Dan Warthen on Rafael Montero

“I understand that his health is fine,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch this spring. I know that Terry [Collins] has had a conversation with him, told him that it’s time for him to get back on the radar. I think it came loud and clear as to where he has gone — from a high-elite [prospect] to somebody who needs to get back up there.”

“He needs to come back and prove who he was,” Warthen said.

Source: Adam Rubin, ESPN.com

Doesn’t seem like they’re grooming him for a bullpen role.

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Jerry Blevins declares himself ready to go

Now, Blevins has thrown off a mound a half-dozen times since being cleared to do so, including Tuesday at the team’s spring-training complex. The forearm has responded well.

“There’s always curiosity,” Blevins said. “Something is new. I’ve got metal latched to bone in my arm. So there was definitely a bit of apprehension. But there’s only one way to find out how it’s going to be. And that’s to start throwing. Knock on wood, it’s been great so far. I haven’t had any issues. It feels really good now.”

Source: Adam Rubin, ESPN.com

Click on the link to see how an Apple product and a girl were responsible for his second injury.

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David Schoenfield on Bryce Harper versus the Mets

Harper destroyed his NL East opponents last season on his way to the MVP Award … except the Mets, that is. Against the hapless Braves, Marlins and Phillies he hit .344 with 21 home runs in 54 games. Against the Mets he hit .254 with four home runs in 18 games, with one of those home runs coming in the meaningless season-ending series between the clubs. The matchup to watch: Harper is 0-for-20 with seven strikeouts in his career against Matt Harvey. He’s fared better against Jacob deGrom (7-for-18, .389, 1 HR) and Noah Syndergaard (3-for-9, .333). Harper didn’t exactly struggle against high-octane fastballs in 2015 — he hit .310/.479/.507 against fastballs of 95-plus mph — but he crushed mediocre heat, hitting .395/.521/.882 against 94 or less. Expect the Mets’ three to challenge him with hard stuff inside.

Source: David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

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Andrew Simon on the perceived velocity of Mets hurlers

One thing Statcast™ is able to measure is perceived velocity (PV), which goes beyond traditional velocity by attempting to quantify how fast a pitch appears to a batter. It does this by factoring in the pitcher’s release point. The more extension he is able to get, the closer to the plate he releases the ball, and the more his velocity “plays up.”

To look at their high-powered arsenals another way, among full-time starters with at least 400 four-seamers thrown, Syndergaard, deGrom and Harvey ranked first, sixth and 12th in average PV. Among those with at least that many two-seamers, they were first, second and third. For good measure, deGrom and Harvey were first and fourth for sliders.

Source: Andrew Simon, mets.com

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Keith Law on the Yoenis Cespedes deal

Steve: I might have missed it, but what did you think of the Cespedes deal. If he opts out, it’s $27M for a year of Cespedes plus a first round pick.
Klaw: Not on it. He’s not a $27 million player and he’s not a centerfielder. By the way, that’s “if he opts out and the Mets offer and he signs elsewhere.”

Chris: In regards to the Mets & Cespedes. Isn’t it better to overpay him for 1 year then being stuck with 2-3 dead years on the back end of a 5-6 year contract?
Klaw: Isn’t it better to just not pay him at all? There wasn’t a better use for the money they gave him, Cabrera (who can’t play short at all), and de Aza?

Jon: During the Cespedes press conference, Sandy indicated the Mets will now start looking at getting the young pitchers signed to extensions. Syndergaard would be the obvious place to start for that, no?
Klaw: Of their young arms he’s the one I’d try hardest to sign, and Matz would be the least because of his injury history.

Source: The dish

Lots of other Mets-related stuff in the chat, including thoughts on Dominic Smith pulling the ball, Gavin Cecchini’s defense and the best pitching prospect left in the farm system.

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David Rawnsley on Matt Harvey as an amateur pitcher

Some of the scout comments in the Perfect Game database from that 2005 event include “has lightning in his arm! Super-fast arm, good life on his fastball, rolling action on his curveball, needs some refinement in mechanics, cross body in release and will occasionally cut off out front; hooks curveball.”

Harvey pitched at five other PG events while in high school, including the 2006 Aflac All-American Game (now the PG All-American Classic). He was very consistent in his velocity, always topping out in the mid-90’s, and his curveball developed well during that time in both power and spin. He also dabbled in a changeup but rarely used it. Notably, there is no record of his throwing his trademark slider in high school.

Two themes were constant in looking through the notes from those events. The first was that Harvey came by his mid-90’s velocity very easily. There wasn’t much effort in his delivery and the ball just exploded out of his hand. The second was that he was consistently able to work down in the strike zone with heavy sinking life on his fastball. That is something that precious few high school pitchers can do, especially when they throw that hard.

Source, David Rawnsley, 2080baseball.com

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Craig Edwards on the expected revenue bump for the Mets

In all, the Mets are figuring on a 500,000 increase in attendance. Using the same factors from above, and adding an extra 4% for ticket price increases, it would appear as though the Mets could reasonably expected to earn another $21 million in ticket sales. Adding in increased money for sponsorships and money for concessions — even after adjusting for revenue sharing — it’s easy to see how the Mets can be expected to gain $25 million next season. The Mets front office, Sandy Alderson and his staff especially, have done a very good job rebuilding and making the Mets competitive, and at least for the time-being the Mets owners do deserve some credit for putting their increased revenues back on the field.

Source: Craig Edwards, FanGraphs

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Update on Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada

Both backup infielders for the New York Mets have shed their walking boots.

Flores is currently working out at the Mike Barwis fitness and conditioning program at the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and is scheduled to begin hitting this week.

Tejada has been working out in his native Panama. He may report to Port St. Lucie as early as Feb. 1 — more than three weeks before the official position-player report date on Feb. 24.

Source: Adam Rubin, ESPN.com

It certainly seems like both are progressing either on or ahead of schedule.

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On Yoenis Cespedes’ defense in center field

Last year, he moved over to center field on the fly. The year before, he played only very occasional center field. The year before, it was the same thing. And while Cespedes started as a center fielder as a rookie, at that point he was adjusting to literally everything in the US. And he didn’t play so much center field after May. He just hasn’t had that much of a chance.

For more information, we have a few routes. As an example, since 2002, we have 16 cases of a player getting regular time in center field a season after getting regular time in left or right field. These are players who made adjustments similar to Cespedes, and in the first year, as corner outfielders, they averaged a UZR/150 of +8.2. In the second year, as center fielders, they averaged a UZR/150 of -0.7. They declined as a group, of course, because center field is a tough position, but this basically agrees with our normal positional adjustment of 10 runs between the spots. Based on this, the expectation should be that Cespedes will be okay. Neither great nor terrible.

Source: Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs

Last year, in 1,022.1 innings in LF, Cespedes had a 22.1 UZR/150 and in 312. 1 innings in CF, he had a (-14.0 mark). In his career, Cespedes has a 13.9 UZR/150 in LF (3,383 innings) and a (-17.6) mark in CF (912.2 innings).

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Jeff Sullivan on Yoenis Cespedes smoking cigarettes between innings

I’m not all that interested in a guy’s personality. I’m more interested in a guy’s commitment, and it’s not a good look for Cespedes to be a smoker. It’s not a good look to take some plays off, and several articles lately have dropped hints that teams don’t know how motivated Cespedes will remain if he signs a big deal. There’s very clearly market concern that Cespedes could go south in a hurry. I honestly don’t know if that’s fair to him, because I don’t know him, but the smoking thing is concerning enough on its own. How well is Cespedes going to keep himself conditioned? He wouldn’t be the first elite athlete to run out of raw ability. Hanley Ramirez started as a shortstop, but he hasn’t consistently put in enough work, and now he’s a 32-year-old maybe-first baseman.

Source: Jeff Sullivan, FoxSports

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An inside MLB source on public and private statistical information

A fascinating new article was published today at FanGraphs. Written by NEIFI Analytics, it talks about the nature of statistics in MLB today. What makes it so interesting is that NEIFI is a group that has worked within the sport, producing some of the proprietary systems not readily available to those of us outside the game. Here is but one snippet:

There’s an important lesson hidden here. As teams and the sabermetric public are on the hunt for new insights, there’s a natural assumption to make: that the next answers lie within the information we can’t yet see. If only we knew the spin on the slider, we might understand the strikeouts. There are two issues with this approach. On one hand, the presumption that the new level of detail will contain those exact details which reveal further truth, for example, that significant elements which determine strikeouts are contained within the particular information Trackman is providing, and not within other areas not captured. On the other side of that coin is the simple and fundamental truth that the most valuable insights in sabermetrics have come not from new data sources, but by re-imagining elements of the performance record which already existed in sufficient detail.

Source: FanGraphs

I heartily recommend reading this piece in its entirety.

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Dan Szymborski on the Mets’ offense

While not particularly relevant to the 2016 edition of the Mets, it’s difficult to examine the ZiPS projections below without also acknowledging the system’s relative optimism concerning free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (629 PA, 4.4 zWAR). The gap between Cespedes’s forecasted win total and Michael Conforto‘s second-best mark is equivalent to the gap between Conforto’s mark and the average of the club’s 11th- and 12th-best hitter projections. In other words: for whatever Cespedes’s flaws, his strengths appear capable of compensating for them at the moment.

Which isn’t to ignore another of the system’s perhaps surprsing outputs — namely, the projection for Conforto himself. Entering just his age-23 season, Conforto began the 2015 campaign as the left fielder for the High-A St. Lucie Mets. He’s expected to play that same position for the actual New York version of the team on opening day this year — and, it would seem, is a candidate to produce wins at a higher rate than any of his teammates.

In general, what the Mets feature is essentially the antithesis of a stars-and-scrubs configuration. The success of the club relies not on elite performances by one or two players, but rather the competence of the entire starting eight.

Source: Dan Szymborski, FanGraphs

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