We are starting a new regular feature at The Real Dirty Mets Blog called "Sunday Shots." Here's how it will work: I ask a question to the staff of TRDMB, and they give a brief response which will be shared here every Sunday. Enjoy!
Today's question: What has impressed you the most regarding the Mets so far this season?Kingman26:
Clearly it has to be the bullpen. While Tejada and Wright have been outstanding and Johan, Dickey, and Niese seem to be ready to be a seriously formidable 1-2-3, it is the pen that has been the biggest surprise and the most impressive element of this 6-2 team.Francisco has been spectacular, and Rauch and Parnell have been great. The Mets appear to possibly be developing a shutdown pen where the game is over if they are ahead after 6 or 7 innings.Too early to get too excited, but Collins is doing everything right and using his pen arms absolutely perfectly.
The pitching staff – starters and relievers. The rotation in particular has been the most pleasant surprise. The bullpen has been nearly flawless behind the veteran trio of Francisco, Rauch, and Ramirez. Bobby Parnell has reinvented himself – he’s a pitcher now, not a thrower. His effectiveness is a combination of the knuckle curve he learned from Jason Isringhausen combined with the fact that he’s no longer overthrowing his fastball (It’s a mere 95 MPH now, not 100).The lineup has been inconsistent at best, but the pitching staff has kept this team in close, low-scoring games.
The starters have emitted a sense of control over a game, which I think had been lacking in recent years. And I have been holding my breath when the pen comes in (even today) but they have proven to have an attacking the zone mindset.
The one thing that has impressed me so far.....the hard play by every player. It seems to me that these players really play as a team.. perhaps it could be from a lack of any distraction on or off the field. But this has been the first "team" of Mets that really play tough.
What has impressed me the most so far is the pleasantly surprising offensive production from Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada. Granted we are working with an extremely small sample size, but Tejada has hit and has hit for doubles. Thole is getting on base at a .480 clip, this won't hold up throughout the season but if it hovers around .380 it would be great for the offense. If the ancillary parts can continue to get on base it will give the middle of the order a lot of run producing opportunities.
To be honest? The whole team. I know that it is a small sample size, but everyone is firing on all cylinders right now and it is great to watch. Tejada and Murphy maturing into a good 1-2 at the top of the order, Wright playing like Wright, Johan pitching well, and even the bullpen looks really good. What's really impressive is the team playing this well with the lack of production from the 4-6 spots in the order, as Ike, Bay, and Duda still haven't kicked it into full gear (maybe Bay never will). I guess to actually answer your question- Ruben Tejada, he has really grown on me and is becoming one of my favorite players.
Mr. North Jersey:
It has to be the pen for me. Rauch so far in 5.2/IP has only allowed 1 person to reach base via a walk and Francisco going 3 for 3 in save opportunities. Yes it's still a very small sample size but so far other than that ugly April 11th game vs the Nats I have been impressed with how well the pen has done so far in 20112.
I think Ruben Tejada has been the most impressive part of the Mets season so far. For starters, he could be playing at AA this year it would be considered an age appropriate level for him, so he's still awfully young. He came into the season expecting to be the #8 hitter but instead has had to take on the lead off spot. He's also replacing last year's batting champion. He has done all of this without getting phased one bit and without trying to be something he's not. Tejada has been solid on defense and while he is not a traditional lead-off man he has excelled in that spot and is even tied with the league lead in doubles, which is something no one thought they would see, even just a week and a half into the season. He has been incredible, which is why there has been so little dwelling on who's not playing shortstop for the Mets this year.
There really has been a lot to get excited about. However, I'm going to say the pitching. Seeing Johan being Johan and guys like Jon Niese and Dillon Gee showing what they could become is a great sign for the future. The offense hasn't been there every game, but the pitching has kept them in games. There is no arguing that a team can't get anywhere without a decent staff, which the Mets have acquired.The future is bright, and I'm excited.
I'll just echo bullpen, and tejada :)
I will say the wins... as others mentioned everything is meshing. Chemistry seems good and they seem resilient. Hard not to get excited.
Thanks to all the writers for responding. Let's go Mets!