6/25/12

Notes from the Major League Level

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1.) Let me know if I am in the minority of fans that feel this way. Frank Francisco needs to earn his place in New York before trying to ignite rivalry with the Yankees or any other team. FF has actually been pretty good this year and has been something just short of dominant since his poor weekend in Miami (10 saves, only 3 ER allowed over 15 appearances since May 13th). However, in my eyes, he has not earned his place in the hearts of Mets fans to be saying igniting comments about a cross-town rival. I imagine many fans like the passion it brought to the series, but to me it was obnoxious and unnecessary--especially for a player who has yet to earn his allegiance in NY.

2.) I have said this many times before and will continue to say it: The 2012 Mets will not be able to overcome both their poor defense and their poor bullpen. One of the two has to play at least average baseball for the Mets to hang on.

3.) That being said, this was one heck of a tough stretch the Mets just went through and they still co-share the second wild-card spot in the NL. Starting this week, we face the worst team in baseball (Cubs) for three then round out June against the best team in the National League (Dodgers). Both series come on the road, where the Mets have played just around .500 ball (16-17).

4.) July features some breathers along with the All Star Break when the Mets face the Cubs again and the D-Backs late in the month but will also include marquee series against division rivals with six games against the Nats and three a piece against the Phils and Braves. I read a number of reports that suggested that if the Mets get to the all-star break in contention, they are "for real". I am a tougher mark. This is what I think: After the second series with Washington ending on July 25, if we are still in the thick of it, the New York Metropolitans are a contending baseball team. Before then, we have seven games against the Dodgers and twelve against division rivals not from Miami to deal with. That will be quite a challenge and will truly determine whether or not the Mets can make a splash this season playing with house money. August's schedule is much easier.

5.) Today the Mets announced that OF/UT Vinny Rottino has been designated for assignment and LHP Justin Hampson has been promoted. Rottino was a useful righty off the bench but the dire need for a second lefty in the 'pen makes this a very positive move for the parent club. Hampson (pictured, right) has been pitching well for Buffalo. He strikes a lot of batters out and generates a good number of ground balls. His stats for the season: 4-2, 2.13, 42 K in 42.1 innings, 1.13 GB/FB ratio, 4 HR allowed. He has a .218 BAA vs. lefties and has faired well against righties as well only surrendering 24 hits in 28 "innings" against them. Hampson is 32 and far from a prospect but what the Mets need is a second effective loogy out in the bullpen. This is a move that should yield immediate gains for the Mets as it gives them late-inning flexibility. Hampson, however, will have to do something very few relievers have done for the Mets this year---pitch well.

6.) I am very happy to see Ruben Tejada back, healthy, and playing well. He is a huge part of this team, a much-needed righty bat, and one of my favorite young players in the game. I am admittedly high on Tejada but I see this kid as an above-average SS for the next decade. He will be a huge part of the success of this team both this year and in the future.


LGM!

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