Some very brief notes on yesterday’s exhibition between the Mets and Braves.
Chris Schwinden didn’t look so great. I wasn’t terribly impressed by him during his audition late last year, so this wasn’t a great surprise. I realize spring training means little and it was only one game, but Schwinden has yet to show me anything to suggest he can be a legitimate MLB starter. That’s not to say there isn’t still time; he seems like a nice enough kid and is only 25 years old. Right now, though, his velocity is sub-par, location is usually too high, movement insignificant, and he doesn’t do a great job of changing speeds. Also, his facial hair doesn’t do anything for him; it makes his chin look weaker than it actually is.
Freddie Freeman, on the other hand, did look great. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. Freeman very much looks like the person who will take the torch from Chipper Jones and antagonize Mets fans for the next decade or two. He’s a beast in the making — the guy Nick Johnson was supposed to become.
Even after Larry comes back from his knee injury, the Braves will be one bat away from seriously contending for the NL East crown — though, the Phillies without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are not looking so formidable, either. I’d be stunned if Atlanta didn’t make some kind of move for a hitter before the trading deadline. Though, I think a full year of Michael Bourn is going to provide much more impact than anyone realizes.
Lucas Duda is looking more and more comfortable in right field with each passing week. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a game changer on defense, but I’m starting to believe he won’t hurt the Mets out there.
Andrelton Simmons may not be ready for prime time just yet, but he looks to have the raw tools to be a big-time shortstop some day. He reminds me a bit of AndrE. Robertson, a rifle-armed shortstop for the Yankees back in the 1980s whose career was cut short due to an auto accident. Simmons has a gun — a Shawon Dunston-like gun — as well as impressive bat speed and an athletic body. I also like that he exudes confidence but not cockiness. It may take a while for him to put it all together, but the tools are there.
Adam Loewen is going to struggle once pitchers realize he can’t handle anything above the waist. However, he will kill mistakes below the belt.
Every time I see Loewen in the batter’s box, I think, “hey, did Ike Davis change his stance?”
Garret Olson has a big 11-5 / 10-4 curve that could make him somewhat and equally effective against lefties and righties, but doesn’t have the hard slider necessary to be a swing-and-miss LOOGY. So I think he’s miscast in that role, but believe he could still have value as a long man / middle reliever in MLB — in the same way Darren Oliver has been able to extend his career several years beyond what anyone ever expected.
On the other hand, Josh Edgin still looks to me like the best LOOGY option. However, if Tim Byrdak will only be out for a week after Opening Day, I don’t see much point in going through hoops to get Edgin on the 25-man roster; he’s currently not on the 40-man.
I really, really love Mike Nickeas but I’m just not seeing enough bat from him to overtake Josh Thole. Which for him is a shame, because with his defensive and leadership skills, he’d only need to hit about .240 with occasional power to be the starter. He reminds me a bit of Jeff Reed, who was similarly good all-around defensively but challenged offensively.
Bobby Parnell is looking pretty good; let’s hope he can keep it going when the regular season begins.
What did YOU see? Post in the comments.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.