just wait and see and remember you read that here first.


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Jason Heyward Agrees to 8-Year, $184 Million Deal with Cubs Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:55:35 +0000 jason heyward

Jason Heyward has agreed to sign with the Cubs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bob Nightengale reports the deal is for eight years and $184 million dollars, or an average annual value of $23 million.

Heyward reportedly turned down higher offers of $200 million dollars from the Nationals and Cardinals before deciding on the Cubs.

Cubs strike again…

Previous Report

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals are making a strong push to sign free agent outfielder Jason Heyward. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported yesterday that they are the mystery team pursuing him, and have joined the Cubs and Cardinals as the main teams bidding for his services. Heyman also says that Heyward already has a $200 million dollar a deal on the table.

Furthermore, a source told Bill Landson of that Washington is  “heavily involved” and that their interest is “legit”.

Heyward, 26, is arguably the top position player in this year’s market. He slashed .293/.359/.439  in 610 plate appearances this season with 13 homeruns and 23 steals. He is also a tremendous defender in right field as his 22.6 UZR shows.  Overall, he’s one of the most complete players in the game, which is reflected in his 6.0 WAR that ranks 11th among position players in the major leagues.

The Nationals haven’t shied away from mega free agent deals in the past, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them win the bidding war here. Heyward would give Washington one of the best outfields in majors as he would join MVP Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in what was an already talented group.

Some have speculated that Heyward could be a target for the Mets, but they are not in the running as he appears to be too far out of their price range.


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Featured Article: What Can Mets Expect From Michael Conforto In 2016? Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:20:58 +0000 michael conforto

When the Mets drafted Michael Conforto in the first round of the 2014 draft, it was clear right from the start that he was different from all the Mets’ other top draft picks by Sandy Alderson. He was an advanced and polished player out of Oregon State, and he was someone who didn’t have to spend a lot of time developing in the minor leagues.

While the Mets’ front office knew he could advance quickly, nobody could have expected just how soon he would make a significant impact. In just over one year after being drafted, Conforto has arrived and thrived in the major leagues, and he has already given us many glimpses into his tremendous offensive potential.

In 56 games with the Mets this season, he batted .270 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 30 runs scored and 26 RBI. He also put up a powerful .506 slugging percentage with a .360 wOBA  and 134 wRC+ in 194 plate appearances. His .841 OPS ranked second on the team behind only Yoenis Cespedes, and his 2.1 fWAR ranked 6th despite not even playing half the season.

His contributions were one of the most overlooked factors in the Mets’ resurgence in the second half, but his heroics didn’t stop there. He continued to play great baseball in the postseason and had one of the best games for a rookie in World Series history.

In Game four against the Royals, Conforto blasted two home runs and became the first rookie to do so since Andruw Jones in the 1996 World Series against the Yankees. His first homerun was a towering blast into the Pepsi Porch and his next was a rocket over the right field wall.

In 15 total at-bats in the series, he hit .333 with four runs batted in. While his efforts weren’t enough to win the series, he showed that he could compete at this level, was the real deal, and that he was ready for an expanded role going forward.

Conforto is expected to be in the lineup every day in 2016, even against left-handed pitching, according to manager Terry Collins.

Steamer projects Conforto to hit .260 with 22 doubles, 17 homeruns, and 60 RBIs in 122 games in 2016, while Baseball Reference projects him to bat .270 with 11 homeruns in 267 at-bats. These projections seem way too conservative and woefully inadequate in my opinion. Conforto already posted much better numbers in his rookie season, and he is just scratching the surface of his potential.

Scouts have raved about his polished swing and discipline at the plate for years, and even his teammates have started to take notice. Team captain David Wright described Conforto as the perfect player in an interview with Kevin Kernan of the NY Post back in September.

“If you were going to build a ballplayer with the right approach along with the right amount of talent, he’d be the guy,”

“Some guys come in here and they’re loud, a lot more talking than they are listening and he’s the opposite,” Wright said. “He’s an excellent player, a great person, one of those young guys who gets it.’’

It’s possible that the league adjusts to Conforto next season, but he looks like a player that is very mindful of that and will continue to keep getting better. I won’t be surprised to see him build off this season and hit .290 with 20-25 homeruns. He’s an extremely talented player, and he certainly has the ability to shatter expectations once again.


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ICYMI: Mets Look Again To Cult Hero Wilmer Flores Mon, 12 Oct 2015 15:10:34 +0000 wilmer flores

With Ruben Tejada now lost for the rest of the postseason, one message was loud and clear from Terry Collins during last night’s post game press conference. The Mets have fought adversity all season long and they will continue to do so in light of the blow they were dealt at the hands of the despicable Chase Utley.

The manager, coaches and players will have all day Sunday to regroup as they head back to New York, but the way I see it, this could open the door for one Mets player to add to his growing cult status among the Mets faithful.

Wilmer Flores is suddenly back in the spotlight again after being given the back seat by Terry Collins who tabbed Tejada as his shortstop for the entirety of the NLDS.

“Ruben Tejada’s been here and started the year in a tough spot because
Wilmer basically lost the job,” Collins said. “Ruben stepped up and said entering this series defense is going to be important, very important. So we thought he would be the guy. Now we’re going to have to ask Wilmer to step up.”

There’s also this… Matt Reynolds high school Bishop Kelley, is reporting that he’s been added to the postseason roster in place of Tejada. They tweeted out: ”Matt Reynolds has been called up to the New York Mets and will be in uniform Monday night in NYC. Go Matt!”

The Mets have not made any official announcement as of yet, but Adam Rubin is confirming the news. This is good news as I would rather have Reynolds as our backup infielder instead of Eric Campbell at this point. Reynolds would certainly provide some value as a pinch runner off the bench and can also be a key defensive replacement in the middle infield late in games.

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If it’s one thing we’ve learned from Flores over the years, he knows how to step it up when it really matters, having already gained a reputation as clutch player that preceded him from his minor league days.

Flores delivered one of the season’s signature moments on July 31, when he hit an improbable and stunning walk-off homer in the 12th inning to cap a 2-1 victory against the Nationals.

It was that day, that moment, that player, who sparked the Mets to a reversal of fortunes and created the turning point for the suddenly rejuvenated Mets offense.

“Flores has played plenty of shortstop, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him at short,” David Wright told reporters after last night’s 5-2 loss. “You never want to see somebody take over because of an injury, but Flo’s logged plenty of innings at short and had done a great job over there.”

The Mets have a tremendous opportunity to use last night’s misfortune and turn it into the team’s rallying point. We’ve see it before and what greater stage than the MLB playoffs for the Mets to show the nation it’s great character and incredible resiliency.

“You try to rally around that,” Wright added. “You try to go out there and get a win or two for Ruben. It’s a guy that sticks his neck out there trying to turn a big double play knowing that he’s going to get hit. That’s the definition of a great teammate… A guy that tries to make that play knowing that he’s going to take the hit.”

Regular readers at MMO know fully well my sentiments on the defensive side of the equation between Flores and Tejada, there is no chasm between them and most metrics give Flores the edge.

A quick view of some situational stats show Flores producing a .740 OPS with 7 homeruns and 34 RBIs in high-leverage situations, while Tejada counters with a .654 OPS, no homeruns and 15 RBIs in those instances.

In 135 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Flores has driven in 43 runs with a .286 batting average and .423 slugging. In 105 plate appearances with RISP, Tejada is batting .233 with a .326 slugging and 24 RBIs.

Additionally, Tejada has posted a .333 average and .688 OPS in seven games against the Dodgers this season, while Flores has appeared in one less game and batted .524 with a 1.123 OPS.

So while I wish Ruben a speedy recovery, and while I’m still fuming at the entire ugly incident ignited by Utley’s dirty slide, I remain hopeful that the Mets will show up on Monday with a huge chip on their shoulders. I do hope MLB comes to their senses and exact severe punishment on Utley.

That said, I can see Saturday night’s deflating loss as a springboard for a revitalized Mets team that will see the job through and champion themselves into the next round. And don’t be surprised if Wilmer Flores provides the Mets with another signature moment or two, because that’s the kind of special year its been for the Amazins.

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Featured Post: You Gotta Sign This Guy… Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:29:49 +0000 daniel murphy

You gotta sign this guy! But not the guy you think.

Yoenis Cespedes has fueled the remarkable run that the Mets have been on this season. He has hit 17 home runs, 44 RBIs along with a .946 OPS making him one of the best mid-season acquisitions in Mets history. These numbers have made a fan base fall in love with the Cuban slugger and we have seen countless fans agonizing over whether the Mets will reach into their pockets to sign him.

The fact of the matter is Cespedes was acquired as a rental, and a great one at that. We need to cherish our time with Cespedes while we have it and hope we can ride him to a deep October run but a long term deal is not in the best interests of this club for the future.

The major leagues has a shortage of power and a bat like Cespedes’ is going to claim a huge payday this offseason. Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven year deal worth $153 million in 2013 and it would not be surprising if Cespedes not only matched that number but exceeded it this offseason. Sadly this team has not acted like a big market team in a long time and it does not seem like that will change while under this ownership.

Outfield depth was a glaring issue for the club last year but with the resurgence of Curtis Granderson and the emergence of Michael Conforto it should no longer be considered a priority. Let’s not forget that Juan Lagares is just one year removed from a gold glove season that netted him his 4 year $23 million contract. Lagares has a .259 batting average this year which matches his career number of .261. He might not ever become an all-star outfielder but he has crushed left handed pitching and his glove is still something to build around out in center field. He is also only 26 years old which is the prime age for most outfielders.

There is also another first round draft pick waiting in the wings in Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo got off to a torrid start this year in Binghamton where he had a slash line of .279/.354/.368. This start got him promoted to Las Vegas where his batting average took a slight dip but he saw increase in OBP and slugging percentage .264/.393/.418. The starting outfield opening day in 2018 could very well be Conforto, Lagares, and Nimmo. This would be a great inexpensive homegrown outfield. With that future along with the hefty contracts of Granderson and Cuddyer a move to sign Cespedes would not be a wise one.

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The next part of this dilemma is what else could be done with the money that would be saved on letting Cespedes walk. My answer is simple, Daniel Murphy. Murph has been a mainstay in Queens since 2009 and has a career batting average of .289. As we all know Murph plays the game his own way especially in the field and on the base paths but year after year he hits.

With Flores and Herrera in the wings some have viewed Murphy as extraneous but I argue that he becomes the perfect bench piece even if there is no job for him in the starting lineup. Murphy has turned himself into a utility player of sorts as he plays an adequate first, second and third base. Moving forward, David Wright is probably not going to be the guy that plays upwards of 140 games a year. The best way to manage Wright’s spinal stenosis is rest and who better to play third base when Wright is on the bench than Murphy. Between filling in for Wright, playing second base as Herrera develops, along with being a clutch left-handed pinch hitter late in game the Mets can find plenty of at bats for Murphy.

Another concern I have with this team is their desire to sign Lucas Duda to a long term deal at first base. Duda is as streaky as they come. His power produces great numbers at the end of the season, but he goes through a lot of cold spells in between which translate to his low career BA of .248.

Duda has 27 home runs thus far this season but almost all of them can be accounted for in three hot streaks. To open up the year from May 21st until the 29th Duda launched six long balls. This was the point of the year where the fan base was frustrated with the front office for not locking Duda up sooner. Then it wasn’t until July 25th, after the Uribe/Johnson trade, that Duda would get hot again. In a stretch that last until August 2nd Duda would hit 10 more homers including his three home run game against the Padres. Now we have the most recent stretch where Duda’s bat helped us clinch the division with three homers in the Reds series and then two more in the first game against the Phillies.

Combine the three streaks and you have 21 of his 27 home runs hit in roughly 4 weeks of a 24 week season. Murphy is a much more consistent hitter than Duda which makes Duda expendable in my opinion. Duda is eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. The Mets could let Duda play out his contract or they could turn him into a lucrative trade chip as many teams would be enamored by his power. So by locking up Murphy to a multi-year deal they could use him to bridge the gap to Dominic Smith.

We must also keep in mind that we will soon have five stud starting pitchers who will either need extensions or will be earning a healthy chunk of change through arbitration. Saving what could be as much as $25 million a year for Cespedes, and locking up a great team guy in Murphy is the best way that the Mets can maximize their most valuable asset and their stellar starting pitching.

For more on Daniel Murphy, check out his exclusive interview with Steve Serby in the NY Post.

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Dilson Herrera Flexes Some Muscle, Shows Why He’s Mets Future At 2B Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:24:09 +0000 dilson hererra hr

On Sunday, the Mets put out their post-clinching lineup and the biggest star to shine was that of Dilson Herrera who went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer, coming a triple short of the cycle.

mmo feature original footerIt was Dilson’s first start since June 27th and he gave Mets fans a good glimpse of what he is capable of as a hitter. He has now hit six home runs in just 146 Major League at-bats despite currently being the 4th youngest player (21) in the National League.

Herrera came to the Mets on August 27th, 2013, when Sandy Alderson shipped out veterans Marlon Byrd and John Buck for Dilson and Vic Black. At the time Herrera was a 19-year old prospect who batted .265/.330/.421 in the South Atlantic League for the Priates and he was deemed a “offense oriented second baseman” by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.

It didn’t take long for Herrera to impress the his new team, hitting .323/.379/.479 with 33 doubles, five triples, 13 homeruns, 71 RBI and 23 stolen bases combined for the St. Lucie and Binghamton Mets in his first full season with the organization. He showed enough (combined with Daniel Murphy injury) to get a shocking promotion on August 29th, 2014 to make his debut as the youngest player in the National League.

Herrera was able to hold his own in his first 66 MLB plate appearances hitting .220/.303/.407 with three homeruns, a triple, eleven RBI and a 7/17 BB/SO. Not bad for a 20-year old kid considering the average for a MLB second baseman in 2014 was .250/.307/.352 with a .113 ISO compared to Herrera’s isolated slugging of .186.

Herrera was sent to Las Vegas to start the 2015 season and picked up right where he left off hitting .327/.381/.511 for the 51′s in 327 at-bats. However, he has struggled with the bat this year in the big leagues with a slash line of .218/.320/.379 in 87 AB that covers three different stints.

It was not all bad for Herrera who lowered his K% from 25.8% last year in the bigs to 22% this year and raised in BB% from 10.6% to 11.0% this year.

He has also looked more comfortable in the field this year while turning some great double plays and proving to be more sure-handed at second. According to FanGraphs last year he made 92% of routine plays and this year he has made 97%.

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He received some glowing compliments from Keith Hernandez during the game yesterday who said this about Dilson:

“He is a little guy that is very strong, and I like this guy alot. He has had his struggles at the big league level but he’s got some pop, he is a scrappy little player who is a excellent second base who can turn an excellent double play.”

The second base position has been somewhat of a revolving door this year for the Mets because of injuries and playing match-ups. Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Muno, Murphy, and Herrera have all seen time at second base this year for the Mets.

I don’t expect Murphy to be back next year and they’ve shown no inclination to give him a contract extension . I like both Johnson and Uribe, but I would be surprised if they weren’t offered more money and playing time elsewhere. Which really brings us to Flores and Herrera as the two most likely candidates to play second base for the Mets next season.

Personally, I think it will be Herrera who wins the job next Spring, mostly because he is a better defender and also has the potential to hit at the top of the order. Meanwhile, Flores could get plenty of playing time filling a super utility role with the team.

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Kelly Johnson Continues To Come Through For The Mets Sun, 13 Sep 2015 14:42:52 +0000 mets win

While all the rage these days centers around Yoenis Cespedes, and rightfully so, let’s not forget the heroics of utility infielder and outfielder Kelly Johnson.

Not only has Johnson filled in admirably at second base which hasn’t been a routine position for him before coming to the Mets, but Johnson has continued to amaze in clutch situations.

The 10 year veteran hit a big two-run homer versus Washington Nationals ace Max Sherzer on Monday. Then he blasted a pinch-hit solo homerun versus Stephen Strasburg in the eighth inning on Wednesday that tied the game and the Mets ultimately completed the three-game sweep.

And then of course last night, it was Johnson again who came through with an RBI single in the ninth inning to put the Mets ahead 5-4.

Johnson is hitting .435 (10-23) with seven runs scored, two home runs and seven RBI in nine games in September. He has proved to be a very important piece to this Mets offense, and it is exactly why I believe he has earned a spot on the postseason roster over Eric Young Jr.

Take a seat EY…

(Joe D .)

September 10

Terry Collins is pushing all the right buttons. First it was Kirk Nieuwenhuis on Tuesday night, last night it was Kelly Johnson. On a night where it looked like Stephen Strasburg was well on his way to knocking the Mets back down to Earth for a least a day, it was an eighth inning pinch hit solo homerun from Kelly Johnson that stole the show.

The Mets were looking for something, anything, to knock Stephen Strasburg out of cruise control, and it was Collins who opted to go with Kelly Johnson to pinch hit for Wilmer Flores in the top half of the eighth inning. It proved to be another brilliant decision from Collins, as Johnson tied the game and lit the fuse the Mets needed to come back and steal another from the Nationals and all but bury their playoff hopes.

While Terry Collins and his Mets may have the biggest smile on their faces after seeing what they’ve done these past three days in Washington, perhaps its Sandy Alderson who has the biggest grin of them all. Once again, it was one of his key mid-season acquisitions who came up big in a crucial spot.

Since joining the Mets, Johnson has hit just .253 but he has hit five home runs while driving in 12 runs, and there is no doubt that last night’s eighth inning game-tying homer was his biggest moment as a Met. He’s turning into exactly what Sandy Alderson and the Mets had hoped for when they acquired him along with Juan Uribe from the Atlanta Braves back in late July.

While Johnson won’t blow you away in one particular area, he has been in the league for 10 years and is a professional hitter who can come up big for you in huge spots. He did just that last night, and he’s starting to heat up just at the right time. In his last seven games, Johnson has a batting average of .467 with two home runs and six RBI.

It’s amazing what a little flexibility can do for a manager who is trying to get his ballclub to the postseason for the first time in nine years. On any given night the Mets have a variety of players who can step up in big moments. Last night it was Kelly Johnson’s turn.

Next man up.

homer the dog

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Power Play: Mets Now Getting It Done With the Long Ball Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:08:07 +0000 Cespedes Duda

The New York Mets are finally a threat for the long ball. Since the All-Star break the Mets have hit a total of 38 homeruns. They are tied for first with one other team in the National League – the Colorado Rockies. The Mets will meet up with those Rockies when they begin a three game series in the bandbox known as Coors Field this coming weekend.

While there is a lot to contribute to the Mets recent surge to the top of the NL East, one must certainly be the fact that the Mets are starting to not only hit homeruns, but at a consistent rate. They currently have three players with 20+ homeruns in their starting lineup, Curtis Granderson (22), Lucas Duda (21), and Yoenis Cespedes with 20. The Mets are the only team currently in the NL that can say that.

While homeruns just may be one aspect of the game, it’s one the Mets have lacked the past several years. In 2009 the Mets were dead last in the NL with just a total of 95 long balls. Since that year the Mets have never been better than 9th overall in the NL in that category. They finished 9th just last season with a total of 125 homeruns, and the 2015 Mets are easily on pace to beat that total having already hit 113, good for 5th in the NL.

Part of the issue is that since the likes of Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado have come and gone, the Mets have never really had a true power hitter. The Mets finally found one in Lucas Duda last year, when he hit a total of 30. Accompanying Duda now are the likes of Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes, as well as guys like Wilmer Flores, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, and suddenly the Mets are now more apt to hit the long ball in any game at any time.

It’s critically important for this Mets team to continue this trend. They are not the fastest team in the league by any stretch of the imagination, and while playing station to station baseball is all well and good, it sure helps a team’s confidence when they can take a three run lead on one swing of the bat.

So while I’m not asking you to stand up and jump for joy over this, it’s still a sight for sore eyes to see the Mets finally have multiple homerun threats up and down their lineup. It’s something they haven’t had for quite some time, and it’s something that will hopefully continue down their stretch run to the playoffs.

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Minor League Roster Moves: Castellanos Headed To Japan, Lutz Back Thu, 16 Jul 2015 22:41:37 +0000 Alex castellanos


The Mets have brought back Zach Lutz to the organization after releasing him last June to allow him to sign with Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League. He has been added to the Las Vegas 51′s roster to take the place of OF/IF Alex Castellanos who is headed to play in Japan.

Castellanos was having a great year for the 51′s leading the PCL in doubles (32), SLG (.614), runs (58), 2nd in OPS (.996), 4th in homeruns (16), and 10th in average (.314) while playing all four corner positions and center field.

Lutz hit .314/.370/.667 with five homeruns and eighteen RBI in 15 games for the Golden Eagles after being released by the Mets last year. He was just 3-27 with a homerun while playing for Doosan this year in the Korean Baseball Organization. From 2013-2014 he played 170 games in Las Vegas hitting 38 doubles, 20 homeruns, and 117 RBI over 626 at bats.

Zach made his Major League debut for the Mets on April 24th, 2012 going just 1-11 before finding success in 2013 when he hit .300/.462/.400 in 20 at bats while playing third and first base. Lutz played third base exclusively in 2014 with the 51′s and the Golden Eagles.

Rainy Lara has been demoted from Las Vegas back down to Binghamton to put the Mets back into a 6-man rotation. Lara struggled in his 5 AAA starts giving up 48 baserunners in 24 innings and putting up a 7.12 ERA. Brooklyn infielder Branden Kaupe has been also added to the B’Mets as a temporary option with only four infielders on the roster before his addition. Binghamton will also receive Jonathan Galvez, who they signed five days ago out of the Atlantic League, when he returns from playing for the Dominican Republic in the Pan Am Games. The 24-year old is a career .278/.364/.420 hitter in the Minors League while playing all the infield spots and left field. He was released by AAA Scranton in June.

Starting pitcher Chris Flexen has been promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones to continue his rehab assignment. Flexen pitched 6 scoreless inning with five strikeouts in three appearances for the GCL Mets. Outfielder Hengelbert Rojas was also promoted to Brooklyn from the Kingsport Mets roster.

Outfielder Ivan Wilson has been promoted from the GCL Mets to Kingsport, he is joined by catcher/1B Jose Maria who was playing in the Gulf Coast League as well. The Mets also added their 2015 18th round pick and right-handed pitcher Jordan Humphreys to the GCL Mets roster.

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Binghamton Releases Three During All-Star Break Wed, 15 Jul 2015 14:58:45 +0000 MiLB: April 29 - St. Lucie Mets at Tampa Yankees

Binghamton has announced they have released INF Aderlin Rodriguez, INF Dustin Lawley, and OF Eudy Pina from the AA roster.

Lawley was a 19th round pick of the Mets in 2011 and has hit .213/.256/.370 with six homeruns and 26 RBI. He has been more productive lately with two homeruns and eight RBI over his last ten games. He has also struggled in the field this year committing 15 errors in only 51 games at third base. The 26-year old has always shown good power in the Minors hitting 76 homeruns and 136 doubles over 504 games in the Mets system.

Rodriguez is known for his powerful swing and did not disappoint in that department this year with 13 doubles, 10 homeruns, and a .461 slugging percentage. Over his last ten games he hit .324 with three homeruns while playing almost exclusively first base this year. The Mets have shown an unhappiness with Aderlin despite the power, signing two different Minor League veterans this year (David Cooper & Brock Peterson) to split time with him at the 1B/DH slot. The 23-yead old failed to get on-base consistently in this year with a .288 OBP and his entire career with a .302 OBP.

Pina is the biggest surprise to me because he has been tearing the cover off the ball lately going 15-34 (.441) over his last ten games. He was hitting .304/.323/.407 with seven doubles, five triples, and two home runs to go along with eight stolen bases this year. However, the 24-yeaar old has struck out 57 times this season compared to only eight walks.

The moves put the Binghamton roster at 21 players with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Paul Sewald all on the temporary inactive list. Meaning when those three return (maybe Nimmo and Conforto go to Vegas instead) they have one open spot right now which I think obviously goes to Jeff McNeil.

McNeil is still leading the Florida State League in hitting with his .320 average, 3rd in runs (53), and 5th in OPS at .779. Dominic Smith would also make some sense with the way he has played this year putting himself in the Top 10 in almost every offensive category in the FSL including leading in doubles (27), 2nd in RBI (53), and 7th in OPS (.777).

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MMO Exclusive: Michael Conforto Focused On Improving His Game, Not On His MLB Debut Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:20:28 +0000 michael Conforto

The Mets drafted Michael Conforto because of his prowess as a hitter and he has yet to disappoint since making his pro debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones last season and starting off his career with a 10-game hitting streak. He would finish his first year in pro ball hitting .331/.403/.448 with ten doubles, three homeruns, sixteen walks, and 19 RBI in 42 games in short season ball.

Conforto introduced himself to all Mets fans this spring when he got into 5 games going 4-11 with three RBI while showing his sweet left-handed swing.

With no need for him to go down to Savannah the Mets bumped him straight to Advanced-A St. Lucie where he dominated in the month of April hitting .313/.396/.566 with six homeruns and nineteen RBI.

On May 24th the Fort Myers Miracle decided he had beaten them enough (7 hits, 2 HR’s in last 3 games against them) and the best way to avoid similar results was to intentionally walk him three times that day. For some reason they chose to try pitching to him the next day and Conforto went 3-4 with a homerun and a double before being intentionally walked in his last at-bat.

Other teams started getting sick of Michael beating them, they started pitching around him leading him to his worst pro month of baseball hitting just .255/.328/.387 while walking nine times and getting HBP three times. Despite the May struggles he was still named a Florida State League All-Star and finished hitting .283/.350/.462 with twelve doubles, seven homeruns, and 28 RBI for St. Lucie.

On May 29th the Mets finally did what most fans and prospect gurus had been clamoring about for weeks and promoted the first-rounder to Double-A Binghamton.

All Michael has done since being moved up is hit .377/.482/.623 with seven doubles, two triples, two homeruns, and 12 RBI with a 14/17 BB/SO while reaching base in all 19 of his games for the B-Mets. Conforto also has an isolated slugging of .262 in AA something only 12 Major League hitters have accomplished this year in the big leagues.

Michael has also worked on his defense in left field which was a big topic of discussion when he was drafted. He has only one error in 59 games this year after making five in just 41 games last year.


Michael and I talked on Wednesday in Portland after watching him put on a power display in batting practice and here is our conversation:

MMO - First off I want to congratulate you on a great season and finally getting promoted to Binghamton.

Conforto - Thanks, just playing and coming out everyday like it’s the same! while trying to keep it simple. The day finally came and now here I am.

MMO - You started the year off really well in St. Lucie then the pitcher’s seemed to adjust to you or did they stop pitching to you?

Conforto - It was a combination of both, they started pitching around me a little bit and I started swinging at pitches that I normally wouldn’t if I was hitting well. Then they changed their approach to me by pitching inside more and I started swinging at those pitches which were low percentage for me, putting myself in a little slump.

But that’s baseball you know, those things are going to happen and I just had to find a way to work myself out of it which I did. I got in the cage and worked with my coaches and the hard work paid off. I got the call here with a spot open and have had a good start here too.

MMO - Now what adjustments have you had to make to pitching at the AA level?

Conforto - Just trying to stay simple, staying with the approach that I have and avoiding things I did during my first slump where I got out of my rhythm. It’s good to get that first one out of the way because you know you are not going to be hot all the time.

I need to just stick to the approach that gives me the best chance up there (at the plate), even if I’m facing a good pitcher. I need to make sure I am swinging at quality hitter’s pitches instead off chasing good pitcher’s pitches that way I have a better chance at the plate.

As far as adjustments I wouldn’t say I’ve have had to make many, the difference here (AA) is that the pitchers are more consistent, they make less mistakes and they can throw 3 or 4 different pitches for strikes. I need to make sure I’m keeping it simple here, it’s still baseball and its the same game. The consistency here might change but that doesn’t mean I have to change.

MMO - In St. Lucie you struggled against lefties but to start your career here in Binghamton you have faced seven left-handed starting pitchers in the first 10 games and you have obviously fared better. What do you think the reason is for that?

Conforto - I think it’s all part of coming up here (Binghamton) with a fresh start that allowed me to get back into what I was doing to start the season and in spring training.

I don’t think it was actually a lefty/righty thing as much as just getting back to my approach. I have never had a problem facing lefties, I have always felt comfortable against them it’s not like when I see that a lefty is throwing I say oh crap. I treat it the same way and now that no matter what hand they throw with as long as I keep my approach the same I have a good chance

MMO - When you were drafted there were a lot of draft experts that said you were below average defensively in LF and you might not stick there. Having watched you it seems like you have worked on your defense and throwing while improving both.

Conforto - I knew the criticisms, I had heard about them and the coaches here talked to me about it. I have put work in with them (coaches) and the best time to do it is in batting practice so you can get live reads off the bat.

Getting myself into the right position to throw was a big thing for me that helped me start throwing guys out (6 OF assists this year) and be more accurate. It’s just something that I had to work on, I had to be out there everyday playing and its incredible what hard work can do for you.

MMO - How much attention do you pay to the big club and fans wanting you to come up now? Do you pay attention to all the social media?

Conforto - I get sent stuff from my grandfather who is so into that stuff, he keeps up on everything and knows about anything that comes out. He will send stuff to my dad and he is careful about how much of it he sends to me. I try not to pay too much attention because it doesn’t have too much control on what is going to happen. All I can control is the way I am playing and to keep showing up to the ballpark everyday. 

MMO - What do you think you need to improve on to become a better player and to make it to the big leagues eventually?

Conforto - I think I need to be more consistent at the plate to try and avoid slumps like I had in St. Lucie. I also need to continue to work on my defense and putting myself in good positions to make plays.

I also need to work on my baserunning like taking extra bases, knowing when to be aggressive because it’s small things like that which separates the  guys here (AA) from the guys playing in the Majors.

MMO - Thanks Michael, good luck this year and hope to see you in New York soon. 

Michael went and signed some autographs as we were getting ready to start our interview, he also went back over to sign more afterwards. Kids were yelling for him the whole time during the interview and he signed for each one. After the game he was also the only guy to sign for kids right beside the dugout which is pretty unusual to do at that ballpark. He also made it a point to come over during batting practice to say hello to me and shake my hand.

I covered Binghamton when they were in Portland last month and it was completely different this time, the team had a different feel to it. The other players know that Conforto is/will be a star, they stood around batting practice watching as he hit mammoth homeruns just laughing at the ridicolous distance on some of them. At one point a teammate turned to me and said “this guy is a f**** joke” because he just hit one completely out of the park.

Before both games I was able to talk to multiple scouts that were there watching the Mets. They were impressed with the power/swing from Conforto. One scout did say that he needs more work on his defense but when I asked him if Conforto could hit in the big leagues right now he said “Yes, I don’t see why not”.

The Mets say they are not considering a promotion to the big league team for Conforto according to Mike Puma of the New YorkPost. But that’s okay with Michael who is only focused on improving his performance and becoming the best player he can be. We all wish him well.

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Brooklyn Cyclones 2015 Season Primer Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:35:21 +0000 Cyclones

Tonight brings the beginning of the season for the Mets Single-A short season affiliate the Brooklyn Cyclones who head to Staten Island to start their season. The Cyclones home debut will be on Saturday at 6 PM as they take on Staten Island once again.

Last year the Cyclones finished 42-34 missing the playoffs for the 2nd straight season despite leading the New York-Penn League with their 2.74 team ERA. However, the offense struggled for Brooklyn hitting the 2nd fewest homeruns in the league (22) and posting a team OPS of .656 that was below the league average OPS of .674 while also striking out the 2nd most in the league.

Tom Gamboa is returning to manage the Cyclones for the 2nd straight year with a team that will have nine players returning from last year and three 2015 picks on the Opening Night roster. Joining him on the coaching staff will be Dave LaRoche as pitching coach (1st, father of Adam and Andy), Yunir Garcia as hitting coach (1st, last 3 for Kingsport), and Edgardo Alfonzo also listed as a coach. The Cyclones are one of only four professional teams since 2001 that have never finished below .500 in any season.

The Cyclones have had three former Sterling Award winners for player of the year in Brooklyn make their debut for the Mets this season in Darrell Ceciliani, Daniel Muno, and Hansel Robles. Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Jenrry Mejia, and Eric Campbell are all former Cyclones as well.

The preliminary roster below is subject to change with some guys possibly moving down and 4th round pick David Thompson yet to sign.

The Mets 24th round pick from last year and Mount Sinai, New York native Tyler Badamo will get the Opening Night start tonight, he was 1-0 with 1.74 ERA in 10 appearances (4 starts) in his pro debut last year for the GCL Mets. Here is the rest of the roster:


Corey Taylor- Mets 2015 7th round pick out of Texas Tech is a good size boy at 6’1 250 pounds that throws his fastball 91-95 with a mid-80′s slider that profiles him a reliever.

P.J. Conlon- Mets 2015 13th round pick out of San Diego who stand 6 feet tall at 175 pounds who throws his fastball in 86-90 MPH range with a good curve and like to throw all four pitches.

Christian Montgomery- 21-year old righty who had a 6.48 ERA and 1.920 WHIP in Kingsport last year and was suspended in 2013 for his 2nd positive test for drug of abuse.

Ty Williams- 21-year old right hander who had a 3.27 ERA while allowing only 7.0 H/9 for Kingsport last year.

Alex Palsha- 27th round pick last year closed for Kingsport and the GCL Mets combining for 11 saves and a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings.

Tyler Badamo- 22-year old who is 6’2 weighing 190 pounds that had a 4.33 SO/W ratio in the GCL last year in 31 innings.

Nicco Blank- The 5’9 right hander was a 24th round pick last year and allowed 24 baserunners in 9.1 innings last year for Kingsport.

Craig Missigman- 21-year old, 6’4 right hander that pitched in Kingsport last year to the tune of a 7.42 ERA in 13.1 innings.

Carlos Valdez- 24-year old left-handed pitcher who has pitched in Brooklyn the last two years and started this year in Savannah pitching to a 7.62 ERA in 13 innings.

Kevin Canelon- Left-handed 21-year old from Venezuela that pitched well in the GCL last year sporting a 1.45 ERA while walking only 1 batter in 37.1 innings.

Ruben Reyes- 24-year old right hander who has pitched the last two years in Kingsport walking 31 hitters in 40 innings.

Gaither Bumgardner- Returning to Brooklyn after a fine 2014 season allowing just 5.7 H/9, the 6’6 righty has pitched in 2.1 innings for Savannah this year.

Gaby Almonte- The 22-year old starter was 0-7 with a 5.00 ERA while striking out only 29 in 54 innings for Kingsport last year.

Michael Gibbons- Made his debut last week pitching a 7-inning scoreless gem for St. Lucie giving up just two hits while striking out four and hit 95 MPH on the gun.

Jose Celas- The 24-year old made 7 starts for the GCL Mets last year pitching to a 1.682 WHIP but did strike out 37 in 35.2 innings

Matt Blackham- The Mets 29th rounder last year was very good for Kingsport striking out 25 and giving up 10 hits in 19 innings last year.


Manuel Hilario- 23-year old who can also play right field, third base, and first base that hit .232/.300/.293 in the GCL last year.

Jose Garcia-  Six foot, 200 pound 20-year old catcher that hit .215/.246/.243 while throwing out 33% of base stealers last year for Kingsport. He was signed for $750K back in 2011 out of Venezuela

Natanael Ramos- Was just added to the roster on his 22nd birthday! Hit .217.282.255 while throwing out 35% of base stealers last year in the GCL.


Alfredo Reyes- The 21-year old split time between Brooklyn and the GCL last year while playing SS and 2B. Received 7 at bats earlier this year in St. Lucie.

Branden Kaupe- 21-year old Hawaiian who hit .260/.352/.333 while playing mainly second base for Kingsport last year.

Vinny Siena- The Mets 14th round pick out of UCONN this year that hit .362/.424/.519 with 7 homeruns in his Junior year while playing second base

Pedro Perez- Returning to Brooklyn after splitting last season with the Cyclones and Kingsport. Hit .177/.227/.290 in 19 games for Savannah this year playing 1B/3B.

Will Fulmer- 22nd round pick from last year that is returning to play in Brooklyn after 24 games there last year playing RF, 2B, and 1B.

Jeffrey Diehl- 21-year old first basemen returns to Brooklyn after hitting .263/.287/.437 in 36 games for them last year.

Michael Katz- Mets 9th round pick from last year returns to Brooklyn after hitting .275/.323/.346 and playing 1B/RF for them last year.

Zach Mathieu- The 6’7, 235 pound first basemen hit .270/.358/.441 with 17 doubles, 3 homeruns, and 29 RBI in Kingsport last year.


Tucker Tharp- 30th round pick that is returning to Brooklyn after playing hitting .213 in 66 games there last year. Played in 1 game in Savannah and 2 in St. Lucie this year.

Oswald Caraballo- Played in Kingsport last year hitting .289/.317/.410 with 18 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 38 RBI while playing all three outfield spots.

Michael Bernal- The right fielder from the Dominican returns to Brooklyn after tying for the team lead in homeruns last year with five and 2nd in RBI with 36.

Enmanuel Zabala-  20-year old from Santo Domingo hit .301/.356/.367 with 13 stolen bases while playing mostly left field for the GCL Mets last year.

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