Jan 22

What Can Mets Expect From Zack Wheeler?

What exactly should the New York Mets realistically expect from Zack Wheeler this summer?

He was 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts last year, and to double the victories would be a good progression especially if his starts were doubled to 34. What is unfair would be to think he’s have a Matt Harvey type season, one in which he captured the imagination of the city and made the All-Star team.

WHEELER: What can we expect?

WHEELER: What can we expect?

I’m not in agreement with those who debunk the traditional pitching statistics of victories and ERA, which have been fair measuring sticks for over 100 years. Just because something has been a staple for a century-plus does not make it outdated or obsolete.

Victories mean games won, and isn’t that the objective of the sport – to win games? I realize the game has changed and pitchers don’t throw complete games anymore, but even with limited innings, getting a “W’’ means you kept your team in the game. How is that not important?

If Wheeler can increase his victories by one a month, that’s six over the course of the season, and 13 total for the year. I’d take that for starters.

An ERA measures runs allowed, which is vastly more important for a starter, because even a few runs over a short number of innings greatly inflates a reliever’s ERA.

If Wheeler duplicates last year’s ERA, especially with an increase over last season’s 100 innings it would be more than acceptable. Manager Terry Collins suggested during the Winter Meetings 200 innings for Wheeler isn’t out of the question, but an innings limit hasn’t been ruled out.

What Harvey accomplished last year prior to his injury was exceptional, but that was his achievement, not Wheeler’s. Wheeler is unique in his own right and to say he’ll be just as dominant is unfair.

For now, I just don’t want to see a regression, just some improvement to suggest he’s heading in the right direction.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Jan 05

Mets Have Catching Concerns

Of all the New York Mets’ questions entering spring training, perhaps the most intriguing is at catcher, where an inexperienced Travis d’Arnaud is the starter without a veteran mentor.

Last year, he had John Buck. However, when d’Arnaud was injured, the job became Buck’s with young Anthony Recker as back-up. By the time d’Arnaud was ready for Citi Field, Buck was heading for Pittsburgh.

The Mets could use Buck back this year as a caddy for d’Arnaud, but manager Terry Collins said he’s comfortable with Recker as the back-up. But, it’s January, not July and the Mets aren’t riding a six-game losing streak and heading to the West Coast.

Truth is the window is small for both d’Arnaud and Recker, and we don’t know what either could do with 550 at-bats over a full season. That’s a major concern, as is both their abilities to call a game and settle a pitching staff.

Mets pitchers last year had a comfort dealing with Buck they didn’t have time to develop with d’Arnaud. Mets pitchers did have some sense of comfort with Recker, who produced more at the plate than d’Arnaud.

Teams have carried weak-hitting catchers before, but usually they had enough offense elsewhere to compensate. This Mets’ team doesn’t have that luxury.

Of the two, for a young catcher, defense and handling a staff take precedence over offense, but as a young player it is only natural d’Arnaud will fret if he’s not hitting.

The problem is the Mets don’t know what they have in d’Arnaud, either at the plate or behind it. Ditto for Recker. Those are significant concerns.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 29

Similarities Between Mets And Jets

The New York Mets and Jets entered their respective seasons wearing the dysfunctional label, and ended them with other similarities, including the decisions to keep their on-field leaders.

The Jets’ choice to keep the embattled Rex Ryan mirrored that of the Mets to keep Terry Collins. Both took terrible, underachieving teams and exceeded expectations. For awhile this summer, .500 was not out of the question until Matt Harvey’s season-ending elbow injury.

For most of their season, the Jets, pegged by many to not win more than four or five games, finished at .500 with today’s victory at Miami, and it wasn’t until recently their playoff aspirations were snuffed out.

The primary reasons for keeping Collins was because the Mets made greater than expected improvement despite numerous personnel deficiencies and because the team continually played hard for him.

The Mets’ most significant personnel weakness is offense, which is also the Jets’ Achilles Heel.

Going with a rookie quarterback, a weak offensive line, and nothing significant in the backfield or at receiver, the Jets did just enough to win half their games.

In the end, the Mets decided the team improved to the point where it didn’t want to endure another rebuilding program.

Realistically, the Jets – especially defensively – played hard for Ryan, who coached with lame-duck status a new quarterback, under a new defensive coordinator and new general manager.

The Jets could have packed it in, but despite being undermanned offensively, played with integrity to give the team something to build on.

Just like with the Mets.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 27

Have Been On The DL With Back Surgery; Back Now And Wishing You The Best

First of all, not much has happened with your New York Mets the past week, which alleviates some my angst.

The blog has been dormant the past week, for which I apologize. I entered the hospital just before Christmas to have back surgery. Unfortunately, the recovery time took longer than anticipated and today was the first time I’ve been able to sit up to a desk to write.

I’d like to thank Joe DeCaro for during my surgery, but he had holiday plans too and wasn’t available for the past five days. His help is always appreciated.

You know I hate leaving the blog unattended, but it couldn’t be helped. For that, I am sorry and want to tell you I’ll keep working on giving you the best commentary and analysis I can provide.

So again, dear readers, thanks for you support in the past and please accept my apologies, and, of course, wishing the happiest of holidays.

Thanks, JD.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 03

Why Mets Did Not Non-Tender Ike Davis

If the New York Mets don’t want Ike Davis, why didn’t they just non-tender him? That way the unproductive first baseman with the looping swing and high propensity for striking out would be gone. Davis would just them be another failure in Mets lore.

DAVIS: Mets playing waiting game, (Getty)

DAVIS: Mets playing waiting game, (Getty)

That’s the conventional wisdom, but there’s more to it under the surface. There always is.

As long as Davis remains on the Mets’ 40-man roster, he’s an asset capable of either producing on the field when the season starts, or as a trade piece.

Obviously, the Mets would like to find a trading partner, but might find they won’t be getting much in return. With a flood of free agents on the market, most teams would rather attempt that route first because all they would spend is money.

The smarter teams are waiting for the Mets to dump him during spring training, that way they could get Davis without having to surrender talent in return. Subsequently, the Mets are holding on to Davis to see if there’s a team that loses a first baseman to injury during spring training and finds itself in a bind.

If there’s no such opportunity, there’s always waiting for the July 31 trade deadline. That’s the Mets’ best hope of getting quality in return.

In addition, if the Mets take Davis to spring training, he might win the job if Lucas Duda doesn’t perform. There’s no given with Duda, so that has to be in the back of Sandy Alderson’s mind.