Back On Track
The Main reason I thought the Mets would have a shot at contending in the National League East this year, was their starting pitching. While it did not start exactly as originally planned with an injury to Steve Tracshel, the emergence of Aaron Heilman, and some other injuries to Kris Benson and Kaz Ishii, everything appears to be on track. The Mets starters have been sparkling for the last twenty games of the season. The Mets pitching has been giving their team a chance to win nightly and has been keeping them in each game.
I took the last four starts of each starter and compiled all of their stats.
Last 20 games:
Wins 9Met starters have given up one or less earned runs in eleven games, two or less earned runs in thirteen games, and three or less runs in fourteen games. The gave up four earned runs three times, five earned runs one time, and seven earned runs one time. Only once in the last twenty games has a Met starter given up more earned runs than innings pitched.
HR Allowed 9
Avg. Inn/Start 6.5
In only two starts did Mets pitchers fail to make it through six complete innings. Met starters went at least six innings in eight games, completed or topped seven innings six times, and completed eight innings three times.
They have done all that with having their second or third best starter in the bullpen and having to replace Steve Traschel, who is on his way back from surgery. I can safely say the Mets could field the best one through eight rotation out of any team in the Major Leagues when Steve returns. To those people clamoring for Barry Zito or any other starting pitcher on talk radio, the papers, or the internet, you are nuts. The Mets would be extremely ill advised to send any talent away for starting pitching or the bullpen for that matter. A meat of the order bat to play first base is another thing. Save your chips to see if you can pull of that deal for that.
In the end, some players fulfill their potential and some do not. Actually, most do not. If organizations knew in the beginning what they later find out about the players, they could sure save a lot of time and money.
Having been a general manager, and knowing some of the mistakes I and other GMs have made, it made me wonder what a draft would look like if teams actually had the crystal ball and could make their choices again, forgoing the mistakes and selecting only major-league players.
Here is how I would see the first round of the draft playing out this year if teams were able to pick players currently in the major leagues with the idea that they wanted to be successful using a five-year plan (this is the exact order in which the actual draft will take place):
At first, you think he might be looking back at old drafts to see what players were passed up for players who flamed out and never became anything. That would be interesting so you can see who the Mets passed up by making Jason Tyner their first round pick, but interesting is not one of Steve Phillips main reasons for writing his article. As near as I can surmise, the main reason for writing this piece was wasting people's time. The article was a draft for which team would pick which Major League star if they could.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Alex Rodriguez, SS
He has the most homers ever by a hitter before the age of 30. He will go down in history as one of the most prodigious offensive players ever to play the game. The good news from the day of the draft is that he will be a "real Diamondback" despite never being a "real Yankee." By the way, I would draft him as a shortstop.
2. Kansas City Royals: Albert Pujols, 1B
3. Seattle Mariners: Miguel Tejada, SS
4. Washington Nationals: Johan Santana, LHP
5. Milwaukee Brewers: Pedro Martinez, RHP
He can go by his first name only, which automatically means he's a star. When Pedro pitches, it's an event. He brings energy and enthusiasm to the ballpark. The Dodgers traded him to the Expos early in his career because they thought he was too slight and couldn't log enough innings. Now we know better. He is pitching like he has at least several good years left.
7. Colorado Rockies: Vladimir Guerrero, OF
8. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Bobby Abreu, OF
9. New York Mets: Chipper Jones, 3B
Considering he named his son Shea, it is only appropriate that the Mets select him. Hey, employ the "if you can't beat him join him" philosophy. He is the NL version of Derek Jeter, and he has power. He is an RBI machine. Thirteen consecutive division titles only happen when you have stars and leaders. He is a leader of leaders and a star of stars.
10. Detroit Tigers: Derrek Lee, 1B
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Manny Ramirez, OF
12. Cincinnati Reds: Tim Hudson, RHP
13. Baltimore Orioles: Derek Jeter, SS
14. Cleveland Indians: Roy Halladay, RHP
15. Chicago White Sox: Carlos Delgado, 1B
16. Florida Marlins: Brad Lidge, RHP
17. New York Yankees (from Philadelphia Phillies): Eric Gagne, RHP
18. San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy, RHP
19. Texas Rangers: Carlos Zambrano, RHP
20. Chicago Cubs: Carlos Beltran, OF
This young guy is just heading into his prime, and he has all of the tools. He's a very good all-around player, and he's getting better. You can close your eyes and dream of 30/30 or 40/40 or 50/50, his tools are that good. He has the unique blend of speed and power, and he just needs to improve his rates (batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) to go higher.
21. Oakland Athletics: Ichiro Suzuki, OF
22. Florida Marlins (from San Francisco Giants): Mark Prior, RHP
23. Boston Red Sox (from Los Angeles Angels): David Ortiz, 1B
Anybody nicknamed Big Papi must be a first-round pick. He has a flair for the dramatic and delivers in the clutch seemingly at will. He plays his best in big games, and that's a special trait to have. He is a power-hitting leader with charisma. People stay in their seats to watch him hit.
24. Houston Astros: Gary Sheffield, OF
25. Minnesota Twins: Aramis Ramirez, 3B
26. Boston Red Sox (from Los Angeles Dodgers): Roy Oswalt, RHP
27. Atlanta Braves: Adam Dunn, OF
28. St. Louis Cardinals (from Boston Red Sox): Mark Teixeira, 1B
29. Florida Marlins (from New York Yankees): David Wright, 3B
This kid has all of the makings of a star. He has the tools and the skills to be a power-hitting Gold Glove third baseman. He just needs experience. He has unique patience for a young hitter. Plus, he has that special twinkle in his eye and a humility that is uncommon with greatness.
30. St. Louis Cardinals: Joe Mauer, C
At least if you are going to do it, draft people that actually make sense for the teams. The Mets draft Chipper Jones when they have David Wright instead of the guy right behind him who the Mets needs a bit more than a aging, injured star? Also, good thing the Padres drafted their own player.
He not only has a pointless piece on ESPN, but it is in the pay portion of the site. Is this really part of their value added experience of ESPN.com? His continual lame attempts at humor came close to exceeding the pointlessness of his article. Things would have been a lot better if he just decided to rank the top thirty players in the game and gave his explanations of why they transcend today's game. I cannot believe this guy was a GM and I once called him a genius.
Lastly, when is he going to stop tying his name to the Mets? He ends his pieces with this:
Steve Phillips, a former general manager of the New York Mets, is a regular on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.
Can't the Mets sue him to remove any affiliation with the team even if "former" is included?
9. Mets: Mike Pelfrey, rhp, Wichita State U.
Boras advises the top three pitching prospects in this draft in Pelfrey, Hochevar and Hansen. Pelfrey is looking for the same kind of contract as the others, and he looks like the only one of the three who won't have to drop down in the first round to get it. If he does prove too rich for the Mets, they'd turn to Bruce. GM Omar Minaya was poised to draft Townsend last year while with the Expos, but has backed off after Sunday's workout at the Mets' spring-training complex.
The buzz is that Cameron Maybin drops past the Mets and they pass him up and Troy Tulowitzki may be falling as well, though the Rockies like him enought to not give the Mets a shot at him. Both are top five talents and both would be people I covet more than Pelfrey. Here is the Metropolitans draft board as I like the players.
1) Justin Upton
2) Alex Gordon
3) Troy Tulowitzki
4) Cameron Maybin
5) Craig Hansen
6) Ryan Braun
7) Jeff Clement
8) Ricky Romero
9) Jay Bruce
10) Ryan Zimmerman
11) Mike Pelfrey
The Tigers are very interested in Pelfrey. You want him? Send us over Uggie Urbina for our awesome set-up man Mike DeJean and the Mets will be more than happy to let him drop and choose someone else.
Progressing nicely? HE'S THERE!!!
Piazza called talk of retirement "premature." But a major-league executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity guessed that Piazza would retire. Asked about Piazza being a DH, the same exec said, "He's not hitting well enough right now to be a DH in the American League."
Ladies and Gentleman, the Yankee mystique has left the building.
- Norfolk beat Rochester 1-0 behind a Rodney Nye homer and a solid Neal Musser pitching performance.
- Hagerstown lost to Lexington 7-4, but Mike Carp went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and his second homerun in as many days. He now has 15 homers and 42 RBIs. Don't look now, but he is on track for 35+ homers and 100+ RBIs. At 19, he has to be regarded as a solid prospects at this point
- St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach 8-5 and Phil Humber looked pretty bad with an 8 hit, 8 run, one walk, and one strikeout line in 1.2 innings. He has a 6.50 ERA and an 0-5 record. Nobody press the panic button yet, Humber has not been particularly sharp after his injury, but we all need to temper our expectations on his arrival date at Shea, but he will straighten it out.