Mets Merized Online » spring training http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:34:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Mets Morning Report: Terry Collins Pleads The Fifth http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-morning-report-terry-collins-pleads-the-fifth.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mets-morning-report-terry-collins-pleads-the-fifth.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231100 zack wheeler

Good morning everyone. Spring training was in full force on Monday with pitchers and catchers beginning to get work in as they prepare themselves for the 2017 season. One of the most interesting bits coming out of Terry Collins‘ first presser of the year was that we will be seeing an open competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Collins spoke to the media, advising that Zack Wheeler will indeed have a shot at the fifth spot in the rotation, despite previous belief that he would be relegated to the bullpen. “Right now, because he hasn’t pitched in so long, it’s an open competition,” Collins said. “It’s not just that Zack hasn’t pitched in so long, but it’s pretty fresh in my mind what I saw Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo do. So, I think they need to be in that mix.”

LATEST METS NEWS

Terry Collins is striving to come up with the perfect plan to keep David Wright healthy while getting him the work he needs to prepare for the upcoming season. Wright took batting practice in the cages on Monday and is readying to begin throwing sometime this week. “It’s a day to day,” the Mets manager said Monday. “We want to try and set something down on paper for David, to be smart. We realize it has to be adjusted each and every day. There are going to be times he is going to get up in the morning, he’s not going to feel very good and we’re going to have to adjust that day.” Read more from columnist Kristie Ackert in the NY Daily News and Marc Carig on Newsday.

Michael Conforto does have a path to the Opening Day roster according to his manager. Collins stated on Monday that the 23-year-old outfielder can hit his way onto the roster. “There are ways to get him into the lineup, and if he starts swinging the bat [in spring training], it’s going to be hard to keep him off,” manager Terry Collins said Monday. “We are going to take the best 25 guys at the end of spring training.” Read more from columnist Mike Puma in the NY Post.

Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record speaks of Matt Harvey and his humbled attitude as he spoke with reporters on Monday with a message of focusing on staying healthy as he comes back from the second major surgery of his career. Writes Klapisch: “Harvey, who worked off a mound on Monday with several other pitchers, won’t pick up a ball today except for drills. While there’s no guarantee reduced activity will prevent a torn ligament or, in Harvey’s case, a recurrence of TOS, it’s a significant shift for a team that’s counting on all five starters to stay healthy.”

NL EAST RUMBLINGS

The Washington Nationals added some depth to their squad on Monday, signing first baseman/outfielder, Adam Lind to a one-year deal that includes a mutual option for 2018. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post added some insight into how he may be used as she writes, “If Lind passes his physical, he will become the fourth outfielder and backup first baseman, likely bumping similar big lefty bat Clint Robinson from the Opening Day bench.”

Philadelphia Phillies president, Andy MacPhail urges his club to stay on track and get better in 2017 as pitchers and catchers reported to their spring training facility on Monday. “I’m looking for improvement — measurable, meaningful improvement,” MacPhail said. “That could just be in the number of players that look like they can be pieces for the future. I think that’s my goal for 2017.” Amidst a rebuilding period, the Phillies feel they are on the right path to getting back to relevancy in the National League East.

Miami Marlins manager, Don Mattingly believes his team is ready to contend while asking them where they would like to see themselves in the upcoming season. “Where do we want to go? Are we going to become about winning? When we came in last year, we wanted to talk about winning and team and how do you get there,” Mattingly said. Read more from columnist Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald.

RECENTLY ON MMO

John Flanigan makes his case as to why the Mets should still re-sign Kelly Johnson when they seemingly have a full bench.

The writers of MMO let you know what they are most looking forward to as spring training camp opens up.

Over at MetsMinors.net, prospects Peter Alonso and Andres Gimenez have been named by Baseball America as breakout candidates to watch in 2017.

TODAY IN METS HISTORY

On this date in Mets history, the team signed free agent Jose Lima to a contract in 2006. Born on this day are former Mets, Kelly Stinnett, who turns 47 and Tyler Clippard, who turns 32.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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SNY Announces Spring Training Broadcast Schedule http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-announces-spring-training-broadcast-schedule.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-announces-spring-training-broadcast-schedule.html/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:12:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230880 gkr gary keith ron sny

Mets fans it’s that time of year again. There may be snow on the ground but baseball season is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report in two days, with exhibition games starting two weeks later.

Mets fans will get to hear the beloved Gary Cohen’s voice early this year. Via a tweet from MLB.com’s Anthony Dicomo, SNY has announced that they will broadcast 15 Mets spring training games.

The first broadcast will take place on February 25 at 1 p.m. against the Washington Nationals. Every home full squad exhibition game thereafter will be televised, up until the last home scrimmage on March 28 at 1 p.m. against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Earlier in the offseason, SNY also announced they will be implementing a streaming service for the 2017 regular season. The network will now make Mets games available via livestream at no additional cost to SNY subscribers. Starting opening day, broadcasts will be available live on SNY.tv and the NBC Sports app.

The Mets first workout that will be open to the public is on Tuesday, February 14 and gates will open at 9:30 a.m.

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Alderson: Conforto Could Start Season In Minors With Current Outfield Situation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/alderson-conforto-could-start-season-in-minors-with-current-outfield-situation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/alderson-conforto-could-start-season-in-minors-with-current-outfield-situation.html/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:50:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230776 sandy-alderson-2

Sandy Alderson was a guest on Baseball Night in New York and was asked if he sees a chance for Michael Conforto to get consistent at bats this year the way the team is built right now. Alderson replied:

“I think he has the potential to be a very versatile player and a good offensive player across the board. I don’t think we’re going to piecemeal him this year, again I don’t want to forecast what’s going to happen in spring training, but I don’t see him picking up at bats at first base, picking up at bats here or there… Michael Conforto is a long-term asset for us and given the situation we have, unless we can trade an outfielder for Carmelo Anthony… I think unless we have a clear avenue for Conforto to play on an almost every day basis that we’re going to have to make some decisions at the end of spring training.”

The most important part of that quote is the last sentence, in which Sandy strongly hints that with the current outfield situation, there is a decent chance that Conforto will start the season in the minor leagues, most likely Triple-A Las Vegas.

Conforto under-performed in 2016, batting just .220/.310/.414 with 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a 92 OPS+ in 109 games. If Sandy Alderson can’t trade one of the Mets outfielders, it is very likely that Conforto is sent to the minor leagues. Getting consistent at bats is paramount for the young outfielder, and if they need to be in Las Vegas, so be it.

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Vegas Puts Mets at 18-1 Odds To Win World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/vegas-puts-mets-at-18-1-odds-to-win-world-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/vegas-puts-mets-at-18-1-odds-to-win-world-series.html/#comments Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:30:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229246 i-believe-mets-clinch-fans

Las Vegas put out their odds to win the World Series in 2017 and not surprisingly the Cubs are overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions, at 15-4. The Red Sox follow that at 11-2. Rounding out the top five are the 2016 American League Champion Indians (8-1), the Nationals (10-1) and the Dodgers (14-1). The Mets, coming in 8th at 18-1 odds, also trail the Astros and Giants (15-1 each).

Note: all odds were derived from VegasInsider.com, and while different sites had different specific odds the Mets were generally between 14 and 18 to one and the Cubs were heavy favorites in all.

Vegas usually has an excellent handle on team’s chances and clearly of all top teams the Mets are the hardest to gauge. There are just too many variables in the starting rotation to make an accurate guess as to where the team will wind up in 2017.

The Mets, for the most part, return an offense which was below average all the way around in 2016. The Mets were 25th in batting average and 26th in runs scored in 2016 and have added no players to improve on those numbers. Instead, they are relying on bounce back year from key underperformers in 2016 (Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto) and hope that other players will be able to stay on the field long enough to contribute (Lucas Duda, David Wright).

Their bullpen has many more questions than answers. The fantastic AddisonReed/JeurysFamilia 8th to 9th inning will be returning, but there is little doubt that Familia will serve some kind of suspension to start the 2017 campaign (think in the neighborhood of 30 games). Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins, the only other consistent arms in the pen from last season, remain unsigned.

There is no left-handed specialist currently on the roster who has had any major league success over a season, and right-hander Hansel Robles showed flashes of potential and other periods of wild inconsistency. Will some pitchers who has success as starters toward the end of the year be converted to the bullpen (Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman?). The bullpen is still a work in progress and hopefully Sandy will have answers to those questions by the time spring training comes around.

So the strength of this team is not with the bats or the depth of the bullpen. It’s with five arms, four of which are coming off injuries. Most of the talk this off season has been positive and the hope is all will be ready by spring training. The Mets need to be cautious with them, but at the same time accept that this window when these pitchers (and the amazing Noah Syndergaard) are under our control is narrow.

In order to challenge the Cubs (and Nationals) we will be relying on these arms. If Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler can come close to putting together 100 starts between them that 18-1 bet will look pretty good.

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Ten Things We Learned From Sandy Alderson Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ten-things-we-learned-from-sandy-alderson-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ten-things-we-learned-from-sandy-alderson-today.html/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:34:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229315 sandy-alderson

At Citi Field today, New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson met with team beat writers to discuss the state of the team.

Here is what Sandy had to say courtesy of Adam Rubin of ESPN:

1. Sandy feels fairly comfortable with the right-handed options for the bullpen as he mentioned Rafael Montero, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Gabriel Ynoa as candidates for relief.

2. He called the current Mets payroll tolerable and that the Mets signing a reliever didn’t hinge on trading Jay Bruce.

3. He is unaware of when MLB will make a decision regarding a possible suspension for Jeurys Familia, but the team is planning for the possibility that they will be without his services for some period of time.

4. The Mets aren’t prepared to sever ties with pitcher Jenrry Mejia just yet, because he’s still under team control but they don’t have to pay him while he’s suspended.

5. Even though Tim Tebow was not among the minor leaguers invited to major league spring training, Alderson said he’ll be around, too frequently for some and not frequently enough for others.

6. Alderson disputed what Wally Backman said about him being blackballed by the Mets GM.

7. He doesn’t foresee the Mets adding a position player to the roster before spring training unless it’s on a minor league deal. (I guess we’ll see an in-season trade for Kelly Johnson again).

8. The Mets have put a hard deadline of 1 p.m. ET on Friday for negotiations with arbitration eligible players. This is a change from the past with the Mets now becoming a file-and-trial team.

9. T.J. Rivera should get exposure to the outfield (more, played nine games there in Triple-A last year) and Michael Conforto could see time at first base during spring training.

10. It would be difficult to trade Curtis Granderson in part because he can play center field.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Jacob deGrom, RHP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-card-jacob-degrom-rhp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-card-jacob-degrom-rhp.html/#comments Sun, 06 Nov 2016 00:10:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225960 jacob degrom

JACOB deGROM, RHP

Player Data: Age: 28,  B/T: Left/Right, Free Agent: 2021

2016 Primary Stats: 7-8, 3.04 ERA, 24 GS, 148 IP, 143 K, 36 BB, 1.20 WHIP

2016 Review:

Jacob deGrom‘s 2016 season was filled with inconsistencies. He dealt with diminished velocity and a back issue in spring training. Then, on the Mets Home Opener on April 8 against the Phillies, deGrom essentially removed himself from the start after six innings of one-run ball, after he felt tightness in his right lat.

Personally, deGrom and his family had quite a scare in mid-April, as their newborn son, Jaxon, had issues breathing correctly while he slept. The Mets placed deGrom on the bereavement/family medical emergency list while the doctors monitored his son. Once Jaxon was medically cleared to leave the hospital after five days, deGrom returned to the team.

DeGrom was strong the first half of the 2016 season, with a record of 5-4 and a 2.61 ERA in 15 starts. His 2.61 ERA was good for 8th best among all major league pitchers pre-All Star break.

By early September, deGrom would find himself at the worst stretch of his major league career, as his last three starts had combined totals of 14.2 IP, 16 earned runs, seven walks, four homers, and 31 hits given up. He went 0-3 in that three-game stretch, before the Mets pushed his next start back due to right forearm soreness. Hoping for his return for the final stretch of what would be a wild card berth, deGrom was shut down and underwent surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, after he felt pain while shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice.

The expectation is deGrom will be fully recovered and ready to contribute in 2017. Many have thought that the extended workload he faced in 2015, (191 regular season innings and 25 postseason innings) may have caused him his initial issues in spring. However, deGrom worked through whatever was ailing him, and still posted 16 of 24 quality starts in ’16, and used his slider and curveball more than he ever has in previous seasons, to make up for the lowered velocity.

Grade: B

2017 Outlook: 

If all reports are correct, deGrom should be ready to compete come spring training. Doctors assured him that his UCL ligament was in good shape, which was repaired in 2010 after his Tommy John surgery. The recovery time is said to be for three months, plenty of time for deGrom to get back into playing shape.

When asked if he thought he had been pitching all year with the nerve issue, deGrom reiterated that he felt it more recently, and it started as numbness in his finger, before feeling pain in the elbow.

Assuming good health, in order for deGrom to succeed he needs to cut down on the amount of walks he issues, (at 6% in 2016 compared to 5.1 in 2015), rebound from the reduced strikeout numbers in ’16 (K/9 in ’15=9.66, K/9 in ’16=8.70), and pitch better against right-handed batters, who in 2015 had an OPS of .475 compared to 2016 where righties hit .749 against him.

The Mets will be cautious with their starting pitchers who are returning from surgery next year, likely utilizing Seth LugoRobert Gsellman, and Bartolo Colon (if he returns) early on in the season. With a clean bill of health for ’17, a healthy son, and a reduced workload in ’16, I expect deGrom’s numbers to rebound closer to his All-Star season of 2015.

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Have Injuries Shelved Long-Term Talks With Mets Pitchers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/have-injuries-shelved-long-term-talks-with-mets-pitchers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/have-injuries-shelved-long-term-talks-with-mets-pitchers.html/#comments Sun, 30 Oct 2016 11:51:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225497 matz-degrom

For the past two years, signing the Mets’ young pitchers to long-term contracts seemed a paramount issue. Whom should they sign first, and for how much? Could they afford to sign two? In their wildest dreams, could they keep them all?

Last winter, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said signing one or two of his young starting pitchers to long-term extensions was something they were considering and that it was very doable. ”I think it could happen,” he said.

“When you’re talking about long-term deals with younger players, it needs to be a mutual interest in doing so, and typically we find out about that mutual interest a little bit later, closer to spring training or even spring training,” Alderson said. “We’ll see if that happens.”

Spring Training came and went. Now, with four pitchers coming off surgery, such talk now is but a whisper. We’re not hearing too much these days about extending Matt Harvey – who had shoulder surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome – and could bolt after the 2018 season for the Yankees or anybody else for that matter.

Steven Matz had surgery to repair bone spurs in his left elbow, and Jacob deGrom, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed the 2011 season, is recovering from a second surgery to treat a nerve issue in his elbow. Then there is Zack Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2015 and was supposed to ready by July, he has now missed two seasons and nobody can say for sure when we will see him again.

matt harvey

We won’t know for sure how they are until the spring, but the recovery forecast is looking good for the Mets’ surgically-repaired pitchers as team doctors are saying they should all be ready when pitchers and catchers report. Where have we heard that before?

Even so, the Mets are likely to handle them all four with kid gloves which is why they are interested in bringing back Bartolo Colon even with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman ready, willing and able.

The Mets have seven young arms, but we’re no longer hearing talk about contract extensions. Whom should they sign first? Can they afford to sign two or three at a time? Who should they trade to plug holes elsewhere?

Do Harvey, Matz, deGrom and Wheeler have any significant trade value this offseason? Will teams risk dealing high-level prospects for damaged goods? Certainly, the Mets can’t command as much should they explore dealing one of them. From what I’ve seen of Sandy, he’s not the type that sells low.

Conventional wisdom has the Mets backing off long-term contract talks for now. While their potential might still be high, their proven production is not.

Then again, it wouldn’t hurt for the Mets to explore extensions now when their market value might not be as high as it could be in two or three years. Perhaps it’s a gamble worth considering.

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Syndergaard Is Syn-Sational http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-is-syn-sational.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/syndergaard-is-syn-sational.html/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 15:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210158 noah syndergaard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nolan ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Matt Harvey’s Rough Start To 2016 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/matt-harveys-rough-start-to-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/matt-harveys-rough-start-to-2016.html/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:05:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209953 harvey matt

If anyone would’ve guessed that Matt Harvey would start the year winless in his first three starts, and be in the bottom third of qualifying pitchers in ERA, well then maybe you should play the Power-Ball.

For everyone else, Harvey’s first three starts to the 2016 season have been filled with early promise, only to crumble in the middle innings. It’s interesting to note that during the first three innings, Harvey’s allowed only two runs, one earned, struck out six and walked two batters. His OPS against numbers during those first three innings is a minuscule .325.

Harvey turns from Batman into Harvey “Two Face” during innings four through six however. In the 8 1/3 innings Harvey’s pitched in innings four to six, he’s allowed ten earned runs, walked five and struck out only three. The impressive OPS against numbers he owns during the first three innings balloons to a whopping 1.083. Clearly Harvey is having early season issues going through the batting order a second and third time around.

And the numbers back this up. In the first plate appearance against Harvey, batters have a combined .317 OPS with five strikeouts and two walks. In the second plate appearance, the OPS against starts to creep up, to .551. The strikeout numbers also start shrinking in the second time around, only striking out three batters in the early start to the season. In the third plate appearance, hitters are teeing off, combining for OPS of 1.597, with four walks and one strikeout. Of the eleven runs Harvey’s surrendered thus far, six of them have come in the third plate appearance against.

Numbers aside, it’s evident that Harvey is struggling to find that dominant command and presence that has made him one of the most electrifying starters in baseball. Could the issue be mental? Possibly, especially considering that Harvey has dealt with issues and questions surrounding a cornucopia of topics, from innings limits, to Game 5 of the World Series, condensed off-season, to the blood clot at the end of Spring Training and the media having a field day over it.

I suspect a lot of it has to do with his mechanics though, especially out of the stretch. Pitching Coach Dan Warthen provided some interesting comments after the Mets lost on Saturday 7-5 to the Cleveland Indians.

“We worked on it the last bullpen,” Warthen said. “Still, you get into a pressure situation, you do fall back into bad habits. This has been Matt’s biggest bugaboo since I’ve had him — being able to stay up. He’s trying to be quick to home plate. We’re trying to give our catchers a chance [to throw out base stealers]. In doing so, he collapses the back side and ends up pushing a lot of baseballs, or spiking them.” (ESPN)

Warthen has noticed that Harvey’s had early season issues out of the stretch, suggesting that mechanical issues involving Harvey collapsing on his backside rather than staying upright, which results in Harvey almost forcing the baseball instead of delivering it fluidly. The Indians took advantage of Harvey’s struggles out of the stretch, going 5-8 against him from the fifth inning on in Saturday’s loss.

harvey warthen

Basically Harvey might be tensing up some when he’s out of the stretch, which results in him rushing the baseball and not being able to locate as he would want, and also would explain the reduction in velocity, something that was evident during Saturday’s start.

In April of 2015, Harvey averaged 96.6 mph on the gun, Saturday he averaged 94 mph. While it’s only a drop off of two miles per hour, Harvey was also coming back from Tommy John surgery last year. It would’ve made more sense if he had a small drop off in velocity heading into last year than this one, now fully healed and off any innings limit.

Harvey has also seen a large uptick in the percentage of contact made when swinging at all pitches, in and out of the strike zone. When Harvey’s at his best, he normally hangs around in the low to mid 70 percent range, which he produced in 2012, ’13, and ’15. This year, Harvey is well above his career norms, sitting at 83.1 percent. This could indicate that he’s not fooling as many hitters as he had in the past, which is also pretty clear when you see his K/9 numbers. Before the season, the lowest K/9 rate Harvey registered was last season, which was 8.94, still good for 21st in all of baseball. He’s currently at 4.67, a career low even dating back to his minor league days.

Many will suggest that Harvey had an abbreviated spring, which is true and might be a potential reason why he’s had a rocky start to 2016. He had to deal with the blood clot situation near the end of camp, which resulted in Harvey feeling hurt and betrayed by the media for their over the top coverage on the matter. He only threw twelve innings in Spring Training, and the results weren’t pretty there either, surrendering ten earned runs and walking nine, coming close to matching his overall numbers to start 2016.

Dating back to the last regular season game of 2015, Harvey has now lost four in row, something he has never done before in his young career. Harvey would certainly take the results from that October 3rd game however, where he threw six innings of one run ball, with no walks and eleven strikeouts. Harvey hasn’t even matched his strikeout total from that one game last year, with only nine strikeouts in 2016.

Harvey knows that there’s plenty more starts for him to get things turned around. However, April has normally been a strong month for Harvey. In 2013 Harvey went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA. Harvey also went 4-0 in his 2015 return, and only allowed three walks in those starts combined. He’s already more than doubled that this year, sitting with seven free passes so far.

Frustration has been setting in for the 27-year-old through his first three starts.

“Nobody’s more frustrated right now than I am — not just today, but the last couple of starts. I think there’s a lot of things that went wrong,” Harvey said.  “There’s a lot more baseball to be played, which is good. Obviously I have to redraw things up tomorrow and get back after it. Like I said, nobody’s more disappointed than I am.”

I suspect Harvey will work out of the funk he is currently in before too long. The season’s too long, his stuff is too good, and we know that Harvey can pitch on the biggest of stages. Maybe going through the adversity will help Harvey in the long run. In his career, he’s always had the spotlight for mainly positive actions on the diamond. With his early season struggles, this will be an excellent test to see how Harvey works around it, and how fast he can correct the mechanical issues that seem to be plaguing him to start the year.

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Mets Sign Catcher Rene Rivera To Minor League Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mets-sign-catcher-rene-rivera-to-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mets-sign-catcher-rene-rivera-to-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 21:43:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=209035 042214-mlb-padres-rene-rivera.vadapt.664.high.15

The New York Mets signed catcher Rene Rivera to a minor league deal on Tuesday, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Rivera, 32, was released by the Rays near the end of spring training and is regarded as an excellent defensive catcher.

A career .211/.258/.331 hitter in 334 major league games, Rivera will report to Triple-A Las Vegas and serve as organizational depth.

Barring injuries, this shouldn’t impact Kevin Plawecki.

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Does Spring Training Matter? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/does-spring-training-matter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/does-spring-training-matter.html/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 12:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208685 harvey collins

After the Nationals dropped the Mets spring training record to 7-16-5, it got me thinking. Do spring training records have any correlation to regular season and postseason success?

In doing some research, I came across an article published in April of 2012 by ESPN senior writer, David Schoenfield. The article looks back at the teams with the best regular season record in each of the last 10 seasons, then, how those teams performed in spring training leading up to that season.

Schoenfield found that 13 of the 14 teams with the best regular season record had finished with a spring training record of at least .500. The 2006 Yankees were the only team with the best regular season record (97-65) to finish under .500 during spring training (15-16).

Since that article was published, only one other team succeeded at matching the 2006 Yankees. The 2012 Washington Nationals went 98-64 in the regular season despite a 12-17 record during the spring.

I bet you’re thinking, “obviously the best team would perform well in spring training. What about postseason success or postseason appearances?”

From 2006 to 2015, 30 of 88 playoff teams had a losing record in spring training. Six of those teams advanced to the World Series, while only two teams, the 2008 Phillies and the 2011 Cardinals, won it all.

So what does this mean?

Well, as far as the Mets go, these numbers suggest that the Mets are not likely to have the best record in the regular season, make the playoffs or win the world series. Or in other words, fake games mean nothing. Let’s look at the facts.

Last season, the Mets put themselves back in the national spotlight for the first time since ’06. And unlike those Mets, these Mets are built for more than just a cameo in October this year.

Between the re-signings of Yoenis Cespedes, Bartolo Colon, and Jerry Blevins, and the acquisitions of Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Antonio Bastardo, and Alejandro De Aza, general manager Sandy Alderson kept his foot on the gas, unlike Omar Minaya after the 2006 season.

Alderson heads into the 2016 season with an Opening Day roster that is so significantly better than last year’s roster even the detractors cannot deny that. He’s done an incredible job rebuilding the entire organization from the top down and now he’s built a team with enough talent to make back to back playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history.

That’s the reality of the situation in Flushing as the Mets are poised for another thrilling and exciting postseason run in 2016.

So here’s a question for all of you. Does the Mets’ 7-16-5 spring training record have any bearing on how the 2016 Mets will perform this season? You know my answer, what’s yours?

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MMO Exclusive: Adam Rubin Sizes Up Mets As Spring Training Draws To An End http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-adam-rubin-sizes-up-mets-as-spring-training-draws-to-an-end.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-exclusive-adam-rubin-sizes-up-mets-as-spring-training-draws-to-an-end.html/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:30:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208477 terry collins spring

ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin is well known for his intensive coverage of the Mets, live tweeting games, interviewing players, and breaking stories as they happen.  I recently had the chance to talk with Adam and hear his take on the young aces, David Wright, and his expectations of the team this season.

Noah: Coming off an unexpected run of success in 2015, what has been the atmosphere surrounding the Mets this spring training?

Adam: Well it’s certainly upbeat, and it’s warranted. The starting pitching is absolutely elite. With the re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes, the hitting is very strong. The team understands that they are going to be the hunted this year and there’s going to be a lot of expectations of them. But they believe that they are justified in being the favorite in the national league this year.

Noah: Who’s setting the tone for this mindset?

Adam: Well Terry Collins met with the players at the start of spring training and said to them “you’re the hunted now.” But I don’t know if there’s any one person setting that tone. There’s just a lot of confidence, even from the younger players like (Noah) Syndergaard and Matt Harvey. These guys understand that they’re very good and they expect to win.

Noah: Obviously, the talent level on this team is different this year, but how is this team different also off the field?

Adam: With Harvey and Cespedes, there is a swagger that we haven’t really seen since 1986. I don’t think that this team has the same level of craziness, but that swagger is definitely still there.

Noah: For the first time since 2006, the Mets have some pretty decent depth. But that depth also pushes guys like Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares out of defined roles. Now with that said, what are their roles this season and how many at bats can we expect them to get?

Adam: Even though Wilmer Flores is likely not a starter at any position, he may get 400 or more at bats this year. When you think about David Wright, how many games is he realistically going to play? Is it 130, -that’s probably overly optimistic- is it 120, 110? Wilmer’s probably going to be the guy at third base barring something bad happening this last week of spring training. So that’s 40 or 50 games right there that he could play.

Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop looks like he’s going to avoid the disabled list to start the year, but he’s not going to play 162 games so Wilmer is going to get some time there. At second base, Neil Walker‘s numbers against left handed pitching aren’t great, so I bet Wilmer sees some time there as well. And then Lucas Duda isn’t going to face every tough lefty starter, so we may see Wilmer Flores there as the primary back up at first base too. Between the four positions, he could very easily get 400 at bats.

As for Juan Lagares, the resigning of Yoenis Cespedes directly affects him. I think it’s going to be largely like it was during the last two months of last season where Lagares starts against left handed pitching. Otherwise he’s a defensive replacement and a pinch hitter. So not a lot of playing time because the Mets don’t see a ton of left handed pitching, but certainly he’ll be in the mix.

The interesting wrinkle is whether he’s going to play centerfield or left field. Terry Collins recently decided to put Cespedes in center and Lagares in left. I don’t believe that’s going to happen during the regular season, but it’s something to watch.

Noah: What was the logic behind that positional switch? Moving Lagares to left and Cespedes to center doesn’t make a lot of sense, even though Lagares is clearly the better defender.

Adam: Terry’s rationale is that if Cespedes plays just one position, it might be easier for him (to adjust.) But Cespedes won a Gold Glove with the Tigers last year in leftfield before the trade. And Lagares won a Gold Glove in centerfield two years ago with the Mets. So I think that logic is ultimately going to prevail, (the move) just doesn’t make a ton of sense right now.

Noah: You mentioned David Wright and the concerns surrounding his back. Right now, what are the organization’s realistic expectations for him this season?

Adam: Sandy Alderson way early in camp mentioned 130 games as a possibility. But he’s just guessing. I don’t think anyone really knows (how much he’ll play.) David missed four months of last season with the spinal stenosis in his back. Now he knows how to manage it, but it’s not gone. We’ll see how his back responds as the year goes on. He did play the last month of last season plus the playoffs with some strategic rest. He’s going to be rested from time to time, he’s not going to start day games after night games in all likelihood. He’s also 33 years old now, aside from the back, you start seeing skills deteriorate a little bit. So how many games he plays this year is definitely an open question.

Noah: So what are the performance expectations for him this season? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect 2006 or 2007 David Wright to show up again.

Adam: You’re right. Even aside from the back, I don’t see him generating those kind of power numbers again. He’s a guy who might hit .280 or .290 with 10-15 home runs and a fair amount of doubles. We’ll see what he is, I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that.

harvey syndergaard

Noah: Switching gears now, of the young starting pitching, who looks poised to take the greatest step in their development this season?

Adam: Well if you look at Tommy John surgery (recoveries), usually year two is a lot better than year one. Adam Wainwright for instance, had a full run lower ERA his second year back from Tommy John surgery with the Cardinals. So Matt Harvey could be tremendously better this year than last year; and last year was very good. They say with the exception of that blip against the Astros this spring, Harvey nonetheless has looked sharp this spring training. His slider is back, his fastball velocity is comparable to past years, but it has that late life back too. So certainly Harvey has a chance to take a big step forward.

Still, Noah Syndergaard might end up being the best pitcher of them all when all is said and done. When I asked the Mets players who’s the most intimidating pitcher in baseball, some named Greinke and Kershaw, but the people who named a Met named not Harvey or deGrom, but Syndergaard. It just shows you how much respect he has among his teammates.

Noah: Overall, what should we expect from the young aces this year? Is this when they all put it together?

Adam: There’s no reason to believe that any of them will take steps backward. These are all guys who are number one or number two type pitchers that on paper make up the best pitching staff in baseball. Certainly the Mets are blessed with young starting pitching and any one of those guys can have an elite season.

Noah: I think Mets fans and media can agree that this is the strongest team out of the gate since we’ve seen in a very long time. Still, is there any glaring weakness that this team acknowledges out of the gate?

Adam: Certainly the bullpen (has questions.) I don’t want to say it’s a weakness, but it’s not extraordinary beyond the closer. Jeurys Familia is very good, if you look at his regular season, he didn’t blow a save after July 30th -when he gave up that home run to Justin Upton- until the World Series. However, Addison Reed and Antonio Bastardo as the primary set up men are not extraordinary. Hansel Robles is also a work in progress. So the bullpen is one area to watch.

They also don’t have a lot of team speed, the fielding up the middle -especially with Cespedes in centerfield- is not ideal, and the catchers are working to throw out more runners. So those are some problematic areas, but every team has some issues. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the Mets’ issues compared to other teams’.

Noah: Lastly, what would constitute a successful season for this team? Is it really World Series or bust?

Adam: Well the fans would certainly be very disappointed if they didn’t win the World Series, but it’s not going to be an easy road back. I firmly expect them to win the division, or at least make the playoffs. The Nationals are still a strong team, and I wouldn’t write them off yet. With the Braves and Phillies retooling, I would expect the Mets and Nationals to get a lot of wins off of those two teams and make the postseason.

From there, I wouldn’t say it’s a crap-shoot, certainly the Mets’ starting pitching gives them a distinct edge in the postseason. Still, there’s a lot of talented teams in the National League with the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Diamondbacks, Cardinals shaping up to be strong competition. It’s really hard to say that the Mets will win the World Series or even be in the World Series because of the disparity between the several really good teams and the bad teams. There’s going to be a lot of competition. We’ll see what happens, but they will certainly be back to the playoffs.

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Yoenis Cespedes And The Center Field Questions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/yoenis-cespedes-and-the-center-field-questions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/yoenis-cespedes-and-the-center-field-questions.html/#comments Mon, 28 Mar 2016 21:30:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208427 yoenis cespedes muff

You love him. You hate him. He can carry a team. He can make a costly error to lose the game. He can leave you with your jaw hanging low. He can make you use profanity that you never knew you had inside of you.

When the Mets signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in the offseason, it was deemed as something as a coup. After the Game 5 loss to Kansas City in the World Series, fans seemed split over bringing back the 30 year-old slugger. While fans were calling for Mets ownership to open the purse strings and sign Cespedes, others felt that after the poor showing in the World Series, costly error and pickoff at first withstanding, that it was okay if the Mets looked elsewhere to fill the void.

But what a void to fill. How many pure power hitters enter the free agent market in their prime in our modern age of baseball? With front offices signing their young talent to team friendly contracts early on in their young careers, fewer and fewer stars hit the open market, creating an emphasis on drafting and international signings.

When the Mets announced they signed Cespedes to a three year, $75 million contract with an opt-out after 2016, fans were amazed that the team was able to pull off such a rare signing, one in which the team got the star for their dollars and years. And Cespedes still is able to say that he obtained the highest AAV of the offseason, keeping both sides mutually content.

As the team and fans witnessed in August and September, Cespedes has the ability to carry the squad on his back, both with his mighty right-handed bat and cannon of an arm. I remember being at Citi Field during those months last season, and not leaving my seat when the broad five-foot-ten inch Cespedes glided effortlessly to the plate, bringing the tens of thousands of fans to their collective feet. How far would he hit this one? How many will he hit tonight? All questions that surmised while watching him on a nightly basis.

But there is a downside to Cespedes’ game, the untimely lapses that will occur whether it is on the base paths or patrolling center field. As fans are aware, Cespedes is much more adept to playing left field, winning a Gold Glove in the process last season. Though when the Mets signed Cespedes, it was with the intention of having him man center on a near permanent basis, albeit the late inning defensive substitutions or occasional righty-lefty matchups, which would push Cespedes back to left. The trouble is, it’s late in his career to be teaching an ‘old dog new tricks’ so to speak, so there’s only so much we can expect from Cespedes in center field.

The miscue in Thursday’s spring exhibition against the Houston Astros is a perfect example of what I’m speaking of. In the top of the second, first baseman A.J. Reed crushed a 2-2 pitch off Matt Harvey which went over Cespedes’ head and planted underneath the center field wall. Cespedes raised his hands up as to indicate the ball was dead, which would place Reed at second base. However, the umpires made no call, and Reed jogged easily around the bases as Cespedes stood there and stared into the infield.

Second base umpire C.B. Bucknor came out to check on the matter, and declared the ball was in play the entire time, and that Cespedes had a clear path to be able to easily pick the ball up and throw it back into the infield.

cespedes

Even Keith Hernandez, on the SNY broadcast of the game, seemed puzzled by Cespedes’ play, or lack thereof.

“What’s he doing? What’s he thinking, there’s nothing that can go underneath. No you can’t do that, the balls plainly visible.”

While different ballparks do have various ground rules, Spring Training is a different story. Terry Collins explained that he’s never broached the subject of ground rules, so it was a misunderstanding. Collins went on to further explain what was going through Cespedes’ head at the time.

“He thought it got stuck,” Collins said. “What had happened was the umpire went out and swiped the ball and said, ‘Okay, it wasn’t stuck underneath.’ It’s one of those things we could probably talk about a ground rule, which we don’t here in spring training too much. He thought the ball went under and stuck and just threw his hands up.”

Even so, Cespedes is a veteran player, one whose played in a multitude of ballparks and knows the intricacies and what’s deemed playable and not. And while some will argue that it’s only spring training games, it doesn’t quell any lingering worries and fears that we might see more Cespedes miscues heading into the regular season. If anything, Cespedes should be playing as perfect a center field as he can, knowing that these enduring thoughts still percolate through the media heading into the season, and wanting to have a fresh start. Christopher Russo ripped Cespedes’ defense recently on MLB Network and it was a hot topic on talk radio this past week.

Need I remind you of the September 8th game against the Nationals, when Michael Taylor took a Matt Harvey fastball back up the middle, which should’ve only tied the score. Yet, when Cespedes charged in from center to scoop the ball into his glove, the ball took a last second hop and went right over his glove. While it was a tough hop, many center fielders might have tried to center themselves more in front of the ball to field it. Being able to read how hard the ball is hit, and the different angles or hops that it might take in the path are part of the job description when penciled into the No. 8 designation on the field. That ended up being an inside-the-park home run, giving the Nationals the lead. Luckily the Mets rallied late to win the game 8-7.

But they weren’t so lucky in Game 1 of the World Series. Alcides Escobar smack the first pitch into left-center, with Cespedes trying to backhand the ball like he’s Willie Mays. Poor decision making yet again on his part.

I think Cespedes tries to get a bit too fancy for his own good out in center. While he does have range, and the aforementioned cannon of an arm, he needs to work on the fundamentals of center field, and be able to grasp all the aspects that come with manning that territory. One would hope that Cespedes has sought advice from Juan Lagares in spring, to pick his brain and see how he goes about different game situations. What better tutelage than from a well-regarded top 10 defensive center fielder?

We know Cespedes can crush the baseball as good as anyone in the game, the question is, will he be able limit the damage (the opposing team and his own) while patrolling center? Buckle in, this might be a bumpy ride.

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DeGrom Not Worried About Decreased Velocity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/degrom-not-worried-about-decreased-velocity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/degrom-not-worried-about-decreased-velocity.html/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2016 15:00:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208232 jacob degrom

Jacob deGrom delivered a solid performance on Monday against the Miami Marlins as he continues to extend deeper into games with just 12 days left to Spring Training. In four frames, all scoreless, he tossed 51 pitches and allowed four hits while striking out five.

All of the talk during and after the game though was on the dip in velocity in his fastball. DeGrom, used mainly breaking balls and off-speed pitches against the Marlins batters, and he wasn’t too concerned about his fastball.

“Today was short rest. I don’t really know where my velocity was at, but I felt fine out there, I think the swings and misses tell you the most. It doesn’t matter what that gun says,” deGrom said. (NY Daily News)

DeGrom, 27, seemed genuinely annoyed after being questioned so much on a day where he looked and pitched pretty good. His fastball has averaged around 91 to 93 mph this Spring, but during the regular season he normally sat between 95 and 97 and maxing out at 98. There does not seem to be much cause for concern from those in the Mets clubhouse, including his manager.

“I am glad he’s back out there. I really didn’t pay much attention to velocity,” Mets manager, Terry Collins said. “I’ll check to see if there is anyone concerned from the pitching side, but I didn’t have any. He was down in the zone, had a great changeup and threw some sliders. I thought he threw the ball good.”

Despite missing his last start due to a minor back issue, deGrom still threw a strong bullpen that same day. Earlier in camp, he also suffered from a tight groin, all of which could have slowed him up as he readies for the season.

“I think that everybody gets caught up because these guys are power pitchers,” Collins continued. “For some guys it takes a little longer than others to get it back.”

Kevin Plawecki, who caught deGrom on Monday, felt he looked just fine as well and also seemed unconcerned.

“I have no idea how hard he was throwing,” Plawecki said. “He had a good live fastball when he struck out (Marlins first baseman Justin) Bour, but I thought he had some good life on it and he made some pitches when he had to make them.”

After a solid rookie campaign in 2014, deGrom was even better in 2015, posting a 2.54 ERA, 0.979 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 over 30 regular season starts.

“It’s spring training,” deGrom said. “I am not worried about it at all.”

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Cespedes Leaves Game After Being Hit By Pitch On Right Hand http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/cespedes-leaves-game-after-being-hit-by-pitch-on-right-hand.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/cespedes-leaves-game-after-being-hit-by-pitch-on-right-hand.html/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 18:37:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207847 yoenis cespedes

On the day that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets lineup after missing time with a sore hip, he left today’s game against the Miami Marlins after he was hit by a pitch.

Cespedes was hit on the inside of his right hand near his wrist by a pitch from right-hander Edwin Jackson. He began to trot to first base and then was pulled by manager Terry Collins.

It doesn’t seem to be serious and Cespedes says he’s fine.

Original Report

Yoenis Cespedes has been dealing with a stiff hip down in Florida as of late, keeping him from traveling with the team on Tuesday to play the Marlins.

Manager Terry Collins spoke with Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News about his star outfielder.

“He had it the other day,” Collins said. “He said, ‘Look, I can play. I get it every spring.’ I said, ‘Listen, let’s not be stupid. We’ve got tomorrow off anyway. Let’s take the extra day and then you kick it in gear.’

Cespedes, who signed a three year, $75 million deal in January, has had a pretty productive Spring Training thus far. In just 19 at-bats he has seven hits with four RBI, but has yet to homer.

Collins says he’s not worried about his stiff hip. “He’ll be fine,” Collins said. “He’s been there every day at 7 a.m., running his ass off.”

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The Dark Knight’s Slider Rises http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/the-dark-knights-slider-rises.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/the-dark-knights-slider-rises.html/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 13:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207786 matt harvey tall

A pitch that eluded Matt Harvey for his 2015 campaign has made its comeback during the off-season and he showed it off brilliantly in his start against the Miami Marlins this past Sunday. Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com spoke with the Dark Knight about the return of his slider.

“It’s big,” Harvey said. “Any time you can add another weapon and it happens to be one of your best pitches, it’™s definitely helpful. Having thrown it quite a bit last start and being able to use it more effectively this start, it’s going in the right direction. We’€™re all pretty excited about that.”

Harvey, who will be entering the 2016 season with no innings limit, is ready to go and already looks to have some of his stuff in mid-season form. Matt’s battery mate, Travis d’Arnaud evaluated the difference in the slider compared to the previous year.

“It’™s sharper. It bites later. It moves more [in] depth than I remember from last year,” d’™Arnaud said. “It started getting sharper and sharper and sharper throughout last season, and now it’™s got late action and it’s really hard to pick up.”

The slider was not the only pitch that has been turning heads so far, as the velocity on Harvey’s fastballs have been great this spring. He really put in quite a masterful performance during the Mets 11-0 trumping of the Marlins, living in the 97-99 mph range throughout his outing. Yes it is just spring training, but it is also great to see Harvey looking this good so early.

“He was electric,” d’Arnaud said. “Nice and easy exploding out of his hand, good downward angle. He was able to locate in all four quadrants of the zone with all four of his pitches he had command of. We were able to mix in some fun sequences and pitch.”

Last season, Harvey had a stunning return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.9 K9, and .221 BAA in 29 starts.

Matt Harvey will without a doubt be one of the most talked about players this season by not just Mets fans, but the national baseball media as well. It should be a fun ride for number 33, who for the first time in awhile can just sit back and do his thing without having to worry about any talk of innings counts.

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Lucas Duda Implementing New Pregame Regimen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/lucas-duda-implementing-new-pregame-regimen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/lucas-duda-implementing-new-pregame-regimen.html/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 11:57:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207743 lucas duda focused

Lucas Duda had an addiction that not too many of us knew about, swinging. Mike Puma of the New York Post spoke with Duda and his hitting coach, Kevin Long on the issue.

Duda, was said to take an average of 200 swings between batting practice and the cage on any given day. It took an intervention from Mets officials and David Wright to get him to dwindle that down to 75 swings per day and so far Duda is sticking to the new regimen.

“It’s more about my quality of repetition than it is my quantity of repetition,” Duda said. “I am trying to get it through my thick head.”

Duda, who had some injury issues last year, was sidelined as the Mets started their big surge in late August. He had found himself on the disabled list for 2 1/2 weeks. It is hoped that lightening up his swing load, will have a positive effect on keeping the big man healthy as well as fresh all through the season.

“Duda is really one of the hardest workers I’ve been around,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “Some of the challenge I have as a hitting coach is backing him off. We still have our days, some days I can’t keep him away from the field or away from some of the drills, but for the most part I would say instead of going six out of seven days max-out crazy, he is probably at one or two days, which is quite a turnaround.”

Duda, who can really be a force in this lineup when completely healthy and focused has hit 30 homers in 2014 and 27 in 2015. He has shown the capability of really being able to put a jolt on the ball when he is locked in. Staying healthy for Duda will be pivotal in the type of season he has and it is hoped this new program will do him well.

“The main goal for spring training is to remain healthy, get your work in and get ready for the season,” Duda said. “I think the program I’m on right now, whether it be 80 percent of what it was last year, I feel great, my body feels great and I’m looking forward to the season.”

Hopefully this new regimen for Duda will work wonders for him in terms of health, consistency and production. He certainly has the capability to be a 30 home run, and 100 RBI player year in and year out with the type of power he has.

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Dilson Herrera Heads To Panama For WBC Qualifier http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/dilson-herrera-heads-to-panama-for-wbc-qualifier.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/dilson-herrera-heads-to-panama-for-wbc-qualifier.html/#comments Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:11:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207741 dilson herrera bubble

Second baseman of the future, Dilson Herrera, who came out of Sunday’s 11-0 win over the Marlins after fouling a ball of his left kneecap, is well enough to depart the team’s complex on Monday so he can fly to Panama and play in the World Baseball Classic qualifier for Team Colombia.

Herrera, suffered the injury in the top of the ninth while facing Miami Marlin’s pitcher, Bryan Morris. He limped off the field after being hit by his own foul ball.

Maria Guardado of NJ.com spoke with manager Terry Collins, who did not see it as a big deal. ”He’s going to be pretty sore, but he’ll be okay,” Collins said.

Dilson has shown some flashes of his immense potential thus far through spring training, really giving Mets fan’s something to look forward to when his time comes.

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MMO Game Recap: Braves 5, Mets 4 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-game-recap-braves-5-mets-4-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mmo-game-recap-braves-5-mets-4-2.html/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 21:45:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207474 matt harvey

The New York Mets lost in walk-off fashion to the Atlanta Braves by a score of 5-4 this afternoon at Champion Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The loss brings the Mets’ record in Grapefruit League play to 3-3-1.

Matt Harvey made his spring debut and his velocity was at 96-97 mph in his three innings of work. After retiring the first four batters he faced in order on just seven pitches, he went onto allow just one run on the day on three hits and two walks in his 41 pitch effort. Harvey struck out one and got out of a couple of bases loaded jams.

“That’s what spring is about,” Harvey said after the game. “You have to amp things up and get into those situations. You’re never really going to learn from anything if you go 1-2-3 with seven or eight pitches throughout the whole thing. Obviously it’s spring training. Getting into those situations where you’re adrenaline starts pumping up a little bit, it’s good practice.”

juan lagares

The Mets scored three runs in the 4th inning thanks to a clutch two-run single by Juan Lagares to score Michael Conforto and Eric Campbell. Lagares continued a torrid spring by going 2-for-2 with a walk, run, two RBIs and two stolen bases. He’s now batting .500 with a 1.071 OPS.

“He’s in tremendous shape,” Terry Collins said during the postgame. “I think it’s a tribute to him the way he’s gone about things. He’s having a good spring. He’s bound and determined to show us that he belongs back in the lineup.”

Wilmer Flores also continued swinging a hot bat going 3-for-3 with an RBI while getting the start at third base where he also committed a throwing error.

Defensively, Ruben Tejada and Dilson Herrera turned three double plays in the game, two of them to kill bases loaded rallies.

Jacob deGrom will take on the the New York Yankees on Wednesday at Tradition Field in a 1:10 PM start.

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Harvey Armed With Improved Slider For Spring Debut http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-armed-with-improved-slider-for-spring-debut.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/harvey-armed-with-improved-slider-for-spring-debut.html/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 12:41:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207441 matt harvey tall

New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will make his spring debut today in Orlando as the Amazins take on the Atlanta Braves. Harvey takes the mound for the first time since game five of the 2015 World Series, and this time he looks to debut his improved slider – the one that made him so nasty in 2013 but practically abandoned during his comeback season in 2015..

“I just really couldn’t throw it last year until the end, so you never know how it’s going to come out and today I threw a lot of good ones,” Harvey said after throwing to live batters last week.

“But today I threw a lot of good ones. That was kind of my pitch in 2013 and I kind of lived without it last year, so it’s a good sign that today it felt real well.”

Manager, Terry Collins spoke with Anthony DiComo of MLB.com on Harvey’s slider, a pitch he did not use effectively too much last year, and instead turned to his curveball and change-up.

“As we saw during the season, it took him a little while to really round into pitching,” Collins said. “We had enough reports to say, ‘Look, that late life may not be there last year.’ That’s one of the things we talked about that we didn’t think he had.”

“I’m seeing stuff that he didn’t have last year,” Collins added. “I’m seeing that late life, that last giddy-up. I’m seeing better spin on the slider.’’

Harvey, who is now more than two years removed from Tommy John surgery will no longer have any innings limits to worry about and pitch without restrictions. Now equipped with all of his weapons, a determined “Dark Knight” could be even better this season which is bad news for any of the opposition.

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Robles Records Four-Out Save In Spring Debut http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/robles-records-four-out-save-in-spring-debut.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/robles-records-four-out-save-in-spring-debut.html/#comments Sun, 06 Mar 2016 15:07:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207335 robles hansel

Hansel Robles put together a four-out save in yesterday’s 3-1 Mets win over the Houston Astros. A very nice beginning for the hard-throwing reliever who will be counted on to help solidify the back end of the bullpen this season.

Manager, Terry Collins spoke with Anthony McCarron of the New York Times about Robles and his expectations for for the coming season.

“The more experience he gets, the better he feels out there,” Collins said. “He’s got a great arm. You saw two very, very good sliders there at the end of the game. “His pitches are getting better and I’ve said before we’re going to need some people when Jeurys (Familia) is off we got to find some guys to pitch in the back end of the bullpen. He’s one of those guys.”

Robles struggled with his command a bit yesterday, walking two, but he did register all four outs by means of strike out. He has the stuff to really make this bullpen a force to be reckoned with if he puts it all together.

Hansel will start the season serving a two game suspension for throwing near the head of Philadelphia Phillies catcher, Cameron Rupp.

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