Peter Hyatt - 2017 Mets Moving Forward: 2015 Hangover


Looking forward to Spring 2018, and judging by what sports doctors recently said, we should expect Michael Conforto to be ready sometime in late April/early May in the worst case scenario.  Some MDs say "4 months" while others go as long as "6 months" for recovery.  

Conforto is known to be a dedicated athlete and has significant health habits, including not just whole body work outs combining strength and flexibility,  but whole foods, high protein, proper rest and overall dedication to his craft.  He is a mature young athlete and if anyone will hit the early point of doctors' estimates, it is Conforto. 

Healthy, we should expect Conforto to continue to progress in power and average.  

Yoenis Cespedes' recent statements may indicate one of two things:

a.  A growing awareness of media's presence in NY and how to cope with it... or
b.  He is actually going to change his off season work out.  

After putting the stiletto between Terry Collins's 3rd and 4th rib,  he went down again, due to his ongoing leg issues.  It is said that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are "most displeased" with the return on  their $110 million dollar investment.  The Mets would love to satisfy  Cespedes' longing for all things Oakland except for three barriers:  

1.  His Contract is far too much
2.  His Injuries are far to frequent 


3.  Oakland's Memory is far too strong. 

Unless the Mets eat a significant portion of the contract, and they can find a DH hungry team, Yoenis Cespedes, a year older, will be starting in Left Field in 2018.  

Will he slim down and concentrate on flexibility over mass?

I think the Mets' brass, themselves,  still do not know what the Queen of Sheba will do this offspring.  He will let them know when he is good and ready.  

This leaves one outfield position still open.  Michael Conforto can play all three positions, though his most comfortable locale is left field.  Cepsedes, the gold glover has pronounced that he will not play Center Field if asked.  

Juan Legares has been an enigma since he scored a good contract from the Mets.  His glove remains his glove and his desire means, at times,  a recklessness which the Mets do not want changed, in spite of injuries.  He has shown flashes of gap power and then fades.   His last two series showed the glove that can electrify a defense and inspire pitchers except that Sandy Alderson doesn't think defense matters much.  

Brandon Nimmo  remains an open question.  

A great team first guy, he has in a very short window of opportunity, shown something that Sandy Alderson treasures more than much else:  on base percentage.  (.410)

Nimmo is getting playing time in September, only due to injuries, and is making a play for 2018.   Can he get on base, rip 30-40 doubles and provide stability in the outfield?  Although not a speedster, he is deceptively fast and runs the base paths well. 

Every forward thinking team has contingency plans and depth.  The fourth outfield position is critical.  

Travis Tjerson rides the bench so that a 35 year old waiver pick up (recall Alderson's refusal to enter Waiver Wire Addiction Rehab) can eat invaluable at bats.  It is likely that if Tjerson, 28,  becomes a home run hitter in the majors, it will not be in Flushing.  The Mets have given the slugger exactly 17 major league at bats to adjust to the minute and extreme difference in pitching from AAA. With 135 career minor league home runs, we may never know if he has what it takes to make it at the MLB level, at least in NY.  

Amed Rosario should be at short, and in spite of a struggle to adjust, Dom Smith should be at first.  He is said to be a smart kid and he is seeing movement on baseballs that he has not seen before and it takes time.  Keith Hernandez' first two years in the bigs reminds us of how difficult this adjustment can be.  

The Ghost of Justin Turner 

Instead of investing time into Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini, Terry Collins/Sandy Alderson has been using Jose Reyes and Astrubal Cabrerra.  Could Reynolds, Cecchini or someone else be the next Justin Turner, blossoming elsewhere? 

Shouldn't Reynolds (26) and Cecchini (23) be given this valuable playing time now?  

At catcher, perhaps Kevin Plawecki has made the adjustment to major league pitching.  We already know what to expect from Travis D'Arnaud, who may get the back up position.  Perhaps with reduced playing time and less injury opportunity, TDA may make the best of a part time role with flashes of power.  

The 2018 Mets may prove equally frustrating to fans should payroll contract and the gamble remain on the health of power pitching arms.  They'll likely over pay for an innings eating vet (would they consider trying to get fan favorite RA Dickey back?) mindful of the avalanche of injuries of 2017.  

As it looks now, our needs are many.  We are neither contenders nor rebuilders, but have a stagnant post-hangover from 2015 management, who appear both handcuffed and unwilling to turn the page.  

Leadership is sorely lacking for the Mets right now, with Collins' capitulation to popularity with veterans to keep the lid on a demoralized and divided clubhouse. 

Consider Granderson and Bruce'  leadership (and HRs)  are gone.  

With Bruce expected to be offered more money than what the Mets paid for Cespedes, the Mets are not likely to  have serious interest in bringing Bruce back in spite of the intangibles of leadership.  

But consider that should media and fan base make enough noise this off season, things could change.  

Let's hope so.  

It'd be nice to see players who don't celebrate mediocrity. 
It'd be nice to see players who do not accept mediocrity.  

It'd be nice to see a hungry, disciplined single unit working together for a common goal rather than a rudderless captain-less ship praying for a miracle wind to save them and bring them into the post season.   

The 2017 Mets' leadership is still groggy from its 2015 hang over, waiting and stalling and waiting...

for a miracle. 


Thomas Brennan said...

Cespedes has electric power - he does not need the bulk. His exit velocity has to be top 5 when he squares a ball up. Hopefully he will train accordingly.

Taijeron has awoken with a single, double, and homer in his last 5 at bats - ride the hot hand.

I wonder if Phillip Evans is better long term with the bat than Cecchini or Reynolds? I'd like to see him getting some opportunities.

Reyes has been red hot, so while logic is "Sit all vets, play the kids", Reyes is messing up that equation. Last 165 aofficial t bats since July 1, around .300/.360/.520 and 9 steals. Hard to sit that down.

Asdrubal should sit, though, and only be used to pinch hit.

TexasGusCC said...

Bruce to get more money than Cespedes? That's hysterical. Bruce has had one good year, his walk year, in eons. How come the Mets couldn't get a better player than Ryder Ryan from Cleveland?

Reese Kaplan said...

Because Sandy Alderson's stated priority was recovering money and not winning ballgames. If the priorities were reversed, then they might have paid down his salary significantly to increase the return.

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