Monday, February 28, 2011

Prospectin'

I just wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the prospects and pseudo-prospects at camp that might make an impact on the team in the future. I'll be repeating the post on a semi-weekly basis.

Nick Evans - Evans had a hit and has come across as a big positive for the Mets thus far. The problem being that he's out of options and the Mets already have Hu, Emaus, Hairston, Paulino and Harris penciled into the bench. Evans might make himself a trade candidate by playing well but I have a hard time seeing the Mets losing Emaus to keep him.

Fernando Martinez - Martinez had a good day at the plate but was a DH. As long as he's playing I won't complain. Martinez stands a good chance of being a mid-season call-up should Bay or Beltran need to miss an extended time.

Daniel Murphy - Murphy looked pretty good and must have made Terry Collins look up when he followed up a Castillo gaffe inning with a ground-rule double. How about giving Murph or Emaus a start tomorrow?

Mike Nickeas - Nickeas has impressed me with his glove. He's got a strong arm and he also gunned out a runner. Nickeas will probably sit in AAA in case Thole or Paulino are hurt.

Ruben Tejada - Tejada has a great glove and knows how to use it both from SS and 2B but his bat is not presumably ready. Not so fast... Terry Collins thinks Ruben is back into the starting 2B discussion. It's a long-shot but the hitting looks much improved. For me to get excited I need him to prove he can steal 20+ bases.

Jordany Valdespin - Valdespin is a lefty bat with reasonably good contact and a little speed and power. He was an un-impressive BPAB (Bench Player At Best) until the AFL came along and he turned some heads. He K's like he's a power hitter and that can't continue if he's going to actually be good enough to become a MLB starter.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis - Captain Kirk is a player that coaches love... which is either something that Kirk should worry about in the showers or... he's simply a guy who follows instruction. Either way Kirk needs to be on your radar because he's very much in the mix for the Post-Beltran Mets.

Lucas Duda - Duda is a large man who hits the ball. He's like Chris Carter minus the complete insanity factor (Yes... I miss Animal too) but Duda will probably NOT make the Mets. The issue is that Duda plays LF and 1B and the Mets wanted bench OFs who could do more. Enter Hairston and Harris and exit Duda. 2012 he will at least be our big lefty on the bench.

Justin Turner - Turner is not a GREAT fielder but he is the kind of bench player that you pay for. He hits and can play all of the IF positions.

Brad Emaus - Emaus is a high OBP IF with a powerful build that doesn't lend itself to graceful fielding. Unlike Murphy he's played 2B more and can handle the position adequately. He should make the team if only because the Mets have to give him back if he doesn't.

Wilfredo Tovar - Wilmer Flores gets more buzz as he's heads and tails the better hitter, but Tovar might be the best overall SS in the system. Great fielding and a pretty good bat. The issue is that Tovar will likely be at the same level as Flores so... unless or until Wilmer moves to another position he's not going to get enough playing time.

Pedro Beato - Beato is the other rule 5 pick and I've seen him pitch. He's got a great arm. The question is, will he be worth the roster spot? I'm saying yes right now.

Jenrry Mejia - 99.999% chance Mejia goes to AAA 99.999% chance Mejia is on the MLB club by this fall.

Matt Harvey - Mets top pick is not SUPER far from the majors but, while I'd like to see him pitch to MLB players I predict he starts in Port St. Lucie.

It's ACTUAL Baseball

Break out your graphing calculator... baseball is back! That means I can get down to the only kind of math that I can stand doing... Saber-metrics and Box-Score Analysis. Good news is that the Mets new pitcher might be able to check my work to make sure I carried the 2.

Notes:

O' Jenrry - Jenrry Mejia looked very sharp in his spring debut but I do have a complaint. He did seem to get ahead of hitters but he seemed to consistently let them back into the at-bat by letting the count go to full. I think that the Mets will certainly be thinking about him in the rotation sooner than later.

Beato My Own Drum - Pedro Beato got into trouble but also displayed his electric stuff. I think that he's certainly someone to watch.

Attention F-Mart Shoppers - I watched Fernando look like an eternal prospect and also... turn on a pitch and take it yard. Fernando by no means needs to WIN a job this spring but he does need to prove he can be healthy. He's likely to be called up if there are injuries but the key to his season is health.


Valdespin Cycle - Jordany was the player who impressed me the most. (Besides Castillo and Hu who I'm still trying my best to hate.) Valdespin looked sharp playing 2B and at the plate he really looked like he was far more developed then I thought he'd be. I would say he looked like he was ready to be in the running for the 2B competition.

The Young and the Tall - Chris Young is tall... we get it. I'm getting a little bored with people pointing it out. Can we trade for John Rauch so people stop mentioning it? Anyway... yeah... he looked like he might be good enough to sit closer to the front of the rotation... but it's early.

Ollie Still Ollie - Perez looked bad, but nobody was surprised. I'd say he get's one more chance to start and then MAYBE two chances to relieve.

What Might Ultim-Utley Kill the Phils - Utley's knee is hurt and he's looking at a cortisone injection. This isn't like Wainwright's injury but he will put some questions in regards to an offense that some writers mistakenly deem a given. Let's look at facts: Victorino is good but not GREAT, Rollins looked like a shell of his former self last year, Utley has health concerns, Howard has some health issues (don't buy that he's declining), Ibanez is old enough to be Brown's father, Brown is ENTIRELY un-proven, Polanco is a giant health risk, Ruiz is only pretty good and the bullpen isn't the best I've seen. The Phillies are hardly as much of a lock to hit as you might think.

This Week:

Prospect Review: Let's go over some of the names in Mets camp to keep your eyes on.

Phantasy Island: Are There Fantasy Bargains on the New York Mets?

Beast of the East: Let's look at the 5 NL East teams... shall we?

The Amazing Race: Updating Everyone on the 2B, Bench, Rotational and Bullpen races

Friday, February 25, 2011

Waiting For Lefty


Pedro Feliciano is a Yankee now and the biggest vacancy left by his absence is from the left side of the mound. The Mets have Parnell and Acosta and Alvarez and Beato and Iggarashi and Isringhausen but something that none of them can do... is pitch lefty.

The Contestants:

Oliver Perez: Perez is about as popular with Met fans as Miguel Cabrera is with MADD (Mother Against Drunk Driving). He's basically been a 36 Million dollar void since signing two off seasons ago and the Mets REALLY wish they could get that money back. Reports thus far from camp are that he's pitching well. Now... he's going to get a shot to win the #4 or #5 rotation spot, but looking at Perez and all his stuff, if he can throw strikes... he really might make a pretty good LOOGY.

Chris Capuano: Like Perez, Capuano is fighting to start. Unlike Perez he's pitched relief and shown that his skills lend themselves to being a lefty specialist. Add to this a desire to protect his arm that is still referred to as recovering and you might have the perfect candidate to be that LOOGY. Or... as he has some stamina... maybe he'll be the second lefty in the pen and be the Long Reliever? Either way I have to think that Capuano will be in the pen.

Taylor Tankersley: Tankersley is young-ish and has a good arm but I think he's looking at a fight. Capuano has the edge if he doesn't make the rotation and most people point to Byrdak as the more likely LOOGY if the Mets opt for a PURE RP guy. I'm hoping Taylor will be fine waiting in AAA if they don't need him right away because I think he WOULD get called up when the need does arise. That said, he could just flat-out win the job this spring.

Tim Byrdak: Byrdak is the current favorite to be penciled into the role. He's a veteran and is that SAFE option. Byrdak has 4 straight seasons of sub-4.00 ERA to back his candidacy. Also in his favor are his FAR superior numbers purely against left handed hitters. If I were asked to bet, I'd bet on Tim winning the LOOGY by a good safe margin.

Pat Misch: Misch isn't a great LOOGY guy. He's not so superior vs. lefties than righties and he's not that impressive a pitcher overall. With all of that said I think Misch is going to join Gee in AAA and be playing for time as the #6 pitcher while Santana is hurt. I happen to like Misch more than Gee but I might over-value lefties.



Mike O'Connor: You probably have never heard of this guy. He's a minor-leaguer who the Mets got last year and someone who showed some talent towards the end of the season. He needs to pitch better than any of the numbers I've seen on him indicate that he can to win the job, but the Mets insist he's in the running to don't count him 100% out. If there ever was a dark horse... it was Mike.

Survey Says: Tim Byrdak as LOOGY (Capuano as LRP)

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Celebrity Match-Ups

Jose Reyes ... Meet ... Daniel Gibson (Cleveland Cavaliers)

David Wright ... Meet ... Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle)

Ike Davis ... Meet ... Josh Randall (Actor: Scrubs and Greek)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hole-y Baseball Bats Batman!


Is there a hole in David Wright's swing, or has he felt to much pressure to generate the teams offense all on his own? Whatever the reason, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that David Wright has developed a habit of swinging and missing. This has led to lower walks and extended streaks of bad hitting. This in turn leads people to question whether David is the super-star the Mets need or if they should look to trade him for young talent and start over.

Look at the progression:

2006: .311 / 26 HR / 116 RBI / 66 BBs / 113 Ks
2007: .325 / 30 HR / 107 RBI / 94 BBs / 115 Ks
2008: .302 / 33 HR / 124 RBI / 94 BBs / 118 Ks
2009: .307 / 10 HR / 72 RBI / 74 BBs / 140 Ks
2010: .283 / 29 HR / 103 RBI / 69 BBs / 161 Ks

So what happened to Wright after his most powerful season? The short answer is: Citi Field. David Wright struggled to figure out the new stadium and began to "Press" on the road. Regardless of how true that is, I think that there are a number of other elements that contributed to the struggles.

I'm All Alone: Beltran caught the injury bug in 2009 and carried right through into 2010 with limited at-bats. It would appear that David Wright is not a one-man band and needs some support around him. Thar means that a healthy Beltran, resurgent Bay and a developing Davis should all contribute to Wright having an up year.

Catch The Streak: Back in 2007, David Wright had 1 month where he hit less than .290, in 2008 he slumped from May to June but not terribly, in 2009 he hit an absurdly bad .223 for a month and in 2010 he suffered 3 months where he hit below .260. He simply cannot get that lost for THAT long. I think that Jerry Manuel and Willie Randolf did not do enough to get David turned around quicker during his slumps.

Play The Count: David Wright is GREAT at hitting when a pitcher is behind. The same is not true when a pitcher gets ahead. The difference is... David used to excel at hitting when the tides were even. He hit only .177 when the count was 2-2 but if he could draw that full count his average would sky-rocket to .300+. In the past 3 years that has not been true. David needs to re-establish his comfort level at full count and use that comfort to bring his OPS back into the Super-Star echelon we expect from him.

In short, does David have a hole in his swing? Yes. Can this be fixed? God I hope so.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

O' Johan Where Art Thou?

Experts predict Johan Santana will not be pitching with the Mets until June. HOWEVER, Mets fans must understand that pitching AT ALL in 2011 is not a guarantee. How he'll pitch when he returns... is not a guarantee. The only thing the Mets are assured... is that he'll cost a lot of money.

I like Johan, and always have. He's a smart guy and a gutsy pitcher. He has a good work ethic, is a role model and a team leader. What I don't like is paying for pitchers who aren't ACTUALLY going to pitch for me.

If he does pitch for the Mets... how important is it, that he ACTUALLY pitches in 2011?


Will the Mets be contenders? Odds say no way. So... wouldn't it be better to have a healthy Johan in 2012? Maybe. However if the Mets want to play the market and get some bang for their buck... perhaps this might appeal to them.

By no means am I trying to say below that the Mets NEED to trade Johan. Or that the Yankees would necessarily want him. Or that these are the players I see being dealt. Or that this is in anyway a likely scenario. All I am trying to say is that the Mets might be able to trade with a team that is in Buyer mode and a little desperate for starting pitching. In this case I do see the Yankees as likely people to be in this boat.

The New York Mets Trades:

Johan Santana, SP (L)
Carlos Beltran, OF (S)

To The New York Yankees For:

Ivan Nova, SP (R)
Brett Gardner, OF (L)

The Yankees are in a rare situation where they are off-season losers. They didn't get Plan A: Cliff Lee (Philly), Plan B: Carl Crawford (Boston) or Plan C: Zack Greinke (Milwaukee). The Yankees have Nova and some more distant (higher ceiling) pitching prospects, they have an inexpensive and talented young OF, they have a gaping hole in talent after C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes, and they have enough money to shrug off the financial burden of adding a 1-year rental of Beltran and the overall contract of the often injured Johan Santana.

The deal is an example... not really a specific to focus upon. All I an saying is that Johan Santana's biggest contribution by pitching in 2011 could be pitching for another team all together.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tis The Season

Spring training is getting into gear with all of the players now at camp. It won't be long before there are split-squad games and then... actual baseball. With the season upon us I get a little misty eyed and think of Spring Training's past. I think of the top prospects I watched: Jose Reyes, David Wright, Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez, Fernando Martinez again... and Ike Davis.

Who will be the big story this year?

Jason Bay re-emerging as a legit bat?

Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez being sacrificed to the great God of Death and destruction?

Maybe it's who will not be back in 2012?

Let's hope that we have more happily ever afters and less... dropped pop-ups against the Yankees.

This Week:

The Road To Recovery: Johan Santana, when will he be back?

The Wrong Kind of K-Machine: Will David Wright strike-out woes end or get worse?

Look-A-Likes?: Celebrity Look-a-Likes.

Waiting For Lefty: Name that LOOGY.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who Is Ike?

I don't think that Ike Davis is much of a singer... or that he's a drug user... or that he'll marry Tina Turner and abuse her. Some people see Ike Davis and see Adam LaRoche: a streaky power hitter who is good but not great. Some people see John Olerud who was an amazing talent in a goofy batting helmet. I see someone slightly different. Let us take a peek at the numbers, shall we?

Ike Davis:

Adam LaRoche:

John Olerud:

Lets try something on for a second... There we go, what do you think? Okay, so Ike has shown more power than Keith, but that was a different era in baseball. Both sparkle defensively and while Keith was not a 30 HR guy like Ike, he did power the middle of the lineup and provide a steady bat. Click on the image below to take a look.

Keith Hernandez:
Ike vs. Adam - Ike already reach LaRoche last season. Only... with a whole lot more defense. However why would we assume that Davis has peaked and peg him as an Adam LaRoche. Sure... the comparison works today but the hope with young players is that they develop.

Ike vs. John - God I wish... Ike Davis is not the same type of hitter Olerud was. Olerud was a tremendous contact hitter AND a stout defender. I think that Olerud and Ike have little actually in common.

Ike vs. Keith - You know... now that I see him with the mustache... Keith's numbers moved into the future 20 years might look pretty similar... depending on inflation. If I need to make a comparison I make it here because of what I saw from Ike last year and what Keith gave the Mets in their lineup. Both players provided the same type of lift and I think it's the most apt comparison.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mets of the Future

The Mets have a new man at the helm and he likes to keep the wallet from opening too frequently. That is good in general, but does it mean that the Mets payroll will dwindle to the ranks of the middle 20 teams of baseball or does it just mean that the money the Mets typically spend (bottom of the top 5 payrolls) will just be spent better?

2012: We know the story, 40 Mil comes off the books (as long as K-Rod doesn't close a certain number of games...) yes whatever. 40 Mil is good, but what can it buy us? The Mets will likely be letting Jose Reyes reach free agency, this means that if the Mets don't have an in-house backup plan, almost half of that is going to Jose. Add in the raises for a number of the players and the Mets could be left with 10 or so million to spend on NEW talent. That isn't SO bad, it's just not SO good either.

The Mets COULD go a different direction with Jose. Move Ike Davis into the outfield and have God awful defense... or something of that nature. Actually let's get it out there... If you want Pujols... know this: The Mets will trade Davis to make room and fix the actual problem of no pitching. That isn't an awful solution as no great free agent SP's are available this winter. Know also that Pujols might mean no Jose and that it would require the exact kind of contract Sandy Alderson opposes.

2013: Almost no additional money comes off the books in 2013 but do you know what DOES happen? David Wright enters the option year of his contract. That means David Wright goes from making 16 million to upwards of 20. That's another giant contract but one I assume Alderson will be forced to hand out. It will also likely be the last Met year for Johan Santana who has proved a little too injury prone for his contract's terms.

2014: Basically all the big money on the table today can be off the books for 2014. If the Mets wanted to cut all ties with major players and get their payroll below that of the Pittsburgh Pirates they could manage it by 2014. Jason Bay comes off the books, Johan Santana is gone... this would mean that quite a few other players also left and the Mets failed to retain Jose Reyes, David Wright, and other young players currently on the Big Club. Hopefully by 2014 the Mets can roll out the HOJO-BOT 5000 and the laser pistol and super shoulder I equipped him with.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fantasy League


Click Here To Check On The Epic Fantasy League

Last season my New York Knights became Champions for the first time in this league that has run for three seasons.

Where In The World Is Jose Reyes?


Jose Reyes is in the final year of his Team friendly contract and heading towards free agency. This is the kind of situation we constantly see the Padres faced with... wait... the Mets aren't the Padres... That doesn't change the fact that the Mets have invited a bidding war for their speedy SS after the 2011 season. Now... The Mets will have $4o Million coming off the books which is more than enough for Jose and leaves room for more. HOWEVER this is the new fiscally conservative New York franchise. God I hope the Wilpons sell soon.

The Mets Keep Reyes Long-Term:
Sandy Alderson can talk about not giving out long contracts but players in this day and age want them and the Mets can actually afford to give them. So if Reyes performs well and helps the Mets have a rebound year, Alderson will potentially pony up and Reyes will stay in Blue and Orange.

The Mid-Season Farewell:
Jose Reyes plays well but the Mets don't. The Mets cut their losses and trade Jose for some prospects and hope to form a new plan. This won't preclude the Mets from getting him back after the season but I highly doubt Jose would be begging to come back to the Mets were this the case.

Compensation Picks:
Mets hold Jose Reyes through the season and after the season Alderson balks at the price. The Mets offer Jose Arbitration and he declines and signs elsewhere... at least he's likely to be a type A.

Worst Case:
Jose is hurt, has no value and sinks to a type B or worse. If this happens the Mets might be kissing Jose goodbye for absolutely NOTHING.

Where?:

Philadelphia -
Rollins is in a contract year but Jose is younger and the Phillies would love to sting the Mets yet again.

New York -
Jeter just signed a contract but the Yankees need to think pragmatically about his ability to play short long-term.

Boston -
Scutaro isn't an answer and Lowrie has yet to prove much. Could Boston call on Jose to fill that position? (Imagine this: Ellsbury, Reyes, Crawford as a 1,2,3... JESUS!)

Los Angeles -
Furcal has been fine but the Dodgers might be looking for a new solution to an old problem.

Atlanta -
Alex Gonzalez is not a long-term solution and if their prospect fizzles they might inquire.

St. Louis -
Let us say that the Cards lose Pujols... might they ease the pain by acquiring Jose?

Seattle -
They may try to be the Big Splash again and nab Jose to join Figgins and Ichiro for their own 1,2,3 nightmare.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Keith Law's 26th Best Farm... Can hit!

Sorry Keith, but next time don't insult my boys. (Keith Law was not injured in the writing of this Blog post.)

Now my Law aimed vengeance is not severe like that aimed at Steve Philips whenever he opens his mouth, but it's palpable. Law ranked the Mets 26th out of 30 teams in terms of the strength of our minor-leagues. I don't claim to have the Tampa Bay system or the Kansas City system, but... are we REALLY that bad?

* - Career Minor Leaguer
** - Journey Man
*** - MLB Bench Player
**** - MLB Starter
***** - MLB Star

None of these rankings are set in stone but given the players age, skill, and level I think that all of their rankings fit their current projections.

AAA:
C: Mike Nickeas, **
1B: Nick Evans, ***
2B: Justin Turner, ***
SS: Ruben Tejada, ****
3B: Zach Lutz, ***
LF: Lucas Duda, ***
CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, ****
RF: Fernando Martinez, ****
DH/Util: Josh Satin, ***

Three players project as possible MLB starters and I still believe Fernando Martinez could be a star. The key here is that: Evans, Turner, Lutz, and Duda are all ready to be in the majors and they will be (in all likelihood) in AAA to start the year. This means that our AAA club has quite the murderers row. At least... for AAA.

AA:
C: Salomon Manriquez, **
1B: Michael Fisher, ***
2B: Reese Havens, *****
SS: Jordany Valdespin, ****
3B: Eric Campbell, ***
LF: Sean Ratliff, ***
CF: Matt Den Dekker, *****
RF: Carlos Guzman, **
DH/Util: Brahiam Maldonado, **

A number of players to watch starting in AA. First Reese Havens who needs only to play as good as he has and stay healthy to be on the Mets in 2012. Next is Matt Den Dekker who's defense and hitting have him steadily moving up through the system. Then there's Valdespin who flashed brilliance this fall. add in a little Campbell and Ratliff and the B-Mets should hit.

A+:
C: Kai Gronauer, ****
1B: Stefan Welch, **
2B: Wilfredo Tovar, ****
SS: Wilmer Flores, *****
3B: Jeffry Marte, ****
LF: Rafael Fernandez, ***
CF: Pedro Zapata, ***
RF: Caesar Puello, *****
DH/Util: Robbie Shields, ****

Port St. Lucie will start with the uber-prospect Wilmer Flores but he won't stick. Expect Tovar to shift across to SS when he does. Caesar Puello is a potential 5-tool player, Shields can hit, Marte has power and Gronauer is VERY VERY German. I think that half this team will be in Binghamton soon.

A:
C Francisco Pena ****
1B Jeff Flagg **
2B Ray Van Gurp **
SS Rylan Sandoval ****
3B Aderlin Rodriguez *****
LF Javier Rodriguez *****
CF Darrell Cecilliani *****
RF Cory Vaughn *****
DH/Util Juan Lagares ***

The most intriguing bunch is here in Savannah. Now... I spoke to a much more known blogger who says that Vaughn will be in a higher league but I want to maximize playing time and I think Savannah is the tougher league to hit in anyway. Vaughn, Rodriguez and Rodriguez will be the best 3, 4, 5 combo this league has. Add Cecilliani leading off and hopefully a healthy Francisco Pena and the Mets might have an ultra dominant team on their hands.

In conclusion, before one goes around saying that the Mets have almost ZERO talent in the farm... remember that a couple years ago Fernando Martinez WAS our farm.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Love is in the Air

On the one hand... pitchers and catchers arrive tomorrow and baseball season for the Mets begins. On the other hand... I love my wife and she's not the world's biggest baseball fan. You just have to understand: I've been dating the Mets for a long time. I have to have priorities.

In the beginning: I became a Met fan because my father was a Mets fan. He became a Met fan because George Steinbrenner took a dump on one of his childhood heroes, Yogi Berra. The truth is, I wasn't really a Met fan... or a baseball fan until a certain guy came to NY.


The Love: Mike Piazza ended the Bonilla hangover from the 80s and made the Mets a watchable organization again. The Mets weren't perfect, but they were lovable. Mike Piazza had his AWFUL V05 commercials. Edgardo Alfonso didn't try to hit the ball until he had a full count. John Olerud wore that batting helmet in the field. Robin Ventura provided half-time shows. Even the manager would put on a disguise from time to time. It was sports love.

Lover's Quarrel:
The Mets are not an easy club
to love. They are dysfunctional, the owners are a joke, they haven't exactly won anything for me and the cross town rival Yankees are probably the easiest team in sports to root for. I mean... do the Mets care about me half as much as I care about them?

Loving the Mets:
To love the Mets you must be patient, you must be able to take a joke, you must have a desire to see the little guy (even if he's not the little) win for a change and most importantly... you must have a slight disconnect from reality. If you can manage that... repeat after me.

I (Your Name) do solemnly swear to root for the Mets, in good times and bad, In sickness and in health, until the owners sell the team across the country and purchase the Dodgers... Those jerks.

MAZEL TOV!

Later This Week:

Despite critics, the Mets farm looks like they'll be good (at hitting):
I will look at the Mets AAA, AA, A+ and A league rosters and evaluate the talent there in.

What happens to Jose? Does he get traded? Does he come back?

A look at 2012 and beyond: What lies ahead for the fiscally responsible Sandy Alderson and the Mets?

Who Will Ike Davis Become?: Is Ike Davis Adam LaRoche with better defense, Olerud without the helmet, Keith Hernandez without the mustache, or something entirely new?

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring Training Preview: The Battle for Bench

What could be more thrilling?

The battle to be one of 5 players selected to the 2011 New York Mets bench. A team that is expected by many to finish fourth in their division, sell off their stars and sell off their team. WOO! Who is going to be good enough to NOT be one of their 8 starting position players?

Above is a lovely graphic I put together (stealing graphics from MLB.com etc...) which will allow the average person to keep track. As names are eliminated I'll be placing a red X over their picture.

Ronny Paulino - C - 30:
Paulino isn't REALLY fighting for a bench spot. He's got a spot on the roster. HOWEVER, his face might be replaced by Josh Thole's if he has the better spring training. The reality is... Thole is a lefty and most pitchers are righties... so Paulino will likely not be the #1 catcher.
Red X Chances: 1%

Luis Castillo - 2B - 36:
Castillo IS owed $6,000,000.00 which is $5,999,995.00 more then I have in my wallet right now. He's also is a patient hitter who knows the game and can still field his position. The problem? Luis cannot field ANY other position. He also has no power and only REALLY hits well from one side of the plate.
Red X Chances: 78%

Scott Hairston - OF/1B - 31:
Scott is REALLY a corner OF but in a pinch he can man CF. I just wouldn't make a habit of it. He has become known as a timely hitter who makes the most of his ABs. He doesn't necessarily have great contact or power but I'd have some confidence in him being smart with a late inning AB in a close game.
Red X Chances: 11%

Daniel Murphy - 1B/2B/3B/LF - 26:
There are few situations in which Murphy does not make the team. One being Luis Castillo being the starter and Brad Emaus the backup. However as long as Murphy can field the position odds say that he'll be part of the solution to the 2B dilemma and at least have a role on the bench. Now... he is actually likely to win the starting job right now... so maybe I'll make him a blue and orange X or something.
Red X Chances: 18%

Willie Harris - Util - 33:
Willie can play all three OF positions, 3B, SS, and 2B and he has some speed. He's likely to make the team... even if I don't want him to. Add to this he's a lefty bat and has a little pop and he makes sense. So... why do I not want him? I want Duda... that's why. So I'm irrational and like certain players even if they fill less of a role.
Red X Chances: 16%

Justin Turner - IF - 27:
Turner has a lot against him. He and Emaus are both righties. So only one will make the team (probably) and Emaus would have to be let go if he didn't. Turner can simply be moved to AAA. What Turner DOES have going for him is the ability to play SS. Now... he's not a whiz kid at SS. However he can play the position and Murphy/Emaus/Castillo cannot. So... there is an outside chance that Turner loses out on the backup 2B job and wins the backup SS job over HU... but not a GOOD chance.
Red X Chances: 84%

Brad Emaus - 2B/3B/1B - 25:
Brad Emaus was a Rule 5 pick. That means he has to stay with the MLB club all year or be sold back to Toronto. Emaus has a GREAT eye and makes good contact with some power. He's not a GREAT fielder, but he's a smart player and can handle 2B and 3B adequately. If Castillo or Murphy with the starting job this spring... he might be the favorite for the bench role. Or... HE might win the starting job.
Red X Chances: 23%

Chin-Lung Hu - SS/2B - 27:
What does Hu bring to the table? Defense, defense, defense, defense and a unique name. What doesn't he bring? Hitting. 3 years ago a friend of mine pointed Hu out to me as a potentially big prospect but... that hasn't panned out and likely won't. Hu is the favorite to backup for Jose Reyes but as I will say until the day he's cut... Turner is the better choice!
Red X Chances: 31%

Lucas Duda - LF/RF/1B - 25:
Duda is going to AAA. I see it, you see it, the whole world sees it. Not that it's the wrong move but I don't see what Duda has left to learn. He's not going to become a better fielder. He's already a fine hitter. He will likely never be quite a starter... but we have the more positionally flexible Hairston and Harris and they make more sense.
Red X Chances: 93%

Nick Evans - LF/RF/3B/1B - 25:
Evans got a BIG demotion last year and made up for it with a big year. This season the Mets... still don't have room for him. Scott Hairston is sitting above Evans for that bench role and Emaus and Turner likely edge him out of the backup IF roles. I do think he'll be up in 2011 but not for most of the season.
Red X Chances: 86%

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The 18 Million Dollar Question


In 2010, the Pittsburgh Pirates total payroll was just south of $35,000,000. If Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were Pirates they’d account for over 50% of the teams total budget. As it is their 18 Million is a substantial 12% of the total Mets payroll. Consider that they are only a drop in the bucket for the Wilpons who have allegedly lost $500 Million to Bernie Madoff but it’s not like as a working adult I can look at those contracts and say, “Drop them, I would.”

I’m not a multi-millionaire and even if I were I don’t know if I’d be willing to let $18 Million go to waste. Oliver Perez has already refused to even help the situation by accepting a demotion to the minors so if he’s healthy and NOT a free agent he has to be on the 25-Man Roster. The same has not been asked of Castillo, but Castillo isn’t exactly going to get younger by returning to the minors. I bring Castillo up in this regard because I am disgusted by Perez’s refusal to make a sacrifice to help the team and I don’t know if Castillo would be willing to be creative. Rather than part with the Mets, perhaps the Mets allow Castillo to become a coach or special instructor or anything within the organization. Maybe the fact that he’s only a 3rd of the cost made me a 3rd as unhappy with him but I think Castillo has not been quite as negative an influence with the Mets… minus that one pop-up.

The question ends up being: What makes more sense? Let those 18 Million little pieces of paper float down into the sewer or to see if cheaper talent is also BETTER talent?

The Media has made up their mind. Perez and Castillo must go and will likely go. Baseball is a business but at a certain point winning means more than getting value out of poorly spent money. Not to mention all of the misdirected fan anger. Dropping the pair will earn Alderson a bump in the approval ratings from Met fans. However is it the player's fault they are being paid so much? I'll admit that Perez has dug his own grave here, but I think Castillo has been wrongly blamed for Omar Minaya's mistake.

What is the right course?

At this point I think Castillo and Perez just need to be dropped, but that won't happen until after this spring.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who's On Second?

Biographies and Images courtesy of MLB.com

There will be an open competition in 2011 for the starting second baseman on the Mets. Incumbent, Luis Castillo, well into the twilight of his career is forced to attempt to fend off the likes of Daniel Murphy, Brad Eamus and Justin Turner or face being cut from the team. I’m going to look at the players and evaluate who has the best shot at winning and why.

Luis Castillo, 35

Luis Antonio Castillo Donato graduated from Colegio San Benito Abad in the Dominican Republic in 1991...Named the Marlins' Most Valuable Player by the South Florida Chapter of the BBWAA in 1999 and again in 2002.

For all of his faults Luis Castillo does a few things very well. He takes a walk with the best of them and can advance a runner like nobody’s business. At this point in his career he just doesn’t do much else. Luis never had power. However at one point he WAS a prolific base stealer and defensive star. That best of times was 11 years ago and all but a distant memory for all of us. Although… if I look back to 2009 and stop myself from seeing the epic “Dropped Ball” I see numbers that I’d be happy with from a second baseman. So… if healthy… I have to say that he still has a legit shot.


Daniel Murphy, 26

Daniel T. Murphy graduated from Englewood High School (FL) in 2003...Hit .395 during his senior year...Earned All-Gateway honors as a senior, junior and sophomore in high school...Also was a four-year letter winner for the Englewood Swim Team...Named the 2006 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and was named First Team All-Conference after finishing second in the A-Sun with a .398 batting average and 55 RBI while playing for Jacksonville University...During his sophomore season, he hit .410 during conference play to lead the Dolphins...Finished his freshman season (2004) with a .377 average to lead the team.

Murphy would have auditioned for the Mets in 2010 to become the new 2B if not for the Nationals minor leaguers playing dirty. What do we know about Murphy? He can hit the ball but doesn’t have 1B power. He CANNOT play LF. He can play first pretty well but is a little too impatient. He’s played some 2B now in the winter leagues and hasn’t butchered the position. I feel like he is the odds on favorite to win the nod this spring.

Brad Emaus, 25

Bradley Mark Emaus... Single... His father, Mark, played baseball at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University... Majored in media arts at Tulane University... A four-year letterman at East Coweta... Helped guide the Indians to a combined 92-25 record in four years, with four playoff appearances and a state runner-up finish as a junior... Named a Street & Smith All-American in 2004, was drafted in the 18th round by the Atlanta Braves... Named team MVP, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner as a senior after hitting .509 with eight homers, 60 RBI and 40 stolen bases... As a junior, named Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Newman Times Herald Player of the Year and earned a spot on the AFLAC All-America team after hitting .490 with 14 homers and a 1.100 slugging percentage... Claimed a pair of gold medals with the AAU Junior Olympics and was named MVP of the CABA World Series... off the diamond, was a member of the National Honor Society.

Chances that Brad makes the team are VERY good. Brad has the Alderson approach to hitting (OBP) and was a Rule 5 pick and needs to stay with the MLB club to stay on the team. He’s a righty so even if Murphy wins the job, he’s likely to win the job as the back-up. Emaus has been described as no defensive whiz. He’s a smart hitter, a smart base runner, a smart fielder and a MLB ready player. Emaus will make the team unless Turner astounds or he is not any good.

Justin Turner, 26

Graduated from Mayfair High School...Played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton.

Justin Turner was good in the minors last year but was he good enough to beat the others. Turner has the toughest road to the team. He can be sent to AAA while Emaus cannot. He’s not a lefty while Murphy is. He’s not owed 6 Million dollars like Castillo. Turner has to flat out win the position this spring which I won’t put entirely past him. If he misses the starting job Emaus/Murphy probably have the lock on backing up the starter but that doesn’t 100% rule Justin Turner out. Chin-Lung Hu has to watch out, because though he doesn’t field it well, Turner DOES field SS and could be a different sort of back-up.

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Mets: A New Hope



Somewhere in a galaxy only a borough away my favorite franchise is under attack. However as I am not exactly of the opinion that anyone as wealthy as the Wilpons are worthy of sympathy (at least when it comes to money) I am not THAT worried. Let me re-state that. I'm not worried as long as they sell the team to anyone but Jim Dolan.

Instead I wanted to focus on the positive. The upcoming season and the upcoming Spring training. The Mets have a number of intriguing story lines and a number of competitions in the works.

Who will play second? Luis Castillo Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner all have legitimate chances of impress this spring and win the starting job.

Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and the 18 Million Dollar Black Hole: Will Perez and Castillo FINALLY be cut? Met fans have been itching for this for a while. Should they be cut? Will they be cut? Equally interesting quandaries.

How will the bench shake out? The Mets brought on Ronny Paulino, Scott Hairston and Chin-Lung Hu. Does this mean that Lucas Duda, Justin Turner, Nick Evans and others will need to be sent to the minors?

Despite critics, the Mets farm looks like they'll be good (at hitting): I will look at the Mets AAA, AA, A+ and A league rosters and evaluate the talent there in.

What happens to Jose? Does he get traded? Does he come back?

A look at 2012 and beyond: What lies ahead for the fiscally responsible Sandy Alderson and the Mets?

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.