One of the now forgotten storylines of the early part of the 2016 season for the Mets, was their futility against left-handed pitching. During their careers, both Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda have mostly struggled against them, effectively neutralizing two of the team’s best bats in the lineup. Terry Collins ices a third when he refuses to play Michael Conforto against lefties.
With the Mets injuries and Sandy Alderson remaking the roster on the fly, the Mets now destroy left-handed pitching.
It starts with new (and old) leadoff hitter Jose Reyes. In his career, Reyes has always been a slightly better right-hand hitter than he was a left-hand hitter, but this year the splits are even more pronounced. In 28 games against righties, he is hitting .238/.271/.375. However, in the 19 games against lefties, he is destroying them hitting .336/.447/.707. Each and every game, he sets the pace.
Usually playing across the diamond from Reyes is Wilmer Flores who suddenly turns into Babe Ruth when a lefty is on the mound. Flores has played 44 games against lefties, and he is hitting an astounding .344/.390/.699 with three doubles, 10 homers, and 26 RBI. Flores OPS+ against lefties is 187. To put how good that is in perspective, that 187 is better than Paul Goldschmidt‘s and Jose Altuve‘s. Goldschmidt and Altuve currently led their respective leagues in those categories.
Rounding out the infield is Neil Walker who has been a completely different hitter against lefties this season. Walker entered the year hitting .260/.317/.338 against lefties. This year, he is hitting .330/.391/.610 against them. He has more than doubled his homers against lefties this year.
In the outfield, with Juan Lagares going down with injury, the Mets eventually replaced him with Justin Ruggiano, who left last night’s game with a shoulder injury. He has been the Mets center fielder when a left-handed pitcher starts a game. In his seven games against lefties, Ruggiano has hit .333/.400/.722, and he had a monster home run against Jaime Garcia:
It’s not a fluke for him either. In his eight year career, Ruggiano is hitting .278/.335/.527 against lefties.
When you add these bats to a lineup that already has Yoenis Cespedes, you have a team that mashes lefties. You have a team that knocks Madison Bumgarner out after five innings. You have an offense that can do anything no matter who is on the mound. You have an offense that can go to the postseason as the second Wild Card.