Mets Spring Training Game 2

The New York Mets refused to send me to Port St. Lucie this spring, and I’m still waiting for that big windfall of money that was supposed to come with the big change in our country’s leadership, so as a result game analysis is limited to televised contests.

The Mets won the game 9-zip for their second February win in as many tries, but we’re really not counting wins and losses in the spring — they mean very little. Instead, we’ll pick and choose bits and pieces of the game that are worth analyzing.

Oliver Perez

I’m LOVING Ollie’s mechanics. For the first time in a long time, Oliver Perez’s pitching motion is more front and back as opposed to side to side. In other words, he is (sort of) following a straight line toward home plate. This is a much more efficient motion — not according to me, but to Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

If you notice, Oliver Perez is now starting his windup by lifting his right foot straight back behind the rubber. It seems like a small maneuver, but it gets the back and forth thing initiated. Compare this to his windup of 2008, when he often started by moving his right foot toward third base. This first move got him going in a side-to-side motion, which eventually caused his front shoulder to fly open and his release point to be all over the place. Keep an eye on that right foot — it is the key to Ollie’s success.

Luis Castillo

He looked pretty good — physically he was in shape, he was running well, and he looked fairly confident at the plate. This idea of him batting leadoff, I’m sure, is simply Jerry Manuel’s way of boosting his confidence while also getting him as many game at-bats as possible to get going. When the real games begin, Castillo will hopefully find himself in his much more suited spot of #2.

Dillon Gee

This kid is highly hyped by team officials and is beloved by Brooklyn Cyclones fans, and he’s someone I would have liked to have seen live, from behind the plate. From the awful centerfield camera angle, there wasn’t much to see, though he looks to have solid mechanics and some downward movement on a below-average fastball (87-88 MPH). He only threw one inning, so it was hard to make a judgment one way or another. Hopefully we’ll see more of him.

Nelson Figueroa

Two hitless innings. His command looked a little off, but he battled. It’s going to be very difficult for Nelson to win a job with big names such as Livan Hernandez and Freddy Garcia in camp, and Tim Redding operating with a guaranteed contract. However, I’m rooting hard for him and hoping he can sneak his way onto the 25-man roster.

Andy Green

I think Andy Green came to bat sixteen times in this game. I like him as a ballplayer, but not sure why he’s in camp. There’s no room for him as long as Alex Cora and Fernando Tatis are around, though I suppose he has value as a backup if Cora gets injured.


The Mets, as a team, were especially aggressive and heady on the basepaths. Carlos Delgado took a rare extra base on a ball in the dirt, and Danny Murphy swiped third base by way of delayed steal. If slowpokes like Delgado and Murphy are going to be this aggressive during the year, it’s going to be an exciting season.


Nearly all the Mets hitters showed good patience and strike zone judgment, and seemed focused on hitting the ball to the opposite field. Good things to see.

Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran appeared to be in a competition for the cleanup spot, with Reyes swatting two homers including a grand slam, and Beltran smashing a dinger of his own far into the palm trees beyond the left field fence.

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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Micalpalyn February 27, 2009 at 5:34 am
    The Mets (Omar) gambled that the Dan Warthen Ollie was worth re-signing and at 3yr/30+, rather than 5/75 i cant disagree. This performance i think could well signal a good start by ollie.

    2. Ohman, Pudge, Manny AND Sheets still linger on the FA list. Could they linger until June?

    3. I am waiting to see John Maine and Pel. I think the season hinges on them as much as any other SP.

  2. sincekindergarten February 27, 2009 at 6:21 am
    How did Ollie fare at the plate, anyway?

    I saw on MetsBlog that Johan is mentoring Ollie, and that Ollie is maybe mature enough to listen to Johan. If that translates into Ollie putting up 15-16 wins this year, it’ll make Omar look like a genius for signing him at 3/$36.

    I’d be also interested in seeing John Maine in a game–and seeing if that curveball that he’s throwing again is good. Same with Big Pelf’s.

    Getting back to the mentoring angle–if I were Jon Niese, I’d be hanging around Johan as much as humanly possible.

    It also appears that Jerry Manuel’s opposite field hitting drills are paying off. I’d love to see the shift against Delgado this year, and I’d love to see Delgado hit about 40 doubles because of it.

  3. joe February 27, 2009 at 8:19 am
    I don’t think it was much of a “gamble” to give Ollie 3/30. It was more of a necessity, once every other decent starting pitcher was off the table. Regardless, I’m glad to see him back. As much as he can be frustrating, I thoroughly enjoy watching him and want to see him do well in the orange and blue.

    Pelfrey will be solid. Maine has me worried, because his mechanics look exactly the same … at least, that’s what I saw from his bullpen session on MetsBlog.

    SK – Ollie dropped down a nice bunt to move Castillo to third in the first inning.

  4. isuzudude February 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm
    I was pleasantly surprised with Castillo’s demeanor and production in the game as well. I remarked to my girlfriend that his stature reminded me a lot of Endy Chavez, what with the 17 less pounds anchoring down his body. Opposite from your view, however Joe, is that I can see Castillo spending a decent amount of time leading off this year with Reyes batting 2nd. The biggest reason is that Reyes has more power and will drive in Castillo far more often than Castillo driving in Reyes. I know Castillo’s role as a #2 hitter works well as he is patient at the plate, which allows Reyes ample opportunity to steal a base or two, and can lay down sac bunts when needed, but I’m more apt to roll the dice on letting Reyes develop more patience at the plate, let Castillo swipe second, and have Reyes drive Castillo home with one of his projected 200 hits. That is, of course, if Castillo can reclaim the glory days of his past, but even in a down season he can get on base with relative regularity, so it would seem to me that the leadoff spot might be just as well suited for Castillo.
    I would also love to see more of Dillon Gee, along with Dylan Owen and Michael Antonini. These are three guys who don’t get a lot of fanfare but have been awesome while honing their craft in the minors and could very well become cornerstones of the Mets rotation in years to come.
    And though Figgy might not break camp a member of the Mets’ 25, what with frailties such as Redding, Garcia and Maine on the roster, and Johan suddenly hurting (gulp), I’m sure he’ll get his chance to impress somewhere down the road.