Tag: mike jacobs

2010 Analysis: Chris Carter

The Animal impressed manager Jerry Manuel early on in spring training, and became an immediate fan favorite for his energy, intensity, all-out play, and likable personality. His story and swing were so well received that it was something of a disappointment when he didn’t go north with the big club in April. But the demotion was temporary, and further fueled his legend.


The Mike Jacobs Mystery Continues

Mike Jacobs finally collected his second hit of 2010, and it happened to be a homerun. His 100th career homer, in fact, though the distinction went largely unnoticed.

Jacobs is now hitting above .100 — .133 to be exact — and the long ball hit on Sunday is likely to entrench him at first for at least another week. The Mets like the long ball this year.

Despite that singular display of power (and offensive competence), the presence of Mike Jacobs has been quite a mystery. Mind you, this is coming from one who is a huge supporter of Jacobs.

It was strange enough that Mike Jacobs was the man chosen to take over first base when Daniel Murphy went down with a knee injury. After all, Jacobs was the least impressive of all the candidates auditioned at the position during spring training. Further, the Mets had not one but two other first baseman — Chris Carter and Ike Davis — absolutely mashing the baseball during the spring. Both are now bashing the ball in Buffalo.

Strange became baffling when Jerry Manuel put Jacobs in the cleanup spot, despite the fact he was the worst-looking hitter of the spring (counting only those who made the 25-man roster) and despite the fact his career numbers batting fourth are significantly worse than when he’s hit in any other position.

Baffling became unbelievably unacceptable when, upon being asked about Jacobs’ slow start, Manuel then let the world know that Jacobs “needed to work out some mechanical issues” in his swing.


Apparently, Manuel and the Mets staff didn’t notice these “mechanical issues” during the six weeks of spring training, which would have been a great time to correct them. Or maybe they did see these mechanical issues, and thought it would be a good idea for Mike to work them out at the Major League level. Who cares if the games count in the regular season?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark — or Flushing — if an underperforming player with known flaws is given a starting job over two players who show the opposite.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the Mets did not want Ike Davis or Chris Carter at first base for fear that they would perform so well, it would create a conundrum when Murphy returned from the disabled list. What if, for example, Carter was brought North as the “temporary” first baseman, and he hit .350 with 7 homers in the month of April? What would the Mets then do with Murphy?

I have to admit that conspiracy theory is faint in my heart. More likely, the Mets believed that Jacobs would somehow “flip a switch” and shake his slump when Opening Day rolled around. I’m beginning to believe that the Mets are simply poor at evaluating talent and projecting future performance. For example, why would they think it was a good idea to carry Sean Green on the 25-man roster? What is it that they see, that 29 other teams didn’t, in regard to Raul Valdes? Where did they get the idea that Gary Matthews Jr. was a better idea than Angel Pagan? What in the world was going on with the Ruben Tejada decision — especially in terms of moving him to second base? Why do they believe using Jennry Mejia for garbage innings over the short term is more valuable to the organization than developing him over the long term as a starter? And most disturbing, what was the thinking behind the faith put into both John Maine and Oliver Perez as solidified members of the starting rotation? I do understand that the free agent market didn’t offer many “sure fire” alternatives, but it did offer better, affordable choices. Additionally, free agency is not the only route toward acquiring personnel.

So really, the Mike Jacobs Mystery goes far beyond Jacobs. It’s a series of complex mysteries, that would befuddle even a stalwart, savvy detective such as Lt. Columbo.


Why Mike Jacobs Shouldn’t Hit Cleanup

Besides the obvious, there is solid statistical evidence that Mike Jacobs should not be batting fourth for the Mets — or in anyone’s lineup, for that matter.

While it’s true I tend to eschew many baseball stats, the truth is, I do find stats to be valuable in evaluating a ballplayer. Further, sometimes one uncovers numbers that reveal or prove something about a player’s “makeup” or “character” — things that supposedly can’t be measured.

Such as these stats by Mike Jacobs:

The “#” refers to the spot in the lineup. PA = Plate Appearances, AB = At-Bats, OPS = On Base Pct. + Slugging Pct. and the rest you can probably figure out.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

Most statheads claim that a hitter


Late April Fools Joke

Kevin Burkhardt and Matt Cerrone are three days late with their April Fools Joke; below is what is posted on MetsBlog as the Mets’ Opening Day starting lineup:

1. SS Alex Cora
2. 2B Luis Castillo
3. 3B David Wright
4. 1B Mike Jacobs
5. LF Jason Bay
6. CF Gary Matthews Jr.
7. RF Jeff Francoeur
8. C Rod Barajas
9. SP Johan Santana

Or maybe the above was orated by Jerry Manuel on April 1st, and Burkhardt didn’t realize it was a joke.

Because only a fool would bat Alex Cora leadoff, and Mike Jacobs ahead of Jason Bay.

There’s also some humor in playing Gary Matthews instead of Angel Pagan, and placing him in the #6 spot — though, I guess it’s arguable. Maybe Pagan didn’t prove anything based on his performance last year, and maybe Jeff Francoeur isn’t a better hitter than GMJ.

What I like most about this joke is the lefty-righty going on. You know, you don’t want to have two lefty hitters in a row, because then the Marlins will have an advantage when they bring in a LOOGY.

You know what? If I were manager of the Mets, I’d purposely stack two LH bats or two RH bats in a row, to entice Fredi Gonzalez to bring in someone crappy like Clay Hensley or Renyel Pinto. Don’t you WANT the other team’s 11th- and 12th-worst pitchers in the game?

I can’t decide which is the most laughable aspect of this joke: Jacobs in the cleanup spot or Cora at leadoff. Cora, of course, has a career OBP of .313 — and even when he was so great for the Mets last year, he reached base only 32% of the time. His speed, never great, is average at best now that he’s 34 years old. But hey, let’s make sure he comes to the plate more often than anyone else on the team!

Similarly, when the Wilpons shelled out $66M for Jason Bay, was it with the idea that he’d provide protection for Mike Jacobs? Not to mention that Jacobs’ career numbers are worst when he’s hitting fourth (we’ll get into that in further detail later).

If the above is NOT a joke, then it may be time to schedule a lobotomy for Manuel, because something is not right inside that man’s head. It’s scarier than the lineup seen in my nightmares. Speaking of that nightmare:


The Situation at First Base

In Port St. Lucie, there is a “situation” — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Sorrentino find his way into the mix.

Because “The Situation” — meaning the Mets’ conundrum at first base, and not some guido from the Jersey Shore — grows more perplexing every day.

Originally, first base was Daniel Murphy’s job to lose; if it weren’t, the Mets most certainly would have aggressively pursued free agents such as Adam LaRoche, Nick Johnson, Hank Blalock, Troy Glaus, Garrett Atkins, Chad Tracy, and Aubrey Huff (to name a few). Strangely enough, though, GM Omar Minaya brought in Mike Jacobs on a minor league deal, and on February 15th announced that the starting job was an “open competition”.

As is par for the course with the miscommunicating Mets, manager Jerry Manuel followed that up four days later with the assertion that Murphy was “pretty much the guy” at 1B — and that he wasn’t really in competition with Jacobs, nor was he going to platoon with Fernando Tatis.

The Situation at first base has been similarly clear (as mud) ever since, with the Mets changing their tune as quickly, often, and unpredictably as the weather.

For example, in response to Ike Davis’ explosive beginning to the spring, Manuel reaffirmed that Murphy was the first baseman, and that “unforeseen things would have to happen” to unseat him.

Nine days later, however, a different tune was sung by Manuel, as he termed 1B “a competitive situation” between Murphy and Jacobs.

That’s all well and good, except, if Murphy is to lose the first base job, I’m not sure why he’d lose it to Mike Jacobs, since neither player is having a particularly impressive spring — both are hitting FAR below the Mendoza Line (which means they’re under .200, kiddies).

In contrast, Ike Davis and Chris Carter are absolutely blistering the baseball — both hitting well over .400 with long-distance power, and both getting on base more than 50% of the time. The next-best candidate, in fact, is 8th-string catcher Chris Coste, who is 4-for-11 (.364) with 2 doubles.

To put things in more frightening perspective, consider that Frank Catalanotto has an equal number of RBI and walks as Murphy, and he’s hitting .100.

But spring training numbers don’t mean anything, right? Or wait, they must mean something, if Daniel Murphy has gone from owning the starting 1B job to on his way to losing it.

The confusion, of course, is if indeed spring training performance means something, then why is Murphy losing to Jacobs and not Davis, Carter, or Coste?

As if this situation at first isn’t already bordering on insanity, there are reports that the Mets are scouting Mike Lowell — though, they’re also reportedly “not interested”. What’s more perplexing to you? The fact that the Mets are sending scouts to see someone they don’t want, or that they are scouting yet another first baseman to add to an already bewildering mix?

The more I toss this “logic” around in my head, the more I realize that “The Situation” on the Jersey Shore makes as much sense as the first base situation in Port St. Lucie.


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!