2-16-13 – Lucas Duda, Newspapers, Bobby Parnell, Tim Lincecum

Dave Hudgens  on Lucas Duda:

That’s the next step. Every step of the way, there’s going to be more anxiety, more tension that comes into it. So what we’ve been concentrating, more than anything, is relax his mind. Try to slow down his heart beat and his mind, deep breath. Trying to get him to relax. Even trying to put him into those situations where there’s 40,000 people in the stands in his mind, and trying to understand what he has to feel like. He’s making some physical adjustments, but it comes down to a mental adjustment. Because the reason for all of that pre-pitch movement is because his mind is racing so much. In the cage, it’s easy. No one is screaming at you, no pressure. As the game builds up and the pressure builds, that’s where he’s got to handle it mentally and develop a routine to where he can calm himself down It’s going to be a process, but, so far, I’m happy with the way it’s going.

Are the Mets seriously still trying to get this guy to deal with the ‘pressure’ of playing baseball?

I remember Jason Bay saying around a month after Duda came up for the first time that he still hadn’t spoken a word to him because the kid was that inward.

I have never met Duda, but anyone I know that has would confirm what Hudgens is saying here. They would also confirm the talent he has and the incredible power potential he brings to the game. Now, all the Mets have to do is get this kid some confidence.

It did get better last year, and, in my opinion, it will get even better this year. I think Duda will have an outstanding year because he knows going in he’s the left fielder and there is no one that’s going to take that job away from him. Outstanding for me here translates as 25-HR, 75-RBI, .270.

I also expect the Mets to bat their catcher, be it John Buck or Travis d’Arnaud, ahead of him in the lineup, taking even more pressure off of him.

My guess at a typical lineup… Baxter, Tejada, Wright, Davis, Buck, Duda, Murphy, Nieuwenhuis, pitcher.

Duda will not have to worry about 2013.

Marty Noble  wrote:

Hope for the newspaper business lives after all. Newspapers have reappeared in the Mets' clubhouse. Beginning with the opening of Citi Field in 2009, the New York dailies and USA Today had been absent from their clubhouses here and in Queens. Some were smuggled in from time to time, but the Mets' library was sadly thin and woefully outdated. But now Kevin Kierst, the second-year clubhouse/equipment manager, has resumed the practice of providing reading material for the players. The sports sections usually are removed quickly and the sections or pages that include the crossword puzzles disappear almost instantly.

Only someone as seasoned as Noble would turn this into a story.

He’s right. I remember the newspapers being in the press room when I arrived the first year (2007) I was allowed in the inner circle. They were next to the ‘official’ Mets press release that came out each day, 
highlighting what went on the day before and what was coming up next.

What I remembered the most about them were the headlines. I hadn’t lived in New York since 1980 and I had forgot what the Daily News and New York Post had turned itself into.

I found it amazing that reporters would walk into the clubhouse, approach a ballplayer in a professional manner, conduct their interview, and then, the next morning, the newspaper would lead off the story with some horrendous, negative headline.

My wife still writes a syndicated weekly column (food) for a major newspaper chain, and she has no control of the headline. Luckily, she’s writing about linguini rather than the fielding ability of Daniel Murphy in left field.

Nice touch, Marty. 

Anthony DiComo on Bobby Parnell - 

Bobby Parnell credits much of his recent success -- and the resulting ninth-inning duties that he is on track to obtain -- to the knuckle-curve Jason Isringhausen taught him back in 2011. Initially fooling with the pitch late that year, Parnell committed to it during Spring Training 2012 as he scrapped his slider altogether. It's a valuable pitch, yet advanced metrics reveal that Parnell's slider was actually a more effective offering than his knuckle-curve. That Parnell improved his overall numbers in 2012 was thanks in large part to some much-improved control, and also to a better fastball.

By the way, Isringhausen has been hired to be the pitching coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, but his agent is quick to remind everyone that he still is looking to sign on with a major league team.

You can talk ‘advanced metrics’ all day but, Parnell will not be an effective closer unless he can get some movement on his fastball, the least of which would be its ability to give the impression of rising.

The rest of the pitchers are vegetables. Closers throw fastballs.

I think that Parnell has learned to mix in his other pitches much more effectively as he matures both as a player and as a person, but, I really am not a fan of him being a closer.

I don’t see anyone else on the Mets that could take his place.

IMO, this is going to be a real mess in 2013.

Thom Tsang on Tim Lincecum - 

If Lincecum continues on his path towards free agency without any significant hiccups as he did in 2012, he stands to have a very good chance of earning the largest contract among his peers in the 2013-2014 off-season. Sure, the San Francisco Giants will be in play, as will the usual suspects. But no team will arguably want – or need – a name like Lincecum’s more than the Mets, and the Yankees may not be far behind. The subway series might not have the meaning it used to these days, but the New York teams could have a significant clash as free agent suitors soon enough, that could have a lasting effect on their respective futures.

This article amazes me.

Click on it and you will see that the author says that one of the weakest areas on the Mets is their starting rotation. Has this guy done any research on this team before writing this?

Then, he predicts the largest contract ever for a pitcher after giving up the highest BB/9 (4.35), highest HR/9 (0.62 to 1.11) and highest BB/SO (0.47) in his career.

Lincecum is a very talented pitcher and he’s going to command a lot of bucks when he becomes a free agent, but he first needs to concentrate on producing the kind of stats he needs in 2013 to warrant the kind of money Tsang is talking about here.

Regarding his chance of becoming a Met…

This would be one of those Johan Santana moments that elevate a team into a new level of excellence. I can’t think of a better target in 2015.
Harvey, Wheeler, Lincecum, Niese, Syndergaard.



Anonymous said...

I love what the Aldersen regime is doing......but I'd lose all my faith if they signed Tim Linececum.

Pitchers, built like teenage boys, just don't last. Giving Linececum a big deal would be a disaster.

This point is moot anyways. Little Timmy will be better this year then last but... not enough where anyone is going to give him a large contract.

Charles said...

Actually, Lincecum's FB velocity has dropped considerably since he first reached the majors. Much like Phil Hughes and his struggles two years ago, this dip in velo have messed with his mentality on the mound.

It must be a little frightening when you know you can't over power ML hitters like he used to. Time will tell with him, but unless he gets that fastball back, I seriously doubt he's getting big bucks.

As far as the Mets, I don't see why they ever put up huge dollars for a starting pitcher conserving all of the pitching they have coming up. It's the outfield bats that you need.

Anonymous said...

Exactly.. Not only has Timmy's velo dipped but all his #'s have regressed a little bit each year. Now they started at a cy young level but last year was a disaster. Regardless of how he does this year I'd be hesistant to give him a multi-year deal.

Justin M. said...

Agree with Charles. Pitching is SO expensive. We have the ability to graduate at least one very good SP each of the next few years. Spend your big money elsewhere.