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

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's All About The Pitching

Tasty tidbits abound.

Bill New York, NY: What are chances of Zambrano being a Met come July?

SportsNation Jayson Stark: I don't see the Cubs selling, either. That's why I didn't put him on the Available Arms list in Rumblings. But if Zambrano hits the market this winter, I'd almost bet he'd be a Met. He's an Omar Minaya favorite, from what everybody tells me.

It's all about the pitching. The Mets outfield is set for quite a while as is the left side of their infield and first base should be covered as well. Only second base, catching, and the ever hot commodity of pitching are big needs for the Mets over the next six seasons. I think Omar has chosen to go the cheap route for second base and look for bargains that get the job done admirably. As for catching, I can see LoDuca coming back with a one year deal and an option while everyone figures that situation out (Pena is at least four years away...at least, probably five or even six). That truly leaves pitching as what Omar will covet and the last two drafts truly outline that and leaves boatloads of money to filter into pitching.

I've said it before, if I would condone five years $75 million for Zito, I would certainly be ok going higher on Zambrano, but with a ceiling. If the Yankees want to outbid the Mets no matter what, that is not something I would be interested in seeing the Mets do. With Kenny Williams new policy to not pay the crazy bucks that pitchers are getting these days and his desire to develop his own pitcher on the cheap, Mark Buehrle should be on the market after this season as well. Mark will arguably be the best pitcher dollar for dollar on the market next season, but we all know Omar's penchant to bring in power arms. Either way, the Mets should have a nice rotation option should the Yankees flex their almighty financial might. They would almost assuredly make a bigger run at either of those two than they did for Zito.

* * *

  • Oh baby. What happens if you snort it?

  • The comeback kids...

    In the Year of the Comeback, only one team in baseball has more wins against opposing closers than Tampa Bay does (four) -- the A's (five).

    The only criterion we used was games in which the opposing closer was the losing pitcher. (So blown saves and ties don't count.) Your leader board:

    A's 5
    Devil Rays 4
    Mets 4
    Red Sox 3
    Yankees 3
    White Sox 3
    Cardinals 3

  • Also from the above link...

    ESPN research whiz Mark Simon reports that El Duque Hernandez has ripped off five straight starts of six innings or more, allowing four hits or fewer. He needs one more to tie the team record, held by the very cool trio of Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan and Sid Fernandez. If you're wondering (and of course you're wondering), Tom Seaver's longest streak like that was three, and Dwight Gooden's longest was four.

    The Duque has been so good for the Mets it is mind boggling. I expected him to be decent, but not this good.

  • Jorge Sosa! Sosa's 2.65 ERA and 0.99 WHP are just spectacular. When Pedro comes back, who is out of the rotation? The Duque? How can you? Maine, Perez, and Sosa each lead the team with six wins and have been amazing. Glavine? Not even a chance if we wasn't pitching good and he is. Again, they aren't necessarily planning on having Pedro come back, but if he does, it is going to be interesting.
  • Labels:

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Bolstering The Bullpen

    “With our first selection, Eddie Kunz, we feel like he has a chance to be a quick mover out of the bullpen,” amateur scouting director Rudy Terrasas said. “We like that he has a power fastball with good sink and a power slider to go with it.”

    Said Minaya: “So far we’ve done pretty well with relievers. And I think relievers are so important in the game right now that if you get a chance to get a guy who can help out at the major leagues, you have to consider that. I’m not afraid to take on relievers. When I was in Montreal that time we took Chad Cordero. We took Joe Smith in the third round. We’re not going to be afraid to take what we think is a quality reliever.”

    And so there it is. It is amazing how important the bullpen has gotten in the past few years. Here are their complete picks with Baseball America's scouting reports:

    1st round (sup) Eddie Kunz rhp Oregon State OR
    Kunz will get drafted in the first three rounds and could move quickly as a college reliever with a plus fastball. He was a set-up man for the Beavers' 2006 national championship team and has replaced the departed Kevin Gunderson as the team's closer in 2007. While Gunderson thrived on command, lefthanded funk and moxie, Kunz has plus stuff and closer-quality velocity. He's a behemoth at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and will have to watch his body and his weight as a pro. His loose arm and low arm angle produce 94-96 mph fastballs, and some scouts think a cleaner body and more consistent mechanics would give him even more velo. Kunz throws a changeup to lefthanders that's effective, and at times his change is ahead of his flat slider.

    1st round (sup) Nathan Vineyard lhp Woodland HS, Cartersville, Ga. GA
    Like fellow Georgia high school lefty Josh Smoker, Vineyard has been on the map as a prospect for several years. His performance has been far less consistent than Smoker's, but he re-established himself as a potential high-round pick last fall when he dealt in front of more than 100 scouts in the featured game of a World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla. His delivery is loose and easy and the ball jumps out of his hand. His fastball comes in at 88-91 mph, but because he leans heavily on his plus slider, there's reason to believe he will add velocity once he learns to pitch off his fastball. His slider has late break with good depth and tilt. He'll throw it in any count and can spot it down in the zone or bury it as a chase pitch. Vineyard profiles as a No. 4 starter or set-up man in the big leagues and could be drafted as high as the supplemental round.

    2nd round Scott Moviel rhp St. Edward HS, Berea, Ohio OH
    The Andrew Brackman comparisons are obvious. Product of an Ohio high school? Check. Signed to play in college at North Carolina State? Check. Huge body that has scouts dreaming of a monster frontline starter? Check. Unlike Brackman, Moviel doesn't have a basketball scholarship, but he has played the sport in high school. He's an intimidating 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds and athletic for his size. He has a 91-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94, and he has tightened up a curveball that was loopy a year ago. Brackman had similar stuff when he came out of Cincinnati's Moeller High three years ago, though his breaking ball was better. As with any large pitcher, there are concerns as to how well Moviel will repeat his delivery and command his pitches. His mechanics don't have any major flaws, though he could do a better job of staying on top of his pitches. Because his older brothers Paul (in the Devil Rays system) and Greg (in the Mariners organization) went backward in college, Moviel is considered signable, especially if he goes in the top three rounds as expected.

    2nd round Brant Rustich rhp UCLA CA

    3rd round Eric Niesen lhp Wake Forest NC

    3rd Stephen Clyne rhp Clemson SC
    Clyne began experiencing arm trouble when he was still in high school, and in an effort to avoid surgery, elected to redshirt his freshman season in 2003. His arm never got back to normal, and he had Tommy John surgery, costing him all of 2004. It wasn't until last fall that he began to show the stuff that made him a coveted recruit. As a fifth-year senior, Clyne would create bidding interest among multiple teams if Clemson's season ended after the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, but the Tigers were a lock to go to regional play, so Clyne will hope to make his money in the draft. He's shown the stuff to warrant a third- to fifth-round selection, with two hard pitches and the profile of a setup man or middle reliever in the big leagues. Clyne's fastball sits between 91-94 mph with plus sink at times, and his slider can be filthy, registering anywhere from 80-84 mph on radar guns. He has limited feel for his changeup, and Clyne has a tendency to pitch tentatively, and doesn't always seem to have conviction in his stuff. He's around the zone, with solid-average command.

    4th round Richard Lucas 3b Wolfson HS, Jacksonville, Fla. FL
    5th round Zach Lutz 3b Alvernia College PA

    Their first six picks are not so surprisingly pitching. If they weren't going to try and pick up a middle infielder, they might as well went with pitching since they are pretty well covered elsewhere. Their first three picks sound very intriguing with them picking up some high ceiling arms including the poor man's Andrew Brackman. I expect them to sign these guys quickly and get them pitching in the system by the end of the month.

    * * *

  • Ron gets his contract extended and rightfully so.

  • The Mets have a developing bullpen issue.

    No, the issue is the rest of the late-inning bullpen corps. Scott Schoeneweis has been a disaster lately, and the question now, after he lost the game in the 10th and his ERA ballooned to 7.17, is just how many more chances Willie Randolph is going to give him in important situations.

    Randolph went to him in a 3-3 game in the 10th last night because he wanted lefty-lefty matchups with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, if necessary. The strategy backfired when Utley doubled home Rollins to break the tie, and it surely has the manager re-evaluating his use of Schoeneweis.

    They almost have to consider using one of their AAA starters in the bullpen until Sosa and can be put into the bullpen when Pedro comes back.

  • Valentin is back.
  • Thursday, June 07, 2007

    D-Day: Who Will Be The Newest Mets?

    The draft is here and I'm definitely probably pretty sure that I'm excited. There is talk about Rick Porcello!!!! falling to the Yankees and I am a bit mad the Mets will not be there to pick him up before the Yankees might have their shot. Hopefully he does not fall to the Yankees because this kid is legit. He can definitely pair up with Phil Hughes as a tremendous one two punch for a long time. It seems as though Brackman might even tumble even further down the draft boards since he has yet to step on the mound and there are rumors of possible Tommy John surgery for him.

    As for the Mets, their main plan is crossing their fingers and hoping some top tier talent falls and falls and falls so they can open up their checkbooks and get something done. You really cannot argue there because they do not have much of an option, but I'm confident that this scouting department will do good. Last year they picked up Kevin Mulvey in the 2nd round and Joe Smith in the third round and they both look like great picks at this point with Mulvey proving his worth this season in AA and Joe Smith proving he is already one of the best relievers in the league.

    The big question of the day for me is how good is Todd Frazier? Baseball America has him moving up in the first round as does Baseball Prospectus.

    25. Todd Frazier, 3b, Rutgers (24) Up
    In a draft thin in college position players, Frazier was gaining more momentum based on his solid, consistent performance as a junior this season. "Great year, guys like really like him," an AL crosschecker said. "Later first round guy, too." He was 4-for-12 with four doubles in Rutgers' regional loss.


    29. San Francisco Giants

    The Giants are looking for a safe pick here, and their previous picks above this one limit them on a budgetary level to no more than slot money. Without a lot of hitters worthy of the pick, they could go with Rutgers star Todd Frazier, who projects as a power-hitting third baseman or corner outfielder down the road.

    Pick: Todd Frazier, 3B, Rutgers

    Keith Law is not nearly as excited about him.

    Rod (NJ): Where do you see Todd Frazier going? A SS with power and a good eye has to be in demand, but I didn't see him in your top 100.

    SportsNation Keith Law: Very mixed opinions on him; i think he goes sandwich to a college-oriented team, but I think that there's way too much chance he doesn't hit for average with wood unless someone cleans up his swing.

    Confused? Me too. Of course, if he is going to profile as a third baseman or outfielder down the line, he is really of little use to the Mets. I know you don't draft for need, but if the Mets aren't going the second base route early, they need to go with another arm. Preferably a high ceiling high school arm.

    Also from the above link, BP tried to predict who the Mets would pick and they named Jack McGeary, who is a high school lefty.

    Jack McGeary, lhp/1b, Roxbury Latin HS, West Roxbury, Mass. (27) Down
    Despite an impressive record (5-1, 0.88), McGeary had 21 walks in 40 innings and his velocity was in the 83-87 mph range for much of his last outing. "He had a very, very average year at best," an AL crosschecker said. "I thought going into the year he was a late first-rounder but I think he might be sliding to the second, and beyond (that) because of his signability."

    Previously, he had a write-up that was much more rousing.

    As polished and steady a prep lefty as there is in the nation, McGeary sits consistently in the 87-90 mph range with his fastball, touching 91, and he figures to add velocity as he fills out his tall frame, which invites comparisons to Andy Pettitte's. McGeary can spot the pitch to all four quadrants of the zone, and his above-average 76-78 mph curveball is a legitimate out pitch that he commands very well. McGeary also flashes an average changeup that he rarely has to use. He has a smooth, easy delivery, though he breaks his hands really low near his knees during his windup. McGeary could also be a power-hitting first baseman should he wind up at Stanford, but he might be signable if he goes in the first round.

    Just something for you to chew on, Keith Law said he was a possibility for the Mets as well so there must be some rumblings that they like him. Want more? Alright...here is the scouting report on him from ESPN:

    Excellent command. Plus-plus curve; shows 12-6 and 1-7 varieties. Tons of pitchability. Great mechanics, good balance, smooth arm action. Good downhill plane. Uses change often. Willing to use any pitch in any count. Fastball has to have more consistent movement to succeed at higher levels. Needs to get stronger. Draft projection: Early 1st rounder, but may drop due to signability. Commitment to Stanford. Projects as a No. 2 starter. Unless the change or fastball radically advances, he's not a No. 1. Should be an innings eater, dependable and solid. Extra lefty value.

    Pitching Stats
    Fastball 50 55 87 91
    FB Movement 55 55 N/A N/A Natural lefty mvmt.
    Command 60 70 N/A N/A Plus FB comm.
    Control 55 70 N/A N/A
    Curveball 65 65 74 77 Consistent break. Late run.
    Changeup 45 50 81 81 Needs polish/more fade.
    for Pitching 50 65 N/A N/A Likes to expmnt; bright.
    Physical Description: 6-3, 200. Compares to Eric Milton.
    Arm Angle: 3/4
    Mechanics: Clean. Excellent follow-through with arm action. Landing on outstep.
    Tempo: Average
    Release time: 1.27
    Ultimate Role: No. 2 starter.
    Draft Estimate: 1st round (low)

    He certainly seems intriguing and like a guy that Rick Peterson would go after. He sounds like a Zito-esque pitcher down the line and certainly would be a nice arm to have in the organization. So far, I really like this McGeary kid, Frazier, Nick Noonan, and Travis d'Arnaud (whom DG pointed out). If they can nab two of those four with their first two picks, I will be one happy son-of-a-bitch.

    No matter what happens though, I really feel like the Mets will be able to extract some talent with their picks as this draft seems to be deeper than most.

    * * *

  • Rob Neyer chat...

    anthony (nyc): Hey Rob, Whats with Joe Torre taking slight jabs at A-Rod all the time. I was just reading Joe Morgan's chat and he said he had no problem with the arod "HA" play. He said it happened all the time in his day. Yet Torre comes out in the press and says its wrong. This on top of batting him 7th in the postseason. Why does he continue not to stick up for him or am i just wrong?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:20 PM ET ) I finally figured this out . . . The Yankees believe that A-Rod's going to break up with them after this season, so they're preemptively breaking up with him first. I don't know how else to explain the utter lack of organizational support.

    The preemptive break-up! Brilliant. Earlier in the year, A-Rod already put the wheels in motion for the rarely used it's not me it's you routine saying that it's up the Yankee fans if he doesn't return so the Yankees are just making the next move. Really, is anything more clear than a much needed Yankee/A-Rod break-up?

    Matt (Anaheim Ca): You’ve criticized the Angels lack of OPS in the past, finally they are doing better in this category and you dont talk about it. Can you just admit you hate the Angels and especially former Angel Darin Erstad?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:39 PM ET ) Okay, I'll admit it: I hate them. I hate their silly caps with the silver halos, and I hate their Big A in center field, and I hate their stupid singing cowboy owner. And what's with Disneyland, anyway? Why build an amusement park right next to a baseball team?

    This one is just a gem.

    David (Chicago): Rob: It's not that the amusement park is near the Angels' ball park--it's inside it. The centerfield backdrop in Angels' stadium looks just like one of the roller coasters at Disneyland--Big Thunder Mountain.

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:43 PM ET ) Right! I also hate their stupid cement painted green with the stupid fake boulders!

  • Who knew? If you were asking Ozzie because you are used to getting inflammatory remarks and were expecting a blow up, you would be wrong.

    "I guarantee that Latin American people play more baseball than any people, because that's all we have," Guillen told the newspaper. "You have more people playing baseball in Venezuela or the Dominican than anywhere, so there are going to be more players from there."

    Guillen also told the newspaper that he believes there are more Latin players in baseball than African-Americans because players from Central and South American and the Caribbean can sign as free agents while American players have to go through the draft.

    "It's not that they can control us; maybe when we come to this country, we're hungry," Guillen told the newspaper. "We're trying to survive. Those guys sign for $500,000 or $1 million and they're made. We have a couple of dollars. You can sign one African-American player for the price of 30 Latin players. Look at how many Latin players have won Cy Youngs or MVP awards the last couple of years, how many Latin players have been in the All-Star Game; it's quantity and quality."

  • I still feel that Jose Valentin should be used in a different role than just starting second baseman.

    The Mets expect to get Jose Valentin back from the DL by the weekend. Valentin's inevitable return from the DL has pundits wondering, "What will happen to Damion Easley?" It's a fair question, taking into account his production since April 28, when he came in for the injured Valentin. Since that date Easley has hit .248 (25-for-101) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games, respectable numbers. Still, all indications are that second base will once again be Valentin's spot, although it'd be smart of the Mets to utilize this duo in a platoon. Easley is a .308 hitter with four homers and a 1.001 OPS in 44 plate appearances against left-handers this season, Valentin a .283 hitter with a .874 OPS and 18 homers in 378 plate appearances against right-handers in his career with the Mets.

    Now, I do think that Valentin is useful to this team. I'm dumb, but not dumb enough to not see that. However, I still think he is best served in a non-full time starting role. Personally, I have been impressed with Ruben Gotay. He's 24, still projectable, and he has a nice compact swing from the left side of the plate and makes consistent contact with a 24.2 LD%. That is higher than Wright, Reyes, and Beltran's, but coincidentally, it is lower than Valentin's 25.0 LD%, but I think Valentin's value lies elsewhere than starting.

    One large factor is that if Jose Valentin starts the rest of the season, there is a shot for him to still hit 400 at-bats kicking in his automatic $4.3 million option. He could come back in 2008, but not on those terms. Using the above idea of a platoon, we can just sub in Ruben Gotay for Easley. Gotay is hitting righties very well, but cannot hit against lefties and Valentin hits righties very well. As for Easley, I love him off the bench as a guy with some pop and this bench is in dire need of his services. Since Valentin went down with the corner outfield guys, the bench has been dismal. I have my concerns about Gotay ever being a full time starter with him inability to hit lefities, but he should be a great platoon partner with Valentin and getting the lion's share of the playing time.

  • Commense grown men giggling. Giggling as a male when you are over the age of five is only permissible in a situation like this. They did not mention how hard he was throwing and that is because I can only imagine he was throwing at 75% or something, which is fine. However, all this hub bub about him throwing 95 is nonsense though. Even if he can, should he be throwing that hard? I'd prefer the Pedro of 2005 with the ability to dial it up to 94/95 mph on 20% of this fastballs to put people away and just use it as another pitch. Pedro can succeed like Greg Maddux succeeded through the latter part of his career and we all know that. A Pedro coming back and throwing mid 90's fastballs the majority of the time would be bad idea at this stage in his career.

    In other Pedro news, he tries to apologize to Roger without actually saying I'm sorry for talking trash.

  • Milledge gets back on the field possibly next week. Personally, I'm disappointed he was injured. I'm glad we got to see Gomez, but it is clear that Milledge is more big league ready and it would have been nice to see what type of statement he could of made with both Green and Alou being down.

  • The Mets interested in Zambrano?

    According to one MLB team executive, the Mets would be "heavily involved" if the Cubs look to trade Zambrano.

    That is interesting considering the importance the Mets put on character. It seems that Zambrano is having a hard time not only on the mound, but off the mound in Chicago and not the type of guy the Mets would chase. However, people do make mistakes. Jake Peavy got arrested, Alberto Callaspo was arrested, Tony LaRussa was arrested, etc.. One bad incident does not make a guy a bad person. In regards to Michael Barrett, I'm pretty sure I touched upon the mental mistakes he has been making this year. Combine that with the Cubs disappointing play and Zambrano's struggles and you could have a ticking time bomb. Frustration manifests itself in many ways and Big Z. going after Barrett could have been one of them for him.

    The bigger concern would the health of Carlos Zambrano but I would suspect the Mets would do their homework before acquiring him. Personally, if you get the chance to get him, I think you have to. He's 27 in 2008 and has legitimate ace ability. As we've all spoke about before, the mind is a an amazing thing and could be completely dehabilitating. Just ask Oliver Perez.

    What is also interesting about this is that Gammo just had a blurb on this one.

    Which Piniella can and probably will do. Do his Cubs have flaws? Of course. Carlos Zambrano needs to pitch like a front-line guy, and either stay in Chicago or head on to the Mets at the end of the season. Felix Pie needs to produce, and the bullpen has to get straightened out.

    It kind of makes you wonder of what is being said in the back channels. As we all know from the Zito hunt, nothing is a foregone conclusion, but the Mets really did not go hard after Barry. They had a limit and stuck to it. With Big Z., they could pursue him hard. Will the Yankees be in on him? Probably, but one of these days, someone is going stay in the NL rather go to the AL for purposes of not getting beat up and preservation of their numbers. With Glavine coming off the books and Pedro's contract dropping down to $12 million, Green coming off the books, and hopefully a few million back from Valentin, the Mets should have as much as they need in their war chest. You would have to think the Mets have created a better environment for a pitcher than any team in the league between their youth, ability to be competitive, defense and having a pitcher's haven.

    If the Mets and Yanks matched dollar for dollar, who would you pick at this point? The aging team in need of some major tweaking surrounded by a media circus or the Mets?

  • Drew Sharp is reeeeaaaaalllly reaching.

    More Latino kids play baseball in Central and South America than black kids in the United States because they have fewer options, often times sadly existing in depressing urban squalor.

    Black kids here have more choices. That's why the NBA and NFL have an advantage in attracting the extraordinary young black athlete in the United States more so Major League Baseball.

    Yet there's truth to Sheffield's comments in regards to teams exacting more control over Latino players than black players. Non-American players are excluded from the entry draft, so it's possible for a team to sign 20 Latino players for the same cost as a guaranteed signing bonus for one player selected high in the first round of the entry draft.

    That gives major league executives tremendous power over those players. Those teenaged Latino players bust their butts when they sign, relentlessly pushing themselves. And they're more receptive to doing whatever is asked of them out of fear that if they don't, they're possibly banished back to their third-world living conditions.

    Isn't using fear a measure of control?

    I'm letting that all sink in and it is not jiving for me. You try because that is what is in you. It's easy to cruise around in third gear and not kick it into sixth gear and it takes a special person to push themselves. If Latino players relentlessly push themselves while guys who get drafted do not, I would extremely shocked. Sharp is intimating that Latino players work harder for the above stated reasons and to that I can point out players like David Wright who work just as hard as anyone from any corner of the globe because that is just what they do. As for being receptive, any kid that is coming into a sport and getting guidance from an expert should be receptive. If there weren't, I certainly would not want them in my organization no matter where they came from and I'm not really sure where he was going with that argument.

    I understand that American kids (black, white, spanish decent, whatever) have more options whether it be playing three sports as as kid or playing the Nintendo Wii while kids in the Dominican or Venezuela simply do not have as many options and play many, many, many more hours of baseball than kids in any other country. I get that. That is a big factor in the influx of Latino players over the years.

    Whatever. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but making Latino players seem like these mind washable players is utterly ridiculous.

    Sheffield was right in another regard -- a free-thinking black man still rattles the social, economic and political establishment today, same as he did more than 40 years ago during the height of the civil rights movement.

    It's amusing listening to the early fallout and the predictable cries of a double standard. What if a white player was perceived as smearing an entire race with such broad strokes? Would he not face official sanction from Major League Baseball or at least face pressure to apologize or clarify what he meant?

    For some reason, I do not think a big concern on the mind of many baseball executives is a free thinking black man. Their main concern is fielding a good baseball team. If Elijah Dukes getting many chances after his many indiscretions does not outline that then I'm not sure what will.

  • Alou? Pissed. Schoensweiss? Pitching hurt. Green? Almost back. Endy? On the DL.
  • Labels:

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Draft '07

    The Mets own the 42nd, 47th, 93rd, and 99th picks in the upcoming draft out of the top 100 and they can certainly pick up some talent in those spots. The obvious hope is someone dropping for signability reasons, but with the Yankees picking 30th, it would be hard to see anyone really special drop past them. Below are some guys who I am intrigued by and very well could be on the board when the Mets are picking.

    Guys that intrigue me:

    41. Nick Noonan, 2b
    Noonan has plenty of baseball savvy, first and foremost at the plate. He stays balanced, trusts his hands and makes consistent hard contact. Overmatched earlier in his career with wood, Noonan has made adjustments in his swing and shows excellent aptitude. While he's just an average runner, he's a good baserunner and basestealer, and he's a solid defender thanks to good hands and sound footwork. While he doesn't have flashy tools, he's one of the steadiest players in this draft class.

    While he should be off the board when the Mets pick, anything is possible. But he is not targeted to be a hold out because of money and appears to be a great guy to have in your organization so no one would really shy away from nabbing him.

    43. Casey Crosby, lhp
    Now Crosby is a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder with a low-90s heater that tops out at 93. He still has plenty of room to add strength to his frame, too. He impressed scouts last October by playing wide receiver on Friday night, taking the ACT test Saturday morning and then flying to Florida to light up radar guns at the World Wood Bat Championship. He finished the fall with 76 receptions for 1,150 yards and 19 touchdowns.

    Hard throwing lefties are always good to have he certainly looks like a good character guy to have in an organization that will work hard and do the right things.

    56. Cole St.Clair, lhp
    St.Clair's stuff has looked good when he has taken the mound, as he has worked at 90-92 mph and flashed a good curve. Yet he had pitched just 11 innings in five weeks and he's a reliever, so scouts had trouble catching him in action. When healthy, St.Clair has been more dominant than Savery. Several clubs believe he has enough stuff to start in pro ball, a transition he wants to make. St.Clair was a potential top 10 pick coming into 2007, and he could vault back into the first round if he shows teams he's healthy.

    The Mets have some starting depth already and with the high cost of relievers and Joe Smith's success, another fast moving reliever to the bigs sounds appetizing. Of course he could be moved into the rotation so you have a guy that can certainly fill whichever need you have and you can fill it with someone that is close the bigs in either role.

    61. Todd Frazier, 3b
    He has been a three-year starter at Rutgers and carved a reputation as a solid all-around player with a long track record of performance despite a modest tool set. He raised his profile by showing plus power with wood last summer with the college national team, but scouts are apprehensive about his long-term ability to hit for average because of unorthodox swing mechanics. He's a solid-average runner with adequate hands and an average arm, tools that might play at third base or second, but not at shortstop. His instincts and makeup are outstanding, and if he gets to his power as a pro, he'll play his way into a big league lineup.

    I also remember questions about two other guys who played shortstop while they were in college. The first one is Ryan Braun and questions about his ability to succeed because of a hitch he had in his swing. The second one was about Jed Lowrie and whether or not his swing would translate with a wooden bat. Both guys were good players and were able to put all of those questions to bed. Frazier might not be able to follow in their footsteps, but the prospect of a Dustin Pedroia-type guy with more pop is exciting. Of course Frazier has less bat control and K's more, but such are the pitfalls of hitting for more power.

    69. Jordan Walden, rhp
    alden was Baseball America's No. 1 high school prospect at the outset of the 2006 season, but an inconsistent senior year killed any chance that he'd realize his desire for a seven-figure bonus. After touching 99 mph the previous summer, he dipped as low as 85-88. When he fell to the Angels in the 12th round last June, he turned down a scholarship from Texas to attend Grayson County Junior College and keep his draft options open. Walden has been much better in 2007, sitting at 92-94 mph and peaking at 97.

    The key for their early picks might just be taking a chance on players who's stock has fallen and Walden certainly fits that bill.

    73. Danny Duffy, lhp
    He has perhaps the best fastball in the state among draft-eligible players, reaching 95 mph and sitting in the 90-93 mph range with his four-seamer. He's somewhat mature in build and has had back issues in his past, and needs to get stronger. Duffy also throws a high-80s two-seamer with good armside run, and has shown ability with both a slider and curveball. His mechanics aren't a thing of beauty, one easy indicator of how much work he has to do.

    His 118 k's in 53 innings opened my eyes. However, more walks than hits raises a red flag and this guy looks like a project. He seems to have an arm an a half though which certainly helps so maybe he can work out with John Holdzkom.

    81. David Kopp, rhp
    Somewhat enigmatic, Kopp has been inconsistent with his control and velocity, but at his best he flashed middle-of-the-rotation stuff. He stayed behind and on top of the ball better during his delivery this spring and improved his direction to the plate. His fastball ranges from 91-96 mph, sitting at 92. He gets sink and run from his three-quarters arm slot, though he doesn't repeat his release point. His changeup is a weapon, but his 81-83 mph slider shows potential of becoming a legitimate put-away pitch.

    Good fastball? Good change? Potentially devastating slider? Needs to work on his delivery? Sounds like the perfect guy to have in big league camp to be working with Rick Peterson.

    93. Victor Sanchez, 3b/c
    His businesslike approach invoked some Garret Anderson comparisons, and he plays the game hard and without unnecessary flash or effort. Sanchez has shown average power at present with a loose, easy swing that promises more down the line. He's shown the ability to adjust within at-bats and games to opposing game plans. His arm plays well at third base, and he has intrigued scouts even more by playing catcher, where his arm actually has improved and grades as slightly above-average. Sanchez is part of yet another strong San Diego recruiting class.

    The Mets already have a young catcher in Francisco Pena, but catchers are finiky and Sanchez can play multiple positions should both work out. They could certainly stand to grab him if he is on the board when they have one of their latter picks.

    100. Jonathan Bachanov, rhp
    University High was his fourth high school in as many years and Bachanov's Myspace page--complete with a "countdown 'til I get paid"--was a running joke among scouts this spring. Despite his blemishes, the big righthander shows glimpses of greatness, like his 15-strikeout performance against one of the state's top teams, Winter Springs High, in the 6-A regional quarterfinals in early May. That night his fastball was up to 95, and he showed an ability to place his hard breaking ball down in the strike zone.

    Seems like he has a bit of a douche streak, but his arm is intriguing nonetheless. At 6-5, 200 pounds, he certainly has a durable build for a pitcher as well.

    * * *

  • Alan Matthews Draft Chat:

    Q: Mike from New York asks:
    Some top guys that might fall out of the first round becuase of signability issues?

    A: Alan Matthews: Porcello and Wieters are the two most likely candidates. Guys like Aumont and Mesoraco are going to be two likely beneficiaries if that happens, as both are considered cinch signees if they go as high as the top 15 picks.

    Again, it would be nice to think the Mets could nab one with their first pick, but someone will make a play for them. I can see them slipping into the 20's, but then they have to get past the Tigers, Yankees, San Francisco (who direly needs to pick up some premium hitting talent), St. Louis, Philly, and the Dodgers. Tough for someone to slip that far past teams that all could be slated to open their pocketbooks.

  • Quotes of the week from Buster's blog on the 1st.

    dj_mahoney (6/1/2007 at 11:58 AM)

    Giambi has only been productive when he's been healthy and on the juice. The folly of the Giambi contract is not just the amount of money that the Yankees spent. Giambi has tarnished the Yankee's reputation. Say what you will about their payroll, but the Yankees (since 2005) have earned the respect of the baseball community and the fans for being straight-laced good guys that play the game the right way. Disregarding Clemens' two Piazza meltdowns, the times you could condemn the actions of Yankee players were few and far between. Giambi has been a complete and utter embarrassment. He's a fraud and a cheater. If he's dumb enough let his guard down again, Giambi will be the first to admit that was chemically enhanced during his walk year in Oakland and during his one shining Yankee moment, the 2003 ALCS. Mike Hampton and Chan #### Park did almost nothing positive after signing their ridiculous contracts, but neither of them sullied the reputations of the Rockies and the Rangers.

    It would seem as though DJ gets all of his news from the YES network. All this Yankee reputation crap really gets to me. There are plenty of teams (i.e. the Mets, the Red Sox, the Angels, the Dodgers, etc.) that play the game right and keep their heads down while not disrespecting anyone and not incessantly jawing. There are teams that do cheap things and lately, the Yankees have been one of them. Mostly due to one player, but they have been more guilty than most other teams.

    This notion that the Yankees are morally superior is just poppycock. Yeah, I said that. POPPYCOCK! Simply a false notion concocted by none other than...the Yankee fans and the media that covers them. The fact is, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. A Jose Guillen circa 2003 or a Aramis Ramirez with his non-hustle and sit down viewings of his doubles off the wall can really downgrade people's view of a team. Eradicate that or somehow squelch it and you have a good guys. 90% of the players are inherently good in this league and the AJ Pieznaljkajasierkiskis and Gary Sheffields are few are far between.

    Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez says that yelling at infielders is standard operating procedure for A-Rod, and calls it "stupid." Richie Sexson calls it "bush league," as John Hickey writes. Within this notebook, Tom Gage writes that a Tigers infielder had a similar incident with A-Rod last year.

    While on the topic of the ever so high an mighty Yankees, I didn't really touch upon the A-Rod fiasco. While it isn't a big deal and isn't illegal, it's professional courtesy to not do that. People try and liken it to blocking the fielder on a grounder if you are a baserunner to swinging to distract the catch on a throw to second, but they are different. For one, the other two situations involve being in the players field of vision. Just like fake catching a ball for an outfielder to try and fool a baserunner or the hidden ball trick. The guy trying to be fooled can see the play clearly. In regards to a pop up, in order to avoid a collision, you have to rely on your teammates. If someone calls you off, you back off. A-Rod's move was cheap. It wasn't slappy bad, but it's just another item on a growing list of A-Rod's childishness on the field. Not to bring this comparison up, but could you see Derek Jeter doing that? Whether or not he becomes the all-time homerun king or not, he will not have my respect for all his crap from his days on the Rangers, his little cheap shots, and his lack of a grasp on reality.

    tdellacroce (6/1/2007 at 1:02 PM)

    It appears that Yankee fans are going to have to get used to the newest pastime of the media, fans of other teams, and occasionally opposing players -- kick the Yankess while they're down. It's a perverse pleasure born of pent-up envy. It's sadly pathetic.

    Yeah. That's it. You hit the nail on the head 100%. The poor little old Yankees and their poor fans. Yankee fans have never stooped down to saying disparaging remarks about other teams or their fans, right? Right? Douchebag. I really fault A-Rod for not being in touch with reality, but Yankee fans have a pretty bad case of A-Rod-itis themselves. Self evaluation is a big problem for many, many people in this world.

  • "I was losing my mind. Seriously."

    The mind is crazy thing and it could have wreck Ollie. But now he is cruising and looks like the Perez of 2004.

    "Phenomenal," David Wright said of Perez's performance Sunday, though mindful that the lefty is one of several Mets starters who could use more run support. "Those guys get losses when in six, seven innings they give up two or three runs. That's not fair to them, but that's the game of baseball. That's what happens sometimes."

    The Mets were facing the hottest team in the bigs with an outfield that would be lucky to help the team to produce one run much less a win. It was a rough series for the Mets.

  • Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and LoDuca are the top vote getters in their respective positions.

  • The Duque? Money.

    Facing Orlando Hernandez’s maddening array of breaking balls is the kind of thing that can put some hitters into a funk. Apparently it was just the tonic to help struggling rookie Carlos Gomez get out of his.

    Gomez snapped an 0-for-18 hitless skid Saturday, and followed that up with a 2-for-4 performance yesterday that showed some promise. And the youngest player in the National League was quick to single out pregame work he’d done the last few days in the bullpen with venerable El Duque as the biggest reason why.

  • Pedro Martinez is scheduled to throw off a mound tomorrow in Port St. Lucie for the first time since surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. The Mets expect an August return.

  • Chan Ho Park is gone.

  • Humber is pitching himself in line to be the next call-up. He went 6.2 innings and gave up seven hits, three runs, and one walk while striking out five.

  • Ummmm....yeah...

    On his having two kids with two women by age 17: "That was part of my plan. I didn't want to be the typical athlete who's single all his career. I wanted the all-American family, and I did it the wrong way."

    So let's get this straight. It was your plan to have two kids with two different woman to prove you weren't the typical athlete who is single. Brilliant!

    On the decline of African-American players in MLB and the increase of Latinos: "I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... (It's about) being able to tell (Latin players) what to do -- being able to control them. Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man. These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."

    Talk about inflammatory racist comments. Where's Al Sharpton? Where's the ACLU? Where are the activists the calling for him to fired? Racism obviously exists and has existed in baseball, but I have no idea to what degree in Major League baseball at this point in time. It is ridiculous how Gary will just get away with this with minimal outcry while other people get lambasted. People are going to chalk this up to Gary being his usual self and this will die down and just be another ridiculous remark added to a long list of ridiculous remarks.

    Just my two cents, but if a player could help an owner win and add more millions to their pocket, they would be on the team regardless of race.
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