Two Guys Talking: Team Offense By the Numbers


I’d like to enter our conversation from a different angle this time. Instead of looking at specific players, let’s pull back and first examine the team’s 2012 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 16 NL clubs:

  • Runs: 12th
  • Hits: 10th
  • Doubles: 8th
  • Triples: 16th (last)
  • HRs: 11th
  • AVE: 10th
  • OBP: 11th
  • SLG: 11th
  • K’s: 7th
  • BB: 5th (but you already knew we could take pitches!)
  • SB: 15th
  • PH-H: 1st!

What does it mean? Well, first, I started with Runs because that’s the whole enchilada, everything else is secondary. We lack team speed, a quality that translates to defense, too, so it hurts on both sides of the ball. We pinch-hit a lot, which makes sense, since the team has so many platoon-type guys who can’t hit LHP. And we’re often losing, I guess.

Our rankings by position (NL only):


The Thole Conclusion: It’s nice, sometimes, to have a left-handed hitting backup catcher who can handle the knuckleball.

  • OPS: 16th
  • HR: 16th with 5 (League Average, 18)

First Base:

  • OPS: 8th
  • HR: 2nd with 35 (League Ave., 22)

Second Base:

  • OPS: 3rd
  • HR: 14th
  • Runs: 16th


  • OPS: 10th
  • HR: 15th (tie)
  • Runs: 8th

Third Base:

  • OPS: 1st
  • HR: 7th with 22 (League Ave., 19)
  • Runs: 3rd


  • OPS: 14th LF, 12th CF, 14th RF.
  • HR: 8th LF, 10th CF, 10th RF.

Comment: Catcher killed us all year long, obviously. Murphy had 3rd-best SLG in NL, and 6th best OBP, yet LAST in Runs. Is he a base-clogger, a station-to-station plodder, or is this a result of the lineup falling off a cliff at the bottom three-four spots? A combination, I guess. I hate to imagine those outfield numbers, especially in LF, minus Hairston (which seems to be the plan, idiotically).


Although neither of us claim to be expert in statisitical analysis, thanks for starting this topic. It is a good angle for us to discuss. My quick recap of what you have just listed is that:

* We had NO speed.

* We had marginal power.

* Our outfielders and catchers were horrendous, and our infield offense was well above average.

Now when it comes to our catchers and outfielders the numbers just reaffirm the fact that they are an embarrassment. Somehow our brain trust has to inject some major league outfielders into this system. Since they also couldn’t field it’s just crazy how bad an outfield Alderson put out there. Bay was historically bad so we have already improved this position by getting rid of him.

Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard work feverishly on “The Barrajas Project.”

I’ll never understand why we couldn’t find a catcher last off-season who could hit .215 but provide a home run once in a while. These guys are not expensive. Josh Thole is not just bad he is boring, the human equivilient of watching paint dry. It’s been three years, replacing Rod Barrajas should not be “The Manhattan Project”.

Murphy was interesting to me. Those are good numbers. I’ve been really down on Murphy, but this shows the effect that the lack of power and speed around him could have on my perception. Oh, and we had ONE GUY who was number one in OPS at his position. David Wright. So I know I sound like a broken record but I cannot see ANY trade involving Wright which will help this offense. We have to sign this guy.


I don’t want to get sidetracked into a debate about David Wright, except to note the obvious: of course you can downgrade one position and still improve overall so long as you upgrade other areas of need.

Fans often express impatience when it comes to a debate about marginal players, you know the thought, “Who cares about our backup catcher — we’re still going to suck anyway.” And I absolutely hate that mentality. To me, team-building is about a hundred small decisions. A win here, a win there. Little things add up to big things. Last year, when the Wilpons were criminally cutting $50 million off payroll in one fell swoop — no transition period at all — they went with Mike Nickeas at backup catcher. Nickeas, a guy who across eight minor league seasons and over 2,000 PAs had conclusively proven that he could not hit. Yet he worked for the Major League Minimum of $480,880 plus meal money, so he got the roster spot. And guess what? He could not hit. I understand that every penny counts, but this was pound foolish. I believe that solving this position, even more than outfield, is the key to the off-season. It’s time to talk turkey with the Blue Jays; I’d give up a lot for Travis d’Arnaud — whom the Jays acquired in the Roy Halladay deal — assuming that his defense is solid.




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  1. Don Patten says:

    I would agree that addressing the Catcher problem is the bigger problem. Good catchers are harder to find.

    I was struck by the inability of a supposedly bright GM to find even passable outfielders. Outfielders are NOT in short supply! We can’t find even average hitting outfielders? Even if we seemingly DON’T care about their defense?

    • Michael Geus says:

      I agree on the outfielders. But a mostly crappy catcher with pop is not so hard to find either, Nickeas/Thole was an insult to us all.

      • I think they are getting harder to find all the time. Look at Russell Martin. Yes, 18 and 21 HRs last two seasons in Yankee Stadium, but still a .405 SLG that jumped from .330 the previous two seasons. Put him in CitiField and what have you got? His OBP has declined 5 seasons in a row to .311. He earned $7.5 million in 2012. Even Arencibia, who hit 23 and 18 HRs in a hitter’s park, is a career .275 OBP hitter. He’ll be arb-eligible in 2014, so he’s cheap now — but how do you give up to get a guy like that? I’m asking.

  2. Good catchers are extremely rare, indeed. Great ones barely exist. There’s Posey, Molina, Mauer. Then some other guys who are good: Pierzynski, Santana, Wieters, Ellis, Doumit, Ruiz, Lucroy, Navarro, McKenry, and I probably missed 2 or 3. You look at Arencibia’s career .275 OBP — that’s a lot of outs. Martin is overpaid and diminished, except his SLG got an artificial boost at Yankee Stadium. Napoli we can’t afford, plus he also hit in a very friendly environment. For the Mets, it’s very important to keep those stadium factors in mind. This won’t be easy.

  3. DD says:

    In 2011 the Mets managed to finish 6th in the National League in runs scored despite losing most of Ike Davis’ season and much of David Wright’s productivity. They accomplished this by giving playing time to players who preserved outs; the Mets were 2nd in the League in On Base Percentage despite limied contributions from two of their four best offensive players, and the trade of another in midseason. The Mets had little history of showing an understanding of the importance of OBP; I, at least,was tremendously impressed with Alderson’s work in keeping that offense intact.

    This past season saw Jose Reyes gone, Thole’s shocking decline (probably concussion-related), Ike Davis’ historically awful early season struggles with rust/ankle injury/Valley Fever. Beyond that, the team simply didn’t get on base as they had in years past. Torres brought down the average, a significant fall-off from Angel Pagan, Murphy had an off year, and when Jason Bay (who was awful, after being merely bad in 2011) was able to suit up he brought the average down ever farther.

    It all happened in real time. he same General Manager who kept the offense mostly intact against the odds in 2011 chose to show a Chuck Tanner-like patience for several veterans in 2012, and excepting the turnaround of Ike Davis it hurt the Mets. Not that every thing Sandy did was a failure, far from it; in fact his fill ins at shortstop and in the outfield were bright spots for the team. But the offense needed attention from Alderson that it never got, which surprises me to this day.

    • I’m always glad to hear your thoughts, Dan. Thanks for commenting. I consider this off-season the acid test for Alderson — the Free Pass has expired — and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. But he hasn’t done much of anything thus far to bring in talent except to call up some dubious prospects from AAA and hope they’d perform better than their track records.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Great comments DD. A couple of thoughts on this. No more Beltran or Reyes was a big part of this, and Pagan was very underrated. As the plan to replace those guys was Torres (really!), and pray, things played out as expected.
      Add in Bay cratering and this is what you get. At some point, one way or another, impact bats need to be found. Complimentary players are fine but three or four of your hitters need to be dangerous. We had too many guys nobody feared.

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