Tag Archive | Zack Wheeler

Five Things to Watch at Mets Camp This Spring

By Dan Lagnado

  1. The returns

Everybody in Mets world knows about the imminent return of Matt Harvey. In fact, he’s progressing very nicely and is scheduled to face hitters for the first time on Thursday. Sandy Alderson said that Harvey’s workload this spring will be 90-95% of what it would be on any other year and he has not ruled out Harvey pitching 200 innings this year. But Harvey is not the only Mets pitcher to be coming back from Tommy John surgery. Closer Bobby Parnell also went under the knife after getting injured on Opening Day of 2014. He is expected to make his return by the end of April, giving the Mets a potentially dominant bullpen with the ability to strike out the world. Harvey and Parnell, two hard throwing pitchers in positions of maximum importance (ace and closer), are ready to help pitch the Mets back into contention.

Matt Harvey is back and is ready to make 2015 a year to remember for the Mets (Via AP)

Matt Harvey is back and is ready to make 2015 a year to remember for the Mets (Via AP)

  1. Dillon Gee moving to the bullpen

With the return of Harvey as mentioned above, the Mets are faced with a unique problem: too many starting pitchers. With Harvey as the headliner, the Mets have six quality starters (Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee) as well as at least two more waiting in the wings in Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz. As a result of this, Gee appears to be headed to the bullpen. This will require an adjustment for the 28-year-old Gee, who has served as a starter for his entire career. It is likely he will serve as a long reliever, so that the Mets can keep him stretched out for when Harvey needs to skip an outing to rest his elbow (or barring any injury to another starter). That said, he will need to be ready to be called upon at a moment’s notice and his adjustment to life in the ‘pen will be noteworthy.

  1. Shortstop

Some people may be surprised I made it this far without mentioning the biggest hole in the lineup in the Mets lineup. Wilmer Flores is currently penciled in as the starter with Ruben Tejada to be the backup. While the situation is extremely likely, neither of these assumptions is set in stone. The team has said that prospect Matt Reynolds will see a good deal of time at shortstop during Spring Training. While Reynolds may not be ready this season (he spent only half a year in Triple-A), the team may feel much more comfortable with the position going forward if he impresses them in spring training. He won’t be starting on Opening Day but Tejada may find himself looking over his shoulder at Reynolds.

  1. Eric Campbell as a catcher

This is a weird one. Eric Campbell served as a utility infielder/outfielder/bench player for the Mets last season after Josh Satin couldn’t get the job done. He reported to Port St. Lucie this spring with the intention of adding catcher to his increasing positional repertoire. At this point, it isn’t clear whether or not this is for the sole purpose of fulfilling the role of “emergency catcher” or if Campbell is using this to earn more playing time as a potentially regular backup to Travis d’Arnaud. If he does opt to make the positional change more serious, he could open a roster spot for another player. If Campbell serves as backup to d’Arnaud and utility defender, the Mets would not need Anthony Recker and instead could opt to carry a player like Dilson Herrera or Matt den Dekker, who each earned a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2014, but will likely will be left off the Opening Day roster in 2015.

  1. Left-handed reliever competition

The Mets have expressed interest in trying to carry a second left-handed reliever to complement Josh Edgin. However, with Gee in the bullpen and Parnell returning, they are somewhat short on space. That said, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson and believe that they find a way to bring two lefties to D.C. for Opening Day. The leading candidate is Sean Gilmartin, the team’s Rule-5 draft pick this offseason. I give him the edge primarily because of his Rule-5 status, which dictates that if he is not on the active roster, he is sent back to the team the Mets took him from. Additionally, he does have experience as a starter, indicating that he can be more than just a simple lefty specialist. Also competing for this job will be Dario Alvarez, who was promoted towards the end of last season but saw only limited time, Jack Leathersich, a prospect who also attended Spring Training last season and Scott Rice, lefty specialist from 2013, who suffered an injury last season in the minors following his demotion. Rice has the most major league experience of the four but there are questions regarding his health and effectiveness.

There you have it. Five important things to watch as the Mets begin the first official workouts of Spring Training 2015. Each will be key for a team that hopes to return to relevance and competitiveness this year. Only time will tell whether the current pieces are enough. Fight through the cold Mets fans, only 42 days until baseball is back.


Dan Lagnado is studying communications, law economics and government at American University. He’s a fan of both the Mets and Jets and has been writing about sports for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @dlag1995

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MLB Staff Picks

The smell of peanuts and cracker jacks is in the air. After 152 days since the Red Sox walked off the field as champions, baseball is back. Our picks are in for this year’s fall classic. Here they are:

Writer

Pick

Brett Malamud

 I’m taking the Yankees over the Dodgers. Both teams have proven this offseason that they want to win now. The Yankees unloaded after missing the playoffs by opening their checkbook and spending close to $500 million. The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka immediately make the Yankees a legitimate threat. But don’t think they’re the only team spending the big bucks. The Dodgers passed the Yankees for the MLB’s highest payroll, ending the Yankees 15 year streak, by spending $235 million this season. All and all I’d say Derek Jeter better start spreading the news that his final season will end with a ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

Sam Breiter

 As an extremely optimistic Mets fan with nothing but the highest expectations, I’m always going to take my team. So along with my Mets, I’m taking the rival Yankees. The Mets have young talent in there rotation, and a growing lineup. They may make a huge move by the deadline, and Zach Wheeler will suprise people this year. Yankees, because they spent money this offseason and are clearly doing anything to win a year after missing the playoffs

Dan Lagnado

 In the NL I’ll take the Dodgers and in the AL I’ll take Detroit. Dodgers win a six game series behind Kershaw and Greinke who each win two games

Josh Halilej

 Tigers over Cardinals. Lots of solid pitching between the two of them. I think Justin Verlander comes back big this year and comes out as the Tigers’ #1 with Rick Porcello having an awesome year too finishing ahead of Max Scherzer in the pitching rotation. The Cards are going to need Yadier Molina to manage the pitching staff well, but they just don’t have the overall offensive firepower that Detroit does with the addition of Ian Kinsler. Watch out for the Rangers though if they can have someone aside from Yu Darvish step up in their rotation.

Seth Schuster

 Red Sox over Dodgers. Only a little bit of bias plays into this one…Both are great teams with amazing young talent. With the recent resurgence of John Lackey, John Lester, a healthy Clay Buchholz, and a young and very talented Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox will be the 2014 World Series Champions. With the leadership of David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Napoli, look for the Sox to make a push for the repeat.

Ben Ozur

 Rays vs Dodgers. There’s no explanation for why the Rays are good every year, but the undeniable fact is that they are. However nobody is on the Dodgers level in terms of overall talent. Despite multiple holes including infield depth and major league ready pitchers in the minors, their superstar talent everywhere else will cover that up.

Ryan Gillman

 Dodgers over Tigers. The Dodgers are armed with a wealth of talent and the largest payroll in history. Anything less than a championship would be a disappointment.

Sam  Iryami

 Nationals vs Tigers. Nationals win. The Nationals have the best pitching rotation in baseball with the front four being Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Doug Fister. Pitching wins games. Although the Tigers have a great all around team, the team is full of veterans. However, they are definitely a contender for the World Series because of their many stars such as Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Max Scherzer. Both teams have unbelievable pitching and hitting, but I have the Nationals taking home the trophy in this one.

Zach Pokorny

 Dodgers vs Angels, but I’d pick the Angels because Mike Trout is amazing
Derek Jeter has one last season in his hall of fame career and will make the most of it (Via Sabo News)

Derek Jeter has one last season in his hall of fame career and will make the most of it (Via Sabo News)

We hope everyone enjoys Opening Day and stays locked in to Dabuzzza here and on our twitter page this MLB season. We know we will.

The New York Mets: Who’s Left?

By Sam Iryami

Matt Harvey who? After his season-ending torn UCL, he is now out for the entire 2014 season. Harvey put up outstanding numbers with the Mets this past season, having a 2.27 ERA, 191 SO, and winning nine games in 178.1 innings (26 starts). To add on to these great stats, he was the starting NL pitcher in this season’s All-Star Game. As it is was first “real” major league season, he really showed what he was made of in the time that he pitched. Harvey was “lights out,” throwing on average nine and a half strikeouts per nine innings. The Met offense had to do a lot better of a job, after leaving Harvey with twelve no decisions. Now that Matt Harvey will not be pitching for the 2014 season, the Mets have to put up big stats on the other side of the game. The other option besides offense is another pitcher to fill the “Harvey” role on the ball club.

The loss of Matt Harvey will have some pretty big effects on the 2014 season for the Mets (Via Reuters)

The loss of Matt Harvey will have some pretty big effects on the 2014 season for the Mets (Via Reuters)

Who’s left to fill that role? Well, there’s that guy named Zach Wheeler, the number one pitching prospect last year. The rookie had an ERA of 3.42, won seven games, and had only 84 strikeouts. Evidently, his stats last year were not nearly as outstanding as Harvey’s, which ranked in the top ten of all pitchers. Is Wheeler a solid number one starting pitcher? It seems like Wheeler is the only pitcher on the Mets that has a chance to become the number one pitcher in the Mets’ starting rotation.

Zach Wheeler hopes to fill Harvey's role (Via Newsday)

Zach Wheeler hopes to fill Harvey’s role (Via Newsday)

Jon Niese, Zach Wheeler, and Dillon Gee are solid starters for the Mets, but they are not anywhere near Harvey. On average, they have a combined 3.89 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and eight wins. In a significant less number of innings, Harvey was able to crush these numbers. Without Harvey in the rotation for the upcoming 2014 season, it leaves the Mets rotation as follows:

1-Zach Wheeler

2-Jon Niese

3-Dillon Gee

4-Jeremy Hefner (TJ)

5-Carlos Torres (FA)/Jenrry Mejia (FA)/ Daisuke Matsuzaka (FA)/ Aaron Harrang

The Mets have to rely on these pitchers in place of superstar Matt Harvey. It’s going to be hard, especially with not a top offense in the league and awful relief pitching.

This offseason, the Mets are left with a ton of cap room, being so because of the absence of Mr. Johan Santana, or should I say “No-han.” His skyrocketing $24 million is no longer a burden for the Mets. This extra cap room could now be used to acquire some top prospects, or even some all-star free agents. Jose Reyes is not a free agent, but he has shown his interest in playing for New York once again, already buying a home in Brookville, NY. He would be a great addition to the roster, adding tremendous speed and enthusiasm to the Mets’ offense. Justin Morneau, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Robinson Cano are also possible free agents that the Mets could look into to boost the Mets’ offense and gain the runs they will give up in the field due to the loss of Harvey this year.

Although no one on the Mets’ roster could fill the spot of Harvey, multiple pitchers have a chance to be on the Mets. Pitchers on the market: Bartolo Colon, Masahiro Tanaka, Bronson Arroyo, and Tim Hudson. However, these pitchers may not be interested in playing in the big city or even on the Mets. The organization could definitely look into them, along with many others, to help fill the role of Harvey and add some extra experience and skill to the team as well. The Mets have to be cautious on spending when attempting to procure these great players.

Prospects are not ideal for the Mets. Since Harvey is out for next year, they need offense and pitching quick! Some pitching prospects the Mets have right now: Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. These great players should be starting for the Mets in the near future. However, Signing some free agents or making some trades for big players might be the route the Mets want to take with all the extra cap room they have from Johan’s contract expiration.

Who do you think the Mets should be interested in this offseason? Leave comments and stay tuned to dabuzzza.com to learn about the Mets’ offseason pickups and trades. Dabuzzza is a great way to learn about many other sports besides baseball such as basketball, football, and hockey. Like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter to learn more.

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Sam Iryami is a die-hard Mets, Jets, and Knicks fan. His favorite athletes are David Wright and Carmelo Anthony. Sam is looking for a future career in business and finance.