It's Monday and We're Mediocre!
For now at least....
I say that thinking maybe, just maybe the Mets are poised to break out. Jose has his OPS+ up to 117 and is looking like an MVP again. Shame on everyone who started to say crazy things like the Mets should have dished him off for Santana and not Gomez (102 OPS+ in the OF...a 117 OPS+ at short is miles more valuable), Mulvey (4.07 ERA and .279 BAA in Rochester), Humber (5.53 ERA and .300 BAA in Rochester), and Guerra (4.23 ERA). I like all those guys and still believe in them long term, but Jose Reyes is worth more than all of them in a trade.
The Mets are now tied with Atlanta who has been in a bit of a free fall and are 3.5 games in back of the Phillies. One game of .500 means the Mets are pretty close to under .500 which is a bad thing for a $140 million team. After going 1-7 from May 14th through May 26th, the Mets have went 5-1 to get over the hump of respectability and need to apply the pressure with San Fran, San Diego, Texas, Seattle, and Colorado in their not so distant future.
Sure I am stating the obvious, but the obvious is not always that obvious. Take Aaron Heilman for example. He is murdering righties to the tune of a .209/.291/.239 while getting murdered by lefties to the tune of a .391/.473/.783 line. And yet he faces way too many lefties. Why is this? I have no idea but he has to be a ROOGY or demoted to figure things out. Those are the two options. I still think he has some skill, but it is not showing itself right now. Enter the problem....Feliciano is playing more like a LOOGY and now the Mets have two ROOGYs.
That is entirely too many guys who have trouble with batters from the opposite side of the plate. Schoeneweis has been great, but still showing a bit of a LOOGY split. This bullpen has the ability to be tremendous, but Feliciano and Heilman need to figure out how they got guys from the opposite side of the plate out in 2007 or else they will be in trouble. Simply too many specialists and bullpen that is not deep enough. If Dirty can actually stick this time, that will be a big boon and I think Vargas should help out in the pen as well, but right now, Heilman should be a ROOGY with Smith and Feliciano picking up more of a role as a non-specialist until something works itself out.
Brett Lawrie is heavily in Cincinnati's mix at No. 7, while Jason Castro has popped up at No. 8 to the White Sox or perhaps at No. 9 to Washington. If the Reds don't take a college pitcher, then both Houston (Aaron Crow?) and Texas (Shooter Hunt, Christian Friedrich) will likely go in that direction, unless a top player falls to Texas due to signability concerns.
Castro was who the Mets were targeting with one of their two first rounds picks and Law mused that Lawrie might be a fit for the Mets who are looking for more positional depth.
"All I need is an interview," Wally Backman said. "If they want the best person to take care of their players, I know I'm the right guy. I'll earn my spot."
Backman wasn't talking about Willie Randolph's job. He was talking about any job in the New York Mets organization or any job in affiliated baseball. Because each major league team has about seven minor league teams, that's about 200 managerial jobs. Backman, a three-time manager of the year award winner, is not good enough for one of those?
What is the harm in giving him a spot in the farm to see how he does?
Jay Bruce owns a cool 331 OPS+ (albeit in six games) at 21 years old and looks like a super star and Mike Pelfrey owns an 81 ERA+ at 24 (soon to be 25) and is still trying to find his way. Who do you think would help more this season? Draft the top talent on the board and operate in no other fashion. The rest will work itself out and they really need to take note of this for the upcoming draft.
Kunz is in AA with a 3.91 ERA. I would have preferred a high school guy with huge upside than a close to the bigs reliever. Enough with the draft disasters of the past few years and loosen the purse strings and get some fucking talent.
I used to think otherwise, but I have changed my mind. He might help out the bullpen by pushing Vargas out there, but that will remain to be seen as a big help until Vargas starts producing out there.
I think Pelfrey needs to stay. Vargas has an ERA+ of 90 vs. Pelfrey's ERA+ of 81. Vargas is 30 going on 31 and Pelfrey is 24 going on 25. Unless Pelfrey blows up, he needs to stay in the rotation and the Mets have to think about what they really want from him because right now the difference is minimal. If they are done with him and think he offers nothing, then move on. If they still think he can offer something, as I do, he 100% needs to stay.
Enter in the problem....Castillo now has an OPS+ of 98 and has become league average. But it is the worst league average you can be with his nine XBHs. Sure he steals a few bases, but with the exception of his recent power surge, does not offer much thump. Give me some thump through the top of order and I'll show you a team that can wear out the opposing starting pitchers quickly.
When Santana was supposedly heading to the Red Sox or Yankees, there were whispers that his problems with the long ball would be exacerbated there, due to their parks' respective leanings towards aiding offense. When he was eventually dealt to the Mets, these whispers were silenced, thanks to the offense-dampening Shea Stadium. However, what we have seen from Santana in 2008 belies the nature of the stadium, as his HR/9 has climbed from 1.4 to 1.5 per nine. Granted, he's gone from giving up 30 homers per 200 innings to 32 over the same time frame, but the thing that has Mets fans worried is that he was supposed improve, at least superficially, thanks to a league switch and move to a pitcher-friendly haven.
This has not happened for a few reasons. First, Santana has lost additional velocity. He's dipped another half-a-mile per hour on his fastball, which had already dropped from 93.1 to 91.7 mph. He rarely used his cutter in the past, but it's been cut out of the equation entirely at this point. The past two seasons have shown Santana using his fastball more so than in the past, despite its status as an inferior pitch relative to what he was capable of before. It's a bit much to say Santana's lost it—he's still one of the top pitchers in the NL thanks to low walk totals and a still-excellent 7.9 K/9—but this is not the Santana the Mets thought they were trading for, the one they signed to pitch for them through 2013. Though it has not hurt them too much in 2008—the Mets have other problems to focus on outside of Santana's rising homer totals—it's something that's going to become bothersome and problematic in the future if their expensive ace can't figure out a way to pitch his way out of this recent trend.
It is hard to say he has been a complete disappointment, but his drop in velocity and the fact he is not as dominating as expected is worrisome. Pedro was more dominating in his first year as a Met at four years older. While Johan has basically been in line with his 2007 performance, I think we all expected more.