Mets Are Offensive

Although there's a chance that nobody in New York is going to be able to watch it, now that they're breaking out the Opening Day batting order with regularity, we can begin to have an idea of just how potent the Mets might be offensively this season with the usual caveat of IF everybody stays healthy.

In Reyes and Kaz Man in the 1-2 holes they've got one maniac on the basepaths who is hitting for average in Hamstring Jose for as long as he stays healthy and another guy you might see performing alot of sacrifices in the Kaz Man when he isn't whiffing. Kaz has struck out 13 times in 49 at bats this spring.

Reyes is 8-for-8 in steals and has four triples in 63 at-bats. He won't make a steal prediction for the season, except to offer: "If I can stay healthy, watch out. That's all I can say. I can't say, 'I'm going to steal 30. I'm going to steal 50.' What can I say? I'm going to steal a lot. I'll tell you that."

IF he stays healthy, he could even steal 100.

After these two comes another imposing duo in Carlos Beltran and Mike Piazza, two All Stars and two good bets to drive in anyone still on base by the time they get to the plate.

The fact that the top three are ALL switch hitters gives the Mets unique flexibility.

Piazza is a righty and is then followed by a lefty, right, lefty and righty, in order in Cliff Floyd, Cryin' Mike Cameron, Doug Mientkiewicz and David Wright.

Even Cryin' Mike Cameron is batting .462 in four games since last week's return from arthroscopic wrist surgery. Of course, he started fast last season as well so whilst we might expect a surge in the first month of the season, if he's hitting .250 by the All Star break we should consider ourselves very lucky.

You've got to wonder when even our rivals think we're Amazin.


Meanwhile, although he threw a very encouraging bullpen session, Pedro is skipping his last start.

Willie Randolph said the decision had more to do with getting auditioning relievers innings than sparing Martinez an hour-long bus trip with a potentially balky back and given the lasting battle for the pen, it's understandable. One session isn't going to do anything for him at this point, not with all the rainouts he's already had and frankly, although the back is still worrisome, having him fresh for Opening Day (if that even has to be an issue at this point) is important.

His tuneup wasn't bad anyway.

Pitching a simulated game against simulated baseball players (well, minor leaguers), he finished his five-inning, eight strikeout tune-up without incident to the relief of everyone, including himself.

Martinez threw 83 pitches, 56 for strikes, and his fastball topped out at 90 mph, which is a little below his usual 93-94 ceiling but is an inkling of what the Reds might expect on Opening Day.

"I couldn't go crazy," Martinez said. "I'm just coming off an injury. I'm trying to be good, but at the same time, careful and smart. It's not like I'm a young buck that's going to go out there and jack it up and get hurt again."

And just as encouraging, if the Mets pitchers will be pitching in simulated games against minor leaguers all season, Victor Zambrano threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes, over his seven simulated innings in the intrasquad game. Even though the minor-leaguers hit him hard toward the end, Zambrano's most impressive number was his walk total: zero.

Blah blah blech.

Prepare yourselves for a season of inconsistency. If he hits double figures in the win column, let's say 10-12 wins, that should do it, but really, the thought of reading every other week, some dire analysis of the frustration of Zambrano hitting the strikezone or, euphoria when he actually manages to get the ball over the plate, well, who needs it?


The Mets traded cash considerations for Seattle Mariner Benji Gil. He'll report to the Mets camp by the end of the week, where the plan is for him to go to Triple-A Norfolk, log some early time at shortstop, and then start mixing in at different positions to keep him ready for a utility role with the parent club.

Guess you can never have enough infielders to replace Hamstring Jose when he finally goes down.

Sad but inevitable news is that El Gato is gone and I still think there should be some room for him on the bench as a coach.

No comments: