New York Mets: Adam Fisher

Morning Briefing: Happy anniversary?

June, 1, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Happy anniversary?

One year ago today, Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history, against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.

Now, Santana is in Fort Myers, Fla., in the early phases of recovery from a second shoulder surgery to repair the anterior capsule.

Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports
Mike Baxter's grab, which resulted in a separated shoulder, save Johan Santana's no-hitter one year ago today.

Terry Collins candidly reflected Friday on his internal agony in allowing Santana to complete the historic June 1, 2012 event.

“If you would have taken him out, I promise you not only would the fans have been in an uproar, but the players would have too,” Josh Thole, now in Triple-A with the Toronto Blue Jays, told Mike Harrington in the Buffalo News. “I feel like David Wright would have gone up to him and said, ‘Skip, run him back out there. We’re going to take a chance here.’ ’’

Anyway, one year later, Collin McHugh subs for Jonathon Niese (shoulder tendinitis) on the mound today at 4:10 p.m. at what undoubtedly will be a much less buzz-filled Marlins Park. McHugh opposes rookie Jose Fernandez (2-3, 3.78 ERA).

Saturday’s news reports:

• Collins acknowledged Zack Wheeler was bypassed for the spot start in large part because it would have been impossible for observers to accept Wheeler returning to Triple-A if the outing against the Marlins had been successful. Read more in the Journal.

Shaun Marcum took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning before allowing four runs and the Mets had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 5-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday night. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record and

• Collins said there was no post-Yankees series letdown.

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia both had setbacks.

Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia had setbacks during their rehab assignments, although Collins hopes Familia is back on a mound this weekend. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Marc Carig in Newsday discusses Ike Davis’ potentially flawed swing, which includes a pronounced hand drop as the ball is being released by the pitcher. "I've always wanted to stop my hands from dropping," Davis told Carig. "But I've always swung like that. Obviously, it's not something that you want all the time, but I mean, Barry Bonds dropped his hands. A lot of people did and had success. It's just the way I've swung my whole life with my hands. It's tough to stop that."

• Read no-hitter reflections in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Times, Journal, Record and Newsday.

• Andrew Goldman in the Times has a Q&A with Dwight Gooden. Among the exhanges:

Matt Harvey, the Mets’ pitching phenom, is compared with you a lot. Do you agree with Bobby Valentine that he could be the best pitcher ever to wear a Mets uniform?

Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Dwight Gooden wasn't always thrilled with Darryl Strawberry.

“It’s a possibility, but that’s saying a lot, because of the things Tom Seaver did, that I did. He has a lot of ability, and he’s not cocky. Even when he pitches seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts, he wants to get better. Once he gets two or three years in, then you can say that.”

In 1995, you and your former teammate Darryl Strawberry shared the cover of Sports Illustrated for an article called “The Dead End Kids,” about your drug use after the Mets’ 1986 season. Did you resent how the two of you were always grouped together?

“The media made it seem like we were closer than we really were. You had two young, very successful black players -- he was Rookie of the Year ’83, I was ’84. But I was actually closer with Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mookie Wilson. In 2010, Darryl really crossed the line, calling my family and saying a lot of negative things about me, stuff that wasn’t true. I always considered him a friend. The things he was doing really do not fit the definition of a friend.”

Jamie Hoffmann belted a grand slam and finished with five RBIs as Las Vegas beat Reno, 6-0. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Mike Puma in the Post gives his “confidential” breakdown of May and a look at the month ahead.

• David Lennon in Newsday looks at the Ivy League path to an MLB front office. Paul DePodesta and Adam Fisher from the Mets' front office did their undergraduate work at Harvard. Writes Lennon:

The Los Angeles Times dubbed him "Google Boy'' -- a derisive nickname meant to suggest DePodesta's over-reliance on computer-generated info -- and he was fired after the Dodgers went 71-91 in 2005. DePodesta lost his job, but remained a hero for the sabermetric crowd, which has only multiplied since then, especially in the college ranks.

The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, which describes itself as a "student-run organization dedicated to the quantitative analysis of sports strategy and management,'' could be churning out the next army of DePodestas if they didn't sound so uninterested in baseball. It's not that the sport has necessarily fallen out of favor with the numbers-obsessed. There's just not a lot of groundbreaking debate that can be done by laptop-toting amateurs on such well-worn terrain.

"There's kind of a glut. The market is pretty saturated at this point,'' said Andrew Mooney, a Harvard junior and co-president of the HSAC. "It's getting to the point where if you want to say anything new about baseball, you need to access the type of tracking equipment that the organizations are using. I think the opportunities that people in our club are most excited about now are in basketball and football, where this industry is still kind of in its infancy.''

• Michael Powell in the Times reflects on being a Mets fan this week.

• Is Lucas Duda too passive at the plate? Tim Marchman addresses that topic in the Journal.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report believes Terry Collins indirectly threw his team under the bus. … Faith and Fear in Flushing considers the concept of "relevance," as it applies to the Mets and their fans.

BIRTHDAYS: Rick Baldwin, who pitched in relief for the Mets in the mid-70s, was born on this date in 1953.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where were you when Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history?

In-depth: Video over boots on ground

April, 12, 2011
Bob Johnson attended Monday’s Mets-Rockies game at Citi Field. But the former advance scout for the New York Mets was gathering information on his ex-employer. He was doing so on behalf of the Atlanta Braves, who now sign his paychecks.

Johnson’s replacement with the Mets? Technically, there is none.

Rather than have a dedicated scout watching upcoming Mets opponents on the road and collecting intelligence, the Mets have gone the high-tech route. Instead, baseball operations manager Adam Fisher dissects video and does computer analysis straight from a laptop without traveling to see the Mets’ upcoming opponents in person.

About half the teams in Major League Baseball have gone that route, eliminating the position of advance scout.

The advantages include less wasted time, since there’s no travel required, and obviously saved expenses.

The primary disadvantage: Just like with the CIA, there has to be some value in actual human intelligence in enemy territory.

“This year we decided to go the route of scouting off video,” assistant GM John Ricco said. “The main difference is you don’t have somebody live. There are advantages and disadvantages. We’re not the first club to go this way. This is something that a number of teams are doing around the league, and a couple of our guys had experience with it. Paul [DePodesta] did it, with Cleveland originally. It’s fairly common, probably about 50-50 [versus having an advance scout].”

Johnson bolted during the offseason, when incumbent scouts with the Mets were unsure about their futures as things transitioned to Sandy Alderson’s regime.

Would the Mets have gone this route anyway? Knowing their statistical orientation, you would imagine so, but Ricco noted: “Bob going there really gave us the opportunity to really look at it and say, ‘What do we want to do?’”

Studying hitters clearly can be done by video and stats, but things can be missed.

“They will miss little nagging injuries,” one advance scout told “Guy’s got a bad wrist, you can pound it in on him.” The person added that he even knows players’ marital issues that can affect performance. And, he suggested, the statistical and video analysis might underweight the opposing pitcher’s most recent performance, whereas he would have seen it in person.

You also cannot always discern defensive positioning unless you’re actually at the upcoming opponents’ games.

“Some of the things you can’t get are the things that are off-camera, obviously,” Ricco acknowledged. “That can be that maybe a guy comes out on deck and then he gets pulled back, to managerial tendencies that he might not see. So anything that’s off-camera is something you can’t get.”

Still, these days, so much is available statistically in terms of an opposing managers’ and batters’ tendencies, clearly teams feel the cost savings counteract any advantages of boots on the ground. And teams still have professional scouts assigned to watch organizations that can supplement the video and statistical data even minus a formal advance scout.

Fisher technically never has to leave his desk at Citi Field to prepare reports, although he was in Philly for last week’s series at Citizens Bank Park. He supplemented his report with face-to-face time with Mets coaches in a room off the visitors’ clubhouse.

Johnson would file a report, then be available to the manager via phone, because he was always one or two cities ahead of the Mets.

“There are advantages and disadvantages to each way,” Ricco said. “The advantages are the advance scout is not spending time at airports. And clearly there’s a cost savings there too. [Fisher] can sit in a single environment, transmitting all the reports. It makes things a lot easier communicating with the staff. We’ll decide on a series-by-series basis where it’s best to have him, but he came in and prepped the team [in Philly]. One of the advantages to this, too, is you can, if you want to, have the guy with the club and be face-to-face, whereas Bob always had to be at that next place. Fish can go catch up with the video wherever.

“One reason teams have been able to do this is because the video is now so good that you can get everything you need without a problem.”

Still, the advance scout isn’t sold on the technological approach.

“It depends if you want to win or not,” he said about having an advance scout. “Clubs that have it tend to win.”

FRIENDLY ENEMIES: Ike Davis had a question last week in Philly when he could not find a familiar face: What happened to Davey Lopes?

Lopes had been the Phillies’ first base coach in 2010. And given Davis and Lopes were side-by-side for nine innings for 18 games last year when the Mets were in the field, the two inevitably had their share of conversations.

“Every game before the game you shake their hands and say, ‘Good luck,’” Davis said about first-base coaches. “When you play against the Phillies or Washington -- everyone in the division you play so many times -- you end up kind of knowing the guy. Eventually you’ll have conversations with them. I ran out there expecting to see him, and he wasn’t there. You start talking to the guy, and usually everyone’s a pretty good guy. It’s fun to see the same faces all the time.”

Davis, it turns out, will have to wait until May 6 to reunite with Lopes. He’s now the first base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they visit Citi Field that weekend.

“It’s all about the game, unless it’s like, ‘Hey, tell your dad I said hi,’” Davis said about the dialogue, while alluding to his father, ex-Yankees pitcher Ron Davis. “Other than that it’s, ‘Hey good swing. Nice play.’ Or something like that.

“That’s another cool thing -- some say, ‘Hey, tell your dad I said hi.’ And maybe they’ll tell me a funny story about my dad or something like that.”

In-depth appears Tuesdays during the regular season



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187