Mack’s Morning Report – 3-20-15 –Week Three-ST Observations


End of Spring Training-Week Three Observations:

Overall, the hitting is amazing. At one point this week, Kirk Nieuwenhuis led the league in hitting while John Mayberry Jr. was second.

Rotation wise, the combined 7.2 innings thrown Thursday by Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee proved to be a big plus sign. Four starters now (see below) seem to be moving in the right direction for opening day.

Five more players (RHPs Hansel Robles, Tyler Pill, Gabriel Ynoa, Matt Bowman, Cory Satterwhite) were sent packing over to the minor league portion of camp. This leaves 49 players in Big Boy camp, which includes Bobby Parnell, Josh Edgin, and Zack Wheeler.

It was very important psychologically that Matt Harvey have a great outing on Monday, and he did. The Wheeler info had to be a big bummer in the clubhouse and everyone probably needed to know their ‘leader’ was back to lead the rotation this year.

The other thing about Harvey that everyone needs to know… his velocity is back 100% and he throwing primarily strikes. There’s absolutely nothing in his game right now that would be considered negative.

Moving down the rotation, Jacob deGrom continues to firm up his SP2 slot in the rotation. Boy, has this been a huge find in the organization and it makes one wonder if there is another one down the road that could be harnessed. I will say this… it will take someone who can hit 94+ with his fastball consistently while, at the same time, throw strikes.

Don’t worry about these late inning lead losses with the Erik Goeddel’s of the world pitching. These are the kind of pitchers that will not be on the 25-man when the team heads north. Eventually, starting sometime next week, you will see a more defined relief staff of Carlos Torres, Jeurys Famila, Vic Black, and Jenrry Mejia.

There seems to be some real problems with Scott Rice this spring.  I have no idea what they are going to do past the four names I listed just above this paragraph.

One thing I did notice yesterday... LHRP Dario Alavarez is never going to make it at the major league level if he doesn't speed up his throwing motion with runners on base. Kolton Wong hade him look silly when it came to how easy it was to run against him.

In the long run, Edgin did the right thing for the Mets… and Josh Edgin. I honestly don’t know what they did 40 years ago when someone stretched an ulnar ligament, but recent history has proven that the thing to do now is take a year off and attend New York Rangers games. Hopefully, by the time he gets back next April, he will have a battle to get back on the 25-man… meaning, the Mets will find and develop a couple of productive lefties to compete against him. We’ll have to wait and see about this.

It seems quite obvious that Wilmer Flores has won the starting shortstop position though there really wasn’t much chance for anyone else to take this job away from him. He’s always proved capable of knocking in runs (2011: 81, 2012: 75, 2013: 99, 2014: 86) and has the potential of leading the Mets in this category; however, I don’t expect the Mets to slot him into the middle of the lineup. Maybe down the road, but not in 2015.

Baring some unforeseen injury, the starting lineup of the Mets seem set, including the five man rotation. This is the first time this has happened in many years and it gives the Mets an opportunity to concentrate the rest of the spring training on the execution of that lineup.

There’s no way of knowing how this is going to translate to opening day, but the Mets have consistently been one of the top teams this spring in generating on-base percentage. Can Kevin Long be accredited with any of this? It seems like the Mets are swinging at many more first and second pitches than they have in the future.

I’m starting to really like what I see in catcher Johnny Monell. I especially liked the speed he has shown running the bases. He beat out a high chopper to second last Saturday that most catchers would have been thrown out on. He’s also impressed with a bat in his hand. For me, Anthony Recker may not be as safe as many think he is as back-up to Travis d’Arnaud.

Once in a while players seem to disappear in spring training and Rafael Montero fell into this category until the Wheeler injury. Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday that he really didn’t want to send Montero back to Las Vegas and, though he will begin to get a look as the fifth starter, he probably will open the season as the fifth righty out of the pen. As you all know, this is exactly where I have wanted him for the past year and my hopes is he takes over the long-man role from Torres, while also serving as the emergency SP6 in case another starter goes down. 

Montero did finally get some additional action yesterday in the split schedule game in St. Lucie. It also seemed obviously that he either had been stretched out in camp while not getting in more than one game, or he was pitching in some of the games on the back fields. Either way, it was a good sign that he's already pitching into the third inning.

In my opinion, there simply isn’t a chance that Cesar Puello is going to make the 25-man squad out of camp. The Mets are committed to Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Cuddyer as their starting outfield, John Mayberry Jr. has already been awarded the RH utility outfielder, while it’s become obvious that either Matt den Dekker or Kirk Nieuwenhuis will win the LH utility slot. It doesn’t matter any longer if PEDs hurt his chance or if the Mets brass are still pissed at him. He simply hasn’t earned being one of the five top outfielders in the organization and the Mets are going to have to expose him to the rest of the league come cut down day.

All the writers will tell you that you that the only way to compensate for a bad pitching outing (Wheeler injury) is a good hitting one (the return of Wright's power). Sure, Harvey-Wheeler looks like a direct win-loss comparison, but did you catch that home run David hit earlier this week over the deepest and tallest portion of center field? Injured, aging, out of shape baseball players don’t do things like this.

You add 10 home runs like this by Wright, coupled with 10 power outing by Harvey over his normal filthy self and the name of Wheeler will be a thing of the past by the off season. Hell, they even let him eat another egg salad sandwich in the clubhouse during the time one of the playoff games is played.


Thomas Brennan said...

Happy Hitting Days are here, which is why I think Mets could go from last year's paltry 629 to perhaps 740, give or take a few.

Good discussion on how Long has fixed Grandy's swing yesterday...he could be a major upgrade.

Too bad about Puello. Missed Alvarez's weakness in holding runners. C'mon guys, fix your glaring weaknesses like that.

Injuries happen, but I am excited this year nonetheless. Too many good things (like Killer Kirk) happening.

Ernest Dove said...

Guys get hurt its part of the game. Hopefully the return of Harvey plus a healthy Niese more then equal out loss of wheeler.
I hope Montero can adjust to the bullpen.

Will seem weird for monell to have the spring he's had, only to begin season as the backup catcher for a minor league team.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment by you.
"I will say this… it will take someone who can hit 94+ with his fastball consistently while, at the same time, throw strikes."

Now tell that doesn't sound like Montero.

Montero should be the 5th starter because he simply has huge upside and lets not forget that up until last year, deGrom was considered a BP arm.

Now, who had the superior numbers in the minor leagues, Montero or deGrom?

I say this is a perfect opportunity for the Mets to find out what they have in Montero. Gee is a mediocre pitcher who is not expected to be with the Mets past this year. He is not worth much now as a starter and won't be worth much as a reliever so who cares. Give the ball to Montero.

Just check out how he close the year while being in the rotation in 2014 and tell me he cannot be at least a #3 type starter.

eraff said...

The team needs a good launch-- Roster choices and Pitching assignmnets need sto be almost totally directed to a good start and competing.

That may mean less regard for OPTIONS status, even if it means losing a Guy---Puello? They've had 5 yhears or so to figure Puello's part... the Player didn't get it done...and the TEAM didn't get it done. He may be lost.... it wouldn't surprise me that he could show up somewhere, some time and be a good player.

Does he become a FA?>...free to sign w Mets?

Mack Ade said...

Kirk is due for his annual slump

Mack Ade said...

I'm concerned with the lack of size for Monell though

Mack Ade said...

here's a question...

what if BOTH Gee and Montero 'ace' the est of ST and Colon continues to struggle?

Reese Kaplan said...

I've been watching the Mets long enough to realize there's a huge disconnect between what they SHOULD DO and what they ACTUALLY DO.

For example, Monell should make the team in place of the career .197 hitting Recker. Montero should be in the rotation as he has the potential to be far better than Gee. Campbell should start in the minors while they get a longer look at Puello in the big leagues.

What they will do is expose Puello to waivers, put Montero in the pen and assign Monell to AAA.

Mack Ade said...

Winning 7 of the first 10 games would do wonders for this team

Thomas Brennan said...

Monell is a lot bigger (and a lot more power) than former Met shrimp Juan Centeno...I think Monell could be the perfect counterpart to d"Arnaud - until Plawecki is "fully seasoned".

Recker reminds me of Nick Swisher - for no other reason than his last name.

Mack, I would not at all be surprised if Kirk does slump - but his big issue has always been bucket loads of Ks. So far, 38 plate appearances, just 4 Ks. So I give him the benefit of the doubt. "Ahh, but he can't hit lefties." 5 for 10, 1 K so far. So I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Montero should start - Gee, I wonder why he might not.

Anonymous said...

If both Montero and Gee pitch well, Collins will always favor the veteran. That has been his mo.

The Mets will NOT switch Colon and his 11M salary to the BP in favor of Montero. Colon would have to have a epic failure for that to happen. And again, Collins favors veterans.

MDD will end up in Vegas again. Capt. Kirk will make the team and Puello will be lost to waivers. Recker will make the team because "Collins favors his veterans".

Hobie said...

Before Pac-Man, there was this little plastic game with numbers 1-15 on a 4x4 pad and you had to slide them around using the open space to get them in order. The first 12 or so were easy. Getting the last 3 to fit was hard. Thus the 25-man.

OK, one of Recker/Monell. I don’t know Shinola about Monell’s D, and that might be key but I like his LHB off the bench. However to use him that way, I’d like to have an emergency C on the squad (Campbell?) just in case of a late inning injury.

Then there’s two of den Dekker/Kirk/Campbell/Puello. Two have options (dD/Campbell) and two are LHB (dD/Kirk) and IMO the team is stronger as whole with den Dekker on it, but…

I believe the out- of-options guys would still be OOO with any team that claims them (idk that for sure) and therefore would have to kept on the claimant’s 25. If that’s so Kirk is more likely to be lost than Cesar. So my little plastic Number Slide Puzzle keeps coming up with only Kirk/Campbell/Monell or den Dekker/Kirk/Recker solutions.

Thomas Brennan said...

Colon has to pitch - he is in display in the sale window and has an invisible "for sale, by owner" sign hanging around his neck. Any buyer just has to pick up the remaining caboose payments.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hobie, I hear you on Dekker, I've been pulling like crazy for him since mid-2014 and dissing Kirk. But the 4 K's in 42 plate appearances for Kirk (not to mention the .563 on base %) tells me that he figured something out and has changed his spots - for the better. So I am on the Kirk bandwagon now.

I watched some of the Mets replay last night, and Keith H is all in on Kirk now.

eraff said...

Guys like Kirk and DD have a shot a careers--- LH, Punch, can carry a CF Glove. They are FLOOR 5th OF'ers---they could become meaningful 400-Full time ab guys with the right breaks.

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

dD has seemed to fizzle a little... might be ready too much pro-Kirk press and he knows the handwriting on the wall

Hobie said...


Agree. I'm leaning toward my Kirk/Campbell/Monell Number Slide Puzzle solution... for now.

Thomas Brennan said...

I think if Dekker returns to AAA (he too will then be out of options) he will resume dismantling AAA, and get an opportunity back in the bigs soon.

Mack, I believe the sheer persona of Harvey makes him #1 SP. But I think Jake is co - # 1.

He adjusted thru end of June last year. From July to end, he was a Kershaw-like 1.81, 0.84 WHIP, 99 Ks in 92+ innings, and did his most dominant pitching in Sept. And he has picked up right where he left off this spring.

Personality-wise, Harvey is clearly #1 - he is the guy most in other team's heads - pitching-wise, a case can be made for Jake being # 1. He might just be better than Harvey. Time will tell. A great problem to have.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Remember what I said earlier this month... I belive deGrom IS #1 and will prove out to be the true ACE on this staff.

This doesn't mean I wish Harvey any ill well... I just see him back on the DL some day

Re: den Dekker... it's hard to syrvive a cut when a team signs TWO outfielders (Mayberry, Cuddyer). It spoke volumes about the lack of confidence the brass had hin their current AAA/AA outfielders

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Remember what I said earlier this month... I belive deGrom IS #1 and will prove out to be the true ACE on this staff.

This doesn't mean I wish Harvey any ill well... I just see him back on the DL some day

Re: den Dekker... it's hard to syrvive a cut when a team signs TWO outfielders (Mayberry, Cuddyer). It spoke volumes about the lack of confidence the brass had hin their current AAA/AA outfielders

Thomas Brennan said...

I hear you on those in-house OF options not being considered the way to go, Mack. Right call. Dekker's surge last year came too late to give them enough confidence he'd succeed this year.

On another note for a future Morning Report possibly, Duda is 1 for 14 with 8 Ks. He has more rust than the Tin Man after a rain storm. Hopefully he finds the WD-40 soon.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

And it's why you will see a lot of Duda playing for the rest of ST, especially against lefties. He needs the work.

I noticed yesterday that Dominic Smith was one of the last replacement players used and Duda was kept in for at least one extra at bat.

Normally, 3-20 is the day that tells a manager who will be ready. If you are just starting out in camp around that date, you probably will not be ready on opening day.

Thus, a lot of work for Lucas between now and the end of the month.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

Gee is a solid, smart mid(ish) rotation ML pitcher when he's healthy. Montero has done nothing and has everything to prove.

I really don't see a valid case for Montero over Gee at this point in time. Down the road, maybe

Re. Monell. I don't know what the scouting on his D is. He doesn't know the Mets staff like Recker does. His spring bat has been good. That's nice, but so what.

Thomas Brennan said...

Fair enough on Duda, Mack. I wish Jayce Boyd was given more 1B work. Allen has had a weak spring (.107).

IB, my take on "what's the difference" if it is Monell or Recker (.143) is that catchers backing up often start a lot of games - say 30. So it does make a difference, enough IMO to matter. I prefer offense, as I think the less gaps in offense, the better all their offensive players will be.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

TB - You misread what I was saying about Recker/Monell.
I very much think there is a difference.

I would much prefer Recker with his experience with the staff over Monell with his nice ST at the plate. But, it is just ST.

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