Aug 03

Rosario Should Be Hitting Leadoff

The early returns on Amed Rosario are good, giving us a positive glimpse into 2018. With the Mets looking toward next season, with his speed shouldn’t Rosario be leading off?

ROSARIO: Hit him leadoff. (AP)

ROSARIO: Hit him leadoff. (AP)

Rosario has proven he can field the position, and his speed gives him the range the Mets haven’t had since Jose Reyes ten years ago. In three games, he already has two triples, going into third standing up both times. Speed can’t be taught. While that’s been impressive, what I like most about him has been his hustle coming out of the box.

I hope that never goes away.

Rosario should bat first with Michael Conforto dropped to third, which is a prime run-producing spot in the order. That’s the way it will be next year, so why not do it now?

The Mets have him batting seventh to alleviate the pressure of leading off.  But, I want him to experience the pressure to see how he handles it. How he deals with the pressures of leading off is something the Mets need to learn. And, he needs to hit first to learn how to handle that spot in the order, which includes being selective, working the count, bunting and stealing.

That’s what they are doing with playing Conforto is playing center field, which is where he’ll play next year assuming Jay Bruce is brought back. Conforto – who is the Mets’ best fundamental hitter – should be hitting third, with Yoenis Cespedes clean-up and Bruce fifth.

Since the Mets are gearing up for 2018, that should also mean Hansel Robles shouldn’t see the ninth inning. Yesterday I wrote how manager Terry Collins should return if he wants. I also wrote my primary criticism of Collins has been how he handles the bullpen, and that was the case in today’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies, on a bases-loaded walk from Robles, his third walk of the inning. He also hit a batter.

Robles seemed to injure his groin in the eighth, but he threw a couple of warm-ups and stayed in to strike out Trevor Story.

Collins had other options besides Robles, who never should have come out for the ninth, and definitely should have been pulled after he hit Jonathan Lucroy with a pitch leading off.

Robles has been a weak link for much of the season, and we won’t see him in the ninth next year, so why did we have to see him today?

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Aug 03

The Mets Should Consider Bringing Back Collins

The Mets have not played well this season, that much is a given. However, the overriding explanation for this year’s disappointment has been injuries – primarily to their starting pitching.

Ok. Let’s give them that … let’s say if Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz had been sound all year and joined Jacob deGrom and their vaunted rotation actually was a rotation, and it performed, then how good is this team?

BRUCE: Bring him back. (AP)

BRUCE: Bring him back. (AP)

Assuming GM Sandy Alderson can actually build a bullpen this winter, then are the Mets in a rebuild or just retooling?

There are indications they’ll bring back Jose Reyes – to serve as a mentor for Amed Rosario – and following their inability to deal them at the deadline, there have been reports of bringing back Jay Bruce, who hit his 29th homer in Wednesday’s 10-5 victory in Colorado, and Asdrubal Cabrera.

If all this is true, then what about Terry Collins? If Collins returns, then presumably much, if not all, his coaching staff would come back.

Much of what frustrates me about Collins is how he manages his bullpen, but most of that stems from what Alderson has given him to work with – which is why I questioned the Addison Reed trade. I know it was his walk year, but I wanted Alderson to make overtures of bringing him back, much like I want them to extend Bruce.

Collins is not the perfect manager, but for the most part his players hustle for him, and he’s been around long enough in the Mets’ system to have grown up with them.

I don’t know what Collins wants to do, but if it is to continue managing, then it should be with the Mets. Making a commitment to Collins and his staff would alleviate some of the indecision a losing team carries into the offseason.

If the conclusion is what happened this year is primarily because of injuries, then bring back Bruce, and Cabrera – to help groom Rosario and as a hedge for David Wright – and Collins.

But, those conversations should be going on now, not in October.

 

Aug 02

Mets Wrap: Rosario’s Misplay In Ninth Spoils Debut

All eyes were on Amed Rosario, whose Major League debut had mixed reviews tonight in Denver. The future of the Mets singled in four at-bats, but the game came down to his misplay of DJ LeMahieu’s hard grounder.

With Charlie Blackmon on first, LeMahieu grounded a ball to shortstop. Rosario took a quick step toward the bag, then broke back to his right. The ball deflected off his glove, but the Rockies had two runners on with no outs, and Nolan Arenado followed with a single to center to give Colorado a 5-4 victory.

ROSARIO and WALKER: Veteran schools rookie. (SNY)

ROSARIO and WALKER: Veteran schools rookie. (SNY)

Manager Terry Collins refused to throw Rosario under the bus, saying he didn’t know who was supposed to cover the bag, that Rosario and second baseman Neil Walker would decide before the pitch who was to cover the base.

However, basic fundamentals with a right-handed hitter at the plate dictate the second baseman cover the bag, but the only problem was Walker wasn’t close to the base.

After the game, both Walker and Jay Bruce met with Rosario to tell him to shake it off.

“It really means a lot,’’ Rosario said through a translator. “I’ve already shaken it off. I’ll come in tomorrow with a fresh mindset.’’

Collins said Rosario handled himself well the entire game, and didn’t hang his head.

“If you get caught, you get caught,’’ Collins said. “He’ll be fine. He shouldn’t be upset about not making the play. I thought he handled himself well. He’ll be fine.’’

Rosario collected his first major league hit in the eighth, just beating shortstop Trevor Story‘s throw wide of first. The play could’ve been scored an error, as a good throw would have gotten Rosario.

BRUCE KEEPS SLUGGING: They say there wasn’t a market for corner outfielders, but do you mean to say there wasn’t one AL contender that couldn’t have used Bruce as a DH?

Bruce hit his 28th homer tonight to temporarily give the Mets a 4-3 lead in the eighth. Don’t forget the home team gets to bat, too, and against that bullpen.

“Jay Bruce is a good player,’’ Collins said. “He comes to play every day. People just don’t give him enough credit.’’

GM Sandy Alderson is still trying to make a waiver deal for Bruce, but if the Mets are to contend as he hopes next season they’ll need to replace his power.

Bruce also had a RBI double.

MATZ LOSES IT QUICKLY: Steven Matz flirted with a no-hitter through four innings, pitched shutout ball after five, but four batters into the sixth was out of the game and losing after giving up a three-run homer to Arenado.

Matz said he threw the ball better tonight, but fell back into some bad habits in the sixth.

 

Aug 01

Mets Matters: Rosario Makes Good First Impression With Fan Tweet

I recently took a shot at Amed Rosario about Twitter, but this time he must be praised for his open letter to Mets fans on Twitter:

mets matters“Dear Mets fans,

We’ve grown and made it together! To God be ALL the glory. I’m grateful to share this moment with ALL of you, specially #Mets fans who have showered me with support. Things won’t always be perfect, but expect me to give you ALL of me, each and every day. Lets create long lasting memories in out CITI.

The kid from Los Mameyes,

Amed’’

Simply terrific. I’ve seen players write letters to fans when they leave a team, but never before his first game. A tremendous first impression.

Rosario will wear No. 1.

Joining Rosario is pitcher Chasen Bradford. To make room, Matt Reynolds was optioned and, of course, Addison Reed was traded to Boston.

Rosario was the Mets No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America at the beginning of the season and was currently ranked as the second-best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com in their mid-season rankings. He was hitting.328 (129-393) with 19 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 58 RBI 19 stolen bases, and 66 runs scored in 94 games at Triple A Las Vegas.

He is among the PCL leaders in hits (129, second), stolen bases (19, tied for third), triples (seven, tied for ninth) and batting average (.328, 10th). He had two 17-game hitting streaks with the 51s.

Rosario was signed by the Mets in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. He was selected to the mid-season Pacific Coast League All-Star team as the starting shortstop, and has participated in the last two Futures Game at the All-Star Game.

REYES OUT: Shortstop Jose Reyes isn’t in tonight’s lineup, partly because of Rosario and partly because of a bruised left forearm from getting hit by a pitch Sunday in Seattle.

X-Rays were negative and it is hoped he can play tonight as a pinch-hitter.

The Mets will send Reyes’ X-ray results to New York for further evaluation.

Reyes is batting .226 with nine home runs and 13 stolen bases in 100 games.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

Michael Conforto – CF: Is batting .333 with four homers and 33 RBI with RISP. … Is tied with Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, J.D. Martinez and Justin Smoak for the most homers since the break with seven.

Asdrubal Cabrera – 3B: Is batting .297 with six RBI and 12 runs scored since break. … Has 17 RBI with RISP.

Yoenis Cespedes – LF: Is hitting .278 with 15 RBI with RISP. … Has one homer in last 110 at-bats.

Jay Bruce – RF: Is hitting .307 with nine homers and 48 RBI with RISP. … Has reached base in 85 of 97 games played.

Neil Walker – 2B: Is hitting .392 with 24 RBI with RISP. … Lifetime .331 hitter vs. Rockies.

Wilmer Flores – 1B: Is hitting .204 with 19 RBI with RISP. … Has four homers and seven RBI in last 11 games.

Amed Rosario – SS: Makes ML debut after hitting .328 at Las Vegas. Will wear uniform No. 1.

Travis d’Arnaud – C: Is hitting .302 with six extra-base hits and 25 with RISP. … All of his nine homers have been hit on the road.

Steven Matz – LHP: Has lost three straight decisions, and has a 14.18 ERA in last four starts.