…badly. Starting an article off with an ellipsis is probably incorrect grammatically, but this article will be filled with mentions of the inability of the Mets to have an effective bench, and thus this discussion comes about.
Willie Harris has been a black hole offensively, both as a starter and as a bench player, striking out in 19 of his 65 at-bats. Using him as a pinch-hitting option is a criminally bad idea, and those at-bats could probably go to a bunch of other hitters who may actually make contact. His value doesn’t even lie in a platoon split, which renders him useless. Scott Hairston has had 33 AB’s, 12 ending in strikeouts. He apparently mashes lefties, but so far he hasn’t mashed anything. He’s played passable defense in LF/RF and due to the Angel Pagan injury, CF in some cases. He looks overmatched at the plate in every at-bat, and doesn’t seem to get the idea that hitting the ball is important, and striking out is VERY, VERY bad when you are a pinch-hitter.
Mike Nickeas was the defensive replacement catcher, so his value as a bat overall was diminished, but Mike Nickeas was a place-holder for Ronny Paulino. Even so, Nickeas hitting .250, walking three times and striking out four times. The best bench-bat against lefties has now become Ronny Paulino, and his splits show that he has been one of the most effective hitters in the MAJORS in hitting lefties. Daniel Murphy was the best bench option as a hitter, and now as he has claimed the role of starting second basemen (the platoon is almost null and void since most starters are righties). Justin Turner is now the backup second baseman and so far has only hit .250. He is on the team as the backup 2B, but his ability to play short may lead to another decision.
Chin Lung-Hu. He hasn’t had a hit since April 5th in limited appearances, and minus that key sac fly a few games ago, has been about as effective at hitting as most Mets pitchers. He has eight strikeouts in his 13 at-bats, with no walks. He is striking out in over 60% of his at-bats. He is like the Oliver Perez of the bench right now, because he has no minor league options and is ineffective. The Mets are forced to play with a shorter bench due to this.
Jason Pridie hasn’t amazed so far, but he hasn’t been all that bad in his 26 at-bats, playing good defense in center, hitiing .269 with two home runs, five RBI and six strikeouts to two walks, with one steal. He may not light the boards up, but he has been adequate, much more adequate then Willie Harris.
What do the Mets have in the minors that would be much better, you ask? Sadly, nobody. Captain Kirk has been killing the ball in AAA, but unless Pagan goes on the DL for an extended period of time and Pridie/Harris/Hairston continue failing, the odds of him being called up are slim. The Mets brass will not bring up talented players to serve bench roles.
Maybe the bench just needs to refocus and put together quality at-bats. Whatever the case is, hopefully the bench can put together some production.