The Mets offense is built to live and die by the home run ball. Right now, they’re dying. Big time.
For all of the Mets’ faults, the one thing they’re supposed to be good for is hitting home runs. The team was second in the National League in homers in 2016, and tied for the league lead last season, despite an otherwise awful year. This year, they’re 13th in the NL in home runs — only the Padres and Marlins have fewer. This inability to hit the ball out of the park is unquestionably the biggest reason why the Mets have the second-fewest runs in the NL this year.
Outside of Asdrubal Cabrera, who has 11 home runs, and Brandon Nimmo, who has eight in somewhat limited playing time, the Mets are without any major power threats. Case and point: Yoenis Cespedes is still tied for second on the Mets with eight home runs — despite having been out for almost a month. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the state of power in the Mets’ lineup.
The Mets have plenty of other individual disappointments on their path to a powerless lineup. Michael Conforto, who hit 27 homers in 109 games last year, is on pace for just 19 this year. Adrian Gonzalez had just six home runs this year, a far cry from his 30-homer days with the Padres. And most disappointing of all, Jay Bruce has just three home runs all season — and none since May 7. Outside of that, injuries to guys like Cespedes, Todd Frazier, and Wilmer Flores have made the Mets’ lineup one of the weakest in the game.
This is obviously going to have to change if the Mets’ season is to turn around. Not that it will, but they’ll need it to if they want to start scoring runs. The greatest shame of the Mets’ recently snapped losing streak is that their starting pitching has been fantastic. Their starters had a 2.16 ERA over their eight-game losing streak. It’s almost unfathomable that a team that pitches that well over an eight-game stretch would have not a single win to show for it. But thanks to the Mets’ lack of power, there is no “new low” that’s too low. It can always go lower.
Over the Mets’ aforementioned eight-game losing streak, they hit just six home runs — and four of them came with nobody on base. In their win against the Yankees Sunday night, they still managed only one thanks to Todd Frazier. They haven’t hit many non-homer extra-base hits either; they’ve hit just eight doubles and one triple over the past eight games. And with this lack of power, it should come as no surprise that the Mets have scored more than one run just three times in the past nine games.
The Mets were built to be a team that pitches. Recently, they’ve had no problem doing that — at least the starters haven’t. The offense was supposed to be built around home runs. At this point, it’s become clear that the Mets’ power deficiencies are perhaps most responsible for their woeful past two months. And that’s going to have to change in the future — at least if the Mets plan on winning. Which may or may not be the case.