The Mets new GM, Brodie Van Wagenen, has yet to make a significant trade or free agent signing. He is, however, making notable moves to improve the organization.
The Mets, under the direction of Brodie Van Wagenen, are lighting a small but steady fire that is built to improve the organization from the bottom up. Within the last few days, Van Wagenen has added Adam Guttridge as the assistant GM for systematic development, Allard Baird as vice president, assistant general manager, scouting and player development, and Jim Riggleman as the new bench coach for Mets manager, Mickey Callaway.
Typically, you would say this is organization building from the top down when higher level positions are filled. But in the case of the Mets, strength in these positions has been glaringly missing within the organization, and to Van Wagenen’s credit, he’s recognized where the holes are, and he’s appropriately filling them. Let’s take them one at a time.
Mets Scouting And Player Development
Allard Baird has spent the last 13 years plying his trade in the Boston Red Sox organization. With three World Titles on his resume, Baird steps into a familiar role with the Mets, and into an organization that has continuously failed, not so much in scouting and drafting high-quality talent, but in the development of those same players.
Two examples can highlight the Mets lapses in the area of player development, which hopefully, Baird will correct, so it doesn’t occur as frequently in the future.
First, highly touted Amed Rosario played for four full years and parts of a fifth season in the Mets minor leagues. Yet, when he made the jump to the big leagues, he (apparently) had not been tutored, for example, on base stealing, even though he was marked by the Mets as their lead-off hitter. Other areas of Rosario’s game also required tweaking that had to be done at the major league level.
Secondly, the Mets made a solid decision to send their future first baseman, Peter Alonso, to the Arizona Fall League for a tune-up before he takes the big stage come Spring. But somehow, they dropped the ball in allowing Alonso to serve as a DH many times when a primary reason for sending him there in the first place (in theory) was so Alonso could work on his fielding at first base.
Seemingly small in the big picture perhaps, Baird is here to ensure these types of “oops moments” never happen again.
Mets Analytics And Statistics
According to the New York Post, “Adam Guttridge co-founded Normalized Empirical Individual Forecasting Index, a firm that offers advanced talent assessments and projection systems to all levels of professional baseball.”
That’s a big gulp to handle, but mainly he’s the analytics guy the Mets have been sorely lacking to lead their organization into the 21st Century. According to the New York Post again, Guttridge will be given a free hand to hire a staff, raising the Mets to the hiring level of most other major league teams in this area.
We can argue all day about the value of analytics as the game of baseball today, but as I see it, where the shoe fits, wear it.
Meaning that Jacob deGrom, as an example, is more likely to dismiss stats presented to him referencing how to get the hitters he will be facing that day out.
Degrom will no doubt look at the analytics, but then ask, “So, you mean you want me to pitch to the batter’s weaknesses, and not to my strengths?” Dismissing the idea, deGrom will then go out to hurl another Cy Young type game.
Guttridge and his staff will need to weave a mosaic, ensuring the Mets and Mickey Callaway don’t become another version of the Dodgers and Dave Roberts, where analytics geniuses (I say) resulted in “directed” lineups from the top that just didn’t make any sense against the Red Sox, leading to getting crushed (again) in the World Series. We’ll want to follow this one closely.
Mets: Mickey Callaway’s Right Hand
No one could have expected Mickey Callaway, with zero managerial experience, to step into the Mets job and to come out the other end as a Jim Leyland, Buck Showalter, or Billy Martin, the ultimate “baseball man” and strategist.
But to be sure, it was a bumpy ride for Callaway, and we’re not just talking about the wrong line-up card fiasco.
Callaway is learning on the job, just as many of his players are. Jim Riggleman will help to steady the ship. For Riggleman, the trick will be to not take over the job as manager, while still pointing to and leading Callaway in the right direction when he sees a wrong.
Van Wagenen, The Puppeteer
Brodie Van Wagenen, even if he has not (yet) improved the Mets team taking the field come Spring, has made some excellent and revealing moves in the last few days.
And after writing a blistering column a few days ago that questioned the Mets inaction to date in the trade and free agent market, I correct myself in knowing that based on Van Wagenen’s actions over the last few days, the Mets will be better tomorrow than they are today.
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