Can the Mets Use a Mental Coach?

logoIf you are a Mets fan, you are all-too-familiar with:

– Mike Pelfrey’s “yips”

– Oliver Perez’s “Jekyll and Hyde” routine

– Frequent mental lapses on the bases and in the field

– Team-wide choking that led to late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008

– Finger-pointing and under-the-bus throwing by players

These issues were running through my mind while having a conversation with Jim Fannin, a “mental coach” whose client list includes MLBers such as Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Casey Blake, Alex Cora, Carlos Delgado, Barry Zito, and many others. You can listen to the published podcast of this conversation at my baseball instruction website, OnBaseball.com. Could the Mets benefit from hiring someone to help with their mental preparation?

Download the podcast, give it a listen, and post your comments back here.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Ken October 22, 2009 at 11:17 am
    how about getting players that are mental cases instead. but otherwise yeah they definitely could use a mental coach.
  2. john October 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm
    No. The hitting and pitching coaches don’t even matter that much. Neither does the manager. They need more talent.

    And to get that they need a GM who can find it and get it. They don’t have one of those now.

  3. joejanish October 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm
    John – I have to agree: the Mets do need more talent. But unfortunately they’re stuck with some bad contracts and also have several young players who aren’t going anywhere, so they have to play at least some of the cards their dealt.

    Are you saying that you don’t believe a player can improve his performance through proper mental training, or that even with the proper approach, the Mets are still light years away from having enough talent to contend? Or both?

  4. john October 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    Joe, to answer your question, I don’t think a mental coach would matter one bit. Not one bit. It’s the type of thinking that comes up on blogs or when you’re trying to ignore the real problems — talent.

    As to the fact that the Mets are stuck with the talent they have, that’s so true. And I don’t think the free agent market is going to change much. But if you don’t want to be blogging the year after next and the year after that about the talent we’re stuck with, you get a GM who can start getting talent. They’re are a few in the major leagues who’ve shown that they can do this, particularly with smaller market clubs. At least one would want to come to NY. Go get him.

  5. wally October 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm
    In addition to mental coaching, most of these guys need to grow a pair of you-know-whats.
  6. joejanish October 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm
    John – thanks for explaining.

    The one potential problem to your theory: Peter Gammons claims the Mets’ GM is Jeff Wilpon. If indeed Wilpon wields that much power in terms of personnel moves, can you really blame Minaya? And/or, would Minaya’s replacement make a difference if Wilpon is really the one calling the shots?

  7. john October 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm
    Yup, I recognize that Wilpon is a problem. Jeff can’t get out a coherent sentence anytime I see interviewed. He truly seems like an apple that fell way far from the tree.