NL East Mailbag Week Two

Every week Baseball Essential’s Dan Siegel will answer questions from you the readers about the teams in the NL East. You can send in your questions by leaving a comment below or by sending them to Dan on Twitter @DanSiegelUnCut.

Will the recent Mets injuries derail the team’s great start?

I think it will slow them down, yes, but not completely derail them. Even before the injuries, it would be hard for this team to keep up their current pace (currently 10-3), but just take each injury as its own. When David Wright went down with the hamstring injury, Eric Campbell stepped in and has been arguably the Mets best hitter since.

The injury to Travis d’Arnaud is bad, as it seemed that he had started to come into his own both at the plate and behind it. However, this could into a blessing for the Mets. With top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki now getting called up to take over the daily catching duties, his performance may give the Mets an opportunity to have a proven trading chip later in the season.

The most concerning injury is to the one Jerry Blevins, as he had been the Mets best arm out of the bullpen so far (batters are 0-for-15 against him). Now after a line drive caused a fracture to his left arm, a bullpen that has had its up and downs will need to fill a big void. Vic Black seemed closed to returning before his last minor league appearance and now he’s headed for an MRI. The Mets will look to their system to find some hidden gems as they did last season, and Hansel Robles is getting the first call.

Once the Braves’ bats start heating up this team can surprise — am I wrong?

They’d have to really heat up to overcome the pitching so far. Plus, who hasn’t hit close to what they normally would anyway? Yeah, Cameron Maybin is hitting below the Mendoza line still, but is he really the missing piece to unlock some powerhouse offense?

Bigger concerns would be the back end of the rotation and the bullpen. Trevor Cahill got rocked in his first start and Eric Stults has an ERA over six through two starts.

The bullpen, which was lights out for that first week, couldn’t find the switch in week two. Half of their bullpen guys have ERAs over four, and the guys who are pitching well are getting thrown out everyday and run the risk of being overused. Until they straighten those things out this team will continue to have its ups and downs.

What did you think of Giancarlo Stanton calling out his team during the weekend?

I get what he was trying to accomplish but it doesn’t accomplish anything. Stanton gets frustrated that when he gets it going seemingly no one else does, or as he said, “they lack fire.” Their pitching hasn’t been great so far — Mat Latos still has an ERA of 10+.

But the real problem still is in their lineup. Dee Gordon is nice but he’s a table setter — he gets on, he doesn’t drive in runs. Michael Morse has power but doesn’t hit consistently enough to be true protection for Stanton, and same goes for for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has been so bad thus far he’s lost a grip of his starting job.

Until Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich start swinging the bats well and driving in some runs (combined seven RBIs) this lineup just doesn’t have much length.

Do the Phillies have something in Odubel Herrera?

Two weeks into the season the Phillies have to be thrilled with what Herrera has given them. He’s batting slightly over .300 and half of his hits have been for extra bases. I’d temper expectations though, as he still strikes out a lot (about one in every four at bats) and has a big swing that leaves him susceptible to getting overpowered. He also doesn’t walk a lot (about one in every ten at bats), which means his on-base percentage won’t be a ton higher than his batting average. As he plays more and pitchers get a book on him, I expect him to hit a hard bump in the road. Until he gets to that point and we can see what if any adjustments he makes, it’s hard to expect major contributions from him.

Is Ian Desmond killing his free agency value with his fielding?

Did it hurt Hanley Ramirez‘s stock this past offseason (16 errors in 2014)? Is Josh Donaldson devalued by his errors (23 errors in 2014)? Yes, Desmond will probably have some teams shy away from throwing out serious money at him because of his fielding. Then again, is this really a surprise to anyone? Desmond committed 24 errors last season and sure eight through this first 13 games isn’t good but its not something new for Desmond. He committed as many as 34 errors back in 2010 and his lowest error total since playing regularly was 15 back in back in 2012 (only played in 128 games).

His fielding issues have always been there and yet the talk of him being a big free agent hasn’t died down because of his bat. Guys who can hit 20 homers and drive in 80 runs don’t grow on trees, especially at the shortstop position, and unless Desmond carries his fielding troubles to the plate, which he hasn’t so far, a payday from someone will still await him this offseason.

Leave a Reply