Mets Junkies Game Recap: deGrom & Scherzer lay Cardinals to waste

New York Mets starters and aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer took the hill on Sunday and were the only two pitchers to do so for the Mets. Did you think they’d need any more? Of course, not, but it’s Spring Training.

While deGrom opened the game up and pitched three innings, Scherzer closed out the contest by pitching the final six frames.

deGrom ended up taking home his first win of the Spring as the perennial Cy Young Award nominee struck out five while giving up an earned run. deGrom owns a 1.80 ERA this Spring, which was higher than his ERA during the 2021 season.

Newer Met, Max Scherzer surrendered two runs on three hits in his six innings, but also fanned seven. In total, deGrom and Scherzer struck out 12 batters on Sunday afternoon.

It’s important to note that Starling Marte made his first appearance for the Mets and demonstrated the importance of not just the ability to get on base, but also his speed.

The now right fielder (Ranked 6th on MLB Top 10 Right Now amongst CF) went 1-2 out of the 9th spot in the line up while also crossing the plate with a run scored on the contest.

Francisco Lindor had a terrific game, as the shortstop went 3 for 4, with a pair of home runs and three RBI’s. It’s a bit of a reminder of Lindor’s last spring, as the potential MVP candidate would like for his hot stretch to carry into the season this time around.

Slugging first baseman Pete Alonso also picked up a multi-hit game, going 2 for 3 with a walk, double, and run scored.

The Mets have Monday off, however will be back in action on Tuesday as the Miami Marlins will play host.

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Escobar flexes some muscle; Mets beat Nationals

Mets starter Taijuan Walker took the mound for the first time this spring as the right hander is coming back from a knee injury. With Walker being behind schedule, he only tossed two scoreless innings before making his exit.

David Peterson entered the contest after Walker’s exit and pitched mediocre in the outing. The left handed went 3.2 innings while allowing two runs on two hits, however he did fan five batters.

Jeff McNeil hit a triple in the fourth and would later be brought home by Robinson Cano’s ground out. The run would cut the Nationals lead in half.

Mark Cahna goes the other way with a hard hit RBI double in the 5th to tie the game at 2. McNeil followed with an opposite field RBI single.

Eduardo Escobar hit his first HR of the spring, a solo shot in the sixth making it 4-2, Mets. Escobar continues to rake, as well as being an important part to the clubhouse.

Chasen Shreve pitched another scoreless inning, his second of the spring. Shreve continues to make his case to be apart of the Mets bullpen.

The Mets would win the game 4-2, after a Sean Reid-Foley save.

Photo Credit: NYPost

Mets Junkies Projections: Mad Max

Next up is the Mets new #2 in the rotation Max Scherzer. The 37 year old future Hall of Famer will play his debut season as a Met. Will Max be part of the CY Young conversation again this year?

Rotochamp

Corné:

Most major projections sites have Scherzer at least a run higher in ERA in comparison to last year. Although I believe Max won’t pitch to a sub 2.50 ERA, I do believe he will be close to 3. Maybe even under the magic 3 mark?

Since 2015 Max didn’t have a full season with a ERA above 3, so I believe he will stay under that magic 3 in ERA. The only season since 2015 he had an ERA above 3 was the short season 2020.

The homerun ball could be an issue but Max doesn’t allow a lot of hits and walks, so it won’t hurt him as much. That will likely keep up as Scherzer hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down.

14-6, 2.89ERA, 1.01WHIP, 240K, 36BB, 5.6bWAR

Gem:

Scherzer knows the division and even if he didn’t, his talent level still trumps most. The 8x All-Star and 3x Cy Young has moved into a different stratosphere since his days with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I expect the grizzled veteran to hit the hill just about every time out. There are few competitors out there like Max Scherzer, the man is a warrior living in the wrong century.

195IP, 17-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.03WHIP, 237K.

Next up we will do our star short stop. Will he have a better year that his first in NY?

Photo Credit: SNY

Nimmo puts a stronghold on CF; Updated Lineup.

A couple of days ago, Corné and myself were talking about exactly this on The Mets Junkies Podcast and it looks like someone is listening. Well, probably not, but Corné confidently called it.

Like many others, I had Starling Marte slated to be the Mets opening day center fielder, at least for the 2022 campaign. However, it turns out not to be the case. Marte confirmed with reporters on Tuesday that he plans to be playing right field.

The newly acquired outfielder has been taking it light since arriving to camp, as he’s nursing a minor oblique injury. However, he has been slightly turning it up, as we get closer and closer to Opening Day.

This should come as a vote of confidence for Brandon Nimmo, as he’s made huge strides defensively. Not only will he captain the outfield, but the Wyoming native could be poised to lead off for the Mets, as well.

It’s been no secret that Brandon Nimmo is open to working on an extension that would keep him in Orange & Blue for a long while.

  1. Brandon Nimmo – L – CF
  2. Starling Marte – R – RF
  3. Francisco Lindor – S – SS
  4. Pete Alonso – R – 1B
  5. Robinson Cano – L – DH
  6. Eduardo Escobar – S – 3B
  7. Jeff McNeil – L – 2B
  8. Mark Canha – R – LF
  9. James McCann – R – C

Corné’s Cut:

As mentioned on the Podcast, playing Nimmo as our main center fielder is a no brainer to me. Here is the thing. Marte has been a solid center fielder and is definitely the more flashy outfielder to watch, I totally get that. But if you look at the metrics from last year, the younger Nimmo outplayed Marte by 1 OAA.

While that isn’t a large gap by any means, it’s worth noting that OAA is a range factored stat and with Nimmo having less Spring Speed, he still had better range. So what happens when Marte loses a step?

Another important part of this decision is that I like to want to keep Nimmo as a Met. A lot of fans want. I do believe Nimmo wants to be a center fielder and he wil leave the Mets and play center somewhere else.

Nimmo is a true center fielder and we should acknowledge that.

Photo Credit: New York Mets

Mets Junkies Projections: Polar Bear Pete

The season is getting close and everyone loves to discuss projections. So here we go. First up we have Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. Here are some projections out from the major projections websites:

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Corné:

Pete had a good 2021, but to me it still felt like a down season. I expect Pete to be close to a .900 OPS in 2022. Also with guys like Nimmo, Marte and Lindor likely in front of him, I expect his RBI Total to go over 100 as well. Pete will be our main RBI guy for a lineup that looks balanced and solid on paper.

If you look at Pete his expected slash line last year, it was all higher than his slash line (.271/.377/.542). I expect him to be closer to his expected slash line with a little more power.

.265/.360/.550 45HR 110RBI 5.3bWAR

Gem:

I believe Corné’s right, fans were expecting more from the first baseman during the 2021 season. 37 HR’s is solid, however when you’re just one full season removed from 53, it could come as a let down… especially when the team isn’t racking up W’s on its way to the playoffs.

While Alonso may not yet have the protection needed directly behind him, I still see him stepping it up from last year.

.248/.355/.549 43HR 111 RBI

Next up we will predict the new Mets ace in Max Scherzer!

Photo Credit: The Apple on Twitter

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Megill & Castro sharp; Peterson loses to Cards

The game started off with Pete Alonso making a challenging play in foul territory, battling the sun and the turf to make the out. Alonso stated earlier in the spring that he plans to eventually walk away with a gold glove, as the slugger is known to have a hard worker’s ethic.

After the Cardinals put runners on first and third, Dylan Carlson hit a monster of shot over the left field wall. The outfielder, currently in his sophomore season, would give his Cardinals the 3-0 lead.

The bottom half of the second started off with an amazing interview with Mets manager Buck Showalter. It’s evident that the organization now has a leader to call the shots and make that tough call when need be, coming from what seems to be an extremely entertaining personality.

After a lead off walk from Alonso, then a single by Cahna, putting runners on first and third. James McCann would push an RBI single in the hole between second and first, an approach that McCann plans to make his way back to.

Paul Goldschmidt then lead the third inning off, drilling a shot over the left-center field gate. The home run, Goldschmidt’s first of the spring, gave the Card’s a 4-1 lead over the Mets.

Travis Jankowski, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania native and Stony Brook alumni, made a case to be the team’s fifth outfielder, as he made a stellar diving catch in the top of the fourth.

Francisco Lindor started off a phenomenal 6-4-5 double play with a backhanded stop in the hole, McNeil had the wherewithal to go to third for the second out of the play.

Megill also did an in-dugout interview after pitching three scoreless frames. The right-hander told Steve Gelbs that he is working on the command of his slider, his new cutter, as well as his curveball.

Megill spoke about adding a new pitch to his arsenal, “I definitely wanted to add another weapon… I wanted something hard and something that goes into lefties, so they can respect the four-seam.”

Miguel Castro threw a scoreless 7th as the right-hander’s stuff was looking electric. His fastball was getting up to around 98MPH, and a ton of movement on all of his pitches.

Daniel Palka, a 30 year old outfielder/ first baseman acquired from the White Sox, hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead down to 4-3. Palka has approximately two seasons under his belt, and will likely be in Syracuse for most of the year.

Sean Reid-Foley gave up a couple of runs in the 8th, while I really like this right-hander, it looks like he’ll he starting 2022 in Syracuse.

Mets former second round pick and third base prospect Mark Vientos singled in a run in his only at-bat in the 8th inning, shaving the Cardinals lead down to 5-4.

The Mets gave up another run in the top part of the 9th, and would eventually drop the exhibition contest to the Cardinals, their second loss of the Spring.

The 2-0 Miami Marlins will host tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Mets as Max Scherzer is set to take the hill. Unfortunately, the game will not be televised.

Photo Credit: Anthony DiComo

Will Marte’s Opening Day be in Jeopardy?

This is not the question we want to entertain just 18 days prior to the 2022 season, yet here we are. Newly acquired center fielder, Starling Marte is dealing with an oblique injury and Mets manager Buck Showalter has told reporters that Marte has yet to swing a bat since being in camp.

While Buck says that he expects Marte to start the year in the Opening Day lineup, oblique injuries have proven to be tricky and can linger for a period of time.

Defensively, they won’t lose too much if anything at all, as the Mets are prepared to slide Brandon Nimmo over to center from the corner. The Wyoming native was already slotted in at the top of the lineup with an incredible .393 career on base percentage.

However focusing on the offensive side, the Mets lose the spark plug speed that Marte possesses. The kind of talent and speed that allows you to reach base at a .383 percentage and swipes 47 bags.

Let’s make no mistake, the organization has been missing this caliber of a spark plug since Jose Reyes was in his prime and departed for the Miami Marlins. So signing Marte was as significant as it gets, especially for a club that’s heavily pushing for World Series victory within the next few years.

If the injury turns out to be bigger than initially thought, this could force the hand on a Conforto-Mets reunion.

While Conforto rejected a $100M+ deal last year, he could possibly be tempted to accept a shorter term offer in order to build his value on the open market.

This would be very unlikely, in my opinion. It would make a lot more sense for the Mets to find a plug and play type player, or two… or three.

Alonso gets in wreck, then named the 6th best first baseman in Majors

Mets star first baseman Pete Alonso had a near death experience on Monday morning while heading to the team’s complex. The slugger said in an interview that his car flipped over about three times in an accident, leaving Alonso shook but also grateful.

Every day’s a gift. Man, today’s really special for me,” the 2019 home run champ said. “I just had a blast out there today, doing work, seeing everybody. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier showing up to Spring Training. It’s truly amazing how I’m here. I’m so fortunate that everyone’s ok.” Alonso conceded the incident inflicted “a lot of emotional toll” but noted he’s “here, happy and healthy.”

While he reiterates that he’s fine and should be good going forward in regards to his health, I’m sure Mets management is keeping a close eye on their clean-up hitter.

Also Read: Is Freddie Freeman a Good Fit for the Mets?

Later on that same evening, MLB Network ranked the 27-year old as the 6th best first baseman on MLB Now, landing him in the midst of some pretty impeccable talent.

In 1366 at-bats, Alonso has 63 doubles, 106 home runs and 249 RBI’s. This gives him an average of 28 doubles, 46 home runs, and 109 RBI’s per every 162 games.

However, Baseball-Reference.com projects the former Rookie of Year to slug 24 doubles, 35 home runs, with 87 RBI’s in the upcoming 2022 season. That would be a substantial drop in the power department from his 162 game average.

Photo Credit: Haley Alonso

Mets strike deal with Athletics

The New York Mets and Oakland Athletics have agreed on a deal that would bring starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to Queens. In return, the Mets would send highly regarded prospect J.T. Ginn alongside mid level prospect Adam Oller.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: J.T. Ginn

While Oller is a lot older at 27 years old, Ginn would be the prize prospect in this deal for the Athletics, as he was the Mets fifth best prospect before the deal.

As of today, Bassitt, a sinker-ball pitcher, will slot into the number three spot of the rotation right behind Max Scherzer. The right hander also possesses a fastball, cutter, slider, change up, and curve, in his arsenal on the hill.

Last season, the right hander went 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 157.1 innings pitched while earning an appearance at the All-Star Game.

Photo: SNY

Is Freddie Freeman a Good Fit for the Mets?

Major League Baseball is back, bay-bay! After the MLBPA and the owners have come to an agreement, teams are now again allowed to negotiate deals with free agents. One of those free agents that are set to garnish a lot of attention is first baseman Freddie Freeman.

The feeling and perception around the league is that Freeman has played his last games with the Braves and plans to be moving on, as reported by Joel Sherman.

There aren’t too many MLB teams that would refuse Freddie Freeman and what he has to bring to the table, offensively as well as defensively. While Freeman is already at the age of 32, he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down just yet.

It’s been rumored that the Tampa Bay Rays have shown interest before the lockout took place, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers even offering Freeman a multi-year deal.

The first baseman hit .300/.393/.503/.893 in 600 AB’s for the Braves in during the 2021 campaign, along side 31 home runs and 25 doubles. Freeman took home the Silver Slugger Award while also leading the league in runs scored in what could be his final season in Atlanta.

The Braves did put an offer of $135M on the table throughout five years, however it’s said that the former MVP has his eyes set on at least a six year pact.

The deal is going to take some serious commitments in the form of cash and the amount of years involved. But with Steve Cohen seemingly willing to go the extra mile, it isn’t completely out of the question.

What if the Mets made a deal? How would it effect them?

It would give the Mets a number three hitter for at least two to three years in the form of a solid defensive glove at first. Former Mets catcher and current analyst on SNY, Anthony Recker has stated in a segment that Freeman is the type of player that still wants to be on the field.

It’s a valid statement considering we’ve heard the same from Pete Alonso, also a first baseman. With the DH set to take over, it does give the Mets the option to have both players in the lineup.

However, this would likely force Dom Smith off of the Mets roster. While he’d be an obviously great bat off the bench, a trade would give the team the chance to acquire a middle of the rotation arm or even replenish the MiLB system.

But the answer is “Duh!”, Freeman is a great fit for the Mets.

Photo: Fox Sports