baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Porcelain Dolls, Why Do They Keep Breaking?

Again TC is babying a young player. Last year he refused to move Flores off SS even though it made no sense to play Tejada at 3B, because it would be too much to ask of Flores. Now, Flores is struggling with the adjustment to being a utility IF, which is his obvious role on this team and could have been last year. 

Conforto has volunteered to try 1B. Why not let him practice the position and at least see what he looks like. Why make a blanket statement? I'm so tired of watching MLB teams treat players like porcelain dolls. 

If TC really won't try Conforto, how about Granderson? The guy plays fundamentally sound defense, is a great team player/leader, has a poor arm, and is an aging player with only 1.7 years left on his contract. 

Really, just buy a box of righty and lefty 1B mitts and toss them around the clubhouse. 4-6 weeks of Duda-free baseball requires more than Eric Campbell and Wilmer Flores to chip in.

Not to mention the need for a semi-regular 3B to keep Wright fresh. Mets, please be active instead of dragging your feet for a change.

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The Blown Statistic

It has bothered me for years that a relief pitcher could get a blown save in the six inning, even though he had no chance to stay in the game long enough to get a save. 

Then last night, Jeurys Familia, the dominant Mets' closer, blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning, and did not get charged with a blown save, because it was not a save situation. 

It is time for some statistical redefinition. If you are a relief pitcher and you allow the tying run to score, you should be charged with a blown lead, regardless of the score or inning. 

When a reliever enters the game with a lead, his statistical possibilities would be:

blown lead

I would also like the Hold Rule to be amended to allow the official scorer to withhold a hold (dehold?) if the pitcher was ineffective. I have seen pitching lines where a reliever came in with a three run lead, and proceeded to allow two runs in less than one inning. If the team wins, it is in spite of that performance, not because of it. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dark Knight of the Soul

If you are a super hero, your job is to handle adversity. To solve problems, stop the bad guys, and save the world. 

Not unlike pitching. So congratulations, Matt Harvey, AKA The Dark Knight of Gotham, you have finally experienced the kind of personal challenges that most people have gone through, although not in front of so many people, many of whom have no compassion for you. 

This is a time for deep introspection. To go away and find your Yoda. To stop trying harder and learn to try softer. To make this game fun for you again. 

Your problem is not one that can be solved by pitching again in five days for the Mets. You need to step away from the glare for a bit and start over one small step at a time. 

Don't fight it. Surrender to the process of stripping away the false self and discovering the authentic man underneath. Find your humility, friend. 

The only way to become the Dark Knight again is to surrender to your Dark Knight of the Soul. Be humble, ask for help from those wiser and more experienced than you, such as Bartolo Colon. 

Let go of the trappings of fame and power, and focus only on being your highest self. Control is an illusion. The only thing you need to control is your next pitch, whether it is in Port St. Lucie or Columbia, South Carolina. 

Many Met fans have compassion for you now. Be grateful for your life, and surrender the illusion of control. You will be back, better than ever. 

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wilmer Flores Rehabs

Alejandro De Aza Volunteers to Play 1B

Good for De Aza to step up. A few more players need to follow suit and try some new positions. Cespedes in RF, Wright at 1B, Conforto and/or Granderson at 1B, Conforto in RF. 

And how about Walker and eventually d'Arnaud at 3B? Walker has played 3B in the past, so it may be relatively smooth. 

Don't want to see any more games with Reynolds and Campbell at the infield corners! We were a Mayberry Jr, away from the (re)cycle.

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Happy Harvey Options

Matt Harvey is discombobulated. Is it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual? Yes. It's definitely one or more of those things. So what's a team to do? Here are the options, with pros and cons:

DL (cons: he gets upset, he doesn't pitch for the Mets for 15 days, Boras will keep talking. pros: gets time to regroup, gets away from NY media, team can replace him, he doesn't pitch for the Mets for 15 days.)

Skip a start (cons: he gets upset, can't be replaced on roster, someone else has to start, Boras will keep talking. pros: has a little time to regroup, someone else gets to start.)

Send him down: (cons: he gets very upset, he doesn't start for the Mets for at least ten days, Boras will keep talking. pros: he can be replaced, he has time to regroup, he gets away from NY media, someone else gets to start.)

Keep sending him out there, including against the Nationals next week (cons: no one will be able to watch, probably get hammered again, Boras will keep talking. pros: he doesn't get upset until during the game and getting upset causes stress.)

The Mets are considering skipping a start. Not the worst option, but not the best either. He needs a longer break and some mental and physical space, so I would DL him with the dreaded "dead arm."

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Mets Ready to Defend National League Championship

The guys are back in Port St. Lucie (or St. Port Lucie as Rickey Henderson famously said), and Terry Collins has made his speech. Now the only thing left is to play ball.

So what kind of team do the Mets have this year? This is a team built on top-of-the-line, young starting pitching, and enough balanced offense to cover up any lacks, such as average-to-below defense and an unproven but promising bullpen.

The only roster questions at this point are the last two bullpen arms, and the last position player on the bench. Not bad, considering some of the names they were relying on at this time last year, such as John Mayberry, Jr. and Eric Campbell (although he hasn't gone anywhere yet). Those two will live forever as the epitome of the bottom-scraping that led to one of the worst major league lineups of all time, which many people credit for kicking Sandy Alderson to acquire and call up some real hitters.  The rest is history.

Anyway, this year, we have Jim Henderson, Eric Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Sean Gilmartin, Josh Smoker, Buddy Carlyle, Rafael Montero, the delightfully-named Stolmy Pimentel and a few more unknowns in the mix for the last two spots. All-in-all, that's not a bad group to be fighting for a chance to hold down Josh Edgin's spot for a few weeks, or to be the long man. My bet is on Jim Henderson to make the team as a middle reliever, and Verrett or Gilmartin to be the long man.

Position players fighting for the last spot include the afore-mentioned Eric Campbell, Ruben Tejada, Matt Reynolds, Dilson Herrera, Ty Kelly, Danny Muno, and whatever others make a name for themselves. People seem to assume Tejada will make the team, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him cut or traded, to save a couple of million dollars and to give the team a different look.

The bench right now includes Plawecki, Flores, Lagares, De Aza. I would like to see Lagares starting in CF against all LHPs, moving Cespedes to LF (or in my dreams, RF, where he belongs). Granderson needs to rest more, and he does not hit lefties particularly well, so for the most part, it should be Conforto, Lagares, and Cespedes vs. lefties. Conforto looks like he will learn RF to accommodate Cespedes's seeming disdain for RF, running out dropped third strikes, and ordinary vehicles.

As for the starting outfielders, this is the best group the Mets have had in a very long time. I fully expect Conforto to the team's best all-around player by the end of the season, and expect good things from Cespedes, Granderson, and Lagares. De Aza is fine as a top LH pinch-hitter and fifth outfielder, if a bit pricey.

Neil Walker had a horrendous year against lefties last year, and I would like to see a platoon at 2B. Right now, that would be Flores, but eventually I would like Dilson Herrera to come up and take over, in preparation for becoming the regular 2B in 2017. Flores will also need to play at least 30 games at 3B this year to rest Wright. Flores is also expected to back-up both Cabrera and Duda. Flores does much better against lefties, so it would be excellent to add a left-handed hitting (or switch-hitting) infielder to the mix, preferably one who can play multiple positions. I really understand why Alderson wanted Zobrist so much.

The starting infielders and catcher are fine, except for the giant question mark that is the Captain. If he approaches his old numbers: .280, 20 HRs, 80 RBIs, .350 OBP, .450 SLG, and plays 130+ games, that would be great. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely. His throwing is also problematic, no doubt resulting from the back injury. The other three are solid average to above players, and I look forward to having a double-play combination with lots of major league experience.

D'Arnaud seems ready to break out into a top-tier catcher, despite the obvious questions about his endurance/health and throwing. Plawecki is an incredible luxury to have as a backup catcher. Most teams would be happy for him to be the starter.

I doubt the Mets are looking to upgrade the bench at this point, but acquiring a good left-handed hitter would make De Aza totally expendable, and eventually making room for Brandon Nimmo to come up in July or August. Of the bench options available now, I would go with Herrera rather than Tejada. Herrera has nothing left to prove in the minors, and he has much more to offer as an all-around player than Tejada.

As for the starting pitchers, all I have to say is don't mess with them. No more six-man rotations, no more innings limits. Just let them pitch. Deal with the amazingly wonderful challenge of adding Zack Wheeler to the mix when the time comes. In the meantime, let's enjoy this group while we have it, including the stupendously entertaining and useful Bartolo Colon.

© Judy Kamilhor 2016