Mets Merized Online » Miguel Cabrera http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:21:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Lessons In Latin America: A Brief Venezuelan History http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/lessons-in-latin-america-a-brief-venezuelan-history.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/lessons-in-latin-america-a-brief-venezuelan-history.html/#comments Sun, 02 Feb 2014 14:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139689 miguel cabrera

While Cuban and Mexican baseball have been the forefront of baseball pioneering between spreading the sport and creating the Leagues, their stance is nothing in present-day Major League Baseball compared to both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. As of April 1st in 2013, Venezuelans represented the second-highest number of foreign-born players in the Major Leagues other than Dominicans at 63. Venezuela, however, has turned in year in and year out some of the most talented players in the Major Leagues, including the current Most Valuable Player for 2 years in a row, Miguel Cabrera.

There are, once again, arguments about the origins of Venezuelan baseball, with a study from the University of Florida saying that students brought it back from America in 1895 after going to America and learning of the sport, while Milton Jamail (Book, Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom) says that it came from a Cuban Cigar company that established itself in 1890. On May 23rd, 1895, El Caracas Base Ball Club played the first Venezuelan baseball game as a team, splitting into two teams and being publicly photographed by the Venezuelan press. Either way, Venezuelans became captured by the sport by the early 1900’s.

In the early 1900’s, baseball in Venezuela began picking up steam, and teams were created throughout the country, and forming its own league by 1927. Those leagues still exist, creating new havens for players to go to such as previously stated Cuban Star, Martin Dihigo to go and play when America had not been as friendly as it should have been to darker-skinned players.

Alex Carrasquel was the first Venezuelan in the Major Leagues. He was a white Venezuelan signed by “Papa” Joe Cambria (Who was mentioned for nearly kidnapping players in the Previous Cuban articles) to play for the Washington Senators. Carrasquel pitched as a reliever and then fled to Mexico for a better wage as a part of Jorge Pasquel’s attempt to create an impressive Mexican league. While players were usually suspended because of Commissioner Happy Chandler created a law to deter players, Carrasquel’s sentence was reduced, and he went on to pitch a couple more years in the Major Leagues.

venezuela baseball

Almost 300 Venezuelans have come up since Alex Carrasquel, such as notable stars, Luis Aparicio, Omar Vizquel, Dave Concepcion, Bobby Abreu, and our own Johan Santana, and more Venezuelan players are added to team’s systems each year.

Now, Venezuela is host, not only to a winter-league haven to Minor and Major stars in the MLB, but to a host of Academies where minor-leaguers are developed. But, while 28 out of 30 Major League teams once held Academies in Venezuela, only 5 different academies remain for players as of now because of the dangers of the country as a whole.

The Academies that once stood affiliated with Major League teams were facilities for players signed as young as 16, (or sometimes even younger if not signed and just training) to come and play baseball, and be trained by coaches placed there by the organization. After these players were deemed ready, they would be sent to America to play in the next phase of the Minor Leagues.

Now they have been sent to the training academies that have sprouted up throughout the Dominican Republic.

Presented By Diehards

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Sandy Keeps ‘Em Laughing At BBWAA Dinner http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/sandy-keeps-em-laughing-at-bbwaa-dinner.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/sandy-keeps-em-laughing-at-bbwaa-dinner.html/#comments Sun, 26 Jan 2014 05:03:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=141414 sandy alderson

The New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association gathered in Manhattan tonight for their Annual Awards Dinner.

The 2013 MLB award winners all received their trophies for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, and there were also the very popular New York chapter awards.

National Baseball Awards

Miguel Cabrera – AL MVP
Andrew McCutchen – NL MVP
Max Scherzer – AL Cy Young
Clayton Kershaw – NL Cy Young
Wil Myers – AL Rookie of the Year
Jose Fernandez – NL Rookie of the Year
Terry Francona – AL Manager of the year
Clint Hurdle – NL Manager of the Year

New York Chapter Awards

Mariano Rivera – Toast of the Town
Andy Pettitte – Toast of the Town
Hank Aaron – Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award
Al Downing – Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award
Tim McCarver – Long and Meritorious Service
Dillon Gee – Joan Payson Humanitarian Award
Bobby Parnell – Joan Payson Humanitarian Award
David Ortiz – Postseason MVP
David Robertson – Good Guy Award

Mets GM Sandy Alderson got a few laughs when he introduced Max Scherzer saying that the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka for $155 million and that the Mets countered by signing a Japanese pitcher who will get paid “month to month.” He then added that Tanaka was Japanese for “Scherzer is about to hit the freaking jackpot.” Scherzer is a free agent after the 2014 season.

What a funny guy…

Congratulations to Bobby Parnell and Dillon Gee on receiving the Joan Payson Award!

Presented By Diehards

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Hit The Ground Running: A Page From The Detroit Tigers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/hit-the-ground-running-a-page-from-the-detroit-tigers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/hit-the-ground-running-a-page-from-the-detroit-tigers.html/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 18:58:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138814 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Jonathan Bernhardt, perhaps a distant relative many times removed, did a piece called “Time To Shine” for “Sports on Earth.” In the column, Bernhardt highlights prospects he predicts may be on a fast track to reach the bright lights and fame of major league baseball.

It wasn’t the prospects themselves but what Bernhardt had to say about the organizational philosophy of the Detroit Tigers that should serve notice to New York Met fans. Bernhardt was talking about a Tiger infield prospect, Nick Castellanos that Detroit General manager Dave Dombrowski and new manager Brad Ausmus project as the team’s everyday third baseman when Miguel Cabrera is shifted back to first base heading into the 2014 season.

Castellanos will turn 22 in March and played for Triple-A Toledo last summer hitting .276,  slugging 18 HR’s and driving in 76 runs. The Tigers acknowledge that he is less than adequate defensively at third base, but are willing to live with their rookie prospect’s defensive deficiencies if he can make up the difference with the bat.

In explaining the Tigers plans, Bernhardt cites his impression of how the Tigers conduct business as it relates to promising young talent. Here’s what Bernhardt had to say, “The Tigers don’t coddle prospects, and they very rarely play service time games. When they have impact prospects Detroit puts them on a rocket ship through the organization, builds their value and either trades them for major league pieces or throws them right into the fire.”

In this corner, I’m hoping Sandy Alderson and the Met brass take a page from the Tiger organization when rounding out the starting rotation and filling slots in the bullpen this spring. The free agent signings this winter have bolstered the previously depleted hope and energy of a shattered Met fan base. For the first time in three years, Met fans are wondering whether management may be making moves for today, and not simply positioning for a better tomorrow.

A true competition where the youngest and perhaps most talented Met pitching prospects merit realistic chances to make the roster going north would continue to build on the momentum gained during the Hot Stove. In selecting the best candidates to do the job on day one, rather than playing service time games, the Met front office would send a message to Met fans that we are serious about competing in 2014 from Opening Day forward.

Met fans are too smart not to know their team lacks roster depth and can ill afford to put less than their best talent on the field for the first ten weeks of the season while a service time clock ticks, that is, if we are to have any chance of competing for a wild card spot. Let’s throw caution to the wind, hit the ground running, and live with the satisfaction that no matter where we land, we hit them with our best shot.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Brian Kenny: Ten Rules To Fixing The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/brian-kenny-ten-rules-to-fixing-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/brian-kenny-ten-rules-to-fixing-the-mets.html/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 16:24:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134186 briankennymlb

Last night Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny), formerly of ESPN and currently at MLB Network tweeted out his rules for fixing the Mets. Aside from being a fan of his, I found these rules to be interesting and agreed with most, if not all of them. So I decided I’d pass them along to you guys with some thoughts of my own.

I couldn’t agree with this more. I know there’s been a lot of talk about signing a couple of veteran pitchers to “bridge the gap” until Matt Harvey gets back and guys like Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero arrive. That would be a foolish move and a poor allocation of funds. If the Mets want to go out and sign one potentially difference making pitcher like Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka – then that’s great. You can never have enough good pitching. However, signing a guy like Bronson Arroyo to a three year deal reeks of desperation. Desperation to win enough games to keep fannies in the seats but not truly contend. There’s plenty of pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Erik Goeddel and Cory Mazzoni who could be given a look in the rotation to see what we have. Any Mets fan looking to be realistic has to know that 2014 isn’t about contending– not seriously anyway. Which brings me to rule #2….

Like I just said, 2014 isn’t going to be the year we compete. I know that the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson pointed to 2014 as the year to look forward to and many of you are up in arms. The sad truth is that Matt Harvey’s injury pushed the entire timeline back a bit. The smartest thing for the front office to do at this point is to try to find ways to improve the team without compromising future offseasons. Because while I know many of you want to see Alderson go out there and sign a big name, there isn’t a name big enough to make this team a winner. Maybe next season the market changes and teams aren’t handing out the absurd contracts we see going around this year. Maybe that’s when we make our big splash. When Harvey is back. Wheeler has a full season in the majors under his belt. Syndergaard and Montero have gotten a taste of the majors. Maybe then we make the signing or trade that we need because we didn’t overreact or overpay this winter.

While I don’t think this rule is vital, I understand where Mr. Kenny is coming from. Obviously the bullpen was a problem for the Mets last season. Clearly that can’t continue. But more than that, relievers make for great trade chips come July. If you can buy low on a few guys and they have bounce back or breakout year you can really turn those guys into solid prospects. It’s a great way for a team stockpile organizational depth.

This may be my favorite rule. I’ve long been a supporter of the belief that if you don’t have/can’t sign star players you can almost create one by using a platoon. There are plenty of players out there who are adept at doing just one or two things well. However, their flaws tend to make teams see them in a negative light. The key is to find players who complement one another. An example would be a guy like Jeff Baker pairing up with Ike Davis to form a first base platoon. Davis’ struggles against lefties are well documented. Baker is a career .298 hitter vs LHP and hit .313/.407/.667 against them last season. Neither player is a stud, but combined they could give you the production of a well above-average first basemen.

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. David Wright is our best player and the face of this franchise. If we ever want to lure a free agent here, Wright is going to be the guy to help do so. He does everything the organization has asked of him both on and off the field. Injuries have plagued him in the past few years but since 2005 only Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Chase Utley can top Wright’s 47.8 WAR.

This one caught me by surprise. I’m glad to see someone in Kenny’s position and with his knowledge of the game go out of his way to support Lagares. There seems to be a split amongst Mets fan when it comes to our young centerfielder. Many don’t think he provides enough offense to justify a starting spot. However, center field is such an important defensive position that I think you can live with a lack of offensive production. Lagares is already one of the better centerfielders in baseball no matter what your statistical preference is. Plus I’m not sold that he won’t hit. Will he be a star? No, but I think he can hit .250, draw a few more walks and I see more power in that frame.

Everyone knows that the best way to get an out is to not allow the hitter to put the ball in play. Well, the Mets have a lot of pitchers in their system who strike out batters at a high rate — especially in the bullpen. We also know that pitchers only have so many bullets in their arms. So I believe Kenny is wondering why guys like  Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters, Goeddel and others remained in the minors this year while the bullpen struggled at the major league level. I’d have to agree with him.

This ties in with rule #4 and also the example I brought up using Ike. If you’re forced to work under a budget, as it’s now become clear the Mets are, platoons are the best way to go about it.  However if another team wants to “pay nicely” for the chance to fix Ike that’s fine also. Rule #4 should also apply to Lucas Duda if he’s going to be the one to stick around.

This is the one rule I am firmly against. In a previous rule Kenny mentions “half players”, a.k.a platoon players. I don’t understand why you’d want to pay $20MM+ annually for one. I think my dislike for the idea of signing Choo is well documented. If not, click here.

I don’t necessarily think either of those players are part of the problem, but I’m not completely sold on them being part of the solution. If we’re going to platoon at first base I’m partial to giving Ike a shot at the righty side of the platoon. Also if you’re telling me Josh Satin is the only option versus lefties then I’ll take it, but I like the Baker/Davis platoon that I mentioned earlier simply because Baker provides power. As for Lucas Duda, I’ve heard that there’s just as much interest in him as Ike. If that’s the case I’d prefer to trade Duda because Davis has more upside. However I could be swayed if we’re being offered a better return for Ike.

Overall I think Mr. Kenny touched on a lot of important topics regarding the Mets and their future. If they’re to build a consistent contender they need to formulate a plan or set of rules and stick to it. They’re not as far off as you think. There’s plenty of teams in the league that would love to have our starting pitching. Or a star third basemen who says all the right things. Or a centerfielder who makes the difficult look routine. The key is to decide what mix of players we want to put around them and how to go about it. There are times to spend, and there are times when being patient or frugal is the best play.  We can’t let some promise we were made a couple years ago cloud our judgement. Otherwise we end up overspending to put a band-aid over a bullet hole.

Presented By Diehards

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Blockbuster: Tigers Trade Prince Fielder To Rangers For Ian Kinsler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/blockbuster-tigers-trade-prince-fielder-to-rangers-for-ian-kinsler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/blockbuster-tigers-trade-prince-fielder-to-rangers-for-ian-kinsler.html/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 08:22:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133333 prince fielder

In a stunning move on Wednesday night, the Detroit Tigers  traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Tigers are sending $30 million to Texas along with Fielder and the deal is pending the waiving of no-trade clauses and physicals.

Fielder, 29, is only two years into his $214 million mega deal he signed with the Tigers before the 2012 season. He gave the Tigers some bang for the buck during his stay, posting an .878 OPS. His trade will enable Detroit to move Miguel Cabrera back to first base, while freeing up money to retain reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer who is a free agent after 2014.

Kinsler, 31, is entering the second season of a five-year, $75 million deal that runs through 2017. His departure opens second base for top prospect Jurickson Profar.

Here are some reactions from this blockbuster deal:

Jon Heyman, CBS Sports:

Detroit could use big prospect Nick Castellanos at third base, and move two-time defending A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera to first base. That could be a plus for Cabrera, who had switched to third base with Fielder’s signing two years ago, given his physical issues in 2013. Even if Castellanos plays the outfield, it’s seen as likely Cabrera would move to first now.

Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports:

Give lots of credit to Dave Dombrowski; the potential nightmare back half of Prince Fielder‘s nine-year, $214 million contract is no more. Instead, Fielder and the $168 million he’s still owed is gone after two mildly disappointing seasons in Detroit, with Ian Kinsler‘s more palatable deal coming back.

Jon Daniels, Rangers GM:

Dave (Dombrowski) called yesterday and threw out the concept. We had a little dialogue before on it. From there, David and I had a series of phone calls and both sides were interested and we got the money where both sides could live with it.

Matthew Pouilot, NBC Sports:

The Rangers get better on the field with the one-for-one deal, but it’s at a cost of inheriting one of the game’s worst contract. Most likely, Fielder will put up a better line next year than the .279/.362/.457 he hit while going through a divorce in a career-worst 2013 season. He’s just turning 30 in May, and while his body type suggests an early decline is quite possible, he probably has at least one or two more .900-OPS seasons in him.

Ron Washington, Rangers Manager:

Fielder has presence, He’s been a very productive player. He’s a winning player. I do believe he’ll fit well in this clubhouse.

Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated:

Sometimes I think Dave Dombrowski should write a book about running a high-payroll baseball team, but I doubt any other general manager would buy it. Dombrowski does things that don’t make much sense, right until the moment they do. And to understand how deftly he has navigated a job that is more difficult than people realize, look at what Dombrowski did, from start to finish, with Prince Fielder.

Dave Dombrowski, Tigers GM:

We have been trying to create some financial flexibility. We’re in a situation where we have a lot of stars. They’re well-paid stars, and you can only have so many of those. It gives us some flexibility at the first base spot. I’m not really sure what we’re going to do here today with Miguel, but eventually we see him as a first baseman.”

Phil Rogers, MLB.com:

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who was acquired from Arizona in the three-team trade that sent Granderson to the Yankees, appears to be an obvious beneficiary of this trade. The Tigers couldn’t have anticipated Scherzer upstaging Justin Verlander a couple of years ago, but that’s what the right-hander has done. With Fielder and much of his nine-year, $214 million contract gone, Dombrowski has more flexibility to sign Scherzer to an extension that allows the co-ace to work alongside Verlander and Anibal Sanchez through at least 2017.

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Puma: Mets Dealing With Sticker Shock On Free Agents http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/puma-mets-dealing-with-sticker-shock-on-free-agents.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/puma-mets-dealing-with-sticker-shock-on-free-agents.html/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:45:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132919 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

An interesting tweet from Mike Puma of the New York Post who said the Mets believed they could get Peralta on a two-year deal:

“Mets dealing with “sticker shock” on free agents. Thought they could get Peralta on a two-year deal, but he wants at least three years.”

On November 11 I actually used the same term to describe recent statements and actions by the Mets front office:

“My guess is that Sandy is suffering from sticker shock. I think it’s safe to say that as much as they wanted you to believe everything is now hunky-dory, it’s obviously not.”

Let me add that this does not mean they won’t still continue to pursue Peralta. I think they will.

However, this just shows how poorly they misjudged this year’s market and explains their hesitation in signing any free agents now and preferring to wait until late in the offseason instead.

Original Post 11/19

MLB Trade Rumors reported on Monday that the Yankees are expressing interest in Jhonny Peralta, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Peralta would provide the Yankees with insurance should Alex Rodriguez miss significant time with a suspension or in the event of a Derek Jeter injury. He has extensive big league experience at both shortstop and third base.

The Mets met with the free-agent shortstop during the GM Meetings, but a team executive downplayed it saying he just happened to be in Orlando.

Today, Sandy Alderson revealed to reporters that he hasn’t had any contact with Peralta since a rumored meeting with him at the GM Meetings a week ago in Orlando, Fla.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Peralta’s agent is looking for “Big-Time Money” and far more than a three-year, $45 million contract.

The Mets want to add a shortstop from outside the organization. With Stephen Drew expected to be outside their price range, Peralta figured to be the top target in a limited pool of candidates at the position, writes Rubin.

Peralta, 31, was the second most productive player in the Tigers lineup prior to his 50 game suspension for violating major league baseball’s joint drug agreement. He batted .303/.358/457 this season and his strong first half earned him a spot on the All Star team.

An average season for Peralta would like .290 with 35 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 runs, and 80 RBIs.

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Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen Win Most Valuable Player Awards http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/miguel-cabrera-andrew-mccutchen-win-most-valuable-player-awards.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/miguel-cabrera-andrew-mccutchen-win-most-valuable-player-awards.html/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 03:11:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133009 Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates were named American and National League Most Valuable Players tonight by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Miguel  Cabrera

Cabrera finished with 385 points, while Mike Trout got five first-place votes and 282 points. Baltimore’s first baseman Chris Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs, was third.

Cabrera, 30, is the first American Leaguer to win back-to-back MVPs since Frank Thomas in 1993 and ’94 and just the sixth ever to do so in that league. Last year, Cabrera became the first hitter to win the Triple Crown in either league in 45 years. This season, he was better across the board, falling two RBIs short of his 2012 total of 139 and matching his home run output of 44 in fewer plate appearances while posting career highs in batting average (.348), slugging percentage (.636) and OPS+ (187).

andrew mccutchen

McCutchen, third in MVP balloting last season, got 409 points. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt finished second with 242 points, while Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received the other two first-place votes and came in third. Pittsburgh has its first NL MVP since Barry Bonds in ’92.

McCutchen, 27, batted .317/.404/.508 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs this season. Over the last two seasons he has hit .322/.402/.531 (160 OPS+) while averaging 102 runs, 190 hits, 26 home runs, 90 RBIs and 24 stolen bases, while playing a strong centerfield.

Congratulations to both Miguel and Andrew.

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Featured Post: Are We Giving Up Too Quickly On Ike Davis? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/featured-post-are-we-giving-up-too-quickly-on-ike-davis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/featured-post-are-we-giving-up-too-quickly-on-ike-davis.html/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:44:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132604 babe ruth

Everybody loves a home run slugger. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of watching batters with pop in their bats blast the ball out of the park whenever they step to the plate. Yet, in the post steroid baseball era, consistent home run sluggers, guys that can be counted on to hit thirty or more home runs year after year, is diminishing.

Soaring individual home run totals were a rarity in 2013. Only two major league sluggers, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera went yard 40 or more times with Davis leading the major leagues with 53 four-baggers and Cabrera finishing second with a healthy 44.

Only 12 other big leaguers hit 30 or more homers in 2013, and just three from the National League. In fact, since 2010, National League sluggers pounding 40 or more HR’s have become nearly extinct. Ryan Braun did it in 2012, but no other NL batter has reached that magic total over the last four years.

Take a look at baseball’s four year home run totals.

chart

The 2013 season was an especially disastrous one for longball hitters in the National League. Only three NL batters went yard 30 or more times this summer. That’s stunning.

Let’s hope it’s not a trend. With so many Met fans clamoring to add a HR slugging bat to our roster during this off-season, it does make you wonder just where that bat would be coming from.

In yesteryear, many sluggers showed uncanny consistency stringing together seasons with 30 or more home runs. Mickey Mantle did it 8 straight times. Willie Mays had a run of 11 of 13 years missing each of his off-years by a single home run. Met great Mike Piazza had a run of 11 of 12 seasons, Mike Schmidt 14 of 15, and Willie Stargell 15 of 17.

Unlike the old days, consistency of this sort in recent years is hard to find. Since 2010, Miguel Cabrera is the only player to total 30 + home runs every year. Five players; Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Jay Bruce have reached that mark in three of the last four years.

Examining the home run totals unearthed some real surprises. David Ortiz never hit more than 20 home runs until he was 27 years old. Rafael Palmeiro never climbed to 30+ HR’s until he was 28. Justin Upton has only reached 30 dingers once in seven big league seasons. Adrian Beltre, consistent since 2010, had his first 30+ home run season in his 13th big league year. Matt Kemp has only had one 30+ home run total in eight seasons, Joey Votto one in seven campaigns, and Robinson Cano has reached 30 or more HR’s once in his nine years in the big leagues.

And, even the great home run sluggers many times had a disastrous campaign, at least on their standards, somewhere along the line. For example at 26 years old, Willie McCovey hit .220 with 18 HR’s and only 54 RBI’s. When he was 27 years old, Mark McGwire hit 21 HR’s with 75 RBI’s, batted .201 with a .383 slugging percentage. It happens.

All these home runs numbers leave me wondering about Ike Davis. It’s not like Ike Davis doesn’t have the power potential to hit the ball out of the park. Just one season removed, Davis put himself on the 30+ leader board slamming the ball out of the yard 32 times, with all but 5 of those home runs coming in his final 100 games.

The beginning of the 2013 season was a train wreck for Davis. After he was demoted to Las Vegas, he returned to Flushing and was showing improved offensive output when an oblique injury put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season.

Every indication leads Met fans to believe the front office has run out of patience with Davis. The fear of the demoralizing effect a third straight ice cold spring would have on the team has trumped the longball potential Davis brings to the team.

With so few baseball sluggers slamming the ball consistently our of the park (only 3 – 30+ HR hitters in the NL in 2013) and with no other internal promising options at first base at the moment, I can’t help but wonder if this direction is unwise or premature.

Every time I think I have run out of patience with Davis, I consider the alternative, Lucas Duda, and I find a little extra patience in my tank. There is very little difference in their stat line, although, Duda’s defensive WAR totals, whether as an outfielder or a first baseman are scary.

              AB     R   2B  HR  RBI   BA    OBP   SLG   OWar  DWar
Lucas  Duda   1,104  134  58  44  153  .246  .342  .424   3.6   -6.3
Ike  Davis    1,488  196  81  67  219  .242  .334  .434   4.2   -1.5

On paper, the differences seem pretty insignificant. In my gut, there’s a much wider gap that tips in favor of Davis. When I consider both Davis and Duda in terms of positive potential at someday regularly posting 30+ HR numbers, I come down on the side of Davis again. And, when I consider which guy I want patrolling the bag at first base, especially with an infield of questionable defensive acumen, it’s Davis by a long shot.

If the Mets don’t go outside the organization to fill their first base needs, I think they need to think long and hard about who they tab as next year’s starting first baseman. The cost of now is sometimes a loss for the future. Patience never guarantees longterm success, but it dramatically increases the odds.

not typical metsmerized

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Tigers GM Says He Wont Make A Qualifying Offer To Jhonny Peralta http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/tigers-gm-says-he-wont-make-a-qualifying-offer-to-jhonny-peralta.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/tigers-gm-says-he-wont-make-a-qualifying-offer-to-jhonny-peralta.html/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 14:06:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132150 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

After introducing new manager Brad Ausmus to the press on Sunday, Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters that the club will not make any qualifying offers to players eligible for free agency, including All Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta. It means that any team can now pursue Peralta without worrying about draft pick compensation.

Although Peralta had a very solid season in 2013, the Tigers have made it clear that Jose Iglesias is their shortstop of the future, and despite a strong postseason performance it wasn’t enough for Dombrowski to consider bringing the veteran Peralta back.

Peralta, 32, was the second most productive player in the Tigers lineup prior to his 50 game suspension for violating major league baseball’s joint drug agreement. He batted .303/.358/457 this season and his strong first half earned him a spot on the All Star team.

His 3.6 WAR still ranked second among Tigers position players – right behind Miguel Cabrera - and before serving out his suspension, he led all American League shortstops in WAR. An average season for Peralta would like .290 with 35 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 runs, and 80 RBIs.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted yesterday that Peralta will likely manage a three-year deal in the $30 million dollar range, given the limited market at his position. They list the Cardinals as the favorite to land him and believe that the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Pirates could all have some interest as well.

I prefer Peralta to a Stephen Drew or Yunel Escobar, but I count at least three highly-motivated, big spending teams in the market for him and he’ll probably go to the one that’s willing to overpay the most while also offering a good shot at the postseason.

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We Developed The Pitching, Now It’s Time To Buy The Bats http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/we-developed-the-pitching-now-its-time-to-buy-the-bats.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/we-developed-the-pitching-now-its-time-to-buy-the-bats.html/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:34:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131145 zack wheeler 3You don’t need me to tell you that pitching is what wins in baseball these days. However, the extent that pitching dominates the game may come as a bit of a surprise. The top-10 pitching staffs in terms of team ERA finished with an average record of 92-70 while the teams at the bottom combined to average a 74-88 record.

The last time that a team won the World Series after finishing above the league average in team ERA was the dreaded 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. With all of that said, the Mets appear to be in a good place going forward.

It’s hard to look past what David Ortiz and the Red Sox did in their comeback last night but prior to the 8th inning, Detroit had held the league’s top scoring offense to one run on three hits over 16 innings. There is premier pitching talent on display everywhere you look in the LCS and six of the eight starting pitchers have been home-grown.

Although the last few years have been a struggle and the present is still full of uncertainty, the Mets have set themselves up to succeed. A rotation of Harvey-Syndergaard-Wheeler-Niese-Gee is destined to succeed in this league and now that the front office has assembled a formidable young staff, the time has come to start surrounding it with the right pieces.

The evaluation process of home-grown position players has yielded discouraging results. If executed properly, 2014 could be looked at as the bridge between the past and the bright future. The front-office has a large enough sample size to judge the players that have contributed to their mediocrity over these past seasons. Sandy Alderson and his staff are experts but it doesn’t take a skilled professional to see that the likes of Lucas Duda, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada will not hold significant roles on a winning team.

It’s time to get serious and surround a core of David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud with a cast of reliable players.

The Mets need to create a standard that they can use to fill these vacancies. A winning attitude and an expectation of winning are important characteristics of any good team and something that the Mets lack. Even David Wright is a stranger to winning and held an entirely different role on the last successful Mets teams.

Detroit Tigers v New York MetsLooking around at the last four teams standing, each has high-end pitching talent and a lineup filled by players who identify with winning. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had only fleeting memories of success so Dave Dombrowski went out and got veteran Torii Hunter who introduced a new hunger that the talented Tigers roster lacked.  Boston rebuilt around their core players by adding Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino into the mix. St. Louis has a young team that only knows how to win and Los Angeles is full of veterans that have paved the way for their pitching staff.

If the Mets are serious about winning then they need to take this time to find their Torii Hunter. In a pitching-driven league, the Mets don’t need to fill all of their voids with sluggers. This team ideally needs one big bat to protect Wright, a catalyst that can get on-base and two veteran role players that that will bring leadership and a will to win.

The best approach may be to roll the dice on Jose Dariel Abreu, sign Shin-Soo Choo and sign or trade for a few intermediate/low-cost veterans along the way. The most important thing is not to sacrifice the teams young pitching in search of a bat.

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Could Shortstop Jhonny Peralta Fit Into The Mets Plan This Offseason? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/could-shortstop-jhonny-peralta-fit-into-the-mets-plan-this-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/could-shortstop-jhonny-peralta-fit-into-the-mets-plan-this-offseason.html/#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2013 17:18:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130866 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

Ken Davidoff of the NY Post writes that Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta will head a new wave of available players that he refers to as “Biogenesis free agents.”

With regard to Peralta, Davidoff speculates that both the Yankees and Mets will be paying attention to him and if they aren’t, they should be.

What makes Peralta and his fellow Biogenesis free agent Nelson Cruz so intriguing is this: Biogenesis shut down before the 2013 season began, and both men recorded strong 2013 campaigns.

Peralta, 31, was the second most productive player in the Tigers lineup prior to his 50 game suspension for violating major league baseball’s joint drug agreement. He batted .303/.358/457 this season and his strong first half earned him a spot on the All Star team.

His 3.6 WAR still ranked second among Tigers position players – right behind Miguel Cabrera – and before serving out his suspension, he led all American League shortstops in WAR.

An average season for Peralta would like .290 with 35 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 runs, and 80 RBIs.

He’ll likely sign a one or two year deal and try to reestablish his value and could be a great fit for the Mets as their starting shortstop this season.

But will his price tag, estimated at $10-12 million annually, make him an unreachable star for Sandy Alderson and Company?

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Harvey and Wright Crack Top 20 Best Selling Jerseys http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/harvey-and-wright-crack-top-20-best-selling-jerseys.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/harvey-and-wright-crack-top-20-best-selling-jerseys.html/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 16:23:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130077 harvey wright

Matt Harvey (# 2) and David Wright (# 13) are among the top 20 selling jerseys in a list released by Major League Baseball.

The list which follows, is based on MLB jersey sales since the All-Star break.

Top 20 Selling Jerseys

1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2. Matt Harvey, Mets
3. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
4. Manny Machado, Orioles
5. Buster Posey, Giants
6. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
7. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
8. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
10. Mike Trout, Angels
11. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
12. Derek Jeter, Yankees
13. David Wright, Mets
14. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
15. Bryce Harper, Nationals
16. Chris Davis, Orioles
17. Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers
18. David Ortiz, Red Sox
19. Robinson Cano, Yankees
20. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Wright was actually fourth on this list prior to the All-Star break, but dropped to thirteenth. Cant help but notice Puig and Cespedes ranked so high… Wonder if Abreu will be there next year?

harvey wright jerseys

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Harvey Has Partially Torn UCL, Tommy John Surgery Not Being Ruled Out http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-has-partially-torn-ucl-tommy-john-surgery-not-being-ruled-out.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/harvey-has-partially-torn-ucl-tommy-john-surgery-not-being-ruled-out.html/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 20:16:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127858 harvey

Update 4:15 PM

According to Marc Carig, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey underwent an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery this morning for an undisclosed reason and WFAN’s Mike Francesa is reporting that Matt Harvey has a partially torn UCL.

Sandy Alderson held a press conference and said that Matt Harvey will likely be shutdown for the rest of the season and that Tommy John Surgery has not been ruled out.

They will wait 7-10 days for the swelling to go down so they can get a better MRI image and then the decision of whether or not to have surgery will be made by Harvey.

Alderson said that “Harvey has been treated for forearm soreness for sometime”.  He doesn’t know when Matt first experienced the soreness in his forearm, but he was being treated and there was no elbow pain.

“My understanding is that after he came out of his start against the Tigers, the pain in the forearm was more severe than it had been.”

“I wouldn’t expect Harvey to pitch the rest of the season.”

“This is not a career-ending injury under any stretch of the imagination. This is what many successful teams must go through from time to time, and for us to expect not to have to go through it from time to time would be unrealistic. The news was tough today. No question about it. And the full implication of it probably has not yet been felt. But we have to respond, and we will.”

“At least we have a leg up on responding to this. Luckily we have depth at starting pitching in the minors.”

They are going to take the conservative approach. “If we could avoid surgery, we will, but that situation will need to be monitored.”

This sucks…

This is what I’ve discussed many times before and even this morning below…

If a key player is sore, you shut them down, take images, and don’t send them out on that field until you get the all clear….

Last week I did a mailbag asking why do the Mets baby their pitchers…. This is why…

This is why we posted five days ago that a 6-man rotation would be a great idea for our very young rotation, both now and in 2014…

Damn… My worst fear has been realized for this kid…

Original Post 8:00 AM

While no pitcher should ever beat themselves up over losing a game to the powerful lineup of the Detroit Tigers, Matt Harvey did after the Mets’ 3-0 loss on Saturday. After all, having the greatest hitter on the planet in Miguel Cabrera, and then surrounding him with names like Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez among others, would be a tall task even for Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver in their primes.

Of course there was also the small matter of Harvey’s opposing mound rival, Max Scherzer, who improved his record to 19-1 while striking out 11 Mets that day.

Harvey gave up a career-high 13 hits against Detroit, as the Mets lost for the fifth time in his last six starts. If the Mets had put up a four-spot, this conversation might be moot. But maybe not… The Mets ace admitted to feeling fatigued after the game…

“I’m getting pretty tired, but so is everybody,” Harvey said. “You have to work through it and you have to deal with it. It’s a long season. You have to figure out how to get things done. My performance the last couple of starts has been pretty terrible. I’ve got to work through it and get better.”

“I couldn’t a throw a slider for a strike. I couldn’t really throw it that well at all. It’s a pitch that I need. The last couple of starts I haven’t had it. I figure everybody is going to go through a stretch there where you’ve got to battle through some fatigue and some discomfort. It’s a long season and you’ve got to push through it.”

Harvey has already logged 178.1 innings of work this season and is still on track to make another seven starts if he stays on his current schedule. However, don’t expect that to happen.

Terry Collins understands the time has come to start curbing Harvey’s workload and that might include skipping a turn in the rotation, even though he’s the one player that can still fill Citi Field when he’s on the mound.

“You’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every five days helps us,” Collins said. “But we still know down the road, we have to keep this guy healthy.”

Harvey has a 2.27 ERA this season and currently leads the league with 191 strikeouts. However, the kid is right, and it’s obvious that the grind of his first full season is having a direct effect on his performance. You can see it in his velocity, you can see it in the lack of late life, and you can see it in his command.

At 24, the big righthander has already surpassed his career high in innings, already eight more than he had last season combined between the majors and minors.

“You’ve got a guy who is one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around who thoroughly wants to pitch nine innings every night he’s out there,” manager Terry Collins said Sunday.

“Yet you’ve got to take into consideration what’s the best interest of the club, the team at the time, and the organization down the road. How to get this guy through it?”

With the Mets only days away from mathematical elimination, the team must look at the bigger picture and when your ace tells you he is fatigued and tired – you must take note and action. Harvey is not one who would readily admit how overworked he feels unless it has reached an intolerable level.

It’s time to back off… Forget the Harvey Days and lets focus on the Harvey Years… Beginning with 2014…

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D’Arnaud Homers, But Mets Can’t Avoid Sweep After 11-3 Mauling By Tigers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/darnaud-homers-but-mets-cant-avoid-sweep-after-11-3-mauling-by-tigers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/darnaud-homers-but-mets-cant-avoid-sweep-after-11-3-mauling-by-tigers.html/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 02:27:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127836 tigers

TIGERS LEAVE METS IN TATTERS AFTER 11-3 MAULING

The Mets got pounced on by the Tigers who beat them 11-3 this afternoon at Citi Field to complete a three game sweep and leave them licking their wounds.

Dillon Gee started for the Mets and wasn’t nearly as sharp as we’ve seen from him of late. The right-hander let up four runs and got knocked around for ten hits including home runs to Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera, his 42nd homer of the season. Gee walked two and struck out two in his 6.0 innings of work while seeing his ERA rise to 3.69 for the season.

After David Aardsma gave up a single to start off the seventh, Scott Rice came in and got all three outs in the seventh. Carlos Torres followed that up with a scoreless eighth. Then came the ugliest ninth inning of relief I’ve seen this season…. This was brutal to watch…

LaTroy Hawkins came in to pitch the ninth and gives up three straight singles to load the bases with one out. Victor Martinez then stepped up to the plate and ripped another single to drive home Torii Hunter. Things got uglier when Hawkins walked Andy Dirks to force home another run and chase Hawkins out of the game with the Tigers up 6-3.

But the worst was yet to come…

Scott Atchison relieved Hawkins and was immediately greeted by an RBI-single by Omar Infante. He then uncorks a wild pitch that allowed the runner from third to score. Back-to-back singles would plate another pair of runs, and then another wild pitch would bring the runners to get into scoring position. A sacrifice fly would follow and when it was all over, the Tigers were ahead 11-3. Wow…

travis d'arnaud first homer

The only highlight of the game for the Mets, came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Center fielder Juan Lagares singled with two outs to bring up catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who then blasted a 2-run homer to deep left-center to give the Mets a very temporary 3-2 lead. It was his second big league hit since his promotion and his first major-league homer which came on a 90 mph fastball.

d'arnaud hat

After rounding the bases and greeting Lagares at home, D’Arnaud then came out of the dugout for a curtain call and waved his hat to the fans at Citi Field who were still applauding.

“I just put my head down and started running,” d’Arnaud said. “The fans let me know it was gone.” D’Arnaud called it an unbelievable experience. “I was speechless. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

Aside from that, this was a brutal game and the Mets were absolutely annihilated by the Tigers this weekend, who swept the series and left the Mets for dead.

The Mets will try to recover tomorrow when they host the Phillies for the start of a four-game set at Citi Field. Rookie Zack Wheeler will oppose the veteran Cliff Lee at 7:10 PM.

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Jerry Seinfeld Tells Met Fans That The American League Is Not The Taliban http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/jerry-seinfeld-tells-met-fans-that-the-american-league-is-not-the-taliban.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/jerry-seinfeld-tells-met-fans-that-the-american-league-is-not-the-taliban.html/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 15:13:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125312 Jerry Seinfeld, celebrity Mets fan extraordinaire, didn’t take to kindly to how Met fans behaved at the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

“This is one of the lowest moments of my lifetime of Mets fandom, when the Citi Field crowd was booing teams that they see as rivals to their Mets team,” he told Steve Somers of WFAN.

“I was in shock. I was embarrassed. I thought it was horrible manners. These are the best players, in the game you love, that have come here to put on a show for you, and we’re booing them like five-year-olds as if there’s some sort of real animosity.”

“The American League is not the Taliban,” referring to the way Miguel Cabrera was treated.

He did acknowledge that the fans may have partially atoned for their sins in how they celebrated Mariano Rivera’s tribute later in the eighth inning.

Umm…. Okay….

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Why The Mets Should Consider Trading Bobby Parnell http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/why-the-mets-should-consider-trading-bobby-parnell.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/why-the-mets-should-consider-trading-bobby-parnell.html/#comments Mon, 01 Jul 2013 13:54:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123490 bobby parnell

As the calendar turns to July, GM’s around the league will be stepping up their assessment of available options to strengthen their rosters. As a team that has publicly announced it will look to be more of a “buyer” than a “seller,” the Mets nevertheless find themselves in an interesting position where choices may become available that could push Sandy Alderson to make  a move that would otherwise appear somewhat counterintuitive.

When taking into account the combined factors of the state of the team’s farm system, the overall strengths and weaknesses of the roster, and the potential trade chips held by contending teams in a position of need, some truly intriguing possibilities arise that should not be dismissed as wishful thinking. The one that seem most interesting and realistic to me is as follows:

MiLB: APR 5 - Flying Tigers at Yankees

 BOBBY PARNELL TO THE TIGERS FOR NICK CASTELLANOS

Having finally developed what appears to be a legitimate home-grown closer after years of having to rely on imports, one would think that the Mets would have to be nuts to deal him away just as he enters what is likely to be his prime. But this is precisely why a trade of this nature could command a premium return to address an area of greater need for the future. Granted, there is no obvious heir apparent to step in to Parnell’s shoes immediately, but with prospects like Jeurys Familia, Jack Leathersich,  and the unheralded Jeff Walters in the system to go with what the free agent market may offer, the Mets would have to consider dealing the NC native if the prize to be gained in return were great enough.

The most obvious candidate here is the Detroit Tigers who, after attempting to assign the critical role to the untested Bruce Rondon, ultimately wound up sending him down and even resigning Jose Valverde, the cause of so much late inning agita who was deposed during last season’s run to the Fall Classic. Rondon has been recalled, but has yet to show any consistency at the big league level and predictably, Valverde proved ineffective again and has been sent down to AAA.  The Tigers are offensive world-beaters with a lineup featuring the incredible talent of Miguel Cabrera, but as everyone knows, in a short series pitching rules the day and the memory of the Giants’ Sergio Romo shutting them down last fall while they were forced to rely on journeyman Phil Coke as their stopper is still fresh in their minds.

The prize to be had here is outfielder Nick Castellanos, a 21-year old converted infielder whose offensive skills are well beyond any comparable talent currently in the Mets’ system. After a slow start, Castellanos has begun consistently spanking AAA pitching, showing real power and a good eye at the plate. As Detroit’s number one prospect and one of the better hitting prospects in baseball, it would likely require a somewhat expanded trade package to get the deal done, but Parnell’s relative youth, experience, and controllability make him just the type of component that could get Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski to pull the trigger. Offense wouldn’t seem to be a problem in Motown, anyway, so given the opportunity to solve what has been an ongoing problem with a feasible long-term solution, one would expect him to jump at the chance. The Mets’ brass has already stated that they intend to keep Parnell, but teams don’t generally advertise the fact that they might be willing to deal a valuable asset. If this deal was on the table, it would have to be considered.

Now, we could certainly anticipate some “sweetening” or expansion of the deal to make it more palatable to the parties involved.  If Parnell were headed to Detroit, one could see Rondon headed back to New York as well as an outfield prospect such as Cesar Puello going to Detroit as part of the package.  On its face, it would probably take more than Parnell and Puello to pry away the Tigers’ top hitting prospect and a AAA level pitcher who can regularly hit 100 mph, but I think the ingredients are likely there.

This is a simple case of dealing strength for strength. The Mets have a plethora of pitching prospects coming up through their system and are still unlikely to legitimately contend for a title before 2015. The Tigers have offense to spare, a top-notch rotation and a need to strike while the championship iron is hot. All they lack is a legitimate, reliable closer. The Mets have one, but can’t create enough opportunities for him to be truly valuable to them. This deal simply makes too much sense to ignore.

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Mets Minors: Wilmer Flores Is Heating Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/mets-minors-wilmer-flores-is-heating-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/mets-minors-wilmer-flores-is-heating-up.html/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 17:47:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=120469 wilmer-flores

Wilmer Flores got off to a slow start in 2013. The 21 year-old prospect found himself in the shadow of top prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler when he arrived in Las Vegas. But now we find ourselves almost two months into the season, and Flores seems to be hitting his stride offensively.

Flores is quietly putting up solid numbers this season, batting .292/.335/.470 with 26 extra-base hits in 202 at-bats. There have been some rumblings lately that Flores could actually be a first base option for the Mets if they decide to send Ike Davis down to work on his swing. In fact, some think that is the only place on the field where Flores can play defensively due to his lack of range.

Offensively, the kid is the goods. Over his last ten games, Flores is hitting .372 with seven doubles and 10 RBI. What really impresses me about Flores is that he doesn’t strike out much. In 51 games this season he only struck out 23 times — that means he puts the ball in play, and when you put the ball in play you put the pressure on the defense to make the outs.

The question with Flores is if the Mets don’t think he can stick in the middle-infield or a corner outfield spot, then why not start transitioning him to first base now? And I know it’s too late for this, but due to his limited range, he would have been the perfect type of guy to try and convert to a catcher. Another question is, will he be defensively strong enough at first base to justify having his bat in the lineup?

Flores has been compared to Miguel Cabrera, but that really isn’t fair to Flores, or the Mets fans who now think that they have the next Miguel Cabrera on the way. At 21 years-old, Cabrera was batting over .300 with 30 plus home runs and 100 plus RBI at the major league level — very big shoes to fill. Flores will be closer to a .285 guy with 20-25 home runs every year.

Flores is still young and actually light for his height, listed at 190 pounds. He is likely to fill out some more, and when that happens he will probably become even less mobile. Then what do the Mets do with their budding star? They have to move Flores over to first base permanently to see if it is a viable option that Flores can stick there. If not, they could have a young man with a very big bat, and no place to put him.

By the way, Flores received an Honorable Mention on this week’s Baseball America Hotsheet.

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My Personal Attempt To Sabotage The All-Star Game http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/my-personal-attempt-to-sabotage-the-all-star-game.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/my-personal-attempt-to-sabotage-the-all-star-game.html/#comments Thu, 23 May 2013 10:50:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119618 721_-mlb_all-star_game-primary-2013It’s that time of the year again. Seven weeks into the season and we are being asked to vote for the 2013 All-Stars.

This week Cincinnati came to town. Now, imagine for a moment, if as you walked into Citi Field you were handed a ballot where you could choose which Reds you would want playing that day. Safe to say, we Mets fans would probably decide that Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce deserve a day off. We could have Jack Hannahan bat clean-up. Johnny Cueto? Are you kidding me? Of course not.

Why would we do this? The answer is obvious. We want our Mets to win.

Now, of course that would never happen. When do fans get to pick their opponent’s team? Unless, it’s the All-Star Game.

Growing up and becoming a fan in the 1970’s, the Mid-Summer Classic was a highlight of the season for me. It gave me a chance to see my baseball cards come to life. The game was steeped in tradition. It showcased the top talent in the game. It was an opportunity for America to see the best and brightest from each league battle for ‘bragging rights.’

Ray Fosse On Ground, Pete Rose StandingWe had the opportunity to see dream match-ups that only existed in Strat-O-Matic. We could watch our own Tom Seaver try to fan Rod Carew, a young cocky Roger Clemens trying to sneak a fast ball by Tony Gwynn, Charlie Hustle digging in against Catfish or Rickey Henderson challenging the arm of Dave Parker. Yes, this is what the All-Star Game was. And what it is meant to be.

As we all know the game regrettably has changed. League loyalty is gone. Not only do players not stay with one team for most of their career, but they have no qualms about switching leagues. Guys like George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, Willie Mays and countless others never would have dreamed about ‘crossing over.’ Nowadays, however, one doesn’t have to look far. Pujols, Cabrera, Fielder, Beckett, A-Gon have all switched.

And that’s fine. But in the midst of this, league loyalty fades away.

Yet, in 2003, Bud Selig elected to add a disturbing nuance to the ASG when he decided that the winner of a ‘meaningless’ game in July determines who has home field advantage for the World Series.

Obviously, thanks to the commissioner, the contest is no longer a simple platform to display the top stars. The game now has major significance, huge importance. The All-Star Game has a direct outcome on who may become World Champions. Since the inception of this rule a decade ago, the league that won the All-Star Game has gone on to win the World Series 7 out of 10 times. And the last four in a row. (The only exceptions were the 03 Marlins, 06 Cardinals and 08 Phillies.)

Now, being a NL fan, I obviously want the NL to win. And since this is the case, explain to me why I should vote for the top stars from the AL. Are you joking? I’m rooting for the NL—But yet I am supposed to vote for Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols and Dustin Pedroia and Torii Hunter??? The heck with that! I’m going to vote for the worst hitters I can find, some guy from Seattle or Kansas City I never heard of. I’m supposed to vote for Ian Kinsler or Howie Kendrick when Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis is on the ballot? Come on people. Get real.

Roberto-Clemente-Willie-Mays-Hank-Aaron

And since Commissioner Selig has turned this exhibition game into something of great significance, I, as a NL fan, want the best NL-ers out there. Since the point is to win, why does every need need to be represented? Why does every player need to get one at-bat? Why are the managers equally concerned with making sure every player gets in the game as they are with winning the game? Since the purpose is to win, I better see Buster Posey and Bryce Harper out there the entire night. I want to see Kershaw for 8 and Romo to close it out.

When Giants manager Bruce Bochy set his line-up for game 4 of the World Series last year, he didn’t decide that perhaps Pablo Sandoval needed a day off. He didn’t elect to give Posey a rest and put Hector Sanchez behind the plate. He put his best team on the field. Why? Because it was a must-win game…just like the All-Star Game has become.

Now, of course, this would never happen. Dodger fans would be up in arms (and rightfully so) if their ace “wasted” a start in the “meaningless” All-Star Game. But really, how meaningless is it?

So, as a Baseball fan, I will vote for the 2013 All-Star Game. But as a Mets fan, and as a fan of the National League, I will be voting for the worst the American League has to offer. And I will continue to do so until Selig reinstates the Mid-Summer Classic to what it was and what it should be: A traditional setting where fans could sit back and enjoy the best our National Pastime has to offer.

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Prospect Pulse: Exclusive First Look At Outfield Prospect Vicente Lupo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-exclusive-first-look-at-outfield-prospect-vicente-lupo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/prospect-pulse-exclusive-first-look-at-outfield-prospect-vicente-lupo.html/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 12:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111845 VICENTE LUPO

Vicente Lupo, OF

Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6’ Weight: 180 lb.
Position: Outfield
Age: 19
ETA: 2016
MMO Top Prospect Rank: #15

Background:

Here is a brief profile on Vicente Lupo from the recent 2013 MMO Top 25 Prospect series:

Signed as an international free agent in July of 2010, Lupo quickly showed a penchant for extra-base power at a young age. While his 2011 season was marred after a dangerous bout with malignant hypothermia that ruined his DSL season, the strongly built slugger came back with a vengeance the following season.

2012 saw Lupo explode in the Domincan Summer League, where he posted a .343/.508/.600 batting line while drawing as many walks as strikeouts –  something seldom seen in power hitters.

Of his 70 overall hits, 31 were for extra-bases. While not possessing top-flight athleticism, he has the bat you look for in a corner outfielder. According to what Mets executives said in response to some questions from Joe D., Vicente will be playing stateside in 2013, so look for him at Kingsport or possibly even Brooklyn this summer.

Everyone is super excited about Lupo. His .500 OBP in 2012 was completely ridiculous, and he had 1.108 OPS to go with that. If he continues to put up numbers like that, maybe he will live up to some early comparisons to Miguel Cabrera. Not much has been reported on Lupo thus far, but what little info is out there has many Mets fans excited. I am proud to say that thanks to fellow minor league analyst Teddy Klein, MMO is the first to have some video footage of Lupo, which you can see below.

Analysis:

We’ve all read the reports – great bat with plus-plus power, raw strength, solid frame and a good eye at the plate. At this point, it’s almost like Lupo is somewhat mythological, since not many fans have gotten a chance to see him play. This video was the first chance many of us got to see of Lupo, since he has spent the majority of his playing time in the DSL.

Vicente Lupo is a player who will need his bat to carry him through the system. He’s not considered speedy and doesn’t have a very strong arm which limits him defensively. He will most likely be relegated to a corner outfield position, probably left field.

Baseball Reference has Lupo listed as six feet, but after seeing him stand in the batter’s box he is probably closer to 5’10″ or 5’11″ tall. He does have a solid build, and seeing as he’s only 19 years of age, he’ll probably put on even more muscle as he matures.

Regarding his swing, he starts with his hands high and then quickly gets them into a good hitting position. Hitters have to be careful with starting their hands up high, because it could take them longer to get them into the hitting zone, leaving them susceptible to better fastballs. But Lupo does a great job of getting his hands down into the zone, and keeping his hands high is a good way to make sure he stays on top of the ball.

Unfortunately, the swing in the video attached is not his greatest effort. He looks like he was confused by an off-speed pitch, and is very off-balance. You can even see in the first pitch that he takes, he is out on the front foot a little. Keep in mind that it is only one swing, and he is 19 years old, so as he matures, he will learn to adjust to the off-speed stuff. He has probably made a living at this point of his career by eating a steady diet of fastballs for breakfast, so as he progresses through the system he will have to work on his pitch recognition and driving the off-speed pitch the other way.

In 2013, we will see how Lupo progresses during his first season playing stateside. Look for him to start with one of the short-season leagues (Kingsport or Brooklyn) and stay in extended spring training until then. He’s definitely a player you’ll want to keep an eye on in the coming seasons and could easily become a top ten prospect for the Mets if he continues on this torrid pace.

prospect pulse mitch petanick

To read previous editions of this feature, go to our MMO Prospect Pulse Archives.

Follow MMO Minor League Analyst Mitch Petanick on Twitter at @FirstPitchMitch for even more Mets Minor League and prospect coverage.

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2013 MLB Preview: American League West http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/2013-mlb-preview-american-league-west.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/2013-mlb-preview-american-league-west.html/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:30:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111563 Seattle-Mariners-Felix-Hernandez

AL West At A Glance

Los Angeles Angels: What’s there to say about the Angels? They have the best lineup in baseball and one of the game’s top pitchers in Jered Weaver. C.J. Wilson is solid, though there are some concerns after that. Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson are all back end starters and there’s a huge bridge between the top two and bottom three. They should score a ton of runs, though. Their bullpen is very deep. They also probably sport the best defense around the diamond, as well. The division is deeper than the AL Central, otherwise I’d peg them as 100-game winners along with the Tigers.

Oakland Athletics: I went back and forth between the Rangers and Athletics for second place and ultimately settled on Oakland because of their loaded pitching staff. Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are as talented a young rotation as there is in baseball. There’s a health issue with Anderson, clearly the team’s ace talent-wise, and rookie Dan Straily will be the fifth starter and all he did was lead all of the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2012, despite only starting 25 games prior to his callup. The A’s scored the second most runs in the league after the All Star Break and Yoenis Cespedes will be better after getting acclimated to the bigs. Josh Reddick emerged, but needs to be more consistent at the plate. First baseman Brandon Moss had a second half to remember, hitting .291/.358/.596 with 21 home runs and 18 doubles in only 296 plate appearances.

Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar is going to infuse a lot of good karma into the Rangers, and they need it, especially after they lost their last four games of the season (three regular season games and the one-game playoff against Baltimore) and went from winning their division to watching the playoffs on TV. Compounding matters, the team let megastar Josh Hamilton leave via free agency to their bitter rivals in Anaheim and spent free agency locking up a pair of 37-year-olds in Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski. They can’t afford anything less than big years from just about everyone in their lineup. They do have a strong rotation, led by ace Yu Darvish, followed by Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando, a 2011 All Star. Colby Lewis should return from surgery in June. Joe Nathan really needs to keep his head on a swivel. The Rangers are shorthanded in the pen, but if Nathan can keep the ninth inning under wraps, he’ll get some much needed help from Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz, both due back from Tommy John surgery in May and August respectively.

Seattle Mariners: I really like what the Mariners did this offseason. Unlike the Indians who made win-now moves when they are clearly not ready to win now, the Mariners signed older veterans to short term deals and added Michael Morse who’s playing out his final arbitration year and is ready to be locked up. They added Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez as their righty and lefty bats off the bench, both of whom should have significant clubhouse influence, as well. Jesus Montero should be ready to break out and start flashing the potential he showed in the Yankees minor league system, making him one of baseball’s top prospects for several years. Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley need to join Montero and hold their own coming out party and Franklin Gutierrez needs to stay healthy. And I can’t say enough about Michael Saunders in right field. He showed last season he has “star” written all over him. Oh. They also have Felix Hernandez. Much like the Royals, they are a year or two away, provided they continue to make these savvy acquisitions.

Houston Astros: The Astros are the only reason the Twins aren’t the worst team in the league. Houston lost 213 games the last two seasons in a division in which they played the Pirates and the Cubs 36 times. Now they move to a division with three legitimate playoff caliber teams and the Mariners, a far better team than the Pirates or Cubs. It could get ugly. There are some bright spots on the team. Ace Lucas Harrell is a promising arm, but needs to get the walks down. Second baseman Jose Altuve was an All Star last season but actually deserved it, not because the Astros had to have one by rule. Matt Dominguez at third base is a top prospect, acquired from the Marlins as part their attempt to make fools of baseball fans in Miami. Justin Maxwell has all the tools (and I mean all of them), but he just hasn’t figured out how to use them yet. He’s too old to be a prospect anymore, but he’s young enough to still be able to put it together. If he finally does, he could join Altuve for All Star weekend on his own merit. They do have five players in Baseball America’s Top 100, but only two of them even saw AA action in 2012. On second thought, it will get ugly.

Projected Standings

XtreemIcon: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Astros

Jessep: Angels, Mariners, Athletics, Rangers, Astros

Joe D: Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Athletics, Astros

Top Sleeper

XtreemIcon: Jesus Montero

Jessep: Jason Bay

Joe D: Jarrod Parker

Top Rookie

XtreemIcon: Jurickson Profar

Jessep: Brandon Maurer

Joe D: Jurickson Profar

Top Pitcher

XtreemIcon: Jered Weaver

Jessep: Felix Hernandez

Joe D: Felix Hernandez

Top Hitter

XtreemIcon: Mike Trout

Jessep: Albert Pujols

Joe D: Mike Trout

Up Next: National League West

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