Our Mets: Well-Armed and (maybe) on the Verge of Something Great

matt-harveyThere are many great annual rituals involved with being a baseball fan. One has already passed, the first game of Spring Training. It is not marketed or attended anywhere near the level of Opening Day. But for the hardcore, and that is a big enough group, that first game in the spring is Must-See TV. For many of us, I suspect, the ritual goes as follows: excitement for about three innings, followed by some distractions, and then by about the seventh, maybe you decide you need to get some air. This is because it is early, and the camp is still filled with a ton of bodies. By the end of the game, even Gary, Keith and Ron aren’t paying attention (and sure, that is always a risk with Keith). But as I sat down this year, I noticed a quick graphic on the SNY screen that made me sit up and think that my dog wasn’t getting to the park that day.

SNY flashed the pitchers they expected us to see that day, and the names Marcum, Wheeler, Mazzoni, Familia, and Parnell showed on the screen. I have been stating my affection for Marcum since Christmas Eve, yet we know what he is about. But Wheeler, that is as exciting as it gets on the first game of spring. And Mazzoni is at least a curiosity. The idea of Familia also had my blood pumping, and yes, that was an SNY error. We had to wait until Sunday for Familia. Parnell is also someone I want to watch right now. He has that great arm and I saw real improvement last year. For a first spring training game, that is a very good day.

Meija - now a certified 23!

Meija – now a certified 23!

While watching I started daydreaming some (about when Gorski entered the game). The next day Familia was going to pitch. And Harvey. Plus Niese, who makes you feel like he is a crusty veteran. Then you look him up and realize he is all of 26 and signed long-term. Jenrry Meija is still around, healthy, now a certified 23, and he will be on the mound soon. So I ask, “When have we had this many legitimate pitching prospects who are about major league ready?” ┬áIt has been a long time. The last time I can remember is the Izzy, Pulse, Wilson era. And yes, we know how that turned out. Nothing works all the time. But in the late 1960’s we had young strong arms everywhere you looked. That worked out just fine. And I can also cite some history from the current century as long as I move off the Mets. If you look at San Francisco, it has been all about young pitching. In other words, we are all too scared to admit it, but this could work out.

After living through back pages trumpeting Mike Pelfrey‘s arrival as a day to tell your grandchildren about, we all became wary. But Matt Harvey showed up last year and actually looked better than I thought he would. When was the last time that happened?

You will hear other names all spring too. Montero and Robles, who pitched Sunday. Syndergaard and Fulmer, who both made Baseball Prospectus’s top 100 list this week. But those guys are still far enough away that we know they can’t all make it. Also we might need to trade some of these guys to fill other needs. We know what they are. That is a necessary value of a strong

Wienerschnitzel, Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, you can't go wrong

Wienerschnitzel, Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, you can’t go wrong

prospect base, but it is also why I personally can’t get as pumped about these guys. There are so many reasons why they may never be Mets. So I do gaze down at the farm, but only a little. It’s my emotional side, I don’t want to get too invested yet. I also can’t easily see them with my own eyes, so it just is not the same. In some ways that makes me jealous of the folks who live in places like Port St. Lucie and Binghamton, but not enough to move. It’s not just the Mets, I don’t know if I could live without the restaurants. I really like to eat.

Our GM once joked that “chicks dig the longball” as a way of explaining targeting power hitters. Well, fans love to watch great pitchers too. I can’t think of any factor (maybe weather) that generates more game-day ticket sales. With Wheeler and Harvey it might start getting difficult to pick the right day.

I know I will be doing my scheduling around them.

 

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10 comments

  1. I also noticed that graphic and its a really nice to see especially if you might want to go to a game. I choose a lot of my spring training games based on who is pitching.

    It’s great to have pitching stockpiled. I for one am a big believe that you can never have enough pitching.

  2. I agree. The stock-piling of talented young arms can never be overrated. It’s certainly worked for San Fran and the Rays. Also, Oakland has had success through this route as well. I believe Harvey will have a very nice season. Next year will be Wheeler’s break-out, and yes, they may now be in the position to trade a young pitcher to fill other (numerous needs.) Overall, there have been worse times to be a Mets fan.

  3. Dan says:

    I also agree. Not only do we have talent for our team, bvut it appears we have enough as chips as well, which could be used to fill the outfield. Let’s hope 4 GMs are enough to get this done.

  4. I’ve argued before and still believe that our pitching prospects need one more year to mature in order for them to have real value on the trade market — otherwise we’d be giving them away too cheaply. Ideally both Syndergaard and Fulmer excel at high-A this season; by this time next year, one of them could be with another organization.

  5. When you work for yourself, you have a jerk for a boss. There are no sick days, no personal days. But there are perks. Flexibility. Meaning that at 1:10 today, I’m going to find a television to watch Zack Wheeler.

  6. Michael Geus says:

    That is why it was so strange that Alderson passed on every free agent outfielder at every financial level. He certainly implied he was going to address the area and certainly should know the state of his own assets in the marketplace.

  7. Dave says:

    don’t worry, jimmy. i’ll whet your wheels & deals appetite now that there’s a gaping hole in it today.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/61539/zack-wheeler-better-stuff-than-strasburg

    • Dave, thanks for commenting. I had built my day around watching Wheeler pitch. I think he’s looks tremendous, the stats are great, the scouting reports, I’m completely sold on the guy. In fact, my wife was like, “Maggie has a dentist appt at 2:00, I really hate to ask you to take off work.” And I was like, “Well, actually, I was hoping to watch the Mets on television.” Wish you could have seen her face. (Dental care is overrated, anyway.)

  8. DD says:

    Oh, who cares if the pitching develops? I’m all giddy over the prospect of loading up on all my favorite Amway products at Citifield. Ten pounds of laundry detergent, to be held in one’s lap throughout the game because it won’t fit under the seat; a small price to pay, says I.

    Speaking of which, who among you would be interested in building your future with Amway? All you need is a bunch of friends you don’t mind alienating forever.

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