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

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Drop and Give Me One

The "struggling" Matsui upped his average to .280 with a .333 OBP. Still no power, but he is gaining his confidence slowly and the Mets should be able to see that part of his game follow. As of now, Kaz is on pace to play 141 games with only seventy seven strike outs in 534 at-bats. Last season, he struck out ninety seven times in 460 at-bats. He seems to be improving in that area, and that is a definite good thing. Although I'm not blaming the Mets loss last night on Reyes who's OBP is not at .267, would it kill Willie to drop him to the seventh spot until starts to do things the Mets need him to do? With Matsui heating up, putting him in the 1st spot with either Mienky or Wright batting 2nd should be a viable option. Don't get me wrong. With Reyes on pace to hit 49 doubles, smash 21 homers, and steal 28 bases, I want him in the mix up top. However, these are all grown ups. When Hideki Matsui was struggling in 2004, he was dropped to the seventh spot to gather himself and it turned out to be the best thing for him.

Of course you try and worry about player's confidence, but that is the managers job to make him understand he did not lose his place in the lineup. Make him understand it is his, but they just need him to work on things and to do that, put him in a position in the batting order where is it less magnified. Running a team should be based less on worrying about who's feelings are getting hurt and more on winning all games. Though Reyes ranks 52nd in batting average, Jose ranks 92nd of all qualifying players in OBP out of 101. He is joined by Aaron Miles out of those 101 players to not have at least one walk.

I keep going back to it because it is frustrating. I can live with a guy who gets OBP at a .280 -.300 clip on my team that gives us much as Reyes does all around, but not batting 1st.

* * *

  • The Mets doubled the amount hits that the Nationals had and the Mets stranded twenty three runners on base compared to only five by the Nationals. Seo pitched well, but gave up three mistake pitches in allowing three solo homers. He pitched better than his line would indicate and the Mets were not producing when they had chances. It took Met pitchers 109 pitches to complete this game and Nationals pitchers 157 pitches to complete that game. By looking at that stat, who would you think had won 5-1?

  • Cliffy is 4th in the NL in batting average, tied for 3rd in homeruns, tied for 6th in RBIs, and 6th in OPS. Strangely enough, he has yet to actually have an extra base hit besides a homerun.

    Overall, the Mets have three guys in the top thirteen in OBP.

  • First it was Wilson-Phillips last season, and now it's Cameron-Diaz this season. I think it's clear which provokes the gag reflex upon hearing it and which invokes that, uh, special feeling.

  • From Mets.com:

    Benson sharp in rehab: Kris Benson, who's been on the disabled list since Opening Day, pitched Friday night for the first time since Spring Training. The would-have-been No. 3 starter worked three flawless innings in a Class A Florida State League game, pitching for the St. Lucie Mets against Jupiter. Benson, who tore a pectoral muscle in March, struck out four and threw 36 pitches.

  • Yusmeiro Petit was solid last night. He threw 65 pitches, gave up two hits (one homer), one run, walked none, and struck out six in five innings.

  • The Mets lost three straight and turn to Victor Zambrano to stop the skid. You can pencil this win in tonight for the simple fact that VZ is due.
  • Friday, April 29, 2005

    All Overpaid List

    Fox Sports had listed the top 100 salaries in baseball in 2005 a bit ago. I looked at some of the most overpaid players last year, but it never ceases to amaze me what some players are getting paid to seriously under perform due to lack of skill, injury, etc. Must be nice to be a ballplayer, no?
    Rank Player          Team    Salary
    5 Mike Mussina Yankees $19,000,000
    7 Jeff Bagwell Astros $18,000,000
    11 Kevin Brown Astros $15,714,286
    13 Chan Ho Park Rangers $15,000,000
    15 Mike Hampton Braves $13,503,543
    16 Jason Giambi Yankees $13,428,571
    23 Preston Wilson Rockies $12,500,000
    25 Bernie Williams Yankees $12,357,143
    28 Darren Dreifort Dodgers $11,400,000
    30 Mike Sweeney Royals $11,000,000
    44 Tim Salmon Angels $10,150,000
    49 Phil Nevin Padres $9,492,689
    60 Bobby Higginson Tigers $8,850,000
    63 Jose Contreras Chi Sox $8,500,000
    63 Sidney Ponson Orioles $8,500,000
    89 Edgardo Alfonzo Giants $7,500,000
    98 Geoff Jenkins Brewers $7,333,333
    total $220,229,587
    This list was excellent in showing you what teams are able to purchase and afford premium talent and how much premium talent. The only two teams not to have a player in the top 100 highest paid player list were the Indians, who just missed with Kevin Millwood, and the Devil Rays, who have any player making over $5,000,000.
              # of          Total        Average
    Players in Cost of Cost of each
    Team Top 100 those players Player

    Yankees 11 $155,507,336 $14,137,031
    Red Sox 7 $73,556,820 $10,508,117
    Astros 5 $70,714,308 $14,142,862
    Mets 5 $56,616,799 $11,323,360
    Cardinals 5 $52,965,509 $10,593,102
    Angels 5 $50,650,000 $10,130,000
    Phillies 5 $50,016,667 $10,003,333
    Cubs 5 $42,666,667 $8,533,333
    Braves 4 $51,512,082 $12,878,021
    Dodgers 4 $45,500,000 $11,375,000
    Orioles 4 $44,656,206 $11,164,052
    Mariners 4 $40,929,000 $10,232,250
    DBacks 4 $34,958,333 $8,739,583
    White Sox 4 $33,250,000 $8,312,500
    Brewers 2 $15,333,333 $7,666,667
    Giants 3 $37,687,500 $12,562,500
    Padres 3 $26,555,692 $8,851,897
    Tigers 3 $24,850,000 $8,283,333
    Rangers 2 $22,500,000 $11,250,000
    Reds 2 $18,165,692 $9,082,846
    Rockies 2 $25,100,000 $12,550,000
    Athletics 2 $19,071,429 $9,535,715
    Twins 2 $17,000,000 $8,500,000
    Royals 1 $11,000,000 $11,000,000
    Blue Jays 1 $10,500,000 $10,500,000
    Nationals 1 $8,000,000 $8,000,000
    Pirates 1 $7,750,000 $7,750,000
    Marlins 1 $7,500,000 $7,500,000
    Interestingly enough, seven of the top ten teams on my above list made the playoffs in 2004. Only the small market Twins were able to sneak through without four players in the top 100 salary list. Once again, you can tell me money does not buy championships and wins, but it sure helps. If you cannot afford some premium players, its hard to consistently make the playoffs or make the playoffs at all in any given season. It really makes what the Twins and A's are able to do absolutely astounding.

    * * *

  • Jeff Pearlman’s book "The Bad Guys Won," the biography of the '86 Mets, was released in paperback yesterday. It's cheaper and updated for any errors and such. Send an email to Jeff @ thebadguyswon@yahoo.com if you find any errors in the book or email him about anything else you want to, including naked pictures of your girlfriend or your wife. And…um….you can um, send those to me too.

  • Cablevision creates alcoholics. People are being forced to go drink and socialize at bars if they want to watch Mets games without going to the stadium. Oh the humanity.

    Oh, and James Dolan is a petty jackass who runs his business like a five year old kid. Your Metro channel is completely worthless so stop trying to sell it and Fox Sports and MSG will join the Metro channel as being worthless next year. You should be happy with whatever anyone gives you.

  • Maybe Sandy Alomar should help out Kaz.

    "Cliff was going crazy," Alomar said. "The players who really need this book are the ones who have trouble with their confidence or are affected in a negative way by what people say about them. The biggest mistake these guys can make is to try to please everybody. They have to be independent and please themselves."

  • From the NY Post:

    Kazuo Matsui has hit .348 (8-for-23) during a seven-game hitting streak that has raised his average from .234 to .271.

    Not much power there, but he'll start slapping doubles like the Straw used to slap hookers back in the 80's.

  • Also from the Post:

    Pitching match ups for the Nationals series: tonight, Jae Seo (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (2-2, 5.34); tomorrow, Victor Zambrano (1-2, 5.64) vs. RHP Zach Day (1-2, 5.09); Sunday, Aaron Heilman (2-2, 4.68) vs. RHP John Patterson (2-1, 0.98).

  • Petey has a slight man-crush on Diaz.

    "It's unfair to compare him to Manny. At the same age I'm pretty sure they were similar. I think he has the potential that Manny has. He runs pretty much the same. The fielding skills are there. I mean, he's probably going to be better than Manny in the outfield. He's smart, too. Once you get him to understand his role and how he needs to approach the game, get him to mature - he's only, what, 23 years old? Boy, oh boy."

  • ESPN's Power Rankings is showing the Mets some love. They are listed at #13 right behind the Yankees at #12 and for half the money.
  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Slippery Slope

    "I'm not going to go all season without a walk," Reyes said after the game. "I don't want to lose my aggressiveness, but I'll take a couple of walks. You'll see."

    I am of the opinion that the Mets will not win much this season with a leadoff hitter that gets on base with a .310 OBP, which looks pretty good when presented with Reyes' .271 OBP. Reyes clearly needs to walk more, but it is a tough spot for anyone. Trying to adjust and get more discipline is a tough thing to do during the season. That was what Spring Training should have been for. However, due to Reyes' injury history and the need for him to prove he is healthy, he was up there going 100% and taking his hacks and running all over the field. One thing Jose can do is stop swinging at curveballs in the dirt. That is one logical progression in the right direction that probably will not impact his game much. The kid rarely hits them and swings at them about 100% of the time.

    I cannot fault him for his approach in the pre-season and his all out play, but the Mets really do have a problem and not in the good way like trying to figure out what to do with Victor Diaz when Mike Cameron comes back. Asking Jose to make adjustments now at such a vital spot in the order could lead to him getting on base less, thinking too much, and completely floundering. If the Mets do happen to ask Reyes to work on any part of his game and take pitches, he needs to be dropped in the order. Batting leadoff is no time to experiment with anything. The Mets should address this carefully and should have addressed this with Reyes during the Winter Leagues and Spring Training. Willie's approach to Reyes at this point is the right one if he intends to keep him in the leadoff spot, which is debatable whether or not that is the right for the Jose and the Mets right now. One curious thing about this situation is that Wright was going to have to earn his chops, but Reyes does not. Both are young and inexperienced, and although Wright seems to be a much more seasoned and productive hitter, Reyes is the one with the free pass because of what the Mets want him to be, but is not right now.

    * * *

  • How about the Mets better than expected offense so far? The Mets are ranked 12th in the majors in BA, 10th in runs, 14th in OBP, and 10th in SLG. In the NL, the Mets are ranked 4th in runs, 6th in BA, 7th in OBP, and 5th in SLG.

  • Can lightning strike twice? Jae Seo takes his sparkling 1.50 ERA to the mound to keep the Mets over .500. If Heilman can win two games, anything can happen.

  • From NJ.com:

    With his home run against Mike Hampton in the fourth inning of the Mets' 8-4 loss to Atlanta yesterday, Floyd extended his hitting streak to 14 games. He's batting .358 in that span with 12 runs, five homers and 15 RBI, and is fast approaching his own career-best hitting streak of 18 games.

    Floyd's homer against Mike Hampton was a laser out of Shea. Cliffy's $6.5 million is looking like a great bargain this year so far.

  • We all thought the Mets bench was improved, but at this point, they are automatic.

    Mets pinch hitters are batting .484, the best mark in the major leagues.

    That is not going to continue, but Marlon Anderson looking like Teddy Ballgame off the bench works for me.

  • Jose Reyes has a higher SLG% than Carlos Beltran .438 to .437.
  • Things I Learned While I Was Away

    April 11th started a string five consecutive series that the Mets have not lost. Met fans have not had to endure a losing series since the first two of the season. Tom Glavine will be turned to keep the streak alive against the Atlanta Braves and Mike "The Schools are Better in Colorado" Hampton, who has been downright nasty this year. According to NJ.com, Tom Glavine, has a 1-6 lifetime record and 8.76 ERA (36 earned runs in 37 innings) against the Braves. Hey, at least Chipper will be out of the game.

  • Danny Kolb is no John Smoltz. Shit, Danny Kolb is no Braden Looper at this point.

  • Reyes' play on Monday made every shortstop in the MLB cry with jealousy. What an injustice it would have been if Reyes did not get awarded back the SS position.

  • Cliffy needs to bat 4th daily.

  • I think it is safe to say David Wright is done slumping.

  • The day might have come, when Mike Piazza bats 6th. It happened to Sammy Sosa in '04 and it it should happen to Piazza this year unless he turns it on fast.

  • Johnny Estrada needs a few high and tight ones.

    Everyone Else 43 3 4 .186 .255 .256 .511
    The New Mets 17 3 5 .353 .421 .529 .950

    He is becoming the new Met Killer. Something needs to be done about him getting a bit too comfy.

  • Aaron Heilman may just be useful after all.

  • Victor Zambrano is a wild man. He is used to working out of jams in Leiter-like fashion for his relative success in the past, but his .337 BAA, 2.01 WHIP, and 5.64 ERA are ugly. The good news is he can only get better. The bad news is, it might not be much better. Either way, I've already filed the Zambrano deal under bust and I've been holding out for while. Kazmir is holding his own at 21 years old with a 3.68 ERA, .241 BAA, and 1.41 WHIP and while I never thought the trade would even out in the end, I thought Zambrano would be really, really good for the Mets this year. He still might be good, but in a good rotation, Zambrano would never make it past being a third starter and that simply is not enough value in return.

    * * *

  • Willie is denying any of that personal catcher business.

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck chances are it is a duck. But Willie Randolph said that's not necessarily so.

    For the third time in Pedro Martinez's last four starts, Juan Castro -- and not Mike Piazza -- was the starting catcher last night against the Braves. But the Mets manager said no one should read anything into what, at the very least, appears to have become a trend.

    "That's just the way it falls," Randolph said. "I told you earlier I wasn't going to get into that personal catcher thing. Coincidental, I guess. If he was healthy tonight, he would have played."

  • After Heilman's miraculous turnaround (or seemingly miraculous turnaround) Royce Ring may be next.

    Royce Ring figured the call would come. Just not this soon. "I figured I'd need a good first half to give myself a chance," said the lefty reliever who arrived yesterday from Triple-A Norfolk. "It was a little earlier than I thought it would be. I'm real happy. Overwhelmed." Ring, 23, was recalled late Monday night after the Mets designated reliever Mike Matthews for assignment. In seven games for the Tides, Ring allowed one earned run and seven hits while striking out seven and walking three in nine innings.

    A once highly touted closing prospect, Royce lost a few MPHs on his fastball and some skill. It looks like he may have adjusted himself and put himself back on track. Maybe he's finally figured out how to pitch with a loss in velocity, but whatever it is, it's working.

  • Brian Banniser and Brett Harper are still on BA's Prospect Hot Sheet.

    3. Brian Bannister, rhp, Mets (Double-A Binghamton)
    One of three minor league pitchers with a 4-0 record (and yes, we know W-L is a bad way to judge pitchers, but yes, all three of them are on the hot sheet), Bannister also gave up his first run of the season in his last outing, and now sports a 0.42 ERA and a 26/5 K/BB ratio in 21 innings. Not bad for a guy who entered the year with a career record of 12-11, 3.72 in 40 games.

    So he's accrued 33% of the wins that he totaled in 40 career games in four games in 2005 for those of you keeping score.

  • Baseball Prospectus continues to rate the Mets highly. They enter in at #8.

    Victor Diaz's insane week (.409/.552/.909) vaults him into VORP top 10. Pedro Martinez continues to dominate NL hitters: 29 IP, 11 hits allowed, 4 walks, 38 strikeouts, 2.17 ERA, 99.8 pitches per start. These aren't Art Howe's Mets.

    Diaz in the top 10 VORP? Not to bad for a kid who was tabbed for AAA.

    CBSportsline is starting to give them some respect by checking them in at #12.

    Surprisingly one of the more potent offenses in the NL of late. Their 99 runs scored are No. 2 in the NL entering Tuesday's games.

  • Rob Neyer ran down some interesting stats about Coors Field.

    1. Zero
    The number of 1-0 games played at Coors Field in 10-plus seasons?


    Granted, these days the 1-0 game is an endangered species everywhere. But the Rockies have played in nine 1-0 games since moving into Coors. Just none of them at Coors. And 2-0 games? Only two of those in Denver.

    Meanwhile, Coors Field has hosted 103 games in which both teams combined for at least 20 runs. And on May 19, 1999, the Rockies and Reds set a (still-standing) major-league record by combining for 81 total bases. The Rockies lost that one, 24-12. But their real problem has always been losing road games. And as long as people like me are making lists like this, they're going to keep losing too many road games.

    Scary stuff. I guess Mike Hampton did not research baseball stats and pitcher's success there like he did schools, which are great in the Denver area in case you've not been made aware of that information.

  • I think we all know Jim Duquette will be a good GM one of these days, but he never got the chance to at Shea. His Diaz move is certainly helping his resume and if Royce Ring can contribute, that will only help his cause more.