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.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is Daniel Murphy the new David Wright?

The latest news out of the Mets' camp is that Daniel Murphy will bat 2nd, and Luis Castillo 8th. I like it, at least to start the season, because it balances the lefties and righties, and gives the Mets a much better chance of having a big 1st inning. People have pointed out that you don't need a number two hitter to bunt when you have Jose Reyes on first. I agree. Murphy will get fastballs, and get to hit with the first baseman holding on Reyes a lot of the time. Otherwise, Reyes will be in scoring position or the bases will be clear, most of the rest of the time. All good situations for Murphy with his line drive bat and great eye.

Castillo batting 8th has pros and cons, and even the idea of batting Castillo 9th has been floated, by fans at least. If Castillo bats 8th, he will get on base by single or walk, and the pitcher will get to bunt him over. Castillo has always had a higher on base percentage than Brian Schneider, so that part works well. If Castillo is bunted to 2nd, he has a much better chance to score on a Reyes single than Schneider or Castro.

On the other hand, Castillo has never been able to drive in runs because he can't reach the gaps or get the ball down the line past the corner outfielders. You want your 8th place hitter to be able to get some two out RBIs, and clear the pitcher so Reyes can lead off the next inning. Of course, the Mets have Santana and now Livan Hernandez hitting, and they both hit the ball farther than Castillo, so maybe when those guys start, you drop Castillo to 9th.

Right now, the lineup and defense looks good enough to make the playoffs; the bench looks better than last year, with some depth at Triple A with guys like Sullivan, Kielty, and Cancel. My biggest concern with this team is the starting rotation.

As I predicted a couple of months ago, the Mets did the "safe" thing by returning most of last year's rotation, which wasn't good enough last year and probably won't be this year, either. Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia look like busts, and Livan Hernandez is a nice 5th starter, but what if one of the top four gets hurt or loses his effectiveness? Jon Niese might end up being the guy to save or sink the playoff hopes, like Pedro was last year. We know how that worked out, but I like Niese and think he has a good future. There's also Bobby Parnell, who seems to be passing Niese as the most major-league ready pitching prospect. He will probably start in the bullpen, but could be brought into the rotation if one of the others falters.

I do hope the Mets don't resign Pedro Martinez. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: you don't want to be the team to have to tell Pedro he's done. He should probably retire, but if someone takes a chance on him, he'll be out there until he breaks down again. A sad end to one of the most glorious careers of all-time. I wish him well, but not at Citi Field.

Caroms off the wall

Nick Evans offers more than Marlon Anderson right now. Nick Evans is probably better than Fernando Tatis right now. I would offer Marlon Anderson a minor league managerial job (Brooklyn?) and keep Evans. I would shop Tatis to the teams that lost their thirdbasemen, the Astros and Yankees, and see if I could get a top prospect or useful lefty reliever for him.

© Judy Kamilhor 2009


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