NY Sports Dog: 27 Hard Outs

Monday, August 24, 2009

27 Hard Outs

Now that the after effects from yesterday's crushing defeat have somewhat subsided, I'd like to focus on something that Ron Darling mentioned toward the end of the game.

27 hard outs.

Who gives them, and who doesn't? Who are the gamers on the team?

Let's start with Jeff Francoeur, who is the man behind Darling's comments.

In the 9th inning yesterday Francoeur made a wonderful diving catch that Ron Darling noted by saying, "there's a man that gives you 27 hard outs."

Jeff Francoeur is a gamer--he'll be back with the Mets and has the chance to get his career solidly back on track.

Corey Sullivan is another one--I like him for the bench next year. The guy is pure hustle in the outfield, runs the bases as hard as anyone on the team, and he plays high energy baseball.

Omir Santos plays hard--very hard. The guy has been beat up and battered and he digs in and does his thing. While not terribly gifted as a hitter, he has had some key RBIs this year, and he works his tail off. He is also hitting over .300 for the month of August.

Angel Pagan--he has had one or two tiny lapses this year, but the guy plays hard, runs hard, and might just be our centerfielder next year if Beltran moves to LF. I'd actually like to see Pagan in left a bit this year when Sheff isn't in there--put him in left and let Sullivan play CF.

Now I'm not going to come out and say the following guys don't have long stretches where they hustle a ton, but over the course of a season they have had moments where I questioned their desire: Brian Schneider, Gary Sheffield, and Luis Castillo.

Of the three, only Castillo will be back IMO. Luis hustles and plays hard--when he's doing well. He also has lapses in the field and pouts. That said, he's having a terrific overall season. He's a "26 out" kind of guy.

Brian Schneider--I wonder what is going on with him. His swing looks slow at the plate, his lateral movement behind the dish is off, and he has a different look about him this year than in seasons past. It could be injury, it could be seeing Church leave, it could be displeasure with any number of things--he needs to go.

The Mets made a colossal mistake in not letting Gary Sheffield go when they had a chance to get something in return. He played very hard for the team early, has had a few injuries, and he threatened to leave the team when he didn't get his way. It's typical Sheffield--play hard when he wants to play hard. I have no use for him at this point, and neither do the Mets.

27 hard outs...doesn't seem like much to ask.

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