Mets Remain Powerless

While watching the spring training contest between the Mets and the Tigers yesterday, a comment was made about Detroit’s assault on opposing pitchers via the home run. It motivated me to check the spring training stats.

As it turns out, the Tigers lead all MLB teams with 42 home runs this spring. Guess who is last, with only 14? Yep, our New York Mets.

I know that David Wright was injured all spring. I know that Ike Davis was dealing with Valley Fever. I know that spring training numbers don’t necessarily mean all that much. And I know that the fences at Citi Field have been brought in a few feet.

However, I find the Mets’ lack of power alarming, especially considering that Detroit’s total — while high — isn’t all that remarkable. The next-highest home run total comes from the Padres (!), with 39, followed by 36 clubbed by the Cubs. Nine teams have hit at least 30 over the fence, and only three teams have hit less than 20 — the Mets (14), the Marlins (16), and the Cardinals (19).

The totals by the Fish and the Redbirds is somewhat comforting. So is the Yankees’ relatively low total of 23. But gee whiz, only 14 dingers in 28 games? That works out to 81 over 162 — a full 27 less than the Mets hit in 2011, when they didn’t have Ike Davis for most of the year and only had Duda and Carlos Beltran for half seasons.

Again, I know it’s “only” spring training and the numbers in March don’t count. But offense is supposed to be the Mets’ strength this year, and they haven’t shown any suggestion of that supposition. Besides being last in homers, they’re also dead last in MLB in slugging (.320) and OPS (.627), are second-to-last in average (.228) and OBP (.307), and third-to-last in runs scored (105). Things better turn around real quick once the Opening Day “bell” rings, or there’s little to no chance of the Mets getting off to that quick start the franchise so desperately needs.

What say you? Is the lack of offense in Florida much ado about nothing? Or is it a legitimate red flag? Post your opinion in the comments.

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. DaveSchneck April 2, 2012 at 8:22 am
    Don’t you know the wind is always blowing in at Port St. Lucie? And, Jason Bay isn’t going to start trying until this week.
    • HobieLandrith April 2, 2012 at 11:42 am
      Funny, though, how the wind always blows out when Mets opponents are at bat, and how the wind also blows in at every visiting park, as well. BTW, Joe neglected to mention that Mets pitching has allowed 24 HR this year. Not a huge number, but takes the, ahem, “wind” out of your argument.
      • DaveSchneck April 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm
        I forgot to mention that Bay has convinced Pelfrey and several other pitchers, oh, and most of the defenders, to employ the grapefruit rope-a-dope strategy in order to sneak up on the NL east when the real games begin.
  2. Rob April 2, 2012 at 8:58 am
    We are so screwed. And the offense will definitely suffer without Reyes at the top of the order. But who knows…we could win the division.
  3. Izzy April 2, 2012 at 9:17 am
    I really don’t understand the love that is growing for spring training stats. IRRELEVANT.
    PS Did you see the Marlins new park? Very deep in center and the alleys. Unlike the Mets who refused to take advantage of a big park by adding speed to their lineup, it is easy to see why a smart front office moving into a giant park would want to add Reyes to the lineup. Him and Bonifacio should enjoy the new diggs.
    • Joe Janish April 2, 2012 at 11:32 pm
      Actually, I wouldn’t say I “love” these particular stats. 🙂

      Interesting point re: Miami’s park size and their collection of speed. Brings back memories of the 80s Cardinals and 70s Royals.

  4. Mike B April 2, 2012 at 10:29 am
    This just in, the Mets are moving in the fences in thier minor league complex to help out offense.

    All kidding aside, I am worried about thier power but also the whole offense. I dont know why our offense is thought to be a biggest strength? We added nothing and lost Reyes and Beltran who lead this team in every offensive category for the Mets.

    I think this team will look a lot like the teams in the end of 07 and 08. The SP will keep us in the game for 6 or 7 innings and the pen will get blown out in the last 3 innings.

    • Joe April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am
      Beltran very well might have gone back to earth this year & it is unclear that Duda won’t fill his shoes, especially long term. Reyes is a given, though he was out for over a month and the team still lost the last few years. If Wright, Davis and Murphy aren’t all out for significant chunks of time, even Reyes’ offense would be balanced some.

      Don’t be so optimistic though. I’m sure errors by Murphy et. al. will lead to some losses too.

  5. Florida Met Fan Rich April 2, 2012 at 10:42 am
    The Best thing that can happen is me seeing the tail lights of the Mets moving van leaving Florida!

    This team was totally Unwatchable all spring. The only team we could beat was an Astros split squad.

    I am happy to get them out of here. Watching them for the last month was like a prison sentence!

  6. MikeT April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am
    Practice games are practice. Results mean nothing. I’m sorry, I cannot read into results at all… unless you are Jason Bay. Dude looks AWFUL. Duda on the other hand looks like a major league middle of the order piece. As does Davis. Even if they did not hit a single home run this spring I would say that. The process matters, not the results. Bay looks lost, Davis/Duda look strong.
    • HobieLandrith April 2, 2012 at 11:38 am
      Is a .307 OBP a result or a process? Some people argue that walks have to do with approach.
  7. mic April 2, 2012 at 11:24 am
    Nine teams have hit at least 30 over the fence, and only three teams have hit less than 20 — the Mets (14), the Marlins (16), and the Cardinals (19). The Spring training fences are supposed to boost the numbers and egos.

    Joe: this is a classic.

    ‘After this season with signing bonuses, incentives and arbitration Pelfrey will have earned approx. 19M in six seasons (really five- first was only five starts). He’s made 146 starts with a 4.40 ERA and a 50-54 record, while averaging 29 starts and 170 innings per season. In addition to statistical similarities both struggled with runners on base, Traschel becoming the human weather machine and Pelfrey the cat licking balker. ‘

  8. NormE April 2, 2012 at 11:40 am
    When you look at the woeful defense, the paucity of quality arms, lack of team speed and suspect bench, home runs take a back seat in the list of Mets’ problems.
  9. Steven April 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm
    Spring should only be evaluated in terms of homeruns by the expected homerun hitters. Davis is now getting on track; Wright was out for most of the Spring; Duda performed during the Spring like one would expect of a guy that may hit 40 hrs during the regular season, keeping in mind that he missed the first week of ST and has been rested many days. Bay should be a concern however, and if he does not get it together by the end of April, he will be platooned at a minimum. In sum, other than Bay, I am not concerned about the lack of homeruns. My biggest concern from the Spring is that it showed how potentially awful our defense will be
    • Joe Janish April 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm
      Steven, you make a good point re: the homerun hitters. To me the homerun total this spring is merely the most glaring symptom of an overall larger concern for the offense in general. For example, the putrid OBP does not correlate to last year’s team approach of patience. Though, it’s entirely possible that lack of walks has more to do with batters tending to be more aggressive in the spring, combined with overly aggressive minor leaguers getting the bulk of plate appearances in the final few innings of every game.
  10. Steve S. April 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm
    Well, Tejada jacked one out today!

    Anyway, Wright, Davis, and Duda should hit 25 HRs each, and Murphy should hit 15. Bay? 15 or so, but he might sit against RH pitching, beginning in June. He really is a lost soul. Hope he gets it together soon!

  11. murph April 3, 2012 at 1:16 am
    In 2009, nobody could have predicted that Daniel Murphy would lead the team with 12 HRs.