Good evening, Mets fans!
With the second off day of the week coming on Thursday, Mets beat reporter Pat Ragazzo is here to answer more fan questions before the team returns home tomorrow night to face the Padres.
Bobby Laconte- "When completely healthy, do you believe the Mets currently have all the ingredients to win it all? If not, what do they need to do both from a player/managerial standpoint and an intangibles aspect?
Hi, Bobby. The Mets have proven to be a very deep and capable team despite all the injuries they have suffered early on. That being said, when they are fully healthy, if that ever happens, they are going to need to go out and trade for another starting pitcher. Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd is one name I like, who should be available at the deadline.
As far as the intangibles are concerned, it will be interesting to see how this young team performs if and when they make the postseason. Obviously, there isn't a whole lot of playoff experience from the players or the manager, but Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Michael Conforto have all performed in October. This is the month where we will find out what this team is truly made of.
Tony Edmondson- Despite the Mets prospering from playing the analytics game, is the drastic over shift killing the game?
Hi, Tony. I do not believe the over shift is killing the game. The league's offensive numbers are down because of another change in the baseball. If they ever switch back to playing with a juiced or normal ball again, we will see the hits increase. Will we keep seeing players getting robbed because of the shift? Yes, but we will also see more home runs and extra-base hits, which the shift can't contain.
On the bright side, the shift has helped the Mets become one of the best defensive teams in the MLB, shifting at the highest rate in the league.
And regarding your point about the minor league rule surrounding all four infielders having their feet on the infield dirt, I don't see MLB testing this at the major league level right off the bat, but it is something they could explore in the Atlantic League, which has become their guinea pig for various new experiments in the game.
Jeff Zeichner- In your conversations with the players, what do they really think of all the new rule changes? (Seven inning double headers, universal DH, moving the rubber back a foot, runner on second in extra innings etc.).
Great question, Jeff. While I cannot speak personally for the players on the rule changes based off my conservations with them, I can tell you that the MLB Player's Union has highly advocated for the universal DH, which is almost certain to be implemented next year during the new CBA negotiations.
As for moving the mound back, I know the pitchers won't like it because it will decrease their velocity by a few ticks, giving them less of an advantage to overpower hitters. In my opinion, MLB should go back to using a normal baseball, as opposed to the deadened one we are seeing this year.
I'm unsure of the players' viewpoint on seven inning doubleheaders, but I think everyone working around the game enjoys them because they go by a lot quicker than playing two full nine inning ones in a day, which can be grueling for all parties involved.
Regarding the runner on second rule to start extra innings, the hitters are most likely big fans of it because it gives them an opportunity to drive in a run without actually getting someone into scoring position. But I imagine it drives relief pitchers crazy due to having to start the inning in a high leverage situation that's out of their control.
Alan Lerner- Why do the Mets have so many issues with misdiagnosed injuries? It seems to happen every year. Already this season: Alonso, Davis, Nimmo, McNeil and Carrasco.
Hi, Alan. This is a great question and something I used to wonder myself when following this team prior to my reporting career.
When looking at the Mets' injured players, it's easy to be disappointed with the setbacks and miscalculations surrounding each individual's recovery period. However, truth be told, trying to set a timeline on a player's injury is rather difficult.
It all depends on the severity of the injury, as well as how the player responds to treatment. The reason these teams are so precautious with their players is because they play everyday. The season is a sprint and not a marathon, as you know.
And when all is said and done, these are professional athletes, who are some of the most competitive people on the planet. This can sometimes interfere with their recovery process because they push themselves too hard, too early, which can lead to setbacks.
J.D. Davis is a perfect example. He ramped up too quickly after suffering his second hand injury in the span of a month. He even saw success at the plate during his brief rehab stint with a couple hits and a home run, which made him look like he was destined to rejoin the club a few weeks ago. But, his hand wasn't fully healed, and it felt the pain as a result of the aftermath of playing in live baseball games prematurely. And as the competitor that he is, of course he was going to push to start playing in games so he could come back faster. However, this was not the right move and his hand took on too much stress, which resulted in a setback, sending the Mets' medical and performance staff back to the drawing board.
These things happen. Pete Alonso is a similar case, as he suffered his hand/wrist injury against the St. Louis Cardinals in the beginning of May. Alonso fought through it and played through the pain, but it got so bad to a point, where he recognized that he needed to rest it for a little while to come back at 100%. So far, it has paid off as Alonso is red hot at the plate since returning from the IL.
Brandon Nimmo's injury is an interesting scenario. He suffered a bone bruise that the team thought they could treat. But when he wasn't responding well to treatment, they discovered that he had a nerve issue in his finger, which has been tricky. This is why he is taking baby steps, so that when he does start to ramp up again, he won't have to shut things down like Davis.
Jeff McNeil had cramps he was dealing with, and he is another one who tried to get treatment and play through the pain. Instead of recognizing that he needed to take a rest, the Mets let him stay with the team and he worsened it, resulting in a strain. Luckily, McNeil is supposed to start a rehab assignment this weekend and should be back soon.
And as for Michael Conforto, he had a tough break when he strained his hamstring in the same game. The Mets have played it safe with Conforto, who is hitting and doing baseball activity. He is going to test his running this weekend and if all goes well, he might not be far off from a rehab assignment.
Last but not least, we have Carlos Carrasco. The 34-year-old pitcher tore his hamstring in spring training, which would normally keep a player out for several months, if not the whole season. But the Mets got positive results back from his MRI, and the hope was that Carrasco would be back by May. Again, he tried to push himself too hard before he was ready, which has turned into multiple setbacks.
As of Wednesday, manager Luis Rojas says the team now has him focused on strengthening the hamstring, which is a longer process with more risk tied to it, as opposed to building up his arm again. He is playing catch, but has stopped throwing side sessions off the slope.