As we did last season, I want to ignore individual players for the purpose of this post. Instead, let’s pull back and examine the team’s 2013 batting statistics. Maybe by getting a handle on the general issues, we can begin to see how that applies to specific players moving forward.
Anyway, some Mets numbers, relative to all 15 NL clubs:
- Runs: 11th
- Hits: 13th
- Doubles: 9th
- Triples: 5th
- HRs: 11th
- AVE: 14th
- OBP: 13th
- SLG: 14th
- K’s: 1st (tied with Braves for most)
- BB: 4th (but you already knew we could take pitches!)
- SB: 3rd
- PH-H: 11th
What does it mean? Well, the overall trend continues downward — except for triples and stolen bases. Thank you, Eric Young. The team is not hitting for average, and not slugging, and consequently the OBP was incredibly bad.
I phrased it that way on purpose. Walks don’t drive OBP. Walks are a result of who is standing up at the plate, the hitter’s ability to hit. That is: the pitcher’s response to guy with the bat.
A player’s ability to hit for average and power is what drives walks and inflates OBP. You don’t get a high OBP primarily by taking a ton of pitches.
Moreover, hitting for average and power is not so much a function of “organizational philosophy” as it is about “talent.” Teach crappy hitters to take a lot of pitches and what you get is the league-leading total in strikeouts (and a lousy OBP).
In other words, our GM has been barking up the wrong tree.
Let’s move to our rankings by position (NL only):
- OPS: 13th
- HR: 3rd with 22
- OPS: 11th
- HR: 14th with 15
- AVE: 13th
- RBI: 15th (oh, wait: RBI doesn’t matter, I forgot!)
- OPS: 5th
- HR: 8th
- Runs: 2nd (up from 16th in 2012)
- SB: 2nd (up from 10th in 2012)
- OPS: 15th (.561)
- HR: 15th (3)
- RUNS: 13th
- RBI: 15th (oh, wait: RBI doesn’t matter, I forgot again)
- AVE: 15th
- OPS: 1st
- HR: 5th with 20
- Runs: 2nd
- OPS: 10th LF, 15th CF, 10th RF.
- HR: 11th LF, 10th CF, 8th RF.
- RUNS: 5th LF, 15th CF, 11th RF.
- RBI: 13th LF, 5th CF, 5th RF.
- AVE: 14th LF, 13th CF, 10th RF.
Comment: Shortstop killed this offense all year long, obviously. D’Arnaud at catcher for a full season (fingers crossed) should help. A GG-caliber platoon at CF with Lagares & den Dekker makes some sense. The Mets really did sacrifice offense for defense out there, and that’s a tricky equation to get right. Another year gone, we still need to find a bat in one of the corners, at least. First base killed us, too. Brutal. On the good side, think we’re all set at third. Curiously, the second base position jumped from last in runs scored to 2nd in a year when Daniel Murphy’s OBP actually went down.
The big jarring statistic of the day: The Mets shortstops had a .561 OPS. Troy Tulowitzski’s OPS in 2013 was 931. Even when you consider park factors, that’s a massive differential that would wildly affect the lineup.
Any thoughts, Mike?
This is the second year in a row that Murphy graded out well offensively. Eric Young did drive the team’s stolen base numbers, so did Murphy, who added yet another weapon to his game. His success ratio on stolen bases was good too. My respect for Daniel continues to grow. We need more players like him.
Wright, of course, is a fabulous player. Players like David are rare, and the clock is ticking on his career; we have now punted away three years of his prime. It is high time we added somebody to assist the guy.
On the negative side, the killer for me was first base. I didn’t expect Ike to be Carlos Delgado, but wow he killed us. Again. It’s unbelievable that we are even thinking about round three.
Shortstop was terrible, but I thought very little of Tejada to begin with. So I’m more disapointed in our management for trying to pawn him off as a good player than I am with Ruben himself. Not that I expected anything this bad, but I’m far from shocked.
Tejada is a good example of a guy where approach can only take you so far. Great, he works pitchers, but once it became obvious that he cannot hit a ball past the warning track, or beat out a groundball, pitchers adjusted. The other teams have scouts and data too, and ability will always win out. In some ways his brutal season was a positive. It shines a light that we have a huge hole at short. Kidding ourselves and trying to win around Tejada to justify past mistakes only handicaps the effort to win. Time to move on.
Overall, we need an injection of high-level talent. Besides David Wright, somebody has to scare the opposing team.
Right now, other than Wright and Murphy, these guys only scare me.