First-round pick in the 2010 draft.
I didn't have the courage to stay up past the seventh inning of last night's game in Arizona but gathered from the box score that it turned out alright if you can forgive the shakiness of the 8th and 9th and while overlooking that Mets managed only two baserunners against the entire Diamondback bullpen amid David Wright's growing slump.
I'd be more optimistic today if I knew there were an offensive version of Matt Harvey down there at AAA ready to make the next step, but I don't see one. And looking realistically at the organization, you'd figure there's a need to replace as many as three outfielders; get a catcher who can hit; and probably, a better second baseman before they're ready to adequately support guys like Harvey, Wheeler and whatever else the more developed pitching pipeline produces. What I'm saying is, maybe the club will make a trade or two before the clock strikes midnight Tuesday. And if so, let's hope they produce hitters that can help tomorrow and not relief pitchers for tonight.
Have we seen the last of Lucas Duda? The big lefty looked promising for a while, but hasn't hit with enough power this year to forgive his poor glove and this week was banished to AAA Buffalo. If the Mets think Ike Davis has put his nightmares behind him and is the better bet at first base, Duda could go in one of the trades. Anyway, he's down, Manny Acosta is back up, Mike Nickeas is down, Rob Johnson is back up, Pedro Beato is down, and Matt Harvey looks awfully good in No. 33.
I can understand the Mets being patient and trying to manage expectations with regards to pitching prospect Matt Harvey, who appears to be making his first major league start later this week in Arizona. But geez, did they have to go Miguel Batista one more time? His ouster in Saturday's debacle with Los Angeles was about the least surprising of the many bad things to have happened to the Mets since the All-Star break. That performance got Batista designated for assignment. Combined with Johan Santana's deserved trip to the disabled list, it paves the way for Harvey's ascendancy ready or not.
Recent trends notwithstanding, I can't see the Mets continuing to climb the ladder for pitcher numbers and issue Harvey something in the 60s or 70s. I'd expect something like 36, although 33 and 22 are available as well.
In other news, Elvin Ramirez, wearing 62, is back again.
The Mets look like a team nearly wiped out from a lack of confidence that's swept like a virus, infecting the bullpen first and now spreading throughout the lineup. I'm not putting it past the Mets to get healthy again but the offense in general requires more fixes than just that, and sadly, there's few Matt Harveys waiting in Buffalo for their chance to hit their way onto this team.
What uni do you think Harvey shows up in?
Lefty reliever who opened eyes during 2012 spring training.
There's no doubt new equipment manager Kevin Kierst is wild about the high numbers, his reign as equipment manager also saw 60s assignments to Jon Rauch (60), Jack Egbert (61), Elvin Ramirez (62) and Josh Stinson (64); and a 73 issued this year to Robert Carson. These jerseys at one time were almost exclusively a spring-training thing, with the only exceptions being brief debut appearances of 61 (Jesse Orosco, Mario Ramirez) and 62 (Hubie Brooks) in 1979 and 1980.
The Mets then went more than 20 years without issuing a 60s jersey until Jeff Duncan came along in 2003. Chan-Ho Park and Livan Hernandez both later wore 61, but came to the Mets having worn that number elsewhere. Scott Schoeneweis broke 60's cherry in 2007 but was also continuing a tradition. So perhaps then the spritual grandfather of today's common Met-relief-pitcher-in-the-60s is good old Elmer Dessens, who debuted 64 in 2009.
We have yet to see a 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, or 72, but there's still time.
By now you probably know all about Dillon Gee's blood-clot surgery and the probability he won't be back for awhile. While off-days and the lengthy All-Star Break assure we wouldn't necessarily need a fifth starter for another week or so already there's much speculation this means the impending promotion of Matt Harvey or even Zack Wheeler amid fears that instead it'll be Miguel Batista or Jeremy Hefner. And no matter what, it slathers an extra helping of intrigue over the possibility the Mets make a trade in the coming weeks: the deadline is less than 3 weeks away.
In the immediate future there's a the matter of what number Josh Edgin will wear. You might recall this beefy lefthanded relief prospect from Spring Training, when a surprisingly strong performance had him elevated from the longshotty No. 87 to the respectable No. 54 before a late cut relegated him to the minors. The issue since then is that bullpen catcher Dave Racianello has been wearing 54 (despite what its says on the Mets official roster), so it looks as though Edgin will need another number: 20, 22, 32, 38, and 64 are still available.
Half a season gone by and the Mets have been fun to watch, buoyed by outstanding performances by Royally Screwed All-Star Reserves David Wright and R.A. Dickey and a kind of gutsy character that's resulted in exciting baseball and lots of satisfying wins. In a lot of ways, the Mets are surprising people not because they've gotten so much better (though they have, a little) but that the league has come back to them. Clubs like Philadelphia and Miami (LOL and LOL) are exhibiting the kinds of struggles the Mets did in recent years and few clubs in the NL look so good that they could run away from the rest, so I think there's a little reason to believe the Mets can't hang around for a while (I think, in fact, lots of teams will hang around for a while). It's just that kind of year.
My concerns are with their weak right-handed hitting, their poor defense and their lack of pitching depth (in that order). It will take a trade or a miracle comback from Jason Bay to fix the first issue and continued health and some good luck to fix pitching concerns (I don't think we have to go nuts trading for some other team's closer, but bolstering the ready supply of good arms never hurt anyone). It's the D that I can't see improving (unless you involve Daniel Murphy and/or Lucas Duda in a trade for that right-handed slugger) and then who knows. But I'd suspect the D will continue to be an issue, so I'm keeping my expectations modest: Let's hope we can hang around, avoid another big dropoff like we've had in so many recent second halves, and see where it gets us. If we can add a bat or an armn, let's do that too. It's been fun so far.
Speaking of David Wright, his home run July 3 "not only moved him past Howard Johnson into third place in the Mets' record books, it also moved uniform #5 past #18 for home runs hit. Number 5 now trails only #20 in home runs." This from sharp-eyed MBTN reader Shorty in the comments section. Sure enough, it checks out: Wright's dinger was the 378th by a player who wears No. 5, surpassing 18, which hasn't had a home run since Moises Alou in 2007 (thanks for nothing again, Jeremy Reed). Only No. 20, with 388 home runs, has produced more but with that uni currently unassigned it looks like Wright (197 HRs wearing 5) and company (John Olerud is next with 63) can overtake the all-time lead later this year. Re-sign this guy!
Getting caught up with the recent roster moves, the Mets designated Justin Hampson and recalled Jordany Valdespin July 4, then swapped out Jeremy Hefner for a healthy-at-last Pedro Beato July 5. Beato was gone so long I forgot what number he wore, but can tell you now it's still 27. Hampson was later reassigned to Buffalo along with Chris Schwinden, who bounced on the waiver wire to the Indians to the Yankees and back to the Mets.
Just goofing off this morning, came across this highlight video featuring two of my favorite Mets thrilling Canadians in 1989. Both Mookie Wilson and Lee Mazzilli would finish their playing careers as Blue Jays, and both are remembered fondly in Toronto for helping the '89 Jays to the finish line in a tight pennant race. It's odd to see Mookie wearing any number other than 1, but I agree with Cito Gaston: I'd pay to see him do his stuff.
Here in the present, we're lucky to once again be encountering an opponent going through a rough stretch, and to our credit, keeping them there. Second halves have not been kind to the Mets lately but this is looking like a team capable of hanging around, especially if they get some right-handed hitting. I remarked below that it was shame to have lost Vinny Rottino for that very reason. I'd have him in the lineup against Kershaw tonight.