Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mini Mets Updates

It's a new minor league season too and my favorite Mini Mets have (mostly) been promoted from where they played last season.

Starting with my favorite mini catcher, Kai Gronauer is with the B-Mets in AA.  He's hitting .229 with one home run, 4 RBI, and one stolen base.  His OBP is .325.  Kai has been doing most of the catching for the B-Mets this season who have a 5-8 record.

Also on the B-Mets, Josh Satin is hitting .354 with two home runs, 8 RBI, and he also has one stolen base.  He's leading the offense of the light-hitting B-Mets.  He has a very impressive .436 OBP.

Josh and Kai are the B-Mets' leaders in OBP.

In AAA with the Bisons, Zach Lutz has a .308 batting average with one home run and five RBI.  He was getting most of the playing time at 3rd base before he went on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring.

Bisons' centerfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has gotten off to a hot start, hitting .333 with two home runs, 4 RBI and one stolen base.  It is definitely nice to see him do well in AAA after he struggled a bit offensively when he moved up from AA last year.

Those four are the ones I'm going to be paying attention to this year.  They aren't necessarily big prospects but that just makes them more interesting.  You never know who could get a September call-up and then end up on the roster for the start of the next season.

Let's Go Mets!

"Good. I like Mike Nickeas."

Tonight was a good night for the Mets.  That makes two good nights in a row for the first time in a long time.  Mike Pelfrey figured it out and the Mets bats backed him up.  From the home run by Ike Davis to give the Mets the lead to Carlos Beltran's RBI single for insurance, the Mets had their second straight well-played game.

But guess what?!? The winning streak is not the only good news of the night.  You're probably going to think I'm either cold-hearted or I have no heart after the initial statement so please just keep reading.  Mike Nickeas will likely stick around for longer due to a rib-cage injury for Ronnie Paulino.  As one ESPN commenter puts it, "Good.  I like Mike Nickeas."  As you can guess, I agree with that comment.  Josh Thole is still going to get the majority of the playing time but I don't see a problem with giving the other playing time to the hardworking guy that has played his way through your minor league system.

Okay.  I have a real reason for him to stay, too.  He knows how to handle a pitching staff.  Pitchers have complimented his ability at calling a game and it definitely looks like there is good reason for that.  The Mets are 4-2 with Mike catching and considering the Mets haven't exactly had a stellar offense, the pitchers must have pitched good games.  He has now caught 1-hit games from Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano, and Chris Young.

What was really telling about his handling of pitchers was tonight's game.  Mike Pelfrey had struggled. Pelfrey's last start was caught by Nickeas and he did show improvement, throwing 5 innings and giving up 3 runs.  Maybe something was there.  Tonight Pelfrey pitched a gem.  Pelfrey has a history of needing a catcher that can lead the game.  From Rod Barajas to Henry Blanco he has been more comfortable throwing to the veteran catcher.  While Nickeas is not a Major League veteran, he is most definitely a Minor League veteran who knows how to call a game.  Pelfrey is supposed to be the ace right now and maybe he needs Nickeas to help him through his struggles.

Recently Mike Nickeas has found his offensive stroke again and even though that stroke isn't particularly strong his defense is so helpful that keeping him around won't hurt.  Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.  It's just a longer chance for the dedicated MiLB veteran.

Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Congratulations Mike!

Bottom of the third inning.  One out.  Mike Nickeas is at bat.  2 balls 2 strikes the count.  And on the next pitch - BOOM.  A fly ball to left field.  But it is not just any fly ball.  It is a high fly ball.  It is a deep fly ball.  It is a home run.  It is the first Major League home run in the career of Mike Nickeas.  And it was beautiful.

Congratulations Mike the first home run of a pretty awesome MLB career!

Let's Go Mets!

You know what else was awesome about this?  He was a Worldwide Trending Topic on twitter after the homer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm Not Giving Up

Things around the Mets are looking pretty bleak right now.  They have lost 8 of their last 9 games and have a National League worst 5-12 record.  But I'm not giving up on the season.  Sure, when the Mets won a few games in Spring Training I got excited and started to think about what might happen during the season, maybe they would surprise us.  Yes, I do watch each game and think a win would be a treat and a loss is simply the expected outcome.  However, the season isn't over.  It's barely begun.

I don't expect the Mets to be in any playoff race.  I don't really expect them to be all that close to .500.  I also don't expect them to have a sub-.300 winning percentage all year either.  David Wright won't be in a slump for the rest of the season, Mike Pelfrey will get a few wins, Ike Davis will hit more home runs and the bullpen will figure out how to hold a lead.  The Mets have a future with David Wright, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Jon Niese, and even Angel Pagan.  They'll win games with or without Jose Reyes, personally I hope he'll be here.

There is hope.  There is hope for a few more wins this season and many more wins in the future.  Any team looks bad during a losing streak.  It seems as if nobody knows what they are doing when a team is in a tailspin.  Every roster move looks desperate, every injury looks dire.  A few wins could change all of that.

Jason Bay is expected back tomorrow.  He looked good in Spring Training and there is no reason to think he won't bounce back from last year's rough season.  Why can't he be the spark the Mets need to win a few games?

Let's Go Mets!

And Down Goes Bobby

Bobby Parnell has been placed on the 15-day disable list due to the numbness in his middle finger.  The Mets are going to play with a 24-man roster tonight before activating Jason Bay tomorrow.

Hopefully Bobby will be fine.  He said he'll go through further testing tomorrow.  That's when he'll find out whether he just needs to go on an aspirin regimen or if he needs surgery.  Quite the difference in treatments there but that's the Mets for you, anything can happen.

Who knows?  This could be a good thing.  Parnell has struggled all season.  This is possibly the reason why.  No matter what the treatment, I just want Parnell to be healthy and to pitch and succeed the way he has before.  

Oh Bobby, don't look so sad.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seeing The Madness In Person

Yes, I was at Monday night's Mets game.  My ridiculous Mets obsession and love of Xavier Nady finally paid off when I was able to get the Mets twitter trivia correct.
Monday afternoon arrived and I made my way to Citi Field with my dad.  We picked up the tickets and the first surprise of the evening was that the seats had club access and they were basically right behind home plate.  The Mets had finished BP and the Rockies were on the field so I went as close as I could to the Rockies dugout and waited for any players to get autographs.  Nobody came over and I got impatient so I made my way across to the Mets dugout.  I knew that no players would be there for a while but I felt more comfortable waiting there.

Josh Thole was the first player to eventually make his way into the dugout.  He talked to a trainer for a little while before going out to the dugout to warm up with Mike Pelfrey.

Daniel Murphy was the next player in the dugout.  After him, the rest of the players came pretty quickly.  It was cool seeing which players would talk together and just how the team interacted from a view that I don't normally see.

The coolest part of pregame was having the chance to talk to Mike Nickeas before the game.  It would have been talking to Mike Nickeas if I had the ability to talk after he came out of the dugout to say hi after I got his attention.  All I could manage to say was that I think it's cool that he's in the big leagues.  Thank goodness my dad was there to have a coherent conversation.  Anyway, it is truly awesome that he remembers me.  

Once I stopped shaking and gathered myself after a major leaguer had come over to interact with me I got R.A. Dickey's attention and asked him for an autograph.  He came over and signed for me and I also got an autograph from Chip Hale a few minutes later.

At some point between arriving at Citi Field and first pitch Kevin Burkhardt did his pregame report for SNY. I didn't talk to Kevin but it was cool seeing the pregame up close.