Ahh, New York. The Arizona Diamondbacks are about to begin a four game series a mere 25 minutes from my home when they face the New York Mets. Although the Amazins just lost two out of three to the Washington Nationals, they have played better as of late and will pose some problems for the struggling, first place D’backs. The Snakes will miss one highly touted pitching prospect in Zack Wheeler but have to face the better one in Matt Harvey. To help us get ready for the last series on this ten game road trip, I asked Will DeBoer from Rising Apple some questions about his team that has hopefully hit rock-bottom and will play good ball in the second half. Except of course, for these next four games.
Tom Lynch: Any chance of seeing Ike Davis back in New York before September?
Will DeBoer: Last year Ike Davis got back on track around the same time we sent him down this year. The differences between the two instances are that last year, despite Davis’s struggles, the Mets were winning and Ike was still a top-notch defensive first baseman. Eliminate those two positives and that should explain his demotion last month. There was concern that sending him to Triple-A would completely derail his confidence, but he has been doing just fine so far, chalking up five home runs and a 1.065 OPS in 18 PCL games (keep in mind he’s also playing in the hitters’ haven known as Las Vegas). If Ike goes on an absolute tear, we could see him up earlier, but after factoring in Josh Satin‘s early success replacing him and the mindset that the rest of the season will basically be glorified tryouts for the future, it wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t back in Queens before September callups.
TL: Will Zack Wheeler stick around past the All-Star Break?
WD: We were all spoiled by Matt Harvey’s immediate success, and it’s unfair to assume Zack Wheeler will get off to just as hot a start. With the Mets going nowhere in 2013 and Wheeler being tapped as one of the anchors of the future rotation, he should be allowed to work out his kinks in the big leagues for the rest of the season.
TL: Bobby Parnell: Trade him or keep him?
WD: It’s good to finally have a lockdown closer, especially a homegrown one. Mets fans are divided on this issue, but I fall into the “Trade Parnell” camp. Plenty of playoff-bound teams, like the Tigers and Red Sox, are in desperate need of a stopper, and they could be willing to sell the farm for a guy as good as Bobby has been this year. Parnell’s stock is likely never going to be higher and he can fetch at least a couple valuable pieces.
TL: How surprised are you about the play of Marlon Byrd?
WD: In terms of getting our bang for the buck, Marlon Byrd has been a delight to watch. He’s making $700,000 this year and is our second-best offensive threat, and he’s not too bad in right field either. He’s old, so he doesn’t factor into Sandy Alderson’s long-term plans, but as well as he’s played, he could also be used as a trade chip at the end of the month.
TL: What player at Triple A will make an impact with the Mets before season’s end?
WD: If you had asked me a few weeks ago I would have said Josh Satin, who was in line to replace Ike Davis at first base. Today I will say Wilmer Flores, a second baseman who has been in the Mets organization since 2008, when he was a 16-year-old Venezuelan phenom. Flores is hitting .308 in Vegas with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs, so suffice it to say he has earned a shot with the big league club. Daniel Murphy is already at second base, but at age 21, Flores is seven years younger. Murphy is about to hit his ceiling, so if Flores can come up and produce immediately, Murphy may be another name on the trade block.
You may have also heard something about starter Rafael Montero, who has just been promoted to Triple-A from Double-A Binghamton. He and Noah Syndergaard may be the next Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the organization, but Montero is probably still a year out from the big leagues. It is very unlikely we will see him in 2013, even during the September callups.
TL: If Matt Harvey is not the All Star Game starter, you will……….
WD: If Matt Harvey is not the All-Star Game starter, I will react the same was I did when R.A. Dickey didn’t get the nod last year: casually upset, but not hung up on it. There are plenty of other worthy candidates for the NL start (Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, your own Patrick Corbin), and while it would be a delight to see Harvey starting on his home diamond, he will still get a big ovation whenever he enters the game.
Now, if David Wright doesn’t get the start at third base, that’s entirely another story…
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