Home > Fantasy Baseball, Sports > Uh Oh For the Mets

Uh Oh For the Mets

Last night my Mets played second fiddle to the debut of Stephen Strasburg.  Simply put, Strasburg was amazing.  His blend of pitches–including a 100 mile per hour 2 seam and 4 seam fastball, with a wicked curveball–coupled with impeccable control and a mature poise that would even make Mark Sanchez’ biggest fluffers jealous, absolutely overpowered Major League hitters.  The traditional scouts and the new-wave sabermatricians all were left drooling at the skills.  I found myself on the edge of my seat, cheering out loud and fist-pumping nearly every strike.  Sure I was excited to watch Strasburg’s debut even before the game started and I was certainly intrigued.  But watching the game, I was fully engrossed and enthralled with not just the skill, but the way Strasburg went about dominating the Pirates. As everyone knows, the Pirates are not MLB’s finest hitting team.  That being said, the ease with which Strasburg sat down even Pittsburgh’s best hitters (Andrew McCutchen is no slouch), and the complete control he exhibited in doing so left no doubt in any viewers mind that the future is bright for both Strasburg and the Nationals organization.

Were Strasburg the only glimmer of light for the Nats organization this debut would have been completely different, but add in this year’s draft phenom–Bryce Harper–and one of the best young infielders in the entire game in Ryan Zimmerman, and you have the making of a future contender for years to come.  When Zimmerman stepped up to the plate in his first at bat, I said out loud: “here comes a home run.”  He is the kind of player who recognizes the spotlight and elevates his already impressive game along with the stakes.  I witnessed this firsthand when in the midst of the Mets epic 2007 collapse, Zimmerman on the last-place Nats almost singe-handedly destroyed the Mets playoff chances with his stellar defense and clutch bat at the plate.  Once Harper enters the MLB mix, a kid featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated as a power-hitting 16 year old catcher, one has to wonder how there will be enough room in the limelight for all these studs to share.

All in all, this week has to be viewed as a coming out party for the Washington Nationals as an organization.  The message was sent loud and clear to the National League East and their geographic neighbor–the Baltimore Orioles–that this team will win plenty of games and fans over the next few years.  As a Mets fan, I can only shrug my shoulders and sigh, for this is as clear as a sign as any that the Mets missed their window and are likely to be banished to the basement of the National League East.  Alongside the excitement of watching Strasburg came this tingling fear as to the future of my beloved Mets.  See, as a Mets, Jets and Islanders fan coming of age in the early 90s, I really felt like these Mets of the 2000s were my best hope at experiencing a championship (I was alive in ’82-83 for the Isles and ’86 for the Mets, but have not even the vaguest memory of victory).

The Nats, Braves (I’m talking about you, Jay Hey!) and Marlins (Mike Stanton was yesterday’s other high profile prospect debut) all boast some of the league’s premier prospects and the Phils farm system is not too bad in its own right.  There is a wave of youth taking the league by storm, and unfortunately the Mets lack the organizational depth and the upside of their peers.  This years draft only serves to highlight that phenomenon with the Mets opting to pass on upside in an effort to obtain the “sure” thing.  Whereas before it seemed as though the Mets window was being shut internally with a combination of organization ineptitude and an aging core, this year it is becoming increasingly clear that the window is shutting from externally with a slew of premiere young talent in the division.

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  1. Dave Wexler
    June 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Hey cousin! Gotta say, this seems a little pessimistic to me. Don’t forget, Wright, Reyes, and Pelfrey are all still in their mid 20s–we’re not going to fade out of the limelight that quickly. Plus, with the money we have, we will be able to supplement what we do have with free agent purchases that other teams won’t be able to make. Also, don’t forget that the Mets have one of baseball’s better Latin America programs that have already given them players like Reyes and Mejia (and F-Mart, if he can finally stay healthy) without having to even look at the draft. The future isn’t that bleak, in my optimistic opinion!

    • June 10, 2010 at 8:22 am

      Well it’s not that I don’t believe in Wright, Reyes and Pelfrey, it’s that I really don’t believe in our pipeline of talent. We have not had great drafts in the last decade and were lucky to ship away some of our picks at max value. Unfortunately we haven’t done great in Latin America since the F-mart/Meija signings and as young they are, that was a while ago already. Other teams are investing heavily in their scouting departments and acquiring, developing and thriving with homegrown young talent and I just think while the Mets have some talent, it’s nowhere near enough to compete with their brethren in the NL East.

      I mean just look at this year’s draft. There was some excellent talent there and the usual suspects–the Rays, Red Sox, etc–all came out with rave reviews. Meanwhile the Mets, with great draft positioning, selected what many believe to be an overpriced reliever with the max potential to be a #2 or 3 starter. The team followed that with drafting a cadre of limited upside college players. Most commentators agree that the team totally wasted any opportunity in this draft (as they have done year in and year out under Minaya). I’m an optimist, but it’s hard to be optimistic about the lack of direction from the organization.

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