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Opening Day Observations



By Howard Megdal ~ April 6th, 2010. Filed under: Howard Megdal.

I spent this Opening Day (yes, always capitalized, in honor of the national holiday it should be) at home with my wife and brand-new daughter. Seven-day-old Mirabelle was dressed in a David Wright shirt, which turned out to be a far better choice than the Mike Jacobs alternative.

Anyhow, here are some preliminary observations, keeping in mind that a sample size of one game is, well, small.

  • The David Wright we knew from 2004-2008 seemed back in full force yesterday. Not only his home run inspired confidence, but his approach at the plate-how locked in he seemed on any mistake was a positive indicator.
  • One of the few things the Mets did right was keeping Fernando Nieve. No guarantees exist that he can excel out of the bullpen, but his stuff should translate nicely, and his minor league success is a good barometer of what the Mets can expect from him.
  • Mike Jacobs is not a cleanup hitter. But then, we knew that before yesterday. How he is playing ahead of Chris Carter is mystifying to me. It isn’t that we know Carter can produce well; but we certainly know Jacobs cannot.
  • Gary Matthews Jr. looked about as expected in center field. Angel Pagan needs to be out there as often as possible.
  • The defensive upside of Luis Castillo, Alex Cora and Jason Bay are that all three, while suffering from extremely limited range, can make plays extremely well when they do get to the ball. We saw this especially exhibited by the lunging putout Cora made at shortstop and the throw from left field that nearly turned a sure double into an out by Bay. I suspect, obviously, that the lack of range will come into play far more than the ability to make plays right at them. But it is comforting to know none of the three are good candidates for routine mistakes.
  • It would certainly be nice if Jeff Francoeur built on his walk in the opener, along with his initial at-bat which ran to 3-2. Ted Berg has documented that Francoeur has made plate discipline a goal every single offseason. Out of curiosity, then, I wanted to see how long it took him to draw his first walk in previous years. 2009: Game 5 with walk 2 coming in Game 16). 2008: Game 2 (with walk 2 coming in Game 12). 2007: Game 8 (walk 2 in Game 9). 2006: Game 32 (walk 2 in Game 44)!  2005: Game 34 (with walk 2 coming in Game 37).

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Howard Megdal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Perpetual Post. He covers baseball, basketball and soccer for Capital New York, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest and has written for ESPN.com as well as numerous other publications. He is the Poet Laureate for SBNation New York. His book about Jewish baseball players, “The Baseball Talmud,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold. His next book, "Taking The Field", is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will publish in May 2011.

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3 Responses to Opening Day Observations

  1. MetsKnicksRutgers

    Howard, I am sure you saw Sam’s post over at AA of Francouer’s hit f/x. It actually looked really really good with only one swing out of 9 pitches out of the zone, and they were all relatively close. The guy doesn’t need to walk 80 times a year, but 50 woulde be very very nice.

  2. Shamik

    Gary Matthews takes the most serpentine route to a routine pop-fly I’ve ever seen.

  3. birtelcom

    Mets fans will take great comfort in knowing that Luis Castillo, despite his lack of range, can be counted to make the routine play.

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