You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the Mets offense has been pretty damn awful so far this season.
We all hope and pray that things will begin to turn around sooner rather than later, but five weeks into the season and our team continues to flounder. Knowing that, I was still somewhat stunned by something Jared Diamond posted on Twitter during last night’s game.
Updated Mets' batting averages one turn through the lineup, 4 through 9: .227, .140, .150, .208, .208, .000.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) May 3, 2014
Kind of scary, huh?
Unless your starting rotation goes on the kind of run we saw during the last homestand at Citi Field, where Mets starters limited the opposition to two runs or less, how can we possibly stay above .500 with this offense?
The other day, when we were at our high point of the season and four games over .500, general manager Sandy Alderson told the NY Times’ Tyler Kepner that he is in a good position to add payroll at the deadline or parlay some of his young pitching depth to acquire a bat. My question is, why wait until the deadline?
If there is a way to upgrade this lineup somehow, shouldn’t we act now rather than wait until the end of July when it may be too late and the Mets are once again forced to become sellers for the sixth consecutive season?
Sandy challenged his staff and his players to win 90 games this season. In fact, he repeated this 90-win goal again as recently as two days ago. He’s not letting go of it. But shouldn’t that challenge also apply to him as far as what he can do to improve what is currently one of worst offenses in the game?
A few days ago, Marc Carig of Newsday, reported that the Mets front office is not at all worried because they believe the offense is solid and that they are simply the victims of bad luck.
“There is optimism within the front office that the hits will eventually start falling,” Carig writes. “It’s rooted in the belief that the Mets have not been rewarded for scorching the ball.”
At 21.7 percent, the Mets’ line-drive rate ranks fifth best in the major leagues, according to data from FanGraphs.com. Considering how hard the Mets have hit the ball, one estimate puts the team’s expected batting average for balls in play at a healthy .326, good enough for third in all of baseball.
However, Carig also points out that advanced metrics like BABIP are not universally accepted because its calculation is very subjective.
“One observer’s liner could be another’s fly ball. For instance, Inside Edge scouting data ranked the Mets among the worst at making solid contact.”
Manager Terry Collins also said recently that he takes batted ball data “with a grain of salt.”
“Yeah, we’ve hit some balls hard,” he said. “But I haven’t noticed a big bunch of balls that people are making catches on or anything.”
I’m no expert when it comes to BABIP, but the eye-test tells me that this team may be suffering more from having too many bad players than it does bad luck. But for now, I’ll give the front office the benefit of the doubt.
I do believe players like David Wright and Curtis Granderson will have an offensive turnaround, and in fact both players seem to be performing better at the plate over the last two games. Let’s hope that trend continues.
However, it’s the lack of production from left field, first base and shortstop that has me most concerned. Mets left fielders have combined for a .218/.317/.291 batting line thus far through 28 games.
The Mets have used six different cleanup hitters so far this season and they have combined to produce a .521 on-base plus slugging, the worst production among the 1-through-8 spots in the lineup.
The number two spot in the lineup is only marginally better, but has a woeful .292 on-base percentage and a .303 slugging percentage.
I think the lineup could use a shake up. I’ve been advocating for Travis d’Arnaud to bat second in the lineup since Spring Training. I would love to see what this kid could do hitting in front of Wright instead of Ruben Tejada.
I see Murphy more as 6-7 hitter and certainly not the kind of on-base guy you want to bat in the top of the order.
I hope the front office is right and the team is as good offensively as they believe, and that this really is all just a case of rotten luck, but what if they’re wrong?
Terry Collins finally decided to bat Juan Lagares leadoff as many of us have wanted since the season began, and so far the gifted center fielder has responded well. But lets not stop there. I want to see a player with a solid approach like d’Arnaud batting in that two hole while sliding Murphy lower in the batting order so that we can use his free swinging approach to drive in some runs.
Good teams make their own luck.
If we’re not going to add another bat anytime soon, then lets utilize the strengths of this current group of players better than we have thus far.
Lets put all our players in a position to succeed.
It could provide the spark we need to get this team to finally start producing consistently at the plate.