February 2014

Mets Spring Training: Week 1 in review

The first calendar week of camp is complete, with Mets pitchers, catchers and position players all on the premises. Here’s a recap of what went down in Week 1:

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“It’s hard seeing all the guys, seeing them put their uniforms on and realizing that Spring Training is going to go a little differently this year,” Harvey said during his first day in camp. “Today has definitely been a little bit of a struggle.”

  • Mets doctors later cleared Harvey to throw a baseball for the first time since surgery, which he did Saturday.

“There’s always a conversation on [the payroll]. It’s not something that [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] can just go out and do whatever he wants, but yes we’ve had multiple conversations, and we’ve had the ability to go after some guys that I don’t think anybody knew we were going after. They didn’t all hit, but we did try, and those all would have expanded the payroll above where we are now.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/22

Former Mets beat writer Marty Noble held down camp again today while I worked on some other things. He watched as Matt Harvey threw a baseball for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

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What we learned: The Mets have not yet decided whether Harvey will rehab in Port St. Lucie, Fla. or New York City, where he lives. Players on extended rehab typically stay in Florida.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Everything felt absolutely amazing.” –Harvey on throwing for the first time since surgery

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Is Juan Lagares about to fall back to earth?

If you’re into sabermetrics, I highly recommend this Fangraphs deep dive into Juan Lagares’ advanced defensive metrics. The takeaway? Lagares is unlikely to even approach his 2013 numbers in 2014, but he’ll still probably be a better overall player than Eric Young, Jr.

Writes author Jeff Sullivan:

“There’s no question that Lagares is highly talented in the outfield, and that no amount of regression can make him look anything but skilled. But with Lagares in particular, the situation’s a little different, and the numbers have to be treated a little differently. … Applying regression makes Lagares’ numbers a lot more realistic. … You can begin to understand why the Mets aren’t just going to hand him a regular job. His 2013 WAR is misleading.”

You can read the full analysis here.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/21

We’re officially a full week into Spring Training and there’s no controversy here in Florida. No major news stories, either. Is this really a Mets camp?

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What we learned: The Mets are instructing all catchers in their organization not to block home plate, regardless of whether Major League Baseball ratifies a new rule prohibiting plate collisions. General manager Sandy Alderson personally demonstrated proper protocol to his catchers. … No Mets player experienced a visa issue for the first time since 2010. All 64 players are officially in camp.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Say, for example, it’s Game 6 of the World Series and I’m told I can’t block the plate. Well, my instincts are going to tell me to save that run being scored. That’s part of the game that every catcher enjoys. It’s our thrill, like the infielder making a diving play in the hole and throwing someone out from his knees.” –Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud on MLB’s pending collision rule

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Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/20

Still relatively quiet here at Mets camp, but things are about to pick up now that all position players have officially reported. Those folks will take their physicals Friday, in advance of the first full-squad workout Saturday.

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What we learned: Matt Harvey has been cleared to throw a baseball for the first time since Tommy John surgery. … Minor League saves king (and current bullpen candidate) Jeff Walters learned some of the tricks of his trade from then-Class A Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola. … The Mets are not pursuing Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz, a shortstop.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“NO!!!” –Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner, on Twitter, after the USA women’s hockey team lost to Canada in the gold-medal game

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Full Mets Spring Training live television schedule

MLB Network released its Spring Training schedule today, complete with several #Mets games on the agenda. Here’s a full list of Mets games televised live this spring:

2/28 Washington Nationals 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/1 Miami Marlins 1:10 p.m. WPIX
3/4 Houston Astros 1:10 p.m. SNY & MLB Network
3/5 Miami Marlins 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/7 St. Louis Cardinals 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/9 Atlanta Braves 1:10 p.m. WPIX
3/10 Miami Marlins 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/11 @ St. Louis Cardinals 1:10 p.m. MLB Network
3/12 St. Louis Cardinals 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/14 @ Detroit Tigers 1 p.m. ESPN
3/15 Minnesota Twins 1:10 p.m. WPIX
3/18 Detroit Tigers 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/20 Atlanta Braves 1:10 p.m.  SNY & MLB Network
3/23 Washington Nationals 1:10 p.m. WPIX
3/24 St. Louis Cardinals 1:10 p.m. SNY
3/27 Washington Nationals 12:10 p.m. SNY
3/28 @ Toronto Blue Jays 7 p.m. MLB Network
3/29 @ Toronto Blue Jays 1 p.m. MLB Network

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Six Mets land on industry top prospect lists (updated)

The last of the baseball industry’s four most well-known Top 100 Prospect lists is in the books. Baseball America released its list tonight, with four Mets on it. (You may recall that the Mets scored three names on MLB.com’s 2014 Prospect Watch, released earlier this month.)

Six Mets prospects appeared on at least one of the industry’s four major lists, with two of them — Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud (below) — appearing on all four. Below is a table breaking down how each prospect fared, including their average ranks. (For simplicity’s sake, I inserted a rank of 101 for lists that did not include a certain player).

The lists came from MLB.com, ESPN, Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America.

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Name MLB.com ESPN.com Prospectus B. America Average
Noah Syndergaard 11 24 11 16 15.5
Travis d’Arnaud 22 36 48 38 36.0
Rafael Montero 85 60 N/A 68 78.5
Dominic Smith N/A 37 N/A 92 82.8
Wilmer Flores N/A N/A 71 N/A 93.5
Brandon Nimmo N/A 92 N/A N/A 98.8

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Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/19

It’s been an abnormally quiet camp so far for the Mets, and barring an Ike Davis trade or a Stephen Drew signing in the near future, it’s liable to stay that way. That’s just fine for the Mets, who are peacefully going about their business in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The remaining position players not yet in camp must report by the end of Thursday, in advance of the first scheduled full-squad workout Saturday. Other than that, it’s status quo.

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What we learned: Fully healthy for the first time in years, Daisuke Matsuzaka began his offseason workout program in mid-October. Matsuzaka is the early front-runner for the Mets’ fifth starter’s job. … Nothing has changed on the Stephen Drew front. Don’t expect the Mets to sign him unless his price comes down significantly.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“I’m on vacation.” –Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, explaining why he did not wish to speak to the media

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/18

I took an R&R day today, with former Mets beat writer Marty Noble holding down Mets camp. He took a look at how Mets pitchers hope to handle the bat this season.

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What we learned: If the season ended today, Terry Collins said, Juan Lagares would be the center fielder.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“I’m thinking of batting him third.” –Collins on Colon

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Poll: Who should win the Mets’ fifth starter competition?


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