Saturday, February 2, 2008

Let's Get Physical

From Metsblog: The Mets have announced that Johan Santana has passed his physical, meaning that all hurdles have been cleared. Next stop, press conference. Very good.

Some afterthoughts, some of which I put up on Cerrone's site in the last couple days:

There has been a varying amount of fuss surrounding a possible Santana decline in the second half of last year. He finished 2007 at 15-13 (which you can throw out based on the team he played for)giving up 16 hr after the All-Star break and posting a 3.60 in August and a 4.94 in June. Additionally, some scouts have speculated that his velocity has fallen off somewhat.

To begin with, the sample size for Santana’s alleged regression is small enough that it's hard to take it too seriously. Walter Johnson had an off-year in 1921. Seaver lost 9 of his first 11 in 1974 and still won 22 games the next year. Curt Schilling's mid-to-late 20's were hardly spectacular, but his greatest success followed. My point is that when elite pitchers show any signs of normalcy people can overreact, and generally it's unecessary. His track record alone would quell my concern, but coupled with the consensus that he was unhappy last season playing for a bad team that was bound to trade him it all fits together.

Also, while it’s nice that he’s logged more innings than anyone in the last 5 years, part of that is due to the Twins total reliance on him, something the Mets should not be as guilty of, and in turn should provide him with more rest.
Not to mention the no-DH, the pitcher’s park, and the tendency for NL pitchers to exit games sooner for PH’s.

When a pitcher posts a 3.33 in the AL, K's 235 batters, and wins 15 games on a weak team and people get worried, that pitcher is something truly special.

On a completely different note, every time I look at this season’s probable lineup, which doesn't have much room for give, I can’t help but think that there’s no good reason for this team not to sign Kevin Mench. He has consistently destroyed lefties, (Career OPS vs. LHP: .979) despite not being of much use otherwise. That would give you this lineup vs. LHP (Each player listed w/ career OPS vs. LHP):
Reyes .710
Wright .962 FROMFLICKR
Beltran .855
Alou .946
Delgado .819
Mench .979
Castro .736

That is a truly formidable lineup against a leftie, lacking a serious weak link, as Reyes' lower OPS does not convey the diversity of his play, and Castro's limited PA's don't fully communicate his level of comfortability with lefties. Delgado is what pops out. His career numbers are not in line with what he did last year against southpaws, which was zilch, but perhaps a contract year and a healed wrist will help that...

Kind of a limb to go out on with the initial idea of signing Kevin Mench... The overall thought here is that any backup OF with a propensity to hit lefties, be it Mench or someone else, to spell Church about 20% of the time, could provide a lethal little lineup.

Oh, that's me in the picture with my new Santana jersey that I had made 5 minutes after the trade was announced. As I left the store with it and looked at it on the street, a guy walked by me and said that he saw on ESPN that Johan failed the physical. He kept with it long enough to get me for a second, and then laughed. Phew.

No comments: