The Clem Report’s 2014 Mets April Review

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Baseball, Mets, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

mets

One month down, five to go.  After the mere mention of 90 Mets wins this year was mocked far and wide, the Amazins finished the month of April 15-11, on pace for 93 wins.  Now I am a realist, which usually goes hand-in-hand with being a Mets fan.  I recognize that it is extremely early in the season and there are a million peaks and valleys left to ride out.  But if you can’t excited for the most wins your team has had in April since 2007, why are you even watching?  Anyway, here are some quick thoughts on the season.

Best April Moment:  Bartolo Colon.  Not just Bartolo Colon, but any video or headline that has a little fun with Bartolo Colon.  All the guy does is throw pitches for strikes, get outs, embarrass himself when he’s batting, and make memories.  I can’t remember the last time I loved a signing so much that had so little to do with actual baseball.

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Ahhh a full season of piss poor Bartolo Colon bunt attempts ahead. #NYM #Mets #MLB

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Worst April Moment: Losing Opening Day.  In extra innings.  After the bullpen blew the lead.  The Mets have been historically great on Opening Day and historically bad for the other 161 games.  So it hurts a little more when they lose the first game of the season.  However, that game seems like it was months ago, considering what has happened to the Mets and Nats since that day.

April Man Crush (Batter): Juan Lagares.  After a few years of watching Lucas Duda man the outfield, I was beginning to forget what good defense looked like.  Luckily Mr. Lagares decided to bring his bat along with his glove this season, making it impossible for Terry Collins to bench him.  He has a great nickname and was the best player on the team before he got hurt.  Other than David Wright and Matt Harvey, Juanny Beisbol is my favorite player on the team right now.  Call me an old-school sucker, but I actually enjoy players who deflate an opponent and their fan base with a great catch.  It would be real nice if the Mets had a new (but probably not as good offensively) Andruw Jones manning centerfield for the next 10+ years.

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April Man Crush (Pitcher): Carlos Torres.  Obviously having a great starter or closer is great, but finding someone that can bridge the two is a pretty nice luxury to have.  The 2000 team had Wendell/Cook, the 2006 team had Bradford/Oliver, and Carlos Torres may be the torch bearer for this year’s team.  He has come into high leverage situations and thrown some legitimate filth to get people out.  Being confident in players like Torres, Dice-K, and Kyle Farnsworth in high leverage situations is all you need to know about how fickle bullpens can be.  Also, this play started my love affair with Torres and it hasn’t stopped since.

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Best April Headline: Secret Service threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he got close to President Clinton, says book The fact that the most beloved figure in Mets history DIDN’T have his head blown off by an itchy trigger finger on national TV is perhaps the most shocking thing in Mets history.

ggggg

April Confession:  I have been a huge Ike Davis fan for years and I was steadfast in my belief that the Mets should trade Lucas Duda away.  Ike has had a 30+ home run season and is a better defensive player.  However, Davis has also had some of the worst slumps I have seen as a baseball fan and seemed fed up with the culture around the team.  I don’t know if the Valley Fever or the David Wright collision has had anything to do with Ike’s apparent loss of skill, but someone had to go, and the franchise decided it was Ike.  After Davis hit a broken bat grand slam immediately after being traded to Pittsburgh, I guess you could say I was slightly upset by the trade.  But in typical Ike fashion, he has gone 0 for 17 since that salami.  Meanwhile, Duda has been steady and shown a few signs that he actually wants the everyday job.  I truly think that Lucas is a little bit of a mental midget and having Ike around was only going to cause Duda to overthink things.  Now that the job has been handed to him, I expect Duda to actually start to develop into what the Mets hope he will be.  Whether that is a .260/15/75 player or a .275/28/100 player remains to be seen.

25-Man Lightning Round:

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Finally, here are my thoughts on the 25-man roster after the first month of the season:

Bobby Abreu- Obviously ol’ Bobby boy just got called up to the Major League roster a few days ago, but I like him as a bench bat.  He was raking in Triple-A and has always been able to draw a walk.  Like the old saying goes, a walk is just as good as a hit, and this is especially the case when the game is late and close.  As long as Abreu isn’t roaming the outfield often, I like the acquisition.

Bartolo Colon- Bartolo has done exactly what Mets fans hoped he would.  Throw meatballs for strikes, eat up innings, create a few memories at the plate, and lend himself to countless bad food puns.  His ERA sits a 4.50 today, but I think he will end up in the mid-3’s while teaching the younger pitchers some of the finer points on pitching instead of throwing.

Travis d’Arnaud- He had a nightmare start with the bat, but has hit better of late.  His defense has always been very good, which on a pitching-focused team, is extremely important.  I’m buying on d’Arnaud, despite the fact that I still haaaaaate the lower-case d on his jersey.

Lucas Duda- As I mentioned above, I think Lucas’ brain will be what determines whether or not he is successful in the big leagues.  I also have to admit that his ESPN picture gives me pause on whether he will be able to become a good, solid player.  He just looks a little slow, right?

Jeurys Familia- Was sent into some rough situations, but still a young arm with potential.  I am willing to wait a few more months before reaching a conclusion on him.

Kyle Farnsworth- Farnsy is just one of those pitchers you love to hate, whether he is on your team or against you.  He is a feisty dude that used to throw the ball almost as straight and fast as the hitters would hit it.  He seemed to learn something down in Tampa, where they turned him and Fernando Rodney into good pitchers.  Call me crazy, but I actually trust Farnsworth in the closer role until the Mets acquire/call-up a long term replacement.

Dillon Gee- Gee seems to be the perfect representative of this team.  Maybe he isn’t great, or even very good, but he gets the job done and has outperformed early projections.  As I said earlier in the season, Gee has guts and pitches like my old-favorite, Rick Reed.

Gonzalez Germen- I don’t really see much more to him than a young arm in mop up duty.

Curtis Granderson- Oh Grandy, my beloved Grandy.  I went to bat for Curtis as the Mets fans rode him mercilessly to start the season, calling him the next Jason Bay.  But if he stays below the Mendoza Line, I don’t think I will be able to fight off the angry horde much longer.  He has had a couple of game-winning hits, which have helped silence a few boo birds, but he wasn’t brought in to hit sac-flies and seeing eye singles.  Still, he couldn’t have went from a 40+ home run hitter to a bum overnight, right?  RIGHT?!?!

Daisuke Matsuzaka- Dice-K has been one of the biggest surprises of the young season.  He pitched well at the end of Spring Training, went to the minors,  got called up and moved to the bullpen.  And it somehow all worked!  I have been real happy with him thus far.

Jenrry Mejia- I think every Mets fan loves Jenrry, but holds their breath every time he pitches.  Mejia has had more than a few health issues, but is a legit asset to the rotation when he is feeling good.  Also, I loved when he threw his glove after the Justin Upton home run.  Nothing wrong with being a little feisty, especially if you are a young pitcher.

Daniel Murphy- Mr. Slow And Steady at the plate has been the Mets best bat as we flip the calendar to May.  He also has a stolen base streak going, which is funny considering the bonehead plays he occasionally makes when running the bases.  And while he is still an adventure in a field, even the biggest Murphy hater would have to admit that he has become a better second baseman than anyone could have imagined.

Jon Niese- He is either throwing a gem or getting checked out for a season/career threatening injury.  He currently leads the team in WAR, so I have nothing else to add other than keep throwing the pill and stay healthy.  Which means more blue thong days.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis- Hit a bomb his first game up this season and reminds Mets fans what their starting outfield used to look like.  He is cool with me as long as he is coming off the bench.

Omar Quintanilla- Playing like a prototypical backup middle-infielder, Quinanilla has been pretty good behind Tejada.  The Big Zero is in my good graces after tying up the Marlins game last week.

Anthony Recker- Recker has been better than I expected with the bat thus far.  Granted, that isn’t saying much, but he has been solid for a team that hasn’t gotten a ton of offense out of the catcher position.

Scott Rice- The epitome of the phrase “teach your kids to be left-handed”.  Rice has been pretty awful as the left-handed specialist out of the ‘pen, but the team just has to hope he can put it together on the fly.  At least he isn’t Scott Schoenweis.

Josh Satin- Hasn’t done all that much, but hasn’t had many opportunities.  I am pretty neutral on Satin, since he outperformed my expectations last year.  His will be called on to be a solid right-handed pinch hitter, so he will NEED to come through in those situations to be valuable to the team.

Ruben Tejada- Tejada has been swinging a little better the last few days, but he has also made some great plays in the field.  Considering the organization was seemingly trying to break him like a POW, his performance has been somewhat of a positive surprise.  If showing some leather and getting a few hits in the 8 spot is his floor, I think I can live with that.

Carlos Torres-  My pitching man crush of April has been great, even if his numbers are a little better than his peripherals.  He definitely passes the eye-test though, and has clearly been the Mets best reliever thus far.

Jose Valverde- Lots of fun when things are going good, lots of pain when things aren’t.  The Bobby Parnell injury threw Valverde into a spot where he wasn’t comfortable being, so putting him back in the middle of the bullpen may straighten him out.  Or he may just plain old suck and will be on waivers by June.  Yeah, that is what will probably happen.

Zack Wheeler- The hopeful future 1B to Harvey’s 1A in the Mets rotation has been up and down, but he is an example of someone who has pitched better than his ERA.  He has been healthy and battled back from a few rough starts, which is what you want to see in a young player during a season when there aren’t high expectations.  I still can’t believe we got this guy for less than a half of season from Carlos Beltran.  Great work, Sandy.

David Wright- A slightly slow start for El Capitan, but he has stayed healthy except for his bout with the flu.  So that’s a win for the Mets.  Nothing to worry about here.  God I love this guy.

Chris Young- Young got hurt right before Opening Day and Mets fans had to watch Nelson Cruz crush baseballs all over Camden Yards.  Young has had a few surefire extra base hits robbed from him, while playing a good centerfield in Juanny Beisbol’s absence.  The jury is still out, but I stand behind the signing.

Eric Young Jr.- Ahhh EY Jr.  Or as Mets fans call him “If only he could do this consistently” EY Jr.  He has been a terror on the base paths when he is able to get on said base paths, which isn’t enough for an every day player.  But he does lead the team in runs and stolen bases, which shows his value once the outfield gets crowded with Lagares’ return.

So lets keep this run going tonight in Colorado and stay healthy!

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Comments
  1. […] see some Turk Wendell in him, which is the highest complement I can give a Mets reliever. My man crush on Torres seems like it was years ago, but Carlito has become a sturdy, unspectacular part of the […]

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