Posted by JD on April 23, 2011
That was an interesting game to watch. Dillon Gee had a strong showing, Jason Bay knocked in three runs and was named Player of the game, Daniel Murphy had some adventures in the field but knocked in the go-ahead and insurance runs, and Bay and Ike Davis hit back to back titanic home runs (I think Ike’s may have dented the Pepsi Porch steps). There were lots of moving pieces in the Mets’ third consecutive win.
For today’s “Something Nice”, I’m going with Jose Reyes’ performance. He walked to lead off the first inning and, upon advancing to third, walked a quarter of the way toward home taunting Diamondbacks pitcher Barry Enright (he and David Wright would go on to score when Jason Bay singled). It was classic Reyes gamesmanship and even though it didn’t work, it was great to see him agitating the opposition again. He would finish 2-4 with two runs scored and, to top it off, he successfully generated a balk in the eighth inning. He didn’t steal a single base, but it was a classic Jose Reyes game. I’m just happy I was there to watch it in person.
Posted in David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: Barry Enright, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 22, 2011
Where to start? Jason Bay returned from the disabled list and had a nice game, going one for four with two runs scored (one of which was courtesy of a dropped fly ball by Hunter Pence). Terry Collins single-handedly willed the Mets to win by switching up their uniforms and getting tossed in the first inning. Ike Davis picked up two more RBI, one on a home run to center (not exactly the easiest thing to do at Citi Field). Chris Capuano had a quality start, and Taylor Buchholz closed the door in relief. Good candidates all, and certainly worthy of honorable mentions, but not quite it.
Mike Nickeas opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with his first career major league home run, a solo shot to left field. I wish I was there to see it: despite his shortcomings, I can’t help but root for him. Not much of a hitter (he has a .680 OPS in 1,803 career minor league plate appearances), Nickeas is only on the roster until Ronny Paulino returns from injury. I’m glad he got to have a moment that he’ll remember (and likely treasure) for the rest of his life. It’s not every day that you see something like that happen, but as great a moment as it was, there was something more important for Mets fans.
Today’s “Something Nice” goes to David Wright, who snapped a career high 20 at-bat hitless streak with a solo home run. Wright would go on to get another hit and a walk and finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Mets’ best player had his best game in a week or so and got himself a completely meaningless stat to boot: his fourth-inning home run was the “game winning RBI”. Only time will tell if Wright is about to go on a hot streak, but for one night it was awesome to see him display the talents that have made him the Mets best position player of all time*.
*Well, not yet. Not technically: Darryl Strawberry still holds that distinction. But Wright is blurring the line and it’s only a matter of time before he takes that title.
Posted in David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Terry Collins | Tagged: Chris Capuano, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Hunter Pence, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Mike Nickeas, Ronny Paulino, Something Nice, Taylor Buchholz, Terry Collins | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 9, 2011
If you haven’t heard by now, Manny Ramirez abruptly retired on Friday. Apparently he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs a second time (which would result in a 100-game suspension) and retired rather than having to deal with it. Whatever your feelings on Manny (I mostly agree with Joe Posnanski’s take on him), his antics, and how his career ended, I think we can all agree that he was an amazing hitter.
That got me thinking: where would Manny rank on the Mets offensive leaderboard? The Mets have long been known as a pitching-first franchise (think Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Dwight Gooden, among others), so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Manny absolutely dominates the leaderboard. John Olerud would still own the highest average and OBP, but Manny would lead in OPS, runs scored, hits, total bases, home runs, doubles…you name it, Manny would lead it (and it’s not especially close).
It’s fairly unrealistic to act as if one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time suddenly played his entire career with the Mets. But what if the Mets had claimed him off of waivers in the fall of 2003? As you may remember, the Red Sox put Manny on irrevocable waivers that year: anyone could have taken him had they been willing to pay his full contract. Nobody claimed him then, but what if the Mets had?
Well, they would have gotten seven-plus years of miserable defense in left field. But beyond that, they would have gotten 1,251 hits (trailing only Ed Kranepool’s 1,418), 2,289 total bases (242 more than Kranepool), 262 doubles (1st all-time, though David Wright has 261), 254 home runs (two more than Darryl Strawberry), 670 walks (90 more than Straw), and 725 runs scored (63 more than Straw). Olerud would still hold the highest batting and on-base averages, but Wright (.305) and Dave Magadan (.391) would drop to second behind Manny’s .308 batting average and .411 on-base average. Mike Piazza’s .542 slugging average would fall to Manny’s .564 and his .975 OPS would be almost 50 points higher than Olerud’s. And did I mention that he put these numbers up between the ages of 32 and 39? That’s just ridiculous.
Going further down the rabbit hole, Manny was worth 23.7 rWAR (Baseball-Reference.com’s version of WAR) during those years. That would place him eighth on the Mets all-time list, below Piazza’s 24.6 but above Jose Reyes’ 23.3. That total wouldn’t get his jersey retired, but it dwarves the total put up by Mets left fielders since 2004. Cliff Floyd (5.4 rWAR in three seasons and a personal favorite), Moises Alou (1.9 rWAR in two seasons), and Jason Bay (1.2 rWAR in one season) played the most left field during those seasons (2008-09 saw 10 different players get more than 10 games each in left field; I didn’t bother adding up their rWAR totals).
What would Game 6 have looked like with Manny Ramirez starting in left? Endy Chavez’ catch, one of the most iconic moments in franchise history, never would have happened, but would Manny have hit a home run to match Scott Rolen’s blast? Or, in the most alternate universe I can think of right now, what would have happened had Endy started the game (thus making his awesome catch) but Manny appeared as a pinch hitter instead of Cliff Floyd? How loud would Shea Stadium have been if Manny delivered the game winning hit, and how would Carlos Beltran haters denigrate him today if he never had to face Adam Wainwright’s wicked curveball? Would the 2007 Mets have made the playoffs? Would we be looking back on an era with multiple division-winning teams? Have I gotten carried away?
If you’ve read this far (thank you!) I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t accounted for park factor. You’re right: the numbers listed above were compiled when Manny played most of his games in Fenway Park, a notorious hitters’ haven (although he did play 223 games as an LA Dodger during those seasons). Also, there’s the not-so-small matter of Manny’s salary during those seasons: he’s made more than $140 million since 2004. So, no: this is not the most likely scenario. But isn’t that the fun of asking “what if?”
Posted in David Wright, Mets, Performance Enhancing Drugs | Tagged: Adam Wainwright, Carlos Beltran, Darryl Strawberry, Dave Magadan, David Wright, Dwight Gooden, Ed Kranepool, Endy Chavez, John Olerud, Jose Reyes, Manny Ramirez, Mets, Mike Piazza, Performance Enhancing Drugs, Scott Rolen, Tom Seaver | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on February 7, 2011
Last week, Sandy Alderson commented that “stolen bases are a footnote”. He’s right, though as James Kannengeiser of Amazin Avenue noted “the Mets have been an elite base stealing machine over the last few seasons.” Actually, Kannengeiser’s analysis thoroughly covers the issue (that’s not the first time I’ve said that about his work) and I pretty much agree with every word of it, especially his conclusion.
But it got me thinking about which Mets players were the most efficient base stealers. So, I went over to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index tool to take a deeper dive. Here’s a few highlights of what I found:
- 60 Mets have a perfect base stealing percentage. 55 of them stole 4 bases or less, including Tom Seaver (4-4), Kelly Stinnett (4-4), Josh Thole (2-2), Sid Fernandez (1-1) and Ron Darling (1-1).
- The five players who were 5-5 or better: Paul LoDuca (5-5), Shane Spencer (6-6), Dan Norman (8-8), Jason Bay (10-10) and Manny Alexander (11-11).
- The player with the best “non-perfect” stolen base success rate: Chico Walker, who went 21-22 in 222 games over the 1992-93 seasons. I liked Chico, because his name often reminded me of the immortal Chico Escuela.
- Shawn Green is the only other Met to exceed a 90% success rate, going 11-12 in 164 games over the 2006-07 seasons. He also owns a very, very expensive house.
Now, let’s look at some arbitrary thresholds (current Mets in bold text):
- Highest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Bob Bailor, 40-46 (.870), Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Roberto Alomar, 22-26 (.846), Kaz Matsui, 22-26 (.846), Cliff Floyd, 32-38 (.842).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Elliot Maddox, 6-28 (.214), Ed Kranepool, 15-42 (.357), Jerry Grote, 14-34 (.412), Jeff Kent, 12-28 (.429), Felix Millan, 11-25 (.440).
- Highest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Gregg Jeffries, 63-77 (.818), Luis Castillo, 55-68 (.809), Kevin McReynolds, 67-83 (.807).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Joel Youngblood, 39-75 (.520), Wayne Garrett, 33-59 (.559), Rey Ordonez, 28-50 (.560), Bernard Gilkey, 29-50 (.580), Lenny Randle, 47-79 (.595).
- Highest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Roger Cedeno, 103-135 (.778), David Wright, 138-180 (.767).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: John Stearns, 91-142 (.641), Cleon Jones, 91-139 (.655), Tommy Agee, 92-139 (.662), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682), Frank Taveras, 90-131 (.687).
- Success rates, minimum 200 stolen bases: Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Howard Johnson, 202-265 (.762), Mookie Wilson, 281-371 (.757), Darryl Strawberry, 191-266 (.718), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682).
Three observations came to me:
- The late 60’s-early 70’s Mets ran a little, but without much success.
- The 80’s Mets ran a lot, with a fair amount of success.
- The current team has the three most successful runners in franchise history, plus Castillo (.809) and Angel Pagan (55-71, .775).
That final point brings me back to Kannengeiser’s post. I share his confidence in Alderson & Co., but I worry just a bit that this edge will be blunted. Time will tell, but it will most definitely be an interesting sub-plot to follow this season.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Mets, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: Bernard Gilkey, Bob Bailor, Carlos Beltran, Chico Escuela, Chico Walker, Cleon Jones, Cliff Floyd, Dan Norman, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Ed Kranepool, Elliot Maddox, Felix Millan, Frank Taveras, Gregg Jeffries, Howard Johnson, Jason Bay, Jeff Kent, Jerry Grote, Joel Youngblood, John Stearns, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Kaz Matsui, Kelly Stinnett, Kevin McReynolds, Lee Mazzilli, Lenny Dykstra, Lenny Randle, Luis Castillo, Manny Alexander, Mets, Mookie Wilson, Paul LoDuca, Rey Ordonez, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, Ron Darling, Sandy Alderson, Shane Spencer, Shawn Green, Sid Fernandez, Tom Seaver, Tommy Agee, Wayne Garrett | 1 Comment »
Posted by JD on February 4, 2011
Originally drafted by the Mets on the 1,434th anniversary of the sacking of Rome, Scott Erickson decided to attend the University of Arizona in lieu of launching his professional career. It wasn’t until 1989 (the same draft that yielded the All-Powerful) when he decided to turn pro, signing with the Minnesota Twins. Erickson would win 61 games (and a World Series) for the Twins before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he would go on to win another 79 games. All told, he accrued 23.4 rWAR (B-R.com) for those two clubs while being credited for starting the “longer pants no stirrups look“; not a bad run at all.
His career clearly peaked prior to the 2000 season when he was included in People’s “Sexiest People” list. He only appeared in 16 games in 2000 and wound up sandwiching a disappointing 2002 season by missing the 2001 and 2003 seasons completely. And you thought Sports Illustrated cornered the market on magazine curses?
Erickson had a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2004, winning a spot out of Spring Training before being sidelined by a hamstring injury. Erickson returned in July and appeared in two games, the first of which was actually a quality start. As you can see from the game log I linked, his second start was something of a disaster: he was pulled in the third after giving up four runs (he was ultimately charged with seven runs, bringing his ERA to an unsightly 7.88). I mention this disaster only to highlight a more significant Mets moment: David Wright hit his first major league home run in the top of the second. Erickson’s tenure with the Mets was over: he was traded to the Texas Rangers for a PTBNL that turned out to be Josh (no relation to Micah) Hoffpauir. It was an underwhelming stint, to be nice. But hey, he has nice hair.
Fun Fact: Erickson is married to TV reporter/model Lisa Guerrero.
UnFun Fact: Wikipedia notes that Erickson was charged with second-degree assault on his girlfriend in 2002, however, this story indicates that he didn’t initiate the incident.
Posted in David Wright, Flushing Frivolities, Mets | Tagged: David Wright, Flushing Frivolity, Josh Hoffpauir, Lisa Guerrero, Mets, Scott Erickson | 2 Comments »