Feb 21, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana (57) works out during camp at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Welcome To Port St. Lucie
Mets manager Terry Collins met with the media for the first time in 2012 and he had a lot to say about his expectations for the team (spoiler alert: he has very high expectations for the club). Collins confidently stated that he expects lefty Johan Santana to be his Opening Day starter come April and while the veteran threw a 30 pitch bullpen session on Tuesday without issue, his second of the spring, Santana didn't exactly share TC's blind optimism. At the least, it looks as if Santana is on pace to throw an inning in the Mets' Grapefruit League opener on March 5th.
Some other notable bits from TC's press conference: Ruben Tejada is having some minor visa issues getting back into the U.S. from his native Panama. The team is hoping Tejada should be able to report to Port St. Lucie by Saturday's deadline. Righty prospect Jenrry Mejia did not throw of a mound yesterday as originally talked about. It looks as if Justin Turner will be the team's right handed option at first base in case Ike Davis needs a day off. That's right: Justin Turner and first base.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen says that there's a 50/50 chance that righty Pedro Beato works as a starter out of the Buffalo Bisons rotation. Not sure I understand Warthen's quote about it being "dead in his heart" but I guess we can call the whole exchange a win since he didn't call Beato a habitual liar.
Top pitching prospect and Carlos Beltran bounty Zack Wheeler reported to Port St. Lucie on Tuesday and was immediately mobbed by beat writers. "Welcome to the Mets, son! Now answer these questions correctly while Kevin Burkhardt and Andy Martino invade your personal space." Wheeler is a cool guy and he says that he doesn't feel the pressure of the franchise on his shoulders. Be careful--that same pressure broke David Wright's back last year (okay, no it didn't). Andy McCullough wrote a nice piece about something very important: Wheeler's excellent presence on Twitter.
Jose Reyes' former number 7 is no longer up for grabs, as bench coach Bob Geren grabbed the shortstop's old digit.
More Mets! Yay!
Baseball America's Top 100 prospect list was revealed and the Mets had two players land on it. Can you guess who? The righty Wheeler checked in at #35, while righty Matt Harvey ended up a little further back at #54. Patrick Flood charted where the duo ranks on a few of the major prospect lists. BA writers Jim Callis and JJ Cooper chatted about the list afterwards and they received a couple of Mets questions, about Jeurys Familia, Wilmer Flores and the Mets' farm system rank as a whole.
Continuing with the prospects, Toby Hyde's Top 41 Prospect list is getting down to the wire, as he ranked Tommy John afflicted righty Jenrry Mejia at #9 and every other kind of injury afflicted second baseman Reese Havens at #8. Most interesting to me is that this means outfielder Juan Lagares ranks somewhere in the top seven, quite a jump for a guy who was unranked a year ago and still doesn't walk enough. SNY also has some video of righty Jeurys Familia throwing a light bullpen session in PSL.
Former equipment manager Charlie Samuels pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday to charges of possessing stolen property and tax fraud. Samuels avoided jail time, but will receive five years probation along with having to pay money back to the state, city and the Mets. He is also banned indefinitely from Citi Field, Digital Domain Park and MCU Park in Brooklyn.
Mookie Wilson has decided to stick with the organization in a dual baseball/business role for 2012.
Finally, the Mets will send a large contingent of current and former players to Gary Carter's memorial service in Palm Beach Gardens, FL on Friday.
Around the Majors
Yu Darvish arrived at Rangers camp and took part in his first workout. His first news conference will be on Thursday, so for those of Yu excited to hear what Yu has to say, Yu will have to wait (and Yu will like it).
Ichiro had a career worst year in 2011, hitting .272/.310/.335 with a woeful .289 wOBA. Yesterday, it was reported that Ichiro is going to hit third this season for the Mariners. Say what?
For all of you fantasy baseballers out there, RotoGraphs is running down the Top 100 fantasy prospects for 2012, beginning with #100-81.
Finally, MLB has tweaked the rules regarding pitcher changes to prevent managers (looking at you, Joe Maddon) from stalling by moving a fielder onto the mound with no intention of having him pitch.