Tagged: New York Mets

New York Yankees vs. New York Mets: A Quick Preview

To say that the participants of the Subway Series are stumbling is an understatement. The New York Yankees, who looked primed for a playoff chase at this time last week, have dropped four games in a row, including a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. The New York Mets just went 2-5 against the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies at home and the injuries continue to mount with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera the latest to get hit.  The bottom line is as the calender turns to August (August!) both the Mets and Yankees face a difficult path to postseason baseball with some arguing the Yankees have already given up that hope with the trades of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.

Before I continue, I need to digress. I liked it much better when the Subway Series was played over the course of two months, three weekend games in Citi Field in say, June with three weekend games at Yankee Stadium in July. They just felt different and more important split up that way as opposed to the current format of four total games, two in each ballpark, all in one week.  In my opinion, the meetings between the two teams have lost some luster. But that’s just me.

Courtesy: nbcnewyork

Courtesy: nbcnewyork

The opener at Citi Field on Monday has C.C. Sabathia pitching against Logan Verrett. The Yanks wouldn’t mind if they were able to deal a third pitcher out of town but with the the big lefty’s contract situation, any trade would result in the Yanks’ taking on a hefty portion of his contract. He was solid in his last outing, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Houston Astros. Meanwhile, Verrett has had some good outing for a #5 starter allowing seven earned runs in his last 19 1/3 innings, a span covering three starts. On Tuesday, it is a battle of aces as Masahiro Tanaka opposes Jacob deGrom. Tanaka is 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA and perhaps most importantly, is on pace to start 30 games for the first time in Pinstripes. deGrom continues to get no run support, “earning” a no-decision in his last time out despite throwing seven shutout innings. He is 6-5 with a 2.65 ERA. ‘

On Wednesday, the two teams hook up in the Bronx with Steven Matz scheduled to face Ivan Nova. I use the term “scheduled” as Nova’s name has popped up in trade discussions as he is set to become a free agent at season’s end. He also did not endear himself to Yankee management with his semi-meltdown during Friday night’s loss in Tampa. Nova is 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA. Matz’s season line of 8-7 with a 3.35 ERA is excellent; however, he has really struggled since being diagnosed with bone chips. The lefty is 1-4 with a 4.43 ERA over his last seven outings. In the finale on Thursday, it will be Bartolo Colon to face Nathan Eovaldi. The Mets tried using Colon on three days rest and it worked for three innings on Saturday before two errors doomed him to defeat. Still, Big Bart has been tremendous, tied for the team lead in wins with nine to go along with a 3.58 ERA in 22 outings. Eovaldi’s name has also come up in trade rumors, namely with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The hard-throwing righty is 9-7 with a 4.78 ERA, numbers that earned him a brief bullpen demotion in July. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs since his return to the rotation but he has also not pitched seven full innings during that time, either.

Both teams employ feeble offenses. They rank in the bottom portion of Major League Baseball in runs scored, batting average and on-base percentage. The Mets are ninth in home runs but are 19th in slugging percentage and dead last in batting average. I don’t need to tell you how awful they are with runners in scoring position. The Yanks are 28th in slugging, ahead of only the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The Yanks are 23rd in OBP while the Mets are 24th. Come Monday night, the Yankees could be without their best offensive player as Carlos Beltran‘s name continues to swirl in the trade winds. The best Met offensive player, Yoenis Cespedes, has been slowed by a quad injury. All of these dreadful statistics can mean only one thing for the 2016 edition of the Subway Series: lots of runs will be scored over the next four games.

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New York Mets’ Player of the Week July 24-July 30: Rene Rivera

It was supposed to be a week of celebration for the New York Mets. Mike Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday and the festivities would culminate in an evening honoring the great catcher on Saturday evening. Instead, the Mets fell further out of the playoff race with a series of frustrating defeats in which their offense was a complete joke. This week’s honor for Mets’ Player of the Week goes to of all things, a backup catcher. However, Rene Rivera was no joke this week at the dish.

Courtesy: nypost.com

Courtesy: nypost.com

Although he is not the starter, Rivera is outperforming the regular catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, even when taking the latter’s disabled list stint into account. Rivera has doubled d’Arnaud’s home run output and has almost twice as many RBI’s in 46 fewer at-bats. The 33-year old veteran played in only three games over this past week but he was a force in two of them. He delivered the big blow on Tuesday with a two-run home run, supplying the only offense as the Mets dropped the first game of a doubleheader by a score of 3-2. On Thursday, Rivera’s double in the second accounted for his team’s only run as New York lost another excruciating game by the score of 2-1. Besides Jacob deGrom, Rivera was the only bright spot with three hits in four at-bats. The fact that Rene Rivera is this week’s Mets’ Player of the Week shows you how sorry the state of affairs is in Queens.

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New York Mets’ Trade Rumors: Joe Smith

Despite a woeful offense, it seems the only deal the New York Mets are interested in that moment (outside of a flirtation with Jonathan Lucroy), is one for a reliever. Recently, I attempted to help general manager Sandy Alderson by recommending in one post Brad Ziegler and in another one Joaquin Benoit. It was a game but futile effort as both players were eventually dealt elsewhere as Ziegler went to the Boston Red Sox and Benoit landed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Now word comes that Alderson and company might actually be ready to strike.

Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

According to Marc Craig at Newsday (via mlbtraderumors), the Mets and Los Angeles Angels are discussing veteran reliever Joe Smith:

The side-arming right-hander, originally taken by the Mets in the third round of the 2006 Draft, is in the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million dollar contract he signed with the Angels prior to the 2014 season. He was brilliant that season, with a 1.81 ERA and 15 saves in 76 games and was forced to close when Huston Street was injured as Los Angeles captured the American League West title. The last two seasons haven’t been as pretty with a 3.58 ERA in 70 appearances last year and a 3.96 ERA in 37 games so far in 2016. However, his struggles this year could be the result of a stint on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury and right now he has seven consecutive scoreless outings.

Given New York’s futility at the dish, one would think the organization would do something to fix that. However, the asking price for Lucroy and even Steve Pearce (according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and mlbtraderumors) is a bit high for the Mets so they are better off more affordable options. One place to start would be the bullpen where even Jeurys Familia has been vulnerable lately.

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New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies: A Quick Preview

The New York Mets lost a devastating two out of three games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Once again, their offense couldn’t get runners home as the team left a total of 18 men on base in the two defeats. With a record of 53-47, they are now 5 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East and still on the outside of the Wild Card picture. Now they play a four game weekend series against the Colorado Rockies, who swept three games from them at Coors Field May 13th-May 15th. The Rockies come in a little wary, having to play a 1:10 PM game on Thursday after playing a 7:05 PM game the previous night in Baltimore. Colorado is on the absolute fringes of the playoff chase with a record of 49-52 and in third place in the National League West but 7-3 over their last ten contests.

Courtesy: espn.com

Courtesy: espn.com

If you follow me on Facebook, you know the affection I have for Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado. I can make the argument that he is the best all-around player in the National League. He is second in all of baseball in RBI’s with 78 and is tied for fifth in home runs with 26. If the Rockies can get closer to a Wild Card, you should see Arenado’s name mentioned as an MVP candidate. Shortstop Trevor Story is the front runner to win National League Rookie of the Year with 27 homers, tied for third among all Major League hitters. He has six long balls in his last 15 games but is a strikeout machine with 127 whiffs in 404 plate appearances. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu continues to be a force at the plate, hitting .327 which is fifth among all Major League batters. He has nine hits in his last 27 at-bats. Carlos Gonzalez, forever the subject of trade rumors, is having another All-Star season with 20 home runs and 62 RBI’s while batting .317, 11th among all hitters.

On the mound, left-hander Tyler Anderson takes the ball in the opener, facing Jacob deGrom. The 26-year old rookie is 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in eight starts. Over his last three outings, Anderson has allowed nine earned earns in 18 1/3 innings, striking out 15. On Friday, it will be Tyler Chatwood vs. Steven Matz. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA in eight starts on the road. One of his few solid home outings came on May 15th against the Mets as he hurled seven innings of three run ball as the Rockies won by a score of 4-3. Chatwood is 9-6 overall with a 3.65 ERA in 18 starts. On Saturday, it will be left-hander Jorge De La Rosa facing off against Bartolo Colon. It’s been a tough year for the veteran with a record of 6-7 with a 5.70 ERA and a brief demotion to the bullpen. However, he had a good outing on Monday vs. the Orioles, allowing only one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. The finale on Sunday has right-hander Chad Bettis facing Noah Syndergaard. Bettis is 9-6 with a 5.19 ERA but has been solid over his last three games, allowing five earned runs in 17 1/3 innings, picking up two victories. The Rockies’ bullpen has settled down with rookie right-hander Carlos Estevez becoming the closer. He has allowed three hits and two runs in ten July appearances. The return from Tommy John surgery of power righty Adam Ottavino has also helped. He hasn’t allowed a run and has surrendered only three hits in his first ten appearances.

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New York Mets’ Minor League Report 7-27-16

Jose Reyes has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 left intercostal strain. Dilson Herrera was scratched from last night’s game for the Las Vegas 51’s. The easy conclusion to draw is that the New York Mets are about to put Reyes on the disabled list and recall Herrera to take his roster spot. The 22-year old Herrera, who has received 149 at-bats with the Mets over the last two years, appears to be on track to be the club’s second baseman next year. With Vegas this season, he ranks third on the team in three categories: hits with 96. home runs with 13 and RBI’s with 55.

On to other farm happenings within the organization.

Courtesy: nypost.com

Courtesy: nypost.com

Catcher Tomas Nido of the Class A St. Lucie Mets has been stinging the ball as of late. He has 17 hits in his last 45 at-bats, a .395 average with seven RBI’s and six runs scored. He leads St. Lucie in hitting at .317 and is tied for third in home runs with six. The 22-year old Nido was New York’s 8th round pick in the 2012 Draft out of Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, Florida. He has been an All-Star selection in each of the last two seasons and is on pace for his most productive season as a professional. Nido is not listed among MLB’s top 30 prospects in the Mets’s system but his numbers suggest otherwise. Only one catcher is in the organizational top 30, Ali Sanchez at #15 from the Brooklyn Cyclones. Nido deserves a spot as well.

If you are Matt Oberste, it is easy to get lost among the other Met prospects. He plays first base for Double A Binghamton, the same position and team that is home to Dominic Smith, New York’s top prospect according to MLB.com. He, like, Nido is not ranked in the top 30. However, that doesn’t mean that the 24-year old Oberste isn’t a productive player. Splitting time with Smith at first and designated hitter, his .291 batting average and 38 RBI’s are both second on the B-Mets and his .344 on-base percentage is tied with Smith for fourth. The right-handed hitting Oberste was a Post-Season All-Star in the Florida State League last season was named this year’s Top Star in the Eastern League All-Star Game with a 4 for 5, 4 RBI performance. He was New York’s 8th round selection in the 2013 Draft out of Oklahoma.

Despite struggling with a 13-19 record and in last place in the West division of the Appalachian League, the Kingsport Mets are only 3 1/2 games out of first place. 2015 fifth round selection Thomas Szapucki was outstanding for the Mets before being promoted to Brooklyn. The lefty allowed only two earned runs in 29 innings, a span covering five starts. As a team, Kingsport has good offensive numbers, ranking third in both on-base percentage at .342 and stolen bases with 41 and is sixth in batting average at .261. However, despite Szapucki’s dominance, the pitching staff has been less than average. Their WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) of 1.43 is ninth in the ten team league and their 4.71 ERA is eighth. The only solid number for the unit as a whole is strikeouts as they have compiled 298 of them, good for second.

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New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals: A Quick Preview

The New York Mets return home to Citi Field Monday night after a decent  road trip that saw them split two series to playoff contenders. The record on the nine game swing was 5-4, beating the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins and dropping a set to the Chicago Cubs. In the standing, the Mets are five games out in the National League East and half a game out of the second Wild Card. They now open a three game set against another contender, the St. Louis Cardinals, a team they have not faced yet this year. The Cards, at 52-46 are almost a mirror image of New York. They are a game off the second Wild Card and trail the Cubs in the National League Central by 7 1/2 games. St. Louis is also like the Mets in that they have dealt with a lot of injuries and ineffectiveness during 2016.

Courtesy: nydailynews.com

Courtesy: nydailynews.com

All-Star Matt Carpenter missed the Midsummer Classic and is still on the disabled list because of an oblique injury. Around the same time, Brandon Moss, who is tied for the club lead in home runs with 17, went on the DL because of an ankle sprain. Both players are looking to re-join the team by the end of the month. Jhonny Peralta, who missed the first two months of the season with a thumb injury, is again sidelined with a strained thumb ligament which is unrelated to his previous injury. Rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who forced Peralta to third base because of his outstanding early season play, is heating up again after a tough stretch. He is hitting .319 over his last 30 games and leads the club in batting average and is second in on-base percentage. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko is in one of the hottest grooves of his career with five home runs over his last seven games and his hitting .370 in his last seven contests. Second year man Stephen Piscotty has filled in very well for the departed Jason Heyward. His 106 hits and 58 RBI’s are both team-highs.

It is in the rotation where St. Louis has faltered this year. Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and free agent signee Mike Leake all have ERA’s over 4.00. The only hurler out of this bunch the Mets will see is Wainwright who gets the ball on Wednesday. Carlos Martinez, who has been the club’s best starter is given the opening night assignment against Noah Syndergaard. Martinez is 9-6 with a 2.83 ERA in 18 starts and sports excellent control with 37 walks and 96 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings pitched. Jaime Garcia will pitch the middle game against the ageless Bartolo Colon. Garcia is 7-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 18 starts. The Cards’ rotation isn’t the only part of the staff that has had issues. Closer Trevor Rosenthal has been removed in favor of Seung-hwan Oh. The hard-throwing Rosenthal has allowed 39 hits and 24 walks in only 32 1/3 innings. Meanwhile Oh, a 34-year old Japanese import, has converted four of his first five save opportunities and has 67 strikeouts in only 49 1/3 innings. He is holding opposing hitters to a .162 average and possesses a WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings pitched) of 0.85.

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New York Mets’ Player of the Week 7/17-7/23: James Loney

About six weeks ago, I wrote a post proclaiming that James Loney was a “savior” for the New York Mets. Perhaps the term “savior” was a little strong but he has done a nice job for a Met team that has their droughts offensively. He also has been a tremendous asset in the field at first base. In a tough week for the Mets in which they went 3-3, the 32-year old Loney was a shining star. Thought he did not start every contest, he nevertheless owned a hit in every game he appeared in this week thanks to a nifty pinch-hitting appearance Friday night.

Courtesy: mlb.com

Courtesy: mlb.com

The week started off with a bang as Jacob deGrom delivered one of the most dominant pitching performances in team history, allowing just two baserunners while facing the minimum number of batters in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Loney went 2 for 4 and scored two runs including the first one of the game. He did not start the first game in Chicago vs. the Cubs, a 5-1 loss. Loney went 1 for 4 on Tuesday as the Mets evened the series with the Cubs by a score of 2-1. New York dropped the finale at Wrigley by a score of 6-2 as the veteran continued his hitting streak with a fourth inning single. After an off-day Thursday, the Mets traveled to Miami to for an important set with the Marlins. Loney did not start Friday night’s game but delivered a key pinch-hit, two-run home run in the ninth inning for the difference in a 5-3 Mets’ victory. Saturday was another disappointing loss, this time by a score of 7-2 with Loney extending his hitting streak to seven games with an eighth inning single and he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

It was an average week for the Amazins. For James Loney, it was a very productive stretch as he had eight hits in 25 at-bats. For that reason, he is subwaybaseball’s New York Mets Player of the Week.

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New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins: A Quick Preview

It s easy to say that this next series for the New York Mets is the biggest one of the 2016 season. After all, they are playing the Miami Marlins, a team they are neck-and-neck with in the division and for the second Wild Card. At 50-44, the Mets sit 1 1/2 games behind the Fish. who are 52-43, in both sets of standings. The Marlins return home after taking three of four games from the Philadelphia Phillies while the Mets are 3-3 on the first six games of their nine game road trip. Miami is rumored to be in the market for starting pitching help, having been linked as interested in Michael Pineda and Andrew Cashner.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The Marlins have had three young players blossom all in the same year.  Left fielder Christian Yelich  leads all full-time players with a .395 on-base percentage and a .318 batting average while center fielder Marcell Ozuna is supplying a good deal of pop with 17 home runs and 52 RBI’s to go along with a .303 batting average. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is hitting .315 and owns 23 hits over his last 65 at-bats, a .365 average. Four Marlins are in the top 15 in the National League in hitting: Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto and Martin Prado. Then there is the wonderful Ichiro Suzuki who is four base knocks away from the historic 3,000 number for his Major League career. At age 42, Ichiro is having a fabulous season with a .419 on-base percentage and hitting .343 in 178 at-bats. There is a chance that he could make history this weekend at the Fish Tank. Though Giancarlo Stanton has struggled lately with six hits in his last 27 at-bats, the Mets remember him well from his last visit to Citi Field when he clubbed a series of monstrous home runs. Miami will get some help by the end of the month when Justin Bour comes of the disabled list and Dee Gordon returns from his suspension for using a banned substance.

The Mets will be facing the two best Marlins’ starting pitchers this weekend. Left-hander Adam Conley gets the ball in the opener Friday night. He averages nearly a strikeout an inning with 103 punchouts in 104 2/3 frames. He is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) over his last seven starts. On Saturday, New York gets to face Marlins’ Ace Jose Fernandez, one of the best pitchers in the game. The 23-year old right-hander is second in all of baseball in strikeouts with 168 and his WHIP of 1.01 is tied for seventh. He owns a record of 11-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts. In his last outing on Monday vs. the Phillies, Fernandez allowed two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings while striking out 14. A.J. Ramos has turned himself into an outstanding closer with 31 saves in 32 opportunities and a 2.03 ERA. In 40 innings pitched, Ramos has allowed only one home run. The bridge to get to the ninth inning has been fortified with the recent acquisition of Fernando Rodney. Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps have proven to be able relievers, although the latter has surrendered four earned runs over his last seven innings pitched.

This marks the fourth time these two teams meet. The Mets hold the advantage at 5-4. They will meet for seven more games after this weekend, four in New York to close out August/begin September and three games in Miami, the last home series for the Marlins in 2016.

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New York Mets Minor League Report 7-20-16

With deals at last year’s trading deadline along with the re-acquisition of Kelly Johnson earlier this season, don’t expect there to be much movement within the farm system of the New York Mets. A lower-level player could be dealt for a veteran reliever but there won’t be the dealing of a top prospect like Michael Fulmer was a year ago. Players that were promoted such as Michael Conforto last year and Brandon Nimmo this year means the likelihood of a significant Minor League piece helping out the big club will be limited to September 1st call-ups or the occasional spot start.

Courtesy milb.com

Courtesy milb.com

Left-handed pitcher P.J. Conlon just might be the Mets’ organizational Pitcher of the Year for 2016. The 22-year Conlon was recently promoted to St. Lucie of the Florida State League where his domination has continued. In five games for the Mets, he is 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA, a span covering 33 innings. He has allowed eight earned runs while surrendering only one home run with a WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) of 1.00. For the season, he is a sparkling 11-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 17 starts, pitching a total of 111 1/3 innings. Conlon, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland was the Mets’ 13th round selection in the 2015 Draft out of the University of San Diego.

Let’s stay in the Sunshine State where St. Lucie has gotten of to a fast start in the second half of Florida State League play. Before losing on Tuesday night, the Mets had reeled off six straight victories, putting their record at 15-10, in first place by a half game in the FSL’s South division. This mark is all the more impressive considering that shortstop Amed Rosario, one of the team’s best players in the first half, was promoted to Double A Binghamton. However, the one-two punch of Conlon and Ricky Knapp at the top of the rotation means St. Lucie will continue to be a tough team to face as the Summer rolls on

First baseman Dominic Smith continues to shine for Binghamton. He has 14 hits in his last 37 at-bats, a span covering ten games. The organization’s #1 prospect according to mlb.com, Smith is fourth among Eastern League hitters with 65 RBI’s. New York’s #1 pick in 2013 out of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, California, Smith leads the B-Mets in batting average at .294, hits with 98 and doubles with 18 and is second in on-base percentage at .353. The 21-year old Lefty swinger was selected for this year’s Futures Game and played for the United States squad. He went 0-4 with an RBI on a force out, one of only three runs the U.S. scored on the way to a 11-3 loss. His steady rise through the organization should result in a promotion to the big club some time in 2017.

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New York Mets Trade Target: Joaquin Benoit

According to Marc Craig at Newsday (via mlbtraderumors.com), the New York Mets are looking for right-handed relief help. They came close to signing Kevin Jepsen who opted to go with the Tampa Bay Rays. I had written a post in June stating the team should look at Brad Ziegler. That did not pan out as the veteran was traded to the Boston Red Sox. So here I am again, speculating on another arm the Mets should look into and with my track record in this department it probably means they will pass. The Amazins should now focus on Joaquin Benoit.

Courtesy: Phil Long / The Associated Press

Courtesy: Phil Long / The Associated Press

The 38-year old Benoit is not a name that has been brought up in any trade discussions. The relievers you hear about for playoff contenders include the Big Three of the New York Yankees as well as Ryan Madson of the Oakland A’s and Jeremy Jeffress. All of those pitchers would cost a significant prospect or prospects. Benoit is in the final year of his contract at a salary of $8 million dollars. His numbers aren’t great with a 4.37 ERA in 24 games and he missed about a month in earlier in the year with shoulder inflammation. However, he has been a good to very good reliever over the last six years, registering ERA’s of under 2.00 in two of them. Benoit has pitched better as of late as he has been unscored upon in each of his five July outings. He has also owns a 2.82 ERA in 20 playoff games, though his most recent work in 2013 was less than stellar.

The Mariners are heading for a disappointing season and the price tag for Benoit should be right up the Mets’ alley. Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto could recoup at least one of the prospects he gave up for the veteran but not one that is significant within the Met organization. Sandy Alderson better act soon before another one of my great ideas goes out the window.

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