Will 2013 Be The Summer of Lucas Duda ?

 
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Lucas Duda is one very large enigma to Mets fans. We see a strapping young man who stands 6’4” 250+ lbs and wonder, when will it all come together for Duda, when will we see 30+ HR’s and 90+ RBI. Well at 27 years old if it doesn’t come this year it mostly likely will never happen for Duda.

27 years of age is a great age to be unless you are an unproven big league baseball player. It’s an age where you are hitting your playing prime, where if you are a quality baseball player, everything comes together, it all starts to click, you have a good read on the opposing pitching staffs, you have a good idea of your hitting zone, you know when to be aggressive and when to lay off the breaking balls you chased as a greenhorn. It’s when the game starts to slow down just a bit for you to manage it effectively.  This is the season for all of this to come to Lucas Duda at the plate, if it doesn’t the Mets are in for a long season and Duda could be one in a long line of young Mets outfielders to be discarded on the side of the road.

I’ve looked a few of the projections for Duda for the coming season and while there seems to be a bit of an uptick in his power numbers by some, is it enough t to keep him as a big league starter?:

PECOTA .251/.333/.430  15 HR 54 RBI

ZiPS  .248/.330/.418  18HR  74 RBI

Bill James  .268/.356/.454   18HR  69 RBI

 

James projects Duda with a better on base and slugging percentage and I kind of agree with that. Duda has improved his eye at the plate, swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone (30.1, 29.8 and 35.3 last season) and his base on balls rate has gone up each season as well. But it’s the power numbers that give me pause on Duda as his Isolated Power Average dropped from .189 in 2011 to a pedestrian .150 last season. Being that the Mets lineup is still in flux-I don’t think Terry Collins knows who will be his 1-2 in the lineup yet-where Duda bats will determine how many RBI opportunities he gets, I figure Duda to bat 6th so the opportunity to drive in runs will be there for him.

Hitting just 15-18 home runs will not be acceptable this season from Duda, the Mets have to see an increase to at least mid-twenty’s if the team is going to make any noise this season and again at 27 years old, it’s time for Lucas to bust out.

The dilemma is for Duda to stay in the lineup he has got to hit and be a run producer as his defense is, and there is no way to sugar coat it,dreadful. The Mets do not need Duda to be Barry Bonds-like in left field but he needs to be able to get a good initial jump on balls and just make the routine play. In Duda’s defense (no pun intended) he is a first baseman by trade who is still learning a new position, so I have to cut him some slack.

The intangible in the whole Lucas Duda equation is his mind set. When Duda first came up to the Mets, it took a while for him to become comfortable in the major league/NYC setting. Terry Collins has mentioned that Duda has to get a grasp of being a big leaguer and now as one of the young vets on this Mets team, he has to be a leader. That doesn’t mean he has to be vocal or a rah-rah type, which is not his nature but Duda has to step up this season and be a difference maker so the club and Mets fans don’t have to suffer through another disappointing season.

Let’s all hope that 2013 becomes The Summer of Duda.      

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ANDRES TORRES OVER COCO CRISP, NY METS GOT THE BETTER DEAL

 

 

When the Mets off season got under way one of the position I wanted to see an upgraded was center field. I had seen enough of Angel Pagan and it seems Sandy Alderson felt the same way. I was intrigued by Coco Crisp thinking he would be a nice cheap alternative to man the less spacious tundra of the center of the Citi Field outfield.  Alderson felt the better man for the job was Andres Torres, a great glove less than potent bat outfielder who came with RHP Ramon Ramirez to the Mets from the Giants for Angel Pagan.

After reading that Crisp re-signed with the A’s for 2yrs/$14 mil, a year and cash figure that quite frankly stunned me, I went over to Fan Graphs to look at a comparison of both players. 

There isn’t that much of a difference offensively between the two players that would make one about $5 mil better than the other. Crisp will make $7mil a year while Torres made $2.2 mil last year and is under team control for two more seasons.  So even with a raise to say, $3mil for Torres, having him over Crisp in the Mets outfield is major plus for the Mets.

Crisp, 32 years old, has a lifetime .264/.314/.379 with an ISO of .115 in 583 plate appearances.  Torres, 34 years old has a lifetime .221/.312/.330 with an ISO of .109 in 398 plate appearances. We are not talking offensive juggernauts here. Crisp is more the base stealer than Torres swiping 49 bags in his big league career to 19 for Torres. Both players walks rates are close Crisp take a base on balls 7.0% of his plate appearances to Torres’ 10.6 % rate. Torres K’s too much at 23.9 % while Crisp is more disciplined at 11.1 %. 

Back in 2010, Torres had a fine season putting up a line of .268/.343/.479 with 16 HR 43 2B and 63 RBI for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. The last real good offensive season that Crisp has had was back in 2005. So the odds are much better of Torres giving the Mets a bounce back season than Crisp putting up big numbers.

Crsip’ defense has been in decline the last couple of years whereas Torres has continued to play a stellar centerfielder.

So for a difference of say $5mil, who made the better deal, Billy Beane by signing Crisp or Sandy Alderson dealing for Torres? It looks like advantage Alderson to me especially is Ramirez is a decent reliever then this deal could be a huge positive for the Mets.

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ISSUES? OH BOY DO I HAVE ISSUES!!!!!!!!!!!

Again it’s one of those days where the minutia in my head is overflowing so the floodgates are now open:

As any Mets fan I am concerned for the health of Jose Reyes but I’m trying to get a handled on the hysteria over the revelation of Reyes having an overactive thyroid . I guess it’s due to the fact that my wife has had problems with her thyroid for years and takes Synthroid for an under active thyroid and it hasn’t been a huge hindrance to her so that leads  me to think Reyes will be fine. You want something to worry about, worry about the bullpen.

I’m getting worried that the manger and the front office are going to screw up on Jenry Mejia big time. Yesterday Mejia gave the team a dominant performance in relief and with the bunch of  JAG’s (just another guys) roaming the pen, how much temptation is there for Jerry Manuel, with April now a job/career saving month,  to put pressure on the front office to bring the 20 year neophyte north at the end of spring training ?

Am I in the minority about this air traffic controller at Kennedy Airport letting his kid talk to the pilots? I know he just told the kid what to say and if this was little air field in the Midwest, I wouldn’t give a shit but to do this at one of the busiest airport in world, to me is the height of irresponsibility. I don’t want to see the controller lose his job but a suspension and fine seems to be in order here and maybe a rule like NO KIDS IN THE FUCKING TOWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometime Marty Noble can come off as big fat windbag but in his Noble Thoughts column today he has some good nuggets like Frenchy breaking Ike Davis’ balls over an error he made at 1st base and then turning the tables on himself by proclaiming he will take three base on balls today and maybe win the leadoff spot in the bullpen. Also Frank Catalanotto and Jason Pridie are making heads turn early in camp.

Victor Rojas has been named as the TV play by play man for the Angels thus his leaving MLB Network. On his blog, Rojas details his taking the Angels job, it’s a great read and I wish Victor all the best with the Angels. Oh and a Happy Brithday to Victor’s dad Cookie

It’s hard to imagine how corrupt and out of control the sate government of New York is right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat an Upstater or Downstater as tax payers and residents of the state, the way we are treated by these bunch of bungling assholes in Albany is fucking disgrace. Should Governor Patterson resign? No, he should thrown in jail! along with every fucking member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

I am a fan of Bill Simmons and have been from as far back as his days at AOL as the Boston Sports Guy but his take on Tiger Woods coming back to golf and comparing it to Muhammad Ali’s comeback after being banned from boxing for not joining the military is so ridiculous that there is no way in hell you could defend that opinion. But of course Keith Olberman not only has to make the point that Simmons’ opinion is so off base but he has to attack him personally. That’s what Olberman does. I know first hand. When I started doing Kranepool Society, I had e mailed Olberman a few of my posts (I got his e-ail address for the SABR members list as I’m a member as well) just to see what he thought of my work. All I got back was a nasty e-mail from him stating how dare I send him these post and then commanded to never send him anything again. To say the least I was a bit upset. As time went on and I saw that Olberman has a problem in work and social settings so I didn’t feel so bad. So now that he ripped Simmons a new asshole, I feel like a little camaraderie with The Sports Guy. Olberman is not the Worst Person in the World just the biggest douche bag.

Ooops I’m late for my anger management class!

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HOT CHILD IN THE $ITI

Oh those gritty, gutsy Mets. Did you ever think those words would be used to describe our favorite baseball team? Me either but yesterday’s 3-2 win over Cardinals a game Tony LaRussa managed the 8th inning like it was Game 7 of the NLCS (but it paid off for the stinking genius) was close to baseball as it ought to be. A few observations from the day at $iti Field:

 

Johan Santana had a very difficult time in the first three innings finding the strike zone as he had neither command of his fastball or change up in the first three innings whether this was due to his mechanics or the ineptitude of home plate ump Ron Kulpa  I’m not sure but after giving up a walk to Chris Carpenter in the 4th Santana all of a sudden got locked in and took control of the game. The mark of a great pitcher is when he can’t get his best pitches over for strikes he still finds a way to stay on top of his game and work his way through until he figures out how to get those pitches working or has a plan B and gets that to work. No panic, no fear that’s Johan Santana.

 

Ryan Church is lucky J-Man didn’t take out his blade and cut his ass after yesterday’s game. Manuel has put the challenge to Church by putting him the clean up spot while Sheffield recoups from his cortisone shot to his knee. So far the challenge not met by Church. With Daniel Murphy on second and Luis Castillo on first, D-Wright had an outstanding at bat. After looking at two called strikes, Wright bared down and then let two balls go out of the strike zone to even the count 2-2, the next pitch Wright just missed (a fastball I believe from Kyle McClellan) and then took the two more pitches for a base on balls. Outstanding at bat. Of course after that Tony LaRussa made yet another trip to the bullpen (and had me make a mess out of my score card) lefty Trever Miller to face Church.

 

Now here was Church’s time for redemption in the game as he misplayed a ball hit by Rick Ankiel in 6th as he broke in the tried to get back and the ball sailed over his head for a double and Ankiel eventually scored the Cards second run so with the bags drunk it was Ryan Church in the spotlight (“Church bells may ring, ding –dong-ding, church bells may ring, ding-dong-ding”)  time to show the manager, the fans and his teammates the he is ready to step up.

 

Miller seems to have a bit of the yips as he can’t find the strike zone and falls behind 3-0 to Church. Ok now Ryan take a strike here, atta boy. Ok now it’s on a platter for you 3-1 and the pitch………..A CALLED STRIKE!!!!!!!!! Ryan, you are batting in the coveted clean up spot, the bases are loaded, it’s the bot of the 8th and a 1 run game WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TAKING ON 3 AND 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

 

Now realizing he’s not up there to leave it up to Tatis, Church swings at the next pitch and fouls it off. Now Church is digging that back foot in the batters box determined to get a hit here but Miller just rears back and blows one by Church who took a huge swing and missed but at that point it didn’t matter this at bat was done at 3 balls 1 strike. Want to bet that Church sits tonight against Sabathia ? If he got a hit there lefty or no lefty he would have earned the start but after that at bat and the play in the 6th inning Church will sit tonight and it’s deserved.

 

The more I go to $iti Field the more I love the place (don’t worry we old timers will always have Shea in our hearts) how can you not. I know it has its faults (see Mets Police for those as he is the Elliot Ness of Mets fandom) and management (are you ready for this) seems to be listening to it’s fan base (S-H-O-C-K-I-N-G I know!) First thing I saw walking in I looked at the scoreboard in right/center and guess what? The lineups were posted ! YA-HOO!. Then in the 8th inning no Sweet Caroline (HURAYY!!) but Meet The Mets (HURRAH!) now I do have a little bone to pick, how about playing the whole Meet The Mets song? Why do the butcher and the baker and the people on the street always get the short end of the stick all the time?

 

I was no fan of Michael Jackson’ when he was alive so I’m not mourning his death today but I was shocked that he died just for the fact that he is the same age as me. I know it’s not polite to speak ill of the dead but the guy was a walking freak show which was not the worst of his sins, those he will pay for it he hasn’t already. I do feel sorry for him in that he didn’t really have much of a life which again proves my mother theory that even if you have a lot of money that doesn’t mean you’re rich and if that’s the case Jackson died broke in more ways than one.

 

Now someone I was a fan of was Farrah Fawsett as were many young men back in the 70’s. Show of hands how many of you fella’s had this poster in your room (my hand is up) and how many of us looked to date girls with that blonde hair in a flip (hand still up)

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BAD GUYS GO UP 1-0

Sure it sucked seeing Scott Kazmir on the mound for the Famous Rays last night but to be honest,  as much as I’m a Kazmir fanboy I thought he stunk last night. How the hell do you walk Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz for God sake you have to let those two swing the bat CHALLENGE THEM DAMIT! Kaz was lucky that Upton made a strong throw to nail the little prick Victorino at the plate for an inning ending DP as that at least let the Rays stay in the game.

 

I though the 3rd inning was the turning point in the game as the Rays had a chance to make Cole Hamels life difficult with the bases juiced and 1 out with hot hitting BJ Upton at bat. Upton this past season hit a robust .353 in a bases loaded situation, so the odds looked good that even a fly ball would at least get the Rays on the board but Upton hit into an inning ending DP something he did only 13 times all season. 

 

Add that to Kazmir having runners on base every inning he pitched four of them via the base on balls and this game wasn’t as close as the score board showed. It’s up to James Shields to get the Pizza Guys even in the series. In my mind Game 2 is a must win for the Rays.

 

Who knew Wee Willie Randolph was such a catch? The Rockies and Nats want him to be a   bench coach and the Brewski’s are looking at him as a skipper. I still think Randolph best position is as an infield coach/instructor as a bench coach you’re involved in strategy which we know too well is not Willie’s strong suit.

 

With the economic climate in this country and newspapers facing extinction why in the world did the NY Daily News waste money by sending Bill Madden to the World Series to write about how all the team in the NL East hate the Mets. Not exactly ground breaking there Billy Pinstripes. You almost nailed a good column as you wrote about Pat Gillick turning around the Phillies and the Mariners but you missed the boat on the big story as Gillick was the Skill Sets choice to take over the Mets after the Steve Phillips disaster era but turned them down due to Jeffey Skill Sets meddling ways.

 

 

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