Mets Team Offense By the Numbers: Overall Rank and By Position

Statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy:

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.

barking-up-the-wrong-treeMoreover, 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):

Catcher:

  • OPS: 13th
  • HR: 3rd with 22

First Base:

  • OPS: 11th
  • HR: 14th with 15
  • AVE: 13th
  • RBI: 15th (oh, wait: RBI doesn’t matter, I forgot!)

Second Base:

  • OPS: 5th
  • HR: 8th
  • Runs: 2nd (up from 16th in 2012)
  • SB: 2nd (up from 10th in 2012)

Shortstop:

  • OPS: 15th (.561)
  • HR: 15th (3)
  • RUNS: 13th
  • RBI: 15th (oh, wait: RBI doesn’t matter, I forgot again)
  • AVE: 15th

Third Base:

  • OPS: 1st
  • HR: 5th with 20
  • Runs: 2nd

Outfield:

  • 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.

Travis d'ArnaudComment: 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?

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-2012Tejada 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.

 

 

 

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10 comments

  1. Eric/Eraff says:

    “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.”

    This is good stuff Jimmy! YES…provide lower talent with an approach to compensate and you can manage some success by LIMITING the downside—but you need to start with Major League Players to get anything productive.

  2. James Preller says:

    It is tricky to talk about. The walks are there, so that’s a happy result, I guess. But it’s a strange goal and does not appear to be a stat that drives an offense. And to be clear, walks are good — they aren’t outs, they put runners on base. My feeling is that walks are secondary to the ability to hit, which is where the primary focus should be.

  3. RAFF says:

    The Stats don’t lie. This is pretty much an open and shut case. The Mets need more production from 1st, short, and corner outfield. The problem is- no matter how deep we dive into the myriad of offensive stats- we’re still left viewing only one facet of a multi-dimensional object – A Baseball Player. The other elements: Can he run (fast & “smart)?, Can he field and throw? Does he know how to play the game? They’re harder to measure. We use the word INTANGIBLES as a catch-all, but we easily recognize these elements when we see them. They’re like the cliche > YOU HAD TO BE THERE. From my earliest memories of baseball discussions with my father, I can remember him quoting Leo Durocher’s description of Eddie Stanky “He can’t hit, can’t run, can’t field. He’s no nice guy … all the little SOB can do is win.” When the Mets go on the prowl for High Level Talent this offseason – I hope that they will be clearly focused on the other facets of players’ games.

    • I respect that POV, and understand what you are saying. But at this point, I think the Mets have done pretty well in the intangibles department: Baxter and Turner, who would make the All-Intangible Team; plus Murphy and Wright, who bring measurable qualities, too.

      I’m kind of hoping for some tangibles this time around.

  4. RAFF says:

    James- I obviously missed the mark – What I was trying to say is that when we evaluate ball players, we often skip over the additional skills players bring to their individual performances, which aren’t well captured or even well understood. SO, how important is Speed, Base running, Defense, and Smart-Play? I was pointing out that we often chose the lazy route and lump these things into the “intangibles” category. But they’re highly tangible when we watch various players as they are performing outside the batters box. For instance, If we compared Pedroia to Daniel Murphy- it’s somewhat surprising to see how well Murphy’s Stat line holds up, at a fraction of the cost and given the huge difference in notoriety of the two players. Even if their stats were IDENTICAL- We’d all easily recognize that Pedroia is clearly the better baseball player. As I watch the playoffs, I see some guys with low averages, lower than desired OBP’s, and the rest- But I also see the other facets of their game on the field, and I begin to understand the value they bring. It’s just so hard to quantify how many more games they help their team win with these other skills. Maybe someone is tallying Stats to help us compare; WALK-OFF Catches, Inning-Ending defensive plays with the bases loaded, or 9th inning 1st to third base-running scampers which make a Walk-Off Sac-Fly to possible. Or maybe You Have to Be There to see it – Maybe you can only value Eddie Stanky, if you saw the additional things he brought to bear. I know the Sabermetricians are all over this subject matter- But I’m highly skeptical of that whole lot of folks. Anyone who cannot recognize the simple, self-evident proposition that there are a limited number circumstances where a walk offers the same benefit as a hit can’t possibly be trusted to explain this.

    • I don’t care if they through the i ching online or if Jeff uses a ouija board, I just want to see this organization pursue talent.

      That’s the change I’m looking for. Once that begins, we can quibble in earnest!

  5. Dave says:

    “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.”

    Jim, I don’t think your statements are categorically true. Some guys walk a lot because they are feared sluggers, and pitchers are afraid to give them anything to hit. These are the players about whom (consistent with your theory) opposing managers will say “let someone else beat us”. Williams, Ruth, Bonds, Pujols (in St. Louis) fit this category of high walk/high slugging percentage players.
    However, in some cases, players walk a lot because they take a lot of pitches in the hope of walking. Bud Harrelson, Wayne Garrett, Dave Magadan were former Mets who fall within this category of slap hitting walkers. For these guys, a walk was truly as good as a hit and allowed them to play every day.
    A third category is the high average hitter who is not feared as a slugger, but hits with patience and discipline. Keith Hernandez and John Olerud are former Mets who fit this model. The point here is that high OBP players come in more than one package. Earl Weaver’s maxim aside, I like walks. I especially like players who only swing at pitches they can hit hard. Show me a guy who walks more than he strikes out, and I’ll show you a really good hitter.

    • Michael Geus says:

      When I spoke to Buddy, he also considered the way he hit another factor in his walking. Choke up with two strikes, foul off pitches, etc.

      We see less and less of that from hitters now.

    • Dave, I can’t argue with any of that. I like walks, too. And I respect that there are many different types of hitters, and that some approaches — not swinging early in the count, mostly — can influence walks. So part of what I wrote was in response to the organizational philosophy about taking pitches, pitches per plate appearance, Sandy screaming about “walks” during Spring Training, and so on. I still contend that OBP begins with hits, and hitters. Instructing shitty hitters to take more pitches might earn you a few more walks, but it does not help the hitting department, IMO.

      I just read this yesterday, so it’s fresh. Bill James wrote, “My basic theory of baseball is that any theory of baseball will work if the talent is good enough. A ‘theory’ or a clear idea of how you’re going to win is extremely useful to a baseball team, because it organizes the work, clarifies the needs and goals of the team; it provides focus and direction among a dizzying array of options and alternatives. If you’re trying to win it by pitching or power in exactly the same way that, if you’re trying to make a million dollars, it helps to have a clear idea whether you’re trying to make money in real estate or prostitution. Almost every successful organization displays some such presentiment — but it isn’t the theory that wins. It’s the players.”

      Two things: It’s not the theory, it’s the players.

      And: If the idea is to win by walking a lot, it’s a pretty weak theory (because — and now we are full circle — if you want to walk a lot, the best approach is to begin with hitters, and power, exceptions not withstanding).

  6. RAFF says:

    I humbly submit for the Jury’s review the following pieces of evidence. Vlad Guerrero (.379 Lifetime OBP) & Nomar Garciaparra (.361 Lifetime). Two Guys who; didn’t walk a lot (outside of intentional walks), and were notorious 1st Strike, Early-In-the-count swingers. I’d take either/both on my team.

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