NY Sports Dog: I'm Feeling Optimistic...Are You?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm Feeling Optimistic...Are You?

It's been an interesting few weeks for Mets fans.

The Mets ink not one, but two potential 5th starters: Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia.

Then the Mets shore up their starting staff by re-signing Ollie Perez.

Both of those moves came on the heels of the signing of two dominant relief pitchers: JJ Putz and KRod.

But as I read the papers and Mets blogs each morning, the same theme is sounded over and over: "it's not enough...doomed!"

The primary reasons are:

  • The Mets didn't sign Manny, nor will they
  • The leftfield platoon won't be good enough
  • Luis Castillo cannot get the job done at second base
  • Brian Schneider can't call a game and can't hit
  • Ryan Church won't play a full season
  • Delgado might revert to his first half troubles
I say hogwash. In fact, I am incredibly optimistic about this team, this year, with this lineup.

The Mets scored the second most runs in the NL last year, and that was with:
  • A bad first half from Delgado
  • Crippling injuries to Ryan Church
  • Daniel Murphy only playing in a handful of games
  • Luis Castillo injured and out of the lineup
  • Brian Schneider banged up
Here is another fact: David Wright and Jose Reyes are about the play their 26-year old seasons. If you look back historically, players have their best seasons from age 26-30.

Remember last year all the talk was about how old the Mets were? Aren't we younger and more athletic now?

Are you telling me a full year of Daniel Murphy doesn't excite you?

And the starting pitching?

Mike Pelfrey struggled mightily early on and then figured it out. We're going to get a full season of the good Big Pelf.

We have a legitimate #1 Ace in Johan Santana.

Oliver Perez can be electric, and he works well with Dan Warthen...I expect a superb year from Ollie.

John Maine is back after minor surgery, and he is as tough a righthanded middle of the order guy as their is in our division.

We'll have a year of Jerry Manuel at the helm...he is our secret weapon.

So go right ahead and compain--it's your right--but for this writer it's full steam ahead to pitchers and catchers with what we have. Oh sure, the Mets might move Castro and add a lefty to the bullpen, but those are just pieces.

Bottom line is the team is built to win and we are in for one heck of a 2009.
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Anonymous said...

I agree.

No team in the National League is entering 2009 with a slam dunk lineup and 5 great starters.

We have Beltran, Reyes, Johan, KRod, David Wright, Delgado, Putz, Church, Ollie, Pelfrey and John Maine.

I think we have the most talent in the NL by far.

Mets4Ever said...

We really did get a lot younger.

Nice to have guys in their prime.

Ravi said...

Dave, I wholeheartedly agree with your post. Some of the more pessimistic Mets fans (and writers) have focused on all that went right last year, and what can go wrong next year. However, look at just how much went WRONG for this team, and they still scored about 800 runs, good for 2nd in the NL, and won 89 games!.

The Delgado we saw in the 2nd hald was teh real Carlos Delgado, and the ballplayer we have seen over the past 10 years. In fact, did you know that he was a bit unlucky, as 2nd half BABIP was at .295, .14 points below his career avg. His BB and K rates were in line with his career.
(Delgado stats from http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/why-delgado-is-not-done)

Every time Ryan Church has had the opportunity to play everyday he has exceeded expectations. For whatever reason, Washington management didn't provide many such opportunities. We know what the story was last year. Good news is that concussions are a rare injury for baseball players, so the odds of him suffering again are severely diminished.

Great call outs with Wright and Reyes, re: their prime.

Another issue in which the Mets figure to improve is BA with RISP, and bullpen. Even without bringing in new talent, the team would improve in those areas. Batting with RISP is always a flukey stat, and fluctuates from year to year. In 2006-7 the Mets were 3rd and 4th in that stat. Last year was different obviously, with Wright being the main culprit. He however is a guy that has batted over .300 in those situations for his career. We saw him expand the zone quite a bit in '08, chasing outside sliders. Perhaps he did it knowing the Mets needed every run, with a suspect bullpen. Whatever it is, I am more that certain that he recognized it, and has been addressing it during the winter.

With Putz/K-Rod, the bullpen has been significantly improved. Remember the statistic floating around earlier in the winter, that if games ended after the 7th inning, the Mets would have had something like 10 games (if not more) over the Phils. Hopefully, the new duo is able to make more of the wins stand up.

Out of the three components of a baseball team (offense, starting pitching, relief), the Mets had two that were top 4 in the NL. With an average bullpen (meaning one that blew 23 saves, instead of 29), the Mets would have been a 95 win team last year, and a division winner. After Omar's work, this pen is certainly above average.

At the end of the day, I strongly believe that the Mets are a strong team. They were about even with the Phils, who had a dominant bullpen (which stands to regress, only because it was such a great year), and Philly didn't really improve the club. Neither did the Braves, who brought in Vazquez/Lowe to replace Smoltz/Hudson.

Adding Manny Ramirez would make the Mets an overwhelming favorite. Without Manny, the Mets are still a very good club, that certainly has the legs to make it to October.

Dave Singer said...


That is just an outstanding rundown...if you ever want to pen any articles here, please e-mail me.

You're the type of fan I love to converse with--realistic, knowledgable and passionate.


Ed said...

Wow...people who can write rationally and objectively. Fans pay WAAAYYY too attention to what Benigno and Francesca have to say. I think Omar had done a great job this off-season and fans seem to forget he's done far more good moves than poor. He's made the team younger and kept the top prospects.

I'm excited to see how Brad Hold, Reese Havens and Ike Davis develop down in the farm as well as F-Mart.

There's also this guy out there, Matt Holliday, who could very well be available via trade at the deadline if the team does need another stick. I'd rather shell out money for Matt Holliday than Manny Ramirez.

Jamison said...

How confident are you that you are getting the Pelf of 2008 (last half) and not the Pelf of '06 and '07?

Dave Singer said...


It's a fair question, and Iam very confident in Pelfrey.

He has really matured in the past year, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him win 17-20 games this year.

Think Chien-Min Wang with a better fastball.

Ravi said...

I think 17-20 wins for the big Pelf may be a bit optimistic. There is an injury risk -he did go past the "Verducci Limit"..while I have been a critic of using IP to measure workload, Mack of Mack's Mets provided Pelf's pitch counts for 2007 and 2008...assuming 20 pitch innings, it increased by 28 innings)

With Mike, I would venture to say that 14-15 wins would be a fair goal, while I see his ERA falling in the 3.2-3.5 range. Either way, it is solid.

Dave Singer said...

I'm a bit more optimistic....the guy won 13 games last year after an abysmal start, and with no wins in September despite an ERA right at 4.00.

I do agree that 15 wins is a fair goal, but I think he'll win a few more.

Rochdalian said...

Check out what Harold Reynolds said in the Post today. He's right. The Mets did what they had to do, and upgraded the bullpen and pitching staff. They could do more, but they took care of their biggest needs.

Anything else that they do (Manny, Orlando Hudson, etc.) is fine and will be welcome, but they accomplished the things that they needed to do first.

Dave Singer said...

Great input...and I agree with Harold...the team fixed the one hole they had.

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