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

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

They Still Don't Have a Leadoff Hitter

Darryl Hamilton, who has some issues and still has a hex on the Mets from an unceremonious breakup, was listing issues why the Mets have a lot to do before they can be considered serious Wild Card contenders. One of them was that they still do not have a leadoff hitter. Huh? If my job was to talk about baseball all day and my show prep was to read up on games, players, etc. I think I might have taken notice that Jose Reyes has been on fire.
          R 2B 3B RBI BB SO  SB  CS  AVG  OBP  SLG
Last 60 42 9 4 25 8 22 27 5 .296 .316 .360
Last 40 33 5 3 19 8 14 18 3 .311 .341 .373
Last 20 19 4 2 9 4 6 11 2 .374 .400 .462
I love people perpetuating something that is simply wrong. I like Darryl Hamilton despite the fact he has a hex on the Mets, but c'mon. Too many radio show hosts mail it in and set their mind to something earlier in the year or just hear someone else perpetuating a false fact and run with it. Fact is Jose Reyes has been on fire since the All-Star break and all of July and August. That is not exactly a small sample size. How a baseball show glazes over that fact for a team three games out of the All-Star break is nuts. Who needs show prep anyway?

Of course he cited some other reasons like the streakiness of Mike Piazza, the lack of production by Carlos Beltran, and the bullpen. The Mets seemed to have found a winning combo with sitting Piazza bit more and getting Castro into the game and despite a recent bullpen blowup, which was helped along by some short outings, they have been more solid than people really give them credit for. Beltran is another story and his struggles have been well documented, but he has been playing a bit better and stinging the ball.

I look around the Wild Card race and I see the entire NL East, with the exception of the Braves (who should have more holes with all the injuries), and everyone has just as many question marks. The Mets are one game out of second place in the NL East and one game out of second place in the Wild Card race. After winning 15 of 17 games, the Astros have dropped three of four. The Astros were on an incredible hot streak and will not keep that up. With the Mets facing the Padres, the Dodgers, the Pirates, the Nationals, the Diamondbacks, and the Giants in the next six series, they could be poised for an impressive run of their own. There is no question the Astros are the favorites as their top three starters have hit their stride, but they are just not deep one through five. The Mets are very much in this no matter how down I was on the team after the left Houston. The Mets have thrown it all away when they work hard and get close, but if they can manage to keep the goodwill going in San Diego and against the Dodgers, it will go a long way to prove they can win on the road after all and close the gap some more.

* * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norwich beat Binghamton 7-5. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 5 with a two runs scored, his first AA homerun on the season, and he was also caught stealing.
    • St. Lucie beat up on Brevard County 11-3. Andy Wilson went 2 for 4 with an RBI, Jamar Hill went 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs, Aaron Hathaway continues to hit and went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, Grant Psomas went 1 for 2 with two RBIs and two walks, and Brahiam Maldonado continues to hold his own and went 1 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
    • Lexington beat Hagerstown 10-4. Corey Coles, Carlos Gomez, and Ambiorix Concepcion got all of Hagerstown's hits and went a combined 5 for 12 with two homers. The rest of the team went 0 for 18. Gomez went 2 for 4 with three runs scored, a homer, and a walk. It was his eight homer of the year and he also stole his 51st base on the year. Concepcion went 1 for 3 with his fourteenth homer on the year and two RBIs.
    • Brooklyn beat Mahoning Valley 6-2. Joseph Holden went 1 for 3 with two walks and a run scored, Jonel Pacheco went 1 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs, and Josh Peterson went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, two homers, and two RBIs. Kevin Tomasiewicz, who started the game for the Cyclones and pitched well, is going to give Douggie Eyechart a run for his money in most misspellings of his name category.
    • Kingsport beat Burlington 10-6. Joan Martinez went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, a double, a homer, and four RBIs and Jose Mateo went 1 for 3 with two runs scored, a homer, three RBIs, and two walks.
    • The GCL Mets beat the GCL Marlins 3-1. Parris Austin went 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs.
  • Steve Trachsel will start Thursday for AAA Norfolk with an eye to return back to the Mets rotation the following week. At the very least, if Seo pitches a solid game against the Dodgers, the Mets might as well let both pitchers throw the following week to give Pedro and extra day of rest. With the season coming to a head, giving Pedro little extra rest might go a long way.

  • "I like my teams to have a feel for the situation. You don't want to raise robots and tell them everything. I thought about that going into Colorado and I said, 'You know what, if I have to tell these guys that we need to start playing and be better, then we are not going to be the team we want to be.'

    "I try to stay away from things like that. I always trust my guys if you want to be a champion, if you want to be the best, you have to know what the situation is."

    Obviously everyone knows the object is not to lose, but sometimes they need to be reminded. Once again, these are not the Yankees and they may very well need some Lou Pinella type motivation.

  • Anthony Rieber is excited about the return of Kazuo Matsui.

  • Anderson Hernandez is getting some ink again after slumping for a while.

    Mets second baseman Anderson Hernandez has been on fire recently at Triple-A Norfolk. Over the last week, the 22-year-old Dominican is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with five stolen bases. Since being called up from Double-A Binghamton, Hernandez is hitting .314/.368/.425 in 153 at-bats.

  • Buster got some Yankee fan's panties in a bundle.

    cd (nyc): David Wright, the next Jeter?

    Buster Olney: cd: In some ways, he's going to be better than Jeter -- more power, the type of guy you can hit third in a lineup. We'll see if he gets the post-season chances that Derek has had, but it's unlikely. Really, really nice player...

    I think this is fairly obvious observation since Jeter is not exactly a prolific offensive player. Jeter will pile up hits and runs, but other offensive categories are not going to look that special. However, obvious things tend to fly over Yankee fans heads.

    josh (edison,nj): David Wright is going to be better than Jeter? Are you serious? I think you've been paying too much attention to sabr types.

    Buster Olney: Josh: In some respects, yes, he's got potential to be better than Jeter. He'll hit for more power, he'll be more selective. Will he go into the Hall of Fame, like Derek almost certainly will, if he gets 2,500 hits? Who knows if he'll stay healthy.

    Ah, back to the intangibles. By Josh saying he was paying too much attention to SABR types, he was actually saying that with Jeter, his greatness is beyond the stats. Let's get this straight, Jeter is a heads up player in a day that does not have many of them. We live in a day of Manny being Manny and people more concerned with offensive stats for their next contract rather than winning. Jeter is a heads up, smart player. However, so is David Wright and Wright has the potential to out hit Jeter when all is said and done and be better than him in certain respects.

    Tyler (Baltimore): Did you just infer that Jeter doesn't have Hall of Fame credentials yet?

    Buster Olney: Tyler: yes, I think he's got more work to do, but not a ton of work. He doesn't have 2,000 hits yet; he'll probably go past that mark next year...

    Uh oh. Did some just infer that Jeter might not a Hall of Famer if he retired today? Derek should not be a Hall of Famer in any capacity if he did not play beyond 2005. Sorry. If you went to the Hall on guts and doing the right things, David Eckstein should write his speech for his induction after he retires.


    Joe Benigo, New York: Joe Benigo from WFAN. Will the Mets trade for Manny Ramirez after the season.

    Buster Olney: Joe: If that's you, welcome... Yeah, I do think they'll trade for him in the off-season, when they've got more time to put together a deal. And I'm convinced that when his name hits the waiver wire (if it hasn't already), the Mets will put in a claim. Almost certainly, at that point, the Red Sox will withdraw Manny from waivers. The Mets were ready to pick up $45 million of his salary last week, so $57 is hardly overwhelming, especially because in a waiver claim, they wouldn't have to shed a single prospect.

  • The great Steve Phillips weighs in on Carlos' struggles.

    isaac (ny): Hey Steve, I was wondering your opinion on the Mets. What is wrong with Beltran, he is certainly not playing like the 119$ million he was signed for. Also, shouldn’t Pedro’s name come up in the NL Cy Young talks, he is 12-3, leads the league in K's, and the Mets bullpen has blown 3 or 4 games for him. Thanks again Steve

    Steve Phillips: I'll take the easy one first ... Yes, Pedro's name should come up. But Clemens and Carpenter have been slightly more dominant. As for Beltran, he is suffering from Shea Stadium-itis. It's a common disease that hits first year position players in NY. He will play better in the future. He is not the guy who hit 8 HRs in the postseason last year, he's' the .284 career hitter, 25 HRs, 100 RBI, 30 RBI, etc. He is a good player, not a great player. The Mets overpaid for what he is. But he is still an important player to the organization.

  • I learned it by watching you!