Browsing Posts in Mets

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the National League East:

The odds-makers believe that Washington will run away with the National League East title. After adding Max Scherzer to an already loaded rotation, it’s hard not to envision Washington not only winning the NL East, but winning the National League itself. 

Washington

As mentioned above, Washington is easily the best team in the National League. Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg can match-up against any team. Washington’s offense, which is led by Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper, is very solid. The rest of the NL East isn’t in Washington’s class.

New York

Hopes are very high for the Mets. Matt Harvey will return, Michael Cuddyer was signed to provide veteran leadership, and David Wright is 100% healthy after a pesky shoulder injury limited him last season. It’s been a very long-time since the Yankees and Mets were projected to win the same amount of games. The Mets have a golden opportunity to be the toast of the town.

Miami

Miami made Giancarlo Stanton its $325 million man, but its other moves have gone surprisingly unnoticed. Miami traded for Martin Prado and Mat Latos while inking Michael Morse in free agency. Its ace, Jose Fernandez, will be out until mid-June. 

Atlanta

With the exception of Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta lost nearly all of its talented players. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward were traded away while Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana, who threw nearly 400 innings, left via free agency. Julio Teheran and Alex Wood will be expected to lead this rotation.

Philadelphia

The Phillies are years away from competing. The Phillies may trade away Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee,  which would push Philadelphia deeper into its rebuilding process.

Observations:

  • Despite adding Scherzer, the odds-makers are projecting Washington to win fewer games. The odds-makers are still bullish on Miami even without the presence of Fernandez. None of these lines offer a lot of value, but I would bet on our hometown, New York Mets. The Mets may not make the playoffs, but winning 82-85 games would be a huge improvement and a building block for next season.

Best Bet:

  • Mets Over 81.5 Wins

Entering the 2015 season, expectations are high for the New York Mets. Ace Matt Harvey will return after having Tommy John surgery. Harvey’s presence will be a welcome addition to a team that won 79 games last season. Harvey will join a rotation that features Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGromm, Zach Wheeler, and Bartolo Colon. Harvey was masterful during the 2013 season by striking out 191 hitters over 178 innings while posting an impressive 2.27 ERA. deGromm stepped up in Harvey absence by posting a 2.69 ERA over 140 innings. Run support has been an issue and has limited win totals for its starting pitchers. New York added outfielder Michael Cuddyer and will hope for a bounce back campaign from David Wright. Cuddyer rejected a $15 million qualifying offer from Colorado in order to join New York on a two-year deal. Cuddyer only appeared in 49 games last season as he dealt with injuries, but the 36-year-old outfielder should provide leadership  to a younger lineup. Wright posted career lows last season as he dealt with an ailing shoulder injury. Wright’s home run total (8) and on-base percentage (.324) were career lows. 

Entering the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals are clear favorites in the National League East. Still, New York has the young talent to compete for a Wildcard spot. New York’s National League East foes are also expected to have down seasons. Atlanta is building for the future while Miami is dealing with a few injuries. The opportunities will be there for the Mets to compete in the 2015. 

The Miami Marlins (36-35) suffered a big blow when their ace RHP Jose Fernandez went down with a season ending arm injury. Now, Miami will turn to another young phenom to fill the void. 23-year-old LHP Andrew Heaney will make his major league debut at home against a punchless New York lineup. Heaney was the ninth overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft. Heaney attended Oklahoma State. Earlier this season, Heaney went 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts for Triple-A New Orleans.

The New York Mets (32-40) have dropped 11 of their 15 games which included losses in two of their last three games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Eric Young had two RBIs to help the Mets end an eight-game road losing streak. Zack Wheeler (2-7, 4.38 ERA) will take the ball for the Mets. Wheeler has lost his last two starts, giving up four runs in 3 2/3 innings of work at San Francisco. Wheeler had the same line in a 5-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres. Wheeler has had some success against the Marlins, striking out 17 hitters in 13 innings of work. Wheeler has issued eight walks in these two starts, so if he can control his pitches, he’ll have a chance of winning.

Keep an eye on the status of Miami’s RF, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton banged his wrist into the outfield wall yesterday and had to leave the game. Stanton expects to be in the lineup for Thursday’s tilt.

Current MLB Odds slate the Miami Marlins as a slim -120 money line favorite. I’ll take the young pitcher at home in his major league debut against a New York team that is struggling on the road. Take the Fish as your MLB Pick.

Official MLB Pick: Miami Marlins -120

New York Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud has missed nearly two weeks of action after taking the worst of Alfonso Soriano’s back swing. Luckily for the Mets, d’Arnaud will return within the next week. For the first time since his injury, d’Arnaud was cleared for baseball activities on Thursday afternoon. Prior to Thursday, the young catcher was suffering from many headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and had a lot of trouble sleeping. Wednesday marked his first ‘symptom-free’ day and his conditions stabilized into Thursday. Pagan celebrates his game-tying double in the sixth inning. This isn’t the first time d’Arnaud has dealt with concussions and head injuries. This is d’Arnaud’s first concussion as a member of the Mets, but the talented catcher suffered two prior concussions as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Single A affiliate and Toronto Blue Jays’ Double A affiliate. d’Arnaud’s first concussion occurred during 2008 when he took a foot to the face on a play at the plate after he threw away his mask. Early in 2011, d’Arnaud was struck with consecutive foul tipped balls and had to leave the game. Without d’Arnaud in the lineup, the Mets have lacked offensive punch and the odds makers have reflected that in their spreads. In recent MLB betting, the Mets have been sizable home underdogs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets clearly misses d’Arnaud’s presence behind the plate and in the lineup.

The Mets expect to have d’Arnaud back in the lineup following a brief rehab stint in the minor leagues. The Mets need to ensure their young catcher is in prime shape before injecting him back into the fold. d’Arnaud is one of the Mets’ best young players and was the centerpiece in the team’s trade that sent RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. d’Arnaud has three home runs so far in 31 games. Expect a power surge and a renewed sense of leadership once he returns to the lineup. Go Mets!

On Thursday, the New York Mets signed 40-year-old RHP Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million contract. Last season, Colon posted a 18-6 record with a 2.65 ERA as a member of the Oakland A’s. Colon was surprisingly durable, striking out 117 batters in 190 innings. Over the last three season, Colon has tossed at least 152 innings, silencing his critics that his girth (265 LBs) and age (41 in May) will lead to his decline. Still, this signing is high risk and there are a few reasons why Colon could crap out in New York:

  1. Home Run Rate: Over the course of his career, Colon has given up one home run per every eight innings. Colon called Oakland home for the last two seasons and only allowed one home run per every 9.1 innings. The Oakland Coliseum, which is known as a pitcher’s park, is the fifth friendliest stadium for pitchers. After moving its fence in, Citi Field was 14th last season. On the surface, the change from the AL West to NL East should present easier line-ups, but the park factors may make this a moot point.
  2. Injuries: Despite throwing 152+ innings over the last three seasons, Colon has made multiple trips to the disabled list for thigh, abdomen, and groin issues. 
  3. 2013 Playoffs: Colon was passed over for the inexperienced Sonny Gray during the ALDS. Colon had an ugly August (0-2, 8.41 ERA in three starts) and A’s promptly sat him down for two weeks. Colon responded and went 4-1 during September, but the need for a ‘break’ does not exactly installed confidence in Met fans.
  4. Pitch Selection: Call it an aberration or a way to beat Father Time, but a whopping 87% of his pitches last year were fastballs. Curve balls and sliders obviously cause stress on the arm, but one has to wonder how long Colon’s fastball velocity will remain a Major League level. Last season, Colon’s fastball averaged 90.1 MPH. 

If you examine signings thus far, Colon’s deal appears to be a good one. Dan Haren (1 year, $10 million), Scott Feldman (3/30), and Tim Hudson (1/12), received similar deals, but Colon’s workload and performance has been better.However, a 2-year, $20 million deal for a Met team that isn’t expected to compete doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Met won’t have their ace as Matt Harvey rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Colon could arguably be the Met ‘ace’, but he could also re-injure his thigh and miss two months. Colon has never been one to mentor younger players, so the Mets aren’t getting a player that’s interested in helping develop younger players. A two-year deal to a contender would make sense, but for a Met team that needs to develop younger players, it’s a waste of money. This move was strictly done to appease the Met fan base. 

For the first time in four years, the New York Mets opened their wallets and signed an impact free agent. Ex-Yankee Curtis Granderson and the Mets agreed to a four-year, $60 million contract that will occur during Granderson’s Age 33-36 seasons. This signing gives the Mets a power hitting corner outfielder that will help jump start the Met offense. Stop me if you’ve read something like this before.

Nearly four years ago, the Mets and left fielder, Jason Bay agreed to a four-year, $60 million contract. Prior to signing the contract, the 30-year-old Bay was coming off a huge season with the Boston Red Sox where he slugged 36 home runs and drove in 119 RBIs. Met fans were convinced that Bay and David Wright would bolster the middle of the Met batting order. However, Bay only appeared in 288 games as a Met and slugged 31 total home runs. This contract was a huge disappointment to say the least.

When assessing Granderson, a few red flags immediately come to mind:

  1. Park Changes: Granderson is leaving the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium for Citi Field. According to Fangraphs, Yankee Stadium boosts left-handed power numbers by 14 percent while Citi Field only boosts these numbers by one percent. Granderson does have three 30+ home run seasons under his belt including one with Detroit in 2009. Will the spacious Citi Field affect his power output? The park factors say ‘yes’.
  2. Injuries: After getting hit by a pitch in the wrist during Spring Training, Granderson missed months of action and never developed any sort of rhythm. Granderson played in a career low 61 games and only hit 7 home runs. The Mets must be convinced that his wrist injury is not longer an issue. However, he’s not coming off a monster season like Jason Bay was and he never found his stroke during 2013.
  3.  The Yankees: It’s pretty telling when a player’s previous team doesn’t make an offer. The Yankees have spent over $200 million on free agent outfielders not named Curtis Granderson. Hell, the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran, who is five years older than Granderson. Over the last few seasons, Granderson’s strikeout percentage has steadily increased while his on-base percentage is declining. This is not a recipe for success.

Despite his obvious flaws, Granderson has shown he’s athletic enough to play multiple outfield positions. Juan Lagares is slated to start in center field, so Granderson will likely man left field. Granderson isn’t much of a base stealer anymore, but he is one of the game’s most astute base runners. Like I noted in the Jacoby Ellsbury article, speed tends to age well and an athlete of Granderson’s caliber is less likely to hit the wall.

Heading into 2014, projections are calling for Granderson to net 2.5-to-3 wins. If we value a win at $7.0 million, Granderson’s projected value outweighs his $13 million salary. However, the Mets have backloaded his  contract so they’ll take on more risk in Years 3 and 4. On the surface, Granderson presents a tremendous upgrade for the Met outfield.  However, there are some obvious red flags that must be considered and monitored.

The Granderson signing gives ownership and Sandy Alderson an extra week or so to plan their next move. The Mets are still far from being a competitive team, but this signing provides some hope for the future of the team. Add in Granderson’s off-the-field impact and the Mets have the potential for a big time signing. As long as he’s healthy, Granderson won’t be Jason Bay 2.0.

The New York Mets (59-72) dropped a 6-2 decision last night to Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies (61-72). The Mets will look for the series split as they send RHP reliever Carlos Torres (2-2, 2.96 ERA) to the mound. Torres appeared earlier in the series, tossing 2/3 innings of shut-out ball. Given the injury to Matt Harvey, the Mets will ask for a few innings out of Torres. Torres has been very impressive at Citi Field, allowing just two earned runs in 22 2/3 innings. 

The Phillies will counter with a reliever of their own, RHP Ethan Martin. The Phillies have asked Martin to spot start during the year, but he hasn’t been very successful. Martin has only thrown 21 1/3 innings, but has allowed 15 earned runs and six home runs. Left-handed hitters have hit four home runs in just 46 at-bats.

Pick: The over-under is set eight, so we like the over. Martin has been terrible and Torres can’t be expected to last more than 3-4 innings. The Philly bats have spoken up, so expect them to score early and often against Torres. 

The New York Mets (58-70) will welcome the Philadelphia Phillies (59-71) to Flushing on Monday for the first game of a four-game set. Rookie RHP Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49 ERA) will off against Cy Young Award winner, LHP Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16 ERA). After posting a 5.06 ERA over his first three starts, Wheeler has settled in, posting a 5-1 record with a tidy 3.02 ERA in outings since July 1st. Wheeler struck out a career high 12 hitters in San Diego on August 15th and followed up that performance with a 6 2/3 inning performance against the Braves last week. 

Cliff Lee has gone winless over his last six starts, but has only received eight runs of support. Lee has a 4.62 ERA over his last six games. Lee had a career 5-1 record with a 2.09 ERA over his first five starts against the Mets before dropping a 5-0 decision earlier this season.

The Mets have been outsourced 24-5 during their recent five game losing streak. The Mets were swept by Detroit over the weekend, falling 11-3 in the Sunday’s finale. The Phillies have won 6 of 8 games including winning 2 of 3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Pick: The Phillies opened as a -125 favorite and we’re going to continue fading the Mets. Cliff Lee takes extra pleasure in beating New York teams and I doubt today’s game will be any different. The Philly bats are hot right now, so expect the offensive momentum to carry over.  

Detroit will send Rick Porcello to the mound as the Tigers go for the three-game sweep against the Mets. Yesterday, Max Scherzer won the battle of the aces against Matt Harvey by throwing six innings of shutout ball. Scherzer rung up 11 strikeouts and only yielded two hits over six frames. Luckily for the Mets, Rick Porcello is not Max Scherzer. Porcello, a New Jersey native, boasts a 9-7 record with a 4.52 ERA. Over his last three starts, Porcello is 1-1, but has given up 24 hits and 11 earned runs. Oddly enough, Porcello’s road splits (5-4, 3.90 ERA) are much better than his home split at the spacious Commerica Park (4-3, 5.09 ERA). The Tigers hope Porcello can utilize the pitcher friendly Citi Field to his advantage.

The Mets will send righty, Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60 ERA) to the mound in hope of stopping the sweep. Unlike Porcello, Gee has fared much better recently, winning four of his last five decisions including 7 2/3 innings, nine strikeout masterpiece against the Minnesota Twins. Gee has enjoyed the friendly confines of Citi Field. Gee is 4-3 with a 2.21 ERA.

Once again, the Tigers opened as a -140 money line favorite. The Tigers recorded 13 hits off of Matt Harvey, so Vegas expects them to keep hitting against Dillon Gee. Expect the Tiger bats to finish off the sweep at Citi Field.

New York baseball fans are in for a treat as two Cy Young hopefuls take in the mound in Flushing. Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA) will face off against righty sensation, Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.25 ERA). Scherzer and Harvey faced off earlier this summer at the All-Star Game. Harvey is hopeful that his squad will defend its home field.

Scherzer has won five straight decisions, including an eight inning, five-hit performance last weekend against the Kansas City Royals. Scherzer is a perfect 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 12 road starts. More impressively, Scherzer posts a tidy 1.74 ERA on the road. The Mets, who have lost eight of their last 12 games, may have trouble scoring runs against the AL’s leading Cy Young candidate.

If Scherzer wants to pick up his 19th victory, he’ll need his offense to score runs off against Matt Harvey. Harvey, who has thrown 171 innings, has only won one of his last five starts. Harvey has uncharacteristically given up six earned runs over last twelve innings. The Mets plan to cap Harvey’s innings at 210-215 innings, so he may be starting to show some signs of fatigue. Still, Harvey is a gamer and has shown he can step-up in big spots.

Pick: Once again, we’re getting some decent value with the Tigers, so we’re taking their money line (-140). Matt Harvey should keep his team in the game, but Miguel Cabrera and co. should be able to scratch a few runs across, which should be more than enough for Mr. Scherzer.