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March 18, 2009

Team Health Reports

New York Mets

by Will Carroll

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NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | DT Cards | PECOTA Cards | Depth Chart

Head Trainer: Ray Ramirez
Player Days Lost: 1,645
Total Dollars Lost: $27.7 million
Injury Cost: $34.0 million

Trend: Negative. It's hard to get to "neutral" when the team has nearly doubled the number of days lost that it had in 2006, but it's not as bad as it looked. The Mets took three season-long hits to pitchers they didn't expect much from (Orlando Hernandez, Matt Wise, and Ambiorix Burgos). Without those, they'd be in line with last season's ranking. Given what I had seen going into last year, the results weren't actually that bad. Ramirez and his staff are faced with numerous challenges, but it doesn't seem as if they'll have quite as much on their plates this year. They've done a great job with maintenance, and they're one of the best at keeping players at level.

The Shape of the Season:

graph

Big Question: Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.com asks: "Is Carlos Delgado healthy enough, mentally and physically, to prop up the middle of the Mets' lineup?"

I'm not sure about mentally-I try to stay out of that area, though with this team, it always seems to be a factor. His physical status however, I can address. It will surprise many people to see Delgado getting a green rating, but it really shouldn't. Over the past two seasons, Delgado has only had a few minor injuries. The first was a freak injury sustained when a broken bat cut him; that can obviously be discounted. He had a minor hip impingement that didn't seem to give him much trouble, though some have wondered if that was what might have held him back in the first half. There's no evidence of it, though people continue to look for an explanation as to why Delgado suddenly started hitting, especially in light of the series of hip injuries seen this offseason. Finally, he broke his hand at the end of 2007, and it's this that I think is the clear explanation. Players that break their hands or wrists tend to see reduced bat control and power until they've healed. It's my guess that at some point in May, the hand finally felt normal, and the hitting commenced. Now that it's healed, a traumatic injury like a fracture is discounted by the system. Delgado's green is a solid rating, and it looks to me as if he'll be healthy enough to make the team's picking up his option look good. Now if they'd only consider letting him catch again...

Fantasy Fact: There's a lot to like in fantasy terms here, but see all those reds and yellows? You'll pay with fantasy dollars, but you'll need real-world Maalox given all the risk you'll be taking on. Jose Reyes and David Wright come at a premium since they're both good and consistent. With the rest of the roster, especially the pitching staff, you'll be taking a lot of chances. I'd actually stay away from everyone except Johan Santana, though your risk tolerance might be higher than mine. Danny Murphy could end up being a sleeper if his playing time expectations become a reality, while Ryan Church is likely to be on the other side of the possibility scale.

2B Luis Castillo: Red light The idea that many of his issues last year were a result of is lack of conditioning is getting some backup this spring. He's lost weight, and he just looks different in the field. He's still very risky, with hip, back, and leg problems, which tend to be interconnected in ways that make them very difficult to manage.

C Brian Schneider: Red light He's an aging catcher who spent last season fighting off a litany of small injuries. Despite that, Jerry Manuel wants him to take more of the catching load. That's a bad sign.

4C Fernando Tatis: Red light A brutal shoulder injury ended his season early last year, but he avoided surgery and has looked fine this spring. He's still a huge risk if exposed to too much playing time.

SP John Maine: Red light Maine tried to pitch through a bone spur in his shoulder last year. The off-season surgery worked out better than that did, and he's pitching well so far. I don't expect it to be a problem once he gets comfortable, but I wouldn't be surprised by a bad April.

SP Mike Pelfrey: Red light Normally I'd say to ignore something as minor as a strained calf in the spring, but with Pelfrey's increased workload last season, nothing can be ignored. The Mets knew they were pushing him into uncharted territories at a young age, but they at least acknowledged and monitored the situation. What they saw was decreased velocity by the end of the year, but Pitch-f/x data is new-is losing one mph of velocity significant? We'll see whether they made the right decision if he holds together this season. Remember that the Verducci Effect is about fatigue, which doesn't necessarily show up as arm problems.

SP Freddy Garcia: Red light It's not much of a surprise that Garcia is red. At this stage in his career, he's lucky he's even got a chance to be red. Given his problems coming back, his stamina could be the biggest issue. At best, he's a placeholder, but he's a better placeholder than Tim Redding.

CL Francisco Rodriguez: Red light Rodriguez put up gaudy fantasy numbers that have distracted most observers from a real change in how he pitches. He's no longer a power guy, but relies more on his secondary offerings after losing more than three miles per hour on his fastball. He still doesn't throw his riding change to righties, but the only real difference in results is that he didn't strike as many people out. Knowing that he couldn't blow hitters away, he became more of a pitcher than a thrower. The velocity loss is worrisome, but the Mets understand that risk. There's no reason to think that he can't be effective unless there's another significant drop-off, which there's no sign of this spring.

LF Danny Murphy: Yellow light Murphy had a few injuries in the AFL, but this is mostly a product of a player without a position being forced to deal with a workload that he hasn't established he can handle. In the Rumsfeld taxonomy, that's a known unknown, which can go either way. Your own view on how he'll handle it should ease the valuation. The Mets think he'll be fine.

RF Ryan Church: Yellow light The handling of Church's concussion was a black eye to the Mets and their medical staff. He seemed OK later in the season, but with his age and minor league injury history, there's a possibility of a quick decline here.

SP Johan Santana: Yellow light Santana's elbow issues are well chronicled, but the knee issue isn't as big a deal as most have made it out to be. I'd never say ignore the injury risk, but there's no way to adjust for it with Santana. He's still the best in the game right now.

SP Oliver Perez: Yellow light Mr. Inconsistency was even more inconsistent with his release point after Rick Peterson was fired. His work in the WBC might be blamed if he doesn't look good early, but it's hard to tell what's cause or effect with Perez on a good day. He does seem to crush lesser opponents, so perhaps the Mets could look back to the old Yankee teams that used to adjust their rotation to send their aces against top-level competition and leave the scraps for their second-rank pitchers.

RP J.J. Putz: Yellow light Putz was a textbook case of why pitching needs to be treated holistically. His ribcage problem led to the elbow problem, which led to him losing effectiveness even when he was healthy. If the Mets can protect him from himself, they'll have a good set-up guy who can keep Rodriguez from taking on too much of a workload.

1B Carlos Delgado: Green light See today's Big Question.

SS Jose Reyes:Green light It wasn't long ago that Reyes' future was a huge question mark. No one was sure whether he could stay healthy, or if the recurrent hamstring problems would end up always holding him back. The Mets responded to that question, and Reyes' level of production is the payoff. He's still a bit of a risk, but on this side of green, it's no wonder he's a fantasy monster.

3B David Wright: Green light If this were "On The Couch" or some other psychological column, Wright would be a yellow, but physically, he's fine.

CF Carlos Beltran: Green light At the age of 31, he's got some stiffness in his knees, but absent some trauma, he should be fine. The Mets' staff really seems to understand how to maintain him, though Jerry Manuel has made some rumblings about resting Beltran more often.

Related Content:  Year Of The Injury

14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

JC

Will, you know people will ask you to expand on the "On The Couch" comment. IMO, seems like a cheap shot w/o much merit.

Mar 18, 2009 08:03 AM
rating: 2
 
Mangey

Particularly after disavowing an interest in the psychological during the "big question!"

Mar 18, 2009 08:11 AM
rating: 2
 
Drew Miller

I don't consider it a cheap shot--but I'd love to know why he'd be considered any kind of head case.

Mar 18, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 1
 
Meddler1

I don't know if its that Wright is a head-case so much as this is a case of external and internal pressure. It always seems like the weight of the Mets, and therefore by proxy the weight of the world (with this team), is placed on Wright's shoulders. With the brutal season endings, though very little of the blame should actually be placed on Wright, a lot of it winds up there. This offseason, all we've heard is how "un-clutch" Wright is, which is a gross overstatement, but you have to figure Wright thinks about it regardless of the media with the massive disappointments this team has suffered. With the NY media thrown into the mix, these feelings are probably increased exponentially. It did seem like as last season wore on, he would press more and more in big spots, and it did manifest in some "un-clutchness" at the end of the season (for anyone who follows the Mets, remember Murphy's and Wright's subsequent punchout in a massive game the last week of the season? Wright was clearly pressing).

A reader on Amazin' Avenue made an interesting point though: Will Wright's big hit in last night's WBC game allow him to relax a bit more this year in big spots? I certainly hope so, because with a 26 year old as talented as Wright is, that's the only thing that could possibly hold him back.

Mar 18, 2009 11:14 AM
rating: 2
 
JC

He was spectacular down the stretch in 07. Not sure how that's been forgotten this offseason. His numbers that year:

Sept 352/432/602 that was after a 394/516/657 August.
overall RISP: 310/431/544
Close and Late: 346/447/590.

I really dont think his "clutchness" is an issue- if you believe in that stuff, that is.

Mar 18, 2009 11:30 AM
rating: 1
 
Meddler1

No I completely agree with you, I think its absolutely absurd to call Wright "un-clutch". But the question I'm asking isn't whether or not Wright is clutch, its whether or not the idea that he's not has effected his mentality or even the team's mentality.

Regardless of whether he is or isn't clutch, this idea that he isn't is out there in full force. Wright's "unclutchness" is an NY sports media meme, not a fact. But big, prevalent memes like that are often harder to ignore than facts are.

Here's a good analogy: remember Y2K? It was such a big deal, everyone talked about it...until it actually happened. David Wright's "unclutchness" is probably something like the Mets version of Y2K. It may freak some people out, but its also not exactly true. The only damage that could be done is if someone panics and makes a poor decision or series of decisions as in a reactionary way.

Now, if we were talking about A-Rod....that would just be a completely different "On The Couch" (you might have to make it a four-parter).

Mar 18, 2009 12:14 PM
rating: 0
 
bflaff

Agree 100%. Wright has become the de facto leader of the team, and I always find it painful to watch him try to channel a guy like Jeter and be Dynasty Captain, saying the perfect professional thing every time he opens his mouth. Particularly last season, when there was such a hostile, negative fan/media vibe surrounding the Mets. It would be hard for anyone to face the shark frenzy every night, but you could see him trying too hard to please the people with the microphones, and he let them get in his head.

Mar 18, 2009 14:52 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

C'mon Will...that was ridiculous.

Mar 21, 2009 08:49 AM
rating: -1
 
cbirkemeier

Will, I wonder if you could do a projected days lost, dollars lost, and injury cost at the beginning of the season based on the players' health records. That could also lead to a more accurate viewing of a team's training staff because things like Orlando Hernandez, Matt Wise, and Ambiorix Burgos missing the season would be handled more appropriately.

Mar 18, 2009 09:52 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No, sorry. My system doesn't even come close to predicting days lost. It's standard is just "DL or not DL."

Mar 18, 2009 13:53 PM
 
Yatchisin
(487)

Oliver Perez is actually Mr. Inconsistency when it comes to what teams he pitches against, too. For instance, over the past 3 years he's 4-0 with a 1.52 ERA against the Yanks, but 2-3 with a 6.69 ERA against the Nats (smallish sample sizes apply, of course). Ultimately, you just never know with Oh-Pea.

Mar 18, 2009 09:57 AM
rating: 1
 
cbirkemeier

I thought that was the case. Will said, "He does seem to crush lesser opponents," but Casey Stern always said the opposite on the Fantasy 411. The numbers from last year seem to back up Sterno more than Will, but again small sample size. Here's his good ERAs by team last year:

1.84 ERA, 14.2 IP vs NYY
1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP vs TEX
3.72 ERA, 19.1 IP vs ATL
3.75 ERA, 12.0 IP vs CIN
2.23 ERA, 36.1 IP vs FLA
0.35 ERA, 26.0 IP vs PHI
1.69 ERA, 5.1 IP vs SD

Four of those teams are rivals (NYY, ATL, FLA, PHI). Maybe he needs to be played against rivals as much as possible.

Mar 18, 2009 10:13 AM
rating: -1
 
baseballcrank

Yeah, this is fine work as usual by Will but that one comment is the polar opposite of Perez' record and reputation, as I noted back in July

Here's Perez's line against winning vs. non-winning teams:

Winning (10 starts): 5-0, 2.74 ERA, 6.64 H, 1.01 HR, 3.75 BB, 8.09 K/9, 6.2 IP/Start
Losing (8 starts): 1-5, 7.97 ERA, 10.02 H, 2.31 HR, 7.20 BB, 6.69 K/9, 4.4 IP/Start

http://baseballcrank.com/archives2/2008/07/baseball_big_ga.php

Perez is in fact notorious for letting down against the weaker teams.

Mar 18, 2009 11:45 AM
rating: 1
 
rosenbad
(301)

Will, I suppose you can't be expected to know every nickname of every player in the game (especially those who've had fewer than 200 ABs in The Show), but as a Mets fan I found it jarring to see you refer to Daniel Murphy as "Danny."

Mar 18, 2009 14:16 PM
rating: -1
 
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