Memorial Day typically is the first valid measuring stick for the direction of an MLB team's season. And let's just say the Mets will not be receiving rave reviews come Monday. Even with an 8-1 win on Friday in Pittsburgh behind a two-homer, four-RBI game from Neil Walker and Jacob deGrom becoming the first starting pitcher with the Mets to exceed seven innings this season, the team possesses an unsightly 20-26 record and has spotted the Nationals a 7½-game lead in the NL East. If you want the glass-half-full prognosis, Yoenis Cespedes began a rehab assignment on Friday with Class A St. Lucie, going 0-for-2 with a walk and playing six innings in left field, and Steven Matz and Seth Lugo make
Mets legend and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver doesn't follow the team closely anymore, but was irritated when told of Noah Syndergaard's desire to throw harder. When Bill Madden of the NY Daily News told Seaver that Syndergaard's lat injury might have been caused by working out too much in an effort to increase his velocity, Seaver rolled his eyes. "What's with these guys and this obsession today with velocity?" he asked Madden. "How about just pitch! Learn how to pitch! Because eventually that velocity will be harder and harder to maintain on a consistent basis." Seaver then noted that the most important pitch for a pitcher is "strike one." "Let me tell you a story about velocity," Seaver said. "Late
For example, Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated was the latest to do a deep dive in how the value of a curveball has never been greater. Consider that 121 pitchers had thrown at least 40 innings this year, and just one in the top 10 in average velocity was also in the top 10 in ERA: Michael Fulmer (95.2 mph and 10th in ERA). Meanwhile, three of the bottom nine in average velocity were in the top nine in ERA: Dallas Keuchel (88.7, second in ERA), Jason Vargas (86.2, seventh) and Andrew Triggs (89, ninth). The average fastball for a major league starter was 92.2 mph and half the ERA top 10 was under that, and two who were above — Clayton Kershaw and Lance McCullers — arguably feature the best curves in the game.