Here at Tomahawk Take we like to keep our enemies (on the field) close and take a look at their views on topics. This time we’ve teamed up with Will Deboer at Rising Apple to talk about the Atlanta Braves at New York Mets series from July 22-25. Let’s take a look at what they have to say…
Tomahawk Take: Give us a little insight to the starting pitching that the Braves fans will see on in this four game series
Rising Apple: Well let me just say that you’re lucky not to be seeing Matt Harvey. Certainly dodged a bullet there. Dillon Gee started out rough after coming back from a blood clot that cost him the second half of 2012, but he’s 5-1 with a 2.67 ERA in his last nine starts. Carlos Torres is a spot starter but has served the team well in the bullpen and would make a good long man in the future. When he doesn’t face the Phillies, Jeremy Hefner has become an incredibly reliable starter: before allowing eight runs on Friday against Philly he had a 1.76 ERA since the beginning of June. Zack Wheeler is pegged to be the next Matt Harvey, but he is still raw and needs more work before he’s on that level: his fastball is blazing but he walks a lot of guys and doesn’t have a pitch to really put away batters.
TT: Are the New York Mets better than the 43-51 record they have currently?
RA: The Mets are certainly playing better than their record nowadays, but if you balance out a dreadful first two and a half months with the great past month 43-51 is probably a fair assessment. The rotation is pretty much set and the bullpen has gotten its act together. Add that to the extra run per game the Mets are averaging since June 16 and you get the team that is 19-12 in its last 31 games.
TT: Who is hot for the Mets right now in the lineup, who should we look out for?
RA: David Wright is his normal excellent self, and Marlon Byrd has been launching rockets all season. Two of the more surprising players to watch are Juan Lagares and Josh Satin. Lagares was known for his glove in the minors, but since the beginning of June, when he started getting more regular playing time, he’s hit .317, and last week he was named NL Player of the Week. Satin was Ike Davis‘s replacement when Davis was demoted in June and has put together a sparkling, if small, sample, hitting .338 and getting on base at a .464 clip. Both Lagares and Satin are strict platoon players, though, so you’ll only see them when the Braves send lefties to the mound.
TT: Bobby Parnell is having a great season, will he be traded before the deadline? Do you think any other big names are trade potential?
RA: It’s been speculated that Parnell will not be traded at the deadline, but if Sandy Alderson gets blown away or puts together a package similar to the Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey deals of the past couple years, Parnell could be on his way out. Marlon Byrd is another name that has been thrown around, but with his age and low salary he probably won’t warrant a big enough package to be dealt.
TT: Zack Wheeler looks to be a stud and with Matt Harvey that’s a pretty good 1-2 punch…how is the rest of the farm system look, have much potential in the upcoming years to contend?
RA: Starting pitching remains New York’s strongest crop, even with Harvey’s and Wheeler’s ascensions. Rafael Montero has just started pitching in Triple-A, and Noah Syndergaard (another piece in the Dickey deal) is dominating during his brief time in Double-A. As for position players, catcher Travis d’Arnaud has recovered from early-season injury and will start to play in Triple-A games this week; expect to see him in the bigs in September. Infielder Wilmer Flores is another name to watch, but with Wright at third and Daniel Murphy at second, there might not be room for him in Flushing.
TT: Do the 2013 NY Mets have a chance in the 2nd half of the season to climb back in the NL East division?
RA: If the Mets keep playing .613 ball like they have since June 16, they just may win enough games to sneak into the playoffs as a second Wild Card.