Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for March, 2011

Spring Training Wrap-up

Posted by JD on March 30, 2011

The final game has been played (the Mets won, if you care) and the final roster decisions have been made. Next stop: Miami. A couple of thoughts before Opening Day:

  • Jason Bay is injured. You didn’t think this wouldn’t happen, did you? Not Bay’s injury specifically, but an injury to one of the team’s better players. I may be reading too much into my Twitter feed, but I think it’s fair to say that Bay’s injury solicited a fair amount of “same old Mets” reactions. Sure, it’s not a good thing. But injuries happen, especially to soon-to-be 32 year old outfielders. I could be alone here, but I think it’s at most a minor set back and is not at all related to anything that happened in 2009 or 10. Bay will be back at some point, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll probably exceed his 2010 production levels. Until then, some combination of Lucas Duda, Scott Hairston and Opening Day starter Willie Harris will tide the team over.
  • Speaking of Willie Harris, he’s starting in left field on Opening Day. Well, that’s sub-optimal. But after they sing the anthem and watch the fighter jet-flyover, Opening Day is just one of 162 games. As long as Carlos Beltran stays healthy, the threesome listed above should be able to roughly approximate Bay’s production.
  • Speaking of Carlos Beltran, he’s apparently healthy. Or, at least as healthy as he’s likely to get this season. I’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that I’m a big Beltran fan and I’m extremely happy that he’s going to play on Friday. I’ve come to grips with the fact that he’ll never be the player he once was: those days are over. But I’m excited about his bat. Maybe I’ve read to many articles, too many beat-writer tweets from batting practice or minor league games, but it sounds to me like his bat (and, just as importantly, his batting eye) are still as good as ever. He may not be able to cover ground like he once did and I’ll probably hold my breath every time he rounds first on his way to second, but he’ll help this team. I have no doubt about that.

I’m on record over at Mets Fever saying that I think the Mets will “go 87-75 and finish 2nd. I don’t think that will be good enough for the Wild Card, but they’ll be in contention late.” Despite recent developments, I still feel that way. Sure, it’s a bit optimistic and quite a few things have to go right, but I think they’ll get some breaks*. And even if they don’t, I refuse to dampen my optimism. Our long, cold winter is finally over: Mets baseball is back and we’re about to embark on another 162-game summer. Let’s get ready to enjoy it for all it’s worth.

*That’s as far as I’m willing to “show my work”. As much as I admire (and struggle to employ) statistical analysis and forecasting, I was unwilling to peek too far behind the curtains for my pre-season prediction. I’m aware of the flaws this team has and I know that banking on a few breaks to go the Mets way is lazy, but I’m going all in on optimism. Will I be disappointed if they don’t win 87 games? Not unless they lose more than 83: this team is better than last year’s. Anything in-between is acceptable to me, and I chose to bet on the high side. So there you go. And Let’s Go Mets!

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Mets, Spring Training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Taking Shape

Posted by JD on March 23, 2011

The 2011 Mets’ roster is rounding into shape.  The first round of cuts, comprised mostly of prospects who had little chance of making the roster, took place on March 11.  The second round (which took place on March 19th) can be categorized as a group of AAAA players who had an outside shot (at best) at winning jobs, Dillon Gee, and Luis Castillo. Monday, Oliver Perez finally (mercifully) got the ax and today Justin Turner was optioned to Buffalo.

This is the exciting part of Spring Training for me: the final week or so, where the last few spots on the roster are sorted out. I tend to like the longshots and underdogs: that’s why I’m rooting for Nick Evans to find a spot on the bench. I guess Willie Harris is technically also an underdog, but I can’t help but feel that Evans’ upside outweighs Harris’ by a long shot (and Carlos Beltran’s knee may give both players an extended tryout). The second base competition is a slam dunk for me: I’m rooting for Brad Emaus to win. It’s not that I don’t like Luis Hernandez: the broken-foot home run that ended his season was awesome, but he’s a total non-factor offensively. I mean, Baseball Reference shows that his nickname (or middle name, I can’t figure it out) is “Mendoza”. If any team actually offers an asset for Hernandez, Sandy Alderson & Co. should jump on it immediately. So, two of the competitions are easy for me to diagnose.

The open bullpen spots are a different story. With the exception of Mike O’Conner, all of the remaining candidates have something to offer: Manny Acosta was solid last season after being picked up on waivers from the Braves; Pat Misch has performed above his limited stuff and has gotten results despite being less than overpowering: Pedro Beato is young, throws hard, and probably has the most upside of the bunch (and, as a Rule 5 pick, has to be offered back to the Orioles if he doesn’t make the major league roster); Jason Isringhausen has been a revelation as a reclamation project this spring, and Blaine Boyer has impressed members of the front office with his performance this spring. I’m all for carrying Beato. Beyond that, I can’t make up my mind, and I couldn’t be happier. Each of the candidates are viable major leaguers who probably won’t get through waivers. It’s a breath of fresh air: the Mets have a surplus of viable candidates for the last pitcher in their bullpen.

Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I’m happy with the way they’ve managed their roster this season. I’m content to sit back and watch the players battle it out over the next week or so, reasonably content that Alderson & Co. will make a good decision. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that way, and that’s the best part of spring training so far.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Mets, Oliver Perez, Spring Training | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quick Hit: Rescued From The Spam Filter

Posted by JD on March 2, 2011

A month ago I ran a post covering how the Wilpons failed to observe some of the most basic tenants of investing in their involvement with Bernie Madoff, things that they teach you in Finance 101. Nothing earth-shattering mind you, just an outsider’s take on some of the red flags they missed over the years.

The post has been floating out on the internets for awhile, and yesterday my spam filter snagged a couple of spammy comments that tried to tag on to it. Usually the comments run along the lines of “that was a very interesting post” or “thank you for enlightening me,” but these two stood out, particularly when you consider the post’s source material.

“Dagny Hilla” commented: “I’m pretty sure this topic was presented on Nightline.” I guess. I mean, basic investing is a pretty ubiquitous topic, so I’m sure that’s come up in the 30-plus years the show has been on the air. And I bet the Madoff scandal hit their radar at some point, too. Did they discuss this particular blog post (or even it’s general theme)? Highly doubtful.

“Jamey Laprade” commented: “Are you serious? Hells yes you are, this should be required reading. with your permission, I will make that happen.” Now we’re cooking with gas! Hells yes, indeed! Jamey Laprade, you have my permission to “make that happen”. I’ll just sit back and wait for the page views to roll in.

Spam is dumb, and so is this post, but I had to memorialize these comments before they disappeared in my trash bin. With that, it’s back to spring training position battles, selfish outfielders, and Oliver Perez’ continued implosion.

Posted in Flushing Frivolities, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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