Johan Santana and Developing Young Pitchers

New York Mets Johan Santana (R) watches as Cleveland Indians Travis Hafner hits a pitch for a solo home run during the second inning of the Mets MLB inter-league baseball game in Cleveland, Ohio June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL) fans are quickly realizing that the 2010 version of Johan Santana is not the same pitcher that the team traded a proverbial “bucket of balls” for back in 2008. After Santana and the Mets agreed to a 6-year, $137.5 million extension following the trade that winter, the left-handed ace went 16-7 with an ERA of 2.53. Santana had a Cy Young caliber season that year, he could have easily had 4-5 more wins, if not for a horrendous bullpen that ultimately led to that team’s demise.

Fast-forward to the present, and it is plain to see that Santana is performing like anything but an ace. Coming off an injury shortened season in 2009, the wear and tear on Santana’s elbow is certainly showing, especially coming off surgery. The 31-year-old’s velocity is down considerably, which lessens the effect of his signature out pitch, his change-up. Combine the drop in velocity of his fastball with poor location of seemingly all of his pitches recently, and you have the make-up of a very hittable and predictable Major League pitcher.

With Santana’s 2010 campaign so far in mind, it reminds us of the importance of developing young pitchers within the organization (a big-market organization, at that), so the need for acquiring high end starting pitchers down the road isn’t as great. Continue reading “Johan Santana and Developing Young Pitchers”

David Wright Could Be MVP – We Believe in Comebacks

May 21, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - DAVID WRIGHT during the Mets vs Yankees at Citi Field in Flushing NY. The Yanks won 2-1. Wright’s career hit a low point in 2009.

Sure, he hit .307, but he had a career low in home runs (10) and runs batted in (72).

Not to mention, the Mets won under 80 games for the first time since 2004, which was David Wright’s rookie campaign.

Coming off of that awful, putrid, and just plain unlucky 2009 season, the Mets started a promotional campaign claiming “We Believe in Comebacks”. Considering the terrible taste the Mets left in their fans’ mouths the past three seasons, not many people believed the Mets would be making any type of comeback this season.

But the Mets currently sit ten games above .500, and in the National League Wild Card lead. They’re also being led offensively by David Wright, who’s hitting .301 with 14 homers (four more than all of last year) and 61 RBI’s, which leads the National League.

Wright may have been happy getting a Comeback Player of the Year award this season the way last year went. But so far, he’s looking like a front-runner in the NL Most Valuable Player race.

At the moment, Wright is on pace to hit 30 homers and drive in 131 runs, all while maintaining that batting average above .300. Continue reading “David Wright Could Be MVP – We Believe in Comebacks”

Mets 2010 Locker Room Harmony Overrated

Dave Doyle writes that the Mets harmonious locker room is completely overrated. Don’t credit Jeff Francoeur. Winning games makes everyone happy and working well together.

Whenever the Mets go on a really good run or a really bad one the media comes out in force. The latest bandwagon jumper is Mike Lupica. He’s all over the Mets this week because they’re winning and doing it in style.

The focus of his latest column is how Jeff Francoeur saved the Mets locker room. Francoeur didn’t save anything. Winning a few games saved the Mets locker room.

It really doesn’t matter if everyone likes each other or not. It’s a job to these guys. Most people don’t go to work together and get along with everyone at their job. But most can work productively with others. It’s the same thing on a baseball team. It’s their jobs. They don’t have to get along with everybody and to expect them to do so is ridiculous.

Let’s save the talk about the harmonious locker room until the Mets raise the World Series trophy over their heads. That’s when we can talk about the love-fest in the clubhouse.

Mets Wrap Up Successful Homestand – Look Ahead

The Mets have had a big home stand against the Cubs, Braves, and Dodgers. David Daniels writes that the next series in Philadelphia could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Are we getting excited yet!?! Our Met’s are now on a 6 game winning streak and hopefully we can make it a 7 game winning streak before heading off to Philly. This was a wildly successful homestand.

Yes, It’s a little early in the year but I’m so looking forward to this weekend series with the Phillies. I love the rivalry. Considering the rough start the Mets had, catching the Phillies will make this series that much more entertaining.

Jon Niese will open the series Friday followed by Mike Pelfrey and then Johan Santana. The Phillies pitchers have yet to be announced. This lines up our top two pitchers for a crucial series that will set the tone for the entire year. Will the Phillies embarrass the Mets or will the Mets show they can play toe-to-toe with the defending NL Champs and leave Philly in first? Continue reading “Mets Wrap Up Successful Homestand – Look Ahead”

Mets Catchers Barajas, Blanco Not Cutting It

The Mets made a big mistake when they signed Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco. They should have gone with a platoon of Omir Santos and Josh Thole.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The problem that I had with Brian Schneider in 2008 and 2009 was that he was an automatic out. Now, I’m starting to long for the days of Schneider hitting .218. After watching Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco over the last three weeks, I’m wishing we had a .218 hitter behind the plate.

Mike Pelfrey has been astounding so far this season and he’s given credit to his personal catcher, Henry Blanco. And everyone seems to like what Barajas is doing in the field as well. But let’s not forget that catchers have to bat! Barajas and Blanco are rally killers.

I wrote last October that the Mets needed a youth movement at catcher. As it turns out, I was right. Although Omir Santos and Josh Thole haven’t done much hitting at Buffalo in the early season. But they aren’t doing any worse than Barajas and Blanco. Continue reading “Mets Catchers Barajas, Blanco Not Cutting It”

Mets’ Mike Pelfrey 2010 Early Season Success

Mike Pelfrey’s 3-0 start to the 2010 season has Mets fans buzzing that he’s finally developed into a legitimate #2 starter. It looks like the split finger fastball is the big difference.

Courtesy of Wikimedia

The biggest surprise for me this season has been Mike Pelfrey’s astounding success through his first three starts. His ERA is down to 0.86 after his start against the Cubs last night. It’s a huge turnaround from the regression he experienced in 2009 with a 10-13 record and 5.03 ERA.

The only physical difference is that he lost about 25 pounds in the offseason. But that can’t account for his tremendous early success after such a disappointing 2009. He wasn’t exactly overweight before this year.

It looks like the biggest difference is the development of the split finger fastball this year. He seems to have quickly developed a feel for it to get a nice, late sink on it. His motion with it is so deceptive because he doesn’t appear to deviate from his motion when throwing a fastball, which always had some sink on it anyway. I’m curious to know if Dan Warthen had any role in his development of the split finger. Continue reading “Mets’ Mike Pelfrey 2010 Early Season Success”

Forbes 2010 Baseball Team Values

The annual Forbes list of baseball team valuations lists the Mets as the third most valuable team in MLB. They lost 6% from 2009 and stand behind only the Yankees and Red Sox.

Forbes came out with their annual list of team values yesterday. The Mets are listed as the third most valuable team in the game behind the Yankees and Red Sox. That’s not a big surprise to any of us. What is interesting is that the Mets declined in value by 6% from last year, the only team in the top half of the league to do so.

You can still see the 2009 list of values on Forbes’ website. The Mets fell behind the Red Sox by losing value. The heavy debt from Citi Field and the poor season certainly are to blame for the devaluation. Continue reading “Forbes 2010 Baseball Team Values”