Omar Quintanilla gets lucky, Jeremy Hefner, Cesar Puello may not

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 PATCHDavid 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.

14 comments for “Omar Quintanilla gets lucky, Jeremy Hefner, Cesar Puello may not

  1. June 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The Puello news is sad. I was at the Binghamton game yesterday and watched him hit 2 HRS. See that, kids, a little hard work and some PEDs and you too can become a star.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Or at least,

      “a little hard work and some” cheating and you too can be mentioned in every daily newspaper in America despite being in AA baseball.

  2. Artie
    June 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Puello is on 40 man roster so he is protected by MLBPA

    • June 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Not sure this is true. Will research later and post what I find.

      • June 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        Upon further review it appears Artie is correct. Here’s what the MLBPA site says:

        “All players, managers, coaches and trainers who hold a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the Association. In collective bargaining, the Association represents around 1,200 players, or the number of players on each club’s 40-man roster, in addition to any players on the disabled list.”

        Also, when Puello was asked during Spring Training about Biogenesis, here’s what he said:
        “All the questions [should] go to the Players’ Association. I’m here for play[ing] baseball. And we can talk about baseball. I’ve got to go work.”

  3. Joe Gomes
    June 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Puello suspension can be avoided with a call up. But the Mets need to protect Ankiel so that won’t happen.

  4. June 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Here is my issue with Puello etc…

    The MLB is out for blood. Whose blood? Ryan Braun’s. He embarrassed them… and though that is their fault (they are the ones that leaked the story) they are gunning to find an excuse to suspend him.

    My bet is that they will suspend and that the MLBPA has a 60% chance of winning an appeal. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Puello would never have been at risk of a suspension (with no positive test) if not for the inclusion of Braun in the case.

    I don’t care too much about steroids impact on the game.

    All that said, I wonder if Puello would benefit from a September look in the MLB with or without a possible suspension.

    • Chris F
      June 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      I couldn’t disagree more. Steroids are cheating, carry huge health risks, show a horrible path for kids, and have ruined the game. Any individual involved in cheating, IMO, should be severely punished, far more than the lousy 50 games. Braun is a cheater and I loathe him. MLB is right to be insensed. He got off on a ridiculous technicality. He tested positive and is a fraud.

      If Puello is involved he deserves the wrath and I hope he gets it.

      Cheaters SUCK.

      • Jerry Grote
        June 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        obviously I would agree …

  5. Jerry Grote
    June 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Good post on Q, on Wheeler v 1B/CF.

    As you know, I was never a huge fan of Bourn and felt the 11th pick in the draft was a bit much to give up. Not an immense fan of a high school kid that has no power, even less of what I’ve heard from the Mets FO.

    So apparently we’re so stocked up on talent that we can afford to draft high school players. Funny thing … and I hate to bang the St. Louis drum again, but … the Cards have an even *better* minor league system, the best record in baseball, and they drafted a guy in the second round they believe will be in ML by 2015 at the latest.

    We’re so focused on developing a “funnel” that we’ve forgotten the idea is to WIN GAMES AT CITIFIELD.

    • Name
      June 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I know we have debated this extensively before, but just to help your sanity i would just like to point out there are many busts in the first few rounds, but also many gems in the later rounds.

      Two important pieces to the team now are Daniel Murphy, was taken in the 13th round, and Parnell, who was taken in the 9th round.

  6. steevy
    June 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Quintanilla really has nothing left to prove at AAA.

  7. Metsense
    June 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Glad Quintinilla is up. Good numbers at AAA over the years and is a decent BACKUP middle infielder. He should have been on the roster since opening day. Maybe if the Mets had him up, they could have played him occasionally, instead of running the (out of condition) Tejada out there every day.It may have also served as a reminder to Reuben that there is someone there to take his place and he isn’t entitled to the position.
    I too wanted Bourne who had a 4 year maket value of 67.5M based on his WAR.(16.875 Per year) Bourne at 12M a year for 4 years was a steal.(see Now Sandy is talking about a midseason OF aqisition for the future when he had one ataring him in the face in early February. Go figure.
    As a 50 year Met fan I have always admired and revered the great records of the game. PEDS changed the record book and I can’t forgive them for treading on such sacred grounds. Puello deserves the book thrown at him.

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