3 GUYS TALKING ABOUT THE OUTFIELD: Brian Joura of Mets360 Joins the Conversation

NOTE: Since we started this thread a little bit of time passed, due to our ramble into soggy Georgia. The Mets have since dropped Cowgill and added Brown. Huzzah.

Jimmy:

This winter, the outfield was a huge topic of speculation. While the consensus was that it would be a less than optimal (in Sandy speak), there were still scattered blog posts that opined it might not be as bad as we thought. Now we’re in May and there’s actual game results. It’s no longer what we think will happen, it’s about what’s really happened. I’m going to welcome Brian Joura today, who has agreed to join our conversation. Has it been as bad as you feared, Brian?

Brian:

Strictly by position, the three primary outfielders last year were Duda (poor), Torres (bad) and Bay (awful) so it wasn’t unreasonable to expect improvement, even if the overall result was still ugly.

After Jason Bay, the only direction was up! Right?

After Jason Bay, the only direction was up! Right?

 

What’s been disappointing to me is the ultra-quick hook of Collins. At the end of March, Cowgill is a full-time player and that lasted about a week. Contrast that with Ike Davis who last year was permitted to go 10 weeks without hitting. I understand the upside with Ike was greater but Cowgill deserved a real opportunity and didn’t get it. Duda’s doing great and I think a Baxter/Byrd platoon will be sort of okay. I just wish Collins would give Cowgill 100 PA of everday action to sink or swim. What Collins did was throw him off the deep end and then pulled him out of the pool when a drop of water went up his nose.  And now he’s got to battle Juan Lagares for the scant playing time against LHP. Is this really the way to break in a guy to the majors?

Jimmy:

th_less-cowbell-shirtI’d like to be first one here to say . . . Less Cowgill! I’m all for shipping him to Vegas [ed. note: written a couple of days before the wish came true.] But I hear you about Collins. When he starts talking “mix-and-match,” I just imagine his brain misfiring and guys getting yanked around, no consistency, everyone platoons, etc. Valdespin has not started 3 games in a row. But still, is Terry the guy we should be hammering here?

Mike:

If you put together a team of suspect guys it is only normal that none of them will have much rope. For every guy who says Cowgill hasn’t gotten enough at bats, someone else is yelling that Collins hates Valdespin. If I was Collins I would be cursing the whole lot of them and dreaming of when I got to write Carlos Beltran into the lineup every day. And what about the fact that until Lagares showed up none of these guys could catch a fly ball? Well, actually, Byrd can field.  Defense matters, and it is a great thing to emphasize when you go cheap.

Jimmy:

Maybe if we all chipped in and bought him some protein shakes and a bar bell?

Maybe if we all chipped in and bought Mike some protein shakes and a bar bell?

To me, Mike Baxter is the poster boy for a failed organizational approach. I feel cruel saying this, but Mike Baxter doesn’t belong on a major league roster. His only strength is that he doesn’t swing the bat and sometimes, unaccountably, pitchers nibble. It’s not like he’s going to park it over the fence. Baxter is fortunate enough to be with an organization that actively seeks to foster the dubious skill of standing there with the bat on your shoulder. He got a few early walks and that artificially inflated his early-season OBP. Baxter can’t field, can’t hit for power, and can’t help a team win games. I mean, he seems like a terrific human being, he’s easy to like, but this is professional sports, not a Sunday softball league.

Brian:

Baxter’s certainly not getting the job done to this point but I don’t understand the venom. This is a guy who ran full speed into the outfield wall to preserve a no-hitter! That bought him a ton of goodwill with me. I’m all for keeping him around and if you want to justify it like some type of Luis Sojo good luck charm — I can live with that.  I also think he’ll hit if given enough chances but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it.

Jimmy:

No venom at Baxter. I like everything about the man except what he does on a major league baseball field.

Look at these outfield splits (as of 5/3) by position:

  • LF: .261/.409/.543 . . . 952 OPS
  • CF: .184/.229/.272 . . . 501 OPS
  • RF: .219/.288/.314 . . . 602 OPS

That’s the reality, and pretending that mixing-and-matching lousy players is some kind of answer has been a great fraud perpetrated on Mets fans. So my venom, I guess, is directed to ownership and the three geniuses running the show.

Mike:

Baxter is not a good enough player to platoon in right field. I’m happy he caught that ball, and like him. Local Queens kid makes good is a nice story. He just isn’t talented enough to play right in the major leagues. It’s not personal, it’s business.

Jimmy:

Back to Duda, Brian. Do you really think he’s been doing great? Outside of the walks, he hasn’t been very productive. I just think someday batting average should come back in vogue.

Brian:

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I just got done watching the afternoon game against the Marlins where they attacked Duda with breaking balls at the knees and lower, to which Duda flailed helplessly.  I thought I was watching Ike Davis bat. However, for the most part, Duda’s going about things the right way. He only swings at about 10% of the opposing team’s first pitches — an approach I applaud. I think you go up to the plate looking for a certain pitch in a certain area and if it’s not there you lay off. Now, you can’t always say, “fastball, middle-in.” But if you go up intent on one pitch in one area and only swing at those — I think you’re ahead of the game.

Duda is getting on base and hitting for power.  Would you really prefer Justin Turner’s high-average, low-OBP, no power approach?  I hear Collins is thinking about adding him to the outfield mix…

Jimmy:

SCKWWERKK. (That squishy sound you just heard was a steak knife plunging into my own chest — Turner patrolling the outfield, thanks for the thought.)

Don Martin, the King of Onomatopoeia . . . and my inspiration.

Don Martin, the King of Onomatopoeia . . . and my inspiration.

Mike:

You know it’s not my style to get excited about walks. But in Duda’s case I do think the approach has him calmer at the plate and he is also hitting better. I like how Duda has looked overall.

Jimmy:

Small sample size, but he’s not hitting when it matters: 2-16 with RISP, and 8 walks, slugging .133. In a quote that stunned me today, Sunday, even Dave Hudgens said: “I’d like to see him swing.”

Brian:

He also has 8 BB w/RISP, giving him a .458 OBP. Hey, as long as we’re trotting out small sample thingies — how about his .267/.522/.533 line in High Leverage Situations? Duda’s been a revelation this year and is one guy I want to see at the plate, regardless of the situation.

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7 comments

    • Thanks, Mack — a real compliment coming from you.

      • Eric says:

        On April 22nd Kirk Newee (I REFUSE to even try!) was sitting on the Mets Bench…unused and unloved. Too many lefty bats in front of him…needs to get some reps…need another RH bat…..

        On April 23rd the Mets replace Newee with Lagares—24 yrs. young, RH outfielder who MIGHT be able to play CF. Since April 23rd the Mets have played 9 games. Lagares has batted 15 times. Last week Collin Cowgill was sent to AA to be replaced by Brown. NOW, Newee and Cowgill are getting Daily Reps at AAA. Brown and Lagares are sitting motionless on the bench. Marlon Byrd has batted 28 Times since April 23rd, and younger/”developable” players are SQUATTING..

        Are the Mets building trade value for Marlon? Would anyone believe in Marlon’s value even with a Hot Streak? Would it have made more sense to allow Cowgill the lay on the Bench and have Lagares play every day at AAA?

        This makes NO SENSE!!!! I do not believe Byrd is a more productive player over the next 30 games versus ANY replacement…I do not believe he can develop trade value. What does Terry Collinns believe?

        IF the Mets are playing for player development (They sure as hell aren’t Rostered for wins!!!!) there are two solutions:

        1. Remove the manager who THINKS he’s playing for wins.
        2. Remove the obstacles to play time— CUT MARLON BYRD TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

        This is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!

        Signed,

        Concerned

  1. Brian Joura says:

    How about Baxter!

    • Michael Geus says:

      Ha, yes indeed great job tonight by Mike. He does have a knack for coming through when we have an extraordinary pitching performance, that’s for sure.

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