Feb 21

Looking At Mets’ Leadoff Situation

The primary objective for the New York Mets in their quest for a leadoff hitter is the combination of speed, base-running ability and on-base percentage.

Eric Young has the first two, but manager Terry Collins wants him to improve his on-base percentage. Young’s career on-base percentage is .325, and Collins is thinking of at least 25 more points.

YOUNG: Should bunt more.

YOUNG: Should bunt more.

“Ideally, you’d wish he’d have a .350 on-base,’’ Collins said earlier this week. “I don’t know if he’s going to, but you hope he does.

“All I know is what an impact this guy made on our team when we got him. He got some big hits, made some great plays defensively in the outfield. And when he got on, exciting things happened and we scored runs.

“So we’re certainly going to focus a lot on trying to get Eric to bunt a little bit more, maybe be a little more selective at the plate.’’

Even at .350, that pales compared to Rickey Henderson (.401) and Pete Rose (.375), two of the greatest leadoff hitters in history.

The Mets want Young to improve his walks-to-strikeouts ratio, which was a poor 35-67 last season in only 418 plate appearances and to bunt more.

With his speed, if Young averaged one bunt hit a week, that would be 26 additional for the season. Give Young 26 more hits over the same number of at-bats last year and his average would have been .320.

Collins prefers Young in the leadoff role over Daniel Murphy (lacks speed), Chris Young or Juan Lagares (low on-base percentage and too many strikeouts), or Ruben Tejada (low on-base percentage).

 

May 26

Jose Reyes back … are the Mets next?

With his legs feeling better, stronger and more flexible, and released from the shackles of hitting third in the batting order where he never felt comfortable, Jose Reyes is back to being Jose Reyes.

Reyes is coming off this best game of the season last night, when he went 3-for-5 – including a triple – two stolen bases and three runs scored in the rout of the Phillies. One of those hits was off a bunt.

“I can’t wait to get on base two or three times a game,’’ Reyes said. “My legs feel so good now.’’

After undergoing surgery to replace a torn hamstring tendon, and missing most of spring training with a thyroid issue, Reyes as struggled for much of the season. His legs missed that strong push-off step and he looked lost batting third and developed a noticeable uppercut in his swing.

The result was a .275 on-base percentage.

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Jun 24

About Last Night ….

All those good feelings harnessed with Monday’s victory have been washed away by the rain. Getting two hits against Joel Pineiro will do that to a team. For a team not getting consistently good pitching, the Mets can’t afford to waste a strong performance such as the one Livan Hernandez gave them last night.

Three-fourths of the core is gone, and the last one standing – David Wright – is hitting, but without power. Consistent run production is lacking and there’s little help on the horizon. Gary Sheffield hasn’t played in three days, and that they are relying on his aching 40-year-old legs doesn’t do much on the optimism meter.

It was Pineiro last night. He was stifling and the Mets did little to work the count. Not that it would have mattered anyway because he was usually ahead.

The Mets must now play for one run whenever they get the chance, and they don’t get many. Bunt, hit-and-run, steal, hit behind the runner, take the extra base, work the count. Now, more than ever, the must play fundamental offense because they don’t have the eraser that can wipe it all clean with one swing.

As well as they played Monday, they still could have lost. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them lose tonight and even tomorrow with Johan Santana, who hasn’t been a sure thing since the San Francisco game a half-dozen or so starts ago.

The Mets have been extremely fortunate to be only 2.5 games behind the Phillies with how they have played this month. They could easily be seven or eight behind if the Phillies could win at home.

I get this gnawing feeling about the Mets, the same one I got the last two years, that they have this warped belief they can turn it on at will once they get all their parts back. It doesn’t work that way.

These are the Mets’ cards and they have to play them. They have to play as if there’s no help coming, because, after all, we don’t know if there is.