Monday, May 4, 2009

10 Thoughts On The New Yok Mets (April Edition)

1) Jerry Manuel was starting to grow on me. His smallball approach wasn’t to the extreme like Willie Randolph’s. Willie would have Luis Castillo sac-bunt Jose Reyes over in the first inning. Recently, though, he’s been showing truly frustrating tendencies. Last week, he used Daniel Murphy, the .320-hitting 3-hitter, to sac-bunt. Later in the game, with men on first and second, he attempted a hit-and-run which ended the inning. Still later, with the bases loaded with 2-out in the ninth, he pulled Trap Jaw Castro (.273/.351) in favor of recent call-up catcher Omir Santos (at the time: .280/.280). Because, you know, when you’re down one in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, you really need a hit instead of a walk. While I really hate being “second-guess-the-manager” guy — it was just terrible all around.

2) If the whole financing for Citi Field falls through, I suggest renaming it Triples Park. There were 12 triples hit there in April — five more than any other ball park. Pretty much anything into that chaotic right field corner or the ridiculous 415-foot alcove in deep center has a shot at being a triple. In one game against the Marlins, there were three in one game. I expect at least two inside the park HRs from Jose Reyes this year.

3) On the other hand, it looks like it’s going to play like Petco and AT&T for home runs. It’s currently running at just about 0.75 HR/G and, unless the wind patterns in the stadium change, it’s going to stay there.

4) I’m very much over the New York Media’s overfascination with David Wright whenever he’s in a slump. This is the second time Wright’s had a bad April — but because “Wright Doesn’t Hit In The Clutch” has become part of The Storyline it’s now accompanied by trade talks. Meanwhile, Jose Reyes’s had a ghastly April, batting just .258/.336/.351 with only +2 net stolen bases. There is nary a mention of this. They also rarely mention that a huge part of both collapses was Jose Reyes’s inability to hit baseballs in September. This year, it’s carried over in to April. People: Wright’s in a slump. It happens to baseball players. It happened to Derek Jeter for all of 2008. Wright will come out of it. Stop being insane Jets’ fans.

5) Meanwhile, am I the only one who gets the irony of Mets’ fans complaining about Daniel Murphy’s left-field defense when they wanted to spend $100M on Manny Ramirez? And they wanted Manny to cover the 54 acres of left field in this new stadium? Settle down. The Mets will live with his defense for exactly one season. Then Wright moves to first and Murphy goes back to playing his natural third base position.

6) Dear Mets Fans: Please stop trying to trade Carlos Beltran. I know he struck out once in 2006 and you have translated this into him being the world’s worst center fielder and a terrible human being. Could we possibly redirect the anger to the bottom of the sixth after Endy Chavez had just made what would have been the greatest catch in NLCS history? When they had the bases loaded with one out and Jose Valentin struck out swinging and Endy Chavez popped out to center? Guys, we’re not trading him. The thought of trading him is unfathomably stupid. It’s almost as stupid as Jets trading Chad Pennington when all they needed was a running back who didn’t suck. Please, look around the league and find me the better center field option. YOU HAVE THE BEST CENTER FIELDER IN THE LEAGUE PATROLLING 114 ACRES OF CENTER FIELD. STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT.

7) Credit to Omar Minaya — great work on the bullpen. A 3.12 ERA and .664 OPS-against in 78 innings. Yet they still have credit for 6 of the losses. It’s almost like… almost like… they weren’t the entire problem. I know it’s crazy but — it kind of seems like the team stops hitting late in games and it wasn’t all entirely the bullpen’s problem. Crazy-talk!

8) I’m not going to get too hung up on the starting pitchers quite yet. Johan Santana has been incredible and he’s already been screwed out of two wins. The first when Daniel Murphy dropped a fly ball, which led to 2 unearned runs, which lead to a 2-0 nothing loss and the second being a seven inning, two run gem blown by JJ Putz and the team’s chronic inability to score runs late in close games. Livan is being Livan — mediocre starts followed by the occasional trainwreck. John Maine (1-2, 5.40) and Mike Pelfrey (3-0, 6.00) are both seeing their ERAs start to fall after really bad starts. On the other hand:

9) Oliver Perez has been very very bad. Epically bad. Nearly Chien Ming-Wang bad. Ollie’s services were retained this year for one reason — the Mets face a lot of teams with lefty power and he baffles lefties. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it out of third inning in his first start against the Phillies. Here’s why I’m not worried quite yet — the WBC. The dude barely got any work in March. The Mets need to fake an injury like the Yankees did with Wang and send him to Buffalo for some starts. He needs spring training — not panic. We knew this was coming. Besides; five runs in Citizens Bank Park really isn’t all that bad. If four consecutive walks hadn’t led to one of the runs, I’d almost consider the start a good one.

10) It could be much worse, I suppose. I would have signed for 3 games under .500 if I’d been told all starters not named “Johan” would have an aggregate ERA over 6.00. Really, April after the WBC is a wash. ERAs are off the board, batters haven’t developed timing yet, and pitchers are all dealing with injuries. As long as no one runs up a 10-game lead while everyone’s still warming up, the season might as well be starting between now and Memorial Day.


Anonymous said...

Beltran may be the greatest centerfielder in Mets history, but he is NOT a gamer, and NOT a leader - he's too moody and too much of a prima donna. His game takes a very noticeable swandive if he feels "only" 99.9% healthy. Win or lose, I look at him and I often wonder if he even has a pulse sometimes. And I will add that he seems to get the bulk of his "big" hits when the team is already up or down by 8 runs - rarely does he deliver in tight situations. He's a lifeforce vampire on this team.

Mike said...

Ok, here comes the science...

Carlos Beltran is the greatest centerfielder in Mets history and it's not close. All due respect to mookie and nails, Beltran is easily the best CF in all of baseball.

as far as his not coming through in tight situations...hogwash. Empirically I can think of about a dozen walkoff hits and home runs he's had as a met, and dozens more late go ahead shots that you may forget considering the mets probably blew a good chunk of those games. You know, like 2008 game 162, when he was the entire offense in a game ultimately lost 4-2.

Statistically, the mark of any 'clutch' player isn't seeing their stats baloon in those situations, instead it's normally seeing them not decline. take for instance the New york Gold Standard of 'clutch', El Capitan de los yankees, Derek Jeter. looking at his avg/obp/slg;

Career: .315/.386/.458
Late and Close: .290/.387/.424
2 out RISP: .320/.420/.458
tie game: .319/.384/.472

Now your so not clutch Carlos Beltran:

Career: .282/.359/.498
Late and Close: .265/.355/.453
2 Out RISP: .269/.371/.459
tie game: .275/.352/.474

So, his slugging dips a little(which probably means he's more interested in making contact than trying to hit the ball into LaGuardia air traffic), and that's it. The difference between these guys really is that one of them was fortuante enough to play on a team that was loaded with pitching, featured the greatest closer ever, and won titles. The other is on a team that had Luis Ayala, Scott Schoenweis, and Dom Deluise coming out of the pen, suffered one epic collapse, and he happens to have struck out to and the NLCS. Nobody mentiones the otherworldy filthy what the fuck was that curveball that Adam Wainwright threw, Beltran just sucks.

Everything else in here, containing words like 'gamer' are effing stupid. Gamer's nice because it doesn't really have a definition, you can just kind of remember a guy from a big game and go 'that's a gamer' and just go about your day buying cinnabon and debating if you really need unlimited text messages on your phone plan. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's a load of crap. As far as him being a leader...nobody here said he was a leader. He's not a leader. Lots of awesome players in baseball history weren't leaders. They're still awesome players. The best leaders the mets had in 2006 were Cliff Floyd, who missed 60 games per year because his legs were, in fact, paper mache, and Julio Franco, who debuted as a late season callup to face off against the 1927 Yankees. Beltran is the most talented player on this team and without him, the mets would have been battling to win 80 games the past 2 years instead of battling for a playoff spot.