While observing a discussion in our chat room about the pros and cons of Bob Melvin versus Wally Backman, one of our readers (Met Maniac) posted a link to an old ESPN article from when Bob Melvin won the Manager of the Year award in 2007.
A couple of things that were written really intrigued me and I immediately drew some comparisons to the current Mets team.
A year after Arizona went 76-86 and tied Colorado for last place in the NL West, the Diamondbacks surged. They did it despite getting outscored by 20 runs, becoming the first team in the majors since the 1906 Chicago White Sox to have a league’s best record despite the worst batting average.
I think that’s a pretty remarkable achievement; to amass a record like that despite such poor offense. I wondered if their futility in batting was matched by a futility in on-base percentage and upon digging further I discovered they were also last in that category as well with a .321 OBP.
They had a great 4.13 ERA as a team that season, but weren’t even the best in their division, San Diego (3.70 ERA) was.
Melvin was honored for his steady hand in leading a team that sometimes started six rookies to a 90-72 mark. Melvin’s evenhanded approach meshed well with his young team, which lost stars Randy Johnson and Orlando Hudson to season-ending injuries. Arizona went 43-29 after the All-Star break.
Six rookies? Plus the losses of veteran all stars Randy Johnson and Orlando Hudson to season-ending injuries. The similarities to recent Mets teams was kind of uncanny.
By the way, Melvin actually posted a better record with Mariners in 2003 when he led Seattle to a 93-69 record in his first year as a Major League manager.
Maybe there is more to Bob Melvin than meets the eye.