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

Friday, June 16, 2006


What makes what the Mets just did in sweeping the Phillies so impressive was how badly the Phillies needed this series. If they take the series, but do not sweep, they are 5.5 games out. If they lose the series but take one, they are 7.5 games out. If they get swept? They are 9.5 games out against a team firing on all cylinders. Just chew on this, the Mets have not lost more than two games in a row all season.

In addition to not having a losing streak over two, the Mets have only had two ten game stretches in which they did not net at least five wins. The only two times they didn't win five during a ten game stretch, they netted four wins. Basically, they have been incredibly consistent even when they have played bad. They minimized the damage in bad stretches and it will be terribly hard for the Phillies or anyone else in the NL East to make up ground on this team. If the Phillies wanted to keep up with this team, they needed to make a stand. However, they failed miserably and got swept by the best team in baseball.

Enough of how good this team is in relation to the teams playing today. We know they are good and possibly even the best team in baseball, but how good is this team in relation to Met teams of the past on the offensive end? It is certainly faulty comparing yesterday's teams and their offense as baseball changed significantly over the years and we are in the midst of an offensively explosive era, but comparing this team with yesterday's Met teams certainly paints a picture.

All 2006 numbers are obviously predicted:
| Runs Doubles Homeruns |
| 2006 865 | 2006 349 | 2006 219 |
| 1999 853 (WC) | 1999 297 (WC) | 2000 198 (NL) |
| 1987 823 | 1998 289 | 1987 192 |
| 2000 807 (NL) | 2004 289 | 2004 185 |
| 1986 783 (WS) | 1987 287 | 1999 181 (WC) |
| RBIs | Stolen Bases | Slugging % |
| 2006 830 | 2006 177 | 2006 .454 |
| 1999 814 (WC) | 1987 159 | 1987 .434 |
| 1987 771 | 1989 158 | 1999 .434 (WC) |
| 2000 761 (NL) | 1980 158 | 2000 .430 (NL) |
| 1997 740 | 1991 153 | 2005 .416 |
| On Base % | Batting Avg. |
| 1999 .361 (WC)| 1999 .279 (WC)|
| 2000 .346 (NL)| 1996 .270 |
| 1986 .338 (WS)| 1987 .268 |
| 1987 .338 | 2006 .267 |
| 2006 .336 | 1995 .267 |
I was shocked the 2006 Mets were not near the top in triples and were behind 1996, 1978, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1969, and 1962. However, I was not shocked that the 2006 Mets were no where near the top when it came to walks, but it is clear that this team is just about the best offensive team the Mets have every had. In relation to the rest of the National League in 2006, the Mets are 2nd in runs scored, first in doubles, fourth in homeruns, 2nd in RBIs, 5th in average, 2nd in slugging %, and first in steals.

While the Mets may be leading the Mets teams of the past in many of the important categories, the '86 team was first in avg, obp, slug, runs, hits, and walks. They were in the top five in doubles and homers and could have arguably been a better offensive team in comparison with when you take into account the time they played. From '86 to '88 they were actually very dominant and finished between first and third in hits, homers, walks, avg, obp, and slug every year in the National League. That team of the mid to late 80's was the best Met team ever constructed and went to the playoffs twice. This team is on their way to rivaling them and while it is early, I think it is obvious they will give them a run for their money and could unseat them as the best Met team in history.

* * *

  • The Mets signed five more draft picks. They signed Nicholas Giarraputo, Dustin Martin, Timothy Haines, Teddy Dzuiba, and Joseph Leaper. Giarraptuo and Leaper will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League while Haines, Martin, and Dzuiba will be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

  • Michael Lazarus may be right, but he is most likely wrong.

    One of the bigger surprises of the first month of 2006 was not just Glavine's resurgence after three so-so seasons in New York, but the way he was doing it. A high strikeout rate and his ability to keep the ball in the park was putting him on track for his best season since he was competed for Cy Young awards.

    Now six weeks later, Glavine is still "earning" wins, but his other numbers have taken a nosedive.

    Except for the fact he was stellar in the second half of last season as well. Let's wait until this happens four games in a row. How perfect can you be? The guy went 20+ starts with at least six innings pitched and was the model of consistency. He could not be expected to keep that up for the rest of his career.

  • It was only a matter of time before the Yankees mystique and winning ways were tied into the Mets and their stellar season so far.

    For those who regarded Willie Randolph more as a passenger than a driver during two eras of Yankees' success, the Mets have provided the ideal vehicle to prove otherwise.

    Um, yeah. It's Willie. It's all Willie.

    The Wilpons certainly have provided the resources for a successful reconstruction project and general manager Omar Minaya, who grew up in Queens, has chosen the roster wisely. But the Mets' drive to the best record in baseball and a 9½-game lead in the National League East likely would not have been achieved without Randolph's direction.

    Yeah, and the Yankees would not have won without Torre.

  • This is a perfect example of why playing in New York is so hard.

    Lastings Milledge arrived in the clubhouse at 11:55 a.m., only 70 minutes before yesterday's first pitch, prompting a second straight day of tutorials on how to conduct oneself in the majors.

    Yes. We get that you cannot be late. However, it is the kid's first time and the team has dealt with it. It's a non-issue, but thanks to whomever wrote that article about Milledge being a cocky malcontent because everything is magnified now.

    Milledge ticked off his teammates by showing up for yesterday's 1:05 p.m. game at 11:55 a.m. He didn't break any rules, because the Mets were not taking batting practice and did not have an official mandatory reporting time. But he was, by far, the last player to arrive.

    Is it possible that no one told him? Maybe, but he knows now and to make a bigger deal out of it than it should be is just the New York media hype machine. Just because Sugar Pants always knew better does not mean Milledge has the same rationale. Cut the kid some slack.
  • Thursday, June 15, 2006

    We're Going streaking up through the quad and into the gymnasium! Come on everybody, come on! Snoop, Snoop-a-loop! No, it's cool, it's cool, I'm cool.

    As of now, there is not one thing to complain about. However, if at the beginning of the year you told me that Jose Valentin would be starting at second base, Cliff Floyd would be down with Endy Chavez starting, Xavier Nady would down, Gary Cohen would down, and two starting pitchers would be on the 60-day DL, I would of told you this team would be in trouble. I'm not talking last place kind of trouble, but they certainly would be struggling.

    The fact the Mets have taken over the best mark in the league and sit 8 1/2 games in front of the second place Phillies while fighting through some adversity is amazing. A bench that looked really, really weak through the first month of the season has proved to be anything but weak. Every single person on this team is contributing with the exception of Heath Bell and Ramon Castro. I still think Bell will contribute, but has not done much during this hot streak, and Castro is just stuck behind LoDuca to no fault of his own.

    "I would have to say we're playing as well as we can right now," Willie Randolph said after all nine starters had a hit and scored. "Our offense can be really awesome if we do certain things."

    23 of 25 guys have looked spectacular in the roles they were given and this team has done so much without Nady and Floyd in the lineup. The Mets have clinched at worst an 8-2 road trip and will go for their eighth win a row and their second series sweep in row when Steve Trachsel takes the mound today against the very hittable Cory Liddle. Even if the Mets fail to pull off their second sweep, they put themselves in a great position with the struggling Orioles coming into town with Glavine, Martinez, and Soler toeing the rubber.

    After this weekend series, they face the beasts of the AL East on their turf in the Yankees (5th best home record in the AL), Red Sox (3rd best home record in the AL), and Blue Jays (4th best home record in the AL) and that is after they face the second place Reds (3rd best road record in the Major Leagues) next week at Shea. Those teams combine for a 146-111 record which is good for a .568 winning percentage and will be a terrific gauge for this team.

    The Mets have the fourth best home record in the majors and the 2nd best road record in the majors. If this team can perform well against three of the top five teams in the American League on their turf, all the good things everyone is thinking about this team will be validated even more. I was a bit young for the '86 World Series and '88 was the first time I was really into watching the Mets. I have never seen such a good and well rounded Met team since then. Not only do they compare favorably with that Met team, they may in fact be better. Yes, this Met team is hot right now and will not remain this hot, but I have never seen such a dominant offensive display from any Met team in history and probably have not seen such a good Met team since I have been following them.

    * * *

  • The quote of the day goes to Willie Randolph:

    "Am I surprised?" Randolph asked rhetorically, responding to an inquiry about Philadelphia's sloppy play. "I don't care about that. If they want to kick the ball around, that's fine."

  • If Reyes can continue to walk at the same rate he is and hit .290 to .300, he can undoubtedly win an MVP award.

    "He's the key to our offense," suggested Paul Lo Duca, who bats directly behind him and closely observes the havoc Reyes can cause on the basepaths. "He's dynamic. He changes everything, even the pitcher's motion."

    I have never seen a player that can change the game as much as Reyes.

    "I'm learning," he said. "I talked a lot with Rickey [Henderson] in spring training. I look for my pitch now. With two strikes, I used to swing at pitches in the dirt. Now if I'm looking for a fastball, I'm going to wait for a fastball."

    The kid's average is not where we want it to be, but it's there because he is learning and wants to learn.

  • Nady should be in Norfolk today and might be back this weekend.

    It took just two games of extended spring training for the Mets to see enough from Xavier Nady to promote him – just not to the majors. After undergoing an appendectomy May 30, Nady returned to action Monday. Then he went from Port St. Lucie, where he was 4-for-6 Wednesday with a home run and two doubles, to Norfolk, where he will be with the team tonight.

    I'm feeling a hot streak like we saw at the beginning of the season for the rested and fully healthy Xavier Nady when he returns to action.

  • Lastings made a mental error, though not a bad one or a costly one. If you are going to learn, these are the games to learn in.

    Even in victory, there was a lesson learned by Lastings Milledge. After the rookie was cut down at the plate on Julio Franco's two-out double in the seventh inning, manager Willie Randolph spoke to Milledge in the dugout and the message was simple: he should have scored.

    Milledge sheepishly admitted his wrongdoing when asked if he thought he should have scored on the play. "Could have, should have," Milledge said. "We won the game. It doesn't matter."

    As for where Milledge will be when Floyd and Nady come back, it will most likely be in Norfolk which is the right move.

    More to the point, Randolph said, "We've accomplished what we wanted with him. He's helped us get through some injuries, and he's played well. But what we wanted was to expose him to what it's like up here, so when he comes back, it's not all 'wow' for him."

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, having Milledge as a more of a known quantity in 2007 is so huge. Yes, he played well, but Nady was playing well all year for the Mets despite a bit of slump before he got surgery. Milledge will be back up in September and will be ready to come back up should any more injuries arise.

  • David Wright was lauded for his fielding and work ethic while in the minor leagues and Wright has had his share of problems on routine plays and especially routine ones late in games. However, Wright is now on a career high errorless streak of 26 games and has looked spectacular in the field. The kid has an approach at the plate that is rivaled by few already, has five tools, and leads the lead in 'aw schucks' quotes. The biggest problem he might have with winning the MVP award is this Met team is simply to deep. It's hard to win the MVP when you have another guy two spots in front of you who might be playing better right now and another guy in front of him on pace for 50 homers and 128 RBIs.

  • BP throws out some love to the Mets...

    You have to give the Mets this: they’re not boring.

    Last night, they blew a pair of early leads, allowed five home runs and seven runs total, but hung on for a 9-7 road win over the Phillies. It was the Mets’ 21st win by two or fewer runs and the seventh time they’d won while allowing at least seven runs.

    The first thing to consider is that the Mets’ 40-23 record--best in the National League, second-best in baseball--is an accurate reflection of their performance to date. Clay Davenport’s numbers have the Mets as a 38-25 squad in the Adjusted Standings, a mark that would still be the best in the parity-stricken NL. While the Mets are 17-7 in one-run games, their underlying performance nevertheless supports their lofty overall mark. That record in one-run games is, as you might expect, a bit lucky, but the Mets do feature a strong bullpen and a good bench, both traits that can help a team outperform the median in close contests.

    A bigger factor has been the team’s offense, which is third in the NL in runs and fourth in EqA with a .269 mark. Carlos Beltran and David Wright are having MVP-caliber seasons, while the team is getting credible production from seven lineup spots. Second base has been a well-documented hole, and Cliff Floyd took April off, but on the whole, this is a good offensive team. As mentioned above, the Mets have gotten a lot of production from their bench, where Jose Valentin, Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez and Julio Franco have all been above-average hitters. If Lastings Milledge sticks around after Xavier Nady returns, with one of the two coming off the bench, it just gets that much stronger.

    It’s not all sunshine and roses for the Mets’ lineup, of course. The top two lineup spots, generally Jose Reyes and Paul Lo Duca, don’t generate the kind of OBP you’d like to get up top. That means the MVP candidates, as well as Carlos Delgado, don’t get to leverage their slugging as much as they might with more runners on base. Reyes’ speed is going to keep him locked into the #1 spot, but the Mets would get a boost by bumping Beltran to #2 and Wright to #3, with Lo Duca slipping into the bottom half of the lineup. This will be particularly important in the second half, what with Lo Duca’s established tendency of falling off late in the season. Beltran has batted with just 151 runners on base this season, 128th of 214 players with at least 180 ABs. The Mets have to get more guys on in front of him.

    What is interesting about that is they are still on the batting order issue that a lot of have discussed throughout the season. While I wrote about it a few weeks ago, it is still a minor gripe and one that should still get looked at if LoDuca goes into his usual second half dive. His .302/.356/.426 line in the first half from 2003 to 2005 is light years better than his .249/.307/.345 in the second half. So while the lineup issue might not be on the front burner right now, it will most likely surface later on.

  • This is the last thing Rick Ankiel needed.

    Cardinals lefthander-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel will miss the remainder of the season after having left knee surgery. Ankiel, 26, injured the patellar tendon in his knee during a spring training scrimmage at the Cardinals' spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 27. Ankiel never played in a spring training or regular season game this season.

    Rarely have I been so interested in seeing anyone succeed from another organization, but it is hard not to root for this guy.
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Was That Supposed to be Fun?

    Why teams build parks in which balls fly out on seemingly routine fly balls is beyond me. Last year, Citizen's Bank Park ranked second in park factor for homeruns and six stadiums had a 1.195 or above. Disturbingly enough, the Phillies moved their fences back as far as they could and raised the wall a bit and none of that seemed to matter yesterday. Seven balls left the park and if it were not for a ridiculous highlight reel play by Sugar Pants, the Mets might not have won.

    However, they did win and all ended well. It just seems that a bad brand of baseball is being bred with these small parks. The walls are closing in on all sides to 'increase the fan experience' (like they care about anything but money) and while I appreciate that, there needs to be some sanity. Less room for foul balls means more balls in play and more runs. More balls in play with shorter fences means more homeruns. What is being done to help pitchers? I am not begging for all new parks to be pitcher's parks, but there has to be a happy medium.

    Baseball should implement some type of minimal square footage when it comes to foul areas and/or a minimum square footage for the fair and foul grounds combined. I get that the Rockies cannot help it and a major faux pa was committed when people thought it would be a good place to stick a team. However, cities like Philly have no excuse. Words cannot express my gratitude to the Wilpons for seemingly getting it right in their proposed park. They shorten the field down the lines, but added some in the power alleys. Of course no one will know how the park is going to play until games start getting played there, but it certainly looks like a neutral stadium that both pitchers and hitters should be able to succeed in. Why any team would every build something else is just a mystery.

    * * *

  • The Mets climbed to the top of Baseball Prospectus' Hit List.

    The Mets take over the top spot by roughing up the fourth-ranked Dodgers and the reeling Diamondbacks while shedding the disappointing Kazuo Matsui (.256/.308/.363, .239 EqA in his MLB career). Carlos Beltran is red-hot, as he's now hitting .297/.406/.631 for the season and has surpassed last season's home run total in 100 fewer games; he and teammate David Wright are both in the NL's top five in VORP. Patching up a weak back end of the rotation are the Cuban duo of ancient Orlando Hernandez and rookie Alay Soler, who both toss two complete games--including Soler's two-hit shutout of Arizona--and yield just two runs in 25 innings.

    Oh, that is nicey nice.

    They also throw the Kansas City pitching staff under the bus when talking about the Blue Jays.

    The staff's underlying problem is vulnerability to the long ball; they're yielding 1.46 gophers per nine, worse than every major league team except the Royals, who don't really count as a major league team.

  • I can see it now. Five years from now after all the ripping on him and fans giving it to him, Alex will be in a padded room repeating 'I hit solid with an accelerated bat head' over...and over....and over...and over...

  • Despite Glavine single handedly killing my fantasy baseball team last night since Benny thought it would be a good idea to have homeruns against count, I cannot complain. The Mets are 12-2 when Glavine starts and he has been rock for this team for a while now dating back to the second half last season.

  • Nady is getting closer.

    Xavier Nady (appendectomy) played five innings in rightfield and went 2-for-4 with a double in an extended spring game yesterday in Port St. Lucie. He was eligible to come off the DL yesterday, but is more likely to return next week ... Billy Wagner didn't pitch in his return to Philadelphia last month, but admired the fans for their creative signs. "I'm impressed they could spell rat," Wagner said.

  • Watching Billy Wagner throw fastballs by Chase Utley when he is looking fastball is what having Wagner is all about. It was not the smoothest of games for Billy, but he was tossing in the high 90's and shut the door with some defensive help.

    "I've got 10 years in. I'm more concerned with trying to win a championship than going out there than impress the Philadelphia fans, or Philadelphia," Wagner said. "I'm trying to win for the Mets. That was my only concern."

  • Jose Reyes has now walked more times in 2006 already than he did the entire 2005 season. That is really, really amazing.

  • Cesar Izturis is back and with no where to go.

    "Third base isn't out of the question," Little said. "But we wouldn't ask him to do that unless he goes through some games at Triple-A at that position. I would kind of like for him to (do that), but whether he'll do it, you would have to ask him."

    Izturis is going to be one unhappy camper that is for sure.
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Wright Hits the Top Spot

    The maturation of David Wright has reached a point where he is no longer considered just one of the most talented players on the Mets. Wright, at the age of 23, already is pushing to be included among baseball's elite, and his offensive numbers this year suggest he will be granted membership to that exclusive club before very long.

    Or as one scout put it this weekend in Phoenix, "In two or three years, this kid could be the best in the game."

    The Universe is close to righting itself as David Wright takes his rightful position at the top of the All-Star voting for National League third baseman.

    Third baseman David Wright made it three's company for the New York Mets.

    Wright became the third Met to move to the top of the balloting in the latest National League All-Star voting released Monday.

    Looking to become the first third baseman in franchise history to win a starting job in the Midseason Classic, Wright surpassed Scott Rolen of the St. Louis Cardinals to take the top spot with 661,184 votes. Rolen, who has won the fan balloting each of the last four seasons, is in second with 644,412 votes. Wright, who ranks eighth in the majors with a .336 average, would become the first Met third baseman since Howard Johnson in 1989 to start an All-Star Game. Johnson was filling in for the injured Mike Schmidt.

    It is truly a changing of the guard for National League third baseman and it is fitting that he pushed Scott Rolen out of the top spot because he was the third baseman Wright was most often compared to.

    Beltran is holding tight in the third spot for outfielders but Alfonso Soriano is only 1,000 votes behind him. Regardless who wins that third spot, both will be on the team so right now, it is just a starting spot for grabs. Ken Griffey Jr. is inexplicably in second with about a 24,000 vote lead and is the poster boy of why fans should not be allowed to vote for starters and why there should at the very least be a weighted system that takes the fans votes into account with players and/or writer's votes. But it's the fan's game I guess.....

    Reyes also climbed a spot into the second spot for shortstops, but is still over 50,000 votes behind David Eckstein. Paul LoDuca should make it and Carlos Delgado might make it simply by default because even though Pujols is 1,000,000 votes ahead (yes...a million), he has no timetable for return at this point and may even want to take those days off to rest instead of push his body. With Mets having four or five position players position players and two starting pitchers probably going, it should be a fun year for Mets fans to watch the All-Star game.

    * * *

  • The Mets have climbed four spots to number two on SI.com's Power Rankings.

  • Chat wraps, chat wraps, and more chat wraps...

    SportsNation Buster Olney: Mike -- The Mets really have no reason to rush Pelfrey any time soon, because they're winning, Soler has been terrific, Duque is focused... And I heard from several evaluators that Pelfrey is still not close to being ready.

    No reason to rush him to the bigs, but AAA should be around the corner.

    Stephen (East Greenbush, NY): As a Mets fan, I think that when Xavier Nady is back the Mets should play Milledge in left one of three games, in right one of three games, and have Milledge, Floyd and Nady each play two of three games and be ready on the bench the other game. Does this sound logical to you? (Of course, Endy Chavez has been playing great too . . .)

    SportsNation Buster Olney: Stephen: Agree with you totally. Got to keep the kid up; reminds you a little bit of Kevin Mitchell in '86, I bet -- guy with a lot of pop establishing himself.

    Eh...not enthused about that. Milledge should be getting daily at-bats. This is an important year for him to get his at-bats and develop for 2007.

    Jared (NJ): In your Dodger's response earlier did you mean there are no great teams in the National League overall or NL West Division?

    SportsNation Buster Olney: Jared: To me, the Mets are the only outstanding NL team right now... No great teams in the West or Central (that can change, of course, depending on trades, and depending on how healthy Glavine and Pedro remain).

    Preach on brother Buster.

    Alex (NYC) : we are now more than one third through the season. Who do you think is the best team in baseball thus far?

    SportsNation Steve Phillips: I still think the White Sox are the best team in baseball. When it comes to the depth and balance of the 25-man roster, the White Sox are the best. The honorable mention goes to the Tigers and Mets. But I still think the White Sox are the team to beat.

    Thanks Steve. That means a lot coming from you.

    James Boston: Gary, what happens to the Mets OF? Lastings shouldn't sit, but does he deserve to play? AAA bound?

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: (4:19 PM ET ) Last Mets question for awhile...it's no secret for those who read my chats that I'm not a big fan of Xavier Nady and that I think Milledge is the real deal.

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: (4:21 PM ET ) I'd try to trade Nady while his value is high and I'd play Milledge every day. But the Mets could hold both Nady and Milledge with the idea of playing them both in the corners next year when Floyd is almost certain to be gone.

    Well, I guess what to do with Nady boils down to what you think of him. I personally think his value is high and I like him as a player. Gillette is not nearly as excited about Nady as I am and would cash his chips in if he was running the Mets. He does have holes in his swing and is susceptible to breaking pitches and pitches on the outside part of the plate. It warrants at least shopping him to see what can happen, but him and Milledge being around next year is not a bad thing.

  • The Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet is out for this week and finally there are some Mets on there.

    Based on what he's done over his last three starts--and especially after what he did against Double-A Reading in his most recent outing--Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey tops our list this week.

    Alay Soler might have beaten him to the big leagues, but the 2005 first-rounder might not be far behind.

    Weird how many different takes you can read on one guy.

    He started slow after his promotion to Double-A, but the Wichita State alum is firing on all cylinders now. In his last three starts, he has allowed just three runs in 19 innings while fanning 22 and walking four. He even had three hits in one of those starts. There are still concerns about his secondary stuff, but the former Shocker has blown away hitters with an electric fastball that sits in the mid-90s that he is able to command to all parts of the zone.

    If Pelfrey was up now, there is no doubt in my mind he could succeed. However, we would see him throwing up a gem and then having a horrible start like Soler did against Arizona back on the 30th and having a real problem spotting his breaking stuff. He would be erratic for sure, which is why there should be no rush to the bigs with the Mets current rotation built as is.

    Drew Butera got a special mention as well:

    Drew Butera, c, Mets (Low Class A Hagerstown)
    Already the best defensive catcher in the Mets system, Sal's son flashed some pop last week as he went 10-for-17 with two home runs. It might just be a fluky week, but he is worth monitoring when you consider his defensive skills. His explosion coincided with a recent hot streak from the Mets top catching prospect Jesus Flores, who is hitting .394 in June with three homers at high Class A St. Lucie.

  • What's that? More BA? Sure thing...

    BA did a mock draft for all the prospects in this decade and the buzz they generated at draft time. Scott Kazmir checks in at #12, Mike Pelfrey checks in at #20, Lastings Milledge checks in at #23, and Xavier Nady checks in at #26.

  • I like it when people gush over Met prospects.

    Jesus Flores, c, High Class A St. Lucie (Mets)

    When it comes to position prospects, the Mets are awfully thin, but they entered the season with high hopes for Flores, despite the 21-year-old Venezuelan's miserable 2005 that was beset by injuries and an inability to hit (.216/.250/.339) in the Sally League. This year started much of the same, as Flores didn't get his batting average above .200 for good until May 5th. When he finally did, he went on a tear. Since getting over the Mendoza line, Flores is batting .336 (39-for-118) with ten doubles and nine home runs; on the season, nearly 55% of his hits (29 of 53) have gone for extra bases. Throw in some pretty good defensive skills, and you get a real catching prospect, one who makes other teams jealous.

    Flores is on his way to proving that 2004 was no fluke and that he is a legitimate catching prospect.

  • The other day when I did a piece on the new Met draft picks and I had said that Nick Giarraputo had committed to Long Beach State. However, I was mistaken and misread some information about Nick and Tim from Simi Valley was kind enough to shed some light on the situation.

    Right now, he is committed to a Junior College, but is negotiating with the Mets. He was not heavily scouted as a Junior because Bryan Anderson, who was a catcher drafted by the Cardinals in 2005, overshadowed everyone and was the main attraction. This year, Nick had a stellar year in the toughest league in California, which is the Marmonte League. Due to some bad choices by some of their other players, he ended up being the main starting pitcher for Simi Valley and went 7-3 while putting up a 1.94 ERA. He also beat the previously undefeated and Nationally ranked number one team Agoura single-handedly by pitching a gem and hitting a Grand-Slam to win it.

    Again, sorry for the mis-information and thanks to Tim for clearing this up. Regardless, hopefully Nick joins the Met organization as he sounds like a great player and great competitor.

  • From NJ.com:

    The Mets have signed 17 of their 49 draft picks, including righthanders John Holdzkom (fourth round) and Steven Holmes (fifth round).

  • Ouch.

    How valuable has Mussina been to the Yankees?

    Remove his statistics, and the Yankees rotation ERA is 5.21 — worse than the Devil Rays.

  • Some praise for Rick Peterson:

    Left-hander Pedro Feliciano has emerged as an important part of the Mets' bullpen, and one scout attributes his improvement to the influence of pitching coach Rick Peterson. Former major leaguer Buddy Groom became a solid left-handed specialist after Peterson persuaded him to change his delivery with the A's. Feliciano, 29, could be following a similar path — he has gone from a high three-quarters to low-quarters delivery, the scout says.
  • Monday, June 12, 2006

    Movin' On Up

    When it comes to prospects, I want to see them succeed an move up as fast as anyone, but I have fooled myself into believing that I am rational when it comes to the topic of promotions. If a player is not ready, then I would never advocate moving them up. When it comes to Mike Pelfrey and Henry Owens, I do think now is the time to give them a promotion for the way they have been performing.

    Mike Pelfrey's numbers:
             IP  H/9  HR/9   K/9  BB/9  K/BB  WHIP   ERA
    High-A 22 6.95 0.41 10.64 0.82 13.0 0.86 1.64
    AA 41.3 9.58 0.22 10.23 3.48 2.94 1.45 2.83
    Pelfrey's first four games in AA were inconsistent as he traded good starts and bad starts, then he threw a short .2 innings outing in which he gave up no earned runs, and then he gave up three earned runs in his last nineteen innings.
               IP   H/9  HR/9   K/9  BB/9  K/BB  WHIP   ERA
    1st four 19.2 12.46 0.0 9.97 3.74 2.67 1.80 4.15
    2nd four 21.2 6.41 0.46 10.53 3.20 3.29 1.07 1.37
    I was listening to WFAN last night and a caller had phoned into the Kevin Burkhardt show and had a wealth of information on Mike Pelfrey. I did notice Mike DiFelice on the Binghamton team the other day was I was doing the Minor League Recap for Metsgeek.com, but I thought nothing of it. Apparently Mike DiFelice was sitting home retired and was called up by the Mets to come and play for Binghamton to help along in Mike Pelfrey’s development.

    Apparently the guy had gone to Pelfrey's last start, which was a gem, and said his fastball has tremendous movement. He also was messing with Pelfrey and throwing him some jabs in fun and Pelfrey took them in stride and had thrown some back. But the real big thing is that he was talking to DiFelice thoughout the game and he had asked Mike DiFelice if he was ready for the next level (assuming the bigs), and Mike said definitely. The jump from High-A to AA is not as tough as the jump from AA and AAA and should provide a nice challenge for him with some retreads from the bigs that might a tougher out. The Mets do not need him right now and might not need him this year at all, but better to have him in AAA than AA should the need arise and he looks ready.

    As for Henry Owens, there is nothing to say but straight filth. He started pitching when he was 22 in 2001 in the Pirates organization and was a work in progress. He was converted from a catcher to a pitcher and it looks like things are fully clicking for him at this point. in 17.2 innings, Owens has allowed a measly five hits for a sick 2.55 H/9, struck out 39 batters for a 19.87 K/9, has a 1.09 ERA, and has a 0.57 WHIP. The guy is mowing people down to say the least. I do not think AAA will even pose much of a problem for him but he might as well progress and take steps towards the bigs instead of beating up on over matched kids.

    * * *

  • Billy Wagner is ready to take what is coming to him from the Phillies fans.

    "No, not until you pitch in front of them," said Wagner, who saved 59 games in his two seasons as a Phillie. "I'll take my beating."

  • Willie lays down the smack down on Brian Bannister.

    "Bannister and all of those guys have to work their way back into pitching shape," Randolph said. "Especially, with Bannister. It's like starting with Spring Training again. If the guys are doing the job up here, then what are going to do? Take someone out to put someone in who has three [actually five] starts in the big leagues?."

    There is no way Bannister cracks back into the rotation with the way things are going, but it will be comforting to know the Mets have some depth again there.

  • The odds were that Pedro was finally going to get a win again and he did it in a big way. The Mets beat up on the Diamondbacks and cruised to a 15-2 victory. The Mets started this road trip 6-1 and increased their lead to 6.5 games. Carlos Beltran inched closer to .300 while driving in four more runs and Carlos Delgado looks to have woken up from his slump with a 3 for 4 night. Jose Reyes picked up an incredible three walks and Heath Bell struck out two in his one inning of work to lower his ERA to 3.27.

    "It's pretty scary how potent we can be when everything's clicking," David Wright said.

    The Mets just look amazing right now and are primed to go 8-2 on his road trip while only .5 games back from having the best record in the Major Leagues. The Mets should feel really comfortable right now with a 39-23 record and being sixteen games over .500 at this point is extremely impressive.

    "If I were the other team, I'd be worried right now," Pedro Martínez said.

  • Endy Chavez continues to play solidly.

    Chavez has the speed to get to balls, and his strong left arm has thrown out seven runners on the bases, including Craig Counsell at the plate to end the first inning of yesterday's 15-2 mauling of Arizona.

    "That was probably the play of the game," starter Pedro Martinez said. "It took their momentum away."

  • Pedro is banged up.

    "I'm OK," Martinez said. "I won't say I'm 100-percent healthy, but I'm good enough to go out there."

    Martinez, 34, has a sore hip and an aching right big toe. On Tuesday, the Dodgers ripped him for seven runs in five innings.

  • Joel Sherman says A-Rod does not have IT.

    TOM Brady and Adam Vinatieri have IT. Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt don't.

    You don't have to be one of the greatest players to have IT. Sam Cassell, for example, has IT and so does Robert Horry. Meanwhile, Patrick Ewing most definitely did not, and Stephon Marbury would not know IT if IT hit him upside the skull.

    David Ortiz, as if he needed to prove the point any more, showed again yesterday at Fenway Park that he is a master of IT with a two-out, three-run, ninth-inning walkoff homer to lift Boston to a 5-4 victory. Meanwhile, 200 miles away, Alex Rodriguez once more was the Big un-It.
  • Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Take Two Crazy Pills and Call Me In the Morning

    Everyone else does it, so why can't I?

    What to do with Xavier Nady? That is the big question. Lastings Milledge has been playing so well that he has opened enough eyes to consider keeping him around even when Xavier Nady returns to the team. How is that going to work? I'm not sure exactly, but Nady going to the bench serves no purpose. For one, it does not make sense to put a guy who was on track for about forty homeruns on the bench to be a utility player and they just picked up a guy who would be manning the same utility spots in Eli Marrero. Marrero would require getting passed through waivers to be placed in Norfolk and he would most likely get picked up.

    If Nady is not starting, he does not fit on the team. Furthermore, if Nady and Marrero are both on the team, there is only one backup up the middle infielder in Chris Woodward. Something has to give at this point. The big problem is that Cliff Floyd is leaving after this season and the Mets presumably are not going to retain him and the original plan was to have Nady and Milledge manning the corner outfield spots. However, there are options.

    It is Sunday and today should be a day off for thinking about real baseball, so for discussion's sake, what should be done with the Mets sudden glut of outfielders?

    Let us look at the Mets current tradeable commodities:

    1) Xavier Nady - Lastings' play of late has opened some eyes and there may be a desire to keep him around even when Nady returns.
    2) Cliff Floyd - With him in his walk year, Floyd may be moved to a team in need of a left-handed power bat down the stretch.
    3) John Maine - There does not seem to be much room for John Maine on this team being he is now the 7th or 8th starter on the depth charts. Maine still has some upside, is young and cheap, and can succeed on Major League level.
    4) Brian Bannister - With the rotation looking set right now, Mike Pelfrey looking at a AAA call up probably round July 1st, and Evan MacLane pitching himself into a decent back up plan for the rotation, Bannister is expendable and has proven he can hold his own on the big stage right now.
    5) Heath Bell - He has the stuff to succeed in the bigs, but seeing him do that as a member of the Mets is becoming increasingly slim.
    6) Victor Diaz - He has no future with the Mets, but few doubt his ability to hit in the majors.
    7) Carlos Gomez - Lastings Milledge + Carlos Beltran + Fernando Martinez = Carlos Gomez left out.

    Xavier Nady for Philip Hughes

    While I hate helping the Yankees, sometimes business is business and worrying about not wanting to help the Yankees needs to take a backseat. The Yankees are desperate for a corner outfielder and are not in much of a position to bargain and the Yankees do get younger and cheaper in the process with a versatile ball player. Hughes may be struggling at AA, but he still has not turned 20 yet and still is a top tier talent. While not many teams in a pennant race trade for prospects, it is important to balance the future with the present. The Mets could keep Hughes to bolster their 2007 and 2008 rotation, or they can parlay him into something bigger.

    One idea is for the Mets to look towards their 2007 outfield. The Diamondbacks have Shawn Green signed through 2007 and have Chris Young doing well at AAA. Eric Byrnes is certainly endearing himself to the organization and could be brought back for a reasonable amount of money to keep the seat warm for Justin Upton. That leaves Carlos Quentin as the odd man out and though the Diamondbacks need bullpen and rotation help today, Hughes might be just too good to pass up as a front end for the future. Quentin is young and brings a lot of much needed patience at the plate and a hitting game with a much bigger upside than Xavier Nady’s. He would also give Fernando Martinez plenty of time to develop on the farm and not be rushed.

    Xavier Nady, Brian Bannister, Heath Bell, and Carlos Gomez for Barry Zito

    Are the Mets giving up too much? Perhaps. But without a true blue chip to build around and the Athletics situation with Rich Harden being injured and still being in the race, Billy Beane has little incentive to move Zito. Beane is always looking for right-handed power bats for the lineup and Nady could easily displace Jay Payton giving them an outfield of Kotsay, Nady, and Bradley. Beane also gets a young and cheap player under his control in Nady as well as two guys that are under his control for a while that he can insert into his Major League squad right now in Bannister and Bell while having a talented player in Carlos Gomez with a lot of upside as a bonus.

    The Mets guarantee they have all their draft picks intact next season by getting Zito now and have the obvious benefits of Zito in 2006 as insurance in case one of their aces goes down. As for the outfield situation in 2007, Nady will be gone but the Mets can bring back Cliff Floyd on the cheap and possibly platoon him while fast tracking Fernando Martinez for 2008. Yeah, Martinez is that good and though it is optimal to let him take his time, I think he can handle it. If Beane did require a blue chip back and the Mets were able to pry Hughes away from the Yankees, they could certainly build a package around that if that help things, but Beane would have to be conceding this year. Sometimes small market GMs have to do that to look at the big picture and ensure success for years to come.

    There are other options like the Mets moving Floyd, but I do not think he will net that much making it not worth it in my mind. If they can perhaps get some good value back for Floyd, that is the way to go. However, that has little chance of happening in my mind. That being said, the Mets should not be desperate to move anyone as they are in the driver's seat and can easily shift Milledge back to AAA. In my opinion, Nady back to right and Milledge to AAA should be the move, but if the Mets did want to keep Lastings around, there could be some interesting options out there and some that could even include Alfonso Soriano.

    * * *

  • Olé.....Olé, Olé, Olé....Alay y Jose. Alay Soler? Solid. The Mets go from no complete games in 2006 to two in three games. A great 108 pitch complete game shut out against the National League's best pitcher to hand him his first loss was amazing to watch. Like I said, I like this rotation right now. Soler allowed a measly two hits and walked three while showing what he can really do in his last two outings.

    "I've had more confidence in the last couple of outings," Soler said. "I threw the ball over the plate and let the hitters do their part."

    Jose Reyes picked up two hits and a stolen base, Beltran stole third on some great heads up baserunning, and Milledge picked up his first swipe on an ill advised successful stolen base attempt. Life is good.

  • I like Marrero already.

    Marrero on playing golf with El Duque:

    "He's a cheater," Marrero joked shortly after his arrival yesterday. "I know he's all serious, but he's cheater."

    Marrero on playing third base:

    Asked about his experience at third base, Marrero replied: "Like, zero. But how hard can it be? Catch the ball and throw to first before the guy gets there."


  • Pedro goes for the four game sweep and with the Mets offense rolling, things look fucking swell.