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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Is The 11th Pick In The MLB Entry Draft That Valuable ?

Ok nervous Nelly’s the Mets have signed a major league free agent. Word broke just a little while ago that the Mets have signed RHP Shaun Marcum to a one year deal pending a physical, of course (or unless you’re Omar Minaya and look to save the co-pay. See Putz J.J.)

Marcum isn’t much of a risk as his deal is for just a season and he’ll be relegated to the back of the rotation  (Santana, Niese, Harvey, Gee, Marcum or Marcum then Gee if all breaks right) keeping a spot warm for the arrival of Zack Wheeler something after the All Star break.

Marcum has some injury history with Tommy John surgery (I’m guessing that pitchers a year or two removed from TJ surgery is the new undervalued commodity in baseball at least as far as the Mets front office is concerned) and last year he had some nagging elbow problems but if he can stay relatively healthy Marcum should be a nice addition to the Mets rotation.

Marcum is a real finesse pitcher who relies on his changeup and cut fastball more than more than your standard fastball which coming out of the hand of Shaun Marcum isn’t very fast. He can be prone to the HR and does get a lot of balls in the air which means the Mets outfielders……………Oh Snap……………The Mets are going to need some outfielders………………….Damn!!!!

One guy who is a looooooooooooooooooongshot to be in the Mets outfield in 2013 is Michael Bourn. The only reason Bourn is a longshot is the cost of signing him. Not monetarily but the high cost of the draft pick the Mets would surrender in his joining the Metropolitans.  When looking at the 11th pick in the MLB draft over the last 10 years, the lone stand out is Andrew McCutchen (Pirates 2005), other formable names taken with the 11th pick are Neil Walker, Jeremy Hermida, Max Scherzer and Justin Smoak. Save for McCutchen it’s mostly solid to serviceable big leaguers who’ve blossom from that slot. So should Sandy Alderson hold on to that draft pick as tightly as he has or should he use it as a chip to sign Boune ? Tough choice as we don’t know what the Bourn/Boras contract demands are. Safe to say Bourn/Boras is not really in the driver’s seat since they are at least taking the Mets phone calls. I guess Boras decided to go shopping in the frozen food aisle after finding the shelves bare in the meat department.

Its real tough choice when you add in that Bourn is just 29 years old (he turns 30 in December) he gets on base at a decent rate (lifetime .339 OBP not great not awful) can steal a base and plays a fine centerfield.

When word of the Mets being interested in signing Bourn I thought they  should pass but after looking at the history of that 11th spot in the draft the last 10 years and the Mets desperate need for a bona fided Major League outfielder, I have to say if I’m Sandy Alderson I have to open up a dialog with Scott Boras to see if there is a way to make this a match both money wise and years wise.

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Seems Mets Are In An Unmovable Situation

 

 

Every day I sit down to write a post about the Mets and every day I just stare at the screen, which is as blank as my mind.  At the end of another disappointing Mets season, I felt this was going to be the off seasons of off seasons, heads rolling down Roosevelt Avenue and more of a purge of the losers personality that has permeated the Mets clubhouse the last few seasons but so far, other than David Wright committing to the club for the rest of his natural baseball life and R.A. Dickey getting exported to Canada, this Mets off season has been more a fart in the wind than a lion’s roar in the jungle.

I can see how and why many Mets fans are totally pissed off and feel the team is tanking the 2013 season and I guess I am too but for some reason I’ve comes to terms that this Mets team as put together right now will not be very good as I am buying in to the plan set forth by the baseball operations unit of the team. There is a plan in place and it’s to get younger and not be reliant on building the team via free agency. The Mets are the only team that hasn’t signed a ML free agent. Some fans are annoyed by this but me? I’m totally fine with it. I advocated the pursuit of Cody Ross, Shane Victorino and AJ Pierzynski but being that the supply of talent in the free agent market hasn’t met the demand those three players received more money and years than I ever thought they would.

No one can disagree that the outfielders on the Mets 40 man roster are less than major league caliber and I’m sure no one knows than better than Sandy Alderson and I’m sure Alderson will make some type of move to add at least one quality major league fly shagger before opening day.  So while we wait for that move to be made, we can while away the time venting our outrage when we find out Mike Piazza has not been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame due to the ineptness of the Baseball Writers Association of McCarthyism.

Another distraction has been my monitoring of the other teams I root for. Last night was as bad of a night I’ve had as a fan since Adam Wainright broke off that nasty curve to Carlos Beltran. I wasn’t confident that Notre Dame was going to beat Alabama but never did I think they would tank like they did. There’s not much more to say about the game other than it was an embarrassment but one thing I will address is the amount of Catholic bashing that I saw in my Twitter timeline last night. It’s one thing to attack ND as an institution but when you use the hashtag #CatholicsSuck that’s just shows what kind of  person you are and most likely it’s not just Catholics you hate but figure it’s the one group you can vent your hatred about without repercussion.

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Mets Fans Are On The Outside Looking In

While the Twitter-verse is blowing up over the Rays-Royals deal after just toweling off over Zack Grienke signing a 6 year $147 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (seriously are we sure the Dodgers weren’t bought by the U.S .Congress?) we Mets fans are like a bunch of street urchins staring at the bakery window praying that we can fill our empty belly’s with a day old bun.

The news out of Mets camp is about banners and bobble heads and circus coming to Citi Field instead of big strapping power hitting outfielders joining the big league club or the stay of execution of a Cy Young Winning knuckleballer and a couple of reliable relief pitchers.  It’s great that the Mets are putting tickets on sale earlier than usual but in all honestly before I buy a ticket for the performance I need to know who’s in the cast?  I’d love to go see Macbeth but with Pauly Shore playing the Scottish Lord I’d pass.   

I am trying to remain patient but as the days go on without any type of player movement, I’m leaning toward the Yogi-isim of “it gets late early” which will soon lead me to my favorite axiom “shit or get off the pot”.  I really, really want to participate in the season of Mets in 2013, I have my discretionary income sitting in an empty Chock Full O’ Nuts can waiting to purchase tickets. I want to go to all the  Tchotchke Days, I want to sit in Section 514 of the Promenade Infield with my scorebook on a warm summer day, I live for these kind of moments, and all I ask of the Mets is to make an effort to put out a team on the field that I can root for.  I just do not want to see a team where the majority of the roster is made up of players who rolled over and played dead for last four late summers. I’m not asking much and I’m willing to pay in U.S. currency for it.

So many people are killing Dayton Moore today for trading off Wil Myers Baseball Americas Minor League Player of the Year and P Jake Ordorizzi the #1 and # 3 prospects in the Royals system along with two other lower ranked prospects  for pitchers ” Big Game” James Shields and Wade Davis. For all the heat Moore is taking, I have to give him props for having the balls to be bold. He’s not standing by he’s taking a shot by adding a consistent top of the rotation starter in Shields and a reliable reliever in Davis.

If we have learned anything from the last couple of post seasons, the team that is playing at its best in August and September are the teams that make the big post season runs. Teams like the Mets who think the season ends at the All Star Break each season are left to lament how to get better. It’s December 10th and right now the Mets are not any better than they were when the season ended. So far it’s “it gets late early “but we’re not far from “shit or get off the pot”

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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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Positively Mets

Is that a light I see at the end of the Mets spring training tunnel? This has been one of the most uninspiring Mets camps in a while, sure Johan Santana’ comeback (He is pitching today vs. the Cards) has been the best news and watching Matt Harvey (discount yesterday’s appearance) Jureys Familia and Zack Wheeler give Mets hope along with the stellar relief work by neophyte pitcher Josh Edgin, that future of the team isn’t as bleak as many think.

In fact there is (are you sitting down) POSSITIVE news out of St. Lonesome that David Wright will play today and bat 3rd. Also, Scott Hairston and Andres Torres seem to be ready to roll once again, which makes me wonder if hearing Terry Collins talk glowingly about Matt Den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, help speed up the healing process for the two veteran outfielders. That’s something that has been missing for a few years with the Mets; the vets seem complacent knowing there is no one in the high minors to take their place. That’s changed and that’s good.

That’s it for me today, I have a head cold that is now settling in my sinus so I’m going back to lay down  but I will make sure I’m in front  my TV at noon for the Tim Tebow presser because I’m sure if I put my hands on the TV while Tebow is speaking, he’ll cure me.

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COACH ‘EM UP, COACHES OUT

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

One of the worst kept secrets surrounding the Mets was the fact that Chip Hale was ready to head back home to Northern California to join his buddy Bob Melvin as bench coach for the A’s. What was surprising was the domino effect Hale’s departure had on the rest of the coaching staff.

Mookie Wilson was let go with the old “we’ll reassign you in the organization” which is like when a cop sucks at fighting crime, the NYPD sticks them in the property clerk’s office. But where does Mookie get reassigned to?  Word is he didn’t work well with Lucas Duada in getting him acclimated to right field and he wasn’t very good at positioning the outfielders or working with base runners  during games. Wilson also hasn’t fared too well as a minor league manager and since he had trouble coaching the outfield with the big club, roving minor league instructor seems out as well. What’s left?

Jon DeBus got the boot from the bullpen it seems because he was a catcher and the club would rather have Buffalo pitching coach Rickey Bones, a former pitcher, in the pen to work with the relievers. DeBus was also in charge of working with Josh Thole and Ronnie Paulino and supposedly wasn’t helping Thole with his defense and was negligent in getting Paulino to show a better work ethic.

It’s a shame that Ken Oberkfell got the ax as Obie did what he was assigned to do, be the yin to Terry Collins’ yang. Obie was brought in the be Collins bench coach because he was calm, cool and collected a contrast to Collins “makes coffee nervous” persona. Obie is one of those good solid baseball men who did everything he was asked by the organization and now is shown the door. I hope he lands with a team that makes the post season and gets to cash one of the nice winner’s checks.

Tim Teufel gets the prize job as 3rd base coach/obligatory 1986 World Champ for 2012. Gotta meet that quota of 86ers ya know.

The job for Collins’ consigliore it seems is between Larry Bowa and Jim Ringgleman. Both are close confidants of Collins but I will be really pissed off if Riggleman gets the job as the Mets should be looking to stay away from quitters.

Once upon a time, Murray Chass was one of the best baseball writers around. His coverage of baseball labor disputes was unparalleled due to his close relationship with former MLBPA President Don Fehr and his mouthpiece Gene Orza but after Chass was let go by the NY Times he became a bitter nasty old man and started a website (he’s refused to call himself what he really is, a blogger) where he could spout his bitter nasty old man bullshit. Today he posted about Jeffey Skill Sets and how he is known around baseball as the most disliked executive in baseball. Of course, Old Man Murray rails for most of the post about the Mets blocking the Highlanders Triple A team from playing in Newark next year (oh yeah I forgot, Chass is an unabashed Highlander ball licker an older version of Ian O’Connor) but at the end of his piece he stated something that I have heard as well so that’s why I’ve included it in my post:

Sandy Alderson, Minaya’s successor, is completing his first season in the job, and I have already heard that he is growing tired of Wilpon’s suffocating presence.

Now if this was just Murray being Murray I’d laugh it off but I have heard the same thing from folks whose take on things around the club I respect and stories they have told me have turned out very reliable. I’ve always said I’m a Mets fan for life but I’ll tell you this, If Sandy Alderson leaves the Mets because of dealing with Jeffey is getting in the way of his work then I’d have to seriously think of stopping my support of the team until a new owner takes over.    

 

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YOU METS FANS ARE REALLY STARTING TO ANNOY ME

Maybe it’s me. I’ve been told that I can be a bit dense at times but for the life of me I can’t understand how some Mets fans feel that the recently completed road trip from hell was because of Carlos Beltran’ return to the lineup ? Now let me set the record straight here, I am not the President nor a member of the Carlos Beltran Fan Club, in fact I have called on the Mets to deal Beltran since 2008 and I would hope he has a great second half as getting out from his contract would a huge plus for the organization, but to say that Beltran has hurt the team chemistry by coming back, is beyond stupid.

This team is only acts as  a cohesive bunch when they win, once adversity hits and that by the way is how you measure this worn out word chemistry, the NY Mets turn into the French Army. After wining games, especially at home, shirts are flying out of pants, hats are tilted to the side, players are jumping up and “high fiving” it’s quite the spectacle. But when they lose, and they do this with regularity on the road, their heads are down, shirts stay neatly in their pants, blank stares into space replace high jumping hand slaps. No team in sports acts in such a bi-polar way than the NY Mets.

Now the fans are starting to get like that. Beltran is a “clubhouse cancer” they say, huh, if anything Beltran is a low flame kind of guy, but he produces both with the bat and the glove. He has looked very rusty with both so far since his return from knee surgery but it’s such a small sampling but who knows, maybe he will never regain his old form. The same fans that hate Beltran, have fallen in love with Jeff Francoeur and seem to think he was a big reason the Mets went on a nice run in June, I guess an OPS of .845 is impressive to some. If Beltran had a month like that he’d be an underachiever.

I really don’t get it. The Mets right now are playing their three best outfielders in Bay, Beltran and Pagan. Unfortunately, Bay and Beltran are struggling but what both have over Francoeur is they have a body of work that is All Star caliber, whereas Frenchy has a strong right arm and a great smile. I’d rather take the proven All Stars myself.

Again it comes down to what has been a problem in Flushing for the past couple or three years, this team is made up of some very fragile folks who turn to over cooked spaghetti when times get tough. See,  a guy like Jason Bay has surprised me as he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t make a lot of noise with his mouth and has proven to be capable of stepping up and performing when the spotlight is blinding as we saw when he went to Boston to replace Manny Ramirez. But then again when you have guys like Big Papi, Mike Lowell, Youk and Dustin Pedrioa it helps. The Mets don’t have anyone close to those guys on their team. Sure you have a  fake tough guy like Leader of Men, Alex Cora but there is no one (sadly David Wright isn’t one either) who says” jump on my back boys and I’ll carry you” the closet guy like that amongst the everyday players right now is Angel Pagan. It’s not the loudest guy or the rah-rah guy who fits the leader mold, it’s the guy who knows when to take pitches to get on base, who gets the big base hit with two out man in scoring position but Mets fans seem to think the louder you shout the more productive you are, that’s a fallacy. The People’s Cherce, Jeff Francoeur with all his personality had never carried a team but the guy Mets fans love to hate, Carlos Beltran has.

I can’t figure you people out sometimes.

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ROLL METS ROLL

Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed me with suggestions to help me with my pitching staff. I am happy to report that we won our first game of the season 10-0 (now 1-3 on the year) with only three walks against us in the game. Rick Peterson would be proud of all of you.

Speaking of The Jacket, he will play himself in the movie version of “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt playing Billy Bean.  Art Howe will also be in the film playing the cadaver they extract  the ligaments from for Tommy John surgery.

The Mets are rolling through NOCAL yesterday 9-6 win. Another strong start I felt, by Johan Santana who had one bad inning (the 6th) in the 7 innings he pitched as he had an incredible 79/22 K/B spilt plus he got the win to go to 5-2.

The pitching and hitting is as good for the Mets as any in baseball right now but the fielding needs to tighten up a bit especially with Wright and Castillo. Yes I’m never happy I have to find something to bitch about with this team.

With Carlos Delgado on the DL (what a shock!) the Mets have to make decision on what to do with first base. I don’t see how Jeremy Reed is an option over Daniel Murphy if they want to go a righty/lefty platoon. In fact it looks like the increased playing time for Reed is more of a showcase as why would you need both Reed and Angel Pagan on this roster that now is top heavy with outfielders? Pagan can do as much if not more than Reed both with the bat and in the field plus the added bonus of being a switch hitter. Maybe  a deal with the Orioles for Aubry Huff that would have the Mets send Reed and Eddie Kunz to Baltimore could snare Huff? By the way can we let Murphy play tonight at first base? It’s been four games since his last start. FREE DANIEL MURPHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A reminder, I will be a guest tonight on The Seven Train To Shea Radio Program tonight at 7PM EDST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WOW, RYAN CHURCH SURE COST JEFFEY WILPON A WHOLE BUNCH OF BEER CAN AND SODA BOTTLE DEPOSITS

 

I wish I had some kind of good Mets news today besides Ryan Church signing for 1yr/$2.8 mil and Angel Pagan signing for $575K (how great a job is it being a fridge player on a ML team? Pagan was hurt nearly all season. When he was getting back in shape he got to play in Brooklyn, then his shoulder was still sore and he shut it down for the season for all that he gets a raise of a little less than $175K.) So now here is what the Mets outfield looks like:

Manny Ramirez (Ah, I’m just fucking with ya head!)

Really here are the outfielders:

Tatis, Murphy, Beltran, Church, Reed, Sullivan, Pagan.

If you take out Beltran you would have a real 1962 throw back kind of outfield. The lone true right handed hitter is Tatis with Beltran and Pagan going from both sides of the plate but Beltran hits all pitching but Pagan is a much better hitter  from where else but the left side of home plate. Hey it’s all right with the exception of Beltran they all work cheap. Oh and don’t forget The Teen-Aged Hitting Machine who hits (what else?) left handed.

  I’m at the point now where I want Omar to sign Ben Sheets and Randy Wolf and kick Oliver Perez to the curb. If by some outlandish way the Mets would over pay in years and money to OP it would have disaster written all over it. The longer OP holds out for a Mets contract the more pressure he puts on himself and the first game his gets his ass handed to him in the first inning and the $iti Field crowd boos him and calls him an over paid piece of shit it will be uglier than Amy Winehouse the morning after and all night bender.

 

 

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Tickets

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