New York Mets Lose Slugfest to St. Louis Cardinals 14-9

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The pitching for the New York Mets started off strong over their first two spring training games but lose all momentum against the St. Louis Cardinals. Seven pitchers combined to allow 14 runs, 11 hits, and 6 runs in the 14-9 loss.

Jerad Eickhoff got the start for the Mets and allowed the Cardinals’ offense to get started early. Eickhoff allowed four runs, with three coming on a home run by John Nogowski. Jacob Barnes followed but was erratic in the one inning he pitched. Barnes walked two and allowed three more runs in the third inning. Marcel Renteria struggled the most out of any Mets pitcher. He allowed four runs, two home runs, including one to former Met Ali Sanchez.

The Mets offense was the polar opposite of their pitching as they had 13 hits and six for extra bases. Kevin Pillar, J.D. Davis, Luis Guillorme, and Drew Ferguson all had multiple-hit games. Brett Baty also supplied an RBI double in the ninth inning.

The Mets are back on SNY on Friday for a 1:10 p.m. start against the Washington Nationals. Kyle Finnegan (0-0, 18.00) faces David Peterson, who is making his first outing of the Spring.

Pair of Homers Power New York Mets to 2-0 Victory Against Astros

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The first two spring training games for the New York Mets have resulted in seven-inning, 2-0 finishes. On Tuesday, they were on the winning side for the first time. Mets pitchers had another strong showing, and solo home runs from Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. powered the offense.

Marcus Stroman got the start over Jordan Yamamoto and was as good as advertised. Stroman retired all six batters he faced and struck out two. His hard sinker resulted in three groundball outs, and he displayed his brand new changeup as well.

Yamamoto worked around a couple of hard-hit balls to deliver two scoreless innings following Stroman. Jerry Blevins, Drew Smith, and Sam McWilliams finished off the shutout. Mets pitchers have allowed just two runs over 14 innings pitched this Spring.

The bats are still quiet, but the dominant pitching held up the two solo homers. McNeil’s homer came against a hanging curveball from Framber Valdez. Over his career, McNeil has less power against left-handed pitching and is always looking to add more power to his game. Almora is another player looking for more power and has a consistent leg kick in his batting stance. In past seasons, he has used a toe tap which led to increased groundball rates every year of his career.

Prospects Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, and Pete Crow-Armstrong all made appearances once the starters exited. For Crow-Armstrong, it was his first game in professional baseball, and he struck out in his only at-bat. On Wednesday, the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Jerad Eickhoff faces Kwang Hyun Kim at 1:10 p.m. ET.

 

 

New York Mets Shutout in 2-0 Opening Game Loss to the Miami Marlins

As expected, pitching dominated the first spring training game for the New York Mets. All the Miami Marlins needed was a two-run home run from Jesus Aguilar to secure a 2-0, seven-inning victory. The Mets continued their 2020 tradition of leaving runners on base by going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Brandon Nimmo led the way with two hits at the top of the order. J.D. Davis, Kevin Pillar, and Johneshwy Fargas were responsible for the other three Mets hits. Francisco Lindor also made his Mets debut but failed to record a hit in his two at-bats but recorded a nice play ranging up the middle.

The first three innings were very successful for the Mets pitchers against an aggressive Marlins lineup. Harol Gonzalez (10), Sean Reid-Foley (6), and Stephen Tarpley (8) combined for just 24 pitches in their respective innings of work. Ryley Gilliam was the only pitcher who struggled in his inning. Gilliam allowed a Starling Marte triple and the Aguilar home run.

Trevor Hildenberger worked out of a bases-loaded jam with three strikeouts sandwiched between scoreless innings from lefties Thomas Szapucki and Daniel Zamora. On Tuesday, the Mets play their home spring training opener against the Houston Astros. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET and will be televised on SNY. Framber Valdez will take the mound against Jordan Yamamoto.

New York Mets: Noah Syndergaard Continues Progressing In His Rehab

Noah Syndergaard is continuing to progress nicely as he works himself back from Tommy John Surgery. Sunday was an important evaluation day for Thor and the New York Mets as he hit a key checkpoint in his recovery.

Syndergaard fiddled breaking stuff for the first time since surgery. He only threw three sliders as the Mets are taking baby steps towards bringing him back to the rotation.

Syndergaard was exactly 11 months removed from the operation and is still on a promising road to a complete recovery. The Mets also added 2020 draft pick, J.T. Ginn, to their spring training roster. Ginn also underwent TJS and threw with Syndergaard last summer.

“Sometimes when you feel good, you want to do too much, and when you don’t feel good, you want to do less,” Pitching Coach and two-time TJ recipient Jeremy Hefner said. “But trying to be as consistent and constant as possible will get a better outcome at the end of this thing.”

Syndergaard will retake the mound on Wednesday for another bullpen session. He will stick to a combination of his fastball, sinker, and change-up, continuing with a “one step at a time” mindset. There is no timetable for Syndergaard to face live batters at the moment, and there are no expectations for him to pitch in a spring training game.

New York Mets: Dellin Betances Ahead of Schedule From 2020

Dellin Betances was a shell of his former self during his first season with the New York Mets. Betances had to battle back from shoulder and Achilles injuries in 2019 and never regained his overpowering velocity during 2020. In his first handful of throwing sessions this spring, Betances on track to return as a dominant pitcher.

Betances faced live batters on Friday and had his classic swing and miss stuff. Pete Alonso‘s home run was the only victory hitters took away from their at-bats. Betances slider/curveball combination induced the ugly swings and flinching takes he is accustomed to. The biggest takeaway from the outing is fastball measuring in the low-90s

During last year’s camp, Betances fastball was only in the high 80s, and the COVID layoff made it harder for him to regain his velocity. He had the lowest average fastball velocity of his career at 93.6 mph and struggled even more with his mechanics.  Betances walked a staggering 12 batters in 11.2 innings pitched.

The Mets will need Betances to step up with Seth Lugo starting the season on the injured list. During his prime, Betances had one of the best five-year runs of any reliever in MLB history. If the Mets can get anything close to that level of production, they will have themselves a very reliable group of late-inning relievers.

New York Mets: Catcher Caleb Joseph Signed to a Split Contract

The New York Mets catchers have minimal big-league experience behind James McCann, and they signed veteran Caleb Joseph to bolster the group. Instead of joining on a typical minor league deal, his split contract forces the Mets to guarantee him a spot on the 40-man roster.

Joseph is a tremendous locker room personality and showed it during 2020 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent all but eight at-bats on the taxi squad with a home run as his only hit. Joseph spent his first five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and was a stellar defender. He had 37 DRS and threw out at least 30% of base stealers in four of his five seasons. After his days in Baltimore ended, he moved on to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019.

Sanchez Replacement?

The Mets 40-man roster is full, and Patrick Mazeika seems like the odd-man-out. Mazeika is 27-years old but is still waiting for his first big league at-bat. It is unlikely for the Mets to DFA a pitcher, and there is no logical option to choose from.

Joseph will replace Ali Sanchez, who was traded before spring training and have the same role as Rene Rivera from past seasons. He is a veteran who will fill in nicely as a backup if any of the top two catchers suffer injuries. Tyler Flowers and Matt Wieters were two remaining depth options on the market but were too expensive to keep in the minors.

New York Mets: Tim Tebow Announces His Retirement From Baseball

The inevitable retirement day for Tim Tebow has finally arrived. The former Denver Broncos quarterback is hanging up the baseball cleats after four years in the New York Mets minor league system. Tebow made it all the way to Triple-A but never got the call to the big leagues.

Tebow started his journey in 2016 and had not played since his junior year of high school. He started in the Arizona Fall League but struggled against baseball’s top prospects. Tebow only batted .194 and struck out in almost one-third of his at-bats.

In 2017, he spent his first full professional season between Low-A and High-A. Tebow magically homered in his first professional at-bat, but the success did not last. He slashed .226/.309/.347 with eight homers and 24 doubles but struggled to adjust to left field.

Tebow moved to Double-A in 2018, where he improved his average to .273 over 84 games. He still did not hit for any power with a .399 slugging percentage and struck out in almost 40% of his at-bats. The Mets tried to push the envelope by moving Tebow to Triple-A in 2019. Tebow batted .163 and struck out 98 times in 77 games played. His season ended early after suffering a left-hand injury.

Despite his onfield struggles, he was always a positive face in spring training. Tebow hit just .151 in his four springs with the Mets and recorded his first home run during last year’s spring camp.

“I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100% in on whatever I choose,” Tebow said after the Mets released him. “Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time.” Tebow always took the job seriously and was a great revenue source for the minor leagues during his career.

 

New York Mets: Full Non-Roster Invites Announced For Spring Training

New York Mets spring training finally begins on February 17th, and the team has announced their full group of players that will join them in Port St. Lucie. The non-roster invites feature an interesting group of veterans signed this offseason and prospects trying to make a name for themselves.

Starting Pitchers: Matt Allan, Jerad Eickhoff, Harol Gonzalez

The Mets opted for three non-roster starting pitcher invites, and all three are in different stages of their careers. Allan is the Mets top pitching prospect and is coming off an impressive 2020 summer camp. He threw just 6.1 professional innings after the 2019 MLB Draft and will get an opportunity to showcase his stuff in big league camp.

Eickhoff has a 5.07 ERA since 2017 after putting up a 3.44 ERA in his first two seasons. If the Mets need starting pitching help, he will be at the top of their list. Gonzalez is coming off a 3.01 ERA in 2019 between AA and AAA. He has been in the minors since the 2014 season.

Relief Pitchers: Jerry Blevins, Oscar De La Cruz, Ryley Gilliam, Trevor Hildenberger, Tylor Megill, Marcel Renteria, Jared Robinson, Arodys Vizcaino, Tom Windle

Blevins is a former Met who has a good opportunity to take Seth Lugo‘s spot in the bullpen if Justin Wilson does not return. De La Cruz spent his first seven professional seasons with the Cubs, has starting experience but found more success in the bullpen during 2019. Gilliam has a great mid-90s fastball and sharp curveball but struggles with walks (5.0 BB/9). He is ranked 21st in the Mets farm system.

During his 2017 rookie season, Hildenberger pitched 37 games with a 3.21 ERA. The next two years combined resulted in a 6.35 ERA; he does bring a unique look with his sidearm delivers. Megill is another reliever with starting experience in the minors; he had a 3.52 ERA in his first full pro season in 2019. Renteria’s highest level is one game in AA and has a 4.76 ERA over 62 minor league games.

Robinson spent six years with the Cleveland Indians and recorded his highest K/9 (12.5) during 2019. Vizcaino has a 3.01 career ERA, but his health is a major liability to any team willing to take a chance on him. Windle is a left-handed reliever with a 4.13 ERA in seven minor league seasons.

Catchers: Francisco Alvarez, Bruce Maxwell, Nick Meyer, David Rodriguez

Alvarez is just 19-years old but is already the second-best prospect the Mets have. It will be exciting to watch him get his first taste of a big-league spring training at such a young age. Maxwell has only a .347 slugging percentage in 127 career games, but his .524 slugging with 25 homers in Mexico intrigued the Mets to sign him last season.

Meyer is getting his opportunity after spending 2020 with an independent league. He has never played above high-A during his career. Rodriguez did not hit much during his seven minor league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays but had a terrific winter league season. In 44 games, he slashed .376/.473/.567 with five home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Infielders: Brett Baty, Brandon Drury, Jake Hager, Ronny Mauricio, Jose Peraza, Wilfredo Tovar, Mark Vientos

Baty is the third-ranked prospect with tremendous line to line power but needs to improve his defense at third base. Drury is a veteran utility man with a .248 career average over 456 career games. Hager is an infielder who has shown flashes of power with 23 homers during the 2018-19 seasons.

Mauricio is the top prospect in the Mets farm system and should have less pressure with Andres Gimenez on the Indians. Peraza is another utility infielder but only hit .225 in 34 games with the Boston Red Sox during 2020.

Tovar is a former Met with a solid glove but has never hit at the big league level. Vientos is a third baseman and the seventh-ranked prospect for the Mets. He has great power but needs to become a complete hitter before moving on to the next level.

Outfielders: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Johneshwy Fargas, Drew Ferguson, Mallex Smith, Tim Tebow

Crow-Armstrong is the most promising outfield Mets prospect since…Jarred Kelenic. This will be his first professional baseball experience and will be a tall task for a player coming straight out of high school. Fargas is full of speed and pure athletic ability but has never figured it out with the bat. During his minor league career, he has 235 stolen bases but slashes at .255/.331/.342.

Ferguson never hit much as a minor leaguer with the Houston Astros but made great strides in 2019. During 115 games in triple-A, he batted .281 with 65 walks, 11 homers, and 27 stolen bases. Smith is another speedster with two 40-steal seasons under his belt but does not hit for any power. Tebow is going to give it another try after hitting .163 during the 2019 triple-A season. This might be the last chance for his baseball career.

New York Mets: Baseball (Supposedly) Returns This Month

Even though a nor’easter is sweeping through the tri-state area, the New York Mets hope to play baseball this month. Luckily for the Mets, they will be in the warm, COVID-19 filled, sunshine state of Florida. With plenty of dirty laundry surrounding the Mets at the moment, here are some things to look forward to this month.

Pitchers and catchers officially report to Port St. Lucie on February 17, and position players join them on February 22. Five days later, the Mets open up their 31 game spring training schedule against the Miami Marlins.

Thor’s Return

Even though he is unlikely to pitch in a Spring Training game, Noah Syndergaard‘s, likely shirtless, presence in camp will be a welcomed sight. Syndergaard is on pace to be ahead of schedule to return from Tommy John surgery, and we will see how much progress he has made.

Carlos Carrasco and Francisco Lindor are amongst the newcomers joining the 2021 roster. The big trade with the Cleveland Indians brought them the starting pitcher and shortstop they were looking for. The big question remains whether their former Indian teammate, Trevor Bauer, because the most expensive newcomer for the Mets.

James McCann will get his first opportunity to work with and learn the Mets pitching staff. After two years of Wilson Ramos, the pitchers can breathe a sigh of relief with McCann behind the plate. McCann is known for his ability to call a game, understanding his pitchers’ tendencies. He also improved as a pitch framer to go along with his solid defense. The most interesting dynamic will be with Jacob deGrom as he tries to retake his Cy Young crown.

Off The Field Distractions

Between Jared Porter’s scandal and Steve Cohen’s deleted Twitter account, the Mets have been in the headlines for plenty of reasons. Let us not forget about Robinson Cano’s suspension, which goes forgotten after many January events. Those questions may not linger past the first week of camp, but the New York media will be ruthless. The off field issues are a non-factor or perpetrated by media figures with an agenda against the franchise.

Mets fans have a legitimate reason to be excited about the season for the first time in years. They have a new owner, a combination of retained and new talent, and they are the favorites to win a very competitive NL East. Along with all of this, the Mets could have more additions to rev up excitement, and maybe controversy, for the 2021 Steve Cohen owned Mets.

New York Mets: Hitting Coach Chili Davis to Work Remotely

The New York Mets announced their first member to stay away from Citi Field during summer camp. While it is not a player, it is their hitting coach Chili Davis who will not report to Citi Field for full team workouts on Friday.

Davis is a resident of Arizona, a state that has seen their positive COVID-19 cases rise over the last few weeks. While he does not have the virus, Davis is deciding to stay home as a precaution to keep others in the organization safe. Players who reported to Citi Field on Wednesday were also awaiting results of their COVID tests to make sure they were good to go.

Remote Learning

Thankfully technology is at a point where instruction can efficiently work through a phone or computer.  Assistant hitting coach Tom Slater is going to work with the hitters in person during Davis’s absence.

Davis will work much like teachers throughout the country did. He will review hitting footage and conduct Zoom meetings to stay active with the players. It will be as simple as setting up a tripod with an iPad connected directly in the batting cage where Davis can give immediate feedback.

Davis may not be the first one to opt-out as Brodie Van Wagenen still waits for confirmation from the rest of Luis Rojas staff. Rojas will hold a Zoom meeting with his coaches on Thursday to figure out a plan for summer camp.