Showing posts with label second base. Show all posts
Showing posts with label second base. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mets Cut Castillo

The day has finally come, Luis Castillo is cut from the Mets. According to Adam Rubin of, the Mets will release Castillo and eat the remaining $6 million of his contract.
GM Sandy Alderson had this to say about the release.
"After a long evaluation during spring training, after consulting with manager Terry Collins and the coaching staff, I made a recommendation to ownership in the best interest of the organization and Louie that he be released..ownership approved."
Before leaving the spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Castillo told Newsday that he didn't believe he got a fair shot.
Castillo complained "I said I came here to play and you didn't give me a chance. You didn't use me."He added that he was going to go home and wait and hope to catch on with another team.
Thank You Sandy Alderson. Thank You.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Brad Emaus ranked #9 in MLB 2B Prospects for 2011

Brad Emaus was listed in The Scouting Book's 22 Best  MLB 2B Prospects for 2011:

NYM 9. Brad Emaus 2B, NYM (#227 overall)
 Born 3/28/1986 (24 years old)

A polished infield prospect via Tulane, Brad Emaus projects as a solid-average major league second baseman in the near future. He spent most of 2010 idling in AAA, slashing .298/.395/.495 (with 25 doubles and 8/10 steals) as a 24 year old, which means he should really receive MLB duty in 2011. Left unprotected by the Blue Jays in the December Rule V Draft (2010), he'll try to stick on the Mets bench for 2011.

Check out the rest at the Scouting Book

From what I seen so far this spring, I believe Brad Emaus can be just as good as Dan Uggla with a better glove and OBP (On Base Pct.). Be a nice platoon between him and Murphy..

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Could Jordany Valdespin Be the Answer at 2B?

Despite their extra-innings tie, it was great to see some New York Mets baseball today.

The Mets came from behind to tie the Atlanta Braves, 5-5, in their opening spring training game at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie.

While the scores really mean nothing in spring training, it's the performance of players on the cusp that really makes a difference.

Some of today's positives include Fernando Martinez's two-run homer in the fifth, Chin-Lung Hu's perfectly executed hit-and-run in the ninth and Willie Harris' opposite field two-run homer in the tenth.

However, one of the things that might get overlooked in this game was the performance of 23-year old second baseman Jordany Valdespin.

Valdespin ripped an RBI double in the ninth inning to tie the game. He also showed great range on a few plays at second base.

With all the hype over who will play second base this season, Valdespin's name has taken a back seat. He likely isn't in the competition for this season, but he could be one of the possible long-term solutions.

Then again, so could Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy, Reese Havens or a player currently outside the organization.

Valdespin hit .289 with six home runs and 13 stolen bases in 65 games for the High Single-A St. Lucie Mets.

He is said to have a fiery personality and has clashed with his managers on several occasions.

He will need to put together a full season of productive baseball and controlling his attitude to get any consideration for a full-time gig at some point in the future.

Just based on the limited sample from today, Valdespin has all the tools to be an all-around second baseman: good speed, good range, good arm, good swing and even a little pop.

It's too early to deem him the future at second base, but a good year in the minors, coupled with inconsistent play from whoever plays second base this year, may propel Valdespin into the conversation.

At the very least, a good year from Valdespin may open another team's eyes to his talent. The Mets could then use him as a trade chip, assuming they are content with who is playing second base.

Valdespin will be someone the organization will keep a close eye in the minors this season. He should start at Double-A, with Justin Turner likely to get the majority of the playing time at Buffalo.

Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Brad Emaus: Is the Hype Deserved?

I love when MLB analysts, bloggers and fans release their picks for a team's projected lineup heading into the season.

In many cases, educated baseball fans arrive somewhere in the "ballpark" (no pun intended) of what the Opening Day lineup will look like.

Since Terry Collins has given everyone a preview of at least two-thirds of the order, there really is no guessing game associated with what the lineup will be this year.

As of now, the batting order should resemble the following:

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Angel Pagan, RF/CF

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Carlos Beltran, CF/RF

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Ike Davis, 1B

From here, it looks like Josh Thole will do the bulk of the catching and will assume one of the final two spots in the order.

That, of course, leaves second base.

As I have begun reading other fans lineup predictions, many have already slated Brad Emaus into the starting second baseman's role.

Granted, many have not, but still I feel I should be asking why so many fans have a pre-spring training love fest for Emaus.

I'll start with the positives.

Emaus has put up solid numbers the last few seasons in Toronto's minor league system. Last year, he hit .290 with 15 HR, 75 RBI, 32 2B and even 13 SB in 125 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Ike Davis and Josh Thole are left-handed, so the right-handed hitting Emaus could split up the lefties and provide a little punch at the bottom of the order. As shown in this clip, Emaus has a fluid stroke with a Fred McGriff-like over the top finish.

Emaus also showed a great eye at the plate, drawing a walk in almost 15 percent of his at-bats.

Seems like a good fit, right?

Well, before we all start jumping on the Brad Emaus bandwagon like some fans have, let's consider a few things.

Emaus plays adequate defense, at least according to scouting reports from the minors. Some reports claim his defense isn't good enough to play second base and his offense is good enough to play third base.

Davis has shown some range at first base, so I'm not too worried about the second baseman's defense, except of course in turning the double-play.

One main question pops into my mind when thinking about Emaus: Why would the Blue Jays leave this guy unprotected in the Rule-5 Draft?

Yes, I know, Aaron Hill is distinguishing himself as a premier second baseman in this league, but Emaus is only 24 and could have provided some insurance.

Other reports have claimed that Emaus sometimes does not give 100 percent on the field. This will be a year where every single Met on the 25-man roster will need to give 100 percent for the team to compete.

Finally, some fans have been writing off Daniel Murphy already as the starting second baseman. He may still be in the process of learning a new position, but there's one thing certain about Murphy: No one ever questions his work ethic.

There were stories that he used to hit so much before games that he sometimes wore himself out. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it shows the determination this guy has in getting better.

In the end, I believe both players will make roster and split time at second base. I'm not sold on a platoon just yet, but I could see each player getting ample time at the position.

I was concerned that so many fans were already penciling Emaus into the batting order before even seeing him take a swing in spring training.

I like these fans' enthusiasm, but as has been the plan all along, several players will get the chance to duke it out at spring training.

Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mets will have a open competition at 2B this spring

There will be a open competition this spring for the second base job on the Mets.  The 4 players that will be vying for that spot will be Dan Murphy, Brad Emaus, Luis Castillo, and Justin Turner.

Eddie D'Anna of gives us his odds:

Dan Murphy (4 to 1)
Forgotten man after the injuries, but he's scrappy, hit .313 his rookie season then rebounded from a sophomore slump to hit .282 the second half of 2009. No defensive whiz, but second base should prove a little less jarring than left field.

Luis Castillo (8 to 1)
GM Sandy Alderson says salary means nothing here and we'll take him at his word. At 35, Castillo's lower half has been beaten down by injuries. I'll be surprised if he can hold off three hungry, young hitters.

Brad Emaus (9 to 1)
He's patient at the plate and has pop -- two things this front office likes. Don't underestimate that. Former Blue Jays farmhand also has an ally in ex-Toronto GM and current Sandy Alderson lieutenant JP Ricciardi.

Justin Turner (15-1)
The 26-year-old has a .309 minor league batting average, can field the position and needs a break. But he'll have to answer questions as to why he's on his third organization and why he hasn't gotten his chance yet.

If  I had to make a prediction I would say the Mets go with the platoon of  Emaus/Murphy over Castillo or Turner. But Castillo's OBP can't be overlooked and Turner's ability to hit might make him a contender.

But lets see who makes a impact during the spring....

Monday, February 07, 2011

Daniel Murphy Will Play with Knee Brace

Our good friend, Daniel Murphy showed up early to voluntary workout at Mets training camp this past week. According to ESPN's Adam Rubin Murph will be wearing a knee brace throughout the season. He doesn't expect it to slow or hinder his efforts in winning the Second Base starting position. He stated that in winter ball in the Dominican Republic "I still stole my bases, hit my doubles." Murph tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee last season on a (dirty) takeout slide by a player from Triple-A Syracuse. Before that, he sprained his right knee while running the bases last year in spring training. We are rooting for you Murph.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Luis Castillo Hitting Ninth? It Could Work

Despite the gripes of Mets fans, Luis Castillo will at the very least be in spring training this season vying for the starting second base job that he once possessed.

He no longer has the range of his younger self and has also lost a step or two on the basepaths.

But the one thing about Castillo to keep in mind is that he is owed a ton of money in the final year of his contract. Omar Minaya signed Luis to a four-year deal after the 2007 season.

Part of the reason was to lock up a familiar face for Johan Santana. Santana and Castillo had been teammates, albeit briefly, in Minnesota.

What's done is done, and you can't change the past. In my last article about shaping the Mets 2011 bench, I constructed the bench with the assumption that Castillo would be the starting second baseman.

Now, obviously I nor do many know what will happen during spring training and beyond this season. But since there aren't exactly teams lining up for Castillo's services and he is owed a good chunk of cash, maybe the Mets would best be served letting Luis play out the final year of his contract in a starting role.

Personally, I think Castillo should have been sent packing awhile ago. After he hit .302 two seasons ago, there must have been some team willing to trade for him, assuming the Mets paid some of his contract.

I know I'm bound to be attacked for this proposal, but the following might be a situation in which the Mets can get the most out of Castillo.

If Castillo happens to show enough to win the second base job and if he proves he at least somewhat has his legs back, the Mets should consider hitting him ninth in the order. That's right, hit Castillo after the pitcher.

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa has had some success with this in the past, more so though because his pitchers could actually hit a little.

The Mets would do it for a different reason. Though Castillo in his prime was best suited as a No. 2 hitter, Angel Pagan has solidified that spot in the order. In my mind, hitting Castillo eighth is useless.

Despite his flaws, the man can still bunt very well and is a decent base-runner. However, the idea of having him in the ninth spot wouldn't be to move runners over. That's the pitcher's job.

Castillo would serve as a second leadoff man. If the pitcher makes the last out of an inning, the Mets would have Castillo, Reyes and Pagan in that order. That combination of speed and bunting ability could set up the Mets with some great scoring chances. It would then be up to Wright, Beltran and Bay to drive them in, which is a completely different can of worms.

Naturally, having the pitcher hit eighth would mean that the pitcher's spot would come to the plate more often. It's definitely a risk and something that doesn't need to be employed every game, unless it's working of course.

And again, this is only a suggestion in trying to make the most out of the parts we have. If Murphy, Emaus or Turner wins the second base job, I would feel more comfortable batting him seventh or eighth and not ninth.

I wonder if Terry Collins has at least pondered this scenario with Castillo. Yes it's risky, but it can also be a way to give some value back to a former All-Star caliber player.

Happy New Year everyone! Let's hope for some Mets success in 2011.

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My 2011 Mets Christmas List

1. Core Players Stay Healthy With the nagging injury of Jose Reyes's oblique, hamstring and over active thyroid issues, Mets fans didn’t get to see much of our shortstop on a regular game basis. Beltran’s late season arrival sporting a knee brace killed our team’s chemistry along with disrupting our lineup. Which left Wright and rookie Ike Davis to produce in their absences. If they could ALL just stay healthy… 2. Santana Back in the Rotation Earlier Than Expected Without a doubt we need our ace to take the ball every five games. Santana’s a workhorse and can eat up innings giving a rest to the bullpen. With his warrior-like attitude on the mound, the Mets become a baseball tribe ready to defend their turf (or grass) at any cost. 3. A Tougher 2nd Baseman Our current 2nd baseman, Castillo is a hindrance to this team. The only thing he's good for is slap hits to the opposite field. His rally killing weak ground balls are predictable and irritating to watch. He has no power or base stealing capabilities anymore because of bad knees and fragile feet. 4. Sweep Subways Series…. We can do it! There is something about the subway series that brings out the best in the Mets. After beating the Yankees we feel like we can beat any team on any day. This confidence leads to winning streaks. Not to mention New York bragging rights, a sweep of the subway series makes a great gift. 5. Ike Davis All Star The Wright/Reyes All Star dual needs a third wheel and after a great 2010 rookie season I hope to see Ike as a reserve on the National League team in 2011. 6. Pelfrey Wins Cy Young He has immense potential and when he is on and focused, Pelfrey pitches to perfection. This achievement can happen and is possible more than ever this year. The high expectations placed on Pelfrey in Santana’s absence, will cause Big Pelf to elevate his game and his success in 2010 has given him the confidence to do so. 7. Niese Pitches No Hitter Niese pitched a one hitter in June. A no hitter for Niese early in the season would (be great for my fantasy baseball team) put doubts of Mets pitching on a hiatus for a few weeks. 8. 17 Game Winning Streak in September Such a streak would have the Mets barreling over the Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies, and Braves in the last month of the season. Which brings me to my final Mets Christmas Wish …and the most important 9. A Playoff Series Win at Citifield Signed- Orange and Blue

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Happens After the Manager Is Selected?

So it looks like the Mets will have a new manager sometime before Thanksgiving. The four candidates have completed the second round of interviews in an attempt to secure a position that will be heavily scrutinized over the next season.

Once the manager is chosen, the Mets need to switch their focus to importing some talent that could help the ball club next season and beyond.

With Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, the Mets have put together a sound front office.

Some time early next week, the Mets will make their managerial selection so they can check that off the list.

The off-the-field talent is there, but now it's time for them to explore ways of turning the Mets back into a winning team.

Let's take a look at where this team needs improvement and some possible suggestions on how to fix those problems.

With Santana's status up in the air, the Mets could use a quality starting pitcher. I've already made the case for Javier Vazquez, but Matt Cerrone on MetsBlog mentioned Kevin Millwood today. Now I know what you're thinking: Millwood is even more washed up than Vazquez.

But Citi Field can work to his advantage. He's a fly ball pitcher who got no run support in Baltimore. Maybe a change of scenery would do him well.

Jon Garland would be another option, but his price tag may be quite hefty after putting up solid numbers last season.

Alderson may have to roll the dice on this one. Former All-Stars Brandon Webb and Ben Sheets are available, but their recent string of injuries could scare him away.

Pelfrey, Dickey and Niese right now are the only definites to the rotation (barring any trades) so at least one if not two starting pitchers are needed.

Looking at the bullpen, Pedro Feliciano may be heading out the door. He's been our most reliable reliever the last two seasons, and his presence would be missed. Raul Valdes had spurts of greatness last year, but he doesn't appear to be the answer to the bullpen woes.

K-Rod will likely still close if he's eligible. That leaves Parnell, Green, Igarashi, Acosta and possibly Pat Misch. Certainly an improvement or two would not hurt here.

Guys like Scott Downs and Brian Fuentes would be good options, but the Mets must be willing to fork up the cash. Trade candidates include Jonathan Papelbon and Jonathan Broxton, but they too will cost significantly.

Around the horn, second base still seems to be one of the only "holes" in the lineup, assuming everyone else is healthy and producing. Personally, I like the idea of a platoon of Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada, with Tejada also serving as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Orlando Hudson is available and could provide a spark both offensively and defensively. I'm not sure though if the Mets would pull the trigger on this one.

The team appears to have placed its confidence in Josh Thole behind the dish. However, if they could somehow make a play for Victor Martinez, maybe Thole could become expendable in a trade for a starting pitcher. Highly unlikely but interesting to consider.

If the Mets do trade Carlos Beltran, they would have a hole in right field, with Angel Pagan shifting to center. There are some aging sluggers available on the free agent market, but the Mets should stay away there.

For the bench, the team should consider re-signing Henry Blanco, and Chris Carter has earned his spot. Other than that the Mets need a complete overhaul here, and they may just rely on some of their youngsters (Lucas Duda, Nick Evans, etc.) to fill these spots.

So it looks like the Mets still have much work to do. They will have several months to accomplish at least some of these goals. Good luck Sandy!

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

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