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

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Carlos Rising

When you put everything into perspective and look at the rash of injuries, players not playing up to expectations, and the growing pains of a new manager learning how to actually manage and not having a great time succeeding, .500, eight games out of first, and five and a half games off the Wild Card lead does not look so bad. The Mets will presumably be healthier in the second half with Doug Mientkiewcz and Carlos Beltran being two notables who have had healthy careers and should not have lingering effects of their injuries and should be able to be physically able to contribute for the rest of the year. They also represent two players who are primed to have a large improvement in the second half but the entire season and where the Mets go is tied heavily to Carlos Beltran.

Carlos Beltran was the new hundred million dollar man on the block this year and while he has not exactly stunk, he is not playing like baseball's elite. We have all heard what it could with Carlos whether is be he is just a slow starter, Shea Stadium, his injury, or adjusting to the New York limelight, but nothing is really concrete. Is Carlos' start as a result of him being a slow starter more than anything?
                    2002           2003           2004
Pre All-Star .254/.327/.459 .296/.391/.469 .276/.365/.548
Post All-Star .294/.366/.454 .320/.386/.582 .257/.370/.547
Not so much. Carlos has been pretty consistent in his first halves and though he was bad in 2002, he has been pretty good in his next two. His home and away splits are somewhat of a concern being he has hit two homers in Shea and eight homeruns on the road, but Shea Stadium is not exactly impossible for lefties to be successful in and even in Minute Made and Kauffman stadium, which are favorable for hitters, he hit a whopping .225/.316/.458 compared to a .305/.412/.628 on the road in 2005. We all know that right handed hitters have a hard time at Shea, but Shea Stadium is just as good, and possibly better for batters on the left handed side of the dish the Carlos' previous two homes. Beltran has batted as a left handed hitter 72% of the time since 2002. So while Carlos may be have suppressed numbers from the right side of the plate at Shea, as a lefty, which is how he bats almost 75% of the time, he has a good enough haven to do it in to put up big numbers. If no one believes me, just as Cliffy.

Park Factors
                 04 HR  04 Avg  02-04 HR  02-04 Avg
Shea Stadium 105 91 104 115
Kauffman Stadium 96 75 111 112
Minute Mate Park 93 80 100 84
The Mets said they did their research and found out that left handed hitters have and easier time at being successful at Shea rather than right handed batters and that is why they were fixated on bringing Carlos Delgado in to bolster their lineup. The reason Beltran is putting up less than desirable home numbers can not be attributed to the Stadium at this point. Just being in the New York City has seemingly not been tough on him just yet and he has largely gotten a free pass because Met fans are smart enough to realize that his guy has talent. and is the real deal. The only thing left to do is to point to his injury as being the main reason Carlos has ugly numbers to this point and the splits back it up.

Month by Month numbers:
           Avg   OBP   SLG
April .284 .349 .421
May .304 .333 .494
June .198 .268 .376
July .317 .364 .488
Now that I feel 100 percent," Beltran said, "I can play the game like I want to." June was the month his injury really came to the forefront and became a problem to Carlos. His lack of stolen bases was indicative of a problem, but he was putting up just enough numbers, though nothing close to what people expected, in April and May for people to be satisfied enough at the time being. In June, it really came apart and killed whatever decent looking numbers he had and the early returns in July seem to back up Carlos' statement that he his ready to try and help the team win. He is hitting the ball harder and stealing bases while flat looking like a better ball player.

While I have nothing scientific to contribute to backing up Carlos claim that he is ready outside of the fact that he can succeed and put up big numbers at Shea at least about 72% of the time, Calros is primed for a big second half. His wheels are no longer a problem and that excuse is out of the way. The only thing left for Carlos to do is produce. Whatever adjust he may have needed to the National League should be done now that he has been here for a complete season's worth of games between 2004 and 2005 and New York has been more than welcome Carlos with open arms. It is time to reward everyone's patience and the team by him starting carrying the lineup. The Mets are one bat short of putting together a solid streak of games and if Carlos can play like we all know he can, he can be that big bat. Doug Mientkiewcz started heating up a bit and the rest of the lineup has seemingly settled, so it is time the Mets to go after it and put their best foot forward. The Mets have a shot, but they need Carlos and they need to eradicate the mental gaffes and you have a team that could make a second half push.

* * *

  • Definitely an awesome and rare find for a collector.

  • Huh?

    Randolph has righted Mets' ship

    How so? The Mets were 45-43 at this time last year.

    When baseball paused to take its annual All-Star break, the Mets had played 88 games. The players didn't consider it a half season. They regarded it as 88 games of renaissance, 88 games of Randolph-induced improvement that had completely altered the perception of the Mets throughout the game.

    Randolph-induced improvement? Are we talking about the same Mets? I'm all for optimism, but this is the wrong way to spin it.

  • Minor update:
    • The North All-Stars beat the South All-Stars in the Eastern League All-Star game. Mike Jacobs went 0-3, David Bacani went 1 for 2 with a run scored, and Brian Bannister went one inning, gave up two hits, one earned run, and struck out three.
    • St. Lucie swept a doubleheader with Lakeland by winning the first game 6-3 and winning the second game 5-3. In the first game, Dante Brinkley went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, a walk, and an RBI while Jamar Hill went 1 for 4 and hit his ninth homer of the year. In the second game, Andy Wilson went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Wilson Batista and Jonathan Hack went 3 for 4 with a homer and an RBI.
    • Williamsport beat Brooklyn 3-0. Jonathan Malo went 0 for 2 with two walks and Nick Evans went 1 for 3. Andrew Butera continues to struggle went 0 for 2 dropping his average to .100 in thirty at bats.
    • Kingsport vs. Danville was cancelled due to rain.
    • The GCL Mets beat the GCL Nationals 8-4 behind a big night by Doug Mientkiewcz. Doug went 2 for 3 with a run scored and three RBIs while Brahiam Maldonado went 2 for 5 with an RBI and Jose Castro went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
  • I have two notes from the PCL vs. International League All-Star game. The first and obvious not is that Conor Jackson can play. He flashed the leather and looked great at the plate and he looks like the real deal. The second thing is Kevin Jarvis is a 36 year old journey man who is two years removed from surgery in the St. Louis Cardinals system. He throws 94 and has a good sinker and looked really, really solid. His numbers are good at AAA, and who knows if he will get a chance to start in the Major Leagues again, but he looked sharp and looked like he would be a great option out of the bullpen. If he is a minor league free agent after the year, he may warrant a look.

  • Kevin Davidoff thinks the Mets need to throttle back their expectations for 2005 and focus on maintaining their dignity and not look stupid in the second half rather than focusing on the playoffs.

  • I'm not sure if I want to laugh or cry at this one.

    The pitching coach Rick Peterson was standing on the mound in the eighth inning of a game against the Yankees at Shea Stadium, trying to tell reliever Dae Sung Koo whether to throw a fastball or a curve, inside or out. When it became apparent that Koo could not understand the difference, Peterson looked away for a moment.

    He caught the different faces of baseball staring back at him: a Dominican shortstop, a Venezuelan second baseman, an Italian-American catcher, a Polish-American first baseman and an all-American third baseman, every one of whom had descended on the mound and surrounded their South Korean pitcher. Desperate for assistance, Peterson said to the infielders, "Don't any of you guys speak Korean?"

    In the midst of a one-run game before a sellout crowd against their intra-city rivals, the Mets' infield busted up laughing, as did Koo. When the home-plate umpire came out to ask Peterson why he was taking so long, the infielders said almost in unison, "Do you speak Korean?"

  • Al Leiter may get released by the Marlins.

    "That could happen soon," said a National League source.

    Insightful. The Marlins could turn to Jason Vargas, which would be their second AA call up to start for their team in the rotation, instead of going with Al Leiter in his next scheduled start. How's your choice looking now Delgado?

  • The Orioles may be buyers and I still think the Mets need to look at the bigger picture and part with Mike Cameron for the right deal.

  • Peter Abraham has the five steps to the playoffs.

    1. Beltran becomes Beltran.

    2. Take the fifth: Kaz Ishii has been a disaster at the back end of the rotation whether Willie Randolph admits it or not.

    3. Less stinky Minky.

    4. Martinez's health.

    5. Second-guess: If there is an exit strategy for Kaz Matsui, now is the time to hit the button.

  • Nomar is pretty set on trying to return to the Cubs in 2006.

  • Baseball Prospectus has a tremendous look at where the Braves got their talent from during their dominance of the Mets and the rest of the National League. As much as I hate the bastards, they have done a ridiculous job over there.

  • Thanks to Mikey H. for pointing out this great site called Wilpon Hell. It's a good site and the pictures are great. This little pic of Willie Randolph is so good on so many levels and this one is an instant classic.

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