sitemeter:

February 3, 2006
  
Ten Questions: Spring Edition
by: Matt Gelb on Feb 3, 2006 12:42 AM | Filed under: Articles

Today marks less than two weeks until the day pitchers and catchers report to St. Lucie. Not that we’re counting or anything.

Last year I did a similar ten questions preview of Spring Training (gotta love the comments). My predictions were like Terrence Roberts — dead-on when it counts.

Four non-roster pitchers made the bullpen, Joe McEwing was traded before the season began, Ramon Castro made the team, Scott Strickland ended up pitching in the majors for the Astros, Heath Bell and Jason Phillips were not on the Opening Day roster and Matt Ginter was traded.

Okay, so Andres Galarraga did not make the team like I projected he would and Victor Diaz did not suffer the same fate that Jae Seo did in 2004. But I’ll give myself credit where it’s due.

Enough of my self-praise, here are the ten things to pay extra attention to this spring:

1. Will Aaron Heilman’s success in winter ball translate against a major league lineup?

Heilman is, without a doubt, the most important player at Port St. Lucie this spring. The Mets are putting a lot of faith in Heilman to be the third starter in a suspect rotation. Heilman is getting his wish; he asked to start. The Mets effectively traded Jae Seo and Kris Benson to free up a spot for Heilman. That’s plenty of pressure right there.

It is vital that Heilman establish himself early in 2006. The Mets generally know what sort of performances they will get from the rest of the rotation. Heilman is the wild card. Spring Training will be a good indicator of what we might see in 2006.

2. Which pitcher will replace Heilman’s setup slot in the bullpen?

Pick your poison here. Jorge Julio, Duaner Sanchez and Chad Bradford, all offseason acquisitions, will each get an opportunity to become Billy Wagner’s primary setup man. All three have flaws. Julio has notoriously bad control whereas Sanchez and Bradford cannot get lefties out.

These three pitchers may represent pitching coach Rick Peterson’s foremost project in 2006. If he can turn one of these three into an effective setup man, then it is a substantial accomplishment.

3. Who in the bullpen is going to get lefties out in 2006?

This is shaping up to be the finest positional battle this spring. Before Heilman was moved to the rotation, he was heralded as the one who would retire lefties. Plan B doesn’t look so peachy.

The Mets have all of three left-handed pitchers on the 40 man roster: Glavine, Wagner and Royce Ring. Non-roster lefties include former Met Pedro Feliciano, Big Unit killer Dae-Sung Koo, crusty veteran Darren Oliver, career underachiever Matt Perisho and Mike Venafro, who has not pitched in the majors since 2004.

Slim pickings.

As I’ve said before, my vote goes to Venafro, but that is not based on much. The winner of the spot will be judged solely on their Spring Training performance, obviously a small sample size. The Mets would be wise to keep a few of the pitchers who lose out on Opening Day in the organization as insurance.

4. Who in the bullpen is going to get screwed over this spring?

Listed in alphabetical order: Brian Bannister, Heath Bell, John Maine, Juan Padilla, Steve Schmoll. All five will pitch well enough to make the Opening Day bullpen, but the depth that Omar has assembled squeezes these pitchers out to Norfolk.

Maine and Bannister are two pitchers to definitely watch this spring. Both are sure to be called upon during the regular season when one of the aging starters goes down to injury.

5. Does Brett Boone have any semblance of talent remaining?

Probably not. Still, I applaud the Mets for only bringing him in as a non-roster invite. That way he’s a no risk proposition. If anything, he will stimulate the competition at second-base and perhaps light a fire under Kazuo Matsui’s ass.

If Boone has a decent spring, look for the Mets to definitely add him to the roster. He would likely take a spot away from Chris Woodward.

6. Will either of Jeff Keppinger or Anderson Hernandez head north with the major league team?

Highly unlikely, especially given the addition of Jose Valentin and the re-signing of Woodward. The only way Hernandez makes the Mets is if he starts at second base, which barring injury, he will not. Keppinger is buried within this organization. He needs a spectacular spring to even be considered. If both start the season in Norfolk, which is highly possible, I would not be surprised to see Keppinger play shortstop. At this point in his career, if he is going to survive, he needs to add some versatility.

7. How much time is Mike Pelfrey going to get against major leaguers?

Yusmeiro Petit pitched six innings and Phil Humber threw two in 2005 Spring Training, but I would expect Pelfrey to get a better look this spring. He is coming off of quite the layoff and if I’m Mets management I want to see what he has. He will see solid time early in the exhibition season. In addition, the World Baseball Classic might give Pelfrey more innings for the Mets when a number of Met pitchers leave the team.

With the lack of pitching prospects the Mets system has to offer, Pelfrey is on the fast track, make no doubt about it.

8. Who is this year’s Japanese reclamation project?

His name is Yusaku Iriki and he is a career .500 pitcher after eight seasons in Japan. He is 33 years old. Iriki started 20 games last year for Bob Costas’ favorite Japanese Pac League team, the Nippon Ham Fighters. Predictably, Iriki’s best year was in 2001, as a 28-year-old. He played for the Japanese Yankees, the Yomiuri Giants.

He does throw the shuto, which is apparently the Japanese version of the screwball. Check this out for more info.

Iriki was a strikeout pitcher in Japan, which means he will make this team as the long reliever and struggle horribly with his control.

9. Is Mitch Wylie our new Lenny DiNardo?

Not a chance. Wylie has never posted a minor league WHIP under 1.22, mostly due to the number of hits he surrenders. Wylie is intriguing because of his strikeout rate, which has improved as he climbs the ladder. However, he just turned 29 and it would be absolutely shocking if Wylie makes this team because of the bullpen depth the Mets have.

10. Okay Matt, you have told me about everyone who is not going to make the team. Can you give me some kind of surprise move?

Sure. Alay Soler will make this team.

Last year I wondered aloud if he would ever make it to the states in time for Spring Training. He couldn’t even make it for the regular season. The one-year setback does not help Soler’s chances, but if everything we have heard about the Cuban hurler is true, he has just as good of a shot, if not better, than many of the fringe bullpen pitchers. Soler’s future may even lie as a starter.

Book it — at least four of these will come true.


149 Responses to “Ten Questions: Spring Edition”

Pages: « 1 [2]

  1. Comment posted by Super T on February 6, 2006 at 3:10 pm (#27220)

    I think the reasons are not unapparent at all: he recruited Wagner (for one) and has become an ambassador to the team. Like it or not, the Mets seem to value that.

    So he’s a good clubhouse guy, great. He’s not the only one. And, at 41 years of age there will be much better options when his contract expires to replace him with.

  2. Comment posted by fire willie on February 6, 2006 at 3:23 pm (#27222)

    I didn’t see your apology for confusing me with “love” - but no worries)

    71, That was a joke, but if you’d like, sorry. I thought it was a woman, then I thought the writing was similar to yours, especially the disdain you have for me often; or at least the sentiment you express of wishing I were gone. Alas, it was a joke, I thought your strong sense of humor would bear it out, but tone is often misread on this site, so I apologize; not meant to upset you. I guess I was jaded you refused me the job offer (again another joke). Be well.

    Valentin doesnt play in the DR, hes on the PR team and is switching hitting again. He doesnt look good either.

    I’m glad I din’t lose it altogether. Is he going to stay w the switchhitting in ST, I wonder. He does not look like a Met for the 06 season the way I envision the team. AHern on the other is smoking at bat. A funny interview on mlb he says the mets will be better w him at 2nd (laughingly).

  3. Gravatar
  4. Comment posted by jpwf on February 6, 2006 at 5:35 pm (#27229)

    Talk about falling down on the job, all the Sox had to do was research ONE detail about a commonly disputed fact about Cubans.

    I have a book about El Duque, some of the parts concerning his agent’s negotiations with the Yankees are pretty funny. His agent, Joe Cubas, insisted that El Duque was “only 28″ (this was 1997/98). The Yankees lkept saying, “no, we know he’s 32″.

    The Yankees could never get Cubas/El Duque to fess up, but being the Yankees they paid him more $ than anyone else was offering anyway.

  5. Gravatar
  6. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on February 6, 2006 at 7:26 pm (#27244)

    especially the disdain you have for me often

    But FW, how did you distinguish MY disdain from everyone else’s?

    (j/k, that was a joke)

  7. Comment posted by fire willie on February 7, 2006 at 3:16 pm (#27360)

    But FW, how did you distinguish MY disdain from everyone else’s?

    Which is why I acknowledged you in the first place, the writing was eerily similar to yours.

  8. Comment posted by play roulette on May 10, 2009 at 11:23 am (#976146)

    play roulette…

    Very good site. Thank you:
    play roulette
    [URL=http://groups.google.com/group/balais_chor/web/play-roulette]play roulette[/URL]
    play roulette http://groups.google.com/group/balais_chor/web/play-roulette

  9. Comment posted by property and casualty license on July 8, 2011 at 4:36 am (#1134695)

    Great Site……

    Hey Admin , Extremely nice blog , if you need backlinks to your website I provide upto 10,000 high quality SEO backlinks for only $5. Check it out here :http://bit.ly/msweL2…

  10. Comment posted by Missold Investments on July 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm (#1134728)

    Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  11. Comment posted by Fine Teak Bookcase on July 10, 2011 at 3:32 am (#1134881)

    Furniture Manufacturer…

    [...]I saw this is really great post today, so I’ve linked to my site and bookmarking it to digg, Delicious and stumble upon, Keep this trackback approved so they can index this page[...]…

  12. Comment posted by online social networking on July 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm (#1135142)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  13. Comment posted by altama boots on July 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm (#1135290)

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  14. Comment posted by walden guitars on July 11, 2011 at 12:23 am (#1135388)

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  15. Comment posted by Beach Villas in Mauritius on July 11, 2011 at 12:31 am (#1135448)

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  16. Comment posted by make money online on July 11, 2011 at 2:20 am (#1135651)

    The best website……

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  17. Comment posted by Help a disabled american veteran on July 11, 2011 at 6:54 am (#1135827)

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  18. Comment posted by work from home on July 11, 2011 at 7:06 am (#1135973)

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  19. Comment posted by Removals on July 11, 2011 at 9:04 am (#1136091)

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  20. Comment posted by http://pkhousecleaning.co.uk on July 11, 2011 at 9:54 am (#1136405)

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  21. Comment posted by personal prophecy on July 11, 2011 at 10:02 am (#1136424)

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  22. Comment posted by http://www.clubpenguinnews.net on July 11, 2011 at 10:53 am (#1136467)

    Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  23. Comment posted by Mauritius Self Catering Accommodation on July 11, 2011 at 10:59 am (#1136488)

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  24. Comment posted by work from home. home business on July 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm (#1136666)

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  25. Comment posted by will make money on July 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm (#1136698)

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  26. Comment posted by hair salons in dc on July 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm (#1136854)

    Visitor recommendations…

    [...]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[...]……

  27. Comment posted by Pigeon Racing Tips on July 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm (#1137096)

    Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  28. Comment posted by Mauritius Villas on July 12, 2011 at 12:40 am (#1137205)

    Website trackback Link…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  29. Comment posted by pool repair las vegas on July 12, 2011 at 2:46 am (#1137368)

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  30. Comment posted by brisbane seo course on July 12, 2011 at 6:13 am (#1137516)

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  31. Comment posted by hemorrhoid treatment on July 12, 2011 at 6:19 am (#1137562)

    Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  32. Comment posted by Location Ile Maurice on July 12, 2011 at 7:10 am (#1137868)

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  33. Comment posted by Teak Furniture on July 12, 2011 at 11:18 am (#1138061)

    Furniture Manufacturer…

    [...]I saw this is really great post today, so I’ve linked to my site and bookmarking it to digg, Delicious and stumble upon, Keep this trackback approved so they can index this page[...]…

  34. Comment posted by http://golearnweb.com/web-design-dvd-tutorial.html on July 12, 2011 at 11:19 am (#1138065)

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  35. Comment posted by Location Vacances Ile Maurice on July 12, 2011 at 11:22 am (#1138073)

    Website trackback Link…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  36. Comment posted by how to become a cna on July 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm (#1138135)

    Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  37. Comment posted by photographe publicitaire haute savoie on July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm (#1138346)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  38. Comment posted by Win An Iphone 4 on July 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm (#1138516)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  39. Comment posted by Die richtigen Tipps im Camjob on July 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm (#1138606)

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  40. Comment posted by angielski przez internet on July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm (#1138827)

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    [...]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[...]……

  41. Comment posted by interior design ideas on July 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm (#1138942)

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  42. Comment posted by Ricoh Aficio on July 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm (#1138974)

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  43. Comment posted by Bungalow Ile Maurice on July 13, 2011 at 12:56 am (#1139143)

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  44. Comment posted by Villa Ile Maurice on July 13, 2011 at 4:35 am (#1139391)

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  45. Comment posted by portable CD players on July 13, 2011 at 6:00 am (#1139536)

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    [...]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[...]……

  46. Comment posted by geile Fotzen on July 13, 2011 at 9:35 am (#1139734)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  47. Comment posted by Types of Clouds on July 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm (#1139891)

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  48. Comment posted by capresso ultima on July 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm (#1140079)

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  49. Comment posted by career change at 40 on July 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm (#1140229)

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    [...]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[...]……

  50. Comment posted by Sleep Through The Night on July 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm (#1140246)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  51. Comment posted by altama boots on July 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm (#1140497)

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

Pages: « 1 [2]

rss/syndication: