Monthly Archives: January 2015

Today in Baseball: Is Wilmer “The Future”?

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I remember on June 10th, 2003, when some guy named José Reyes played his first game in a Mets uniform. Entering the game, he was ranked the #3 prospect in the MLB by “Baseball America.” The 20-year-old Dominican shortstop was so highly touted that, on his debut, the Mets gave out mini-bats with Reyes’ picture and “the future” plastered all over them.

So yeah, he was pretty good.

He ended up playing nine seasons with the Mets. In those nine seasons, he totaled 370 stolen bases, a .292 average, 99 triples, 81 home runs, and 423 RBIs.

Here’s a clip just to remind you how electric Jose was…

…how fast he was…

…and how much the fans loved him.

And then, after a phenomenal 2011 season in Flushing, he was gone.

On December 7th, 2011, Reyes inked a deal with the Miami Marlins.

Reyes has expressed that he wanted to stay in Flushing. As the story goes, the only reason he bolted is that Sandy Alderson didn’t even schedule a meeting with him.

But, regardless of the reasoning behind it, Reyes is gone, as he has been for the last four years. And ever since he left, the Mets shortstop position has been constantly in flux.

Since Reyes has been gone, we’ve seen 276 games of Ruben Tejada, 126 games of Omar Quintanilla, 51 games of Wilmer Flores, 28 games of Justin Turner, 27 games of Ronny Cedeño, 8 games of Wilfredo Tovar, 5 games of Jordany Valdespin, a game of Eric Campbell, and even a single game of David Wright at shortstop!

Wilmer Flores, the third man on that illustrious list, is slotted as the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop.

It’s becoming increasingly evident with each passing day that Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have a lot of faith in Flores. They’ve passed on Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jung-Ho Kang, Jed Lowrie, Hanley Ramirez, and more, in favor of sticking with Wilmer.

This aforementioned faith in Flores isn’t unwarranted…

The 23-year-old is taller than the average shortstop, standing at 6’3″. He possesses nice power and has the potential to become a very good hitter.

While he often looks like a subpar and sloppy defensive shortstop, the numbers say otherwise… In 51 games at shortstop this past season, he had a .979 fielding percentage, which would put him tied with Adeiny Hechavarria for 7th amongst all shortstops last season (albeit small sample size). Wilmer had just four errors in 51 games, or .078 per game- during his Mets tenure, Jose Reyes, largely looked at as a nice fielder, averaged .1 error per game. While Flores is far from a defensive wiz, he’s an acceptable defensive shortstop. His lack of fancy plays, among other factors, unfairly gives him this reputation as a defensive liability.

Do I want the Mets to acquire a better, more proven shortstop? Yes, of course.

However, I don’t think that they will do that until AT LEAST the end of next season.

Flores certainly isn’t Reyes… He certainly isn’t “the future.”

But one thing is for sure- Flores has a whole lot of potential. The question is- can he make good on it?

Today in Baseball: HOF Reflections

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I felt that it was critical to move my “Today in Baseball” post to Tuesday this week in order to respond to the Baseball Hall of Fame results. So, we won’t see a new Trade Talk Tuesday until next week!

Today, at 2 o’clock ET, we, the general public, discovered that Craig Biggio (82.7%), Pedro Martinez (91.1%), Randy Johnson (97.3%), and John Smoltz (82.9%) were all elected to the Hall of Fame.

Overall, I was very happy with who WAS elected. In my mock ballot from last week, I voted for three of these men (Biggio, Martinez, and Johnson). I didn’t pick Smoltz, but I definitely believe he’s a Hall of Famer, and I solely left him off my ballot in order to leave space for some guys that I felt would get less support (Mike Mussina, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling). All of these four men had tremendous careers and are deserving of a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

However, I was extremely upset with who WASN’T selected…

Mike Piazza (69.9%) is the greatest offensive catcher in MLB history. Plain and simple. He finished his career with 427 home runs, a .308 batting average, and 1,335 RBIs, some outstanding statistics. He was a 12x All-Star, a 10x Silver Slugger, and the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year. His accolades and statistics were clearly phenomenal, but to add to his legacy: he hit one of the most powerful and significant home runs in MLB history… Watch the touching video below:

Please, watch that video.

Please, take a quick glance at Piazza’s statistics and accolades.

Please, think about Piazza’s underdog story (drafted in 62nd round of 1988 draft as a favor from Tommy Lasorda to his good friend, Piazza’s father).

Please, find any definitive evidence that Piazza used PEDs.

If you have fulfilled the first three requests, and have failed to complete the last one, you know. You know and understand that Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer. End of story.

Moving on.

On my ballot, aside from Piazza, there were 6 players that I voted for that didn’t get in. They were:

  • Jeff Bagwell (55.7%)
  • Barry Bonds (36.8%)
  • Roger Clemens (37.5%)
  • Mike Mussina (24.6%)
  • Curt Schilling (39.2%)
  • Edgar Martinez (27%)

While I am disappointed that none of them got in, I honestly expected it. The latter 3 are victims of overlooking and undervaluing certain aspects, or the whole, of their career. The first 3 didn’t get in due to steroid issues: suspicion for Bagwell, and certainty for Bonds and Clemens. I hope, and believe, that all of these 6 guys, who are each extremely deserving, will one day end up in Cooperstown.

Lastly, I’m quite disappointed that Carlos Delgado (3.8%) has fallen off the ballot, as his percentage was less than 5%. He hit for 473 home runs, a .280 batting average, 1,512 RBIs, and 2,038 hits during his career. He excelled as a hitter during the Steroid Era, and he did it clean. He put up numbers comparable to some of the steroid users that the BBWAA so emphatically despises- and he did it the right way. He succeeded as a monk in a city of gamblers. Due to his excellent career achievements, the way in which he reached them, and the era that he played in, I believe that Carlos Delgado is a Hall of Famer. I can only hope that the Veteran’s Committee gets it right and puts him in the Hall when he becomes eligible once again.

Some final food for thought about Delgado? Take a peek at this photo that a fan tweeted. It’s a page from a Spanish magazine that puts Delgado’s numbers up against those of Hall of Famers. (Note: “jonrones” means home runs, “empijadas” means RBIs)

Trivia Friday: January 2nd

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The answer to last week’s question was… Yogi Berra!

The MLB legend is the oldest living man to ever don a Mets uniform… He is 89 years and 235 days old.

Berra, commonly known for his legendary play at catcher with the New York Yankees, is also a Mets legend in his own right. He played a year in Flushing, spent seven years on the Mets coaching staff, and managed another four years for the Amazins’. And in one of those seasons, he took the Mets to the World Series.

And now for this week’s question…