Mets Merized Online » Kansas City Royals http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:29:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Rangers Sign Dillon Gee To Minor League Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/rangers-sign-dillon-gee-to-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/rangers-sign-dillon-gee-to-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:10:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229620 dillon gee kc

The Texas Rangers announced that they have signed right-hander Dillon Gee to a minor league deal.

Gee, 30, is still recovering from thoracic outlet surgery — the same procedure that Matt Harvey is attempting to come back from this Spring.

A former New York Met, Gee is expected to compete for a fifth starter spot with Tyson Ross, A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Nick Martinez. Given his experience in relief, he could also win a job in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Last year, Gee made 33 appearances for the Kansas City Royals, 14 as a starter, and posted a 4.68 ERA, 1.464 WHIP, 5.25 FIP, and a 6.4 K/9 in 125 innings pitched.

In six seasons with the Mets, Gee had a 40-37 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.25 FIP and 6.45 K/9 in 110 starts and foure relief appearances.

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Update On Free Agent Reliever Market http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/update-on-free-agent-reliever-market.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/update-on-free-agent-reliever-market.html/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 20:55:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228363 jerry-blevins-mets-win

The New York Mets remain in need of bullpen help with their only additions so far being righties Ben Rowen and Cory Burns on minor league deals.

Closer Jeurys Familia could still be suspended by Major League Baseball despite the charges against him being dropped. The Mets also have two holes in their bullpen with Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas being free agents after playing important roles during the 2016 season.

With Kenley Jansen re-signing with the Los Angleles Dodgers the big three closers are now off the board. After missing out on Jansen, the Miami Marlins went out and signed Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa.

The latest reliever to sign was righty Daniel Hudson with the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this week for two years, $11 million. Last week, the Chicago Cubs finalized a deal with veteran reliever Koji Uehara to go along with closer Wade Davis, who they previously acquired from the Kansas City Royals.

Mike Dunn signed a lucrative three-year, $19 million with the Colorado Rockies. He joins lefties Brett Cecil and Marc Rzepczynski who have been pleased with deals given out to left-handed relievers.

Blevins is now the best lefty reliever available on the market and seems destined to get the three-year deal he seeks. Sandy Alderson has made it pretty clear that he would like to have Blevins back, but certainly not willing to give him three years.

boone logan

The lefty market is getting pretty scarce with one of the best remaining options being Boone Logan. The Mets have shown interest in the veteran that held lefties to a .142/.222/.255 slash line in 2016. The Baltimore Orioles reportedly covet Logan who should get at least a two-year deal given current market conditions.

Other lefties still available include veterans J.P. Howell, Chris Capuano, Travis Wood and Javier Lopez.  Wood was the best of the group against lefties in 2016 holding them to a .447 OPS in 120 plate appearances.

The buzz surrounding Salas has been quiet this offseason despite a great finish for the Mets in which he had a 2.07 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and didn’t walk a single batter in 17.1 innings.

Trevor Cahill is currently being pursued by six teams according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The right-hander can be a swingman and struck out 66 batters in 65.2 innings last year, but that also came with 35 walks.

Possibly the most intriguing reliever left on the market is former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland. He has received interest from a large number of teams including the Washington Nationals who missed out on the big three.

Other right-handed relievers still free agents that could help the Mets include Sergio Romo (career WHIP under 1.00), Neftali Feliz (10.2 K/9 in 2016), Joe Blanton (2.48 ERA in 2016), Santiago Casilla (69 saves over past two seasons), Drew Storen (1.59 ERA in last 18 games), and Joe Smith (2.93 career ERA).

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Mets Exploring Trade For Center Field Upgrade http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-exploring-trade-for-center-field-upgrade.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-exploring-trade-for-center-field-upgrade.html/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 02:37:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228245 andrew-mccutchen

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the New York Mets have been semi-engaged in the trade market for a new center fielder.

Rosenthal specifically mentions Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen as someone they’ve kept tabs on, but haven’t yet had any momentum in these discussions.

Other names mentioned in the article include both Kansas City Royals outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain. The Mets and Royals talked during the winter meetings, but the Mets see Dyson as another Lagares type and Cain only gives them a one-year solution.

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles in getting a new center fielder includes that they would have to trade away two of their current outfielders, most likely Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce. Which means they could possibly need three separate deals to get an upgrade in center, making it seem unlikely.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Noah Syndergaard, RHP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-noah-syndergaard-rhp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-noah-syndergaard-rhp.html/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226428 noah syndergaard 2

NOAH SYNDERGAARD, RHP

Player Data: Age: 24, B/T: Left/Right, Free Agency: 2022

2016 Primary Stats: 14-9, 2.60 ERA, 30 GS, 183.2 IP, 218 K, 43 BB, 1.15 WHIP

2016 Review:

It seemed only fitting that Noah Syndergaard would get the Mets their first win of the 2016 season against the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Syndergaard, 24, pitched and won Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, the only game the Mets won in the Fall Classic, so watching Thor mow down Royal hitter after Royal hitter, tossing six shutout innings of three hit ball, striking out nine, just seemed apropos.

Thor was outstanding in April and May, posting a 5-2 record with a 1.84 ERA and .545 OPS against. He added to his superhero legacy during a May 11 start in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, where he hit not one, but two home runs (the second putting the Mets ahead for good), all while pitching eight innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts for his third win of the season. It was the second time in Mets history where a pitcher hit two home runs, the last coming in 1983 by RHP Walt Terrell against the Chicago Cubs.

Despite a few shaky starts in June, Thor rebounded post All-Star break on, posting the 4th best ERA in the National League at 2.65. Thor also posted the third highest fWAR for starting pitchers in the second half at 2.4, and in total, posted the highest fWAR of any starting pitcher this season at 6.5. That’s the highest fWAR by a Mets starting pitcher since Matt Harvey posted the exact same 6.5 fWAR in his 2013 All-Star season.

Comparing his 2015 season to ’16, Thor made a ton of improvements in a myriad of categories, including innings pitched (150 regular season innings to 183.2), K/9 (9.96 to 10.68), HR/9 (1.14 to 0.54), ERA (3.24 to 2.60), and swinging strike percentage (12.2 to 14.2%). Syndergaard also made his first All-Star team this year, however, he didn’t appear in the Midsummer Classic due to a fatigued arm, while also dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow.

Syndergaard eluded the disabled list this past season, and embraced the ace title that came with not having Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler for parts of and in Wheeler’s case, all of 2016. The responsibility that comes with being the number one starter on a staff means pitching in the biggest of games, on the biggest of stages, all while embracing the moment. Dating back to Game 3 of the 2015 World Series in his rookie season, fans knew what kind of competitor Thor was. So it was no surprise that when the Mets were hosting the NL Wild Card Game against the San Francisco Giants on October 5, Thor was tasked with matching up with Giants’ ace, Madison Bumgarner.

The pitching duel we had all hoped for came to fruition that night, as both starters were on their respective games, and the cool autumn night had the feel of a classic World Series game. Syndergaard was masterful, mixing in his high-90s four-seam fastball, with his devastating slider and sinker, keeping the Giants’ batters off balance the entire night. Syndergaard logged seven innings of work, allowing no runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out ten (tied for second most in a Wild Card game start).

Grade: A

2017 Outlook:

There’s no mistaking it, Thor is the ace of the Mets’ staff, and has lived up to all the hype, and then some! Syndergaard made the leap from 169 combined major league innings (including postseason) in 2015, to 190.2 innings in 2016 (including the Wild Card game), so barring any injuries, Syndergaard should be ready for 200 plus innings for 2017 and beyond.

Of course, the Mets will monitor Syndergaard in ’17 to ensure optimal health, and have options with the pitching depth from Gsellman, Lugo, and Colon (if he re-signs), to preserve Thor if he appears to need rest. Syndergaard’s a bulldog though, and I expect more of the same out of the rocket right arm that Thor has awed fans with since his debut in May 2015. Expect more All-Star appearances, and his name in the running for multiple Cy Young Awards for years to come.

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Bullpen Comes Up Big As Mets Defeat Royals 2-1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/bullpen-comes-up-big-as-mets-defeat-royals-2-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/bullpen-comes-up-big-as-mets-defeat-royals-2-1.html/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 02:06:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215555 hansel robles

The Mets (37-32) defeated the Kansas City Royals (38-32) by a score of 2-1 tonight at Citi Field.

Pitching:

Bartolo Colon toed the rubber for the Mets this evening, but unfortunately Big Sexy only made it through one batter as Royals’ lead-off man Whit Merrifield drilled Colon with a comebacker, forcing him to leave the game.

The Mets turned to Hansel Robles to pitch in a long relief appearance in lieu of the injury, and Robles gave them just what the doctor ordered. Robles pitched 3.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits, while striking out six and walking just one.

Erik Goeddel relieved Robles in the fifth and fired two scoreless innings to keep the Royals at bay and the Mets on top 2-1.

Jerry Blevins pitched a clean seventh, and Addison Reed as per usual stymied the Royals in the eighth.

Jeurys Familia looked to notch his 23rd save of the season in the ninth, and did just that, pitching a scoreless inning despite a two out double.

yoenis cespedes

Offense:

The Mets were able to scratch together two runs tonight. Half off what they scored in three games against Atlanta! Again, the offense was nowhere to be found despite a pair of solo home runs, their formula for manufacturing offense the entire season.

I’m curious as to where this supposed “lineup shakeup” was tonight despite inserting Travis d’Arnaud in the eighth position in the order, mind you? Why Michael Conforto is still up is beyond me, as his batting average dropped down to .229 tonight.

I guess I shouldn’t split hairs considering the Mets won, but if you think we are going to win by scoring two runs against the Cubs and Nationals, you’re living in a fantasy world.

The two home runs the Mets hit tonight came from Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes, who launched his 18th of the campaign.

In addition to that, James Loney brought his batting average up to .292, and Curtis Granderson is creeping back up there as he recorded another hit tonight.

Bold prediction: Conforto is sent down within the next 48 hours and Brandon Nimmo gets called up to show what he can do.

On deck:

The Mets will look for the sweep tomorrow against the Royals, with Noah Syndergaard (7-2, 1.91 ERA) taking on Danny Duffy (2-1, 3.17 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM.

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Trading Places: Colon Pitching Tonight, Syndergaard Tomorrow http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/trading-places-colon-pitching-tonight-syndergaard-tomorrow.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/trading-places-colon-pitching-tonight-syndergaard-tomorrow.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 18:50:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215511 noah syndergaard

The Mets have just announced that Noah Syndergaard will not pitch tonight against the Kansas City Royals as planned. Instead, Bartolo Colon will pitch tonight and Syndergaard will start against the Royals in Wednesday’s finale.

Though the Mets have given no reason, it’s obvious they made this move so that Syndergaard will face the Nationals next Monday in DC. Had he pitched tonight he would have missed them.

It’s surprising that this didn’t occur to them until a few hours before game time. I’d imagine that there will be a lot of fans at Citi who will be surprised when they see Bartolo take the mound instead of Syndergaard.
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Syndergaard Is Syn-Sational http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-is-syn-sational.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-is-syn-sational.html/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 15:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210158 noah syndergaard

What an amazing transformation Met fans are able to witness as Noah Syndergaard is quickly blossoming into the conversation as one of the best starting pitchers in the game.

Syndergaard is rounding into quite a complete pitcher, featuring an arsenal of plus pitches in his four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, curveball, and his new toy, a slider. What’s even more amazing is that Syndergaard ranks first in average velocity on his fastball (98.4 mph), slider (92.3 mph), and changeup (90 mph). Even his curveball ranks first in average velocity at 82.9 mph!

And all those velocities are up from his rookie campaign in 2015, with his slider being a big part of the reason for his early season success so far. In 2015, Syndergaard threw his slider only 2.1% of the time, for an average velocity of 87.9 mph. This season, Syndergaard is relying on his slider almost a quarter of the time, at 23.2% for an average speed of 92.4 mph.

The slider has become a pitch that is synonymous with pitching coach Dan Warthen, whose been helping his pitchers incorporate it into their games.  There were early accounts of Warthen’s slider tutelage in 2012, when Matt Harvey praised Warthen for teaching him how to hold the grip during Spring Training.

“Dan Warthen helped me out with the grip during Spring Training,” Harvey said. “I threw it last year, but I didn’t really know how to throw a slider.”

Fast forward to the present, where Syndergaard is taking Warthen’s slider and turning it into his own secret weapon, throwing it much harder than most that throw it. In his first start of the season on April 5th, Syndergaard went to the slider 23 times, and the Royals could do absolutely nothing with it. They went 1-for-9 with six strikeouts, which ESPN NY’s Adam Rubin reported was as many strikeouts as he had with the slider in the entire 2015 regular season.

Royal’s manager Ned Yost was amazed at the dominance Syndergaard had with his sliders, particularly in Syndergaard’s last batter in the sixth against DH Kendrys Morales with the bases loaded.

“There is no man alive who could have hit those three sliders [Syndergaard] threw to Morales,” Yost said. “I don’t think I have ever seen a 95-mph slider. George Brett was in here [his office] and I asked him if he could have hit that, and he said no way.” (NY Post)

While Syndergaard’s slider is a marvel of a pitch, he will always get high praise for his triple digit readings on the radar gun, and his ability to locate his fastball. On Monday night in Philadelphia, Syndergaard threw 12 pitches that were at least 100 mph, adding to his season total that currently stands at 15 according to MLB Statcast.

Of the 25 total pitches registered at 100 mph or greater this season, Syndergaard has thrown 60% of them, and three other pitchers threw the other ten pitches registered at that speed. Syndergaard owns five of the top ten fastest pitches this season, a stat we’re sure to see rise each start he makes.

Syndergaard’s meteoric rise has led to many comparisons to other All Star and Hall of Fame talent, past and present. He’s even been compared to a “max 10 video game player”, as David Wright recently spoke on after the Mets Monday night victory.

“My friends ask me about him,” the Mets captain said of his flame-throwing teammate, “and I say, ‘Think of it this way: When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build a player and put all the abilities up to max 10.’ He’s that guy you build in the video games.”

Former ’86 Champion and current Mets broadcaster Ron Darling told Mike Puma on Wednesday that he likens him to another former Met of the past.

nolan ryan

“He looks like Nolan Ryan,” Darling said. “He walks like him. He acts like him, throws like him. He just has better control than Nolan had at that age. From my seat I’m having a hard time finding the words describing what he is doing.” (NY Post)

If Syndergaard’s career looks anything like Ryan’s, albeit with better control as Darling points out, we’re all in for something very special. This kind of talent doesn’t come around very often, and add in the poise and mound presence he has after only 27 Major League starts, and it makes it even more unbelievable.

How far we’ve come from just last Spring Training, when Syndergaard had to be spoken to by David Wright and ex-Met reliever Bobby Parnell for eating lunch in the clubhouse during an intrasquad game. They way Syndergaard handled the situation, and took the lumps from the captain was an encouraging sign that he was eager to learn from the misstep, and move on.

“It was just a learning point for me, a team camaraderie thing,” Syndergaard said. “I understand where David was coming from. We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.” (Newsday)

I love Thor’s attitude, the way in which is conducts himself on the mound, and his ability to locate all of his pitches for strikes. Looking at Fangraphs, Syndergaard’s plate discipline numbers are all showing vast improvements from last year.

First, Syndergaard’s O-Swing %, which is the percentage of pitches batters swing at outside the strike zone is up over five percentage points this year, currently at 38.4%. His O-Contact %, which has to do with the percent of time a hitter makes contact with a ball thrown outside the strike zone, is at 41.1% compared to last year when he registered a 58.1%.

This could be the effect of having better movement on his off-speed pitches and the inclusion of the slider. And his SwStr%, which is the percentage of strikes swung at and missed is up over seven percentage points this season at 19.3%. And it shows, as Syndergaard is currently tied for the most strikeouts in the Majors alongside Vince Velasquez of the Phillies.

There’s no sugarcoating it, Syndergaard is becoming the ace of this Mets staff. Joe D. asked the MMO staff before the season started on which Mets pitcher was going to have the best season. Before the season started, it was hard to pick out of deGrom, Harvey, and Syndergaard which one would have the best season. Joe D. made a great analogy in choosing a pitcher.

“You just won a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro (V8 455 horsepower model of course) and you have to choose from Hot Rod Red, Nightfall Gray or Metallic Tri-Coat Black. No matter which one you choose, you can’t go wrong.”

After his first three starts on this season, Syndergaard is quickly making this question an easy one to answer.

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MMO Players of the Week: A Rookie Sensation, A Norse God, and Bartolo Colon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-a-rookie-sensation-a-norse-god-and-bartolo-colon.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mmo-players-of-the-week-a-rookie-sensation-a-norse-god-and-bartolo-colon.html/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:34:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209439 Mets POTW

Ah, Mets baseball is finally upon us again. Though we had the shortest span of time between the end of the postseason and the beginning of the regular season (excluding the Royals, of course), the offseason still felt like it spanned 100 years. But now the Mets are back, and are… still the same offensively dead team we saw in November? It’s actually much of what we expected from the team, but a struggling Matt Harvey accounting for two of the Mets’ three losses certainly doesn’t help either. But alas, as we all know, I’m here to be the positive one amongst the very, very large crowd of Debbie Downers. For the first time in 2016, I present to you: the MMO Players of the Week!

Noah  Syndergaard

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: NOAH SYNDERGAARD

Oh, wait, sorry, I meant to type Noah SynderGOD. Noah Syndergaard is picking up right where he left off in game three: an absolutely electric fastball that toys in triple digits, a disgusting slider that topped off at 93, and of course, his signature hook from hell. Despite finding himself in three different jams against the Kansas City Royals that included a leadoff triple in a 0-0 game and a bases loaded, two-out situation, Syndergaard was able to buckle down and induce the strikeouts that he needed. Thanks to a pinpoint-accurate fastball that blew away hitters and a slider that runs away from lefties at the last moment and jams in on righties, he is quickly establishing himself among pitchers as somebody who is confident in his stuff and will pitch his game, rather than trying to adjust to the opponent’s. Plus, if I didn’t choose Thor for this week, the Asgardians would have given me a real hard time.

michael conforto 3 rbi

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: MICHAEL CONFORTO

Hear me out on this one. I was seconds away from keeping my original pick of Neil Walker here. But when thinking about this past week, I thought to myself: did I watch Walker’s at bats and think “wow, this kid is good!” to myself? Did I anticipate that every time Walker came to the plate, he would most certainly get a hit? The answer to both of those is obviously no. While Michael Conforto has only recorded four hits and driven in three (as opposed to Walker, who has driven in five and had some of the more clutch hits), Conforto is the more consistent player, and he deserves to be batting a little higher up than he currently is (he should be batting fifth behind Lucas Duda, with Walker behind him). He’s hit more than his fair share of balls with solid contact, he puts together good at-bats, and he’s already walked three times, showing tremendous plate discipline for somebody with his scant experience. We all know this kid is going to be a beast, and we’re only seeing the bare minimum of what he’s capable of right now.

bartolo colon

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: BARTOLO COLON

I will not respond to any comments that dispute this choice. The Mets have played five games so far. And only one Met has produced a play that is web gem worthy. Victory, thy name is Bartolo Colon. Big Bart is Willy Mays confirmed.

colon-catch

(For those who will inevitably dispute this choice, Asdrubal Cabrera has played an incredibly solid short, and is a drastic step up from Wilmer Flores, defensively speaking. So far, he’s consistent and has shown flashes of his range; not always making the play, but at least keeping the ball in the infield when needed.

There. Now let me bask in the glory of Bart.)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

As I stated above, Neil Walker was solely responsible for the win against the Royals, and drove in crucial runs during the 7-2 rout of the Phillies during the home opener. Though I think he would be much better batting behind Conforto, he has adjusted to New York nicely so far, and I’m excited to see how big of a piece he’ll be as the season progresses. He adds some consistency and is perfectly suited for the middle of the lineup.

Jim Henderson has yet to give up a run as a Met, and he has a whopping seven strikeouts through 3.0 innings pitched. He is very no-nonsense, as he gets the job done quickly by pumping in nothing but strikes. When Jeurys Familia finally returns from his illness and steps back into the full-time closing role, Henderson’s ideal role would be to serve as Familia’s setup man. Considering the Mets’ bullpen depth may be tested due to the recent lat troubles that Jacob deGrom has been experiencing, Hendersons’s success is crucial going forward.

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3 Up 3 Down: Mets Split with Royals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/3-up-3-down-mets-split-with-royals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/3-up-3-down-mets-split-with-royals.html/#comments Wed, 06 Apr 2016 16:48:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209082 neil walker asdrubal cabrera

3 Up

1. Noah Syndergaard Was Filthy

Yesterday’s 2-0 win over the Kansas City Royals was supposed to be Jacob deGrom’s game to start. However, with his wife expecting to head into labor any day now, Noah Syndergaard was given the ball, and boy did he impress. Syndergaard was masterful. He finished the day going six innings while allowing just three hits and striking out nine Royals. The biggest strikeout came against 2015 Silver Slugger winner Kendrys Morales in the bottom of the 6th inning with the bases loaded. Syndergaard made quick work of Morales, striking him out on three pitches, one being a 95 mph slider. Syndergaard generated 16 swing and misses yesterday, which happened just twice to the Royals all of last year. Nearly 70% of his fastballs were 98 MPH+ yesterday, 19 of them touched 100. He was nothing short of spectacular. Even Royals manager Ned Yost was in awe of the kind of stuff Syndergaard had. “No man alive could have hit those three sliders Syndergaard threw to Morales,” Yost said.

2. Neil Walker Silenced the Naysayers

David Wright and the Mets awarded second baseman Neil Walker the belt after yesterday’s victory over the Royals, and for good reason. It was his two-run homerun that provided the Mets and Noah Syndergaard all they would need to secure the win. It came just a day after ex-Met Daniel Murphy hit a homerun and a game-winning double in the 10th inning of his Nationals debut. Prior to the start of yesterday’s game, there were plenty of “told you so’s” going around. Walker silenced those very quickly, as he rocketed a hanging sinker from Chris Young over the right field fence. He also was very solid defensively, turning several double plays, and staying in front of a hard hit, tough hop grounder from Eric Hosmer in the bottom of the 9th inning.

3. Jim Henderson Could Be a Steal

What a debut for RHP Jim Henderson. The last thing anybody wanted to see was a perfectly good start go to waste for Noah Syndergaard. In the 7th inning of yesterday’s game it was Henderson who was given the ball to try and preserve a two run lead. Henderson was nothing short of spectacular, as it took him just 13 pitches to retire the Royals in order. 11 of those 13 pitches were for strikes, and produced a total of five swings and misses. Henderson once recorded 28 saves for the Brewers in 2013, but a second shoulder surgery sidelined him for the majority of the 2014 campaign. He never got out of Triple-A last season. After having a solid spring with the Mets, they placed him on the opening day roster. He did not disappoint.

3 Down

1. Cespedes Off to a Slow Start

It didn’t take long for Yoenis Cespedes to have his first outfield flop of the 2016 campaign. In the first inning of Sunday night’s game, Cespedes dropped a rather routine fly ball off the bat of Mike Moustakas. He also struck out with the tying run 90 feet away in the top of the 9th inning, allowing the Royals to preserve their 4-3 win. Yesterday he had an opportunity to put the game away with the bases loaded in a 2-0 game, but once again was unable to come through. He finished the series going 1-9 with three strike outs.

2. Errors Proved to Be Costly

On Sunday night especially, the Royals showed you why solid defense can you bring you a World Series ring. Once again it was the team in blue and white that made all the right plays defensively, and it was the team in blue and orange who had a few costly gaffes. David Wright was unable to make a play he used to make routinely, a hard hit groundball that he was unable to fire over to first in time to get the speedy baserunner. None however proved to be more costly than Yoenis Cespedes’s dropped fly ball in the first inning that eventually resulted in a run for the Royals. Ultimately helping them secure a 4-3 victory Sunday night.

3. Too Many Runners Left on Base

In the two games against the Royals, the Mets left a total of 18 runners on base, and were 1-17 with RISP. Luckily, they were still able to salvage the split with the World Champions, but they may not get that lucky against other quality teams. Big bopper Yoenis Cespedes left four of those runners on base throughout the series. It’s early, and the hits will come, but the Mets need to find a way to become a constantly good hitting team with runners on base.

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The Z Files: Two Changes For Syndergaard Leads To Sheer Dominance Of Royals Lineup http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/the-z-files-two-changes-for-syndergaard-leads-to-sheer-dominance-of-royals-lineup.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/the-z-files-two-changes-for-syndergaard-leads-to-sheer-dominance-of-royals-lineup.html/#comments Wed, 06 Apr 2016 15:44:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209076 noah syndergaard

The New York Mets scratched out the first win of the 2016 season in their 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.  Throughout the game it was evident through so many foul balls and swings and misses the Mets hitters were having difficulty picking up pitches, which is normal during the first month of the season.  Thankfully, Noah Syndergaard aka Thor was ready.

There were adjustments in Syndergaard’s delivery and pitch selection which, if sustained during the season, will lead him into the Cy Young conversation.

Noah Syndergaard:  6.0 IP (W), 0 R, 3 H, 9 SO, 1 BB

Syndergaard unveiled a new pre-pitch stance, appearing as though he was pitching from the stretch with his feet in-line with home plate and his shoulder closed off to the hitter.  Taking away the excess movement of starting from the prototypical windup with feet and shoulders open to home plate and forced to turn the front shoulder and feet closed towards home plate leads to two positive results:

  1. Syndergaard’s body, most importantly his head and eyes, stay on a straight path towards home plate and his target.  This results in a much greater chance the baseball goes toward the target.
  2. Syndergaard’s pitching motion has a greater chance of repeating itself every pitch, resulting in a more consistent release point.  The more consistent a release point, the more consistent command for his full repertoire of pitches (fastball, curveball, slider and changeup), rather than one or two as we saw last season (fastball and curveball).

Yesterday, Syndergaard showed great fastball command, throwing fastballs at a 73% strike rate with a whiff/miss rate of 13.3%, in-line with his 68% strike rate and 11.6% whiff/miss rate during 2015.  The difference lies in his changeup and slider usage and whiff/miss rates.

In 2015, Syndergaard posted a 14% changeup usage rate with a strong 18% whiff/miss rate compared with a 22% usage rate and 25% whiff/miss rate yesterday afternoon.  An even bigger disparity lies in Syndergaard’s 2015 slider usage at a low 3.18% with a high 24.42% whiff/miss rate compared with his slider usage rate yesterday over 17%, with an exceptional whiff/miss rate at 37.5%.

The best dominance in Syndergaard’s slider was seen in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two-outs facing Kendrys Morales.  Syndergaard threw three straight sliders, ranging from 93 to 95 mph, resulting in three swing and misses by Morales.  Going into the game, I would have said three straight sliders would be the last sequence of pitches thrown by Syndergaard in that situation.  Clearly, Morales thought the same.

Yesterday’s success shows the importance in Syndergaard throwing more sliders and changeups with sharp strikeout movement allowing him more strikeout pitches when he struggles to control his curveball (his curveball was thrown at an abysmal 18% strike rate with one swing and miss).

Other Notes

The ex-Brewers closer and now middle reliever Jim Henderson showed more than the scouting reports credit him for, showing a fastball with nice arm-side/two-seam run sitting 95 to 97 mph.  Although many of Henderson’s sliders showed average movement, he flashed a sharp slider low and away to Omar Infante.

Although Michael Conforto went hit-less in four at-bats, he took aggressive, compact swings resulting in solid contact including a line-out to Lorenzo Cain at the warning track in the second inning.

In the seventh inning with the bases loaded facing Luke Hochevar, Yoenis Cespedes hit a 0-2 pitch foul which landed in Antarctica.  Don’t worry Mets fans, he’s going to be okay.

Stat of the Night

Syndergaard induced 18 swing and misses, a combined 19.57% whiff/miss rate.  Most strikeout pitchers have a 20% to 30% whiff/miss rate for a single pitch during the course of a game (Aroldis Chapman Baseball Reference” href=”http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/chapmar01.shtml” target=”_blank”>Aroldis Chapman’s fastball) but never this high for their full repertoire of pitches combined.

Follow Chris Zaccherio on Twitter @ziography for more Mets insight going beyond statistics.

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Syndergaard, Walker Lift Mets Over Royals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-walker-lift-mets-over-royals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-walker-lift-mets-over-royals.html/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 23:17:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209044 Noah  SyndergaardThe Mets (1-1) defeated the Kansas City Royals (1-1) by a score of 2-0 this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, and in the process, split the series. 

Pitching:

Noah Syndergaard got the start for the Mets, and was outstanding, tossing six scoreless innings striking out nine and allowing three hits, while walking just one.

Jim Henderson, who had a very strong spring, picked up right where he left off, pitching a clean seventh, striking out two in the process.

Addison Reed chipped in a perfect eighth before handing the ball over to Jeurys Familia, who racked up his first save of the season.

Mets pitching retired the last ten Royals to face them.

Neil. Walker

Offense:

Former Met Chris Young got the start for the Royals, and kept the Amazin’s off the board until the fourth inning, when Neil Walker hit his first home run as a Met, giving New York a 2-0 lead.

The Mets had opportunities to bust the game open in both the seventh and eighth innings, but came up empty. However, it wouldn’t matter much, as Walker’s home run proved to be enough.

David Wright, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera and Juan Lagares each chipped in a hit in addition to Neil Walker’s home run.

On deck:

The Mets have the next couple of days off, before opening a series against the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend at Citi Field. Jacob deGrom gets the start and will take on Jerad Eickhoff. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM.

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Silver Linings From Mets’ Opening Night Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/silver-linings-from-mets-opening-night-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/silver-linings-from-mets-opening-night-loss.html/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 11:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209003 asdrubal cabrera

Opening Day 2016 didn’t get off to the start that Met fans were hoping for. That’s probably the biggest understatement I could make. And while the Mets did show some late life in the top of the eighth inning, they couldn’t drive in the tying run, and lost to the Kansas City Royals 4-3.

Fans have no doubt looked at the blemishes this game provided, the Yoenis Cespedes gaffe in the first inning, David Wright’s shortcomings at third and his inability to catch up to the fastball, Matt Harvey not pitching his ‘A’ game after an abbreviated spring and ‘bladdergate’.

However, there were a few silver linings from last nights World Series match-up, a few bright spots that stood out and should help give fans some hope and optimism going forward.

With Terry Collins able to employ the DH, he chose defense over lefty/righty splits and played Juan Lagares in center, shifting Cespedes back to his more comfortable position in left field. Kauffman Stadium plays big, so having Lagares out in center made the most sense to cover as much ground as possible.

The talk early on in Spring Training was how Lagares arrived in terrific shape. His workouts in the off-season paid off as Collins noticed and was enticed by the shape he was in.

“Did you see him? Oh my God. Unbelievable shape,” Collins said at an early press conference. “Tremendous shape.”

Lagares did look a lot leaner than anytime last season, and it showed in Sunday night’s game. His range in the outfield and speed running the bases was impressive, and despite the late jump he had on that sinking line drive in the sixth by Alex Gordon, I’d say he had a strong night in the outfield overall.

The former gold glover also went 1-3 at the plate, and scored the first run for the Mets in the top of the eighth. His single came off right-hander Joakim Soria, who held right-handed batters to a .536 OPS last season.

It was nice to see Jerry Blevins back out on the mound since last April 19th after he broke his left forearm twice last season. Blevins looked sharp in the abbreviated seven games he appeared in last year, issuing no walks or hits. Blevins continued where he left off from 2015, and worked a perfect eighth, retiring the Royals 4-5-6 hitters on eleven pitches, seven of which were strikes.

Blevins is going to be a big piece for the Mets bullpen this year, especially with his great splits against lefties. For his career, Blevins has held lefties to a .577 OPS. Blevins also pitches at a three quarters arm angle, which can be deceptive to tough lefty hitters. At $4 million for 2016, Blevins might turn out to be a great bargain for the Mets, barring health issues or curbs.

Michael , Conforto

Of course, I saved the best for last. Michael Conforto continues to impress and has the presence of a ten-year veteran. I wrote about Conforto back in early February and spoke about how he’s ready to blossom and become quite possibly the Mets best hitter.

The talk during the off-season was about whether Conforto was going to get adequate time against southpaws this year, something the Mets sheltered him from last season, and understandably so. Asking a kid who skipped Triple A to come up and solve all the offensive woes isn’t fair. This year though, I expect Collins to use Conforto against lefties to see how Conforto responds at the plate. In my earlier article I wrote how there weren’t too many left-handed starting pitchers that Conforto will run into, so he should be seeing a bulk of the playing time in left this year.

Transitioning back to last night’s opener, it must have been a thrill for the 23 year-old to make his first Opening Day roster, and he didn’t disappoint. Conforto was on base four times Sunday night, going 2-2 at the plate with a single, double, and two walks. His double was the only extra base hit of the game, a deep shot to center that Lorenzo Cain mistimed at the wall. Conforto did get caught stealing second in the fourth to end the inning. However, I liked the hustle he displayed, and he did get a good jump off of Edinson Volquez. Catcher Salvador Perez made a strong throw from his knees and the ball sailed to second baseman Omar Infante’s right side to tag Conforto as he was sliding in headfirst. I like the aggressiveness on the base paths, and for a big guy, he runs pretty well. Needless to say, Conforto is still looking for his first Major League stolen base.

His poise and baseball acumen will be a testament to how quickly he rises in the Mets batting order. I suspect that by mid-season he’ll be regularly batting no lower than fifth in the order, with many calling for him to be the Mets permanent three hitter. Eventually I do envision him in that role, however we should give him time to adjust and not push that on him so quick. He’s going to be an important piece for the next several years, and with offense at a premium in today’s game, and clubs locking up their young talent to team friendly contracts, it would behoove the Mets to not rush Conforto’s progression. They should be thinking long term with him, and that means not throwing him into the fire to quickly, in fear of stunting his development.

So while we wait for Game 2 on Tuesday, lets appreciate some of the positives the Mets displayed on Sunday night, and just be happy that baseball is finally back for 2016. A few more silver linings from Sunday night’s game, and the Mets could’ve been the victors, so lets hope our other superhero starting pitcher can get us back on track Tuesday afternoon.

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Cespedes On Outfield Flub: “I’m Human” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/cespedes-on-outfield-flub-im-human.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/cespedes-on-outfield-flub-im-human.html/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2016 12:13:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208970 yoenis cespedes out

Yoenis Cespedes strikes out to end game in Royals 4-3 victory over Mets, USA Today

If there was one play that set the tone for Sunday’s 4-3 Opening Night loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, some would say it came in the first inning when left fielder Yoenis Cespedes dropped a very routine flyball that led to an early unearned run that would prove to be the difference in the game.

A Gold Glove left fielder, Cespedes’ flub allowed third baseman Mike Moustakas to reach base with one out. After a passed ball by Travis d’Arnaud he would advance and eventually came around to score off Mets ace Matt Harvey.

“It’s baseball. Things happen,” said Harvey in defense of his teammate. “Nobody’s trying to do anything out there except to get outs and do everything we can to help the team. Errors happen. It’s part of the game.” (NY Post)

Cespedes himself had little to say about his faux pas. “The ball just fell out of my glove,” Cespedes told reporters after the game. “The ball just fell. I’m human.”

Watching the play unfold was reminiscent of Game 1 when Cespedes misplayed a flyball to center, leading to an inside-the-park home run for Alcides Escobar.

Unfortunately for Cespedes, when presented with a chance to redeem himself in the ninth inning of last night’s contest with the Mets down by just a run, he struck out to end the game with the tying and winning runs on base. Game over.

“That was as shocking as anything,” manager Terry Collins said about his outfielder’s dropped ball. “Gold Glove out there, it surprised everybody.”

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Pitching Coach Dan Warthen Proclaims Matt Harvey Is Ready To Go http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/pitching-coach-dan-warthen-proclaims-matt-harvey-is-ready-to-go.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/pitching-coach-dan-warthen-proclaims-matt-harvey-is-ready-to-go.html/#comments Fri, 01 Apr 2016 13:17:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208791 harvey collins

With Opening Night only two days away, New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told Mike Puma of the New York Post that right-hander Matt Harvey is ready to for his start on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

“His arm feels great,” Warthen said. “The ball is coming out. I thought he got out front a little Wednesday. The velocity is where we want, 94-98 mph, so I think we’re going to be good.”

Harvey has had a rough week after dealing with a blood clot scare, then being mocked by the team’s beat reporters about his condition, and finally refusing to talk to the media in protest after his final spring tuneup on Wednesday.

Harvey has struggled in his last three spring appearances leading to a 7.50 ERA in Grapefruit League play. In 12.0 innings he’s allowed 13 hits including two home runs, and he’s walked nine.

Manager Terry Collins downplayed the results, telling MLB.com, “As you prepare for the season, you don’t really worry about what you’re seeing down here. There are guys that have great springs and guys that have bad springs, and you can’t get caught up in either one.”

After learning that he had been chosen by Collins as the Opening Night starter, Harvey was humbled by the decision.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Harvey. “Looking around the locker room, looking at this corner, obviously Terry could have announced anybody. So for me getting the nod, it’s a huge honor. It’s all about how we start and come out. I definitely feel, a year after surgery, I’m definitely 100 percent and happy about the honor and definitely ready for the battle.”

“I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere, obviously, going to Kansas City. Playing against them, it’s going to bring back a lot of memories, but it’s also going to bring back a lot of fire.”

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A Baseball First: World Series Combatants Square Off On Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/a-baseball-first-world-series-combatants-square-off-on-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/a-baseball-first-world-series-combatants-square-off-on-opening-day.html/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 15:43:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208652 royals win

gut-wrench-ing: adjective; extremely unpleasant or upsetting.

In four days, the Mets will have to endure something that no team before has ever suffered through. A fan base that has sat through its share of heartache will have yet another chapter written and it’s completely out of everyone’s control.

Coming off of an amazing season in which the Mets arrived early, taking the NL East and the NL Pennant before losing to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, the Mets will relive the latter portion of that roller coaster season on April 3rd, 2016 when they open the season at Kauffman Stadium.

It’s hard to predict history. Major League Baseball released their 2016 schedule on September 8th, 2015. Among the games on the schedule were matchups between former World Series foes like the Cardinals and Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies and Yankees and Diamondbacks. The Mets and Royals were both on their way to winning their respective divisions and about to join that list.

wrld series

In the very first game of 2016, the Mets will be introduced, player by player along the third base line, in the exact same places they were roughly six months earlier. Instead of the words “World Series,” painted on the field directly in front of them will be the words “Opening Day.”

They will stand and endure the onslaught. The National Anthem. The outfield sized American Flag. The introduction of every single World Series winning player on the Kansas City Royals. They’ll endure the gut-wrenching feeling of seeing a World Series flag blowing in the wind above Kauffman Stadium and the reality that they were that close.

The entire image is surreal.

It seems like torture on top of torture actually. Almost an unfair pantheon of events that would drive the weak minded absolutely crazy.

We’ll learn a lot about the 2016 New York Mets that night. When likely game one starter Matt Harvey climbs the hill, will the Mets break, or will they fight back?

Heart is something that can not be taught and if the Mets are going to start their campaign to get back to the World Series in 2016, they’ll do it against incredibly tough emotional odds, back at the scene of the crime.

Never in the history of baseball have the National League and American League Champions squared off on Opening Day but that is all about to change.

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Harvey and Syndergaard Will Start Against Royals, deGrom Will Pitch Home Opener http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-and-syndergaard-will-start-against-royals-degrom-will-pitch-home-opener.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-and-syndergaard-will-start-against-royals-degrom-will-pitch-home-opener.html/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2016 19:47:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208597 degrom harvey syndergaard

Terry Collins confirmed that Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard will start Games 1 and 2 of the season against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Jacob deGrom will start in the home opener at Citi Field on April 8, assuming he’s back with the team. DeGrom and his wife Stacey are expecting their first child on April 5.

Collins also said that Bartolo Colon will be available out of the bullpen for Games 1 and 2 in Kansas City while Steven Matz will work out of the bullpen for Game 2. Matz will not piggy-back Syndergaard, he’ll be used in relief when called upon.

Here is the rotation projection I posted last week, which still looks good to go:

4/3 - Game 1 at Kansas City, Matt Harvey
4/4 - Day Off
4/5 - Game 2 at Kansas City, Noah Syndergaard
4/6 - Day Off
4/7 - Day Off
4/8 - Game 3 at Citi Field, Jacob deGrom
4/9 - Game 4 at Citi Field, Matt Harvey
4/10 - Game 5 at Citi Field, Noah Syndergaard
4/11 - Game 6 at Citi Field, Steven Matz
4/12 - Game 7 at Citi Field, Bartolo Colon

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Edinson Volquez vs Matt Harvey In Opening Day Rematch http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/edinson-volquez-vs-matt-harvey-in-opening-day-rematch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/edinson-volquez-vs-matt-harvey-in-opening-day-rematch.html/#comments Sun, 27 Mar 2016 11:00:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208449 102715-MLB-Edinson-Volquez-and-Matt-Harvey-PI.vadapt.980.high.93

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost named right-hander Edinson Volquez as their Opening Day starter when they’ll play the New York Mets in a historic World Series rematch at Kauffman Stadium.

“He had a phenomenal year last year,” Yost told reporters. “He’s the veteran guy of our staff. He deserved it.”

Volquez will of course face Mets right-hander Matt Harvey on Sunday, April 3, reenacting their dramatic Game 1 and Game 5 confrontations of last season’s Fall Classic.

“It’ll be like a video we’re watching over and over,” Volquez said after learning he would pitch the season opener. “I’m going to face Harvey again. It’s going to be a great game. He’s a great pitcher too.”

When these two pitchers last faced each other, Volquez surrendered two runs in six innings, while Harvey threw eight scoreless innings before allowing two runs in a stunning ninth inning that led to the Mets’ defeat.

In the second game of the two-game series, the Royals will start right-hander Ian Kennedy while the Mets are expected to start their young hard-throwing righty Noah Syndergaard. The Royals signed Kennedy to a five-year, $70 million deal during the offseason.

It all begins is seven days.

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Syndergaard To Face Royals In Game 2, But That Could Be In Relief http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/syndergaard-to-face-royals-in-game-2-but-that-could-be-in-relief.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/syndergaard-to-face-royals-in-game-2-but-that-could-be-in-relief.html/#comments Mon, 21 Mar 2016 15:09:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208157 noah syndergaard 3

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News is reporting that after Matt Harvey starts on Opening Night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, right-hander Noah Syndergaard will pitch Game 2 on April 5.

However, Mets manager Terry Collins said on Monday that Syndergaard’s appearance during the game “could come in relief” as the team considers ”piggy-backing” starting pitchers in the second game against the Royals. (ESPN New York)

The Mets have three days off during the first week of the season and Collins hopes that by piggy-backing starters he can keep everyone sharp.

This is quite the surprise as many were targeting Syndergaard to pitch the home opener at Citi Field.

But with Jacob deGrom‘s wife expected to deliver the couple’s first child on that day., manager Terry Collins made the decision to go with Thor and letting the Royals’ face the team’s dynamic duo.

“I am impressed with the way he is throwing the ball,” Collins said. “He’s getting himself in great shape and this was a really, really good outing for him. I am impressed with his endurance, his stuff, the command of his stuff, everything.”

Syndergaard last pitched Game 3 of the World Series, the only game the Mets would win in the Fall Classic. He famously whizzed a fastball past the head of Alcides Escobar, sending him sprawling to the ground and infuriating the rest of his Royals teammates.

“If they had a problem with it they can meet me 60 feet 6 inches away,” Syndergaard fired back.

Updated 3/21

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Bryce Harper Tabs Mets As The Team To Beat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/bryce-harper-tabs-mets-as-the-team-to-beat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/bryce-harper-tabs-mets-as-the-team-to-beat.html/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 04:01:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206679 Bryce+Harper

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said today, that the New York Mets are the team to beat in the National League this season.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge,” Harper told Washington beat reporters. “The team to beat are the Mets. That’s what it is right now. They kicked the crap out of our division last year, and hopefully we’re going to come in this year and do what we can to knock them off, or anybody else off in all of baseball.” (Adam Rubin, ESPN New York)

Despite the Nats beginning the 2015 season as the heavy favorites to win the World Series with 9-1 odds, the Mets captured the NL East and National League pennant before losing to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series in five games.

The Nationals fired manager Matt Williams immediately after the season ended and replaced him with Dusty Baker.

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Wright Cautions Mets To “Stay Hungry” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/wright-cautions-mets-to-stay-hungry.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/wright-cautions-mets-to-stay-hungry.html/#comments Mon, 22 Feb 2016 14:00:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206563 david wright 2

Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. That’s a phrase many of us have heard throughout our lives at various junctures. While this motto can apply to a plethora of situations, this is very apropos for the New York Mets as they begin their 2016 season, vying to head back to the World Series.

Fans are abuzz over the current status the Mets enter the 2016 season with. The defending National League Champions, the best starting five in the game, a talented nucleus of offensive talent. All positive attributes and ones that make the Mets not only the talk of New York, but of baseball.

As fans know, it’s hard to simmer expectations, especially coming off the miraculous second half run the Mets had last season. However, while I am all for positive thinking and playing with a sense of cockiness and swagger, I appreciated what David Wright said in Port St. Lucie this week, when he spoke on last season’s success.

“My message would be don’t let last year be the pinnacle of what this team is able to accomplish,” Wright said. “Let’s take it one step further, then we can really celebrate.”

Essentially Wright is urging his teammates to strive further, to finish the job they started. Learn from the postseason, use that as an advantage. They’ve had a taste of success, but now they want the whole meal.

This message is big coming from the captain. In 2006, at the young age of 23, Wright and his Mets team had made it to Game 7 of the NLCS. While the end result was disappointing, surely Wright and Mets fans alike all felt that this team would be in contention for the next several years. They would be the perennial contender that fans from post 1986 thought that Mets squad should’ve been.

One main advantage for this Mets team compared to 2006 is clearly their hard-throwing starting rotation, and their age. Remember who the Mets had on the mound in ’06, a 40 year-old Tom Glavine, 35 year-old Steve Trachsel, 34 year-old Pedro Martinez who only appeared in 23 games and made no starts in the postseason, and a second half of 40 year-old Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez. To make us all feel even older, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz were all in high school. Noah Syndergaard was in middle school. But I digress.

Wright’s message is all about how this team needs to focus on continuing the task this year. Yes, use 2015 as a big step forward, but not the complete mile. In order for the Mets to continue their rise, staying humble and hungry is what they need to do in 2016. Wright knows more than anyone on this current Mets roster how relying on past success doesn’t guarantee future triumph.

“I can serve as a cautionary tale,” Wright said. “The same thing happened in 2006 and 2007. The expectations were so high and everybody knows what happened, so I think I can speak from experience: Don’t let this be another cautionary tale. The biggest thing is stay hungry.”

The Kansas City Royals are a team that can serve as a beacon for these Mets. They made it to Game 7 of the World Series in 2014 against the San Francisco Giants, and lost at home. The Mets lost at home in five last year, but hope that keeping their core nucleus of players together, as the Royals had done heading into 2015, will serve as a strength for 2016. Wright acknowledged that the Royals model can serve as motivation.

“They made it so close in 2014 and then came back even more hungry the next year and won the World Series,” Wright said. “That can prove to be our plan.”

As the Mets progress into the spring, I hope they heed Wright’s word of advice. Early predictions, and vowing “we’re the team to beat” can be fun rhetoric and slow news day fodder. However, actions and results are the only things that really matter once the real games begin. Nobody doubts the Mets have all the pieces in place to get back to the postseason, now it’s up to them to show the physical and mental makeup of finishing the job in 2016.

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Mets Have Best Chance Of Returning To Postseason http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/mets-have-best-chance-of-returning-to-postseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/mets-have-best-chance-of-returning-to-postseason.html/#comments Mon, 15 Feb 2016 18:45:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206269 AP NLCS METS CUBS BASEBALL S BBN USA IL

Phil Rogers of MLB.com looks back at the 2015 postseason and ranks the chances of those ten teams returning to the postseason in 2015. Topping the list at No. 1 Rogers has the New York Mets. He writes:

1. Mets

They’ll roll if: Lefty Steven Matz stays healthy for a full season, adding another piece to baseball’s best rotation. Hitters already hate facing the Mets’ staff, and the emergence of Matz, along with the return of Zack Wheeler, should make them even tougher.

They’ll struggle if: Yoenis Cespedes regresses back to his form in 2013 and ’14, when he hit .251 with a .744 OPS and a 21.7 percent strikeout rate. He’s the key to a lineup that looks improved up the middle with Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and Neil Walker at second.

Rounding up the top five are the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Yankees ranked last with the lowest probability of returning to the postseason.

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