The Morning Report 2.23.2015 | Is Harvey Ready?, Stinkin' Dynamite, SS Competition, Jon Velasquez, Issues for Collins, The Leather Rocket.


Anthony DiComo | MLB.com - "Matt Harvey climbed atop a mound on Sunday to throw his first official bullpen session of spring. In zipped a fastball as cameras beeped and clicked. In came a slider. In came a fastball, and so on and so forth. Then off walked a satisfied Harvey. Though the former All-Star began throwing bullpens shortly before the start of camp, this was his first session since organized workouts began. "The elbow feels great," Harvey said. "Picking up the ball, it's like I never left. I honestly forget that something happened."

(Chris Soto: It's fantastic to hear that Harvey's first official bullpen session went extremely well. We'll see how his arm feels in the morning though. Word out of camp is that he is scheduled to throw to live batters for the 1st time this Thursday.)

Mike Vorkunov | NJ Advance Media - "Harvey took another step by throwing his first bullpen session since pitchers and catchers reported. Throwing more than just fastballs, Harvey unleashed a curveball so destructive that Collins simply described it as "stinkin" dynamite. "It's all there," Collins said. "Now it's just a matter of tightening up and making sure his arm strength is back when he gets back on the mound when he's in competition."

(Chris Soto: You can never get enough Matt Harvey news. A healthy Matt Harvey is a organizational changing player. Now...generally when a player comes back from an arm injury, his breaking pitches are the last things that come back to him. Based on TC's comments though, it sounds like Harvey's breaking stuff is already back. This led him to say that Harvey may even make a short 5 inning start before the Mets come to New York for the home opener. The team could use a 6 man rotation during the 1st road trip then drop down to 5 afterwards. This would put Harvey in line for the season opener AND the home opener.)

Kristie Ackert | Daily News - "The shortstop issue never seems to die with the Mets. After being unable to trade for or sign a shortstop this winter and repeatedly saying they are comfortable coming into spring training with Wilmer Flores there, Terry Collins said Sunday that it is still an open competition with Ruben Tejada."

(Chris Soto: Be sure to read the whole story on this one. TC does acknowledge that Flores will most likely be the opening day SS, but, also states that it would be unfair to not give Tejada, at least, an opportunity to win the job. I'm ok with that, competition breeds better results and personal advancement. In the same article, Flores even agrees that Tejada should at least be given the chance to compete.......He won't win though.)

Adam Rubin ESPN New York - "When right-hander Jon Velasquez’s cell phone rang as he roamed a mall in Puerto Rico during the offseason, he did not recognize the number and let it go to voicemail. It turned out to be Dickie Scott, the Mets’ director of player development, offering him an invitation to big-league camp. “It’s a blessing to me honestly,” Velasquez said. “I heard the voicemail. As soon as I heard what it was, I almost dropped my phone and I started jumping in the air. I was like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ I was with a couple of my teammates and I was just yelling in the mall. Just to get this opportunity, I’m definitely grateful and thankful to be here.”

(Chris Soto: There is always at least one great effort story every year and Velasquez may be the owner of this year's. He is an interesting arm though. After 4 years of Indy ball, Velasquez spent the 2014 season in Binghamton and threw extremely well. His success careered over to the winter leagues too where he produced a 1.93 ERA and 10 SV in 18 appearances. With a 93-95 mph fastball, a cutter, and a change-up, Velasquez carved up AA hitters K'ing over 8 per 9 innings. Too bad he was born right handed.)

 TIM ROHAN | NY Times.com The issues facing the Mets entering spring training, Collins’s fifth with the team, are relatively simple. Collins has to choose a leadoff hitter between Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares. Collins said Gee would go to the bullpen if he or one of the other starters is not traded, so Collins would have to make sure that transition goes smoothly. And he has to anoint a closer. He indicated Saturday that Bobby Parnell, who is also returning after Tommy John surgery, would have to re-earn his job. Yes, Collins thinks the Mets are a playoff team — especially with a healthy Harvey returning. “I say, ‘Hey, it’s time,’ ” Collins said. “We’ve been sitting around for four years, asking everybody to be patient, even the players. ‘Hey, it’s not going to happen overnight.’ Well, it’s time.”

Herb G. You have to like Collins joining the chorus and singing the post season song. Often, Collins has put his foot in his mouth when speaking off the cuff, but he seems to have identified some real issues here. Despite performing poorly last year as a leadoff batter, Curtis Granderson has hit in the leadoff spot more than any other place in the lineup over his career, and done pretty well at it. Lagares had a very good year when leading off last year, showing that he can use his speed to advantage on the base paths during the second half. Selecting a leadoff batter is a legitimate question for Terry. Also, I think he is right to point out that Parnell will have to earn the closer’s job. Mejia did very well in the role last year, Familia showed he has what it takes to close effectively, and Black cannot be discounted.


Adam Rubin | ESPN New York Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola offered a 1980s-era Met as a comparison when discussing 24-year-old lefty reliever Jack Leathersich. “You remember Sid Fernandez? He’s very much like Sid,” Viola said Saturday. “The ball comes out of his hand, it looks like it’s coming 100 mph. And you look at the radar gun, it’s 92. But it just sneaks up on you because of the angle of the arm slot.” The area for improvement, though, is control. Las Vegas manager Wally Backman recently compared Leathersich to former reliever Mitch Williams, whose nickname happened to be “Wild Thing.” Leathersich has walked 36 in 37 1/3 career Triple-A innings. “All he’s got to do is slow down, take a deep breath and slow the pace of the game down, he’s going to be fine,” Viola said.”

 (Herb G. The Leather Rocket has impressed since the first day he donned a Brooklyn Cyclones uniform in 2011, striking out 26 batters and walking only 3, while compiling a 0.71 ERA and 0.711 WHIP, in 12.2 innings of relief, thus serving notice that he was a prospect to be reckoned with. Since that time, however, control has been an issue, perhaps because he tries to be too precise. If Leathersich can learn to relax this spring, and trust his naturally deceptive motion, he could be a force in the Mets’ bull pen for years to come.)


Christopher Soto said...


Red Sox Sign Yoan Moncada for $30M (or $60M after overage fine)

Thomas Brennan said...

Mets like their money market account rates, so they're not spending on Yoan.

If Leathersich can be the next El Sid from the bullpen, I am all for that.

Mets want to start Harvey off slowly against live hitters, so the first two will be Bartolo Colon and Dylan Gee. In his next outing, they move him up to face Jake deGrom and Tyler Pill.

Ernest Dove said...

$60mil for a teenager with zero MLB at bats to his name. No thanks. Let the Sox go for broke on that one.......
Maybe im mr pessimist but I still believe the Cuban gravy train might eventually produce a non producing player. Call it the law of averages.

Zozo said...

Damn the Red Sox Are stacked offensively. They are building a dynasty type offense!!! They will need some pitching and we have it to trade away for years to come, hopefully them or the cubbies come offering gifts to us???

Reese Kaplan said...

For once I won't get on the Mets for staying away from Yoan Moncada who has very little on his resume to warrant such an investment. However, they do NOT get a free pass for bowing out on Puig, Abreu, Castillo and Tomas. They all had more innings to show what they could do and weren't subject to the penalty money imposed on this signing.

Lew Rhodes said...

Red Sox are crazy - that's a lot of coin to bet on "tools."

Herb G said...

Better the Red Sox than the Yankees or Dodgers. If he's a bust it won't matter, but if he is a star, I will be elated that we won't have to look across town or across country and grumble.

I liked drafting Leather, I loved seeing him pitch in Brooklyn, and I am looking forward to the competition for a BP spot in ST. We have a chance to have a dynamite pen this year.

bob gregory said...

I just read that the Red Sox AAA franchise has been sold and bought by a group that included the Red Sox. Apparently the Mayor of Pawtucket, RI has stated that the team will leave the city and move elsewhere.

Is this an opportunity for the Mets to take advantage of?
The Pawtucket AAA Mets?

Christopher Soto said...


The only way to do that would be for one of the current AAA teams to move there first.....then the Mets try and catch on with them. Plus Pawtucket would still be under Red Sox territorial rights.

That said the new Las Vegas contract is for 2015 and 2016.

bob gregory said...


Please forgive my ignorance in this matter.
Can you explain what you mean/ why another team would have to move to Pawtucket first?

I understand the concept of territorial rights possibly being a problem.

I understand the Las Vegas Contract being a hurdle that would have to be overcome or waited out...

From what I read, the city of Pawtucket's Mayor mentioned planning to improve the complex, which could possibly be done during this season with out a team playing there

Christopher Soto said...


There are 30 AAA teams. A new AAA team cannot be created out of thin air so a current AAA team would need to willingly move to Pawtucket....or the owners of an MLB team would need to buy one of the current AAA teams and then move the club themselves.

bob gregory said...

Could the Mets theoretically buy the Las Vegas franchise and move it to Pawtucket?

Christopher Soto said...

Yes this is possible.

That said....it would run into the hurdle of Pawtucket being under Red Sox territorial rights.

Hobie said...

>> ...it would run into the hurdle of Pawtucket being under Red Sox territorial rights. >>

Not to mention testing the limits of "Pacific Coast" label to include Pawtucket.

(Buying LV is purchasing a PCL franchize)

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