Mets Merized Online » pitching Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Steven Matz Expected to Have Normal Offseason Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:30:42 +0000 steven-matz

New York Mets left-handed pitcher Steven Matz was a guest on WOR radio last night and said he had been cleared by the team doctors to proceed with his normal offseason routine.

The doctors said, ‘You’re good to go, progress with your normal offseason,’” Matz told WOR.

Matz, 25, had surgery in early October to remove what was labeled as a “massive” bone spur in his pitching elbow. Matz was diagnosed with the bone spur earlier in the season, but decided to pitch through the pain.

Matz made his last start of the season on Aug. 14 before he was diagnosed with rotator cuff impingement that would officially get him shutdown for the year.

The young lefty went 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, and posted a 2.7 bWAR over 22 starts in 2016. He struck out 129 batters compared to only 31 walks in 132.2 innings and finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

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Frank Viola Will Remain As Las Vegas 51s Pitching Coach Tue, 22 Nov 2016 22:38:53 +0000 frank viola

Former Mets pitcher and current Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola was a finalist for the Orioles pitching coach position. Fortunately for the Mets, the Orioles went in another direction.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have hired former Mets reliever and recently fired Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell to take over for the recently retired Dave Wallace.

Viola, 56, will now return for his seventh year as a pitching coach in the Mets organization and his fourth year as the 51s pitching coach.

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Astros Acquire Brian McCann From Yankees Thu, 17 Nov 2016 22:34:08 +0000 brian mccann

The Houston Astros have acquired catcher Brian McCann from the New York Yankees, bursting any hopes that that he would be acquired by the New York Mets. Aww shucks…

The Yankees have made trading McCann a top priority as phenom Gary Sanchez took over the catching position and hit the ground running in the second half.

McCann, 32, batted .242/.335/.413 with 20 home runs in 492 plate appearances last season, but has hit at least 20 home runs for nine straight seasons. He has two years and $34 million left on his deal, which also has a $15 million team option.

The ‘Stros send a pair of pitching prospects, RHP Albert Abreu and RHP Jorge Guzman, to the Bombers in return for McCann and some cash considerations.

Not a bad move for our crosstown rivals who unload a bunch of unwanted salary and get themselves a top Astros prospect and a kid who throws 100+ mph with potential.

Meanwhile the Mets have done nothing as the Hot Stove Season just passes them by. Stop sitting on your hands, Sandy… :-)

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MLB Considering Changes to Roster Sizes Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:55:51 +0000 mlb_e_manfred11_600x400

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Major League Baseball and MLB Player’s Union are discussing multiple changes to regular season rosters.

One of the changes being discussed is the regular season roster size growing from 25 to 26 players. In exchange for that, the player’s union may be willing to agree on limiting the September roster expansion to only 28 players. Teams would also be able to swap out players in September, but it’s unclear right now how often they would be able to do so.

Rosters expanding to 26 would allow teams more flexibility on the bench or in the bullpen and decreasing the roster size in September would cut down on the excess of pitching changes.

Adding a 26th man could also make it easier for teams to carry a player they take in the Rule 5 for the entire season.

The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on December 1.

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Orioles Considering Frank Viola For Pitching Coach Wed, 16 Nov 2016 15:00:00 +0000 frank viola

According to Jim Duquette on Twitter, the Orioles are considering former Met player and coach Frank Viola to be their new pitching coach.

Viola was hired by the Mets in 2011 to be the Brooklyn Cyclones pitching coach. Then, in 2012 and 2013, he was the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats pitching coach. After winning Coach of the Year in 2013, Viola was named the pitching coach for the AAA Las Vegas 51s.

During a 2014 spring training physical, Viola was unfortunately diagnosed with a heart condition that required open-heart surgery. He has since recovered completely.

As a pitcher, Viola had a standout career. The three-time All Star won a Cy Young award in 1988 with the Twins, going 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA. He was traded to the Mets during the 1989 season, playing in New York until 1991.

In two and a half years with the Mets, he was an All Star twice and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in 1990 when he went 20-12 with a 2.67 ERA. He retired as a player in 1996.

He has a great reputation as a player and a coach, and would certainly make a great addition to the Orioles staff who, with the exception of Zach Britton, could use the help.

The Orioles are also considering former Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, Orioles minor league coach Alan Mills, and Cardinals minor league coach Tim Leveque.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Noah Syndergaard, RHP Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:00:25 +0000 noah syndergaard 2


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

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

2016 Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grade: A

2017 Outlook:

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

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

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MMO Exclusive: Mets Relief Prospect Paul Sewald Fri, 04 Nov 2016 19:31:01 +0000 paul sewald

Paul Sewald was drafted by the Mets in the 2012 draft in the 10th round out of the University of San Diego. The right-handed reliever made his pro debut in spectacular fashion with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He had a 1.88 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and went 4 for 4 in save chances.

Paul would follow up his great debut with another good season in 2013 with the Savannah Sand Gnats in which he posted a 1.77 ERA, struck out 67 batters in 56 innings and didn’t allow a home run.

It was more of the same for the crafty closer in 2014 when he had a combined 1.92 ERA, struck out 69 in 56.1 innings and held opponents to a .200 average combined between St. Lucie and the Binghamton Mets.

The step up to Double-A can be the toughest but that didn’t phase Sewald as he posted arguably the best year of his career in 2015 with Binghamton. He pitched the entire season with the B-Mets and went 24 for 25 in save chances. He posted a career best in ERA (1.73), WHIP (0.86), and opponents AVG (.188). He was named to the Eastern League All-Star roster but didn’t play because he participated in the Pan-Am games for Team USA.

Surely the successful righty, that mostly sits 88-92 MPH with his fastball, would have trouble in the hitters haven that is Cashman Field and the Pacific Coast League. Nope, just another tremendous season for Sewald who was the Las Vegas 51s closer and had the second most saves in the PCL with 19.

Sewald posted a 3.29 ERA, which isn’t as bad as it looks when you consider the league average was 4.46 and he pitched 36 of his 65.2 innings at home. Sewald continued to be successful because he kept throwing strikes and kept striking people out (80 in 65.2 innings).

The Mets bullpen was starting to tire in September as injuries decimated the starting rotation forcing Rafael Montero and Gabriel Ynoa to make starts. Surprisingly, the highly successful Sewald didn’t receive a promotion to help the Mets down the stretch.

Now the Mets have a decision to make with Sewald. He needs to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 8th. It’s seems like a pretty clear cut choice to me to protect a guy with a career 2.20 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 307 strikeouts compared to just 59 walks in 258 innings.

Paul has decided to take his talents to the Mexican Winter League this offseason to pitch for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo. He has five saves, 0.90 ERA, eight strikeouts and has yet to walk a batter in ten innings.

Sewald relies on precision control, great preparation (see below), pounding the strike zone, and a nasty slider that helps him get hitters out.

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MMN – First off congrats on a great regular season and getting off to a good start in Mexico.

Paul – Thank you I really appreciate it! I finished really well and it’s carried over to pitching down here so I’m excited with how I’m throwing.

MMN – What was your motivation to pitch in the Mexican Winter League and how did it come about?

Paul – Well I had a couple of good reasons to play. Obviously, the money down here is a lot better than it is in the minor leagues. So that was a really nice incentive. Also, it just gives me another outlet to showcase myself as a pitcher. There’s plenty of scouts here and I have coaches from teams in MLB here so it’s a good chance for me to show what I can do and possibly give me another opportunity to play somewhere down the road.

MMN – What is it like competition wise, what level of the minor leagues would you compare it too?

Paul – I think the competition has been pretty good! I’ve seen plenty of guys I’ve faced over the years and a handful of guys with at least some major league time. So I would probably say maybe AA possibly some AAA lineups.

MMN – What is the travel like? Stadiums? Atmosphere at games? Do the american players stay in housing together?

Paul – Travel isn’t bad! The league is pretty spread out so most of the places we fly but there are a couple 3-5 hour bus trips too. Most of the stadiums are incredible. AAA type stadiums and the crowds are huge and exciting so that part has been great! They put the Americans up in a hotel together and so it’s easy for us all to be together.

MMN – You said playing in Mexico was in part to showcase yourself, is that because at the moment you aren’t on the Mets 40-man roster and thus could be exposed to the Rule 5 draft?

Paul – Yeah that is the main reason! Now I’m with the Mets and they have ownership of me and I want to play at Citi Field soon! So the 40-man roster with the Mets would be great but if they don’t put me on, then yes the main reason for me coming down here is to put myself out there in hopes to get picked in the Rule 5 in December.

MMN – Were you surprised that you didn’t get a promotion to the big leagues this year, especially in September?

Paul – I wouldn’t say “surprised” because nothing has ever been easy or given to me so I wasn’t expecting it! But was I disappointed? Absolutely! I felt like I’ve done enough to show them I’m ready for that next step by pitching well at every single level. I know I can pitch in the big leagues I just need an opportunity to show that I can!

MMN – Absolutely agree and let’s talk about how you were successful this year. Did you have to do anything different playing in the hitter friendly PCL to get hitters out?

Paul – The PCL, especially in Las Vegas, is such a hard place to pitch. You try to stick with what makes you successful to start with and that’s the only way you can approach it. I didn’t want to pitch scared or pitch away from contact just because it’s a good hitters park and league. The most important thing for me was to attack hitters and throw strikes no matter how the ball travels. And I think I did a good job of that whether I was pitching well or struggling and just stayed with that process.

MMN – Anyone who’s seen you pitch knows a lot of success comes from your great breaking ball. When did you learn to throw it, from who and has it changed at all over your time in the minors?

Paul – Yeah my slider is definitely my best pitch and my go-to! I learned it right after my freshman year of college before I went to summer ball. I struggled a lot with offspeed and my dad (Mark Sewald, 16th RD, 1979 by Boston Red Sox) had me try the way he threw it when he played. Instantly I found something I was comfortable with and could throw strikes and it was good. Honestly, I haven’t really messed with it much since then as it’s been successful ever since I learned it and so I’m confident in it and that’s the most important thing.

MMN – Some pitchers have said that the elevation in Vegas flattened their breaking ball, is that something you had trouble with or heard of from other guys on last years team?

Paul – Well it definitely had an effect on it yeah. I mean my numbers on the road were a lot better than at home and my breaking ball sharpness is a direct correlation to that so absolutely.

MMN – One of the knocks or question marks that scouts and fans have on you is your lack of velocity, what is your response to that?

Paul – Well it’s true I don’t throw as hard as most scouts and coaches want. It’s been the thing that’s held me back my whole life so I know that by now. I try to make up for it with above average spin rates, deception and location of it. And my numbers say that I’ve been successful doing that so I’m going to continue to do so, but I understand it’s easy for people to scout the radar gun and it’s unfair but that’s just the way it is.

MMN – Who passes along your spin rates to you?

Paul – Well I actually have a good friend from high school who works with sabermetrics scouting and he lets me know every once in a while how it’s going. But also TJ Barra (Manager of Baseball Research and Development) with the Mets sent me some info on it and some of the things the numbers say about my success with those spin rates.

MMN – What do you do to prepare for hitters you may face that night/in a series?

Paul – I have a book of all my at-bats facing every guy from each team. I keep track of the pitches, the speeds, the locations, the results. So then by those I’ll write any notes I saw in their swing or approach against me. Then before the series I’ll go read through and get a little reminder of each hitter so that I might have a better idea of how to attack them when I face any given hitter.

MMN – What is it like to see teammates like Seth Lugo and T.J. Rivera be successful and help the Mets make playoffs this year?

Paul – Well it’s exciting when you see your friends get to achieve their dream just like I’ve always dreamed about. It helped my confidence because I know if those guys are having success at the major league level I know I can too. So that helps a lot too.

MMN – Thanks again for answering all my questions Paul, and hope to see you in a Mets uniform soon.

Paul – Absolutely. Thanks for your support we really appreciate it! I hope so too. Soon would be great!

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Pace 2017 Salary Projections: Matt Harvey, RHP Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:00:30 +0000 matt harvey 2

Adam Rubin is rolling out his ever popular Pace Law Annual Salary Projection Series. In making their determinations, Pace puts together a panel that will base their projections on the following:

  • The quality of the player’s contribution to his club during the past season (referred to as his “platform season”), including but not limited to his overall performance, special qualities of leadership and public appeal
  • The length and consistency of his career contribution
  • The player’s past compensation
  • Comparative baseball salaries
  • The existence of any physical or mental issues on the part of the player
  • The recent performance record of the club, including but not limited to its league standing and attendance, as an indication of public acceptance

Matt Harvey, RHP

Pace Salary Projection: $5.325 million

MLBTR Salary Projection: $5.2 million

According to Pace, Harvey will be most closely compared to Phil Hughes (2011), Dillon Gee (2014), and Jeremy Hellickson (2014) due to his struggles. You can read their full analysis here.

Matt Harvey battled injuries this year, including a blood clot in his bladder during spring training, and more notably, thoracic outlet syndrome. The latter required surgery, during which one of his ribs was removed.

His thoracic outlet syndrome directly affected his pitching in many ways, including losing feeling in his fingers, as he never could really put it together in 2016. He went 4-10 posting a 4.86 ERA. In 17 starts, he pitched 92 2/3 innings and struck out 76.

Nobody is totally sure how his surgery will affect his pitching going forward. Best case scenario (which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen for the Mets often) would be for him to return to his 2013/2015 form. He is on track to come back healthy for spring training, and if he pitches nearly as well as he has in the past, he will help round out what could end up being the best rotation in the majors.

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Mets Want To Bring Back Bartolo Colon, We Say Lets Do It! Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:34:54 +0000 bartolo-colon

According to Jon Heyman of Knuckleball the Mets would like to keep the Major Leagues’ sexiest pitcher in New York for the 2017 season. 

Bartolo Colon, 43, surpassed everyone’s expectations in 2016, going 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA. He tossed 191.2 innings, striking out 128 and walking only 32.

In a year plagued with injuries, he was truly the stalwart the Mets rotation needed. However, going into 2017, the Mets should have seven good young pitchers ready to go, with Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman returning in addition to Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom coming back from surgery.

Despite the plethora of young arms, there is of course that saying “you can never have enough pitching.” Big Bart will probably be paid very well this offseason, as he has more than proven he can pitch effectively despite his age. Over the last three seasons with the Mets (since turning 40) he has won 44 games.

If Colon were to return to the Mets, though, he would probably have to accept a bullpen/spot start role.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Bartolo Colon, led the rotation with 15 wins and delivered his third straight season of 30 or more starts – last accomplished by Mike Pelfrey. The veteran right-hander posted a 3.44 ERA and 1.210 WHIP this season and for the second year in a row he had an MLB-best 1.50 walk rate among all qualified starters. All of this in his age 43 season.

You want to talk about unsung heroes, I don’t know where the Mets would have been without Colon. He of course was supposed to be dispatched to the bullpen in July upon the return of Zack Wheeler, but as all of you know that never happened. Instead, the Mets again and again relied upon him in times of crisis and Colon for the most part never let the team down.

Colon was also strong down the stretch going 6-2 in his last 12 starts with a 3.17 ERA and 1.192 WHIP that could have been even better if not for the 2.1 innings and seven earned runs against the Miami Marlins on the day following the passing of Jose Fernandez.

Colon will earn a raise from the $7.25 million he earned this season and a one year deal for $10-12 million to return in 2017 would be fair and reasonable.

With Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all returning from varying degrees of surgery in the Spring, I think having Colon in camp as a safety net is a no-brainer. Lets do it.

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Boras Says Harvey Will Be 100 Percent Before Spring Training Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:43:34 +0000 harvey bench

Scott Boras, who represents Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, told that he expects his client “to be back to 100 percent” by the start of Spring Training.

“You kind of rely on the doctors here, and the doctor was extremely positive about the results of what he found when he did the operation, and the relief that he gave Matt,” Boras said. “It was really just a nerve compression. He didn’t have sensation [in his fingers]. And so clearly, the procedure allowed that relief where the nerve is now free and he should have full feeling in his hand.”

Boras explained that the probability for a full recovery is even better than Tommy John surgery despite the lack of precedent.

“The doctor was very clear,” Boras said. “The doctor’s certainty is that he was able to give a nerve space so it could function normally.”

Of course until Harvey is back on the mound and dealing the way he has in the past, there will be a lot of skeptics who will keep their fingers crossed.

October 10

Following his July 18th surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, during which one of his ribs was removed, Matt Harvey has finally started throwing again. He posted a picture on Instagram with the caption “Working the mechanics #132DaysTillST17 #LGM”.

Harvey, 27, is 29-28 in his career with a 2.94 ERA and 1.083 WHIP. In 519.2 innings pitched, he has struck out 525 and walked 119.

In 2016, however, his thoracic outlet syndrome affected his ability to throw, often preventing him from feeling the fingers in his right hand whilst pitching. As a result, he went 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA before being shut down after 17 starts.

“I’m doing well, coming along,” Harvey said at an event in New York, according to the New York Daily News. “Rehab’s a little slow, but it’s coming along. I’m doing whatever the doctors say and it’s a little bit slower than I thought, but I’m doing everything I can to get back on the field.”

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Noah Syndergaard Will Not Need Surgery Tue, 11 Oct 2016 16:18:32 +0000 noah-syndergaard-2

During the month of June, Mets fans were alarmed when both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz were said to have bone spurs in their pitching elbows.

At the time they were discovered, it was said Syndergaard’s bone spurs should not affect his pitching whereas Matz’s was quite sizable.  Both players were given cortisone shots to help alleviate the pain associated with pitching with the bone spurs.

As the season wore on, Matz had to scrap his slider, and he eventually developed shoulder soreness.  He would be shut down, and he would have successful surgery to remove the “massive” bone spur.

As expected, the bone spurs did not affect Syndergaard’s performance.  In fact, there were no traces of any issues when Syndergaard dominated the San Francisco Giants for seven innings during the Wild Card Game.

Given his performance in that game as well as the entire 2016 season, it should come as no surprise that Syndergaard does not need surgery.

Both pitchers appear to be on track to be ready for Spring Training to help the Mets return to their third consecutive postseason.

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Looking At The Mets’ Big Picture Sun, 09 Oct 2016 15:23:26 +0000 degrom syndergaard

Painful. No other word for what I felt, for what we all felt, as we watched a pitching duel for the ages come to a crashing halt with a disastrous ninth inning. Many of us vented on social media; many of us flooded the comments section of this blog, to let out our frustration. Blame was tossed around; Familia was both vilified (he can’t come through in big spots!) and greatly defended (he had a great year!). Some praised the efforts of what we felt was an overachieving bunch, more survivors than achievers from a team riddled by attrition through the year so that there was barely a hint of our April roster left at the end.

I wanted to take a look at the Mets’ Big Picture and try to assess the direction this team is going. What is the Big Picture? The building blocks… The players we wanted to see develop and improve… The ones we counted on to help us not only with this year, but over the next several (hopefully) highly competitive years. I am not referring to players we don’t anticipate being here 2-3 seasons from now (which probably include great contributors like Colon, Cabrera, Walker). So let’s examine which young hopefuls took that next step and who didn’t in 2016.

Pitching: There was more bad than good here but let’s discuss the obvious tremendous humongous THOR sized positive from the 2016 season. Noah Syndergaard did everything that could be asked of him, and more. He established himself as a true ace, a dominant pitcher who led the team (and was third in the National League) with a 2.60 ERA, strike outs with 218 (fourth in the National League) and somehow only let up 11 home runs all year. Additionally he gutted out innings while pitching with a nagging bone spur, and showed he was as big game as you can get with his performance in the wild card game.

Much of the other news isn’t as promising. It is becoming more and more worrisome that we simply will never have our dream rotation for even a season. Zack Wheeler not only hasn’t pitched an inning in two years, he really never came close to returning as he had setback after setback. Matt Harvey has, for all intents and purposes, missed two and a half of the last three and a half seasons. Steven Matz always seems to be hurt. And Jacob deGrom finished the year with almost fifty less innings than last season as he also went under the knife.

Obviously this could have been a freak occurrence in 2016. Perhaps next year we will laud our rotation as they stay on the field and throw ace after ace again the evil Giants, Nationals and Cubs. But this year was not one to build confidence that this dream rotation will ever fully blossom as a whole.

Position Players: This was a tough year for our young position players. We went into this season with hopes that Michael Conforto would become our everyday left fielder and number three hitter, and for a month it worked beautifully…until he went into a slump, and pretty much never came out. Now we even wonder how he fits into the outfield configuration next year. Of course other dominoes have to fall—we all expect Bruce’s contract to be picked up, but can we resign Cespedes? Whether we do or do not, does Sandy feel like he can go into 2017 penciling Michael in as the opening day left fielder?

Even more troublesome was the performance of Travis d’Arnaud, who might have played himself from prospect to afterthought. He simply could not get it together all season, either offensively or defensively. It was well publicized that we offered him to the Brewers for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and they said “no thank you”. Additionally, when TDA got hurt and Kevin Plawecki was given the chance to take the reins and run with it, he also stumbled, or limped, or just plain fell down. Our big young position players simply did not improve as we had hoped in 2016, and all sat on the bench in the wild card game as spectators.

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Organization Depth: Okay, I admit that going into this season I was questioning Sandy’s drafts. I didn’t see any real standout performances from our prospects among our minor league teams, and outside of international free agent Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith, I didn’t see any of our players rated that high in the minors by those prospect experts. I am happy to see he made my doubts look foolish. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo delivered amazing performances down the stretch, both with sub 3.00 ERAs, to insure our wild card berth. Could their stuff hold up over repeated viewings by opponents for an entire season? That’s for the future to tell, but in the short term they showed both the temperament and the stuff to compete at the major league level.

I was even more impressed with T.J. Rivera. A career .324 hitter in the minors, he came up and hit .333 in the majors in the last month of the season, showing the ability to hit to all fields with occasional pop in his bat. He also got our only extra base hit against Madison Bumgarner. I hope he is given a legit chance to earn the second base position next year.

Coaching and intangibles: First to Terry Collins. I know his in game decisions are occasionally baffling (though none worse than when he admitted screwing up and leaving Wilmer Flores in the game, a mistake that hurt us every step of the rest of the way). But the one thing I will say on his behalf: his players like to play for him and even when they’re struggling he keeps them grinding (to use of his clichés). How about we hire a bench coach to make all in game decisions and leave Terry to the keep-the-team-focused speeches? Terry coached his way into another season, but I sense a short leash for him.

Finally, the intangibles. I believe the Mets made a huge step forward this year. Not only by going to the playoffs a second year in a row, but in some ways by willing themselves to the play offs on the arms and backs of so many spare parts and surprise contributors. It always amazes me when you look up in October and those same teams are there; the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the Red Sox. Almost like they believed in themselves in a way we didn’t. I think this year that changed. I think this year the Mets felt like they were supposed to be there in October…and they were.

Okay. That is my assessment of the Big Picture after 2016. There were a few too many negatives but the positives we have established – a dominant ace, a farm system which consistently provided players who were able to contribute immediately, and an overall culture of winning – will definitely serve us well in the future. Now we just need to keep some of those other players on the field in 2017…

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8 Things We Learned From Terry Collins Wed, 05 Oct 2016 03:09:35 +0000 terry-collins

Terry Collins spoke to reporters on Tuesday after the team took batting practice at Citi Field in advance of the Wild Card Game on Wednesday.

On going up against Madison Bumgarner

“Well, he’s outstanding, but this time of year you’re going to face great pitching. We know that. We’re up for it. We faced arguably the best pitcher in baseball last year in our series against the Dodgers, so we handled ourselves pretty good, and we think tomorrow night we’ll do the same.”

“Like all great pitchers, he throws strikes. So the one thing you’ve got to go up with a little bit of a plan, try to get something you can handle, and don’t miss it. Don’t foul it off, put it in play. If you can do that, he’s the kind of a guy — you guys have been around him a lot to know that he’s extremely aggressive. He’s extremely competitive. Doesn’t pitch around anybody. He goes after everybody he ever faces, and therefore you better be ready, because you’re going to get something to hit, and you better do some damage with it.”

On why Noah Syndergaard is the go-to guy for the Wild Card

“We knew the importance of getting in the postseason. It was the first and foremost thing, and so when we set it up, we knew Noah would pitch the last game, if we had to go to an extra game, he was the guy. We didn’t shuffle our lineup around or our rotation around, which, again, as I told you guys the other day, we didn’t want to try to play games. We didn’t want to be cute bringing guys back on short rest. We just kind of lined it up that way.”

“I told some people today, last year Noah Syndergaard pitched, I think, one of the biggest games in certainly all year long, and that’s Game 3. But that’s set up by the outing in Los Angeles. We took a 22-year-old kid and said, look, you’ve got to go get maybe the biggest out of the year in the bottom of the 7th inning or 8th inning against the Los Angeles 7th and against the Dodgers, and he did that. We think he’s certainly got the mental make-up along with the physical stuff to be that guy.”

On the motivation of his team after a long season and overcoming so much adversity

“Well, we’ve got, in my opinion, an outstanding clubhouse full of guys who want to win. They talk about repeating going to the World Series, and I remember the first day of Spring Training when Yoenis Cespedes walked into my office the first day he reported, and I hadn’t been able to talk to him since we had signed him. He walked in and said, are you ready to go back to the World Series? And I said, now that you’re here, yes, we are.”

“So it started there. They want to win. They never got down. Once in a while, the manager has something to say, but it’s pretty much the guys in that clubhouse that deal with each other on a daily basis, your peers that step up and have the right things to say a lot. Never letting guys who have a bad day get down.”

“So we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve got a group of guys that have great leadership ability in our clubhouse, and yet at the same time tremendous competitive make-up, along with talent. So we got to where we needed to get to.”

On if he manages Wild Card game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series

“Well, yeah, obviously there are roster differences we’ll make. But, yeah, I mean, you’re certainly limit it to some guys, but this is, in one game, you’ve got to pull out every move you can possibly make to try to pull it off. We don’t have all the pitching. We certainly don’t need a lot of pitching that you normally have with a 12-man staff. We’re probably going to be at nine. Give you some offense off the bench, pinch-running maneuvers you might want to make during the game.”

“But, yeah, again, these two guys going tomorrow, I would think sitting here today they’re going to get pretty deep into a game. They’re both pretty good. So it’s all about execution when it comes to a game like this. But certainly deep in the game we’ll make whatever move we think is essential to try to score.”

On the difficulty of choosing his final 25-man roster

Well, we used a lot of players to get to where we are, so there are a lot of pieces of guys who are not going to be part of the roster tomorrow night, which may change when you get in with a multi-game series. But we just thought we had to make some decisions on the guys that we think were best prepared, best ready for one game, and they are hard, they’re very hard. You know, you look at our bullpen situation and you’ve got to protect yourself as far as some length in case the game goes extra innings. So you’re going to need some guys who can give you that length and maybe take off somebody who is a one-inning guy. So they’re always hard.”

“When you have, like we did, 39 guys at the end of the season and you’ve got to cut it down to 25 and there are some pieces of guys who have been out, came back, are they ready to play? Well, we’ve got to make those decisions. So it’s never easy. We started it the other day in Philadelphia and ended it today, so we think we’ve put together the right guys and turn them loose tomorrow night.”


On the impact of second baseman T.J. Rivera

“T.J. has come in and done a tremendous job. We all knew about his bat. We all knew that he hit. Again, you don’t know how he’s going to handle certain situations here. Put him in the lineup, he continues to hit, continues not to be intimidated by where he plays, the situation he’s in. We’ve hit him in the middle of the lineup. I go back and I was looking at the Bumgarner game the other day in San Francisco, he hit fourth. So, you know, hey, look, he’s been slammed into these situations and he’s handled them great. He’s meant a lot to us. He’s had big hits for us, and tomorrow night we’re going to need him to step up. Because in the middle of that lineup, we’ve got some left-handed hitters. He’s the one guy in the middle of that lineup that hopefully can do some damage.”

On the impact of Curtis Granderson down the stretch

“Well, you look up and the guy’s got 30 homers, he’s got 60-some RBIs, you know, even though the 30 homers were more than he hit last year, it’s a similar season than he’s always had. This guy hits home runs. The best thing about Curtis is that he never lets anything bother him. You know what? I ask him to lead off, he leads off. You ask him to hit fourth, he hits fourth. You ask him to hit second, he hits second. There is never a discussion, never an argument.”

“When I put him in centerfield, I knew he didn’t particularly care to play centerfield anymore. He had gotten comfortable in right field. But he understands for the betterment of the team he needs to play centerfield. I think he’s gone out and done very, very well. I think he’s handled it great. He’s played there before. He’s got a feel for it. He’s made some big plays for us. He’s what you’ve got to have if you’re going to win. You’ve got to have guys that, hey, look, all I want to do is help the team. And Curtis Granderson is that guy. He’s the prototypical pro that comes to the ballpark every day and does what he’s supposed to do to help you win.”

On whether Syndergaard can handle the role of being the No. 1 guy

You’ve been around Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom. You have to have confidence. You have to believe in yourself. Noah Syndergaard believes in Noah Syndergaard, make no mistake about it. And you can call it whatever name you want. Great players have egos. The great players have big egos. They’ve got — when they go out there, they think they’re better than you, and a lot of nights they are because they’re talented.”

“And I think you’ve got to have that to be successful here. And I’m looking right across the field at that other guy. That other guy, you can’t believe he is going to beat you. And when Noah Syndergaard takes the mound, he thinks he’s going to win. Of all the guys, nobody likes to lose, but this guy takes losing hard. He hates it. He hates to think there is somebody better than him. That’s why I think this is going to be a great challenge for him. I think he’s going to grow because of this game tomorrow night. He’s certainly made himself the No. 1 guy right now. And our staff, with all the injuries we’ve had, he’s got to be the guy you give the ball to.”

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Matz Had Surgery To Remove “Massive” Bone Spur Tue, 04 Oct 2016 21:20:49 +0000 matz-degrom

The New York Mets announced that left-hander Steven Matz underwent surgery on Tuesday to remove what was labeled a “massive” bone spur from his pitching elbow. Matz also had a platelet-rich-plasma injection in his sore left shoulder.

Matz was diagnosed with the bone spur during the summer, but continued pitching through it.

Matz was finally shelved after reporting pain in his left shoulder following his last start on August 14. He was then diagnosed with a shoulder impingement that was irritating the rotator cuff.

Despite an attempt to return this season, Matz was ultimately shut down for the year after tossing a bullpen and having continued shoulder pain.

Team physician Dr. Altchek performed the surgery on Matz and he is expected to fully recover by spring training as are Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom the team reports.

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Mets Sticking to Originally Planned Weekend Rotation Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:02:16 +0000 bartolo colon

With Bartolo Colon only lasting 2.1 innings and only having thrown 47 pitches in his start on Monday against the Marlins, the Mets had originally flirted with bringing Colon back on Friday to pitch on short rest. The benefit of his pitching on Friday meant that he would be on his regular rest in case the Mets needed him to pitch the Wild Card Game next week.

The Mets have reversed course and have announced Colon will now pitch on Saturday against the Phillies on normal rest. It should be pointed out that earlier in the week, Terry Collins announced Colon has been dealing with a tendon issue in his right foot for about two weeks. With Colon pitching on Saturday, tonight’s starter will be Robert Gsellman.

If the Mets do not clinch one of the two Wild Cards by Sunday, the team is going to have to pitch Noah Syndergaard to try to secure their place in the postseason. If Syndergaard does have to pitch on Sunday, the Mets will be left with two options for the Wild Card Game: (1) Colon on three days rest; or (2) Seth Lugo on normal rest.  In making this decision, it should be noted that Lugo was limited to 82 pitches in his last start as he has been experiencing fatigue as the Mets close out the season.

Obviously, the best case scenario would be the Mets clinching before Sunday so that Syndergaard only throws an inning or two as a tune-up for Wednesday’s Wild Card game.

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Collins: Flores Could Miss Rest Of Regular Season Sun, 25 Sep 2016 01:32:13 +0000 Wilmer - Flores

Terry Collins told reporters on Saturday that Wilmer Flores could miss the rest of the regular season due to his ailing wrist injury.

Flores told reporters that he plans on trying to take swings on Sunday and will try to see how he feels after that, but he remains worried about the bone bruise in his wrist.

He received a second cortisone injection on Monday to try and alleviate the pain and irritation.

Previous Update – Sep 22

It has now been 12 days since Wilmer Flores hurt his right wrist in a home-plate collision against the Braves in Atlanta, but there is still no return in sight.

Flores remains unable to swing a bat despite a second cortisone shot on Monday. Manager Terry Collins said Flores will almost certainly remain out of the lineup tonight with the Mets facing a left-hander.

“I’m really concerned,” Collins said on Wednesday. “We pointed to tomorrow night’s game as a big game for him because it’s a lefty and he just kills lefties. He won’t be a part of it, I can tell you right now, the way he is today. I’m really concerned about it. I’m really worried about it.”

“Wilmer Flores is our dynamic guy from the right side. And without him, you’re going into face some of those relievers late in the game. He can make a big difference, and without him, it’s a little different.”

The level of concern is DEFCON 4, Collins said to reporters.

Original Report – Sep 11 

After Wilmer Flores ripped a two-out double in the top of the eighth with the score tied at 3, the slow-footed Flores remained in the game much to the consternation of everyone on Twitter and even Gary, Keith and Ron in the booth.

As fate would have it, when pinch hitter T.J. Rivera followed with a single, Flores was thrown out at the plate in a violent collision, sliding head first right into a brick wall named A.J. Pierzynski.

Flores laid on the ground dazed and eventually left the game with a neck injury. X-rays taken at Turner Field were negative, but Flores said he felt dizzy and was very sore.

“I feel a lot of pain right now. If you watch the play, home plate was open. I saw it open and my first thought was a head first slide, avoid the tag.”

“When I was sliding, he got the ball and he ran right into me. It’s one of those plays where I really want to score, and I tried to do too much and that’s why I got hurt.”

The Mets can ill afford to lose Flores, who has evolved into one of the top hitters in the NL versus left-handed pitchers, batting .343 with a .697 slugging percentage, 11 homers, and a 1.074 OPS in 99 at-bats entering play on Saturday.

“I should have ran for him there,” Terry Collins said after the game, acknowledging he was distracted and should have pinch run for Flores.

“I was trying to get the pitching set up. My fault. … He’s going to have a stiff neck. But we certainly have enough guys. We could have ran for him, which we should have. I was trying to get the pitching set up and get a pinch hitter in and got distracted. It’s my fault.” (ESPN New York)

The Braves ended up scoring the decisive run and handing the Mets a painful 4-3 defeat in 10 innings,  while the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants both won.

If Flores does miss some time, hopefully it’s not more than a day or two. But as for Collins losing focus at such a critical junction in the game, well that was certainly a costly faux pas as the Mets fall out of the wild card spot and potentially lose a key weapon in their offensive attack against LHP.

(Photos: USA Today)

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Matz and deGrom May Combine To Replace Montero Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:34:19 +0000 matz-degrom

So to sum it up, the Rafael Montero experiment failed. In 13.1 innings he walked 15 batters and allowed 15 hits, pitching to a 2.250 WHIP and a 8.10 ERA. Those numbers are obviously pretty terrible, so Terry needs to find a way to fill the gap he left in the rotation.

With Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom coming back from injuries, Terry could fill that void with a Matz/deGrom 1-2 punch. Matz, 25, has been out since August 22nd with a left shoulder impingement, and deGrom, 28, has been out since September 1st with forearm soreness.

Steven Matz was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday but it was postponed due to the weather in Port St. Lucie. Jacob deGrom threw a 35-pitch session Monday and is making good progress. Terry Collins said that he doesn’t think a rehab start would be needed:

“As long as he’s healthy, as long as his arm is okay. We’ll certainly monitor the workload of that particular game, but if he’s throwing the ball like we know he can, he should get us through, and we’ve got ample guys behind him. We’re hoping that Steven will be ready at about maybe the same time.”

The Mets do have an off day Thursday, so they could opt to just skip that turn in the rotation altogether and bring Noah Syndergaard back on regular rest Sunday.

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Was Jacob deGrom Pitching Hurt Prior to September 1? Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:30:39 +0000 jacob degrom 2

Jacob deGrom threw ten pitches off the mound in Atlanta on Saturday after playing catch on Friday. However, there is still no official target date for his return to the rotation.

“We’re just going to take it day-by-day,” deGrom said. “I felt good today, so I just wanted to throw light off the mound and just see how it reacts Sunday.”

Confession time – despite my mother’s strongest urgings, I am not a doctor.  I also have never spoken with Jacob deGrom, seen his medical records, nor spoken with team doctors.  However, by looking at publicly available pitching statistics from FanGraphs, I can reasonably conclude that Jacob deGrom was likely pitching with an injured arm prior to his most recent start on September 1st.

Basis of Analysis:

On August 7, deGrom pitched 6 2/3 innings against Detroit in Detroit, allowing only 1 earned run and walking three.  On August 13, against the Padres, DeGrom pitched seven innings against the Padres, allowing only three hits, one earned run and striking out nine.  These two recent starts will serve as the “healthy” baseline.

On August 18th, DeGrom allowed eight earned runs and 13 hits in five innings against the Giants on the road and on August 24th, in 4 2/3 innings allowed 12 hits and five earned runs against the Cardinals.  These two starts will be our “Possible Injured Condition.”

On Sept 1, against the Marlins at Citi Field, deGrom allowed three earned runs in five innings against the Marlins.  After leaving the gamed deGrom was seen motioning to the team’s trainer and for our analysis will serve as the “Injured Condition.”

A deteriorating arm will have, in order, an impact on release point, movement of pitches, and finally velocity.  This article will investigate all three to indicate whether Jacob deGrom may have been pitching with a hurt arm before he and the Mets publicly admitted it.

Release Point:

The chart below reflects Jacob deGrom’s release point by pitch type during his healthy August 7 start against the Tigers:



Note that the cutter (CU) has the highest vertical release point and that for all of his pitches cluster between 5.5 and 6 inches with none all that close to 5 inches.

In Chart B below from deGrom’s August 24th start against the Cardinals, note that the fastball (FA) now has the highest vertical release point and the cutter is not as high.  Actually, the vertical release point is not as high as it was on August 7th for any of the pitch types, most release points were much closer to 5 inches.



The chart below is from the Sept 1 start, after which it was reported that deGrom would need to miss a start and was suffering from elbow inflammation:



Again, the release point is lower than it was in the healthy baseline of the first chart and in that start his horizontal release point was much closer to zero than it was in either of the previous charts.  T the changes in both vertical and horizontal release points indicate that it is possible deGrom was experiencing pain in his arm prior to the September 1 game against the Marlins.


Horizontal Movement: In the following chart, negative numbers reflect arm side movement (fade) and positive numbers are moving, from the pitcher’s perspective, from right to left:


Note that the horizontal movement of the slider and cutter declined in the two “Possible Injured” starts (likely why they were poor starts) and the fade increased on the fastball and changeup, likely too much movement out of the strike zone and was why the hitters were constantly in hitting counts.

Vertical Movement: The following chart reflects the vertical movement on DeGrom’s pitches:


In the two Possible Injured starts, there was less movement on the fastball, slider and cutter, indicating that deGrom was either pitching with a sore arm and not admitting it, or his or his arm was not hurt but the changes in release point was impacting the movement on the pitches.


The following chart reflects deGrom’s velocity in each of our three breakdown categories over his last five starts:


Note that his velocity actually increased in the two bad starts against the Giants and Cardinals, but the velocity of all four pitch types declined somewhat dramatically in the September 1st start which is indicative that deGrom was pitching with a sore arm.  Taken together with the changes in arm slot in changing movement on all pitch types, the health of deGrom’s arm had likely been deteriorating prior to September 1.

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Lugo and Gsellman Likely Pitching for a Postseason Roster Spot Sat, 10 Sep 2016 15:44:16 +0000 robert gsellman 2

Every time the Mets run Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to the mound, they’re out there trying to help the Mets return to the postseason. They’re also making their own case as to why the Mets should put them on the postseason roster.

Assuming the Mets make it back to the postseason, there is little guaranteed on who will and who won’t be on the postseason roster. In fact, as it stands today, Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon are the only two starting pitchers who will be guaranteed a spot on the postseason roster.

If, and it is becoming a bigger if with each passing day, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom can return from their injuries, they will be guaranteed not only a spot on the roster, but also a start in the postseason.

Assuming deGrom and Matz can return for the postseason, there will still be room in the bullpen. Last season, the Mets went with 11 pitchers in the bullpen.

The Mets were given that luxury, in part, because the team carried Colon and Jon Niese in the bullpen. This gave the Mets a number of pitchers who could go multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Coupled with a starting rotation that could go deep into a game, the Mets were able to add an extra bat on the bench.

Looking at the Mets bullpen as currently constituted, there are few absolutely guaranteed spots:

  1. Jeurys Familia
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Hansel Robles
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Fernando Salas

With teams only needing four starters in the postseason, that leaves two open spots in the postseason bullpen.

If deGrom and Matz are able to pitch in the postseason, that means Lugo, Gsellman, and Montero will be competing for the last two spots in the bullpen most likely with Josh Smoker and Jim Henderson.

If the Mets want to go with two lefties in the bullpen, Smoker could have the inside track. While he has been touched in three of his nine appearances, Smoker has shown he can strike people out. Currently, he strikes out 14.5 batters per nine innings, which is only slightly higher than his 12.8 strikeout per nine figure in AAA. If Smoker keeps striking people out, it is going to be hard to justify leaving him off the postseason roster.

Given his early season success, Henderson presumably has an excellent chance of being on the postseason roster. However, each and every time Henderson takes the mound, he makes a case why the Mets can’t trust him in a big spot. In his six appearances since coming off the disabled list, Henderson has a 7.20 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit .318 off of him.

If the Mets went with Smoker and Henderson, there may still be a spot for Lugo and Gsellman if the Mets decide to go with 12 pitchers this time around.

In that scenario, there would be one last bullpen spot available that which would most likely go to eithrt Lugo or Gsellman.  That means with every start, Lugo and Gsellman are not just pitching against the opponent, but also each other.

Overall, in order for Lugo and Gsellman to help their chances for a postseason roster spot, and for the Mets to even make the postseason, they are going to have to go out there and continue pitching as well as they have been.

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MMO Players Of The Week: Granderson and Lugo Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:30:27 +0000 MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The New York Mets embarked on a tough stretch of games to close out August and usher in September. The Miami Marlins visited Citi Field for four games, followed by the first-place Washington Nationals for a three-game weekend series. The Marlins series was especially momentous, considering that both the Mets and Marlins are eyeing the second wild card spot, and have been close in the standings to one another for weeks.

The Mets trailed the Marlins by one game before the start of Monday’s matchup, and had not only the Marlins in front of them in the standings, but the Pittsburgh Pirates were only a half game back of the St. Louis Cardinals, the current second wild card leader.

But a funny thing happened during both series. The Mets took three out of four from Miami, and took two out of three against the Nationals, leading to a 5-2 week. The Mets leapfrogged over both the Marlins and the Pirates, and sit just one game back of the Cardinals before the start of Monday’s Labor Day game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mets starting rotation has featured several new faces in the absence of Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom. Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, and Robert Gsellman have all filled in admirably and produced terrific outings in the past week for the Mets, going a combined 3-0 including five shutout innings from Montero in a no-decision last Monday night. The Mets will look to Montero for another spot start on Tuesday, as deGrom’s next few starts will be skipped due to a sore right forearm.

The Mets have a chance to take advantage of facing two teams under .500 in the Reds and Atlanta Braves this week, and are giving their fans hope for a late playoff push.

As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week.

curtis granderson


Curtis Granderson earns MMO’s Offensive Player of the Week after going 6-for-21 (.286), along with a .407 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage. Granderson had three big home runs this past week, scored six runs, had a team leading eight RBIs, and had more walks (5) than strikeouts (3). After watching Granderson struggle for most of the year, it’s encouraging to see him break out and provide a spark that he did so well in 2015 as their primary leadoff hitter.

Granderson came up big in Tuesday’s 7-4 win against Miami, and he wasn’t even in the starting lineup! In the bottom of the sixth, Granderson pinch-hit for Seth Lugo, grasping to a 3-2 lead. Granderson crushed a 1-0 fastball to deep center for his 21st homer on the year, and his first homer since August 19 in San Francisco. But he wasn’t finished. Granderson remained in the game as part of a defensive switch, and in the bottom of  the seventh and Rene Rivera on first, Granderson smacked a 3-1 fastball off RHP Dustin McGowan into the visiting bullpen in right-center, his 22nd on the year.

The Grandy Man left his mark during the weekend series against the Nationals, where the Mets took two out of three. Granderson had five runs batted in and a homer in the three-game series. Sunday’s rubber game was especially gratifying for Granderson, who opened the scoring for the Mets in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly, plating Jose Reyes who walked to open the inning. Then in the bottom of third, with the scored tied at one and a runner on first, Granderson strode to the plate. Many fans had reason to despair, his numbers had been putrid with runners on base this year, to the tune of a .175 average, .560 OPS along with three home runs. Looking to reverse those trends, Granderson deposited a 1-1 fastball down the right field line for his 23rd home run of the season, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

seth lugo


After two strong pitching performances this past week, Seth Lugo takes home MMO’s Pitcher of the Week. The 26-year-old went 2-0 in two starts this week, pitching six innings of two run ball on Tuesday night, and then going a career high seven innings in Sunday’s win over the Nationals. The 34th round draft pick in the 2011 MLB Draft has been impressive this year for the Mets, pitching in both relief and making four starts.

In the Sunday night ESPN game, Lugo was called upon despite a blister on his finger. He had a rocky start to the game, tossing 28 pitches while loading the bases. Lugo escaped the inning cleanly, and then settled in for six more, giving up only a solo homer to Danny Espinosa in the top of the second. Lugo’s final line was seven innings of six hit ball, one run scored, no walks, and four strikeouts.

Despite tossing 47 pitches through the first two frames, Lugo tossed only 54 through the next five innings, drawing praise from Manager Terry Collins on his workman like approach.

“I thought he settled down after the second inning and really, really pitched well,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He commanded the strike zone, both sides of the plate. And really pitched well.”

As a starter, Lugo has posted a 3-1 record, with a 2.19 ERA, much better numbers than what he posted with Triple A Las Vegas, where he struggled giving up a ton of hits and not being able to control his curveball. The conditions in Vegas aren’t great to analyze pitching prospects, due to the high altitude conditions and dry air, leading to some ballooning statistics. His 6.50 ERA with the 51s would’ve registered as the second worst in the Pacific Coast League had he qualified. However, his FIP was almost a full two-runs less for the year in Las Vegas, registering at 4.66. Lugo also had some tough luck when it came to balls in play, registering his worst BABIP of his professional career at .375.

But Lugo’s found a place on the Mets roster, and has been solid for them on the year, registering a 0.98 WHIP in 41.2 innings pitched. Look for him to continue to get starts for the Mets playoff push in September, and if turns in more outings like he did the past week, then he’ll be in the conversation as starter heading into the 2017 season, and might find himself yet again on MMO’s Pitcher of the Week list.

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Bartolo Colon: A Hunk Of Burning Love Tue, 06 Sep 2016 11:00:29 +0000 bartolo colon

Every great baseball season is sprinkled with so many profound and uplifting stories, some that even transcend the game itself. Stories within a story that sometimes gets lost amidst all the balls and strikes, safe and out calls, wins and losses.

I love the stories of the late bloomers who come out of nowhere to inspire and lead their teams, or those unheralded youngsters who show up to the big leagues and perform way beyond anyone’s expectations. The Mets have certainly had their share of those this season, haven’t they.

Then there’s Bartolo Colon, a larger than life baseball treasure, who doesn’t really fit so neatly into those aforementioned categories. Bartolo deserves a category unto himself.

Watching Bartolo Colon pitch is one of the great joys of baseball. The way he performs his craft so effortlessly at the ripe old age of 43 is not only astounding and uncanny, it really is a thing of beauty.

As Mets fans, we are so fortunate to have this titan of the mound leading our rotation and providing the consistent performance that has kept this team afloat in a season that has been beset with far too many injuries to our young and promising players.

And it’s not just his prowess on the mound that separates Colon from most other pitchers, it’s all the other thing he brings to the table, in particular his valuable veteran leadership and the special bond he’s developed with all his teammates. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bartolo was the most respected player in the Mets clubhouse.

Colon Bartolo

It amazes me that at a time when the Mets are getting socked with a slew of devastating injury news on several of their key players, that it was Bartolo Colon above all others who came forward and stepped up his game, providing the leadership and a steady hand that the team needed to navigate through the last two weeks.

After another spectacular performance on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, Colon is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last four starts.

In his latest act, it was mesmerizing to see him escape a pair of jams with a runner on third and no outs. It was like watching a neurosurgeon perform the most delicate and dangerous of procedures with such remarkable ease. Not only did Colon walk away with a scoreless six inning performance that lowered his season’s ERA to 3.22, but he didn’t even break a sweat doing it.

There were a pair of special moments in his outing that really stood out for me. The first was after Colon navigated through that two on, nobody out jam. After he got the third out, the camera followed him to the dugout before cutting to a commercial. There was Colon standing amongst his peers a little winded, when I saw Travis d’Arnaud walk up and hug him as Bartolo smiled and hugged him back. I don’t really know what precipitated that, but it was a poignant moment you rarely get to see.

bartolo colon

The true highlight of the game for me didn’t even go in the Mets’ favor. It was an epic at-bat in that same sixth inning that pitted Reds slugger Joey Votto against Bartolo Colon in a tense showdown when the game was still on the line.

After putting Votto in an 0-2 hole, the All Star first baseman worked the count to 3-2 and then kept fouling one pitch after another off with neither player willing to give up an inch. Eventually Votto worked out a walk as Colon was unwilling to give him that pitch over the plate he desperately wanted.

As he jogged to first base, Votto glanced over at Colon who nodded his head and Votto did the same. Two baseball giants paying each other some respect. It was a cool ending to a key moment in the game.

You cannot measure what Bartolo Colon has meant to the young arms who look up to him and try to emulate his straight forward approach to throwing strikes and trusting your stuff. Clearly, his value to the team this season cannot be overstated.

The Mets are 12-4 in their last 16 games and 25 percent of those wins are on account of Bartolo. This latest win, the 231st of his career, makes Colon the active MLB leader in wins and he ties Luis Tiant for the second most wins All Time by a Latin American-born pitcher.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see this class act pitch for my beloved Mets. And I truly hope we are not seeing the last of him and that he will return to pitch for the orange and blue next year which he says will be his final season.

Watching Bartolo close out his career in Flushing would be a fitting end to a remarkable career and one of the best storylines of the 2017 season for the New York Mets.

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