A little trivia for you Mets fans…
Chipper Jones faced Jason Isringhausen tonight and that got me thinking: who has been on the same team throughout both of his stints on the Mets?
To start off with, as I tweeted a few moments ago when I completed my research on the super computer, Chipper is the ONLY player who Izzy has faced on both of his stints with the Mets, who has remained on the same team. Something about that is pretty amazing to me, I don’t know about you. (Man, Larry has been on the Braves forever.)
Now, only seven players have remained with the same team since Isringhausen was last a Met in 1999. Chipper is one of those seven, who last faced Izzy when he was a starter with the Mets in 1997.
Who are the other six?
Chime in within the comments section with your guesses. Hint: four hitters, one pitcher.
How much longer will the Mets continue to trot out Josh Thole as their starting catcher? It’s not an easy question to ask - especially as a guy who roots hard for him - but the player is seemingly forcing the question into play.
The organization doesn’t have a plethora of options, so starting him everyday and letting him work out his issues may be the best course of action for a little while longer - but when does he stop getting the nod on a daily basis?
It’s frustrating because Thole is a very likable player. His approach? Gritty. His effort? Unwavering. His passion? Palpable.
But, we’re over two months into this young season when he’s had the starting job and the numbers don’t lie.
Entering last night, 31 catchers accumulated more than 100 ABs. Here are some of Thole’s offensive stats and where he ranks among those 31 catchers:
- .593 OPS (28th)
- .234 BA (21st)
- 0 HR (T-30th)
- 7 Extra-base hits (T-26th)
- 17 RBI (T-17th)
- 9 Runs (T-28th)
So, it’s pretty clear that it hasn’t been good on the offensive end. Defensively? It doesn’t get much better:
- 7 Passed Balls (Most in MLB)
- 8/38 CS (21%)
And then there is the question of how he is as a “receiver” - how he calls a game and works with a given pitcher. Some people don’t put a ton of weight into the statistic of a pitcher’s ERA with a given catcher, and if you’re one of those people, ignore the below. I don’t know how much they mean, especially given the minuscule sample size over two months, but here’s a quick Thole vs. Ronny Paulino ERA comparison with four Mets SPs. (Note: this does not include Dillon Gee because he’s only thrown one inning to Paulino).
- Mike Pelfrey: 9.56 vs. 4.28
- Chris Capuano: 5.70 vs. 3.93
- R. A. Dickey: 4.07 vs. 6.57
- Jon Niese: 4.19 vs. 1.50
But, what bothers me more than any statistic or split is the way he looks. The passed balls are bad passed balls - moments where his immaturity as a defender hemorrhages through the television set. He chokes up at the plate, but still looks overmatched on too many pitches. He’s had a few decent hits for RBIs, but it seems like the best case scenario of most of his at-bats would be a slap the other way for a single.
And to be that type of player you have to be at least a passable defender (which he hasn’t been thus far) and very good at slap hitting (a skill not supported by a .234 batting average).
Furthermore, what’s frustrating is despite all the injuries the Mets are getting decent production from everywhere in the lineup but catcher and left field. And, whether or not we like it, Jason Bay is in it for the long haul.
If Thole doesn’t begin to turn it around soon, how much longer do Terry Collins/Sandy Alderson give him?