Mets Merized Online » Second base http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:58:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 MMO Original: The All-Time Mets Seasons Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-original-the-all-time-mets-seasons-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-original-the-all-time-mets-seasons-team.html/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2016 14:00:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225342 mlb_g_reyes_wright1x_600

Just about everyone and their mother has done a piece on what the Mets’ all-time team would look like, and they all look pretty much the same.

However, when you adjust this all-time team to include the best season at every position, it looks a little bit different– and the numbers are even more impressive. Between decades of losing seasons, the Mets have actually had several fantastic individual seasons that have set both franchise and league records. So with that being said, here’s the All-Time Mets Seasons Team:

Catcher: Mike Piazza, 2000

Piazza was at the apex of his career in 2000, and put up numbers that few catchers– or any batter, for that matter– will ever put up. He batted .324/.398/.614 with 38 home runs, 113 RBIs and a 1.012 OPS. That 1.012 OPS was the third-highest ever by a catcher, and it helped bring the Mets to their fourth World Series in team history. Piazza’s 1999 season, in which he set a club record with 124 RBIs while blasting 40 home runs, could also have easily been swapped into this spot.

First Base: John Olerud, 1998

He was the guy who wore the helmet in the field. Remember him?

Olerud only played on the Mets for three seasons, but definitely made his presence felt while he was in Flushing. In 1998, he batted .354/.447/.551 with 22 home runs and 93 RBIs, giving him the highest single-season batting average in Mets history. His fWAR of 8.1 is 2.3 wins higher than any other first baseman’s season in Mets history as well, making this season a clear choice.

edgardo alfonzo

Second Base: Edgardo Alfonzo, 2000

Another pivotal part of what Sports Illustrated dubbed “The Best Infield Ever,” Alfonzo batted .324/.425/.542 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2000. Those aren’t numbers you often see a second baseman put up. Fonzie’s average, on-base percentage and fWAR from this season are all franchise records for second basemen, and his slugging percentage, home runs and RBI marks are all second.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, 2006

Reyes did it all in ’06. He batted .300/.354/.487 as the team’s leadoff hitter, and led the league in triples with 17 and stolen bases with 64. That alone would qualify as an all-time great season, but Reyes also hit a career-high 19 home runs to go along with 81 RBIs. This was a Rickey Henderson-esque statline that may never again be seen in Mets history.

Third Base: David Wright, 2007

There are several Wright seasons that could take this spot, but 2007 takes it for a couple of reasons. First, Wright set a franchise record for all position players with an 8.4 fWAR. Second, his .325 batting average, .416 on-base percentage, .546 slugging percentage and .963 OPS were all career highs. He also became the third player in Mets history to join the 30-30 club, as he hit 30 home runs and stole 34 bases.

It’s unlikely Mets fans will ever see Wright play like this again– if he ever does play again. But it’s fun to look back on how truly dominant he was in his heyday.

Outfield: Carlos Beltran, 2006

The only thing a lot of people might remember about Carlos Beltran in 2006 is him staring blankly at Adam Wainwright‘s curveball. That’s definitely a shame, because Beltran’s 2006 was one of the best seasons of any offensive player in Mets history.

Beltran batted .275/.388/.594, tied a franchise record with 41 home runs, drove in 116 runs and stole 18 bases to go along with all of that. Oh, and he also won a Gold Glove in center field. Beltran was easily the best player on the Mets in 2006.

yoenis cespedes walkoff

Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes, 2015

Maybe Cespedes shouldn’t even be on this list since he only was a Met for two months in 2015. But it’s hard to argue that any offensive player in Mets history had more of an impact in one season than Cespedes did in 2015– even if it was just for two months. The team was 38-22 after the Cespedes trade; it was just 52-50 before the trade.

Cespedes batted .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games after the trade, with the .604 slugging percentage being the third highest in Mets history. He was on a 162 game-pace for 49 home runs and 126 RBIs, which both would have been franchise records. The Mets probably could not have made the playoffs in either of the last two years without “Yo,” and might not make them anytime soon if they don’t re-sign him.

Outfield: Darryl Strawberry, 1988

“Straw” was one of the brightest stars in baseball in the 80s, and 1988 may very well have been his brightest season. He led the league in home runs (39), slugging percentage (.545), OPS (.911) and OPS+ (165) all while stealing 29 bases and getting on base at a .366 clip. He finished second in MVP voting to Kirk Gibson that year, despite Strawberry out-homering and out-slugging him despite having a comparable on-base percentage. This definitely provided a bit of foreshadowing for that October, when the Dodgers shockingly beat the Mets in the NLCS.

Dwight+Gooden+Daryl+Strawberry+Florida+Marlins+AhyA_AMzl-wx

Starting pitcher #1: Dwight Gooden, 1985

Gooden’s 1985 season is easily one of the five best in the liveball era. His stats are so amazing that they don’t even need to be put into words. So I’m just going to leave them alone so that you can bask in their greatness:

24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, eight shutouts, 268 strikeouts in 276.2 innings, .0965 WHIP, 229 ERA+. These numbers need no context or qualification. They’re amazing.

Perhaps the most impressive of those stats is the 229 ERA+. For those of you that aren’t up on your Bill James, 100 is always the league-average ERA+. So that means Gooden was 129 percent better than the league-average pitcher in 1985. That’s almost unfathomable.

If the “All-Time Mets Seasons Team” were compiled again in 100 years, most of the guys on this list would probably be replaced by a new century of Mets baseball. But it’s safe to say that Gooden will still be on here.

Starting pitcher #1A: Tom Seaver, 1971

Can’t have an all-time Mets list without Tom Seaver. Just can’t do it.

You could pretty much put any of Seaver’s seasons from his first stint with the Mets on here, but 1971 definitely stands out as the best– despite the fact that he didn’t win a Cy Young this year. He went 20-10 with a career-best 1.76 ERA, a career-high 289 strikeouts and a 194 ERA+. Seaver is bar none the best player in Mets history, and this is bar-none his best season.

Closer: Jeurys Familia, 2016: 

The last month-and-a-half of Familia’s life has turned what was once a good reputation upside down. For much of this season though, Familia was as good a closer as the Mets ever had.

Familia set a Mets record with 51 saves, and held a 2.55 ERA and 161 ERA+. He also had the second-longest streak of consecutive saves in baseball history this year, which was snapped in July at 52.

His season, kind of like Beltran’s 2006, will be remembered for its worst moment that manifested on the highest stage: The three-run home run he allowed to Gillaspie. But he was fantastic for just about all of the regular season– especially considering the Mets’ weak history in the bullpen.

homer the dog

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What’s On Second? Hopefully It’s T.J. Rivera http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/whats-on-second-hopefully-its-t-j-rivera.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/whats-on-second-hopefully-its-t-j-rivera.html/#comments Sun, 09 Oct 2016 12:00:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224611 neil walker

As the New York Mets’ season came to an abrupt end Wednesday night, being shutout by another brilliant postseason pitching performance by San Francisco Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner, the team now has all offseason to contemplate the various moves and roster changes that need to be made for 2017 and beyond.

One such quandary is what to do with impending free agent second baseman Neil Walker, who had a career season with the Mets in 2016, tying a career high in home runs with 23, and setting new career highs in slugging (.476), OPS (.823), walk percentage (9.2%), and fWAR (3.8). Walker also recorded his second highest wRC+ (122), third best wOBA (.351), and was also more selective at the plate, recording his second lowest season of swinging at pitches outside the strike zone (30%).

Unfortunately, Walker wasn’t able to finish the year due to lingering back problems he had been dealing with over the last four seasons, and elected to have a microdisectomy operation to repair the herniation in his back in September. The prognosis of the surgery calls for three months of recovery, which would put Walker in line to be fully healthy for the start of spring training in 2017.

But the question remains as to whether it’s in the Mets best interest to allocate precious resources to keep Walker in the fold. Adam Rubin of ESPN reported on Thursday that the team is expected to extend a qualifying offer to Walker, and may also engage him in a multi-year deal.

The team could extend a qualifying offer to the 31-year-old switch hitter, which would amount to roughly $16.7 million, a $900K bump in pay from last season’s qualifying offer. Walker might accept it, especially coming off back surgery and unsure of whether there would be many multi-year offers on the table for him this offseason. He might find it in his best interest to take the one-year deal, prove he’s healthy and over the lingering herniated disk issue, and hit free agency in 2017-18.

At the same time, Walker is entering free agency in a weak class, where he is the best free agent second baseman on the open market, and one of the better infielders available along with Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Turner. He might find ample suitors due to the lack of talent available in free agency, making all of this talk a moot point.

If the Mets do extend a qualifying offer to Walker, and he rejects it, then the team would land a compensation draft pick in between the first and seconds rounds of next year’s MLB draft. However, I think it would be in the Mets best interest to gauge where Walker is in free agency, because I believe he is more of a luxury for this team than an undeniable need.

t-j-rivera

With the emergence of rookie T.J. Rivera in the second half of the season, the Mets may have their second baseman for 2017 at a discounted rate. Rivera, 27, is four years younger than Walker, hits for a high average, makes good contact (his 78% contact rate in 33 games would rate higher than that of Jackie Bradley Jr., Adam Jones, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Correa, and Kris Bryant if he qualified), and uses all parts of the field when at the plate.

Playing Rivera everyday at second would also save the Mets money in not having to offer Walker the qualifying offer or extending a multi-year contract to him. Instead, the Mets could use the money saved utilizing Rivera at second, and put the savings towards re-signing Yoenis Cespedes. Similar to how the Mets are saving a ton right now by using a starting rotation that’s comprised of Syndergaard, deGrom, Matz, Gsellman, and Lugo, who are all under team control, and Harvey and Wheeler still under arbitration. It would behoove the Mets to use cheaper alternatives that can produce while allocating the necessary monies to shore up other parts of the roster.

He’s also handled second base quite well in the majors, logging 170.2 innings without making an error. Rivera posted strong advanced metrics at second, posting a UZR of 0.6 in the limited action at second, with a 4.0 UZR/150 when scaled to a full season. And in his minor league career, Rivera has posted 2226 innings at second, posting a .976 fielding percentage and a 4.12 range factor, his second highest range factor behind only first base (8.41).

Rivera was a big part of the Mets success in claiming the first wild card spot, slashing .365/.386/.571 in 63 September  at-bats. Terry Collins rewarded Rivera with the start at second base in the Wild Card game, in part due to his success against Bumgarner in the August 18 game at AT&T Park, where Rivera went 2-for-3 against Bumgarner including a single to left and single to centerfield. His success throughout the years in the minors, playing as an undrafted free agent out of Troy University in 2011, and then following that success up in the majors was a big reason why Terry Collins felt comfortable going with Rivera at second in the do-or-die Wild Card game.

“This guy, he stuck it out, never made an excuse and went out when he had the chance and played great. He finally got his shot and then made the most of it and now he’s going to play in the stinkin’ wild-card game and, possibly, the World Series, all in one year.”

Of course, we all know the World Series proclamation didn’t come to fruition, but it is telling that Rivera has received such high praise in such a small amount of time with the Mets. And yes, Rivera was a product of misfortune for the Mets, losing the aforementioned Walker to the DL, and then jack-of-all-trades Wilmer Flores in September following a collision at home plate against the Atlanta Braves, injuring his wrist and leading to surgery to repair a hamate bone in his wrist. But Rivera ran with the chance he was given, and hasn’t looked back since.

Rivera had the only extra-base hit against Bumgarner Wednesday night, stroking a leadoff double to left on a 0-1 curveball. Rivera doesn’t seem fazed by the big moment, taking it all in stride and playing the only way he knows how, with passion and a dream in mind of reaching the major leagues, one he never stopped reaching for.

“People like the story because it gives people hope, maybe, that sense of hope like ‘I can do something I’ve always dreamed of as well, you know what I mean?’” Rivera said. “I guess maybe being undrafted and not being a top prospect and things of that nature, people see where I’m at. I can do what I really dreamed of doing. That was my goal. I hope I can inspire people to go after their dreams and their goals, that would be awesome.” (Newsday)

Hopefully Rivera’s inspired those in the Mets front office to give him the chance to man second base for 2017, which would just go to show that one can never give up on their dreams. Rivera overcame a lot of obstacles and was passed over time and time again from promotion, but kept working at his craft and doing what he does best, hitting. This is truly a story of local boy makes good.

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With Dilson Herrera Gone, Mets Have Some Options Internally http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/with-dilson-herrera-gone-mets-have-some-options-internally.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/with-dilson-herrera-gone-mets-have-some-options-internally.html/#comments Sat, 06 Aug 2016 13:50:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219839 Walker Neil

Before the season began, fans and media knew that Neil Walker would more than likely just be a one-year stopgap for the Mets. Acquired in the off-season trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for lefty Jon Niese, Walker was the backup plan for the Mets not winning the Ben Zobrist free agency sweepstakes. And of course, by saving on Zobrist the Mets were able to sign Yoenis Cespedes to what is seemingly a one-year deal.

Fast forward to the end of July, at a point where the Mets were desperately searching for offense in the worst way. The injury bug stung the Mets clubhouse and many players were simply under-performing on the year, leaving a large void in the lineup on a nightly basis.

General Manager Sandy Alderson pulled off a trade before the deadline approached Monday afternoon, swapping second base prized prospect Dilson Herrera and lefty Max Wotell to the Cincinnati Reds for right fielder Jay Bruce. While Bruce is not expected to pull off the miraculous second half that Cespedes showcased last season, he is expected to generate some power and hopefully continue to contribute to his outstanding numbers with runners in scoring position this year.

However, by trading away Herrera, who was presumed to be next in line to take over the vacated second base position in 2017, the Mets are left to decide who to turn to for that position in the off-season. Depending on how Walker finishes his 2016 season, he might be a candidate to bring back, even if it’s just on the one-year qualifying offer.

The Mets have some decisions to make on that though, because offering a qualifying offer this off-season would likely mean a salary near $17 million annually, a steep price to pay for a guy that has had prolonged slumps this season, including from May 1 to June 30, where Walker put up a slash line of .233/.313/.349 with five homers, 13 RBI, and 39 strikeouts in 51 games.

Of course the flip side of offering Walker the qualifying offer would be in hopes that he rejects it, looking instead to land a multi-year deal in what seemingly might be his last big payday. The Mets would collect a compensation draft pick for Walker turning down the offer, and would be able to keep stockpiling young talent in the minor leagues.

Another option would be to try Jose Reyes out at second base for next season, since he holds a team option at the league minimum, since Colorado is on the hook for the rest of his contract. The option would have to be exercised within five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Although he hasn’t played the position since the Kaz Matsui experiment in 2004, Reyes has handled third base well in limited action this year, and giving him all of the off-season along with spring would surely give him the necessary time to adjust to second base. The question with Reyes however, is whether or not he can stay healthy during the course of the year.

t.j. rivera

What I propose for the second base conundrum, would be to give two in-house options a chance to earn the starting job. Local product T.J. Rivera and Gavin Cecchini are both viable options to get a chance to earn the spot in 2017.

Rivera, 27, was a topic of discussion back in the spring, when I detailed why he should be given a shot at the major league level. Once again, Rivera has done nothing but hit at Triple A Las Vegas this season, as of Friday afternoon Rivera posted a line of .343/.387/.497 with 10 homers, 74 RBI, and 58 runs scored in 93 games. Rivera has mainly maned third base this season, starting 57 games at the hot corner.

However, Rivera has spent time at second during the course of his minor league career, totaling 262 games at second. Just as recently as last year, Rivera appeared in 39 games at second for Las Vegas and Binghamton, amassing 330 innings played with a .994 fielding percentage.

And on the ever popular topic of hitting with runners in scoring position, something that has been almost as rare this season for the Mets as the famous T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, Rivera has posted a line of .404/.446/.605 in 114 at-bats this year.

What’s also great about Rivera is that he doesn’t strike out a ton, normally within the 11-13% range, while getting on base around 37-38% of the time each year. Throughout his entire minor league career, the lowest wRC+ that Rivera has posted was 103, however in 2015 in Double A Rivera posted a 144 wRC+, then a 111 wRC+ in Triple A in 54 games last year. This season, with Rivera spending the entire year at Triple A, he’s posted another strong wRC+ of 134, with league and park adjusted in the calculation, which is good considering the Pacific Coast League is normally a hitter friendly league, and can give a better idea of the type of hitter Rivera is.

Consistency has been a reoccurring theme for Rivera’s minor league career, now he just needs an opportunity to showcase his talent in Queens. He finally earned a spot with the major league club in spring this year, an encouraging sign that maybe the Mets will be open to giving Rivera a shot down the line. This past week in fact, Alderson admitted that Rivera was a consideration for a call up to replace the injured Cespedes who landed on the 15-day disabled list, however since he’s played primarily in the infield, the Mets went with Brandon Nimmo, who’s already on the 40-man roster, instead.

gavin cecchini

The other possibility is with Cecchini, 22, the 12th overall pick in 2012 who has posted yet another strong offensive campaign this season. Cecchini’s line of .316/.390/.440 with five homers and 41 RBI is yet another appealing hitter for the Mets to think about utilizing next year. Like Rivera, Cecchini is also an on-base machine, with almost as many walks (40) as strikeouts (42), and has lowered his strikeout rate drastically from his early minor league seasons to a reasonable 11.5% this year. Cecchini also boasts strong numbers with runners in scoring position, with a line of .348/.430/.489 in 92 at-bats.

His bat has intrigued scouts the last few seasons, it’s his glove that needs improvement. Cecchini has been a shortstop throughout his entire minor league career, amassing 387 games at the position. He received positive grades by scouts on his fielding prowess early on in his career, however, the last three seasons Cecchini has recorded 27, 28, and 29 errors at short, many of them throwing errors. With top prospect Amed Rosario in Double A and making a strong case to be ready by mid 2017 to take over at short, keeping Cecchini at short in Triple A seems foolish. Why not move him over to second, where he can have the rest of the year to get accustomed to the position, and then have him transition in the off-season where he can compete in camp for the spot in 2017? His offensive game is intriguing enough to warrant a tryout at second base.

Both Rivera and Cecchini offer solid splits against both righties and lefties this season, and Rivera offers the option of playing multiple positions for the Mets. Alderson and Co. will have plenty of choices for second next year, the question is, do they finally give a shot to two players that fans have heard about and are waiting to see, or perhaps go a different route, perhaps sticking with Walker for another season or going with Reyes and or Flores? With Herrera out of the mix, Rivera and Cecchini at the very least move up the ladder, and continue to let their consistent play and stats do all the talking for them.

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1986 Mets vs 2016 Mets: Was Strawberry Right? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/1986-mets-vs-2016-mets-was-strawberry-right.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/1986-mets-vs-2016-mets-was-strawberry-right.html/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:55:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215245 darryl strawberry

An MMO Fan Shot by Carl Aridas

In a recent interview, featured here on Metsmerized Online, Mets’ great Darryl Strawberry stated that the 2016 NY Mets couldn’t compare to the 1986 Mets team that won the World Series.  Given that the 1986 anniversary celebration just passed at Shea, errr Citi Field, I wondered whether Darryl was correct in his assertion that the current team “is not even close to what we [1986 Mets] were”.  This statistically-based analysis attempts to answer that question on a position by position basis.

Catcher:

In 1986, Gary “the Kid” Carter had a triple slash of .255/.337/.439 good for an OPS+ of 115 to go with 24 homers and 105 RBIs which was good for third in the 1986 NL MVP voting.  His total bWAR of 3.5 is certainly greater than anything d’Arnaud or Plawecki will be mustering this season.

Advantage – 1986

First Base:

1986 Gold glove award winner Keith Hernandez batted .310/.413/.446 for an OPS+ of 140.  His 13 HRs and 83 RBIs helped that team as did his 5.5 WAR.  The 2016 team, even with a healthy Lucas Duda could not match that total as Duda’s career high in WAR is 3.6 back in 2014.

Advantage – 1986

Second Base:

Surely the 1986 Mets, with Wally Backman, the greatest minor league manager in the history of Las Vegas will win this position battle against their 2016 counterparts?  In 1986 Wally Backman batted .320/.376/.385 for an OPS+ of 113 (13% better than league average) and a total WAR of 3.1. He had 1 homer and 27 RBIs in all of 1986.  However, this year’s team has Neil Walker who through June 17 had a .274/.345/.493 which is good for an OPS+ of 126.  He already has 14 homers and 28 RBIs, but his superior bat is offset by a glove already worth -.2 WAR.  Based on current statistics, Walker projects to provide a WAR of 3.1 in 2016.

Advantage – Even

Shortstop:

Asdrubal Cabrera, through June 17, has hit to the tune of 264/326/397 and an OPS+ of 97 (3% below league average).  He has a total WAR of .6 already on the season.  The 1986 team had Rafael Santana who “hit” .218/.285/.254 good for an OPS+ of 52.  He had .6 WAR the entire season of 1986.

Advantage – 2016

Third Base: 

Ray Knight manned the hot corner in 1986 and compiled a .298/.351/.424 during the season with 11 home runs and 76 RBI.  His OPS+ was 115 and he compiled a total of 2.3 WAR on the season.  Before his season-ending surgery, David Wright has an OPS of .788 good for an OPS of 114.  While David Wright’s formerly gold glove defense has deteriorated, his 953 fielding percentage is still basically the same as Knight’s 1986 fielding percentage of .948 as Knight had 16 errors that season.  Without the surgery, David Wright would have been the equal of Ray Knight.  However, the current Mets backups are not.

Advantage – 1986

Left Field:

The 1986 actually had two semi-regular left fielders as George Foster hit .227/.289/.429 through 72 games before being released by the team in August.  He was replaced by Kevin Mitchell who had 12 home runs and 43 RBIs to go with his batting line of .277/.344/.466. Through June 17, Michael Conforto had a .233/.301/.455 triple slash line good for an OPS+ of 103 and his .5 WAR to date already exceeds Foster’s 1986 total and by the end of the season should exceed the combined 1986 WAR total of Mitchell and Foster.

Advantage – 2016

Center Field:

Lenny Dykstra was the spark plug of the 1986 team and his .295/.377/.445 for an OPS+ of 129 certainly justifies that moniker.  His 31 steals led the team and his 76 runs scored were second on the team and he had 4.7 WAR.  Yoenis Cespedes is certainly a different kind of player than Lenny Dykstra, and the slugger leads the team with 16 homers and his .562 slugging percentage is among league leader.  His OPS+ so far this season is 145, and his combined OPS last season was 136.  Sorry Dykstra fans, the advantage goes to:

Advantage – 2016

Right Field:

In 1986 Darryl Strawberry led the team with 27 home runs, his 93 RBIs were second behind Gary Carter’s 105, and his batting line of 259/358/507 good for an OPS of 865 which led the team.  He also added 28 stolen bases.  With all due respect to the Mets current leadoff hitter, Curtis Granderson will likely be bested by Darryl Strawberry in batting average, on base percentage and slugging and Strawberry’s 28 steals in 1986 are more stolen bases than Granderson has ever had in a season in his career.

Advantage – 1986

The current Mets were hard pressed to match their 1986 counterparts, as the 1986 team led the National League in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs and runs scored.  The team’s OPS+ was 106, the only National League team to be above average in that statistic in 1986.

Bench:

Does the current projected production of the Mets bench of Lagares, Flores, Campbell, and De Aza match the actual output in 1986 of Mookie Wilson, Danny Heep, Howard Johnson and Tim Teufel?

In 1986, Mookie Wilson batted .289 and had 25 steals while accumulating 3.0 WAR; Danny Heep batted .282, had an OPS+ of 123 and added .7 WAR off the bench; Howard Johnson had 10 HRs and 39 RBIs for 1.4 WAR good for an OPS of 118 in 1986, the year before he led the National League in home runs with 39 in 1987; and Tim Teufel added 25 extra base hits while accumulating .5 WAR backing up second, first and third.

This year’s bench has Juan Lagares batting .289 through June 17 and .5 WAR but his OPS+ is just above league average at 106.  Meanwhile Flores is hitting .248 while Campbell and De Aza are all still below the Mendoza line, at .159 and .171 respectively.

Advantage – 1986

Starting Pitching:

The 1986 Mets led the National League in wins, gave up the fewest runs in the league (3.57 per game) allowed the fewest baserunners (walks + hits per inning pitched, “WHIP” of 1.222) and gave up the fewest home runs per game at .6.

For those who have forgotten, or are too young to remember, the 1986 starting five consisted of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda (who led the team with 18 wins) Sid Fernandez and Rick Aguilera.  Don’t overlook Aguilera who as the number five starter had the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio on the rotation.  Collectively, the starting five went 76-30 (a .717 winning percentage) with a 3.05 ERA and a WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) of 1.17.  Man those guys could pitch.

The current starting five of the Mets certainly have the potential to match their 1986 counterparts, assuming Harvey rights himself and Matz and Syndergaard continue to develop.  So far this season (stats through June 17) the Mets starting five have a 27-20 record (a very good but inferior to their 1986 counterparts winning percentage of .622). Their ERA is 3.05 and their collective WHIP is 1.17.

With the same ERA so far, and the exact same WHIP, the 2016 starting rotation has the potential to match, and perhaps even exceed the 1986 team, at this point.

Advantage – 1986

Bullpen:

The top five members of the current Mets bullpen, led by closer Jeurys Familia has a 6-6 record through June 17, with a 3.02 ERA and 23 saves and a WHIP of 1.21.  The 23 saves projects to more than 58 saves, and as noted recently, Familia now owns the club record for consecutive saves.  The 1986 team had two closers, lefty Jessie Orosco who went 8 – 6 with 21 saves and righty Roger McDowell who had 14 wins and 22 saves.  The top 5 performers in the 1986 bullpen went a combined 30 – 21 with a 2.92 ERA, 45 saves and a WHIP of 1.29.  The current bull pen projects to have more saves and a lower WHIP than their 1986 counterparts, but the 1986 bullpen had a better won-loss record.  The ERAs are virtually the same, so my vote says –

Advantage – Even

Results At A Glance:

1986 vs 2016

It’s tough to match up with a team that holds the club’s single season records for wins, and won the World Series.  This year’s team is close though, and will hopefully add a third World Series trophy to the team’s trophy cabinet.

* * * * * * * *

This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Carl Aridas. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Prospect Watch: Thor Solid, Conforto Keeps Raking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-watch-thor-solid-conforto-keeps-raking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-prospect-watch-thor-solid-conforto-keeps-raking.html/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:40:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161878 syndergaard

Here’s how our Top 10 Prospects performed on Sunday, July 27th.

Noah Syndergaard, Las Vegas – Noah went 5.0 innings in a no-decision for the 51s in front of 1,747 at Cashman Field on Sunday. Thor allowed 5 hits, walked 2, struck out 8, and allowed 2 runs (1 earned). On the season, Noah is 8-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 96 innings with 100 K’s.

Dilson Herrera, Binghamton – Dilson was batting second and playing Second Base against the Trenton Thunder in front of 4,348 at Arm & Hammer Park. He went 0 for 3, lowering his batting average to .345 with Binghamton.

Gavin Cecchini, St. Lucie – In Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Daytona Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Gavin was batting 7th as the DH and went 1 for 3. In Game 2, Gavin was batting 7th and playing shortstop, going 0 for 3. Cecchini is batting .179 at St. Lucie after being promoted from Savannah.

Dominic SmithSavannah – Dominic was batting third and playing First Base, going 0 for 3 with 2 walks in front of 3,195 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against the Lexington Legends. On the season, Dominic is hitting .287 with 0 HR and 32 RBI.

Michael ConfortoBrooklyn – Michael was batting fourth and playing Left Field at Edward A. LeLaceur Park in front of 3,417 against the Lowell Spinners. He went 2 for 4 with 1 RBI, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout, raising his average on the season to .412.

Amed Rosario – Brooklyn – Amed was batting second and playing Shortstop against the Spinners. On the day, he went 2 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI, raising his season average with the Cyclones to .299.

MMO Top 10 Prospects that did not see action on June 27th: Rafael Montero (AAA), Kevin Plawecki (AAA), Brandon Nimmo (AA), Steven Matz (AA)

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Positional OPS Rankings Reveal A Poorly Conceived Roster http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/positional-ops-rankings-reveal-a-poorly-conceived-roster.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/positional-ops-rankings-reveal-a-poorly-conceived-roster.html/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 17:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156418 david wright

With more than a quarter of the season now in the books, here is where the Mets rank in one of the metrics that the front office often cites as one of the measures of production they look at.

MLB On-Base Plus Slugging

Catcher:   .620 OPS – 25th

First Base:  .695 OPS – 24th

Second Base:   .759 OPS – 5th

Shortstop:   .551 OPS – 28th

Third Base:   .696 OPS – 17th

Left Field:   .609 OPS – 28th

Center Field:   .797 OPS – 6th

Right Field:   .697 OPS – 18th

Aside from second base and center field, manned mostly by Daniel Murphy and Juan Lagares, the numbers paint a very troubling picture and points out why the offense is among the worst in baseball.

Areas which were identified as problematic last season, such as first base, shortstop. left field and catcher, have actually all gotten worse rather than better this season.

What this shows is clear evidence of what amounts to a very poorly conceived roster and the reason why this team is failing to score runs on a consistent basis.

Discuss this amongst yourselves.

MMO

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Wright, Murphy, Young Recognized For Baserunning At Their Positions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/wright-murphy-young-recognized-for-baserunning-at-their-positions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/wright-murphy-young-recognized-for-baserunning-at-their-positions.html/#comments Sat, 16 Nov 2013 17:56:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133075 eric young

Eye On Baseball unveiled their 2013 NL Bronze Cleat winners and the Mets had three players get the gold – or the bronze in this case.

The Bronze Cleat recognizes players who helped their team the most on the bases, not just with stolen bases, but also things like going first-to-third on a single or scoring from first on a double. FanGraphs’ Base-Running WAR also figures into the voting.

Second Base

Daniel Murphy, Mets: After spending the first few years of his career as an OK base-runner, someone who wouldn’t kill his team with his legs but wouldn’t do much to help out either, Murphy was borderline elite in 2013. He led all NL second baseman by stealing 23 bases in 26 attempts (88 percent) and taking the extra base a whopping 61 percent of the time. That’s the second-highest rate in the entire league among players who batted 350 times. Only NL MVP Andrew McCutchen was better. Matt Carpenter deserves a shoutout for his work on the bases this year.

Third Base

David Wright, Mets: I think Wright has reached “he’s so good he’s boring” status. We’ve marveled at his ability for so long that it has sort of lost its appeal. Wright stole 11 more bases than any other regular third baseman in the league (17 in 20 attempts) and he was essentially tied for first by taking the extra base 43 percent of the time. He was unanimous, getting the first-place vote on all four ballots. Ho hum.

Outfield

Eric Young, Mets: There are some truly outstanding outfielders in the NL, but none stood out on the bases as much as Carlos Gomez and Young. They clearly separated themselves from the pack and it showed in our voting. Young led the circuit with 46 stolen bases (in 57 attempts) and he hustled for that extra base 55 percent of the time. Gomez swiped 40 bags in 47 tries and took the extra base 44 percent of the time. They were both outstanding.

Make room for Daniel Murphy at second base.

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Eric Young Jr. Is Not A Good Reason To Trade Daniel Murphy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/eric-young-jr-is-not-a-good-reason-to-trade-daniel-murphy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/eric-young-jr-is-not-a-good-reason-to-trade-daniel-murphy.html/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 12:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132109 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

An MMO Fan Shot By Andrew Doris

In recent days, rumors have heated up that the Mets are considering trading Daniel Murphy so they can install Eric Young Jr. as their everyday second baseman.

As I see it, there are two significant problems with this idea. The first is that Daniel Murphy is one of the few things about the Mets that isn’t completely broken, and getting rid of him would add another entry to the list of holes which need addressing on a limited budget. The second is that Eric Young Jr. is not a particularly good baseball player, particularly as in being an everyday starter.

Like most Mets fans, I admire Murphy as a person – he’s a humble, hard-working, homegrown professional with a great approach to the game. Ignoring all the stats, he’s just a fun guy to root for. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Murphy if the Mets had a really good reason. The wisdom of any trade can only be assessed considering what we get in return. If Murphy were the key piece that helped us land Jose Bautista, I’m sure I could get over my sadness at seeing him go.

But if the Mets are pursuing a blockbuster, they have plenty of other pieces that trading partners would probably find more desirable. Our abundance of pitching prospects are likely much more attractive than Murphy. And even if the other team did insist on him, I’d rather see Wilmer Flores replace him than Young. At least Flores has offensive upside and growth potential, and could shift to 3B in the event of another Wright injury.

eric young

The following is a list of the things Eric Young Jr. could do well as an everyday second baseman:

1. Run.

That is all… End of list…

Young neither hits for power, nor hits for contact, nor takes many walks. Some tout him as a leadoff hitter, but both his career OBP and batting average are below the league average. At 28 years old, he’s not going to develop any further than he already has, and he certainly won’t get any faster as he ages.

In the field he is average at best. Some commentators are framing this situation as if it’s a pressing necessity that the Mets clear room for Young’s bat in the lineup, lest they waste some franchise altering talent.

I can’t for the life of me understand why they’re so infatuated. Sure, Young is the closest thing to an exciting leadoff hitter we’ve had since Jose Reyes… but considering the other leadoff hitters we’ve had since Jose Reyes, that’s not saying much.

Lest anyone doubt Young is a downgrade, the following statistics should put that to rest:

Young Jr.’s offensive stat line:

  • 2013: .249/.310/.336 (.645 OPS), 0.9 WAR
  • Career:  .258/.325/.338 (.663 OPS) 0.5 WAR

Murphy’s offensive stat line:

  • 2013: .286/.319/.415 (.733 OPS), 1.8 WAR
  • Career: .290/.333/.424 (.747 OPS), 9.0 WAR

Since that performance is completely in line with their career averages, it’s reasonable to anticipate similar production moving forward. Murphy’s defense was passable, and Young’s may not be much better. Both are the same age. The only edge Young has is baserunning; is that really enough to outweigh a difference of almost 100 OPS points?

I have nothing against Young, so long as we recognize his skill-set fits best as a bench contributor. His defensive versatility makes him a useful substitute who can play four positions in case of injury. His speed makes him a useful pinch runner. His switch hitting capabilities make him a useful pinch hitter in the late innings. But he’s simply not good enough to be an everyday starting player.

Were Murphy constantly causing headaches with off the field antics, was exceedingly expensive, or a poor clubhouse influence, I could understand the desire to trade him. But neither of those things is true. On the contrary, he’s a favorite of both the fans and his teammates.

If we have to trade him to land a superstar talent, so be it. But the fact remains that Murphy was our most dependable and productive offensive player last year, and the imposing presence of Eric Young Jr. is not a good enough reason to get rid of him.

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The 2013 New York Mets All-Prospect Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-2013-new-york-mets-all-prospect-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/the-2013-new-york-mets-all-prospect-team.html/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 15:45:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131689 nimmo reynolds sand gnats

The 2013 season was one where we saw some New York Mets prospects rise to the occasion, and in some cases, turn our heads—and in other cases there were prospects that completely fell off the map. Predicting which prospects pan out is not an easy task, and there are times where we fall in love with prospects, then fall out of love with them, only to fall in love with them all over again as was the case with a number of prospects in 2013.

This is all about the prospects we fell in love with in 2013. This is about the prospects that made us smile a little bit about the future of our New York Mets, even when the present may be making us frown a little bit. So here it is, the 2013 New York Mets All-Prospect Team.

Catcher: Kevin Plawecki

2013 – 449 AB, 60 R, 137 H, 38 2B, 8 HR, 80 RBI, 42 BB, 53, .305/.390/.448 (A, A+)

Plawecki earned the nickname Dr. Doubles in 2013, and it seemed that any time you tuned into a Savannah or St. Lucie game, he was smacking a double in the gap. Every night this past summer, you would read on Twitter something to the effect of “Plawecki with another double.” His numbers in 2013 were incredibly impressive, as he has shown how an advanced college bat can make an impact in the minor leagues—at the lower levels anyway. He made an easy transition moving from short season A-Ball to advanced A-Ball, but the true test should be in Binghamton in 2014.

First Base: Jayce Boyd

2013 – 458 AB, 68 R, 151 H, 29 2B, 9 HR, 83 RBI, 61 BB, 61 K, .330/.410/.461 (A, A+)

Allan Dykstra had a breakout year, but Jayce Boyd did more in 2013 to build his stock than just about any other player in the Mets organization. His batting average with Savannah was ridiculous and after making the jump to St. Lucie, he just kept on hitting. Like Plawecki, Boyd is another advanced college bat. He ripped through lower level pitching like a kid ripping through a pinata at a birthday party. Also like Plawecki, his true test will come this season when he should start the season with Binghamton. Due to his size, there have been some knocks on Boyd regarding his homerun numbers, but his swing is extremely pretty for a right-hander, and as he learns to add loft and backspin to his batted balls, the home runs will come. The kid plays solid defense too.

Second Base: Wilmer Flores

2013 – 424 AB, 69 R, 136 H, 36 2B, 15 HR, 86 RBI, 25 BB, 63 K, .321/.357/.531 (AAA)

The first thing that you generally hear when most people are talking about Wilmer Flores is in regards to his inability to play any defensive positions effectively. The other thing you tend to see is shock on people’s faces when they see he is still on 21 years old. We tend to forget how young he is because we have been talking about him for so long. The bottom line is that the guy can hit. Most coaches will tell you that if you give them a guy that can hit, they will find a position for him—the Mets will find a position for him.

Shortstop: Wilfredo Tovar

2013 – 441 AB, 70 R, 116 H, 14 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 33 BB, 49 K, .263/.323/.340 (AA)

Shortstop is a position that will always be one where the glove is more important than the bat, and Wilfredo Tovar brings his glove with him to the ballpark everyday. He is the closest thing that the Mets have to an major league ready shortstop, as was evidenced when the team called Tovar up from Binghamton after Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured fibula. Tovar started the season very slow offensively, but the second half of the season he came on strong, posting a .299/.359/.421 line earning him a spot on the All-Prospect Team.

Third Base: Zach Lutz

2013 – 389 AB, 62 R, 117 H, 27 2B, 13 HR, 80 RBI, 54 BB, 102 K, .293/.377/.479 (AAA)

Zach Lutz performed about as well offensively as anyone in the Mets organization last year, posting a .293 average to go along with 13 homers and 80 RBI. Lutz is about as solid a hitter the Mets have in the organization—and unlike some other guys on this All-Prospect team, he has proven himself against upper level pitching. The problem is Lutz is getting older and David Wright isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If the Mets can’t use Lutz, it would be nice to see him get a chance with another team because he has excellent upside with regards to his bat.

Left Field: Dustin Lawley

2013 – 489 AB, 72 R, 128 H, 35 2B, 26 HR, 96 RBI, 36 BB, 113 K, .262/.314/.513 (A+, AAA)

Dustin Lawley led all Mets minor leaguers in home runs and RBI in 2013 (26/96). He spent the majority of the season with St. Lucie, but made a brief appearance with Las Vegas at the end of the year. Here is a kid that was signed out of college in 2011, and has made it to Triple A within two seasons. He has solid power and can be a guy that definitely finds himself in the Mets’ outfield mix sometime in 2014.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo

2013 – 395 AB, 62 R, 108 H, 16 2B, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 71 BB, 131 K, .273/.397/.369 (A)

Brandon Nimmo had his shares of ups and downs in 2013. There were times where he was the hottest hitter in the organization—he started off the 2013 season like gangbusters. A wrist injury side tracked him, but he still was the top performing centerfielder in the Mets organization in 2013. He didn’t hit for a ton of power (only two home runs), but he did manage to get on base almost 40% of the time (.397 OBP).

Right Field: Cesar Puello

2013 – 331 AB, 63 R, 108 H, 21 2B, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 28 BB, 82 K, .326/.403/.547 (AA)

Cesar Puello had an outstanding 2013 season. Unfortunately, more will remember this past season for his 50 game suspension due to the suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs. We don’t know which drug he took, or if he took any drugs at all, so rather look at this season’s performance as a direct result of cheating, let’s look at it as what it was—the arrival of what many people consider a 20/20, five tool player. Puello should start the 2014 season in Las Vegas, and it will definitely be a very important season for the young slugger. By the way, Mets fans shouldn’t be too hard on the kid, after all, Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED use recently and that didn’t stop anyone from cheering for him last season.

Starting Pitcher: Rafael Montero

2013 – 12 W, 7 L, 2.78 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 155.1 IP, 136 H, 35 BB, 150 K (AA, AAA)

This was a pretty easy choice. There wasn’t a pitcher in the Mets system that you would rather have on the mound in 2013 than Rafael Montero. He used pinpoint control to dominate hitters at both Double and Triple A. He climbed through the Mets’ system in just three short seasons. When Montero walks a batter, it’s so rare that the pitching coach goes out to the mound to make sure he isn’t sick. He is a player we will definitely see at Citi Field in 2014, barring injury or trade.

Relief Pitcher: Jeff Walters

2013 – 38 SV, 2.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 56.9 IP, 46 H, 16 BB, 60 K (AA)

Jeff Walters was the man that Binghamton called on to shut the door on opposing teams at the end of close games, and he did not disappoint, closing the door 38 times last year. He has an excellent strikeout to walk ratio, and averaged over one strikeout per inning in 2013. For his efforts, he was selected as a 2013 Post-Season All-Star in the Eastern League, and the relief pitcher of choice for the 2013 All-Prospect Team.

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A Look Forward to the 2014 Mets Infield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/a-look-forward-to-the-2014-mets-infield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/a-look-forward-to-the-2014-mets-infield.html/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 16:03:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129540 “What Outfield?”

Much has been said regarding the future of the Mets’ outfield, with many suggesting a run at CarGo, Ellsbury, Choo, or Stanton. That certainly should be a focal point for this offseason; however, with the lack of production from the infield, even more questions have emerged. Let’s take a look at the situation at each infield spot.

First Base

ike davisEntering the 2013 season, Ike Davis was high on everybody’s list as a potential 40 homer threat. Well 9 home runs, a demotion, and an oblique injury later, now what do the Mets do? Lucas Duda has played decently since supplanting Davis as the everyday First Baseman, but is he an answer to the problem? Duda vs. Davis may be an interesting debate this offseason, especially because Davis will be earning around $4 – $6 million next season. Davis may be non-tendered of course, but Duda also has an option available for next season. So, there is a scenario where Lucas Duda is the starting 1B for the Las Vegas 51s, while Davis retains his job in New York.

Josh Satin has also earned a spot on the Mets bench and seems to be a good fit due to his versatility. He has below average speed and doesn’t hit for too much power, but he has a .329/.417/.493 slash line against southpaws. There is always the possibility of the Mets signing a free agent to fill the 1B need, but it is hard to envision the Mets going down this route. If the Mets are to spend money, look for them to spend it in the outfield or at SS.

Prognosis: I don’t know why and I hope it works out, but I honestly believe Ike Davis should be the First Baseman in 2014. He certainly has not earned it, but I am still inclined to give him one last shot. He has succeeded at this level and he has a much better glove than Duda at 1B. I of course would give him a short leash and stash Duda at 1B in AAA. A platoon with Satin/Flores would be advisable as well.

Second Base

Daniel Murphy is and will be the second baseman for the New York Mets for the foreseeable future. Murphy seems to have the support of the front office and his manager, so it will be hard to supplant him at 2B. He has played in 149 of the 150 games this season and has played at least average defense. You’d like to see Murphy take a few more pitches, but at the same time he is most effective when he attacks the ball. He’s hitting .283 with 11 home runs, while his 19 stolen bases and 70 RBIs are career highs.

Third Base

.309/.391/.512 with GG caliber defense.

Shortstop

Here’s where things get very interesting. Ruben Tejada is not loved by the organization, but still factors into the future. I like Tejada; however, I’m not sold on him being the everyday shortstop for the Mets. I believe he has the ability to both 2B and SS at this level in some capacity. He’s a contact hitter with no power, but will hit his fair amount of doubles. Has a solid arm and glove, but just has not put it together yet. These factors, in my mind, make him a solid backup.

alexei-ramirezThis is a position the Mets need to go out and do something. Here are some names that fit the bill: J.J. Hardy, Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, and Starlin Castro.

Castro would cost a lot more in terms of prospects than any of them, but is by far the youngest. Hardy is entering the final year of his deal with the Orioles, so he is somebody that could be traded, especially with Manny Machado capable of shifting over to short. Alexei has good speed and is hitting .285 this season, but with a lot less power than his norm. He has two years left on his contract and about $17 million. He is a player that could be moved as the White Sox start rebuilding. Erick Aybar was infamously offered straight up for Jose Reyes by the Angles back in 2011. Aybar would be a solid pick up but comes with 3 years left on his deal at about $8 per year.

Prognosis: I would go after Alexei Ramirez. He’d cost less in terms of prospects than Castro, but would be a good 2 year fill for a position that definitely needs some change at the big league level.

Catcher

Barring another injury, Travis d’Arnaud will be the starting catcher. Anthony Recker has some pop and is well-liked by the pitching staff. These two are the front-runners to be the opening day catchers on the roster. A veteran could be signed as insurance for the oft-injured d’Arnaud.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Surveying The Mets Landscape One Area At A Time http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/surveying-the-mets-landscape-one-area-at-a-time.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/11/surveying-the-mets-landscape-one-area-at-a-time.html/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 18:10:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=98181

What frightens me most about this coming offseason as compared to the last 3-4 is the enormity of moves that will be required to fill the vastness of areas that need correcting if we are to make a dent in the standings in 2013 to 2015.

Whereas in off-seasons past where each year had 2-3 items on our list of immediate priorities, we now find perplexing questions, major problems, and deep concerns at almost every position on the team. In a baseball sense, the Mets organization now resembles a scene from a post apocalyptic movie.

So let me start dealing out the cards, at least the way I see it… Don’t worry, I won’t be dealing from under the deck.

Catcher: Would Josh Thole be a starting catcher for any other team in the major leagues save the Mets? Thole will be arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and while your first impulse is to non-tender him, the Mets catching situation is so bad that they will be forced to tender him and keep him. He has zero value to any other team but the Mets and that’s because the rest of the catching corps is even worse. Catching is certainly an area that needs immediate attention, even at backup, but will it get any help?

First base: Will the real Ike Davis stand up. Truth be told I believe we saw the real Ike Davis in the second half and for now he is the Mets’ best power hitter, bar none. But will he remain a Met? Or will he be the one that goes as part of the new and bold changes Alderson warned would be coming? Davis will get an easy $3 million in arbitration this Winter, which will be nice for him and not so nice for the budget conscious Alderson. Follow the money.

Second base: Daniel Murphy may be a liability defensively, but he’s gotten better. He’s become a doubles machine at the plate, and who doesn’t love his intensity?  Ironically, Murphy has more job security with the Mets than either David Wright and Ike Davis right now. Cheap is good in Flushing. I find it all amusing. Justin Turner and Jordany Valdespin might get some airtime if they’re still here when the clock strikes twelve.

Third base: Until David Wright’s contract situation is resolved, we don’t even know if he’ll be here in 2013. Sad, isn’t it? He holds about a dozen different franchise records and at 29 he may already have one foot out the door. If that happens, I’m not even sure the Mets will reinvest his $16 million – they haven’t reinvested a dime from Castillo, Perez, K-Rod, Beltran and Reyes, why would that change now? Top prospect Wilmer Flores is close, but still not ready.

Shortstop: Who would’ve thought that losing Jose Reyes would make the shortstop position the least of our concerns? Ruben Tejada will never be the catalyst that No. 7 was, but he sure can pick’em at short. He is definitely not a leadoff hitter, or a number two hitter for that matter, but he provides steady offense and the occasional timely hit. His backup is a toss-up and with Ronny Cedeno gone they’ll have to do some dumpster-diving to find a replacement.

Outfield: Wow, what a mess. The outfield and the bullpen is what defined Sandy Alderson in 2012. They were both his creations, and that’s indisputable. The plan according to Sandy is a Bay/Duda platoon in LF, Kirk Nieuwenhuis takes over in CF, and I have no idea who’s in RF. If Jordany Valdespin is still here, I’m sure we’ll see him, and the same goes for Mike Baxter. Scott Hairston is long gone. If Hell freezes over and they do add a significant player via trade or free agency, you can bet he’ll be an outfielder. That’s the plan. Hey, I didn’t say it was a good plan, but give the man credit, he has a plan.

Rotation: Pitching was a strength for the Mets last season. Minaya holdovers Santana, Dickey, Niese, Harvey and Gee all combined to give the Mets a solid rotation that included a Cy Young caliber season, a couple of breakthrough players, and even the franchise’s first no-hitter. Now as we enter the offseason, rumors abound that Dickey could be traded and even Niese. Santana and Gee will both be coming back from season ending injuries, and Harvey will be shouldering a bigger load. This might be the one area that Alderson should leave untouched, but nobody believes that will happen. It will be revamped and the Mets could lose an ace and their only southpaw. If that happens the Mets could be in store for a historic 100 loss season.

Bullpen: Whose up for another bullpen revamping? Do I have any takers? Like it or not, here it comes and I can’t wait to see what underachievers will be joining the pen for Season 3 of Bullpen Wars. For now, the only holdovers are the atrocious Frank Francisco who will get $6.5 million for his services, and fireballer Bobby Parnell who will get a huge raise in arbitration. They’ll be the highest paid and neither is a safe bet to close out games. Josh Edgin should easily beat out Robert Carson for the LOOGY role. Then it’s take your pick between Mejia, Familia, Hefner, Schwinden, and McHugh. That’s quite the assortment of question marks and not a sure thing among them. Buy hey, at least Carrasco is gone.

Can you believe that we have only one safe zone – shortstop? Everything else is up in the air right now…

Progress?

In truth this team is on a four-year down-slide and not many arrows are pointing up. Sure, this administration is now limited to working with a payroll of $100 million dollars, but that’s ample enough for many teams who consistently go to the post season with a much smaller budget.

Yes, the Mets have been hogtied by players with huge contracts that effected their flexibility, but in the last two seasons alone we’ve seen many such players traded by more progressive and forward thinking front offices who had the same exact constraints. The difference is they took action and did something about it for the future good of their teams.

A good GM does what needs to be done and succeeds with the resources he is given. If all we needed was a caretaker to oversee whatever you want to call the last two years, we may have as well brought in a front office that wasn’t getting paid more than any other just to stand at a podium with their mitts in their pockets crying “there’s nothing we can do.”

But the fact of the matter is that everyone in that front office knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. Unfortunately, they have fallen far short of the rosy picture they painted in November of 2010 when they predicted the Mets would be a championship caliber team by 2014. Now who seriously believes that?

A new GM always promises a brighter future when he takes on a new job. In almost every case they are all inheriting a team with a tarnished image and a roster full of under-performing and overpaid players with no help on the horizon. When they first get in front of all those mics during his introductory press conference rule number one is to promise that better days are coming. 99 times out of 100 they will tell you when you can expect to see the results of carrying out their new direction and philosophy. When Omar Minaya was introduced to New Yorkers, he promised that the Mets would be back in the post season in five years. He did it in two, and it should have been a three year run if not for an ill-fated at-bat and one horrid pitching performance. The point is we had results at the major league level, and we suddenly had a farm that was churning out baseball players (and still is).

You want to blame the owners for saying “hey we’re cutting payroll to $100 million dollars over the next two years, do you still want the gig?”

You want to blame owners who spent and invested more money on the Mets during the 1990′s and the 2000′s than any other team in the NL?

If it makes you feel good go ahead. But I’d bet anything that a different and more progressive and forward-thinking GM might have made some great lemonade with the lemons he was given. That’s all I’m saying.

There is no success here right now and nobody is pounding their chests because the organization is moving in a new and exciting direction. It’s not happening and the sooner you open your eyes and survey the landscape, the better it will be for you.

Shea Stadium may have once been called Grant’s Tomb, but the city morgue has had more life in it than Citi Field under Alderson’s tenure. It’s become a Potter’s Field.

For those of you who want to deflect all responsibility from the front office to the owners, were you parading up and down Broadway holding a Wilpon for Mayor sign in 1986, 1988, 1999, 2000 and 2006? I’m assuming you didn’t. Nobody cries about ownership when a team is winning, all the credit goes to the GM. But turn the tables around and suddenly it’s the owners who are the villains. How dare they spend $1 billion dollars in the last eight years… How dare they take all the risks, get none of the rewards in good times, and get hung out to dry by their big toes when calamity strikes. Such is life in the Big Apple.

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Is Daniel Murphy The Answer At Second Base? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/is-daniel-murphy-the-answer-at-second-base.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/is-daniel-murphy-the-answer-at-second-base.html/#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2012 14:53:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=98275

It seems that there is a portion of the fan base that still doesn’t think that Daniel Murphy is the second baseman of the future for the New York Mets. Maybe it’s because it looks as if Murphy is an extra outfielder at times, based on where he positions himself (short right field), but I can assure you he does play second base. And yes Mets fans, he has done enough in 2012 to be considered the everyday second baseman.

I wrote a piece about a month ago regarding how well Murphy has done this year at second base for the Mets (you can refer to it here). I will be the first to admit, I didn’t think Murphy was going to be able to adjust to second base. I thought it was a joke… another Met player playing out of position…this will never work…yadda yadda yadda.

Defensively, he still has some work to do. But offensively, he is a prototypical second baseman. He ranked in the top ten in almost every major offensive category for second baseman – in some categories he was in the top five. So why are there still some Mets fans that are not happy with Murphy? Is it his power? Is it his below average defensive skills? What is it?

 

I know what it is. There are Mets fans out there that won’t be happy no matter who is playing second base. They made up their mind two years ago that they didn’t like Murphy. How well he plays won’t make a difference. Fans don’t like admitting that they’re wrong. It doesn’t matter that he was one of the most consistent offensive players for the Mets this year. It doesn’t matter that this guy has worked his butt off to try and learn a new position in order to try and turn the Mets into a winning team. No, these fans won’t be happy unless there is a superstar at every position. The problem with that thinking is that it isn’t logical.

I’ve heard the argument that the Mets should trade Murphy. I reply to that question with another question – why would you trade him? What do you expect to get back in return? You aren’t going to lure any top prospects from other organizations in the league, and in the process, you are giving away a very good ball player. Stop the madness, and be happy that Murphy has progressed defensively to the point where he could actually become one of the top second baseman in the game based on his offensive output. Yes, I went there – and I believe it. I didn’t think that pre-2012, but I believe it now.

Everyone wants Robinson Cano at second base, but players of his caliber don’t come around very often. No matter what some people believe, at this point, there is no better option for the Mets at second base. In fact, offensively we will be downgrading at the position if they shift away from Murphy. Murphy will never hit 20 homeruns, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t be one of the more productive offensive second baseman in the game. He was ranked third amongst second baseman in batting average in 2012, and ranked in the top five in doubles. That is outstanding offensive production from a guy hitting in the two- hole. Again, I ask the Mets fans that are Murphy doubters – what more do you want from your second baseman?

Murphy will continue to progress defensively, and before long, everyone will forget that we had these discussions questioning whether or not Murphy can be an everyday second baseman. Because the truth of the matter is, he already is an everyday second baseman. If the nay-sayers would take off their blinders, accept that statement, and reflect on the season Murphy had in 2012, they will see that the future is pretty bright with Murphy at second base.

You can Follow Mitch Petanick on Twitter for more New York Mets and baseball insights by clicking here.

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Daniel Murphy Feeling Healthy In Preparation For Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/12/daniel-murphy-feeling-healthy-in-preparation-for-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/12/daniel-murphy-feeling-healthy-in-preparation-for-season.html/#comments Thu, 15 Dec 2011 15:42:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=67713 Daniel Murphy spread the holiday cheer by donning the big red suit as Santa Claus for the Mets Kids’ Holiday Party at Citi Field. He joked that he hopes everyone doesn’t think he’s a better Santa Claus than a baseball player.

Most importantly, Murphy said that both his knees are feeling good in anticipation for spring training.

“I’m done with my rehab, and now we’re really into the strengthening phase,” he said. “I always have that one cut that I need to make to trust it again, and I had that a couple of weeks ago.”

Santa Murphy spread some holiday joy.

Santa Murphy spread some holiday joy.

Heading into spring training, it seems that it will be Murphy manning second base for the Mets. Ruben Tejada will shift to shortstop due to the departure of Jose Reyes, so Murph becomes the man at second.

Though he’s concentrating on getting as much work in at second base as possible, that doesn’t mean that he’s not going to work at other positions. Also, being the frontrunner to win the second base job doesn’t mean that he’s not going to work.

“I still got a lot of work to do at second base, and there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Murphy said. “My understanding is that I’m going into spring training as a second baseman with a good chance to win the job.”

He said he definitely needs to work more on the double play, but he feels much more comfortable now after working at it the past year than he did last year at this time.

Regarding the new dimensions at Citi Field, Murphy said he didn’t think it would turn him into a better power hitter.

“I’m going to try to hit the ball as hard as I can as many times as I can,” he said. “If it happens to run out of real estate, that’s kind of a bonus for me.”

Murphy also addressed his injury history in that it was mostly bad luck. While he takes the blame in that he must put himself in a better position, he admitted the first injury was from a dirty slide. As the offseason progresses, he will focus on the double play pivot extensively.

The team has discussed briefly the possibility of having Murphy lead off, now that Reyes and Angel Pagan are gone. Murphy said that he would only lead off once per game and would let the circumstances of the game dictate his approach.

Speaking of Reyes, Murphy said it will be strange to play against Jose after being his teammate, but the game itself comes before personal relationships with opponents.

“When we play him…he’s on the other side now,” Murphy said. “He’s a Marlin now. As far as I’m concerned once the bell rings, you’re on the other side.

He did say that he’d have Reyes and his $106 million pick up the tab if they go out to dinner in Miami.

Rather than worry about his individual stats, Murphy has one goal: 95-100 wins. Though that may be a tall order this season, he’s excited with the potential of this team.

“I want to win a pennant, and there’s no better place to win it than New York City so it’s about time to get to it, I think,” said Murphy.

Believe or not, Murphy is the fourth longest-tenured Met behind Johan Santana, David Wright and Mike Pelfrey. However, he said he still feels like one of the younger guys and is looking forward to playing with a young new core.

Murphy was recently mentioned in trade rumors with the Dodgers showing interest. He took this as a compliment in that other teams are interested in his talents.

But he is committed to the Mets and thinks that if the team stays healthy, they can put the negative stigma of the past few seasons behind them.

As spring training approaches, Murphy hopes to transform himself into what he considers an above average first baseman to a competent second baseman.

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Justin Turner: “I’ll Do Whatever The Team Needs Me To Do” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/12/justin-turner-%e2%80%9ci%e2%80%99ll-do-whatever-the-team-needs-me-to-do%e2%80%9d.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/12/justin-turner-%e2%80%9ci%e2%80%99ll-do-whatever-the-team-needs-me-to-do%e2%80%9d.html/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 19:04:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=67644 Is that super-utility man Mark DeRosa on the Mets’ 2012 roster? No, just our own versatile version: Justin Turner.

Turner burst onto the scene in 2011 and was an RBI machine in his first extended big league action. But even so, Turner said at the Kids’ Holiday Party that he’s not taking anything for granted in anticipation of this season.

“I’m still going to go in there, just like I did last year, to win a job and make the team out of spring training,” he said. “I’m just trying to work hard everyday and get better everyday.”

Justin Turner at the Mets Kids' Holiday Party

Justin Turner at the Mets Kids' Holiday Party

With the return of a healthy Daniel Murphy, all signs point to Turner assuming a super utility role. Though the team has not revealed any of its plans, Turner is going to spring training thinking he will need to earn a spot on the roster by showing his versatility.

“I’m willing to do anything just as long as I’m in there to help the team win,” Turner said. “I like being in the lineup, so whatever position they want me to play, I’ll be more than willing to go out there and do my best.”

With the departure of Jose Reyes, Ruben Tejada will slide to other side of the diamond to play shortstop. Turner said that he knows Tejada is more than capable of playing on the other side and said Ruben will be an exciting player to watch.

In the meantime, Turner said that he has experience playing shortstop and has the ability to bounce around the infield, including first base. If need be, he’d even be willing to serve as the team’s emergency catcher, but he would certainly like to avoid that option.

He’s also played a handful of games in the outfield in the minors and feels confident that he’d be able to run down a fly ball, especially with the reduced fences at Citi Field.

For the first time in his career, Turner is likely to earn a professional roster spot out of spring training. However, this hasn’t changed the way he has prepared this offseason nor will he be content with simply making the team.

“I try just to focus on the things that I can control,” he said. “That’s me. Obviously, Sandy’s [Alderson] doing everything he can to constantly try to make the team better and try to have a winning, successful season in 2012.”

Turner’s main offseason goal is to improve his speed and agility in order to increase his range in the infield. He feels that an extra step will help him get to the balls that found holes last season.

On the lighter side of things, Turner plans to engage teammate R.A. Dickey in another Twitter battle, possibly in spring training. He said he’s always on Twitter checking out the latest hot stove updates.

With plenty of new faces on the Mets this season, Turner is not worried about adjusting to his new teammates. The Mets are Turner’s third team (Reds and Orioles) so he’s been used to meeting new teammates.

“I’m a pretty easy-going guy,” said Turner. “I get along with everyone pretty well so I’m not too worried about the new guys.”

Looking forward, Turner reiterated that despite his success, last season is in the past. If all the players had Turner’s attitude, this team can accomplish some big things.

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Opening Day Just Days Away http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/opening-day-just-days-away.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/opening-day-just-days-away.html/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2011 12:15:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=47198

This weekend, I ventured down to Port St. Lucie to catch two late-March Spring Training games. It’s been a routine trip I make each year, typically toward the end of March, that way I can catch as close to the Opening Day lineup as possible.

The Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 16-3, Thursday, March 24, behind home runs from Angel Pagan, Matt den Dekker, David Wright, Brad Emaus and Josh Thole.

Thole blasted a shot to right field and over the fence at Digital Domain Park — and yes, it probably would have been gone at Citi Field, too.

Then, on Saturday, March 26, I saw the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 8-2, behind a solid start from Mike Pelfrey (5 2/3 innings, two earned runs, seven hits and finishing with a 5.63 ERA this spring). Also, Brad Emaus doubled and scored a run.

Throughout the spring, I’ve heard Emaus’ playing style compared to Dan Uggla. Essentially, that means he’s more offensive-minded and an average defensive player. Basically, from what I saw this weekend, I don’t see why the 25-year-old Emaus won’t get the nod to start the season at second base. Sure, anything can happen over the course of the season, but I think the best bet for the team is to have Emaus at second and let Daniel Murphy play that “super utility” role.

And I know it’s only Spring Training, but it was pretty cool to see the Mets win two games while I was down there watching. That all plays in to the mentality I have as the season is about to begin: There’s no pressure for the Mets. Most — if not all — of the pressure is on the Phillies. If the Mets can play, and, as David Wright says, have “swagger,” perhaps they can surprise some people.

Only time will tell, though, right?

In the meantime, who do you think the starting second baseman should be?

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Do Mets Have A Better Option Than Luis Hernandez http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/do-mets-have-a-better-option-than-luis-hernandez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/do-mets-have-a-better-option-than-luis-hernandez.html/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2011 22:55:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=46415 Mets manager Terry Collins has said that he would like to get each of his potential second base candidates some more at-bats over the next few days as he starts to whittle down the playing field.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Collins wanted Luis Hernandez to be the Mets starter at second base. However, those reports were quickly shot down and might have only been done to light a fire under the other candidates.

Today we learned that Daniel Murphy is likely out of the competition and will be used more as a super-utility player. If that’s the case, at least Murphy should have a spot on the team.

That being said, Murphy is starting to today at second base, so it begs the question of whether or not he’s really still in the competition.

Since all along Collins and Sandy Alderson have been saying that they want second base to be an offensive position, why on earth would they settle for Hernandez?

Hernandez is a .245 career hitter who’s played for three different teams. Maybe the Mets are hoping this Hernandez hits like Keith? That’s unlikely.

Hernandez has looked decent at the plate so far this spring but in limited action. He’ll be starting at shortstop today.

He’s out of options, so he would have to clear waivers before being sent to Buffalo. Most likely, another team in need of middle infield depth would pick him up. However, would that be the worst thing that happens?

The Mets have other players out of options, most notably Nick Evans. I would rather see the team keep Evans as a bench player than have Hernandez as the starting second baseman.

If Collins and Alderson are true to their word, Murphy is the answer at second base. Unfortunately, Murphy hasn’t had enough chances in the field, especially on double plays, to show he is ready.

Murphy has six doubles this spring and has driven in seven runs. He would be a nice compliment to the back end of the Mets lineup.

I was at first worried that if Murphy was the starter at second, the bottom of the order would be chock full of lefties. Murphy, Ike Davis and Josh Thole all bat left-handed.

However, if the Mets were to face a tough left hander, Ronny Paulino could get a start behind the dish, and Chin-lung Hu, not Brad Emaus, could slide in at second.

That’s right: Chin-lung Hu. Hu could also be a late defensive replacement for Murphy.

Though Hu has swung the bat well this spring, Hu/Murphy would by no means be a platoon. I guess it would be a defensive platoon if such a thing existed.

Murphy would start and hopefully get a few hits and drive in some runs. If the game is close late, Collins would insert Hu defensively to sure up the middle infield, especially if a double play is necessary.

If this was the case, the following would all have to occur. Emaus gets sent back to Toronto; Luis Castillo gets released; Luis Hernandez is either picked up by another team or sent to Buffalo; Justin Turner appears destined for Buffalo anyway since he has options left; the Mets would likely have to carry Nick Evans to provide some right-handed punch off the bench because they wouldn’t get that from Hu.

The speculation will continue to evolve in the coming days about which player or combination of players will man second base. What I presented combines the Mets best offensive and defensive player.

In a perfect world, this could work great. However, what if the Mets are in a tie ballgame in the fifth inning and the opposing team has the bases loaded with one out. A slow chopper is hit out to Jose Reyes who flips to Murphy, who then botches the double play, which allows two runs to score and keeps the inning alive. The Mets fall behind which usually spells their fate.

It’s a tough call either way, so I’m glad I’m not the one making the decision. I definitely don’t think Hernandez is the answer, but other than that it’s really just a guessing game until we find out who is.

Maybe Murphy’s Irish luck will allow him to open some eyes today during St. Patrick’s Day.

Follow me on Twitter@JMMancari.

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Jordany Valdespin: Second Baseman Of The Future? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/jordany-valdespin-second-baseman-of-the-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/02/jordany-valdespin-second-baseman-of-the-future.html/#comments Sat, 26 Feb 2011 21:34:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=45229 Despite their extra-innings tie, it was great to see some New York Mets baseball today.

The Mets came from behind to tie the Atlanta Braves, 5-5, in their opening spring training game at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie.

While the scores really mean nothing in spring training, it’s the performance of players on the cusp that really makes a difference.

Some of today’s positives include Fernando Martinez’s two-run homer in the fifth, Chin-Lung Hu’s two-strike hitting in the ninth and Willie Harris’ opposite field two-run homer in the tenth.

However, one of the things that might get overlooked in this game was the performance of 23-year old second baseman Jordany Valdespin.

Valdespin ripped an RBI double in the ninth inning to tie the game. He also showed great range on a few plays at second base.

With all the hype over who will play second base this season, Valdespin’s name has taken a back seat. He likely isn’t in the competition for this season, but he could be one of the possible long-term solutions.

Then again, so could Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy, Reese Havens or a player currently outside the organization.

Valdespin hit .289 with six home runs and 13 stolen bases in 65 games for the High Single-A St. Lucie Mets.

He is said to have a fiery personality and has clashed with his managers on several occasions.

He will need to put together a full season of productive baseball and controlling his attitude to get any consideration for a full-time gig at some point in the future.

Just based on the limited sample from today, Valdespin has all the tools to be an all-around second baseman: good speed, good range, good arm, good swing and even a little pop.

It’s too early to deem him the future at second base, but a good year in the minors, coupled with inconsistent play from whoever plays second base this year, may propel Valdespin into the conversation.

At the very least, a good year from Valdespin may open another team’s eyes to his talent. The Mets could then use him as a trade chip, assuming they are content with who is playing second base.

Valdespin will be someone the organization will keep a close eye in the minors this season. He should start at Double-A, with Justin Turner likely to get the majority of the playing time at Buffalo.

Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.

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I May Be Bitter and Jaded, But…. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/03/i-may-be-bitter-and-jaded-but.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/03/i-may-be-bitter-and-jaded-but.html/#comments Wed, 03 Mar 2010 21:55:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=21829 I’ve always been a Mets fan.  Well, since around 1970 or so…that’s as far back as I can remember.  So even though many of you have read my work on there the last six-eight months about how frustrated and annoyed I am with the way the team has played and the direction they have gone in with personnel, a new season is upon us and optimism reigns supreme.

Let’s face it, every baseball fan loves opening day, not just because it’s a prelude to summer, but because every team is on a level playing field in the standings and anything can happen.  Well, anything can happen within reason. As Mets fans, we’ve seen bad baseball over the years.  Remember when the team was so bad that they needed to fabricate a slogan, “The Magic is Back?”  It was laughable, but at one point that team (I think it was in 1980?) reeled off like 10 or 12 wins in a row, and the players started to believe that slogan even though they were woefully over-matched on the field.

The 2010 team is very much like the 2009 team, but hopefully without all the injuries.  Still, there are a few holes—most of the starting rotation, parts of the bullpen, second base, catcher and first base are question marks.  But really, if someone offered you Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and K-Rod to start a team, you’d do that in a heartbeat, right?  We have to hope everyone stays healthy and plays to their potential–big ifs, but there could be big payoffs too.

Stranger things have surely happened, and I’m just glad spring is here and we’re talking real baseball again.  Now let’s do our best to strike some fear in the Phillies and the rest of the division.

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2010 Spotlight: Second Base http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/09/2010-spotlight-second-base.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/09/2010-spotlight-second-base.html/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2009 15:23:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=13373 Second base is a position where players have to be quick on their feet and need to have a quick mind. They have to be able to make the quick turn to complete the double play, and they need to be able to get the ball out quickly to start a double play. Some of the Mets great second baseman throughout their franchise history are Edgar Alfonzo, Jeff Kent, and Mets current second baseman Luis Castillo. The Mets have had several players play second base this year including Castillo, Alex Cora, Wilson Valdez, Anderson Hernandez, Fernando Tatis, Argenis Reyes, and Ramon Martinez. I believe there is only one player of that bunch that has done spectacular this season and that is Luis Castillo. The Mets took a huge risk resigning Castillo after last year he was on the DL for most of the year. He’s only missed a few games this year when he fell down the dugout stairs and has done better than everyone expected him to. But what was his expectations? Play half the year, with an average at least over .200? Don’t get me wrong, I agree Castillo has done great but is he playoff material at this point? If not who could be the Mets second baseman in 2010?

Luis Castillo, age 34
2010 contract: $6M (’08-’11)
2009 stats: .308 avg, 1 hr, 36 rbi, .355 slg
Career stats: .293 avg, 28 hr, 422 rbi, .355 slg

It’s true that Castillo has shocked every Met fan at how well he’s played. His average is ninth in the National League but his ability to hit singles and sac-bunts may not be helpful to the Mets if they are going for a playoff run next year. Castillo has been able to stay healthy (for the most part) and his defense has been at par if you take away his dropped ball against the Yankees. I still don’t think his singles and his few stolen bases are enough to get the Mets into the playoffs.

Verdict

No, best of luck to Castillo next year but he is more suited for a team that needs a reliable base runner and is a more likely competitor for the playoffs. I say deal away Castillo for something the Mets need for next year.

Orlando Hudson, age 31
2010 contract: no contract
2009 stats: .285 avg, 9 hr, 62 rbi, .415 slg
Career stats: .282 avg, 77 hr, 434 rbi, .430 slg

I was surprised the Mets did not get Orlando Hudson this offseason. The guy was basically begging to play for the Mets. His past numbers have proven he’s an offensive plus to the team and his defense, well you’ve all seen how great that is. He would be a great defensive and offensive bonus to the team and he was younger than I thought he was so he would be around longer than Castillo would.

Verdict

Yes, there’s no doubt in my mind that Hudson would be a bonus to the Mets. He’s someone the Mets need to go for during the offseason. His defense is spectacular and he can hold his own at the plate.

Dan Uggla, age 29
2010 contract: no contract
2009 stats: .240 avg, 30 hr, 85 rbi, .456 slg
Career stats: .257 avg, 120 hr, 355 rbi, .482 slg

We’ve all seen Uggla play poorly in last year’s All-Star game, probably the worst defensive player in the National League as well. But his offensive power makes up for it. He has consistent power numbers but his average is sub-par and he even he may not be able to reach the CitiField walls.

Verdict

No, Uggla may have power but the Mets say they are going to work on defense, speed and pitching. Everything Uggla doesn’t have. He could help the Mets in the power department but that’s all he’s good for.

Ben Zobrist, age 28
2010 contract: none
2009 stats: .286 avg, 24 hr, 79 rbi, .518 slg
Career stats: .253 avg, 39 hr, 136 rbi, .444 slg

Ben Zobrist is coming off the best season of his young career and is someone the Mets could use at second. He plays hard, runs hard, hits hard. The only disconcerting thing about Zobrist is his average. His average has been constant, consistently decent. Nothing spectacular in that department but the rest of his numbers are great and with guidance from the veterans on the team he would be a great fielder and hitter.

Verdict

Yes, Zobrist has proven himself down in Tampa and played well when they played the Mets earlier this year. He is someone that has heart and plays his hardest. His young age is helpful to the Mets if they are going to try to build up on future players.

Other possibilities…

Wilson ValdezNo, he’s done a decent job at filling in for the injured Alex Cora and Jose Reyes but he’s not in the Mets plans for next year.

Argenis ReyesNo, he let me down this season, he had a decent season last year with the help of Jose but he was useless to the Mets this year.

Ramon Martinez - No, hahahaha sorry needed a laugh. The guy has been out longer with a sprained pinky than A-Rod was with his hip surgery.

Alex CoraYes, despite getting injured several times he’s done well as the Mets platoon middle infielder and the Mets should bring him back. Maybe not for another two million but for less.

Anderson Hernandez - No, he only came back to the Mets to help fill in for the injured middle infielders. You’ve lost your marbles if you thinks he’s coming back next year.

As a roundup…

Yes – Alex Cora, Ben Zobrist, Orlando Hudson.
No – Argenis Ryes, Luis Castillo, Dan Uggla, Anderson Hernandez, Wilson Valdez, Ramon Martinez.

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2007 Mets Report Cards: First Base, Second Base http://metsmerizedonline.com/2007/10/2007-mets-report-cards-first-b.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2007/10/2007-mets-report-cards-first-b.html/#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2007 19:01:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/wordpress/?p=1602  

 

Today starts the first part of the Mets report cards. Six staff members for Mets Merized, including myself, each compiled a grade for each position and it’s respective player(s). Without futher ado, I present to you the Met Merized 2007 Report Cards.

The first part will feature First Base and Second Base.

First Base (Carlos Delgado and Jeff Conine)

Ryan P. – 2007 wasn’t the brightest spot for the Mets. The players just didn’t perform to their expectation. Carlos Delgado struggled all season. His goal was to pretty much get his average ABOVE .250. His power numbers were down, and so were his RBIs. Delgado wasn’t clutch at all, and didn’t provide that sure bat the Mets needed all season. When the Mets acquired Jeff Conine, they thought to have a solid bat coming off the bench. However, Conine, like Delgado, was not clutch. Conine never had the impact he made while he was with the Marlins.
GRADE – C


Joe D.  – Carlos Delgado’s slump may not have been a slump at all, but instead the normal decline a power hitter goes through at age 35. He experienced severe drop-offs from his career norms across the board and missed 23 games with assorted injuries. This is a position where many teams are loaded with big time sluggers, but 19 other first basemen ranked higher than Delgado in slugging percentage. Backups Julio Franco, and later in the season, Jeff Conine, were both ineffective.  At $20 million dollars, Delgado becomes the highest paid player on the Mets in 2008. Hopefully, the Mets will get a little better production with a healthier Delgado, but don’t bank on it.

GRADE – C


Andrew V. – Carlos Delgado had an off season, coupled with plenty of injuries, leads to this low grade for the First Base position.  When Delgado was out, Shawn Green, Jeff Conine, and a few other players filled in.  Green was the most productive of this group, while Conine never really did anything for the Mets.  Delgado only hit .258, but still managed to hit 24 home runs and drive in 87 runs in only 139 games.  I think that Delgado’s defense is very underrated, as he always comes off the bag to catch the errant throws from David Wright.  Hopefully next year will be better.
GRADE – C


Jon C. – I can’t tell you how many times I saw Delgado strike out or ground out weakly in a big spot with runners on base this year. While his defense was better, his offense was weak. Jeff Conine didn’t bring much to the table when he was acquired in late August. I think he retired before he put on his Mets jersey. Shawn Green and Marlon Anderson were so-so playing first. Bottomline: Mets need a new first baseman but might as well wait to Texiera becomes a free agent in 2009.
GRADE – C

Shawn L.  – The only thing that is keeping me from giving this position a failing grade is the fact that Delgado did bounce back to a certain extent, and towards the end of the year when he wasn’t hurt and in the lineup, this Mets team were winning.  Shawn Green’s late season move to first base was a nice thing to see.  He brought good defense, and a strong bat towards the end of the year which was something that Delgado could not give us on a consistent basis.  However Jeff Conine was a HUGE disappointment, and ultimately could not come through in the clutch.  Rumor is that the Mets are looking to acquire Miguel Cabrera to play first base according to WFAN, which would add some pop and fear to our lineup.
GRADE – C-

Brian M. – Carlos Delgado may have had the profile of Roberto Clemete off the field, yet in 2007 he certainly didn’t on the field. At his age 35 season, Carlos Delgado had his worst OBP% (.333), worst BA (.258), and worst SLG% (.448) since 1995. Yes he was banged up here and there and did miss time with injury but he had more at bats in ’07 than he did in his more productive ’05 and ’06 seasons. One factor that at least had a part in his decline was his inability to hold off from swining at the inside pitch down at his knees. Because he failed to adapt to that pitch, which he can no longer handle, he clearly suffered in 2007. Jeff Conine and his .195 average was even worse. Is it fair to say that Shawn Green had the best results at first base for the Mets in 2007?
GRADE – D

 

Second Base (Luis Castillo, Ruben Gotay, Jose Valentin)

Ryan P. – It was a sure thing in the beginning of 2007 that Jose Valentin was going to be the starting second baseman. However, he struggled early and got hurt. The Ruben Gotay period started. After hitting his first home run as a Met in San Francisco, he showed promising signs that he can easily be the second baseman for the Mets. He had clutch hitting, power hitting, and contact hitting. However, he did not have the best glove at second. To ensure a better defense, Omar went out to get Luis Castillo. He started off a little shaky, but he proved to be a legit number 2 hitter, a slot in which was the musical chairs for the Mets. Castillo proved why he was a former All-Star. Castillo was a great addition by the Mets, even though he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield at some parts. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back next year!
GRADE – B+

 

Joe D. – Jose Valentin started the season at second, but never achieved the success he had in 2006, and would later succumb to a season ending injury. He finished his season with a BA of .241 and an OBP of only .302, brutal numbers to say the least. Despite having Ruben Gotay on hand to take over, the Mets reached out and grabbed Luis Castillo to take over full time and he proved to be a big step up. Castillo brought a steady influence and professionalism at the top of the order and proved to be a great doubleplay partner for Jose Reyes.  He hit .296 as a Met in 200 at-bats with 10 stolen bases, 37 runs scored, and a few key RBI’s.
GRADE – B+

 

Andrew V. – The cursed position.  Jose Valentin injured, Damion Easley injured, Ruben Gotay loses starting job, forgets how to hit, and then we just have Luis Castillo.  The ever-revolving door at second base was riddled with injuries, just like most of the Mets positions all year.  Valentin was not having the magical season that he put together at the end of last year, so he pulled the grade down.  Damion was a huge spark with pinch hitting and key to the early season success of the team, then cooled off before his injury.  Ruben Gotay brought a super hot bat to the plate, but when he was replaced by one of the best defensive second basemen I’ve seen, Luis Castillo, his bat disappeared in PH roles.  Castillo helped the Mets a lot when he was acquired from the Twins.  I hope he gets resigned because I love his skills in the field, and he sets up nicely in the number 2 hole, with the ability to get on base and to sacrifice if need be.
GRADE – B 

 

Jon C. -  I actually thought second base was one of the stronger positions this y
ear for the Mets. Gotay probably deserved to win the second base job – he was a hitting machine, but acquiring Castillo – for a month anyway – really helped the Mets. Castillo played flawlessly defensively and complimented Reyes in the lineup. When you factored in Easley and Valentin – the Mets were stacked with quality players throughout the season when – they weren’t injured that is. The Mets choked this season and rumors have it Castillo may have had a bad relationship with Reyes – but who knows. Bum knee and all, I’d welcome Castillo back or have Gotay platoon with another second baseman who the Mets can acquire in the offseason.
GRADE – B+

 

Shawn L.  - We got a good performance from second base all year, the only problem was nobody could stay healthy.  Jose Valentin played well until he broke his shin, and Damion Easley played well until tearing a ligament in his ankle.  Ruben Gotay played well, but his defensive woes ultimately led to his demise.  Willie never really had faith in Gotay which was because of his defense.  I believe he’s our second baseman of the future, however he needs to stop switch hitting because I think everyone knows he can’t hit right handed.  The acquiring of Luis Castillo was a positive one, but his knees are what held him back.  Last week on WFAN they spoke with Omar Minaya about the rumor of Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes having late party nights, which led to Reyes complete fall-off.  If this is true, that grade is an F because of an immaturity factor, but nothing has been proven yet.
GRADE – B- 

 

Brian M.  – For the gondola that was at second base things weren’t all that bad. Jose Valentin’s sophomore year with the Mets was nowhere close to 2006. While his defense continued to be dependable, he hit .241 over 51 games before ending his season July 20th with a fractured tibia. Damion Easley stepped in and produced an unexpected, yet very welcome, .280/.358/.466 in 76 games before ending his season with a left ankle sprain on August 18th. Subbing and starting at various time was Ruben Gotay, who batted .295 in 190 AB’s, however, his defense was suspect. Omar Minaya traded for Luis Castillo at the trade deadline and killed two birds with one stone, attaining a starting second baseman with superior defensive skills and a perfect #2 hitter in the Mets line-up. With the Mets he hit .291 with a .371 OBP and his defense was spectacular. However, since the Mets final game the rumors have swelled regarding his negative influence on Jose Reyes off the field.
GRADE – B- 

 

In summary, we all thought that First Base was one of our worst positions for the year. Struggling offense and a not so great defense proved to be problem. With an average grade of C, I don’t think you need an explanation. With Delgado getting older, he needs to step up, or make way for another player.

Second Base, in our opinions, was one of the strong positions. Good backups and great hitting helped us forget the injured Jose Valentin and look towards the future of Gotay and Castillo. Although there were some errors here and there, a little bit of spark from the offense made some of it up. 

 

On Wednesday, we will be grading Shortstop and Third Base. Pretty much, we’re grading Jose Reyes and David Wright. Stay tuned for more!

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