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Team Preview - NY Mets Edition

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The last place Dodgers take on the worst team in NL East. For the third series in a row the Dodgers get to play a team they should beat. They haven't done it in the first two series, with the rotation a mess, they probably won't do it in this series either.  Hopefully we will get the rain they are talking about and only Kuroda will need to pitch.

Many teams suffer injuries but when the Mets lost Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado that is more then bad luck.  This year they have Reyes back, but Beltran is still out, and Delgado is now gone.  Any offense would miss that caliber of player, and the Mets are no exception.  The Mets can ill afford to miss the big guns because the rest of the offense is filled with replacement level players. The Mets are currently battling the Braves for the 2nd worse offense in the NL.  Pitching is a bit better as they are fourth in ERA, and eighth in xFIP.

Changes:

Notable Losses: Carlos Delgado, JJ Putz

Notable Additions: Jason Bay, Rod Barajas, Alex Cora, Gary Matthews,

Old Friends: Alex Cora

Position Breakdown

1st Base-  Jacobs was released a few days ago and Ike Davis has been called up to give the Mets some punch. Old Dodger fans will love Ike Davis. He is the son of Ron Davis, for those of us old enough to remember, Ron Davis was a hero to the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series, and helped the Dodgers win that lovely revengeful  World Series. Ike Davis was the 6th ranked prospect by Baseball HQ. Here is what they have to say about him:

Comments: Solid collegiate hitter had a breakout year in 09, hitting 20 home runs between High-A and Double-A. Short stroke and enough bat speed to drive ball for power. Walk rate improved in 09, but still K's too frequently and will need to improve to maintain BA. Fared better against LHP in 09, but swing can get long at times and needs to control the outer half better. Possesses plus arm strength, but lacks the range and hands at both 1B and RF.

Going on looks alone, he looks like a goofball and not a baseball player.

2nd Base-  Once upon a time Luis Castillo was a good second baseman who parlayed solid OBP skills, defense, and speed into a very good second baseman. Now he can't run so his average suffers, which in turn makes his OBP suffer. So even though he has a walk rate at 12% he's a huge liability. If any one thinks DeWitt is useful because he walks just watch a few years worth of Luis Castillo and his sub .350 slug% and see if you can stomach that.  On thet plus side DeWitt costs nothing while Castillo is banking millions for his empty production. Also not to dump on DeWitt it is highly probably that once DeWitt gets comfortable he'll start swinging with some punch.

SS - Headed into 2009 Jose Reyes was a valuable commodity. The noted speedster had added power to his arsenal and could do it all offensively and defensively.  A year later he's trying to prove he's still that guy, but as of now he's got a long way to go. The power he showed in 2008 has yet to reappear but he's missed almost a year of baseball so he should be expected to be rusty. When healthy Reyes is as exciting as they come, and the Mets will need him to be on top of his game if they hope contend in 2010.

3rd Base - Like Reyes, headed into 2009 David Wright was considered one of the best NL players. If Pujols was not in the league his name would have been mentioned as an MVP candidate. Inexplicably the man who had hit 126 home runs in four years lost his home run stroke when the Mets moved into their new stadium. He ended 2009 with only 10 home runs, 23 less than in 2008. According to UZR his defense also took a nosedive going from +5.7 to -9.7.  His average and OB stayed just about the same but the slug% dropped 87 points. Mets fans hoped it was but an anomaly but so far in 2010 that slug% is even less then it was in 2009.  There is some good and bad news in the 2010 numbers to date. His walk rate has jumped over 20% for the first time ever. The bad news is that his K rate is an astronomical 37%. 

C - Rod Barajas is the everyday catcher. It has been years since the Mets have had a good catcher and 2010 is no exception. Barajas is 34 years old and is playing like he's 38. He can hit a home run once in a while. He's a good backup catcher, but for the Mets he's their starter.

CF - Beltran missed the 2nd half of 2009 and will miss the first half of 2010. Starting in his place is Angel Pagan who did a good job in 2009 subbing in for Beltran. Some of that had to do with good luck as his BABIP was .364. As his BABIP has normalized in 2010 he's having a much more tougher time of it. He's probably a good backup outfielder being asked to do to much as he tries to fill the shoes of Carlos Beltran.

LF - Jason Bay was signed to bring back the power they lost when Carlos Delgado got old. So far Bay has yet to hit a home run and is also striking out at a 35% clip. In time the Mets may get their money's worth but so far in 2010 it ain't happening.

RF -Jeff Francoeur came over last season from the Braves hoping to revise the once promising career. He started out 2010 like a house on fire and as some proclaimed he had found his way back with the Mets it seems they may have been early on that call. After that fast start he's only 3 for 30 so work still needs to be done. In his favor he actually has a walk rate of 10% which is huge considering it was at 3.6% in 2009.

Bench - Chan Ho Park's old friend Fernando Tatis, Alex Cora, Gary Matthews, Henry Blanco, and Frank Catanalotto

On the DL: Carlos Beltran

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game One -Oliver Perez is still confounding everyone. He'll never be what he was when he exploded on the scene as a Padre. The Mets are hoping he can simply hold down a spot in the rotation. That seems questionable as he's still walking over 5 players every nine innings. So far in 2010 his ERA is at 3.71 and his xFIP is 4.57. Based on how bad he was in 2010 the Mets will be thrilled if he can keep up his 2010.

Game Two - Johan Santana is no longer Cy Santana but he's still one of the best pitchers in baseball. The K Rate is over 8 and the walk rate is minuscule compared to what the Dodgers do. Still a three pitch pitcher his FB/Slider have both dropped a few MPH from his heyday. This year his FB is averaging 89.7 after averaging 93.1 in 2006. The slider has dropped to 81.6 from a peak of 84.9 in 2006.

Game Three - In 2007John Maine was a promising young pitcher. By 2009 he had become just another pitcher in the rotation. In 2010 he's been unlucky and lousy giving him a 8.64 ERA to go along with his 5.95 xFIP. I hope this is not Chad Billingsley's future.

Bullpen: Francisco Rodriquez was signed as a free agent in 2009 to be the Met closer and while he's always exciting he still gets the job done most of the time. To help get the game from the rotation to Francisco is a top pitching prospects and your basis veterans.  Fernando Nieve who uses a 1.14 walk rate to keep the damage to a minimum. Expect to see Pedro Feliciano who has a 1.00 ERA and xFIP of 5.77 thanks to a walk rate of 8.0. It is bizarre for Pedro because he normally has a K rate of 8 and a walk rate of 3.0, to see them reversed is probably just a small sample size. Jenrry Mejia was rated by Baseball HQ as the Mets top pitching prospect. The 20 year old is doing a great job in his first shot in the major leagues. Right now he's getting by with is mid 90's fastball since he doesn't need much else. This is what HQ had to say about his future prospects:

Comments: Thin athletic/projectable hurler with a blazing fastball. Currently still more of a thrower than a finished product, but the upside is huge. Good cutting action and downward movement on FB makes it a definite swing and miss pitch. Also features the makings of a solid change-up and a drop-off-the-table curve, though both need more work and consistency. Command can be all over the place, but showed signs of improvement in 09. Not a big guy, but does have a big-time arm.

 

Help on the way: Ike Davis is already here, Jonathan Niese is already here. Fernando Martinez is probably still a year away.