Can We Talk About Chris Capuano?

Chris Capuano was a Met last year, as you may remember.  He wasn’t a particularly good pitcher, although he had his moments.  After 66 innings in 2010, Capuano came to the Mets healthy for the first time in a while and had a pretty good first half before tailing off in the second.  The Mets correctly assumed that Capuano would get too much money for a near replacement level starter and didn’t retain him, but what he has become this year has been anything but average, although he does again appear to be tailing off in the second half again.


Perhaps this ‘change’ is simply him being comfortable with his body one year removed from surgery, but he’s got basically the same K/BB as last year.  He’s got a career low ERA even after a sub-par second half so far.  He’s throwing much more pitches in the zone, but actually getting less contact on them, and much less contact outside of the zone. It certainly seems like he’s setting up hitters better and keeping them more off balance. He’s allowed less hits overall, and less home runs.


I guess you could attribute some of that to defense, although the Dodgers defense doesn’t seem particularly awesome, just better than the Mets. Seems a big jump to attribute just to that. His FIP is better, but his xFIP is worse. (Although it’s hard to trust a stat that says fielding independent and yet gets better when fielders make plays) Is this an indictment on Dan Warthen and the Mets staff? Was there an adjustment to be made that he was unable to figure out with the Mets?  I know Ron Darling mentioned on the broadcast one day that he worked with Capuano a little last year on some things, and while it’s cool that he’s helping out, it seems like a bad sign that the broadcaster is helping out the pitchers on the side.  This wouldn’t be the first pitcher that struggled here and succeeded elsewhere, although maybe that’s true of every team and it just seems like it’s more with the Mets.


This is just piece of evidence against Dan Warthen’s tenure as pitching coach continuing.  With all the young pitchers the Mets are going with, I’d really love to have a brilliant coach that can really nurture these guys and get the best out of them.  I don’t believe Dan Warthen is that guy.



Some Optimism For Mike Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey pitches against the Marlins on May 16th, 2011Mike Pelfrey‘s FIP has actually stayed pretty steady over the last four years, and his xFIP was even steadier. The main difference being that he game up less home runs in 2008 and 2010.     So the question becomes what was it that caused the home run rate to be lower in those years?  Was it dumb luck, or some adjustments on Pelfrey’s part?  Personally I think his xFIP staying the same is precisely what’s wrong with the stat.  Pelfrey clearly pitched better in 2010, particularly in the first part of the year, than he has since.


There probably still is some luck to it.  The margin of error for flying out instead of hitting a home run is tiny.   Optimistically, Mike Pelfrey’s numbers in 2011 were probably at the far end of bad luck and it’d be pretty easy to see how even with changing almost nothing he’d probably have a better result in 2012.  Hoping for lucky bounces is not a good philosophy for a major league pitch to adopt however.


Pelfrey is working hard this Spring at his sinker.  This is something he admittedly struggled with in 2011, and harnessing it against should be a positive.  For one, it’s a different look than teams are used to.  Adding in a pitch provides a new wrinkle to the scouting report and helps keep hitters off balance.  Additionally, sinkers are harder to hit out of the park as they are harder to hit in the air.  So far the reports are positive on his feel for the pitch.


With luck and the sinker, Mike Pelfrey should be an improved pitcher again in 2012.  Throw in a likely improved bullpen and more of Pelfrey’s games should turn into Mets wins.  That only happened 12 of 33 times last season.

How The Jets Offseason Will Go

The media, and some fans, will get on Rex Ryan for talking too much and claim they cannot believe a word he says anymore.  Rex Ryan will continue to say crazy things.  The media, and some fans, will take what he says as big news worth talking about while un-sarcastically talking about whether or not they should be talking what Rex says.  (ESPN Radio’s Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg are pros at this sort of double talk)


A scapegoat will be picked.  Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez appear to be the popular picks right now.   Every possible free agent at either of those positions will spark posts about how they can’t win with the player they have now, and need to make a push for this new guy.


A strategy will be touted as what the Jets need to do more, or less, of and favorite players and coaches that eschew the 2011 Jets perceived bad habits will be trumpeted around as guys the Jets have to sign.


We’ve seen it all before with the way the Mets are treated lately.  The Jets will try to fan the flames some, but at the end of the day they’ll do what they feel they need to do to get better, regardless of what the fans or media think they desperately need.


One crazy trade that intrigues me as a Giants fan is Peyton Manning to the Jets.  I think the two brothers playing in the same city and the same stadium would be an interesting sidebar to next season.

2011 Mets Statistics You Probably Haven’t Heard

Dillon Gee led all National League rookies with 13 wins.  Vance Worley was 2nd with 11.


Lucas Duda had the highest OBP and SLG among qualifying rookies. (.370 and .482)


Justin Turner was second, 30 to 32, in doubles for NL rookies.


Both Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan were in the top ten for hardest to double up.  Jose Reyes was the hardest man to strike out in the National League. (14.3 AB between strikeouts.  That’s like twice a week)


Jason Bay was tied, with 2, for the most Grand Slams in the NL.


The Mets were second, .264, in AVG in the NL, and second in OBP, .335.


They left 59 more players on base, 1257, than the Marlins who had the second most at 1198.  Mets opponents left 1230 on base.


7 of David Wright‘s 14 home runs were go-ahead home runs.


The Mets were 9-4 on Saturdays at home, 2-11 on Saturdays on the road.


What Beer Were the Red Sox Drinking?

Doesn’t it depend on what beer they were drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse as to how big a sin it was?  Why has no one asked this very important question?

First off, if it was something that said Busch, Miller, or Coors on it, that’s just wrong.  It’s like rooting for the Cardinals, Brewers, or Rockies.  The same goes for Blue Moon, which is part of Coors and there is a Blue Moon Brewery attached to Coors Field. 

Even worse would be if they were drinking a Bronx Pale Ale from the Bronx Brewery.

For the Wilpon conspiracists: If they were drinking a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale ’55, Fred wants to trade for Lester.  Pennants aren’t won in September either. 

Perhaps the best beer they could’ve been drinking was a local microbrew: Wachusett Green Monsta IPA.  Although it says it has a homerun of hops in every sip, so perhaps that’s more of a David Ortiz beer.

Presumably anything from Sam Adams would be appropriately Boston, except Oktoberfest.  If they were drinking an Oktoberfest that’s ridiculously presumptious when they hadn’t even made the playoffs yet.

What beer do you think they were drinking?

A Week Later: Hopeful for the 2012 Mets

No Met has made an error, hit a home run, or struck out looking in over a week.  With a week of the offseason under my belt to let the highs and lows of emotion mellow out with time, it’s time to take a closer look at what transpired in 2011 and what hope there is for 2012.


The team played harder than was expected.   They didn’t give in, whether because of a tough loss, a rough week, or a poor start to a game.  They’d battle back late in games, and bounce back from a tough loss with a solid win.  There were plenty of times late in the season where they did seem to be going through the motions a little bit, but they seemed to bounce back from that as well.  Hopefully 2012 avoids any long periods of being out of it and prevents the team from getting complacent.


The bullpen, while successful for some stretches of times, was mostly a failure.  Part of this was the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, part of it was the depression of Taylor Buchholz.   Part had to do with the starters rarely giving length, as was the main problem in April.   The Mets are aware of this problem, and with some good scouting and analysis, there are relievers out there that you can get for reasonable prices.   I would expect at least 2-3 new faces in the pen to compliment the ones that stay.  The Mets lost a lot of games late last year, and strengthening the pen will go a long way in 2012.


The starting rotation is what’s going to be the big deal in 2012.  This is what’s going to make or break the team as a contender.   Niese and Dickey are locks.  Mike Pelfrey is also pretty much a lock, although he does become a trade candidate as well.  I wouldn’t be against keeping Capuano, but I suspect he’s priced himself out of what the Mets want to pay him.  Johan Santana is supposed to be ready to go as normal during Spring Training, but I’d put the certainty of that at somewhere around 75%, and that may be optimistic.  Right now he’s penciled in, and it won’t be until February before we know if he’ll be able to progress normally towards an Opening Day start.   Therefore the Mets need a backup plan.  Adding Santana would certainly help, but it’s likely the Mets need to upgrade further.   Finding another quality starter and reassigning Dillon Gee to be depth for Santana could be the way to go.  However, Dillon Gee may have earned a major league job.   If the Mets can get to the regular season with a healthy Santana, and everyone else, having to send Gee to the minors to start the season would be a nice problem to have.  From there they could reexplore trading Mike Pelfrey.  Other teams will deal with injuries, and many teams could make good use of a guy that will throw 200 innings of slightly above league average value pretty consistently.


Then there is the offense.   The offense was very good last year, despite few home runs and a lot of injuries.  2012’s hinges on Reyes staying, but if he does the Mets offense again looks to be very potent.  The biggest concern would be if Pagan can shake off the bad defensive year, and if Duda can take a step forward out in RF.   Thole needs to improve as well, and there’s something to be said for having a veteran right-handed catcher to work with him.  The Mets are discussing moving the walls in a bit in right and left, which will probably help the home run numbers, although they may shrink the gaps a little bit.   It looks like the Mets should still have a top-flight offense next year, capable of dealing damage to opposing pitchers.


The Mets could be competitive next year.  A lot hinges on Reyes re-signing and Johan turning up healthy.  The Mets do need to revamp the bullpen, sign another starter, and address the bench, but those are all reasonable expectations.  It’ll be an interesting offseason, and hopefully it will be a launching pad for a good season to come.

Poll: Where Does Reyes Finish In MVP Race?

Jose Reyes won’t win it, he hasn’t played enough games. However, many voters will put Jose Reyes, deservedly, on their top 10 list when they vote. Where do you think he finishes overall?


Where Does Jose Reyes Finish in the MVP Awards?
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Only Two Games: Enjoy Them

There are only two Mets games left on the season.  Tune in and watch or listen to them.   There are only two and we’ll be missing the Mets before you know it.  The DVR’d episode of How I Met Your Mother will wait.


Watch Jose Reyes compete for a batting title.  See some of the young guys make a case for inclusion on the 2012 team.  Nick Evans looks like he’s got a better than fair shot at making the team next year.  Jason Pridie is finish strong, perhaps making a case as the 4th outfielder.


It’s not a given that Reyes returns.  This could  be his last two games.  Last night could’ve been the last time David Wright will have driven in Jose Reyes.  If you make it out to Citi Field, make sure to give him a big hand.


It’s a long way to April 5th.  There will be a lot of unpleasant stories.  A lot of “The Mets can’t do that” and “The Mets can’t afford that” type stories.  They’re starting already, but at least we have two games left to enjoy before all the rumor and speculation.


Let’s Go Mets!