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  1. #1
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    Young players fuel Mets' optimism for second half

    Young players fuel Mets' optimism for second half

    David Wright remembers being on the other end of the spectrum, a fresh face surrounded by a sea of veterans. Back then, even though the Mets had all the experience they could want, they still found themselves in dogfights with upstarts such as the Marlins.

    "They had a bunch of younger players with this certain swagger to them," said Wright, who hopes that the Mets can display some of that confidence.

    A decade after breaking into the big leagues, Wright, 31, finds himself at the center of a young team that has started to show signs of fulfilling its promise.

    The Mets begin the second half of the season tomorrow at 45-50, in third place in the NL East, seven games behind the first-place Nationals and Braves. They closed the first half with an 8-2 homestand that they hope to use as a springboard.

    From Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen, to Travis d'Arnaud and Ruben Tejada in the starting lineup and Zack Wheeler and rookie Jacob deGrom in the starting rotation, the Mets' recent resurgence has been led by a group of emerging 20-somethings.

    Lucas Duda has seized the opportunity to thrive at first base, helping to jump-start an offense that often has been stagnant. And thanks to deGrom, the pitching staff has endured an extended absence by Dillon Gee.

    "When you have a room full of younger guys, sometimes they can get a little cocky in a good way, where they feel like they can't lose or they can't get out or the opposing team can't hit them," Wright said. "And that can be dangerous."

    In some ways, the Mets find themselves caught in the middle as they decide whether to approach the July 31 trade deadline as buyers or sellers. According to sources, the team has yet to engage in trade talks, even though pitcher Bartolo Colon and second baseman Daniel Murphy are expected to generate interest.

    According to Baseball Prospectus, the Mets have only a 3.5-percent chance of making the playoffs. But the Mets have reason to believe they can finish with a .500 record for the first time since 2008, and with a few breaks, perhaps play meaningful baseball during the homestretch.

    Curtis Granderson noted they have 35 remaining games against NL East opponents. "We basically have the ability to kind of control where we end up," said Granderson, who has moved past the horrendous start to his tenure as a Met.

    As much as the Mets can take from their surge to finish the first half, expecting .800 baseball is unrealistic. But Terry Collins believes maintaining a consistent approach is a reachable goal.

    "What we've got to do is go out and play like we did this homestand," Collins said. "You're not going to do it every night, I understand that. But for the most part, play consistent, play smart, play fundamental baseball and we'll get back in the hunt."

    Not since 2008 (38-29) have the Mets posted a winning record after the All-Star break. It is also the last time they finished a season with more victories than defeats. To finish at .500, they must go 36-31 (.537).

    That record would nearly match their expected winning percentage in the first half, when the Mets had a plus-19 run differential, which is generally an accurate gauge of how a team will perform.
    In the first half, the Mets finished five games under their expected winning percentage based on run differential, the largest gap in the major leagues. They also lost a league-high 20 one-run games, another reason for the disparity.

    Both hint at some bad luck that could turn as the season unfolds.

    Said Wright: "There's no question that we can be a different second-half team."
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...half-1.8825497


    "You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do."

  2. #2
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    3 key Mets players for the second half

    1. Third baseman David Wright (.285/.344/.421, 8 homers, 48 RBIs)
    Delivered another productive first half despite a clear drop-off in power. But the bigger question remains: Has Wright, at 31, reached the post-prime portion of his career? The second half should offer more clarity. His slugging percentage (.421) is 80 points off his career norm, though he said recently that his 24 doubles are an indication that his power potential remains. Health will be an even bigger factor. Wright received a cortisone shot just before the break to calm a balky left shoulder that cost him a week in the first half. Will that be enough?

    2. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud
    (.217/.292/.354)
    Needed to hit rock bottom before finally showing the talents that made him such a sought-after prospect. After a nearly three-week exile at Triple-A Las Vegas, d'Arnaud is hitting .295/.338/.525. In 16 games since returning to the majors, d'Arnaud, 25, has as many homers (three) as he did in his previous 39 games, a confidence-breaking nightmare during which he hit .180/.271./273. The Mets need his bat to lengthen a lineup that underperformed in the first half.

    3. Pitcher Zack Wheeler
    (5-8, 3.90 ERA)
    Has endured the typical challenges of a pitcher in his first full season in the big leagues. But throughout his ups and downs, Wheeler, 24, has impressed the Mets with his ability to learn from his mistakes and maintain his composure. If the progress continues, the Mets will have quite the tag team atop the rotation when Matt Harvey comes off his rehab from Tommy John surgery. If Wheeler settles into a rhythm, he could help the Mets make noise in the second half.
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...half-1.8821149


    "You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do."

  3. #3
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    Hopefully the Mets can maintain a home-field advantage. That would be very helpful. They are +2 atm.
    John Maeda@johnmaeda

    Knowing the overall *shape* of an idea, argument, situation requires as many facts, models, opinions as you can take/make to see a whole.

  4. #4
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    Mets playing better, but at a crossroads

    NEW YORK -- Gauging the Mets' first half is no straightforward task.

    While plenty of things have gone New York's way since Opening Day -- the rotation's success, the bullpen's rebirth and the lineup's recent emergence, to name three on a general scale -- the Mets still sit in the shadows of playoff contention. They have played their best ball of the season in recent days, but remain a team very much at a crossroads.

    "A lot will depend on what happens over the next couple of weeks," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "I think there's no question our win-loss record needs to improve pretty significantly. When I talk about being close, I talk about [not just] the second half of this season, but going forward. So I think we have to be cognizant of that as well."

    Perhaps the second half will indeed help snap the rest of the puzzle into place. Until then, here are five key first-half developments and five storylines to watch the rest of this summer:

    Five key developments so far

    1. Lucas Duda, the Mets' uncontested first baseman

    When the Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pirates in April, they put an end to months of hemming and hawing over their first-base position. Duda took a bit longer than they hoped to reemerge as a legitimate middle-of-the-lineup bat, but he has since held down the job with aplomb. It's his to lose going forward.

    2. Jenrry Mejia and the bullpen boys
    A major weakness became a legitimate strength around mid-May, when the Mets named Mejia their closer and reinforced their bullpen with youth. Mejia remains the ninth-inning man for now, but Jeurys Familia or Vic Black could still enter the conversation -- with Bobby Parnell preparing to vie for his old job next spring.

    3. David Wright's pedestrian summer
    Wright wasn't an All-Star, and he didn't deserve to be. But he's still just 31, presumably with another few seasons left of elite-level production. The Mets need him to stay healthy -- easier said than done for a player with a spotty recent medical history -- and rediscover his inner slugger.

    4. Jacob deGrom's emergence
    Heading into this summer, deGrom ranked at least ninth on the Mets' starting pitching depth chart, behind Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and the whole Opening Day rotation. He has since become a key part of the Mets' future plans, either in New York or as trade bait.

    5. Curtis Granderson and the Mets' sigh of relief
    When Granderson stumbled out to one of the worst starts of any position player in baseball, it seemed like Jason Bay-ja vu for a Mets team that committed four years and $60 million to him last winter. But Granderson has since delivered All-Star-caliber production, easing the minds of many in Flushing.

    Five storylines to watch in the second half

    1. How will the Mets behave at the non-waiver Trade Deadline?
    In past years, Alderson has clung to the idea that it is better to win as many games as possible -- even if a playoff berth seems unrealistic -- than to sacrifice everything in trades for prospects. He has already hinted at a similar strategy this summer, though the Mets also boast their most desirable crop of obvious trade candidates in years: second baseman Daniel Murphy and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

    2. Who will cement themselves in the Mets' future plans?
    After rough starts, catcher Travis d'Arnaud, shortstop Ruben Tejada and Duda have all proved their worth to varying degrees. A strong second half for any of those three would cement their status in the 2015 Opening Day lineup; a poor showing could open the door for the Mets to pursue replacements.

    3. Will Syndergaard contribute in a meaningful way?
    Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler spoiled the Mets in recent seasons, breezing through the upper levels of the Minors to prove almost immediately that they belonged in the big leagues. It's been a tougher road for Syndergaard, who has battled injuries and inconsistency over three-plus months at Triple-A Las Vegas. But there's still time for the Mets' top overall prospect to make a big league impact in 2014.

    4. Can Wheeler establish himself as a legitimate ace?
    Wheeler's transition to the big leagues was not quite as flawless as that of Harvey, whose learning curve was Gooden-esque. But Wheeler has nonetheless taken significant steps forward over the past two months; with innings totals no longer a question, he has a chance to creep into the Opening Day 2015 starter conversation, setting him and Harvey up to create one of the top one-two punches in baseball.

    5. Will Terry Collins last? Will Alderson?
    Over the past 3 1/2 seasons, Alderson has taken every opportunity to praise his manager, who has done all that he can with limited roster talent. But patience is dwindling, and a poor second half could mount public pressure against Collins. Alderson, meanwhile, is coming to the end of the guaranteed portion of his contract. While he is likely to return, stranger things have happened within this front office.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/nym/...&vkey=news_nym


    "You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dugmet View Post
    Hopefully the Mets can maintain a home-field advantage. That would be very helpful. They are +2 atm.
    ATM?

    *** to mouth?

  6. #6
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    Mets are much more fun to watch as of late except for when Dice K pitchers, those days I refuse to waste my time. It's cops or castle for me then.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sick Of It All View Post
    ATM?

    *** to mouth?
    Of course.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sglZGSwK6ow

    Maybe NSFW. Your call.
    John Maeda@johnmaeda

    Knowing the overall *shape* of an idea, argument, situation requires as many facts, models, opinions as you can take/make to see a whole.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sick Of It All View Post
    Mets are much more fun to watch as of late except for when Dice K pitchers, those days I refuse to waste my time. It's cops or castle for me then.
    Rice-K isn't that bad........


    But yes, the Mets have been much more exciting to watch.

    The Mets next home games include a 3 game series vs the rival Phillies and a 4game series against the very good Giants. I hope we can fill the park up for those games, that would be a great thing to see.

    I know I've already requested tickets for any and every game I can get to.
    'Cause my life is dope, and I do dope shi*

  9. #9
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    Speaking of rice, man am I glad that dude is not on the roster anymore.

    As an Edgin hater I will like to applaud the job he has done since coming back, but at the same time I think TC finally grew some brains and is using him correctly.

  10. #10
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    The Lineup Card
    Nine Second-Half Improvement Candidates


    9. Zack Wheeler
    Wheeler had a rocky first half. He battled inconsistency, struggled with pitch command, and traded disaster outings with clean starts. But the young right-hander is on the upswing, having displayed incremental improvement over the past couple of months, and he could be in store for a big second half that reminds the world why he was such a highly regarded prospect just 12 months ago.

    Wheeler has walked more than two batters just twice in past 11 starts (after cracking that threshold five times in his first eight games), and he entered the All-Star break with a string of three consecutive starts in which he pitched six or more innings and surrendered just a single run. He has also honed his stuff since last season, adding 0.5 mph to his fastball (which is now averaging 95.9 mph) and diversifying his pitch mix. He has doubled the frequency of his change-up, and though it is still the weakest offering in a repertoire that features a pair of plus breaking pitches, Wheeler has the potential to be dominant if he can refine el cambio. He has also kept the ball on the ground this season, upping his ground-ball rate by 10 percentage points while surrendering just seven bombs across 108.3 innings (only two homers have come since he turned 24 on May 30th), while his component stats have all trended in positive directions. The Mets are a long shot to make the playoffs, but a second-half breakout by Wheeler could make things interesting in the NL East.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...rticleid=24160


    "You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do."

  11. #11
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    DAVID COME ON WE NEED A MONSTER SECOND HALF


  12. #12
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    Some positive stuff in this thread, nice too and easy to get somewhat excited about.

    It will be cool if we come out of the gate hot and get aggressive at the deadline. I wouldn't be excited about it, but maybe the Dodgers dump Kemp and pick up a very significant portion of his salary.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    DAVID COME ON WE NEED A MONSTER SECOND HALF

    Right!

    David will always be my #MCM, but he needs to step his game up.
    'Cause my life is dope, and I do dope shi*

  14. #14
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    Yes our young talent is finally showing us something. I would like to see Noah by August and dare I say it trade Murphy and bring up flores. I also like the swagger I'm seeing
    if u like mixed martial arts check out the psd mma forum

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sick Of It All View Post
    ATM?

    *** to mouth?
    LOL! Too funny!

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