2/28/15

Tom Brennan - A CHAMPIONSHIP MENTALITY

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Tom Brennan – A CHAMPIONSHIP MENTALITY

“We are the Champions of the World” – Queen

Perfect lyrics for a team from Queens…but which route will the Mets take in the years to come? “We’ve got a chance”….or “We want to be the team to beat for the Championship for years to come.” 
Which road to take?

I like the latter MUCH BETTER.  So let’s queue in to the following:

Kevin Kernan | NY POST: After the Red Sox signing of super-prospect Yoan Moncada, in a NY Post article, Kevin Kernan noted the “Red Sox have won three championships over the last 11 years.” His article then included the following blurbs showing that the Red Sox philosophy is far different than that of the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson:

“We’re in it to win championships,’’ Lucchino said Wednesday at JetBlue Park. “We’re not in it to be consistently second or consistently third. We want to win championships.’’

Noted Tom Werner, another of the Boston owners: “We have a strong commitment to winning. We play for championships. We were all smarting over the [last-place] finish we had last year. It’s our intention to play baseball in October every year.’’’

I hope that starting during this year, the Mets begin (like the Red Sox) to REALLY join in this championship chase fray by signing whoever is needed.  Rising attendance should provide funds to do so.  We need to hear the Mets’ owners/ leaders also say “We’re in it to win championships.  We’re NOT in it to be consistently second or consistently third. We want to win championships.  We have a strong commitment to winning. We play for championships. It’s our intention to play baseball in October every year.” 

I’ll not kick against the past Met inactions – it is highly risky to invest in guys when your team stinks, hoping your mega-moves will turn your organization from a pumpkin into a prince.  I get it.  You could sign a Pujols or an A Rod to a contract involving enough bucks to run a 3rd world country – and have the guy suddenly become just ordinary – or worse – and be hamstrung more than Jose Reyes.   But the prospect-rich Bosox are pedal-to-the-meddling it.    Yoan Moncada just the latest move.

The Mets need to get on the surf board when the wave of talent already arriving here starts to really crest so we can ride that sucker in for years to come.   The Red Sox are surfing – and with Scherzer, so are the Nats. 
Bring championships to Queens – not one every 25 or 30 years.  How about 3 in the next 11 years – like the Red Sox - and playoffs in the other 8 years?  Huge crowds at Citifield.   Huge excitement. 

Say it, Wilpons and Sandy: “We’re in it to win championships.’’  Mean it.  Then do it.  Please.
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Reese Kaplan -- A Slow Spring Training News Recap

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What have we learned thus far?

  • David Wright is not only no longer the face of major league baseball (the Giants' Buster Posey gets the nod for 2015), but he has also seemingly been supplanted on his own team by Matt Harvey.
  • Lucas Duda is working too hard to prove last year wasn’t a fluke and tweaked his intercostal muscle or oblique depending on whose coverage you want to believe.
  • The $8 million man Daniel Murphy is still clinging to the delusion that the Mets will extend his contract when a minimum wage top 100 prospect named Dilson Herrera is available in Las Vegas
  • Wilmer “Rodney” Flores has heard from the big boss that he’s still in quest of a shortstop while on jury duty and at awand from the little boss that it’s an open competition for shortstop.  What does the guy have to do to get a little respect?
  • Michael Cuddyer must play RF due to deafness in his left ear which could be a problem if Juan Lagares and he were converging on a fly ball and he was playing left field.  This change pushes Curtis Granderson and his rather weak arm to LF where he’s probably more well suited to play. Even Granderson’s diminished defensive skills are still better than what the DH-like Cuddyer brings to the table. 
  • Juan Lagares is the frontrunner to bat leadoff.  Unless it’s Curtis Granderson.  The flip-flopping by Terry Collins varies on a daily basis.
  • According to field general Collins Dillon Gee will work exclusively out of the bullpen, so naturally Terry Collins has tabbed him to start the first spring training game.
  • Rafael Montero will both start and relieve.  In between he may shag fly balls, take tickets at the turnstile and sell peanuts to the fans in attendance.  Under no circumstances will he make the major league roster since Dillon Gee is still around and Bobby Parnell is waiting in the wings. 
  • The competition for the last bullpen spot comes down to Sean Gilmartin who’s never relieved but is on the 40 man roster and is a Rule V selection, Jack Leathersich who gets out righties better than he does lefties but will be used as a LOOGY anyway just to set him up for failure, Dario Alvarez who is on the 40 man roster but who flopped in a very brief 1.1 inning trial in Queens last September and Scott Rice who as a non-roster invitee would have to walk on water to have any shot at all.
  • Terry Collins has opened his big yap already about the Opening Day starter and it’s not veteran Jon Niese, former Cy Young Award winner (and last year’s leading winner) Bartolo Colon, nor is it defending Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom.  No, he’s publicly stated he’s leaning towards Zack Wheeler whose second half was indeed impressive, but who seems to have less a claim to this plum assignment than any of the aforementioned hurlers.  The fact that Harvey isn’t in contention has less to do with sparing him from the cold weather than it does trying to cash in on box office for the Mets’ own home opener a few days later. (Never mind that the home opener would be a sellout even if Collins himself pitched that day).
  • There’s an ongoing disconnect between what Sandy Alderson says and what Terry Collins says.  In most organizations you would think that if the first guy hired the second guy, then he'd be able to muzzle his employee or find someone who is on the same page, but in Metsville accountability doesn’t exist.  In fact, incompetence is instead rewarded with a contract options being picked up and contract extensions.
  • The only other battle of the spring is for bench players but that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion with Kirk Nieuwenhuis being out of options while Matt den Dekker is not.  The only flicker of hope for a new face here would be Cesar Puello replacing Eric Young, Jr. as the designated runner as the Mets stand to lose him if he’s not on the roster and can become a free agent whereas the versatile but unspectacular Eric Campbell does have options available to send him to Las Vegas. 
  • Bobby Parnell will likely stick around Florida to continue his rehab while the Mets see who pitches himself off the bullpen island.  Perhaps there's another early season trade up Sandy Alderson's sleeve much like the Ike Davis move from a year ago.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays suddenly find themselves in need of an outfielder with the freak injury to Michael Saunders putting him on the shelf for half a yearr...an aggressive GM would be dangling Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker and Cesar Puello at them as stopgap solutions, perhaps bundled along with a starting pitcher..


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2/27/15

Stephen Guilbert - What Happens to the Mets Lineup if a Major Player Gets Hurt

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Injuries, and lack of depth to mitigate them, can make the difference between a contending team and a losing one. One of the more interesting contingencies for an injury on the 2015 Mets is Jon Niese. Given the advantage of having at least one lefty in the starting rotation, will Steven Matz be ready? Will the Mets let him have his chance early if Niese goes down? 


Unless a shortstop position battle yields Matt Reynolds or Ruben Tejada an unlikely victor, the starting lineup for the New York Mets come April 6th will be:

C- Travis d'Arnaud
1B- Lucas Duda
2B- Daniel Murphy
SS- Wilmer Flores
3B- David Wright
LF- Curtis Granderson
CF- Juan Lagares
RF- Michael Cuddyer

SPs- Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon

However, injuries happen. Lucas Duda already has an ailment and the calendar has yet to flip to March. What happens to the Mets lineup if Duda goes down? What about catcher? Here are the contingency plans for each position:

C- Travis d'Arnaud's replacement for a short-term injury belongs to backup Anthony Recker, though anything extended changes the game. Kevin Plawecki, a top prospect for the Mets and a consensus top-100 prospect in all of baseball, deserves a chance to start if d'Arnaud misses significant time. Given TdA's injury history, keeping Plawecki around for at least this year is a smart move. If the Mets trade Plawecki and d'Arnaud suffers a bad injury, the catching depth in the system--as it is around baseball--is weak.

1B- If Duda misses extended time with an injury, the Mets would move Michael Cuddyer to first base. This opens up a hole in right field. While the Mets could slot Kirk Nieuwenhuis in semi-permanantly, pitchers already exploit his weaknesses at the plate as a part-time player and in a full-time role, his offense will hurt the team. A better option is Cesar Puello, if he is protected by the Mets on the 25-man roster. If Puello does not produce well or is lost via waivers, Matt den Dekker gets his opportunity. den Dekker does not have much of a bat but he would join Lagares and Granderson in a very athletic, quick and defensive-minded outfield.

2B- The Mets would approach a Daniel Murphy injury the same way they would address his trade-- with Dilson Herrera. A top prospect with a full toolbox, the Mets need not look outside the organization at second base for many years.

SS- Ruben Tejada slots in for the short term if Wilmer Flores suffers an injury. If Flores fails to handle shortstop adequately or has a long term ailment, the Mets likely look outside the organization for help. Matt Reynolds gets more playing time but the immediate replacement is Tejada.

3B- This happened last year. Murphy shifted to third base, Flores moved to second, Tejada slotted in at shortstop. The movement will be similar, though Herrera likely fills in at second and Flores stays at shortstop (assuming, at the time of the injury, that Flores' performance at shortstop is adequate).

LF- A Granderson injury handles similarly to a Duda injury. Cuddyer moves to left and one of Kirk/Puello/den Dekker slots in right. Most signs point to the Mets not awarding Cesar Puello a roster spot (which is a shame--he still has the tools to be a very good major leaguer), making den Dekker best option for right field in this contingency.

CF- Easy. Matt den Dekker.

RF- Puello or den Dekker using the same logic for 1B and LF.

SP- The Mets have so much starting pitching depth that if one of the above five starters gets placed on the 60-day DL, the question is not, "How can we replace him", it is, "How do we choose who to replace him with?" If Jon Niese goes down, Steven Matz offers the Mets something Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Shawn Bowman, and Tyler Pill cannot--he throws with his left hand. The organization might not want to promote Matz so soon and will certainly not do so before Super-2 cutoff, but a mid-season injury to Niese should open the door for Matz.

For a RHP injury early in the season, Dillon Gee or Rafael Montero get the call (depending on whether Gee gets traded or either (both?) move to the bullpen), keeping Noah Syndergaard under team control for a year longer and potentially avoiding Super Two status. Come late spring and on, Noah gets his time in Flushing.


--SG
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MMs Top 25: #22 LHP Brad Wieck

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#22 LHP Brad Wieck (LRnot ranked)
Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6' 9" Weight: 255 lb
Age: 23
Acquired: 2014 Rule IV draft, 7th round, Oklahoma City University

2014: (SS-A) 1-1, 1.40 ERA, 25.2 IP, 13.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.896 WHIP


     Wieck is a interesting, albeit, relatively unknown commodity. One thing we do know though is that he is a BIG MAN! At 6' 9" and 255 lbs, Wieck is the largest prospect in the Mets system right now besting fellow 2014 draftee and 6' 8" monster himself, Josh Prevost. Wieck had a tumultuous college journey which took him from the University New Mexico to Frank Phillips College, then to Cisco College, and finally to NAIA participant OCU. That's right....NAIA....not NCAA Division I or II or even III.....NAIA. Facing inferior talent, Wieck racked up 118 K's in only 69.2 IP while only walking 23 both as OCU's closer and as a starter down towards the end of the 2014 season.

     Weick signed immediately after being drafted and was sent to Brooklyn to build on his 69 IP this season and to prove that he's capable of sticking with NCAA caliber talent. Not only did he prove himself, but he flat out dominated the New York-Pennsylvania League. As a reliever for the Cyclones, Wieck struck out nearly 40% of the batters he faced and held batters to a .181 Batting Average Against including only 1 HR against him thanks to a ground-ball rate of 32.7% vs. a fly-ball rate of 21.8%.

     Wieck's size combined with his stuff is what makes him so intriguing. His fastball clocks in between 92 - 94 mph, which is plus velocity from a left handed pitcher, and his size and release point generate a ton of downward movement on it which generates ground-balls. His primary secondary pitch is a curveball that clocks in between 74-76 mph. The pitch has pretty solid two-plane movement break and he has the ability to throw it for a strike or bury it low in the zone to get batters to chance. He also has a change-up in his arsenal, however, the pitch is viewed as poor to below average at best. While the speed differential is pretty good (92mph fastball vs. 78 mph change), he tips the pitch at times slowing his arm speed and the movement on it is a pretty flat downward motion that most batters can pick up on.

     His size and two pitch arsenal could make for an excellent MLB LOOGY and maybe even a late inning, double play specialist MLB reliever. His dominance in Short Season A tells me that, if the team decides that RP is the route to go, he could move quickly like Josh Edgin did when he was drafted. In that scenario he would start 2015 in St. Lucie, but, if the Mets think they can work with him on his change-up and develop a 3rd pitch so that he can start, then he'll be in Savannah come April 1st.


Ceiling: MLB LOOGY/Ground Ball specialist. (Brett Cecil)
Floor: Taxi Squad RP
Anticipated Assignment: (A+) Port St. Lucie 8th inning reliever setting up Akeel Morris
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Mack’s Friday Morning Weekly Mets Recap – 2-27 – Harvey Day, Blocking Nimmo, Chris Mitchell Prospects, Playoffs, dD vs. Kirk

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Good morning.

We’re getting closer to opening day and no one seems to agree when Matt Harvey’s first game will be. First they said it would be the home opener on April 13th, but then Terry Collins said on Saturday that Harvey would pitch in the first five games of the season.

Either way, there’s a tremendous amount of concern in camp whether or not the old Harvey returns to the mound now that he’s put surgery aside. Sandy Alderson says that it’s ‘not out of the question’ for Harvey to achieve 200 innings, ‘including the playoffs’. Let’s go back and remember that the last time he did pitch for the Mets, two things stood out. One, he averaged 6.85 innings per outing and two, it seemed like the Mets never supported him with a single run during most of those outings. If Harvey starts late in April, that would mean a probable four starts in April and a max of 27-28/190 innings.

I wonder if the lack of support added to Harvey’s headstrong attitude regarding how he approaches the game had anything to do with his injury. Did he ‘over pitch’ because his team couldn’t manufacture him a lead?

The 2015 Mets rotation will have much more talent than the 2013 version, but that means nothing to Harvey. He’s a one man head case either on his way to the Hall Of Fame or a hospital ward named in his honor.

I believe the Mets will have much success from their rotation this season, but not here. My guess is a .500 season, countless uncomfortable moments and quotes  with both coaches and the press, and even a possible repeat of his arm problems.

Harvey will not throw a ball below 100%. He just won’t do it and everyone could suffer here because of it.



There’s a story out of Binghamton that Mets outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo may start the 2015 season back with the B-Mets due to the fact that the Mets outfields, as Sandy Alderson said, are ‘backed up’. He also said this was the same thing that happened last year to catcher Juan Centeno.

We talked about ‘blocking’ a few weeks ago and I said that I didn’t see a single situation where a Mets prospect was being blocked. Now, it seems this could happen to Nimmo and did happen to Centeno (though I never considered Centeno a prospect).

I have no problem with Nimmo beginning the season in Upstate New York. He's used to snow. In fact, that’s where I have him projected, but I do have a problem if he gets clogged down behind a bunch of non-prospect wanabees that are going nowhere. The current Mets outfield is built around Juan Lagares in centerfield, who I see someday playing in an all-star game. The other two positions are dominated by the contracts that stand behind the players; however, I see an opening in 2016 for Nimmo if the Mets don’t slow track him.  

The best I can predict for Michael Cuddyer is a disappointing 2015, a probably return to the DL at least once during the season, and a platoon at first base in 2016 (frankly, there’s plenty of material here for an entire separate post).

Nimmo could start the year for the B-Mets, end the minor league season in Las Vegas, spend September with the Mets in Queens, and open up the 2016 season as one of your starting corner outfielders.

And before anyone writes back because their nose got out of joint with my definition of excess outfielders at the AAA level, this is how the game works folks. You draft a bunch of players, sign a bunch more internationally, and no matter how long or well they play the game, it comes down to three starters and two substitutes on the parent team. Most very decent baseball players never get above the AAA level. 

Even more depressing is most of them never get the chance to hit against both right handed and left handed pitchers. They are brought up through the system as platoon players and don't stand a chance of being an every day player in the majors.

Occasionally a Lagares comes along and surprises all of us, but most of the time we can figure out who is going to make it and who isn’t. Right now, the Mets system has a lot of ‘who isn’ts’ and they sadly need to step aside.



This is the time of the year that everybody comes out with their prospect list. Thomas Brennan and I took a stab at ours last month and Chris Soto is posting the official Mack’s Mets list as I write.

Chris Mitchell over at Fangraphs may have outdone us all.

He lists the current top 200 prospects, in order, and, for the Mets they would be: #6 RHSP Noah Syndergaard, #12 2B Dilson Herrera, #55, RHP Marcos Molina, #56, RHP Rafael Montero, #102, OF Brandon Nimmo, #123 RP Akeel Morris, #126 IF Thomas Brennon  Matt Reynolds, #130 OF Ivan Wilson, #153 C Kevin Plawecki, #158 P Matthew Bowman, #159 SS Amed Rosario, #182 P (he is a pitcher, right?) Emmanuel Zabala, #188 OF Cesar Puello, and #190 SS Wilfredo Tovar.  

I mean, 14 Mets prospects and no Steven Matz

Mitchell spends a considerable amount of time trying to defend his ‘KATOH’ system of picking prospects and dissing the likes of players like CWS SS Tim Anderson and Houston RHP Mark Appel. I’ve got my own problems with picks like Zabala over Matz.

I always tell this to anyone who asks me advice on how to develop a prospect list. Do not make this a popularity contest by flaunting one player for what he has produced in one year of his career or predict him to double or triple what he has done in the past in the next year. Now you’re just being an untrained fan and your whole list loses validity 

I loved the amount of Mets on Mitchell’s list but I wouldn’t give his next list a second glance.


 I do want to stop here and say one thing in case my Harvey ‘gloom and doom’ assessment makes you feel that I feel that the Mets will not make the playoffs this season. That’s wrong. I think they will win enough games to qualify for one of the wild card teams and, then, they’ll turn it over to the hot pitcher at that time of the year (with the right amount of rest) and we’ll all cross our fingers.

However…

I don’t think this will be a season where any particular players are going to max out, stat wise. It’s just not that kind of lineup. My guess is Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy will give us the same kind of season they did in 2014, and Juan Lagares might increase his batting average into the .290 range. Past that, I do look for excellent seasons from David Wright (for his age… 25-HRs, .275-.280) and the POY will be Travis d’Arnaud. My guess is at least five d’Arnaud clutch home runs will either create the lead that the team wins by or is a genuine walk off. I think d’Arnaud is going to be a perennial all-star. I really do.

Past that, I don’t expect positive results from either corner outfielder or anyone that plays shortstop.

However…

What the Mets are going to do this season is teach itself how to win ballgames. They will stop throwing of kicking away a lead and they will follow where their pitching staff takes them. The pitchers will create the routine fly balls and soft grounders needed to stay out of the error column.

I've told you a number of times that I played third base. I never made an error on a routine ground ball. It was always the ones that were hit sharply, especially the ones right at me. Bad pitching creates those kind of hit balls and the Mets have very little of that these days. It will be the pitchers that reduce the errors in the field, not the players making the plays.

You’re going to see a lot of 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 ballgames here. Timely hits and decent (lucky?) defense is going to determine what side of the final score the Mets are on.



dD vs. Kirk – I was reading something that Reese Kaplan wrote about Matt den Dekker and I realized that I never seem to talk about this guy. I think what happens to me is that the Mets turn most of their outfielders into platoon players and I just never have the respect for them anymore to become full time major league players. 

The perfect case would be both den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Neither one of them have anything more to prove in the minor leagues, but the only major league at-bats they have received have been against right handed pitching.

Whether you like it or not, the starting Mets outfield is Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and Michael Cuddyer. This leaves two substitute slots, one for someone that hits from the right side of the plate and the other from the left.

Den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis are both lefties and, in 2014, hit .255 (den Dekker, 137-Abs) and .262 (Nieuwenhuis, 103-Abs) against righties.

Here’s the problem. These are their platoon numbers and they don’t say .355 and .362. This is the best they have done against the kind of pitching they should be eating up. 

It’s just not there.

For me, the difference is the three home runs that Kirk had (dD had none!) and his .855 OPS. They both offer excellent defense and, frankly, I also give Kirk the push here, arm wise.

My hope is to see a lot of one of these guys in the eighth and ninth inning of every game the Mets are leading. I really don’t care if either one of them get a hit… I care that they prevent one.

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2/26/15

Tom Brennan - PROJECTIONS: METS RELIEF PITCHING 2015 VS. 2014

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Tom Brennan - PROJECTIONS: METS RELIEF PITCHING 2015 VS. 2014
My last article, starting pitcher projections.  Today, break out the Rolaids, ‘cause it's Mets reliever time. How'd they do last year, AND what up with this year, dog?

Boy, did it look bleak early last year. Bobby Parnell, fresh off serious neck surgery, wasted no time in blowing the first game save....and his Tommy John ligament.  So...let's try Farnsworth...yuk.  Valverde? Yuk squared.

Two things looked obvious for the pen.  Doom.  And Gloom.

They got lucky.  Jenrry Mejia wanted to start and wanted no part of the pen...made 7 largely ineffective starts, got switched to the pen, and despite the late start there and having essentially no experience as a closer, he rocked it with 28 saves.  JEN-RRY!!!

Best closer in the league?  No.  But did he do fine and fill a huge gap capably?  Yes.  And he's got GUTS!
My favorite memory of Jenrry was a game vs. Philly, where it came down to him vs. Ryan Howard, who pointed his bat menacingly at Mejia to psyche him out, but Mejia did not flinch, but stared in for what seemed like ages, and looked like he was really ENJOYING this head-to-head. The fact that Howard won this battle was irrelevant.

Some think Parnell gets his closer role back over Mejia.  I don't see why.  Jenrry’s to lose, IMO.

The 2014 pen also had very unexpectedly good performances from Josh Edgin, Dana Eveland, and Buddy Carlyle, who combined for 3-2, and a 1.78 ERA in 86 innings.

2014 also marked the emergence of Jeurys Familia.  I was highly confident that he'd excel when in 2013 winter ball, he struggled after his elbow chip surgery....until his last 4 2/3 shutout innings when he K'd ELEVEN.  Eleven Ks in 4.2 innings spells overwhelming dominance.  Right there, I felt big things were coming.  Right assessment.  Familia was just 2-5, but sported a 2.21 ERA in 77 innings over 76 games.

Who else? Vic Black had a terrible spring, another guy who helped inspire early season Doom and Gloom.  But he got it together, after a minor league stint, and had a solid season (2-3, 2.60, in 34.2 innings).

Of course, on the low budget Mets, there were bargain bin guys, not all of whom will work out.  Lannan and Germen are 2 that come to mind.  Dice K did a decent job and Carlos Torres was fine (except for the 11 relief homers he allowed in 92 innings), so the bargain bin did pretty well in 2014.

                                In 2015, I see bullpen improvement.  

Now-seasoned guys like Mejia, Black, and Familia should excel.  A returning Parnell (2.16, 22 saves in 2013) too - I still doubt he'll be back on opening day, though, just 12 months after TJ surgery.  I see a Montero and/or a Gee helping them avoid the bargain bin crap-heap.  Good righty arms in Cory Mazzoni and Hansel Robles to tap into as needed. 

 Eveland and Carlyle, as noted, were bargain bin beauties.

But Farnsworth, Valverde, Germen, Rice, and Lannan were bargain bin busts: 51 earned runs in 87 innings.  Going to the bargain bin too often is a great way to sabotage a season.  A lot less of that is likely in 2015.

After Edgin, another pen lefty of quality should emerge, out of Jack Leathersich, Dario Alvarez, or Sean Gilmartin. None of those three is a sure thing in 2015, much less of Andrew Miller quality.  I think the 2nd lefty slot represents the most risk to the Mets in the pen going into 2015; it can perhaps be coped with by going with just one lefty at the season’s start.

Tainted by the early season bad bullpen, the Mets' relievers went a mediocre 22-28, but with a decent ERA of3.14 and 466 Ks in 478 relief innings...but with only 42 saves in 64 save opportunities.  

 RECAP:
In my last article, I projected a stronger starting staff, supported by stronger offense, to go 72-48.  

I see the pen going 20-22, with an ERA of3.00 or less and far fewer blown save opportunities with a more stable, seasoned bullpen.  

Whoops, adding the projected starter and reliever W-L #s together, I guess that puts me at 92 wins, up from last year's 79.  

 Make sense to me?  Yes.  Why?

·       A stronger offense, which I project to score 120 more runs than 2014.  

·       A stronger starting rotation, winning a lot more games with the aid of better run support, and...  

·       A stronger pen, especially at the start of 2015 vs. 2014.

 I could be wrong...I hope I am right.

To help you see my overall pitching logic, I am adding below my recent article on the starters, and my chart of offensive increases/decreases projected by position.  See what you think.  I was not optimistic going in to 2014, but I'm very optimistic now.  92 wins.  

PRIOR ARTICLE - PROJECTIONS: METS STARTING PITCHING 2015 VS. 2014
The Mets ranked 9th overall in ERA in 2014 at 3.49, behind the Nats (3.03 – 1st) and Braves (3.38 – 5th) in their Division.
I will analyze their overall performance in 2014, and then give my view on 2015.
The starters went just 57-55, with a 3.67 ERA, leaving 50 decisions to the bullpen arms.  Pretty generous of them.  The bullpen guys thank them.
51 of those 57 wins were from the basic starting 5 (deGrom, Wheeler, Colon, Niese and Gee), with 6 other wins spread between Montero, Matsuzaka, and Mejia.  Other than the basic starting 5, 25 games were started by those other 3 gents, including a spot start from Torres.
I think we’ll see some starter improvement in 2015 – forces aiding and hindering that in 2015 are itemized below:
POSITIVES
1)      Harvey’s Back – let’s say Harvey bumps Gee, who had a 4.00 ERA in 2014 in 137 innings.  Likely a big improvement there.

2)      A Full Season of deGrom – 2.69 ERA overall, and 2.16 in his last 100 innings, over 22 starts.  What will he do with 32 starts?  Some hint at some regression.  I’m thinking possible Cy Young.

3)      Wheeler Ready to Blossom – first 3 months of 2014, he had a weak 4.26 ERA.  Last 3 months, he went 2.52 in 100 innings.  My guess?  His full 2015 is much closer to his 2nd half excellence.

4)      Better Starting Production from the Fill Ins: Torres, Mejia, Matsuzaka, and Montero were not bad (6-6, 4.23 in 137 innings over 25 starts), but I think this year’s fill in pitchers (likely to be less fill-in and more transitional – e.g., Thor, maybe Matz, or a seasoned Montero instead of last year’s more transient bunch) will toss to a better ERA.

5)      Better Starting Production from the Promoted:  2 or 3 of Niese, Colon, and Gee are likely to head out this year, leaving a rotation of Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Thor, and Montero or Matz.  Niese, Colon, and Gee combined to pitch to an ERA of 3.83.  I already bumped Gee for Harvey above, so Niese and Colon were a combined 3.76.  I think the young call ups can do as well or perhaps a bit better.

HEADWINDS
1)      Shorter fences will lift ERAs a bit, but the three pitchers most often spoken about as being likely to depart (Niese, Colon, and Gee) gave up 57 of their 141 homers surrendered (40%) in their 527 innings (36% of the Mets’ innings).  57 in 527 innings (or 1 every 9.24 innings) is a tad high.  Syndergaard and Matz have only given up 34 homers (26 and 8 respectively) over 702 innings (427 and 275, respectively) in the minors.  That’s 1 every 20.64 innings.   So I think those 2, while neophytes in terms of not yet being in the bigs, will surrender fewer homers per inning than the veterans they may replace.
Harvey, who will replace Gee, allowed just 12 homers in 237 career innings, or 1 every 19.75 innings.  Long story short, the fences coming in will help the Mets’ hitters more than it will hurt their pitchers.

2)      Harvey coming back from Tommy John.  All reports sound promising, but will he be 100% Dark Knight when he returns?  Time will tell.

3)      Transitional uncertainty – Gee, Colon, and Niese have many combined years of big league experience, which counts for a lot.  It is also unclear if only Thor will join the rotation in 2015, or Matz or Montero will.

Overall: 
I see the starters going 72-48 with an ERA of 3.20 in 2015, a substantial jump over the 57-55, 3.67 of 2014, for all of the reasons above...plus I believe the offense will score 120 more runs in 2015.  More offense, more wins.

SUMMARY OF MY METS’ OFFENSIVE PROJECTIONS, FROM A RECENT ARTICLE:

Position
2014 RBIs
Projected 2015
Difference
First Base
96
110
+14
Second Base
73
70
-3
Shortstop
57
80
+23
Third Base
69
90
+21
Catcher
74
75
+1
Left Field
46
80
+34
Center Field
76
75
-1
Right Field
78
90
+12
Pinch Hitting
18
30
+12
Pitchers
12
20
+8
TOTALS
599
720
+121
Read more...
Mack's Mets © 2012