Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
I wrote yesterday about what Brad Johnson said about the Mets relief squad. It’s only proper to add today what he wrote about the rotation –
The rotation is headlined by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. Most everybody expects the trio to be among the top 20 pitchers in baseball. Trailing behind them is Steven Matz, another promising young starter. Matz isn’t an ace in the making, but he looks like an above average real world and fantasy starter. Proud Papa Bartolo Colon will serve as rotation patriarch.
The influx of talent has left Zack Wheeler as something of a forgotten man. The club is targeting a July 1 return date from Tommy John surgery. At his best, Wheeler wielded a 95 mph fastball with a strikeout per inning and a few too many walks (about 4.00 BB/9). He’s a very different pitcher than Matz, but the talent level is/was comparable. You can never be completely positive a pitcher will return from Tommy John.
If something goes wrong in the rotation before July, things will get a little more dicey. On another team, Rafael Montero would have a more prominent role. Despite success in the minors, the former prospect has had trouble cracking the Mets stacked rotation. He struggled with a rotator cuff injury last season, so he’s not a safe sixth starter either. He can be optioned to the minors one more season.
Mack – It was good to see that Montero got a mention here. He still goes into this season as the emergency pick-up-the-phone SP6.
Let’s remember… there are always injuries.
Anthony McCarron quotes Kevin Plawecki about his 2015 sinus problems -
Mack – One would think that correcting this problem will only help Plawecki this season. You need to be at 100% both mentally and physically to compete at the major league level and I would think that it’s important to be able to breathe.
It was interesting to read Robert Cricola's breakout on why the Mets brought in infielder Asdrubal Cabrera –
Mack – This is the first time I’ve read that Cabrera is going to be a ‘utility’ infielder on the Mets. Did the Mets actually spend $8.25mil a year on a player to ‘back up’ someone making $625K (Wilmer Flores)?
Here’s a great story on Cuban baseball by Peter Gammons -
It was well after 10 p.m., we were leaving a playoff game in Havana between Industriales and La Isla, and we were driving back to our hotel. Down one dimly-lit street there was a line a half-block long, and when we asked what could possibly be going on at that time of night, our guide, who worked for the ABC Havana Bureau, said, “loosely translated, you would call it a ‘snitch line.”
She further explained that people could get get extra food rations or stamps if they came into the government office and, “give information about neighbors, of people they know about.”
The time was not so long ago, 1989, ten days before the Baltimore Orioles would come to play the Cuban National team. Kendrys Morales and Yulieski Gourriel were 15, playing for a sports academy outside Havana (where Jose Fernandez would later attend and play), Jose Contreras was the national team’s best pitcher.