Mets Games 160, 161, 162 – Wait ’til Next Year!
Mets 8 Astros 3
Mets 2 Astros 1
Astros 3 Mets 1
Here’s what I wrote for ESPN’s final “Power Rankings”:
The Mets finished with 79 wins for the first time since 2010, winning seven of their last 11 games and going 14-10 in September. Their 31-22 record in day games was sixth-best in the majors, and only the A’s won more games (eight) when trailing after eight innings (the Mets won six).
They were the only team with a positive run-differential (plus-11) and a losing record.
That last sentence is quite the head-scratcher.
Mets Game Notes
Bartolo Colon finished the year with 15 wins. Lucas Duda finished with 30 homers, the first Met to do so since Ike Davis mashed 32 in 2010. Duda’s #29 was quite dramatic, for those who weren’t busy pouring wine in Atlantic City with famous wine people.
The Mets finished 38-38 vs. teams in the NL East, for whatever that’s worth. More importantly (to Mets management), their attendance of 2,148,808 was 13th of 15 in the NL. The team had a 15-10 record in three separate months — April, July, and September. What does that mean in the grand scheme of things? A team that was collectively 15 games over .500 in three months yet finished four games below the mid-water mark?
They had 7 walkoff wins, 11 walkoff losses. They were 26-29 in one-run games and 7-8 in extra-inning games. Is that indicative of the bullpen, which by all accounts seemed to be a strength? Or the management of the team in late innings?
They finished the second half 34-33, so I’m sure the spin doctor will make hay of that winning record, in addition to the team’s tie for second-place finish.
The most games over .500 they ever stood was four — on Tuesday, April 29.
The most games below .500 was 11, on July 5.
The Mets never spent one day in first place for the entire season.
The Mets were shut out 12 times, and shut out opponents 11 times.
The Mets’ longest winning streak was four games. Huh. Their longest losing streak, six.
Next Mets Game
God willing, the Mets face the Nationals on April 6, 2015 in Washington, D.C. First pitch is TBD but
Joe Namath Matt Harvey has already guaranteed a win.
As for next year, I’ll plot my £10 carefully. I realise it means I won’t get in the Fan’s Hall of Fame but the money is too tempting.
1) Omitting games played in Denver, the Mets scored 10+ runs 8 times and allowed 10+ runs twice. Basically, our hitters padded their stats in blowouts, and our pitchers did not return the favor to the opposition. Apparently our worst relievers were much better than other teams’ worst relievers.
2) Going 26-29 instead of the expected 28-27 in 1-run games is something any statistician would dismiss as random luck. Subjectively, I don’t think Collins’ strategy in close games was overall worse than our opponents’. I do remember a few more bounces going against us than for us.
3) Poor clutch hitting. Most NL teams this year hit a LITTLE worse in “Late & Close” situations than they did otherwise; the Mets hit a LOT worse. The average NL team lost 11 points of AVG and 24 points of SLG in such situations; the Mets lost 17 points of AVG and 38 points of SLG.
These are three excellent points that cannot be overrated. Alderson and some of what I have read today regarding the offense are making it seem like the Mets are close offensively. The total runs scored is being cited, and adding “40” runs or so will propel them into contention. Your points prove that theory/spin to be nonsense. The Mets clearly padded offense in blowouts. Without tabulating, there were countless games that the Mets had virtually no offense. This was especially true at home. They’d go 5 games with 3 to 6 hits, and then put up a 15 hit effort. I remember several wins at home with 4 hits or less. Heck, ELIAS may find that they had the most home wins with 4 or fewer hits of any team in history. Despite that positive run differential, they might actually have been lucky to win 79 based on the number of wins with minimal hits. And, your 3rd point backs up the eye test – when the chips are down, the Met hitters could not deliver, because they have too many weak bats in the lineup. Given the contracts to DW and Grandy, combined with the lineup spots the TDA, Duda, and Lagares earned in 2014, Alderson needs to add a plus RH bat to the OF, and he has to find a SS that can provide solid D and be a tough out that can do some damage. They simply cant afford one below average bat in the lineup since they won’t have a plus plus bat to offset it. And, despite all the kudos for the pitching, it still lags significantly behind the Nats’ staff, and the Mets need to get to the level of the Nats before they can be taken seriously.
I too would love to have a battler capable of contributing good ABs against opponents’ nasty closers. In fact, I’ve been racking my brains for such a player who we could acquire. Know who I’ve come up with? Nobody. All the guys I know of who fit that criteria are basically superstars and are locked up. Can you conjure up any names?
If the Yankees eat some of Martin Prado’s contract, he’d give us some quality ABs, but I dunno where we’d play him.
Where to play Martin Prado? Seriously? Anywhere he wants. He’s hands-down a better defender at every position than every single current Met regular other than Lagares. And he’s a professional hitter. And runs the bases both well and with brains.
OK maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But Prado is the kind of guy that every team values in the pre- and post-PEDs eras. He does EVERYTHING well. Send Murphy and his about-to-increase contract to the Bronx for him. Play him at 2B and let Herrera and Flores fight it out for SS.
If the Mets had Prado at 2B and Stephen Drew at SS from day one in spring training, they would have won 85 games just because of their brains and sure hands. But then, we wouldn’t have found out how awesome Flores and Tejada were, so, I guess it’s better this way.
Love me some Prado, I’d take him ina heartbeat. But, Wright > Prado defensively at 3B, and Prado’s only played 16 games as SS.
@ Joe: Stephen Drew was actually worse with the Yanks than with the Sawx. He had all season to get it together and he didn’t. He also wanted a 2 yr/14M contract with a player option after year 1. Sandy was correct in not going for it. That’s a lot of $$ for a guy whose career OPS+ is 95 and career WAR is 15.9. Tejada’s OPS+ has been at least 90 in 3 of the last 4 years.
Love me some Prado, I’d take him ina heartbeat. But, Wright > Prado defensively at 3B, and Prado’s only played 16 games as SS.”
Re: Drew – He didn’t have “all year” to get it together, he started playing in MLB on June 2 and not regularly until June 15. About a half-season, and no spring training. I don’t think there’s any way you can judge what he MIGHT HAVE done had he began with the Mets on February 1 to what he wound up doing in the last 90 games of a season for two different teams. And I don’t give a crack about the OPS or any other stats — that’s not at all what it’s about, unless you’re playing Strat-O-Matic. Drew is a superior fielder with better all-around instincts and has experience playing for winning ballclubs. Put a veteran like him and Prado together and watch more of those one-run games go the Mets’ way. Sorry I don’t have a stat to prove it, so let’s just leave it as my brazen opinion based on experience playing, coaching, and watching baseball for 35+ years. If you disagree, that’s cool, we’ll agree to disagree.
As for Prado / Wright at 3B, and Prado at SS, I did admit to exaggerating. In other words, I was being hyperbolic.
1) The Mets were 11th in OPS but 8th in runs, outscoring every NL team within 20 points of their weak .672 OPS.
2) How did they score so much? Stealing bases probably helped a bit. The average NL team went 91-36, while the Mets went 101-34. WAR rates them as overall average on the bases, though, with Young’s brilliance countered by the plodding Duda, Tejada, Flores and d’Arnaud. So that probably isn’t our answer.
3) The Mets actually excelled with men on base. The average NL team hit 2 points higher with RISP and slugged 9 points higher with men on, compared to their overall line. The Mets hit 6 points higher with RISP and slugged 38 points higher with men on!
4) Those 3-run homers probably cover the gap between OPS and runs all by themselves. The Mets certainly didn’t get a ton of runners in from 3rd with less than two outs. League average was 50%, and the Mets’ 47% was tied for second worst. With an average performance, they’d have scored 9 or 10 more runs.
5) Were the Mets trying to hit homers and failing? They led the league in fly balls, but were third WORST in the league in HR/fly ball percentage. Don’t blame Citi Field — the two teams who were worse weren’t the Padres and Giants, but rather the Cardinals and Diamondbacks.
6) All those fly balls came with few line drives (3rd lowest %) and few balls in play going for hits (BABIP also 3rd lowest). At lest they weren’t strikeouts! After starting on an epic K tear, the Mets finished the year exactly league average in batter Ks. Was that an improvement? Well, I dunno… were all those weak fly outs a year-long thing, or did they go up as the Ks went down? I don’t have stats for that one.
What are the takeaways here? Well, it’s mostly bad news. Analysis has shown that line drive, fly ball, and HR/fly rates are much more repeatable than situational hitting numbers. A statistician would suggest that the Mets will continue to hit weak flies and post a sub-par OPS, will thrive less with runners on, but will also choke less. So their Runs Scored will go down, but their W-L record will better live up to their run differential. That would put their offense on par with this year’s Braves and Phillies.
Not that I think every statistical expectation will bear out — there will be improvements and declines and injuries, and something about being the Mets might lead choking to persist — but this does strike me as a realistic starting point.
Time to add a few bats and heap a lot of responsibility on the pitchers…
Here’s the good thing for Sandy: there’s a team in the NL East looking this winter to unload a bunch of guys who hit long fly balls! Maybe the Mets can steal a B.J. Upton or Ryan Doumit.
Thanks again to you and your crew for blogging about the Mets this season. I am sure it is less fun doing it for yet another losing season, but just think of how many losing seasons Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy had to endure.
IMO, the “head-scratcher” is this weird fascination this year with run differential. I guess its the stat du jour.
Anyway, I’ll post this:
David Wright and the Citi Field effect. 2012 & 2013 were 2 of David’s top-5 years in terms of OPS+. In fact, 2013 would have been the best OPS+ of his career had he not missed the final 1/3 of the season. So I think we can be optimistic that if David is healthy, he can return to being a top-10 NL position player.
And he was correct, sort of. The Mets run differential is indicative of a .500 team. 11 runs spread over the course of the season doesn’t add up to much, and the fact that they were a couple games short of .500 comes down to luck, nothing more – replay the season and they’d probably take a few more games from Washington, for example. But the bottom line is nothing about the team performance suggested a team ready to compete with their betters. Maybe next year. And maybe not.
At the same time the stat always fascinated me as I wonder how much it says about a team’s manager. The Yankees’ RD was -31, for example, and they finished 2nd and 6 games over .500. Their RD was -21 last year, when they also had a winning record. Does that mean Joe Girardi is a magician? Buck Showalter’s 2012 Orioles had a +7 RD, which translated to a 82-80 record — but instead they went 93-69.
I don’t know, maybe RD means nothing. But the statheads must think it has some importance, if so many people are keeping track of it.
As Argon wrote, and as I maintained to anyone in the Mets community who would listen (which was no one), the Mets RD through July was the result of a favorable outcome in blowout games. Once the Mets started losing more blowout games in late July and August, their RD went into the minus zone, and recovered in September.
It’s a useful supplemental stat, but nothing to get excited about.
As a descriptive tool for what’s already happened, one could say the 2014 Mets must have choked in crunch time, or the 2014 Yankees were clutch or well-managed. But without having looked into the Yanks, I couldn’t tell you whether there’s some other sort of fluke or mirage going on there as well.
I think DePodesta or Ricciardi moved deGrom from shortstop to pitcher. 😉
I am pretty sure deGrom was pitching when Sandy and his boys arrived. Actually he was rehabbing TJS
Omar’s system has produced a likely ace, an all star 2B, two 30 HR 1B, a good glove CF, and two quality back end BP arms plus Niese and Gee, two solid MLB starters.
1) promoted Ike, Thole and Tejada for good during 2010
2) introduced Gee and Duda to MLB late in the year
3) lost Mejia to injury while deciding whether he was an MLB reliever or a minor league starter
4) virtually nothing of value in AAA besides the above
5) nothing of value in AA either
6) a handful of raw but talented guys at the lower levels like Familia and Lagares
7) just drafted Harvey and deGrom
So is that a good farm system?
How much credit for deGrom and Harvey goes to Omar’s draft vs Sandy’s development?
Here’s the full list:
AAA: Niewenhuis, Turner
AA: Campbell, Lutz, Nickeas, Satin, Valdespin, Carson, Schwinden
A+: Familia, Lagares, Flores, Tovar, Centeno
A: den Dekker, McHugh
Rk: Edgin, Germen, deGrom
Drafted, did not play: Harvey
No one else has contributed more than a few innings in the majors. No one is likely to either (except perhaps Akeel Morris), unless Puello or Jeff Walters improves.
Got Joe’s sarcasm but wasn’t sure on the smiley face comment about Depo and JP.
You overlooked Matz who was an Omar pick, and he is viewed as an elite prospect that is very close these days. No doubt Omar has some lemons a la Eddie Kunz and Brad Holt, and he also burned several #1s when the Wilpons were swimming in Madoff money. But, a minor league system’s quality is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, and in the eye of those who create the to prospects lists. There is likely a scientific way to evaluate a GM’s picks, and I don’t have the time to research, but given the list of Omar guys that made it, and their MLB performances to date (WAR?), I can’t accept that his system was lousy. Guys like deGrom, Lagares, Murphy, Gee, Niese, Parnell, were never on anyone’s top 100, but these are players that can hold spots (more or less) on a playoff team. Also, castoff Colin McHugh was a low round Omar pick who put up a WAR of 4+ and a WHIP of 1.02 for the ‘stros, and Pelfrey had a few decent seasons in his day. That is quite a handful of MLB players for a 5 year reign. Omar’s draft team’s lack of producing stars, with the exception of Harvey, was more a factor of losing #1 picks for signing top FAs, the Wilpon’s refusal to pay draft picks overslot (to offset the loss of the #1s), and the Wilpon’s refusal to outbid others for the top IFAs. Lastly, Omar produced those players while the team was signing FAs, averaging 990 wins, and drafting low. It will take some time to see how Alderson’s reign pans out, but he is also the benefactor of selling off MLB talent for propects, not signing FAs, and drafting higher due to a consistently crappy record.
I didn’t comment on Niese, Parnell, Murphy and Pelfrey because Dan B’s point was about the farm that Alderson inherited, not the MLB team he inherited. Alderson’s staked a lot of his “progress” on improving the farm, so I think it’s interesting to look at what he was handed, in order to evaluate how much it’s improved.
My conclusion is that, in pretty barren upper levels, and lower levels devoid of MLB regular position players, Sandy was not handed terribly much. But I’m not sure. Maybe those teams that regularly churn out everyday second basemen and left fielders would have killed to have Harvey, deGrom and McHugh instead. It’s hard to say. Is there some farm system that everyone agree is average, that I could use for comparison?
Regarding Sandy’s improvements, I guess we should look at the Mets right now. Without knowing who will actually succeed in MLB, here are the Alderson-acquired guys who seem likely to at least appear in the bigs:
AAA: Plawecki, Syndergaard, Montero, Reynolds, Bowman
AA: Herrera, Nimmo (outside shots for Boyd, Leathersich, Ynoa, Mazzoni)
A+: (outside shots for Cecchini, Mazzilli, Fullmer, Cessa)
A: Smith, Morris, Alvarez (outside shots for Gsellman, Whalen)
Rk: Conforto, Rosario, Molina (outside shot for Ramos, Taylor)
Recent grads: d’Arnaud, Wheeler
How does that compare? If Morris and Molina can pull a Familia and deGrom, I’d say that’s clearly better. Hard to see any of Sandy’s #1s equaling Harvey, though.
AB, I’m not sure how you can virtually dismiss “lower level” guys like Lagares, etc., during the Omar era and then mention similarly “lower level” guys like Conforto, Cecchini, Mazzilli, Nimmo, etc. I mention Nimmo as “lower level” because he didn’t exactly light up AA.
I figure the lowest leagues from 2010 and 2014 are similar, but AAA has dramatically improved.
The 2010 Buffalo Bisons had, at one point or another, Captain Kirk, Justin Turner, Nick Evans, Bobby Parnell, R.A. Dickey, Chris Carter, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, and F-Mart. I realize Evans and Carter didn’t pan out as All-Stars, but at the time they were about equal to Kirk/Den Dekker in ’14. And F-Mart turned out to be a bust but at the time he was still a major prospect and only 21.
The 2014 Las Vegas club had a better manager, of course 😉 but as far as the personnel being dramatically improved? I disagree. To me the two clubs were fairly similar in terms of capable players and potential prospects.
If we want to discuss the farm system under Omar in general, as opposed to the farm system he left Sandy with, that’s a different question, and I wouldn’t have bothered with the 2010 stuff.
Relative to what he was handed, I do think Sandy’s got more now than he did then.
Perhaps that’s only because 2010 saw a rash of MLB promotions, and is not indicative of the system’s overall health? And Gee, Tejada et al ARE indicative of a productive farm system? If that’s the argument, then don’t we have to count Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom and d’Arnaud among Sandy’s contributions? I dunno, seems messy to me — Omar stuck around just long enough that he was no longer promoting guys Philips drafted; Sandy hasn’t been around that long yet, and is still promoting guys Omar drafted.
Who was the best position player Omar’s drafts produced? I’m blanking. The most exciting minor league bats were Milledge and Fernando Martinez, but their swings devolved quickly — Milledge by his first full big league season, and Fernando by the time he reached full-season leagues. Doesn’t seem like an impressive farm system to me…
I don’t think Sandy has any more today than he had in 2010 — it looks pretty comparable overall. Remember, too, that hindsight is 20/20.
Omar put more focus on Latin American signings than on the draft. As for the drafts, Omar went all-in on pitching, pitching, and more pitching, perhaps figuring that he already had a strong, young offensive base to work with in Wright, Reyes, Milledge, F-Mart, Gomez.
Milledge was drafted in ’03 and Omar’s first draft was ’05, when he took Pelfrey first round and at the time it was a tremendous pick — sure, it’s easy (again, w/ benefit of hindsight) to say he should’ve taken McCutchen or Ellsbury or Jay Bruce or someone else but at the time, Pelfrey was hands-down the best pitcher in the nation and most polished. Omar was working in the moment, in the now, to win now, and picking Pelfrey was a no-brainer. They also picked Niese and Parnell that year — pretty decent draft for the mound. In ’06 they drafted Murphy, so he’s probably the best position player produced from Omar drafts (interestingly, they also drafted Vic Black that year, but he didn’t sign). In ’07 the best position player produced from the draft was Lucas Duda (Gee was also in that draft). ’08 was Ike Davis, Josh Satin, Captain Kirk, Eric Campbell. ’09 was a terrible draft — no #1 and picking 23rd. ’10 was Harvey, deGrom, Edgin.
So, I guess the best position prospects from the Omar drafts would be Murphy, Duda, and Davis. No, not impressive. But again, the focus was on pitching, and they did produce Harvey, deGrom, Parnell, Gee, Niese, Pelfrey, McHugh, Edgin, and a few that may still arrive on the MLB scene. That’s a decent group for a six-year period. Maybe not outstanding, but decent — it’s a full rotation with an ace and three guys who are between #2/#3, a legit closer, and a decent LOOGY.
For what it’s worth, the Steve Phillips drafts weren’t so wonderful, though they did produce David Wright. The next-best players Phillips drafted, in no particular order, were Heilman, Bannister, Kazmir, Pagan, Jacobs, Wigginton, and Jason Tyner. There were some really crappy drafts — 98, 99, and 00 were awful, and the only MLBers from 02 were Matt Lindstrom and Kazmir. After Wright, the next-best player that came into the organization during Phillips’ time was Reyes — and he was signed in part due to assistant GM Omar Minaya.
I’m not saying Minaya is a genius, but I feel it necessary to point out what he inherited, and passed on to Alderson. The Mets’ farm wasn’t like Atlanta’s or Tampa Bay’s but I feel that Omar gets an undeserved bum rap for a system that was much better than the way most pundits described it.
My contention is that what we currently have in AAA is superior. Unfortunately, I DO have to guess, but I don’t feel that I’m being overly optimistic in guessing that our current crop will produce more than two back-ups. If Syndergaard becomes a #3 starter, then there ya go.
Although I don’t place a ton of faith in pundit-scouts, I think the fact that the Mets’ system has gone from ranking in the 12-20 range to in the 4-8 range says something. Most of the prospect writers seem to think that Sandy has stockpiled a good group of C+ pitching prospects, the way Omar had a bunch of C+ hitting prospects, but in addition Sandy has more B / B+ types. Thor, Montero, Smith, Plawecki, Herrera, Nimmo & Conforto made the “B” cut in 2014, vs just Harvey and Mejia in 2010. Of course, seeing that Harvey can be an absolute ace when healthy, one could say Omar’s crop was underrated at the time.
Don’t get me wrong; given our lack of a middle of the order bat prospect, I certainly don’t think our current farm system is amazing or anything. But I do think it was worse at the end of 2010.
I agree with you on Pelfrey, he seemed like a great pick at the time. Re: the rotation of Omar draftees, that’s a good point, but I dunno if you’re looking at odds or at results. If it’s results, then no, we didn’t get “an ace and three guys who are between #2/#3, a legit closer, and a decent LOOGY” at once, or to keep — instead, we got guys who briefly passed through those roles at different times in their careers. This year was a good example — deGrom pitched like a #2, Gee pitched like a #5, Parnell didn’t pitch at all. Much less impressive if you look at it that way.
Perhaps it’s fair to say that some of the underwhelming development impression Omar left is due to Philips leaving him a bunch of garbage. But man, I remember some Omar draft picks that were head-scratchers the second they happened, and I don’t think anyone has yet flopped under Sandy as badly as F-Mart flopped under Omar. How much is the GM accountable for development?
(Wilpons circa 2012) “Sandy, Madoff is gone, I can’t afford a $90 million payroll. Trade off those contracts. We will sell the farm system to the public and cut cost”
Both GMs did what they were told however they were told very different things.