Friday, March 25, 2011

Port St. Lucie 500

We've hit the home stretch, with the season opener only 6 games away. The races are all drawing to a close and some are already done and over with. All that we're left with is the things we know and the things we don't.

The Bench:

What We Know:

Ronny Paulino - Ronny Paulino will be up as the Mets secondary catcher as soon as the league will let him. HOWEVER... after Thole's super impressive spring... he might see a VERY small share of the platoon.

Scott Hairston - Scott Hairston locked up his spot on the bench the minute he signed his deal. He's also had a good spring, but he might NOT be on the bench. If Beltran is out, he might be the starting RF.

Willie Harris - Harris might be platooning with Hairston in RF while Beltran is sidelined. Met fans will scream and rave for Duda though.

Daniel Murphy - Murphy's glove was not up to 2B full time, but he will see ABs with regularity and see time backing up Wright, Davis and the Second Baseman.

Chin-Lung Hu - Hu was another lock from the moment that he landed on the Mets. He's not a long-term solution but if he plays well he could sign a low multi-year deal to be a bench player.

What We Don't Know:

Lucas Duda - Lucas Duda is the fan favorite to step in for an injured Beltran. The issue is that Duda has options and Evans does not.

Nick Evans - Let us say that Beltran does start the year on the DL. Alderson might opt to have Harris platoon to protect Evans from the waiver wire. It doesn't make GREAT sense but it does make SOME sense.

The Rotation:

Mike Pelfrey - Mr. Psycho, he's not going to blow you away. Mike Pelfrey is going to be the Met's #1 starter and that is based mostly on last season's success. Many people worry if his spring training woes will be reflected in the regular season.

Jonathan Niese - The Nose, knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men... he can smell it. Niese looks like he could be a break-out candidate in 2011. That could be my rose tinted Lennon specs though.

R.A. Dickey - Everyman, you can't help but like him because somewhere in Dickey... you see a little of yourself... or who you wish you could be. Capuano said, this morning, that he doesn't know how anyone can hit Dickey's pitching. He hasn't been as great as he was last year but... he wasn't that great last SPRING either.

Chris Young - Green Giant, Ho ho ho... Young looks about as solid and steady as almost any starter I've watched this spring. I think that a healthy season could see him return to 10+ wins easily.

Chris Capuano - Mets lower rotation... It's Chris-mas! Of the Chris', Capuano is the lefty. You might be confused because both are fairly intelligent, both are Caucasian and both could have great careers outside baseball.

The Bullpen:
What We Know:

Francisco Rodriguez - Frankie looks REALLY good. So good... that I think the Mets will be forced into his option.

Bobby Parnell - Parnell has been mixed in his outings but his job is safe.

Tim Byrdak - With O'Connor and Perez gone, nothing stands between Byrdak and global domina- I mean... being the lefty specialist.

Taylor Buchholz - Buchholz looks like he might end up being the 8th inning guy.

D.J. Carrasco - Carrasco has been good enough to get a job by anyone's standards... PLUS he's got a two year deal.

What We Don't Know:

Jason Isringhausen - Is he healthy NOW? Will he be healthy TOMORROW? What about a week from Thursday? If the Mets think Izzy can stay healthy, he's going to get a job.

Pedro Beato - Beato is near a lock too. He's got a great arm and he's a rule 5 pick. I can't see a scenario where the Mets don't keep him.

Manny Accosta - Accosta has done everything right... but is looking in from the outside. Don't feel too bad as he's sure to get a job somewhere if the Mets need to put him on waivers.

Blaine Boyer - Boyer has pitched REALLY well. Who has noticed... well... quite a few people. I think he's a long-shot to make the bullpen though.

Second Base:

Brad Emaus - Brad Emaus only faked his death as he carefully manipulated things from the shadows. Proving Murphy couldn't handle the position was rough and it was harder to get the bear to fall and crush Castillo all the way onto the Phillies... but he did it. Now... well... Emaus has proven he's alive. He went 4 for 4 yesterday with multiple hits against Jaime Garcia... PLUS a HR. He's drawn the walks he was touted for and finally looks to be pulling away with the position... as he was expected to.

Luis Hernandez - Henandez is still technically in the race but it's once again a long shot and I, for one, am happy about that.

Phlavio's 25:

Lineup: 8
1. Jose Reyes, SS (S)
2. Angel Pagan, CF (S)
3. David Wright, 3B (R)
4. Ike Davis, 1B (L)
5. Jason Bay, LF (R)
6. Scott Hairston, RF (R)
7. Josh Thole, C (L)
8. Brad Emaus, 2B (R)

Bench: 5
1. Ronny Paulino, C (R)
2. Willie Harris, OF (L)
3. Nick Evans, 1B/OF (R)
4. Daniel Murphy, IF (L)
5. Chin-Lung Hu, IF (R)

Rotation: 5
1. Mike Pelfrey, SP (R)
2. Jonathan Niese, SP (L)
3. R.A. Dickey, SP (R)
4. Chris Young, SP (R)
5. Chris Capuano, SP (L)

Bullpen: 7
CL. Francisco Rodriguez, RP (R)
SU. Taylor Buchholz, RP (R)
SU. Bobby Parnell, RP (R)
MR. Jason Isringhausen, RP (R)
MR. Pedro Beato, RP (R)
LHSP. Tim Byrdak, RP (L)
LR. D.J. Carrasco, RP (R)

Thoughts: The lineup looks a lot better with Beltran in it, but even without his presence, it's pretty solid. The bench, in my opinion, is great. You have hitting and defense and presence from both sides of the plate. (Duda would improve that.) The rotation is fine... a little vanilla maybe, but in Citi-Field they should keep the Mets in the game. The bullpen looks like a REAL strength. NOTE: if the Mets are sellers, only Beato and Parnell are guys the Mets would need to hold on to.

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