According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Mets have to consider this season a success with regards to achieving the Moneyball approach which is what the goal has been since Alderson and Co. took over the reins of the organization last Fall. He writes:
Is the “Moneyball” approach paying off for the Mets?
In some respects, the answer to that question is yes, as they have climbed to the top of the National League in targeted offensive categories such as walks and on-base percentage.
For that, Terry Collins and hitting coach Dave Hudgens have to consider this season a success. They began spring training with a mission statement of turning the Mets into a Moneyball-type operation (excuse the $143-million payroll) and accomplished that feat in the batter’s box if not the balance sheet.
Lennon is right.
Some of you may be baffled by such a claim, but if you consider how much this team has accomplished just in the way the offense has improved their approach at the plate and have become more disciplined hitters while striking out less, this season is a great success.
Back in March, I wrote about my expectations for this team in 2011 and one of the things I wanted to see was a team that could become smarter at the plate. I was concerned with the number of strikeouts and the few walks we were drawing in 2010. I was tired of seeing batters swinging at balls in the dirt or chasing pitches out of the strike zone. I wanted to see an end to the Franceour-esque approach to hitting.
I never expected the turnaround to happen this fast and for it to be this dramatic. The Mets .335 on-base percentage is second only to the St. Louis Cardinals (.338) in the NL and ranks sixth in the majors. According to Lennon, the other five teams are playoff-bound.
So why are the Mets stranded in 4th place and 25 games behind the division leading Phillies?
Basically it comes down to three things:
1. Timely Hitting – The Mets lead the majors with 1,204 left on base for the season.
2. Inconsistent Starting Pitching – Too many uneven performances from a rotation comprised of mid-to-bottom of the rotation starters. The Mets need good and reliable starters to anchor the first two spots in the rotation. All eyes will be on Johan Santana next Spring, but if he’s not the same what’s Plan B?
3. Disastrous Bullpen – The Mets need to completely rebuild the bullpen this offseason. I’m not thrilled that the only two relievers assured of being back next season and are under contract are Carrasco and Byrdak. Thankfully, Iggy will be gone, but this bullpen had too many holes and questions about their makeup.
I’m not worried about the hitting anymore, and I agree a great deal with what one of our readers said in this FanPost regarding what our offseason goal should be:
- More Pitching
- Even More Pitching
- While you’re at it better get Pitching
- Then look for Pitching
I’m not worried about our offense like I was last year at this time. I believe we found a keeper in Lucas Duda and look forward to seeing him paired with Ike Davis as our lefty power-hitting duo next season.
Bringing the fences in will help, but only if we get those upgrades in the rotation and in the bullpen.
But to get back to the point of this post and Lennon’s article, yes, the Mets should consider this season a success.
Let’s build on this.