Being Too Patient at the Plate

david wright curtis granderson

A point of frustration for many Mets fans, watching an anemic lineup night after night, is their indiscriminate approach to taking pitches at the plate. No, I don’t mean indiscriminate as in they can’t recognize a ball from a strike, although that has been an issue, too. I am talking about their inability to separate being “patient” from being appropriately aggressive. There are times to take pitches. There are times to work the count. And then there are times when it makes sense to swing at a pitch.

Mets Pitches/PA

Mets hitters have seen the fifth most pitches per plate appearance in the National League this season. They have done so while looking at the third most strikes, or better phrased, they have swung at a strike the third least amount in the NL. Overall, the Mets have swung at a pitch, ball or strike, less than any other National League team, offering at only 44.2% of pitches (league average 46.8%). The Amazin’s are not hitting and they are striking out a lot, all while watching good pitch after good pitch go right by them.

Success by teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees have proven that a patient approach at the plate can be beneficial. Where the Mets seem to be missing the point is that there is a difference from being what I will call selective at the plate versus just taking pitches, good pitches, for the sake of taking them.

A good example of this came on Sunday when Travis d’Arnaud took a called third strike late in the game on a pitch right down the middle of the plate. After throwing my arms up in disgust, it made me wonder. How many pitches have the Mets taken for a called third strike that were right down the middle of the plate? Howie Rose brought up the same question on the radio.

To answer that question, first, think of the strike zone as a dart board. If we think about pitches right down the middle of the plate as the bullseye, any pitch right around the middle of the plate would be that next circle on the dart board. We can draw a picture of how many pitches the Mets have inexplicably taken for a called third strike by focusing on the area in the strike zone right around the middle of the plate.

Strike 3 Down Middle

We see in the chart above that our frustrations have merit. More than any team in baseball, the Mets have taken called third strikes on pitches around the middle of the plate.

The worst offenders?

Mets Called Strike 3

The Mets desperately need to start hitting before the 2014 season is lost. Maybe they can start by doing the simple thing, and take their bats off their shoulders when the pitch is coming down the middle of the plate, especially with two strikes.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Savant and Baseball Reference.

Presented By Diehards

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Is this that thing where the Mets get a string of good things happen and then MMO posts a bunch of “rain on your parade” articles?

  • This isn’t a rain on any parade. It’s a valid point that doesn’t talk about “68 wins” or how great the horrific but lucky at home Marlins are. A legit criticism of things going forward without any bias towards unfounded pessimism

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Totally. I remember the day they reached four games over .500 and every article was pointing out a flaw or something about tempering expectations. It’s just a bummer when fans are happy at the moment and then come to be reminded of all the flaws. It stokes the pessimism and keeps the comments flowing though, so not surprised.

  • Big Daddy D

    Agenda for this team:
    1. Fire Terry Collins, replace with Wally Backman
    2. Replace Colon in the rotation with Thor
    3. Promote deGrom
    4. Choose between Familia and Mejia as the set up guy and closer
    5. Keep Flores in at SS
    6. Give Duda a real chance at cleanup spot
    7. Move Grandy to the 5th spot in the line up.
    8. Fire Hudgens
    9. Get rid of Sandy
    10. Keep “Soup” as an alternative at 1B or guy to come off the bench.

  • TheMets philosophy

    When are the mets gona promote Akeel morris he had another 2 innings with 4 strike outs last night!

  • Fast Eddie

    I believe Jeffrey is onto something here. But it’s not just a question of gazing at a called strike three that’s right over the heart of the plate. Too many times I have seen Mets batters step into the batter’s box and take a first-pitch fastball right down the pipe for strike one; then they swing at the next pitch, which is usually a breaking pitch low and away, for strike two. They are now in an 0-2 hole and the pitcher has a big advantage. That Surely represents at least one Important reason why the Mets strike out so much: falling far behind in the count after only two pitches.

    I have to wonder what the Mets’ batters are thinking when they first get into the box. At the very least they should have in mind a particular pitch that they know they can handle, be it a fastball or a breaking pitch. If they are lucky enough to get that pitch to start the at-bat, they should jump at it. What are the odds that the pitcher will give you the same fat pitch later in the same at-bat?

    Until the count reaches two strikes, I agree that batters should be selective. But “selective” doesn’t mean “passive.” To paraphrase the Ted Williams maxim, if you get a good pitch to hit, HIT IT!

    Veloz

  • NewYorkMammoths

    Great post!

  • Peter S

    I don’t see any of those happening lol

  • BarnRat

    “A string of good things happen”. OK, sure…

    Whatever else, this certainly doesn’t seem like a site for the enemy; more likely a site for the massively frustrated searching for answers. Given our last half decade, is that surprising?

    If you avoid the “rain, what rain?” posts, others might avoid the “piss on the parade” posts. Who knows, might lead to intelligent discourse

  • $14435385

    They my fire Collins (though I doubt it), but his replacement won’t be Backman, who’s not a Sandy guy. They’re not trading Colon during the season; maybe in the offseason (but not if he’s pitching like this). Thor will come up after Super 2 (late June/early July) unless he has a setback, but they’ll also shut him down in early September. They promoted deGrom already. Collins prefers Grandy as a cleanup hitter, so if he’s hitting that’s where he’ll be. Sandy’s doing everything the Wilpons want, so he’s not going anywhere unless he wants to. Hudgen’s fate is tied to Collins. Soup already is an alternative at 1B.

  • Big Daddy D

    I think I could def see 1 mid season
    3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 as well
    the others are pie in the sky.

  • NewYorkMammoths

    In Moneyball, Michael Lewis has a passage about Dykstra’s successful mentality, which this post brought to mind:

    Physically, Lenny didn’t belong in the same league with him. He was half Billy’s size and had a fraction of Billy’s promise – which is why the Mets hadn’t drafted him until the 13th round. Mentally, Lenny was superior, which was odd, considering Lenny wasn’t what you’d call a student of the game. Billy remembers sitting with Lenny in a Mets dugout watching the opposing pitcher warm up. ‘Lenny says, “So who’s that big dumb ass out there on the hill?” And I say, “Lenny, you’re kidding me, right? That’s Steve Carlton. He’s maybe the greatest left-hander in the history of the game.” Lenny says, “Oh, yeah! I knew that!” He sits there for a minute and says, “So, what’s he got?” And I say, “Lenny, come on. Steve Carlton. He’s got heat and also maybe the nastiest slider ever.” And Lenny sits there for a while longer as if he’s taking that in. Finally he just says, “S#it, I’ll stick him.” I’m sitting there thinking, that’s a magazine cover out there on the hill and all Lenny can think is that he’ll stick him.’”

  • Joey D.

    Hi Manhattan,

    Those are indeed valid points being made.

    One has to be open and objective in order to have a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of the team going forward. Quoting Sandy himself:

    “If you constantly react to each result, you will never focus on the probabilities.”

    Now although you and I disagree with Sandy on how he comes to conclusions regarding probabilities, I think in terms of “raining on your parade” we can agree with him on that statement for that is exactly what people are doing. We are happy with the wins but focusing on the probabilities – or, more suitably, the lack of them as we see it.

  • This is a great post. Simple policy: if you take a call third strike on a pitch that is a clear strike, you sit the next day. Maybe even extend it to include swinging at a clearly crappy pitch and striking out earns an off day. Give them incentive to act like major league hitters.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Not about “rain, what rain?” More like, “Hey, some good things have happened in the last 48 hours, and by the way, we strike out a lot and have lots of flaws so don’t forget about that.”

    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mag68aTzPo1qlvwnco1_500.gif

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    1. Backman is never going to happen.
    2. Trade deadline.
    3. Done already.
    4. This week.
    5. Nope.
    6. Agree.
    7. Agree.
    8. It’s Sandy’s philosophy, not Hudgens.
    9. See #1
    10. Done already.

  • xknight

    Hudgen’s is Alderson’s guy, not Collins’. If Collins is sacked the new mgr. will still have to have Hudgens as hitting instructor.

  • Big Daddy D

    I think Backman is the perfect replacement for Collins if they Mets pull the trigger on his firing. Backman was the manager of some of the future faces of the team already, has a firery approach and obviously bleeds blue and orange. Had some personal issues..but otherwise don’t see what the problem is.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    He’s not Sandy’s cup of tea. Plus, I take his “winning ways” with a grain of salt. The guy has the best talent in the organization every season. Come up here and he’ll have squat. Knowing the talent already is nice though. If they want to give him a job on the bench and see how it goes before giving him the job, I’m okay with that. i’m okay with just giving him the job too, but I don’t see it.

  • EzRider

    1- Won’t happen.
    2- Not yet. And i can see Colon going to the DL with “a back injury” soon.
    3- Already on his way.
    4- Should be DeGRom/Black/Familia/Mejia(6/7/8/9)
    5- Agreed.
    6- Agreed, it’s time.
    7- 2 or 6.
    8- Won’t matter but okay.
    9- He’s done after this year.
    10- Yup.

  • You’re the one who keeps comments flowing complaining about every post whether it’s an optimistic view or a pessimistic one, we do both here. What I find amusing is that you think that somehow you could define the ten years of our labor of love for the team from the comfort of your anonymity. That’s rich. 🙂

    The irony of it all is that you leave more comments here than anyone else – even if it’s only to mock and insult writers, readers, commenters and fans in general at almost every turn.

    You didn’t leave a comment on a couple of positive posts this morning including this one…

    http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/chris-young-loves-how-mets-battled-were-never-out-of-it.html/#disqus_thread

    How come?

    Don’t answer, I know why.

    And judging by the replies to you, most of our readers know why too.

    🙂

  • EzRider

    Well if they keep promoting the kids to the Majors he’ll have the best talent we can offer right there. But i don’t really see Sandy promoting him. Besides, this team always has these feel good winning streaks that last just long enough to not matter but save TC’s ass.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    My favorite is that the “winning streaks” never have to do with Collins but the losing ones do.

  • EzRider

    I do want to note that outside of the HR last night most of Colon’s real trouble came from middle infielders who have no range and can’t get to ground balls. But i also have to agree that Colon has not been good this year.

  • Mike B

    I’m less concerned with the 3rd strike as the whole approach, particularly the 1st strike. I believe Ted Williams(and Keith Hernandez) had the best approach. For Williams, on his 1st AB vs a pitcher, he wanted to see 1 fastball. After that, he sat on fastballs. Should the pitcher throw a 1st pitch FB strike, then a curve, Williams took it…100% of the time, strike or not. If a strike, he was of course in trouble, and he’d protect the plate. But if the second pitch was a ball, he’d be sitting on a FB on pitch 3. In subsequent AB’s vs. the same pitcher, he sat on FB’s, and would not take a FB strike. He laid off curves til 2 strikes.

    With someone like Duda, he continually either takes FB’s when ahead in the count, or looks for a curve with less than 2 strikes. This is dumb. Very often, the count will be 0-1, or 2-1, and Duda is looking for a curve, and the pitch is a FB down the center. I just don’t get this approach, and it’s why Duda often looks confused, because he is. IMO, this team would be way better off if it had this approach, basically, look to see 1 FB, then sit on them til 2 strikes. Hernandez hit the same exact way. Most importantly, this sets you up to hit the pitcher’s best FB, better than any other approach. If you’re hitting against one of the numerous 94+ throwers, and you’re looking for anything other than FB, you’re dead.

  • EzRider

    Managers don’t, usually, win games but they sure do lose them.

  • Anthony

    Lenny wAs the man. No fear

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    haha. You’re a real piece of work. Always so defensive toward anyone you don’t agree with. And the assumptions about me were a nice touch. 😉 Really top notch work.

    Here you go. I think you need these.

  • $14435385

    Not sure that’s true, but we won’t know until it happens.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    haha, Ok.

  • Mike B

    Don’t agree with all, but how about Lagares? I’m afraid he won’t be starting tonight. Can you imagine if he was only hitting .280? He’d never play.

  • Combustor

    Duda and D’Arnaud are the worst offenders. The one juicy fastball they get early in the count and no swing. Their swing mechanics look fine, it’s just the failure to swing at all. I’m sure their averages would be a bit higher if they moved away from the take pitches approach.

  • Joey D.

    HI Jeffrey,
    I understand the new statistically-based philosophy which has only led to getting behind in the count and hurting the hitters because it goes completely against the actual art of hitting, however, called third strikes down the middle?
    For that, one does not have to be a major league hitter to know one does not let that type of pitch just go by without an effort.

    Being only an “observer” and a fan, I can only go by what was stated by Keith, Ron and Bobby O – that the batters are going up the plate confused and somehow when it comes to two strikes they have been unable to shake that confusion off. I can see that with d’Arnaud, LaGares and Tejada because they are young players.

    I also can see that with d’Arnaud and Tejada specifically because both I believe have a lack of confidence in themselves that is not allowing them to behave like major league hitters (which is different than hitting like one).

    The others, I don’t think it has to do with the philosophy itself. Curtis is a strikeout machine so a lot of that might have to do with his natural tendency to strike out which (again, from an observer’s point of view) might come from just not being a free swinger but also from one who could be not the astute type of thinker and can be set up by the pitcher.

    Eric Young is not a good hitter. Lucas Duda is too passive at the plate and we don’t know how good a hitter he really can be either.

    As for David, it’s only three times. If he wasn’t surrounded by others perhaps that in itself would not stand out as much.

  • Come on brother… You should be able to take it as well as you dish it out. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am only responding in kind. As for making assumptions… Really? No seriously, really? 🙂

  • Joey D.

    Hi Joe D.,
    Remember what you once wrote about being unable to win an argument with certain people and it is thus best to just walk away from them?
    Good words – but know how much the temptation is anyway for as you see, those of us who know better are still trying to have a reasonable debate where an exchange of differing opinions can be presented and deciphered in the appropriate way.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Yeah, assumptions. What else would you call, “Why didn’t you comment on these articles. Don’t bother, I know why?” haha

    You know I love MMO. I will refrain from any criticism going forward and be nice and respectable.

  • Chuck

    Excellent approach. I agree with you and Keith, the Mets need to start doing this.

  • Stop saying “Patience”. That is typically a positive trait. Start saying Passiveness or Impotence.

    If everybody in the world knows that you’re trying to wait them out, they’re going to strike one and strike two you to death.
    Has Terry/Sandy/Hudgens ever considered saying, “Everybody swing for the fences at the first pitch tonight”? You might just catch someone sleeping and jump all over them. Then, the next time through the lineup you might see a few first pitch BALLS.
    Have you ever watched a ground and pound football team? What’s their most effective pass play? Play action pass. You establish a “tendency”, the opponent cheats against it, then you attack the hole in the defense that they create. It’s called strategy.

  • Joey D.

    HI Veloz,
    Agree.
    And the way one determines how to go about being selective and hunts for a certain pitch that he could handle IS TO HAVE AN IDEA OF WHICH TYPE OF PITCH HE IS GOING TO GET IN WHICH HE WOULD BE ABLE TO HANDLE – FOR THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GETTING THE PITCH ONE “WANTS” AND THE PITCH ONE HAS TO “SETTLE FOR”.
    This is not determined by following a method based on statistical conclusion. It has to be based on how he observes the pitcher is throwing at that point in a manner of what he is doing with his pitches, how he is mixing them, what he throws to what type of hitter in what type of situation, how he is or isn’t able to control where the pitches are going, etc.
    It is not taking hittable pitches off the corners because the stats show the probabilities of getting a base hit or a hit that can cause “damage” are less, then he is setting himself up for making an out. If he is not taking that same pitch because he feels the way the pitcher is throwing he is going to get a better one or even the same type one which he could then go after when having no other choice, that is a different situation.

  • I don’t want you to be nice and respectful, I want you to be yourself. Well maybe respectful. 🙂

    Honestly, I only jump in when the comments are about us and people form unfair opinions about us without really knowing or understanding that this is a fan site and is mostly fueled by reactions. That’s what die-hard fans do from game to game – react and emote.

    I understand that most readers have been conditioned to the newsy type posts from other sites, but that’s never been what we’re about on MMO.

    On any given day I have no idea what our writers will post. We plan nothing and don’t discuss what any of us are working on. All I can assure you of is that each post will be proofread by two editors for quality and consistency.

    I love debating the issues with you and everyone else. That’s what blogs like this are for.

    But hey, we’re on nobody’s payroll, don’t belong to any blog networks, and heck we don’t even have a sponsor. So I have to jump in when someone suggests we are motivated by comments and that somehow that relates to revenue.

    We don’t make one red cent on comments. Disqus keeps wanting us to monetize the comments and I keep telling them no.

    On other Disqus sites you will see all these weird articles that are monetized like the “Hottest Jewish Baseball Wives”, and “Which Power Hitter Would You Sleep With”. Go check them out you’ll see what I mean.

    We don’t monetize any of our threads.

    We have 4 side bar ads to pay for monthly server expenses and maintenance. That’s it.

    Our threads are intended solely to talk baseball with other baseball loving fans.

    All we have ever maintained since 2005 is no profanity and no personal insults.

    It’s worked for us all this time.

    Lets Go Mets!

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    You know I love you, Joe. 😉

    Don’t be hurt. I’m sorry. Please take me back.

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view/43035/boom-box-o.gif

  • john q

    That’s ridiculous, baseball isn’t football. Go ahead and swing at the first pitch during every at bat and you’ll be the worst team in baseball. Baseball is a very odd & unique game in that the offense doesn’t control the ball or the tempo of the game.

    You can swing at a lot of pitches in little league or high school baseball because the fielding sucks so putting the ball in play is a good move.

    All those great Yankee teams of the late 90’s early 2000’s took tons of pitches. Those great Mariner & Indian teams of the 90’s took a lot of pitchers. Those A’s teams of the early 2000’s took a lot of pitches.

  • TAPE_LGM_JETS

    I do not think Lucas is necessarily looking for a curve, I think he gets fooled and cannot pick up that its a curve and swings. But you are right, and Kieth always says Hitting should always be sit on a Fb and react to other pitches, but players have to be able to pick up the spin on the ball.

  • john q

    I really don’t understand the point of the article. You would rather the Mets swing at strike 3 or swing at the first pitch and hit a weak ground ball and make an out?

    This isn’t little league or high school were just “putting the ball in play” is a good move. The fielding at this level is way too good.

    The 1999 Mets won 97 games, the 5th highest total in team history. They saw 3.80 pitches per plate appearance which was 4th overall in the N.L. The 2000 Mets won the NLCS. They saw 3.79 pitches per plate appearance which was 4th in the N.L. Mike Piazza almost never swung at the first pitch and he’s considered to be the best hitting catcher in MLB history.

    The 2006 Mets saw 3.80 pitches per plate appearance which was 4th in the N.L. Nobody was complaining that they were talking too many pitches.

    Those late 90’s early 2000 Yankees took tons of pitches and they were applauded for their patience because they won.

    There’s probably an aesthetic problem in taking pitches that give the appearance that the player is being inactive which is somewhat counter to athletics. But baseball is an odd game in which the offense doesn’t control the ball.

    Bottom line is if you win your applauded for your efforts and if you lose people start looking for reasons to explain the losing.

  • Destry

    Ted Williams was a great hitter, but pitchers have 5 or 6 pitches in their arsenal these days. You can’t just eliminate the fastball and foul off the curve. There’s the change up, circle change, slider, slurve, 12-6 curveball, cutter, sinker, 2 seam FB, 4-seam FB, split finger, and the mystical gyro. God forbid a pitcher have a knuckle ball or knuckle curve in his back pocket. I forgot about the screwball.

  • Destry

    gone are the days of 2 pitch pitchers. Those guys are in the bullpen now.

  • Destry

    They have something similar, but opposite. If you swing at balls out of the strike zone, you don’t play.

  • Destry

    Cocaine will make you fearless

  • Destry

    It is true. Sandy and Hudgens go way back.

  • Joey D.

    Hi John Q.,
    It depends upon the pitcher, not the pitch count. From Mike Epstein, former major league hitter:

    “When the pitcher’s “on,” throwing tough pitches right and left, and not “giving in” to the hitter in predictable count situations, I tell hitters not to look for the perfect pitch, but to open up their strike zones and simply put the ball in play. Too many times I see hitters taking hittable strikes early in the count (looking for that perfect pitch) and allowing the pitcher to quickly get two strikes on him.

    “keep in mind that looking for that “perfect” pitch in your dead-red zone, might be futile. When a dominant pitcher (one who throws really hard and also has a good breaking ball), and is “on” his game and throwing strikes right and left, he usually winds up putting the hitter away. Against this type, a hitter is almost “forced” to hit with two strikes on every pitch.”

  • pennmetsfan

    The Mets need to protect the plate work two strikes. It’s that simple

  • Mikey

    There is only one hitting philosophy that actually works….
    And it doesn’t matter if your Passive or Aggressive in the PA, If you master this approach you will be a great hitter with a High BA and as a result have a high OBP and SLG.

    It’s called Plate PROTECTION!
    Once you have two strikes on you it is imperative that you protect the plate and make contact with anything that is close enough to be called a Strike by the Umpire.

    Doesn’t matter what you do on the first few pitches If you can protect the plate with 2K on you. Not only will you increase the chance of the pitcher making a fat mistake pitch to hit but you will increase his pitch count 3 or 4 fold compared to what you will by trying to work out a 6 Pitch PA or walk.

    This whole Patience at the plate Approach is a typical bad idea created from that notoriously bad concept of Sabermetrics which does the following…

    It takes numbers. Looks for correlation (as opposed to causation) then sees a number it thinks is significant but in truth is merely incidental. Then shoots for the incidental which does nothing to get the desired result they believe their correlation said was important and would get them. By drawing the wrong conclusion on what is important they shot for the wrong act and taught the WRONG THING TO DO and when it was implemented it failed to do what their math told them it would do!

    In the same way OB was found to correlate with RS but we have seen just this week that having a lot of OB really only increases LOB not RS unless that OB is accompanied by an RBI!

    They got the idea in their head that increasing PPPA would increase other metrics when the truth of the matter is the PPPA was high because those players who made it high did other things better to increase the PPPA and Taking Pitches wasn’t one of them!

    Look at all the best hitters in the game…
    Some will be aggressive and swing early…
    Some will be patient and wait for a good pitch to hit…
    Some will do BOTH depending on the Pitcher they face and the situation faced in the game…

    But there is one thing ALL GREAT HITTERS do…
    Protect the Plate with 2K on them!
    Cause if you can’t do that well then you’re just letting the Pitcher and Umpire dictate your result!
    And they have no reason to give you a good one!

  • Mikey

    I just said that only not quite as compact as you did!

  • markr

    If taken @ a high level I see VCM’s point. And it correlates a bit with what Keith said after Gardner’s grand slam – if they give you a fat fastball on the first pitch go for it, no need to take a pitch there. Pitchers pound the zone on us bc our patience borders on timidness. And it’s not like we have some stellar lineup that is coaxing pitchers into making mistakes. As for the 3rd strike issue, I don’t know, could be a lot of things.

  • jason bay

    The Yankees of the late 90’s, early ’00’s fouled off tons of pitches until ultimately getting “their pitch” and doing something with it.

    Knoblauch and O’Neil were especially fearless with two strikes but these were veteran hitters in the lineup who were perfectly comfortable fouling off slider after slider and routinely going 10 pitches deep in an at bat. Career wise they combined for just about as many walks as strikeouts but that is not a typical career.

    The bottom line here is it does not appear that players are “hunting their pitch” because when it comes, too often it’s not being offered at.

  • $14435385

    Didn’t know that…I sit corrected.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Metsie,

    As always, spot reasoning.

    There is actually nothing wrong with accumulating data if one wants to. It is, however, imperative that the data be given to those who astutely understand the game and know when it might be an indicator of considering a change of view about something than it is just taking stats and coming to a conclusion without the aid of that necessary “conventional wisdom”.

    Again, this is repeating Mike Epstein but my fellow “super Jew” put it so simply regarding the fallacy of PPA:

    “keep in mind that looking for that “perfect” pitch in your dead-red zone, might be futile. When a dominant pitcher (one who throws really hard and also has a good breaking ball), and is “on” his game and throwing strikes right and left, he usually winds up putting the hitter away. Against this type, a hitter is almost “forced” to hit with two strikes on every pitch.”

    One would think smart hitters would understand that “two-strike approach” applies to a certain degree on whom is pitching and how he is pitching. Perhaps one on top of his game but not ON TOP of his game the batter can enter the box with a “one-strike” approach. Or, when facing a Kyle Farnsworth, he can enter the box with a “3-0” approach. LOL

    Another example of whom should determine the value of the stats and how they should be used is the increase in shifts. We’ve been hearing the pros and cons from both sides. The argument for shifts is if the saber charts show that batters tend to hit that way most of the time, why not take the proper defensive measures to better play them properly? So what we’ve seen of late is batters beating the shift with softer swings to the opposite field for the shift is virtually giving them that opposite field single and possible double. And we’ve heard of pitchers talking about the difficulties of pitching to a shift because it does not allow them make the type of pitch that could get the player out.

  • Suilebhain

    Dykstra used to be good at that. He’d foul off a dozen pitches until he could get one to hit.

    Rusty Staub used to call that a “major league at-bat” when he was the color analyst on the games on Sportschannel back in the 80’s.

  • Suilebhain

    Maybe the Mets should hire Epstein to be their hitting coach.

  • Chuck

    Then I ask you, Destry, what strategy would succeed today? There has to be one, or no one would do well.

  • METS62FAN

    SURELY THIS PATIENCE APPROACH HAS PROVEN QUITE VALUABLE WHEN ADOPTED BY SUBSTANTIALLY VETERAN TEAMS; HOWEVER I BELIEVE IT IS QUITE A DIFFERENT TALE WHEN DEALING WITH MLB INEXPERIENCED HITTERS WHO HAVE PRIMARILY ONLY “READ” ABOUT THE VETERAN PITCHER’S ABILITY TO THROW IMPOSSIBLE TO HIT PITCHES IN DIFFICULT COUNTS.
    ACCORDING TO VARYING REPORTS, THE NYM PHILOSOPHY BEING RELENTLESSLY HAMMERED INVOLVES DISTINGUISHING PITCHES THAT ARTE HITTABLE FROM THOSE THAT AREN’T, TO ME THAT’S TANTAMOUNT TO ASKING ANEARLY BLIND PERSON TO PICK SOMREONE FROM A LINEUP. HOW IS A ROOKIE SUPPOSED TO DETERMINE WHICH PITCH THROWN BY AN ACCOMPLISHED VETERAN PITCHER, IN HIS PRIME, IS HIS BEST OPPORTUNITY @ GETTING HIS “SHOT”. CERTAINLY, EVEN PERENNIALLY MEAGER HITTING VETS HAVE AT LEAST EXPERIENCED A COUNTL;ESS NUMBER OF PITCHES BEING THROWN TO THEM IN A GAME.

    SANDY ALDERSON, MADE HIS REP, IN OAKLAND BY DEVELOPING A METHODOLOGY FOR CHOOSING THE BEST ADDITIONS OUT OF THE MULTITUDE OF NO-NAME CONTRACT EXPIREES THAT TYPICALLY ENTER THE MARKET ENDING EVERY SEASON. WHAT IS MOSTLY CONSIDERED TO BE “UNDERVALUED” PLAYERS WHO, IN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCE CAN CONTRIBUTE DESPITE A LOW PAYSCALE BECAUSE OF THEIR LEARNED PITCH SELECTIVITY.
    SINCE ALDERSON PROTOGE BILLY BEANE ELECTED TO PUBLISH THE PROCESS HE INHERITED IN OAKLAND, THE “FOLLOW-THE-LEADER” THOUGHT PROCESS OF MLB FRONTOFFICES HAS CREATED A DEMAND FOR THESE TYPES OF “UNDERVALUES” IN EXCESS OF THEIR AVAILABILITY & ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF THE MARKET, SUCH AN INCREASED DEMAND IN EXCESS OF SUPPLY HAS INFLATED THE COSTS OF SIGNING THEM BEYOND ALDERSON’S EXPECTATIONS THUS MAKING HIM ATTEMPT TO ACTUALLY CREATE HIS OWN SUPPLY OUT OF HIS FARM PRODUCE USING A METHODOLOGY CALLED “HUNTING PITCHES” . WHEN ALL TOO OFTEN IT IS REALLY “FISHING FOR STRIKES”
    IT IS MY IMPRESSION THAT @ ITS’ BEST CASE SCENERIO THE FINAL PRODUCT WILL BE A HOMEGROWN BUNCH OF FUTURE UNDERVALUED PLAYERS OUT OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN QUITE PRODUCTIVE PROSPECTS.
    A PERFECT EXAMPLE CAN BE FOUND BY COMPARING & CONTRASTING IKE DAVIS’ MLB STATS PRE HUDGINS[2010,2011] TO HIS STATS POST HUFGENS[2012,2013]…
    PRE: .271 AVG POST: .219 AVG
    .423 OBP .360 OBP
    AN UNFORTUNATE COINCIDENCE OCCURED WHEN HUDGES’ HIRING CCURRED DURING DAVIS’ D/L STINT FROM ANKLE+VALLEY FEVER

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    According to that list THE WORST TEAMS IN BASEBALL take strikes around the plate.

    BPO!!!!!! GETTING REWARDED FOR TAKING PITCHES

    THANKS SANDY

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    LMFAO@WHOS THAT BIG DUMBA** OUT THERE ON THE HILL.

    I think i peed a lil lol…I love those guys fro the 80’s teams personalities and cockiness. Which is why I liked Valdespin he was fearless

  • Mikey

    Joey, accumulating data isn’t where the wrong answer is made unless of course you DISCARD data in an attempt to get the answer you want the research to give you!

    OBP correlates best in their research but only because they DISCARDED the metrics that correlate (and causate) better than OBP!

    And even when they collect all the data, it isn’t the data that is the issue it is the conclusion!

    This is why I say BIAS of the researcher is the leading cause of faulty science and bad conclusion.

    By cherry picking stats to research or by biasing the equation towards the answer you HOPE is correct, you ruin the research because PURE RESEARCH does not lean on the result scale it accepts the answer given without exclusion and should do everything possible not to bias the equation one way or the other.

    Unfortunately most guys who like Sabers and make metrics have biased their math and research to make OB much more important than it really is.

    And now we see what happens when the same tactic is used on other aspects of the game like PPPA.

    Was a guy a good Hitter because he has a High PPA?
    Or did he have a high PPA because he was a good hitter and the Pitcher threw him fewer strike or walked him more or because he did what all good hitters do, protected the plate and fouled off Pitcher’s pitches in hopes of getting one he could get a hit with?

  • Mikey

    You know who used to be VERY good at it?
    Reuben Tejada!!!!!!!
    Unfortunately in an attempt to stop getting thrown under a bus by his Front Office he is doing what they told him to do and as a result he strikes out looking 40%of the time where before he was only striking out looking a 3rd of the time!

  • dealingwithidiots

    The 80’s teams backed it up with success and talent, Valdespin not so much

  • sarge69

    Right on point, you are asking young, rookie players to have a ‘veteran’ approach at the plate.

    Soup took one right in the heart of the dart board, as did TDA last night.

    There are no more ‘under valued’ vets left that ‘could’ under right situation, prosper.

    This is what SA is looking for in CY & BP castoffs, at Mets peril.

  • Tectaru

    I disagree with little league comment about putting the ball in play. That should always be a hitter’s goal because you will never get a hit if the bat is on your shoulder.

    The point of the article is the Mets are being patient for the the sake of it, as opposed to having an approach. For example, like a few others mentioned, in a 2-strike scenario, you need to protect the plate and not look for a walk.

  • MikeBedlam

    I liked Valdespin as well. It wasn’t the on-field stuff that bothered me with him. For the same reasons that I like that Mejia is a bit more “showy” than the other pitchers. It’s amazing to me to watch the same people commenting here complain about Mejia showing emotion and then in the same thread complain that the players look lifeless out there.
    I think more was going on with Valdespin in the clubhouse than even we had heard about. Even for this team, waiving him was a VERY extreme outcome, regardless of the PEDs. If you look at his small sample of production, it looks very…..uhhhh….Chris Young-esque, does it not? The biggest difference being that we may never have had a chance to see his true ceiling.
    Don’t get it twisted here, though. I definitely feel like Valdy made his own bed, which is why we still haven’t seen him in an MLB game since then.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Metsie,

    Of course, that’s another point that many of us have been making for as you know, we have seen so many examples just here at MMO of certain stats being selected to use and others avoided (either by human error or intentionally) that presented a pre-conceived notion one wanted to prove.

    But to me, it’s not the use of advanced metrics as far as Sandy Alderson,for it goes way beyond his misuse of them. Sandy is reflective of something more than just a bias. Though Sandy describes himself as one who is “open minded” the manner in which he speaks comes across as one who holds little respect for those who do not think in the manner in which he does.

    I say this because one who enters a new “profession” – which is different from coming into a new “job” – with no understanding of it, should not come in with an attitude which includes immediately looking for ways to make major changes to something he knows nothing about. And especially in the game of baseball, one should at least first respect or hold in high regard the “conventional wisdom” of those who had spent a lifetime in the game UNTIL shown otherwise rather than to want to immediately challenge it. In Sandy’s own words (which I posted twice over the last few days):

    “There was a lot of on-the-job training but as a result, I was very open-minded about things. I didn’t have conventional theories about the game and there were several innovative things we were able to do as a result of simply being open-minded and not constrained by conventional wisdom.”

    Sandy then went on to say:

    “So almost by default, the analytics became an alternative and, at least, a curiosity. And ultimately through that curiosity, the analytics could be demonstrated [to be valid] through mathematics, at least to some extent. So to that point forward, I incorporated it into our thinking. We kept it quiet because, to the extent that it was valid, we didn’t want to disclose it to anyone else. It was sort of a proprietary thing on our part. Of course, all that was blown away by the book “Moneyball.”

    Some might feel that Sandy took bold steps to further the game immediately due to his insight with mathematics so the point I’m making about him having little “respect” for others is irrelevant because the ends justify the means. So be it. But for those of us who see major faults in his methodology – plus him getting credit for a role in the shaping of the Oakland team which he could not possibly had participated in being he had no experience and was hired by Einhardt for his organizational and disciplinary skills (for the Oakland President said he was not looking for one to make baseball decisions as well) – it points to a double whammy of superficial understanding combined with an inability to look at one’s limitations.

  • john q

    Well, the point isn’t taking pitches for the sake of taking pitches. This isn’t little league or high school ball, you’ll get killed at this level if you do that because the pitchers are too good. This is really about plate discipline.

    Gardner is a bad example in this case because he’s among the league leaders in pitches/per plate appearance every season. But hey, Colon tried to grove a fastball by Gardner on the first pitch and Gardner nailed it. It’s odd when Keith criticizes players who take pitches because Hernandez drew tons of walks and finished in the top 3 in on base% 8 times in his career. They only started keeping pitch data in 1988 so we don’t have splits from Hernandez’ career. I would imagine that Hernandez was among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearance.

    I think there’s a problem of perception from an aesthetic point of view when batters take a lot of pitches. It’a a sport and there’s a certain macho type of attitude so patience and plate discipline are misinterpreted as “timidness” or “passivity”. I think some of this comes from a modern football mentality which is a more popular sport than baseball. Baseball is also very odd in that the offense doesn’t control the ball.

    It’s rare when you find very good-great hitters with some power who don’t see a lot of pitches. Nomar and Vlad are two that come to mind. Moises Alou and Larry Walker didn’t see a lot. Ichiro doesn’t see a lot but he’s a slap singles hitter. You have to be really good to hit like that.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Suilebhain,

    What Mike said is really not so different than what most hitters and coaches will say when they leave stats out of the question.

    Before the season began Cliff Floyd appeared with Mike Francesa and gave a fascinating insight as to how he hunted for his pitch. He did all his hunting beforehand while on the on deck circle studying the pitcher and speaking to previous batters asking if there was something different about the pitches than usual this time around.

    He was then prepared to step up to the plate having a good idea what to expect and when and he adapted his discipline accordingly.

  • Bail4Nails

    Great Article. Great Post. Should both be Required Reading for Mets Coaches and Players.

  • Mikey

    Well as far as Oakland is concerned the fact they used Sabers was not the key…Rigney and Beane were….
    Both had Baseball experience…

    The point I’, making is any idiot can collect a bunch of numbers, throw them into a math equation and come up with an answer….

    Doesn’t mean it’s the right answer because two people with the SAME numbers but different equations come up with very different results.

    So in the end the Equation is more important than the numbers being plugged in!
    Unless of course the problem is you plug in the numbers that were actually important!

    See WAR which relies on wOBA for it’s offensive component but wOBA actually doesn’t take into account ANY numbers that have signifigance towards winning a game or a replacement!

    There is no PLUGGED IN variable for Runs produced!
    It’s all about the OB and Type of OB which doesn’t always score a run except in the case of a HR which is weighted less than 4 times a single!

    And this is the one metric Saberrattlers cling to as the most valid….
    Why?
    Because there are people AS STUPID as they are and some of them had a friend who owned a baseball team and gave them a Job!

  • Chuck

    Maybe yes, maybe no, but can it make you produce? I know it can burn you out … so it’s not a good choice, either way.

  • john q

    The goal in the little league level is to put the ball in play because the kids field at a .500% level. Maybe the fielding is .700% at high school so you can put the ball in play as well.

    You can’t be at the major league level with the goal to “put the ball in play” because the fielding is so good. Very few players could do that and be successful, Vlad, Nomar, Ichiro, Moises Alou, Puckett, Gwynn And it’s rare to have power with that approach.

    The goal of a batter in major league baseball should be to “not make an out” because an out is a team’s most precious commodity.

    Well the article is under the assumption that the Mets take pitches indiscriminately which is ridiculous.

    Players aren’t “looking for a walk” with 2 strikes. Players aren’t necessarily looking for a walk when they don’t swing at strike 3. They could be looking for a different pitch and get fooled or frozen. They could also have poor knowledge of the strike zone or poor plate discipline.

    The writer want to pin the blame on the Mets current struggles with their pitches per plate appearances which is silly. The ’99 & ’00 and 2006 Mets were among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearance and nobody said anything. Those great Yankee teams were always among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearances. Those 90’s Mariners and Indians teams led in pitches per plate appearance as well.

    Those great Red Sox team of the 2000’s led the majors in pitches per plate appearance. Imagine if somebody wrote an article complaining that the 2004 & 2007 Boston Red Sox were “too patient” at the plate.

  • john q

    I don’t believe Mike Epstein has ever coached at the professional level let alone the major league level.

    His advice is good for high school players and little league players. Major League fielding is too good, it’s probably about a .980%. You have to be a great hitter (Vlad, Nomar, Ichirio) to be successful with that approach.

  • Peter S

    I can see them firing TC but Wally won’t be th manager.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    now the kicker would be to run this list from 2010-2011-2012-2013 and 2014…

  • Just_Da_damaja

    PPA could = fouling off a bunch of pitches too…

    Jose Reyes had a decent P/PA and was not disciplined.

    too many people equate P/PA with discipline.

    its not a 1 size fits all concept

  • Just_Da_damaja

    thats cuz Mejia is young and brown..

    when ur a vet, u get a pass
    when ur an american, u get a pass.

    u pretty much have to have a bad rep ala B Harper of the Nats to even get the media to look at u twice.

    #Facts

  • Joey D.

    Hi John Q,

    Since I am only referring to what major league players say, it is merely passing on their thoughts based on their own experiences. However, if you feel his advice only goes so far as to high school level, then I gather you have much more understanding on this issue on a higher level than I do just listening to major leaguers giving their advice.

    I had never played anything other than sandlot, that is why I depend upon listening to the pros and deciding which ones seem to make more sense to as best as I can. Have you perhaps played college or semi-pro? If so, could you please take issue with the specific points raised by Epstein about where he is wrong about swinging at hittable pitches thrown early in the count when facing a pitcher on top of his game from the aspect of one who has been in the batters box? Don’t forget, these are the same words we’ve heard from Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda on SNY as well, along with Tony LaRussa, Terry Francona, Ron Gardenheir and others for which I had attached in the past.

    Thanks so much, John.

  • john q

    Well, I’m just merely making a point that Mike Epstein has never coached at the professional level and has never been employed as a coach by a major league team. I think he has a hitting school etc for young players and has written books etc.

    I was really just referring to his “putting the ball in play” comment as far as it relates to high school and younger players.

    I never said it was “wrong” to swing at hittable pitches early in the count.

    I never played above high school level.

    The bottom line to all of this is that the Mets aren’t a very good offensive team and media people, former players, and fans are trying to look for a scapegoat reason. One of this regime’s mantras is pitches per plate appearance or high on-base percentage so that’s a target. Nobody ever had a problem with pitches per plate appearance when the Yankees were winning championship or the Red Sox were winning championships. Nobody had a problem with pitches per plate appearance when the Mets made the playoffs in ’99, ’00 or 2006.

    Alderson rubs people the wrong way for whatever reason. Some of the saber metric stuff really rubs people the wrong way.

    Hey, I understand it on some level. Televised sports is about entertainment and it’s not terribly exciting to watch a guy take pitches or draw a walk. I guess it’s easier to rationalize a player hitting a weak ground ball to second rather than taking a called 3rd strike even thought he result is the same. It’s also frustrating when the team is on it’s 6th consecutive losing season so I think people are looking for something to aim at their frustrations.

  • T Boogy

    I like that I’ve seen some swings on 3-0 counts recently, such as Recker’s near homerun Sunday and Grandy’s homerun yesterday. Nice byproduct of taking lots of pitches.

  • john q

    Reyes didn’t have a “decent” P/PA?

    Lifetime he was 3.62 per/PA. The N.L. average was about 3.75-3.80 for most of those years. That’s just one of the reasons why he was ill suited to being a lead-off hitter.

    A better player for your example is Luis Castillo. But fouling the ball off is a skill and it is about plate discipline. Players like Castillo are a big pain in the neck because they foul off pitches until they work the count to either get walk or hit.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    and Reyes in 2006 had a .354 OBP…

    the avg OBP for a leadoff hitter that year was .312

    In 2011, Reyes’s P/PA was 3.61, Reyes got on base more times than he did his whole career.

    “That’s just one of the reasons why he was ill suited to being a lead-off hitter.”

    the fact that you hold P/PA over base hits or even getting on base is damn near frightening.

  • I think you missed a little of my point. The team has a philosophy that results in an overwhelming amount of looking at the first pitch. That’s fine. That’s the big picture strategy.
    However, when everyone knows that’s your strategy, they have a counter attack. Throw strike one and put them all in pitchers’ counts.
    How to you take a little of that tactical advantage away from the pitcher? Decide to strategically deviate from the plan OCCASIONALLY. Hence my Play-action-pass for a running football team reference. Occasionally.
    If you tip your hand to your opponent and never adjust, you will need superior talent and execution to prevail. The Mets have neither.
    On the same token, if the team philosophy is to go up there hacking every at bat, you’re never going to see a strike. If you kept the bat on your shoulders one day, you would probably draw a bunch of walks. (Until they adjust.)

  • Joey D.

    Hi John,

    Never was on a high school team other than the usual classroom ones myself.
    What bothers me is not the use of sabemetric stats opening up new ideas to aid as part of strategy or evaluation, rather than those without the proper background, education, understanding or whatever in the game taking it upon themselves to enforce alternatives rather than presenting their findings to those who could understand them. And, of course, this is what relates to so many of us with our distaste for Sandy Alderson as far as the business of baseball with the Mets is concerned.

    Like when I provided Mike Epstein’s take, you could see what I meant about it not being so simple as to take pitches waiting for a better one. It is not like Dave Hudgens tells his players to lay off outside strikes because stats show batters hit .200 on those type pitches and one should then hunt for a better pitch to do damage on. That is enforcing the mindset from the front office. If you recall, late season in 2012 Sandy came to the broadcast booth to specifically show that the reason the team’s run production went down in the second half was because the players were going against the organization’s decree and taking less pitches (PPPA). He claimed “statistics” proved that the more pitches one sees, the better chances one has of getting a better pitch he could hit. It also leads to more walks.

    Now, besides what we have learned about how much it depends upon the pitcher as to whether a hitter should be more aggressive going after pitches that are not in his “red zone”, we’ve also learned from Bobby Ojeda in particular how the Met hitters were telegraphing this to the opposing pitchers and how they were literally getting ahead 0-1 in the count by knowing they were not going to be challenged. They then got Met hitters to be more defensive. And we know that getting ahead of the count is advantage pitcher.

    In addition, as Keith and Ron have pointed out so often, one cannot do this to young players coming up. They must allow them to be more aggressive and swing more at pitches because this is the only way they are going to learn about what type of pitches they can hit and can’t. Hitting in a defensive two strike position is not the same as when starting even at 0-0 and when one is going up against a pitcher who is on top of his game, one has to know he can hit those pitches he is going to get. One will not learn how to hit those – or know that he can – by not swinging at them. One’s first and even second year in the majors is a formative one. We can see that only too well with Travis d’Arnaud that things do not come easy for most.

    So that is just one example of why so many of us are aghast with Sandy Alderson using his authority to mold the Mets into his way of doing things for it in turn is messing up more than is just meeting the eye.

    For one of his position and authority, the problem is that he is also so very sure of himself which does not allow him to recognize that in a game such as baseball that conventional wisdom and experience far outweighs math and probability and so instead of questioning conventional wisdom, he should be trying to provide alternate methods for consideration instead – and let those who know the game determine if he stumbled upon something. He should not dictate as he is doing.

    Sometimes Sandy over-exaggerates the role of himself and advanced statistical analysis over that of conventional wisdom as well. It is important to note it was the empirical knowledge and understanding of those already in place when he first came on board (with no understanding as he admitted) who were already planting the seeds of the future success when he became the GM in Oakland (when he was hired not for baseball knowledge but for organizational skill and discipline). When one looks closely at what Oakland did in those formative years, it was based on good scouting of raw talent in which even Bill James acknowledges the data on raw talent is too flawed simply based on the poor level of competition to be useful.

    Also, we must keep in mind that at other times Sandy admits that he kept his “mouth shut” (his own words) and let others do their job. Sandy also did not try to take credit for the acquisitions made by the A’s – he said Bill Rigney was involved in every one of them and should be singled out as the one most responsible for Oakland’s turnaround. He also alludes to this beginning prior to his becoming GM when he started out with Oakland back in 1982 as its general counsel:

    “When you talk about people who have contributed to our success, you have to single out Bill Rigney. His contributions have been enormous.”

    “He has been involved in every one of our player acquisitions since I came here in 1982. I’ve watched 600 or 700 games with Bill, and it’s been an education.”

    So as you can see John, economics aside, there are many valid reasons why from a baseball perspective so many of us have legitimate gripes about Sandy and his interference in matters related to baseball decisions. Business, labor relations, rule changes, CBA, etc. as either the general manager or CEO of franchise or Vice President of Major League Baseball is an entirely different story. BTW – this was not my original mind-set of Sandy. I had no idea who he was when announced as the Mets new GM nor did I recognize the change in the role of the general manager from one who concentrated on baseball and the business to one who did one or the other only. Metsie brought that point out to me and then I did a lot of research on my own.

    And then the intentional double-talk and misleading the fan base with empty words didn’t help matters.

    Hope you understand that for many of us, it wasn’t a simple case of just jumping on an anti-Sandy bandwagon.

  • john q

    Where are you getting your information?

    The major league average on-base % for batter batting first in the lineup in 2006 was .343 not .312?? Reyes was slightly above average in on base% for ’06. You also conveniently cherry picked that season to make your argument.

    I also said Reyes’ below average P/PA was “One” of the reasons he was not an “Ideal” lead-off hitter.

    Then you went and made a straw-man argument that I said that P/PA was more important or superseded On-Base percentage or base hits.

    You also cherry picked data to make your straw-man argument using “only” 2011. That’s also a season where he missed 36 games. How about 2003-2010 when Reyes had 4250 plate appearances and had a .335 on base%?? That’s about .10 “Below” average for a lead-off hitter during that time period.

  • john q

    Joe D,

    I think my main point is that nobody cared that the Mets were close to league lead in pitches per plate appearances when they won in ’99 & “00 or 2006. Alfonzo was an extremely patient hitter, Ventura the same. R. Henderson was always among the league leaders in P/PA. Mike Piazza never swung at the first pitch etc. Nobody cared because there was no SNY and the team was winning.

    Now the team is struggling for 6 years people are frustrated and it’s not terribly exciting watching players take pitches and drawing walks.

    The bottom line is that the late 90’s early 2000’s Yankees were among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearances every year. The 90’s Mariners took tons of pitches, the 90’s Indians took tons of pitches. The 2000’s A’s took tons of pitches. The 2000’s Red Sox took tons of pitches etc. Trying to equate taking pitches as the main reason the Mets are losing is ridiculous.

    We only have pitch data from 1988 but go back and look at some of the names on those leader boards for P/PA from the 90’s-early 2000’s: W. Boggs, Jim Thome, Edgar Martinez, R. Alomar, M. Ramirez, J. Giambi, A-Rod, C. Delgado, K. Lofton, B. Abreu, F. Thomas, R. Henderson, J. Bagwell, S. Sosa, B. Bonds,

    As far as the SNY guys go. Keith and Ron have never been coaches at the professional or major league level. They’re essentially there to give insight, tell stories and provide entertainment to the audience. They can joke and laugh and give their opinions but at the end of the day they can go home and relax. Then Hernandez can take off for 2 weeks and go to Sag Harbor. Are they working all day with the players? Do they do research? Do they collect data etc? It’s a lot easier to give your opinions in the booth and then go to the Hamptons for 2 weeks then it is to be their everyday in uniform.

    Bob Ojeda was a pitcher so I don’t know why he’s giving hitting advice. Ojeda never progressed higher than the low minors as far a pitching coach goes. Frankly, I’m kind of tired of those ’86 Mets. He’s also there to provide entertainment. He’s not a coach so his decisions/opinions don’t really matter that much.

    Part of this problem is there is way too much media now and too many talking heads. You have SNY, the internet blogs, WFAN. local t.v. sports ESPN, the MLB network etc.

    As far as Sandy’s baseball credentials it’s never been a prerequisite that G.M’s have played in professional baseball. Actually almost all of the most successful G.M’s never played pro ball. I think I listed them one time.

    Again pitches per plate appearances work. It’s not terribly exciting t.v. but it works. The Yankees & Red Sox lived by it and they were the two most successful franchises for 15 years.

  • john q

    There’s really no difference between hitting 0-1 and 1-1 so that whole thing where people went on and on and on about the most important pitch being strike one is nonsense. Those announcers/analysts droned on and on about that for years. The 1-1 pitch is much more important because there’s a huge difference historically between opponents batting average on a 2-1 pitch compared to a 1-2 pitch.

    I don’t think there’s a team edict to not swing at strike one. I think that would probably depend on each batter. I would think the approach changes from day to day depending on the opposing pitcher etc.

    I think the overall philosophy is to work counts get in 2-1, 3-1, 3-0 or 3-2 counts which shift dramatically in the favor of the batter. Then they can either get a good pitch to drive or take the pitch they don’t like.

    There’s also the added element of taking pitches to knock the opposing pitcher out of the game. This is what those late 90’s teams perfected.

    I think part of the problem is that it’s not terribly excited t.v. to see players take pitches and draw walks.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    sounds like tejada in 2011/2012..

  • jason bay

    Till teams decided to just knock his hands off the bat with FB after FB.

  • METS62FAN

    SARGE, APPARENTLY WE’RE SINGING OUT OF THE SAME HYMNAL;

    ALDERSON IS WHAT HE IS, HARVARD LAWYER, MARINE CORPS OFFICER TURNED BASEBALL EXECUTIVE.; BUT, COMPARING HIM TO HIS FAILED PREDECESSOR, MINAYA ,

    IMO, OMAR IS THE VASTLY SUPERIOR BASBALL MIND, WHILE ALDERSON WAS LEARNING CASE-LAW & MARCHING CADENCES, MINAYA WAS GETTING MUDDY TRACKING DOWN RURAL, LATINIO BASEBALL TALENTS. WHAT THIS TEAM DECIDEDLY SHOULD HAVE SOMEHOW MANIPULATED WAS A METHOD BY WHICH ALDERSON COULD HAVE BEEN PLACED INTO THE “TRULY VACANT” SLOT OF POWER CONTROLLING MINAYA’S OFFBASE BUSINESS DEALS & ILL ADVISED CONTRACTS.

    A POINT OF TRUISM IS THIS CURRENT NYM TEAM WOULD MOST CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN BEST SERVED WITH ALDERSON @ COO & MINAYA @ GM! TRULY, ALDERSON’S STRENGTHS WOULD BEST SERVE SUPPORTING & STEERING MINAYA’S BEST INTENDED ACTIONS. ALDERSON’S SPREADSHEETS WOULD BE COALLESCED & TRANSLATED INTO SAGE BASEBALL INFO BY MINAYA SUPPORTING BESTCASE TALENT BASED DECISIONS & VICE-VERSA, ALDERSON’S STEARRAGE OF MINAYA Re FIN’L MNGT & PRUDENT TALENT INVESTMENT ENSURING THE CORRECT $$$ & TERMS ARE INVESTED IN THE BEST AVAILABLE TALENTS BE IT DESERVED VIA STATISTICS OR GRASSSTAINS!

    FROM DAY 1 OF THE WILPON MAJORITY TAKEOVER FROM DOUBLEDAY, THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT HAS BEEN THE PETTINESS & INEPTITUDE OF THE Jr. COLLEGE GRADUATE POSING AS THE KNOWLEDGEABLE BON VIVANT ALONG THE CHABLIS CIRCUIT, JEFF WILPON aka STERLING ENTERPRISES LEAST EDUCATED EXCECUTIVE DOTED UPON BY A BEMUSED,DOLTED FATHER.

    INSTEAD, FOR TOO LONG, THE RARELY DEPRIVED “STERLING PRINCE” HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO MEDDLE! RELIANT UPON THE UNKNOWING, UNWASHED BASEMENT DWELLING WFAN CALLERS ADVICE AS TO THE “NEXT BIG THING NEEDED” BE IT A ROTATIONAL PITCHING BOOST ala BENSON & ZAMBRANO, OR A MNGT CHANGE AS IN MANNIPULATING BACKSTAGE TO UNDERMINE RANDOLPH. ALL ACTIVITIES AIMED @ POWER GRABBING FROM HIS UNDERLING’S [GM] AS SINCE UNDERMINING PHILLIPS, JEFF’S QUEST HAS BEEN ELIMINATION OF NYM GM POSITION BY CONSOLIDATING CONTROL. TO WEAR BOTH HATS ACCEPTABLY BY BASEBALL PEERS IN ORDER TO COALLESCE THE C.O.O. CONTROL OF THE BUDGET WITH THE GM’s ROSTER MANIPULATORY CONTROL. OUTWITTING DADDY’S FINAL; VESTIGE OF PROTECTING HIS “HOBBY” FROM HIS NITWIT SON. AS FRED HAD RRELIED UPON PHILLIPS/DUQUETTE/MINAYA AS SUROGATE BABYSITTERS

    RIGHT OUT OF A B-GRADE HOLLYWOOD JUVENILE COMEDIC SCRIPT, THE SPOILED PROGENY PLOTTED,SCHEMED & UNDERMINED EVERY SITTER [PHILLIPS, DUQUETTE, MINAYA] SET BEFORE HIM LIKE SO MANY BWLING PINS.

  • Joey D.

    Hi John,

    Yes, pitches per plate appearance work – but in the proper manner within the confines of each turn at bat. There is no simple formula or approach that one can take other than judging what to do based on the circumstances already outlined beforehand.

    And certainly, one cannot get any definitive information from accumulating statistics gathered from the hundreds of thousands of plate appearances from a whole league or even judging the more than six hundred plate appearances one hitter might have against others, or using samples of better results versus poor results, etc. and drawing a conclusion.

    And then within the individual teams or players to even compare them on a statistical basis, there are so many issues to consider that there is no definitive answer.

    I remember the point being made about the 2002 A’s being among the leaders of taking pitchers. There was also the counterpoint that the world champion Angeles were among the leaders with the fewest amount of pitches taken and they scored 51 more runs than Oakland. So what is the point?

    And I will give you three other examples as to why the stats only show the results of what happen but definitely not the causes and why one cannot simply try to enforce an approach coming to any conclusion based on stats without knowing what goes behind them – if there is such a thing at all.

    1) When, for example, you talk about the late nineties and early 2000s, you are also talking about the steroid era. Hitters got more pitches because pitchers were being way more careful – they had to be – even if they were juiced up themselves.
    2) In 1988, the average game saw 136 pitches thrown. In 2011 that rose to 146. A difference of 11 pitches PER GAME! What would that come out to – maybe one extra pitch taken for every 12th thrown by the opposing team? That is too miniscule an amount to make any type of judgment.
    3) Last year as you know, the Cardinals were the highest run producing club in the national league, outdistancing themselves by almost a half run more than the runner up Rockies. Now look at who led the league in PPPA and who was tied for last:

    3.91 Mets
    3.86 Pirates
    3.85 Cubs
    3.83 Braves
    3.83 Diamondbacks
    3.81 Dodgers
    3.81 Padres
    3.80 Nationals
    3.80 Reds
    3.79 Marlins
    3.77 Giants
    3.76 Phillies
    3.76 Cardinals

    So what do all the stats tell us? Maybe on the computer something, maybe on the spreadsheet something, but honestly – NOTHING!

    And then, what about once the probabilities derived from those stats go from beyond the theory into the practical world of the sport? What next? And what about questioning the wisdom of the one challenging the conventional wisdom? One should give equally serious consideration about the qualifications of the one who is questioning the “conventional wisdom” like Sandy, an individual who started out challenging conventional wisdom without having any deep understanding and knowledge of the game as Sandy admitted he did not have.

    One does have to have the conventional wisdom before one can simply question it for one needs to know what he is doubting before taking sides opposing it.

    To exclude pitchers like Ojeda because they are not hitters is an oversimplification – because they cannot hit does not mean they do not know hitting – they have to know how batters hit in order to get them out.

    John, indeed one does not need to have been a player to have that deep understanding and knowledge of the game for there are so many who have had careers in the game who had the eye and intelligence but not the physical talent. One will look at that list of GMs and see they had a long career in the game as minor league or semi pro players, scouts, sports writers or even just loved it and made baseball a life following. Sandy admitted knowing nothing about the game on a professional level when he got the position of being a general manager. That in itself shows that he was hired for reasons other than putting a team together.

    And his discussions today indicate a still superficial understanding of it and still in the realm of stats. Which is fine, but still an indication that he will not allow himself to see his limitations and the wisdom of others with more practical experience and deeper understanding outside of stats which can be used to justify anything – as I’ve just pointed out with those three examples.

  • Brian D.

    “That’s just one of the reasons why he was ill suited to being a lead-off hitter.”

    That’s absurd. He was an excellent lead off hitter