Meet The Econo-Mets!

I spent most of last evening reading the local sports pages on the internet when I happened upon an article of particular interest in the New York Times by David Waldstein.

It was a well written synopsis of the how the 2010 Mets morphed into the 2011 Mets. Before I get to that, first a bit of a preamble. 

You know one of the things I have to constantly repeat time and time again to so many of my fellow Mets fans, is that the book Moneyball had little to do with on-base percentage. It was simply a story of how Billy Beane used several yet untapped player valuation methods to help him uncover potentially under-valued players at below market rates. It’s a basic principle most corporations use everyday in business to increase their profit margins, so why not try it in baseball? You know what? It worked.

Back during that impressive Oakland Athletics run, OBP just happened to be the method of choice along with slugging percentage and a combination of the two. But as more and more teams caught on – and that includes large market teams – many new and improved metrics were needed for small market teams to stay ahead of the big spenders and maintain a competitive advantage. OBP is so common nowadays, that most teams are now quick to grab the players who exhibit the best on-base skills straight out of college and high school. Thankfully, effective this June, the Mets will be joining that majority.

Getting back to the Times article, lets look at the 2011 Mets and the remarkable job Sandy Alderson did in re-tooling what was an old, tired, under-performing and overpaid group.

The turnover includes 11 or 12 players, depending on the health of the backup catcher Ronny Paulino, whose combined salaries are less than that of pitcher Oliver Perez, who was released with $12 million remaining on his salary. Spending just $10,873,000, a budget-conscious group of executives led by General Manager Sandy Alderson revamped half the roster, including the back end of the starting rotation, the bulk of the bullpen and virtually all of the bench.

It’s almost hard to believe that the front office revamped half of the roster with vastly improved players while spending less than a fifth of an average Omar Minaya offseason spending spree. Even David Wright could see what was happening.

“We haven’t played well the last couple of years…there’s been a lot of turnover, and I think they’ve done an excellent job of bringing in not only good players, but quality people as well.”

Alderson has stated on several occasions that the $145 million dollar payroll was too high and has also warned fans that in 2012, when $60 million dollars worth of payroll commitments expire, don’t expect him to re-spend it all in one fell swoop.

Considering the remarkable job he did signing 12 players for about $10 million dollars, I can’t wait to see what he does with three times as much next season, which is still only half of the $60 million he would have available to him.

The following are the the 11 new Mets he signed this offseason, the Econo-Mets, and if these spring numbers are any indication of what’s to come in 2011, it’s going to fun again in Flushing this season.

Chris Young – 1.33 ERA in 20.1 innings.
Chris Capuano – 1.93 ERA in 18.1 innings
D.J. Carrasco – 5.51 in 16.1 innings
Taylor Buchholz – 0.00 ERA in 15.0 innings
Pedro Beato – 3.55 in 12.2 innings
Blaine Boyer – 0.82 in 11.0 innings
Tim Byrdak – 0.00 in 9.0 innings 

Now obviously those are all small sample sizes, but when you add them all up you get a total of 102.2 innings pitched with a combined 2.02 ERA. How sick is that!

Scott Hairston – .333/.397/.614 in 57 AB
Willie Harris – .278/.409/.537 in 54 AB
Brad Emaus – .306/.414/.449 in 49 AB
Chin-lung Hu – .292/.370/.375 in 48 AB

Hey, I don’t expect all these numbers to hold up all season long, but isn’t it remarkable that that not one of them have an OBP of less than .370?

Friday is Opening Day – Lets Go Econo-Mets!