Tom Brennan - The Continuing Under Performing Non-Core Players of the Mets


As the Mets struggle valiantly to climb up further and snatch a Wild Card slot, let’s not forget a big reason that going into Sunday, the Mets were not 3 games up, but rather 3 games behind with 14 to play...here goes...

I wrote quite a bit last year about the underperformance in 2018 of non-core players.  And the need to strenuously avoid using such players if your true intention is to make the playoffs.

As I recall it, 20% of the all of Mets' non-pitcher at bats last year in 2018 were by non-core players, and resulted in a batting average under .200.  And more than a dozen borderline guys pitched with an ERA aggregating above 7.00.

Grade?  F

This year, the at bats are fewer from the non-core, but still substantial (through Tuesday):

Lagares (whose chances of making the team and of playing much if he did at season's opening was fairly low), Hecchavaria, Broxton, Altherr, Davis (Rajai), Gomez, Nido, and Tejada have totaled:

688 at bats this year, hitting .193 through Tuesday, with 16 homers and 204 strikeouts.  Again, pretty darned bad.

Pitchers? What about them, Tommy boy?

15 marginal non-core guys (too many names to list, but I am excluding core, struggling guys like Diaz and Familia) have thrown: 

223 innings, and allowed 163 earned runs, or a 6.58 ERA, and have gone 8-18.

Some will argue, "well, the team had all these injuries, what do you expect?"

I will respond, "the team ALWAYS has injuries.  Therefore, the goal should be to greatly reduce the volume of innings and at bats from such guys."

How?  By having more truly capable guys.  Sign a few more real arms in the off season, expecting injuries, and don't allow yourself the luxury of thinking you can rely on AAAA offensive guys to fill in.

Because collectively, the ones the Mets use are significant underperformers.

Remember, as of Wednesday AM, the Mets are just 3 games out of a Wild Card.

What would their record be if the management/owner group didn't cross their fingers and hope these collection of nearly 25 guys would somehow hit .230 and have a 5.00 ERA, a level which elite teams likely would be unhappy with, when they in fact (at least 2 years running) have performed much worse than .230 and 5.00?

They'd be leading the Wild Card race, that's where.

Do you disagree? 

Reese Kaplan -- That Stench You Smell Is Cranial Flatulence


During this game a chat group in which I participate was going back and forth as it appeared the Mets were going to squander a lead and a game in this late juncture of the season when you really can’t afford to be doing that.  The questions came up about credit and someone questioned others in the group about assigning blame. 

Any analytical thinking process requires people to look for root causes of what went wrong that caused an unfavorable outcome to occur.  If a cashier at a convenience store chose to go to the bathroom, leaving the door unlocked, allowing shoplifting or cash register raiding to occur…do we credit the thieves, or do we look to place the blame on the poor decision making of the cashier?

The same should apply when considering what went wrong in a baseball game.  When there are obvious failures of execution, people are quick to point them out.  To this day, for example, we still hear about Carlos Beltran in a critical situation never taking the bat off his shoulder and getting called out on strikes.  The late Bill Buckner to his dying day was known mostly for failure to field a routine grounder during the World Series. 

When you watch a game, a meaningful September game, it’s therefore not only understandable but also natural and essential to figure out how things went wrong.  As a manager in my regular job, I don’t expect people to be perfect, but I do expect them to learn from their mistakes.  In fact, I often say, “I pride myself on never making the same mistake twice when there are always news ones waiting to be uncovered.”

Towards that end we have all come to question many of the strategic decisions made by manager Mickey Callaway, whether it comes to quick hooks on effective pitchers, delayed hooks on struggling relievers, favoring unproductive players ad nauseum, there are legitimate reasons to question his judgment.  Some feel he’s there because his players like him, others think he’s there as a Wilpon puppet and others simply shake there heads and wonder why. 

For that last group the events of tonight’s 9th inning certainly have given them ammunition for their position.  First came the choice to stretch Seth Lugo into a 2nd inning with no off-day tomorrow and having used him for multiple innings in two of his last three outings and having used him last night.

“But wait, do you really want to see Edwin Diaz in the 9th inning?  Don’t you remember how many HRs he’s given up and saves he’s blown?”

That’s a valid point.  In fact, the broader question, if not Lugo, who would you have used?  I’m not sure I have an answer to that one but it was clear with the leadoff batter getting on base that perhaps you were pushing your luck a bit.

That decision is not the one that really makes people grate their teeth.  It was the bottom of the 9th after Lugo had blown the save to let the Dodgers take a 3-2 lead.  Obviously you’re not going to pinch hit for Michael Conforto or Wilson Ramos or Robinson Cano.  When Cano worked out a 2-out walk, Callaway did the right thing by sending in pinch runner Rajai Davis.  Having him get into scoring position would enable you to tie the game on a single. 

Two Callaway brain farts occurred nearly simultaneously.  First, you had right handed power hitters on the bench in Rene Rivera and Todd Frazier (if his hand was up to the task).  You had newcomer Jed Lowrie who is a switch hitter available.  Any of them could have delivered a double or HR to help tie or win the game.

Instead Callaway went with light hitting and mercifully now seldom-used Joe Panik as the pinch hitter.  The announcers said that Panik had good success against reliever Kenta Maeda (7-19 lifetime) but Panik is not the same hitter he’s been throughout the earlier stages of his career.  Do you remember that Joe McEwing had great success against Randy Johnson?  If you had the choice of Ty Wigginton or Joe McEwiing in a one-run game, how many of you would have advocated McEwing as the smarter choice?  The odds still are that Johnson would dominate the inferior hitter.

I tried to be charitable thinking, “well, when Davis steals second then all Panik needs to do is hit a dribbler that gets through the infield to tie up the game,” but then the second brain fart happened.  What is the point of sending up your speediest player as a pinch runner in this situation when putting him in scoring position would possibly lead to a game being tied with a single AND THEN NOT HAVE HIM TRY TO STEAL? 

If he got thrown out (by a catcher who was only 5-19 nailing runners and a pitcher who was only successful in holding potential basestealers 1-7), then you tip your hat to the opposition for a job well done.  However, to concede the game with one of your weakest bats and then not to send the runner is cranial flatulence of the highest order.  




                  *FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 13, 2019/THOMAS BRICE/-- The Sports Report New York's #1 sports show is honored to announce as a guest on it's show this week New York Mets Left Handed Pitcher and 13 year Major League Baseball Veteran Pitcher Glendon Rusch.

Glendon Rusch, who spent 13 years in the major leagues winning 67 games was a key contributor to the Mets 2000 National League Pennant winning 19 games for them between 2000 and 2001 including going 1-0 in 6 appearances in the 2000 Major League Baseball playoffs including 3 scoreless appearances in the 2000 World Series as well as throwing the 22nd one hitter in franchise history on July 14, 2001 against the Boston Red Sox striking out 10 batters in 7 innings. 

The Sports Report has quickly established itself as New York's #1 sports show and has had on some of the leading personalities in the world of sports such as Newsday reporters Colin Stephenson, Jim Baumbach, and Newsday editorial board member Randi Marshall. Staten Island Advance sports Reporter Charlier DeBiase. Wagner College Head Football Coach Jason Houghtaling. FITE TV Chief Operating Officer Michael Weber, and the Nassau County Executive Nassau Laura Curran.

The Sports Report New York's #1 sports show is hosted, edited, and produced by Thomas Brice.

To listen to this week's episode of the Sports Report featuring an interview with former New York Mets pitcher Glendon Rusch click the link below.


Mack – A Look Ahead to the 2020 Affiliates – Kingsport Mets


Good morning.

Predicting what minor player will be assigned to what team is not an exact science, but you can rely on two things:

1.    Players that play well at one level will start the season at the next level up the ladder.


2.    Projected prospect stars, even if they card out above par, will get another shot at either the same level they played, or one up if management believes they can handle the promotion.

This post is the second in a series of predicted roster leaders for the start of 2020. There will be plenty of other players. Some that didn’t fare that well in 2019. Some that haven’t been drafted yet. But these guys are the meat and potatoes of our system right now.

We covered the 2020 GCL Mets last Sunday.

Next up… the 2020 Kingsport Mets.


RHSP Jordany Ventura – The 19/yr. old went 4.36-ERA in nine games for the GCL Mets but was still bumped up to Kingsport where he went 1.13/1.13 in two starts. He also had a combined 43-K in 41-IP for the two teams. I would bring him back to Kingsport in the late spring.

LHRP Jefferson Escorcha – Another 19/yr. old, Escorcha pitched in 15 Kingsport games, going 7-1, 2.38, 1.15. His K/9 was way down (7.13) from his previous year for the two DSL teams (9.89), so I would bring him back here for a little more control work before sending him sometime to Brooklyn.

RHSP Joander Suarez – This 19/yr. old impressed everyone around the Florida campus, going 1-0, 1.79, 1.07 in 11 games (8 starts) for the GCL Mets. He also had 47-K in 40-IP. Suarez did not pitch that well for the DSL teams in 2018 so this was unexpected. We’ll take it and we’ll send him to Kingsport to continue to develop that young arm.

LHSP Franklin Parra – Yikes! Another 19/yr. old starter! Signed with the Mets in 2017 for a $150K bonus. This past season, he pitched in 10 games, 8 of which were as a starter. His impressive stat line was: 1-1, 2.57, with 29 strikeouts in 21 innings. One of two thing could hold him back for a third run with the GCL Mets… 1) his wildness (16-BB in 21-IP) or the fact he has only pitched in 16 games over the past two seasons. However, he has to get out of Florida and move up someday. Why not when the season opens?

(a word… the bats and relievers going into Kingsport next year are a little light and I look for the domestic draft to fill in many of the slots available here. Still, there are three good ones moving up:) 

C Endy Rodriguez – This 19/yr. old started off in 2019 for the DSL-1 Mets (.296) and was quickly promoted to the GCL-Mets (75-AB, .293). He has now become one of the growing list of impressive prospect catchers in the organization (something I never thought I would ever say). He will be blocked ahead for possibly the rest of the season (Alvarez, Regnault) which is the only negative thing I can say about this kid.

SS Warren Saunders – Finally! A grownup! This 20/yr. old was quietly signed out the Grand Bahamas and his debut pro season this year was an impressive .323 for the GCL Mets. He also has been playing some first base this season. A rare find.

OF Kenedy Corona – Back to the 19/yr. olds… Corona came stateside this last season and hit .311 in 151 at-bats for the GCL Mets. 17 walks and a hint of future power (5-HRs).  Let’s remember… Peter Alonso only had 5-HR in 109-AB for Brooklyn in 2016. It takes time to develop professional power but his batting average has earned him a bump to Kingsport in 2020.



Interleague Results, Including the Mets


I was curious about interleague results, which to some degree is a proxy for which league is stronger in 2019.

Amazingly, through this past weekend, the National League was 153-114 (.573) in 2019 interleague play.


When you have 6 teams like Detroit, Baltimore, Kansas City, Toronto, Seattle and the White Sox being a combined 229 games below .500, an average record of 52-90, you have a weak league.

The Mets, surprisingly, have the best interleague record of all at 15-5.  

Of course, they are 2-2 against the Yanks, an incredible 13-3 against everyone else from the AL.  My preference for not playing the Yankees in interleague play for more than 2 games per season remains.  My real preference?  Don't play them at all.

The AL weakness makes me wonder what the Mets record would be if they were in the AL this year.  

My guess is they would be more like 83-59 and perceived a whole lot differently by Mets fans.

It also, to me, indicates that the Yanks' strong record in 2019 is greatly inflated, by playing such weak teams.

That's it.  


Reese Kaplan -- Is Wheels Headed out of Citifield?


Looking ahead to 2020 the Mets may indeed have a glaring hole in their rotation should Zack Wheeler venture off to greener pastures.  Right now he’s listed at 3.6 WAR and if the value of 1 WAR is $8 million, then theoretically he’s delivering $28.8 million in value.  He’s slipped a bit since this list was published and various publications calculate WAR slightly differently.  BaseballReference.com has him listed now at 2.7 WAR, a significant step down from the 3.9 he delivered in 2018.  Figure the real Zack Wheeler is somewhere in between, call it 3.3.  At the 2.7 WAR rate he’s theoretically worth $21.6 million.  There’s no way Wheeler is that level of pitcher. 

Fortunately, players are not paid exactly in a direct ratio to their WAR number.  If they did, then Mike Trout would be pulling in over $65 million per year rather than the mere $36 million on which he must struggle to survive. 

Consequently the much discussed Qualifying Offer for Zack Wheeler once again must come into consideration.  Do you offer the man $19 million for a single year and revisit this game for the 2021 season?  If you do and he walks, yes, you get draft pick compensation explained in mind numbing detail here.

While it’s true the vast majority of free agents do opt to decline their QOs, there has been free agent price suppression over the past few years which resulted in players taking either much less money or much shorter terms than they anticipated.  Yasmani Grandal only got a one­-year deal.  You have to look no further than former NY Met Neil Walker who wisely took the QO as his future earnings were nowhere near that level. 

The other side of the question for the Mets is who replaces him if he should leave?  There is precious little about which to get excited in the upper minors.  Does anyone here think Chris Flexen or Corey Oswalt or Walker Lockett or Chris Mazza or Drew Gagnon will provide the same quality as did Zack Wheeler? 

On the other hand, the free agent market plummets downhill fairly quickly with few “value” picks to be had.  I can foresee the Mets going the Bartolo Colon/Jason Vargas route again, trying to get the last gasps out of a pitcher at the tail end of his career which would require a shorter commitment than instead negotiating with a top tier player like Gerrit Cole.  In this realm you would have the guys like Cole Hamels, Adam Wainwright and Rich Hill.  Oh yeah…there’s a former Royals and soon-to-be-ex Phillies pitcher named Jason somebody who will be a free agent as well...

Here's the MLB list of the pending free agent starting pitchers:

Gerrit Cole (29 years old, 4.5 WAR)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (33, 4.1)
Stephen Strasburg (31, 4.0) -- can opt out of 4 years, $100 million remaining on contract
Zack Wheeler (30, 3.6)
Jose Quintana (31, 3.1) -- $11.5 million club option for 2020 ($1 million buyout)
Madison Bumgarner (30, 3.0)
Jake Odorizzi (30, 2.8)
Kyle Gibson (32, 2.6)
Cole Hamels (36, 2.4)
Tanner Roark (33, 2.2)
Michael Pineda (30, 2.1)
Adam Wainwright (38, 1.9)
Wade Miley (33, 1.8)
Homer Bailey (34, 1.7)
Brett Anderson (32, 1.6)
Andrew Cashner (33, 1.6) -- $10 million option for 2020 vests with 340 IP combined over 2018-19; becomes player option with 360 IP over '18-19
Martin Perez (29, 1.6) -- $7.5 million club option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)
Yu Darvish (33, 1.5) -- can opt out of 4 years, $81 million remaining on contract
Ivan Nova (33, 1.4)
Julio Teheran (29, 1.4) -- $12 million club option for 2020 ($1 million buyout)
Jason Vargas (37, 1.4) -- $8 million club option for 2020 ($2 million buyout)
Rick Porcello (31, 1.3)
Jake Arrieta (34, 1.0) -- can opt out of 1 year, $20 million remaining on contract unless Phillies exercise 2-year, $40 million option
Gio Gonzalez (34, 0.8)
Rich Hill (40, 0.8)
Chris Archer (31, 0.7) -- $9 million club option for 2020 ($1.75 million buyout)
Corey Kluber (34, 0.6) -- $17.5 million club option for 2020 ($1 million buyout)
Matt Moore (31, 0.5)
Dallas Keuchel (32, 0.3)
Felix Hernandez (34, 0.2)
Jhoulys Chacin (32, 0.1)
Clay Buchholz (35, 0.0)
Tyson Ross (33, 0.0)
Alex Wood (29, -0.1)
Jeremy Hellickson (33, -0.1)
Drew Pomeranz (31, -0.1)
Edinson Volquez (36, -0.1)
Marco Estrada (36, -0.2)
Wade LeBlanc (35, -0.2) -- $5 million club option for 2020 ($450,000 buyout)
Shelby Miller (29, -0.2)
Clayton Richard (36, -0.2)
Matt Harvey (31, -0.3)
Ervin Santana (37, -0.4)
Michael Wacha (28, -0.4)
Drew Smyly (29, -0.6)
Trevor Cahill (32, -0.8)
Edwin Jackson (36, -0.8)
Derek Holland (33, -0.9)

My personal preference would be to see if the Indians opted out of the remainder of Corey Kluber’s deal given his injuries this year and thus rendering him a free agent who might want to reunite with his former pitching coach.  By starting pitching standards, he was somewhat underpaid, slated to earn under the QO level and will likely see his price depressed until he’s proven healthy again.  That’s a gamble I’d be willing to take.  Even if you had to tolerate 4 weeks or so of a Corey Oswalt type to start the season, that’s a quality pitcher who might be had for a bargain price.



Mike Freire - Wild Card Chase (Updated)


Good Afternoon, Mets' fans!

I am putting this article together during the late afternoon on Thursday (09/12/19), on the heels of the Mets fourth straight victory over the previously "red hot" Arizona Diamondbacks.  

On that topic, how the heck does this team sweep teams like the Indians and Diamondbacks, while getting swept by the Braves and the Cubs?  Really makes you shake your head sometimes.

With that said, the Mets have somehow vaulted their way back into the Wild Card chase (the second position, anyway) with only sixteen games left to play.  The team seems to be playing some kind of crazy "Hokey Pokey" with all of us.......you're in, you're out, etc.

Let's take a quick look at the National League Wild Card Standings;

1.  Washington     81-64   (+3.5)
2.  Milwaukee       78-68     ---
3.  Chicago           78-68     ---

4.  New York       76-70     2.0
5.  Philadelphia   76-70     2.0
6.  Arizona           75-72     3.5

I think it is safe to say that the Nationals are in a fairly commanding position for the top spot in the listed playoff chase.  In other words, the team that emerges from the rest of the scrum will be traveling to Washington DC for the one game playoff (barring an epic collapse by the Nationals).  

So, it makes sense to focus on the remaining five teams that are all chasing the second position.

The Brewers got HOT just as the Cubs began to falter, so we now have two teams in the "cat bird" seat.  Milwaukee has been playing good baseball, but they just lost their best player for the year, Yelich, so who knows how that will affect their chances?  

Hell, just a week ago, the Diamondbacks were the hottest team in this chase and now they are in danger of dropping out of the race!  It has been a topsy-turvy race of late and it has definitely NOT been boring. The remaining five teams in contention for the last playoff spot are separated by four games in the loss column so things are a long way from being decided.

As of this article, the Brewers and the Cubs are on pace to win 87 games, so that should be the target for everyone else with aspirations on a playoff spot.  

This is a Mets' oriented blog, so I am going to focus on their chances for the rest of the article.

The Mets have 16 games left to play this season, so in order to win 87 games they need to finish the year on a 12-4 streak which is a .750 winning percentage!  Granted, they play 10 of their remaining 16 games at home and the 6 games on the road are against teams that are not playing well this season (Colorado, Cincinnati).  

But, they also have 6 games against the best team in the National League (Los Angeles) and the second best team in the National League (Atlanta). If you look deeper, they have a 21-21 record for the season against the remaining opponents on their schedule, so that might be problematic when all is said and done.

No guarantees, but what would a 12-4 finish look like?

3 - Los Angeles (2-1)

3 @ Colorado (2-1)

3 @ Cincinnati (2-1)

4 - Miami (4-0)

3 - Atlanta (2-1)

In other words, they have to win ALL of their remaining series and they also have to sweep all four games against the Marlins to reach the 87 win "plateau".  Yes, it can be done in other ways, but if they falter anywhere along the line, they are going to need to sweep another opponent along the way.

Is this realistic?  Probably not, but it isn't impossible, either. Makes you wish the team had taken advantage of a few more "wins" that they left on the field, doesn't it?

The sad part is that the Mets have played the Nationals REALLY well this year, so if they can somehow sneak into the Wild Card matchup they could make some noise (at least until they take on the Dodgers in the NLDS in that scenario).

At least we have "meaningful" games late into September and as a fan, I am not going to throw in the towel until they are officially eliminated.

Do you still have faith in their chances or have you turned your attention to the off season?





Hitting begets hitting.  One plus one plus one = 5.

Hitting (or lack thereof) can be cumulative...and contagious.

When several guys don't hit, an offense can grind to a halt.

We've seen that all too often with the Mets over the years.

This current team?  The opposite.  They hit!!!  All of them.

180 runs in a stretch of 33 games (Aug/Sep) thru last Friday. 

That's 5.5 runs per game.

And through Tuesday, they now have 211 homers in 145 games, juice or no juice, on pace for 236.  Very un-Met-like. 

And it ought to get better, because with with Nimmo and Cano back up and humming, and Lowrie back and hopefully soon to make real contributions, the small holes in the line up prior to their returns (filled by sub-Mendoza at bats from fill ins for much of the season) have been essentially eliminated.

There is almost no reason for Mickey to put a weak or mediocre bat in the line up now.

Every hitter in the line up can and should HIT ROBUSTLY.

Heck, even the pitchers hit (through last Friday, Matz 265, Wheeler .229, deGrom .218, Thor lower but dangerous).

The cumulative effect of that sort of constant hitting pressure has to wear on opposing pitchers.  

It leads to getting in to their weak bullpens.

It then leads to wins.  

Like on last Friday night.

It can even overcome some Edwin Diaz mistakes.  

Like happened on last Friday night.

Many former Mets teams, tied from behind like that in the 9th, as happened in that game, would have folded like a tent.

Not this team - too much heart - too much hitting.

I was going to recommend a line up tweak: 

Don't sit JD Davis...sit Todd Frazier.  

Lose a little D, add a lot of bat.  Make the offense lethal.

But Todd streaky Todd is HOT HOT HOT.  Last 15 games, .311 with 4 homers, and now has 20 HRs and 65 RBIs in 406 at bats, quite solid.  And he is .314/.385/.543 with runners in scoring position through Wednesday - and former slap hitter Jeff McNeil? After 2 Wednesday upper deck bombs, a .536 slugging %.  Incredible.

Whoever plays now - don't matter - EVERYBODY HITS!

All this hitting without Dom Smith and Yoenis Cespedes - simply amazing.

I hoped to issue this earlier in the week, but didn't. Wednesday and Thursday's games, after I wrote this, are an exclamation point on this article - this team is getting close to the point where it can hit with ANY team out there.

Mack's Mets © 2012