Monday, June 28, 2004

Could David Wright be our third basemen by the end of this season? I am sure starting to think so. A couple of weeks ago i wrote on how Wright was absolutely dominated the Eastern League, ranking among the league leaders in almost every major offensive category. At the time, i said that i expected him to soon get a promotion to AAA, and sure enough, Wright was soon promoted to AAA. He left the Eastern league 2nd in avg (363) 1st in OBP (467) and 2nd in SLG (619). Oh yeah, he was second in stolen bases too (20) just as a bonus.

In his first 13 AAA games Wright is hitting 347/428/735 with 4 home runs and 7 doubles. i really, really love this kid. Did i mention he's still 6 months shy of his 22nd birthday? Seriously... I really, really love this kid.
Is anyone else starting to really leave the complete mediocrity of the NL East this year? Despite the Mets best efforts, they just can't play their way out of the pennant race yet. And while im on the subject of feelings, is anyone else starting to really hate playing the Yankees? Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the Mets-Yankees games, but i'm starting to get really sick of having seven interleague games against the best team in baseball every year, while the rest of the division gets those 7 games against an easier opponent. Unfortunately, i can't bring myself to say i want the games eliminated, or even cut down. I watch baseball for enjoyment, and i can't deny that i enjoy the Mets-Yankees games. I reserve the right to change my opinion on this if i ever feel like it costs the Mets a playoff spot.

Speaking of playoff spots, and the Yankees, the Mets lost both ends of a double header tonight to those guys from the Bronx and dropped to 3.5 games back in the division. That makes us 1-3 for the 4 games stand at Yankee Stadium, which is pretty typical (sigh). On the bright side, Richard Hidalgo hit two home runs in the nightcap, so maybe he's starting to come out of his slump. Hidalgo could make a huge difference in this lineup. With Reyes finally healthy and playing, and Hidalgo replacing the ex-Yankees in right field, our lineup should look something like this. Reyes/Matsui/Piazza/Floyd/Hidalgo/Cameron/Wigginton/Phillips. I realize that this will make the 358th time i've said this about the Mets in recent months, and it's yet to happen, but that really looks like a solid lineup. Hopefully moving him out of the leadoff spot will help Matsui, who up to this point has been a huge dissapointment, both at the plate and in the field. I didnt expect big things from Matsui, but 253/327/378 just isnt cutting it. Far from it. The only acceptable part of that line is the isolated discipline is fine, which is strange, considering that was the biggest knock on him coming over. Matsui needs to raise that batting average about 30 points, and add some pop, or he can't be considered anything but a complete bust. Especially since his supposedly stellar defense is far from reported. His range isnt what it was reported to be, his arm is weak, and he hasn't looked particularly sure handed. We really need to move Reyes, his superb range, and cannon arm back to shortstop next year. Matsui will be better off at second base where his range will be greater and his weak arm won't be an issue.

Thirteen games left to the All-Star break. Three at the Reds, three vs the Yankees at home, four at Philadelphia, and three at the Marlins. Then we come out of the break with four against the Phils and two against the Phish, all at home. This will mark our second golden chance to make a serious run at the division, with 13 straight games against the two teams ahead of us. If memory serves, the last time we had one of these, we went exactly .500 (seems to be at rend this season), and ended it right where we started. Thats just not going to cut it this time. Not if we are serious about competing for the playoffs. I can't speak for anyone else, but entering July and in the thick of the pennant race, i'm no longer focusing on respectability. I've got my sites set square on the division.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

34-34 2.5 games back. Does anyone else feel like we've been treading water for a month now? I sure do. It seems like everytime ive update dthe last two weeks we're right at .500 and around 3 games back. Not that im complaining mind you. We're not far from July and the Mets are in the thick of the pennant race. Thats good enough for me. Especially since the only people that have really played well are the top 3 pitchers, the closer and the catcher.

A couple of days ago the Mets decided that the ex-yankee right field platoon just wasn't cutting it, and went out and got Richard Hidalgo from Houston. Let's have a look at the trade.

We Get:

Richard Hidalgo - RF - Age 28
2000 314/391/636 w/ 86 xbh(44 HR)and 56/110 BB/K in 558 AB
2001 275/356/455 w/ 48 xbh(19 HR)and 54/107 in 512 AB
2002 235/319/415 w/ 32 xbh(15 HR)and 43/85 in 388 AB
2003 309/385/572 w/ 71 xbh(28 HR)and 58/104 in 514 AB

The question her is real simple? Which Hidalgo will we get? The guy's obviously got the ability to be a top notch hitter, and he is in the middle of what should be his prime years, but it's hard to know what his real level of play is. Somehow i doubt it's the 2000 campaign, which strikes me as a career year, but after that it's just confusing. He came back in 2001 and was a perfectly adequate right fielder(OPS above .800) but far from an all star. In 2002 he was possibly the worst right fielder in the majors. And then last year he had a huge comeback, and could have been a legitimate all star, almost certainly would have been if he played anything other then corner outfield (or first base), batting over .300 with an OPS above 950. So what Hidalgo havewe seen this year? Naturally, it's almost impossible to say.

April: 364/622/986 - This looks like a Barry Bonds line, except Bonds was even more ridiculous in April
May: 284/281/565 - Well, that wouldnt be bad if it werent for the complete lack of plate discipline, and not a single home run.
June: 189/171/361- Uh Oh

So who knows which version of Richard Hidalgo we are getting. But at least we've got a guy with some potential now. He might suck it up out there. But he might be our new cleanup hitter too. And if you were wondering what effect Minute Maid Park has had on his numbers, since it is regarded as one of the best hitter's parks in baseball...

Three Year Split (2001-2003)

Home: 287/367/497 w/ 72 xbh(28 HR)in 684 AB
Away: 267/347/477 w/ 79 xbh(34 HR)in 730 AB

Doesn't really tell you a whole lot does it? Looks like the park formerly known as Enron has helped his batting average a little bit, but his IsoP is exactly the same, so it hasn't helped his power. This guy is just a total mystery. He could come to Shea, not exactly known as a hitter's park, and suck it up. Or he could become our new cleanup hitter. At the very worst, he's probably a defensive upgrade in right field. He's not fast, but covers ground well, is fairly sure handed, and has a cannon for an arm. So is the defensive upgrade and the chance for a great hitter worth what we gave up? Let's take a look at the guys we sent out of town.

They Get:

David Weathers - RHP - Age 34

2001: 86 IP, 2.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 66/34 K/BB
2002: 77.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 61/36 K/BB
2003: 87.2 IP, 3.08 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 75/40 K/BB

Jeremy Griffiths - RHP - Age 26

2001(A+): 132 IP, 3.75 ERA, 1.22 WHIP 95/35 K/BB
2002(AA): 152.2 IP, 3.89 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 126/54 K/BB
2003(AAA): 115 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 78/26 K/BB

Weathers? Perfectly nice relief pitcher. Walks a few too many guys but always keeps the ERA down. He makes way too much money, and as a right handed relief pitcher who doesn't throw particularly hard, he is easily replaceable. Bloggers ahve been suggesting we trade Weathers for awhile now, though the idea was to swing him for prospects, and possibly save some money, not exactly what happened here. All the same, he's no great loss, and it will allow a younger, cheaper player to take his spot.

How about Griffiths? Well, he's got a nice minor league career behind him. He's gotten shlled in the majors, but you cant make any judgements from 41 innings. He's got real good command, and strikes out a respectable amount of guys, but he's far from overpowering, and has always bene a little old for his league. My gut feeling is that Griffiths will turn into a decent back of rotation starter, but never be anything more then a competent no. 4 or 5.

So was it worth it? I think so. You've gotta think so. The Astros are sending some cash our way (about 4 million reportedly) which will make the money a wash. Weathers is meaningless to us, with a logjam of young right handed relief arms inthe system. Basically it comes down to Hidalgo vs Griffiths from our perspective. There's only a two year age difference, and Hidalgo has already shown the ability to succeed in the majors. You've gotta figure there's at least as good of a chance that Hidalgo will be an above average right fielder for us as there was that jeremy Griffiths would be an above average starting pitcher. Plus Hidalgo plays to one of our weaknesses. The Mets have a ton of candidates for the last few spots in the rotation, but we're rather short on competent outfielders through every level of the system. When you consider that, plus the fact that there's always the cahnce Hidalgo returns to All Star status (something which i find highly unlikely Griffiths will ever reach), then i think this is a good gamble. If Hidalgo struggles, then we've lost a relief pitcher we dont need and a possible back end of the rotation starter whose not a difference maker. If Hidalgo works out we've got the Mets best right fielder since..who knows, Darryl Strawberry? Am i forgetting someone? Our outfield has really been awfult the last decade. I like this gamble. Its something that isnt going to make this team worse, but has the possiblity to make us much better. Its almost July, and we're in the pennant race, so why not try and get better? So long as they don't trade away any prospects, any possible pieces of the future, i've got no problem with Duquette swinging a couple trades that could help us down the stretch. Hey. ya never know With this trade he gave us a shot at getting better for a pennant race, without giving up anything of any importance to our future, or anything of any real value to us right now. So why not go for it? Good move by the Duke.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Im still alive. sorry i havent posted in two weeks, but i just dont have the time right now. Im going to try real hard to write at least something in the next day or two. In the meantime, im sure your all enjoying the Mets blogs listed onthe sidebar to the right. If your not, you should be

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Todd Zeile baby! I can't speak for anyone else, but if the mets manage to pull off the impossible and make the palyoffs this season, i will be thinking back to the two games Todd Zeile just won to pull us back to .500 and keep us in the division race as we roll into June. The Mets will try to get above .500 and within 2.5 games of the division tommorow night at Shea. Jae Seo goes against AJ Burnett, in his first start back from Tommy John surgery. Apparently A.J. wasnt very pleased about the fact that he won't be making his first start in sunny Florida. Alot of people maintain that Burnett was/is the best of the Marlin's young pitchers. Think about that for a second. Josh Becket was predicted by some to win the Cy Young this year. Brad Penny has finally put his great stuff together and is dominating. Dontrelle Willis won the RoY award last year (as always, i feel the need to point out that Brandon Webb deserved the award). Carl Pavano was once rated the #1 prospect in all of baseball by BA. And now they're getting a guy back from injury who is considered better then all of them. That's just scary. If they get a new stadium, and some real revenue, the Marlins are going to be good for a long, long time.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Al Leiter came off the DL tonight, pitching five shutout innings but once again failing to get the win. The Mets almost blew the game altogether, but Zeile came through with a solo homer in the 8th to tie it, and then Kaz Matsui finally did what he was brought here to do. He got on base to lead off the tenth, stole second base, and then scored the go ahead run on Zeile's single. It's about time. While we're on the topic of Kaz Matsui, here's a little tidbit from Peter Gammons latest notes, in case anyone missed it.

Don't be surprised if the Mets ask Kaz Matsui to switch places with Jose Reyes next year. But first they think they can address Matsui's vision problems; part of his problem defensively is that he hasn't been able to pick up the catchers' signs and set himself.

The vision part is interesting, but what really caught my eye here was the part about the Mets possibly shifting Reyes back to short. I don't know a single Mets fan that wouldnt be thrilled with that move. Of course, thats assuming Reyes is healthy, a situation that is really starting to frustrate me. It's now June, we've played nearly 1/3 of the season and the prized jewel of our organization has yet to play a game. Actually, with all the problems we've had..Reyes, Leiter's stint on the DL, Floyd's injury, the collapse of Jason Phillips, a completely unstable back end of the rotation, no bullpen to speak of besides Braden Looper and Orber Moreno, among other things, it's really pretty amazing that we're 25-26, just one game under .500. Glavine, Traschel, Piazza, and Leiter when healthy have carried this team to respectability so far. So if we ever get everyone healthy and playing well, i honestly believe this team might compete for a playoff spot. We're two months into the season, and hovering around .500. I have a feeling that one stretch, good or bad is going to define this season. If we can roll of a nice winning streak, we're set up for a pennant race. One long losing streak, and it's time to trade off pieces we don't need and looks towards 2005. I mentioned last week that this current set of games agianst Florida and Philadelphia could be that stretch. For now, we're still hovering around .500, going 3-4 (and getting swept by the Marlins, who always seem to have our number) and dropping 1.5 games in the standings. We're going to need to figure out the Phish, with 4/5 remaining games in this stretch against them. Another bad series against them and we risk dropping 6-7 games back in the division, which would probably be too large a gap to make up unless we really started rolling off the wins.

With all the talk over Clemens and Johnson, is Tom Glavine getting overlooked a little bit outside of new York? Maybe i'm biased a bit, but if i were voting for the Cy YOung right now, i'd have a real hard time deciding between Clemens, Johnson and Glavine. His run support has cost him a bit with that 6-3 record, but Glavine could very easily be 9-1. Another tidbit from Gammons that im surprised i didnt catch elsewhere..

According to Lee Sinin's Neutral Winning Percentage, Tom Glavine, Jake Peavy and Brad Penny are 1-2-3 in the NL.

He's no. 2 in ERA in the NL behind Peavy(2.17), second in WHIP behind Johnson(0.92), and no. 1 in OPSA(.517). At this point, i think it will be hard to overcome the Clemens/Johnson express if one of them wins 20 games, but itll be a real shame if Glavine keeps this up for a whole season and doesnt win another Cy Young. Either way, if he finishes the season with another ERA under 3, and 16+ wins, i think he's solidified his case for Cooperstown. Glavine goes for win no. 7 tommorow against the Phillies and Randy Wolf.

Pitching mathcups for the rest of our games against the Phillies and the Phish..

Glavine vs. Wolf
Seo vs. Pavano
Traschel vs Phelps
Ginter vs ??? (Becket now on the DL)
Leiter vs Penny

We get our big three ofr 3/5 games. If we can win those 3, that would make us 6-6 for this stretch, which would be...acceptable. We really need tos tep it up agaisnt Florida though. I dont have the numbers in front of me, but my memory tells me that the Phish have owned us the last couple years.

Just one more thing i wanted to mention. Could David Wright be in Shea by the end of this season? It's sure starting to look like it. His numbers in AA are beyond good.

186 AB 349/460/591 (1051) 21 2B, 8 HR, 32/37 BB/K, 19 SB, 5 CS (79%)

To put it in league context. .349 Avg (3rd), .460 OBP (1st), .591 SLG (2nd), 21 2b (3rd), 32 BB (1st), 19 SB (2nd)

Need i go on? It's only a matter of time before he gets promoted to AAA. If he hits well there, it will be hard to justify keeping him down, unless we're in the middle of a pennant race and Wigginton is playing well. Theres always the argument for not starting his service time clock, but i dont really buy that in our case. It starts the arbitration clock a little earlier, but a player is going to get to arbitration sooner or later anyway, it doesnt really save any money. The real thing about starting service time is when a player will be eligibile for free agency. And let's be honest, we're one of the few organizations lucky enough to not have to worry about that. In our case, being a well run organization means signing ur stars early and locking them up, not maxing out the value of there 6 years before free agency.

Life's a bit busy right now, but i'll try and post again tommorow after the game

Busy week, but i'll be back in a couple hours with a long post

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