Mets Rumors & News
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J Platt, Hot Stove Philly – This is a tough one. With the potent bats in the Phillies lineup, the obvious choice would be Ryan Howard. Unfortunately, Howard’s strikeouts make him a liability with the game on the line. Chase Utley would be another obvious choice. While I wouldn’t complain if the Phillies were down in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run on base and Utley stepped to the plate, I don’t always think the “superstar” is necessarily the most clutch player. In saying that, the first player who came to my mind was Shane Victorino. Vic does the little things it takes to get on base and comes through when it counts.  But he’s not the clutch bat, he’s the guy who gets the rally started. This is why I went with Greg Dobbs.

Dobbs, who doesn’t have a huge playing role with the Phillies, makes an impact whenever given the opportunity. Dobbs is batting .370 when it’s “Late & Close” (batting when the team is either leading by one run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck), .311 with RISP, .315 in innings 7-9, and .368 as a pinch hitter. It’s not the prettiest name, but when the big hit is needed, Greg Dobbs delivers.

Jeff Freier, Hot Stove New York – I’d have to say Carlos Delgado. Though Carlos Beltran just hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth and down by a run in Florida. The Mets don’t really have that one clutch guy you can always count on. Right now you’d have to go with Delgado.

Jon Atwood, Hot Stove Philly – With the game on the line, this season I would have to take Carlos Beltran as my pick. The stats simply do not lie. With runners in scoring position, Beltran has seven home runs and 74 RBIs in 161 at bats. He has one home run and 18 RBIs in 13 at bats with the bases loaded. Most telling of all is that in 42 at bats in late innings of close games, Beltran has two home runs and seven RBIs.

Cases can be made for Ryan Howard, who leads the league with 77 RBIs with runners in scoring position and 10 homeruns; Pedro Feliz, who has three home runs and eight RBIs in 42 at bats in late innings of close games; or Pat Burrell, who has five home runs and nine RBIs in 45 at bats in late innings of close games. All three of those Phillies players have better numbers in those categories than Beltran, but Beltran is in the top of the league in all three of the categories discussed, which to me makes him the most clutch player on Mets or the Phillies.

Kwame Flaherty, Hot Stove New York – This should be easy to answer but it’s not. Last season, I would have answered “Moises Alou” in about .4 seconds and not thought twice. This season? It probably depends what month the question was asked. In May and June I would have gone with Ryan Church by default. He was basically the only run producer early in the season In July, the answer would be David Wright. It’s funny, Carlos Delgado had a .714 slugging percentage in July but I felt so burned by him that I didn’t believe in him. In August I realized that Delgado’s turnaround is real and he would be the obvious answer.

My answer today? It’s tough decision. It’s not simply about picking the hottest or most talented hitter on the team. With Alex Rodriguez as exhibit A, the most talented guy isn’t always the player that comes through with the game on the line. Eventually I narrowed the candidates to a group of four. Wright, Delgado, Reyes and Fernando Tatis. I eliminated Reyes because of his lack power. I decided against Wright because he seems to put pressure on himself with the game on the line. I’m not saying he hasn’t been successful in key moments in the past, I just think he sometimes psyches himself out. So that brought me to Delgado and Tatis. Both have had their share of big hits in the clutch this year. But, in an upset I’m going to go with Tatis. My reasoning? Well while a lefty specialist can at the least negate Delgado’s power, Tatis doesn’t have that problem. Plus, it just seems like Tatis’s year. I know Mets fans think I’m nuts…

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