Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sweating The Small Stuff

All right, all right. So Johan Santana is finally, officially a Met (get your jerseys to commemorate the occasion) and we can all relax for the 12 days until pitchers and catchers report. Right?

Well the roster seems to be set ... if you look at the depth chart (which will eventually be updated with Johan's name in place of Jason Vargas), everybody seems to have a purpose from the bench players (between Marlon Anderson, Endy Chavez, Fluff Castro and Damion Easley, all the positions should be covered) and the bullpen, there doesn't seem to be a wasted spot available, as there was when the Mets had Julio Franco, his .112 batting average and his timely knack for hitting into those clutch double plays. But 13 pitchers seem to be a bit much, especially if Orlando Hernandez is going to be the fifth starter instead of Mike Pelfrey, and the Mets decide to send Pelfrey down instead of making him sit around collecting dust bunnies in the bullpen. Then it would be time for that extra bench guy. So who's it gonna be?

Jose Valentin: Familiarality with the organization, plus a soothing effect on Jose Reyes (like Pepto Bismol, I guess) are big pros. Injuries, and the fact that he plays positions that are already taken care of by Easley and Anderson are a negative. Maybe he should rub some Pepto on his joints. Odds: 3-1

Kenny Lofton: The fact that he's been on a playoff team every season from 1995-2007 (minus '05) is a plus. Negatives? Well none of those teams have won the whole thing, and lately he's presided over a 3-1 series lead against the Marlins (Steve Bartman), a 3-0 series lead over the Red Sox (we know how that went), and a 3-1 series lead over the Red Sox (Boston is Kenny's kryptonite, obviously). Not that Lofton had much to do with those collapses ... in fact, Lofton had a very good personal playoff run last season (at least against the Yankees, he only hit .222 against Boston). But if Kenny was graded on mojo and karma, he'd be in existential summer school. Odds: 15-1

Kevin Mench: Now we're talking, right? Righty pop off the bench is a plus. Mench has a career .465 slugging percentage, and 84 K's per 600 AB's isn't horrible. But here's what is horrible: Mench would probably be a pinch hitter on a lot of occasions to try to either break games open, or get the Mets back in the game with one swing. Check out Mench's numbers as a pinch hitter: Peeeeeeeeeee-yoooooooooooooou! Career: 51 PA's and 47 AB's: one lonely HR and a batting average of .106 ... that's not only on the interstate, that's an interstate you'd only find on those kind of roads in Pennsylvania that you drive on in the dead of night and think "I wonder if this is that kind of road where the aliens hang out and beam people up from." Odds: 25-1

Bobby Kielty: Kielty hit a huge home run for the Red Sox in their clinching World Series game against Colorado, and if Ryan Church turns out to be a disaster, Kielty could be that right-handed platoon player that helps save the offense. Ironically, Santana's trade to the Mets would end any hopes of Kielty going back to Boston unless they traded Coco Crisp in a separate trade. Best part about Kielty is that he's a career .281 pinch hitter. Downside: His overall stats are nothing spectacular. And he has big, bright, orange hair. Imagine Sideshow Bob as a Met. Is this a future you want for your children? Odds: 35-1

Chris Shelton: Now here's a guy worth taking a look at. Shelton is currently a member of the Rangers organization, but not on the 40 man roster after Texas acquired pitcher Kazuo Fukumori. You remember Shelton as the guy who hit 2,000 (10) HR's for the Detroit Tigers in April of 2006 and he was everybody's superstud of the year, and the world made him the most popular fantasy pick-up in the free world on May 1st of that year. So if Shelton was up with the Mets in April of '08 he could do some serious damage. The problem is that the season doesn't end on May 1st, and Shelton played his way into the minors for all of 2007, where he only hit 14 HR's for Toledo. Not Arlington, Seattle, or even Florida ... Toledo. Besides, he would probably cost a minor leaguer in return, and I'm not sure we have any more of those after getting Santana. Odds: 45-1

Barry Bonds: Now there's some pop off the bench. Downside: Would there be room in the lockerroom for that big reclining chair? Odds: 2,000,000-1

Disclaimer: The reader of this blog assumes all risks occurring prior to, during, or after the blog entry including specifically (but not exclusively), the danger of having your computer ruined by spitting your cheerios with milk on to your keyboard after reading the name "Barry Bonds" in reference to the possibility of becoming a New York Met. The reader agrees that The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, Major League Baseball, it's respective owners, officers and employees, the participating clubs and their respective officers, players, employees and agents are expressly released by the holder form claims arising from such causes.


MetFanMac said...

If Kielty is Sideshow Bob, doesn't that make Bonds Homer Simpson?

Anonymous said...

love the disclaimer

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can swing a deal for Nady as the right handed counterpart to Church if Ryan does fail against lefties.

Nady killed lefties.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about ruben gotay and angel pagan. also metfanmac plz dont put homer simpson and barroid in the same sentence. nice play on words i guess

katherine said...

I vote for Jose Valentin - I really like him, but my opinion isn't worth much, I really liked Julio Franco, too.

And Johan Santana might be a good pinch hitter, you know. I looked up his hitting stats: over the last 8 years he had a .258 batting average, one year, 2004, he hit .375!

As for Barry Bonds, during the LAST off-season, a year ago, a baseball writer, I think it was for the SF Chronicle, deemed him "the player most likely to spend the season in the slammer".

upstate met fan said...

So it's Saturday morn and my daughter and I get ready for our saturday ritual; go to Stewarts/Mobil and get their huge breakfast sandwiches. I can only manage to eat one of them.. somehow she can eat two.
I'm wearing all but Mets underwear.. she's got a Mets hat on and the reast is all pink. We get our sandwiches and go to the register to pay for them and the young cashier says:

Is there a met game today?
With a big smile on my ugly face, I said, no but it feels like it..
A lady right behind us says, yeah you guys just got Santana.. that's great. Yes, I said.. it's like christmas all over again. Have a wonderful day.
Off we went with our sandwiches and a copy of the daily news.

Thank you Omar, you are a genious.

Ed in Westchester said...

Nady sucked with RISP.
Sucked I tell you.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. While he was here, he did little positive. Now tha he's gone, everyone wants him back. Problem is, what is the cost?

Anonymous said...

Metstra, I can't believe you're one of those guys that thinks 38 year old Easley or 38 year old Valentin (coming off of a major knee injury) can be Reyes backup at short. Ruben Gotay as of right now is that backup so he's on the team. He's very capable at second, short, and third. The only reason people are saying he's horrible defensively is because they see his spot on the roster as the only one for such a right-handed platoon outfielder. The announcers early last year said Gotay was not great defensively, and needed to work on turning the doubleplay. These people have blown that statement way out of proportion to say he's horrible, which isn't the case. Due to Easley's lack of range, Gotay took over the secondbase job before Castillo came to the team. In fact Easley made more errors at second and third than Gotay and Gotay was the only one to have played short last year other than Reyes. Easley right now is considered that right handed outfielder and firstbaseman, and Valentin is on the outside looking in. No, I don't see two 38 year olds playing the most important infield position over a 25 year old who is more than capable defensively, that also can run and hit.

Anonymous said...


Nady sucked w RISP?

Why is he ranked in 4th 2007 in MLB w 2 outs and RISP?


MLB Baseball Stats



LEADERS (top 20)

------------ --- -- - -- -- -- ---

Ichiro Suzuki, SEA .431 72 31 3 1 1 36
Jacque Jones, CHN .424 66 28 9 1 0 34
Derek Jeter, NYY .418 67 28 3 0 2 33
Xavier Nady, PIT .404 57 23 5 0 3 33
Jim Thome, CHA .393 28 11 1 0 3 22
Chase Utley, PHI .383 60 23 8 0 3 29
Victor Martinez, CLE .383 60 23 5 0 2 29
Miguel Tejada, BAL .382 55 21 1 0 3 27
Miguel Cairo, STL .379 29 11 3 1 0 9
Brad Hawpe, COL .377 69 26 7 0 5 49
Ryan Howard, PHI .377 77 29 6 0 12 52
Mark Teixeira, ATL .375 56 21 4 1 6 32
Kaz Matsui, COL .375 48 18 4 1 0 16
Carlos Lee, HOU .368 76 28 2 0 7 39

Anonymous said...

I'm with Tommy C ... bring back the X-Factor! Great all around player who makes Liz sit down and watch a game or two with me!

Though Senior 'Stache is okay by me!

Anonymous said...

who cares what someone's RISP stats are? that's a crappy stat to evaluate someone anyway.

and metstra, you're quoting mench's pinch hit numbers based on 50 at bats? small sample size much? christ.

Anonymous said...

Thats not small considering its pinch hitting. Thats actually a decent amount considering pinch hitting is one and done. You either get it done or you dont. That shows me he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

I swear, if the Mets are crazy enough to get Bonds, then it will cancel the polarity of the Mets acquisition of Johan.

Anonymous said...

It was Frosted Flakes not Cheerios. How is RISP a crappy stat to gauge someone on? If you're looking for a utility man, or a pinch hitter, you want someone that can come up with the timely hit with a runner on. Also 50 AB's is a large sample size if you consider the fact that Lenny Harris, the all time pinch hit king, had 804 at bats in his career as a pinch hitter. I say if you're looking for a pinch hitter only, take a look at Mark Sweeney. He's a free agent last time I checked. I am by no means saying the Mets should go after him, but he's been a clutch pinch hitter if that's what you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

Who's the back-up at short and third? Gotay? Easley? A. Hernandez?

Right handed pop off the bench is key - how about Mr. Piazza?

Anonymous said...

It would be so sweet to see Piazza somehow a part of this team, especially if they're in contention for the title, but it's just not a good idea for the team. He'd be essentially be a slower Julio Franco (kinda embarassing to be slower than a guy who's going to be 50) who can't field. One key thing about this team going forward is that they have pretty good speed. My dad always said about the 2000 team that they couldn't score a run on 3 straight double. That's obviously not the case now, and they need to keep it going in the right direction.

katherine said...

Metstradamus - Your "visitor's map" is the greatest. Every continent is represented, there even seem to be people swimming out in the ocean who are checking your blog!

Anonymous said...

Trade Castro, surely someone would overpay for such a solid-hitting backstop. Sign Piazza. Mike and Fluff are probably a wash offensively (and defensively) at this point, so the results are we pick up a prospect, gain some speed, and the second-greatest Met ever retires as one, hopefully with a ring or two.

Anonymous said...

I saw Gotay in person in a 2004 game in KC and he made two ridiculously awesome fielding plays at shortstop. Royals fans sitting near me (and they did exist) verified that he was "all glove, no stick". How did he suddenly become a "poor" defensive player, and for that matter a .300 hitter? Radomski???

Anonymous said...

mudville9-no, it doesn't show you anything. if his batting average in 50 pinch hit ABs was .650, would you be skeptical? come on now.

katherine said...

I think I found a way to figure out whether Nady's performance was likely to have been a fluke. I figured it out statistically. Now, I took some liberties, I used only the stats on the page that tommy c supplied and figured out the mean batting average based on the best 20 and the worst 20. The mean batting average was .264. I am assuming that if we included all the pinch hitters in between the worst and the best that the mean would still be about the same. I don't know if that is a good assumption or not. But based on that assumption, using the chi square calculator from QuickCalcs ( I get the following answer to the question:

"The two-tailed P value equals 0.0240
By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be statistically significant."

What the p value means is that likelihood that Nady's batting average being so much better than the mean is just a fluke is 2 out of one hundred. This calculation takes into account the fact that Nady had 50 pinch hit at bats.

So Nady's .404 average in 50 pinch hit at bats seems to represent superior performance, not a fluke.

Maybe someone who works with statistics a lot will tell me I got it all wrong, but I THINK it is right.

I really liked Xavier, too. But I fear we'll never get him back, now

Anonymous said...

Do you know anything about pinch hitting? It's one of the toughest things to do because you get so few chances to do it and come through. A players regular batting average has no effect on pinch hitting. Some of the best hitters in the game have a tough time PH and some of the most mediocre hitters can thrive at it. If you cant show that you can do the job by 50 at bats then you cant do it, and if you can hit .650 it would show you do great at it. So my question to you is, why would I be skeptical of a .650 average?