Mets Diamond Notes: Kelly Shoppach’s Playing Time, Matt Harvey’s Limit

By Matt Musico

With the Mets set to face an abundance of left-handed pitching in the immediate future, Terry Collins said that he will be putting Kelly Shoppach‘s name into the lineup card more often than not. As it was reported by MetsBlog yesterday, the New York skipper said that he wants to give Shoppach and chance to show he can fit into what the Mets are looking to do as a team next year, so he wants to make sure he gives him a chance to prove himself.

Well, in his limited time with the since being traded from the Red Sox for Pedro Beato in a waiver wire deal a few weeks back, he’s proved to be the most productive catcher the Mets have had all season. With his two-run homer in the 10th inning against Philadelphia Tuesday night, he equaled the amount of homers New York has gotten from all their catchers throughout 2012. Just in case you forgot, the combination of Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Rob Johnsonhave hit two home runs this season. Shoppach did that in about two weeks.

In 7 games and 22 at-bats with the Amazins, the right-handed hitting backstop is hitting .318/.400/.636 with those 2 home runs and 5 RBI. Bringing Shoppach over now to see if he would be a fit in the lineup and with handling the pitching staff was a good move by Sandy Alderson, as it not only allows the organization to see if having this player will work for them moving forward, but it gives Shoppach a chance to bond with his teammates and create a connection with them and the fans, which could make it harder to walk away after he only experienced it for about a month by the time the season is through. In all reality, this will be a good option for Shoppach because he will not only be playing the most since he hit 21 homers in 352 at-bats with the Indians back in 2008, but it looks as though the Mets are going to be making moves this winter to give themselves a chance to be a season-long contender in 2013.

The success we’ve seen from the young pitchers in Flushing this season has been great, but as the calendar gets ready to turn to September, that means the organization is going to start enforcing innings limits so they can preserve these young arms for years to come. Zack Wheeler is nearing his down in Triple-A, Collin McHugh is not close to his, but it looks like Matt Harvey has about 5 more starts before he will be shut down for the season. Terry Collins doesn’t expect Harvey to finish out the season before he hits his limit, as he’s logged 152.1 innings between Buffalo and New York this season, and a proposed cap is around 175. It would nice to see him finish out the year with the team, but the Mets aren’t playing for a playoff spot, so it’s a no brainer to shut him down and rest up for 2013, where we’ll likely see him be in the Mets rotation on Opening Day.

As for Minor League news, New York’s first overall pick, Gavin Cecchini, will be joining the Brooklyn Cyclones for the remainder of their season, as he just finished up the year with the Kingsport Mets. The shortstop has been playing as the DH recently because he fractured his finger tip a few weeks ago. In 53 games and 191 at-bats this season, Cecchini is hitting .246/.311/.330 with 1 home run and 22 RBI. He joins Brandon Nimmo as the Cyclones look to lock up a Wild Card spot in the New York Penn League. The Mets will also have seven prospects play in the Arizona Fall League, which include: Ryan Fraser (P), Chase Huchingson (P), Adam Kolarek (P), Greg Peavey (P), Danny Muno (IF), Darrell Ceciliani (OF), and Cesar Puello (OF).