After splitting a four-game series with the Braves in rainy Atlanta, the New York Mets currently sit four-and-a-half games behind the newly-minted first-place Washington Nationals.
Between the talent littered throughout the Braves, Nats, and Phillies, the Mets have their work cut out for themselves. In order to stay competitive in the National League East, this team will need to take advantage of every single opportunity that’s presented to them, or pretty close to it.
One of the areas of concern that have been plaguing the New York Mets this season is their inability to put many runners in scoring position and their continued struggle to bring those guys home has been even more disconcerting.
Things haven’t necessarily been awful for the Mets when hitting with runners in scoring position this season, but there are certainly some deficiencies that need to be addressed before the gap in the NL East widens any further.
At first glance, the Mets .241 batting average with RISP doesn’t really impress. It does, however, currently rank eighth in the National League (Braves lead with .283; D-Backs are last at .211).
The team’s .708 OPS with runners in scoring position also sits in the middle of the NL pack (Mets are ninth in the league; Braves lead again, .863 OPS) but there’s a deceptiveness to that number and ranking.
The Mets have the fourth-highest on-base percentage with RISP in the NL (.348; Atlanta leads, again, with .375), as well as the fourth-most walks taken in those scenarios (70 BB; Cubs lead, 77), which certainly pads that OPS figure a bit.
While taking a bases-on-balls will always be better than recording an out with ducks on the pond, it doesn’t necessarily help put runs on the board unless the next hitter can bring them in.
The Mets have only 92 hits with RISP this season, second-to-last in the league, ahead of only Arizona (79) and, as evidenced by their 147 total RBI with runners in scoring position (11th in the NL), the Mets just aren’t scoring as many runs as they should be in these situations.
Their 381 at-bats with RISP is second-least in the league and also leads one to believe that this team needs to increase their offensive output in totality.
As worrisome as these numbers are, there are a few Mets that have been fairly effective with runners in scoring position this year.
Asdrubal Cabrera (.282/.815 OPS, 18 RBI in 39 at-bats), Adrian Gonzalez (.270/.842 OPS in 37 at-bats), and Jay Bruce (.278/.907 OPS, 13 RBI in 36 at-bats) have all been outstanding, though Cabrera’s 13 strikeouts in these scenarios have hurt a bit.
Guys like Michael Conforto (.219/.747 OPS in 32 at-bats) and Wilmer Flores (185/.495 OPS in 33 plate appearances) have to find a way to get better in this area, plain and simple.
With the type of starting pitching that the New York Mets have, and the recent inadequacy of their bullpen, any and all runs are greatly appreciated and extremely important to securing much-needed victories in a very tough division.
Just ask Jacob deGrom what happens to a quality start without proper run support.