Saturday, April 14, 2007

YET ANOTHER ROUND OF RATHER BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE 7-3 N.Y. METS

1. Jose. Fucking. Reyes. As always, I'll start with the caveat, then move along to the deal itself: It's a long season. Lots can happen, good & bad.

Ok, enough of that. His OBP is .458, good for second in the NL. He's drawn 8 walks in 10 games, and if you've watched the games at all, you'll realize that he can give you a Rickeygasm when he leads off an inning: taking pitches, leaning tantilizingly over the plate letting pitches just outside go by, dropping a hand from the bat as if to say, "I ain't offering at that shit." And what does the ump do on everyone of these pitches? He does nothing! Calls it a ball. Jose's OBP leading off an inning? .471.

And once he's on the bases? Well, we've known that drill for a couple years now.

And if the pitcher tries to groove a strike? Uh-uh. He's making solid contact on 2 of 3 at-bats when he doesn't walk. Line drives to all fields. Anyhow, after 10 games, he's leading the majors in runs scored, he's third in the NL in RBI, leads in SBs, is tied for the lead in triples. With RISP he's batting .455, and his SLG with runners on base is .625.

Oh, and his defense at short has been spectacular. With a man on first and a groundball up the middle, he's turning them all into easy DPs. His wicked speed and his surprising strength come into play on the other side of the ball too. His arm may be more impressive than his quickness. (Plus, he's got a wizard turning those pivots with him. Damn are those two fun to watch in the field.)

2. Although none of the other Mets have hit worth shit since coming back to Shea (Beltran, for instance, is hitting his usual .214 at the Extremely Unfriendly Confines), Young Mr. Wright is proving yet again that he is the Prince of New York: 357/458/571 on the current homestand. Good to see.

3. As good as the Mets ERA has been (best in the NL), they'd better start striking guys out, and stop walking everyone if they expect it to continue. A team K/BB ratio of 52/45 is awful, as is the K rate of 52 in 88 IP. Not good. For comparison sake, the Mets are tied for last in the NL in Ks, and only three teams have handed out more walks. Only the Nats, with their 5.34 ERA, have a worse K/BB ratio.

I'll grant this, it hasn't only been luck, as the Met D has been stellar. But teams with K rates of 5 per 9 inning don't yield .203 batting averages. And no team turns 300 double plays, or whatever pace the Mets are on. The hits are gonna start increasing unless the Ks go up, and those walks will start to cause damage eventually. I hope Rick Peterson is focusing on this.

4. Finally, the Mets are second in the NL in runs, despite a dearth of power and fairly pedestrian performance with RISP. There are two reasons for this: Jose Reyes, and a teamwide ability to get on base this year. Everyone's been slapping singles and everyone's been drawing walks. It's a good sign, and I don't think it's an accident. The Mets were a bit lucky last year, scoring as much as they did with an average team OBP. But this year, things look to be a bit more balanced.

They've got the team speed (Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Valentin are all either fast, very good baserunners, or both. Even Green, Alou, LoDuca and Delgado are average; no one's particularly slow or clumsy out there). And, most importantly, with Beltran, Delgado & Wright, the power'll come as the weather heats up and they play games in Philly, Houston, Arizona, Denver & Milwaukee. With the team-wide commitment to get on base -- starting out of the leadoff spot -- these fellas are gonna score a lot of runs. They'll strand plenty, that's for sure, but those crooked numbers can go up really fast when guys are all over the basepaths.

Oh, and I think we'll be hearing some thunder at the ballpark today. Not the storm, that's coming tomorrow. Just some rumbling bats.

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2 Comments:

Blogger fridge said...

I used to tease my NY Met fan buddy back when Reyes OBP was below his BA (difficult to do). He was swinging at everything. Lots of players never make the leap to having good plate discipline. I would tell him there's no difference between him and Christian Guzman.

I'm not teasing him anymore. I can truly say that there's probably no other position player I'd trade for Reyes. And that includes Pujols.

"Rickeygasm" is classic. Because when he's drawing walks, he is exactly like Rickey. That is, except he doesn't appear to be a complete ass and he plays SS with a rocket arm.

Good to be a Met fan right now.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Guzman is a good analogy. As recently as last spring I feared that's what we had on our hands with Reyes.

I think one of his skills is a serious set of baseball smarts. His constant improvement in all areas indicates as much.

Then again, he went 0-5 on th day I wrote this, against the Nats, of all teams. So maybe I spoke to soon.

5:44 AM  

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