The New York Mets offense struggled in the 2018 season as they scored only 4.17 runs per game, ranking them 23rd among major league teams. That number is actually down from 4.54 runs per game in 2017 the Mets scored.
The league average offensive output this season was a 97 wRC+ and the Mets were below that with a 95 wRC+, ranking 23rd out of 30 teams (9th in NL). Lack of power was a serious issue for the Mets with the 19th ranked (9th in NL) isolated slugging at .154. They hit only 170 home runs, ranking 21st (10th in NL).
Let’s take a look at how the Mets offensive ineptitude breaks down by position.
The Mets group was actually one of the better in baseball, ranking second in the National League with their -2 wRC+. They had the third most RBI (18) and tied for second in hits (42). Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler tied with the team with their 11 hits each and Steven Matz slugged two homers.
Five players combined for a 82 wRC+, which was tied for 15th in baseball and their .286 wOBA was tied for 20th. Devin Mesoraco led the group with 10 home runs and 96 wRC+. Kevin Plawecki finished with a 93 wRC+ and randomly had two triples.
Mets ranked towards the bottom of MLB in almost every offensive category including 27th with a 91 wRC+ and their .299 wOBA which ranked 28th. Wilmer Flores was the best of the underwhelming group with a 103 wRC+, though that’s below the league average of 105 wRC+ for first base. Adrian Gonzalez (187 PA) had the same 84 wRC+ as Dominic Smith (149 PA). Whispers…..Peter Alonso is coming off a monster season, in which he was one of the best hitters in all of the minors.
Offense was not an issue at second in 2018 with the combo of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeff McNeil. Mets second basemen posted a 118 wRC+, tied with the Cincinnati Reds for third best. Cabrera had a 124 wRC+ before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, and McNeil was even better with a 137 wRC+. McNeil slashed .329/.381/.471 in his first 248 MLB plate appearances. They combined for a .178 ISO, which ranked fourth in the majors.
Amed Rosario got off to a rough start to 2018 and Jose Reyes was a black hole, giving the Mets a 84 wRC+ that tied for 21st among MLB teams. Their .294 OBP ranked 23rd and their .378 SLG was 24th. Rosario did look better over the last two months of the season with a 102 wRC+ (85 for the season) and limited his strikeouts to 19.2% (20.1% overall).
The Mets hoped that Todd Frazier would provide stability on defense and offense at the position, he failed big time in one regard with a .213/.303/.390 slash line. As a group, the Mets third basemen had a 83 wRC+, tied for 26th in baseball. Lack of power was again an issue here, the groups .136 ISO was third-to-last. Of course, having Reyes as the primary backup again, was a horrible idea.
One of the lone bright spots of the Mets offensive production as they led the majors with a 134 wRC+ and had ranked third in homers with 35. Michael Conforto was fantastic when playing left with a .265/.356/.523 slash line in 331 plate appearances. He helped plug the hole created by Yoenis Cespedes playing only 38 games. Brandon Nimmo posted a 1.132 OPS in 31 games as a left fielder.
Mets were middle of the pack here overall as their 97 wRC+ tied for 14th, though it came with little power as the groups .112 ISO ranked 25th. Both Nimmo (.714 OPS in 57 games) and Conforto (.721 OPS in 58 games) struggled offensively when playing center. To make matters worse, the Mets had Austin Jackson start 47 games in center.
Though the Mets did have a 107 wRC+ from right field that only ranked 16th among the majors and their .399 SLG ranked 20th. Jay Bruce had the most starts in right field and posted a .691 OPS (.680 overall on the season) over 257 plate appearances.
The Mets offense was actually right around league average in strikeouts (22.7%, league average was 22.3%) and above league average in walks (9.2% to 8.5) though power is where they were significantly lacking. Their .389 SLG ranked 26th in baseball and well below the league average of .409. They also struggled big time against left-handed pitcher with a 82 wRC+ that ranked 26th.
First base is an obviously place of need of an offensive boost and it’s very possible that the Alonso (36 homers, 119 RBI, 159 wRC+) is that fit. He provides them with much needed power and has handled lefties well during his minor league career.
Another glaring hole offensively is third base. Manny Machado would sure look nice over there for a long time but that seems pretty unlikely given the price tag. Eduardo Escobar and Josh Donaldson are two more affordable options that would likely be offensive upgrades.
While the catchers were middle of the road, Mesoraco is a free agent and was brutally defensively this season. There’s also two good options at catcher in Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos via the free agent route, both would be upgrades offensively and defensively.
You have to hope that the last two months you saw from Rosario are closer to what you get in 2019, and McNeil looks like he will be fine at second.
If the Mets were able to get Bruce off the books, they could bring in someone like Andrew McCutchen (120 wRC+ this season) to play right or could move Nimmo and Conforto to the corners while signing A.J. Pollock (110 wRC+ this season) to play center.
The Mets will have options on the free agent market this offseason that can help their offensive needs in certain areas, question becomes will they do what’s necessary to improve upon them?