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

Friday, February 18, 2005

Sex Sells....and Steroid Scandals Do Too

Jose is laughing (or shooting up) all the way to the bank. Bloggers, radio talk show hosts, and other media types urged the public not to buy the book and put money in Jose's pockets, but not many people listened. Amazon.com has the book listed as it's 3rd best seller. I cannot figure out why people say do not buy the book. There is really no evidence to support his information as fiction. Classic "he said, she said" problem. What if Jose really does have something to say? Canseco has done a lot to tarnish his credibility and the fact that he says he was blacklisted from baseball instead of admitting his diminished skills certainly do nothing but fuel the speculation he has a bone to pick with baseball as a whole.

Apparently he said Miguel Tejada was on the juice as well. However, Ozzie Smith has a some good thoughts to add into the entire fiasco.

"...As a fan I sit back and I say everything he says can't be true, everything can't be a lie either, so where there is smoke there's fire and baseball is a point right now where it really has to find itself," he said. "...It really has to answer some serious questions. ... Just deal with it and get it over with ... This thing is going to get a lot uglier before it gets any better....If it is a deterrent, it's a deterrent that says if in fact you are caught, you're out. ... That is a deterrent. ... To say the first time you get ten days or the second time you get 30 days, it still leaves room for people to try it and you know if in fact you leave it open that way somebody is going to try it."

My only problem with what Ozzie said is that it's hard to take someone like this...

...too seriously. Yup, that's Ozzie

* * *

ESPN had it's top 100 fantasy seasons of all time listed out, and for those of you without ESPN Insider, here's the highlights.

20. Sandy Koufax, SP, 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: 27-9 record, 1.73 ERA, 0.985 WHIP, 317 K, 323 IP
19. Hack Wilson, OF, 1930 Chicago Cubs
Stats: .356 AVG, 56 HR, 191 RBI, 3 SB, 146 R, 585 AB
18. Walter Johnson, SP, 1912 Washington Senators
Stats: 33-12 record, 2 SV, 1.39 ERA, 0.908 WHIP, 303 K, 369 IP
17. Babe Ruth, OF, 1931 New York Yankees
16. George Sisler, 1B, 1920 St. Louis Browns
Stats: .407 AVG, 19 HR, 122 RBI, 42 SB, 137 R, 631 AB
15. Pedro Martinez, SP, 1999 Boston Red Sox
Stats: 23-4 record, 2.07 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 313 K, 213.1 IP
14. Babe Ruth, OF, 1926 New York Yankees
Stats: .372 AVG, 47 HR, 146 RBI, 11 SB, 139 R, 495 AB
13. Ty Cobb, OF, 1911 Detroit Tigers
Stats: .420 AVG, 8 HR, 127 RBI, 83 SB, 147 R, 591 AB
12. Ken Williams, OF, 1922 St. Louis Browns
Stats: .332 AVG, 39 HR, 155 RBI, 37 SB, 128 R, 585 AB
11. Jimmie Foxx, 1B, 1932 Philadelphia Athletics
Stats: .364 AVG, 58 HR, 169 RBI, 3 SB, 151 R, 585 AB
10. Sandy Koufax, SP, 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: 26-8 record, 2.04 ERA, 0.855 WHIP, 382 K, 335.2 IP
9. Lou Gehrig, 1B, 1934 New York Yankees
Stats: .363 AVG, 49 HR, 165 RBI, 9 SB, 128 R, 579 AB
8. Babe Ruth, OF, 1923 New York Yankees
Stats: .393 AVG, 41 HR, 131 RBI, 17 SB, 151 R, 522 AB
7. Walter Johnson, SP, 1913 Washington Senators
Stats: 36-7 record, 2 SV, 1.14 ERA, 0.780 WHIP, 243 K, 346 IP
6. Babe Ruth, OF, 1927 New York Yankees
Stats: .356 AVG, 60 HR, 164 RBI, 7 SB, 158 R, 540 AB
5. Lou Gehrig, 1B, 1927 New York Yankees
Stats: .373 AVG, 47 HR, 175 RBI, 10 SB, 149 R, 584 AB
4. Lou Gehrig, 1B, 1931 New York Yankees
Stats: .341 AVG, 46 HR, 184 RBI, 17 SB, 163 R, 619 AB
3. Rogers Hornsby, 2B, 1922 St. Louis Cardinals
Stats: .401 AVG, 42 HR, 152 RBI, 17 SB, 141 R, 623 AB
2. Babe Ruth, OF, 1921 New York Yankees
Stats: .378 AVG, 59 HR, 171 RBI, 17 SB, 177 R, 540 AB
1. Babe Ruth, OF, 1920 New York Yankees
Stats: .376 AVG, 54 HR, 137 RBI, 14 SB, 158 R, 458 AB

Barry Bond’s 2001 season was 26th, which kind of shocked the hell out of me. Pedro stopped in again at #30. Dwight Gooden was the highest Mets at #34.

34. Dwight Gooden, SP, 1985 New York Mets
Stats: 24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 268 K, 276.2 IP
Yet another player who wasn't struck by the "sophomore slump," Gooden actually improved upon his 1984 rookie season, in which he set a new rookie strikeout record. In 1985, he wound up winning the NL Triple Crown as well as the Cy Young award, leading the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts and finishing second in WHIP. Gooden also had 16 complete games and eight shutouts, numbers that now seem virtually unreachable.

All that and he was 20 years old. Really, just a shame what happened to him. I know we've all heard it a million times, but he was special. Tom Seaver was the 2nd and last Met at #76.

76. Tom Seaver, SP, 1971 New York Mets
Stats: 20-10 record, 1.76 ERA, 0.946 WHIP, 289 K, 286.1 IP
A three-time Cy Young award winner, Seaver's best fantasy season came in 1971, a year where he finished as the runner-up to Ferguson Jenkins. Seaver finished second in the NL in wins, but that was primarily the result of a Mets offense that averaged just 3.63 runs per game that season. He led the majors in ERA and WHIP and was third in strikeouts.

Piazza did make the list too, obviously not as a Met though.

93. Mike Piazza, C, 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: .362 AVG, 40 HR, 124 RBI, 5 SB, 104 R, 556 AB
The second and final catcher to make the top 100, Piazza finished second in the NL MVP voting in the best year of his career in 1997, to a player you'll also find in the top 100. Piazza finished in the top 10 in the majors in batting average, home runs and RBI, and he batted 38 points higher and had 10 more homers and 38 more RBI than any other backstop. Most will tell you this was the best hitting season by a catcher in baseball history; fantasy owners certainly won't disagree.

Yeah, that season was #93. Needless to say, there were some pretty good players all over that top 100 list if .362 with 40 homers and 124 RBIs gets you #93.

Since Canceso's name has been peppered all over the news, might as well let you know that he too was on the list for his 40/40 season.

60. Jose Canseco, OF, 1988 Oakland Athletics
Stats: .307 AVG, 42 HR, 124 RBI, 40 SB, 120 R, 610 AB
The combination of power and speed is a rarity in a baseball player, and there might not be a better asset in fantasy baseball than a 40/40 man. Canseco would become the club's charter member in 1988, leading the majors in homers and RBI while finishing 12th in stolen bases. He earned American League Most Valuable Player honors, but at least his fantasy owners didn't have to stomach his 1-for-19 World Series performance.

* * *

  • Anyone have some extra money burning a hole in their pocket?

    There is no other way to commemorate one of the worst collapses in baseball history.

  • Holy ticket price. I was perusing the Pirates site for ticket information as I'll be going out to PNC Park to see the Mets whoop some Pirate ass and this is what I find. You can get some pretty damn good seats for $26 to $35 dollars and outside of the $100+ dollar seats, they are pretty cheap. I always knew media revenues were a big problem, but I forgot about the lower ticket prices. The Mets average ticket price is over $25 and the Pirates probably have 90% of their tickets at and mostly below that price. There is also a whole lot less bling in their ticket plans than the Mets, which is an added plus. Platinum & Gold? Was that really necessary? Aluminum might get added next season for the really, really bad games.

  • A big part to Kaz's success with the bat is simple.

    Keeping his head down and on the ball. How many times, mostly from the right side, was Kaz pulling out last year. Sometimes he even looked like a cartoon character from bugs bunny after he swung, missed, and spun around. You almost thought he'd drill himself right into the ground at some points.

  • Kazuo Matsui, moving from shortstop to second base, said he spent 20 days in Japan practicing his new position and arrived to spring training Thursday to begin more intensive instruction. ... Francisco Campos, a right-hander who had two victories in the 2004 Caribbean World Series, is on loan from Campeche in the Mexican League in a bid to make the Mets.

    Like Pedro is out to prove something, Kaz is too. I would assume no one is unhappier with his results last year than him.

  • Mets get a loan from Mexico...

    RHP Francisco Campos has been loaned to the Mets from Triple-A Campeche of the Mexican League. If Campos doesn't make the big-league club, he must be returned to Campeche. . . .

    Another guy into the mix. I think the Mets can now officially make a 25-man roster out of only relievers. Last time I said that, they only had about 22 relievers.

  • From BP's Triple Play...

    Who's on first? Now we know...: When the Carlos Delgado domino finally fell, the losers in the sweepstakes did the expected, acquiring Doug Mientkiewicz from the Red Sox. In return, the Sox picked up first-base prospect Ian Bladergroen. Bladergroen hit a sharp .342/.397/.595 in low-A last season before tearing a ligament in his wrist. In his two-year minor league career, the 44th-round pick out of Lamar Community College hit .316/.376/.505; he projects as a power hitter with decent plate discipline. The Sox did well capitalizing on the Mets' desperation and getting good value for an expendable player.
  • Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Shortstops Around the Infield

    Before the 2004 season, Jim Duquette preached pitching, athleticism, speed, youth, and defense. Then they went into the season with two starters that were 38 years old and one that was 36 years old, a plan to put Iron-mit-Mike at first base with Ty Wigginton’s bad range (yes, I know he tried hard), Cliff Floyd in left, a decent fielding two headed monster in right, and Ricky Gutierrez at second base due to Reyes's injury.

    They did upgrade vastly in center and thought there were getting a slick fielding shortstop in 2004, but things did not work out too well for Mets as both played below what was expected of them in the field. In reality, it was a two year program. An overhaul of team to attain the above goals could not have happened in one off season and Reyes' injury contributed to part of the problem while Duquette knew Wright was on the horizon. This season they've seemed to attain the goal for the most part. This 2005 infield has a shot to be really good. They can possibly be one of the best in the major leagues, if not the best infield. They can also rival the 1999 infield in my opinion.

    John Olerud
    Edgardo Alfonso
    Robin Ventura
    Rey Ordonez

    Alright, maybe they will not be as good, but they certainly have the skills to be just as good and it comes down to Reyes and Wright maturing. This infield is however, far more athletic than the one in 1999 in my opinion and Doug can certainly match Olerud, while Wright should be expected to put up better than a .980% and should have a better ZR, while Reyes should fall short of Ordonez, he should be pretty damn good, and the wildcard is Kaz right now. He'll never give you Alfonso type defense, but it is not out of the question for a .980 FLD% . You will also have three guys who can play shortstop and one guy that JP Riccardi called a shortstop playing first base. Can it really get much better than that right now in terms of infield defense?

    David Wright played shortstop in high school in the not so distant past and while shortstop is worlds away in the majors than it is in high school, he's got SKILLZ. The kid has been heralded by Baseball America has having Gold Glove ability and we all know he has the work ethic to be the best he can be. He did not exactly exhibit great range last season and made a quite a few errors, but it was his first time getting his feet wet as a 21 year old kid in the majors. Anyone that watched him has no doubt of ability with the glove. Jose Reyes is electric in everything he does, and fielding is no different. He could have the top arm in all of the majors when it comes shortstops and his speed and range are great. A little more experience and this kid will be the cream of the crop in terms of defensive shortstops and it will be extremely hard to get a ball by him. Between him and Wright on the left side, the only groundballs getting by Reyes will be to the right side of the second base bag and I hear Kaz is pretty quick over at second base. We all know Kaz's woes at shortstop last season and he committed more errors in 113 games in the field than he did in any season in Japan. To me, that that screams anomaly. Kaz had a sub .975% fielding percentage in only two of his nine years in Japan and one year was his rookie year. You can raise questions about him being able to field on grass, not charging balls, diving, etc., but fielding should translate to the US game. Perhaps the biggest weakness in Kaz's game was his lack of arm strength. It proved accurate when he had time to set up, but when he was rushed, that was a problem. Balls bouncing to first or slightly off mark happened all too often. I don't have the splits on throwing vs. fielding errors, but Kaz's switch to second will neutralize his biggest weakness in his noodle arm. Can he turn the double play? Sure, why not? He won Gold Gloves in Japan and is obviously a skilled player as was said to be one of the top shortstops in the world before he was on the Mets. As for Doug Mientkiewicz, there is no need to get into his fielding prowess. How many full time first baseman that are not utility guys would have the coaches vote of confidence to play second base or third base? I'd say probably only Doug. Sure you can count the innings on one had, but he was there and the guy's skill is not questioned.

    The Mets are younger, faster, and more athletic in the infield and it could be the best in the Majors by seasons end with four shortstops around the infield. With the improved infield and two centerfielders in the outfield, Tom Glavine can finally keep his eyes open after the ball is hit.

    * * *

  • Keith Foulke professes his man-crush on Pedro:

    "He was a well-liked guy on the team," Foulke said. "Some of his antics helped pull us through a long season. Stuff like that, a lot of times, you can't replace. You can probably go out and replace his record but his presence on the mound and the stuff he does behind the scenes, that's tough to replace. The guy came in and busted his tail and got ready to pitch.

    "When he wasn't pitching, he was the same every day. He came in being a goofy little 8-year old. I'll miss him. I don't think he's a prima donna one bit. Anyone in that locker room could go talk to him and ask him for anything and he was more than willing to help you out. If you wanted to talk pitching to him, he was right there. Especially earlier in the year when I was struggling a little bit, we talked quite a bit. I don't think he was a prima donna one bit, actually."

  • Is Reyes ready?

    "Everybody can watch me and him," Reyes said. "This year is my year."

    He thinks so. Reyes was the only reason I was watching games in 2003. The team was so bad, but he was a bright spot, like Wright was last year. If Reyes can stay healthy and squeak out 30 walks (seems like I'm asking a lot here) the Mets will be a good team and the offense will move.

    If anyone's interested, he has a 53 injury free game streak between last season and winter ball.

  • Alay Soler's agent speaks out:

    According to Cubas' e-mail, "In late December, a Cuban passport was delivered to my office purporting to be Soler's passport that he had obtained through his own efforts and family members in Cuba."

    Cubas had doubts about the passport's authenticity and wrote, "Soler confirmed that this passport did not belong to him but belonged to a family member and had been 'doctored' for Soler to use. I immediately informed Soler that I would not be a part of any intentions on his behalf to enter the United States with a fraudulent passport."

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Sports agents have become people with utmost honesty and credibility. I am 100% sure you were doing the right thing.

  • Not only does Reyes believe in himself, but he believes in Kaz:

    "The hardest thing at second base is turning a double play," said Reyes, who took part in an optional workout yesterday. "He's going to get it, because he's in great shape. He's an athletic player. He moves a lot. He's going to be fine

    Get this kid a skirt and pompoms. Could Omar have two better kids in Reyes and Wright to build this team around?

  • Isn't Bloomberg a Mets fan? After seeing Al sitting next to Bloomberg in Yankee Stadium I cannot help but not miss him more. Traitor.

  • During a game last July 24, Rodriguez reacted to being hit by a Bronson Arroyo pitch by screaming toward the mound. Catcher Jason Varitek responded by yelling at A-Rod, "Hey! We don't throw at .260 hitters. Shut the [bleep] up and take your base." That precipitated a brawl in which Varitek shoved his mitt into Rodriguez's telegenic mug.

    Classic Tek. That's worth the $40 million extension on it's own.

    What? Me slap? Never...but if I did, it was a great play that I'd do again.

    Jeter is staying far away from Nixon's comments to A-Rod:

    "That's between them," Jeter said of the Nixon flap. "I have nothing to do with that one. That's Trot and Alex."

    But wasn't Jeter offended by the brazen swipe taken at his fellow infielder?

    "Alex will be here soon," Jeter said. "Ask him if he's offended by it."

    As if Keith Foulke:

    "That has nothing to do with me," Foulke said yesterday. "Honestly, I don't know anything about what they said, I don't read the papers, I don't watch 'SportsCenter.'

    "So therefore it doesn't concern me.

    "I'm not saying anything about another player in the league. I'm definitely not getting into a verbal war with a guy who's probably a lot smarter than me."

    Smart move guys. I'm smelling a brawl this year with the Yankees and BoSox.

  • Jed Lowrie and John Mayberry Jr. are off to some solid starts. Lowrie is hitting .361/.429/.750 with four homeruns and 12 RBIs. He's averaging a homer every 9 at-bats. Mayberry is hitting .343/.452/.629 with three homers and 14 RBIs.

  • Ryan Zimmerman has yet to show some pop whatsoever failing to get one extra base hit in the first four games. He's hitting .385/.500/.385 with four RBIs.

  • Jeff's Clement is off to a bad start despite his team going 4-0. He's hitting .231/.375/.308. That Rey Ordonez-esque SLG% certainly will not last long.
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Build It

    With the Marlins new stadium basically a reality, I'm left to wonder, why not the Mets? Since 2000, the Marlins have drawn 6,318,990 while winning a World Series and drew less than a million people in 2002. The Mets on the other hand have drawn 12,743,248 people since 2000 and are no where near a new stadium. The Marlins have a hard time becoming relevant even after a World Series victory in Florida and will receive a bump in attendance without a doubt with a new stadium, but will it be sustained? The Mets now occupy the worst stadium in baseball by popular consensus. Worse than football fields turned into baseball fields, which says a lot (Shea was a baseball field built to allow football games). Sure public money is always better spent on things like schools, hospitals, fireman salaries, the homeless problem, feeding hungry kids, etc, but if every other city can get a new stadium, why not the biggest metropolis in the US of A? Baseball brings things back to the community like sales tax on millions of tickets and millions of dollars, income taxes on players who make a little bit of change, provides jobs for people, provides wholesome entertainment, provides a haven for men to get away for their wives or girlfriends, provides business for surrounding areas, etc. People opposed to stadiums like to twist it so that new stadiums are a complete sunk cost which is untrue. Does it cost the city? Yes, but a lot of the difference is made up over time. The city does reap benefits from sports teams and makes money off their existence and have been making money off their existence over the years. Every once in while, it is necessary to give back in my opinion. This is one of those times that it is necessary. Wilpon has the network on the horizon so he can kick in more money than he could of ever kicked in and he's bringing in the players. The Mets can have the house that Petey built or the house that Wright built.

    The Marlins were in the World Series in 2003. One of the local channels up here was asking people on the street in Miami who was in the World Series. Some said the Yankees, some had no idea, but one thing was constant. They had no idea the Marlins, the team in their own backyard, were in it. Sure the TV station could have completely misrepresented the people down there and took whatever interviews they wanted to portray town that does not care about baseball, but the attendance numbers seem to back it up. If the Marlins, Brewers, Pirates, Astros, Padres, etc. can get new stadiums, why not the Mets who have a dedicated fan base that shows up to see a losing team. This needs to get done and needs to get done soon.

    After the Yankee's get their new stadium, Shea will only have Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Dodger Stadium as the only structures older than theirs. Dodger Stadium was redone and is actually nice. Fenway and Wrigley have nostalgia, and Shea has big neon baseball players. I know what you are thinking. What's more NYC or Broadway than obnoxious neon? I say smart money is that the neon ballplayers will never come back into style or have any charm. The bottom line is that Shea stadium has been around for too long. I like going there, but when I went to Coors Field and Camden Yards it made me truly see how bad Shea really is. You go to other fields and it is not just a game, but it's an experience. It is much more fun and entertaining. At Coors people are around hours before game time inside and walking around. Going to the batting cages, speed pitch, etc. A new Stadium will truly equal increased revenue streams for the Mets unlike a lot of other teams for the main reason of big business in their back yard. Corporate sponsors, luxury boxes, and season tickets are the name of the game and NY can supply that while other markets cannot. A new stadium will help the Marlins out as much as it helped the Brewers, which is not much. Baseball has a long way to prove it's important in South Florida and until it does, I have a hard time believing a new Stadium will help out. However, it's very important to NYC win or lose. A new Stadium for the Mets can be a win win for the team and the city.

    * * *

  • Pitchers and catchers report today. However, my sources inside the Yankee organization tell me that Jeter and A-Rod have been "pitching and catching" all winter. I wonder who exactly was the catcher?

  • Pedro has been working out vigorously in preparation for this upcoming season.

    His workout consists of lifting five pounds over his head

  • ..and arm wrestling Koo

    ...and tossing fat men.

    Really, I could not be more excited to see this guy pitch. He looks like he's out to prove something. Anyone else see a HUGE year from Pedro coming? Anyone remember what happened the last time the BoSox thought a HoF pitcher was done at 33?

  • Said Galarraga: "I want to help the team, not only when I'm playing. I can help the team, telling my teammates what they're doing good and bad, like another coach."

  • "When Gary was called to the grand jury, he told them that he was using a cream that the grand jury then informed him was steroids. Gary has long been opposed to any type of performance-enhancing drugs."

    What that really means is that he has been opposed to any type of performance enhancing drugs except while HE was on them. Just thought that may need some clarification. I'm always against cheating too when I'm not actually cheating myself.

  • Trot give us a ton of great quotes:

    The Red Sox [stats, schedule] right fielder was put off by the way Rodriguez recently boasted about how the Yankees third baseman's early morning work-out regimen started at 6 a.m. and lasted six hours.

    "He said he's doing all this while 600 players are still in their bed," Nixon began." I said, "What's wrong with me taking my kid to school? I'm not a deadbeat dad, you clown."

    "I work out for three hours in the weight room, and I hit for another two or three hours (later in the day)," continued Nixon, the father of two infant boys. "What makes you so much better?"

    The clown reference came up again, when Nixon talked about reading what Rodriguez was going to do the next time he hit an infield dribbler intercepted by a Sox pitcher.

    "He said the next time, (instead of slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo [stats, news]'s hands) he's going to run him over," Nixon said. "It's like, OK. You're a clown."

    A clown who apparently is not cut from the same cloth as some of his Yankees brethren, according to Nixon.

    "I'm not going to talk about him. He's a great athlete, he's a great competitor," Nixon said, backpedaling a bit before sticking his foot back in, "but ask my opinion, if you look at the Yankees, who am I looking at? It's (Derek) Jeter. I don't know if that rubs him the wrong way, or not. He doesn't care what I think. I know that."
  • Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    College Prospects, Part V (Wrapup)

    College guys are a tough bunch for us normal people to get a solid grasp on without Baseball America and scouts giving us information to read up on. Usually, casual fans have to rely on stats most of the times to evaluate players since they obviously cannot get the chance to watch every player on field, on TV, etc. In 1997, on a UCLA team with Troy Glaus and Eric Byrnes, Eric Valent scored 74 runs, had 98 hits, 91 RBIs, and smashed 26 homeruns. Valent then Hit .345, 7 HR, and 34 RBIs for Team USA. He was a highly regarded outfield prospect, but he obviously pan out the way people thought he would. Obviously any top prospects can fail, but gaudy numbers in college have little to do with future success thanks to aluminum bats. The top hitting prospect in the country may hit .330/.400/.500 with 17 homers while a guy who hits .400/.490/.600 with 25 homeruns may not be considered a very good major league prospect at all.

    There are a few guys that are locks to be taken into the top 10 barring any drops due to an injury or signability concerns like Alex Gordon, who is considered the best hitter in the nation and happens to be lefty bat, Luke Hochevar, who has plus pitchers across the board, Mike Pelfrey, and high schoolers Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin. The Kansas City Star brought up John Mayberry's name as a potential candidate for the for the Royals in the #2 which could quite possibly benefit the Mets, though he may also be a good fit for them.

    Boras is becoming an ever growing presence in the draft as he did last year. Scott is 'advising' top talents Mike Pelfrey, Luke Hovechar, and Tyler Greene. Throw into the mix the idea that Stephen Drew and Jared Weaver might get a chance at being drafted yet again. Both fell to the mid first round amid signability concerns and rightfully so. They are STILL not signed while whoever passed them up have signed their first round pick and their concerns were well founded. I think Drew will end up getting inked, but if he falls, he is the only Boras client I would want and he would be the tops on my list overall.

    With the Mets having only one pick until round number four, not that I'm complaining....I like what they got that lost them the picks, they need to make this one count. A guy like Mark McCormick is an intriguing pick with upside, but he could either turn out to be the best pitching prospect in the draft or another Bobby Jenks (not saying he'll have the head problems). I think the Mets need more certainly in the guy they draft this season in the first round. Obviously no pospect is a sure thing and more will fail than succeed, but there are guys who are safer picks than others. A prospect with a potential big reward but a large chance for failure is a bad idea with the Mets current need to bolster the minor league system on one pick in the first three rounds. If Gordon, Maybin, or Upton fall to the ninth spot by some miracle, which there is just about 0% chance they will at this point, or Stephen Drew is miraculously available, the Mets would need to lock whoever falls into their lap up ASAP and draft them. Outside of them, my top five choices would be:

    1) Jeff Clement
    2) Stephen Head
    3) John Mayberry Jr.
    4) Craig Hansen
    5) Ryan Zimmerman

    The Mets lack a few things dearly in their system. They lack left handed power, plate discipline, first base prospects, impact middle infielders, and an outfield masher. The Mets can knock out a few of those with one pick.

    Jeff Clement has prodigious power and the ability to take a walk. He plays a position where if you get .270 with 12 and 60 RBIs, you are very happy. He has the ability to hit 30+ homers and drive in a 100+ while walking close to 100 times. You can buy and outfield bat or first bat more readily than a left handed power hitting catcher. If he's there, you have to take him.

    Stephen Head owns a sweet lefty swing and while he has not hit for big power, scouts have no doubt that he will. He owns decent plate discipline and is an athletic person who has a great arm. He pitches in college and would have no trouble turning double plays and could possibly even move to the outfield. He's just want the Mets need and he may be able to start hitting right away. He's a guy that could be as close as two years away.

    John Mayberry Jr. is another guy who plays first base and could play the outfield. Like Head, he's athletic but he is a right handed bat. He projects to have more power than Head, but not necessarily an all around better hitter.

    Craig Hansen's 20.5 K/BB ratio and his 16.77 K/9 at the Cape is good enough to make hitters run scared. He has two major league pitches and if he can develop a third this season, seeing him play for a major league team opening day 2006 is not out of the question.

    Ryan Zimmerman is the best pure hitter out of the bunch and possibly in all of college baseball. He's got gold glove talent at third base, but not much power. He's a good enough a fielder that he can possibly move to second base if his power never develops. His skills despite the lack of power may be too much to overlook.

    The Mets need to make this draft pick count and they can get something very good at their pick. This draft may not be able to match some drafts in previous years for players that are future superstars, but there is talent well into the second round that is not far off the early first round talents. The trick will be picking the guy who will end up being the real deal.

    * * *

  • Maddox from The Best Page in the Universe did his pick for the eleven worst songs of 2004. Good stuff...good stuff.

  • Another reliever? It's getting to the point where is virtually no chance to get a good look at everyone. I'm sure they have a pretty good handle on who they on who they want to bring into the season with the team and they are going to let a bunch of guys fight for one or two spots and see who wants to be insurance at AAA like Bottalico did last season. But I've said it before and I'll say it again. James Baldwin had a sub 1.00 ERA in Spring Training and they are going to have trouble finding all these retreads innings. Omar is trying to break some sort of non-roster invitee record on relievers.

  • "He's just got such great instincts," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "He's one of these guys who, if he had to play another position, he wouldn't be stuck. He's like having a shortstop playing first base."

    One thing I am looking forward to this season is watching Doug play first base. I love watching defense and pitching more than offense. Give me a pitcher's duel with some spectacular plays in the field any day. (Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting his possible sub .400 SLG is something I'm looking forward too....but since he's here, the defense is something great to watch.)

    He has not let go since...

  • Gammons has a good piece out. If you missed it, read it. One thing that stuck was Dan Kolb's K rate. He struck out 21 guys for a scary 3.30 K/9 down from 8.49 in 2003. Now, he's still got good peripherals all around and obviously has been tremendous in 2003 and 2004, but it's nuts. That's good for 593rd out of every guy to step on the mound in 2004.

  • From the NY Post:

    The early vote for the Met who has changed the most from last season? That would be Bell, the righty reliever who dropped approximately 30 pounds this winter. Bell, who often rollerblades to and from the Met complex in St. Lucie (that's a 16-mile trip total), doesn't think he has lost any velocity.

    "I think I have a really good shot. The way I feel, the job is mine," he said.

  • Shot of the day:

    The end result is the 22-year-old Wright gained muscle and dropped body fat — the latter was 9.2 percent at season's end and is now down to just over eight percent. Or a fifth of Kirstie Alley.

  • Jon Litner's job is already hard.

    Jon Litner, chief operating officer of the NHL and a former ABC Sports programming executive, was named president of the Mets' regional sports network yesterday morning. Two hours later, he said he "had a list of people I need to call."

    On the list, Litner said, was James Dolan, Cablevision's chief executive, whom he must persuade to carry the 24-hour channel, which will broadcast 125 Mets regular-season games and other sports events when it launches in the spring of 2006.

    As chief operating officer of the NHL since 1999, Litner said he didn't have "a personal relationship" with Dolan, who oversees the Rangers, but rather "a cordial and professional one."

    Good luck with all of that. Tell us how it works out.

  • The Feds throw baseball under the bus.

  • No one is safe...

    Jose Canseco's new book focuses largely on steroids, but the retired slugger couldn't resist hurling a few non-steroid-related insults at former Oriole Cal Ripken.

    "I can just throw up watching the total phonies go to work, guys like Cal Ripken or Alex Rodriguez; everything out of their mouths sounds like it was tested by some kind of focus group beforehand," Canseco writes of the two shortstops.

    A-Rod? Phony? No way....I just won't believe it.
  • Monday, February 14, 2005

    College Prospects, Part IV

    Here's the last crop of prospects that I'm going to look at....


    Wade Townsend should be a little rusty come the time he resumes baseball activity after he’s drafted in June, but BA thinks he’ll ebe hungry and close to Major League ready. Townsend Works in the 87-91 range and can pump it into the mid-90’s though he used to be able to dial it up into the high 90’s earlier in his college career. Townsend also posses a nasty curveball and as one coached pointed out, if he can ever refine a splitter or a changeup as third pitch, he’d be untouchable. Well, he was basically untouchable throughout his college career as his .183 BAA supports.


    Statistically, Townsend had the best college career out of himself, Humber, and Neiman. He went 25-3 in 290 innings with 363 K’s, 12 homers allowed, only 192 hits allowed and a 1.052 WHIP. He posted a 6.0 H/9 innings for his career and never struck out less than 1 man per inning and topped 11.00 K/9 in his last two years. BA had said that out of the Rice trio, Townsend was the “most competitive and ‘spits fire’ every time he goes to the mound”. In 2003, he was named as the best prospect in the Cape Cod League by scouts. At this point, he may project better as a closer and a pretty damn good one at that. If he falls to the 8th spot, he may be too good to pass up for Mets and they just may end up taking Rice pitchers with their first pick in back to back years.

    * * *
    SS: TYLER GREENE Georgia Tech

    Tyler Greene is the other big named shortstop along with Troy Tulowitzki. Both are projected to be taken into the top 10 but Green is a better fielder and Tulowitzki projects to be the more offensive shortstop. While he made 11 errors in 65 games in 2004 and 16 errors in 32 Cap Cod games, he’s still regarded as having Gold Glove caliber skills.


    "His arm's a plus and his speed's a plus--there's two right there," an NL scouting director said. "The bat is still up and down, and up for debate. The question was 'How much bat?' out of high school, you liked his defensive tools. Now all of sudden his bat's better, and he made 16 errors. He's got all the tools, it's just a matter of putting it together."

    Green was named the best professional prospect in the Cape Cod League after hitting .295/.413/.424 with 1 homer, 13 RBIs, 21 BBs, and 43 K’s. You have to like patience he has show thus far walking a combined 52 times in 96 games in 2004, but his 111 K’s in 96 games is a bit scary. He’s obviously got time to cut down on that, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Overall, Tulowitzki sounds like the better prospect in my mind for the simple fact that he’s a good fielder, though not great, with more potential with the bat. However, Greene is rated ahead of him and rated the #4 prospect in all of college baseball. Keep in mind though, he is being “advised” by Scott Boras so whoever drafts him should start thinking major league contract at this point.

    * * *

    SS: TROY TULOWITZKI Long Beach State University

    If Troy is drafted by the Mets, he would be the second Dirt Bag drafted by the Mets in two season and he would join Steve Traschel as another ex Dirt Bag playing for the Mets. Allan Simpson from BA has described Tulowitzki as a good hitter…for a shortstop. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Nowadays, shortstop is not exactly the light hitting position that it used to be.


    According to BA, Tulowitzki reminds plenty of scouts of his predecessor at Long Beach State, American League rookie of the year Bobby Crosby, because of his above-average power potential and flashy major league actions. That is not exactly a bad thing in my book. For Team USA in the summer he hit .299/.355/.519 , 4 hr (tied for 1st), and 18 RBIs (2nd) in 77 at-bats. However, out of 25 games played (20 started) and amassed 7 errors. The Mets worst position in terms of depth and complete lack of any prospect at any level worth much is excitement is shortstop. Except for Jose Reyes, the cabinet is bare. If the Mets make a pickup of Tulowitzki, it would not necessarily be a bad one. Yes, Reyes is the resident shortstop, but if he fails to keep healthy or does not prove to be the electric superstar that everyone thinks he can be, the Mets have nothing in the system. If Reyes works out, Tulowitzki can move to second base or whatever, but strengthening a position of weakness with a guy who projects to have solid power is not the worst thing I can think of.

    * * *

  • Baseball Prospectus' stat of the day is the project VORP of NL centerfielders:

    Jim EdmondsSLN54.0
    Carlos BeltranNYN51.6
    Andruw JonesATL39.2
    Wily PenaCIN29.3
    Milton BradleyLAN27.1