Until recently, the Mets offense has been dreadful. Case in point, while the Mets scored 30 runs over the past four games, it had taken the team 15 games to score 31 runs. When you’re offense makes you pine for the days of John Mayberry, Jr. and Eric Campbell in the middle of the lineup, fans are going to demand answers. Here at MMO, we attempted to provide some answers:
Jason B. asks . . .
I’m curious what role do you think, if any, Pat Roessler has had in the hitting woes of the Mets?
Did he introduce a new hitting philosophy to the team? Are the Mets hitters doing something significantly different during batting practice from last year?
Should the Mets find a new hitting coach?
John S. replies . . .
When contemplating what, if any impact, Roessler has had on this team, we first must review the players Roessler was in charge of coaching.
Right off the bat, the Mets have seen struggles from Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera. The struggles for both of those players are most likely injury related, and as we have seen, and it wasn’t until yesterday that the Mets put Bruce on the disabled list. For his part, Cabrera is still hobbling around, and he has once again started that thing where he slides on the basepaths because it is easier on his legs than coming to a complete stop.
Speaking of injuries, it took the Mets months to realize Michael Conforto‘s struggles were most likely the result of his having a severe shoulder injury, an offseason spent rehabbing, a truncated Spring Training, and no rehab assignment before being activated.
Throw in Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Kevin Plawecki, Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, and Todd Frazier each spending significant time on the disabled list, your team’s lineup is going to be a complete and utter mess.
You could take the best hitting coach known to man, and you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a reason why the Mets would be better off in other hands.
In fact, if you take the totality of the circumstances into account, Pat Roessler has actually done quite a nice job here.
Brandon Nimmo has been a far better hitter under Roessler’s tutelage than what many believed Nimmo could ever be. We have also seen Devin Mesoraco somewhat resuscitate his career since coming to the Mets. And whether or not it is Coors Field, a much healthier Mets team has begun to score runs again.
As for the difference in hitting philosophy, it would be hard to imagine Roessler serving as Kevin Long’s assistant hitting coach with the Mets for three years and his radically changing everything once he took over the job himself. Really, considering the complaints about this team’s offense are the same as it has been the past few years, it seems the philosophy remains the same.
Isaac M. asks . . .
Who is responsible for the Mets offensive philosophy that hasn’t worked over the past three years?
John S. replies . . .
The answer to this one should be pretty obvious. It’s Sandy Alderson.
When assessing how Alderson likes to build an offense, the one thing we keep hearing is how this is a Moneyball club that favors OBP and the like. The odd thing about that is that is something that went into vogue in Oakland AFTER Alderson left and Billy Beane replaced him as the General Manager.
Really, if we want a snapshot into what Alderson values, we need not look any further than Jay Bruce.
The following season with the Mets again looking for a center fielder, Alderson made a deal with the Reds to acquire Bruce for a package front lined by Nimmo. After that deal fell through, the Mets worked hard to get the deal done with Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell going to Cincinnati.
After moving Bruce last August, the Mets entered the offseason once again in need of a center fielder. For the second time in three years, Alderson’s answer was to obtain Bruce and force the other players to play out of position.
Considering Bruce offers little value in terms of speed or defense, it is abundantly clear what Alderson covets in Bruce is his bat.
From 2010 until last year, Bruce was a player who hit .250/.320/.474 while averaging 30 doubles, three triples, 29 homers, and 91 RBI a season. He also struck out in 24 percent of his plate appearances and while only walking in 9.2 percent of them.
If you track the players the Mets acquire on a yearly basis, they all seem to resemble Bruce. The team basically does not care about strikeouts, batting average, or even on-base percentage. Really, in the end, Alderson wants to accumulate as many power bats as possible, and he’s willing to overlook everything to do it.
After all, how else could you explain the Mets naming Flores the starting shortstop heading into the 2015 season?
Overall, if you want to know who is responsible for the hitting philosophy geared towards this all-or-nothing home run offense the past few seasons, look no further than the general manager who acquires those players.
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Hopefully, you enjoyed this mailbag as much as I enjoyed answering your questions. Keep the questions and comments coming and make sure to send them to AskMMO@metsmerizedonline.com