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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It would be nice to get a little two-run homer right away

BAM! It hits you right in the face. Of course there are plenty of positives to batting Wright in the second spot, but he's so good and so multi-talented, he can hit 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th and you can state plenty of reasons for each slot. I've gone over this a multitude of times in the past, but guys with big sticks can bat second. Willie may not be the smartest guy, but he has a point.

Imagine an 80 RBI guy leading off, a 116 RBI guy batting second, a 116 RBI guy batting third, a 114 RBI guy batting fourth, and a guy who is certainly capable of 80-100 RBIs hitting fifth batting in a row? Hit them early and hit them hard. There are plenty of theories out there and studies were done about grouping your best hitters together. Does it really benefit the team by giving you a condensed chance that is really good at scoring or does it benefit the team to disperse the hitters around more?

Me? I think you can throw the stats out the window. Conventional wisdom tells me that grouping your best hitters together is your best shot at maximizing your lineup. Of course, there are caveats. It still helps to have a speedy guy in the 1st spot, a guy who has contact ability in the 2nd spot, etc. It's not completely black and white, but the Mets top three hitters are more dynamic than any other teams top three hitters. Furthermore, they are absolutely interchangeable. Reyes could drive in 100 batting third, Beltran would hit first with aplomb and steal bases, Wright can hit anywhere....this team is sick.

I'm fully behind this lineup and it is going to get the Mets out on top early and often. Imagine continually finding yourself playing from behind when you take on the Mets? If you have an athletic enough team with hitters that have the ability to hit anywhere, why not? Wright is going to be silly in the 2nd spot with all that protection and he will get his 100 RBIs. The top five are going to set the tone for this season and help take the pressure off of a maligned rotation and the residual effects are going to be swellicious.

* * *

  • Joel Sherman lays out his predictions for the season and gets pretty granular.

  • Thanks to Kenny for pointing this site out..

    I actually don't know what to think about the site. The entire thing is so funny and yet so sad.

  • This should be a fun season for sure and especially fun when the Phillies come into town.

    "If you can't walk around with swag, don't walk around," Rollins said. "I'm not here to play second fiddle or bow down to anybody, and neither are the Mets."

  • Holy shit. Those are the two words that came to my mind when I read Steve Phillips latest article. Reyes omitted from the best wheels category? Joel Pineiro one of the best arms? Adam Dunn one of the best sticks?

    I seriously hope that ESPN doesn't pay for this. Having an ex-GM write articles should provide some legitimacy being a guy who used to run a team, but Phillips is not admired by any fan that I know of and continually writes stuff not fit for print on the premier sports site. Again, holy shit.

  • Mr. Billy Wags is definitely feeling comfortable as a Met.

    This time, it was Joe Smith, who already has enough on his mind wondering if he's punched his ticket to St. Louis. Smith picked up the save in Monday's 6-5 win over the Dodgers.

    "Hey," Wagner yelled over, "what was the score last night, closer?"

    As Smith muttered an answer, Aaron Sele quickly chimed in, "He's sniffing your job."

    To which Wagner responded, "I haven't even had a save opportunity this spring. That shows you where I'm headed."

    He's feeling pretty good too and it took him a while to get going last season. The Mets need him from the start as they cannot afford to waste any games this year.

  • Joel Sherman writes a long article about pitching.

  • Mark Hale goes over the Mets big concerns and has some answers.

  • Smith and Sele in...Johnson Sosa, A Hern, Gotay, Carp, Urdaneta, Alomar Jr. and DiFelice out. No real surprises here.

  • Tom Glavine is going to kill it his year.

    Watched Tom Glavine pitch against the Dodgers Monday night, and if he pitches this season the way he threw against L.A., he'll have No. 300 by the All-Star break. He was outstanding, spotting everything, changing speeds, same ol' Glavine.

    No weird crazy circulation issues are going to hamper him this year and he is going to pitch well enough for him to consider going for 320+ wins in '08.

    Anonymous sidd finch said...

    I think by batting LoDuca 2nd, you feed into his strengths. He sees plenty of fastballs because Reyes bats before him. If he bats lower in the order, he might hit on the order of .265 instead of .300, but hey, that's why baseball's such a great game.

    Man, Glavine looked great the other night. I think that Park will do just fine in the bullpen. He pitched pretty well except for one pitch, but did that hanging cureveball suck, or what?

    Is anyone but me having fantasy baseball problems? I can't make any moves, respond to trades, or anything.

    I'm getting this crazy error:

    Line 992
    Char 22
    Error: 'cast_gamePlayers' is undefined
    Code: 0
    url: http//games.espn.go.com/flb/clubhouse?

    Man, it sucks to be me.

    10:58 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I haven't logged in, but Coop is already wheeling and dealing so I don't think everyone is having a problem.

    Yeah, but with that argument, you can bat anyone second and they'll do better. You maximize everyone by batting them in front of three beasts.

    I just think Wright will have MVP type numbers batting 2nd. It's scary to even imagine what he will do.

    11:03 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Disagree on the MVP numbers for Wright, I think you'll see a dropoff in runs batted in if he bats second, offset somewhat by more runs scored perhaps, but DW can be so clutch after Delgado whereas Alou remains a big queston mark.. If you were pitching, who would you rather face after Delgado? Wright or Alou? Which one puts more pressure on you to make good pitchers to Carlos D? I also think that DW in the two hole seriously weakens the back end of the order. Is it a mistake? That I cannot say, but I think it is a shortsighed decision provided that that is the decision.

    That said, I don't follow the argument that you could put anyone in the second position if it is a matter of seeing more fastballs. Frankly, LoDuca's low K rate is what makes him such a decent choice for the two hole, and I'd much rather have Dukie laying off fat pitches for Reyes than DWright doing the same. I could eventually see someone like Milledge with his speed and bunting ability geting the nod if he continues to shine (and he'd rake with big fat fastballs instead of batting 8th as Willie will likely choose to do), but anyone? Shawn Green, Valentin (as we saw last year), just are not two hitters!

    I'm not that worried about the pen, but I would kinda sorta lean toward keeping Park over Burgos at the moment. Burgos has huge upside, no doubt about it, and you could even argue Dharma Rick might be a good influence to have in his ear, but he's gonna blow more situations than the Ho Man in the short term. And if he's going to get Julio minutes, why not just send him down and let him have the pressure (sort of) of closing in NOrleans?

    Could we have one of those votes to decide whether to ban Steve Phillips from the site? Or would that just make things duller around here? Would we miss the indigation? Has he been mentioned seriously as a GM candidate since the Mets axed him? I don't think so;...

    I like the idea of a Phillies/Mets rivalry, but I'm not so convinced that they are really that good. I mean Utley & Howard make a wonderful pair, but their supporting cast is average. Their pitching doesn't strike me as that far ahead of the Mets when you consider that Myers generally underachieves and Hamel is injury prone. Maybe I'll eat my words, but Garcia is overrated.

    I just love that Spankee fans boo A-Rod. I mean for $25 million, he should be able to play two positions and hit 90 homeruns, shouldn't he?

    8:44 AM

    Anonymous sidd finch said...

    I agree about what would happen with anyone batting in front of the '3 beasts'; and that between Wright and Jose, they can be scary. Let's just keep him out of the home run derby.

    It's good to see that Willie has changed his batting order strategy. Hopefully we won't be seeing Castro in the #2 hole anymore.

    Speaking of D. Wright, I just got this month's Men's Health, and guess who's on the cover?

    I sent an email to ESPN about the fantasy league. I sure hope that they can help me out. Otherwise, we should change the name of my team from the Dalai Lamas to the Montreal Expos, and relegate them to the basement.

    8:47 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Another thing is that the two run homer bit is rather Davey Johnsonesque. I loved how frequently we saw LoDuca bunting Reyes over the third (after Reyes swiped second on his own) last year. No one in their right mind is against multiple runs, but one run at a time is fine for me. But answer this, how may times did we see Beltran get on base while driving in Reyes, thereby guaranteeing DWright would come up with a man one in the first? How many multiple run first innings did we see last year? Tons. The name of the game should be pressure and Alou hitting sixth means a pitcher gets very few moments to relax out there. Pitching to Dukie with Reyes on is nervewracking for a pitcher; pitching to him with Shawn Green on deck is quite different.

    8:53 AM

    Anonymous the brooklyn bum said...

    Wright should bat number 2 if for no other reason that over the course of the season he'll get 70+ more at bats then if he was batting 5th. I'd rather Wright get those ABs over Lo Duca. The other nicity of batting Wright second is he had 20 SB's last year. He doesn't have ludicrous speed like Reyes does, but he had more steals than Beltran and will be much harder to double up.

    Sunday can't come soon enough.

    8:55 AM

    Blogger bmc said...

    The Mets are definitely stocking the roster with the hot hand. It's a different strategy than last year when they might have constructed the roster based on the business rationale. Were this last year they would have kept Adkins on the 25-man, sent Milledge down, and not named Pelfrey as #5.

    Well it seems they learned something from last year: winning games in april means you don't have to sweat in September. It worked out pretty well last year. I think they know how important April is with all those games against their rivals.

    10:09 AM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Milledge truly makes the most sense in the 2-hole. He has speed and decent power, his patience is much improved, and he feasts on fastballs.

    I think Wright in the 2-hole is fine, but he is our BEST hitter with RISP, so I would prefer to see him in the middle of the lineup where he can drive in multiple guys, not just one. I love the fact that he will get 50 or 60 more at-bats, but I am not sure that he will get 100 RBIs unless he hits .400 with RISP. The opportunities just won't be there. If this were the AL and it was a legitimate hitter in the 9 spot things would be different.

    Hopefully Milledge gets his chance this year, does very well, and then Willie puts him in his rightful place either by the end of the year or for next season.

    One can dream...

    10:53 AM

    Anonymous gbaked said...

    while i like the idea of batting wright 2... i dont think the improvement in production he will provide is as large as the decrease in production loduca lower in the order will cause.

    With the slow footed alou or delgado at first... a single by loduca doesnt do nearly as much as a double by wright would. Also if green bats behind loduca, there will be sooooo many double plays.

    I think on days castro catches milledge plays right and there ya go.

    11:04 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG, if Sori can do 90 batting leadoff for the Nats, he can drive in 110 with Reyes in front of him on the Mets. I’d like to see how many RBI chances LoDuca had as opposed to D Wright per at-bat. I’d venture to guess it was relatively close.

    I really don’t think it will negatively impact the team, but will in fact make this team better and they will hop out to big leads a lot. With a good bullpen, an early lead brings lots of wins. I like it. Also, I’m not saying LoDuca is not a good fit, but anyone that is there looks a lot better than they really are simply because who is behind you.

    Would we miss the indignation


    I’d prefer Park over Burgos as well my man.

    Hopefully we won't be seeing Castro in the #2 hole anymore.

    Which is also why I like this. Willie doesn’t have the brain capacity to do too much, so this puts things in more of cruise control. Not collapsing the order when LoDuca or anyone else is out is mind blowing. MIND BLOWING!

    How many multiple run first innings did we see last year? Tons.

    And this way we’ll see more. Wright is far superior than LoDoca as a hitter and will only benefit this team.

    Pitching to Dukie with Reyes on is nervewracking for a pitcher; pitching to him with Shawn Green on deck is quite different.

    Pitching to Wright with Reyes on base is doubly nervewracking. Wright could hit .350 (I’m not joking) with his eye at the plate and hitting ability. Pitching to Wright with Reyes on base may cuase the pitching to go into seizures or make him have a breakdown. You make a mistake to LoDuca, he singles or moves someone over! You make a mistake to Wright, he’ll PUNISH you.

    Danny, when Milledge is up, I’m ok with him in the #2 spot. Great fit. But he’ll be down in AAA for a bit. Forward thinking on your part is solid. It just outlines how much talent this team has.

    I think on days castro catches milledge plays right and there ya go.

    There enlies the problem! Willie does not have the capacity to switch like that. The must fill the vacant spot with whomever is backing up that player. That is one thing that baffles my mind and annoys me to no end!

    11:15 AM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    "I think you can throw the stats out the window."

    Wow. That's not the Mike I know.

    12:04 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    LoDuca's batting second today.

    And I think Milledge is going to be on the team to stay at least for the first two weeks. Will they play him enough to see if he can stick?

    12:12 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    It is now that I have no time to look at stats! But really, in this case, I don't need stats to know that Wright will help this team a lot more than LoDuca out of the two spot. It just depends on if you think the improvement in the two spots outweighs the step back at the bottom, and I think it does.

    12:15 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    ...and again, we are not talking about Wright batting as if he's going to bring 20 more wins. But certainly he should be worth a few and in baseball, that is important to maximize every win. Wasting games with this strong Philly team and a could be surprising Brave team is not a good idea. Of course, I think the Mets are the best in the NL with whomever batting 2nd, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't maximize production.

    12:17 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx living in England but currently in Rome, Italy said...

    Like ive said about the lineup, in the end it doesnt really matter but i honostly would just "prefer" Wright batting second. No biggie though.

    That Project 13 site is just... creepy.

    Joe fuckin Smith, thats pretty badassed.

    DG, Alou is a badassed proffesional hitter. He knows the deal. Pitcher may not "fear" Alou but he will make them pay later on and eventually...
    And DG, the argument i make about Wright is that I would much rather prefer Reyes at 1st base with 0 outs with Wright, Beltran and Delgado up than Reyes at 2nd base with 1 out and Beltran, Delgado, Wright up.
    I just think its better and smarter baseball. I dont see how "giving yourself up" is such a big deal and so important for Lo Duca when the point of baseball is to give up as little outs as possible. Sure there are situations that would call for such strategy but to revolve your whole gameplan on giving up an out constantly, all the time is just dumb in my opinion.

    Guys, i hope you enjoy and like the trophy I made for the league. I think its pretty badassed.

    2:02 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    mike i don't think willie will be so regimented with the lineup this year. although it's hard to argue with your disapproval of some of his innane moves, i do think you need to chill on him. these inanities are not as important as his positive qualities like excellent coaching, consistent approach (although here he can be excessive), and leadership. these are not intangibles, they are the primary point of the manager. his ingame decisions have been wierd at times but he's steadily improving there too.

    two years ago i was skeptical, last year i was accepting, this year i'm a booster. i think willie will be a good manager for a long time.

    3:11 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I will chill on Willie when he stops doing out there things. I don't see how you can dismiss some of the easy, easy things he misses. He's clearly a man that has positives, but some things that he does are so out there.

    3:20 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    dammit Mike, you owe me money for making me look at Project E-5! damn well broke my unintentional comedy meter. who's gonna pay for all this?

    3:56 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Felt a little bit more like a real ballgame today.

    In the "what a difference a year makes" department:

    "A lot of people expect a lot of things out of me," Milledge said. "When I start doing those things, and when people can actually look at me in a key situation or I'm coming through for the team, that's when I'll start getting excited. Right now, I'm on the team, I have a spot and I'm grateful and excited. But it don't stop here."

    8:03 PM

    Blogger Coop said...

    Project 13 -
    You have to be fucking kidding me.

    I'm going to link to that tomorrow Mike. I will give you cred. It's weird...almost cultish.

    8:09 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Milledge is good at the baseball. I am giddy for when he gets his real chance this season.

    DG, it's as if Milledge took a media class or something this offseason. Or papa gave him a stern talking to.

    9:11 PM

    Anonymous two-by-four said...

    1. There have been some excellent points on both sides. I think Wright is flexible enough to either bat 2nd or 5th. However, it appears this argument is a moot point because Friday’s lineup which was billed as the opening day lineup had PLD batting 2nd.

    2. I agree that Wright also gives Delgado protection. It’s critical they don’t pitch around Delgado because they know Alou is up next. I would gladly walk Delgado to get to Alou, and Green.

    3. PLD didn’t do that badly hitting in the 2 hole. He is not a power hitter and hitting in this slot plays to his style of hitting. Last year PLD’s obp was .355 some 14 points higher than his career obp. Since he only walked 24 times that is reflective of his hitting in the 2 hole between Reyes and Beltran providing him with more fastballs resulting in a .318 avg. He also had 39 doubles which was 2nd on the Mets (behind David Wright’s 40) and 17th in the NL. Also Reyes scored 122 runs last year with PLD batting 2nd so even though PLD only drove in 49 runs he was not an automatic out or rally killer. PLD did score 80 runs.

    4. I have been trying to find out who was the last player in the NL (AL with DH represents a different scenario) hitting in the 2 hole to have 116 rbis. I haven’t been successful so maybe one of you has that info. The point is Wright had 100+ rbis the last two years and do you want to bat someone like that in the 2 hole where the odds are he won’t reach those numbers.

    4. Finally, I realize batting 2nd will give Wright more at bats during a season. But if that is such an important criteria then perhaps Boston should have Manny leading off with Ortiz batting 2nd.

    2:02 AM

    Anonymous two-by-four said...

    Sid Finch you may have a java script error. Go to http://www.java.com/en/download/index.jsp and download and save the latest version of Java. Then I would remove the version you have of Sun’s Java (it will probably read J2SE Runtime Environment in the add/remove programs in the Control Panel). Then clear your browser’s cache (temporary internet files) and reboot the computer. Then install the latest version of Java. Reboot the computer. Also make sure that Active Scripting and Scripting of Java Applets is enabled (or at least you are prompted for an okay) on your computer. I hope this helps.

    2:35 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Muchas gracias two-by-four for the helping hand. Sidd, let me know if that gets you up and running!

    11:23 AM


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