December 5, 2012
It is that time of year once again Met fans. As we bask in the afterglow of R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young Award frenzy, we turn our sights towards the 2013 season. Just as we do every off-season, our minds wistfully follow the Hot Stove reports and Winter Meetings with the small shred of hope that the Mets will suddenly act like a large market team by making an unexpected splash or two. You know, the type that would actually improve our team by signing a player in his prime for some meaningful dollars. Someone for Met fans to hang our hats on. Someone that gives us a touch of amnesia and makes us forget about the recent years of non-competitive misery. Someone to give us some warmth during this long, cold winter.
Alas, what have we learned in recent years? Mets management executes only what absolutely needs to be done in order to show us that they are trying. They do not offer the educated New York baseball fan true hope. No, Met management offers only The Token Move of Appeasement, or TMOA. Yes, ticket sales are on the minds of the Wilpons. Make no mistake about that. Met ownership is banking on this tactic to lure the desperate Met fan into purchasing a season ticket plan, or perhaps a partial plan as a consolation prize.
This year’s version of TMOA is David Wright. Not even the Wilpons could be idiotic enough to let their franchise face walk away from the team. It is of no concern that the contract offered by the Wilpons will be backloaded with a significant amount of deferred money to be paid off through the 2020 season. Whatever it takes to accomplish their one goal of selling tickets to cover the their massive debt and perhaps make some semblance of a profit. Winning? That is not part of the equation.
Let us look at this from another perspective for a moment. If you want to measure the quality of the player David Wright truly is, he first needs to be removed from the Met roster. This is because he is a superstar on the Mets in comparison to any other position player currently under contract. The truth of the matter is that Wright is a very good player, but he is not a superstar, nor an MVP caliber player. He is not a player that can carry a team on his back for sustained portions of a season. In other words, he is not a Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and perhaps not even a Mike Trout. Of course, I am listing the elite here. However, if we move down the line just a bit, there is a second tier of talent in the majors that Wright may still fall short of placing within. Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, and Andrew McCutchen all come to mind as more productive offensive talents than Wright. If DW had the benefit of playing alongside one of these talents, well then the Mets would have something cooking.Part of me feels bad for David Wright. He will never get the opportunity to be a part of a winner here if he has to be the number one guy. I wish better for him. The other part of me sees it this way. He did sign on the dotted line, and I believe he knew what he was getting himself into. He is getting paid a king’s ransom. Why should I feel bad for him?
My feelings for David Wright aside, the major concern is whether or not the Mets made a sound baseball decision here. It is clear that Sandy Alderson was under direct orders to sign Wright at any and all costs. However, we have learned that the Wilpons would not know a sound baseball decision if it slapped them in the face.
What do we know about the current state of this Met franchise? We know that they are banking on the young pitching that they developed or acquired through trade. If we are lead to believe that this is the direction they are headed in towards potential future success, wouldn’t it make sense for the Mets to grab some young position player talent as well? Outside of Wilmer Flores (a third baseman subsequently blocked by David Wright’s presence), the Mets do not have anyone in the minors worth speaking of. That being said, who do the Mets expect to win with in the coming years to go along with all of that young pitching talent? The last time I checked, teams can not win championships losing by 3-2 and 2-1 margins. We have heard whispers of the Mets looking to find some outfield talent on the cheap this off-season. Do the Mets truly believe that they can get by this way and legitimately compete going forward? Will they suddenly wake up and spend adequate money on some offensive talent in the coming years?
These are all great questions that will never be asked to the general manager nor ownership, and if it were asked, it would be left without answer. I do know this, David Wright might have brought back some nice position player talent if he had been traded previously. I know there is no guarantee that prospects bring future success, but how does our alternative look right about now?
There is one undeniable truth here. David Wright being flanked in the middle of our order by the likes of Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis does not excite me one bit. This much I know without any hesitation, and I know all Met fans feel the same way.
May 20, 2011
As the Wilpons continue to deal with a massive lawsuit set against them for knowingly being involved in the Ponzi scheme arranged by Bernie Madoff, the Mets are actually playing some decent baseball. They actually sit just one game under the .500 mark as they open a subway series tonight against the Yankees. (Did you notice that I didn’t use the term “Crosstown Rivals” when mentioning the Yankees? Come on now. The Mets are clearly not the product that the Yankees are, and as much as I hate to admit it, they are not even in the same universe.)
This backdrop aside, you might be lead to believe that this small measure of success would lend to a slight bump in fan attendance at Citifield. However, the truth of the matter is that the opposite has actually occurred. Newsday reports that fan attendance has actually dropped by 3,031 per game. This was according to statistics taken from baseball-reference.com.
According to the article, Mets executives blame this on bad weather recently, as well as the fact that attendance typically picks up after the school year has ended. They also “claim” that the total ticket sales for this time of year are actually the same as they were last year. Yawn.
One thing is certain. Despite the fact that the Mets have exceeded expectations thus far, the Met fan base does not really buy into what is going on. After all, why should they? When you look at the Met lineup, you see guys named Pridie, Turner, Tejada and Murphy getting regular at bats. That is not going to excite anyone. The fact is, the star power the Mets offer is either injured (David Wright, Ike Davis and Johan Santana), under producing (Jason Bay – again) or headed out of town very, very soon (Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and possibly Frankie Rodriguez). The future, like the Wilpon’s bank account, is certainly bleak.
When this is taken into account, how can the Met front office realistically be surprised by the dip in attendance? If they are hanging their hat on the idea that these AAA players will continue to overachieve, then they are less intelligent than even I thought that they were. Truthfully, that is tough to do.
I personally tip my hat to all the Met fans who are fed up with the direction of this team due to its misfit owners. As a matter of fact, I think that I’ll actually raise a drink to all Met fans later this evening. It is about time that we Met fans show the Wilpons that enough is enough.
April 26, 2010
Am I happy today as a Met fan? Sure, why wouldn’t I be? The Mets have won six out of seven and stand at one game above .500 today. That is certainly beyond what I expected at this point.
Let me point out a few things that I believe have pushed the Mets beyond my expectations to this point.
1) Ike Davis -I did not expect the Mets to actually release Mike Jacobs so soon and inevitably call up Davis. Let’ s just say that this move was a bit out of character for the Mets and leave it at that. Davis is a ray of sunshine for Met fans. There is not one person in Met Land that isn’t pulling for this kid to succeed, myself obviously included. As long as he is here, the level of optimism is just a notch higher around here. Let’s just hope that if he slumps, that the Mets do not decide to send him down simply because Daniel Murphy happens to be ready to play at the same time.
2) Mike Pelfrey – There are surely some readers that want me to eat some crow here, and to date, this is justifiably so. Mike Pelfrey’s ERA stands at a microscopic 0.69 after four starts, and has run his scoreless inning streak to 24 innings. Those are some incredible statistics that even the most optimistic Met fan would not have expected. Listen, I have been very impressed with the way he has gone about his business so far. I still do not believe, unfortunately, that he is a dominant pitcher for the same reasons I always have. He is not a strikeout pitcher. In order for him to succeed, he needs to keep the ball low, and often times, out of the strike zone. In his first few starts, hitters were approaching their at bats against him very aggressively. In yesterday’s game against Atlanta, the Braves took the more patient approach, leading to 100 plus pitches thrown in only five innings of work. This patient approach also led to five walks allowed. I just feel that Pelfrey needs to be perfect in order to succeed here on in, and perfect is what he has been thus far. It is just that perfection is a hard thing to maintain through a full season of work. We’ll just have to wait and see.
3) The Bullpen - In yet another area that would warrant the need for me to eat some crow, the Met bullpen has been extremely productive. (Eating some crow as I type) I had stated my concern for anyone not named Felciano or Rodriguez to be a viable member of this bullpen. So far, Igarashi, Takahashi, and Nieve have proven my concerns to be unfounded…at least in April. My concerns remain for the simple reason that the two Japanese pitchers have exactly 14 appearances between them, and that Fernando Nieve has had limited starts throughout his three incomplete years of major league experience. I restate that I am a fan of the proven pitcher in comparison to the unproven pitcher. Why? Major league coaches, scouts and players have a way of writing a book on inexperienced pitchers. When they do, they make adjustments on how to approach each plate appearance against that pitcher. It is then inherent upon that pitcher to make an adjustment of their own to remain successful. Will these three relievers succeed in this quest? Only time will tell.
4) Jose Reyes - It appears that Jose is healthy. He is running hard, he is playing stellar defense, and he is beginning to hit the ball as well. Through it all so far, he has also produced from his new position as the number three hitter in the order. This is great news for the Mets, especially since Carlos Beltran will be out for a long, long time to the surprise of no one. However, like Mr. Beltran, Jose has to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire season. Once you get that injury label tagged to you, it takes a while to shake it off.
4) The level of competition - It isn’t as if the Mets have played anyone who is a World Series contender to date, other than the St. Louis Cardinals of course. Of the Marlins, Nationals, Rockies, Cubs and Braves, do any of these teams strike fear in you? Each of these teams are obviously flawed in at least one area of the game. The Marlins can hit, but can’t field or close out a game. The Nationals can’t do much of anything. The Rockies are average in most areas. The Cubs can’t hit or close out a game. Finally, the Braves can’t hit, run the bases, or field, as we just witnessed this past weekend. This is extremely odd for a Bobby Cox team mind you, even if it is his last season on the bench in Atlanta.
What will the Mets do against the the better teams? Well, they did lose two out of three to St. Louis already. One thing is certain. The better teams always expose another team’s weaknesses. This will certainly play out as the season unfolds.
In summary, there is plenty to be happy with on April 26th, fresh off this latest sweep of the rival Atlanta Braves. Will it continue? If you believe like I do that the Mets have exceeded expectations thus far, then perhaps it will not. If you believe conversely that what you have seen is a true gauge of what the Mets are as a team, then you will obviously feel differently. Whichever the case, it has been a fun week, hasn’t it?
March 21, 2010
The rumors have begun, and like most rumors, they can spread like wildfire. I try to absorb this data as best as I can without treating it as the gospel. It is sort of like dipping your foot in the water instead of jumping in head first.
Even with the foot dip, you still get a feel for the water temperature. This ultimately determines whether or not you like what you feel, or in this case, what you can see. What do I see? I see the possiblity of trading for someone who at one time would have been a tremendous upgrade over what we realistically have as our opening day first baseman. I purposely exclude the best choice for the job. That being Ike Davis, whose potential far exceeds anything Daniel Murphy has to offer. Unfortunately, Davis will be spending the majority of this season in Buffalo. It is the Met mantra, “Ike in 2011, Ike in 2011, Ike in 2011.” If you say it enough times, you start to actually believe that this is the only sensible answer. That, for lack of a better word, is just crappy.
The question, therefore, is whether or not Mike Lowell is a better fit for the 2010 Mets than Daniel Murphy is. If this were 2007, there would be no debate. Unfotunately, this is 2010, and the reality is Mike Lowell is a different player until proven otherwise. If he weren’t, then the Boston Red Sox would not have brought Adrian Beltre on board, and would not be rumored as “shopping” Mike Lowell to the highest bidder. They are even rumored to be offering him along with the provision of eating the majority of his contract. Does this sound like someone who is anything close to the 2007 version of Mike Lowell? Common sense would dictate that he is not.
Let us not forget that this man underwent hip surgery in 2008. Degenerative hips are not exactly something that befalls someone in the prime of their career, and it is not something that one bounces back from after surgery.
All I am saying is, do we really need to trade a minor league player for a guy whose best days are realistically behind him? I know, I know. Even if I am right, he would still be an upgrade over the pitiful Fernando Tatis, who would at best be one week away from his release if he were a member of any other major league team right now. Lowell would then fill the role Tatis is ticketed to hold, which is backup first and third baseman, as well as a righty bat off the bench. The financial cost is nothing as well. I see the argument here.
I am just not fond of the idea of another guy on the wrong side of the hill as a member of this team. The distinct possiblity of him spending time on the all too popular disabled list just makes me nauseus. Besides, as much as I and everyone else is down on Daniel Murphy, he does hold one characteristic that Lowell does not. Youth.
March 7, 2010
That’s right, I said it. I am practically excreting optimism right now. I would love nothing better than to see some new blood come in here and shock the world. That sort of energy has not been felt in these parts since Jose Reyes and David Wright first hit the scene. Sure, there have been other flashes. Mike Jacobs in 2005 to name one. However as we all know, that was short-lived.
Wouldn’t it be something to see a couple of the young prospects stick with the team and create some buzz. Come on. Is anyone really interested in seeing Rod Barajas or Daniel Murphy? Murph has some upside perhaps. However, does that possible upside get anyone fired up? I’ll tell you what might. The Mets currently have four prospects in camp that have at least a measure of upside. Along with that upside lies the possibility of a spark for fan excitement. The four are obvious to most. They are Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, and Ruben Tejada.
Now I realize that all of them are ticketed for the minors this season. I believe this to be true regardless of how they produce this spring. My thought is, why not throw some prospect logs on the fire and chat it up? There is nothing wrong with conversation now is there?
Ike Davis has already turned the spotlight on himself with his power and production in the first week. His monster grand slam the other day was a thing of beauty, and only further validates his ability. Fernando Martinez hit a pair of home runs yesterday, and has carried over his Carribean League MVP run into spring training. Josh Thole clearly has ability as a hitter behind the dish. Ruben Tejada’s minor league stats also show that he has a promising future ahead. It certainly will be nice to see this kid play in Jose Reyes’ absence this week. I do not need to see Alex Cora. He too lulls me to sleep. Perhaps we might see Tejada as the opening day second baseman next year.
The point is that the Mets have some position players that are actually exciting to follow this spring. These future players certainly look more promising than some of what we have on the major league roster right now. I for one will be pulling for them all to show their stuff this spring, even though they inevitably will all be in AAA come April. That is alright. It is nice to dream, isn’t it? Here is to the 2011 New York Mets!
February 28, 2010
I have already written about my displeasure in the Mets’ decision to not move Carlos Beltran this off-season. It is for this reason that we are discussing lineup options geared towards filling holes rather than writing something in that is strong and steady. This was the Met brain trust at work once again. I suppose you might call it the opposite of strong and steady.
Regardless of how you feel about this, we must now deal with what Jerry Manuel will have to pencil in on a day-to-day basis, even if it is far less than optimal. I break this down into ideal versus inevitable lineups. The ideal lineup lists where each player would most likely fall in a traditional batting order. The ideal lineup will also be an incomplete one, as the Mets do not currently have players to fill all of the traditional holes that a batting order constitutes. The inevitable lineup is the best case scenario for the Mets in order to actually plug all the holes needed to complete the batting order. Let us begin with what is inevitable. In parenthasis you will see the batting order slot that the player truly belongs in.
1) Angel Pagan (bench/fourth outfielder)
2) Luis Castillo (8)
3) Jose Reyes (1)
4) David Wright (5)
5) Jason Bay (5)
6) Daniel Murphy (2)
7) Jeff Francoeur (7)
8) Rod Barajas (8)
9) Pitcher (9)
As you can plainly see, the Mets have players batting out of their ideal positions. This is particularly true for Jose Reyes, whose capabilities project very well as a leadoff hitter because of his speed and the intangibles he brings to the game. He does not fit the profile of a third place hitter very well, as that slot is defined as a team’s most patient, intelligent, and fundamentally sound hitter. It usually is held down by someone who has a great eye for pitch recognition, and that with this selectivity, can fight off tough two-strike pitches before he eventually capitalizes on a mistake pitch. I think that it is safe to say that Jose Reyes is not this type of hitter. Would anyone argue with me?
The problem is that we do not actually have a hitter of this ilk on the roster, and that poses a large problem. Who is the one guy that pitchers dread to face in a big spot? Still thinking? Believe me, you will be sitting there for a while until you eventually settle on someone who you know is not worthy.
If you sum it up, the Mets have one leadoff hitter, one potential 2nd place hitter, two fifth place hitters, one seventh place hitter, and two eighth place hitters. Look below to see what the ideal lineup would entail.
1) Jose Reyes
2) Daniel Murphy
3) Player not on team
4) Player not on team
5) David Wright/Jason Bay
6) Player not on team
7) Jeff Francoeur
8) Rod Barajas/Luis Castillo
You can see my point. Yes, I understand that not every team is the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox (even though we exceed one of the two in payroll…rapping head against the table). I also realize that I have excluded Carlos Beltran, but that is what I do to players that are often injured….I pretend that they do not exist. What other responsible thing can I do?
The main point is this. Not having a true number three or number four hitter on the Met roster makes it utterly impossible for me to have much confidence in the 2010 perspective lineup.
According to Buster Olney on the Brandon Tierney show yesterday, Ike Davis may have a legitimate shot of starting at first base this year for the Mets. This is interesting news to say the least. Apparently, the Mets hold Davis in such high regard, that if he hits well this spring, it will make it “very difficult” for the decision makers in the organization to send him down.
The one real positive point going in for Davis is his defensive capabilities at first, which already “far exceed” those of Daniel Murphy. The downside is that Davis does strike out quite a bit, and this could lead to stretches of non-production during slumps.
Brandon Tierney goes on to say that he is down on the Mets’ chances because he does not like the Mets starting pitching. Pitching wins, and I whole-heartedly agree. I really respect what Brandon Tierney has to say, and I often listen to his show for his opinions. I recommend anyone who has not heard his show to give it a listen when you can. Brandon picks the Mets to finish 4th, while Olney picks the Mets to finish a shocking second. I would love to take a puff of what he is smoking.
Olney also feels that Rod Barajas will be the starter and is also not convinced that Jason Bay’s knees are healthy. Olney compared the Bay signing to the Pedro signing by the Mets, where the Red Sox did not feel that Martinez would show long-term health, but the Mets took the gamble. “Ooff”, to quote Mr. Tierney.
The podcast can be heard here. Scan to 7:40 of the podcast to hear this portion of the show, but also give the rest of his show a listen if you have the time. Good stuff.
February 19, 2010
Predicting who will fill out a team’s roster at the beginning of spring training is like predicting which player will get hurt next for the Mets. You know someone will, you just do not know who it will be.
For the sake of conversation, let me include the likes of Alex Cora, Gary Matthews, Jr. and Fernando Tatis, as we know they are shoe-ins to make the team because they were signed to major-league contracts. These guys are shoo-ins? Yuck! Let me also place the catcher competition to the side, as I have previously discussed this battle earlier (sans Rod Barajas). We know that there will be two on the opening day roster, although as of now I would be shocked if it is not Omir Santos and Henry Blanco. With fourteen spots available for position players (and 11 spots given to the pitching staff minimally) to complete the twenty-five man roster, that leaves us with only two spots remaining after the starting eight and the aforementioned inclusions. This also involves excluding Carlos Beltran, who will open (and perhaps close) the 2010 season on his personalized DL. Let us give a review of who will be competing for those two spots.
Frank Catalanotto - I went into what Frank can bring to a team here. He brings some positive contact production from the left side of the plate, and could make an ideal pinch hitter. The fact that the Met bench is currently comprised of mostly right-handed hitters, it is apparent that they need a left-handed batter to step up. As long as Catalanotto proves he still possesses the bat speed to handle big league pitching this spring, I think his chances are good to make the team.
Mike Jacobs – Unless Jacobs beats out Daniel Murphy for the starting first base job this spring, and that is about as likely as Ollie Perez losing his erratic ways, he will be the primary competition for the left-handed pinch hitter job with Catalanotto. He offers pop as we all know. That can be valuable. However, he is either home run or strikeout every time he steps to the plate, and in this ball park, that may not be the way to go. Unless he is on fire this spring, I believe he will have a hard time making the club. That might mean playing in Triple A until someone gets hurt, and we know that is going to happen anyway. The other possibility is that he and The Cat make the team together if there are not better options otherwise.
Fernando Martinez – Who is Fernando Martinez anyway? Well, for one thing, we know he is a Met prospect because of his history of injuries. Every time you turn around, this guy is hurt. Ultimately he has dropped off the radar of top prospects throughout the league because of this fact. After a hot winter league showing in which he was named the MVP of the Caribbean Series, the spotlight once again shines on Fernando to see what he can do this spring. Even though he has been around seemingly forever, he is still just 21 years of age. Unless Fernando hits like an all-star this spring, he will certainly be ticketed for Triple A this year.
Ike Davis - At 6’5″, Davis is a specimen. Having only played two season in the minor leagues for the Mets, he is already 23 years of age. Unquestionably the future at first base for the Mets, Davis’ production improved dramatically at every level in the minors, finishing with a line of .309, 14 and 43 in 233 Binghampton (AA) at bats last season. Scouts have rated him a very highly at this point, and I am talking about scouts that actually do not work for the Mets here. However, I am sure the Mets will let him at least try his hand against Triple A pitching for at least a few months before they hand him the keys to the first base ignition.
Anderson Hernandez – The guy can field. I’ll give him that. However, he will never hit in the majors, and therefore has no place on this team.
Russ Adams – Once an everyday shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, Adams has fallen into the land of dreaded baseball obscurity. He has even less value than Hernandez at this point.
Jason Pridie – Pridie Was a decent prospect for the Minnesota Twins through last season. He has some speed and extra-base hit potential, however, his plate discipline is rather poor, especially for a minor league player. He struck out at an alarming rate his last few years in the minors, and did not offset that with the ability to draw a walk often enough. He also appears destined to play Triple A ball and serve as organizational depth for the Mets.
Chris Carter – Here is a guy who actually hits for some power, even though he too appears to be a life-time minor league player. With home runs of 24 and 16 the past two years in Pawtucket for the Boston Red Sox, he always seems on the cusp of a call up. The Red Sox just never had room for him, but as we all know, the Mets might with their lack of depth. I also like his walk to strikeout ratio, which falls just short of 1:1. Another hitter looking to make it from the left side, Carter has the ability to make the team this spring with a good showing.
Mike Hessman – About to turn 32 years of age, Hessman has always shown power, but little else in his minor league career. Unless Tatis get hurt, forget about Hessman serving as the right-handed substitute at first base.
If you ask me, I believe that the winners will be Catalanotto and Jacobs. I think Carter has a good shot, but I think it will come down to either him or The Cat because I can not see the Mets having six outfielders on the opening day roster. That leaves the door wide open for Jacobs to make the team. That is unless there are huge surprises awaiting us as the spring unfolds before us. Either way, this is not an impressive bench for any major league roster.
Who do you see making the team from this group?
February 15, 2010
First of all, let me state that I am happy to be back from the infirmary for the past several days. That cold kicked my ass more than the Marlins and Nationals did to the Mets down the stretch of 2007 and 2008. It isn’t as if I have missed that much.
Oh, with the exception of this. Wow! I could elaborate further, but I think you know where I would take this. I think my efforts would be better served if I were to continue my tour around the horn and touch on left field instead.
Jason Bay – I know that you are looking for me to list a bunch of negative statistics and opinions here, frequent reader. I do have a tendency to at least balance my review of anything related to the Mets with some negative spin. I think finding much in the way of negative text would be a tough task here. I state this while making one valid point. Jason Bay is a very good player. However, he is not a superstar. I doubt that this will actually raise much of a controversy here, but let me break it down for you.
First off, it is great to bring back a former Met farm-hand. I am not sure why the Mets ever got rid of him, but that is ancient history. From the minute he arrived as an everyday player for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2004, he has produced at a high level, with the possible exception of his one down year in 2007. One down year can be accepted, however, when sandwiched between groups of highly productive ones. This is a guy who has hit at least 30 home runs and driven in over 100 runs in four of his six full big league seasons. That is very respectable to say the least. He is also a lifetime .280 hitter and carries a lifetime slugging percentage of a tick under .520. He does strikeout a ton, reaching the dubious plateau of 162 last season. You will take that with career highs of 36 HR and 119 RBI as the entree. He also sports a solid lifetime on-base percentage of .376, so he is not afraid to take a walk either.
He will have his work cut out for him at Citifield, however. This is the case with anyone not named Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. You have all read about his tendency to pull the ball, which is advantageous in hitting in this ballpark due to the quick drop-off in distance down the line in left field. This should definitely help Bay hit more home runs during his home plate appearances. Even taking this into account, this is the polar opposite to hitting in his old ballpark, Fenway Park.
His lack of protection could also be a factor, as it projects today that either Daniel Murphy or Jeff Francouer will bat behind him for the unforeseeable future.
As far as his defense is concerned, let’s not overstate things, alright? He is very simply…average. Average speed, average range, average vision while reading the ball off of the bat, average first step and average arm. No worse and no better. Regardless of what you may have read to date, this is what he is as a defender. Enough said.
Jason will play 150 plus games in left field barring injury in 2010. That is all anyone can ask from any player. If he doesn’t catch the Met injury bug, he will provide what most Mets could not last season. Durability. Hooray!
February 5, 2010
I now embark on projecting the production from each position for the upcoming season (starting pitching has been discussed previously). We begin with first base.
Daniel Murphy – Daniel has essentially been given the keys to the ignition here. This became undeniably true once the Mets decided to close the book on the Carlos Delgado era. I for one believe that this was a good move. I say this because I was only given two choices here. Murphy or Delgado. Of those two, Murphy is the better choice. He is young. He is healthy (a rare attribute for a player on this team). He has some measure of untapped potential. These are all characteristics that Carlos Delgado does not possess. My reasoning is fairly simple to follow.
As far as what can be expected from Murphy, I think it is safe to say that he will hit for at least a respectable average. Would anyone call me nuts if I thought his low water mark would be around .270? Probably not. I also like his 40 double potential. He did hit 38 of them last year. Not bad. I like the double. It is a very underrated statistic. Power is certainly never going to be a large part of his offensive game. He is all about contact as he put the bat on the ball a tick below 80% of his plate appearances last season.
The negative here is that his on-base percentage needs to improve, which it may as he gets more comfortable facing big league pitching. He is not a guy who gives you much else, as his foot speed is only average at best. His splits are not very encouraging in that his numbers really bottom out versus left-handed pitching. This is the reason why many believe he needs a right-handed compliment to face the toughest of the left-handed starters he will face this year.
He either projects long term as a number two hitter (if his average and on-base percentage improve), or as a guy who hits down in the order. This season he will see most of his time in the seven hole due to the presence of Luis Castillo in the two spot.
As far as defense goes, this is where we run into an area of concern. I realize that Murphy had to learn a new position on the fly last season. Fair or not, he still worries me as he looks considerably uncomfortable out there in certain situations. You do not have to be a baseball expert to see this from a ballplayer. You can just sense it. His movement is not fluid, nor is it precise around the bag. There remains the possibility for him to improve, but I am fearful that he may be a guy playing out of position for the majority of his career.
Fernando Tatis - As I previously wrote, I am not sure why the Mets decided to bring Tatis back. There were better and younger options to back up Murphy in the free agent pool this year, namely the likes of Ryan Garko, whom the Mariners recently signed. I happen to respect the hell out of the Mariners and what they have done to better their team this off-season. However, I digress.
Tatis will get his 150-200 at bats this season if he stays healthy. The positive is that he can play a myriad of positions. I can not take that away from him, although I struggle to find much else to compliment him on.
Let’s pull for Murphy. After all, he is the only choice we were given for first base.