Terry Collins wants his Mets to have swagger

Terry Collins wants the Mets to have ‘swagger,’ he told SNY’s Mets Hot Stove on Tuesday.

“You know, for years and years, you used to watch those teams that won all of the time, they had an air about them,” he ruminated. “You used to play the Braves and they’d walk out there and, they weren’t cocky, but they were confident. They weren’t overbearing, they knew how to play, they knew what they had to do to win games.”

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com

It’s Matt Harvey and Juan Lagares. They’re the guys. It’ll come from them. Harvey is swagger, that much we know. But, Lagares is capable of a certain style, a certain flash, that we haven’t seen since Jose Reyes, I think.

Look, I’m a huge Lagares fan, so I’m easily swayed. But, I watched him closely during my week in Mets camp and the kid is oozing confidence. He’s strong, bigger and he walks around camp like he’s about to be boss, chin up, sunglasses on, casual and – I’ll say it – kind of cocky. And you know what, he should be. He plays center field like Andruw Jones and, frankly, he looks to have Andruw’s self-assuredness as well…

For instance, when asked to detail his best catch in centerfield, he smiled and told the New York Post, “I’d have to watch the video. There’s a lot.” Similarly, the Post asked if he would pay money to watch himself play baseball and he said, again with a smile, “Everyday.”

Lagares says he believes he can hit .300 and have 20-30 stolen bases. Obviously, winning comes first. However, if he does that, and hits 10 HR with another Gold Glove, and with Harvey doing Harvey things, the Mets will have all the swagger they need.


Mets win first Grapefruit League game, beat Braves, 8-2

Dillon Gee allowed two hits, two walks and two earned runs as the Mets won their first Grapefruit League game of the spring defeating the Braves, 8-2, at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

Wilmer Flores left the game in the top of the fifth inning after being hit in the wrist by a pitch.  Terry Collins later said Flores if fine and could return to the lineup on Thursday.

Matt Reynolds replaced Flores and went 1-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had four hits and an RBI. Triple-A catcher Johnny Monell had a three-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the sixth. Braves OF Eric Young Jr. was safe stealing second off a poor throw from Travis d’Arnaud. Jack Leathersich walked consecutive batters, but managed to pitch a scoreless inning in relief.

Juan Lagares, batting leadoff, drew a walk to start the game. He later doubled and scored a run.

The Mets travel to Viera on Thursday to face the Nationals at 5:05 p.m. ET. Bartolo Colon will start for the Mets, after which Gabriel Ynoa, Cory Mazzoni and Josh Edgin are scheduled to throw. Max Scherzer will start for the Nationals.

Matt Harvey has always had a curveball, it’s just better now

March 4, 2015, 1:15 pm

Matt Harvey has always thrown a curve ball, going as far back as high school.

However, because he was having so much success with his slider, he got away from using the curveball in 2013, he told SNY’s Mets Hot Stove on Tuesday.

“In the 16, 17 months not playing in a game, you have all of that time to work on things that might not have been a major factor before,” he explained. ”

Harvey is smart to rely more on his curveball

March 4, 2015, 1:15 pm

maggieMaggie Wiggin, MetsBlog.com

It’s true that Harvey’s preferred breaking ball is his slider, making up 17% of the pitches he’s thrown during his major league career. His reliance on it makes a lot of sense. His average slider velocity was 89 mph and he could dial it up as high as 93. Opponents have managed just a .476 OPS against it and struck out more than a third of the time.

Harvey’s no stranger to the curveball, though, which he’s thrown 12% of the time (his third most common pitch, followed by 9% changeups and a handful of two-seamers). Not surprisingly, he throws it hard, averaging 83 mph (compared to league average 77 mph). Also, not surprisingly – this is Matt Harvey, after all – the curveball has been effective. Opponents have a .492 OPS against it and an even higher strikeout rate than against the slider.

So, why the new focus on the curveball? Well, there are a couple of reasons…

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Photos from PSL: Tools of the trade

cerrone avatarAndrew Vazzano, SNY.tv:

Baseball is a sport that relies on equipment. Players can’t preform play without bats, gloves, hats, sunglasses and more. Some players go exclusive with one brand, while others mix and match their gear based on their preferences.

When the players are out on the fields, their stuff is scattered everywhere. Coaches carry bats, gloves balls from one field to another. Team assistants shuttle buckets of stuff from one field to another.

During the morning stretches, players toss their gloves aside in no discernible place. Thankfully, most are stitched with their name, nickname or name of the glove. Noah Syndergaard famously has a glove called “Thor,” while former Met R.A. Dickey named his gloves after characters and items from The Hobbit books.

Other items will have their names or numbers written on the inside, such as Matt Bowman‘s cap and glasses, marked with his spring training number, 79.

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The Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Braves in Disney at 1:05 p.m ET.

The game will not be televised, but can be heard on WOR 710 AM.

Follow along with the game at SNY GameDay

Pitching Match-Up

Dillon Gee will start for the Mets, after which Dario Alvarez, Erik Goeddel, Jack Leathersich, Akeel Morris, Scott Rice, and Zack Thornton are also scheduled to pitch.

Wandy Rodriguez will start for the Braves.

Starting Lineups

Mets Braves
1. Juan Lagares – CF 1. Eric Young Jr. – CF
2. Matt den Dekker – RF 2. Jace Peterson – SS
3. Wilmer Flores – SS 3. Freddie Freeman – 1B
4. Travis d’Arnaud – C 4. Jonny Gomes – DH
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – LF 5. AJ Pierzynski – C
6. Eric Campbell – 3B 6. Chris Johnson – 3B
7. Brandon Allen – 1B 7. Alberto Callaspo – 2B
8.  Kevin Plawecki – DH 8. Zoilo Almonte – RF
9. Dilson Herrera – 2B 9. Cedric Hunter – LF



Keith Hernandez spent time with Lucas Duda talking LH pitching

This past winter, Keith Hernandez took time to talk with Lucas Duda about how to better hit left-handed pitching, Terry Collins told SNY’s Mets Hot Stove on Tuesday.

“That’s how Lucas is looking at this, ‘I’ve got to get better,'” Collins said. “So, he’s using every resource possible.”

Duda plans to swing a bat for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday, as he’s been recovering from a strained muscle between his ribs (Rubin, Mar. 4).

Collins said, despite having Michael Cuddyer in camp, he’d like to have Duda start against left-handed pitching early in the season.

Cuddyer is hitting .291 against left-handed pitching during his career and he’s played several games at first base every year that he’s been in the league. Meanwhile, Duda hit just .180 against lefties last season, while striking out over 30 percent of the time. Duda has a similar .186 average against left-handed pitchers in over 1,000 career plate appearances in the minor and major leagues.

Terry Collins has a plan for Matt Harvey, and it includes 30 starts

March 4, 2015, 9:36 am

In his first year back from Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey should make at least 30 starts, Terry Collins told SNY’s Mets Hot Stove on Tuesday at Tradition Field.

“There are going to be nights when he’s dominant, and you got to let him stay out there, which means next time we’re gonna have to cut him back,” Collins explained. “Matt and I have talked with Dan Warthen and Sandy about all of this and he’s a good soldier, he nods his head and nods his head, but I know there’s gonna be a battle coming.”

Last week, Collins said he will use Harvey the same way the Cardinals used Adam Wainwright in 2012, when Wainwright pitched 198 innings after missing 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Sandy Alderson later added that Harvey could conceivably throw 200 innings this season if the Mets make the playoffs, though he would not specifically say if there is a hard innings limit for the regular season.

According to Collins, he will not skip Harvey in the rotation, but instead may have him make five-inning starts from time to time.


Latest on the Wright, Parnell, Syndergaard situation…

In front of a reporter, David Wright and Bobby Parnell confronted top prospect Noah Syndergaard, who was eating lunch in the clubhouse and not on the bench, during the team’s intrasquad game (Newsday, Mar. 3).

March 4, 2015, 9:05 am

“If you see something that can ultimately help them, or help the team, you get on them a little bit,” he explained Wednesday(DiComo, Mar. 4). “We wouldn’t do it to somebody that we didn’t think could take it, or that we didn’t think was one of us. I like Noah. I’ve gotten to know Noah over the last couple of years. He’s one of us.”

Wright said he approached Syndergaard in the same way he would get on his younger brothers. However, he later apologized to Syndergaard for talking to him with media in the room (NJ.com, Mar. 4).

“It was just really a mistake on my part,” Syndergaard told reporters Wednesday (DiComo, Mar. 4). “It was a learning experience for me. I should have been on the bench. … It wasn’t me being in there with my feet up watching TV. I was just grabbing a quick bite to eat. I learned from that mistake, and next time it won’t happen again. … They want me to be a part of the team, because they think I can contribute in the future.”

March 3, 2015, 4:23 pm

Parnell told reporter Marc Carig that, “When you have a young and impressionable player, and you need to make him understand something that he’s not understanding, you have to be a little forceful.”

Terry Collins, who was on field the entire game, later said he was glad to hear his captain handled the situation >> Read more


What’s on Tap for Wednesday, March 4

The Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Braves in Disney at 1:05 p.m on Wednesday. 

Dillon Gee will get the start for the Mets, who will also bring Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the trip. Dario Alvarez, Erik Goeddel, Jack Leathersich, Akeel Morris, Scott Rice, and Zack Thornton are also scheduled to pitch.

The game will not be televised, but can be heard on WOR 710 AM.

In case you missed it

The team played an intrasquad game at Tradition Field >> Watch highlights at SNY.TV

Noah Syndergaard was chastised by David Wright and Bobby Parnell for eating lunch in the clubhouse during the game >> Read more on MetsBlog, Daily News, New York Post and For the Win.

Billy Bean was in Mets camp at Sandy Alderson’s request to spread the message of acceptance >> Read more at MetsBlog. Later, Daniel Murphy talked twice with reporters, first to to say he doesn’t agree with Bean’s “lifestyle,” later to speak about love, tolerance and speaking his mind >> Read more in the Daily News.

The Mets took back their “Take the damn thing” shirts, which they put in players lockers at the start of camp >> Read more on MetsBlog


My week in Mets camp: On Bawris, Long and young pitching

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com

In March, 2012, I wrote that Mets camp felt like a college campus. It was a baseball frat party, loose, slightly naive and disjointed. They were all doing their best, but it was amateur hour. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

Today, three years later, camp has a focused, quiet professionalism that has been absent since Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins took over. In 2012, players did a lot of light jogging and joking. These days, they hustle hard, they talk the same, they swig protein shakes after hitting, they have “celebrity coaches” and look like a highly-motivated, confident group of young men with golden arms and swagger, aiming to earn respect…

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