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Putting aside that last groundout...

Edgy DC
Sep 14 2005 09:00 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Sep 14 2005 09:31 PM

... what are the odds this heartless base hit demon from the Land of the Rising Sun currently inhabiting Matsui's body actually belongs there?

I mean I know it's too little (it's not like he's carrying the team) and too late (fer sure), but maybe he can do this damn thing.

Elster88
Sep 14 2005 09:06 PM

I think so. I see him being one of the better starters at second base from an offensive standpoint, this side of guys like Kent or a roided Boone.
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This post had the designation 155) David Segui

Nymr83
Sep 14 2005 09:44 PM

you guys are way too optimistic. the real matsui (the one we can't tolerate) will be back before the end of the year or the beginning of next when the games count again.

Edgy DC
Sep 14 2005 09:53 PM

Speak for yourself. You underestimate my tolerance.

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 14 2005 10:15 PM

The big question for Matsui is whether he can stay healthy. I think an argument can be made that his poor play has more or less accompanied his injuries.

A second question would be whether the Mets think that risk is worth it with all the other attendent questions (below par DP-turning, communication breakdowns, ugly fans eager to blame him for any and all problems the team may have next year, and so on). That they essentially turned tail and played Cairo for weeks when Matsui was an option doesn;t speak well on that count.

A third would be: There had better be a solution with less risk or a lot more upside next year if he does go.

Not to say an upgrade shouldn't be examined, but I think when healthy he can be an asset: Speed, nice line-drive hitting, xbh power, etc.

Edgy DC
Sep 14 2005 10:25 PM

Maybe it helps to have a countryman on his team who doesn't alientate him by talking about how cute his TV-hostess wife is.

No more far-fetched than some of the more serious theories. Anyhow, this is the Mets first team with three Japanese players. Two Koreans also.

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 14 2005 10:29 PM

Well, interesting that Matsui started hitting about the time Shingo showed up. Maybe they're buddies.

Speaking of odd coincidences, has anyone other than me mentally teed up the notion that this team's descent into irrelevance coincided nearly precisely to the return of Oxnard's own Steve Trachsel?

SI Metman
Sep 14 2005 11:07 PM

I think Kaz is quietly putting together a good run here.

10 game hitting streak, average creeping up to .260

I blame the losing streak on the bats in the middle of the lineup doing absolutly nothing - Cliffy, Wright, Jacobs in SF and vs Philly, Diaz, and even Reyes at the top.

Kaz and Beltran are the only 2 hitters who have shown up the last 2 weeks.

Elster88
Sep 14 2005 11:53 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Sep 15 2005 12:47 AM

Nymr83 wrote:
you guys are way too optimistic. the real matsui (the one we can't tolerate) will be back before the end of the year or the beginning of next when the games count again.


Actually the real Matsui is the one who hit .272 with 32 doubles in 114 games last year. I like that Matsui.
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This post had the designation 155) David Segui

smg58
Sep 15 2005 12:36 AM

He's got a .700 OPS over two seasons, and it will take a lot more than two good weeks to make me think there's more to him than that. You can start to make firm conclusions about a hitter in his second year, and his overall performance still suggests mediocrity.

Elster88
Sep 15 2005 12:51 AM

Which firm conclusions are you referring to? The only thing that I am confiriming is that he can hit the way that the same person did who hit .272. I think his OPS for last year was .730. That's the conclusion I've drawn, that he can hit at a career .730 OPS.

I think that he can do better. I'll even say he can do better, so this can be put into the prediction archives if so desired.

But conclusions? I don't see anyone drawing a firm conclusion that is out of whack. Not sure what you're referring to.
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This post had the designation 155) David Segui

Nymr83
Sep 15 2005 02:08 AM

i've concluded that he can't play defense well at two infield spots where we've tried him and that he isn't a good hitter. thats about all i need to know.

Edgy DC
Sep 15 2005 09:10 AM

]You can start to make firm conclusions about a hitter in his second year....


You can make counclusions any time you want. Firmness is relative.

In a sense, he's still in his second season. He's only got 197 games under his belt, and 18 of those have been pinch-hitting affairs.

Defense and health are two other affairs, though.

Yancy Street Gang
Sep 15 2005 09:44 AM

Matsui also may end up being the Schaefer Mets Player of the Month for September.

Edgy DC
Sep 15 2005 09:48 AM

Holy crap, I'm stuck on the word "affairs" today, aren't I?

smg58
Sep 15 2005 10:08 AM

I mean that at a hitter's second season is generally a clearer indication of the kind of player he's going to be than his rookie season. Guys like Hank Blalock, Hideki Matsui and Alfonso Soriano moved significantly forward their second year, and it's been a good barometer of how they've continued to perform. (And I think it's an extremely good sign for David Wright.) By contrast, Jason Phillips' second year suggested that his rookie year was too good to be true, and he's done nothing for the Dodgers this year to indicate otherwise.

With Kaz, his recent stretch has brought him closer to last year's numbers, but he's still solidly below them. I just don't see much upside with him. Now it's possible that the Mets might not have a better option, and JD's third question is a valid one, which would turn the debate to whether Anderson Hernandez has more or less upside and is a greater or lesser risk. Something tells me we're divided on that one.

Edgy DC
Sep 15 2005 10:20 AM

But I'm still hung on the

(1) whether there's any indication statistically, not anecdotally, that a second season is a good barometer
(2) whether the interruptions of both Matsui's seasons can really allow us to define him as having had two seasons
(3) that (1), if true, can really be applied to hitters joining the big leagues in the middle of their careers

Rotblatt
Sep 15 2005 10:41 AM

Mets Matsui/Cairo Timeline (OPS is cumulative, except at month end, where stats for the month are listed)

April
(4/14-4/16) Matsui (.690 OPS) missed three games in with a scratched left cornea
(4/30) Cairo (.843 OPS in 24 April AB); Matsui (.634 OPS in 79 AB)

May
(5/22-5/28) Matsui (.633 OPS) missed six games with a strained trapezoidal muscle/sore neck/back; used as pinch hitter as Cairo starts
(5/31) Cairo (.705 OPS in 61 AB); Matsui (.606 OPS in 69 AB)

June
(6/1) Matsui (.617 OPS) lost job to Cairo (.744 OPS), who has started in 9 of the last 10 games, according to Star Ledger
(6/1-6/10) Cairo (.720 OPS) injured hamstring, Matsui (.620 OPS) starts 6 of next 7 games
(6/15) Cairo (.688 OPS) reinjured hamstring, placed on DL
(6/17) Matsui (.604 OPS) injured left knee, carried off field
(6/20) Matsui placed on 15-day DL
(6/30) Cairo rehabs at St. Lucie; Cairo (.341 OPS in 13 AB); Matsui (.536 OPS in 36 AB)

July
(7/2) Cairo taken off DL
(7/10) Cairo (.712 OPS) starts for first time since being activated.
(7/31-8/4) Matsui rehabs with Brooklyn; Cairo (.669 OPS in 77 AB); Matsui (0 AB)

August
(8/5-8/8) Matsui rehabs with Binghamton
(8/9) Matsui taken off DL
(8/11) Matsui starts at second
(8/26) Willie tells Newsday that although Matsui (.597 OPS) has played well lately (.954 OPS in last 4 games), Cairo is his starter
(8/31) Cairo (.515 OPS in 93 AB); Matsui (.515 OPS in 32 AB)

September
(9/4) Matsui (.614 OPS) unofficially regains starting job after going 3-5 against Florida.
(9/14) Matsui's OPS up to .659 after posting 1.008 OPS in September; Cairo (.445 OPS in 13 AB)

Matsui pretty much stunk even before he developed back problems, and did even worse afterwards. He also stunk immediately after being reactivated from his knee problems until the end of August. Since August 22 (at which point his OPS was .576), he's been great (raising his OPS all the way to .659), but that's a pretty small sample size.

Cairo, on the other hand, actually did okay until he developed a hamstring injury in June, after which, he stunk.

So you could actually make a stronger case for injury derailing Cairo than you could for Matsui.

Looking at the timeline, I'm skeptical of Matsui. He'll have to finish out the season strong in order for me to have any confidence in him.

Edgy DC
Sep 15 2005 10:53 AM

]So you could actually make a stronger case for injury derailing Cairo than you could for Matsui.


You could, but you could go the other way.

And one case being true doesn't make the other untrue.

Elster88
Sep 15 2005 11:00 AM

Edgy DC wrote:
]So you could actually make a stronger case for injury derailing Cairo than you could for Matsui.


You could, but you could go the other way.

And one case being true doesn't make the other untrue.


All true. Useless to speculate who was more derailed. I like to put on my blue and orange glasses and say Matsui had a bad first half, and then got injured. That's all. I hope his bad first half isn't representative of his playing ability.

As for Cairo, you can look at his career numbers and say this year is making up for last year in order to keep his career numbers at the same level they were at in 2003.
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This post had the designation 154) Tommy Davis

sharpie
Sep 15 2005 11:11 AM

smg's second year argument doesn't work for Matsui because of all of his years in Japanese ball.

I think his upside is way higher than Cairo's who is a utility player at best and certainly shouldn't be starting on a major league level. Jury is still out on Kaz but he's been looking like Ichiro the last few weeks.

smg58
Sep 15 2005 02:39 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
But I'm still hung on the

(1) whether there's any indication statistically, not anecdotally, that a second season is a good barometer
(2) whether the interruptions of both Matsui's seasons can really allow us to define him as having had two seasons
(3) that (1), if true, can really be applied to hitters joining the big leagues in the middle of their careers


I have no idea what the statistics are. I imagine somebody whose done more sabermetrics than I have might have seen something. I figure at the very least, somebody's looked at the so-called "sophomore jinx" and how players who took a step backwards their second year did or didn't recover from it. This is just an impression I've gotten over the past few years, and it could be right or wrong.

You could argue that Matsui still hasn't seen enough action yet. I certainly wouldn't have counted last year for Reyes.

I would think it has as much to do with a new player adjusting to major league pitiching (and vice versa) than physical development, if not more so. Power numbers might be affected by a player heading into his mid-twenties, but Soriano was already 25 his rookie year. So I don't see why it wouldn't apply to both Matsuis.