Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Four guys have joined the team. Peter White of Mariners Musings, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, Bryan Smith of Wait 'Til Next Year and Rich Lederer of Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat. All are updated on the sidebar (Rich's doesn't work yet)...

I'll have some thoughts on A-Rod to the Yankees and maybe a few other things tomorrow. For now, I need sleep.

This is long overdue and one of those things that I just kept forgetting to do. Shea Hot Corner is a new blog devoted to the Mets. Go check it out.

Bryan at Mets Freak responds to the last two posts I had on Jason Philips with his own answer. Very very interesting.

A-Rod to the Yankees? Ugh. But at least he'll be playing third. That one just makes me laugh.

Friday, February 13, 2004
Ah, Jason Phillips. Let's tackle a few things...

Brazell will have been moved to the OF or traded.
Mike Jacobs won't quite be that good.

That leaves us with Piazza, Phillips, and Huber. Piazza's contract runs out in 2005 and I see him gone. I see Huber up at the beginning of 2006 catching full time. So, does that mean Phillips is back to first? I don't think so. I think they pick up a guy with a better power bat (and someone a little less shaky defensively). Could they pick up a big bat in right (Beltran or Ordonez) and keep Phillips there? Yeah, but I don't see them keeping him there even if they get a big bat. So, does he leave? I think, as long as he's cheap, they keep him as a backup C/1B. He'd be a wonderful bat off the bench and a good injury replacement. And, yes, that means goodbye to Vance Wilson. He'll be 33. If he becomes a little expensive, he leaves and does his righty John Olerud impression somewhere else and the Mets hold onto Wilson, who is a very servicable backup catcher.

Expect a strange posting schedule the next week. Might be some bigger ones and smaller ones. I have the next week off from school, but some work too, so I'm sure I'll get up one a day, maybe more, depending on the day.

And you know, I think my Mom will eventually have to know about me writing this site everyday (I've been at it almost 8 months and she doesn't know... pretty good, huh?).

Thursday, February 12, 2004
If you read here, you're probably a Mets Freak. Well, there's a new one in the fold and his name is Bryan. Go check out his blog Mets Freak. What was that over/under on Mets blogs before the beginning of the season Avkash?

Oh yes, Jason Phillips thoughts. Sorta. First, I want to hear you sound off. And the question is, what will Phillips' future with the Mets be? Its something I've been thinking about a lot because I really like the guy. I love his approach at the plate and whenever he's being interviewed he's always very funny. But what's going to happen to him. He's gonna eventually be the catcher with Piazza moving the first. What about when Piazza's contract runs out? Will he move back to first? But his SLG isn't really good enough for a 1B... Will the Mets take the hit and find the offense at another position? And if they get a 1B (or bring up Brazell) and he catches, when will Huber take him out? And when he does, will he be the backup or will they keep Wilson, who will be 32-33 and a lot cheaper. Or will the Mets keep Phillips through his arby years because he'll be a very good and relatively cheap bench player?

I'm just interested in what you all think about this. Leave you answers in the comments and I'll be back tomorrow with a ramble on what I think is going to happen.

Here are a couple of links to read...

2nd Ramblings' Roundtable- Spring Training edition

It's over at Al's Ramblings and is full of Brewers info. One of the teams I seem to be more interested in lately, for some odd reason.

2nd Q&A over at Amazinz with Bryan Hoch

Bryan Hoch of Always Amazin provides good info, as always.

Back later with some thoughts on Jason Phillips.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Depodesta to join Dodgers? That's what Gammons says, and well, if Gammons says it, it must be true (insert sarcastic tone).

I would have liked to see DePo (as everyone likes to call him) with the Mets, but this is a great opportunity for him and for other Saber-GMs. More and more teams are starting to succumb to "the revolution" and hire the followers. The Dodgers may not be out of the NL West hunt just yet (I believed with their terrible offense they had no real shot).

Athletics Nation has a good take on DePodesta leaving from the A's point of view.

Since I don't have a particluar good amount, here is the random baseball link of the day (Found at Baseball Primer)

Helton out to complete picture in playoffs

The whole entire thing is pretty good and its interesting to hear him talk about himself and the team struggles. But my favorite part has to be this (I always look for the comedy in these articles)...

The Rockies were a feel-good story last season, sitting at 60-58 on Aug. 12 before disintegrating into a 74-win season. Asked what went wrong, Helton cited the five close losses at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, a problem he feels was addressed with the conversion of Shawn Chacon into a closer this winter.

"I think it was really gutsy decision and a great move. I think he could be the best closer the Rockies have ever had," Helton said while acknowledging an unproven rotation must pitch well enough to make Chacon a factor.

Chacon could be the best closer in the history of the Rockies. He's got some stiff competition to beat, though... Let's look at them...

Jose Jimenez
Dave Veres
Jerry Dipoto (Scarily, I remember him)
Bruce Ruffin
Darren Holmes

Tough list, huh?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Incoherent Rambling Time! Well, probably not incoherent, and most are probably not about baseball, but, oh well...

1. Bryan Smith gets Mets quote of the day in his article today. In talking about the Mets future...

They [The Mets] might not have the right man [Art Howe] for the job, but they sure do have the system.

Right on brotha. Right on.

2. Speaking of the Mets, it seems whenever I think about them, 95% of the time I end up thinking about the craptastic fifth starter competition. And then I end up thinking about Lisa Guerrero. Which, well, with it being winter and me being a male, I would say is perfectly normal. So, yes, 95% of the time when I think about the Mets, I end up thinking about Lisa Guerrero. Maybe that's why I don't seem to have much to say on the Mets these days...

3. Speaking of football (Lisa Guerrero... MNF... stretching), I saw a Sportscenter thing naming the top 10 offseason free agents in the NFL. I think it was #6, but anyway, they grouped teh star corners into one group. Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, and Chris McAllister. So when I heard Charles and Champ, I thought, "OK, yeah, shut down corners". But I when I heard Chris McAllister, you want to know what my word association answer would have been (or what the first thing that came to my head was)... Plaxico Burress' Bitch (With using this word and shoot/shot in the last few days, I can only imagine the Google possibilities). And whenever I hear the name Chris McAllister, I always immediately say Plaxico Burress' Bitch. I find it fairly funny.

4. Speaking of ESPN programming, Pardon the Interruption is the best show on television (certainly the best sports show). I was a watcher from the beginning (before they became like the highest rated cable television show at that timeslot and one of the highest on ESPN) and have always found both Tony and Mike informative, funny, and smart. If you don't watch, tune in. Its a wonderful show.

5. Does anyone else think Gonzaga should be a 1 seed in the tourney. Connecticut and Pittsburgh both lost last night. Gonzaga's only two losses are to the undefeated teams (St. Joes and Stanford). I think a good case could be made for them.

That's all for now... See ya later...

Monday, February 09, 2004
You know, when I get random thoughts and musings, even if they aren't all on baseball, I really should write them down or type them somewhere if I'm on the computer. With that in mind, here is my musing of the night that I remember (It could help that its the most recent one, but still...).

The AL East teams are playing into the hands of the Boston Red Sox. We know Trot Nixon and David Ortiz struggle against lefties. We know as a team the Red Sox hit lefties better last year. And what do the AL East teams do to counter...

Yankees: No lefty pitchers
O's: No lefty pitchers
Blue Jays: Ted Lilly
D-Rays: Damian Moss

Granted, with the D-Rays there are a lot of possibilities. Mark Hendrickson is sitting down there too, so it could be two lefties, but Hendrickson and Moss don't strike fear into hitters. Well, Moss might, considering how often he misses the plate.

Lilly shuts down lefties to a tune of a .594 OPS over the last three seasons. Hendrickson has done a nice .648 OPS job on them over the last two. Moss, well, .828 OPS the last three seasons. Now, of course, these are small sample sizes and Moss did have a under .600 OPS against lefties in 2002, but its worth throwing out there as useless facts.

The point being, there isn't a dominant lefty in the division to stop the BoSox and there's only one I consider to be good (It's Lilly if ya didn't know). Moss is too wild and Hendrickson, is, well, Hendrickson.

I'll be back tomorrow (You might see me go to a two-three post a day style, especially until the season starts and even during. I might have a bigger article at some point in the day, but surround it with other musings when they come about)...

A little of this, a little of that...

In Mets news, Duke has made two more minor league signings! James Baldwin and Ricky Bottalico. Woo!

Ricky Bottalico is an over 30 reliever who had a couple of good years, had his control fall off the table and sucked after that. If he steals the final bullpen spot from one of the young guns, I might go ballistic.

James Baldwin. That battle for the fifth starter just keeps getting better. Never had an ERA under 4 in the majors in any season. NEVER! I can't wait for the craptastic battle to begin in ST (I'm going to use craptastic to describe the fifth starters and/or the competition whenever I mention it).

Other than that, here are some things from around the Net...

Shea Daily and Only Baseball Matters have new looks. Go check it out.

Weapons of Mass Production- A great article by Rich Lederer of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT on how there may be too many offensive metrics. I think he has a point and its certainly an interesting read.

And finally, here is an article by John Sickels on prospect Jason Bay. If you don't remember, Jason Bay was a Mets farmhand who was traded to San Diego in the Steve Reed deal. He has since been traded to Pittsburgh in the Brian Giles deal. Jason Bay put up pretty good numbers here in 2002 at age 23 (in A and AA) and it was a mistake trading him for Steve Reed, especially since the Mets never really had a shot to get to the playoffs. Go Steve Phillips!

That's all. See ya later...

Sunday, February 08, 2004
See, the thing is, when I either make any type of stat-ty (making up words!) article or start speaking out of ass with stats, Avkash usually shoots me an e-mail. Which I like. I'm in this to learn too and usually everything he sends me, whether in his words or in link form, is very helpful. So, with yesterday's BABIP posting, I get a link from him. This link is to Tango's studies on BABIP from 1999-2002 in all parks.

If you look at it, it seems what happened at Shea was flipped in 2003. So, after some useless rambling, I shot Avkash back three questions.

Is it possible it played like a hitter's park last year? Or did our pitchers just suck? Or were they unlucky and plagued a little by a bad defense in a big park?

And he answered...

I think you can chalk this up to year-to-year fluctuation. Tango's chart is only 1999-2002, so additional data may narrow b/t home and road. Something to keep an eye on I guess.

As for Shea being neutral, I doubt it. The five year factor is still about 95, right on the border of moderate and severe pitchers' park; the pitchers and defense don't really matter, its strictly a calculation of runs scored at home vs road.

All seems good. Something I'm sure I'll keep my eye on, especially for Glavine.

Speaking of Avkash, he's got your Sunday Reading covered. The strangest thing has to be the Post article on Cameron's defense. Why? It doesn't use fielding percentage... no... it uses MGL's UZR. Wha? Take a look...

Still not sold? Let's see how Cameron stacks up against infielders., a statistical analysis-driven Web site, introduced a new stat with the help of Stats Inc. called UZR runs (Ultimate Zone Rating). It measures a player's defensive value as "runs saved or cost" compared to the average fielder at his position in his league.

Catchers can't accurately be measured because they're involved in every pitch. Backstops aside, Cameron topped all players in 2003 with 31 UZR runs. That means he saved 31 more runs with his glove than the average fielder — more than Jones (19), Ichiro (16), Rolen (3) or anyone else.

A Baseball Primer mention? A MGL and UZR mention? I thought only Neyer did this stuff... this is in a print newspaper. It's OK to be shocked.

Check out the rest of the Sunday reading Avkash has up, from the Sunday Report to an article on Rick Peterson. It's all good.

In Joe Sheehan's Prospectus Today on Friday (which was free), he discusses why he was wrong in believing that the Mets signings of Cameron and Matsui were great because the improved defense would lead to many wins. Take a look...

This is weird. I've been thinking fairly highly of the Mets based on the twin signings of Mike Cameron and Kazuo Matsui, largely because I thought the collective effect on the defense would be worth a lot of wins.

The problem is that the Mets don't seem to have been that bad on defense last season, at least at the two positions those guys will play. The five players who played enough center field for the Mets to get rated in Clay Davenport's system all had positive fielding ratings, and collectively, were only nine runs worse than Cameron was:

Player CF Innings Runs

Jeff Duncan 366 +4
Timo Perez 332 +3
Tsuyoshi Shinjo 255 +2
Jeromy Burnitz 156 +1
Roger Cedeno 131 +2

Total 1240 +12

Mike Cameron 1284 +21

At shortstop, the four guys who did the bulk of the work also all scored positively in the Davenport system

Player SS Innings Runs

Jose Reyes 596 +6
Rey Sanchez 344 +6
Joe McEwing 242 +2
Jorge Velandia 177 +1

Total 1359 +15

Davenport projects Matsui to be worth -1 run in 143 defensive games in '04. That's conservative; most people consider him to be a good defensive shortstop. It's hard to project anyone to be worth 15 runs on defense, however.

If you expect Jose Reyes to be a positive contributor at second base, you can find some improvement there. The four Mets who played the most innings there (Roberto Alomar, Joe McEwing, Marco Scutaro and Danny Garcia) combined for -7 runs. Still, the bump that I thought the Mets would get from their defense is going to be hard to realize. As good as Cameron and Matsui should be, they're not going to be able to improve this team by six or seven wins just with their defense. The Mets just weren't as bad as their reputation in '03.

So, maybe 2 or 3 wins? Still, that, combined with a healthy Floyd and Piazza, a hopefully more confident Tom Glavine, a more consistent bullpen, and better hiting all around should help get this team close to 80 wins. But those are a lot of IFs.

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