The Incredible Hitting Mets Pitchers

I’ve pretty much come around on DH for all over the years. I’d prefer pitcher’s bat but it just seems that no one really takes it seriously, so let’s get a batter that’s actually trying. It seems like a farce most of the time. Plus David Wright may have been able to extend his career if it was DH only a few years ago, and the juiced ball would’ve been kind to Wright’s hitting profile.

So it came as somewhat of a shock to see just how well the Mets are doing as pitchers at-bat this season. I don’t know if this is a quirk of the Mets pitchers just being really super athletic and good, or if there is some extra batting practice going on, but they’re really doing quite well. 

Mets pitchers as a group have 1.7 fWAR, which is way more than the second place Dodgers at 0.5 fWAR. That’s a not-insignificant contribution from the Mets pitchers at the plate. They are the only NL club with a positive wRC+, at 32, which means they are 32% of an average MLB hitter, which is probably way better than you think a typical pitcher is. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler are at 0.6 fWAR each, or more than every other team’s entire rotation. 

The Diamondbacks have five home runs, though only a 0.1 fWAR overall, from their pitchers, the Brewers have two, and the Mets have six. This means that only one other team has more pitcher home runs than Noah Syndergaard or deGrom. 

Thor in particular is swinging for the fences. He’s got three singles, 1 double, and 2 home runs. The average distance of his contact is 225ft, which is 50 ft further than Jon Lester, who’s second, minimum 10 results. Lester and the Cubs do edge the Mets slightly in average exit velocity, 78.6 mph to 77.8.

There have been 23 plays by pitchers classified by Statcast as Barrels, or ideal contact, and the Mets have six of them. Syndergaard has three, Zack Greinke actually has five himself for the lead, and Madison Bumgartner is the other pitcher with more than one, with two. Greinke with three home runs is the only non-Mets pitcher with more than one. 

Mets pitchers can swing some wood! Who knew!

Special shoutout to Stephen Matz, the fourth guy who’s contributing value here. Stephen Matz also is the fastest pitcher in baseball, as far as Statcast can be trusted in measuring something that’s fairly small sample. 28.9 ft/s puts him in the top 8% of the league, or 53rd. That’s also 5th for 28 year olds. Statcast doesn’t really put the pitcher’s on the leaderboards, but of the Mets position players, only Amed Rosario at 29.2 ft/s is faster. 

Something to keep in mind if the Mets are looking for late-game pinch runners for the playoff run or postseason.

The Best Offense In The NL East

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.

Happy Easter Eggs

Courtusy of the Mets Twitter account, the Mets are 12-19 on Easter Sunday.


The lineup will be:  Reyes-SS, Murphy-2B, Wright-3B, Beltran-RF, Bay-LF, Davis-1B, Thole-C, Pridie-CF, Niese-LHP

It is also Carlos Beltran’s 34th birthday.


The last Mets player to hit four home runs in four games was David Wright on June 7th through June 10th of 2007.  Ike Davis has a chance to match that today.


For all the bullpen bashing for how badly they started, they haven’t allowed a run in eight innings, and have a 2.08 ERA over their last eight games.  Additionally, Pedro Beato has thrown 11 innings to start his major league career and has yet to allow a run.

These Mets Are Scary

Mets Win
Mets Win

This Mets team can be pretty scary.  I certainly thought they had a chance to be very competitive coming into this year, but it would’ve been hard for anyone to predict it would evolve the way it did.   The team may be the team you’d least want to face in the National League, because you never know what you’re going to get from them, they can hit you from all angles.  People talk about Philadelphia’s offense being scary, but when you get down to it the Phillies are a team built on offense; if you pitch well against them you can win any of the games.

The Mets can baffle a team’s offense on any day.  It could happen via R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball dancing towards the plate, or it could happen with Pelfrey’s dominate sinking fastball.  The next day Jon Niese could unleash his curveball, or Johan Santana could be on the mound with his two Cy Young awards.   The bullpen has also been very good, regularly racking up scoreless innings.  They’ve got some hard throwers, some specialists, and Frankie Rodriguez.

Offensively the Mets have the talent to beat a team in a couple of ways.  They’re capable of hitting big home runs one day, and the next day battering pitching to a tune of 14 runs without a long ball.  They’re aggressive, steal bases, take extra bases on base hits, capitalize on errors and play hard.  They’re capable of coming back from deficits, don’t quit until the game is over, and even if a starting pitcher is shutting them down, they’re capable of waking up against a reliever and winning a game.

They seem to have the right mixture of confidence and cockiness, and all reports suggest they have great clubhouse chemistry. (Winning will do that) Even if they don’t make a trade, it looks like they’ll be getting Carlos Beltran back to the lineup which would be about as big a mid-season acquisition as you can find.  They’re already in prime playoff position, and they’ve got plenty of guys looking to have a better second half including Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, and Jose Reyes.   This is a team to look out for, and it’s looking like the final series before the All-Star break against the Braves is going to be a big one.

Jeff Francoeur for Ryan Church. Why?


The Mets traded Ryan Church to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur. Hopefully this isn’t what the Braves needed to take the division, but I’m more concerned about Jeff. He’s hitting .250, which is more than he hit last year, and has five home runs.

Presumably it was power and defense that attracted Omar to Francoeur. He does have a good arm. I don’t know that he’s appreciably better than Church, who certainly wasn’t a liability out there. He’s supposedly got power, but for the last two years that’s equated to too many strike outs and not enough hits.

Let’s break down those home runs using hit tracker. Two are considered “just enough” home runs. This means they barely cleared the fence. Two more are classified as “lucky” which means they wouldn’t have cleared the fence on a 70 degree calm day. We know Citi Field is a below average hitter’s park, so how do those home runs translate? He hit all five to left center, which isn’t exactly the easiest place to hit them.

I worry that this was a move because Manuel does not like Ryan Church. Unfortunately, Manuel should play the guys that are better suited to help the Mets win and Ryan Church is just a better baseball player than Jeff Francoeur. The pressure is on HoJo now; hopefully he can mold Francoeur into a better baseball player.

Subway Series at the Better of the Two New New York Ballparks

Yankees get their first taste of the better stadium in New York.


The Subway Series part two, at Citi Field, takes place this weekend. The Yankees won’t be able to get many cheap pop-fly home runs here. Most of them will have to be earned, and while the Mets don’t have the best pitchers going, I suspect the Yankees will be kept in the park anyway.

The Yankees come into this series having won a series, but having struggled since the last Subway Series match-up. Andy Pettitte was removed from Thursdays game early, and the Yankees needed to use their bullpen, including Mariano Rivera, for 4.1 innings. This needs to be the focus of attack for the Mets. C.C. Sabathia has been exploitable when he goes deep into games, but if they can get him out semi-early, they can get into an already taxed bullpen that’s not very good to begin with.

In fact, the Yankees bullpen in 2009 seems awfully like the Mets bullpen of 2008, and we all know how that ended. The Yankees of 2009 also struggled to beat the Marlins and the Nationals, something that was part of both Mets collapses. So was poor play against a rival in 2007, much as the Yankees have yet to beat the Red Sox this year.

The Mets lineup is depleted, while the Yankees are mostly healthy. It’s not a full strength match-up, but it’s still one the Mets can win. The Yankees pitching can be exploited, their home runs will be down playing in a fair park, and the Mets have actually been hitting the ball lately.

A lot of this depends on the lineups. The Yankees have to juggle outfielders, worry about having no DH, and worry who to play where. The Mets need to keep Fernando Tatis on the bench, start Evans in left, Murphy at first, and probably Jeremy Reed over Fernando Martinez, who has looked mostly over matched at the Major League level so far. I have a feeling he’ll have a good series, if he plays, but right now I think Reed can provide some defense and maybe a hit here or there, and maybe Sheffield will be healthy enough to play a game or two, or at least get some key pinch hits off the bench late.

There is also scoreboard watching fun going on this weekend. The Phillies, who are a half game ahead of the Mets, play the Blue Jays, who are one game behind the Yankees. Additionally the Rays, who are two games behind the Yankees, play the Marlins, who are a half game behind the Mets. The Yankees could be anywhere from second to fourth following this series, and the Mets could be anywhere from first to third. It’s a volatile series, and it should be fun to watch.

The inevitable new park comparisons will come into play, especially Sunday Night on ESPN. I don’t think there is much to discuss. Citi Field wins hands down. Besides having better, readily available food and cheaper, higher quality beer, it’s just a prettier ballpark. Yankee Stadium has it’s perks, but most of them are away from the field of play. The Mets have some work to do with getting some more history into the place. I loved the MVP wall that featured images of all the MVP winners for the Yankees, and I love seeing all the scenes from different years of play above the concessions and around the concourse. However, that’s only about 2-4% of the trip to the ballpark, and once you get to your seat, you might as well be sitting in the same Yankee Stadium from 1923, 1953, or 1983. I’m sure some Yankee fans will be making their first trip to Citi Field this weekend, and I hope they’re not too disappointed when they see the Mets have a better stadium, a better team, and a better fan base.

Jose’s Last Laugh

From 040909_Pirates

Jose Reyes got the last laugh last night. It’s presumed by many that he was benched for admiring his long double on Wednesday afternoon, but he managed to get his hand, or feet, into the game anyway. He passed off his base stealing abilities to David and the team, so they could combine for seven stolen bases; four of them by his buddy on the left side of the infield. It did appear that he forgot to give his defense to Alex Cora, but it worked out in the end.

This time it was Beltran hitting a double in the final inning, and he promptly stole third. Reyes’ base stealing ability was obviously pointing out how it would’ve made more sense Wednesday to let Reyes have the opportunity to swipe third, rather than have Castillo bunt him over. Castillo had a key sac-fly on Tuesday, so why not another?

Reyes’ base stealing ability even got Gary Sheffield to steal a base last night. It didn’t matter what Molina did behind the plate, Reyes’ ability made everyone faster than Molina could throw, and may have even slowed down the third base ump’s eyes.

Kidding aside, it wasn’t Reyes’ base stealing ability that won last night’s game; It was Wright’s leadership. Wright recognizes what this team needs to do to win. Granted, he’s not always able to succeed, but baseball is more failure than success, and that doesn’t make him a bad leader. He realized with Reyes out, the way to win the game wasn’t to change the team dynamic with Sheffield and trying to become a power team and hit home runs, but to fill in for Reyes and become the fast, aggressive team that they are when he’s on. He’s done it before. In 2006 when Beltran and Delgado were blasting everything out of the park, Wright contributed by driving them in whenever possible to a career high and team leading 116. In 2007 when Delgado was struggling, Wright switched gears and stole a lot of bases to help Reyes and others set a franchise record for the season and scored nearly 20 more runs. David Wright may occasionally not come through, may press too hard at times, may try to appease too many people, but when it comes down to it David Wright is a winning ballplayer, and a leader on this team.

Brooms a Flying

Brooms Flying

I said the Mets would sweep the Braves, and now they have. Anyone that doubts that the Philly series was the exception rather than the rule needs to look again. The Mets are again four games up, on the way to being five up as I write this. Assuming the bullpen hangs on, the Mets will again be going for five wins in a row.

Another thing that we need to stop talking about is the Atlanta ‘jinx’. There is no such thing, and if there ever was, it’s over. The Braves have no more magic, no more sway over the Mets. Chipper Jones may still have the Mets number, but it’s a lost cause. The Mets are very clearly better than the Braves, are the defending champions, and hold a commanding leader over those Braves again this season. So what if the season series is seven wins to eight losses against Atlanta? They were held down and pummeled when it counted the most. This weekend was pretty much must-win for the Braves for any illusions about the division, and maybe even the playoffs.

Now everything probably won’t go as well as it has these last four days, but I think this is closer to the Mets than the Philly series was. Delgado seems to have some power back, and if he can hold on to some of that and Alou can stay healthy the Mets have something that they actually lacked for much of the season, power. Beltran was slumping a bit, and Wright’s not a pure power guy, so the Mets were often resorting to small ball and stringing together hits. There are only so many hits you can string together sometimes. Many of those games in the middle of the summer that the Mets lost would’ve been wins if the RBI singles had become three run home runs.

Pelfrey and Pedro looked good, David Wright’s making his case for 30-30, as well as MVP, Wagner finally earned a save again, and the bullpen has settled down a little.

The magic number is at 23, soon to be 21, and before you know it we’ll be pricing playoff tickets on Stubhub and hoping the Mets clinch at home on the 24th so that we can be in attendance.

Time to get hot

In last nights game both Wright and Delgado had hits. RBI hits. Big hits. Delgado hit a home run into the water, and Wright has the 2-run double that gave the Mets the lead. Off Armando Benitez too. Gee, didn’t see that coming? A lot has been made about Wright’s lack of home runs, and while he should be hitting more, he’s not a power hitter. He claims that himself, and if you look back, a lot of his big hits are just that, hits or doubles into the gaps or down the line or over Johnny Damon’s head. He has his share of big home runs too, but he doesn’t go up there swinging for the fences, knowing a 2-run double can be just as important. I don’t think there is any reason to worry about David Wright, haircut or not.

They secured the game last night, getting runs when they needed it. However, we still feel like we’re waiting for them to click, but when you look at the record, it’s not like they’re struggling. Sure it’s not as strong a start as last year, when we’d only lost one series to this point and already had a huge division lead, but we didn’t think it would be this year. Despite the 21-12 record, it’s apparent the Mets have another level that they haven’t yet reached. The 5-2 road trip was good, but it wasn’t dominating. Remember that west coast trip the Mets went on last year? Where they basically scored in the first inning every day and just didn’t lose? I’m sure they have a streak in them like that this year. And maybe it’s coming. As we saw when games went from meaningless spring to grudge match against the Cardinals, the Mets can find strength in playing tougher teams. The Brewers and Cubs and Yankees are all coming up, all pretty good teams. 10 game homestand, where they haven’t yet played well, only going 7 and 7 in their first 14 games at home. This looks like as good a time as any to go on a tear. 8-2 or 9-1 homestand asserting their dominance of two of the better teams in the National League and one of the best in the American?

The season’s starting to really get going, and It’s time for the Mets to make their move and gain some distance from the Braves.

Back In First

Apr 14, 2007 12:19 AM

Sure they’re technically tied for first, but it’s first nonetheless. I have a feeling this might be the closest any team gets for the rest of the season. The Mets are playing all division games for the next week, and I expect them to heat up with the weather. Expect to see some home runs when the Mets visit Philadelphia on Monday. I would not be surprised if the Mets hit seven in the two days, including two by David Wright.

Enough predictions, I’ll be out at Shea for my third game tomorrow, seeing John Maine pitch again. He had a little bit of control problems on Monday, and with the slightly warmer weather tomorrow, 51degrees, I expect him to have a little better grip. I’m thinking 7-2 Mets. Oops, i thought I was done with predictions.

David Wright swiped his third base of the season last night. He stole 20 last year, and right now is on pace for 48. I doubt he’ll reach that, but with Beltran looking to steal more this year too, you’ve got spots one, three and five in the batting order that look to be pesky and distract the pitchers. I’m sure this was one of the considerations Willie was thinking of when he thought about batting Wright second.

I’d love to see both Reyes and Wright one day be 30-30 players. How awesome would that be?