A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

How Do the Mets Stack Up?

First, the game last night. The good part is that Piazza is starting to pick the ball from dirt instead of doing the 'American-Italian gymnast' thing, which is doing a split for everything that bounces in front of him. He really was key in two terrific plays, one that involved Trachsel off of a bunt and with Zeile on hit to third. The bad part? That was the only good part of the game. The Mets had no offense and to add insult to injury by getting shut down by Armando Benitez. Tom Seaver was saying that the current Met lineup is a combined 0 for 40 against him. Those are odds I do not like. That is enough of the game, it was definitely a forgettable one.

Watching the Mets for the past few seasons was much like getting kicked in the crotch. This years team does not give me that painful feeling. They have actually put together some very exciting baseball for a change. As of today, the Mets are 27-27. Last year the Mets were 24-30 at 54 games into the season. That really is not much different than last year. However, the pitching has seemingly improved from last year due to the arrival of Rick Peterson, and the hitting is slightly improved over last year’s product as well. This team really seems to be picking up a never say die attitude (with the exception of last night) and I get the impression they do not appreciate people disregarding them as serious contenders in the NL East and for the wildcard. However, In a vain attempt to make a point, I will compare all of the teams not named the Expos to get an idea of what team possess the best talent overall via a loosely based and half cocked point system. If I deem a player to be the best at their relative position compared to the guys from the other three teams, they will get four points with the second best getting three and so on. I will do the points based on how they are performing this year with a little consideration to overall talent and what they are capable of and have done in the past. I will attempt an unbiased assessment of all the players, but I make no promises. I only see blue and orange sometimes.

Catchers:
Johnny Estrada - 4 points
Jason Phillips - 3 points
Mike Lieberthal - 2 points
Mike Redmond - 1 point

I can see people saying Lieberthal is better than Phillips, but outside of two years, he really has not been that special. He may have the edge on defense, but I think Phillips offense (despite the slump) is ultimately better. On top of the Phillips plays first base too. He gets brownie points for that.

First Base:
Jim Thome - 4 points
Mike Piazza - 3 points
Hee Seop Choi - 2 points
Adam LaRoche - 1 points (started 31 games there, which leads the team)

Second Base:
Marcus Giles - 4 points (though he is injured, he played the most there this season, which is more than I can say for our best second baseman)
Luis Castillo - 3 points
Ty Wigginton - 2 points (gets the nod since he will be the 2b for the foreseeable future)
Chase Utley - 1 point

Short Stop:
Kaz Matui - 4 points
Rafael Furcal - 3 points
Jimmy Rollins - 2 points
Alex Gonzalez - 1 point

Third Base:
Mike Lowell - 4 points
David Bell - 3 points
Todd Zeile - 2 points
Mark DeRosa - 1 point

Rightfield:
Miguel Cabrera - 4 points
JD Drew - 3 points
Bobby Abreu - 2 points
The Two Headed Monster - 1 point

Centerfield:
Juan Pierre - 4 points
Andruw Jones - 3 points
Mike Cameron - 2 points
Marlon Byrd - point

Left Field:
Pat Burrell - 4 points
Cliff Floyd - 3 points
Chipper Jones - 2 points
Jeff Conine - 1 point

Rotation:
Glavine/Leiter/Trachs/Seo/Ginter - 4 points
Beckett/Burnett/Willis/Penny/Pavano - 3 points
Millwood/Milton/Myers/Wolf/Padilla - 2 points
Ortiz/Hampton/Ramirez/Thompson/Wright - 1 point

Now, I know I will catch some crap for ranking the Mets Rotation 1st, but they have the lowest combined ERA. Florida’s is certainly the most talented, but they are not necessarily playing like it. I could not go on ability alone, since that really does not make sense. The Mets have four starters that have a lower ERA than every starter on the Marlins not named Brad Penny (until last night when Pavano surpassed Traschel by 0.05 points), who still would not have the lowest ERA if he was on the Mets. The Phillies were supposed to have a better staff too, but they only have one starter with and ERA under 4.00. I have to give the Mets staff the nod from top to bottom as far as their performance this year.

Bullpen:
Wagner/Madson/Worrell/Telemaco/Cormier - 4 points
Looper/Franco/Stanton/Wheeler/Moreno/Weathers/Bottalico - 3 points
Smoltz/Gryboski/Alfonseca/Reitsma/Nitkowski/Cruz - 2 points
Benitez/Perisho/Phelps/Bump/Fox/Oliver - 1 point

As erratic as the Mets bullpen has been, there have been worse.

By my half-assed method, here are my point results:
Mets 27
Phillies 24
Braves 24
Marlins 25

Yes, by my calculations (or miscalculations depending how you look at it) the Mets have the juice to stay in it all year. Even if you swing a few points out of the Mets favor, they are still rather evenly matched in across the board with all the teams. Those results are without Reyes as well, which would be good for another point in our favor. I really do not think any team out of those four are head and shoulders above the Mets, but that is just my skewed view. Of course the point system is flawed. For example, Mike Piazza is only worth 1 more point than Choi, which does not really give you an idea of how much more of an impact Piazza would have on the team than Choi, but you get the idea for match-ups for the most part. Across the board, all the teams in the NL East have deficiencies in some areas and players just not playing up to their potential, but more or less, this division is up for grabs. The Mets may be playing over their heads, but not by that much. The Mets were much better than their record last year, they had several injuries that would devastate most any team. With all that being said, they need a bit more offense. They have had too many close calls and too many balls bounce their way. That is not going to happen all year. If Reyes ever comes back and provides the spark that everyone believes he will, it should be a real shot in the arm and maybe just what they need.

* Baseball America has updated their draft tracker. Humber and Drew's stock his risen and Neimann and Weaver's has fallen. The Mets had been rumored to draft either Humber or Drew depending upon who the Padres were going to draft, however both may be off the board by then the third pick. This draft is too hard to try and guess. The main reason Weaver's stock has fallen are the outlandish requests that Boras is making. I hope players take note that Boras is not always a good thing. He may have cost Weaver his #1 pick status in this year's draft.

* Breaking news: OJ has given up his search for real killer of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. WOW! Is anyone a avid Seinfeld watcher? OJ's words bring one of my favorite lines to mind. "Jerry, just remember... It's not a lie if you believe it.". OJ, YOU'RE THE KILLER!

On top of that, he has his own prank show called Juiced

"It's a takeoff on something called 'Punk'd.' It's me doing gags as, as Juice. Juice. What they call 'juicing' people," he said. "[On a scale of 1-10], it's 7 or 8, that it's gonna happen."

Just when you think you've heard it all. Hey maybe when OJ murdered Nicole and Ron it was supposed to be the first episode of Juiced, but it just happened to go very, very bad.

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