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Lineup Questions--First Base & Second Base

Rotblatt
Aug 01 2005 10:21 AM

No more trade help expected, so what do we do with our two problem children, 1B & 2B?

Our options for 1st without calling up anyone are Mientkiewicz, Offerman, Anderson, Woody & Cairo.

Cairo's playing second (poorly) & Offerman & Woody have been struggling in July, with .491 & .555 OPS's, respectively. Mientkiewicz has had a crappy, crappy season so far, breaking my poor little optimistic heart in the process. Lately, however, he might be starting to turn it around--or is he just getting my hopes up before dashing them to the ground and spitting an enormous wad of tobacco on them?

In June & July, he's had the following line:
25 G, 79 AB, .279 AVG/.337 OBP/.506 SLG/.843 OPS

Since getting off the DL on July 16, he's posted the following:
10 G, 35 AB, .314 AVG/.351 OBP/.543 SLG/.894 OPS

Now, that's more power than he usually produces (in his best season, he never broke .464 SLG) but he's certainly had streaks where he hit for as much power before. His averages are pretty much in line with where you'd expect but he's not walking as much as usual.

At this point, I don't trust him to produce like this over the rest of the season, but I certainly think he's earned a couple more starts (even against lefties). The question is, will Willie see it the same way?

The mitigating factor is that Marlon's had a great July--.333 AVG/.367 OBP/.519 SLG/.885 OPS--but I'd rather put him in at 2B until Matsui gets back, at least against righties.

Which leads us to 2B.

Cairo's done about what we could reasonably have expected him to do by putting up a .680 OPS, but frankly, that's not very good AND he lacks range at second. Unlike Mientkiewicz, there's pretty much NO hope that Cairo will get better. Anderson's been good off the bench for us and I'm unsure about his defense . . . Given our many, many middle infield options at AA, I'm tempted to see us give a kid a shot. And a REAL shot, where we play him every day for a couple weeks and see what he does.

At this point, Lambin is outperforming Hernandez in pretty much every aspect but SB & fielding, and MOST of Lambin's errors have come from 3B, IIRC.

Lambin: .298/.357/.490/.847 OPS, 1 SB/2 CS, 11 E, 30 G
Hernandez: .290/.338/.420/.758 OPS, 13 SB/3 CS, 4 E, 33 G

Since both are slumping a bit right now (Hernandez especially), maybe we should wait until one of them starts knocking the ball around, then call him up . . . Or maybe we should wait on Matsui . . . I'm torn on this aspect, since we should probably see what Matsui's got left before heading into 2006.

At any rate, Valent needs to be called up right away. He's batting .299 now with a .933 OPS for the season at Norfolk and he went 2-3 with 2 HR & a BB last night.

Given Mientkiewicz's possible resurgance, I don't know that I'd want to start him at 1B regularly, but we should be able to find enough playing time for him between Mientkiewicz & Cliff. And Diaz has been hot as well for the last few weeks and finished out July by going 5-13 with a HR this weekend.

What to people think Willie/Omar should do?

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 01 2005 10:50 AM

I say we call up the better of Anderson/Lambin, try and trade Cairo, play Minky with Diaz/Woody in as starters vs. LHP, demote Gerald W.

Elster88
Aug 01 2005 10:54 AM

Give Matsui a chance if he gets healthy. The last two months of the season don't mean much, IMO.

Rockin' Doc
Aug 01 2005 10:58 AM

Elster88 - "...The last two months of the season don't mean much, IMO."

Generally not to Mets fans, anyway.

seawolf17
Aug 01 2005 11:07 AM

I'd let Matsui play also. We're stuck with his contract for next year if he doesn't perform; let's see if he can put it together long enough to create some interest in him somewhere else in the league.

I'm not sold on Mientkiewicz at first, though. I don't know that I want Valent up here either, but I'd see if Diaz can play first for two months. Has he been playing 1B at Norfolk?

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 01 2005 11:09 AM

Can you believe I forgot Matsui even existed.

By all means, if he's healthy.

Edgy DC
Aug 01 2005 11:12 AM

Matsui will be back soon enough, I guess. Cairo, Woody, Anderson, Offerman can keep faking it at second for another week or so. If re-hab shows that Matsui isn't ready, then yeah, call up Lambin.

The lack of power on the bench for this team has been my bitching pont from day one. Vic Diaz would fit so nicely on the club right now. Valent too, but his skills are a little more redundant with Mientkiewicz's. Diaz gives you an alternative.

I'm very happy with the pinch-hitters hitting the way they have. But they're all so similar --- singles-hitting former infielders trying to cover corner positions as backups and injury replacements. Just yuck. Throw a real lineup out there, Willie.

So I'm saying get Diaz on this team, and Valent if you are going to move MIentkiewicz.

And I'm saying to get Matsui on this team, and Lambin if he isn't ready.

Graves can get straight faster and with less risk at Norfolk.

Valadius
Aug 01 2005 06:34 PM

Valent should come up immediately to platoon at 1B with Manker. Other than that, I'd say that this offseason, we need to start a youth movement. Bring up our prospects.

Bret Sabermetric
Aug 01 2005 07:23 PM

What? And give up on this veteran roster? Just like that? After only four years of being on the verge of a breakout season?

smg58
Aug 01 2005 07:47 PM

We need to play Kaz, if for nothing else than to improve his palatabilty to somebody else in the fall.

Mintkiewicz' trend is upward, which is why I don't understand why Randolph saw the need to bench him against Houston. I'd like to have Valent up here as well, but I'd still give Minky the benefit of the doubt.

TheOldMole
Aug 01 2005 08:46 PM

Anyone know when Kaz comes back?

seawolf17
Aug 01 2005 09:32 PM

Omar (on with Joe & Sid today) said about a week.

metsmarathon
Aug 01 2005 09:53 PM

hey, brett boone is available again...

Bret Sabermetric
Aug 01 2005 10:32 PM

seawolf17 wrote:
Omar (on with Joe & Sid today) said about a week.


He also denied that the Kaz Matsui experiment was over.

Well, what did you expect him to say? "Yes, Sid, we're all rooting that Kaz drops dead in his rehab games and save us the embarrassment of benching him."

Elster88
Aug 08 2005 04:19 PM

NY Times

]Second baseman Kazuo Matsui, who went on the disabled list June 21 with a bruised left knee, will rejoin the team for the start of the three-game series with San Diego. He went 2 for 4 with two stolen bases for Class AA Binghamton yesterday

MFS62
Aug 08 2005 04:35 PM

smg58 wrote:
Mintkiewicz' trend is upward, which is why I don't understand why Randolph saw the need to bench him against Houston.


Bad back. They sent him for a precautionary MRI because they thought it might be bruised kidney.
Tests negative.
But his back still hurts.

Later

Rotblatt
Sep 06 2005 03:12 PM

An interesting take on our offensive problems from BP:

]New York Mets: On August 26, the Mets beat the Giants for their fifth straight victory, improving to 68-60 and becoming the odds-on favorite among NL second-place contenders with a 39 percent shot at the postseason. Nine games and seven losses later, the Mets have fallen to become a 12% underdog. The holes in New York's lineup have been exposed during the recent 2-9 swoon, as the team has scored fewer than three runs per game, with the top of the order continuing to have trouble reaching base:

Player Spot AB* OBP SB CS EqBR^ SOB^^
Jose Reyes 1 566 .304 49 11 2.0 .323
Miguel Cairo 2 192 .292 13 3 -0.5 .294
Kazuo Matsui 2 134 .293 4 0 0.1 .300
Carlos Beltran 3 465 .330 16 4 1.7 .341


*Number of at bats at that spot in the order, through Monday
^Equivalent Base Runs=metric developed by James Click in BP 2005, measuring runs added through baserunning (outside of stolen bases)
^^Speed-adjusted OBP=metric developed by Nate Silver and outlined here
Jose Reyes is a young, talented player still struggling to control the strike zone, making the decision to bat him leadoff questionable. However, SOB indicates Reyes is a somewhat better choice than standard stats indicate--his speed, which manifests itself in stretching hits (a major league-leading 15 triples), taking the extra base and stealing, has been worth an additional .019 points of OBP so far. He has also been a much better player in the second half (10 walks in 203 AB, 780 OPS) than the first half (12 walks in 379 AB, 651 OPS), an indication that the 22-year-old is developing in his first full big-league season.

That leads to the true offensive sinkhole, the number-two spot. After Mike Cameron (and his .367 SOB) was knocked out in the gruesome collision of August 11, Randolph slotted his second basemen into the vacancy behind Reyes and ahead of Carlos Beltran. New York's keystone situation is a complete disaster, between Miguel Cairo, who has no business being a regular, and Kazuo Matsui, who has the skill set of countryman Tsuyoshi Shinjo sans stylish orange wristbands. After showing flashes of effectiveness last season, Matsui has regressed horribly this year instead of taking the step forward his power-hitting namesake did in his second campaign stateside. Matsui and Cairo have combined for a -5.5 VORP, and their out-magnetization has robbed the big guns--Cliff Floyd and David Wright--of precious RBI opportunities.

Moving Cairo/Matsui to the eighth spot in the order and Beltran to the second would eliminate a gaping chasm and give the Mets two of the fastest players in the majors hitting back-to-back. Beltran has had a miserable season, putting up an OPS below that predicted by his 10th percentile PECOTA projection, but he is still the brilliant baserunner that racked up 17.2 Equivalent Base Runs from 2002-04, most in the majors, and still the player who can score from first on a single. Wright, who has developed into the best hitter on the team by a wide margin, is second in the National League with a 0.182 RBI/runner rate, having knocked in 65 of his teammates despite batting with just 358 runners on, the 17th highest total in the circuit. A shift to the three hole would give Wright more plate appearances and allow him to hit after two players extremely adept at moving into scoring position. In addition, Wright's .401 SOB would be a boon for Cliff Floyd, who sports a healthy .506 SLG and team-leading 29 home runs.

Randolph is opposed to this change, as evidenced by the following excerpt from an August 25 article in The New York Times:

"...Randolph will not consider moving Beltran, an on-base fiend who has not had much success driving in runs, to second in the order from third and then bumping David Wright to third because that would leave no one to bat fifth and protect the cleanup hitter, Cliff Floyd. Piazza's presence would at least afford Randolph that option."

The theory of lineup protection has been debated and dismissed by the sabermetric community, in all but its weak form (affecting walks/intentional walks). Wright has had hardly any "protection" all year, moving from the seventh to sixth to fifth spot, and during his tear in late August--he posted an 1103 OPS for the month--Wright had a motley cast backing him up, mostly Victor Diaz, Mike Jacobs, Marlon Anderson and Chris Woodward. Even if protection were a factor, the Mets should rightly be using Floyd to protect their top hitter, rather than vice versa.

With both Cameron and Mike Piazza likely done, it appears the Mets will battle through September with their current sub-optimal setup. Lineup construction isn't worth all that much, but in this year's enthralling pennant race, every last run that's wrung from a batting order could mean the difference.

James Click and Nate Silver contributed statistics for this article

Elster88
Sep 06 2005 03:15 PM

That's a heck of an article. I'll have to plow through it again when I have more time to give it more attention.

I really don't think plugging Cammy and Mikey back in fixes the problem either. One more bat needed please.
_____________________________
This post was made under the designation 163) Charlie Neal

Edgy DC
Sep 06 2005 03:20 PM

They don't mention first base.

Vic Sage
Sep 06 2005 04:12 PM

]... A shift to the three hole would give Wright more plate appearances and allow him to hit after two players extremely adept at moving into scoring position. In addition, Wright's .401 SOB would be a boon for Cliff Floyd, who sports a healthy .506 SLG and team-leading 29 home runs.


correct. and we've been saying this since June.

]Randolph is opposed to this change, as evidenced by the following excerpt from an August 25 article in The New York Times:

"...Randolph will not consider moving Beltran, an on-base fiend who has not had much success driving in runs, to second in the order from third and then bumping David Wright to third because that would leave no one to bat fifth and protect the cleanup hitter, Cliff Floyd. Piazza's presence would at least afford Randolph that option."


Just another reason why WWSB is an i-d-i-o-t

]The theory of lineup protection has been debated and dismissed by the sabermetric community, in all but its weak form (affecting walks/intentional walks). Wright has had hardly any "protection" all year, moving from the seventh to sixth to fifth spot, and during his tear in late August--he posted an 1103 OPS for the month--Wright had a motley cast backing him up, mostly Victor Diaz, Mike Jacobs, Marlon Anderson and Chris Woodward. Even if protection were a factor, the Mets should rightly be using Floyd to protect their top hitter, rather than vice versa.


why don't we get more guys like this at the CPF? We used to.

]With both Cameron and Mike Piazza likely done, it appears the Mets will battle through September with their current sub-optimal setup. Lineup construction isn't worth all that much, but in this year's enthralling pennant race, every last run that's wrung from a batting order could mean the difference.


which is the stick i've been using to beat WWSB with since day 1. Here is the lineup order that should be used until further notice (based on current roster):

Reyes
Beltran
Wright
Floyd
Diaz
Minky
Castro
Matsui

Elster88
Sep 06 2005 04:16 PM

Is Beltran really an OBP fiend?
_____________________________
This post was made under the designation 163) Charlie Neal

Vic Sage
Sep 06 2005 04:24 PM

maybe not a FIEND, but a solid career .350 OB%, with an incredible SB%. He's been pressing in the RBI slot this year (maybe its NYC, maybe its the contract, maybe its random chance, maybe its all these or other factors), so there can be no harm in putting him in a "put your bat on the ball and run" slot, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, give Wright more ABs.

Elster88
Sep 06 2005 04:31 PM

When you put it that way he sounds like an OBP fiend to me.
_____________________________
This post was made under the designation 163) Charlie Neal

Rotblatt
Sep 06 2005 04:54 PM

I agree with Vic 100%.

Between 2003 & 2004, Beltran posted a .377 OBP. He has never been in the top 10 in OBP (his career high was in 2003 at .389), but he has made fairly consistent progress in increasing BB's while decreasing K's, which is somewhat unusual, IIRC.

Valadius
Sep 06 2005 06:44 PM

People will be howling that we didn't sign Beltran to that huge contract to be a #2 hitter. But that's where he was successful last year. Now, there's only a month left in the regular season. Chances are slim the Mets will make the postseason, though we remain hopeful. This offseason would be best spent finding our right side of the infield, another catcher, and young arms in the bullpen. We'll have to find a spot for Milledge to squeeze into eventually, and I believe he's looking like a #2. So do we move Diaz? It's possible, provided we receive legitimate help.

Rotblatt
Sep 06 2005 07:48 PM

]So do we move Diaz? It's possible, provided we receive legitimate help.


I wouldn't move Diaz. He's young, cheap, and arguable a better hitter than Cameron. His defense is bad, but he might improve there. I'd sooner move Cameron. If/when Milledge makes the bigs, maybe we move Diaz to left and put Milledge in right. Or maybe we move Beltran to right if Milledge looks like the real deal out there.

If I were running things, here's what my offseason list would look like:

On Trading Block (only looking to trade two of Glavine, Trachsel, Ishii & Zambrano)
Glavine
Trachsel
Cameron
Matsui
Ishii
Zambrano

Available for Right Price
Floyd
R. Hernandez (assuming we have an option on him that we excercise)
All prospects not named below

Have to Be Blown Away
Heilman
Seo
Benson
Diaz
G. Hernandez
Brian Bannister

Untouchable
Petit
Milledge
Pelfry

smg58
Sep 07 2005 12:57 AM

Tell me what each of those players could get me, and I'll tell you if I'd move them. I think we should make sure there's room for Milledge and Petit on the Opening Day 2007 roster, if not sooner. But other than those two, Wright, and Pedro, everyone else could at least be asked about.

I think they have an option on Ishii and the Dodgers would pick up the buyout, so I would work under the assumption that he's gone.

What are the details of Trachsel's contract? I'm under the impression the option would be for $2.5M plus incentives based on IP, but I can't verify that. If that's true, he might be very desirable to other teams, but his 10/5 would kick in if we pick up the option, giving him a full veto.

I'm not sure Diaz hits well enough to make up for his glove, and I'm not sold on him drawing very many walks unless he bats eighth. I see him as a good bat to have in reserve, but if another team sees him as more than that I'm listening to their offer.

Valadius
Sep 07 2005 12:19 PM

Diaz has always struck me as a Wily Mo Pena - a guy forever stuck as a fourth outfielder. And with that disastrous glove, that's all he may ever be.

I want Petit in the rotation NEXT YEAR. His control is simply freakish, and deserves to be brought up.

86-Dreamer
Sep 07 2005 01:36 PM

Diaz is only 23, and has a major league OPS of 850 in 250+ ABs. With the way the Mets historically struggle to score, I am not giving up on that good of a young hitter without a lot in return.

Rotblatt
Sep 07 2005 02:00 PM

Petit's really scuffling in AAA right now. Let's see him return to form there before penciling him into our 2006 rotation . . .

That being said, I'd like to see him get a taste or two in July or August next year.

smg58
Sep 07 2005 11:47 PM

I'm not sure what happened to Petit in his last start to bring his ERA up to 9, but it couldn't have been good. Then again, didn't Seo have a 12-run game shortly before he got promoted?

I see no reason to hurry Petit. It will be hard to make room for him next year because Glavine appears to be unmoveable, but as long as Glavine is pitching OK I can live with that. Glavine's contract runs out next year, Petit takes over his spot. Hopefully it's that simple.