Tag: hisanori takahashi

ST Game 7 vs. Nationals

Mets 6 Nationals 5

Let’s not read too much into the win nor the Mets’ 5-2 record; it’s spring training.

But, I would like to share my thoughts on some of what we saw on channel 11 on Sunday.

Oliver Perez
His stat line was awful — 7 hits, a walk, a HR, and 5 ER in 3 IP. But, evaluating his pitching mechanics, there were good signs. What I saw was Ollie doing a decent job of staying in a straight, efficient line to the plate from the stretch (which he was throwing from for most of his outing). From the stretch, he was displaying a good, straight-up leg lift, fairly straight stride, and a balanced follow-through that left him in position to field the ball on comebacker. From the windup, however, he is still struggling, and I feel it stems from where he starts his feet. He is standing on the third-base side of the rubber, which allows him to easily start his right foot back and toward third base on a 45-degree angle. This in turn causes his body to go slightly sideways and “off line”, which then causes a slight over-rotation / close of the front hip, and then results in an over-rotation / premature opening of the front hip. That rotation then causes his follow-through to be off-balance and toward third base — you’ll see him facing third base after the release. That over-rotation is inefficient and is the reason for inconsistency in his release point. There have been periods in the past when both Rick Peterson and Dan Warthen had him beginning his windup by stepping straight back — which resulted in him staying more on that efficient, straight-lined path toward home plate — and I’m not sure why Warthen has allowed Perez to deviate from that habit.

Daniel Murphy’s New Stance
Murphy’s batting stance is now more upright. I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind the change, but Howard Johnson knows a thousand times more about hitting than me. I guess what confuses me is the fact that once the pitcher starts his motion, Murphy hunches right back into the same crouch he started from last year. So maybe it’s a timing thing? The one potential negative is with this new stance, Murphy’s eyes start at one level, then move to a lower level as the ball is coming in — which seemingly would make the ball more difficult to see and track.

Hisanori Takahashi
I like Takahashi’s fluid, stress-free motion and balanced mechanics. It looks as though he can throw low strikes in his sleep. He reminds me a bit of Jamie Moyer, in that he pitches “backward” (setting up the fastball with off-speed pitches), stays around the plate, and can occasionally sneak a fastball by a hitter. He topped out at a surprising 89 MPH on the fastball, which was mixed with a 81 MPH changeup and a 78 MPH breaking ball. Already I’m convinced he’ll be more effective than Ken Takahashi. Whether he’ll be able to keep MLB hitters off-balance the second time around the league will remain to be seen, but I like his chances.

Ike Davis
There has been a lot of buzz around Davis, and he’s been scorching the ball in spring training. But if I hear one more person compare him to John Olerud, I’m going to scream. He doesn’t remind me at all of Olerud, other than the fact he stands in the left batter’s box. At some point, Davis is going to be in the big leagues — no question. This year? Hard to say. There are two glaring issues about his swing that concern me — first, the fact he “steps in the bucket” and commits his front hip before starting his swing; and second, the loopy length of his swing. It’s a long, long swing — one that will and does generate power. That’s why I’m not getting the Olerud comparisons — Olerud in contrast had a short, compact stroke. In fact, Davis looks to me like a hitter who can turn into an Adam Dunn-type, rather than an Olerud — someone with prodigious power, good strike zone judgment, but perhaps not a .300 average … though I wouldn’t expect Dunn-like numbers right away — Adam LaRoche may be a more realistic comp. If he comes close to evolving into either Olerud or Dunn (or at minimum LaRoche), we will certainly be happy.

The Nationals
This team scares me a bit. They have a ton of exciting, talented, young ballplayers on their roster. I don’t see the Nats making the playoffs in 2010, but with a little luck they could surprise people. They will be a team to reckon with in 2011 and beyond.


Jose Reyes is Not Pregnant

Good news, Mets fans: Jose Reyes is NOT pregnant.

Steve Popper was the first to report that news on Twitter early yesterday, and further blood work evaluated last night confirms it.

Whew! That would have been a major issue for the Mets, who already are without Carlos Beltran for the first few months of the season.

Though, I imagine Jose would have been able to stay on the field for the first trimester … but almost certainly would have been out of uniform by June. Even if he felt great, you’d have to think that his belly would have gotten in the way of reaching down for ground balls — not to mention the weight gain putting a strain on his already suspect legs.

In other good news for Mets fans, Hisanori Takahashi has cleared up his visa problem and can now take the mound in exhibition games. No word on whether he’ll be wearing Ken Takahashi’s old jersey.

Additionally, the Mets signed Kiko Calero — full post coming soon.

But there’s still more to cheer about — Ike Davis hit a grand slam and David Wright hit a homerun in his first at-bat as the Mets pounded the Cardinals 17-11.

Finally, things are looking up for the New York Mets!


More Big Signings

shawn-riggansJust when you thought the Mets were “done” re-vamping the roster this offseason, they go out and add more lukewarm bodies to the cause.

In addition to officially announcing the signing of Mike Jacobs to a minor-league deal, the Mets also signed Japanese lefty HisanoriTakahashi, backup catcher Shawn Riggans, and minor league infielder Rylan Sandoval.

We’ve already gone over the Jacobs signing. The 22-year-old Sandoval was a former JuCo standout and part-timer at Long Beach State who was plucked out of the Arizona Winter League; I’d guess he’ll be filler on one of the A-ball clubs. If his nickname were “Kung-Fu Panda” I might be more excited.

Riggans is at best a backup catcher in AAA, and I’m scratching my head at this signing, considering that the Mets are overloaded with backup AAA catchers. I guess they need extra squatters for spring training to catch the pitchers. MetsBlog posted a 104-game CHONE projection which makes little sense, either, considering that Riggans hasn’t played in more than 44 games at any level since 2006, and has appeared in more than 90 games in a season only once in his 9 years as a pro. He has always had the reputation as a standout defensive catcher, but injuries have nagged him throughout his career — and his arm has been through one Tommy John surgery thus far. What I love about him is his hard-nosed approach to the game, his tenacity, and his fiery personality. But even I, as a catcher who loves all catchers, has to wonder how far those attributes will take him. Personally, I’ll be rooting hard for him. However I’m confused about where he fits in — and wonder how he’ll get a fair shot — as long as Chris Coste, Henry Blanco, Omir Santos, and Josh Thole are around.

Finally, there is Takahashi. What are the chances that Jerry Manuel confuses Hisanori with Ken Takahashi? Perhaps Manuel will even mispronounce his last name as “Taka-HEE-shee”, like he did with Ken until late August.

There was a lot of buzz around Takahashi this winter, and I’m not sure why. He’s a soft-tossing lefty whose main out pitch is a screwball. For those unaware of how a screwball moves, it is basically a change-up that fades away from righthanded hitters. That said, Takahashi’s skill set doesn’t equate to a LOOGY role, so his best bet to make the team is as a fifth starter / long reliever. Hmm … sounds a lot like Ken Takahashi, doesn’t it?

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Not only are we all on the edge of our seats waiting for pitchers and catcher to report, but the Mets go the extra yard and over-deliver by releasing all this exciting news. I’m so jazzed I may order a season-ticket package!