Mets Merized Online » mike trout http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:11:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 3 Up, 3 Down: The Grandy Man Can http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-the-grandy-man-can.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-the-grandy-man-can.html/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:47:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165231 curtis granderson

Let’s take a brief look at some of this weekend’s highs and lows in this edition of 3 & 3.

3 Up

1. Curtis Granderson needed to turn in a great series and that is exactly what happened this weekend. The veteran right fielder went 5-for-12 (.417 Average) with a double, two home runs, six RBI and three runs scored.  He was also able to draw two walks.  As of yesterday, Curtis is tied with Mike Trout for 3rd in walks among all major league qualified outfielders with 72 on the year.  When looking at his numbers in comparison to the other major league outfielders ranking in the top 10 in walks, Granderson is one of 3 players with a BABIP that’s lower than .300.  In fact, his number (.249) is drastically less than the other two, with St. Louis’ Matt Holiday coming in at .295 and Toronto’s Jose Bautista generating a .291 in-play average.  Curtis’ BABIP has been heavily cited throughout the season as a sign of bad luck, but it also could speak volumes to his need to adapt to defensive shifts used often on the slugger.  If he can work in the offseason to evolve as a gap-to-gap doubles hitter at home, while still pulling pitches on the low and inside part of the strike zone, it will give the Mets a more realistic version of the player Sandy Alderson expected to be signing.  Against righties, Granderson is slugging .846 from that portion of the plate this year (ESPN.com), so developing a game inside the ball park for pitches on the rest of the plate will benefit his game tremendously.

2. Six different Mets took a pitch out of the yard this series, giving the team a total of seven home runs, with notable blasts coming from up and comers under the age of 30.  Travis d’Arnaud hit his 13th on the year and continues to lead all NL rookies in the category.  Dilson Herrera hit the second long ball of his brief career, helping to generate a .500 slugging percentage in his first 34 major league a- bats.  Lucas Duda added his 27th home run in the ninth inning of Friday’s matchup and is now 3rd in the National League in homers, 2nd among first basemen to Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo (30).

3. Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares are both doing excellent jobs of translating their speed and overall baseball IQ from the outfield to the basepaths.  While he didn’t have his best offensive performance this series, den Dekker has gotten on base at a .370 clip in 22 games since being recalled from AAA Las Vegas in August.  More importantly, his ratio of walks to runs scored during that time is nearly 1 for 1, having sprinted across home plate 15 times compared to his 16 walks.  His batting average is ascending slowly, but still only at .261 since the call up, so he is still finding a way to make an impact offensively, while continuing to adjust to major league pitching.  Matt scored two runs off of his two walks in Friday’s game.  Meanwhile, Lagares has been unbelievably efficient with the use of his explosive speed, going 3 for 4 in stolen bases this series.  The lone failed attempt came in Saturday’s game and marks the only time he’s been nabbed in his last 10 attempts.

3 Down

1. Jenrry Mejia managed to record a save in yesterday’s 4-3 victory, but just barely.  The closer allowed 4 hits, including a home run to Jay Bruce, while surrendering 2 earned runs before shutting the door.  In the month of September, Mejia is 3 for 3 in save opportunities, but is doing so with an ERA of 6.00 and an even WHIP of 2.00.  My concern is that a much needed bout of luck is overshadowing the fact that he is not in a healthy enough condition to finish out the season.  As always, it depends on the results.  If he is able to finish out the season strong and battle through adversities such as injury and strong hitting opponents down the stretch, then it could be beneficial.  However, if pitching through physical duress creates an issue that lasts into next season, it would be wise to preserve his body for 2015 and shut him down.  Also, I love the intensity, but tone down the celebration dance when you nearly blow a 3 run lead my man.

2. Home runs were equally helpful and hurtful in this series.  Dillon Gee failed to hold on to a one run lead during his outing on Saturday, giving up home runs in the 6th and 7th innings en route to his 7th loss of the season.  Dillon will always be a pitcher who relies heavily on location, not power.  He must be able to keep the ball down and reduce the number of fly balls, particularly in situations like Saturdays where his offense has given him a lead against a formidable opponent in Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.

3. The team batted .242 with runners in scoring position this series, with that average being propped up heavily by Friday’s 14 run onslaught.  Looking specifically at the latter two games, the Mets were 2-15 (.133) with a total of 18 men left on base.  For the series, the Amazins’ left a total of 31 men on base.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Hollywood Hulk http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/3-up-3-down-hollywood-hulk.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/3-up-3-down-hollywood-hulk.html/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:43:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164217 duda unleashed

The Mets continued their West Coast road trip and stopped by Los Angeles for a 3 game set against the N.L. West leading Dodgers. NY dropped 2 of 3, but unlike previous series, there were great individual takeaways for players looking to lock up their positions for 2015 and beyond. Conversely, the veterans were showed up by their younger counterparts. Below is a recap of 3 stocks that went up and 3 that went down over the weekend.

3 Up

1. The Hulk, The Dude, The Big Lebowski. Lucas Duda has a lot of nicknames, but he’s collecting even more home runs this season. The 1st baseman hit .417 in the series with a whopping 1.166 slugging percentage. He reached his career high in single season home run totals with 26 (and counting), as well as having a career best 5 RBI game on Sunday. Duda was also a key part in the Mets triple play from Sunday, gunning down the over aggressive Yasiel Puig at home plate after finishing off a double play ball from second basemen Daniel Murphy. Among all 1st basemen in MLB, Lucas is 3rd in WAR with a score of 3.8. Among all MLB players, he is 2nd in slugging percentage against right handed pitching this season, pounding righties at a .580 clip. Lucas is doing an excellent job and has emerged as one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball.

2. Juan Lagares bounced back from a recent slump to turn in an excellent series. While not as slug happy as Duda, he hit at a .455 clip, including a home run, which helped him generate an OPS of .871. The offensive numbers are very respectable for arguably the top center fielder in the game. Lagares is 1st in MLB in DWAR among all qualified outfielders, by a long shot, with a score of 3.5. The next closest OF is Atlanta’s right fielder Jason Heyward with a DWAR mark of 3.1. At his position alone, Juan is second among all center fielders in the game for overall WAR (4.9- also leads the Mets), tied with Pirates all-star Andrew McCutchen and trailing only Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout (6.0). That’s some great company for a guy who doesn’t even have 400 at bats in the majors this season. Lagares brings enough value with his glove that if he hits .275 for his career, he would be more than productive to lock up long term. There’s more power to come once his plate discipline improves, as he gains more patience and slightly better pitch recognition, he could be expected to put out 10-15 home runs with great gap-to-gap doubles power at Citi Field. Quick thought, if David Wright is injured and out, put Juan in the 2 hole. On the year, Juan has a triple slash line of .333/.385/.968 as the #2 hitter.

3. Travis d’Arnaud had a solid series, hitting .308 with a solo home run, contributing his one and only RBI for the series. His overall performance is important because it reinforces the potential that’s been realized since returning from his demotion to AAA Las Vegas in June. In 47 games since his return on June 24th, Travis has the following numbers: Batting Average (.263), SLG (.486), OPS (.794), 2B (10), HR (9). Over the course of a 162 game season, this projects d’Arnaud at 34 doubles, 31 home runs and 79 RBI’s. Compared to last season’s total among all catchers in MLB, that puts him 5th in doubles, 1st in home runs and 2nd in RBI’s- tied with Yadier Molina. Travis is tied for 1st in MLB for HR’s among catchers in the month of August with 5.

3 Down

1. David Wright finally broke down and left Sunday’s game with what the team described as muscle spasms in the right side of his neck. Terry Collins insisted that The Captain was not injured prior to yesterday’s start, but he needs to be shut down for the remainder of the year if he goes to the disabled list for any reason. The team is keeping him day-to-day at the moment, but his sore left shoulder along with other nagging injuries are undoubtedly contributing to his poor performance dating back to June and it’s not getting better in the short term, nor helping in the long term. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo noted that Wright has gone his last 62 plate appearances without an extra base hit, batting 0.95 in his last 6 games. I hope the Mets realize that although he’s not as outspoken as the Matt Harvey types, Wright is also a warrior and will not always do what’s best for his body by playing through injuries. That’s admirable when the playoffs are on the line, but get healthy, we need the old David for 2015.

2. As if Wright’s injury wasn’t enough of a blow to the offense, Daniel Murphy is also listed as day-to-day after leaving the ninth inning with a cramp in his right calf. Within a span of two hours, the Mets lost 2 of their 3 veteran position players and Murphy’s status is even less predictable as this is his first time experiencing an injury of this nature. When asked about his return, he said, “I really can’t tell you how it’s going to feel until we get to Tuesday”.

3. This rubbed me the wrong way, so I’m taking liberties with the 3rd down and calling out Terry Collins for comparing Lucas Duda to Ike Davis after the former churned out a 2 home run performance in a 11-3 victory over the Dodgers. In the post-game interview, Collins stated that he had seen another Mets basemen have the type of second half that Lucas is having in former incumbent Ike Davis. Why make that comparison? Davis is a forgotten topic for most fans, mainly due to Lucas Duda’s incredible performance as the starting first base since June 1st (Terry- that’s more than 1 half) . His production from that date over the course of a full season would put Duda at 42 home runs and 115 RBI. Also, his glove has improved vastly (minus a boneheaded foul ball botch near the 1st base line this series, like Keith Hernandez always says Dude…TWO HANDS!). I thought Bobby Ojeda responded perfectly in his SNY post game recap saying, “The manager would do well to stop using that comparison and just let Lucas Duda shine on his own”. Agreed.

Lets.Go.Mets.

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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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PED Users Are Good Options For Cost Conscious Teams Like The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/ped-users-are-good-options-for-cost-conscious-teams-like-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/ped-users-are-good-options-for-cost-conscious-teams-like-the-mets.html/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:27:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132865 nelson-cruz-texas-rangersThe 2013-2014 offseason features a deep class of quality talent ripe for the picking of any team willing to spend.

Based upon GM Sandy Alderson’s comments at year’s end as well as the Mets reported discussions, it appears clear that the major focus is to acquire at least two position players: a shortstop and an outfielder.

Conveniently enough, there are two free agents on the market capable of filling each of those positions with great success, and could very well come at significant discount.

The only issue; both of these candidates are fresh off of 50-game suspensions for their involvement with Biogenesis PED scandal.

Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz would be attractive additions to a New York lineup in desperate need of consistent production. Posting an OPS of .815 and .833 respectively in 2013 prior to serving their suspensions, the pair would provide a significant bolster to a squad that managed a team OPS figure of .672. The only Mets to eclipse those numbers put up by Peralta and Cruz were David Wright (.904) and Marlon Byrd (.848), who has since signed with the rival Philadelphia Phillies.

joel peraltaThe question is not their ability to perform, but rather whether fans would be comfortable rooting for one of or both of these confirmed PED-users if brought to Flushing; and we all know what the overwhelming response would be: So long as they can produce, the common fan no longer cares.

Have baseball fans become desensitized to steroid-usage in MLB? Ten years ago, those caught doping were ostracized by baseball. Fans instead of cheering, had the standard of not wanting a cheater on their favorite team.

In 2013, that seemed to change. Alex Rodriguez had a roaring ovation from the Bleacher Creatures upon his return. Mets fans were thrilled to have Marlon Byrd in right field everyday, who despite having a legitimate reason for his positive test, served a 50-game suspension in 2012. Cruz was welcomed back to an offensively starved Rangers lineup, being penciled into the lineup for Game 163 after serving his time. Peralta who was used over rookie phenom Jose Iglesias on multiple occasions this past postseason, was hailed as an October hero in Detroit; not exactly facing the same public scrutiny of the 1990s or early 2000s.

mike troutIn contrast, the players throughout the game were overwhelmingly vocal in condemning the actions of their co-workers, both opponents and teammates alike. They called for stricter penalties; Mike Trout went on Boomer and Carton calling for a one-and-done MLB policy, meaning a first time offender would receive a lifetime ban. Ryan Dempster struck Alex Rodriguez with a pitch under the lights of Fenway presumably for his ongoing debacle with MLB as well as for ratting out the likes of Ryan Braun and teammate-Francisco Cervelli to draw the spotlight off of himself.

The cultures of fan bases and players alike have gone in opposite directions.

The common fan is no longer bothered by their team adding a presumed-former PED user; in fact, the presumption that said user could come at a reduced cost makes them appealing.

With the front office looking to find solid major-league talent in a cost effective method, the aforementioned free agent pair–in particular Peralta–has piqued the interest of the organization. Mets fans appear to get that, and are more than open to have a former steroid user play for ‘their team’, if it means competitive baseball.

How times have changed.

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Why The Mets Won’t Invest $100 Million On Any Player… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/why-the-mets-wont-invest-100-million-on-any-player.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/why-the-mets-wont-invest-100-million-on-any-player.html/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:03:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132232 wilpon alderson sandy

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog weighed in on the $100 million dollar player issue and explains why the Mets won’t go there.

There are revenue reasons, I’m sure, no question. But, also, regardless of budget size and your team’s financial situation, I just don’t think Sandy Alderson believes in those sort of commitments when building a baseball team. What’s more, thanks to some of Omar Minaya‘s handy work, ownership sounds skeptical of getting bogged down in those sort of deals again. So, I think when you add these three things together (less revenue, Alderson’s principals and ownership’s fear), it makes sense.

So there you have it… Blame 3M – Money, Methodology, Minaya

Class dismissed…

Original Post 11/7

Rather than draw up another post on something I already touched on yesterday, I wanted to update this with something that Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo reported.

Hitting on something I’ve been saying for nearly two months now, I don’t believe the Mets are in a position to offer any player a $100 million contract – even if it was “hypothetically” for players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Giancarlo Stanton.

Here is what DiComo said:

Speaking this month with a number of people both inside and outside the Mets organization, I came away with the impression that no one really expects general manager Sandy Alderson to commit a $100 million contract to any one player.

Looking at the current free agent crop, that would eliminate players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and if the bidding gets out of hand, Brian McCann and Curtis Granderson too.

It would also take potential trade targets like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and others out of the equation too…

You can read my reply to a mailbag question below…

Andrew asks…

Well now that the Mets say they will be willing to give up a draft pick to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer, do you feel more confident that we will have a good offseason and play meaningful games next September?

Joe D. replies…

The fact that Sandy Alderson said a draft pick wouldn’t prevent him from signing one of those free agents doesn’t sway my opinion of this upcoming offseason one bit. It was said in a vacuum and he was appealing to those fans who needed to hear him say that. I operate at a different level.

The real question is will the Mets be able to win a bidding war for any of those top tier free agents that will require big dollars in addition to the loss of a draft pick?

Remember that all of those players who will become free agents are walking away from a guaranteed $14.1 annual salary. Consider that the starting point for most of those players and then multiply that by the 3-7 year deals they will all get. That is the starting point in any bidding.

Also consider the flood of revenue all the teams will be getting from the new National TV deal. To most teams that is found money and they will spend it. Even the lowly Astros have said as much. The Mets on the other hand, will be using that money to pay down mounting debt.

The way I figure it, the Mets will likely spend $25 million of the $40 million coming off the books. Assuming that’s correct, do you think they will spend more than half of that budget on just one free agent? I don’t.

I’d expect them to spread that $25 million around to sign or acquire 4-5 players. The Mets have stated needs at shortstop, two outfield spots, at least one starter if not two, two bullpen pieces, and a backup catcher. This is what general manager Sandy Alderson outlined in an interview with WFAN after the season ended.

Realistically, with all those needs and so little money to fill them all, how can Sandy target and sign any top tier free agent this offseason?

The answer is he can’t.

So of course it’s safe to say he won’t let a draft pick stop him from signing any free agent. That’s because it will never come to that.

This is still about money and financial flexibility… Or a lack of it…

monopoly-mccain

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Mets Don’t Love Mark Trumbo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-dont-love-mark-trumbo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-dont-love-mark-trumbo.html/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2013 16:08:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131668 trumbo

I don’t know about most of you, but a few of us on MMO let out a collective sigh of relief when we read the following from Andy Martino of the Daily News:

The Mets don’t love Mark Trumbo and they’ve never shown any interest in Peter Bourjos.

I see Trumbo as an Ike Davis with more consistent power, but a worse glove. I couldn’t imagine giving up a Jon Niese for someone like that… Especially when you consider that he’ll likely take a big hit hit offensively by playing half of his games at Citi Field.

What a disaster that could end up being…

No thanks…

Original Post

As the realization slowly sinks in that Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury will be too costly for the still downtrodden Mets, the talk inevitably shifts to trading for a legit outfielder instead.

Of course trading for any player who can provide the type of offense the Mets are looking for means that what you don’t shell out in tens of millions, you’ll end up paying for with elite prospects.

Baseball is a give and take business and quality begets quality. There’s no team out there looking to take broken down parts like Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin off of our hands in return for a big cog. Ain’t happening… The real world does not operate as it does during sportstalk call-in segments.

MLB Trade Rumors wrote today that Mark Trumbo could bring the Angels a nice pitching haul if they decide to move him. Los Angeles is bent on bolstering the rotation with MLB-ready arms. That doesn’t mean Rafael Montero, Darin Gorski or Noah Syndergaard, it means Zack Wheeler or Jon Niese.

MLBTR said the Halos fielded calls from the Mariners, Pirates, and Royals in July and the Marlins showed interest in Trumbo last December. If he is available, and most baseball analysts say it’s a certainty, he’ll garner plenty of interest.

At 27, Trumbo has averaged a 2.6 WAR over the last three seasons, and in 2013 he had career highs of 34 home runs and 100 RBI. However, his batting average dipped to a .234 and his on-base has rarely hovered above .300. Still, if you’re desperate for right-handed power, Trumbo’s your guy.

Michael Branda wrote something for us on Trumbo a couple of months back in which he assessed the current Mets situation at first base.

The Mets find themselves in a real tricky spot heading into 2014. Whether we like it or not, what we thought was a sure thing – is now far from it. The Mets have no answer at First Base anymore. It’s a rare moment when a franchise goes from thinking they have a cornerstone franchise type player to build around, to having nothing good to hope for.

Look, I really have no problem with Josh Satin – but he’s not an everyday big league first baseman. I’m not willing to wait until June 2014 to see if Ike Davis is the guy we all thought he could be. No matter what he does from this day forward, we’ll know absolutely nothing about Davis until next summer – and I don’t think the Mets can afford to do that. So, unless the idea of Wilmer Flores at first base is a reality, the Mets need a first baseman for next season and beyond.

In his article, he correctly tabs Trumbo as a one-dimensional player – something most Met fans have been accustomed to for a very long time.

Trumbo is now hitting arbitration for the first time, and he’s expected to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.5 million.

I recently asked another of our writers, XtreemIcon to share his thoughts, to which he replied:

We’ve all heard of five tool players, but Trumbo is a one tool player. He has huge, prodigious, Hammer of the Gods type power, but you cannot trade Thor for him or any starter that projects to crack the rotation in any regard, let alone a top-of-the-rotation type starter.

Trumbo is a very poor major league ballplayer. He’s at best a platoon DH, given his terrible fielding, limited speed on the bases and career OBP under .300. I say “at best” a platoon DH because he actually doesn’t have any significant platoon splits. He’s a bad hitter from both sides of the plate. He’d be worse than Jason Bay in many aspects. Bay, to his credit, was a disciplined enough hitter during his prime, and Bay only cost money.

So it would seem the consensus here at MMO would be that Trumbo is most certainly not the player the Mets should be targeting once their attempts to target Choo and Ellsbury prove futile.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Hits & Misses: Tron Has Become Mythical, Chasing Unicorns, Fix My Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/hits-misses-tron-has-become-mythical-chasing-unicorns-fix-my-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/hits-misses-tron-has-become-mythical-chasing-unicorns-fix-my-team.html/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 13:49:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131040 Carlos = Beltran

Last night, Carlos Beltran continued to cement his status as one of the greatest post season players of all time with yet another incredible performance. Having already delivered a two-run double to tie Game 1 of the NLCS at 2-2, the former Met would hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win over the Dodgers for the Cardinals.

Beltran also kept the game alive for the Cards earlier in the game, when he unleashed a tremendous throw from right field to nail a runner at the plate in the 10th to keep the game even.

The walk-off single ended the longest playoff game in Cardinals history and the sold out crowd had Busch Stadium shaking from its foundation as Cardinals poured out of the dugout to meet Beltran and celebrate the huge win.

“I’ve got to give the glory and honor to God. He’s the one to give me the opportunity to be able to play in October, and this is what it’s all about,” Beltran said after the game. “You work so hard during the offseason, Spring Training, the regular season to get to this point, and we’re fortunate to be here.”

Wow… If Homer were still alive, he’d probably pen a glorious epic about Tron…

unicorns-9-magical-mystical

I got not one, but two emails yesterday,asking me what I meant two days ago when I wrote that the Mets were in the market for a unicorn. It was just my way of saying that the front office and even a great deal of fans find fault with any quality player that doesn’t fit into their price point.

I actually alluded to it somewhat on Twitter the other day:

I’m tired of holding every player to this imaginary “he’s not a difference maker” standard as well. Sandy Alderson first used the term after he retreated from his stance that he wouldn’t trade R.A. Dickey and then a week before trading him said “I won’t trade Dickey unless it’s for a difference maker.”

As we all sit back and wait for the front office to deliver this run of sustainable championships they keep talking about, we’ve not added one difference maker to this team at the major league level. The fact is we’ve traded those difference makers away for minor leaguers and never anyone who could make that same kind of an impact on the team.

So here we are chasing unicorns – looking for the most perfect offensive difference maker we can find at the lowest rock-bottom price.

It feels like I’m rooting for a front office who isn’t grounded in reality and has no idea how to navigate in today’s market. And yes, I’m well aware that the offseason hasn’t even started yet, but I’m still hearing them say the kinds of things I’d expect from my 10-year old nephew rather then a front office that is among the most highly compensated regimes in the game.

To improve this team, the Mets require many upgrades in over a half dozen different areas. They don’t have to be difference makers, they only have to be better than what we’ve been trotting out there for the last three seasons under Sandy.

But instead of getting excited about the available players in this market, you instead hear or read things like Carlos Beltran is too old… Mike Napoli is too expensive… Shin-Soo Choo wants a four year deal… Jose Abreu is one-dimensional… And so on and so on…

I got an idea… Let’s do nothing… Let’s just stay awful… There’s plenty of teams that don’t mind staying awful, so let’s be like them…

This team needs quality players that will either cost us money or prospects. Get that through your skulls.

And this front office needs a quality season in 2014 which will require cunning, resources and risk, but mostly guts, which I’ve yet to see from this front office.

Stop looking for flaws in every quality player and start taking notice of the myriad of gaping holes this team has accumulated over the last three seasons. The New York Mets are in tatters right now… Fix My Team!

bleed orange & blue  button

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The Mets and Mike Trout… What If… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/the-mets-and-mike-trout-what-if.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/the-mets-and-mike-trout-what-if.html/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:00:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127830 mike trout

One of our readers sent me a link to an article by Dave Cameron of FanGraphs who asked, How much would you pay for one year of Mike Trout?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s a completely speculative piece and the question is hypothetical, but here him out…

Recently, I was asked what I think turns out to be a pretty interesting thought experiment: if Mike Trout was released by the Angels and became a free agent, but decided he did not want to sign long term with any other team and simply preferred to go year to year instead, where would the bidding war for a single year of Trout’s services end up?

This question gets at a lot of different points, many of them kind of fascinating. What percentage of a team’s total payroll can be allocated to one player while still leaving enough flexibility to put a contender around a superstar? Is a team better off allocating a majority of their available dollars to a few premium assets, then using low-cost filler to round out the roster, or by spreading their money around to multiple players in order to reduce the risk of one injury or a single bad year ruining their entire season? Should a team prefer an +8 WAR player over two +4 WAR players for the same cost?

These are essentially the questions that this thought experiment would force us to answer. By limiting the scope of the contract to just a single year, we remove most of the questions about aging curves, future inflation, expected television revenues, and how much sense it might make to borrow from the future to finance a playoff run in the short term. By limiting the contract length to just one year, the question becomes essentially about the valuation we might place on elite performance.

Cameron points out that there is a historical precedent. Remember the one year, $28 million contract that Roger Clemens signed a with the Yankees in 2007?

Anyway, lets get back to Cameron’s question.

As I replied to the reader who sent me this article, surely any one-year deal for Mike Trout is going to eclipse $35 million, right?

Would there be a team daring enough to pay $40 million? Or as crazy as it sounds, $50 million?

You look at what players like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are making now, all with average annual salaries north of $25 million, and you have to consider the possibility that a young Mike Trout – with none of the longterm risks, none of those downside of career concerns, and then the enormity of his impact to your team – well… what is all of that worth for one single season?

The other day, Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog raised big concerns over investing 10% of your payroll on one player in a post about Jose Abreu. Let’s assume the Mets only had a $100 million dollar payroll. Would you be willing to allot 40% of your payroll for one year of Mike Trout in 2014?

Consider the fact that the Mets projected 2014 rotation and bullpen will come in at around $18 million dollars. Throw in another $20 for David Wright, and you have your rotation, bullpen, third base and left field totaling $78 million. That gives you $22 million to fill in the other 11 roster spots.

Behind the plate you have Travis d’Arnaud and a back up for less than one million. The rest of the infield could come in at less than $6 million if you get rid of Ike Davis and slot a platoon of Daniel Murphy and Josh Satin at first, Wilmer Flores at second, and Ruben Tejada and a backup at short.

corey hart

You now have $7 million left for the rest of your outfield. Juan Lagares at $500K is your everyday center fielder. Your two backups outfielders can be Matt den Dekker and Eric Young Jr. for about $1.5 million, and that leaves $5 million to roll the dice on an outfielder like Corey Hart for one year.

In this scenario, the 2014 Mets would look as follows:

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares, CF
  2. Daniel Murphy, 1B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Mike Trout, LF
  5. Corey Hart, RF
  6. Wilmer Flores, 2B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  8. Ruben Tejada, SS

Bench

  1. Juan Centeno, C
  2. Josh Satin, 1B/3B
  3. Omar Quintanilla, SS
  4. Eric Young Jr., 2B, OF
  5. Matt den Dekker, OF

Starting Rotation

  1. Matt Harvey, RHP
  2. Dillon Gee, RHP
  3. Jon Niese, LHP
  4. Zack Wheeler, RHP
  5. Jenrry Mejia, RHP

Bullpen

  1. Bobby Parnell, RHP
  2. Josh Edgin, LHP
  3. Jeurys Familia, RHP
  4. Scott Rice, LHP
  5. Jacob deGrom, RHP
  6. Adam Kolarek, LHP
  7. Jeff Walters, RHP

You think that team could win a Wild Card or even the NL East division?

If nothing else, I did show that even if you were to devote 40% of your payroll on one player, you can still have a formidable lineup, and that’s using $100 million as your total budget. It can be done…

By the way… In a totally non-hypothetical sense, I would have Corey Hart on my radar anyway this offseason, if I were the Mets…

As for the results to the original question posed to the readers on FanGraphs…

Trout2014

The most common answer was $40 million and the average of all the entries was $38.8 million.

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Is Jurickson Profar Worth What It Would Take To Get Him? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/is-jurickson-profar-worth-what-it-would-take-to-get-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/is-jurickson-profar-worth-what-it-would-take-to-get-him.html/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 19:02:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127088 Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers

Mailbag time again at MMO. This time, Marcus asks:

Long time reader; first time question asker…

What’s with all the Jurickson Profar love? He’s rated number 1 by popular prospect polls; his minor league numbers (with my un-sabrey-eye) don’t seem to justify his rankings. Heck, he was ranked in front of Wil Myers who had some killer numbers. I get that he plays a premier position; but it’s not like he’s been a 20/20 guy with a 330 avg./400 obp through the minors. I read somewhere (maybe at MMO) that the Rangers have a knack for over hyping their prospects. I’m hearing some crazy trade proposals involve Wheeler, Montero or Thor. What’s your take? What back ups the high ranking? Hype machine or some metric or advanced scouting I don’t get. B/c the killer traditional (avg., hr, rbi) numbers are not there.

Thanks, Marcus. I’ll begin with the disclaimer that what I write below isn’t MMO’s stance; it’s mine. Perhaps some writers might agree with me, but I did a small poll to a scant three other writers, including Joe D., and it seems that I’m on my own here. So here it is: Profar is legit.

I think you underestimate the tools and skills Profar has, as well as the numbers he’s put up. I’ll also remind you that prospect rankings are less about what the player is currently doing in the minors performance-wise and more about what his skills and tools say his potential could be. Of course, reaching that potential isn’t a sure thing, so it’s very possible Myers ends up with the better career, but Profar has the higher upside.

If you’re judging him based on his .239/.301/.354 major league line in only 234 plate appearances at ages 19 and 20, I feel you’re not looking at the big picture. He’s had excellent offensive seasons in the minor leagues, and always played young for his league to boot. He hit .286/.390/.493 with 12 home runs as a 18-year-old in High A, .281/.368/.452 with 14 home runs in AA at 19 before his call up last season and hit .278/.370/.438 with four home runs in 36 games this season in AAA at 20 before heading back to Arlington, probably for good. He also stole 45 bases at a 76% success rate in those minor league seasons. Those are outstanding offensive numbers for a top-of-the-order shortstop. There were only 14 hitters in all of baseball last season that hit at least .280/.375/.460, a rough mean slash line for those three seasons. And not all 14 played exceptional defense at a premium position.

Which brings me to his defense. He’s widely considered (as you probably know from reading the prospect polls) one of the best defensive shortstops in the minor leagues. But don’t take my word for it. I’ve only seen him play a handful of times. I went looking for scouting reports from trusted people that have seen him plenty and I wasn’t surprised with what I found. Consider this from our good friend John Sickles from before this season:

He does all the stuff you want a prospect to do. He hits for a solid average. He hits for power, good power for a shortstop anyway. He steals bases, and he does it at a sabermetrically-sound percentage. He draws walks. He plays excellent defense. He works hard, thrives under pressure, is highly intelligent, and has a great personality. Jurickson Profar does not do the things that you don’t want a prospect to do. He doesn’t strike out too much. He doesn’t swing at pitches three feet off the plate. He doesn’t run himself into outs. He doesn’t make a huge number of errors. He doesn’t snarl at the press or alienate his teammates.

Take all the positive things, and the lack of negative things, and combine that with a guy who has been very young for his levels and you have, well, Jurickson Profar. With Bryce HarperMike Trout, and Manny Machado safely ensconced in the majors, Profar is now the best prospect in baseball. With additional physical maturity, this is a guy who could win Gold Gloves while hitting .300, hitting 15 homers, stealing 20 bases, drawing 80 walks, and charming puppies and kittens and beat reporters all across North America. Grade A.

Also from John:

On defense, he features plus range and plus arm strength at shortstop. His error rate isn’t bad for such a young player, and his reliability will continue to improve. Despite average running speed, he’s adept on the bases and a threat to steal. His makeup and intelligence are exceptional. He has no significant flaws, and the main thing he needs is simple experience.

Professional scout Mike Newman had this to say:

In the case of Jurickson Profar, I’ve scoured my notes and video to identify problem areas in his all-around game, but I simply can’t find any. At present, the young shortstop is as complete a position prospect as one could hope to find at any level of the minor leagues.

Baseball America graded him as follows on the 20-80 scouting scale: Bat: 70. Power: 60. Speed: 55. Defense: 65. Arm: 60. For reference, the scale is defined as:

70+: MVP, Perennial All-Star – Front-line ace pitcher; superstar position player

60-69: Above average, All-Star caliber – #1 or #2 pitcher; position player among the best

55-59: Solid MLB player – #3 or #4 pitcher or top middle relief; solid starting position player

50-54: Average MLB player – Back end starter, average relief; position player that could start on most teams.

45-49: Backup – Spot starter, fair relief; utility/bench player

40-44: Fringe player – Up and down, could make the team for lower-tier club

30-39: AA or AAA – Emergency call-up

20-29: Low minors

Additionally, the good folks at Baseball America add:

To paraphrase one Rangers instructor, Profar may not have the most power, the most speed or the strongest arm on the field, but typically he’s the best player out there. A natural right-handed hitter, he learned to switch-hit after signing and now shows uncommon bat speed from both sides of the plate, lending him more power than his lean 6-foot frame suggests. Profar surprises some opponents with his pop—which is above-average for a middle infielder—but he may have to tone down his swing to maximize his overall production. He takes a disciplined approach to hitting, with strong knowledge of the strike zone that ought to make him a consistent .300 hitter in his prime. An above-average defender at shortstop, Profar has instincts that outstrip his plus range. His hands and arm are above-average as well. Some of his throws to first base tend to sail when he gets on the side of the ball, but that’s just a matter of adjustment. He has solid speed and knows how to use it on the bases, stealing 16 bases in 20 tries in 2012. Observers rave about Profar’s mental toughness, leadership skills and grace under pressure. “He’s all about winning and getting better,” one club official said. As his body matures, he ought to hold up better under the rigors of the long season.

So, Marcus, to answer your question “What backs up the high ranking? Hype machine or some metric or advanced scouting?” it’s a combination of all three. His stats are excellent, the scouting reports back it up, and the hype is real. He’s #1. And what makes him more unique is that those hypothetical trade offers you read about, from the Mets or any other team, that include two or three of a team’s top prospects aren’t normally offered for a prospect. Those are usually reserved for young studs, and it’s Profar getting that kind of attention. He’s going to be something else.

Hat tip to Teddy Klein for contributing the Baseball America scouting report and scouting grade.

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AL Defeats NL 3-0 In Mid-Summer Classic Amid Some Memorable Moments http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/al-defeats-nl-3-0-in-mid-summer-classic-amid-some-memorable-moments.html/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 04:29:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124959

Well the 2013 All-Star Game has come to a close as the American League defeated the National League by the score of 3-0. It was the lowest-scoring All-Star Game since 1990, when the AL earned a 2-0 victory.

I loved the Opening Ceremonies and it was great to see Carlos Beltran and Mariano Rivera get some nice ovations, but not nearly as loud and boisterous as the ovations for the Mets All-Stars David Wright and Matt Harvey.

USP-MLB_-All-Star-Game matt harvey

Matt Harvey was greeted by a first pitch double by leadoff hitter Mike Trout, but then went on to pitch two scoreless innings and facing eight batters while striking out three.

Things got a little scary when he hit the Yankees’ Robinson Cano just above the knee and he was removed from the game. Harvey apologized to Cano afterward and it looks like the All Star second baseman will be fine.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said.

david wright

David Wright, who has now made more All-Star Game appearances than any other Met in franchise history (7), went 1-for-3 with a single. This will end a whirlwind three days for Wright who was running around all over the city as the face of the Mets and the face of this All-Star Game, acting as the unofficial ambassador and saying all the right things.

“I’m glad that I could help promote this game,” said Wright. “I’m glad that I could help represent the New York Mets. I look at is as trying to be a good host. I think I’m trying to be a good ambassador for the game and then obviously trying to be an ambassador for the New York Mets. That’s kind of the responsibility that I feel.”

Some of the in-game entertainment included was Candice Glover singing the National Anthem, Marc Anthony singing God Bless America, and Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline. When I first heard Diamond would be appearing I thought it was silly, but then I learned it was to honor the bombings in Boston. Both Diamond and Anthony absolutely energized the crowd.

mariano rivera

Then Mariano Rivera came out to pitch the eighth inning and it was the highlight of the evening for me. That’s what I will remember most about this All-Star Game. Citi Field blasted Metallica’s Enter Sandman while players and coaches in both dugouts came out and applauded him while the crowd gave him a 4-minute standing ovation. It was quite a moment and everyone was on their feet.

Rivera was named the All-Star Game MVP for his 1-2-3 inning. Afterward, he was to emotional to speak, but eventually got out a few choice humble comments. Classy as always.

All in all it was a great Mid-Summer Classic and the largest crowd in Citi Field history nearing close to 42,000 fans including standing room only.

harvey wright

Original Post 3:30 PM

The starting lineups for tonight are…

American League

  1. CF: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. 2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
  3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  4. 1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
  5. LF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  6. DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  7. RF: Adam Jones, Orioles
  8. C: Joe Mauer, Twins
  9. SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer, Tigers

National League:

  1. 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
  2. RF: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
  3. 1B: Joey Votto, Reds
  4. 3B: David Wright, Mets
  5. LF: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  6. C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  7. SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
  8. DH: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
  9. CF: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Starting pitcher: Matt Harvey, Mets

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Ice Berg Dead Ahead http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/ice-berg-dead-ahead.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/ice-berg-dead-ahead.html/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:22:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124947 The always enjoyable to read Ted Berg, now with USA Today, sets us straight on how fans view their top prospects and writes:

Great players in the minors almost always graduate to the next level, but great players in the Majors have no place else to go. On the rare occasion a minor leaguer is in fact good enough to dominate in the bigs, he doesn’t hang around on the farm for long. Class AA hitters never face guys like Clayton Kershaw more than a couple times a season, and Class AAA pitchers might only be asked to retire Mike Trout once.

Drafting, signing and developing good young players is the surest route to Major League success, and no one in his right mind would argue against a team fostering organizational depth. It is quite simply the way to win, and more reliable than spending big money in free agency.

But attaching all of your hopes to any single young player is a fool’s errand, as there’s a very good chance that prospect will never pan out to be as good as the big-league journeyman your team is thought to be pursuing to help secure a playoff berth. The vast majority of baseball fans wildly overrate their team’s best prospects, when many of their team’s best prospects will amount to next to nothing in the show.

Except my team’s best prospects, of course. My team’s best prospects can’t miss.

I think Ted might be onto something…

Things looked so hopeful in 2007 when Baseball America printed this…

On Wednesday, MMO will start unveiling our Mets First Half Report Cards and Best & Worst Moments Of 2013 So Far. As a teaser, here’s our winner for Best Mets Broadcast Commercial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who’s Down For Matt den Dekker Making The Team? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/whos-down-for-matt-den-dekker-making-the-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/whos-down-for-matt-den-dekker-making-the-team.html/#comments Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:13:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=110695 Matt-Den-DekkerDo you remember when Citi Field opened the Mets vowed they they were going to build around pitching and defense? Then, they immediately signed Jason Bay, who played well defensively, but that wasn’t the point.

Enter Matt den Dekker, who doesn’t have the inside track at making the team as the center fielder despite being the their best defensive outfielder.

Terry Collins managed arguably one of the greatest defensive center fielders in history when he had Jim Edmonds. Collins said they compared favorably in their ability to chance down fly balls in the gap with their speed, “although nobody got a jump like Jim Edmonds … it seemed like he took two steps before the ball was hit.’’That comes from knowing the hitters and the pitch, so maybe that part of it will come to den Dekker. However, and this is the rub, he’s not even close to Edmonds at the plate and it could cost him a spot on the roster.

Den Dekker made another spectacular catch Monday when he went against the wall in left-center to rob Detroit’s Austin Jackson of extra bases. It is one of several he’s made this spring, each one seemingly more scintillating than the previous.

Den Dekker told reporters later in Lakeland he was “just doing my job,’’ but for a team lacking in offense, that’s only part of what the Mets need from him.

“If you are going to be a platoon player, you got to be able to do something off the bench in the National League, and that’s not just play defense,’’ Collins told reporters.

Why not?

Center field in Citi Field – even after the fences were moved in – is a vast area of real estate. Plus, the Mets have a young pitching staff in need of any help possible. The Mets also have a defensive liability in left fielder Lucas Duda. Having den Dekker in center addresses all those factors.

At .220, Den Dekker has not hit consistently this spring, but perhaps in this era of statistical analysis, the case could be made he saves a considerable amount of runs. Add runs saved to RBI and that’s a productive player.

The problem is the Mets don’t have enough offense elsewhere to where they could carry den Dekker. It is an offensive game, until it is lost with poor pitching and defense.

Den Dekker is ideal as a late-inning defensive replacement for a loaded team, but seriously, how many games will they realistically be in for that to matter? The fact is more games are lost earlier than in the last two innings. That’s when they’ll need his glove.

Last season at Double-A Binghamton, den Dekker hit .340 with eight homers and 29 RBI, but with 64 strikeouts in 238 at-bats. At Triple-A Buffalo, he hit .220 with nine homers and 47 at-bats, but with a staggering 90 strikeouts in 295 at-bats, roughly once every three at-bats.

General manager Sandy Alderson said strikeouts are acceptable if they come with high on-base percentage and power numbers. The selection of run production potential over strikeouts applies to Ike Davis and Duda, but den Dekker hasn’t shown that upside, yet.Den Dekker has tinkered with his mechanics, such as widening his stance, which leads to a shorter stride and consequently a shorter stroke. All too often he’s given away outs with a long, looping swing.

Den Dekker struck out twice more yesterday to give him ten for the spring, but also had a two-run single against lefty reliever Phil Coke.

“He’s working on some things, he’s really trying to be a little more selective at the plate,’’ Collins said. “He’s making huge progress and defensively, I am not sure we have anyone better.’’

Defensively, the Mets don’t have anybody better, and as they struggle to find runs they might consider looking at the flip side and run prevention. Also, remember we’re not talking about den Dekker’s offense compared to Mike Trout’s, but to that of Jordany Valdespin and Mike Baxter.

Put in that context there’s even less of a disparity. Put that way, the question becomes: How many more runs will Valdespin, Baxter and Collin Cowgill generate with their bats than den Dekker saves with his glove?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So a few things to note:

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

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

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Rounding The Bases: Melky To The Mets, Dickey Honored For His Awesomeness http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/rounding-the-bases-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/rounding-the-bases-2.html/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 19:41:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=100151

Rounding The Bases is back… As we did before, we’ll highlight some of the must-read posts from the Mets beat writers, take a cruise around the Mets blogosphere, check in on our enemies, and have a little fun while we’re at it.

MMO Instant Replay

  • Connor O’Brien dished out his report cards for the Mets infielders this week and gives Josh Thole a big fat D. “Josh Thole has not become the player we thought he could be. After hitting over .300 in his last two minor league seasons, and showing glimpses of a future .300 hitter over his first two years in the big leagues, his production has declined. This year, he hit rock bottom.”
  • Dan Valis wonders if the Mets should consider trading David Wright for Andre Ethier if they don’t work out an extension. “If you swapped these two players, the Mets would still have a very solid middle of the order hitter to replace David. Ethier is already signed, and plays a position we desperately need to fill. They Mets already have some in-house options for third base, while they really have nobody on the roster who can play right field. With a tight budget a move like this could be very beneficial to the Mets as they begin to prepare for this off-season.”
  • Is there a new manager trend, asks Jessep who lists Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Dave Magadan and Brett Butler as former Mets who could someday manage for their former teams.

On The Beat

  • Ken Davidoff of the NY Post predicts that free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera will eventually sign a one-year, $4 million deal with the Mets. Cabrera of course was suspended 50 games for failing a test for PED’s and then tried to cover it up. The Giants washed their hands of him.
  • The Mets are not close to reaching new agreements with either R.A. Dickey or David Wright, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Things have certainly slowed down of late.
  • In the aftermath of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, the New York Mets will be holding a food drive and offering tickets. This is a great gesture by them, and gives fans a great opportunity to help others, while also possibly getting tickets to the game.

Friendly Fire

  • MetsBlog reports that R.A. Dickey was named the National League’s most outstanding pitcher in 2012 as picked by the players. “It’s an extreme honor to be recognized by the people who you play against and compete against all year long,” Dickey said in a statement. “To know my peers think this highly of me is a tremendous feeling.”
  • Have you checked out 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball yet? Enjoy this behind the scenes conversation between Fred, Jeff and Sandy and you’ll be going back for more.
  • Joe Janish of Mets Today wonders what if the Mets never signed Pedro Martinez. “Certainly, the magic of 2006 would not have occurred, but maybe — just maybe — the pain and suffering Mets fans are enduring now would have occurred from 2005-2009, when instead of signing people like Billy Wagner, Moises Alou, and Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets would have been stocking up on #1 picks.”
  • The Rising Apple wonders if the Mets will re-sign any of their free agents and writes the following regarding Scott Hairston: “Unlikely; he drew a lot of interest on the trade market before the non-waiver trade deadline and even into August when he was placed on trade waivers. Alderson decided not to trade him because he felt there was more value in letting him finish the year with the team than trading him away. Now, with his career season, Hairston is looking to cash in with a more lucrative, multi-year deal, something the Mets won’t be able to afford.”

Enemy Territory

  • In the rest of the league, there is still news. First off, David Ortiz has signed an extension with the Red Sox for two years. He might also consider sitting out the World Baseball Classic so it doesn’t interrupt him getting ready for the regular season.
  • Rookie Mike Trout won the Defensive Player of the Year award in the American League, a testament to how great his defensive play was this season. Braves outfielder Michael Bourn took home the award in the National League.
  • In big news for the New York Yankees, Mariano Riveraplans to return to the field next year.
  • The Red Sox don’t want to offer Cody Ross a three-year deal, which could be a stumbling block in contract discussions according to WEEI.com. Jon Heyman says Ross is looking for a three-year deal worth about $25 million.

Today In Mets History

Seven members of the World Champion Mets begin a two-week engagement with comedian Phil Foster at Caesar’s palace in Las Vegas. Giving it the ol’ soft shoe are Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Donn Clendenon, Ed Kranepool, Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones, and Art Shamsky. – Mets.com

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

 

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

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

Not having Mariano Rivera will hurt the Yankees chances

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

The Rangers will go as far as Josh Hamilton takes them

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

Oakland’s weaknesses will be exposed

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

Bryce Harper

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

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

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

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

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

Catcher – Yadier Molina

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

 

First Base – Prince Fielder

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

 

Second Base – Robinson Cano

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

 

Shortstop – Derek Jeter

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

 

Third Base – Miguel Cabrera

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

 

Left Field – Josh Hamilton

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

 

Center Field – Mike Trout

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

 

Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton

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

 

Designated Hitter – Edwin Encarnacion

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

 

Starting Pitcher – R.A. Dickey

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

 

Closer – Fernando Rodney

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

* * * * * * * *

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

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Mike Trout: What Could Have Been http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/mike-trout-what-could-have-been.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/mike-trout-what-could-have-been.html/#comments Mon, 27 Aug 2012 15:24:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=94429

Mike Trout is having a season for the ages. The kind of season that has baseball fans checking the box score in the newspaper to see what he did the night before, and team executives scratching their heads wondering how they missed on this kid. If you turned on ESPN last year, the only time you would hear the word trout, was during one of those outdoors shows. It’s funny how things change in a year. When you hear the word trout these days, the first thing that comes to mind is a young ballplayer being compared to the likes of Mickey Mantle, not a fish. However, I’m starting to think that it’s unfair to compare this kid to anyone. He really is in a league of his own.

Most Mets fans don’t realize how the 2009 draft could have altered the baseball landscape that we see right now. There were a few teams with a very high interest in Trout as the 2009 MLB draft crept closer. Most teams passed on Trout because, although he was a very gifted athlete, was viewed as a raw talent. They didn’t think he was mechanically sound. That, combined with the fact that amateur players from the northeast still aren’t given the respect of a player from a warm weather state, caused Trout to sort of free fall. Here’s where it gets interesting for Mets fans.

One of the teams that was in a position to take a chance on this “raw” talent, was the Washington Nationals. They held the number one pick, and the number ten pick in the 2009 draft. They took Stephen Strasburg with the number one pick, and with the number ten pick took Drew Storen. Luckily for Mets fans, and the other teams in the National League East, the Nationals passed on Trout. Had they selected Trout at number ten, they would have a foundation of Strasburg, Harper, and Trout to build on. Arguably the three best young talents in the game, all on one team, is a scary notion. The Nationals are kicking themselves right now.

Let’s take a look at the Angels drafting Trout, and it’s implications. This is where it could get painful for Mets fans. Yes Mets fans, we could have drafted Trout. If you recall, we originally were slated to have the number 24 pick in the 2009 draft. Trout went number 25. We gave up our number 24 pick as compensation for signing Fransisco Rodriguez in the winter of 2008. We were Trout-blocked…by ourselves. That compensation pick was what inevitably led to the Angels selecting Trout at number 25.

There is a nice article on Trout in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated (I highly recommend reading it). Tom Verducci states that building up to the 2009 draft, Trout’s family, who originally agreed to take slot money before the draft, was now looking for more money. They had originally agreed to around $1.2 million, but were now getting offers of close to $3 million. The Angels head scout in the northeast area kept that a secret, knowing that if it became public, the team might have passed on him. He believed he had a future hall of famer at his fingertips, and didn’t want to lose out on Mike Trout. The Angels now had two back to back picks in the first round after the compensation pick from the Mets, so even the Angels brass that weren’t completely sold on Trout, decided to take a shot. The funny thing is, had the Angels passed on Trout at pick 25, the Yankees were waiting with open arms at number 29. Imagine that. The player touted as the next Mickey Mantle in Yankee pinstripes.

Mets fans, we could have had Mike Trout. Mike Trout had so many implications for the Mets, and no Mets fans ever think about it. Aside from possibly getting him with our original number 24 pick in the 2009 draft, the Nationals could have selected him, which would have been a nightmare for Mets fans for years to come. If the Angels passed on him, he could have easily dropped into the lap of the Yankees, our cross town rivals.

It’s funny how things work out. But there is nothing funny about what Mike Trout is doing this year. Mike Trout is a once in a generation player. Mike Trout is a baseball god. And Mets fans are left, once again, wondering about what could have been.

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Should The Mets Trade Reyes To The Angels For Trout? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/should-the-mets-look-to-trade-reyes-to-the-angels-for-trout.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/should-the-mets-look-to-trade-reyes-to-the-angels-for-trout.html/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2011 18:42:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=48643 Now this is complete speculation on my part but with all the trade rumors buzzing, especially after the Mets slow start, it hit me, why not trade Reyes to the Angels for speedster prospect Mike Trout? He would be absolutely perfect for Citi Field. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield, blazing speed and is only 19.

Ever since the Angels let Chone Figgins walk in the 2009 off season, the Angels have lacked the spark they once had at the top of the lineup. Reyes could be that guy for them if the time comes that it is necessary for the Mets to trade him.

Yes, Mike Trout could become that spark plug for the Angels, but he likely will not be major league ready until 2012-2013. If the Mets come to the point where they trade Reyes, they will likely be in rebuilding mode; the perfect way to allow Trout to ease his way up to the majors. The Angels are not in a “win now” scenario, but acquiring Reyes could put them there.

The Mets could have drafted Mike Trout in 2009 but decided to sign closer Francisco Rodriguez instead. With Billy Wagner out recovering from Tommy John surgery and the club suffering their second straight September collapse, Minaya signed K-rod overpaying monetarily and with their first-round pick. Looking back, especially after the incident at Citi Field in 2010, it probably would have been in the Mets best interest long-term to keep their first round pick instead of signing K-rod.

As we know, Reyes is performing at the top of his game right now. He has 23 hits, six stolen bases and a .315 batting average in the first 16 games of 2011. With the team at a dismal 5-11 record to start the year and Reyes showing signs of old, the possibility of him being moved is becoming more and more likely.

If Reyes continues to perform at the level he is now, a prospect at the tier of Mike Trout may not be out of the question in order for Reyes to be acquired before the July 31st deadline.

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