Josh Edgin cruises, bad ideas and Daniel Murphy, remembering Tony Gwynn

Josh EdginFor just the fourth time in 16 outings this year for the Mets, Josh Edgin pitched a full inning last night.  All it took for that to happen was for the bullpen to have to contribute 15.2 innings over the past three games.  It’s worth noting that Edgin retired all three batters he faced.  In fact in his four outings where he’s gone a full inning (or more) this year, Edgin has faced 13 batters and retired them all.

Yet we continue to see the LOOGYfication of Edgin.  For the sake of argument, let’s say that it’s not detrimental to the health of your bullpen to utilize a LOOGY.  Would you still insist on deploying one if you had a pitcher who didn’t soil his pants when a RHB came to the plate?  It’s one thing to micromanage Scott Rice, who shouldn’t face righties if humanly possible.  But why would you pigeonhole Edgin into that role?

In 118 lifetime PA in the majors versus RHB, Edgin has limited then to a .673 OPS.

But we see the insistence of management – whether that decision comes from Sandy Alderson or Terry Collins – to have a LOOGY on the roster.  Currently, the Mets are carrying two lefty relievers, as Dana Eveland is also on the squad.  However, Eveland has been utilized as a normal reliever.

If we try to read the tea leaves – what should we make of this?  Is Eveland utilized as a real reliever so that he can be replaced without worrying about who the LOOGY is?  Or is Edgin utilized as a LOOGY so that when Rice gets back on track and recalled he can be sent out easily?

Neither answer is satisfying.

GRANNY ASSUMES LEADOFF ROLE – The past two games Curtis Granderson has been installed as the club’s leadoff hitter.  Since he opened the season as the team’s cleanup hitter, it seemed like an unusual thing to have a guy bat first and fourth in the same season.  But it’s not even the first time this year it’s happened.  Chris Young has also filled both roles for the club.  Prior to this season, the last time the Mets used a player multiple times in both the leadoff and cleanup spots in the order was the injury-plagued 2009 year when Daniel Murphy led off four times and hit fourth 20 times.  Before that was 2001, when Benny Agbayani batted first 32 times and was the fourth hitter three times.

WILL WRIGHT MOVE NEXT? – With all of the lineup shuffling Collins has done, one thing that he has not tinkered with is the batting order position of David Wright, who has batted third in all 69 games he’s played.  Wright’s .631 OPS in April was the worst mark he’s posted in any month in his career with the Mets.  So far in June, Wright has a .427 OPS.  With the offense struggling to score runs recently – 13 runs in their last six contests – it might be worth a shot to drop Wright in the order.

WHAT WILL THE METS DO WITH JDG?Jacob deGrom has generally pitched well since his recall from Triple-A but it’s clear that he will be bumped from the rotation once Dillon Gee is activated.  The decision will be whether to send him to Triple-A to continue as a starter or keep him in the majors to transition to a reliever.  Prior to this season, many viewed him as ultimately a bullpen arm.  However, he’s pitched well, both at Las Vegas and in the majors where perhaps he’s earned the right to continue as a starter.  But getting back to the question asked earlier, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where deGrom moves to the pen and Eveland gets sent down.

BAD IDEAS CONTINUE TO FOLLOW MURPHY – Throughout his career with the Mets, Daniel Murphy has had to persevere through some decisions that could make one scratch his head.  There was the move to the outfield to get his bat into the lineup.  Then there was the move to first base – where he hadn’t played before – to get him out of the outfield.  Then there was the move to second base, where he suffered two season-ending injuries.  Now that he’s established himself at second, there’s talk among the fan base of moving him back to first to get more playing time for Eric Young Jr. and/or Wilmer Flores.  Jerking Murphy around is bad enough but this would take Lucas Duda out of the lineup for two inferior hitters.  Let’s hope management doesn’t consider this idea.

REMEMBERING TONY GWYNN – The baseball world was saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at the age of 54.  On last night’s telecast, Ron Darling seemed to be hit especially hard, given that they were the same age.  He told some good stories about Gwynn and helped cushion the blow somewhat for this baseball fan.

This morning I found myself looking up Gwynn’s career records.  The numbers are impressive.  Yet it was hard not to notice one thing.  From age 28-32, when he should have been in the prime of his career, Gwynn put up a .790 OPS over 3,024 PA, with a high of .813 in 1989.  Then the next seven years, he never posted an OPS lower than .842 and at the age of 37, Gwynn put up a .957 OPS.

So many hitters from this era have their numbers questioned, ridiculed and dismissed.  Yet you never hear this about Gwynn.  Now, to be crystal clear, the intention of this is not to start a steroids accusation against Gwynn.  Instead, this is an invitation to those who view everything that happened starting in 1993 to be nothing more than drug-fueled – that perhaps there are other things going on, as well.

13 comments for “Josh Edgin cruises, bad ideas and Daniel Murphy, remembering Tony Gwynn

  1. Steve S.
    June 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Sir, that’s “Grandy” – not “Granny”! LOL!

    Seriously though, Grandy/Granny is coming around. His OPS+ is up to 112 this year (98 last year with the Yanks). He’s walking more, showing good power now, and doing fairly well in the OF.

    • June 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Grandy is his Yankees nickname. Granny is what we call him in the Game Chatters. You should join us there.

      • Steve S.
        June 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

        Sounds good! Thanks!

  2. Metsense
    June 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Over the past 30 days, Granny has a 940 OPS and leads the team in homeruns. He should not be leading off but batting 3rd. That would move Wright to 5th and Duda with his 825 OPS, 4 homeruns, and team leading 15 RBI’s, in the same time span, to cleanup. This is the same Duda that others want to sit.
    If Gee were coming back tomorrow then I would send JdG down so that Dice K could pitch and build some value before the trade deadline. Eveland has pitched well so far and JdG could benefit remaining as a starter at AAA. Much can happen to change my thinking before Gee actually gets back.
    Edgin has always been a relief pitcher that has averaged at least one inning per appearance over his minor league career. He is a two way pitcher and should not be treated as a LOOGY. If he is permitted to pitch full innings as he has done in the past then maybe the bullpen won’t be stretched out as often as it is.

    • Steve S.
      June 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Totally agree. And Duda is above average in hitting, and much improved in fielding, going by the stats and eyes.

    • Chris F
      June 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      That starting rotation Wally is gonna have to deal with is something else:

      deGrom, Wheeler, Montero, Syndergaard…

      wonder if any will make it in the bigs?

    • Patrick Albanesius
      June 18, 2014 at 12:29 am

      As usual, I agree with most points. Duda is hot with the bat of late. OBP is a bit disappointing for the season, and that 16.7 K% over the past month is not great. I like EYJ’s speed, but I don’t know if it’s enough to make up for what Duda can do when hitting well.

  3. Name
    June 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I understand if some fans don’t think Duda is a credible starting first baseman, but are they thinking when they want to replace him in the lineup with EY or Flores? It’s not even a question that Duda is far superior to both of them.

    What boggles me about Edgin is that if you asked him which pitcher had better stuff between Edgin and Eveland, im pretty sure he would pick Edgin. So i can ask this question in one of 2 ways.
    Why then, if Edgin has better stuff, does he not trust him against righties while he does with Eveland?
    or if he says Eveland: What makes Eveland so much more special that Edgin that Edgin doesn’t even get the opportunity to face RHB anymore?

    • June 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      It does seem like Edgin wasn’t granted most favorite pitcher status like any other lefty in the pen received.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      When you are driving down the freeway, and you realize you have gone the wrong direction, how many exit signs do you pass before you turn around? Do you expect that the right direction will mysteriously appear before you?

      Duda is frankly not the solution at 1B. He is a mess defensively – *still* – and his bat is subpar (if that).

      Replacing Duda with Murphy will improve the defense at two positions (2b and 1B) and quite possibly, at three if you move Tejada to his natural 2B and put Flores in at SS (where surprisingly Flores is out playing Tejada statistically).

      If you don’t like that idea, then bring up Dykstra before he too flies off to Japan (bye bye Mr. Lutz. We hardly knew ye.)

      Duda is the wrong direction. It’s time to head for the off ramp.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      And its far from a foregone conclusion, btw, that Duda is “better” than Eric Young Jr.

      Using BB Ref WAR, EYJ has produced .9 WAR in 43 games, Duda 1 in 65. Pro-rating EYJ to a 65 game production rate, he’d have 1.35 WAR.

      Yes. Duda has a better BA/OPS. But Duda produces negative value at 1B, and that has to be accounted for someplace. Not to mention of course Young’s speed.

  4. DucksoupSD
    June 24, 2014 at 4:27 am

    How sad that you show your total lack of knowledge about Tony Gwynn in this article. It’s been well documented that following several talks with Ted Williams, where Mr. Williams urged Mr. Gwynn to drive inside pitches to right field saying, “History is made on the inside pitch”, Gwynn’s power numbers increased dramatically over his previous totals. Of course, that meant that he hit 17 home runs instead of 4 in a year, not 50+ after never hitting more than 20. Gwynn was never known for home runs, but he decided to follow Williams advice and take what the pitchers gave him late in his career. Note how after he started hitting home runs off the inside pitch in 1997 with his career-best 17, the pitchers readjusted and quit trying, dropping his home runs to 16 in 1998 and 10 in 1999. Tony Gwynn’s physique didn’t change, unlike obvious cheats such as Barry Bonds – he was still the chunky guy he always was. Tony Gwynn on steroids? You are a clueless hack.

    • June 24, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Good god man — if anyone’s a “clueless hack” it is you. Since you obviously missed it the first time, here’s what I actually said:

      Now, to be crystal clear, the intention of this is not to start a steroids accusation against Gwynn. Instead, this is an invitation to those who view everything that happened starting in 1993 to be nothing more than drug-fueled – that perhaps there are other things going on, as well.

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