Posts Tagged ‘Zach Wheeler’

Spring Is Here

February 24, 2013

Originally posted on Metszilla.com.

Rejoice!  Games are here and we can now watch pitchers pitch, hitters hit, and fielders field.  As an added bonus, we will no longer be subjected to filler stories about Bobby Bonilla’s salary or what David Wright likes to eat on Tuesdays.  Needless to say, it is a time of the year we all look forward to.

However, I advise you to be careful my friends.  I want to remind you not to put too much into what you see in the games and in the box scores.  While spring training games give us a glimpse into what cards we have been dealt, you have to keep in mind on what the players are focusing on.  Scouting takes a back seat in the spring as players focus on themselves.  Pitchers focus on specific pitches or locations regardless of the scoreboard and who they are facing.  Hitters spend little time in the video room watching the opposing pitcher as they work on their own timing, vision, and set up.

Putting it simply, they are getting ready.  The fact that none of them being game ready is also something we need to consider when penciling in our ideal line ups.  Stephen Strasburg will be a bit more sharp in the regular season and the Mets will have to face him for more than two innings.  Managers will also be substituting for improved match-ups rather than rotating guys in each game little league style.

Don’t cry in your pina coladas yet.  We will be able to glean some things as it is inevitable the actual game will dictate how a player approaches a certain situation.  Yesterday’s game provided us an opportunity to see how Zach Wheeler would potentially handle situations in which he needs a strikeout.  He didn’t disappoint. That’s the beauty of baseball.  No matter what players are working on, they will be forced to ditch the pre-game development plan occasionally  and be placed in a situation where they will have to display how they will perform with a true test.

Enjoy the action and the debate, but don’t get too high or too low on a particular player or situation. Personally, I will be keeping an eye on the outfield as I am absolutely fascinated by the mix of guys vying for playing time.  They have been given an outstanding opportunity to make it that doesn’t come around very often.  They can thank Omar Minaya, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, and of course Fred and Jeffy Willpon.

So throw your feet up and enjoy the optimism.  Take pleasure in soaking up the relaxed atmosphere as number 88 steps into the box to face number 76 in the eighth inning.  Because no matter what happens this spring, the Mets will still be tied for first place on April 1st.

Posting For The Zilla

February 10, 2013

I’ve joined forces with Metszilla.  Here’s my first post:

 

Greetings Zilla readers.  I’m pretty tickled to be teaming up with Vinny, Jason, and the gang.   From time to time I’ll be sharing some unsolicited opinions from the corMidwestMets3a-smn fields of Indiana.

A little introductory information before I start.  Not so different than many of you, I have been a lifelong Mets fan.  However, when I was five my folks moved us over 700 miles away to the good ole’ Midwest, or as I occasionally refer to it, The Middle.  This creates some challenges in terms of being able to see the team live, but thanks to this bitchin’ thing called the internet, I get to consume every inning I can.  The bonus to living this far away is I am removed from the constant presence of the New York Media and its tendency to create news, rather than report it.

Enough jibber-jabber, it is time to kick things off.   I figured I would begin with a brief rundown of where I stand on a few Met related issues that have us all scratching our heads from time to time.

The 2013 Mets

I’m not one for making predictions, as I view upcoming seasons in terms of what can be realistically expected.  Success or the lack there of, always begins with starting pitching.  Much is said about the depth of the Mets starting pitching organizationally.  At times people confuse this with the strength of  the guys at the big league level.  The Mets’ starting five will be solid, not great.  Everything hinges on Johan Santana’s ability to be the ace, Matt Harvey to take the next step developmentally, Jon Niese to cement himself as a consistent two or three, and Zach Wheeler to provide a Harveyesque impact  at some point in 2013.

Combine this with the fact that there have not been any significant offensive improvements, and I think it’s reasonable to expect a third or fourth place finish while we keep our eyes on 2014 for the next playoff push.

The Wilpons

I’ll keep this brief as to avoid throwing up in my mouth a handful of times while I type this.  I truly believe the Wilpons want desperately to win.  They just can’t get out of their own way.  A few examples would be, the Madoff mess, a bizarre obsession with the Brooklyn Dodgers that Fred doesn’t seem to realize alienates Mets fans, and the many boneheaded comments that publically undermine players .

Spend Spend Spend

The “you have to spend to win” mentality that many of our brethren believe in is one of the more frustrating viewpoints I come across when perusing the bitchin’ internet.  If you truly look at things rationally, throwing money at problems is never a successful long term solution.  I’m not saying the Mets shouldn’t spend money in free agency.   It just needs to be done with a great deal of thought, rather than throwing money at the Bobby Bonillas, Jason Bays, and Olver Perezes of the world.

The Best Pizza In Muncie, Indiana

This is probably the most controversial opinion in this piece.  If you ask 100 Muncieites who has the best pizza in town, 90 of them will tell you Pizza King. Don’t fall for it.  It is glaringly obvious that Greek’s Pizza is a whole league above the king.  Just because a pizzeria has 723 locations in a five square mile radius, doesn’t mean the quality of the food is superior.

Sandy Alderson Is a Genius.

Ever since the creation of the catchy term, Moneyball, anyone associated with the Oakland Athletics in the last 13 years has been considered a genius, Mr. Alderson included.   Genius is a bit farfetched in my humble opinion.   Mr. Alderson possesses great skill in long term organizational planning.  More importantly, he has proven that he does not let the media or an impatient fan base dictate his decisions.  This is a quality I highly respect and feel is a requirement for a big league GM.  I also respect the fact that he has great patience with regard to what he wants to gain in a trade.  The result seems to be other general managers meeting the Mets’ asking price.

Sandy Alderson Is an Idiot

Read the preceding paragraph.

Playing The Game The Right Way

One thing I learned while suffering through the 90’s was it is impossible to win when you beat yourself.  The Braves of the 90’s and early 2000’s won with great starting pitching, solid defense, and never making critical mistakes.  And I mean NEVER.  When you step back and look at those teams, their lineup didn’t exactly make you piddle in your pants.

When Terry Collins came on board talking incessantly about playing the game the right way, I was on board in a big way.  He bamboozled me into believing that the Mets may get out hit or out pitched, but he would field a team that would never beat themselves.

Apparently, the players didn’t understand that meant avoiding critical errors and  playing lethargic baseball for entire months at a time.  At this point, I’d rather not here this talk, until I see it consistently backed up on the field.

Don’t get me wrong, I like TC.  He has clearly had to deal with a lack of talent during his tenure and has never publically cried about it.  It will be interesting to see what happens with him in the next couple of years as the Mets appear to be on the right track regarding improving their roster.

The New York Media

Last, and certainly least, let me share my opinion about the New York Media.  I grow weary of them easily and have realized that there are times when it is simply better to avoid their silliness.   I get it, their job is to cover the Mets and they have to produce.  The problem is, coverage is clearly in the over kill stage and there are many times when it is easy to see that they are creating news rather than reporting it.  The next “controversial” column you read concerning something a player said or did, try to focus on the context and the exact question they were prompted with.  The last example that comes to mind is the R.A. Dickey Christmas Party fiasco.  Here’s a guy that is lauded for his openness and then is attacked when he simply answers a question asked of him.  He probably should have seen it coming I guess.

That’s it for now.  Don’t worry; my posts will not typically be this long.  I normally tend to keep things simple and focus on one thing at a time.

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.

Follow Midwestropolitan.com on Twitter  and like us on Facebook.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 374 other followers

%d bloggers like this: