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

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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:
44 9 6 1 4 6 3 7 4 .386/.491/.636
Milledge through the next thirteen games of the season:
45 6 1 1 2 12 4 7 3 .311/.483/.378
Milledge through the last thirteen games of the season:
44 10 6 2 4 7 1 18 4 .136/.309/.295
Milledge 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.

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.

* * *

  • If you watched the pre-game show on SNY yesterday, you saw a dejected Floyd. Seriously, the guy sounds really, really down in the dumps and according to Floyd, he is a big confidence guy. By this time, we already knew that about him, but to hear him talk sounds like he has not one ounce of the stuff in his body.

    Steve Popper has Floyd covered here.

  • I'm not a big fan of hitting batters on purpose, but David Eckstein needs a Duaner Sanchez fastball between the letters. After leaning into Glavine's pitch to start the game, a message needs to be sent. If the umpires want to reward that kind of bush league crap, then the Mets need to take care of that themselves. It was ridiculous and that's the kind of stuff that will get hurt.

  • Despite hitting a bad patch, the Mets are holding tight at number four on the Baseball Prospectus Hit List.

    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!!

  • The Mets have two guys amongst baseball's greatest showman according to FoxSports.com. It does not suprise me that Pedro Martinez checks in at number one and Lima Time! checks in at number ten.

    I knew there was no way Lima Time! was human.

  • This seriously explains a lot.

  • Why?

    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.

  • The Mets picked up Tommy Glavine and got him a win. The Mets have lost so many wins for Glavine since his arrival and could have easily had at about 290 wins under different circumstances, but the 2006 Mets will do a much better job of picking him up.

    "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.

  • Brian Bannister will start agasint the Toledo Mud Hens for the Tides tomorrow and if all goes well, he should rejoin the rotation and bump Lima Time!

  • Here how it is shaking out for the Mets versus the Yankees this weekend.

    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.

  • Huh?

    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.

  • From FoxSports.com:

    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.

  • For the first time this season, no Mets are on Baseball American's Prospect Hot Sheet.

  • Some notes from BA's Daily Dish:
    • 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.

      Good stuff.


    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    Eckstein is a gutsy little player but seriously, how fucking bad was last nights hit by a pitch???? That was just stupid! He didnt try to get out of the way, all he did was turn his front leg INTO the ball!

    I disagree with your assesment of how to deal with him Mike. 1st we have to tell the umpire that this bullshit is completely taking the inside half of the plate out of the game. Discuss in a tame manner the situation. Speak in a bilateral manner with La Russa,How can anyone pitch effectively if this continues?

    If that doesnt work; 1st inning we open with a warmed up Wagner and let him bean the little bastard between the eyes with his heater.

    11:40 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Condor, you can complain, but he needs a high and tight one if not a fastball between the numbers. I'm all for gutsy, gritty players, but I like when it's done the right way.

    I guess you can say that you cannot fault him for taking what the umps give him, but if someone does that, Glavine has no game. He cannot throw hard enough to make people want to get out of the way, and if people just stand there, he could get tatooed. You kind of have to set the tone to back one of your aces. Like I said, I don't like it, but sometimes it's necessary.

    Your talking scenario does make more sense, but like Darling said, 20 years ago, what would have happened?

    11:46 AM

    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    We need some crazy mutha who throws 100mph and doesnt care if he destroys his career throwing at people. Is John Rocker still out there?

    Seriously, something has to be done about this. It seems that almost every team has a player like this. If the umps dont fix the problem then this is going to get out of hand.

    I still think Omar will make a treade to bring in another arm very soon.

    11:58 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    We need some crazy mutha who throws 100mph and doesnt care if he destroys his career throwing at people. Is John Rocker still out there?

    We have Julio. He might not be throwing at them intentionally though, but he will get the job done.

    Hopefully Omar does something and still holds onto Milledge.

    12:08 PM

    Anonymous Benjamin Blanco del BRONX said...

    The same ol' comment about Eckstein.
    "He's pesky."
    It's amazing how annoying he is. He is almost the perfect leadoff htter despite not having the best numbers.
    He fouls shit off. He takes pitches.
    God I hate him.

    Pedro used to be the guy that would hit people... he doesn't do it anymore though :(

    Maybe CBS just bases things on what happened during the week? lol.

    Jose Lima is just fucking nuts. He's out of his mind. I wonder if some of his teammates enjoy the constant talking?
    Somebody has to get annoyed... right?

    Jeremi Gonzalez will pitch 5 "solid" innings and give up 5 runs. The mets win.
    Pedro is hacks. The Mets win.
    And Tom Glavine went back in time and thinks he's in 1995. Mets win.
    So just like 2004, the Mets sweep these assholes.

    I love Carlos Gomez but to say he has more upside than Milledge... c'mon now. Let Gomez atleast produce at AA first. Although I'm not entirely dissapointed with Carlos' performance it is nothing to be proud of and nothing I would point to as something incredibly positive.

    12:36 PM

    Blogger Larry G said...

    Very well-written Jake.

    12:47 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Pedro does not plunk people becaus with 88 mph behind your fastball, it just is not the same, but he still comes in when he needs to and that is all that counts.

    CBS is too streaky. The Royals win 13 in a row, they still suck. Not that Philly sucks, they are good, but #2 overall? Top ten team if they have the pitching, but not #2....It shouldn't bother me but it does.

    His teammates seem to like him and get enjoyment out of him. He brings 'energy'. When you play 162 games and are around the same people, you need to keep it fresh and if nothing else, he does that.

    Wow, Benny, you predicting a sweep? Impressive.

    Gomez hasn't dissapointed yet..He's young, he skipped a level, and started slow last year, but not this slow. We'll see, he needs his time down there for sure.

    12:52 PM

    Anonymous DG's Used Sporting Goods said...

    I'm gonna side with the Lima Time decision for Thursday, and I do think that it is he who will be dumped from the rotation when Bannister returns. No reason to throw Bannister into the extra pressure of a Yankees game.

    I'd say that the Mets will take the series from the Yanks, but I'm not as sure that I agree with your predictions on the pitching. I have an inkling that Gonzalez will get us to the pen with a lead or at least a close game, but Mussina is a wildcard on Saturday. If the Spanks throw Wang on Sunday, I'd predict that the Mets will have some trouble,

    A Trachsell win this evening would be awesome. He's been pedestrian his last couple of starts.

    I'll agree on the Fernando comment. Gomez has a path to wend; we'll see if he follows last year's trail to a strong second half. He slumped badly to start the year last year if I remember correctly, then put it together. I suppose at worst they could exchange Gomez and Ambiorix...

    1:03 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    im pissed. i have tix for fridays game in the loge. i was excited about the possibility of seeing pedro on the mound. now i get jeremi gonzalez? fuck. anybody wanna buy my tix? i got them off stubhub for $400. contact me

    it would be so "mettish" to let this guy walk after the turn around he's experienced. wtf? but it might free up some money for a potential mulder or zito signing.

    has anybody seen gomez or martinez play? how the hell is this kid playing pro baseball at 17? i was growing pubes when i was that age? is there some sort of family/organizational "bubble" around this kid?

    1:21 PM

    Anonymous Benny said...

    Well Mr. Cocotaso. The rules are if a kid is ANYWHERE but in the U.S. he can get signed as early as 16/17.
    If they are in U.S. soil... they must get drafted.
    But for the most part, Dominicans and Venezueleans are signed as free agents.
    Some go for more money than others.

    How you think I feel, THis kid is a year younger than me, he's starting his pro baseball career, Has people all over the world talking about him and writing articles about him, hell I'm talking about him right now, while I'm in college :(

    1:30 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG, I agree. There really aren't any options outside of LimaTime right now, but that doesn't mean I cannot cry about it. Everytime he runs out there is a dagger to my heart.

    Wang is a contact pitcher. I might have been scared of him last year, but not this year.

    With Lima Time! tomorrow, Traxx needs to come up big and the Cardinals lineup does not look too bad outside of Pujols. I'm feeling good about tonight.

    Ossy, that sucks man. I get to see Tommy Boy on Sunday in the Loge, so I'll enjoy it for the both of us.

    How many tickets do you have though? I might be able to seriously dump them off. I know a Yankee fan who was looking for them, but due to crazy prices they back off. Not sure if you were serious or not.

    I know someone who saw Gomez...They said he looke eratic and not smooth. He's young and gangly basically and doesn't look like he has grown into his body. Not sure if that sitll holds up, he was in his teens at that point.

    Benny, you can still make it. Hit the cages....

    1:40 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Mets might need some SP help.

    Within a few weeks, perhaps, trade Floyd for the help, call up Milledge and Diaz. Platoon them in left, see who gets hot and lets LM get the at bats ready for '07.

    This was Nokes, btw.

    Signing in sucks.

    1:47 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    You computer don't save your shit?

    2:24 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Mets might need some SP help.

    Might? MIGHT? Lima Time! and Gonzo are in the roation now and we can't wait for a rookie with a 2.00 WHIP to come back with more walks than strikeouts...yeah, they MIGHT need some help.

    2:25 PM

    Anonymous Claus van DG said...

    Wang worries me only because he's a sinker ball pitcher, isn't he? Plus, he's almost a S.U.C.K.M.E. candidate in the Mets worldview.

    Shame the Mets couldn't finagle Zach Day from the Rockies. He would have made the fourth to Bannister's fifth.

    2:47 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, there is a S.U.C.K. M.E. element to Wang, but he's going up against the best pitching the NL and he strikes out like 1 guy per nine. I feel better about high contact S.U.C.K. M.E. candidates than guys how can make you swing and miss or soft tossing lefties.

    I was hoping the Mets got a chance to experiment on Day, but that's the curse of being good. They have to flow through every team on the waiver wire. I'm still holding out hope for Soler sooner rather than later. I cannot see him needing much time on the farm.

    3:07 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    muchas gracious for the props mike.

    re lima being pyscho, he was pitching for the tides the night i was in the dugout doing my story. he gave up a homerun in the first and came in completely freaking out. i know nobody likes to give up a shot, but he was shouting so wildly i thought he must have been mad about something else -- for a second i thought bc i was sitting in his spot on the end of the bench from which i quickly moved -- anyway he is nuts.

    why are the yankees number 2 on the bp hitlist when they just list everything going wrong?

    3:41 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Holy shit to your Lima Time! story. Was he yelling at anyone or just in general?

    It's all about Mathematics there. They score runs and outscore their opponents. That helps. They do not do it from opinion like other sites, so I tend to agree with them a bit more.

    4:04 PM

    Anonymous DGeneration said...

    So what do we think of this?


    The crowd reaction is the capper.

    6:38 PM

    Anonymous DtotheMFingG said...

    Why didn't the link post as a link? Why would that happen when it has never happened before? Why do they call sausages links?



    The crowd reaction is the capper!

    6:42 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "He’s great," Johnson said.

    No. He's merely great compared to other minor leaguers.

    7:08 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The crowd reaction was great.

    But on the O&A show, they played a news report on it.

    Last three at bats between Springer and Bonds...homer, hbp, and hpb. So, it seems like there is something there. I really wonder if Bonds will want to play next year even if he's able to with all this shit that he is taking.

    9:44 PM

    Anonymous Sidd Finch said...

    Lima has always been nuts. He will be gone soon. Hey, I finally get to see the Mets on TV. Frigging Comcast.

    9:55 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Ah, so you have Comcast out West as your cable provider? What's the setup for you being able to see the games? They offer a package because they carry the channel?

    10:33 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    It might be time to drop Floyd in the lineup. Not that Nady has been droing great in the clutch, but at least he's not batting under .200. This one sucked.

    10:47 PM

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