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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KNUCKLEBALL! The Movie Will Be Released On Video On Demand On 9-18-12

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The movie KNUCKLEBALL!! will be released on September 18th on Video on Demand and also on September 20th the film will be shown at the IFC at 323 6th Ave & W 3 St in Manhattan as a charity event as price of your ticket allows kids from The Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Children’s Aid Society, Harlem RBI, and New York Cares to attended the screening. The film will be screening all week at the IFC Center with regular show times as well.
I got to see the film at a screening at the Tribeca Film Festival and I can’t wait to see it again besides being a must see for Mets fans as our own R.A. Dickey stars in the film it’s just a great story of perseverance and determination

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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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AN OUT THE DOOR POST

A quick post for today as I’m heading out to Citi Field for another Mets bloggers event.

Former Mets cleanup hitter (still can’t believe this guy was the opening day cleanup hitter last season) Mike Jacobs has become the first professional baseball player to be suspended for HGH usage. Jacobs took the banned substance to help with rejuvenating his body from series of knee and back injuries he suffered as a member of the Colorado Sky Sox . I feel bad for Jacobs as here was a guy who played in the big leagues, drawing a big league paycheck but flopped to the point he headed back to the bushes.

Jacobs was worried that he’d become just another guy and be forgotten by MLB GM’s even with his 23 HR and 97 RBI so desperate times call for desperate actions it seems.

To his credit, Jacobs has taken full responsibility for his actions:

“A few weeks ago, in an attempt to overcome knee and back problems, I made the terrible decision to take H.G.H.,” Jacobs said in the statement, a rare confession of doping in a sport where many players who have tested positive denied ever knowingly using a drug. “I immediately stopped a couple of days later after being tested. Taking it was one of the worst decisions I could have ever made, one for which I take full responsibility.”

50 games is a serious sentence and most likely Jacobs’  done as a big leaguer. Sad

The Mets have suffered from a Humpty Dumpty defense this season (All the mangers horses and all the mangers coaches, couldn’t put the Mets defense back together again, or something like that) Manager Terry Collins to his credit has gotten the team to participate in taking infield before games, which no other teams do, but as Andy MuCullough lays out nicely in this piece in the Star-Ledger, it hasn’t help much as the Mets are statistically one of the defensive bottom feeders in baseball. Add the lousy bullpen and shaky starting pitching it’s quite shocking the club is near the breakeven point in wins and losses.

Welcome back K-Rod, the trade the worked out well for both sides. Again, well played Mr. Alderson

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ROBBIE, WE HARDLY KNEW YE

Roberto Alomar had one of the more bizarre tenures as a NY Met. How did a now Hall of Fame player, go from hitting .336/.415/.541 with 30 stolen bases and 100 RBI along with 113 runs scored topped off with 66 xbh along with an All Star appearance, Gold Glove Award and a fourth place finish in the MVP vote in 2001, become a underachieving malingering  pariah as a NY Met in 2002?

Talk about your unsolved mysteries. Alomar just could not find comfort in Queens. He never fit in with the Mets. Maybe it was going from a first place Indians team to a losing situation with the Mets? Maybe all the baggage that Alomar checked in with at Shea Stadium, the Hrishbeck spitting saga which weighed on him considerably and the constant meddling of fans and media about his sexual preference led to his down fall with the Mets, I don’t know but I do know that he was one of the most hated Mets of all time.

When the deal was made though, we Mets fans were a giddy bunch even praising Smarmy Steve Phillips for obtaining a talent of Alomar’s caliber but we didn’t get the 2001 Roberto Alomar, instead we received a cheap knock off. It sure was a bad time to come to Mets as a “savior” or a difference maker and not produce and also come off as a malcontent. The club came off a great 2000 by winning the NL Penannt but losing to the Highlanders in the World Series. In 2001 the Mets got off to an awful start but rebounded in the second half of the season with a 44-29 recorded but the club faltered down the stretch and most folks didn’t care at that point as we all dealt with the attack on September 11th.  So on December 11th of 2001 when it was announced that the Mets had made a deal with the Indians for Alomar, it brought hope to Mets fans that this move would get the team back into a post season berth. No need for revisionist history of the failure all around the organization during this time but Roberto Alomar was the guy who took the bulk of the beating from Mets fans, venting their frustration with boos and cat calls until he was mercifully dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 2003.

In a story in the NY Times the day after he was dealt to the White Sox, some evidence of Alomar’s unhappiness came out:

Exactly why Alomar was not himself in 222 games with the Mets will seemingly remain a mystery. Alomar said in a conference call with reporters yesterday that he liked New York, and he made sure to add that he had great teammates.

He did not sound as if he could cope with the malaise that came from losing, and the Mets lost 20 more games than they won while he was here.

”The team, maybe, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the situation,” said Alomar, who batted .265 with the Mets, far below his career average of .302. ”Sometimes, teams don’t work for you. I think the New York Mets weren’t the right team for me.”    

When Alomar went to the South Side of Chicago, guess who greeted him as skipper of the Pale Hose, the Gangsta’ himself:

There was not much doubt even at the start of the regular season that Alomar would be the Mets’ second baseman, but the team began to founder, and Alomar became a target of the fans, who thought he was not playing hard enough.

 ”I’ve seen a lot of players have a tough time in New York,” Jerry Manuel, the manager of the White Sox, said in Chicago last night before his team beat Minnesota. ”New York is a tough place to play.”

Tough place to play, tough place to be a manager too.

I’ll say this for Alomar with all the scandal that has followed him since leaving New York; his induction speech should be riveting.

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METS WIN, SO WHY DO I FEEL LIKE 10 MILES OF BAD ROAD ?

Sure I’m happy with the win last night but why do these games have to be so excruciating to watch? Why did Big Pelf have to come out after 6 innings? This is the shit that gets Mets fans boxers in a bunch about Jerry Manuel. This bullpen is running on fumes and Big Pelf was pitching with some big balls last night, he was pounding the living daylights out of the strike zone and getting ground ball outs, sure hitting Alex Cora for Pelf worked out with a single and a RBI but I still would have let Pelf bat there and come out to pitch the 7th.    Most Mets fans feel that Pelfrey has now become a front line major league pitcher; it’s too bad Jerry Manuel doesn’t realize it yet.

Looks like Old School Warthern was right about the “hanitual liar” John Maine. The doctor will see you now Mr. Maine

This morning before our game, I was hitting fungos to my infielders. I was wearing my Mets nylon pullover while conducting this task when the following exchange took place:

Parent from the stands: “Oh sure the Mets win a game and you start wearing Mets stuff”

My wife: “ARE YOUR KIDDING” ? MY HUSBAND LIVES AND DIES WITH THAT STUPID TEAM AND HE WEARS METS STUFF JUST ABOUT EVERY SINGLE DAY WIN OR LOSE”

Me saying to myself : “Man, I hope it starts pouring and we get rained out, I can’t to go home with that woman”

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JERRY MANUEL DROVE THE BUS THAT RAN ME OVER

I want to thank Jerry Manuel and David Wright for throwing me under the bus last night. Yesterday I posted on NYB Blogs telling Mets fans to relax and not give up on this team and especially on Wright who I defended big time. So how do they repay me?

Well J-Man had a managerial night that makes you wonder just how long he has as the leader of the Mets. It’s one thing to be hard headed and not see the experiment to bat Jose Reyes third in the lineup is an out and out failure, but then to have him bunt in the 9th inning with Luis Castillo the go ahead run on 2nd base was just stupid baseball. If you put Reyes in that spot in the order, you’re saying you have total faith in him as a hitter as the 3 hitter is usually the teams’ best hitter. So why would you make Reyes bunt in an obvious RBI situation. Reyes barely can bunt for a base hit never mind a sac bunt but also what message are you sending him? I’m batting you 3 but I don’t have faith in you to get a big hit, just move Castillo to third and let someone else get the job done.

Wright didn’t help me either with his two K’s, the biggest one in the 9th inning. Maybe I’m just not seeing or maybe I don’t want to see the decline in David Wright but when I look at his digits they are right there with all the league leaders but it just seems like the big spot is a tough spot for DW. I’m not jumping ship though, I’m still loyal to D-Wright      

Manuel said in his post game presser that he’s thinking of making some lineup changes, gee ya think Jerry? It seems the only one who favors Reyes in the 3 spot is Manuel. As Ralph Kiner said the other day, Reyes belongs as a leadoff man. When Gary Cohen asked who should bat third, Kiner replied “The Mets don’t have a 3 hitter” He’s 100 % right. The Mets 3 hitter is jogging in St Lonesome. They have a leadoff hitter but he bats third. If Manuel doesn’t bat Reyes leadoff tonight and bench Frenchy for The Animal then he’s just telling Mets fans and management he wants to be fired.   

I didn’t watch all of this game as I spent most of my evening watching the Boston Celtics send LeBron James and the Cavs packing (more on that in a minute) but couldn’t Manuel have given Johan Santana another inning of work? I know he batted second in the top of the 8th but he seemed to be pitching his best game of the season and was far from tired (just 98 pitches) and even though Fernando Nieve got a DP to get out the 8th how many days can Manuel go to him or Feliciano or Takahashi? Those three have become everyday players.

I still stand by my the Mets are still in this stance but I’m starting to feel a shake up in the mangers office needs to be made. The Royals, who are going no where, fired Trey Hillman so you would think a team that is in a playoff hunt should be looking around as well. Something is missing here. When the team is 0-6 in rubber games of series and the same stale lineup gets trotted out there every day and the bullpen is getting run into the ground, maybe the Mets have reached that fork in the road and as Yogi said “when you get to the fork in the road, take it” It may be time to stick the fork in Jerry Manuel.

A big tip of my Celtics cap to Bill Simmons who started a Celtics Chant account on Twitter which got that “NEW YORK KNICKS” chant going at the TD Garden was the best fan participation since the days of the C’s fans telling the 76 ers in 1982 Conference Final to “Beat LA”. Get ready Knicks fans the LeBron era is coming.

To all the Celtic haters on Twitter who right after the C’s beat the Cavs were crowing that the Celtics will be buried by the Magic. First you all can kiss my green, white and 17 NBA Champiosnship banner ass. The Celtics have done what we all say can’t be done in sports, they turn the on switch on when the playoffs started and now are in full UBUNTU mode.

Metsradamus has what is now the Post of The Year dealing with that fell off the turnip truck turd, Cholly Manuel who has dragged the Mets into this sign stealing brouhaha with the Colorado Rockies, Metstradamus also reflects on the Skill Sets looking to by the Fishsticks and moved them to the brand new Chop Shop Arena. Not only does Metstradamus invoke the New York Amerks but when was the last time you heard about Newsy Lalonde?

So all of a sudden the Skill Sets are flush with cash that they can talk about buying the Fishsticks and build a new arena in Queens but the can’t release Oliver Perez and eat his deal.

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METS BECOME BAY CITY ROLLERS

 

No one kills Mets management as much as I do, in fact I love calling out the clueless Jeffey Skill Sets and that shyster David Howard, but I’m kind of puzzled with the reaction of some Mets fans to the offers the club has made to Jason Bay and Bengi Molina.

 

Most of the criticism goes to the fact the Mets made just a $5 mil bump in monies to Bay. It’s a first offer, it’s a start, it now gets the negotiation going. The front office has concluded that Bay fits the club better than Matt Hoilday and I agree. The Mets even used (are you ready for this?) STATISTICAL  ANALYSIS to show how many fly balls Bay has hit last season would translate to $iti Field and it’s safe to say Bay would send many a souvenir baseball into the left field seats.

 

The big knock on Bay is his defense which I feel is a fallacy. The guy did have 15 outfield assists last year and his fielding number are better than league average plus with Carlos Beltran in CF I’m willing to bank on his ability to cover the ground that Bay can’t with the trade off of 30+HR and 100+ RBI.

 

So the Mets first offer is 4yr/$65mil. Bay’ counter off will be more years and of course more money. The thing to watch is who besides the Mets are in the running for Bay’s services. His former team the Red Sox are not known for giving out big deals to 30 year olds and have a track record of not getting personal with the help. Theo Epstein is all business. We’ve also seen that Bay is not giving the Sox a home team discount.

 

The Highlanders now with Curtis Granderson are not players for Bay. The Mariners? As bad as we feel the Mets are with dough they won’t be out spent by the M’s. The one team that could come in and make it interesting is the Angels.

 

It looks like the Mets want Bay and most likely will get him. For all the criticism of Omar he usually gets the guy he wants, it doesn’t always work out but count me as on board for Bay.

 

With all the jokes about the Mets cornering the market on backup catchers they still need a legit #1 backstop and if it takes 2yrs for Bengi Molina, then sign him. Sure he’s long in the tooth and as Joe Mc Donald said last night on our PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL show, you run the risk of Brian Schneider revisited but for 2yrs/$18 mil I’ll take a shot that Bengi is still on his game this year and is at worse a backup to Josh Thole in 2011. The one concern I have about Molina (and it’s not his speed on the bases ) is last year when the Giants brought up uber catching prospect Buster Posey to add some more pop in the G’ints flaccid offense, Bengi Baby didn’t ‘t respond well to having a pocket full of Posey, staring at him on the bench, so attitude is a bit of a red flag.

 

But like Casey Stengel said, You have to have a catcher because if you don’t you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.”

 

Mets Police has a great post where Detective Dan had an actual conversation with an employee in the Mets office. Dan sent back his season ticket invoice, not with a check but with a “no thank you” note. It looks like the Mets are getting a lot of these no thanks notes from season ticket subscribers so they are now burning the phone lines to ask why and boy oh boy, did Dan tell them why.

 

Maybe, just maybe, there has been a revelation in management that the Mets fans are not mad anymore, but worse, they are apathetic. At least with hate there is still passion. Remember it’s a thin line between love and hate but once apathy sets in you’re fucked.

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