Archive for April, 2013

By Steven InmanimagesCAU5LIB3

The Mets have struggled badly recently, losing their last five including a heartbreaking loss to the Miami Marlins Monday night in 15 innings.  A key factor in that has been the play of first basemen Ike Davis. Or should I say the lack of play.

Ike Davis is hitting just .159 in 95 plate appearances this year. He went from being thought of by many (including me) to have a huge, breakout year to people screaming to send him to the minor leagues.  What’s more concerning is that Davis is striking out a whopping 30.5 % of his plate appearances.

Davis has played a good first base but has been the Mets worst hitter so far this season.

In my own opinion, while I believe hitting Coach Dave Hudgens has done a nice job here with the Mets, I really believe his philosophy has hurt Davis.imagesCADQ3WP8

The Mets and Hudgens preach patience and it seems like while that helps others get better counts, it seems like before you can blink Ike is down in the count 1-2. Then once Davis is behind in the counts it’s almost a guaranteed strikeout, at least so far in 2013.

Last season Ike hit over .300 and led baseball in homeruns when he swung at the first pitch. He hasn’t been swinging early in the count much this season.

Ike needs to be more aggressive and he needs to stop changing his stance. It seems almost daily that Ike’s hands are in a different spot so how can he be consistent. I think Ike is doing that on his own and I don’t believe Hudgens is telling him to do that. The only player I can recall who was ever successful at that was Cal Ripken. Also it seems like Davis struggles are mostly on the outside part of the plate.

That’s because Davis has been hesitant to go the other way and he has been absurdly far off the plate in the batter’s box this season. I remember David Wright had a similar issue a few seasons ago and you wonder why he doesn’t just move closer to the plate.

The Mets are sinking and they need Davis to get it going before it’s too late.

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By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

A big factor in the Mets 10-12 start, has been the play of the guy batting first in the order. In 22 games this season the Mets in the leadoff spot in the batting order are hitting just .217 with a .287 on-base percentage with 23 strikeouts in 102 plate appearances.

The Mets have used six leadoff guys in 22 games. Guys like Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter were expected to play a lot as leadoff hitters this season, but the trio have struggled badly offensively early on.

The Mets best option may be Jordany Valdespin who has been hot to start the season.

The Mets have little team speed and have lacked a true leadoff hitter since Jose Reyes departed in free agency. Reyes signed a six-year deal in Miami worth north of $100 million.

This will be a problem all year as the Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter anywhere on their 40-man roster. That’s why bringing in center fielder Michael Bourn would have been a good idea. Bourn signed a four-year deal with the Indians instead.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

To make room for Shaun Marcum on the roster, the Mets optioned lefty reliever Josh Edgin to double AA Binghamton.

Edgin, 26, has struggled badly with a 9.64 earned run average in 11 games. Interestingly though, his BAPIP (batting average on balls in play) is 4.14 compared to last year’s at .233. Edgin has been very unlucky so far this season. Practically every other time a hitter put the ball in play against he reached base.

I find it interesting that Edgin is going down to double A not Triple A. To me that means that Edgin is being sent down for only a short time to figure things out. Terry Collins said Vegas wouldn’t be good for Josh where nearly every las Vegas 51 pitcher has gotten hit around. They still believe Edgin is part of the 2013 plan.

Edgin is being sent down to fix his mechanics and I don’t think he’s that far off.

The Mets bullpen has been awful, almost as bad as last year. The Mets are going to need Edgin to shut down big left handed hitters as we get closer to the summer months.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Mets Left fielder Lucas Duda will likely be eligible as an arbitration player this winter as a “Super Two” player this winter according to a tweet by CAA Baseball.

The cut off this year is expected to be 2 years and 119 days in the big leagues to be eligible for arbitration. Duda beats that by about 20 days.

It’s a little disappointing as this will cost the Mets another two or three million depending on how the rest of Duda’s year goes.

This means that Duda will now have four years of arbitration after this season. After that Duda will be a free agent.

I think its too early to talk about a contract extension with Lucas Duda because of how inconsistent he has been over the years.

This is a huge year for Duda and while his walk rate has been impressive, he just takes to many pitches for a guy who can drive the ball 450 feet, as we saw earlier this year in Philly. Lucas Duda hasn’t swung at the first pitch in 32 consecutive at bats.

The 27-year old Duda is hitting .273 with a .459 on base percentage with 5 homers in 74 plate appearances. He has gotten off to a terrific start but eventually pitchers will start throwing him more strikes and it will be up to him to start driving the ball and making the pitchers pay.

By Steven Inman

Wednesday night Jordany Valdespin came off the bench and went 1-2 including a walk off grand slam. It was the Mets first grand slam in 22 years. (Not including Ventura’s grand slam single) For perspective the Mets had given up seven walk off grand slams since the last one they hit.

Valdespin is batting .279 with a .326 on base percentage in 46 plate appearances. Valdespin has shown a little more patience at the plate this season but he still swings at too much junk to be an everyday player in my opinion. He also doesn’t really have a position on the field that he is above average at. He has shown he deserves to be on the major league roster because of his ability to drive the ball especially off the bench. In 251 career plate appearances Valdespin has 9 homeruns and 13 steals.

On a team that doesn’t have a ton of power or speed that is definitely needed.

On the field Valdespin has shown that he belongs on the roster. His role going forward will really depend on how the other outfielders perform over the next few weeks.

That’s the good of Valdespin the bad is the stuff he does off the field.

Last July in San Francisco, Valdespin violated Mets team policy by wearing a white undershirt on the team bus to Giants stadium, AT&T Park. All other Mets were wearing collared shirts. A few veteran teammates cut up the shirt during the game, and colored over it with sharpies.Jordany Valdespin

Valdespin went ballistic and nearly fought some of his teammates before Terry Collins broke it up. That was just one of many instances of Valdespin not getting along with some of his teammates.

Valdespin has also had some interesting quotes including “I’m the man right now” after his first big league homer and asking veteran teammates for money saying “I’m a rookie, you have to buy me a suit.” according to Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Valdespin is an interesting character, to say the least but as long as he continues to drive in big runs, the story of Jordany Valdespin will continue.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Jon Niese was hit by a sharp comebacker off the bat of Mark Ellis in the right leg in Tuesday night’s loss to the L.A. Dodgers. Niese was struggling with control before getting hit in the third inning. Niese went down and trainers came out to check on him. He immediately came out of the game.

Looking at it from the stands, it looked a lot worse than what Niese and Terry Collins said about it after the game. “He got hit between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon basically,” Terry Collins told reporters after the game. “The fear was when he couldn’t move his foot when we went out there. Obviously he’s fine and he’s walking around. He’s getting better as the night goes along. He’ll be okay.” Collins told reporters after the game.

X-rays on Niese were negative and he is day-to-day.

Niese is a major factor for the Mets who are trying to hang around .500 right now. The Mets could be in big trouble if he misses any time this year but it doesn’t appear like he will for this injury.  Niese’s next scheduled start is Sunday vs. the Phillies.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

As expected the Mets have called up outfielder Juan Lagares from Triple A Las Vegas. Lagares, 24, had been hitting very well in the minors. As a corresponding move the Mets optioned Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Triple A.

Lagares can play all three outfield positions but has said in the past he is most comfortable in centerfield. Terry Collins said he will put Lagares in the lineup Wednesday night vs. Ted Lilly. He will get a chance to play a little here in Queens and has a perfect opportunity in front of him to show that he belongs in the major leagues.

I wrote about Lagares as a player here. He is more of a free swinger at the plate so I’m interested in seeing how he fits in because the Mets and hitting coach Dave Hudgens have been preaching patience ever since Collins and Sandy Alderson took over.

Collins has heard good things about the young outfielder.  “He’s the future. He’s a great defender. I talked to Wally Backman today. Wally said he’s off to a good start, he’s got some power. There are people in this organization that think he’s a better center fielder than Matt den Dekker. That speaks a lot.” Collins told ESPN New York.

Lagares will wear #12 when he gets to the ballpark later today.