Mets Merized Online » Zack Wheeler http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 31 Jan 2016 14:25:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.12 Collins Says Innings Limits Won’t Be An Issue For Starters In 2016 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/collins-says-innings-limits-wont-be-an-issue-for-starters-in-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/collins-says-innings-limits-wont-be-an-issue-for-starters-in-2016.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:23:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204556 harvey degrom syndergaard matz

According to Terry Collins, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard will all be let loose in 2016 and not have any sort of innings limits.

In an interview with MLB.com Collins said, “Fortunately, we’re not going to have to worry about innings this year. I think we’re always going to be concerned with workload. These guys are still young and we don’t want them to get hurt.”

“We’re going to be careful in Spring Training, bring them along a little slowly. I’ve done a lot of research of some of these teams in the past that have had young pitchers. One of the things I’ve learned is that you’ve got to be careful early in the year. If you’re planning on having them pitch in October, then they have to be ready.”

Zack Wheeler won’t be ready until June or July, and since he won’t be pitching for the first half of the season, he will most likely not have enough time to reach any sort of innings limit management sets for him.

Says Collins about Wheeler, ”He looks tremendous. He’s in St. Lucie now. He’s throwing. He realizes it’s going to be a couple of months before he’s ready to go. That’s why we got Bartolo Colon back.”

After July, barring any setbacks or injuries, the Mets will have all five of their young arms in the starting rotation together for the very first time.

Collins didn’t mention Steven Matz when discussing the no innings limits. Matz pitched a total of 140 innings between the majors and the minors last season, so they could be a little cautious with him.

“With our pitching staff, if we score a few runs, we’ll have a good chance to win,” Collins concluded. “We were very, very proud of the way our team played last year. We just didn’t finish it off. Hopefully, we’re going to get another chance.”

Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, Wheeler… I can’t wait, what a rotation!

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Zack Wheeler Is Throwing In PSL, Ahead Of Schedule http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/zack-wheeler-is-throwing-in-psl-ahead-of-schedule.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/zack-wheeler-is-throwing-in-psl-ahead-of-schedule.html/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2016 19:00:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204067 New York Mets Spring Training wheeler

Here’s a quick update. In an interview with MLB.com on Sunday, Mets manager Terry Collins said that right-hander Zack Wheeler is looking great and is ahead of schedule as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery last Spring.

“He looks tremendous,” Collins said. “He’s in St. Lucie now. He’s throwing. He realizes it’s going to be a couple of months before he’s ready to go. That’s why we got Bartolo Colon back. We thought we’d get back a quality starter like Bartolo, especially for early in the year”

It almost sounds as though Wheeler could return to the rotation by early June rather than July. But with Colon on the team, the Mets will take their time easing Wheeler back.

Previous Report – 1/12

New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler is still on track to return from the Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2014 season sometime during the middle of summer.

When asked about the possible return date, Wheeler responded: “I said from the beginning June or July. That’s still the timetable for me. There’s this process; you never know if you’re going to have setbacks. They could be late, could be earlier. You never know. I’m not really trying to set a timetable.” (Steven Marcus, Newsday)

Wheeler, 25,  will add another young power arm to a rotation that already includes Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz when he returns, giving the Mets one of the most formidable starting five in baseball.

Until Wheeler is ready, veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was re-signed to a one-year deal and will start the season as the fifth starter. Colon’s strong 2015 makes the Mets confident of his role as a back of the rotation starter, but it could give the team the option of dealing Wheeler for a big bat and te young righty knows it.

“You never know. Something could happen,” Wheeler said. “I was traded (to the Mets on July 28, 2011, when he was a Giants minor-leaguer), so you never know. You just try to keep your hopes up, keep pushing through, do what you’ve got to do to get better.”

Right now, there is no such talk of trading Wheeler as the Mets are focusing on his return.

“Zack is progressing very well,” Alderson said. “We expect him to be ready sometime midseason. His call demonstrated a strong desire to stay with the Mets. He is loyal to his teammates and believes in the direction of the team. This says a lot about Zack and about the Mets.”

Wheeler has sort of become the forgotten man in the rotation with the emergence of the other young starters, but we’ll be hearing more and more from him as he gets closer to a return to the rotation this summer.

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Wheeler Targeting Mid Season Return, Wants To Stay With Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/wheeler-targeting-mid-season-return-wants-to-stay-with-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/wheeler-targeting-mid-season-return-wants-to-stay-with-mets.html/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 12:30:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201546 zack wheeler

After missing the entire 2015 due to injury, Zack Wheeler is determined to make a major impact next season. Wheeler is continuing to make progress from Tommy John surgery, and he is targeting a June or July comeback according to Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News.

Ackert says that he’s throwing from 120 feet on flat ground, which is his final step before throwing on  the mound.

“I am supposed to start getting on the mound when I get back to Florida, right after the New Year,” Wheeler said. “I think it’s a process, starting on the (front) slope and working back.”

“It’s progress, I guess,” Wheeler said, “but I am trying not to get too excited about anything. I am just trying to keep my head down and get the work done. And get back.”

It’s been an extremely tough year for Wheeler, who missed out on the Mets’ playoff run and was almost traded in the infamous Carlos Gomez deal over the summer. However, he says that he loves pitching for the Mets and wants to help them get back to the World Series in 2016.

“I know it’s a business and if something happens, well it is what it is, but this is where I want to be,” Wheeler said. “I like the team; I like playing in New York, and I like the organization.

“I want to play for the Mets.”

Fans and bloggers have also speculated that he could be a traded this winter  but thankfully the Mets aren’t looking to trade him unless someone offers them a great deal.

In 185 innings in 2014, he had a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. While he needed to improve his command and efficiency, he still flashed tremendous upside in what was his second major league season. His 9.1K/9 ranked towards the top of the league, and his stuff was electric with his explosive mid 90′s fastball.

With his impending return next season, he will make the Mets already elite staff into an even deadlier one.

“I am injured and people have forgotten about me, they have forgotten what I can do, so they say ‘Go on and trade him,’ I get it,” Wheeler said of the rumors, “and I’ll deal with it if it happens. But I am looking forward to being a part of this team, this rotation.”

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Ask MMO: Trading Duda and Wheeler for Todd Frazier http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/ask-mmo-trading-duda-and-wheeler-for-todd-frazier.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/ask-mmo-trading-duda-and-wheeler-for-todd-frazier.html/#comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 15:52:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201052 Lucas  Duda

Derek G. asks…

I saw this trade proposed by MetsBlog and wanted to get one of your opinions on it. Would you trade Lucas Duda and Zack Wheeler to the Reds for Todd Frazier? Frazier could replace Duda at first base and immediately give the Mets a more consistent hitter that can bat third or fourth in the lineup. Both Duda and Frazier are the same age and still have two years of control so it’s basically a wash there. What do you think?

Joe D. replies…

I’m a huge Todd Frazier fan and we had a similar question to this a few days ago, only it involved moving David Wright to first base.

Here’s the first problem with the trade as I see it. Where would the Reds play Lucas Duda when they already have a perennial All Star and MVP candidate in Joey Votto at first base? Why would they have any interest in Duda?

Secondly, assuming for argument’s sake, they did want Duda, giving them Zack Wheeler as well in the deal is a massive overpay that will hurt the team both in the present and longterm. No way do I trade Duda and Wheeler for Frazier even if they were to throw in a little something back.

Let me take this a little further. Lucas Duda had a 133 wRC+ in 2015 compared to a 114 wRC+ for Todd Frazier. In 2014 Duda also outproduced Frazier with a 136 wRC+ versus 122. Duda has also produced a higher OPS and OPS+ than Frazier over the last two seasons. Essentially, you’re not getting an offensive upgrade if your plan is to replace Duda at first base with Frazier.

Additionally, by playing Frazier at first base instead of third base you wipe out any defensive value he has. Duda is an infinitely better defensive first baseman. Over the last two seasons, Frazier has -6 Defensive Runs Saved at first, while Duda has been good for 9 DRS.  That’s a difference of 15 runs. And UZR paints the same exact picture.

So, let me ask you a question now. Why would you give the Reds Zack Wheeler to downgrade the team defensively and offensively at first base?

And as I stated earlier, this is all a moot point because the Reds have Votto at first base and have no plans to displace him.

In my opinion, Duda too often gets a bad rap and is very under-appreciated. He has two years left, which works out perfectly for the Mets as top prospect Dominic Smith will be ready to take over by then.

Bottom Line: We have some significant areas that need real attention. First base is not one of them. Thanks for the email.

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Featured Article: Would You Trade Zack Wheeler and Brandon Nimmo For Carlos Gonzalez? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/would-you-trade-zack-wheeler-and-brandon-nimmo-for-carlos-gonzalez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/would-you-trade-zack-wheeler-and-brandon-nimmo-for-carlos-gonzalez.html/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 02:22:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200820 carlos gonzalez

In an article by Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, he lists five trades he would like to see happen before the Winter Meetings next month in Nashville. One deal he mentions is the Mets trading Zack Wheeler and Brandon Nimmo for Rockies’ All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

With the Mets looking to replace Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy‘s production in the lineup, Bowden believes Gonzalez would be a perfect fit. He blasted 40 homeruns and 97 RBI this year for Colorado, and he has a career .290 average and .870 OPS.

CarGo’s home and road splits show that he has benefited a great deal from playing half his games at Coors Field where he posted a .617 slugging percentage and .972 OPS. However, despite the huge disparity, his .464 SLG and .768 OPS on the road would still be a plus in the Mets lineup and he did hit 16 home runs or 40 percent of his total output on the road.

Additionally, he punishes right-handed pitching with the best of them, batting .301 with a .364 OBP, .633 SLG and a .997 OPS.

Defensively, the three time Gold Glover can give you above average defense in left or right field. Last season, CarGo had five Defensive Runs Saved and 8 Outfield Assists.

Bowden says that Gonzalez would also fit into the Mets’ budget because he is only owed $37 million over the next two years, which makes him a better option than Justin Upton or Jason Heyward on the free agent market.

The deal also makes a lot of sense for the Rockies since they are in full rebuilding mode and desperately need top-flight starting pitching. Wheeler would give them a high upside arm to build around while Nimmo provides them a solid prospect in the outfield.

Wheeler is a player I’d hate to see the Mets trade, but this is something the Mets should at least consider as a potential option. Gonzalez is a solid power hitter and he would help make the team’s lineup a very dangerous one with his presence in the cleanup spot.

There’s also the issue of whether or not Granderson can handle center field defensively over the course of an entire season. Sure he’ll likely platoon with Lagares, but Grandy will still have a grueling assignment and he’s lost a step in range and has a poor arm.

Would you do it? Would you trade Wheeler and Nimmo for CarGo?

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Mets Still Not Likely To Trade Zack Wheeler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mets-still-not-likely-to-trade-zack-wheeler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mets-still-not-likely-to-trade-zack-wheeler.html/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2015 15:05:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200412 New York Mets Spring Training wheeler<

Because of the depth of the New York Mets young starting rotation, there have been thoughts of the Mets trading Zack Wheeler, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

They nearly sent Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Wilmer Flores in exchange for Carlos Gomez on July 29 but the trade was nullified due to concerns about Gomez’s hip.

Right after that, they nearly traded Wheeler to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Jay Bruce, but the Reds then balked at it.

Now in the offseason, there were talks of perhaps trading one of their starters for a big bat. Wheeler has sort of been the forgotten young starter with the emergence of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. However team officials tell Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that it’s very unlikely that they’ll trade Wheeler this offseason.

The Mets are now reasoning that since Wheeler is so close to coming back from Tommy John surgery, it makes the appeal of trading him less attractive.

And even though the Mets have plenty of depth at starting pitching, there’s realization that they can still use an extra arm next season just in case someone gets injured.

While the team is not actively shopping Wheeler, assistant GM John Ricco told Marc Carig of Newsday, they will listen to offers on him like anyone else.

“We’re not actively shopping Zack by any stretch,” Ricco said. “But as with the other starters, if something came up that we thought made us better, we’re going to talk about it.”

Wheeler, 25, went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts in 2014, and is projected to return to the majors in June or July.

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The Crazies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/the-crazies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/the-crazies.html/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:39:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188762 the-crazies-photograph-3

Last night may have just been one of the most harrowing and bewildering evenings I’ve ever experienced watching a baseball game.

Tom Hanks may have gotten it wrong, because last night we saw lots of crying in baseball.

I’m sure sports talk radio, the talking heads on TV, and everyone on  social media, will have a field day trying to affix blame on what transpired Wednesday night, and point fingers at the would-be culprits. What’s ironic about that, is that they are the ones who created the chaos that unfolded throughout the unforgettable and crazy evening.

In the wake of a deal that completely fell apart, we’re now left with both teams and their propaganda machines blaming each other for the injury concerns that compelled them to back out.

The Brewers are saying they backed out because Zack Wheeler’s elbow reconstruction was much more severe and complicated than your typical Tommy John surgery.

The  Mets on the other hand, had big concerns over a degenerative hip condition that they believe was serious enough to kill the deal.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Perhaps they are both right or wrong. Rules being what they are, neither GM is allowed to discuss player injuries publicly. So you are left wondering if you should believe Ken Rosenthal, Bob Nightengale, Joel Sherman, or Tom Haudricourt. Take your pick.

There are so many facets that one must consider to grasp the entirety of what took place.

For example, if Sandy Alderson was the one who backed out of the deal  why then did he allow the chaos and incredible feeding frenzy on social media to drag on for hours? Couldn’t he have just issued a short statement that the deal was dead? And likewise, you could say the same thing about the Brewers GM.

Wilmer - Flores

The three main protagonists to what transpired were Joel Sherman, Ken Rosenthal and Andy Martino. They were the ones reporting the deal with the caveat that it was pending a review of Zach Wheeler’s medical records. In fact we didn’t hear anything about Carlos Gomez’s hip until 1 AM in the morning. With such epically bad reporting from those guys, who knows what the fuck really transpired. We may never know.

In the aftermath of the debacle, we were left with a player whose heart was crushed and who was forced to endure an untold amount of emotions on the field. And in full view of millions of onlookers as Wilmer Flores crying became a National phenomenon that trended at the top of social media and whose video was being replayed endlessly again and again on ESPN and the MLB Network.

Watching the poor kid out there even brought tears to my eyes. Sandy Alderson said he sought out Flores to apologize to him after the game.

“I’m coming to work,’’ Flores said to reporters, his eyes still filled with tears long after the Mets 7-3 loss to the Padres at Citi Field.

terry collins

Another casualty left in the wake, was manager Terry Collins who delivered an epic profanity-laced rant in the post game press conference.

Collins used so many expletives that more than half of his press conference had to be bleeped out. The guy was pissed. And rightfully so, as he had initially been looked at as the evil sadist that kept running Flores out there knowing that he had been dealt.

However, Collins knew absolutely nothing. He – as is usually the case – was out of the loop. All he was worried about was trying to win a ballgame. When two players alerted him the Flores was crying, he was stunned, wondering what happened.

“He got traded,” said the players. “What??? For who??? For what??? Nobody fucking called me!!!” said Collins.

To hear his version of events was actually pretty funny if it wasn’t so fucking sad, pathetic and depressing.

Like I said, the entire issue is now being left to each team’s propaganda machine. The first thing I did when I woke up this morning, was to check and see how this was being spinned on MetsBlog, and of course half of the reporting is completely focused on what an awful deal it would’ve been considering Carlos Gomez’s hip and his steep decline in WAR and performance, this after he was being lauded as the perfect fit.

Zack Wheeler’s elbow however, is not even mentioned, not even a word that the Brewers are saying they backed out because of Wheeler. Pure slanted journalism at its best.

Two of the main Brewers sites had severely slanted takes as well, but at least they mentioned both possibilities.

Sandy Alderson

So where does that leave us now and how does Sandy Alderson pick up the pieces and move on?

Well basically everything gets reset to where it was before the calamity of events unfolded. Jay Bruce is still a solid target for the Mets. So is Yoenis Cespedes.

There are also some questions that remain, like for example, did the Mets burn their bridge to Milwaukee and is Gerardo Parra no longer an option?

Have the Brewers diminished the trade value of Zack Wheeler who the Mets were using as a trade chip in several rumored negotiations?

And does that now kill any chance of acquiring a player of significant value?

Who knows…

One thing is certain, expect the next two days to be filled with lots of rumors, buzz and innuendo. Don’t believe everything you hear and read on social media or propaganda sites, and take everything with a grain of salt until the deal is officially reported by team representatives.

We’ve got a game this afternoon… Let’s win it.

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A’s Deal Ben Zobrist To Royals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/as-deal-ben-zobrist-to-royals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/as-deal-ben-zobrist-to-royals.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:13:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188127 ben Zobrist

The New York Mets may still be in the market for a big bat, but it wont be Ben Zobrist who many said Sandy Alderson coveted.

The Oakland A’s dealt the versatile Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for two pitching prospects according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Jon Heyman reports that the A’s will get back RHP Aaron Brooks and the Royals’ second best prospect LHP Sean Manaea.

The Royals are making a huge push to bolster the team, having already landed Johnny Cueto from the Reds a day ago.

July 25

According to Kristie Ackert and Andy Martino of the Daily News, multiple sources told them that the Mets have discussed trading Zack Wheeler with other teams in their search for an outfielder.

Sandy Alderson has made it clear several times including Friday, that Matt Harvey, Stephen Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob degrom are off-limits and not available for trade. He’s never included Zack Wheeler in that group.

The Mets were pushing to deal for Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra up until last night, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

It was when talks broke down, that the Mets made the decision to call up highly regarded prospect Michael Conforto from AA Binghamton.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson did tell reporters that adding Conforto does not necessarily change the team’s plans leading up to the trade deadline.

“This is not indicative of how aggressive or less aggressive we’re going to be,” Alderson said. “This is somewhat independent.”

Some of the names that were being circulated regarding Wheeler were Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds, Josh Reddick of the Oakland A’s, and Parra of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March, but is expected to begin throwing soon, and likely to return sometime next season with a target of early to mid June.

Rafael Montero has also come up in various trade rumors connected to the Mets, and in fact many initially believed he was the integral piece in the trade to acquire Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.

A couple of sources also believe that the Mets are having conversations with the Colorado Rockies lending some credence to the on-again and off-again rumors regarding Troy Tulowitzki, who does not want to be traded and the team insists is not on the trade block.

After the game on Friday night, GM Sandy Alderson left open the possibility that the Mets are not done yet, only saying to stay tuned.

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Zack Wheeler Throws For The First Time Since Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/zack-wheeler-throws-for-the-first-time-since-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/zack-wheeler-throws-for-the-first-time-since-surgery.html/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:19:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188341 zack wheeler whiff

Good news on the injury front for Metropolitan flamethrower Zack Wheeler, who threw for the first time since his Tommy John Surgery back on March 25th of this year.

The 25-year old is expected to return to the Mets sometime around the All-Star break in 2016.

Watch Wheeler throw here courtesy of JustMets.

Thoughts from Avery

It may never happen, but anything is possible. But thinking about the potential Metropolitan rotation for the second half of the 2016 season has me excited.

This is a rotation that could feature five stud, front-of-the-rotation types that throw heat.

The rotation is in a position to be dominant over the next few years (at least until Matt Harvey becomes a free agent). As I see it, a rotation of Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz would give the mets one of, if not the best starting five in the league.

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Zack Wheeler To Begin Throwing Next Month http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/zack-wheeler-to-begin-throwing-next-month.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/zack-wheeler-to-begin-throwing-next-month.html/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 14:42:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=185038 zack wheeler

Right-hander Zack Wheeler stopped by and visited with his teammates in Atlanta on Friday as they  began a weekend series with the Braves.

Wheeler, who is in the recovery phase of his return from Tommy John surgery, told reporters he expects to start throwing a baseball next month.

For now he’s been doing a lot of running and conditioning exercises while he rehabs at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie.

“I’ve been basically just doing upper-body and lower-body lifts,” Wheeler said. “That’s really about it. Just running, lifting. Same thing every day, so it’s starting to get kind of old.”

“Hopefully, when I pick up a ball, it’ll start moving a little bit faster and change some things up every once in a while.”

Wheeler is still on target for a return around June or July of next season and was in good spirits. He says he’s been following the team to occupy his time.

“I’ll sit there and watch them basically every night because I have nothing else to do down there in Florida,” Wheeler said. “Looks like we’re playing well, and hopefully, we can keep it up.” (MLB.com)

“He’s fun to be around,” said manager Terry Collins,” so it’s nice that they could let him get out of Florida for a vacation; bring that 93-degree stuff up here.”

During last night’s broadcast, Ron Darling reflected on how special the Mets rotation will be come next year’s All Star break, potentially boasting five young hard-throwers in Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Wheeler.

“The National League will be in for a rude awakening having to face that group next season.”

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If It Happens, Mets Seem Well Equipped To Usher In The DH http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/if-it-happens-mets-seem-well-equipped-to-usher-in-the-dh.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/if-it-happens-mets-seem-well-equipped-to-usher-in-the-dh.html/#comments Sat, 09 May 2015 13:30:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=181004 kevin plawecki first hr

Designated Hitter. The concept invokes a variety of opinions, however, the majority of National League baseball fans view it unfavorably. There’s great arguments on both sides, it would benefit the game in many ways and certainly add more excitement.

However, it would also mark the end of a tradition that has held strong for decades, despite the urging of many due to the potential gains in marketability and subsequent consumer demand.

Personal preference aside though, let’s say for a hot minute that the DH was instituted next year. How does that impact the decisions currently facing the front office, the pitching staff and ultimately, our two prized young catchers?

The Mets have excellent pitching depth, both in the majors and down on the farm. Top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are hard throwing, high strikeout pitchers and by this time next year, they could both be regulars in the rotation alongside Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler. Now, there’s a lot that has to go right in order for this to come full circle, but the window for skepticism is closing rapidly. Thor and Matz have been lights out in a hitter’s haven. Harvey and deGrom have dominated long enough to prove they’re for real and Wheeler turned a major corner before tearing his elbow.

The point? Looking towards the future with the addition of the DH, the Mets stand the best chance at weathering the uptick in offense. Every team will have some concerns in regards to how their staff will be affected, but the Mets are sitting pretty in that category right now.

Travis, d'Arnaud

Adding the DH could also enable the Mets to keep both of their young catchers, something that’s already being debated quite passionately in Mets circles of late.

The idea of keeping both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki on the same National League team, long term, without a DH- is wasteful. Both players are highly coveted and unless the Mets can find a way to get both players in the same lineup regularly, it probably  makes sense to trade one of them while they’re still young, just entering their power curve, and having nice value.

The possibility of a first base/catching platoon once existed for TDA and Plawecki, but Lucas Duda has since gone Hulk on the entire league, all but guaranteeing himself  a contract extension after the 2015 season.

In a world where the DH exists though, the Mets have the potential to pair up an unrivaled catching tandem with an unfathomably potent pitching staff.

Offensively, the team would benefit from a boost in run support. TDA and Plawecki both have explosive bats and this has always pushed their value beyond today’s offensive expectations from a catcher.

D’Arnaud was one of the best hitters in the National League prior to his injury and Plawecki has already started breaking out early in his rookie campaign.

There’s always good reason to hold on to what we know, to embrace tradition, but the Mets are entering a new chapter in the organization’s history, aimed at achieving perennial success.

The front office did an excellent job drafting and acquiring plenty of young position talent with high offensive upside and now, a good portion of that talent is ready to contribute.

At some point, hopefully soon enough so that both catchers will still be in Flushing, the National League will yet again be faced with a decision to incorporate the DH. The Mets, previously, had only their young pitching to build a future around with the hope that even a near return to October baseball would boost revenue streams high enough to buy another bat. As someone who has held strong in the belief that pitchers should hit, I find myself torn as a fan who is tired of seeing this team endure annual offensive droughts with little hope that a blockbuster trade will bring a superstar to Queens.

Everyone collectively held their breath through the developmental stages of d’Arnaud and Plawecki. The odds that both turned out as projected were decent, but now, the Mets have had a glimpse of what both players are truly capable of both behind the plate and at it. The Mets have themselves a pair of very solid hitters who can both evolve into impact players. The kind of players you want to keep. The DH would allow both d’Arnaud and Plawecki to each rack up about 550 at-bats while keeping them fresh behind the plate.

As a whole, the Mets have the pieces they need to be a high powered offense, with emerging talent already here and some top prospects knocking at the door. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll produce an offense just as prized as their pitching.

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3 Concerns and 3 Positive Takeaways From Marlins Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/3-concerns-and-3-positive-takeaways-from-marlins-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/3-concerns-and-3-positive-takeaways-from-marlins-series.html/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:46:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180403 cuddyer duda murphy

3 Concerns To Keep An Eye On

1. Defense Holding On By A Thread

The Mets are 5-7 on the road this year and the middle infield defense has played a large part in those results. Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy have shown signs of life at the plate, but aside from a few long balls, their offensive contributions have done little to erase their defensive woes. The truth is that both players will have to exceed their projected offensive ceilings in order to combat the negative impact they’re on pace to generate with their gloves.

Flores has hit three home runs and all have been clutch, but in the 17 games he’s played where he didn’t hit a home run? He’s a .214 hitter with only 1 extra base hit and 1 RBI to go with a handful of fielding errors and blown throws on a number of routine plays.

And Daniel Murphy? The argument lately has been that he leads the team in RBI’s (14), but consider this. Murphy generated 9 of those RBI’s in just 3 games this year in which the team went 2-1. In the other 19 games he’s played on the season? He’s a .164 hitter with 6 runs scored and only 5 RBI’s, despite an excellent 13-6 record by the team. Looking at that sample, it’s difficult to justify Murphy’s production as a necessity.

2. Plawecki Has Quite A Workload

Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki, right? Trade one, keep one, right? I think the Mets are on the precipice of something special with this catching tandem. Behind the plate, Plawecki has been very impressive. The transition from d’Arnaud to the rookie Purdue product has been nearly seamless, however, he’s struggling at the plate.

In the minors, Plawecki profiled as a high contact hitter with a level, compact, line drive swing. So far, he’s employed that same swing, but he’s struggled to make contact at a high rate, strike out 5 times in 7 games and posted a .231 average. It’s unfair to ask a rookie catcher to step in immediately and replace the production of a red hot Travis d’Arnaud, but the Mets were really banking on that in order to remain competitive. Plawecki will eventually pick it up, but the learning curve may be too steep for what the team needs at the moment.

3. What To Make Of Montero

Not that long ago, Rafael Montero was considered a top propsect for the NY Mets. In terms of the future, his name was penciled in with the likes of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler as the next generation of young power pitchers. Since his debut last year, Jacob deGrom emerged as the real elite pitching prospect and Montero has been on a roller coaster ride between the bullpen and starting rotation. Now, he once again finds himself in the minors after a lackluster start against the Marlins on Tuesday.

When the team enters it’s second phase of the sixth man rotation, will Montero be called up again, or will we finally see one of the two names we’ve all been waiting for (i.e. Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz)?

3 Positives Takeaways

1. Duda Is Making Adjustments – Still Raking

Lucas Duda is the main cog in this Mets lineup. He hits for average, hits for power, gets on base, plates runs, scores runs, etc. Recently, opposing pitchers have relied heavily on their change-ups to neutralize the left-handed power threat, but the effect has been similar to robbing Peter to pay Paul. In the Miami series, Duda went 2-9 at the plate (.222), but drew 4 walks, scored two runs and plated an RBI.

The major issue with Duda last year was that, either he produced astronomical numbers, or there was complete fall out and he added nothing. There will be periods of adjustment for any feared hitter, especially in a lineup as empty as the Mets. However, Duda also posted a .462 OBP in the Marlins series to go with those 4 walks and the return of David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud should hopefully make better use of that plate discipline.

Essentially, Duda has bought into the team’s offensive philosophy and either drove in runs off of pitches he can hit, or drawn walks when the opposition chooses to avoid him. He can’t drive in everything, the players behind him have to pick it up as well.

2. Lagares Is Swinging The Bat Real Well

Juan Lagares is hot at the plate and his batting average and on base percentage are shooting upwards because of it. The 26 year old gold glover has continued to eat up extra base hits and flash massive range in the outfield, but with the team struggling to produce runs, his presence at the plate will be crucial.

If Lagares can get on base and into scoring position ahead of Duda, the Mets may find the offensive catalyst they’ll need until Wright and d’Arnaud make a healthy return.

3. The Grandy Man Can

Over his last nine games, Curtis Granderson is batting .333/.405/.545 with a home run, 7 runs scored and 5 RBI’s. His ability to draw walks and high pitch counts out of the lead off spot have proven valuable during what would otherwise be deemed a horrid slump for the veteran outfielder, but his recent outburst has been a welcomed sight. He’ll need to sustain this outburst in order for the Mets to win.

Look for Granderson to lead the charge with Duda and Lagares as the Mets look to put a beat down on the Nationals back in Flushing.

Lets! Go! Mets!

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Baseball America: Mets Have 5th Best System In MLB http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/baseball-america-mets-have-5th-best-system-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/baseball-america-mets-have-5th-best-system-in-baseball.html/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:29:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177682 noah syndergaard

Baseball America ranked the New York Mets with the 5th best farm system in MLB. The Mets have seen their farm ranking improve steadily as the system was restocked by Sandy and Co. and a dozen or so players from the prior regime rose to top prospect status or won regular major league jobs. Baseball America had the Mets ranked 16th in 2013 and 10th in 2014.

Here is what they had to say about their latest Mets ranking:

TOP 10 PROSPECTS

1. Noah Syndergaard, RHP (11)
2. Steven Matz, LHP (33)
3. Brandon Nimmo, OF (45)
4. Dilson Herrera, 2B (46)
5. Kevin Plawecki, C (63)
6. Amed Rosario, SS (98)
7. Michael Conforto, OF (80)
8. Rafael Montero, RHP
9. Marcos Molina, RHP
10. Gavin Cecchini, SS

How They Got Here: €œRebuild mode€ has described the Mets for most of this decade, so it’€™s natural they rank high in prospect talent. They’€™ve made astute trades for prospects such as Noah Syndergaard and Dilson Herrera, drafted and developed prep (Steve Matz), college (Kevin Plawecki) and international (Amed Rosario, Marcos Molina) talent . . . They’€™ve even produced impact big leaguers such as RHP Jake deGrom, who went from No. 10 prospect to NL Rookie of the Year.

High-Ceiling Sleeper: Lucas Duda developed from seventh-round pick to 30-homer big leaguer, and the Mets hope for similar power from C/1B Brandon Brosher, a Florida prep product who will be coming back from a broken ankle in 2014.

2015 Rookies: Syndergaard, Matz and Rafael Montero provide rotation insurance, especially with RHP Zack Wheeler out with an elbow injury. Syndergaard and Montero have Triple-A experience that gives them a leg up. SS Matt Reynolds isn’t€™ on the 40-man roster yet, but shortstop is a weak spot in Queens, giving him a potential path to playing time.

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Zack Wheeler Undergoes Successful Tommy John Surgery http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-undergoes-successful-tommy-john-surgery.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-undergoes-successful-tommy-john-surgery.html/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:02:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177223 zack wheeler

The Mets announced that Zack Wheeler underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday to repair the flexor pronator tendon and reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Wheeler will miss all of 2015 and is expected to return about June of 2016 or approximately 14 months after having the surgery.

Last Friday, Wheeler addressed questions about his elbow with the media, saying:

“I can’t complain about how the Mets handled me last year innings wise,” Wheeler continued. “I don’t have any complaints at all about how they handled me.”

“Honestly, I’ve had pain in that spot in my elbow since I got drafted — since before I got drafted,” Wheeler said. “It just happened to really flare up and be a little more painful last year, but not enough to where I was actually like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Wheeler said he was surprised to learn of his ligament tear. “I cried a little,” he admitted. He was called into the office my Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told him the news it was a UCL tear.

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Terry Collins: “Matt Harvey Will Not Pitch Home Opener” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/terry-collins-matt-harvey-will-not-pitch-home-opener.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/terry-collins-matt-harvey-will-not-pitch-home-opener.html/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 19:58:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176482 matt-harvey3

Matt Harvey was electric this afternoon at a sold-out Tradition Field where he stymied the New York Yankees with 5 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout baseball.

And then Terry Collins announced that Harvey WILL NOT start the home opener… What?!?!

I mean I get it. They used Harvey to sell out that first game so why not let him sell out another day? Right, Jeff?

Looks like Harvey will pitch the second game at Citi Field instead, while deGrom starts the opener from what reporters are saying…

Matt Harvey Ready To Carry Team If He Has To

If you think that the loss of Zack Wheeler drastically changes the fortunes of the Mets in 2015, you better stand clear of Mets ace Matt Harvey.

Some fans took issue with me when I called Harvey the true face of the Mets franchise in January, maybe this will change your mind.

Refusing to let yesterday’s somber news bring him or his teammates down, the outspoken Harvey laid down a gauntlet and even further than that, he said he’s prepared to carry the team and the rotation if that’s what he has to do.

mmo feature original footer“We absolutely have the same goals as a team and as a staff that we did before Zack got hurt,” Harvey told The Post on Tuesday. “Nothing has changed.”

Harvey channeled his inner Keith Hernandez, Mark Messier, and Joe Namath, urging his team to step up and rise to the challenge.

“It’s tough for us to have such high expectations for the year and have something like this happen. But you can’t let it affect you. If you do, then you’re already down, you’re already lost.”

“As a staff, we have to pick up where we left off and take charge.”

When asked if he was attempting to institute a culture change with the team, Harvey says he’s only doing what he knows.

“I just go about things the way that I do and the way that I know how. That’s what I’ve always done. I kind of took over and took charge at North Carolina when I was a junior and had the whole staff on my shoulders there. So now it comes pretty natural. It’s something I enjoy. I’m ready to do the same thing here.”

Harvey has become one of the most vocal leaders on the team and he has fueled what’s become a team exuding confidence that hasn’t been seen in nearly a decade and he doesn’t shy away from his new position of authority and leadership.

“I do everything I can to win and lead by example on the field. That’s important to me. I never asked for it, but it’s come and it’s a great honor. It’s something I take great pride in. We can’t let this be something that ends our season.”

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Wheeler Met With Dr. Altchek, Dealt With Bone Spur Last Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wheeler-met-with-dr-altchek-dealt-with-bone-spur-last-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wheeler-met-with-dr-altchek-dealt-with-bone-spur-last-season.html/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:03:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176625 New York Mets Spring Training

Zack Wheeler met Dr. David Altchek in New York on Wednesday to discuss his options, and is headed for Tommy John surgery after an MRI revealed a full tear of the UCL. He has yet to decide if the Mets’ Dr. Altchek will perform the surgery or fellow leading orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

There is also some new information coming out on Wheeler and what the Mets knew. According to Marc Carig of Newsday, a source told him that before a torn ulnar collateral ligament wiped out Zack Wheeler’s season, the Mets were worried about a different issue in his troublesome right elbow: a torn tendon.

“The tendon tear, a source told Newsday, is what prompted Wheeler to undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy twice this offseason. Doctors hoped the treatment would speed up healing and allow Wheeler to keep pitching.”

Wheeler’s agent B.B. Abbott also revealed on Wednesday that Wheeler pitched with a bone spur in his right elbow last season and that’s what caused the nagging pain Wheeler has endured. (North Jersey)

Abbott said the pain in Wheeler’s elbow stemmed from the small bone spur, not from the UCL. He said Wheeler was told he could pitch through the pain and the bone spur would not compromise the ligament.

“Had Wheeler undergone surgery, Abbott said it would’ve sidelined him for four to six months. Wheeler elected to pitch through the pain and hoped the bone spur would eventually not be an issue, but the possibility remained it would have to be removed.”

Wow, it’s amazing how much this has evolved in 72 hours, going from “we’re unconcerned” to finding out that the truth was that Wheeler was a complete mess.

I feel bad for the kid and I assume he’s remained silent because it must be hell trying to absorb all of it.

But just as we had weekly updates all through the 2014 season on Matt Harvey‘s rehab, I’m sure it will be the same regarding Wheeler.

Here’s hoping the surgery is successful and the rehab is as remarkable as Harvey’s rehab.

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Wheeler News is Frustrating, But Hardly Shocking or Catastrophic http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wheeler-news-is-frustrating-but-hardly-shocking-or-catastrophic.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/wheeler-news-is-frustrating-but-hardly-shocking-or-catastrophic.html/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176415 zack wheeler out

As you have heard by now, Zack Wheeler is out for the season. He has a complete tear of the UCL in his pitching elbow and will require Tommy John Surgery, the same procedure that sidelined Matt Harvey in 2014 and will keep Josh Edgin out of action this year.

Is this a frustrating development? Of course. But is it a disaster? No.

Let’s set the stage a bit. Wheeler, a prized young right-hander acquired a few years ago in the Carlos Beltran trade, was solid in 2014, his first full season. Wheeler got better as the season progressed, and in the second half he really had the look of a guy who was getting things all figured out on the mound.

The Mets had been heading into 2015 with more buzz, excitement, and optimism from fans, players, and baseball minds than they had garnered in recent seasons. Most of this newfound hope stemmed from their solid foundation of good young pitching. So Wheeler’s UCL tear, confirmed today, has led to reactions of anger, sadness, and frustration from the Mets fans. Even GM Sandy Alderson seemed upset and on edge during his conference call with reporters— and what a juicy conference call it was, but we’ll get into that in just a bit.

When I say the news isn’t shocking, I’m not just talking about the black cloud that seems to hang over this organization. UCL tears are an epidemic these days, especially among the newest wave of electric young pitchers. And I’m no doctor (heck, I’m not even pre-med like seemingly 99% of the students in my year at Penn), but I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out why.

Think of UCLs as you would, say, car tires. Before a pitcher finally gets to the Major Leagues, they put a lot of mileage on their arms. Most of the top young pitchers started pitching early in their lives. They’ve been throwing hard and throwing often, and doing it for a long time. They’ve even been throwing curves (shoulder killers) and sliders (elbow killers) for many years before they get to the show. Between little league, middle school, high school, college (possibly), the minor leagues, and sometimes even international careers in Cuba or Japan, elite pitching prospects are putting a ton of miles on those car tires.

After a while, those tires are going to need replacing. Tommy John Surgery replaces the UCL. Matt Harvey got new tires. Zack Wheeler needs new tires. And while Wheeler hasn’t been in Flushing for very long, and it feels like these injuries are striking the Mets’ top young pitchers (and every team’s young aces, for that matter) right when they’re just getting started, these flamethrowers have put years of wear and tear on their elbows just to get to the point where we can salivate over their “stuff,” rank them on lists, argue about whether to trade them for star shortstops, and dream about them pitching us to a championship.

So that’s why I’m not shocked by the news about Wheeler, and you shouldn’t be either. Send me a text that any top young pitcher just got diagnosed with a UCL tear and I won’t be that surprised. Tires need replacing. That’s why I’d tweeted a couple times since the Harvey injury that the odds of Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard both avoiding Tommy John Surgery for the next several years were low. That’s why the Yankees will probably regret taking the rest-over-surgery route with Masahiro Tanaka.

And I can’t imagine being less surprised about any particular pitcher than I was about Wheeler. The guy throws hard, and he has trouble managing pitch counts. As Marc Carig pointed out last night, Wheeler had the sixth-fastest fastball among qualifying pitchers, was far and away the leader in appearances of 110+ pitches (13) by pitchers under the age of 25, and was second in that group when it came to pitches thrown (behind Madison Bumgarner).

So a sudden tear wouldn’t have been that far-fetched. But this tear wasn’t even sudden at all, based on what Sandy Alderson revealed in the aforementioned press conference. Alderson was far more candid than usual, and revealed several interesting nuggets:

  • “It’s a blow, but at the same time we knew there would be a lot of uncertainty surrounding Zack and his elbow over the course of the season.”
  • “We had been forewarned by the doctors that his elbow was a concern and was going to have to be managed over the course of this season.”
  • “When he complained of the elbow pain, it wasn’t a surprise to us. What prompted the MRI on Saturday was, Zack had complained about the elbow in the past, but the area of pain had increased in size.”
  • Wheeler had been sent for MRIs in September, November and January, but the none of them indicated ligament damage. Wheeler also had a PRP injection (the same procedure Tanaka had to avoid TJ surgery) in November.

Marc Carig of Newsday added:

“Alderson said there was no reason to change the way Wheeler was used last year, despite high pitch counts, high velocity, etc. Wheeler was skipping bullpens regularly, but threw more pitches than anybody in age group.”

“He has one of baseball’s hardest FBs and the Mets kept piling on the workload. Plenty of gray area behind reasons for elbow injuries. Nothing definitive. Wheeler’s case — and how Mets handled it — reinforces it. Anyway, skipping in-between work is always a tell-tale sign that there’s some concern.”

So, not only are many young pitchers vulnerable to elbow issues, and not only was Wheeler specifically a prime candidate statistically to suffer elbow issues… but Wheeler actually HAD elbow issues all of last season, which were more severe than the Mets had ever let on until yesterday.

zack wheeler whiff

Now, you might be angry that the Mets knew all these things and didn’t tell anybody. There are many reasons why the Mets would withhold the fact one of their top pitchers had some very serious elbow issues.

First of all, the Mets were engaged in negotiations with other teams and players this winter. Knowledge is power. By revealing that one of their most valuable young arms had potentially serious elbow issues, the Mets could have lost leverage in negotiations, and not just those involving Wheeler. It is never smart to show your weaknesses in a negotiation.

In addition, the Mets had to consider their fan base. The Mets need their supporters to have hope. A torn UCL requiring Tommy John surgery obviously needs to be announced (as it eventually was yesterday), but when the team is trying to generate hope, justify a lack of major offseason transactions, sell tickets, get the media talking about their playoff chances, and talk up their pitching, telling us that there might be a problem with one of the pitchers in The Big Three (Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler) might not have been the prudent move, even if it would have been the honest one.

While we would certainly would have preferred the brutal truth, us fans don’t necessarily deserve full disclosure. When a problem requires action, and a player is going to miss games, then it’s most definitely our right to know what is going on. But every team has medical issues that they keep under wraps.

Will the Mets’ handling of the situation backfire? Spring Training is a time for hope and excitement, and the shocking news definitely shook some of our confidence. Sandy Alderson said the Mets will need a few days to “digest” the Wheeler news. Well, guess what… the fans need time too.

zack wheeler

So we’ve talked about predictability, we’ve talked about our right to be angry, but that’s all in the past. Wheeler has a torn ligament, will get Tommy John, and miss the season. That is the reality of things. Now, the biggest question of all is, what does the future hold?

Fortunately, the procedure has a high success rate these days. Losing a year of the player’s production is probably the biggest blow. But Wheeler has a good chance to come back sometime next season and likely return to the same form. And, once he’s back, there’s no reason he can’t continue to improve, and reach his ace potential. In all likelihood, his biggest issues will be what they always were: command and efficiency. He’ll have brand new tires, just like Harvey (who tossed 4 scoreless innings on Monday, by the way).

Is this the last injury we’ll have to suffer through? Probably not. Players get hurt. Pitchers especially. Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom have already had Tommy John, which is probably a good thing (again, less mileage on their current tires). Bartolo Colon is immortal. Will Noah Syndergaard avoid the surgery? Who knows. Probably not. He might need repairs at some point too, but with the ever-more-sophisticated medical treatments available, TJS and many other formerly-disastrous procedures are often just speed bumps now, or stop signs. I know, I know… an awful lot of driving metaphors for a guy who can’t drive a car.

Now, the surgery doesn’t always work. It didn’t work for Brandon Beachy or Cory Luebke or Jeremy Hefner. But it usually works out pretty well.

Prized young Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler being diagnosed with a UCL tear and needing Tommy John Surgery.  There was a very good chance that this was going to happen. On Monday, it happened. Zack Wheeler missing a season. That’s going to happen too. Zack Wheeler coming back at some point fairly early next season, and getting back on the same road he had been on before the surgery, with a renewed arm better-equipped to help him fulfill his potential. We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m confident that will happen as well.

And I’m not saying this isn’t bad news. I think this is unlikely to derail Wheeler’s career, but it is still an upsetting development. The Mets, who have potential this year, will be without one of their good young pitchers, a promising member of the pitching staff that had people so excited for the 2015 campaign. But Wheeler was our #3 guy. We have Harvey and deGrom, as well as Colon and Niese. Syndergaard will be ready at some point and Matz might get a call-up of his own.

The pitching is still good. It has its flaws, but it’s good. This injury won’t cause the season to be a failure, and despite some snarky comments being made on the internet, I don’t think that the front office will attempt to or even have any desire to use it as an excuse for failure. What was true yesterday is still true today: it is the Mets’ offense which will determine whether they are decent or, for the first time in a long time, important. 

And hey, good thing we didn’t dump Dillon Gee, right?

Ya Gotta Believe mmo

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Trying to Replace Zack Wheeler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/trying-to-replace-zack-wheeler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/trying-to-replace-zack-wheeler.html/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:29:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176391 noah syndergaard

Mets fans started their week with terrible news, learning that right-hander Zack Wheeler has a torn UCL, which suggests he may need Tommy John surgery, and thus, could be lost for the season.

MetsTwitter is abuzz, blaming the organization for his high pitch counts last season, while also trying to find consolation in hoping that this means Noah Syndergaard‘s arrival to the big leagues will be accelerated. An impressive rookie campaign by Syndergaard could offset some of the innings lost from Wheeler, the logic goes. This is why pitching depth is so important, a constant reminding thought.

If Zack Wheeler does require Tommy John surgery, and is lost for the season, what does that mean to the Mets? How much can an increased workload from Syndergaard in the majors offset that loss?

Let’s find out.

When thinking about how important an individual player is to a team, it is important to understand the concept of wins above replacement. No, we don’t need to get into the gory math, we just need to understand that a two-win player is not directly worth two wins to their team, they are worth two wins above what a theoretical replacement level player would provide. In other words, if Zack Wheeler pitched to a 2.5 WAR in 2015, he would be adding 2.5 more wins through his performance than whoever the replacement-level, Dillon Gee-ish, pitcher could provide.

The best way of understanding what the Mets lose in Zack Wheeler is to look at his projected production for 2015, consider who will be replacing him, and see how it all comes out in the wash. Rather than simply looking at the wins above replacement level, we can consider the actual replacement production that will be taking Wheeler’s lost innings.

Since there are so many projections systems, I will use the FanGraphs mixed projection of ZiPS and Steamer. They have Zack Wheeler projected at 1.4 WAR this upcoming season over 148 innings pitched. After Wheeler tossed 185 innings last year, it is interesting that the projection systems see a decline, but that factors in rotation depth and risk of injury. Noah Syndergaard is projected to make six major league starts (37 innings) for a 0.5 WAR. Again, a conservative estimate of his major league impact in terms of innings pitched.

Between Wheeler and Syndergaard, that is 1.9 projected wins over 185 innings.

It would seem reasonable to believe that if Syndergaard was called up earlier in the season because of Wheeler’s injury, that he could pitch closer to 100 innings. Wheeler pitched exactly 100 innings in his age-22 debut season, which is Syndergaard’s age this season. By pitching 100 innings instead of his projected 37, assuming the same performance, Syndergaard could theoretically accumulate as many as 1.5 wins next season.

With Wheeler’s injury, a projected 1.4 wins above replacement are lost. By pitching Syndergaard more innings- and we can make similar assumptions using a pitcher like Rafael Montero or Steven Matz instead – the Mets could gain back some of those wins.

The problem is that the Mets would still need to make up for the added 48 innings (Wheeler’s projected 148 minus Syndergaard’s projected 100) plus the 37 innings Syndergaard would have pitched had Wheeler been healthy. If Syndergaard provides 1.5 wins over 100 innings, he is really only offsetting 1.0 of Wheeler’s lost wins (1.5 – 0.5 projection had Wheeler been healthy).

Who pitches the missing 85 innings (48 + 37) is where the true impact of Wheeler’s injury is found. Is that Dillon Gee? If so, Steamer and ZiPS like him for 0.2 wins over 79 innings already, and based on his track record, he probably wouldn’t add much more than that, given more innings. Is it Steven Matz? He could take the role Syndergaard was going to take as a late call-up and give 0.5 wins. It’s possible. And that is where the young pitching depth can prove most valuable.

By pitching Syndergaard and Matz more innings in 2015 than they would have had Wheeler been healthy, it’s possible that the lost 1.4 wins above replacement from Wheeler could be found.

Wheeler1

What all of this is assuming, however, is that breakout performances by Syndergaard and Matz wouldn’t have forced the team to let them pitch more innings even if Wheeler was healthy. In other words, a lot more value is gained by replacing Dillon Gee innings with productive Syndergaard innings. If Thor pitched well enough to take Gee’s spot in the rotation, that could be as much as a 1.0 – 1.5 wins in added value.

Wheeler2

In this second table, we can see Syndergaard’s innings taking away from Dillon Gee’s in a healthy Wheeler scenario. We also add some innings to Matz’ projection. By looking at it this way, the Mets are losing 1.2 wins by losing Wheeler, as essentially it would be Dillon Gee taking his spot instead of one of the exciting young pitchers.

In the end, it’s anyone’s best guess what the Mets rotation would have looked like this season with a healthy Wheeler versus what it will look like now that he is injured. Somewhere, 25-30 starts need to be replaced. If we look at things in a vacuum, and assume that Syndergaard and Matz can replace a large number of those starts, and they only would have done so given this injury, than the Mets may not be much worse off than if Wheeler stayed healthy. But, if we take a leap of faith in thinking that Syndergaard and/or Matz would have found a way to replace Dillon Gee’s starts, given a healthy Wheeler, than the Mets are losing out now that Gee must take on a larger role.

And, of course, all of these projections are just that, projections. We don’t know the real production of each player in 2015. Was Wheeler poised for a breakout season? Maybe he would have been a three-win pitcher and Syndergaard and Matz would prove they aren’t ready for big league action. If that’s the case, the loss is devastating for a team that could end up a few games away from wild card contention. All we can do is make reasonable guesses, and it appears, based on how the Mets would have pitched Syndergaard and Matz pre-injury news, that it’s Dillon Gee’s role and performance that could define the difference in the Mets rotation from Wheeler’s injury.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

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Zack Wheeler Has Torn UCL, Tommy John Surgery Looming http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-has-torn-ucl-tommy-john-surgery-looming.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/zack-wheeler-has-torn-ucl-tommy-john-surgery-looming.html/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:14:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176205 zack wheeler mouth

The Mets just announced that Zack Wheeler has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will likely need season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Wheeler will travel to New York City today to confirm the diagnosis and discuss his next steps with team orthopedist Dr. David Altchek, but Tommy John surgery is the standard treatment for a torn UCL.

This is a devastating blow to the team.

Two days ago the Mets didn’t even want to send him for an MRI and both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have maintained this was no big deal and MRI was just routine.

Elbow discomfort is never routine.

Wheeler, 24, went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts for the Mets last season.

Wheeler says that several times in the second half of last season, he told the Mets that he was experiencing elbow discomfort , but aside from skipping a few bullpens, he never missed any game starts.

Dillon Gee is suddenly back in the rotation as your fifth starter, and who knows, maybe the Mets now consider Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as options sooner rather than later.

March 15

Terry Collins told reporters that Zack Wheeler had an MRI on Saturday. This morning, Sandy Alderson said that the MRI results came back and are now being sent to Dr. Altchek in New York at team doctor’s request.

Wheeler revealed on Saturday that he was dealing with an elbow issue during the offseason, and that it was enough of a concern the team brought him to New York to have him examined.

“There was certainly one point during the offseason where we had him up in New York to take another look,” Alderson said.

Beat writers are reporting that the level of concern about Wheeler’s elbow seems to be growing.

Finally, Alderson announced that Dillon Gee is now scheduled to start on Mar. 19 which suggests that Wheeler will now miss a second start.

“This possibility, or something like it, has been probably a reason we’ve been hesitant to trade pitching,” Alderson said. “This is what happens. Guys are going down all over the place.”

Alderson said the MRI, the exam, skipping starts, is all standard protocol and he remains unconcerned.

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MMO Fan Shot: Hope Springs Eternal, Especially for the Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-fan-shot-hope-springs-eternal-especially-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-fan-shot-hope-springs-eternal-especially-for-the-mets.html/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175016 collins harvey wright

An MMO Fan Shot by Andy Love

As I wrote last year in Zen and the Misery of Being a Met Fan, since their heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs, the Mets have experienced historic collapses to miss the playoffs, baffling player moves, an unprecedented number of injuries to star and potential star players, and perhaps most insidious was ownership’s entanglement with Bernie Madoff, which has caused a shrinking payroll and the inability or unwillingness to make key moves to improve the team and make them more watchable.

So, for the last several seasons, that familiar feeling comprising equal measure of hopelessness and disgust starts gnawing at me by around the All Star Break, and as the season winds down I become completely disgusted.  Nevertheless, because I am a Met fan, I endure this agony and misery, still hoping for a miracle.  (See The Seven Stages of Being A Met Fan)  And, there have been a couple of miracles, although not since Mookie Wilson’s grounder dribbled through Bill Buckner’s legs in 1986.

I could dwell on the fact that ownership’s goal — particularly given their financial constraints — seems to be making the team just a little better than mediocre to keep the fan base from rebelling completely.

I could dwell on the fact that the Mets have an awful manager who is more likely to undermine promising young players than inspire them.

I could dwell on the fact that rather than fill key holes such as shortstop, a proven lefty reliever and a power-hitting outfielder, the Mets biggest acquisition over the winter was signing oft-injured 36-year-old Michael Cuddyer, whose primary claim to fame is that he is David Wright’s best friend, oh and that batting title two years ago.

But it is Spring Training!  A time of renewal and rebirth; a time when even the lowliest team has hope for the season ahead.  Players coming off injury-plagued seasons are returning in the best shape of their lives.  Hitters have corrected the flaws in their swing and pitchers have discovered devastating new pitches.  And, as we say every year at this time, if “everything goes right” we could have a pretty good squad this year — maybe even make the playoffs.

Indeed, Matt Harvey, who emerged two seasons ago as one of the most dynamic players and one of the very best pitchers in baseball before blowing out his elbow, is back and seemingly healthy.  He will join an exciting young pitching staff which boasts last year’s Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, fellow phenom Zack Wheeler, and even more great young arms waiting in the minors.

If David Wright and Curtis Granderson bounce back, if Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares continue to improve (or at least don’t digress), if Wilmer Flores hits the way scouts say he can and is able to play even a minimally-adequate shortstop, the Mets might actually be fun to watch.

And if everything goes right …. Lets Go Mets!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Andy Love. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at  FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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