Marlon Byrd’s big season, Zack Wheeler’s innings, Ike Davis’ streak

The baseball season is 162 games long and that’s about how many columns I write for the site in a year. Not one of my columns is a game recap, which means there’s an awful lot of opinion pieces. Anyone who gives that many opinions in a year is going to be wrong more than once. And that’s okay. Actually the ones that go wrong are often times fascinating. Nowhere has that been truer this year than with Marlon Byrd.

It’s safe to say I didn’t see much point in bringing Byrd to Spring Training. But he hit well in Grapefruit League action and essentially has never stopped hitting. My take in late Spring was to ride it for as long as it lasted and then at the first hint of trouble – cut the cord and don’t look back. My expectations for Byrd were minimal and I would have given odds that he wouldn’t have lasted this long in the majors.

Instead he has 15 HR and 49 RBIs with three games left before the All-Star break. And as impressive as his offense has been, I’ve also been caught off guard with the other elements of his game. Byrd is a much better defender than anticipated and he should be held up as a model for how one should play the game. Byrd hustles on every play and if the 35 year old can do it, there’s no reason for guys in their 20s to be loafing on any ball they hit.

While there are concerns about the manager running him into the ground, my fears about him having a giant fork sticking out of his back have been laid to rest. Byrd has been an amazing surprise and while there are whispers that the club should deal him for prospects, I would be more than happy to see him on the team the rest of the year. Even as he gives daily reminders on how wrong I was about his chances in 2013.

WATCH WHEELER WORK, BABY – Decisions have been a hard thing to come by for starting pitchers of the Mets here in 2013. Yet rookie Zack Wheeler is 3-1 in five starts and if Wednesday’s outing against the Giants is any indication, he will get plenty of more starts before the end of the year. The only thing likely to hold Wheeler back is a club-imposed innings limit. Back in May, Sandy Alderson indicated the club would likely hold Wheeler to 180 or so innings. By comparison, Matt Harvey was shut down after 169.1 combined innings last year.

Wheeler tossed 68.2 innings in the minors, so he might be allowed to throw around 115 innings in the majors this season. If Wheeler tops triple digits in the majors, he will become just the third Mets pitcher this century to eclipse 100 innings in his rookie season. Dillon Gee tossed 160.2 innings in 2011, Hisanori Takahashi had 122 IP in 2010 and Jae Weong Seo delivered 188.1 IP back in 2003. The last rookie younger than Wheeler to reach 100 IP for the Mets was Bill Pulsipher, who was 21 when he threw 126.2 innings in 1995.

OMAR NEEDS WORK ON HIS Q SCORE – It should be easy to forgive Omar Quintanilla if he wondered if he would ever get a fair shot in the majors. Even after his solid 2012, in which he posted an 85 OPS+, he still could not get a major league deal. The rest of MLB’s loss was the Mets’ gain, as Quintanilla again has hit for the club when given a chance. In parts of two seasons in New York, Quintanilla has a 95 OPS+ in 241 PA, an excellent mark for a shortstop. He’s never played a full season in the majors but Quintanilla should get the chance to do that for the first time next year. And it should be with the Mets.

MORE ON TC’s LEFTY RELIEVERSTerry Collins has managed the Mets for two-and-a-half seasons now and if there’s anything we’ve learned about him, it’s that he loves his lefty relievers. Collins has used 11 lefties out of the pen and they’ve combined to allow 117 ER in 218 IP. That works out to a 4.83 ERA. And that’s with Collins bending over backwards to give his lefties the most advantageous work conditions on the staff. Here are the culprits:

IP ERA
Tim Byrdak 68.1 4.08
Josh Edgin 49.1 4.38
Scott Rice 34.1 4.46
Robert Carson 31.1 6.89
Justin Hampson 10.0 1.80
Danny Herrera 8.0 1.12
Pat Misch 7.0 10.29
Mike O’Connor 6.2 2.70
Aaron Laffey 1.2 16.21
Chris Capuano 1.0 9.00
Garrett Olson 0.1 108.00

The National League had an average bullpen ERA of 3.66 in this time frame.

POWER OUTAGE CONTINUES FOR DAVIS – Despite a slow start in 2012, Ike Davis cracked 32 home runs last year and more of the same was expected in 2013. But Davis hit just 5 HR in his first 186 ABs before being sent to the minors. In Triple-A, Davis belted 7 HR in 75 ABs and the hope was that he rediscovered his power stroke. But not only is Davis homerless since his recall, he’s yet to deliver an extra-base hit in 17 ABs. Before his demotion, Davis went 15 ABs without an extra-base hit, so he’s sitting on a 32 AB-streak without a double, triple or homer.

OFFENSE COMES ALIVE – Davis may not be pulling his weight but the rest of the offense is coming through over the last three-plus weeks. Since the doubleheader against the Braves, the Mets have scored 124 runs in 23 games, an average of 5.4 runs per game. In a related note, the Mets are 15-8 in that span.

10 comments for “Marlon Byrd’s big season, Zack Wheeler’s innings, Ike Davis’ streak

  1. Jerry Grote
    July 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    The main difference between Wheeler and Harvey is consistency; that was the case before and it is the case now.

    Wheeler’s got the stuff but he’s going to drive us crazy. What makes Syndergaard so good is that from start to start, season to season, you have no standard deviation. That’s why I don’t want to see us give him up.

    But he was so damned smooth the other day … that at bat against a hitter like Posey was classic. Few pitchers in baseball get down 3 balls to Buster and get him out three pitches later, especially when Buster simply has to be up there hacking … with his team down by so much.

  2. Name
    July 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    You can manipulate a lot of small sample sizes, but apart from the 1st game Ike has been back from, he’s hitting right where he left off- .167 (Although he does have a healthy .375 OBP) His 1st game keeps him overall average respectable at .294, but I think it’s only a matter of time until that average plummets to sub .200

  3. Matt
    July 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I think the reason Ike can hit 7 dingers in 75 ABs in the minors but lacks power hitting ability in the majors is because he’s a minor league talent. Maybe last year was an anomaly?

    • za
      July 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Last year, his rookie year, and the part of the second year he actually played were the anomaly. Right. In all seriousness, though, he got hurt, lost his rhythm, and then got sick. It’s very possible he’ll go the Conor Jackson route.

  4. steevy
    July 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Keith Hernandez has commented that Ike looks the same,still way out in front on pitches.Plug him into the cleanup spot TC!Fire Terry Collins!

    • kjs
      July 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      You must have fainted when gary and keith just asked the mets to extend collins’ contract because of his brilliant bullpen management. Yes, this did happen.

      • July 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        Yeah, we talked about it in the Game Chatter – you should come join us there!

        Basically, if Collins makes a bunch of moves and the players execute – he’s a genius. If he makes a bunch of moves and the players don’t get it done – it’s the fault of the players. It’s a no-lose situation for Collins and it’s little wonder why he does what he does when that’s the response.

        • kjs
          July 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm

          Thanks, Brian. I will one game. Last year I popped in, but my nook is awful with chats, etc.

  5. Metsense
    July 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    If Marlon Byrd can get a prospect as good as Puello then the deal should be done. If they can’t get that kind of quality then keep him. His leadership and work ethic makes him a consideration for 2014 depending how the winter trade market goes.
    Q has been putting up the numbers also but I would try to get an upgrade at SS (which means a SS better than the current version of Q) and keep Q as my backup middle infielder. SS upgrade is a lesser priority now. Tejada by coming into the year ill prepared has fallen out of favor. Nice guy to have at AAA if someone gets hurt and that is it.
    Lefty bullpen management is the spike in the coffin for TC not to be confused with the nail in the coffin for general bullpen management. Too bad TC couldn’t find a lesser stress situation for German in the SF series to indoctrinate him. I see said the blind man.
    I agree that innings should be limited but shouldn’t there be a plan in place from the beginning? Shouldn’t everyone in management be on the same page?
    If Ike continues his futility, will the Mets start a healthy Duda instead? Maybe then Satin could be part of a 1B platoon (or is he already part of a platoon?}
    The Mets are playing competitive baseball and have been fun to watch, even when they lose.

    • za
      July 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      A Duda/Satin platoon would almost definitely perform better than Ike over the course of a full season, IMO.

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