Pitch Clocks Coming To The Minors

During the Arizona Fall League this year, pitch clocks were implemented. As of this today, it is unclear exactly how the rule will be implemented. When the clock hits zero, a ball is called. There are also rumors that the time between innings rule is going to be enforced and so is the one foot in the batters box.

The rumors were first reported by MLB Daily Rumors and then substantiated by Fox Sports.

I’m going to hold off judgement about the rule until we see it implemented. The majority of me hates the rule. Baseball is fundamentally different from other sports because there is no clock. There is a poetic flow of the game that makes it so different from other sports. At the same time, it feels like Mets game take forever now (although I feel that is more a result of how the last couple of managers have handled the bullpen switching pitchers, not pitch clocks).

I guess we’ll see what comes out from the Owner’s Meetings.

How Well Did Computers Project Dillon Gee’s 2014 Season?

As we head down the pipe to Pitchers and Catchers, Spring Training, Spring Training Games and the 2015 season, computers are rolling out 2015 projections on how every player will perform. Before getting a 2015 preview, at 213 Miles From Shea we wanted to see how the computers handled 2014.

For the second time in three seasons, Dillon Gee had an injury shortened season. While he wasn’t able to put up similar numbers that he was able to in 2013, did his numbers differe from the projections? Let’s take a look!

2014 Projections:

ESPN: 205.0 IP, 33 G, 33 GS, 59 BB, 152 K, 12 W, 4.04 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
MLB: 189.0 IP, 10-12, 49 BB, 150 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Steamer: 163.0 IP, 29 G, 29 GS,  10-11, 4.16 ERA
Oliver: 162.0 IP, 26 G, 26 GS, 10-8, 3.94 ERAPECOTA: 189.0 IP, 30 G, 30 GS, 9.8-14.9, 56 BB, 160 K, 3.92 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Average: 181.5 IP, 29.5 G, 29.5 GS, 10.6-13.4, 54.6 BB, 154 K, 4.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

2014 Actual:
137.1 IP, 22 G, 22 GS, 7-8, 43 BB, 94 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Injuries prevented him from playing the full 32 which caused a lot of differences in the models and reality. However int eh numbers that don’t rely on innings pitched, ERA and WHIP, the models were almost identical to what Gee actually did. Therefore, in this case, the models would be correct.

Are There Shortstop Options for Dillon Gee?

Short Answer: Yes? But they aren’t very good. Or if they are good, they aren’t very likely.

Metsblog posted yesterday that the Mets will try to trade Dillon Gee over the next 7-10 days citing the time frame from Sherman and collecting a list of teams from various beat writers. Interested teams include the Diamondbacks, Padres, Giants, Red Sox, Marlins and Rockies.

For the purposes of this article, lets set the parameters that the Mets are trying to upgrade shortstop for Dillon Gee, which after writing this article, the chances of those conditions are pretty slim.

Arizona has two shortstops that might be moveable in Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings. Since the Diamondbacks had already traded Didi this off-season, it is unlikely they would do this but they do have Cliff Pennington and Jake Lamb as back up options. The Mets shouldn’t go after Nick Ahmed at least right now because he is not an obvious better candidate than Flores and looks similar to options the Mets have the minors right now. Chris Owings is probably one of the better shortstops on teams that are looking at Gee, but his value has increased with Didi being moved.

The Padres have no one really interesting or remotely movable at shortstop that would be ready for this year.

There are two shortstops for San Francisco that are interesting. One one hand you have the more established Brandon Crawford, and it would be incredibly unlikely the Giants move Crawford for Gee, some other players on the Mets side would also have to be included. Similar to Owings, this isn’t just about Crawford’s ability, its about Crawford’s value to his team. The next option would be Matt Duffy, which MLB.com sees as the Giants 17th prospect. Duffy would fall into a similar category as Ahmed. Not ready for this season, not obviously better than internal candidates. The benefits of trading for Duffy would be to add another shortstop in the system if the team cannot produce an establish on this season or sign an establish one this season or next off-season. With the shortstop drought in the majors having more in the system could be nice for trading chips, but they could also logjam themselves in the system.

The Red Sox have an obvious choice of a shortstop that would be interesting in Bogaerts. First, obviously, the Red Sox are not going to part for Bogaerts for just Dillon Gee. There’s a narrow scenario where the Red Sox could trade him if they could play Hanley at short this year and sign Moncada/Desmond or someone else over the upcoming season/off-season. On the Mets side, out of all of the shortstops that could be acquired in an expensive trade, Bogaerts excites me the least, so I hope this specific scenario won’t happen (and it probably won’t happen because it is extremely improbable).

The Marlins do have Hechavarria. Roadblocks to a potential deal here would be normal things that happen withing trading in a division. I’m also not convinced that Hechavarria is a better option than Flores (in terms as an overall shortstop).

The Rockies have Tulo but lets not discuss that here. The other options they have include Adames, Rosell Herrera and Rafael Ynoa. In my opinon, Adames is the least exciting of the three. Herrera and Ynoa are interesting but are not options for 2015. Herrera needs seasoning and Ynoa is on the older side for a prospect.

 

As you probably could have said yourself before reading this article, there are shortstop options via a Dillon Gee trade. The trade becomes more expensive for the Mets than just Gee if they want someone who could be marginally better or significantly better than Flores. Gee on his own, or Gee with a lower prospect can net either a back up shortstop or a small name shortstop prospect.

How Well Did Computers Project Zack Wheeler’s 2014 Season?

As we head down the pipe to Pitchers and Catchers, Spring Training, Spring Training Games and the 2015 season, computers are rolling out 2015 projections on how every player will perform. Before getting a 2015 preview, at 213 Miles From Shea we wanted to see how the computers handled 2014.

Wheeler took some key steps in 2014 and he looks to be a critical part of the 2015 Mets. Wheeler’s season should be difficult for computers to project because 2014 was his first full season in the majors, and second seasons are notorious difficult at least on the human side to project. Let’s see how the programs projected his 2014 season:

2014 Projection:

ESPN: 32 G, 32 GS, 188.0 IP, 69 BB, 161 K, 13 W, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
MLB: 170.0 IP, 76 BB, 144 K, 10-10, 3.86 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Steamer: 31 G, 31 GS, 192.0 IP, 11-12, 4.11 ERA
Oliver: 26 G, 26 GS, 146.0 IP, 9-7, 3.77 ERA
PECOTA: 26 G, 26 GS, 137.7 IP, 7.4-11.6, 61 BB, 130 K, 3.77 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Average: 28.75 G, 28.75 GS, 166.7 IP, 68.6 BB, 145 K, 10-10, 3.85 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

2014 Actual:
32 G, 32 GS, 185.1 IP, 79 BB, 187 K, 11-11, 3.54 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

The models were close on some stats (record, WHIP), and gave him better BB numbers. He did way better than the models in ERA and strikeouts and overall he had a successful sophomore season. Even though he posted a 3.42 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 2013, his average projections would have been a good 2014. His actual numbers were a nice exclamation point for the 2014 season and have set up high hopes for the 2015 season.

Kang Deal Is Almost Done, Would You Have Done It for the Mets?

I’ll cut the suspense: No.

The rumored deal is a 4-year pack with a 5th year option. The 4 years are about 16 million, so with the posting fee, the deal is for 21 million.

If Kang has a fantastic transition into the majors, then this deal will look like steal for the Pirates. However, if he doesn’t pan out, not only is this deal expensive, it’s long.

For a while I was overhyping Kang in my mind because of his KBO numbers, which are phenomenal. Every time I think about KBO numbers now, I think about Felix Pie. In six seasons, he hit .246 in the majors with a .295 OBP and a .369 SLG. Last year in the KBO he hit .324 BA, .373 OBP and a .524 SLG. He crushed 17 homers last year, a number he barely sniffed in the minors in America.

Now that the deal for Kang is done, I’m glad the Mets don’t have a question market on their roster for the next four years. I still want the Mets to upgrade at shortstop but right now, I don’t see Kang as an upgrade over Flores and this deal isn’t worth it if other shortstops make it to the market this offseason (or if the Mets can make a surprise trade).

How Well Did Computers Project Jon Niese’s 2014 Season?

As we head down the pipe to Pitchers and Catchers, Spring Training, Spring Training Games and the 2015 season, computers are rolling out 2015 projections on how every player will perform. Before getting a 2015 preview, at 213 Miles From Shea we wanted to see how the computers handled 2014.

Niese was able to toss 30 games last year in a solid season. Let’s see if the computers thought he was going to be solid before 2014 season:

2014 Projections:

ESPN: 30 G, 30 GS, 180.0 IP, 55 BB, 142 K, 11 W, 3.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
MLB: 185.0 IP, 11-10, 3.99 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Steamer: 29 G, 29 GS, 173.0 IP, 11-11, 3.89 ERA
Oliver: 28 G, 28 GS, 167.0 IP, 11-8 3.61 ERA
PECOTA: 29 G, 29 GS, 165.3 IP, 8.6-13.7, 46 BB, 140 K, 3.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

Average: 29 G, 29 GS, 174.0 IP, 10.5-10.6, 50.5 BB, 141 K, 3.85 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

2014 Actual:
30 G, 30 GS, 187.2 IP, 9-11, 45 BB, 138 K, 3.40 ERA, 1.268 WHIP

Niese did well against his projections. He pitched about two starts worth more innings in only one more projected starts, his walks were down (although is strikeouts were slightly down) and his ERA was way lower. The computers projections saw Niese regressing from 2013 numbers, instead he ended up returning close to his 2012 season, his best. Hopefully he will be able to keep this up in 2015!

Initial Reaction: Ian Desmond Could Have Been Traded To The Mets

Ken Rosenthal posted a story earlier that the Mets, Nationals and Rays could have been involved in a three player trade that would have sent SS Ian Desmond to the Mets, Zobrist to the Nationals and Mets prospects to the Rays. The Rays would have received Noah Syndergaard and an unknown other prospect in the Mets system.

Desmond would have been a tremendous upgrade at shortstop, but Desmond is also a free agent next year. A top tier pitching prospect, plus an additional top prospect would have been a fairly steep price for Desmond. At best the Mets would get to sign Desmond to an expensive contract and at worst they would have received a prospect.

I want the Mets to upgrade at shortstop, although Wally Backman has calmed me slightly about Flores starting. But the price in that trade, plus possibly losing Desmond at the end of the season is too steep. I rather give up four top tier prospects and pay a ton of money for Tulo knowing that he would be under contract for a while.

Where Should Flores Bat?

For the purposes of this article, lets assume that Flores is the everyday shortstop (therefore answers of “Flores should bat no-where!” in response to this article would not add to the conversation). Before going to the Queens Baseball Convention yesterday, my reaction to this question was, “8th! Why are we even talking about this?”.

Wally Backman though put a bug in my head about where he he hits. He describes Flores as a free swinger, and because of that, he will drive in runs, but needs to be in a place where he can drive in runs and get those pitches to hit. He doesn’t feel that 8th works for Flores because there is no protection behind him to get pitches to hit.

My general feeling about lineups is your best players should hit closer to the top just to get them more AB’s in the game. Unless you have an obvious table-setter / clean-up etc person, the lineup should be constructed by talent. I also am not a fan of having the pitcher batting anywhere but 9th.

That being said, looking at the Mets lineup, the one solution I could see getting Flores protection in the lineup (in lieu of batting with people on) would actually be 9th. Seriously.

First, who else would bat 8th? The only two players I could think of would be Lagares or d’Arnaud. Murphy should bat 2nd (although I’m not always convinced TC knows this), a healthy Wright is 3rd, Duda has earned 4th, Granderson/Cuddyer would control 5th and 6th (they can be flipped). At that point you’re left with Lagares, d’Arnaud and Flores. Lagares makes way more sense first, so he goes there. So then it comes down to d’Arnaud and Flores, and I can’t see d’Arnaud really hitting 8th. If Flores and the pitcher are flipped then Flores gets protection from Lagares. But in this situation, d’Arnaud does not get protection, which isn’t ideal.

The other option would be to really shakeup the lineup:

  1. Granderson
  2. Murphy
  3. Wright
  4. Duda
  5. Cuddyer
  6. d’Arnaud
  7. Flores
  8. Lagares

The above might be the only way to Flores more protection, at the cost of Lagares. It also hinges on Granderson bouncing back this year. Granderson’s OBP was 100 points higher than his BA last year. Originally when I wrote this, I had d’Arnaud and Flores flipped, but that didn’t vibe with me either.

How Well Did Computers Predict Jenrry Mejia’s 2014 Season?

As we head down the pipe to Pitchers and Catchers, Spring Training, Spring Training Games and the 2015 season, computers are rolling out 2015 projections on how every player will perform. Before getting a 2015 preview, at 213 Miles From Shea we wanted to see how the computers handled 2014.

I’m not sure how much we’ll get out of reviewing Jenrry Mejia’s projections vs actual numbers because at the start of the season, it looked like Mejia was going to be a starter and he was for the first part of the season before be switched into the bullpen. Anyway here are his numbers:

2014 Projections:

ESPN: 23 G, 20 GS, 114.0 IP, 39 BB, 71 K, 7 W, 3.79 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
MLB: 105.0 IP, 5-5, 37 BB, 90 K, 3.86 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Steamer: 35 G, 5 GS, 4-3, 59.0 IP, 3.57 ERA
Oliver: 19 G, 13 GS, 4-4, 72.0 IP, 4.11 ERA
PECOTA: 23 G, 23 GS, 122.0 IP, 6-11.3, 46 BB, 90 K, 4.45 ERA, 1.38 WHIP

Average: 17 G, 15 GS, 94.4 IP, 5.2-5.8, 40.6 BB, 83.6 K, 3.96 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

2014 Actual:
63 G, 7 GS, 93.2 IP, 6-6, 41 BB, 98 K, 3.65 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 28 SV

Surprisingly, the numbers are comparable! Outside of the start to relief splits, he had similar innings pitched, records, and walks. He crushed the amount of strikeouts and and ERA but his WHIP was considerably higher than projections. Ultimately, this was a great year for Mejia that would have been impossible for a computer to predict as his numbers last winter were calculated as a starter.

How Well Did Computers Predict Ruben Tejada’s 2014 Season?

As we head down the pipe to Pitchers and Catchers, Spring Training, Spring Training Games and the 2015 season, computers are rolling out 2015 projections on how every player will perform. Before getting a 2015 preview, at 213 Miles From Shea we wanted to see how the computers handled 2014.

Heading into 2015, Ruben Tejada looks to be the back up Shortstop behind Wilmer Flores. Ruben had back to back good seasons in 2011 and 2012, with the latter being a near breakout season. He slid in 2013. Below is what the computers projected would happen in 2014 followed by his actual results:

2014 Projections:

ESPN: 437 AB, 48 R, 1 HR, 30 RBI, 4 SB, .259 BA, .313 OBP, .323 SLG
MLB: 477 AB, 60 R, 3 HR, 44 RBI, 4 SB, .273 BA, .328 OBP, .354 SLG
Steamer: 524 PA, 50 R, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 6 SB, .260 BA, .317 OBP, .339 SLG
Oliver: 600 PA, 54 R, 2 HR, 44 RBI, 6 SB, .239 BA, .291 OBP, .305 SLG
PECOTA: 525 PA, 473 BA, 46 R, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 4 SB, .247 BA, .301 OBP, .320 SLG

Average: 549 PA, 463 AB, 51.6 R, 2.4 HR, 39.4 RBI, 4.8 SB, .256 BA, .310 OBP, .328 SLG

2014 Actual:
419 PA, 355 AB, 30 R, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB, .237 BA, .342 OBP, .310 SLG

Ruben’s numbers are interesting on a number of levels. His homers were way up over his projections in over 100 less AB’s, yet his slugging percentage 18 points lower in reality. His batting average was way down from projections, but his OBP was way above. None of this points towards Tejada being a viable candidate currently for starting shortstop but it does point to models not being able to figure him out in 2014.