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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tough Decisions On The Horizon

Peterson is never at a loss for an analogy and this article really brings up some interesting questions.

Fitting him into the September rotation is easy. Assuming the Mets make the playoffs, then does Martinez automatically get a first-round start? And if so, what does the rotation look like for the Division Series, when the Mets really only need three starters?

Based strictly on performance, Orlando Hernandez deserves to pitch Game 1 - the Mets haven't lost since July 4 with him on the mound - and Glavine would likely go in Game 2. That leaves the difficult decision of choosing between Martinez and two starters who helped get the Mets to the playoffs in John Maine and Oliver Perez. Both have cooled down in the second half. Maine has a 6.31 ERA after the All-Star break, Perez a 4.33, and Martinez could make it easier simply by outperforming them. If the competition is close, however, should Martinez definitely get the nod?

Glavine's 2nd half ERA is 3.89 and he obviously has the most extensive track record out of everyone. However, he is also the only starting pitcher who has pitched below league average this summer that would be considered for a playoff rotation spot. He also profiles least as a reliever which means he would basically have to be included in the post season rotation since he would not have value elsewhere.

It would be impossible to predict whether or not Pedro will have any impact, but you would have to believe that if he shows anything at all he will be included into the rotation. Quite the quandary indeed. Who is in and who is out? How could you possibly take a guy out of the post-season rotation who has been one of the best pitchers in the league in 2007? I'm not sure, but it has a strong chance of happening.

The likelihood of Pedro heading into the bullpen is slim for the simple fact that he probably would not have any part of that. It is really not something to get all worked up about yet since Pedro is still a pretty good ways away from making his '07 big league debut and he will not have many chances to prove he is back and healthy.

Personally, I would have a hard time putting Pedro in the rotation given the circumstances and I certainly believe he could be pretty tight out of the pen. You would not have to worry about stretching him out and he has pinpoint control so you would not have to worry about him walking many people, if any at all.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Let us hope a decision is made with sound reasoning rather than some logic revolving around and idealistic scenario that simply is not playing out in reality.

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  • I'm not sure if I linked to this before, but if you have not seen it, enjoy.

  • Don't get Willie angry. You won't like Willie when he gets angry.

    "Everything," Randolph said. "It was just a horrible game. The pitching didn't come through. Terrible situational hitting. It's a giveaway game and it can't happen. These guys play us tough here, but there's no excuse for it. To get a lead like that and not be able to put them away. Give them credit for battling back. I tip my hat to them. But there's no way we should lose a game like that."

    It's good to see Willie get fired up a bit because it's a close race and it's midway through August. Every game is important at this point and you simply cannot give games away. And you cannot give them away especially when you factor into things the fragility of this team. A cushion is paramount for this to have in order to gain some level of comfort.

  • Interesting blurb which relates to my last post:

    It's a shocker, consider Maybin has only been in double-A for a little over a week. But Jim Leyland is one manager who can make this work. He's a big believer in talent over experience. And Maybin is the most talented outfielder in that whole organization, with the possible exception of Curtis Granderson. They were looking for life and for energy, and this guy gives them those ingredients. I don't know if he's "ready," but I give the Tigers a lot of credit for having the guts to find out at a time like this - at the expense of a safe option like Monroe.

    There is a guy who is not afraid to dive into the pool with a cell phone and some cold cuts (aka lunch meat to you non-tri-state area people) in his pockets. Trust the kids! You might actually get rewarded.

  • The Mets are #3 and the Yankees are #2 on BP's Hit List.

    The dynamic duo of Perez and Maine need to step it up though and get back on track.

  • Marc Raimondi questions Willie's logic. Of course if they were still babying Pedro and were not interested in pushing him, I could understand why it worked out the way it did. But if they were past the babying stage and he was ready for full action, it was a mistake. I guess we'll never know...

  • Five years and $91.5 million. I think we all knew it was going to happen but were secretly hoping it didn't. With no other ace on the market and Curt Schilling not an exciting option, the Mets look like they will be going to battle with Perez, Maine, Pedro, The Duque, and Humber/Pelfrey.

    Not that it is a horrible thing, but they might be a little thin in that area. Not that I think Omar won't be out there looking under every rock for a pitcher, but it's hard to envision him being able to snare someone that makes any sort of difference outside of being a warm body.

  • The Yankees are playing hard ball with A-Rod so far. If A-Rod opts out, Cashman said he's gone. I do not see how the Yankees could lose him because he is the sole reason they have any sort of shot at all this year. Hunter will not come close to replacing him and with Melky, I am not entirely sure they need to break the bank on him. If they do lose him (and I am hopeing they do), I would not be shocked if there were not playoffs for a few years.

  • Omar certainly should have the extra cash to make a big international signing and it looks like he just might do that.

    When the international signing frenzy opened on July 2, no one thought there would be a $2 million man.

    And then a Scott Boras client showed up in the Dominican Republic.

    The Boras Corporation represents 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo and is currently being courted by several clubs, with the Mets, Mariners and Yankees considered the frontrunners.

    Negotiations for the 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop only began on July 30, when he turned 16 years old. According to several sources, Salcedo was seeking a signing bonus in the $4-5 million range, though he was expected to receive half that amount.

    I'm shocked Boras took so long to jump into the fray.

    “He projects to be the complete package,” said one international scouting director from a National League club. “He’s got plus range, arm strength and great hands at the position. He might have to move to third base at some point eventually, but he’s going to hit for average and power.”

    If the Yankees reel him in, they would have had quite the haul between the draft and the international arena.

  • John Manuel weighs in on the Mets current draft trends:

    Q: Greg from CT asks:

    Why do the Mets have to be so cheap when it comes to over slotting? Second straight year they let a top talent go just because they were afraid of the commisioner’s office

    A: John Manuel: I'm surprised the Mets have been so compliant. They also keep drafting relievers. It's an odd, surprising trend, no doubt. Just because the Yankees and Red Sox and Tigers spent doesn't mean the Mets should spend, but for me, teams should spend what THEY want to spend. Who should decide the value of a player--your scouts and talent evaluators, or the commissioner's office? If I owned a club, I would want the people I pay to make those determinations, not the commissioner's office.

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  • Friday, August 17, 2007

    The Eternal Question...

    Rob (DE): In your blog today, you linked to a great article about why the Twins have failed this season. But not giving ABs to Punto and Tyner seems so obvious? Why doesnt Terry Ryan, who has done a great job of judging talent (specifically pitching) not get this?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:24 PM ET ) Everybody's got their blind spots, I guess. remember Mike Hargrove and Willie Bloomquist?

    This list can go on and on in regards to egregious moves. In Kansas City where John Buck, a once highly touted catching prospect who is still young, has sixteen homers in limited action and is still mysteriously sharing time with Jason LaRue. A bad Cincinnati team failing to move Scott Hattenberg for a bag of balls to get top prospect Joey Votto some time or Naron not letting Edwin Encarnacion play through early struggles.

    Conveniently enough as I decided to write this, it was a hot topic in the chats.

    Jared (NJ): What's your opinion of Milledge's perfomance so far? It seems to me he shouldbe in right field 4 out ot 5 days SportsNation Keith Law: (2:10 PM ET ) He should be out there every day, no? Shawn Green is awful.

    Of course Lastings should see most of the time in right moving forward, but some moves that are seemingly plain to see by normal human beings are not acted upon by managers. It could be either riding someone for so long while viable and better options exist or a bad team not letting their young guys get much needed exposure while the team his headed nowhere anyway. In the case of Rickie Weeks, it is understandable why Yost could simply not stick with him. But conversely in the middle of a race, veterans will be given a leash equivalent to the circumference of Michael Kaye's gigantic head.

    I agree, Gutierrez should definitely be getting playing time. The thing that people forget about seemingly harmless, low-cost signings of past-their-prime players is that managers can become enamored with that kind of guy, and ace better talent out of playing time as a result. Trot Nixon has had a very good career, but he should be a bench player at this point.

    Why managers become enamored with this guys are beyond me. These are questions that will never get fully answered but one has to assume they remember the good 'ole days when they did produce. The funny part is that you can go around to any fanbase and you will see similar things occurring where fans are howling about some guy. Bring up Shelly Duncan, bring up Adam Jones, bring up 8 pound 6 ounce baby jebus, let Lastings play, Joe Borowski must die, etc. Sometimes they straighten out, but generally, these guys are baked.

    But the eternal question remains, why do some managers refuse to do right thing?

    * * *

  • In contrast to the above piece, there are simply times where you have to sit idly by and let these veterans muddle though. You have to be able to see when there is no upside as in the case of Green and Nixon and you have to be able to see that their strength and athleticism is gone and their declines have been steady and not quick ones. Also, you have to be able to understand when it is a guy like Delgado or Andruw Jones. Those guys at least have upside.

    Delgado's decline was unpredictable and you had to believe he was going to pick it up. Drop him in the order? Sure. But you simply cannot bench him because there was little reason to believe he was as bad as he was showing earlier in the season. He was killing the team and in all likelihood is done being a .300 hitter, but he is a solid #5 hitter at this stage since he still possesses some pop. It is not black and white and you have to use a little common sense to see who is done and who to keep the faith in.

  • Sorry we ate your forefathers. Hey, at least they apologized.

  • Travis (Mad Town): Hey Keith, Revisiting the 05 draft Who would you go with now Braun, Zimmerman, or Gordon?

    SportsNation Keith Law: (2:35 PM ET ) Oddly enough, same way I had them at the time. Gordon, Tulowitzki, Braun, Zimmerman. You'll notice a certain LHP who's not on there.

    Ziiiiinnnggg!! Of course you remember that the Blue Jays drafted Rickey Romero who was a good lefty handed prospect, but not one you would likely consider that high with all that talent in the draft. Of course the Mets took Mike Pelfrey and the early returns have not been good and I'm often daydreaming of their second choice, Jay Bruce, in a Met uniform.

  • David Wright and Willie predict a gold glove for Jose, but Vizquel probably has something to say about that. He'll win it until he retires and I thought a mockery was being made by voting him in just because he's won it so many times. I thought that until I watched the Giants play the Mets and he was tighter than a camel's asshole in a sandstorm.

    Not that Jose has not necessarily played even with him or even slightly better, but a tie goes to the incumbent Gold Glover and Vizquel is still pretty damn amazing.

  • Endy is on his way back and played in his first rehab game today Of course there is not much room for him in the outfield, but that is another issue altogether.

  • Pedro Watch '07 continues.

    PEDRO WATCH: The Mets confirmed that Pedro Martinez's next rehab start is scheduled for Monday with high-A St. Lucie, during a doubleheader that begins at 5 p.m. against Brevard County. Martinez, working his way back from right shoulder surgery, retired the first 10 rookie-level Gulf Coast League batters he faced Tuesday before surrendering a three-run homer in the fourth inning during a 60-pitch outing.

    I thought he would be put up against AA batters but I guess not. I'm not sure if this means two more starts no matter what or whether one more good start means he hits the bigs next.

  • Also from the above link, Joe Smith is feeling better.

    "I really haven't got hit hard," Smith said. "Everything is coming back like I thought it would. I've got confidence. My fastball is sinking."

  • The Mets have added a new member to the family:

    The Mets' latest international signing comes from Europe. Team officials announced the signing of 18-year-old third baseman Marinus Vernooij from Rotterdam, Holland.

    If he can regain early season form, that is obviously a huge boost for the Mets World Series aspirations.

  • The Mets are rolling in the dough and spent the 9th least out of team in the first ten rounds.

    They plunked down $3,328,800 and only the Phillies, Marlins, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, Twins, Angels, and Astros spent less. The Astros spent $536,000 and did not have a pick until the third round, which makes their failure to sign their top two picks a joke. Anyone still think they shouldn't Oswalt and try and rebuild what has quickly become a disaster?

    The Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, Tigers, and Devil Rays round out the top five with $7 million + spent each, which is no surprise when you see what they spent in the first round.

    In regards to Efferson, it looks as though the Mets failed to sign him.

  • That game last night was ugly. Heilman made a mistake fielding the bunt and didn't get all that much help afterwards. Rough loss, but they take the series and it's onto DC to play the tougher than people think Nationals.

  • I think I'm going to alternate negative and positive posts....the next one will be positive one. Good times!
  • Labels:

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    Random Pitching Thoughts

    So here we are 43 games away from the end of the season. Only two teams in the NL have team ERAs under 4.00 and the Mets are one of them (heading into last night's action anyway). They are second to only the San Diego Padres. They Mets have not been a product of their homefield either as they still own a 4.00 on the road and a .251 BAA compared to a 3.87 ERA and a .239 BAA at home. The Padres on the other hand are sniffing 4.00 on the road and 3.12 at home which is just a huge disparity.

    The Mets also have the second lowest OBPA behind San Diego with .317 and the third lowest SLGA with .395. They are ninth in the league in homers allowed, but that is not really a huge surprise with the flyball pitchers the Mets have in their rotation.

    In regards to the rotation, the Mets are fourth in the leage in ERA with 4.17 and have a .245 BAA. More importantly though, their four main starters have a 3.62 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP with Glavine posting the highest in each category. If you look at the Mets top three starters, they have a 8.10 K/9, 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.38 ERA. If a team had one starter with that line, they would be happy. The Mets have three starters who have been extremely solid so far this season.

    The New York bullpen is second with a 3.47 ERA behind only San Deigo's who has a 3.06 ERA. Of course in the playoffs, the top starters and the top relievers are most vital. The Mets top four relievers currently own a 1.04 WHIP, 8 k/9, and a 2.58 ERA. Heilman has worked his ERA down to 3.60 and Sosa has looked great out of the bullpen. Even if you add Mota into the mix, the WHIP is 1.10, the ERA is 3.10, and the K/9 is around 8.

    Of course many people are down on Mota, but the guy still owns a 97 mph fastball and could still be useful. Homers kill relievers as they are in for such short amount of time and one homer has devastating results. Mota's HR/9 is 1.41 and if you compare that to his 0.93 career HR/9 rate of 1.00 last year, you'd have to think Mr. Sample Size is playing a part in Mota's horrendous showing. His walk rate is actually better than normal (however slightly) and I have to believe that he has not been as bad as his numbers dictate.

    We've spoken about his approach and leaning on the change-up too much and I think there is still a shot the '06 Mota surfaces that helped out the Mets pen late last season. Also, I think it bears noting his .2 inning, six run outing and two three run outings when he first returned are heavily skewing his numbers. While that still shows he has the propensity to blow up, he still has the tools and with him it has always seemed like a mental thing. I'm still holding out hope the Mets will have five or six dependable relievers.

    The Good
    NAME               ERA   DIPS  ERA+
    Billy Wagner 1.55 2.62 270
    Pedro Feliciano 2.76 3.40 151
    Joe Smith 3.03 3.73 138
    Orlando Hernandez 3.12 4.22 134
    Oliver Perez 3.46 4.19 121
    John Maine 3.53 4.03 118
    Aaron Heilman 3.60 3.99 116
    The Mediocre
    NAME             ERA   DIPS   ERA+
    Brian Lawrence 4.09 3.55 102
    Aaron Sele 4.12 4.34 101
    Jorge Sosa 4.15 4.38 101
    The Ugly
    Name               ERA  DIPS  ERA+
    Tom Glavine 4.25 4.92 98
    Scott Schoeneweis 5.06 4.92 82
    Guillermo Mota 5.40 4.11 77
    What does all this mean? Well, it reinforces the belief that the guys we think we can feel comfortable in have performed well enough that should actually feel comfortable with them. With the Exception of The Duque, no one is really overachieving and The Duque isn't overachieving by all that much. He's been money for the Mets this year, but I think we all know he is not a 3.12 ERA guy and more of a 3.75 to 4.00 ERA guy, which is not a bad thing. I'll trust The Duque any day of the week.

    As for Sele, the guy has been...well...average. He has actually been pretty good and has filled in his role as well as could have been expected (of course he had to blow up as I wrote this). Lawrence has also been a nice surprise in his two starts giving the Mets league average starts and a chance to win and that is all you can ask out of your fifth starter.

    As for Glavine, he has been a below league average pitcher this year and you hate to rain on the 300 win parade, but he has been laboring. An ERA+ of 110 is nothing to really brag about and below 100 is pretty bad. $10 million could change one's mind rather quickly, but I think Glavine is going to retire gracefully this year. As for Mota, his DIPS ERA suggests he has not been as bad as his statline would seem to indicate and expect a better finish for him.

    Overall, I feel pretty comfortable with this Met rotation if the bats can continue their resurgence.

    * * *

  • ROTOwire news blurb of the day:

    Lowry (forearm) had a successful return to the rotation Monday, holding the Pirates to two runs over seven innings to pick up win No. 13 on the season.
    Spin: Lowry allowed six hits, walked five and struck out three after leaving his last start with forearm tightness last week. His 3.28 ERA despite a 1.46 WHIP and 79:77 K:BB ratio defies logic and explanation.

  • Eric Byrnes is awesome.

    "Safe," Byrnes said, emphatically. ``But I would have called myself out. It's got to be a no-doubt, 110 percent safe at that point of the game if [the umpire is] going to call me safe.

    "He pitched a no-hitter. He deserved it. He pitched his butt off. It would have been a shame if [the umpire] had called me safe on that play. But when I slowed it down [on tape] and looked at it, my foot was on the bag as the throw got there. That's the tie-goes-to-the-runner rule. If that's the rule, then I was safe. But as a baseball fan, I agree it was a no-hitter. He pitched a no-hitter."

  • Duaner is done for the season. A great trade turned into a blah trade in which neither side won. Of course the bright side to this is that the Mets retain control of him at this point through the 2009 season.

  • Draft pick deadline madness...

    Mike (Queens): Will the Mets sign Brandon Efferson?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Not sure, because the Mets are staunch believers in sticking to slot. It's silly . . . I think they could get Efferson for under $500,000 and they have the money. And that might seem like a lot, but it's not. If you believe in your scouts, and you find talented players, the signing bonus is a pittance compared to what they can be worth.

    $500,000 for Efferson would be a steal and not a ridiculous sum of money. I truly hope the Mets do not drop the ball on this one.

    Jack (Clarinda, Iowa): Let me get this straight: the MLB -- in an effort to help small-market teams -- implemented these slot prices, and instead of helping, it has actually made things worse? That is funny, really.

    SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Exactly. Except no one is laughing. MLB is angry that teams are breaking slot. Clubs are angry that the draft has become a hugely unlevel playing field. Agents are angry that the slots were arbitrarily reduced 10 percent this year.

    Which is sort of the point. The guys who were busting through MLB's wishes are the teams who have money and who are on top and a lot of the guys who were trying to behave were the teams in need.

    Jake (Baltimore, MD): What is the problem with MLB being mad at you? What can they actually do to punish you for going over slot?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Very little. Yell and scream. Threaten to hold back a perk like hosting an All-Star Game, but that happens once every 20-30 years for a club. Maybe give you less money from revenue sharing or the central fund. But nothing significant.

    It is entirely possible the Mets feel the need to be on the commissioner's side with their bid to host the All-Star game, but this is about winning games and not about hosting All-Star games, right? I mean the Yankees surely don't care and will flex their muscle to get everything they want. Sign Efferson over slot, leave a flaming bag of poo on MLB's Park Ave doorstep, and get ready to have the All-Star game.

  • Pedro update:

    For three innings, he looked like the Pedro Martinez of old. He had good velocity, solid command, and according to one observer, Martinez was "making them look like A-ballers." Which, in fact, his opposition was. Martinez's second start in went relatively well, despite losing his perfect outing in the fourth when he started "playing around." Martinez had upper 80's velocity in the first inning, and went to 80 pitches if you include the ones he threw on the side after coming out. One noticeable thing is that he appears to have shortened his motion. If so, it's likely that he's still a bit tentative. The outing was a big positive for Martinez and the Mets, one that should put him on track to move up for his next start, probably to Double-A, and probably this weekend. Coming up with a real timeframe for his return to the Mets is still unclear, but it looks like it should happen during August. From what we saw today, Martinez can help the Mets, but I'm less sure that he can be a difference maker.

  • While there are some that fret about Milledge's miscues in the field and what would happen to him in the playoffs, I would just point to Shawn Green and his fielding mishap against the Cardinals and a horrific play on a Scott Spezio triple. Of course Scott Spiezio and triple should never be in the same sentence so if you are a bit hazy on the play itself, that should paint a picture for you.

    The bottom line is the more he plays the more he gets comfortable and the better he will be. It seems as though he will be getting more playing time which is definitely a good thing as it is plain to see he adds a spark to this club. What is weird about Milledge is he looked smooth out in center but tends to be a bit bad with his reads on the corners and more so in right field.

    Milledge has the ability to cover up the mistakes he does make with his speed and for what it's worth, these are the types of things that will help Milledge later. A ball slicing into the corner is not something he normally sees in center and the more exposure he has to those types of hits the better he'll be. The balls come off the bat differently when you are in right, center, or left, but it is certainly something that he should be able to adjust to which basically tells me it is about just getting more time to get comfortable and nothing to get truly alarmed about.

  • Within the above link it says that Burgos is starting to toss the ball. Not that I think he will give the Mets much this season since they just did not see enough of him to entrust him in vital spots, but it is worth noting. As long as he is on the DL come September 1st, he is eligible for the post-season roster should they actually need to use him.

  • The Yankees lost a tough one against the Orioles 6-3 in ten innings. A few thoughts on the game:

    1) Eric Bedard is rather nasty. Not that you needed me to tell you that, but I'm just sayin'...
    2) Shelly Duncan should hold off on the curtain call thing if he ties the game up. Hitting the go ahead run? Maybe. The tie run? No...does this kid curtain call on grounders in which he moves people over too?
    3) Michael Kay's head is still extremely scary and I applaud his mom for being able to pass that head through her birth canal.
    4) Mo left some fat pitches over the plate in the tenth and did not look sharp at all. The Yankees need him to be on point as they have little room for failure.
    5) Phil Hughes looks hittable right now, but showed flashes of being sick. His curveball is extremely good and he just looks like the throws the baseball with no effort.
    6) Joe Torre is still an ugly man.

  • How far were the Orioles and Wieters apart? About $5 million. I was shocked the deal got done for $6 million and the Orioles were dangerously close to not signing their second first round pick in four drafts.

  • Good win by the Mets and it is good to see their bats finally waking up. They weren't the cleanest two games I have ever seen, but the Mets are up 2-0 and are going for the sweep tomorrow with Big Brian on the mound and with the Braves matching the Mets win for win, they need to just keep pounding on this very bad Pirate team.
  • Labels:

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Hole In The Two Hole?


    This was one of those quiet acquisitions — other than Johan Santana's reaction to it in Minny — that can make a huge difference in October. Ruben Gotay had been filling in admirably for the injured Jose Valentin, but now the Mets have a slick-fielding veteran for the playoffs. (Castillo's record of 143 straight games without an error at second was equaled by Placido Polanco on Sunday.) A willing two-strike hitter, Castillo is the perfect guy to have in the 2-hole behind Jose Reyes. Castillo is hitting .326 since coming to New York in a deal that cements the Mets as the favorites in the NL.

    I like the deal, but it cements the Mets as the favorite? Castillo does all that for the Mets?

    I think what Paul LoDuca did last year is nice and all, but I'm quite partial to guys who can hit rather than situationally hit. Not that situational hitting is bad. I think it absolutely has its place and a team should know how to do so in case they need to grind out a run. But as a a way of life? I just think having a flat out better hitter is not exactly a bad thing when it comes to the two spot.

    There seems to be a perception that a certain type of hitter needs to be batting second. While that might be necessary in certain types of lineups, good lineups that have a very good hitting deep into the lineup probably do not need to manufacture runs a lot. And if a team does not need to manufacture runs a lot, why have a situational hitter smack in the middle of speed and power? Reyes has been proficient at scoring runs no matter who hits behind him and the numbers seem to suggest that. Omar and Willie's ideal #2 hitter is probably a bit unnecessary as their ideal #2 hitter lives and breath to move Jose over.

    This link and the below blurb are courtesy of David who emailed me.

    Its from the National Severe Storms Laboratory--go figure. Anyway, runner on 2nd, no outs, the probability of scoring a run is 0.633 and expected runs that inning are 1.13. Bunting the runner to 3rd but giving up the out--probability of scoring a run only rises to 0.667, a pretty marginal increase. But the expected runs that inning drops down to 0.96. So the probability of scoring a run rises by 0.034, while the expected runs drops by 0.17. And this is based on tens of thousands of observations. So given that Castillo is batting .300 and has some astounding number of infield hits {and conversely outs}, what exactly is the benefit of the sacrifice?

    On the other hand, with the bases loaded and one out, as in the top of the 7th as I write, the probability of scoring a run is 0.678 and expected runs are 1.57...and we got bupkis.

    Of course many will point to things not in the box score or things that cannot be quantified that a player of Castillo's ilk would contribute. If you look at Ruben Gotay's VORP and Luis Castillo's VORP, Gotay is ahead 13.3 to 8.5. But that is not fair right? Castillo brings defense to the table which was the biggest reason he was brought over and VORP does not account for defense.

    WARP1 does and Gotay's WARP1 is 1.4 and Castillo has a 1.3 WARP1 with the TWins and a .2 WARP1 with the Mets. So they are basically even then, right? Not really. WARP1 rewards playing time. So, for any player that had their playing time minimized due to injury, benching, or whatever would be negatively impacted in regards to WARP1. Gotay has 64 games played and 137 at-bats versus Castillo's 77 games played and 382 at-bats. This is not to rip the move of acquiring Castillo. I think he has value to a club like the Mets and they got him for free.

    However, it is entirely possible Gotay is more valuable right now than Castillo even when their defense is factored in. Of course this assumes Gotay's offense is for real and to what capacity his offense if for real. He is obviously not a .350 hitter, but he looks like the real thing and has a pretty impressive swing. I do wish the Mets would reconsider giving the #2 to a situation hitter this year and definitely next year.

    The Mets could easily roll with a Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Delgado, Alou, Green, LoDuca, Castillo lineup (a balanced lineup like Willie likes) and probably be better off. If Milledge or Gotay see some playing time, they fit nicely into the #2 hole. I do not think a slap hitter batting second really gives them their best opportunity to score runs. However for the rest of the season, Gotay should be seeing more playing time right now to keep a potentially valuable bat warm. Castillo and Gotay are both going to be valuable should the Mets make the playoffs and hopefully both get used in the correct spots.

    Just an aside...not to belabor the point, but if the Mets are willing to sacrifice offense for defense at second, why is the lack of offense and defense not dealt with in right?

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  • More on what Bobby Jenks has done this season (stolen for a Rob Neyer's comments on his blog)

    How rare is it to retire 41 consecutive batters in today's American League? Assuming an avg OBP of 0.337 (as Casey Stengel or Baseball Annie would say - "you could look it up"), then the odds are roughly 1 in 20.8 million chances. Assuming 30 teams multiplied by 162 games - you would expect to see this event randomly occur every 4200 years or so. If you assume the pitcher is pitching with supreme confidence and the hitters are totally bewildered and as such then lower the expected OBP all the way down to 0.300 then it is much less rare - would happen every 460 years or so. I know unwashed writer Neyer is a bit of a stat geek so I thought this tidbit would be appropriate here. (not trying to label anyone here - god forbid!)

    I'm just going to take his word for it. It's fucking special.

  • Good win. Good lineup. Seven tough outs and excellent defense with the exception of left and first.

  • Pedro is chugging along the comeback trail and though he is making progress, it is unclear exactly how much of impact he might have. At this point, it is still asking a lot to expect much from him. He simply does not have all that much time to get back into the swing of things after such a long layoff of not picking up a baseball. Of course it is Pedro and his guile may be enough for him to effective.

  • Barry says one more year, but why stop with one? He is on pace to finish the season with 768 homers. That is 32 away from 800 for those of you who are mathematically challenged. Of course he has no shot at Oh's 868, but DHing for the another two seasons should propel him well into the 800s which is just insane. It would be really hard to retire if he does not manage to hit #800 in 2008.

  • I'm not sure Posada or Pudge would be the perfect catcher for the money they would command. I still think the two headed catching beast of Castro and LoDuca would be just fine since I expect this Met lineup to be pretty deep. Of course that is dependent upon them actually being OK with sharing time.

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  • Monday, August 13, 2007

    Mediocrity Abound

    While a 2-4 homestand is not exactly something you like to see, the Mets are still three games up on the Phillies and 3.5 games up on the Braves so that is a positive. However, the Mets have been middling since June 1st and after going 34-18 (.654 winning %) in their first 52 games, they have gone 31-34 (.477 winning %) in their last 64. That is worse than the Cubs, Rockies, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Brewers, Padres, Nationals, and the Braves.

    Since the All Star Break, they have looked a bit better in regards to their winning % and have posted a .567 mark since the break, but they have continued their frustrating play. Also, the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Nationals, and Rockies have all posted higher winning percentages than the Mets for what it is worth so I'm not sure the Mets should really be excited to be playing the Nats who have really played pretty well since a bad start and some possible playoff opponents have been playing some good ball of late as well.

    The thing that I would say mostly characterized the Mets of '06 was consistency. The thing that I would say mostly characterizes the Mets of '07 is inconsistency. The starting pitching had been the most consistent part of this team this season, but even that is starting to succumb to what has been plaguing this team this season.

    What has been the cause? Well I'm not completely sure, but it is entirely possible this team is simply not as good as we thought as previously discussed. Last year the Mets got some great years out of some mediocre players and failed to significantly improve the team in '07. I thought their bullpen would again be one of the best, but that is not proving to be the case.

    Last year in the playoffs, Glavine, Maine, Perez, and Trachsel started ten games. They also totaled 46.2 innings while the bullpen picked up the slack. This year, if the starters will not be able to give quality innings, this bullpen has virtually no shot of providing similar results with a similar workload and getting past the first round might be a chore.

    The Mets offense has also struggled to maintain some consistency this season. They added Alou to an already potent offense, but he has been injured all season, Beltran and Delgado have not been able to replicate their '06 seasons at the plate, second base has been largely unproductive when Gotay has not played, and right field has a .273/.317/.407 line which is completely unacceptable. So to summarize, left, right, center, first, and second have performed below expectations as a whole, which is obviously not good at all.

    Just as a gauge, the red hot Yankees now have better playoff odds than the Mets according to Baseball Prospectus (their ELO version which is supposed to give a an assessment of how strong the team is right now). The Mets are obviously still in a great position to make the playoffs, but they have been negatively trending for a bit and struggling to be that dominating team that we all saw last season.

    I am concerned about the Mets, but that does not mean the Mets cannot win it all. We all know it is about getting hot at the right time. The Marlins and Josh Beckett got hot at the right time, the Red Sox followed that up by getting hot down 0-3 to the Yankees, the White Sox got hot in the baseball season I forgot existed, and the Cardinals got hot in the playoffs and dispatched three teams that were better than them. If the Mets can get everyone healthy and get Pedro back by mid-September, they might be poised for a run.

    Of course all of that probably does not say a lot about my confidence in this team right now if I'm looking to a hot streak to propel my favorite team through the playoffs, but it is hard not to feel frustrated yet again with this team. Even with the injuries, this team should have been a lot better than they have shown to this point and on paper should be running away from a mediocre pack.

    The baseball season and similarly baseball teams are not static. This Met team is simply not as good as the one that played the first two months of the season and they are living off of that strong start and people seem to be turning a blind eye to the Mets situation and assume they will roll into the post season. I'm not so sure cruise control will get them where they want to be and something needs to be done. I've said it before, but Omar really needs to get creative here to get things going as what worked at other points in the season might not be the right thing now and whatever needs to happen does not have to be huge, but something different.

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  • The Yankees are playing ridiculous baseball. Since the break, they have a .759 winning % and are now more games over .500 than the Mets and were at .500 when the All-Star break ended. I am still not giving up hope that they will miss the playoffs because the Yankees had to play some incredible ball to get to this point and to think that they will keep this up for the rest of the season is just crazy. They have to come back down to earth....right?

  • "In baseball, you never like to say ‘wasted,’" said Carlos Delgado, whose eighth-inning home run sealed the win. “But we did not take advantage of some opportunities. We could have been 5-1 instead of 2-4. There’s no sense crying over spilled milk."

  • From Larry Brooks:

    The fact is Green, who has 32 RBIs in 360 at-bats on the season, has knocked in four runs in 80 at-bats over his last 21 games and merely five in 143 at-bats over his last 37 games. The fact is also that Randolph has no inclination to give Lastings Milledge a shot at the job even on a platoon basis despite the fact the Kid has hit .309 with 18 RBIs in 95 at-bats since his July 12 promotion from the minors.

    I could sort of understand of not benching a Hall of Fame type player because of track record and stature, though I do not necessarily agree with it, but this is borderline lunacy.

  • I know there are a lot of frustrated fans out there when it comes to Moises Alou, but he is going to be play a key role with this Met team down the stretch. Four things in life are givens. Everyone has eat, everyone has to pay taxes, everyone has to shit, and Moises Alou will hit. Of course keeping him healthy is the tricky part.

  • As two-by-four pointed out, Willie's moving Jorge Sosa to the bullpen has provided some much needed depth. Sosa had appeared to exhausted his usefulness as a starter and worked himself out of a nice jam on Sunday and is really looking nice out of the bullpen.

  • An old fixture is not necessarily a good fixture. Put that baby out to pasture and if anyone is on the fence about this, just look at the picture of that apple in the article and how utterly beat up and horribly made it is. I simply cannot endorse any suggestion that involves putting that in plain site in the Mets new stadium.

  • The deadline is near for signing your '07 draft picks and the early returns have been favorable in regards to shrinking the signing bonuses. However, there figures to be a few that will test the wrath of the commissioner’s office soon.

    Only four of the first twelve have signed and even though they all signed for slot or below, they were more or less 'safe' picks that could have been expected not to be difficult or costly signs. The Mets have been solid citizens so far and stuck to the recommended slot to the dollar through the first three rounds and kept under slot in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. They really need to go over slot and bring in Brandon Efferson and the commissioner’s office owes them a freebie anyway for being one of the better teams at falling in line.

    “Do I want to take a bullet for the industry? Do I want to sit back and watch (our first-round pick) go (unsigned) for the sake of a new policy? I don’t think I can. I have mouths to feed and my area scouts and crosscheckers have mouths to feed. We have good jobs, and we’d like to keep them. The commissioner’s not paying my salary.”

    Ultimately teams have to improve themselves and it seems the power still lies in the hands of the agents and players. The only way to truly work this out is with hard caps. Even if this year proves to be a resounding success in terms of keeping bonuses down, it is the first year it will have been implemented and I'm guessing teams will keep pushing the envelope.

  • Bobby Jenks is putting together a pretty impressive streak.
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