5/23/18

Roster Moves

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The Mets purchased the contract of 3B/OF Jose Bautista from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets optioned IF Phil Evans to AAA-Las Vegas

The Mets purchased to contract of 33/yrs. old LHSP Aaron Laffey from the Somerset Patriots (2-0, 3.10, 13-K, 20.1-IP) and assigned him to AAA-Las Vegas

AA-Binghamton released P John Magliozzi and IF Colby Woodmansee.
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Tom Brennan - DOMINIC SMITH AND DILSON HERRERA

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Tom Brennan - DOMINIC SMITH AND DILSON HERRERA

Dominic Smith is the latest wunderkind in the Mets system. 


About 3 years ago, it was Dilson Herrera.

Acquired in a trade, Herrera showed good ability in the minors, at a very young age, to hit for power and average as a relatively little guy.  Some speed too, albeit not a burner.  He looked to be a possible future star.

He got to the Mets as a very young guy for a major league trial run, where he struggled.  Why not?  He was a Met.

Dilson, as you all know, went thereafter to the Reds in the Jay Bruce deal.

In his minor league career to date, in 2,549 at bats, he has hit .295/.357/.460.

In his Mets trial, he was up 149 times, hitting .215/.308/.383.

At age 24, he is currently in the Reds minors, having a decent season.


Dominic Smith is soon to turn 23, and he has similar results:

2,168 at bats in the minors, .300/.367/.432.

In his Mets trial in 2017, in168 at bats, just .196/.261/.393.

As I said, the two have very similar #'s, and both are stuck in the minors right now.

The question is:
Will either become a solid major leaguer?
My guess is:

They have similar chances of success (or lack thereof).  

At least according to their similar numbers.

Astounding, pounding, resounding Peter Alonso in his first 600 minor league at bats has had 46 doubles, 38 homers, 118 RBIs and hit .310.  Makes me ask: IS THAT IT?

Who would you want as your next first baseman - Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso - or Dilson Herrera - I imagine, after all, that Herrera is available.  The choice, as always, is yours.

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Mike Friere - Blast From The Past - Part Two (Keith Hernandez)

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Recently, I decided to make an effort to switch things up a bit and take a different and more positive approach for this series of articles.  I am calling this series a "blast from the past" and I will pick a different former Mets’ player from teams of the past and take a deeper look at them, using the fancy "new" statistical models that may not have been in existence at that time.  

The first player that came to mind was none other then Hubie Brooks, who was sort of a hero of mine growing up.  For the second part in this series, I want to focus on a player who helped spearhead the Mets’ rise to power in the mid-80’s.  That would be none other then former first baseman and current Mets’ broadcaster Keith “Mex” Hernandez.

KH’s playing career spanned seventeen seasons, starting with a cameo appearance for the St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and ending with an abbreviated appearance with the Cleveland Indians in 1990.  As most of you are aware, he actually played for three different ball clubs (STL, NYM and CLE) while amassing approximately 60.4 WAR during that time period, which is a seasonal average of 3.56 WAR for his entire career (impressive).  

If you use 572 plate appearances as an average season for KH, he actually compiled 12.88 seasons worth of at bats, which means he had several seasons where he missed time due to being a young player, an injured player or an old player (we all follow that model in some way, shape for form).   If you use the 12.88 number as the divisor, his 60.4 career WAR actually works out to an average of 4.69 WAR per year which is even more impressive.

Additionally, his career statistical average line and awards totals are as follows;

.296/.384/.436  (.821 OPS)

13 HR/83 RBI/8 SB and 87 Runs

5 All Star Games

11 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Slugger Awards

1979 NL Batting Title and MVP Award

Interestingly enough, he never hit more then 18 HR during any one season and he only topped 100 RB’s once, while playing a position that was considered a “power hitter’s position”.  Despite his lack of power, KH was the consummate team player and he was extremely effective in all facets the game, which translated to success for the teams that he played for.   Even more fascinating is the fact that he earned roughly 17 million dollars for his entire career, which is roughly a 1 million dollar per year average or six times LESS then what Jose Reyes is stealing, I mean earning this year.  Ah, inflation at work, right?

Since this is a Mets’ centered blog, I wanted to take a moment and highlight his Mets’ career, which was impressive but shorter then I remember (only seven of his seventeen year career).  KH was acquired on June 15, 1983 as a 29 year old first baseman from the Cardinals in exchange for Neil Allen and Rick Owenby, which turned out to be an excellent trade for the Mets.  I feel that this deal was one of the most influential moves that the Mets made during that time period as it started the “turnaround" in the mid-80’s for the franchise.   

From that point, until he left the Mets as a free agent after the 1989 season, KH put together the following statistical average line and awards totals;

.297/.387/.429  (.816 OPS)

14.5 HR/85.1 RBI/3.1 SB and 82.72 Runs

3 All Star Games

5 Gold Gloves and 1 Silver Slugger Award

***Top Ten MVP Voting three times, to include a runner up finish in 1984

It would be fair to say that we obtained KH at the tail end of his prime and then for his inevitable decline (age 29 through age 35 seasons), but he was still a weapon in the lineup and an one of the team leaders during his stay.  It is hard to quantify “leadership” but look at the Mets’ records before his acquisition, during his Mets’ tenure and then after he left for some statistical proof.

While he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame, he is most certainly one of the most influential Mets in the team’s history and he played a large role in the 1986 Championship Season, for which I will be forever grateful.    Plus, he has turned into a pretty good broadcaster for the team, in my humble opinion.   

Wouldn’t it be cool if he was in the broadcast booth the next time the Mets win a championship?





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Reese Kaplan -- Improving the Roster Composition

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With the current rash of injuries the NY Mets roster is a living rendition of the old cliché that you can’t keep track without a scorecard.  Right now at the major league level the club is facing injuries to Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d’Arnaud, Todd Frazier, Juan Lagares, Rafael Montero, Kevin Plawecki, T.J. Rivera,  Hansel Robles, Anthony Swarzak and David Wright.  For what it’s worth, the Cardinals also have ten players on the major league DL as well.  It’s for you to decide if Rafael Montero or Hansel Robles actually are major league players. 

So the roster as of Tuesday consists of the following:

  • Adrian Gonzalez
  • Wilmer Flores
  • Asdrubal Cabrera
  • Luis Guillorme
  • Amed Rosario
  • Jose Reyes
  • Phil Evans
  • Brandon Nimmo
  • Michael Conforto
  • Jay Bruce
  • Devin Mesoraco
  • Tomas Nido
  • Jacob deGrom
  • Noah Syndergaard
  • Steven Matz
  • Zack Wheeler
  • Jason Vargas
  • Jeurys Familia
  • Jerry Blevins
  • Robert Gsellman
  • Seth Lugo
  • Paul Sewald
  • AJ Ramos
  • Jacob Rhame
  • Chris Flexen
At some point you would think they would sacrifice a bullpen arm for some OF help.  Phil Evans doesn’t have a whole lot of experience out there but actually has more than the guy we were told repeatedly would get outfield reps, Jose Reyes.  Then again, the less often Jose Reyes plays, the better off they are.  (This sentence was penned BEFORE his two errors performance on Tuesday!)

It would seem to me that with Juan Lagares on the shelf for the rest of the year there is a dire need for a 4th/5th outfielder type assuming Evans’ stay is short term until Yoenis Cespedes rubs a sufficient amount of snake oil on the lower half of his body.  Towards that end I could see a few ways to achieve this change.

Trade AJ Ramos

While he’s not been very good he’s not been so bad that would rule out another team looking to take a chance on him.  He’s gone as a free agent at year’s end anyway and you’re overstocked in the bullpen (particularly if and when Where’s Waldo Swarzak returns.  All you’re looking for in return now is a right handed hitting outfielder already at the major league level or with an outstanding skills in speed, defense or OBP at the AAA level. 

Trade Gavin Cecchini

While he picked the absolute worst time to get a foot injury, the fact remains that when they were in need of help and wanted someone on the 40-man roster, the former first round pick was not getting the call.

Trade Dom Smith

Yes, it’s far too soon to write off this former first rounder but it’s clear that Peter Alonso and Jeremy Vazquez behind him and Wilmer Florres and Adrian Gonzalez ahead of him means that there are not going to be very many opportunities.  Apparently they're now experimenting with him in LF but as a LH bat with no baserunning speed he's not the answer for the Mets right now even if he took to it like the preverbial duck to water.  

Now who could you target in return?  One way to look at it are teams that have a crowded outfield situation already and have players in the minors who are likely blocked from advancing.  One such definition would include Boston’s Rusney Castillo, but he’s a special case since he signed a contract worth $11.7 million this year, next year and $14 million in 2020.  He has an opt-out clause but is no longer on the Red Sox 40-man roster and would be foolish to opt out of his deal.  Consequently he would be a VERY expensive bench piece unless you could be guaranteed that Boston would eat the remainder of his contract.  If so, the $2 million differential between what Ramos makes and Castillo makes could be equitable.  Last year for Pawtucket he hit .314/15/43 in 347 ABs.  This season he’s hitting .297 but with 0 HRs and 18 RBIs.  He’s right handed.  Those are IL numbers, not PCL numbers.

Another name worth looking at is Chris Shaw of the Sacramento River Cats.  He was a 1st round pick in 2015 and last season delivered .297/24/79.  This season the average is down at .267, but he already has 10 HRs and 30 RBIs.  Maybe the Giants would be interested in a swap of former first rounders?

Frank Schwindel of the Oklahoma Storm Chasers (KC Royals affiliate) is coming off a great 2017 campaign which saw him deliver a combined .329/23/97.  Thus far this year he’s off to a more tepid .238/6/29 which means he might be a good buy low candidate.  He’s a local kid having grown up in Livingston, NJ and attending St. Johns. 

The Albuquerque Isotopes’ centerfielder Raimel Tapia is a career .321 hitter who has stolen as many as 33 bases in a season.  He’s currently providing the Rockies’ AAA club with .302/6/29 and 7 SBs.  He’s not on the Rockies 40-man roster.

The Cardinals organization continues to be a model for success and they’ve already promoted a couple of their hotter prospects.  Still lingering in AAA is Oscar Mercado, a guy who started off slowly his first four years but then turned it on last year in AA with a season of .287/13/46 with 38 SBs.  This year he’s off to an even better start with .320/5/17 with 10 steals for Memphis in AAA.

The Tampa Bay Rays have a non-roster player named Andrew Velasquez, a speed demon who once pilfered 50 bases in a single season.  While he’s never hit double digits in HRs, he’s actually improving as he ascends in the minors, currently hitting .281 in AAA.

The Pirates have an outfielder in their system by the name of Christopher Bostick who is a .271 hitter for his career and the last two years have included .296 and .304.  He’s stolen as many as 36 bases in a season.  He has about 10 HR per year power – probably similar to what Lagares would provide if he played regularly.

Tim Locastro of the Oklahoma City Dodgers has performed at a slightly higher level than the Pirates’ farmhand Bostick.  In 2017 he hit .308/10/40 with 34 SBs.  What stands out about him in addition to his bat and his speed is his OBP -- .375 for his minor league career.  For comparison’s sake, Brandon Nimmo was at .383.  So think of him as a right handed version with plus speed.

The Mariners have a speed demon in AAA named John Andreoli who has stolen 55 bases in a season while hitting a modest .269.  Given that he’s age 27 now it’s possible he could be obtained for far less than the three trade candidates previously mentioned.

Of course, you could also go after 4th/5th outfielders currently at the major league level, but the ideal bench players are the veterans who know their role.  A Craig Gentry of Baltimore would be a good example.  He’s a right handed speedster who has hit .258 for his career.  He’s stolen 24 bases in less than 250 ABs, so that’s some serious running ability. 

Finally, there is the ultimate in dumpster diving -- looking to the independent leagues to find someone who might be able to contribute.  Former White Sox first rounder Courtney Hawkins is currently leading his league in HRs and RBIs and is just 24 years old.  Veteran speedster Emilio Bonifacio would only require a ticket on the LIRR which should suit the Wilpons just fine.  He's hitting in the .370s.  Although he's a lefty, the former infielder/outfielder for the Mets who called Terry Collins an unprintable name, Jordany Valdespin, is Bonifacio's teammate and hitting .396.  James Madison University's Johnny Bladel has never had a shot at playing in the affiliated pros, but he's gotten better and better each season.  In 2017 he found himself among the leaders in his Can-Am League in several offensive categories, including runs scored, doubles, triples and hit .352 with 27 SBs in a 100 game season.  This year he's in the ALPB for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and is hitting a tidy .405. At just age 26 and having been the Can Am Rookie of the Year in 2014, he might be worth a look-see. 

Since the players in question are not likely going to be starters in the foreseeable future with Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo getting the majority of the ABs until Yoenis Cespedes returns, a right handed guy with speed would probably make the most sense.  That would also enable you to show Jose Reyes the door since speed is arguably his only remaining skill. 

What doesn't make sense is to pick up another over-35 retread whose best days are long behind him simply because he fits the penurious budget.  (This sentence was also written before the Mets announced that Jose Bautista was joining the club at age 37 after having been released by the Braves...would couldn't have seen the handwriting on the wall in a James Loney/Adrian Gonzalez/Jose Reyes way?)

Thoughts?



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Columbia 5 - West Virginia 4

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Press Release:

COLUMBIA, SC – Fortunately for the Fireflies, 19-year-old Edgardo Fermin strolled to the plate in the two most tense moments in Tuesday’s game against West Virginia. The shortstop delivered twice. Fermin homered to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth and then whacked the game-winning base hit in the bottom of the ninth that propelled Columbia to a 5-4 victory. The Fireflies walked off for the fifth time in three weeks and snapped a three-game losing skid with the win Tuesday.

The Fireflies had just cut into a 3-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. The following frame, Fermin led off against Power reliever Blake Cederlind. Fermin launched a curveball deep into left that sailed over the wall, his third homer of the year.

Fermin and the Fireflies quickly fell behind again in the top of the ninth, though. Mason Martin singled for West Virginia (24-18) and was soon pinch-run for by Ryan Peurifoy. The runner darted almost immediately to third base after Fireflies reliever Conner O’Neil (W, 3-0) threw wide of first base attempting to pick the runner off. Kyle Watson drove in his teammate moments later with a base hit to left.

Columbia (23-21) refused to crumble and the club punched back again in the home half of the frame. First, Power manager Wyatt Toregas called upon lefty Ike Schlabach (L, 2-1) out of the pen. Schlabach first allowed a base hit to Matt WinakerRigoberto Terrazas was the next batter and came up clutch with a sacrifice bunt (on an 0-2 count) that pushed Winaker into scoring position. Scott Manea singled and runners were at the corners for Hansel Moreno. The 22-year-old infielder drilled a run-scoring base hit into left-center which brought home Winaker and tied the game. It was Moreno’s first hit of the evening.

So Manea sat at second base as Fermin stepped back up to the plate. With the count full, Schlabach hurled home and Fermin smoked a base hit into shallow center field. Manea swung around third as Lolo Sanchez gathered in center. His throw was wide of home and Manea slide in safe.

Fermin – who finished with three hits – was soon mobbed by his teammates behind second base. Columbia found itself in another heart-thumper: nine of the last 10 games the club has played in have been decided by two runs or fewer. Better yet, 16 of Columbia’s 20 games in May have been decided by three runs or fewer.

The Fireflies won in dramatic fashion on Tuesday after falling in game one of the series to West Virginia in 11 innings.

The Power built a 3-0 lead in the third and fourth innings before the home team sliced into the deficit in the seventh. Manea delivered a two-run double that brought Columbia back within a run. The Fireflies scored all five of its runs in the final three innings.

In addition to Fermin, Winaker (2-for-3, 2 R, BB) and Manea (3-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI) each finished with multi-hit games.

Yeizo Campos also pitched 4.1 effective innings out of the bullpen, surrendering just two hits and striking out five.

Columbia and West Virginia turn around quickly and meet at 11:05 a.m. ET on Wednesdaymorning at Spirit Communications Park. Right-hander Tony Dibrell (1-2, 3.92) is scheduled to start his eighth game of the season for Columbia and toe the rubber against Power righty Gavin Wallace (3-0, 4.01). You can watch the game on MiLB.TV or listen to the action on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 10:45 a.m.
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Clearwater Wins Doubleheader vs. St. Lucie

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (May 22, 2018) – The Clearwater Threshers swept the St. Lucie Mets in a doubleheader on Tuesday at First Data Field.

The Threshers won the first game 6-1. They cruised to an 11-1 victory in game 2.

In game 1, the Threshers pulled away with a three-run fifth inning to go up 5-0. Adam Haseley hit a two-run single and Mickey Moniak added a RBI sac fly in the inning.

The Mets scored their only run on a ground out by Gene Cone.

Threshers starter Adonis Medina scattered three hits and one run in five innings.

Dan Rizzie had a double for the Mets.

Mets starter Justin Dunn retired nine in a row at one point, but the Threshers notched four consecutive hits off him to start the fifth inning. Dunn took the loss after surrendering five runs and six hits in 4.1 innings.

In game 2, the Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Andres Gimenez doubled, stole third base and scored on a sac fly from Mike Paez.

The Threshers roared back with five runs in the third inning. Haseley hit a two-run single. Moniak added a RBI single. All nine batters in the lineup came to the plate in the inning.

Clearwater sent all nine batters to the dish again in the fifth inning and scored three more runs.

Haseley capped off a great night with a three-run homer in the seventh to make it 11-1.

Threshers starter Connor Seabold allowed just one run and three hits in six innings.

Haseley went 4 for 5 with five RBI and two runs scored. He finished a triple short of the cycle. He drove in seven total runs during the doubleheader.

Mets starter Gary Cornish took the loss. He gave up five runs in two innings.
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5/22/18

Roster Moves

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  • INF Joey Wong signed by Mets as Minor League Free Agent; added to Binghamton (AA)
  • INF Oliver Pascual transferred from Binghamton (AA) to Brooklyn (SS-A)

The Mets did sign a 'Joey' but not the one that has been speculated lately.

Wong is a 30/yr. old ex-2009 draft pick (24th round) by Colorado.

He's been a professional minor leaguer (9 seasons: .241).

He was released by Seattle and signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League (.239).

He plays all three infield positions, though SS is him primary position.
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Erica Lay - All Hail King Jake

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I want to preface this by saying – Noah Syndergaard is an unbelievable talent; I’m incredibly glad he’s a Met. He’s young and fun and I trust him in a big spot. He touches 100mph on the gun with regularity and throws a wicked array of secondary pitches. But, for me…

Jacob deGrom is the unquestionable ace of this staff.

I love stats. I love the story that they tell. I love comparing stat lines across players and years to find a glimmer of hope or a harbinger of future potential. Or sometimes, to understand why we should’ve seen a downfall coming. But not all stories need stats to be understood. Some stories are so good, you just have to appreciate them without analyzing them.

That’s how I feel about Jacob deGrom. The deGrominator. Jake.

When Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler were making their much-hyped MLB debuts in 2012, deGrom was a 24 year old pitching in A ball. In 2014, the year deGrom made his MLB debut – and won the Rookie of the Year – he wasn’t even a top 10 prospect in the Mets system and on some prospect lists wasn’t even mentioned in the top 20.

So what makes deGrom so great?

DeGrom throws gas. He doesn’t hit 100mph like Syndergaard, but his four seam fastball averages a very healthy 96 mph.

His pitches move. I mean, they move a lot. If you need to understand how much movement deGrom gets on his pitches, go back and watch Devein Mesoraco’s first game catching deGrom. Mesoraco seemed to have a tough time gauging just how much deGrom’s pitches were moving and clanked a few.

DeGrom’s secondary stuff is nasty – not only because of movement and velocity, but because of the speed differential. Here are the averages on deGrom’s pitches:

Four Seamer - 96mph
Sinker - 95mph
Slider - 91mph
Change - 89mph
Curve - 82mph

For my part, I think deGrom lives in that perfect sweet spot when it comes to speed differential. There’s enough difference to slow down (or speed up) the hitter’s bat, without there being so much of a difference that a hitter can easily adjust to the off-speed pitch if he’s looking for the fastball.

DeGrom is an absolute beast on the mound. Harvey always got all the attention for his “bulldog” mentality but, if you ask me, deGrom is every bit the intense competitor that Harvey is/was. deGrom could pitch 7 innings, give up a single run and still manage to be completely unsatisfied. He never stops working to improve. And somehow, he does. He’s still getting better. And deGrom’s intensity comes without the arrogance of Harvey. This isn’t a knock on Harvey, just a fact.

Now, these are the things that make deGrom great, but there’s more to his story. There’s one trait that makes deGrom positively special. He can pitch.

I’m not talking about his ability to throw 96mph or the movement on his pitches. I mean the fact that deGrom can get outs when he doesn’t have his best stuff.

Remember game 5 of the NLDS in 2015?

DeGrom had reached his career high in innings pitched (at that point in his career). He was running on fumes by the time game 5 rolled around. You could tell from the start that he had next to nothing. He gave up two runs in the first inning and I thought we were going to need to go to the bullpen early. But deGrom somehow managed to make an adjustment, utilizing what little he had to power through and give us five scoreless after the first. Six innings, two runs. And we went on to the NLCS and, eventually, the World Series. I was amazed at how he worked through that game – under constant duress but never breaking.

Despite the presence of Harvey and despite the raw power and talent of Syndergaard, for me, that’s the moment when deGrom became the ace.

The ability to adjust to diminished skills is a rare quality in a pitcher (or in any athlete). Look at Harvey for reference. As soon as his velocity dipped and he no longer had the same bite on his pitches, he was lost. I don’t see that happening to deGrom.

It drives me crazy when I hear people talk about trading deGrom at the deadline. His mix of talent, determination, intelligence and drive doesn’t come along often. He’s a true ace.

I realize he’s 29 which is old in baseball years. But deGrom’s amazing ability to stay in games when he doesn’t have his best stuff makes me think he’ll age better than other pitchers. As he ages, I can see deGrom morphing into a Greg Maddux or Bartolo Colon type pitcher – one who can use what he has to get outs without being overpowering.

If we're lucky, Syndergaard will develop into this type of pitcher; but deGrom is already there. 




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Tom Brennan - METS SIMILARITIES IN 2015 AND 2018?

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Tom Brennan - METS SIMILARITIES IN 2015 AND 2018?

The Mets in mid-2015 looked pretty awful and hopeless. 

They could not hit.  Articles were being written mid way through the season that it was the Mets' worst scoring team since 1968's squad scored 473 runs.

I recall writing that in mid-July 2015, several part timers had several hundred at bats and were hitting collectively in the .180s.   

In fact, the Excruciating Eight - Dilson Herrera, Darrel Ceciliani, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell, Johnny Monell, John Mayberry, Danny Muno, and Anthony Recker - hit a collective and incomprehensibly bad .184 (129 hits in 702 at bats, with those 702 pathetic at bats constituting an astounding 13.5% of all non-pitcher Mets at bats in 2015).

I thought of including 0 for 8 Anthony Young in that total, but he somehow managed to score 9 runs mostly as a pinch runner, so I will leave him out.

Mets regulars weren't hitting much either through mid-July.

Yet the team was hanging fairly close to the division lead at that time, and Sandy Alderson went out and got pre-gimpy Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson

They promptly and improbably went from the poorest scoring team in the majors to the highest scoring team over the remaining few months, and hurtled on into the World Series.  

The errant throw home by Lucas Duda, though, was sadly just seen on the Hubble telescope as it sailed past Pluto.  Astronomers, however, are thrilled.  Duda has already been told he will be the head of NASA when he retires.

It is what I love about baseball.  The improbable pennant surge.  Always a chance for magic.  Mets Magic.

Rarely in pro football or basketball will a team with less-than-elite talent be able to ignite and go on a tear like that. 

In basketball, for instance, no matter how hot your team got, there is always the Lebron James or Stephen Curry wall that is too high to be scaled.  President Trump agrees.

In 2018, the Mets start like a ball of fire at 13-3, then turn into a ball of wax melting in a blazing sun, going 6-15 over their next 21 games.   "I'M MEL-TING!" 

Obituaries were being written:

"Ohh, the season that began with such great promise and joy died much too soon.  We all have experienced Dark Knights, but at least we could cling fondly to the memory of those first 16 games.  RIP, 2018."

Except the scrambling Mets swept the D Backs, have now won 5 of 6, Jason Vargas went from hamate to primate to so great, and the obituary script got shredded and discarded.  

24-19 looks a whole lot better than 19-18 did just a few days ago after their 6-15 nosedive.

Will the Mets make the playoffs?  

Heck if I know.  Ask Mack!  I just work here.

What I do know is that there is a high likelihood that, similar to 2015, we are about to add Yoenis Cespedes, and other talent named Todd Frazier and Kevin Plawecki.

Perhaps even Anthony Swarzak in a few weeks, if someone can identify him from his picture on milk cartons and bring him back home.

Those impressive "upgrades" - this time due to injury recovery and not via trade - could turbo-charge this team (although that Anthony Mesoraco via trade thing is looking purty derned good right now).   ROCCO, ROCCO!


Their absence, along with the highly anticipated and recent departure of daredevil Flying Wallenda Juan Lagares, who never met a disabled list he didn't like, has had one side benefit - getting other guys innings and at bats they would not otherwise have gotten, and thus having them more ready to be strong contributors going forward.
Brandon Nimmo smiles daily now.  Philippians 4:13, bro'.

Maybe, just maybe, this 2018 team has a 2015 run in it. 

And it doesn't have the "whiff" of 2015's Kirk and Muno, among other non-hitters, which is good right there.

Stay tuned.  It's 2015 again.  Maybe better.
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West Virginia 3 - Columbia 2

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Press Release:

COLUMBIA, SC – Columbia played in its seventh one-run game in its last nine, but came out on the losing end on Monday. West Virginia scored a run in the top half of the 11th and won the series opener, 3-2. The Fireflies have played in nothing but close games in the month of May: 15 of the 19 games have been decided by three runs or fewer.

Columbia (22-21) entered the ninth inning with a 2-1 advantage. The leadoff batter for the Power, Cal Mitchell, drew a walk and sprinted to third base on a Deon Stafford bloop single to right. The reliever Stephen Villines struck out Oneil Cruz but allowed a single to Rodolfo Castro that tied the score at 2-2. Columbia went down in order in the home half of the ninth and headed into extras for the eighth time this season.

The teams failed to score in the 10th, but West Virginia (24-17) wasted little time pulling ahead 3-2 in the 11th. With the runner Chris Sharpe placed at second base (as per the new Minor League Baseball regulations), Mitchell scorched an RBI double to left-center field. Taylor Henry (L, 0-1) then retired the next three hitters in order, including a strikeout of Castro.

Columbia went down in the bottom half of the 11th with nothing more than an Ali Sanchez single. The Fireflies could not tie or take a lead and dropped to 5-3 in extra-inning games in 2018.

This was the first time all season the Fireflies lost a game after having held a lead after eight frames. The club was previously 17-0 when leading heading to the ninth.

Columbia was trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh. The home team sprang for two scores to take its first lead. The inning began with a Matt Winaker triple down the right-field line. Winaker scored when Scott Manea bounced out to Cruz, the Power’s shortstop. Raphael Gladu was next hit by a pitch and then placed himself in scoring position after swiping second base. In a clutch moment, Edgardo Fermin slashed a base hit to left, scoring Gladu.

Speaking of Gladu, the Canadian singled in the fifth inning on Monday, extending his hit streak to 10 straight games – one off tying a franchise record.

Blake Weiman (W, 1-0) picked up the victory for West Virginia after hurling four scoreless frames.

A couple relievers out of Columbia’s bullpen were just as impressive. After starter Marcel Renteria exited the game in the first inning, Darwin Ramos (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K), Nicolas Debora (3.0 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 K) and Trey Cobb (1 IP, 0 ER, 2 K) combined to surrender just one run over 7.1 innings.  
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