With the Mets off today and no game scheduled, it’s a good time to see where we are as we hit the half way point of spring training and enter the final two weeks before Opening Day.
Like any other team, the Mets still have some questions that need to be answered, but according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, one of them is about to be addressed as the Mets are close to finalizing their starting rotation. Manager Terry Collins will soon make it official and name Chris Young and Chris Capuano as the winners for the final two spots in the rotation joining Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese.
Capuano threw five scoreless innings in a split squad game Sunday, with manger Terry Collins on hand. “His command was outstanding,” Collins said. “He made pitches. He’s got command of the sinker. I thought he threw some good changeups. I thought he pitched very, very well today.” Chris Young has also impressed.
There are a lot of positive developments as well this spring that are worth noting.
Catcher Josh Thole is tearing the cover off the ball and leads the team with a .448 batting average. He is also showing more power and driving the ball real well. He has two homeruns to go with a .724 slugging percentage which also leads the team. His development continues to excite me.
Ike Davis is also having a tremendous spring and any concerns about a sophomore jinx are quickly dissipating. Davis is batting .318 with a .464 on-base and a .636 slugging. One trend that I hope continues is his improved approach at the plate that has so far given him more walks (6) than strikeouts (4) in 22 at-bats.
Don’t look now, but perhaps the biggest surprise in camp are off-season acquisitions Scott Hairston and Willie Harris. Both of them are excelling at the plate and in the field and are beginning to look like solid pickups, especially given the uncertainty of Carlos Beltran’s knee. Hairston is batting .407 in 27 at-bats while Harris is batting .345 in 29 at-bats. Collins has been giving both of them extensive playing time.
Being named the starting center fielder apparently agrees with Angel Pagan who is batting .308 and leads the team with seven runs scored and already has a pair of home runs to go with his two stolen bases. Lucas Duda continues to push the envelope and survived the first round of cuts thanks to his improved outfield play and his powerful bat. He leads the team with 21 total bases, good enough for a .568 slugging percentage to go with his .297 batting average. It will go down to the wire with him.
Jason Isringhausen continues to increase his chances of making the team, and what a great story that would be considering he was washed up according to many. His 1.80 ERA is hard to ignore and he has proven he can pitch on back to back days which was one of the big concerns. Another reliever making some noise is Taylor Buchholz who has yet to allow a run in 8 innings pitched this spring and has looked very dominant at times.
By the way, catcher Ronny Paulino who finally made it to camp on Saturday, homered in his first at-bat of the spring on Sunday.
Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about all the concerns, that we frequently overlook many of the bright spots going on right under our noses this spring. So as you can see, it’s not all doom and gloom as some in the media have suggested. The expectations for the Mets won’t be as high as in past seasons, but that could very well be a distinct advantage for the team.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this marathon plays out, and wouldn’t it be something if those meaningful September games the Mets promised us in 2009 and 2010, end up occurring in 2011 when we least expected it?