2/28/09

Johan's Fantasy Value

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Rotoscoop on Johan Santana:

"Don’t get me wrong, a 3.83 xFIP is still very good (he ranked first in ERA last year, 15th in xFIP), and Santana isn’t all of a sudden going to fall off a cliff as far as skills go. But his velocity took a dip last season, something that’s especially troublesome for a pitcher who threw the third most changeups (28.7 percent) in baseball. Over the last two years, Santana has thrown the seventh most pitches in MLB. This latest injury, combined with a very real drop in skills last season, is enough to take other SPs like Dan Haren and Josh Beckett ahead of him in upcoming drafts."

http://rotoscoop.com/blog/2009/02/28/johan-santana
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How "We" Looking?

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Just my opinon, in no particular order...

-Jonathan Niese looks like he's doing everything he can to win a rotational spot. It also doesn't hurt that some of the guys he's competing against haven't looked that good.

-I think we should all start to take Bobby Parnell more serious, not as a potential starter, but definitely as part of this year's pen.

-one of the surprsies of the camp so far has been C Josh Thole, who is doing everythig asked of him, even playing a few innings.

-it's almost time to start worrying about Johan Santana.

-I think Nick Evans will start the season in Buffalo, but, frankly, he's doing all the right things to earn a roster spot.

-feel free at anytime you want to say you are happy about re-signing Ollie. He really has helped my  online betting

Almost. If you will take ( off of the front of the sentence and place the sentence before the
of the spot I showed you it should work.




-don't forget Nelson Figueroa, especially if Garcia, Stokes, and Redding don't come around.

-while you're at it, don't forget about Livan either.

-star of the camp so far is Luis Castillo, if for no other reason than his hard work and dedication.

-Ya know, there's a good chance Jose will hit 25 yardballs this year.

-you simply can't pick up our closer.

Mack


 After the sentence "feel free at anytime you want to say you are happy about re-signing Ollie." will you add he has really helped my online betting." Then link the keywords online betting to our site at http://www.partybets.com/ .
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Depletion of WBC Talent

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Except from worldofbaseball:

The United States lost two of their premium outfielders in Brad Hawpe and Grady Sizemore, both to injuries, but lost nonetheless. Now their outfield looks more like a collection of everyday players with Curtis Granderson, Shane Victorino and Ryan Braun, but the best the United States can offer. Not likely. All are very good outfielders, but when you expect the best, these are the names you don’t expect to see. Tell me those are going to be the All Star outfielders when the All Star game is played in July and perhaps I’ll get more enthusiastic.

http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/?m=200902



Mack: It seems to me that the future of the WBC might be tainted if this exodus of talent continues. Look, there was no way the Mets were going to let Johan Santana pitch, and he still hasn't pitched an inning this spring. IMO, all it will take is one season-ending injury to turn the tide here.
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Still More Pics From ST

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More Pics From ST

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2/27/09

Pictures From Spring Training

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Prospect Update: 3B Shawn Bowman

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Shawn Bowman 3B R R 6-2 206 12/9/84

Bowman was selected by the Mets in the 12th Round (357th overall) of the 2002 draft. He signed (out of Charles Best high school in Coquitlam, British Columbia) late so he did not play for any Mets organization in 2002. He split 2003 between Kingsport (.121) and Brooklyn (.203), and, in 2004, Bowman was kicked up to Capital City (A) where he hit .259, with 19HRs and 69 RBIs.

Scout.com listed Bowman that year as the #3 Mets prospect. 2005 brought a promotion to St. Lucie (A+) where be hit .223, with 17 HRs. He was sidelined due to a fractured L-5 vertebrate in his lower back, which he fractured again in 2006. In 32 games for St. Lucie, Bowman batted .252 with three home runs and 19 RBI. He briefly considered having surgery to repair the back but eventually settled upon a rehabilitation program, which was carried out at the Mets' Tradition Field training complex.

Baseball America ranked him as the #7 prospect that year (and the best defensive infielder) and InsidePitch had him #8. This year, OnDeck ranks him this year as the Mets #16 prospect and John Sickles gives him a C rating and ranks him as the 17th Mets prospect. InsidePitch listed Bowman (in Nov 2001) the 7th top Mets prospect. Scout.com gave Bowman ‘2 stars’ (and the 17th top 3B prospect in baseball) as one of the Mets top 10 prospects (issued in December ’06). Bowman has begun his road back to professional baseball by playing winter ball in Nicaragua, where he has powered the offense for Tigres de Chinandega as the cleanup hitter. John Sickles’ 2007 prospect list has him at #15, with the comments “back injury 2 years in a row). He is expected to begin the 2007 season in Binghamton, or St. Lucie.

Scout.com ranks Bowman as the 6th Mets prospect on their revised list that came out prior to the 2007 spring training.

In 2007, he once again started the season with back problems and was placed on the minor league injured reserve list prior to opening day. He did play a short time for St. Lucie as a DH (.150/.182/.300 in 20 at bats), and he is now attempting to come back in 2008 as a pitcher.

In 2008, Bowman was a Disney movie rolled into a Spielberg direction.

In September 2008, Bowman was assigned to the Peoria Saguaros team in the Arizona Winter League.

In 2008, Bowman rebounded with a wonderful season in St. Lucie (.340). He was promoted to Binghamton and his combined stats were: .290/.312/.491 in 210 at bats. More important, he was not injured all season long.

Update: February 2009: Shawn Bowman ran by me outside the minor league complex in Lucy, in uniform, so, he's back!
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New Met - RP Ron Villone

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Ron Villone | 27 | P - Height: 6-3 Born: 1/16/1970

Weight: 245 Birthplace: Englewood, NJ

Throws: Left College: Massachusetts

Bats: Left Debut: 4/28/1995

Regular Season Pitching Statistics

2007 NYY 0-0 4.25 37 appearances 42.1 IP

2008 StL 1-2 4.68 74 appearances 50.0 IP


Ronald Thomas Villone Jr. (born January 16, 1970 in Englewood, New Jersey) is a Major League Baseball left-handed relief pitcher with the New York Mets organization. He has not been on the same team for more than two years in his major league career and due to his many baseball travels, some of his teammates have affectionately referred to him as "Suitcase" Villone.

2005 - 2008:

In December 2006, Villone rejected a salary arbitration offer from the New York Yankees. This decision cost him over $2MM. Had he accepted the offer, he likely would have earned a raise over his $2.5 million salary in 2006. On February 13, 2007 he was signed to a minor league deal with the Yankees. During spring training in 2007, Ron was given a chance to earn a spot in the Yankee bullpen, but was beat out for the last spot by Sean Henn. However, he was called back up in mid-May.

In December 2007, Villone was named in the Mitchell Report as one of the players linked to steroids. Villone refused to respond to the allegations.

In February of 2008, Villone was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals to a minor league contract and was invited to spring training.[1] Coming out of camp, Villone made the Opening Day roster.

His entrance music is Drowning Pool's "Bodies", which contains the popular chorus of "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor!".

On October 30, 2008 Villone filed for free agency.[2]

2009:
On February 27, 2009, Villone signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and was invited to spring training.[3]


Personal:

Villone is married and resides in Edgewater, New Jersey with his wife, Brooke.[4] He has a daughter, Megan, who was born on March 26, 1996 and a son, Ronald Thomas III, born on September 14, 1997.

source: wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Villone
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Top 10 Puerto Rico Prospects

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From: http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/?m=200902

7. Javier Rodriguez OF (Mets) - He’s still a teenager, drafted in the second round in 2008. His first exposure to rookie ball he only hit .193, but he shows all five tools. Whether he can put them together will decide how far he advances. Despite his poor average he only had 27 K’s in 38 games so he was making contact. A good spring will give the Mets confidence to start him in low A, otherwise he will have to play in extended spring training until the Rookie leagues begin, or Javier shows the readiness to handle low A.
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Prospect Update - SP Mike Antonini

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Michael Antonini P R L 6-2 200 8-6-85 Georgia College & State University

Antonino’s senior year stats at GC&SU were 7-6, 3.97 in 15 starts, 91.0 IP, 89 H, 19 BB, and 89 Ks.

The Mets selected Antonini in the 18th round (573rd overall) of the 2007 amateur draft out of Georgia College & State University. He has been assigned to Kingsport to kick off his pro career.

Antonini is a native of Aston, PA

In 2007, Antonini started the season with Kingsport (1-1, 3.71, 1.06 in 5 appearances, 3 starts), but finished it with Brooklyn (0-0, 0.46, 0.92 in 7 appearances, 2 starts).

In late January 2007, Baseball America ranked Mike as the 26th overall Mets prospect, adding: "Paul loduca caught antonini at brooklyn and proclaimed his changeup big league ready"

Antonini had a meteoric rise in 2008, pitching for Savannah (4-4, 2.71), St. Lucie (4-0, 1.84), and Binghamton (1-3, 3.74), all of which combined for 9-7, 2.77.

In October 2008, Toby Hyde on Mike Antonini:

Antonini had a great year, earning his promotions first to St. Lucie and then to Binghamton. The night I saw him in Binghamton, Antonini worked off a fastball that was 87-91, but mostly 88/89. He commanded it to both sides of the plate. He faced a lineup with eight batters who hit from the right side and featured his changeup as his second pitch. It was inconsistent, without great movement and often elevated. He allowed a homerun on an elevated changeup at 83 mph. He was cautious about throwing his slider to the RHH, and with good reason, since it was a little sweeping. Note that once Antonini reached AA, his homerun and walk rates spiked, while his strikeout rate was 6.3 K/9, the lowest of any of his three stops in 2008. Likely 09 Start: AA

February 2009:


From Toby Hyde:

Antonini graduated from both full-season A-ball leagues in his first full professional season, and that success from a left-hander counts for something. His fastball is fringe-average from the left side, sitting at 88-89 when I saw him in July. He touched 91, but did not pitch at that velocity. The fastball plays up thanks to good command as he can spot it to both sides of the plate. His changeup is his second pitch, but when he didn’t finish the pitch, it stayed up, and got hit hard in AA. 2008: SAL? Check. FSL? Check. AA? Working on it. Winter ball? No problem. That’s a great year. Projected 2009 Start: AA Binghamton rotation

Mack: One of the nicest kids you will ever meet, Antonini is, in my opinion, not in the class of Bradley Holt or Jonathan Niese. Actually, he’s not in the class of Tobi Stoner or Dillon Gee either. He’s one of those control pitchers that bore you to death, but wins more than they lose. I’m not sure what his future is, especially since none of his pitchers stand out that would make him a great relief pitcher either. Sort of another Aaron Heilman.

February 2009:
MYOB on: Mike Antonini LHP - drafted in the 18th round, he had a solid year playing at three different levels. He finished with an overall 2.71 ERA. He doesn’t throw hard and he lacks the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter, but he could be an effective back man. Currently pitching in Puerto Rico where his ERA is 3.60 in eight starts. One concern is that he gave up 10 homeruns in 45 innings pitching at AA Binghamton.
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Miami look at Yesterday's Game

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From: Miami Herald

This new-look lineup for the New York Mets is off to an excellent start.

Dropped from the leadoff spot to No. 3 in the order, Jose Reyes hit a grand slam, a solo homer and drove in six runs as the Mets routed the Florida Marlins 9-0 on Thursday.

"I didn't do anything different," Reyes said. "I just put my best swing on the ball and tried to go from there and tried to hit it hard.

"What can I say? I got some really good hits today, so let's see what happens in the next couple games. I have to enjoy this one because I felt very good today at the plate."

New York also scored nine runs in its spring training opener, beating Baltimore 9-3 on Wednesday. New leadoff man Luis Castillo was a star in that one, with four RBIs and two hits.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel is tweaking his batting order this spring to see if he wants to keep the changes for the regular season. The idea is to benefit Castillo, coming off an ineffective season, and give Reyes a chance to knock in more runs.

"We really think Jose is ready to really take it to the next level," Manuel said.

Carlos Beltran also homered for the Mets and drove in three runs.

Castillo opened the bottom of the first inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by pitcher Oliver Perez, who batted second. Reyes drove in Castillo with a groundout.

Reyes' grand slam off Rick Vandenhurk gave New York a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning. His second homer, off ex-Met Willie Collazo, was a shot over the left-field wall in a three-run sixth.

The pitching staff protected the lead. Six pitchers combined to allow just three hits, starting with two scoreless innings from Perez.

The left-hander is scheduled to pitch in the World Baseball Classic next month, so the game marked his only start for the Mets before he leaves to join Team Mexico. Perez struck out three and walked one in two hitless innings and said he's ready for the WBC.

"I'm happy about the first outing," Perez said. "This year I feel better than any year because I was practicing a lot in Mexico. I was getting ready in December and when I got here, and right now I feel good."

Perez, like Reyes, found himself in an unfamiliar spot in the lineup. Manuel wanted to make sure his pitchers had a chance to bat, and Perez dropped down a successful sacrifice.

Marlins starter Chris Volstad didn't have as smooth an outing as Perez did, but ended it on a positive note after working out of a jam in the second inning when Jeremy Reed flied out with the bases loaded.

Volstad allowed one run and four hits with one strikeout and a walk in two innings.

"I was just a little inconsistent, but that goes with being the first start, I guess," Volstad said. "It's something to work on. I threw a couple good curveballs, a couple good changeups. I just need to find that consistency and stay in the strike zone more often."

Notes:@ Mets ace Johan Santana was scratched from Friday morning's "B" game start against Italy because of tenderness in his pitching elbow. Manuel said the decision was precautionary because Santana has a history of feeling elbow soreness this time of year. Santana remains on track to make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday. ... Marlins utility man Alfredo Amezaga was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day. Amezaga tweaked his knee during an at-bat in Tuesday's intrasquad game at Roger Dean Stadium. ... Mets RHP Tim Redding (sore shoulder), a contender for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, had been scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday, but pitching coach Dan Warthen revised that plan. Redding will continue to long toss before stepping on a mound again in a few days. He is still listed as the March 8 starter.
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2/26/09

Recap from Nick/Traditions

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Jose Reyes- Manuel said he was going to hit with power this season? Well I guess he was not lying. Jose went 2-4 with 6 RBI's on a Grand Slam and a solo home run batting "Third".

Carlos Beltran- Two run Home Run with 3 RBI's. Carlos looked real calm at the plate today, and was sitting back on everything thrown at him.

Carlos Delgado- As most of us know Carlos loves the pull the ball, but today he had two opposite field hits as the Mets cleaned house on the Marlins 9-0

Luis Castillo- Batting lead off might not be so bad after all. Luis looked great today with a couple walks, One hit and scoring two runs. The way it looked today is that Luis has his legs back under him and is ready to be the full time lead off hitter.
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Players To Watch - Japan WBC

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Players to watch would be their three top starters Daisuke Matsusaka, Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma. Everyone knows about Daisuke and most people are familiar with Yu Darvish. For those who aren’t Trey Hillman, now the manager of the Kansas City Royals calls him one of the top five pitchers in baseball. If he is ever posted, it is expected he would fetch more than the $50 million the Red Sox posted for Daisuke. So that is a pretty good top two, but Hisashi Iwakuma outdueled Yu Darvish for the Sawamura award last year, which is similar to the Cy Young. So if you want a U.S. equivalent, I would say facing these three would be similar to facing a rotation of Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Greg Maddux when he was a top pitcher. Iwakuma reminds me a lot of Maddux with the precision he uses with his pitches. Nothing is hard, but the balls come off the bats soft.

The one downside is the pitching staff is loaded with pitchers that were starters for their team during most of the season. Only the closer Kyuji Fujikawa (38 saves) and Tetsuya Yamaguichi are really familiar with coming into a game in the middle. The other pitchers are used to appearing in the game in the very first frame.

The outfield should cover a lot of ground with Ichiro Suzuki, Kosuke Fukodome and Norichika Aoki. All three are also pretty good with the stick. For those not familiar with Aoki he hit .347 last year and has a career average of .338. He is considered the next big offensive player to try his hand in the United States, but he’s still got a way to go before he is eligible for free agency.

The big stick will come from Shuichi Murata, who led the Central League in homeruns with 46. Either he or Michihiro Ogasawara will play first base while the other will DH. I can’t see Kenji Johjima starting over Shinnosuke Abe.

source: WOB
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Stimulus Money - By State

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http://www.stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state
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Pedro Looks Strong

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Ex-New York Met and free-agent pitcher Pedro Martinez looked strong while pitching a simulated game in the Dominican Republic Monday according to MLB.com.

Martinez is scheduled to start for the country's World Baseball Classic squad in the team's first exhibition game on March 3, according to the Dominican newspaper Hoy. According to the report, Martinez's velocity ranged from 88-92 mph in the 43-pitch outing at Baseball City, a sports complex near Boca Chica.

"Pedro was working really well, he threw the ball like normal and he showed good physical condition," Dominican team staff member Rafael Mateo told the paper.

Martinez, 37, plans to throw Friday before traveling to Florida on Sunday to join the Dominican Republic squad. Two days later, he will pitch against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The Dodgers, Pirates and Indians are interested in signing Martinez, but the right-hander has not received an official offer, according to the newspaper.

Source: MLB.com
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Mets Prospect - P Kyle Allen

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Kyle Allen P R R 6-3 195 2-12-90

Allen pitched the 2008 season for the GCL Mets, going 1-1, 2.12, 1.00 in 11 games (5 starts). This included 45 Ks and only 10 BBs in 34.0 IP.

In September 2008, Toby Hyde wrote:

RHP Kyle Allen – 1-1, 2.12 ERA, 11 G, 5 GS, 34 IP, 24 H, 13 R, 8 ER, 1 HR, 10 BB, 45 K

After walking seven batters in his first 14.1 innings out of the bullpen, Allen walked just three batters in 19.2 IP as a starter to finish off the season. That improvement in his control is key. Allen works off a fringy fastball that touched 91, but was more often 88/89 when I saw him in July. In that outing, he fell in love with his breaking stuff, mixing in too much curve, slider and changeup trying to be too cute. On the other hand, the slider had its moments and flashed potential to be an average MLB pitch. Allen was born on an Air Force Base in Portugal, (his dad spent 22 years serving) but moved to the U.S. as a toddler. Projected 2009 Start: Savannah

In October 2008, Mets Prospectus wrote:

Kyle Allen was born on February 12, 1990 in Portugal and went to High School in Bradenton, Fl at Pendleton High School where he was a well regarded 2-way player who won Rawlings/Perfect Game All-American as a 2-way player. Kyle was drafted in the 24th round (734th overall) of the 2008 First Year Player Draft who had 2nd to 4th round talent/potential but fell due to signability concerns because of his commitment to NC State. Allen has baseball bloodines as his uncle Ray Semproch was a Major League RHP and his cousin Matt Allen was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 40th round of the 1999 First Year Player Draft.

Because of Allen's size, 6'3 and 195 lbs, theres plenty of projection and potential as he already has a pretty good repetoire that consists of a 90-92 MPH 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs, 80-84 MPH slider and 79-86 MPH changeup. This season for the Gulf Coast Mets Allen had a 1-1 record with a 2.12 ERA in 11 games and 5 starts. Kyle also notched 2 saves in his 34 innings while allowing only 24 hits and 10 BB's for a nifty 1.00 WHIP. Not to mention that Allen only gave up one home run, to the 3rd ranked Minor League Prospect in Baseball, Colby Rasmus. He also struck out 45 batters in the 34 innings, good for a 11.91 K/9.
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2/25/09

Mets SS Draft Picks

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from John Sickles:

1994: - Ryan Jaroncyk, New York Mets, California HS

18th overall. Jaroncyk was considered to be an excellent defender with a doubtful bat, and that's exactly what happened. He hit .237/.316/.308 in 154 minor league games at the A-ball level. He got so frustrated that he quit baseball in 1997, throwing his equipment in a dumpster. A brief comeback attempt in 1999 and 2000 ended after 20 games. Huge bust.

2002 - Jose Reyes, New York Mets Grade B+ Free Agent, 1999, Dominican Republic

Rated at Number 45, after strong year in the Sally League. I was concerned about low walk rate. But he overcame that and has emerged as an outstanding player.
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The 2009 Wild Cards

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Last season, the Mets were blessed with two of them...

Fernando Tatis turned out to be a wonderful addition to the outfield, and Daniel Murphy, who looked like he was going to have a great minor league career, is now the starting left fielder.

So, who are this year's wild cards, and how would they fit in?

1B - Nick Evans - yes, first base... Nick spent last year platooning with Murphy out in left field and may start this year in Buffalo, but I spent a little time with him this week and he's taking most of his practice at first this spring. Trust me, even Nick hopes that Carlos Delgado has a full season like he finished last year, but Evans will be ready, if needed to spell Delgado, in case he slumps or comes up limping.

IF - Shawn Bowman - Yes, Bowman is in camp and looks 100% fit. A lot of press has been written about him from the days he had a ceiling higher than David Wright. Three years, and two broken backs later, Bowman spent the entire 2008 healthy and, though he's basically a third baseman and not as versatile at the other infield positions, a hot start from him in Buffalo could create a situation where he comes up as a pinch hitter, or would be packaged in a mid-season deal.

2B - Luis Castillo - no one has been more critical of Castillo's contract, but I went out my way this week to follow this guy around and watch him work his ass off this week. He looks great, and this could be the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

SP - Jonathan Niese - if his first two innings pitched on Monday is any indication of what his season will be like, Niese is going to be hard to keep out of the Mets rotation sometime this year. As I reported earlier this week, Freddy Garcia does not look to be ready to throw heat, and Livan Hernandez is still getting in shape. Keep an eye on this kid this spring.

Mack
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3 Former Sand Gnats Make WBC

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The final rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were released Tuesday evening and three former Sand Gnats will be representing their respective countries in the upcoming games.

The most notable former Gnat that made the list is Seattle Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre. Beltre, who played for Savannah in 1996, will once again suit up for the Dominican Republic in the 2009 as he did in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Armando Galarraga makes his first appearance in the WBC, playing for the Venezuelan squad. Galarraga went 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA for Detroit in 2008. He is just four years removed from playing in Savannah.

The most recent Sand Gnat to make the final roster was third baseman Stefan Welch, who joined the Sand Gnats for five games at the end of the 2008 campaign. He hit .263 with one home run in those five games for Savannah. He will play for Australia.

This year’s World Baseball Classic kicks off in Tokyo on March 5 with a game between China and Japan.

The Sand Gnats will host the Third Annual Sand Gnats Chili Bowl Cook-Off from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 28 at Historic Grayson Stadium. Tickets are $5 at the gate and $7 in advance with proceeds from the event benefiting America’s Second Harvest. There will be a $500 prize for first place and a $250 prize for second place. Judges for the event include Uncle Bubba, Bobby Deen and WJCL’s Frank Sulkowski. For more information or an entry form, call 912.351.9150 or visit www.sandgnats.com.

Savannah opens its 25th season of South Atlantic League baseball on April 9 versus the Augusta GreenJackets. The first game of the year is a Thirsty Thursday contest, which will be followed by postgame fireworks. Season tickets and mini plans are on sale now. Listen live to all 140 Sand Gnats games in 2009 on STAR AM 1400, your home for Sand Gnats baseball.
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Does Jake Ruckle Really Exist?

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Those of you that are long term readers of Mack's Mets know two things... one, I can't spell and hate spellchek... and two, I've been a big fan of SP Jake Ruckle.

Well, even though I've written a lot about the kid, and did an interview with him recently, we still never have met. Every year, I come to camp and try and hunt him down and fail.

So, this year, I knew that the minor league players don't come out to play until after lunch and I headed over there as soon as I could break away from the scrimmage... you got it, Ruckle was done, back inside taking rehab, and, as any of you know, it's easier to break into Fort Knox than get in that building.

So,come Tuesday, I figure I'd get out there early and catch him as he came out the door. First out, as usual, was C Tony Maccani, who told me that, yes, Jake Ruckle is inside and will be heading out soon... 15-20 players come out... no Ruckle... Brad Holt runs back inside and confirms that Ruckle is alive and well, but still no sighting.

Then pitching coach Rick Waits walks over and tells me he will go inside and get him for me. Fantastic. There is a God (or, at least, a Rick)... I wait ten more minutes... 50 or so Mets come out... no Jake. Not even a Rick.

And then... the door opens...

And a security guard tells me that Jake is taking rehab and won't be out until 2:30pm, a half an hour after I was already leaving Dodge.

So once again, I head north, not knowing a few things...

1. why are there no baby pigeons ever in a park?

2. what exactly is "Canadian Food"?

3. What really happened in that desert near the air base out west?

4. And, does Jake Ruckle really exist???

Mack
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No Billy Wagner in Camp

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I'm half way home and still looking over my notes from ST, making sure I pass everything on to you guys.

I think I forgot to mention this... Billy Wagner in NOT in camp. I asked a number of people about that, including Jerry Manuel, and all of the answers were a simply no, without any explanation.

No one, including some of the beat guys, thought there was any chance of Wagner coming back this year, though, as you know, some people speculated about that on line a few weeks ago.

You had the feeling that Billy Wagner is no longer a member of the New York Mets.

Mack
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Some Minors SP Developments

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Adam Rubin/NYN reported that SP Tobi Stoner, who either was going to start the season in B-Town or Buffalo, has been "shut down" with shoulder discomfort. I talked a number of times with Tobi yesterday, but he didn't mention a thing. Seems he had a local MRI that did show nothing to get scared about, so I'm sure they are just playing it conservative.

Rubin also reported that it looks like Dillon Gee might start in Buffalo, which would fill the rotation slot left open with the Stoner move.

Also, Brad Holt is reported to be starting the season in Lucy, which is a little bit of a surprise for me. Rick Waits was working with him over at the "six-pack" two days ago, and I'm sure the Mets would rather him stay close by... and warm... while he continues to work on secondary pitches.

This really muddles up the Lucy rotation.

Lastly, I ran into Brant Rustich yesterday and he said he's feeling and playing great. I look for him also to start at Lucy this spring.


Mack
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2/24/09

BA Top 100 Prospects

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Baseball America released 2009 Top 100 Prospects:





30 FERNANDO MARTINEZ OF, METS
0: Players in Double-A younger than Martinez last season.
Opening Day Age: 20 ETA: 2010

47 WILMER FLORES SS, METS
0: Players younger than Flores (who turned 17 on Aug. 6) in full-season ball last season.
Opening Day Age: 17 ETA: 2012

77 JONATHON NIESE LHP, METS
178: Innings pitched last season, including 14 in three big league starts.
Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2009

94 BRAD HOLT RHP, METS
1.87: ERA at short-season Brooklyn, one of four categories in which he led the New York-Penn League.
Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2010



Mack: It's great to finally see someone recognize Holt. I had a nice talk with him today and wait until you guys see his new curve...

I had hoped that Jenry Marte would hve made the list also, but I'm sure he'll move up soon...
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Top European Prospects

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Top European Prospects in the Major Leagues - World Of Baseball

Now that all the games have been played and teams prepare for the WBC, it is time to take a look at the prospects from the various continents and countries. Our first look is Europe, which is starting to grow as a major league hot spot. I’ve included Curacao in Europe since it is a Dutch colony and I recieved so many comments for not including players from there in a European prospect list. The major leagues have already seen players such as Rick Vandenhurk, Wladimir Baleintien and Jair Jurrgens make their mark on the major leagues. It would not be surprising to see a few more.

1. Greg Halman, Mariners (Netherlands) OF

2. Shairon Martis, Nationals (Curacao) RHP

3. Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Reds (Curacao) RHP -

4. Roger Bernadina, Nationals (Netherlands) OF

5. Loek Van Mil, Twins (Netherlands) RHP


6. Hainley Statia, Angels (Curacao) SS

7. Alex Maestri, Cubs (Italy) RHP -

8. Curt Smith, Cardinals (Curacao) 1B

9. Sven Huijer, Red Sox (Netherlands) RHP

10. Kai Gronauer, Mets (Germany) C - You have to like the way he ran the German pitching staff in the pre-Olympic qualifier in Taiwan. And though the Germans did not qualify for the Olympics, Kai was one of the better players in the tournament. The Mets were impressed and signed him after the tournament and after his first minor league season he hit .356. Those are impressive numbers, but he was a 22 year old competing in the rookie league, so like Curt Smith, the key will be how his numbers evolve as he advances. He also threw out six of the 10 runners that attempted to steal off him. Kai has been playing for the German national team since he was 18 years old.
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PSL Will Have To Go On Without Me

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Well, I've left Tradition...

This is the second season I have had the priviledge of being "officially" at ST, representing Morris Communications.

It's funny. I spent 30+ years as a success in another field, and always felt in control and confident when I "went to work" there every day, but I leave this year from Lucy still feeling like the Jimmy Olsen I've become.

The press crew are all much younger than I and don't possess the gift (is it a gift?) of gab of people 55+. I wore my white hat with the name "Mack" on it, but either no one knew who the hell I was, or chose to stay in their own world.

I did introduce myself both to John Heyman (did I spell that correctly?) and Adam Rubin and both were very nice to me. I also had the opportunity to meet many more of the players, though I am still upset about how I wrongly reported something on Nelson Figueroa.

In fact, I must have touched a nerve somewhere, because, just as I was packing up and saying goodbye to one of the players in the clubhouse, a Mets official came over and asked if I was blogging straight from the clubhouse. I wasn't... heck, I don't even own a handheld... but obviously he was given that information by somebody who was reading what I was blogging... from the press room (which is okay)... and told this official that I was doing something wrong.

The player I was talking to laughed and said "you seem to be making someone uncomfortable with you writing...". I then left and drove out of town.

Same uneasy feeling as last year, but I accomplished what I wanted to do.

I also made arrangements with someone local there to become a reporter on this site, and he will be blogging directly with the results of all the GCL and Lucy games.

I hope you all enjoyed the few days of blabber I put here. Fell free to ask me anything on your mind.

Mack
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Apologies to Figgy,,,

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I wrote something yesterday while I was running around, trying to get as much information as I could about the game.

I had missed the first inning that Nelson Figueroa had pitched, but was present for his second inning, which wound up with bases loaded.

A little while later, I thought I saw him come out of the locker room and walk over to an SUV, get in, and get the hell out of Dodge early.

I was wrong.

It was not Nelson Figueroa. Might have been Angel Pagan, but, in looking back, I not only painted a picture that something might be wrong, but I didn't even have the right player.

So, that's why I wrtie for a Savannah newspaper, not the Wall Street Journal.

My apologies to Nelson.

Mack
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Traditions - 12:37pm

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Interesting...

First, John Maine looked good. I didn't say very-powering, but his mechanics were just fine and there was no sign of any lingering problems...

Second, Freddy Garcia's change up and slow curver were spot on... he had total command of both pitches and pitched 2 innings... the last batter, Nick Evans, got only 5 pitches from Garcia, all slow to medium curves.

On the other hand... I counted only 5 fastballs thrown... probably in the 83-85 range... all either way right... or too far inside. Definitely had no confidence in that pitch by the last 2 batters in his second inning, who both never saw a FB... seems to me there should be some concern here, though it is early in ST

Lastly, P Mike Antonini got welcomed to the big park, giving up two homers, one to deep center by David Wright, and a three-run shot down the left field line to Carlos Beltran... I retrieved the ball and will give it Mike... next year.... as a reminder of his welcome to the Mets' lineup.
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Tradition Field - 10:39am

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I just spent some time watching a few pitchers warm up outside the clubhouse.

Francisco Rodriquez - serious stuff... spot on... his delivery is quite deceptive and it is impossible to pick up the ball until it is beyond release. I'm telling ya... you are just gonna love this guy being handed the ball from J.J.

Livan Hernandez - basically just soft tossing... no reason for him to push it this early... looks in great shape and could be a nice insurance policy.

(btw - sitting next to Matt Cerrone right now... a real nice guy)

Mike Pelfrey - regular session... he really looks like a 20-game winner this year

Mack
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Tradition Field - 9:46am

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Today should be an interesting day for Freddy Garcia.

Word around the camp is he's only hitting in the mid-80s. He gets two innings today, so the entire Mets reporting world will be present to see just how far he has come back, if any.

The Mets pitching coaches were working with Bobby Parnell on his mechanics this morning, without throwing a ball. Nothing for concern here; Parnell looks great so far this spring.

Scouts hit the town today and they got served breakfast, while we got semi-hot coffee.

Mack
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Tradition Field - 9:00am

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Everything starting to stir around here.

Somber day today. All porceeds for today's scrimmage will go to the Brian Cole Foundaton. Cole was a super prospect for the Mets who was killed in a car accident on his way back home from spring training.

A lot of the Mets in the clubhouse, plus some of the beat reporters, were commenting this morning on the Hamel trash that was on the radio yesterday. Just more fodder to play well.

Still a little chilly.

Heading over to the locker room.

Mack
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2/23/09

Final Japanese WBC Roster

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Below is the 28 man roster for Japan:

Pitchers — Takahiro Mahara (Softbank Hawks), Toshiya Sugiuchi
(Softbank Hawks), Yu Darvish (Nippon Ham Fighters), Satoshi Komatsu
(Orix Buffaloes), Masahiro Tanaka (Rakuten Eagles), Hisashi Iwakuma
(Rakuten Eagles), Hideaki Wakui (Seibu Lions), Shunsuke Watanabe
(Lotte Marines), Minoru Iwata (Hanshin Tigers), Kyuji Fujikawa
(Hanshin Tigers), Tetsuya Utsumi (Yomiuri Giants), Tetsuya Yamaguchi
(Yomiuri Giants), Daisuke Matsuzaka (Boston Red Sox)

Catchers — Shinnosuke Abe (Yomiuri Giants), Yoshiyuki Ishihara
(Hiroshima Carp), Kenji Jojima (Seattle Mariners)

Infielders — Hiroyuki Nakajima (Seibu Lions), Munenori Kawasaki
(Softbank Hawks), Yasuyuki Kataoka (Seibu Lions), Michihiro Ogasawara
(Yomiuri Giants), Shuichi Murata (Yokohama BayStars), Akinori Iwamura
(Tampa Bay Rays)

Outfielders — Atsunori Inaba (Nippon Ham Fighters), Norichika
Aoki (Yakult Swallows), Seiichi Uchikawa (Yokohama BayStars),
Yoshiyuki Kamei (Yomiuri Giants), Kosuke Fukudome (Chicago Cubs),
Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners)
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Fun Day At Lucy

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The thing that struck me the most was the size of the 2009 Mets, all the way down to the kiddies on the other side of the field... there are a ton of 6'2" and above guys all over the place...

I just simply love watching Brad Holt pitch... this is going to be some kind of pitcher.

As I said before, both Marlon Anderson and Luis Castillo were in great shape and look 5 years younger.

The sad part of the day actually comes tomorrow... all proceeds to the Brian Cole Foundation. I did a taped interview with David Wright on Brian, which I will post when I get home at the end of the week.

Duffy's chilli is good...

Also, attendendance and hotel stays are down well over 50%... the economy, or lack of hit have hit Lucy.

Will be there all day tomorrow beginning at 8am.

Mack
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Duffy's: - 5:34pm

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2 for 1 at Duffy's...

gane ended 2-0

only 8 hits total... 2 for Nick Evans ... one each for Sullivan, Santos, Reed, Pagan, Schneider, and F. Martinez

2 innings no hit ball from Niese, Gee, Knight, and Parnell...

bad outing: Switzer: 0.0 IP 3 H 2 ER 2 BB

tomorrow intrasquad:

team a pitchers: Maine, Antonini, Cherry, and Martin

team b: Garcia, Fossum, Bostick, Putz, Kunz

Mack
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1927 Yankees World Series Ring on Ebay

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http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270320181918&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.ebay.com%3A80%2F%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm38.l1313%26_nkw%3D%2B270320181918%26_sacat%3DSee-All-Categories%26_fvi%3D1
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Traditions - 2:43pm

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had a chance to talk with minor league pitching coach Rick Waits, who was working with Brad Holt over at the minor league side... looks like he has defintely developed a secondary pitch, and it sure looked like quite the curveball

A few observations on the kids:

Marte - I'd say close to 6'2" - very athletic

Flores - more like 6'3

R Tejada - smaller than I expected, but as fast as advertised

F. Rena - absolutely no baby fat left... don't think he grew anymore so we'll keep him at 6'3"

Ike Davis - I didn't realize how tall he was - defintely looks like a player

Dock Doyle - another player I didn't expect to be as muscular and tall as he is... looks much stronger than Pena

Nieuwenhuis - very tall and very well built

Havens - looks for real, but only observed him tossing

the one thought I had when I saw Havens next to Davis and Campbell... they look like two wide receivers and one tight end (Campbell).

Mack
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Tradition Field - 1:26pm

1:06pm - Bobby Parnell on field 2 doing running exercises

1:09: - Johan Santana and Freddy Garcis dressed and out of here...

But... here's your story today...

Luis Castillo - 48 minutes stright in the batting cage going through 3 full baskets of baseballs in the machine... he looks 5 years younger..

Mack
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Tradition Field 12:54pm

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Tradition Field - 12:54pm

Kyle Snyder pitched 2 innings... 1/2/3 in first.. gave up one single in 2nd inning to Brian Schneider...

starting at around 12:30pm - over on field 2... Castillo, Delgado, Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and Brandon Knight were doing running drills... obviously, the first 5 were taken out of the scrimmage early...

Nelson Figueroa came out in street clothes and got in an SUV and drove away after pitching one questionable inning

Andy Green was playing 2B in the 5th inning

Mack
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Tradition Field - 12:14pm

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Intrasquad game:

top of 1st - Dillon Gee pitched 1-2-3 . excellent movement on curve

bottom of 1st - Jon Niese went 1-2-3


top second... another 1-2-3 for Gee... Delgado, 4-3... Kiety 5-3... Reed 8

bottom of 2nd - no Niese (?)

Figueroa pitching...

Evans singled
Scneider broken bat 6-3
F-Mart infield single - runners on 1st and 3rd
Cora BB - bases loaded, one out....

(they then ended the inning (wish we could do that in the regular season...)

Mack
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Tradition Field - 10:50am

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Three starters working out by the press room...

Brian Stokes/C Rocanello (?) - soft pitches... didn't look like any fast balls - not pushing it

Oliver Perez/Josh Thole - very sharp and fastball had a lot of snap (he had a big laugh with me about me breaking the story on his signing...)

Johan Santana/Santos - also, very sharp, though the curve consistently wound up in the dirt...

On field 3... Tim Redding went yard, around 410... yes, Tim Redding.

Next up was Mike Antonini, who reminded me he had 2 at bats last year at Lucy, both ground outs...

By the way... Marlon Anderson also looks great... lost at least 15 pounds.

Mack
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Tradition Field - 10:02am

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10:02am:

players are on 3 fields... minor leaguers don't come out until after lunch.

Jerry Manual and Jay Horowitz confirmed that Billy Wagner is not in the complex.

Also, found out that Mike Piazza will he the hitting coach for the Italian WBC team that will work out here next week.
__________________
Mack
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Tradition Field - 9:17am

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Today was "photo day", which is universally tolerated by all the players.

Got some great shots I'll get up when I get home.

A few observations:

J.J. Putz is big. He's also a great guy.

Had a wonderful interview with David Wright about tomorrow's scrimmage to raise money for the Brian Cole Foundation. I'll try and add that tonight.

Luis Castillo easily has lost 15 pounds and looks great.

Talked with Nick Evans and he said he has never played a single inning at second base, so whatever was printed on some depth chart was wrong.

Be back in an hour.

Mack
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2/22/09

Future of Church

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Ya know, the more I think about this Murphy move...

First of all, what would be the degree of acceptance if Daniel Murphy played left field full time for an entire season? Would a .275 batting average with very few home runs be okay?

We can assume Beltran will have a... well, Beltran year.

And, we can assume that Fernando Martinez will be ready by next spring the latest, and possibly, this year's all-star break.

If Jerry Manuel is already hinting that Murphy might spell Church a few times this year, doesn't that mean that Church is possibly on the way out?

I'll tell you one thing... Ryan Church will not asccept being a role player in 2010.

And... if the Murphy experiment works, where do you bat him?

Is the 1-2-3 something like Castillo-Murphy-Reyes?

That would mean the 4-5-6-is Wright-Beltran-Delgado

New Question: when F-Mart comes up, where the hell does he bat? 7th???

This IS gwetting interesting and I can't wait to get in the clubhouse tomorrow and see this for myself.

HINT: If Nick Evans starts at first in tomorrow's intrasquad game, all this makes sense. Evans would be groomed for the 4th outfielder/spell 1st baseman in 2010.

The starting first baseman would be someone new... or... King... no, I can't say it.

Mack
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2010 OF: Murphy - FMart - Beltran ???

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Sitting in my Lucy motel, waiiting for the morning to come, I can't help but think about today's developments regarding Daniel Murphy.

What if this full time status works and Murphy bats .300+ with 500 at bats in 2009.

Let's break this down:

1. This would mean that the starting 2010 outfield would be Murphy, Fernando Martinez, and Carlos Beltran.

2. Ryan Church is on a one-year contract, so I can't see any reason to keep him around.

3. Tatis would be around 75 years old, and there's a good chance his 2008 perfornance won't be repeated this year.

4. The only minor league every day players that could be ready for a promotion would be:

C Josh Thole - if so, a back-up at best

3B Shawn Bowman - hard to believe that the Mets would waist a utility position on someone that plays only one position

1B/OF Nick Evans - Evans looks like a lock for a full time utility role in 2010

IF Emmanuel Garcia - boy, an awful lot of good would have to happen here...

OF Caleb Stewart - same same as Garcia.

No, if it is true that Murphy proves out, Evans benefits greatly in 2010 and the big free agent/trading money can be spent on replacing Carlos Delgado

But that's just my opinion...

Mack
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In Florida

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Just got in.

It's a little late to head over to Traditions, so I'm just going to go over to Duffy's and get a burger.

I did hear on the radio that it looks like Daniel Murphy will be the full time left fielder thi season.

That is quite interesting and, if it is true, could change the direction of the 24th and 25 player kept.

Let's assume it is true, and Murphy, Beltran, and Church are your starters...

Now, you need 2 part timers that can play outfield, nd you have to choose between a bunch of guys.

One seems to be a lock due to the fact that he also can play 3B... Tatis...

That leaves one more slot for either Anderson, Pagan, or the new guys signed.

The first think I'm going to try and figure out after talking with a few of my friends in the org. is what Bobby Parnell is going to be used for... I'm not sure right now if they need him in the bullpen.

Anyway... I'll be back around 10am tomorrow...

Mack
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Travelling Today to ST

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On my way to Lucy...

I will be there, on line, by 9am tomorrow and will be updating this blog throughout the next two days.

For those of you there, I'll be at Duffy's for dinner Monday night, so come on by.

Mack
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2/21/09

Mets Prospect - RP Nick Abel

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Nick Abel P R R 6-4 200 2-18-83

Abel played college ball at Stony Brook University, where he was 2-2 (1.69) with 3 saves in 17 appearances in his last year. He appeared in 18 games in his junior year, walking only 8 batters in 29.2 innings. He led his team in 2004 in ERA, with a 2.28 in 17 appearances. Abel played center field in high school with fellow Met prospect, Joe Holden.

He was signed by the Mets in May 2006 as an un-drafted free agent. He started in Brooklyn (0-2, 3.07, 1.09) but moved on the Hagerstown in July 1-1, 1.35, 1.15). His combined record in 2006, playing for 3 teams (Stony Brook, Brooklyn & Hagerstown) was 22 appearances, 0 starts, 1-3, 2.11, & 1.14. OnDeck gave him a 124.44 rating for his work in the Sally League, on 7-26-06.

In 2007, Abel had an outstanding year for St. Lucie, going 2-3, 2.37, 1.23, in 42 relief appearances.

Mack’s Prospect List in July 2007:

19. RP Nick Abel - currently' Abel is putting up the best relief numbers in the Mets minor league system. That earns him a place on my list anytime.


TC Palm in July 2007:

Entering his senior year of high school, Nick Abel did not have the best baseball background. The current St. Lucie Mets relief pitcher did not make the team at Wantagh High School in New York during his sophomore year and played sparingly his junior season — spending most of his time as an outfielder. Abel was a strong soccer player and his parents — natives of what is now the Czech Republic — didn't know much about baseball. "They learned as I learned," Abel said. Abel learned quickly, with the help of pitching coach Bob Teinert, who helped Abel after his junior season. Abel, who now stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds, converted to pitching and was an effective starter his senior season. After high school, Abel went to pitch for Stony Brook University in New York. In just his second game, Abel was sent to the bullpen, where he quickly became a closer. "It was at San Francisco State University," Abel said. "The eighth inning came and (the coach) was like, 'You're in.' I was a little bit nervous." But that nervousness helped him. "I pitch a little better when I have a little edge to me," Abel said. "As a closer, you have to go with your gut. As a closer, I felt comfortable." Abel does not walk many batters (just 16 compared to 27 strikeouts this year) and has not given up a home run in the past two seasons. He has a 2-1 record this year with a 2.50 ERA and five saves through Saturday. "So far, we've had some ups and downs," Abel said. "I think we're going to have a good second half."

In 2008, he pitched for Binghamton, St. Lucie, and Savannah, with combined stats of 4-3, 5.17 in 33 relief appearances.

A Q&A with my Savannah newspaper in 2008:

SMN: When you came to Savannah, you had never seen the field before. How was it?

NA: The mound was pretty good. They do a pretty good job. I'm used to pitching late in the game anyway. The mound is always going to be somewhat torn up.

SMN: People probably don't think about that.

NA: You've got two starters going five or six innings. If it's a lefty and a righty, they're going to stand on opposite sides of the mound. There are two holes basically set for them. You might have a little window of dirt in the middle. You don't usually stand right in the middle. For me, I have to find a spot.

SMN: What's the creative license for doing a little gardening out there?

NA: You can manicure it a little bit. If it's loose dirt, you're going to cover it up and it's going to come right out after one pitch. If it's clay, you can mold it a little bit.

SMN: If you bring out your own tool set, it's a no-no. They'd frown upon it.

NA: They usually don't let you come out with what they call a tamp to pound it out. I'd love to do that. I've got to have a consistent mound. Next time I re-sign my contract, I want to make sure I have that in there.

SMN: You've played all over the Mets' farm system this season. Why is that?

NA: This year I went through spring training and started up in Binghamton, N.Y., which is Double A. In spring training, I had an injury that I didn't know was an injury. I had a little tightness in my back. Everyone goes through a certain amount of tightness at one point in their career. You fight through it. I pitched through it. I went up to Binghamton, where it was 25 degrees. You're shivering in the bullpen in freezing rain.

SMN: You're going through extremes.

NA: Yeah. In my head, it's not going to loosen up too well with the weather how it is. We had a warm day and I went out there and threw, and it still didn't feel right. So I told the trainer. He evaluated me. He said he would talk to somebody, and they said they would send me down to Florida to get some work down there. They have the rehab facility down there as well. The first game in St. Lucie, they wanted to see if the warm weather helped. It didn't help at all. So I went on the (disabled list) for a little bit. It was the first time I was on the DL in my career. I didn't know what to expect. I was there for a couple of weeks. They called me up and said you're going to go to Savannah and pitch there for however long. Now I'm here.

SMN: It sounds like you need to be somewhere for more than a month. It's hard to judge anything.

NA: Since February, I've moved from New York down to Florida for spring training back to New York in Binghamton, then back to Florida, and then over here.

SMN: Abel sounds like a good, confident name, Mr. Able.

NA: There have been a lot of newspaper articles using my name.

SMN: What are the best and worst puns?

NA: "Ready, willing and Abel." I've heard that like a hundred times. The name is a Czech name. My parents emigrated from Czechoslovakia. It's actually pronounced "Ah-bell."

SMN: How do they pronounce it on Long Island?

NA: "A-bull."

SMN: How do you pronounce it?

NA: When I'm with my family, it's "Ah-bell." That's how you pronounce the letter (A) in that language. In the U.S., in the English language, it's "A-bull."

SMN: Have you thought about playing overseas later in your career?

NA: I went to Prague this off-season. I have family over there. For me, right now, I'm going to give this a try and hopefully everything goes in the right direction. I'll play here. For me, if this isn't a career for me, I have my education. I got my degree and I have a couple of other things I'd like to do once baseball is said and done.

SMN: You were a health science major at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University. What did you want to use that degree for?

NA: Originally, I wanted to be a veterinarian. After like the first two years, I was a biology major. Then I switched over to athletic training. They changed some requirements on it. I was going to have to take so many more credits than I really needed to. My mentality was, if I'm going to take so many credits, they'd better be graduate credits, not undergraduate.

SMN: You eventually got your degree in health science.

NA: It's a great choice. Once I got into the health science program, I wanted to get into physical therapy. It's great because the classes I took my senior year were in the hospitals. I graduated in 2006. I'm still certified to be an EMT. I had some hours in the ER and in the ambulance. It was a really good experience.

That's not the profession I was thinking of going into. From there, I was getting involved in my own diet and workout programs. I really got interested in writing up diets for kids.

SMN: Are you going to be a dietician, a nutritionist? Are you going to be like Richard Simmons and have your own industry?

NA: A lot of people joke around with me and call me John Basedow. He's the guy on TV who's the next Richard Simmons. He does Fitness Made Simple. I've written up a lot of diets for coaches and players.

SMN: It must be difficult to stick to a diet plan. There's a lot of drive-through in your future.

NA: I'm always the guy, when they bring out hamburgers for spreads, I'm like, what's going on here. We're athletes.

SMN: You have to pick and choose the healthiest items.

NA: If you're somebody who's watching a game, you can indulge in a hot dog and whatever else they sell at the stadium. If you're an athlete, you need to take care of your body and put the right type of food in it. We do high-intensity workouts. You should have protein-rich food and a lot of vitamins and nutrients you can use, not nutrients that are going to harm your body.


Mack: - Nick is currently not on my top 45 Mets prospect list... frankly, I thought he had a very off-year in 2008 and was kicked around the organization a little. Additinally, there were some small injury issues that kept him out of uniform... I look for him to bounce back big in 2009, either at Lucy or for the B-Mets.
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Mets Prospect - 1B Lucas Duda

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Lucas Duda 1B L R 6-4 225 2-3-86 USC

Duda had a career .275 batting average at USC and hit .278 in 2007, with a team-high 6 home runs. He also performed very well last year with a wood bat in the Northwoods League.

From his college web site:

2007
In his 2007 junior season, Duda made 51 of 53 starts in left field...drafted in the seventh round by the New York Mets...led the team with seven home runs...on April 6 at No. 9 Oregon State, he hit two triples including a two-run hit to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth during USC's 4-1 victory...went 3-for-4 with two RBI on March 27 at UC Riverside... had a career day on March 25 against No. 17 Arizona State with two home runs and six RBI...hit a grand slam as part of an eight-run sixth inning against the Sun Devils and gave USC the 14-13 win with a walkoff, two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth...hit a three-run homer in USC's 6-4 win on Jan. 30 in the season opener against Cal Poly.

Summer
He batted .273 (59-for-216) with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 49 RBI for the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League...he was named as a Northwoods League All-Star and also earned the Silver Glove Award at first base.

2006
Duda started in 54 games as a 2006 sophomore, playing as the Trojans' first baseman...he batted .298 (57-for-191) with three home runs and 36 RBI...stole four bases in six attempts...had a 4-for-9 day with two doubles, a triple and two RBI in the doubleheader at Stanford on April 1...went 6-for-12 with four RBI in the Stanford series (March 10-12)...on March 4 against Georgia, he went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI with his home run tying the game at eight apiece in the fifth, leading to a 12-11 win...clubbed his first homer of the season on Feb. 4 against Long Beach State and had a four-hit game on Feb. 7 at UC Riverside.

2005
Poised to have a solid 2005 freshman season, Duda sat out a month with a wrist injury suffered in the March 25 game against Arizona State during a collision at first base...started in 23 of 34 games and batted .208 (16-for-77) for the season with a home run and 11 RBI...hit his first collegiate home run on March 19 in a 10-0 win against Stony Brook in Irvine, Calif., as part of a 2-for-4 day and season-high three RBI.


Duda was drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 draft by the Mets. He was signed and assigned to the 2007 Brooklyn Cyclones roster, where he batted .299/.398/.462 in 234 at bats, 4 HRs, 32 RBIs, 20 doubles, only 6 errors.
In late January 2007, Baseball America listed Lucas as the 29th top Mets prospect.

In February 2008, MiLB.com came out with their top 15 prospects out of the Hawaiian Winter League:

14. Lucas Duda, Waikiki BeachBoys, 1B (New York Mets)

Had Duda been entrenched in Waikiki's lineup from the get-go, instead of joining the squad midseason as an injury replacement, the slugging USC product would have competed for league all-star honors. In 15 games and a resulting 59 plate appearances, Duda notched a .340 batting average coupled with a .660 slugging percentage with six doubles, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBIs. While the Los Angeles native needs some time to smooth out a few rough edges of his game, including his defense at first base and possibly one of the corner outfield spots, Duda's raw power and size should allow him to move up the ladder quickly

A May 2008 scouting report by Andy Braunstein:

Lucas Duda - 1B - He has the bat speed, the power to hit prodigious HRs to remain a force in the middle of the order. Has the bat control to be a #3 hitter, even #2. Is a good fielder. Has better hitting ability than Michel Abreu, Nick Evans and Mike Carp and a better glove. Would be the last one I would trade of the 4, and 1B is a position the Mets are going to need someone next year.

Duda played the entire 2008 season for St. Lucie, hitting .263/.358/.398 in 483 at bats, 11 HRs, 66 RBIs.


Mack - Duda has fallen off of my top 45 Mets prospect list. I go back two years agon when arrivees to the Savannah team told me that the sweetest bat in the Clones lineup was Duda. He got off to a great start last year in Lucy, but faded fast... Duda will have to come out of the box with a bang or he will find Ike Davis crawling up his first base mit by the all-star break.
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Remaining Free Agents

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Catchers

Gary Bennett (37)
Johnny Estrada (33)
Paul Lo Duca (37)
Ivan Rodriguez (37)

First basemen

Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Sweeney (39)

Second basemen

Ray Durham (37)
Damion Easley (39)
Mark Grudzielanek (39)

Shortstops

Orlando Cabrera (34)


Left fielders

Moises Alou (42)
Garret Anderson (37)
Luis Gonzalez (41)
Jay Payton (36)
Manny Ramirez (37)

Center fielders

Jim Edmonds (39)

DHs

Frank Thomas (41)
Jose Vidro (34)

Starting pitchers

Paul Byrd (38)
Orlando Hernandez (43)
Chuck James (27)
Jon Lieber (39)
Rodrigo Lopez (33)
Pedro Martinez (37)
Mark Mulder (31)
Sidney Ponson (32)
Kenny Rogers (44)
Curt Schilling (42)
Ben Sheets (30)
Kip Wells (32)

Relievers

Joe Beimel (32)
Joe Borowski (38)
Shawn Chacon (31)
Chad Cordero (27)
Juan Cruz (30)
Scott Elarton (33)
Keith Foulke (35)
Jon Lieber (39)
Aquilino Lopez (34)
Will Ohman (31)
Al Reyes (38)
Dennys Reyes (32)
Ricardo Rincon (39)
Rudy Seanez (40)
Julian Tavarez (36)
Mike Timlin (43)
Ron Villone (39)
Kip Wells (32)
Matt Wise (33)
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Coordinates for Ryan Church Interview Today

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NEW YORK METS MEDIA VNR FROM PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA.


WHAT: The New York Mets will have a Spring Training video feed from Port St. Lucie, Fla. everyday running through February 24. The time and coordinates will remain the same each afternoon.


TIME: 4:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m.

TODAY’S FEATURE: Ryan Church

SATELLITE COORDINATES: Satellite: AMC 6 (72 Degrees West)

Transponder: K11 Slot C (9 MHz)

Downlink Frequency: Vertical 11933.50

Digital Settings:

9 Mhz:
FEC: 3/4
Symbol Rate: 6.1113
Modulation Rate: QPSK
Compression Rate: 4:2:0
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The Mack Attack - 2-22-9

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Mets News:


From Mike Silva:

The Mets desperately needed Manny, and Manny at least needed them to compete for his services. Both sides will go unfulfilled in this winter's "Manny Mania". Now that it's clear that the Manny dream is over, what do we make of the 2009 Mets on offense? It's the same team that scored 799 runs with two key contributors missing half the season, Carlos Delgado MIA for three months, and two infielders playing left field. How can you expect improvement for this cast of characters? It will have to come from the "core", specifically Reyes and Wright. Jerry Manuel has already challenged Reyes on two counts: leadership and selfishness. This will be put to the test early as the manager may bat Reyes somewhere other than leadoff, and demand he captain the infield. Reyes talents have been on display, but he has yet to combine his massive talents with common baseball sense. Just like Oliver Perez on the pitching side, at some point in your career you become "who you are". Is Reyes an immature sparkplug, or the core of a championship team? I think Reyes is capable of improving his baseball acumen on the field, but I have doubts about whether he can become a leader in the clubhouse.
Mack: I think it's time to stop writing about Manny. He's never going to be a Met however much many of us want him to be. Let's move on to F-Mart…

Rotofield on:

I continue to be unimpressed by the moves the Mets are making with regard to their starting rotation for 2009. They've now signed Livan Hernandez to a one year deal, and he'll be given a chance to compete for the last spot in their starting rotation. Livan Hernandez used to be overrated. Now he's gotten so bad that everyone (except MLB general managers) realizes his shortcomings. In 2008 he struck out 67 and walked 43 in 180 innings. He actually wasn't quite as awful as the previous year, because at least his groundball rate increased (to 43.7% in the AL and 47.1% in the NL). Livan turns 34 years old next week, and it appears that his arm has been pretty much used up by managers who didn't understand the impact of overuse. If he makes the Mets rotation, Livan will be one of my favorite targets for opposing hitters in daily contests, especially when he's on the road.

Mack: Nothing wrong with having this kind of experience at AAA, just in case. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't become a Mets coach in the minors.

Prospect :

InsidePitch on: C/1B Jordan Abruzzo - He's got good pop for his size, better from the left, very sound tools behind the plate but nothing that really stands out. Good plate coverage allows him to put a lot of balls in play. He does not strikeout much, but is not very patient either--doesn't work deep into counts. This was not in the piece, but warrants being mentioned: Even though he missed almost all of his first season, don't look at his time in Brooklyn this summer merely as a "demotion" or a dig at his value. It was more important that Abruzzo get consistent time behind the plate and Brooklyn was the only place that really afforded that. He was in the long-season leagues for the first half of the year and showed he can hit there by posting .300 average in 70-odd games. He shared time at St. Lucie early, but more so DH'ed in Savannah because of the need to get Pena behind the plate every day and Thole's ascension took playing time away from him in St. Lucie later on. Now he'll likely run into similar issues again in 2009 with Pena likely going to St. Lucie and Thole to Bingo, but there is a fairly good chance he goes to Bingo right out of camp. But the onus is on him to make the most out of his playing time. If you want me to tag him, he's just outside the Top 50.

Mack: Word I keep getting is Pena is returningto Savannah, but if he does go to Lucy, I would hope Abruzzo get's the full time gig for the Gnats in 2009.


Toby Hyde on: #5 - RHP Jenry Mejia - Why Ranked Here: A very late comer to baseball, Mejia brings a special fastball. Virtually unknown entering 2008, the broad chested and big shouldered Mejia introduced himself with a 93-95 mph heater that easily allowed him to conquer the GCL and then New York Penn League. His second pitch is a hard changeup with a little sink at 87-88 mph, an offering with the same velocity as some of his teammates' fastballs. It's just enough off his fastball to catch hitters out in front and induce lots of groundballs. His curve is his third pitch. In the NYP, he struggled to find his release spot at times, but when found his release, he snapped off a short tight bender that showed plus potential. There's some effort in his delivery, raising concerns about command down the road and a risk of injury. However, given his age (20 in October 2009) and experience (slight) his command is ahead of where one might expect it. The Mets' staff raved about Mejia's work ethic and intelligence. 2008: Mejia made clear with three dominating starts in the GCL that the rookie league simply did not provide enough challenge for him. Promoted to Brooklyn in the first week of July, Mejia walked a season-high five batters in his first NYP League start and 11 batters in his first 18 innings (5.5 BB/9). In his final 38.2 IP in the league he walked just 12 batters (2.8 BB/9). That's an impressive adjustment for a very young pitcher. When he reached the NYP, he tried to pitch with his curveball instead of his changeup as his second pitch. Once he returned to his change as his second offering, he threw more strikes and worked himself into better counts. Also, his curve improved over the course of the summer. Projected 2009 Start: Savannah rotation. St. Lucie is a possibility, but given Mejia's age, and the number of older, other slightly more experienced arms fighting for time in the FSL, I see no reason to push Mejia to advanced-A yet.

Mack: I have yet to see Mejia pitch, so I'm looking forward to seeing him in Savannah.

MWOB on: - 2008 Top Pick: - Ike Davis 1B - The Mets were rewarded with this pick when the Braves felt nostalgia was in order and signed Tom Glavine as a free agent. Ike signed for $1.575 million and is the son of Ron Davis. Like his dad, he was a closer for Arizona State as well as a slugging first baseman. The Mets drafted him and have him playing first base. In 215 at bats for the Brooklyn Cyclones Ike forgot to be that slugging firstbaseman, failing once to send a ball over the wall. He did hit 15 doubles, but most teams are looking for better than a .326 slugging average from their first baseman. The Mets are hoping to see a little more pop in 2009. His could move to the outfield, but his speed restricts him to left field, and that is also a power position.

Mack: I really have no opinion on this kid yet. So far, he is definitely a first round dud, but we'll give him a year at Lucy with Tim Teufel and we'll see then what the team has…


Mets Alumni:


From GopherBall: Joe Smith isn't even the most anticipated offseason addition to his own bullpen (that honor goes to Kerry Wood) but Smith may have just as much impact on the back end of the Tribe's pen. So... here are three reasons why Joe Smith is this year's most underrated offseason acquisition:

1) Smith locks down right-handed hitters. He held righties to a .192 BA in 2009, more than 100 points lower than the Indians primary set up man, Rafael Betancourt, was able to do in '08 (.295). Both of the Indians top set up men, Betancourt and Rafael Perez excel against lefties (Betancourt held them to a .252 BA, Perez .222). The addition of Smith allows the Indians to use the two "Rafaels" in more favorable matchups, rather than forcing them to take on opponents top right handed hitters.

2) He's cool, calm and collected under pressure. Last season only two pitchers inherited more runners than Smith (63) and of the 44 pitchers to inherit at least 40 runners no one allowed a smaller percentage of them to score (17 pct).

3) He's consistent, regardless of the situation. With the bases empty, Smith held opponents to a .195 BA. With runners in scoring position, the BA climbed only to .206.

P Neal Musser was waived by KC…

Full name is Neal Gordon Musser..resides in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and was married to Valerie Martin in January, 2007...Graduated from Benton Central High in Oxford, Ind. 2007-Had a successful first full season in the Royals organization, dominating hitters at Omaha (AAA) and pitching well with the Royals...Between stints with the big league club, went 4-1 with 8 saves and a 0.49 ERA in 32 appearances for Omaha...did not allow an earned run through his first 45.2 innings for Omaha...Opened the season at Omaha (AAA) before being recalled on April 20...Recorded at least 1 strikeout in 9 of his last 10 appearances (15 total)...The Royals were just 2-15 in his 17 appearances...Made his Major League debut on April 21 vs. Minnesota, allowing an unearned run on 2 hits and recording 1 out...Optioned to Omaha on April 24 after making just 2 appearances (0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB)...recalled on May 1 and made 4 more appearances before being optioned a 2nd time on May 12...Allowed 4 runs on 2 separate occasions, including May 10 vs. Oakland when he also was touched for 3 home runs in 1.0 inning of work...Recalled on June 14 and was 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 11 appearances (18 IP, 4 ER) the remainder of the season...Pitched a career-high 3.1 innings on June 19 at St. Louis, allowing 3 hits and striking out 2...Optioned on July 14 only to be recalled on July 16 where he tossed 2 scoreless innings at Boston...was optioned on July 17 and recalled for a final time on Sept. 1 when the rosters expanded...Fractured his right hand on Sept. 10 and missed the remainder of the season, though he was not placed on the disabled list.
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Mets Prospect- P Roy Merritt

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Roy Merritt P L L 6-0 9-22-85 9-22-85 Southern University A&M

A local article written prior to the draft:

Roydrick Merritt, a second team preseason All-SWAC selection, pitched a seven-inning two-hitter with six strikeouts and held UAPB to a .091 (2-for-22) batting average to lead Southern to a 6-1 victory in the first game.

The hard-throwing left-hander from Houston only gave up two walks and held the Golden Lions scoreless until Jeremy Davis’ RBI double drove home Scott Donaldson in the bottom of the fifth.

“I really didn’t try to overpower them today,” Merritt said. “All I wanted was to go out there and throw strikes. I wanted to hit my spots.

Merritt is 6-1 with a 3.20 ERA, five complete games (all seven-inning games), one save and 48 strikeouts to 24 walks. He was the winner a year ago as SU opened the SWAC tournament with a 10-6 win over Alcorn, going five innings and allowing five runs (four earned) and seven hits. He struck out five and walked one.

In 2006, he pitched 44 innings, gave up 50 hits, and struck out 44 batters. His college teammate was Savannah’s Emery Frederick.


The Mets drafted Merritt in the 29th round of the 2007 Mets. He played the 2007 season for Kingsport, pitching in 17 relief appearances and posting highly respected stats of 1-2, 2.88, 1.12.

In 2008, Merritt pitched a combined 3-0, 2.16, in 31 appearances for Brooklyn and St. Lucie.

In September 2008, Patrick Hickey wrote on:

Roy Merritt- Much like Johnson, Merritt exceeded expectations and showed remarkable poise out of the pen. That, combined with a slider, with movement that can only be compared to a Frisbee, Merritt figures to be a pitcher worth watching next season. Considering the fact that he was drafted by the Cardinals in 2005 as a center fielder, it’s amazing how far he’s come in such a short time. - Final Grade-A+
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2/20/09

Prospect Bio: SP Eric Niesen

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Eric Niesen RP L L 6-0 192 9-4-85 Wake Forest University

Niesen was rated the top left-handed high school pitcher in Michigan by Baseball America.

Niesen was effective at Wake Forest, both as a starter and in relief. His 2007 record was 6-5, leading the team in ERA (3.00) and Ks (83 in 84 IP). Included in those numbers were 23 relief appearances, where he went 3-2, 1.80 and limited opposing Bas to .173. In3-2, with a 4.68 ERA. 2006, he went

The Mets drafted Niesen in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft. He was signed and immediately assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones (under terms of the contract, the Mets will own the rights to Niesen for three years and can renew the pact each year. The organization will pay the remainder of his college costs under a scholarship plan. He has about a year and a half of college remaining).

The Mets will use him as a reliever and will concentrate on improving his breaking ball in 2007. He is a powerful lefty who throws in the mid-90s from a low ¾ arm slot.
A 2007 scouting report:

Fastball: Since moving into the bullpen, Niesen's fastball has been a plus, touching the mid-90s.

Slider: Some like his slider, but others grade it as below-average.

Changeup: Niesen's change is a below-average pitch.

Control: His command is below-average as well.

Physical Description: Niesen is a small lefty with a low three-quarters arm angle and fits a Dan Reichert-type body mold.

Medical Update: Healthy.

Strengths: Plus velocity on his fastball with an interesting arm angle.

Weaknesses: None of his other pitches grade out average or above.

Summary: Niesen has found success since moving into Wake Forest's bullpen earlier in the season. His fastball has picked up a few notches, and he throws it with a three-quarter arm angle. That being said, he lacks deception for a lefty reliever and his other pitches lag behind the fastball.

Niesen got bumped to St. Lucie near the end of the 2007 season and posted stats of 0-0. 0.00 in 1 appearance.

In November 2007, Scouts.com listed Niesen as the 15th top Mets prospect.

Niesen disappointed in 2008, going 6-12, 4.64 for St. Lucie.



Mack - It's hard to predict where Eric will start 2009... there's a log jam at both the B-Mets and Lucy, and I think he will return to A+ ball to improve on last season.
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New Clones Coaching Staff

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For the first time since 2003, there will be an entirely new team of coaches at the helm of the Brooklyn Cyclones. On Wednesday, the club has announced its seventh manager – Pedro Lopez – along with Pitching Coach Rick Tomlin, Hitting Coach Jack Voigt, and Coach Joel Fuentes.

Lopez, 40, begins his second season with the Mets organization, having spent the 2008 season as a coach with Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic League. From 2000-2007, Lopez was a manager and coach in the Texas Rangers’ farm system, last managing the Rangers’ Arizona League (R) team in ’07. As a player, Lopez was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 21st round of the 1988 amateur draft, and then joined the Milwaukee Brewers organization as a minor league free agent in 1995, advancing as high as Triple-A. He and his family currently live in Toa Baja, PR.

Tomlin enters his first season with the Mets – his 21st in the minor leagues – after having served as the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals’ Harrisburg (AA) affiliate in the Eastern League from 2005-2008. From 1996-2004, Rick served in various roles within the New York Yankees’ minor league system. He was a pitching coach in the Minnesota Twins’ farm system from 1989-1995. Tomlin has also coached at the college level, as an assistant coach at both Manatee Community College (FL) and the University of Alabama. He and his family currently live in Bradenton, FL.

Voigt begins his fourth season with the Mets. In 2005, he was a member of Frank Robinson’s staff with the Washington Nationals, and was a minor league coach in the Atlanta Braves organization in 2004. Voigt began his coaching career in 2000 as a player/coach with Oklahoma City (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League, before coaching and managing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization from 2001-2003. Jack played for seven seasons in the major leagues with Baltimore (1992-1995), Texas (1995-1996), Milwaukee (1997), and Oakland (1999). He was drafted by Baltimore in the ninth round of the 1987 Amateur draft, out of Lousiana State University, where he played in the College World Series and was named to the All-CWS team. In the tournament, he hit a game-winning home run in the seventh inning to beat Arkansas. He and his family live in Florida.

Fuentes begins his third year with the Mets, having coached with St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League in 2008, and Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic league in 2007. As a player, Joel signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1997 and played in their organization until 2003, advancing as high as Double-A.

“We are excited to welcome a new staff to Brooklyn,” said Cyclones’ General Manager Steve Cohen. “Each year, we have been fortunate to have coaches who work tirelessly, both on the field and in the community, and we look forward to continuing that tradition.”
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Why Bat Reyes Third?

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Well... maybe ActaSports has the answer...


How often does a leadoff man come up with no one on base?

February 19, 2009

How often does a leadoff man come up with no one on base? 67% of the time. Or conversely, 33% of the time with at least one man on base. Overall, MLB hitters come up with at least one man on base about 45% of the time. Here's the breakdown by lineup position:

Batting Order Slot Percentage of Time - At Least One Man on Base

1 33%
2 43
3 48
4 50
5 48
6 46
7 46
8 46
9 45

In the forthcoming Bill James Gold Mine 2009, we take the Florida Marlins' star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, and ask how many runs he would have driven in last year if he hadn’t been hitting leadoff.

The answer? About 112. The number of runs a player can be expected to drive in can be estimated by dividing his total bases by four, and adding his home runs. The majority of major league regulars last year were within 10% of the RBI estimated by that formula, and more than 80% were within 20%.

Hanley was the majors' #1 “RBI under-achiever”, by far, driving in 67 against an expectation of 112.5 (-45.5). No other major league player was off his estimate, high or low, by more than 31 runs.

Ramirez had over 400 at-bats with the bases empty.
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Ex-Met Update: - RP Joe Smith

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From GopherBall: Joe Smith isn't even the most anticipated offseason addition to his own bullpen (that honor goes to Kerry Wood) but Smith may have just as much impact on the back end of the Tribe's pen. So... here are three reasons why Joe Smith is this year's most underrated offseason acquisition:

1) Smith locks down right-handed hitters. He held righties to a .192 BA in 2009, more than 100 points lower than the Indians primary set up man, Rafael Betancourt, was able to do in '08 (.295). Both of the Indians top set up men, Betancourt and Rafael Perez excel against lefties (Betancourt held them to a .252 BA, Perez .222). The addition of Smith allows the Indians to use the two “Rafaels” in more favorable matchups, rather than forcing them to take on opponents top right handed hitters.

2) He's cool, calm and collected under pressure. Last season only two pitchers inherited more runners than Smith (63) and of the 44 pitchers to inherit at least 40 runners no one allowed a smaller percentage of them to score (17 pct).

3) He's consistent, regardless of the situation. With the bases empty, Smith held opponents to a .195 BA. With runners in scoring position, the BA climbed only to .206.
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Buffalo Bisons Promotional Calendar

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The Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, today announced their promotional calendar for the 2009 season. With an extensive list of special events, promotions and giveaways throughout the summer, the Bisons plan to continue their strong tradition of providing the most affordable family entertainment value in Western New York.

The Bisons will open their 124th season of professional baseball on Thursday, April 9 against the Pawtucket Red Sox at Coca-Cola Field (3:05 p.m.).

“A ticket to a Bisons game has always represented the best sports and entertainment value in town,” said Mike Buczkowski, Bisons Vice President/General Manager. “Our lineup of fantastic events, giveaways and promotions will add unprecedented value to each and every visit to Coca-Cola Field.”



New Era in Bisons History Begins with Kids Week/8-Game Homestand

The 124th season of professional baseball in Buffalo will be a milestone year for the Bisons. The Herd returns to action after an exciting and eventful off-season that saw the team align with one of the premier franchises in all of sports: the New York Mets. The new-look Bisons will first take the Coca-Cola Field on Opening Day, Thursday, April 9 at 3:05 p.m. against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Game 2 will be the team’s first fridaynightbash!® of the season, sponsored by Seneca Gaming Corporation, with Post-Game Fireworks. The final six games of the first homestand will be Kids’ Week, presented by Anderson’s. All games will have 1:05 p.m. game starts, a special $6 ticket, food and merchandise discounts and special activities for kids.



WNY Tradition fridaynightbash!® Nights Return in 2009

A staple of every summer in Downtown Buffalo is the Bisons’ fridaynightbash!® series, presented by Seneca Gaming Corporation. The tradition continues in 2009 with 12 dates on the schedule, two more than the 2008 season. It all starts two hours before the game with a Plaza Party that features Food and Drink Discounts. Each pre game party also includes some great Live Music from local bands ranging from classic rock to modern pop. Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, world-famous for their work at Super Bowls and New Year’s Eve events, will provide the award-winning post game Fireworks Shows after every fridaynightbash!®.



The Independence Eve Tradition with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

A fridaynightbash!® like no other! Two great Bisons traditions collide for an unforgettable night in 2009. The 15th annual Independence Eve Celebration with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus and the Largest Fireworks Show of the Year, presented by KeyBank will be Friday, July 3 against the Rochester Red Wings (6:05 p.m.) More than a quarter of a million fans have taken in this great Western New York summer tradition since 1995.



Landmark Replica Series Debuts to Highlight Giveaway Schedule

The Bisons will once again present great giveaways to their fans throughout the season. In 2009, the team’s popular ballpark replica series will evolve into the Local Landmark Replica Series. This year’s edition will be a Crystal Beach Amusement Park Replica. A Darryl Strawberry Bobble Head, presented by NAPA Auto Parts, will be highlighted by an appearance of the World Series Champion and great Mets’ Slugger. A Catcher’s Backpack and Bisons Youth Jersey giveaways also highlight a long-list of great gifts the Bisons are offering their fans this season.



Bisons Magnetic Schedule Giveaway (12,000)(Opening Day, April 9 vs. Pawtucket, 3:05 p.m.)

Darryl Strawberry Giveaway, presented by NAPA Auto Parts (4,000)(May 23 vs. Columbus, 1:05 p.m.)

Bisons Reusable Bags, presented by Twin Village Recycling (3,000)(June 6 vs. Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.)

Bisons Poster Night (3,000)(June 9 vs. Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.)

Bisons Deck of Cards (3,000)(June 13 vs. Durham, 7:05 p.m.)

Bisons Growth Charts (5,000)(June 14 vs. Durham, 1:05 p.m.)

Youth Bisons Jerseys (3,000)(July 8 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 p.m.)

General Mills Buffalo Plant Team Photo and Autograph Day (3,000)(July 19 vs. Toledo, 1:05 p.m.)

Catcher’s Gear Backpack (3,000)(July 29 vs. Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.)

Crystal Beach Amusement Park Replicas (4,000)(August 152 vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.)

Peter Pan Cap Night (4,000)(August 15 vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.)

Back to School Day with a Bisons Calculator Giveaway, presented by NYS 529 College Savings Program

(3,000)(September 1 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m.)



Festival Nights Return in 2009

The Bisons will continue their festival night series on Tuesday nights throughout the summer. Come out and celebrate your heritage on Irish Night (June 30 vs. Charlotte), Native American Night (July 7 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 p.m., sponsored by Seneca Gaming Corporation), Italian Night (July 28 vs. Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.) and Polish Night (August 11 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m.) Come to the ballpark and enjoy all of your favorite ethnic food, music and entertainment at a pre-game Tent Party and throughout the game. Each festival night will end with an in-park Pyrotechnics Show.



The Skies Light Up Around Coca-Cola Field

With the combination of 12 fridaynightbash!® parties and four Festival Night events, the skies above Coca-Coal Field will be filled with several amazing displays of light and sound in 2009. The Bisons have also added a pyrotechnics show for Back to School Night, presented by NYS 529 College Savings Program on September 1 vs. Rochester. The Herd will have their second largest fireworks show of the season on September 2 for the traditional Fan Appreciation Night (vs. Scranton/WB, 7:05 p.m.). That means there will be 18 post game shows for the fans to enjoy this season.



Meet some Special Guests at the Ballpark in 2009

Special Guests will once again entertain fans at Coca-Cola Field all season long. Mr. Met, the loveable baseball-headed mascot of the New York Mets, is scheduled to make a pair of visits to Buffalo: Opening Day, April 9 and as part of Dick’s Sporting Goods Youth Baseball Day on June 7 against Indianapolis. Former National League World Series Champion Darryl Strawberry will be here for his bobble head day on May 23. Probably the most recognizable guest in all of sports, The Famous Chicken, returns on June 27 against Charlotte. On June 28, you can bring your own guest as the Bisons host Dog Day at the Ballpark.



Home Run Derby, Magic Night and Derby Day Complete Events Calendar

The Bisons will also feature several special events throughout the 2009 season. After an Easter Sunday Game on April 12, kick off your Dyngus Day celebrations on Monday, April 13 with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. Go with a winner on Derby Day as the Bisons host Louisville on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, May 2. A special 2:05 p.m. matinee and pre-game BBQ Picnic is schedule on Memorial Day, Monday May 25.



The annual School Kids Day, presented by NYS 529 College Savings Program returns Monday, June 8 at 10:35 a.m. while FM Communications presents 100 Club of Buffalo Night on June 17. The Family Camp Out, presented by Tim Horton’s, will take place after the Bisons game on Friday, July 17 against Toledo. The team’s post game Bisons Home Run Derby will be on Saturday, July 18 and every home run hit will mean a great prize for someone in the ballpark.



You can Go Green! when the Bisons pass out reusable bags on June 6 against Indianapolis (7:05 p.m.), presented by Twin Village Recycling, Inc. Learn some great tips on how you can become more efficient at the home or office. On June 13, the Bisons will host Magic Night with free shows in the concourse throughout the game.



The Bisons will hold Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, September 2 (7:05 p.m.) with the second largest fireworks show of the season and great giveaways during every inning break. The Last Home Game of the Season will be played on Thursday, September 1 (1:05 p.m.) against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.



Daily Promotions Add Value to Every Game!

The Bisons will hold several daily promotions during the 2009 season, giving fans of all ages something to enjoy at Coca-Cola Field.



A Markdown Monday represents the best value at the ballpark. Tickets are just $7 for you to catch all the action of Bisons baseball. Once inside the park, fans can enjoy even greater deals with $1 popcorn, $1 ice cream cones, and merchandise discounts.



On Thursday day games, the Bisons will host Business Matinee Specials, as fans can enjoy some sun during the workweek and at the same time play baseball bingo. With the customary 1:05 p.m. first pitch, these games give fans a chance to take a break from their hectic schedules. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy the game while receiving updates on news headlines and financial information on the Bisons Video Board.



Friday is always the best night of the week and 2009 will be no different. The Bisons will host 12 fridaynightbash!® games this season, presented by Seneca Gaming Corporation. All fridaynightbash!® will be complete with pre game Plaza Parties with music and food and drink specials and post game Fireworks shows.



All Saturday games are Niagara University High School Saturdays. Students can purchase two tickets for only $12 if they show a valid high school ID at the Bisons Box Office.



Sunday Family Fun Days will feature on-field contests for kids both before and during each game. After each Sunday, all kids can Run the Bases to cap off a great afternoon at the ballpark.



Season tickets and ticket packages are now available at bisons.com or by calling THE-HERD (843-4373).



-herd-





Brad A. Bisbing

Director, Public Relations

Buffalo Bisons

Coca-Cola Field

One James D. Griffin Plaza

Buffalo, NY 14203

(716) 846-2019

bbisbing@bisons.com



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