Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
I’m very happy that the Mets hired Kevin Long as hitting coach for a couple of reasons.
First, the Mets don’t have to break him in to working in ‘The Big Apple’ or dealing with all the extras that come along with our city. This is not like working for, say, Tampa Bay or Cincinnati. This is New York where you are constantly surrounded by the press, fans, and critics. What better primer to working for the Mets than to be working for the Yankees?
The other reason would be his background with OF Curtis Granderson (which I wouldn’t be surprised that Grandy didn’t sign off on). Superstar ballplayers are a funny lot… but superstar ballplayers that are hitting .230 and have a stranger come up to them and start telling them how to change their swing… well, that could be a whole different situation.
The 2015 Mets need Granderson to come out of the box and their best chance of getting that done could be having Long on the payroll. Long has danced this dance before. He adjusted Grandy’s swing when he came to the Yankees from Detroit, which helped produce 108-HRs over three seasons.
The Mets have now begun to bring in the fences where Granderson likes to hit baseballs. Now, they have brought in his old hitting coach. The Mets need him to return to a middle-of-the-lineup hitter in the .250, 30-HR, 80-RBI range and it seems to me that the proper steps are being taken to get there.
I was watching Game 3 of the World Series and the announcers were talking about how each manager’s strategy was to get their starting pitcher ‘into the sixth inning so their bullpen could take over’.
Here I was watching two great starters, Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Hudson, and all their managers wanted was six innings out of each of them.
It was then that I began to wonder if I have been looking at this whole thing wrong over the past few years. I’ve been bitching and moaning that the Mets starters can’t work their way into the eighth inning when here the plan all along was to put the ball into the hands of fresh arms as soon as the first hit is made in the sixth inning.
How many World Series have I written about and said that the secret of winning was having those ‘three guys that can throw 97 for 16 pitches each’? Sure, I was exaggerating, but isn’t the likes of Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Brandon Finnegan, and Kelvin Herrera really winning the games for Kansas City?
So how close are the Mets to this kind of approach?
Well, I guess the majority of us here would put both Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia into this kind of lightning approach. Is there currently a third on the team? Vic Black? Bobby Parnell?
I’ll say it one more time… send Rafael Montero down to the pen permanently and you have your three dynamic right handed relief pitchers that can dominate the ending of the majority of games next season.
Michael Scannell wrote -
Hi Mack, since LJ Mazzilli is playing so well in AZ, where do you think he starts next year and do you think he's made a case for being included in the team's long term plans? Thanks!
Mack – Interesting question, and one that could easily be answered if the Mets promoted based on talent/results, but they have so consistent pattern over the years regarding this. Some do, some don’t.
Right now, Mazzilli continues to prove all the critics wrong who said that the best he was, was the son on another player named Mazzilli. Harsh, but those words were said by some.
No one would ever hold against a ballplayer hitting under .250 or throwing over 4.00 in the Arizona Fall League, because you are just coming off an entire season, only to then have to go up against a six team league of the top prospect talent in the higher levels on the 30 team’s systems. Yet that being said, Mazzilli is once again hitting over .300 against some of the top pitchers he would have to be successful against someday at the pro-level.
We could argue all day as to who is the top second base prospect… right now… Mazzilli or Dilson Herrera. I’ll save you the argument by saying this. The Mets system (with Daniel Murphy holding fort in Queens) has the depth to deal any one of these three and still walk away with a safe play full of long term depth for the position.
Me? I’m still old school and I’d keep the guy who made the all-star team this year. You can pick from there.
Mets Injury Updates –
Well, nothing but good news here…
Jeurys Familia joined Jenrry Mejia on the hernia operation list. This is the time of the year you, ya know, get a new glove, have bone chips removed, and have someone rebuild your groin. This is pretty routine stuff and both will be ready by January to report for pitchers/catchers.
I had a report out of camp that OF Michael Conforto developed some back discomfort during the Instructs, but Adam Rubin reported that the recovery time was swift and he returned to play before the league ran out.
And with five weeks done in his six week, non-surgical rehab program, David Wright reports ‘very steady progress’ with his shoulder.