NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 01: Head Trainer Ray Ramirez walks Mike Baxter #23 of the New York Mets back to the dugout after being injured crashing into the wall during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at CitiField on June 1, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Mike Baxter is making his return with the Mets after separating his collarbone on June 1st preserving Johan Santana’s no-hitter. He’ll re-join the team in San Francisco starting tomorrow at 10:15pm. It’ll certainly be a triumphant return for the Queens native. I wish he had been able to play his first game at Citi Field. The crowd would’ve gone crazy for him.
Unfortunately, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was exposed by opposing pitchers after having a great start with the Mets. He’s currently hitting .252 with 7 HR’s and 28 RBI’s. The problem was 98 strikeouts in 282 at-bats.
It’s possible that Baxter could play left field predominantly against right-handers with Jason Bay playing against lefties. If Bay continues to struggle and Baxter keeps hitting, Baxter may be able to get a grip on the left field job permanently.
Last night in Buffalo Matt Harvey got hit hard by the Charlotte Knights in a 11-0 loss. Harvey gave up 6 runs in only 5 innings on 7 hits and 2 walks, although he did have 6 K’s. He threw 96 pitches, 61 for strikes. It’s a disappointing start for Harvey in his second audition for a spot in the Mets rotation after Miguel Batista was shellacked by the Dodgers yesterday.
Here’s some video of Harvey’s post-game interview.
It’s starting to become obvious that Matt Den Dekker will be playing center field for the Mets at some point this season. Let’s face it… Andres Torres and his .220/.331/.325 line is better suited as a bench player than he is in center field every day at 34 years old. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has played a solid center field but Den Dekker is better. And if Den Dekker can hit consistently like he has this season at Binghamton and now Buffalo, it’s a done deal.
This season, between Binghamton and Buffalo, Den Dekker’s line is .333/.393/.562 in 249 at-bats. If he can play an outstanding center field, as he normally does, and make a contribution offensively at the big league level there’s no reason for him to remain in the minors. The Mets have several offensive black holes on their roster and Torres is one of them.
Check out the video below of Den Dekker’s first homer for Buffalo and ninth of the season last night in their 8-3 home loss to Pawtucket.
The Mets decided to replace Chris Schwinden in the starting rotation with Miguel Batista… For now. But they should take a look at what Jeremy Hefner’s been doing at Buffalo so far this season. He’s 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 33 IP. He threw 6 scoreless innings over 5 games for the Mets this spring too.
Hefner may be over-matched my Major League pitching but he’s mastering the Triple-A level right now and deserves a shot at Mike Pelfrey’s vacated rotation spot. Continue reading →
Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler tweeted this morning that he’s going to begin the 2012 season with the Binghamton Mets. Of course, he was the prospect acquired from the Giants last year in the Carlos Beltran trade.
He spent last season with the St. Lucie Mets after coming over from San Jose. Between both stops, he was 9-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 115 innings of work over 22 starts. Expect his innings to increase this season on his way to building strength to pitch a completed big league season.
If he’s successful at Binghamton we may see Wheeler in Flushing by September.
On Friday the Mets announced that they added seven minor league players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. The players that they added were pitchers Robert Carson and Jeurys Familia, second baseman Reese Havens, and outfielders Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Cesar Puello.
Prior to this move the Mets removed Nick Evans and Jason Pridie from the 40-man roster. Both players elected for free agency and Pridie signed a minor league deal with the Oakland A’s.
As the Mets continue to trim their budget, we should see some of these prospects getting a look in spring training for spots on the 25-man roster. Havens especially deserves a shot at the second base job despite his injury history. He’s probably the best second baseman in the organization right now. Also expect Nieuwenhuis to get a look at the center or right field positions in the spring. He’s coming off season ending shoulder surgery but should be ready to go in February.
Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana made his second rehab start for the St. Lucie Mets today. He pitched two innings, facing 9 batters, and gave up 1 run on 3 hits. He had 2 strikeouts and no walks in the game. He was scheduled to pitch 2 innings or 40 pitches.
Time will tell if it was a successful rehab start. If you remember, he made a start for St. Lucie on July 28 and hasn’t pitched again in more than a month now. Coming back from shoulder surgery is tricky and the Mets have to be careful. Not only because he’s coming back from an injury, but also because he’s the most costly resource in the entire Mets system making $22.5 million without even throwing a pitch.
His salary escalates to $24 million in 2012 and $25.5 million in 2013 with an option for 2014 at $25 million. If the Mets can’t get Santana healthy enough to pitch in 2012, they’ll be in big trouble combined with a decreasing payroll. The simple fact is that they just can’t have a guy on the disabled list taking up nearly 25% of the team’s payroll. It’s impossible to win that way.
Since there aren’t many Major League highlights to watch from the Mets right now, I thought that I would switch gears to show you what the future of the Mets looks like. Here’s some video of Binghamton Mets pitcher Matt Harvey throwing 7 scoreless innings last night against the Erie SeaWolves.
So far this season, Harvey is 4-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 10 starts at Binghamton. He was the Mets first round draft choice in the 2010 draft.
Check out the video below and comment if you’d like to see Harvey in the Mets big league rotation in 2012.