Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for the ‘Johan Santana’ Category

Something Nice, 4/22/11

Posted by JD on April 23, 2011

Man, it’s so tempting to just say “the Mets win!” If the whole point of these posts is to spread positive feelings, I’d guess we really shouldn’t have to get much further than that. And I while I may just drop these posts in the future when the Mets win, there was something about tonight’s win that deserves extra recognition: Mike Pelfrey’s first quality start.

Pelfrey has struggled mightily this season. He started four games (all losses for the Mets) and never recorded more than 16 outs in any of them. He was forced to assume the “Number One Starter/Staff Ace” title with Johan Santana sidelined and, if that wasn’t enough, the media (and plenty of fans) added injury to insult by focusing on the coincidental (and, of course, unfortunate) passing of Harvey Dorfman (a psychologist that Pelfrey frequently consulted), strongly implying that Pelfrey’s mental health was in question. It was a tough stretch for Big Pelf, maybe the toughest he’s faced in his tenure with the Mets.

That’s why tonight’s win was so sweet: Pelfrey fought his way through seven innings, allowing only five hits, two hits, and one run. And, as hard as this may be to believe, I definitely saw him hit 94 and 95 on the Citi Field radar gun in the top of the second. It was a solid showing, and I was happy for Pelfrey that it happened in front of the Citi Field faithful.

Posted in Johan Santana, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Something Nice | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Rule 5 Draft and Elvin Ramirez

Posted by JD on December 8, 2010

On the eve of the annual Rule 5 draft, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York broke the news that the Mets expect to lose pitcher Elvin Ramirez. Buster Olney followed that up with a tweet stating that Ramirez is “the guy widely expected to be the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft”. Well, that sucks…especially because Ramirez has been hitting anywhere between 94 and 98 MPH on the radar gun in the Dominican this winter.

Or does it? I’m not so sure. Yes, given the Mets’ current shortage of major league arms and surplus of open spots on the 40-man roster (35 going into the draft), failing to protect anyone who can top out at 98 MPH raises eyebrows. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll see that his BB/9 has steadily risen from 4.0 in 2008 to 4.8 in 2009 to 5.5 in 2010 while his SO/BB has remained in the 1.23 – 1.72 range. Ramirez had a nice season at Savannah in 2008, and that deserves notice. But he’s done little to distinguish himself since.

And even if he had, how many Rule 5 picks actually stick with the club that selected them? Looking back at last year’s draft, in which 17 players were selected, reveals the following: nine were offered back to their original clubs (eight clubs accepted and the Braves declined the rights to Edgar Osuna), three were involved in deals that allowed the selecting clubs to keep them in the minors, and four stuck at the major league level. Yes, that equals 16: Kanekoa Texiera was claimed off of waivers by the Royals. And yes, one of the four that stuck was Carlos Monasterios, who was selected by the Mets and traded to the Dodgers for cash. My overall point is the same: the majority of the players picked were returned to their original clubs.

Sure,  Johan Santana, Joakim Soria, and Josh Hamilton were all Rule 5 draftees (to name a very select few).  But so were Jared Camp (selected ahead of Santana) and Ryan Goleski (selected ahead of both Soria AND Hamilton). Both Camp and Goleski were the “first player selected in the Rule 5 draft”. Where are they now?

To make a long story short, don’t focus on Ramirez’ availability. The Mets may well lose him tomorrow. But if you add the track record of previous Rule 5 picks to Ramirez’ performance over the past three years, you’ll find that it might not be much of a loss at all. At the very least, it’s nothing to lose sleep over.

Posted in Johan Santana, Mets, Offseason Moves | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will the 2011 Rotation Include Pat Misch?

Posted by JD on November 29, 2010

It’s starting to look like it might (at least to me, anyway). Consider the rotation as it stands today: with Johan Santana recovering from surgery to start the season, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese are the only established major league starters on the roster. In some ways, referring to this group as “established” is being kind: they each have questions to answer in 2011). Pelfrey can be solid (if unspectacular), but has been prone to extended streaks where he struggles to be average. Can he be more consistent next year? R.A. Dickey was a revelation this season, but he’s 36 and the 174 innings he pitched last season were a career high. Can he do it again? 2010 was Jon Niese’s first full season, and he’s struggled with injuries the past two season. Can he stay healthy long enough to contribute?

That being said, those three will anchor the rotation next season. John Maine has most likely played his last game with the team: I expect him to be non-tendered this week. Dillon Gee will be given a chance to win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, as will Misch and probably Tobi Stoner. Misch is easily the most established (there’s that word again, used even more generously here) of the three, which can’t hurt. Add in Sandy Alderson’s (and Terry Collins’) comments about not wanting to rush prospects to the majors and that’s about it for in-house candidates.

There are, of course, outside candidates. Joe Janish of Mets Today put together a list of signable (read: not Cliff Lee) free agent pitchers last week, focusing on the risk/reward aspect of each. Having just returned from a trip to Atlantic City, I find some of these gambles attractive, particularly Chris Young. I wouldn’t be opposed to signing one of them to a one-year deal and hoping for the best, but I don’t know if it’s possible. I’ve read in many places that the Mets’ off-season budget may be limited to $5 million. If that’s the case, these players may not fit in the Mets’ budget (even accounting for the discount generated by their injury histories). I mean, it could happen, but should the Mets really gamble on a pitcher with a history of injuries when their budget is so limited?

The next few days will see a number of pitchers hit free agency as the December 2nd non-tender deadline approaches. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of non-tender candidates. While there are some interesting names for the bullpen, the starting pitchers leave something to be desired. I’ve always liked Brian Bannister and he might benefit from making half his starts at Citi Field, but he’s always struggled with major league hitters and he’s been injury prone recently, too. I wouldn’t have taken a shot at Zach Duke before he was traded to the Diamondbacks, making that moot anyway. Jeff Karstens? Kyle Davies? I guess, at the right price. But it’s debatable whether their better than Misch or not.

Acquiring a starter via a trade is also a possibility. The Mets could possibly trade Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran (Beltran for Daisuke Matsuzaka might make some sense, I guess). Personally, I remain convinced that the Mets should refrain from trading either of those players until June, at the earliest. Their value is what it once was, but there’s still a reasonable chance that they can recapture most of it: it simply makes no sense to move them now. We’ll see.

In an effort to be fair to every candidate, I have to mention that Oliver Perez currently has a 10-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts in the Mexican Winter League. Whatever.

So, there you have it: based on the known available options (and their costs), Pat Misch will very likely be the fifth (or possibly even the fourth) starter in the rotation next year. Bill James predicts Misch’s 2011 season as: 23 games (12 starts), 75.0 innings pitched, 82 hits, 50 strikeouts and 18 walks (2.78 K/BB ration) for a 4.20 ERA (4.19 FIP). Obviously, the counting numbers would be higher if Misch won the job out of spring training, but a 4.20/4.19 ERA/FIP for less than $1 million isn’t that bad. It’s less than optimal, but budget constraints make it one of the more plausible options available.

Posted in Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Offseason Moves, Oliver Perez, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, The Rotation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Sunday Morning Musings

Posted by JD on June 27, 2010

A few thoughts before I head off to Citi Field for a rubber match with the Twins:

  • American Idle: I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that Carl Pavano threw a complete game three-hit shutout, or that he almost had as many hits as the entire Mets lineup. Pick your poison, because both were fatal to the Mets yesterday.
  • Jeff Francoeur: One of those three hits was a bunt single from our OBP-challenged right fielder. He made an outstanding throw to nail Denard Span at third, but if Angel Pagan doesn’t take his spot in the lineup when Carlos Beltran returns, it will be a crime.
  • Dueling Mustaches: At some point during the game, SNY ran a side-by-side photo of Pavano and Keith Hernandez, comparing their mustaches. I saw it at the stadium so I couldn’t hear the commentary or take a screen-cap, but the awesomeness of it all was not lost in translation.
  • Johan Santana: I think it’s unfair to pin this loss on Santana alone (the lineup generated absolutely nothing), but it’s reasonable to wonder what he has left: he’s really struggled this season. He’s coming off of elbow surgery and dealing with troubling accusations of sexual assault, and he’s not getting any younger. The Mets will be paying him a lot of money over the next three or four years ($78 – $97.5 million, depending on whether his option is picked up), and it’s safe to say that they won’t receive proper value for that money. But what’s done is done, and they’ll have to make the most of it. We would do well to adjust our expectations for him: Santana will be up-and-down throughout the rest of the season, and the end results will be thoroughly mediocre. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are.

Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Idle Thoughts, Jeff Francoeur, Johan Santana, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Abstract Linkage

Posted by JD on June 3, 2010

For the second installment of Abstract Linkage, I give you:

  • Are you like me, up to your eyeballs in opinions about Armando Galarraga’s Imperfect Game? Then you should easily pass this Perfect Game quiz from sporcle. I only got 11, and I deeply regret missing 1904, 1984, and (most painfully) 2004. (Hat tip to @jameskann, who’s tweet about a Keith Law chat lead me to the sporcle quiz).
  • My favorite take on the Imperfect Game comes from Howard Megdal. I’m jealous: I never would have thought to go in this direction.
  • Dave Meisel from Disgruntled Mets Fan provides an in-depth analysis of Johan Santana’s peripherals, and it points to bad news.
  • I think this Ted Berg post about Carlos Beltran says all that need to be said.
  • St. John’s started their College World Series with a 10-5 loss to Mississippi. It’s a double-elimination format so they’re still alive, but a loss today to VCU would end their season. Game starts at 1PM.

Posted in Abstract Linkage, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »