I watched about the first half of Thursday’s game on my iphone on a bus heading from Winston-Salem until I lost 3G service/fell asleep. Technology is amazing.
1. After Lucas May doubled home a few runs, I joked on Twitter that he had locked up the backup catcher position on the Mets. It was a joke, but there’s more than a kernel of truth in it. Josh Thole played 114 games last year, so the Mets have to be planning for catchers other than Thole to play a minimum of 40 games. There seems to be a consensus that the #2 job is Mike Nickeas’ to lose (see here). I think that’s not right. He’s supposed to be a good defender, but even over 40-50 games, can the Mets afford his bat? In his first 69 AB in the big leagues, he’s hit .190/.246/.264. That’s an OPS+ of 43.
If you’d like a more robust sample, and so would I, Nickeas has hit .211/.275/.296 in 412 plate appearances over four seasons in triple-A between 2008 and 2011 as a 25-28 year old.
By contrast, Lucas May, who will be 27 this year, hit .269/.344/.471 in 676 PA in the last two years in AAA split between Omaha and Reno in the PCL.
I’m not trying to tell you that Lucas May will be some kind of star. What I am suggesting is that the backup catcher will play regularly enough 40-50 games, that the extra offense he provides over Nickeas will win him the roster spot.
2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out in both of his first two plate appearances. In the first, he chased a high fastball from Carlos Zamabrano. In the second, he was frozen by a fastball low and away. It’s the first at-bat that I think is more revealing. In watching his games at AAA last year, and in camp this year, he has consistently struggled on fastballs above the belt. It’s a theme. He’ll either need to learn to hit that pitch (and I’m not sure he can) or two, lay off them.