Mack - Kyle Johnson


Here's a great story on the Mets Kyle Johnson and his fight for a fair salary...


Reese Kaplan -- What's Gavin Cecchini's MLB Future?


When Sandy Alderson made Gavin Cecchini his 1st round draft pick in 2012 there were some skeptics who were not enamored with the selection.  He’s not the type of player who has an outstanding skill that everyone covets.  He doesn’t hit the long ball like Giancarlo Stanton.  He doesn’t run the bases like Billy Hamilton.  He doesn’t field with the aplomb of Ozzie Smith.   Yet there was something there that made the Mets use their 12th position in the draft to make him the top pick.

As he began his career in the Mets system, he moved up as you would expect from someone the club is emotionally invested in seeing succeed.  However, he didn’t reassure a great many doubters during his initial foray into the professional ranks.  Yes, he took quality at-bats and seemed to use the entire field but his pronounced leg kick seemed to hinder his ability to handle better pitching.  His age 18 initial trial across two leagues saw him finish with a .240/1/22 slash line.  Meh. 

He was promoted, of course, and his full season at age 19 in Brooklyn saw him up the batting average to .273 but his run production was even worse with no home runs and just 14 RBIs over the course of over 200 at-bats.

In 2014 he played across three levels, reaching as high as AA, and finally put together a full year’s worth of production.  The batting average was nothing impressive at .247 but he did manage to hit 8 home runs and drive in 56 – somewhat encouraging numbers from a player in a defensive position not always known for offensive prowess.  It was during this time they worked on altering his leg kick into more of a toe tap to help him have more time to get around on faster pitches.

In 2015 as whispers of “bust” regarding his draft status got louder he finally put it all together.  At AA Binghamton for the entire year he hit an impressive .317 while hitting 7 HRs and driving in 51.  He struck out a mere 55 times while walking 42.  He didn’t show much baserunning speed with just 3 SBs, but his OBP was a nice .377.

Everyone knows that Las Vegas is a hitter’s paradise and as expected Cecchini responded in kind with a terrific year at the plate.  He hit .325 with 8 HRs and 55 RBIs while still showing that good approach at the plate and excellent bat control.  Unfortunately his defense seemed to take a major step backwards and with uber-prospect Amed Rosario likely playing SS for the 51s, that will probably push Cecchini to the other side of the diamond at 2B.  His route to the majors may be easier there with Neil Walker playing on a one-year contract and a possible opening resulting in 2018. 

So what kind of player will he become?  There are not a lot of high average hitters who also don’t have another tool.  Some get by on speed, some have outstanding defense.  Others contribute power. 

The best I could parallel as an aspirational model for him was the mostly St. Louis Cardinal (and brief but forgotten NY Met), Tom Herr.  He was a man who once drove in 110 runs while hitting .302 but only driving 8 balls out of the park.  For his career he was a .271 hitter who often walked more than he struck out.  He only hit 28 long balls over a 13 year career, but he was a solid and dependable player who was a starter for 11 of them.  If Cecchini could replicate Herr’s career then people would likely salute Sandy Alderson for a good choice. 



BREAKING NEWS - P - Anthony Young

Heard very sad news: Former  pitcher Anthony Young has an inoperable brain tumor. Doctors unsure if malignant but cannot reach it.

Mack Ade - Q and A - Wilmer Flores, Sandy's Drafts,


Good morning. 

Max asked -

    A two part question... 

    1. Mack, do you think that the fact that Wilmer Flores didn't agree to arbitration with the Mets could be a sign of his exiting the team before the season starts?

        Mack - Hey Max. Put it this way. Mets players always work this out. I think there has been two players that didn't in the past 10 years.

        Add this to the fact that Sandy Alderson hates when someone doesn't do what he wants to do and I'm sure Flores' name has quietly been added to the list of Mets    that could be traded before the season starts.

        This whole thing makes little sense to me. Flores isn't even a starter and he's still being paid seven figures to hit a ball with a bat.

        Is this payback for being traded earlier? Could be.

       I don't see him being around by the end of the season, possibly much sooner.

2. And if Flores is traded, who becomes the second utility infielder?

    Mack - Good question.

    I guess we are all assuming that T.J. Rivera is one of the utility infielders that will come out of spring training. I mean, the guy's never hit bad since leaving school, hit .333 last year for the Mets in 105-AB and had only three errors in the 222.2 inning he played in the field (.968).

    Is that good? Well, it was better than Jose Reyes (527 innings played, 6-E, .960).

    Assuming everybody leaves camp in one piece, these two should be your utility infielders. Though originally a shortstop, Reyes played third mostly in 2016 and can play second in a pinch. Rivera can play all three, plus first base.

    But what happens when the pins start falling?

    Would it be Gavin Cecchini? He did hit .300+ in the past two seasons for Binghamton and Las Vegas, but the only position he has played professionally is shortstop (let's remember... the job of a utility infielder is to play perfect defense in multiple positions while hitting a batting average above two. Playing only short is not what you want here). 

    Next would be Matt Reynolds. Another shortstop, that has only played 32 games at second and none at third. 

    So, where do we go from here? 

    Well, if you try to solve this within the current pipeline, all you have is a 26-year old that has played 258 games at second, 14 at short, and one at third. Not a wiz in the field. but not bad either. And, at least he isn't another shortstop.


L.J. Mazzilli.

Tony N. asked - 

    I saw you and Adam talking online about the Alderson years and whether or not he has drafted well. You have never been high on his choices. Why?

        Mack - (who is Adam?) Simple... do the numbers:

        Let’s review the 6-year Alderman era –

            2011 – 51 players drafted – 35 players signed – 1 star (Michael Fulmer) – 3 developing pros (Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman)

            2012 – 42 players drafted – 21 players signed – 1 developing pro (Tomas Nido)

            2013 – 41 players drafted – 27 players signed – 1 developing pro (Dominic Smith)

            2014 – 39 players drafted – 11 players signed – 1 developing pro (Michael Conforto)

            2015 – 39 players drafted – 18 players unsigned – too soon to target developing pros

            2016 – 41 players drafted – 14 players unsigned – too soon to target developing pros

So what we have is seven 'potential' future stars on this team... out of 253 draft picks... the best of which is now on another team... and the rest show very little chance of getting someday to Cooperstown.

Barbara asked - 

    Mack, I saw an article online this week that said that the Mets have one of the most talented starting rotation plus one of the cheapest. When does that start to turn against us and who do you see the first to leave, and his replacement?

        Mack - Interesting question.

        First, let's assume the following five pitchers will be the Mets rotation, followed by the year they become a free agent -

        Matt Harvey - 2019

        Jacob deGrom - 2021

        Noah Syndergaard - 2022

        Zack Wheeler - 2020

        Steven Matz - 2022

        Pretty exciting, huh?

        It's obvious that Harvey will be the first to leave this team. I see zero chance of him remaining a Met past 2019. Frankly, I see him gone before this.

        I break down replacements into two categories... one, guys that will fill in during the 2017 and 2018 season if injuries come up, someone listed above is traded, or someone comes up short... they, in my opinion would be either Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo.

        Then, in 2020, I look for Justin Dunn, or Anthony Kay to step up and earn their stripes after being drafted in the first round last season out of college.



BREAKING NEWS - Mets Outfield Update per MLBTR


Mets prepared to entire 2017 with Jay Bruce on their roster: The Mets are loaded with starting-caliber corner outfielders – Yoenis CespedesCurtis GrandersonMichael Conforto and Bruce – and that’s likely to remain the case when the season begins. General manager Sandy Alderson has tried to unload Bruce this offseason, but those attempts have gone for naught. As a result, the team informed Bruce that he’ll open the season as its right fielder. While the Mets could have cut the cord on Bruce in November, their decision to exercise his $13MM option came amid uncertainty surrounding Cespedes, who was unsigned at the time.


Mack - No new news here, but there sure seems to be an awful lot of updates lately saying that Bruce will remain a Met.


Mack Ade – What If? (son of Whaddya think?


Good morning.

I was thinking about this so I thought I’d create a post on this subject and ask all of you for your opinion on the subject.

We all know how this team has been decimated over the last few years with injuries, and yet, we still got to the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s impossible to imagine how have we would have gone the last two years if we had a healthy third baseman plus the dream team rotation.

That being said, let’s look at some scenarios and I want to ask you want you think this team should do if injuries set in again.

1.     The outfield – right now, it looks like that even the teams in Korea want nothing to do with Jay Bruce. Amazing. The guy comes to town leading the league in runs batted in. He also runs faster than Brandon Nimmo. Now, he’s radioactive. So, it looks like the Mets will go to camp with these two guys, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, and Juan Lagares fighting it out for five outfield slots in the opening day clubhouse… Question:  Who is the odd man out and will be shipped out to Las Vegas for the opening day there? And the second part of the question… it’s obvious that the ‘odd man out’ in the first part of this question would be the first outfielder called up if there was an injury to one of these guys already in Queens… but what if a second outfielder goes down? What do we do then?

2.     Third Base – It’s just a matter of time, right? We’re going to be looking for a new third baseman to either fill in for the days lost while David Wright rests, or the rest of the season after Wright goes down for maybe the last time. So the question becomes…who’s the next Mets third baseman? Wilmer Flores? T.J.? Jose Reyes? Or, do you move Neil Walker over from second and put either Flores or Rivera there?

3.     Starters – We all know the initial plan… because three starters are coming to camp coming off surgery, the team will most probably start the season with a 6-man rotation. This will consist six of the following seven pitchers: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Zack Wheeler. Who starts the season off in Vegas? And what happens if two starters aren’t ready. Who’s next up? Gabriel Ynoa? Sean Gilmartin? Tyler Pill? Or a longshot like P.J. Conlon?

4.     Pen – We know the team is a long way away from firming up their opening day pen. Jeurys Familia will probably be in anger management classes… Addison Reed and Hansel Robles seems to be locked in… and Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker probably have the best odds to make it… but then what? Conlon (Adam Rubin is reporting that the Mets are considering using the lefty Conlon out of the opening day pen)? Kevin McGowan? Rafael Montero? Paul Sewald? Adam Wilk (who the heck is Adam Wilk)?

5.     First Base – We know we’re going to have to live with Lucas Duda’s highs and lows during the season, but what if his back acts up again and he goes on the disabled list for the remainder of the season again. What do we do then? Do we fill in with T.J. Rivera, try to find another James Loney for a buck, or rush Dominic Smith up the pipeline?

6.     Shortstop – What if Astrubel Cabrera goes down? Do you play either Rivera or Reyes here or is time to turn this position over to Amed Rosario?


BREAKING NEWS - MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects


The list is out and the Mets on the list are - 

    #5 - SS Amed Rosario

    #63 - 1B Dominic Smith


BREAKING NEWS - LHRP - Jerry Blevens

If Blevins is comfortable with 2 years, as suggested here, Mets are too, per sources.

Reese Kaplan -- Fake News & Alternative Facts

A recent article on the “official” blog of the New York Mets pointed out the fact that Skipper Terry Collins is closing in on some very noteworthy achievements.  With another contending season he will become the 2nd winningest manager in Mets history, surpassing Bobby Valentine.  He will have managed longer than anyone else and he has the chance to be the first to achieve three straight post-season appearances.  The conclusion, therefore, was that Terry Collins’ legacy will be that of a winner.


Terry Collins long ago was a winner when he was in charge of the Houston Astros.  In fact, he finished with a statistically winning record here in my home state with a career mark of 224-197.  That’s a positive winning percentage of .532 yet after three consecutive 2nd place finishes the Astros had seen enough and fired him.  (Statistical footnote – the following year Larry Dierker took over and took the Astros to three straight 1st place finishes.  But no…the manager doesn’t make a difference according to the apologists…)

The braintrust for southern California’s AL team decided that the fiery Collins was just what they needed to propel themselves back to the postseason as the newly minted Anaheim Angels in 1997.  Underachieving as usual, he led them to two straight 2nd place finishes and then a 4th place finish.  It was while he was mired 28 games out of 1st and his players appealing directly to the front office to can him that Terry Collins resigned.  His ending numbers in Anaheim were not pretty – a .481 winning percentage over three years, but the club knew it had to change direction.  (Sandy Alderson, by contrast, did not feel compelled to improve the team the way Bill Bavasi did.  Similar footnote – shortly after his departure the Angels went onto win 1st place 5 out of 6 consecutive years.)

For the next seven years no one in baseball would give Terry Collins a job but he bounced back to crash and burn in Japan and then in China.  He eventually landed as manager of the Duluth Huskies of the Northwest League where he shepherded them to a 7th place finish.  He had pretty much hit rock bottom when the Mets decided that perhaps managing wasn’t his best role.  They offered him a job as a roving minor league instructor and he spent 2010 doing just that.

Inexplicably in 2011 when Sandy Alderson took over he turned to the man with the very checkered record who’d never won anything to be the face of the franchise as it tried to emerge from the Madoff madness.  The old stressed out, fiery Collins was long gone and replaced with a perplexed looking but mellower guy who routinely made head scratching decisions, yet the GM stuck with him.  By 2015 he (and mostly Yoenis Cespedes) got the Mets into the World Series and many felt vindicated for their long and tried patience with the man.  His subsequent follow up to the post season in 2016 reinforced the apologists’ mantra that given the horses he was the right jockey. 

Of course, all those years that Sparky Anderson was winning with the Big Red Machine the conventional wisdom was that a monkey could finish in first place with that kind of lineup.  It seems that the test of a good manager is one who can motivate his team to perform at an elite level even when the talent was not quite there.  On that front Terry Collins has not succeeded. 

Take, for example, some of the players who performed under Terry Collins and then witness how they did when they left.  Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy are the two most glaring examples.  However, the flip side also must be considered.  There are players he kept trotting out there again and again when alternatives existed until eventually the GM relieved him of the opportunity to do so.  They’re no longer in the major leagues – Ruben Tejada, Eric Young and Eric Campbell immediately spring to mind. 

Put another way, some people felt that Don Sutton's induction into the Hall of Fame was a travesty because he was never even in the conversation as one of the best pitchers of his era.  The term "compiler" was coined to describe someone who, through longevity and modest talent, aggregated large enough totals that people who didn't watch him on a day-in, day-out basis might misread as superstar.  He won 20 games but once in his long career and won one ERA title.  He was not going to hurt you but to put him in the same breath as people like Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton is heresy.  

So too, it is to call Terry Collins "good" on the basis of simply having been around and owning a career losing record as the Mets manager.  For his entire career he sits at exactly .500 -- the very definition of mediocre.  Why Sandy Alderson dragged him out of obscurity and thrust him into the dugout with that kind of track record is anyone's guess, but he's certainly not done anything to distinguish himself.  Even when he improbably took a team to the World Series (and lost in embarrassing fashion) he didn't get the Manager of the Year award from his peers.  In fact, two guys who didn't even make it to the World Series finished ahead of him.  

To hear some tell it, he deserves accolades for what he’s accomplished.  To me, he’s Milton, the beleaguered and put upon guy with the red stapler from “Office Space” who keeps getting shuffled around because no one has the heart to tell him he’s no longer relevant or productive.   Just as Sandy Alderson has done nothing to improve the roster, he’s willingly embraced a sub-optimal manager and has no rings to show for his decision and loyalty.  


Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think - 13

“So whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean? What do I think?”
“Whaddya think about the Mets this winter?
“Whaddya mean, nothing?”
“Just that, nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Goose egg. Nada. A big, long string of nothing.”
“What you’re saying to me is non-sense.”
“I have my moments. To continue, nothing you make is sense.”
“I think nothing about the Mets because they are doing nothing. They are sitting around making a grand total of no action. So there ain’t nothing to think about.”
“They’ve got have their reasons.”
“I thought that too. I said it was the holidays. They were off playing Santa Claus, or something like that. I figured it’s New Years. They’re at the gym fulfilling their resolutions. I figured it’s January. It’s too cold to make a deal. I’m running out of reasons.”
“There’s gotta be something.”
“I’ll tell you what. I’m going to stand up here and give you my Mets report.”
“Careful. Do you think your heart can stand it?”
“Okay, here’s my Mets report. This is just in. I have a man who is right down there on the field at Citi Field. He’s giving me this exclusive report that grass is actually growing there.”
“Wait a minute, I’ve gotta take notes.”
“I’ve also got a rep who is a fly on the wall up in the executive offices. He’s telling me that most definitely the paint on that wall is actually drying.”
“You’re scooping every reporter in town.”
“Here’s another one from my man hanging out near the water cooler that is in the kitchen. He says there is some water there that he thinks is, in the very near future, just about to boil.”
“Exciting stuff.”
“I don’t know what else I can say. There ain’t nothing happening with the Mets. Maybe the problem really was Christmas. The holiday spirit just stuck. Sandy’s sitting around doing nothing but having a Christmas carol running through his head.”
“What one’s that?”
“Silent Night.”

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.

You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.

Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think? - v12.5

“So whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean? What do I think?”
“Whaddya think about the press?”
“Did you see where Sandy said he ain’t trading Bruce but starting him in right?”
“Did you notice that the press didn’t jump up and applaud Sandy for settling that issue? Instead they started bitching about there ain’t no place for Conforto to play.

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.

You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.


Reese Kaplan -- AAA All Star Game in El Paso in 2019


With luck, I'll be there first hand to report on the best of the best appearing there -- by then perhaps guys like Justin Dnnn and Thomas Szapucki will be representing the Mets.

Mack Ade - Steven Matz


Good morning.

Steven Matz always seems to be an afterthought when the subject of the Mets starting rotation comes up, even though he probably would qualify to be, at least, the SP2 on half the clubs in the league.

The Melville (L.I.) High School lefty was drafted with the Mets first pick in the 2009 draft, which actually was the 72nd overall pick coming in the 2nd round. His 4-year minor league record produced a stat line of 25-20, 2.24, 1.14, 381-IP, 393-K. This has been followed with 28 starts for the Mets in the past two seasons, that has produced a 13-8 record with a 3.16-ERA. Also impressive is his 8.73/K-9 coupled with a 2.11/BB-9.

Matz hasn’t been healthy throughout his Mets career. It took him over two years to even pitch a pitch and he finished last season on the disabled list as well, but reports from Florida is that he’s now 100% and ready to go for the 2017 season.

Fellow Mack’s Mets writer Reese Kaplan has his own spin on Matz –

Steve Matz has the potential to be a dominant starter in the major leagues.  I personally witnessed him throwing in El Paso against the eventual PCL champion Chihuahuas and he made them look silly.  For a tall guy with a small frame he gets the ball to the plate with excellent velocity and tremendous movement. 

Control is something of an issue for him, with an average of over 3 walks per 9 innings.  While that's not horrible, it bears watching.  He's done a great job keeping hitters from making strong contact and has produced some sparkling ERAs throughout his career. 

Unfortunately, health has always been a problem for him, both at the minor league level and again now in the majors.  Whether it's the inevitable Tommy John surgery, he's also dealt with abdominal issues and a bone spur requiring surgery as well.  He calls to mind other highly talented pitchers like Erik Bedard, Mark Prior and Steve Avery who never seemed to be able to get the 30+ starts year in and year out required by a MLB pitcher.  

Original Mack’s Mets writer (who is also returning to the site this month, David Rubin, had this to say –

           It's hard to say that "player X" is going to be the "difference-maker" in a rotation, especially when that player has only been a pro for a brief time. It's even harder to say that a pitcher who has had a long history of injuries throughout the minor leagues and during his short time in the majors is going to be a "difference – maker"- and yet, potentially, that is what I believe Steven Matz is going to be for the 2017 New York Mets. I really think that 2017 is the year when he stays healthy for an entire season and, as the only lefty in the rotation, he is going to be particularly important against teams like the Washington Nationals.

His stuff makes him a lethal weapon; The fact that he is left-handed makes him a rare one. I am predicting he will go 16 - 8 with a 2.73 ERA, and I think he is going to be a dominating part of the rotation for the next three years at the very least. Lefties who are starters and throw heat at 95mph and above are as rare as the Brewers winning a World Series. Now as long as the boys from Milwaukee don't pull the worlds biggest miracle out of their New Era caps, Mark me down as predicting Matz for 4 straight fantastic seasons!  

I happen to think that Matz has us right where he wants us to be. No one writes stories about him becoming the ace of this staff so he can just keep on doing what he does best... 

I look for continued numbers like he has produced over the past two seasons.


Richard Jones - 2017 Projections for the Mets Starting Pitchers


I saw some 2017 projections for the Mets starters recently. They made no sense to me. There's very little science that you can put into projections like that. Bill James did publish some work that shows how players progress and regress during their careers. He has thousands of players stats to work with. You can see players as a whole progressing into their early thirties before they begin a downward curve of regression. There are players who don't fit the normal curve, like Barry Bonds who had his best seasons when he was in his late thirties and early forties. Then there are individual circumstances such as injuries and recovering from a year plagued by injury.

If you're going by stats alone each Met pitcher should have a slightly better year than he had in 2016. Every starting Met pitcher is still at an age when you would expect a player to progress. Many of the projections I have seen for Noah Syndergaard show a regression from the 2016 season. Most of these actually show an increase in innings which would suggest that the predicted regression is not caused by health issues. Predicting Syndergaard is healthy for 2017 and regresses is non-sense. There is absolutely no data to back that. To predict health issues would require information that fans like myself and like most professional writers have no access to.

My projections below are based on 5% stats and science and 95% my gut feeling. I don't believe anyone else is capable of doing any better unless you have access to their medical records. So don't take my projections or anyones elses serious. It's just for fun. We can comeback and revisit these in October.

I'm going to start with Matt Harvey. I saw the very short video he posted. He looked like he is in the best shape of his career. I feel he is 100% healthy and extremely motivated. I'm predicting a return to dominance and the Mets ace.

Next is Noah Syndergaard. I expect him to stay healthy. I believe his size and easy mechanics will keep him that way. I don't see any reason not to expect him to build off of last year.

Jacob deGrom returns to form. Before his injury he had been the Mets most consistant starter over the last 2 and a half seasons. He is the easiest to predict.

Matz is much more difficult to predict. He hasn't been able to put together a real long string of healthy games. I was real aggressive on my predictions for Harvey. I'm being more conservative with Matz. If he stays and pitches healthy he should perform better but that's a big if.

Wheeler is another difficult if not impossible prediction. How will the Mets use him? Will he be healthy? Even when he did start and was healthy he never came near fulfilling his potential. I always thought Mike Pelfrey had great stuff when he was with the Mets. He never could figure it out. Wheeler's stuff is even better but will he figure it out. He could easily put the numbers up that deGrom does. The question is will he?

I don't believe the Mets will go to a full 6 man rotation but I do believe they will limit the innings of several of their starters. Having a 6th starter like Gsellman will make that easy. I still believe he will get 20 to 25 start even if the other 5 stay healthy. They can start Wheeler in the bullpen or give him an extended spring traing. They can take turns shutting down Harvey, Matz, deGrom, and Wheeler to limit their innings. I don't think there will be an issue getting him starts. I believe he was the real deal last year.


BREAKING NEWS - Las Vegas 51s


The Mets AAA franchise, the Las Vegas 51st, could be getting a new stadium sometime in the next couple of years.

There are reports that talks are underway with the Howard Hughes Corporation to donate the land that would be needed to build a stadium that would house the new NHL franchise that is coming to town, a possible NFL team, and the Mets affiliate.

It would be next door to the new NHL practive facility in Summerlin.


Mack Ade – Mack’s Mets News – Cornish, Thole, Montgomery, Carlyle, Henderson


Good morning.

First, some internal stuff –

I want to remind everyone reading this that we are always in need of Mack’s Mets writers. The process is simple… we let you into the site, you write what you want to write (we do not control content), you let me know when it is ready, and I schedule it. If you are interested, email me at: macksmets@gmail.com and we’ll go from there. We can then hook up on the telephone (if necessary) to discuss any details. The more writers we have, with different opinions regarding this team, just makes for a better site.

One of the original writers here at Mack's Mets has returned! Jack Flynn has re-signed and you'll see his first thoughts on the upcoming Addison Reed post next week.

I ask all of you to say some prayers for one of my friends, and fellow Mets blogger, John Delcos (http://www.newyorkmetsreport.com/), who has been going through various medical procedures that have resulted since the horrific home based accident he went through in March 2104, that have left him in a wheelchair. I kid John that, since then, I have now become the second most screwed up Mets writer on the web. Please light a candle and say a prayer for my good friend.

Some ‘minor’ news this month –

Brooklyn Cyclone relief pitcher, Gary Cornish, was busted for amphetamine usage and was suspended for 50 games. Cornish was a 2016 19th round pick out of the University of San Diego, where he started 18 games last season (5-3, 4.57, 1.33, 8.93-K/9). Nothing really special, right? Well, then he got to Brooklyn and pitched out of the pen for 14 more games and produced an incredible stat line of 0-0, 2.16, 1.08, and a Jack Leatherich-ish 15.84 K/9. You would think this kid was on drugs, right?

I asked 'Brooklyn Cowbell Guy', a mainstay at Cyclones home games about Cornish and he told me - 

    "It was hard to observe him this year. The Mets had him on a limit as
    to how many pitches he would throw. He did seem consistent in his roles
    out of the pen."

Picture by Mack Ade 

Ex-Mets catcher Josh Thole signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His ability to catch and control a knuckleball made him the catcher of choice whenever the Mets or Toronto pitched R.A. Dickey, but that all went away when Dickey inked a deal with the Braves and exposed Thole’s .180/.253/.228 stat line over the past two seasons.

The Mets announced that they released once projected star starter and now fallen reliever, Christian Montgomery. Montgomery was not expected to sign coming out of high school, but changed his mind and inked a deal with the Mets. I thought this would pay off in spades, but, once again, I was wrong. The Baseball Draft Report https://baseballdraftreport.com/tag/christian-montgomery/ had their first warning about Montgomery back in December 2011 –

Lawrence HS (IN) RHP Christian Montgomery (Round 11) formed a darn good one-two punch with incoming Louisville freshman RHP Jared Ruxer in high school. With Montgomery it all comes down to which version of the hefty righthander you’re going to get. The Mets are obviously banking on the showcase circuit version of Montgomery showing up to instructs (see below to read what his stuff was like then) next season. If his stuff stays down, then we might have to acknowledge the reality that pitchers don’t always follow a typical developmental path; sometimes guys peak as high school juniors, hard as it is to admit.

Simply put, Montgomery just couldn’t stay away from recreational drugs, which is a big no-no in the Alderson organization. He had two ‘incidents’ before finally putting up some decent numbers last year for A-Columbia (19-G, 1-1, 3.34, 13.65-K/9), but something else must have happened to finally pull the plug here.

The Los Angeles Angels announced that former Mets pitcher, Buddy Carlyle, will be their AA pitching coach. Carlyle pitched part of nine seasons in the majors, beginning with the San Diego Padres in 199. His last stint, in 2015, was with the Mets In between, a ton of minor league assignments and two trips to Japan, but the remarkable thing was the fact that this guy survived this long in the majors… 150-G, 27-starts… with a career 5.15-ERA.

Former Mets relief pitcher, Jim Henderson, signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. Henderson pitched in 44 games last season for the Mets and produced a 4.37-ERA. The Mets had no plans on keeping him for next season so he looked for work elsewhere. His 4-year major league stat line is 155-G, 10-11, 3.68, 1.27. 

Reese Kaplan -- An Appreciation for What's Good

For someone who spends a lot of time evaluating the team through a hypercritical lens, I thought I would instead talk about some of the positives that Mets fans should appreciate (perhaps more). after all, we're looking at pitchers and catchers reporting in less than three weeks.  

First of all, thank you for the turnaround.  When the current regime took over the club was a laughingstock and although the impatience of the fans is omnipresent, the fact is that the five year plan was a success as it resulted in a World Series appearance and then a subsequent playoff berth the following year.  They went from cellar dwellers to contenders while mostly moving past the Madoff-era austerity. 

Next, let’s tip our caps to the pitching staff.  When healthy they have one of the finest sets of arms anywhere in the majors.  The arms are what got them to climb out of the cellar.  Sandy Alderson gets credit for much of it, though the much maligned Omar Minaya actually found Matt Harvey, Jacob de Grom, Steven Matz, Jeurys Familia and others.  Alderson gets credit for the trades that brought in Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and drafting Michael Fulmer (who resulted in the Yoenis Cespedes trade).  Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are his, too, though the jury is still out on them until we see a bigger sample.

Power is something that some people never expected to see across the board with the Mets.  Last year they shattered the club record and clubbed 218 HRs.  Their best total prior to that was a mere 200 a full decade ago during a 2006 first place finish in the division on the bats of Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and a fresh-faced healthy David Wright.  What’s even more impressive is that the Mets were without both David Wright and Lucas Duda for most of the year, as well as missing chunks of time from other power hitters like Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. 

Versatility has become very much in vogue in baseball.  Witness the $56 million contract signed by Ben Zobrist not to play a single position but to play all over the field.  This past season the Mets were in a unique position to snatch up Jose Reyes for minimum wage after being cut loose by the Colorado Rockies.  Given the high regard with which the fans held Reyes the first time around the Mets were better able to withstand the potential PR nightmare of rewarding one of the first players suspended under the league’s new domestic violence policy.  When the manager deigned to do so, they got excellent production out of other subs like Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera.  They even got a handful of productive ABs out of Brandon Nimmo.  Of course, being who he is, way too many ABs were squandered on the likes of James Loney, Alejandro De Aza, Matt Reynolds, Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell.  It says a lot about the quality of the backup players that Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera all need to have monster springs to ensure they come north. 

Finally, there’s credibility.  In 1950 the UCLA Bruins head coach Red Saunders told people, “Winning isn’t everything.  Men, it’s the only thing.”  It does cure what ails you.  Gone are the days when the Mets were the punchline of the late night talk shows.  In 2015 the Yankees lost the wildcard and the Mets made it to the World Series.  They outdrew the Mets by 600,000.  Last year the Yankees didn’t make the post season and the Mets were in the wildcard.  There was still a 300,000 deficit in attendance.  A World Series win could reverse that trend and give the city back to the Mets.  Right now it appears to be up for grabs. 

Can things be improved?  Sure.  A few issues immediately spring to mind: 

  • Get on base.  In Little League they used to tell you a walk is as good as a hit.  There’s some truth in that. 
  • Play defense.
  • Steal bases.
  • Hit and run.
  • Hit behind the runners.
  • Bunt.
  • Stop riding the cold hand for weeks at a time just because he was good several years ago.
  • Conversely, don't bench the hot hand.
  • Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint.  Manage the bullpen accordingly.
  • Not everyone who goes 0-4 in a single game must be relegated to platoon status (or benched).
  • Remember, the market doesn’t always come to you.  Sometimes you need to make an effort.

Mack's Mets © 2012