A Look at Lastings
The one and only Jake in Norfolk wrote an article on Lastings Milledge for Portfolio Weekly.
Even though the link he thought was to my site takes you to Ace Auto Glass, it is the thought that counts. Overall his article is a great read though he had a tough time cracking Milledge for some quotes. He did however get some great information from Tony Tijerina and Howard Johnson that gives us a lot of insight to Milledge since Lastings himself was not helping Jake's cause out.
"He’s great," Johnson said. "He’s got a real knowledge of what he’s trying to do as a hitter. For a young player that’s pretty rare. He’s got an idea of what he wants to hit, and what pitchers are trying to do to him. Really, that’s kind of what my job is at this level is to help him recognize patterns and what pitchers are trying to do to him, how they’re setting him up from at-bat to at-bat, to try to get him ready for the big leagues…. One thing I can say about Lastings that he is off the charts with is that you can fool him once with a pitch, and you’ll rarely fool him twice, but you’re never going to get him three times…. He’s got a very quick bat, a short stroke, and he attacks the ball in the strike zone."
You always hear about New York teams needing to not only get guys with talent, but the right personalities that enable them to handle the big stage in the biggest sports town. Lastings seems like he is up for the challenge.
"One thing about him that separates him from probably 99 percent of the guys," Johnson continued, "is that he will turn it up a notch competitively. The bigger the spot, the bigger his focus. He’s able to get real quality at-bats. It doesn’t always end in a base hit but you know you’re going to get the best shot right there. Whenever it’s a big spot for us, he’s a guy you definitely want up there.
You can tell by the way his coaches were gushing about him that this kid is indeed special.
Awesome stuff Jake.
As for Lastings and his play of late, it has been leaving a lot to be desired. However, muliple baseball experts said Lastings needed to go through a stretch like this to make him a better player down the line. "Let the improvements Milledge is making sink in, and give him some time at Norfolk. He is not going to hit .400 all season, so he needs to go through a slump and work through that," said Matt Meyers of Baseball America during a chat. A slump was what he needed to get better according to most and a slump is what he has. Now he just has to work out of it.
Milledge through the first thirteen games of the season:
AB R 2B HR RBI BB SB SO HBP AVG/OBP/SLGMilledge through the next thirteen games of the season:
44 9 6 1 4 6 3 7 4 .386/.491/.636
AB R 2B HR RBI BB SB SO HBP AVG/OBP/SLGMilledge through the last thirteen games of the season:
45 6 1 1 2 12 4 7 3 .311/.483/.378
AB R 2B HR RBI BB SB SO HBP AVG/OBP/SLGMilledge carried over a 1.000 OPS for a while during this season and he started off at such a blistering pace, anything else was going to be a huge disappointment, but he has tailed off significantly. Despite him dropping off, there are still plenty of positives. If you take out his hit by pitches and just focus on his walks, he put up an ISoD of .065 in the first third of the season, .145 in the second third, and .119 in the last third. He might not be hitting, but he is maintaining an impressive walk rate. Furthermore, he scored the most runs out of any third of the season during his worst stretch of games. Even though he is not hitting, he is still contributing to his ball club.
44 10 6 2 4 7 1 18 4 .136/.309/.295
As of last night, Milledge was batting .278 and his average has only been .278 or below for four games this season not including last night. Being that he has played in 39 games, that is nothing short of amazing and he still owns a .866 OPS and .429 OBP. Now is not the time to get sour on the kid because he still has shown a lot even when he is slumping. The mark of truly great and valuable player is how they contribute to their team while they are slumping and Lastings has still been doing his part. He kind of reminds me of Carlos Beltran in that way because Beltran has shown us a lot of those traits too. Milledge just sat for the first time the other day to give him a rest and it is only a matter of time before he gets started again.
Steve Popper has Floyd covered here.
Beware of Lima Time: their NL East lead has dwindled to a single game as the Mets have lost five of seven since activating Jose Lima (9.31 ERA and 19 baserunners in 9.2 innings). Even with a rotation decimated by injuries, Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya refuse to consider Aaron Heilman for a start. Heilman's part of a bullpen that's third in the NL in Reliever Expected Wins Added (3.304), which is worth something, but with the way this team is dredging up starters, expect Minaya to start fawning over scouting reports on Dwight Gooden from the Florida Prison League soon.
Beware of Lima Time! indeed and we get to see him at least one more time. Of course the Mets have exactly zero options outside of Aaron Heilman at this point so it is hard to criticize keeping him in there for now, but you can certainly criticize how they got to this point. Injuries aside, there were gambles taken and they were lost.
The Mets dropped to eighth and one spot behind the Yankees on CBSSportsline's Power Rankings.
The rotation showed its vulnerability last week on a tough road trip. Things won't get any easier at St. Louis and vs. the Yankees this week. This stretch is a rest test for them.
But to totally discredit them, the Phillies are listed at number two. NUMBER TWO!!
I knew there was no way Lima Time! was human.
This seriously explains a lot.
Next Thursday, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo will call the Mets' game on WFAN as part of a special promotion for charity.
Let's see. Two guys who hate the Mets calling a Mets game. Was Michael Kay not available? I'm just curious how WFAN sees this as a good thing. You'll have these two idiots making up facts throughout the entire game and no doubt mentioning the Yankees no less than twenty times.
UPDATE: I'm a dumb piece o' shit. I forget the Mets were actually playing the Yankees when I wrote that, so yes, the Yankees should get mentioned pretty often. That is going to be one biased broadcast though.
"We owed him this win," said Lo Duca. "He arguably could be 8-0."
With this tough stretch of nine games they are in, the Mets are looking to go 5-4 in a perfect world. So far, they are 1-0 with four more wins to go.
Game #1: Jeremi Gonzalez vs. the Big Unit
Gonzo has a 5.40 ERA, .263 BAA, and a 1.00 WHIP with one game under his belt this year and the Big Nasty has a 5.13 ERA, .265 BAA, and 1.31 whip. As a team, the current Mets are batting .231/.293/.312 against him, but they have done pretty well against him in the past as a franchise. They do not have Joe McEwing and his Big Nasty owning skills aboard anymore, but I think they will manage and this game is hardly a lost game and could be a very high scoring affair.
Game #2: Pedro Martinez vs. Mike Mussina
Pedro is Pedro. He has been susceptible to the long ball this year, but I would choose him ten times out of ten in a big spot. This season, Mussina is having a great year. He has a 2.56 ERA, .222 BAA, and 1.01 WHIP with a 6-1 record. Mussina has about 100 different pitches and as a team, the Mets are batting .214/.266/.424 gainst him. Not pretty and a few runs should win this.
Game #3: Tom Glavine vs. ????
Really, I think Glavine is going to pick them apart. He gave up three runs last night but how he handled Pujols was so impressive, I have all the faith in the world that he will put up a stellar performance. Sunday is Shawn Chacon's spot in the rotation for the Yankees, but he has a boo-boo on his shin. They could move Chien-Ming Wang up or use Aaron Small for a spot start if he cannot go, but does it matter? Glavine will be an unstoppable force.
With Sheffield down, Matsui out, and no DH, I'm feeling very confident about this weekend's series. I'm feeling the Mets take two of three and I'm predicting that Mike shouts some expletives at Yankee fans on Sunday.
Never mind that $12 million club option for 2007 that the Mets included in left-hander Tom Glavine's restructured contract: There is little chance the team will exercise it.
The Mets have agreed informally to decline the option if Glavine wants to return to the Braves next season, according to a source with knowledge of his contract.
The restructured deal also includes a "poison pill," FOXSports.com has learned – a $3 million bonus if Glavine makes the All-Star team in '06 and '07 and a $2 million bonus if he makes it only in '07.
I guess Glavine being a Met in 2007 is no slam dunk and seeing him run back off to the Braves would be weird for sure. The fans still boo him like he actually did something other than want to come back and play, but he's still a Brave. That's not to say the Mets have no shot at retaining him in '07.
Thanks to the All-Star bonuses, Glavine's club option with the Mets could be worth $14 million or $15 million — both prohibitive numbers. If the Mets want to keep Glavine, they almost certainly would negotiate a new deal at a lower salary.
If the Mets can make it deep into the playoffs with an eye towards improving the team next off-season while the Braves simply cannot match up, I would be surprised if he did leave.
Some scouts believe that Mets Double-A outfielder Carlos Gomez has even more upside than Triple-A outfielder Lastings Milledge, the team's top prospect. Gomez, however, is not close enough to the majors to make the Mets comfortable about trading Milledge. Playing in Double-A at age 20, he's struggling with a .582 on-base/slugging percentage.
I'm going to make a bold statement. Fernando Martinez will be ready for the bigs quicker than Carlos Gomez will be.
- Craig Hansen made a start for the Pawtucket Red Sox the other day and went four innings while allowing five hits, no walks, no runs, and struck out four.
Though they say it is because they want to get him more work to develop his arsenal, you have wonder if John Papelbon is factoring into things. The Red Sox still maintain that Papelbon is going to be starter down the line, but this does at least present options.
- Some Fernando Martinez news...
The Mets' Fernando Martinez has gone on the disabled list with a strained left thumb ligament. The 17-year-old was off to a fantastic start for low Class A Hagerstown and is hitting .322/.391/.492. He is expected to be back in a week.