First Half Mets Marking Period Is Over Here Are The Grades

                                                                                The Ol’ Perfesser

As promised in my last post, it’s time for the 2013 NY Mets first half report card.  Unlike years past there is room for optimism even though the team has not had a winning monthly record since June of 2012, that’s seven consecutive months of losing, but the tide seems to be turning.  There is optimism in that the young arms are starting to emerge as we see today with Matt Harvey being named the starter for tomorrow nights All Star Game. Zack Wheeler has shown some growing pains but he should figure it out and Noah Syndergarrd talk is all the rage.

But the club needs bats and needs them badly but that’s a post for another day. On to the grades:

John Buck Grade C

Took off like a rocket in April with the bat hitting 9 HR and driving in 23 runs. From months May thru July, Buck has hit 5 HR and knocked in 23 runs. The biggest aspect of catching is defense, while Buck is not a great catcher; he is a vast improvement over what the Mets have had the last two years. He’s holding the seat warm until Travis D’Arnaud gets himself healthy and ready for the big leagues, most likely next season.

Ike Davis Grade F

UGH! What a mess Ike is. So far the great re-invention of Ike Davis approach at the plate has been a failure.  His first couple games when Ike came back from Las Vegas there was a bit of an improvement but the last week he’s back to his ass going one way and his arms going the other. UGH! I sense Sandy Alderson’ patience are wearing thin with Ike and with Davis arbitration eligible next season  Ike looks like a lock for non-tender status.

Daniel Murphy Grade D

Who doesn’t love Murph? He plays his ass off, worked very hard to be a serviceable 2nd baseman and has battled serious injury to come back strong.  But Murphy like Ike is at a crossroads in his career. He’s making just a shade under $3mil this season and would be looking for a raise towards the $5mil mark in 2014. He’s 28 years old he doesn’t draw walks and he hits with little power and is not a solid fielder. Add 2nd base as another position the Mets will need to upgrade in 2014.

Ruben Tejada Grade F

I’ve never been a fan of Tejada’s and never understood what some baseball people saw in him. He’s in Las Vegas now and will most likely be there until September. Call this addition by subtraction.

David Wright Grade A+

Just put a decent bat behind Wright and he’ll put up numbers like have never been seen in Flushing. Just having a decent bat like Marlon Byrd protecting him has allowed Wright to put up solid numbers. His defense has also improved to where you might as well give him the Gold Glove now. He has also embraced the role of Captain showing more leadership on the field than we’ve ever seen. David Wright is one of the top 10 players in baseball and we are damn lucky to have him on our team.

Lucas Duda Grade C

Duda and Josh Satin could be the demise of Ike Davis. Duda will never see left field again as a Met and that’s a major plus. It’s not Duda’s fault that he was a lousy outfielder, he never played outfield and when he was moved back to his natural position of 1st base he looked like a new man. But then he went down with a strained intercostal muscle pull and hasn’t be heard from since.  Duda’s 14 % BB rate and .204 ISO is what has me not quitting on him, I’d love to see him get back soon healthy and coupled with Satin as a very productive 1st base platoon. Sorry Ike.

Juan Lagares Grade D

Tough grade for the young center fielder but when you break it down his offense is an F and his defense is an A. Thought of giving him a C but he lost his job to Kirk Nuienhuis so that dropped it to a D

Marlon Byrd Grade A

All the Sandy Alderson critics were screaming “where’s the bargain signing that pays off” well here you have him in Marlon Byrd. Now no one, even the Mets GM ,thought Byrd would contribute as much as he has. Byrd leads the team in HR’s (15) and Rib Eyes with 51 his wOBA is solid .346 and his play in right field has been stellar. So where do you fall? Keep Byrd, Trade Byrd? I get the feeling Byrd will stay as the Mets GM is sick of his team sucking in the second half and is looking for a strong finish to build on for 2014. Byrd stays.

Omar Quintanilla Grade D

Best part of Q’s game is he takes a walk as in base on balls with an 11% BB rate. His defense is plausible and he’s 31 years old so he’s not the future. Mets have a big ? at shortstop

Jordany Valdespin Grade F

Good bye and good riddance.  If Valdespin had called John Buck the name he called Terry Collins, he’d be getting fit for dentures today.

Mike Baxter Grade D

Still can’t understand why he had to go to Las Vegas and JV1 got to stay big big mistake. Baxter better lefty bat off the bench than Vladespin.

Justin Turner Grade D

Teammates love him and his pies but where does he fit on this team on the field? Isn’t Josh Satin Justin Turner but with talent?

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Grade C

Looks like Kirk has won the CF job and the last couple of weeks his bat has come alive and his play in centerfield has been solid. A C grade may be a bit generous but Kirk gets a little more love due to grit.

Anthony Recker Grade Incomplete

Poor guy doesn’t play enough but when he does he hits with pop with a .237 ISO but it’s a very limited sample. He could find his way as a Sunday catcher with Mets when Travis d’Arnuad makes his debut

Josh Satin Grade Incomplete

Again small sample size but he has forced Terry Collins hand as Ike Davis regresses and the team looking to win games and stop the loser mentality Satin has played his way into the lineup. Easy guy to root for.

Terry Collins Grade C

Some days I’m pro-Collins some days I’m looking for his replacement. Collins handles the press and his clubhouse as well as anyone in the game but when it comes to in game strategy and handling his bullpen, Collins is playing checkers while the opposing manger is playing chess. Second half of the season will determine if Collins is the Mets skipper in 2014

Tomorrow the pitching staff.

 

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Optimism, Thy Name Is Matt Harvey

Yeah, I’m excited when Big Hoss’ takes the mound!

Could it be? Four wins in a row? Hell yeah! What makes the wins even sweeter, the last two were against the Phuck Phaces with Jon Niese on the mound for the sweep, yeah that’s right THE SWEEP!!!  

Back on August 5th Matt Harvey threw a lot of breaking balls in his start against the Padres. I’ll take a wild guess that Dan Warthen ordered him to go with that many breaking balls. Harvey lasted 5 innings and gave up 5 runs in what became a 7-3 Padres win.

Something good came of that loss; Matt Harvey went back to being what he is, a power pitcher. No more following the Warthen Doctrine of nibble the corners and pitch passively. From watching the last 2-3 Harvey starts, there is nothing passive about him and it seems the message has been sent to the Mets pitching coach, leave Harvey alone. Of Harvey’s 98 pitches last night, 63 were fastballs that averaged 95 mph, that’s power pitching.

Is it a coincidence that the Mets have won 4 in a row and the bullpen has been solid? The pen has not allowed a run in its last 13.1 innings pitched, spanning over 5 games and is 7 for 7 in saves for the month of August. The Mets relievers have even improved bit in stranding inherited runners as they are up to 70 % LOB up from the mid 60 % range they have been at most of the season.

There has been lots of talk about the way Terry Collins has used Josh (Everyday) Edgin lately but the fact is Edgin has been a bullpen revelation.  Edgin has stranded 11 of the 14 runners he’s inherited as well as striking out 24 batters in 19.1 innings pitched. I can see the concern about going to the whip to often with Edgin especially getting him up multiple times during a game to warm-up , that’s where the wear and tear takes its toll, so it may be a good idea for Collins to take his foot off the gas a bit the last month of the season with Edgin.

Jon Niese is pitching with an extra days rest today. When Niese has an extra day off he is 6-3 with a 2.29 ERA as this covers 15 starts.

One thing to watch for today at the launching pad known as Citizen Bank Park, Niese has given up the long ball a lot this season, a career high 20 home run so far this season.

Niese has a better day time record than night. He’s 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 10 starts in the sunshine and in 15 starts under the lights he’s 6-6 with a 3.98 ERA.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mets-cellaneous

I just hope a week from Thursday the weather is better than today in NYC. I’ll take the sunshine but this morning at 6AM it was 31 degrees which meant I had to retrieve my winter coat from my basement closet. I hate wearing my winter coat.

Speaking of a week from Thursday, I’m more than ready to get the season started as it will put up and shut up time and we get to talk about games that count.  But before we do there is some Mets Miscellany to discuss.

ITEM: Johan Santana Decreased Velocity

There was a bit of a panic in Metsville yesterday as the beat writers were sending Tweets from the frontline on Johan Santana’s start. It seems all the JUGS guns had Santana with less than Autobahn numbers, along with an ineffective first inning sent the sky is falling Mets fans out in droves.

It would be great if Santana was hitting 90+ but according to the stories from the game his velocity increased as the game went on. He walked 3 in the first inning but then regained his command to settle in and pitch very well:

 “I was struggling locating my fastballs,” Santana said. “I threw two-seamers. And, then, by the time I threw my breaking ball, I wasn’t able to throw strikes. But then I made some adjustments and I started hitting the inside corner and I was better after that. … It was just one of those days where things take a little longer. That’s all it was.”

See what gives you optimism with Santana that he will come back to form is he’s a very smart pitcher and knows exactly how to execute and how to adjust. I didn’t think we’d see Santana until the end of May but now I’ll be disappointed if Santana is not on the Citi Field bump on opening day.

ITEM: David Wright Back In Action

Good to see Wright back in action but let’s see if (when) he can go a couple, three days straight without aggravating his stomach injury. As Wright stated there is getting into physical shape and then there is game shape. Wright will be off today but then I’d like to see him play the rest of the week .

ITEM: Chris Young Signs Minor League Deal

Never have enough arms. Low risk high reward but there are still some Mets fans  that will knock this signing because that what those Mets like to do.

ITEM: Carlos Beltran pays Jon Niese $10K

Someday I’d love to carry that kind a coin around with me to just write a check to a co-worker for cosmetic surgery. I’d have my office look like the waiting area of the Bunny Ranch.

ITEM: Texas Rangers Release Connor Jackson

We are going to see a bunch of these releases as Jackson fits the description of players signed to minor league deals who are guaranteed $100 K if they are still in camp on March 30th. The Rangers are hoping to strike a deal with Jackson to start the season in the minors but it wouldn’t be bad for the Mets to swoop in a sweeten the pot a bit to add Jackson to the 25 man squad as he’s a right handed bat who can play the corner outfield spots and 1st base.

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AIN’T THAT THUMPING, K-ROD OUT FOR SEASON

Think about this for a minute, the Mets have lost their closer for the remainder of the season and maybe part of next season and instead of panic and angst, Mets fan are celebrating like the team just won the NL Pennant. Francisco Rodriguez has torn ligaments in his right thumb, HOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any other season the scramble would be on to find someone to pitch the 9th inning, instead Mets fans are full of optimism that the team will void Rodriguez contract. Fans don’t even care if they can legally do this it’s more like the want to see Rodriguez suffer and maybe that the great legal mind of David Howard can take on the MLBPA and win, what could be the most important contest the Mets have been involved in two years. 

Speaking for myself, I don’t care if the Mets have to pay K-Rod the rest of this year and next, although I’d think if the Mets could win a case against Rodriguez a ticker tape parade down Roosevelt Ave would be appropriate, I just want to see the front office show some fight and send a message that they actually give a shit about the team and are tired of being portrayed as bungling douche bags.

Maybe the tide is turning in Flushing, as the Mets not only signed their number one pick RHP Matt Harvey but they went over slot price as well.

As another Mets season goes down the shitter, what better time to worry about next years contract right? That’s what’s on the mind of Pedro Feliciano. Daily Pedro will be a free agent after this season and is looking to re-up with the Mets and raise up his salary from this years $2.9 mil. I’m sure Feliciano will be looking for a healthy bump in pay and years but at what point do the Mets say farewell as the price in both cash and time becomes prohibited? A LOOGY on a mediocre team is a luxury you don’t really need so it’s more the Mets missed the boat at the trading deadline by not dealing Feliciano. I’m pretty sure you can find a Quadruple A or league average player to play the LOOGY role for a fraction of the price of Daily Pedro.

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A SHAKE UP IS BADLY NEEDED IN FLUSHING

Has there ever been two groups so closely aligned but such poplar opposites like Mets fans and Mets management? The one thing both groups have in common is they both root for the Mets to win (as inept as ownership is they want to win, they don’t have a clue as to how to accomplish that but they want to win) and that’s where the similarities end.

Mets fans are furious with the way this team has gone into the shitter on this past road trip. If your fans are going to stay up until 1AM then goddamnit we want a win. But with the anemic offense and the bumbling managerial tactics, this was one of the worst west cost trips ever for the Mets.

When the team left Flushing after losing four of six games to the Reds and Braves, we figured the All-Star break would be a good tonic for the club to recharge and get rested for the second half before the start of an 11 game West Coast road trip. I think we all felt if the Mets could go 6-5 on this trip that would be great. The road has been a house of horrors for the team all year but this would be a test for the team and a good trip would solidify the Mets as a true contender in the NL. Who knew that the 11 game trip would turn into Armageddon!  

So from optimism, we Mets fans have turned into an angry mob, something we’ve gotten very good at the last couple of seasons, and we want a body. Someone has to be sacrificed, but who?

There’s talk of Howard Johnson getting either fired or reassigned in the organization. HoJo is a Mets lifer but quite frankly firing HoJo is just window dressing. In fact firing any of the coaches makes no sense as it’s not coaches’ fault this team can’t hit. So that leaves the manager.

If any coach gets the boot, and Jerry Manuel gets to stay on then that is just an insult to Mets fans and a good reason for them to keep their credit cards in their pocket and to stay off Mets.com to but tickets. The news I would like to see today is Ken Oberkfell named as interim manager, then reassign HoJo to manage Buffalo and leave the rest of the staff intact.

After the season, then it will be time for an organization wide colonic. Reassign Omar Minaya to head of scouting, in fact give his a fancy title like Czar of Player Development and Scouting and make it like it’s a real important high fluent position that will shape the feature of the franchise and then go out find a GM who is not locked in the dark ages. A guy who understands that statistical analysis is a must for success but can also meld that in with good old fashion boots on the ground scouting.    

Seems to me, Bobby Valentine is kind of forcing the Mets hand to make some sort of move by throwing his hat in the ring to succeed Lou Pinella in Chicago.  Most Mets fans are split between Bobby V and Wally Backman as to who they’d like see manage the Mets and with BV open politicking for the Cubs job he’s let it be known he’s more than ready for a high profile managing position.

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