Archive: February 14th, 2011

Jenrry Mejia As Reliever?

In case you missed it, on Friday afternoon Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY reported that Dan Warthen envisions Jenrry Mejia’s future in a big-league bullpen — not a starting rotation.

So glad we’re all on the same page, guys. We wouldn’t want to continue to mess with the kid’s head, right?

Personally, I don’t know where Mejia ultimately belongs. The one thing I “see” in his future are a number of DL stints, due to his violent, inefficient pitching mechanics. Mejia began experiencing shoulder problems before he had the chance to legally drink a beer, and assuming he doesn’t change his motion, those issues could become chronic. We’ll see if any adjustments are made this spring, but I’m doubting it, considering that Warthen described Mejia’s delivery as “solid and repeatable” this time last year.

If Mejia will be prone to arm issues going forward, in which role is he more suited — reliever or starter?


1 DUPACR: Mookie Wilson

We’re down to the nitty-gritty, folks: there is 1 Day Until Pitchers And Catchers Report (yes, I’m aware there are already players running around the grounds of Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie — but they are doing so on their own accord). In honor of this auspicious day, we focus on former #1 Mookie Wilson.

How can you not like a guy named “Mookie”? The fact that he was actually good didn’t hurt, either. Mookie was the lone source of excitement on the really bad Mets teams that opened the 1980s — but at the same time, he symbolized the hope and optimism we Mets fans so desperately clung to back then.

As a leadoff hitter, he struck out far too often and didn’t take nearly enough walks. But that was what speedy leadoff hitters did in the late 1970s and early 80s (see: Omar Moreno, Mickey Rivers, Al Bumbry, Bake McBride, Lou Brock, et al). It was a different time, so it’s hard for the youngins to understand, but basically it worked like this: you put a guy with disruptive basestealing skill at the top of the lineup, regardless of OBP, because if he gets on base he’ll wreak havoc with the minds of the pitcher and catcher, break their concentration, and induce more fastballs thrown — to the best hitters in the lineup (#3 and #4). The strategy doesn’t make sense now, because MLB talent is diluted and the pitchers stink. But back then, when pitchers dominated, it wasn’t the worst strategy in the world — no matter what Bill James says.

Anyway, back to the Mook …

William Hayward Wilson gave a preview of what was to come during a 27-game audition in 1980, when he was inserted into centerfield and penciled into the leadoff spot on September 2 and left there through the end of the year. It was a smart move, especially considering that the alternative was Jerry Morales. Mookie electrified Shea Stadium with his blinding speed and balls-out approach to the game. He hit only .248 but it felt like .400 — maybe because he and Wally Backman were the first legitimate, home-grown position prospects since Lee Mazzilli became a regular in 1977.

Wilson remained the starting centerfielder until he tore cartilage in his shoulder in 1985, opening the door for another speedy, homegrown centerfielder — Lenny Dykstra. Wilson and Dykstra platooned in ’86, a situation that turned Mookie into a more valuable player and helped the Mets win the World Series. By then, Mookie was 30 years old and beginning to break down, but Davey Johnson was masterful in keeping him fresh and extracting great performance from the Mook. Wilson responded with the three highest batting averages, OBPs, and OPS totals of his career from 1986-1988.

To top it all off, Mookie Wilson was a gentleman, humanitarian, and caring teammate — in short, an ideal role model for all ballplayers to imitate. To this day it’s difficult to find someone who has a bad word to say about Mookie, and it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t smile at the mention of his name.

Though there may be some pessimism about this upcoming season, the fact that Mookie Wilson will be standing in the first base coach’s box is one reason to look forward to it.

Which #1 do you remember best and why? Leo Foster? Gene Clines? Bobby Pfeil? Vince Coleman? Esix Snead? Lance Johnson? Fernando Vina? Anderson Hernandez? Chuck Carr? Someone else? Share your memories in the comments.

We’re all done, folks … here is the full list:

#1 Mookie Wilson
#2 Mackey Sasser
#3 Bud Harrelson
#4 Ron Swoboda
#5 John Olerud
#6 Wally Backman
#7 Hubie Brooks
#8 Gary Carter
#9 Gregg Jefferies
#10 Rusty Staub
#11 Lenny Randle
#12 John Stearns
#13 Edgardo Alfonzo
#14 Gil Hodges
#15 Jerry Grote
#16 Dwight Gooden
#17 Felix Millan
#18 Darryl Strawberry
#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd