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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day Is Here!

Although the weather stinks here in NJ, and the Mets aren't playing today, so my normal excitement is some what muted.

But nonetheless  today is probably the last day this season that I will wake up and the Mets are in 1st  place.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pre-season MLB Standings Predictions

With opening day upon us tomorrow, it's time for my annual prediction of all 30 teams records.

Feel free to post your thoughts/agree or disagree with my picks.

Boston 96-66
New York Y 93-69
Tampa Bay 89-73
Toronto 80-82
Baltimore 73-89

Chicago 86-76
Detroit 84-78
Minnesota 83-79
Cleveland 71-91
Kansas City 65-97

Oakland 86-76
Texas 86-76
LA of Anaheim 79-83
Seattle 64-98

Philadelphia 92-70
Atlanta 92-70
Florida 83-79
New York Mets 80-82
Washington 69-93

Cincinnati 87-75
Milwaukee 84-78
St. Louis 84-78
Chicago 78-84
Houston 73-89
Pittsburgh 64-98

San Francisco 90-72
Los Angeles 85-77
Colorado 85-77
San Diego 77-85

World Series that all of New York will hate:
Boston over Philadelphia.

LET'S GO METS! Prove me wrong!

Win Home Opener Tickets. There is Still Time Left to Enter!

Just a reminder, Jersey Shore Bracelet is giving away two tickets to the Mets home opener, and the contest ends April 1st, with the drawing on April 2nd. Are you waiting for Terry Collins to personally ask you to go to opening day? Then here it is...

So Terry wants you there, what is stopping you? Here are the contest rules for those who haven't entered yet. And as a reminder, you can get an additional entry into the contest if you buy a Jersey Shore Bracelet. Hurry, the contest ends on April 1st!

Here is what you need to do:

1) “Like” the Jersey Shore Bracelet Facebook page:  Facebook
2)  Repost the contest information/fan page as your Facebook status 
3)  Fill out the form on the Jersey Shore Bracelet web site specified on the Facebook page

Another option is for those of you who are on twitter: 
1) Follow LongLiveSheaS and JSBracelet
2) Re-tweet the contest information 
3) Fill out the form on the Jersey Shore Bracelet web site.
Everyone who enters will receive a limited time offer: $25 off coupon for the purchase of any Jersey Shore Bracelet. 

The winner will be announced on April 2nd.

Good luck, and LET'S GO METS!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So what have I Missed in the past 36 hours?

Synopsis of what happened yesterday:

1) Willie Harris has made the team and will be the reserve outfielder with Scott Hairston in case Beltran is not ready/needs a day off.

My Take: Willie Harris had a great spring training (albeit in a small sample size), and did everything that was asked of him. I would rather have Nick Evans than Willie Harris long-term, but that drum has been beaten too many times.

2) The Mets have placed placed N Evans, P Misch and L Hernandez on waivers.

My Take: The Mets are hoping they can keep all three guys, as other teams are having a similar roster crunch. I would think someone would take Evans, but it's not a guarantee. I hope someone takes Luis Hernandez. P Misch has the option to declare himself a free agent if he passes through waivers instead of going to AAA, but I doubt he would do that as he knows that him and D Gee would be the first two guys to be called up in the likely case of a starting pitching injury.

3) The Mets are still trying to figure out the last spot in the bullpen, as it's between Acosta, Boyer (who's had a great spring), and Isringhausen.

My Take: The Mets are trying to maximize and keep all three guys, by asking Isringhausen to stay in Port St. Lucie for extended spring training to build up his arm strength. Boyer has an out in his contract if he's not on the roster by Thursday, but the Mets are trying to convince him to stay with them and go to AAA.

4) R Paulino has been shut down with blood irregularities.

My Take: Hopefully Paulino gets healthy first and foremost, and you can't speculate on what the problem is as the Mets haven't released it. What this does mean is that Mike Nickeas will be in the roster a lot more than just 8 games to start the season for Paulino.

Only 3 days until the Mets play real baseball!!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scouting Report David Wright

David Wright- #5

28 years old
6'0" 210 pounds
8th major league season
Bats R/Throws R
The Good: The face of the franchise. A complete player who has seen his strike out rate significantly rise since the Matt Cain beaning and the resulting concussion in 2009.  Career .305 hitter, and .383 OBP. Has averaged 23 steals the last 5 years. His power/isolated power returned last year, and he hit 29 home runs, making it 26 home runs or more for 5 of the past 6 years. He does most of his damage versus fastballs and sliders.
Get off of your heels and on to your toes!
The bad: He struck out > 25% of his plate appearance for the 2nd year in a row (previous 4 years was 19%). His swing and miss % jumped to a career high last year, 10.4%, particularly struggling versus curve-balls. The last two years his fielding metrics have not been good, and the fans reports concur.
Role: Starting 3B, and the main power threat in the middle of the line up

My projections: 670 plate appearance, 90 runs, 28 Home Runs, 105 RBIs, 20 SB, .300/.375/.500

Scouting Report Tim Byrdak

Tim Byrdak - #40
37 years old
10th major league season (Did not appear in the majors from 01-04)
5'11" 190 pounds
Bats L/Throws L

Profile: Has turned into a lefty-specialist the past few years for the Astros, but they non-tendered him as they thought he would get too expensive in arbitration. So the Mets signed him to a minor-league deal this off-season, and he was added to the major league club on March 25th. He was originally drafted in in the 5th round of 1994 (!); he had made his major league debut back in 1998 with the  Royals, then was signed by the Orioles in 2005. Spent 2007 with the Tigers , then was with the Astros for the last 3 years.
Way to not utilize your front side at all.
Good: His best pitch is his slider, and he goes to it often, throwing it > 40% of the time (82 mph). He also throws an 88-89 mph fastball, and a below-average change-up (81 mph). He's found his niche as a lefty-specialist, holding lefties to a .205 BAA in 2010 (although he has had the lowest BAPIP of any pitcher over 60 innings the past two years...) 1.08 WHIP last year, with a 8+ K/9 rate, and a walk/9 rate (2.95). He was an extreme fly-ball pitcher in 2010 (28% GB %).

Bad: .264 BAA against for his career versus Right-handed hitters, with a 1.81 WHIP for his career against him. His walk rate spikes versus right-handed hitters, 6.67 W/9 in his career, which is Oliver Perez territory.
Role: The only lefty in the Mets bullpen, he will be used often, and hopefully only to face Left-handed hitters.

Projected Stats: 75 games, 55 innings, 3.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 8K/9, 4.5 W/9.

Video: Here is some video from Spring Training to give you an idea of his delivery.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Byrdak added to 25-man roster

Since he was a non-roster invitee, I didn't do a scouting report on him. This will be done tonight or tomorrow morning along with the rest of the mets infield.

One week until real Mets baseball!

Scouting Report Chin-lung Hu

Chin-lung Hu - #25
27 years old
5th major league season
5'11" 190 pounds
Bats R/Throws R

Profile: Acquired in a trade this off-season from the Dodgers for Mike Antonini, this Taiwanese player has played in 96 major league games, but only 191 plate appearances.
Good: His glove is universally praised and all throughout the minors he was deemed to be "a future gold glove winner", and "the best defensive shortstop in the minors." In 58 games for AAA Albuquerque last season, he finally started to show some offensive ability, hitting .317/.339/.438, the best lines of his career dating back to 2007. Early reports from spring training was that the coaching staff was happy with his "developing gap power", but he only has 3 extra base hits in 39 at bats.
Bad: Albeit in a small sample size, he hasn't been able to hit major league pitching. His major league stats are: .191/.241/.283. He has a poor walk rate (majority of his career < 5%). Broke his left thumb last year and he missed 62 games, as well as 6 days for a broken nose; he also had trouble with blurry vision in 2008 that caused him to miss 33 games.

Role: Back-up to Reyes at SS, and late inning defensive replacement at 2B. Remains to be seen if he can hit enough to be an every day major league player.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scouting Report Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes - #7
To check out his 2010 scouting report, click here

27 years old (turns 28 in June)
6'1" 200 pounds
9th major league season
Bats S/Throws R

The Good: "When healthy", which his off-season physical therapist/athletic trainer said he was and said "he was one of the best athletes he's ever seen." (And the PT/ATC has trained Olympic athletes). Reyes is one of the most exciting players in baseball. Brings high energy to the field, as well as the fans. As a shortstop, he has a cannon for an arm. Hit 19 triples in 2008 and Citi Field is built for his speed, which is referred to as "game changing". Shows equal power from both sides of the plate over his career.
The bad: Even though he has a cannon arm, and a lot of foot quickness/ability, Reyes rates as just an average defender on defensive metrics. His biggest area of concern, however, is the disappearance of his walks, and plummeting OBP. From 2006-2009, Jose Reyes OBP was between .354-.358 due to a walk rate hovering around 10%. Last year he abandoned walking and his walk rate dropped to 5%, causing his OBP to be atrocious at .321. Reyes swung at 32% of the pitches out of the strike zone, which is above league average (2007-2009 he was < 25%). That is completely unacceptable, and earned him a C+ for the year in my end of the year grades for 2010. He also has had a cascade of injuries the past two years.

Role: Starting Shortstop as long as he stays healthy. As long as he gets his walk rate/OBP back up, he is a prototypical lead-off hitter.

Contract: The talk of the off-season has been the lack of a long-term contract for Reyes, as he is in the last year and making 11 million dollars. The Mets wanted to make sure he was fully healthy, but if he returns to his previous level of play, it remains to be seen if the Mets can be the highest bidder, and he will be in high demand on the free agent market. 
2010 Stats: 563 AB, 83 runs, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 30 SB, .282/.321/.428
My 2010 Projections: 700 at bats, 115 runs, 16 HR, 60 RBIs, 45 SB, .288/.360/.450
My 2011 Projections: 675 at bats, 90 runs, 12 HR, 55 RBIs, 38 SB, ..286/.345/.440
As a reference, major league shortstops bat aver./obp/slug % last year was: .272/.328/.393

Next Scouting Report: Chin-lung Hu

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who Wants 2 Tickets to the Mets Home Opener?

Ok, as I teased on the blog and on Twitter (you can follow me at LongLiveSheaS) yesterday, one of my sponsors, Jersey Shore Bracelet Company, is running a promotional contest to allow you a chance to win tickets to the Mets home opener on Friday, April 8th, 4:10 PM.

Here is what you need to do:

1) “Like” the Jersey Shore Bracelet Facebook page:  Facebook
2)  Repost the contest information/fan page as your Facebook status 
3)  Fill out the form on the Jersey Shore Bracelet web site specified on the Facebook page

Another option is for those of you who are on twitter: 
1) Follow LongLiveSheaS and JSBracelet
2) Re-tweet the contest information 
3) Fill out the form on the Jersey Shore Bracelet web site.
Everyone who enters will receive a limited time offer: $25 off coupon for the purchase of any Jersey Shore Bracelet. 
Want to increase your chances of winning the tickets? For any order placed during the entry period (March 23rd- April 1), you will get an additional entry into the contest. 

The winner will be announced on April 2nd.

Good luck, and LET'S GO METS!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Want Home Opener Tickets?

Stay tuned for a contest from one of my sponsers who is giving away 2 tickets to the Mets home opener on april 8th. Details to follow tonight.

Meaningful baseball starts in 10 days!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Perez Gone & Updated Thoughts on 25-man roster

The Mets have eaten the two worst contracts of the Minaya era in the past 4 days.
Just signed a minor league contract with the Phillies as Utley insurance

It looks like Byrdak is going to be the only lefty in the 'pen, since Tankersley was re-assigned to minor league camp last week. Byrdak is not a member of the team's 40-man roster, nor is Isringhausen, so they will presumably take the spots of Castillo and Perez.

Here is an updated look at the 25-man opening day roster in my opinion:

Position Players: 13
J Thole
M Nickeas
I Davis
B Emaus
D Murphy
J Reyes
C Hu
D Wright
J Bay
A Pagan
C Beltran (DL tho?)
S Hairston

Last spot: N Evans/W Harris/L Duda (only if they think Beltran will be out for a significant amount of time)

Pitchers: 12
M Pelfrey
J Niese
RA Dickey
C Young
C Capuano
F Rodriguez
DJ Carrasco
T Buccholz
B Parnell
J Isringhausen
T Byrdak
P Beato

Missing: P Misch, M Acosta

B Parnell has options so he could go to the minors if need be to prevent the Mets from losing Misch or Acosta to waivers.

My thoughts: I would keep N Evans for the final position player and allow W Harris to only make the team if/when Beltran starts the year on the DL. Willie Harris is in camp on a minor-league deal, and is at the end of his career. The Mets can't make a stupid short-sighted move and put Evans on waivers just so Willie Harris can provide "a good clubhouse." This will be another Alex Cora move all over again.

I also do not want to lose Acosta to waivers, so we need to find a way to keep him on the team. Although I love the Jason Isringhausen story, I'd rather have Acosta for the next few years then Isringhausen for this season (if he even makes it through healthy).

How do you want the last couple roster spots to end up?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scouting Report Justin Turner

Justin Turner - #2
26 years old
6th Professional Season (21 MLB games)
6'0" 210 pounds
Bats R/Throws R

To check out the brief scouting report on Justin Turner when the Mets claimed him from the Orioles in 2010, click here
The Good: He has been described as a 'right-handed Daniel Murphy'.  He has a great attitude and willingness to play any where. Was a 7th round pick out of Cal St Fullerton in 2006 (previously drafted by the Yankees in the 29th round). He's not a power hitter, but he has shown the ability to hit for average (Career .300 hitter in the minors). Has a strong platoon split; he hits LHP well.  His minor league stats for 2010 in over 100 games: .316/.374/.487.
The Bad: Average defender. His career high is 12 home runs; he's more of a singles/doubles hitter.

Role: He is a long-shot in the 2B competition, but he work his way into the conversation if Emaus doesn't work out and Turner is hitting well in AAA.
Has Valdespin past Turner in their long-term plans?

Scouting Report Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy - #28

26 years old
6'2" 205 pounds
3rd major league season (missed all of 2010 season)
Bats L/Throws R

To check out his 2010 scouting report before he got hurt and was slated to be the starting 1B, click here.
The Good: Short, balanced swing. Selective approach, and lets the ball travel deep in the zone and takes it the other way. Projects to a 15 HR hitter with more experience/full time job. Known as a work-aholic. Hit .282/.313/.485 in the 2nd half of the 2009 (he only played in 11 minor league games in 2010).
You got to at least be close to the bag before catching the ball...
The Bad: Is inexperienced trying to play 2nd base, and might not be athletic enough to be a full-starter at 2B. Doesn't walk very often (only had a .313 on base % in 2009).
Role: Pinch hitter/platoon at 2B if he can improve his defense.

My projections: 250 plate appearances, 7 HRs, 30 rbis, .285/.330/.450

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scouting Report Luis Hernandez

Luis Hernandez - #3
26 years old (27 in June)
4th major league season
5'10" 190 pounds
Bats S/Throws R

To get the quick and dirty synopsis on my feelings on Luis Hernandez on this team, check out this preview for game 142 (Sept 11, 2010).

Profile: A light-hitting middle infielder that isn't even above-average defensively. He will forever be remembered for his 'Kirk Gibson moment' of fouling a ball off his foot, then hitting a home run off Tim Hudson and barely being able to run the bases.He had surgery to repair the fracture in September, and was not cleared to play yet when I was at Spring Training.

Good: He makes the league minimum ($414,000). He has "moxie." That's all he's got going for him. Seriously, that's it.

Bad: He can't hit (.245/.286/.298 in 120 games in the majors), doesn't know how to walk (4.8% BB rate vs 8.5% league average), and from all fielding metrics, is average at best.

This is where Luis Hernandez Belongs if he still is with the Mets...
Role: There is no reason for Hernandez to be on the 40-man roster. He's a organizational 'filler' at this point in his career, and I can not understand why he would even be considered for a back-up infield position. This is not a 20-21 year old who you need to give a chance to show they can play. He's had plenty of chances (4th organization) and has shown he's not a big league ball-player.

Next up: Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner 

Scouting Report Brad Emaus

Brad Emaus -#68

24 years old (25 March 28)
5th professional season (no major league experience)
6'0" 205 pounds
Bats R/Throws R

To review my thoughts when he was drafted in the Rule 5 draft in December, click here.
Profile: Drafted in the 11th round out of Tulane in 2007, he's a career .276/.364/.426 in 425 games. He is a favorite of J.P. Riccardi with their Toronto ties. He's rated the #21 Mets prospect by Baseball America, with other opinions varying from a Mark Loretta comparison, to a ceiling of bench player.

Good: He is making the league minimum. He has a good sense of the strike zone and is able to take a walk while minimizing strike outs (212 walks, 220 k's in his career). He hit 15 home runs last year in 125 games, but took advantage of a very hitter friendly environment in Las Vegas.
Bad: He isn't a natural 2nd baseman and while he will make the routine plays, he's limited in the balls he can get to. He is a below-average runner.
Role: Everyone knows the current Mets 2nd base situation, and I've been saying Emaus should be the starting 2nd baseman since the first week of workouts. Take it with a grain of salt, but the Mets web site has Daniel Murphy as the 2nd baseman, with Emaus backing him up. As a reminder, if Emaus doesn't stay with the Mets the whole year, he has to be offered back to the Blue Jays.

Swing mechanics:

As you can see here, he has a very short swing, which is why he makes solid contact and limits strike outs, but it may also limit him to the 15 HR ceiling most scouts have on him.

Here was some popular footage that I took during spring training practice just to compare Castillo's quickness to Emaus and Murphy.

Next scouting reports: Luis Hernandez, Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner to round out the weekend/2nd base discussion, although the discussion will most likely carry on for 2 more weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Castillo Released- Mets Fans Everywhere Rejoice?

As everyone knows by now, one of the two least favorite Mets by the majority of Mets fans (not by this one, but nonetheless), was released today. Luis Castillo hopes he can get picked up by another major league team, and if he does the Mets will pay him the remaining $6 million dollars on his contract minus the league minimum. If he has doesn't play, the Mets pay him all the $6 million he's owed.  Castillo was considered a "sunk-cost", meaning if he played or didn't play, he was still going to get paid. As I said with my discussion this week with On The Black, there was no way Castillo fits into the 2012 Mets plans, so the Mets might as well figure out what they have with Brad Emaus and see if he is the solution.

Recap: It was a good decision for the Mets to realize Castillo wasn't going to be a part of the solution, and stopped giving him at bats this spring/during the season. I hope the Mets make a similar decision later this month and keep Nick Evans versus giving Willie Harris a roster spot/chance to cover for Beltran IF he goes on the DL (Beltran did receive a cortisone shot in his left knee today; his non-surgical knee).'

2 weeks until the Mets Opener, and 3 weeks til the home opener.

Luis Castillo Released

I will discuss it tonight. Glad I have one less scouting report to do this weekend!

Scouting Report Nick Evans

Nick Evans- #6
25 years old
4th major league season
6'2" 220 pounds (lost an inch from last year and gained 10 pounds)
Bats R/Throws R

To Read his 2010 scouting report, click here.
The Good: In the minors, Evans has crushed left-handed pitching, sporting a .303/.380/.554 line against them (going into 2010). He played in 125 games between AA and AAA in 2010, and he had a great year: 125 games, 23 HR, .300/.371/.536. He played in 20 games for the Mets (only 37 plate appearances), and he continued to hit LHP (as expected).
The Bad:  Fringe/below-average defender in the outfield, fair at 1B. He also doesn't walk often (5.3% in the majors, 8.5% in the minors, which is a major league average).
Role: Could be an effective part in a platoon at 1B now/in the future. He is out of options, so if he doesn't make the team, then he will need to be put on waivers and some other team will see his value and pick him up. The Mets have given him the most at bats of any player on the team so far this spring, which is what they should do.
I really hope the Mets don't tell him to pack his bags...
This weekend: the 2nd base circus of scouting reports.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scouting Report Ike Davis

Ike Davis - #29
23 years old (turns 24 3/22/11)
2nd major league season
6'4" 215 pounds
Bats L/Throws L

Profile: Drafted with the 18th pick in the 1st round in the 2008 draft (compensation for Tom Glavine), and struggled in Brooklyn, going 238 plate appearances without a home run. He split 2009 between St. Lucie and Binghamton, and combined to hit 20 HRs and close to a .300 average. He got called up last year on April 19th. He's ranked 3rd on the Mets top players under 25 years old by Baseball Prospectus, and is often compared to Adam Laroche.
Good: He hits tape-measure home runs; in fact, his average home run distance was 416 feet. He finished with 19 home runs for the year, which was a pleasant surprise. He also played very well defensively, especially for someone who played RF throughout his collegiate career at Arizona State. He hit .295 versus lefties last year which shocked me, since he struggled against them in the minors.
Bad: He strikes out, a lot. He had 601 plate appearances, and he struck out 138 times, including a staggering 29.5% in his at-bats vs LHP.
 Role: He is seen as the first baseman for the Mets of the future. Although he quickly became a fan favorite ("We Like Ike!"), I'm not sure if he is more than a league average 1st baseman (he ranked 11th in production in 2010 for NL 1st baseman). As a reference, national league 1st baseman's slash stats were: .269/.354/.459.

2010 Stats: .264/.351/.440. 72 runs, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 72 BB, 138 K
2011 Projection:.267/.343/.440. 70 runs, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 65 BB, 135 K

Next Scouting Report: Nick Evans, then the 2B fiasco will be done this weekend.

Poll Question: Am I being too hard on Ike Davis? Should I 'like Ike' more? What are your expectations for him?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Link: Kerel from On the Black

I wanted to direct you guys over to a Mets blog with some unique content. Kerel Cooper runs the site ontheblack.com, and he does video chats discussing the latest happenings with the New York Mets and baseball. I had the pleasure of talking to him last night about Long Live Shea Stadium, my Spring Training Experience, who looked good during Spring Training, as well as the current 2nd base situation.

Be sure to check it out today as well as bookmark it for the future because Kerel is one of the only blogs in all of baseball that is doing all video chats. On the Black and Long Live Shea Stadium.

Here is the video:

Scouting Report Josh Thole

Josh Thole - #30
24 years old
6'1" 205 pounds
3rd major league season (90 games, 286 plate appearances)
Bats L/Throws R
To check out his 2010 Scouting Report, click here.

The Good:  He knows his abilities, works the count, and rifles balls up the middle for singles. He threw out 44% of potential base-runners last year, a significant improvement from the 24% the past 3 years. He rarely strikes out, and more rarely swings and misses (3.9% for his career, league average is 8.5%). He is currently ranked the Mets 4th best player under the age 25 by Baseball Prospectus.
The bad: Doesn't have any/a lot of power (10 HRs in 450 minor league games). He's only had 40 plate appearances in the majors versus lefties (thanks for stunting his development, Jerry Manuel), but during that small sample size it hasn't been pretty (.158/.200/.211)

Role: He will face RHPs and be the other half of the platoon with Ronny Paulino.

2010 Stats: 227 plate appearances 3 HR, 24 BB, 25 K. .277/.357/.366
My 2011 Prediction: 350 PA, 5 HR, 36 BB, 34 K. .285/.350/.375