9/30/19

OPEN THREAD - 3B

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The 2020 third base sort of seems open.

Todd Frazier is now gone and the natural pick here would be former All-Star Jed Lowrie.

But budding superstar Jeff McNeil and our fantastic surprise J.D. Davis could put up a pitch here for the gig.

What do you think the Mets will do?
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Mike Freire - Official Playoff Field and Preview Methodology

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Good Morning, Mets' fans!

Feels a bit weird for such a long season to suddenly be "over" (for the Mets, anyway), but it also means that we are on the doorstep of the 2019 MLB Playoffs.  If you have been following along, I have been updating the playoff picture as the last few weeks slowly slipped away.  But, now that the regular season is over the following playoff field is "official", so to speak;


NL Wild Card Game                                AL Wild Card Game

Milwaukee at Washington                          Tampa Bay at Oakland


NLDS Round (best of 5)                           ALDS Round (best of 5)

MIL/WAS winner at Los Angeles              TB/OAK Winner at Houston

St Louis at Atlanta                                      Minnesota at New York


NLCS/ALCS and World Series (best of 7) 

***To Be Determined***


So, no huge surprises in the listed set up with only the Brewers' late season charge towards winning the NL Central leaving things undecided until this afternoon.  They were denied by the Cardinals who will skip the Wild Card game and instead travel to Atlanta for a five game set with the Braves.  I will provide a preview of each series before it actually begins, along with my prediction on the outcome (which should be entertaining in and of itself, so don't be too harsh in the comments as we move along).

As a bit of a primer on how my (twisted) mind works, I like to look at a series of factors that COULD play a role in the match up in question.  I like to break it down into five separate criteria, which I will explain below;

1.  Both teams' win/loss record over the last thirty days (LAST 30);

I think this gives a better picture of how each team has been playing down the stretch, as opposed to the last ten games where the better teams may be coasting after locking up their respective position.

2.  Each teams' run differential, also known as the "luck factor" (RUN DIFFERENTIAL);

I have blathered on about run differential in the past and how it relates to each team's individual projected record.  However, teams can over or underperform the differential, hence the "luck factor" (or lack thereof). This will be displayed as a positive number (won more games then they should have) or a negative number (lost more games then they should have).  It CAN be an indicator of a team that might have a "fatal flaw" (the Nationals bullpen, for example) or one that could fold in a big series OR even a team that could surprise everyone and unexpectedly win one or more series.

3.  Fundamentals ranking for each team (FUNDAMENTALS);  

When the lights shine the brightest, often times the "little things" can dictate who wins and who loses.   I painfully remember the Mets getting outplayed by the Royals a few years ago in this category, even though I still believe the Mets were the more talented team.  With that said, I will focus on three basic factors for a glimpse at fundamentals (Defense - Fielding %/Errors, Base Running - Steal%/Caught Steal% and Relief Pitching - Save Totals/Save %).  Granted, it isn't perfect, but it will likely give you a hint of which team will do better when the pressure is on.

4.  Road Winning Percentage (ROAD %);

Most teams play better at home are are expected to win there, but the really successful playoff teams are also adept at winning in the other teams' ball park.  A road win in any short series is a HUGE momentum builder and it can break the spirit of the other squad. Teams that have strong regular season road records are potentially more dangerous in the playoffs.

5.  Head to Head Record (HEAD 2 HEAD);

Depending on the length of the regular season series between the two combatants, this statistic can be very telling.  Divisional opponents play each other 19 times, while league mates may only see each other 6 or 7 times and Interleague series are even shorter (when we get to the World Series).  Usually, if a team has the other team's "number" that CAN carry over to the playoffs and each team's mindset, or serve as motivation.

Remember, each of the five categories listed above are possible "flags" or "tells" before a series starts.  Sometimes the "magic" of  October baseball defies what we all "think" we know (remember the 1988 NLCS where the Dodgers stunned the favored Mets, despite the Mets beating them 10 out of 11 games in the regular season).  I suppose that's what makes it so enjoyable to watch, unless your team gets the short end of the stick (but I digress).

So, I hope all of you follow along with this journey and we will see how close I come to predicting what will happen, or not.

On to the Wild Card matchups, which will be first up in the next article in this series.


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Reese Kaplan -- Songs of Joy (and More)

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So with the season that just concluded it’s time to revisit theme/walk-up songs for some of the people associated with the Mets ball club.  It’s unlikely there will be an “Enter Sandman” controversy over who “owns” which piece of music. Please feel free to contribute your own suggestions.  It will take your mind off the fact that the team has missed the post-season yet again, though improvements certainly did take place.


Pete Alonso


The self-proclaimed Polar Bear may have been selling himself short.  His monstrous season deserves a more fantastical name than a mere Coca Cola spokes-Ursus.  Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” came to mind but it is instrumental and not suggestive of the Herculean efforts he achieved.  The more I thought about it, the catchiness and sheer magnitude of the destruction he wrought on opposing pitchers. Therefore I nominate:



Jeff McNeil 


Now that he’s proven his rookie year was not done with mirrors and that he actually improved upon it, the Mets fans came to rely on McNeil working strong at-bats and delivering in the clutch, whether it was to set up a rally or push runners across the plate when needed most, he delivered the kind of consistency where it appeared he would take on the burden of carrying the load for everyone watching the games:





Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano


The prodigious strikeout numbers were there but that’s about the only positive you could take out of most of his appearances late in games.  His first near in New York was not what Brodie Van Wagenen thought he was getting when he traded away a pair of major leaguers and a trio of minor leaguers to bring both he and Robinson Cano to New York.  The former Yankee and Mariner looked like a man lost and he was shell of the guy they thought they were getting. He did heat up in the second half but from opening day for most Mets fans it was:





JD Davis


The acquisition of Astros’ farmhand JD Davis was not considered a major deal.  After all, he struggled in early big league trials and despite winning a PCL-inflated batting title, there was no room for him in the AL Division Champs’ immediate future and it looked like another overpay in prospects to land someone of middling reputation.  Wow, is everyone happy they were wrong about that one. In fact, as the season progressed and numbers continued to improve, all you could think was:





Jacob deGrom


Here there are a lot of ways to go for the Mets’ Cy Young Award Winner.  You could take it from the perspective of the hitters in which they knew that as soon as Jake entered the game the good times would indeed stop rolling.  Towards that end, Willie Nelson’s “The Party’s Over” would be appropriate. However, the fact is that in 2018 the sole good thing to watch was a deGrom start (even though the likelihood of a win was slim when the batters went into the witness protection.  I thought long and hard about it, but the fact that BVW got the Wilpons to let the moths out of their wallet and ink him to a highly lucrative extension, it would seem we pinch ourselves to hear him pitching as if he's singing to us:


Mickey Callaway

Wow, there are so many ways to go with this one.  Yes, the club improved a great deal this season and affter being left for dead they stormed back and were mathematically in it until the final four games of the season.  The vision of meaningful games in September indeed came to fruition, but many think that they could have done much more without the bullpen mismanagement, the questionable lineup decisions and the many head scratching maneuvers.  When he was signed to a three-year deal by the Wilpons they were hoping he would do more.  There are many now saying it's time for BVW to choose his own man and bring in someone with more experience to take them to the next level.  In that case, will we be singing:


Brodie Van Wagenen

You have one job in improving the team for 2020.  You have to find a way to get the bullpen ready to do its job to:


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9/29/19

OPEN THREAD - Joe Maddon

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The Cubs and Joe Maddon just parted company...

Thoughts?
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Mack – A Look Ahead to the 2020 Affiliates – Columbia Fireflies

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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.

and…

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 fourth 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, Kingsport, and Brooklyn projected teams in the past three Sundays.

Next up… the 2020 Columbia Fireflies. 



RHSP Matt Cleveland – Cleveland was a 21/yr. old when he went 3-3, 3.78 in 14-starts for Brooklyn. The only question here is his low K/9 ratio (5.58 four season average). In addition, 42 walks last year in 66.2 innings is not going to make it in the long run.

RHSP Matt Allen – Matt was considered the top high school pitcher in the 2019 Draft but he came with signing issues. The Mets drafted him in third round and paid the bucks to sign him. His pro career has been purposely slow but I have him playing Columbia next opening day.

RHSP Garrison Bryant – “John From Albany” pointed out to me that Bryant finished 2nd in the NYPL in ERA, 6th in strikeouts, and led the league in WHIP and opponents average. He did all this as a 20/yr. old. I could probably spend more time on this guy, but these numbers alone have warranted a bump up to a full season team.

RHSP Frank Valentino – Valentino was signed as a free agent around halfway through the Brooklyn season. The former N.I.T. (NYC) grad went 2-4, 3.41, 1.12, with 63-Ks in 58-IP. The 24/yr. old has earned a bump up.

RHRP Matt Mullenbach – Boy, some Mets scout is doing his homework this past year regarding un-drafted free agents. The 22/yr. old Mullenbach went 2.84/1.07 in 19-appearances (26-K, 25.1-IP). How do you not promote him to Columbia?

RHRP Mitch Ragan – The 22/yr. old righty, out of Creighton, had two bad games where he gave up 7-ER in 3.2-IP. Past that, he gave up 5-ER in 31.1-IP. Like Mullenbach, he earned a promotion to South Carolina.

LHRP Andrew Edwards – Frankly, I expected more from the 22/yr. lefty out of New Mexico State, but his 3.30/1.23, 30-IP, 35-K (14-BB) still will earn him a pen spot for Columbia. I still predict big things from this guy.

LHRP Connor Wollersheim – Need some help here. We draft the 6-2 lefty in last year’s draft. He makes 14 appearances for Kingsport/Columbia and goes 2.25. But here is the rub… he had 8-K and 11-BB in 16-IP. What do we do, what do we do? Well, I’m sending him to Columbia to get those walks down.

C Jose Mena – There are a lot of projected prime catchers currently in the chain and, though the 22/yr. old Mesa is not one of them, he is holding his own after going .299 in 97-AB for Brooklyn. Should start before Andres Regnault or Francisco Alvarez comes along.

1B Joe Genord – ‘John From Albany’ raves about this kid and that’s enough reason for me to promote him to full-season Columbia. This  23/yr. old UCF grad hit only .204 form Brooklyn this past season but he did hit 9-HRs (5th in the league) and someone has to play first here next season, right?

OF-2B Wilmer Reyes – I have to say that this is another one of the guys that have caught me off guard this past season. He’s now my numero uno dark horse. The Mets have moved him to second and the outfield and it has not hurt his hitting at all: .325 (5th in the league) /.350/.441/.792, 5-HR for the Cyclones in 229-ABs. I’m not sure where I’ll play him but he will be high up in my Fireflies lineup.

OF Jake Magnum – Magnum is on a fast track by the Mets for two reasons. One, he has done nothing but impress so far as a professional and, two, we all know how thin the team is in future outfielders. The 23/yr. old hit only ,229 this past July, but got his game together in August, hitting .286. We have to move him along.

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9/28/19

TOM BRENNAN - DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN - PETE ALONSO STYLE

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Not a long message - just to say:

Darryl Strawberry's Met rookie HR record WAS 26.

It no longer is….it WAS…it got obliterated.

Pete Alonso has doubled that record, with 52.

Doubled that.

After 36 years.  

Doubled that.

Imagine that, huh?

Darryl had 335 career homers.

Maybe Pete can double that, too.

As a Met.

670 HRs.

Imagine that, huh?
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9/28/19 Arizona Fall League update

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Here is how the nine Mets Players are doing so far in the Arizona Fall league.

As of today, Saturday, there has been just 8 Arizona Fall League games and only Andres Gimenez has played as many as 5. 

After a big grand slam last Wednesday night, Andres is hitting .353 with 1 HR and 8 RBIs.

Patrick Mazeika was the only Met who played last night going 1 for 4 with 2 RBIs while catching.  Patrick also threw out one of three runners trying to steal.  In 3 games, Patrick is hitting .308 with 4 hits in 13 at-bats. 

The two other Met catchers in Arizona are Ali Sanchez and Juan Uriarte.  Ali has 2 hits in 6 at-bats with 2 BBs and 2 RBIs.  Juan is just 0 for 1 in 1 game.

Luis Carpio leads all Met hitters with a 3 for 7 in 2 games for a .429 average.

On the mound, Lefty David Peterson started one game going 3 innings, giving up just one hit and one walk and no runs.

Jordan Humphreys also went three innings in one game allowing no runs, 2 hits and 1 walk. 

In the bullpen, Ryley Gilliam has pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in 2 games but has given up 4 un-earned runs with 3 hits including a home run. 

In two games Lefty Blake Taylor has pitched 3 innings giving up an earned run each time for 6.00 ERA with 3 hits, 3 Ks, and 1 walk. 

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John From Albany - 2019 Binghamton Rumble Ponies recap

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In 2018 Binghamton enjoyed the likes of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Tim Tebow to help the team to their best attendance in 25 years.  In 2019, the rain washed it all away as Binghamton saw the attendance drop to 3,000 a game and 182,990 for the season.

Here in upstate NY, we usually don’t get much of a spring, but we usually get something.  In 2019 it rained, and it rained, and it rained.  In fact, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies had 9 games postponed due to rain or wet grounds in the month of April alone!  And as Mack Met’s own Tom Brennan noted back in May, it was cold.

Still, the Ponies started off the season pretty-well going 11-8 in April and 19-11 in May before going 37-54 the rest of the way to finish with an overall 67-73 record (fourth out of six in the Eastern League Eastern Division in the first half and dead last in the second half).
Much of the season’s early hopes were pinned on Top Met prospect SS Andres Gimenez. 



Andres followed up a .282 average in St. Lucie with a .250 average at Binghamton at 20 years of age.  However, it was not just Andres.  That .250 average was good enough for the team lead in 2019!  Andres also led the team with 54 runs and 28 stolen bases while winning the Sterling Mets Minor League Defender of the year award with a .973 fielding percentage.  Hitting wise, Andres seemed to turn things around when Upstate NY finally heated up in July hitting .295 but he fell back down to his .250 average in August.  Recently, Andres has gone to the Arizona Fall League where his bat has so far responded to the warmer weather. 

Patrick Mazeika led the team with 69 RBIs (tied for second in the Eastern League).  He gave Binghamton two of the best endings of the year with a walk-off grand-slam with two outs on May 14th and a three-run walk-off homer also with two outs on August 7th.  Overall, Patrick was the best hitter on the team with 16 homers to go with those 69 RBIs and .245 average (after a .194 in the frigid/wet April). 


Not rated as good a defensive catcher as Tomas Nido or Ali Sanchez, Patrick still has thrown out 31% of would be base stealers in his career.  In 2019, he also played first base 53 games to go with 55 games behind the plate.  One other thing about Patrick, when knuckle-baller Mickey Jannis takes to the mound, Patrick seems to always get the call behind the plate.  Mickey’s ball moves a lot and catching him is no easy task.

At 31 years old, Mickey was once again the overall ace of the staff throughout the year.  In 20 games, Mickey went 7-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 119 innings.  Mickey can all of a sudden lose control and have a bad inning only to find it again the next inning and pitch lights out the rest of the game.   Mickey pitched well enough to get two different calls to Syracuse but they did not go well.  In two games in ‘Cuse he went 0-2 with a 22.95 ERA. 

Anthony Kay was Binghamton’s best pitcher in the first half going 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA and had the teams only complete game shutout of 2019.  He added 70Ks in 66.1 innings and .92 WHIP.  Like Mickey Jannis, Kay struggled at AAA Syracuse going 1-3 with a 6.61 ERA before being dealt to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman trade where he turned things around in Buffalo going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA before being called up to Toronto where he has so far gone 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA. 

Left hander Kevin Smith was the best Ponies pitcher in the second half earning the Sterling Mets Minor League Pitcher of the year award.  After going 5-5 with 102 Ks in 85.2 innings in St. Lucie, Kevin was promoted to Binghamton and went 3-2 in 6 starts allowing three runs or fewer in five of the six outings.  He added 28Ks in 31.1 innings with Binghamton to bring his annual total to 130 - leading all Mets minor leaguers.  Kevin could start 2020 in Binghamton but is expected in Syracuse and maybe in Flushing sometime in 2020. 

As discussed in the Syracuse re-cap, Harol Gonzalez had a good year for Binghamton before heading up to ‘Cuse, 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.09 WHIP. 

Another notable starting pitcher was Lefty David Peterson.  The Mets number one pick in 2017, 20th overall, had an uneven season.  He struck-out 122 in 116 innings with 119 hits, 1.34 WHIP, 3W-6L, and 4.19 ERA. 

The Binghamton bullpen had 4 significant relivers, Stephen Villines, Joe Zanghi, Blake Taylor, and Adonis Uceta. 

Maybe it was the different ball that was used this last year in MLB and AAA than the ball that was used in AA and levels below or maybe it was the tougher competition but one recurring theme in the Binghamton-Syracuse tale of 2019 was how a number of Binghamton pitchers went to Syracuse and how they fared.  While Harol Gonzalez and Matt Blackham did well, Anthony Kay, Mickey Jannis, Stephen Villines, and Joe Zanghi (and to a lesser extent Adonis Uceta) did not.

Stephen Villines, and Joe Zanghi were stellar all year for Binghamton. 

Stephen, the side arming right hander, had progressed through the minors to land in Binghamton where he pitched to a 2-1 record with a 1.20 ERA, 42 Ks, 45 innings in 28 games.  When he was called up to Syracuse he pitched to a 6.75 ERA in 13 games, 16 innings. 

Joe Zanghi, 3-3, 2.34 ERA, 31 Games, 57.2 innings, 50 Ks, 1.21 WHIP in Binghamton; 6.35 ERA in 5 games with a 2,12 WHIP in Syracuse.

Adonis Uceta, 5-3, 1.44 ERA, 56.1 innings, 36 games, 55Ks, 1.03 WHIP.  In 1.1 innings in Syracuse, he had a 33.75 ERA.

Lefty Blake Taylor, who came to the Mets as the player to be named later in the Ike Davis to Pittsburgh trade, followed up a 2-2, 2.63 ERA, 21 games, 27 innings record in 2019 for St. Lucie to go 0-1, 1.85 ERA, 18 games, 39 innings for Binghamton.  He pitched .1 innings for Syracuse as well getting out the only batter he faced.

Blake, Adonis, and Joe are all Rule 5 draft eligible so we may hear more about them this winter.

On the hitting side, outside of Andres Gimenez and Patrick Mazeika, there was not a lot.

Sam Haggerty played well enough to be called up to Syracuse and eventually Flushing playing both the infield and the outfield.  Showing excellent base stealing ability with 19 steals in 23 attempts, he hit .259 with a .370 OBP, 39 runs, 2 homers and 13 RBIs, in 247 at bats. 

Luis Carpio, 2B, hit .263 after his call up from St. Lucie, with .347 OBP, 3 HRs, 22 RBIs,

Will Toffey, the prize prospect in the 2018 Familia trade with Oakland struggled in his second year at AA with injuries hitting just .219 in 91 games with 5 HRs and 27 RBIs.

Ali Sanchez, the best defensive catching prospect in the Mets system, Ali hit .278 in 71 games with 30 RBIs splitting time with Mazeika before he was called up to Syracuse.

When Sanchez was called up, Austin Bossart was acquired from the Phillies for Jason Vargas.  At the time of the trade multiple outlets said the only reason why the Mets traded for Austin despite his .195 average for Reading was his relationship with Jeff Wilpon’s son.  However, as Mack astutely pointed out, two weeks prior, Austin hit 3 of his 7 season total HRs against Binghamton over the two-day period between July 15th and 16th.    For Binghamton, Bossart hit .200 in 19 games with no HRs. 

After hitting .285 in 53 games with St. Lucie, Quinn, Brody was a mid-season callup going .251 with 5 homers and 24 RBIs. 

Finally, another former top Met prospect coming back from injury, 1st and 3rd Baseman David Thompson, after hitting .189 in 41 games in Syracuse was sent to Binghamton where he hit .230, 6 HRs, 23 RBIs in 82 games.

Overall some good performances by the Binghamton players but the losing and the weather doomed the season and the attendance.  However, I have an out of the box idea for next year that may help (what a surprise – huh).

Since Syracuse and Binghamton are only an hour apart from each other, and since when Syracuse is home, Binghamton tends to be on the road and vice versa, next year, why not share Tim Tebow?  Tim can play in Syracuse one week and Binghamton the next.  It is a win for Binghamton, Syracuse and Tim Tebow. 

Tim won’t have to take those long Pawtucket to Buffalo bus rides that Syracuse had to endure last year.  Syracuse and Binghamton get the attendance boost.  I have an easier time convincing friends and family to make the trip with me from Albany to Binghamton or Albany to Syracuse.  

What do you think? 

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Reese Kaplan -- What You See in 2019 is What You'll Get in 2020

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If you conducted a poll of Mets fans, in a landslide the answer to the question, “What is the Mets’ greatest need for 2020?” would be, “Bullpen!”  It’s hard to argue with that, considering the team lead the league in blown saves and outside of Seth Lugo, mostly Justin Wilson and sometimes Luis Avilan, it was a horror show out there.  As much as people want to blame Mickey Callaway for many of the losses (and deservedly so), the fact remains if the players he’s given don’t execute well then it’s on them and not him. 

I’ve said before that it would be foolish to sell low on Edwin Diaz.  Yes, the strikeout numbers were there but so to were the home runs allowed.  It was almost shocking when he didn’t give up a dinger when he entered the game, almost as shocking as him facing three batters and not striking out at least one of them.  I don’t believe he’s a Josh Smoker.  He’s more Aroldis Chapman.  I’m charitably thinking that either there was something physically wrong this year or it was just the upheaval and adjustment to going to a new team in a new league.  Not everyone hits the ground running.  Do you remember Carlos Beltran’s first year in New York?  How about Curtis Granderson?  It happens.


The Jeurys Familia meltdowns to me were somewhat expected as he was never nearly as good in non-save situations as he was when the game was on the line.  If you recall he was a starter in the minors and got converted to reliever after not learning how to pace himself and handle the grind of 6+ innings.  He seems to focus better when it’s a save situation though he had his many Armando Benitez moments as well.  Signing him to set up was a mistake and I said so at the time, but no one could have guessed it would be this bad.  He’s under contract for another two years, so you’d better do what you can to maximize his value.  Some would say making him the closer and trading Edwin Diaz would be the way to do that.  There’s some merit in that way of thinking, but if you got back some B level prospects for Diaz then the seemingly disastrous Mariners trade would become even worse.


The rest of the bullpen pieces are hard to discuss without resorting to George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV.  It’s almost unbelievable that between Tyler Bashlor, Brad Brach, Chris Flexen, Wilmer Font, Drew Gagnon, Robert Gsellman, Donnie Hart, Walker Lockett, Chris Mazza, Stephen Nogosek, Ryan O’Rourke, Corey Oswalt, Tim Peterson, Brooks Pounders, Jacob Rhame, Hector Santiago, Paul Sewald and Daniel Zamora, SOMEONE would have stepped up and delivered.  Granted, many of them were career starters now cast into the unfamiliar role of reliever, but there are others who excelled in the minors who looked completely lost at the next level.  Would anyone shed a tear if any or the above were DFA’d or outrighted off the 40-man roster?  Many have had multiple opportunities and failed, so what makes you think they will magically discover what was wrong a’la Hansel Robles?  The bullpen improved slightly under Phil Regan’s leadership, but not nearly enough to have made a significant difference.  For Brodie Van Wagenen, finding quality relief pitching is job one.

If you asked job number two, there the poll would divide into many separate splinter groups.  Some advocate improving the defense up the middle.  Some want to make a run at the number one free agent hitter, Anthony Rendon.  Others want to spend the limited budget on the number one starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole.  Frankly the answer is yes, all of the above would help.  The problem, of course, is prioritizing and juggling limited funds.

Assuming that Todd Frazier and Juan Lagares are going, that’s about $18 million right there.  Marcus Stroman is at $7.4 and due a raise.  Noah Syndergaard is at $6 million and due a raise.  If Zack Wheeler leaves, you get back $5.7 million but that would barely cover the raises due to the first two pitchers.  Jacob deGrom’s salary jumps from $9 million to $25 million.  That $16 million increase eats up most of the money gained on the Frazier/Lagares contracts.  By the way, on a 32 HR season, you can bet Michael Conforto is going to get a substantial increase.  Even the inconsistent Stephen Matz will likely see a bump above his current $2.67 million.  Jeurys Familia’s backloaded deal bumps him $5 million as well.  You see where I am going here…there’s not going to be money for those top tier free agents.  Even if you peddled some mid-tier folks like Conforto and Syndergaard to save money, it’s not going to be enough to land Rendon or Cole.  


There are some folks out there advocating signing Wheeler and trading Thor.  The thought there is that two solid second half performances in a row from Wheeler shows what he's capable of doing and is second in 7 inning+ starts in the league to someone named Jake.  Thor would bring back probably high-level, low-priced prospects that could set you up for future success but it still leaves a hole in the rotation PLUS you would have to pay the $16 to $19 million per year it is estimated to cost to secure Wheeler's services.  Some suggest filling the void with Seth Lugo, but that makes the horrendous pen that much weaker.

The big money folks you’d like to move – Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes – are pretty much untradeable unless, uncharacteristically, the Mets are willing to pay down a huge chunk of what's owed.  Now BVW is more creative than his predecessor, so a case could be made that paying half of the Robinson Cano money and half of the Yoenis Cespedes money would free up about $24 million in payroll which gets you closed to free agent promised land.  


So I think you have to face facts that there are going to be efforts made to find more JD Davis types (at all positions) – players undervalued and with plenty of years of team salary control left.  That may be a formula for long term success but it may not be the immediate step forward people want to see to get the Mets to the 2020 post season.  After all, not many folks perform like Davis did when given the opportunity.  For every JD Davis rookie season there are many more dismal failures.  I think what you see is what you’re going to get plus some bullpen improvements. 

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9/27/19

Tom Brennan - WHAT PETE ALONSO CAN DO TO GET EVEN BETTER

7 comments

The Beatles once sang, "getting better all the time..."

As I write this on Thursday AM, with 4 games left in the season, I am aware of several Pete Alonso things:

1) He is a rookie.

2) As a rookie, he has 51 homers and 30 doubles and 118 RBIs.

3) His performance has been incredible.

Pete is a machine, focused on getting better.  

He badly wants to improve.

He can improve.

Three areas I see that he can improve in:

A) 175 Ks, 4th in the majors.  While a 20% reduction would be nice, a 10% or better improvement in 2020 should be a realistic goal.

B) He was hitting just .219 at home, but .297 on the road.  That seems to happen a lot to our hitters at Citifield.  He needs to think about why there has been such a disparity.  Is he putting too much pressure on himself at home?  Whatever it is, he needs to figure out how to relax and pound even more at home.

C) As a righty, logic tells you he should hit lefties better, but he is hitting .238 vs. lefties, but .269 vs. righties.  Last year, in the minors, he was almost dead even between hitting against lefties and righties.  It is great he hits righties as well as he does.  But he should be able to do better against lefties, and it should be an area of focus this off season.

So...whaddya think??
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Reese Kaplan -- Total deGrominance, 2019 Edition

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Reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom made the voters reconsider their traditional win-bias last season when he demonstrated that a rather pedestrian 10-9 record meant nothing when he led the league in ERA by a wide margin while striking out a respectable 269 batters en route to a dominating 9.6 WAR.

This season his win total ticket up a little bit to 11-8 on a better team.  His ERA, though respectable at 2.43, is up somewhat significantly, but he’s leading the league in strikeouts and WHIP while providing a WAR total of 7.3 over 32 games started.

His main competition seems to be coming from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer.  While deGrom finished with a flourish, Ryu is limping along to season’s end, having pitched north of 6.00 ERA lately.  Still, his record right now stands at 13-5 with a 2.41 ERA over 28 games started.  His league leading ERA is about the only standout number to go along with being very stingy with free passes, having issued on average just 1.2 per 9 IP.  That’s good for 4.7 WAR.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer has also had a very nice season, having gone 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA.  He has fanned 243 batters and pitched to a WHIP of 1.027.  His 12.7 Ks per 9 IP is league-best as it his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.36.  He earned his 7th straight All-Star nod in 2019 as well. 


With WAR being a cumulative stat for overall impact on the game, deGrom’s lead by nearly 3 full points may by the deciding factor.  He started 4-5 more games, struck out more and made it to the league-best mark of keeping people off base.   That spells deGrominance in anyone’s book.

In case you’re interested in a Mets’ historical perspective, for his career deGrom is sporting a 2.62 ERA.  Over the first stint with the Mets, Tom Seaver tallied a 2.47 mark.  However, Tom Terrific fanned on average 7.7 people per 9 IP while walking 2.4.  deGrom made 10.3 batters whiff every 9 IP while only giving up 2.2 free passes.  Seaver has a wide margin of victory on both wins and complete games, but the latter stat is somewhat deceiving as the role of the relief pitcher has come to prominence. 

The other dominant pitcher to suit up for the Mets was, of course, Doc Gooden.  After his early career brilliance, Gooden fell to earth as part of his lifestyle choices.   Consequently for the 11 years he was a Met he falls behind both of the other contenders in every category. 

So while you can make the case that deGrom is not yet in Seaver territory for his career, you can also just as easily give him the nod for his second straight Cy Young Award, something Tom Terrific never did during his career.  The Mets are betting he has three more similar seasons in him (to the tune of over $100 million).  Barring injury, there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t. 

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9/26/19

Tom Brennan - METS MISS PLAYOFFS DESPITE SOME GREAT PERFORMERS

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Milwaukee was tied with the Mets on August 31, and then went 19-4 to clinch the Wild Card.

Remarkable.

If the Mets did that, true fans would be talking about it for decades.  

Just like they continue to talk about two prior late season surges, 1969 and 1973 (OK, 3 when you consider 2015).

So a tip of the hat to the Brew Crew.

That said, I hope the Brewskies lose their Wild Card game because they denied the Mets the playoffs.  

They have to be brought to justice.  


Jack Bauer agreed to do whatever it takes to make that happen.   Thank you for your service, Jack.


The Mets got this close in 2019 on some great performances:

1) JAKE DEGROM:

Who could seriously talk about Jake as a repeat Cy Young winner after his start on July 5, where his ERA sat at 3.27 and a 4-7 record.

Jake continued to get crappy support from the offense and pen, hence the 4 wins after 18 starts, but he had also had a bad 7 game stretch from where he went 1-5 and gave up a very un-Jake-like 23 earned runs in 39 innings.

But his last 14 starts have been incredible:

7-1, 94 IP, 59 H, 15 earned runs (1.44 ERA), 19 BB, 117 Ks.  Certainly Cy Young worthy in a season where the best starters (e.g., Cole, Verlander) are in the AL this year.  The 7-1 boosted his record to 11-8.

Even in his last 14 starts, of course, since his name is Jake deGrom, his bad luck continued...in 5 of his 6 no-decisions, he gave up a total of 2 earned runs.

He clearly should have won 18-20.


2) PETE ALONSO

Four games left, 51 HRs and 118 RBIs....we all need to pinch ourselves.  A Met is doing this....a Met ROOKIE is doing this.

From his head to his patriotic, bold cleats, WE LUV PETE.


3) JEFF MCNEIL

The Mets' curse resurfaced with his broken wrist on a HBP last night.  Here's hopes for a quick recovery.  a season of .318/.384/.532?   Wow.  Start pinching yourself again.  38 doubles, 23 homers, and 162 hits in just 133 games?  Wow. Pinch.


4) MICHAEL CONFORTO

30 plus homers, 90 plus RBIs?  He's had his droughts along the way, but MC's Hammer has almost equaled that of uber-expensive Bryce Harper.  May Conforto park 40 in the other side of fences in 2020.


5) J.D. DAVIS

A man who many expected to fail and end up in Syracuse most of the year has hit 20 HRs in 396 at bats and, despite a slow 3 for 20 start, is hitting .308.  Wow.  Pinch.


6) AMED ROSARIO

He was roundly criticized in April, May and June for his mediocre fielding, while showing a slowly growing bat.  In July, August, and September?  Hitting .322.  Wow. Pinch.  Hititng .287 for the full season with 71 RBIs, 75 runs, 15 HRs and 19 RBIs.


7) WILSON RAMOS

The beefy "Buffalo" has 14 HRs, 73 RBIs and a .287 average in 473 ABs.   Maybe not quite WOW, PINCH, but a big upgrade over the catcher non-hitting that Mets' fans had adapted to since Mike Piazza retired.


8) SETH LUGO

A light in the bullpen darkness. 7-4, 2.77 and 5 recent saves.  He had a very bad 3 game stretch in late March and early April where he allowed 9 runs in 2.2 innings...a bad 3 game stretch in late June where he allowed 7 runs in 3.2 IP....and that one stinker in mid-August against the Braves, where he allowed 5 runs in 1/3 inning.  Otherwise, he was almost perfect in his other 53 outings.  Great work, wow, pinch.


9) JUSTIN WILSON

Lastly, JW missed a ton of time early in the season due to a repeatedly barking elbow, giving many a Mets fan the feeling that he would pull a Lowrie on us and miss almost the entire season.  Nope.  He has gotten into 45 games and went 4-2, 2.54.  So, if anyone asks tou who had the better ERA, Wilson or the wonderful Seth Lugo, you now know the answer.  He missed too much vital time for a wow, pinch.


Honorable mention goes to 10) Zach Wheeler, who was very uneven in the first half and quite good in the second half, just like last year.  

And to 11) Todd Frazier, a man I beat up a lot this season.  After a spring injury, he was only 7 for 49 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in mid-May.  I assumed after 2018's and 2017's .213, he was washed up.  But the rest of the way this year, a very solid .256 with 19 HRs and 60 RBIs in 387 ABs.  My guess is this is the last week for both of these guys as Mets unless they are willing to take less money to stay with the Mets.  

And, briefly, 12) Robbie Cano had an encouraging, strong second half despite his hamstring injury, and 13) Dom Smith played very well, except in July when he went 9 for 54, partly because of his foot injury that caused his last game to be July 26.  Maybe he will get a few ABs before season's end.

Thanks and appreciation to them all.
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