Opening Day Lead-off Man, Collin Cowgill
On September 22, 2013, Rob Rogan of Mets360.com wrote an article titled, The 2013 Mets were worse than you thought.
In his article, he includes the following table to show how the Mets performed by position using fWAR:
From April 20 - May 25, the Mets record was 9-22, a .290 winning percentage. Horrible. Their opponents were: Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs, Reds, and Braves. Some very good teams, some not as good, but a .290 winning percentage?
While his evidence tells us that “by position” the Mets should have a record ranking 18th in MLB, I want to make a case for the opposite. That is, the Mets in fact were better than their final record. As of this writing, the Mets are 73-85. Although every team has good streaks and bad streaks, I want to point out a seven week period starting April 20 and ending June 15.
Following the improbable sweep of the Yankees, they went right back to a 3-10 nosedive, a .230 winning percentage. These opponents featured such powerhouses as: Marlins, Nationals, Marlins, Cardinals, and Cubs.
Excluding this period, the Mets went 60-55, a .522 winning percentage. Over a 162 game season, that’s 84 wins. Not playoffs, but, not embarrassing either.
So, what happened from late April until middle of June? It would be too easy to just say that it took Ike Davis to be sent down on June 10 and then the Cardinals came to town. But, then the Cubs came after that and yet it took a pinch hit 3-run homerun by Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the ninth inning off Carlos Marmol to avoid being swept. However, could the difference be the acquisition of Eric Young Jr. on June 18?
The close proximity of these two transactions to the turnaround may be coincidental, or they may not have any difference at all. However, it should be pointed out that in late August with Davis back, David Wright got hurt, and Marlon Byrd was traded away, the Mets never performed this poorly.
Several factors played a role:
Daniel Murphy was quite cold during that time, dropping his batting average down to .258 on May 12, before rebounding to .304 by month’s end.
- Ike Davis…well, you know.
- Eric Young came in hitting 15-for-47 (.319) during June, with 8 runs scored, 7 runs batted in, and 3 steals. Not bad for 11 games’ work.
Can it be said that not having a leadoff hitter hurt the Mets more than we realized?
Michael Bourn hit .333 in an injury shortened April, he hit .288 in May, and .292 in June. However, .247, .219, and .220 in July, August, and September, respectively screams out “What happened?”
What if the Mets had him on April 1? What do you think?
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