R.A. Dickey’s resurgence, odd SB trio, Wright’s second-half slump

After he got hosed out of starting the All-Star game, Mets fans want R.A. Dickey to get the Cy Young Award for the 2012 season more so than normal. Unfortunately, he is likely behind Johnny Cueto and Clayton Kershaw at this point in the season in the minds of the voters. There’s still time for Dickey to make up ground on the leaders but if he is unable to do so, we can blame a five-game stretch in July for him not winning the award. Here is his season, broken down around that July slump:

Beginning – 113 IP, 2.15 ERA
Slump – - 26.1 IP, 6.49 ERA
Since – 43.0 IP, 2.09 ERA

Even if he does not win the Cy Young Award, Dickey will wind up with one of the best years by a pitcher in Mets history. With a full month of the season to go, only 20 pitchers in team history have won more games than Dickey’s 16. The last pitcher to claim more win was Al Leiter back in 1998 when he won 17 games. Dickey is also looking to become just the fourth Mets pitcher this century to top 200 strikeouts. In 2005, Pedro Martinez fanned 208 batters, three years later Johan Santana recorded 206 whiffs and in 2000, Leiter posted 200 Ks.

METS SP BY XFIP – Seven pitchers have made at least seven starts this season for the Mets and the quality has generally been very good. Here they are sorted by their IP:

Name G IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP fWAR
R.A. Dickey 26 181.1 9.08 2.03 0.79 0.274 77.80% 46.50% 10.20% 2.68 3.04 3.16 4.2
Jon Niese 26 165 7.53 2.24 1.09 0.275 75.20% 47.50% 13.00% 3.55 3.82 3.62 2.1
Dillon Gee 17 109.2 7.96 2.38 0.98 0.301 68.90% 50.30% 12.80% 4.1 3.71 3.55 1.6
Johan Santana 21 117 8.54 3 1.31 0.301 68.80% 33.10% 11.70% 4.85 4.09 4.02 1.1
Matt Harvey 7 42.1 10.42 3.61 0.64 0.262 78.10% 35.60% 7.90% 2.76 3.05 3.45 1
Jeremy Hefner 8 46.1 6.6 1.36 1.17 0.325 66.60% 47.70% 11.50% 4.86 3.84 3.80 0.6
Chris Young 15 85.1 6.01 2.95 1.27 0.287 69.50% 23.00% 7.50% 4.64 4.65 5.55 0.3

It is exciting and weird to think that next year’s rotation might have Santana as the weak line.

THE ODD TRIO – Three players on the Mets have 7 SB and 2 CS this year. They are: Scott Hairston, Daniel Murphy and Jordany Valdespin. On a team starving for speed, they have combined for a 78 percent success rate on their 27 steal attempts. If you take these three players out of the equation, the Mets have just 41 SB on the year and have been successful on just 61 percent of their steal attempts. Angel Pagan (21) and Jose Reyes (29) have combined for 50 SB this season.

EXTENSION WORTHY?David Wright has had a terrific bounce back season in 2012 and everyone assumes that the Mets will pick up his option and look to lock him up with a long-term contract. But is that really in the team’s best interests? Wright has a .921 OPS this year and looks like a Gold Glove defender in the field. But his offensive performance in the second half has taken a nose dive. Here are his splits, along with his 2011 numbers:

1st Half – .351/.441/.563 with 47 Ks in 356 PA (13.2 K%)
2nd Half – .256/.349/.423 with 43 Ks in 195 PA (22.1 K%)
2011 —— .254/.345/.427 with 97 Ks in 447 PA (21.7 K%)

Second half Wright looks eerily like 2011 Wright and no one was demanding that we sign that player to a $100 million contract. First half David Wright is worth the money. Second half David Wright is not. The Mets are in a terrible position because they need to prove to the fan base that they are serious about keeping their star players and would suffer a huge PR hit if Wright left. But Sandy Alderson was brought in to be the adult in the room and it’s hard to justify a nine-digit contract to a guy who had a .772 OPS last year and now has that exact same mark in the second half of 2012.

SPLITS BY STARTS – As the Mets continue to do everything in their power to avoid doing the right thing and simply DFA Jason Bay, there has been talk about how they might platoon him in left field with Lucas Duda in 2013. Meanwhile, the Mets are 45-40 this year when Duda starts and are 19-25 when Bay is in the starting lineup. When Bay has been a starter without Duda, the club is 9-16. Yes, by all means, let’s find ways to get that guy in the lineup!

MORE NUMBERS SINCE MANNY – We haven’t checked in on the bullpen in a little bit, which continues to do a fine job since Manny Acosta returned to the majors on July 24th. Here are the numbers for the seven current relievers since Acosta’s recall:

IP ER ERA
Ramon Ramirez 14.0 5 3.21
Josh Edgin 13.1 6 4.05
Manny Acosta 13.0 3 2.08
Bobby Parnell 13.0 4 2.77
Jon Rauch 12.2 2 1.42
Frank Francisco 7.1 8 9.82
Robert Carson 4.0 1 2.25
Total 77.1 29 3.38

Terry Collins would undoubtedly say this is all because the team now has two lefties in the bullpen, completely ignoring that one LHP has a 4.05 ERA, the other has just 4 IP and that the improvement started long before Carson was recalled. Rauch deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the bullpen performance but Acosta, Parnell and Ramirez have all done well, too.

20 comments for “R.A. Dickey’s resurgence, odd SB trio, Wright’s second-half slump

  1. JJ
    August 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

    They still need to sign Wright. Yeah the second half slump isn’t ideal, and it would be nice to see him get going again, but some struggles doesn’t mean the guy is doomed either. He’ll still end up with a great year…already has 6 WAR still has an OPS over .900. Lots of players have some ups and downs over the course of the season. Lke Carlos Beltran, who was a great Met..had a number of sub .800 OPS months even in some of his best years here. 1 in 2006, 2 in 2008 and 3 in 2007…it happens. And even the slumping .770 OPS is still above average for a MLB 3b.

    • August 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      It’s not a bad month – it’s 642 out of his last 998 PA. And while I recognize that performance as still being above-average for the position, my claim remains that unless he regains his first half performance, he’s simply not worth a $100 million contract.

      • JJ
        August 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        2011 was an injury riddled year and worse than any in his career. I don’t think that is what he projects to be going forward. He’s not going to be as great as he was in the first half either, but he doesn’t have to be THAT good to be worth the money. A .350 average and an OPS over 1.000 is tough to sustain…if he was that good regularly he’d be getting much more than 100 mil. The players in recent years who got around 100 mil have been nowhere close to that productive.

        I think the reality is right around the middle of what he’s done in the first and second halves of the year. And even if you do put heavy weight into last yrs stats and look at 2011 and 2012 together..he still has a 137 OPS+ over that time which is very good. Of course with any player there has to be some limit to what you pay him (and whether its true or not Wright keeps saying its not about the money anyway) but with the major lack of offense on the Mets, they need to make a good effort to keep him. He’s been a great player for the Mets…and really there aren’t a whole lot of big bats who are going to be on the market in the next yr or so either.

        • August 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm

          David Wright is my favorite player and nothing would please me more than him getting and being worth a $100 million contract.

          But at some point the Mets have to stop wishcasting and look and see how likely he’ll be worth the money he can command on the open market. Just him being the tallest midget does not mean he’s worth $100 million.

          Wright’s big thing on offense is his strikeout rate. When he was a star early in his career, his K% was in the 16 percent range. From 09-11 it was in the 22 percent range. Earlier this year it was great and now it’s back near 22 percent again. It’s not a good sign.

          Assuming he does not rebound to April-May numbers, I think Alderson should pick up the option but not give him a multi-year deal at this point. If that makes the fans panicky, I’m sure Alderson can handle it.

          • Metsense
            August 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

            This could have been my post if your name wasn’t on the top of it Brian except the last paragraph.If they don’t extend him then they need to trade him so that they can guarantee the players they get unlike what happened with Reyes.

          • JJ
            August 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm

            I know all about the strikeout rates, ha…I’ve spent much time the past few yrs trying to dissect what is wrong with Wright. But I think the fact that he did maintain a great K-rate the first half is an encouraging sign that he hasn’t lost all his abilities. I was concerned at times over the prior couple yrs that he had lost bat speed and that it was something that might not come back…but I don’t have that concern at this point.

            Not that its foolproof but going by fangraphs value, 2011 was the only year he wasn’t worth at least 16 mil…..even in 2009-2010, he posted an OPS+ of 128. Several other years he was worth well more than 16 mil. This year he’s valued at 28 mil. It’s hard to put an exact $$ value on a player…and then when you talk about contracts you have to weigh the number of years vs. the AAV of the contract. I’m not sure which I would prefer the Mets do in terms of that part (years vs $). But I’m pretty confident he can at least be worth somewhere in the range of that $15-20 mil (with some bigger years mixed in) over the next several seasons

            As for Sandy…he didn’t exactly handle the Reyes situation well. And it will be 10x the circus here next year if Wright goes into the year unsigned. If that happens, they need a much better way to spin it than just Sandy wanting to wait another year to evaluate Wright.

      • Mack Ade
        August 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        I may be wrong… but I don’t think you’re going to see Wright play 50% of the games in September.

        • JJ
          August 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

          What makes you think that? He’s pretty much the only guy they have that has been an everyday player this yr. (tejada has mostly played everyday when he hasn’t been hurt…but they’ve been talking about sitting him more down the stretch)

  2. Name
    August 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    It does look like the Cy Young award is a 3-man race right now. I didn’t even realize Kershaw had caught up in most of the categories. Right now, i would say it is a toss-up between Kershaw and Dickey. Cueto has the best ERA, but his secondary stats aren’t very dominant like. He has around 144 k’s, which is 40-50 behind Dickey/Kershaw. His Avg and WHIP are also considerably higher than both. But seeing as how voters probably still value Wins/ERA more than anything else, i would think he is the favorite to win the award. However, my pick right now would be Kershaw, mostly based on the fact that he has made 2 more starts than Dickey. However, this is before Dickey has pitched today (8/31), if Dickey were to pitch 7+ innings with at least 8 K+ and less than 2 runs today , i would peg Dickey ahead of Kershaw. This just shows how close they are. Which basically shows you with 6-7 starts down the line that anything can change after each person makes a start.

    As for xFIP, i’m happy to see Niese and Dickey rate well. They both have had good seasons. Gee is a bit of surprise and i’m holding out that in the future his ERA will fall more in line with his xFIP. Johan’s xFIP is a little bit skewed by his terrible post- All start. I know you cant just throw away starts, but in my mind, he really should haven’t been pitching in some of those games.

    As for Wright, the Mets are damned if they sign him, and damned if they don’t. In my memory, i can’t remember one 100+ million contract where the team didn’t regret the signing at one point. Heck, i can barely even remember a 60+ imllion contract where the team didn’t regret it. So, i certainly don’t envy the position that Alderson is in.

    As for the bullpen, it has been remarkedly better since Acosta. More importantly, they actually were able to WIN a game for the team.(The 1st game vs the Phillies)

    • August 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      I don’t know if we should value how a player did solely by if the team regrets the contract. The most famous case would be the Rangers and A-Rod. They regretted the deal but that was misplaced anger on their part. A-Rod produced excess value over his contract while he was with the Rangers. They were mad at him, but would have been much better off being mad at Darren Oliver, Kenny Rogers and Chan Ho Park.

      I haven’t done the math but I believe A-Rod provided excess value for the entire length of the 10 year deal he signed with the Rangers. The new one with the Yankees is not going to turn out so well, though…

      The Mets may have regretted the Beltran contract but he provided excess value, even with all of the time he missed with injuries.

      I bet the Yankees don’t regret the 10-year Jeter deal. It’s close on being worth it from a production point of view, too.

      The majority, perhaps the great majority, of $100 million deals are not worth it. But there have been cases where it’s worked out.

      • JJ
        August 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm

        Yeah I think there have been a number of big money deals for hitters that have worked out.. It’s the big, huge contracts to pitchers that seem to be more risky. I think Beltran was underappreciated here and was worth his contract…but the way it worked out I can see how others didn’t perceive it that way. He had a couple years where he way outperformed the contract and then those 3 yrs 2005, 2009, 2010 (though he was great when he did play in 2009) where he underpeformed/didnt play. That gives off a different feel than had he been more consistently around the value each year and just the general misery around the team sours views too.

      • Name
        August 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        I guess there’s multiple ways to view if a contract is worth it or not.
        Certainly, from a production standpoint, there’s no conceivable way that ANY player can provide 20+ million over an extended period of time. Every player is bound to get hurt or be ineffective for a while. Since they are getting paid above average, even average play will mean that they aren’t “worth” their contract.
        However, There’s also the business point of view, because bringing in high profile players will draw more fans and media, which will increase attendance and attention for the team, which will probably result in an increase in revenue, which contributes to the player’s value.
        Most of the players who do recieve big contracts are mostly doing it for the business reason because like i said, you can’t possibly expect 20 million+ production for 8 years or more, at least not after age 26-27. It’s just that the game is set up that you make little to no money when you first come up to the big leagues, and then you make waaay to much when you are an older player. Now, that is a decision that the game has decided to go with, but i would rather see a system where players are paid more timely, and more fairly(as in less 20+ million/year deals but more 5-10 deals).

        I actually went thru some big contracts and so far i have only identifed Jeter, like you said, as the only player who has completed a big contract and have had little to no regrets. The only other player who is close to completing a big deal and also having little to no regrets is Miguel Cabrera. he signed an 8 year deal worth 152 million in 08, and i don’t think anyone can say that he’s not worth it so far… but he still has 3 more years on that deal left so we shall see.

    • Mack Ade
      August 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Doesn’t the batters your facing on the other teams you have faced since Acosta have something to do with this?

      • August 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm

        Absolutely. Mets have played 35 games since Acosta’s recall and 15 of those have been against teams above .500 and if we look at it just from an offensive point of view, Mets have played 23 games in this stretch against teams in the top half of the NL in runs per game.

  3. Mack Ade
    August 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Is there a stat for “hits when your team is losing a game”?

  4. Metsense
    August 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    The bullpen has been functioning well now but didn’t when the games mattered. An overhaul is still necessary. Primary improvement would be to add another closer type because even though Fransisco save pct. is 88% a 5.94 ERA indicates too much luck in the equation. They can also spend the Rauch/Ramirez 6M on two other relief pitchers next year. I believe it would be a mistake to keep this bullpen crew intact for 2013 even with the recent successes.

    • Chris F
      August 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I couldnt agree more Metsense. When we really needed this pen, it was a leaking ship. Strike that. It was the Titanic. With the pressure off things have improved, and Im certainly pleased with that. Brian has talked me off the ledge in Frank Frank’s last two outings in particular. But the pen cannot be counted on for next season.

      In many ways, FFs stats are very symptomatic of the 2012 Mets. Some days brilliant, and very play-off worthy, and other days as bad or worst than the Astros. We average out to be about average, but only because of balancing of the wild swings from great to putrid. And that would be my take on the whole team at all scales, and why fixing this mess will be hard. We are not average despite having a just about average W-L record. Im not sure how to address this problem because its hard to know which David Wright will come to the stadium.

      In the end, Id keep him at something like 110M$ for 6 years. David is more than just a stack of numbers. There is plenty of X factor he brings in team leadership, including people to the seats. He will become perhaps the most consummate Met player of all time. In a stretch where “feel good” and “history” may matter, where turning the ship around is a possibility (even of it is slight), and just having a guy we like out there is a plus on top of his capacity to deliver, I think he’s worth it.

  5. August 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I am probably a Johnny-Come-Lately to this but having only found the blog recently:

    Has everyone read Dickey’s book?

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