Eno Sarris | FanGraphs- Longtime Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan loves the sinker. The Braves’ Leo Mazzone was all about establishing the pitch low and away. Rick Peterson may hate the cutter. The Mets’ Dan Warthen may not have the name value of legendary pitching coaches that have come before him, but he does have his own pitch. If you want to see what it looks like, you just have to notice how the Mets, as a team, are outliers when it comes to slider velocity and movement. The Mets are throwing a different kind of slider. Pointing out what this Mets slider is all about could be as easy as linking to this leaderboard, which shows that the Mets have the hardest sliders in baseball. Or even this leaderboard, which shows that Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Jeurys Familia are in the top 15 when it comes to slider velocity.
(Chris Soto: I LOVE WHEN FANGRAPHS WRITES METS ARTICLES! Folks go out there and take a look at this article. The pitch Dan Warthen has developed seems to be a cross between a slider and a cut fastball and it has proven to be EXTREMELY effective against opponents since they began teaching it in 2013. Batters whiff at Harvey's slider 16% of the time, deGrom's 15%, and Familia's 27% of the time. When batters DO make contact....they can't do anything with it to the tune of a minuscule .174 Batting AVG against. When these guys are spotting it.....it's a virtually unhittable pitch. The scary part is that Sarris states in his article that Syndergaard and Matz are not even throwing it yet but are scheduled to learn it in 2016. Can you imagine an entire rotation throwing this game-changing pitch?)
Noah Davis and Michael Lopez | 538 Sports- The Houston Astros currently sit on top of the American League West with a 2.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, a team paying Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, and the rest of the squad a combined $146.4 million. The Astros, meanwhile, will spend less than half that figure on players in 2015. The success of the Astros and the (comparatively) minuscule payrolls of other plucky small-budget teams is often cited by people trying to advance an egalitarian narrative: that the amount a team spends does not matter. That’s all heart-warming, but evidence suggests that the relationship between money and winning is as strong now as it’s been any time in the free-agency era.
(Chris Soto: I've been hanging onto these research articles for a few days now to give us something to view during the All-Star break. Noah and Michael correlation charts tell a very compelling story that destroys the whole concept of the "Moneyball" low cost high production team strategy. It's apparently clear that if you want to win ball games....you have to invest in the players you are bringing onto the team. We're not talking $150-200M payrolls though, the best teams on the correlation chart are generally in a comfortable $110-$130M range. By that metric, if the Mets want to get serious this season.....they have about $10-$20M to work with.)
Chris Soto | Trade Targets
Let's start taking a look at realistic trade targets that Sandy could possibly put together. We'll start in reverse standings order and climb the ladder a few teams at a time.
San Diego Padres (41-49): About to Light the Barn on Fire
- The San Diego Padres hired a new General Manager this off-season, AJ Preller. Looking to make an immediate impact, Preller sold the farm (including top prospects Joe Ross and Trea Turner) to pick up Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, and Derrick Norris. They also signed one of the top free agent arms in James Shields. However, instead of competing against the Dodgers for the NL West title, the Padres have fallen flat on their face and now Preller is preparing to Sell Everything he has. The primary piece that the Mets would be interested in is OF Justin Upton. He's a true impact middle of the order bat having smoked 14 HRs in a very pitching favorable environment.
- Trade Proposal: Mets send 1B Dominic Smith and RHP Casey Meisner for OF Justin Upton
- Reason: If the Padres blow this whole thing up....they aren't going to be able to compete until 2017, maybe 2018. They need long term pieces. The farm system is still ok in regards to OF prospect but is light on the corners and arms. Since Upton is only a 2 month rental player it's going to limit what the Padres can get for him so 2 fully controllable high upside prospects is actually a nice get for them.
Seattle Mariners (41-48): Not Giving Up
- The Mariners are one of the larger disappointment this season as they had high hopes of competing for an AL West crown. They have excellent pitching anchored by Felix Hernandez, and a strong offense with Cruz, Seager, and Cano in the middle of the line-up. Unfortunately, they are not getting any production from 1B, CF, C, or even DH. In addition the bullpen has struggled to hold leads late in the game leading to incumbent Fernando Rodney losing his closer's job. The Mets don't exactly have Bats or BULLPEN arms to spare at this current point in time so the likelyhood of a trade here is very low.