In his second stint with the Mets, Omar Quintanilla is picking up right where he left off, hitting the ball sharply and enjoying his best streak of ball in the majors. In six games with the Mets in 2013, Quintanilla has a 1.273 OPS and has been a huge upgrade over what the club had received all season long from Ruben Tejada. While he’s nowhere near this good, it’s still nice to see Quintanilla enjoy good fortune with the Mets after having such tough luck everywhere else in his MLB career.
In 104 PA over his two stints with New York, Quintanilla has a .304/.385/.467 line, good for an .852 OPS and a 137 OPS+. This is due in no small part to a .371 BABIP. Contrast that with his production his first two stints in the majors. In 2005 with the Rockies he had a .248 BABIP and he followed that up with a .240 BABIP the following season. Soon thereafter the Quad-A player label was attached.
In 1.579 PA in Triple-A, Quintanilla has an .811 OPS. Yet he’s never managed more than 234 PA in a season in the majors. Since 2005, the year Quintanilla broke into the majors, there have been 80 different seasons posted by a middle infielder with greater than 234 PA and less than a .635 OPS, the mark Quintanilla produced in the year where he got the most playing time. While guys like Clint Barmes, Angel Berroa and Cesar Izturis (and others) got multiple chances with significant playing time, Quintanilla got just one.
The 190 PA Quintanilla got in 2012 was the second-most in his MLB career. He finished last year with an 84 OPS+, a number that tied him for the 43rd-best mark among middle infielders with at least 100 PA. Barmes had an OPS+ of 66 last year and he’s the 2013 starting shortstop for the Pirates. Quintanilla had to accept a minor league deal with the Mets and only got to the majors due to an injury.
Here’s hoping that Quintanilla continues to hit and sets a personal-best for PA in a season here in 2013.
DROPPING THE BALL IN CF – The Mets have already used six different players in center field this year and the common denominator is that none of them has hit very well. The sextet has combined for a .569 OPS in 224 PA a mark the fan base would be howling about if not distracted by the train wreck known as Ike Davis. And it’s not like the group has made it up defensively, either. Mets’ center fielders have combined for a -4 DRS.
Meanwhile, out in Cleveland, Michael Bourn has a 111 OPS+ and his UZR is right on track with last year’s terrific season. Bourn’s offensive numbers are every bit as good as they’ve been the previous four years and he’s on pace to approach, perhaps even exceed, last year’s 6.1 fWAR. The Mets were interested in Bourn and allegedly his price tag had fallen to the point where they could afford him. But Sandy Alderson did not pull the trigger for fear of losing the team’s first-round pick in the 2013 Draft.
METS GETS RELIGIOUS IN 2013 DRAFT – Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers and the Mets hopes are sky high after they selected Dominic Smith with their first-round pick. Smith is described as a “pure hitter” and also is considered to have Gold Glove potential over at first base. Hopefully, Smith will do better than other draft picks tagged with that “pure hitter” label, like Chad McConnell, Michael Tucker and Jemile Weeks.
Meanwhile, in the second round the Mets grabbed RHP Andrew Church, who the brass thinks can develop into a mid-rotation starter. That would be a pretty nice outcome for the 48th pick in the draft. The issue is that Church might have been available when the Mets picked again and instead of getting a much-needed OF with one of their top picks, the Mets invested elsewhere.
WRIGHT HITS ROUGH PATCH – David Wright got off to a strong start in 2013, helping to quell fears that his second half of 2012 was what was in store this season. But in his last 11 games, Wright is just 8-42 with a .642 OPS. It would be easy to just chalk this up as a run-of-the-mill slump, especially after he started the year on such an up note. But Wright has fanned 13 times in this stretch and has a 28.3 K%. Through games of 5/24, Wright had just a 16.8 K%. As strikeouts are such a barometer for Wright, it will be interesting to see if this is a brief blip or the start of a distressing trend.
HEFNER DESERVES BETTER FROM TEAM, FANS – The Mets can’t produce offense on a consistent basis and no one will ever write a poem about their team defense. So, to solve these problems, the team plans to call up a pitcher. You can visualize the brain trust hiding behind a curtain, madly spinning wheels and pulling levers while shouting – “Pay no attention to the guys at first base and center field who can’t hit!”
Sure, Zack Wheeler is their top prospect and they will receive a PR boost if he comes to the majors and pitches well. The issue is that SP isn’t really the problem and the Mets are likely to remove perhaps their second-best pitcher in Jeremy Hefner to make room for Wheeler. In his last eight games, Hefner has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. But because of dismal support, Hefner is just 1-3 in this span and the team is 1-7.
In his last eight starts, Dillon Gee has a 4.87 ERA while Shaun Marcum has yet to make eight starts this year and he sits with a 5.71 ERA. Sure, the last eight is a cherry-picked start point to maximize Hefner’s advantages but it goes to show there’s more than two or three good starts like Gee and Marcum have. The bottom line is Hefner has performed quite well as a SP and does not deserve to be bumped to the bullpen because he has 25 rotten innings in the pen under his belt.
PUELLO AT RISK OF SUSPENSION – It has been a breakout season for Mets’ farmhand Cesar Puello, a player in the past who wowed scouts with his tools but whose on-field performance was less than thrilling. But this year in Double-A, Puello leads the Eastern League with a .999 OPS after 204 PA.
However, Puello has been named in MLB’s fight against PEDs in the Biogenesis scandal. Since he is a minor leaguer and not under the protection of the MLBPA, MLB can act as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to punishment. Earlier, MLB suspended Tigers prospect Cesar Carrillo 100 games for his involvement with Biogenesis. MLB may or may not be able to get big stars suspended in this case but expect Puello to receive some punishment.