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Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Things I'm Looking For This Week

I have been asked numerous times over the weekend, "what are you most excited to see this week, or is there one particular player you really want to see?" I hadn't had time to think about it due to the "real world" stresses, so my standard answer was, "I'm just really excited to see baseball, hear the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass." But now that it's 5 AM and I've barely slept all night because of the excitement of it, I figured I should expand on that thought.

1) The overall feel of the camp and the 'new regime.' Last year Jerry Manuel's camp was very relaxed and laid back. Early reports is that Terry Collins is very high energy, running between fields and stations. It also has been reported that he's a player's manager. I'm eager to see if his difference is palpable throughout the camp, or if it's just writers and players saying the right things/reporting it on a slow news day.

You won't see this any more

2) The 2nd Base Audition. Much of the off-season has been spent discussing who will play 2nd base. It's been much assumed that the job is between B Emaus, D-Murph, with J Turner and L Castillo being long-shots. Defensively I'm not expecting to be able to see much since most of the play will be a lot slower than game speed, working on fundamentals (at least thats what it was last year). But I am looking forward to seeing Emaus, Murphy and Turner swing the bat and see if I can declare an 'early leader in the clubhouse' in this race.

3) I'm looking forward to seeing Jose Reyes' energy/enthusiasm/love for the game. Last year before full team practices, I saw Reyes joking around, having fun, and showing his immense talents. But then the thyroid condition derailed him, and he didn't seem to be himself for much of last year. The reports this season is that he is 100% healthy, and that has been confirmed to me privately. He worked out all off-season with one of the top strength and conditioning specialists in the business, and he has been quoted as saying Reyes is one of the best athletes he's ever worked with, including Olympians. Reyes has a lot on the line this season with his impending free agency, so I am expecting a nice rebound year from him.

4) I wrote a short Mets season preview for another web site the other day (it will be linked when it's posted on March 11th), and one of the 5 questions was "What are your expectations for Carlos Beltran this year?" So here is my response (a little glimpse into the 40-man roster preview which will begin in March).

I am not expecting the return of the All-Star Carlos Beltran this year, but he still will be an above-average player. He's turning 34 in April, and has combined to play only 145 games, and 602 plate appearance over the past two years. In the previous 3 years, he had averaged 34 home runs, but I'm only projecting 18 home runs. My overall line for Beltran would be: 140 games, 550 at bats, 73 runs, 18 home runs, 73 rbi's, 9 stolen bases, 3 caught stealing, .284/.365/.475. As a reference, the slash stats for the average NL CF for 2010 was: .260/.330/.407. So Beltran is still an above average player, but I don't expect him to perform like the All-Star/borderline Hall Of Famer he was in his prime.

But then after reading Metsblog this week and the praise they gave Beltran in the cage, I am even more eager to see Beltran; how he's moving around, and if he is driving the ball with authority from both sides of the plate. If I see that this week, I will nudge this home run totals up over 20 most likely.

5) I am eager to see if any of the young pitchers impress me, mainly Matt Harvey and J Mejia. I will also be looking forward to getting a feel for the veteran pitchers who were brought in this off-season, C Young, C Capuano, P Beato (rule 5 pick), D.J. Carrasco, my man-crush on Izzy, and if Johan is around the team much or if he's just rehabbing privately.

Obviously keep checking in this week to see pictures, videos etc live from camp, and an end of the day "observation" post to recap at night. I'm going to be experimenting with some new equipment this year, so there may be posts that are blank/not appearing correctly today. I apologize in advance.

Hope everyone is excited as I am today, spring is in the air!!! (It's going to be 84 here in Port St. Lucie today)



  1. I think Castillo is more in play for 2B than a long shot. COllins have been quoted as saying he likes the face he doesn't strike out and is a perfect #2 guy. He is owed 6 million and the Mets will move him if they can, but who wants him? Collins is also supposedly in love with Daniel Murphy. I personally found his comments to be over the top for a guy who hasn't done anything at the big league level. I hope he is right though.

    I am most interested in the pitching staff. Who is going to step up? Who is going to be the stability with Johan out until at least the all-star break?

    The real question is can the Mets compete for the wild card? Not sure they can...yet. They need some unknowns to work out postively and if they get that, great.

    They still haven't changed the culture of this team. A new manager (a reported players manager) helps, but this group as it is currently put together are not a winning combination.

    But that's the beauty of baseball--each year is different and if you are a Met fan, you gotta believe...

  2. I agree with the points made that we need to figure out who is going to step up on the pitching staff, but unfortunately that is not going to be decided the 1st week of spring training.

    Thanks for commenting, and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts