As I hinted at a couple of weeks ago, I'm still re-working this idea - and more changes might be coming - but here are my bi-weekly thoughts - some good and bad from the Mets, and some good and bad from around the Majors. Again, more changes could be on the way...and this week has a decided bullpen theme, as far as the Mets are concerned, based on some of my thoughts last week. (User-friendly instructions - Happy Mr. Met is for the good Mets news, Sad Mr. Met is for the upsetting Mets news, and the happy and sad MLB logos are for the good and bad MLB news, respectively.)
MOST IMPRESSIVE: Believe it or not, the bullpen hasn't been all bad. When the Mets have been able to get him the ball in save situations, Billy Wagner has been lights-out. He's one of the best in the game right now. I fully expect something will go wrong with him at some point - he'll become unreliable, he'll choke when it counts down the stretch, or he'll get hurt - but for now, he's impressive.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Not a total surprise, since we have seen what he is capable of, but I guess the fact that he's come back from his injury to pitch so well makes it a surprise. Duaner Sanchez looks like he did in 2006 before he got hurt- which is high praise. The Mets could use some more players who look like they did in 2006.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: There may have been some overreaction by blanketing the whole bullpen as bad last week. Therefore, I can't put the entire bullpen in this spot (Joe Smith, Wagner, Sanchez, Pedro Feliciano, and, believe it or not, Scott Schoeneweis, have all been good-to-better-than-good). But I'll single out Jorge Sosa for now, since he's partners in crime with Aaron Heilman in giving up the big hit at the wrong time.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: We've talked about it already, but Aaron Heilman has been in a severe downward spiral the past season and a half or so. He's nowhere near as dominant as he used to be. Perhaps dominant is the wrong word- let's go with "effective". But because he has set the bar high in the past, he qualifies as a disappointment. Last week, Ron Darling said it looks like some hitters in the National League are just sitting on Heilman's change up, and then rocketing it out of the park. I think he's right.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: I haven't commented on him yet, because it hasn't come up, and I usually don't just throw around praise for the Braves, but Chipper Jones is off to an incredible start. I'm noticing it because he's on my fantasy team, but more than that, he's hitting well north of .400 and is on base almost every other inning. He also has been clutch. And it's not just against the Mets.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Florida Marlins are still in first place at this point of the season. Is that a surprise? You bet.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: I mentioned it last week, but the Texas Rangers have been dreadful. They're challenging the Nationals for the "worst team in baseball" title. The Red Sox series did more harm than good, obviously, but they really weren't doing anything this year anyway.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: I'm not sure if the Yankees qualify here as a team yet - they're right around .500, and they've been quiet, but not terribly disappointing. I would guess they'll be like that all year - I didn't have them making the playoffs in Girardi's first year anyway. But moreso than the Yankees as a team is second baseman Robinson Cano, who is hitting below the Mendoza line in this first month. This is an observation, unlike Chipper Jones, that I am attributing directly to my fantasy team. I need him to turn it around - and he'll certainly help New York as well when he does. Cano is a career .244 hitter in April (that includes this year), but he has never had a month this bad.
THIS JUST IN: Speaking of disappointments, I just saw on ESPN as breaking news that the Giants are going to move Barry Zito to the bullpen. Ouch.