3/23/17

??? The Future Of Mets Pitching ???

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Today's ERA's...

    Gsellman: 1.56

        Smoker:  1.64

            Robles:  0.00

                Sewald:  1.59
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Mack – Draft 5-Pack – Connor Wong, Chris Williams, Caleb Sloan, Tristan Beck, Jake Burger

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Houston junior C Connor Wong vs. #15 Louisiana on 3-21: 3-5, 1-R, .321

 UH - SOPHOMORE (2016) - Was a unanimous selection on the American Athletic Conference First Team as a utility player...Was one of just two Cougars to start in all 59 games...Saw action catcher, outfield and third base...Hit .304 with 70 hits -- second-best on the team...Drove in 30 RBI on 14 doubles one triple and five home runs...Slugged .439 and tallied an on-base percentage of .415...Was 9-for-11 in stolen bases...Finished with 18 multi-hit games and eight multi-RBI games, primarily as the Cougars' leadoff hitter...Rode a 13-game hit streak from Feb. 26 -- March 16...Had a season-high four hits in an American Championship win over Tulane (May 28)...Drove in a season-high three RBI twice at Tulane (April 30) and vs. Rice (May 17)...Led the team with 52 runs scored and scored at least one run in 31 of the games...Led off the season with a home run vs. Villanova (Feb. 19)...Had back-to-back games with home runs in the series win over Baylor (March 4-5)...Led Houston with 43 walks for an on-base percentage of .415...Had 12 games with two or more walks...Led the Cougars with a .412 average in the American Championship as he went 7-for-17 with six runs, three doubles and three RBI en route to being named to the All-Tournament team...Fielded .988 with just four errors and 315 putouts and 27 assists.

           


Clemson junior C Chris Williams vs. College of Charleston on 3-21:  2-5, 2-R, 2-RBI, 2-HR, .356

 CU - 2016: Hit .245 with 34 runs, five doubles, one triple, eight homers, 38 RBIs, a .342 on-base percentage, 18 walks, 12 hit-by-pitches and two steals in 57 games (52 starts, including 39 at first base and 13 at third base) ... tied for seventh in Tiger history in hit-by-pitches ... had 15 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple -RBI games ... hit .322 with four homers and 13 RBIs after the sixth inning ... had five homers and 19 RBIs in the last 15 games ... Clemson Regional All-Tournament selection after going 6-for-15 with one homer, six RBIs, four runs and three walks in four games ... went 3-for-4 with an RBI, three runs and two hit-by-pitches against Maine on Feb. 21 ... went 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and game-tying, run-scoring single in the ninth inning against No. 22 Boston College on March 20 ... went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his first as a Tiger, double, walk and steal at No. 4 Miami (Fla.) on March 26 ... went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, four runs and a hit-by-pitch at Western Carolina on March 30 ... went 2-for-4 with a game-tying, two-run single in the sixth inning against Pittsburgh on April 3 ... hit a two-run homer to tie the score in the seventh inning at Georgia on April 5 ... went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk against No. 9 NC State on May 7 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs at Georgia Southern on May 13 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs at Georgia Southern on May 15 ... hit the game-winning home run in the 11th inning at Notre Dame on May 19 ... went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk at Notre Dame on May 21 ... went 1-for-3 with two runs and a walk against No. 8 Virginia in the ACC Tournament on May 26; led off the ninth inning with a single and scored the go-ahead run ... went 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs, three runs, a walk and hit-by-pitch against No. 11 Florida State in the ACC Tournament on May 29 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer, five RBIs, three runs and a walk against Western Carolina in the Clemson Regional on June 3 ... went 2-for-3 with a run and walk against No. 18 Oklahoma State in the Clemson Regional on June 4 ... played for Long Beach in the California Collegiate League in the summer, where he hit .233 with four runs, three doubles, one triple, 10 RBIs and one steal in 17 games.

           


Byron T. Embry‏ - @ByronEmbry - 2017  TCU RHP Caleb Sloan debuted today flashing 97 a few times w/ decent breaking ball. (Jheremy Brown‏ @JBrownPG): Had heard Sloan showed a jump in velocity, 1st start of spring. 94-96 mph early, showed a SL in the mid-80s early

 PG - 2016 National Showcase   Jun 15, 2016 - PG Grade: 10 - Caleb Sloan is a 2017 RHP with a 6-3 215 lb. frame from Centennial, CO who attends Regis Jesuit HS. Big and strong athletic build. Very good arm speed from a high 3/4's arm slot, creates big downhill angle to the plate, arm is loose and clean out front, repeats his mechanics well. Low 90's fastball up to 94 mph, mostly straight with occasional arm side running life, ball is heavy down in the zone, has gained 6-7 mph over the past year. Slider is a very good second pitch with tight spin and sharp downward biting action. Will need to develop a change up but has two potential plus pitches in his fastball/slider combination and throws strikes. Verbal commitment to Texas Christian. Selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

           



Kendall Rogers‏ -  @KendallRogersD1  - Stanford continuing to be cautious with RHP Tristan Beck. Originally wanted him on the mound this weekend. Now pushing that back.

 When The Giants Come To Town - Tristan Beck is a Draft Eligible Sophomore from Stanford.  As a HS senior at Corona, HS(CA), he notified MLB teams he intended to honor his commitment to Stanford and was drafted in Round 34 by the Milwaukee Brewers who failed to sign him. Beck is a tall drink of water who is listed at 6'4", 160 lbs.  Yes, you read that right.  His facial features remind me of Kelby Tomlinson, specs and all.  Despite his thin build, he is no weakling on the mound. His frame looks surprisingly well proportioned and like he could easily hold another 30-40 lbs.  As you might imagine, he has a long whippy arm and a drop and drive approach that delivers a FB that runs 90-96 MPH.  He also features a conventional curveball, a spike curve that looks like a slider and a decent changeup. He was the Opening Day starter for Stanford as a freshman and had multiple dominant starts.  His final freshman stat line:  6-5, 2.48, 83.1 IP, 26 BB, 76  K.  He is a top 10 talent for the 2017 draft, but could fall depending on how hard MLB teams think it will be to sign him as he could stay in school and still have leverage as a junior in 2018.

           


Top Ranked 3B in Draft as of today - Jake Burger  Missouri State        .351/.444/.784, 9 HR, 21 RBI

 Minor League Ball - It is a well-known law of the draft that advanced college bats are always in short supply. The nation’s top high school bats are poached in the early round of the draft and give up going to college in favor of big signing bonus and a shot at a professional career. It is rare that the top draft-eligible hitters pass up an opportunity to play in affiliated ball, with 2016’s Drew Mendoza playing the exception to the rule as opposed to a case study. Even rarer, however, is the circumstance in which a player goes to college an unknown and comes out a top prospect. Jake Burger, the slugger who mans Missouri State University’s hot corner, is actually such a case.   
  

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Peter Hyatt - Why Character Matters, Part One: Yasiel Puig

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If you look at long term statistics, the modern "holy grail" of those enslaved to statistics is the "Wins Against Replacement" stat in which a player's value is estimated. 

This estimation is interesting and it is an important stat. 


It is not, however, the entire story that young statisticians would have us believe.  I offer for your consideration the Most Valuable Player Award. 


Take a look at MVP winners at Baseball Reference, and the WAR stat.  Of modern years, there is consistency:  players with the highest WAR are often the recipient of the Most Valuable Player award. 


Go back a few more years and it is not the same consistency.  In fact, some are quite telling where the MVP did not even finish in the top 3 WAR winners. 


What has changed?


We have devalued the psychological impact that players have upon others.  Teams value the statistic of "batting average with runners on base" for example, which presupposes that clutch hitting is contagious.  


If you've played team sports, you already know the contribution that some make go beyond statistics. Inspiration is a powerful element.  If you saw a player sacrificing his body for a win, you were likely to follow suit.  If you played against real winners, you knew it was a "culture of winning" that said, "leave it all on the field"; that is, 100% effort, no matter what.  


Some NY examples:  When Mark Messier came to the New York Rangers, young players feared him. These young players that feared him were not those who played against him.  They were Messier's teammates.  When did they fear him?


...in practice.  


He would, routinely, lead by example in practice with strong and sustained effort and if a young player gave less than 100%, he was given "the look" from Messier, which was cold as the ice beneath them.  The infraction cost him and he knew it. 


But what if the same young player or an older player who knew better still dogged it at practice?


Messier was known to deliver an elbow to the mouth of the guilty.  


Then, the rookie was to meet with Messier after practice and Messier took him out to dinner and bought him a very expensive suit, to welcome him to the team.  The message was clear:  we live or die together but we always honor our uniform by giving our all.  


Tom Seaver, at a young age, badgered hitters into hitting the weights. He also got on the other pitchers to raise competition between them as hitters decrying the "automatic out" that some pitchers seemed to accept.  Like Messier, Seaver was driven to excellence for victory. 


Pete Rose took ball four and ran to first base.  He put himself, psychologically, in high gear and it was contagious.  How does one shirk hustle while playing with Charlie Hustle?


Love him or hate him, Wally Backman's uniform told a story at the end of every game.  


Pitchers live and die on the mound.  They hold to an extreme level of concentration, overcome nervousness, and give everything they have for the purpose of success.  It is fair to say that even selfish pitchers, driven by their own success for contract, want to win. 


If they do their part, they still cannot win without hitting. 


It is now fair to add:  pitchers love hitters giving them run support.  


Turning Back Time 


As kids, we used to imagine what Seaver's record would have been had he played for teams that produced runs. 

If you could go back in time, would you have kept Strawberry and Gooden away from the drug dealers who came around Shea?  

Reports from the Dodgers tell us that teammates despise Puig, not as a player, but as a person.  Zack Greinke threw Puig’s suitcase onto a  Chicago street after riding with him on the team bus. Justin Turner's frustration almost led to a public fist fight.   

"He's the worst human being I have ever met" one former Dodger said. 

But, you might counter, these players compete with Puig and have a personal vested interest in having him off the team.  This is a fair argument.  Some players will go to a specific team not only for the most money but for opportunity.  


Don Mattingly said he could "barely stomach" to be even around Puig.  


The combination of arrogant boasting and not hustling is something that bristles those on the team committing to winning.  


There have always been arrogant players, but consider how even a once honest media described them:  "Willie Mays lacks familiarity with the language of humility" putting things rather politely and respectfully. Mays was a showman with a very loose hat, but he was never accused of disrespecting the game.  


Ali boasted to sell tickets.  He was his own PR man and it worked.  Love him or hate him, no one ever said he disrespected boxing.  


 With Puig, there are votes of "the most hated athlete of the 21st Century" instead.  Puig gets no pass because not only of the productivity, but because he is said to "disrespect the game." It is a game that many Americans hold sacred and if this is not his "culture", he can play in Cuba or where what we call "disrespectful", they label positively.  


But even here, self interest should be considered...not Puig's, but someone else's.  



Yasiel Puig is a talented, powerful hitter.  

Clayton Kershaw may be the games most talented pitcher. 


When a Kershaw wants to be rid of a power hitter, the statistics do not tell us anything about what the team is experiencing. 


As a 22 year old rookie in MLB, he hit 16 home runs, knocked in 42 runs, with a .319 batting average. 


Consider the promise that this talent could produce for a team. 


Yet, year by year, players cannot bear to be around him.  


The Dodgers have had their PR work in full gear the last several years, going from demotion to promotion to declarations of getting "help" to pronunciation of "maturity."  Yet, although not yet 26, he is said to be on his last chance with the Dodgers.  


He insults the game, insults opponents, and holds the paying Dodger fans in contempt.  


If character does not matter, and only winning does, certainly it is fair to say Clayshaw wants to win. 


The Cy Young Award winning pitcher believes his odds of winning are increased without Yasiel Puig.  The value of the team is increased without Yasiel Puig.  



Character matters.  

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Mack Ade - Michael Conforto

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Good morning.


I sure hope we didn’t rush this guy.

There was no doubt that this was the right bat to draft in the 2014 draft. All draft experts had him as the ‘top power bat’ in the draft, and when he fell to the Mets with the 10th overall pick, they scooped him up and danced in the halls.

First some bio info – Michael Conforto attended Redmond High School (played shortstop), in Redmond Washington, and followed that with three years at Oregon State. He did very little wrong at Oregon State (2012: .349/1038-OPS… 2013: .328/973-OPS… 2014: .345/1051-OPS), though his home run output was more limited than expected (31-HRs in 668-AB).

The Mets wasted little time after the 2014 draft and sent Conforto to Brooklyn, where he hit .312 in 163-ABs. 2015 brought a meteoric rise to Queens (St. Lucie: 184-AB, .283… Binghamton, 173-ABs, .312). He finished the season with 174 at-bats, hit .270 and hit nine home runs (added to the 12 he had in Lucy and Bing, that’s 21 seasonal home runs. It sure looked like a star was born. 

But was it? 2016 was a horrible year for Conforto. Sure, he hit .422 (128-ABs) at Las Vegas, but Josh Edgin can do that. It’s the 304 at-bats, .220-BA in Queens that made us all wonder about the future of this guy.


Thomas Brennan

                       Say what he might, Conforto has to be fighting annoyance at the outfield crowd.  He most likely feels he is at least an average full time starting outfielder right now, with several hundred major league plate appearances already, yet he could be headed back to Lost Wages, Nevada instead of Queens. Hopefully he will get a good number of at bats...and produce big...for the Mets in 2017.


Casey Wentworth

Despite showing some positive offense at times, I feel that Michael Conforto maybe has not yet shown lockdown starting capability on this team. This is not to say that he won't, or that he should not be allowed to try. It is just saying that perhaps these NY Mets have too many players on its parent club at current, that are sort of entrenched in this same plight of being clearly a good player but just not as yet good enough to win a starting job, hands down.
Spring Training is a great showcase for players and a great time to try new approaches to it is not enough time necessarily to make decisions on which outfielder is better than others. It takes a much larger window of time.
The Mets have a few players in competition for playing time in their outfield. Conforto and Nimmo are two newer kid players who have batted well this spring. Jay Bruce has as well. I think the Mets could probably deal one of their current outfielders and be fine. I sort of lean towards maybe moving Juan Lagares myself, mainly because he looks almost tired of things here and could probably use a fresh new start somewhere else. Juan has Endy Chavez defensive skills, but he has not learned to drive his hitting, nor bat consistently here for batting average.


If on (say for instance here) the Milwaukee Brewers, both Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores would probably be starting players in their lineup, and thus an outfield of LF Flores CF Lagares RF Nieuwenhuis would definitively be within reach. LOL


Richard Herr, of Mack's Mets added - 


Everybody's problem is the crowded outfield. Michael Conforto is surrounded by that problem. His immediate future revolves around 1) how well is he playing, 2) how well are Granderson and Bruce playing 3) does anyone want to take an outfielder from us whose first name isn't Yoenis or Michael 4) can Michael play centerfield and 5) what's today's injury status? He does appear to be blue chip. The biggest problem he needs to fix is recognizing whether the pitch, that looks like it's heading for the inside corner at the thighs, is a fastball or a slider. That was his problem early last year. If he's fixed that, we might see the gay from last April, If that's the case, Terry will have to install him in the #3 spot in the lineup, and the rest of the outfield is Sandy's problem. Like they say: nice problem to have.


Opinion – I’ve seen this guy come to Queens and put on a home run show during batting practice. I know in my heart that this kid has the talent to make it in this game. Let’s not forget he’s only going to be 24-years old in 2014 and maybe the best thing to do is let him hit the snot off the ball in the PCL this upcoming season.

Assuming there aren’t any injuries, my starting outfield doesn’t include Conforto. I go with the bog bats (Cespedes and Bruce) in the corners and the past Golden Glove centerfielder (Lagares) in the middle of them.


I want Conforto to play every day so Vegas seems like the best place for him to start the season. He would be added to my starting lineup the first time one of the three outfielders I mentions above hit the disabled list.
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3/22/17

Christopher Soto - Spring Training Battles: Back End of the Bullpen

8 comments


     This has been a no holds barred cage match between a large group of guys with many of them pitching fairly well so far this spring. The current bullpen consists of 4 RHP (3 sans Familia) and 1 LHP so Terry can pretty much go with any combination of guys above and still have a pretty balanced bullpen. For this analysis though we will assume that the opening day bullpen will consists of 5 RHP and 2 LHP giving us 1 RHP spot and 1 LHP spot to fill. In addition, I am making the assumption that Seth Lugo is taking the last spot in the bullpen as the 6th starter/long man for the duration that Jeurys Familia is suspended for.

2nd Left-Hander Job
  • Josh Edgin | 8.1 IP, 4.32 ERA, 3 BB, 9 K, .179 AVG against
    •      Edgin has the inside track on the job by virtue of the fact that he is out of options and cannot be sent to the minor leagues without first being passed through waivers. The consensus amongst folks in the industry right now believe that he would certainly be claimed by another if that happen. That aside.....Edgin has pitched well this spring after shaky off a bit of rust in the early going. His lack of 'premium" velocity though is still a bit of concern as he has failed to regain the ticks on his fastball that he lost due to Tommy John surgery. With other left handed options advancing in the minor league system, the club could decide that it can afford to risk potentially lose Edgin.
  • Josh Smoker | 10.1 IP, 1.74 ERA, 5 BB, 10 K, .200 AVG against
    •       If Edgin were to be pushed.....this is the guy that would cause it. Smoker has been on the fast track to the MLB since the Mets resurrected him from the Independent Leagues in 2015. With a fastball that sits between 95-96 and can touch 100 mph and a wipeout slider that generates a ton of swings and misses, Smoker has the tools to be a premium MLB RP. The club also has quite a bit of confidence that he is ready for the MLB based on his performance in September last season. From Sept 3rd till the end of the season, Smoker faced 32 batters and struck out 14 of them (a 15.1 K/9 rate) while allowing a .241 Avg against.
  • Adam Wilk | 9.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 2 BB, 7 K, .243 AVG against
    •      Signed to a minor league deal with a camp invite in January, Wilk was supposed to have legitimate shot at competing for the 2nd lefty role this spring.....until Blevins was re-signed that is. Now he's on the outside looking in but that hasn't stopped him from pitching extremely well this Spring. Unless an injury occurs, Wilk seems destined for AAA-Las Vegas where he can either be deployed as the LOOGY down there or he can even be used as a SP. In either scenario, he's an arm that the club will likely hold onto for the 2017 season.
      • ***Adam Wilk was already re-assigned to minor league camp so he is out of the running.***
  • Sean Gilmartin | 6.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 3 BB, 4 K, .276 AVG against 
    •       The former Rule 5 draft pick couldn't build off of his excellent 2015 bullpen season and was switched back to a SP in AAA-Las Vegas to provide the club some more depth last season. Based on his performance out of the bullpen so far this spring....it seems like he will likely be asked to do the same thing in 2017. With the numerous injury concerns in the club's rotation and the lack of higher end prospects forecasted to begin in AAA this season, Gilmartin could be one of the first arms called up should the injury bug plagued the Mets again.
  • Tom Gorzelanny | 6.2 IP, 9.45 ERA, 4 BB, 6 K, .333 AVG against
    •       Just like Wilk, Gorzelanny was signed to a minor league deal with a camp invite and was supposed to have a chance at winning this job before Blevins was re-signed. Unlike Wilk though, Gorzelanny has not looked very good this spring and is a candidate to be flat out released.


2nd Right-Hander Job
  • Rafael Montero | 13.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 7 BB, 20 K, .200 AVG against
    •      Can the real Rafael Montero please stand up? If this is him....the Mets may finally be inclined to abandon hopes of him as a SP and carry him on the Opening Day roster as a low to mid leverage RP. The former control specialist is still having problems with his control this spring (4.7 BB/9) but the huge uptick in strikeouts (13.5 K/9) more than makes up for it. His stuff plus the ability to go multiple innings and makes him a perfect fit for an early bullpen usage innings eater role. The question is.....has the club seen enough to trust him?
  • Ben Rowen | 10.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1 BB, 6 K, .156 AVG against
    •      Why does a 28 year old an 82 mph fastball have the front office super excited? Well that would be because Mr. Rowen is a submarine style pitcher who has a career 1.85 ERA in the minor leagues. The Mets jumped on the opportunity and made Rowen their 1st minor league signing with a invitation to camp. So far he is proving exactly why the club likes him so much. In today's era of 95 mph+ fastballs from everyone in the MLB bullpen, Rowen gives opponents a very different/very strange look. Not only is the arm slot a rarity.....but his motion is almost wiffle ball like making it extremely difficult for a batter to get his timing right. Rowen has a VERY REAL chance of making it onto the MLB roster. The only thing giving the club pause is the fact that someone would have to be removed from the 40 man roster (or placed on the 60 Day DL) in order for them to add Rowen.
      • ***Ben Rowen was re-assigned to minor league camp today so he is out of the running.***
  • Paul Sewald | 10.1 IP, 1.74 ERA, 3 BB, 6 K, .143 AVG against
    •      A rising bullpen star in the organization, Sewald has produced positive results as the closer for the St. Lucie, Binghamton, and Las Vegas teams over the past 3 seasons. Now he finds himself trying to force himself onto an MLB roster that is pretty crowded when it comes to right handed arms. Sewald doesnt really have the premium stuff most late inning RP have as his fastball only clocks in between 88-92 mph and his slider grades as a league average pitch. However, Sewald plays those pitches up with his unbelievable command of the lower half of the strike zone. It seems like Sewald will come up short this spring....but he may very well be getting a call to the big leagues at some point this season. 
  • Erik Goeddel | 6.1 IP, 9.95 ERA, 0 BB, 9 K, .429 AVG against 
    •      Goeddel has MLB experience......he's had MLB success......he possesses strikeout caliber stuff......unfortunately for him, he's coming off of elbow surgery and doesn't look like he is 100% yet. An assignment back to Las Vegas seems very much in the cards for him for now. However, since he IS on the 40 man roster, once the club does feel like he is ready, he could very well be the 1st right handed bullpen arm called up.
      • ***Erik Goeddel was re-assigned to minor league camp today so he is out of the running.***
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Richard Herr - Injuries

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Injuries
It’s spring training. The players are returning to playing the game. Some guy pulls a muscle; one guy strains a tendon.

Suddenly a whole flock of Chicken Littles fly in, flapping their wings like crazy, and screaming that the sky is falling. It’s not only falling, but it already fell yesterday. However, you’ve got to be extra careful because today’s fall is going to be far worse than yesterday’s.

The Chicken Littles I’m referring to are the New York media. The minute something goes wrong, or even looks like it might go wrong, they start flapping all over the place, forecasting doom and gloom. They fly off in a frenzy of breast-beating. They rant and they holler that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, except for the fact that they will. Of course they behave in that manner because in this world of alternate facts, that’s journalism.

However, I would like to discuss their screaming and lamenting as a fan of the New York Metropolitans. You know, the team that had all those injuries last year? I want to tell those Chicken Littles to shut the F up. They’re ruining the team.

How do I come up with that? Take a look at all of those CLs (Chicken Littles. I get tired of typing things out. I want words to be there in a New York Minute.) Their eyes are open wide. Their mouths are puckered in fear. The veins stand out on their temples as they stress over the whole deplorable situation (whatever deplorable situation that happens to be). In a word they are tense. They are tense and they are making all of the fans tense by fluttering around so much.

The whole world of the New York Mets is tense.

The same New York Mets who had all of those injuries last year.

Now, it’s a well-known medical fact that when you are in a high-impact situation, like being tackled in football, the best thing for you to do is to relax to avoid injury. You’re supposed to roll with the punch. You’re supposed to relax your body when you’re landing from a fall.

Now let’s put those last two ideas together. The Mets have a whole press-induced aura of tension. If you are tense, you are more likely to become injured. So you see a scenario where if there is that thin, little, unnoticed vein of extra tension going through your body when you go to throw that 100 mph fastball, it could cause too much strain on a tendon in the elbow.

The next thing you know, you’re seeing Dr. Andrews.

What should the press and fans of the Mets do? What is the answer? It’s a very simple one: relax. Wrap yourself up on an aura of calm. Meditate. Sit around repeating the syllable ommmm.  Take yoga classes. Achieve a serenity that has 100 mph fastballs being launched by totally relaxed UCLs.

And stop blaming people like poor Ray Ramirez for things that are really your fault.

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.



You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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Christopher Soto - Spring Training Cuts

6 comments

    The Mets have announced a round of cuts from Major League camp this morning.


Re-assigned to minor league camp
RHP Ben Rowen
OF Travis Taijeron

Optioned
IF Matt Reynolds to AAA-Las Vegas (2nd option year used)
SS Gavin Cecchini to AAA-Las Vegas (1st option year used)
RHP Erik Goeddel to AAA-Las Vegas (final option year used)
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Reese Kaplan -- Should the Dark Knight Be Traded?

13 comments
Despite the awful spring thus far, let’s assume for a moment that Matt Harvey regains his velocity, pitches injury-free and finishes the season with north of 15 victories and a sub 3.00 ERA….let’s also assume that two of Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler step forward and provide sub 3.50 ERA pitching with good control. 

Now play GM for a moment.  Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom and Steve Matz are all looking at big paydays over the next few years.  On the position side of the ledger you’re committed to Yoenis Cespedes’ contract, perhaps David Wright’s contract if he finds some magic snake oil to rub on his various ailing parts, but not a whole lot else.  Travis d’Arnaud is under team control but even one monster year wouldn’t push his salary into the stratosphere.  Asdrubal Cabrera is a no-brainer to pick up his $8.5 million option if he approximates what he did last year.  Out in the pen Addison Reed is likely a goner considering where his salary is already.  Jeurys Familia will still be around in the second tier of closer prices. 

It sure looks like the club has a great many holes to fill come 2018.  Everyone seems to be writing in ink the names Amed Rosario and Dom Smith for SS and 1B respectively, but a lot can happen between now and then.  For example, suppose Smith enjoys the warm, dry air in Las Vegas and starts gearing up for home runs instead of making contact which has been his strength thus far.  However, I’ll concede the Mets will likely make those moves for economic reasons and for their pedigree exhibited up until now.

Michael Conforto has more power than does Brandon Nimmo, so you would assume right field is his for the taking.  People have expressed doubts about Nimmo’s ability to play CF at a major league level, but considering that the Mets have endured Curtis Granderson in that role, how much worse could he be?

So let’s get back to the armchair GM exercise…if Harvey has the kind of year I described and they have 4th and 5th starters ready to go, would you trade him and his final year of team control to another club who would then have to shoulder the Scott Boras payday he’ll be seeking for 2019? Remember the old Branch Rickey mantra that it's better to trade someone a year too soon than a year too late.

More importantly, if you did consider moving Harvey in a trade, what type of player would you be looking for in return?  The obvious hole to fill is 3B if Wright continues to struggle with his health.  The next most obvious one would be a centerfielder in the traditional mold who could also function as a leadoff hitter.  The perhaps less obvious move is 2B where they do have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera and Gavin Cecchini as possibilities, but if you could coax another club out of either a speed demon or a slugger in return for Harvey, that position might be up for grabs as well.

Young star players typically don’t get moved in trades that often unless the club is following the model of the Tampa Bay Rays or former Montreal Expos who would routinely use a player until he approached his big payoff, then trade him to replenish the farm.   Getting a Matt Harvey for say $7.5 million in salary for 2018 and first crack at him before he enters free agency would be appealing to pretty much any of the other 29 clubs. 

So have at it – what would be an equitable return for the Dark Knight?  Would you go young star for young star?  Would a package of top five level prospects do it for you?  Would you consider a veteran for whom the salary delta between Harvey’s 2018 paycheck and his own would be negligible?  More importantly, do you target specific need such as CF or 3B, or do you look for the best available package regardless of position.

Sound off!
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Mack – Draft 5-Pack – Tyler Ahearn, Chris Williams, Keegan Thompson, CJ Van Eyk, José Visaez

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Hudson Belinsky‏ - @hudsonbelinsky   -  IMG RHP Tyler Ahearn pitching at 89-91 in 1st. Walked one, got a GB, got a fly out and struck out this batter on three pitches. FSU commit… 2017 RHP Tyler Ahearn through 3: 46 pitches, 30 strikes. Commanding both sides of plate. FB showing late movement, working at 89-91 T92…

 PG - 2016 National Showcase   Jun 15, 2016 - PG Grade: 10 - Tyler Ahearn is a 2017 RHP/OF with a 6-1 170 lb. frame from Jupiter, FL who attends William T. Dwyer HS. Long and lanky build, projects well physically. Has some drop and drive in his mechanics but still maintains angle to the plate, high 3/4's arm slot, some energy at release and will spin off his front side. Steady low 90's fastball, topped out at 93 mph, gets nice running life to both sides of the plate at times. Solid curveball, gets 11/5 shape with plenty of depth. Worked the bottom of the zone with both pitches consistently. Rare change up. Good student, verbal commitment to Florida State.
           


Clemson junior catcher Chris Williams was named ACC Player-of-the-Week, announced Monday by the league office. It was the first player-of-the-week honor for the Garden Grove, Calif., native. Williams hit .421 (8-for-19) with three home runs, two doubles, 10 RBIs, three runs, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, 1.000 slugging percentage and .478 on-base percentage

 Clemson - Catcher and infielder who was one of the team’s most versatile players in 2016 ... saw significant action at first base and third base along with limited action at catcher in 2016 ... No. 34 ACC prospect for the 2017 draft in the preseason by D1Baseball. 2016: Hit .245 with 34 runs, five doubles, one triple, eight homers, 38 RBIs, a .342 on-base percentage, 18 walks, 12 hit-by-pitches and two steals in 57 games (52 starts, including 39 at first base and 13 at third base) ... tied for seventh in Tiger history in hit-by-pitches ... had 15 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple-RBI games ... hit .322 with four homers and 13 RBIs after the sixth inning ... had five homers and 19 RBIs in the last 15 games ... Clemson Regional All-Tournament selection after going 6-for-15 with one homer, six RBIs, four runs and three walks in four games ... went 3-for-4 with an RBI, three runs and two hit-by-pitches against Maine on Feb. 21 ... went 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and game-tying, run-scoring single in the ninth inning against No. 22 Boston College on March 20 ... went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his first as a Tiger, double, walk and steal at No. 4 Miami (Fla.) on March 26 ... went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, four runs and a hit-by-pitch at Western Carolina on March 30 ... went 2-for-4 with a game-tying, two-run single in the sixth inning against Pittsburgh on April 3 ... hit a two-run homer to tie the score in the seventh inning at Georgia on April 5 ... went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk against No. 9 NC State on May 7 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs at Georgia Southern on May 13 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs at Georgia Southern on May 15 ... hit the game-winning home run in the 11th inning at Notre Dame on May 19 ... went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk at Notre Dame on May 21 ... went 1-for-3 with two runs and a walk against No. 8 Virginia in the ACC Tournament on May 26; led off the ninth inning with a single and scored the go-ahead run ... went 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs, three runs, a walk and hit-by-pitch against No. 11 Florida State in the ACC Tournament on May 29 ... went 2-for-5 with a homer, five RBIs, three runs and a walk against Western Carolina in the Clemson Regional on June 3 ... went 2-for-3 with a run and walk against No. 18 Oklahoma State in the Clemson Regional on June 4 ... played for Long Beach in the California Collegiate League in the summer, where he hit .233 with four runs, three doubles, one triple, 10 RBIs and one steal in 17 games.
           


 D1 - Every spring, Keegan Thompson grabbed his glove and his spikes and went out to play baseball. Every spring, that is, except last year. He still came to ballpark, but with his elbow under construction, all he could do was watch as his teammates played the game he loved. “It was tough,” Thompson said. “Being out last year for the first time I hadn’t played since I was 6 years old in tee-ball. Really, as hard it was, it kind of helped me. I am not patient but it kind of helped me with that process. Well to be honest, I am still not a patient person but it helped me look at the game with a different perspective.” That perspective has served Keegan Thompson well during an interesting four years in Auburn. The redshirt junior appeared well on his way to a prime draft slot before fate intervened. Auburn catcher Blake Logan — Thompson’s longtime friend, teammate, and housemate — described that process.

                                   Current stat line at Auburn: - 5-starts, 4-0, 0.78, 34.2-IP, 23-K, .154-b/ave
                                              


Hudson Belinsky‏ -  @hudsonbelinsky - Final: Steinbrenner 2, Alonso 0 CJ Van Eyk throws a complete game. Tons of strikes. Good stuff. Pitched at 90-93 in the 7th. By my count, Van Eyk threw 81 pitches. 55 for strikes. Just counted now--could be a bit off. But you get the point--he pounded the zone.

 PG  - PG Grade: 10 - CJ Van Eyk is a 2017 RHP/IF with a 6-2 185 lb. frame from Lutz, FL who attends Steinbrenner HS. Long and lean young build, projects very well physically. High 3/4's arm slot, big hip coil in his delivery and uses his lower half very well to create leverage and angle to the plate, loose and free arm coming through. Low 90's fastball, topped out at 93 mph, occasional hard running action, works with angle down in the zone. Curveball was his best pitch, really gets over the ball well to create hard spin and power, sharp biting action with depth, swing and miss pitch. Showed a nice change up with big fading action. Three-pitch starter profile with three legit pitches and a strike out pitch in the curveball. Very high ceiling if he continues to get stronger. Excellent student, verbal commitment to Florida State.
           


Doug Freeman‏ @DougFreeman -  USF 2017 pitcher José Visaez - FB 88-90 touching 91 w/some life. SL 73-76 Strong lower half, live arm w/some inconsistent command 3/4 slot.

PG – PG - PG Grade: 10 - Jose Visaez is a 2017 RHP with a 6-3 200 lb. frame from Jacksonville, FL who attends University Christian HS. Tall athletic build, good present strength with room for more, projects well physically. Sound delivery mechanics with a high 3/4's arm slot, gets downhill well and creates plane, arm is fast coming through, cuts off a bit out front. Steady low 90's fastball, topped out at 93 mph, mostly straight but keeps the ball down in the zone well. Curveball has tight spin and 11/5 shape with good depth up to 77 mph. Change up showed nice fading action at times and can be developed. Venezuelan native who is a very good student and is verbally committed to South Florida.
           

                       



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3/21/17

BREAKING NEWS - OF - Michael Conforto

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Mack's Mets writer David Rubin advises that he has been told by 'sources' that outfielder Michael Conforto will begin the 2017 season in Las Vegas, The plan is for him to remain there for 55 days which will make him eligible for one more year of arbitration. 

Rubin said that he also was told that the overall plan is to convert Conforto to center this season in Vegas.


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