In his blog at Newsday, Ken Davidoff reports that Lastings Milledge arrived at camp today -- a day earlier than required -- and he wasn't visibly carrying the baggage of last season's less-than-smooth initiation to the big leagues. He was asked whether he thought any ill feelings would be carried into the new year:
"Everything's clean," Milledge said. "Everything's fine. Everybody's all right. I'm fine with everybody. Everything's OK. I don't have any problems with anybody."Milledge had an inauspicious debut with the Mets in 2006, batting .241/.310/.380 in 185 plate appearances with 12 walks, 5 HBP and 39 strikeouts. The .139 IsoP (Isolated Power) was not terrible, and the BB+HBP rate was okay, too. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was quite a bit lower than his expected BABIP (eBABIP): .293 versus .342 (eBABIP is generally derived by adding .12 to line drive %). His line drive rate of 22.2% was very good, so even though Milledge's reputation as an elite prospect might have taken a hit last year, I think he still has plenty of upside in the bigs.
He is probably a longshot to make the Mets out of spring training, with Shawn Green the favorite to retain the starting gig in right field and Ben Johnson and Endy Chavez already clamoring to fill in during days off/prolonged periods of ineptitude. It's a good bet that Milo will wind up back in Triple-A to start the season, and it's a good bet that he will pick up where he left off last year, annihilating minor league pitching.