Getting to watch and follow Marcus Stroman since becoming a member of the New York Mets organization, it has been increasingly clear he is a role model. He has been that in every sense of the word.
Outside of being a terrific pitcher, what first comes to mind with Stroman is HDMH, i.e. Height Doesn’t Measure Heart. This mantra emanates from Stroman being a 5’7″ pitcher to make it to the Major Leagues, where he has established himself as an excellent pitcher. It speaks to believe in self and not allowing obstacles stand in your way.
Stroman has made it more than that. Aside from a mantra, it’s also an apparel line and foundation. We have seen him invite children to unique baseball events not normally available to them. He has also created uniforms for different youth baseball teams. We have also seen Stroman give of himself working with young players, especially during the early parts of the pandemic last year.
Marcus Stroman had some fun after surprising a little league team at practice yesterday ⚾️ @9uHeat
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 18, 2020
In addition to what Stroman does to help children, there is also how Stroman carries himself. He not only has a belief in himself but also his teammates. If you follow what he does and says, Stroman is all about building up yourself and those around you. That is a very powerful message he strives to deliver:
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 12, 2021
Keep in mind, Stroman is a fiercely loyal person who will do what he needs to protect those he loves. During the pandemic, he gave up millions of dollars to sit out the season to protect his family. Rather than risk his parents catching COVID19, he stayed home in what was his last season before free agency.
It didn’t matter to him that he was giving up money both that year and potentially in free agency. He did what he knew in his heart what was right. We see him do that in everything he does. That includes speaking out against injustices he sees.
If you are near and dear to him, he will continue to build you up and show the world all the ways you are great. He does that with his teammates, and he does that with his little brother.
Part and parcel in that is Stroman trying to become an increasingly positive person who tries to shut out the noise. We know he acknowledges the negative, but rather than dwell in it and drag him down, Stroman seeks to find ways to improve himself and the world around him. This is not just a one dimensional human being. He is one of the most unique people we have ever seen play the game.
Mostly, Stroman is the person he is, and he is unapologetically so. That’s great because he is a terrific human being who carries a great message. In everything he does, he not only seeks, but he exudes greatness.
This is someone who isn’t content. He is always trying to improve as a player and a person. Case-in-point, he follows around Jacob deGrom to learn from him. He has talked with other players to see how he can improve as a pitcher. This year, we saw those efforts result in a new split change and a phenomenal start to the season.
Lest we forget, Stroman is an intellectual in every sense of the word. Yes, even after being drafted and beginning is playing career, he did make sure to finish his degree at Duke University, one of the best universities in the country. It is more than that. He has an intellectual curiosity when it comes to his craft and everything in his life. Really, it is no mistake he is successful in nearly every undertaking.
When you look at Stroman, you see a real human being not only trying to be a great baseball player, but you are looking at a man trying to leave his mark on the world. He is trying to make himself a better person, and he is trying to make those around him better. Hopefully, even through all the naysayers and all the noise, he realizes he is accomplishing that goal.
Next time you look at Stroman, hopefully, you see more than a great pitcher. You should see a good person. You should seee a role model to hold out to the next generation of baseball players and leaders.
The New York Mets flew into Colorado, and they were greeted with snow. That meant another postponement and another doubleheader to the schedule. It just seems like this is the way 2021 is going to go:
1. Marcus Stroman has been nothing short of phenomenal. He’s fielding his position better than anyone, and he’s 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He’s been better than expected, which is saying something.
2. As great as Stroman has been, Jacob deGrom is still the best pitcher on the planet. His striking out 14 and nine in a row once again put him on the precipice of Tom Seaver‘s level. That’s a testament to how great he is.
3. One remarkable thing is through the first seven years of their careers, deGrom has a better ERA+ than Seaver, and seeing the way he has started this year, it will continue through their first eight seasons. Of course, Seaver threw a lot more innings.
4. It was nice to see deGrom get picked up by his offense for once. It was also great to see Francisco Lindor deliver his first game winning RBI as a member of the Mets. Certainly, it will be the first of many.
5. Lindor’s enthusiasm out there is only matched by Stroman’s. When you have these two players out there, it makes the Mets not just more likeable but more exciting to watch.
6. While Lindor and James McCann have not hit yet the way we expect them to hit, their defense has been terrific. Case in point was McCann gunning down Trevor Story to end the game with an exceptional tag from Lindor.
7. The defense still hasn’t been there from Michael Conforto who has had a misplay and a poor throw on Saturday. On the bright side, he has started hitting again.
8. Pete Alonso has started picking it up. He has been hitting it hard all year, and at least in Coors Field, his rockets were finding holes.
9. The best way to describe how great Brandon Nimmo has been to start the season is a 1-for-4 day is an off-day. After all, it was the first time all season he only reached base fewer than two times.
10. It looks like it just might be one of those hard luck years for Jeff McNeil as not matter how much he hits it hard, it is just going to find someone.
11. While we can expect the bat to turn around, we don’t know when his glove will. He made an error which almost cost the Mets the win. While it is still early, he is at a -1 OAA. He’s generally better than that, so it is still too early to be concerned.
12. That said, the Mets best defensive alignment is still with McNeil at third and Luis Guillorme at second. That is something to keep in mind when the Mets continue to run out ground ball pitcher after ground ball pitcher.
13. Speaking of Guillorme, despite his playing very well to start the season, it appears with J.D. Davis activated off the IL, he’ll never play again. That is all the more baffling considering the Mets have all of these ground ball pitchers, and Guillorme is a flat out better player.
14. There was far too much of an overreaction to Luis Rojas going to Robert Gsellman and Jacob Barnes in the second game of the doubleheader. The Mets simply cannot keep going to Trevor May and Miguel Castro every day. They are going to burn out, and then you’re stuck with Barnes trying to hold leads.
15. The bigger issue was Barnes making the roster in the first place. The Mets had better options, and they eschewed them to carry him on the roster. Case-in-point, it appears Joey Lucchesi is probably better suited to the bullpen, which would have allowed them to carry Jordan Yamamoto.
16. Speaking of Mets pitching decisions, Steven Matz has been phenomenal to start the season. Trading him was a completely unforced error. Hopefully, it will not cost them at some point this season. And yes, he would have been successful with the Mets this year.
17. Seeing all that has transpired, it is hard to believe Sandy Alderson still has a job with the Mets. Perhaps, Steve Cohen is allowing the organizational review to complete before taking action. Until that time, Cohen at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.
18. On that topic, we are three weeks into the season, and Mickey Callaway is still employed by the Los Angeles Angels.
19. So far, Edwin Diaz has been really good. If so, that is great news for the Mets and their chances of winning the division.
20. Jonathan Villar hitting a pinch hit RBI double driving home pinch runner Albert Almora speaks to the depth the Mets have built. If they continue getting contributions from their entire roster like the way they are right now, this is going to be a truly special season.
After a big comeback to get Jacob deGrom a victory in the first half of the doubleheader, the Mets couldn’t replicate the feat to get Joey Lucchesi off the hook. With that, their four game winning streak snapped.
The Rockies jumped all over Lucchesi in the first. The first out he recorded was a long sacrifice fly by Trevor Story. Two batters later, CJ Cron hit a two RBI double giving the Rockies an early 3-0 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 18, 2021
With McNeil as the tying run at second, Jonathan Villar grounded out to end the inning. The Mets would get no closer, and this game would turn into a rout.
After Lucchesi went three, Robert Gsellman made his 2021 debut. He pitched effectively pitching a scoreless fourth. That should’ve helped keep the Mets in the game.
Jacob Barnes relieved Gsellman, and he imploded in the fifth. Like Lucchesi, the Rockies jumped all over him.
With runners at the corners, the Mets couldn’t turn a double play on a weakly hit Charlie Blackmon grounder. That allowed a run to score, and it extended the inning.
In addition to Gsellman and Barnes, Trevor Hildenberger would appear in this game. In his Mets and season debut, he pitched a scoreless inning. However, it was too little too late.
Marquez pitched a seven inning complete game. There are a few reasons we can pinpoint, but the Mets didn’t have it in the second game. That means a runner game tomorrow.
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo extended his on-base streak to 23 games (dating back to last year)
To start the game, Jacob deGrom didn’t have his best stuff. In fact, he was “only” hitting 96 on the gun. Naturally, he was phenomenal.
NINE straight Ks for de🐐, tying the 2nd-longest streak in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/sOMkLZ6AhF
— MLB (@MLB) April 17, 2021
That’s when the defense completely failed deGrom. Fuentes led off the fifth with a grounder up the middle. Jeff McNeil would Field it cleanly but throw it away allowing Fuentes to reach safely.
Yonathan Daza followed with a shallow liner to right. In what was very likely driven by deGrom pitching, Nunez went home. He scored easily as Conforto made a poor off line throw which gave James McCann no chance to field it and make the tag.
Ramiel Tapia followed with a flick of the wrist Coors Field homer. Just like that, a 1-0 lead turned into a 3-1 deficit courtesy of three unearned runs.
As is normally the case, deGrom received next to no run support. That was even with Chi Chi Gonzalez starting for the Rockies.
deGrom led off the third with a single. In what was a completely inane decision, Brandon Nimmo, the Mets best hitter was called upon to sacrifice deGrom to second, which he did.
It also appeared that was all deGrom was going to get. Part of the reason was all of the double plays.
In the sixth, Alonso got one of the runs back hitting his second homer of the season:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 17, 2021
deGrom’s final inning was the sixth, and he was great again. He would strike out two more. This would mark the second straight start where he struck out 14.
Overall, deGrom allowed three runs (zero earned) on three hits with one walk. Believe it or not, he’d actually pick up the win.
Jonathan Villar pinch hit for deGrom and hit a double to right. Almora dashed from first, and he JUST got his hand in to score the game tying run.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 17, 2021
After a Nimmo infield single put runners on the corners, Lindor delivered his biggest hit in his nascent Mets career. His RBI single gave the Mets a 4-3 lead.
With the 4-3 lead, Edwin Diaz came on for his first save chance of the season. He struck out the side to earn his first save. That means he and deGrom managed to strike out 17 Rockies over a seven inning game.
With the late rally, deGrom earned his first win of the season. Overall, he’s 1-1 with a 0.45 ERA. Not a bad way to start the doubleheader.
As has been the case with him over the past year (probably longer), Marcus Stroman has been a lightning rod for criticism. In terms of the New York Mets, it began when he opted out of the 2020 season, but there’s a possibility it began sooner than that.
In terms of that, Stroman was open and honest he was afraid of the outbreaks in Miami and St. Louis, and he had family members who were high risk. Rather than accept his explanation, people opted to read malice into his decision.
Since that point, Stroman signed the qualifying offer, has worked to develop a new pitch, and he has been just about as enthusiastic a Mets fan as there is. Yes, every action he has taken has indicated he is every bit the Mets fan he was like the day he was at Citi Field for Johan Santana‘s no-hitter.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 12, 2021
This is a pitcher who not only believes in himself, but he believes in his teammates. He openly speaks about how Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball. He talks about the talent on the roster. He talk about how great the Mets are. Really, if you look at Stroman, he pushes positivity and belief in not just himself, but also his teammates.
Still, like we saw in 2020, Stroman is going to make decisions which are good for him and his career. After seeing how Matt Harvey‘s career has transpired, we should have learned by now that’s not being selfish, but also, smart. The best ability you can give your team is availability, and if you hit the IL because you unnecessarily pushed it, you’re no longer available.
After the ridiculous decision to start the game against the Miami Marlins which was then suspended due to rain, Stroman announced his frustration he was not available again for five more days. He put in all that work, and it was all for naught. Of course, people opted to take that as Stroman being selfish and not team-first.
As an aside, the reason the Mets did not go with a six man rotation this year was because deGrom voiced his objections. Like all starting pitchers, deGrom is a creature of routine, and he didn’t want anything messing with his routine. What’s interesting is when this was Harvey, he was vilified, and for Stroman, when he said he wanted to stick to his routine, he was criticized.
Well, now, Stroman threw a bullpen session, and he declared himself good to pitch in the doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies. Once again, Stroman is stepping up and helping the team. He is doing it when few pitchers would be willing to pitch on one day’s rest.
Now that he is doing that, the people who refuse to embrace him, need to find another reason to criticize him. Better yet, instead of going that route, they should probably embrace him and acknowledge they’re getting to see not just one of the best pitchers in baseball, but also a positive individual who only seeks to build up everyone around him.
Due to the rain-out yesterday, the New York Mets split a series against the Miami Marlins. There was a lot which happened in the span of those three days, which is just an indication of just how bizarre the start to this season has been:
1. Not calling a game which had zero chance of ever getting played was a very Wilpon like decision. Hopefully, this is something that we will not see happen again.
2. Whenever there is a threat of rain, teams should just use an opener. It is not worth wasting a pitcher’s turn through the rotation in the hopes of a game being played. Instead of getting someone like Robert Gsellman some work, the Mets are going to have to wait until Friday to see Marcus Stroman again.
3. Aside from David Peterson, the Mets starting pitching has been quite good this season. The best surprise might’ve been Taijuan Walker who looked like the pitcher many thought he would be when he was once a top 10 prospect in the game.
6. The umpires completely blew it when ruling Michael Conforto was hit by the pitch to force in the game winning run. The fact replay can’t fix that error is a failure of the system.
7. Just when you thought that was bad, on Sunday Night Baseball, Alec Bohm never touched home plate, was ruled safe, and the call was somehow upheld on replay. What is the point of the system when you can’t get obviously blown calls corrected?
8. By the way, Travis d’Arnaud did an amazing job receiving that throw and blocking the plate. There really is no one better in the game than him at doing that, and it is also notable the Mets have spent a ton of money on catchers who are no better than him.
9. These two plays are reminiscent of when Chase Utley went out of the baseline, tackled Ruben Tejada, never touched the bag, and was ruled safe on replay and awarded second base. By the way, the manager who asked for that review and wound up winning partially because of that absurdity was Don Mattingly, so he can save us from listening to his whining.
10. The booing of Conforto was ridiculous. Yes, he had a really bad four game stretch as all players are going to have during the course of the season. You would just think a player of his stature who has been a good Met for this long would have a longer leash than four games.
11. Dropping Conforto in the line-up was a pure panic decision. It’s not like he’s the only Mets player not hitting. For example, there was no booing of Pete Alonso despite his being hitless over his last 11 at-bats, and no one wants him dropped in the order. Remember, Conforto was great last year whereas Alonso comparatively struggled.
12. No, this is not a call to boo Alonso. It is also not a call to boo McNeil who has one hit this year. The same goes for James McCann and Francisco Lindor who have matching .176 batting averages with no extra base hits. It is was too soon to boo any of these players.
13. Conforto is eventually going to break out of his slump due to the ebbs and flows of the baseball season. His being dropped to fifth, sixth, or even seventh in the order will have nothing to do with hit.
14. If this was about rewarding the best hitters, Luis Guillorme would be playing everyday. That goes double when you consider J.D. Davis hit the IL. Guillorme is literally hitting .500 in his limited playing opportunities.
15. Brandon Nimmo has been phenomenal to start the season. He has flat out been the Mets best player with a 223 OPS+ and a 1 OAA in center. He’s been locked in to start the season. Yes, it is too soon to talk All-Star or even MVP consideration, but he looks like he’s poised to have a great year.
16. Of course, no one is better than Jacob deGrom. On the season, he has allowed one run over 14.0 innings while striking out 21. We are running out of words to describe how great he is.
17. We’re also running out of ways to describe just how terrible the lack of run support he receives is. It is beyond a joke deGrom is 0-1 to start the year. It’s really difficult to pinpoint the reason, but there is no rational explanation why this keeps happening.
18. Congrats to Joe Musgrove for throwing the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history. Doing that for the team you grew up rooting for is like Mike Baxter making the no-hitter saving catch for Johan Santana‘s. On that topic, Anthony DiComo certainly showed his true colors.
19. People need to stop this over the top criticism of Luis Rojas. We are five games into a disjointed season with COVID cancellations and front office blown decisions on a rain delay. Like all managers, he is not the one setting the lineup or deciding whether or not to play the games. He is working with the front office on these decisions, including scripting out how long the starters go and which relievers pitch. He’s just the face and fall guy for many of these decisions.
At this point, it’s a sick joke. Really, you have to wonder if someone is doing it on purpose. It just has to be a prank or a gag.
deGrom’s final line was 8.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 14 K. The 14 strikeouts tied a career high for deGrom.
His reward for this effort? A loss.
It’s not even like deGrom didn’t help himself. In fact, he had one of the Mets three hits.
After Edwin Diaz allowed two in the ninth, the Mets would go on to lose 3-0.
Michael Conforto would be booed, and we would see J.D. Davis put on the IL before the day was over. We’d also see Jonathan Villar start over Luis Guillorme due to his offense only to go 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
This was a complete disaster which seems to be the case when deGrom takes the mound. Put it this way. On the season, deGrom has allowed just one run over 14.0 innings. He’s allowed eight hits and walked two while striking out 21.
For all that, he’s 0-2.
Game Notes: Jed Lowrie claimed he sought to have knee surgery while with the Mets only to be told if he went through with it the team would file a grievance. This is similar to the Carlos Beltran situation only he called the Mets bluff.
The New York Mets did not get off to the best of starts to the 2021 season. Their first series was canceled due to the Washington Nationals being infected with COVID. They blew Jacob deGrom‘s first start, and they could never recover from David Peterson getting blitzed.
The team returned to Citi Field with a 1-2 record, and the team had a number of issues. There were a number of players scuffling, and that included Jeff McNeil. With McNeil, things were very different than they had been in past seasons.
Through no fault of his own, McNeil was dropped from the top to the bottom of the lineup. After starting the season 0-for-7, he was given the day off in the series finale. On his birthday, he was dropped to seventh in the lineup hitting behind Jonathan Villar. After starting the day 0-for-2, McNeil was due to lead-off the ninth with the Mets on verge of losing their home opener in very frustrating fashion.
In uncharacteristic fashion, McNeil did not swing at the first pitch. Of course, the pitch being out of the zone by a good margin does that. McNeil would work the count in his favor, and then Miami Marlins closer Anthony Bass would throw one inside, and McNeil would tie the game with his first hit of the season:
— Athlete Logos (@athletelogos) April 8, 2021
After connecting, McNeil would have a bat flip reminiscent of the one Asdrubal Cabrera had roughly five years ago. No, this was not a game of the same magnitude, but this was a special game. It was the Mets home opener, and it was the first home game with fans in the stands since the end of the 2019 season.
Lost in that hit was the fact McNeil had actually been hitting the ball extremely hard to start the season. Going to Baseball Savant, McNeil was hitting the ball hard and was barreling it up. It really was only a matter of time before we start to see McNeil hitting the ball like we knew he could. McNeil chose the best time to do it. He would not only tie the game, but he started a rally which ended with the Mets winning the game.
With McNeil busting out of his early season slump and his getting the Mets first real big hit of the season, his homer and bat flip is our first Neon Moment of the Week for the 2021 season!
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After the opening series against the Washington Nationals was canceled due to COVID19, the New York Mets finally played their first series of the season. They should’ve taken the series, but didn’t;
1. That was your typical Jacob deGrom start. He’s dominant. The Mets don’t score. The bullpen blows it.
2. Much was made of deGrom coming out after six. People overlook deGrom being part of and agreeing with the decision. He had a long layoff, and it’s going to be tricky getting everyone through the season.
5. Pete Alonso looks like a man on a mission. He’s completely locked in at the plate, and his defense has never looked better. He could be on the verge of an MVP type season.
6. It was actually surprising to see his ball didn’t go out on Tuesday night. Last year and the year before those balls might’ve been 20 rows deep. Instead, that ball died at the wall. That may be a real sign the ball isn’t traveling like it did in prior years.
7. The Mets were down because the bullpen hasn’t been great so far.
8. Trevor May has struggled in both games, but it was good to see him come into the second game, fight it, and get out of the inning unscathed. That and his taking ownership of his poor performance is an indication he is going to be just fine in New York.
9. The Aaron Loup signing was curious, especially given the three batter rule. We saw just how that can help a team implode. After he plunked Bryce Harper, he was facing J.T. Realmuto. It should come as no surprise that inning got out of control.
10. There were some good signs out of Jeurys Familia and Miguel Castro. Overall, with Edwin Diaz not getting into a game, the Mets best reliever in the series was Joey Lucchesi, who is also their fifth starter.
11. There could be some questions as to how Luis Rojas managed these games, but it is first important to remember he is not the one who fills out the lineup card. Some of his decisions are also very defensible like leaving in Kevin Pillar in the fourth inning of a game where the Mets had deGrom on the mound and had a 2-0 lead.
12. The fact the Mets would not bat Brandon Nimmo atop the lineup is beyond crazy. Even with a left-handed pitcher on the mound, it’s crazy. In fact, Nimmo has been the Mets best hitter against left-handed pitchers the last two years. The second best? Dominic Smith.
13. Dominic Smith isn’t a platoon player, and he shouldn’t be treated as such. He showed that on his first at-bat of the season.
14. Jeff McNeil has hit the ball with real authority so far this season. It was probably a good idea to get him a mental break ahead of coming to New York.
15. On that note, we are likely going to see a number of players miss some unexpected games here and there as they get vaccinated and deal with the side effects. Well, everyone except Davis.
17. Francisco Lindor has been everything as advertised so far this season. His defense has been great. He is giving good at-bats. He was a real leader talking to David Peterson after a rough outing. The Mets are very lucky to have him around for the next decade.
18. The long layoff was probably a factor, but Peterson showed he probably needs more time in Triple-A, which is fine. It would’ve been better to put Jordan Yamamoto in the rotation to start the season. That goes double when the Mets could have skipped the fifth starter, which they are.
19. Michael Conforto struggled with runners on base during this series, so naturally people are going overboard in their reaction. Fact is, Conforto is still a .271/.393/.512 hitter with runners in scoring position in his career. He’s going to be fine, and the Mets should still be pushing to sign him to an extension to make him a Met for life.
20. The Mets were put at a disadvantage not playing the Nationals series, and the Atlanta Braves got to fact that decimated Nationals team. Mets showed some rust, but this is still a very good team. They’re now in the flow of things, and we should look for them to have a good first homestand of the season.d
If not for the need to call him up last season, David Peterson would arguably be the Mets top prospect heading into the season. To a certain extent, you’d expect the Mets to handle him like a top prospect.
After all, for the success he had, there were some real reasons for concern. His walks and FIP were too high. His slider was his only consistent weapon. He succeed was very BABIP dependent, and he didn’t go deep into games.
Still, partially the result of the injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco, Peterson was in the Opening Day rotation. With that should come with the responsibility of treating him like a prospect and protecting his arm and development.
The Mets failed him and their team miserably on the front today.
There are many studies out there on what causes pitcher injury. As detailed by Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus, fatigue is one of the biggest causes. Sameer Mehta of Science Direct surmised many pitcher injuries happen early in the season due to pitcher usage and their ramping it up too early.
In 2018, we would see Jacob deGrom lifted after a 45 pitch first inning. The rationale is 40 pitches is just too much of a workload and puts you at risk for injury.
In the first inning of the Mets loss to the Phillies, Peterson threw 38 pitches in an inning where he allowed four runs.
Despite that heavy workload, one which one day would’ve gotten deGrom pulled, Peterson went back out there. He went back out there.
He went back out there despite Joey Lucchesi warming up and the Mets not needing a fifth starter for at least another turn through the rotation.
Really, there was no reason for him to pitch. And yet, they put him back out there. Sure, the results improved, but what did it accomplish?
The Mets pushed him when there was zero reason to do it. The bullpen was mostly fresh, and they had another starter ready to go. It was a complete failure by the team.
The failing of Peterson also went to the offense. The team was 1-for-12 with RISP leaving 14 on base. Michael Conforto was the biggest culprit going 0-for-5 leaving NINE men on base.
Overall, this 8-2 loss was just one of those losses you just want to forget. Put it out of your mind, hope there are no long standing ramifications, and go home for the opener.
Game Notes: Jonathan Villar made the start for Jeff McNeil and was a homer short of the cycle. Dellin Betances made his season debut. He topped out at 93, which he hit just once, and his last fastball dipped under 90.