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, April 11, 2010

Mets After 5 Games

So far, so almost-2009. The Mets have demonstrated some of last year's problems, especially a lack of clutch hitting and some questionable defense. The injury problems have certainly not disappeared, although most of the pitchers are healthy, which is a huge lift.

On the other hand, there are definitely signs for optimism. The starting pitching has been a little better than expected, the bullpen has been much better than expected, and Jose Reyes is "back." I'm using quotes because Reyes looks like a player who missed major league Spring Training. And not just at the plate. The funny thing is that every time I saw a video clip of Reyes during the early part of Spring Training, before the whole thyroid issue came up, he was bobbling grounders left and right.

Playing shortstop in the major leagues is not easy, and it takes a while to get into the flow. The good news is that the Mets might easily have won yesterday if Reyes had been in mid-season form with his legs, defense, and hitting.

Oliver Perez looked okay to me. I know the results weren't great, but he's not spinning, and his focus seems a little better. I am concerned with the loss of velocity, and not just for Perez, but for Santana and Maine, too. If it weren't for Jennry Mejia, I would say the Mets are using a slower speed gun this year, but that's not the problem. Maine and Perez are too young to be losing 4-5 mph on their fastballs, so it makes me wonder what is going on. As for Santana, his results were good in game one, but he is not the dominant pitcher he was with the Twins.

Santana seems to have entered the second phase of his career, where command and grit will provide good results, rather than dominant stuff. If anyone can succeed that way, it's him, so I'm not too concerned. His slight decline, though, is another reason to put Mejia back in the minors as a starter, where he belongs. By next year, I'd love to see Mejia become the number two starter the Mets have needed desperately since Glavine and Pedro Martinez stopped pitching like aces while with the Mets.

I love the two Japanese relievers. Igarashi looks like John Belushi doing that samurai schtick from Saturday Night Live. Takahashi pitches like the late Tug McGraw, that wonderful old screwball.

My concerns so far:

John Maine: It's time to wonder whether he will ever again be more than a bottom of the rotation starter.

David Wright: He has the yips. There, I said it. His defense is regressing every year, and now he not only can't throw straight to first base, but he is backing up on grounders again, and letting them eat him up. And, if Fernando Martinez or Ruben Tejada had hit a ball against the wall and gone into a home run trot, they would have been ripped to shreds. When Wright does it, it's a big joke. Not acceptable behavior by Wright or the usually great SNY announcing team of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez.

First Base: How many teams have not one, but two first basemen in Triple A that are better all-around players than all their first basemen on the big club? It doesn't make sense that Jennry Mejia and Ruben Tejada are ready to play in the major leagues (at least to replace injured players), but Ike Davis and Fernando Martinez are not. And even if you want to keep Davis in Triple A for a few months to slow the arbitration/free agent clock, how about Chris Carter? The guy is in his prime; it's now or never, and he's obviously primed to be in the major leagues. Why not give him a few weeks to show what he can do?

Second base: Luis Castillo was probably the Mets' MVP last year, at least among position players. However, his lack of range and hustle on defense are killing the team. Alex Cora is a much better second baseman, and my guess is that there is not that much of a difference offensively to justify Castillo being the starter. At this point, I would like to see the two guys split the position for a while, and see if the team plays better with one or the other in the lineup. I wonder how long it will be before Ruben Tejada will be the best of the three?

And, I have to mention the poor decision to let Nelson Figueroa go and keep Sean Green. It's one thing to keep someone young and talented instead of a journeyman like Nelson, but Sean Green is neither. I suppose it's more an emotional thing than not, but wouldn't it have been cool for Figueroa to be introduced on Opening Day at Citi Field as a member of the 2010 New York Mets? Good luck in Philly, Nelson. You'll be missed.

So, I would say that this is still not a playoff caliber team, but there is definitely hope for the future in Davis, Mejia, Tejada, Martinez, and the other young prospects following them. My one hope is that Omar Minaya does not trade one or more top prospects for some aging veteran that has very little left. Those days are long gone.

© Judy Kamilhor 2010


At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, I have to mention the poor decision to let Nelson Figueroa go and keep Sean Green.

Especially now since they put Green on the DL anyway?!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger kami haiku gmail said...

Thanks, anonymous. It's always good to know someone is reading this blog!

Yes, Green was a mistake, but I like Valdes, and he probably should have made the team from the beginning. I'm glad they didn't have to return him to the Mexican League.



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