NY Sports Dog: Right, Wrong and Indifferent: The Starters

Friday, April 25, 2008

Right, Wrong and Indifferent: The Starters

Mets manager Willie Randolph before a Mets/Devil Rays spring training game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.Image via Wikipedia

After 21 interesting games and a somewhat roller-coaster like ride through the opening of 2008, it's time to take stock of where this team is right now prior to this weekend's series against the Braves.

The Starters:

Jose Reyes: Jose is batting a paltry .259 with a woeful .289 OBP. With only 4 steals and 2 caught stealings, the Mets all-star table setter has not gotten the job done thus far. He is 2 for his last 18. While most smart fans are not all that worried about Reyes, he does seem unsettled at the plate and looks as if he is bailing out on some very hittable pitches. As Jose goes, so do the Mets.

Luis Castillo: Luis has shown some life of late, but his inability to hit with any power whatsoever (.286 slg %), and his failure to drive in runs from the #2 hole does not bode well for the team. Ideally suited to hit in the #8 hole with this lineup, Willie Randolph has stubbornly refused to keep him there.

David Wright: DW is having an excellent start to his campaign, though he is in a mini-slump these past 4 games. The most consistent of all the Mets hitters, he has impressed with nice patience at the plate (18 walks already), and a growing presence on the field as a team leader and a hitter to be feared. Will once again contend for MVP honors.

Carlos Beltran: Carlos has been something of an anomaly this year. He's had some decent games, but he is not getting the big hits in key situations. NL pitchers are feeding him a steady diet of breaking balls with two strikes, and he hasn't seemed to figure out how to put them in play. Like DW, Beltran is taking a lot of walks, but the fact that he has 10 RBIs batting cleanup for the Mets shows how ineffective he's been overall.

Carlos Delgado: Is Delgado done? Hate to say it, but "maybe" is probably the best any of us can say right now. His plate mechanics are horrible, and the more he opens his stance the later he is on the fastball. I would love to be HoJo for a day and tell Carlos to close his stance to neutral or ride the pine...his choice. We're all holding our breath for Alou's return to see if that can stabilize Delgado. Delgado has 4 extra base hits all season...the bell is starting to toll.

Ryan Church: Nothing but positives for Ryan. He came in under a lot of pressure and has performed admirably. He is a sure fielder, makes great contact, has hit lefty's nicely, and is very poised on the field. His power numbers are going to rise nicely.

Angel Pagan: Has filled in very well for Alou. He annoys me a bit with his umpire baiting, but his hustle, ability to go with the pitch, aggressiveness on the basepaths and in the field all earn him high marks in my book. Has cooled off after a hot start--his cooling off came after some very surprising negative public comments about Pagan by Willie...bizarre.

Brian Schneider: Has played well when in there--a couple of nagging injuries have slowed him, but you can see why Omar was excited to bring him in. That said, he has next to no power and will struggle to drive in runs. If the middle of the order isn't getting it done, the back of the order won't pick them up.

All in all it has not been the greatest of starts offensively for the Mets. DW and Church have been excellent, Pagan and Schneider have been good. Beltran and Reyes have been something of a disappointment, and Castillo and Delgado have been downright awful.

Is getting Alou back enough to shake the team up? Will a little home cooking be the answer? Can 2 or 3 of these guys at the top get hot and energize this team? Can Delgado do anything?

It's early, and the next two weeks are going to tell us a lot. Remember that the team is 11-10 despite all of the offensive shortcomings. A stretch of 8-3 or 9-2 and a steady 5-8 runs per game is what they need...the question is can they do it? I think they can.

Tomorrow we'll look at the Starting Pitching.

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