Mike Francesa: Stop While You’re Ahead
For most of Monday afternoon, Mike Francesa had well-placed criticism for the New York Mets. However, he was way off the mark in his analysis of David Wright vs. Carlos Beltran.
Francesa had this to say about Wright, who he sees as a guy who is “not clutch” and who cannot take the Mets to the playoffs:
“He did not hit down the stretch … he did not come up with the big hits in the last week of the season.”
Check the stats, Mikey boy. Wright hit .417 in the last seven games of the season, with 6 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a 1.307 OPS. Beltran wasn’t quite as good, but not bad either — .346 / 4 RBI / 3 runs / .913 OPS. Looks to me that in the last week of the season, Wright outperformed Beltran. My eyes told me the same thing. Could Wright have been more clutch? Could he have driven in a few more runs? Of course he could have — but so could have Beltran.
Francesa went on to claim that
“year after year, Wright and Reyes fail down the stretch”
For the record, Mr. Francesa, you’re correct on Reyes but again COMPLETELY WRONG about Wright. David Wright was the ONLY batter performing down the stretch in 2007, hitting .394 with 6 HR and 20 RBI in August and then .352 / 6 HR / 21 RBI in September. This September was nearly identical: .340 with 6 homers and 21 RBI.
It’s crystal clear that Francesa watched ONE Mets game all season — the last one. Because he kept harping on the fact that Carlos Beltran hit a homerun in game 162, and Wright didn’t. He then gushed and gushed about how Beltran is such a “big time player” and such a “clutch” guy. Further, every time Francesa criticized the Mets players and their choking, he made certain to absolve Beltran from responsibility.
Francesa just can’t understand the Mets fans who “pour on Beltran” but continually “defend Wright”. Perhaps that misunderstanding is due to the fact that Mets fans watch every game, while Francesa only watches Mets games when the Yankees aren’t on. Because Mets fans know that, #1, Beltran cannot hit unless he has someone like Carlos Delgado batting behind him, because he doesn’t have the psychological acuity to be “the guy” in the middle of the lineup. Secondly, we have seen that Beltran is a remarkably streaky hitter — he’s either hot, or he’s not. Despite the nonsense Keith Hernandez speaks about Wright being a “streak hitter”, the fact is, Wright has been the most consistent hitter from wire to wire, whereas Beltran has been maddeningly inconsistent. All an outsider such as Francesa needs to do is check the stats (if he’s not going to watch the games):
As anyone can see, Wright’s average does fluctuate from month to month, but he never hit under .270, and was usually .280 and above. He’s no George Brett, but he’s pretty solid from games one through 162. Beltran, on the other hand, has a 140-point difference between his highest and lowest points. If that’s not streak hitting, I don’t know what is. What Francesa missed were those consistent failures by Beltran in April when the Mets were floundering near the NL East basement. Beltran’s slump in July was unnoticeable because Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis were unconscious.
This isn’t to say that Beltran is a bad player — not by any means. He is what he is, and that is a guy with a lot of talent that we generally see perform offensively in spurts. I don’t think Beltran is a “money” player; rather, I think that he is a guy who just happened to get hot this September, and just happened to catch fire at the end of September 2004, and Mike Francesa just happened to be watching a team other than the Yankees both times.
I realize Francesa takes these idiotic points of view to make Mets fans crazy, and more importantly, to keep people listening. But he should at least pick topics and sides that can be logically defended.
Sorry i could not participate earlier, but joe u know we are in the trenches with you.That said u know all too well your regulars differ in opinions.
I read the Post. the bigotry and diatribe was despicable. Not just francesca, but sherman and the rest.
1. If Billy had a tendn in his elbow for 1-2 games we’d have won. As it is the loss of Maine was another hurdle too high to jump over.
2 2008 had Pedro doing an El-duque/glavine. Yes he was good but not as good as we needed him to be.
3. Essentially there was a 1 man rotation, with passable performances by petey, ollie and Pel.
4. beltran, reyes and wright ALL had MVP caliber years. del almost. otherwise it was $%$##. Look at philly they won with ROLE players Pedro Feliz, Bruntlet, Werth, Victorino.
5. Bigotry one article blasts Omar for holding onto parnall yet trading Lindstrom. Parnall could be the future closer
6. Would we win a playoff game?…..no not unless Santana pitched.
7. I tiraded in may and June when we GAVE away games in SD and SF…to philly and florida saying hose would come back to haunt us.
Bottom line Sanchez, feliciano Scho, Heilman COULD not shorten our games and PLAYED the compteition into games mentally and physically where they did not belong.
He did hit will in the last 2 Septembers but my sense is that in both cases he did much better in the less important ABs.
What I also remember is Wright consistently knocking in Reyes with the first run of a ballgame — which to me is just as important as driving in a key run later in the game, because the stats tell us that the team that scores first, wins much more often than it loses. It may not be defined as “clutch” by the pundits, but it’s certainly an extremely valuable execution.
The “clutch stats” for David in 2008 on Baseball Reference look pretty good — .286 “late and close”, .308 with 9 HR in tie games. His .246 with 2 out RISP isn’t great, but all the other numbers are over .310. In comparison, Beltran was .282 “late and close” and .189 with 2 out RISP, and he also had 9 HR in tie games. Ryan Howard, .158 “late and close”. Chase Utley, .221 “late and close”.
If there isn’t already something on Baseball Think Factory or one of those other geek sites, maybe I’ll do a post comparing David to other “clutch” players.
You can also do it by month. I didn’t check that.
By the way I noticed that Manny was far and away better than everyone else on the planet in WPA. Does that mean if the Mets had him, they’d be playing this week?
Not that I need any sabermetrics to give me the answer to that question, but it’s nice when the stats support the opinion.
You compare the probability before and after every at bat and add them all up. So you can see logic behind it.
If the score had been tied in the 4th inning and he hit a home run it wouldn’t add nearly as much to the teams probability of winning the game because there are 5 innings left so he might get 0.05 WPA for leading off the top of 4th with a HR in a tie game.
I mean, I thought there was some kind of stat that said the first team to score, wins the game about 65% of the time? Or something like that. Anyone have a source to support / dispute that?
Kind of goes along with the fact that batting averages drop if a batter starts 0-1.
For batters you take the probability before their plate appearance and then the probability after their plate appearance. You just add up all the probability changes for all their ABs. It gives the batter more credit for doing something in a situation where it has a greater impact on his team’s chance of winning the game.
So a grand slam in bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and down three runs will give the batter a lot more WPA than a grand slam up 5 runs in the 9th. If you are down 3 runs in the 9th with 2 outs, even if the bases are loaded you are probably going to lose, probably about 90% of the time. So your probability of winning in that situation is about 0.10. If the batter hits the grand slam the team wins and the probability goes to 1.0, ie they win. He get 0.9 WPA for that hit. The grand slam up 5 runs probably takes the probability from 0.98 to 0.99 or 0.01 so the batter gets 0.01 WPA. So it gives credit based on how much the outcome if his PA effects the likelihood of winning.
I had Francesa on, during my drive home — which is only because Jon Heyman comes on to do his spot at the same time every day — and both, Francesa and Heyman seem to think that Ryan Church hates it in New York.
They both stated that the Mets believe “he’s not a fit” here.
Based on this train of thought, you’d have to think that maybe the Mets look into moving him over the winter…..but then again, who knows anymore?
“I know for a fact” — Francesa
What that amounts to…..?
But it was said during the drive.
In the beginning, when all was well — we didn’t hear a peep about anything.
As time went on, and the organization botched the handling of his injuries — coupled with some struggles down the stretch…..maybe he turned a bit sour?
If this is the case, then you seriously start to wonder about last year’s trade. Along with them likely looking into another catcher over the winter — Church could’ve been putting up MVP-type numbers all year….and he still may not have been a “NY guy”.
Right now, everyone’s dumping on the Mets in the media — no matter who the player, or what the circumstance……but this could become paramount, in putting together some sort of package deal over the winter for help.
As usual, stay tuned for the next “major story”.
The constant mishandling of roster transactions and player injuries has been noted by all through the years — players, writers, hell — even casual fans.
It’s not something that’s completely absurd (like this “BREAK UP THE CORE” crappola being spewed).
Guess we’ll see if it actually has to be dealt with over the winter.
The fact is — and I know this for a fact as much or more than Francesa — there are several Mets who would prefer to play in a less stressful city. But they like taking the money more, and deal with it.
Doesn’t anyone notice that NO ONE other than D-Wright is consistently quoted after games, and in the papers? It’s not a coincidence that the only time you hear from the Carloses, for example, is after a win. This team missed Wagner as much for his willingness to talk to writers after losses AND wins as for his ability to close games.
This is why Manuel was the right choice after Randolph — he was the lightning rod for the media that didn’t exist. I’ll go into this in more detail in a post, but the NY media issue is definitely an issue, and definitely part of the problem with this team.
Church revealed that his wife Tina was driven to tears by the standing ovation the Shea faithful gave before his first at-bat in Friday’s 1-for-3 return. The hard-nosed Church said the fans’ embrace cemented his desire to spend the rest of his career in Flushing. He’s even open to signing a long-term contract now to wipe away his arbitration years. Church won’t be a free agent until after the 2011 season.
Another Fatboy Farce defeated. Oh, but I’m sure Francesa knows Church hates NY for a fact. Everyone knows the two play golf on the weekends and swap recipes. Why wouldn’t Church confide in the biggest (literally and figuratively) Met-hater in New York?
(From Adam Rubin’s chat on Daily News blog)
Ryan Church really enjoyed playing in New York. How do I know? We talked several times during the year about it. Not with a notepad and tape recorder out.
Just casual one-on-one conversations,when he talked about how much more he liked New York than Washington. Did he love all his teammates? No. Does anyone?
I probably should have written it at the time, but it was the day Johan Santana pitched a complete game and would have seemed meanspirited.
The report time for players for Saturday’s game was 11:15 a.m. Duaner Sanchez strolled in at 11:45 a.m. Ricardo Rincon strolled in at 12:05 p.m. I don’t know if they had something family-related that caused them to be late, and Jerry Manuel almost made it sound like players might have had permission to be late, but that’s the kind of stuff that irked Church.
Church is a gamer, the kind of player the Mets need. He had a right hip injury the final week of the season. Doctors told him to take a week off. He instead played, and struggled, through it while taking daily injections.
Citing these examples? I’d be pissed with certain guys — too.
You see this kind of stuff all the time, especially if you’ve ever actually played team sports — or have a job where your co-workers stroll in whenever they please.
It’s annoying…..and does irk.
GO AWAY, FATBOY — YOU’RE THE ULTI”MET” TOOL!!!
Church ain’t going anywhere, bottom line. He obviously likes NY, unless you choose to believe Mike Francesa over the actual source. Omar loves Church, going back to his days as Montreal’s GM, and went out on a limb to trade a top prospect for him last offseason, regardless of what type of baggage that prospect was carrying. Church has great tools and is making peanuts compared to similar players. With a hole already to potentially fill in LF, it doesn’t make sense to me why the Mets would trade another one of their starting OF.