Sunday, March 20, 2005

Final Thoughts

Completely ridiculous. Thats the only thing I have to say about the impending Kaz Ishii-for-Jason Phillips trade. Ridiculous.

As you might have noticed, I haven't updated this site regularly so it shouldn't come as a surprise that this will be my last post here. Yep, negativeseconds is no more. Since this is my last post, I'd like to thank anyone who ever read the site. I hope it was as fun for you guys as it was for me.

Au revoir,

Monday, February 28, 2005

Los Mets

Great, great article on Minaya and Los Mets:

Enter Omar. Besides his baseball acumen, the new general manager came with a narrative: The kid from Queens who’d grown up as a Mets fan was coming back to run the club. Even better, Minaya is Dominican—in a city with a surging Latino population, in a sport whose brightest young stars speak Spanish, in an industry where the executive ranks have always been 99 percent white. Suddenly, a franchise that had been humiliated on the field and dominated in the headlines by the Yankees had a charismatic leader, a man who immediately assumed one-name stature in the media: Omar.
I must confess, when the Mets hired Omar Minaya, there probably wasn't anyone who hated the move more than I did. As you already know, I believe in performance analysis, and to me anyone who didn't know or ignored the importance of OBP was not someone who I wanted as my GM. Ergo, I didn't want the GM of my team saying things like these:
I don’t talk about OBP...I’m old school, I’m not a stat guy, I’m a talent evaluator. The guys who taught me the game of baseball never talked about OBP...Give me talent and I’ll show you OBP.
Five months have passed since Omar was hired as the Mets GM, and I have to give credit where its due, and recognize I was wrong.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Le Joe Mac

Newest Met rumour :
Few places have been affected by the economy more than Pittsburgh, so don't look for Dave Littlefield to have much payroll flexibility, but. He knows if he can land a Travis Blackley, Alfredo Simon, or Joe McEwing (Mets GM Omar Minaya is reluctant to deal him, but may if the right deal comes along), the Pirates still have a chance.
Omar, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I'm super late on this one, but for those of you that don't know, former ESPN minor league analyst John Sickels has launched his own website. If you enjoy prospect analysis and discussion, you'll definitely enjoy the site.

Pretty interesting interview with former Mets' Scouting Director, Jack Bowen.

Also, don't forget to check NYFS to get the best Mets' spring training coverage. I mean, where else are you going to get cool pictures like this?

Ah, how many days til Opening Day again?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Sorry about the lack of updates, but I've been terribly busy with school and work lately, I've barely had any chance to keep up with the Mets. Anyway, while surfing the web, I found this blurb at NYFS:
Aarom Baldiris reported today, married, in great shape looking like he lost 20 lbs or so, and confirming to NYFS that he will be playing both second and third base this year, before being worked primarily at second base during today's drills.
Wow. Great news. Baldiris has long been a favorite of mine. He has excellent plate discipline, and plays outstanding defense. While certainly the lack of power is a strike against him, a 21 year old 2nd baseman with a career 383 OBP in AA is a pretty valuable commodity. The question is, can he make the transition? JJ Cooper seems to think so:
Baldiris is a very good defensive 3B, and some scouts have said they believe he could make the transition with little problem. For now, he's a 3B, and he may develop the power to be a solid 3B, but he's good enough defensively with solid range and body control, to probably make the move to 2B in the future if that will help his development.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Draft 04: Tools of Ignorance [Pt. 2]

The draft analysis continues:

4. Aaron Hathaway

Drafted in the 4th round out of the University of Washigton, Aaron Hathaway was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in college baseball. Named the Cyclones starting catcher shortly after signing, the 6-0, 190-pound backstop lived up to his reputation during his short stint in Brooklyn. Exhibiting his strong and accurate arm, the former Huskie earned praises from everyone and was named the best defensive player drafted by the Mets this year according to Baseball America:
Aaron Hathaway is athletic for his position and has the arm to shut down the running game. He led the short-season New York-Penn League by throwing out 39 percent of basestealers.
Of course, this wasn't a surprise. After all, Hathaway had displayed his 1.9 second release time while at Washignton where he picked off seven runners and threw out 21-of-60 would-be basestealers on the season. Projected to be solid defensively, Hathaway's status as a prospect will depend on his ability to swing the bat. Understandably awful during his first exposure to wooden bats, the Mets will hope Hathaway refinds the stroke that made him an offensive star with the Huskies:

0.79 IsoD 114 IsoP

0.60 IsoD 152 IsoP

0.46 IsoD 201 IsoP

As most of you know, batting average [AVG] comes from dividing hits by at-bats and it was created to measure the effectiveness of a hitter. Obviously, that was a long time ago, and since then, baseball has turned to On-base Percentage [OBP] and Slugging Percentage [SLG] to get a better read of a player's offensive contribution. The problem with that is, of course, that AVG still is a big part of both statistics. To account for it, someone somewhere created IsoD [OBP minus AVG] and IsoP [SLG minus AVG] . They essentially show how much of a player's total bases come from walks and extra bases respectively. Anyway, now that I've confused you enough, what does this have to do with Hathaway? If you look closely at his stats, you can see that while his lines weren't bad, they were greatly enhanced by his high batting averages. I may not much about college statistics, but one thing is for sure, its a lot harder to hit for a high average when using wooden bats than it is when using aluminum bats. We'll see how Hathaway responds to wooden bats and tougher competition next year, but chances are, his bat won't be more than average as a major leaguer. As a catcher, this of course isn't terrible news, but it nonetheless takes away from his value as a potential starter.

Over the years, the Mets have received fantastic offensive production from the catcher position. In a shift of organizational philosophy, the Mets traded away the offensive catcher and drafted the defensive wizard in Hathaway. We'll see how this works out, but I for one, don't think its a sound strategy. I'll talk more about whats left of the Mets' depth at catcher, and the other draft picks next time.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Draft 2004: Pitching is the name of the game [Pt 1]

With the recent signing of 1st round pick Phillip Humber, the Mets have now inked their first seven draft choices. Following a philosophy that focused for the most part on selecting well built right-handers, the Mets stockpiled their system with several interesting arms. For all of you that don't remember, here is what Baseball America's Allan Simpson said about it two days after the draft madness:

Allan Simpson: I like the Mets draft. Humber is very solid, but several other picks have one or two tools that stand out. Matt Durkin (2) has the big 95 mph fastball, Aaron Hathaway (4) is one of the best defensive catchers in the country, Nick Evans (5) has big-time bat speed and Ryan Coultas (6) is one of the nation's best defensive shortstops--with enough arm strength that he could become a pitcher. The sleeper of the group may be righthander Scott Hyde (7), who struck out 191 with a 94-95 mph fastball while leading Oregon's George Fox College to the NCAA Division III national title.

Obviously, half a season is not enough time to analyze how or if these players will ever contribute at the major league level, especially since some of them have not even made their pro debuts yet, but if first impressions mean anything, the Mets seem on the right track. Like Simpson mentions, the Mets drafted a lot of interesting players and some of them have already showed some of their talent. So without further ado, here's the first part recap of the 2004 Mets' draft:

1. Phillip Humber

Selected third overall from Rice university, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Humber was the Mets' first pick this year and the first of three Rice pitchers picked in the first round. In three college seasons, Humber compiled a 35-8 record with a 2.80 ERA and finished second in school history in strikeouts. While not the flashiest pick, the big right-hander out of Texas has all the tools to become a future ace:
Scouts considered Humber the safest pick among the three Rice aces. He has three plus pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball that scrapes 97, a true 12-6 curveball, and a splitter that he uses as a changeup. Strong and durable, he has been injury-free and has the most resilient arm of the Rice first-rounders.
Since he just signed, Humber hasn't been able to make his professional debut just yet, but his college career speaks for itself:

2.78 era 110 ip
10.6 k/9 3.5 bb/9 0.7 hr/9

3.30 era 128 ip
9.7 k/9 2.7 bb/9 0.8 hr/9

2.27 era 115 ip
12.1 k/9 2.9 bb/9 0.5 hr/9

As you can see, Humber improved with every year at Rice. Since his freshman year, he reduced his walk rate and HR rate while also increasing his strikeouts per nine innings. More importantly, in doing so, Humber displayed excellent mechanics. According to several reports from the NY papers, the team had Rick Peterson review film on the pitchers the Mets were considering taking with the 3rd pick and the only one who didn't have any mechanical flaws was the same one the Mets drafted, Phillip Humber. The Mets haven't decided where to send the big right-hander this season, but its presumed he'll make his professional debut in the warm climate and pitching friendly confines of the Florida State League [A-] before moving to AA-Binghampton.

2. Matt Durkin

A product of San Jose State, Matt Durkin had been well-regarded ever since he had a breakout year in his freshman year. After a subpar season in 2004, however, his draft stock fell a little bit and many thought he could be sleeper pick. The Mets overlooked his subpar 04 and drafted him in the second round hoping he'd find control of his breaking ball. Here's what JJ Cooper of Baseball America had to say about him:
Durkin has a very good fastball, but his stuff failed to produce the numbers that you would expect in his final two years in college. The Mets are encouraged that Durkin seems to have found the curveball that he had lost the last two years. If he has a solid breaking ball, Durkin could be an intriguing prospect
Here's a more informative scouting report courtesy of the guys at NYFS.
The 6'4", 220lbs. righthander features a power fastball that generally sits in the 91-93 mph range and can touch the mid-90's. He also has a slider and changeup with good sink. The fastball is his bread-and-butter pitch though, which he throws with confidence and location on both sides of the plate.
So what to make of Durkin's 2004? A closer look into his stats tell us that other than a rise in his ERA, he's pretty much been the same pitcher throughout his three years in college ball. As you can see, his rate stats remained relatively constant:

2.75 era 98.1 ip
7.8 k/9 2.2 bb/9 0.0 hr/9

2.60 era 100.1 ip
9.9 k/9 3.8 bb/9 0.4 hr/9

4.43 era 85.1 ip
8.4 k/9 4.0 bb/9 0.3 hr/9

Not bad. The increasing walk rate is a little bit worrisome, but other than that, Durkin has displayed good strikeout rates and excellent homerun rates. In fact, Durkin's stats were good enough over the past three years that Craig Burley of the Batter's Box ranked him the 14th best college pitcher using his adjusted pitching statistics [note: Humber was ranked 3rd]. Signed late last year, the product of San Jose State still hasn't made his professional debut but he is expected to start the year at the Florida State League.

3. Gaby Hernandez

Drafted in the third round out of Belen Jesuit HS in Miami, Gaby Hernandez made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Mets last year. Despite his young age [18], the right-hander forced a promotion to the NY Penn League playoffs with a dominating showing in rookie league. Already the Mets' 3rd best prospect according to Baseball America, Hernandez still has room for growth:
Hernandez has a 90-93 mph fastball, with sinking and running action. In high school, he had a few problems with his curveball. He would choke it off in the dirt or have it sail high and away; this probably hurt his draft status to some extent. But in pro ball, his curveball was much more reliable. Add the better curve to his fastball, changeup and sharp command, and you have a fine young pitcher. Hernandez could still gain some height and weight, possibly leading to increased velocity. If Hernandez can manage to stay healthy, he could definitely be a front-row starter, yes. He could make a lot of noise in 2005.
Considering that Humber and Durkin haven't made their pro debuts yet, it was up to Hernandez to represent the Mets' pitching class of 04 draft. The right-hander didn't dissapoint as he was spectacular in 50 GCL innings. How good was he? He had more strikeouts than baserunners. Yeah, he was that good:

1.09 era 50 ip
10.5 k/9 2.2 bb/9 0.2 hr/9

Obviously, fifty-innings is such a small sample to draw any meaningful conclusions, but there is nothing about Gaby Hernandez that doesn't stand out. Excellent strikeout, walk and home run rates across the board, and only 4.5 hits per nine innings for the DIPS-haters out there. He's definitely someone who you want to keep an eye on next year. So what can we expect for Hernandez in the future?

J.J. Cooper: It's hard to exactly project Hernandez's ceiling yet, as he has a long way to go, but he could be a No. 2-3 starter it would appear. He has very solid stuff, with a great frame and good mechanics. Scouts in the GCL loved him, as he seemed to fill the role of staff ace with aplomb.

The plan for Hernandez is to start at Brooklyn this year, and eventually move to the South Atlantic League. That is, unless, you know the Cyclones find themselves in another pennant race.


In the next and final part of the early analysis of the Mets' 04 draft I'll take a look at the position players and those players who showed some promise last year. If you are more interested on the subject, you can always check the following links:

MLB: Scouting reports and video on Mets' draft picks.
Baseball America: Premiere scouting information source.
NYFS: Best Mets' minor league coverage on the Web.