Quick Notes on Mets vs. Braves

Some very brief notes on yesterday’s exhibition between the Mets and Braves.

Chris Schwinden didn’t look so great. I wasn’t terribly impressed by him during his audition late last year, so this wasn’t a great surprise. I realize spring training means little and it was only one game, but Schwinden has yet to show me anything to suggest he can be a legitimate MLB starter. That’s not to say there isn’t still time; he seems like a nice enough kid and is only 25 years old. Right now, though, his velocity is sub-par, location is usually too high, movement insignificant, and he doesn’t do a great job of changing speeds. Also, his facial hair doesn’t do anything for him; it makes his chin look weaker than it actually is.

Freddie Freeman, on the other hand, did look great. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. Freeman very much looks like the person who will take the torch from Chipper Jones and antagonize Mets fans for the next decade or two. He’s a beast in the making — the guy Nick Johnson was supposed to become.

Even after Larry comes back from his knee injury, the Braves will be one bat away from seriously contending for the NL East crown — though, the Phillies without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are not looking so formidable, either. I’d be stunned if Atlanta didn’t make some kind of move for a hitter before the trading deadline. Though, I think a full year of Michael Bourn is going to provide much more impact than anyone realizes.

Lucas Duda is looking more and more comfortable in right field with each passing week. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a game changer on defense, but I’m starting to believe he won’t hurt the Mets out there.

Andrelton Simmons may not be ready for prime time just yet, but he looks to have the raw tools to be a big-time shortstop some day. He reminds me a bit of AndrE. Robertson, a rifle-armed shortstop for the Yankees back in the 1980s whose career was cut short due to an auto accident. Simmons has a gun — a Shawon Dunston-like gun — as well as impressive bat speed and an athletic body. I also like that he exudes confidence but not cockiness. It may take a while for him to put it all together, but the tools are there.

Adam Loewen is going to struggle once pitchers realize he can’t handle anything above the waist. However, he will kill mistakes below the belt.

Every time I see Loewen in the batter’s box, I think, “hey, did Ike Davis change his stance?”

Eric Hinske is the poor man’s Nick Swisher.

Garret Olson has a big 11-5 / 10-4 curve that could make him somewhat and equally effective against lefties and righties, but doesn’t have the hard slider necessary to be a swing-and-miss LOOGY. So I think he’s miscast in that role, but believe he could still have value as a long man / middle reliever in MLB — in the same way Darren Oliver has been able to extend his career several years beyond what anyone ever expected.

On the other hand, Josh Edgin still looks to me like the best LOOGY option. However, if Tim Byrdak will only be out for a week after Opening Day, I don’t see much point in going through hoops to get Edgin on the 25-man roster; he’s currently not on the 40-man.

I really, really love Mike Nickeas but I’m just not seeing enough bat from him to overtake Josh Thole. Which for him is a shame, because with his defensive and leadership skills, he’d only need to hit about .240 with occasional power to be the starter. He reminds me a bit of Jeff Reed, who was similarly good all-around defensively but challenged offensively.

Bobby Parnell is looking pretty good; let’s hope he can keep it going when the regular season begins.

What did YOU see? Post in the comments.


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. MikeT March 28, 2012 at 11:18 am
    FYI If you have ever talked to a Braves fan you will quickly learn that predicting the Braves will spend money or make a big trade to help the current year’s club is foolhardy. I’m with you that they need another bat, but the Braves did nothing this offseason to improve outside of get healthy and trade away Derek Lowe.

    I’m sure you have a whole post about predictions coming up, but my two cents is that the Braves are clearly flawed and the Phillies are likely to score no more than two runs a game the first month (at least) while Howard and Utley are out. The NL East might be tough, but there will be no clear favorite this year. 90 wins will be enough to win the division.

  2. Steven March 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm
    Thanks for your analysis Joe. My two cents

    1. Schwinden clearly lacked the ability to put away hitters. That is Pelfrey’s problem. Eventually, he will get one up and the hitter will drive the ball. Schwinden needs to develop a swing and miss pitch. Perhaps a changeup(?) to be successful.
    2. I really like Duda’s approach at the plate, not just his power. He has a very good eye. Unlike Ike Davis, who seems to be more of a free swinger. What do you think.