Tagged: Rafael Montero

DeGrom Awarded For His Stellar July

jacob degrom

In unsurprising news, Jacob deGrom was named the NL Rookie of the month. It was hard to imagine deGrom NOT winning this award after going 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA in July.

Much has  been made of the New York Mets pitching depth, and rightly so, but deGrom was a bit of an afterthought heading into the season. Although he was spoken of highly by the front office inner circle, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero were supposed to be the rookies making an impact this year. While those two struggled early on, deGrom rose to the occasion and quickly made his presence known in the majors.

Degrom, is now 6-5 on the year with a 2.77 ERA. Those numbers are great for anyone, let alone a rookie. It isn’t just his raw stats that have impressed, but also his demeanor and mentality on the mound. DeGrom has that “it” factor, one that can’t be fully explained. He attacks a lineup in a fearless manor, challenging hitters at all times. Which is what has drawn the comparisons between Matt Harvey and himself. There repertoires may not be the same, but their desire to compete and win are similar, which has quickly won over this fan base.

When asked about the Rookie of the Year rumblings, deGrom struggled to even name the others in contention.

“I don’t know who they all are,” deGrom said. “I know Hamilton. Who else? I honestly really haven’t been paying attention to it.”

At this point, deGrom may have named the only competition he has. If deGrom isn’t widely known around the league by now, he will be soon.


The Mets have quietly put together a “core four” of their own in the bullpen


Vic Black (Upper left), Josh Edgin (Upper right), Jeurys Familar (bottom left) and Jenry Mejia(Bottom right) give the Mets a “core four” in their bullpen to build around

Vic Black (Upper left), Josh Edgin (Upper right), Jeurys Familar (bottom left) and Jenry Mejia(Bottom right) give the Mets a “core four” in their bullpen to build around

We’ve all read and heard the praise of the Mets young starting pitchers, but not enough has been said regarding the arms in the bullpen. The Mets have quietly put together a young core, that has become a force, late in ballgames.

Sandy Alderson’s goal all along was to build this team around their pitching, and in 2014, that goal is becoming a reality. The starting rotation is stock full with young pitchers such as Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Jacob deGrom. Now add in future pieces Noah Syndergarrd, Rafael Montero, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey, who will return from his Tommy John surgery next season, and you have an abundance of arms to build your rotation around.

When you look back on playoff team success in recent years, there is always a common trait, a shutdown bullpen. It isn’t always the dominant offenses, but rather the teams that are able to shut down games by the 7th inning, that make deep runs. That is what the Mets are looking to put together. When closer Bobby Parnell went down, a major concern remained as to who the Mets would use to finish off ballgames. However, the combination of Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, has stepped up and answered that question.

  • Josh Edgin (27) 25 GP – 1.76 ERA
  • Vic Black (26) 22 GP – 1.77 ERA 1.77 ERA
  • Jeurys Familia (24) 44 GP – 2.11 ERA
  • Jenrry Mejia (24) 25 GP – 2.42 ERA – 9 SV

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Jonathan Niese’s Return Is An Important One


Jonathon Niese reportedly has two rehab starts remaining before he is ready to rejoin the team. The 26-year-old lefty has been on the DL with a partially torn rotator cuff since June 21. His health, and return to form, are going to be crucial for the Mets success going forward.

Niese is part of the young core of starting pitchers that Sandy Alderson is looking to build this team around. The Mets signed him to a five-year extension after going 13-9 with a 3.40 era in 2012. He appeared to be reaching his potential and looked to be a front of the line starter for years to come.

But, Niese got off to a rocky start in 2013, posting a 3-6 record with a 4.32 era. This was looking more and more like a regression season, leaving many to question just what do the Mets really have in Niese? Then his shoulder issue became public. It was feared intially that he would need surgery. Thankfully, for his own and the Mets sake, it would only require rest to heal his partial tear.

Now Niese will look to prove his early season woes were due merely to injury. These next two months will be important for the Mets to see if their core rotation of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and lets trow Dillon Gee in there as well, can come together down the stretch. With the recent promotion of Jenry Mejia, there is no lack of youthful talent on this roster.

Rafael Montero, despite his recent AAA struggles, could be looking at a September call up as well. Noah Syndergaard, who was an after thought of sorts in the Dickey trade, is also getting more and more high praise with every start he makes.

However, all of these young arms are right-handed, except Jon Niese. That is what makes him so important to this team. It is not necessary, by all means, that you have a lefty in your rotation. But it certainly does help to have one or two on your staff throwing from the other side to give teams a different look throughout a series.

I expect Niese to bounce back when he returns. He has come a long way since he was first called up to the majors and possesses all the stuff to make him a quality pitcher. It was unknown early in his career just what his ceiling is as a starter, I see him sliding back in as the teams number 2 upon his return. But as time goes on, and some of these other young arms develop, I believe Niese will slot himself right in the middle of the rotation.

The Mets may not be making a playoff push this year, but these next two months could be a telling sign of where this rotation can take this franchise in the years to come.

Today The Mets Future Begins To Take Shape

Harvey and Wheeler starting botch games of today's double header is a big day for this franchise

Harvey and Wheeler are each starting a game in today’s doubleheader.

Today is a big day for the Mets as they look to give fans a preview of what they will be building around for years to come. The Mets play the Braves in a day-night doubleheader with their two best young arms starting each game. In game one Matt Harvey takes the hill, who has quickly emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the game. Then in the night cap, Zack Wheeler will make his much-anticipated MLB debut.

These two have been projected to become a powerful 1-2 punch for the Mets as they look to build a core for this starting rotation to build around. Sandy Alderson has recently stated that the Mets will be adding payroll and look to be buyers over the next 6 months. Alderson is banking on a front line rotation of Harvey and Wheeler being cornerstone pieces as he looks to fill in the voids that exist elsewhere. Attracting free agents will be much easier if players see that these two are going to be a force to reckon with. So far this year, Harvey has already proven that. If Wheeler is able to do the same, it will make the Mets look all the more appealing when it comes time for free agents to select a team to sign with.

I would really like to see Harvey and Wheeler form a bond for the rest of this season. Harvey is the perfect player for Wheeler to model himself after, as he went through this very same situation just a year ago. It could prove to be very beneficial and you would like to think they would feed off of each others starts. You hear so much from pitchers who were apart of great rotations that they would try to out pitch one another in their starts. It is that kind of attitude and competitive nature that the Mets have lacked for years that could really influence their progression early on. Despite being a lousy team, Harvey doesn’t accept losing and we need that same attitude to be embedded into Wheeler as they look to turn things around.

Both of the Mets World Series titles were built around young pitching. In the late 60’s, the Mets produced future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, who won 222 career games himself. The two of them played crucial parts in turning this once dismal franchise into a champion. In the 80’s, phenom Dwight Gooden emerged and took the league by storm. They surrounded him with a mix of young arms both home-grown and through trades that consisted of Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda. This is the best rotation the Mets have had to date as they went on to win another World Series title for the Mets.

This is ultimately what Alderson hopes to achieve with this roster. He already has his phenom in Matt Harvey, now we wait to see if Zack Wheeler can live up to the hype that has surrounded him since being acquired for Carlos Beltran. With Jonathon Niese established as a solid middle of the rotation arm and Rafael Montero’s rise in the organization, the Mets could soon be on their way to an exciting young staff. Not to mention Noah Syndergaard, who was a piece included in the R.A. Dickey trade, is just a few years away and provides even more depth. This could make one of these arms expendable in trading for a power bat this team so desperately needs.

Let’s hope Harvey and Wheeler can together form a rotation worthy of bringing another championship to this franchise and avoid ever being mentioned in the same breath as “Generation-K”. Tomorrow will be a fun day to watch as the Mets future FINALLY begins to take form.

What will Bobby Parnell ultimately become?

bobby parnell

Bobby Parnell is trying to prove he is the closer of the future

This past series against the Marlins was an interesting one for Bobby Parnell. He suffered a blown save, a benching of sorts and easily converted a save. In a nutshell those three games seemed to sum up Parnell’s young career as a closer.

The blown save in game 1 of the series was a tough one to swallow. Parnell pitched well overall, but Colin Cowgill misplayed a fly ball that ultimately gave the Marlins the base runner they needed to tie it up in the 9th. Collin’s asked Parnell to pitch the 10th inning and he finished that off nicely but the Mets went on to lose the game in the 15th. Tuesday Collin’s allowed Jeremy Hefner to pitch the 9th inning in an attempt to throw a complete game, despite hovering around 100 pitches. He quickly got into trouble and Brandon Llyon was brought in the game rather than Parnell. He was not happy about this and expressed his displeasure following the game. Collins said he was simply protecting Parnell from being over worked early on after throwing two innings the night before. In the final game of the series Collins went back to Parnell for the save and he took only 7 pitches to finish off the Marlins and salvage a game in the series.

Parnell is in his fifth full season with the Mets and the 24-year-olds role has been constantly changing. Initially he was looked at to become a starter, but that quickly changed as the Mets decided he was better suited for the bullpen. His roles slowly began to increase out of the pen. He started out as a middle reliever and then last year he became the teams set-up man. Now in the absence of Frank Francisco has become the teams closer. So far he has closed out three games this season with two blown saves while posting only a 1.46 era. Despite having two blown saves, he has easily been the best pitcher in the Mets bullpen (I realize that’s not saying much).

Parnell has the stuff to be a closer. He throws in the mid-to-high 90’s, even touching 100 at times in his career, and his breaking ball he learned from Jason Isringhausen has become an effective second pitch for him. My question has always been does he have the make-up to be the closer? In watching interviews with him he has always come off as a shy, timid guy which made me question if he would be able to handle this role, especially in New York. I only question this because closer’s face much more media scrutiny than other relievers and it takes a certain mentality to be able to handle that day in and day out. I thought Tuesday was a big step forward as Parnell was genuinely angry he was not put in the game and wanted the ball  day after a blown save. That’s what you need in a closer, a guy who is able to start each day with a fresh start not worried about the previous days results.

With no real-time table set for Francisco’s return, the closer job will remain Parnell’s. With the way this team currently stands, I think this should be Parnell’s job for the duration of the season, unless of course he really blows up. Francisco is in the final year of his contract and we all know he will not be brought back. Parnell is young and certainly has proven he deserves a spot in this bullpen. It’s time to let him mature into the role and see if he can develop himself into the closer of the future.

We spend a lot of time talking about how the Mets future lays in the hands of our young starters Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero. But the game is about pitching, not just starting pitching,  we have to develop our bullpen as well. The successful teams around the league have pens full of young arms that they surround with a few veterans to fill in the holes. This is something the Mets need to improve on as Sandy Alderson has done a poor job, and that’s putting it kindly, of building this teams bullpen. Lets hope Parnell proves he can be more than just a middle reliever and that Sandy can surround him with other young arms to build around.

Harvey and Niese and Pray for Rain

Matt Harvey can't carry the pitching staff by himself

Matt Harvey can’t carry the pitching staff by himself

The original saying is “Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain” was named for the 1948 Braves pitching staff, in regards to their two aces, Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain, followed by an average staff. It was immortalized in a poem written by sports editor Gerald V. Hern:

“First we’ll use Spahn,

then we’ll use Sain.

Then an off day,

followed by rain.

Back we’ll come with Spahn,

followed by Sain.

And followed,

we hope,

by two days of rain.”

Now, “Harvey and Niese and Pray for Rain” may not have the same ring to it, but it does have the same amount of merit with the early season woes by the rest of the Mets pitching staff. Harvey and Niese have separated themselves from the rest of the staff early on, as both seem poised for big season’s, but it’s what behind them that has Mets fans worried. After the debacle the past two days in Philly, Dillon Gee surrounding 7 runs in 3 innings, followed Jeremy Hefner allowing 5 runs in 3 innings, the Mets have to be concerned with the depth in their staff.

Coming into the season, the starting rotation was supposed to be a strength of the Mets, with a solid starting five and young arms such as Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero waiting in the wings. But, all of that has quickly changed, with Johan Santana requiring season ending surgery and Shawn Marcum back to being his old injury plagued self, it left the Mets scrambling. Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey, were tapped to fill these two voids in the starting rotation. These aren’t exactly the names the Mets, nor their fans were hoping to see pitch this season.

These voids in the rotation have fans eagerly awaiting the promotion of Zack Wheeler, who was sent down for “fine tuning reasons.” But all fans are well aware of the organizations financial troubles in recent years, we realize he is solely down in Triple-A right now to delay his arbitration eligibility. Although I am not entirely against this thought process, once this date has passed, Wheeler must be added to this rotation. The Mets will only be able to go so far off of the arms of Matt Harvey and Jonathon Niese, even if this team isn’t quite ready to contend, the time is now for their young rotation to take form and gain experience together in hopes of turning this franchise back to its winning sooner rather than later.