The Mets’ offense would be worse than it is if they were a wild-swinging team. But there’s a fine line between patience and aggressiveness…
Once again, the Mets sport the second-highest batting average in the National League (they were first last year), albeit a modest .243 in a pitching-dominated season.
Yet, as we know, their pitching is carrying the team while their overall offense continues to sputter in the last place in the National League in runs scored, with a -21 run differential, also the worst in the NL East division.
The Mets have played fewer games than most teams due to postponements and whatnot, so maybe the 130 hits (also last in the NL) don’t mean that much – but something is not clicking with this team.
The Mets are well behind the leaders in base-on-balls with only 57 (third to last), and they are dead-last in striking out – so what can it be?
A clue might be in the runners left in scoring position (RISP) stat where the Mets rank 23rd out of 30 teams, but then how do we account for the Dodgers in the last place, followed by Tampa Bay, San Diego, and Boston (all winning teams) before the Mets are reached?
Mets: Ah, We’re Getting Warmer Now…
We might be getting warmer, though, when we see the Mets rank second in the league in on-base percentage at .329.
Fans will recall that Billy Beane and Oakland A’s built an entire pennant-winning team based on this one stat in 1980, where the tradition continues with the A’s just having reeled off thirteen straight.
The trouble is, however, that the Mets are not built to play “Billy Ball.”
The Mets are a team built to hit doubles in the gap, and two-run home runs that pad or recovers a game from a deficit.
Instead, the Mets watch as Pete Alonso tries his utmost to get “good at-bats,” just like he said he would in Spring Training when maybe he should be swinging for the fences more, just like he did in 2019 when he shattered the rookie record for home runs with 52.
So what if Alonso’s batting average falls to .240 and his strikeout rate goes up a notch? J.D. Davis is another one, except his mindset does seem more along the lines of hitting home runs.
Michael Conforto may be another story of a player caught in his walk-year trying to do too much, but if some of the power expectation was removed from him, he might “find himself” much faster.
Mets Are Not A Team Built For Billy Ball
You can’t help but like this Mets team as they work their way through the adversity of multiple and unscheduled days off, as that can partially be attributed to the slow offensive output of the team thus far.
But as we get deeper into the season and especially the playoffs when they’ll be facing the best of the best each team has to offer in the postseason, the Mets need to find a way to score more runs – even if it means a decrease in their tendency to lead the league in batting average.
At the moment, Mets manager Luis Rojas seems to be adopting a “hold on, it’s coming” position as manager, and maybe he’s right because, after all, that’s his job to be the team’s head cheerleader.
But tentativeness does not win games at this level, and given the Met’s pitching proficiency, that seems to be the working theory of Mets batters as they continue to win games by scores of 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3.
Mets: It Won’t Last If That’s All There Is
The Mets team will continue to be good, but they will not emerge as a cut above the rest until they can show they are a team capable of putting up a five-spot at any point in a game.
And to do that, they can’t be a team that engages in moving a runner along with an infield hit and a walk while the pitcher is scheduled to bat next.
The Mets don’t need to be an all-or-nothing team like the Yankees, but they sure as hell need to focus more on “letting it go” when the situation calls for it.
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