he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: July 2006h

Monday, July 31, 2006

I'll take the Maine Road

Check out my most recent column from a few days ago on the state of the Mets' rotation over at Shea Baseball. Please note that I wrote the column before El Duque's masterpiece.

Also, the Mets acquired Bert and Oliver Perez for Xavier Nady today. I am working on an article on that for either my blog, or one of the other various sites I write for. I'll let you know when it is out.

Monday, July 24, 2006

AA pitcher throws perfect game

The Major League Mets franchise which does have a no-hitter or a perfect game in it's 44 year history had it's second no-hitter in the minors in as many years. Last year Gaby Hernandez, now with the Marlins, threw a perfect game in A and this year it was Miguel Pinango who did the job. Although, it was only a seven inning second game of a double-header Pinango did not allow a hit or a baserunner through all seven innings, and finished with his fifth win in twelve decisions and a 3.83 Binghamton era.

Pinango, signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Mets in 1999, was originally projected to be a quality starter or reliever although he has seemingly fallen out of prospect status in the Mets system, since he has not been overly impressive, despite a few terrific outings. The 23 year old won 13 games in Capital City in 2003.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Carlos Gomez profile

I wrote my first article over at SheaBaseball where I profile Carlos Gomez's recent hot streak in AA Binghamton with some nice quotes about the 20 year old from scouts. Check it out and let me know what you think if you get the time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Minor news for Mets 2006 draft pick

Today Timothy Haines was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Haines, a 2006 27th-round pick, was pitching for Short Season Single-A Brooklyn and had a 3.09 ERA in 10 relief appearances. Let's just hope he didn't inject anybody else. Haines is the second Met suspended this year for performance enhancing drugs, AAA pitcher Yusaku Iriki was the other.

Big day for two of Mets best prospects

The same day the Mets add a new 23 year old second base prospect to their system two of their top five prospects in their system (not including Pelfrey) pitch gems.

First the Mets fifth best prospect according to Baseball America, Jonathon Niese, pitched a complete game shutout for the Hagerstown Suns. In the nine innings the 19 year old allowed only three hits, and he walked only two while striking out nine batters. Niese improved to 9-6 on the season with a 3.51 era, and he may be staring down a promotion to St. Lucie shortly.

Secondly, Mets first round pick in the 2004 draft Philip Humber continued his succesful, so far, comeback from Thommy John Surgery. In High A St. Lucie Humber pitched five shutout innings, allowing only four hits. Humber also recorded nine of his fifteen outs via strikeout. Humber's record improved to 2-1 with a 3.12 era, and he may also be a start or so away from a promotion. To read some encouraging quotes on Humber check out Baseball Prospectus.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Keppinger plays, imminent deals on backburner?

Jeff Keppinger hadn't played the last two games leaving spectulation that he might be on the move to either Kansas City or Pittsburgh. However, in tonight's Norfolk game against Indianapolis Keppinger did in fact play, and he scored two runs and recorded two hits as well. Keppinger, who was reportedly informed that he was involved in a deal with Pittsburgh, may be staying the Mets afterall or maybe a possible team after Keppinger wanted to see him play couple more times before they pull the trigger on a possible deal. Right now the most likely deal is to Kansas City, but it appears that the Mets tried to expand the deal which may or may not of ended talks. Anyways, a trade for a reliever and maybe a prospect or two seems to be in the works, so stay tuned.

By the way, in the aforementioned AAA game Milledge went 2-4 with a triple, and Anderson Hernandez went 3-5 with two runs scored.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Keppinger may still be on move

Yesterday I reported along with a few other rumor sites that Keppinger may be involved in a deal with Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh for Oliver Perez and/or Roberto Hernandez. However, today I stumbled upon another source with Keppinger's name involved. The Kansas City Star is reporting that the Mets and Royals "appear close" in a possible trade off of second baseman: Ruben Gotay for Jeff Keppinger. The 24 year old Gotay hit .270 in 152 at bats in 2004, although he struggled in 2005 hitting .227 in 282 at bats. In AAA this season Gotay is hitting .264 with nine home runs and 46 rbi. The Puerto Rican born Gotay played for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and he hit a home run to go along with his .368 average in 19 at bats. A cause for concern about Gotay is his strikeout to walk ratio is nearly 3:1 at 67:26. Nevertheless, it appears definite that Keppinger will be dealt.

Brian Bannister throws simulated game

On Monday Brian Bannister threw a simulated game, tossing 79 pitches from the mound. Bannister may make a rehab start in Port St. Lucie on Thursday, or he may throw a second simulated game. The Mets hope to have the 25 year old back in the rotation for the dog days of August. The question is, however, will the spot still be open?

Monday, July 17, 2006

MLBTradeRumors: Keppinger to Pirates

MLBTradeRumors is reporting that Jeff Keppinger is on his way out to Pittsburgh. The deal definitley includes Jeff Keppinger, and the players that have been mentioned from Pittsburgh are Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez. I am hearing the deal is Jeff Keppinger and Xavier Nady for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez, although the deal may wind up being only one of the players. Hernandez did not pitch tonight in a close game, and Keppinger has sat out the last two Norfolk games and he is not hurt. This may mean that Milledge is our starting rightfielder, or maybe even Victor Diaz gets promoted to showcase him to raise his value. Stay tuned.

What should the Mets do come deadline time?

Rumors are swirling around the Mets about possible trades that may occur, but are any of the players right for the Mets? Pitchers like Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez, Rodrigo Lopez, Kris Benson, Livan Hernandez and of course Barry Zito and hitters like Alfonso Soriano, Julio Lugo, and Bobby Abreu have all been rumored to come to the Mets. However, from the names on that list does it make sense to pay the cost to get them, and will they improve the Mets enough to even warrant a deal? Well, lets find out.

Freddy Garcia- I watched parts of the Yankee game yesterday mainly because Garcia was pitching, and frankly I was not impressed. His two best pitches are his fastball and his hard slider, but his fastball has lost significant velocity this season. Normally known to be able to get his fastball up around the mid 90's, but most of the season it has been hovering around 90-92 or so, which would partially explain the higher era and home run total. Garcia has always allowed a lot of home runs (26 last year and 22 this year) which will be helped a bit by pitching at Shea, and in the National League, but it still is an alarming number that puts him in on pace to give up about 40 home runs. Garcia is a work horse which may be the reason for the decling velocity, but he is still on pace for his sixh straight 200 inning season. Garcia was offered to the Mets for Sanchez and Pelfrey which means the White Sox are asking for way to much for him. Personally I would not give up either guys (Pelfrey can't be traded anyway) for Garcia in a one for one deal, but I would deal Heilman. If the deal is Heilman for Garcia or something not including a top prospect or Sanchez then Garcia may be right.
Javier Vazquez- My answer to this is much easier. Vazquez basically said he did not want to leave Chicago, so in that case I don't want him on the Mets.
Rodrigo Lopez- The talented Lopez has had been very inconnsistent with his seasons, one good season one bad, however he is on pace for two straight dreadful years. Leo Mazzone has seemingly made Lopez worse, which is not a feat many can say, except maybe Jason Schmidt but even he was a youngster and not totally developed when with the Braves. Lopez, like Garcia, allows a lot of home runs, which will be aided by Shea. The 29 year old allows a ton of hits, which leads to a career WHIP of 1.40. However, Lopez's value is very low and I would definitley consider trading for him if the Mets have to give a low level prospect. Buster Olney thinks a B or C prospect could net him, and that Lopez may be a Met as early as Friday. Lets also remember who te Baltimore GM is and maybe he'll take Zambrano off of our hands.
Kris Benson- Lopez's teammate, and former Met Kris Benson may be coming back to the Mets. We all know the Benson story, and personally I would welcome him back but under the terms that his wife is not allowed to speak with the media or Benson's contract will be penalized a small amount. In the unlikelyhood that that happens I would not like to see Benson a Met again.
Livan Hernandez- The ultimate workforce is Livan Hernandez. He has been dreaful this year, pitching to an outlandish 1.65 WHIP. However, many believe that his struggles have been because of his right knee which is still recovering from surgery. Baseball Prospectus said pre-season that Livan's knee should be good by Spring Training, which means that if it is healed by now it may never be. Livan's strikeout rates have also declined tremendously from 2004 to 2005 he struck out 39 less batters, and he is on pace to strikeout about 20 less batters than he did in 2005. Livan's knee has plagued him for most of his career, and if his knee ever does heal completely he will probably be throwing harder and better then ever before, but who knows if his knee will ever heal completely. However, with all of that said Jim Bowden reportedly asked for Lastings Milledge for Livan, Omar hopefully hung up. Since starters on the market are spare at best it will be hard to get him, so hopefully Omar stays away from overpaying.
Barry Zito- Lastings Milledge? Even though Milledge struggled in his 80 something at bats in the majors he is still a top notch prospect that I would not deal for Zito. Could Heilman and some prospects net him? Almost definitley not. The A's are not confident in Rich Harden staying healthy since he has been on the DL twice this year, and Zito is the only veteran presence in the team's rotation save Loaiza. I don't see Zito being traded and I don't see him as a Met until the offseason, if then.
Bobby Abreu and Alfonso Soriano- It's the same case for both of them. Why do we need them? Our offense is the best in the NL, and trading for Abreu or Soriano will only boost our rivals and our payroll. Trading for Abreu or Soriano will also bench a player that does not deserve to be benched which could disrupt the bubbly Mets clubhouse. Therefore, I don't think Abreu or Soriano are necessary.
Julio Lugo- Julio Lugo would be a nice pickup, no doubt, but like Abreu and Soriano he is not necessary. Lugo is hitting .310 with 16 steals in 63 games thus far in 2006, and his defense is steady but he will not be cheap. Aaron Heilman's name has been mentioned, but is it really worth giving up a key set-up man if you are not getting a starter back in return? I don't think it is, especially with the way Valentin is hitting and playing defensivley. If the Mets had no clear cut second baseman right now I would possibly consider Lugo, but even then the Mets' linup would still be amongst the best, so I don't see a need for Lugo.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mets sign former Met great

Edgardo Alfonzo was on the Mets NL Pennant winning 2000 team, and he is now back with the team. After starting last year for the Giants, getting traded to the Angels in the offseason, getting released by the Angels and signed by the Blue Jays mid-season, he was finally released by the Jays and now back with his former team. The 32 year old is clearly declining, but Minaya is hoping that returning to NY could possibly rekindle the fire in Edgardo. Alfonzo will start in AAA Norfolk, and assuming a player goes down that Alfonzo is probably the firs utillity man promoted. Personally, I am puzzled buy this signing since Jeff Keppinger is a better hitter, and knows just as many positions. Nevertheless, Alfonzo is now the only Me remaining from the 2000 team.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mets' first half awards and second half predictions

In a few hours the second half for the Mets will officially begin against Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs. Steve Trachsel will be opposing Maddux, and Trachsel's six game winning streak will be on the line. However, Trachsel has not been the Mets best pitcher this year, not by a long shot, so who is?
Cy Young-
Tom Glavine is the clear choice. He leads the team in wins by a long margin, and his era is only second best to Pedro Martinez. However, Glavine has been a steady force in the rotation, and it has been rare if at all that the future hall-of-fame left hander has pitched consecutive poor games. Glavine is even in the running for National League Cy Young, but right now Brandon Webb is probably the leader. Nonetheless, I think Glavine would trade an NL pennant for a Cy Young any day of the week.
As I mentioned in my outfielder's report card I have a feeling that Beltran will have an even better second half, and he will win the National League MVP, but I'm handing out my mid-season MVP awards. David Wright and Jose Reyes are the only two options that make any sense, and my pick is David Wright. Reyes gets on base and creates run scoring opportunities without any assistance, but in order to score most of the time somebody needs to him him home, and most of the time if it isn't Beltran or Delgado it is Wright. The "symbiotic relationship" as the Mets' thirdbaseman called it has catapulted Wright into stardum, and Reyes not far behind.
Rolaids Relief Man-
Duaner Sanchez has been consistent all season long, and he has been the leader of the Mets set-up crew, and will likely remain there for as long as he is under contract with the Mets. Heilman and Wagner have been inconsistent, and Bradford and Feliciano have not pitched enough innings in tight games to warrant being rated over Sanchez. Sanchez is a good teamate (beaning Cabrera last saturday) and a warrior (pitching a few days after pinching a nerve in his neck) to boot.
Biggest bust
It is hard to pick the biggest first half bust, because the obivious choice (Kazuo Matsui) is no longer on the Mets, and there aren't many other players beforming poorly consistently. However, there is one man who has heard the boos from the Shea faithful, and that man is Billy Wagner. Despite a good era and strikeout rate Wagner has blown four saves, already more than he blew all of last year. With an enormous contract for a closer, and four more years after this one left Wagner better stop blowing saves if he wants that elustrious 400th save.
Biggest surprise-
There have been many pleasent surprises for the Mets this year. Such as Darren Oliver's long man success, Endy Chavez's terrific play off of the bench, and Jose Reyes' vastly improved eye. However, there is only one clear cut winner, and that is another Jose, Jose Valentin. The 36 year old former hit or miss player is not only hitting for average and power but he is playing very good defense at second base. Not only is he playing well but he is being paid under a million for the season and is a veteran presence on the bench. Plus, Valentin's success has filled the hole at second base, meaning the Mets don't have to trade for a second baseman, which in turn means the Mets have more trading chips to explore in other areas of the team.
My top five second half crazy predictions:
5) Carlos Beltran will win MVP
4) Orlando Hernandez will win more games then Steve Trachsel in total (in other words, he'll win more games not just in the second half)
3) The Cardinals will be considered the better team going into the playoffs.
2) The August series with the Padres will be the most emotional series of the year, with cheers for Piazza and Cameron, and massive boos for Hoffman.
1) Tom Glavine will get up to win number 298 this season.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mets First Half Report Card: Relievers

Me and every other Met fan is starting to get antsy for the second half of the season, but can you blame us? Nearly every analyist on the market believes that the Mets are kings compared to the rest of the National League, and hopefully the Mets players don't let it get to their head. One of the most important keys to a teams success is their bullpen, and the Mets have quite the strong and deep bullpen.
Duaner Sanchez A-
Not losing for the first half of the season is impressive in it's own right for someone who pitches as much as Sanchez does. Although, what is more impressive is not allowing a run your first 15 innings pitched. Sanchez, 5-0, has been the main set-up man for the Mets with a 2.45 era, and if Wagner goes down or has to leave the team for some reason I would feel just as confident in Duaner Sanchez to secure the W. The only reasons Duaner is not an A is because he is not a closer, so it is hard for me to give a reliever a rating better than someone like Carlos Beltran.
Billy Wagner- B
He has not been as good as advertised, but he has been good despite the for blown saves. He is still on pace for nearl 100 strikeouts, and his era is good. The problem with Wagner isn't what he did, it is what the idea of a good closer is in people's minds. In my mind when Wagner signed I invisioned 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts every night, which obviously has not happened often. Now, he has blown four saves which is the reason for the B rating, but in a lot of his innings he has been good, and he is definitley better than Looper.
Aaron Heilman- B-
If it wasn't for a few nights where Heilman imploded his era would not be as high as it is (4.35). He has been solid this year, although he has hit a rough stretch as of late. However, Heilman has more blown saves then Wagner with five, and he isn't even a closer. Nevertheless I have confidence with Heilman on the mound, and the Mets would not be as good without him.
Pedro Feliciano B -
The other Pedro on the team is pretty good. His dropped arm angle has vastly improved his results, and he is a key core to the Mets bullpen success. Bradford and Feliciano have been a dominant duo against lefties and righties and I would not expect the success to stop any time soon. As long as Feliciano keeps his comments about Willie to himself his grade at the end of the year will be a B+, along with an era below three.
Chad Bradford B -
Like I mentioned with Feliciano, Bradford and Feliciano have been dominant out of the bullpen against left handers and right handers. Bradford, 32, has a 3.48 era this year, and he has been dominant against right handed batters, holding them to a .230 average. With Bradford, Feliciano, Sanchez, Heilman, and Wagner the Mets have a very deep and succesful bullpen. Hopefully the glue sticking this pen together will hold up for the rest of the season.
Darren Oliver B+-
Talk about a secret weapon. Darren Oliver has been the Mets' longman, and then some. His 2.15 era is better than any other pitcher on the Mets staff, and he has pitched more innings then all of them. Oliver's longman success have even had some fans calling for him to become the teams fifth starter over John Maine and Mike Pelfrey. I would not go as far to put im in the rotation yet, I would still rather see Maine and Pelfrey log some major league innings, but if both prospects fail this year in the majors, and Omar can't find another starter I will be the first one on Oliver's bandwagon.
Heath Bell-C+
Bell was the Mets' mini longman, and he pitched in meaningless games or in games when even the longman was too tired to go long. Ok, that's enough use of the word long. Anyway, Bell has been solid, and his velocity has seemingly increased to up around 97 mph. Anyway, with the Mets depth and the way Owens has pitched in his three innings so far I would expect Bell to be the odd man out.
Henry Owens incomplete-
The verdict is still out on Owens, but his 97 mph fastball has been succesful so far. His control has been worse in the majors then in the minors but he probably still has some butterflies to let loose, so his control should settle down. We also saw a nasty but inconnsistent slider in spring training, but he has yet to throw it for a strike yet. Nevertheless, Owens has looked good with his deceptive delivery and fastball, hopefully it will last.
Bartolome Fortunato F-
Three innings pitched, nine earned runs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mets First Half Report Card: Starting pitchers

Now that we know that Trevor Hoffman does not like the Mets' chances of making the World Series it is time to move on to my report card for the Mets' starting pitchers. Once again, if you missed my grading system click here.
Tom Glavine- A
The consistent and leader of the Mets' staff, Tom Glavine has certainly shown Mets fans this year that he is worth considering for the 2007, despite his age. At a league leading 11 wins, with an era at 3.45 Glavine has a new found confidence, as do the Mets front office. Glavine's contract was adjusted a month or so back, so that there is an extra year added on, and the money is deferred between this year and next. However, it is hard to get too high on Glavine, because of the past three years Glavine has had one good half and one terrible half to his seasons. However, if Glavine's second half is as good as his first the Mets may be looking at their first 20 game winner since the glory days.
Pedro Martinez- B+
The only thing keeping Pedro from having an A is the injury, and the lack of wins. Yes, wins does depend a lot on your run support, but some of the blame does get directed towards Pedro. Pedro was 2-3 in June, and every loss is not the offenses fault. However, despite the injury and struggling in June Pedro has been very good and if it wasn't for the low amount of wins it may be him in contention for a Cy Young.
Steve Trachsel- B-
His era is nothing to look at, but his six game win streak is great, and he has pitched well lately. It seems like Trachsel and El Duque are in a battle for the number three starter, simply because El Duque has a better era (with the Mets). However, Trachsel does have three of four solid outings, and the main reason his era is high is because he has a lot of quality starts (six innings, three runs is a 4.5 era) and does not log a lot of innings. Nevertheless, 8 wins in the third or fourth slot in the rotation is nice, and I finally feal confident with Trachsel on the mound.
Orlando Hernandez- B (with Mets)
El Duque has pitched eight games with the Mets, and he has pitched well in five of the games, and dreadful in the others. No doubt El Duque is inconsistent, but right now he is up (last 14 innings he has allowed two runs) and Mets fans should be confident with The Duke on the mound. His 4.14 era with the Mets is solid for a number three, but can be improved. I would look for much of the same from El Duque in the second half.
Alay Soler- C-
The only thing saving Soler from a D is that he actually pitched well a few times. However, when facing good lineups the supposed "big game pitcher" struggled mightily. In fact, in his last two starts before being demoted he allowed 16 runs, in only seven innings. Soler had a brief three game succesful stretch in June, but an apparent calf injury hindered his performance. His grade is so low because of his implosion against the Mets and Yanks, and because he hid his injury from the Mets, hurting the Mets more.
Brian Bannister- C+
No doubt Bannister pitched solid in April, but his walk rate was way too high, and his injury has left the Mets looking for a fifth starter all season. We will definitley see Bannister later in the year, whether it be if Maine and Pelfrey struggle, or if it is in Septemeber after call-ups, but expect Bannister to be with the Mets again this year.
Victor Zambrano- F
Remember him? Victor Zambrano was absolutely un-watchable in the beginning of the year, and the upsetting thing about his injury is that he came off of a good outing, and he had not allowed a hit to the first four batters he faced. Also, he hid his injury to the Mets, and threw a nasty slider to strikeout Andruw Jones before running off of the mound. The visably upset, and tearful Zambrano is out for the season, and his Mets career is probably over. I feel for Zambrano, I really do. He was thrust into a bad situation to begin with, and now he will be forever known as the guy who was traded for Kazmir.
Jose Lima- F-
9.87 ERA in five starts. Nuff' said.
John Maine and Mike Pelfrey- Incomplete
I expect to see both of these guys again this season, hopefully more of Pelfrey than Maine. Right now I have confidence in both of these guys when they are on the mound, but this is a very premature statement. Pelfrey has only made one start, and Maine three. Maine has pitched relativley well in his outings, despite his maskful era. Pelfrey has yet to show us his true talent, but he was solidly impressive in his debut, despite the runs he was given.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mets First Half Report Card: Outfielders

It's the day of the all-star game, and it's time for me to complete part two of four of my report card: outfielders. We have had more than a few outfielders this year, and I'll rate everyone including one player who I am surprised is playing poorly. If you missed my infielder's report card and my grading system, then go here.

Cliff Floyd- C+
We all know that Floyd is simply having a down year, especially when compared with last year's first half. This year his .249 average is .28 points lower than last year's all-star break, and his seven home runs is an alarming 15 lower than they were at the break point in 2005. However, the declined home run total and average is mostly because of a terrible April, an April that was the exact reverse of 2005's April. In April 2005 Floyd hit .366 with 6 home runs and 21 rbi, compared to his April this year or .195 average with two home runs and 11 rbi. Floyd is coming out of his slump, however and if it wasn't for a severly sprained ankle Floyd may be around .270 with 3-5 more home runs.
Lastings Milledge- B-
He certinaly showed us all of his tools. Throwing out two runners, by far and hitting three home runs. However, his .233 average in 86 at bats is not something to get excited about, and his 23 strikeouts is a major concern, and something Milledge needs to work on. His lightning quick bat should able him to strike out less, think Gary Sheffield. He also only walked four times, when compared to 30+ times he walked in AAA. It is clear that his AAA were mainly young pitchers not wanting to face the Tides' best hitter. When projecting out Lastings Milledge's numbers over a full season he would have a little bit more than 20 home runs, with about 70 rbi and 10 steals. Those numbers are eerily similar to Nick Swisher's rookie season last year.
Carlos Beltran- A-
His average is better, his power is better, his speed is better, his health is better, his run production is much better, his smile is utilized more and more, and the result is an MVP candidate. What can you say about the difference between 2005 Beltran and 2006 Beltran, other than he is a three hitter. Everybody wanted Beltran to hit second in the offseason, everyone except Willie. Willie, once again, proved the critique's wrong, and Betrlan now has the most home runs in his career before the all-star break. Last year Omar Minaya said that Beltran was a second half player, and Beltran did have a better second half than first half last year, but not by much. However, I expect Beltran to have a dominant second half, which is why I have picked him to win the NL MVP.
Xavier Nady- B
Nady has certainly been better than advertised, but he is incredibly streaky. In April Nady hit .311 (good), in May he hit .211 (bad), in June he hit .267 (mediocore), and so far in July he is hitting .250, but he has been hitting well as of late, recording eight hits in the last six games. Nady's defense has been OK, but his arm has been above average. Overall, this 27 year old (no he is not 25, Keith Hernandez)has been a pleasent surprise.
Endy Chavez- B+
I would give Chavez an A, but he is a bench player so it is hard to compare his season to a Beltran, Wright, or Reyes. Nevertheless, Chavez has been an absolute force coming off of the bench this season. Hitting .283 with six steals, and playing absolutely fantastic defense. In fact, Chavez leads the NL in outfield assists, which is quite a feat when you don't play everyday. Chavez provides me with confidence that our bench is the best in baseball, and I would have no problem with him playing everyday if an outfielder went down.
Eli Marrero- C
It is hard to give Marrero an actual grade, since he barely plays, but he has been nice off of the bench for the Mets. He has hit two home runs, and stolen two bases, despite hitting .240. A grade of C is fine in my book for Marrero, whose main claim to fame is getting Matsui out of town. Speaking of Matsui, check out Jayson Stark's midseason awards article at espn.com. Stark says the following about Matsui
According to Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, a team of nine Kaz Matsuis would be scoring 2.25 runs per game this year. Which happens to be a full run less per game than a team full of Livan Hernandezes.
Now, that's funny.
Victor Diaz- D
Did anyone not expect to see Diaz at all the first half of the season? I sure didn't. Diaz is barely over .250 at AAA Norfolk, and has seemingly fell off of the depth chart for the Mets. Nevertheless, I would not expect seeing Diaz in a Mets unfirom again. I can see him getting traded for another prospect, or packaged with some other prospects to get a starter.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mets First Half Report Card: Infielders

We are at the all-star break, and that means it's time for the Mets players to evaluate how their first half of the season went, and if they are earning their paycheck or not. My grade system works as follows:
A- This player has not only exceeded our expectations, but he has proven that without him in the lineup or rotation the Mets would not be nearly as good.
B- He has been a good player all around, but on a given day the Mets can win without him.
C- Doing his job, but is not standing out or making his name known to the fans,
D or F- This player should be released or he will have to have a great second half just to stop the booing.

Paul Lo Duca- B+
LoDuca has been an important fixture in the Mets' lineup, but his short amount of rbi's earns him a grade just under an A. His .302 average is impressive for a catcher, and his .342 OBP is above average, but the Mets have shown more than a few times that they could win without LoDuca starting. However, when taking into account his abillity to call a game and his defense (despite his arm) has been very good. LoDuca has definitley become a fan favorite.
Ramon Castro- C+
Castro has done a good job as the backup catcher this year, but not nearly as good as he did last year. He has played good defense, especially with his terrific arm behind the plate. Castro is getting solid amounts of playing time, and he should get more in August and September when the Mets rest LoDuca more because of the toll catching takes on your body, so expect Castro to have a big second half.
Carlos Delgado- B-
Delgado's first month and a half is the main reason his numbers look so good, but he has been "tredding water" as Keith Hernandez says. His .252 average is a far cry from his .301 average last year, and Cliff Floyd is only 2 points behind in batting and Floyd hit under .200 for the first few weeks. I expect Delgado to have a big second half as well, starting the first game back in Chicago.
Julio Franco- C+
Franco has been a great pinch hitter for the Mets this year, and his spot starts have come a lot more often then we expected but Franco's offensive production masks his actual clubhouse presence. Franco has had a big part in the Mets season, from calming down Jose Guillen to telling Carlos Beltran to take a curtain call Franco is more a coach then a player. One problem I have with Franco this year is that he hits only .229 against lefties, and most of his spot starts come against left handers.
Jose Valentin- B+
Talk about a pleasent surprise. Valentin has risen from the depths of 0-15 to start the season to hitting .275 with 9 HR and 36 RBI, while playing a position he had never played consistently before. Valentin has had more than a few big games for the Mets, most recently this past Saturday, recording seven rbi. Valentin still strikes out a lot but he is only getting paid $900,000 so you won't get the perfect player.
Chris Woodward-C
Woody hasn't done much this year, especially after being the Mets most important bench player last year. His .232 average is due to a low amount of playing time, because Endy Chavez and Eli Marrero are the bench players for the outfield, and David Wright and Jose Reyes never take days off. Unless Valentin struggles the second half I wouldn't expect much from Woodward.
Jose Reyes-A-
The first A of the day goes to Reyes, who has been absolutey unstoppable the past month and a half. His .302 average and .357 OBP is vastly improved from 2005, and his defense and base running has even improved. His 39 steals and 12 triples are both tops in the majors, and his 41 rbi is on pace to break the Mets all time rbi record for shortstops. When Reyes hits the Mets win, unless of course Valenitn knocks in seven runs.
David Wright-A
It's hard to fight the urge to give Wright an A+, but he is slumping a bit recently even though he hit a game winning three run home run on Sunday. His average has dropped about 20 points to .316. However that average is 10th in the NL, his 74 rbi is fourth, his tremendous .961 OPS is eighth, and his 20 home runs is tenth in the NL. Wright is probably the runners up MVP to Pujols right now but as for NY thirdbaseman Wright is runner up to no one.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Mets second rounder could be as good as a first

I wrote this article for nybaseballcentral.com about the Mets' second round pick, Kevin Mulvey. I had the privelage to interview Mulvey's head coach at Villanova, Joe Godri, about Kevin. There are few good quotes in the article on Mulvey's personality, his mechanics, his stuff, and even his personality. I hope you enjoy the article, as it is my first of hopefully many articles for NYBaseballCentral. Enjoy!

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