Wednesday catch-all thread (3/31/21)

Mets and Francisco Lindor have come to a deal, according to multiple sources. From Andy Martino:

Sources: Francisco Lindor and Mets in agreement on deal that is approximatlely 10 years, $340 million as @JonHeyman
reported. There is a limited no trade and no opt outs per source

Wednesday catch-all thread (3/24/21)

Here are two Spring Training lines for your consideration:

Player A – 38 PA, 9 Runs, 2 RBIs, .250/.447/.357
Player B – 36 PA, 6 Runs, 3 RBIs, .258/.361/.355

Can we guess who the players are by their Grapefruit League stat lines? They both have a relatively large number of PA, meaning these are guys who are likely to be on the Opening Day roster, probably starters since this team doesn’t really have any position battles. Their run totals are more impressive than their RBI totals. Neither one is hitting for a great AVG or with great power but both are doing a good job of getting on base.

Here’s a hint – both of these guys have produced elevated BABIPs in one or both of the past two seasons. However, this Spring both are sporting more traditional marks in the category. Player A currently has a .300 BABIP and Player B has a .304 mark.

You’ve probably figured out by now the identity of our mystery men, even if not the order. Player A is J.D. Davis and Player B is Michael Conforto.

My opinion is that the above stat lines don’t represent the true-talent level of either player. My belief is that they both will produce more power and neither will continue with their current walk rates. But it’s one representation of their output when the hits aren’t falling in at outrageous levels.

Wednesday catch-all thread (3/17/21)

Pete Alonso got off to a slow start in 2020 but by the end of the year was once again a very productive player. In his last 91 PA, Alonso had a .992 OPS despite a .231 BABIP, with 13 XBH, including 10 HR. Still, there were people out there who wanted to trade Alonso for pennies on the dollar to open up 1B for Dominic Smith.

My guess is that by the end of the 2021 season, no one will own that they wanted to trade Alonso.

If Spring Training is any guide, Alonso is picking up right where he left off last September. He leads the Mets with a .417/.533/.958 triple slash line, with seven of his 10 hits going for extra bases, including 3 HR. It’s only 30 PA but it’s a marked improvement over what he did last year in Grapefruit League play, when he slashed .244/.244/.289 with 3 GDPs in 45 PA.

My opinion is that Alonso will once again be a 4-Win player, a great thing to have from anyone and all the much better to have from a pre-arb player.

Thursday catch-all thread (3/11/21)

It surprises me that more’s not being made about the return of Jerry Blevins. He was generally effective his first go-round with the club, he’s a lefty and on top of that, he seems to be a likeable guy. Push comes to shove, it would be better to have him make the roster than, say, Robert Gsellman.

Is the lefty reliever cult dying off? Are there just too many relievers in camp and he’s just getting lost in the shuffle? Is everyone just sold on Aaron Loup?

With a 25-man roster and a 13/12 hitter/pitcher split, odds are against a lefty specialist being a smart use of a roster spot. But, with a 26-man roster, if you insist on carrying 14 pitchers, does that change the calculus? The answer doesn’t seem clear to me at this point. While it’s silly to me to carry 14 pitchers, it seems if you’re hell-bent on doing that – then carrying a guy to bring into the game when there are two outs, two runners on base and Freddie Freeman at the plate might not be an awful idea.

Of course, with Blevins on the mound, Freeman has a .480 lifetime AVG with a .760 SLG mark in 26 PA, the third-most of any batter against Blevins.

Wednesday catch-all thread (3/3/21)

It’s only Spring Training and it wasn’t exactly a Murderer’s Row lineup that Marcus Stroman faced yesterday. Still, there’s at least a little question how Stroman would fare after opting out of playing in 2020 and he passed his first test with flying colors, retiring all six batters he faced in his two innings of work. Let’s see how those at-bats played out:

1. F9
2. 1-3
3. 6-3
4. KL
5. 3U
6. KL

That’s three groundouts, two strikeouts and one ball to leave the infield. That 75.0 GB% is a great thing to see. Stroman had GB% in the 60s each year between 2014-2018 but in 11 games with the Mets in 2019, he had a 48.3 GB%. Now for most pitchers that would be a really good number. It’s just that the bar is higher for Stroman in that department.

The best way to eliminate homers is to strike people out and get them to beat the ball into the ground. Stroman had some gopher ball issues with the Mets in 2019, with a 1.21 HR/9, which was up from the 0.72 mark he had in 21 starts with the Blue Jays earlier that season. You couldn’t ask for a better outing than to see five of the six batters he faced either whiff or ground out.

Wednesday catch-all thread (2/24/21)

The New York Post‘s Mike Puma had a mini Dellin Betances update on Tuesday. Turns out that not only was his velocity down last year but his mechanics were a mess, too. Here’s what manager Luis Rojas said about Betances:

“We are where we want him to be compared to where we were last year coming into camp,” Rojas said. “The vertical movement of the fastball, for example, or the horizontal or vertical movement of the breaking pitches. Those types of things, the extension, where his head position is when he’s releasing the ball or where his arm action is. Those are some of the things of focus we talked about in the offseason and we’re trying to see in his first couple of sides.”

Betances was a huge disappointment last year. In the few games he actually appeared in, he seemed like a glorified junk baller. It’s hard to have any confidence in him whatsoever for 2021. It would be nice to see the guy who pitched for the Yankees but we shouldn’t wager on that outcome.

Thursday catch-all thread (2/18/21)

The Mets signed Kevin Pillar and it’s just strange all the way around. The just signed Albert Amora Jr. and had already tendered a contract to Guillermo Heredia. And Syracuse’s outfield is already filled with the trade for Khalil Lee. He’s a better hitter than Almora but at this point in time he’s probably not a better defensive player. Oh, and there’s Jose Martinez in the mix, too. It almost feels like a trade is on the horizon. If nothing else, it probably means the end of the Jackie Bradley Jr. rumors. So it definitely has its good point.

Tim Britton in The Athletic had an interesting nugget about the Mets’ performance last year with RISP. It was not good. However, it wasn’t good mostly due to players who won’t be on the roster in 2021. There will be 10 returnees in 2021 and 13 guys who won’t be back. Here’s how their numbers broke down last year:

PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Returning 383 0.269 0.366 0.475 0.841
Departed 229 0.208 0.266 0.300 0.566

Wednesday catch-all thread (2/10/21)

When fans had visions of Trevor Bauer and/or Jackie Bradley Jr. dancing in their head, it was a letdown to come away with Albert Almora Jr. and Jonathan Villar. While the addition of Bauer would have been greeted very favorably by me, there’s no huge regret that he ended up on another team with that salary and that baggage. And Bradley is looking to be paid as if 2020 was his expected level of performance, rather than an outlier. Good luck with that – glad he’ll be elsewhere.

So, as disappointments go, it wasn’t nearly as bad as that time when my dad told me he was going to buy me a new baseball glove and got the smallest, cheapest glove known to man – a Franklin model that was barely bigger than my fingers. Since dad wasn’t a sports fan and threw around nickels like they were manhole covers, it shouldn’t have surprised me. But I was crushed. You hear stories about kids from the Dominican – and there might have even been an Ozzie Smith story, too – made gloves from milk cartons or orange juice containers. The Franklin might have been a step up from that. And I stress might.

The Mets will get more use from Almora and Villar than I got from that glove.

*****

It’s likely a few of you have collected cards at some point in your life. Still have many of mine and now I’m trying to get them better organized to know the “haves” and the “needs.” The link below was started late Monday night and is very much a work in progress. Reach out to me here if you can hit any of my want list.

https://briancards.blogspot.com/

Wednesday catch-all thread (2/3/21)

MLB Network’s The Shredder recently released rankings for second basemen and Jeff McNeil finished second. Maybe you think that ranking’s too high. Maybe you think it’s a reflection of the lack of talent/depth in MLB at the position. Or maybe you think it’s overdue recognition for the skills that McNeil brings to the table. To me it’s a reminder of the comically bad take of Brodie Van Wagenen when he said he considered second base a “primary need” of the team.

It’s probably a given that clubs – especially the Mets – are thoroughly reviewing their hiring questions and practices. If you think Art Howe lights up a room, your hiring process probably stinks. If you have to cut ties with your skipper before he manages a single game, that was a pretty big mistake. If you hire a guy who sends 62 unanswered texts to the same person, you are not asking the right questions during interviews. If you pick a GM who thinks trading for an old guy so he can “upgrade” from McNeil is a great baseball move – well, you get the idea.

There are multiple rounds of interviews with who knows how many people involved in the discussions. What are they asking and how are they following up on answers received? The goal is not to crucify anyone or any group of people for what’s already happened. Instead, the hope is that because mistakes have been made in the past – hiring dullards, cheaters, predators and people not qualified for the position – what mechanisms are built into the process to ensure these don’t happen again?

Maybe the latest blunder is what finally pushes the hiring process to be overhauled. The takeaway should be that there are many different facets that need to be addressed, not just one.

Wednesday catch-all thread (1/27/21)

We haven’t checked in on the bullpen in awhile. Not much has really changed, except that Brad Hand is no longer available and the addition of Carlos Carrasco makes it that much more likely that Seth Lugo is a reliever in 2021. So, that leaves the players vying for a job in the pen at:

Edwin Diaz
Lugo
Trevor May
Miguel Castro
Jeurys Familia
Brad Brach
Dellin Betances
Corey Oswalt
Franklyn Kilome
Drew Smith
Sam McWilliams
Jacob Barnes
Jerry Blevins
Steven Matz and/or Joey Lucchesi
Trevor Hildenberger
Arodys Vizcaino
Robert Gsellman

The Mets could field two separate eight-man bullpens and still leave Gsellman in the minors to work as a SP. Tendering him a contract didn’t make any sense at the time and doesn’t look better here in late January.

A lot of fans are upset that the Mets didn’t get Hand but given that he wanted to be a closer, there’s just about no way the Mets were going to accommodate him. Justin Wilson still makes a lot of sense. As does Chasen Shreve.