Tag: Willie Harris

2011 New York Mets: How Long Will the Scott Hairston Experiment Last?

Amidst the recent bullpen shakeup after the New York Mets respectable 4-5 start to the 2011 regular season, questions arise as to how fourth outfielder Scott Hairston will continue to fit himself into the Mets future plans.

As Jason Bay continues to make strides in his return from a bad back, his arrival could prove detrimental to Hairston’s playing time in the Mets outfield.

Struggling to begin the season and a witness to non-roster invitee Willie Harris nabbing a majority of the left field playing time, Hairston is now apart of a four-man bench while hitting just .071 with seven strikeouts in 14 official at-bats.

Posting those types of numbers would make anyone wonder why his spot on the roster couldn’t be given up to a minor leaguer ready to prove himself in the low-pressure opening weeks of the baseball season.

Guys like Nick Evans or Fernando Martinez could be better options off the Mets bench over the 30-year-old Hairston, but it’s still too early in the season to give up on him ever finding his power-stroke.

It’s apparent he hasn’t lost his touch for the long ball as he went deep a few times in spring training, but until this point in the season, Hairston has failed to show the same power potential a player like Evans or Lucas Duda could bring to the Mets bench.

Hairston obviously fits on the bench as the lone righty power option to foil the power we’ve seen in Daniel Murphy’s bat, but if that stroke doesn’t materialize from Hairston, Collins’ option to make a strategic decision will no longer be effective.

But, again, it’s just too early to throw in the towel on Hairston and judging his Met career off just 14 at-bats would be thought as ludicrous by most fans.

To be honest, they gave Gary Matthews Jr. 58 at-bats to prove that he wasn’t worth the time and effort needed to bring him to New York, so Hairston still has plenty of time left in his Mets career.

As the team continues to grind their way through the month of April, Hairston will be given plenty of opportunities to prove his worth as a lifetime .734 OPS hitter in Collins’ fluid lineup card.

But once again, the inevitable question will be brought back up: How long will this Scott Hairston experiment last?

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New York Mets Make Another Minor Signing: Team Signs Willie Harris

The Mets have made yet another small move: They have agreed to a minor league contract with Willie Harris.

In addition to this, he will be invited to spring training for a chance to make the major league team.

Harris has spent the last three years with the Washington Nationals. During that time period, he has made many great defensive plays in games against the Mets.

Offensively, Harris is not much of a threat. He is a .239 hitter with 37 home runs, 187 RBI and 101 stolen bases in 2,157 career at-bats. Harris is known for his abilities as a fielder.

Last season, Harris posted a .183/.291/.362 line. He had some power, hitting 10 home runs in 224 at-bats. Harris will obviously need to improve on these numbers if he wants to stick with the Mets.

Harris also provides the Mets with some versatility in the field. He played all three outfield positions, second base, third base and shortstop during his stint with the Nationals.

The Mets are looking for a fourth outfielder, and it appears that Harris may fill this spot. Harris will have competition for the spot, however. Lucas Duda and Fernando Martinez will also be fighting it out for that roster spot. There is a chance that Kirk Nieuwenhuis could also be part of the competition, but at the moment he is not on the Mets’ 40-man roster.

This is yet another move that involves no risk for the Mets. Since it is just a minor league contract, Harris will have to earn the rest of his salary. The better he performs, the more he gets paid.

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Washington Nationals Offense Strong Enough for September Playoff Push

There is a great deal of consternation right now about the Washington Nationals and their offensive struggles.


Writers, commentators, bloggers and fans think the team’s offense is just not good enough to keep the team around .500—maybe a little better—until Stephen Strasburg finally arrives and saves the day.


But that is simply not the case.


Below is the Nationals’ most-used lineup for 2010. Take a look at the player’s offensive production when projected over the complete season.


CF—Nyjer Morgan:                 .242/.316/.339            24 2B—15 3B—0 HR—24 RBI


2B—Cristian Guzman:               .321/.347/.403            21 2B—9 3B—0 HR—48 RBI


3B—Ryan Zimmerman:          .299/.374/.571            38 2B—0 3B—32 HR—86 RBI


1B—Adam Dunn:                    .270/.379/.546            44 2B—6 3B—32 HR—80 RBI


LF—Josh Willingham:             .275/.429/.529            22 2B—3 3B—32 HR—107 RBI


SS—Ian Desmond:                   .263/.314/.410            22 2B—6 3B—14 HR—80 RBI


C—Ivan Rodriguez:                 .325/.351/.439            27 2B—3 3B—3 HR—51 RBI


RF—Roger Bernadina:              .241/.289/.410            14 2B—7 3B—6 HR—39 RBI


Nyjer Morgan has a career average of .291/.353/.381. There is no way he will finish the season this poorly. Expect him to have a sizzling summer and approach his career numbers by September.


Pudge Rodriguez is 38 and will no doubt end the season somewhere in the neighborhood of .260/.330/.440. Even though he will cool off, Rodriguez should still hit well enough to make him an offensive asset.


The only hole in the lineup is in right field where Justin Maxwell flunked terribly. Willie Harris hasn’t hit well since 2008. Roger Bernadina, after a remarkable five-game span, is returning to the real world.


Kevin Mench, who is Triple-A Syracuse’s every-day right fielder, is currently hitting .303/.373/.379 for the Chiefs with eight doubles, a home run, and 21 RBI.


Mench, 31, played seven seasons in the major leagues and has a 162-game career average of .269/.326/.460 with 21 homers and 76 RBI.


A right-handed batter, Mench hits lefties well. He, and perhaps Willie Harris, are the best options for the Nationals can right now unless they make a trade for a veteran right-fielder.


Six of the eight position players are providing the Nationals with satisfactory to above-average offense. A seventh (Morgan) will eventually hit to his potential, and sooner or later, the Nationals will fix the problem in right field.


From what I can tell, the Nationals struggle offensively because the team lacks timely hitting with runners in scoring positionand especially with two out.


I think the offense—with the exception of right-field—is certainly strong enough and the team’s middle-of-the-lineup sluggers (Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham) might be the best in the league right now.


A proven right fielder and the addition of Stephen Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang to the starting rotation—and the reintroduction of Jason Marquis—make the Nationals a team that could contend for the National League wild card, at least from the periphery, until late into the season.


Let’s wait until John Lannan, Stephen Strasburg, Chien-Ming Wang, and Jason Marquis anchor the Nationals’ rotation before we worry about the team’s offense.


The Nationals would then find their fifth starter from a group that includes Livan Hernandez, Scott Olsen, Luis Atilano, Craig Stammen, and J.D. Martin and could use one or more of the remaining starters to nab a pretty good right fielder on the trade market.


This Nationals’ team will win 77-82 games in 2010, perhaps 85-88 if they find that veteran right fielder with a potent bat.


Man, this has been a fun season. Can you imagine how much more fun it will be once the final pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place?

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