It's weird how much of an afterthought the team's starting pitchers have become, even though we all say over and over again that they are the key to the season.
In previous spring trainings, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz would have drawn significant attention from Mets fans and photographers in camp had they been throwing together. However, their interaction and work together Monday went mostly unnoticed.
It's nice that it's pure baseball. No fanfare. Just business as usual for these guys. If I had to bet, I think they like it this way, too.
I enjoy watching Irish-born Mets LHP prospect P.J. Conlon pitch. He may or may not be an impact player for the Mets one day, but nevertheless he has a good style. He's quiet, keeps the ball down and pitches front to back really well. He is also only 5-foot-11 and rarely hits 90 mph, yet he's putting up better numbers in the minor leagues than Syndergaard or Matt Harvey did at his age.
Like a year ago, I don't think any particular throw he made today was straight, but they all ended up grazing the edges of the strike zone. If they didn't, the batter lunged or leaned enough to indicate the pitch was at least somewhat tempting. He also has an aggressive delivery, which makes it seem like he's bringing heat, but instead the ball puffs from his like a cotton ball. It's bizarre.
Conlon told me last spring his goal for every sequence is to keep the batter confused about where the ball is going next. For instance, he said he's just as likely to throw a 3-1 changeup on the outside corner to a right-handed hitter as he is to throw an inside fastball, mostly because he trusts his command and knows -- at best -- the batter will hit a squib shot to first base. Should he walk someone, he's confident in his ability to induce a double play. I.e., he's a 24-year-old Double-A pitcher with the mindset of a veteran major leaguer.
The Mets should sign Asdrubal Cabrera's son, Meyer, who must be 10-12 years old. He's with this team and his dad all of the time. Personally, I see no way how a kid his age can spend this much time in a uniform talking to MLB players, receiving hitting instructions from coaches and learning how to field from Gold Glove winners, over and over again for years, and not end up developing in to big-league player.
Guy Conti is amazing. He's ancient. He's brilliant. And I have no idea what his actual job is other than to be amazing, brilliant and Guy Conti. He's always holding a bat, which I've never seen him swing.
He goes pitching mound to pitching mound, bullpen to bullpen, motoring at the same pace from field to field, occasionally stopping to watch a pitcher and offer quiet advice. It appears that he's basically the pitching staff's consligiere.
Joe DeMayo is right: Mets RHP prospect Tylor Bashlor is someone to keep an eye on this summer. The kid can sling it and earned the attention of several veteran players and coaches when he threw live batting practice on Monday.
"Bash," as his coaches and teammates call him, looks and throws like a back-end reliever.
Similarly, Drew Smith, whom the Mets received in the Lucas Duda trade from the Rays last summer, also throws hard with a ton of zip. He's a reliever that I expect we will see this season at some point.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!