Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet the B-Mets

I'm not a professional scout in any way, but I got to watch the B-Mets up close and personal from behind their dugout and can still give my opinions. Jose Coronado provided my wife's favorite part of the game with the bubble on the hat of Jean Luc Blaquierre. However the biggest hits of the game belonged to Valdespin, Brahiam Maldonado and Salomon Manriquez. I will quickly say that Maldonado is far too home run happy in his approach, (The 5'11" OF has an upper-cut swing and is not the fastest man in the field) and Manriquez is a solid defender who looked good at the plate. I wasn't paying tons of attention to them. Who WAS I paying attention to? #22, Brandon Moore, SP: Moore's fastball topped out at 90 MPH and sat close to 88 for most of the game. His slider was his go-to pitch and accounted for all but one of his K's. He threw the slider between 76 and 85 MPH and would have it sneaking into or diving out of the zone. He was hit pretty well a few times but kept the hitters using the biggest part of the ball-park. In the later part of the game he had a BIG at-bat vs. Latimore where he managed to get him to strike out on a good slow change up. Moore had good control for MOST of the night but is VERY uncomfortable when he is behind and WILL walk people rather than give up on the breaking pitches. #7, Jordany Valdespin, SS: Valdespin had a two-out RBI single that was nearly more, if not for some good throws by Altoona. Jordany at the plate displayed great strength in his upper body but is not as calm and confident as I'd want a lead off hitter to be. His feet and legs have a lot of idle movement. In the field he looks smooth and confident but his arm is not Jose Reyes'. #5, Josh Satin, 3B: Josh Satin has a very good eye and an advanced approach at the plate. He has a big step in his swing but it doesn't seem to be a negative. On the bases he is not a guy I'd expect to run. He actually looked pretty fast but he just seemed tentative taking a lead from first. In the field he nearly made a fine bare-handed play from 3rd but got a slightly late jump on the ball against a faster runner.

#4, Reese Havens, 2B: Reese Havens swing is practically perfect. It's even and smooth and strong. He looked in control of each at-bat and seemed capable of always hitting the ball for line-drives. He had a nice play with a tough bouncing ball that split he and Dykstra and nearly made a spectacular diving stop earlier in the game.

#10, Ricky Brooks, RP: Brooks is not a household name by any means but he was pretty dominant yesterday. Coming in for the 8th he struck out three before finishing the game in the 9th with a 4th K. Brooks topped out at 94 MPH with a 77 MPH change and a 84 MPH slider. He looked "in the zone."

My wife and I remarked at the overall camaraderie of the team. They seemed to genuinely like each other and enjoy the game. After the B-Mets took an early 3-run lead my wife quipped, "I think this team is better than the real Mets." In some ways I suppose they were.

As a side note I got a ball from Brad Holt who seemed like a pitching coach as he watched the game from the railing.

Up This Week:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Minor Troubles

If you want some good news on the Met farm you should look at one of these players: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Chris Schwinden, Joshua Satin, Jordany Valdespin, Pedro Zapata, Matt Den Dekker, Juan Lagares, Darin Gorski, Cory Vaughn, Robbie Shields, Gregory Peavey, Erik Goeddel or Chase Huchingson. Today's report is not about all the good or even the pretty good or okay. I'm feeling negative vibes and want to focus on some of the negative story lines.

Nobody is really left in AAA and the two that are, are playing well (Schwinden and Nieuwenhuis). The real negative is the injuries. One to Zach Lutz and one to Lucas Duda. Both talented hitters with a future on a big league bench, this season has not been kind.

Binghamton has hit a bump in the road for pretty much ALL of their pitchers. Cohoon has been hittable, Moore has been crush-able, Familia has been human and Carson too. The biggest blip was for Brad Holt who had re-discovered his control this season. The glitch is that he lost it BIG TIME. His most recent outing was a return to good but I no longer see his promotion to AAA being a sure thing for 2011. Hitting-wise, the best hitters are not in AA but Eric Campbell is much better than he's shown this season. Some good news, Havens should be back soon... though with his arrival Satin SHOULD be moving to AAA.

Caesar Puello and Wilmer Flores have both looked like stars this season. Then there are times when they don't. Both are K-ing too much and walking to little. Puello not running enough and Flores' poor power start both don't set my heart a-twitter. Even Jefry Marte has cooled substantially. Note, he's never been close to this good, so anything more would be gravy. A big blip are the once GAUDY stats for Matt Harvey. Since April 28th he's been VERY human and no longer looks like a fast-track player. That's the way things go.


I look at this team's players and see a team who should be killing the opponents. Darrell Cecilliani, Cory Vaugn, Aderlin Rodriguez, Robbie Shields, Wilfredo Tovar and Javier Rodriguez, this team should hit. Sadly only Cory and Robbie got that memo. Ceciliani was hurt but has not bee sharp since coming back, Aderlin has power but lacks contact, Tovar and Rodriguez just seem lost.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For Richer or Poorer

Let us pretend for a moment that we were losing $70 Million a year because of a business venture we started. We'd all be pretty upset and... justifiably so. I mean, it isn't our fault that the team doesn't get more stadium revenue. Although... in the case of the Wilpons, it sorta IS their fault.

Take the case of Bobby Bonilla. The Mets could have paid off the rest of his contract, $5.9 Million dollars in 2000. Instead they differed the payment. They took a 10 year hiatus and then would pay Bonilla $1 Million dollars for 25 years. They did this because they were getting such large returns from Bernie Madoff that they stood to profit from having that $5.9 Million for the first 10 years... to cover that $25 Million dollar/25 year contract that kicked in this year AND THEN SOME. (Mind you, Bonilla is not the only case)

Now... let us believe in their innocence and that they simply thought that they were actually getting 8-12% returns from their magical friend of finance. If the Wilpons opened the books to the public, I wonder how much of the Met financial situation is caused by the ownership's investments and how much is the teams actual revenue.

Sandy Alderson announced yesterday that the Met payroll in 2012 would be between $100-140 Million dollars. That isn't bad... if it's closer to the 140 end of things, but in New York I shudder to think of the genuinely hateful response to the Wilpons crying pauper.

Should the Mets come close to spending in the 140 range you had better believe that the only name that the Mets should be spending that kind of money on is already on the team. (Do we really think Pujols will play RF?)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pass The Buck

We have all heard the saying that the "Buck Stops Here." Some president built a campaign around that slogan and it was pretty successful. It meant that HE would be taking ownership for the problems the country would be faced with. Not blaming crooked businessmen or insulting his employees.

What we as fans sometimes forget is that the Buck... starts here...

Fred Wilpon pays for the players salaries, the operations costs for the stadiums and training facilities. He even pays the bills for SNY. He does all of this with the knowledge that the buck will be passed and as it does... it should make friends.

The Wilpons pay for the team and all the costs that surround them. They pay for advertising and promotion of players who... they apparently don't even like. Who pays them?
  • Television: Proceeds from sales of commercials during Met games is profitable. It's even more profitable when you own the network the game is televised on. When another network broadcasts a Met game... guess what, the Wilpons make money there too.
  • Merchandise: Those Reyes jerseys that will soon be hitting the discount rack as well as those Beltran bobble heads and David Wright posters all make the Wilpons money.
  • Stadium: Let's talk about that stadium...
The Mets must be in trouble... right? The stadium looks barren with so few people attending the games. Let us say you did go to that game. How much money did you pay for your beer and those nachos and the souvenir sundae for your kid? The team makes money whether or not the team has fans in the seats. SURE, the more people come to the games, the better, but the Wilpons money comes FIRST from television, SECOND from merchandising and THIRD from people actually going to games.

So... the Wilpons can complain all they want about the team's struggles and the players being "over-payed". The buck might start with them, but they aren't running a charity. The buck ends with them and I'm willing to bet that with all the struggles, the Mets are not the reason the Wilpon's are tight for cash.

Let Fred and Jeffy know that you love the team and the players DESPITE them and not BECAUSE of them. Join the SAVE REYES campaign and help save the final scraps of dignity for the franchise. Don't do it for me... do it to spite Mike Francessa.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Public Enemy #1

The early voting for league LVP is in and by a resounding margin the Met ownership has entered into a 2-way tie with the McCourts atop the rankings. The MLB has already freed the Dodgers of the divorcing couple which means that the Wilpons are most likely going to move well ahead in the voting by the all-star break. If you haven't heard, I'll post a link:

Basically, Wilpon, in an effort to restore his (potentially wrongfully/rightfully) defamed name decided to torpedo the only part of his empire that the average citizen cares about. Let's tally the damage:

"He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it."

So now if the Mets want to TRADE Reyes, they no longer have the trading power of even feigning a desire to retain their talented SS.

"We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series [his 2004 postseason with the Astros]. He’s sixty-five to seventy per cent of what he was."
Another player we were HOPING to trade this season who we can now expect 30-35% less for. Thanks Fred, I can see how you became a business tycoon. Play the cards as far from your chest as possible right?

"He’s pressing. A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."

Come to the Mets, ownership can't wait to throw you under the bus. You think that any top talent wants to take a deal with this TOXIC ownership duo? Sure, the Mets can still pay for talent... oh wait... we don't have money anymore either? Well I guess perhaps treating your best players better might have been financial advice that Fred needed his buddy Madoff for.

Add to this the message to the fans. Hey kids! We don't have any superstars... go watch the Yankees. I suppose, in his defense, not many kids read the New Yorker.

The Mets (By way of Ike Davis):
"Good hitter. Shitty team—good hitter."

Awesome, hey... I just wanted to conclude my diatribe by saying that everyone not named Ike is a scum sucking loser with no right to play baseball. Way to rally the troops.

Let's see... lower the trade value of the two best trade chips Alderson has to work with, alienate the face of your franchise and insult the team. What's next, getting rid of all the team's training equipment? When does Terry Collins whip out the nude cardboard cut-out and start removing pieces with every win?

Mr. Springer, a knowledgeable Met fan put his rose glasses on and sees positives to the situation. He thinks that the ownership is long over-due for telling the players publicly that they don't value them. He sees this as potentially inspiring. So I'll take his inspiration and look at the positives.

The Dodgers don't have an Owner, perhaps we can just TRADE the Wilpons away.

In Short:


Friday, May 20, 2011


Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Or... in this case... HIM. Jose Reyes has been on the Mets for the last 9 years and what better way to say, "Danke Schoen," to him then to keep him here for the next bunch? Maybe I'm over-reacting... but I feel a little like Jennifer Grey.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe Reyes isn't such a good guy. After all, I get to blog, he gets a big fat pay check. But still, why should he get to go wherever he wants after the season? Why should everything work out for him? What makes him so goddamn special? Screw him!

I'm a Met fan and if I have to suffer through bad teams... shouldn't my favorite players? Maybe I went a bit too far for the sake of justifying quote manipulation. I'm just a little upset by the prospect of letting Jose slip through our fingers.

There is a point to be made, though. Why would he want to stay? Since 2006 have the Mets really given Reyes a great reason to stay? I mean... he loves his home in Long Island but there's another stadium that's commutable and not only have they won more frequently but they even have a growing wound at SS. Face facts, we haven't shown Reyes anything good.

Nothing - wha - what do you mean nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas! Well.. I ate pancreas and pretended he was with me. People did look at me a little strangely as I spent the day hanging out with a cardboard cut-out. STILL! Doesn't our love mean anything?

Perhaps my love should. I'm not one of the fans who turned on Reyes for clapping and smiling and getting pumped. I think I'm not alone in loving Reyes in good times and bad. So... Faithful Met Fans... Are you with me?

If Reyes is traded Mr. Rooney wins.SAVE REYES

Up This Week:

Public Enemy #1 - Time to start the offensive.

Taking Ownership - Those with the bucks should not be passing them.

Alms - Do we deserve pity?

Minor Complications - Little right... LOTTA wrong.

The Future of Met Hitting

I focus on the positives with the minor leagues. So... you can take this post as an indication that not all our young pitching is flourishing, but rest assured that Harvey, Familia, Goeddel, Peavey and Schwinden are all doing fine. I've simply focused on farm pitchers already and it's time to focus on some bats.

AAA, Buffalo Bisons:

Fernando Martinez, Nick Evans, Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada are all in Flushing so that leaves the Met prospect list in AAA a little under manned. There is still ONE familiar face and Toby Hyde would like us fans to stop demanding that the Mets promote him. Just because he blogs about the minors for SNY doesn't mean he has the authority to promote anyone.

Kirk Niewenhuis, OF - Kirk went through a bit of a dry-spell for the first part of may but is back to his hitting ways. Why is he still in AAA? Well... that has a lot to do with Angel Pagan not being long from returning to the MLB. He's really shown a pretty solid bat through his first 125 ABs and he's displaying a good amount of power with 14 doubles, 2 triples and 6 Hrs. If Kirk can play MLB CF, then he's an A+ prospect if he's a corner outfielder that power becomes more necessary and I'm not sold on him hitting more than 20 dingers a year... particularly in Citi-Field.

AA, Binghamton B-Mets:

Maybe I'll catch a game when my wife and I visit her family in the area. With their inconsistent play, I'm not sure how wild I am to do it though. The fact is, that with all the offensive stars in the Met system... Binghamton is the lightest equipped. Not their fault Reese Havens is an injury waiting to happen.

Joshua Satin, 2B/Util - Josh is going to move on up to AAA at some point... I'd wager soon. Or at least as soon as Havens can actually play. With AAA so heavily mined it makes sense. Now... I'm not sold on Satin being a major league starter. I don't think MANY people are. I do think he could be a major league utility guy. What's the issue? Well... we already have Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans and the list goes on. A big feather in Satin's favor is an advanced eye that means to me that he'll be a good PH candidate.

Jordany Valdespin, SS/2B - After a rough start to the year, the guy some peg to "replace" Jose Reyes (Next week: The Save Reyes Campaign Begins), Valdespin is rounding into form. He's got some power... 10 doubles, 2 triples and 2 Hrs and some speed... 10 SBs. What he doesn't have is command of the strike zone. He's walked 9 times and K'd 29. Now... that isn't awful but it's a long way from what we'd need. Should Reyes leave town, he's still the likely incumbent but I don't see Jordany as a long-term replacement unless he can get that ratio to 1:2.
A+, Port St. Lucie Mets:

High A is one of the better teams the Mets have, though recently it seems the bullpen is struggling. The fact is the team has 4 or even 5 very good OFs and for that reason I believe a few will be Northward bound in the very near future. I am not going to list them all because I want to focus on players I see as true impact players right now.

Matt Den Dekker, CF - More than a few people are excited about Matt. He's got a great glove... so... no worries about needing to shift to a corner and he's showed a good amount of power (for a CF). 15 doubles, 7 triples and 2 HRs. His speed is pretty normal and I'd put him in the 15-20 SB range in the majors but I'll take the healthy mix he DOES provide any day. One thing he DOES do it hit... a lot. He's hitting .331 and that is pretty solid by anyone's measure. The issue is that common BB:K problem. 8 walks and 35 K's is a big reason why he has not made the jump to AA.

Juan Lagares, OF - Lagares beats out Pedro Zapata and Caesar Puello because of his RECENT hitting. On the double header of May 15th, Juan belted 3 HRs between the two games. He's seemed a little slower to develop than some other prospects. He caught up to the SAL last year and looked over-matched in the FSL. Now he's caught up to FSL so I think that next year he should be ready to try AA. He's got some power but will need to develop a bunch more to be a major league starter.

Wilmer Flores, SS - I couldn't resist. With all the great starts young players have had, Flores has been lost in the flow a bit. Chalk up part of that to stupid minor league reporters for Baseball Prospectus who thing they're being original when they re-hash the, Wilmer can't play SS story. No... he can't... but I am pretty sure 3B, LF, RF and 1B are still places he could shine. Has he hit for power? Not to the extent people want to see... no. HOWEVER, he's hitting for some power and he's picked up the power numbers more now that he's settled into the season. Take a cue from Douglas Adams and "Don't Panic!"

A, Savannah Sand Gnats:

Some of the players I'm particularly excited about have not proved me right as of yet so I'll focus on two guys who aren't disappointing.

Cory Vaughn, OF - Greg Vaughn's kid is... AWESOME. He may not be hitting for prolific power like he did in the NYP but he's doing almost everything you could want a prospect to do. Is he hitting? You bet! He's hitting .331 and slugging .478 (He's hit 2 of his three HRs recently so it might be a sign of things to come). How's his plate discipline? TOPS! He's got a 27:37 BB/K ratio and is a leader in OBP. How's his defense? Pretty good. He's played all three outfield positions. He projects to have the hitting chops to play anywhere anyway. If I had to find a flaw it would be the 4 CS in 10 attempts. It doesn't look like he's a prolific base stealer. Though... 6 SBs does point to the ability to nab at least a few.

Robbie Shields, SS - Can Shields stick at SS? I don't know. He's got more of a shot than Wilmer Flores. Shields is a hitting infielder and that isn't something to scoff at. He's got a few TRULY gaudy stats. His K/BB ratio? 21:21. That's sick! Most of his hitting has come in May and that should tell you that he's potentially a big star who just took a month to REALLY get going. My biggest worry is that Shields is also not destined to stick at SS and that hurts his value.