The Morning Report 9.22.2015 | Niese's Curveball Returns, d'Arnaud Quickly Becoming the 2nd Best C in Baseball, Mets Need to Finish the Job
Posted by Christopher Soto at 8:00 AM
Michael Baron | Just Mets- Jon Niese earned his ninth win of the season with six shutout innings over the Braves, improving to 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA against Atlanta in 2015. But for Niese, this start was more significant as it was his second quality effort after four consecutive poor starts to end the month of August and start September. Terry Collins credited Niese’s curveball in particular for Niese’s success on Monday, and Niese said he’s emphasized that pitch in between starts as of late. “Ive been working on it constantly since Ive struggled with it,” Niese explained. “I just have confidence in it now. I’m able to throw it for strikes down in the zone. My sinker, cutter, change-up – really everything was working for me.”
(Chris Soto: Niese's best pitch has always been his big looping curveball. With below average velocity, even for a lefty, his curveball is what sets up all his other pitches and dictates the At-Bat. In the past, Niese has used the pitch anywhere from 18%-25% of the time but lately he has gotten away from it due to his inability to control it. His previous 2 starts his curveball usage has dropped to 4% and 5% respectively. During the month of July, when Niese posted a superb 2.87 ERA, hitters were only batting .150 against his curveball. However, over the past 6 starts, batters have been tattooing the curveball to the tune of a .364 AVG against helping lead to Niese's 7.96 ERA during that time span.)
Jacob Shafer | Bleacher Report- The biggest knock against the New York Mets' Travis d'Arnaud—and it's a doozy—is that he's spent too much time on the disabled list for a guy in just his second full big league season. The good news? That's basically the only knock against him. His .865 post-All-Star break OPS is higher than every MLB backstop with at least 100 at-bats not named Buster Posey, and he's cracked eight home runs and 10 doubles in that span. If you prefer advanced stats, d'Arnaud owns a 140 weighted runs created plus (wRC+), again trailing only Posey. In fact, Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer recently ranked d'Arnaud the No. 2 catcher in the game based on current output and potential, behind only—you guessed it—Posey.
(Chris Soto: When the RA Dickey trade was first made, everyone's eyes were focused on D'Arnaud's potential. He came over to the Mets widely regarded as the top catching prospect in baseball with the potential to be a nice mix of Buster Posey and Johnathan Lucroy in terms of hitting abilities. His production so far certainly seems to fit that bill. He has already matched last year HR totals, 13, in 50 fewer games and his ISO power, Line Drive%, Hard Hit Contact, and K rates have all improved year over year. Defensive Metrics still have him pegged as a slightly below average defender due to his 30% Caught Stealing Rate, but he's certainly made significant strides there too as his Passed Ball numbers have dropped from 12 last year to only 1 this year.)
Bill Price | NY Daily News- I had to cringe Saturday hearing John Smoltz saying over and over and over and over again that the Mets were going to playoffs and there was no doubt about it. But let's be honest, while the Mets are up 6 or 7 with 14 to play, they are really up 4 or 5 with 10 games to play because you know and I know that if the Nats come to Citi Field for that last weekend just 3 games out, Panic City will be in full swing. The Mets HAVE to close this thing out before the last weekend of that season, not just because they need to set up their pitching for the first round, but also to take away the potential for disaster. The Mets, in losing 2 of 3 to the Fish and basically taking the day off Sunday have let the Nats hang around on the fringe of the division race.
(Chris Soto: Bill is right, the Mets need to take care of business sooner rather than later. Last night was a good start, with the solid win over the Braves the magic number is now down to 7. If the Mets can take at least 2 more out of the 3 they will head to Philly with the potential to lock up the Division a week before the Nationals return to New York. Don't let the Nationals hang around any longer.....FINISH THE JOB!)