Mack’s Friday Morning Recap – March 6 – Lucas Duda, Starter Depth, Terry Collins, Stephen Matz, 200-IP


Pre-season Game #3 – 1:10pm vs. Detroit Tigers at Tradition Field.

I wanted to address the issue of the future of this blog for a second here. There’s been speculation whether the blog will be closing. Also, the scheduling of some of the recent posts have been choppy (my fault) because I stepped away from those duties and didn’t properly set up a system with the other writers on how to handle the situation. They were sort of left to their own to work it out.

Since then, I have returned as the Morning Report writer on Friday. In addition, I might write a one subject post like I did last Sunday. And lastly, I returned as the Administrator of arranging and posting all the original posts that are placed on the blog.

I’m sorry for the choppy seas. 

The Lucas Duda injury makes us all take a deep breath and pray that the spring injury bug isn’t about to start. We all know how thin this team is in field position talent and, frankly, the second string looks more like the third.

All this makes me wonder why a deal couldn’t have been made in dealing one (or more) of the excess talented starters that are on this team. Did Sandy Alderson really hold back and say no to any deal that asked for either Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Stephen Matz? And, if that is true, are we to believe that there wasn’t even a bag of balls out there for the services of Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Rafael Montero, Jonathan Niese, and Cory Mazzoni?

My guess… and that’s all this is but a guess… is that Alderson rolled these dice on his own and is betting that his future rotation will turn out to be so superior (the first five names listed in the above paragraph) that his final 2015 plans for the others are:

          Gee – Spot starter, long relief, and SP6 if injury develops.

Colon – 2015 rotation pitcher, length of which will depend on his success, and whether the team is competing for a playoff spot in September, and whether it still looks like he can help the team. If not, I expect him to be DFA’d or released outright sometime after the all-star break.

Montero – tough call right now… could wind up in pen, or sent back to AAA to await a future assignment. There’s only so much room in the pen which could also be his 2015 home.

Niese – Should finish the season in the rotation as the one lefty. His future past that as a Met will be based on the progress of Matz. If Matz is ready for 2016, Niese will be marketed with one year left to go on his contract.

          Mazzoni – Totally screwed.

 I haven’t been online as much as I have in the past, but did I miss something? Why, all of a sudden, is everyone talking about this being manager Terry Collins last year? Can you imagine how happy Kaplan would be on that day?

Seriously, none of us know how successful the 2015 version of this team will be, but it adds more young and exciting players every year. I’ve talked about this before… I believe someone under the age of 50 would better suit today’s breed of players. People my age have a lot of knowledge and experience about this game, but that doesn’t mean were going to relate to some 23-year old with a hand held.

It’s going to be tough to fire a manager of a team that makes the playoffs, but the Mets are going to have do more than play one wild card game to insure Collins coming back in 2016. This has never been his team. Every one of his coaches were handpicked by Sandy Alderson, who has his new contract safely locked away in his safe deposit box.

Others (his friends) also talk about the possibility of him quitting at the end of this season. Trust me, talking about it and executing it are two different things. I’ve walked away from this blog twice, knowing it was the right thing for me to do, but, in both cases I came back because I love to write and missed it.

In the case of Collins, I don’t see any chance of him being fired during this season. What he does in 2016 will begin to be determined, by someone, the day after the Mets season ends.

It’s interesting to look and read how the Mets beat press has now shifted some of its emphasis to promote Steven Matz as the next great Mets superstar pitcher. One of the Fangraphs guys was asked this past week if he thought that the 2016 Mets rotation would be Matz, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom. He answered with a resounding no, saying that one of them will be a bust in the long run.

Sadly, I agree.

I’ve seen so many times in the past that you just don’t wind up with everything you wish for. Who’s the bust here? Well, you’ve already read last week on my thoughts about Harvey. In the long run, I think another surgery awaits him down the road and he could turn out to be the Mets next Mike Pelfrey.

I don’t think it will be Wheeler, who seems to be on his way to a pretty decent career and, my guess is that the ace of this staff will turn out to be deGrom, who has both the talent and potential to be a superstar.

And then there’s Thor, whose TC proclaimed ‘hook from hell’ has only produced a 4.00+ ERA in AAA. Syndergaard could easily turn out to be the bust we’re talking about here.

And that brings us to Matz, who I have seen pitch. Others have said in the comments section on this site that he was not impressive last season (one game?)… he’s not ready and probably needs the entire year of 2015 to stay in the minors and work on his secondary pitchers.

Will he be as, one scout said in Marc Carig/Newsday’s recent story, “as impressive as any lefthanded pitching prospect I saw in 2014"?

Well, he doesn’t have to be. Only one pitcher has to be the ace of the staff and Matz already looks to be talented enough to take the place of Jonathan Niese as the lefty in the rotation. The question now is just when.

Oh… that same Carig story said that another evaluator was quoted saying that Matz may be on par with Syndergaard as two of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball.

Call me a cynic. Say I’m getting old and crusty. And feel free to accuse me of rubbing all that Mets blush off the rose, but I find that now that I write only once a week, and I spend more time picking the words that I truly feel and not worrying about what I was writing or who I was going to piss off.

It’s like the time I spent countless hours writing a feature story on bust Mets starter Tobi Stoner. Yes. Tobi Friggin Stoner, who wouldn’t say two words in the hallways of Grayson Stadium to me and I was trying to impress him with the literally equivalent of oral gratification

Right now, here’s what I know:

Number of balls thrown in the majors by Syndergaard – 0

Number of balls thrown in the majors by Matz – 0

What the Mets won’t have to worry about is deGrom, who could go down as one of the life time ERA+ leaders in the game... I see Wheeler settling into one of the better SP2’s in the league while Harvey is the debatable time bomb. 

As for both Syndergaard and Matz, it will take both the 2015 season in the minors and the 2016 season in the majors to set up any chance for an accurate prediction as to the long term future of both these guys.

Boy, I’m hoping I’m big time wrong here.

I know that spring training has started now and much of our analysis can shift to each days events, but there still seems to be a considerable amount of concern about which Mets starter is going to pitch how many innings over the 2015 season.
Isn’t there an easier and simpler way for the Mets to evaluate their starters by turning into a two-fold process?

Why not put a plan together where all six Mets starters rotate within a five man rotation for either the first half of the season up to the all-star break, or until certain pitchers reach the 200 innings count. Oh, they’re not all going to get there in time, but it would give us a better statistic to judge,

What if, oh, let’s say, Jacob deGromZack Wheeler, and Matt Harvey all average together seven innings per start over their first 15 starts. That’s 105 innings each in a schedule that, on paper, would look to translate as at least one-third of the starts they could be capable of throwing this year (counting playouts).

Add one more factor… all 30 starts end:   24-21, 3.25, 1.10.

My guess is that Bartolo Colon and Jonathan Niese would be pitching at one level lower and let’s say they pitch an average of six innings per game, and go 8-7 during their 15 games pitched.

(note: in a perfect world, some of these game will be tied at the end of either six or seven innings and the actual win or loss could fall on a relief pitcher)

We now have a collective 75-games, W-L of 32-28, and ERA in the 3.50 range, and a WHIP under 1.50.

Wouldn’t this be a much better place to formulate what you are going to do in the warm months after you have this kind of spring, and it’s results under your belt?
I’m telling you… it’s hard for me to believe that formulating a plan on March 2rd about now many pitches Harvey is going to throw in the 2015 season isn’t premature. Sit back down around the end of July and see how many pitchers you still need from all the members of your original rotation.

          One of these guys are going to be struggling while another will be attempting to hide a throwing injury. 

This is where Dillon Gee and Rafael Montero can become effective, as the first wave before the SEAL team of Noah Syndergaard and, possibly, Stephen Matz.

You seem to have nine pitchers that can collectively give you the 100-190 innings per pitcher needed to get through a successful season. 

It is really going to matter who leads this team in throwing unjured pitchers in to properly strung catching mits, while. at the same time the opponent batters miss the majority of the baseballs thrown there way. This is how you win baseball game and who give a flying fuck how that game was won.


Thomas Brennan said...

Mornin', Captain...calm seas this AM!!

The Mets have their answer to pitching depth and offensive prowess in one guy who never gets ink - Tyler Pill! (Haven't mentioned his name in anything lately, so there you go. BTW, was he in camp, Stephen?)

I may seem like Mr. Positive in all my posts, but 2 years ago, I was just the opposite. I think the pitching thing is gonna shake itself out in a superior way this time - no Pulsipher, no Stoner, so this season will be a No Groaner.

I'll go with jury still out on Thor, although I think he'll click in this year. Matz I am sold on. Harvey is a tough hombre, Pelfrey never seemed tough - when he licked his hands, he was licked on the mound. I think Harvey will realize he's mortal and show more restraint than he did in peddle-to-the-metal 2013, by trying to add some lower velocity finesse - not a lot, but some - and be very successful in 2015.

Any innings shortfall due to limits can be absorbed by Carlos Torres - give him 250 innings in relief this year. Or 300. Actually, let's see Montero be the key innings eater on this squad.

Duda sounded very confident about this injury yesterday - health is a necessity for this team's swagger, and in baseball, it can start as simply as a pinky getting hit by a fastball - so let's hope Flores is OK and playing today.

Mazzoni tosses a few more crappy games like yesterday, and we can stop bringing his name up.

Puello gets a hit in his bid for the 5th slot in OF, but Mayberry (his older clone) shows he's got something with his 2 for 2.

Puello, by the way, hit almost as well in AAA last year as Kirk did while he was in AAA last year, so it is all about getting a chance and making the most of it. Due to the Mets' down years, Kirk was able to still be around after his 9 for 90 with 40 Ks stretch from late 2012 into 2013. No Mets youngster gets that much slack now.

Hobie said...

Predicting one (unidentified) bust from any group of 5 high ceiling prospect is not exactly going out on a limb.

How about the chances of yielding two (unnamed) lock-down stoppers for the next decade? I'd take that.

Anonymous said...

As a reader of this blog, I don't expect or even value a well-oiled machine that runs like clockwork. This is a small community and a blog with authentic personality.

Choppy seas don't bother me.

James Preller

Reese Kaplan said...

I think there's one more insurance policy down in AAA named Matt Bowman who I will write about tomorrow in a feature on the AAA rotation. In my mind he's already leapfrogged Cory Mazzonni.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -


I never worry about the pitching in early spring training games from guys that aren't going to make the final roster anyway.

They consistently never pitch well.

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

Right now, my two would be Akeel Morris and Paul Seward

Mack Ade said...

James -

you should return to writing one of the weekly morning reports here... it would be an honor to have you

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

you are right not to forget Bowman, though I have no idea where all these guys would play...

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, my 2 stoppers would be Akeel and Robles, and then Sewald. But these poor guys have competition from the 800 starters they could use as bullpen arms. it won't be easy to get onto this squad in the years ahead if you are a pitcher.

For instance, aren't those guys competing with a Bowman for a future pen spot? A Bowman would have been a soon-to-emerge Mets starter in years past. In a few months, it will be "let's see if we can squeeze you into our pitching squad somewhere, Mr. Bowman."

The big advantage they'll have is major league minimum wage, with ownership that appreciates "a bargain".

Ernest Dove said...

Hey can somebody tell the sky not to rain tomorrow in st lucie?
My daughter looks cute in her raincoat. But she looks really cool in her david wright shirt.

Mack Ade said...

Ernest -

any chance for an onsite observation post a la what Stephen Guilbert did earlier this week?

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

I still hope (dream) that the 7-8-9 is built around Montero-Familia,Mejia (though I have no idea then what I would do with Parnell).

These 4 guys, plus Black, could be the makings of a very dominate pen in the future.

Ernest Dove said...

Hopefully I'll get to actually have eyes on the game, and not mostly on a two year old acting two ;)
I'll try later that night.

Hobie said...


I guess I'm dating myself. "Stopper" once meant the guy in the rotation guaranteed to stop a losing streak, not a closing RP. Maybe "Ace" would have been a better choice of words.

So, what's the probability of holding two aces in that hand of five?

Dallas said...

I agree about your assessment of Degrom. He will be Degrominant! He seems like the most sure bet of the group. Maybe he will give us some more strikeout records this year :) Getting excited to see Harvey start in a few min!

Anonymous said...

1st pitch from Matt Harvey today....

96 mph Fastball.

The Dark Knight of Flushing rises again!

Anonymous said...

1st K of the season on a 98 mph Fastball.

He looks pretty healthy boys!


Anonymous said...


Thomas Brennan said...

Harvey is back and Thor sounds like he is cooking too. Hobie, I want 5 stopper aces: Harve, deG, Wheeler, Thor, Matz.

Mack Ade said...

It's very hard to analyze Syndergaard's second inning, even though he did leave his fastball up throughout it.

Once again, a Mets 'hiccup' (Cuddyer's flub on a routine throw to first) changed the entire makeup of the inning.

Stephen Guilbert said...


Pill was one of the guys I didn't see there at all, for whatever reason. Wheeler wasn't there when I was either and I missed Familia and Colon too. Either just missing them wherever they were or they weren't there when I was.

One guy who is mentioned above who I saw was Bowman who is a diminutive guy but with good athleticism and actually pretty solid stuff.

Gabriel Ynoa looked very very good. He's a fallback guy if any of what Mack says happens. If it weren't for Thor and Matz, Ynoa is the guy we'd all be drooling over.

As far as the bust potential, I actually am not even the slightest bit worried that Harvey will become Pelfrey. He's already done more in his 30 start career than Pelfrey has ever done or ever well and this is just the beginning for Harvey.

My bust guys are probably Syndergaard and Wheeler who I could see being the 5 inning/100 pitch type more often than not. However, that means both could probably have very good careers in the bullpen if it ever comes to that. On the flip side, if they can learn command, they can do what Kershaw did from his first 30 starts to what he's done since (go look at his walk rate and the corresponding turn from good to dominant).

deGrom is interesting. He's a phenomenal talent but keep in mind he is the oldest pitcher of any of the guys we're talking about..including Harvey and Montero. Part of me wonders if he's the one guy we should have sold high on. When he hits free agency in after the 2020 season, he will be entering his age 33 season and while he could get better, it's hard to imagine him being better than he just was.

Frankly, the odds of a bust of one of these guys is high, but this administration has done a wonderful job maximizing value and getting injured players healthy again and something has to be said for that. Remember, this time last year none of us had deGrom penciled in. A year before that, Matz wasn't considered a future rotation regular either. It will work itself out even if "The Fab Five" isn't the exact five we think.

My .02

Thomas Brennan said...

Good points, Stephen. Ynoa and Bowman after Thor, Matz, and Montero. Some teams might want them as their starting 5, as is, right now.

Thor likely worth much more in trade if he is rotation rather than pen, but he'd be intriguing in the pen... if of course we had room there.

Richard Jones said...

Hello Mack

I was the one who saw Matz the one time. I did listen to every other one of his starts over the minor league radio on the internet. That does not make me an expert.
If you go back and read all my posts you wont find anyone higher on Matz than me.
My comment was in reference to the article which claimed Matz reached a point were anytime in the minors would not benefit him. He is ready now.
I think Matz could pitch in MLB now. I don't think there is a need for him to do that now with the depth the Mets have. I do think he would benefit from a full year in the minors.
I often read articles claiming Matz sits at 94-96. When listening to his games on air I would hear the announcer calling out speeds like 91,93,90,92,93, and maybe a 95. That is what I also saw when I was there. He was not in command of his pitches when I was there, it wasn't one of his better games.
I still will standby my statement that he can learn something and benefit from a full year in the minors. If the Mets have more than their share of injuries I feel he can also contribute. I'm hoping we don't see him until 2016 because if we do that tells me something went very wrong with the rest of the staff.

PasthedivingFlores said...

Great game today. But am I the only one that isn't the biggest fan of Steve Gelbs? I'm sure he's a nice guy and everything, but it's just something about him …

Mack Ade said...

Richard -

You and I share a lot of the same thoughts about Matz.

I would start him this season in Binghamton, let him finish the season in Las Vegas, and let him work on his secondary pitches and control.

My guess is Syndergaard will be up next and there is no rush here with all the talent on this staff.

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