Quick Overview: The B-Mets are hitting an anemic .189/.261/.302. They're last in the 12-team league in runs scored, batting average, 11th in OBP and 8th in slugging. The team hit three home runs Sunday, and is now tied for second in the league in the category. By the way, the Eastern League as a whole is hitting .238/.306/.350.
The pitching staff, led by Brad Holt and Mark Cohoon is third in the League in ERA (2.91) but 10th in strikeouts (60 in 77.1 IP), which isn't totally fair because the B-Mets have thrown the fewest innings of any team in the league. The B-Mets have issued the fourth-fewest walks (25).
Good News: The Starting Pitching has Been Really GoodThree B-Mets - Brad Holt, (0.00), Mark Cohoon (0.75) and Robert Carson (0.90) - are in the top seven in the League in ERA after two starts each.
Is Brad Holt Back?It's early, but it sure looks good. His season line: 12 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K. According to Mike, Holt was 89-94 in his start on Friday. Also, as you can see from the embedded highlights from Holt's start in this post, it sure looks like Holt has made progress with his secondary stuff. At the :18 second mark, there's a changeup that's described as "nasty" and at the :30 second mark there's a hammer curveball with short, tight downward break.
--1. Moving from the Mental to the PhysicalIn nearly every published interview, Holt has insisted that his struggles in 2010 when he walked 79 in 95 innings were purely mental. I never believed that as a complete explanation, and received conflicting reports (from those outside the Mets organization) about what was happening to the point where I really didn't feel like I knew what was going on. What's interesting here is that he explains for the first time (that I've seen) how the mental can translate into the physical:
"(Last year), that (situation) [ed: second and third and two out] would've bothered me," Holt said. "I would've been a lot more tense. I probably wouldn't have been as loose with my arm. That kind of takes an effect on your pitching game. This year, I'm trying to stay confident and not worry about it."Interesting. I really hope this is true, that Holt is now more relaxed and thus able to repeat his delivery with men on base. There's even some empirical evidence to back up Holt on this. With the bases empty last year, the Eastern League hit .262/.375/.361 against him (although with 11 walks and 11 strikeouts) in 61 AB. With runners on, that rose to .403/.500/.597 with 12 walks and 14 strikeouts in 67 AB.
By St. Lucie at the end of the year, he was making progress in this area. Opponents had an .840 OPS against him with the bases empty in 119 AB and .830 with runners on in 127 AB.
-- 2. Keeping it on the GroundOn Friday, Holt induced 10 groundball outs and needed just one flyball. In his first start of the year, he picked up six ground ball outs to four fly ball outs. In two starts, that's 16 outs on the ground and just five in the air. Maybe I'm missing something, and I hope that readers will correct me, but as I calculate it, that's a Ground Out/Air Out ratio of 3.2. MiLB.com has Holt at 1.33. Huh?
|2008||NYP - SSA||0.98||72.1||1.87|
|2009||FSL - A+||0.97||43.1||3.12|
|2009||EL - AA||0.77||58||6.21|
|2010||EL - AA||0.63||30||10.2|
|2010||FSL - A+||0.57||65||7.48|
|2011||EL - AA||1.33||12||0|
Yeah, yeah, I know we're dealing with small numbers again, but it's a dramatic change and a damn good one. For shits and giggles, I made a graph of Holt's ERA vs. his AO/GO ratio.
Mark Cohoon is not a SurpriseAfter a rough first six starts in AA following his two-level promotion from the South Atlantic League, Mark Cohoon was terrific at the end of last season. This year, well, he's allowed just one unearned run in 12 innings. In his last 50 innings at AA, he's been very good.
|2010||June + July||7||7.24||32.33||44||30||26||3||6||10||25||15.92||6.37||1.91||.326||2.50||.383|
|2010||August + Sept||6||1.63||38.67||30||11||7||2||1||5||30||20.41||3.40||1.36||.219||6.00||.267|
|Last 8 starts||8||1.42||50.67||41||13||8||2||2||8||39||19.90||4.08||1.02||.227||4.88||.279|
Robert Carson is BetterWhen he was promoted to AA last year, the Eastern League hit .343 against Robert Carson and launched seven home runs against him. This year, the Eastern League is hitting .270 against him and has yet to hit a home run in 10 innings. After a zero walk first start, Carson issued four free passes in five innings on Sunday. Carson just turned 22 so is the youngest of the three guys in the B-Mets rotation with ERAs below one. Anyway, it's two pretty good starts from a guy who really struggled in AA last year.
|2010||FSL - A+||4.17||17/16||86.33||98||42||40||5||33||69||3.4||7.2||2.1||0.5||10.2|
|2010||EL - AA||8.32||10/10||48.67||68||46||45||7||23||30||4.3||5.5||1.3||1.3||12.6|
|2011||EL - AA||0.90||2/2||10.00||10||2||1||0||4||8||3.6||7.2||2.0||0.0||9.0|
One more point about the lefties: both Carson and Cohoon have been reunited with pitching coach Marc Valdes who coached both hurlers in Savannah (Carson in 2009 and Cohoon in 2010).
Jordanny Valdespin is Still Looking for "It"In nine games spent at short, Valdespin is hitting .188/.289/.344 with one home run Sunday, which the game recap on B-Mets.com describes as wind-aided. There's a lot of season left, of course, and he's walking more, and a few extra hits would make that line look pretty different.
Looking ForwardThis team will be at least a little bit better offensively too, as outside of Michael Fisher, who's hitting .400 (6 H/15 AB) no one else is hitting above .250. Even so, as a whole, they're going to struggle to score consistently.
On the other hand, the starting pitching here is the thing to watch as Holt and the lefties Cohoon and Carson bring a wide range of style and pedigree but are off to good starts.