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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pondering the Two Spot

Though these have nothing to do with actually numbers, I like them. ESPN's Power Rankings have the Mets as the third best team in the bigs. Also, they mention how nice Angel Pagan looks in the #2 spot.

Not that this means much at all, but I was going to write a post about Pagan in the #2 hole before he became the #2 hitter. Of course, that post seems pointless now hence me skipping it. However, it bears noting that many people can see that Pagan looks fantastical there and who thinks Castillo and his balky knees will be there when he returns? Um, me for one.

Willie could care less that Pagan looks good there. I am 99.99999% sure Luis will resume his place as the #2 hitter when he returns despite how great Pagan has looked. For me, a slappy hitter serves no purpose there. Not that Pagan is a masher, but he is a more valuable bat right now while Castillo's stick looks like the weakest on the team.

I am not saying Castillo serves no purpose and is 100% useless. I am not saying he is a disaster in the #2 spot, but I am saying Angel Pagan is better suited there for now. Let us see how Willie plays this one. If I am wrong, feel free to come leave nasty comments and chastise me. I would actually welcome that because it means Willie might actually be learning, but toss me into the 'ye of little faith' category.  

* * *

  • Two nights...two great wins. The Mets are also getting calls their way and even Nelly Fig was getting a Glavine circa '95 strikezone. I mean, what the fuck? When did the Mets start getting calls like this? Some great at-bats from the Mets end of things and a spectacular showing by the bullpen and my man Aaron came out there and did what he does best. Shut down the opposition. It would have been a perfect night if I just remembered to check out my fantasy baseball team and put Edison Volquez into the starting lineup.

  • Reyes has a tight hammy. And now we play the waiting game....

    "It's sore right now," Reyes said after the game. "Let's see how it feels tomorrow. Before the game I felt it. So I went to Willie (Randolph) before the game and told him that I'm not going to give you 100 percent today. He said to be smart about it. ... It's nothing big."

  • Clay Buccholz has a nasty curveball. Nasty.

  • Is it possible the NL is not as bad as people think?
  • Labels: , ,

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Fun Facts

    Aaron Heilman is a good pitcher. Let us not get on the poor guy's case as he has gone from non-prospect to one of the top relievers in the game and a few bad outings should not spoil that.

    Fun fact. The Phillies won as many Playoff games as the Mets in 2007. Also, the Phillies are the third best team in the division. Another fun fact. Kris Benson has a higher career ERA+ than Brett Myers. I will not deny that Myers has talent and at 27 has room to grown, but he certainly has not fulfilled his expectations so far. Also, in the bullpen last year, he posted an ERA+ of 107 which is really not all that good for a reliever. Aaron Heilman put up an ERA+ of 140 after posting 130 and 120 in the previous two seasons.

    Once the fact that the Phillies have maybe two potentially league average starters at best and at least two below average starters after Hamels sets in, Philly will start to get worried. People easily forget Kyle Lohse was one of the reasons they snuck into the playoffs. Without someone stepping up again, it will be really hard for them to keep up with the Mets while they will be left to sift through the scrap heap once again for a solution.

    This is about the time Philly fans start pounding their chests and say that their offense will carry the team. To that we must point out the obvious that the Phillies are not really a better offensive team. I know they are considered the offensive cream of the crop in the NL, but I look at their lineup and I'm left scratching my head. Their road OPS was a full .039 lower than their home OPS last season. In fact, the top three teams in road runs in 2007 were the Phillies, Mets, and Braves in that order and they were tightly packed.

    Those three teams are shockingly equal on the road.

    Check it: BA OBP SLG OPS
    Phillies .268 .350 .442 .793
    Mets .280 .346 .439 .785
    Braves .282 .340 .452 .792

    The Met rotation allowed 71 less runs than the Phillies did in '07. For me, you have clear case for the Mets to be labled as favorites over the Phillies and I do not see it as something that can even be debated coherently. After the first game of this series, some people would have you believe something different. However, I think we are all smart enough to realize one, two, three, four, five, etc... games are not enough to start drawing major conclusions and I think we all smart enough to realize while the Phillies offense if good, their home park allows them to put up gaudy numbers.

    As strange as the season has started, the Mets are still in 2nd place. Me? I am not complaining and I am not worrying about the Phillies.

    * * *

  • How about a little optimism?

    Nick (Long Island, NY): Any opinion on Mike Pelfrey's performance last night? Hopefully this could be the confidence boost he needs to trust his stuff and become more consistant.

    Keith Law: The groundballs - 10 of 12 field outs, I think - are a great sign. And he did it against one of the best lineups in the league.

  • Retribution for Schoe in front of the home crowd is nice. Pagan is nice. Reyes being out at home and being called safe is nice. Nice. Nice, nice, nice. That game last night brought a little smile to my face and helped me remember why I miss baseball in the winter.

  • Vargas is finally inked and that is good.

  • How do you not root for this guy?

    “I finally had a chance to start in Philly, and I gave them eight quality starts out of 12,” Figueroa said, a note of annoyance in his voice. “Then they sent me to the bullpen. And the questions start again.”
    Then came Milwaukee, then Washington, then Pittsburgh. His major league performance was a little worse than average. No team gave him even a dozen starts.
    “I know my rap has been that I’m a quadruple-A pitcher,” Figueroa said. “Well, I have had very limited opportunities to get the ball every fifth day and start.”

    Focus your anger Nelson. Focus.

  • And I repeat, don't panic.

  • At this point, it looks like the Brewers made the wrong call. Of course, it is about keeping your money free for guys like Braun, Fielder, Gallardo, and Weeks rather than tying it up in Cordero, but they did give Gagne $10m to do nothing this season.

  • Silly. Can someone just sign Bonds already? I mean, get over it. Yes, he is a jerk (though I do not 100% agree). Yes, he did roids. Yes, he is a distraction. However, the man can rake. His last three OPS+ have been 174, 156, and 170 and no one wants him?

  • Johnson is going to be on a different team shortly and the early speculation is the Giants might be landing spot.

  • I like this deal for the Indians and I do not think it impairs their ability to get CC. Actually, it might help being they have some more cost certainly for their number crunchers to factor in.
  • Labels:

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Random Stuff 4-10-08

  • Things must be bad for the Giants when Tim Marchman feels the need to equate them to the Knicks.

    Isiah Thomas may not be the most reflective or self-aware of men; he may in fact be the least. Still, at some point soon he will, presumably, have a great deal of spare time to think about how he's spent the last several years, and it may occur to him that given unlimited resources and full control of the most renowned and best loved team in basketball, he managed to do nothing other than destroy both it and his own reputation. This may bother him; it may not. If it does, he should head west, and enjoy an evening at San Francisco's beautiful AT&T Park. A Giants game will make him feel good about himself again.

    The Giants are ugly man. They are ugly. 

  • Agents devoid of scruples? I don't buy it. I don't buy it one bit.

    "It was a further part of the conspiracy that, on occasion, sports representation agents for professional baseball players referred their client-players to defendants Scruggs, Danto and MacPherson for the purpose of obtaining anabolic steroids and other drugs which those individuals knew to be banned by Major League Baseball and therefore unavailable to the players through lawful medical channels absent the illegal prescriptions provided by Scruggs," the indictment said.

    Agents are not always bad people, but most of the time, it seems they are.

  • Sugar breaks it down.

    And before the game, David Wright said of team-wide killer instinct: "It is kind of like a muscle. You have to work it out to be able to truly flex it. We had it in 2006 (when they led the NL East for all but one day). In '06 we got a team down and we piled on and piled on. We have to reacquire that ability to bury teams."

    Ok. I think I am starting to buy into this complacency thing. Steve Popper has a brief comment on the topic.

    So how do the Mets get out of this malaise? Fire the manager? Okay, okay, don't get ahead of yourself. It is just six games into the season.

    Now, I am not panicking at all, but I can see how people could be concerned being last season they operated in mostly the same non-urgent manner.

    Steve Popper may have only had a little to say, but Jon Heyman has a lot to say on the topic.

  • Also from Jon's above link:

    One scout says the Mets are making a mistake by not turning Aaron Heilman into a starter. "He's a sinkerball pitcher. Rather than trying to throw 97, he should be throwing 89-92 and starting,'' that scout says. The Mets don't believe Heilman has enough pitches to start (he is a fastball-change up guy). Yet oddly enough, Mike Pelfrey, who has one reliable pitch, is a starter for them.

    Interesting. However, who pitches the 8th? I think he is needed more in the bullpen at this point.

  • Willie was not a fan of Perez on Tuesday. However, I am impressed when pitchers can be a little off and still shut down the opponent. You are not going to be on point every game of the season, but it is encouraging and the sign of a tremendous pitcher to work through your problems and put your team in a position to win.

    You cannot deny that Perez might not have been the sharpest, but I think you could handle it different in regards to speaking to the media.

  • The Duque? Done.

    "They'll put him in a boot for a couple of weeks and see where he is after that," manager Willie Randolph said before last night's win over the Phillies at Shea.

    Hernandez had experimented with virtually no leg kick in his delivery during spring training in order to take pressure off the foot, then decided to go back to a modified version of his old high kick.

    "My hope is that once the two weeks are over, he's got to find a niche there somewhere that's going to be able to work for him," general manager Omar Minaya said.

    I hope Omar is referring to the bullpen. Actually, scary thing is the Mets might not have a choice but try him out in the rotation.

  • Citi Field? Good stuff. I just hope we can get in there to see some games.

  • Is there one person out there that thinks Castillo will make it through four years? I cannot envision a scenario in which he is playing second base in 2011 for the Mets.

  • Sign Vargas already. Not only is he a warm body, but he is one that can give the Mets a chance to win.

    In related news, Robinson Tejada passed through waivers. I just think that the Mets should be exploring all options and claiming him off of waivers seemed to be a low risk move that could work out for a short Sosa-eque run.

  • As mediocre as the Mets look, so do many, many, many other good teams. With the exception of the D-Backs, no one is sporting a gaudy record that people expect to be in the hunt at the end of the season. The Mets will rise to the top simply because they are too good not to. However, my doubts that they can win it all with Willie at the helm get stronger every single day.

  • A must read.
  • Labels:

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    What, Me Worry?

    It is early. We know this. Well, some of us know this. The only thing that is being reinforced for me early in the season is that I do not like Willie Randolph. Other than that, nothing is really all that apparent. As of this morning, the Mets were tied with their two biggest rivals.

    The Marlins are running away with the division with their stellar undefeated record on the road, but I am not all that concerned right now. I certainly am not ready to say Beltran is 100% right just yet, but it is too early to call the Mets listless and uninspired. I am also not ready to say that Atlanta's manhandling of the Mets means anything. I mean, the Mets faced Smoltz and Hudson, which is not fun at all.

    On the bright side of things, Church, Beltran, Wright, Schneider, Pagan, and Delagdo all look good at the plate. Their ISoD as a team is .069, which is rather impressive. Jose has not looked good at all and has yet to steal a base, but again, it has been five games. Personally, I think the Mets have looked decent so far. Nothing spectacular, but nothing that really raises any caution flags, with the exception of Willie continually saying some of his guys are spare parts to the media. Everyone that is not relaxed, relax. 

    * * *

  • Is everyone five years old?

  • Pedro is going to start his rehab at Port St. Lucie. Actually, his rehab sounds more like a relaxing vacation.

  • Huh, what?

    "When you start the season, I try to get my guys to stay small and not try to get too big, especially the big boys who are accustomed to hitting home runs," Randolph said. "For guys like that it's good just to start small and as you get more comfortable open up. It's a good approach, but we have to get the big knocks, too."

    That was very John Madden-esque in terms of the contradictory statements.

    "You gotta play small...except when you gotta play big...and if you are playing big....you cannot play small. But when you are playing small....you cannot play big."

    "At the end of the day as a hitter you want to execute and you want to execute well," Delgado said. "Whether it's small, patient, staying behind the ball, using your hands, it's all the same. All you want to do is get that feel that you're in a hitting position before the ball gets there."

    Now that is a statement I can get behind. What you have to do is try and hit like your normally do and do it fundamentally correct. If you do that, good things will happen.

  • The D-Backs are locking up Chris Young. They are looking to structure it similar to the Tulowitzki deal, which makes sense. I think Troy is a good comp for this deal and it is certainly nice to bypass the messiness of arbitration. However, if the deal is only five years, then it doesn't make tons of sense if it does not buy out at least one year of free agency. I would assume it did and added on an option, but we shall see.

  • I hope Boras keeps flapping his lips. Flap, flap, flap, flap, flap. Then maybe the Mets can catch a big time pick late in the first round.

  • I can only dream I have a weeding this fun.
  • Labels: