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Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Scouting Report, 40-man Roster- Manny Acosta

Manny Acosta - #36

29 years old (30 in May)
5th major league season
6'4" 170 pounds (still??!!)
Bats R/Throws R

The Good: Throws a mid-90s fastball, a "plus" curve-ball and a change-up/split-finger. His fastball and curve were very good last year. He generates a lot of swing and misses (9.6%), and that results in a lot of strike outs (9.5 k/9 last year). His ERA last year was 2.95 in 39 2/3 innings.

The Bad: Walks too many guys (4.51 W/9 for his career, but it improved last year to 4.08) and has seen his fly ball rate climb the last four years. The old book was that lefties hit well against him (.277 prior to last year), but in a small sample size, (46 batters faced), they only hit .163 in 2010. The other 'book' on him is that he struggles in high-leverage situations (8th or 9th inning with runners on in a close game). In low-leverage, his FIP (Fielders Independent Pitching) was 2.63, which is great. But once the pressure increases, his FIP rises to 5.51 in medium-leverage situations, and climbs even higher in High-leverage situations, with a 5.91 FIP.  As a quick refresher for those unfamilar with FIP, it stands for Fielders Independent Pitching. FIP just focuses on what the pitcher can control himself (HR, Walks, Strikeouts), and FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP is set-up to mirror a player's ERA (below 3 is good etc).

Interesting splits/notes: One other interesting split from last year was that he struggled at Citi Field, 4.12 ERA at home, versus 1.80 ERA on the road. Acosta threw a first pitch fastball 65% of the time last year.

Role: As per my 1st opening-day roster, I have Acosta ticketed for Buffalo and AAA to start the year, but will be the first guys called up if/when the bullpen's arms fall off due to the starters inability to work deep into games.  Pure stuff-wise there is no reason he can't be a big part in a major league bullpen, but needs to decrease the walks, and not melt under pressure in high leverage situations.

Projected Stats: 45 innings pitched, 40 K, 15 walks, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

To review his 2010 scouting report, click here.

Mets Projected Opening Day Roster As of February 28th

After I got to see 4 days of Spring Training last week, I promised you guys a glimpse into who I thought was going to make the team on opening day. Without further ado, here it is:

Catchers: 2.
Thole and Nickeas (covering for Paulino only for his 8 game suspension, maybe more if he doesn't get into camp soon secondary to visa issues)

Infield: 6
Davis, Emaus (starting 2nd baseman), Castillo, Reyes, Hu (back-up SS), Wright

Outfield: 4
Bay, Beltran, Pagan, Hairston (reserve OF)

Utility: 1
N Evans (1st/3rd/corner OF)

Pitchers: 12
Pelfrey (#1), Niese (#2) Dickey (#3), Capuano (#4), Young (#5), F Rodriguez (closer), B Parnell (8th), Beato (5th/6th), Buchholz (6th/7th), Carrasco (multiple innings), Tankersley (LOOGY), Isringhausen (7th/8th)

Guys in italics are non-roster invites. Both rule 5 drafts will make the team in my opinion, and the big question mark is the last roster spot for the offense. I put N Evans in the lead right now, as he is out of options and would certainly be picked up off waivers. W Harris made a big splash in the 1st spring training game, and he would be my first outside looking in on that last roster spot. Notice D Murphy is not on the roster, as I'd rather him go down to AAA and continue to improve on his defense (if possible), versus being strictly a pinch hitter, and I think N Evans is a better hitter than Murphy .

As far as the pitching staff, I prefer Tankersley to both Brydak and O'Connor for the lefty out of the pen, and if Isringhausen doesn't get hurt in the next 5 weeks, then I envision him making the team and could be a 7th/8th inning guy. If there is an injury, M Acosta is the next in line. No, I do not see Oliver Perez making the team unless something drastically changes.

What do you guys think for those last few roster spots? Does Terry Collins have a bunch of tough decisions to make?


Friday, February 25, 2011

Spring Training Day 4 Video Recap

As I said last night, here are some videos of Dickey, Niese, Isringhausen and C Young (including him deflecting a hot come-backer), as well as some more 2nd base double play turns. In a side note, I'm uploading the videos through youtube now, as when I tried to view the videos full screen, the quality was poor from the other day. I apologize, and this way should be a lot clearer.  I also wish there was a way to watch the video slower, as it really provides a lot better information on the pitching motion, but I'll try to figure that out by the time I start the scouting reports of the 40-man roster, which should start on Monday, February 28th, and end up on opening day. So be sure to check back daily for these reports. For an example of my scouting reports from last year, here is David Wright's. And if anyone has any suggestions, or something they would like to see added to the scouting report, let me know and I will try my best to accommodate it.  

We will start with the 2nd base double play turns, as this was a hot topic from Wednesday's videos. As I noted in the pictures yesterday, Daniel Murphy was trying to be quicker and come across the bag on the double play throw, which sometimes is great, but his timing was completely off yesterday, and he was across the bag early a number of times. In the 2nd video the ball hops up on Murphy and he stays with it, but it doesn't gain him any style points compared to the smooth Castillo and Emaus.

Jon Niese looks fine and comfortable with his mechanics this early in spring training. He is balanced and while I don't like that he hooks his wrist, compared to the rest of the Mets, his mechanics seem relatively 'clean.'

This was a funny video during Isringhausen's '2nd inning', and he threw an off-speed (can't tell at full speed if it's a change or his curve), into the ground and he was visibly pissed at himself.

This is one of many Dickey videos I took yesterday, where you can see the 'primal yell face' as he delivers the ball and a little bit of the knuckle-ball floating. Video of two Dickey knuckle-balls taken between home and 3rd base.

Chris Young from the 1st base bag, and a come-backer nearly takes his leg off. Yes, that's the 1st time I've ever used the term 'takes his leg off.' Normally it would be take his head off, but Chris Young is THAT tall.

I hope you guys enjoyed the past four days as much as I did. Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. And be sure to check back in regularly the rest of Spring Training for the scouting reports and other news and notes as deemed necessary. I will also be posting my thoughts on the 25-man roster (as it stands today in my opinion) this weekend.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Training Day 4 Recap

The weather once again was great and in the 80s, although the first hour or so was overcast. I was able to once again watch the infield defensive segment, and not much changed from yesterday. Castillo is still the quickest at turning the double play; Emaus is better than expected, and Murphy was trying to improve his quickness today, but as you'll see in the video and pictures, he was coming across the bag very early, and could easily be called off the bag and the runner called safe.
Yes, the ball isn't in his glove yet, and he is 2 feet across the bag already...

The other highlights of the day were seeing Isringhausen throw extremely well in his "first inning", and RA Dickey was terrific. Everyone gathered around to watch Dickey throw. I'm going to focus on Izzy 1st, then talk about Dickey. Izzy's 1st inning was very impressive; he was spotting his fastball on the corners, throwing his signature knuckle-curve, and also throwing a nice circle-change. The last pitch Brad Emaus saw from Isringhausen resulted in a big "Wow" from the fans and Emaus jogging out of the box after being frozen by the knucle-curve. I asked Emaus as he jogged between fields how nasty that pitch was, and he said, "it's good." I was underwhelmed by that response, as I thought it was filthy.

Izzy really looked happy after the 1st inning, but he struggled with his command in the "2nd inning." I'm not sure if he was fatigued, or maybe he was trying to work on his change-up more, but he wasn't sharp.

Jon Niese looked good, as did Oliver Perez (although I know many people don't want to hear that). Perez was balanced and not rushing his motion (he returned to the pause like he had last spring training).

As I began to say earlier, the star of the day was clearly RA Dickey. I was completely amazed by the different speeds of his knuckle-ball. There has been word that he's working on a slower knuckle-ball, which he only threw 5 times last year, but wants to throw it more this year. The response today was incredible. The batters couldn't even take the bat off their shoulders. The other thing I didn't realize until I went back through the pictures was the face Dickey makes when delivering each pitch. Metsblog noted that C Young smiles while throwing every pitch; well Dickey looks like he does a primal yell with each pitch.

I also saw Chris Young throw, but once again I was not very impressed. The velocity just doesn't seem to be there at all. I hope he really hides the ball, because if not, this could be a very long year for him. The one thing I don't understand, is that he's 6'10", but when you look at the pictures and that he 'drops and drives', he doesn't utilize his size.

That's the quick and dirty recap today. Unfortunately I think today will be the last day of Spring Training for Me (unless I get bumped by Spirit Airlines on my flight tomorrow); my fingers are crossed.

I will be posting some more videos of tonight or tomorrow of Dickey, Niese, Isringhausen and C Young (including him deflecting a hot come-backer), as well as some more 2nd base double play turns.

Big Pelfrey

Making a lot of young fans happy

Izzy after his first inning

He looked good again to me

Pitchers fielding position

Good morning!

Time to stretch and warm up

For Those of Us Who Love the 86 Mets

Here are a couple snapshots of the '86 Mets, who are every where around camp.

Wally has been quiet in camp thus far.  
Bobby O. has the best job of all these guys.
Tuefel is often with Backman and the 2nd group of infielders (Turner Valdespin, Tejada, Lutz, Evans).

Darling arrived yesterday, and for those of you who are Jets fans, notice his key chain off his right hip...

I didn't snap a picture of Mookie Wilson and his #53 yet, but he is here working with the base-runners getting good secondary leads and with the outfielders.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Favorite Pictures from Day 3 of Spring Training

Love Jose's smile.
Great teaching Moment

Gee also throws a knuckle curve?

Angel's hair-do.

Videos from Day 3 of Spring Training

I know I usually focus on the pitching videos, but the highlight today was a play by Castillo turning a double play. It's at the end, so make sure you watch the whole video.

This is another video watching the other side of the double play, which is more difficult to turn, especially for the newcomers of Emaus and Murphy.

Here is the much anticipated Pedro Beato, throwing from the 3rd base angle.
Again, J Mejia was electric today, and here is his video of his poor mechanics.

T Buchholz also impressed me today.

Lastly, this is for those of you who want to see video of J Luhan.

I do have Misch and Gee videos, but that will be saved for the scouting reports on each player on the 40-man roster, which will begin next week.

Day 3 Picture highlights

The morning started off very slowly, with only two fields running at the same time, and they were both working on run-downs/1st and 3rd situations, with the coaches acting as the base-runners. I ventured to the backfield off the beaten path to watch the pitchers covering home plate receiving a simulated throw from the catcher. It was interesting that the coach questioned R.A. Dickey at one point asking what they had been taught to do last year.

After that session, infield and outfield practice began, while the pitchers were warming up in the bullpens to throw live BP. I spent the time concentrating on the 2nd baseman, and was able to learn a lot more today than the previous days, as they spent a lot of time working on the double play pivots. Luis Castillo obviously still has great, quick hands, and can turn a double play as quick as anyone in the game in my opinion. I was pleasantly surprised with Emaus and his ability to turn two. Murphy was the slowest of the bunch, but wasn't a complete disaster.
After the defensive workout, then the real fun of the day began. First up was P Beato. The whole organization and beat writers came out to watch this young man who has a great pitcher's body and the ball explodes out of his hand. For those who aren't aware, he was a rule 5 pick from the Orioles; so the Mets need to keep him on the 40 man roster all year, or offer him back to the Orioles. Everyone in the organization is eager to see if he is polished enough to stay on the roster all year. Kevin B. of SNY obviously was very impressed with Beato, and said he has the best fastball on the Mets.

I was impressed with how free and easy his arm action is, and the ball does seem to explode out of his hand. BUT, the pitcher who followed him on the mound was J Mejia, and as I teased this morning, he was ELECTRIC. I was excited and loved that I saw from him. I'm not saying he's ready for the big leagues yet, as obviously he needs to show he has the endurance to be a starting pitcher, as well as the command of his secondary pitches. But, when he came off the mound, he had a smile like a little kid, and he was greeted by the batters he just faced (D Murph, Reyes, D Wright) and they all gave him a pat on the back. I was able to capture D Wright talking to Mejia in the dugout, and I would love to have heard that conversation. Mejia absolutely froze D Wright with an off-speed pitch earlier.

I'm still not thrilled with Mejia's arm action (too much hyperabduction), and a poor front side load, but there is no denying his ability. I just hope he can stay healthy and be durable enough to be an impact starting pitcher.

I also was able to watch Taylor Buchholz throw today, and came away impressed by him as well. He has a live arm, and a nice arm action. I know a lot of people are questioning the Mets bullpen, but after seeing the arms of these guys in camp, the bullpen isn't my primary concern. Not to say that they will be perfect, due to the fact that they most likely will be responsible to throw 25 innings or so each week (yes, I'm not anticipating receiving 6 innings a night from the starting pitchers).

Manny Acosta, D Gee, P Misch and J Lujan also threw. There were no surprises with Acosta, Gee or Misch. I had never seen Lujan throw, nor knew much about him. He's a non-roster invite who was a picked up by the Mets after the 2009 season from the White Sox. He was originally drafted by the Rangers in the 14th round in 2004. He had > 10K/9 split between AA and AAA last year.

Any comments from the loyal readers with what I would say re: his mechanics based on those two pictures?

I will be posting the videos later tonight, and also my favorite pictures today, including a great shot of J Reyes, Pagan and T Collins.

Why there are not more updates yet.

Lots of video and discussion of today's action will be posted tonight including some double play turns by the 2nd baseman, and video of Mejia and Beato. Very exciting I promise!

Jeff Wilpon

Wilpon watching an outstanding bullpen session by J Mejia. ELECTRIC STUFF BY MEJIA

Pitchers working on covering the plate

Picture perfect day

Palm trees

Working on run-downs

Another beautiful day here though

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Videos from Day 2

Here are a couple pitching videos from today for those of you who haven't seen M Alvarez, O'Connor, Tankersley, Stinson, Byrdak, or Beato.





Beato in the front, K-Rod in the back

2nd Day Recap Continued

D.J. Carrasco threw the ball well, and surprised D Wright when he threw side-arm. I liked his arm action and his pace. Although I disliked the 2-year deal he was given this off-season, he does seem versatile at least from what I saw today.

R Igarashi threw and had very little following compared to last year and the media circus he had. He didn't seem to be throwing very hard, but at the same time, it's early in camp and don't read too much into it.

I also saw B Boyer throw, and I don't see him having much of a chance making the big club (he's a non-roster invitee right now).

The rest of the pictures were just some fun shots that I captured today. Enjoy!

Manager and GM discussing potential Bullpen Options

Right before this picture Pagan was shadow boxing Reyes.

The Key to the Mets offense...

K-Rod has been very quiet and no one has heckled him as far as I've heard.

D Wright making a routine play without throwing across the diamond.