Chris young not in Opening day lineup

Along with the news this morning of Daniel Murphy missing todays season opener due to his wife being in labor, Chris young is out due to a quad strain.
The news alters the lineup and postpones the first look of an outfield of Young, Lagares and Granderson. Eric young Jr. Is starting at second base today and Andrew Brown will get the start in leftfield in C. Young’s absence. Terry Collins said it wiuld have been Duda if not fir the fact that he had a hamstring injury during spring training.

METBLOGFEVER: Are the Mets wildcard worthy?

published by Keith Gendron                                      March 27, 2014.

 

There are 4 days left until the home opener to the 2014 season at Citifield versus the Washington Nationals. This spring training seemed to last forever. Two exhibition games at the old Olympic Stadium in Montreal against the Toronto Blue jays and an off day remain. Hopefully there will be no casualties during the series, in an attempt to draw baseball back to Montreal, an old division rival, Montreal Expos(now Washington Nationals).

But enough talk of exhibitions and games that don’t count. Lets do this already. The 2014 Mets will have new additions Bartolo Colon, Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, along with Jose Valverde. Gone for 2014 is Matt Harvey as he recoups from Tommy John surgery. Ruben Tejada is the shortstop for the time being and Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are both on the roster as well. The shortstop issue was not addressed as Stephen Drew has been dangling for months with no takers. I am assuming Ike Davis will be the left-handed complement to Josh Satin as Duda is a late inning bat off the bench and designated hitter, getting occasional starts at first base. Daniel Murphy survived trade rumors as well and now entering his prime, I expect even more production from him. David Wright should benefit the most from the Granderson signing offering him protection he hasn’t had since the second half of 2012. Wright needs to be healthy this year, along with Davis if their are any designs on reaching the post-season. Travis d’Arnaud will be playing his first full season in the Majors and I hope he just focuses on defense and managing the pitching staff and let the hitting just come. This year will be about constantly making adjustments in a league that overwhelmed him last September. Chris Young bouncing back and being productive again would solidify the lineup as a right handed power threat and he plays good defense as well. Eric Young Jr. hopefully buys in to pitch selection and getting on base more in order to cause havoc as a base stealer. Granderson should hit 25-30 homers this year and his presence trickles down to Wright and Murphy. He strikes out a ton as does half the lineup, but a power bat will also drive in runs. Juan Lagares is their best defender in the outfield, but I dont know if he gets bumped off the roster or not. I hope he gets an opportunity as the pitchers can relax when a ball is hit in the gaps with  out there.

The rotation is pretty good with Gee, Colon, Wheeler, Matsuzaka or Mejia and Niese. The reserves Syndergaard and Montero will be up in July and will excite the crowd. Colon’s condition worries me and I expect some sort of hamstring or leg injury when he has to run the bases. The bullpen is questionable. Parnell still recovering from neck surgery has pitched well in spring training, but he is still trying to build velocity. Vic Black was optioned to the minors to work on his mechanics and will hopefully be back in a few weeks. Valverde will be the set up man for now and spell Parnell early in the season on occasion. Jeurys Familia has pitched better in a limited sample this spring and Lannan has been added to the roster as a reliever. The rest are not that remarkable and hopefully can bridge the gap successfully.

The schedule will be tough in April facing playoff caliber teams in Washington, Atlanta, Arizona, Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Angels. Do the Mets have enough to make the post-season? Well, a lot has to go right. The chances of them all happening between health and career resurgences, I as a fan will say Yes!!! but as an analytical student of the game I say NO.

As far as what i project the positions of the National League East in 2014

Washington      95-67

Atlanta               85-77

Mets                  78-84

Miami                 70-92

Philadelphia       70-92

Nothing expert about this….I like to go against conventional wisdom at times and this appears to be what everyone that isn’t a Mets fan is predicting. I hope I am wrong, for the Mets and My sake, It would make  for one Hell Of A Season. Believe me, I will be watching every game this year, hoping for a hot start and some great individual contributions to get them to the Post-Season for the first time since 2006! It is about time and has been way too long!

METBLOGFEVER: Davis and Duda opening day roster definites

published by Keith Gendron                                   March 25, 2014.

Not that this is the biggest news regarding the Mets these days, but Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have made the opening day roster as confirmed by Sandy Alderson today. The competition for first base continues however. The challenge for these two has been staying healthy this spring and with just 4 exhibition games remaining, hopefully they can make it to Flushing in one piece. Not all that long ago, Alderson was still shopping Davis to teams such as Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, but the general manager couldn’t get the player he seeked in return.

When Davis has been healthy, he has been the better all around player and I expect him to be the other half of the platoon with Josh Satin. Duda has been a defensive liability in the outfield and a little smoother at first base. The Mets had planned to give him more reps this spring in the outfield, but his absence due to a hamstring injury squashed that idea. Duda will get some spot starts at first in April, but will primarily be a power bat off the bench. He’ll also DH when they face the Angels in the middle of April.

I have said for months that I expect a rebound for Ike this year as he has worked and watched tape in the off-season to correct his batting. If it is a strict platoon for the season, I think he can approach 20 homers and 60 rbis. Duda also has trended positively the last couple of years, although most people only see his strike outs and poor defense in the outfield. His average dropped 16 points from 2012 to 2013, but his home run total was the same and he had one more double in 75 less plate appearances than 2012. He also walked more, so his OBP increased 23 points, eventhough his batting average dropped. So these numbers will continue to grow, especially if he doesn’t see another drop in average.

This coupled with Josh Satin’s success against southpaws last year, should lend to decent production from the first base position offensively in 2014. Is it the perfect situation? no, but it can be productive.

Continue reading METBLOGFEVER: Davis and Duda opening day roster definites

METBLOGFEVER: Rotation still not decided

published by Keith Gendron           March 24, 2014.

It became official today, as manager Terry Collins  named Dillon Gee the opening day starter next Monday at Citifield against the Washington Nationals. He has pitched well against them in his career and was 4-2 in 2013. But, after Gee no announcements have been made. The thinking is Bartolo Colon will be the #2, followed by Zach Wheeler and either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Jenrry Mejia to pitch game 4. With the off day on April 1st, the Mets won’t need 5 starters the first time through. On April 6th if Jon Niese is finally healthy, he is supposed to get slotted in the rotation against the Cincinnati Reds.

Mejia and Matsuzaka have made the decision harder to make who will get penciled in as the number 5 in the rotation with their most recent starts in Florida. Yesterday, Mejia pitched 5 innings versus the Nationals giving up 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 6 and walking one. Today, Matsuzaka pitched 6 innings against the Cardinals giving up 1 run on 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 5. I have been in Mejia’s corner to be in the Mets’ rotation since last year when he pitched 5 effective games before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow. Unfortunately, Mejia will likely begin the season in Vegas as Matsuzaka would get $100,000 retainer if he isn’t on the Mets major league roster or released by noon tomorrow. With that in mind, expect Dice-K to be the number 5, but if an injury occurs Mejia will get the call.

At some point in July, the rotation will have the additions of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard. This graduation will most likely lead to Niese(if he has been healthy and pitched well)and possibly Colon(if he hasn’t hurt himself running bases)to be trade chips. Montero, Mejia or Syndergaard could possibly end up in the bullpen when approaching their innings cap.

This season should remain entertaining deeper into summer  than in recent seasons, but 2015 with the return of Matt Harvey will be one in which the Mets may have the best rotation in the league.

METBLOGFEVER: Mets will be tested early

published by Keith Gendron     March 23, 2014.
 
With the 2014 Mets season 8 days away, fans and players are eager for the games to count. For the Mets it may be coming at the perfect time as players are recovering from some injuries and starting to hit their stride. The offense has produced 19 runs the past two games and players such as Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and even Ruben Tejada appear to be rounding in to form.
Well, for this team to have any chance to contend for the post-season this year, along with all 25 player’s contributions and creating a home field advantage at Citifield, the Mets will be tested early and often in the month of April. I would suggest if they can come out of April with a .500 record, then that would be a positive. After opening the season with a homestand against the Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, they will travel down to Atlanta for 3 (never easy), Los Angeles to face the Angels for 3 games and then Arizona for 3. That is a relentless schedule to start and their bats better be at their best. Coming back home after that road trip they play Atlanta for 3, St. Louis for 4, Miami for 2 and a 2 game series in Philadelphia to close out the month.
Easy? not at all. But, the challenge may provide a mentality early on in the season to be at their best and that the standard and focus of play needs to be high. Hopefully, they come out of it alright and can carry that mentality throughout the season and see where the chips lie at the end. But, for now they must play out their string of exhibition games and hope players get stronger and no injuries occur this last week of spring training.

 

To see the APRIL 2014 schedule click the link below

http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=nym#y=2014&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT

METBLOGFEVER : Tejada has good game against Braves

published by Keith Gendron         March 20, 2014.

Although springtraining has been going on for over a month, Ruben Tejada played a solid offensive and defensive game for the first time, finally. Maybe a new season had something to do with it. Not baseball season, but today is the first day of Spring. With it usually brings hope, sounds of lawn mowers and birth. Apparently, today it led to the creation of Tejada bearing semblance of a professional ball player. In todays walk-off 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves, Rubin Tejada went 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, rbi and wait for it…..flawless defense. The latter being of utmost importance, if he is to stick around in the starting lineup. Playing amidst rumors of the Mets seeking trades with Arizona and Seattle to bring in a young shortstop, Tejada’s defense has been horrible( 4 errors) and equally pathetic his batting( 3 hits) entering today’s game.

I hope the Mets continue considering alternatives to Tejada. But, the Mets do not seem willing to pay Stephen Drew and do not seem open to trading away any of their minor league pitching to acquire Gregorius, Owings or Franklin. So, for one day it isn’t as urgent for Sandy Alderson to find a solution, which may help with negotiating a trade. Arizona is more desperate at this time, since they have lost their ace, Patrick Corbin. They are “all in” for 2014 and could use a dependable veteran arm that eats innings. The Mets have one in Dillon Gee, with being affordable, productive and coming off 199+ innings pitched in 2013. But, with Jon Niese starting the season on the DL to get his pitch count and shoulder strength to where it belongs, the Mets quite possibly may be leaning on Gee for opening day and won’t trade him unless this season spirals out of control, or possibly in 2015.

As per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, Jose Reyes gave Tejada a pep talk yesterday and told him to keep working hard despite trade rumors.Hopefully, Tejada can build off this performance and give the team one less thing to deal with short term.

METS: Familia ready to contribute

published by Keith Gendron    March 18, 2014.

At 24, Jeurys Familia may finally be coming into his own. He was clocked at 100 mph last weekend during a game, supposedly tearing Taylor Teagarden’s webbing in his glove. More importantly, for Familia to be successful whether as a relief pitcher or starter is to throw strike one. He has had two brief stints with the Mets in 2012 and 2013 for a combined 23 innings, striking out and walking 18, along with giving up 22 hits and a 5.09 era. His minor league career, consists of six seasons and a 3.9 bb/9 innings. This including 8.3 hits/9 innings is not a good formula for success as a pitcher in the major leagues. It appears in a very limited sample this spring that he has done better at getting ahead of batters and putting himself in a position to succeed. This spring he has earned a spot in the Mets bullpen. After today’s appearance against the Detroit Tigers, he has pitched 7 innings this spring in six appearances. He has walked 2 and given up 2 hits and as a result, has yet to give up a run while striking out 6. Striking out batters has never been the problem for Familia, once he was ahead on a batter. If this can carry over into the regular season, the Mets will be that much better and have an in-house option to setting up Parnell for this season and beyond.

Niese cleared to throw

As reported by ESPN, Jon Niese has been cleared to begin throwing again on Wednesday. He was given a cortisone injection in the back of his left elbow to reduce inflammation. Niese has been battling scapula weakness, shoulder and triceps soreness to now include his elbow. Niese has termed this spring, “the spring training from hell”, dealing with all these arm issues. He will most likely start season on DL to get his pitch count up and can possibly be recalled as early as April 6, when the Mets will need a fifth starter for the first time. The Mets will be in Cincinnati for that game, not too far from Niese’s hometown Lima, Ohio.

Mets: Need to make Mejia decision

published by Keith Gendron. March 17, 2014.

With Jon Niese to get a second MRI(first for elbow) the Mets have some decisions to make. In regards to opening day it appears to be between Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee. In regards to filling a roster spot if Niese begins the season on the disabled list, Jenrry Mejia may be included. The Mets do not a fifth starter immediately to start the season and when they do it could be John Lannan if Niese is on DL. Mejia’s opportunity may be in the bullpen because of his penchant to get left-handed batters out almost as well as righties. I offered in my blog, Mejia the 5th starter…but for how long? in January that he would be the fifth starter until August, due to an innings limit imposed. He has never pitched more than 108.2 innings in a season and figured he would be placed in the bullpen after Montero and Syndergaard are called up in July. After the Diamondbacks ace Corbin was diagnosed with a possible season ending elbow injury, I figured if Mejia was being considered as part of a package to land one of Arizona’s coveted shortstops, that was now being pulled off the table because the Mets hold the leverage in that negotiation. So, it appears Mejia will have is opportunities this year with the Mets, but his value at this point appears as a reliever.