Sorry not to give you advance notice, but obviously I didn't write all weekend. Luckily, it's time for another bi-weekly analysis, which will allow me to catch up on a variety of things at once.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: I've been meaning to write about this for a while, and now's as good a time as any since we're starting to see the promotion of a lot of the Mets youngsters. First and foremost, 33rd overall draft pick, Bradley Holt (though he seems to be going by Brad now) - who we've written about before - is having a great season with the Brooklyn Cyclones (3-2, 2.06 ERA, 58 K in 43 IP). And the Mets just called up Eddie Kunz, a closer at Double-A. He joins Dan Murphy, Nick Evans, and Carlos Muniz, already at the Major League level. And then there's Brandon Knight, off to play in the Olympics, and Jonathan Niese, who will be with the Mets at some point this season.
It's funny - only Niese and Knight are with Triple-A - the rest are all at lower levels...and while the talent in New Orleans (AAA) is some young, mostly veteran retreads, the lower levels of the Mets system seem chock-full of talent (Fernando Martinez, their top outfield prospect, is also at Double-A.).
Why is this relevant? Well, first off, I think the Mets have better minor league arms than they're given credit for. Secondly, with the Sports Illustrated article about David Price's importance to Tampa down the stretch, and the references to what Joba Chamberlain did with the Yankees last year...is it such a stretch to think that a couple of these young arms could help the Mets bullpen heading into September this year?
We'll keep an eye on the progress of all of these guys.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: I can't believe the Mets didn't make a trade deadline move. Parts of this I'm fine with - I didn't want them to trade for Manny Ramirez. Other parts I'm not sure how to feel - I think they need a corner outfielder who has a little more experience than Dan Murphy. But with the farm system coming along like I've already mentioned, I'm going with the thought process that it's a good thing the Mets didn't get rid of some young talent.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: Billy Wagner blew another Johan Santana win on Sunday, and now he's hurt...or, I guess he's been hurt for a while and now he's getting it checked out again. Whatever...he's hurt the Mets a lot this year - my confidence level in him is at Braden Looper-type levels heading into the last couple of months.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: The Mets battled back to first place only to go 1-5 in their last six games, including this weekend's sweep in Houston. Now they're three out, and they're behind the Marlins and Phillies in the standings. The Phillies were reeling, and the Mets didn't pull away. Now it's going to probably be a battle the rest of the way.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: I don't think I've talked about him since the first or second bi-weekly analysis, when he was just terrible, but CC Sabathia has been just the opposite since being acquired by the Brewers. All he's done in 6 Milwaukee starts is go 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Tampa Bay is still not going away, but let's also add the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. This was supposed to be a throwaway year, and here they are leading their division the first week in August.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: Saw the Oakland A's at Fenway Park against the Red Sox on Friday night (more on that tomorrow). They are pathetic. They're 53-57 right now, but fading fast. Frank Thomas is the only threat in that lineup.....and is he really even a threat anymore?
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: My pick to win the American League, the Cleveland Indians, sits dead last in the American League Central. They've been awful all year long.
He's not winning himself many friends around the league, and count me out when it comes to defending Brett Favre. If he had at least considered a trade to the Jets I'd sing a different tune...but to hold a team hostage the way he's doing and only accept a trade within the division....he should be arrested.
And one more football note:
The Southern Bureau has kept us on top of a number of things in baseball and football...he's done fine work keeping the blog updated through comments when I've been away (enough so that I just realized I should give him total access to the blog, something only The Wife has had up to now). It's because of the Southern Bureau that we knew of Brad Holt before the draft...and if you're a Chiefs fan, it would have been the Southern Bureau that let you know about rookie kicker Connor Barth before he came to Kansas City.
Well, the Southern Bureau's own blog is where you can get an inside look at NFL Training Camp through Barth's eyes - it's good stuff, and he's involved in a competition for the job, too.