Mike Jacobs is the Baha Man

An article by posted on March 19, 2010

The reason why I don’t get into the off-season that much or even Spring Training is because there’s so much more to what goes on behind the scenes than we ever know. I like to just pay attention, whatever happens, happens and I get ready for Opening Day and good times. However, this Mike Jacobs things has be going crazy.

The Mets are in a unique situation this year. The team that “has no minor league system,” has guys opening the eyes of many to the true talent that lies within the farm system. It’s exciting of course, but I don’t get caught up in prospects until I see what they can do on a major league field. There’s just so much that can change, and a great minor leaguer or a great spring training performer sometimes can be only that. 

The debate of Daniel Murphy v. Mike Jacobs v. Ike Davis is interesting to me. I’m a guy who believes Murphy deserves a chance to start at 1B after the work he put into the off-season with Keith Hernandez and Howard Johnson. He’s only coming off of his 1st full season in the big leagues, and I don’t think it’s fair to write him off. 

I’m not saying he’s a superstar, but I am saying if you compare his full rookie season to a lot of players, you’ll see he wasn’t as awful as you may think. The problem with him is there’s one side of Mets fans that now hate him, and another that still crown him with greatness. If we meet in the middle and realize not every player needs to be a 40 HR 1B for a team to be successful, maybe a guy like Murphy can grow. 

I bought a Murphy shirt in August of 2008. The reason I did was I loved his passion and his work ethic that was shown right off the bat. My view of Murphy is he needs to get back to being the patient hitter we saw at the end of 2008. A tough out. To compare him to another 1B, I’d like to see him be a Nick Johnson, without the injuries. He showed great plate discipline and if you look at his numbers, he saw fewer pitches per at bat last year, and he was trying to do too much. You also have to remember, this is a guy who was at times as sadly as this is, was expected to be the 1st or 2nd best hitter in the lineup due to other injuries. 

Ike Davis to me, he’s not going anywhere, so I see no reason to have him be with the big club in April. So assuming he won’t be, that brings us to Jacobs. 

I can’t stand Mike Jacobs supporters. I think a Mike Jacobs supporter is lacking an overall understanding of a hitter’s role in a lineup. If you want to tell me that Mike Jacobs in 2010 is going to be Mike Jacobs from 2008, fine, lets talk about it. 

If that is the best we can hope for, then I still prefer Murphy. I’m sorry but a hitters job #1 is to get on base. Whether that means rounding the bases with 1 swing, or getting on with a hit or a walk, his job is to get safely on base. 

When a hitter can only do that in his BEST season 29% of the time, that is awful. You want to know how awful? Well let’s just focus on the National League for statistical comparison. 

Of the 76 hitters who had a minimum of 500 plate appearances in the NL during the 2009 seasons, three of them had a worse OBP than Jacobs did in Jacobs’ so called “best season.” Those players were Jimmy Rollins (.296), Clint Barmes (.294), and Bengie Molina (.265.) 

Now you can try to tell me that OBP doesn’t matter, you’d be wrong but you could tell me that. A hitters job isn’t to just hit a HR 30 times, and strike out 150. It’s to have productive at bats across the board, not be 1 dimensional. 

If Mike Jacobs was to be in this lineup every day, where would he hit? He’s not a 1-2-3 hitter, he’s not an 8 hitter, and you can’t tell me it makes sense to bat him 6-7 because then he’s no different than Murphy. 

So the only way Jacobs makes sense is if he’s our #4 or #5 hitter. So you’re telling me you (a random supporter of Jacobs) value his 32 plate appearances in which he hits a home run (assuming he comes back to old form) over the fact he strikes out 100+ times, and doesn’t get on base more than KAZ MATSUI! So basically the Mike Jacobs supporters who want Wright-Jacobs-Bay to be our 3-4-5 right now, basically you want the Mets to have the least productive cleanup hitter in the sport. 

When a guy strikes out 22% of the time, and hits a homerun 6% of the time, what do you think that does to Wright or Bay hitting around him? You think Wright is going to get anything to swing at? You think Bay will get any RBI opportunities after Jacobs strikes out to end the inning over and over again? 

It’s a joke, it really is. Jacobs is almost 5 years older than Murphy, and the only thing he brings to the table is the possibility of hitting a homerun 6% of the time he steps to the plate? 

The folks who mention Jacobs’ 30 games in 2005 at age 24 need to get real. I’m sorry but that is just pure desperation coming through my computer monitor. 

I am not saying Murphy deserves something he doesn’t earn, but there’s nothing about Jacobs’ spring at the plate that tells me he is any more deserving than Murphy. In face, I’d rather a 25 year old struggle in the spring, than a 29 year old with everything to prove. 

If Jacobs was having an Ike Davis like spring, it’d be a different conversation. To me, 20 AB and 4 hits, with 2 of them being a HR doesn’t win you a job you were not the favorite for. Everybody has a bad spring here or there, but guys who are #2 in the race for the spot don’t win jobs by hitting like that.

If Mike Jacobs plays 1B and hits 4th in the Mets order, it will be a bigger mistake than the Baha Men version of ”Who let the Mets Out” in 2000.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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