First Notes from Spring Training
What we’ve seen so far from the New York Mets in the first few days of spring training games …
From loyal MetsToday reader and commenter “Argonbunnies”:
– Matt Harvey looked like 2013 Harvey. Dominant. Can’t speak to health takeaways.
– Scott Rice threw strikes.
– Michael Cuddyer doesn’t have a grooved swing, taking different cuts at different pitches. At first base, he let a routine pickoff throw sail right past his glove.
– Wright had the Bad David Wright swing going.
– Curtis Granderson’s swing looked shorter to the ball. Much closer to what I saw in 2011.
– Otherwise, the Mets looked like their 2014 selves. Juan Lagares made D look easy, Travis d’Arnaud made D look hard, Wilmer Flores got beat by fastballs, Matt den Dekker hit soft liners, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia showed good stuff and poor command, etc.
My notes are not nearly as detailed. I haven’t spent much time watching the game action, but rather, focusing on the pitching mechanics of Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard. There are still some things with Harvey’s mechanics that don’t sit well with me, but I’m conferring with Angel Borrelli before making any comment. It was encouraging that the radar gun clocked him as high as 96 to 98 MPH, even if it was “dialed up” for the occasion (I’m not suggesting it was, just pointing out that the guns can’t necessarily be trusted). So much buzz about Harvey’s “new” curveball has me confused — didn’t he always have a curveball? I remember him having one, and using it. Maybe SNY and the official blog were given a talking point.
Syndergaard’s mechanics REALLY scare me. His arm is WAAAAAAAAAY behind his body. To understand what I mean, watch the game via MLB.com or a DVR and hit “pause” just as his front foot lands. You’ll see his right forearm is almost parallel to the ground, with his palm and the ball facing the ground. To get an idea of what I mean, it kind of looks like when you want to poke the person next to you in the ribs to grab their attention. That’s not a good place to be at that point in the motion. He need to have his hand and forearm higher at that point, so that his arm looks almost like a capital “L.” His arm has looked like that at foot strike frequently in all the video footage I’ve seen of him going back three years. It’s no surprise that he suffered elbow issues last year and it won’t be a surprise if more arm problems occur in the future, unless he / the Mets are working on correcting the flaw. Who even knows if they’re aware it’s a flaw? All they seem to care about is how hard he can throw and how nasty his stuff looks — which are both good things, but not terribly useful if he can’t stay on the mound. See: Rich Harden, Mark Prior, Joel Zumaya, and dozens of other pitchers through the years with “filthy stuff” but who couldn’t stay healthy because of damaging flaws in their pitching motion.
I heard comment by GKR that Kevin Plawecki is advancing quickly and is “big-league ready.” Is that true? I’m anxious to see if he’s made any strides since last spring; he seemed to be an offense-first, pull-happy backstop with questionable power last March. There’s always chatter around Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud but sometimes I think Anthony Recker is the Mets’ best choice behind the plate, based primarily on his superior catching and leadership skills but also because he has that surprising “Todd Pratt Power.” Then again, I also used to think that Justin Turner was their best all-around choice for second base, so what do I know?
This early evaluation is spotty, so fill in the holes in the comments. Thank you.