Jeremy Hefner

Case For Patrick Corbin

Reports indicate the Washington Nationals want the team acquiring Juan Soto to take back Patrick Corbin and his horrendous contract. Horrendous might be kind.

For the Nationals, it was money well spent because Corbin was a pivotal figure who helped that team win a World Series. Now, it may be time for the Mets to determine if Corbin is worth the investment to help them win a World Series.

In terms of salary, Corbin is earning $23.4 million this year, $24.4 million next year, and $35.4 million in 2024. Yes, the contract is that bad.

Now, looking at 2022 alone, Soto is earning $17.1 million. The Mets are paying Max Scherzer $43.3 million this year. When it’s a player of that caliber they’re willing to spend that amount.

If he were a free agent, you can assume the Mets (or some team) would be willing to give Soto close to $50 million per year. He’s certainly worth that much using a WAR/$ calculation.

The problem is that’s one year. Soto is arbitration eligible, and as seen Corbin’s contract gets increasingly ludicrous. As a result, that salary argument really only works one year.

Really, when you consider the money and prospect cost, the Mets will need to get something out of Corbin. There’s nothing from his Baseball Savant page to indicate that can ever be the case, at least not with Corbin starting.

That’s just the thing. The Mets are not obligated to start him. No, they merely have to have to find a suitable role where he can thrive. Right off the bat, it the numbers for him moving to the bullpen are not promising.

There are no real platoon advantage splits as both right-handed and left-handed batters have a an OPS over .860 against him. In his first inning of work, batters have a .957 OPS, and the first time through the lineup batters have a .733 OPS. Again, these are just ugly numbers.

Looking deeper, the issue for him is he just isn’t getting movement from the slider as he once did. In fact, it seems the 2019 season was the last time he did. Of course, the reason why this is such a problem is that’s his pitch. Really, his refinement and increased usage of the slider was the reason why he got the big contract from the Nationals, and also, why he was a key part of them winning the World Series.

As noted by the Washington Post, the team just doesn’t have an answer, and worse yet, it is conflicting information. Some say mechanical flaw. Others say location. To a certain degree, the answer has been just throw more sliders.

Certainly, there has been an arm angle change, and you can argue Jeremy Hefner could get him back to the right arm slot and extension.To wit, Devin Fink of Fangraphs noted the correlation for Corbin between his arm extension on the slider and the pitch’s ineffectiveness.

Moreover, velocity has been a bit of an issue, especially with his fastball. Limiting Corbin to 1-2 innings at max effort could have him throwing his fastball-slider more effectively. Yes, that is a gamble. 

However, this is a two-sided gamble. If you are the Mets, and you believe in your analytics department and Hefner, you can trust you can find a way to salvage Corbin as a reliever. You just never know if you can find the next Andrew Miller. For that matter, you’d settle for Joely Rodriguez from him right now.

Mostly, the gamble is not that you can salvage Corbin, but that Soto is so valuable he is worth taking on Corbin’s contract. To that, it really is a test as to just how deep Steve Cohen’s pockets are. If the Mets, who were more than happy to pay Robinson Cano to go away, believe they can add Corbin’s salary to the mix just to add a superstar while also being able to add additional pieces, you take the Corbin gamble.

Because if Corbin gives you anything, it is just a bonus. Ultimately, the biggest case for Corbin is he gets you Soto, and that is a very compelling case.

 

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Dodgers

The New York Mets traveled to Los Angeles with a depleted pitching staff to face-off against the Dodgers. In the end, this was a split with people’s emotions going through the gamut.

1.  For those who panicked after the second game or wanted a litmus test, just stop. Regardless of how this trip goes, this is a very good Mets team who is a World Series front runner. This series only served to prove that.

2.  This was Buck Showalter‘s best managing of the season. Lifting David Peterson during an at-bat and using Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning against the Dodgers best hitters was inspired and absolutely the right call in each circumstance.

3.  Colin Holderman got his first career win, and Adonis Medina recorded his first career save. This team is just built different.

4.  The Mets might’ve lost Holderman if a Rule 5 Draft was held. Medina was obtained after he was designated from assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Going deeper, Stephen Nogosek has an ERA under 1.00, and the Mets had previously designated him for assignment. Not enough is being talked about with how great Jeremy Hefner has been.

5.  Ron Darling was wrong. They’re not getting contributions from all 26 players. We’re hovering around 35+ right now.

6.  Pete Alonso just owns the Dodgers and destroys pitching at Dodger Stadium, so much so that he left Brusdar Graterol befuddled. Just name him the front runner for the NLCS MVP.

7.  Eduardo Escobar is coming out of his funk and starting his June hot streak on schedule. While the homer was great, that 10 pitch sacrifice fly was one of the team’s best at-bats all season.

8.  Tomas Nido might just be the best hitter in the majors with two outs and RISP. He is actually slashing .455/.500/.636 in those spots. Maybe someone can hypnotize him into thinking every plate appearance is two outs with RISP?

9.  How was no one ejected over that snafu where Dave Roberts tried to use Zach McKinstry against the rules? It was a complete and utter joke, and it further confirms CB Bucknor is a bad umpire.

10. Chris Bassitt is really struggling right now. He’s had a 6.35 ERA over his past four starts with opposing batters hitting .261/.327/.544 off of him with a dipping strikeout rate. The Mets need him now, and he’s faltering.

11. Jeff McNeil is struggling to the point Showalter pulled him from a game and gave him a breather. Hopefully, it’s just a blip because the Mets need him.

12. You can argue no Mets player has stepped up like Trevor Williams has this year. He’s gone from complete afterthought to pitching five strong innings against the best offense in baseball.

13. The Mets bullpen was underrated entering the season, and it is all the more so during the season. Case-in-point, this bullpen is undefeated in extra inning games.

14. While we all understand why Nick Plummer is up with this team right now, if the Mets see him as a real player going forward having him as a little used fourth outfielder is doing him a great disservice right now.

15. Luis Guillorme was bound to cool off. The hope is this is a blip and not a complete regression. As he’s never been truly given this chance, no one can definitely state either way even if all indications are he will be fine. Regardless of those struggles at the plate, his defense remains great.

16. At some point, you have to wonder if Brandon Nimmo needs to go on the IL to let his wrist heal. He is just not hitting at the moment.

17. After a small cold streak, Francisco Lindor is hitting and playing elite defense again. Also, he now has the highest WAR among MLB shortstops. It’s as if he’s a future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career.

18. Tylor Megill‘s rehab stint should not be rushed. Give him the time he needs as this is a marathon, not a sprint. When he’s ready, it looks like it’s Peterson who will need to be sent down.

19. The discovery the Mets are using the same pitching machine the San Francisco Giants used for their resurgence may have more of an impact on this team’s offense than anything Eric Chavez is credited with doing.

20. Let’s be honest here. The NL East race is over. It is now just about the Mets getting ready for the postseason.

Mets Should Take Flyer On Dallas Keuchel

Let’s start with the obvious. Dallas Keuchel looks like he’s got nothing left. That’s a massive reason why the Chicago White Sox designated him for assignment.

You don’t just give $18 million to someone not to play for you unless he can’t give you anything. From a New York Mets perspective, think Robinson Canó.

In terms of Canó, the San Diego Padres took a flier once he cleared waivers. For the league minimum, nearly anyone is worth the risk.

This season, Keuchel has made eight starts and has averaged 4.0 innings per start. He has a 7.88 ERA, 49 ERA+, 6.20 FIP, and a -1.1 WAR.

This came off of what was his worst ever season in 2021. He was actually fine in the first half last year, but it all seemed to fall apart in the second half.

There could be many reasons for this including the crackdown on pitching substances like Spidertack. Whatever the case, he just seems to get worse and worse.

On that point, the Mets just started Thomas Szapucki, who was not ready to make that start. That was readily apparent when he allowed nine earned over 1.1 innings against the San Francisco Giants.

That’s not as bad as Keuchel’s April 20 start where he allowed 10 earned over an inning. That said, even with Keuchel being terribly leading to the DFA, he’s been better than what Szapucki showed.

That’s all the Mets would need him to be right now, especially since they don’t seem to be inclined to stretch out Trevor Williams. Perhaps, Keuchel and Williams can piggyback starts.

It’s at least worth a shot right now. The Mets are still missing Jacob deGrom, Tylor Megill, and Max Scherzer. They may not get any of them back for at least a month.

At this point of the year, teams aren’t making trades. That leaves you taking flyers on players like Keuchel. It’s also why you have a pitching coach in Jeremy Hefner. He could have the mechanics tweak or sequencing change to get something, anything out of Keuchel.

Maybe in the long run, Keuchel can only be effective for 1-2 innings. That would be fine for the Mets with Chasen Shreve and Joely Rodriguez not pitching all that well.

And maybe, Keuchel has nothing. Here’s the thing – the Mets have nothing right now. As a result, take the flyer on him. If it works, great. If not, just designate him for assignment until the next arm is available or a pitcher returns off the IL.

Trevor Williams Is Really Only Option To Replace Max Scherzer

Everything was going perfect for the New York Mets. After a big four run fifth inning, Max Scherzer was at 72 pitches. That meant he had at least a few more innings before passing it off to the bullpen to close out the win. That moment came far sooner than any of us realized.

After a 1-1 pitch to Dylan Carlson, Scherzer motioned to the dugout. He was hurt, and he knew he was done for the evening. Perhaps longer.

During the game, Gary Cohen announced Scherzer was going to have an MRI. After the game, Scherzer answered reporters questions. While he seemed alright, he told them he was in considerable pain, and he was experiencing spasms in his left side. It would seem reasonable to assume he’s going to be on the IL for an indeterminate amount of time.

You could really argue this was the arm the Mets could ill afford to lose. He was the Jacob deGrom insurance. While true to an extent, the Mets really can’t afford to lose anyone from their rotation from the moment. In addition to deGrom still recovering, Tylor Megill is dealing with biceps tendonitis. That means any pitcher injury was one too many.

Jose Butto and Thomas Szapucki are the only remaining starters on the 40 man roster. Butto has pitched fairly well in Double-A, but he hasn’t surpassed 64 pitches in an outing, and he is averaging four innings per start. All told, Butto is a non-starter (pun intended) for the Mets.

Szapucki has been impressing lately posting big strikeout numbers. However, Szapucki is returning from surgery, and he has also not gone above 64 pitches in a start, and he has reached five full innings in a start once. Szapucki is working his way back to being in consideration, but he’s still building strength, and in reality, it’s best for him and the Mets that he remain in Triple-A

That leaves the Mets in a bad spot. Looking at the Syracuse roster, Mike Montgomery is probably the best non-40 option, but he has a 5.52 ERA on the season including a 9.00 ERA over his last three starts. There also aren’t any surprise options down in Double-A. Really, the Mets answer isn’t in their minor league system.

The answer is Trevor Williams.

With respect to Williams, he was a Major League starter in his five plus seasons before coming to the New York Mets in the Javier Baez trade. The best way to put Williams career as a starting pitcher was he was a borderline fifth starter. That is a large reason why the Mets wanted him at the trade deadline as part of that trade. Williams was depth who could be moved to the bullpen.

In reality, Williams has pitched his best with the Mets with a 118 ERA+. Part of that was moving to the bullpen and not having to go through a lineup the second time. Going over his career, batters are hitting .283/.351/.468 when facing him a second time in a game. Again, he’s a borderline fifth starter.

The other benefit is working with Jeremy Hefner. He’s helped Williams get more movement on the sinker. Mostly, it’s just better location. Before joining the Mets, Williams had a 3.0 BB/9 and a 7.8 BB%. Since joining the Mets, he’s now at a 2.1 BB/9 and a 5.3 BB%. He’s also striking out more batters.

It’s more than that. Hefner was Williams working more down in the zone while using his four seamer up in the zone. The result has been a 45.2 GB%. Before joining the Mets, Williams had a 42.7 GB%. This has allowed Williams to take advantage of the Mets superior up the middle defense.

If these seem like incremental gains, well, they are. However, that’s still improvement which could help Williams become a more solid fifth starter. Honestly, that’s all the Mets need him to be right now.

Fortunately, he’s been at his best with the Mets, and due to a blowout loss and now a spot start, Williams has been stretched out a bit. In fact, he’s throwing as many pitches per outing as Butto and Szapucki. However, Williams has Major League success and has proven he can start at this level.

Overall, the Mets are a the end of their starting pitching depth. Williams is the next and last guy up. Fortunately, Williams is in a position where he can step up, and he’s been the best he’s ever been with the Mets. Hopefully, he can be that stopgap until somebody, anybody is able to return to the rotation.

Mets Trading Jarred Kelenic Remains A Disaster

With Jarred Kelenic and the Seattle Mariners coming to town, many will attempt to re-litigate the shocking trade which sent Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners organization as a part of a trade package for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Of course, 2022 performances invite revisionist history here.

This season, Diaz has clearly been the top performer from this trade. Through 14 appearances, he is 1-0 with seven saves, a 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 15.4 K/9. He looks like he’s having a career year, but it’s important to note much of that is due to Jeremy Hefner.

Hefner has diligently worked with Diaz on his mechanics making sure his delivery has been repeatable, and he’s landing with his foot pointed towards home plate. He’s also helped Diaz create more break and spin leading to a 55. Whiff%. Really, it took four years for Diaz to be what the Mets expected him to be.

In many ways, Diaz is not the same pitcher he was in his first three years with the Mets. That’s very good to a certain extent because that Diaz was not the difference maker he was advertised to be.

On that point, it is important to remember the trade to obtain him was a win-now deal for the Wilpons who were nearing being forced to sell the New York Mets to the highest bidder. Really, the deal smelled like a one last shot to try to win a World Series, and ironically, it was the trade that prevented the Mets from winning that World Series.

In 2019, Diaz was dreadful with a career worst 5.59 ERA, 74 ERA+, and 4.51 FIP. He blew seven saves and lost seven games for a Mets team which missed the postseason by three games. Really, Diaz was a big reason why the Mets missed the postseason that year.

Cano might’ve been a bigger reason. Cano was the target as Brodie Van Wagenen sought to bring his former client back to New York as Cano wanted. Cano responded with a career worst season with a 0.6 WAR and a 94 wRC+. This was supposed to be a key bat in the lineup, and Cano was terrible while Van Wagenen ensured Mickey Callaway batted his former client third.

With Cano, it is the gift which keeps on giving. Yes, he had a bounce-back 2020 season, but as we learned, he was using PEDs again. That cost him the 2021 season, and with him able to physically return, it was $40.5 million the Mets did not get to spend.

Instead of keeping Aaron Loup or further addressing the bullpen, the Mets were restricted to Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. Instead of a Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto, or Seiya Suzuki, the Mets obtained Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, who have so far underwhelmed this season.

Really, that has been the theme of Cano’s time on the Mets. It’s been the organization wasting resources on him that could have been better spent. The biggest example of that is Zack Wheeler desperately wanted to stay with the Mets, but they couldn’t keep him because the money was going to Cano.

As a result, the Mets dead weight became the Phillies ace. The Wilpons didn’t have any money to spend in the ensuing offseasons, and Steve Cohen has $20.25 million per year he can’t spend on better talent through next season.

There’s also the matter of this season. The Mets completely wasted plate appearances over the first month of the season trying to see what they had in Cano. The answer was nothing, and they were happy to part with him and his onerous contract. However, that came with a consequence with Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis not getting the playing time they needed to succeed this season.

There were some who wanted to defend the trade because the Mets moved “untradeable contracts.” The Mariners had no problem trading Jay Bruce whatsoever. They also traded Anthony Swarzak, who helped the Atlanta Braves win the division.

Also, keep in mind the Mets parted with two Top 100 prospects in Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Certainly, Kelenic has struggled early in his career, and Dunn is dealing with a shoulder injury. Certainly, that is part of a very suspect Mariners player development system where we constantly ask why their prospects never seem to pan out.

However, this is also very much besides the point. Back in the 2018 offseason, that duo could have gotten the Mets anything they wanted. Teams would have been literally lining topping one another to get Kelenic and Dunn.

Remember, this deal came in the same offseason the Miami Marlins traded J.T. Realmuto. Instead, the Mets hastily accepted a closer and an albatross.

That deal cost the Mets the 2019 postseason. It cost them the opportunity to compete in 2020. It cost them the ability to make deadline deals in 2021 because that trade and all of Van Wagenen’s trades cost them valuable prospect depth needed to swing the trades the Mets needed. It was also $40.5 million the Mets did not have to spend on free agents.

It will again impact the Mets at the trade deadline and this ensuring offseason. All told, this deal remains an unmitigated disaster no matter how great Diaz is or how much Kelenic struggles.

Trevor Williams Forgotten Man In Mets Bullpen

In the third game of the season, Buck Showalter shoehorned Trevor Williams into a game under the auspices he needed to get the reliever work. In that game, Williams was credited with a blown save and a loss after allowing two unearned runs. After Williams blew that game, it seems like Showalter feels no need to get him into a game again.

In fact, since that game, Williams has only gotten into four more games. Aside from the “start,” each of those times the score differential was more than four runs. That included when the Atlanta Braves put a beating on the Mets. All told, whatever you want to call a low leverage reliever, that’s what Williams is.

It’s really bizarre when you look at is. For example, Sean Reid-Foley, a pitcher who was widely anticipated was going to be designated for assignment, was used on seven different occasions. He’s been on the IL for about two weeks now, and he still has three more appearances.

We have also seen some diminishing returns from Adam Ottavino. Ottavino has been mostly good with nine scoreless relief appearances out of his 12 appearances for the season. That said, Showalter also felt compelled to use him for three consecutive days in a series against the Braves. That helped lead to the aforementioned blowout and Williams’ fourth appearance of the season.

The problem there is the Mets need that one extra right-handed arm in the pen. Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Drew Smith are the late inning relievers. Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve are there for the left-handed relievers. Ottavino was fine for the middle innings, and Trevor May was there for that bridge, but now he’s injured and gone for months.

This could have been a chance to see what Williams has in the tank. However, the Mets haven’t seemed inclined to use him at all. That was even the case in doubleheaders where a spot start opportunity was there. The Mets understandably and correctly went with David Peterson.

Williams was actually useful in the Mets bullpen last season, and he did show some promise. In eight appearances, he pitched 22.1 innings with a 9.3 K/9 and a 3.83 K/BB. Digging deeper, there is something there with Williams.

Generally speaking, he induces weaker contact than most pitchers, and batters have a hard time squaring the ball up against him. Typically speaking, he induces pull side ground balls. With the Mets ability to shift plus having Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil up the middle, this should play right into the Mets hands.

He has an effective sinker, and his change is a weapon. We’ve seen his sinker be one as well. There is something there with Williams even if that is being a long or low leverage reliever. Perhaps he could be more, especially refining things and working on pitch mixes with Jeremy Hefner, but he would have to get the reps to do that.

On the long reliever front, he’s been dormant for even that role. For example, Sean Gilmartin made 50 appearances in 2015, and we saw Darren Oliver make 45 appearances in 2006. So far, Williams is on a pace to make 21 appearances. That’s not going to help him, and it’s not going to help the rest of the bullpen.

Sooner or later, the Mets are going to have to give Williams more chances. They’re going to have to get him in a rhythm and try to establish himself as a real part of this bullpen. If he does, this bullpen is even better. If not, you can move on and find someone else. However, if you’re not pitching him, you can’t make any of these needed assessments. That needs to change soon.

 

Do Mets Have Something In Adonis Medina?

One thing lost in the New York Mets huge comeback against the Philadelphia Phillies was Adonis Medina. After pitching 2.2 scoreless innings, he was in line for the win. You could argue the 2.2 scoreless was as improbable as the comeback itself.

Medina was grabbed by the Mets off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates just as the 2022 season was about to commence. Keep in mind, the Pirates are not a team in a position to part with any pitching, or really, any useful player. They are a bad team who needs to be investing in players in their mid 20s.

The Pirates had Medina because he was designated for assignment by the Phillies. The Phillies bullpen has been a train-wreck the past few seasons. They’re not remotely in a position to start parting with relievers who can part with any pitcher with promise.

Despite that, the Mets traded for Medina for cash after he was DFA’s and used a 40 man spot on him. Part of the reason why is the Mets needed some minor league depth for their bullpen. The other answer is obviously that the Mets saw something in a player once considered a top 100 prospect.

For starters, Medina is a ground ball machine. He has a low to mid 90s sinker, which has generated a 61.0% ground ball rate over his brief Major League career. When you have an infield with Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil or Luis Guillorme up that middle, that is going to translate to a number of outs. That goes double with how well the Mets shift.

Another factor is Medina does have some swing-and-miss stuff. His 21.2 K% at the Major League level is above average. While his fastball is hittable, batters typically struggle making contact with his sinker and change. The slider is below league average in terms of spin, but Medina’s change can be a real weapon.

According to Baseball Savant, Medina’s change is an above average pitch in terms of both movement and vertical drop. What makes that pitch all the more effective is the fact Medina has a very consistent release point.

In the end, Medina tends to induce weaker contact. This is partially because that sinker is a weapon. There is also the fact his change is thrown from a similar release point and tracks as an above average pitch.

All told, this gives Jeremy Hefner something to work with Medina. With the Minnesota Twins, Hefner has helped pitchers work more vertically than horizontally. As we saw with the Mets, he worked with different grips with Justin Wilson to maximize his curve.

Mostly, Hefner can make the tweaks needed to get Medina to throw strikes. More than anything, it’s the walks holding Medina back from taking the next step as a Major Leaguer. By working with Hefner, perhaps there is something there.

In terms of the Mets bullpen, there is room for Medina to prove himself with Trevor May‘s absence. There is a real void to serve as that bridge to Drew Smith, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz. After 2.2 scoreless, it would appear Medina earned another chance. It will be interesting to see where he goes from there.

Buck Showalter Suspension A Joke

Often times, fans have this notion that their team is singled out or treated unfairly. It is a natural part of fandom, but realistically speaking, it’s not the case. Case-in-point, New York Mets fans have long thought Angel Hernandez had it out for their team, but in reality, Hernandez is just that bad of an umpire.

Then, there are times when fans can see their suspicions are actually correct. That’s what the Buck Showalter suspension was.

Let’s make no mistakes here, Yoan López was out there to try to hit Kyle Schwarber. He tried twice until Jeremy Hefner went to the mound and told him to knock it off. We can also be honest that Showalter absolutely was aware of what López was going to do because in his last outing López buzzed Nolan Arenado leading to the benches clearing.

This is the type of policing which has been left to Mets pitchers because Mets batters have been hit 21 times. That’s five more times than any other team, and it’s more than the bottom four teams in the majors combined. It’s not just the hit by pitches but where they have been.

Pete Alonso has been hit in the helmet on multiple occasions. Both he and Francisco Lindor have been hit in and saved by the c-flap. In terms of Lindor, he had a chipped tooth due to a hit by pitch.

Now, there were warnings issued by the umpires, and López would actually hit Alec Bohm with a pitch. However, one more strike and the game would be over. It was very clear López was not trying to hit him, and as a result, the umpires were rational and did not eject anyone.

That’s an important pretext for what happened in St. Louis. As noted, López buzzed Arenado, which led to the benches clearing. Like with the series against the Phillies, Cardinals pitchers were hitting Mets batters at-will, and there were zero repercussions. Again, that led to López doing what he did, and it led to Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp attacking Alonso:

The Cardinales teamed up to grab Alonso from behind and drag him to the ground. Now, if Alonso was out there throwing haymakers, sure, go ahead. However, Alonso was in the mix but not doing anything more than the typical pushing and shoving. Despite that, Clapp singled out a player hit in the helmet a day before and attacked him.

Clapp wasn’t disciplined by Major League Baseball. The same goes for Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. Now, Arenado and Genesis Cabrera were both suspended, but again, no one from the Cardinals coaching staff was disciplined. Again, that includes a coach who attacked a player.

Yes, López absolutely earned his suspension. This was the second time he threw at a player in retaliation. Like it or not, it’s worthy of a suspension. That said, if a coach doesn’t get fined or suspended for attacking a player, Major League Baseball is going to have to explain why Showalter was suspended and hours before a game against a division rival. Truth be told, there isn’t a justification.

Overall, the message is clear. Major League Baseball has no issue with pitchers throwing at Mets hitters, and they don’t have an issue with Mets players getting attacked. However, if the Mets dare try to stick up for themselves, there will be consequences.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Capitalize Against Bad Nationals Team

The New York Mets opened their season on the road against the Washington Nationals, and they came just this close to a four game sweep. It was a pretty good start which could’ve been better:

1.  Here’s how good the Mets starting pitching was. They didn’t miss Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer was their worst starter in the series, and he had a quality start.

2.  If Carlos Carrasco is what he was on Sunday, which was the same pitcher we saw in Cleveland, than the rest of baseball is in trouble.

3.  Trevor Megill was simply awesome. Not only did he dominate picking up the win on Opening Day, but he stared down Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in a big spot.

4.  Mets pitching held Soto to 3-for-14 with his homer coming off a mistake pitch from Trevor May. That is extremely impressive with Soto being one of the best in the game. With respect to May, he’ll be fine. It was just one pitch.

5.  In terms of Soto, the Apple TV+ game was a mixed bag, but the one thing they did well was try to promote star players like Soto. Trying to promote him and the images broadcast were definitely pluses. As for the rest, we will see how they improve after this game.

6.  Francisco Lindor has gotten off to a very good start at the plate which was something he and the Mets needed after last season. He had two errors, but we know his defense isn’t remotely an issue.

7.  The HBP were a significant issue with C-flaps saving Lindor and Pete Alonso from serious injuries. And no, this was not a sticky substance issue. The Mets managed to get through that series without hitting any batters.

8.  The HBP did prove an early season galvanizing moment with Buck Showalter and Jeremy Hefner leading the charge after Lindor’s HBP. It did lead to Steve Cishek‘s ejection, and we didn’t see more after that.

9.  There was a lot of good with Showalter this weekend, but his issues with bullpen management and giving veterans a long leash are still present.

10. Not pinch hitting for Robinson Cano and having Trevor Williams face Soto and Cruz helped cost the Mets a game. That isn’t something you want on your manager.

11. Alonso didn’t look great defensively this weekend, and that underhanded toss was something else. If he doesn’t button it back up defensively, the Mets are going to have to play Dominic Smith everyday at first. On that note, Smith was good in his game at first.

12. With respect to Alonso, he was one of two horrible sends from Joey Cora in this series. Remember, Cora was the worst third base coach in the majors last year before the Pittsburgh Pirates fired him. He got off to a very bad start to this season.

13. Eduardo Escobar looked very good in the series, and he is the early Major League leader in doubles. His defense looked better than career norms.

14. Mark Canha was excellent in the series going 7-for-10 with three walks. He also filled in as the center fielder in a pinch. Not too bad.

15. On the subject of how Mets new additions performed, Chris Bassitt was phenomenal in his start. In many ways, he could be the best addition the Mets made this offseason, and perhaps, they should be talking extension right now.

16. Who had Starling Marte as the only Met with a caught stealing and with Travis Jankowski having two stolen bases? Baseball is just funny sometimes.

17. Overall, despite one pitch from May and the Williams meltdown, this bullpen looked good albeit without much pressure. It will be interesting to see how they fare over the course of the season.

18. Jeff McNeil is back. Not only was he 7-for-16 with a homer, three RBI, and three walks, but he showed his versatility playing left field on Opening Day. If he’s McNeil again, the Mets lineup got much deeper and more dangerous.

19. Fortunately, it appears Brandon Nimmo‘s neck is alright. After missing the opener, he was 4-for-14 with a double and triple. He also survived a collision with the outfield wall. One odd thing with him is he only walked once and struck out five times.

20. It was easy beating what promises to be a very bad Nationals team. We’re about to find out more about this team as they travel to Philadelphia against that vaunted Phillies lineup and will face old friend Zack Wheeler.

Bold 2022 Mets Predictions

The New York Mets will be led by Buck Showalter as the team sets to try to win their first World Series since 1986. Since this is their 60th season, here are 60 bold predictions for the season.

1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.

2.  Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.

3.  Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.

4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.

5.  Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.

6.  Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.

7.  The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.

8.  Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.

9.  Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.

10.  Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.

11.  Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.

12.  Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.

13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.

14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.

15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.

16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.

17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.

18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.

19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.

20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.

21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.

22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.

23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.

24. So will Eric Chavez.

25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.

26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.

27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.

28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.

29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.

30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.

31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.

32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.

33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.

34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.

35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.

36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.

37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.

38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.

39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.

40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.

41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.

42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.

43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.

44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.

45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.

46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.

47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.

48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.

50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.

51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.

52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.

53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).

54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.

55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.

56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.

57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.

58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.

59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.

60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.