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.

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  • 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.
  • Monday, March 26, 2007

    Well Slap My Ass and Call Me Sally

    Mike Pelfrey, hoping to secure the fifth spot in the Mets' rotation, allowed four runs in five innings on Sunday against the Astros. The young right-hander felt disappointed, but shortly after the game, his mood brightened markedly when manager Willie Randolph told him that he has made the starting rotation.

    I didn't think it would happen, but it has. Mike Pelfrey's inclusion to the rotation is certainly exciting being how long the Mets have gone without having a homegrown pitching prospect come up through the ranks that was this highly touted. I do not expect him to have a typical rookie season and I expect him to be a productive pitcher that will challenge the defacto aces on this team for ace status of the New York Mets. Though he had a rough outing on Sunday, Keith Law saw a lot of positives.

    His arm slot is more conducive to throwing a slider, and his slider flashed average or even a tick above average on Sunday. The pitch improved as the game went on, with Pelfrey clearly gaining some confidence in it by the third inning (and then throwing five or six in a row). At its best, the slider was 83-85 mph with a short but sharp break, decent tilt, but most importantly it showed enough lateral movement to fool hitters who were waiting on his fastball or change, both of which are straight.

    Of course, Pelfrey hung a few sliders and threw several with an earlier-than-ideal release, which isn't shocking for a guy throwing a new breaking ball. His change was its typical fringe-average self, and his fastball was down a tick to 92-95 but with its usual superb sink. Given the rest of the Mets' rotation, it's fair to say the Mets' hopes for a playoff spot depend as much on Pelfrey as on any other single player on their Opening Day roster, and the signs Sunday were positive.

    The key for Pelfrey was always developing two average pitches to compliment his ++ fastball. Keith Law may be a lot of things, but he is still a talent evaluator and has a bit more expertise in the area than most baseball writers. Him calling Pelfrey's slider above average at times is certainly nice to hear about a pitch he has not been throwing all that long. If Mike can develop two plus pitches, he could replicate Verlander's '06 season with ease in the lighter hitting National League. Of course he will struggle at times with his slider, but if he can keep making huge strides, he will be the Mets ace of 2007 and I did not see that as a possibility at the end of 2006.

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  • Park is not happy, but does anyone really care? Pelfrey has looked great and Park was clearly not one of the best five starters who stepped on the mound this spring for the Mets. Park could probably still be an effective starter, but the Mets are going with the youth movement in their rotation.

  • Well, it looks like Duaner should not be counted on this season just the way Pedro is not to be counted on. It's no use wondering if Duaner's lack of rehab did him in, the Mets somehow mishandled the situation, or even misdiagnosed his situation. At this point, the Mets should be thankful they have a deep bullpen that should be able to pick up the slack. Furthermore, the Mets still have Guillermo Mota for 112 games of the season.

    When told Sanchez is out til August, closer Billy Wagner turned to Aaron Heilman, who will likely assume role of primary setup man, and said: "guess that means Aaron you've got three innings and I've got one."

    The bullpen is set with Schoeneweis, Feliciano, Wagner, Heilman, Park, Sele, and Smith. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Mets are going to have an overabundance of big league capable relievers. At this point in time, things look a bit thin. However, later on when Mota returns and some of the guys on the farm progress, the Mets will have ample depth for a late season injury fill in.

  • This is starting to get a little frustrating.

    At this point, the only thing that can hurt Lastings Milledge in his quest to make the Opening Day roster is a serious injury. Which is why it was doubly painful yesterday when Milledge was nailed on the right hand by a fastball from Astros reliever Matt Albers in the ninth inning.

    Milledge collapsed to the ground, clutching his right hand, and left the game with trainer Ray Ramirez holding his wrist. Fortunately, X-rays were negative, but Milledge is expected to miss the next few days with what the Mets described as a contusion of the right hand.

  • Well, it looks like BJ Upton might actually stick on the infield yet despite my previous assertion that the Rays management has handled him in a clueless fashion. Of course it could still be argued his best fit is in the outfield, but it seems to be a numbers game and the Rays like their outfielders better than their infielders and would prefer to keep Upton on the infield.

    "The big thing for Jorge is that he maintains the consistency he enjoyed in '05, and I think being healthy from the beginning will help that," Friedman said. "His role has yet to be determined, but I'm confident Jorge will help the Rays win games in '07."

    If that sounds cryptic, it might be. Cantu has heard the rumors he could be sent down - "It would be a really bad slap at me" - as well as chatter that he could be traded, with the Mets among those said to be interested.

    Keeping Upton on the infield might mean Jorge Cantu is available. The biggest obstacle there is trying to get any deal done with the Tampa franchise and unfortunately, I see little chance of the Mets and Rays finding a fit between the two teams. The Rays will no doubt ask for Pelfrey or Humber in any such deal and the Mets will undoubtedly decline.

  • Billy Wagner lays out what his take is on the Guillermo Mota situation.

    "I don't think there's anything he needs to say or do," said closer Billy Wagner. "He knows he made a mistake. We know he made a mistake.

    "It's a Catch-22. I know that the organization is not condoning what he did. But it would have been a huge loss for us if he was not signed back.

    "Do I feel like he needs to apologize to all of us? No. He's going to be scrutinized every time he goes out and has a tough outing and even if he has a good one. He's a good man and there are a lot of good men who make mistakes."

  • Carlos Delgado's wife, Betzaida, gave birth to a baby boy, Carlos Antonio, late Friday night. The Mets do not have a timetable for his return.