Kyle Schnitzer's biggest memory as a Mets fan is when Carlos Beltran went down on strike 3 against Adam Wainwright in game 7 of the NLCS. Since then, he hasn't expected much from the Mets. The new regime gives him hope. When he's not writing here, he's writing somewhere else, bussing tables, tweeting, or riding his bike. Follow him on Twitter: @dakyleschnitzer
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Jason Isringhausen: Circle Complete

Jason Isringhausen is not supposed to be in discussion to close for the Mets. Jason Isringhausen is not supposed to be in baseball. Yet, Jason Isringhausen is now one of the Mets closers.

He went from a feel good story to the set up man; Jason Isringhausen has been the most surprising Met this season. Right, there’s Dillon Gee, but he’s not 38 years old. Gee didn’t go through what Izzy has. Gee never had 5 major arm surgeries (even though he’s on the cusp of one). The curious season of Jason Isringhausen is a reminder of where Jason should have been his whole career.

A 44th round pick in 1991, he was traded in 1999 to the Oakland Athletics for reliever Billy Taylor, who lasted half a season with the Mets. He then went on to dominate in Oakland, saving 75 games over two and a quarter seasons. He led his team to the playoffs, solidifying Billy Beane’s theory of Moneyball.

He went to St. Louis as a free agent in 2002 and led the league in saves in 2004 with 47. He was second in the league in 2005 with a 2.14 earned run average. Jason Isringhausen was on the team that beat the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS in 2006.

He was supposed to be closing for the Cardinals that season. He was the closer until a hip injury sidelined him for the post season. And here he is, 11 years after being traded because manager Bobby Valentine didn’t want to use him as a reliever. “You wouldn’t use an Indy car as a taxi in New York City,” said Valentine to the New York Daily News in 1999. Bobby Valentine was wrong.

The Mets announced that Pedro Beato, Bobby Parnell, and Jason Isringhausen will be splitting the duties of closer after trading Francisco Rodriguez. Isringhausen is not supposed to have a 3.14 ERA.  He was supposed to be a media stunt. He’s 7 saves from 300 in his career. He is closing in Flushing.

They say “what goes around comes around”, and in the case of Izzy, it’s true — he’s come full circle.

Did you expect Izzy to be this good, back in February when the Mets signed him? Post your thoughts in the comments.


Holt and Harvey Remind Mets Fans To Be Patient

Brad Holt was known as a flamethrower out of UNC-Wilmington. When the Mets drafted him in 2008, all the scouting reports said: fastball 93-96, secondary pitches coming, back-end starter. But as ESPN’s Keith Law put it in a 2008 scouting report, Holt is nothing more than a “setup man”.

Holt teased Mets fans immediately after he was drafted. After overpowering the New York Penn League, Holt started 2009 in St. Lucie, showing promise, but a mid-season promotion ultimately derailed Holt from stardom. Since being promoted to Double-A Binghamton, Holt’s combined earned run average has been 7.19.

His blazing fastball is still there, but without control. Dubbed a strikeout machine out of college, Holt has a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season in Binghamton — nothing to write home about. Fans can say, “but opponents are hitting .219 off of him!” Of course they are, but walks don’t account for opponents’ averages.

As of June 16, following two starts in which Holt surrendered more than 5 earned runs in 3 innings, he was moved to the bullpen. There, he has seen limited action, and has walked more than 2 batters on three occasions.

Were the Mets too aggressive?

Now the Mets have another issue. 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey is struggling after a mid-season promotion to AA Binghamton. Granted, he’s only made three starts, but it suggests that the Mets were wise for being conservative with their prized arm. What if Harvey had been called up in May after dominating the first month of pro ball? Would he turn out to be the next Brad Holt? Or maybe the next Mike Pelfrey — whose inconsistency has been blamed by many for being rushed as well?

Harvey’s next scheduled start is going to be more important than the stat line; it will be a mental test. For those planning to attend or listen, Harvey needs to locate his pitches better. After a promising second start (5 IP, 5 H, 5 K, 2 R), his most recent start was awful: 3 IP, 7 ER, 6 H, 2 HR, 1 BB, 5 K His next start will show whether he can bounce back and make the adjustments necessary to compete at the AA level. Part of that is physical, but part of it is also mental.

And that’s what separates the men from the boys: baseball is a mental game. Two months ago, I met the former Chicago Cubs scout who signed Kerry Wood. While we were browsing through the Barnes and Noble baseball section, what he told me that day was nothing new: Mike Pelfrey is a head case and should be traded immediately.

The scout also told me that if Pelfrey were in any city other than New York, he’d be dominating. The scout made perfect sense. Pelfrey hits the mid-90s occasionally during his starts, but why not consistently? A top selection in a draft should not be losing velocity like Pelfrey has.

Mets fans saw the period of the mouthpiece Pelfrey used to sport, to help control his nerves. We also saw the time when Pelfrey looked like a lost puppy on the mound. What happened to Pelfrey’s power arm?  It was there in his major league debut — I remember when I was watching in a third-base luxury box!

With interesting arms in Harvey, Darin Gorski, Jeurys Familia, and recently signed compensation pick Michael Fulmer, the Mets should remain slow with their pitching crop. It’s the first time in a long time that the Mets have rebuilt their farm system, slowly but surely gaining the respect of the prospect gurus.

Since the Mets drafted pitcher-heavy this year, Brad Holt serves as a reminder that anything can happen. One week you may appear on the Baseball America Hot Sheet, the next week, you’re a reliever with nothing but the 7th inning to look forward to.


Morning Link Dump

It was an eventful weekend for the Mets. For one, the ‘underdog’ took 2 out of 3 from the big bad Texas Rangers, as the Mets are now .500. As all Mets fans know, that .500 mark is a call for celebration. Here’s the weekend links and news, including some draft pick updates.
— New York Mets supplement pick, right-hander Michael Fulmer, has seemed to agree to a Mets contract. That according to his twitter. Fulmer is a big, high school arm who’s committed to Arkansas. This is a positive step for the Mets as its never easy to sign high school kids. The details of the contract have not been discussed.

Jack Leathersich, 6th round pick out of UMass-Lowell, announced on Twitter that he signed to the Mets on Sunday. The lefty said he is heading to St. Lucie for a workout then is slated to debut for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

— Kevin Kernan of the New York Post wrote an excellent profile on Mets first round pick Brandon Nimmo.

Is Jon Niese’s heartbeat something to worry about? Adam Rubin of ESPN New York thinks so.

— Ken Davidoff of Newsdays writes how the Mets are both courageous and crazy about Francisco Rodriguez.


Mets Minor League Top Performers (June 3-10)

NOTE: this is a post by Kyle Schnitzer. Enjoy.

In the future, I will be doing these more in-depth. As you will notice, I am missing Double-A Binghamton. I did it on purpose because no one on the team was really have a “great week”. Their pitching struggled, as did their hitting. I look forward to future columns with you guys.

Triple-A Buffalo Hitter: Lucas Duda, OF

Lucas Duda, who has seen brief time in the majors, has found his way back to the top after a promotion last night. Duda has been ripping the cover off the ball in Triple-A Buffalo, batting .400 the past week. Duda also belted 3 homeruns while netting 7 RBI. In 38 games, Duda’s combined line: .302/.414/.597.

With Jason Bay struggling and now benched, Duda could not have a better opportunity to showcase himself and prove to the organization that he belongs here.

High Class A St. Lucie Batter: Matt Den Dekker, OF

In the beginning of the season, Den Dekker was ripping apart High-A. But since coming into May, Den Dekker has


Review: First Ten Rounds of Mets Draft

Note: This is a post by Kyle Schnitzer, a new contributor here at MetsToday. Please direct any comments to him. And please don’t scare him away (yet). – Joe

After making noise with their first two selections of the 2011 MLB Draft, the New York Mets have approached the second day of the draft with their conservative approach.

Brandon Nimmo, the Mets first round selection, will cost money, as will Michael Fulmer, their supplementary round selection.

With their 2nd round selection, the New York Mets selected