Posts Tagged ‘Jon Niese’

Embrace the Ace & Cowgill Caution

April 2, 2013

Originally posted on Metszilla.com

One of the positives of being a Mets fan is the fact that we follow a club that tends to do well on opening day.  After dropping their first six opening day games, the Mets have a franchise record of 34-18.  That’s pretty damn impressive when you consider some of the long stretches of futility this franchise has experienced.  When you stop and think about it, this is probably the least talked about reason for the cautious and sometimes pessimistic nature of Mets fans.

So what can we take from yesterday’s great start?  Jon Niese may have the right attitude to be an ace.  It is a small observation that certainly needs the test of time.  It is derived from the fact that he looked like he was going to take a swing at Terry Collins when he was initially informed that he wasn’t coming out for the top of the seventh inning.  Collins finally compromised and allowed him to face the first two batters of the inning.

Here’s my reaction when they took him out:

MWTweet

I’ve always been a fan of Jon, mainly because he is from Lima, Ohio.  The fact that he has been a solid lefty has helped too.  His display today took him up a notch.  I guess I should expect nothing less from a fellow Midwestropolitan.

Cowgill Caution

Let’s face it; we have been starved for favorites in the lineup over the last few seasons.  Colin Cowgill has definitely hit the ground running as a leading contender to join Captain Wright and Ike Davis.    All of the comparisons to Lenny Dykstra with regard to his play not his financial wisdom; have definitely thrown gasoline on the fire.  At this rate, I am going to be officially sick of the “more Cowgill” references by Wednesday.

I advise you to proceed with extreme caution.  There has to be a reason he has averaged 37 games a year at the major league level over his first two seasons.  Enjoy the show by all means.  However, wait and see how he combats the adjustments pitchers start to make before you anoint him the next superstar in orange and blue.

Shrewd Move Not Needed

September 2, 2012

Joel Sherman from the New York Post is advocating that the Mets trade David Wright, R.A. Dickey, and even Jon Niese for 8-10 prospects to fix overall depth issues in the organization.

Although Joel’s thought process isn’t completely bananas, I don’t think it’s the road to take.  While I agree there are some glaring holes in the outfield that don’t appear to have a real solution inside the organization, they have demonstrated some potential depth in the most important area of all, starting pitching.

Side Note:  Can someone explain to me why Corey Vaughn is still in single A?  I get he hasn’t hit for average, but he is 25, has shown a good deal of power, and Wally Backman seems to have a liking for him.

Matt Harvey has proven he will be a critical member of the Mets starting five next year.  It is reasonable to believe we could see Zach Wheeler mid-season next year after a solid first season in the Mets organization. I believe Collin McHugh has the right mental game and can locate his curveball extremely well to be an intriguing option as well.

Combine these guys with R.A. Dickey, who needs to be extended, and Jon Niese, who received a fair but very reasonable extension this year, and you have a pretty solid assortment of options for the starting rotation.

I purposefully left out Johan Santana from that group because I refuse to hold any hope that he will return to his dominant self or even a top of the rotation starter at this point in his career.

Do you remember a guy named Dillon Gee?  He may not be a front of the rotation guy, but he can be a very nice five-spot or long man.  Jeremy Heffner has also emerged as a pitcher that also can fill that role.

Throw in Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia as options to keep in mind or potential bullpen help.

While I’m at it, I’ll throw in a dark horse.  There is a guy by the name of Mark Cohoon that pitched extremely well in Binghamton this season, 146.2 innings pitched with a 3.46 ERA.  Keep an eye on him.  I’m not necessarily making any bold predictions because he did get promoted to Buffalo and was shelled in his first two starts.  The idea here is there may be a guy out there like a Collin McHugh that becomes an option that no one was even thinking about.

My last point, and this may very well be the most important, many people tend to forget the Wilpons got off a whole helluva lot easier from the Madoff Mess than we all originally thought.  While long gone are the days of having one of the highest payrolls in baseball, I can see them loosening the purse strings a bit more to allow the Mets to make long-term investments on guys in the future.  Guys like David Wright and R.A. Dickey.

At this point in time it is reasonable to expect a 85 win team next year, and to compete in 2014 for a playoff spot.

Pitching, Pitching, & More Pitching

October 4, 2011

Jose Reyes will dominate the discussion in terms of 2012 roster decisions for the New York Mets.  He’s one of the most exciting players in all of baseball, so it’s easy to understand.

The problem is, the shortstop position should not be the focus of the organization.  The starting rotation should be.  The Mets could re-sign Jose Reyes, successfully convert Ike Davis into a gold glove center fielder, sign Prince Fielder and they still wouldn’t make the playoffs with their current rotation.  I may be exaggerating a tad, but you get the point.

Besides, their offense isn’t the problem.  The Mets were sixth in the National League in runs scored (718).  That’s five runs better than the Phillies.

The 2011 Mets’ starting rotation sported a woeful 4.11 ERA.  There were nine teams better in the National League in this particular area, including all four playoff teams.  As it stands, the rotation has no legitimate ace, a number two or three guy in Johan (due to injury and age), a number three guy in Dickey, and a collection of #4 or #5 guys at best.

Mike Pelfrey (career 4.40 ERA) and Chris Capuano (career 4.39 ERA) need to go.  To put it simply, they are not part of the solution.

Jon Niese and Dillon Gee still have yet to prove they are worth holding on to, but I wouldn’t be upset if the Mets want to give them both another chance in 2012.  Part of me thinks Niese doesn’t have the stamina or strength to make it as a starter and the Mets need to consider moving him to the bullpen. Right now, his 4.20 ERA in 2010 and his 4.40 ERA this season place him alongside Big Pelf and Cap.

Back to Jose for a second. For those of you new to Midwestropolitan (shame on you for not joining us earlier), I am not saying I don’t want Jose to remain a Met.  As a fan, I hold on to hope they can figure out a way to re-sign him and fix the rotation at the same time.  The realist in me knows that is a tall order.

The bottom line is we should keep an eye on what the front office does with the rotation.  It will tell us a lot about whether or not they truly believe they can contend in 2012.  If there isn’t much turnover, it means they are willing to sacrifice 2012 to give Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey, and Zack Wheeler time to develop with hopes that any and all of them form a strong young core in 2013.

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