Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Lets Playyy, which NY Baseball teaammm suuuucks mooooore (cue applause and cheesy game show music)
Both New York Teams have been impressively mediocre so far. The Yanks, after today's awe inspiring 3-2 loss to the Royals are back to 500 and the Mets, after a stellar 2-5 road trip are now 2 games under. Given that both teams have an off day and both have about 100 games to turn around their seasons, here is a breakdown position by position of which NY team is more mediocre.
(Worse player is the 'winner' at each positition. Though there are no winners in this comparison.)
1st base- This one is no contest. Jason Giambi has been red hot the last 2 weeks raising his average to respectability as his on base percentage creeps towards .400 and his power numbers begin to resemble the Giambi of old. Carlos Delgado still sucks. He can't hit a fastball and his defense is at best as poor as Giambi's. Furthermore, he is emblematic of the Met's blase, indifferent, and disinterested approach to playing the game of baseball. He has made several mental errors in the field and his sub .220 average makes him less than a major league starter at this point in his career. THE WINNER: Carlos Delgado
2nd base- This one is somewhat tricky. Luis Castillo receiving a 4 year contract is not quite as pathetic as the Giant's signing of Barry Zito, but it is pretty laughable. The guy has zero power and does not get on base enough to truly utilize his speed. His balky knees and lack of productivity in the 2 hole hurts the Mets chances of getting David Wright an opportunity to drive in early runs. However, he has good speed overall, plays sparkling defense and his switch hitting is a plus. Robinson Cano has had a terrible season so far. His 230 average does not even do justice to his immature and impulsive approach at the plate. He swings at way too many first pitches and when he doesn't, he inevitably chases a third strike out of the zone. He has been brutal in clutch situations as he has only accrued 20 RBI's even though he is surrounded by guys who are often on base. Although I am not a Castillo fan, Cano's overall play this year has belied the fact that he is in fact a career .300 hitter and his poor play has really hurt the Yankees chances of putting together any kind of winning streak. THE WINNER: Robinson Cano
Shortstop: This is an interesting debate. Both guys have underperformed this year. Jeter is hitting well under .300 and Reyes has seemingly taken many days off despite being in the lineup and playing on said days. Jeter can't afford to hit under .300 if he can't get more than a single and Reyes can't afford to play poorly because he is the Met's spark-plug, most important player, and most talented player. Reyes has all of the physical tools to be a perennial gold glover but makes too many mental errors. Jeter has all the savvy to continue to play the position but his complete lack of range and tendency to throw the ball away has made him a real liability at short. However, because Reyes is the Mets most talented and most important player, his inconsistent play wins him the award in this category: THE WINNER: Jose Reyes
Third Base: This is also a fascinating comparison because neither has really been disappointing. Wright's average is a little below what you want from your three hitter. He has never been a great defensive player. But Wright is a phenomenal hitter. He has power to all fields and has the chance to be a hall of fame player based on his offensive prowess alone. However, he has to take on the leadership role on this team even if he is younger than the more chatty vets like Billy Wagner (more on that fuck in a minute). A-rod's only problem this year, besides his horrendous numbers with runners in scoring position, is the fact that he had his first DL stint ever. His absence really destroyed the Yankees offense and I am not certain the Yanks can even climb back in the race because of the games the Yankees gave up during his absence (a horrible rotation won't help those chances either). I guess, because neither of these guys has done anything to merit a "this guy sucks" label, I will call this a draw : The WINNER: Nobody. You both cool with me
Centerfield- Melky Cabrera busted out of the gate this season. He was on pace to blast 30 plus home runs through the first month of the season and this seemed like more than enough offensive from a very good defensive player. However, Melky is still stuck at 6 long balls and has developed a horrible habit of swinging and making outs at first pitches. If a guy is not going to be a power hitter, he needs to be patient enough at the plate to allow the runners on base to run and to help run up a starting pitcher's pitch-count. Beltran is probably the most overrated player in the game though I am not sure by who. Met fans can't stand him and I don't blame them. He is too sensitive for New York and despite technically having 5 tools, he isn't outstanding at any one of them. He plays too deep in centerfield and he never even threatens a .300 BA. Even in the year he almost won MVP, his home batting average was under .250. Because Beltran is supposed to be a more important offensive cog in the Met's lineup than Melky is for the Yanks lineup, I give the nod to Beltran here THE WINNER- Carlos Beltran
Corner Outfield: This is no contest, Matsui, Damon and Abreu have been great this season for the Yanks. They have hit for average, driven in runs and all have excellent On Base Percentages. The Mets corner outfield has been an unmitigated disaster this season. Church has been great but he is suffering from Eric Lindros disease and who knows when/if he comes back this season. Moises Alou, was scheduled to come off the DL today but he tore his ACL washing the dishes. Okay so that is not true, but would you honestly be shocked if you read this on espn.com in the next 25 minutes? Endy Chavez is a fun guy to watch but hes a poor man's Joey Gathright. Winner- Mets
Catcher: This category will also not yield a winner. Jorge has been hurt for almost half of the season to this point and Brian Schneider has also missed significant time with various ailments. Schneider seems to have worked out better than fans had hoped and Jorge has already hit a dramatic game tying home run in the 9th during Saturday's 12-11 win vs the Royals. WINNER- To be determined
Rotation: Both Rotations have been disappointing. The Mets prized off-season acquisition of Santana has worked out fairly well so far but it hasn't worked out quite as well as I and most others expected it too. Santana's 7-4 record is solid but you would expect better from the game's best pitcher in the watered down NL. However, the real problem for the Mets has been enigmatic Oliver Perez. Oliver Perez seems kind of like the Eli Manning of the Mets. He pitches great in big games but has the tendency to really inexplicably suck against inferior competition. John Maine has continued his ascension to all star status but Mike Pelfrey has only pitched well against the Dimitri Young and (Sox legend) Willie Mo Pena led Washington Nationals. If Pedro can pitch more like he did in San Fransisco Tuesday (6 innings 3 ers) and less like he did Sunday at San Diego (5ip, 4er) then he might give the Mets a solid 1,2,3 and take the burden off a collapsing Perez.
Now, deep breath Whiteboy............ The Yankees rotation is a complete and utter mess. Mike Mussina has been fantastic this season. He has an under 4 era and is 9-4. That sounds great right? Add to this the fact that Daryl Rasner has also been great fashioning an under 3 era in his 7 starts. The problem is.... WANG AND PETTITE HAVE BEEN AN UMITIGATED HORROR SHOW! Wang, after going 6-0 in April has been atrocious, not registering a single quality start in over a month. Pettite has been amongst the AL's worst pitchers over this same time period. Pettite reached the apex of awfulness Saturday allowing 10 ers to the freakin Royals. Joba should stabilize this staff once he his diapers are taken off and he actually pitches 6 plus innings. Still, with the return of Pedro for the Mets and the scary bad pitching of Wang and Pettite, the Mets rotation looks more promising than the Yanks pitching staff. Oh yea, the experiment of trying to rebuild the starting staff with Kennedy and Hughes has been somewhere between humiliating and nauseating (even though those two terms are not on the same continuum).
THE WINNER: THE Yankees
Bullpen: Both Pens are kind of similar now that Joba has joined the rotation for the Yanks. Both have excellent closers (though only one is great) and mediocre middle relief. Rivera, despite a terrible weekend vs the Royals has been un-hittable most of the season this season despite having less hair than some of our folliclly challenged staff (not me, I got the brown curls and Jew Fro working) and being on the wrong side of 35. Billy Wagner as usual puts together great stats but chokes in games the Mets really need to win. I'm sure every Met fan saw what happened on Sunday so I shan't rehash it here. The Mets probably have a stronger rest of the pen however. Duaner Sanchez and Pedro Feliciano are solid setup men while Farnsworth is a horrible 8th inning pitcher and Jose Veras is not yet proven he can be relied upon in that spot. Edwar Ramirez could use his changeup as the key to becoming the Yank's lefty specialist (this despite the fact that he is right-handed) because of the tailing action his changeup has away from lefty bats. The Mets have a good lefty in Feliciano but they have a head-case in Aaron Heilman. If the Mets avoid using him in the late innings of close games, their pen will be fine. However, I also think the Yanks pen will stabilize once they invoke the FarnsVerMO plan I previously advocated for. Overall, the Yanks pen has to be favored as the stronger one as it is anchored by the legend himself.....
THE WINNER is: The Mets
Overall: The Mets offense is what is killing them while the Yankees starting pitching is killing them. The Mets go in prolonged stretches of strong play and then sink back to mediocre play while the Yankees seem to more closely resemble a standard 500 team winning 2 then losing 2 and winning 3 then losing 3. Both Managers have made a lot of mistakes this year but Willie has had this same group for 4 years and should have figured out a better way to communicate with, utilize, and motivate them by now. The Mets offense and the Yankees pitching are not good enough to get them into the playoffs. However, given the lofty expectations put upon the Mets once they acquired Santana, I think the suckstastic champion must be the Mets given their losing record.
THE WINNER is: The Mets