Mets injuries continue to pile up this Spring

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

WHEELS SET TO COME OFF

After finding out that Josh Edgin needed Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire 2015 season, the news got worse for the Mets as they determined Edgin would not be alone.


The Mets announced last week that Zack Wheeler has a torn ligament and that Tommy John surgery was very likely for the youngster. It is now confirmed that Wheeler will need surgery, and it could be as early as Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin. 

How long can the Mets expect to miss Wheeler? A 2016 mid-season return is estimated. 

Dillion Gee is the most likely candidate for replacing Wheeler's spot in the starting rotation. Marc Carig of Newsday reports that Gee said "this is not how I wanted to be in the rotation." Gee also told Carig, "I hate this is the way I'm back in it." 

BLACK OUT

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

If things couldn't get any bleaker for the Mets, Terry Collins gave his concerns regarding another bullpen arm as well.


The Mets have shut down Black for at least another day after he said he felt pain in his arm during a throwing session on Tuesday. The hope is that Black can still be ready for Opening Day, but in case he isn't, Sandy Alderson hinted at the possibility of Rafael Montero claiming a spot in the bullpen to begin the season, according to Adam Rubin. 

It would be in the Mets' best interests to trade for a left-handed reliever before Opening Day. The bullpen has taken a massive blow after the Edgin news, and with the strong possibility of Black being out too, the depth of bullpen relief is in serious question. 

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The acquisition of Zach Thornton in last year's deal that sent Ike Davis to Pittsburgh could prove to be some help now that the concerns for Black are increasing.

Thornton has been labeled by Collins as a "ground ball machine" thus far in spring training, tossing five innings and allowing just one earned run. 

MURPH HURT

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Murphy joined the list of injured Mets after leaving yesterday's spring training game against the Cardinals with a right hamstring strain. He was sent back to Port St. Lucie to be examined by team trainers. Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reports that Murphy has not received an MRI and is listed as day to day.









Why Matt Harvey can still be the Matt Harvey of old

Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports

Before Matt Harvey was sidelined with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow, he was performing at an elite, Cy Young-caliber, level in 2013. He was 9-5 with a 2.27 E.R.A and 191 strikeouts over 178.1 innings pitched to that point in August. Harvey finished fourth in votes for the 2013 N.L Cy Young Award.

Fast-forward eighteen months and one Tommy John surgery later, Matt Harvey begins Mets spring training in preparation for his return to the majors this April.

Can Matt Harvey pick up where he left off as one of the brightest young arms in baseball?

The simple answer is yes; there is reason to believe Harvey will be that good again. However, the numbers also imply that it could take some time.

According to an American Journal of Sports Medicine study that looked at 147 cases of Tommy John surgery from 1999 to 2011, a small increase in TJS recipients' success rate was found.

"Among the players [147], 29 (20%) failed to return to MLB competition, 19 (13%) returned only to active status (failing to appear in >= 10 games in a single season), and the remaining 99 (67%) returned to established play after surgery."

From what we know Harvey will be in that 67% majority, but what should we expect from him in terms of production?

Hardball Times writer Jeff Zimmerman found that Tommy John surgery does not help a pitcher increase velocity, but it does help limit the effects on aging.

According to Zimmerman's study, the "percentage difference between their pre-surgery projected performance and their actual performance" was the highest for the pitcher in their first season back. The first season averages an increase of 5.8% in E.R.A, 7.2% in HR/9, 5% in walks, and a 4.4% decrease in strikeouts.

After the first year, the statistics begin to stabilize quickly in every category except strikeouts due to the average decline in velocity.

The second season back averages a 0.6% increase in E.R.A, a 2% decrease in HR/9, a 0.7% increase in walks, and a 1.6% decrease in strikeouts. The third season averages a 0.2% increase in E.R.A, a 2.1% increase in HR/9, a 0.7% increase in walks, and a 0.9% decrease in strikeouts.

This data suggests that the pitcher returning will most likely see the biggest production difference in their first year back, but also that the pitcher will progress closer to their pre-surgery projected performance over those first two seasons.

We can expect Harvey's least impressive performance in 2015, but it should not be worth any major concern, especially because he's already begun throwing and has received positive feedback from his team this spring.

The New York Times reported that Harvey faced 'live' hitters for the first time in his rehab from Tommy John surgery this past Friday. Harvey threw a total of 40 pitches while the batters were not permitted to swing at his collection of fastballs, sliders, and change-ups. Mets manager Terry Collins presumed that Harvey’s last pitch traveled about 94 to 95 miles per hour, which is regular-season speed for him.

Mets captain David Wright told Harvey after the session that his release was similar to what he saw back in August of 2013.

“He felt like it was very similar, if not better, than before,” Harvey told the Times.

“The biggest thing was that it looked like the ball was coming out free and easy," said Wright.

"I was in compete mode," said Harvey. "I wasn't holding back."

The road for Matt Harvey continues here. His attitude and competitiveness to this point shows us that he is determined to be great once again and that nothing will stand in his way of getting there. 

Mets sweep, eliminate Braves from playoffs

DeGrom earned his ninth win of the season Sunday in Atlanta, solidifying himself as a top candidate for N.L Rookie of the Year. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)


Oh, how sweet is it to watch the Braves miss the playoffs? It's amazin'!

Remember when the Mets could never win a game at Turner Field? Well, they just finished off a three-game sweep of the Braves in Atlanta for the first time since 2007, and simultaneously eliminated them from the playoffs. The Mets also won the season series against Atlanta by a 10-9 margin, capturing that feat for the first time since 2006. 

Hooray! It's beginning to look like the old days. Sort of. 

Tossing another stellar performance on Sunday (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K), in possibly his last start of the year, rookie RHP Jacob deGrom will likely be the leading candidate for N.L Rookie of the Year after going 9-6 with a 2.63 ERA. DeGrom came out firing again, striking out the first four Braves he faced. The outing was his fourth career double-digit strikeout performance. 

In a season that's slowly winding down, the Mets can feel relatively satisfied with where they currently sit: A 1/2 game behind Atlanta for second place in the N.L East at 76- 80. Plus with six games left on the season, New York can still finish at .500 with five more wins. 

Maybe things are slowly turning around for this ball club. They've already improved on the 74-win seasons the past two years. Now, they've got to end on a strong note and carry that momentum into the spring. I believe Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson can see the difference in this team and last year's team. If they can point out the weaknesses, replace them, and put forth a solid group of nine starters on the field in 2015, I have faith they can get things done with this durable, deep pitching rotation functioning as the back bone of the team. 

And right now Jacob deGrom is becoming one of those much-needed ingredients for future success. 


DeGrom dazzles again for Amazin's

DeGrom (8-6, 2.62) showed once again that he is able to pitch with conviction, intelligence, and lights-out stuff- as a rookie.

This story will never get old for you, Mets fans.

Rookie righted-handed pitcher Jacob deGrom earned his eighth win of the season Tuesday night after holding the Rockies to eight scoreless innings, three hits and nine strikeouts in the Mets' 2-0 win. DeGrom lowered his ERA to 2.62 after the win and extended his streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 22, tied for most with any pitcher in their first 20 big league starts.

DeGrom would also be listed at #5 in National League ERA if he had enough innings to qualify. Regardless, he will continue to be brought up in N.L Rookie of the Year conversations because of his stellar consistency on the mound this season. 

With the rookie's gem lifting the Mets (70-75), New York currently sits just 5.5 games outside of the wildcard, behind Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Miami, for one of the top two spots.

The bad news, of course, is that David Wright will be shut down for the remainder of the season with a troublesome left shoulder. Wright was playing with discomfort in the shoulder since June 12 when he jammed his shoulder on a head-first slid into second base on a steal. Wright ends this season with a career-low eight home runs, 63 RBIS in 535 at-bats and the longest draught of his career in home runs: 189 at-bats. 

If the Mets are planning to make a late run into the wildcard, or more realistically, get to .500 on the year and stay that way, they will now have to do it without their captain.







Duda justifies himself as clear answer to first base

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Mets' productive hitting display on Sunday afternoon in L.A was a rare sight. The triple-play they recorded was even rarer. However, the one aspect of the game that was not rare by any means was the power-hitting ability of Lucas Duda after he launched two long-balls into the stratosphere located above Southern California. 

It's actually becoming a normality this season. 

Duda is currently in the middle of his best Major League season right now, putting up career highs in home runs (26) and RBIs (76) with nearly a month left to play. The big man is third in the NL in home runs and sixth in RBIs and has five home runs and 12 RBIs in his last ten games. 

So is there now even a question whether the Mets chose right in Duda over Ike Davis? 

No, there isn't. 

There is not much comparison between the two first basemen after Duda broke out of his shell and Davis remained the clueless sub-par hitter who showed signs of real power, but was never able to keep the bat on the ball consistently.

Ike Davis has hit seven home runs and driven in 34 RBIs since moving to Pittsburgh earlier in the season. Davis is batting .239 while Duda is batting .260. 

Now that Duda has undoubtedly locked himself up at first base for next year and presumably the years following if he continues to hit with the same conviction and strength, the Mets can safely say they have fixed another vital piece to the puzzle. 

The Mets have found themselves one piece every team wants and needs but struggles for some time to find. That is a big, power-hitting first basemen like Lucas Duda. 

While New York (61-70) and Sandy Alderson look for any life remaining in 2014, they will continue to look ahead to the future by determining if they have found the answers in left field, shortstop, and catcher, or if the answers are not yet in New York.