Rob Castellano at Amazin’ Avenue had an excellent post on the Mets dire leadoff situation. Some grim facts:
- At .293, Mets leadoff hitters posted the third-worst on-base percentage in all of baseball.
- In comparison to the league average leadoff OPS of .719, Mets leadoff hitters posted a dismal .608 mark, good for 29th in all of baseball.
- Of the four players with more than ten games at the leadoff position last season, Eric Young Jr. performed best at .255/.318/.346. Yet Young’s .664 OPS ranked 25th out of 26 hitters in baseball with at least 65 games batting first; Young ranked 23rd as measured by on-base percentage.
It’s kind of a problem moving forward, don’t you think? Unless you believe Eric Young has turned a corner . . . and is going to play (which would require either Murphy getting traded or Lagares getting benched).
I don’t think any of us are super excited about EY in that spot but it is hard to make a case for anyone else. I do think it would be easy to get Young Jr. five out of seven games the way the Angels used to deploy Chone Figgins, as a regular without a regular position. That is how I would handle it. I know many are suspicious that doing that is beyond Collins/Alderson (I am equally suspicious of who actually picks the starting lineups.) That seems like a rational fear, I’m bracing myself for Juan Lagares on the bench.
Just a shout out to a solid series of blog posts by Toby Hyde over at MetsMinors. Toby has a simple idea: He takes a major league trade (that involves minor leaguers) and then compares those players to ones in the Mets system. It’s often a dose of reality.
Here he looks at the Dexter Fowler deal, and here’s the Doug Fister trade in Mets prospects/assets. Most recently, he examined the trade of Brett Anderson and $2 million to the Rockies for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen. He concludes, after some detailed explanation, “this deal is something like Jenrry Mejia and Rainy Lara for Brett Anderson.”
Anyway, I respect what Toby does over there — seems like a good guy to me — and these pieces are informative and provocative.
Toby does an excellent job, but it is hard for me to get into the minor league stuff. The team’s policy is to never trade these guys or promote them. Unless I want to start touring backwater America I won’t see any of these players in 2014. And between now and 2015 anything could happen.
I’m not a big fantasy guy, I never read comic books, it’s just not me. Even most of my dreams, I need an element of reality to get into them. The overwhelming majority of minor league players will never be as good as Justin Turner. I’d rather hope that Lucas Duda blossoms.
I consider that more likely than Rainy Lara ever donning a Mets uniform and I don’t have to wait around to find out the answer.
Okay, but. What those pieces attempt to do is guess the similar Mets prospects it would take to get a deal. For example, last year the Nationals traded for Denard Span. Some fan reaction was, “Hey, why didn’t we get Span.” Or “Why didn’t we get Fowler?” Certainly when a guy like Fister gets moved, you wonder if our team missed a big opportunity. In this series, Hyde helps us figure out a reasonable estimate of what the real cost to the Mets might have been. I like the idea of it, I like what he’s done. It’s original content when half the Metsblogosphere is repurposing Adam Rubin articles, looking for clicks.
I hear you, and I’m not doubting that Hyde is doing good work. But we don’t trade prospects anymore, we just don’t do it. Isn’t that the simpler reason we didn’t get Span or Fister? We hold on to every prospect for dear life. Isn’t this a similar exercise as wondering how the team would look if we had a $180 million dollar payroll? We don’t, we aren’t going to, and we don’t trade prospects either. If we ever do again I will pay attention to stuff like this. Yes, it is a fun intellectual exercise and I’m not knocking anyone who wants to play, but I rather just play scrabble.
I read that when it comes to trading Ike Davis, Sandy is standing firm, unblinkingly. He announced, “This is not a yard sale.” And added, “If you break it, it’s yours.” But actually, I think that’s exactly what it has been. What we’re experiencing is the end of the garage sale, when you look at your table of crappy stuff that nobody bought — grandma’s ancient knick knacks, the old shovels with broken handles, the dented bicycles, the battered wicker, etc. Now’s the time when you haul it all back inside again, and pretend you never really wanted to sell that stuff anyway.
Maybe we are trading Ike for a star leadoff hitter, then it will all be worth it.
Spencer Manners at Mets360 argues that Jonathon Niese is underrated. Clearly, Sandy Alderson signed Niese to a great contract for the Mets. There’s been times when we’ve glimpsed greatness, a lefty with #2-quality stuff, and other stretches where he seems half-hearted. Niese is entering his age-27 season, he’s started 118 games for the Mets with a career ERA of 3.99. He’s never thrown 200 innings (topped 180 only once) and except for 2012, his WHIP has always been above 1.40. A curious case. His 2012 season is the outlier, where he went 13-9 with an ERA of 3.40; many hoped it signaled a turning point. Our lefty was realizing his true potential. Last season, his WHIP climbed from 1.17 to 1.44. Except for 2012, he’s always given up a lot of hits. As in: too many hits. Baseball Reference lists Donovan Osborne and Mike Sirotka as his closest comps. So I ask: What’s the deal with this guy? Are you bullish?
I’ve never been able to fall in love with Niese. I think he’s pretty good, but I agree with Spencer. I think what you see is what you get, and it’s fine. But I don’t see any jumps in performance coming. Harvey shot past him last year, if we are going to have any real success we need Wheeler to do that this year. But on the other hand, if Niese really could become the next Mike Sirotka….
Now there is a dream I can believe in.