The Mostly Mets Podcast discussed offense in the National League East in episode 33. The Mets scored the most runs in the division last year, and Toby, Patrick and Ted agreed that they’d probably lead again this year, although the Marlins have gotten real close.
Speaking in terms of runs scored the Mets scored 718, the Phillies 713, NL Average was 668, Braves had 641, Florida 625, and the Nationals 624. The Phillies offense is heavily influenced by the park they play in, and without Ryan Howard indefinitely plus another year of age for Rollins and Utley it doesn’t seem like the Phillies will score as many in 2012. Can the addition (And subtraction) of Jose Reyes account for 92 runs of difference between the two teams? The Marlins offense is heavily lopsided with Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton making up most of it.
The Mets drop off from Beltran to Duda shouldn’t be too great, and Andres Torres can probably give the Mets what Angel Pagan gave them last year. Replacing Jose Reyes’ production is a little tougher. Luckily most of his at bats will be made up with more at bats from Ike Davis and a little more Ruben Tejada. David Wright will get more at bats as well, and all of them with a healthy back. This will all keep the offense churning, even if Jason Bay exhibits no signs of life.
If I had to pinpoint one player to worry about, it’d be Tejada. He’s still young though, so there’s still plenty of hope he’ll improve. Last year’s OBP was partially BABIP/AVG fueled, but he did improve on his strikeout and walk rate. Keep improving there and even if he gets lucky he’ll still maintain a very helpful rate at getting on base.
One other factor to consider that makes the Mets clear-cut favorites: power. The Mets got on base more than anyone else in the National League except the Cardinals, but they had league average slugging. This translates to a lot of runners stranded that otherwise would’ve been runs. In 2012 the Mets will have more power. Duda is already impressing people with his power this spring, and Davis will join him to tattoo the Pepsi Porch all year long. Add a healthier Wright and even a 20% bounce back from Jason Bay towards his career norms and the Mets will be a very dangerous threat. This is all without even mentioning the walls. The Marlins addition of Jose Reyes will likely raise their on base percentage, but not enough to make up the difference.
I’m confident the Mets will have the best offense in the National League East this season. It’s one step towards a successful season, and it’s also a step that isn’t going anywhere. The Mets offense is controlled through 2013 at least, with prospects prepared to fill in at some of the weaker positions soon. The Mets offense is great and will stay that way.