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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Look Kids...Big Ben...Parliament

Is the familiar? Four game winning streak to bring the Mets one game over .500. Hopefully now they will stay there. The Mets are only 2.5 games back, not too shabby. Jae Seo's start yesterday was very reminiscent of his starts from last year. Seo went 6 innings, only giving up 1 run, got himself out of a bit a jam in the 6th, gave up a miniscule 3 hits, 2 walks (Lowell twice, they both looked semi-intentional to me), and K'd 4. He also gets Kudos for that 11 pitch at-bat in the 2nd inning. He ended up striking out, but the fans gave him an ovation after that performance anyway. Wiggy is officially out of the doghouse. He pounded a triple and single with two RBIs and is now batting .269. He has a streak of eight straight games with an extra base hit, which sets a new Mets record. On top of that, he actually does not look half bad at second base. He is showing a bit more range than I thought he would have. Wiggy and Zeile are going to make is hard for Art to figure out what to do when Reyes comes back. I'm sure that is a problem he rather enjoys. Speaking of Reyes, it was nice to see him in the dugout even though he wasn't playing. Mike Cameron found a bat that did not have a hole in it and actually hit a ball deep into left center. On top of that, he threw in a nifty catch in the 4th inning on Cabrera's drive to deep center. Mike actually has been hitting the ball a bit better of late in his quest to get back over .200.

  • In yesterday's game, there was a stat posted on Tom Glavine that he actually has a lower BAA each time he goes through the order. Check out these stats:

    Pitches 1-15 : BAA .300
    Pitches 16-30 : BAA .209
    Pitches 31-45 : BAA .225
    Pitches 46-60 : BAA .196
    Pitches 61-75 : BAA .136
    Pitches 76-90 : BAA .158
    Pitches 91-105 : BAA .125
    Pitches 106-120 : BAA .000

    That is a crazy stat. That is truly the sign of great pitcher. When batters should be more comfortable and have a chance to get a hit after seeing him throw, Glavine just seems to confuse them.

  • You have to like Dontrelle Willis being used as a pinch hitter. Willis only plays balls to the wall, MLB needs more of him around.

  • Looks like Vladimir's back is OK. He is pace to hit 44 homeruns, 153 RBIs (9 on Wednesday), 50 doubles, and is currently hitting .357. This is by no means a complaint that the Mets did not pick him up, I doubt he would have come here as long as there were serious offers elsewhere.

  • A San Diego paper is also thinking what I was thinking about the Padres getting Drew so they have more leverage to go after Beltran by making Josh Barfield available.

  • Milton Bradley was suspended for his tirade, which was rather funny to watch. I'm glad the Mets did not pick him up. I like the team's attitude so far and they actually look like a cohesive bunch without any trouble maker crybabies. Yes, even Karim has behaved himself so far.

  • Pedro Martinez is hurting. His ERA is up to 4.40. He has never had a season with an ERA over 4.00 and he has not been over 3.00 since 1997. That is seven consecutive years with and ERA under 3.00, which in today's game of home run derby is damn impressive. Those days might be over since he is sporting a Glavine-like fastball which does not seem to work for right-handers as much as it works for lefties. Good thing for the BoSox Nomar is close to returning. The Yankees and their $180,000,000 payroll have not been able to put any distance between the Nomar-less and Nixon-less Red Sox. That is pretty weak if you ask me.

  • While I'm on the topic of putting down the Yankees, take a look at what Contreras has done in all his starts.

    4/9 - 5 runs (all earned)
    4/18 - 3 runs (all earned)
    4/23 - 5 runs (all earned)
    4/28 - 1 runs (it was earned)
    5/4 - 7 runs (six earned)
    5/28 - 3 runs (all earned)
    6/2 - 5 runs (one earned)

    See a pattern here? Maybe they should skip every other start for him. On top of that the Yankees are paying $9,000,000 for that 7.10 ERA.

  • Zack Grienke looks like the real deal. Rob Neyer wrote a good article about him. He only has three starts, so it is early to start laying praise on this guy, but the bottom line is that he is 20 years old (Grienke will not even turn 21 until October). That is absolutely astounding. Not many 20 year old pitchers will find much success in the majors. In his last two starts he went seven innings in both and gave up one run against Minnesota and two runs against Detroit. He only pitched 29 minor league games coming into this year and 35 minor league games in total. He is only 35 minor league games removed from High School and it appears that he will be sticking around for a bit. Not many players could boast that kind of rise to the majors, simply amazing.

  • Minor Notes:
  • David Wright (aka Mr. ) was 2 for 4 last night with a walk, a double, a run scored, and one RBI. AA pitchers must be sending Duquette emails begging them to promote him to AAA.
  • The Rumor Mill

    Do not have much time today. So I'll get to the point.

    Zeile is my new favorite Met.
    Milledge is quickly becoming a stud. Two more hits and 3 more RBIs last night.

    Now to the Rumor Mill, or my version of it anyway.

  • Beltran to the Padres? According the ESPN Insider, it could happen. ESPN does not speculate who the Padres would offer up in return, however, Xavier Nady makes this rumor intriguing in my book. In Peter Gammon's column on May 23rd, Kevin Towers, who is the Padres GM, had said "He's going to be a very good hitter. The question is when and where". I found that quote quite strange, but it does sound like the Padres are willing part with him. Nady is a 25 year old that is full of talent with no where to go at the MLB level for the Padres according to Towers. At 24, he had his cup o' joe last year playing in 111 games, hitting 9 homeruns, 39 RBIs, and had a .269 average playing for the big club. The Padres have him at AAA currently and he is batting .325 with 3 homeruns and 16 RBIs. Nady is a guy that would be able to step into the centerfield spot for the Royals at the major league level as soon as the trade is made. He has nothing left to prove in AAA and has tremendous upside. In addition to that, with the Padres thinking of drafting Stephen Drew. If they draft Drew, a guy named Josh Barfield may suddenly become expendable (Click here to read a previous post about him). When Towers had been quoted in articles that they were thinking about drafting Drew, my Spider Sense went off because it does not make sense. This move adds up if he is looking to move Barfield. Both of those guys would most assuredly have the juice to get a deal done giving the Royals exactly what they want. Top tier cheap talent. Especially with Relaford's performance this year, a second baseman is on Kansas City's wishlist. That Padres package built around a MLB ready Xavier Nady and stud second baseman Josh Barfield in AA would certainly be tough for anyone to beat.

  • Anna Kournikova may have a bun in the oven and getting hitched to Enrique Iglesias. Espn's Page 2 have extensive coverage on this.

  • In the spirit of rumors, I'll start one my self. It seems that A-Rod's wife is pregnant. However, I have inside information to suggest that Derek Jeter is actually the father of A-Rod's soon to be baby.

  • Hey if bad sports writers can start them, so can I.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    Magglio Watch 2004

    Magglio dismisses rumors that the White Sox contract talks with him have broke down.

    Ordonez was surprised to read a weekend report out of New York stating contract extension talks with the Sox "recently fell apart after he rejected a five-year, $70 million (offer)." The 30-year-old right fielder was quick to shoot down the story.

    "That's a lie," Ordonez said. "I don't know who said that and why they said I want to go to the Mets. We're still talking. It's a lie. That's all I can say."

    I still have a sneaking suspicion that he will be in a White Sox uniform in 2005.

    Late Inning Antics

    Todd Zeile is silencing all his critics that said Duquette made a mistake by signing him. He has been someone the Mets could count on all year and has provided that elusive veteran presence that the Mets love. Except, this time, the veteran presence is doing more good than evil. Last night he provided a few sparks and key plays to keep the Mets in it and get them ahead. With the Mets down 1-0 in the top of the 8th, Zeile smacked a homerun off of Rheal Cormier to tie the game up (for the record, after the Mets gave up the run off of a bad balk call, I must admit, I thought the game was over). Zeile could have stopped there and I’d have been happy with his effort for the day. However, without Piazza in the lineup, and the Mets having zero offense all day, It looked as though the Mets needed a miracle to pull this one out. Low and behold, Kaz lines a single to start the 10th inning. Hmmm, I was starting to think maybe something good was going to happen. With Pratt behind the plate, would Kaz attempt a steal I thought? Sure enough, Kaz took off. As he does, the Phillies pitch out. As Pratt steps up to receive the throw, Zeile disrupts his flow of things by taking a Cameron-like swing at a pitchout. Pratt is forced to alter his motion and throws it high and to the second base side of the bag. Matsui is sitting pretty with no outs and on second base. Now Fran and Ted start asking the question, does Art bunt him over? At that point, Art did what he should do most of the time he makes crappy decisions, nothing. He makes no such bunt call and Zeile singles up the middle for the winning run. Wilson poked an opposite field homer to score two more just for a little insurance.

    Is that it you say? Heck no. Looper comes in to try and record a very rare save. After giving up a single to Thome, Looper pitches to Burrell, and lets a wild pitch loose. By now I am thanking the good lord that Wilson gave us the padding, and Burrell hits a chopper down the line. (take note Kaz) Zeile charges the ball, catches it on a short hop and throws Burrell out at first, which also held Thome at second. Instead of the tying run coming to the plate, it is one out and a guy on second. Looper then just throws some filthy stuff to retire the rest of the side relatively quietly.

    This was a quality victory all around. After Weathers got that bogus balk call that allowed the Phillies to take the 1-0 lead, the Mets could have been deflated. Anytime you fight back in tough game, you start to believe you can win at any time. Howe would have been ridiculed for taking Piazza out for a defensive replacement if the Mets lost, especially since he was replaced by an outfielder who has had very limited time over the years at first (Phillips eventually took over first in the 10th). Luckily for him, they did not. When a coach is winning, no one cares what he does, when he makes the same switches when he loses, people want to see a public beheading. As I said a few days ago, Howe cannot get the big hit for the team. The players need to start performing in the clutch once in while. I personally do not like to watch in the late innings and the ball gets hit or thrown in Piazza's direction. Too bad at first base balls get thrown to you all the time, so I cannot argue with his late inning defensive replacement moves when it comes to Piazza.

    Leiter was named the NYSE player of the game a bit prematurely, Zeile got the short end of the stick on that one and clearly deserved it.

    Bottalico turned in another solid performance last night. I would rather not think what position our bullpen would be in if not for him.

    Ryan Madson is just flat out nasty.

    Jose Reyes must have spontaneously combusted and disappeared from the earth and now ceases to exist. After the cortisone shot, mum has been the word.

    Minor Notes:
    Lastings Milledge went 2 for 3 with another homerun yesterday bringing the tally up to three. He is now batting .340 and proving to be the five tool prospect the Mets hoped they were getting. He is creating a bit of excitement in our system that is relatively devoid of top tier outfield talent. He is looking like the real deal, and they were worried about him making the transition from aluminum bats to wood bats.

    Victor Diaz continues his quest towards .300. He was 2 for 4 and is now batting .288. Victor is making a push to steal David Wright’s Mr. Tabasco crown.

    Bobby Keppel got smacked up in his second AAA start, but went six innings which is something positive to take out of it. It was only his 4th start back since he got hurt in spring training.

    Tyler Yates got touched up for two runs in two innings yesterday as well.

    Not to be outdone by Victor Diaz’s hot streak, Wright makes a statement to keep his Mr. Tabasco crown by going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs to bring his season average to .349.

    Neal Musser is seemingly regaining the form that made him the first pick for the Mets in 1999. He is now 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA and stuck out six in seven innings yesterday. Good to see he is getting some attention and like Peterson, is pushing for a bid to get called up to AAA. Norfolk is going to have some solid starting pitching by the year’s end.

    Here is a joke I thought was funny (from Maxim magazine):

    A fan seeking a pro golfer’s autograph waits for him by the clubhouse after a tournament. The golfer finally shows up with scratches all over his face.

    “Hey, what happed?” asks the fan.
    “Ahh,” says the golfer, “I blew an eagle on the 18th.”

    Tuesday, June 01, 2004

    A Mets Network?

    There was an article in the Daily News about Wilpon creating his own Met network. YES set a dangerous precedent when the courts forced MSG to carry their network as part of basic cable and they now receive money from every basic cable subscriber. If the Mets create their own channel, it would most certainly have to included on basic cable as the Yankees channel already is. There is no way a court can rule that one teams network is basic cable and the other team's channel is a paid/premium channel. It would show extreme bias. This could be a huge shot in the arm for the Mets and provide additional money to their already large broadcasting revenues. Since the Mets are annually about #2 or #3 with their broadcasting revenues in relationship to the rest of league, it will just set them apart farther apart from everyone else not named the Yankees. Wilpon will have no more excuses when it comes to reeling in the big names if this ever does go down, and I really do not see why Wilpon would not move ahead with this. Afterall, the Yankees already did the heavy lifting by taking Cablevision to court and winning. In reality, all the Wilpon would need to do is just put the channel out there, and it should get carried.

    The article also speaks of some non-sense that the YES Network would buy the Mets TV rights, in which case I may start following the WNBA instead of baseball. The thought of Steinbrenner owning the rights to the Metropolitan games that I would be watching makes me want to lose my breakfast.

    One cool side note is that if this ever does come to fruition, there would most likely be minor league games aired as well. A luxury that would be much appreciated by this Met fan.

    My friend had posed the question as to what they would call the network. He then asked if the Yankees network is called YES, then would the Mets network be called MES? As bad of a joke as it may have been, this is how Mets fans are forced to think. Sad, but true.

    Random Thoughts

    Ginter is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. When he goes out and pitches, it does not look like his stuff is very special, but he just has been getting people out. In his shortened outing, the Phillies did not even manage a hit. It could be people still getting adjusted to him, but when Heilmann came up, no one had any problems adjusting to him.

    It is very disturbing that the Mets gave up another two unearned runs. It just so happens that Cameron decided to contribute to the team and added two RBIs late in the game which made the unearned runs moot. The amount of costly errors and mistakes this past week is getting scary. The Mets do not have the best team in the world and do not have the luxury to afford giving up runs that are not earned.

    Phillips continues to tear it up and Moreno continues to be solid and lowers his ERA a bit more. I would like to see him get into more pressure situations instead of running Franco and Stanton out when the game is on the line.

    There was a Kazmir sighting. He pitched 2.2 innings for St. Lucie, gave up three runs and K’d five. The line looks worse than it is, but it was his first start back and needs to get back into the swing of things. More importantly, he needs to get his ERA under 6.

    Here are some of my thoughts on the Mets new stadium. I really do not know how far in the process they are (if they have made any progress at all) of securing the financing for their new facility. I’ve read different things, but the biggest obstacle would seem to be the proposed stadium on the West side of New York City for the New York Jets. I am not sure if the fans realize this, but there will be NO tailgating anymore. Part of going to football games, in my opinion, is taking the grill and going to Giants Stadium parking lot for some good times. That part of going to the football game will be eradicated. You will be in full corporate white collar game mode. On top of that, the Jets sell out every single football game. The Jets will not see any added revenue unless the prices get raised per ticket which may definitely be an option. I can see how the city wants to get a team on it’s own soil, but I do not see how it is viable. Out of all the New York teams, the Mets need a new facility the most. The Yankees continually draw way over three million people and play at a ‘legendary’ stadium that is an icon of the sporting world. Would it be prudent to tear it down? In my opinion yes, but I'm sure people that actually like the Yankees may think differently.

    Gammons had some interesting thoughts in his column from yesterday. One of which was the road BA/OPS for Alfonso Soriano and Kevin Mench who were both being offered up this summer according to trade rumors that involved Reyes and Kazmir. Soriano is batting .232 with a .814 ops on the road (.337 avg / .856 ops home) and Mench is batting .203 with a .536 ops on the road (.353 avg / 1.016 at home). To all the Jon Heyman's of the world, do you still wish the trade went down?

    Gammons also stated that the Padres may be looking at drafting Stephen Drew as Kahil Greene's eventual double play partner. I find that interesting because their #1 prospect just happens to be a second baseman. Josh Barfield, who is the son of former major leaguer Jesse Barfield, was the #1 ranked prospect in the Padres system coming into this year as well as the minor league player of the year in 2003 for their organization. He is currently a second baseman, so this talk about drafting Drew to play along side Kahil Greene is certainly a curious statement. Barfield is starting to show power as he hit .337, with 46 doubles, 16 home runs, and an amazing 128 RBIs last year. Not bad for a guy who does not turn 22 until December. In AA this year, he is off to a slow start with, but still has five home runs with 28 RBIs in 48 games. There have been statements about Drew and/or Barfield possibly moving to the outfield, but it just does not seem as the most logical pick for the Padres. However, if they feel that Barfield is ultimately suited for the outfield, they may just pull the trigger as they have some quality major league talent that is rather young as well as some minor league talent in the pitching arena.

    Oh, in case you are wondering, he was chosen in the 4th round of the 2001 draft which the Mets took Alhaji Turay and Corey Ragsdale before him. Hindsight is 20/20 of course but still interesting to look at.

    Update: Looks like the Padres are eyeing Drew. This draft is so unpredictable. It looked like Weaver was a lock for the #1 pick, and now the Padres are shaking things up.

    Who's on First? (minor league edition)

    It is getting hard to ignore the depth that the Mets farm system is suddenly developing at first base. There are some guys just flat out ripping the ball.

    It is surprising to me since it does not get much attention or is not looked upon as a position of strength. Some of the 1b prospects may be getting old for their respective levels of play, but I think that may have more to do with a lack of roster spaces for them on the levels above them than their actual talent level. My list is comprised of guys that have played 1b for a substantial amount of the year, but some do in fact have secondary positions.

    Craig Brazell is the most prolific homer run in the Mets entire system. The AAA first baseman is on his way to leading the minor league organization in home runs for his third consecutive year. He had a career .290 average coming into this year in professional ball. He is a guy that can hit for a decent average, pound out a lot of doubles, and hit the long ball. There is no reason why he would not be able to hold his own and produce on the major league level and contribute with 20+ home runs annually. The biggest knock on him is the fact that he K's a whole lot and does not walk very much at all. In 569 minor league games he has only managed 84 base on balls, which averages out to about 23 walks in a 162 game season. He is continuing to punish pitchers in AAA with 15 home runs and 34 RBIs in 49 games. If he can just learn some plate discipline, he would be quite a player. He still is a legitimate major league talent and he would not be the first guy to walk under thirty times and still be effective. Plus it does not hurt that he bats from the left side of the plate.

    Josh Pressley, who was acquired in the Rey Ordonez trade, is yet another 24 year old guy that bats from the left side for the Met. He is currently hitting .296, with 10 doubles, and 25 RBIs in 40 games so far this season. Unlike Brazell, he does not mind taking the occasional walk. He has 15 walks so far and has only struck out twenty times. The biggest knock on him is the lack of power that he has shown throughout his minor league career. The most home runs he hit was nine, and that was in 1999 in A ball.

    Brett Harper is a 22 year old picked in the 45th round of 2000. He is a 3b/1b who may play 3b primarily when Wright gets called up to AAA (hopefully soon). Baldiris just does not look ready at this point and Harper is simply hitting the cover off the ball. He was batting .347, with 7 home runs, 38 RBIs, 13 doubles, and 31 BBs in just 47 games. He was always a good hitter most of his minor league stops tallying a .300 average over 176 games. However, prior to this year he had five career home runs as a pro and has since eclipsed that in a significantly shorter amount of time. He just played his first AA game on May 28th and promptly got injured. The injury does not appear to be serious and he should be back in the lineup soon.

    Jay Caligiuri is yet another 24 year old first base prospect in the Mets system. He is not a lefty like the other ones for a change. Jay plays for the St. Lucie team is probably the lowest level prospect on this list. He came in to this year batting .283 for his career over 144 minor league games with a total of 12 home runs. In 2004 he has seemed to find his home run stroke as he has hit eight already in 30 games. He is definitely old for high A ball, but starting with Brazell at AAA it is really hard to see anyone moving anywhere soon with the exception of Bladergroen and Harper.

    Ian Bladergroen is probably number two on the depth chart in terms of who is the best first baseman prospect in the organization. Ian is a 21 year old lefty drafted in the 44th round out of community college in 2002 and really is proving to be quite a steal for the Mets. He is having a breakout year and proving that the low A ball pitching is not much of a challenge to him. In his first professional season for the Brooklyn Cyclones last year he hit .285 with 6 home runs. In 2003 he has opened a can of whoop ass on the league's pitching to the tune of a .339 average, 9 home runs, 17 doubles, 2 triples, and 49 RBIs. He is begging for a push up to the St. Lucie team and has certainly deserved it.

    Tyler Davidson is a 23 year old that was picked up out of the University of Washington in the 8th round in 2002 (a whole 36 rounds before Ian Bladergroen) and has seen some time in the outfield but plays the majority of his games switching between 1b and DH. He is currently on the Capital City roster sharing time with Ian where at the beginning of the year they where both menacing pitchers at a torrid pace. Tyler slid into quite a slump over the last month or so and has cooled off considerably to a .253 average, 4 home runs, and 26 RBIs. He is beginning to heat up again and should provide some huge numbers again this year as he did in 2003. In his first full season between the Kingsport team and the Brooklyn team he hit .330, with 11 home runs, 40 RBIs, and an astounding 8 triples. At 6-4 and 240 pounds burning out 8 triples is no easy feat. Being that Tyler just came out of school and is 23 playing in low A ball, he is definitely old for his league and really needs to come alive to regain the attention that he garnered last year in his pro ball debut.

    Four of the above mentioned players would be on track for 30+ homeruns if you average them out to a 162 game season with Brazell hitting 50+ over the course of a 162 game season. The depth at this position with power is a nice luxury to have. Brazell is technically considered the top 1b prospect, but that is more due to the fact that he is closest to ML ready and playing against AAA competition and putting up solid numbers. However, I believe that Ian Bladergoen has to be considered the 1b prospect with the best all around tools and the highest ceiling. His breakout year is opening a lot of eyes and is certainly putting up impressive stats. Brett Harper is certainly interesting in that he is one of the lesser known names when it comes to minor league prospects but is still relatively young and proving to be a capable and somewhat useful prospect as he can hit and play two positions. When he comes back from his injury it will be interesting to see if he picks up in AA where he left off in A ball.

    Monday, May 31, 2004

    Some Insight From Homer

    No, not Homer the poet and philosopher, but Homer Simpson.

    "I've seen teams suck before but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever did suck." - Homer

    I am going to continue to pretend that the Mets are still not beating themselves with costly errors, so I will focus on the positives:

    • Jason Phillips had two hits, which just happened to be homeruns and is ripping the ball right now looking like Phillips of '03 pre-baby

    • Wiggie picked up two hits, one of which was a homerun and is making consistent, solid contact

    • Piazza is continuing to punish the ball

    • Kaz has been consistently hitting

    • Milledge picked up another hit and is batting .326 in low A ball

    • Yusmeiro Petit is now 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA and begging for a call up to high A ball

    • Scott Erickson threw six shutout innings in his first rehab start for St. Lucie

    • Tyler Yates is adjusting well to the closer's role in AAA, striking out 2 in 1 inning

    • Victor Diaz is now batting .284 and had a homer and 5 RBIs yesterday, finally hitting like he should

    • Craig Brazell continues to impress despite never walking

    Howe made some strange decisions yesterday, but I am done picking on him. He does not have much to work with at this point with this injury riddled team. It is getting hard for him to put the best product on the field day in and day out. A fully healthy team with people producing and he does not look like an idiot. The lack of defense is doing the Mets in and they are taking themselves out of the game despite playing and pitching well enough to win. I am not by any means saying Howe has made the best decisions at all times, but he certainly cannot go out there and poke a double with the bases loaded and no outs, or make Cameron make contact with the baseball. He does not have the easiest job around at this point.

    Sunday, May 30, 2004

    A tale of two Seo's

    This year Seo is holding lefties to a .209 avg / .628 ops and righties are tagging him for a Helton-like .373 avg / 1.043 ops. Too bad there are many more righties than there are lefties. Righties hit him hard last year as well, hitting .291 against him, but his control seems to have gone to wayside too. His K/BB ratio is down from 2.39 last year to a horrendous .79 this year. His velocity is down as well. He used to be able to get his fastball into the 90's. The reduced velocity really makes his changeup a less effective pitch. I hope he figures this out soon.

    Rally Goggles

    Jason from Always Amazin' came up with the idea of the rally goggles. Not only are they extremely cost effective, so no one has an excuse for not buying them, it is a great idea. Can you imagine the sight of ten to twenty thousand people at Shea wearing goggles? I'm all for this idea. Go out and do your duty as a fan and get some goggles.

    Day to Day

    I am going to forget the last 3 games happened. Lost three in row to be two games under .500 and lost Floyd for a few games. He is day to day with what I hope if nothing serious. He walked off the field with a bit of smile, so I guess that means he is somewhat OK. The last two games we saw plenty of good pitching from the Met pitchers and a failure for the Met hitters to get a big hit when needed, which seems to be plaguing them somewhat this year. Trachs goes today and will hopefully continue being the best pitcher in the Majors since his first game. That is enough talk about the games of late, too depressing.

    On a good note, Lastings Milledge is batting .310 for the low A-ball Bombers. He is young for that league and seems to be holding his own. He is a five tool prospect that may prove to be a big steal for the Mets. He has only played a few games between this year and last year with a wooden bat. He seems to be making the transition fine and it is good to see him put up some numbers after being out so long as well with an injury to his hand.

    Jon Heyman thinks the Mets should get Ordonez if the Yanks get Beltran. Oh really? Thanks for the tremendous insight. He wrote this:

    Newsday has learned that Ordoñez's contract negotiations with the White Sox recently fell apart after he rejected a five-year, $70-million bid, exactly what he originally sought. Ordoñez now is all but certain to leave.

    Now I'm not sure if that is true, there is plenty of time for Chicago to add the fifth year, but I'm going to pretend that it is true for the sake of making these past few games a bit easier to take.

    The Journal News has an article on the draft basically echoing what we've been reading everywhere else, but is good to see a news paper give some ink to it.

    David Wright went a very Cameron-like 0 for 7 on Friday with 5 K's. No doubt one of his worst games in his life, but still was batting over .340 after that performance.

    Erickson looks like he is close to returning. It has gotten to the point where I am not sorry to see another option added to the mix if he is needed. That is scary.

    Off to drink beer and eat lots of food. Enjoy the weekend.