Projectable Growth

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Steroids, and Suspensions

Jenrry Mejia was suspended for eighty games for testing positive for stanozolol, a performance enhancing drug. On a cynical note, I have a feeling that this timing is fortuitous: although the Mets have downplayed the injury I have an unfounded suspicion that Mejia’s elbow is more injured than they’re letting on. His suspension at least buys him time to heal and at most coincides with part of the recovery period he’ll inevitably need.

But putting that straw man aside (and I really do hope I’m wrong about his elbow), I can’t help but feel bad for Mejia. Yes, stanozolol is a banned substance (and by some accounts an easy one to catch), and if you’re going to do the crime, you’ve got to blah-blah-blah, but I just can’t think of it that way. It’s a kid (or at the very least a young man) trying to make the most out of his career, to maximize his earning potential, who made a bad decision. He’ll pay for it by losing half his party this year. That’s enough for me: I don’t see it as a morality play. It stinks that he’s suspended, but I hope he serves his time, comes back healthy, and helps the Mets win some ball games.

Unfortunately, the Mets lost the first two games in Atlanta by identical 5-3 scores. Here’s the box score for game one and game two.

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Harvey Day in Washington


How great is that picture? @AVSNY tweeted it during the game, a screengrab of a Matt Harvey fastball blowing by Bryce Harper for a strike out.

Harvey made his first start after being forced to miss more than a year for Tommy John surgery and it was great to see him back in action. I don’t get too wrapped up in the “Harvey Day” stuff (and the “Dark Knight” nickname does absolutely nothing for me), but his starts are definitely appointment viewing. The Mets have a generational talent in Harvey, a guy who is a top 20 pitcher today with clear potential to rank higher (Harper himself acknowledges that). It’s an exciting time: it seems like the sky’s the limit for Harvey, and it’s going to be fun watching him try to reach his potential.

Also, the Mets won! Here’s a box score. That’s a 2-1 series win, on the road, against the consensus favorite to win the division. Not bad!

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Eight Men Pens

I understand the roster dynamics that lead to the Mets carrying eight men in the bullpen to start the season. I admit that it’s not the biggest deal: the 25th player on the team is, injury notwithstanding, the most likely to be replaced by the hypothetical Replacement Player. And I concede that they’re may even be a greater strategic advantage to having an extra reliever as opposed to an added bench bat.

But! I’m still not a big fan. It’s an aesthetic argument: pitching changes bug me, especially multiple one batter appearances in one game. They’re tedious, and while I try not to grumble to loudly when the Mets use them (especially when they happen to win), I find they show the game down way more than between-pitch delays. Certainly not the biggest deal in the world, but I’ll be happy when circumstances inevitably result in the Mets swapping their extra pitcher for an extra bench player.

The Mets lost last night: here’s a box score.

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A New Lineup

Over the years, I’ve given a lot of thought to lineup creation. I’ve read articles that indicate that it really doesn’t matter, and I can recall an article or two by Joe Posnanski that indicated that if it did matter the best hitter should hit second, but I still spent hours (over the years) arranging and rearranging Mets hitters over and over. It’s fun ; a game within the game.

So you can imagine my delight when I saw the lineup on Opening Day. A solid OBP followed by the best hitter on the team, the best power hitter on the team, and the best (remaining) power hitter (of the opposite hand) and, best of all, alternating handedness add deep as it could go. In my opinion it was the best possible lineup given this roster, and it’s to Terry Collins’ credit that he deployed it despite the fact it may have left him open to criticism for batting Curtis Granderson, David Wright, and Lucas Duda “too high” in the lineup if they lost. Well played Terry, and I hope we see this lineup more often.

Oh, and the Mets won! Here’s a box score.

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New Season, New Project

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing. I hit a wall a few years back, then got stuck in a rut, then became complacent, then etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum. Point is, despite abandoning this blog for several years I’d very much like to write again but find I need a framework for it. So, I’m going to write about each Mets game this season. Not recaps (God, no) and not analysis, per se (I mean to say: I may analyze, and it may be relevant occasionally, but strictly in the “blind squirrel” sense…accidents do happen).

I’m toying with calling these posts Hapless Hot Takes right now (this is a helpful reminder that I’m awful with naming things). Whatever I call them, my goal, my hope, is to be able to look back in October and see more than 162 of them, a few which will at least be of passable quality. We shall see.

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Welcome to Projectable Growth

Welcome to my new project, Projectable Growth. In 2009, I started a small blog called Section 518 as a way to share my opinions on the Mets. It was a lot of fun but it ran out of steam after awhile, I think because I (mostly) limited myself to the Mets. There’s only so many ways in which you can say “they’reĀ  doing poorly but I’m still rooting for them” before you start to sound like a broken record. And, as much as I love the Mets, I do have other interests.

So, while I’m going to pick up writing about my favorite baseball team again, I started Projectable Growth to allow for a fresh start and a broader range of topics. My goal is to post fresh material at least once a week to prove to myself that I can (I had a tendency to publish three or five posts a week for a few weeks at a time and then nothing for a month). I hope you find something of interest here, and thank you for reading.