Thursday Q and A:- Mikie Mahtook, Luis Castillo, Pedro Feliciano, Sleepers

Jonnie asked: “Hey Mack, keep up the good work. My question is… are these new college bats really going to cut back on the stats this year?”

 
Mack: “Thanks Jonnie… it’s hard to tell at this point in the young season. Obviously, there will be less pop, and, as one scout said, “far less cheap home runs”. Production did seem a little down during the first college weekend, but don’t tell that to LSU’s Mikie Mahtook, who hit four homers in his first three games. I do expect to see more bunting this year and pitchers have been told to pitch more inside, but we’ll have to wait until the season is over to determine the full effect of the change.”

 

Mash said: “Mack, I agree with all that you said about Luis Castillo. He didn’t arrive late, he came on time but Collins sounded a bit like an ass the way he portrayed Luis coming on time. The media took it and ran with it and then everyone felt kind of bad i bet when they found out about his brother. And onto Luis being the best 2 bagger on the team, I also agree. As far as the glove is concerned. I watched a video not sure if it was Rubin or Cerrone’s, but Luis’ actions are so much quicker and smoother than the other guys going for 2nd. But Collins has come out to say it will be an offensive position first so Castillo look out.

 
Mack: No one argues that the best defensive second baseman on the team is Castillo. Collins feels he can sacrifice a little of that because of the range of Ike Davis. I fully understand where he’s coming from. I was a great defensive third baseman (only fair hitter) who moved much better to my left, so I would hug the line a little more than most. My shortstop, Paul Altruda, knew I could cover 1/3 of his position, so he went deeper in the whole plus closer to second base.
A lot of what’s coming out of Collins mouth right now is motivation; however, it’s too much. Today it was adding Ruben Tejada to the mix. By the time this prints, it might be Ron Hunt.

 
If there was no bullshit here and the best second baseman would win the job, it would be Castillo.

 

Harry C. asked: “Mack, I know the Mets changed general management and replaced Jerry Manuel with Terry Collins, but they still have the same pitching coach that seemed to be lost sometimes last year. What is this guy going to do without Pedro Feliciano starting to warm up in the sixth inning?”

 
Mack: That’s funny. I too share your concern with the return of Dan Warthen because I really don’t know who was responsible for suck bad bullpen management last year. It could easily have been Jerry Manuel. The one thing that the Mets pitching staff has been acking the past three years is an innings eater and you have to wonder if that is the pitching coach fault. Are the pitchers being pulled too fast?

 
I don’t happen to think they were but I do think that the general staff didn’t seem to be ready to go past the fifth inning. I seemed to start holding my breath every time a starter went into the sixth inning.
 

Yes, the Mets did replace Rick Waits as the minor league pitching coach… and yes, there were huge disappointments last year (Robert Carson, Jeurys Familia, Brad Holt) at the prospect level… but I never understood why R.A. Dickey kept being pulled early. He’s a knuckler! He could pitch all week.

 

Joshua asked: “Mack, are there any “sleepers” in the Mets minor leagues we should keep our eyes on this season?

 
Mack: Actually, there are.

 

Two pitchers, Eric Goeddel and Greg Peavey, signed late last year after being signed and should start the season at least at the A, possibly A+ level. Both were quality draft picks and could make an immediate slash.

 

Two catchers, Albert Cordero and Juan Centeno, both impressed at the lower levels last year and could compete against each other in Savannah next month.

 

And remember the name Tillman Pugh, a speedster that will probably start for Brooklyn.

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