Opening Day is today, and the next couple of days, we’ll be previewing all five of the teams in the National League East. Right now, the Florida Marlins: Continue reading
Monthly Archives: March 2011
Opening Day is today, and the next couple of days, we’ll be previewing all five of the teams in the National League East. Right now, the Atlanta Braves: Continue reading
An excerpt from Bill James’ new collection, “Solid Fools Gold,” is up on Slate today. It was actually originally published on his website a few months ago, but it’s freely available here, so I’ll link to it now.
All signs, reports, and divinations are pointing to Carlos Beltran hobbling his way onto the Opening Day roster, leaving Nick Evans as the odd man out. Evans is out of options, meaning the Mets would have to expose him to waivers before sending him back to Buffalo. If that happens, he may or may not be snatched up by another team.
A couple of short thoughts on this:
1. There was some debate about carrying Evans or Willie Harris in the fifth bench spot. I have to go with Harris here. The Mets already have a righty masher (Daniel Murphy) and a lefty masher (Scott Hairston), a defensive specialist (Chin-lung Hu), and a backup catcher (Ronny Paulino) on the bench. The righthanded Nick Evans hits lefties, his only great skill. Harris can play any position except catcher, runs a little bit, and has been a much improved hitter since coming to the NL in 2007, showing great plate discipline and posting a .240/.341/.394 line. A lefthanded hitter, Harris isn’t totally useless against lefty pitchers either, with a .325 OBP in the NL against southpaws. Harris isn’t great at anything, but he’s useful at enough things, which makes him ideal bench glue. Evans is more of a one trick pony, and Hairston already does his one trick.
2. Jerry Manuel didn’t do Evans any favors by rarely playing him — Evans never really got a fair shot with the team, and now he doesn’t really fit anywhere. He might have established himself a bit more, as Murphy has, had he been given more playing time in the majors.
3. That is a picture of Nick Evans, right?
4. The Mets could try to sneak Evans through waivers by carrying him and eleven pitchers on Opening Day, then sending Evans down and activating the twelfth pitcher a day or two later. If other teams already have their rosters set, it might make them less likely to grab Evans when he’s on waivers. This is the sort of sneaky plan I’m hoping Sandy Alderson will implement.
5. On a related note: I think the Mets have already used two of Fernando Martinez’s option years
– they blew one last year so he could sit on the bench for a week in August –meaning that if they use the third this season, they’d be facing an Evans-like situation with Martinez next season. This probably greatly reduces the chances of Martinez seeing time in the majors until September, if he’s up at all this season. Edit: Upon review, this is not how options work. The Mets may have the same problem with Martinez next spring regardless. Options are used when a player is on the 40 man roster but not on the major league team, as Martinez has been since 2009. This is his third option year, and cannot be sent to the minors next year unless the Mets put him through waivers. Just something to think about.
Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #1, Tom Seaver: Continue reading
This discussion broke out in the comments yesterday, and now I’m curious — for the 2011 baseball season, would you rather have Ike Davis or Ryan Howard as your first baseman? Who’s going to have a better year? First, a little information on the candidates:
Ike Davis: Last season Davis hit .264/.351/.440 with 19 home runs and 33 doubles in 147 games. His best skills were his patience, walking 72 times as a rookie, and a good glove, saving around 9 runs in the field and tumbling over multiple railings. On the other hand, he is painfully slow, struck out 138 times, and defensive numbers can be fluky. He will be 24 this season. Has a beard.
Ryan Howard: 2010 was a down year for Howard. His power numbers dropped and an ankle injury put him on the DL for the first time in three years. Howard hit .276/.353/.505 with 31 home runs and 23 doubles in 143 games, but is a career .279/.372/.572 hitter and averages 46 home runs and 27 doubles. His walk rate has been dropping for three straight seasons, but his strikeout rate has fallen along with it. He is painfully slow (though probably a tick faster than Davis) and a below-average defender — he appears to have cost his team somewhere around 15 runs defensively last season, but is closer to a negative 4 run fielder for his career. Howard will be 31 this season. Doesn’t have a beard.
Keep in mind two more things: We’re just talking about this season — so who do you think will be a more valuable player in 2011 — and contracts don’t count. Davis is cheap and Howard is signed to that curious mega deal, but please forget about how much each will be paid. Just value on the field, and just in 2011, regardless of salary: