With a new manager at the helm for the New York Mets in the 2018 season, the culture and idealism for the ball club became uncertain.
Having a first time manager minding the store is always a crap shoot, however, it seems Mickey Callaway has found his way.
With the Mets now sitting at a cozy 8-1 record, it’s time to analyze some of Callaways’ decisions that have made it happen.
The 42-year-old has come out and said that every man on this team is going to play, and he has held true to that sentiment so far this season. One example includes when the Mets played the Washington Nationals two days after Michael Conforto hit a two-run home run.
One would think Callaway would ride Conforto’s hot hand, especially with a day off in between the games. Juan Lagares, however, started the next game in center field. It seemed to be a solid decision, with Lagares making a huge defensive impact, throwing Brian Goodwin out at home to save a run. In a 3-2 win for the Mets, that proved to be one of the biggest plays of the game.
So, what other effects does this really have?
I believe decisions like this do three very beneficial things: It gives the Mets the ability to keep their main starters fresh, giving them slightly more frequent breaks than usual.
It also keeps their bench from getting too rusty, which would become a problem if players were sitting out for games at a time.
Finally, this decision keeps everyone on their toes. Players will realize they can’t just roll through the punches and be lazy. Keeping everyone on their toes will hopefully prevent a streak of losses due to lazy play in the middle of the season. You can already see the way the Mets have put great effort into running the bases, rather than just jogging lazily when moving stations.
His situational lineups as well as his movement of players in the lineup has also lead to success.
Some examples include Asdrubal Cabrera‘s movement in all spots in the lineup, as well as treating Amed Rosario as a second leadoff hitter. Both have experienced sustained success this year, with Cabrera batting .324 with three RBI, and Rosario batting .296 with six RBI. Putting less pressure on Rosario by batting him after the pitcher rather than before, has been a move that has payed off tenfold.
As opposed to this year, it seemed Terry Collins would be putting the same lineup out there every day, or constructing them haphazardly. Match ups and situational lineups were not as important to our previous manager. Callaway has changed the culture, and is more careful when constructing his lineups.
Decisions like this, which have had some people scratching their heads, have paid off for this ball club.
Another important thing to note when referencing Callaways’ decision making, is his use of the bullpen.
Callaway has shown that he is not scared to throw the guy he wants out there, despite what people say is the “right” thing to do. His ability to turn to Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo into very effective relievers (one earned run between them in 11.0 innings), as well as putting AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia in at the right times have led to team success. One specific example is when Familia recorded a five-out save on Saturday in the Mets 3-2 win against the Nationals.
Familia showed his gratitude and outlook on Callaway after the game, praising him for his use of the bullpen.
This shows how the guys in this bullpen really love and embrace their role, and it seems like Callaway has put the pieces together to a puzzle that most were questionable about before the season started.
This platoon has been pretty successful this year, with d’Arnaud coming up with some big RBIs throughout the year, while Plawecki has had some success, most of which came on Opening Day.
If they both can improve their defense, and pitchers can do a better job of keeping runners on, they could be a solid catching duo for the Mets this season. This is another example where Callaway will be keeping both guys fresh, and on their toes, knowing competition is present.
Callaway has changed the culture here through these decisions. Effort is sky high, players are happy, and the Mets are winning. Through his ability to keep guys fresh and free from rust, superb use of his bullpen, as well as inclusion of solid situational lineups, Callaway has had a positive effect on this team in many ways.
All of these ideas and methods that Callaway has brought into play for this ball club seem to be working. Everybody on this team seems to be happy, and enjoying the ride. If Callaway can keep this up, buckle up, it’ll be a fun season.