Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, June 12, 2004
 
I don't have a lot of time to catch games this weekend, but...

-Gerald Williams is hitting (I don't want to look up his stat line, I would get too pissed off), which only means Wilson Delgado is the next call up.

-No, wait, that's wrong. Scott Erickson is the next call up. Goodbye Jae Seo.

-This 12 game stretch, that I entitled The Move, is definitely moving in the wrong direction.

See y'all later.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
 
Hello everyone, Barry here. As Jeremy mentioned I’m here to just fill in any time there might be some gaps. Since I check this site everyday I hope there aren’t too many gaps because I always learn so much from his blog and the responses by everyone. One thing Jeremy and I have in common is that we have both failed to understand why the Mets made a point to sign Joe McEwing for two years.

Here are my three main ‘causes’ and the angle you will see me come from.

1. I love the Mets but I try to be fair with my criticism and praise. I’ll have more on the Mets later.

2 I am by no means a sabermetrician. I am not experienced enough in doing the analyses you’ll find on Baseball Prospectus or the Hardball Times. However, I have a great appreciation for sabermetrics and objective performance measures. I understand what they are trying to do. I love reading about it and I believe in it. I still have a lot to learn.

3. I think the sports media in general is lazy. Perhaps it’s laziness or just it caters to the majority of fans who could care less about the learnings that new research has provided. It’s just easier to repeat age old myths that have been repeated over time than make the effort to read Moneyball, Baseball Prospectus, or Weblogs by proactive fans.
Here’s an example: Harold Reynolds is notorious for trying to prove statisticians wrong. He actually said on the air that the teams sometimes need to sacrifice bunt more to build big innings. What other industry would allow someone to say something so blatantly wrong? Something needs to be done on Baseball tonight. They need to add Rob Neyer, someone from the Baseball Prospectus, or Jeremy.
Yesterday I was talking online with a couple of Yankee-fan friends about baseball. I decided to have some fun and commit the cardinal sin of statistics (I’ll be up front about it). I was going to trick them by cherry-picking stats.

I gave my friends these two pitchers:
Pitcher A: 28 Strikeouts with 11 Walks and 2 Homers allowed in 33 innings.
Pitcher B: 22 Strikeouts and 8 Walks with 0 Homers allowed in 25.3 innings.
I asked them to pick which was Armando Benitez. They both picked pitcher B. They were both wrong. Pitcher A was Armando Benitez, Pitcher B was Orber Moreno.

I’m very much guilty of trying to wrongly imply that Moreno is comparable to Benitez. I’m aware of the major flaws to my comparison as I’m sure you are. . What I think it does suggest, however, is how desperate I am as a Met fan to find a silver lining. Most of our bright spots this year have been veterans like Todd Zeile and Tom Glavine. Todd Zeile being good doesn’t help us down the road. Moreno was encouraging…. And now he’s hurt. It’s too bad, I like him. You can check out his impressive minor league statistics here.

What I want to know from you, is what really are the best signs that the Mets are going in the right direction. I think David Wright is the most obvious. I don’t have to contrive anything about him. Give me some more hope this year that there's more to get excited about than just the veterans who are playing well.

 
I told you I'd probably stop in today. Just a few quick hits though from me today (Also, for the people I told I'd have the Brazell thing ready by tomorrow, probably not. I gotta study for a final tomorrow plus I won't be home this evening. I know what I wanna write, but I gotta write it. I'll have a little time this weekend in between studying for finals on Monday and should be able to finish writing it on Monday and either posting it Monday or putting the finishing touches on Tuesday and throwing it up. I'm not promising anything, but it should be there. In case your wondering, its basically going to take a look on my stance on Brazell where I say he's more valuable being traded and why I would rather bring up Diaz to play RF in a crunch. It involved number crunching (basically re-evaluating my position) on Brazell and if anyone knows any decent chart HTML that works on blogger, send me an e-mail. I could use it).

-Scott Erickson, in his attempts to make our lives miserable, pitched fairly well last night in Norfolk. He pitched 7 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, while giving up 2 home runs. He wants to make one more rehab start before being called up. Here is what he said...
"Being a ground-ball pitcher, the last thing I want to do is give up home runs," Erickson said. "But I felt strong and felt like I maintained velocity throughout. We wanted to go seven innings or 90pitches tonight. I threw 89. Next time out I want to go 100pitches. Then if they need me, I'm ready."
I know this is mean, but here's to wishing you suck next time you go out.

-Also from the above article, we get this piece of news...
Reliever Orber Moreno was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and is scheduled to fly to New York to have an MRI and be examined by team doctor Andrew Rokito today. The Mets recalled Tyler Yates, who will work out of the bullpen after making sevenstarts with the big-league club earlier this season
It's hard to imagine you can get a sore shoulder from sitting around, but then again, who knows, David Weathers could have a voodoo doll or something. In all seriousness, this concerns me a little only because Orber has been a very injury prone pitcher throughout his whole career. Hopefully this is just minor.

Finallly, Aaron is geeked that Johan Santana pitched well, but is also in disbelief that Gerald Williams took Johan deep. And I have to agree. See, I was out to dinner with my family for my dad's birthday last night and got home to see the Mets had a run on the board. I checked the ESPN.com box score and much to my shock, Gerald William had hit a home run. I didn't believe it, so I reloaded the page. It still said Gerald Williams. So I did it again... and again... 15 times to be exact. And it still said Gerald Williams. At that point I finally conceeded my worst fear. That Gerald Williams had gotten playing time... and that he made a good first impression. So Aaron, while you may be shocked, Mets fans feel that same feeling of shock... with an upset stomach over the prospect of Gerald Williams seeing more significant playing time in the coming days.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
 
You cannot be serious? Look, getting D. Garcia some at bats, since he wasn't getting them with the big club, is a good thing, but for "Ice"? I happen to like Kaley's thinking, but I tend to agree with Avkash in fear that Williams wil play with the way Cameron's hitting, the DH (I don't believe Piazza is DHing 6 games) and the rumors I'm hearing from other people about Eric Valent leaving the team for a few days for personal reasons. And I also think, in classic pessimist form, that Wilson Delgado, and not Wright, will get the call when they go back to Shea. But the Jose Reyes promotiom last year should give me hope that it might be Wright.

Aa for last night, step 1 in The Move was a pretty big step backwards. I won't jump on the Matsui Bashing bandwagon, so instead I'll yell at Ty Wigginton. Was that a brain fart or what? I was watching, thinking it was a good stop by a usually lacking in range Wigginton. Then I saw him start to come up to throw it and thought the game was over. Saw him throw it and said something non-PG. Then saw Phillips go to the plate and thought they had a shot. Then I saw Wilson not catch it and another couple of expletives came out.

Last night's 9th inning was not fun and not at all Stanton's fault (for once). It is frustrating to see Tom Glavine not win last night's game after his stellar performance, but that has been this team this year. We'll see what happens tonight... hopefully The Move gets back to even.

As for me, I'm working on some "Craig Brazell number crunching" after an inspiring e-mail from a reader compelled me to do so. So, above is all I have for today and you might not see me tomorrow (I might stop in shortly. Busy at night, gotta study for finals starting Friday), but Barry should be making his first post tomorrow, so you won't be without things to read. Speaking of Barry, here is a tiny bio on him so he can kick right into his post tomorrow. Also, please treat him nicely... And yes, I'm looking at you Matt.
I graduated with a degree in Biometry and Statistics from Cornell University. I am a data analyst but I don't get much chance to actually do it, so I like playing around with baseball numbers. I've been a Met fan since 1986 because Len Dykstra was my favorite player.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
 
The Wright Move is the Wrong Move, according to most of you. And you are probably right, especially when we start evoking names like Gregg Jefferies. As said in the comments, the Mets have options available if they want to bring up some punch from the minors to help out in right. I'm not for Craig Brazell, seeing him as a nice trading chip to a GM who looks at his HRs and forgets his Ks and no BB. Victor Diaz is more intriguing, especially since he's start to hit, but I don't know about his RF defense. The idea of Wright in RF at some point is not out of my head yet (I like thinking outside the box), but for now, the Mets need to prove they only need a little extra bump to get over the playoff hump.

Speaking of proving it, The Move portion of the schedule starts tonight against the Craptastic AL Central (look at the sidebar... isn't it also nice I added the words craptastic and man crush to the Mets blogging lexicon) with Minnesota. The pitching matchup is Glavine vs. Radke in the Metrodome at 8:05 ET. Should be fun.

Speaking of craptastic, let's take a look at the craptastic bench and how its doing so far (For this, I chose Wigginton at second, Zeile at third and gave Garcia RF as a starter since he has the most PAs to this point).

2004 VORP totals
McEwing: 75 PA, -3.2
D. Garcia: 103 PA, 5.0
Spencer: 143 PA, 7.4
Valent: 104 PA, 3.3
Wilson: 57 PA, 2.7

Totals: 482 PA, 15.2

This is somewhat inexact for the bench because it doesn't include negative contributions by Gutierrez and Duncan and Garcia did start for a decent amount of time (among other players who have both started and spent time on the bench). But I believe its a fair representation of what's been done so far. They have been worth about a win and a half so far, much better than the 10.3 and one win the original bench back on March 14th was projected to be at for all of 2004. They haven't really been great (almost all of Garcia's contributions are while starting), but I don't think they've been quite craptastic either.

Finally, Jason agrees that Scott Hyde could be the steal of the draft. He also posts what BA has to say about him. You might see a Scott Hyde sidebar is he pitches for the Cyclones later this year... ya never know.

Monday, June 07, 2004
 
Linkage

If you haven't read Avkash's article on bullpen management, do it right now (well, after you are done reading me). It uses some different metrics and once again shows Orber Moreno as wrongly used.

Jason lists the first 10 draft picks of the Mets. I'll admit that my favorite is 7th rounder Scott Hyde, who is a D3 pitcher. He had a no hitter this year, a 5.5 K/BB, a 14.09 K/9 and 5 HR given up in I believe 122 innings. Granted, this is against D3 competition, but he intrigues me because of his insane stats and the fact that he's very low risk, high reward. Not too much will be expected out of him right away because he's a D3 pitcher, but he could definitely surprise people. Someone I'll definitely watch the next few years.

Finally, the Brewers trade two minor leaguers for Peter Bergeron and a PTBNL. The two minor leaguers are a 29 year old career minor league pitcher (and now pretty decent reliever) and a 22 year old former catcher who is now an OF. He's hitting .289 with 3 homers in AA this year, but that move to the OF makes his .370/.446 in high A last year at 21 look less impressive. But the prospects the Expos got is not the reason I brought this up... I did because I have one simple question... Why in hell would anyone trade for Peter Bergeron? Ever. I'm serious. There is no reason ever to acquire Peter Bergeron. If anyone has a rational reason, please put it in the comments because I don't get it. That PTBNL must be really good...

Also, go chime in on the post below about letting David Wright play RF withthe big club only for this year.

 
Before we get to the main stuff today, let me direct you to Jason's great work with updates on the draft. The Mets took Humber, the pitcher from Rice, with the third pick. And I can't argue... he is the safest pick. From BA.com...
Scouts considered Humber the safest pick among the three Rice aces. He has three plus pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball that scrapes 97, a true 12-6 curveball, and a splitter that he uses as a changeup. The run on his fastball is inconsistent and the pitch flattens out at times, but his curveball is a big-time strikeout pitch and his splitter keeps batters off balance. Strong and durable, he has been injury-free and has the most resilient arm of the Rice first-rounders.
Sounds very good to me.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry

I had a plan last week. It was formulated and it was good. And then my computer decided to suck. Better explanation? OK. Here's the deal. My computer stopped working last Tuesday. I was going to post Tuesday and Wednesday and turn over the reins of my blog to my good buddy Barry (who you may know as Ubamet) for the rest of the weekend. Why? Cause I was going to be in Washington with my high school band for Memorial Day Weekend. We performed in the parade on Monday and at the Jefferson Memorial on Friday. I was also walking around the mall the day of the WWII Memorial Ceremony. But, alas, my computer stopped working and this blog wasn't updated for two weeks. But that trip to Washington did provide me with two things to talk about...

a. Barry is joining ranks. Expect his first post later this week. He's a smart and passioniate Met fan. You'll like him.
b. While I was there, I wandered into the Museum of Natural History. In their social section of movable displays, they had a display from Cooperstown. Now, I've been there before, though I am still amazed by how small Brooks Robinson's glove was and how good he was defensively. But the thing I wanted to mention was something they had in the gift shop. It was a replica 1969 light blue (periwinkle I guess) "Let's Go Mets" shirt with Mr. Met on it. It was $24. I wanted to pull the trigger and buy it, but couldn't, partly because I'm a wuss when it comes to buying things, partly because my Yankee fan friends probably would have lit it on fire before I got home and slightly because it was $24. Now, after the fact, I'm kicking myself still. My parents are going back in late August and if the display is still up, they'll get it. Hopefully it will be there...

Now to the Mets...

If the last dozen games was the referendum, then the next dozen are The Move.

The Mets are going up against MIN, KC, CLE and DET. 3 games each. This is where the Mets need to win games. They don't necessarily have to make up a lot of games in the standings, but they need to go at least 8-4, otherwise the last week doesn't show that they can hang with the bigger guys in the division, it just shows they are a wildly inconsistent team. The Mets need to prove they can take advanatage of the times when they are playing clearly inferior teams and beat them. If the Mets aren't above .500 by a couple of games by the end of this twelve game stretch, you can kiss playoff hopes goodbye.

The Wright Move

Just go with me for a second. Todd Zeile is playing well enough to deserve to play 3B everyday. He's also passable enough defensively. But this team needs a bat and the trade market hasn't shook out yet. My answer?

David Wright. But Zeile is playing third, right? Put him in RF. Am I crazy? Probably, but it worked with Miguel Cabrera. Now, I know, Wright is a superior defense 3B to both Zeile and Cabrera, but I think the Mets are better off with Zeile/Wright in the lineup then Wright/assorted RF. And Wright seems to be pretty athletic, so he could learn to play a decent RF, which is all they are getting right now. And they still have Cameron out there to help cover some ground. Miguel Cabrera played his first game with the Marlins on June 20th in left field. Last year in AA Cabrera was hitting .429/.609. Wright is hitting .438/.587.

I definitely think the Mets should consider taking Wright aside a few days, teaching him right field and bringing him up and trying it. And after this year, when Zeile retires, they give him third base and make him the third baseman of the future.

So David Wright to RF, for this year... What do you think? Leave it in the comments or if its a long thought you could e-mail me.

Off to study up on some of the other Mets draft picks... see ya later...

Sunday, June 06, 2004
 
The internet is hooked up to my brother's laptop, meaning I am back. I've had loads of schoolwork this weekend and a little bit more to do, so this will be fast (well, I thought this was going to be fast when I started). I haven't been around for two weeks between all the stuff, so if there is something really interesting or important I didn't read online, I'd appreciate it if someone pointed it out. Thanks. Also, my Mets knowledge might somewhat stink for a few days since I haven't really read a internet blog or piece of news in two weeks and have been a little busy that I haven't caught that many games. Just stick with me...

Anyway, for now, my thoughts on the draft

-The MLB Draft is tomorrow, starting 12:50 I believe. BA.com dropped a shocker today when they report the Padres will pass on Stephen Drew and his high Scott Boras signing bonus in favor of local shortstop product Matt Bush, who was projected to go to the Indians or Reds at 6 or 7 respectively. That means that the Tigers would take and sign Drew with the second pick. And you know what that means... the Mets get first pitcher. It seems as though they would take Verlander, the Old Dominion product, if he does fall. A tiny scouting report courtesy of Boyd at Baseball Prospectus...
Justin Verlander, Old Dominion, 3.49 ERA, 105.2 IP, 151 K, 43BB, 8 HR. A handy chart:

Year PAP ERA
2002 510616 1.90
2003 666398 2.40
2004 <100000 3.49

In addition, he served as the staff ace for Team USA over the summer of 2003. Verlander is, by most accounts, a really nice kid, but if your local GM drafts him, think about moving.
As you can tell, he is enamored with the kid.

Hopefully Jeff Niemann is avoided, because even at a downright scary 6'9", I just don't like college pitchers who have had elbow problems.

Jason at Always Amazin' likes Humber. Courtesy of BP again...
Philip Humber, Rice, 1.80 ERA, 105.0 IP, 141 IP, 33 BB, 5 HR. At 6'4", 210, Humber is the lightweight physically among the Rice pitchers, but his results are right in line with the other two big guns--sometimes a little extra control will do that for you. There hasn't been any Kenny Baugh-style abuse on this year's Rice staff, but Humber has gone over 120 pitches a couple of times, and the recent increase in his ERA, similar to Townsend's, may point to some fatigue.
Doesn't sound bad, though I don't like the whole "lightweight" thing.

When its all said and done, I'm a Jered Weaver guy. Maybe its Rich Lederer's articles, but I just like him the most. He is also apparently a flyball pitcher, something that suits him well for the Mets if we think long term down the road (though they could have a new park by then). Here is BP's thoughts...
Long Beach State, 1.68 ERA, 128.1 IP, 193 K, 18 BB, 4 HR. Weaver's early-season numbers were reminiscent of Mark Prior's in his last year at Southern California, putting up low numbers against an extremely tough schedule. The ERA's a bit deceptive; he gave up seven runs in taking his first loss last week against Miami, pushing his ERA up from an absurd 1.27. His pitch counts have been high by professional standards but, unfortunately, normal for the college ranks; virtually every start has come in between 110 and 125 pitches, with three of them at 120 or higher.

Physically, Weaver, the younger brother of Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver, is a big right-hander at 6'6", 200 pounds. He throws a bit smaller than his size, though, with a low-90s fastball and great control.
As they point out, he has thrown a few pitches and apparently his mechanics are a little shaky, but I still find him to be downright filthy. Of course, as with Stephen Drew, Scott Boras gets in the way. From the BA article linked above...
Long Beach State righthander Jered Weaver, at one point believed to be the favorite to go No. 1 overall, may fall dramatically because of signability. Weaver, who like Drew will be advised by Scott Boras, reportedly wants a package similar to the $10.5 million package Mark Prior got from the Cubs as the No. 2 selection in 2001.
I know after Kazmir they might not be up for this again, but I really think the Mets would have the money if they want him. I just don't think they want him.

Now, is that a bad thing? Well, to me, its probably "In Peterson We Trust" at this point. I'm pretty sure he has a big influence on this pick. If it was me, I've give him almost full leverage on it, but this the Mets, so we're lucky if he gets 25%. Still, from what I've read, it looks partly like Peterson's call, so if he likes Verlander, then Verlander it is. The fact that they might have first choice of pitchers in this draft makes me happy enough.

Tomorrow we'll talk Washington DC (its partly baseball related), my new idea on how the Mets can help themselves with the "division race" they find themselves in all of a sudden and how you might be seeing a new face (well, you won't be a seeing a face, but you get it) around here soon (this also relates to the DC story).

And, of course, we will discuss who the Mets take in the first round... see ya tomorrow.


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