Tag:Jose Reyes
Posted on: March 31, 2008 3:43 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2008 4:50 pm
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Opening day Mets BP

MIAMI -- A few notes from the Mets batting practice on opening day.

-- The Mets are a real loose club, especially the sparkplug types Angel Pagan and Jose Reyes. Pagan seems to pal around with Reyes quite a bit, a Reyes wannabe. Pagan is an Endy Chavez with a bit more pop and will be in the opening day lineup with Moises Alou out. Pagan once stole 52 bases in Class A and could be a threat on the bags with the running Mets. Willie Randolph is a running manager who played in the steals era with Rickey Henderson. Reyes, of course, is the modern-day Rickey Henderson.

Own Pagan in all NL-only Rotisserie leagues at this point. I am even starting him in a 10-team Head-to-Head NL-only league with Jeremy Hermida on the DL and Cameron Maybin in the minors.

-- When the crowd started a Jose-Jose-Jose chant -- you know, the one on the video game commercials -- Oliver Perez waved them off and pointed to John Maine. Apparently, Perez has a similar opinion of the soon-to-be 27-year-old who doubles as a third-year starting pitcher. Maine displayed 20-win stuff in spring training and had that 15-K game on the penultimate day of last season. He is ready to take a huge step forward and could wind up in the top 10 of Fantasy starting pitchers by the end of the season. Look at what he did in the first half: 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA and .214 batting-average against. He is capable of that over significant stretches and could be ready to do it over a full season not that he is hitting his prime in Year 3.

-- A fan held up a sign during BP, noting the Jets and Mets won in 1969, the Giants and Mets won in '86 and the Giants won in 2008 and the Mets would win, too. Interesting coincidence for a New York fan.

-- Johan Santana, who will have to get used to hitting and is actually a pretty decent hitter, broke his bat on his first full batting-practice swing. He borrowed Reyes' bat and slapped a few would-be hits to right.

-- Marlins PR director Matt Roebuck was walking around retire Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine during the Mets BP. Conine finished last year with the Mets but signed a one-day contract last week to retire a Marlin.

-- Speaking of PR people, Mets PR man Jay Horowitz got into an elevated discussion with an over-bearing media member (no, not me) and needed to be held back from Luis Castillo before BP. David Wright and company were already out on the field and got a good chuckle out of the situation. Horowitz is a mellow guy who wouldn't have a harsh word for anyone, so the loose Mets were having a little fun with him.

Emack.

Posted on: March 28, 2008 1:38 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2008 3:12 pm
 

Farewell to the Fort? O's play Mets in finale

FORT LAUDERDALE -- This could be the last game for the Orioles here and not just for the year -- ever. With the Dodgers leaving Florida for the desert, Dodgertown figures to become O-town.

-- Daniel Cabrera vs. Orlando Hernandez. El Duque was supposed to have scrapped his high-leg kick, but in the windup it doesn't look any different. He does a quick slide-step from the stretch, though. And it looks he gets nothing on the ball in terms of velocity.

-- The Mets have most of their regulars here today, including Carlos Delgado who hasn't aged gracefully, Fantasy-wise. He has one of the biggest hitter weaknesses in baseball now -- the inside fastball. Bust him on the hands, which required surgery a couple of winters ago, and you can get him out. I wanted to see him turn on an inside pitch vs. the hard-throwing Cabrera. Late once and then went down swinging on a hard one inside. Ew. It was far too easy to get him out. That has to be scary for his Fantasy owners. Everyone knows Delgado's bat speed is down and he cannot get around on the inside heat. Watch that early this season to see if it comes around.

-- Brady Clark almost took off third-base coach Juan Samuel's head on a foul liner into the O's bench area. Then Cabrera buzzed Clark up and in on the next pitch. No correlation of events, but Mets fans have to still have a distaste in their mouths for the Mets deal to get Samuel back in the late '80s. The Mets gave up Lenny Dykstra and got a washed up ex-Phillie.

-- It will be interesting if El Duque decides to protect Triple-A outfielder Clark by buzzing an O's player. Getting hit by an 80 mph El Duque fastball is quite different than a 95 mph Cabrera offering.

-- OUCH! Reyes got one right in the back of the shoulder from Cabrera. This is going to get interesting.

-- Cabrera has no idea where it's going. That has to be discomforting in the batter's box.

-- Reyes got up and went to first. The Mets organization had its breath held for 45 seconds there. Reyes is the most valuable Met. Without him down the stretch last year -- September was his worst month in his career -- the Mets fizzled. Without Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran matter much less.

-- El Duque most certainly will have to plunk an Oriole now. They might wait until Nick Markakis comes up. You can buzz Clark, but popping Reyes in the back of the throwing arm was just uncalled for. If it wasn't the always wild Cabrera, you would figure that was clearly on purpose.

-- No HBP in a second scoreless inning of work by El Duque. He was aided by a nice-looking double play by Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes. The Mets are built real, real strong up the middle defensively. Reyes, Castillo, Schneider and Beltran could all win Gold Gloves. David Wright already won one last year at third, despite 20-plus errors. Mets pitchers are intriguing enough, but that is some defense and a pitchers park to back them. Schneider is also an elite game-caller, too, and pitching coach Rick Peterson and his .230 line/blind bullpen sessions approach is one of the best of the business.

-- Wright, who singled in the third but was erased by a Beltran DP grounder, came to the bench and sat down next to hitting coach Howard Johnson. The Mets' two best third basemen in franchise history shared their thoughts on hitting. Oh, to be a fly on their cap during that conversation.

-- Ryan Church, who was had an awful spring, lost control of the bat (two different bats, actually) on consecutive pitches from Cabrera. Those were painful souvenirs for the fans behind the O's first-base dugout. The bats wound up almost exactly the same spot. Church has pop but his bad spring has to be a concern for the Mets who gave up the immensely talent Lastings Milledge to get him and Schneider. Church will have a lot of pressure to at least perform on Milledge's level the next three years.

-- Adam Jones ripped a good-looking double to left off El Duque in the third. A streaky talent who could be a Fantasy star by the second half.

-- Wow, Reyes is amazing. He caught an overhead bloop, spun and fired to Castillo for a 6-4 DP on Jones. El Duque had second and third and no outs but that defense up the middle could have bailed him out again. Roberts slashed an opposite-field double to left to score a run.

-- Haha. I almost called that one. Markakis' first at-bat since the Reyes beaning, El Duque spun him around on an inside pitch. Could have been trying to nail him. Second pitch, same thing. He wound up leveling the count at 2-2. Markakis hit a potential three-run homer just foul. Had El Duque been able to throw more than low-80s, Markakis would have hit that one fair. El Duque is crafty. He got Markakis to pop out to center to end the inning.

-- Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose. He stole second with his trademark head first slide. He is hard on his body, but a bigger, stronger physique could help him stay healthy and strong through the whole year. Oh, and there goes Reyes again. Stole third without a throw. Amazin' Met.

-- Luke Scott has played left field like a DH this spring. Friday he dropped two easy fly balls. The second he didn't get an error on because he threw to third for a 7-5 force out. Scott drops flies and hasn't showed much of an arm. Good thing he has a nice OPS bat and 20-homer potential because he is playing like a Triple-A guy.

-- Cabrera had bases loaded and no outs and got another chance to work on his "damage control." He allowed just the one run on Scott's dropped fly. Reyes might not have tried to score on that short popup and Cabrera had a shot at getting out of it altogether.

-- El Duque's work is done after five effective innings. He scattered four hits and was aided by the two double plays. He looks ready to open the season as the Mets' No. 5 starter, albeit an unspectacular one you should not trust. He will be a five-inning pitcher to start the season. Manager Willie Randolph said the Mets will open the first week with a No. 5 starter, but I will wait until his speaks after the game before updating our Probable Pitchers report. El Duque working in Week 1 against the Braves means Pedro Martinez won't be a two-start pitcher now.

-- Mike Pelfrey, with the No. 5 starter's spot lost, came on in the sixth and walked Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora. Randolph had to come out of the dugout to talk to him. Bad news. Consider Pelfrey nothing more than a Triple-A starter at this point, albeit a promising one who could wind up getting starts for a top contender by year's end -- or whenever El Duque or Pedro Martinez need a DL stint.

Emack.

Posted on: March 24, 2008 1:02 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2008 3:23 pm
 

Meet the Mets

FORT LAUDERDALE -- John Maine former struggling O's prospect vs. Adam Loewen current O's prospect looking to establish himself. The top three in the Mets lineup is opening day quality -- Jose B. Reyes, Luis Castillo and David Wright. Like always the O's have their No. 1 lineup going at home.

-- Jose Reyes and David Wright both look beefed up this spring. They are still growing. At their age, I guess I should not be surprised.

-- Castillo smacked a double to left center and then looked as if he hobbled into second. He really doesn't look like he is running that well. If you are counting on 20 steals from him at this point... forget it. He is coming off knee surgery, got a late start in camp and clearly doesn't look 100 percent. To top off his bad-kneed jaunt to second, he was picked off second on a Wright lineout to first.

Castillo was a guy who could be a 20-plus steals threat with the running Mets -- Willie Randolph is a manager from the 80s era that favored the steal -- but his legs have gotten old the past few years. And surgery looks like it didn't help any.

-- Reyes made a highlight-reel stab of a Brian Roberts grounder up the middle, spun and fired a pea to nail a speedy runner by three steps. That was impressive. Reyes has a cannon arm. He probably can throw in the mid-90s.

-- Maine blew away Nick Markakis to end a 1-2-3 first. Maine was a 15-game winner in his first full season. This year, 20 wins wouldn't be out of the question. Toss in 200 Ks, too. He could finish the year in the top 10 of Fantasy aces. Sign him up in the middle rounds.

-- OK, so Maine was outstanding all told today. A third-year starting pitcher who can compete on the level of anyone this season. He had 20-win stuff today, albeit against the lowly O's lineup.

-- Fernando Tatis walked past me before warming up. He is now no bigger than I. Hm. Strange. He used to be a lot bigger, I thought. He of the two grand slams in one innings -- poor Chan Ho Park. I guess we shouldn't feel bad for Park. The Rangers still paid him a bazillion dollars.

-- Ryan Church is here today. He of the 40-plus double in old RFK. He has always had a nice OPS bat and his doubles can become homers in Shea. He has always hit well there. He is a fairly big guy. Not as stocky/bulky as a David Wright... but his shoulders and stature are a bit bigger.

Church moves fairly well for a big guy ... better than what Castillo moved like on his double. But Church did ground into a DP in the second.

In the top of the third, Church sat down next to hitting coach Howard Johnson. They were having an inning-long conversation. HoJo is a good tutor for him. He knows a little bit about turning doubles into homers.

Emack.

Posted on: February 29, 2008 1:30 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2008 1:28 pm
 

Oh no, Johan!

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Well, our pregame blog might have proved prophetic. And Johan Santana looked pathetic.

Keeping the ball in the park might be problematic for the $150 million ace.

Juan Gonzalez has been out of baseball for years, but it didn't stop him from hitting a three-run homer in the first inning. Santana's first pitch was a strike. His first batter was retired on a lazy fly to left.

It was all downhill from there.

Chris Duncan, batting in the comfy spot in front of Albert Pujols, blooped a single to left -- a jam shot. Pujols smashed a ground double down the third-base line. Then Juan Gone, who was underwhelming in batting practice, hit the first pitch out to left for a three-run homer. In the press box a Cards beat writer says Gonzalez is 6-for-7 with two homers off Santana in his career. Interesting. I have to look that up to confirm it.

Santana settled down and struck out Ryan Ludwick to end his disasterous first inning.

The second inning was easier, three easy fly outs, but he did give up a gapped triple to left center by light-hitting infielder Brendan Ryan.

Santana threw strikes, but a few balls were hit quite hard. He is out of the game after two innings and 30 pitches. Can't wait to hear what he has to say.

-- Jose Reyes looks spry as ever, beating out an infield hit, going first to third on a ground single to center and scoring on a slap to right. He looked a bit more ripped in the clubhouse. We once said Hanley Ramirez was a Reyes-clone when he was a rookie, albeit a tad bit stronger and a step slower. Reyes' speed is still there -- he has a sprinter's body -- but the stronger upper body made him appear even more Hanley-like.

-- This is a great spring game. Three of the top picks in Fantasy. Pujols, Reyes and Santana.

(Actually -- thanks to the blog commenter that reminded me about David Wright -- FOUR of the top picks in Fantasy. How could I leave him out of the conversation for the top pick?)

It might help an early first-rounder sway their pick. I pick third in a Head-to-Head money league with my friend that figures to see Santana and Alex Rodriguez go 1-2. I might also trade up to No. 1, if I feel I need Santana. I was scared to pick Pujols because of the elbow, but strikeouts are minus-1 and I could make a big mistake if I am wrong on Pujols. I might not be able to pass on him.

Pujols doesn't strike out much, especially for a slugger. That is a huge difference between him and the likes of Ryan Howard and even Prince Fielder. (Pujols, who looked great in BP (see BP blog below), hit a homer in the game off Duaner Sanchez. Pujols indeed looks ready to make up for arguably the worst season of his career -- at age 27, no less.

-- Before the homer, Aaron Heilman got Pujols out in front on a nice changeup. That's the changeup that gets ripped for homers when Heilman doesn't set it up right. When he does? He gets Pujols out in front... and then he did it again and got him to pop up.

Heilman looks good. As a setup man for a top contender, he should post a lot of relief victories again. He is one of the best setup men in Fantasy Baseball for that reason alone. He also happens to be a real good pitcher, a former first-round pick out of Notre Dame. Heilman retired Duncan, Pujols and Glaus on eight pitches. The first two torched Johan.

-- Adam Wainwright is on the other side. He is working into the third inning after a six-pitch second. Wainwright is a favorite of mine and could be a great pick after the top 25 aces of Fantasy. I see a future Cy Young winner, a young Chris Carpenter. I said that last spring. Talking to him, he seemed way too cocky, but I guess that is a trait the good ones have.

-- Carlos Delgado lined a single to past second. He struck out looking in his first at-bat. The wrist bothered him last year, inability to turn on inside heat. That single looked sharp.

-- Santana might be available now. See you in a bit.

-- A few of the things jotted from the Santana news conference:

"We figured out they were swinging right away. They were very aggressive, so in the second inning we started throwing changeups and sliders. For my first spring game, I feel pretty good."

"I had planned to throw 45 pitches and just two innings. I threw 30 in the game (22 strikes) and finished up with 15 in the bullpen."

"I focused on my release point. The difficulty with the changeup is to get it to look like a fastball."

"(Juan Gonzalez) has always been a very good hitter. I have followed him through his career.  Today he was very aggressive and swung at the first pitch." 6-for-7 with two homers.

About the fans and teammates amping him up in spring training ... "I gotta get used to it. It is gonna be like that all year. But I have to control my emotions and take it easy right now."

"It's always good to get the first one out of the way. I know how important it is important for you guys and the city. This is just the beginning."

"I would rather leave it here in spring training, so when we get to New York, we're ready to go. Even though the numbers will say something different, I am very happy with the way I feel right now. We'll see where we are at the end."

-- The Mets clubhouse has been open for a bit now. Gotta go down and ask the questions that have already been asked four times.... see you in a bit.

-- Catcher Ramon Castro, who might have been Santana's catcher to aid communication, shed a little bit of light on the difference between the first-inning Santana and the second-inning Santana.

"He left a couple of mistakes up."

"He called to me, 'Let's go change things up.' He started throwing first-pitch changeups and sliders. It is spring training, but he wants to do good, too."

The pitch Gonzalez hit was a "Sinker." A sinking fastball. "But it didn't sink. It stayed straight."

The Mets closed the clubhouse until after the game, right after I got there. Figures. In-game blogging really hamstrings a reporter. The stars are likely gone. But at least Willie Randolph will have some comments to make.

This it it for my game blog. Sorry I didn't get more on the other Fantasy guys. But, after today, I am leaning more toward Pujols than Santana, Reyes or Wright in that Head-to-Head league I mentioned above. In Rotisserie, my pick is clearly Reyes.

As far as why I left Wright out originally (I have to try to explain the inexplicable): I have a general unsubstantiated gut feeling Wright is a very, very good first-rounder -- just not an elite one. I don't see 40 homers and 125 RBI from him like I can see with A-Rod and Miguel Cabrera at his position. The 30-plus steals help close the gap in Rotisserie, but if I am looking for a speed guy, it would be Reyes over Wright anyway.

Emack.

 
 
 
 
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