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.

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A Blogger Chat With Sandy Alderson

This evening a selection of bloggers had a second conference call with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.  The first one took place in December. There were a lot of great questions asked, and I’m sure there will be a full recap around the blogosphere.  For now, the response to my question, followed by links to the other bloggers’ write-ups that I will update as I see them.



I asked Alderson how active he would be with transactions this season, in particular with regards to the second base or bullpen candidates that “just missed” making the team.

He explained that once these final decisions are made in Spring Training, a lot of that possible depth in the bullpen goes away.  Guys may have to be offered back if they’re rule 5 picks, or they may choose to opt out of their contracts or just retire.  The depth in the bullpen would most likely be Igarashi, although the Mets are pretty deep at second base.  He stressed the importance of making sure guys are given a chance to perform and not go into every game like it could be their last.  I feel like this is a big upgrade from last year; despite the ultimate results, I didn’t think it was fair for guys like John Maine and Oliver Perez to have it constantly held over their head that they were pitching for their careers to the point that Jerry Manuel actually publicly contemplated removing Maine from the rotation without ever mentioning it to him.

This is a good philosophy to have, but I wonder if it may be a little naive.  After all, it’s not usually the manager and GM that are holding the axe over a players head, it’s the fans and sports radio.  Mike Jacobs and Frank Catalanotto only got 28 and 26 plate appearances  respectively before being cast away, and it seems like the fans were calling for their heads long before that.  Obviously the first base position took a rough turn when Murphy got hit with an injury days before the Opener, but what amounts to seven or eight games is hardly a telling sample size.  Ultimately getting Ike Davis on the Mets, particularly when Murphy experienced a setback in recovery, was a good move but that doesn’t mean Jacobs or Catalanotto got a real fair shot to contribute.

Two quick things I took note of during the call.  One is that there is still a chance Nick Evans makes this team, regardless of what happens with Beltran.  The other is it seemed like Sandy’s biggest test for Jose Reyes is his on base percentage, and that if he can raise that, he’ll be resigned.  I’m confident both will happen.

Transcript Courtesy of Michael Baron

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NJ.com’s Matthew Artus

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