2-9-13 – John Buck, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Brant Rustich, Ed Ryan


Zack Wheeler on going from AA to AA:

“The strike zone got a little bit smaller. I wasn’t really expecting that, but it did. The higher you go, the smaller it’s going to get. You just have to adjust. I think hitters, they chase more down to up, instead of side to side. Like with the slider, they don’t chase that sweeping slider. You just can’t make mistakes. That’s really what I learned.”

We’ve talked about this so many times and it’s the chief reason why you see great A and A+ level pitchers simply disappear after a year either in Binghamton or, in the past, Buffalo. You have to have the ability to not only pound the zone, but also work the corners. Past that, most of your balls thrown outside the zone will not be swung at.

Wheeler is in camp, throwing next to Harvey. Life is good.

John Buck on Matt Harvey:

"My focus with him is to hone … what he needs to be effective as a power pitcher. If you get up there as a power pitcher and just aimlessly throw pitches, sometimes, as a hitter, you can wait on that. But if he uses his stuff effectively in those power situations, then you’re not only being a power pitcher, you’re keeping the hitters off-balance. I think one of the things that made me attractive in the trade for the Mets was that I am known as a game-caller. I’m a little bit older and I have experience. We have pitchers who are right at the cusp of success, so I think it’s a perfect situation for me to help bring the most out of them. Those guys aren’t even throwing hard yet and the ball jumps. It’s fun to have those tools at my disposal.’’

          I really like this Buck guy…

It’s an honor and pleasure to announce that former New York Mets pitcher Brant Rustich has joined Mack’s Mets as a contributor. Brant has been a long time friend since my first ‘camp’ when I went on the beat for Morris Communications. The 6-6, 220 righty was a 2007 2nd round pick out of UCLA that basically never had a bad season. His combined career stats were: 7-6, 3.00, 1.18, 135.0-IP, 128-K, 46-BB, and the only reason he not the Mets 8th inning guy right now is all about his hand, numbness, bad advice, worse diagnosis and… well, it’s a story for him to tell which frankly is good enough for a book (which it just might wind up being).

For now, baseball’s loss is Mack’s Mets gain and you have no idea how happy I am that he’s with us.

Ed Ryan  wrote: 

“The real misstep this off-season was the outfield, I have a hard time believing that the plan was to pursue Bourn all along and really if they do land Bourn, then they had a solid off-season taking into consideration they're still building this organization.  I think they misread the market and Bourn is now their scramble to recover.  Either they thought players prices would come back to them or they thought they could land a trade that never materialized.  Without Bourn it was a disappointing off-season but if they land him I believe it's a big step toward changing the perception about the Mets...”

          Ed could be 100% correct here but we’ll never know. It doesn’t matter how much you want or don’t want a Scott Boras client. Boras will also slow the process down and also use your excitement and desire against you. No, baseball is now a business and all this cloak and dagger, smoke and mirror shit is part of the game.


Herb G said...

I wrote a little welcome note to Brant on his own early morning post, but I want to restate it here. Brant was a solid prospect for the Mets and if not for his unfortunate situation, he could have been a real contributor to the bull pen by now.

John Buck sounds like a quality guy who will be helpful to the development of the many young pitchers in the organization, and could be a real mentor to Travis d'Arnaud.

With one exception, I disagree with Ed Ryan's assessment. I do think they misread the market, not necessarily for Bourn, but for Hairston, who I believe Alderson thought would come back to him, and thus be able to sign on his own terms. Bourn, on the other hand, was out of Alderson's price range from the start, and was never a consideration. So it was Bourn whose price came back to Alderson after most teams that needed outfield help have filled their needs. They're not scrambling to recover. Rather they are taking advantage of a very fortuitous situation. If Bourn hadn't fallen into their laps, Alderson would likely be pursuing a trade for an outfielder, since players often become available during spring training.

Where I really disagree with Ryan is where he says that without Bourn it was a disappointing off-season. Acquiring the top catching prospect in MLB plus a likely future #2 starter and a high ceiling young prospect was a major coup. Signing a quality starter like Shaun Marcum to replace Dickey was first rate. Signing four low risk/high reward relievers to bolster the bull pen was excellent. If only two of them are as effective as they have been in the past it will give the Mets a first rate pen, if three make it, the pen could be outstanding. So, in my opinion, even without Bourn the off season has been a definite success. If the Mets get Bourn, their off season will be among the best in MLB.

Mack Ade said...

Herb, I'm surprised at what Ed said about that. He's a veteran in this process and these things just take time to work back to where they should have been in the first place.

Herb G said...

Yes, Mack, I agree with you. It's still premature to render judgement on the off season, but I really do think Sandy has done an admirable job with the limited resources he's had to work with.

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