2013 NY Mets Mid-Season Report Card Pitchers Edition

 

A day later than promised, sorry about that, so here is the 2013 NY Mets pitching staff mid-season report card.

Matt Harvey Grade A+

Matt Harvey is sensational, dominating, fearless, overpowering, handsome, intimidating, charismatic, ours.

Dillon Gee Grade C

Was close to going with a B for Gee since he has pitched very well of late but his overall body of work so far had me go with the C. Gee is a solid starting pitcher who in good health will give you 6 to 7 good innings which is fantastic for a #4 starter.

Jeremy Hefner Grade B

Who’d a thunk it? Hefner has been the best pitcher on the Mets not named Matt Harvey. Last year I was ready to say bye-bye to Hefner but now I find myself rooting hard for him to continue his success.  Puts ball in play but home run rate is up. Gave a B because Hefner is developing a strong dose of TWTW.

Jon Niese Grade C

Hope he gets healthy and pitches well in the second half so Mets can trade him and his team friendly contract for an outfield bat.

Shaun Marcum Grade F

Sorry he got injured and needed surgery but I’m not sorry he’ll never pitch for the Mets again

Zack Wheeler Grade Incomplete

Let him learn he’ll be fine if you think otherwise you’re an idiot

Bobby Parnell Grade A

FINALLY!!!! Parnell has emerged as the reliever we all hoped he’d be. Confidence in himself and his ability has fueled Parnell to could have been an All Star status. Still throws hard but isn’t of throwing; he’s pitching this year with pin point command. Sure it’s tempting to trade him but as Sandy Alderson said he’d have to be bowled over to deal him. Make your move Dave Dombrowski

LaTroy Hawkins Grade C

Has pitched much better than I’ve given him credit. Terrific BB/K ratio of 3.78 but he is hittable. His LOB % of 74 % has made Hawkins a go to guy for Terry Collins late in games.

Scott Rice Grade C

Seems like Rice pitches everyday not quite but I’m sure he warms up every game. The career minor leaguer walks way too many batters but he is able to get tons of ground ball outs. A classic LOOGY.  Got to give the guy props for toiling in the bushes for so long to finally make it to The Show. A Collins favorite.   

Brandon Lyon Grade F

F as in Farewell

Josh Edgin Grade D

Still waiting for Edgin to emerge as an effective late inning reliever but he needs better command of his slider to compliment his 90+ fastball. The second half of the season is Edgin’s audition to remain a Met in the future.

Greg Burke Grade D

Burke pitches from the mound down under and isn’t very effective he’s a JAG (just another guy)

David Aardsma Grade C

Was on the fence here with the C or B grade as Aardsma has only gone 17 IP he has looked like a guy who can be a good set up man to Parnell

Scott Atchinson Grade D

Suffered an arm injury that set him back a month and now he’s back and if he can get back what he had with the Red Sox and stay healthy add him to Hawkins, Aardsma and Parnell, that’s a pretty good back of the pen with Rice to get a lefty out.

Carlos Torres Grade Incomplete

Torres has only pitched in 10 games but he’s been very effective. Torres is now going into the starting rotation to replace Marcum hopefully he can stretch his arm out enough to give the innings needed.

 

 

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From Niese-ly Done to Matt-tastic Harvey

 

Some observations after last night’s Mets 2-1 win over the NY Highlanders:

I was quite perturbed that there wasn’t a pre-game show on SNY.  As the day went on yesterday I was really getting revved up for this game. But I switched on SNY at 6PM looking forward to Chris (Uncle Fester) Carlin and my main man, Bobby Ojeda to hit me up with some knowledge before the game.  Instead I got the insufferable Beer Money. Total failure by SNY to not have a pre-game show even with the telecast on PIX-11. Speaking of PIX-11

Since Ch 11 was televising the game it seems they were given the opportunity to have a pre-game show on WPIX but instead of a pre-game show Mets fans were treated to a television train wreck. There was some guy named Mario Diaz who was teamed up with Art Shamsky, who by the way has been pushing this book of his for what seems like an eternity. Really Art, enough already, that damn tome is sitting on a shelf down at the Dollar Tree give it a rest. So now this Diaz guy throws it to another guy I never heard (and if I’m lucky will never hear of him again) Dyrol Joyner. Joyner was so tongue tied and unprepared that I went from mocking him from my living room to actually feeling sorry for the dude. It was bad enough calling Mariano Rivera “Mario” but he kept stumbling and bumbling over his words, it was quite an embarrassment. Then they went to some young lady who must have just re located here to the NY area because she was reading traffic and transit report right off a script and never lifted her eyes to look into the camera. There was an on field interview with Jeremy Heftner that focus on his family during the Oklahoma tornado which happen last week, the same time Hefner addressed the effect on his family, and an interview with Matt Harvey where he was asked if he ever met Julia Roberts since she stared in Mystic Pizza filmed in the town where Harvey is from.  Oh and good news, Mr. Diaz said they will all be back on Thursday from the Bronx. Someone in the Mets organization needs to put a stop to that.

It’s amazing how Mets fans are such creatures of habit as soon as it was realized that Gary Cohen was off and Kevin Burkhardt was handling the play by play, Mets Twitter was in a dither. It wasn’t the smoothest broadcast of all time that’s for sure. First off, Keith Hernadez had a major brain fart calling Daniel Murphy’s broken bat a “dead solider” on Memorial Day no less and there was way too much Highlander love and way, way, way too many shots of Pee Wee Cashman sitting in the stands. You have to know your audience is made up of not just die hard Mets fans but also die hard Highlander haters.

There is no two ways around it, those camo unis suck and if I never see them again that would be swell. Although John Buck, Bobby Parnell and John Niese looked like they could wear the camo’s every day.

I don’t know why people get their panties in a bunch over the attendance numbers at ball parks. What the Mets and the rest of professional sports have to understand is with the advent of high definition televisions and the high ticket, parking and concessions prices, fans are finding that staying home in the living room or den with their big screen TV with full fridges of food and their favorite beverage of choice is winning out over fighting traffic, long lines to eat and pee and  watching a bad product on the field. The NFL realizes this and is trying to figure out how to make fans want to leave home and experience football in a live environment rather than staying home and watching on TV.

Great start from Jon Niese as he had total command of his especially an effective cut fastball.  This is exactly what is expected and needed from Niese 6-7 solid innings each start.

After getting robbed of a 2 run homer by Brett Gardner, Daniel (#ImWith28) Murphy comes up big with a clutch single to center to score JV1 with what proved to be the winning run.

How about Ruben Tejada in that 8th inning ? Every time he puts the ball in play recently it’s in the air for a can of corn out, yesterday when the Mets needed a fly ball to get Mike Baxter home from first, he hits it on the ground and Baxter was out at the plate. Total frustration.

Speaking of frustration, Lucas Duda with RISP has hit (can you really call it that) a buck twenty-five with ZERO home runs and a paltry 6 Rib Eye Steaks .

As for Ike Davis, just a hat trick last night 3K’s in 3AB’s

Prediction for tonight 3 hit complete game shutout for Matt Harvey #HappyHarveyDay      

 

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When You Play Not To Lose, You’re A Loser

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Preach it Herm! Preach it!

I guess Terry Collins doesn’t believe that pitchers win/loss records are meaningless. Last night Collins pulled Jeremy Hefner from his start after 6 innings and 94 pitchers with a 3-2 lead because he wanted Hefner “to feel good about himself and not let HIM lose the game”. HIM, Hefner the individual not the TEAM but this one player on the TEAM the manager was worried about. Collins went on to say that Hefner has been down about not getting a win, seriously ?  Is this where we are now, worried about individual feelings of players?   

It’s not just Hefner but how about Ike Davis? On any other team Ike would have been sent to Triple A told to work out his hitting problems and then work on getting back to the big leagues.  Teams do this all the time.  Why Sandy Alderson has become so passive with Ike is baffling to me. But then again it seems the organization has taken a big step back when it comes to accountability.

We all knew this wasn’t a contending team but did we think it would be a non-competitive team? I didn’t but when I hear the manager worry about the psyche of a journeyman pitcher instead of challenging him to get out there and finish the job and then to keep running Ike Davis out there every day to embarrass himself, you have to wonder how lost Terry Collins is right now. What does it say about Hefner that he didn’t demand the ball for the 7th inning? Hefner should have put up a fight to where he would have to be restrained from ripping the bullpen phone out the wall. But like the bulk of this Mets team he lacks passion.  In fact the whole organization lacks passion.  

And talk about killing a players confidence, how do you think Juan Legares and Jordany Valdespin feel  sitting out of the lineup day after day? And  you wonder why JV1 has a piss poor attitude? I don’t blame him.  If I’m Legares and Valdespin I try to figure out whose arm I have to break to get them out the lineup so I can get in.

Its’ one thing to compete and lose but at least you can say I gave it all I have and played to win. The Mets play not to lose and when you have that mindset, you usually lose.

 

   

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Hey Jordany, Smarten Up!

Yes it was an ugly loss last night but not ugly enough to throw up your hands just yet Mets fans.  I will say though, it would be a huge boost to the Mets and the fan base if they take the next two from the Fish. Some more about last night:

Hats off to Jeremy Hefner as he continued with the parade of solid starting pitching the Mets have gotten so far this week. Hefner showed nice command of his fastball and slider, keeping the ball down in the zone as well. He threw a lot of pitches in the 2nd and 3rd innings (49 total) but all he gave up was solo home run to Greg Dobbs.

Jordany Valdespin will drive us crazy all year. As good an offensive player as he is JV1 has absolutely no baseball instincts.  The 3rd inning brought it all into perspective. From be too far off the bag at 1st on Daniel Murphy’s soft liner to short that the throw to pick him at first base caught his bicep to then getting picked off at first with David Wright up and before a pitch could be thrown to Wright. MY GOD!

SNY cameras caught a great scene in the dugout after JV1 got picked off. He retreated to the corner of the dugout both to stay out of ear shot of Terry Collins and because is arm was hurting. That didn’t stop John Buck from coming over to him to give some “advice”. The funniest part of the exchange was Buck cornered Valdespin so there was no place for him to go until Buck was done “talking” to him.

I don’t know what you expect from Lucas Duda in left field. He’s not an outfielder; he’s a first baseman/DH and at some point Sandy Alderson is going to have a make a decision on what to do with Duda.

Don’t panic about Ike

As you know I’m not a fan of Ruben Tejada and with the scuttlebutt that it was thisclose as to who went to Vegas him or Omar Ouintanilla, I agree with what Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show  as much as you can play your way on to a team, you can play your way off a team. The only way Tejada keeps his job is with his bat and his glove and range at short are subpar.

Not a great night for Greg Burke, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins to say the least.  

Got to take the next two from the Fish. Got to

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Sunday Mets-cellaneous

As this Mets season drags on, it’s not the wins and losses that matter but individual performances are the focus as the front office and fans try to determine who on this year’s team is worth keeping around to draw the franchise out of the loses abyss they’ve been swallowed up in. Last night Jon Niese put on a pitching display that shows he’s a solution and not a problem.

Niese had outstanding command of his cutter last night, his most effective pitch, to strike out seven Nats and not walk anyone. Not only that but more importantly Niese went 7 1/3 innings to bring his innings pitched for the season to 152, just 5.1 innings off his total for 2011 and 21.2 innings off his mark in 2010. If Niese has a flaw in his game its consistency and stamina so his outings are now must see as the Mets need Niese to this season strong.

I would think the prudent decision to make on Johan Santana is to shut him down for the rest of the season. Is he hurt or just fatigued or just good old fashion infective? I have no idea but I do know sending him out for more starts makes no sense at all.  For all the paralysis by analysis, maybe the problem is Santana is just out of gas? Have the Mets doctors sign him off as having fatigue and place him on the 60 DL, this way you free a spot for RHP Collin McHugh, who certainly deserves a call up and would be a more interesting watch that seeing Jeremy Hefner again.

By the way, Santana has no trade value whatsoever between uncharted territory with his type of shoulder surgery and the $31 million price tag that he drags around with him. Scouts saying that Santana could be taken in a deal are just taking Andy Martino for the fool that he is.

Mike Baxter is definitely part of the solution and not the problem. Baxter is what he is, a solid fourth outfielder and a terrific lefty bat off the bench. A gamer as I like to say.

Justin Turner gets another start today at second base and I am very puzzled about the love Terry Collins has for Turner of late.

Do the Mets have a rep around the league as soft? First we had R.A. Dickey and his bracelet troubles that should have gotten Terry Collins thrown out of the game, because as soon as Jim Joyce said there was an edict from the Commissioner’s office about bracelets, jewelry any other minutia that were against the rules, Collins should have told Joyce to stick his hand up his ass and pull out the memo. Add to that any Mets opponent that wears anything other than a baseball uniform, Collins needs to call time and have the object removed.

Then the other night, Davey Johnson pulled a ball breaker move by having Umps check Santana’s glove and have a gold emblem removed or blocked out on his glove. I’d have told Davey “no problem but tell your boy Zimmerman he’s getting the first pitch if his next at bat right in the ribs”. At some point, the have to stop being the games mud room.

 

 

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Matt Harvey Pitched Like A Man Last Night

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Sing it Godfather, Sing It!!!!!!!!

 

Are we seeing the last of the Dan Warthen influence on Mets pitchers? Matt Harvey pitched last night like the power pitcher he’s been advertised as. Harvey went almost exclusively with his fastball and slider and more importantly he threw inside and challenged hitters. Harvey went away from the Warthen School of Pitching which is nibble, nibble and nibble some more. Harvey pitched a man’s game last night even plunking Ryan Ludwick in the shoulder and of course Ludwick gave the phony tough guy stare down as he went to first base, because he’s a rook, Harvey just let Ludwick have his fake tough guy moment but I’d bet if Harvey had a couple of season under his belt, he’s have told Ludwick to take his ass down to first base.

Justin Turner in the outfield in 2013? You cannot be serious Terry, you just can’t.  I have to think Collins was talking out his ass on this one, as it make absolutely no sense ,hell, Turner back for 2013 doesn’t make much sense.  Don’t the Mets have an overabundance of outfielders without any power?

Heard a rumor that Sandy Alderson sent a link to the video of Jason Bay’s home run last night to Brian Sabean with the message “Com’on Brian you know you want him”

I can get the Mets going to a 6 man pitching rotation being that Johan and Young could benefit from the extra days rest as could Jon Niese, who at some point has to show he strong enough to pitch effectively  in second half of the season and as long as Dickey and Harvey stay on schedule, it’s all good but why does the spot guy have to be Jeremy Hefner? I hope come September 1st the club calls up Collin McHugh and let him take that spot or Jenry Mejia. Seriously, enough of Jeremy Hefner.

Mike Pelfrey is ready to start throwing as his rehab from Tommy John surgery is progressing well. As an arbitration eligible player much speculation is that the Mets will non-tender him come December. That much I agree with but I’d bet the Mets try to work a deal with Big Pelf for the 2013 season. I’m not ready to call Pelfrey an ex-Met yet.

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I Leave For A Half Hour and Stuff Happens In Flushing

Seems this play is the root of Johan Santana’s problems and will force him to the DL “Paging Matt Harvey, Mr. Matt Harvey…………”

 

I think we all agree that there is something not right with Johan Santana, the question is what’s wrong?

It doesn’t seem it’s a physical problem as Santana said he feels fine but know Johan, he’ll tell you he’s fine as the prep him for surgery, but again I don’t think this is a physical problem. It could be he has hit a wall. Being that Santana has said he has lost the feel for his pitches and it shows in his lack of command. Some are pointing to the no hitter of June 1st and the subsequent handling of Santana by the Mets after that, I guess that’s the easy way to look at and as we all know the favorite past time of Mets beat writers is to point their mocking fingers at the Mets.  The problem with Johan could simply be that after missing a year of pitching, he’s tired.

What would be the crime of putting Santana on the DL where he’ll miss two starts and then bring him back with limited innings or pitches? If Santana’s problems are fatigue and not structural, then the Mets are ahead of the game, beside we’re all dying to see Matt Harvey pitch aren’t we?

(UPDATE: while I was out checking the field at SI Tech to make sure it was in game shape for our 3PM playoff game , I come back to find out Santana has been placed on the DL due to the ankle injury he suffered that made him use more arm that lower body while pitching hence a fatigued arm. Carry on)

Jeremy Hefner has been recalled for today’s game as a safety net for Miguel Batista so that means someone has got to go and that someone looks to be Kirk Nieuwenhuis. It makes sense for Kirk to go to Buffalo since  he has slumped to the point Terry Collins would rather go with Andres Torres than him and when Nieuwenhuis did play he was striking out at an alarming rate. Kirk seems to have a good head on his shoulders and a trip to Buffalo won’t devastate him, I’m sure he’ll work on his game and will be back in the big leagues soon.(UPDATE PART 2 Looks Kirk gets reprieve from Buffalo with Johan on DL wish the Mets would have done this sooner and saved me the time it took to do this post)  With that said if I’m Sandy Alderson I’d have released Andres Torres and that might just happen when Mike Baxter gets back. If Baxter when healthy, is not brought right up to Queens there will be hell to pay believe me.

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Free Matt Harvey

I don’t think we can question the poise and maturity of Matt Harvey after last night’s performance, in fact I came away quite impressed by his demeanor. Think about how he handled this start with the knowledge that his call up to the big leagues hangs in the balance with Mets exec J.P Riccardi at the ball park in Buffalo and Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and Dan Warthen monitoring his performance via SNY. Make up wise Harvey, in my opinion is big league ready, ability wise could be debated.

If Dillon Gee were healthy we don’t have this discussion on whether Harvey is a big leaguer or not but with the prospect that Gee is done for the year, the Mets need a starter and when you look at the options, Matt Harvey stands out as the best of them.

Miguel Batista or Jeremy Hefner? No thank you. We’ve seen all we need to see of Batista who is still making a living off that last game of the year shutout over the Reds. If I had to pick between the two, I’d  go with Hefner but since Harvey is in the mix, I’d give Harvey the start on Saturday for sure.

Is Harvey ready for it? It seems it’s a question with many answers. Some folks are against bringing him up fearing a meltdown of some sorts, from what we’ve seen of Harvey from spring training to last night, I hardly think that will happen. Will an early promotion stunt his growth as a pitcher? That’s a great question that I can’t answer but what we know of Harvey is he has a passion to be a major leaguer and he loves to learn and will ask questions and work on his craft to achieve success.  My question is how will being on the big league roster with veteran pitchers like R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, two guys who always make themselves available to young pitchers, hurt Matt Harvey? If anything I think he’s thrive in that environment.

I do worry about the enthusiasm level that Mets fans have for Harvey and Zack Wheeler as well.  Between the four game losing streak (7 loses in last 10 games as well) the awful bullpen and ineffective offense against left handed pitching; the fan base is headed toward meltdown mode. For the health and welfare of Mets fans everywhere, I hope the team can take two of three from the Nats.

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The Mets Front Office Needs To Show Me They Are Back In The Baseball Business

Not much energy to put up a post today, watching the NY Rangers play an epic 3 OT playoff game will drain a fan. Between watching Henrik Lundqvist kick and catch puck after puck and seeing Ranger after Ranger drop down and block pucks to the point that Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle got their best rest while getting stitched up so they could go back out to block some more pucks.

I’m just thankful that after investing over 5 hours of hockey watching the Rangers game away with the 2-1 win and 2 games to 1 lead in the series.

So after going to bed at about a quarter to 1 this morning, waking up at 5 AM and getting to work by 6:30AM I’m a tad fatigued. So I’ll just say this about the three games of awful pitching in Houston, the front office has to show the fan base that they will go out and find a better option than Chris Schwinden. I don’t want to see Matt Harvey or Jureys Familia, let them stay on their development course.  I’m ok with Jeremy Hefner taking Schwinden place, hell a forfeit might make better sense than starting Schwinden again. If you ever wanted to know what a 4A player looks like its Chris Schwinden

I doubt seriously that Roy Oswalt would sign a deal with the Mets but you know what? Humor me. Make an attempted and contact Oswalt’s agent and see what it would take to sign him. Sweeten the deal with a clause that if he joins the Mets and they are not in contention at the trade deadline you will either trade him to a contender or release him. As I say, I doubt Oswalt would sign with the Mets and he may not even be effective but I need a sign that the Mets are back in the baseball business.  Even a trade for an arm, and again I’m not looking for a 1, 2 or 3 starter, in fact the perfect guy for the Mets to make a move on would be Jason Marquis. Marquis would be a nice fit in place of Mike Pelfrey and I’d bet it wouldn’t take  much to rustler him away from the Minnesota Twins , add in that Marquis still lives on Staten Island I’m sure he’d jump at the chance to come  home to pitch.

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Time For Skill Sets and Sandy Alderson to Step Up

I don’t know about you but after hearing the news of Mike Pelfrey’s name getting added to the DL and that he’s now packing his bags for a date in Birmingham with Dr. Andrews, my focus was on Johan Santana and how sound his left shoulder is. Oh I know most of you were obsessing over Jose Reyes’ first at bat, quite frankly it was much ado about nothing, yeah some booed, some cheered but Reyes first at bat ended with Kirk Neuienhuis telling Jose “Bite Me” with his outstanding catch to save at least a triple, but I digress.

See it’s not the fact that Big Pelf looks to be done for the season that has me edgy , it’s the next injury to a starting pitcher that’s giving me the shakes,  the Mets can pop in a Chris Schwinden for Pelfrey and not really miss a beat, but if another starting pitcher goes down, then what? This is the byproduct of lack of depth in your upper levels of your farm system. If another starter were to go down then either Garret Olson of Jeremy Hefner would be next on the list. So now would be a good time for ownership to show the fan base that they have the resources to add a pitcher and go contact Roy Oswalt’s agent and see what it would take to bring him to NY . It’s time for Sandy Alderson and the Skill Sets to get pro-active before the next starting pitcher hits the DL. If they don’t, the Mets will be entering into the Yogi Zone where it gets late early.

Okay are we done with the cross examination of Jose Reyes’ first rip to Citi Field as a Fish ? He came, you cheered, you booed, you shrugged. In fact it was a fitting tribute for Reyes last night as there were just as many fans  for his return as there was for his departure at Citi Field. The Mets showed a little video tribute and no baby seals were killed. Let’s move on shall we.

The message was sent to Ike Davis by Terry Collins last night, produce or grab some pine and for all of you who were flabbergasted by the move, grow up this is big league baseball not Little League. If Ike doesn’t straighten out soon he’ll be a Bison in a couple of weeks.

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