“Let the boys play.”
It’s simple. Let the boys play. I’ve been seeing so much on social media about what people would do if the Mets won the World Series this year and I have some very bad news: it’s not gonna happen. If you believe there’s a chance the Mets get a ring in 2017, you are out of your head. Looking at you @nym_news.
The Mets will be lucky if they walk across the finish line this season because they way they look now, they’re going to limp or even crawl to October 2nd. With the Mets losing a player to the DL every other day, this season is coming to its rightful conclusion: the Mets are collapsing in on themselves like a dying star and crumbling into absolute chaos and darkness. With all the injuries the Mets have dealt with this year, doesn’t it make sense for them to lose their two remaining big bats to injuries in the span of two days? It’s almost poetic, really.
The injury Michael Conforto hurts a lot, not only because of his production, but because of the way it happened. Conforto is the future of this team and seeing him go down swinging as hard as he can at a pitch he has trouble hitting is something you have to tip your hat to. So let’s all tip our caps to Conforto and then use that hat to catch our tears.
Conforto was having a breakout year in 2017, earning himself the first All Star nod of his career. Conforto has been the most consistent hitter for the Mets offense slashing .270/.385/.555 with an OPS of .939. Conforto is the bat the Mets need to build around moving forward. While Cespedes is the big contract bat, he’s the Albert Pujols of this squad. He’s got dangerous power, but so does the Kid. Conforto’s the next David Wright in Flushing, and seeing him go down the way he did is just the latest bit of heartbreak for the Orange and Blue.
Cespedes injury hurts but in a different way, a much more long term way. The questions raised about Cespedes’ health during his Free Agency have now come to fruition. Both of his quad injuries have come on very simple base running plays, which brings me to believe that this is not a strain issue, but more of a structural one.
As outlined in his Player’s Tribune piece, Cespedes is a hard worker and does not take his large contract signing lightly. A man who prides himself on work ethic and putting his nose to the grindstone, what we need is a healthy Cespedes who can play like he did in his early days in Oakland. The bat, the cannon, and the speed. Lest we forget that when he came to Flushing in 2015 he was hustling down groundballs. The lapse in speed is not a sign of age or lack of commitment, it’s a sign that Cespedes is hurt. Then again, all of the players are hurt, we just might not know it yet.
Take Steven Matz for example, another New York Met playing with an injury. A piece of me was ready to type “playing through” an injury, but that’s just not the case. Hockey players play through injuries in the playoffs, like Patrice Bergeron in the 2013 NHL Playoffs, starting Game 6 with a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscle tissue and a separated shoulder. Steven Matz instead puts up a 2-7 record, a 6.08 ERA and a 1.538 WHIP all while struggling with elbow pain in his throwing arm. While all of us knew there was something wrong with Matz, he still made 13 starts when the hope for a playoff run like 2016’s was still high, but every time he took the mound, disaster was imminent.
Do I blame guys like Steven Matz? No. As with Syndergaard and his Lat injury, I admire the warrior-like attitude they all have. However, you get no points for being a hero and playing with an injury, especially when you’re costing yourself and the team time in the future. There’s a difference between being smart and aware of your limitations and being an idiot and ignoring them. Everyone is trying to be Matt Harvey in Game 5, but when you have guys in that mindset in April, you’ve never going to see October.
So what do we do now? How do we get through the rest of the season? With one month to go, the Mets are out. We all need to accept that, and I think there’s one way to make this a lot easier for all of us. Let’s have fun and let the boys play.
Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Travis Taijeron, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Tomas Nido, T.J. Rivera, etc. ARE THE FUTURE OF THIS TEAM. We need to begin wrapping our heads around that. These guys are young and have boatloads of talent. We need to embrace that, and the front office needs to as well. Let’s use the September Call Ups to bring up the future of this ball club and see what they can do. If they’re looking for a way to turn this season around in the eyes of the fans, they need to showcase the future, they need to showcase the kids.
Will there be a learning curve? Of course. Most of these kids are coming from the Pacific Coast League where you or I could win a batting title. It’s a batter’s heaven out there, so there’s no need to worry about the drop in numbers from AAA to the Big League Club. Most of this is pitch recognition.
Dom Smith is hitting astronomically better when he’s not behind in the count. In fact when Smith is in an 0-1 or 0-2 count he’s hitting .129 and .110 and is hitting .167 when a pitcher is ahead in the count. This tells me that Dom doesn’t know what’s coming at him and can’t be defensive, and a guy with that kind of power needs to have a presence at the plate. Same with Rosario, who is hitting .125 from behind and .368 when he’s ahead, but he’s only been ahead in 19 At-Bats versus the 48 he’s been behind in.
Getting exposure in the MLB is something that theses young guys need, and what better time to do it than a September that is already a wash. Let the boys play. Don’t sell me tomorrow, sell me the next few years. It’s time to show us the future because the present is abysmal. I mean, José Reyes in Left Field? Terry… Are you okay, man?
Because Baseball is meant to be fun, and this season simply isn’t.
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