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

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Most Magnificent Bastard of All?

What once looked like a curious move, now appears to be a more calculated move if the latest rumor has any credence, which judging by the source, might not. Omar went into the off-season with a game plan. The pecking order was #1) front-line starter #2) sure up 2nd base #3) find a left fielder #4) sure up the bullpen. He struck quickly with Alou, which is one of the off-season's best deals, brought back Valentin, which remains to be see if that makes sense or not, and brought in a bevy of bullpen arms in Burgos, Adkins, and Standrich. As of now, the bullpen looks very solid and the offense is a tick better than last year and more balanced with Alou’s right-handed bat in the lineup. In regards to the starting pitching front, Omar tried to bring in an ace-type guy. He bid really big for Daisuke and their $38 million bid fell short of Boston’s unforeseen and astronomical bid. After that, he turned towards Zito who ended up getting a deal that not many of us would have been excited about if the Mets inked it, though most of us wanted him. He didn’t cost young talent, profiled nicely with this team, and was going to be reunited with professor Rick, but that is a moot point at this stage.

Now Omar is left to scramble if he still wants that ace. Speier or Riske would have been a better option in regards to freeing Heilman up for a trade than Schoeneweis, but Omar did not quite see things coming to the point they are at now. After getting ridiculous demands from GMs such as Kenny Williams for some of their marginal to slightly above marginal arms and getting priced out of the two big arms on the market, Omar was left holding his chorizo hands. So what did he do? He tried to piece together a quick and very smart contingency plan. (Taking bits from metsdynasty and Gotham Baseball here) With the importance of guys who can get lefties out with the Phillies fearsome twosome due to battle the Mets this season deep into September, it was vital to have not one, but at least two guys that can get lefties out. We know that Feliciano and Heilman fit that bill currently. As for Dave Williams, he has the potential to be useful, but lefties and righties hit him for about the same and it’s in the .280 area.

Now to my point. After the Schoeneweis deal, I called my friend and to discuss the deal and he said he felt a trade brewing with the recent acquisition. I said I don’t know about Schoenweiss contributing to any of that, but look out for Omar to go after Haren or Harden again. It turns out, Schoeneweis does help free up Heilman in regards to having two guys who can get lefties out in the bullpen, which is vital. It doesn’t in the sense that you are possibly removing a set-up man out of the equation and not replacing him with one, but I have more faith in a Heilman-less bullpen coming together better than a Haren-less rotation. The Mets need a front line starter more than they need Heilman and Milledge is obviously expendable as the outfield is their deepest position. Additionally, I feel good about Adkins and Burgos contributing something positive to this bullpen after some work with professor Rick and now all of sudden Omar’s head scratching move does not look so crazy. If no deal happens, Omar still needed to have Scott in place just in case. The insurance on the Mets needing to ensure two guys who are effective against lefties was worth the $10 million over three years. The only sticking point for me would be who that third player would be. It is not worth it if it costs Humber or Pelfrey as well, but Neise is certainly expendable.

While I think Beane would be extracting a large bounty, the Mets would have to overpay to get Haren from the A's at this time since they really do not have to trade him. However, giving up a blue chip outfielder, a very good proven reliever that could possibly start, and another blue chip is just too much. However, just thinking of Haren, Humber, Maine, Pelfrey, and Oliver Perez in the rotation picture for the next four years or so makes me want to run around naked. Omar….I apologize for doubting you and your poo does in fact smell like mangos and papayas with hint of kiwi if this was your game plan. Whether the deal works or not, it just shows how Omar's mind works and how he is always planning ahead.

* * *

  • Ummm.....yeah...put a stadium there please.

    Not via expansion, but out of an unproductive market.

  • The Mets are nearing a deal with Jorge Sosa as another potential power arm out of the bullpen.

    Sosa was 3-11 with a 5.42 ERA with Atlanta and St. Louis last season, when he made 13 starts in 45 appearances. The 29-year-old earned $2.2 million last season.

    He was designated for assignment in late July and traded to the Cardinals, who left him off the postseason roster.

    Sosa had his best season in 2005, when he was 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA in the rotation and relief for the Braves.

    Mazzone and Peterson go head to head so to speak with this reclamation project. It will interesting to see if Peterson can turn him into something useful as Mazzone did.

  • Friday, January 12, 2007

    All is Quiet on the Mets News Front

    I thought the Schoeneweis deal would really be a minor grumbling...a small head scratcher move, but it seemed to illicit some unforeseen reactions.

    Scott Fuckin' Schoeneweis is getting Bradford money, My eyes are bleeding.
    ~ Anonymous

    And who likes when their eyes bleed?

    So much for full autonomy.
    ~ Coop

    Are the Wilpons still lurching?

    And the Mets needed another lefty. Surprised it's three years but will lose no sleep. Funny to see how people seem to be freaking out about the signing though as usual not here. The comments in MLBTrada Rumors were hilarious.
    ~ DG

    Hilarious indeed...more one them later.

    Here is what I think about the Schoeneweis deal:
    1. A lot of Omar's moves make people scratch their heads. Seo for Sanchez, Benson for Maine and Julio, signing Chavez and Valentin. Omar's greatest talent is that he can find underrated players who are on their way up.
    2. Schoeneweis' numbers are much better than what people think: during his 8-year career, he limited lefies to .231/.303/.302. That's pretty good.
    3. We only had Feliciano as our left hand specialist before this deal. Wagner is our closer, Williams isn't impressive against lefties. Feliciano had a nice year in 06. Schoeneweis is our insurance if Feliciano can't repeat his success. LHRP is important because our main enemies are the Phillies in 07.
    4. So why 3 years and 10.7 mil? Why not Bradford? First of all, Schoe made 2.75 mil last year. Ask him to take a paid cut in this market is impossible especially when he had a strong finish in 06. Second, MLB average salary is going higher and higher. 3.6 mil/year for Schoe is very close to the league average. If he really pitches well for us, he will be a bargain at that price for the next three years. Third, there could be a million reasons why we gave the money to Schoe but not Bradford. Maybe they know something that we don't, Bradford's health concern, our inability to get an ace at this point. Who knows?
    I know that if you are smart you better not criticize Omar's moves before you see how they actually work out on the field. Also, is a 10.7 mil deal really that much of a financial risk for a big market team like the Mets?


    Food for thought...

    At first, I was a bit confused when I heard about this signing. But then I thought pretty much everything you just stated about Omar and his signings. Came to the same conclusion, just wait to see how it plays out on the field.
    ~ Anthony

    Does Omar's shit really smell like mangos and papayas?

    Nothing curious about the Schoenweis move if you think of some of the other moves Omar has made recently.

    He traded for Shawn Green acquired Dave Newhan as a free agent. Its obvious that Mr. Minayawitz is trying to field an all Jewish team. I can hear Chris Russo complainiing about it now. Here comes Lieberthal, Jason Marquis, Youkilis. Its obvious that Minayawitz is out to make a point about his people.
    ~ Adam

    You heard it here first.

    From MLBTraderumors.com:

    Anybody think this is a perfect prelude for a Milledge/Heilman for Joe Blanton or Esteban Loaiza swap?

    Why not throw in Humber for good measure?

    Please... somebody shoot me. My GM is a fucking moron.


    Mets fans everywhere just threw up in their mouths a little bit.

    Heck, as an Angels fan among those who were happy to see his ineffective ass leave a few years ago, *I* threw up in *my* mouth a little bit at seeing the moolah tossed his way.

    In summary, blecch.

    We don't need your sympathy.

    Yeah, let's lock up Scott Schoenweiss! I want to make the deal with the devil that Boras did. This guy has thrown 57 innings in his career that warrant anything near this kind of deal.

    It's not like this is going to hurt the Mets, he could always be good I guess, or that it's some huge mistake or albatross.

    But, yikes.

    Getting warmer.

    All in all, I don't think anyone is going that crazy. The deal seems a bit off even in this climate hot ending of ’06 for Scott or not. Again, the move is not going to hamstring the team, but I’m all for fiscal responsibility after the 2001 through 2004 version of the Mets and throwing any money away is never good. This is simply a case of the Mets waiting too long and only the scraps are left now. It could end up being solid if Rick Peterson can work more bullpen magic, but there were better options for relatively similar pay.

    Justin Speier was the premium reliever on the market and got 4 years and $20 million. I’d rather of splurged for him as it only cost the Mets a second rounder since they picked up Alou and he held lefties under .200 last season, .211 since 2004, and held all batters combined under what Schoeneweis simply held lefties too in '06. Yes, Schoeneweis can start, but the likelihood of him being around as a starter with Williams and Vargas in the mix seems remote. Is it bad to have another arm around? Fuck no. I just think it kind of caught everyone off guard. The reality of it is that we do not know who the real Schoeneweis is.

    Since 2004, he has a 4.10 ERA, .250 BAA, and a 1.40 WHIP as a reliever in 110.2 innings. In 112.2 innings as a starter, he has a 5.56 ERA, .288 BAA, and a 1.54 WHIP in 112.2 innings. He keeps the ball in the park and has a 1.84 G/F ratio. He was bad in '04 as a starter, good in 2005 as a reliever and held lefties to a .188 BAA (righties hit him for a .306/.405/.389 line), and bad in '06 as a reliever until his stellar 14.1 inning stint with the Reds which essentially got him this deal. Righties didn't hit him very hard in '06 so at least he had that going for him, but you get the picture. It just seems like a lot for a guy who has been very inconsistent.

    Obviously the sky is not falling and this is really a minor move, but it's been slow in the news for Met fans and most of us wanted Zito and instead we got Scottie. I'm sure it will be a swellicious relationship between the Mets and Schoeneweis as Rick Peterson guides him to being a successful reliever, but that doesn't mean many of us get the deal right now. I would have understood it more if it freed up Heilman to be dealt, but this move has nothing to do with that. In the end, it seems like a lot for a guy who will most likely be primarily used as a LOOGY.

    * * *

  • As DG pointed out, Mark McGwire might now lose his highway.

    First he was snubbed by Hall of Fame voters, and now this: A state legislator wants to strip Mark McGwire of the highway named for the slugger after his record-breaking season eight years ago.

    State Rep. Talibdin El-Amin, a Democrat from St. Louis, submitted a bill Wednesday that would rename "Mark McGwire Highway" to honor former state Sen. John Bass, a veteran city politician and educator.

    Not a good week for Mark. Not a good week at all.

  • Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    You Couldn't Make This Up If You Tried

    "As far as just looking at Paul Lo Duca across the field, I'm not really into how he acts behind the plate," Thomson said Wednesday during a conference call. "I know a bit about (Jays catcher) Gregg Zaun and I know he wants to win and he's not going to let anything get in his way to do that, and I like that.

    "And then with Vernon Wells in centre field, I'm not really concerned about the outfield with him out there. . . . Just watching the Mets outfield, if Cliff Floyd is out there it's not a real good fit for him out there. He can hit the ball but as far as defense, he's a little shaky.

    "I just liked what's happening in Toronto."

    Do I really need to say anything about this? Are any comments necessary? I was perplexed when I read about the Schoeneweis deal, but the John Thompson comments were just what I needed for some levity. Thompson claims he is now healthy and that's great because after posting a 1.56 WHIP, .295 BAA, and 4.82 ERA in the NL East, he'll need to be healthy to face the beasts of the AL East. Not one team figures to be a weak offensive team in that division.

    There are so many levels that John Thompson's remarks are crazy. Beltran being a gold glove centerfielder, Cliff Floyd not even being on the team, and Paul LoDuca being one of the few guys that you can outwardly see his desire to win games are a few places we can start though. It is just crazy how not only so many writers seem to be out of touch with the game of baseball, but there seem to be quite a few number of players that pay little attention to goings on of their own profession. John Thompson seems to be partially stuck in 2004 combined with a skewed view of present day.

    Fucking ponderous.....

    * * *

  • Steroids bad...cocaine good?

    Raines has some personal baggage to overcome. During the Pittsburgh drug trials in the early 1980s, Raines testified that he kept a gram of coke in his uniform pocket, snorted during games, and made a point of sliding head-first so as not to break the vial. Not exactly a wholesome image there.

    Then again, the voters didn't spend much time moralizing about Paul Molitor's early indiscretions with cocaine and marijuana. Raines addressed his problem and rehabilitated his image, and he was a sympathetic figure at the end of his career, selflessly contributing off the bench for two World Championship teams in New York and fighting lupus before his retirement.

    We all know a big deal will not be made form Raines' cocaine use and I'm definitely not saying a big deal should be made of it, but it will certainly be interesting to see how these writers treat Mr. Raines when his time comes up. If you are going to condemn steroid use, then you certainly would have to condemn a player who admitted to using cocaine during a game....right?

    Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo....and one has to wonder what the real motive is for this sudden desire to be champions of all that is good and holy for some writers.

  • The Phillies top ten is out and only three guys have played over A ball. The guys that played over A ball are really marginal prospects and their system is pretty barren at this point.
  • Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    It's Broke and It Needs To Be Fixed

    "From my dealings with Cal Ripken Jr. in the past, he was very pleasant, a good ambassador for the game, and his numbers speak for themselves," Ladewski said. "But I don't have enough information on the [steroids] subject to make a decision."

    Ok...fair enough. Punish everyone even though there are some guys on the ballot that clearly were free of steroids and giant craniums.

    "In an attempt to uphold the Hall of Fame standards established by their predecessors, I will not vote for anyone who played in the 1993-2004 period, which I consider to be the Steroids Era," Ladewski wrote in an e-mail to The Sun last month. "That includes Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken Jr."

    Wow. Just a second ago I thought you didn't have enough information on the subject to make a decision and yet you decided that the steroid era was 1993-2004....give or take a year.

    I'm not mad about McGwire not getting in obviously since I'm on the fence he should ever get in. I agree with Mr. Ladewski that it's not up to us or him to decide who's guilty of roids, but my point is that it doesn't matter. You have to look at the players and measure them against their era. This period of baseball is in stark contrast to the dead ball era. There is better scouting, better conditioning, better equipment, smaller strike zones, smaller foul areas, smaller parks, and a dearth of solid pitching. Expansion has diluted the talent pool for pitching drastically and the aforementioned factors sure do not help. Just because a player hits 500+ homers does not mean that player should be inducted into the Hall of Fame anymore.

    When the top six homerun totals of all time happened in the span of four years and have not been touched since, that must be taken into context when weighing out someone's career in my opinion. And while steroids are not a reason to keep anyone out the Hall of Fame, skewed numbers over a short period time are. What I cannot get over is that Mark McGwire was known as a power hitter and hit 23% of his homeruns in two of his sixteen seasons. Just let that sink in. McGwire was a great ball player for a long time and otherworldly in two seasons. Not cutting it for me. Barry Bonds is a no doubt induction into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot juice or not.

    We've been over the fact that cheating has been around the game for a long time and it is not up the writers to factor that stuff in and decide which cheaters were worse. You would like too have the Hall be an honest and pristine thing, but it is hard to make an exact determination as to the effects cheating had on the game if it appreciably inflated everyone's numbers. We can assume that to be the case, but we cannot know beyond a reasonable doubt. However, to abstain from voting anyone in who played over that period is just the wrong thing to do. For one, it is irresponsible. What if Goose Gossage was two votes away from being voted in and the two blank ballots would have put him over the top? To see these writers take the high ground after the majority of them got to where they are by not behaving in the most benevolent of manners is laughable. I'm sure most of these writers never crossed any line in their careers and have always been champions of morality.

    “I understand this is an unusually hard-line approach, but I believe it's my responsibility to uphold the Hall of Fame standards in whatever way necessary,” Ladewski said.

    The Hall of Fame has been tarnished from letting unworthy players in. There are few standards to uphold at this point. Frankly, it's even more of a mockery that not one player has been voted in unanimously. If anything speaks more to what is wrong with the system, I do not know what does. Babe Ruth? Ted Williams? Hank Aaron? Even Tony Gwynn? C'mon. That really speaks to the human element here of a few writers holding something against these players for some reason and crying about morality or crying about preserving tradition. The only tradition I see with the Hall of Fame is one of self importance. People thinking they are more important than they really are.

    “I will say this about unanimity,” said Jack O'Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA. “I don't think it will ever happen, and am not sure that it should. “What is wrong with dissent? Isn't that part of the American character? Not everybody voted for George Washington or Abe Lincoln, a couple of slam-dunk Hall of Famers, if you ask me. At the risk of being blasphemous, even Jesus did not get a unanimous vote at the Last Supper.”

    And why shouldn't it happen? As Jason Stark pointed out, Gwynn's career batting average was higher than anyone else's since Ted Williams played the game and is at least 20 points ahead of everyone else. He hit .350 or better five years in a row and won eight batting titles and finished in the top ten in every full season of his career and in the top five in all but two. 15 time All-Star! Five Gold Gloves! The craziest stat of all is that he struck out fewer than 25 times in each season he hit .350 or better and never struck out more than 40 times and topped 30 only five times. I mean really...what else does the man need to do to garner a vote from everyone? Even if you are abstaining because of roids, Gwynn was a pudgy non-power hitter.

    “I personally don't think we look particularly good as a group that we've never had a unanimous Hall of Famer,” ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said. “I mean, really – Willie Mays, Hank Aaron – give me a reason why somebody didn't vote for them. That's preposterous.

    “... The fact that we haven't had (a unanimous choice), I don't think that's a tradition we should be preserving. I think it's a tradition we should be ending.”

    I find it hard to care about the Hall of Fame and that is the real shame because I love this game.

    * * *

  • Ted Robinson is on board with the Mets making a run at Mulder.

    Mulder is a luxury the Mets can afford, a potential top-flight starter who needs time and space to fully recover from surgery.

    The Mets would likely seek assurance of a second year on the contract if Mulder rebounds

    He is the only pitcher out there that has some upside. While it is hard to see him gaining Cy Young candidate form, he is clearly a potential impact arm and we know he is not asking for a lot of years. Seems like a good fit for a team like the Mets who do not necessarily need to add a starter. I get the uncertainty between the young guys and Pedro already, but the Mets have enough arms that they should be confident a few of them actually stick.

  • Rob Neyer chat...

    Brendan (New York, New York) : It's a shame that Paul O'Neill will not be on any future Hall of Fame ballots. He was one of the most fiery competitors to ever play the game and was an integral part of the Yankees dynasty in the late 90s. The guy won five championships and deserves to be in the Hall.

    Ha! Jackass. Brendan my friend, how do you manage to get up and the morning and remember the underwear goes on the inside....actually...maybe I'm being too presumptuous here.

    Peter (Dubuque, Iowa: Thurman Munson should be in the Hall. Yes, he played for only 10 years but he played more games during that time, was ROY, MVP, All Star 7 times, and Gold Glover 3 times.

    Dave (PA): I admit this question is biased, but Donnie Baseball only got 9.9%. Is there any way at all that he is going to get a closer look? Is he going to have to wait for the veterans' committee, if at all?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: I think it's safe to say he's going to have to wait for a long while. He certainly was better than a number of first basemen who are in the Hall, but like Dale Murphy and Alan Trammell he's been overshadowed by the hitters of the 1990s.

    al (DC): gotta love NY-bias, whats next Chad Curtis?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: Don't be silly. But you know, Luis Sojo did nothing but win World Serieses.

    If Sojo doesn't get in, it will be an injustice of biblical proportions.

  • It should be noted that Bobby Bonilla received two votes. You'd hope they were jokes, but I just do not know anymore.

  • Enough already...let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame.

  • There are few words that could describe how badical the iPhone is.
  • Monday, January 08, 2007

    Weighted Average Prospect Ranking

    I took the Mets top ten prospects from Mets Inside Pitch, Baseball America, John Sickels, and myself to give a weighted top ten list. A player got ten points for any first place voting, nine points for a second place voting and so on. Here is what I came up with:

    1) Mike Pelfrey - 38
    2) Fernando Martinez - 36
    3) Carlos Gomez - 32
    4) Phil Humber - 30
    5) Deolis Guerra - 17
    6) Jon Niese - 17
    7) Mike Carp - 16
    8) Kevin Mulvey - 12
    9) Joe Smith - 7
    10) Shawn Bowman - 4

    Outside looking in:

    11) Alay Soler - 2
    12) Francisco Pena - 1

    What you see is three distinct tiers of players. The four blue chippers, the four in the next tier of talent, and the rest of the pack. Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez, and Mike Pelfrey each stopped in at #1 on someone's top ten list with Mike Pelfrey checking in at #1 on two lists. Pelfrey stopped in at #1 on my list and Baseball America's and that might seem weird to a lot of people since I have stated time and again I like Humber better. However, Pelfrey's arm is just one of those rare arms.

    From Matt Meyer's chat on Met prospects:
    When I talk to scouts and coaches, they often talk about how important it is to pitch off of your fastball. Pelfrey not only pitches off of it, he can control games with it and it has the chance to be the type of special fastball you speak of. Humber's curve, while fantastic, is not as unique as Pelfrey's fastball. Let me put it this way: There are a lot more pitchers in the minors with a curve like Humber's than there are with a fastball like Pelfrey's. He is just a more unique talent as far as I am concerned.

    That is really it in a nutshell. Strangely enough, I made my list a few weeks ago in anticipation of the Baseball America top ten list and was a bit surprised that I had Pelfrey at #1 myself. That's not a knock on Pelfrey either, but a testament to Fernando Martinez and Phil Humber.

    Q: Burt from Cincinnati asks:
    1) When is Mike Pelfrey "up" to stay? 2) Can he be the Mets' #1 starter by 2009?
    A: Matt Meyers:
    1) At some point this season. 2) Yes, and possibly sooner

    What BA says about Pelfrey:
  • There are few pitchers in the minors whose fastball can rival Pelfrey's. His two-seamer sits at 92-95 mph with fierce sink and late life and rates as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
  • He has thrown both a curveball and a slider but now favors the slider, which is better suited for his power arm. He throws it at 84-87 mph with some depth, and he can reduce the break on it to give it more of a cutter look against lefthanders. He has yet to learn how to command his slider consistently, and it probably always will be his third-best pitch.
  • He should be in the Mets rotation for years to come and has the potential to be a legitimate No. 1 starter.

    It is clear that Baseball America is still extremely high on Mike Pelfrey's potential and it is easy for us to get frustrated with him, but the reality is he has not even thrown 97 minor league innings yet. Like Milledge deserves a pass and needs more time, Mike Pelfrey does too. While I still like Phil Humber in the short term, Mike Pelfrey definitely has the ability to surpass him and pair up with Humber to make one swell front end of the Mets rotation.

    One thing that did shock me a bit is Baseball American's unabashed love for Carlos Gomez. We all know he oozes tools and has been young for his league in every season he has been a pro, but Baseball America laid it on thick. It was basically said that it was a toss up between Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez for #2 and #3 on their top ten and considering F-Marts tremendously high ceiling, that is certainly high praise, but somewhat perplexing since Gomez has not really put up and jaw dropping years and will be at AAA in '07. Furthermore, you get the sense from Meyers and BA that few rival the tools and have the ceiling that Gomez has.

    The one problem is tapping into that potential. We've all heard the stories about the serious homerun pop he exhibits in batting practice, but he still has not shown the ability to translate that into game power. While the Mets have three premium prospects in the outfield that really are not that far away, none of the three really project to be big time power guys. While that really is not a paramount concern a well rounded offensive team like the Mets, it is a slight concern and you hope to see one of the three step up to be a thirty homerun type guy to add some more punch in the middle of the lineup. A centerfielder with a good bat still has a sub-par bat for a corner outfielder and it certainly diminishes the players value a bit to be playing out of position.

    As for F-Mart, Matt Meyers finally said what Met fans have been getting someone to say for months and months.

    Q: Fabian from My Cubicle asks:
    Who is your pick between Fernando Martinez and Jose Tabata? Why?

    A: Matt Meyers:

    When I did the SAL top 20 list, I ranked Tabata higher. But after hearing reports from Martinez in the Arizona Fall League, I think I might rank him higher. I honestly don't know, but I think the fact the Martinez is a little more athletic and hits lefthanded gives him the nod at this moment. It is a great debate and I hope it continues for years to give us a modern day version of Mantle vs. Mays. We are a long way from that though.

    What we do know is we are splitting hairs here. Both were extremely successful at a young age and while you won't find many Met fans that do not think Martinez has the edge, most will agree Tabata is pretty solid. Baseball America also said that he has the highest ceiling of any hitter in the system and will put himself into the discussion of the best prospects in baseball if he can build on his 2006 season.

    Overall, you have to feel good about the Mets system right now. It's a far cry from where it was two years ago and they have potentially ten guys, including Lastings Milledge, who could be impact players on the big league level with guys like Dustin Martin, Francisco Pena, Emmanuel Garcia, Sean Henry, Greg Cain, Tobi Stoner, Eddie Camacho, Josh Stinson, Daniel Stegall, Hector Pellot, and Junior Contreras that are solid prospects with some nice upside. Outside of the catching department, the Mets have a nice number of prospects in the places they need them and things are definitely on an upswing for the Mets in regards to their minor league system.

    * * *

  • DG was out in full force during the BA chat....

    Q: Screamin DG from Paris, France asks:
    Hey Matt, I must admit that this is one of my favorite days of the year! There were two pitchers who continually intrigued me last year though neither is a top level prospect. One is Mike Devaney, who finished the year at Binghamton; the other, Jacob Ruckle, who faired better at St. Lucie than he did later for Brooklyn. Could you tell me a bit about each player and even take a guess at where they rank in the Mets top 30? Further, does either pitcher have a chance to reach the show?

    A: Matt Meyers: Word, a question from France. My mother (who was born in France) would not be happy if I ignored this one.

    Matt Meyers: Ruckle and Devaney are similar pitchers in that they both have had success despite a fastball that Jose Reyes could probably outrun. Although they have had good numbers, neither is a great prospect. Ruckle has a an odd bow-and-arrow delivery that causes some deception, but his fastball sits at about 85-86 mph. I just don't think it will play at higher levels. Devaney fits in towards the back end of the top 30 (available in the Prospect Handbook!!!) and his fastball sits at 88 mph. He also has a big looping curve that causes bad swings. When you grade out his stuff, he is not a prospect. But since he has had success as high as Double-A, he has some legitimacy. If he does this again in 2007, he will be worth paying attention to.

    Word...DG starts it off with some obscure prospect reference which is always nice.

    Q: Screamin DG from Paris, France asks:
    Can you explain the philosophy that Humber needs more innings in the minors this year than Pelfrey? As far as I see it, innings are innings wherever they are thrown. I mean, it's not like he'll throw less in the minors than he would in the majors.

    A: Matt Meyers: Not all innings are created equal. Minor league innings are less stressful because their is less emphasis on winning. When you get bombed in the minors, you talk to your pitching coach about what went wrong and how to fix it. When you get bombed in the big leagues, you have to face a dozen beat writers and get ripped on sports radio. Also, it is more taxing to pitch in the majors because the hitters are tougher. Furthermore, in the minors when you are on a strict pitch count they will take you out when you hit the limit regardless of the situation. You can't do that in the big leagues. You can't take Humber out of a big league game when he hits 75 pitches if it is the fourth inning and two men are on. Maybe once in a while you can, but not every time. He needs to prove he can reliably pitch deep into games.

    DG, I thought you got the memo that not all innings were created equal! We'll let you slide on that one since you went to bat for Phil Humber trying to get him the respect that he deserves and did not quite get in the chat.

  • Keith Law Chat....

    Alon (Brooklyn): What do you project from Humber and Pelfrey in the future?

    SportsNation Keith Law: I've said before that I think Pelfrey needs to junk his curve and go fastball-slider to be successful, but if he does, he's a #1 or #2 starter. Humber scares me - threw so well in September, then came up lame again in the Arizona Fall League. Those Rice kids just can't stay healthy. Good arm, though, middle-of-the-rotation guy with power stuff but durability issues if he puts it together.

    Not fair. Humber's health history was spotless until Tommy John and it is understandable that he got tired arm after a long hiatus. Suck it.

  • Duaner? Bargain.

  • Changing of the guard in terms of which league the top tier shortstops reside in? I think so. Seven of the top twelve fantasy short stops are in the National League and the youth is on their side as well. Reyes, Rollins, Tulowitzski, Drew, Hanley Ramirez, JJ Hardy, Felipe Lopez, Freddie Sanchez, etc... What was once a thin position in the National League has become quite a deep one.

  • The Hall of Fame...If I had a ballot, here is how it would look:

    Tony Gwynn - yes
    Cal Ripken Jr. - yes
    Goose Gossage - yes
    Andre Dawson - yes
    Jim Rice - yes
    Jack Morris - no
    Bert Blyleven - yes
    Mark McGwire - no
    Alan Trammell - no
    Harold Baines - no
    Albert Belle - no, though he would have been a sure bet had he not had injury issues
    Dave Concepcion - no
    Steve Garvey - no
    Dale Murphy - no
    Dave Parker - no
    Lee Smith - no

    I voted yes on Gossage, Rice, Dawson, and Blyleven because I'm sick of ready about them every damn year and whether they should be in or not.

    Stark on Gossage:
    No closer in history made more All-Star teams than Gossage (nine). And according to Retrosheet, he held right-handed hitters to a .211 batting average, .285 on-base percentage and .311 slugging percentage over a 22-year career. So elect him already. Please.

    Stark on Dawson:
    He won an MVP award, and finished second twice. He was a rookie of the year. He won eight Gold Gloves. He had one of the most spectacular throwing arms of his era. And even though he needed to run his knees into more ice than the Titanic just to get out there, he still racked up 2,774 hits, 438 homers and 314 stolen bases. The only other players in history who can match that combination are Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

    Stark on Rice:
    In the 11 seasons from 1975 to '85, Anerican League pitchers would have been happier to see Jack the Ripper heading up their driveway than Jim Rice heading toward home plate.

    In those 11 seasons, Rice led the AL in home runs, RBI, runs scored, slugging and extra-base hits. And the only hitter even in the same neighborhood in most of those departments was George Brett.

    Stark on Blyleven:
    Blyleven gave up 344 fewer runs in his career than the average pitcher of his time. In the entire live-ball era, the only eight pitchers who beat him in that department are Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Tom Seaver, Carl Hubbell and Bob Gibson.

    It's clear that they dominated the game at the time more so than their counterparts. That is what the Hall of Fame is about, right? And yes, I realize that could be argued of Mark McGwire, but I still think his game was more one dimensional. Also, when you take into account that from the first game of Major League baseball through 1997 only two guys hit over 60 homers and from 1998 through 2001 it was done six times. I get the fact that McGwire knocked 49 bombs as a rookie to set a record, but he played for 16 years and hit 23% of his homers in the span of two seasons. When you are talking about a guy who was considered a power hitter his entire career, that is saying a lot. Sorry, he's out and it's not because of roids.
  • Sunday, January 07, 2007

    My Favorite Blogger

    Sometimes some things just happen in life that you just never expect. One thing I never expected was looking towards Buster Olney's blogs everyday. Don't hold it against me. I know what I've said in the past about him, but I'm willing to bury the hatchet. Fact is, his two week hiatus is starting to make me look forward to his return to blogging. While this off-season has been slow, he has had a plethora of swell information for us to read. Now we just need him back before we are forced to read more Keith Law or Peter Gammons posts.