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nmigliore

Official 2014 New York Mets Thread

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Matt Meyers wrote an article about starting Flores at SS when a flyball starter is on the mound, somewhat like how Davey Johnson used to play Kevin Mitchell at the position in 1986.

 

It's an interesting idea. The Steamer/ZiPS mixed projection over at Fangraphs pegs Flores for a .299 wOBA, Tejada a .285 wOBA. I don't want to get too mathematical here, but using last season's league average wOBA and wOBA scale, that translates to -7 runs below average at the plate for Flores and roughly -14 runs below average for Tejada, or a difference of about +7 runs in Flores' favor over a season's worth of plate appearances (600). This obviously doesn't account for defense, however, so the real question is does Flores' offensive advantage (7 runs) overcome the defensive gap between the two?

 

This is where it gets tricky. Tejada, in his career at SS, grades out as an average to slightly below average defender at SS, depending on which defensive metric you look at, with his most recent season being his worst by DRS. Flores, on the other hand, hasn't played an official pro game there since 2011, as the long charade of him sticking at SS was finally put to bed. I think most people are familiar Flores' reputation as a SS defensively, but just in case you forgot, here are a couple scouting reports from a few years ago from Baseball America:

 

Flores' bat will have to carry him because his speed and athleticism are below-average and not conducive to playing shortstop at higher levels. He throws well enough to play third base, but some scouts think he lacks infield actions and eventually will have to move to an outfield corner or first base.

 

 

...But scouts give Flores no chance to stay up the middle. He's a well below-average runner with heavy feet and substandard range. He reads balls well off the bat and has an average arm, which could keep him on an infield corner. Flores played third base last winter in the Venezuelan League, which is a more natural fit for his skills. 

 

 

"But scouts give Flores no chance to stay up the middle." I think it's pretty safe to assume he would grade out as one of the worst defensive SS in the game. Maybe (probably?) the worst defensive SS in the game. In the UZR era (2002 and beyond), some the worst defensive SS have been worth around -10 runs per season. I wouldn't put it past Flores beating those numbers (in a bad way), but we'll be generous and just assume he'll be a -10 defender at the position.

 

Using these figures in conjunction with the offensive values I mentioned earlier, that means if Tejada is an average defensive SS, he's the better player, but just by few runs, which is where differences can be pretty negligible. If he's below average again, Flores would be the better player under our hypothetical offense/defense run values, but then again, that assumes Flores won't be UZR-era historically bad, which he might truly be. But as Meyers point out in his article, although the projection systems don't love Flores' bat, he's a 22 year old accomplished minor league hitter who has the upside to hit better than the forecasted .256/.293/.392 slash line. 

 

So that's basically a bunch of words to say Flores at SS is kind of interesting, but hell, I don't know if it'll work or not. Isn't statistical analysis fun?

 

What convinces me is Meyer's final point:

 

If nothing else, the Mets should give Flores a chance at short because they have nothing to lose. It’s clear that Tejada is not the long-term answer, and it will be years before top shortstop prospect Gavin Cecchini and Amed Rosario are ready.  As we’ve learned from ESPN’s Giant Killers series in college hoops, teams that are inferior on paper pull upsets by using high-risk, high-reward strategies. 

 

 

It's hard to argue with any of this. The 2014 Mets project a lot like the 2013 Mets. So, at the cost of maybe a win, is it worth trying the crazy-but-somehow-maybe-not-that-insane Flores at SS idea? I think it is. Maybe I'm just really sick of Ruben Tejada, and I did previously the idea of Flores at SS to be ridiculous, but I'm in for trying the Flores at SS experiment. I mean, why the hell not?

 

Whether this actually happens, though, is another story. He did start and play a full 9 innings there yesterday again the Marlins, but didn't today as Quintanilla and Tejada each manned the position during split squad games. He really hasn't seen much action at the position until recently, either. Right now, I'm still betting on Tejada as the Opening Day SS, but until we acquire someone else, you can count me in the Flores for SS campaign.

Edited by nmigliore

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nmig, I think just about every Met fan was targeting 2014 as the year of taking serious steps forward.  Like I've said previously, it "helped" a lot that Harvey got hurt, as far as Sandy and the franchise not getting hammered for what was not a good offseason at all goes.  If Harvey had remained healthy, I think Sandy might've tried a little harder to bring in some bullpen help, but that's it.  I don't think he was bringing in any top-tier free agents or making any big trades.  Probably looking at a payroll of roughly $90 million tops if Harvey's pitching.  That's what's aggravating...I don't think there was some grand Plan A in place that went away when Harvey got hurt.  I don't really think they're was much of a plan at all.   

 

Re:  Mejia, you're not beating a dead horse at all.  There's simply no reason why he shouldn't get the FULL season to prove that he can get through a major-league season healthy and pitch to a #4/5 level of effectiveness.  

 

Re:  Flores...if the Mets are entertaining the question of finding out whether or not he can be a SS, then what they the hell do they have to lose by playing him for a couple of months here?  But it all goes back to the same thing...teams that talk about winning 90 games don't play a guy like Flores at short, and they don't let stiffs like Ike, Doofus, Quintanilla and Tejada stick around either...heaven forbid it might be about something other than fvcking penny-pinching with the Mets, and they get guys off the team that have shown the ability to do nothing with the multiple chances they're given.  No accountability on this team at all.

 

That 90-win crap is going to come back to bite this team in the ass again and again and again.     

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Flores sent to minor league camp. Amazing timing by me.  :lol: Supposedly he'll play SS and 2B in Vegas, although I'm still doubtful the idea of him as a SS is a real thing. Also sent to minor league camp was Kirk, den Dekker, and Lutz, none of who were really threats to make the bench.

 

This would be my Opening Day roster guess right now:

 

Lineup

Eric Young Jr., LF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Curtis Granderson, RF

Chris Young, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Travis d'Arnaud, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

 

Bench

Anthony Recker

Omar Quintanilla

Josh Satin

Juan Lagares

Lucas Duda

Andrew Brown

 

Rotation

Dillon Gee

Bartolo Colon

Zack Wheeler

Dice-K

 

Bullpen

Bobby Parnell

Jose Valverde

Scott Rice

Vic Black

Carlos Torres

Jeurys Familia

John Lannan

 

Everyone seems to think Niese will start on the DL but miss no time and come back to pitch the finale of the 2nd series vs the Reds. That allows the team to carry an extra player, which I think will be Andrew Brown.

 

I have no idea if Lagares will start, but like I've been saying, I'm starting to think both players will play quite a bit, at least in the beginning of the season. Lagares could start Opening Day (hopefully he does), but to make life a little easier on myself, I'm projecting Eric Young Jr. since the lineup order seems pretty clear with him in it.

 

I'd like to think we're smart enough to not carry Quintanilla again, but I have a hard time seeing us not carry a backup SS with Tejada as the incumbent. Only Quintanilla and Seratelli, who hasn't done anything to win a bench role, are left in camp as possible backup SS. If it were up to me, I'd carry neither of them. 

 

I don't have to say anymore about Mejia/Dice-K. It would be ludicrous if they picked Dice-K but that is what seems likely for now. Surprise me Sandy!

 

Bullpen seems like a lock, basically. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Who wouldn't look at that roster and think 90 wins?  Oh wait...EVERYONE except Sandy and the Wilpons.

 

Niese will inevitably miss 7-10 starts this season.  Not good in that will lessen his trade value, but it will open up a spot.  If he goes down in May or so, does deGrom get the first shot?  I can't see the Mets being as concerned about his Super Two status as they would for Syndergaard and Niese. 

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That's not really an awful lineup if d'Arnaud becomes a nice 15 hr 80rbi .280 hitting catcher. And if Ike can put together a half decent season.

 

This team will hit its share of home runs...and strike out a sh!t ton as well

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That's not really an awful lineup if d'Arnaud becomes a nice 15 hr 80rbi .280 hitting catcher. And if Ike can put together a half decent season.

 

This team will hit its share of home runs...and strike out a sh!t ton as well

 

Those are two huge ifs.  A ton of teams would kill for a catcher who puts up offensive numbers like that.  I just want him to get through a full sesaon healthy.  If he was around .260 avg/.330 OB%, 12 HR, 55 RBI and played in 140 games, I'd happily take that, especially if he does a great job behind the plate.  That'd be a terrific first full season.

 

With Ike...I don't even know what half-decent is.  Sadly, if he's hitting in the .230s, getting on base 32% of the time, clubbing some random dingers and on pace for about 70 RBI by mid June, that probably qualifies as half-decent. 

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Since it's relevant here, this is what the projection systems think of d'Arnaud:

 

Steamer: .242/.306/.400

ZiPS: .245/.307/.392

 

I think some would be disappointed with that, but I wouldn't be. Each of those lines is a shade under league average offense once you adjust for Citi Field. Catchers who can produce average offensive numbers with sound defensive skills -- we already talked about d'Arnaud's potential as a pitch framing, for one -- are pretty valuable.

 

Obviously you'd like to see him improve upon those numbers and live up the hype of a possible .280+ hitter with 15-20 HR pop, but for a first full MLB season, yeah, I'd be quite satisfied with something like .240/.305/.400 and solid defense. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Take it for what it's worth, but both Steamer and ZiPS like Ike's chance of bouncing back to some form of decency: they each expect him to replicate his career slash line, essentially. Duda is actually projected to be quite a bit worse than Ike by Steamer (.233/.334/.430 for Ike versus .231/.327/.391 for Duda), but nearly identical by ZiPS. So with two non-awful options -- at least by what two objective projection systems think -- there could be a fair chance the Mets get league average production out of 1B, which would be acceptable, if very unspectacular. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Since it's relevant here, this is what the projection systems think of d'Arnaud:

 

Steamer: .242/.306/.400

ZiPS: .245/.307/.392

 

I think some would be disappointed with that, but I wouldn't be. Each of those lines is a shade under league average offense once you adjust for Citi Field. Catchers who can produce average offensive numbers with sound defensive skills -- we already talked about d'Arnaud's potential as a pitch framing, for one -- are pretty valuable.

 

Obviously you'd like to see him improve upon those numbers and live up the hype of a possible .280+ hitter with 15-20 HR pop, but for a first full MLB season, yeah, I'd be quite satisfied with something like .240/.305/.400 and solid defense. 

 

So I'm a little high (though I might be, especially on the BA).  But yeah, I won't be pissed if his numbers are close to Steamer.  I think getting through the season without missing significant time is more important anyway.  I think the offense will come.

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6 scoreless for Dice-K today. Welp, that probably locks it up for him.

 

I'd like to think our front office is smart enough to not make decisions based on spring performance, but....

Edited by nmigliore

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6 scoreless for Dice-K today. Welp, that probably locks it up for him.

 

I'd like to think our front office is smart enough to not make decisions based on spring performance, but....

 

Nope. 

 

Spring #s for Dice:  18.2 IP, 23 H, 4 BB, 18 K, 7 ER. 

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Ha, I thought his numbers were better than that, but that just shows how much I care about following those numbers.

 

In any event, he was great today, apparently, and he was the favorite to win out before it. He's your #5 folks.

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I didn't know what they were either...I had to look them up. 

 

Oh well, here's what I hope happens...he pitches pretty well and is traded sometime before the deadline.  Even if they get some low minor league marginal prospect, the fact is he was signed as a "what the hell, he's got a pulse" guy, who never figured to have any relevance beyond 2013.  If the Mets get ANYTHING back for him, it's a bonus. 

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Rubin said yesterday that Mejia would remain a starter with Las Vegas, which is at least a silver lining. That rotation is going to be loaded with he, Montero, Syndergaard, and deGrom.

 

I'm going to pull hard for Dice-K every time he's out there now that games will count, but I won't lie in saying I think it would probably be better off if he ends up DFA'd by mid-May with Mejia replacing him than it would be him pitching decently and getting traded for a marginal prospect.

Edited by nmigliore

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Going to be a tough pill for Dice to swallow if he IS pitching pretty well and then gets DFA'd.  At that point, if a contender has lost a SP or two to injury, and Dice is, say 6-3 or thereabouts, maybe someone would be willing to deal for him, especially since it doesn't get much cheaper $$$-wise than him.   

 

Of course, if he's not pitching well, it's pretty simple...he'll have to go to Vegas and like it. 

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No, he won't get DFA'd if he's pitching well; I meant it would probably be better for us if he DID struggle and get DFA'd after 5-7 starts and then replaced with Mejia, as in the upside of Mejia in the rotation is greater than the marginal prospect (if that) that Dice-K would bring back if he did pitch well.

 

I won't be rooting against him, though. He's a Met and the games count. It's also not his fault the front office is so incompetent with what should be no-brainer roster decisions. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Flores sent to minor league camp. Amazing timing by me.  :lol: Supposedly he'll play SS and 2B in Vegas, although I'm still doubtful the idea of him as a SS is a real thing. Also sent to minor league camp was Kirk, den Dekker, and Lutz, none of who were really threats to make the bench.

 

This would be my Opening Day roster guess right now:

 

Lineup

Eric Young Jr., LF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Curtis Granderson, RF

Chris Young, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Travis d'Arnaud, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

 

Bench

Anthony Recker

Omar Quintanilla

Josh Satin

Juan Lagares

Lucas Duda

Andrew Brown

 ...

I have no idea if Lagares will start, but like I've been saying, I'm starting to think both players will play quite a bit, at least in the beginning of the season. Lagares could start Opening Day (hopefully he does), but to make life a little easier on myself, I'm projecting Eric Young Jr. since the lineup order seems pretty clear with him in it.

 

I haven't been following spring training too much since I don't get sny here but I saw yesterday that Collins went the Larussa route and batted the pitcher 8th, which would seem to make some sense if we don't have speed in the lead off position (ie lagares is playing and not Eric young)

Maybe he was just experimenting in meaningless games? Terry doesn't strike me as a guy to color outside the lines if you will.

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I haven't been following spring training too much since I don't get sny here but I saw yesterday that Collins went the Larussa route and batted the pitcher 8th, which would seem to make some sense if we don't have speed in the lead off position (ie lagares is playing and not Eric young)

Maybe he was just experimenting in meaningless games? Terry doesn't strike me as a guy to color outside the lines if you will.

 

Yeah, don't see Terry doing anything crazy like that (pitcher batting 8th). 

 

nmig, I'm saying Dice pitches well, gets dealt, and then Mejia takes his spot.  I guess you're saying you'd rather have Dice in the minors than whatever he'd bring back?  I can understand that thinking....Dice is at least readily-available depth that may be able to help you at the major-league level. 

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I think we're all fooling ourselves. Matsuzaka is going to absolutely suck this year. He sucked from 2009-2012. He sucked in his first 3 starts with us last year. Then in mid September he put together 4 consecutive good starts, 2 of which were against dead corpse teams. Then he follows it up with a mediocre spring.

 

He has nothing. What are the Mets hanging on to here? He was never that great to begin with, the league figured out Matsuzaka long ago.

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I think we're all fooling ourselves. Matsuzaka is going to absolutely suck this year. He sucked from 2009-2012. He sucked in his first 3 starts with us last year. Then in mid September he put together 4 consecutive good starts, 2 of which were against dead corpse teams. Then he follows it up with a mediocre spring.

 

He has nothing. What are the Mets hanging on to here? He was never that great to begin with, the league figured out Matsuzaka long ago.

 

If he does, no prob, really...Mejia gets into the rotation that much faster (as he should). 

 

I'm not expecting much from Dice myself...when I say "if he pitches well", it's more of a pipe-dream scenario than me thinking it's actually going to happen.  But it all goes back to why Sandy and Freddy should have kept their mouths shut about 90...teams that truly think they can win 90 games don't have a potential stiff like Dice in their rotation.  Mejia is clearly the guy with better upside and has done nothing to lose this battle to Dice, and the fact that it's clear that Dice went in as the guy to beat is a joke. 

 

Dice should be here for one reason and one reason only:  depth.  He's the guy you call up when someone gets hurt through mid to late June.  Once Syndergaard, Montero and deGrom get past their Super Two status, then Dice should literally not pitch for anyone except Vegas for the rest of the season, unless just about EVERYONE in that rotation somehow goes down with injuries. 

 

But anyway, by June whatever, here's what the depth chart should be...the guys already here aren't listed in any particular order:

 

Gee

Niese (he will miss time at some point...if you're getting two friggin' MRIs before the season starts, there's problems, and he's always been fragile)

Colon

Wheeler

Mejia (glad he's going to start at Vegas, in that at least he'll still be getting a starter's workload)

Syndergaard, Montero, deGrom (a little wait-and-see with these three, as to who deserves the first call-up, but I'd like to think they're all going to get some major-league innings this year...someone other than Niese is going to get hurt this season)

 

Dice K below all of the above, unless all of the young guys are having lousy seasons in AAA, which doesn't seem likely. 

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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We should hear something about the #5 job today since it's the deadline for Dice-K to be added to the roster, sent to the minors for $100k, or released. If he's added to the roster, then he's *officially* the #5. They could cut him and and resign him afterward, like they're doing with Farnsworth with the sole purpose of delaying the decision, but that would be a little surprising. 

 

Rubin has actually wrote and publicly posted a draft article of Dice-K being named the #5 (on Twitter), that's how likely it is to happen. 

 

I've said enough on this topic, but one more thing to top it off (found this on another message board) - a quote from Sandy, on Dice-K, talking with Francesa last September:

 

We’re at the point now where we’re running someone like Daisuke Matsuzaka out, which hasn’t been pretty, and which might not be pretty for the rest of the month.
Edited by nmigliore

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The Pirates sent down Andrew Lambo, who looked like the most realistic platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez, and plan to go forward with Travis Ishikawa in that role. 

 

If an Ike Davis or Lucas Duda trade is going to happen, that is almost certainly where it'll be.

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Mets are retaining Dice-K for $100k, which immediately made me believe Mejia won, but this can also be used to just delay the decision with the option of keeping Dice-K if they choose Mejia. It is definitely surprising, though. Mejia's chances are still alive.

 

Edit: must-read stuff on Rubin's blog discussing the purpose of this: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/83126/mets-hand-dice-k-100k-delay-decision

 

The short version: essentially this is all likely a hedge on Niese's health and keeping their options open. By paying Dice-K $100k to be optioned, they can essentially let him sit in St. Lucie next week, let Mejia pitch 4th game, carry an extra bench player in the process, and then decide if Niese can make that April 6th start or not. If he can't, Dice-K is recalled and the extra bench player goes down. If Niese is ready, they can send down the bench player and Mejia; or just keep Dice-K down and activate Niese, which Rubin made sound like a real possibility. It's actually a smart strategy, although we still might end up with Dice-K over Mejia whenever Niese is ready.

Edited by nmigliore

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Bit of a surprise but Vic Black was optioned. His control has been a mess all spring and his velocity has been down a bit, too. Parnell also continued to sit 88-92 yesterday, per Rubin. This bullpen is going to be such a disaster.

 

Valverde officially made the team.

Edited by nmigliore

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