Monday, April 30, 2012

Astros Preview

The Mets head to Houston to take on our class of 1962 pledge brothers the Houston Astros. Right now the Astros are not the worst team in baseball which is a pretty big accomplishment for a team with some pretty low expectations this year. Let's take a look at who the Mets will be facing:

The Pitchers

Monday - Bud Norris : The first piece of good news is that Bud Norris isn't pitching well this year. He has an ERA of 5.84 and xFIP of 4.18 and gives up nearly 2 HR/9.

Tuesday - J.A. Happ : The former Phillie has slightly better numbers. His ERA/xFIP is 4.70/3.68 and he also owns a HR/9 over 1. He is however a strikeout machine who currently owns a k/9 of 9.39.

Wednesday - Wandy Rodriguez : Staff ace Wandy is pitching very well. He has an ERA of 1.72 and an xFIP of 3.56. He has yet to give up a home run.

The Offense

So far the highlight of the Astros year has been Jose Altuve , the 21 year old is entering his first full season and is playing out of his mind. His current slash is.373/.418/.566 he also has one home run and has stolen 4 bases. If the recent Astros moves have taught us anything, Altuve will be playing for a much better team in a year or two.

As a  team the Stros are currently 8-14. They have scored 100 runs and given up 97.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rockies Preview

The Mets head to Coors Field for a three game set against the Rockies. Earlier in the year we examined how the Mets hit on Coors in 2011, you can read that . Let's take a quick look at how the Rockies are doing this year and see what we are up against.

Pitching tonight is Drew Pomeranz, which should work out well for us. In 2 starts he has pitched 9.1 innings and holds a 6.75 ERA with a FIP/xFIP of just under 4. He has the some K ability, having struck out 9 batters in his 9 innings but also gives up a lot of walks (bb/9: 4.82). He has only started six games so far in his career and has never been particularly impressive, the Mets should be able to handle him.

The offensive star of the team so far has been Michael Cuddyer (.303/.333/.545) followed by silver sluggin' Troy Tulowitzki. Some people think Tulo has been off to a slow start because he isn't playing like Matt Kemp but his numbers have been fine. His OBP is a comfortable .347 and he is responsible for 10 runs (using wRC) second most on the team after Cuddyer. Cargo has been starting a bit slow. His slash sits at .246/.303/.443 with a 21.2 K%.

As a squad the Rocks have gone 9-9, they have scored 79 runs and allowed 88. My prediction: Mets sweep.

Let's not freak out about Mike Pelfrey just yet...

I am as sad as anyone to see that the Big Pelf is most likely out for the season. Despite my regular calls for his ouster from the team I was happy to see him succeeding and thought he might actually be a strong part of our rotation. Also if he was going to be gone, now is a terrible time for it happen when the market for a replacement is not as strong. That being said, let's not all freak out about losing Mike Pelfrey just yet...

The beauty of advanced baseall stats is that we have really simple ways to quantify things, like the loss of Pelf. WAR tells us how many wins a player contributed to the team more than a replacement player could have and therefore how many we can expect to lose had they not been there. Let's look at Mike's fWAR over the years:

Pelf fWAR

Last year Pelf was responsible for less than one win, so his presence was essentially meaningless. At his absolute best Pelfrey was responsible for 3 wins in 2008. I think a best case scenario for this year is that Pelf would be able to repeat his brilliant 2008 campaign. Therefore had Pelf been as good as his best year (which was not the most likely scenario) we would be losing 3 more game in 2012. 3 games is a lot, 3 games could mean everything. If we miss the playoffs by 3 games, I'll blame Mike Pelfrey. But in the grand scheme of things it probably won't make much of a difference. It's certainly not enough to say the team suffered a serious blow by losing Mike. Also the odds were that Mike would have settled into somewhere between his 2008 and 2011 numbers and been responsible for more like 1.5 wins. Either way the Mets will soldier on, we wish Pelf luck and a speedy recovery. Let the Chris Schwinden era begin!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gettin' to know Jordany Valdespin

Our old pal Jordany Valdespin is getting the start in LF today so I thought we would do a quick gettin' to know about our new outfielder with the super cool name.

JV has been in the Mets system since 2008 and has been a good prospect, putting up decent and consistent numbers at each level he has played. He spent his last year between AA and AAA Buffalo where he put up .280/.304/.411. He has also shown some impressive power and speed at AA Binghamton where he hit 15 homers and stole 33 bags. Another strong asset is his versatility, he has put in time at every position expect for C and 1B.

The one dark spot is that many reports often reference his "lack of maturity" and "insubordination". I can't seem to find any specific incidents of what he has done, but it certainly isn't a good sign. Let's hope it's LoMo style twitter issues and not ya' know, stabbed a guy in the neck in Boston.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Morning Mets Prospectus: Pelfrey dissapoints, Schwinden and Carson numbers, Johan triumphant and Reyes defeated.

Well Mike Pelfrey has done it again, he has found a new and unexpected way to bother me. After an off-season of making the case for why Pelf shouldn't be a Met, he goes out, proves me wrong and puts up the best numbers on the team...then promptly suffers what could be a season ending injury. Pelf was sporting a 3.10 FIP, 2.29 ERA and a totally respectable 5.95 k/9. His injury leaves a gaping and seemingly unfillable hole in the Mets rotation.

Right now it looks like Chris Schwinden will make the spot start for Pelf on Friday. Last year Schwin started 4 games for the Mets going 21 innings sporting a 4.71 ERA and more respectable 3.03 FIP, he struck out 7.29 batters per 9. I can't lie and say I remember these starts but his numbers look perfectly respectable for a spot starter, obviously I am worried about a guy who is in AAA right now coming up to the show, but he has some experience and has shown an ability to pitch in MLB.

This year in AAA he has started 4 games, going 2-2 and posting a .205 ERA with a k/9 of 5.68 and a bb/9 of 3.68. Not but bad but not exactly dominant, which I would expect from a guy in AAA who is about to pitch against the Rockies.

The Mets are also, improbably, calling up LHP Robert Carson. Carson has never played a day of AAA baseball and is bypassing it totally for a shot in the show. In 2011 for AA Binghamton, Carson threw a terrible 5.05 ERA and 4.56 FIP. The year prior to that he threw an ERA over 8. I really can't understand this decision, everything about this kid screams more time in the minors and the Mets are putting him on the 25 man roster. Let's hope they know something that I can't see from his stats.

Finally, Johan was brilliant last night. He went 6.2 innings, giving up only 3 hits and striking out 11. Yesterday was a key start for Santana as we were all anxious to find out how he would rebound from his awful last start. So far this season Johan has continued to prove himself and I expect to see more great starts from him. The other best part about last night? Reyes went 0-4. I don't hate Reyes for any particular reason, I don't blame him for leaving either. The simple truth is, he was once a Met and now he is a Marlin, therefore I wish him nothing but a total lack of success.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gettin' to know Zach Lutz

Usually out "Gettin' to know" column is reserved for fringe off-season signings but today we are going to take a look at the newest Met of 2012: Zach Lutz. Zach is being brought up to take Jason Bay's spot on the roster while he is on the DL. Zach hails from once great railroad town Reading, PA and attended local college Alvernia University (Go Crusaders!). He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2007 draft by the Mets, this will be his first time in the Majors.

He started this year with AAA Buffalo and put up impressive numbers: .333/.425/.556 with 3 HR in 74 PA. Except for a brief awful period in 2009 at AA those numbers are pretty typical for Lutz. Not counting his 2009 stretch (which was only 34 AB) he has never hit below .289, posted an OBP of lower than .364 and a a bottom SLG of .500. In his career he has stolen exactly one base and had a season high 17 homers with AA Binghamton. He plays 3b and hits and bats righty.