Mack Morning Report – April 3rd – Opening Day, ‘Rembrandts’, Alex Castellanos


Well, here we go.

Another Mets season filled with anticipation.

This year, everything seems to be clicking. Four of the five pitchers picked for the opening day rotation already have their game face on. And the everyday players have led the league in win-loss percentage and home runs, while consistently being in the top five category for team BA, OBP, and OPS.

Sure, it’s only spring numbers and there are still some questions…  injuries… the bullpen… who will play second base until Daniel Murphy comes back, but I sure as hell enjoy more talking about a team that has a starting outfield hitting  .475 (Curtis Granderson), .346 (Juan Lagares), and .326 (Michael Cuddyer).
Remember… this is a team that was ranked 28th (out of 30 teams) in batting average (.239), 22nd in on-base percentage (.308), and 27th in slugging percentage (.364).

And, we’ve written five paragraphs and we haven’t even talked about the ERAs of the Mets rotation in spring training. I can’t remember when there were five so dominant pitchers in spring training (six if we count Matt Bowman).

I was asked recently on an online Q and A if I was excited about the upcoming season and I said that I was, but I still warned to be cautious. The team needs to get through all those divisional games in April and then we should be able to get a good idea if they have the goods to score one more run than the other team.

And that’s all you need. One more run per game.

And, if you get three base runners per inning, there’s a good chance at least one run is going to score.

Remember what I have been saying for years now... and you are seeing it play out this spring... if you have a rotation that gives up two or less runs in the first six innings, you are going to win enough games to make the playoffs.

This game gets a lot easier when you are leading 5-0 after five innings and your starter still has at least one more inning in him.

Yes, the spring hitting has been fun, but it's been Matt Harvey, Rafael Montero, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Jacob deGrom that have got them there.

My guess at this point is we will see 'consistent good outings' from both Harvey and deGrom throughout the season. Sure, there might be a clunker or two, but the team is going to be able to count on the kind of game Harvey through on Thursday against St. Louis.

As for Niese and Gee, my guess is 50% excellent outings, 25% 'could go either way' outings, and 25% clunkers. They both just aren't the quality pitchers that Harvey and deGrom are.

As for Colon, I expect nothing here. I take that back. I actually expect him to be replaced in the rotation around the end of May, first with Montero, and then with Noah Syndergaard later on in the season.

There’s a GMC Truck television commercial that is making the rounds this month on the national networks saying that major league pitchers that are known to ‘paint the corners’ with their 95mph fastballs are called ‘Rembrandts’. You know, I’ve been writing about baseball for a pretty long time now and I have no idea what they are talking about. Do any of you? Was Roger Clements a Rembrandt? I just thought he was an asshole.

The Mets made another solid decision this week when they first optioned outfielder Alex Castellanos to Las Vegas and then followed by announcing that he will be in the Vegas starting lineup for the 2015 season. Castellanos may never live up to his prospect labeling from a few years ago, but, in my opinion, he now becomes the #2 AAA outfield option behind Brandon Nimmo, followed by Cory Vaughn, Travis Taijeron, Darrell Ceclliani, Kyle Johnson, or Jared King.

I'm sorry that Cesar Puello didn't work out. I really am, but it's his job to get to Queens, not mine. The organization lost confidence in him the second after he went down for the PED scandal and he never regained their respect. At best, he became the fourth outfielder in Las Vegas and simply could't repeat his Binghamton numbers were, no matter how light the air was. Frankly, the 2015 Mets are past waiting for prospects to develop. There is enough talent on the parent team to make the playoffs and members of the 25-man squad are only going to be moved off if someone comes along that has done their job well in the minors and have earned the 'next step'. Puello didn't. 

This man had so much raw talent, but it just didn't happen for him, or the Mets. Both need to move on.


Thomas Brennan said...


Nimmo is headed to AA, so with him in AA, Dekker traded, and Puello most likely gone post-waiver, outfielders in AAA should be able to get to a manageable group.

Hitting great, starters great, pen solidified. Stay healthy and it's 90-95 wins.

If those guys were Rembrandts, is RA Dickey a Picasso?

I haven't seen minor league rosters yet, but I'd hope Taijeron and Lawley and their power bats are headed to Vegas. Castwllnos is 29 in August, so time is running out for him to show he's even as good as former Mets bust Nick Evans.

Christopher Soto said...

Morning all,

I'm excited to get the season started!

Nimmo to AA and COnforto to A+ are both correct moves...granted...don't expect them to stay there too long!

Since Nimmo is heading back to Binghamton, I'm hoping to have the chance to talk to him a bit this year. As part of the NYSEG Stadium Beer Club (fiance is part of the Wine Club), My first scheduled Binghamton game is April 18th.

Christopher Soto said...


I remember that a bunch of Mack's Mets readers were part of a fantasy baseball league last year...

Are we doing that again?

I already have a league set-up with 4 teams in it if anyone else wants to join.

Ernest Dove said...

Vegas, just like in new york, will be all about the pitching. Sounds like zero outfielders in the desert come April are expected to be major leaguers. Just keep an eye on the pitchers, reynolds, muno, and Plawecki (im sure im forgetting others)

Zozo said...

I read that Murphy might be starting for us on Opening Day. I believe that's definitely the wrong move they should make him rest an extra week. I hope this doesn't come and bite us later in the arse? Especially because we should look to trade him if we aren't doing to well by mid season.
Also hopefully no news is good news by not hearing that Puello has been picked up. Do waivers usually last 24 hours? And don't the bad teams get first dibs on him, so maybe they are passing on him.

greg b said...

I think a guy Mets fans should keep an eye out for inthe system is outfielder Victor Cruzado.

Christopher Soto said...


The waiver period is 72 hours.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hi Chris - thanks for invite on fantasy league. I'm gonna pass this year because my schedule doesn't need anything else in it - but next year should be a different story, so I'll take a rain check.

Ernest, besides those, there is Herrera (AA or AAA?), and I am hoping Lawley and Taijeron may be late power-hitting bloomers - so watch them in AAA - assuming that is where they get posted. Last year, they both had bad starts and still, in 819 at bats, managed 95 extra base hits. Career-wise, Taijeron has remarkably averaged an extra base hit every 7.4 official at bats (amazingly close to Kris Bryant's 1 every 6.3), and Lawley a highly respectable one every 9.3.

Not comparing either slugger to the great Kris B, mind you, but these two guys crank out extra baggers, so I'm watching to see if they can break out in 2015 - or become the next Val Pascucci.

Steve from Norfolk said...

All this talk about Murphy being ready sounds to me like TC being worried about his job and wishing for his best starting lineup against the Nats. Even a minor hamstring injury should get three weeks, or it hasn't had time to heal properly. Rushing him back is just asking for problems.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

Still, Castellanos is good insurance

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

I wouldn't be surprised if Ruben Tejada starts on opening day on 2B and Murphy is the backup/PH for a few games

Thomas Brennan said...

Castellanos is good insurance, mack, you are correct. If Tejada does start at 2nd, and Murph is DL'd for a week, I could see Muno getting the nod for the 25th spot, at least temporarily.

If not, having him, Herrera, and Reynolds at Vegas would mean Muno at 3rd. Wouldn't hurt him to get some OF experience down there to be more ready as a utility guy who could play almost anywhere.

Seems Soup Campbell did enough this spring to defend his spot on 25 man from Muno. I guess if Mets are coming north, further cuts are imminent.

gapr_09 said...

chris greetings from Venezuela! would be happy to join your league !! my mail: guillermo9parra@gmail.com

Hobie said...

Greg B--

As the incumbent President of the Victor Cruzado Booster Club, welcome. There's plenty of room on the Board of Directors.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey, Hobie and Greg B, does this Victor Cruzado launch Cruz missiles from the batter's box? If so, count me in. I'll head the Audit Committee.

Stubby said...

I have heard the term "Rembrandt" applied to pitchers. It would've been on the national games in the late 60s, early 70s....so.....Gowdy? Garagiola? Don't remember. Might even have been Scully in the mid 70s. But it was applied to control pitchers who consistently "painted" the corners--not to power pitchers like Clemens (who, yes, would be classified as an asshole).

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