Saturday, June 2, 2012

The 2012 Mets: So Likable, They're Erasing Bad Memories

It's fair to say that being a Mets fan isn't the easiest thing in the world, especially as a 12-14 year old between 2006 and 2008. Two collapses, a lost series to the far inferior Cardinals, lots and lots of tears; these are memories that I've tried to repress over the years. This 2012 Mets team, though, a group of very likable players, have gone some way to erasing those memories. They won't be totally erased until a World Series is won (who says that can't be this year), but it also has to do with the psyche one goes into Mets games with. Now, I'm excited for Mets baseball again; if they lose, well, there's another game tomorrow. If they win? Awesome.

Bit by bit, these Mets are replacing old memories with new ones. Miss Jose Reyes? No matter. Jordanny Valdespin, who could, one day, be as good as Jose Reyes, takes Jonathon Papelbon deep in Philadelphia for his first major league hit, and smiles the whole way around the bases, undoubtedly pissing off Shane Victorino. And then there's tonight; Johan Santana can't throw above 90 anymore. He's been out for a year and a little more with this shoulder surgery; yet, he comes back and pitches pretty damn well. And yesterday night, he threw the first Met no hitter in 8,020 games. It's no World Series, but it's the best night of my Met-supporting life. And it's pushed memories of 2007 just a little further away.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mets 5 Tigers 0: Dickey in Control

R.A. Dickey improved to 6-0 yesterday with a masterful 8 inning shutout performance of the Tigers. Dickey retired 15 of the last 16, striking out 4 and walking 2. Though he threw just 6 swinging strikes, he got 12 groundouts. His FIP, xFIP and tRA, while all being higher than his ERA, meaning regression is likely to occur, they are all in the 3s, meaning that Dickey will porbably continue this level of performance.

One reason why Dickey has been so effective is that as a knuckleballer, the pitch doesn't really move in the same way every time. The above graph shows just how much his knuckler was moving yesterday. Sometimes the pitch won't move, and on that occasion Dickey will be in trouble, but, as we've seen with Tim Wakefield, he can be a league average or better pitcher for the minimum salary.

Player of The Game: R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes share the honors today. Reyes was a double away from the cycle and had .212 WPA, while Dickey increased the Mets chances of winning by 42.4%.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yankees 2-1 Mets: Gah!

My first recap of 2010, and hopefully the first of many, if I have time to do it.
I'll be doing a new format of recap:

Questionable move
A detailed look into any jaw dropping idiocities questionable moves made by the Mets in the game.
Pitch F/x graph of the day
Usually looking at the strikezone plot or spin times speed of the Mets pitcher in the game.
Idea of the game
Personnel, game strategy; just my 2 cents on what could've been done differently. It can be tied back into Questionable move of the day.

So, to the recap:

Questionable move:
Jerry Manuel has awful bullpen management skills. He's used Fernando Nieve in 25 games, and is projected to use him in 94. Nieve now no longer has the shiny ERA, and he has terrible peripherals, including a 15/15 K/BB ratio, and he has a high 5 FIP, xFIP and tRA. He should not be the set up man at all. Of course, in the Top of the 7th, Jerry goes to Elmer Dessens, who was just called up. While Dessens was unlucky to give up 2 runs (great defense, Alex Cora), but at what stage should he have been taken out? With runners at second and third, and none out, the Leverage Index was 2.44, which is highly above average. Jerry should've gone to his best available reliever, which was Francisco Rodriguez. Never mind him being the closer, he's the best reliever, and he should be coming in at high leverage situations, no matter the inning.
Pitch F/x graph

Takahashi's fastball was pretty effective, coupled with a slider down and away against lefties and a sinker down and away against righties. Despite not being a hard thrower, he still got 12.9% swinging strikes, which is above average. Swinging strikes is important because it can indicate how many strikeouts a pitcher will get; yesterday Takahashi struck out 5.
Idea of the game
Jeff Francoeur had a pretty awful game yesterday, like most of the Mets offense. However, he only saw 9 pitches in his 3 at bats as he went 0/3, dropping down to .221/.280/.379. Over his career, Francoeur hits lefties better than righties, having a .771 OPS against lefites, and a .725 OPS against righties. Over his minor league career, Chris Carter has a .896 OPS against righties, 100 points over his OPS against lefties. My idea is that Jerry Manuel platoon Francoeur and Carter, with Carter starting against righties, and Francoeur starting against lefties. It might be one way to get Francoeur to hit better, and to get more the Mets offense hitting better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Raul Valdes for the rotation?

When Oliver Perez was removed from the rotation, Raul Valdes was mentioned as a possible replacement. In the end, the Mets went with R.A. Dickey, but Valdes came in for John Maine when he was removed for precautionary reasons, and pitched extremely well, striking out 6 in 5 innings. Is he a viable option for the rotation?

Valdes, so far, has thrown 20.1 innings, hardly a big sample size. He has struck out 10.2/9 IP, and has a 3.3 K/BB ratio, both excellent figures.
As the above graph shows (click to make larger) Valdes gets excellent movement. That is one reason for his success, and his curve ball, with the most movement, is his outpitch, worth 2.8 runs.

The above graph again shows his movement, this time from the catchers perspective. The curve is a great pitch against lefties, though against righties, not as much, as it's down and in to them.

He has a somewhat worrying flyball trend that could regress, and I'd worried about him against righties. If he is going to start, the ideal conditions would be at Citi Field, with the large outfield, and against a lefty dominated lineup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Johan's changeup

Johan Santana struck out 5 yesterday, and his great change up was particularly impressive. I'm going to look at Johan's tabular data for his changeup.
Velocity Pfx_x Pfx_z Px Pz Break length
80.01 MPH 7.43 6.07 .5 2.2 7.65”

What does that all mean? Here is a useful glossary, done by Mike Fast.
Velocity is obviously the velocity of the pitch, when released. Pfx_x is the horizontal movement of the pitch, in inches. Pfx_z is the vertical movement, in inches. Px is the location, in feet, horizontally. Right is positive, left is negative, and it's from the middle of the plate. Pz is the location in feet, vertically. Break length is the measurement of the greatest distance in inches from the straight path of a hypothetical pitch thrown from the same place.

Here is the location of his changeup
Point (0,-3) would be a right handed batter's feet, approximately.
Here's the average location of his changeup in just the strike zone.
As you can see, it's down and away, which is what makes it so devastating to right handed hitters.

I'm Back

Well, another season is in full swing, and I will be honest, I was nervous at the beginning. However it seems, like for the time being the Mets will be OK. Ike Davis, (a member of one of my fantasy teams) is proving that he is the future of the team. The team now has a even more solid core to build around. It seems like Frenchy is the outfield stud instead of his canadian counter part Jason Bay. If you look at pitching, only two of the rotation is looking shaky in Perez and Maine. Niese is showing glimpses that he can be a solid third starter, Pelf is looking like the second starter this team needs, and Santana has been great 3 of the 4 times he's gone out. This weekends series with the Braves is a big one, not only because they are a division rival, but because in a division filled with so many young stars, two of the youngest are the Braves Jason Heyward (the greatest hitting prospect in years according to SI) and Ike Davis (the savior). The Mets will try and ride the high they have after winning their first series of the year against the Cubs. They will send out Maine, Niese, and in the Sunday night game, Pelf agaist Tommy Hanson. That game might be the best chance to see a showcase of great all around young players. Both pitchers are 3-0, Frenchy is playing his old team, and the Mets are looking to show they can contend with the top tier of the division.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If only