Mets Merized Online » Jonathon Niese Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:00:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Featured Post: Who Should Be Traded, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee? Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:33:34 +0000 dillon gee jonathon niese

I love watching Dillon Gee pitch.  Similarly, I am a fan of Jon Niese.

Although the Mets have been under .500 every season Gee has pitched in the majors, Gee himself has a won-loss record that is six games over .500 and he has never been more than one game under the break-even mark over a full season.  Jonathon Niese, on the other hand, is one of the few Mets left on the team who played at Shea Stadium (David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell are the others, although Murphy and Parnell may not be on this list much longer).  Niese is also the team’s only southpaw on a staff filled with right-handed pitchers.

As much as I enjoy having Gee and Niese on the team, I understand that the starting rotation currently has Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom taking up four spots, with Noah Syndergaard waiting in the wings.  Assuming Colon is traded at some point during the 2015 season (if not sooner), Syndergaard would be the obvious choice to replace him in the rotation.  That would leave one of the members of the Gee-Niese duo out of luck and perhaps out of a job in New York.

Knowing full well that either Gee or Niese will not be a Met by this time next year, I decided to see which player the Mets would be better off keeping.  One or both pitchers might be traded if the right deal comes along, but I think one of the two would be better off staying in the Mets’ starting rotation.  Here’s my reasoning for the player I would like to stick around.

Although he has a 3.91 ERA for his career, Dillon Gee has had only one full season in the majors in which he posted an ERA under 4.00.  Advanced metrics also have his lifetime FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) at 4.23.  For all you kids out there, FIP measures how effective a pitcher is at limiting home runs, walks and hit batsmen while causing strikeouts.  Basically, those are the four categories in which fielders do not determine an outcome.  Therefore, Gee’s 4.23 FIP is considered a little higher than what is expected from an average pitcher.

Jonathon Niese has a 3.87 career ERA, but has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each of his last three seasons, going under 3.50 in two of the last three campaigns.  But on the FIP side, Niese has a lifetime 3.72 FIP and has posted a FIP under 4.00 in each of his last four seasons.  Niese has walked more batters than Gee, but has hit fewer batters and allowed fewer home runs per nine innings than Gee.  And when it comes to strikeouts, Niese is far superior to Gee, as Niese has surpassed 130 strikeouts in a season four times, while Gee has done it just once.

Speaking of strikeouts, although Niese is just 28 years old (he’s actually six months younger than Dillon Gee), he’s already in the Mets’ all-time top ten in career strikeouts.  Niese’s 713 Ks are tenth on the team’s lifetime leaderboard and he is just one strikeout behind Bobby Jones for ninth place.  Once he passes Jones, the only pitchers in front of him will be Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Ron Darling, Al Leiter and Jon Matlack.  You may also know that octet as arguably the eight best pitchers in the history of the franchise.   Niese’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.69; 713 K/265 BB) is also far better than Gee’s ratio (2.26; 464 K/205 BB).

Let’s look at another new metric to determine a pitcher’s effectiveness – ERA+.  This metric compares a pitcher’s earned run average to the league average and also accounts for park factors, with 100 being considered an average ERA+.  For example, Citi Field is generally considered a pitcher’s park.  However, Dillon Gee has never posted an ERA+ of 100 in any of his four full seasons.  From 2011 to 2014, Gee has posted a 90 ERA+, with a career-best 98 ERA+ in 2013, which is still 2% worse than the average pitcher.  Meanwhile, Jonathon Niese has a 97 ERA+ since he became a regular in the rotation in 2010.  But since 2012, Niese has a 104 ERA+, making him 4% better than the average pitcher over the last three seasons.  Niese’s career-best performance in this metric came in 2012, when he posted a 112 ERA+.

WAR (wins above replacement) is all the rage in this sabermetric era of baseball.  The higher the WAR, the better the player.  It’s that simple.  Looking at the WAR posted by Gee and Niese since 2011 (the year both pitchers were rotation-mates for the first time), it’s clear which pitcher has been more valuable to the team.  Gee has a 4.5 WAR since 2011, going above 1.0 just once in the four years (2013, when he posted a 2.2 WAR).  In the same time period, Niese has a 6.2 WAR, posting a 3.4 WAR in 2012 and a 1.7 WAR this past season.

WAR.  What is it good for?  For Niese, it might be good for keeping him in New York.

WAR. What is it good for?  For Niese, it might be good for keeping him in NY.

Finally, let’s look at one overlooked, but still important, part of the pitcher’s game – his offense.  When a pitcher comes to bat, he’s not expected to do much.  If there’s a runner on base, he’s expected to bunt him over.  If there’s no one on base, the best a pitcher is expected to do is not get hurt swinging the bat and maybe make the opposing pitcher throw a few extra pitches.  When it comes to proficiency with the bat, there’s no contest between Gee and Niese.

Since becoming a regular in the rotation in 2011, Dillon Gee has a .154 on-base percentage, reaching base 27 times (18 hits, nine walks) in 206 plate appearances.  Meanwhile, since Niese joined the rotation for good in 2010, he has reached base an incredible 66 times (38 hits, 28 walks) in 304 plate appearances, which is a .237 on-base percentage.  Of all pitchers with at least 200 plate appearances since 2010, only Zack Greinke (.274 OBP in 245 PA) and Mike Leake (.261 OBP in 338 PA) have a higher on-base percentage than Jonathon Niese and only Ian Kennedy has drawn more walks (32 BB in 342 PA) than Niese.  Kennedy and Niese are the only pitchers who have walked more than 20 times since 2010.

So let’s review.  Jonathon Niese has a better ERA, ERA+, FIP and WAR than Dillon Gee.  Niese is also much more adept at recording strikeouts than Gee and has a better K/BB ratio.  And while Gee is almost an automatic out with the bat, Niese gives the Mets a ninth hitter in the lineup, reaching base just under a quarter of the time.  Niese isn’t going to break into a home run trot any time soon, but he has proven to be one of the better handlers of the bat among National League pitchers.

Dillon Gee will blow out 29 candles during the first month of the 2015 campaign.  Jonathon Niese will be 28 all season.  Niese has more experience than Gee, having pitched at Shea Stadium.  Niese is also left-handed, something no other starting pitcher on the Mets can claim.  Although Gee is still arbitration eligible and will likely not command more than $5 million in 2015, Niese is due $7 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016, hardly amounts that would break the Wilpon family piggy bank.

If the Mets are going to trade one of their veteran homegrown pitchers before the curtains rise on the 2015 season, it should be clear which one should go.  Although I’ve always enjoyed watching him pitch and still believe he can be successful in New York, Dillon Gee will probably be the victim of an overcrowded starting rotation.  Jonathon Niese, despite all the question marks surrounding his health, has still made at least 24 starts in each of his five full seasons in the majors.  Gee has surpassed 22 starts just twice in his four full seasons with the Mets.  Also, Niese may not always utter the most politically correct statements, especially when it comes to Mets fans’ loyalty, but you can’t say he was pulling things out of his posterior.  If the Mets are going to draw the crowds Niese was used to seeing when he was a neophyte, then the team has to play better.  And right now, I believe the team will perform better with Niese on the team instead of Gee.

Of course, trading Gee or Niese will depend on the package the Mets would receive in return, but if each package was similar and the Mets had an option of trading either player, then that player should be Gee.  The future of the team would look a lot brighter if it held on to Niese.

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With d’Arnaud Heating Up and Plawecki Almost Ready, Will Mets Make A Play For Starlin Castro? Sat, 05 Jul 2014 16:23:17 +0000 MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Mets

Travis d’Arnaud may have had his coming-out party for the Mets on Friday night, when he drove a two-run double into the gap to snap an eighth-inning tie that led to a 6-5 4th of July victory over the Rangers.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Mets and showcased what has been a much more confident d’Arnaud at the plate.

“It felt really good,” d’Arnaud said after the game. “It’s a big win for us to start the homestand.”

The top ranked catching prospect heading into this season, credits a back-to-basics approach for his turnaround and clearing his head of all the noise and advice he’s been collecting since his joining the big-league team.

“Just keep things simple. Not overthink my mechanics or overthink anything, have one thought in my head at the plate and that’s it.”

D’Arnaud has now hit in eight of nine games since being recalled from Triple-A, batting .319 (10-for-33) with three doubles, one home run and six RBIs during that span.

“He’s a very confident kid,” said Collins of d’Arnaud. “I know that he’s been swinging pretty good. Tonight he had his chance to help us big time, and he did.”

With Kevin Plawecki coming on strong in the minors, the Mets may ultimately decide to flip one of them to fill another area of need, perhaps the shortstop position.

starlin castro

After last night’s blockbuster trade, the Chicago Cubs are now stacked with several high-upside shortstops, and they may be the perfect partner for a deal that could land the Mets Starlin Castro - who is as talented as they come but has sometimes rubbed the Cubs the wrong way.

Castro is batting .290 and leads all major league shortstops with 26 doubles. He has 11 home runs this season and his 50 RBIs rank second among all shortstops. in 335 at-bats he’s boasting an .807 OPS which ranks third among major league shortstops.

A two-time All Star already, the 24-year old is at the top of the food chain among shortstops who may be available this month. But a talent like that will be prized by many teams and not just the Mets, and he won’t come cheap. His contract calls for a very team friendly $48 million over 6 years with a club option for 2020.

However they dice to do it, the Mets need to find a way to add an impact bat to their lineup which is laden with far too many Quad-A type talents, waiver wire pickups, and reclamation projects. Players like Castro are not often made available by most teams – who usually lock players like this up.

This is certainly something to keep an eye on in the next few weeks.

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Looks Like Niese Will Start Opening Day Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:48:48 +0000 jon niese

The Mets plan to start Jonathon Niese on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals on March 31 at Citi Field, then have Bartolo Colon start Game 2 of the season and Dillon Gee start Game 3, team insiders told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Rubin says that would push Zack Wheeler and the fifth starter to the second series of the season, against the Cincinnati Reds, also in Queens.

The sources noted the decision is subject to change if there is an “injury or weather complication,” but “that is the current plan.”

So much for the Opening Day starter competition… :-)

I wonder what other competitions have already been decided?

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Rafael Montero To Throw First Pitch Of Mets Grapefruit League Season Sun, 23 Feb 2014 15:09:25 +0000 rafael montero

Rafael Montero will throw the first pitch of the Mets’ Grapefruit League schedule, on Friday at 1:10 p.m. against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field.

Montero, 23, went a combined 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas last season.

This amazing control artist allowed 136 hits and walked 35 while striking out 150 in 155 1/3 innings.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York posted the upcoming starting-pitching schedule as follows:

I am freaking pumped!

By the way, we are at Port St. Lucie. We don’t really do photos and videos, but we have been compiling about a dozen player interviews so far that we plan to post beginning tomorrow. Some great stuff coming up over the next few weeks.

Lets Go Mets!

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ESPN: Montero could be key for Mets in 2014 Wed, 12 Feb 2014 15:14:18 +0000 montero (2)

The buzz regarding highly touted pitching prospect Rafael Montero making his major league debut this season continues to build.

Several prognosticators have ticketed the Mets to finish with a similar record from last year (74-88) as they continue their rebuilding project and wait for the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery. On the other hand, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York devised a scenario in which the Mets flip their record to 88-74. One of the key points in his “ambitious outlook” is a contribution from Montero at the big-league level.

Montero, who earned his first taste of Double-A and Triple-A last season, has been rumored to be a candidate for the last spot in the starting rotation on Opening Day or could be a mid-season addition. His name has also surfaced as part of the mix for the bullpen, though, that seems unlikely after he finished 12-7 with a 2.78 and 1.10 WHIP in 27 starts between Binghamton and Las Vegas last year.

According to Rubin, if Montero “pitches 150 really good innings in the major leagues” he could possibly eclipse double-digits in wins with an ERA around 3.00 — marks that could make him a Rookie of the Year candidate. The Dominican native would likely face an innings limit, as he has compiled more 150 innings only once in his career (he threw 155 1/3 innings last season).

Viewed as the Mets’ second-best pitching prospect behind only Noah Syndergaard by, the crafty right-hander also owns a 4.87 K/BB rate for his career and has surrendered just 16 homers in 64 total appearances in the minors (59 starts). His rising potential has made him a valuable commodity in the organization’s restocked farm system, an area that was evident in the offseason when general manager Sandy Alderson reportedly balked at trade offers that included the 23-year-old.

The Mets are expected to have several players vying for the No. 5 spot in spring training, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia. The remainder of the rotation is occupied by Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

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Niese Could Get Opening Day Nod Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:00:06 +0000 jon niese

Adam Rubin writes on that Jon Niese may get another Opening Day nod from Terry Collins to start the 2014 season. The Mets open the season on March 31 against the Washington Nationals.

On Opening Day 2013, Niese pitched a gem and earned a win in the Mets 11-2 laugher. The veteran southpaw finished the season at 8-8, a 3.71 ERA, 48 walks, and 105 strikeouts in the 24 games that he started. 

Rubin shares that Collins is leaning toward Niese and he considers him as the ace of the staff. As an alternative to Niese, Collins mentions that he may turn to Dillion Gee.

Giving Niese the Opening Day nod would be a vote of confidence to the 27 year old lefty, especially after he struggled in the early months of last season and then landed on the disabled list with a partial tear of his left rotator cuff.  After a stint on the DL, he returned in August and pitched well the rest of the season, posting a 5-2 record, and a 3.00 ERA.

Mets fans hope that Niese can regain his 2012 form when he won a career high 13 games. With Matt Harvey out for most, if not all of 2014, Niese can be the Ace that TC needs to anchor the rotation.  A great start to the 2014 season for Niese can really propel the rest of the staff to follow suit. Even with the questions the Mets have as to who will actually make up the starting rotation, its nice to know that they still have Niese poised to make a big impact on the season. LGM!

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Previewing Mets Opening Day Starter Candidates Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:20:43 +0000 opening day

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

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

So here we go…

The Contenders

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

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

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

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

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Why Mets Fans Should Hope Colon Is As Good As Glavine Fri, 10 Jan 2014 14:00:21 +0000 BartoloColon

Let’s start off by saying this: if Bartolo Colon is pitching a meaningful game for the Mets next September, we will all sign on the dotted line for that. To get to that point, however, it will require a lot of things to go the Mets’ way. Including a performance by Colon that matches what another aging pitcher once gave them in the mid-2000s, Tom Glavine.

Tom Glavine was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, and Mets fans weren’t exactly the loudest to rejoice. We all remember how he tortured the Mets as an Atlanta Brave, and perhaps more cruelly, how he crumbled in September 2007, his seven earned run performance against Florida on the last day of the season the most hurtful of all.

What is forgotten however, is how Tom Glavine came to the Mets as a 37-year-old pitcher, but was able to pitch five seasons of nearly 200 inning baseball, making him a big part of the success they did enjoy during that period. To put his contributions in perspective, only nine times has a Met pitcher pitched at least 180 innings at the age of 37 or older. Glavine represents five of those occurrences. A veteran pitcher, who can consume innings like that, is a rare commodity. Sandy Alderson is hopeful he found one in Bartolo Colon.

Since quality starts are often frowned upon as an effective measure of an actual quality start, there is a statistic devised by Bill James that goes a little deeper in scoring game starts. James gives added value for pitchers who pitch late into games, rewards strikeouts, and punishes walks. Game Score also accounts for hits and runs. An average Game Score is usually around 49 or 50.

Between 2003-2007, during Glavine’s tenure with the Mets, he pitched to a Game Score above 50 eighty-six times. Tom Glavine is most remembered for his terrible starts to close the 2007 season. What is forgotten is was how more than any other pitcher he provided quality starts, night-in and night-out.

Player # Games GSc > 50
Tom Glavine 86
Steve Trachsel 48
Pedro Martinez 43
Al Leiter 40

Can Bartolo Colon provide the same consistency to the Mets at the age of 40?  Below is the number of times he pitched to a Game Score above 50 over the past three seasons (at ages 38, 39, and 40) compared to the Mets best pitchers during the same seasons 2011-2013.

Player # Games GSc > 50
Jonathon Niese 49
Bartolo Colon 48
Dillon Gee 45
R.A. Dickey 44

The point is that without Glavine’s contributions throughout the season, the Mets would have never been in the competitive position they found themselves in during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The same will be asked upon Bartolo Colon, especially with a young pitching staff in desperate need of leadership and innings. Mets fans should hope that Colon can be as good as Glavine was here.

Note: We welcome Jeffrey to the MMO team. Congratulations on your debut  post!

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Mets Minors: Could Logan Verrett Profile as a Reliever in the Majors? Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:38:52 +0000

He’s a baseball alchemist with a potent mix of pitches proven to flummox even the most accomplished batters in Double-A’s Eastern League. With 12 wins, Binghamton starting pitcher Logan Verrett shares the top of the league in this category with two other pitchers. Yet, watching Verrett capably mix four different pitchers over five innings of work on Sunday, I couldn’t help but wonder if Verrett profile as a future relief pitcher for the Mets given the depth of young arms in the minor league system.

Verrett throws a fastball, slider, curve ball and change. The 23-year old right-hander flashes pinpoint command of his fastball. Sunday Verrett used 36 fastballs, throwing 14 of 15 during his first three innings in the strike zone and finishing at 27 of 36. Impressive. Take a look at Verrett’s fastball speeds in the five inning outing.

Speeds Pitch Counts
89 9
90 10
91 10
92 3
93 2
94 1

Of Verrett’s 15 fastballs over his first three innings, all but one reached 90 miles per hour or higher. All six of his fastballs reaching 92 mph or higher were thrown during these innings. Clearly, a majority of Verrett’s fastballs over five innings came in at between 89 through 91 miles per hour. Could those fastball speeds trend upward averaging perhaps in the 91 through 94 mph range if Verrett was used for one or two innings at a time working out of the bullpen? Would an increase in speed really matter?

Adding to the potential of ramping up the fastball velocity is the fact Verrett is only 23- years old. Although he stands 6’2, he weights just 180 pounds. As he continues to mature and gets stronger, it’s reasonable to predict the Met prospect could find a natural uptick in his pitching speed.

The speed of pitches is important, but, so too, is a pitchers mix and their confidence in throwing a variety of pitchers. Verrett’s has a four pitch mix with growing assuredness using his off-speed stuff. Sunday he threw 36 fastballs and 31 off-speed pitches.

Here’s a summary of Verrett’s off-speed selections on Sunday.

Pitches Strikes Ball
Slider 9 5
Change-up 8 5
Curve ball 3 1

The B-Met ace faced 18 batters, throwing first pitch fastballs to 11 and an off-speed selection to seven (1 slider, 3 curves, 3 changes). Four times, Verrett went to three-ball counts, throwing a 3-2 slider and choosing his fastball on three, 3-1 counts. Verrett’s slider is a go-to pitch, but it’s the righthander’s change-up that fascinates me.

Try as I might, I can never pick-up the change. There is simply no difference in the pitching motion Verrett uses throwing his fastball and his change. As he has each time I’ve seen him pitch, Verrett selects more and more change-ups the deeper he pitches in a contest. Would a four pitch menu with Verrett having good command of every pitch choice be an asset coming out of the pen?

The final asset is Verrett’s command. Navigating sticky situations is the life line of an effective relief specialist. That chore is difficult at best and near impossible when pitchers add to the challenge by surrendering base-on-balls. That has not been a part of the B-Met mid-season Eastern League all-star’s pitching profile as a starter this year.

Over 146 innings, Verrett has struck out 132 batters and only walked 31. Sunday Verrett threw 14 of 18 first pitch strikes. The B-Met ace was ahead after the first 3 pitches of the count 11 of 14 times. That kind of command, the ability to get ahead of batters in the count, makes Verrett’s use of multiple pitches more effective. Ahead in the count he can change speeds and locations and use his pitching intelligence to out with opposing batters. Would this factor in even more during
pressure situations with a game on the line in the final innings?

One issue Verrett has faced this year in the home run ball. Verrett surrendered a two-run blast on Sunday his 21st gopher ball of the season. That averages about one home run every seven innings. Start or relieve, that’s one part of the game I’m certain the young B-Met pitcher intends to improve.

With all their young pitching guns looking forward, the Mets have many tough decisions to make. Matt HarveyZack WheelerJonathon NieseDillon GeeJenrry Mejia, Noah Snydergaard, and Rafael Montero might mean guys like Logan Verrett are expendable. Not so fast. Before any move is made, the assets Verrett brings to the mound should be weighed carefully as a potential part of the Met starting rotation and as a relief pitcher coming out of the New York bullpen.

(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)

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Game Preview: Niese On The Mound As Mets Look For Sweep Sun, 01 Sep 2013 16:22:41 +0000 jon niese

Mets at Nationals • 8:05 PM

LHP Jon Niese (6-6, 3.69) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49)

Starting Lineup

1. Eric Young Jr., LF
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. Josh Satin, 3B
4. Lucas Duda, 1B
5. Travis d’Arnaud, C
6. Juan Lagares, RF
7. Matt den Dekker, CF
8. Omar Quintanilla, SS
9. Jonathon Niese, P

Terry Collins mentioned that Flores is going to be back in the lineup on Monday. He has been dealing with his ankle injury and apparently altered his swing — but Adam Rubin notes the fatigue factor could be setting in as well. Duda replaces Davis in the line-up, who’s pretty much done for the year with an oblique injury. This is Niese’s first start against Washington this season.

Game Preview

Tonight in front of a national audience the Mets will be going for a series sweep of the Washington Nationals. Last night the Mets were firing on all cylinders dropping in the base hits and getting out of trouble with pitching thus leading to a 11-3 win. Jon Niese will take the mound tonight as he squares up against Ross Ohlendorf.

Jon Niese is 6-6 over 18 games this season pitching 105.0 innings with a 3.69 ERA. He has pitched 22.0 innings in his last three starts with a 0.82 ERA (just 2 earned runs) and 23 strikeouts. The numbers right now are being juked by a complete game shutout he threw in his last outing. Surprisingly, he has not faced the Nationals at all this season and last year allowed 1 ER over 14.1 innings against them. The Nationals have the following numbers against Niese:

Werth 4-17
LaRoche 4-15, 2B, 2 HR
Zimmerman 5-14, 2B
Desmond 2-14, 2 2B
Hairston 1-5

The Mets bats will get another look at Ross Ohlendorf today, the pitcher with the delivery straight out of the early 1900′s. Ohlendorf is 3-0 over 12 games and 4 starts this year with a 2.49 ERA and 43.1 innings of work. Since being back on the major league roster, he has made two starts. In his first he allowed 4 ER over 4.1 innings. In his second, he allowed 1 ER over 5.0 innings. Against the Mets this year he allowed 1 earned run over 2.0 innings and then 1 earned run over 7.0 innings with 8 strikeouts. The Mets have the following numbers against him:

Murphy 4-7
Lagares 2-5, 2B
Satin 2-4, 2 2B
Young 1-3, 3B
Brown 0-3

Lets Go Mets!

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ESPN: Mets Are Team Of The Future In New York Thu, 22 Aug 2013 03:18:19 +0000 the future

Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Flores, Lagares, and Harvey take a group photo on flight to NY

The Mets are finally getting recognition as a team on the rise in 2013. Yesterday, you heard Mike Francesa on WFAN say that the Mets are “emerging from the abyss”; coming a long way from just three months ago from when he bluntly labeled them “unwatchable, embarrassing losers”. Today, David Schoenfield of has labeled Flushing’s Finest as “the team to watch these days” in New York.

Behind Harvey and Wheeler in the rotation there is solid Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese and promising Jenrry Mejia, who was just shut down after five impressive starts. He’ll have surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow. Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero started the Futures Games and are two top pitching prospects who have reached Double-A. The Mets can dream of a 2015 rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero and Mejia.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have players just trying to stay awake in the late innings.

Maybe the Yankees hang in this wild-card race — although at 5.5 games behind the A’s and with the Rays and the Orioles and Indians still a game ahead of them it will take exceptional baseball from the Yankees and bad baseball from at least one of the A’s or Rays for a playoff berth to happen. More likely, the Yankees fall short and they’ll have to figure out how to reload for 2014.

Maybe they can figure out a way. Maybe they make peace with Alex Rodriguez, he gets his suspension reduced and hits 20 home runs in the second half. Maybe Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira all return healthy and perform. Maybe they replace Mariano Rivera without a hitch. Maybe.

Just don’t be surprised if it’s the Mets who start getting the back page covers in the New York tabloids next year. They need a shortstop — how about a trade for Starlin Castro? — and they should go hard after free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The bullpen needs some work but that can be fixed. But Mets fans can see a foundation building instead of crumbling.

-Dave Schoenfield,
Team of the future in N.Y.? It’s the Mets

It is an excellent piece by Schoenfield and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety here.

I can’t wait to see what the immediate years ahead hold for the Amazin’s. The future is here and before we know it, the city is going to be dressed in orange and blue once again.

Hat tip to Jonathan B. for the link

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Wheeler Wins His Sixth and Mets Blast Two Homers To Beat The Braves 5-3 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 02:37:20 +0000 zack wheeler home

Zack Wheeler picked up his sixth win of the season and the Mets blasted two home runs as they opened up their homestand with a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Wheeler was a different pitcher than we saw in his last start and just focused on pitching his game rather than trying to strike everyone out. The result was a solid effort as he held the Braves potent offense scoreless for six innings before running into trouble in the seventh.

After loading the bases with two outs, Terry Collins had seen enough, pulled Wheeler, and called for Carlos Torres who was promptly greeted by bases-clearing double by shortstop Andrelton Simmons. All three runs were charged to Wheeler. The bullpen would contain the Braves the rest of the way including a perfect ninth by LaTroy Hawkins who earned his fifth save of the season.

The final line for Wheeler was three earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched on six hits, three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 72 of his 114 pitches for strikes. His velocity was great during the first few innings, but as Terry Collins pointed out he seemed to lose a few mph late in the game. I felt he pitched a gutty performance would have loved to see him face one more batter to get out of the jam, but I can’t blame Collins for removing him after tossing all those pitches. Wheeler knows how to compete.

marlon byrd homers

The Mets struck early on offense after an Ike Davis single drove home Eric Young who gotten on after an error and stole second in the bottom of the first inning. They would tack on three more runs in the sixth after a Brian McCann error allowed Eric Young to score from third, and then Marlon Byrd would put the Mets up 4-0 when he blasted a two-run homer to deep left. He now has 21 home runs this season with 70 RBIs. Wow, what a pickup for the Mets…

travis d'arnaud doubles

In the bottom of the eighth, Ike Davis crushed a bomb to deep right field to give the Mets an insurance run and put them up 5-3. It was Davis’ first home run at Citi Field since April 25th and there was no mistake about this one when he hit it. Two batters later would bring up Travis d’Arnaud who ripped a double for his first major league in his 11th at-bat as a Met. The rookie backstop finished the night 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on the night. Congratulations to the kid and lets hope it’s the beginning of a hot stretch for him.

The game featured some aggressive baserunning including a double steal that led to their first two runs. Young has a pair of steals to give him 28 for the season, and Daniel Murphy swiped his 15th base of the year – a career high. Games like this are what I love and it reminds me of those those aggressive Bobby Valentine years where they forced the opposition to make the play and be perfect. Hopefully we see more of this moving forward.

The Mets wrap up this short two-game series tomorrow at 1:10 PM as they look for the sweep with LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.25) opposing LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.61). Be there or be square…. Lets Go Mets!

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Mets vs Diamondbacks: Turner At Shortstop, Satin Batting Fifth In Series Opener Fri, 09 Aug 2013 14:51:13 +0000 hefner


Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.23) vs Patrick Corbin (12-3, 2.33)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Juan Lagares – CF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  4. Marlon Byrd – RF
  5. Josh Satin – 1B
  6. Justin Turner – SS
  7. Wilmer Flores – 3B
  8. John Buck – C
  9. Jeremy Hefner – RHP

Game Notes

RHP Dillon Gee produced another impressive effort Thursday afternoon, when he earned the win by allowing one run on eight hits and no walks while striking out three over 7 2/3 innings as the Mets edged the Rockies, 2-1. Gee allowed singles to the first two batters he faced but escaped the jam thanks in large part to Marlon Byrd, who threw out DJ LeMahieu trying to advance on Michael Cuddyer‘s fly out to right. Gee allowed just three more runners to get as far as second base and threw 87 pitches, including 65 strikes. He improved to 6-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 13 starts since May 30, a stretch in which he’s lowered his overall ERA from 6.34 to 3.82.

RHP Jeremy Hefner will look to win for the first time in the second half when he takes the mound for the Mets on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Hefner has struggled badly in four post-All-Star Break starts, a stretch in which he’s gone 0-2 with a 9.68 ERA as his overall ERA has soared from 3.33 to 4.23. Hefner was a bit better in his most recent start last Saturday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out six over six innings in the Mets’ 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Royals.

RHP Matt Harvey, who took a line drive off his right kneecap in the ninth inning of his first career shutout on Wednesday night, said he was fine Thursday morning. The Mets plan to go back to a six-man rotation once Jonathon Niese comes off the disabled list this weekend in Arizona, so Harvey get an extra day of rest before his next start regardless. Harvey allowed just four hits and walked none while striking out six Wednesday in the 5-0 win over the Rockies. It was also the first complete game of his career.

Left-hander Jonathon Niese (partial rotator cuff tear) made a rehab start with Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday and will start for the Mets on Sunday. Collins knows he will have to be cautious with Niese early in his return. He threw 80 pitches in his final rehab start, but Collins would like him to feel comfortable throwing 100.

RHP LaTroy Hawkins earned his second save of the week and of the season Thursday afternoon by throwing a perfect ninth inning in the Mets’ 2-1 win over the Rockies. Mets manager Terry Collins said Monday he would employ a closer-by-committee with Bobby Parnell on the disabled list, but Hawkins has been his choice the two times the Mets have generated a save opportunity in the ninth inning. Hawkins has been outstanding in 11 second-half appearances, a stretch in which he’s given up just one run on seven hits and no walks while striking out three over 10 innings to lower his overall ERA from 3.35 to 2.86—the lowest it has been since May 8.

Game Preview

Go West Boys From Queens!

But actually yes, head west. The Mets start an 11 game road trip tonight with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Padres and Twins on the heels of a 3 game sweep of the Rockies. Yesterday, the Mets got another great start from a starter, this time Gee as he was able to hold the Rockies to one run and the offense scored the minimum to win with 2. Tonight Hefner gets the mound as he squares up against Corbin:

Hefner is 4-8 on the season with a 4.23 ERA over 125.2 innings of work. His last tart, 3 ER over 6 innings, was the best since the All-Star break so hopefully he can continue to put it back together tonight. The last time he faced the Diamondbacks he allowed only one run over 7 innings. The Diamondbacks have the following numbers against him:

Prado 2-5, 2B, HR
Corbin 0-3
Goldschmidt 0-3
Hill 0-3
Kubel 1-2
Ross 0-3

The Mets get to look at Corbin again (and I guess Corbin gets another look at Hefner specifically). Corbin is 12-3, the best winning percentage in the league, with a 2.33 ERA over 150.1 innings of work. After four straight starts of allowing only 1 ER, he allowed 3 ER over 6 in his last outing. His last terrible outing was against the Mets as he allowed 5 ER over 6 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against him:

Young 3-9, 3 2B
Brown 3-7, HR
Buck 1-3
Byrd 1-3, 2B
Lagares 1-3, 2B
Satin 1-3, 2B
Murphy 2-2

Lets Go Mets!

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Niese Completes Rehab, Slated To Start Sunday Against D’Backs Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:31:30 +0000 Updated by Joe D.

jon niese

Jon Niese made his final rehab start last night for Double-A Binghamton.

In his final tuneup before a start against the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Sunday.

Niese pitched 5.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six batters.

Upon activating Niese, the Mets will return to a six-man rotation, which will allow Jenrry Mejia, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey to all pitch on an extra day of rest for the duration of the season or until they each hit their innings limit.

The Mets are expected to go to a four man bench again when that happens and as I speculated yesterday, I suspect Justin Turner to be the odd man out.

Original Post 8/1

Jon Niese reportedly has two rehab starts remaining before he is ready to rejoin the team. The 26-year-old lefty has been on the DL with a partially torn rotator cuff since June 21. His health, and return to form, are going to be crucial for the Mets success going forward.

Niese is part of the young core of starting pitchers that Sandy Alderson is looking to build this team around. The Mets signed him to a five-year extension after going 13-9 with a 3.40 era in 2012. He appeared to be reaching his potential and looked to be a front of the line starter for years to come.

But, Niese got off to a rocky start in 2013, posting a 3-6 record with a 4.32 era. This was looking more and more like a regression season, leaving many to question just what do the Mets really have in Niese? Then his shoulder issue became public. It was feared intially that he would need surgery. Thankfully, for his own and the Mets sake, it would only require rest to heal his partial tear.

Now Niese will look to prove his early season woes were due merely to injury. These next two months will be important for the Mets to see if their core rotation of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and lets trow Dillon Gee in there as well, can come together down the stretch. With the recent promotion of Jenry Mejia, there is no lack of youthful talent on this roster.

Rafael Montero, despite his recent AAA struggles, could be looking at a September call up as well. Noah Syndergaard, who was an after thought of sorts in the Dickey trade, is also getting more and more high praise with every start he makes.

However, all of these young arms are right-handed, except Jon Niese. That is what makes him so important to this team. It is not necessary, by all means, that you have a lefty in your rotation. But it certainly does help to have one or two on your staff throwing from the other side to give teams a different look throughout a series.

I expect Niese to bounce back when he returns. He has come a long way since he was first called up to the majors and possesses all the stuff to make him a quality pitcher. It was unknown early in his career just what his ceiling is as a starter, I see him sliding back in as the teams number 2 upon his return. But as time goes on, and some of these other young arms develop, I believe Niese will slot himself right in the middle of the rotation.

The Mets may not be making a playoff push this year, but these next two months could be a telling sign of where this rotation can take this franchise in the years to come.

For more of my insights on the Mets or baseball in general, check out my site and follow me on Twitter at @NYBaseballBlog

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The Curious Case Of Darin Gorski Fri, 02 Aug 2013 03:16:48 +0000 DARIN GORSKI: Is he officially a reliever now?

Like the U.S. during the Cold War, the New York Mets continue to build an arsenal of long range power arms. A ‘shock and awe’ strike capacity with a first wave including weaponry labeled  Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett, Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters, and Cory Mazzoni overpower lesser named rockets in the Mets armory. Met fans should not discount a left-handed firearm in their minor league system named Darin Gorski.

In a pitching weapon cache almost entirely comprised of right-handed weaponry, Darin Gorski is a rare firearm launched from the left side.  In a minor league season that is “The Year of the Pitcher,” Gorski is putting together an impressive campaign.

Seven innings of one run ball last in Altoona, that lone run unearned, add to Gorski’s 2013 script. Every Met fan raves about Noah Syndergaard and his dominance at the Double-A level thus far in Binghamton. To help appreciate just how effective Gorski has been pitching at the same level, note the side-by-side comparison of each pitcher’s B-Met stats:


*Note that Gorski’s only loss came in a complete game, 3-hit, 2-0 B-Met loss.

The comparison is not made to suggest that Darin Gorski’s radar on the Met minor league pitching charts equals or betters Noah Syndergaard.  It is only provided to validate the fact that he is putting together a banner run in Binghamton.

It is easy to overlook Gorski’s minor league pitching effectiveness and, for the most part, everyone has. A Pennsylvania kid, Gorski was drafted in 2009 in the seventh round out of Kutztown University. At Kutztown, the same college where Ryan Vogelsong starred, Gorski went 20-6 over 3 seasons. His impressive strike zone command first became noted in college, where the tall lefty never logged a WHIP higher than 1.11.

That strike zone command has held at each of Gorski’s minor league stops. The 6’4” 210-pound left-hander commanded little attention during his introduction to minor league ball. Only when he profited from the tutelage of pitching coach Phil Regan in Port St. Lucie was his potential recognized.

Regan went to work refining Gorski’s pitching mechanics and the results were striking. He started the season in the St. Lucie bullpen, and eventually cracked the starting rotation. He went 11-3, winning mid and post season Florida State League All-Star recognition and being named the FSL’s MVP. Gorski worked almost 140 innings walking 29 batters and fanning 140 with a 2.08 ERA and a sterling 0.995 WHIP.  The southpaw was a New York Met Sterling Award winner for pitching excellence at Port St. Lucie.

Gorski’s impressive St. Lucie campaign was minimized by baseball analysts because of his age. At 24 years old, many attributed his success to an experienced pitcher working against inexperienced hitters.

He was a workhorse on the Binghamton staff in 2012 starting 24 games with 16 quality starts. Personally, Gorski, like Jonathon Niese a few seasons prior, became a ‘must watch start,’ as I tried to make every game he pitched at NYSEG Stadium.

Gorski’s pitching line wasn’t the magnetic force that drew me in. The attraction had more to do with his demeanor on the hill; his willingness to attack hitters in a professional manner, the way he worked the entire strike zone, his savvy on the mound including an unflappable emotional balance, and what I believed was a serious attempt to master his off-speed pitches.

“You have to trust your stuff,” Gorski explained in an interview at the end of his 2012 campaign. Like I had suspected, Gorski identified a major goal that year to master his slider. “To do that required throwing the pitch in games to make it competitive,” Gorski added.

At Binghamton in 2012, Gorski went 9-8 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP. Not stellar, but a solid body of work for a developing minor league pitcher. Again and again, Gorski proved when he started a contest you could count on six or more innings of solid work.

The 2013 season saw him start in Las Vegas, but an early season injury derailed the beginning of Gorski’s Triple-A campaign.  After rehabilitation, he was assigned to Binghamton where he has pitched brilliantly.

Gorski has a multiple pitch repertoire that includes both a four-seam fastball and a recently installed two-seamer. A major part of Gorski’s success formula is pounding the strike zone with his fastball to get ahead of hitters. His fastball consistently registers at 89-91 mph but can touch a tick or two higher when necessary. His slider and change-up both read in the low 80’s on the radar. Gorski’s change-up has late drop and is considered his most effective off-speed pitch.

At 26, nay-sayers still note Gorski’s age. The fact he was dropped from the 40-man roster in May and cleared waivers might also be considered a negative. I attribute those factors to the general inclination of overlooking Gorski’s potential pitching value that comes with a low draft selection and a slow professional start.

More pressing to me is a high home run percentage that has followed Gorski throughout his professional career. Last year, Double-A batters went yard 20 times on Gorski, good for a 12.9 percent rate. Interestingly enough, that rate almost disappears against left-handed batters. That fact, combined with Gorski’s consistent strike zone command, have some predicting he will someday become a relief pitcher in the major leagues working primarily against batters stationed on the left hand side of the plate.

This summer, Gorski seems to have alleviated his home run pitching tendency, allowing only one home run in his 44 innings for Binghamton. That may be the result of better placement of his fastball, a pitch often delivered higher in the strike zone last season than Gorski may have liked. Further mastery of his slider may also be a contributing factor.

He may not possess the combustible power wattage of other Met arms in their minor league pitching arsenal. Yet, Darin Gorski’s assets: an impressive walk/strikeout ratio, an all business work ethic that includes meticulous preparation, a gritty demeanor on the mound, and the fact he’s a rare left-handed arm in an almost entirely right-handed Met pitching armory, add pay value to Gorski’s pitching profile.

Like the oft overlooked lefty Scott Rice, Darin Gorski could be another high value left-handed pitching find.  With so many promising minor league pitching prospects, let’s hope the Mets don’t overlook him.

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MMO Exclusive: 2013 Mets Midseason Report Cards Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:25:53 +0000 report card

With the New York Mets (41-50) about to embark on the second half of the the 2013 season, I hit up two dozen of our MMO writers for their overall grades by position for our Mid-Season Report Cards.

For added measure we also included Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and Mr. Met who was the only one to score an A+. :-)

So without further ado, here’s our 2013 Mid-Season Mets Report Cards.

2013 report cards

Terry Collins  C-

TC has been dealt a limited hand but has done a solid enough job overall. His bullpen management remains terrible. His opinion changes rather quickly. Just because you´ve been names a starting player on Monday doesn´t mean you´ll still be one on Saturday. That said, the players seem to enjoy playing for him and usually play hard – even if it´s not always obvious due to their limitations. – Andre

Sandy Alderson  C-

If you accept that 2013 is and was always going to be a transitional / building year, hopefully the final one in terms of financial austerity and waiting out contracts, then Alderson has done a pretty good job overall over the past calendar year. Yes, the team remains a mediocre 75-win caliber team all things considered that´ll probably finish 4th yet again this season. However, if you deduct the Santana & Bay contracts from this year´s payroll, the Mets are 3rd to last in the majors overall with only the Astros & Marlins spending less on their product on the field. So, not contending should not come as a surprise when prospects get moved at a rather slow pace and no money is spent while the group of remaining players lacks high-end talent beyond David Wright, Matt Harvey and to a lesser degree Bobby Parnell. – Andre

If the goal that Sandy himself established in 2010 was to see a renaissance in 2014 that will usher in years and years of sustainable success then you have to give him a near failing grade. Nobody I speak to among scouts, baseball insiders and baseball journalists see 2014 as anything other than what we’ve seen in the last three seasons. Wheeler was never going to be a difference maker, and winning franchises need more than two core players to achieve sustainable success. In three seasons we have more holes than we did in 2010 and no immediate help on the way. He has yet to develop any of his own minor leaguers as the cream of the crop came from trading players that he inherited. Sure it takes time to develop a farm and more than three seasons, but I’m using his timetable not one that I conjured up. The heat is on Sandy. – Joe D.

First Base  D-

The Governor needs to step in and declare first base a disaster area. Ike Davis was once looked upon as a core player and the first baseman of the future. Not anymore. Sadly, there are few in-house options that can give the Mets the 30-homer bat they desperately need from this position. Josh Satin should be getting the majority of playing time, but he doesn’t have that kind of power, but can get on base and drive in runs with his line-drive stroke. – Joe D.

Second Base  B-

Daniel Murphy has improved his defense and while he´s been hot & cold on offense still is at least an average bat offensively at second base. He´s a solid average piece. With Wilmer Flores mashing at AAA, the Mets will face a big question here soon. Keep the solid average piece as he enters his later arbitration years ? Go with the higher upside bat with the defensive question marks? – Andre

The Wilmer Flores situation will come to a head very soon. – Joe D.

Shortstop  C-

Ruben Tejada has been the other big disappointment. He has gradually regressed from his nice 2011 / early 2012 form and was a well below average player over the past calendar year. He´s still young and thus some hope remains. Quintanilla is a limited talent but has made the best out of his opportunity playing steady defense and providing a decent enough bat that this spot isn´t a liability right now. – Andre

Shortstop? What shortstop?

Third Base  A

David Wright has hit at or slightly above his already lofty career norms in spite of no protection around him in the lineup and played Gold Glove caliber defense. It´s time to surround him with better talent. – Andre

The worst part of signing Wright to the ginormous contract, was not going the extra hard and surrounding him with the guns to battle the NL East. So he’ll unfairly get the the blame for results in the standings and this was exactly what I hoped wouldn’t happen – Joe D.

Catcher  C+

Mostly manned by John Buck and Anthony Recker, things looked promising through the first three weeks of the season, but quickly went into a deep decline after that. Mets catchers are now batting .213 with a .277 OBP and 103 strikeouts in 347 at-bats. Very Thole-esque wouldn’t you say? – Joe D.

Left Field  C-

It started out with Lucas Duda and now has Eric Young Jr. and in about two more weeks it will be a combination of the two. What’s a manager to do. The bottom line though is that left field has produced the second highest OPS for the Mets so far at pedestrian .783. Keep on drawing those walks Lucas. Despite missing nearly a month, Duda is still second on the team with 38 walks which accounts for a huge chunk of the OPS. I need to see more of EY until I’m convinced he’s not the player his first 950 MLB plate appearances say he was. – Joe D.

Lucas Duda has proven he is not the long term answer in LF. Certainly not defensively. Possibly not offensively either. Eric Young Jr. has played some here recently and looks like the spark plug the team had been missing. – Andre

Center Field  C-

Cowgill flopped. Valdespin didn´t do much either. Nieuwenhuis has been up & down. Lagares has shown great defense but also some rawness offensively. – Andre

I can’t believe Sandy Alderson has me missing Andres Torres. – Joe D.

Right Field  B+

Marlon Byrd has had quite the unexpected comeback season. He single-handedly made right field a strength for the team so far this season, which of course means it may be time to move him. Right? Isn’t how this works? – Joe D.

Starting Rotation  B+

Matt Harvey has been great. Jeremy Hefner has far exceeded expectations and has done well. Dillon Gee has been up & down – but pretty much as expected overall. Jon Niese is the third biggest disappointment of the year. Though injuries and bad luck & bad weather have played a key role. It´ll be a big key getting him back to 100% going forward. Marcum was rarely healthy and performed between mediocre and terrible. Zack Wheeler remains a work in progress though the upside is huge. Getting him to be more consistent is another key going forward. – Andre

Bullpen  C

Bobby Parnell has emerged as a lights out closer which is very nice. Most other relievers have been unspectacular though better off late. The injury to Jeurys Familia was a big blow structurally as he could have been that 2nd power arm a good team needs in the pen. Josh Edgin has been too inconsistent. – Andre

I knew this group was in trouble again when after three weeks they already shuffled ten different players off or into the pen. Wow… Bullpen Revamp 3.0 was looking like another failure. By the time May ended it was in familiar territory ranking last in the majors in ERA, BAA and WHIP. Collins burned out his two best middle relief arms resulting in Lyon getting cut and Rice going from great to scary. Edgin had a short hiatus in the minors after a demotion, but has looked better. But largely, the bullpen has been a one-man show. – Joe D.

Bench  C+

Considering all the fluctuations in the lineup, the bench pieces have done a solid enough job. Unfortunately, too many bench pieces have been pressed into starting roles they´re probably not suited to fill. Mike Baxter being one example. – Andre

Andre pretty much nailed it. With most of the solid bench options now pressed into starting duty, I’m fearful as to what we’ll get in the second half. – Joe D.


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News Good On Niese, Lefthander To Begin Rehab Tue, 09 Jul 2013 00:48:36 +0000 Jonathon Niese underwent a second MRI on his pitching shoulder Monday to determine the fate of his partially torn rotator cuff.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin the exam yielded positive results, and the left-handed pitcher will begin rehabilitation in Port St. Lucie immediately.

Niese underwent tests at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The MRI, originally scheduled for last Thursday, was pushed off until Monday because Niese’s doctor was away on vacation.

The 26-year-old has not pitched since being pulled from his June 20 start against the Braves in the fourth inning. The team labeled the injury as a partially torn rotator cuff, and placed the pitcher on the disabled list. Initial reports advised the team to wait two weeks before taking any further steps.

It appears the wait has paid off.


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According To Collins, Niese Will Not Require Surgery Wed, 26 Jun 2013 23:40:28 +0000 NIESE: Sound move by Mets

In his weekly interview with WFAN Terry Collins relayed the information that Jonathon Niese is unlikely to require surgery on his partially torn rotator cuff.

Collins, claiming to have spoken to Niese on the phone, said that the pitcher was feeling “tremendous.”

“He is not going to need any surgery” Collins said.

“Next week he is going to get another MRI to reassess how its doing and how he’s feeling, and hopefully after the other MRI he can start throwing.”

Niese was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list after an initial MRI determined that his rotator cuff had a partial tear.

Lets not forget that Collins originally came out and said the damage was “nothing severe,” only to be contradicted when assistant GM John Ricco revealed the true extent of the injury.

While this news allegedly came from Niese himself, we’ll have to take Collins word for it.

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Niese Is Out With A Rotator Cuff Tear, Collins Is Just Out Of Touch Sat, 22 Jun 2013 13:40:58 +0000 jon nieseThe injury that forced Jonathon Niese out of Thursday’s game after only 3 1/3 innings of play has been revealed to be a partially torn left rotator cuff. No immediate surgery will be necessary, but two weeks rest and extreme caution has been advised.

Earlier, Mets manager Terry Collins recently announced to reporters that the cause of discomfort was “nothing severe,” but assistant general manager John Ricco recently corrected that statement declaring the true extent of the injury.

“Hopefully it will start healing itself and he won’t need surgery,” Ricco announced today. “It’s not ‘full thickness’ or a significant tear at this point.”

Niese has been placed on the 15-day disabled list and will put off surgery in the hopes that his shoulder will begin to heal on it’s own. In the meantime, the Mets have recalled submarine pitcher Greg Burke from Triple-A (AAA) Las Vegas to take his place.

Niese (3-6) has struggled throughout the season, obtaining an ERA of 4.32 throughout his 14 starts. Unfortunately for the 26 year old lefty, this is not the only problem he has faced recently. Throughout the season he has battled with neck and shoulder issues, an affliction the team labeled as tendenitis. And although these injury are reportedly unrelated, Niese’s recovery will still be closely monitored and reevaluated through an MRI in two weeks.

With Niese now sidelined the Mets will return to the tradition five-man rotation. They will start Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Shaun Marcum.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Back on June 3, Jon Niese had been scratched from his upcoming start that Saturday with what the Mets called left shoulder tendinitis.

Niese then revealed that he was unable to throw his typical bullpen session on Wednesday and had been feeling discomfort for his past few starts and was very sore after his most recent start.

He was examined Thursday morning at the Hospital for Special Surgery and an MRI revealed inflammation, but no structural damage.

At the time when I reported the news, it prompted me to write this:

“I’m no doctor, but if he was feeling sore after his last few starts, why were they still letting him pitch?”

So now we get this disappointing news that could ultimately wipeout the rest of Niese’s season. Some things never change…

Also, shame on manager Terry Collins who was downplaying the severity of this injury calling it “nothing severe” a few hours before the game to reporters.

His misinformation caused many of us to get the wrong news to our readers, after Collins had given us the “all’s good” sign on Niese and added that he would just rest for a few days and make a rehab start.

Terrible job by Terry Collins… Just awful…. Did he think the truth wouldn’t eventually come out?

Listen Terry… If you think a torn rotator cuff for a pitcher in not severe, then maybe you should consider stepping down as manager because you have no business overseeing the valuable arms in our rotation and bullpen.

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Are Valdespin’s Days As A Met Numbered? Mon, 17 Jun 2013 11:36:09 +0000 jordany valdespin

Please, join me as I throw a handful of dirt on the coffin of Jordany Valdespin’s career as a New York Met.

The one I used to call El Dramático for his ability to spark rallies and hit long home runs is getting playing time for one reason: he’s being shopped. Don’t expect him to be with the Mets past the trade deadline.

I’ve been a staunch defender of Valdespin since the Mets’ first intrasquad game. He had the tools to be a starter in 2013. He still has the tools. Whatever the case, it just hasn’t come together.

There are a plethora of reasons why Valdespin’s days are numbered. He’s batting .207/.264/..328 on the season with a 24/6 K/BB ratio and 4-for-7 in stolen base attempts. He’s 3-for-23 with five strikeouts and no walks since taking over the second base and leadoff duties. Additionally, he’s not playing well defensively and the positions he does play are better suited by other players on this year’s team (Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy). The list goes on longer than his pimped out dingers. Even though his latest audition isn’t going well, I expect he’ll be sent somewhere for cash or packaged in a trade with some farm arms.

Saturday’s game was a microcosm of how he’s performed since receiving more playing time: a few defensive miscues and little offense. He threw a ball over Jonathon Niese’s head, something you’d see in a Little League game…maybe. He also had two force outs at second that could have seriously injured him. When a second baseman makes a force at second, he normally shifts his momentum toward the outfield to avoid a hard slide. Valdespin just planted on the bag and got upended by Cody Ransom twice. He’s just not doing the fundamentals.

Things could have been done differently during Valdespin’s time as a Metropolitan. He was mismanaged by Terry Collins, he handled situations poorly and every negative was put under a microscope by the media, myself included.

It pains me to say, but he’s poisoning the team. Whether it’s his fault or not is moot. I believe he has a long career ahead of him, but it won’t be with the Mets. He’ll probably be one of the many who leaves the Mets and enjoys success in another venue. Some players just aren’t cut out to play under the magnifying glass in New York.

He could thrive in a platoon role in hitter-friendly parks like Coors Field or Great American Bandbox. Just don’t expect there to be many more Valdespin No. 1 jerseys produced in orange and blue.

What are your thoughts on Jordany Valdespin’s recent one-week audition at second base?

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Ike Davis Leads Mets’ 4-2 Comeback Victory Over The Braves Mon, 27 May 2013 03:20:36 +0000 ike davis mets win

The Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the eight inning to cap off a 4-2 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves to salvage the third game of the series and avoid getting swept.

Shaun Marcum started for the Mets and was dealing in what was his best start of the season for the Mets. Marcum held the Braves scoreless through six innings before Dan Uggla tagged him for a two-run homer in the seventh. The righthander struck out a season high 12 batters, walked none and lowered his ERA to 5.77 for the season, but would not figure in the decision. It was a solid effort for Marcus and hopefully he can finally give the team a reliable starter out of the bottom of the rotation.

Latroy Hawkins held the Braves at bay with a scoreless eighth, and Bobby Parnell closed it out with a perfect ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.

With the Braves clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Mets offense came alive in the bottom of the eight when they broke through with three runs to take the 4-2 lead. Surprisingly, Ike Davis had the biggest hit of the night with a bases loaded single to drive home two runs – a hard grounder that just eluded the outstretched glove of Freddie Freeman. Catcher John Buck roared with approval and pointed to Davis as he scored the Mets fourth run. Davis was on base three times during the game – two singles and a walk.

Lucas Duda hit his ninth home run of the season off of Braves starter Julio Teheran in the fourth and had three hits for the night. Duda now has a 10-game hitting streak.

Here come the Bronx Bombers… The Mets now host the Yankees on Monday in the opener a four-game, two-borough subway series. First pitch is at 7:10 PM with Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.80 ERA) opposing righthander Phil Hughes (2-3, 5.51).

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