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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mets Newest Pitching Prospect, Zack Wheeler

Late night at work last night, so I'm just getting around to the scouting report of Zack Wheeler, who the Mets acquired for the 2-month rental of Carlos Beltran. Wheeler was considered the #2 prospect in the Giants system by Baseball America, ESPN's Keith Law, and Baseball Prospectus. He was the #6 draft pick in the 2009 draft and got 3.3 million from the Giants out of high school.

Wheeler is a 3/4 pitch pitcher, with a fastball that sits 90-94 and touches 96-97 mph with natural sink, a big and slow curveball mid-70s, an average slider (85 mph), and a below-average change that still needs work. He was pitching in High A ball this year after only throwing 58 2/3 innings last year in A ball secondary to a cracked finger nail. That helped him refine his mechanics slightly, but there are some concerns about his arm action (as you will see in the video/article below).  He still has command issues (walking > 4.5/9 innings), and has trouble with left-handed hitters which may be a result of his arm angle. But he is striking out > 10/9 innings; don't forget he is 21 years old, so he has plenty of room to grow and project to the front-line starter many scouts see him as.

His ETA to the majors would be 2013, so the Mets rotation could be headlined by Harvey and Wheeler, with Mejia,and Niese rounding out a solid young quartet of pitchers for many years to come (hopefully).

Here is a great video review of Wheeler from one of his starts in May (http://projectprospect.com/article/2011/05/23/zack-wheeler-scouting-report).

What do you guys think? Should Sandy get a lifetime contract for this deal?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thank you Carlos

The Mets have reportedly agreed to deal Carlos Beltran to the Giants for three players, one of which is a top 40 prospect in baseball Zack Wheeler. He is a young RHP, and instantly becomes a future front off the rotation starter with Matt Harvey. He most likely won't join the Mets until 2013, but this is a great job by Sandy Alderson.

A more thorough scouting report will be posted tonight.


If this were to happen...

I'd go out and buy a Rasmus jersey tomorrow.


Don't think that Pelfrey, Capuano and Brydak would get it done either, but can't we dream?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mets Lose Weekend Series vs the Marlins

Mets had a nice win on Friday night to get 1 game above .500, but then lost the next two, to once again drop below .500. They are on the road for a 4-game series versus the Reds, followed by a 3-game road series at the Nationals.

The Mets are currently 14 1/2 games behind the Phillies, and 8 1/2 out of the Wild Card, with 5 teams between them and the Braves.

The next week will focus strictly on the trade market for Beltran, Byrdak, Isringhausen, Capuano, Hairston etc., and this could be a turning point in the Mets future if they are able to secure one or two future pieces by trading any of those above players. I'm not going to list every rumor/prospect because 98% of those trades don't happen. But when the deal is done, I will give the scouting reports/information I have on the players the Mets are receiving.

Let's go Sandy and the Rest of the Front Office!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mets going for the sweep

Anyone who isn't doing anything today, head out to Citi Field for what may be the last Home game for Carlos Beltran. Do the right thing and cheer him every at bat and thank him for the last 7 years.

Let's go Mets!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

State of the Mets: 7/16

I wanted to do a state of the Mets at the All-Star break, but the real world once again was too busy. So now I'm sitting on balcony watching boats go by and life isn't so bad:)

  • After last night's loss to the Phillies, the Mets are 46-46, and 12 games behind the division-leading Phillies, and 8 1/2 behind the Braves.
    • I mentioned to a couple people on Friday that I hope the Mets get swept. No, I'm not becoming a Yankee fan after wearing that disgusting hat last week, but I don't want the Mets to get hot and have the organization think they still have a shot at making the playoffs this year.
  • K-Rod was traded for 2 PTBNL, of which no one knows the list of players, so I'm not going to speculate
    • Within a day of accepting the trade to a team that was on his original 10-team no-trade list (good job by his former agent dropping the ball), K-Rod agrees to make the option a mutual option, essentially assuring he will be a free agent at the end of the year. 
      • Now the Brewers will get 2 draft picks next year (assuming he's a type A free-agent, which I think is pretty safe) and that he doesn't resign with the Brewers (which won't happen)
        • I wonder if the Mets would've been given that luxury or if he needed to be traded in order for that to occur.The Mets would've been better off getting those two draft picks, but hindsight is 20/20, and I doubt Boras would've allowed him to make the player option a mutual option
  • People are worried that the Mets are "waving the White flag" and going to have a fire sale
    • Why be worried? This is what the Mets should be doing! If someone wants to give us a B level prospect for Isringhausen, great! Scott Hairston, I'll pay for the airfare! Even Chris Capuano, who I really like, may bring in a decent player from a contender looking for a 4th/5th starter
      • Any useable pieces that aren't in the long-term plans of the team should be traded as long as the trade is giving us a potential major league player in return, even if that player will take 3 years to reach the big leagues
    • This comes to the issue of should the Mets trade Carlos Beltran, and the answer is a resounding YES
      • Although it's great to read that Beltran "wants to finish his career in a Mets uniform", Boras made a great contract point 7 years ago that the Mets couldn't offer him arbitration after this year. So if we keep Beltran through the rest of this year and he leaves as a free agent, we don't get a draft pick for him leaving (as the Brewers will for having K-Rod walk)
      • Because of this, it is ESSENTIAL that the Mets trade Beltran to whoever the highest bidder is. Beltran is the best outfield bat on the trade market, and as many as 6 or 7 teams are interested. 
        • Alderson is rumored to be looking for a top prospect in return, and why not? Ask for the moon and if you wind up with a star, great. This is a big chance for the Mets to get better for the future, and we can't let this opportunity go by.
So for these reasons, I'm hoping the Mets don't get a false sense of hope on this season, and view this as a chance to set up for a brighter future. 


    Scouting Report Cole Hamels

    You know the rotation is scary good (when healthy), when you are happy you miss both C Lee and R Halladay, but still have to face another ace in Cole Hamels. The Mets beat him up badly back in April, but he rebounded in his last start May 28th and threw 7 quality innings, striking out 10. Here's the scouting report from then, with his updated stats.

    This year he's 11-4 (19 starts, 132 innings), with a 2.32 ERA, 0.93 WHIP,  8.2 K/9 rate and miniscule 1.6 BB/9 rate. He's increased his ground ball rate, and is having the best season of his career. He's increased the use of his cutter to 22%, and he has three plus pitches now (fastball, change and cutter). He used to struggle versus right-handers, but he's limiting them to a .196 batting average this year. He's a serious contender to win the Cy Young award this year (but it's tough to win the Cy Young for his own team).

    Cole Hamels
    27 Years Old
    6th major league season
    Bats L/Throws L

    The 27-year old Hamels went from a future ace after his stellar post-season in 2008 to a failure in the eyes of Phillies fans after 2009, and back to an ace during 2010. So which pitcher is Cole? Some where in between, but closer to the ace. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 draft and made his major league debut in 2006. He had some durability/character issues in the minors (elbow pain, back discomfort, broken arm in a possible fight in high school, and broke a bone in his hand in a bar room fight), but he has a career 60-45 record in the big leagues, with a 3.53 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. In 2009, he was highly unlucky (.325 BAPIP), while his strikeout and walk rates remained the same from 2008. He added a cutter last year, but more importantly his BAPIP regressed to .289, and he saw his ERA drop from 4.32 in 2009 to 3.06 in 2010, and his WHIP go from 1.29 to 1.18.

    Hamels has a smooth high 3/4s arm action and was a fly-ball pitcher (the cutter has made him more of a ground-ball pitcher this year as noted above). He throws his fastball 90-93 mph (92 mph average was the highest of his major league career, up 2 mph from 2009), and possesses one of the best change-ups in the game (82 mph). He occasionally throws a show me curve-ball (76 mph), and added a cutter last year (89 mph). His strike out pitch is his change-up, but also has been getting strikeouts/swings and misses on fastballs out of the zone. He averaged 9.2 K/9 last year and his swing and miss % was 11.9%.

    In his 15 career starts versus the Mets, he's struggled. He's 3-9 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. The 4.22 ERA is the highest ERA versus any team he's faced 10+ times in his career. Last year the Mets beat him in all 4 starts, although he had a 3.20 ERA in those 25 innings, including two back to back starts in August that he lost 1-0.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Mets Trade K-Rod

    I had spent yesterday morning talking to a lawyer asking the ramifications of the Mets just releasing K-Rod (ala Alex Cora), as he got closer to the 55 games finished mark.

    Well all that is for naught as the news broke last night the Mets traded K-Rod and Cash Considerations (reported 5 million dollars to cover his salary for this year) in exchange for 2 players to be named later.

    My Take: I'm glad we don't have to have any more K-Rod game finished tweets/debates about his usage, but you can't declare this a win until you find out who the 2 PTNL are. The Brewers farm system is very very weak, after they traded everyone for S Marcum and Z Greinke this off-season. They don't have a 4 or a 5 star prospect according to Baseball Prospectus (not that we would get that for K-Rod), but they have 6 out of their top 10 prospects as RHP. So maybe we can get one of these mid-level pitching prospects that may be able to cheaply fill out the back of the rotation next year, or in 2013. And the biggest thing is we don't have to think about paying 15%+ out of payroll next year to a guy who will pitch 70 innings.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Here's the picture you've been waiting for...

    I had to wear this disgusting hat for 9 hours today...because the Mets lost the series versus the Yankees last weekend.


    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Scouting Report Tiny Tim Lincecum

    The Mets faced Lincecum on May 4th and lost, and here is the scouting report from then. When he faced the Mets on May 4th, he only shut them out for 7 innings, and struck out 12 and scattered 5 hits.

    So far this year he's 6-7, but that is why a pitcher's record isn't the only story. His K/9, BB/9, GB %, and ERA are all similar to last year, but last year he was 16-10. He's had 8 starts where he let up one run or less and gone 7+ innings this year.

    Tim Lincecum =  Very, very good.

    This 27-year old superstar is freakishly good. He already has two Cy Young Awards and has been elected to the all star team five straight years, and was a key part of the Giants Championship last year. Keep in mind this is only his 5th big league season. His career record is 58-30, with a 3.03 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.06 K/9, and 3.23 BB/9. In the post season, he was 4-1, 2.43 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 10.46 K/9, 2.19 BB/9. WOW

    He has a one-of-a kind delivery, in which he delivers straight over the top. He has an extremely long stride (even longer than Johan's), and he features three plus pitches. Even though he had lost 3 mph, last year, he increased it 1.6 mph from last year, and is back up to averaging 93 mph, 2nd highest since his MLB debut. He is now featuring a two-seamer, (which has resulted in an increase in his ground ball rate to 52%). He also throws a plus curve, and a plus-plus change, that probably is the best in baseball. He throws his change-up 25% of the time. The craziest stat is that he gets a 34% swing and miss rate on his change-up (league average is 12%). He has increased his use of a slider this year to 13% (83 mph), from 8% last year. He gets a ton of swing and misses outside of the strike zone, which helps to maintain his K/9 > 9, and his walk /9 < 3.

    He's started 5 games against the Mets in his career, and is 1-1 with 3.71 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 34 innings pitched, 33 ks. Last year he faced the Mets twice, 15 innings, 1.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, including a complete game shutout in July.

    He is one of the top three pitchers in baseball, and will be very difficult to beat (if you couldn't figure that out from all those numbers above).

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Scouting Ryan Vogelsong

    The Mets faced Vogelsong back on May 3rd, and here was the brief scouting report on him.  The Mets scored 5 runs off of him in 4 innings, and that's been his worst start this season (but the Mets still lost 7-6, as Dickey let up 6 earned runs).

    He last pitched in the majors in 2006 for the Pirates, at which point he had a 5.70 ERA, and took his services over to Japan. He came back stateside last year, but didn't appear in an MLB game.

    He's a feel good story, and made the roster when Barry Zito went on the dl. He made a quality start versus the Pirates, striking out 8.

    He's a 4 pitch pitcher, fastball (90 mph), an 87 mph cutter (22%), a curve and change-up. His cutter usage has increased the most since his last appearance in the majors.

    Wondering what he's done since then? Oh, well, he's just been named to the NL All-Star Team...He's 6-1 in 13 starts, with a 2.13 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He has a 1.01 ERA at home (loves the San Fran air apparently). His fastball and his curveball have both been above average pitches, with his fastball being one of the best in baseball, despite only averaging 91.4 mph. He leans on his curveball in 0-2 and 1-2 counts. He isn't getting a ton of swings and misses (7.6%), but does attack hitters, throwing first pitch strike 64% of the time.  He's had 11 straight games on allowing 3 earned runs or less.

    He is due to regress (xFIP 3.63), so why not start tonight?

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Mets Win again, and Go for the Sweep Tonight

    My wife is beginning to wonder why I don't go to sleep any more, and my simple response was "Mets are on the West Coast and actually playing well." I hoped the game today would be a 4:00 start, but another long night awaits us... I watched the majority of the game last night, except for 5 minute clips where I just rested my eyes. Couple observations.

    • Niese's velocity was down all game. He was still effective, but he won't be much longer if he's sitting at 88 mph versus 92-93 mph.
    • Carlos Beltran created and stole a run solely on his base-running. This used to be a huge part of Beltran's value, but the knee injuries have limited this recently. It was great to see this and fun to watch
    • K-Rod finished his 33rd game, 22 more games finished and his 17.5 million dollar contract vests. 
      • It is widely known/assumed that K-Rod will agree to waive his no-trade clause in exchange for a multi-year deal and to get rid of the option. What is his agent thinking his asking price is? I'd give him 2 years, 16-20 million dollars (8-10 million/year) and see if that gets it done. 
        • What do you think his price is/what will his next contract be?

    Scouting Report Clayton Kershaw

    The Mets are going for the sweep tonight of the last place Dodgers, and it will be tough, as they face one of the best pitchers in baseball. And he's only 23 years old. 

    The Mets faced Kershaw back in May, so here is the scouting report. He got the win in May, going 6 2/3 innings, allowed only 1 run on 6 hits, while striking out 8.

    May 30th, 2008 (2nd major league start)

    Clayton Kershaw
    23 years old
    6'3" 220 pounds
    Bats L/Throws L

    The southpaw from Texas was drafted out of high school as the 7th pick in the 2006 draft, and he has lived up to the hype, blowing through the minor leagues (10+ K/9), and debuting in 2008 just after his 20th birthday. He's 29-26 for his career, with a 3.19 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Last year, only his 3rd year in the majors, he had a 2.91 ERA. I saw him in his 2nd major league start at Shea Stadium, but he is a much different pitcher from when he first came up.

    Kershaw throws over-the-top with an excellent downhill angle. He was made famous for his "public enemy #1" (curve ball) by Vin Scully in Spring Training, but he rarely throws it for a strike and batters have taken notice. He throws his fastball 66% of his pitches and it averages 93.5 mph. His slider is his 2nd best pitch, throwing it 24% and 83 mph. There is some talk that Kershaw is throwing two sliders, one sweeping slider 81-82 mph, and another hard slider, almost a cutter, that's 86 mph. Something to keep an eye on. His curveball is 73 mph, but he throws it only 6% of the time now. He will throw a couple change-ups a game (84 mph). He gets swing and misses around 11.3%, blowing away the league average of 8.4%. He throws 1st pitch fastball 86% of the time, and relies on his slider as his strikeout pitch, although you need to be on the lookout for his curve 0-2 and 1-2. He has been deadly on lefties this year, as they are hitting only .187.

    Kershaw made a big step forward last year in transitioning to his slider from his curve as his best 2ndry pitch, and it paid immediate dividends, as he was able to throw less pitches and more innings (204 innings), and he wasn't "abused". He also cut his BB/9 rate down to 3.6, while striking out more than a batter an inning.

    This year, Kershaw is 8-4 in 18 starts (122 innings), with a 3.23 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He's striking out 10K/9, and also lowered his BB/9 to 2.42 (career average is 4). He has let up more home runs than the previous two year (9 in 122 innings; he let up 13 in 200+ innings last year). But all things considered, he's having a great year.

    For his career, he's 3-0 versus the Mets (4 starts), and in his last three starts against us (2009, 2010, 2011), he has thrown 20 2/3 innings, and allowed only 1 run. His only hiccup was when he lasted only 3 2/3 inning versus the Mets at Shea in his 2nd major league start in 2008.

    Kershaw is an ace, and is only 23 years old (4 years younger than Lincecum, J Johnson, C Hamels, Jimenez). The Mets will have their hands full with him.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Scouting Report H Kuroda

    The Mets faced Kuroda on May 6th (5 2/3 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits including 2 home runs by Davis and Pridie, while striking out 3. Here is the scouting report from then.

    The 36-year old is in his 4th year (re-signed this year for 1 year, $12 million dollars) in the United States after coming over from Japan. Rarely walks anyone (2.1 W/9), and rarely lets up HR ( < 1 HR/9), which is a very successful combination. Ground-ball pitcher that doesn't strike out a ton of hitters (6.45 K/9 for his career, but saw it rise to 7.3 last year). He is a very solid middle of the rotation pitcher when healthy, and had the 9th highest swing and miss % last year.

    Kuroda uses a high 3/4s delivery, with a pause at the top of his delivery to gather himself/disrupt the hitters timing. He throws 89-92 mph fastballs to both sides of the plate, has two different sliders (one has a tight sharp break, the other is more of a slurve), and uses a split-finger fastball as his strikeout pitch. He has increased the use of his curveball to 5%, and gets 34% of swings at balls out of the strike zone, which is pretty impressive (average is 28%).

    This year, Kuroda is 6-9 with 17 starts (108 innings), but he has a 2.90 ERA, and 1.21 WHIP.He's throwing his fastball more this year (60%), and cur his slider down from 31 to 21% (curve and split % increased). He's gone 5 innings+ in every start this year, and has recorded a quality start in 13 of the 17 games, including 6 in a row.

    In his career versus the Mets, he's 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA, but that's mostly due to 2008 and 2009 starts. Lats year he faced the Mets twice, and pitched very well (14 innings, 2 earned runs, and 1.00 WHIP), but was 1-1 since Johan dominated the Dodgers in his first start.

    State of The Mets, July 6

    Since I've been a MIA since Saturday and the traumatizing experience knowing I need to wear a Yankees hat, the Mets have rolled off 3 straight wins, and are 44-42, but still 6 1/2 games back from the Wild Card leading Braves, because they haven't been losing either.
    • J Reyes missed his 3rd straight game with a strained hamstring, meaning the Mets are winning/better off without him? No, but just wanted to poke some fun at small sample sizes
      • A Grade 1 hamstring strain is truly a day-to-day injury; if the Mets wanted to be conservative, they could've immediately put him on the DL and had him miss the 3 Phillies games after the All-Star break also, but they are trying to survive playing with a 24 man roster, and it's working so far
    • J Bay is beginning to wake up offensively, hitting 2 home runs, even one opposite field, which is the first one I remember in a Mets uniform. 
    • D Wright has yet to beginning running, so he's not ready for a rehab assignment yet, but my best guess is he's 10-14 days away.
      • He's been swinging the bat off a tee, and that is more challenging/stressful in my opinion than running
    • Ike Davis will have a d-day for his ankle in the next 2 weeks, as he once again attempts to run. If he is unable to handle the pounding of running, surgery looks like the most likely option. 
      • L Duda and D Murphy will continue to handle 1st base duty with Davis out
    • July 31 is the trade deadline, and the Mets will be looking to move Beltran, K-Rod, and any other reliever any one is interested in (Izzy, Byrdak)
      • Even if July 31st comes and goes, Beltran and K-Rod should be able to be traded after the deadline since they have large salaries and would pass through waivers. 
    • The Mets last 5 games before the All-Star Break will make the Mets offense look bad, as they face Kuroda, Kershaw, Vogelsong (a surprise All-star this year), then Lincecum and Cain.
      • Hopefully the Mets win 2 of these 5 games, and go into the break 46-45.
    What are your thoughts about the Mets? Should they be buyers/sellers (at the trade deadline, not the Wilpons).

    Let's Go Mets!

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Yanks Mets

    Mets will win because I won't wear a Yankees hat.

    let's go Mets!

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Will we see this tonight?

    I say yes. LETS GO METS!

    Willie Harris

    I meant to mention this earlier, but my thoughts and prayers go out to Willie Harris, his wife, and the rest of his family. God bless them through this most difficult time; I can't imagine the grief and sadness they are going through.

    Mets Yankees

    As I left work today, I made a friendly gentleman's wager with my boss, who is a huge Yankees fan, that the loser of the series would have to wear the respective cap of the winning team. So I'm hopefully going to be posting that picture of him on Wednesday.

    Here is the line up that will beat I Nova:


    My prediction: Mets win 4-3, as K-rod makes it interesting.

    I may be posting on Twitter ( follow me at Longlivesheas) pictures and updates throughout the game depending on cell service.


    Scouting Nova again

    I'm on the train to the game, so here is the scouting report from when Nova faced the Mets in May. Http://longlivesheastadium.blogspot.com/2011/05/scouting-ivan-nova.html Nova is 7-4 with 4.26 ERA, a poor K/9 rate (< 5), a pathetic 4.5% swing and miss rate, and a poor walk rate (> 3.5). The Mets got 11 hits off him in May, but only mustered 3 runs in 6 2/3 innings. He's won his last 3 decisions (4 games), but did let up 3 home runs last game vs the Rockies. He's a league average pitcher, and still may be best suited for the bullpen