Apr 19

Looking At The Numbers For The Mets, Wright And Others

We’re two weeks into the young season and I’d like to share some of my first impressions and hear yours. The Mets, despite losing three of their last four games, are among the early surprises, as are several of their players.

WRIGHT: Has reason to smile.

They are playing better than anticipated and on pace to win 93 games. I don’t believe they will sustain that, but who wouldn’t take .500 if it were guaranteed? I would because it is the next step in the franchise’s development.

Ever since I was a kid I loved the early season numbers and projections. It was fun to think of all those players breaking Roger Maris’ 61 homers, but knew nobody would come close. When it finally happened and I learned why, it wasn’t fun anymore.

For example, David Wright’s .500 average leads the majors and is one of six players hitting over .400 and 28 over .340. There won’t be a .400 hitter – and maybe never will again – and I’d be willing to bet there won’t be anybody over .340.

Both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are on track to hit 41 homers and drive in 81 and 68 runs, respectively. They have the strength to hit that many homers, but I don’t think either has the plate presence or pitcher knowledge to do so. At least not this year. Their RBI totals are reasonable.

Wright won’t hit .500 or get the 230 hits projected of him, but I’d take the 28 homers and 108 RBI. The latter two should be worthy of a contract extension.

The Mets would gladly take those numbers from Wright, as they would Frank Francisco’s projected 41 saves.

Pitching wise, the Mets’ 3.69 ERA is sixth in the National League, which is a substantial improvement from last year. Also, their 43 walks allowed are 11th in the league, but ten of those came in one game. That needs to get better. They are second in the league with 101 strikeouts, an average of over eight a game that translates into working out of a lot of trouble.

In addition to the Mets, the surprise teams on the positive are Washington, the Dodgers, St. Louis and Baltimore. The Cardinals, minus Albert Pujols, Tony La Russa and Chris Carpenter, just keep rolling.

I thought the Nationals would be better, but not this good. They won’t keep playing at this rate, but their pitching is good enough to keep them contending. Their ERA of 1.92 is first; they are tied for seventh in fewest walks and first in strikeouts.

On the negative, the Phillies will climb in the standings, as will the Angels, Boston and the Yankees.

Individually, four players are on pace to hit over 60 homers, which isn’t supposed to happen in the new steroid-free era. One of those players is Carlos Beltran, who hasn’t made the Cardinals forget Pujols, but has softened the blow.

Speaking of Pujols, he hasn’t homered and is on pace for 54 RBI. He’s also on track for 81 strikeouts, which would be the second highest of his career. His 41 walks would be the lowest of his career.

I don’t believe the Cardinals will regret losing Pujols in the long term. Pujols is a future Hall of Famer and will eventually adjust to the American League and before it is over post impressive numbers. The Cardinals can live with that because even if Pujols plays another ten years, they would have gotten the best years of his career.

The most fun stats to project are the individual player numbers. The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is on pace to hit .460 with a .500 on-base percentage, 287 hits, 87 homers and 224 RBI.

Incidentally, on the flip side, Jose Reyes is on track to play in 162 games (yeah, as if that will happen), hit .226 with a .276 on-base percentage, with 37 steals, 50 walks and 100 strikeouts.

Neither Kemp’s nor Reyes’ numbers will reach fruition, but on an off day it is fun to tinker with the numbers.

Apr 18

Steady Dickey To Face Braves Today

Mets fans and the media have been critical of former GM Omar Minaya for some of his moves, but to be fair he had some good acquisitions and R.A. Dickey is one of them.

DICKEY: Reliable

By reputation, knuckleball pitchers are supposed to be erratic, but Dickey has proven to be the opposite. Once considered to be a journeyman, but now cornerstone in the Mets’ rotation, Dickey will be going after his 15th straight quality start in a few hours against the Braves. Dickey has given the Mets seven innings in 15 of his last 24 starts.

Dickey is coming off a stellar performance at Philadelphia in which he gave up a run in seven innings. The team record for quality starters – defined as giving up three runs in six innings – is 21 by Dwight Gooden in 1985.

The Mets’ rotation has been tattered in recent seasons, but for the most part he has always kept them in the game and we can’t ask for much more.

Dickey will work with a revamped lineup for today’s game with Ronny Cedeno giving Ruben Tejada a day off at shortstop and Kirk Nieuwenhuis leading off.

Here’s the lineup:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Lucas Duda, rf
Josh Thole, c
Ronny Cedeno, ss
R.A. Dickey, rhp

 

Apr 17

Mets Aim To Stay Hot With Santana

David Wright, Andres Torres and Jason Bay have all missed games because of injuries, but for the most part manager Terry Collins has resisted any urge to crazy juggle his line-up, something Jerry Manuel did on a consistent basis.

Johan Santana will make his third start of the season tonight. Here’s the line-up behind him:

Ruben Tejada, ss
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Lucas Duda, rf
Josh Thole, c
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Johan Santana, lhp

 

Apr 16

Jason Bay In Mets Lineup

Serves me right for guessing. I posted earlier I didn’t think Jason Bay would play tonight in Atlanta, but he’s in there. From what I heard, I didn’t think he would be ready, but after testing his hand he was able to grip the bat so he’s good to go.

Maybe he’ll have the same success David Wright had in his return.

Here’s the order behind Dillon Gee:

Ruben Tejada, ss

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Ike Davis, 1b

Jason Bay, lf

Lucas Duda, rf

Josh Thole, c

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Dillon Gee, rhp

Apr 14

Wright In Lineup Today

David Wright gave it a go and will be in the lineup this afternoon at Philadelphia. For five days Terry Collins expressed optimism Wright would be able to play, but also admitted the DL was a possibility.

There is a risk to Wright playing today, which is if Wright aggravates the injury and does go on the DL the Mets would have lost five days in the process.

If his pinkie feels better today, it would probably improve over the next couple of days. I believe the Mets are taking a risk.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Ruben Tejada, ss

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Lucas Duda, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Thole, c
Jon Niese, lhp