MMO Fan Shot: An Analytical Look at the Mets at the All-Star Break

An article by posted on July 16, 2014 0 Comments

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An MMO Fan Shot by Josh Eichenbaum

The New York Mets enter this year’s All-Star Break with a 45-50 record, which, at first glance is not terribly impressive. A deeper look, however, reveals a Mets team that has suffered a good deal of bad luck and may be primed for a post-break run.

Pythagorean Record

A team’s Pythagorean Record is often more indicative of a team’s performance than its actual record is. The formula for the Pythagorean Record was developed by Bill James and uses the amount of runs scored and runs allowed to determine how many games a team “should” have won. The formula is designed to adjust for any good or bad luck a team might have. A team with good luck and a winning record might have a losing Pythagorean Record while the opposite could be true for a team with bad luck. The Mets fall into the latter category, as they sport a 45-50 record in reality but a 50-45 Pythagorean Record. This would indicate that the Mets have had plenty of bad luck this year, which is supported by the fact that the Mets have blown 15 saves this year and own an abysmal 12-20 record in games decided by one run.

Run Differential

The Mets also enter the All-Star Break with a +19 run differential, meaning that they have scored 19 more runs than they have allowed. This number is fairly impressive and actually greater than the run differentials of several notable teams: the Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Braves, and Yankees all have lower run differentials than the Mets. However, the Mets posted a run differential of +21 in the week leading up to the All-Star Break, raising the team from a less-than-stellar -2 run differential to the current +19.

What do These Numbers Mean?

I chose to discuss Pythagorean Record because it is probably the most accurate way to discern how well a team is actually performing. The bottom line is that according to these metrics, the Mets should be a better team than they are right now. In fact, they should be competing for a Wild Card spot. The numbers are deceiving though, as the Mets’ big final week before the break had a large impact on their run differential. Though the team finally seems to be reaching their offensive potential, one has to think some of the bats in the lineup will eventually cool down and the current run differential will either decrease or remain stagnant.

One can also look to the Mets’ early months of the season, when the club was an offensive mess, featuring a struggling Travis d’Arnaud, an inconsistent Lucas Duda, David Wright performing below his career averages, no production whatsoever from whoever happened to be playing shortstop, and The Player Formerly Known As Chris Young. Most of the Mets lineup during the first part of the season had “worst case possible”-type runs, meaning that some consistency and improvement was bound to come eventually; perhaps the Mets’ recent surge is not as fluky as it may seem.

I ultimately expect a hybrid of the two extremes that have been presented – the Mets will continue to play .500-plus baseball and finish close to .500. They will not, however, continue to hit over .280 or sport a +21 run differential every week of the second half. They probably won’t win the division or even make the playoffs, but given the bad luck they have had (as indicated by the Pythagorean Record), things should turn around a bit. What do you guys think?

Bio: I am a lifelong Mets fan… even though I am just 17 years old. I am a freshman at Boston College and have written for several local publications. Follow me on Twitter @the_eichenbomb if you’re interested in talking more Mets with me!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Josh Eichenbaum. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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