Tag: raul valdes

2010 Analysis: Raul Valdes

Every time I saw Raul Valdes take the mound, I thought, “how is this guy in the Major Leagues?” His delivery resembles that of a high school shortstop who is thrown into a pitching role because the team has run out of pitchers, and his stuff is marginal at best.

For a while, Valdes seemed to get by – if you judge him by his 1.86 ERA in April. That number is deceiving, however, since during his 9 innings of work in the initial month, he allowed 9 hits (including a homer) and 3 walks, and blew two save opportunities. But something about Valdes (perhaps his smile?) enamored the Mets’ coaching staff, and he hung around for most of the year, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through 38 games and 58 IP. His one positive was an ability to get batters to swing and miss – he struck out 56 in those 58 innings. However, I will go on a limb and say that was more due to batters not seeing him before rather than advanced ability.

2011 Projection

The Mets have already dropped Valdes from their roster, and I don’t see him returning to the organization in 2011. Although the Mets have already lost Hisanori Takahashi, and likely will lose Pedro Feliciano this winter, I don’t see them adding him as a lefty specialist – mainly because he was ineffective against lefthanded hitters (who hit .330 with a .991 OPS against him). He is a nice enough guy and definitely a team player who will fill any role asked of him, but he’s simply not very good.

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Mets Game 161: Win Over Nationals

Mets 7 Nationals 2

The Mets took one step closer toward fulfilling Ken Davidoff’s preseason prediction of an 80-82 season. I’m texting Ken now for lottery numbers.

Game Notes

Reliever Raul Valdes started the game and went 5 innings despite pitching on three days’ rest — and pitching twice in one day four days ago. Additionally, starter R.A. Dickey pitched an inning of relief on two days’ rest. How does this happen in a meaningless September, when rosters can be expanded to 40 players? Oh, because the Mets have only 33 players on their roster currently.

Interesting that in addition to the front office mismanaging September callups, Jerry Manuel still runs out of arms when he has 8 extra bodies and 16 total pitchers. Maybe there is something to the idea that poor management starts from the top and trickles down.

Note: if the Valdes start and Dickey relief appearance was not a hard, clear message to Oliver Perez, I don’t know what is.

Ah, but why should I be so negative after a victory? Let’s talk about the great, awesome stuff that gave the Mets the opportunity to possibly finish the year with 80 wins!

David Wright blasted his 29th homer of the game to break a 2-2 tie and give the Mets a 5-2 lead. He has followed in the footsteps of team leader Carlos Beltran and really stepped it up once the season no longer mattered. He has a chance to finish the year with 30 HR and 100 RBI — really nice individual stats that look great on paper and make him a good choice for your Strat-O-Matic team this winter.

Chris Carter followed with a 2-run homer in the eighth, scoring Lucas Duda. Duda hit a prodigious blast of his own in the fourth to put the Mets ahead 2-zip.

There were 7 Mets rookies in the starting lineup. My wife was able to identify one. Though, if Mike Nickeas started behind home plate, I’m not sure she’d have identified that many.

Last Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals play the final regular-season game of 2010 on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 PM. There is no tomorrow after tomorrow, so Jerry Manuel has the option to manage like there is no tomorrow. In other words, not much differently than what you’ve seen for the past two and a half years. Mike Pelfrey takes the ball against Livan Hernandez.

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Mets Game 103: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 9 Mets 6

The main talking point expressed on the radio and TV broadcasts during the pregame was that the Mets “owed” the Diamondbacks for getting swept last week. Back in their home cavern, the Mets were geared up to stick it to the D-Backs, and give them “payback” for the embarrassment of three straight losses in the dry, racist-profiling heat of Arizona.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out the way the Mets would’ve liked.

Mike Pelfrey gave up three runs in a 40-pitch first frame, but the Mets fought back in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. Pelfrey, however, was determined to keep the Mets behind, giving up a go-ahead run in the third. Again, the Mets fought back and actually took the lead in the bottom of the third, and things settled down until the sixth, when Big Pelf was removed after 118 pitches. At the time of his exit, opposing pitcher Ian Kennedy was standing on first base thanks to an error by Jose Reyes, and lefthanded hitter Kelly Johnson was stepping to the plate. In classic “by the book” fashion, “manager” Jerry Manuel brought in lefty Raul Valdes to face the lefthanded-hitting Johnson — never mind the fact that LH hitters are pounding Valdes to the tune of .317 with an .852 OPS. Before Pelfrey could get a swig of Gatorade, Johnson demolished a Valdes offering over the fence in centerfield to give AZ a 6-5 lead. An ice pack wasn’t even on Pelfrey’s arm when Miguel Montero hit a three-run homer a few minutes later to ice the game for the Diamondbacks.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was not very good, but was better than the last time he faced the D-Backs. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 ER) on 8 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4. The SNY team mentioned that Pelfrey’s sinker wasn’t sinking much any more — that it “comes and goes”. What I see is the same thing we’ve talked about here for several weeks — he is hunching over slightly at the knee lift, which in turn throws off his balance slightly, which in turn throws off his arm angle and release point. That minor alteration causes his hand to slightly angle to the side and his fingers to be more on the side of the ball than on the top at release. The fingers must be on top in order to get downward movement — it’s a matter of physics — and because they are not, his fastball moves more laterally than vertically. No vertical movement means no sink.

Pelfrey hasn’t finished six innings since late June. Over his last six starts, he’s hurled 25.1 innings and allowed 54 hits, 28 runs (27 earned), with 14 walks and 13 strikeouts.

In addition to Pelf’s mechanical issues, he’s also falling back into those problems with focus that plagued him in his first four years as an MLBer. For example, in the second inning, he threw the ball over to first base six times before giving Chris Young a tremendous jump and easy steal of second. Pelfrey proceeded to walk Kelly Johnson because he was so worried about Young that he couldn’t concentrate on pitching to him.

The SNY announcers, some tweeters, and Jerry Manuel in the postgame all felt that bringing in Raul Valdes to face Kelly Johnson was a good idea, based on the fact that Valdes “has been so good lately”. Sorry, but I don’t care how “good” Valdes has been when it comes to his stats — the guy throws garbage, has poor velocity, little if any movement, no out pitch, and batters have no trouble seeing the ball out of his hand. In other words, his main strength is the element of mystery; some batters simply don’t do well facing a guy they’ve never or rarely seen. It’s only a matter of time before a pitcher with his limited skill set gets crushed. And what do you know? Nearly all the AZ hitters had seen him before, with Johnson, Upton, and LaRoche all seeing him three times before and Montero twice. What happened to Valdes in this game is called “overexposure”.

David Wright went 3-for-4 with 5 RBI, hitting two homeruns. The sixth Met run was driven in by Angel Pagan, who continues to lead the Mets in batting average with RISP.

Former Met Aaron Heilman notched his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild was remarkably inconsistent with his strike zone. Generally I don’t like to judge lateral calls from my TV screen viewpoint, so I’m not talking about the pitches that were on or off the plate. What I can see pretty well from the eye of the off-centerfield camera, however, is the vertical strike zone — and that was all over the place. It seemed that the zone was “tall” at times, extending from the bottom of the knees to the top of the letters. There were several high-pitch called strikes when Pelfrey was on the mound, and, strangely, several low-pitch strike calls when Ian Kennedy was hurling.

The Mets are now 7.5 games behind the league-leading Braves, and a half-game ahead of the Marlins. However, there are 59 games left to play — plenty of time to catch up.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Diamondbacks do it again on Saturday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi takes the hill against Barry Enright.

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Raul Valdes Promoted, Tatis to DL

The Mets have announced that Fernando Tatis has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder AC joint sprain and that lefthanded pitcher Raul Valdes has been recalled from Buffalo. Valdes will wear #22 and will be available for tonight’s game vs. Cincinnati. Tatis will undergo further testing at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery tomorrow.

Funny, I had nearly forgotten that Tatis was still on the roster.

Valdes gives the Mets another relief pitcher that Jerry Manuel won’t use, and is expected to sit next to Fernando Nieve in the bullpen. He may get a chance to pitch against a LH hitter in certain situations, even though lefthanded hitters have pounded him to the tune of a .341 AVG / .977 OPS. The 5-11, 190-pounder made two starts at Buffalo after he was optioned on June 24. He allowed one run on seven hits over 9.0 combined innings with one walk and 13 strikeouts.

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Final Cuts: Analysis

My apologies for not posting this earlier, but like most of the news out of Port St. Lucie this spring, it took me a long time to understand and extract the logic.

Let’s just run through specific personnel.

Nelson Figueroa (cut) – He’s not a Cy Young candidate. He’s barely an MLB-quality 5th starter. However, he had a spectacular spring, he had a great winter campaign, he had an outstanding

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