Yesterday, I put up a link to Baseball America, who had ranking Mets SS Gavin Cecchini #12 the #12 prospect in the Appalachian League.  The comment section was largely, but not exclusively, negative about Cecchini. Maybe it's because the Mets are 71-84, and headed for their fourth straight losing season and sixth straight out of the playoffs and therefore, everything the Mets do is wrong.  Apparently, there is no escaping that climate of complaining.

CecchiniCecchini is a gifted defensive shortstop, who, as an 18-year old, hit .246/.311/.330 in 53 games in the Appalachian League which as a whole averaged .254/.329/.382.  He showed some strike zone control, with a 2.4 K/BB ratio (43 K/18 BB) and a strikeout rate of 19% and a walk rate of 8%. Oh, and he played August while recovering from a broken finger. He was young for his league.

I liked Cecchini's swing more than I was expecting too, but he will need to add strength to his wiry frame. Defensively, his hands were fine for short. However, I left concerned about his range. The game I saw, he did not produce an average running time to first. It's hard to play an average shortstop without average to plus speed. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to be a plus shortstop without plus speed. In Cecchini's defense, he was running on a wet track, and I saw him for one game and one BP/infield session only.

If he can play an average Major League shortstop, he will have value, as I discussed in June:

Using data from the last three complete seasons (2009-2011), there are exactly 14 players who have a positive UZR/150, that is, by the metric, are average or better shortstops. Of those, only nine are better than five runs above average per 150 games. That’s it. There are literally, fewer than 10 guys in baseball who are five runs above average annually at shortstop.

Of this group, of average or better defensive SS, exactly three are average or better offensively as measured by wRC+ (where 100 is league average).

Emphasis added this time.

Multiple scouts from other teams, for whom Cecchini was not an option, either because they picked too high in the first round, or too low, told me they like Cecchini as a player and he represented fine value for the Mets at #12.

 

Draft StrategyMajor League teams should not draft for need in the first round. Read it, repeat it and then process it. Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round. Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round.

Why not?

1. The failure rate on prospects outside the top few picks is too high. There is no guarantee that selecting a player in the 2012 draft for an organizational need in 2012 will ever be able to fill that organizational need.

2. Draft picks need time to develop.

3. Organization needs change. Organizational needs in 2016/2017, when a high school player from the 2012 draft could reasonably be expected to be fitting into the big leagues will be different from 2012. Four years is a long time in baseball. 

Teams, including the Mets should draft the best player available in the first round. Now, to some degree, this strategy has been altered by the new collective bargaining agreement with its move towards a draft spending cap for each team. A team must balance taking and paying for the best player at any given point, versus maximizing the number of good prospects to be acquired later against the cap.

 

The Fan Complaint

Yesterday's arguments in the comments section produced three main types of complaints about Cecchini.

There were: he arguments included:

  • He was a bad pick because the 2012 Mets needed power.
  • He was a bad pick because he has no upside and the Mets have a shortstop now - Ruben Tejada
  • The Mets should have drafted OF Courtney Hawkins
The first two are simply wrong. Say it with me again: Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round.

Again, Cecchini will not be a big leaguer for four more years. By that time, Tejada will be arbitration eligible. He might be a star, he might be a solid contributor, he might be injured. The advantage of drafting up the middle players is that they can move down the defensive spectrum to "easier" positions.

Hawkins is a big, strong outfielder destined for a corner spot, who the White Sox picked at #13, right behind the Mets.  The White Sox were aggressive with Hawkins this year, starting him off in the Appalachian League before promoting him to Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League for two weeks and then up to Winston-Salem for the playoffs. Overall, as an 18-year old, he hit .284/.324/.480 with eight homers, and 56 K/11 BB for a K/BB of 5.1. In his 249 PA, he walked in 4.4% of his plate appearances, and fanned in 22%.

The most recent scouting report on Hawkins comes from Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks who saw him recently at instructional league in Arizona:

Thicker body than I expected; Kevin Mitchell thighs; obvious athlete; multiple 4.25 times to first; strength is just as obvious as athleticism; ball screams off bat when contact is made; top-heavy swing; bat speed generated by tremendous raw strength; lacks impressive bat control; fooled by off-speed stuff; front foot contact; left field profile for me; ...  power is only loud tool, but it has the potential to be very loud; doesn’t have star-level projection; if power translates, has first-division potential, but role 5 player more realistic; how long does present athleticism keep profile from being worse?; how big does the body get?; major league strength, but does he have a major league swing?; I need to see a lot more, but I was expecting to see a more electric profile and a little less body.
Parks' current projection on Courtney Hawkins, the apple of some commenter's eye, is as an average left-fielder. Which do you think has more value, an average shortstop or average corner outfielder?

I was on record before the draft suggesting that the Mets should take the risk on Harvard-Westlake RHP Lucas Giolito. He was a risky pick, because he was looking at likely Tommy John surgery, and was asking for a big bonus. Sure enough, in August, the Nationals, who paid him nearly $3 million and built their entire draft around meeting his bonus demands as eight of the team's next nine picks signed below allocation so the team could afford Giolito's bonus. I understand the Mets' hesitation here.

 

FinallyOpinions are good. I am glad that fans have read enough about the minors here and elsewhere that they have developed strong opinions about players they have never seen (although a little humility would seem sensible). However, the only thing I am certain about when it comes to writing about baseball is uncertainty, especially when writing about prospects.

If Hawkins or Cecchini or Giolito become All-Stars, well great for them and their team. The fact that one does and one does not, would not make any an awful or a terrible pick three months after the draft.*

(*Note, I added the final six words in an afternoon revision for clarity.)

Tags: Gavin Cecchini, Toby Hyde

Apr 25, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of the tarp on the field seen through raindrops on a window before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 25, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of the tarp on the field seen through raindrops on a window before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The first game of a three game series between the Mets and Braves at Citi Field has been rained out.

Tuesday night's game has been rescheduled for 4:10 p.m. on September 25 as part of a doubleheader. 

Robert Gsellman was slated to start for the Mets on Tuesday, but the team now plan to skip his start, according to Marc Carig of Newsday. Noah Syndergaard will start on Wednesday followed by Matt Harvey on Thursday.

Julio Teheran, who was scheduled to start on Tuesday for Atlanta, will start on Wednesday, according to Kevin McAlpin of 680 The Fan.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman
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The Mets (8-11) open a three-game series against the Braves (6-12) at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. The Mets, who were off on Monday were swept in a three-game series by the Nationals over the weekend.

To stream the game, click here
To follow the game live online, click here to access SNY Gameday

The Mets have lost four straight games and eight of their last nine to fall to fourth place in the N.L. East -- 5.0 games behind the first place Nationals. ... The Mets are 4-8 at home this season. ... The last time the Mets were three games under .500 was April 12 of last season, when they were 2-5. ... The Mets opened this season by winning 2 of 3 games against the Braves at Citi Field. 

Who is starting tonight for the Mets? 

Right-hander Robert Gsellman, (5.09 ERA/3.48 FIP, 1.36 WHIP), who allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out seven last Wednesday against the Phillies.

Tags: Robert Gsellman
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 (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

LF Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) and C Travis d'Arnaud (wrist) are back in the Mets' lineup on Tuesday night.

However, Cespedes may be scratched from the lineup if the game is played in inclement weather, Terry Collins said.

Cespedes has not played since exiting last Thursday's game with the hamstring issue. He was on deck to pinch hit Sunday night when the Mets made the final out of the game against the Nationals.

Tags: Matt Reynolds
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Oct 1, 2016; Mets celebrate after clinching a wild-card berth. Credit: Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; Mets celebrate after clinching a wild-card berth. Credit: Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The old saying goes that you cannot win a pennant in April, but you certainly can lose it. So let's not fully dismiss the uphill battle the Mets have created by getting swept by the Nationals this past weekend, which has spotted Washington a five-game lead over them in the division.

However, let's also resist the easy temptation to declare the sky is falling because the Mets are in the midst of a 1-7 stretch that has dropped them three games under .500 entering Tuesday's series opener against the Braves at Citi Field...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes
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New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a three RBI home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher)
New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a three RBI home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher)

Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes has turned to analytics to help improve his performance at the plate, Ken Rosenthal explains in an article for FoxSports.com.

The Mets have been able to show Cespedes the zones where he tends to chase pitches, resulting in him using that information to generate 11 walks in just 16 games.

"For him to be leading our team in walks is nothing short of a miracle," the team's hitting coach, Kevin, Long told Rosenthal, when asked how statistical analysis has benefited Cespedes.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Terry Collins waits in the dugout at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Terry Collins waits in the dugout at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are not a 'train wreck,' Bob Klapisch, though you make several excellent points about why this season may be a constant struggle. Sandy Alderson's current roster still has World Series upside. The team's potential has not changed in the three weeks since leaving Spring Training.

"It's easy to push the panic button, it's easy to say, 'Oh, sh!t,' but we are too good for that," Jay Bruce said Sunday, according to the NY Post. "We are a legitimate World Series contender, I believe, and I wouldn't just say that. This is a team that is stacked. We just have to be healthy and play well."

I agree. That said, I fear Alderson and Collins are still making decisions like they did a few years when rebuilding, as opposed to reverse engineering every choice based on winning a Championship.

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Apr 5, 2017; Citi Field during the second inning in April. Mandatory Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Citi Field during the second inning in April. Mandatory Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets begin a three-game series against the Braves on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Robert Gsellman (0-1, 5.09 ERA) will face Julio Teheran (1-1, 3.52 ERA) in the opener.

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This season, Verizon customers can enter to win unique baseball experiences to every Tuesday Night Baseball home game... all you need is a current Verizon Wireless or Verizon Fios account!

It's better baseball from the Better Network.

To enter, go to SNY.TV/VERIZON or click here for more information...

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In this week's MetsBlog Q&ACast, I call on NY Post columnist Kevin Kernan to talk me off the ledge in April, as we discuss...

1) If the Mets can rebound from starting the season 8-11...
2) Whether Sandy Alderson left his roster too vulnerable to injury...
3) How much the Mets miss Daniel Murphy's bat and attitude...
4) Amed Rosario, and if he should be promoted...
5) The long view, and all that still has to happen before the end of the season...

To review my talk with Kernan, I'm joined at the end of the show by my friend Brian Mangan, who does a terrific job co-hosting the Good Fundies podcast...

To listen to the show, click play below or use this link to download...

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Conforto rounds third base after hitting a solo home run at Citi Field. Credit: Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Conforto rounds third base after hitting a solo home run at Citi Field. Credit: Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Mets OF Michael Conforto had three hits Sunday, including a solo home run off Max Scherzer, during the team's 6-3 loss to the Nationals.

"Fastball out over the plate, that's kind of in my zone," Conforto said of the pitch from Scherzer. "I want to be able to elevate that ball and hit it the other way. I was ready for it, that's what I was looking for in that situation."

Conforto has started the last four games in the outfield, thanks in part to injuries to Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, and Wilmer Flores.

In that time, he's batting .467 with a two home runs, two RBI and a .529 OBP in 15 at-bats...

Tags: Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Apr 21, 2017; Terry Collins (10) on the dugout phone at Citi Field. Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2017; Terry Collins (10) on the dugout phone at Citi Field. Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have lost eight of their last nine games, including four in a row, and are now three games below .500 for the first time in more than a year. They are off today, during which they can rest and replay images in their mind of being swept this past weekend by the Nationals.

Have fun, guys...

As for me, I'm trapped between being frustrated and knowing there are still 143 games left to play this season. It may feel like it's ending, but we still need to cross off Memorial Day, multiple west coast trips, three series in DC, the All-Star break, trade deadline, the dog days of summer and Labor Day before getting a chance to play meaningful games in September for the third straight season.

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 (Jasen Vinlove)
(Jasen Vinlove)

Yoenis Cespedes 

He has not played since exiting Thursday's game with a hamstring issue. He was on deck to pinch hit Sunday night, but did not get in to the game. Terry Collins said he's hopeful Cespedes will return to the lineup on Tuesday. If he again doesn't play, the Mets will have the option of back-dating a potential 10-day stint on the disabled list.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, Sean Gilmartin, TJ Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes
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New York Mets manager Terry Collins visits starting pitcher Jacob deGrom after loading the bases during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets manager Terry Collins visits starting pitcher Jacob deGrom after loading the bases during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are off on Monday and begin a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Robert Gsellman (0-1, 5.09 ERA) will face Julio Teheran (1-1, 3.52 ERA) in the opener.

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud, Washington Nationals, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler
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Collins and players on sweep 00:06:01
Terry Collins, Zack Wheeler and Michael Conforto comment on the Mets' frustrating 6-3 loss to the Nationals on Sunday night.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about today's game...

1) Daniel Murphy's first-inning grand slam and Ryan Zimmerman's two-run shot in the eighth extended the Mets' losing streak to four games for the second time in nine days.

2) After allowing the first three batters to reach and the slam to Murphy, Zack Wheeler surrendered one hit and two walks with four strikeouts over his final six innings. He worked a season-high seven frames and was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks while fanning six.

3) Michael Conforto went 3-for-4 and hit his second leadoff homer of the series. Neil Walker slugged a two-run shot to cut the Nats' lead to 4-3 in the third.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Zack Wheeler
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The Mets (8-10) will try to salvage the final game of a three-game series with the Washington Nationals (12-5) on Sunday at Citi Field at 8:08 p.m.


The Mets have lost three straight games and seven of their last eight. ... They are now 10-26 in their last 36 home games. With losses to the Nationals on Friday and Saturday, the Mets have now dropped six of their last eight series against Washington.

Tags: Washington Nationals, Zack Wheeler
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Apr 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) singles to center allowing a runner to score during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Washington Nationals won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Apr 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) singles to center allowing a runner to score during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Washington Nationals won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

An injury-plagued Mets offense continued to struggle in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Nationals, stringing together just two hits on the day.

The Mets were held hitless until Juan Lagares' single in the sixth inning, which set up Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single to put the Mets on the board. Cabrera's hit was the second and final one of the game for the Mets, who have dropped three straight and seven of their last eight after a five-game winning streak.

The Mets have only been able to score more than four runs one time in their last eight games, during which several players have been sidelined.

The Mets played without Yoenis CespedesWilmer FloresLucas Duda, and for the most part, Travis d'Arnaud. Cespedes missed a second straight game after departing Thursday's game with a hamstring injury, while Flores and Duda were both placed on the disabled list. D'Arnaud, dealing with a sore wrist, was not in the lineup on Saturday but pinch hit in the ninth.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes
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Apr 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Apr 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Jacob deGrom had ten strikeouts for a second straight outing, but walked a season-high six batters and earned his first loss of the season on Saturday as the Mets dropped the second game of a three-game series with the Nationals.

DeGrom gave up three runs on eight hits in five and 2/3 innings behind little run support from the Mets offense, which generated only two hits on the day.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Cadillac Post Game Extra: 4/22 00:02:55
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 3-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday evening.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about today's game...

1) The Mets did not collect a hit until Juan Lagares singled in the sixth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single two batters later was their last hit of the game.

2) Jacob deGrom had the strikeout pitch working, fanning 10 in 5 2/3 innings, but he also walked a career-high six and allowed three runs on eight hits.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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The Mets (8-9) play the middle game of a three-game series against the Nationals (11-5) at Citi Field on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Jeurys Familia walked in the winning run in the 11th Friday as the Nationals beat the Mets, 4-3


The Mets have lost six of seven games and are 4-6 at home this season. ...  In seven of New York's last eight games, the winning run has scored in either their last at-bat or their opponents' last at-bat, including a six-game stretch from April 13-19, that was the longest such streak in the majors since Oakland had a six-game streak from May 28-June 3, 2004. The Mets are 2-5 in those games.

Who is starting today for the Mets

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Jacob deGrom, who missed his scheduled start against Washington Friday with a stiff neck, will start Saturday at against the Nationals and Gio Gonzalez at Citi Field. First pitch is 4:05 p.m.

DeGrom has a 1.89 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with four walks and 22 strikeouts in 19.0 innings (three starts) this season.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:03:39
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 4-3 loss to the Nationals.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about today's game...

1) Jeurys Familia tossed a wild pitch and walked consecutive batters in the 11th, the latter forcing in the eventual game-winning run. Bryce Harper, who opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, doubled off Josh Smoker with one out and scored on Familia's walk.

2) Matt Harvey gutted his way through a season-high seven innings and surrendered three runs, all coming on a pair of homers. He allowed four hits and two walks while striking out a pair in his 108-pitch outing.

3) Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson both went deep and finished 2-for-4. Granderson tied the game twice, with a two-out RBI single in the fourth and with his first roundtripper in the sixth. 

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey
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In this Friday's feedback edition of the MetsBlog Q&ACast, Gotham Baseball's Mark Healey joins Matthew Cerrone to answer voicemails, Tweets and comments from Mets fans about...

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The Mets (8-8) open a three-game series against the Nationals (10-5) at Citi Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. With the team making three errors, the Mets lost to the Phillies, 6-4, on Thursday night.

To follow the game live online, click here to access SNY Gameday

The Mets have lost five of six games and are 4-5 at home this season. ... They are in the midst of 32 consecutive games against N.L. East opponents to start the season. ... The Mets went 2-4 in series against the Nationals last season, going 7-12 overall.

Who is starting tonight for the Mets? 

Matt Harvey, who allowed one run on seven hits while walking two and striking out five in six innings this past Sunday against the Marlins.

Tags: Matt Harvey
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August, 2016: Terry Collins looks on from the dugout (Credit: USA Today Sports images)
August, 2016: Terry Collins looks on from the dugout (Credit: USA Today Sports images)

Yes, the Mets are getting hammered with injury and illness. Frankly, so much has happened in the last 48 hours, I've literally lost track.

In case you're in the same boat, here's where things stand...

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Aug 26, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches a ball he hit go into the stand for a grand slam in the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 26, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches a ball he hit go into the stand for a grand slam in the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Mets have placed Wilmer Flores (knee infection) and Lucas Duda (hyperextended elbow) to the 10-day disabled list, the team announced Friday.

Flores, who spent Wednesday night in the hospital, will remain in the hospital throughout the weekend to receive IV fluids.

T.J. Rivera, who is in Friday night's lineup at third base, and Sean Gilmartin have been called up from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Tags: Lucas Duda, Sean Gilmartin, TJ Rivera, Wilmer Flores
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Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who left Wednesday's game against the Phillies due to a right wrist contusion, was scratched from Friday night's lineup after having trouble throwing before the game, manager Terry Collins said.

Rene Rivera is starting in d'Arnaud's place on Friday night.

D'Arnaud hit his throwing hand on Aaron Altherr's bat when trying to throw out Cesar Hernandez at second base on a steal attempt. He remained in the game until the sixth but was replaced by Rene Rivera in the seventh. 

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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David Wright sits in the dugout while filming a segment for SNY in St. Lucie (Photo Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
David Wright sits in the dugout while filming a segment for SNY in St. Lucie (Photo Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Mets 3B David Wright fielded grounders and tossed lightly overhand on Friday as he continues to rehab his right shoulder impingement, reports Dave Lennon of Newsday.

Wright played catch and took batting practice on Wednesday as he returned to his rehab program.

"If David Wright could throw the ball across the infield, he could play today," Collins said. "Except, we've got to get him some at-bats, which he hasn't had, but he's taking batting practice today. His hands are still very, very good -- I mean, this guy doesn't miss anything. It's about getting that arm back and how long that's going to take no one knows."

Tags: David Wright
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Jacob deGrom, who is dealing with a stiff neck, will have his start pushed to Saturday, with Matt Harvey starting in deGrom's place on Friday, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Harvey will be pitching on regular rest since the Mets were off on Monday.

DeGrom has a 1.89 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with four walks and 22 strikeouts in 19.0 innings (three starts) this season.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey
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The injuries suddenly are mounting. And the Mets have dipped to .500 with five losses in their last six games. So perhaps it's not an ideal time to be facing the division-leading Nationals, who are off to a 10-5 start.

Yet a day after Yoenis Cespedes departed the series finale against the Phillies with a cranky hamstring that will prompt an MRI, as and Lucas Duda (hyperextended elbow), Travis d'Arnaud (bruised wrist) and Wilmer Flores (infection) all sat out, the Mets now get their first measuring stick against Daniel Murphy and the first-place Nationals on Friday at Citi Field.

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Jeep Pitchcast: Syndergaard's Ks 00:00:16
Jeep Pitchcast examines Noah Syndergaard's strikeouts in the first inning against the Phillies.

During Thursday's broadcast on SNY, Ron Darling broke down the segment saying "3 different pitches: Fastball up and out of the strike zone, changeup where the bottom fell out and a perfectly placed curveball on the outside corner."

Syndergaard had 10 strikeouts against the Phillies and ranks 3rd in the NL in strikeouts. He has 30 strikeouts this season and has seven with his fastball, 11 with his change up and 2 with his curve.

Syndergaard throws his fastball 50 % of the time, change up 19.5 % and curve 10.8 % of the time.

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Jay Bruce (19) hits an RBI single at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Bruce (19) hits an RBI single at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Mets outfielder Jay Bruce started at first base Thursday for the first time since 2014, when he played just three games filling in for Joey Votto and the Reds.

In the wake of Lucas Duda needing to have an MRI on his hyperextended elbow, and with Wilmer Flores unavailable with an infection in his knee, Bruce handled first base, where he started one game and practiced during spring training.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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April is National Donate Life Month and today, April 21, is Blue & Green Day to help raise awareness.

Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers, including former Met Ed Kranepool, are among the 118,000 people nationwide who are currently awaiting organ transplants.

One organ donor can save 8 people and impact up to 50 lives.

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Collins, Syndergaard on loss 00:06:20
Terry Collins talks about Jay Bruce playing first base and Jeurys Familia's rust on the mound while Noah Syndergaard reflects on his outing

Noah Syndergaard labored through seven innings Thursday against the Phillies, though he struck out 10 batters for the first time this season and threw a season-high 114 pitches.

Syndergaard gave three earned runs as the Mets struggled defensively and committed three errors.

"For the most part, I thought I threw pretty good. Except for that second inning [when] things got a little fluky," Syndergaard later said. "You just have to have a short-term memory and forget about it and get back on the mound. ... I felt great. I thought tonight was the best my mechanics have been in a long time."

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Noah Syndergaard
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This season, thanks to Citi, each time the home run apple goes up at Citi Field, another step is taken in the fight against childhood hunger.

For each Mets home run at Citi Field this season, Citi has pledged to donate $2,000 to No Kid Hungry. Every dollar donated provides 10 healthy meals, meaning each Citi donation provides up to 20,000 meals to kids in need in NYC and throughout the U.S. Learn more at NoKidHungry.org/onedollar.

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Conforto's warning-track catch 00:00:38
Michael Conforto tracks down a deep fly ball and collides with the wall as he secures the catch to prevent an extra base hit

Michael Conforto again made the most of his opportunity to play, picking up two more hits and making key defensive plays in left and center field Thursday during the team's loss to the Phillies.

Conforto started in center field and made a diving catch in the second inning to rob a base hit.

Tags: Michael Conforto
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Should the Mets trade Bruce? 00:02:55
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate whether Jay Bruce's scalding hot start will last, and if the Mets should trade him to address other needs.

The Mets open a three game series with the Nationals tonight at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m on PIX11.

Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.89 ERA) will pitch for the Mets. DeGrom tied his career-high with 13 strikeouts in his last start, which ended in a no-decision.

Tanner Roark (0-2, 3.50 ERA) will make his third start of the season for the Nationals. Roark is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight games against the Mets in his career

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about today's game...

 

Tags: Matt Harvey
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The Mets (8-7) wrap up their three-game series against the Phillies (5-9) at Citi Field on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. On the strength of two Jay Bruce home runs, the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-4, on Wednesday night.



Jeurys Familia, who spent the first 15 games on the suspension list due to the alleged domestic violence incident he was involved in during the offseason, was activated before the game.

Who is starting tonight for the Mets? 

Noah Syndergaard, who allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out four in 6.0 innings this past Friday against the Marlins. 

He has a 0.95 ERA and 0.84 WHIP and has walked none while striking out 20 in 19.0 innings (three starts) this season, while having yet to allow a home run...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Sep 7, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) and catcher Rene Rivera (44) congratulate each other after the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Sep 7, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) and catcher Rene Rivera (44) congratulate each other after the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who completed his 15-game suspension for the domestic violence incident he was involved in during the offseason, was activated from the restricted list prior to Thursday night's game against the Phillies.

In addition, C Kevin Plawecki was activated from Triple-A Las Vegas, with RHP Rafael Montero and LHP Sean Gilmartin optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the roster for Familia and Plawecki.

The Mets also transferred 3B David Wright to the 60-day DL.

The team's starting pitchers have made it into the seventh inning only four times in 15 games, resulting in their bullpen having faced 254 batters, which is third most in the National League...

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Kevin Plawecki, Rafael Montero, Sean Gilmartin
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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) follows through on a three run double against the Atlanta Braves during the the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) follows through on a three run double against the Atlanta Braves during the the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, who hyperextended his left elbow during Wednesday night's game has been sent for tests and is unavailable for Thursday night's game, manager Terry Collins said.

Duda exited Wednesday's game after a first base collision with Cesar Hernandez in the fifth inning. 

Hernandez ran into Duda's arm as the first baseman reached for an errant throw by Robert Gsellman after he fielded a slow ground ball off the mound. 

Tags: Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores
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Apr 6, 2017; Josh Donaldson (20) hits at Tropicana Field. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Josh Donaldson (20) hits at Tropicana Field. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In a post to MetsBlog yesterday, Matthew Cerrone detailed five ways for the Mets to handle their Jose Reyes situation, which included exploring trading for a third baseman later this summer.

"The two guys that makes the most sense are White Sox 3B Todd Frazier and Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, both of whom have strong track records and are set to be free agents at the end of this season," Cerrone explained.

However, according to Toronto Star reporter Richard Griffin, if the Blue Jays don't can't improve on their disappointing 3-11 start to the season, they may soon consider dealing All Star 3B Josh Donaldson.

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Time to move on from Reyes? 00:07:24
The Loud Mouths debate whether it's time to panic about all of Jose Reyes' early mistakes and call up Amed Rosario to replace him.

Jose Reyes is a mess right now. You know it. I know it. He knows it. And, more importantly, the front office knows it, which is why they're already building contingency plans at third base, despite it being just 15 games in to the season...

According to people close to the team, the Mets are not married to playing Reyes at third base, though you wouldn't know it from listening to Terry Collins talk to reporters after the game.

The plan before the season was to have Reyes fill in at third base until David Wright returned from the disabled list. Then, once Wright was back, Reyes would shift to being a super utility guy playing most days (either at third, shortstop or second base) while continuing to bat leadoff.

However, it's not an ideal world and he's struggling in his current role...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard is a freak of nature whose blazing fastball has been chewing up hitters since his Major League debut in 2015.

What makes Syndergaard so special is that he's a starting pitcher who regular hits triple digits with his heater. All of the other pitchers who regularly hit triple digits (such as Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees, Tommy Kahnle of the White Sox, and Joe Kelly of the Red Sox) do so in relief.

Here are Syndergaard's five fastest pitches this season, courtesy of Statcast:

  1. 100.9 MPH sinker to J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins on April 9, resulting in a ball.
  2. 100.4 MPH sinker to Christian Yelich of the Marlins on April 9, resulting in a ball...
Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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