What is more imperative for the Mets to add this offseason: power or speed?
In regards to power, the Mets were stacked with it in 2017. Mets’ batters combined for a franchise-best 224 home runs. That mark tied the Milwaukee Brewers for most in the National League and seventh in MLB.
While it seems like that’s an area the Mets don’t need to improve upon, it should be noted that five of their top 10 2017 home run leaders are no longer on the team. That includes Jay Bruce (29), Curtis Granderson (19), Lucas Duda (17), Jose Reyes (15) and Neil Walker (10).
Those five contributed a total of 90 home runs which made up 40 percent of the Mets’ home runs last season.
In the end even with 224 home runs, the Mets still ended the season 70-92 which was their worst finish since 2009. Perhaps a larger part of the Mets’ losing ways could be attributed to their lack of speed on the base paths?
Mets baserunners combined for a mere 58 stolen bases in 2017. That amount ranked them last in the National League and 27th in MLB.
The alarming part is that three of the Mets’ top five baserunners are also no longer on the team. Those three are Reyes who stole 24 bases, Nori Aoki who stole five bases, and Granderson who stole four.
In reality there was virtually no speed on the Mets during 2017 outside of Reyes. While Reyes had many faults, he could be relied upon more than anyone else to take that extra bag when needed.
Lagares has constantly showed speed in the outfield and has also stolen as many as 13 bases in a season. Rosario has often been compared to a young Reyes. While he does not have the same speed when Reyes was in his prime, he is still quite fast and stole 26 bases last year between the big league club and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Even if Lagares and Rosario develop their speed, it won’t be enough to make the Mets that much more competitive on the basepaths. At best it might simply replace the speed lost along with Reyes.
Power Is More Important
Even though the Mets have the potential to have the least amount of stolen bases in MLB next year, adding more power should be the priority for the Mets this offseason.
Replacing five hitters who combined for 90 home runs is not an easy task in the least. Just for context, the San Francisco Giants (who finished last in MLB for homers hit in 2017) had 128 home runs. That means five Mets’ hitters produced 70 percent of what an entire team produced.
Also there has been a slightly more direct correlation between Mets home run rankings and success compared to Mets stolen base rankings and success.
In 2015 the Mets hit 177 homers which tied them with the Washington Nationals for eighth in MLB. In comparison they only stole 51 bases which ranked them 29th in MLB. That year they went 90-72 and won the National League pennant.
In 2016 the Mets hit 218 home runs which was good for fifth in the majors. At the same time they only stole 42 bases which ranked them 28th in the majors. They finished 2016 87-75 and clinched home-field advantage for the National League Wild Card Game.
Neither speed nor power was the be all, end all though. As we saw in 2017, the Mets played poorly even with power. However, it’s still important for the Mets to distinguish which of these two (speed or power) are more important to address when looking at potential trade options or free agents.
In 2015 and 2016 when the Mets were competitive, it came with some power and barely any speed. So even though the Mets couldn’t perform well with a lot of power this past season, the lack of speed doesn’t seem to have affected them much at all.
What say you Mets fans? Would you rather see the Mets pursue power or speed this offseason and which players would you like them to acquire to fill that need?