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20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show Some Life

Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Mets have a real opportunity to get on a run at least get near being a contender for the first time since 2016. So far, well, they did the bare minimum:

1. Brodie Van Wagenen had a press conference with beat reporters where he accepted no personal responsibility, made attempts at self deprecation (saying they got us), and offered no apologies for his throwing a chair in a meeting with his coaching staff.

2. If both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom prefer throwing to Tomas Nido, why wouldn’t the Mets split them up in the rotation? By not doing that, the Mets had Wilson Ramos catching deGrom on Sunday because it was a day game after a night game. It makes zero sense.

3. It also made sense to come out of the break in a very crucial stretch with Jason Vargas. Since his threatening to assault a reporter, Vargas is 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA. At what point do the Mets really question whether he is worth all the drama and under-performing?

4. Syndergaard looked like the Syndergaard of old. He had much more confidence not only on the mound but also in his slider. He struck out nine and walked none. Historically, he’s pitched well at Marlins Park, so let’s see him be able to replicate this start again.

5. It doesn’t matter that it came against the Mets. It was awesome to see Curtis Granderson homer and steal a homer in the series. Granderson was a good Met, and he is one of the best people to ever don a Major League uniform.

6. There were signs of life from Robinson Cano who had two homers and a four hit game in the series. With the Mets ability to make a miracle run this second half and really just to compete for the postseason in the ensuing four years, the Mets need him to look like the Cano of old and not just an old Cano.

7. One thing Cano pointed to was his getting hit on the hand twice earlier in the year. It’s a fair statement as we have seen this impact many players. On that note, Cano is hitting .344/.364/.563 in July.

8. On the topic of Cano, it is interesting to see Amed Rosario benched for failing to run out a ball that is caught 99.99% of the time while Cano was defended time and again by Mickey Callaway. This certainly sends a mixed message to everyone.

9. On the topic of mixed messages, it is beyond bizarre Callaway would tell beat reporters this was a planned day off for Rosario while also telling SNY this was a punishment. There really has to be something wrong here when Callaway is clearly giving different messages to everyone. Is this just a Mets thing, or is this a Callaway thing? You just never know with this organization.

10. The Rosario ordeal overshadows just how well he has played of late. In July, Rosario is hitting .385/.429/.462. Over his last 22 games, he is hitting .347/.370/.467. In this series, he also looked as good as he has ever looked in a Mets uniform.

11. On Rosario’s defense, it’s noteworthy Van Wagenen is tweeting out how Rosario is being worked out by the team on areas where his is deficient just days after Van Wagenen once again outright refused to accept any personal responsibility for his role in assembling what has been a bad team.

12. On that front, good for Mike Francesa for letting Van Wagenen know he has been terrible and that the fans have no trust in him. If only Francesa would do the same to Jeff Wilpon who is the biggest source of problems with this organization.

13. As Matt Ehalt of Yahoo pointed out, Jeff McNeil has moved towards being more reckless than aggressive on the basepaths. We saw that manifest with him over sliding a base to end an inning during this series.

14. With McNeil doing so many things well this year like playing multiple positions more than adequately, leading the league in hitting, and getting a hit in three straight coming out of the break, we shouldn’t over dwell on the base running. In fact, in some ways, it’s nice to know he is human.

15. With Pete Alonso going 1-for-10 in the series, lets not start this nonsense saying the Home Run Derby ruined him. Lost in those stats, Alonso drew two walks, and he did have a homer robbed by Granderson.

16. If you want caution with Alonso, it’s the fact he is not quite as good the second or third time against a team. For example, in his first series against the Marlins, he was 3-for-10 with a double, homer, and four RBI. In the ensuing eight games, he is 4-for-26 with three homers, and four RBI. We have seen something similar with the Phillies and Nationals.

17. This is the second time this year Dominic Smith has slumped, but it is the first time he has done so as a starter. Given all he has overcome just to become the team’s starting left fielder, there is hope he can once again figure things out and start hitting again.

18. Of all the positive developments of the year, one of the most amazing has been Smith’s play in left field. At times, he looked clueless out there last year. This year, he has actually played to a 1 DRS. That is a small sample size, but it sure does seem miraculous.

19. Before Michael Conforto sustained a concussion in his collision with Cano, he was hitting .271/.406/.521, and he seemed to be a pretty good bet to be an All Star. Since his concussion, he is hitting .213/.307/.419. While he may have been cleared to play, it is very possible he needed more time to recover.

20. This was the Mets first road series win since they ripped off two straight to begin the year. As a result, they have the worst road record in the National League. If they want to perform a miracle this year, they are going to have to start playing much better on the road. Winning the series against the Marlins was a start. Winning a series in Minnesota would be an actual reason for hope. We’ll see.

29 thoughts on “20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show Some Life”

  1. Saul’s Colorist says:

    Ok, maybe the old saying start a young club with defense up the middle is out.
    Defense? Nope
    Strong starters, good bullpen and focus on hitting?
    Ok, maybe that will be the trick for the Mets?

    Your post:

    1) I let it go…. he is there to not only carry out Jeff’s plan, but to negotiate better contracts and if Jeff is not self aware, confident to admit a mistake anyone he hires may be a threat to his inability to offer his own accountability.

    I think Fred has the ability to admit a mistake but Brody’s — we do not know what he even initiated here.

    2) the AllStar break, a lefty, they only won one game out of two, the matchup, the stats Ramos had there and THEY NEEDED SUNDAY to WIN THIS SERIES

    3) Please take a bigger, much bigger sample.
    4) It was the worst hitting team in MLB. A start…in a good direction…
    5) One if the greatest role models ever!

    6)7)What did the son emperor saw about Maximus in Gladiator…. ooh la la…?
    Cano has not got a hit off anyone throwing >95 mph, if not 94.

    8)9) He was trying to diffuse it…. to hope the press did not print much about it… they knew…. why completely shame the kid at max?

    10) Can you publish his high leverage split ABATS.

    11) Even if Rosario could play second, Cano only pushed out McNeil and lots of good second base prospects at Binghamton, etc… Cano has nothing to do with Rosario not being able to go to the left.

    12) Well Franscesca is playing here…. he wants his comped tickets as ….The Daily News is a business partner of the Mets, the Post playing catch-up, NJ.com etc… I do not know…

    13) Look at his crazy swings in the eighth inning with men on base or his first swing at the all star game?

    14) Yes and No…. Freddy Freeman never did that for long…

    15) There will be lots of pitching making adjustments…. he has always been a high K man… expect >200 Ks? On one ABAT he could not catch up to 94/95 FBs. He may be very tired?

    16) He is a guy with few AAA ABATS ….

    17) He is not getting the same pitches and he instinctually wants to over swing.
    He might be bringing this under control? Yet, instead of batting fourth, what about seventh or 8th? His RBIs?

    18) Have we seen anything to make a Met highlight video on SNY?

    19) That is possible and/or he might thrive in all fast ball league ? How long does it take for pitchers to get command of their off speed stuff, April?

    20) Not even the Miracle of 1969 is possible …. they had a WS roster…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      On Vargas, he’s bad. When you expand it to last year, he’s bad. When you go to the 2017 All Star Break, he’s bad. Really, he’s not the guy you want setting a tone.

      As for the team’s chances, laugh all you want, but they’re still just six out. Now, that’s not good, but MUCH worse odds have been overcome.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        The unfortunate problem with that is these Mets are not 6 games behind one team, but instead will need to pass 9 teams to make the second wildcard.

        The difference between passing one or two teams, and passing 9 teams, is huge. It’s why this is all but insurmountable–we don’t just need the parlay of the Mets playing well and a team or two ahead of them slipping, but rather the Mets need to go at least 44-26 (that’s .629 ball) just to get to 85 wins, while 9 other teams need to fade or collapse. If we think 90 wins (which wouldn’t have made the postseason last year) is enough, that means the Mets need to go 49-21, they need to play .700 ball, to the end of the year, while no more than 1 other team gets to 90 or more. I’m sure they’ll continue to pretend they’re contending right up to the point they trade Wheeler (whose value just slid as he was sidelined with “shoulder fatigue”).

        Hey, I’d like to see them make it, too, but it’s just not happening. The team isn’t getting meaningful players coming off the IL to contribute. They don’t have several stars playing well below their norms who are likely to come back and storm the league. They don’t have the ingredients, in short, of the teams who came back from way out of it to make the postseason.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          In 2016, the Mets were in a similar position in August. That said, 1973 and 2016 are informative that things COULD happen. Seeing this team, it’s doubtful there’s another great run like that.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            Couple of notes on that–even when the Mets were in their worst spot, in 2016, there were 39 games left rather than the current 69, and only 4 teams were ahead of them for 2 wildcard slots rather than 10 teams as of yesterday. The 2016 team was also significantly better, having gone to the WS the year before, and it was one game under .500 rather than 9 games under. That team had a far better pen including peak phase Familia, and 4 very good starters plus Harvey. They could expect to be in it every game, and only had to go on a sustained tear for less than a quarter of a season.

            https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/?date=2016-08-20

            —I think I have to concede 1973. The most dire day was probably this one, August 5th.

            https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/?date=1973-08-05

            The Mets are 11.5 games behind, there are 5 teams in their way, and even though only one of those teams is any good (only one team is over .505), the Mets will still have to play .643 ball over one-third of a season to get to the 82-79 record they ended 1973 with.

            Meanwhile in 2019 only WAS and PHI are more than 2 games over .500, so while there are 10 teams ahead of them, the competition is not extraordinarily tough. Like the 2016 team, the 1973 team has 4 very good starters. Not much of a lineup and not much of a pen, though. At least, not that year specifically.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Basically, both years everyone around the Mets fell apart.

    2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      @Saul’s

      “16) He is a guy with few AAA ABATS ….”

      —While that’s accurate, i was relieved the Mets brought him up when they did instead of burying him until late 2019 or 2020.
      The thing w Alonso is that he dominated every level he played–thus there was no point in leaving him down. Every add’l AAA PA would have been a PA he should have had in the majors. (I would have brought both him and McNeil up in June 2018, but they don’t ask me these things.)

      I remember well his first month in AAA. He seemed to be slumping but watching the games and looking at his BAbip, you knew he was hitting rockets right at fielders and that this would even out. For the month of July, I believe Alonso hit. 180, but led the league w 9 HR and 31 RBI in 30 games. That’s an insanely productive player, even when to a casual fan (all of whom had an opinion last year) he was “slumping.” Some slump! I still get a kick out his milb stats page. Dominates every level, then crushes AFL pitching. It’s extremely rare to see a guy work through 5 and 6 levels at the appropriate age and own the league every single time. As much as the current regime is inept, they did get this one right.

      (Btw, TDA since he went to the Rays is outhitting Ramos’ seasonal line: TDA has a .780 OPS in Tampa. Amazing.)

      1. Saul’s Colorist says:

        https://thesportsdaily.com/2019/07/15/travis-darnaud-accomplished-three-incredible-things-at-yankee-stadium-

        – 80 RBIs over xxx games if a starter?
        – ZERO GIDPs!

        The point on our wonderful Alonso….
        Expect the sophomore adjustment right now!

        and

        To see his K shortcoming amplified such as his lack of time working on his above average Ks through all levels, work on it in AAA against AAA pitching so he is closer today, with more experience and success at AAA working on it and making strides hypothetically before, to improve his K rate in the MLB…. now and in the future for he did it before.

        Not that I questioned the decision this spring at all, I questioned the decision last fall, with too few ABATS available w all the players already here, gone in 2019, then in 2018 in their walk years, some in Sept jus off the DL last year, my question to not have him in NY in Fall 2018…. for his fielding, low average in AA AAA and high Ks all the way back said…. why rush it!!

        All I am saying is that to expect a tough second half for Alonso….

        What other choice did we have on Travis…?
        He was not Brody’s guy…
        Jeff Wilpon using cognitive dissonance to reinforce his decision to dump Sandy for Sandy and not ownership was the problem….

        So beware if you are a player from the last GM when the new GM arrives especially with the Wilpons, who dump people and never accept accountability…

        Congrats Travis…. you are one classy guy who deserves it!!!

        In THE BRONX ON THE NIGHT THE METS WERE OFF!!!
        For the resurgence in TB whose asst GM was not good enough for Metsdaddy!!

        1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          @Saul –Your link said it:
          “#Rays Travis d’Arnaud is the first catcher in baseball history to have a three-homer game batting out of the leadoff spot.”

          Wow. How many players have to leave these Mets and excel before… something happens? Bruce would be 2nd on the team w his 24 HR. Anthony Swarzak is looking like peak Mariano Rivera w the Braves. TDA, released, is outhitting the Mets 10m man, Wilson Ramos. The inability to identify useful talent right under their noses is shocking. The Mets had strong needs for an OFer, a reliever, and a backup catcher. They fumbled and blundered away all three.

          —re Alonso, no worries. He’s on pace to K 175 times, which isn’t serious. It’s just the cost of power, a price we’re willing to pay! Fortunately it doesn’t portend failure or upcoming difficulties. In the minors he struck out at a rate that would have given him 140 K in 162 games. Given the step up in pitching, he’s striking out more often against the really good MLB pitchers, but that almost always happens when a player is finally exposed to world class pitching.

          Since he’s the most productive 1Bman in the NL, it’s hard to say he’s doing anything wrong. In addition, I think it was last year that the cost of a K versus other kinds of outs was measured at only 2/1000ths of a run. If Alonso this year struck out 75 times a year fewer than the figure he’s headed for, it would only save about 1/7th of a run.

          In the HR era, K’s aren’t costly. It’s worth swinging hard.

        2. metsdaddy says:

          Why are you saying Chaim Bloom wasn’t good enough for me? I thought he was the guy the Mets should’ve hired.

  2. Jeff’s Weaver says:

    I searched google for film of Conforto at Univ of Oregon ….
    He looked very athletic, from what I saw there was lots of forward movement on his front foot, terrific swing follow through, a launch angle mostly about 5 degrees less than now and a few high level, level swings and almost entirely did not swing at off speed stuff where on the UCLA game they used off speed often over five ABATS.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Not sure what that has to do with his concussion

      1. Jeff’s Weaver says:

        The guy:

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iX3VyYLACho

        Is a fastball hitter and in April and May maybe they threw more FBs?

        Maybe before that long crappy road trip?

        Maybe against different pitchers?

        Maybe too many factors?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          He’s had success when healthy in his career. Stop trying to overthink it.

        2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          @Jeff’s I assume it’s not meant to show him in that light, but Conforto looks terrible in that video. In 50 PAs he would have only gotten on base two or three times, on grounders into the short OF. Not a line drive to the gap or HR among them. Probably way too much bat movement when he sets up at the plate. Then in the fielding clips he bobbles everything, double pumps, takes an extra step to throw…

          Definitely a work in progress.

  3. Gothamist says:

    https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2069444-michael-conforto-prospect-profile-for-new-york-mets-1st-round-pick

    •Wow, those high level swings on that Oregon video look great ….
    I did more search on [Michael Conforto Oregon video]

    •Some hitters are quite successful only hitting the off speed of AAAA pitchers.
    I just get confused on one point.

    •If he is going to get two curve balls thrown for strikes, why not key on that for the first pitch? If he gets a FB — that is the risk he takes for the ABAT will likely gone 0-2 anyway.

    •Well you look at his ABATS and you tell me how often does Conforto get to two balls before he gets to two strikes?

    Not everyone is Tom Seaver and does the NYT crossword in 15 minutes.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Conforto is six years removed from college. Let’s assess him based upon his professional performance and not his collegiate one.

  4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “5. It doesn’t matter that it came against the Mets. It was awesome to see Curtis Granderson homer and steal a homer in the series. Granderson was a good Met, and he is one of the best people to ever don a Major League uniform.”

    –It was great to see him on the Mets, and a real pity they didn’t re-sign him for 2018 as their 4th/5th OFer.

    Seemed like he’d gladly accept that role, take a NYC discount, and he still had enough left (and, critically, he was durable enough) to be a net-positive producer in that role, particularly when the Mets had so many issues in the OF: Conforto’s serious shoulder injury (we had no idea whether he’d ever play well again), Cespedes’ inability to stay on the field, Lagares’ remarkable frailty…. it was how you knew Alderson and the Wilpons continued to be clueless. They signed Bruce to 3/39 when they had Nimmo and his .379 OBP ready to play CF, and had CG willing to take 2-3m to remain in NY as a spare OFer.

    Granderson makes for a great comparison with Bruce. 4/64m versus 3/39m.
    CG had a much, much higher peak, could still play CF when the Mets got him, meaning over time he could be moved to a corner, while Bruce when he slowed, had nowhere to go. It’s why you have to pay the small premium (3m AAV plus a 4th year) to get a much better chance for these kinds of players to succeed and be worth putting in the lineup. Grandy’s one AS-caliber year w the Mets pretty much paid off the value of his deal, and his decline was still acceptable. Bruce, on the other hand, had nowhere to go. His down years were going to be replacement level, while if you got lucky he might be worth his deal. A kind of heads, you break even, tails you lose deal the Mets are famous for.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I was clamoring for Grandy this past offseason. Seemed a perfect fit in the 4th OF and veteran leader role.

  5. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “16. If you want caution with Alonso, it’s the fact he is not quite as good the second or third time against a team. For example, in his first series against the Marlins, he was 3-for-10 with a double, homer, and four RBI. In the ensuing eight games, he is 4-for-26 with three homers, and four RBI. We have seen something similar with the Phillies and Nationals.”

    —The small size of these samples overrules other concerns. In addition, every team has massive film libraries (in addition to advance scouting) and will key in on a team’s best hitters–in the case of the Mets that will be Alonso first and foremost. It’s more how he does against the league after 100, 300, 500 PAs as that library accumulates, than the third or fourth time he appears against a specific team.

    Not to mention the anomalies:

    In his 4th series against the Nats he hits 2 HR, slugging .615 for the series.
    His 3rd series against the Marlins, he hits 2 HR, slugging .800.
    His 4th series against PHI, his OPS is 1.301, slugging .917
    His 3rd series against the Braves his OPS is 1.200.

    Any way you look at it, the kid’s a beast.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He’s been great, but we need to caution everything he does is a SSS.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        One of our areas of disagreement. Alonso has had 1,592 plate appearances in pro ball through yesterday, three season’s worth, with 390 of those occurring in the majors. Properly viewed, every one of those PAs is projectable to the majors. There are no examples, not one, of a player dominating five levels of the minors his first time through at the age Alonso did (six, if you include the AFL) failing to hit enough to stick in the majors.

        The age is a critical point. When people try to argue the contrary, and produce even one hitter who did what he did in the minors by age 23 they inevitably come up with something like a 25 yo repeater who finally crushed AA his 3rd time through. Barring getting hit by a truck, guys like Alonso never miss, particularly when they come up and hit as Alonso has since leaving the minors.

        It’s interesting to note that Giancarlo Stanton struggled in the minors, hitting less than well for his position as a 19 yo in AA. Alonso, on the other hand, never faltered. That Stanton struggled as a 19 yo but still was far from a disaster is why it barely affected his stock. Age matters.

        Anyway, there is no precedent for a player like Alonso missing. To be specific, even discarding his MLB performance, there is no player who did what Alonso did from age 21-23 (or younger–or from 22-24 for that matter), never repeating a level, and dominating through 5 or 6 levels in milb, not making it in MLB. It has literally never happened. It won’t happen here.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Alonso proved himself to be more pull happy and strikeout prone against better pitching, especially RHP, in the minors.

          If you compare his minor league peripherals to other RHH first baseman, the comp you’ll get is Chris Carter.

          So far, Alonso hasn’t been that. Then again, Carter didn’t get to hit off this baseball, and there’s still time for Alonso to regress to that.

          I’m not saying it will happen, nor do I want it to happen. Still, a Chris Carter type career remains a possibility.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            It’s a comp, but it’s not a good comp. Carter didn’t come to the majors to stay at the age Alonso did because of his execrable fielding, which thoroughly distorts any comparison of their time in the majors, and distorts any projection of their careers. Carter was pro rating to 50 errors in a full season in his first extended stint at 1B at age 19, and by 21 he had knocked that all the way down to….40 errors. It was with good reason Carter didn’t get a full season in the majors until he was 26, which completely distorted his skills at the plate, since he’d been hitting primarily minor league pitching until that age. Meanwhile Alonso as early as the 2017-2018 offseason had established himself as an adequate defender. Fielding was not going to affect his hitting, and who he hit against.

            —In addition, the key point is Carter’s lack of bat control, his inability to control the strike zone. It left him vulnerable to major leaguers who had no need to come at him–they had the control to give him little to hit and to let him get himself out, which he did. Carter was already K’ing 1 time in 4 in high A at age 21, 156K in 596 PA. That’s disastrous. The MLE for that is upwards of 220K in a season, which is about what he did 5 years later in his first full season. Alonso OTOH was never a danger to completely lose the ability to hit for average the way Carter was. In Alonso’s turn at high A at 22 he had just 64K in 346 PAs.

            That’s a completely different player.

            And it means there’s no chance of Alonso collapsing to a Carter-like line of .217/.312/.456. He controls the strike zone more than well enough not to flail and end up as a mistake hitter who can’t hit for average.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Carter’s Triple-A peripherals compare to Alonso’s. I’d also note Carter was a HS draft pick, so comping his age 21 season to Alonso’s isn’t comparing apples to apples.

  6. OldBackstop says:

    1, Brodie finally speaks, you must have been thrilled. Naturally he said next to nothing, he is a trained pro.

    2. You can’t have pitchers picking their catchers. If a team is going to compete for something more than a Cy Young, they have to be able to work with your top catchers. What if Nido gets hurt the day before the wildcard game? If Ramos is truly so bad then trade him. As usual here, Jake and Noah have made Mickey their bitch, and he is terrified of ticking them off.

    3. Yes, Vargas had a terrible game. You cutely bundle the last two to come up with 0-2 and a high ERA. The game against Miami he gave up three runs, on three hits, his 11th straight start of three earned runs or under. Who else has done that? Before the bad July 12 game, since June 1 Vargas has averaged a shade under 6 innings per start (5.84) and exactly two earned runs.

    That’s the guy you said was no longer a major league caliber starting pitcher. Now you say he is good trade bait for a contender who needs a starter. It’s ridiculous.
    .

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I never said Vargas was good trade bait. What I’ve said is he’s terrible, and the Mets need to get him off the team.

  7. OldBackstop says:

    “Vargas is terrible and should be off the team”?

    Vargas’ role is our NUMBER FIVE starter. Lets look at the three teams above us, since you clearly haven’t. He has more starts, a lower ERA, and the one guy above him in IP/GS (by a fraction) has a 6.37 ERA
    In game starts:
    Mets
    Vargas 15 starts 3.83 ERA, 5.08 innings per start
    Braves
    4 Gausman 13 starts 6.21 ERA, 4.7 innings per start
    5 Foltynewicz 11 starts 6.37 ERA. 5.3 innings per start

    Nats
    5 Hellickson 9 starts 6.23 ERA, 4.8 innings per start

    Phillies
    5. Eickoff 10 starts 5.71 ERA, 4.9 innings per start

    You continue to embarrass yourself re: Vargas. Focus on the Mets Dash.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Eickoff is averaging 5+ innings per start, and Hellickson got hurt and is on the 60 day IL. Gausman was also pitching hurt.

      As for Folty, he pitched poorly, and he was sent down to the minors.

      Looking at your examples, you’ve established pitchers who aren’t averaging at least five innings should be off the roster. That is, unless, they have an injury, which Vargas doesn’t.

      So, as usual, your inexplicable Vargas defense is as flimsy as his ability to be a starter.

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