Mets Merized Online » josh hamilton http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Featured Post: Let’s Just See What Happens… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/featured-post-lets-just-see-what-happens.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/featured-post-lets-just-see-what-happens.html/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:28:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130381 wright 221 homers

It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last post. During that time, like most Mets fans, I’ve resigned myself to another season of mediocrity. The ownership is cheap, the general manager doesn’t care, the manager isn’t very good and the talent just isn’t there to compete.

Well the season has come to a end and already the fans are up in arms because “a team source” says that the Mets won’t spend big money on free agents and Terry Collins and his coaching staff are all coming back. So what can we expect but another year of uncompetitive dull baseball ?

Fans want the Mets to go after some big-name free agents and maybe package 4 or 5 young prospects for a “stud” like Giancarlo Stanton. Well, I look at it this way. Suppose before the 2013 season started, I told you that the Mets would finish the season with approximately the same record as the Blue Jays, Giants, and Phillies. Yes, those same Blue Jays who dealt prospects for three of baseball’s best starting pitchers (Dickey, Johnson, and Buehrle) and arguably the game’s most exciting player in Jose Reyes, the World Champion Giants and our arch-rival Phillies loaded with proven talent like Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Papelbon, Howard, Utley, Rollins, and an up and coming star in Dominic Brown. Now THOSE teams had disappointing years.

Last off-season, I thought the Mets should look into bringing back Lastings Milledge from Japan to provide some righthanded punch in the outfield. Instead, the Mets signed Marlon Byrd. I have to admit that was a much better move.

Of course, there were disappointments – Ike Davis for sure, Ruben Tejada, and Matt Harvey’s season-ending injury just when it looked like the Mets had their new Seaver or Gooden. Obviously, you aren’t going to win any pennants when guys like Mike Baxter, Andrew Brown, Omar Quintinilla, and Justin Turner get regular playing time, but I still have hopes that players like Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Lagares can be part of a bright future. I would have hoped that Collins gave more playing time to Flores so we could see if/where he might fit in. Most likely, he’s trade bait. I would have also liked to see Vic Black given more chances to close rather than LaTroy Hawkins, but it’s hard to fault Hawkins’ work. There will be changes for sure, but there is no quick fix, no matter how much the team spends. It’s easy to say that if you don’t compete for the big-money guys, you can’t win, but Oakland in particular, has shown that’s not necessarily true. And as far as replacing Collins, before the 2012 season, the Red Sox hired a “proven winner” in Bobby Valentine and they had their worst year in memory.

And by the way, Marlon Byrd had a better year than Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Hamilton, or Albert Pujols to name just a few. Projecting the team’s future with players like Montero, Syndergaard, Puello, Nimmo, and Dom Smith is fun, but probably meaningless. Let the Mets surprise us and become winners again. It may not happen in my lifetime, but if it does, it will be special. I have no trades to offer, no surefire free-agent signings, no master plan. As long as I’ve followed baseball and as much as I thought I knew, there’s no way I would have predicted that Chris Davis would be better than Ike or that Kyle Seager would be better than his more highly-touted college teammate, Dustin Ackley, who looked like a future star at UNC. And having seen a bunch of UNC games living in Chapel Hill, there’s no way I expected Matt Harvey to outshine Andrew Miller or Daniel Bard. Yes, I know I’m rambling and changing the topic, but after 50 years of following the Mets, it’s time to sit back and hope for the best and not think I know more about putting together a winning team than the men who are paid to do it. However the Mets can bring us a winner, I’ll be grateful for it when it happens. A fan is someone who supports a team through thick and thin. And I will stay a Mets fan.

bleed orange & blue  button

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With Suspension Looming For Cruz, The Rangers Should Give Alderson A Call http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/with-suspension-looming-for-cruz-the-rangers-should-give-alderson-a-call-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/with-suspension-looming-for-cruz-the-rangers-should-give-alderson-a-call-2.html/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:07:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126183 nelson-cruz-texas-rangersMajor League Baseball has reportedly informed the union of the 13 players they intend to suspend in the Biogenesis case, according to the Associated Press. Alex Rodriguez highlights the list of those expected to be punished, however a number of other prominent players face bans that could significantly impact the playoff hunt, forcing several potentially affected teams into a last-minute frenzy for insurance now a mere hours before the 4pm trade deadline.

One of those teams could be the Texas Rangers, who after losing Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli this winter, now stand to lose their All-Star outfielder for the remainder of the season in Nelson Cruz. Already fighting to remain in the Wild Card hunt, the loss of Cruz would prove to be a devastating blow to the Rangers’ chances.

With the Mets playoff hopes fading, even given their recent improvement in play, it would behoove them to seriously consider moving Marlon Byrd to replace Cruz at right field in Arlington, granted if the price is right.

The Tigers, in a similar situation as Texas, traded one of their top prospects in Avisail García last night in a three team deal that landed them shortstop Jose Iglesias. With a suspension lurking overhead for Jhonny Peralta, GM David Dombrowski decided to take no chances with his team in the thick of a pennant race.

With it seeming ever more likely that Nelson Cruz will miss significant time due to the Biogenesis scandal, the Rangers need to act fast. They have already shown their willingness to mortgage the future for the here-and-now, exemplified by the recent Matt Garza trade, and if the asking price on Alex Rios is too high, their next call should be Sandy Alderson regarding Marlon Byrd.

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The Unforgiving Road To The Show Starts With The MLB Draft http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-unforgiving-road-to-the-show-starts-with-the-mlb-draft.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-unforgiving-road-to-the-show-starts-with-the-mlb-draft.html/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:45:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121105 bryce harper 2With the MLB Draft on tap this evening, it’s a good time to look at the unforgiving road to The Show.

A little over 60 percent of first rounders make it to the big leagues—that’s a little more than half. We aren’t even talking about being an impact player, we are talking about playing in a major league game. And after that first round, the percentages slowly dip as you get deeper into every draft.

Since the time we are young ball players, we are told that with hard work and dedication, we could play in the big leagues some day. That is only about one-third truth. While hard work and dedication is helpful, many more things come into play.

You’ve heard it before—ninety percent of the players who sign professional baseball contracts will never play an inning in a major league game. That’s a staggering number. We all know that becoming a professional athlete is rare, but what is the difference between the ten percent that make it to The Show, and the ninety percent that don’t?

Think about it. That ten percent of players that make it to the bigs aren’t more talented. Maybe one or two percent are the Mike Trout’s and Bryce Harper’s of the world, but everyone else who signed a contract to play professional baseball have similar talents.

The terminology that the players are “a dime a dozen” comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, there are varying levels of skill and ability in the areas of the coveted five tools, but for the most part, the players all trying to climb through the minor league systems have similar abilities.

The one thing that separates a guy that is going to play in the big leagues one day, from the other guys that won’t, is the mental makeup of the player. Confidence, self-assurance, intelligence, and the ability to deal with adversity are all the things that eventually separate the pack.

It’s well known in baseball circles that the jump to Double-A is what really tests the players. Why is that so? It’s because that is the level where players have to make adjustments and rely on more than just God given talent. The pitchers have to understand the art of pitching. They have to exploit the hitter’s weaknesses. They have to be able to get out of jams without relying on simply blowing a fastball by a hitter. Everyone can hit a fastball at Double-A, if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be there.

For hitters, it’s all about how they handle adversity. As you climb through the ranks, the pitchers get better and better, and it makes it more difficult for hitters to break out of slumps. Pitch recognition, discipline, and remaining confident will be the difference for the hitter coming through the system.

And now it’s easier to see why baseball prospects can be such a crap-shoot. In the NFL, players are given a test called the Wonderlic. The prospects are given twelve minutes to answer 50 questions which are used to test the players’ mental makeup. It’s sort of an insurance policy for the team who is about to make a big investment, and a way to see if the player will be able to survive the mental rigors of being a professional athlete. Vince Young was a much more prominent player coming out of college than Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a perfect score on his Wonderlic and Vince Young had one of the lowest scores of all-time. Who’s still in the NFL?

multilpe choice testOne might wonder why a test like this isn’t used when evaluating baseball players before the MLB draft. It seems logical until you take into account that the NFL draft consists of approximately 224 players, and the MLB draft often consists over 1,000 players. You can see why the MLB has probably avoided issuing the test, as it would be pretty difficult to administer the test to that many potential draftees.

However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some sort of test on some of the higher draft picks that get paid significant signing bonuses. Unfortunately, there may not be any test out there that can truly measure whether a player can withstand the mental rigors of professional baseball.

As if the rigors of the game of baseball are tough enough, take into account the lifestyle of a minor league player, and all of a sudden baseball doesn’t feel like a game anymore—it becomes unforgiving. Many of these young men are leaving their friends and families for the first time in their life, sometimes playing in towns and cities they have never heard of before. They ride buses for hours, sleep in motels, and barely get enough meal money to go to McDonalds twice in a day. The lifestyle can indeed be unforgiving, and many times these guys break. We read stories about prominent players being pushed to the limits by a culmination of things snowballing, and no story is more prominent than that of Josh Hamilton.

For those of you who didn’t read Hamilton’s book, he led a very sheltered life growing up. His parents often traveled with him on the road when he first broke into professional baseball. But when they stopped, he suffered through a rash of injuries, and the combination seemed to take him off the road to the show and lead him down the road to nowhere. Here we had one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen, so great in fact, that he was compared to a youngMickey Mantle. Yet even this player carved out of stone by the baseball gods themselves couldn’t handle the mental rigors of the game. He was written off as what could have been.

josh hamilton hvrI got a chance to see Josh Hamilton in his first season of professional baseball. He played a handful of games with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the NY-Penn League that year, and I was in college at the time. I had a summer job working in Dutchess Stadium (the home of the Renegades), and I remember the buzz in the crowd when Hamilton joined the team. But he got off to a horrible start, going 1/20 at the plate if I recall.

I remember standing and talking to a co-worker and college teammate in the stands about how we weren’t impressed with Hamilton, and maybe he was going to be a bust. The crowd was rich with scouts. They were all in attendance to see the young phenom, and one must’ve overheard my friend and I speaking. He came over to us and said “Hamilton is a future hall of famer. You guys heard of Mike Schmidt right?” My friend and I said “sure.” “Well,” the scout said, “Mike Schmidt got off to a terrible start in the minor leagues too, but nobody remembers that now, do they?”

That statement from the scout always resonated with me. It was almost like he was saying that nobody gives a crap what Josh Hamilton does at A-ball, he was destined for greater things. This isn’t supposed to be a post about Hamilton, but just an example about how the mental rigors of baseball, coupled with that unforgiving lifestyle of the minor leagues is the main reason why only one in ten prospects ever play in a major league game. Luckily for Hamilton, he was so incredibly gifted, he was able to overcome all of his challenges, and used his faith in God to help conquer the mental aspect of the game.

It’s crazy to think that there are nine guys sitting on their couch that have similar talents and abilities of the guys they’re watching playing on television. The truth is, not everyone who is good enough to play professional baseball ever actually does—maybe life events take them away from the game, maybe they prefer to play some other sport, maybe they just live in some remote place and nobody ever noticed them before.

The difference between sitting at home watching the game, and playing the game on ESPN Sunday Night baseball is not much more than having the luck of being acknowledged and liked by a scout, and the ability to deal with adversity and having confidence in themselves as players. If a young prospect can master those last two things, then the sky is the limit.

Check out more writing like this at MetsMinors.net, where the future of the Mets begins.

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Baseball’s Paradox: The Road To The Show http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/the-road-to-the-show.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/the-road-to-the-show.html/#comments Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111658 bryce harper 2You’ve heard it before—ninety percent of the players who sign professional baseball contracts will never play an inning in a major league game. That’s a staggering number. We all know that becoming a professional athlete is rare, but what is the difference between the ten percent that make it to The Show, and the ninety percent that don’t?

Think about it. That ten percent of players that make it to the bigs aren’t more talented. Maybe one or two percent are the Mike Trout’s and Bryce Harper’s of the world, but everyone else who signed a contract to play professional baseball have similar talents.

The terminology that the players are “a dime a dozen” comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, there are varying levels of skill and ability in the areas of the coveted five tools, but for the most part, the players all trying to climb through the minor league systems have similar abilities.

The one thing that separates a guy that is going to play in the big leagues one day, from the other guys that won’t, is the mental makeup of the player. Confidence, self-assurance, intelligence, and the ability to deal with adversity are all the things that eventually separate the pack.

It’s well known in baseball circles that the jump to Double-A is what really tests the players. Why is that so? It’s because that is the level where players have to make adjustments and rely on more than just God given talent. The pitchers have to understand the art of pitching. They have to exploit the hitter’s weaknesses. They have to be able to get out of jams without relying on simply blowing a fastball by a hitter. Everyone can hit a fastball at Double-A, if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be there.

For hitters, it’s all about how they handle adversity. As you climb through the ranks, the pitchers get better and better, and it makes it more difficult for hitters to break out of slumps. Pitch recognition, discipline, and remaining confident will be the difference for the hitter coming through the system.

And now it’s easier to see why baseball prospects can be such a crap-shoot. In the NFL, players are given a test called the Wonderlic. The prospects are given twelve minutes to answer 50 questions which are used to test the players’ mental makeup. It’s sort of an insurance policy for the team who is about to make a big investment, and a way to see if the player will be able to survive the mental rigors of being a professional athlete. Vince Young was a much more prominent player coming out of college than Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a perfect score on his Wonderlic and Vince Young had one of the lowest scores of all-time. Who’s still in the NFL?

multilpe choice testOne might wonder why a test like this isn’t used when evaluating baseball players before the MLB draft. It seems logical until you take into account that the NFL draft consists of approximately 224 players, and the MLB draft often consists over 1,000 players. You can see why the MLB has probably avoided issuing the test, as it would be pretty difficult to administer the test to that many potential draftees.

However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some sort of test on some of the higher draft picks that get paid significant signing bonuses. Unfortunately, there may not be any test out there that can truly measure whether a player can withstand the mental rigors of professional baseball.

As if the rigors of the game of baseball are tough enough, take into account the lifestyle of a minor league player, and all of a sudden baseball doesn’t feel like a game anymore—it becomes unforgiving. Many of these young men are leaving their friends and families for the first time in their life, sometimes playing in towns and cities they have never heard of before. They ride buses for hours, sleep in motels, and barely get enough meal money to go to McDonalds twice in a day. The lifestyle can indeed be unforgiving, and many times these guys break. We read stories about prominent players being pushed to the limits by a culmination of things snowballing, and no story is more prominent than that of Josh Hamilton.

For those of you who didn’t read Hamilton’s book, he led a very sheltered life growing up. His parents often traveled with him on the road when he first broke into professional baseball. But when they stopped, he suffered through a rash of injuries, and the combination seemed to lead him down the road to nowhere. Here we had one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen, so great in fact, that he was compared to a young Mickey Mantle. Yet even this player carved out of stone by the baseball gods themselves couldn’t handle the mental rigors of the game. He was written off as what could have been.

josh hamilton hvrI got a chance to see Josh Hamilton in his first season of professional baseball. He played a handful of games with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the NY-Penn League that year, and I was in college at the time. I had a summer job working in Dutchess Stadium (the home of the Renegades), and I remember the buzz in the crowd when Hamilton joined the team. But he got off to a horrible start, going 1/20 at the plate if I recall.

I remember standing and talking to a co-worker and college teammate in the stands about how we weren’t impressed with Hamilton, and maybe he was going to be a bust. The crowd was rich with scouts. They were all in attendance to see the young phenom, and one must’ve overheard my friend and I speaking. He came over to us and said “Hamilton is a future hall of famer. You guys heard of Mike Schmidt right?” My friend and I said “sure.” “Well,” the scout said, “Mike Schmidt got off to a terrible start in the minor leagues too, but nobody remembers that now, do they?”

That statement from the scout always resonated with me. It was almost like he was saying that nobody gives a crap what Josh Hamilton does at A-ball, he was destined for greater things. This isn’t supposed to be a post about Hamilton, but just an example about how the mental rigors of baseball, coupled with that unforgiving lifestyle of the minor leagues is the main reason why only one in ten prospects ever play in a major league game. Luckily for Hamilton, he was so incredibly gifted, he was able to overcome all of his challenges, and used his faith in God to help conquer the mental aspect of the game.

It’s crazy to think that there are nine guys sitting on their couch that have similar talents and abilities of the guys they’re watching playing on television. The difference between sitting at home watching the game, and playing the game on ESPN Sunday Night baseball is not much more than the ability to deal with adversity and having confidence in themselves as players. If a young prospect can master those things, then the sky is the limit.

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MMO Fantasy Top 10: Starting Pitching http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mmo-fantasy-top-10-starting-pitching.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mmo-fantasy-top-10-starting-pitching.html/#comments Tue, 12 Mar 2013 09:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110589 mmo fantasy

I enjoy researching starting pitching for any reason whatsoever, so looking into them for fantasy purposes was more fun than anything else. Today brings about a top ten list for the starting pitchers out there – and unfortunately, will not feature many surprises. The best starting pitchers out there are fairly well defined at this point, but I still dove into ESPN and Yahoo! rankings just to make sure I was not off base here. I had to check in with Xtreem on this one, but the five fantasy categories for pitchers were Wins / ERA / K / WHIP / Saves …and obviously, saves don’t apply here.

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I think ESPN and I were basically sharing a brain here – but Yahoo wasn’t far off since the only major difference was their pick of Wainwright over Jered Weaver, really. I’ve got the same top 10 down as ESPN, but I differ slightly in the order I chose.

10. Zack Greinke (16 / 3.44 / 220 / 1.14) – Greinke is definitely one of the top pitchers in the game right now, but his stats always come with a little bit of confusion and disappointment. Although some saber stats have shown that Greinke could be the victim of some severe bad luck, his ERA will likely always be a little higher than you hope from a fantasy ace. He might be on the back-end of the “fantasy ace” category, but Greinke moves back to the NL this year after getting a huge pay-day, which should help his numbers overall, especially his strikeouts. If all goes well, he could easily surpass the amount of wins projected, as everyone decided to go a little conservative here.

9. Cole Hamels (13 / 3.05 / 210 / 1.12 )  – I hate to admit it, but Cole Hamels has been consistent and he has been a pretty solid pitcher across all categories. I think Weaver is going to edge him out in wins and ERA so I have him ranked slightly above him here, but do not get down on Hamels. See, outside of the wins category, Hamels comes with less risk than those who are scared away by Weaver’s declining strikeout rate and as strong a track record as anybody here. Just be careful not to start him against the Mets…

8. Jered Weaver (19 / 3.02 / 175 / 1.12) – I like Jered Weaver, and I think you should too. The Angels are stacked this year and look like they could really win a lot of games – and Weaver has to be a huge part of that. People worry about his declining strikeout rate, and honestly, it is a perfectly valid criticism. You could very well be rolling the dice with Weaver, but even in a “down” year last year, he won 20 games to the tun of a 2.81 ERA.

7. Cliff Lee (14 / 2.98 / 212 / 1.04) – Cliff Lee is an outstanding pitcher and the fact that he won only 6 games last year is enough to confuse the greatest minds. Of course, if you look deep, it becomes as simple as Lee not getting much run support – although he was superb across the board yet again. A year older, a year wiser for Lee…he might decline just a little, but his unique combination of stuff, poise, and experience position him to bounce back from an anomaly in the win column to post another excellent year.

6. Matt Cain (18 / 2.94 / 195 / 1.10 ) – Consistency is a common theme for the pitchers on this list, and Matt Cain is quite obviously no different. It is really hard to find a knock against Matt Cain…in fact, the only thing you can hold against him is perhaps his inability to break that 20-win plateau, and it really isn’t his fault. Cain may not seem flashy at times, but he is definitely a smart pick. He gets it done across the board in every category and can be counted on for a solid start almost every single time out there.

5. David Price (20 / 3.01 / 220 / 1.14) – Some people worry about David Price because of the division that he pitches in and they claim that he will be hard pressed to win games. My counter argument is simple – watch this man pitch. He is a monster on the mound, and his stats in the second half of last year back that up more than any colorful adjectives that I could pull out of thin air here. In 15 starts, he won 9 games and 14 of them were quality starts – all to the tune of a 2.20 ERA / 0.98 WHIP / 108 strikeouts. The craziest thing about all of it? David Price might actually not be done improving yet.

4. Stephen Strasburg (15 / 3.00 / 230 / 1.10) – This is a conservative projection for one reason only, and it has been discussed – Strasburg may be on another type of innings limit going into this year. As ESPN notes, if they follow the Zimmermann model, Strasburg would be scheduled for a little over 190 innings this year – which is great, but you have to temper your expectations. That being said, once he is off the leash, Strasburg may just lead the MLB in strikeouts for years to come so his potential in limited innings can still make a fantasy owner’s mouth water. Just tread carefully here and do your research.

3. Felix Hernandez (15 / 2.98 / 225 / 1.07) – Oh Felix, if only you played for a better team, you might have been one of the fantasy favorites for years. Do not get me wrong – Felix Hernandez is arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball today, but fantasy wise, it does not always translate over. A lack of run support, not so perfect defense behind him, bad luck…yeah, Hernandez has seen it all and still continues to offer a desirable stat line. Drafting King Felix puts you in an area where you join the rest of his owners and do the same thing each year…just hope that Seattle at least puts it together for his starts.

2. Clayton Kershaw (17 / 2.74 / 228 / 1.06) – Do I really need to convince you to go out and pick up Clayton Kershaw? I thought not. With RA Dickey gone and Strasburg still on a potential innings limit, the National League belongs to Kersh. He can just do what comes natural and perhaps waltz his way to a Cy Young. Mind you, what comes natural to Clayton Kershaw is a miniscule ERA and a ton of strikeouts, along with one of the best WHIPs in the game. There is no stat for dominance, but man, I am sure he leads the league in it.

1. Justin Verlander (21 / 2.70 / 241 / 1.09) – If you manage to snag Justin Verlander for your fantasy team, thank your lucky stars and whatever god you pray to, because you struck fantasy gold. Any format that isn’t NL-only will find Verlander at the top of their overall boards as most likely the first pitcher to go. ESPN said it best – “Workhorse, thy name is Verlander.” Outside of success in the standard categories for starting pitching, he will also rack up a considerable amount of innings pitched. I honestly do not think there is anything I could say here that you have not already heard about Justin Verlander.

So a few things to note:

  • Yahoo is higher on Adam Wainwright than I am, and so is ESPN for that matter, where he was ranked #12. I do think he has a quality year ahead of him, but I think I’m going to pass on him for now.
  • 75% of experts rank RA Dickey at his ADP or higher (63). All I can say is that there is a lot to think about when drafting RA Dickey for the 2013 season, and I do not think I am equipped to provide an unbiased opinion on him. Another player who’s ADP is worth watching is Aroldis Chapman…he could start or he could pitch the later innings out of the bullpen – and he has undeniably filthy stuff.
  • Yu Darvish and Matt Moore are both being ranked outside of the top 10 for starting pitchers, but could provide top-5 strikeout potential without hurting you in any other stat significantly. Tim Hudson still rocks as a cheap source for wins.
  • As for some sleepers, the Mets have two bonafide ones in Jon Niese and Matt Harvey. Jon Niese is getting some respect this year, but he could be in for an even better season than projected. Josh Johnson, Jon Lester, and Dan Haren could all be in line for excellent years as well.

I hear that Xtreem has prepared his piece on the closers for later this week, so you all can look forward to that.

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis In Centerfield: A Good Plan, Or Act Of Desperation? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/kirk-nieuwenhuis-in-centerfield-a-good-plan-or-act-of-desperation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/kirk-nieuwenhuis-in-centerfield-a-good-plan-or-act-of-desperation.html/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2012 15:38:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=98206 Unless the Wilpons hit the Powerball jackpot in the next couple of months, the Mets are not likely to sign any big name free-agents, a la Josh Hamilton, to play centerfield. Barring any off-season trades (I don’t see anything significant occurring), Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be the Mets opening day centerfielder. Beam me up, Sandy. Captain Kirk is heading back to Queens.

The question is whether or not Kirk can handle the everyday duties of being a major league centerfielder. Many scouts think he would be better suited to play a corner outfield position, but the Mets seem to have confidence in his ability to play centerfield. Either that or they don’t have any other viable option, so they have to save face by showing confidence in the youngster.

When he was called up in early 2012, he was playing so well at one point that he was garnering rookie of the year attention. Then he started to slump, and was eventually optioned back down to triple-A once Andres Torres returned from his stint on the disabled list. Everyone was hoping that Kirk would get called up later in 2012, so we could get another look at the young prospect, but a foot injury ended his season.

I am probably in the minority, but I like what Kirk brings to the table. He strikes out too often, but he is a gamer. He isn’t the sexy pick for the New York fans, who want a big name star roaming centerfield, but he plays the game with passion, and I can see him winning over the hearts of Mets fans if given the chance. He’s a blue collar type player. He won’t blow you away with any portion of his game, but he plays hard. He may never play in an All-Star game, but he has the ability to be a very solid major leaguer. He doesn’t have great speed, but he is a great athlete. He has the potential to hit 20 home runs, and he has gap to gap power. He could be a solid hitter to supplant in the back-end of the lineup.

The issue with Kirk is he would be a great fit in centerfield if the Mets had solid corner outfielders to bookend him. Kirk’s play would be elevated if he was asked to be part of the solution, not the definitive answer. What I mean by that is that Kirk is the type of player that would be elevated if the right pieces are around him. Instead, his weaknesses will get exposed with weaker outfielders to his left and right. In centerfield, he will have to compensate for his own weaknesses, as well as the weaknesses of the players on either side of him. The Mets are asking a lot from a player that lacks any significant time at the big league level.

So, we are still posed with the question of whether or not having Kirk as the opening day centerfielder is a good plan, or an act of desperation? I think the answer is a little bit of both. It’s desperate because the Mets are being forced to throw Kirk into the fire and crossing their fingers in hopes that it works out. These are the types of decisions that make or break a general manager’s career. If Kirk rises to the occasion, Sandy will look like a genius. If not, well…

Is Kirk the future centerfielder for the Mets?

Probably not. He will eventually settle into a corner outfield position assuming he produces at a solid level offensively. I believe he can be a very valuable player for the Mets, and that we should be looking forward to what Kirk might be able to bring to the table going forward. Mark my words, regardless of what position he plays, Mets fans will be won over by Kirk.

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Some Things To Watch For This Playoff Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/some-things-to-watch-for-this-playoff-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/some-things-to-watch-for-this-playoff-season.html/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2012 18:00:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=98006 I am reminded of that Christmas song…”it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It doesn’t get any better than playoff time. I’m bummed that the Mets aren’t playing significant baseball again this fall, but I guess it does give us an opportunity to sit back and enjoy these games and celebrate this great game of baseball, without the stress of having our team’s fate on the line. Anyway, here are a few things to watch that could make a major impact on this year’s playoff picture:

 

Wild Card winner getting first two games at home in Divison Series

When the Marlins won the World Series in 1997 they had the same first two games at home, which gave them an added advantage. Going up against the San Francisco Giants in the Divison Series, they won the first two games at home, and then the first game back in San Fran to complete the sweep. They later went on to win the World Series. If that series started in San Fran, who knows how it would have turned out. Expect similar upsets this year.

Not having Mariano Rivera will hurt the Yankees chances

This is a given. Mariano is the greatest closer in the history of the game, and post-season play. Aside from a hiccup in the 2001 World Series, Rivera has been flawless. When the Yankees made it to the 8th inning with a lead in previous years, it was a lock they would walk away with a win. Don’t expect similar results this year.

The Rangers will go as far as Josh Hamilton takes them

If Josh Hamilton catches fire, the Rangers will be playing in the World Series. If he continues to slump, the Rangers will make an early playoff exit. During a contract year, if Hamilton wants to really cash in, now is the time to really step up. I think he will.

Oakland’s weaknesses will be exposed

Like Billy Beane’s great moneyball teams of the early 2000s, the Athletics will ultimately be exposed in the playoffs against the Tigers, and eliminated in the ALDS. Maybe if they continue to shock everyone, and go on to win the World Series, Brad Pitt will play Beane in the Moneyball sequel. In other news, the comedic spoof of Moneyball, The Moneyball Mets, is slated for release in 2013.

Bryce Harper

Rookie Mike Trout has been all the talk of 2012, but Harper has been lurking in the shadows waiting to get his chance to steal back the rookie spotlight. This is his opportunity to show the world that he is still the best young talent in the game. Bryce Harper doesn’t sink back into the crowd, and is going to lift his play to another level with all the national attention. He will prove why Sports Illustrated dubbed him as “the chosen one.” I wonder if he will give us a few more memorable quotes along the way – That’s a clown question ‘bro.

These were just a few things that will make for a very interesting playoff season. There are a slew of other story lines that will impact this year’s playoff picture, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all unfold.

Everyone has a clean slate starting today. Team records are reset to 0-0. Everything that happened over the course of the season is in the past. Everything is on the line, and the glory is there for the taking. Who wants it more? God I love this game…

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First Pitch Mitch: Top 2012 MLB Players By Position http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/09/the-2012-firstpitchmitch-all-star-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/09/the-2012-firstpitchmitch-all-star-team.html/#comments Sun, 23 Sep 2012 13:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=96830 The season is winding down, and it’s time for me to pick out the FirstPitchMitch All-Stars. The FPM All-Stars are like the All-Madden team of baseball – they are the best of the best. When this team steps in to the stadium the skies open up, and the baseball gods marvel at their creation.

Without further ado, I present the first ever FPM All-Stars… 

Catcher – Yadier Molina

Yadier narrowly edged out Buster Posey simply because only 37 players were successful when stealing bases with Molina behind the plate in 2012. He threw out a ridiculous 47% of runners attempting to nab a base. Did I mention he put up some dynamite offensive numbers as well? He’s hitting .321, to go along with 20 HR and a .888 OPS. His WAR, for you sabermetric fans, is currently a 6.8.

 

First Base – Prince Fielder

Every team deserves a prince. Fielder put up very solid offensive numbers again this year hitting .304, to go along with 27 HR and 101 RBI. Any guy that swings the bat with the intensity of a kid trying to knock the candy out of a piñata will always have a spot on the FPMASs. With that monster swing, he only struck out 77 times in 537 AB this year – awesome.

 

Second Base – Robinson Cano

Is there any question regarding who would be the second baseman on this team? No need to go through the stats, but he’s hitting .299 with 30 HR this year. There’s always next year Aaron Hill.

 

Shortstop – Derek Jeter

Does this guy get old? He’s having one of the finest offensive seasons of his career, to go along with his solid defense at the all-important position of shortstop. Jeet is currently hitting .323, to go along with 30 2B and 15 HR. I love that his uniform is always dirty, and there’s always room on the FPMASs for future Hall of Famers.

 

Third Base – Miguel Cabrera

Can you say Triple Crown? Barring some sort of ridiculous slump we will have our first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He is currently hitting .333, with 41 HR and 130 RBI. Triple Crown winners can play whatever position they want on FMPASs, but Miguel will be a third base. 

 

Left Field – Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball – period. I don’t care if he’s listed as a center fielder, he’s playing left field for the FPMASs. Ryan Braun might be upset with me, but nobody can argue with a stat line of .287/42/123. Josh Hamilton will retire from this game as a legend, and legends are always welcome on the FPMASs.

 

Center Field – Mike Trout

I really had a hard time with this one. My heart was yelling Andrew McCutchen, but my brain kept whispering Trout. They both play a ridiculous center field. They both hit for average and power. It really came down to the stolen bases. Mike Trout was simply the better all-around player this year. For a rookie to put a team on his shoulders, when Albert Pujols is on the team, says enough. For you sabermetric fans, Trout leads the league with a 10.1 WAR.

 

Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton

The player formerly known as Mike. This guy hits moon shots. I watched him at batting practice down at Citi Field in early August, and his upper deck blasts were jaw dropping. I would love to see how many homeruns this kid could hit in a season if he could stay healthy. Only three right fielders had a higher WAR than Stanton this year, and Jay Bruce may play on a better team, but Stanton is a better player.

 

Designated Hitter – Edwin Encarnacion

Who can argue with 40 HR, 120 RBI, and a .280 batting average from your DH position? ‘Nuff said.

 

Starting Pitcher – R.A. Dickey

Come on…you knew I was getting a New York Met on this team somewhere. Dickey has been one of the very few reasons Mets fans have had to smile all year. With 18 wins, 205 Ks, 2.67 ERA, and in the discussion for a Cy Young award – Dickey is the clear choice as the FPMASs starting pitcher. Now we gotta get Molina one of those crazy big catcher’s mitts for when Dickey throws his “Dancing Destroyer.”

 

Closer – Fernando Rodney

This guy is lights out and wears his hat cockily tilted to the side. Love it. With 43 saves, a ridiculously minuscule 0.66 ERA, and 68K in 68 innings pitched – I will be tapping my right arm as I walk out to the mound in the ninth inning to replace Dickey.

* * * * * * * *

So there it is, the first ever FirstPitchMitch All-Star Team. The baseball gods are happy with my choices, but what about the readers? Use the comment section below if you have any conflicting player choices you would like to share.

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Amazin’ Solutions: How To Get Fans Back In The Seats At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/amazin-solutions-how-to-get-fans-back-in-the-seats-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/amazin-solutions-how-to-get-fans-back-in-the-seats-at-citi-field.html/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2012 14:28:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=92747

As I sit here watching Shark Week, I can’t stop thinking about how I wish the Mets would be more aggressive. I know their financial situation isn’t the greatest, but as fans, why do we have to suffer for the bad investment choices of a few? It doesn’t seem right.

The saddest part of the story is, much like the poor seals that swim off the coast of South Africa, there isn’t much relief in sight for New York Mets fans.

As the Mets struggle to draw fans to the stadium, their financial woes will continue. New York is a very unforgiving city, and the fans will show their disdain with declining ticket and merchandise sales. The secondary market for tickets has to be killing the Mets right now. The Mets are being undersold by their own fans as they sell their tickets at discounted prices, trying to recoup some of the big money they spent on them before the season started. Now that the Mets are no longer in the playoff hunt, this trend will continue for the remainder of the season. If fans aren’t coming out to the games, the Mets miss out on the opportunity to lure fans into spending even more money once they have you within the gates of the stadium. I wonder if they’re making up foam fingers with the hand holding up four fingers, instead of one, because that’s where they’re going to finish this season in the NL East.

It already seems like the last thing the Mets want their fans doing is watching the game. Take a stroll out behind center field wall at Citi and you see distraction after distraction – a dunk tank, a booth to see how fast you throw, even an area to play Xbox. These things are better suited for Brooklyn Cyclones games. What ever happened to going to a ball game and filling out a score card? In other words, actually watching the game. I don’t know, maybe those gimmicks are the only reason why people are coming to the stadium these days.

It’s hard enough to draw fans out to the stadium when you are competing with high definition broadcasts. Personally, I would rather sit in the comfort of my own home and watch the game versus go to the stadium – and that’s when there is a formidable team on the field. I opt to watching games at home, but when I see Scott Hairston hitting cleanup, even I have trouble not changing the channel. There has to be a reason to keep the fans watching, and coming to the ball park. And with all respect to the season he’s having, it’s not Scott Hairston. Maybe that’s why they want to trade him now? Hmmmm…

Now the only question that remains is how do the Mets get the fans to start coming to games again?

I have a borderline controversial answer to that question. I think there is one player out there, that the Mets can sign, that will draw the fans out of the woodwork. But this player is going to cost them – that’s the rub. This player has the potential to be as polarizing as Tim Tebow was coming to the Jets. This player will put butts back in the seats at Citi Field, and fans will have a reason to actually watch the game, instead of squeezing in a game of MLB2K13 out behind the center field wall. This player will steal the back page from the Yankees. That player is none other than Josh Hamilton.

Josh Hamilton is arguably the greatest player in the game today. Josh Hamilton is a risk I would love to see the Mets take. Josh Hamilton will bring respect back to the Mets. Josh Hamilton will take the city by storm. I can see record breaking jersey sales, an instant boost in season ticket sales, and bragging rights as the Mets can proudly claim they have the best player in New York on their roster. Hamilton certainly comes with his baggage, but his upside far outweighs the downside.

Jim Mancari noted earlier in his segment From Left Field that the Mets have “a significant amount of building blocks in place.” In other words, things aren’t as bad as they seem. Maybe Josh Hamilton is exactly what is needed to pull all those building blocks together. While it’s not likely we will see Hamilton in a New York Mets uniform, it sure would be something special. With Hamilton wearing the Mets blue and orange, I can’t guarantee you they will be winners, but at least they will be watchable. And as an added bonus for the Wilpon’s, they may actually start making money again.

Amazin’ Solutions is a segment I will be covering for Mets Merized Online going forward. It will take an in depth look at the different issues the Mets are facing, and provide solutions for those issues. Sometimes, when the issues are so complex that they may not have a solution, I may just have a little fun. 

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Get To Know Mets Prospect Travis Taijeron http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/get-to-know-mets-prospect-travis-taijeron.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/get-to-know-mets-prospect-travis-taijeron.html/#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2012 03:09:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=70304

I got in touch with NY Mets outfield prospect Travis Taijeron this week and he was nice enough to agree to an interview with us here on MetsMerizedOnline.com. The righty-hitting Taijeron played CF, and LF last year for the Brooklyn Cyclones after being drafted by the Mets in the 2011 Amateur Draft. It was an excellent pro debut for Taijeron, who not only played solid defense, while leading the team in 3B’s, HR’s, RBI’s, and SLG%, he also came through many times as a clutch-hitter, and had the respect of all his teammates. Let’s check out what Travis had to say as he sheds some light on where he feels his game is now, and where he sees it going.

Petey:  First of all congratulations Travis on a terrific year! From being the 18th round pick by the NY Mets in this past year’s draft, to making your professional debut playing in front of the awesome fans in Brooklyn, to helping the Cyclones get into the New York Penn League Playoffs, and very nearly winning the whole thing! It must have been a very exciting year for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers at MetsMerizedOnline.com. How are things going in sunny California? When the Mets drafted you in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft, out of Cal Poly Pomona, how did you first hear about it, and what was that feeling like? Did you know the Mets were interested in drafting you? What round(s) were you thinking you might be taken in the draft?

Travis:  When I was drafted it was really exciting. It just so happened that I was working out with some of my teammates from Cal Poly when I got the call. I had somewhat of a feel that the Mets were interested in me since they had invited me to a few pre-draft workouts. During the draft I really had no idea what round I was going to be drafted in just because it was my senior season.

Petey:  Is there one person, a coach, a friend or family member, or even another player, who you learned the most from, or who inspired you to chase your dream of becoming a major league baseball player?

Travis:  My whole family and friends have always been there for me but most of all my dad has been there driving me and inspiring me to get better. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to play professional baseball. I loved the sport and I had a talk with my dad when I was going into my freshman year of high school. I told him that I wanted to do whatever it takes to make it, and that I wanted his help no matter what to push me through the hard times. He has always been there to push me to the next level.

Petey:  It must have been an unbelievable experience to break into professional baseball in front of those fabulous Cyclones fans! What was that experience like to play baseball at Coney Island, for the Brooklyn Cyclones, getting to play in front of the home-town folks? Seeing as you’re from California, did it take time for you to get acclimated to living and playing ball in NY?

Travis:  Playing in Brooklyn was such a great time! I have never experienced anything like that. I have never played baseball in front of so many fans before. It really made it so much fun to play. The city life was really different, but baseball is still the same sport no matter where you go in the United States.

Petey:  You made the NYPL All-Star team last season, and you were named the NYPL Player of the Week at the beginning of August, two very nice accomplishments as a reward for a job well done. What’s the biggest thing you learned from the experience of playing for the Cyclones last year?

Travis:  I learned most last year how to control myself in a professional environment. In college everything is controlled. I had to adjust to baseball as a career that I want to excel at and set my own goals for what I want to accomplish.

Petey:  You put together a very productive and consistent 2011 season at the plate. In 194 AB’s, hitting from the right side, you put up a slash-line of .299/.387/.557, with 13 2B’s, 5 3B’s, 9 HR’s, and 44 RBI’s. Nice work Travis! At first glance the only issue I see so far, is a fairly high strikeout rate, as your K/BB ratio was 64/22. If you could, give us a scouting report on yourself as a hitter. What are your strengths? In addition to cutting down on the K’s, what else do you need to work on as a hitter, to take your game to the next level?

Travis:  I understand that I need to cut down on my strikeouts and I have been working on that most this of season. I personally I think that I am a power hitter and I like it when there are people on base. I try my hardest when someone is on base to score them no matter what it takes. I enjoy the pressure especially with runners in scoring position. This off season I have been working most on my strike zone judgment, I believe I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches that I should not have been swinging at and getting myself out. This next year I want to make the pitcher really earn it to get me out.

Petey:  If last year was a sprint, this year will be a marathon, as you will find yourself in a full-season league for the first time. Since you will be playing regularly this year either at Savannah or St. Lucie, in a league where you will have approximately 140 games on the schedule, are you preparing any differently for the long season ahead? Can you describe your workout regimen?

Travis:  I understand that I have to be more prepared this next season so I have been working really hard with my trainer, Carl Thiessen in Imperial Beach and on my own, to make sure that I come into this next season in top shape. The weather has been great out here so we do a lot at the beach in the sand.

Petey:  What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Your favorite player? Is there a major league player, past or present, that you think you are similar to in style? Or someone that you can see yourself playing like someday in the majors?

Travis:  Well, being from San Diego I have been a Padres fan. My favorite team was the 1998 Padre team. One player I have always liked is Josh Hamilton, he has a great swing and a lot of power. But I like so many different players for different reasons, so it is hard for me to narrow anything down.

Petey:  What do you like to do for recreation, when your not working out or playing baseball?

Travis:  Most of my days are working out and all that, but when I have time I like to go to the desert and off-road my Ranger. I also own a few radio-controlled trucks that I race, so I do that as well.

Petey:  Pick one teammate, position player or pitcher, that really impressed you with his play this year at Brooklyn, and tell us what it was that made you take notice.

Travis:  We had so many good players last year, but Danny Muno was one guy that has a really nice swing and can just smack the ball around the field. Also a pitcher that really impressed me was Jack Leathersich. That kid just did really well every time he stepped on the mound. But really the whole team was great, we had so many good players.

Petey:  Danny Muno was kind enough to do an interview with me earlier in the off-season, he’s a terrific player and a very nice guy. And yes, “The Rocket,” Jack Leathersich is an intriguing player as well. To finish up Travis, just a little personal info, not pertaining to baseball. What is your favorite movie? Favorite musician or band? Favorite food?

Travis:  My favorite movie growing up was The Sandlot. I don’t really have too much of a favorite band, but I like country and rock music. I really like any Italian food.

Petey:  Haha! I love The Sandlot! Especially the scene where the kids all have chaws of chewing tobacco, and they go on that spin-ride at the carnival, hilarious! Hey thanks again Travis for taking time out for this interview. The readers and staff at MMO really appreciate it! Have a great rest of the winter, enjoy your time off, and we’ll see you in ST!

Well I’ll say two things for Travis, he’s a very promising and toolsy outfielder, AND he’s got excellent taste in movies! I expect him to be the starting left-fielder in Savannah next year, and it will be great to see how he does in a long-season league. He should be an important part of a very talented Sand Gnat team that will once again, contend for an SAL Championship.

Classic >scene< from The Sandlot, and of course, who can forget this other classic >scene<

For more of my player interviews, and some other cool stuff, click here.

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Would You Decline Wright’s Option To Sign Josh Hamilton Next Offseason? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/next-winter-would-you-decline-wrights-option-to-sign-josh-hamilton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/01/next-winter-would-you-decline-wrights-option-to-sign-josh-hamilton.html/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=69912 After posing this question via twitter, a debate ensued between myself and several Met bloggers including our own Joe D. and Brandon Butler. I thought I would ask the MMO faithful this same query: Would you do anything to sign Josh Hamilton next winter? Even if it meant losing David Wright? Personally, I think it is something to consider.

Now that the Rangers have inked Japanese fireballer Yu Darvish to a major contract, the chances of them making a push for Prince Fielder has decreased significantly. When asked about their chances of signing him, GM Jon Daniels said “I’m intimately aware of our budget and it’s very unlikely”. Does that mean that it is also unlikely that they would be able to re-sign their franchise slugger Josh Hamilton? It’s a possibility.

If Texas cannot re-sign Hamilton, –who stated he doesn’t want to have extension talks once Spring Training begins– he will hit free agency next winter. If that happens, the Mets would more likely than not be out of the running due to financial constraints. But should they freed up some cash, say decline Wright’s 2013 option or trade him before this July 31st deadline, that might create enough space in the budget to ink the superstar outfielder.

Wright has been showing signs of decline since his underwhelming 2009 campaign. His defense has regressed, his strikeouts are up and has lacked that x-factor that made him the superstar he was in 2005-2008. With not only his regression, but the Mets  as a whole, there is the school of thought that there needs t be a change in leadership, a new face of the franchise. Could Hamilton be that face?

We all know Hamilton’s incredible story of addiction and recovery that ultimately led him back to where he belonged: On a baseball field. It would go without saying that he would be a positive influence on the younger players and be a clubhouse leader, but Hamilton does come with an element of risk. Despite being one of the top hitters in the game, his injury history is something of concern. The Raleigh native, although making four straight all-star squads, has not had a fully healthy season since 2008. Not only that, but when he hits free agency, he will be entering his age 32 season, not exactly a spring chicken.

But if I were to chose between the two, I would have to go with Hamilton. Both carry a certain amount of baggage, but when it comes down to pure talent, Hamilton has the edge. He is a leader, enormously talented, scrappy and above all is a winner. Yes by the time he would finish a contract he’d likely be in his late thirties and yes something would have to be done with Bay, but the Mets need a player to build around. They need a leader to turn this franchise around, and Josh Hamilton is better suited and better qualified for that task.

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Should Teams Be Required To Raise Height of Railings At Ballparks? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/07/should-teams-be-required-to-raise-height-of-railings-at-ballparks.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/07/should-teams-be-required-to-raise-height-of-railings-at-ballparks.html/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 16:19:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=54310

For many fans. one item that they always bring to the ballpark is their baseball gloves. We all know why they bring them – it’s so they can catch a ball that has either been hit or touched by a player.  This has been part of baseball tradition for a long time.  But as of late, this tradition is now under some scrutiny by many in the media because of the tragedy that struck during a Texas Rangers home game. 

Just recently, Shannon Stone died in Arlington, Texas after falling 20 feet onto a concrete slab.  He was attempting to catch a ball tossed into the stands by Josh Hamilton for his son.  

Last night at the Home Run Derby in Arizona, Keith Carmickle reached over the railing for a ball hit by Prince Fielder and was about to fall 20 feet onto the concrete below him head first.  Fortunately, with the help of his brother and his friend grabbing and pulling him back up, he avoided a very similar fate to Stone.  

With the recent outbreak of falls (whether they happened or were close) at the ballparks, should teams be required to raise the heights of all railings at the ballpark?  

If teams want to send the right message – that fan safety is a top priority, than they should raise the railings. These recent events could be a call to action that will lead to a safer ballpark experience for all fans who must never again risk a fate similar to that of Shannon Stone.

What are your thoughts on this?

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More Mets Flubs: Why F-Mart And Not Lucas Duda? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/more-mets-flubs-why-f-mart-and-not-lucas-duda.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/more-mets-flubs-why-f-mart-and-not-lucas-duda.html/#comments Sun, 08 Aug 2010 14:02:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=33399 I’m still a little bit confused by the snap decision by the Mets to promote Fernando Martinez on Saturday. It seemed as though it wasn’t very well thought out.

Normally, I love to see a home-grown player promoted from the minor leagues, but the more I look at this particular case, the more it wreaks of just another bad decision by Mets higher-ups.

As I wrote on Saturday, I thought the Mets made the right call to not simply replace Francoeur with Martinez, and to keep Francoeur in the lineup against left handed pitching. It paid off handsomely last night, and in fact the only two wins on this road trip couldn’t of happened if not for two Jeff Francoeur game winning homeruns.

But getting back to Martinez, I look at his .256 batting average and .313 OBP and wonder why such a mediocre line was worthy of promotion?

I find it ironic that the Mets chose to demote Jesus Feliciano who wielded a .346 batting average in as many games as F-Mart in Buffalo. Was F-Mart really an upgrade?

When I took a look at the rest of the outfielders the Mets could have promoted, one clearly stands out above all of them; Lucas Duda.

Duda, 24, has vaulted to the top of the Mets prospect list this year after a tremendous effort in Binghamton, and then even more production after his promotion to Buffalo. All told he has combined to hit .299 with a .392 OBP, .582 SLG and a .974 OPS. When he got to Buffalo, he got better.

The young lefthanded slugger has showed off some nice power numbers with 31 doubles and 20 homeruns in 335 at-bats. He has driven in 74 runs and scored 59.

To me, Duda is having the type of season that is screaming for a promotion.  He would have been a better alternative to platoon with Frenchy, as his .348 batting average against RHP and his 1.140 OPS would indicate.

So far, Duda has also done something most of the Mets can’t do and that is hit with runners on base (.356) or in scoring position (.373). Lord knows, we could use someone who could hit in the clutch. F-Mart on the other hand batted .210 with runners on, and .214 with RISP.

When you look at F-Mart’s major league equivalencies for this season, he projects to be a .213 hitter with a .278 OBP. So don’t expect much help and tone down your expectations.

Last season Duda batted .281 with a .380 OBP for AA-Binghamton, so it doesn’t appear that this season is a fluke.  This Josh Hamilton (6’5, 240 lbs.) sized kid, looks very legit.

Looking at the Bison’s roster, I easily see a dozen players who were more deserving of a promotion over Fernando Martinez. Surely, a promotion like this can’t be good for morale up in Buffalo. It seems too undeserving.

For some reason the Mets are hell bent on justifying all the hype they’ve dished out on F-Mart over the years, even if it wasn’t warranted in the first place. No longer considered a top prospect by scouts and the foremost authority Baseball America, the Mets are finding it hard to let go.

So instead of promoting someone who could help the Mets right now, they instead will give playing time to what is currently a much lesser player.

But hasn’t that always been the way the Mets do things?

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