Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spring Ahead: Barajas, Perez and Escobar

Couple of quick notes from spring training in Port St. Lucie:

The Mets have come to a minor league agreement with Rod Barajas, who immediately becomes the frontrunner to be the starting catcher. Barajas has good power but is not an overall consistant hitter. He could hit 20 homeruns but also bat .230… however his strong defense, combined with Henry Blanco’s excellent defense suddenly gives the Mets a strong catching platoon. I would expect Barajas to get the majority of starts and play at least four times a week. I could see his numbers being roughly .240, 17, 70 which wouldn’t be that bad at all since I would have expected pretty much the same (with a better batting average but not a much better on-base-percentage) from Bengie Molina… just for $11 million less. Overall, I’m happy with this move, and it makes the catcher position better than it was yesterday.

The overall word on Ollie Perez so far is that he reported looking like he has lost a lot of weight and seems to be ahead of the rest of the starters when it comes to control. There are a lot of good reports coming out which is very good considering how out of shape and behind everyone else he was in spring training last year. The Mets MUST have two of the three of Perez, Maine and Pelfrey step up and have a solid year. Hopefully this is a sign Perez is ready to move forward and start earning that huge contract he got last year. Of course, there is always one guy who’s ready to give negative info and Steve Popper from the Bergen Record said that Perez has a “gut” and “grey hair” which is “not bringing thoughts of an elite athlete.” However, I haven’t heard anything like this from anyone else so who knows. The overall accounts I’m hearing is positive.

There were reports that Kelvim Escobar is hurting already and can’t even grip a baseball, but Johan Santana said he played catch with Escobar today and that was totally untrue. However I’m already concerned that we’re getting health issue reports about him after he’s only been in camp for a few days. This is something to watch.

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