Nelson Figueroa Retro Prospect Report

The Hardball Times linked to this interesting retrospective prospect report from John Sickels at the Minor League Ball blog.

It makes for interesting reading to see how Figueroa did in the minors and worked his way up to the majors. I have to agree with Sickels’ assessment that Figueroa doesn’t have the “stuff” that would make him a prototypical prospect for a pitcher. But he does have a fight in him and the ability to work through trouble without wilting under pressure.

Going forward I’d like to see Figueroa take Jorge Sosa’s spot as the swingman on the team. When Matt Wise gets back someone in the bullpen will have to go. In addition, Pedro Martinez should return to the rotation at some point. Aaron Heilman isn’t going anywhere despite his many poor performances in April. Joe Smith may go to the minors but I like what he brings as a righty specialist. My feeling is that Sosa should be the odd man out. The Mets would most likely have to release him but he’s “only” making $2 million this season on a one year contract.

Video: Post Game April 24, 2008

The depressing post game video contains comments from Oliver Perez, Aaron Heilman, and Willie Randolph.

Oliver Perez wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t his best night but he should’ve been given the opportunity to get through the sixth inning. That’s Willie’s mistake. The poor performances of Jorge Sosa and Heilman, and the over-work of Joe Smith, and Pedro Feliciano should force Willie to re-think his strategy.

Willie needs to give the starters more leeway to work out of trouble. The best pitchers on the team are the starters (except for Billy Wagner). He needs to keep his best pitchers in the game longer considering the state of the bullpen.

Mets, Maine Beat Nats 5-2

New York- John Maine (1-1) got his first win of the season pitching 6.2 innings giving up five hits, four walks, and two earned runs to go along with four strikeouts. He wasn’t quite as sharp as we saw in spring training but it was good enough for a win tonight. Joe Smith finished off the seventh and the eighth innings. Billy Wagner closed out the ninth for his second save.

The Mets had an unusual power surge with home runs from Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Ryan Church against his former team. Luis Castillo also had a quiet 3 for 4 night.

The Mets secured the series by taking the first two games of the three game set. They’ll finish the series tomorrow night at Shea Stadium with John Lannan (0-2) up against Nelson Figueroa (1-0).

Box score

ESPN Video Highlights Video Highlights 

Last Man in the Mets Bullpen

The seventh spot in the bullpen is one of the few position battles left on the Mets roster. In all likelihood it will come down to Joe Smith or Duaner Sanchez. Marty Noble for profiles this position battle.

It’s premature to take a side on this issue at this point. We don’t really know what Sanchez is capable of. The only thing that we do know is that he hasn’t pitched in a major league game in almost a year and a half.

Joe Smith is more of a known quantity right now. He’s had his up’s and downs this spring. Maybe the Mets could take a chance on how hot Smith was coming out of spring training last season. Although I’m not sure that translates into this season.

Sanchez hasn’t shown that he can pitch more than once a week yet. That won’t help the Mets during the regular season. He may need to get his arm back in shape in AAA.

It’s just too early to tell who will win the last spot in the bullpen. I need to see both Smith and Sanchez over the next week and a half to decide who I’d like to see there.

Omar is Looking to Fill Some Gaps

Joel Sherman of the Post reports that Omar Minaya has to word out that several players are available for trades now. Joe Smith is apparently available now. Sherman writes:

Aside from Smith, the Mets also would consider trading Orlando Hernandez, Scott Schoeneweis, Jorge Sosa and Anderson Hernandez. Ruben Gotay, who was out of options and, thus, could not be sent back to the minors without facing waivers, also was on that list before injuring his foot.

The Mets will need to pay a big portion of Schoenweiss’ bad contract to unload him. That was one of Omar’s biggest missteps. Three years was utterly ridiculous for him.

Game 1- Post game wrap up

Glavine looked fantastic until the sixth. Joe Smith looked nervous, but he’ll get over that. I liked that Willie trusted him with a lead. Heilman got a little lucky with the double play ball up the middle. Rolen hit that ball pretty sharply. Heilman owes Valentin a dinner for bailing him out. As usual, Wagner can make us fans nervous but comes through in the end. I was very surprised that Willie stuck with Feliciano going into the eighth inning. He’s more of a lefty specialist, one inning at most, type of pitcher to me.

Great D tonight. It was nice to see that they looked so sharp this early in the season. I thought we might see Easley pinch hit for Valentin against Tyler Johnson in the seventh. Valentin’s a shaky right handed hitter at best. I’d really like to see Easley get a lot of at-bat’s this year against lefty’s. Last year Valentin hit .219 against them. It turned out well in the end as he saved the eighth inning with a great play up the middle for another highlight double play.