Archive for September, 2014

By Steven Inmanlloyd

When Bud Selig put in the second wild card I don’t think he envisioned several average to below average teams competing for a playoff spot. Well that’s the 2014 NL Wild Card Race.

The Giants appear to be running away with the first wild card and still have aspirations on the NL West, They are a quality team but the teams below them in the wild card race are not. Believe it or not, the Mets are not out of the wild card race.

The Mets are 5.5 games out of the second wild card with 17 games to go. Yes that lucky 17 games to go always seems to find the Mets like in 2007 and 2008.

The issue is there are four teams ahead of them in the wild card race and the Mets just lost David Wright for the year Tuesday.

That being said the four teams ahead of the Mets also all stink. Let’s go over why.

Pittsburgh Pirates– The Pirates just can’t seem to gain any ground and have been very up and down recently. The Pirates won four straight, then lost four straight, then won four straight again before losing last night. They are just very streaky because they don’t have the offense to pick up the slack. This is the team that is most likely to win the second wild card.

Atlanta Braves– The Braves have been awful recently as their offense is one-dimensional. Atlanta just don’t seem to win when they don’t him home runs. The Braves are 22-50 when they don’t homer this season. The Braves have lost six of their last eight and they are now closer to last place then first place. The Mets also see Atlanta again one more time in what actually could be the Mets first big series in Turner Field in September in a very, very long time. The Braves may clean house if they finish under .500. The Mets can definitely catch them with a strong finish.

Milwaukee Brewers– The Brewers were leading the Central all season and just imploded two weeks ago. The team was 1.5 games ahead of the Cardinals on August 26thand are now six games back of the Cardinals. The team has lost 13 of their last 14 games as their starters are 1-11 with a 6.69 ERA in that span. Ryan Braun isn’t hitting and is banged up, Carlos Gomez isn’t hitting and is banged up and the Brew Crew look done. They probably had their worst loss of the season last night and just look like they ran out of gas. The Mets can definitely catch them.

Miami Marlins– The Mets just saw the Marlins last week and took two out of three in South Beach. The game the Marlins won in that series when the Mets made six errors looms even larger now. This Marlin team is very mediocre, they have a fantastic outfield but they really just don’t have many strengths other than that. The pitching staff isn’t going to be able to carry this team over the other teams mentioned to erase their 3.5 game deficit. The Mets can definitely catch them with a strong finish.

NL Wild Card Teams

W

L

PCT

WCGB

WCE #

       

San Francisco

79

65

.549

+4.0

       

Pittsburgh

75

69

.521

       

Atlanta

74

71

.510

1.5

17

       

Milwaukee

74

71

.510

1.5

17

       

Miami

71

72

.497

3.5

16

       

NY Mets

70

75

.483

5.5

13

       

 

Are the Mets going to make the playoffs? Highly unlikely, but they have been playing much better and they have the pitching staff that could make a little noise down the stretch pass some of these fading teams. The question is going to be can they hit enough to go on some kind of run. The Amazin’s will have their work cut out for them with seven more games against the Nationals with just 17 to go but this could be the Mets first September where they aren’t just playing the string out. At the very least the Mets are trying to finish .500 or better for the first time since 2008. New York would have to finish 11-6 to finish .500.

When you see performances like Jacob deGrom’s Tuesday night and the offensive progression of Travis d’Arnaud it makes you think that the Mets are getting close to turning the corner. Now imagine what this deficit would be if this team had Matt Harvey this season.

What are your expectations for the Mets down the stretch??

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By Steven Inmanindex

As the Mets get ready for their annual winter search for more power hitters, an interesting trade candidate is emerging.

The Cincinnati Reds expected to contend this season but after the worst second half in the majors to date, (15-29) they have all but fallen out of the race. Now the Reds enter an offseason where their three huge contracts, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey missed significant time due to injury and their four best starters are entering their walk years.

Johnny Cueto, Matt Latos, Mike Leake, and Alfredo Simon are all free agents after the 2015 season. Reds GM Walt Jocketty has already mentioned that the team will not be able to retain all of them as free agents and could trade a few of them this winter. If the Reds sell off aces like Cueto and Latos, chances are they would be willing to discuss slugger Jay Bruce.

Bruce, 27, was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 but is having his worst big league season. The slugger is batting just .219 with 15 homers. Bruce had hit 96 homers in the previous three seasons so the Reds must be shocked to see Bruce struggle so much this season.

Without key cogs like Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips on base in front of him, Bruce has just 59 RBI this season. Bruce has struck out a rough 28% of his plate appearances this season, a career high.

The Reds will definitely listen on Bruce, who will be a free agent after the 2016 season if they decide now is the time to sell off their pitchers. The Reds could elect to go for it one last time with Cueto and Latos but it will only make their rebuilding efforts that much more difficult.

Bruce is owed $24.5 million through the 2016 season. The contract also has a $13 million club option for 2017. While that may be difficult for a team to absorb like the Mets, trading players like Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy could create room for this small revenue club. (The Mets are going to try and move those two players anyway)

Bruce has finished 10th in the MVP voting the past two season. He recently told Cincinnati.com that “this has been the most embarrassing year of my life,”

Bruce could cost a lot in prospects but nothing compared to what he would have fetched a year ago. This is definitely something the Mets must look into this winter as they look for more offensive help.

By Steven Inman

Tim Teufel and the rest of the Mets coaching staff will be working extra hard to turn Dilson Herrera into a capable second basemen this month

Tim Teufel and the rest of the Mets coaching staff will be working extra hard to turn Dilson Herrera into a capable second basemen this month

It has been a very up and down beginning to Dilson Herrera’s big league career with the Mets. The youngest player in the big leagues hit his first big league homer Monday but has three errors on pretty routine plays in his first five big league games.

Herrera has shown a quick bat but is definitely a work in progress at second base like his predecessor, Daniel Murphy. Speaking of Murphy, the All-Star is not expected back anytime soon so Herrera will continue to play every day at second base.

Herrera can only get better with each big league game he plays. The Mets hope that he shows them enough offensively and defensively to plug him in as the everyday second basemen next year. BrokeMets has been reporting all year that the Mets are unlikely to pay Murphy’s $8.5-9 million in arbitration this winter and are far more likely to trade the second basemen.

Herrera is still just 20-years old and he should get much better defensively which is why it is so important that the Mets were able to get him playing time in what has become a lost season.

If the Mets can solve second base next season at the league minimum, that would give them a much better chance at filling their holes at shortstop and left field this winter.

Herrera is definitely a storyline to watch for the Mets for the remainder of the season.

By Steven Inman index

Juan Lagares is coming off his best game as a major-league player. The centerfielder went 4-4 with a walk and stole two bases. Lagares has played so well that not even Terry Collins can take him out of the lineup.

Based on defensive runs saved Juan Lagares is rated as the best defensive outfielder in baseball. Lagares has a 5.6 WAR according to baseball reference. Usually when a player has a five win season, it means he is an All-Star caliber player.

Lagares’ WAR easily leads the Mets.

Lagares’ 5.6 WAR ranks 9th in baseball and is ahead of players like Troy Tulowitzki and Andrew McCutchen. Keep in mind that Lagares has missed 36 games this season as well so his WAR could be in even higher.

Am I saying that Lagares is as good as those two players? Absolutely not those guys are superstars who can change the game with one swing of the bat. Just keep in mind that Lagares has been great for the Mets this year and as his offensive game continues to improve, the future gold glove winner will emerge as a star.

Lagares reminds me of Carlos Gomez who also came up with the Mets before being traded in a package for Johan Santana. I could see Lagares developing the power that Gomez has, which would make him a complete All-Star player. Lagares’ numbers offensively are by far better than when Gomez was in his second big league season.

The 25-year old Lagares is under Met control through at least the 2019 season and should keep getting better and better.

The Mets have told Juan Lagares they want him to steal more bases to become a better offensive threat. The Mets figure since he can get such good jumps in the outfield, why can’t he get them on the bases.

After attempting just seven steals in his previous 94 games, Lagares has five steals in his last five games.

The sky is the limit for the man his teammates call “King”