“I’ll give most of the credit to Lucas Duda,” Collins said. “He is the one who has said, ‘I can hit lefties. I always have hit lefties.’ And I’m going to give Keith some credit.”
Hernandez—who hit .291 against southpaws during his career—downplayed his impact, but acknowledged Duda requested a session.
“We had one day where we worked together,” said Hernandez, a five-time All-Star as a lefty-hitting first baseman. “I just imparted to him tendencies of left-handers that I learned over 17 years, which I won’t divulge—just basically my experiences against left-handers. I just passed it on to him. But it was no alterations in his swing or anything drastic. It just was what I feel lefties like to do, how they like to work.
1.207 OPS for Duda against lefties this year in about 50 plates appearances. Small sample mirage? One of the things the Mets needed to happen for the Mets to be competitive this year was for Duda to be a productive play. Looks like that’s happening.
These players were good enough to get the Angels to 70 wins in their inaugural season and 86 victories in their second. The Mets would not be so lucky. By pushing the expansion draft date forward by two months, National League owners made a repeat of the damage done by the Angels in the first expansion draft impossible. With the earlier expansion draft date, the list of players available to the Mets and fellow expansion franchise Houston Colt .45s included none of the hot young talents that made the Angels early success possible. Instead, the new franchises were picking from the ranks of aging veterans, utility players and swingmen who would have certainly been released to make room for protected minor leaguers come December.
On Oct. 10, 1961, after Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and the Yankees polished off the Reds in a tidy five-game World Series victory, the Mets and Colt .45s filled out their rosters for the 1962 season. Both teams were required to select 16 players at a price of $75,000 each and four “premium players” at $125,000 each. Among the “premium players” were Colt .45s selection Joe Amalfitano, a 28-year-old third baseman with a .263/.330/.333 line and three home runs in 260 games played for the Giants; Don Zimmer, then a 31-year-old utility infielder with a .238/.291/.378 career line in 697 games between the Dodgers and Cubs (and an inexplicable All-Star Game appearance in 1960 behind a .252/.291/.403 batting line); and 25-year-old pitcher Jay Hook, who had posted a 5.23 ERA in 56 starts for Cincinnati and allowed a league-high 31 home runs for the Reds in 1960.
Sorry, Flores is not the answer at shortstop for the Mets.
As for the young players to whom Collins referred, he was thinking mostly of Wilmer Flores, who forever seems to be in the glare of the spotlight because of his questions about whether he can play shortstop.
Flores made what turned out to be a critical error — his eighth of the season — in the fifth inning, a big part of the Cubs’ four-run rally that tied the game.
“The main thing is I’ve got confidence in what I’m doing,” Colon says in Spanish, with bullpen coach Ricky Bones translating. “But, at my age, I even surprise myself that I’m pitching as well as I’m pitching right now.”
s both teams move toward contention in the near future, Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer believes that the sides will eventually match up on a deal (via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times).
“We haven’t made a deal yet, but there’s been matches that made sense, and I’m sure we’ll talk to them in the future,” said Hoyer, who has a relationship with Mets player-development executive Paul DePodesta going back to their time together in the Padres’ front office.
Cubs president Theo Epstein and Mets GM Sandy Alderson also have a good relationship.
“I guess when you factor in the hitting and the pitching, I guess people think it’s unusual,” Hoyer said of the fact the teams haven’t hooked up on a trade.
Third baseman David Wright has been on the disabled list since mid-April with a strained hamstring and recent reports had his recovery going slower than expected. And now we know why, as the Mets announced that Wright suffered a back injury earlier this week.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Wright has had lower back pain for several days, but an MRI exam revealed no structural damage. However, his rehab has been put on hold and there’s no timetable for it resuming.
This is a great ten minute video covering one of the most unlikely offensive performances in baseball history. I’ll take a thousand flailing strikeouts if that’s the price to pay for Mr. Koo’s at-bat and baserunning against Randy Johnson.
This is a nice problem to have. I haven’t looked yet but some team must need a catcher and has an extra shortstop. Off the top of my head, how about Reynolds and either d’Arnaud or Plawecki plus Matz or Syndergaard for Tulo?
For months, their front-office executives debated the merits of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Davis was a former first-round pick whose career had been stymied by injuries and a plummeting batting average. Duda, a lower-round pick, had worked his way into the lineup but did not have a great batting average, either, or an extensive track record.
Both were left-handed power hitters, and they were close in age. But one clear advantage Duda had over Davis was better exit velocity when he connected. Given regular playing time, the Mets projected, Duda could develop into an elite slugger.
So a year ago they kept Duda and traded Davis, and Duda flourished. In 2014, he hit 30 home runs, drove in 92 runs and established himself as one of the team’s core players.
The challenge now for teams is how to consistently use exit velocity in a smart way. The challenge for fans is to become familiar with yet another of the advanced statistics that are rapidly changing the way people think about the game. Exit velocity is already being mentioned during game broadcasts.
The Mets are among five teams that have agreed to allow the use of their pitchers taken in the 2014 draft to be involved in a study that is being run in accordance with MLB and the players association, as well as the American Sports Medicine Institute. While the Mets are involved in the pilot year, those in charge of research hope to eventually expand to all minor league pitchers and each team. [...]
Jeff Dugas is also trying to answer that question as well. A surgeon at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, he is performing a new surgical approach to torn ulnar collateral ligaments that could potentially cut down the recovery period for pitchers by at least six months. [...]
Dugas’ solution is a surgery that uses collagen-dipped super-tape. “Strong enough to tow a car with, basically,” he says. The tape is then attached to each end of the ligament and to the bone with an anchor, repairing the UCL back to where it tore off.
I’m still surprised the Mets haven’t worked to obtain a glove-first shortstop. I’m a fan of Reynolds but he seems to fit better as a utility guy.
The Mets GM made this point Thursday after another game-changing error by Flores resulted in a third straight Met loss, when he announced the call-up of Herrera to play second, with Murphy moving over to third until David Wright comes back in another week. For now, Flores, with seven errors in 22 games, remains at short, but only because Alderson wants to give him every opportunity to prove he can be at least adequate at the position and not a liability. But that rope is running short.
Mind you, Reynolds, who is hitting .317 at Las Vegas, doesn’t have a whole lot more range than Flores, but he’s steady, makes all the routine plays and has good baseball instincts. All along, the Mets have viewed him to be, if nothing else, a more than adquate space holder for crown jewel shortstop prospect, 19-year-old Amed Rosario, who’s considered to be at least two years away.
And he adjusted to a night in which he didn’t have his best fastball. He recorded just three strikeouts, his lowest total for the season, and he threw his slider more frequently than usual. As per Brooks Baseball, he threw 18 sliders out of his 93 pitches, a 19.4 percent rate. In his first four starts, he threw just 7.7 percent sliders, according to Fangraphs.
“You’re not always going to have your best stuff,” Harvey said. “Tonight, fortunately enough, we got it done.”
His absence had a very different cause than Harvey’s, and his best years are long past. But when A-Rod steps into the box against the new king of New York baseball, we will see two men, born elite and gifted at creating buzz, competing for the first time. It will be riveting.
The decline of African-American players in Major League Baseball has been a hot-button topic for a few years.
In 2014, just 8.3 percent of big league players were African-American.
Comedian Chris Rock took on this matter in a hilarious, yet poignant seven-minute monologue for the latest edition of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
Rock managed to explain his concerns while also dropping gems like this:
“Baseball isn’t 20 percent black anymore. It’s eight percent and falling fast. That’s an average of two guys per team and those two probably listen to Blake Shelton to keep from getting their ass kicked by their teammates.”
The number held no significance at the time. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron had reached that total, but both men then zoomed passed it. Aaron reached 660 in 1972 — also against the Reds — but by the time Mays reached it, Aaron had passed 700. Ruth reached 660 in 1933 at age 38. In 2004, Barry Bonds became the fourth player to reach and pass 660.
Now Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees is poised to join them. Rodriguez hit his 658th career home run on Friday night and is two short of that gleaming 660 signpost that Mays planted beyond the Shea Stadium wall almost 42 years ago.