I’ll cut to the chase. Something I’ve been thinking about recently and that I’ve mentioned a few times to friends lately is that the Mets really don’t have a real cleanup hitter. We play in a ball park that is quite obviously pitcher friendly and it can very well sap a few runs from any team playing there. Since the Mets haven’t loaded up on gap hitters that play to Citi Field (which isn’t too smart) nor have they have acquired great pitching to play off their home park’s true strength (pipe dream for me…), I began to think about the absence of a power hitter in the middle of our lineup.
The Mets, at the moment, can throw in anyone from Bay, Wright, Beltran, or Davis to bat cleanup. Taking into account track record, the closest thing we’ve got is probably Jason Bay. However, depending on how much one weighs last year, Bay might be better suited for the 6 hole in your mind (and I can’t say I blame you.) For argument’s sake, let’s say Davis has a HR ceiling this year of about 30. That’s still not definitively a power hitter.
- In 2010, the Mets had Wright post 29 HRs and Davis post 19. Nobody else had more than 12 and the team slugging percentage was .383.
- In 2009, the Mets had Murphy post 12 HRs and 4 others post 10. Nobody else had double digit HRs and the team SLG was .394.
Those were the first two full years in Citi Field. Take a look at the last two in Shea.
- In 2008, the Mets had Delgado post 38 HRs and Wright posted 33. Beltran added 27 and three others added 11+. The team SLG was .420.
- In 2007, the Mets had Beltran post 33 HRs and Wright posted 30. An injured Delgado still managed 24 and 5 others posted in double digits. Team SLG was .432.
And of course, the last time we made the playoffs…
- In 2006, the Mets had Beltran post 41 HRs and Delgado posted 38. Wright added 26 and even Reyes added 19. The team SLG was .445.
Beltran and Delgado put up nearly 80 HRs combined in 2006. Do you think two players on the current Mets will come even close to that in 2011? If Davis hits 35 and Wright hits 30, that’s still only a combined 65. Now, I understand that obviously the expectations for HRs will be tempered since we play 81 games in a pitcher’s park. But we don’t play all of our games there. And how come Tulowitzki or Mark Reynolds or Chase Utley didn’t have any problem drilling HRs at Citi? One of the main problems when we look at our power outage overall is that we no longer employ a major power hitter in the middle of the lineup.
We don’t have a Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Jose Bautista…etc. And from the looks of our minor league system, the closest thing we’re going to get for a while is Ike Davis. I love Ike, but I think 35 is his ceiling. Maybe we should go out and look for Adam Dunn from the ChiSox – it’s a great buy low time period right now.
In any case, I’m not saying we NEED a big power hitter in the middle of the lineup to win; hitting home runs is just one aspect of a baseball game. I am saying that we are missing one and it just might help.