2/28/18

51s INDIVIDUAL GAME TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY

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The Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, announced today that individual game tickets for the 2018 season, the 36th campaign in the Silver State, will go on sale on Monday, March 5 at Noon at the SCE Federal Credit Union Box Office at Cashman Field.  The box office is open Monday-Friday from Noon to 4:30 p.m.  Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster (1-800-745-3000,www.ticketmaster.com). 

            The individual game tickets for the 70-game home season are priced at $11.00 (reserved, $12.00-Day of Game), $14.00 (plaza, $15.00-Day of Game), $17.00(field, $18.00-Day of Game) and Dugout Seats (blue seats), $30.00 ($35.00-Day of Game).

The traditional $2.00 discount for Military personnel is offered on field, plaza and reserved seats throughout the season.

            The 51s have an exciting list of promotions for the 2018 season.  The traditional firework shows will be presented at every Friday “home” game (Fireworks Extravaganza on Tuesday, July 3), Budweiser Dollar Beer Nights and Jersey giveaway nights will highlight the promotion dates.  The 51s and Centerplate, will present “Smith’s Value Menu Monday” for the 10th consecutive season with hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, cracker jack and pretzels all priced at $1.00 per item!

            The top 51s giveaway/promotion (night) items include: Star Wars Night (April 7); 51s Jersey Nights (selected Saturday dates in May, June, July and August) and Fan Appreciation Night (September 1).  

            The 51s, under manager Tony DeFrancesco, will open the season with a five-game homestand beginning on Thursday, April 5 against the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.  The series will conclude against El Paso on Monday, April 9.

            2018 season tickets and mini-plan packages (11, 22, 35-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 943-7200

            Official licensed 51s team merchandise is available on the “Team Shop” section of the website at www.LV51.com.

            For the complete list of the 2018 promotions schedule, go to www.LV51.com.
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Mack’s Apples - Jeremy Eierman, Mark Vientos, Brick and Mortar, Segregated Baseball, Mark Appel

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Good morning.


          
Players To Watch in  College Baseball   -

         
  SS Jeremy Eierman, Missouri State - Eierman is coming off one of the greatest offensive seasons in Missouri Valley Conference history. The free-swinging junior was fifth in the nation with 23 homers, led the Valley with 68 RBIs, scored 37 runs and had 39 extra-base hits. He also batted a team-high .341 with runners on base, drove in 26 runs with two outs and reached base in 33 straight games.


John Sickels on –

         
  Mark Vientos, 3B, Grade B-: Age 18, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Plantation, Florida; hit .262/.318/.398 in rookie ball with 14 doubles, four homers, 15 walks, 46 strikeouts in 191 at-bats; while the numbers don’t stand out on the surface, he was just 17 during the regular season; scouting reports are enthusiastic about his bat speed and general feel for hitting; he could hit for both power and average down the line; originally a shortstop, but his range fits best at third base; will need some time but a high-upside bat; ETA 2022.
           Minor League Ball



Baseball Lifestyle Company Baseballism Is Seeing Success Around  Brick-And-Mortar Stores

        
   Portland, Oregon-based Baseballism, the company that features baseball-lifestyle products which includes not only caps and tees, but glove leather purses, watches, and phone cases, is bucking a trend by strategically moving to brick-and-mortal locations where MLB ballparks are located. The company is also expanding their Cooperstown location with the reopening scheduled for April.

The company, who saw revenues of $10 million in 2017, has slowly been moving into locations with stores in Scottsdale, AZ near Spring Training locations, and more recently near SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. Now, the company is accelerating store growth with a locations outside Fenway Park in Boston and across from AT&T Park in San Francisco by April, with stores in Chicago in Wrigleyville and Arlington, Texas by September.


The Geography of  
Segregated Baseball  in New York –

           
The earliest confirmed game between two black teams was played in the Town of Jamaica, now part of Queens, on Nov. 15, 1859. The Henson Base Ball Club defeated the “Unknowns” of Weeksville, a free black community in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, 54 to 43. (Scores like this were common, as pitchers threw underhand.)

            In those days, baseball fields often doubled as ice skating rinks in the winter. A condescending 1862 article in The Brooklyn Eagle places another all-black match, between the Unknowns and the Monitor of Brooklyn, at the “Yukaton Skating Pond.”



Defining a Baseball  Bust -


          
  The response to Appel’s sudden withdrawal from baseball was almost entirely positive, with thousands of people on social media wishing the pitcher luck and praising him for his candor. Still, there was a minority response that reflected a festering ignorance of Appel’s singular conflict, and the conflict of all athletes — heck, humans — who face difficult decisions about what they want out of their lives. But Appel’s decision was about one telling quote early in the story: “I’m pursuing other things, but also trying to become a healthy human.”
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Reese Kaplan -- Planning Instead of Settling

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While no one should be pushing the panic button simply because there have been some early Spring injuries in Port St. Lucie, the fact remains that these minor aches and pains point out two things about the New York Mets as they prepare for the 2018 season.  First, they are painfully thin in the outfield department right now.  Second, they are prepared to punt the first several weeks of the season rather than address the issue.

 What do I mean by that assertion?  Well, when healthy, the starting trio of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce is as offensively productive as any outfield in the majors.  Defensively, well, they’re better than Lucas Duda or Roger Cedeno out there, but that’s not saying much. 

 The problem is that with Conforto already on the shelf, you’re behind the eight ball offensively with one of the power and RBI threats not in the lineup.  The plantar fasciitis diagnosis for Jay Bruce points out just how fragile this outfield’s success really is.  Add to that the revelation that Yo has a sore shoulder and your outfield is Brandon Nimmo and anyone’s guess.

 There is not much help below the major league level.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are plenty of bodies in AAA.  The question is how much of a drop off do they represent?  

 Phil Evans is kind of a T.J. Rivera lite in that he’s a high contact hitter without much power.  He’s been pushed into the outfield out of the need to demonstrate versatility that will hopefully result in an ascent to the majors.  However, after spending 7 seasons in the minors he’s a .260 career hitter.

 After that you have the oft-injured Jayce Boyd.  He’s another high contact, low power hitter but he’s fared better than Evans for his career.  He’s a .290 hitter and last season playing about half of the time, he did manage to bang 11 HRs and drive in 46.  Extrapolated over a full season that looks pretty good, but remember it was in Las Vegas where even Eric Campbell was a force to be reckoned with.  Boyd’s turning 27 this year so it may be now or never.

 Zach Borenstein is probably a left handed version of the man he replaced in Las Vegas – Travis Taijeron.  He doesn’t whiff quite as much and last year turned in a respectable .279/24/93 for Reno, but take the numbers with the usual PCL grain of salt.  He’s also turning 27 and has yet to hit the majors.  

Wuilmer Becerra went unclaimed after being dropped from the 40-man roster, so the throw-in as part of that R.A. Dickey trade that also netted Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud has pretty much lived up to the low billing.  His minor league stats are OK when it comes to batting average, but power has never materialized.  He’s a .283 career hitter and at age 22 it’s possible he still has room to improve.  He’s being jumped from A+ to AAA this year off of a .267/4/44 season.  Meh. 

 Matt den Dekker is, like many other Mets, hoping it’s better the second time around.  His minor league career has had its ups and downs.  He’s a .270 career hitter with his best season being 2012 when he combined between AA/AAA to hit 17 HRs and drive in 76.  Unfortunately that appears to be something of an outlier, and his major league career across several teams has yielded a .234/7/29 in 350 ABs.  He’s not the answer either and at age 30 what you see is likely what you get.

 24 year old John Mora is slated to make the jump to AAA this year as well.  A career .265 hitter, he has good but not outstanding speed and strikes out way too much for someone with no power.    

 On my second point, the Tampa Bay Rays inexplicably DFA’d All Star outfielder Corey Dickerson last week.  He has since been picked up by the Pirates who apparently do want to win ballgames.  Dickerson’s average season would include .280/26/76 – not too shabby and for a team willing to absorb his extremely reasonable $5.95 million salary. (For frame of reference, Juan Lagares will earn more than that!)  


When I floated this idea by some people, many have been so browbeaten by the Mets’ inane front office over the past several years that they immediately said, “Where would he play when Conforto comes back?”  My reply to that question was, “Isn’t that a nice problem to have?”  

Once again the Mets are doing as little as possible to prepare for injuries (or poor performances) with no one truly knocking on the door from AAA and bypassing the plethora of unsigned free agents who might even be willing to come to camp on a minor league deal with no guarantees.  This list would include Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Andre Ethier, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, John Jay, Ben Revere, Seth Smith, Ichiro Suzuki and Jayson Werth.  There are others, but they’re more of the fringe, reserve quality ilk. 

Now that Dickerson is off the table, why not approach a Carlos Gomez, for example, and see what he’d take?  Banking on the health of Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto is foolish considering how much time each has missed with injuries.  This year it’s Jay Bruce added to the list.  How about planning instead of settling?

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2/27/18

Tom Brennan - MICKEY'S FIRST MISTAKE?

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Tom Brennan - MICKEY'S FIRST MISTAKE?
If you ask me, and who does, a manager's first job is to get a healthy team ready for opening day.

Two things concern me - maybe you will think I make too much of it, maybe I'm just a worry wart.  But maybe not:

1) In his first spring game, Dominic Smith strains his quad sprinting on the basepaths.

2) Thor goes 2 innings and hits 100 MPH not once, not twice, but eleven times in his first spring outing.

Let's throw in Juan Lagares' early hamstring tightness for good measure.

Why not, if you are the erudite Mickey Callaway, go to Messrs. Smith and Lagares...and everyone...and say to them, "you are not impressing me, nor are you doing yourself any favors, by running all out early in the spring.  The tortoise often beats the hare, fellas."  

"Go 90% for the first week, let's not pull anything trying to please the boss by over-exerting, to try to show how much you can hustle right out of the gate."

"You, Mr. Smith, made a mistake arriving late the first day...so don't try to over-impress on the field to compensate."

Whoops, too late.
On Thor, I think if I am Callaway and see 100 on the gun, I take a leisurely stroll out to the mound and say, nicely, "Noah, my man, you are the guy who missed nearly 5 months last year from a muscle tear related to throwing 100, so why would you come out in game 1 of your spring and do 100?  Ramp it down...spring stats don't count."

Perhaps if I am Mickey, I even tell Thor before the game, "Thor, sir, if you start hitting 100 on the gun, I may pull you out for 7 reasons: we need you 100% healthy in 1) April, 2) May, 3) June, 4) July, 5) August, 6) September, and 7) October."

I recall Tom Seaver getting whacked in some spring games because he was not trying to impress anyone by wearing himself out in spring games...he throttled back and worked on things in games, not concerned with spring training dominance, and came out roaring once the games counted.  
He was always ready in the real season. In fact, he started 32 to 37 games per season in each of his first 13 years in the majors.  Excellent...and super durable.

If Thor wants to be truly great, he wants to emulate THAT.

I did an article this morning on how a bunch of old timers never seemed to get hurt.  Maybe they were just smarter back then.  Took it easy in the off season - rounded into baseball shape during spring training.

Mickey, help your guys be that smart now.  100% healthy on opening day should be goal #1.  Break it into sub-goals: no pulled leg muscles this spring (whoops, too late).  No sore arms this spring (not too late).
You don't have to try to over-impress us in February either, Mickey - we believe you are going to be excellent.
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Tom Brennan - PLAYERS' WORKOUTS: SIMPLE QUESTIONS

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Tom Brennan 
PLAYERS' WORKOUTS: SIMPLE QUESTIONS


William Shakespeare once asked himself something PRETTY IMPORTANT:
"To work out...or not to work out...THAT is the question."
The unhappy injury recap: Yo Cespedes misses months with leg injuries.  Michael Conforto misses months with a shoulder rip.  Thor with a lat rip – more months lost. 
TJ Rivera is not even a pitcher and misses months due to Tommy John surgery.  Lagares misses months with diving injuries.  Neil Walker missed several weeks with a hamstring injury.  Jose Reyes used to miss lots of time with assorted leg injuries. 
David Wright, an avid workout guy, misses tons of time due to stenosis, perhaps aggravated by the workouts?  Steve Matz bulked up last off season, then got hurt twice.

And on and on.

One has to ask oneself a simple, short question….WHY?

And, was this injury stuff the norm back in the good old days, when guys played, but didn’t work out?

I decided to look at an unscientific sample of guys, and decided that no, apparently it was NOT the norm.

Of course, we have the standard bearers of durability of yore: Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken. 

To my knowledge, both got most of their conditioning playing in games, not in the weight room.

Willie Mays?  The Say Hey Kid missed just 40 games in one 13 year stretch – he played the game hard, but did the workouts that did not happen keep him healthier?

Hank Aaron?  77 games missed – a lot? No – it was over a 16 year stretch.  I don’t think he worked out much either.

Stan THE MAN Musial?  From 1943 thru 1955, he missed a total of 15 games.  I don’t think he was doing 500 pound deadlifts in his spare time.

Mel Ott?  In a 14 year stretch, the great Otter missed just 82 games, and in only 2 of those seasons did he miss more than 6 games.  Can't picture him working out to strengthen his core.

Jimmie Fox?  In a 12 year stretch, he missed 86 games – meaning he played in 24 of every 25 games over those 14 years.  Smart like a fox - stayed out of the gym, most likely.

Babe Ruth? He was more injury-prone, but from 1920 through 1931, he had 6 seasons where he either played them all or missed 2 or 3 games.  At age 25, he missed 12 games, 44 games missed at age 27, 56 missed at age 30, and 19 missed at age 34 – but not likely due to an extreme workout regimen. (Amazing lesser-known Babe stats unrelated to this article: in 1916 and 1917, he threw more than 320 innings both years, won 47 games, and had an ERA of 1.88. Wow.)

So, is it right to ask players if their workout regimens are hugely counter-productive? 
I remember the days of skinny guys who sure seemed less prone to injuries.  And Jay Bruce has been pretty durable, even if not like the old timers (excluding the Babe) above - Bruce has averaged a fine 151 games over the past 8 seasons – I wonder if he works out less than the other guys and is just naturally strong? 

What say you, reader?  Is less working out much more beneficial to durability?  Are intense workouts simply an invitation to extended periods of injury?



BTW:

THOR ROUNDING INTO SHAPE:  only 11 pitches of 100 MPH or more in his 2 innings yesterday.  Wazzup wit' dat??  

Clearly, he needs to get his velocity up...it will take a few weeks of getting stretched out for him to hit 110.  Let's remain patient.

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2/26/18

Tom Brennan - FIFTY FOR YO?

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Tom Brennan - FIFTY FOR YO?

Fifty homers in a season is a big number.

Consider that it is, however, doable for elite power hitters.

Two current locals hit 50+ last year...and one almost hit 60.   
What did these unnamed gents have in common? 

150+ games and close to 700 plate appearances each.

Perhaps you saw Yoenis Cespedes' 3 run homer on Sunday - pitch down around the knees - he hit a laser beam to left that seemed to go 475 feet.  In a heartbeat.

Elite power, quick, explosive bat.

Just like the two guys who hit 50+ last year.

The Mets season homer record is 41.  What does Cespedes need to do to tear past that paltry record and reach 50?  

Two things:

1) Hit like Yo can hit...like that rocket launched missile we saw on Sunday.  (There were no casualties, rest assured, other than the opposing pitcher, who likely said to himself, "I thought that was a good pitch."  No disagreement from Cespedes there.)

2) Start 150+ games, have 650+ plate appearances.

On #2, let me translate:

Stay healthy, and you will surely prosper.

So please, watch the running, Yo.  

No strains, no pulls.  Nice and easy does it.

Protect the legs.  

Crush lots of pitches. Crush that record.

Make it quick - Jay Bruce wants that record, too.
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Mike Friere - So, Who Leads Off?

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As the title of this article asks, who will be the primary leadoff hitter for the Mets in 2018?

Before attempting to answer that question, it would be fair to define exactly what a “leadoff hitter” is and if the importance of the position in the batting order is as relevant as it used to be due to the declining emphasis on speed and stolen bases.  In other words, another “old school versus new school” type of discussion that will likely have proponents on both sides.  A good old fashioned baseball 
argument, if you will.   

For the purposes of defining what a leadoff hitter is, I am focusing on the start of the game (the top or bottom of the first inning), although there is more to that discussion and I will address the same in a few paragraphs.  Additionally, I would also like to use a former player as my prototype for the assignment to illustrate the importance of a good leadoff hitter.

In my world, a classic leadoff hitter is a player that embodies the following;

1.  GET ON BASE by whatever means necessary.  It may be via a base hit, a  walk, an error or even a hit by pitch scenario meaning that “on base percentage” is a highly sought after criteria.

2.  ABOVE AVERAGE SPEED which translates to stolen bases, moving from first to third on a base hit, scoring runs and in general, being a “pain in the arse” for the opposing pitcher and manager.

3.  AVAILABILITY which is a nice trait for any player, but especially so with the leadoff hitter, since they will usually get more at bats over the course of a season due to the rotational nature of the lineup.

4.  DEFENSIVE PROWESS which may seem odd, at first.   However, most classic leadoff hitters usually come from a position on the diamond that is vital for a team’s defense, like Second Base, Short Stop or Centerfield, so contributing on defense is a valuable skill.

While you don’t necessarily need all four of the listed criteria to be a solid leadoff hitter, having a player that can do all of them really well is a huge advantage.  With that said, my “prototype” leadoff hitter would be the second coming of Rickey Henderson (with a toned down ego), since the original version will be sixty years old this year!  I wouldn’t bet against him as he could probably still contribute today.

For those of you who did not get to see RH play, you really missed out since he was a monster at the top of any lineup that he was a part of, despite only being 5-10 and 180 pounds (the same size as I am, but with otherworldly athletic skills, of course). Granted, he played in left field which is not as demanding of a position defensively as center field, but he checked ALL of the remaining boxes on our list above. 

RH played for quite a few teams over the course of his TWENTY FIVE year career, to include our very own Mets in 1999 and 2000 when he was in his early forties and not quite the same player.  In his career, he compiled a whopping 13,346 plate appearances which boils down to approximately 22 seasons worth of playing time if you use 600 as a full season, so he was pretty durable.

in that time period, he averaged a line of .279/.401/.419 (.820 OPS) and he contributed 110.8 WAR, which works out to a seasonal average of just over 5 WAR per year.  Look at his on base percentage again….for his career, he was on base forty percent of the time. Additionally, he also averaged 64 stolen bases, 102 runs scored and 13 home runs per year, for his entire career!

While he could rub some folks the wrong way with his persona (“I am the greatest”), he was a beast and is a true Hall of Fame player in every sense
of the term. I will end my love affair with RH at this point since he is not the primary focus of the article.  However, he is underrated in my opinion and it is doubtful that we will ever see a player like that again.

I am also pretty sure that we do not have anyone on our current roster that comes even close to approximating those statistics (at least until Luis Guillorme is given his shot).  However, my question has more to do with the criteria that make up a good leadoff hitter.   Do we have anyone on the current roster that can meet MOST of the criteria?   Outside of Jose Reyes in his PRIME (which is no longer the case), I would argue that we do NOT have anyone capable of meeting a majority of our criteria.

Whether we do or do not have a leadoff hitter within our midst, SOMEONE still needs to lead off, right?   

Some may argue that in today’s baseball, speed and stolen bases are not that important anymore, which is debatable.   However, there should still be an emphasis placed on “getting on base”, so do we have anyone on our roster that can at least get on base from the leadoff spot?  And, getting on base is a good quality, but you still need to be able to run in order to score runs.  I don’t want a player who looks like he is running with a piano on his back, clogging up the bases or failing to score from second base on a hit late in a close game.

An additional argument would be that after the first inning, the leadoff hitter isn’t that important because it is likely that a different player will leadoff the remaining innings of a full ballgame. That is also true, but having a weapon at the top of the lineup is still valuable because they will likely make more plate appearances then anyone else by season's end.

With all of this said, am I over emphasizing the importance of a leadoff hitter for 2018?

Who do you think will leadoff from our current crop of starting caliber players?





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Mack - IMO...

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Good morning.


New feature.

I keep trying to come up with a new posting angel for this site as well as keep the creative juices flowing inside of me.

Many of the things I have said on this site are taken by the readers as an etched in stone statement by me, as which I really knew what the hell was going on in the Mets clubhouse, dugout, and front office. Those days are over for me and I’m just down to my opinions now.

So, a perfect weekly post would be one that just featured what was going on in my feeble brain.

Thus the title… ‘IMO’… ‘in my opinion’.

Here goes number one…


IMO…



The Mets signed RHP AJ Griffin to a minor league contract. Griffin was a good pitcher out of the University of San Diego who surprisingly only went in the 13th round of the 2010 draft. He got off to a great start for the Athletics in 2010 (24-appearances, 2.39), 2011 (27-starts, 3.47), and 2012 for the parent team (15-starts, 3.06). The following year was another gem (32-starts, 3.83), but everything went to hell in 2014 when he had to sit out the entire season because of TJS. Everything went south from there. He was picked up by Texas and had 23 starts in 2016 (5.07) and 15 starts (18 games) last season (5.94). A no risk sign sort of like Matt Purke. I Just don’t know where there would be room for him. For now, I slotted him, in a projected Vegas rotation with Chris Flexen, Corey Oswalt, and Marcos Molina.


Let me reiterate my thoughts about spring training games. You can’t walk away from any of these, especially during the first week when your regulars are basically playing three innings or less, and come up with a rational opinion regarding where this team is heading. Case in point… one of my Twitter followers posted that AFTER ONE PRE-SEASON GAME, Dominic Smith missing the start of a team meeting, and Adrian Gonzalez not getting a hit in his three at-bats, that we should bring back Lucas Duda. ONE PRE-SEASON GAME!


I had to drive my wife last week to a ‘meeting’ (blood test) in Charleston, SC at 9am. It is 100 miles away from my home. We had to be in the car moving by 6:30am, so we set the alarm on BOTH our handhelds to go off at 5:30am… we made the ‘meeting’ with 15 minutes to settle down. Important stuff. Gotta be on time. Make my drift? This being said, let’s see how the kid moves on from this. He started the week late… he ended it injured. Week two has to be better for him than this.


P Kevin McGowan’s first outing this past Saturday strengthens my opinion that this is why spring training games are played. He’ll get a few more chances to lower that 67.50-ERA before the final pen is picked. Ditto P Marcos Molina and P J Conlon. My guess is this proves all three of these guys need further seasoning in the system, but will get a few more reps this spring to shake off the rust.


On the plus side, you couldn’t ask more from ‘Starting Team 2.0’. Robert Gsellman, Rafael Montero, Seth Lugo, and Corey Oswalt pitched eight scoreless innings, 11-Ks and 0-BBs. These are good complications and, if it continues, one must question the need for any relief pitching past the ‘Big 4’.


It seems that Luis Guillorme’s efforts in the off-season to improve on his game are paying off early. His defense continues to be premier, his pitch instincts stay high and warrant his + OBP, and now his hint of additional pop (HR Game 2) will just add to the dynamics.


David Thompson came to camp with a reputation of below level fielding and premier RBI producing hitting. Fed his rep in game one with a run causing error early and a run producing, game winning ribby in the eighth.


You can’t help but walk away and be impressed with the two-inning stint by RHSP Corey Oswalt. I don’t see any chance of him coming north in April, but I believe he’s a lock, the latest come September.


Early injuries so far have been ticky-tacky ones… Jay Bruce with sore left foot… Juan Lagares with a hamstring problem. Bruce will sit until week two. Better safe than sorry. But, before anyone starts blaming the new Mets trainer, let’s remember that 99% of injuries that happen the first week a player comes to camp are because the player wasn’t ready for the program laid out to them from day one of the camp. This kind of injury falls on the player, not the team. As for Lagares, I know he’s not capable of attempting to play at 120%. I also know his body is more fragile than my wife’s china. This is probably the best we are going to get until his contract runs out. For now (April), be thankful we signed Ty Kelly and Matt Borenstein. One of them just might keep the outfield going before Michael Conforto comes back.



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Reese Kaplan -- It's Spring Training for the Rookie Manager, Too

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It’s early in Spring Training and surely too soon to draw any definitive conclusions but early impressions of Mickey Callaway are indeed positive.  Granted, it’s his first ever camp and he’s seemingly giddy with the newness of it all.  Thus far, however, he’s showing people he’s a man of his word.



To wit, take a look at the recent situation with Dom Smith and his tardiness upon arrival to camp.  One of the biggest themes after communication coming from the new skipper is accountability.  It’s come up so often during his press interactions that it was beginning to sound like common refrains from managers of the past like, “We battled” or “We’ve got to get him going.”


Consequently, when Callaway penciled in the newly svelte Smith into the first Spring Training game lineup you would expect that he would be on pins and needles, perhaps even unable to sleep.  So the story goes that he indeed slept through the alarm clock and arrived late for the pre-game meeting.  As a result, Callaway benched him for the game and in doing so it taught the young Smith a harsh lesson which was plastered all over the media.


Unlike the grumpy and stubborn Bill Belichick, Callaway did not feel it was more important to make his point than to win the game.  Callaway had Smith back in the lineup after the one day of disciplinary action.  Smith looked like the smooth fielding and offensive producing player we’d heard about while in the minor leagues.

I watched a bit of Saturday’s game and saw something different when Callaway sprinted out to give a merciful hook to Kevin McGowan who was just having a very bad day.  He realized that it was more important to stop the bleeding as there would be other games, but he also let McGowan get some work in and try to power through it.  He wasn’t “Captain Hook” like we’ve seen in the recent past. 


My only possibly negative reaction to Callaway thus far is he seems a little too enamored of being in front of the cameras and the microphones.  There’s nothing wrong with connecting to the media and standing tall in the face of both success and adversity, but it’s quite another thing to get caught up in your own new-found celebrity status.  Hopefully, like the novelty of the first spring training fully in charge he will learn to not make himself the center of every story.  Then again, Bobby Valentine did that as well and he was a winner both with the Mets and for his career. 

It was truly heartwarming to see the games this weekend after the long, cold winter of what-if and will-they-or-won’t-they.  The season is still quite a ways off and many hard decisions will have to be made between now and then.  Hopefully Callaway lives up to his advance billing and indeed gets his players to believe in him.  That change alone should help propel the Mets back into contention. 

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2/25/18

2018 Draft - Weekly Highlights

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Mississippi State Head coach Andy Cannizaro was fired after only three games into the 2018 season.

LHP and Florida State All-American Tyler Holton will have surgery to repair a torn UCL

North Dakota State (2-0) sophomore RHP Riley Johnson through the first no-hitter of the season (2-0), against Connecticut State(8-K, 1-BB).

Top 10 prospect, Oregon State 2B Nick Madrigal, was pulled Friday night with a left hand injury. May miss 4-6 weeks.

Texas Tech prospect starter, Steven Gingery, is out for the year and will need Tommy John surgery.



Brady Singer – Florida:     5.0-IP, 3-ER, 4-K, 0-BB, WIN

           Keith Law: Singer out after five so-so innings for Florida. Touched 95 but Miami hitters made a lot of good contact on his fastball.

Jackson Kowar – Florida:   6.0-IP, 2-R, 5-H, 3-K, 3-BB, WIN (2-0)

          Doug Freeman: Simple, repeatable delivery. Low effort FB 93-94 with late life. Showed feel for above average SL- 75-78 and CH 83-85.

Chandler Day – Vanderbilt:  (Sunday)   4.0-IP, 1-ER, 6-K, 2-BB

Casey Mise – Auburn:      5.0-IP, 4-ER, 9-K, 2-BB, WIN, 4.50

Jason Bilous – Coastal Carolina:      4.2-IP, 2-ER, 3-H, 4-K, 7-BB (!)

Sean Hjelle – Kentucky:                  7.2-IP, 0-R, 1-H, 13-K,0-BB, WIN

Colton Eastman – CSF:                   6.0-IP, 0-R, 4-H, 6-K, 3-BB

Dallas Woolfork – Mississippi:   (Sunday)  RP:  1.0-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 2-K, 0-BB

Logan Gilbert – Stetson:           6.0-IP, 1-ER, 10-K, 1-BB, WIN

Blaine Knight – Arkansas:        6.0-IP, 1-ER, 5-H, 7-K, 1-BB
                           89-92, VG slider. 72-74 curve

Sean Wymer – TCU:                         (Sunday)        4.1-I, 5-ER, 5-K, 0-BB, 10.38

Austin Bergner – North Carolina:  (Sunday)  RP: 3.0-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 5-K, 0-BB –

Tristan Beck – Stanford:                    5.0-IP, 2-ER, 7-K, 2-BB,

Nolan Kingham – Texas:               3.0-IP, 8-R, 4-ER, 8-H, 3-K, 2-BB, LOSS        
 
Konnor Pilkington – Mississippi State:    5.0-IP, 2-ER, 4-K, 0-BB, WIN

Kris Bubic – Stanford:                 6.0-IP, 1-ER, 5-H, 8-K, WIN (2-0)

Cole Sands – Florida State:        6.0-IP, 0-R, 2-H, 5-K, 2-BB, WIN

Shane McClanahan – USF:   -     6.0-IP, 0-ER, 2-H, 9-K, 2-BB, LOSS

 PG  - With nearly 100 scouts in attendance, redshirt sophomore Shane McClanahan showed why he is considered to be a legit 1:1 prospect for the 2018 MLB Draft, and also why he is considered to have some to have the filthiest pure stuff in the class. The southpaw for USF is listed at 6-foot-2, 188-pounds with present length and broadness to the frame indicative of future strength gains. Even with room for more added strength he is still a very good athlete and repeats his up-tempo delivery very well on the mound.
The stuff is the natural place to gravitate to with McClanahan as there is a very real possibility for three plus or better pitches. The fastball is what he is known for, and thanks to his 70-grade arm speed, McClanahan can run the fastball into the mid-90s with relative ease. On Friday night, McClanahan worked anywhere from 90-97 mph consistently and can gear up to get the pitch to touch 98 and 99 mph, even touching 100 mph on some guns. McClanahan has great life and angle on his fastball, but what made the pitch so impressive was his ability to sequence and add and subtract. In the third inning, he sat at 90-92 mph with the first two outs and then went 97-97-98-98-99 to K a lefthanded hitter.

Ryan Rolison – Mississippi:      5.0-IP, 1-ER, 9-K, WIN

Tim Cate – Connecticut:         5.0-IP, 2-ER, 6-K, 3-BB, WIN

Taril Skubal – Seattle:            4.0-IP, 3-ER, 2-H, 4-K, 6-BB (!)



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