New York Mets team profile

New York Mets team profile

The New York Mets finished in fourth place in the NL East with a 72-90 record. They were a team that dealt with a plethora of injuries, and it ended up costing them its season. David Wright has not been able to get over the injury bug, and the team’s two best hitters, Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, saw extended time on the disabled list.

It was not only at the plate, but on the mound the Mets saw its fair share of issues. Matt Harvey has not been able to break out of his rut, and Noah Syndergaard was only able to start seven times. Jacob deGrom was the only one that was able to cross the 25-start threshold in 2017, so the Mets have a fair amount to deal with before being able to compete in the near future.

Offseason moves

New York Mets team profile

Jay Bruce will reunite with the Mets in 2018 (Photo from FanRag Sports)

The New York Mets have taken strides to improve in the near future. It was reported on Wednesday that Jay Bruce would be returning to the Queens with a three-year contract. This is a solid signing that is lighting a mini spark into the hot stove. Since not many other moves have been made, the Mets look serious about improving in 2018.

So far, the only loss for them has been Jose Reyes, who did not have a great 2017 season. It was also reported that the Mets were very close to a deal with the Cleveland Indians for second baseman, Jason Kipnis. While he may not have provided the impact that the Mets need, it would have been a step in the right direction to show they are serious about improvements.

The three-year contract that Bruce signed also shows that the Mets are nowhere near thinking about a rebuilding phase despite its current place in the division. The rest of the NL East is in for some trouble with how successful the Nationals have been during the regular season. This move shows that the Mets want to try their hand though, and they may not be that far off.

The pitching

The New York Mets ranked 28th in pitching in 2017. This is nowhere near the expectations for the players they have on the team at the moment. New York has some of the best young pitching in the league, but due to injuries and underperforming, they took a step in the wrong direction.

The Mets have built a very good base in the rotation with Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. As mentioned, due to injuries and poor performance, it does not look as solid as it once did. The top two in the rotation still look like they have a promising future, but Harvey, Matz and Wheeler will have a pivotal year in 2018. If they don’t show signs of improvement, the Mets will know it will be time to move on.

Anthony Swarzak had the best year of his career in 2017. He may have been one of the better middle relievers in all of baseball. He, along with A.J. Ramos and Addison Reed, should provide a reliable core to the bullpen.

2018 outlook

New York Mets team profile

Matt Harvey needs to get back on track in 2018 (Photo from USA Today)

As stated previously, the Nationals are still at the forefront of the NL East, and the National League as a whole. No team from the East will most likely compete with them for the division.

This is a year for the Mets to build up and see if they are ready to compete by 2019 perhaps. Washington is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, and even the Wild Card is going to be tough to come by as it will take more than 87 wins most likely.

This is a big year for Matt Harvey as well. After stellar seasons between 2012-15, Harvey looks like he has lost his touch. This especially looked to be the case last year after finishing with a -1.1 WAR and 6.70 ERA. Something has to change in order for him to stick around the team. Whether it is mechanical or mental, the Mets can not afford to let him throw games away much longer.

With Noah Syndergaard coming off injury and deGrom looking to improve, there is a lot of room to improve. Their health is key too, as we may see a much better team in 2018 if the Mets are able to keep guys on the field.

 

Featured image by Al Bello/Getty Images

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

MLB trade deadline: NL contenders moves to stay in first

The trade deadline is only five days away. After diving into what AL contenders must do to stay in first place, let’s jump into what NL contenders need to do.

Washington Nationals

This team could do exactly what it has been doing and it would stay in first place. The Nationals have a 11.5-game lead going into Tuesday night’s games and Hotlanta would need a miracle to catch up.

The problem in our nation’s capital has not been getting to the playoffs, but getting to the World Series. With that in mind they still desperately need bullpen help.

The Nationals made a deal to get Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the A’s about a week ago. This has obviously been a great upgrade for them but they still could use at least one more rock solid piece to give them the best chance in October.

In steps, no not Brad Hand (Padres want way too much for him), A.J. Ramos. The Marlins have not been able to put it together for the last two years and their team is up for sale in two different ways (let us pray that the baseball gods will rid the MLB of Jeffery Loria).

MLB Trade Deadline: nl contenders

Courtesy of: Faketeams.com

A.J. Ramos is a hot target, but from it sounds like he is not as expensive as other relievers like Hand and the Reds’ Raisel Iglesias are. He is also having a down year compared to his normal for his career, so he may end up costing even less than he would have last year.

As far as his contract goes, he is still owed some of his $6.5 million and is arbitration eligible next year. So, he has some team control but would could cost a bit more next year.

Taking this all into consideration, the Nationals need to try to make this deal. Their farm system is weaker due to the deals they have already done in the last year. But most people are hearing that they will not give up top prospect Victor Robles.

Right now most of the top Marlins top prospects are pitchers and outfielders so it is likely that they would like some infielders to go along with them or just more pitching.

I can see the trade being A.J. Ramos to the Nationals for Carter Kieboom (SS), Drew Ward (3B) and a hard throwing pitching prospect outside of the Nationals top 30 prospects. While this may seem like a lot, let’s look back at what Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman cost last year. Relievers are valued very highly (overpriced in my opinion) but at least three prospects seems to be the standard for closers and other top tier bullpen pieces.

Milwaukee Brewers

MLB Trade Deadline: nl contenders

Courtesy of: Nolanwritin.com

Raise your hand if you picked the Brewers to be in first place in July. No one? Yeah, me neither. This team has played well and some of their pieces are melding together very well. Some players may be a bit of a fluke, but overall their young players are really looking solid. The problem is that they are in the same division as the Cubs.

The Brewers should actually sell. It sounds crazy, but they are doing well and have an amazing farm system to boot. They won’t go far in the playoffs this year so it doesn’t make sense to trade away strong assets for rentals.

That said, this is a piece about staying in first place and if they want any chance at holding off the Cubs, then they will have to make a move.

Their biggest weakness is their starting pitching. While some of them have good records such as Zach Davies at 11-4, only Chase Andreson has an ERA below 3.45. There are some good options out there, and if the Brewers can get someone for the right price, then they will make the trade. This means staying out of what will probably be a bidding war for Sonny Gray.

While his ERA might not be exactly what they are looking for, he does provide experience and a lively arm. Andrew Cashner would be a relatively cheap rental and a player that most have forgotten was a big trading chip for the last few years. It also helps that everyone else will be focused on Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray.

Marcos Diplan (RHP) and a player to be named later would get this deal done. The Brewers would take on the rest of his salary which is not cheap, but they would not be giving up much in terms of prospects. Cashner would appease those who want the Brewers to make a move and would slot in well as another solid veteran along side Matt Garza.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs may not be in first place, but they are just a half game out.

MLB Trade Deadline: nl contenders

Photo: Athelticsnation.com

The Cubs are the defending World Series champs and until recently they have not been playing like it. Luckily they are in a very weak central division (sorry Brewers fans). They also already made a big trade getting Jose Quintana and at this point their farm system is depleted.

Considering all of that it, seems like the Cubs will do whatever they have to do to make it back to the Series. Their bats are coming back to life and Jose Quintana was the shot in the arm the rotation needed.

But if they had to make a move, it might be worth going back to the rotation. John Lackey has been a great pitcher for a long time, but age is catching up to him. His ERA is the second highest it has ever been and his strikeouts are down. While he has said he would not move to the bullpen, it may end up being that or getting let go.

The Cubs have one prospect in the top 100, Jeimer Candelario (3B/1B). Would they be willing to give him up? From the looks of things, they could. He plays two positions that are taken up by the two biggest stars in Bryant and Rizzo. With that in mind, Sonny Gray will be the guy they go for.

The A’s are selling everyone, again. Thus, they will take the best prospects they can get and see who pans out. The trade will be Sonny Gray to the Cubs for Candelario, Oscar De La Cruz (RHP), Justin Steele (LHP) and a prospect outside of the Cubs’ top 30.

Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB Trade Deadline: nl contenders

Courtesy of: Outsidepitchmlb.com

This team has been on an unreal tear. They look primed for October and we still have around 62 games left. They are up by 12.5 games and even with the injury to Clayton Kershaw, they will still keep that big lead.

One thing that has hurt the Dodgers has been injuries. Scott Kazmir, Branden McCarthy and Clayton Kershaw are all missing from the rotation. They need someone to fill this hole now. The great thing for Dodgers fans is unlike the Cubs, they still have plenty of prospects to trade. That is why they will get Yu Darvish.

If you are a team in a five-game series and you have to go up against Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood, then you are most likely sitting in a corner crying.

Even going to a seven-game series like the World Series you might think, phew we got through those three, now we get a break– nope. Rich Hill, a healthy (hopefully) Scott Kazmir or Kenta Maeda could all come in for at least one game.

Yu Darvish to the Dodgers for Walker Buehler (RHP), Willie Calhoun (2B/OF), Mitchell White (RHP) and DJ Peters (OF) could be a trade the Dodgers make. While the Dodgers are giving up a ton, they are also giving themselves a great chance at a World Series run.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my take on the trade deadline. The trade deadline is a very interesting time for baseball. Hopefully this year will produce the craziness we have seen in the past.

 

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Why the Marlins will win 90 Games

Stanton and Fernandez

Photo Courtesy of the Miami Herald

Giancarlo Stanton will hit 50 home runs, Jose Fernandez will strike out 200 batters, and most importantly, the Miami Marlins will win 90 games.

Fernandez, who has averaged 10.5 strike outs per 9 innings throughout his young career, and Stanton, who was on pace to surpass 50 HR’s last season before he got hurt, form the most talented duo in all of baseball, and that’s not all that the Marlins have working in their favor.

They will have speedster Dee Gordon atop the lineup and at second base, who swiped 64 bags in 2014 then followed that up with 58 bags and a .333 BA in 2015. Gordon also won the Gold Glove at second base in 2015.

Covering left field for the fish will be underappreciated Christian Yelich. Yelich, who is only 24 years old, won a Gold Glove for his defense in left field during the 2014 season and boasts an impressive .365 career OBP.

With Gordon and Yelich atop the lineup, Stanton will have plenty of runners on base to drive in with his behemoth home runs.

Meanwhile, occupying center field will be the polarizing Marcell Ozuna. After being optioned to AAA in the middle of the season, Ozuna rebounded to hit .304 with 3 HR’s and 14 RBI’s in September. Ozuna has plenty of talent and a strong September should act as a spring board to a productive 2016.

New Marlins hitting coach, and MLB home run champion, Barry Bonds also believes Ozuna has the makings of a 30 HR/30 SB caliber player.

Up the middle of the diamond, forming the double play duo with Gordon, is the slick fielding Cuban Adeiny Hechavarria. Hechavarria posted a 15.8 ultimate zone rating at SS in 2015 in only 130 games according to Fangraphs.

Hechavaria is also a valuable bat to have at the bottom of the lineup. In 2015 he hit a respectable .281, albeit with little power and poor on base skills.

The rest of the lineup is composed of formidable major leaguers Justin Bour at first, Martin Prado at third, and J.T. Realmuto behind the dish.

Bour is the guy to look out for. In his first full season in 2015 he sent 23 balls over the fence and posted a notable .262/.321/.800 slash line.

If the 27 year old Bour can repeat, or even build upon, his 2015 performance he provides much needed protection for MLB’s most imposing slugger Stanton.

The starting rotation boasts one of the most exciting young arms in all of baseball in Fernandez. The Marlins also brought in Wei-Yin Chen on a 5 year $80 million dollar deal to form a nice 1-2 punch atop the rotation.

Fernandez is now further removed from Tommy John surgery, and should only improve upon his 2015 season in which he showed he is still one of the most electric arms in all of baseball even post-surgery.

Chen meanwhile stands to benefit from a move from the AL East to the pitcher friendly NL East. For the Orioles last season he posted a 3.34 ERA across 191.1 innings. Expecting an improvement upon those numbers with the move from the NL East is reasonable.

Behind Fernandez and Chen the Marlins have formidable middle of the rotation guys in Tom Koehler and Jared Cosart.

The 5th spot in the rotation is a soft spot, but, the Marlins have plenty of options and at least one of them should emerge.

The candidates for the 5th spot are Adam Conley, Edwin Jackson, David Phelps, and Justin Nicolino. Of these 4 someone will step up and take ahold on the 5th spot and be a formidable back of the rotation starter in 2016.

The other 3, along with prospect Kendry Flores, provide plenty of depth should anyone in the rotation go down or prove ineffective.

Looming in the bullpen is a potential juggernaut of a bullpen. The bullpen was subject to a piece recently written by ESPN’s David Schoenfield.

Schoenfield noted that the Marlins bullpen logged 1,917 pitches over 95 miles per hour in 2015, more than any other team.

Kyle Barraclough. Carter Capps, Mike Dunn, Brian Ellington, and Jose Urena all average more than 94.5 MPH on their fastballs giving the Marlins plenty of heat coming out of the bullpen.

The soft-tosser of the bunch, and potential closer, AJ Ramos can brag about his 2.21 ERA over the course of the past 2 seasons.

Young superstars Fernandez and Stanton are just the starting point for the Marlins. They have a formidable lineup, a defense that boasts two former gold glovers, a rotation that’s good enough to get the job done, and bullpen that can potentially be lights out.

All of this sums up to a 90 win season for the Marlins in 2016, and a chance to supplant the dysfunction Washington Nationals and Pennant winning New York Mets atop the NL East.