Steve Cohen: First Things First – Bring The Mets Into The 21st Century

Analytics: The Shadow Over Baseball

Steve Cohen is a man of numbers, and his allegiance to them is how he built a billion-dollar empire as a hedge fund genius. The Mets are next.

Steve Cohen, as the Mets’ principal owner to be, has a lot on his plate.

Mets fans stand by waiting for the flash of cash destined to be waved across the MLB universe in the pursuit of expensive free agents or upgrades to the team via trades.

Mets: Let the good times roll (Photo: AP/New York Post composite)
Mets: Let the good times roll (Photo: AP/New York Post composite)

A happy day in Metland will be when it is learned the Mets have signed both  J. T. Realmuto to replace Wilson Ramos as their catcher and Trevor Bauer, the man who will bolster the starting staff behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard when he returns.

Alas, hopefully, Mets fans will not be disappointed to learn that Steve Cohen works first on the “innards” of the organizations be builds before turning to the flashier and “investor” (fans) appealing components, sure to make their mark on the back pages of New York newspapers.

Steve Cohen Committed To Change

In 2018, The Athletic conducted a study that ranked all thirty MLB teams by the number of employees specifically devoted to assembling data that would serve as the basis for what is commonly known now as analytics.

Analytics Personnel By Team (The Athletic)
Analytics Personnel By Team (The Athletic)

Uh-Oh, Where Are The Mets?

That’s right; you don’t see them on the table because they are dead last with a paltry three employees dedicated to amassing the “numbers” that drive the game of baseball today.

Billy Beane, GM Oakland A's Photo Credit: MLB Daily Dish
Billy Beane, GM Oakland A’s Photo Credit: MLB Daily Dish

Now, before you go off on your high horse as a baseball “purist,” longing for the days when managers operated on “hunches,” while I have empathy with you as a fan of our National Pastime for more than half a century, there is something to be said for the trend sweeping across us like the busting of a dam.

We’ve come a long way since baseball’s initial experiment to define a new way. Billy Beane‘s “Moneyball” seems almost archaic now. Still, it did define the parameters of establishing a legacy as a new way to evaluate players’ talent and their subsequent ability to help their team.

Brodie VanWagenen did his best to pick up on the Mets’ need to accelerate the hiring of analysts, conforming to the overwhelming trend that followed Beane’s success in Oakland.

Alas, he was thwarted by the expenses attached to the effort by the now dethroned Wilpons, Van Wagenen’s status with the Mets is about as secure as

Kudos to Steve Cohen for recognizing the need, but let’s not get carried away with the notion that beefing up the Mets analytics department is a cure-all to their overall needs.

Some Things You Know As A Mets Fan

I am not a general manager, a manager, a scout, or Sandy Alderson who now sits as the head of all future Mets personnel needs and move – but I can tell you without any numbers to back it up that Steven Matz doesn’t “get it,” and it’s time to send him on his way via trade this offseason

Sandy Alderson - Driver of the Mets New Era
Sandy Alderson – Driver of the Mets New Era

Or, that the Mets need a left-handed power bat in their lineup to offset Pate Alonso and complement Dominic Smith in a dominant righty lineup.

Or, that Amed Rosario is a victim of the faulty Mets minor league system that didn’t help him learn and cultivate the skills he would need to play at this level, and therefore needs to be dealt now, while the dealing’s good.

The Mets are fortunate to have Luis Rojas as their manager, a man who has tenure with the Mets dating to the earlier years of Sandy Alderson as the GM of the team.

Rojas is also a firm believer and practitioner of baseball’s new science, and he will welcome as opposed to being a resistor in the face of the changes Steve Cohen will be making.

Mets Fans Waiting For Rome To Be Built In A Day

The problem for Steve Cohen and the Mets as they move forward is to balance needs within the organization, like augmenting their analytics department, and (not even mentioned here) the team’s need for an overhaul of their minor league system – while at the same time putting a championship-caliber team on the field this year and every year.

What happens, for instance, if the Yankees or some other team wins the J. T. Realmuto or Trevor Bauer sweepstakes, and Steve Cohen comes home with nothing more than Brodie VanWagenen’s desperate signing of pitchers in the same mold as Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, hoping in vain to catch lightning in a bottle Mets fans are accustomed to?

And more significantly than Mets fans who always seem to hold, what about the media firestorm that is likely to follow charges of see – it’s the same old Mets?

As I painstakingly tried to point out in an earlier piece about the shrinking roles of managers, analytics is the present and future of baseball as the game is played at the major league level.

Mets Instructional Camp All Set To Go (NY Daily News)
Mets Instructional Camp All Set To Go (NY Daily News)

But if I’ve learned anything as a fan of baseball for more than a half-century, it’s best to go with the flow, even when your gut longs for days gone by when “hunches” were all a manager had to call on in determining his lineup for a game that day.

When science intervenes in our lives, it is an intrusive element we can choose to accept or conveniently ignore.

There is no such thing as Global Warming or the impact of analytics in baseball. And if there is such an animal, it will soon recede into the deep forest where it belongs.

Steve Cohen is charting a way Mets fans may or may not buy into. Long-range, let’s build from within first, and if we can latch onto something that can help is now (Realmuto, etc.), let’s celebrate that as well.

But first and foremost, says Steve Cohen, my job is to rebuild a broken and dysfunctional Mets organization.

Hear, Hear.


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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.